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One thing you can do today to get organized

January is coming to a close and now is a perfect time to reflect on how things are going since the beginning of the year. I personally am not a fan of new years resolutions because I feel it sets people up for failure. I much prefer daily goals that add up to long term successes and that brings me to what you need to do today!

Grab a calendar and jot down one thing everyday from now until the end of the year that is going to get you to your end goal. For example, say you have a closet that is weighing on you, literally and figuratively, grab one item out of your closet that you never wear and put it in a box marked donations. Keep the calendar and donation box somewhere in sight to visually remind you of your goals.

  
Or perhaps you have a junk drawer that is out of control. Dump everything out of the drawer and only add the things back in the drawer that you use all the time. Keep the rest aside and if you don’t end up using them, store elsewhere or add them to that box marked donations.

I like using a calendar for this activity but a planner will also work, as will a list of daily goals that you cross off as you do them. Whatever works best for you. I do realize it will take awhile to write all of this down but if you do this one thing today, I guarantee you will see results! As German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”

Happy Organizing!

Laura

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Things I do everyday to stay organized

It recently occurred to me that some of the things I do everyday as a wife, mother and business owner could be helpful to those who are trying to get organized. I know I am always curious how other people go about their day so why not share how I go about mine. I want to reiterate that there is no one way to organize yourself. Everyone’s life is different and what works for me may not work for you. But if some of these things do work for you, marvelous! So without further ado…in no particular order, here are some things I do everyday that help me stay organized.

1) Unload the dishwasher in the morning and put it on at night – It seems like dishes are just one of those facts of life, they are never ending, like laundry, so for me, doing this everyday helps me keep my home running smoothly. It only takes a few minutes and there is never time wasted washing dishes because the others are dirty. All in all a simple thing but everyone has to eat right.

2) Speaking of laundry, I outsource it, to my lovely husband – I realized a long time ago that I can’t do everything, no matter how organized I am. There are only so many hours in the day so there are a number of jobs that he does around the house to keep things running smoothly. I may not get ironed pants and blouses but my clothes are clean and its one less thing I have to worry about.

3) My calendar and to-do list are on my phone – I did away with paper planners last year and so far it has been going swimmingly. I have less paper around the house, my phone is always on me so there’s no chance of leaving something at home and its backed up in case for some reason it was lost or broken.

4) I get everything ready for the next day the night before – This is kind of a standard organizing trick but I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me from being late. I am not a morning person so doing all this the night before makes my life so much easier.

5) I get up an hour to half an hour earlier than everyone else does – Maybe this seems a little 1950’s but as referenced in the last paragraph, I am not a morning person so getting up a little bit earlier allows me time to wake myself up, take care of my own needs and then get my family up so I can help take care of theirs. There just isn’t enough time in the morning to try and get everyone ready at the same time.

6) Anything I can do ahead of time I do – I usually start working on things the second I know about them if that’s possible and if its not the next possible span of time I have. This way I am not forgetting about them or trying to do them last minute and even if I don’t finish them they are started and the pressure is off. I find the longer you wait the more you get in your own way and before you know it the mental mountain grows so big you can’t see over the top.

7) I meal plan – As I mentioned in the first paragraph, everyone has to eat. That’s why I love organizing kitchens. It is one of the busiest rooms of the house and the most worthwhile to get organized. Meal planning allows me time as a busy business owner to make the end of the day easier. If I already know what we are eating groceries can be purchased prior and everything is already in the house. There is no looking in the fridge and trying to come up with a meal when everyone is saying they are hungry and I save money not eating out when food options are limited.

8) The end of night clean up – I spend fifteen minutes to half an hour every night tidying up. It may seem odd considering my profession but I have never liked cleaning. I do it because I must, not because I enjoy it. If I didn’t do this and had to spend the whole weekend cleaning it wouldn’t happen. Now organizing on the other hand is a totally different matter.

9) I have a place for everything – My home isn’t a page off a decor magazine but its extremely functional and everything has a place. This makes cleaning up faster and since I generally don’t like to clean, this is my saviour.

10) I declutter constantly – The less things you own, the less things you need to store. The less you have to pay for bins and other organizing products and the more money you save.

Lastly, here a few pictures of organizing I have done around my house that help me stay organized.

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Happy organizing!

Laura


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Always have a spare and other tips for the time starved

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One of life’s biggest annoyances is running out of something that you don’t have. That is why I am a big believer in having a spare. This allows me to be pro-active instead of re-active.

For instance, in my kitchen I have spare paper towels under the sink. I have spare cloths in the bathroom for my kids to wash their hands.  I also have a plastic shelving unit in my basement which holds extra canned goods and cleaning supplies. All of these items are ready to go when I need them. And in fact, though no one believes me, it actually allows me to be lazier on my not so energetic days.

Now I am not saying you should go out and buy two of everything. That would certainly clutter up your home in no time flat. But having a spare for “frequently used items” is a time saver and a stress saver.

A few other ways to be pro-active when time is limited:

-Plan your meals

-Create templates and use them

-Have a weekly to-do list and schedule your time

-Set deadlines for projects to be completed and stick to them

-Get rid of clutter daily, weekly, monthly and yearly before it becomes overwhelming

Need help organizing your home or office let me know.

Happy organizing!

Laura


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Spring organizing from A-Z

spring

Spring is finally here!! There are double exclamation marks because this past winter was a harsh one for most of the country. It seems everyone is even more eager to get things done inside so they can enjoy the outside. To help you with that, here is a list of things from A-Z that you can do to get organized this spring.

Arrange your furniture. Does your furniture placement make sense?

Bring out the spring wear, raincoats, boots etc. and put away the winter wear.

Clean, if you need to, usually once you move something there is a bit of cleaning involved.

Decide which areas are priorities and start with the most disorganized areas first.

Empty out the food in your home that is old or expired.

Find places for items that don’t seem to have one.

Get the garage in order, store winter stuff and make spring stuff easy to access.

Hang a picture or two or three. I often see pictures that are shoved in a box, bring them out and display them so you can enjoy them.

Invite friends over to see your newly organized spaces. A great motivator!

Join Freecycle! It’s a great place to figure out what to do with items you no longer want or need.

Kick clutter to the curb. Especially paper clutter that may be everywhere and anywhere.

Learn to love routines. Creating routines and sticking to them can help get you organized.

Make time for organizing. Check your schedule and slot in an hour or two or three.

Nick the bad habits. Start fresh, spring is a great time to do this.

Open the boxes in the basement that have been sitting closed for years. If you don’t need it, toss, donate or recycle.

Purge the items you don’t wear, don’t need or don’t fit.

Question why you keep certain items and ask yourself what would happen if you got rid of them.

Rise to the occasion and let go of items. A less cluttered home will equal a less cluttered mind.

Show your family where things go. Have a family meeting and get them on board or even better, get them to participate. Be sure to have solutions that work for everyone.

Treat yourself to a reward along the way. Organizing is hard work and is deserving of some recognition.

Understand that it will take time but move forward anyway. Small steps add up!

Value a few items rather than just tolerate a lot of items. Keep what you love and ditch the rest.

Wipe down shelves, counter tops and cupboards before putting items back in an organized fashion.

Xcept (Okay so not really a word but x is hard) that it will take twice as long to organize an area then you think it will.

Yearning for new products to get organized? Make sure you go through and sort, toss, donate, recycle before purchasing items you may not need.

Zip over the store to purchase some organizing products once you have completed the steps mentioned in “Y”. Need help with this step let me know and I can do a detailed consult with you to help you figure out the best products for your needs.

If you would like more help, go to my website for my spring organizing checklist.

Happy Organizing!

Laura


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Resolution to get organized in 2014?

I am not sure where I stand when it comes to resolutions. On the one hand, the organizing part of me loves the idea of setting goals and making plans but on the other hand, I fear many resolutions set us up for failure. Usually this is because our resolutions aren’t realistic. We try to do too much, too fast and then give up when it doesn’t work out. So here are some tips to get you going but not overwhelmed.

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Start small-What is the biggest problem you have trouble with? Is it that dinner always seems to be a chore or maybe you can find nothing in your closet? Figure out the thing you want to tackle the most and take small steps to achieve it. Don’t move on to anything else until the first is completed.

Reward yourself– Once you have completed one area reward yourself with something you enjoy or enjoy doing. A little reward can help motivate you along the way.

Put it on the calendar-If you have carved out a specific time for doing something you will be more likely to get it completed.

Expect it to take longer then you thought-I would say organizing always takes at least double or triple the amount of time you thought it would. Give yourself extra time to get things done.

Give back– Donating items can be great motivation. Not to mention helpful when de-cluttering. There is nothing more inspiring then helping others and by donating goods you can do just that.

Organize with a non-biased party– There is no shame in asking for help and organizing with a organizer helps keep things neutral because they have no attachment to items that may have you torn and they can help you work through these items with more clarity.

Tell a friend-Once the cat is out of the bag you may be more likely to stick to it. Or better yet, do it together! When you are both tackling projects it can keep you motivated.

Don’t fight what makes sense to you-Last but not least, if you always put your coat over the kitchen chair, why not install a hook in there for yourself? Organizing your home doesn’t have to make sense or look magazine perfect it just has to work for you.

Happy 2014 and happy organizing!

Laura


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Last minute organizing tips for the holidays

With less than a week till Christmas you may find yourself scrambling to get everything done. Here are a few tips that could make the next few days a bit easier to get through.

Too late - conceptual alarm clock showing that you are too late

Gifts

Prepare before your shopping trip – Have a list and know who you are buying for and what you are buying before you go. That way you can get in and get out quickly.

Shop in slow periods – Stores will likely be packed but shopping really early in the morning or late at night may make the process a bit easier on you.

Re-gifting – Perhaps this might be the year to start a new tradition with your family. As an organizer I know that everyone has something in their house that they no longer want or need so why not re-gift? However, I would lay out some ground rules with the family before doing this so everyone is on the same page.

Buy from a friend/neighbour or other small business – If you know someone who is a small business owner call them up and see if they have anything on hand for last minute gifts.

Gift certificates – You may not get the personal touch but if you go to stores like Super Store or Shoppers you can buy gift certificates for a large number of people all at the same time. You can also get these from small businesses too!

Leave the kids at home – If you have kids and can get someone to watch them this may lessen the stress factor for you while trying to get things done on a time crunch.

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Meals

Eat out – Some restaurants are open on Christmas so if you haven’t had time to get a meal planned why not eat out. Do a search to see if your favourite restaurant is open in your area. Here are some restaurants open in Toronto.

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Hire a service – No time to grocery shop? Hire a  grocery services like Grocery Gateway.To bring it local, you could also contact a concierge service that offers this. The same thing can be said for cleaning services if you are struggling to get your home in tip top shape before relatives arrive.

Travel

Car travel – If you are travelling by car be sure you check weather ahead of time so you can give yourself enough time based on weather conditions. If you don’t already, make sure to have your car stocked with the proper emergency equipment should you need it. Blankets, snacks and a charged cell phone are good to have. Also be sure you have at least half a tank of gas and extra windshield washer fluid.

By plane – Be sure to arrive ahead of time. Printing your boarding pass before you leave can save wait time in lines. If you are bringing presents with you you may want to consider keeping the important ones in your carry on so you don’t risk them getting lost. As with any air travel, if you have kids, lots of snacks, books and other toys will make the experience ten times better.

Boeing 747 Aircraft Taking Off

Maintenance

You may be tempted to let all of your normal routines slide over the holidays but try to maintain at least a few of them so that once January hits you aren’t spending hours getting organized again.

Last but not least, make a donation run part of your  New Year routine so that you can start fresh with hopefully less items in your home then you had before the holidays started. My favourite donation place is the Salvation Army. I also like the Canadian Diabetes Association because they pick up and giving to local shelters is also a good option.

And of course, if you should need help in the New Year feel free to let me know.

Happy organizing and happy holidays!

Laura