Double Take Organizing

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What I’ve learned as a professional organizer

When I started my business over three years ago I never imagined the journey I would travel. This has been the most challenging but worthwhile venture I have ever undertaken. I can honestly say the teacher has become the student on many occasions. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

1) Everyone has a bin, drawer, closet that needs organization. In a perfect world we would have 48 hours a day to do everything we need to do. That just isn’t the case. Everyone can be more organized. Myself included.

2) Time management is an important component of getting and staying organized. It’s not enough for me to come over and organize your house. Systems need to be put in place to keep that organization working. Like a bicycle with a chain, you need to oil it to keep the wheels turning smoothly.

3) Sometimes we just need someone to get the ball rolling for us. Motivation is a huge component of what I do and by far this is the most gratifying. I love hearing from clients who tell me, “After you came over I did my whole basement I was so motivated.” Yes, this means less business for me but it’s a life changing moment for my client and hopefully this leads them to a more organized future with less stress. 

4) Often people just aren’t ready. If you are during a time of transition you may  think now is the perfect time to get organized but maybe not. It’s a journey not a destination. Much like getting in shape, its a huge lifestyle change and an even greater change for those who have been unorganized their whole life. 

5) Organizing does not come easily to a majority of people. If you know someone who is unorganized please try to be more helpful and less judgemental. Sometimes it’s really not as easy as just throwing things out. Do this and they will thank you for it.

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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Does the thought of getting organized stress you out? Here is some anxiety relief

Often there is panic when it comes to organizing. Anxiety is built upon believing you have to conform to a certain standard. I am here to tell you that organizing isn’t all rules. In fact, it’s more like guidelines. Here is some food for thought to help you stay organized the rest of the year with minimal stress and anxiety.

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Guideline #1

If at all possible, try to get organized every time a season changes.  Summer, fall, winter and spring are natural times for change. I recently did a presentation for a group of women with their own businesses. During the presentation I was told this tip made someone feel less anxious because you are not constantly focused on being organized 24-7.

Guideline #2

Plan ahead but don’t overdo it. Think about what you want to accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Make a plan but don’t get upset if it doesn’t go exactly as you thought. I was listening to a song recently that said, “If you want to hear god laugh tell him your plans.” Taken out of a religious context the same is true. Life doesn’t always go the way we thought but sometimes the unexpected is as wonderful as the planned.

Guideline #3

Be realistic. I was recently having a conversation with another organizer who spent ten years getting organized. Little by little she has achieved a level of organization that she is happy with. You may assume that all organizers are organized but that is not the case. Many organizers used to be unorganized. Her story is an example of how challenging getting organized can be. Now, this is an extreme example but if you are looking for the quick fix, sorry to tell you, but there’s no such thing. As the famous line goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Guideline #4

If you have children, are married or are taking care of someone realize that change isn’t always easy. I don’t want to overstep as I am not a psychiatrist or a therapist but I know in my own family that it can take a lot of time and practice for children and even spouses *cough, cough* to get on board with new ways of doing things. It has been said it can take up to twenty one days to form a new habit. So don’t stress when things don’t click right away.

Guideline # 5

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is such a taboo in our society that we can be it all and do it all. Leaning on others is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. I would argue it takes a stronger person to ask for help then it does for someone to try and do everything on their own. In my own life I have begun to realize the power of working with others who have talents in certain areas. Not everyone can be good at everything.  Organizing may not be one of your gifts but it is one of mine. Don’t hesitate to reach out instead of suffering in silence.

Happy organizing!

Laura