How to Downsize
An Empty Nester’s Guide
If you’ve just returned from dropping your children off at a university, or they graduated in May and are officially out of the house for good, downsizing your space might be on your radar.
Selling a large home and moving into a smaller one not only holds the promise of making life easier to manage, it can also be more cost effective. But if you’ve been in your current home for a couple decades, you’ve likely amassed a lot of stuff. When is the last time you cleaned out your attic or garage?
The key to downsizing effectively is taking a systematic approach to planning your move and organizing the space. Here are some tips.
Declutter First, Slowly
Getting rid of things you no longer need or want isn’t for the faint of heart. To manage the process of first reviewing your stuff, use these tips:
- Tackle cleaning out spaces slowly over time. You don’t have to tackle the basement and the linen closet on the same day.
- Make three piles: “Keep,” “Donate” and “Trash.” Don’t make a “Maybe” pile
- Decide if you want to include a “Sell” pile (only if you actually intend to sell items).
- To help you make decisions, ask yourself questions like, “When is the last time I used this?” and “What purpose will this serve in my new home?” If you can’t remember the answer to the first question or you don’t have an answer to the second question, it might be time to part ways.
- Choose where you’ll donate what you no longer need. There are many options depending on what you have to donate. Check first—some donation centers prohibit specific items.
Use Space Wisely
If you’ve made the decision to downsize, you might be concerned about keeping your new space clutter-free—whether it’s a smaller house, a condo or an apartment.
To make the most out of less space, use it wisely and consider storage options which make the most out of your closets.
- More hanging storage – If you’ve got small reach-in closets with one rod and a shelf, you can likely add a second rod to double hanging storage for your clothes.
- Hooks and racks – Add hooks behind the door or on the side wall of your reach-in closet or in your walk-in closet to hang bags or accessories. This is also a good spot to add a tie rack or belt rack so you’re not taking up valuable space elsewhere in your closet.
- Shelves and cubbies – Adding shelves and cubbies to a reach-in or linen closet is an excellent way to add storage that helps you avoid piling items on top of items, which can quickly contribute to clutter
If these solutions seem appealing to you, you could also go with a completely custom solution, where a professional Designer reviews the space and helps you maximize it. It’s a better way to ensure that all of your things have a place in your new, more compact home.
Beyond considering where you’ll keep all of your stuff, it makes sense to think multipurpose when downsizing. The spaces in your new home—and the furniture in those spaces—can pull double duty so you can get more out of them.
For example, choose an ottoman that doubles as a storage bin. Consider a kitchen island with cubbies on the side for small appliances or cook books. Maximize under-bed storage with containers or a bed with drawers below it.
And when it comes to sleeping arrangements, you can opt for a sofa bed or even a Murphy bed.
For the full article, visit Closet Works
When you need help getting your empty nest organized, reach out to Organize Me!
Kid’s Party + Your Home = Disaster
How to have a kid’s party & keep an organized home
It’s pretty much a fact of life. Where there are children, there will be a mess. Especially if you have 30 of them running around your house. The thought of having dozens of kids in your home and the mess it may leave can drive a lot of parents to avoid a party. This doesn’t have to be the case however; you can host dozens of people and be left with only a minimal mess.
By taking the proper steps you can decrease the chaos and clutter in your home. You’ll have to take some time in advance to think it out. Consider the following:
- Plan ahead. Try to come up with a list of all the details you will need to consider. This especially includes areas that you fear will get messy the quickest or will bother you the most.
- Clean your home. This includes making sure all trash and recycling cans are completely empty – including the bathroom trash.
- Create a fun area for items. Especially for jackets and shoes, create a space that encourages guests to put their items there. Do something simple like plastic bins or check out the pictures below for some ideas!
- Make it obvious. Clearly display to your guests where items belong especially trash, recycling, gifts and your toys. Place trash & recycling bins right in the middle of the party area. Create a clear area for gifts and mention that you will be opening them after guests leave.
- Prepare your bathroom. Make sure you have extra toilet paper out in the open. Empty your trash cans and fill up your soap. Display your hand towel in the open and leave and extra one out on the counter.
- Have a ready-to-go yard. By having an inviting yard, you can encourage guests to spend time outside. Leave a limited amount of toys outside to decrease the mess left behind. But include trash cans outside too!
- Use simple crafts. When planning activities, keep crafts to a minimum. Try to avoid glitter, projects with scissors and anything else that can leave little pieces behind.
- Leave a small amount of toys out. The less toys you leave out to be played with, the less clutter they will create!
- Prepare healthy snacks. Don’t go crazy giving your guests foods that are high in sugar, this will only amp up the craziness. Provide fruit, vegetables, flavored rice cakes and other healthier foods for munching. Leave the cake for the end and send your guests off with their sugared up kids!
- Enforce the rules. When guests arrive, make sure they have a clear vision of where stuff is and goes. Show them the lead by having yourself and your child properly clean up too
- Expect some mess. Regardless of all your efforts, there will still be a mess. You can’t completely avoid trash left behind, toys laying around your house and other people forgetting their belongings.
Check out Pinterest for some of these ideas: Organize Me! LLC
When you need help getting your home ready for a party, get in touch with Organize Me!
Top Home Organizing Mistakes to Avoid
How to become more functional
You get home from a busy day at work and drop your bag and shoes just inside the door. You drape your coat over a chair and put your keys on the kitchen counter. And you hurriedly stash a few items your kids left on the kitchen table in your designated “junk drawer”.
By following these routines, you might think your home is organized. But it may actually be harder to find things when you need them and to generally maintain order, which only makes daily life more stressful.
Here are some home organization mistakes you might be making and how to avoid them.
The first thing you see when you open the door and the last thing you see when you leave your house. If it’s cluttered with piles of shoes, a jacket or two hung on the door knob and a lineup of school and work bags, your entryway can contribute to getting the day started on the wrong foot.
Instead, reorganize your coat closet and add some hooks to keep bags, coats and scarves organized. Or, consider springing for a custom mudroom or entryway solution that includes baskets for outdoor gear and sports equipment, cubbies for shoes and plenty of hooks to hang items.
Disorganized junk drawer
Everyone’s got that one drawer in their kitchen or office where things that have no other “home” simply get stashed. But throwing something in a drawer doesn’t mean it’s organized. A disorganized junk drawer makes it harder to find everything from that extra roll of tape to your phone charger or your extra set of keys. We’re not asking you to get rid of this handy catchall space in your home, but we are suggesting you clean it up.
Add a drawer organizer to create dividers for different groups of things. It’ll keep you from scouring everything each time you’re looking for something simple like a notepad. And, if you’ve got a lot of devices to organize, you can also dedicate one space to become a docking drawer so everything can be charged at once
The box of pasta hiding in the back of your pantry is two years out of date. And your spices are anything but fresh. Overstuffing your pantry makes it harder to find what you need and almost guarantees you’ll end up buying more dry food than you need. Organizing your pantryand finding a good strategy for storing not only food, but trays, tablecloths and bulk items will help you get a better view of what you have and be less wasteful.
Shopping before you purge old clothes
Reviewing the clothes and shoes you have before you buy new items is the best way to stay organized when it comes to your closets. Review your wardrobe each season and consider donating clothes that are beyond repair or that you won’t wear anymore because they’re too small or are lower quality than what you buy now. Similarly, clean out your linen closet and donate old towels, sheets, quilts and blankets you no longer have a use for. You’ll free up space, making it easier to find everything in your closet. And chances are, you’ll rediscover something you didn’t remember you had.
If your home is constantly cluttered, you’ll eventually begin ignoring the mess. This might seem like an adequate solution; however, your cluttered rooms make it more difficult to find what you need and remember where you put things. If you maintain an organized home, you’ll enjoy more peaceful routines.
When you need help with your home organizing, Contact Organize Me!
For this full article from Closet Works, click here!
Here’s how to organize you desk
Your desk is your command center. How well it’s organized can help set the tone and productivity level
“Surveys show the average person loses an hour a day to disorganization,” said Lisa Zaslow, a professional organizer in New York City. “It takes much less time to get and stayed organized. Think about how frantic and stressed you are when you can’t find something.”
Here’s how experts suggest organizing your desk for maximum efficiency and productivity:
Get your layout right
Your monitor should be in front of you at eye-level and about 17-inches from your body, according to Zaslow. Put frequently-used items, like the phone or supplies, on your dominant side to avoid having to reach across.
Mind your office supplies
Supplies used every day can go on the desk. Items used a couple times a week should go in a drawer under or to the side of a desk. “Getting up even just once a day for a pencil or paper clip is shutting your brain off a project you are working on and you will have to come back and re-center,” said Amy Trager, a professional organizer in Chicago.
It’s also best to group like items together. “All your office supplies should be kept together, not split up in multiple drawers,” said Andrew Mellen, a professional organizer.
Go easy on reminders.
When it comes to sticky notes, moderation is key. Framing your monitor with notes isn’t the most effective. “They’ve lost their usefulness at that point,” said Trager. Use them for important short-term reminders.
Don’t go overboard with personal knick-knacks
Maintaining work-life balance is hard, especially on your desk. Family pictures, vacation souvenirs and other trinkets can provide positive feelings during the work day, but too many mementos can be a distraction.
“Our eyes pull every single thing in front of us and our brain processes it — even if we don’t realize it,” explained Zaslow. A desk full of stuff means “that is a lot of work and editing for you.” She recommended keeping no more than three personal items on a desk.
Control your inbox.
E-mail is a convenient way to communicate, but it can also be a major distraction. If it becomes too much of a distraction, Trager recommended designating certain time periods throughout the day to check and respond to email. “The rest of the time is for work.” Also, don’t be afraid to disable the pop-up notices of new mail if it interrupts work flow.
Embrace white space
Keep a paper-sized free space to your dominant side as a designated work space to make it easier to review or sign documents.
Prioritize your work flow
Only keep relevant and active projects and documents on your desk. When work gets backed up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stall productivity, so here’s how Trager recommended grouping projects to prioritize:
1) Important and urgent
2) Urgent, but not necessarily important
3) Important, without urgency
4) Non-urgent, and not important
She added vertical file holders help avoid stacking folders on top of each other and overlooking the ones not on top.
Keeping a desk organized requires frequent upkeep and assessments, so be sure to take a weekly scan of your desk to make sure everything still deserves a spot on your work space.
When you are ready to get your home office in order, contact Organize Me!
For the full article by CNN Money, click here
Whether you sat in back-to-back meetings all day and didn’t accomplish much “real work,” you spent your commute in traffic or you simply have too much to do in too little time, it’s easy to get stressed out every now and then.
One area of your life that may be contributing to feeling stressed could be coming from where you least expect it: your closet. Searching for a shirt hidden in a sea of hanging storage, struggling to find a misplaced pair of shoes or even untangling a mess of necklaces to find the right one during your morning routine can throw off your whole day.
If this is a frequent occurrence for you, it may be time to consider embracing feng shui. Understanding how to create a space with good energy flow could just be the medicine for what ails you.
What is Feng Shui?
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement. The goal is to organize your surroundings to create harmony and balance – transforming your space to enhance your life. It’s thought that showing respect to physical spaces—yes, even your closet—can bring more peace to your life.
Maybe it’s been a little while since you really took a look at what’s taking up space in your closet. Take some time to review the clothes, shoes and accessories in your closet to see everything—even the items lurking out of sight.
We often stress here to get rid of old clothes, ones that are a touch too small or have stains and holes that can’t be fixed. But it’s also important to get rid of any random items that don’t belong in your closet. Find things you can relocate to other spots in your home to create more space. The practice of feng shui sees clutter as blocking the flow of energy in your closet and life.
After discarding or donating things you no longer need, take a look at everything you’re going to keep. Color is an important “tool” in feng shui that can shift energy in a space. Start by organizing different items by color, then type. For example, first put all your blue shirts together then organize those shirts by shirt length or type. Repeat these steps for each color and type of shirt.
Spruce It Up
Take a look at what your space may be missing. Good lighting, some meaningful décor and even a fresh coat of paint could make all the difference in bringing in good energy. Paying attention to these details in your closet can help the space feel refreshed.
Make sure you have everything you need to organize and shape your space. Analyze if you’re maximizing the utility of each drawer and hanging storage space, or if you need to find a new way to organize your things. It may mean just adding clear storage bins and drawer organizers or it could be time for a bigger upgrade to a custom solution to create a calm, decluttered space.
For the full article, click here: Feng Shui Basics from Closet Works
When you need help completing your organizing journey, contact Organize Me! here: Contact Organize Me!
Benefits of Being Organized
How it affects your mental health!
Article from Unclutterer
Every day at Unclutterer, we share tips, tricks, thoughts, and strategies for a clutter-free lifestyle. As 2014 begins, I want to step back and see the proverbial forest instead of the trees. Just what are the benefits of being organized? It’s potentially a long list, but I’ve narrowed it down to what has affected me the most. Read on for what I consider the benefits of an organized life, at home and at work.
- Less stress. Above anything else, this is the number one reason I burn calories to stay on top of things. Here’s a great example: This year, I’m making a concerted effort to keep my office neat and tidy (I work from home and my office is also my bedroom). I added a bulletin board and have designated a home for everything: inbox, keys, wallet, office supplies, charger cables, and more. Now, when I need something, I know exactly where it is. This fact reduces stress and allows me to …
- Relax more. I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Organized people are just too lazy to search for stuff.” That’s cute, but I’d rather be the “lazy” one mentioned in the punchline. Less time spent running around means more time. Just, more time to do what I want to do, like …
- Spend time with my family. Getting clean and clear professionally and personally means I’ve got more time to spend with the kids and my wife. For example, my workday ends at 2:00, just as I drive to the school bus. I know that I’ll be spending the next six hours with my family. That’s easy to do when I took care of all my work stuff before then.
- I’m ready for a curveball. I’m sure you know how this goes: life throws a kink into the works that interrupts your plans in a major way. Being prepared ahead of time lessens the impact. For example, I have a designated “emergency” office and ultra-portable setup ready. That way, if my Internet connection goes down at home, or a construction crew sets up outside my window, I already know where I’m going to go to work and what I need to bring.
- The overwhelming seems manageable. I never would have believed this if I hadn’t experienced it myself. I don’t care if you’re talking about work, the kids, or home management, but it’s a great feeling to have every project defined, and every action step that stands between you and “done” clearly identified. When I do this, I can look at a daunting to-do list and feel like I’m on top of it and capable of doing what needs to be done.
- Improved health. The stress I mentioned earlier, which I feel when things start to get out of control, does not promote good health. There are numerous studies that demonstrate a link between sustained high levels of stress and a variety of health problems.
- I’m a better example for my kids. There was a time when I spent most of my time behind my computer, working on this or that. I felt productive, sure, but I also worried about the message I was sending to the kids. Adults work all the time? My job is more important than them? I want my kids to become productive, contributing adults, of course, but I want them to enjoy life, too, and that absolutely includes time spent not working.
- Fewer little jobs. There are four people in my house. If we miss a day or two of laundry, we’re behind. That means that, some day this week, someone has to spend an inordinate amount of time digging out from Mt. Clothing in the basement. However, just turning over a single load per day makes all the difference. Little things like making sure the kids put their hats and boots away each day after school improves our family’s ability to easily function.
- Greater productivity. When you know where things are, what your goals are, and take care of the piddley busy work as it appears, you’ve got significantly more time and energy for the big goals in life.
An organized life takes some doing, and you’re going to slip up. No one is clean and clear all day, every day! But when you strive to do the best you can, you’ll experience the benefits listed above … and more. Here’s to an organized and rewarding 2014, unclutterers! May you experience the best of an organized life.
To check out Unclutterer’s website, click here: https://unclutterer.com/2014/01/23/benefits-of-being-organized/
When you are ready to get help with your home organizing, reach out to Organize Me!
Declutter 101: Where do I start?
Article from Organizedhome.com
Standing amid the stacks and piles, it can be hard to find a good spot to dive in and begin. Too often, de-clutter efforts fizzle along with the light of day.
This time, resolve to succeed! To get your organized journey off to a good start, try these clutter-cutting start points. They will help free a strangled household from the clutter monster.
First Step: A Single Small Success
At the outset, adjust your vision downward from the big (cluttered) picture, to zero in on one small, solvable clutter problem. Clear one counter, de-clutter one shelf, or bring order to a single drawer–and do choose an item that nags at you daily.
Beginning your war against clutter with a small success provides welcome motivation for the long haul. When you feel yourself starting to flag, returning to that one clear space, shelf or drawer will remind you of the goal–and give a new burst of energy for the next step. You can do it!
Slow and Steady Progress
Clutter tolerance seems to run a fever cycle, much like the flu. Every so often, the cluttered household will become intolerable, sparking short-lived but fiery anti-clutter efforts. Piles will be shifted, boxes will be filled, stuff will be stashed–until the fever breaks. Then the clutter tide flows back in, confusion redoubled because of the flushed and furious attempts to get a grip in a hurry.
Just as clutter arises gradually, over time, so it must be fought gradually and over time. Beating clutter requires building new habits, applying new organizational methods, and creating new household routines. The clutter cure takes time, and can’t be short-cut.
Resist the temptation to go all-out in fevered, short-term sorties against clutter. Like the fable of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the declutter race.
Schedule Declutter Sessions
A successful attack on clutter requires time, energy and motivation. There is no such thing as a declutter fairy, who works while you sleep!
First things first: schedule time to declutter. Even 15 minutes a day will make a good start. Better, schedule larger blocks of time, from two to four hours once or twice a week, for maximum declutter efficiency.
Scheduling declutter sessions brings the goal out of the stratosphere and into real life. By committing time to decluttering, you strengthen motivation and embrace the goal of a clutter-free home. By keeping the declutter appointments, you begin to create islands, peninsulas, then continents of decluttered space.
Trust me. It won’t happen magically behind your back, so schedule your declutter appointments today!
Change Begins With Me
In family settings, clutter accumulates for myriad reasons. Adults shed newspapers and personal items with abandon. Children clutter with playthings, art materials, and school papers. Poor housekeeping routines land clean clothing in piles on the couch, paperwork in stacks on the counter and mail in jumbled heaps everywhere.
When you need help beginning your decluttering project, reach out to Organize Me!
To view the article from its original source, visit Organizedhome.com
20 Tips to Help a Parent Downsize
Moving an aging parent out of their home can be filled with emotions for all parties involved. For parents, it’s a place that they have likely spent a great portion of their lives and have a lot of memories there. As the child, it serves as added stress and something else that has to get done. With such high emotions, tensions can rise in an already difficult situation.
Caring.com put together an article of 20 tips to can help make the transition easier on both ends. From sorting, to trowing items away and how to deal with treasures, this article can be highly helpful. Below is an overview of the basic points, with the full article link at the bottom of the page.
- Avoid tackling the whole house in one go
- Frame questions as yes-no decisions
- Use the new space as a guide
- Banish the maybe pile
- Encourage parents to focus on the most used items
- Packs bits of a favored item (instead of the whole thing)
- For collections, ask which is the favorite one piece
- Take photos of remaining collections for a book
- If it’s meant as a give or legacy, encourage that now
- Think twice before selling on your own
- For high value items, consider appraisal
- Understand how charities work
- Target recipients for specialty items
- Try the ‘free books’ tactic
- If it’s chipped, broken or stained, toss it
- Weigh loyalty to recycling against your time
- Don’t be shy about tossing replaceable items
- For a price, you don’t have to haul it away yourself
- Consider bringing in the pros
- Investigate one-stop solutions if time is tight
Moving an aging parent from a home they have known for many years can be difficult. The parent-child relationship isn’t always understanding of each other views. The full article gives in depth details on how to better handle the challanges you may face. Click here for all the details and to gain additional assistance on estate planning: Caring.com/estateplanning
When you are ready to help your parent sort through the years of items, contact Organize Me! Together, we can work through the challenge of sorting, donating and trashing a household full of stuff. Visit Organizemefrederick.com for more information about Organize Me!
Accessory Organizing & Storage
Tips & Products from Organize Me!
This one is for all of you with oodles of accessories and no where to put them! Whether it be earrings, watches, scarves or hats, there is a better way to get it organized! You probably have a piece of jewelry (or two!) that you know you have, but don’t know where it went. That means it is probably an excellent time to get organized and find it.
You might start seeing a pattern. With all my projects, the most important first step is to sort through everything. This is the one, sure fire way to make an improvement. If you simply take stuff out and put it back, nothing will change. It will take time (but that’s why Organize Me! is here) and thought but it will help. So,
- Sort everything and make decisions
- Trash broken accessories. If a pair is missing, set it aside for a week or two in case you find the other.
- Donate pieces you don’t wear (be honest!) or no longer like
- Store away accessories that aren’t season appropriate
- See what’s left. Find the best way for you to store each time of accessory separately. The best way for storing jewelry will not be the best way to store hats or scarves
The possibilities are endless for how you can organize your products. As always, the method greatly depends on personal preference. If you don’t like a certain method, don’t do it. You are more inclined to keep something organized if you like the method used!
- For hats & scarves: Hooks, hangers or clothespins
- For bracelets & watches: Pegs for sure. You can get creative with this and use an old bottle, a paper towel rod and so much more!
- For handbags: Multiple tired hooks maximize space usage. Hooks & hangers are also excellent
- For necklaces: Hooks that hang separately are essential to avoid tangling!
- For rings: You can get creative with this! No tangling here. The most popular choice is padded storage boxes or small jars
- For earrings: The challenge is keeping them paired! Try a cork board, ribbon or a storage box with small compartments
For the best collection of all these ideas and so many more, check out Organize Me’s! Pinterest page. When you are ready to sort through your tangled jewelry, contact Organize Me!
Shoe Organizing from Organize Me!
Tips & Products
There are numerous ways to store the multiple pairs of shoes in your household. What you choose will depend greatly on your preference and what works for your home. Some of my favorite products are the ones that allow you to store the greatest amount of shoes without spending a great deal of money.
Before beginning your shoe organizing journey, it is important to keep this tips in mind:
- Sort through your shoes to eliminate pairs no longer needed
- Ensure all shoes have a match. If not, keep the singles for about a week and see if the other turns up
- Trash shoes you can’t find the match to or that are heavily worn and no longer useful
- Donate shoes that are still in good condition
- If you have only worn the shoe, say, once last season it may be time to say goodbye
- Bag up all the shoes you are no longer keeping and remove them from the area. This will help you get a better idea of how many shoes you have to work with
- Store shoes that are out of season such a boots. Consider using a plastic, clear bin which can fit under your bed
Whether your shoes are stored in an entryway, a closet or a bedroom there are hundreds of products available for organizing. Products may range from storing a single pair of shoes up to dozens. Products generally come in a few different categories. While I’d like to spend time reviewing all the products, it would take me all day! Here are the general categories:
- Bins with lids
- Over the door hangers
- Hanging organizers
One of my all time favorites (and always has been since I was little!) is a product like this. While not always practical for the cost, I love that it also provides a bench. It stores about 18 pairs of shoes which is pretty decent sized but it does cost about $100-$200 depending on the style. That’s about $5-$10 per pair of shoes! Purchase here
A more cost effective shelf is shown here. Great for closets or entryways. This particular rack is 4 tiers and stores up to 20 pairs of shoes for around $25! That’s better, for about $.80 per pair of shoes. Purchase here