Entries tagged with “organize”.


New storage for entryway

Check out this entryway closet makeover posted by the House of Smiths. They had a standard coat closet that just wasn’t cutting it, so they decided to make themselves a system that would work for their family.

They describe it as, “a fun, challenging, LONG journey to get from a boring closet with a door that basically blocked our entire entryway, when opened… to an airy, fresh, larger space that definitely brings personality, visual interest and comfort into our home.”

They included metal baskets, printed out the kids’ names on a mailing label, mounted them on card stock, rounded the corners and attached them with twine. Viola! Grab your school papers or permission slips on your way out the door!

 

To-do lists are one of many activities people use to become more productive and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. There is something about checking off an item that makes you feel even more productive. Sitepoint.com offers up 7 tips that can apply to just about any type of to-do list you may use in your life.

1. Pick a system that works for you: There are many to-do list systems, from software, to online apps, to good old fashioned pen and paper. Question: Which is better a paper or electronic to-do list? Answer:  whichever you will actually use.

2. Start with a brain dump: Start by writing/typing every possible task that comes to mind.

3. Use verbs: Every task item should be a specific act you need to do, so start everything with an action verb, i.e. clean out files etc.

4. Prioritize: Once you have your list created, look at each category and mark items that are of the highest priority.

5. Make a realistic “today” list: To avoid having a massive list facing you every day, it can be helpful to schedule tasks and create time-based lists – today, this week, this month, etc.  Be realistic about what you can accomplish in that time period.

6. Schedule weekly time for the un-doables: Items listed as lower priority tend to drop down to the bottom of the list. You may find that you end up with a growing list of low-priority tasks that you keep rolling over from week to week. Scheduling regular time to act on these items will help you keep your list clean and current (and get rid of the things you’ve been putting off).

7. Be flexible and willing to adjust: Once you’re setup, avoid thinking of your system as being set in stone. Keep an open-minded perspective on how to organize and manage your list in order to give it a chance to morph as necessary.

There’s no need to make To Do Lists from scratch, you can get some To Do List Templates here

Of course, ultimately it becomes time to stop listing the things you need to do, and start DOing them!


 

 

 

When buying storage tools, closet organizers, racks and other storage equipment, keep in mind that they cost money and take up space. Building, adding on or arranging for more storage is like buying a bigger size when you start gaining weight. Example: When our closet is loaded, shoes are running over the threshold. Do we sort and unload and get rid of the foot-pinchers or the ankle-breakers? No, often we go out and buy a shoe storage unit. The problem isn’t gone, it is just out of sight.

Don Aslett, author of “For Packrats Only,” offers these humorous things to consider when we are tempted to add an organizer or storage unit:

  • Cedar chest: A fragrant way to protect things you never wear.
  • Garment storage bag: oxygen tent for dying dresses and comatose coats.
  • Pegboard organizer: an ingenious way to keep unused things in plain view.
  • Movie library: A way to store movies you’ll never want to see more than twice.
  • Desk organizer: A chance to slip things into a slot before ignoring them.
  • Toy box: A receptacle for broken toys.
  • Drawer organizer: A way to add something plastic to the stuff rattling around in there.
  • Sewing basket: A decorative enclosure for three or four things you use occasionally, surrounded by snarled thread, unraveling bias tape, antique hooks and eyes and tangled zippers.
  • Whatnot: A handy place to put things you ought not to have bought. :-)

The message here is that many things we purchase with the hope of getting organized are just innocent pieces of plastic, wood or metal; they don’t organize anything. We are the organizers. We’re the ones who have to have some  discipline to keep the closets and cupboards tidy.

Of course, if you’d like some help with your de-clutter or purging project, Seamless Moves is here to help!

Our thanks to Bill Longshaw of freedigitalphotos.net for the image.

 

Do you get cold feet when thinking about a de-clutter session? Are emotional ties and guilt diluting your ability to be ruthless and strong? If indecisiveness sets in, here are some guidelines that may help.

It is Junk if:

  • it’s broken or obsolete (and fixing it is unrealistic)
  • you’ve always hated it
  • using it is more bother than it’s worth
  • it wouldn’t really affect you if you never saw it again
  • you have to clean it, store it, and insure it (but you don’t get much use out of it)

If you can check off one or more of the above truthfully, then it’s probably junk. Go ahead and Pitch it.

It’s NOT Junk if it:

  • generates love and good feelings
  • will do something you need to have done
  • has significant cash value
  • gives you more than it takes
  • will enrich or delight the coming generation

If you can check a few of the above comfortably, then it’s probably not junk- enjoy it and feel good about it’s place in your life.

Age, sentiment and “I may need it someday” all have their legitimacy. Think about a fire extinguisher as it hangs there for twenty years- it’s not the latest style, it’s ugly, it’s never used, it costs money to have checked and re-checked- but it’s certainly worth having when it’s needed once in that twenty years.

Our thanks to ‘Clutters Last Stand,’ by Don Aslett for his ideas and humor.

Photo image courtesy of  Keerati at freedigitalphotos.net.

All clutter isn’t crammed, stacked, or hidden; some of it is DISPLAYED! Take a look at your Bulletin Board. What do you have on it, how old is it, how much do you have there, how many layers deep? By the way, the record is 207 notes, photos, recipes and cartoons. Some would say that a cluttered, outdated bulletin board is a clue that we’re the same. :-)

So off with the old stale jokes, last semester’s school papers, too-late to question repair bills, didn’t -get-rid-of-an-ounce diets and you-can-be-sure-it’s-no-longer-available classified ads. Off with last season’s upcoming events and the phone numbers and addresses written at all different angles. 

Before you start pinning new things on your board, you will want to decide decide why you have a bulletin board. Do you have a bulletin board so that you can quickly reference materials you need to see on a regular basis? Do you have a bulletin board to be decorative or provide you inspiration? To be a collection of information for one specific project so that you can track your progress? Do different areas of your bulletin board serve different purposes? Do you actually have a need for a bulletin board?

Used properly, a bulletin board is a great tool to stay abreast of what’s going on in your world.

P.S. Taking clutter off the bulletin board and slipping it into a drawer doesn’t count!

Thanks to Don Aslett for the inspiration.

Photo image courtesy  David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net

Gold and Silver JewelryA peek into our “jewelry boxes” might severely disappoint a sneak thief. They may be brimming, but often there’s a glittering array of junk mixed in with those jewels: gifts not to our liking, plastic rings and pins from the kids, a few snarls of nut and shell necklaces and maybe a rare coin or two. The jewelry box is a nice small place to start de-cluttering when you have a need but don’t have a lot of time.

Start by emptying the whole thing on top of the table or do it drawer by drawer.

1. Evict any stray nuts and bolts, Easter basket chicks, safety pins, etc.

2. Gather up all the non-working watches, mate-less earrings and cuff links, unstrung beads, chipped enamel earrings, pins with discolored or worn plating, etc., and either get them fixed or quietly retire them. Here’s a shop in Seattle that repairs jewelry: Rhinestone Rosie.

3. If you can’t bear to part with it, at least move the mere memorabilia out: the circle pin that was so in when you were in junior high, your first-ever steady’s school ring, the micro-dot diamond from your first engagement.

4. Pass unused valuables to family.

5. If you love the stone but hate the setting, reset it to your taste or style so you can use it.

6. Sell the stuff you never liked if it’s genuine. One of our employees recently had a positive experience at Bellevue Rare Coins.

7. Give all those one-time tie pins and novelty necklaces and earrings that will never grace your neck or ears to someone to whom they’re still a novelty. Perhaps your children or grandchildren would like to play “dress-up.”

8. If your jewelry box is still full here is a nifty little DIY project to hang some of your jewelry courtesy of Bzesty.com. It’s a great way to de-tangle and display all those treasures.

How about it gentle reader, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve found in your jewelry box?

A special thanks to Don Aslett, ‘For Packrats Only’ for the inspiration.

Photo image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

 

Craft Room Before (Seamless Moves client)

Crafting is a great way to relax and have fun. No matter what type of craft activity or DIY project you prefer, the emotional benefits of crafting are immense. But not if your craft room becomes a ‘dumping ground.’ To ensure your crafting experience will be more enjoyable, we suggest keeping craft materials organized by placing items in plastic containers, closet organizers, baskets–whatever works for you.

We know it’s hard getting rid of little scraps of ribbon and random clock parts that you just know you could make into something amazing – someday.

Here are a 8 questions to ask yourself as you begin the task of organizing and/or purging any excess materials:

1. Have I used this in the last six months?
2. Do I have something specific in mind to use it for?
3. Do I enjoy using this type of craft material?
4. Do I have more than I need?
5. How long have I had this?
6. Will I be using/finishing it in the next six months?
7. Do I need someone else’s help or input to finish it?
8. How much time/work is it realistically going to take to finish?

There’s a reason quilters call their fabric a “stash.” :) Anyone else have a “guilty pleasure” with projects and supplies?  How do you deal with it?

Craft Room After

Do you enjoy preparing meals or dread it? Would it be easier if your kitchen were more organized?

As you look into the contents of the kitchen, be honest with yourself and ask, “When was the last time I used this?” Maybe it’s time to either start using the breadmaker, wok and waffle iron again, or let them go.  

Here are a few tips to help you organize your kitchen:

Tag Your Mugs ~ put a colored sticker on the bottom of each of your coffee mugs. Whenever you use one, remove the sticker. After a month, you’ll know which mugs you don’t use and can easily give away.

Store canned goods on can risers ~ Can risers are like bleachers for your canned goods. They allow you to see canned goods placed behind one another. Most have three levels and some are even expandable to fit your space, like this one from The Container Store.

Keep your grocery bags corralled ~ If you reuse plastic grocery bags, a grocery bag organizer is a must. Simple Human has a great version. It has heavy-duty sticky tape that holds it securely to your wall or door.

Use a seasoning packet holder ~ to hold packets such as mixes, salad dressings, mixes and taco seasonings. They come in a variety of textures, styles and shapes.  HoldnStorage.com has a few to choose from. For a more economical choice, use plastic containers whose lids have gotten broken or mysteriously disappeared.

Use glass jars ~ for items you use frequently that come in plastic bags such as beans, rice, pasta and nuts. This eliminates the possibility of contents spilling out and makes them easier to find on your shelf. It also helps keep out unwanted guests such as bugs. 

Last but not least ~ Ensure that all family members know where things go. After you’ve spent your time organizing, the last thing you want is for someone in the family to mess up your new system!

We’ve shared a number of decluttering household tips over the last couple of years and figured it was time to tackle the TOOLBOX!

Have you noticed that over the years the toolbox that was once a clean-trayed bed for the right wrench and ratchet to squeeze, pound, screw, cut, or tighten anything that came your way, now has so much extraneous stuff in it that it could more accurately be called a “Bumble Box.” Where does every leftover bolt or tack go? Parts almost but not quite dead? Half of a pair of anything? Rusty nails and removed staples, empty cartridges and it ends up overflowing the dividers. Then we add the finishing touch by spilling something sticky that will never evaporate in it.  Sound familiar?

No more dodging this project. Get tough with those broken tape measures and chewed up screwdrivers and ruptured ring clamps. Get rid of them!

How long will it take?

  • If you are Hardheaded handy person – a half hour
  • The seasoned pro- an hour max
  • Multihobbyist – better set a Saturday aside.

Thanks to Don Aslett’s book “For Packrats Only” for his often humorous take on the subject of  getting rid of what we don’t need.

If you are looking to replace your old toolbox, check out DIY Answer Guy; he says he has found “The Perfect Toolbox” (pictured above).

As you no doubt already know, getting organized isn’t a one-time deal and as much as we’d love to offer you a one-size-fits-all, guaranteed solution to get you completely organized, that’s not realistic. What we can offer are a few tips to make the task a little easier.

First of all “Don’t be overwhelmed!”  Remember to break your project down into little bits and pieces.

Here’s a Challenge to get you started: 30 Bags in 30 Days (they don’t have to all be big black garbage bags, small bags work, too).

Start by making a list of the places to clean out: closets, drawers, shelves, pantry, car, fridge, etc. If it’s cluttered or needs some cleaning out, it’s on the list. When we say toss we don’t necessarily mean in the trash; many things can be donated to charity.

Your goal is to touch everything in the room or area that you are working on. Start in one place (maybe a corner; maybe the door to that room), and methodically look at the thing next to that, then the thing next to that, etc.

Work really fast.  Set a timer for the amount of time you have to dedicate to this area right now. Obviously, the bigger and the more complicated the room the longer it takes, but don’t puzzle over decisions or get distracted by other things…don’t answer the phone…get the job done as quickly as possible.

There is no right way to purge your home–some work better in bursts, some work better in tiny chunks–do whatever is not stressful and works for you at this time of your life.

Remember: “You only have to organize what you want to be able to find.”

 

 

Organize your holiday decorationsThe holidays are over, you’ve taken down the decorations and tried to figure out how they all fit in the storage boxes and bins they came out of…  STOP!! Every year, you say you’re going to go through them and give away or toss out the ones you no longer love or use. BUT DID YOU?? Or did you try sitting on the bin to close it…?

Let’s take an inventory (starting with everything that remained in the storage bins when you started to put this year’s decorations into them): half-burned Santa candle, crushed pine cone wreath, flattened gift bows, a Happy New Year banner from 1993; the box the chocolate golf balls came in—4 years ago! It’s time to get serious. If it’s trash–pitch it. If it no longer gives you a warm, fuzzy glow when you put it on your mantel for all to see, give it a chance for someone new to love it by donating it to a local charity. If it worked with the color scheme your home was decorated in back in the ’80′s… I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

I can hear you now: “I can’t give this up; my son made it for me when he was 5 (he is now 23).” Suggestions: 1) ask your son if he cares if you “retire” it; 2) give it to him to use to decorate his home; and/or 3) take a photo of it and hang the photo on your tree next year tied with a pretty bow.

Believe me, you are going to feel so much better next year when you open your holiday storage boxes and see only things you love and can’t wait to display in your home. Plus, you won’t have to sit on them!

2014 Update: I took several ornaments I no longer wanted to various “white elephant” parties this season. They were a hit!

Welcoming Holiday Front DoorYou might not have days to get your home looking like new for your holiday guests, but you can make a few simple fix-ups and your home will be welcoming. About.com suggests that you make sure you don’t forget the outside of your home and Houzz.com has some tips for getting ready inside.

1. Enter As Your Guests Would
Walk outside your home by the front door all the way to the sidewalk or the street, turn around, and look back at your house. If you need to, sweep the sidewalk, use a broom to clear off spider webs or major dust, and clean off the front porch. Replace burned-out light bulbs. Freshen up the planters, get rid of droopy fall mums and replace with sprays of holiday greenery. For color, add some big red bows.

2. Clean out your coat closet
If there’s room, push your coats and jackets to one side of your coat closet to make room for what your guests will be wearing. If your closet is too small, move some of your own coats into bedroom closets temporarily. Get rid of wire dry cleaning hangers and be sure to clear room on the closet floor if you’ll be collecting boots or overshoes. Don’t forget to clean the space, too — dust, sweep and give everything a good wipe down. One of our favorite organizing tips is to use a hanging shoe organizer to store gloves, scarves and winter hats.

3. Organize the bathroom
This would be a good time to get your bathroom just the way you want it – toss out old beauty items. Make sure it’s clean and organized so your guests can find what they need. If you’ve been collecting sample toiletries from your travels, put them out in a basket for your guests to use.

4. Double-check safety precautions.
Don’t forget to make sure the first aid kit is fully stocked and that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working. Check your flashlight batteries, firewood and candle supply in case of stormy weather.

One of the best parts of celebrating the season is the opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones. Getting your home ready for guests will make you both feel more comfortable when they arrive.