Friday, May 22, 2009

Good Deals

It's Memorial Day Weekend! Woohoo! Holiday weekends are great times to go shopping because many stores take advantage of the celebratory time and hold store-wide savings events.

Love this recharging station from Pottery Barn (on sale for $40 down from $80)

Pottery Barn - Memorial Day Sale, save up to 50% off

Nesting tables are a great option for a small living room. They provide for extra storage but can be moved under/inside of each other to maximize a space and make it look larger and well organized. Pottery Barn, $600 down from $800.

Pier 1 - new items 50% off!

I found these Kubu Baskets (below) on - originally priced at $25 - on clearance for a whopping $2.50! What a STEAL!

The Container Store - check out their "Organized Travel Sale" going on now.

Target always has low prices and great sales. Check out their new organizational product line!

Lastly, don't forget the world wide web. If you're looking for a particular item to help you better organize yourself, stick it in a google search and see what comes up. If you don't find what you're looking for, hit Ebay, craigslist and Amazon for some killer deals!

Happy Memorial Day/Happy organizing!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Neigborhood Swap

I got this idea from the Oprah show a few weeks ago. Oprah's decorator, Nate, did a neighborhood swap. You can do this too! Take it to the full extent that they did, or modify it to a lower scale.

Talk with your neighbors, colleagues and friends and analyze your needs and desires. Figure out what you can swap between the group to help each other out. It's as easy as that! If all Patty wants is a few buckets and baskets - I'm sure someone would be willing to give up some baskets in exchange for the awesome book case that sits empty in her adult son's bedroom.

Before the swap it would be helpful to go through your house and take an inventory. Figure out what you need to get rid of or what you are comfortable swapping in exchange for something else.

Let me know what happens with your swap. I'm anxious to hear what people are more in need of and what people are willing to give up!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Get Rid of it!

I think that spring is the ultimate time to go through everything in your house and get rid of stuff that you don't use, that doesn't fit you (or your family) anymore or that's broken. This is kind of like a seasonal cleaning, but with an emphasis on de-cluttering through "stuff removal."

I would suggest going room by room through your house to create an inventory to figure out what in the world is in your house and taking over your precious space. Do this slowly so you don't overwhelm yourself. Start maybe someplace small, like your bedroom or bathroom, and work from there. Think about each thing as you go through it and ask yourself some questions:

• When was the last time I used this?
• Is it broken? Can I fix it?
• Did I even know I had this?
• Does this article of clothing fit me/children/spouse?
• When was the last time I wore this?
• Do I NEED this still?
• Could I live without this?

The questions above should get you thinking.

• If you didn't wear an article of clothing during the last season, get rid of it!
• If an article of clothing doesn't fit you at the present time, get rid of it!
• Didn't know you had something still? There's a good chance you'll forget that again, so get rid of it!
• Haven't used this in the last two years? Get rid of it!
• Is it broken? Can I fix it? If not, get rid of it!
• Is this essential to my existence? Probably not.
• Can I live without it? Probably.

It is so rewarding to go through the house with big garbage bags and clearing out things that you have no use for anymore. There is absolutely no point in keeping something just to keep it. That's called being a packrat, or worse: a hoarder. My task for you is to just get rid of it. The longer you procrastinate about getting rid of the messy buildup in your house the closer it comes to looking like you have become a hoarder.

If it helps you to think of it this way: you could throw a garage sale or sell your belongings online, give gently used clothing to consignment stores, sell appliances to secondhand stores, or donate your clothing to a charity to help others who are less fortunate. Pick one of those or your own motivator and go GET RID OF IT!

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Toys/Play Area Organization

I must mention again that I do not have kids. I have knowledge of what having kids is like and I have seen enough messy (and neat) playrooms and toy zones to understand the concept around organizing your kids stuff.

I have to start by saying that the most organized families I know corral their kids toys in specific rooms. This seems obvious but most families do not differentiate between playroom, bedroom, parent's bedroom and kitchen based on the toy storage. So, that said, I think it's important to consider setting toy boundaries. Keep the toys in a playroom and the kids room or the basement and their bedroom. Notice that I didn't include the kitchen, dining room, office, mom and dad's room, etc. I realize that sometimes it is beneficial to have toys readily available to the kids to keep them entertained -- but put them away when they're done playing with them in toy-free rooms.

Now that you've moved the toys out of every room it's time to start organizing them. This is where creativity and innovation comes into play. The options are endless with what you can do to create an organized playroom for your kids to hang out in (not to mention learn responsibility by keeping their toys picked up!).

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about what you can do with various storage containers:
• Shelves: excellent option for books, games, puzzles, DVDs and to store buckets or baskets on
• Bins (open): the perfect container for the "loose" toys, like cars or trucks, a train set, Barbie accessories, or farm animals, where the kids can toss them in and find them later
• Plastic storage bins (with lid): great place to keep art supplies, video games, Barbie's and other dolls, school supplies, sporting equipment or stuffed animals
• Baskets/buckets: good for storing small toys that need to be kept separate, like nail polish, checkers (or other game) pieces, play dough and colored pencils
• Laundry baskets or barrels: perfect for super large toys or stuffed animals that the kids can throw in there without having to leave out on the floor

Consider getting a stockpile of several of these items and having your kids help you organize their new play area. Engage them in an art project to create labels for storage bins and buckets and have them tell you how they want the room set up. The key with this organizational overhaul is to get them to be held accountable for keeping the toys picked up and kept in their appropriate spot (I see a perfect opportunity for a reward chart here!).

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Developing an Organized Mindset

We grind into children's brains the importance of putting their toys back where they found them and many parents ask their kids to only play with one toy at a time. Why do we do this with kids when most grown-ups don't follow suit? With grown-ups, of course, it's not about toys. It's about bills, papers, the disheveled cupboards and the messy buildup. It seems that somewhere along the way that adults have lost that mindset of "pick up after yourself."

Something that comes natural to me that is not found in most people is an organized mindset. I've been realizing this more and more every time I meet new people and go into new people's homes. It seems as though people just aren't thinking about what they're doing and how their habits are contributing to their disorganization. We all need to be more aware of our actions and what we are thinking about when we throw the mail in the huge pile, or cram another thing into the refrigerator.

Taking on a huge organizational task is a major project that requires a lot of motivation, mental strength and commitment. Most people can scrounge up the motivation to get started and the strength to keep at it, but they lack the commitment to keep it up after the overhaul takes place. This I see all the time. It is quite frustrating for me to watch because I don't understand why you would even care an ounce to work so hard at creating an organized space and then turn around and go back to your same habits and let it fall apart. The most important part of creating a new organized space or revamping your organization throughout the house is commitment. The organizing isn't the hardest part - it's not falling back into your old rut that should be concentrated on. Seriously. Again, I ask, why in the world would you waste all of that time cleaning out and organizing if you allow the space to go back to being disorganized and you haven't changed your mindset? What a waste.

That was a little rant, but really, you need to change your mindset. Follow through on the commitment you made to yourself while organizing your home, office or your life. Keep it up. Being organized and living in an organized home most certainly improves your quality of life. Why would you want to jeopardize that for sheer laziness? So, follow through and maintain your commitment to yourself. Change your mindset and the way you think about putting your belongings away.

Here are some tips:

• Don't allow piles to build up. Bring the mail in, open it, recycle what you don't want and file your bills. No messy piles allowed!

• After you organize a space, you deserve a reward. If you maintain the exact same organization for a month, six months, a year.... you deserve another reward for following through.

• Put your dirty clothes in the hamper, not on the floor. Follow through with that. Nothing looks worse than clothes laying around on the floor.

• Write yourself notes in areas of your home to remind yourself to keep it organized. Figure out where you are most prone to relapse and write a poster saying "keep it organized" or "I live an organized life" or something. Hang it in your closet, your cupboard, your basement... wherever!

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