Freedom from Clutter

July 3, 2009

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Happy 4th of July!

4th of July weekend is perfect to spend quality time with friends and family and celebrate our country.  Celebrate the people who  have sacrificed for us and our democracy.  The “land of the free”…free is such a powerful word.

If clutter or disorganization is a cause of distress for you, you can start now, in the spirit of freedom, to declare your independence from clutter.  Taking the time to tackle these challenges will help free you not only from physical clutter, but emotional clutter as well.

  • Commit the time
  • Create goals
  • Make decluttering a priority
  • Enlist the help you need
  • Refer to this blog for tips on specific areas

Remember…

Organizing is a Process not an Event

You can start small with  1 drawer, the kitchen counter or the bathroom vanity.  Edit out what no longer benefits you and create a home for what does.  Free yourself from the clutter.

But first, have a great weekend…I am wishing you and yours a very happy and safe holiday weekend.

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Licensed to Drive?

June 9, 2009

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In an effort to save money by the state of Massachusetts, the Department of Motor Vehicles will no longer be sending reminders to drivers that their license is up for renewal.

Without peeking…can you accurately tell the date and YEAR that your driving license expires?  I can’t!

If you live in Massachusetts, take a minute, pull it out of your wallet and put the expiration date in your calendar.  If you don’t live in Massachusetts, it is a good idea to do it as well in case your state makes similar cuts or changes to policies or if your reminder gets lost in the mail.   You won’t want to have to go through the pain of  “sorry officer, I didn’t  know…”

Don’t let “I’ll never get stopped” keep you from doing this either.  A recent study here  showed that there were over 20% more people being pulled over on the highways as a way to increase state revenue.  So with these changes, it is more likely that you will be pulled over, and more likely that you may not have an up to date license.

It is a good idea to review the other documents or  licenses that need renewal.  Put the expiration dates on your calendar. Actually, putting a flag in your calendar earlier as well will help you schedule time to deal with the renewal.

  • Professional licenses
  • Passport
  • Business licenses
  • Car Inspection

Off to get my passport renewed…

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Over Abundance

May 29, 2009

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Love the line from the new Microsoft ad I saw last night…  so relates to our life, our space, our clutter…

Less is the new More!

Love that!  How simple but profound!

Have a great weekend!

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May 7, 2009

doublecornershelf_mI am working on a kitchen organization project tomorrow.  I can’t wait!  It is like putting a big puzzle together.

I’ll be brining a few supplies with me in case we need them.  Of course I will only use what makes the space more efficient.  So what are some of my favorite kitchen organizers?

  • Drawer separators.
  • Clear bins –with and without covers.
  • Under sink shelving.
  • Wire racks to add more vertical space to your cabinets.

The key if you have small space is to house what you use most of the time.  We all have appliances, serving dishes, etc. that we only use from time to time.  Store those in another part of the house, garage or basement.  Be realistic about what you really use.  And, we need room for food!  Most don’t have the luxury of having pantry space.

You want to keep like things together.  All baking together, all spices together and so on.  Many times I put some of these categories into a container.  This way when I am going to “bake” (my family reading this is probably laughing right now) then I can pull out the baking bin and all of my supplies are right there — sugar, vanilla, food coloring, etc.  I can use the items and when done, easily put back into the cabinet.

There are so many things that end up at the back of the cabinets that never see the day of light.  Take time every now and then and edit out what you are not using.  Kids not using certain types of cups any more — bu-bye.  Got a cabinet full of give-a-way mugs? Ok, how many do you really need?

The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in our house.  Make sure the space is used efficiently.

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Yesterday I was was working with a client organizing memories, keepsakes.  I was happy to see that she had already edited it down to what really mattered to her and there was not that much.

There was a box of magazines and newspapers from historical events.  I have to admit I have Princess Diana’s wedding and death People magazine issues and of course John John Kennedy from when he tragically died.  I know I really don’t need them, but I have the space and they are “organized.”

If you have similar “paper” items,  keep only what is related to the event.   You don’t have to keep the entire newspaper.  If you do look back at these or someday your relatives do, they don’t care that Herman’s was a store back in the 70’s or what was in the classified ads that day.  You/they care about reading  the story of the Middle East Peace Treaty, September 11th, The Red Sox winning the world series, and of course about Diane and John John 🙂  So, keep the important articles and photos and recycle the rest.

You will save lots of room for meaningful memories.  I just read a book by organizer Eileen Roth and loved this quote that can relate to this:

“Everything is the sum of parts, but some parts count more than others.”

When storing photos and and “paper” you want to choose a container that is acid free, like the box above from The Container Store.  Crafting stores like Michael’s and AC Moore also carry archival boxes as well.

Once you do have your “memory box,” go through it every once in a while.  Maybe as a child gets over or if there is a milestone in your life.  If items are worth keeping, don’t let them just live in the box and never see the light of day again.  If that is the case, then maybe they don’t need to stay at all…

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I have been hearing from friends on the East Coast that they have started to switch over their closets for the warmer months.  I have begun the process with clients as well.  Here on the East Coast we have had a burst of record heat.  96 degrees yesterday!  I am sure there will be many folks wanting to pull out the shorts this weekend!

If you have a system in place to do this, it will be less painful and take less time.  For several clients, we’ve got it down to a science!

The process and the storage will be different for everyone.  There are many variables that come into play — closet size, storage space, Spring/Summer activity wardrobe, and even “how hot do you get.”  My condo stays very cool, I tend to get cold easily.  So I still keep light sweaters out.  Only the turtleneck cashmere goes away.  But for some, they run hot and they won’t need to have any sweaters on hand.

A friend in NY lives in a small space so their off season clothing actually lives at a relative’s house.  It may not be the most convenient, but it is the most appropriate use of his space, and he has a “system.”  Yeah for him!

Ready to switch over?  Here’s how.

  • Go through your current closet/drawers.   Remove any items that are “out of season” for you.
  • Decide now if anything can be donated or consigned while it is fresh in your mind.
  • Make charity drop offs or schedule pick ups right away.
  • Store anything that will be great for consignment separate from everything else.  This way you will be organized come the Fall.  Mark your calender for Sept 1 to drop the clothing off.
  • Make sure items stored for the season are clean.
  • Move “off season” to your off season area.  Depending on your space it can be binned in an attic or basement, hung in covered racks in basement or attic, in an extra closet such as a guestroom, outside of your home if you live in the city and have a very small space.  For some it needs to be in the same closet.  If this is the case, put off season in the area that is hardest to get to.  Label bins by person for family members.

Now it is time for the Spring/Summer clothing

  • If you already store away, bring those bins/clothing to your closet.
  • Now is the time to try on the previous year’s items.  Especially children.
  • Anything that doesn’t fit or you no longer like?  Charity or consignment.
  • Make charity drop offs right away or schedule pick ups.
  • Bring to consignment right away.  The season has begun.
  • Put all clothing away.   Like items together.
  • Once you put your Spring/Summer items away, you will be able to see if you are missing any pieces from your wardrobe.  Make a list of anything you may “need” for the season.  This will keep you from buying unnecessary items.  It will also help you wear what you have by completing outfits.

This process can take a little time…but it will be worth it.  Dragging it out will only take longer in the long run.  Spending time looking for clothing will waste time.  Buying duplicates or items you really don’t need will waste time and money.  You get the idea…

Happy switching!

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Organize a Bargain

April 22, 2009

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One of my frequent haunts for organizing and decor products is Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Love the skinny hangers that make more room in your closet.  Clear containers, always a staple.  I keep all of the 20% off coupons they mail and publish in the paper in my glove compartment. I actually to this with gift cards and all coupons, that way I have them when I am out shopping.  When I run into BB&B  for myself or a client, I can always get items on sale!

You may or may not be aware that you can use as many coupons as you want/have at one time at BB&B.  I used 7 the other day for a client.  You can also use expired ones.

But…a little Birdie in the store told me that the corporate offices have been hinting around that they are going to get a little more picky when it comes to coupons.   They may change it to a “reasonable time frame” for expiration dates, more details to come “they say.”  So next time you are in, be sure to use your oldest ones first!

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