Category Archives: Raleigh Professional Organizer

15 Minute Refresh

15 Minute Refresh

We’ve made it to September! Usually a month of busy back to school activities, sports seasons starting, and general Fall fun. This year, not so much. I think it’s safe to say we are all collectively quite tired, worn down, and ready for some semblance of normalcy. Who knows when that will come, but as always we like to keep in mind that we are in control of our homes and how they make us feel.

Fully realizing your reserves might be low for a massive organizational overhaul (just call us for that!), we wanted to suggest a quick 15 minute home refresh exercise that you can do when you are feeling overwhelmed by your space and just need to do something about it!

Set a timer for 15 minutes and try one of the following tasks for an instant organizational improvement and mood boost:

-Do flat surfaces tend to attract piles in your house? Choose a pile and take action. Identify what is trash, items to act on, and items to be relocated.

-If there are items stored in piles on your stairs (hopelessly waiting for someone to take them to their rightful home), take them where they need to go. We promise, it won’t take long.

-Take a quick glance through your makeup bag. Did you know makeup expires? If you can’t remember the last time you used something, it’s probably time to let it go. Check out this list for helpful makeup expiration guidelines.

-If you have a junk drawer (we all have something like this), take some time to get rid of well, junk that’s accumulated in there! A junk drawer can turn into a joy drawer with some regular maintenance. Keep it filled with things you need easy access to.

-That’s it! Voila, instant refresh. The key is just setting aside a set amount of time and doing something 🙂 You may get in the habit of doing this a few times a week, or every Sunday night, and we promise it will have a positive impact!

Back to School + Giveaway

Back to School + Giveaway

 

 

There is nothing typical about back to school this year. For most of us this usually very exciting time is now filled with stress and unknowns. Here in North Carolina the majority of our school districts are starting the year virtually. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to share a few tips to get organized for virtual learning. There are so many things out of our control these days, but we always like to remember that we can do our best to prepare and be organized!

1.  Create a functional learning space – This is probably the single most important step to get ready for virtual learning. Identify a comfortable space in your home that is conducive to focus and won’t disrupt the flow of the rest of the household. Younger students may need to be stationed in a kitchen area for easy assistance, but older students will do best in a more private setting like a desk in an office or bonus room. Take a look around your house with fresh eyes and think about where best you can set your student up for success. Wherever you decide, make sure it is comfortable and has space for the necessary “classroom” items – laptop, notebook, etc.

2.  Supply stock up – While specific supply lists may come, there are some basics that make sense to stock up on regardless. These include white printer paper (and printer ink cartridges), ruled notebooks, fresh crayons and markers (depending on age), scissors, glue sticks and ruler.

3.  Clutter clearing = mind clearing – There is no doubt that virtual school can add to the stress of day to day life at home. If your chosen learning area is messy and cluttered, it won’t help matters. Take an hour and do a decluttering exercise in your learning space (and other areas of the home if you’re feeling ambitious!) Find homes for things that have piled up, donate things you no longer need, and generally try to create a clean slate for the start of the school year. We strongly adhere to the belief that a calm environment strongly correlates to a calm mind, and I think we could all use that these days.

4.  Busy activities for younger ones – If you have a young virtual learning that you will be assisting, and younger ones otherwise at home, come up with a few quick grab activities or toys to entertain them when you might need to step in to help. Scan the $1 section at Target and stock up on a few exciting surprises to bring out when you find yourself *literally* being pulled in two different directions. Likewise these secret prizes could be used to reward your virtual learner and keep them motivated when things get tricky 🙂

GIVEAWAY TIME!

To help you create the perfect virtual learning space, we are giving away a $100 gift card to The Container Store. Visit our Instagram page @reclaimprofessionalorganizing and click on our virtual learning organization giveaway post to see how to enter. The deadline is Sunday, August 16th at 8 pm (EDT). Good luck!

Reclaim Celebrates 10 Years-Looking Back and Celebrating the Future

Reclaim Celebrates 10 Years-Looking Back and Celebrating the Future



This month marks 10 years that Reclaim Professional Organizing has been in business. While it is certainly an interesting time in the world to be celebrating this milestone, I am so proud of the work we have done along the way and wanted to mark the occasion with all of you – our clients and supporters. We truly couldn’t have done this without you! Here’s a little background on how Reclaim came to be who we are today.

In 2009 I was living in Los Angeles and looking to change careers. A friend (who knew my organized tendencies) suggested in passing that I should become a professional organizer. I had never heard of the term, but it sounded intriguing despite the fact that I had never even considered the idea of owning a business. I started researching the idea and stumbled upon NAPO (National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals). I immediately signed up for their next meeting and began immersing myself in all things organizing (books, websites, etc). I began practicing with friends, loved the work, and got great results. So I took the leap and started my first business. In March 2009 Allison Perkins Organizational Design was founded in L.A. While still working my day job in public relations, I began booking jobs in the evenings and on weekends.

Fast forward a year later when my now husband and I moved to Raleigh. This was the perfect opportunity to attempt organizing as a full-time job. I saved up as much money as possible, knowing that starting a business in a city where I didn’t know anyone would take some time to grow and be profitable.

In July 2010 Reclaim Professional Organizing, LLC was founded. The first two years had their highs and lows, but I stuck with it because I LOVED what I was doing and saw firsthand how the work was changing people’s lives. Along the way I became a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO), which requires documentation of 1,500 hours of paid work experience as a professional organizer, an exam, and regular recertification. I am one of only three CPO’s in the Triangle area.

Now, ten years later, Reclaim has grown to a team of six. We have helped organize hundreds of homes and have truly found our niche. We specialize in team based whole house organizing, as well as offer moving and relocation services.

A big thank you to you, our supporters, and cheers to the next ten years and all of the organizing fun we’ll have along the way!

 

Road Trip

Road Trip

 

Vacations look different a little this year as most people are sticking to trips you can take by car.  With road trips on the rise, we’re here to help make them go as smoothly as possible (although unfortunately we can’t help answer “are we there yet?” being asked from the backseat for the 50th time!)  

Here are some quick tips for getting, and keeping, your car organized before hitting the open road.

Organize the essentials
Just like at home, it’s important that essential items are stocked and have a specific home.  This summer more than ever it’s critical to have items like hand sanitizer, wipes, paper towels, small trash bags, masks, etc. all ready to go.  We suggest using a trunk organizer and keeping it easily accessible.

Contain trash
With multiple people snacking, all corners of the car can quickly become a makeshift trash can.  Not on our watch!  Corral crumbs, wrappers, etc. in a single small trash can.  This makes it very easy to get rid of all trash quickly.

Safety first
Make sure you have all of the essentials in case you hit a bump in the road! These items include first aid items, jumper cables, etc.  This AAA road kit is compact and has all the critical

Bonus tip – potty time
Whether you’re traveling with little ones, or just wary of using public restrooms right now – we’ve got you covered!  This travel potty and tent may fall into the category of things you never thought you’d need or want – but it’s 2020 and all bets are off! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manage Your Mail

Manage Your Mail

 

Even in our largely digital world, mail remains a fact of life.  And without a consistent plan for how to deal with it, mail can be a major source of clutter in the home.  Even worse, important items can get lost or deadlines missed.  Here are three easy tips for creating a mail zone that will keep things flowing smoothing.

1) Choose a mail zone space and location that is convenient for your family.  Think of a place where the whole family will walk by on a daily basis – maybe that’s right when you walk in from your garage or other entry, or perhaps in the kitchen somewhere out of the way from spaces used for cooking.

2) Determine what mail categories suit your family, it might be one folder per family member or one for bills, one for things to act on immediately, and one for things to act on that are not urgent.

3) Create a sorting system and label it based on your mail categories.  Desktop file sorters are great for keeping things contained but accessible.  But stay away from inboxes or flat trays – they just invite piles and clutter.

Bonus Tip – Don’t even bring junk mail inside!  Immediately after you retrieve your mail, do a quick sort and dump any junk mail, unwanted catalogs, etc. right into your exterior trash cans.

 

Going Virtual

Going Virtual

 

Home is where the heart is.  Right now, it’s also where everyone is – and will be for the foreseeable future.  If your first week of social distancing has you noticing some areas around your house that are adding to your stress levels, we can help.  Reclaim has added a Virtual DIY Organizing package to help you during this unprecedented time.

With our Virtual DIY Organizing package we start with a questionnaire where you will provide us with details (pictures, measurements, key issues, etc.) on the space(s) you would like to organize.  From there we will provide a detailed action plan that will include a complete list of recommended products with links to purchase, and instructions for product placement.  We can even ship custom handwritten or vinyl labels to your doorstep for a personalized finishing touch.

Here are some common areas that we can easily tackle virtually:

Pantry – You’ve stocked up, now what?  Is your pantry jammed with food but you have no clue what’s actually in there?  Let’s create a plan to best utilize your space and allow you to easily see your options.

Playroom – Playrooms need to work overtime right now.  Is yours a disaster zone by 10am, but kids are complaining they have nothing to play with?  It’s counterintuitive but kids tend to play deeper when there are less options and more open space.  We can help you get control of your playroom and put a system in place for storage, toy rotation, labeling, and more.

Home Office – Working from home can be a challenge.  Even more so if your workspace is cluttered and messy.  Some simple steps can make a big impact on creating a peaceful work environment – we’ll walk you through them.

Bathrooms – It’s more important now than ever that all of our medicines are up to date.  Take control of your bathroom and medicine cabinets by tossing anything expired and let’s create a new system that works for you.

Master Bedroom & Closets – It’s about that time to switch closets over to warm weather clothes.  Instead of shoving and stuffing things wherever you can find space, let’s look at your closet space with fresh eyes, edit your items, and give everything a proper home with space to breathe.

We know this time of uncertainty is leaving people feeling scared, stressed, and confused.  We have so little control of what is happening outside our homes right now.  But, we can control what goes on inside.  We are here to help you (from afar!) as much as you need right now.

Benefits of Decluttering For a Move (Even if You’re Not Moving!)

Benefits of Decluttering For a Move (Even if You’re Not Moving!)

Clutter weighs us down in our normal daily lives.  It can contribute to feelings of stress, anxiety, and steal time from us as well (oh so many minutes looking for something that should be easy to find…scotch tape! scissors! stamps!)  Daily life aside, the impact of a cluttered home gets even more serious when you are trying to sell your house – because it can have financial repercussions too.

One of our favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, offers some great tips for clearing clutter ahead of a move in this article, but Rubin also challenges readers to consider using these approaches even if they aren’t moving.  We couldn’t agree more.

A messy, cluttered home may give potential buyers a red flag – they may wonder how well maintained the home is given it’s so disorganized, and also give them reason to offer a lower price than you are asking.  If you aren’t preparing to sell, think about how your cluttered home makes you feel, and how it affects your family. Are people always looking for things you could have sworn you just bought? Do you dread going into certain rooms because of all the stuff you’ve shoved in there?  Are certain closets classified as “open at your own risk”? 

On the flip side, a decluttered home is open and inviting; crisp, styled spaces can help buyers, or your own family, see a home with clear eyes and feel calm.  In an organized home, it’s easy to imagine the exciting possibilities.   

Decluttering to prepare for a move (real or hypothetical) is a core service we offer at Reclaim.  If you are moving, we can declutter and pack as we go. If you aren’t moving, you might feel like you’re coming home to a new house after we’ve worked our magic.  

 

 

Habits of the Highly Organized

Habits of the Highly Organized

We’ve found that the key to actually achieving a goal or resolution is to create habits that support the change.  With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to poll our team of highly trained organizers and learn a habit they practice that helps keep them organized.

Allison – Start small. Break a large project into smaller tasks. This allows you to see the progress you have made and makes the project not seem as overwhelming.

Mary – Every night before going to bed spend 10-15 minutes tidying up and making sure everything is put away where it belongs. It makes the mornings a lot less stressful and overwhelming.

Vivian – Invest in products. It’s easy to use what you’ve got or repurpose something that isn’t the best fit but will do for now. You will never have complete satisfaction until you have the perfect product. The more visibly appealing a product is while still being functional, the more likely you will be to utilize it. Go ahead and buy that beautiful jewelry organizer you’ve been eyeing. It will be worth it.

Shelley – Decant, decant, decant! Removing bulky packaging saves space as well as improves appearance.

Olani – When you come home, put everything (purse, jacket, shoes, groceries, dog leashes, etc.) away before you settle in or move on to your next task.

Bonus Tip – Eliminate unnecessary paper clutter by not even bringing mail into your house unless another family member needs to see it, or action needs to be taken (bill to pay, RSVP to send, etc.) – if it’s junk mail or otherwise useless it will inevitably end up in a pile.  Head right to your trash can outside instead!

Try implementing one or a few of these ideas and you will be well on your way to organizational bliss.  (But – if you still need a jumpstart, we’re always a phone call away!)

Welcome Fall! Closet Organizing Tips for Cooler Temps

Welcome Fall! Closet Organizing Tips for Cooler Temps

Here in North Carolina we are finally (finally!) getting a little taste of fall weather, and although we know there are still hot days ahead, we can’t help but get excited to pull out our fall clothes and say hello to flannel and see ya next year to sundresses. Here are a few tips to help with your seasonal closet changeover.

  1. Before you put summer clothes away, identify anything you didn’t wear at all this season.  Is it worth the space and effort to store it again only to be unexcited to see it next summer? Make a toss or donate pile. **Also make a pile of anything that’s dry clean only and have that taken care of before storing for the season**
  2. Remember that seasonal clothing storage doesn’t have to be complicated, just find a system that works for you whether it’s large lidded tubs or zippered under bed storage.  Make sure everything is clean before it gets put away for the year.
  3. While your closet is on the emptier side, grab your vacuum and do a quick dust bunny round up and/or any applicable cleaning before putting the next season’s clothes in.
  4. When unpacking and putting away your clothes for the new season, again assess things before they go in your closet or in a drawer. If an item is ripped or too well worn, doesn’t fit, or doesn’t excite you – don’t let it take up physical (or mental!) space. Add those items to your toss/donate pile. If something is a closet staple that you need to replace, jot that down as you go so you’re prepared to shop!
  5. When putting clothes away in your closet, organize them by type, and then color. So that means put like with like and then within each category group by color.  Categories will depend on your lifestyle but may include work blouses, casual tops, work dresses, casual dresses, etc. Organizing by categories will allow you to quickly know which section to look to when getting ready.
  6. Consider using slim matching hangers; not only are they visually appealing but they also streamline your hanging items and reduce bulk.
  7. If you have vertical space use it strategically. Put lesser used items higher up and label so you don’t forget what’s up there! Some examples of these items might be special occasion shoes or handbags, and (depending on your climate) cold weather boots and very heavy sweaters.
  8. Since you’re on a roll and creating this beautiful fall/winter closet go ahead and give your drawers some TLC by doing a quick sort and fresh folding. Again, set yourself up for success by making sure like items are grouped together and removing anything no longer loved, needed, or useable.

Being greeted by a well-organized closet can be a much needed moment of calm on busy mornings. And don’t forget – if you’d like us to lend a hand with yours – we’re here to help!

Back to School

Back to School

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Sorry Santa – but it’s back to school time! Organizers tend to embrace this time because it’s inherently friendly towards order and structure – two things we love! Here are a few tips to get your crew ready for class to be back in session.

It’s the perfect time to review everything in your children’s closet. Go through and assess everything all the way down to socks (toddler moms – you may need some bribes here to get the little ones to try on anything you’re unsure of). For anything that doesn’t fit either donate, or tuck away in a labeled bin for younger siblings or friends. Make a list of items that need to be replaced so you can focus when Old Navy inevitably has a major sale over the next few weeks. Getting kids dressed for school is hard enough (Opinions! Drama!) – make the mornings just a tiny bit easier on yourself and know that when you come to a magical agreement on what to wear… at least you’ll know it fits!

As excited as we are for back to school, we know it can also mean the start of runny noses and other bugs; check to make sure your children’s Motrin didn’t expire in 2012 and make a list of other essentials to stock up on like Kleenex, hand sanitizer and band aids.

Like you did with clothes, take stock of your lunch boxes and other lunch gear – make sure each item has a matching lid and/or whatever it needs to function properly; discard anything missing key parts and see if you need a restock on items that will make life easier when you’re packing your 100th PB&J in a few weeks.

Everything. Must. Be. Labeled. Order some now so you are ready to go! Check out inchbug.com for some cute options that stand up to dishwashers and frequent use.

Create a system now so that when the paperwork starts coming home you have a designated place to take action on it, easily see reminders, etc. If something is an easy sign and return – do it right away before adding it to a pile never to be heard from again. Vertical sorters such as wall pockets work well to keep piles at bay.