Category Archives: Suggested Products

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.

Organizing Holiday Decorations

Organizing Holiday Decorations

Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Decorating for the holidays shouldn’t be a burden. With a little organization, the upcoming holidays will bring you joy instead of stress.

Our Top Three Tips for Organizing Holiday Decorations

 

Store items in clear bins. While it may be tempting to purchase bins coordinating with each holiday (black and orange for Halloween, green and red for Christmas) we have found that clear bins are much more versatile because you can easily see what is in each bin and you’re not locked into a certain number of bins as your decorating needs change. Instead of color coding bins, we use large, festive, custom-laminated labels. When deciding what to put into each bin, we recommend storing items by room and taking photos of each room decorated. It will make it much easier to decorate year after year.

Declutter before the holidays. Decorating can seem like a daunting task when you’re opening bins crammed with various things. As you’re taking out your decorations, discard any items that are broken and no longer usable. Donate items that are still functional, but you no longer use anymore.

Store away items not frequently used. There is no need to store holiday entertaining pieces (Thanksgiving platters, Santa dishes, etc.) in your kitchen when they are only used once a year. Storing these items with holiday decorations will free up precious space in your kitchen and you’ll be more likely to use them because you’ll see them when you unpack for the holidays.

Whether you are in need of an entire holiday decoration overhaul or just need some bins and custom labels, we are here to help with any of your organizing needs!

Our Favorite Holiday Decoration Organizing Products
Clear Your Closet for Fall

Clear Your Closet for Fall

If you are feeling overwhelmed with your wardrobe, you’re not alone. It has been said that people wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. That is a lot of unnecessary stuff taking up valuable closet space.

Fall is here and there’s no better time to declutter and organize your wardrobe. It’s time to take a look at your Spring and Summer clothes, donate or sell those items you didn’t wear in the past six months and assess Fall and Winter clothes.

 

Our Top Five Organizing Tips for Clearing Out Your Closet

 

Let It Go. Haven’t worn an item in six months or more? Prepare to sell or donate it. (The only exception is special occasion wear.) Keeping clothing because you “might” fit back into it one day? If you get back to that size would you actually wear those items or would you rather treat yourself to a new, up-to-date wardrobe?

Go Backwards. Not sure how often you do or don’t wear something? Turn all of your hangers backwards, and then turn the hanger around once you’ve worn an item. At the end of the season, take inventory of what you’re actually wearing (or not wearing).

Take Everything Out. And yes, I mean everything! You really have to see what you have to have a clear idea of what should stay and what should go. Touch each piece of clothing and ask yourself, “When is the last time I wore this?” “How do I feel when I wear this?” This will take time but you’ll thank me later. It may be hard to part with some items, but you’ll feel so much better because it will be easier to pick out what to wear on a daily basis because you’ll love everything in your closet.

Categorize. By grouping like items together (strapless, short sleeved, long sleeved, etc.) and then by color you’ll have a better idea of what you have and where it is.

Get Styled. If you’re not sure what is in fashion anymore or feel lost when it comes to putting outfits together, it’s a good idea to hire a stylist. I have personally used Alex Long with Alex Long Studio. She put together outfits for me that I never would have dreamed of. My favorite part is when she pre-shopped for me—all I had to do was show up, try on the clothes she picked out, and have her tell me what looked best!

Before & After: Kids’ Cabinet

Before & After: Kids’ Cabinet

There is no question that kids require a lot of stuff. When doing meal prep for the little ones, whether it be a snack or dinner you’ll want to be able to easily access the necessities and not have to navigate through overstuffed cabinets.

We first pulled everything out and removed the items the client no longer needed. In this case, the client had already done a great job of decluttering, so with only a few things left to discard we had to get creative by maximizing the little space we did have. We put like items together and used white mesh stackable shelves to separate stacking items so that everything is easily accessible.

You’ll see that the upper cabinet was home to a pile of plastic ware. A frequent problem our clients have is dealing with heaping piles of mismatched plastic ware. Our all-time favorite plastic ware is Easy Find Lids by Rubbermaid. The lids snap right on to the bottom, taking up less space while being able to keep matching sets together.

Before & After: Her Closet

Before & After: Her Closet

Your bedroom closet should have one purpose and that is to store you clothing, shoes and accessories. This closet was also home to an entire bookshelf of schoolwork. With a spare bedroom closet available, we decided it was best to store the bookshelf there, freeing up an entire wall for shoe storage.

We first decluttered. Getting rid of 12 large garbage bags full of clothing! We not only decluttered the closet, but two large dressers as well.

This is just a sneak peek at the decluttering process. Creating piles for what stays and what goes was no small task, but necessary to ensure that only things that were going to be worn were kept.

Once we knew what was being kept we purchased a few items to maximize the space in the closet. We used slimline hangers to make the most of the hanging space we had available.

We used purse boxes for large purses and pull down linen shoes boxes for small clutches.

Because we had limited shelving space, we needed to create our own. These hanging cubbies were the perfect solution.

Lastly, the shoe wall. This Chrome Metal 10-Tier Rolling Shoe Rack fits up to 50 pairs of women’s shoes fit perfectly.

Home Base

Home Base

Every home has a “command center”— the place where all the action happens, from paying bills to jotting down reminders to dashing off notes to other family members. Unfortunately, without an organized system in place, your home base can easily become a magnet for heaping piles of stuff that make it nearly impossible to find anything. Use my secrets for creating ease and efficiency, and soon your command center will be worthy of commanding respect!

Hitting an Organizational Home Run

This Side Up: One of my golden rules is to go vertical. So many of my clients tell me that they need to see things in order to remember them; ditching the piles and hanging visual reminders can be a great cure for losing the physical—and mental—clutter.

Start by hanging a bulletin board where everyone in the house can see it; this board will house important documents that need to be referenced often. Next, install wall pockets for more transitional items (such as mail or bills) or pending to-dos; this will keep them within easy eyesight while staying neat and contained. And, for notes, consider using a dry-erase message board. The Container Store offers a great variety of boards for all needs.

Purge Those Piles and Make Efficient Files: Repeat after me: “Vertical is visible, and horizontal is hidden.” It’s incredibly easy for a pile to grow out of control and enter the zone of overwhelm. Follow the above rule, and use an upright file organizer for any files that need to be easily accessed on a regular basis.

Go Digital: Nothing feels better than purging paper and saving files electronically. You’ll feel lighter, more organized, and ready to tackle the day! (Plus, you can access needed items on the go.) To keep track of your ever-evolving to-do list, try a checklist app like Wunderlist; for other points of reference, consider using a cloud-based storage system such as Evernote.

Need some inspiration? Check out my Command Center Pinterest board!
On the Road Again

On the Road Again

Did someone say “vacation?” With summer staring to sizzle and the kids out of school, chances are you’ll be hitting the open road sometime soon. Time to give your car an organizational tune-up! Keeping your car neat and organized will make your travels that much more enjoyable, so use these tips to get your wheels turning.

Too much junk in the trunk? Get it under control with a folding trunk organizer. Not only will it keep your items in order, but you can fold it up and store it when not in use. This handy item will keep your trunk from becoming a catch-all for unnecessary items and lighten your car’s load (saving you gas mileage!).
Keep crumbs at bay. Any road tripper is bound to get a few snack attacks while spending hours on the road, but don’t let your car pay the price. A small trashcan will keep your vehicle clean—and blissfully free of wrappers and food remains. Try this one, or this one.
Kid-proof your car with the right tools. Idle hands are no bueno when it comes to maintaining a clean car, so keep the kids clutter-free and busy with this useful backseat car organizer. It allows you to easily compartmentalize everything from games to snacks, giving your kids distractionswithout the dirty mess.
Safety first. Make sure you have all of the essentials in case you hit a bump in the road! Tops on your packing list should be: emergency flares, jumper cables and cell phone chargers (plus AAA on your speed-dial list).
Contain Your Closet

Contain Your Closet


Rejoice! The long, cold winter has finally made way for some much-needed sunshine, and it’s now time to make way in your closet for spring/summer style. As for me, I personally couldn’t be more thrilled that spring has sprung—I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to switch out my winter clothes for my warm-weather wardrobe. This month’s newsletter is devoted to making that transition a seamless process for your seams!

Allison’s Tips for a Streamlined Spring
Love it or leave it. On the fence about whether to keep something in the fold? If you’re having trouble deciding about a piece of clothing, chances are you no longer need it. Keep only the items that you look and feel good in, not the “10 pounds from now” jeans or those ancient T-shirts. (If you’re really having trouble parting with those sentimental T’s, consider combining the best of both worlds and commissioning a T-shirt quilt.)
Don’t get out of sorts. Categorizing your closet is a simple and effective way to whip it into shape. Sort clothes by style and color for easy one-stop shopping and outfit coordination.
Get real about “vintage.” Fashion may be cyclical, but will that crushed velvet halter or that pair of stonewashed jeans ever be resurrected? We’ve all found ourselves holding on to certain pieces because we’re convinced they’ll come back in style, but even if they do, that’s likely to be a long time from now. So save that precious closet space for the things that matter today.
Tag! You’re it. Confession time: how many pieces in your closet still have the tags on them? If you’re guilty of repeatedly buying items that you never end up wearing, it’s time for some closet rehab. Too often, people let these pieces languish in their closet, but the smart move is to return it and get your money back. Otherwise, it’s just taking up space in both your closet and your bank account!
Sell, sell, sell. One person’s trash is another’s treasure—and that applies to clothes, too. Make money off those designer duds you no longer wear by cashing them in at a local consignment store, on Ebay, or on websites like Twice and Thred Up.
Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect


Don’t let your Kodak moments turn into clutter—after all, boxes of old photos stored around the house are no way to preserve your precious memories. Proper organization can help you easily access and enjoy your photos any time you want to take a trip down memory lane. Not sure where to start? No need to worry… with the right tips and tools, getting things in order is a snap! 

Allison’s In-Focus Tips
Get savvy with storage. The art of printing photos may be nearing extinction, but that doesn’t mean your accumulation of treasured photos has to be. Preserve your prints with acid-free storage boxes and/or albums—it’s the best way to protect pix and make sure they stay intact over time. Try these plastic photo boxes from the Container Store and/or these albums from We R Memory Keepers. (And be sure to store them in a cool, dry place in order to prevent damage.)
Drill down your digital collection. Having hundreds (or, let’s be honest, thousands) of digital photos may not seem like clutter since they’re stored out of sight on your computer or phone. However, digital photos can consume a lot of needed disc space—eating up memory and causing your devices to run slower. Solution: delete unwanted photos from your camera/phone before syncing, or do a thorough review after upload to save only the best ones.
Create online albums. Staying on top of digital photo organization will ensure that your photos don’t gradually get lumped together into one massive, hard-to-browse area. Creating online albums or dedicated folders will help you easily locate the photos you’re looking for and keep photos in their proper virtual place. (For annual events or gatherings, use one central folder or album, with sub-folders by year.)
Have a back-up plan. Anyone who’s dealt with a crashed hard drive and no backup knows the pain of having precious documents and photos wiped out—don’t let that happen to you! The key is not only being organized, but also smart with storage; otherwise, you could lose all of your precious memories. For safe, smart backup, use either an external hard drive or cloud-based service (see below tip for ideas).
Fly the friendly skies cloud. Cloud-based services aren’t just a great means for backup; they’re also a useful way to free up space on your computer. Plus, you’ll be able to access the photos from anywhere with an Internet connection. Not sure which software works best for your needs? Here’s a handy list comparing and contrasting popular software picks.
For more of Allison’s photo organizing tips, check out this article in U.S News & World Report.
getting organized for the holidays

getting organized for the holidays

Picture all those beautiful, shiny wrapped gift boxes, just waiting to be opened. It’s an inviting image—except, for many, the flip side is the many boxes hidden from sight that are overflowing with decorations and other holiday “stuff.” (Do broken ornaments and endless gift-wrap odds and ends ring a bell?) Luckily, with a few quick fixes, it’s easy to simplify and streamline what can already be an overwhelming time of year. Merrily we organize together.

Allison’s Tips for Achieving Holiday Sanity:

It’s all about smart storage. Choose storage items that specifically correlate to your various holiday decorations (for instance, an ornament chest or holiday light spool). No more cramming and jamming into boxes = proper preservation for your treasured items.

Shop soon. Don’t wait until after the holidays for deals on holiday storage, because chances are you’ll miss out on these in-demand items. Invest now to protect your holiday treasures—and all the sentiments that go with them.

Group items and label bins by room. No need to “room”-inate on what goes where: labeling bins by room allows you to simply carry that bin into the room, unpack, and decorate without sorting through tons of boxes to find what you need.

Ease into the packing process. It’s no secret that the holidays can be an exhausting time, so once they’re over, give yourself some much-needed space to take your time and do it right. By not fast-forwarding through proper packing, you’ll have more energy for an efficient, patient approach—ensuring that your holiday items stay in great condition.

Allison’s Must-Have Tools

Chevron Holiday 3-Drawer Ornament Chest—Much like a great jewelry chest, this handy-dandy organizer will keep your ornaments neat, tidy, and all in one piece.

Snaplock Wreath Storage Box—Dust and wear-and-tear be gone! This sturdy wreath storage box will keep your wreath good as new.

Decorative Tree Storage BagHow many times have you tried cramming your artificial tree in the original box? This useful storage bag makes it a cinch to easily pack your tree.