Category Archives: Uncategorized

Getting Prepared For The Holidays

Getting Prepared For The Holidays

Santa Claus isn’t the only one making his list and checking it twice, chances are – you are too!  

With the holidays quickly approaching, we are sharing some tips to get you ready for the jolliest time of year!

Gifts – organization is your best friend when it comes to gifting this time of year.  Find a system that works for you to keep track of everyone you need to buy for.  We like to use a simple spreadsheet with columns for who, what, purchased/baked (yes/no), wrapped (yes/no), shipped (if applicable), and cost.  This approach can help you keep an eye on your overall budget, ensure equality among different children’s gifts (moms, you know), and make sure no one on your list will be forgotten.  

Bonus Gift Tip – if you are feeling overwhelmed about picking the perfect gifts, we love using this easy 4 step approach – “something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read”!

Pre Christmas Purge – what goes up must come down, and when new gifts come in other things must go out – isn’t that how the saying goes?  Anyway, before you are totally buried in wrapping paper and new toys – assess what might be ready to donate or toss. Starting with a somewhat clean slate will make things feel less chaotic come December 26. 

Decor – Target – our best friend, our worst enemy.  You run in for milk and leave with twinkle lights, a boxwood wreath, and some miniature decorative Christmas trees!  Stop the madness!  Or at least, enter prepared.  Pull out your holiday decor bins (you have those nicely organized already, right??) over the new few weeks and take a look what what items you might need.  This goes for gift wrapping supplies too.  As much as we love Target, no one wants to be the sad soul there on Christmas eve looking for a roll of red and green ribbon (trust us, it won’t be there!).

Pantry Perfection

Pantry Perfection

Organizing pantries is one of the most popular requests we receive. Because this area is one of the most frequently used in the house, it’s easy for your pantry to become disorganized with too much stuff and not a good system in place.

The two biggest problems with often see with pantries are lots of expired items and no containment. Here is our method for decluttering and organizing  your pantry:

  1. Remove everything.
  2. Toss expired food.
  3. Categorize remaining items.
  4. Remove excess packaging.
  5. Contain like-items. Our go-to items are bins, tiered can risers, canisters, and lazy susans.
  6. Label bins and canisters.
  7. Create zones so that like-items are together such as baking, snacks, kids’ stuff, dinner items, etc.

Maintenance is key. The systems we put in please are easy to use but there are a few additional things you can do to ensure that your pantry stays organized.

  1. Try to keep the floor clear. If not possible, contain those items that are on the floor.
  2. Don’t overbuy.
  3. Every three months review the items in your pantry and toss the expired items.

 

Before & After: Linen Closet

Before & After: Linen Closet

With no real system in place a linen closet often becomes a catchall to an overabundance of toiletries, towels and sheets.

 

5 half used cans of hairspray…holey towels…Aways running out of toilet paper…That is what our client was dealing with. Years of purchasing items without decluttering, led to several duplicate items and items she no longer needed or used taking up space.

 

We first decluttered, removing anything that was expired and no longer used. In order to keep products organized and ensure that the client knew what she had on hand at all times and to prevent overbuying we grouped like items together in bins. Open plastic bins kept items visible, but contained. The finishing touch was labels so it’s clear what goes where. Small drawer units are now home to smaller items that would easily get lost in large bins.

 

 

Before & After: Jewelry Drawer

Before & After: Jewelry Drawer

No one has time for tangled necklaces and missing earrings. If you have an extra dresser drawer or two, they are a great option for keeping jewelry organized.


This client had felt-lined drawers but with no real system in place she struggled with keeping her jewelry organized.


We first decluttered, removing anything that she did not wear. Once we saw what was she decided to keep, we put jewelry trays in place so that everything stays tidy and visible. These trays are the perfect solution because they keep necklaces from tangling by separating them. If you have deep drawers you could also stack the trays and slide them side to side. An added bonus is that the flocked interior of the trays prevent jewelry from tarnishing.

 

 

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.
Go for the Goal

Go for the Goal


While the Winter Olympians are preparing to go for the gold, what better time to go for your goal? According to
 Statistic Brain, getting organized is the second most popular New Year’s resolution—and goal-setting can be a highly effective way to get there (and make sure you’re among the select group of just 8% that actually keep their resolutions!). So grab that notebook, and let’s get to goal-tending.

Allison’s Guide to Reclaiming Your Space in 2014 

Mark your calendar in indelible inkAs they say, “Goals without deadlines are only dreams.” Give yourself a call to action by setting a deadline that will propel you toward realizing your goal this year.

Put pen to paper. A Harvard study found that people who’d written down their goals were earning 10 times as much as those who hadn’t—pretty compelling reason to record your goals, right? Making a high-level “to-do” list will also provide a sense of satisfaction as you check off those tasks (whether it be purging the closet or organizing your photo collection). Make sure to review your list frequently so that you can monitor your progress and stay on track for your deadline!

Get specific. Setting a vague goal like “get organized” may feel too overwhelming, so it’s helpful to break things down into bite-sized tasks. (Remember: “SMART” goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound!) Good examples: spending 15 minutes everyday going through old files, clearing flat surfaces of all piles before going to bed, or spending two hours on the weekend de-cluttering the closet.

Now comes the fun part. Once you’ve achieved your goal, it’s time to reward yourself! Plan something fun, like a movie night or meal at your favorite restaurant. If you’re like me, maybe you’ll take a trip to the Container Store and treat yourself to a fun, new organizing product. (Subliminal hint to stay organized!)

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.

organized office

Does your office stress you out? Check out these 4 tips for a more organized and stress-free office:

  1. Clear everything off your desk. As you need items, put them back. You’ll be amazed at all of the stuff that you don’t actually use frequently.
  2. If you need to remember something write it down and all in one place. Avoid using Post-it notes as they can quite easily take over your entire workstation.
  3. Keep all supplies in one place. If you don’t know how much you have of something, chances are you will buy more than you need.
  4. For frequently used files use vertical file sorters. Using trays and inboxes allow piles to easily form.

start the morning off right

Are you struggling every morning to get everyone out the door? Here are two systems you can put in place today to save time tomorrow.

1) Create a space for each child by the door to hold the stuff they will need for school each day such as their backpack, homework and lunch. Everything should be placed in this area the night before, so in the morning they can just grab and go. Great organizing items for this area include wall hooks, cubbies and bulletin boards.

2) Do anything that can be done the night before such as picking out clothes, completing homework and packing backpacks and lunches. This will minimize the amount of stuff you have to do in the morning when time is limited.