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Organized Artistry: Moving a Business Forward

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

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This is my first official blog post on WordPress. I think it took me longer to format it than to write it! I’m getting used to living in my new WordPress home but I’m still bumping into walls and I haven’t unpacked all the boxes yet…

It’s been a while since I’ve written for my blog. I’ve been a little busy moving my business forward in some exciting ways.

1) My new logo. Since you’re reading this you’ve probably already seen my new logo designed by the talented Kate McMillan of Outbox Online Design. Look up–it’s at the top of the page. I just love that squiggle…

2) My new business cards. If you have a new logo, you have to have new business cards!

Moving a Business Forward. Exciting news from Organized Artistry--especially #5! organizedartistry.com #weddingthankyounote

3) My first promotional item. Shortly after my logo was designed, I was asked to sit on a panel made up of women who had started their own business. I was going to have a table and answer participants’ questions about being in and starting their own business. I felt like I needed some kind of product as a giveaway but in twelve years of business, I had never created one! I thought about what people would use most and thought the pen was a perfect first promotional item

Here’s my Organized Artistry pen!

Moving a Business Forward. Exciting news from Organized Artistry--especially #5! organizedartistry.com #weddingthankyounote

4) My new website. Also designed by Kate McMillan of Outbox Online Design. My old website was first designed in 2002 and boy did it need a makeover! Now it is a beautiful and modern showcase of my writing and how I help people get and stay organized. I’m thrilled that my blog is now part of the site.

Speaking of writing, this is BIG news…

5) My book. Long story short, I’ve been writing this book on and off since 2002. The manuscript went in and out of the file cabinet many times over almost a decade until I decided one day, ‘Publish or Bust.’ Here is a sneak peek of the cover, designed by the talented Peri Poloni-Gabriel of Knockout Design (she’ll be designing the interior, too). I love it–and no, I didn’t ask the designer to make the background purple to match my website–total coincidence…

Moving a Business Forward. Exciting news from Organized Artistry--especially #5! organizedartistry.com #weddingthankyounote

Coming Summer 2014 in e-book and paperback:

The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook: Let Systems and 101 Modern Sample Thank You Notes Take You From Overwhelmed to Organized

If you know anyone who just got engaged or is about to walk down the aisle, please ‘Pin’ or share this photo with them!

It has been a VERY busy 2013-14 for Organized Artistry. I’ve met many of the goals I set for my business–still a few more to go. Nothing happened overnight. Each step took time and sometimes the steps took a few wrong turns. But, I am grateful for the journey and all the people who have helped me get this far.

 

CLICK HERE to sign up for Organized Artistry’s motivating monthly newsletter!

Categories: first post, Pinterest, The Organized Bride's Thank You Note Handbook, Time, Weddings

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A New Logo for Organized Artistry!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

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When I started my business twelve years ago, I designed my own logo. I have a BA in Art/Graphic design so I knew I could put typography together and not offend anyone. I didn’t have the proper computer programs to create it so I took advantage of the computers at Kinko’s and created my logo there.

My old logo:

I liked the openness of the ‘Artistry’ font (Caslon Open Face) and that it contrasted well with the font I selected for ‘Organized.’

The above logo has gotten a ton of compliments over the years which always made me feel happy and that my design skills had not gone to waste. But, after 12 years in business, it was time for a change. I hired the talented Kate McMillan of Outbox Online Design to move my company, brand and logo forward into 2014.

I was nervous–what ideas would Kate come up with? Would I like them? Change isn’t easy–even for Professional organizers!

My new Logo:

I have Logo Love…
Most of all, I love that scribble. When I first saw it, I knew this was the logo for me. To me, the scribble represents chaos–any type of chaos, whether it’s an overcrowded closet or a mile-high stack of papers leading to that state of being ‘Organized.’ It’s ‘Chaos’ turning into ‘Organized Artistry.’

Here’s the vertical design…

Love that one, too. The scribble isn’t attached but it still resonates.
By the way, Kate is also redesigning my website. Wait until you see it…

Categories: Media/Publicity

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Confessions of an Email Hoarding Professional Organizer

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

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Hi. My name is Stacey and I am a reforming email hoarder.

Did I mention I was also a Professional Organizer?

That’s OK–laugh if you want to. I laugh every time I tell someone this story.

How did I get to be an email hoarder?

All it takes is being a very busy woman with lots of interests and one email address for both business and personal emails. Throw in two young kids, not enough time in one’s day, and being a visual person and the emails began to accumulate.

“I’ll look back at them later.” I said.

“If I put them in a folder, I’ll forget about them.” I figured.

“I’ll chip away at them little by little.” I promised myself.

Yes, I looked back at a bunch and yes, I did chip away at some but the emails were coming in faster than I could take action upon them.

By February, I had a thousand emails in my Inbox. Yes, you read that right–1000–one thousand. That’s A LOT of emails…

Organized Artistry is getting a facelift this year–a new logo and a newly-designed website and blog. My web designer mentioned that I needed to change the hosting company of my website due to compatibility issues so I did the domain transfer. The last step was to have my email flow from my old host to my new host.

So last week, I got on the phone with my new host to help me take that last step. What the person on the other end didn’t ask me was whether or not I had any emails in my Inbox. When the email was transferred to the new host’s server, it wiped my Inbox clean. As you can imagine, I almost had a heart attack. After lacing into him for this oversight I asked how it could be fixed. He told me I had to call my old hosting service for some coding and some numbers and then I had to call my new host back with that information.

I wasn’t happy, but I did it. I called my old web host and explained the problem. We accessed my inbox through ‘webmail’ and yes, all the emails were still there. He put me on hold for a few minutes so he could figure out the best solution.

While on hold with the tech guy, I had an organizing revelation–an ‘a ha’ moment. Did I really want all 1000 emails in my Inbox? The answer was ‘No.’ If I were helping a client, I would have guided them to make the same choice. It would be like moving to a new home and taking everything with you even though you didn’t need it. I felt the time had come–this would be a good opportunity to ‘de-clutter’ my Inbox. A colossal purge.

To quote the song from Frozen, “Let it go…”

Although it took me a long time and the process still isn’t complete, I sorted through all 1000 emails and forwarded one-quarter of them to an alternate email account. Over the next few days, I’ll be forwarding them to my stacey@organizedartistry.com account and either filing them in a folder or taking action upon them. I purged old newsletters and correspondence. I’ll now be filing emails I had once lost track of. From now on, I’m going to do better by incorporating one of the most important steps in getting organized–maintenance.

Although Professional Organizers are fairly organized, we sometimes experience similar situations to our clients. It’s the old saying, “The shoemaker’s son has no shoes.” Sometimes we can’t keep up, either. And that’s OK. We’re human and so are you. Please take a moment to look through your Inbox. Delete a few emails. Create folders for others and remember–even Professional Organizers need to get organized!

CLICK HERE to sign up for Organized Artistry’s motivating monthly newsletter!

Categories: Computer, Office, Organizing MY Home

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25 Organizing Tips to Survive an Ice Storm

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

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It’s been a bad winter. Really bad. Snow, ice, freezing temperatures for weeks on end have made life more challenging this season. Just like any other season, it’s important to be prepared with the tools to get through the changes in weather–shovels, rock salt, snow brushes, warm gloves and boots–the list goes on. My guest blogger, Moreen Torpy of De-Clutter Coach in Ontario, Canada knows a thing or two about being prepared for cold weather. Today she’s sharing with us ‘Southerners’ 25 ways to survive an ice storm. I hope we never have to use any of these tips, but they’re here for you just in case…

This winter has brought more than our fair share of ice storms and the resulting power outages, cold, inability to access transportation and all manner of other inconveniences.

After the realization sinks in that this might be a longer experience than you’d like it to be, after realizing you’re very cold will be the thought of what to do with food so it doesn’t become waste.

The following are lessons I learned from surviving the 1998 ice storm in Montreal:

Food:

1. Keep a few large plastic storage containers or clean garbage bins available to store your freezer contents outside without power. You can always chip off the ice to get into them when necessary.

2. Fill your BBQ propane tank at the end of summer so it can be used in case of winter emergency to cook whatever you have in your freezer, warm soup or boil water for coffee/hot chocolate/tea. Never use your BBQ or propane stove indoors. Set up in your garage if you have one, or outside

3. Use fresh food first, frozen food second and canned food last so you eliminate as much waste as possible. Cook whatever can be cooked when you can, then eat it cold if necessary. This will ensure less waste and provide as healthy a diet as possible under the circumstances.

4. Ensure you have a manual can opener and know where it is should you need it.

5. Don’t ever get rid of your fondue pot! It can be very useful to warm soup or water. Check now if you have fuel for it, and if not purchase a couple of bottles. Keep them with the pot so you know where they are.

6. Don’t cook anything that takes a lot of cleaning up, such as cheese. Remember, you don’t have hot water to do that right now.

Light/Heat:

7. Collect all candles and batteries from wherever you have them around your house and centralize them in one place. Inventory what you have and purchase what you still need—do you have D-batteries for your flashlight? C-batteries for your portable radio? What about candles? The dollar-store brand won’t last very long not to mention the mess they create when molten wax spills over. Keep something to light the candles with them, whether matches or a BBQ lighter.

8. Find any oil lamps you may have, purchase oil for them and keep them where they’re easily found when needed.

9. Find a mirror and put it with your candles. It doubles the light from lit candles as well as the heat produced. You might also toast marshmallows over the flames if you’re feeling adventurous. Maybe even assemble some s’mores!

Grooming:

10. Get used to the idea it may be a while until you can shower, shave or wash your hair. If there’s a shopping centre nearby with power, you could go to the hairdresser or take your hair dryer and wash your hair there. And perhaps even wash yourself as well. Hot water is better than cold any day for these personal care tasks.

Home:

11. Turn off as many lights and anything else electrical as you remember having on before the power failure and turn on your front porch light. This way, when the power comes back on, you won’t be as much of a drain on the infrastructure, and you’ll know immediately from outside if you have light.

12. Close doors to rooms you’re not using to keep any available heat in those you are using. This is a good time to congregate in as few rooms as necessary to take advantage of each other’s body heat.

13. Close off the entrance to the room where your gas fireplace is, if you have one, and spend your time there. This will keep the heat in that room and not where it won’t be doing any good.

14. Before abandoning your home, pour windshield washer fluid into the drains and toilet to prevent the pipes from freezing when your home has no heat. Also open faucets to allow a small trickle of water to help keep it moving.

Vehicle:

15. Always keep your vehicle’s fuel topped up. If there’s no power, the gas pumps won’t work. Additionally there’ll be less space for moisture to form in the car’s gas tank.

16. Be very careful when removing ice from your vehicle. You don’t want to damage it by being too aggressive

17. Keep your vehicle’s trunk as empty as possible in case you need it to store used cookware that can’t be washed until you have plenty of hot water. You might also store frozen food in your car until you need it.

Varia:

18. Keep an amount of cash in your home—bank machines won’t work without power.

19. If your local shopping centre has WIFI, take your device charger(s) with you and use them there. You might also hang out there with your phone, e-reader or laptop. The food court, while mostly junk food, can provide a hot meal if this is your only choice for one.

20. Don’t bundle up in all your clothes to sleep. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, however you will warm up faster under the covers with just your usual nightwear or just something a bit warmer on. If you share a bed, take advantage of each other’s warmth. This is a good time for all the kids to pile in with parents so everyone stays warmer.

21. Remember Fluffy and Fido will be cold too, so allow them to cuddle with you.

22. Be as active as you can to build body heat if you’re staying in a cold house, but don’t work up a sweat or you’ll be colder than you were before.

23. Keep your medical prescriptions up-to-date, not waiting until you’re on your last pill. If you’re stuck without power, your pharmacy probably is as well and won’t be able to refill them.

24. If you intend to join others (family or friends) to wait out the power outage, select people you get along with and can hopefully find the humour in your situation.

25. Try to look on the experience as an adventure you can talk about and embellish in future telling of the story.

For more about emergency preparedness, check out my FREE report, Emergency Preparedness the Organized Way.

What’s your ice storm experience? Do you have any tips in addition to those above? I’d love to hear about both your experience and your tips. Please share!

© Moreen Torpy
We would be honored for you to reprint this article. If you do, please include the resource box below with the hyperlinks intact.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See www.GoForwardDownsize.com for more about the book including where to purchase it, and www.decluttercoach.ca to learn about her organizing services and other books.

Categories: Guest Blogger, Helpful Organizing Tips

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Organizing Quick Tip: Organizing Donation Requests

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

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Do you get a truckload of charities and non-profits sending you requests for donations? They can really pile up–especially at holiday time!

This scenario may sound familiar…

You write a check to a charity. A few months later another donation request from the same charity lands in your mailbox.  You don’t remember whether you’ve donated to them or not so you do one of two things:

• you send them more money
• you toss the envelope on your desk and now it’s clutter

Today’s Organizing Quick Tip will help you keep track of all of those donation requests…

Create a home for 
‘donation request’ envelopes. 
 

Follow these steps to keep those donation requests under control…

• Get a small box–approximately the size of a shoe box.

Examples of some boxes for this task:

Stockholm Photo Box from The Container Store
KASSETT Box w/Lid from IKEA
• Place the box in an area close to where the mail enters the house.• When a donation envelope comes in the mail, place it in that box.

• Go through the box every three months to sort and purge for duplicates. I guarantee–you WILL have duplicates!

• After Thanksgiving, sort and purge the the donation envelopes one last time and decide which organization(s) you’ll donate to. Spread the piles across your dining room table or sofa if you need a lot of room.

• Make your donations in December–once a year (if possible). That way you’ll have no problem remembering when you sent your charitable donations. This eliminates the need to look back at a year’s worth of checkbook and credit card statements to see when and who you donated to.

• If you don’t already have one, create a ‘tax file’ for papers you’ll need to collect for tax purposes.

• Place receipts for your charitable donations in the tax file.

• Empty your ‘donation request’ box and start over.

I recently set up this system for a client and she said it made her life so much easier in these ways:
• It organized all of her donation requests in one spot.
• It allowed her to notice when she had multiple envelopes from the same charity/non-profit.
• By doing her donations once a year, she no longer has to try and remember or look back in a check book register or credit card statement to see if she already made a donation.This will save you time, money and brain power. Give it a try–let me know how it works for you!

CLICK HERE to sign up for Organized Artistry’s motivating monthly newsletter!

Categories: Donations, Money, Organizing 'Quick Tip'

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Get Clear on What You Want

Monday, December 30th, 2013

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Jack Canfield, the guy behind the wildly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul empire, has some great planning advice for 2014. I read a similar article at the end of 2011 and set goals based on his ideas below. It took me two years, but I accomplished 90% of the goals I had set for myself and turned the other 10% into longer term goals. Why not give it a try and turn your dreams and aspirations into reality? Thanks for your words of wisdom, Jack!

Are you ready to make 2014 your best year yet?

It’s easy to start the new year full of enthusiasm and optimism. But to maintain your momentum through the year, you need to set powerful, crystal-clear goals.

The first step to getting what you want out of life is to decide exactly what you want.

What do you want to accomplish? 

What do you want to experience? 

What do you want to acquire?

Who do you want to be?

One of primary reasons most people don’t get what they want is that they aren’t clear about what they want. Others will recognize what they’d like to have, but when they can’t see how it’s possible to get what they want, and they dismiss their desires as foolish and unattainable.

Don’t sabotage yourself this way!

After decades of research into how the human brain works, scientists now know that for our brains to figure out how to get what we want, we must first decide what we want. Once we lock-in our desires, our mind and the universe can step in to help make our dreams a reality.

Dream Big
We start the process by getting clear about what we want. So, what do you want? To create a balanced and successful life, write down a minimum of 3 goals in each of the following 7 areas:

Financial Goals

Career/Business Goals

Free Time/Family Time

Health/Appearance Goals 

Relationship Goals

Personal Growth 

Making a Difference

If you have more goals than this, don’t limit yourself – write them down! On the other hand, if writing down 21 goals seems like a lot, remember that we can have a mix of long- and short-term goals. For example, in the financial area, you may have a short-term goal of paying off a $5,000 credit card balance, as well as a long-term goal of amassing a net worth of $5 million dollars. You want to keep both goals present in your mind, even though you’ll be working more actively on the short-term goal first.

Stretch Yourself
When setting our goals, it’s important to include a few that will make us stretch and grow to achieve them. These might be learning a new skill or trying something that is uncomfortable and maybe a little frightening, such as public speaking. It also helps to set a breakthrough goal that would represent a quantum leap. Examples of breakthrough goals include publishing a book, starting a business, getting on Oprah, winning a gold medal at the Olympics, or getting elected president of your industry association.

Material goals are important, but the ultimate goal is to become a master at life. In the long run, the greatest benefit we receive from pursuing our dreams is not the outer trappings of fulfilling the dream, but who we become in the process.

The outer symbols of success can all be easily lost. Houses burn down, companies go bankrupt, relationships end, cars get old, bodies age and fame wanes, but who you are, what you have learned, and the new skills you have developed never go away. These are the true prizes of success. Motivational philosopher Jim Rohn advises that “You should set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.”

Turn Your Dreams Into Goals and Objectives
Once you are clear about what you want, write them down and turn each item into a measurable objective. Measurable means measurable in space and time – how much and by when.

For instance, if you were to tell me that you wanted more money, I might pull out a dollar and give it to you. You would probably protest, saying “No, I meant a lot more money, like $20,000!” But there is no way I’d know how you’d define “more money” unless you tell me, right?

Similarly, your boss, your friends, your spouse, your brain, God, and the Universe can’t figure out what you want unless you tell them specifically what it is. What exactly do you want and when do you want it by?

Your Goals Impact Others
As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You’ll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, they compel others to want to play big, too.

You’ll also discover that when your dreams include service to others – that is, accomplishing something that contributes to others – it accelerates the accomplishment of that goal. People want to be part of something that contributes and makes a difference.

Work on Your Goals Daily
To keep your subconscious mind focused on what you want, read your list of goals everyday. For an even more powerful approach, close your eyes and focus on each goal and ask yourself, “What is one thing I could do today to move toward the achievement of this goal?” Write down your answers and take those actions.

As the old joke goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Steady progress in bite-sized chunks puts even the most audacious goals into reach.

Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Categories: Uncategorized

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A Collection of Organizing ‘Funnies’

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

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It’s the holiday season. We know that it doesn’t take much to make his time of year feel stressful. Everyone is talking about how to get and stay organized for the holidays. And, yes–it’s important to be organized, but it’s also important (and necessary) to sit down for a while, rest your weary “I’ve been cooking, shopping, doing-for-others-all-day” bones and LAUGH.

I’ve been seeing a lot of those ‘your e cards’ from somecards.com on Pinterest. They always give me a good chuckle so I thought I’d share and put a bunch of my favorites here. I could give you organizing tips, but I thought I’d give you a good belly laugh instead…

Yikes!

Gotta love Maxine’s sense of humor…

This reminds me of the children’s book, Swimmy by Leo Lionni…

A little scientific organizing humor…

Even animals can benefit from getting organized!

And this one’s for the ladies…

Hope I made you smile.

Happy holidays!

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Categories: Organizing Humor, Pinterest

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Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

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The last week of November was a busy time in my household. It was Thanksgiving. It was Hanukkah. And it was also my birthday. Lots of food and festivities. Not a lot of downtime.

But, my hubby and I chose to carve out a small amount of time that weekend to make our home more organized. The colder weather was upon us and we had to come up with a solution to a recent organization problem.

We have a front door and an entry-way closet next to that door. Coats, shoes, umbrellas and accessories are kept in that closet.

Problem: My children and I enter and exit our home most days through the garage, not the front door. No closet next to that garage entrance door. Instead, we have a tiny laundry room with an even tinier broom closet that we converted to a storage closet years ago. We installed a row of hooks across the top and at the bottom of the closet we store shopping and recycle bags of varying sizes.

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
On this closet door, we installed a 4-pocket organizer from Babies R’ Us which has proved to be an extraordinarily helpful organizing product. Each of us has a pocket to store accessories and one is for infrequently used items like snow gloves.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces

This worked well for a while. My children were young and had little coats and my jacket fit just fine next to theirs. Now, my kids are bigger and so are their coats. They have more hats and mittens, too. With all three of our winter coats in there, the closet door no longer stayed closed. And the hooks were so high, I was the person in charge of hanging everyone’s coats.

What to do?

I had suggested a hall tree for the room adjacent to the garage which just so happens to be my home office. It wouldn’t thrill me to have coats and backpacks hanging in my work space but it was better than having them spill out of the storage closet–especially when I was doing the laundry.

My husband did not like the hall tree idea for two reasons:
1) He thought a hall tree would have looked messy. (I agree)
2) The hall tree would have to stand in the space currently occupied by his grandmother’s table which he loves and it would not fit in our attic.

So, for a while we thought about it, spent the summer leaving camp bags in the garage but then Autumn came and the problem was back. Backpacks and diaper bags were dropped as we entered the house and coats were dumped on a couch that sits opposite my desk in this room. (No picture is available–too embarrassing for this Professional Organizer to admit!)

Besides the fact that it looked terrible, it didn’t exactly instill the importance of being organized to our two young children.

Once again we asked ourselves, “What to do?”

Solution: One day, my husband looked at me and said, “What if we move the ironing board and vacuum cleaner out of the laundry room and use that space as a mudroom? I measured the space. It was 24” wide. I was skeptical but I grew up in a 5’x12′ bedroom. I knew I could make this work.

Challenge accepted!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
I’ll give my husband credit for thinking of utilizing this space. I probably never considered it because my husband likes to iron despite the fact he doesn’t do it much anymore (Yes–he does laundry, too. I’m a lucky lady…). We had not hung an iron in the iron holder since our first child started crawling six years ago. It was a great iron/ironing board organizer from Rubbermaid but it’s time was up. We relocated the real vacuum to the garage with the ironing board and the toy vacuum went to the basement playroom.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
I thought to myself, “Where am I going to find what I need to fit into a two-foot wide space?”
I looked in Home Goods and online and didn’t see much that would fit my tight secifications. Then one day, I was in Target and went to check out their Closetmaid collection. I’ve used their products in the past for organizing my kid’s toys and got to check out their new products at the NAPO Conference last year.
I walked down the aisle and not only did I see what would work for me, it was on sale!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
The Closetmaid 24″ Horizontal Stackable Organizer

 

Twenty four inches wide, too! What luck! My plan was to have the boys keep their backpacks on the top shelf, store their sneakers on the middle and bottom shelves and since their feet aren’t too big, maybe there would be room for a basket to hold accessories.
Now, I needed to figure out the second half of the mudroom–a place to hang coats. There are so many hook choices out there from the simple to the whimsical. We just needed simple. And, we needed more than one set of hooks. One was to be placed at the top of the space for my coat/handbag/hat and the other was to be placed so my kids could hang and retrieve their own outerwear.
Before Thanksgiving, I attended the holiday party for the local organizer group I belong to–NAPO-NNJ. Besides a lovely dinner, we had a Yankee Swap. The table was filled with gifts and I had pulled the last number for picking. By the time it was my turn to pick, there was one gift left on the table. You’ll never believe what it was?
A SET OF HOOKS!
What else do you think Professional Organizers would bring to a Yankee Swap??? It was meant to be!
And, the person who bought the hooks hadn’t removed the price tag entirely. They were from Bed Bath and Beyond. You can’t imagine how giddy I was over a set of hooks!
The next day with my trusty 20% coupon in hand, I bought another set. I was ready for construction to begin.
We charged our electric drill, connected with our inner Bob Villa, and made Mudroom Magic. Hubby and I put together the Closetmaid shelf in less than ten minutes. We measured and hung the hooks making sure they were straight with the iHandy level on my iPhone.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Measure twice, make hole once!

 

My kids tried putting their backpacks on the bench–plenty of room!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Hooks were hung and so were the coats. The laundry room is tight–here’a a few pics of what it looks like now.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
My kids have been using it everyday–I am so proud of them! Sometimes I find my husband staring at this space with a big grin on his face. I love it, too. No more coat clutter. It looks great. It keeps us organized. Twenty-four inches of space. Challenge accepted. Challenge met. Challenge complete!
What organizing challenges have you resolved in your home recently?

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Categories: Closet, Clothing, NAPO Conference, NAPO-NNJ, Organizing MY Home, Organzing Kids

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I ‘Heart’ Container Store Stocking Stuffers – 2013 Edition

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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I am one of those lucky Professional Organizers that lives less than 15 minutes from The Container Store. It’s great to be able to stop in, wander the aisles and check out new products whenever the mood strikes.

Despite it’s proximity to my home, I always look forward to receiving their catalogs. My favorite one arrives through my mail slot at the end of November–The Stocking Stuffers catalog. There’s something about this collection of cute, helpful, gadgety things that just makes me smile.

I flipped through the catalog last week and found a few items to share with you. Are you looking to fill holiday stockings or are you in need of the ‘next best thing’ to keep you organized? I think you’ll find a product here or on the stocking stuffers page of The Container Store’s website to suit your gift giving and organizing needs.

And now, some of my favorite Container Store Stocking Stuffers of 2013…

Bondi

The Bondi is known as a ‘helping hand.’ Use it to secure an item and hang it over a doorknob, rearview mirror, stroller or anywhere you need to hang something small.

Cuppa and Dash Measuring Cups and Spoon

Designed by Umbra, these space-saving items are perfect for the cook who is short on space and appreciates good design.

Tab and Page Markers

If you’re like me, as you read you feel the need to mark off helpful or inspiring passages in books and magazines. I don’t usually read without a pack of these next to me. Great for color coding and they come in their own carrying case.

Dressing-2-Go

Ever take a salad to work or to an event but you don’t want to bring the whole bottle of dressing with you? Enter the Dressing-2-Go bottle. It’s BPA free, leakproof and holds 2 oz of dressing–perfect for those watching their calories.

This last one will probably not keep you organized, but it was so cute I wanted to share it…

Shower Cap

For the ladies, this vintage-inspired shower cap is covered in rubber duckies–what could be more adorable? It also has a ruffled rim which keeps water out of your eyes. I don’t want to leave any one out, but this item may be a bit too girly for a guy with long hair…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I hear some stocking stuffers calling my name. Good thing I live close to The Container Store…

Categories: Container Store, Holiday Season

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Get Organized for Thanksgivukkah!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

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Courtesy of PJlibrary.org

If you haven’t been on Facebook lately or you’re not into pop-culture, you may not have heard the news. This year, for the first time since 1861 and the last time until the year 79,811, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Hannukah land on the same day. To commemorate this special day, the phrase, ‘Thanksgivukkah,’ was coined (and trademarked) by two women in Boston. A Facebook and Twitter account devoted to the day was created and the idea spread like wildfire across the United States.

For many of you, this day is business as usual. Turkey, cranberry sauce, football, and family traditions will be the norm. But for those who celebrate Hannukah as well, this day just became a little more challenging.

One holiday is religious. One is secular. The foods are different. Maybe you celebrate Turkey-day and Latke-day with different people. Celebrating two holidays at once? OY!

If you haven’t already started to plan, here are a few tips for getting organized for the won’t-see-this-again-in-our-lifetime holiday of Thanksgivukkah:

De-clutter Your Brain
You’re probably thinking, “Two holidays? What am I going to do? Where do I start?”
Start by dumping your brain onto a piece of paper or into a productivity app. Write down all the shopping, cooking, gift-giving, prepping and schlepping you’ll need to do for both holidays. Prioritize and then…

Delegate
It’s tough enough preparing for one holiday, but two? You’re going to need to delegate tasks in order to cover the important rituals and traditions of both holidays. If you’re a self-declared perfectionist, this is the time to lose the title. Control freak? LET IT GO. Some tasks to delegate:
• preparation of a Thanksgivukkah side dish
• creating and facilitating games to keep the kiddies occupied
• shopping for gifts
• cleaning up the kitchen
• playing ‘bartender’ for the day
• supplying candles and matches for the menorah/menurkey

A Menurkey–created by a ten year old boy with a Thanksgivukkah dream…

Prepare in Advance
Mise en Place is a French phrase meaning, ‘to have all of your cooking tools and ingredients prepared before you start cooking.’ The key to not stressing out while cooking for two different holidays at once is organization. Review every recipe and take note of what ingredients you’ll need. Also take note of what size measuring cups and spoons you’ll be working with. Do you have enough platters? What dishes need to cook in the oven and which on the stove top? Preparing in advance will prevent kitchen chaos and ‘Harried Hostess-itis.’

Keep it Simple
Two major holidays. One day. ‘Nuff said.

Ways to Keep it Simple:
• Usually, I advise people to make lists and store them in a file or electronically for the next year. You’re celebrating these two holidays together for the first and last time next week. Feel free to jot down notes but I don’t recommend creating a permanent file labeled ‘Thanksgivukkah’ unless you want to look back at it for some reason. I leave that up to you.
• Buy some pre-made food. My husband and I used to make potato latkes from scratch. Then we had two kids. No more latkes from scratch. My savior–Trader Joe’s Potato Pancakes. They are delicious and I don’t stay up half a night cleaning my kitchen.
• Eliminate a ton of side dishes by melding the two holidays in your recipes. Ideas: Sweet potato latkes, challah-chestnut stuffing, pumpkin pie a la mode with Manischewitz ice cream! (delegate the last item to someone with an ice cream maker and time on their hands…)

Latkes? Stuffing? Or both!

It’s been a real hoot reading articles about this once-in-a-lifetime holiday. Here are some interesting and informative ideas about Thanksgivukkah that were cool to read and helped me write this post:

Much of the historical information for this post has been gleaned from articles on the web and this one from Wikipedia.

How to Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, The Best Holiday of All Time
Recipes, decorations and funny stuff

Pinterest does Thanksgivukkah
Food, gifts, decorating and great ideas

Ingeniuous 10-Year Old Creates ‘Menurkey’ for Thanksgivukkah
Never underestimate a child again…

Happy Organized Thanksgivukkah!

Categories: Basic Organizing Principles, Holiday Season

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