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3 Thought-Provoking Ted Talks That Will Inspire You to Get Organized

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3 Thought-Provoking Ted Talks That Will Inspire You to Get Organized | organizedartistry.com

Do you ever watch TED Talks? I love watching TED Talks.

If I get to watch at least one a day I’m a happy camper. I watch them while I’m cooking, while I’m on the treadmill, and while I’m eating lunch at my computer. If I don’t have the time, I use one of my favorite apps, Pocket to store them until I have a free 20 minutes to watch.

TED began as a conference in California in 1984–five years before the birth of the World Wide Web. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  It’s mission is to spread knowledge and since it’s inception, TED Talks have had attracted over a billion views online–there’s a lot more knowledgeable people in this world thanks to TED!

With all my TED Talk watching, I was curious as to whether there were any talks on the topic of Organizing. Well–there are! No one is sorting through papers or an overstuffed garage on stage, but the TED Talks I’ve selected are based on an ‘organizing’ theme. Carve out time in your day to watch them–you may learn something new just like I did…

Jessi Arrington: Wearing Nothing New

In my opinion, Jessi is one brave woman. She packed seven pair of underwear for her trip to Los Angeles to do her TED Talk. My heart is palpitating just thinking about it. When she got off the plane with her very tiny suitcase, she went shopping for clothes at local thrift stores in order to “reduce the impact of her wardrobe on the environment and her wallet.” I don’t expect you to watch this and then travel light, but listening to what she has to say, might cause you to take a good look at the clothes in your closet.


Laura Vanderkam: How To Gain Control of Your Free Time

Laura Vanderkam writes about Time Management. She says, “Time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.” Basically–it’s all about priorities. Your priorities. Your schedule and your choices. Listen to her TED Talk and think about how you use your time…


Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Do you procrastinate often?  Whether you do or not, you’re going to get a good laugh out of this funny TED Talk. You might even see a bit of yourself in Tim Urban. Think about what you might be procrastinating on and watch out for the ‘monkey.’


*BONUS* TED TALK
–Yes–I said ‘3’ in the title but this one is short–only around 5 minutes long: Mundano: Pimp My…Trash Cart?.

The unsung heroes of the organizing world are garbage men. They take away what we no longer want in our lives and are not always highly regarded for their work. Watch how one artist in Brazil took the work of Catadores, people who collect recycling, and transformed their work into an art form to be celebrated and appreciated by their communities.

 

Which Ted Talk resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Organizing MY Home: Where Do I Put it NOW?

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As you may have read in my past three blog posts, last year I was a little busy with a home addition/renovation project. I knew it would be a challenging and rewarding process–and it was! But, there was one thing I didn’t realize would need to happen after we had moved back in…

I was going to have to find new ‘homes’ for almost everything we owned.

Although I don’t formally ‘move’ clients as part of Organized Artistry’s list of services, on occasion, I have helped a client  unpack their belongings into a new home. Within that process, I have assisted clients in finding new ‘homes’ for their kitchenware, linens and anything else that needed a home. With all the work that went into making our new house safe and beautiful, it never dawned upon me that I was going to have to figure out new ‘homes’ for everything we owned. Our house barely looked the same after the renovation/addition. Much of our old furniture was gone. We had a brand new kitchen with ample cabinets and pull-out drawers (squee!)–new closets, vanities, and storage options, too.

A Professional Organizer re-creates homes for everything she owns I organizedartistry.com

One of the storage pieces we created–four drawers to hold BBQ and entertaining pieces.

Yup. I’m a Professional Organizer and ‘finding new homes for everything we owned’ had not made it to my To-Do list.

We had lived in our pre-renovation house with mostly the same furniture and storage systems for fourteen years. For fourteen years the tape measure, the check book, and most of what we owned had ‘lived’ in the same place. I always knew where to find things when I needed them. Now, after almost six months in our house, it’s more like…

“Honey, where’s the (fill-in-the-blank)?

or

“Honey, do you remember where we decided to put the (fill-in-the-blank)?

or, once in a while it’s more like…

“WHERE IS THAT (fill-in-the-blank)? I COULD SWEAR I PUT IT IN (that drawer, that closet, that room)!

I’ll be honest–this has been pretty frustrating for me as a person and for someone who finds ‘good homes’ for people’s belongings for a living! It has left me discombobulated and a little freaked-out when I can’t find something.

Like I tell my clients, nothing happens overnight and I have to remind myself of that, too. A task this large needed to be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. The joke is, “How do you eat an elephant?” and the answer is, “one bite at a time…” It’s an ongoing process. I broke it down into three parts: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary (like on the color wheel). Here’s how I’ve been breaking down the task to meet this challenge head on…

Primary: What Did I Do First? 

• On move-in day, I set up a bin in my new kitchen–large enough to accommodate papers. Any important papers that I needed to not misplace and have in front of my eyeballs went in there (ex. forms from school, our packing list, a wedding invitation, etc.)

• I thought of what rooms/hotspots HAD to be organized for us to function as a family in the days and weeks post move-in. Those turned out to be the kitchen/panrty, the kid’s homework/supply station, basic bedroom, bathroom, and home office set ups, current season clothing and sporting equipment (for my two boys).

• The tape measure and checkbook found semi-permanent homes!

Secondary: Three Months later–a few examples… 

• I have been slowly determining where items should now ‘live’ based on our new habits and the flow of the house.

• Important papers used to hang on my fridge and I kept some in a magazine holder on my kitchen counter. Now I keep them in plastic sleeves in a binder that lives in one of my kitchen cabinets. It’s now a ‘home’ for papers I need to look at regularly (schedules for recycling, school, sports, phone lists, etc.)

 pre-renovation magnet-covered refrigerator

This is what our old fridge used to look like! We had a ton of fridge magnets–my kids loved them!

• My kids needed a place to put their most popular games/puzzles/books on the first floor of our home. Certain kid games/puzzles/books now live in a dresser that is being used as an entrainment console until we get a new one. Other games/puzzles/books live in the basement and kid bedrooms.

Tertiary: Tasks left on the to-do list… 

• Holiday, BBQ/Entertaining items, Art Supplies are still in boxes. If I need them, I know where the boxes are and what’s inside of each since my packing list perpetually lives in the bin described above. Still haven’t figured out where everything will live–especially since we’re still in need of some furniture that will serve as storage pieces for the items in these boxes. Find the turkey platter, fondue pot, and glitter glue? No problem. Where to store it for the next few years? I’ll have to get back to you on that one…

• When the movers brought some of our boxes up to the attic, they were put up there in random spots. Once the weather gets cooler, hubby and I can organize them better–especially the bins of seasonal kid clothes. Those can be a beast!

• I am still slowly determining where items should now ‘live’ based on our new habits and the flow of the house. I think we’re going to have to live in the space for a year–four seasons–to know where everything should live.

I’m taking it slow and if you’re in a similar situation–you should, too. Find a fork and eat that elephant–one bite at a time!

What have you had to recently find a new home for in YOUR house?

 

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Getting Organized: A Quick FAQ

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Whether I’m at a networking meeting, a client’s home, or a social or family gathering I am often asked the same few questions about getting organized. Some people ask me about products, others ask me how I feel about all the organizing shows that have been on television, but most ask the questions below.

I hope the answers to these questions prove to be helpful as you begin or continue your journey to an organized life.

Why is it important to be organized?
Organized people are able to find the things they need when they need them—and finding what you need when you need it is what ‘being organized’ is all about. Being organized saves you time, money, and stress. By being organized, one is able to put lost time back in their day, money back in their wallets, and live life with less stress and frustration overall.
calendar
How do I get organized if I don’t have the time?
You have to MAKE the time. If you didn’t make the time to get your car an oil change would it work well? If you didn’t make the time to exercise and cook healthy meals would your body be able to maintain an active lifestyle? If you don’t set aside the time to ‘get organized,’ your household as well as your life will not function to it’s fullest capacity.

Start by making a fifteen-minute appointment with yourself at a time of day when you are most energetic. Mark it in a calendar and stick to it. You don’t need to devote eight hours on a Sunday to getting organized—you’d be amazed at how much you can get done by spending fifteen minutes in ‘organizing mode.’

Where do I begin?
I’m always asked this question and the person asking it usually has a look of panic on their face! I always recommend to people that they take inventory of their organizing needs and select an area that is driving them crazy or making their life difficult. For a small business owner, it may be their filing system. For a stay-at-home mom, it may be the playroom or the kitchen.

Break the task down into small, manageable tasks. For instance, if it’s your kitchen that’s disorganized, start by going through the silverware drawer. After you’ve tackled the drawer, you’re done with organizing for the day unless you choose to move on to another small section of the kitchen such as the sippy cup collection or the spice rack.

Once I’m organized, how do I maintain it?
The most important thing you need to keep your home/home office organized is DESIRE—the desire to keep your space organized and the desire to put forth the effort to keep it as so. Realistic goals are also necessary when it comes to ‘staying organized.’ You cannot expect an overnight change–on average it takes 21 days to establish a habit. So, if you install a hook by the front door for your keys and you forget once in a while to hang them there, don’t beat yourself up over it—it will come naturally soon enough.

Be prepared–there will be some days where you won’t have the time or energy to organize even the smallest of spaces—that’s OK. Just do your best. I tell people that one of the most important things they can do when they lack the time or energy to organize is to just stay ‘on top of their lives.’ Putting dishes back in the cabinet after they’ve dried, dealing with your mail shortly after you walk through the door, straightening out the medicine cabinet while you’re brushing your teeth are all quick and easy ways to prevent disorganization from creeping back into a newly organized space.

NAPO logo

National Association of Professional Organizers

What can a Professional Organizer do for me?
A Professional Organizer has the skills and experience to provide their clients with information, ideas, solutions and systems to increase productivity and reduce stress. By hiring a professional organizer you will not only be able to take advantage of their knowledge, and expertise, but you’ll be able to benefit from their non-judgemental physical and emotional support as well.

To find a Professional Organizer in your area, go to the website of the National Association of Professional Organizers and click on ‘Find an Organizer.’ It may be the first step on your journey to an organized life.

Do you have any other questions? Ask away!

5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet

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Great ideas! 5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet | organizedartistry.com

 

Where I live, it’s kinda cold. And it’s the first day of Spring (insert frowny face here). As much as I’d love to start doing a little spring cleaning in my closet, I still need my polartec tops and flannel lined jeans. May have to start elsewhere this weekend…

But, if you live in a warmer climate or just can’t look at your boots one more day, then by all means start spring cleaning your clothes closet.

 

Here are the 5 ‘must-haves’ you’ll need for this project:

Garbage bags

Despite their name, these bags won’t all be used for garbage. Grab two colors–black, white, and a third bag can be a reusable tote. Designate black for trash, white for donations, and the tote for repairs. Why use this system? I have heard stories of people accidentally donating their trash and putting their donations to the curb because they used bags of one color.

As you are sorting through and purging clothes from your closet, place them in the correct bag. Clothes with repairable tears and shoes/handbags that need a little TLC from the shoemaker go in your tote bag. When you finish, place the black bags wherever you keep your trash, put the donation and repair bags in your car or at your doorway, and mark off a day on your calendar to drop off them off at their next destinations.

Pad of paper and pen or cell phone

As you go through your clothes, you may find that they have an old stain, they’re too loose or tight, or you just don’t love it anymore. When getting rid of garments, keep a list of items you’d like to replace. That way, when you’re at the mall, you don’t have to think about what clothes you need–just refer to your list and you’ll know exactly what purchases to focus on. Use pen and paper or your cell phone to create the list–whichever works best for you.

Bottle of water/snack

Spring cleaning a clothes closet is a physical activity. Handling some sentimental items and items with ‘bad karma’ attached to them can be emotional as well. Even if you’ve eaten a large meal before starting, I’d recommend having a bottle of water and a snack at arm’s reach. You’ll need a break to clear your head and refuel–how often you do that during this task is up to you and your needs. But, I always advise my clients to bring a snack and drink into the space we’re working on. It means they don’t have to leave the room and lose focus while we’re working.

Large flat or multiple small flat surfaces

When going through a clothes closet, it’s important to have a place to put the clothes while sorting them out. If your closet is in your bedroom, use the bed to place the garments down as you make decisions. If your clothes live in a room without a bed, use folding chairs or storage tubs to separate your clothes by category. The floor is NOT a good option unless absolutely necessary. If that’s the case, please open a flat sheet, lay it on the floor and place your piles on top of the sheet.

Time

A basic organizing principle to follow for spring cleaning or any organizing task is. ‘Make an Appointment With Yourself.’ We make appointments to see doctors and to make our hair look fabulous and we wouldn’t consider canceling them except in an emergency. Do the same with Spring Cleaning. Take out your calendar and pick a day to start. Pencil in 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour–whatever amount of time you think you can manage. Keep that appointment. You’ll be glad you did.

What do you think you’ll find in your clothes closet this Spring?

 

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Get Organized for Thanksgivukkah!

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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!

My Top Ten Organizing Posts

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It’s hard to believe but Organized Artistry is heading into it’s 11th year in business. The time has certainly flown! In that time, I’ve written organizing tip articles for my website and almost four years ago, I started this blog.

In honor of 11 years of organizing, I share with you the top ten most popular posts of this blog–plus one bonus post to make it 11. I hope at least one of them will offer you an idea or a resource for creating and maintaining an organized life.

Curious as to what readers liked most?

Top 3 blog posts:

Best Products for Organizing Your Car
This post was the most popular by a landslide! Maybe I need to add ‘car organizing’ to my list of services…

Organizing Inspiration from Curious George
Who would think that a mischievous monkey could teach us a lesson on organization?

Peter Walsh Organizes Rachael Ray’s Kitchen
She’s got a smaller kitchen than one would assume. Peter Walsh makes cooking at home a more stress-free activity for the famous cook.

Cool Product blog posts:

Cool Product – Jewelry Organizer
Not your usual jewelry holder…

Cool Product – Cable Turtle
Wires! Wires! Wires! No more unsightly wire messes thanks to cable turtles.

Cool Product – Fridge Binz
If your fridge need organizing, check these out…

Other popular blog posts:

De-Cluttering Tips
Simple, basic steps to follow for de-cluttering…

Top Ten Helper Shelf ‘Hot Spots’ for Your Home
This was a popular post, too. I love helper shelves! See how they can transform your closets and cabinets.

Organizing Up and Down–a Vertical Makeover
My motto: “If you can’t go outward, go UPWARD!”

Organizing on the Cheap: Target Dollar Spot
Love the Target Dollar Spot. You never know what organizing products (or other goodies) you’ll find there.

New Baby? Time to Get Organized
These little people have a lot of stuff and require a ton of organization!

Bonus post: Some organizing humor…

Professional Organizer Humor
Yes, there’s a bumper sticker for our profession, too!

My blog posts are written with the intention of providing information, tips, resources and sometimes a good laugh. I hope they have provided you with all that and more. Thanks so much for supporting Organized Artistry!

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Take Baby Steps To Achieve Organizing Success

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One simple strategy to reaching your organizing goals. Take Baby Steps to Achieve Organizing Success | organizedartistry.com

Did you make New Year’s resolutions or set goals for yourself this year? I thought I heard you shouting from the rooftop, “This is the year I’m going to get organized!’

Did you create a plan for getting organized?  Have you mapped out some mini-goals for yourself? If yes, then great!

If not, that’s OK. No beating yourself up about it. Maybe you or a family member has been under the weather. Maybe ‘life’ has gotten in the way. Or perhaps, you just don’t know where to begin. You can start at anytime. How about TODAY?

No worries–take ‘baby steps.’

No one expects a baby to stand up one day and walk across the room. There’s a lot that goes on before a child meets that developmental milestone. They sit up, they crawl, they practice standing up in their crib. They take ‘baby steps’ towards mastering their actual baby steps.
You can take baby steps to reach your organizing goals, too.

Here are a few examples:

– Take a few minutes before bedtime to sort through and purge expired medicine.
– Sort and purge your piles of coupons while waiting for pasta water to boil.
– Schedule 15 minutes on your calendar to organize your sock drawer.
– Read a few posts on organizing blogs that pertain to your organizing challenge(s).
– Look at organizing ideas/products on Pinterest (don’t get sucked in, though!).

All of these teeny-tiny organizing projects and tasks are baby steps that will eventually get you where you want to be.

I often tell my clients to visualize their organizing goal as an iceberg. Baby steps are equal to the act of chipping away at that iceberg. Some days you may feel like you’re chipping away with a hammer, other days, with a toothpick. Regardless of your tool, if you keep working at it, you will reach your goal, however challenging it may be.

You CAN get organized–I know you can. Just take a baby step–one little step in the direction of the organizing goals you have set for yourself. In the beginning, it may feel as if you’re not making much progress but let me assure you–every ‘baby step’ you take towards reaching your goal will get you one step closer to the day when you can proudly shout from the rooftop, “I did it!”

What baby steps will you take to achieve organizing success?

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Planning + Mini-Goals = New Year’s Resolution Success

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In my last post, guest blogger Audrey Cupo of a A Better Space encouraged you to evaluate the past and plan for the future.

Well, the future is here. Did you make any resolutions for the next twelve months?

According to the people at StatisticBrain.com, the top ten New Year’s resolutions for 2013 are:

1. Lose Weight
2. Getting Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others in Their Dreams
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time with Family

Did you see that? ‘Getting Organized’ is one of the top two resolutions people made in the new year. Looks like my colleagues and I are going to be very busy this year!

All kidding aside, many people say they want to get organized but are not successful at achieving their goal. Unfortunately, only a small percentage are. But why?

A few reasons:
– The goals they set for themselves are too vague.
– People get easily discouraged and give up too soon.
– They don’t have a way of measuring their successes however small.

They don’t have a PLAN.

That’s why I would advise anyone who has made a resolution for themselves this year to do two things first:
– Create a plan for reaching your New Year’s goal
– Set mini-goals within that plan

Planning out the path for reaching a goal can be as easy as doing a ‘brain dump’ on a piece of paper or on your computer. Create a list of all the steps you need to take to reach your goal. They don’t need to be in any order–you can fix that later.

If you’re a visual person like me, you might want to use a graphic organizer to help you with your plan. This is a great way to organize your thoughts. An example of one:

Courtesy of The Writing Bug

If ‘Getting Organized’ is one of your New Year’s resolutions, write ‘Get Organized’ in the big circle. In the next smaller circles write the room/area of your home or life you’d like to get organized. In the smallest circles (attached to the medium sized circles) list the tasks that need to be done to achieve your resolution to get organized. Create as many spokes and circles as needed. These are your mini-goals.

A mini-goal is a tiny step to complete on your way to reaching your ultimate goal. It helps you to break down the process into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Examples of mini-goals for getting your home/life organized:

-Every Tuesday, I will sort/purge/organize one drawer in my dresser until all drawers have been gone through.

-I will label an envelope ‘Receipts’ and once a week, I will empty my wallet of all receipts into that envelope. At the end of the month I will review all receipts.

-At the end of the day, I will spend 15 minutes making sure all items are in the home they belong in.

-I will create a ‘Donations’ bag in my garage and pledge to put all items to be donated in it. When I know I will pass the local thrift shop, I will put the bag in my car, drop off the donations and place the donations bin back in its ‘home.’

-I will inventory my pantry before heading to the supermarket.

Successfully setting mini-goals and reaching them are cause for celebration–don’t over look that. Every mini-goal milestone brings you a step closer to your goal and should be honored and celebrated!

“Vision without action is daydream. 
Action without vision is nightmare” 
– Japanese proverb

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? What’s your plan?

Peter Walsh Organizes Rachael Ray’s Kitchen

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If you watch television and you have even the teeniest tiniest interest in organizing then you know who Peter Walsh is. If not, here’s the short version: Peter Walsh is an Organizing Expert from Australia who has a ‘tell it like it is’ attitude but also uses compassion and empathy while organizing with his clients. He has worked miracles in tiny spaces, as well as in the homes of hoarders. I first saw him on an organizing show called ‘Clean Sweep’ and from there, he occasionally appeared on The Oprah Show as well as other daytime shows.

I ‘Like’ Peter Walsh on Facebook. He’s always posting about projects he’s working on, easy organizing tips, and when he’ll be on TV next. So, a short while ago, he posted that he was going to be de-cluttering Rachael Ray’s home kitchen on The Rachael Ray Show. Sweet! My DVR was set. If you didn’t get to catch it last week, here’s what happened…

Rachael Ray, America’s sweetheart of the kitchen had a secret…

She told her audience that she has a tiny NYC apartment kitchen and that she’s just as guilty as other homeowners when it comes to de-cluttering her kitchen–it never happens. Cluttered cupboards, out-of-date food in the pantry and cabinets overflowing with pots and pans were just some of her organizing issues.

If I had her hectic schedule, I might not have time to de-clutter my kitchen either…

She decided to bring Peter Walsh to her home to see if he could get her kitchen organized again. Rachael gave him a quick tour of the room and then he kicked her out and started organizing. Peter started with the pantry–he emptied it, sorted the items and tossed all expired food in the trash.

Some of Peter’s pantry tips:

-Store platters upright for easier access. Use an organizing product that stores baking trays to do the same thing for platters.

-Keep flat surfaces clear. They are for food prep–not for storage.

Peter then headed to a spot most people wrestle with in their kitchen–the junk drawer. Like the panty, Peter emptied the drawer and sorted out the trash. He then grouped ‘Like with Like’ and used containers to keep ‘like’ items together.

Peter used drawer dividers like these to organize Rachael’s junk drawer

What junk drawer items did he hold up for all the world to see? Four pair of gardening shears! Since Rachael didn’t use them very often, he promptly moved them to a different area of the kitchen.

He then removed all magnets from her refrigerator. I have a ton of magnets and children’s artwork on my fridge–Peter Walsh would have a field day with my fridge!

He and his crew worked to de-clutter the rest of Rachael’s kitchen and then brought her back in to see.

The first spot he showed her was the pantry–she loved how de-cluttered it was and how Peter had grouped ‘like’ items with like items on clear trays from The Container Store. They then moved on to the junk drawer–Rachael was so thrilled with the way it looked, she gave Peter a high-five! He had removed many of her household tools and placed them in labeled bins in a cabinet over the refrigerator to get them out of the way.

Rachael then walked over to the fridge and saw that most of her magnets were gone! She almost had a heart attack because a magnet with her deceased dog’s picture on it was no where to be found. It was quickly placed back on the fridge–organizing crisis averted!

As I often do with my clients, Peter gave ‘Organizing Homework’ to Rachael…
-go through all cooking utensils
-separate out the ones she uses often from the ones she barely uses
-keep drawers neat and tidy

Peter offered up two tips and advice for the viewing audience:
1. Stop using the word LATER as in, “I’ll put that away later.” Do things as you go and he promises it will make a huge difference.
2. Flat surfaces are for PREPARATION not STORAGE.

Peter also gave the viewing audience five ‘Double Duty’ organizing products to use in the home:
1. Use an empty tissue box to store plastic bags (I do this in my own home.)
2. Use a tension rod to create hanging space under a sink
3. Thread a tab from a soda can over a hanger and hang another garment from it to double your closet’s hanging space. (I LOVED this tip!)
4. A tag from a loaf of bread can be used to wrap around and label electrical cords.
5. Use extra glass vases to corral multiples of items.

I thought this was a great segment. Kudos to Rachael Ray for being brave enough to have Peter Walsh organize her kitchen for all the world to see!

*Author’s Note: I love watching de-cluttering segments on daytime television–I pick up great organizing and product ideas all the time. But, what I’d like you to know is that de-cluttering a room takes hours–sometimes days and sometimes weeks. It looks quick on TV but what you don’t see is a multi-person crew working arduously to get the job done in a certain amount of time. When it’s just you, or you and a friend, or even you and a Professional Organizer the process takes a LONG time.

 If you are de-cluttering an area of your home, don’t despair that it’s taking a while to emerge as a clutter-free space. Make good decisions, have trash bags at the ready and look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few tips to make sure your organizing efforts are taking you in the right direction.

A Professional Organizer Makes an Appointment With Herself to Get Organized

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In March of 2010, I wrote a blog post called, “Ready for Spring Cleaning?” In that post, I talked about a basic organizing principle: Make an Appointment With Yourself to Get Organized.

The process of getting organized can be overwhelming. Most people are unsure as to where or how to begin. Making an appointment with yourself to get organized is a starting point. Carving out that time to chip away at a pile of papers or sort through your sock drawer is a necessary step towards de-cluttering your home and reaching your organizing goals.

A few weeks ago,  I got an email from my friend, Deb–the subject line said ‘Photo Albums.’ The email stated that she was blocking out some time one night to work on her photo albums–did anyone want to bring theirs and join her at her dining room table?

I read that email and later responded, “I’ll be there…”

You know the phrase, ‘The shoemaker’s son has no shoes?’ Well, sometimes Professional Organizers spend so much time organizing others, that projects of their own fall by the wayside. In my case, it would be photos and photo albums.

I have two small children and I take a ton of pictures and videos of them on my camera and iPhone. I download them but haven’t always kept up with the ordering of pictures and placing them in albums. My relatives are constantly asking me for pictures of my kids. I’ve bought picture frames but don’t have the pictures to put in them. The signs were there–it was time to make an appointment with myself to organize my photos and albums.

A few days before the photo album gathering I took inventory of what I had:

• one broken photo album (wear and tear from 2 kids flipping pages)
• two new photo albums (ordered months ago and still in the box they shipped in)
• pictures I had printed but not put in albums yet (already separated by child)

To prepare for ‘Photo Night’, I removed all the pictures from the broken album and sorted through and purged a few out. I removed all pictures from my first child’s second album, too. I loaded all my photo albums and pictures into a large shopping bag and was ready to go.

I only worked on my albums for an hour and a half but got a lot accomplished. I managed to put all pictures from birth to two years old in the albums designated for my eldest child. Making this appointment with myself motivated me to keep working on this important project. The next night at my own dining room table, I finished putting the pictures of my oldest child in his albums.

My next steps are to:

• Sort and purge through pictures of my youngest child.
• Put them in chronological order
• Place them in the designated album
• Check the end of each album to see the last pictures I ordered. Go on iPhoto and order copies for relatives and the albums
• Give out pictures and place the rest in albums

My goal is to finish this project by the end of May. I will be making an appointment with myself each week to make that happen and I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Thanks, Deb for giving me the jumpstart I needed to organize my photos!

What area of YOUR life needs organizing?

Contact Stacey to Get Started!

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