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The Home and Office Organizing Blog
Thursday, March 29, 2007
What would you take on vacation?

Did you ever notice what items get packed for a vacation? Why do you pick these items over the others? Why this shirt and not that one? Why those shoes and not the other ones? You get the idea. We often take our favorite, most comfortable or best of our belongings so that we look good, feel good and just feel at home when we are away from home. But what about the items that didn't make the cut? Why didn't they make it into your luggage? Why did you pass them over? Perhaps they're out of style, or they don't fit or need repair. If you were able to pick over your clothes to find your favorites for the trip maybe it's time to say goodbye to some of the leftovers in the closet. Just a thought :)

Have a great day! Karli

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Bag your items to go away

Here's an easy bag system to sort and purge. When starting a home organizing project, whether it is small like a drawer or big like a whole room, set up a bag system for items that need to "go away."
Purchase 2 different colored bags - if possible get the new "flex" bags. Use the white bags for "Donate" and black bags for "Garbage."
I like using black bags for garbage, because I can't see the items anymore and there's less temptation to "rescue" items.
Using different color and size bags can make the job "visually" easier to sort. In addition, it makes an easy exit strategy when it's time to transport the bags to the garbage, charities, friends, cleaners or whatever category you create.
When separating items for donations try to keep items separated as much as possible by weight light weight vs. heavy weight items and don't over stuff the bags.
And don't forget this is a great opportunity to clean out your supply of paper bags with handles or the plastic grocery bags. If you're passing along clothing or items to family or friends, think of using the gift bags or the fancy handle bags from department stores. It will seem more like a gift and less like a hand me down.

Have a great day! Karli

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Sunday, March 25, 2007
Table of Condiments

Table of Condiments

Ever wonder how to keep that bottle of mayo? I found this great resource to use when cleaning and/or organizing your refrigerator. It helps you determine when items should be thrown out and what items are still ok to keep on the shelf.

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Spring Cleaning

Get the jump on spring! Clean out and organize your closets now so you are ready to enjoy the good weather when it arrives.

Start by going through your wardrobe and deciding which winter clothes will make it to next year and which have earned a place in storage.

When cleaning and organizing your closet:


  • Try on items to see what fits and what does not.

  • Get rid of anything that is not flattering.

  • Toss clothing items that did not get used over the last winter.

  • Decide what items could be better used by someone else.

Once you have decided what will stay, pack up the items and sort them into categories. Have a bag or box for items that need to go to the dry cleaner, another for items marked for storage another for trash and another for items marked for donation or resale.

Organizing your closets early in the season will help you from getting behind and ending up with a closet stuffed full of last season's clothes and this season's new purchases.

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Monday, March 19, 2007
You Need to Get to Work! - Newsweek Article

A friend emailed a Newsweek article on organizing and productivity the other day and I found it very interesting. It begins by talking about the demand for increasing productivity and offers NAPOs rapid growth as one of the indications of need.

But the most interesting part of the article for me was the discussion about how technology can get in the way of productivity and how we have to be much more disciplined about how we spend our time. The article provides input and advice from Mark Zandi of economy.com and David Allen. I hope you enjoy and get as much out of the article as I.

Thursday, March 15, 2007
Starting a home organizing project

One of the hardest parts of getting organized is getting started.

When starting to organize a home office, a closet or any space in your home use this following tips that professional organizers use to ensure a successful home organizing project.
  • Give yourself more time than you think you will need.
    Projects can go astray when you start to run out of time or interest. Many projects start off on the right foot, meticulously going through items, labeling and designating specific areas for items. But when time starts to run out that is when decisions start being made on entire piles of paper, things get thrown into boxes and boxes get stuffed into corners. Most professional organizers recommend tripling the time you think a project will take. For example if you think it will take you 2 hours...then give yourself 8. If you finish in less time then treat it as a gift and use the time to give yourself a hard earned rest.
  • Don't buy bins and storage boxes until you've started the project.
    It's very hard for mechanics to know what it will take to fix a car until they open up the hood and investigate. The same goes with organizing. A look around a room only reveals what is on the surface. So before purchasing organizing supplies, dig into the project so you can better assess what will be useful in organizing the clutter.
  • Take frequent breaks.
    If you work too long without a break you will quickly tire leaving the room more of mess than when you started. Take breaks to assess your progress, make mental goals and try to visualize the finish product.

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Professional Organizer Chicago

Professional Organizers are becoming more popular as evidenced by the growth in membership to NAPO; the National Association of Professional Organizers which currently boasts over 4,000 members. In the Chicago land area alone I have witnessed larger numbers of professional organizers attending the monthly Chicago NAPO meetings and more companies and professional organizing contractors setting up shop here in the Midwest. I believe this shows that the industry as a whole is gaining credibility do to the professional attitude many of these new businesses in a relatively new industry bring to the profession of organizing. In Chicago I have experienced a number of positive relationships with other professional organizers, providing valuable feedback to each other on how to improve our services to our clients. This professional exchange in information is helping to establish professional organizing as a valuable service to home owners and businesses in the Chicago land area. And I believe the market place is responding by showing a higher demand for professional organizing services. Chicago businesses are inquiring and hiring more professional organizers to help them increase both productivity and employee moral, and more home owners are hiring professional organizers to help them clear the clutter and create a relaxing, efficient and pleasing home environment.

As the demand for services grows, NAPO and the industry as a whole is responding by working to to solidify the integrity and value of professional organizing services. Certification programs, lectures and learning materials are being generated to help organizers hone our craft. And business advice in regards to marketing, accounting and legal is being sought out to better help professional organizers build reputable businesses.

I am encouraged that the industry is moving in a positive direction, because I truly believe that our services are valuable and that our hard work not only helps our clients increase their productivity or satisfaction with their spaces, but that we ultimately improve the overall quality of life for our clients.

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Monday, March 05, 2007
Routine Home Organizing Tasks

Routine Home organizing tasks to get your home Organized With Style.

The biggest secret to home organizing is routine. Make a schedule for routine tasks such as cleaning, paying bills and doing the dishes. Your schedule should include the 5 following categories. For each category I have included examples to get you started with creating your own home organizing schedule. Try them out and feel free to provide feedback for what worked and what did not.

Daily Organizing Tasks
Guarantee your success in daily tasks by establishing times so that you and your family are clear when tasks are to be done.

  • Dishes - Do the dishes or load the dish washer each evening after dinner. If you use a dishwasher, unload it in the morning before breakfast so that the kitchen is ready for the next meal.
  • Sorting Mail - Don't let the mail pile up. Set a time and a place to go through the mail each day. Have a garbage can close by to throw the junk away. Create a filing system to organize bills, statements and other correspondence so important items don't get lost in piles of envelopes.

Weekly Organizing Tasks

  • Cleaning the Car - Cars are one of the most expensive items a family purchases. Treat it like you would your home so that it lasts and so the time you spend in the car is not sullied by fast food wrappers, empty bottles and old newspapers. Pick a time like Sunday mornings to spend even just 15 minutes cleaning out the car, organizing loose change for the toll roads and filing loose papers where they belong.
  • Organizing the Pantry or Refrigerator - It is typical to go grocery shopping every week, but few families spend time taking inventory before going to the grocery store. Taking just ten minutes to organize the refrigerator and/or pantry can save time and money. Taking inventory every week will help accurately determine what items you have, what items you do not and what items you are running out of making your shopping list accurate and your time in the grocery isles focused on finding deals rather than trying to remember what you need.

Monthly Organizing Tasks

  • Balance the checkbook - Take time each month to review your bank accounts, credit cards and bills. Make a note if you are reaching your financial goals and determine if you are on track or if changes in your spending are necessary.
  • Organize the garage - Many families let the garage get out of control and then try to reclaim it in a single day. It is better to set aside an hour each month to straighten up the garage and throw away unneeded items. This way you get to enjoy a clean garage everyday instead of only one week after your yearly garage makeover.

Seasonal Organizing Tasks

  • Wardrobe check - Spend a few hours at the change of each season to send seasonal clothes to storage or the cleaners. Try on everything in question and donate items that don't fit your body or your style. Make room for the new seasons fashions.
  • Kitchen Cabinets - Take time each season to organize kitchen cabinets and drawers. Because the kitchen gets so much use items can easily get misplaced. If your cabinets and drawers are stuffed and you need to make space try placing items in a large box. As you need the items take them out of the box and place them in their proper place in a cabinet or drawer when finished. At the end of the season take note of what is still in the box. The left over items are the best candidates for donating to charity since they were seldom used.

Yearly Organizing Tasks

  • Taxes and files - End each tax season with an organizing session. Throw out records more than seven years old, purge files that are no longer needed like expired car insurance statements and manuals for items you no longer own.
  • Home Organizing - Take time each year to do a complete home overhaul. Go through every room and identify what works and what does not. Decide what is meaningful or useful and what is clutter and purge the clutter.


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