Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scavenger Hunt

What do these items have in common? They are all items I have been asked for in a hurry in the last week. I was able to put my hands on them within minutes. The item that needed to be glued- was glued incorrectly and quickly needed tweezers to pull out the incorrectly glued item; the band-aid for a worker who cut his finger; the scissors to cut a bag open; the screwdriver to repair something my neighbor needed were all easy to find because they all have homes and I know where they live.
Here is a challenge for you. In 10 minutes or less could you find the following: house keys, tweezers, pen, your checkbook, glasses, a AA battery, needle nose pliers, your birth certificate, your passport, the instructions for your iPod, medical records, umbrella, camera, safety pins, sales receipt for your printer, spare light bulbs, car registration, your last year's tax returns, your favorite soup recipe?
Clutter can cost you time, money, your job, your reputation, your space, your creativity, your relationships, your peace of mind, and your health. If you have clutter in your life, now is the time to do something about it.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Defining Room Zones

When you are organizing a room or area, it helps to divide the area into zones. First make a list of all the things that are done or stored in that area. Then mark off an area for that activity zone and place all appropriate items into that zone area. Resist putting items somewhere just because they "fit."
In my workshop I have zones for gardening, painting, entertaining, sports, home repair, recycling.
I try to place my zones so that the ones I use the most are near the door. The gardening/yard zone is the first zone on the left. I use items from this zone weekly and it is my largest zone. Some large items are on the floor like the lawn mower and wheel barrow. I try to keep all other items either hanging or on shelves.
The painting zone is on the left but far back into the corner. I may only go to this zone once a year.
Straight back on the back wall is my entertainment zone. I use this area two or three times a year. The croquet set is next to the entertainment zone and my bike is leaning up against the work bench on the right wall. (my sports zone- not very sporty)
On the right, nearest the door is the electronic recycling zone. I will go to this area about every week as I pick up recyclables from my clients.
Just beyond that on the work bench is my home repair zone. I have my basic tools there and underneath the bench is wood. I will also place items here that need repair.
This same zone plan idea will work for any room. Just think of all the activities that happen in the room and lay out your zones. Then keep what you need for those activities in the zone.
This helps you know where items belong and makes it easier to put items away.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sort and Purge

When working on an organizational project, the first steps are to sort and purge. Take all items that are related and put them together. When organizing and cleaning my workshop, I took all painting materials and put them in one pile. I put all yard maintenance material together. All household tools are in a pile and all items stored for outdoor entertaining are grouped together. Sports items are together. All items being held for electronic recycling are grouped together.
One of the big advantages of grouping the like items together is that you see where you have duplicates or items that are no longer being used. I somehow ended up with 3 ladders. I need 2 because they are different heights but 2 of the ladders are very similar in heights so I am purging the shortest one. I ended up with about 5 drop clothes- 2 were purged. I had 2 pruners- one not very sharp so it went.
Purging means the item goes away. It does not necessarily mean it is thrown away. Of my purged items, some were thrown away, some were given away, and some simply really belonged in the house.
Now it is easy to determine the different zones in my workshop and to return all items to the proper place.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Decatur Book Festival

This past weekend was the Decatur Book Festival. I look forward to this event every year. This year I was in the booth - Get Organized! - with 3 other organizers. This gave us a chance to sell our books, sign up people to participate in our upcoming workshop (From Vision to Victory Workshop- at Eagle Eye Book Shop- Sept. 11, 18, & 25), give information about our services, and for those who visited our booth and were interested in organizing - give them passes to our next NAPO meeting.
Every year I enjoy talking with all of the people who stop to look at our before/after pictures, share their organizational challenges or victories, talk about book ideas they have, or ask questions about our NAPO organization or the Atlanta Hoarding group. I always end up meeting people who become new friends and colleagues.
It is also fun to go around and visit the other booths. I love to see the new books that are out and some of the products concerning the books. Other authors are in their booths and enjoy chatting about their books.
And as with any festival, there is all of that good food and good food smells, the sound of people talking and laughing,and the children's parades. The festival ended with the Zydeco band and some great dancing by the gazebo.
I am already looking forward to next year.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Workshop/Garage Zone

September is getting a little cooler and a good time to focus on the workshop or garage zone. I do not have a garage but much of what is in my workshop would be stored in a garage if I had one - except for a car and most people with garages don't use them for their cars anyways. I work on this zone once a year but during the year a lot of stuff seams to just get dropped there. Part of the problem is that I have in the past few years used my workshop to temporarily store items I have picked up from clients for the twice a year electronic recycling event in Decatur.
Now, since I have done this about 3 years, I think it is definitely time I set aside a special holding zone for these items. If I don't then the items end up getting dumped on the work area near the tools. We all know what happens if something is left lying out. It breeds. The next thing you know the whole area is covered with items. The paint job you just finished- why walk clear across the workshop to put the paint and materials where they belong- just drop them by the recycling material "just for now."
Except for the recycling, I do have assigned zones. I have a yard tools zone for large and small tools and my ladders. I have a zone for fertilizer, soil, rocks and garden accessories. I have a zone for paint and painting materials. I have a zone for baskets and containers for plants or gifts. I have a zone for furniture that I use for parties. I have a zone for tools. I have a zone for extra wood and materials. I have a zone for nails, screws, brads, etc. I have an assigned place for the shop vac, the lawnmower, the wheelbarrow, and my bike.
Every year, I pull all of the stuff out of my workshop. I sweep and dust out the place and replace every thing back into its place. If something is broken or no longer loved or used (like that weed eater that always breaks down on me) , I toss it or give it away. If I have duplicates that I don't need, I give them away.
I love the way the workshop looks after it is all organized and clean.
To reward myself this year, I think I will hop on my bike and ride to Decatur for an iced coffee.
Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer