Friday, May 27, 2011

Homeless Items in Your Home

Do you have homeless items lurking in your home? Often when I am working in homes, I'll come across an item and ask, "Where does this go?" I'll get responses like: "Oh, it is used all over the home." or "I don't know - wherever." or "I don't know. Where do you think it should go?"
Even if items float, they should have a final resting place or home. That laptop or notebook can be used in any room, but when not in use, it should have a place to live. Where? Probably on a shelf close to where it is used most often or in a basket near the couch. The phone? When not on your person, it could be near the charger station. I drop mine in my purse ( I don't want to leave home without it). The keys? They can live in a basket or on a hook near the door. I have also had people place them in a bowl that is above eye level (they don't want walk-ins to know where the keys are kept). I keep mine on a hook that is always hooked to my purse. The purse or wallet is another item that is often just dropped down in different locations. Nothing really wrong with always dropping your purse on a certain chair, but it should have a place to go when you are cleaning up. A shelf or hook in the closet could work. Wherever you decide to house an item, it should be a logical place for you when looking for it.
Why do these items need homes? Saving time is one big reason. When cleaning a room, it is great to know exactly where to put each item. It really speeds up the cleaning process. Everyone in the home knows where to look for the item and you don't waste time looking for it either. Another reason is that you are more aware of your space. Having everything put away can show you that items are crowded in the space (maybe that's why item wasn't put away to begin with) and that a tossing session is due.
I would love to hear some of your ideas about where you house items that can often be homeless.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, May 20, 2011

Managing Your Communication Center

Every home should have a communication center. Where you put the communication center is determined by your household. I am single and have my communication center in my office. Many of my clients have the communication center in the kitchen or an eating area just off the kitchen. I've also seen the center in a large mudroom where the family enters the home, a den, and a nook in the living room.
Communication centers are the place where all incoming and outgoing family information is processed. A large calendar is crucial to a family center. When my boys were at home, the rule was, "If it's not on the calendar, it's not happening!" Soccer games and practices, Scout meetings, parent/teacher conferences, church activities, doctor appointments, social events, etc. should be recorded for the whole family to see. A bulletin board for regular scheduled events and rosters is also a big help. Invitations can also be tacked to the board.
The communication center is also a good place for action folders. Action folders are simply folders that are labeled with the action needed for the papers inside the folder. Examples of the labels are: "To do", "To call", "To file", "To read", and "Waiting for." If you have children who often need forms filled out or permission slips signed you could also have a "To sign" folder.
Mail would also be brought to the communication center. Whoever brings in the mail might drop it into a landing basket where the adult in charge would sort it and either trash, shred, recycle or place the mail into the correct action folder.
The communication center should be user friendly for the whole family so there is no more "Mom, where is my permission slip?" or "Did you see the map for the next scout event?".
Maintenance is of key importance to keep the communication center functioning as it should. files should be looked into on a regular basis. Items on the bulletin board should be updated frequently.
I would love to hear some examples of how you use your communication center.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, May 13, 2011

Master Bedroom Zone

If you are following along with the zone plan, this is a good month to organize and clean the master bedroom. As you work in this area, moving into the summer season, you can really evaluate all of your clothes to see if they still are what you love and what you need.
Start with your vision for this room. How do you want the room to look and how do you want to feel when you are in this area? I want my room to have a soothing, calming look. I like soft light yet enough light to read by. I want my clothes all to have designated places where I can get dressed easily in the morning but I don't see them.
I am allowing myself 3 weeks to organize this room. Recently I had some redecorating done to make the room feel more peaceful and intimate. Now it is my turn to get into the room with an action plan and make it work.
This week I will work on the wall with the closet and long dresser. I will empty them and sort all of my clothes. I will purge anything that no longer fits me, anything that is torn or stained, and anything I no longer love or need. I will take all off season clothes and move them to another location and pull in any summer clothes I have stored elsewhere. While the closet and dresser are empty, I will give them a good cleaning.
Next week I will work on the wall with the bed, window, two small tables as well as the wall to the left of the bed that has no furniture. I will also clean the fan that hangs above the bed. During this week I will evaluate all reading materials that have stacked up on the tables. If they have hung out there for a while and not been read, it is time to move them on out. I will also clean all the bed linens including the duvet cover and mattress pad.
The last week I will do the wall with the tall dresser and some art work. I will pull all the clothes out of that dresser and see what stays and what goes.
For my reward for finishing this project, I will go shopping with a friend to replace some of those tired items that I threw away. I will buy fresh flowers and just stand back and admire my peaceful, well-organized room.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Moving Tips

Moving can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. It is great to envision the new home and environment. It is more than a little daunting to think of packing up everything and getting it to that new home.
When envisioning the new environment, take the time to think how you want your new home to look and feel. Now, walk around your current home. Are there items in your home that do not support that vision? This is the time to ruthlessly get rid of everything you no longer need, love, or doesn't support your vision. You certainly don't want to take the time or expense to pack items that you will dispose of at the other end.
When you have pared your possessions down to what you are going to move, take an inventory. Take pictures or videos of the rooms and put together a file of warranties, receipts and owner's manuals so that you can trouble shoot if something goes missing or is lost.
Also start a brightly colored folder or container to hold all information concerning this move. Use it to hold estimates, receipts, and your inventory. You may also want to use this same folder/container to put all vital records in as well as medical and school records. This folder will travel with you and not be packed.
Develop a timetable of things to do leading up to your move. Post it and check things off as you go along. You should start this timetable at least 2 months before the actual move date. One of the first items will be to select a mover or look into truck-rental prices.
Don't forget to list items like mailing change of address forms, notifying banks, insurance companies,credit card companies, and utilities, and having your car inspected and serviced. If you take medication, be sure you have enough to last a couple of weeks.
If you are using a rental truck, get it the evening before the move so you can take some time to familiarize yourself with the operation and handling of the truck. If you are using a moving company, on the day of the move make sure that the truck that shows up is from the moving company you hired. Scams do happen. Plan to be home the entire time it takes the movers to get you packed and loaded. Before the movers leave, sign and keep a copy of the mover's bill of landing/inventory list.
Enjoy your new home!

See my video for more information.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer