Thursday, June 28, 2012

Impulse Spending = Clutter

You need some face powder. Your favorite brand is having a sale. You spend so much (about $10 more than the face powder) and you get this lovely cosmetic bag filled with free samples. You think - "I could use another lipstick."- so off you go happily to the cosmetic section of your favorite store. Now, you have your powder, a lipstick you don't need, and a bag with cosmetics that were not on your needs list. Hmmm. That is not a terrible thing, until you put your bag in your bathroom closet and notice that you have about 10 other bags there - mostly full - of previous "free" gifts.

You go to your favorite clothing store. They are having a sale. If you buy two shirts the next one is free or 1/2 off the regular price. Lovely! You bring the shirts home and try to squeeze them into your closet. You notice that you have quite a few shirts already in the closet with tags still on them. Oh, and you found a pair of shoes that fit you perfectly and were soooo cute. So you bought them in 5 colors.

You go to the grocery store. You have a coupon that will give you $1.00 off if you buy 10 cans of soup. You can also buy one bag of salad and get the next one free and there is a package of 25 rolls of toilet paper that looks like such a bargain!

Are we getting the picture here? Don't buy what you don't need or love.

Don't stockpile foods that you don't have room to store or that will pass its expiration date before you use the items. Having enough space to put your purchases away without crowding allows you to keep an inventory of what you have. It will also prevent waste and buying items because you have lost track of what you already have in stock.

Don't buy items unless you know how you're are going to use them and where you are going to put them. Impulse spending leads to disorganization and clutter, not to mention a strain on your pocketbook.

Think before buying that next great item.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, June 22, 2012

Flying Solo - Organizing Your First Home

How exciting it is to have your first home! How scary it is to have your first home!

When a child leaves the nest and "flies solo" for the first time, what does he need to know? Diane Quintana has an excellent book, Flying Solo: A Guide To Organizing Your Home When You Leave Your Parent's Nest. In this book she covers organizing the move, space, kitchen, budget, papers, and time.

Should the child rent or buy? What might a landlord require? What utilities will he need to deal with? What is the basic amount of furniture he will need in order to be comfortable, and how will he fit the furniture into a small place?

Once the child has found the place, how does he arrange it? How does  he go about moving what he already has? What room should he set up first?

Setting up a budget is crucial. Living within the budget is even more crucial. What are some ways to go about setting up the budget and keeping track of bills and personal spending?

Then there is the organization of all the paperwork that comes with living. Where does the daily influx of mail go? What kinds of files are needed? What has to be kept and what can be thrown away? Where does he keep all of this paperwork in a small home.

And probably the most important of all is the organization of time. Some things simply must be scheduled first - going to a job/and or school. Learning to prioritize what needs to be done and to be aware of how long it takes to do tasks takes work. Many people forget to schedule transition times. Also important are making long term plans and effectively using a calendar.

Diane covers all of this and more in her book. She also includes helpful checklists.

If you live in the Atlanta area and know someone getting ready to start off on their own, gather them up and bring them to our workshop July 20th at 10:00. The workshop will be held at SpaceMakers in Alpharetta, GA. Contact me (404-299- 5111 or for more information or to register.

P.S. It is also a helpful workshop if you are thinking of moving or struggling with any of the above issues.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bathroom Organization

If you are working on the zone plan, this is the month to work on your bathrooms. I have only one small bathroom, so I include in this zone a linen closet that is in the hall right outside the bathroom.Start by defining your zones in the bathroom.

Make the medicine cabinet a place where you store items you need and use regularly. This will probably mean that your grooming supplies are in this area. I have an electric razor and charger, deodorant, perfume, lotion, q-tips and cotton balls in small containers, comb and brush, band aids, toothpaste, dental floss, and eye drops.

I have my medicines in bins on a shelf in the linen closet. Some families store their medicines in the kitchen. Either place, this keeps moisture from ruining them. I sort my medicines according to type and use and place them in multiple bins. One bin is for outdoors and contains items like bug spray, suntan lotion, Benadryl cream, and Neosporin. Another bin holds Tylenol, aspirin, and cold/allergy medicines.Yet another bin holds larger items like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and mouthwash.

While sorting the medicines, get rid of old expired items. Do not toss medicines in the trash and never flush them because they will get into our water system. The DEA offers a bi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day whir occurs around April and October. The next one is September 29, 2012. Check the website late n August to locate collection sites nearby. Go to Click on Got Drugs for more information on the National Take Back Initiative. Some pharmacies will also take back expired drugs.

Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays, and all items you use to fix your hair can be housed in a container under the sink. As you organize this tub, toss or donate those products that you purchased but are not using.

An extra roll of toilet paper and personal hygiene items as well as some cleaning products can also be stored in the under the sink area. This is where you would store items used regularly.

Drawers in the bathroom are a good place to store cosmetics. Sort and categorize your makeup so that you have like with like. For example, all eye products are stored in one compartment. As you sort your cosmetics, throw out items that are expired, do not look right, or that you just don't like anymore. As I don't have drawers, I use containers in my linen closet for my cosmetics.

I also use my linen closet for my towels, hand-towels, and wash-clothes. If you don't have a closet you may need to use towel hooks or shelving in your bathroom. Over the toilet shelving is a great place to store bath towels and wash-cloths.

The bathroom is usually a small, busy room so keep clutter to a minimum. Keep counters as clear as possible. Store duplicates of items elsewhere or in the back of a deep shelf. be ruthless about throwing out items. You don't really need 5 partial bottles of shampoo or 6 sample soaps that are gathering dust.

When you have your bathroom organized, work on a maintenance schedule to keep it that way and again a year from now go through the big organizing/decluttering process. 

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer