Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pet Organization

I have two cats. Many of my clients have pets as well - cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, even chickens.

Pets can cause almost as much clutter as children. What can we do to help organize this clutter?

  • Food - Designate one area to store your pets' food. Restrict your buying so that you do not have more food than will fit in that space. If you have dry food, it is a good idea to store the food in plastic containers. This helps keep the food fresh and keeps bugs out of the food. If you use cans of food, make sure you rotate the food, putting the most recently purchased food in the back.
  • Litter and bedding or cage material - Designate one area to store these materials and do not buy more material than will fit in this area.
  • Grooming materials - Keep these together in a container near where you use them. If you groom your pets while you are sitting on the sofa, have your materials stored nearby.
  • Meds - Keep pet meds in one container and have it well labeled. This might be in your kitchen area or in your bathroom.
  • Leads, leashes, and "poop bags" - Store these near the door. They can hang on hooks or roll up in a drawer or container.
  • Treats - Store them where you use them. Keep backups in one area of your pantry so that you know at a glance how many types and  the amount you have.
  • Toys - Toys get scattered throughout the house as the pets play with them. Have one container to toss them in when cleaning. I like to keep only a few toys active at a time while others are held in reserve in a closet to rotate out when the pets get bored.
  • Time - Pets take extra time so you will need to reorganize your schedule to accommodate them. Allow time for walks or play time, time for grooming, time for cleaning litter boxes or cages, time for feeding and refreshing water. Put these tasks on a regular schedule and you won't have to worry about when to do them.
Living with pets, like living with children, means that your home will rarely be perfect. Accept that and know that this is just part of the price you pay for the enjoyment of your animal friends.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Monday, February 17, 2014

Organize Your Greeting Cards

Another holiday that involves greeting cards has come and gone. Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day will soon be here. And, of course, all through the year there are cards for birthdays, anniversaries, births, deaths, graduations, moving, coping, congratulations, and thank you situations.

How do you handle this need for cards?
  • Buy as you need them. This is a good system if you are short on storage space and are organized enough to get out there early enough to find the perfect card and mail it on time.
  • Buy as you need them, but also have an eye out for that perfect card for someone special.
  • Buy cards that appeal to you when you see them - you can never find the perfect one when you really want it.
  • Buy when you see good ones. Really stock up when there are sales. After holidays are good times to buy for the next year.
Now the difficulty with some of these methods is that you end up with a plethora of cards. And you still might not have that "perfect" card for a special person - so you go out and buy more. Perhaps (gasp!) you don't even have all of your cards in one place and you know you might have a good one but you just don't have the time to look for it now - so, off to the store.

However you handle obtaining cards, I'm willing to bet that all of us have some greeting cards in our homes. So, how do you organize them to find what you want when you need it?

  • First, gather together all of the greeting cards you have.
  • Sort them - like with like. All birthday cards in one stack, all anniversary cards in another stack, etc.
  • Throw out any ratty cards or ones you really don't want to send.
  • Find a container for your cards and a place to store the container - preferably somewhere near where you are likely to write and address the cards.
  • Now, place your cards by categories into that container. You might use an accordion file or large envelopes to hold your categories. A lot depends on how many cards you have. You might even have a second container for holiday cards. The rule should be that you have no more cards than will comfortably fit in that container.
The next time you need a card, first shop in your container. If you don't find one you can use, then go to the store. But, remember; don't buy any more cards than will fit into your container.

As an extra bonus, I also like to keep special postage stamps in an envelope in the same container as the cards.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Are You Ready for a Romantic Evening? Organizing Tips!

If you trip over piles of shoes while entering your front door or have papers cascading off your coffee table, your living room is not ready for prime time romance. If your dining area has projects, bills, and used plates and silverware on the table and stacks of clothes on the floor, you are not ready for that romantic meal. If your bedroom has stacks of books, magazines, clothes, and collections on every surface, you are not ready for that special night.

Take a clear look at your living room, dining room, and bedroom. Envision how you want these areas to look. How do you want to feel in these areas? What is the real purpose of these zones?

Now, remove everything from the zones that does not match your vision. Have a specific place for every item that belongs in the rooms and then put them there. If you do not have enough space, consider letting some items go or temporarily storing them elsewhere until you can make a storage plan.

Now, clean and polish those newly exposed surfaces. Put out some flowers and candles.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Using the Zone Plan to Organize Your Home: The Spare Bedroom

I like to declutter and clean my home using the zone plan. Each month I work in a different zone in my home. In January, I tackled the office zone and in February, I follow up with the spare bedroom zone. Why is that a follow up? I use this room as my offsite storage for my office. In January, I took all overflow items from my office and placed them in the spare bedroom. Now, this room is screaming for organization and clearing of clutter.

My spare bedroom is used as a place for guests to stay, a storage area for memorabilia, my offsite office storage, as well as some storage in the dresser for off season or rarely worn clothes. As I have recently moved, my zones are a little confused. I want this room to look open and inviting to my guests. I also want all of my storage items easy to locate.

During this month, I will clean out every drawer in the dresser. I will designate zones within the drawers so that each drawer will have a function. I will also pull every box and file from the closet. I put in an elfa closet system when I moved in so the space is maximized. Still some of the older files are truly archival and can now be moved to the attic. Quite a few files can be deeply purged. This will open up some space for items to come in throughout the year.

By the end of the month, I will have this spare bedroom zone the way I want it to look and feel for another year. Then next February I will tackle it again.

For help setting up your zones, purchase my workbook - From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home. This book is available on my website - www.timespaceorg.com.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer