Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Organizing Storage Containers

Grouping like items together in containers makes an area look so much neater, not to mention that it makes it a lot easier to locate items. For example, pulling down a labeled container of spices is so much easier than pulling out the individual containers of spices until you find the one you need. Pulling out a labeled container of office supplies is much easier than having a bunch of loose items on a shelf. You get my drift.

Now, let's discuss these containers. When clients want to organize, one of the first things they want to do is run to the store and to buy pretty containers. Do. Not. Do. This.

First decide what is going to be grouped in the container. Cull out any duplicates or unneeded items. Now you can see the quantity and size. Next, decide where this container will live. Measure the space. Now you know the maximum dimension of that container. You may need two smaller ones instead of one large one.

Decide if you want the container to be attractive or does it just have to be utilitarian. Now, you are ready to shop.

Don't get into the mindset that items stored in the bathroom have to be stored in "bathroom" containers or items in the office need to be stored in "office" containers. Shop around in all sections.

I have seen Lego containers that cost four times as much as kitchen containers of the same size. I have seen office containers that are perfect for storing short sharp knives. And don't forget to shop from your home first. That bread basket might be just the thing to hold some rarely used kitchen gadgets. The plastic shoe box is very versatile. Inexpensive leftover food containers make great containers.

I would love to hear about some of your favorite container ideas.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dream Folders

While helping clients declutter and organize paperwork, I often come across brochures, newspaper clippings, or magazine articles on various topics. These papers accumulate on desktops or counter tops and don't seem to have any real "home." Most of these have been read but are papers the client still wants to keep. The clients just don't quite know where to put them. So they lay about, "just for now."

I suggest that these papers are organized by topics and then stored in dream folders/notebooks or topic folders/notebooks. Some topics I often see on counters are: financial advice, home decorating ideas, landscaping ideas, vacation ideas, health/exercise topics, and recipes. If there are a lot of recipes, I suggest making folders or notebook dividers for each category (i.e. appetizers, soups, main dishes, etc.) Sometimes the clients are researching on bigger projects like a daughter's wedding or a retirement home. A better solution to bigger projects are project bins with internal folders.

The idea of the folders is to keep the paper clutter corralled and off the desk/counter top surfaces and to organize the paper so that it can easily be reviewed. I keep my folders on a shelf in a bookcase. They can also be kept in a file drawer or box. At least once a year, skim through these dream folders. Then you can note what still interests you while tossing the rest. you may even find that you have implemented some of the ideas and now no longer need the original inspiration.

So, gather up your papers and make your dream folders. Enjoy those dreams and make them happen.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

It's almost Valentine's Day! This is the time we show special people how much we care about them. Depending where you are and where you are in your life, you may receive just a few cards and gifts or a ton.

If you have small children, they will make you gifts and cards. If you are a teacher, you will receive cards from your students. You might have a secret pal give you gifts at work. Special friends may send you fun cards. A special someone in your life may give you a card and a gift.


Now, let's think of someone 60+ years of age. What if they kept every card, every gift, every dried flower or deflated balloon? Wow! That would be overpowering.

I have heard clients say, "But, my friends made these things for me. My friends put a lot of thought into these gifts. I love the reminders that people care for me."

This is a very personal decision, but I am pretty sure you don't want to dedicate a whole room to storing these items.

Consider these options:
  1. Chose the most special mementos - like the year your son wrote his own special poem in the card or your mother wrote you a special note - then box them up in a lovely box and label them. Put them away on a shelf and revisit them once a year.
  2. Spread out your favorite gifts and cards and take a picture of them. Then let them go.
  3. Make a collage of the best cards and bring it out for decoration each Valentine's Day.
  4. Pass on old cards to schools or nursing homes so that they can re-purpose them in projects.
Keep in mind that if you toss out a card that your mother or child gave you 25 years ago, you are not tossing out the person or the love for that person. By all means keep a couple of cards, but not all.

Letting go of some of the memorabilia will clear up space for more happy memories to come your way.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spare Bedroom - Place for Guests or Dumping Spot?

I use a zone plan to organize and declutter my home. In January, I tackled the office zone and in February, I follow up with the spare bedroom zone. This makes sense in my home because the spare bedroom is used as offsite storage for my office. While cleaning out files in my office, some of the files end up dumped on the dresser in that spare bedroom. Now this area looks cluttered to me and demands attention.

My spare bedroom is also used as a place for guests to stay, a location to store my memorabilia, and storage for some off season or rarely worn clothing. My vision for this room is to have an open and inviting space for guests. I also want to have all items stored in this location easily accessible.

During this month I will clean out and reorganize the closet. Files will be updated and some truly archival files will head for the attic. I will toss out items that I have saved but now feel I do not need or love. I will clean out every drawer in the dresser and designate zones within the drawers so that each drawer has its purpose. All of this activity will open up space for any new items.

By the end of the month, I will have this spare bedroom matching my vision for the upcoming year. I will celebrate by putting fresh flowers on the dresser.

For help in setting up your zones, purchase my workbook - From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home (http://wwwtimespaceorgcom/order_bookphp)  Also watch for a newsletter telling about upcoming teleclasses on zoning and organizing your home.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer