Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Health Hazards of Living and Working in Clutter




Recently I have had several of my clients cancel sessions because of respiratory problems and, yes, this may be an allergy but it could also be due to dust, dander, and even mold in stacks of papers and items throughout the house. I recently had some respiratory difficulties after working over five hours in a home with papers that had been scraped off the floor in another room. I could see hair, dust, and some trash mixed in with the papers. It is my own fault that I did not stop then to get out my gloves and mask.

Unless you clean your home on a regular basis, the clutter gathers dust. When you have piles of "stuff" you are not likely to move them in order to clean. This accumulated dust can cause lung irritation and allergy flair ups. Stacks of boxes that block vents also cause poor air circulation and lack of filtering the air.

I've also unpacked boxes of papers that have been stored so long there was evidence of black mold on the papers or books. You certainly don't want to breathe in mold and sometimes the papers are important ones that need to be kept.

Another health hazard I have come across is animal feces. If it is difficult for animals to get out the door or get to a cat box they are more likely to use the floor or go on the items stacked on the floor. Once an area is marked, animals will continue to use this space as their latrine.

Bugs and even rodents also love clutter. Mounds of material and paper make great nests. Bugs love paper boxes that have been stored on the floor for long periods of time. The presence of bugs and rodents is not a good combination for good health.

Tripping accidents and fire are also hazards I have observed. It's hard to navigate around piles of clutter and I had a client narrowly escape a fire in her home because of the clutter. Trying to navigate your way out of a smoke filled home with only pathways to walk is a very scary experience.

And while this is not as obvious, stress of living with clutter can affect health.

The bottom line here is that even if you are not close to staring in a hoarding episode, clutter can eventually harm your health. It's amazing how much better you will feel once you have your clutter under control.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Let's Throw a Party!

During the holidays chances are that you are either throwing a party or are a part of setting up a party. It might be a large Thanksgiving gathering, a choir or work party, a cookie exchange, or a gala New Year Eve party.

Since I love to give parties, over the years I have developed a plan that lets me enjoy my own parties. The plan involves backwards planning and looks like this:
  • Start with your vision. What is the purpose of this party? Where is it held? How will it look and feel if it turns out perfectly? Look over each component of the party and see it clearly - the local, the food, the people, the ambiance.
  • Choose a date for this event. Then at least six weeks out develop your guest list and send a save the date email followed by the actual invitation.
  • Take each component and decide what needs to happen for the vision to come true. For example, if the party is held in your home and it is a Christmas party, you see your home decorated and set up for the party. Make a list of every detail that needs attention between now and the party. If there is a decorated Christmas tree in your party space you will list decorating the tree, bringing out your decorations, putting up the tree, buying the tree - probably on four different days.
  • Develop your timeline. Put all the tasks on your calendar. Now follow your plan.
If you follow your plan you never have to worry about if you have time to get ready. If you are interested in the timeline I have developed for my Holiday 2017 party just contact me at jonda@timespaceorg.com and request it. You can see how I blocked out times for baking and most of one weekend before the party to prepare the house. This is what it takes to make my vision come true.
Enjoy!



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Organizing Your Kitchen

Every October I declutter and reorganize my kitchen. I know that the next few months will involve a lot of holiday cooking and I want my kitchen to be at its best. There are a lot of food drives around this time of year and it gives me a chance to clear out any foods that I have overstocked or bought on a whim and not used. This opens up space for holiday supplies.

I like to work in my kitchen so I want it to be an inviting place that is uncluttered. I want open countertops that are ready for food prep or rolling out cookies or pie dough. I want all my basic stored foods and spices organized and fresh so that I can easily put my hand on what I want without missing a beat. I want to be happy in this warm space.

I look at my kitchen as it is now and see what I can streamline to open up more space. I only want on my counter tops the items I use daily and even some of them can be tucked away under the counter. For example, I use my coffee grinder once a day but it is light and easy to shift off the counter for more space.

Next I go to my cabinets. Am I really using all of the pots and pans stored there? Are some taking up space just because I once used them? And then all of those food storage containers - do they have matching lids? I like to use the glass containers but will put to the back of the cabinet some plastic ones that I can pull out to send home food with visitors. I will keep to the front the ones I use weekly.

In my food pantry I organize my foods by type. I have all my canned vegetables in one row, my soups in another, any canned meats or fruits in their rows. One shelf is for snack food and I like to put some of those in open containers that can be pulled out and then replaced. I also sore most of the cat food on a different shelf in the pantry along with some staples. As I am organizing I  am pulling out what to toss or donate.

I review my serving pieces to see if I am still using all of them. As I work I wipe out each shelf before putting back items.

During this month I also clean out my refrigerator/freezer, my oven, my stove, and my microwave. I make a list of all the tasks to complete for me to call the kitchen zone "done". Then I divide the list into four weeks and post it on my fridge. I put times on my calendar to work on each task and then cross them off when they are complete.

By the end of the month my kitchen is ready for anything I want to tackle over the holidays and I'll even have some room for a few holiday decorations.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer