How to set up an Organized Home: Your Landing Strip

how to set up an organized home

 

An organized home has 4 important components for living an easy, organized life.  These areas are zones that help you accomplish the basics: being on time, feeling in control by knowing where things are and working together as a family team. These components will make life better! The first step is having an organized landing strip where you leave and arrive home.

 

Coming and going, if it’s only you or you and your family, happens every day all day.  Why not make it easy to get in your home and get out?  Take the stress out of daily life by organizing this area that can be congested and chaotic.  Here’s the parts you need for an organized landing strip.

  • Set up by the entry
  • Drop spot for backpacks
  • Key holder
  • Shoe organizer
  • Hooks for your and your kids bags

 

Set up your landing strip by the location you come and go most frequently. It’s can be the hallway right inside the garage door, by the front door or by an area adjacent to your entry.  This follows the concept of placing items at point of use.

 

Drop spot for bags and backpacks

Life includes bags of all types. Your kids have school backpacks and bags for sports, dance or other activities. Hooks or slots fo all these bags give each of these an organized, specific spot for each.  Keeping these off the floor creates better traffic flow.  This is also the spot for your purse or manbag.  That way you always know where it is and where your credit cards and wallet are.

 

Key holder

A key holder is a happy place to keep your keys.  There’s nothing more frustrating and emotional than losing the expensive keys to your vehicle. A key holder is the organized spot for these.  What’s even more fun is choosing a key holder you love that makes you smile as you see it.  Here’s what else is on this organizer: neighbor’s keys and mailbox keys. Place this key holder near the door again for best access.

 

Shoe organizer

Many of us come into our home and remove our shoes. Our shoes carry lots of dirt and bacteria so it’s what we want to do to keep our homes clean.  A shoe drop area is perfect to keep your shoes organized.  It’s especially important for families for shoe organization.  The shoe drop area can be a basket, vertical grid with openings, a drawer or any product.  Your shoe organizer can be just organized enough or highly organized.  Shoe organizing requires maintenance too!  Once a month review what’s here and what needs to make it back to the closet.

shoe organizer grid

 

Hooks

Because the landing strip is often in a hallway, decorative hooks make organizing happen.  The hooks should be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the bags or your purse.

 

Pull your landing strip together with color and design.  Choose coordinating items that work together for an attractive combination.

Help the kids get ready for school with a bag packing and unpacking station.

Photo courtesy of IKEA

 

More ideas on landing strips and home organizing here on my blog!

Marie Kondo, Tidying up, Decluttering and Organizing

 

marie kondo and tidying up

Before the Netflix hit, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, there was Clean Sweep and Mission Organization.  Television has been showing the process, emotions and benefits of organizing since 2003. It’s not surprising that we have a fascination with getting organized.

  • 67% of people say they would save 30 minutes a day if they were organized
  • When people organized, they feel accomplished, in control, confident and relaxed.
  • The top 2 reasons people don’t organize is that they feel overwhelmed and don’t have the time.

What is most fascinating about th buzz created by this new series.

  • Donations have skyrocked, up to 60% more donations to Goodwill stores.
  • From the Washington Post: Millennials texted friends photos of their newly neat sock drawers and makeup trays, and posted them on Instagram. Furloughed government workers spent their time off sifting through closets and lugging shopping bags of clothes to consignment shops. Auction houses got calls from consumers desperate to get unwanted furniture out of their living rooms; consignment shops filled up appointment slots weeks into the future.
  • Couples are watching together and decluttering their homes together. That’s a powerful moment for connections and family goals.

 

It’s what we call what we do “tidying up”

It’s not decluttering, editing, or purging. It’s called tidying up.  That gentle description of what we do when we let go brings meaning to our work.  Our national buzz about tidying empowers us with a positive, approachable, strategy.  Rather than being overwhelmed, we have hope to make positive, joyful changes in our environments. There is not shame or judgement with this zen approach.  Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” approach gives us a big reason to make changes in our nests.

 

Inspiration, motivation, and actionable decluttering are the best reasons and benefits.

The series has been a cheerleader for many people in many ways.  It is bringing together groups who serve as encouragers for each other to spur on decluttering using social media group texts, instagram and hashtags. Families have conversations and support each other’s efforts in letting go of stuff in their home.  There is a gentle encouragement, outward support and strong conviction in getting started, dropping off and organizing stuff that remains.

 

Thank you Marie Kondo for making tidying up a great start to the new year! Let’s hope the series continues to inspire us to make positive changes in our homes and lives all year long.

Decluttering and tidying is a journey. It’s a routine that we incorporate. How do we keep our inspiration and motivation going?  Be sure you have time each week to do the work. Be sure you keep inspired with the benefits of your new lifestyle. And be sure you bring into your home and keep only what brings you joy.

 

 

How many clothes do I need?

How many clothes do I need

 

I am asked this question a lot by my clients. How many clothes do you need per person in your home?  How many clothes do I need? It’s not an easy answer.

  • Too many clothes can cause chaos in your home.  Having too many clothes makes it difficult to get ready in the morning, aka “I have nothing to wear, but my closet is full.”
  • If your laundry is overwhelming, it’s probably because you own too many clothes. Laundry is never complete and you have a mountain to do.  Laundry can become a priority because no one has underwear too even when you have 14 pairs of undies.
  • Think of the money you can save if you knew the number of clothes to purchase.  Purchasing just what yo need could save you money.
  • So, just how many clothes do you need per person? See what you think after I share my experiment with my client.

 

Here’s what Organizing and Decluttering Blogs say

I searched many blogs for the answer to how many clothes.  If you are a minimalist, perhaps just owning fewer clothes is your first step. Owning less is an easy option to start.  If you turn your hangers around to see what you wear, you can see how much you don’t wear. To save money, a specific list works well. That list could be a starting point to let go of extra clothes.  A coordinated capsule wardrobe minimizes the number of clothes and maximizes your style potential. You will be excited to get ready each day when you know everything in your closet matches.

 

Here’s what followers on Facebook say

I posted this question to my Facebook followers. How many clothes do I need?  Most comments included “depending on your activities.”  More activities, then more clothes.  Some commented on their own capsule wardrobes.  Many commented that they let clothes go each season.  What I learned from my Facebook followers is that the number of clothes you need is not a constant and depends on what your activities are.

 

Here’s what a client and I did

How many clothes does a mom need? My client and I decided on an experiment. Our goal was to simplify her laundry. It had become overwhelming.  We took 5 (yes, just 5) of each item (shirts, pants, exercise, dresses, undies) in her closet to keep and placed the remainder in bags in her garage. Our experiment was to keep these bags in the garage for a month to see if she retrieved any clothes and how many she needed.  Here’s how we started. We went through her clothes piece by piece and place what we were keeping in a laundry basket. When we were complete, there were 2 baskets of clothes.  Immediately she felt relieved.  She had struggled with laundry for quite a while. Right away she knew she had plenty to wear and that everything she wore would fit and be what she loved.  She is enjoying the freedom from taking care of too many things. Then she did the same for her husband!

What’s the result of our experiment?

  • Less stress because of less laundry
  • Clothes are put away in closets and drawers
  • More time to play with her kiddos
  • Plenty to wear each day

When you think of how many clothes you need, drill down to what you need to wear and how many you need. It’s life changing!  Take home this experiment and see what you think is the number of clothes you need.

 

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Hugs and Happy Organizing: Study and Office

Hugs and happy organizing

 

There’s a space in all homes where it becomes the drop zone. It’s where all the items that have no home go, just so these are not in your living room or bedroom. This space has potential for many different uses and it’s up to us to create a functional areas here.   This is a Hugs and Happy Organizing story about a space designated for a study.

This client’s space had become a drop zone, that being unused space for for quite a while.  It’s been where papers and photos that had no home go, just to sit.  Piles were piling up, books were sitting on the floor, and crafts were sitting unsused.  In just 3 hours, we were able to reclaim the space for a study for her husband. Here’s what we did.

 

  • First, the client decided exactly what this space is to be used for, that being a study.  It’s where her husband will work on accelerated virtual learning. That let us know what would be needed in this space to accomplish this task.
  • Starting with the floor, we went through the piles.  The piles were an assortment of different papers.
  • Some of the piles were her kiddo’s art work from school from the last few years. We decided what to keep, what to photograph and what to let go.  This precious artwork will be stored in a portfolio in her daughter’s room.
  • There was an accumulation of mail that needed to be shredded.
  • Books were replaced on an amazing lawyer’s bookshelf.
  • We edited, shredded, and sent items on their way.
  • We consolidated office supplies into drawers for easy access.

The result is an amazing space that is ready for study!  It all came down to getting started, working efficiently and knowing what the end results should be for the desired use.

 

If you have a space that has gotten away from you, it’s collecting paper instead of being used, now is the time to get started.

 

More Hugs and Happy Organizing stories here!

 

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball (Decluttering After A Flood)

#KingwoodStrong

 

When life throws you a curve ball, you learn to organize the balls!  When you are going through a crisis, such as our recent flood, your resilience comes into play. There may be a continuum of coping mechanisms. Your response to the situation can be a range of emotions.  Here’s a bit of what you might be feeling, doing and experiencing when decluttering after an unexpected situation such as recent flooding.   This is a continuation of life in Kingwood after the 2017 flood, better known as #KingwoodStrong.

Going through the initial decluttering experience

When you’re going through a flood, there were most likely people helping you.  People showed up to support and encourage you. However, you’re in such a state of shock and so overwhelmed you may not be aware of what is being let go of.  The goal seems to be to just get rid of things.  There’s a lot of damage to your stuff and your property and you are not sure of what to let go of. Those around you may be more sure in their minds.

 

Sorting and triaging

In this next phase, you’re trying to triage what’s left. You remember you had some things, however you question if these items are still here.  At this point you are assessing what do you have. Your emotions center on a combination of loss and gratitude.  It’s time to organize what you have.  You keep hold of what you have, knowing it’s all you have.

 

Assessing

In this step,  you are wondering about what to keep now that you have less.  Why do I have any keep things even if they’re damaged or broken or stains? Perhaps you think,  “at least I have this.”  You may be packing up your home for repairs and think I still have a lot or I don’t have much.  It’s when real perspective change happens.

 

Final steps

The final steps may occur when your home is complete or you have decided to move to a new home.  The final steps start when you are making plans for your new home.  The refreshing change you make is that you are now looking ahead. It’s time to assess what will be in your new space.  You take a deep breath and are ready to make important decision.  You realize that you can start to let things go again that don’t have a space, don’t serve you well or you are ready for someone else to benefit from the items.

 

Living in a flooded community, if you did not flood

I must add a short passage for those who did not flood and supported others.  Your compassion and empathy make a difference for those who flood. As you support others in this experience, you are learning and assessing as well.  While you did not experience loss, you may feel that now is the best time to declutter given it could have been you.  Seize the opportunity while you are motivated to declutter and donate.

 

It’s a multiple step process in decluttering and organizing after an unexpected situation, such as a flood.  You will learn so much about yourself, your partners, your family and your community.  Stay strong, stay connected and seek support as needed.  In my work with clients throughout the flood saga, our main focus is support.  There’s much work to be done after 6 months post flood.  #KingwoodStrong

 

Want to be prepared just in case? Here’s how to create a home inventory for emergency preparedness.

Celebrate your Freedom from Too Much Stuff on July 4

celebrate your freedom from too much stuff

 

One of my favorite holidays is July 4.  It’s when we celebrate our nation and our freedoms as a country. It’s also the time to celebrate our personal freedom; freedom from too much stuff.  It’s time to release the restraints of clutter and celebrate letting go.

 

What’s holding you back

Our stuff is more than just stuff. It’s a tangible representation to us of an emotion. That might be loss or grief, possibilities or thoughts. Your stuff can be an emotional trigger.  At the same time, you might feel like you are the guardian of all things good and the protector of other’s stuff that has been given to you.  We are not our stuff and our stuff is not us.  Our stuff is most especially functional, useful, and joyful.

 

How to get started on your personal freedom

The first step is the hardest part of any journey.  What’s your obstacle and what’s holding you back from letting go?  Is it time? Sentimental attachments? Finances?  Here’s where a hard look at how much your freedom is costing you.  If you are ready for your freedom, take baby steps with short spans of time or small spaces. Or take a deep dive and work in a room to let go of stuff.

 

Steps to letting go

  • Are you ready to let go? Make it easy with a donation to a charity you love.  When you donate, you are giving to others to make a difference.  That feels good!

 

 

  • Not quite ready? Let go of easy stuff first. With time and practice, it will be easier to let go.

 

  • Not ready to let go of special items?  Of course not! That’s important to keep what is truly special.

 

  • Each step of letting go deserves a celebration.

 

Here’s to the important of freedom from stuff!  I hope your celebration continues all year long, year after year. The freedom of letting go is a journey.

 

More ideas here on my Home Sweet Organized Home. 

 

Seize the moment! Summer Organizing and Productivity

summer organizing and productivity

 

You have waited all year for this! It’s Summer and perhaps you have just a bit more time.  Your lighter load makes it possible to do what you have put on the back burner this year.  It’s time to seize the moment for summer organizing and productivity!

 

Now’s the time to organize!

Kids’s stuff

Kids’ rooms are overflowing with papers, games and more. It’s time to make a major overhaul of what has built up over the school year.  Start with a trash bag and fill it to the brim. Then go through the space thinking about what is not being used, what could be donated and what should be returned to someone else.  Your kids can be a part of this project. However if you want to work solo, put the items in a black garbage bag in a low traffic area and see what is requested before donating.

 

Reading pile

That pile of books. magazines and catalogs that have been flowing in are ready for review.  You may be waiting to take these out to the pool or on a trip with you. Review your pile, make decisions and let go of what is not going to be read this summer.  It’s also a bonus for when you return to have less paper.

 

Your Closet

It’s been an unusually cool spring here in Houston and throughout the country. It’s time to switch over your clothes and let go of winter items that were not worn. (This year we had one of our coldest winters.)  Turn your hangers around as you wear clothes to learn what is not being worn.  Let go of shoes that are uncomfortable or too disheveled.

 

Now is the time to be more productive!

 

Learn new tech

Have you been waiting to learn Quickbooks, view Google analytics, or use Trello? It’s time to add that to your action list for the summer. You will have more time to practice and learn. You will be ahead of the curve when fall comes and you have to use this tool efficiently.

 

Construct a new routine

Productivity often looks like a more automated approach. Routines are the way we automate our time, with either a sequence of small tasks or assigning a day of the week for a specific project. What ways can you create an improved or easy routine for tasks you dislike either at home or work?  By fall you will be solidly using this new routine.

 

Create solid self care

What does self care have to do with productivity? Everything! A great night’s rest leads to improved brain power.  Start an exercise plan this summer because an exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, clear thinking and more energetic. When you think of the benefits of self care, the return on investment is huge!

 

Seize the moment now to take advantage of the bits of available time, resources and energy.  Get started this week on your organizing and productivity projects!

30 Things to Declutter in 30 Days Winter Edition

30 things to declutter in winter

 

Winter brings us time to be indoors and work on our home or office.  It’s a great time to declutter because we realize how much we have and how much we use.  There’s many items that are easy to declutter once we decide that they are well used and ready to move on.  Here’s the winter edition of 30 things to declutter in 30 days.

 

1. Single mittens or gloves

2. Kids’ winter coats that have been outgrown

3. The extra zip in lining of a coat you never zip in

4. Too tight long underwear

5. Turtle neck shirts that are too hot to wear

6. Itchy sweaters

7.  Single slippers or slippers that are beyond repair or use

8. Extra flannel sheets

9. Winter boots that are too small

10. Extra wire or plastic hangers

11. Extra cans of soup or other pantry items

12. Recycling that has built up

13. Extra linens that overload your closet

14. Smalll appliances that have been replaced with a newer model

15. Excessive grocery paper or plastic bags

16. Snowpants that are too small

17. Hoodie attachment you don’t attach

18. Summer clothes you did not wear last summer

19. Stained or torn hoodies or sweatshirts

20. Makeup over a year old

21. Cough or cold medicine that has expired

22. Pots or pans that are scratched, stained or ruined

23. Mugs you seldom or never use

24. Mismatched glasses

25. Too many plastic cups

26. Broken pairs of glasses and sunglasses

27. Freezer foods past their prime

28. Almost empty bottles of cleaning products

29. Extra boxes that are taking up space

30.  Electronics to recycle

 

That’s our round up for this month! Now you are in the decluttering habit! Make this last by taking one category a day to the next step, whether it’s to donate, sell, gift, or trash.  It’s keeping items leaving your home or office that makes for a better organized home or office.

 

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30 Things to Declutter in 30 days this Fall

30 things to declutter in 30 days fall edition

 

Fall is here and we jump back into school, routines and holidays.  We want to be efficient because we have a lot on our plates at this time of year. Some of these items should be donated, some put in the trash or shared with others.   You want to clear clutter because the holidays are coming!

  1. Junk mail
  2. Expired coupons
  3. Summer or spring catalogs
  4. Bag of single socks
  5. Excess shopping bags
  6. Instruction manuals for items you no longer own
  7. Extra pens or pencils
  8. Old cosmetics
  9. Magazines over 6 months old
  10. Expired medicine
  11. Extra boxes
  12. Broken holiday ornaments
  13. Broken cups, plates or dishes
  14. Last set of technology, including devices and phones
  15. Old coats you have replaced with something more contemporary
  16. Old sweaters you haven’t worn in 2 years
  17. Scarves that don’t match any attire
  18. Games with missing pieces
  19. Half used coloring or game books
  20. Earrings without a match
  21. Book you won’t read again
  22. Night stand drawers
  23. Broken small appliances
  24. Pantry shelves and expired food
  25. Landing strip and entry
  26. Shoes that are uncomfortable
  27. Underwear with holes
  28. Extra bedding
  29. Unused hair care or toiletries
  30. Anything that does not have a home.

Now that you are in the decluttering groove, it’s a great habit to continue each day to release one item into the universe to bless others.

 

Organizing a Home Inventory

 

Organizing a home inventory

 

 

Watching all the devastation on television, we are reminded of the necessity of organizing a home inventory.  Even though September is annual National Preparedness Month, organizing a home inventory may be the last thing we do as homeowners.  Those of us who recently suffered flooding may be required to have a home inventory for insurance and tax purposes now.  This can be a time consuming and difficult. Here’s how organizing your home inventory makes a difference for you.

 

Check your insurance coverage first

There are different options for home insurance coverage.  Check your policy for coverage of your home, especially to determine what is covered and how it is covered.  Your policy could be cash value where you begin with receiving cash/check for the existing value of your items.  Or your policy could be replacement value, where you receive a check to replace the items at the current cost. Check to be sure what type of policy you have.  Check coverage on big ticket items, such as jewelry, art and collectibles which may have increased in value and require additional coverage from your standard homeowners insurance policy.

 

Inventory of your home and contents

An inventory, or list, of all the items in your home is required to be compensated.  There are several ways to do this.  Create a video of your home and it’s contents, talking through the names and details of the items.  Copy the video and place one at your house and another someone else’s house. Keep a file folder for receipts of major purchases. (My clients have these separated by electronics, furniture, appliances, and jewelry. Be sure these have a date to help you with cash value. Your receipts can be digitally as well. You can use an online inventory called HomeZada.  HomeZada helps you manage the process of creating the inventory by room.

 

Here’s what to be sure to include:

  • Description of the item ( Star Furniture love seat sofa or Pottery Barn sofa)
  • Where you purchased item (Macy’s, Best Buy)
  • Original price (if you have the receipt you can scan and attach it)
  • Make and model, or serial number if available
  • Purchase date (helps with depreciation, by year)
  • Estimated value

 

Organizing your vital documents

This might be where you are most organized!  Many of us have a safe or a waterproof grab and go box. Here’s a list of what should be a part of your vital documents. You can also keep these documents digitally on Evernote or save them on a flash or external hard drive in your waterproof box or safe. Be sure to use strong password for your Evernote account.

 

In Case of Loss

Through the devastation of the flood, I have learned of several important parts of inventories.  Not only is it important to have an inventory and keep it up to date, it’s also important to have the video or pictures of what your home looked like before. That is needed for your insurance company. If possible, keep two copies of your photos and inventory with one stored offsite.

 

Start your home inventory now

  • Start with one room, then move around your home adding rooms.
  • Start with recent purchases, then work backwards
  • Start with the most expensive or big ticket items first.
  • Count clothing by category and by designer.  Make note of any items that are especially valuable.
  • Store sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals in a file or digitally.
  • Add to your inventory as new items are purchased.

I am here to help with creating and organizing your home inventory! Get started in a small way, organizing your receipts or taking a video, to help you feel secure in case of emergency.