Oversizing and Rightsizing

In a world where we are always “super sizing” our life,  I like to reflect about our stuff.  What is “enough”  in our world of consumption, media saturation, and bigger is better.  Here is a story to add awareness about upsizing and over buying.

A friend recently renovated her kitchen. She moved the old (meaning 4 years old) refrigerator to her office, which is a renovated 1950’s bungalow.  Once at the location, the refrigerator would not fit through the door!  In order to take it in, the doors were removed.  The refrigerator is very out of proportion with the rest of the kitchen.  What does this say about our homes now and then?

My friend said,  “The very moment they were taking off the hinges to the refrigerator door, I thought this is bigger than what the family used here 50 years ago and now I have two refrigerators at my house and a freezer. What’s wrong with this picture?”

 As we think through our choices in homes and lifestyle, are we aware that we have added “more” to everything in our lives? This not only includes appliances! Homes on the average are double the size now as in the 1950’s.  During the last 30 years, the self-storage industry has been the fastest growing sector of the U.S. commercial real estate industry, based upon the number of new companies, new facilities and amount of total square footage added.  Our stuff is outgrowing our oversized homes too.

This year I have chosen to purchase only items when needed, not when wanted.  It is really not hard, but I must be mindful of the choice.  I avoid places that make for easy over consumption or items that are not necessities.  I can already see the difference in my budget. 

So with this cautionary tale, start an awareness of less is more.  Begin your uncluttered journey in saying no to more stuff.   A client recently told me, “I used to think that having more stuff made me a better person.”  Your stuff is not who you are, it really is just stuff.   How will you know when is “enough” for you?

Want more information about our oversized homes?   Read The Ever Expanding Dream House    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5525283

5 Organizing Projects You Can Complete in 5 Minutes

Don’t have hours to get organized? Here are 5 things you can do for 5 minutes to get your home in order.


1.  Recycle junk mail.  Stand over your recycle bin or a paper sack and toss old newspapers, extra catalogs or clippings you no longer need.

2.  Sort through a kitchen drawer. Set a timer for 5 minutes, grab a shopping bag, open the drawer, pick through anything no longer needed and donate it. 

3. Make a clothing donation bag. Go through your clothes closet and choose 5 articles of clothing you never wear. Put them in a donation bag to be given to your favorite charity.  Stop at Goodwill on the way to get these out the door. 

4. Five minute toy pick up.  Enlist your kids to help.  Put on energizing music and have a pick up party.

5. Delete email.  Take 5 minutes to delete email from your sent box, especially if it is older than a month.

Feel accomplished?  Organizing is not about finding the perfect time or creating the perfect system.  It is about the baby steps to create a level of order in your world that works!  Share with me your 5 minute organizing project!

Clutter Support Groups Fall 2010

This fall I am excited to host 2 clutter support groups to help people define, establish and maintain an uncluttered life

 The Clutter Support Group supports members in

  • Clarifying their organizing and lifestyle goals
  • Transition their space and paper from disorganized to more organized
  • Discussing systems that will facilitate organization for them
  • Discussing routines that will facilitate organization for them

 Strategy

  • Group setting facilitated by certified professional organizer
  • Set your organizing goals and learn your organizing strengths
  • Put your strengths into practice by working on one space in your home during the 6 week time frame
  • Read along with Peter Walsh’s book Its All Too Much and discuss organizing challenges you face. 

Meeting structure

  • Beginning Tuesday evening September 21 or Wednesday morning September 22
  • Six weeks, Sessions of 1 ½ hours, at Kingwood Pine Hospital private room
  • Fee based membership of $120 for all sessions.  Pre-registration required.
  • Limited enrollment

Garage Organizing

garage organizing

 

In Houston, we are notorious for keeping our cars in the driveway and lawn equipment, unopened boxes and more in our garage! October is a great month to organize your a garage and even have a garage sale too!  It is a big project to tackle so be sure to include your family team in the process.

Plan Your Work
With all organizing projects, we need a plan for organizing success! Begin by setting aside 2 consecutive days for organizing your garage. You will need to take everything out of the area, boxes, bikes, recreational equipment or whatever! Enlist your family to assist with this endeavor for them to have ownership of the project and help in the decision making! If a clean space and a way to find toys is not reward enough, remember to find an incentive for your children in this family project.  Plan for the biggest parts of what is to be removed from the garage.  When is the heavy trash day? You can put items at the curb and have someone else taken them away.  Contact Salvation Army to pick up from your home the day after organizing so you won’t have to bring the donations to them.   What other large items will be sold and can be listed on www.craigslist.com?  Get your plan in action with the big stuff first.

Toss and Categorize
Keep in mind when you might use items again! “Just in case” is not a sufficient reason to keep all the items in your garage. Be decisive about how frequently you will use belongings and whether to keep them. Decluttering is just as important in this space as any other in your home. Once you have made decisions about what you are keeping, it is time to define categories for storage. Categories for your garage might be recreation, hardware, tools, gardening, and seasonal. If you have wood scraps, be sure to store these together but don’t keep every scrap. Also, take this opportunity to clean your garage, sweeping out bugs, dirt and more!

“Finding a Home”
Once you have created your categories, remember to locate what you use most in the areas of best access. Whatever you use most should be located closest to the door to the house. Items that are used the least can be stored behind or beneath other belongings. Use wall and ceiling space to maximize your area. However, keep as much as you can off the floor.

Organizing Products
When purchasing organizing products for your garage, retail and wholesale superstores have wonderful and inexpensive products. Garage items can be very heavy and need extra support. Four tier metal shelving units are most popular. Sturdy plastic containers with lids that seal are an excellent way to keep bugs and dirt away. Rubbermaid has products designed specifically for garages with slots for specific tools.  Called “Fast Track” it is an easy way to use vertical space where you have lots of it!.   As always, be sure to label everywhere including bins and shelving.   Monkeys Bars also has outstanding products to organize visually with hooks, shelves and more.  If you can see it you know you own it.

Is garage organizing a priority for you? Email me what you have accomplished to park your car in there!

Come see me at The Woodlands Home Show

5 Steps to Simplify and Organize Your Home

Downsizing? Right sizing? Empty Nester? Transition with a new baby? Learn the simple ways to make a difference for your home and create peace of mind for you and your family!

www.woodlandsshows.com

SATURDAY & SUNDAY,
August 29 & 30, 2009

SHOW HOURS

Saturday from 9am – 7pm
Sunday from 10am – 6pm

Presentation on Saturday at 1pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm

Happy Organizing and see you there!

Organizing your car (maintenance)

Organizing your car means having handy access for the things you need, when you need them, without having an accident to get to them. What about maintaining your organized car? If your car is “trashed” regularly, here are some hints to help you easily keep it in order.

Empty trash at each stop along the way. As you get gas or run errands at Target, drop your trash in the cans just outside the door there.  Or you can place a large trash can in your garage for you to easily drop in items. Take advantage of these trash cans along the way. 

Up to date registration and safety stickers are easy to renew if you calendar the date on your planner.  It saves the cost of a ticket!  You can enter this as a recurring event on your Outlook calendar too.

Need to keep track of mileage for expenses? Keep a mileage log in your car and write it down during a gas stop. Regular intervals like this weekly stop create a baby step for an often overwhelming task.

Empty the extra stuff out of your car each day.  It is a small step to keep your car from being a dumping ground by distributing items back into your home where these belong each day.  Assign this task to your family team members too to get the job done. 

Is your car your office? Once a week refill the items you use regularly, like business cards or marketing pieces, into well defined spots in the car.  It is like preparing for a quick meeting by having handy these items.

What baby steps are you taking to keep your car organized?

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season begins on June 1 and extends until November 1.  Being ready has different meanings depending on whether you stay or leave your home.  Having been through 2 major hurricanes in 3 years,  Houstonians want to be prepared.  September is National Preparedness Month too!

Important papers

In a small portable safe, organize these documents: copy of passport, copy of drivers’ license, mortgage info, credit card info, banking, social security cards, will, birth certificate, marriage certificate, military records, 2 previous year’s tax returns, insurance info and divorce documents.

Many different websites recommend what to have on hand for remaining in your home.

FOOD
Non-perishable foods (soups, canned food and vegetables, breads and crackers, snacks)
Juice boxes and bottled water

HOME SUPPLIES
Ice chests, water, water jugs
Camping stove; propane; charcoal
Disposable plates, utensils, napkins
Storage bags
Toilet paper, paper towels
Diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, ointments
Prescriptions, copies of prescriptions and over the counter meds
Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, deodorant
Clothing, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags

First aid kit

Bug repellant

Eyeglasses, contact, hearing aids and batteries
Pet supplies, food, litter, pet carrier, medications
Identification
Cash, credit cards
List of phone number of family and friends
Important Documents, insurance policies
Photos, videos, cameras, film, memory cards, batteries
Battery powered radio
Flashlights
Extension cords
Pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers

 

Other sites for preparation checklists

 

www.ready.gov

 

www.redcross.org

www.americanfamilysafety.com

www.texasprepares.org

www.nokr.org/nok/restricted/home.htm   (Next of Kin Registry)

www.petfinder.com

Start with a baby step on preparedness this week!

About Ellen

 

 

About Ellen and Professional-Organizer.com

For over 20 years, Certified Professional Organizer and Certified Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap has helped her clients make time and space for what’s important to them by organizing their homes, offices and their daily living.  Ellen, owner of Professional-Organizer.com, works one on one with her clients in their home and offices streamlining their environment, creating effective strategies for an organized lifestyle and prioritizing organization in their daily routine.  She is an Organizer Coach who has completed Coach Approach for Organizers, holds ADD, Chronic Disorganization and Workplace Productivity certificates and specializes in working with ADD and ADHD families, adults and students.  Learn more about her and her business at www.professional-organizer.com

About Ellen and her family

Ellen is a mom, wife, and Gigi. Her family is an endless source of pride and joy .  Working as a family manager, she sees that challenges that daily life can be for families.

Education is important to Ellen.  She holds a B.A. from Smith College and an M.Ed from Boston College. She is a lifelong learner as a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals™ (NAPO) and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. She is currently taking coach training with Coach Approach.

Where you can find Ellen

Ellen has been featured on Stretch Your Dollar on ABC13 Houston, in articles in the Houston Chronicle, a guest speaker on radio KLOVE, and is a national expert on The Clutter Diet, an online organizing website. She has also been an expert for Smead podcasts and written for Neat.  She loves to connect on social media.

Twitter @TexasOrganizer

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About Ellen’s professional certificates and certifications

Ellen is a certified professional organizer since 2008. She is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals™ (NAPO) and a specialist in chronic disorganization and ADHD with the Institute of Challenging Disorganization. She holds certificates in Residential Organizing, Workplace Productivity, Life Transitions, Household Management and Team Productivity. 

 

10 Things you may not know about Ellen

  1. I love team work and collaboration. Of course I do! I am a twin.
  2. My favorite quote is “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
  3. I was a kindergarten teacher in my first profession.
  4. I love pilates, cupcakes and skittles.  Just ask my NAPO colleagues.
  5. My favorite space to organize is a pantry.
  6. I have only lived three places in my life. I have lived in Houston, New York and New Orleans.
  7. A great Saturday night includes sitting next to my husband on the sofa watching a Hallmark movie.
  8. My FoodTV favorites are Pioneer Woman and Ina Garten. I make an amazing taco dip!
  9. Yes, my home is organized but not perfectly. It’s perfectly organized for me and my husband.
  10. I love organizing but especially I love making a difference for my clients.

 

 

Hello world!

In starting this blog, I want to continue to make a difference for my clients and be a resource for our community.  I am passionate about empowering people, motivating them to live their best lives, and affirming their strengths!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined!  Henry David Thoreau. This is what organizing does for our lives! We have confidence to pursue what is most important and powerful.  We spend our time with people and enriching experiences.  Organizing provides the backdrop for empowering you.

About Ellen’s Blog

Certified Professional Organizer and Certified Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap works in the greater Houston area empowering and affirming people in their quest for organizing! Her blog contains reflections on the organizing process and organizing to create the life you have imagined. Happy organizing!

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