File fold: to fold your clothes to appear like a file folder in a drawer
Decant: to empty items out of the original container to a clear container
Roy G Biv: to color code according to the rainbow colors of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet
Have you seen the Netflix show, The Home Edit? It’s real life organizing in celebrities’ homes. The show depicts organizing with a glossy final product.
This show gives a new spin to organizing.
- There are new vocabulary words to do with organizing. This updated vocabulary reminds us that there are always new strategies, tools and tips to share with our clients in our work together.
- We always knew that keeping the final product in mind is important. The impact is clear with this show that cute counts overall.
What’s not new are the basics of organizing.
- The essential concept is functionality. That’s essential on our new normal to lower stress. The more functional your space, the easier life will be.
- Keeping the end in mind is critical to organizing success. Know what you and who you work with want to see and feel at the end of a project.
- Not surprising is that value of labels. Labelling makes it easy to maintain the organizing system you set up.
- Organizing remains a top priority in the 21st century. We are blessed with abundance and we continue to have a need to keep it edited and organized.
Having a new organizing show on Netflix is a happy thing for everyone!
Because of COVID-19 we have lately had more time to declutter and organize our closets. We have the best intentions, however it is hard to get started and still harder to let go of items. We may have the skills to declutter and organize like professional organizers. What we are learning is that it was not necessarily a matter of how much time we have. It is a matter of procrastination. It’s easy to put off getting started and getting organized. Here is a tale of the same day with the same intentions with different outcomes. Names were changed to keep client confidentiality.
Working without the support of a Professional Organizer
Sandy knew that it was time to let go of professional attire and suits. For weeks she had told friends she intended to organize her closet. Finally, she set a date on her calendar to work in her closet. At 9 am she walked with a friend. At 10 am she called another friend. Continuing on with the day, she continued to procrastinate. Before she started, she offered to drive her cousin to work, offered to practice driving with her daughter, and ordered lunch. She texted to find out when the nail salon would be open. Finally at 2 pm she started editing.
Decluttering was harder than Sandy thought. It was much harder and taking more time. There were many items that did not fit so these were easier to declutter and donate. Sandy would pull out an item only to put it back. After two hours, Sandy took a break to assess. She had 3 bags to donate. She was not making the progress she wanted to make and felt discouraged.
Working with the support of a Professional Organizer
My client and I set a date and determined we would meet for a 3 hour session to organize closets. After discussing the goals and taking a tour of the closets, we decided that best place to start would be a place where clothes have been stored rather than edited. The client admitted that it was easier to move the clothes to another closet than eliminate. We started working in auxiliary closets that are in spaces for less frequently worn clothes. We pulled each item out to review whether it was in good condition and still fashionable. We started to declutter and after 2 hours had over 250 items to donate to local charities.
This strong start to decluttering led to organizing the remaining items. We grouped the clothes by short sleeve, long sleeve, sweater and suits. Then, we placed the items accordingly in 2 closets. Donation places will be open soon so I took the clothes with me to drop off at local philanthropies. The entire process took 3 hours to start, finish and exceed the client’s goals.
What’s the result
When we invest time and energy in decluttering and organizing, we want big results. Working with a professional organizer helps you accomplish your goals efficiently and productively.
- Having a professional organizer with you, it’s easier to let go of more items. The gentle pressure of another person guiding you helps you make decisions.
- A professional organizer helps you get started and finish up. There’s no procrastinating with a professional organizer working along side you. Because items leave at the end of the session, there is no regret or back sliding.
- Bonus of organizing! We found some treasured keepsakes too! In one closet was a cherished cub scout uniform to pass along after taking photos.
Regardless of motivation and intentions, working alongside a professional organizer has multiple perks. We are here to help and support you throughout the decluttering and organizing process! Accomplish your goals and get the results you want when you work together.
Life keeps moving. It’s moving fast and it’s easy to get bogged down, especially with our new normal. Your fatigue, anxiety, extra time spent resolving a challenge or a regular work week can get you behind in organizing and staying organized. Here are simple organizing tips to keep you organized on a regular basis.
Get through daily paper work and mail.
Paper is can paralyze us with so much paper coming in. Set up recycle and shred to easily sort the mail daily or at minimum weekly. It takes 5 minutes daily or 30 minutes weekly to do a quick sort and triage.
Have a grocery plan and a dishes plan.
Food makes everyone happier! It takes a few extra minutes to order online, however you are saving time and money in the long run. Make your grocery plan on the weekend so that it can arrive before the week starts.
Paper plates have a new sparkle if you are not getting your dirty dishes done each night. Create partnerships within your family to load, unload, and clean up each night after dinner. That includes taking out the trash. Your future self- that’s tomorrow’s self- will appreciate this more than you can imagine.
Check your calendar each morning and evening.
Our best plans can turn against us without checking our calendar each day. It’s a good start and end to the day to be organize, prepared and proactive. Add tasks, appointments and projects all the time to your calendar to keep it current in real time.
Have a donation bag available all the time.
When you try on something and decide it’s scratchy, the wrong color or too hard to keep from wrinkling is the time to drop it into your bag. We drive by drop off sites all day and simply bring the bag to your car and drop off when it is full. You will find it is much easier to do the laundry with fewer clothes too.
Keep laundry moving
I have seen loads of laundry washed and dried, yet not back to the closet or dresser. Break loads into smaller units to get that final step complete.
Host a daily home and work reset
We wish we had a magic want to get all the items and papers back to where they belong. Since we don’t have that wand, we need a daily reset at both home and work. That’s where your family comes in to partner with you here.
Self-care is a daily priority
Self-care looks like a lot of different things in our lives. It’s going to be on time, exercising, eating healthy, taking a shower, reading a magazine or facetime with friends. Whatever self-care looks like to you, be sure you are keeping it a priority every day. We need to laugh, get outside and get to bed to be our best selves.
It is hard to keep all these organizing maintenance tasks going. If you find a lapse in one in particular, focus on that for a week. It is also easier once you have your family on your team too.
Transitions are a part of every day life. There’s big transitions, like going on vacation. As well there are little transitions all day with text alerts, or changing the laundry while making dinner or working on a project and answering a phone call. Whether it is coming and going to work or school or starting or ending a vacation, these times can be especially challenging with ADHD. It’s not easy to switch between tasks. Set-switching, the official name for transitions, is an aspect of self regulation, intertwined with time awareness, hyper focus, indecision and procrastination. The value of transition time, the time between tasks, meetings and family, gives you time to reset and get ready for what’s coming next. For people with ADHD, this is especially valuable.
Build in and write in transition time
Take your awareness of the need for transition time to the next level by building this time into your schedule. You can do this by adding slots of time into your planner. Think through the time needed to transition as it is not all the same. To transition after a meeting, add 10 minutes between meetings and your next task. Add 30 minutes if you want to finalize notes and organize your action plan. For zoom meetings plan on logging on 10 minutes early. Write in the travel time between in person appointments and add a cushion. That means that you will likely be on time or possibly early. Adding in this time lowers your stress too.
Create transition rituals
We can use physical rituals that happen during transitions. No matter if the meeting is in person or zoom, we need time to reset after a meeting. Make it a habit to walk around the office of your work from home office to reset your thoughts and give yourself a physical break.
Movement and breathing can be physical ways to transition. Stretching and deep breathing give us a lift as we move to the next activity.
You can pair a ritual with a transition. If you always have tea with your task, you can pair up to ease the transition.
Use technology to create a buffer
Technology can helping us prepare and transition to the next activity. We can use the “Countdown Method” with multiple reminders set to alert to transition. Setting multiple reminders on your smart devices and home digital assistants reminds you a transition is about to happen.
Giving yourself permission to stay on a task for a duration of time is a strategy too. If you have assigned a single task to a day, such as Financial Friday, then you have permission to keep on that task all day.
Time blocking adds structure to your transition as well. This happens when you set aside to do specific work at a specific time. By deciding ahead of time the assignment, you can transition in another time block without making an additional decision. You are freed up to do the work rather than decide what is the next transition.
Work from home tips
While we are currently working from home, you need stronger transitions to help you work productively and create a boundary between home and work. Here are a few suggestions to create a transition time during your work from home time.
- Walk the dog
- Drink a glass of water
- Add analog clocks to important transition locations
- Create work boundaries with alarms to end the day
Incorporating transition time is a work in progress. Keep it in mind as you start these new strategies.
Of all the apps that are on our phones, the Notes app is frequently our default app to use. Most of my clients have used the Notes app to capture thoughts, ideas, information and passwords. There is tons of information in this app. However we can add a level of organization to using Notes app that will give it more function and organization. There are many ways to use this app for lists, routines and notes. Here is how I use the Notes app.
General information about Notes app
- As you enter the first line, that line because the name of the list. It is in bold font for this reason.
- Notes app has a search function and you can find your list this way with the name of the list on the top line.
- Notes app is cloud based and can be accessed by all your devices for free.
- Note app can be shared with others to create and use lists together.
- Notes can be printed, shared by email or text, and locked for privacy.
- Photos can be pasted into individual notes or as a note.
- If you press lightly inside a note, a pop up with font options appears.
The Notes app is easy to use for lists. Add lists would you like to have with you all the time. General lists include shopping, grocery, kids’ clothing and shoe sizes, Christmas list, air filter dimensions, medication list or any list you want to reference while out shopping, at a meeting, at a doctor’s office or away from home base. The lists I use most frequently are for business. There is a consignment list for that three month time, action lists for particular clients and a list of favorite products I share frequently with clients.
Routines and Reminders
Notes app can be a daily routines and reminders list with check lists. Add a list of routines with a check circle starting each item of your list. (Find that check circle on the bottom right of your device while working in the Notes app.) Create the list of what you want your routine to include or a series of reminders for a specific task. As you check off, you won’t forget tasks. Un-check the circles at the end of your work or when you have completed this series of routines. Repeat and use again and again.
Depending on your typing ability, Notes app is a great choice to take notes during for personal reference, during meetings and to capture ideas.
- Notes app can be used to reference materials of all types. Gathering information and consolidating it can be done here. Be sure you add a title as the top line to find your information. My clients are information seekers and like to have access to this.
- Meeting notes are easy to find and review. When I meet with clients, I listen, take notes in this app and share these with clients. At the top of the note I add the name, date and session number of our meeting. It helps us track our actions and remain accountable to planning.
- Wonder where to keep your big ideas? It’s here within this app. I love that as you add information, the cloud keeps this updated.
- Each year I highlight my big accomplishments. The list is named 2020 Highlights. I add to this list throughout the year and check it at the end of the year. It’s fun to see this from previous years too.
Over the years as I have used the Notes app more strategically. The more I use it, the more I love it!
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting both children and adults around the globe with executive function, planning, initiation and other challenges. There are more and more ways to “celebrate” this month and I especially appreciate learning as the optimal way to celebrate. Take time this month to check out these resources for ADHD and celebrate neurodiversity.
These websites offer tips, tech and more about ADHD solutions.
Podcasts tell the stories of people with ADHD.
Books are a gateway to knowledge. Most of these are available on kindle and audiobook.
ADD Friendly Ways to Organize
The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps
What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew: Working Together to Empower Kids for Success in School and Life
Blogs are personal accounts and information about ADHD.
Order Out of Chaos
Black Girl, Lost Keys
Education is a cornerstone of living a thriving life. The more educated you are about ADHD, the more you can move forward in all you do!
This year we are all officially back to school in many ways. We are learning from each other, learning at home from our family, learning from colleagues at work, and learning about work from home. Here are 10 important things I have learned this fall during back to school.
- Manage expectations of you and your family. It is going to be a fall of uncertainty. Managing what you expect of yourself and your students will help you keep everyone and everything calm and moving forward.
- Take the time to be together. This is the great “gift” of the fall. We are together learning and hopefully laughing. If you or your students need a pause, get outside and enjoy the fall (and hopefully cooler weather soon.)
- Set up independence with structure for you and your students. Kids may need more than one practice at setting an analog alarm clock or getting online. They are quick at technology. Give them an opportunity to learn responsibility under your guidance.
- Set up specific work stations for everyone. Everyone having this structure gives a sense of a real classroom. Assigned seats work. Use a cart to access supplies nearby. That cart keeps home school organized.
- Recharge yourself, your student and your devices nightly. Everything works better when it is unplugged. A common charging station helps families get a good night sleep.
- Teaming up has meant more and more. That team work can be home responsibilities and school tutoring. Partner to cook and clean up after meals, get laundry complete and organize your home. Have an older sibling or Aunt tutor a school subject, use Khan Academy or use online study apps as learning aids.
- Recess rocks. We all need breaks from work and school. Set a timer and practice the pomodoro method to be productive.
- Use technology as much as you can. Artificial intelligence can motivate your student and keep you from one more recitation of responsibilities.
- Set boundaries for work. While it is uncomfortable to feel unproductive at times, stepping away from work each evening will help you build more rapport with your family and reset your perspective.
- Get organized and edit your stuff. With everyone in a shared space, edit out what is not used and not loved. Less stuff gives you more space.
I am sure everyone has learned so much this year. I look forward to hearing all your comments.
We started work from home and virtual school this spring. Now it’s Fall and we are continuing to cocoon at home. While we were surprised by these changes, now we can be certain that these work stations are a necessity for awhile longer. Here are some tips for improving your productivity and surviving all the togetherness.
Design your ideal space
Start with the end in mind. This applies to designing your spaces to work for you and your students. Look at what has worked well and assess obstacles. See where your home has potential to add work space for the short and long term. Use your design skills to approach this with a fresh perspective. Assess your furniture and learn what you can repurpose. Are there opportunities to change up your furniture needs inexpensively? Cute counts when it comes to organizing.
Organize your work and school spaces
- Stuff has built up in our spaces since we began our work from home. Declutter and edit what you have experienced to be weighing you down.
- Everyone needs a designated work space, including you and your students. With cooler weather outside, this can be a chair and table in your backyard (as long as your wifi connects where.) Separate spaces are great for everyone to work without distractions.
- Set up easy access storage for materials and resources. Carts move to where you and your students are located. Each person needs their own storage area for school supplies and related materials. Use an accordion file or file box for papers you are printing for your students. Label the sections with the names of each subject. Your student can file these papers each day to keep organized.
- Zoom and video meetings continue to be requirement of work and school life right now. Getting the right set up and lighting, as well as background enhance your meeting. As you are establishing everyone’s work space, think about what others are seeing and eliminate background clutter.
Update your technology
Get your tech set. Technology happens! Nothing is more frustrating than inadequate internet speed or coverage. Update and increase your internet speed by adding both range extenders and a mesh network system to provide coverage throughout your home.
Technology happens in a not good way too. It’s very important to set boundaries on technology. Have a common charging spot for all devices and computers overnight. You will be completely charged both on your devices and physically from an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
Use technology smartly. Have a great set of headphone or air pods for everyone in your family. Label them with each person’s name so when these get lost, these are easily returned to their owner.
Set up routines supporting organization
The best systems require good routines. An organized work space is best supported with an end of work routine. Model how to finish up your work day and your student’s school day with a closing routine. Reset all books and supplies to their places, tidy up your area with trash and push in your chair at your space. Host a discussion on what your end of work routine includes so that everyone knows the value.
Setting up a great work space takes a little time, energy and creativity. Your newly updated space will help you be more organized, in control and less anxious.
Start fall out with a plan of what to organize now. In the uncertainty around us, we want to create a calm, organized space at home, at work, for family and for ourselves. That’s the biggest benefit of organizing. We feel in control, make decisions and see positive changes in our space. Here are 5 tips of what to do right now for Fall Organizing.
Edit and reset your closet
Make every day better by editing and resetting your closet for fall. Now you know what you did not wear this summer so grab a shopping bag and start decluttering. Your closet editing will lead to resetting for fall. Bring in items from other closets and rearrange fall colors to the front of your closet. It’s fun to see your new fall wardrobe this way.
Starbucks is heralding pumpkin spice and it’s time to spice up your pantry. Check for expired items from spring’s surplus buying. Re-organize what has gotten out of order. Bring in your fall favorites for winter weather like apple pie filling and canned pumpkin.
Get ahead of the holidays
Holidays are going to look different this year. Now is the time to start conversations with your family. Start with your family plan on gathering and gift giving. Assess what is in your gift closet now, make a list and take stock of what you will be giving this year. Get head with your holiday lists. It will be joyful to think ahead.
Structure your schedule
Schedules offer us sanity in uncertainty. It is about work flow for our both our personal and professional life. Our schedules include routines which help us thrive. Review your morning and evening routines. Talk through homework, dinner and bedtime and what to improve on getting your routine consistent. Drill down to a simple, easy to follow schedule for you and your family.
Declutter your home and office
The pandemic has set us in motion to make big changes. Families are moving, individuals are seeing new work opportunities and relationships are taking off. Decluttering is important. You can let go of more than you think and thrive. Place a donation bag at an easy access location to drop items in regularly. When the bag fills, drop it a your local philanthropy. Letting go will always be what to do now for getting organized.
Fall is a favorite season for many of us with cooler weather and getting back to routines. Follow your intuition and use this time to get organized and gain clarity.