Melee of the Moneybag

When I was pondering the topic for this post, the image of my mother’s wallet flashed into my mind. It’s a sprawling red hub of receipts, credit cards, bank cards, business cards, pictures, papers, hair ties, make-up, gum, and many other items. Yes, I am talking about her wallet, not her purse, believe it or not. Somehow, she manages to mush these things into the tiny space that is not meant to hold them and usually can’t even close it because of the abundance of diverse objects. It’s a melee of the moneybag and it can’t seem to be contained. Or can it?

Some of us absent-mindedly use our wallets as an easy storing spot for small items. Things like receipts get crumpled, bills get mixed with the receipts, business cards slip into an abyss, and pictures cover important pieces of paper. We may stuff objects in there that we are not supposed to like my mother does (sorry for picking on you mom!) and we end up with a disorderly assortment of paraphernalia.

Messy Wallet

I would like to stress an important point here: the wallet is not meant to be a catch-all.

One way to start organizing your wallet is to be more conscious of what you are putting into it. Be more observant of the things you are stuffing in there. Ask yourself if it really belongs inside.

Second, keep only the essentials. Don’t carry your whole life around in your wallet! At the end of the day, empty out all of the pieces that need to be filed away. Pictures can be displayed at your home or office; receipts and business cards should be filed at home; things like gum, make-up, and other miscellaneous items should have a place in your purse or bag. Also, think about downsizing your card collection. Ask yourself: How often – if ever – do you use those points cards that every store seems to have? The card clutter these days is ridiculous and it’s taking over our wallets! I have realized that I never use certain ones (or maybe once or twice a year). Either throw these away or keep them filed at home. When you know you are going shopping there, take it with you, and then return it to it’s filing spot when you get back home. Little file folders like the ones pictured below are great tools to keep your tiny paperwork (receipts, points cards, business cards, notes, etc.) in one spot:

Another tip that may help some people is to keep a tiny pouch for your receipts with you. This way, they’ll never get mixed up with everything else. Those Lulu Lemon zipper pouches just came to mind…

Lulu Lemon Zipper Pouch

Other cards to consider downsizing are credit cards. Having too many can get some people into financial trouble, so it may be a good idea to cancel a few of them and lessen the load. A quick note I should mention, however, is to check with a financial advisor before cancelling any of them. Doing this could potentially hurt your credit score. If this is the case, you can file unused cards away at home. In addition, it’s easier to keep track of your bills when you only have one or two cards.

Third, don’t carry around cards (or things like your passport) that have sensitive information on them. Things like your birth certificate, health care card, social insurance number, etc. can be photocopied. Keep the photocopies in your wallet and the real ones safe at home. You really don’t want the real ones stolen if you lose your wallet. Moreover, having to pay for replacement cards can be expensive.

Fourth, deal with change. Don’t toss change haphazardly anywhere into your wallet – use the coin holder section! If you tend to build up large amounts of change that make your wallet bulge, start a coin jar at home.

Fifth, another way to reduce wallet clutter is to go digital. There are numerous apps on smartphones for storing all kinds of card information. Keep it in your phone and out of your wallet. Some recommended apps are: Key Ring, CardStar, and CardMobili.

I hope these tips were helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Organizing!

The Urge to Purge

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been helping a friend of mine clean-up her closet. Packed with eye-popping dresses and bursting with black hoodies, this space has gotten a bit out of control. You know you need to start the purging process when you can no longer slide your hand in between your hanging clothes. Our little purging parties have inspired me to discuss the organization of one’s wardrobe.

I want to start off by acknowledging the fact that we all get attached to certain articles of clothing. Whether it’s your favourite shirt that you won’t give up but is turning translucent, a sweater you despise that your mother gave you that you feel too guilty to give away, or those “skinny pants” that you are hoping to fit into one day again, we all need to accept the fact that these things are taking up space that could be used more efficiently.

It’s time to break the psychological ties to objects that no longer have a place in our lives. Clinging to clothes long past their expiration date – or those that cannot be parted with for reasons of sentimentality or guilt – are a burden, psychologically and materially!

You might be asking: how does one get past this anxiety over purging? How can I throw away the top that my mother, who has passed away, knitted for me 20 years ago? How can I donate the hat that my best friend bought for me but I really can’t stand? Why would I toss my favourite pair of jeans that are perfectly formed to my body (despite the fact that there are seven holes in them)?

Sit down. Calm down. Be logical. Take the emotion out of it! Go through each item piece by piece, and have a friend there to help you in the decision process. Ask yourself: When was the last time I wore this? Have I ever worn this? Should I be wearing this? What are the real reasons I am holding on to this? If you haven’t worn an item for over a year, it’s time to consider chucking it. Also, if you are wearing something that is literally hanging by a thread but are too attached to let it go, think about how it looks to other people. Is this an image you want to project? Set it free and find a new favourite.

If you are simply storing clothes that you are not interested in wearing but are feeling too guilty to part with, think about why you feel guilty. It was from someone special. Well, that person doesn’t become any less special just because you didn’t want a shirt they gave you. You will have memories, photographs, and other gifts that will remind you of them.

A wonderfully crafty idea that my aunt came up with was to cut up a blue sweater her mother had made for her years prior and sew a piece of it into six quilts she was making, one for herself and each sibling (pictured below). This way, it was turned into something functional (a blanket), space was made for more appropriate items in her closet, and the sentimentality was preserved. Creating something new out of something old is a great way to retain the item while still opening up space in your wardrobe.

Sentimental Quilt

Once you try these things, you might be surprised to find how easy it is to purge. You might not even be able to stop! I find myself constantly reevaluating things and making changes to my clothes collection. Once the urge to purge takes over, you’ll never cling to clothing clutter again.

Overly Enthusiastic Organizer

I’ve always needed structure.  It creates consistency, reliability, comfort, and relief from stress. When I’m fully organized, I feel more confident, energized, and ready for any task that comes my way. When your living space is in order, your life is more in order, and this facilitates productiveness and serenity.

At times, things have fallen apart, and I have been engulfed in chaos and clutter. However, there are always solutions to fix any case of disorder, even if you are caught in utter pandemonium. There is always hope.

I wish for this to be a place that one can find such hope. Alleviation from anarchy; remedies for wreckage. Find solace in the fact that there is no mess too large to tackle; no space that can’t be saved.

There’s also something special about the aesthetics of an organized space. Aesthetically appealing spaces and objects have been shown to create positive effects on emotions and mood. I know that when I look at a mess, I feel stressed, tense, or anxious depending on the severity of the disheveled area. When things are organized, they become aesthetically pleasing, and a sense of harmony envelopes us. Organization not only generates efficiency and productivity, it also puts us in a better mood!

Since it’s the beginning of a new semester, the home office seems to be a fitting place to start. This spot is particularly prone to paper clutter, tangled cords, and inefficient use of space for technological appliances. Whether you’re engaging in assignments, important projects, typical tasks, or leisure, sloppy spaces can cause delays in work and major frustration. The following five tips will help whip your office into better shape:

1. Keep a minimal amount of items on the surface of your desk. When your desktop is clear, it becomes more inviting. A ready-to-use space encourages getting down to business when you have work to do. But how do you keep an open area? Vertical wall storage is a great way to keep clutter off of your desktop. Here are a few examples:

Magnetic Wall System

This magnetic wall organizer, pictured above, can store your supplies in creative ways. The pockets can be rearranged to suit your needs. This product can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop/?productId=10034687

CommBoard_MiniStrip_x

This magnetic board, pictured above, keeps clutter off of the work area as it can be a place to put reminder notes or small pieces of important paper. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop/office/messageBoardsAccessories/viewAll?productId=10020482&N=81020

CascadingLetterFileBlue10059983_x

This cascading letter holder, pictured above, is a great way to get paperwork off of your desk. Organize things by category and find what you need in one place. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10035034&N=&Nao=80&Ntt=files

Mesh Wall Rack

This mesh wall rack, pictured above, is a fantastic sorting device for files, folders, and other paperwork. If you’re a student, this would be great to keep course work for each subject separated. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop/office/paperFileStorage/wallPockets?productId=10011218&N=74551

FreestndMagRack10055200_x

This one is a bit pricy, but if you are not able to drill into walls, this freestanding rack can be placed next to your desk for paperwork and file organization. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10025525&N=&Ntt=magazine

2. Keep drawers coordinated. Far too often, drawers become filled with objects piled on top of one another, producing an ugly, jumbled mess. When this happens, it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for and items can get lost. You can keep things visible and accessible by utilizing drawer organizers. Below are some examples:

DeskExpandADrawerBlack_x

This expandable tray, pictured above, will fit most desk drawers and will keep your supplies easily accessible. By designating spots for each item, you won’t have to hunt around for a writing utensil or a pair of scissors when you need them. Save time needlessly searching for what you require and avoid frustration by always putting things back into their designated spot. If you are the kind of person who never puts things back in the same place, train yourself  to get in the habit of returning items to their “home.” Put up a reminder note on a bulletin board above your desk (or on a sticky note attached to your computer) that tells you to put things back to where they belong. Consciously training yourself to do this will eventually become natural and you won’t have to think about it anymore. This tray can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10027321&N=&Ntt=desk+drawer

DrawerDoublerClear10052837_xDrawerD inside

This translucent drawer organizer, seen in the two pictures above, expands to fit most drawers. You can easily find objects underneath as it is see-through and slides back and forth. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10034623&N=&Ntt=drawer+

DeepDrawerOrganizers_x

These deep drawer organizers, pictured above, are useful for the larger drawers in your desk and can be pulled out easily when you are looking for something. They can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10012726&N=&Ntt=deep+drawer

3. Keep as many appliances off of your desk as possible. The printer, computer tower, charging docks, and other appliances take up too much space, leaving little room for working and creativity. Store these items on nearby shelves, inside the desk, or underneath. One idea I came up with is to store your computer tower, turned sideways, on a durable shoe-rack underneath your desk. The remaining space could be used to store computer paper or other items that are not frequently accessed. Not everyone would be able to do this, of course, as desks differ in size and shape, but if there is room, this would be one solution to storing the tower. Here are some other products to help with appliance storage:

elfaPlatDriftwoodFamilyRoom_x

This wall shelving unit, pictured above, is a durable, steel-constructed storage solution. These shelves could be placed above or beside your desk and are strong enough to hold a printer, a computer tower, and other devices. The remaining space can be used for other items that belong in the home office as well as for some decor. This unit can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10010632&N=&Nao=280&Ntt=shelves

QBONightstandBlu_x

This steel cube beside table, seen above, is available in multiple colours and can be situated next to your desk. The computer tower or printer can be placed on top, and the remaining compartments can be used to store cords, your camera, files, or anything else your heart desires. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10033407&N=&Nao=460&Ntt=shelves

SteelShelfGalv331040_2_x

These steel cubed shelves can be stacked on top of each other and beside each other. Place them next to your desk and put your technological appliances here. This can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10002255&N=&Ntt=shelves

4. Keep your documents organized. Mixing up different categories of paperwork can cause discouragement and a feeling of being overwhelmed when you are trying to sort through them. Keep papers organized by subject or common theme. Use labels and dividers in order to find things quickly and easily. Also, be colourful! Matching subjects with colours makes things easier to find as well. Here are some paper organizing ideas:

ExpandingHangingFile_x

This expanding hanging file folder has room for growing paperwork. It comes with adjustable hanging rods so that you can place it in almost any drawer. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10027228&N=&Nao=450&Ntt=paper

PdnDeskFileJva10058153_x

The above desktop file holder is useful for storing documents that are used frequently. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10018795&N=&Ntt=files

LibraryMagazineFilesAll_x

I like to use magazine holders, like the ones above, to separate the documents for the different courses I’m taking at school. They’re portable, too, so if you wanted to go work elsewhere in your house, you can just pick it up and take it with you. They can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10017281&N=&Nao=100&Ntt=files

StackingTray

Keep current work together by using this stacking tray, pictured above. When you’re working on a project and have multiple documents that go with it, place it in here and it will be ready for you when you come back to it. It can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10036654&N=&Nao=150&Ntt=files

5. Clean up tangled cords. This can cause confusion when you are trying to move appliances or plug things in and out of them. There are a few solutions for  this:

Cordies10057641a_x

This is a great little item to keep your cords organized. It can be found here:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10032254&N=&Ntt=cords

KableFlags_x

Label your cords. This will prevent headaches! These can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10023423&N=&Ntt=cords

CableTurtles

Hide excess cords with these cable turtles, pictured above. They will keep your desk tidy. They can be found at the following website:

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10000329&N=&Nao=50&Ntt=cords

I hope some of these tips were novel and helpful. Let me know if you tried any of them and how it worked out. Happy organizing!