The Need for Speed

Most of us are very busy these days and time is a precious commodity. How can one stay organized when there is very little time to dedicate to organizing? Don’t worry! There are numerous speedy methods for getting your things in order.  It is possible to pull off quick cleaning, and the tips below will show you how.

Pick a pattern: whenever you clean/organize, always follow the same route. Choose a room or spot to consistently start in and create a pattern. Once your routine has been established, you will become accustomed to it and eventually be able to clean on auto-pilot. This allows your cleaning routine to develop into a speedy one.

A room full of clutter: grab a laundry basket (or two) and weave through the room, collecting clutter as you go. This will contain the mess, which you can hide for the time being, and when you have time later, the items can be redistributed properly.

Use baskets and trays: similar to the previous tip, these are helpful to keep around rooms to quickly toss things into and stay organized.

Entryway bowl: keep a bowl (a decorative one) at the entrance for odds and ends.

Making your bed: instead of getting up and walking around it several times and fussing with the sheets, make your bed while you are still in it! Sit up in the centre of the bed and straighten the sheets out. It’s much easier – and faster –  to do this from the centre of your bed. One thing that makes this even quicker is keeping the ends of the sheets tucked in at all times (the sheets are pretty much anchored in place, so arranging them in the morning is very simple).

Dusting: to get rid of dust fast, use a hair dryer. Move from top to bottom.

Cleaning the bathroom: use disposable antibacterial wipes like Lysol or Clorox to quickly wipe down surfaces.

Squeegee the shower: doing this after each use prevents you from having to do a huge scrubbing job later.

One thing at a time: don’t talk on the phone or watch TV while cleaning. This will only slow you down. Focus on the task at hand and you’ll finish sooner.

Stack it: for books and papers that are scattered all over the place, stack them in neat piles. You can quickly gather them up and make them look more organized this way. You can sort through them when you have time later.

Vacuum: use this on carpet and hard flooring (most vacuums have a hard floor option). This saves you time from having to switch and put away two appliances.

Happy organizing!

 

 

Catastrophic Closet Clean-up (Part 2 of 2)

In my previous post, I went over some basic tips that will help keep your closet organized. With these in mind, it’s time to move on and talk about how to organize your clothing within the closet. Here are my seven tips:

1. Categorize your clothes by making piles of each of the following:

T-shirts, dress shirts, casual pants, dress pants, shorts, tank tops, sweaters, blazers/jackets/vests, dresses, skirts, stockings, belts, socks, undergarments, and shoes.

2. If you have not already done so, purge the items that you no longer want as you make your piles. You can sell them on eBay, donate to them charity, or throw them in the trash if they’re in poor condition.
If you’re up to the task, you can also use worn out clothes to get crafty. Turn them into quilts, vests, scarves, and more!

3. Put out-of-season clothes and shoes in storage. You can put them in bins or vacuum sealed bags under your bed, on a high shelf in your closet, or in the storage room.

4. Create sections in your closet for each of the categories of clothing. For example, if you have a lower-level bar, put skirts and t-shirts there. Dresses can be hung at eye-level, and dress shirts, blazers, jackets, and vest can be hung on a high bar. If you only have one bar in your closet, put the type of clothing you wear the most often in the centre and the other sections on the periphery.

5. Hang up accessories. Use hooks or other organizational devices, like scarf hangers (pictured below), to do this. You can purchase one or make it yourself!

6. For the items that you can’t hang up, put them in baskets or in a dresser.

7. Decide how you want to store your shoes. Under the bed, hanging in your closet, on a rack, or in boxes. Do what works for you and your space. My closet is very full, so I put my shoes under the bed in an under-the-bed shoe organizer.

Happy organizing!

Catastrophic Closet Clean-up (Part 1 of 2)

When I was growing up, our closets were always a mess. Packed tightly with shirts, coats, dresses, boxes, towels, wrapping paper, and all other kinds of miscellany, you couldn’t see the back wall. I was convinced that Narnia was back there, but I could never push my way through to the end. Needless to say, our closets (among other things) were disastrous. Perhaps that is why I love organizing so much now… Anyhow, closets can easily turn into catastrophes, so don’t be hard on yourself if yours is in rough shape. There are numerous variations of closets and people will have different structural elements that will lead to different organizational tactics, but there are some basic tips that will work for everyone.

Before you tackle closet organization, it is important to do one big job first: Take everything out of the closet and go through all of the materials that were inside. Decide whether to keep, sell, donate, or trash the items. After you have done that, follow these five tips:

1. Decide on hangers. Choose one type of hanger and stick with it for a clean, organized look. I highly recommend wooden hangers as they are sturdier and hold your clothes better.

2. Hang it up. Hang up as much as possible as this frees up other space. It’s not just clothes you can hang up either: purses and shoes can be hung up as well with devices like the ones pictured below.

3. Use hooks! Place them in and around your closet for extra hanging space. You can drill some in, or, use the removable non-damaging ones. The more you can hang up, the better.

4. Place items strategically. Keep the items you use the most in plain sight and at an easy reaching level. For lesser-used items, store them down below, and for least-used, store them up high.

5. Use every inch of space. With the proper tools, such as hanging purse holders, hanging shoe holders, hooks, stackable bins, and boxes, you can take up every nook and cranny in your closet. Don’t let space go to waste!

Catastrophic Closet Clean-up part two will follow.

Happy organizing!

What Lies Beneath

Have you ever thought about the storage possibilities that your bed can provide? The space underneath your bed is a valuable area to keep many kinds of belongings. If you have no space underneath, you can purchase risers to lift up your bed (pictured below) and create the needed space.

What should be kept under there? For one thing, I have a massive amount of shoes, and I recently bought an under-the-bed shoe organizer (pictured below). This is a great way to get shoe clutter out of the way and into organized slots.

Another way to effectively use that space under the bed is to store out-of-season clothing there. You can pick up some under-the-bed storage bins (pictured below) for this. I recently bought some that have wheels on the bottom for easy removal.

I have an incredible amount of photo albums that are taking over all of the shelf space on my bookcases. Another item that I purchased recently was this durable plastic photo album storage container (pictured below). Inside, it has miniature storage containers to keep photos organized and safe. You can label your photos by event, person, year, etc., in order find the pictures you want easily.

The last thing that I have stored under my bed are my DVDs and CDs. Instead of having them sprawling all over several book shelves, drawers, and table tops, I have decided to purchase media storage bins (pictured below) to contain my movies and music. You can organize them alphabetically or by genre.

Besides going underneath for storage, I also wanted to make a quick note about storing things at the foot of your bed. Not everyone has a bed that you can do this with, but if it works, you can place an over-the-door rack over the end of your bed (pictured below). I use mine to hang bags because I am constantly using them.

IMG_2813

Don’t turn your bed into a dumping ground, keep it organized with proper storage devices. You’ll be glad you did!

Happy organizing!

Get a Habit

How do they do it? These people that seem to have everything together, the organized ones, can stump those of us who are not as naturally inclined to neatness. Why is it that some people appear to have everything in order while others are lost in clutter chaos? I would argue that it comes down to habits. There are certainly other variables in life that affect being organized such as stress, personality, environment, health, etc., but having the right habits is the key to being successfully organized. What are these habits though? Can they be learned? With some patience and effort, yes. The following is my list of ten habits (although there are many more) that will guide you on your way to becoming more organized.

1. Give everything a “home.” Each item you own should have a designated spot. For example, I always hang my coat on the same hook; I consistently put remote controls back under the television set; I place the scale back on the bottom left cabinet shelf in the bathroom. If you discover that you cannot find a home for something, perhaps it is time to reevaluate its presence in your life. Today, for example, I could not find a single place to stash a few boxes. Time to recycle! Moreover, don’t have junk spots or miscellaneous filing. Your things will get lost and forgotten. Just remember: your things always want to go “home.”

2. Return items immediately after use. Put things back in their home spot right after you are finished using them. For example, if you use the scissors for a craft project, put them back in the utensil holder the minute you know you’re done with them. If you are cooking or baking, return each ingredient after you’ve measured it out. When doing your laundry, put your clothes away the minute they are fresh out of the dryer. When you’re finished watching a movie, immediately put the disc back into the case and onto the shelf. By doing little things like this as you go along your day, you are saving yourself from big clean-ups later. If you are not used to putting things back promptly, this habit can seem annoying and frustrating at first. It will feel like a lot of work. However, the more you do it, the more natural it will become and, soon enough, it won’t annoy you any longer. You just have to put in the time and patience to train yourself. You can do it!

3. Do not become emotionally attached to material possessions. I know that this one is easier said than done, trust me, I am still holding onto some things myself. Learn to let go of the belongings that are no longer of use or value in your life. For example, when I was six years old, my granny passed away. We (she) had been working on sewing clothes for my barbie dolls and many of the outfits were left unfinished. I held onto that box of unfinished barbie doll clothes until some time in my early 20s! It was a rather large box as well, taking up valuable space all those years. When you begin to have numerous possessions that make you feel emotionally attached, you can see how easily space can be gobbled up. And for what? To collect dust! Try and understand why you are attached to something and then ask yourself these logical questions: Do I ever use this? Is it valuable? Do I love this for what it is? Based on your answers, you should be able to discern whether to keep, sell, donate, or discard the item.

4. Purge and donate regularly. Organized individuals regularly assess their belongings to determine whether or not they are needed any longer. If you haven’t used something for over a year – consider purging! Also, question your knickknacks. For example, I have so many figurines, stuffed animals, dishes, candles, vases, art, movies, etc., that have built up over the years. I asked myself: Do I really want these items? Do I get any kind of benefit or enjoyment from them? The answer was no so it was time to donate. I was able to significantly cut down on my knickknacks and keep only the most sentimental and aesthetically pleasing.

5. Regularly declutter. Take some time each day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, to clean-up and sort your things. This prevents huge messes from forming. Train yourself into making this a habit.

6. Stick to what works for you. For example, don’t go out and buy twenty different kinds of shampoo. You know which one is your favourite – so stick with that one! Having a bathroom flooded with bottles creates chaos and clutter. Keep what works; the rest is excess.

7. Pay with cash. You are less likely to indulge in buying more junk if you use cash more often. When you have your credit card, it’s easier to keep adding items to your stash. However, when you see your hard-earned, cold hard cash get plunked down, you tend to be more protective of it. Paying with cash makes you think more before you buy.

8. Make your bed. This might sound silly, but it’s actually a very organized way to start your day. It only takes a couple minutes to do and then you are primed for organizing for the rest of the day. You also won’t be tempted to throw things on your nice, clean bed.

9. Keep the essentials. Save only what you need and get rid of the rest (unless it is very sentimental or valuable). Make lists of your belongings (a list for each room) and write down how often – if ever – you use them. If use is rare, it’s time to reconsider! The less you have, the easier it is to stay organized. As I always say, purge, purge, purge!

10. Do the work. Being organized involves staying on top of things and putting in the effort. You could have every organizational device known to humankind and still be a mess if you don’t do the work. The good thing is, the more you do it, the more natural it will become. It can even be enjoyable!

Happy organizing!

Segregation Yields Disorganization Cessation

You’re probably wondering what on earth this post is about. Segregation yields what now?! In my last post, I discussed how to organize your wallet and one of the key suggestions I made was to “keep the essentials.” Here, I’m going to carry on with this idea while exploring how to organize your purse or bag. In addition to keeping the essentials, strive to divide and conquer. Segregate and succeed. What do I mean by this? Keep reading to find out…

Our nomadic knapsacks tend to get filled with heaps of clutter, turning into a mishmash of miscellaneous impedimenta. In other words, we end up hauling around a junk drawer that looks like it was on a herculean hike. How many of us plunge our hands into our bags, swirling stuff around, getting frustrated and desperate with each passing whorl?

There is a solution to this, and these are the five tips that will help:

1. Empty out your entire bag and decide what stays and what goes. Make two piles: one for what you absolutely need and one for the stuff that you don’t. Once you have decided what’s superfluous and what’s not, you can move on to the next step.

2. Create clusters. Group items that are similar in shape. For example, in the front pocket of my purse, I have three square/rectangular objects that are fairly similar in size (pictured below).

Three Cases

I like to have aesthetically pleasing organizational tools, so I bought the vintage cigarette case (in the middle) with one of my favourite works of art on it. I use it to hold my medication (and a mini nail file). The black square is a tiny cover-up case with a little mirror and the Japanese girl is a compact that I use to hold a few bobby pins. I use these things frequently, so it makes sense to keep them in my purse. If you use something on a daily basis, keep it in the bag.

Three Cases Open

3. Maximize compartment efficiency. If your bag has minimal or zero zipper compartments and/or pockets, think about purchasing a new one. We don’t want a vortex of debris. Use all of the compartments that your bag has to offer and assign your items a “home” within the bag. Don’t shuffle things around all the time, keep them in the same place.

4. Buy/create miniature storage containers. After you’ve sorted things out by shape and utilized compartments, there will most likely be leftover items. For these, I like to use small fabric or plastic pouches to keep my things organized. If you have a large bag, you can even use things like pencil cases and/or make-up cases. Here’s what my purse looks like:

My Green Purse

5. Do a daily clean-out. Keep on top of things by cleaning out your bag daily. File away receipts, clear items that were only for temporary use, and ensure each object is in its “spot.”

I hope these tips were helpful. Let me know what you think!

Happy organizing!

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The Urge to Purge

Orderly Conduct

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…

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Tips for Bathroom Organization

Orderly Conduct

Recently, I asked people on Twitter what sort of organizational help they need. The first responder wanted to know how to improve her bathroom. Whether you have a tiny bathroom with limited space, or a large one with ample room, there are numerous solutions to declutter this area.  Let’s get to work!

Bathroom before and after

First of all, you need to go through all of the items you have in your bathroom and check whether or not they have expired, are of use anymore, or really need to be in the bathroom at all. Keep the essentials and throw out expired sunscreen and any other products that have stayed past their expiration date. Make-up is a problem because a lot of women often have too much of it and hold on to it for too long. Downsize your collection and only keep the make-up you use on a regular basis. In addition to…

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Tips for Bathroom Organization

Recently, I asked people on Twitter what sort of organizational help they need. The first responder wanted to know how to improve her bathroom. Whether you have a tiny bathroom with limited space, or a large one with ample room, there are numerous solutions to declutter this area.  Let’s get to work!

Bathroom before and after

First of all, you need to go through all of the items you have in your bathroom and check whether or not they have expired, are of use anymore, or really need to be in the bathroom at all. Keep the essentials and throw out expired sunscreen and any other products that have stayed past their expiration date. Make-up is a problem because a lot of women often have too much of it and hold on to it for too long. Downsize your collection and only keep the make-up you use on a regular basis. In addition to this, most beauty products last one to two years and mascara should be tossed after three months because of the copious amounts of bacteria that build up on it. Anything that you touch consistently with your hands is going to expire much sooner than other items. Among other things that you should remove are hair ties, clips, or any other head gear that is not useful with your current haircut. Also, are you keeping cleaning supplies in your bathroom? These are best to keep in the storage room or the laundry room because they are not things that are used every day. As well, don’t keep all of your towels in the bathroom (unless you have a large bathroom and have the space for this). Towels can be kept in a hall closet, a wardrobe, a spare room, or your bedroom. You even could get a hope chest and keep the towels in there. Bathrooms are usually the smallest rooms in the house, so only the essentials should be kept in them. Don’t use the bathroom as a storage area and purge your heart out.

Secondly, sort your supplies in order to divide them and find “homes” for them later, after you have decided what stays and what goes. Take everything out of the cabinets, drawers, and off any shelves and put them out of the way for the time being. This is a great opportunity to do a thorough cleaning of the bathroom! After you have done this, think about the items that you use regularly and group them together. Then, put all of the less often used items together. This will determine which items stay up high/in front and which ones stay low/in the back. For example, the box of razor blade refills doesn’t need to be front and centre, but your toothbrush can be.

Third, purchase some storage solutions for your stuff. There are a number of options in this case: countertop, drawer, pouch, wall, and shower devices can be of help – these don’t have to be expensive! Some of them are, and if you have the budget for it, great; if you don’t, stress not, as there are plenty of options for someone on a budget. The items below can be found at the websites listed under them.

The hanging toiletry, pictured in the above two photos, is a great way to get clutter off of your counters and out of your cabinets. Hang it off of an over-door rack (seen below) or the towel holder. Moreover, when you are going on a trip, all of your toiletries are ready to go.

The over-door rack, pictured above, can hold the current towel you are using, your hanging toiletry, or anything else that you can think of. I use it to hold hair ties and headbands, my shower cap, hanging toiletry, current towel, housecoat (when in use), and a bag of first aid supplies. For the most part, put things here that you use regularly.

The above countertop organizer is useful because it contains small items that are easily scattered. I like to stress the importance of each item having a “home.” Always put things back in the same spot, and do so immediately after using them. This will eventually become a habit and you will become more organized.

Pg_6_Style Station-1_x

This hair styler organizer above is one of my favourites. Safely store your hair dryer, curling iron, and straightener here. It can sit on the counter or can be hung over the towel bar.

Clear clutter and save space with these stick-on pods. Attach them to the inside of your cabinets to keep small items handy.

Let’s not forget about drawer organization. This stackable organizer, seen above, keeps things in their place. They can also be stacked to save even more space.

Group things together under your sink or in deep drawers. The organizers pictured above keep things from going astray.

Another trick I find useful is to use little pouches or bags to keep my stuff organized. Like the hanging toiletry, pouches like the one pictured above will be ready to go when you are. Get a clear one so you can find what you are looking for easily.

Let’s also not forget about shower storage and organization. I consider organizational devices, like the ones pictured above, essential. Create a home for each item and keep it there! Keep as many things off of shelves and counters as possible.

As you can see, I love thecontainerstore.com. They have products that range greatly in price, but if you are on a really tight budget and have no extra funds, here are some crafty ideas to get yourself organized:

– Take an empty cereal box (or granola box, or gift box, etc.) and cut it in half (or one third, or three quarters, etc.). Make a few different ones, of ranging shapes and sizes. You can keep them unattached, or tape them together, whichever you prefer, and use these as organizational devices. Store them on the counter, under the sink, or on the wall (use strong tape and get vertical!  Tape it to the wall to clear your counter space!). You can even decorate them so they look more aesthetically appealing. To keep them more water-resistant, cover them in thick clear tape after you make them. Use them in the same way as many of the products listed above. The picture shown below is an example of how creative you can get with used boxes.http://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=gnHvatdijhE1aM&tbnid=OXPehQQPfiOc2M:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fiheartorganizing.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F01%2Fdiy-cereal-box-drawer-dividers.html&ei=KjrxUrSQHZfkoATr7oL4Cg&bvm=bv.60799247,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNEeXAHq61I7Cm-OqMZ7SmGC_Gxe_g&ust=1391627169216619

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=gnHvatdijhE1aM&tbnid=OXPehQQPfiOc2M:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fiheartorganizing.blogspot.com%2F2013%2F01%2Fdiy-cereal-box-drawer-dividers.html&ei=KjrxUrSQHZfkoATr7oL4Cg&bvm=bv.60799247,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNEeXAHq61I7Cm-OqMZ7SmGC_Gxe_g&ust=1391627169216619

To recap, remember:

1. Keep the essentials.

2. Sort products and find a “home” for them.

3. Purchase or create storage solutions.

Let me know if you tried any of these and how they worked out. Happy organizing!