Eight Tips to Kitchen Sanity

Eight Tips to Kitchen Sanity
Messy Kitchen
You walk into your kitchen and you don’t want to cook anything.  So you settle for popping a lean cuisine in the microwave not only because it’s simple and easy, but also it keeps you from digging through your drawers to find stuff.  Settling for that microwave dinner protects your head from food items falling from your jam-packed cabinets.  You need sanity!       You won’t have to avoid your kitchen because it’s a mess anymore, if you follow my eight tips for an organized kitchen. ONE:  Eliminate extra stuff in kitchen to regain your sanity. For example, how many glasses or mugs are enough? Be realistic about items you use regularly. Suggestions on other items to edit:
  • Icky, stained, miss-matched plastic containers
  • Old spices (check out stilltasty.com)
  • Excess cooking utensils
  • Bowls and chipped dishes
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Eight Steps to De-Clutter

Does this picture look like a space in your home? With my client’s permission, I am sharing a before photo of his basement. This is 50 years worth of stuff piled into a room and forgotten about. He put it off for many years and finally was ready to get things sorted out. There is hope to getting an area like this cleaned up and usable again. My client made decisions, enlisted my help, and stayed focused to de-clutter the room. Are you ready to de-clutter? Continue reading »
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8 tips to make your clothing closet better!

Many people share with me that their closet “drives them nuts!” What is it about their closet that is so frustrating? Typically they can’t see everything they own, so therefore they only wear what they can see. Studies have shown that the 80/20 rule very much applies to clothing: many people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time. Typically the 20% of clothing that is worn 80% of the time is clothing that is easily visible. With that thought in mind, mornings can be very stressful for people who do not have a system to optimize their clothing options. We all want to avoid the feeling that “I keep wearing the same thing every day!”
Before Closet
I would like to offer suggestions to make your closet “less nuts” as well as to make all of your wardrobe options more visible. First let’s talk about some basics. You are in charge of your closet, right? So you get to choose what earns the valuable real estate in your closet. Before going out to buy any organizing products, first make sure the items in your closet are those you intend to use. Here are a few questions you may consider asking yourself first:
  • Do I love wearing the item or find it to be a staple in my wardrobe?
  • Is it my best color? (Consider getting your colors analyzed)
  • Is it in good shape? (no tears, pilling, discoloring)
  • Does it fit my body the way that flatters or that I feel comfortable?
  • Does it reflect my current style and season of life?
  • Have I worn the item in the last year or two?
If you answered “yes” to all of the questions, then keep the items. If the answer is “no”, then donate items to Goodwill, where they can have a positive impact on our community. Continue reading »
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13 pairs of sneakers? Enough is enough.

A fellow Professional Organizer and friend, Amy Melaragno, mentioned watching the movie “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.”  I watched it. This is what happened next. I asked myself, “How much is enough?” I started walking around the house and began addressing things one category at a time. Some of the questions I asked myself: • Is it worn out, dirty, old? • Have I used it lately? • Do I care about it? • Can I do without it? • Is it fun? • How many is enough? • Will I use it, watch it, wear it? Tennis Shoes: I wear them to work out, hike, clean the yard, run errands, work in clean houses and work in hoarded houses. I like color and variety. How many are enough? 13 pairs of tennis shoes
13 pairs of sneakers
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The Process of Letting Go

As a Certified Professional Organizer, I help people sort through their belongings and donate items to places that feel good to them. Of course, there are a number of reasons why people hold on to things.
Here are a few reasons people share with me: • I paid good money for it • It is a family heirloom • It will be valuable someday • It was a gift • I might need it someday • I am saving it for parts On the other hand, there are a number of reasons why people choose to let go of things. Here are a few that I also hear: • I haven’t used the thing in a long time • I have too many of these things • I don’t have room for this thing • This thing is too hard to move • It brings back bad memories The challenges that people encounter are often fueled by guilt and fear. This may be mental clutter that is getting in the way of a life and space that you want. Here are some tips to help you work through letting go of items. Continue reading »
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A Rockette and Then a Mom

In mid December I got a call from an 81- year old woman. We will call her “Ethel”. Ethel was seeking help from an organizer to get things in order. She shared with me how her husband had died a year ago. She called herself a packrat and described the basement as being full of stuff. Ethel uses her kitchen table for an office and she described it as awful. The goals she shared were to know where things are and to get rid of stuff so that her kids don’t have to deal with it. She wasn’t sure how long she would be in the house, so felt that she needed to get started working on it. Ethel shared with me a number of serious health issues and at the same time seemed to remain upbeat. When I asked her when she would have time to work on going through her stuff, she said she would make the time. Although she was clear about her involvement in bridge club, knitting group, going out with friends often and spending quite a bit of time reading she was committed to making the time needed to work on her stuff. I loved hearing how active she is and all the social activities she does. Ethel shared with me that she was originally from Akron. However she and her husband worked in New York. She was a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall. I found this fascinating. She went on to share that they eventually moved back to Ohio where they had five children and she operated a dance school for many years. We talked about her family involvement and again how she really didn’t want to bother her kids with dealing with all the stuff. Continue reading »
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Six Tips to Make Your Donations Count

Like many people, I too had a couple of boxes and bags of donations to remove from my house after the holidays. My husband offered to do the drop off on Monday, January 2. Unfortunately when he arrived, the Organization was closed in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday. He was able to put the clothing in an outdoor container. He decided not to leave the boxes of household items outside in the rain amidst other items left in front of the outdoor container. I agreed with my husband’s decision. I was curious about his thinking so I asked “Why didn’t you leave them with the other items?” He replied, “Because they would have been ruined by the rain and it would have made work for someone else to put them in the trash.” Agreed. Continue reading »
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18 Lessons from Phoebe the Schnauzer

While working with a recent client, we came across a typed document with this title at the top "Things you can learn from a dog." It included 18 lessons and was signed by "Freedom Ann." I have yet to find out who "Freedom Ann" is and her connection with dogs, but the list is great.  When I read each lesson it made me think of Phoebe, my 10 year old schnauzer. So I matched up the lessons with photos from the Phoebe file. 1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
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The Story of Tilly: Still Turning Heads After All These Years

One of the most fulfilling and satisfying aspects of my life as a Professional Organizer is coming in contact with so many wonderful people and hearing about their interesting life experiences. The life experiences of my clients often influence my own life in many ways, sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, and often heartwarming. One of my favorite examples on the humorous side, as well as heartwarming, is the story of Tilly. I first met Tilly back in 2013. I was on the first of many visits to a client, Ralph, who I am fortunate to now call a dear friend. The first time I visited Ralph’s home, I was startled and confused upon seeing Tilly, but I held myself back from asking any questions. Looking astute and comfortable, in her up-right seated position, Tilly was placed in the far right corner of the vaulted great room where I later learned she had sat for the last 16 years. Continue reading »
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Before and Better*

In the world of Professional Organizing, we tend to focus on "Before and After." That perspective changed when I went to the #NAPO2016 conference and participated in my friend, Fay Wolf's session, "Imperfection Rules!" She shared a term she's coined as "Before and Better," as a more accurate way to view client progress. It fits! She's brilliant. I'm guilty of it, moving X out of the picture to get the best "after" shot.  Who are we kidding? We don't live this way. We don't live like the magazines want us to think we should live. Like Fay says,  these depictions make it "look like we don't make food or do laundry." Even with the knowledge I have around Chronic Disorganization and my social work training my goal was to end with beautiful looking spaces. Yes, well, there is no end. These "after" photos aren't reality. We can't possibly live in "afters." And it is a disservice to try to impose this belief on my clients. It's time for a shift. This is what happens when you attend a conference with your peeps- you get better. Continue reading »
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