Archive Monthly Archives: March 2019

9 Simple Tips for a More Organized and Tidy Life

Happy Spring! Along with March’s warm up, April’s showers, and May’s blooming flowers, comes “spring cleaning”. A favorite American past time, well for me at least! For those who have put off de-cluttering and organizing all year, this is usually the time they start. Soon we will see yard and garage sale signs popping up everywhere. So, in anticipation of that, I have put together a list of 9 simple organizing and tidying tips. These are not just once in a moment tips, these are small changes you can make now that can help you to reduce the clutter, stay organized and minimize your housework on an ongoing basis!

1) Make your bed every morning. And teach your kids to as well. Ever since I can remember, my mom had us make our bed as soon as we got up in the morning, (she even taught us to do “hospital corners”, but I have to admit, mine are not that great). Now as an adult I can't leave the room with out it being done. This small act sets the tone for your day as organized and efficient and will be ingrained in your children’s routine as well. Then when you retire to your bedroom at the end of the day, you will be welcomed by the sight; helping you to feel relaxed and calm.

2) Take a few minutes each day to straighten up. This can be extended to your nightstand, couch pillows, coffee table and kitchen table after using them. This may sound seems silly, but think about how much of your cleaning housework is actually tidying up first. And if you teach your kids to mind a few of their personal spaces in the same way they must clean up their toys, they and you will feel less overwhelmed at the number “chores” to do.

3) Have a clear, defined, uncluttered entry space. If you have a mudroom or foyer and kids, set up a backpack and shoe station. At the very least you want a small entry table with a bowl/plate/basket for keys, purses and wallets. Maybe even a separate container or drawer for mail. If you don’t have a coat closet, you may want to put hooks on the wall, but try not to overwhelm the space. Just as your bed sets the tone for your day, this sets the tone for your return home and guests’ arrival. A space cluttered with everything and anything dropped at the door will invoke disarray and stress (and probably raise your blood pressure as your walk in the door), while a clean space will give you a sense of welcoming calm. Think of the welcome desk as your favorite hotel - a nice flower, bowl of candy maybe, not much else.

4) Break down cleaning into manageable tasks. Similarly to straightening up, the goal here is to reduce your stress. Maybe you clean the bathroom one day, then the kitchen another. Or even smaller; tackle the toilets one day, the shower/bathtub another. If you have a one story, cleaning like items is very efficient too. I often vacuum one day because I don’t want to have to start and stop in each room while I am doing other things. What ever way you decide is best for you, by breaking up your cleaning tasks, cleaning will seem less overwhelming. Therefore you will be more likely to complete them instead of waiting to schedule a whole house deep clean day.

5) Plan out your meals. Many of my friends with children plan out their weekly meals so that they can buy the ingredients on the weekend or when the kids are at school in order to avoid the terrible after school question, "Mom/ Dad what's for dinner?!" My friends that follow paleo/keto/whole30 or other eating routines plan out their meals to make sure they always have the right ingredients and are not tempted by ordering out or grabbing pre made meals. But what about the rest of us that don’t have to plan? Well I plan too. Because even if I'm only making dinner for one or two, life is so much easier when the ingredients for pot roast are all in your fridge and that's on the schedule for Monday night. I don't have to think. I just chop and throw it all in the pot. Sure if Tuesday comes and we want to go out for Thai instead of having what’s on the schedule, we can. But it’s our choice. And when we are tired from work, the last thing we want to do is open the fridge and be creative. Bottom line, meal planning is for everyone!

6) Organize your pantry, cabinets and refrigerator by like item in easy to distinguish containers and on different sehlves or drawers. Marie Kondo says that “You should be able to tell at a glance where everything is” This avoids over or under buying of items. My freezer has protein (meat and fish) on one shelf, veggies and fruit on another, and misc (frozen bagels and ice cream on another). My pantry has different shelves for rice and pasta, canned food, oatmeal and pancake flour, and protein powder and bars for my workouts. That way at any given time I know what I do or don’t have and I am not over stocking on chicken or marinara sauce. The same goes for your cleaning supplies, hair supplies, makeup, etc. When it's time to clean you don’t want to find out you have 4 bottles of Tilex but not windex.

7) Keep a notepad in your most frequented /convenient space. For me, there’s a magnet notepad on my refrigerator. Every time I think of a grocery item, cleaning supply or other reminder, I write it down on that paper. If there’s a recipe I want to try, i check the ingredients and my pantry and write down what I don’t have. Then when it comes time to do our errands I have my whole list ready to go and with my organized shelves, I can take a quick look to see if there’s anything else I am low on. This avoid scrambling to remember what I want while standing in the middle of the produce section, or worse getting home having forgot the potatoes for shepherds pie.

8) Get e-statements for as many documents as you can. These days 80% of filed papers are never looked at again, so why bother getting them and filing them? If you don’t file them, then there really is no point to wasting the paper and mailing. By receiving statements online, they are in your inbox waiting and available to review, print out, etc. and you can always request pdf. or hard copy if you need to.

Last but not least – 9) Address things as they come – This is my summary statement. In order to prevent stress and the sense of overwhelming tasks, don’t let them pile up. Whether it’s the laundry, cleaning, groceries, shredding mail, home repairs, sewing the button back onto that shirt, for one client it was just breaking down delivery boxes , if you take half an hour to do it now, you will feel better than the constant feeling that its hanging over your head until its 5 hours worth of work.

I hope these tips are helpful and that you can apply them to your life. Next blog will review some of my favorite items that can help you get and stay organized!  But if you feel like you don’t know where to start and it is all too overwhelming, that's OK. Give me a call or email and I would be happy to help you start or finish down the road to a more organized, relaxed, and healthy home.

Top 6 Reasons to Get and Stay Organized

“Getting Organized” is consistently ranked one of the top five New Year's resolutions made every year. And with the craze for Marie Kondo's Tidying Up tearing across the nation, everyone wants to take part!  People usually start off strong, emptying their closets of unworn items and pantries of expired goods, but then, as with other resolutions, by this time of year they lose steam.

Then when the weather starts getting nice "Spring Cleaning". In another few weeks, you won't be able to drive around a neighborhood without seeing a yard sale, tag sale, garage sale, sign every weekend. 

But why wait? Why make resolutions at all? Why not make getting and STAYING organized part of your life? I can help you start on that road today! If you're not sure you really want or need to embark on that journey, here is my countdown of the Top 6 Reasons to Get and Stay Organized. I would love to know what you think!

6. If one in four Americans have a clutter problem, then that would suggest that atleast every one family does. According to the average American household in 2018 was 2.53 people.  So is it you or your sister or brother or parents or neighbor who needs some decluttering and organizing? It's nothing to be ashamed of, some people just need to learn a few quick tricks, others just don't have the gene.

5. Wow, 80% of papers we print out, receive in the mail or by fax are never even looked at again. So why bother getting them at all? Why not receive via e-statement?  Or at the very least, cut down on your files by reviewing then recycling or shred to keep your private info safe.

4. Almost 10% of Americans own a storage unit. Ok that doesn't sound like too many, but there are upwards of 40K units in the US! But when you think about it, storage units are usually barely frequented, not exactly used like a basement freezer. When I had a unit, it sat for an entire year before I visited it once. If you have a unit, how often do you visit it and sort through your items? Does the volume grow or diminish? Does it look like something out of storage wars? Are there papers you filed away in there?

3. This one ails almost everyone I know. Garage are a coveted item on most home buyers' list of wants, however are they really just storage units these days? Do you have a garage that is used for everything except your automobile?  Thing about all the money you would save if you are didn't have the rain, snow or sun beating down on it year round.  More than the savings on that bulk Costco paper towel pack I bet.

2. Having worked in many small businesses on the administration side, I can attest to the fact that this is true. Small business owners, CEOs, even administrative staff, often have an overwhelming about of information that they are taking it and turning over to put our their products. Decluttering and organizing is a must for productivity and efficiency in the workplace.  And it is not different at home.  Are you one of those people that can never find their keys?  Or spend 30 minutes looking for a shoe or purse you could swear was in its "normal place" but was really under the bed?

1. Even if you don't have a clutter problem, the Huffington Post research found that 84% of Americans think that their houses should be more organized and/or clean. Busy families have enough to do with grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, school pickups, etc., why add organizing to your long list of daily activities?

 So, if you are motivated to start working towards a more organized, less stressed, you today, please contact me!​ Together we can start gaining back that year, and start reducing the time you spend on housework.  And don't forget to follow me here and on social media for more ideas, tips, and insights. Next week I will share some of my best organizing tips.

My Journey into Owning My Own Business

One of the things I have been asked frequently as of late is how I got into this business.  While a lot of this information can be found on the About page, I thought I would give everyone a little bit of my back story, pull all of my thoughts together into one place to explain My Journey to Home Organizing, Staging and Redesign.

I was born and raised in a small town in Connecticut. We had two tiny gas stations, an orchard/petting zoo, and a few stop lights.  No other commercial business were and are allowed to this day. Starting at a very young age, every few months I would get the itch to reorganize my life. For a child this essentially just meant my bedroom. I would go through my clothes, books, and accessories to get rid of the things I wasn’t using, either by donating them to the church where we served hot dinners once a month, having a “tag sale” or just throwing them away. Once this started, it would inevitably end with my mom finding me dragging my furniture across the room to create a new and more pleasing layout. I'll tell you a secret, I always thought the girl in the mirror had a cooler room than me. I may have grown up, but that itch has never ceased.

After graduating from Emory University in Atlanta, I spent a year doing AmeriCorps service across the country. During that time I got my first real taste of the home improvement industry, working alongside volunteers and professionals at Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans and Miami. I specifically worked on framing and roofing. However, when my service was completed, I assumed it was time to start working in the "business world" So I began my professional career in the Residential Property Management field, something that related to homes but required bookkeeping and administration. Over the years I excelled in financial management, business management, operations, and social media marketing. In 2015 continued to achieve my Master of Business Administration (MBA).

So in 2013 when my father expressed his desire to renovate his New England Colonial house as well as a concern that he would not be able to manage everything with his busy travel schedule, I saw an opportunity. See after graduating from college, I had got my first taste of home improvement while completing a year of AmeriCorps service; working alongside volunteers and professionals at Habitat for Humanity. My father knew that I had loved the work. Due to some extenuating circumstances outside of my control, my long time boyfriend and I found ourselves in a position to make a move. Therefore he and I decided that I would move home and become the general contractor and designer on hand for my father's project.

Over the next year and a half, I supervised the renovation of the kitchen and four bathrooms, as well as the overall organization and redesign of the rest of his home, inside and out. We addressed a variety of items that had just been overlooked in the last 30 years ranging from pulling down the dated wallpaper, to refinishing floors, sealing the home, upgrading the electric, landscaping, and more. And I loved it! It was amazing to see how the small and large changes not only upgraded the quality of the home, but also my father's life in it. He would like to move out of the old family home one day, maybe not right this minute, but now it has evolved into a modern Colonial home with those options available.

While I was home, I also saw up close the snowball effect that "collecting" can have on a person. Someone close to me has unfortunately spiraled from collecting, to cluttering, and now to hoarding. And at some point, the "organized mess" I remember from my youth turned into an overwhelming task that no one even knows how to start. And while I don't think everyone has tendency of having this happen to them, I just wished that something had been done earlier; organizing and de-cluttering along the way. And more over, I wished I had been there to help and slowly encourage progress. Too often, this happens to seniors after a loved one passes away, or they are unable to physically address their belongings, or they must downsize to a different location.

Upon completing my father's renovation project, I tried to return to the business and financial management world I had known, taking a position as a Business Manager at a national commercial furniture liquidation company. Using my precision for planning and process, I helped to streamline the company procedures and finances. Having some history in home improvement and styling always helped my understanding of the services and assets we dealt with, however something was always missing. Something about the things I had done and seen stayed with me. Something about being inside of the office, without the ability to touch and feel and put my thoughts into physical action bothered me. I spent some time researching and considering what my strengths and interests during the past had been. And what I realized is that I enjoyed the work at my father's the most. Working my brain and my body and seeing the tangible results of my labor! So in 2018 I spent the year studying the theories and ideas behind the work I had been doing instinctively, and become an HSR Certified Professional Home Stager and Redesigner. And after a total of 11 years in various offices, I took a leap of faith launching my own business that combines my professional experience with my creative and problem solving abilities.

Most importantly I want people to have a happy, healthy and safe living environment. Since one of my main inspirations has been seeing my own family's experiences sorting out finances, belongings and paperwork after a death, I hope to help other families and businesses avoid that in their future by getting an early start now. It's not just my name, these things really are my forte!  

Top 10 Reasons to Stage Your Home for Sale!

These days you can't flip through the TV channels without either seeing a home buying/selling show or a story about one of the hosts; they are just as famous as movie stars! There are shows on buying "fixer uppers", "flipping" homes, remodeling all sizes of home, building tiny homes and tree houses, getting amazing deals, winning makeovers, and of course nightmare transformations.  So it's safe to say that every new home buyer wants that remodeled look and doesn't want to pay top dollar for it. 

That's why Home Staging has become a fast moving industry. Home Staging is the stylized preparation of a home for sale by a professional who has been trained in this specific design.  And many Real Estate Agents believe that staging is crucial to selling a home for the maximum return, just like us Home Stagers do!  So if you are on the fence about whether paying a Stager is right for you, here is my Top 10 Reasons to Stage Your Home for Sale. 

So, if you are motivated to start working towards getting the most for your home, please contact me!​   We can start with a consultation and a list of recommendations for as little as $200.00.  Don't forget to follow me on social media for more ideas, tips, and insights. And of course, your thoughts are always welcome.