Sunday, January 9, 2011

Organizing Tip: Developing New Habits

Many of my clients worry about slipping back into old habits after we complete our sessions. Sustaining order in the house is easier if we establish new habits that soon become second nature.  I try to teach my clients the following habits that are simple and easy to learn.

1. Make your bed. Your bed takes up the most visual space in your bedroom. The simple act of making your bed immediately makes your room look tidy and orderly.

2. Do a quick sort of your mail as soon as you receive it. Most of the mail we receive is junk mail. Immediately toss the junk mail to lesson your load. We keep a recycle bin next to our door so we don't carry the junk mail into our home.

3. Shop your closets or pantry before you go shopping. It's very easy to buy duplicates if you don't have a good sense of what you already own. For example, I have a client who has office supplies coming out of her ears because she didn't know she already had it kicking around in her closet. Once we organized her office, she got a better sense of her office supply inventory. She now double checks her closet before she goes out and accidentally buys duplicates.

4. Continual purging. My husband and I keep two donation boxes in the house - one in the bedroom and one in the garage. When we come across items we don't need anymore, we put them in one of our 2 donation boxes. When we fill up the boxes, we drop them off at our local Goodwill. It's much easier to do this over time rather than carve out a couple hours to devote to purging during our precious weekends.

5. Never leave a room empty handed. There's usually some random object that ends up in a room it doesn't belong in. When you leave a room, take the misplaced item with you and return it to its proper place.

6. Keep flat surfaces empty. When your items do not have permanent homes, it's very tempting to throw it on any available flat surface, and clutter begins to accumulate. Make sure everything has an assigned place so you know where to return it, and if you're more particular like I am, remove the flat surfaces to stop the urge to pile. For example, we had a console in the hallway that was a constant clutter magnet. I got rid of it to force us to properly put things away.

7. Question your purchases. Ask yourself the following questions when you feel the need to buy something - Do you really need it? Do you already have something similar? Where would it go? What would it replace? Remember, we actively use only 20% of all our possessions. The rest of it ends up as clutter.

8. Regular maintenance - I can set up a simple system and organizational infrastructure for my clients that is easy to manage, but the system will still need some regular maintenance in the long run. Ideally, this will only need to be attended to on a weekly or monthly basis. If the system is streamlined and everything has a well defined process and place, it should only take minutes to tidy thing up.

It takes practice to develop these new habits, but in time, you'll find yourself doing these tasks without even thinking about it. Don't beat yourself up if you forget now and then. Life gets in the way, and we get distracted with other priorities, but over time, a little effort everyday goes a long way.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top 10 New Year's Resolution - Get Organized

New Year's is a time for looking back to the past and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's the perfect time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make. Have you made your New Year's resolution yet? Did you know that getting organized made almost every top 10 New Year's Resolution list? Below is a list of the most popular New Years resolution:
  1. Spend more time with family
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Lose weight
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Enjoy life
  6. Quit drinking
  7. Get out of debt
  8. Learn something new
  9. Help others
  10. Get organized
Getting organized can help you with the number 1 goal of spending more time with family. If you home is orderly and stress free, you will find more time to spend on the things that really matter in your life.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pink is the New Black

Pantone has declared pink the new "it" color, and pink is making it's way back into one of the most unexpected rooms in the house - the bathroom. Check out the article at the NY Times.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Organizing Tip: Selling your Stuff

Most of the items I purge go to Goodwill, but some items still have value on the secondhand market. Here are some of my favorite sites to make some moola from the stuff I don't need anymore.

1. - Selling electronic gadgets is super easy on this site. Simply look up your item and see how much you can get. Fill out a form, mail the form in with the item, sit back and wait for Gazelle to send you a check. I recently sold a cell phone and digital voice recorder and was surprised how much money I got for these items. They even gave me more money for the phone because of the phone's excellent condition.

2. - This is a great place to sell used CD's, DVD's and games. Similar to Gazelle, you look up your item to see what price you can get, fill out a form, and mail in the form with your items. They usually send a check within one week of receiving your items.

3. - You can sell almost anything on eBay, but I usually sell clothes and shoes. Most fashionistas shop by brand on eBay, so if your items are from a designer brand in top condition and only 1 - 2 years old, you can get more money from eBay than a consignment shop.

4. - This is the best site to sell your items locally. I usually sell furniture and household items on Craigslist.

5. - This is my "go to" place to sell books. Selling your books on can take a little longer as you post and wait for someone to purchase your book, but if you price aggressively, you can move your books faster.

Modern Wood Paneling

My husband and I are in the process of converting our formal living and dining room into his "man room." Since most formal rooms are rarely used, we knew we would get much more use out of these rooms if we made them his own adult playroom.

My dream man room would be modern, sophisticated and elegant, and I'm playing around with the idea of wood paneling to achieve this vibe. For some people, the first image that comes to mind when they think of wood paneling is the cheesy paneling from the 1970's or stuffy university libraries, both of which can be dark and oppressive. Using wood paneling as accents rather than wall paper brings in organic warmth without overwhelming the room.

The wood accent wall acts as a headboard and becomes the focal point of the room. The wood paneling is installed horizontally instead of vertically for a modern twist. Everything else is done in lighter tones, making the room bright and airy.

The wood clad ceiling creates intimacy by visually lowering the ceiling. The honey tone of the wood imparts casual warmth.

In moderation, wood paneling adds beautiful, organic texture and melds well with other natural materials like stone and slate.

Wood paneling does double duty with built in shelves in this deco inspired living room.