Today's Blog Post

Organizing Kitchen Clutter Spots

organizing kitchen clutter spots

organizing kitchen clutter spotsIf you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to organizing kitchen clutter spots, you’re not alone! And there’s good reason for it too – the kitchen is one of the most frequently used spaces in your home and has the huge responsibility of housing everything you need to prepare, store and eat your meals. Many kitchens also pull double duty, functioning as a home office, mud room and more. Because your kitchen serves so many purposes, storage for all the essentials is often at a premium and can become quickly cluttered in the course of everyday life. To help you control kitchen chaos, we’ve got some tips to help you in organizing kitchen clutter spots.

Drawers

Kitchen drawers are typically the best spot for utensils and other small items, but they can easily become kitchen clutter spots without some structure and organization.

  • Start by sorting what you have. Group like items together and eliminate duplicates whenever possible.
  • Drawer dividers work wonders to keep your categories defined and visible. But not all drawer dividers are created equal – there are one-piece trays, modular components, and expandable options. When you go shopping for drawer dividers, it’s a good idea to write down the interior dimensions of your drawers, so you know you’re getting something that will fit!
  • Watch out for knives and sharp utensils when you’re sorting your drawers and make sure you give these items a safe, contained home.
  • And when putting your drawers back together, keep less frequently used items in the back, saving up front space for commonly-used items.

Cabinets

Your cabinets are generally your kitchen storage workhorse. But just like drawers, without some good structure and organization, they can become kitchen clutter spots, a frustrating black hole of dishes, cookware and more. To keep your cabinets under control:

  • Group everyday dishes and glassware together. And be sure to think about how much you really need. If your cabinets are full of items you never use, it’s time to weed out.
  • Donate what you don’t need or store overflow items that you want to save for entertaining elsewhere. You’ll thank yourself every time you open your cabinets.
  • Be sure to place frequently used items on lower shelves, so there’s no need to reach or climb to get what you need every day.
  • And don’t stack heavy items – they’ll be difficult and maybe dangerous to get and put back. Instead, try shelf dividers for better use of vertical space.
  • Cookware tends to multiply over the years. Do yourself a favor and get rid of the stuff you really don’t use, toss items in bad shape, and ask yourself, do I really need two (or more) of these?

For more tips on organizing kitchen clutter, download our e-Course, Kitchen Mission: Reclaim the Heart of Your Home.

Organizing Boston offers hands-on organizing services for all areas of your home and office. Our professionally-trained team of expert organizers will help you create a custom organized space that you can easily maintain. Call us today to achieve the organized life you dream of! 617-744-1429

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Kitchen Pantry Organizing Makeover

Before and After Pantry

Before and After PantryBefore we started our kitchen pantry organizing makeover, this kitchen pantry was cluttered with bulky items and inefficient storage. But with a little time, effort, and great new storage, it is now a functional home for this family’s kitchen pantry essentials.

The first step in this kitchen pantry organizing makeover was to sort through each and every item in the pantry. We were able to get rid of items the family didn’t need and find new homes for items that really didn’t belong in the space and were taking up precious real estate. When going through this process of determining what stays and what goes, it helps to keep the goal for your kitchen pantry organizing firmly in mind. In this case, the family wanted plentiful and easy storage for ingredients, appliances, and other kitchen items that didn’t have a home in their cabinets.

After tossing what they didn’t need, we were able to further group together the remaining items and decide on the best storage. The bulky cabinet previously used for ingredient storage wasn’t the best use of space or easy to use. So we replaced it with Elfa wall racks, which allow you to choose the size and spacing of your baskets to maximize your space. They make great use of vertical space and are also very slim, taking up very little room, which was important in this case since the pantry was also the back entrance to the house. We also replaced the existing wall shelves with sturdy, adjustable Elfa shelving that made better use of the vertical space. The end result was a dream come true for the home owner – easy access to all her kitchen needs…not to mention a pleasant path to her backyard! Kitchen pantry organizing saves you time and money, and reduces food waste, since you can actually see what you have before you head to the store!

Want to learn more about kitchen pantry organizing? Download our e-Course, Kitchen Mission: Reclaim the Heart of Your Home. You will learn a step by step process to create an organized kitchen!

Organizing Boston offers hands-on organizing services for all areas of your home and office. Our professionally-trained team of expert organizers will help you create a custom organized space that you can easily maintain. Call us today to achieve the organized life you dream of! 617-744-1429

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Kitchen Organizing in Small Steps

enkd15c_1_ 022

enkd15c_1_ 022A kitchen is more than just a room. It’s the heart of your home, your command central, a place for family and friends to meet, but sometimes it can become a dumping ground. Because this room is such a busy multi-tasker in your home, kitchen organizing can be a daunting and downright overwhelming task. But you don’t have to have an entire weekend to tear your kitchen apart and put it back together. By tackling smaller kitchen organizing projects on a consistent basis, you can make real progress, without missing a beat in the heart of your home.

The first step is to step back and strategize. What are your biggest trouble spots and why? Don’t be afraid to rethink where you store things. Poor placement of frequently used items can be a major source of kitchen headaches! The kitchen is often one of the first rooms unpacked and put away when you first move. But just because you put it there on day one, doesn’t mean it was the best place for that item and doesn’t mean it needs to stay there. Step back and decide where it makes sense to store each category of items based on where and how you use it. The time it takes to rearrange will save you time and frustration in the long run. You don’t have to know where everything will go before you start – organizing is like a puzzle – get some key pieces in place and the rest will start falling into place too.

After a bit of strategizing, it’s time to start small and focus. The easiest way to tackle any organizing project is to begin with a smaller task. Make a list of those trouble spots you identified – think utensil drawer, Tupperware collection, or the junk drawer. You should also include any re-arranging of items you identified in your strategy session on your list. Smaller projects lead to easy victories and help you build momentum. They’re also more practical when you have limited chunks of time to work on organizing your kitchen. For each mini project, use our STUFF steps to get you from start to finish.

  • Sort like items together
  • Toss or donate anything you don’t need, use or love!
  • Unify – decide where it makes sense to store each group of items
  • Find and fill containers for each group of items or activity
  • Follow Up – Clean up as you go and put items away in their new homes

Even a small victory can give you the boost you need to keep going. Stay consistent and get a routine going – maybe make it a goal to tackle one mini project each week and you’ll have a new kitchen in no time!

Want to learn more? Download our e-Course, Kitchen Mission: Reclaim the Heart of Your Home. You will learn a step by step process to create an organized kitchen!

Organizing Boston offers hands-on organizing services for all areas of your home and office. Our professionally-trained team of expert organizers will help you create a custom organized space that you can easily maintain. Call us today to achieve the organized life you dream of! 617-744-1429

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Home Office Makeover

Before and After 58

Before and After 57This cluttered space was in desperate need of a home office makeover! You might even say it seemed hopeless. But when it comes to organizing, no space or situation is hopeless! All you need is some time, effort and a plan.

To achieve this home office makeover, we dove in and tackled one bag, box and pile at a time. The first step in any organizing project is to sort like items together – so we sorted through all of it, tossing anything obvious that the owner didn’t need or want as we went. As we sorted and tossed the obvious junk, we created general categories for what remained – paperwork, memorabilia, office supplies, items to sell and return, and more. This strategy allows you to see what you have and makes the next round of decisions easier.

After you’ve sorted, the next step is to take a second pass at tossing what you don’t need, use or love. Paperwork can be tedious, but it is usually straightforward and you can really see your progress when you toss the recycling and trash and take care of any shredding.

After whittling down to just what was needed in this home office, we arranged the newly clear space to take advantage of the natural light and encourage collaboration since it’s a shared space. Appropriate containers and furniture were re-purposed or purchased to house all the necessary paperwork and office supplies. The drawers right next to the desk were used for the most frequently used supplies – think easy access – while the boxes on the bookshelves were used for less frequently used supplies. The space is now calm, clean and ready for work. And best of all, maintaining a clean, organized space is so much easier than transforming the original cluttered chaos!

Before and After 58

At Organizing U, we have a 5 step process to organize anything, which is easy to remember with the acronym STUFF – we’ve talked about the first 2 steps – Sort and Toss – to learn the rest, check out our downloadable e-Course, Manage Your Stuff™: Five Steps to Organize Anything. Follow these steps to realize your very own home office makeover!

Organizing U has the Professional Organizer Training you need to succeed at every stage! Developed by 15-year veteran and Certified Professional Organizer® Sarah Buckwalter, Organizing U offers on-demand Training and Education Programs, comprehensive Business Forms and personalized Business Coaching to help you start, run and grow a successful organizing business.

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Making Your Donations Count at Tax Time

clothing donation

clothing donationGetting into the habit of making donations of your gently used clothing and household goods is a great way to keep your space clutter free! But beyond keeping your space in check, making donations has other benefits, including keeping usable items out of landfills, providing items to organizations who can do some good with them, and of course getting items to those in need. But did you know that your donations can also benefit you at tax time? That’s right – generally speaking, you can claim a tax deduction for donating clothing and household items that are in good (or better) condition.

Staying organized as you donate items throughout the year will help you be able take advantage of this benefit come tax time. Most charitable organizations that accept donations of clothing and goods will provide you with a receipt for your donations. This has the information of the organization and an authorized signature, but it is up to you – the donor – to make an itemized list of your donations and to assign a fair market value to the items. This is not what you paid for the items and is often less than what you think (or hope) they may be worth. Rather, it is the amount that a buyer would pay to a seller for that item now. To make the process of valuing your donated items easier, several of the major charitable organizations that accept donated goods offer valuation guides that list general categories of items and a range of their typical value. Check out Goodwill’s Valuation Guide here.

So what do you need to do to make your donations count come tax time? Collect a receipt for each donation you make. Before you forget, make an itemized list of what you donated and the donation date. For large donations, you can group like items together, such as children’s clothing, and note the number of items for each category. Then use a valuation guide, such as Goodwill’s, to assign a value to your items and a total for each receipt. Keep these donation receipts together in a tax folder. Come tax time, you’ll have them all together to provide to your tax preparer or help you add up your deduction if you’re doing your taxes yourself. Your receipts or scans of them should then be saved along with your other tax documents as backup for your deduction.

So if you’re already a regular donator, keep up the good work – just make sure your donations are working for you at tax time too! And if you’re new to donating, try it out – the benefits are well worth the effort.

Organizing U has the Professional Organizer Training you need to succeed at every stage! Developed by 15-year veteran and Certified Professional Organizer® Sarah Buckwalter, Organizing U offers on-demand Training and Education Programs, comprehensive Business Forms and personalized Business Coaching to help you start, run and grow a successful organizing business.

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Create an Organized Home Office

woman-in-organized-home-office-300x199

woman-in-organized-home-office-300x199An organized home office is a key to your success! Whether it’s an entire room or a corner of your kitchen, a home office is more than just an office – it’s the command center of your home and life, and maybe even business. It might be home base for everything from bill paying to party planning to conference calls and more. And whether you’re working on organizing an existing home office or you’re creating a newly organized home office, this is the perfect time to make sure you use the right space and set it up for success. Let’s talk about a few keys to success when creating an organized home office.

First, you need to define and dedicate some space for your office. This may be dictated by what space you have available – it could be small, such as a mobile filing cart or you might have a whole room to work with. Whatever the case, don’t fight natural tendencies – try to set up your office where mail, paperwork and other important items already tend to accumulate.

Next, take a few minutes to list out what functions your office needs to support. Having this list will make it much easier to figure out what you need in the space and what you don’t.

Knowing what you are trying to accomplish in your office will help you corral the supplies you need – think supplies for opening and processing mail and school papers, paying bills, making new files, and anything else you need to routinely do in your home office.

If you’re dealing with a big paper mess, such as piles all over your desk, it can help to kick-start your process with a quick sort. First, gather all your surface paperwork into a box (or boxes). Then do a quick sort by looking at each paper and sorting it into 1 of 3 categories – To Do, To File, or To Toss. Your Toss pile might be a mix of things that can be recycled and things that should be shredded. Once you have tossed your Toss pile, you’ll just be left with 2 piles – papers you want to keep but don’t need to take action on, and those that require some sort of action. This quick sort strategy allows you to start taking action on top priority paperwork, as you work on setting up an improved filing system without worrying that pressing action items are buried in a pile somewhere.

After you’ve calmed that chaos, it’s time to set up simple systems for incoming paper, projects and more – do what works for you and your family, and don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be!

You’ll also need to make time to practice your new routines – it takes time to create tried and true habits, but it’s well worth it!

Want to learn more? Download our e-Course, Down to Business, Make your Home Office Work for You. You will learn a step by step process to create an organized home office!

Certified Professional Organizer®, Sarah Buckwalter has over 15 years of experience running Organizing Boston, the 2014 winner of Best of Boston Home™, Best Professional Organizer. Highly regarded and nationally recognized as an industry expert, Sarah shares her knowledge and experience through her speaking, coaching and training programs at OrganizingU.com

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Go Paperless with Neat Scanners

connect-right-610px

connect-right-610pxDo you dream of going paperless? Dream no more! With the right tools, going paperless can be [relatively] painless! So how do you get from piles to organized digital files? We recommend Neat scanners and organizing software. With three levels of scanners and super smart organizing software, Neat scanners can make your paper files and piles a distant memory. The downside? You might have to sell your filing cabinets on Craigslist! :)

Neat scanners are fast and easy to use – you can scan piles of receipts, business cards and papers in a flash. Once scanned, Neat automatically extracts key information from your papers, such as vendors and totals from receipts. The desktop software, which comes with all three levels of scanners, allows you to organize your receipts and papers into folders that make sense for you or your business. Neat Cloud service offers secure cloud storage, automatic syncing, and the ability to access your information anywhere from any device.

Neat also prides itself on being your one-stop solution for information storage – you can save and organize e-receipts, electronic invoices, and other digital documents. And because it’s highly searchable, you can find what you need quickly even if don’t have it all perfectly organized – you can’t say that about your filing cabinets and desktop piles!

Excited to go paperless but overwhelmed by a backlog of piles and files? Neat offers bulk scanning services for Premium and Business accounts to get you caught up quickly. If you’re doing it yourself, we recommend starting with your current paperwork and getting a system going for incoming information, then working on the backlog bit by bit. You may find you don’t need to scan all of your old paper anyway – check with your financial or legal adviser if you’re not sure.

Whether you run a business or a household, going paperless with Neat scanners are an effective and easy way to streamline your office and your workflow. What’s even better, Neat scanners are on sale! Happy scanning!

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Destination Organization

destination organization

No doubt about it – organizing and decluttering have become household words – you say them and pretty much everybody knows what you’re talking about. But that doesn’t mean that everyone’s definition of “organized” is or should be the same. We all know that it’s easier to get somewhere when you know where you’re headed. So whether you’re on your own organizing journey or trying to help someone else, it helps to step back and think about your organizing vocabulary, most importantly, what it means to you to “be organized.”

When we organize, we create order and structure by putting some thought into how to set up our world – our space, our time, and our behaviors. When we organize, we get our “stuff” together, so we can be more efficient and intentional in the way we conduct our lives, leaving more space and time for what we enjoy most.

Being organized means something different to everyone. And it’s important to remember that people have different levels of organization that make them happy as well as different levels of tolerance for the amount of stuff in their space. Here are some examples of what organized means to different people:

  • Feeling in control of your space, possessions and time
  • Maintaining simple, streamlined and clean spaces
  • Having a place for everything and everything in its place
  • Making time to relax and pursue hobbies beyond the daily “work” of life
  • Meeting deadlines and getting where you need to be on time
  • Feeling calm, cool and collected

Clutter is generally anything that stands between you and your definition of organized. Clutter is a symptom of being less than optimally organized. It can be physical or mental, but we most often talk about physical clutter. Physical clutter is stuff you don’t need, use or love. Mental clutter is anything in your head that keeps you from moving toward your organized state. Going through the process of organizing your physical stuff will help you identify and work on your mental clutter too.

Decluttering, also known as purging or tossing, is the process of getting rid of items you don’t need, use or love. It is one piece of the organizing puzzle that can and should occur during all phases of the organizing process.

So whether you love piles or clear surfaces, getting comfortable with your destination organization will help you know what’s working for you and what you can work on to get there!

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

6 Strategies for a Kid-Friendly, Organized Home

SmallEuroBin10057513_2_l

If you have kids, staying organized at home probably feels somewhere between an absolute necessity and utterly impossible. Ok, let’s not kid ourselves, most days we’re probably leaning toward the utterly impossible side of that equation. But don’t give up just yet, every bit of organizing effort you put into your family’s home will go a long way toward maintaining your sanity, even if perfectly organized is an impossibility. So step back, take a deep breath and let’s start with some overall strategies for creating a kid-friendly, organized home.

  1. Take a child’s eye view. Especially when it comes to living with little ones, it helps to get down to their level and take a look at your space. Look for hidden dangers, such as tippy furniture, outlets, and breakable items. Disorganized and dangerous is a lot worse than just disorganized. Create zones, just a like a kindergarten classroom so toys and activities are easy to find, use and put away. And last but not least, choose furniture and storage solutions that fit and aren’t fussy.
  2. Get everyone involved. Getting the whole family involved in the organizing process can help ensure that everyone will be on board with maintaining the new set up. Kids can help make decisions, choose containers, make labels and more.
  3. Simplify. Remove as much excess stuff as possible. Kids are always getting new stuff – make sure to retire or rotate older items on a regular basis to avoid over-crowding, which leads to frustration and broken things.
  4. Make clean up easy. Start a clean up routine at the end of the day. Make it fun – make a game out of tossing soft items back in a bin or have a clean up race, seeing who can complete a task faster. Use clear or labeled open (or easy to open) containers to store different categories of toys. If kids know where stuff goes and it’s easy to put it there, they’ll be more likely to help put it all away at the end of the day.
  5. Organize bottom to top. Prime real estate for kids is down low. Keep the most-used items low and store less-frequently used items up on higher shelves. Also keep items that you want to be in charge of out of reach and maybe even out of sight.
  6. Label, label, label. Labeling helps kids and everyone else in the house know where to find things and where to put them away. If your kids are too young to read, include a picture on the label, so they can help too.

Organizing a home with kids is not about perfection, but about implementing strategies that make things easier!

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

Set Up Your Home Office for Success

Office_elfa_btq

A home office, whether it’s an entire room or a corner of your kitchen, is more than just an office – it’s the command center of your home and life, and maybe even business. It might be home base for everything from bill paying to party planning to conference calls and more. And whether you’re working on weeding out an existing home office or you’re starting from scratch, you want to make sure you use the right space and set it up for success. Here are a few keys to success when setting up or re-inventing your home office.

  1. Define your space.try to set up your office where mail, paperwork and other important items already tend to accumulate.
  2. Create a job description for your office. Take a few minutes to list out what functions your office needs to support. Having this list will make it much easier to figure out what you need in the space and what you don’t.
  3. Corral your supplies.think supplies for opening and processing mail and school papers, paying bills, making new files, and anything else you need to routinely do in your home office.
  4. start with a quick sort.t need to take action on, and those that require some sort of action. This quick sort strategy allows you to start taking action on top priority paperwork, as you work on setting up an improved filing system without worrying that pressing action items are buried in a pile somewhere.
  5. Stay on top of incoming paperwork. Last but not least, it can help to start practicing a simple paper processing system for incoming paperwork as you work to weed through older files and set up your new office. This might look like:
  • Taking time to go through mail and incoming paperwork every day
  • Immediately tossing trash and recycling
  • Taking action right away on quick “one-minute” items
  • Corralling follow up items with a set of action files
  • Scheduling regular time to take action on those items – be sure to put this on your calendar and practice, practice, practice until it becomes habit.

Whether you’ve got a small office mess, a big office mess, or no office at all yet, follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a functional home office!

 

 

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429