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Getting Organized in 2015!

getting organized in 2015

Do you dream of getting organized in 2015? What about your other 2015 New Year’s Resolutions? Even if getting organized in 2015 is not on your resolution list, getting organized can be the first steps to help you with all of your New Year’s resolutions! Getting organized will free up the time and energy you need to tackle the other things on your list. Getting organized means more time to spend with your family, more energy to exercise, maybe even more money to do all the things you’ve dreamed of!

So, whatever your 2015  New Year’s resolution; the first step is getting organized. And getting organized is easy with our no-fail, 5 step process to organize anything – Manage Your STUFF! When it comes to organizing, it can be hard to know where to start and easy to get overwhelmed. But with the five steps to guide you, you’ll always know what to do next. This will help you feel in control of your organizing projects and goals. So, if you’re ready to take control of your STUFF, read on…

What is STUFF? STUFF is the easy-to-remember acronym for our 5 step process to organize anything! Let’s summarize the 5 steps.

    • Sort – Sort your stuff into like categories
    • Toss – Decide what to do with each item: Keep, Sell, Donate, Toss
    • Unify – Assign the keepers to their new homes by zone
    • Fill – Find and fill containers for each group of items or activity
    • Follow Up – Commit to a regular maintenance schedule

So remember: Sort, Toss, Unify, Fill and Follow Up – these are the steps that will get you from where you are to where you want to be!

Now let’s get into more detail.

Step 1: Sort
Here is where you want to give it some thought. Think about how you use the item and where you will most easily find it again. It’s all about what makes sense to you. Keep it simple by choosing broad categories such as office supplies, toys, and sporting goods. Avoid miscellaneous categories, which allow you to postpone decisions.

Step 2: Toss
Start with the obvious. The simplest way to begin is to do a sweep of your house and collect items that are obvious trash. Take a recycling bin and garbage bag and collect things such as expired coupons, holiday catalogs, magazines, and old newspapers. This is an easy task that will give you an immediate sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve found some motivation, move to the next level and start collecting items to donate or sell.

Tip: Find a reason to let it go. If you’re feeling guilty about getting rid of things, then do something good with them. Make some money by selling your items online or through consignment. Or, donate them to your favorite charity and take a tax deduction.

Step 3: Unify
Clutter usually accumulates because items have no home. So, make a home for everything. Create zones that make sense. Look at where clutter collects and set up ways to organize it. Place a bowl or basket where mail and keys tend to fall. Can’t make it to the coat closet? Put up hooks where you tend to throw your jacket.

Step 4: Fill
Now that you’ve sorted items into categories, it should be easy to find the right size containers for everything. Choose containers that are large enough for the items they are storing, but that also fit the space where they are being stored.

Step 5: Follow Up
Once you have systems in place, take just a few minutes each day to maintain them and you’ll never have to worry about clutter piling up again. Follow these rules to keep your clutter in check: Clean up as you go. File, Don’t Pile. Follow the “One in, One Out” rule

Let’s face it, life is busy, and organizing projects can often lag behind other seemingly more pressing priorities. Be sure to schedule time for your organizing projects, just like any other appointment or priority, so that you can reach your goals and feel the benefits of a more organized life.

If you’d like to learn more about our STUFF process, take our Manage Your STUFF – Five Steps to Organize Anything e-course! You’ll learn even more tips and tricks! We’ll also provide you with real-world examples, so you’ll really know how to tackle your STUFF!

Here’s to a Happy and Organized 2015!

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

 

 

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Today's Blog Post

Get Organized in 2015

get organized in 2015

Is your new year’s resolution to get organized in 2015? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here at Organizing Boston, we will be filling our organizing blog and social media with organizing tips, tricks and solutions to help you get organized once and for all this year! So, connect with us, stay tuned…and remember, you can do it! Happy New Year!

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Today's Blog Post

Free Holiday Help Webinar

free holiday help webinar

free holiday help webinarThe holidays are such a mixed blessing…there’s all the family time, good food, honoring old traditions and making new ones.  And then there’s all the preparations and stress.  If you’re like us, by the middle of the month you’re ready to pull your hair out…and the idea of egg nog seems more tempting than ever.  Fear not for behold, we have a solution!  Spend an hour with us on December 18th at 1:00 pm ET to attend our last-minute free holiday help webinar: “Brilliantly Smooth Holidays – Keeping your Home AND Your Head!”

REGISTER NOW!

This moderated panel discussion, hosted by Susan Wenner-Jackson, founder of the popular blog Working Moms Against Guilt, will explore ways to help you pull off the holidays brilliantly, while maintaining your sanity!  Get great advice and last-minute tips from renowned cooking, decorating, entertaining and home-making experts to help make this holiday season smoother and more enjoyable, with less stress.  So grab a fresh cup of coffee or tea, close the door to your office, put on your phone head set, and get some great advice to help you hold it together while holding forth through the holidays!  Here’s an idea of what you’ll learn during this lunch-hour webinar.

Cleaning & House Prep Tips for Entertaining: Marie Stegner, Consumer Health Advocate for Maid Brigade, shares healthy and affordable cleaning, organizing and decorating.

Festive Food:  Kerry Dunnington, Culinary Consultant, Caterer, Food Author gives us tips and exciting ideas for holiday dining.

Balancing It All:  Liz O’donnell, Work/Life Balance expert, Author, Blogger and Huffington Post Writer helps us enjoy merriment not meltdowns.

Organizing Holiday Gear:  Sarah Buckwalter, Certified Professional Organizer and Founder of Organizing Boston and Organizing U, tells us how to tame our string lights, curly ribbon, wrapping tissue and more.

So don’t let your guest lists, grocery lists, and general To Do lists get the better of you this holiday season.  Mark your calendar and relax knowing help is on the way!

REGISTER NOW!

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A Little Organization Can Help You Achieve Holiday Zen

holiday zen

holiday zenBY PAIGE ALLEN  – SUN CHRONICLE STAFF.

The holidays are just around the corner and before long the endless parade of dinner parties, family celebrations and gatherings with friends will be underway.

While the holiday season is supposed to be a fun and festive time, it can quickly become stressful for those trying to get their homes organized and ready to receive guests. Thankfully, Sarah Buckwalter, founder and owner of Organizing Boston, can offer some help.

Buckwalter said that the first thing she always tells clients is to declutter their homes before they get down to cleaning.

“Things build up over the summer,” she said. “The first step is to declutter and weed out things.”

It’s important to go through some of the things that have accumulated over the year before the holidays, especially because of the new items and gifts that may be coming in, Buckwalter said.

The timing of the holidays coincides well with the changing of seasons, which Buckwalter said is a perfect time to go through clothing. Plus, going through clothing will allow you to see what pieces of clothing are already on hand and what items you may need to add to your closet so you’re not dashing out at the last minute to find the perfect outfit for a party, she said.

“Have a couple of go-to items, a couple of key pieces to make it easy,” she said.

In addition to clothing, going through what you already own for decor is also important so that you don’t end up with duplicates once the holiday displays of wrapping paper and decorations roll out.

“Take inventory, take a look at what’s in the bins,” she said. “Chances are you already have that and don’t need it.”

Once you’ve weeded through things, Buckwalter suggests hiring a cleaner to come in and do some of the deep cleaning before the parade of guests begins.

“Just to have someone else do the deep cleaning is such a stress reliever,” she said.

Though getting organized is the first step, keeping things that way throughout the entire holiday season will require a little bit of extra effort.

Again, decluttering is key, Buckwalter said, as is having a special spot that you can easily store and access things that you’ll need consistently throughout the season, such as china and special cooking devices for holiday meal preparation.

“Having a place for everything is very important,” she said. “Your kitchen is probably already full with everyday stuff.”

Buckwalter said that the space can be anything from a hutch to a closet or a drawer.

“As long as it’s protected, it doesn’t need to be fancy,” she said.

Schedule organization

Though decluttering and cleaning gathering spaces is important, staying organized during the holiday season also applies to schedules, Buckwalter said.

One of the keys is looking to the future and planning ahead, Buckwalter said. Realizing that you won’t be able to hit every party and accept every invitation is important when trying to keep your schedule organized during the holiday season.

“Look ahead and see what you can realistically do,” Buckwalter said.

Additionally, Buckwalter suggests creating a holiday planner, a space where you can store coupons, menus, recipe ideas, gift lists and more.

“Create a holiday planner and carry it with you everywhere,” she said. “Having a notebook is really helpful.”

The idea is to have it be small enough to carry with you everywhere so that you’re able to constantly keep on top of everything you need to do or check on what you need for a gift or a recipe while you’re out running errands.

Though Buckwalter said a binder or small notebook would suffice, she said there are also plenty of list-making apps on the market that would be able to digitally store the same information.

“Having a notebook or electronically, whatever works better,” she said.

Click here for the full article.

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Holiday Organizing Tips

holiday organizing tips

holiday organizing tipsWait, what?…what do you mean it’s almost Thanksgiving!? Yes, the holidays have sneaked up on us again. Ready or not, here they are.

But, have no fear! We’ve put together eight simple holiday organizing tips so that you can do the holidays right this year!

With a little planning and organization, you’ll save a lot of time and energy. Imagine being able to relax and enjoy the holidays for a change. Of course, this depends on how long your in-laws are staying with you. :-)

We hope these tips will help you get organized and holiday-ready!

 

Tip #1: De-clutter.
Take time to sort through and get rid of items you no longer want or need. This will help make room for the influx of new items you’re bound to receive over the holidays. This is especially important for those of you with children.

Tip #2: Create a holiday planner.
Use a basic multi-subject notebook. Create sections for gift lists, holiday card lists, menu planning, decorating, coupons, etc. Bring it with you everywhere, so you can always reference it or add to it. If you’re tech-savvy, go digital with your lists and planning. Rest-assured, there’s an app for that.

Tip #3: Take inventory.
Dig through those piles of wrapping paper, decorations, lights and cards to see what you have on hand. Make a list of things that you need to buy or replace.

Tip #4: Do a wardrobe check.
Make sure you have the perfect party outfit. Stock up on a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched.

Tip #5: Buy in bulk.
If you are attending several holiday parties or have a long list, pick up a case of wine or chocolates. This way you’ll always have something for that last-minute invitation or forgotten gift.

Tip #6: Secret Snowman.
If you have a large family, suggest picking names from a hat, so that each person only has to buy one gift.

Tip #7: Make a list.
Make a list of the extra people you buy for: children’s teachers, coworkers and bosses, letter carriers, neighbors. Carry it around in your wallet for the few weeks before Christmas to avoid last-minute scrambling.

Tip #8: Plan your holiday menu ahead of time.
Try to find recipes that can be made in advance and just re-heated. This will allow more time to spend enjoying the party instead of in the kitchen.  

 

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Clutter Free Gift Ideas

Clutter-Free-Gift-Ideas

Clutter-Free-Gift-IdeasNo need to worry about creating more clutter this holiday season. Our friends at Getting Organized Magazine have put together a great list of clutter-free gift ideas.

There is something for everyone on this list! And yes, Professional Organizing Services is one of them…Now that’s a truly clutter-free gift!

Download the list here. Happy shopping!

 

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Organizing Product Pick: Elfa

elfa

elfaThis week we have been talking about closets and clothing and to go along with this, we want to tell you about our most favorite organizing product: elfa solutions from the Container Store. Not only is elfa the Container Store’s best-selling product – it’s the product we use more than anything else in our organizing work.

Elfa solutions are customizable shelving, drawer and storage solutions that you can use in any space of your home and office. They’re not just for closets! Elfa allows you to organize any space in your home and office. Elfa is extremely versatile!

Elfa comes in a variety of colors and finishes. You can choose from wire, wood, or wood trim and really customize it to fit your space and style.

Why do we love elfa?

  • You get a free custom design of your space
  • You can use it anywhere – closets, kitchens, basements, garages
  • It looks great
  • It is sturdy and high quality – not like other ventilated shelving that we won’t mention by name…
  • You can move it around and switch out components if your needs change (or if you get more stuff!)

Here are some of the fun things we’ve done with elfa:

  • We transformed an empty foyer into a homework room for two kids, including desks, shelving, drawers and a place for coats and backpacks.
  • We turned a small spare room into a dream walk-in closet using freestanding elfa.
  • We created a storage solution for a basement toy room.
  • We maximized space in a small kitchen pantry using an elfa wall rack.
  • We created a shoe closet out of a closet that was not deep enough for hanging items.
  • We tricked out a linen closet complete with shelves and drawers for bulk items.
  • We created a functional home office with elfa desk components.
  • And I personally have elfa in my own closets and garage as well!

And, even better, elfa is on sale right now! Visit the Container Store and learn more about this amazing organizing product!

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Clever Closet Decluttering Tips

clever clothing decluttering tricks

clever clothing decluttering tricksIn our last post about decluttering closets and clothing, we suggested six questions you can use to help you decide what should stay and what should go when it comes to weeding out your closet:

  1. 1. Do I need it, do I wear it, do I love it?
    2. Do I have more than I need?
    3. Have I worn it in the past year?
    4. Do I have something better or could I get something better?
    5. Does it have a hole or stain?
    6. Does it fit me now?
    7. Could I do something positive with it?

But what if you’re still having trouble letting go of clothes, even though your answers to these questions would suggest you give ‘em up? Sometimes you just need a clever little trick to help you with an honest wardrobe review. Here are a few clever clothing decluttering tricks to help you let go of the clothing you no longer need, use or love.

  • The “Backwards Hanger” Trick – Hang all of the clothes in your closet the “wrong” way, so that you are hooking the hangers from the back of the rod. If you wear it, hang the item back up the right way. Anything still left on a backwards hanger at the end of the season should be donated or consigned.
  • Assign an Expiration Date – If you’re having trouble deciding whether to let something go, give it an expiration date (anywhere from a month to 6 months) – literally write the expiration date on a colored dot sticker, stick it to the clothing item and move on. If you haven’t worn the item by the expiration date, let it go.
  • Stow the “Maybes” – Similar to the expiration date trick, pack all your maybe clothing in a box and put an expiration date on the box. If you haven’t been tempted to get any of the clothes out by the expiration date, go ahead and donate the whole box.
  • Give the Underdogs a Chance – We all know that we tend to wear a few favorite articles of clothing all the time. Give your other clothes some love and make a game out of trying to wear your underdogs instead of just your favorites. You will find some new favorites or some major “oh, that’s why I never wear this” clothing that you’ve been holding on to – you won’t know until you try. This trick pairs really well with the backwards hanger trick.
  • Pack Your Bags – Another great trick is to pretend pack for a week or two long trip. What would you take with you? This gives you a chance to put together your best and most versatile outfits and pieces of clothing. Now take a look at what’s left behind – if you didn’t want to pack it, why? And why are you holding onto it if it didn’t make the travel cut? This will help you get rid of clothing you may be holding onto for no reason.

You can try some or all of these clever clothing decluttering tricks and see which ones work best for you. You’ll free up space in your closet for the clothes you really wear and love!

 

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Clothing Consignment Tips

clothing consignment

clothing consignmentWe all are guilty of buying clothing that we “will fit into someday” or “will have the occasion to wear someday”. These particular articles of clothing seem to be the ones that are hardest to let go of. After all, we paid good money for it and never, or hardly ever wore it! And maybe, just maybe, we might fit into it, or have the occasion to wear it…someday…maybe?

Well, if you’re reluctant to let go to of that never, or seldom worn item, we have a solution for you….consign it! By consigning clothing you are at least getting back a portion of what you paid for it, so it’s not a total loss.

Also, it’s easy!. You just drop off your clothing and they do they selling for you!

Here are some clothing consignment tips:
Consignment shops all have their own guidelines as to what they will and will not accept, but here are a few general rules.
It must be in current fashion (within the last year or two)
It must be in new or like-new condition and clean- no pills, stains, wear, tears, etc.
Clothing with the tags still on it will sell for more $.
It must be appropriate for the current season, or upcoming season (consignment shops will not accept winter clothes in the spring, summer clothes in the fall, etc.).
Clothing must be on hangers
Some places will require an appointment and/or a minimum number of items.

What you’ll get:
Usually 40-50% of the sale price.
Some shops will offer more if you accept in the form of a store credit. Be careful here! This is a slippery slope to accumulating more unwanted clothing. Just take the money and run!

So, go ahead, let those clothes go, make a little money and free up space in your closet for things you love and wear!

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Organizing Success Story – Boston School Teacher Office

Before and After School Teacher Office

Before and After School Teacher OfficeOver the summer, the Organizing Boston team was called into a Boston school to help organize their teachers’ shared office space. 15 school teachers shared a large, open office space. Desks were piled with paper, book shelves were falling apart, the walls were painted an awful, bright yellow. The room was “a disaster zone”, as one teacher put it.

So, we transformed this disaster zone into a functional and organized room where the teachers could be focused and productive.

Step 1: De-clutter
We worked one on one with each teacher to go through their piles and get rid of all the old paper and trash and pack up the items they were keeping to be put aside while the space was transformed. We had the old furniture hauled away and donated.

Step 2: Measure and plan
We took measurements and created a layout and plan to fit enough desks, file cabinets and shelving to organize all the teachers and their school supplies.

Step 3: Prepare the space
The maintenance team at the school painted the walls of the school teacher office a pleasant color and replaced the carpets.

Step 4: Install shelving and desks
With help from the Container Store’s installation services, we installed shelving on the concrete walls and assembled 15 desks, file cabinets and elfa drawer systems from the Container Store. We even included drawer organizers, so the teachers could organize their school supplies.

Step 5: Unpack and organize
The teachers returned with their pared-down boxes of school supplies and we worked with each of them again to set up a system using their awesome new drawers, desks and organizers.

Organizing Success! The school teachers have been able to maintain their orderly office space and have reported better focus and efficiency thanks to organization!Before and After School Teacher Office Organization

 

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