Today's Blog Post

Let’s get Moving! Step 1: Decluttering

declutter

declutterDid you know that moving is one of the most stressful events in life? This stress can be eased with careful planning. In our Let’s Get Moving! blog series, we are going to offer tips and tricks to help you get through the entire moving process. Follow these steps and you’ll be moving with ease…

Let’s Get Moving! Step 1: Decluttering

The very first step you need to take to ensure a smooth move is to declutter! And then, get to decluttering some more! Don’t pack the clutter, purge the clutter!

Moving is a great incentive to clean house and streamline your belongings. Pare down first, as a separate process from packing boxes. Make your move lighter by removing items that you don’t love, need or use. Separate into piles of charity, freecycle, recycle and trash. You can even take items to consignment or sell them on craigslist or ebay, if you have the time. Once the extraneous stuff is farmed out, packing will be faster and easier.

For consumables that you don’t regularly use, institute a ‘use it or lose it’ policy. This might include pantry items, toiletries, desk/office supplies and reading materials (newsletters, etc.). If they do not get ‘consumed’ before the move, it’s not worth moving them. You’ll feel great starting fresh at your new home.

While preparing for a move may not be anyone’s idea of fun, use it as a prime opportunity to review and purge what you own, so you’re left with just what you use, love, and need on the other end – how refreshing would that be?!

So, get out those trash bags and start tossing. We’ll be back with more tips to help you get moving!

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Today's Blog Post

Set the Stage to Sell Your Home

stage to sell your home

stage to sell your homeFact: A staged home sells faster than a non-staged home. If you want to sell your home faster and for more money, you’ll want to set the stage to sell your home.

Having a home that shows well gives you a huge advantage over homes that are cluttered and disorganized. Home staging allows the prospective buyer to see the opportunity within a home space.

By removing clutter, organizing and re-designing the space makes your home more buyer-friendly.

Here are eight things you need to do to set the stage to sell your home:

1. Clear Away the Clutter – Purge what you don’t need or use! Remove items from countertops and surfaces.

2. Clean and Clean Again – Make sure your home shines from top to bottom, clean as if your mother-in-law were coming over!

3. Light It Up – Warm and welcoming lighting and increased wattage show off the rooms in their best light.

4. De-personalize your Personal Space – You want buyers to view it as their home, not yours.

5. Show Off Your Storage – The emptier the closet or other storage space, the bigger it will appear to home buyers.

6. Remove Odors Give your home an inviting aroma by burning vanilla-scented candles or throwing some slice-and-bake cookies in the oven. You can also grind half a lemon in the garbage disposal to remove sink odors.

7. Picture Perfect – It is important that your home photographs well, since realtors will take photos for listings. Listing photos require preparation to produce good results.

8. Final Touches – Before any open house or showing, make sure that your staging efforts go the full mile to make your home inviting. These include fresh flowers, letting fresh air into the house so it isn’t stuffy, and putting new, plush, nicely folded towels in the bathrooms.

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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

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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

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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?

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Phone: 617-744-1429

Today's Blog Post

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

 

 

What makes us stand out?

Please contact us for a complimentary phone consultation:

Phone: 617-744-1429