Ahhhh, can you hear it? Stop. Listen closely. Is that the sound of an empty house? Oh my goodness! Are you actually at home – alone? That’s right folks. The kids are back to school and that morning cup of coffee hasn’t tasted this good in almost longer than you can remember.
Thank you Fall for showing up – right in time to save us from completely losing any semblance of sanity! While you sit for an extra 5 minutes, enjoying the sound of silence and taking another sip-o’-joe, you may begin to look around.
What you are looking at is the aftermath of summer:
Amidst everyone else’s debris, there are some of your own items that need attention, yet it’s hard to know which and where they are. Here are 3 suggestions from a Professional Organizer and mom of three grown children:
Take these three small steps and enter Fall confidently prepared to harvest the rewards of the season.
That can look like many things: maintaining a written planner, using and sharing an online calendar, time blocking, scheduling appointments as well as daily tasks, or creating a timeline for big events. And, while creating a timeline is a great way to keep track of any project or event that you are planning, it is a most valuable asset in managing a move.
Moving is uncomfortable and inconvenient at best, and downright exasperating and stressful at its worst. This is due to the infrequency and unpredictability of the process.
This isn’t an undertaking the average person practices over and over again throughout the year. We don’t move to a new home every week! Therefore, we don’t get the opportunity to hone and streamline each step of the process. And, even if we do sharpen our skills, there are some factors that just cannot be foreseen. Housing deals fall through, moving trucks get delayed, people in our lives have emergencies that need to be handled. Making a timeline cannot change these unexpected delays but it can put us in control of how to manage them and that’s what being organized is all about – being prepared.
Whether you are moving next year or this summer, it is never too late to create a timeline for your move.
A moving timeline may seem like extra work for your move right now, but the small bit of time taken to set up this management tool will support you throughout the process and keep you in the driver’s seat.
“Where did all this stuff come from anyway? How did it all fit in here in the first place? I can’t believe how long this is taking and how many boxes we have! AAAaahhhh!!!!”
Well, it’s true. When we pull everything out of its storage space, we can see the volume of what we really have. And, for those things that haven’t been seen or touched in years: much of it is astonishing.
“Cans of hairspray? Wait. I haven’t bought hairspray in a can in at least 2…uh, 5…oh, I don’t know – better throw that out. How did these shoes get back here? Man, they’re dusty. And sort of misshapen. Well, okay very misshapen. Nevermind. Out! And, wait. Do we really have 6 new containers of black pepper? Six? I had no idea. This will last us forever!”
You are moving into a new home. Whether larger or smaller than your last, it’s an opportunity to get organized – right from the start! Here are 6 spaces to set up when you move in so you can get and stay organized:
Spice Storage: There are so many options for organizing spices that there is really no reason you need to fight to find what you need, have bottles and jars falling out onto you as you reach behind, or repurchase multiples of what you already have.
Pantry: DIY or go the extra mile and get pro-installation. A pantry organizing system will be a delight to your family today and a great selling point tomorrow.
Under Sinks: Either in the kitchen or bathrooms, under sink storage will make ALL the difference. Enjoy the control and say goodbye to yucky under-sink messes!
Shoes: The struggle is real. First decide where you want to store them (By the entryway? In a closet? Under the bed? In the garage?) Then, reign them in.
Bedroom Closets: If you are renting a home, you may want to save money and purchase some temporary solutions that you can take with you when you move out. For homeowners, installing built-ins is the way to go.
Storage Area: Before you go building columns and walls of heavy boxes stacked one atop another; stop and think. This is what got you into the last mess of storage chaos. Is there room for some shelving? Is there ceiling or wall space to be taken advantage of?
This year’s Philadelphia Home Show has a theme of “Small Spaces”. With the recent trend of Tiny Homes, this theme seems a perfect fit. Besides, many residents of Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, without ever opting into the Tiny Home movement, have been faced with the challenges of tight spaces for decades.
At the show, visitors will get a chance to browse the latest home design concepts and products. They can also get professional home improvement tips from presenters like Tyler Wisler from HGTV’s Design Star and Kevin O’Connor of This Old House. And, if that’s not reason enough to weather the cold, I will be joining several of my fellow Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) who will also be sharing their own tips, tricks and secrets for managing your spaces and living a clutter-free life.
When it comes to busy lives and challenging spaces, organization and creativity are key. The more you are able to implement systems that address the challenges of your cramped space, the more freedom and control you will begin to feel. Imagine yourself having all your supplies neatly arranged and tidily stored so that there is no searching, digging, shuffling or juggling – each time you need them. Think of how quickly and easily you could come and go, with nary a look back, confident that all you are walking away from is in order. Ahhhh, the peace of it.
However, like the physical foundations our homes are built upon, a free and organized life needs a foundation in order to be sustainable. Sometimes this means adding organizational products in order to create a “home” for the items we use. Sometimes it means removing unnecessary excess from the environment. And, it almost always means having a set of basic foundational rules in place so that patterns can be formed and replicated.
So come on out! View the new trends and home solutions, attend a presentation or two and bring your own unique organizing challenge to an “Ask the Organizer” session to get personalized advice from a NAPO-GPC professional organizer!
WHEN: JANUARY 12–15 & 19-21, 2018
WHERE: PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION CENTER, PHILADELPHIA, PA
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” are words of advice often attributed to Will Rogers. If you are planning to put your house on the market, now is the time to take heed.
Putting in the time and money before listing a house pays off – literally. The more time your home spends on the market, the more it will cost YOU. Alternatively, the quicker the sale, the more money you walk away with. See some startling statistics on the benefits of home staging on realestateagentu.com.
Starting off on the right foot is worth more than you may have thought. Sure, you may be able to sell your home “as-is”, but if you are hoping to get the highest value, putting in the extra effort prior to listing it is a must.
What can you do to quickly prepare your home for sale? Here are three things to tackle.
1. De-clutter and Clean
De-cluttering and cleaning are two different things and they BOTH need to be done. Barbara Ballinger, author of several books on real estate, architecture and remodeling, warns “Many buyers equate clutter with messiness and disrepair, and they may quickly move on to the next listing.” If you want folks to know that your home is not going to be a headache or money pit for its next owners, make it shine! I know that you use your toothbrush every day but your buyers don’t want to see it. And sure, the dryer lint gets all over the top of the dryer. You have kids – of course there is stuff around! But trust me: Clear out the clutter, put things away, store extra stuff and clean (or hire house cleaners) before the first showing.
2. Downsize and Organize
Step it up a notch! Do you want to really make an impression that will put your home ahead of the one down the street? Downsize and organize. Your stuff may be out of sight at first glance. But the minute a closet is opened (and closets will be opened), buyers might be concerned about a lack storage space. According to Realtor.com, “Even if your house is clean, having things crammed in every nook is a visual turnoff.” This is the time to pack up out-of-season items and extra decor for a while. Don’t overlook the furniture in this process. The more floor space that can be shown, the larger your home will look and feel.
3. Odors and Fragrances: Yes or No?
How your house smells makes a visceral impression on home buyers. If they walk in and it smells like Mom’s apple pie, it can help them feel “at home” and make the house more attractive. If they smell cat, dog or last night’s fried chicken, it may be a turn-off. Many people are sensitive to odors. Even scents that you love might turn them off. While your home is on the market, avoid frying food, wearing strong perfume or lotion, and using strong-smelling cooking spices. Since you may be “noseblind” to the regular smells in your home, ask a friend, neighbor or your real estate agent to give you honest feedback about any odors they smell when they enter. A few drops of cinnamon, lavender or citrus essential oil can help.
Show buyers that your home is worth the value of your asking price and they will clamor to be the next owners!
Relocation is one of those infamously “stressful” times of our lives. Even those of us who are veterans will admit to the fact that the sheer amount of facets that need to be managed during a move adds some level of anxiety.
Whether moving near or far, change is part of the package – new people, new schools, new jobs, new neighborhoods, new neighbors and yes, a new home.
My husband’s corporate job moved us (a family of five) around the U.S. for a period of over 20 years. I realized from the very beginning that this would be a way of life for our family for quite some time. In order for us to not only keep our sanity but actually enjoy the adventure, I needed to have a plan. Essentially, my plan developed from taking a step back and seeing the big picture. I asked myself:
By answering these questions, I was able to prioritize the steps of our move and create a repeatable process to carry us through each successive relocation. I hope that my answers might help you look at your own family’s needs in the face of one or multiple moves.
What will our nomadic life look like?
Truth be told, many a friend and family member worried aloud about how my children would fare growing up without the consistency of a hometown, schools and friends. I chose to envision a life that would be enhanced by our travels – my children would learn that people are people wherever you go, no matter how they look or sound. They would experience cities and environments rather than merely reading about them – things like walking on Mt. Rainier (an active volcano), battling to walk down Michigan Ave while leaning into the Chicago wind, and watching dolphins jump in the coastal waters of Florida. I shared my vision and excitement with the rest of my family and let them know how lucky we were!
What can or will change?
Almost everything! As far as living spaces were concerned however, the changes involved the size and number of rooms and the amount of storage. Would the garage be large enough for cars, bikes and storage? Would there be a basement? Would the kids each have their own rooms or will they have to double up? Some changes were welcome, others less than desirable. Adding some creative storage and decorative accents always helped with the adjustment.
What can or needs to stay the same?
I decided that since all of our surroundings including most of the people would be changing, it would be important to preserve things that gave us “roots”. With each move I kept much of our décor the same, especially for the kids. I would hang their curtains right away and keep the same bedding. Those things changed at times when they grew out of them. We would have weekly letter-writing sessions in order to maintain relationships with family and friends. This had so many benefits: family time together, honing writing skills, honing relationship skills. I also made it a point to cook traditional holiday recipes so that we wouldn’t forget our family background and would feel connected on holidays when we couldn’t actually attend in person.
What will support each family member?
This is where organization really became essential. It is difficult to be successful, in anything and at any age, if your surroundings continue to change. Therefore, I would set up each home with consistencies. Kitchens were always arranged with table settings nearest the table and furthest from my cooking area so that kids could help and not be underfoot. Drawer items in kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms were set up in similar order from house to house. Garage and laundry bins followed suit. Within no time, everyone knew where to find what was needed regardless of the new home layout.
Even though you may move often: embrace your life, be kind to yourself and your family and you can always be living at Home.
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