I don’t know about you, but spring is my favorite time of year, and the last thing I want to do is spend my weekend or multiple weekends focusing on cleaning and organizing my entire home. Instead of pulling out that long list of spring cleaning duties, consider breaking up the list into bite size pieces to be completed throughout the year.
Maintenance is a much easier solution and a tremendous time saver.
Pick Your Battles
Look at your list and determine the cleaning and organizing tasks that make the most sense for this time of year. For example, closets are a great place to start because this is the time of year we change from winter to spring/summer attire. Garages are another good area of focus. Now is the time to put away the snow blower and pull out the lawn mower. And, let’s be honest, things tend to get piled and tossed into the garage all winter, so it’s time for a garage clean-out. Your garden shed is another great fit for seasonal organizing. Inspect and sharpen your garden tools, take stock of your supplies, clean your clay pots and determine your tool storage area based on how often you use the tools. Also, with the onset of warmer weather comes the need to change to lighter blankets and comforters, and once the bed is stripped you can vacuum and turn the mattress to complete the process.
Maintenance is Key
Now that you have decided which areas make sense to organize during the spring season; let’s break the rest of that cleaning and organizing list into manageable tasks to be completed throughout the year. Baseboards, doors, and cobwebs can be dusted and cleaned during the winter when you’re stuck inside during a snowstorm. Lampshades and ceiling fans can be dusted at regular intervals when you dust the rest of your home. Draperies, blinds and carpets can be cleaned in the fall or the end of the summer. Many people have self cleaning ovens that can be cleaned any time of the year, and grease traps and stove filters are easy to replace or clean on an as needed basis.
Consistency is the Name of the Game
Having a consistent, year round routine will help you avoid investing large chunks of time in the spring. Instead, get out and smell the forsythia, spend time with family and friends, or do whatever makes you happier at this wonderful time of year. Organizing and cleaning are necessary for a functional life, so finding ways to spread it out and make it easier in the long run will save you endless hours each season.
The weather is finally starting to cooperate, and I am in my ‘container garden’ mode- of- thinking. This is the perfect time to talk about outdoor organizing, as I am in the process of gathering all of my gardening essentials (potting soil, pots, gardening gloves, watering can, etc) to plant my flowers.
Whether you live in an apartment, condo, or single family home, you should organize your outdoor items such as your gardening tools, lawn equipment, and/or outside furniture. Sorting like items together allows you to know what you have, which in turn will help you to know what you may need to purchase, as well as to help you find things more easily.
Below are my three Outdoor Organizing Tips:
Take advantage of this glorious weather to plant. Then, all you’ll need to do is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the longer days of summer. Some of the best parts are being able to barbecue and to watch your flowers and plants grow.
If you are reading this, chances are that you will need an executor and/or will be an executor at some point in your life. An executor is the person named in a will to administrate the estate of the person who died leaving that will. The job of the executor is to make sure that the deceased person’s wishes, as described in the will, are carried out.
Here are some of the tasks executors perform:
These tasks can be complex, full of “red tape” and frustrating, so it is important to choose the right person for the job.
A good executor is:
Too often, people making a will choose their executor based on family dynamics or out of a wish to bestow an ‘honor’ on a special person in their life. They give little consideration to the personal traits and skills needed by the executor, with disastrous results. As a professional organizer specializing in finances and paperwork, I have witnessed these horror stories when the wrong person was chosen for the job of executor:
The key take-away from this post is to choose your executor carefully, based on the skills needed to do the job. But perhaps, you have already chosen an executor who lacks some of these skills, and you don’t want to make waves by changing. Or maybe, you have been named as someone’s executor and feel unqualified for the job. In either case, don’t despair, because help is available. Professional organizers can help inventory the deceased person’s possessions, and can help sell and/or donate possessions not inherited by a specific individual. Some organizers specialize in the organizing of finances, paperwork and information, and can help with these aspects of the executor’s job. A good place to find an organizer to help with the administration of an estate is the ‘Find an Organizer’ link at www.napo-gpc.org.
Happy New Year and Happy National Get Organized Month! I always set a few goals for myself and my business each New Year and organizing certainly plays a key role in accomplishing those goals. Over the years clients have asked for my assistance for many different reasons including New Year’s resolutions.
On the other hand, those resolutions are often derailed because “life happens.” Whether you are ready or not, you could lose your job, suffer through an illness, or deal with a divorce. You can’t always be prepared for the ups and downs of life, but being organized can help. Here are my ten organization basics to help you handle the uncertainties of life and achieve those pesky resolutions you are so adamant in keeping. Let’s break it down:
If it takes less than 60 seconds, do it! Whether it’s putting bills away, making a quick phone call, adding a number to your phone, sending a quick email, do it! Take seconds now or hours later.
A home for everything. Finding a home means you know where to put it when it gets misplaced and when you need it — it’s there!
Choose a time management tool. Use a day planner or smartphone to keep track of appointments, tasks lists, self-appointments, and vacation plans.
Keep lists. Use your time management tool for all lists: clothing, household items, food, gifts, etc. Keep sizes and dimensions on the list. Lists save time and money and no more buying things twice (you aren’t the only one).
Consolidate contact information. Gather mailing addresses, emails, and phone numbers and place them in your time management tool. No more little pieces of paper and sticky notes all over the place.
Convenience is the key. No digging and no searching. Place things where you use them; keep most-used items front and center — no pushing other things aside to get to what you need.
Focus! Small and large task completion requires focus. Break down any large task into smaller, manageable pieces and stay focused: one bite at a time.
Know what to eliminate. Surround yourself with tasks, events, and people who support your goals. Eliminate the rest and learn to say “no” (I have a handout on my website).
Consult the experts. Don’t reinvent the wheel; ask friends for recommendations and referrals; consult the Internet (but don’t believe everything you read); and then trust your judgment.
Maintenance! Things will get out of order (even in my home), so do a little each evening or once a week in order to keep it that way. Have respect for yourself, your time, and your home. Every time you put something away, it’s a gift to yourself.
Whether you are making resolutions are just trying to smooth out life’s bumps in the road, get organized! You’ll be glad you did.
Clutter Quote: “God takes care of the breath of your life; it is your responsibility to take care of the depth of your life.” Unknown
Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The grocery store revealed the first clue that something was happening. There — I was greeted with remnants of goblins and candy, cranberries and stuffing, tinsel and gift wrap galore – ALL AT ONCE.
Immediately, my mind tallied the numerous tasks that needed to be accomplished in the next few weeks. By the time I made my way to the check-out line, I’m fairly certain that my frazzled expression and my declaration that the “holiday season has arrived” caused the cashier concern.
I really do enjoy the holidays, but sometimes it’s hard to wrap my head around the extra seasonal tasks and obligations that need to fit into my already busy 24 hours. It’s a time puzzle indeed!
With these five simple strategies below, you — and I — will have time to enjoy this season.
Take a few minutes and “Brain Dump.” Do NOT keep your holiday to-dos in your head! One of my favorite everyday organizational tools is workflowy. It’s a great way to organize your projects and tasks on your computer, smart phone, or tablet. For those who like to write, a notebook works just as well, but have it with you everywhere you go.
Focus on what’s important. Pause and really think about what makes your holiday season special to you and your family. Are there traditions and events that you look forward to or approach with less than a little enthusiasm? For example, if the thought of baking 12 dozen cookies does not fill you with the holiday spirit, take it off your list or delegate it!
Calendar your important holiday projects and tasks first. You will be more productive knowing that you are planning for and doing what brings you joy during the holidays. Then fill in with the less significant tasks. Be at peace, if you cannot accomplish it all.
Set time limits to these tasks. Parkinson’s Law states that ‘work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.’ You will be amazed how quickly you are able to make a decision with a time limit. Go ahead, limit time spent gift shopping at the store or online.
Delegate, delegate, delegate. If you are entertaining during the holiday season, allow others to help you. This can mean a guest bringing a dish to contribute to your festive meal, someone setting the table, or helping with the mega dish clean-up. This year, I recognized that hosting the Thanksgiving meal was more than I could take on. After discussing alternatives with my family, we agreed that getting together was very important. Our solution — to meet at a centrally located restaurant for a leisurely family dinner. Less time shopping, cooking, cleaning, traveling and MORE time being together. I am grateful!
Feel free to share with us how you are planning to ease the stress of your holiday season.
Need help making decisions on the many items cluttering up your beautiful home? Why not start with NAPO-GPC? What? You’re not really sure what that is? It’s the National Association of Professional Organizers Greater Philadelphia Chapter: whew — that’s a mouthful.
We are eighty members strong. Plus associate members which include Philly Junk and Impact Thrift Stores. The chapter started in 1996 and has grown by leaps and bounds. Once a month we meet for networking, professional development workshops, and educational programs. Workshop topics include ADD, Feng Shui, chronically disorganized, and senior relocations. Our library has close to one thousand resources for the members to rent including books, CD’s, and videos.
Did you get to meet us at the Philly Home Show? Perhaps you saw us on the NBC 10! Show or called WHYY and spoke to us on the phone when you gave your donation. You probably heard about Project Thanks, where we organized the home of a veteran after she completed three tours in Afghanistan. We also plan shredding events and collected thousands of shoes for Soles4Souls. This winter we are planning on helping Cradles to Crayons.
Our members are amazing! Some are strictly residential organizers, some corporate, others specialize in home staging, home design, working with clients who have disabilities, and collections including photos and antiques. Coaching is part of the organizing process too, including holistic life coaches, business coaches, academic coaches, as well as consultants.
Check out our website at NAPO-GPC.org. There you will find even more information about our wonderful association as well as our blog with many tips and hints to help you get started on your organizing projects. When you are ready to hire an expert click on “Find an Organizer”, you will be glad you did!