Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Organizing Obsession: Tension Rods

I was organizing a client’s apartment earlier this month when I noticed a brilliant use of a tension rod in her coat closet. She was using it to hold a couple umbrellas in an otherwise wasted nook of the closet.

Now everywhere I turn I’m envisioning tension rods to keep clients organized. Guess you can say I have a new obsession.

Here are some great examples of tension rods in action.

In the kitchen...

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart

In the craft room...

Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Under the sink...

Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy
In a closet...

Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Tension rods are an affordable and fantastic way to utilize vertical space in tight spots. When using a tension rod to hang items, remember to keep in mind how much weight it can bear. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Tips to Organize Your Summer Share

Just last week I posted Ten Tips to Organize Your Summer Home. This week, I have tips that are specific to organizing your shared summer home.

Keeping a summer share organized is a unique challenge. You have various people, plus their guests, in the house each weekend and things can get a bit mixed up, to say the least.

These tips will keep your weekends low maintenance and organized so you can make the most of your time in the sun.

1. Create a shared calendar. Use Google docs to create a calendar that everyone can access and update. Add names of guests for the weekend, dates certain housemates will be out of town, and even birthdays so you know when to plan a celebration. A calendar will keep everyone on the same page.

2. Label, label, label. Never underestimate the power of a label maker. Adding labels in the kitchen, pantry, bathrooms, and the linen closets is the best way to ensure things get put back in the right place.
3. Contain your toiletries. Summer shares can be crowded with everyone vying for bathroom time. Use a caddy to keep your toiletries organized so your favorite lotion doesn’t go missing.

Mountain Peaks Bath Basket from Anthropolgie

4. Delegate the chores. For basic chores that need to be completed every weekend, create a chore list and assign a responsibility to everyone in the home. This information can be added to the Google calendar or written on a chalkboard or whiteboard in the kitchen. It may sound silly, but it will help keep relationships harmonious in the house.

5. Ask for help. To minimize the responsibilities for everyone in the home, consider hiring someone to clean the house and mow the lawn. You can even hire a local teen to take-out the trash and keep an eye on the house during the week. Make sure one person in the home is responsible for communicating with anyone that’s helping out. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Organizing Obsession: Seamless

In New York City, you can get anything and everything delivered. It’s pretty much amazing and one of the reasons I love living here.

One of my favorite websites, Seamless makes it so efficient to order food delivery online. Your credit card information is saved when you set-up an account. Plus, you can bookmark your favorite restaurants and save your favorite meals so you can re-order with a quick click.

Seamless Web has been around for a while, but I have many clients that aren’t using it. They end up with take-out menus all over the apartment or stacks of menus taking up valuable space in a kitchen drawer.

There’s no membership fee to set-up an account, and from my Upper West Side zip code, there are almost 150 restaurants to choose from. 

And it's not just an NYC thing, Seamless serves 40+ cities.

Guaranteed: If you invite me over, I’m going to set-up a Seamless account for you and toss your menus.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Organizing Obsession: IKEA EXPEDIT

Oh, IKEA EXPEDIT, how I love you.

On more than one occasion, I have suggested this as a storage option for a client. Why, you ask?

  • It’s affordable.
  • It's surprising well-made for IKEA.
  • It comes in a variety of sizes.
  • The simple design makes it an easy match with existing d├ęcor.
  • IKEA offers lots of bin options.
  • It works in homes and offices.
  • You can put it on casters (aka wheels).

Here are some examples that incorporate function and are also styled beautifully. 

Can this be my office now, please?
Photo courtesy of Decor Pad

Great mix of bins. Color keeps it consistent.
Photo courtesy of Busy Girl

Love the use of IKEA bins.
Photo courtesy of Made By Girl

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ten Tips to Organize Your Summer Home

Photo courtesy of The Little Corner
Contrary to that popular holiday tune, summer is "the most wonderful time of the year" with long days filled with sunshine and long weekends at the beach. 

But at times, constant weekend getaways can get a little hectic, so this week I have ten tips to keep your summer home organized.

1. Kick it off right. Prepare a master list, in advance of opening weekend, with all the tasks that will need to be completed to get the house in working order. Assign specific tasks to everyone involved.

2. Pack light. Don’t lug all your toiletries and summer outfits back and forth. Buy duplicates of your favorite toiletries and keep summer staples at your home to eliminate packing and unpacking.

3. Don’t make it a dumping ground. Keep the same rule as you do with your year-round home – only bring in items that you love and will use.

4. Plan an end-of-season purge. Schedule a weekend now, preferably toward the end of the summer, to spend half a day sorting and purging in key areas. You’ll surely find a local charity in need of items you no longer use.

5. Get beach ready. Use labeled bins to create a grab and go station in the entryway of your home with all the essentials you’ll need for the beach. You’ll never search for sunscreen again.

Customizable Bins from Macbeth Collection

6. Organize inside and out. Garages, basements, and tool sheds see lots of action in the summer. Invest in some basic organizational pieces from a company like Monkey Bars, a garage storage system, that will make it through the long haul.

7. Practice reuse when decorating. No need to run out and buy all new accessories for your summer home. Take some time to declutter your year-round home, and you’ll find items to decorate your summer home.

8. Checklist it. To make opening up and closing down for the weekend a cinch, make a simple checklist for you and your guests to reference. Add simple reminders like locking the back door, bringing in deck chairs, and closing all the windows to the list.

9. Clear a travel staging area. No matter how organized you are, there will inevitability be items you’ll need to bring with you for the weekend. Clear a cabinet near your entryway or shelf in your closet to collect those items throughout the busy week.

10. Most of all, make it fun. Go back to the basics and make a list of all the adventures you and your family want to have this summer. Make a poster together and hang it on the wall. You’ll always have a good idea at hand.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Organizing for a Good Cause

Through my involvement with the New York Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-NY), I was lucky enough to present an organizational seminar to a group of amazing women in the First Step Job Training Program with New York City’s Coalition for the Homeless.

First Step is a 14-week program that offers job training, internships, mentoring, job placement, and social service support to homeless women. This video gives you a good sense of the important support this program offers.

I presented an Introduction to Organizing covering the benefits, challenges, and strategies for being organized. The ladies also learned about Paper Management and Time Management from two other NAPO-NY organizers.

Talking with the ladies was a good reminder of the ways disorganization can affect our everyday lives. The women said some of their biggest struggles related to disorganization are missed work, frustration with all the paper and stuff, helpless feelings about not knowing where to start, and anxiety over missing items. A little organization can go a long way to ease some of these struggles.

If you know a worthy organization looking for helpful programming, please let me know. As Marketing Director for NAPO-NY, we’re always looking to build partnerships. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Organizing Obsession: Clipboards

Since my days back in politics, I have loved a clipboard. There is something about a clipboard that just means business.

Now in my organizing career, I use my trusty clipboard daily while working with clients to keep our notes and checklists all in one place during a session. I couldn’t live without it.

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart

Photo courtesy of Emmas Design Blog

Clipboards are a creative organizing tool when hung on the wall like in the photos above. How about using clipboards to hold:

  • Client samples and notes in an office
  • Kids’ artwork so it can be easily rotated
  • Important papers for family members (Everyone gets their own!)
  • Photos in your home

If you’re in the market for a clipboard, two of my favorite sites are Macbeth for patterned options and 2 Preppy Girls for personalized options. But of course, Etsy has unlimited designs, so you’re sure to find one you love.