Five essential organizing tips for back to school

Organizing should be a part of every day. Since mornings are usually the busiest time of day as you’re trying to get everyone out of the house on-time, set aside 10-15 minutes at night to make sure that everything is in place for the next day.

  1. Homework should be put in backpacks as soon as it is completed and has been checked by a parent.
  2. Backpacks should be packed and left at the front door or mudroom.
  3. Lunch should be made in the evenings.
  4. Clothing should be selected before bedtime. Make sure they have included whatever clothing/instruments they’ll need for the next day’s after-school activities as well (uniforms for practice or instruments for lessons).
  5. Establish a routine that works for your family and stick to it. It will make everything easier.

Remember to keep it simple!

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to help you get organized for the new school year.

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How to organize a junk drawer

Above is a video that I did for About.com to show you how to organize a junk drawer. For those of you who’d rather read about it than watch the video, here’s some tips on how to organize a junk drawer.

Even though it is supposed to be a “junk drawer,” you still should be able to locate items that you keep in there. Believe it or not, your junk drawer can still be “somewhat” organized!

  1. The first thing I like to do in any area that I’m going to work on is to empty it out completely. Yep, I’ve said it before and I’m sayin’ it again – empty it out, completely.
  2. Then, measure the interior of the drawer and decide which organizing solutions you can use to divide your items. I like using the trays that most people use for their cutlery. However, drawer dividers will do just fine. I also use the boxes that checks come in to help keep the smaller items contained.
  3. Begin by purging and tossing any broken items or items that you no longer use. Then put aside anything that doesn’t belong in the “junk drawer” and can be put somewhere else in the house that makes better sense. For example, if you find your checks in there, perhaps you can put them back in your office where you pay your bills. The great thing about junk drawers is that everyone has their own unique junk. However, remember that if you haven’t used it in a few months, it’s just wasting space.
  4. Next, start placing all like items together by either category or function. For example, all small tools should be together in one place, all pens and pencils should be together, all small pieces that need to be glued or fixed should be in one place (or maybe even thrown away if you can bring yourself to part with them). You get the idea.
  5. Here comes the good part! Put everything back using the trays or dividers by grouping like items together. Even if the contents of your drawer is an array of odd items, the key to an organized drawer is to be able to see what’s in there quickly so that you can grab it when you need it.
  6. Upkeep is crucial so go through your junk drawer on a regular basis. If you do, you will always have a general idea of its contents.

Remember to keep it simple!

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to schedule a ½ hour consultation.

How to organize a filing system

  1. Before you start, I suggest getting all of your supplies ready. If you’re starting from scratch, you’re going to need: a box of standard hanging file folders, a box of standard hanging file pockets, a box of third cut manila “interior” files, and a box of file labels or a label maker.
  2. The next step is to empty the cabinet completely. Yes, completely. Everything out. This is important as this allows you to see everything that was in there and determine what should and should not go back. You can put everything into a bankers box while you’re going through your files.
  3. To create more space, look for any items that can be tossed, shredded, or archived such as old tax records. Archived files should be placed in a properly labeled Bankers Box and stored somewhere else. If you are storing these boxes in a basement or attic or offsite storage facility, you might consider buying airtight storage bins to protect your archived items from the elements. They cost more but it’s worth it if these documents are important and need the protection.
  4. There are many ways to categorize files, but what I think works best is to break things down into five or six major category sections for easy identification.
  5. I also recommend using different colors of third cut manila files so that it’s easy to differentiate between the different categories. For example, for Active Files use – Red; Financial Files – Blue; Personal & Family – Green; Home & Personal Property – Orange, and Legal and Taxes – Purple.
  6. Each section is then broken down into sub-categories which can be alphabetized. For example, under Active Files (Red files), you might have the following sub-categories: Bills to Pay, To Do List, and Upcoming Events To Attend.
  7. Name your categories or sub-categories according to how you will look for them and try – whenever possible – to use generic folder names. For example, under utilities, name the file “Telephone” rather than “Verizon.” This is so that if you ever switch companies, you don’t have to create a whole new file. Simple, right? One more important tip: avoid vague names for your files. For example, don’t name any file “miscellaneous”! Why? Because it will wind up being a catch-all for all items.
  8. Once you start putting files back into the cabinet, be sure to leave plenty of space so that you can easily find and file documents.
  9. Finally, go through the contents of your files approximately 2-3 times a year. This will help you to stay organized especially around tax season.

The most important thing is that it should be organized in a way that is easy for you and makes sense to you.

Remember to keep it simple!

How to organize a bathroom vanity

Before you start, make sure to have all of your supplies ready. There are so many great organizing products on the market, however, I like to try and use items that I already have. For example, you can use a lazy susan to make things easier to reach under the sink. You can hang a hook inside the cabinet door to hang a hair blower, use empty bottles to corral small items, store toilet paper in a basket, or use a bucket to corral cleaning supplies under the sink. Of course, bins are always a good option as well but make sure they’re clear so you can see the content. If you’re handy, you might even consider installing a roll-out storage shelf under the sink.

  1. The first step is to empty everything out completely. Yes, completely. Everything out! This is important as it allows you to see everything that was in there and determine what should and shouldn’t go back there.
  2. Next step is to sort everything into categories keeping like item together: all lotions together, all hair products together, all grooming supplies together. You get the idea.
  3. Now go through everything and purge! Toss out any empty bottles, expired lotions and, of course, anything that you no longer need or use.
  4. Utilize your organizing products to corral the items that are similar (see #2 above).
  5. Now for the fun part, at least for me, is putting everything back in an organized way so that you can see what’s there and get to it easily.

Remember to keep it simple!

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to schedule a ½ hour consultation.

How to organize a linen closet

The first thing to do in any area that you’re going to work on is to empty it completely. Yes, completely. Everything out. This is important as this allows you to see everything that was initially in there and determine what should and should not go back there.

Once everything has been emptied out of the closet, sort everything into categories. For example: all the towels in one place, all the sheets in another, etc.

Now it’s time to purge. This means that anything either ripped or stained or no longer in use needs to be thrown away. If you still have twin sheets but no longer have a twin bed, it’s time for those linens to become rags or be donated. By the way, a great place to donate used linens is pet shelters.

The fun part is putting everything back in an organized way so that you can see what’s there and get to it easily. Before you start putting things back, take a minute to think about how you want this space to look when you’re done. There are two ways that I recommend organizing linens:

  • One is to tie a ribbon around a set of sheets so that they’re all in one neat package.
  • The other way is to put a set of sheets into one pillow case so the entire set is in one easily accessible bundle.

I suggest keeping two sets of linens for each bedroom so that there’s always another clean set. You can also change linens without having to do laundry right away.

As for the towels, there are several ways you can organize them.

  • If there are several people in the house, I recommend assigning each member of the family a certain color so that everyone knows which towels are theirs. If this sounds right for your family, assemble sets so that each one includes two towels, one hand towel and a washcloth.
  • Another way is to just put all the bath towels together, all the hand towels together, and all the washcloths together.

Put the items you don’t use frequently on the highest shelves, like your extra blankets and pillows.

Then begin putting the rest away by grouping similar items together; sheets on one shelf and towels on another.

You may want to invest in shelf dividers. Having the ability to divide blankets from duvets and comforters is a nice touch and will help make everything easier to find as well as just make everything look a lot neater.

Finally, don’t forget to label the shelves so that anyone can find what they’re looking for and put them back where they belong.

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to schedule a ½ hour consultation.

Getting organized and staying organized

When you make the decision to get organized it will be easier because you have a goal in mind. The goal is getting organized.

The key to getting organized is to have a designated place for everything. There’s a popular saying amongst organizers: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” If you don’t have a designated space for something, the rule of thumb is to either make a space for it or get rid of it. If something doesn’t have a home, it will always be considered clutter. If you want to get organized and stay organized, this premise will help you to cut down on clutter and know exactly where to find things when you need them.

Another important key to being organized is maintaining the systems that you have put into place. If you don’t want to keep starting from scratch, you’ve got to maintain your systems.

My advice is to designate a few minutes every day for maintenance so that things don’t get out of control. In the beginning, you might want to try setting aside time and marking it in your calendar just as you would any other appointment. As mornings tend to be the busiest, perhaps you can spend a few minutes when you get home or before you go to bed at night picking up after yourself:

    • Hang up the clothes you wore that day and throw the dirty ones in the hamper
    • Clean the dishes and/or put the dirty ones in the dishwasher
    • Go through your mail and remember to do the following:
      • Toss the junk mail
      • Shred any mail that has your personal information on it that you don’t need or want
      • File the things that you can
      • Put the rest in action files (Bills to Pay, Events to RSVP To, To Do File, etc.)

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to discuss how we can help you get organized and stay organized.

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