What Being Organized Means To Me

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What does that even mean? I think we all have a different idea of what organizing means.

As a Professional Organizer, this is what being organized means to me:

1. Being able to easily find things when I want or need them. When I say “easily” it means that I don’t have to spend more than a few seconds/minutes to get my hands on the item that I want. I know where it is!

2. Being able to access things when I want or need them. This means that I don’t have to move around several other items to get to the item that I want.
** The caveat is that sometimes we store things in the garage or in the attic which makes it more difficult to get to or reach. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not organized. If for example, you have some memorabilia stored in a bin that’s properly labeled but happens to be located in the rafters in the garage, IMO, that’s still organized.

3. Being safe in my surroundings. Being able to navigate my way around without having to step over something and/or without having to move something out of the way. Not being afraid that if I reach to get something that other items might fall on top of me.

4. Time management is key! If you’re organized you will have more time to get things done and ultimately more time to yourself. My favorite time management tool is my calendar and I use it every day, all day. It includes all of my appointments, all calls that I have to make and all things that I have to do. It keeps me on track. Of course there’s always those things that don’t get done. When then happens I just carry it over to the next day or the next week to make sure that whatever it is still gets done. I just prioritize whenever possible.

5. Finally, being organized means that my house and office have to be presentable at all times. It doesn’t mean it has to be perfect or look like a picture from a magazine. For me it’s just easier to stay on top of things and do a little every day to make sure that my surroundings are presentable.

Organizing Is A Process

One of the questions I get asked the most from prospective clients is “How long will it take?” What a great question…

Most people want a time frame: one hour, four hours, something concrete. Unfortunately, the answer is not that easy. The answer I ALWAYS give is: “Organizing is a process!

Whatever the situation may be, the process depends on so many different factors. Some factors include availability, interruptions, physical restrictions. However, I think the most important factor is typically how quickly you, the client, can make decisions.

For example, if the job is about de-cluttering one person might quickly be able to pick up an item and decide whether to keep it, toss it, donate it, file it, store it. If you can make decisions quickly and keep distractions and interruptions to a minimum, the process will go quickly.

However, another person might need to tell the story about how they got the item in the first place. They might not be ready to let it go until they make some calls to see if someone else might want it, they may want to take a photo of it before they let it go. If that’s the case, the process will take more time.

Most people would like to think they are great decision makers so they think the process will go by quickly. However, that’s not always the case. Expecially when it comes to family heirlooms or memorabilia. Items that have sentimental value usually take more time.

Whatever the situation is, it’s all okay. We will work with you, our client, as quickly and efficiently as possible by helping you make the decisions, figure out what to do with the items or papers and facilitate the entire process.

Do you or someone you love need to get “better” organized? Need help in the garage? Need to get the filing done?
Give us a call or send us an email and let us help.

(310) 560-5060
dina@organizingconceptsanddesigns.com
www.organizingconceptsanddesigns.com

Inside the Life of an Organizer

I’ve been sending out this newsletter for the past five years and decided it was time for me to get up close and personal with you.

If you have been reading my newsletters for awhile you know that I always post the latest before and after photos of our most recent work.

This month I’d like to share with you some photos of some of the areas in my home.

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Yes, it’s a bit over-the-top but, as most of you already know, I do have OCD (which is the acronym for Organizing Concepts and Designs). While I don’t expect that you should keep your closets and cupboards this way, I do. I can’t help it. It’s what I do, it’s who I am!

When I work with you (my clients) I don’t pass judgment on you so I’m hoping that you will extend the same courtesy. However, if you can laugh at this insanity, go for it! I’m good with that. Laughter is a good thing.

On a serious note, here are five tips to keep your s**t together!

1. Do a little bit every day. Something, anything will suffice.

2. If you take something out, put it back in it’s proper place.

3. If it doesn’t have a home, find one or donate it or toss it.

4. Keep like with like (glasses with glasses, cups with cups… you get the idea)

5. If you buy something new, get rid of something old. One in, one out. There’s just so much space.

Spring Is In The Air

After reading so many articles about Spring Cleaning, I decided to dig in and figure out why so many people do this.             256px-Free_Colorful_Spring_Blossoms_in_Pink_on_Blue_Sky

Having been diagnosed at a very early age with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) I just always assumed that everyone did it because it was such a wonderful thing to do and that everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. To be truthful, I engaged in Spring Cleaning all year long. I just didn’t get teased when it was spring as everyone else seemed to be on board.

Where it all began:
Once upon a time, long, long ago, spring cleaning, albeit not referred to as spring cleaning, was a cultural endeavor. Here are some interesting historical facts:

Iranian culture – Every year on March 21, the spring equinox, Iranians celebrate Now Rouz or the new year. It is a 2 week long festival which includes a variety of celebrations. Every year before it begins, Iranians participate in khaneh takani, literally “shaking the house”, or what we would call spring cleaning. They believe everything must be made as good as new essentially to begin the new year in the right way. (Source: Iran Press Service)
Jewish culture – During Passover, when the Jewish people celebrate their departure from Egypt, they are required to remove all leavened products from their homes. Some historians believe they would clean their homes from top to bottom before Passover, and therefore during the spring, to ensure that nothing leavened remain, no matter how small. (Source: The History Channel)
Chinese culture – Before the Chinese New Year, usually in late January or early February, the Chinese clean their homes to sweep out the bad luck and usher in the good. (Source: The New York Times)

Whatever the reason, spring cleaning has been around for ages and I don’t see signs of it disappearing anytime soon. Below are some helpful tips on how to start the process and get through it efficiently:

1. Be Prepared: Make sure you have the right supplies
• Cleaning supplies (vacuum, rags, dusters)
• Tote to hold the cleaning supplies
• Containers, bins, boxes or baskets
• Bags for trash or for donations

2. Have a plan: Take all your supplies (see above) with you into each room to save time and energy.
• Start by picking up the clutter in each room.
o NOTE* ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T HAVE A HOME IS CONSIDERED CLUTTER
• Toss the garbage
• Anything that you want but doesn’t have a home in the room you’re working in goes into a basket or bin for distribution in another area
• Anything that belongs in that room needs to be put where it belongs
• This is a good time to put things away that don’t necessarily need to be on display. It will certainly cut down on your cleaning time if you have less out on the shelves, countertops, etc.
• Start at the same place in each room. I like to go from left to right. It takes the decision making component out of it. I just start at the same place in each room.
• Always clean top to bottom. This is important! Anything that you don’t get with the dust rag will fall to the floor so when you’re finished you can then clean the floor.

3. Prioritize: Figure out what area is most important. This is important as you might not get this all done in one day.
• Tackle one area at a time: I can’t emphasize this enough. If you try to get the whole house done it will be overwhelming.
• Spring cleaning is a process and it does not have to be done in one day or even one weekend.

4. Delegate:
• Ask your significant other, children, roommate or housekeeper to help.

5. Have some fun!
• Make a game out of it
• Challenge your children to a contest and make sure to reward the winner
• Play some great upbeat music.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-earthquake-image11182826

Are You Prepared For An Earthquake?

Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and/or fires, can have disastrous and far reaching effects on our lives. Especially if we are not prepared!

Watching the news and seeing images of people who lost everything, their houses, cars, clothing, family heirlooms and photographs, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, has always made me think about how they were going to put their lives back together. While we can’t prevent or stop these events from happening, we can be prepared so that we can mitigate the damages.

Since we (at least most of the people getting this newsletter) live in California, earthquake territory, I put together a list of five important tips for how to be or how to get prepared for an earthquake. Hopefully this will provide information and motivate you to do something, anything, towards getting you and your loved ones ready, just in case…:

• Know your risks: Learn what to do before, during and after an earthquake. www.ready.gov is a great resource for emergency related information.

• Be Proactive: Make sure to have an earthquake kit. I have one in my car just in case I’m not home when an earthquake hits. See below for pre-made earthquake kits.

• Take action: Make a communications plan with other family members or friends NOW so you’ll have it when you need it. (notice I said when!)

• Fema.gov has great article entitled “How to Prepare for an Earthquake”. Here’s the link: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1408632135401-3d0521fa59d0dd4016e82f08fe7f3732/PrepareAthon_EARTHQUAKES_HTG_FINAL_508.pdf

• Make sure that you have all of your important documents together in one place so that you can recover your losses quickly (ie, insurance policies, photos of valuables, emergency contact list) I keep mine in a 3 ring binder that is easily accessible. If you want more detailed information about which documents to keep and how to get it all together, sign up for my newsletters (see the link below) and get a FREE Emergency List File.

10 Tips to Get More Done in Less Time

  1. efficiency Turn off email and text alerts to avoid interruptions. 
  2.  Check your emails at scheduled times throughout the day.  NOT ALL DAY!
  3.  Limit social media time to 30 minutes per day, preferably after work.
  4.  Don’t schedule an in person meeting when you can Skype or simply make a phone call.
  5. Combine meetings with breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  6. Record your favorite TV shows so you can skip commercials (15 minutes savings per 1 hour show.)
  7. Stop multi-tasking.  Instead, practice time chunking–focus on a project for 30 minutes without interruption, then take a 5 minute break.  Repeat as necessary.  
  8. Getting a good night’s sleep will help you be more efficient.
  9. Check traffic on Google maps before hitting the road–if you see red, pick a different route.
  10. Adjust your commute time to off hours so you avoid sitting in traffic.