Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How to Organize Your Kids' Toys

Get your kids involved in this project! Toys can easily take over the house, especially after the holidays when there's a fresh inventory. That's why it's especially important to create good habits for keeping them organized now.

PURGE - Encourage children to give toys they no longer play with to children in need that may not have toys. Once they make the decision to get rid of a toy, put it in a black trash bag so they don't rethink the decision. Rather than making the decision for them, help them make their own decisions. Guiding them through this process will help them develop lifelong organizing skills.

ORGANIZE - Sort toys by category. Place them in appropriately-sized containers and label each one (or use a picture for kids who are too young to read). Teach your children to put away items in the proper container.

MAINTAIN – You may need to show your children how to properly put toys away and enforce the new rules, but eventually they'll maintain your labeling system independently. Teach them to put toys away after they're done playing and before they get a new toy out.

After you've finally met your organizing goals in the living room, put your feet up and relax – Maybe pick out a DVD from your well-organized stack! If you weren't able to get everything done this week, or if you feel overwhelmed with any tasks, please contact us to assist you. We're always happy to help!

Also, don't forget to post photos of your newly clean living room on Twitter using the hashtag #SimplifyIn40Days, and on our Facebook page.

Until next week, happy organizing!

How to Organize Your DVDs

Do you have a collection of DVDs that's collecting dust? Let's organize it so your time relaxing and
watching movies is a stress-free experience again!

PURGE - Grab your boxes again! Then sort through your DVDs one by one to decide if you're realistically going to watch them again. Also take some time to re-evaluate your tape collection. Do you even have a working VCR anymore? If not, it may be time to donate or recycle your antiquated technology. Consider purchasing your favorite videos on DVD instead, or just getting Netflix. If you have old home videos, consider transferring them to DVD at a local photo processing center.

ORGANIZE – Make sure all your DVDs are in their proper cases. Arrange them by genre on a shelf or in a cabinet. If you're short on space, they can be stored in a binder with round slots instead.

MAINTAIN - After watching a movie, put it back in its proper case and location. Not only will it look much neater, but it will also be easier to find next time you want to watch it. 

How to Organize Your Living Room Furniture Drawers

Now that your surfaces are clear, let's tackle the cabinets, drawers, and shelves in that living room
furniture. Most of the items you have in these nooks and crannies right now probably aren't used that often. However, furniture storage can be very useful, so you'll want to optimize this space.

PURGE - Grab your boxes again! Pull everything out of the drawers, then sort everything you don't use frequently into the boxes, or into the recycling or trash bags.

CLEAN – Dust and clean all cabinets, drawers, and shelves.

ORGANIZE – Put back items that you've decided to keep, and organize them by function. Hopefully now you have extra storage space for items that actually need to be in the living room!

MAINTAIN - As always, put items away in their proper place each time you use them. Also go through these cabinets, shelves, and drawers periodically to purge and straighten their contents – That way, you won't get overwhelmed by clutter later.

How to Organize Your Living Room

Organize Your Home in 40 Days – Week 3

Living rooms are often one of the most cluttered areas in the house. If you have children, at some point during the day there are probably toys strewn about the room, odds and ends shoved haphazardly between sofa cushions, and books and magazines scattered across the floor. If you don't have children, you might struggle with endless paper piles or unwieldy stacks of DVDs instead.

We get it. It's difficult to create a calm, perfectly tidy environment. But your home doesn't have to look like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens to be a more functional, organized, and cheerful place. And once you get organized, the easier it will be to stay organized, as well as more productive and healthy in other areas of your life. That's why for week three of the Simplify Challengewe're challenging you to get rid of your excess living room clutter! If you're not able to tackle all the tasks we've outlined by yourself, don't worry. Just contact us to get some help from one of our awesome professional organizers!

Organize Your Living Room Surfaces

Let's get started on living room using the same strategical steps we used for week one and two –

PURGE, CLEAN, ORGANIZE, and MAINTAIN. First, we'll focus on living room surfaces, especially the entry table, coffee table, end tables, and sofa tables. These areas have a tendency to get pretty cluttered. Here's how to change that:
    PURGE - Grab a couple of bags for trash and recycling, as well as several boxes in which you can put items you want to donate, sell, store, or move to another area of your home. Start sorting items, getting rid of as much as you can. Ask yourself if the item is functional. If it's not, do you enjoy its decorative qualities enough to look at it every day? Donate items you know you'll never use again, such as old magazines and books. Let someone else enjoy them instead!

    CLEAN – Now that all the surfaces are clear, dust them off and clean them if necessary.

    ORGANIZE - Put back only your favorite decorative pieces and functional items. Also sort through assorted electronic accessories. Consider repurposing a basket you have around the house to hold items like remote controls. Also, make sure to take action on all of the items you put into boxes so they don't take up space and create more clutter. When you're all done, enjoy the clean simplicity of the space!

    MAINTAIN - Having a place for every item in the living room, and putting these items back in their designated spaces daily, is key to keeping your surfaces clear and clutter-free.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

How to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets

Cooking can be fun and easy if your kitchen cabinets are organized! When cabinet shelves are de-cluttered, it's easy to find the pots and pans you need, making your time in the kitchen more productive and enjoyable.
    PURGE - Go through each cabinet and pull out items you no longer need. Place them in a box to donate or sell.
    CLEAN - Take everything off the shelves so you can wipe them down with a clean washcloth.
    ORGANIZE - Categorize items by function before putting them back on the shelf. Place glasses between the dishwasher and the sink. Put pots and pans near the stove. This will create a more efficient, organized kitchen.
    MAINTAIN - As soon as the dishes are clean, put them away in their proper spots. It might take a little extra time, but will help you maintain the hard work you've done.

After you've finally met your organizing goals in this often cluttered area, put your feet up and take a break before next week's tough-to-tackle project – The living room! And remember, if you feel overwhelmed with any tasks, please contact us to assist you. We're always ready to help.

Also, don't forget to post photos of your newly clean kitchen on Twitter using the hashtag #SimplifyIn40Days, and on our Facebook page.

Until next week, happy organizing!

How to Organize Your Kitchen Drawers

Are you tired of rummaging through your drawers? Usually certain items don't belong there, creating clutter and causing frustration. Cut back on the time and emotional energy it takes for you to find something by cleaning out your kitchen drawers.
    PURGE – Clear out any items that don't belong in the kitchen drawers. Limit yourself to one junk drawer, and don't let the rest become a go-to place to put disorganized clutter that's on your countertop. Also, remove any items that you no longer use and place them in a box to be donated or sold.
    CLEAN – After you've removed all the items from your drawers, wipe them out with a clean washcloth.
    ORGANIZE – Categorize items by function before putting them back in drawers. Place cooking utensils near the stove, dish towels near the sink, and flatware between the dishwasher and table. Some drawers may need dividers or containers to streamline functionality and efficiency.
    MAINTAIN - Make sure to always put back items in their correct space as soon as you're done using and cleaning them, and straighten them from time to time so they don't become jumbled and disorganized.

How to Organize Your Kitchen Countertops

Often one the first places clutter accumulates is the kitchen countertops, making the environment feel chaotic and unmanageable. Reclaim your space simply by organizing and finding new homes for items you rarely use. 
    PURGE – Grab a trash can and recycling bin. You may also want to find some boxes in which you can drop items that don't belong in the kitchen, items you want to donate, and assorted papers you find. Start sorting items into these boxes until the countertops are clear from clutter.
    CLEAN – When your countertops are clutter-free, wipe them down with a clean washcloth.
    ORGANIZE - Keep only what you use frequently on the counter surfaces – The rest can go in one of your designated boxes. Items that you use infrequently can be stored in the cabinets or another storage area in your home, like a shelf in the garage. If papers tend to accumulate on your countertop, set up a nearby mail processing center that includes a shredder, recycling bin, and filing system. Clearly label your files into actionable items such as "to do," "to file," "to call," "offers to consider," etc. This filing system will most likely save you a lot of time, and lessen your late bills and feelings of frustration.
    MAINTAIN - The key to taming the paper tiger is to make sure you deal with it daily before it gets overwhelming – Three papers are always easier to deal with than thirty. Make it a habit to keep your surfaces clear and clean on a daily basis.