The Tie Between Clutter and Cash

“I just don’t feel like buying as much,” my client told me today. After editing her entire belongings last winter, she had contacted me again recently. Not because her home had become cluttered again, but because they were redoing the floors in the entire house and they needed help moving things around.

I was told that as we put things back, she’d like to get rid of even more now. I was told that it was such a relief to have a tidy house that she was more careful about purchasing things because she didn’t want to clutter it again. It had been stifling before. I was told that her daughter with ADHD had continued to keep her room clean after I left, not because she liked cleaning per se, but because she notices a significant improvement in her mental health. People experience such an improvement in their overall wellness once things have been decluttered and organized that often they push to keep it so.

You may have heard about the new show on Netflix, Tidying Up, with Organizing Guru, Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and Spark Joy. Apparently, Goodwill is seeing a surge in donations and so I imagine that people all over are catching on. I read an article today entitled, Is Clutter Also Making You Bad With Money? where the author, Charlotte Cowles, experienced just the phenomenon I mentioned above after following the show’s advice, tidying up, and paring down. And while I’m not specifically recommending this show or Marie’s methods, it is certainly interesting to see the effects and how they parallel the comments I get from my clients. Going thru the purging process definitely makes you think twice before bringing something else in your home that you might be dealing with later.

If you’d like, read here and enjoy πŸ™‚

Organize Your Physical Therapy Schedule

Stretch, grunt, and repeat.

So, you’ve been told to do PT and currently you’re doing good just to remember to wake up in the mornings. But your body is depending on you, so how are you going to stick to therapy?

I’m currently entering back into PT myself, now for a shoulder issue, and I’m planning to use the same method I’ve used before as it’s pretty simple and effective.

First, print out a blank calendar like the one above (found here at Fresh Calendars). Then, slide it into a plastic page protector and stick it on the wall with some tape or poster putty. You’ll want to put it somewhere that you’ll be forced to see it. I like to hang mine on the wall in my bedroom, visible just past my nightstand so I’m facing it if I go to turn out the light…that way I’d feel guilty about going to bed without doing my exercises!

Every day when you do your exercises, take a dry erase marker and cross off the day or draw a smiley face πŸ™‚ The ability to erase this and start over helps if you need to go for more than a month.

Hoping you heal up well!

Dollar Tree Organization

My favorite products πŸ™‚

If you feel like just breathing the air at another store costs you money, you might want to look at the Dollar Tree. While many products are unique or worth paying more for, sometimes a bin is just a bin and you could find something less expensive to get the job done.

So if you’re worried that it will be too expensive to organize your home, take a look at these finds from the Dollar Tree– where EVERYTHING actually is $1! There are more great products to be found here, but I want to list only what I’ve tried and favor.

Drawer Organization

Click here to find them

These come in a few sizes and you can mix and match in any drawer to make some custom organization. It’s better to see if you can find these in store to get exactly what you need. Click the pic πŸ™‚
It might seem a little strange, but ice cube trays make good organizers for sewing drawer embellishments, jewelry and any other small trinkets. They’ll cost you more elsewhere, so snag them 2/$1 at Dollar Tree.

Pantry and Closet Organization

Get a set of these in matching colors or complimentary and create a cohesive look. Wrangle all of those little granola bars in a pantry, or travel sized toiletries in a linen closet.
They also come in white, primary colors, and metallics!
These handled baskets are great and they’d cost you a lot more elsewhere. I can’t wait until they come out with new colors! Handy for closets, cabinets, or even your refrigerator!
I can think of endless uses for these and they’ll nest inside each other when not in use. They also come in a taller, more narrow version.
How about labels for your containers of dry goods? They have regular….
….or dry erase!

Office and School Organization

I love these magnetic tins. You can put paperclips in them to hang on your filing cabinet or in a locker. You can put spices in them for your kitchen, or findings in your craft room too!
These pouches with snaps are great! They are better for items you’ll only need to access once a week or so, otherwise you may want to upgrade a little
With so many sticky notes to choose from (there’s more than these!), why would you pay more than $1?!

Everywhere organization– please!

Something I often find everywhere in a home (especially with kids!) is TRASH! Often there’s not a waste basket close by and so garbage winds up in weird places. These come in black and white and for $1 you can put one everywhere you might need one.

A final note: most of these are sold in bulk from the site so unless you need many, try finding them in store first. Different stores carry different items so you can try more than one. If they don’t carry it in store you can always as the manager about ordering. If you need to order online, technically all sales are final but I’ve been told by my local store that they would exchange unused product one-for-one in store for something else.

Happy shopping!

Procrastination

Maybe it took me a month to get around to writing this article…I’ll tell you later.

My nose is so often to the grindstone, it’s amazing that I have one left. Usually, if there’s a project to be done, I don’t like it hanging over my head so I’ll pound away at it, even if I have to stay up thru the night to complete it.

But there’s a few things I just don’t like to do. Just. Don’t. One of those things is the quarterly taxes I’m required to turn in since I own my own business. I don’t actually mind paying taxes and it’s not a hard task. Nope. It’s the paperwork. I hate paperwork. Although the funny thing is that I do it all electronically and it still feels like paperwork.

What’s the fix? Try these two ways:

  1. Suck it up and do it immediately. You’ll feel so much relief! This is what I do with most things. One of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain reads: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Basically, get it over with!
  2. Prepare yourself ahead of time, and actually work procrastination into your schedule. So for my taxes, I put a reminder to do them a couple of weeks before I actually need to do them. This gives me time to put it off while I mentally prepare for it, keeping it in the back of my mind. When I finally do it, I feel so good that I wonder why I didn’t try approach #1. But I feel I just can’t so this is the way I deal, haha!

Finally, did it take me a month to write this article? No! I love blogging about organization. In fact, it’s what I do sometimes to procrastinate a little from other tasks and take my mind off of things. To get centered while still being productive. And that’s my final tip: find something you enjoy that’s productive so you can revert to that instead of wasting time when the current tasks at hand seem unappealing.

So whatever you’ve been putting off, quick and do it NOW! Or later πŸ˜‰

To My ONE Reader from Ireland! :)

Some might not know that when you have a website, it gives you data in the back door. With one click I can see how many readers I’ve had that day, where they come from, etc.

I’ve been fortunate to have readers from all over the world. But something I have found interesting is that I always just have one hit from Ireland, and I’m assuming I have a loyal reader there!

And so, friend, if you’re reading, I’d love to know about you πŸ™‚ Is organizing popular there? What’s the biggest challenge? You can feel free to contact me thru the Contact tab on this site, or my Facebook page: facebook.com/simplysarahorganizing

Happy tidying!

What to do When Your Organizational Systems Fail

For one reason or another, sometimes the very systems that we’ve put into place to keep ourselves in line fall apart. Even my own. Why?

Often it’s that our needs or lifestyle changes. The lists I made on the counter as a stay-at-home mom don’t cut it now that I’m on the go most of the time. Sometimes we change. Technology has really pushed this along. Often I find it’s just that I get numb to doing it the old way. I start to ignore the reminders that once kept me on task.

This is where many lives begin to unravel and the it’s beginning of disorganization for someone who was previously fairly organized. What should be done?

I thought the other day about the original Dr. Atkins and his diet. In his book, he mentioned that if you fall of the wagon, or get tired of the diet at some point, you should switch to another diet– pretty much any other one. Because as much as we would be led to believe that it was the kind of diet that was key, just watching what you being aware and practicing self control is at the center of any program.

Let’s translate that to organizing, which also involves a certain amount of discipline. What happens when your organizational systems stop working for you? You guessed it! Implement new ones.

Find what will work for you now. Do some research, ask a friend what they use, inquire from an organizer to find some new possibilities. This is sure to keep things from getting out of hand, and get you back on track again. After all: new year, new you organizational systems, right? Sounds like you just got permission to blow time on Pinterest! πŸ˜‰

One Thing Organizers Find in Every House

You’d be surprised…

Long passed away pets, old love letters, and unmentionables, which is why I won’t mention them. Organizers get up close and personal, and we see a lot of things. Pretty much nothing phases us. Unlike a magazine page or Pinterest pin, you actually live in your home and there is evidence of that. We’re all mostly the same and you are totally not being judged in any way.

However, there is something that I come across repeatedly and I want to address it: organizing and/or cleaning supplies. Storage bins and baskets of all sizes, printed out materials about organizing, cleaning liquids of all kinds– often unused or still in packages. One realistic client joked to me as we kept finding these items, “Don’t you love seeing our pitiful attempts at organization?” Again, I don’t judge.

I see these items as a realization that something needed to be done about the mess. However, it also reveals a bigger issue. The thinking that an organizational system or program alone will fix the problem.

For organizational systems to work, there are two other parts that need to be in place.

  1. A reasonable amount of items. You must first edit your clutter. Just buying containers to corral it in new and fancy ways won’t cut it.
  2. Implementation. Let’s face it, these products don’t use themselves. Sometimes you need an organizer to motivate you to tidy up and keep you on track. (Click this to see Why You Need an Organizer!)

My client last night had a binder full with an organizing program she had purchased…we found it underneath the mountain of stuff on her desk. But good for her! She realized she needed help to get the ball rolling and contacted me, and together we had tackled that mess in no time. We recruit professionals of all kinds for their various specialties– maybe an organizer should be your next call!

(PS BONUS! One other thing we always find is a serious overage of pens and pencils. We accept this as a fact of life. I don’t know where they come from exactly but they multiply like bunnies! Don’t worry, everyone has this problem.)

Ikea Hack: More Than Just a Magnetic Knife Rack

Ikea’s Kungsfors knife rack is loosely translated from Swedish to English as: “Magically Attractive Organizing Strip of Wonder”
At least, that what I made up heard.

Don’t box in this great organizing tool…it can do much more than look pretty and hold knives and scissors. Grab yourself a plate of KΓΆttbullar (Swedish meatballs), pull up a chair, and read on!

This suggestion from Shelterness is genius! Use several magnetic strips for an easy way to help kids put away Hot Wheels and other toy cars.

Next up: how about a handy way to store hair barrettes, nail clippers and other personal care items?

And how about a magnetic key rack in your hallway next to the door?

And Houzz had a great idea to store paintbrushes and other small tools this way

And this idea came right from Ikea: Use it for meal planning to hold recipes! (This could be used in an office for kids’ art too!)

And a final few words, this magnetic strip has also been known as “Grundtal” and “Fintorp”. Also, you can find similar magnetic racks at places like Target or Amazon. What would you use them for?

Working with a Professional Organizer: What to Expect

NO we are not afraid of the Skittles that have been buried under your files for 5 years, and no, this is NOT the worst we’ve ever seen.

Organizers recognize that our clients come to us in various states of vulnerability and that it’s difficult to open up your life to someone. Trust that you are in good hands. Let’s take a look at what it’s like to work with an organizer and hopefully this will banish any worry.

To start with: The session usually begins by establishing a way to sort items. This often includes boxes or bags labeled TRASH, DONATE, OTHER ROOM and others depending on your situation. Your professional will help you decide.

The items you’re deciding to keep will start to be grouped together as well. These categories often develop as your organizer starts to see patterns and gets an idea of what you use regularly and how/where you use it. You will be asked several questions pertaining to this as you chat along the way. If you ever used one of those little shape sorters as a kid– you can totally do this!

Expect your organizer to begin to feel like a good friend. Personal, warm, and sometimes overly honest– totally helpful. They’ll keep you on track and maybe remind you to take breaks.

At this point things might look messy: FEAR NOT! Depending on whether your organizer has decided everything needs to be pulled out to get a good look at it or how many little piles of do-dads you have, stuff may be everywhere. Sometimes this feels a little overwhelming to the client. But just like so many things, things often get worse before they can get better. At this point, things are about to wrap up!

(Sometimes this process will take more than one session. If so, things will be tidied enough to make your place livable until next time. If you’re willing, homework might be assigned such as sorting paperwork or other things you can do on your own before your organizer returns.)

Ahhh….now that we’ve edited your belongings, things can be put back in a way that makes sense. Your organizer will ask more questions about what and where things make sense to you in order to come up with a system that is easier to use and maintain. Now that you have less “stuff”, there should be a place for everything. Sometimes organizational items will need to be purchased, but often I find that we free up usable storage bins in the process that can be used in the end.

At this point, many organizers will talk to you about a plan to keep your space tidy or get some dates on your calendar so you’ll remember to revisit the area for maintenance. You might also schedule to work on the next space with your professional.

This is where you’ll feel spectacular! Basically everyone reports feeling great after this process and the science backs it up. You’ve made a clean sweep of the clutter that’s been causing you stress, and now it’s time to enjoy your space again.