Posts Taged organizing

De-Summer and Clean Out Your Car

School is now in full swing, and the long, lazy days of summer have given way to the regularity of school, work, after-school activities, and early bedtimes. You’ve transitioned your home and schedule to autumn’s rhythms. But have you done the same with your car? If it’s still full of July and August’s evidence, then it’s time to de-summer and clean out your car with these five steps.

Step 1: Empty the Car Interior and Trunk

I like to move my car to the driveway so I can work with all the doors wide open. If you’ve got items such as carseats, cargo organizers, sports equipment, beach toys, dog mats, etc., take them out of the car. Create two groups: items that need to go back in, such as carseats, and items that can be stored elsewhere (e.g., beach toys).

Step 2: Take Out the Trash

Take a small garbage bag and pick up all the trash. Inside the car check every door jamb, under the seats (best to move them forward/back to get everything), seat pockets, storage compartments, and the glove box. Chances are you will find all kinds of stuff! Food wrappers, empty ziplock bags, small toys, tickets stubs. You may also find things that were “lost”, such as your teen’s ASB card from last year.

Step 3: Clean It Like You Mean It

Take the mats out of the car. Use a car vac or a regular vacuum with a hose and crevice attachment, and thoroughly vacuum all the seats, floors, and trunk. If the storage compartments and cup holders need it, vacuum them, too. Next, use a damp towel to wipe up any seat stains; use stain remover on upholstered seats if need be. For leather seats I like the Armor All Leather Wipes. Wipe all interior surfaces—dashboard, console, steering wheel, doors—with a damp microfiber cloth. Use another microfiber cloth dampened with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water to wipe all the interior windows and any glass surfaces on your dashboard.

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Guide to Organizing Your Garage

We’ve got a few eye-opening statistics about garages. A U.S. Department of Energy survey found that 1 out of 4 of people with 2-car garages couldn’t park their car in it because it’s used to store other things. Another survey by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) found that 1 out of 2 homeowners named their garage as the most disorganized area of their house. Furthermore, more than half of homeowners plan to get their garage organized within the next two years. Does this sound familiar? Reclaiming your garage is a major project. Use our step-by-step guide to organizing your garage and park your car inside (yahoo!).

1. Set aside a large block of time for this project—garages typically take 12 hours for general clutter.

Plan for 3 or 4 time blocks of 3-4 hours each; most likely, it will be multiple weekends. Don’t wait until winter, when days are shorter and the garage will be freezing cold. If you can, pick at least the first weekend with no rain—you’ll need to take most items out of the garage.

2. Enlist helpers and make a task list.

Family or friends can certainly help; be sure they understand what they’ve signed up for and won’t become distractions. If you’ve got young kids, hire sitters or plan a weekend at the grandparents. Make a task list and give your helpers specific assignments with a time deadline. For instance, your teen can go through all the sports equipment and toys, while your spouse tackles the shelves full of tools and paint cans. We typically send two organizers out together for garages and work in 4-hour time chunks hands-on with clients. Clients are tired at the end of the session!

3. Move everything out of the garage.

Park your car(s) elsewhere so the driveway can be a staging area. Take the contents out of your garage and place in the driveway. If something is immediately trash or donation—non-working, broken, or outgrown items—set it in these separate piles.

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Organizing Strategies – Make it Simple; Make it a Habit; Adjust it; Stick With it

Make It Simple

There is one big mistake everyone makes when they begin to get organized. Want to know what it is? Containers, baskets and bins. That’s right. People rush out and buy lots of containers before they know what they need and before they sort through what they have.

Here’s how to approach the organizing process. We like to call it the Clutter Clearing System.

Step One: Form a vision for the space.

Let’s take the kitchen. Family is coming over and you’ll be hosting the holidays. Are the counters cluttered? Are the drawers packed full?

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Three Ways to Use Laundry Room Storage Effectively

laundry room cabinet

Laundry rooms are more than just a place to wash and dry your clothes. Any extra storage can be used to store cleaning supplies, back stock of household products and infrequently used household items. Create designated storage areas, zones, for each group, such as in these three examples.

Zone 1: Laundry Care Products

Store laundry detergent, fabric softener, and stain removers in one location. Keep all laundry detergents and supplies together and within reach of the washer and dryer. Label the shelf so that everyone in the family can return items to their correct place. If the shelf is hard to reach store a small number of detergent pods in a container on top of the washing machine. Make sure the pods are well out of sight of little children, but that teenagers doing their own laundry

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Organize Your Home by Marginal Gains

Marginal gains contribute to a more organized home.

If you improve how you manage different areas of your home by just 1%, would that lead to staying more organized in the long run? You bet.

This brilliant concept, called “aggregation of marginal gains” was utilized by Dave Brailsford, who took a historically good but un-winning U.K. cycling team and made many small improvements, which contributed to their win of the Tour De France just three years later.
For the U.K. cycling team, this meant 1% improvement in a whole slew of things from aerodynamics, nutrition, healthcare, the list goes on and on, but the sum of all those incremental changes contributed to the Tour de France win. Great athletes, with incremental changes and improvements in their training regime became winning athletes.
Some families suffer

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The Key to an Organized Entryway

Entryway Organization Before and After

For our family members the entryway is often a dumping ground for coats, backpacks, shoes, sports equipment, shopping bags and mail. But, our entryway may also be the first place our guests see when they visit our homes.  If your entryway is a cluttered mess, then consider the following tips.

Organized Entryway Tips

1. If you don’t already have them, install hooks to hang coats and backpacks. If space is tight then backpacks may need to live in your child’s bedroom. A coat rack also works well.
2. Keep only the most commonly used coats by the door. The rest can stay in the coat closet if you have one, bedroom closet if you don’t. Store off season items in a hall or bedroom closet.
3. Consider a shoe rack or basket to contain shoes by the front door. Extra pairs of shoes can be stored in the bedroom closet and snow or rain boots can live in the garage.
4. Consider relocating

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Fabulous NAPO Service Project

The first Saturday morning in May I had the privilege of leading a service project for my Seattle NAPO chapter.  NAPO is the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals of which there are 4,000 members worldwide.  We have a Greater Seattle chapter that meets monthly on the first Tuesday evening in Bellevue.  This Seattle chapter has 35 plus members and I am currently serving on the board as Treasurer.

 

Service to others is an important personal value of mine;

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Need to Create Space in Your Garage?

Garages have so many uses which are different from what the space was intended for…parking your car. They serve as laundry facilities, garden sheds, holiday decoration storage, home gyms, sports equipment storage, bicycle parking, workshops, household overflow and garbage can storage. It is no wonder that sometimes we can’t fit the car in there!

Clients struggle with getting started on organizing the garage for several reasons. Garages can be overwhelming. Garages tend to be dirtier and dustier than the rest of the house. Garages have that “out of sight, out of mind” thing about them. It is much easier to hide garage clutter from visiting friends and family, therefore it is easy to also postpone uncluttering. Furthermore, because garages serve all family members, often multiple family members need to present to make decisions about what stays and what goes.

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Disposing of Old Electronics

Donate Your Old Electronics

One of the services Simply Experts provides to clients is to collect and deliver old, out of date electronics to InterConnection Computer Recycling. At InterConnection, donating out of date electronics is “good for others and good for the environment.” Their focus is charitable reuse, not recycling. They will take your old electronics free of charge.

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What do I do with the art that I don’t have space for on my walls yet want to keep?

Storing, cataloging and organizing artwork and collectables

Consider a painting rack to store framed artwork on, wrap paintings in plastic to keep moisture out.  For unframed art you can lay them in an archival box with acid free tissue paper between pieces.  The basement and attic can be easy and tempting places to store art, but with temperature changes and moisture potential this may cause more damage.  If you need to stack the paintings place padding in-between each piece to protect them.

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