Messy room needing organization

Tips for When to Hire a Professional Organizer

Are you finding that the act of organizing is not something you do well, especially when you are by yourself? Sometimes just having another person in the room with you helps you to remain focused and continue organizing. Here are some tips to help you know when it’s time to hire a Professional Organizer:

  1. Are you unsure as to where or how to begin organizing?
  2. Do you have more stuff than your home or office can contain?
  3. Do you need to learn organizing systems and techniques?
  4. Does the terminology “organizing systems and techniques” make your head spin?
  5. Do you have a looming deadline for completing an organizing project, such as a move?
  6. Do you need the expertise of someone trained in helping chronically disorganized people?
  7. Are you dealing with medical, physical or psychological issues in addition to disorganization?
  8. Will you need ongoing organizing assistance or maintenance?
  9. Do you need someone to help you organize large quantities of things or papers?
  10. Do you want or need the objectivity of a neutral third-party?

If you answered “yes” to some or all of these questions, you will definitely benefit from the assistance of a Professional Organizer. Please contact me to schedule an assessment. If you are not in the Metro DC area, we can still conduct an over the phone assessment and I can assist you in locating someone in your area.

Organizing, Time Management, Uncategorized

Time Keeps Ticking Tocking Away

Do you struggle with a poor sense of time? Are you often late for appointments, work? Are your kids late for school? This often occurs because of an inability to find what you need in the morning, distractions and sometimes not understanding just how long tasks REALLY take to complete.

Here are some tips to help you plan and schedule your time:

  1. Just like we do with our kids, we (adults) need to plan our morning out the NIGHT BEFORE. This will sound familiar if you have done this with your kids, but figure out what you’re going to wear the next day (I know this sounds really hard because you dress in the morning based on how you FEEL that day – bite the lip and try this technique before giving up). Gather your work items (briefcase, purse, bag, etc.) – put these by the door you will exit! Now do the same thing for your kids (clothes for next day, backpacks, shoes, items to take to school) and place those by the same door. We’re trying to help stop the morning madness!
  2. Hang your keys by the door you exit/use most often. If it’s the garage, then put up a key holder inside your house, next to the door to the garage. Multiple people using multiple sets of keys equals…yes you are right! Multiple hooks on the key holder! As for me, I prefer a small table also in this area to put stuff down on. Yes this can become the dumping ground, but in our prior home when we didn’t have one, everything was dropped right on the floor or onto the dining room table. Um, no. We currently don’t have a table near the door so items come into the kitchen. Our space in the entryway won’t accommodate the depth of a small table plus we have a large row of coat hooks / key hooks / purse hooks by the door. The counter is okay for this instance because the mail gets sorted through and purged into the recycling bin and lunch boxes live in the kitchen anyway. Phew! Moving on…
  3. Who likes to procrastinate doing the tough stuff? Yes, every human being raises their hand. Thank you. Here’s a simple but effective tip – schedule the tough stuff for early in the week – and when you are at your peak energy level – and see what happens! Believe it or not, once you get the tough tasks out-of-the-way, time is easier to manage. Otherwise that pink elephant is staring you in the face…everyday…all week long…ugh.
  4. Since errand running affects all of us (except those with personal assistants who run their errands for them and are named Kardashian, ahem), do you know realistically how long it takes you to run the errands? Try my tip – multiply by a factor of 3. If you live in the MetroDC area, anything can happen with traffic and what might be only 10 miles to run an errand may take you 30 minutes or more. (Note: if it’s rush hour in the MetroDC area, I increase my factor to 4). Yes this is my little secret…if I have to drive 10 miles, I calculate 30 minutes. If it’s rush hour, that becomes 40 minutes. Why is this errand running time understanding step important? Because we tend to not estimate enough time and external factors and then we over schedule and are constantly under pressure – maybe even yelling or honking horns at lights because we’re angry because we are late. Perhaps we made ourselves late by not fully grasping how long it takes to get from point A to point B? Hmm…that’s a thought.
  5. Hubs and I use a smart phone app for our shopping lists. I have a bazillion stores listed and we share just a few. We share lists for two grocery stores and three multipurpose stores (Target, Walmart and Walgreens). The app we use is called AnyList for iOS. I’m sure these apps exist for other types of phone operating systems as well. The cool thing is that NO LONGER are either of us out and about and decide to go by the store and realize we DON’T HAVE THE GROCERY LIST! Hate when that happens. Now we can add to the list on the fly (it updates immediately) and when either of us are in a store, we can purchase what’s on the list. The only thing remaining? Look at the lists. LOL.
  6. Do you have kids to keep track of schedules and messages? I’d recommend a family message center. White board or a chalkboard are fantastic for these areas. A family calendar is also a must since there are only so many adults who can drive the kids to all their after school activities. No, we are not cloned just because we are parents. Another idea is to set up Google calendar and husbands and wives can add their activities as well as their kids’ activities. That way everyone is on the same page when not at home looking at the calendar on the wall. (I’m all for technology if it provides a better solution!)
  7. Feeling overwhelmed at tasks to be done? Set a timer. I have used this technique a long time. If one of your family members struggles with ADD, then use 15 minute increments to focus on tasks. You don’t have to complete a large task in one sitting – done is better than perfect. Perhaps you need to just break up the task into chunks of time and put it on your calendar? I use this technique often – especially when performing home repair/remodeling tasks or yard work tasks. Why? Because I want to work on the task at my peak energy time and I know myself, if I’ve gone past a few hours, I’m going to not be as focused and will start making mistakes. To thine own self be true (and gentle!).
  8. Remember that if you are working on trivial tasks (oh, I need to print off those forms instead of writing a blog!), you are procrastinating my friend. We all do it. Usually it’s the tasks as mentioned in #3 above. Prioritize your tasks and work on the priorities first. Then reward yourself with a fun task!
  9. Lastly, and I learned this in pre-marriage counseling decades ago, usually in a relationship one person is the “tasker” and the other person is the “teamer”. What does this mean? That one person wants to do fun stuff and the other one wants to get things done! How do you overcome this “opposites attract” challenge? Ask the teamer to help you with a task (and yes, us “taskers” need to be specific in how long the task will take or be worked on), and that once the task is done, you will be glad to go “teaming”. Otherwise the tasker gets resentful and will not enjoy their time teaming, while the teamer doesn’t understand why the tasker is in a huff. Simple solution and works well if agreed upon by both people in the relationship. (Hey, this can also apply to kids).

Tick tock tick tock…let’s learn to make time our friend and not our enemy.

closet redesign
Closet Organizing Systems

Closet Organizer Systems

There are not that many choices when it comes to AFFORDABLE closet organizer systems. I cannot afford California Closets and God bless ’em! I know that they do a fantastic job, however, that would be an over-improvement for my home / neighborhood / house sales price range.

So I settled on wire shelving systems using parts from ClosetMaid. I have installed closet systems in four different homes I have lived in over the last 20 years. When I first used ClosetMaid, the only choice were LOTS of brackets in the walls and supports for each shelf. Its nice that times have changed! A little competition from the Container Store and their hang track system have upped the game.

(Let me add that the Container Store is a great place to gather ideas. I just cannot afford their materials on my budget. Again, thinking of the resale value in the future – I just don’t see the ROI there for justifying double to triple the materials costs vs. ClosetMaid.)

IKEA has jumped on the closet organizer system bandwagon recently. I have yet to go to the IKEA store to check out the system, so when I do, that will have to be another post 🙂

Back to ClosetMaid…here’s the cool thing…there are websites like that sell the CM parts for about half the price of purchasing from HomeDepot or directly from ClosetMaid. If you don’t like the look of the wire shelving, you can now add wood looking trim to the front of the wiring shelves to give it a more finished look. Frankly, I haven’t done that since I like being able to reconfig my closet on a whim — the idea of hacksawing (sp?) wood trim that’s cut to fit, then rearranging, and having to start over is not worth the headache. (If I find that after a few months I am no longer rearranging shelves and such, I may then choose to add the wood looking trim.)

ClosetMaid has also introduced a titanium grayish looking product line. I decided that the price differential was not worth it…again thinking of my buyer market and what would matter to them.

The cost for materials (online purchase plus last minute purchases at Home Depot) has run me about $400 for a 5FT x 5FT walk in closet. Not too shabby! I like the finished design – had an interim “finished” until I was able to finish the installation today. I also painted the inside of the closet and had MAJOR wall repairs that needed to be made.

It took a bit longer than I expected, however, the outcome was worth the delays 🙂

closet redesign

BEFORE: Hubs side of closet

closet redesign

BEFORE: my side of closet

closet redesign

BEFORE: my side of closet

closet redesign

BEFORE: my side of closet upper shelf

closet redesign

BEFORE: hubs side of closet (Esther photo bombed this pic!)

closetmaid hangtracks picture 1

IN PROCESS: Hubs side of closet and back wall with hangtracks and standards in place

closetmaid hang tracks

IN PROCESS: hang tracks and standards on my side of closet and back wall

clothes rack

IN PROCESS: purchased a garment rack to hold our clothes

upper shelving and clothes rack in place

IN PROCESS: upper shelves and closet rods in place

closet organizer system

AFTER: My shoe shelves

closetmaid lower hang

AFTER: Lower hang section of closet organizer system

closetmaid organizer shelves

AFTER: Hubs shoe shelves

finished closet redesign

AFTER: the finished closet