How to Overcome Chaos in the Mornings

There is nothing worse than running late in the morning!

It never fails! Something is always missing when it’s time to walk out the door.

folded clothesIt could be your keys (this was my biggest struggle), your purse, the kid’s backpack or whatever you may need when leaving the house.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can solve this problem by making items accessible and easy to grab and go!

We’ve all heard this many times before, but it definitely bears repeating!

Setting up a system doesn’t take a lot of effort – and it works so well once it gets started!

Create your system

Start by asking family members to begin dropping off their items as they enter the door so they will always be able to find them!

Designate an area near the door (usually in the entryway) to install hooks, add baskets or an entry table.

If you currently have other things there that really don’t belong you will need to first find a place for those items so you can start with a clean slate.

pexels-photo-116249.jpegAssign each family member their own hook (if using hooks) or drawer or whatever. There are tons of options.

We live in Florida so coats are never an issue. If you live in a cold climate I would definitely suggest using hooks for the coats.

I have also seen a large basket work very well for kids to toss their coats and backpacks.

Ideally, each family member should have their own landing spot.

Use colors (colored hooks, colored bins, colored baskets) to help the little one’s easily find their landing-place or use colored labels with their names on them.

By allowing everyone be a part of the set up of this space, they will be more inclined to want to use it correctly! You know, the old buy-in!

How to Keep it Working

Now that everyone has a place to call their own at the entryway, the key to making it work is to always put items in the exact same place every time!

Seriously, if you choose to hang your purse and jacket on the red hook assigned to you, always leave your purse and jacket on that red hook. You can do this!

Additionally, always check bags the night before to make sure you (or family members) have everything needed for the next day. The few minutes you spend the night before could save you from a lot of stress in the morning. Being prepared means no fussing around looking for that one piece of paper. You can just grab the bags and go!

After you set up your landing spot let me know how it goes!

Thanks for visiting!


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Want to maximize the space in your home? Think Tiny!

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Want to maximize the space in your home? Think Tiny!

Nearly everyone wants to maximize the space in their home. Perhaps the best way is to think tiny! If you have ever watched the shows: Tiny House Hunters or Tiny House, Big Living on HGTV, the first time you watched, you were probably amazed and equally horrified that people could live in such small spaces!

I am always amazed by how people on these shows make these incredibly small spaces work. They have tapped into a new and growing philosophy that less is more.

They are committed to enjoying the experiences life has to offer and  have let go of the possessions that were holding them back.

Living tiny has become popular for people who want to live simply, embrace minimalism to the fullest, and be able to move their houses around the country. They willingly change their living space from 1000+ square feet to just 400 square feet or less!

Why would someone choose to live in a home less than 400 square feet? It seems a little crazy to most people who are constantly wishing they had more space. I mean, more space means more room for storing things, right?

A Better Lifestyle?

But what if these tiny house folks are actually on to something? They claim a more peaceful, centered, in the moment lifestyle with the freedom to move at anytime. Tiny HouseThey have already let go of many of the trivial items they used to believe were so important and have pared down to just the things they need and love.

Isn’t that the mantra of organizing!

I often wonder what it would be like to live in such a small space. I admit that I feel a bit crammed in 1100 square feet, which I have always considered fairly small.

Making the most of small spaces is what I love to do most! My home is organized but is definitely to home of a minimalist. I know there are still many items in my home that are duplicates or not used often enough to warrant the space.

The Thinking Tiny Mindset

I challenge you to Think Tiny.

If you have ever wished you could become a more of a minimalist and reduce your clutter,

If you have watched the Tiny House shows and tried to imagine yourself living that lifestyle,

If you are currently living with too much clutter,


Use this challenge to take another look at the “stuff” in your home. Though most of us won’t go truly tiny, we can experience how it feels to trim back and see our “stuff” from an entirely new point of view – the tiny perspective. Minimalism

If your home is mostly organized and you have already removed clutter, this is the perfect opportunity for you are try experimenting with the tiny mindset.

If you your home is not yet organized and going tiny sounds completely overwhelming and unrealistic, approach this challenge as a way to get started on the road to organization. You have to start somewhere. Why not start now?

Ready, Set, Go!

Since linens are big, bulky and take up a great deal of space, I decided they would be a great place to start. Linens include any and all linens that would be used in the Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen/Dining Room, or other.


Before you get started, have a number in mind of how many of each type of linens you realistically need and use. The typical mindset says “I need most of this.” A tiny mindset says “I need only what is absolutely needed and nothing more.”

The Magic Number

Because most of us are not moving into a tiny house, I suggest finding a middle ground by determining what is typically used over the course of a week and then add a couple.

For example, if there are 22 dish towels in your kitchen drawer but you only use four or five per week, keep just eight.

If you are planning to go tiny, you will need to think about the storage space you will have and the minimum number you will need.

As you sort, remove linens with tears or stains as well as any that you just don’t love anymore. This challenge should take between 2 – 4 hours.

Thinking Tiny – My Experience

I have found that many people have trouble organizing and maintaining the linen closet. As new items are added, older items are rarely removed. Additionally, the whole family typically utilizes this space and it can be hard to keep in order. I happen to have an obsession for bed linens and have made use of every spare inch of my linen closet! So, this is where I decided to start.

I knew this would be the most difficult area for me to evaluate and be willing to freely let go of items. So I started by pulling everything out and setting it all onto a table. There were a few items that I knew I definitely wanted to keep so I started by setting them aside.

The typical mindset says “I need most of this.” A tiny mindset says “I need only what is absolutely needed and nothing more.”

Next, each item was separated by type: flat sheets, fitted sheets, pillow cases, blankets, comforters, duvet covers, old window coverings, and so on. Whew! There were a lot of the same items!

I found it easiest to first pull out the items that were older, had a stain or flaw, or that I just didn’t care that much for. Right away I was able to cut my stash in half. Then I dove in and ruthlessly evaluated and purged the rest.

beddingI will admit, it was hard to let some of it go, especially the down comforters and duvet covers. But when you live in Florida where sleeping with a down comforter is practical only a few months of the year, letting go of all but two just made good sense. And then, wow! Instantly lots more space! I liked how it felt and decided to move along to the sheets.

I love white sheets with high thread count and a soft hand. Over the years I have collected many, many sets. When it comes to bedding, I have always had the mindset, “You can never have too many!” But really, you can. I admit that they were taking up a ton of space and many weren’t being used.

So I did it. I chose just three sets to keep and donated the rest. Once I let them go I realized what a burden they had become to me. They were bulky and took up so much space. Now when I see the small stack of sheets that I know will be used and loved, I feel almost a sense of relief.

I was able to pare down my fully stuffed linen closet to just two shelves! Two shelves with some extra space! Amazing!

Bathroom Linens

Feeling very inspired, I moved to the bathroom and pulled all of the bath towels, hand towels, and wash cloths. Since we never use the hand towels, it was easy to eliminate them immediately. IMG_6336I keep my towels stacked on two open shelves in the bathroom so they are easy to get to.

These shelves hold up to eight towels total and the rest sit in a stack in the bedroom – definitely not ideal. We usually use six bath towels per week. Using the formula above (2 -3 more than typically used), I pulled out eight of our favorites and removed the rest for donation.

With the overflow removed, the towels are contained in one space and I no longer have to look at the overflow stack in the bedroom. I should have done this sooner!

Since my bathroom is small, I had to find a unique way to create extra storage. So I started looking for something that might work in the space. I found this tall dresser at a garage sale for $10. I originally planned to store the towels inside of the drawers but they just weren’t big enough.

So I simply removed the two center drawers and the towels fit perfectly, with four towels per shelf. Bathroom Storage 1

The remaining drawers are roomy and are great for storing wash cloths, soaps, lotions, razors and anything else we may need. It was a perfect fix that allowed us to maximize our limited space.

Kitchen/Dining Room Linens

I love collecting dish towels, especially vintage linen towels to use in my kitchen. I feel like they add a bit of vintage flair and warmth. Unfortunately, over time, they do wear out with holes, stains, tears, and so on. Our kitchen is very, very small so making the most of the space is important. Dish towels can take up a lot of space so purging the ones in poor condition can make a big difference.

To get started, I moved all of the dish towels to the counter for examination. Most of them were in good condition but a few were not, and were removed. We typically use 6 – 10 dish towels and a few dish rags per week so the magic number for us was thirteen towels and five dish rags.

After choosing the towels I wouldKitchen Towel Drawer keep, each was folded and placed into the drawer. I like to fold kitchen towels in a way that looks organized and will maximize the space. After experimenting with a variety of folding and stacking ideas, I have found this method to work the best.

How to Fold Dish Towels

When folding dish towels, the idea is to make each towel as small and thin as possible. As you can see in the photo, all of my towels are the thin, cotton or linen, flour sack type which are able to fold down and stack nicely. This method will work with the towel-type dish towels but they won’t fold down as small.

For a basic dish towel:

Step One: Lay the towel on a flat surface with the pattern facing down (the towel in the picture is facing up). Step Two: Fold the towel into thirds. Step Three: Fold in half. Step Four: Fold into thirds. Step Five: Stack into the drawer upright.

Folding is a little trickier if you use cotton flour sack type towels. Here is how I fold mine:

Step One: Start with the towel laying flat. Step Two: Fold in half. Step Three: Fold into thirds. Step Four: Fold in half. Step Five: Fold into thirds. Step Six: Stack into the drawer upright.

Dining Room Linens

I let go of all of my tablecloths, table runners, and cloth napkins a long time ago. If you have these items you will need to pull them out to determine how often they are used, their condition, and do they still match your decor. I chose to let go of all of mine because I rarely used them and they were really just taking up valuable space. I can honestly say that I do not miss them.

Take the Challenge

After completing this week’s challenge to think with a tiny mindset I was able to reduce the linens in my home and free up quite a bit of space.

Extra space or open spaces are important for creating a clutter-free environment and creating that peaceful, centered, in the moment lifestyle that tiny homeowners boast of.

I also enjoyed being able to provide some nice donations for someone else to love and enjoy. And on top of all of that, I have reduced my linens down to only the ones I really need and love. And I like it!

Though I cleared out a lot of linens, I know I would still have too much to fit into a tiny home. Tiny home living is a true commitment to minimalism and living with just enough. I guess I’m just not ready to take that plunge yet but this first week’s challenge did make me look at my belonging from a different perspective.

I really like the idea of minimalism but to get there, it is a process of letting go of things pexels-photo-311398that have held onto tightly for so long. I am excited to work through my house as we take on new challenges, change our spaces, and embrace tiny-ism thinking.

I hope you will give it a try! Let me know how you do!

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Living clutter free

Getting Organized

How many times have you thought  “I want to live clutter free!” What is holding you back? Does it feel too overwhelming to get started? You can do it if you remember that getting organized is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.

When I finally reached the point that had enough of losing things and feeling stressed out, I committed myself to living a clutter free, semi-minimalistic lifestyle.

Society that tells us that the more we have the better off and more successful we are.

It is not hard to embrace this lifestyle of excess. I mean really, who can pass up a great sale? Why not have enough clothes and shoes to wear a different outfit every day of the year? Why not have all the latest kitchen gadgets and three or four sets of dishes? With this mindset we accumulate more and more and before we know it we are knee-deep in stuff, trying to dig our way out of it all. Peter Walsh says in his book It’s All Too Much, “for many of us, the stuff we own ends up owning us.” This statement was definitely true for me.

So Much Clutter

The most common response to getting organized is to purchase a variety of containers to hide all of our stuff. img_5695Of course, just containing clutter does not remove the clutter. And then there is the issue of where to contain the containers! They end up becoming another form of clutter and we are once again overwhelmed by our stuff. What we often don’t recognize when we start to get organized is that we have too much and need to let some (or a lot) go.

Clutter and messy spaces often leads to stress. upsetHow often do you find yourself running late looking for keys, a clothing item, or a piece of paper that you absolutely needed that day. Has all of this searching and rushing around become the norm in your house?  Have you reached the point that you are ready for a change?

Surrender yourself to a life of organization. I used to think that the more stuff I had, the happier I would be. As I began to get organized I realized that all of my stuff was like a weight on my soul.

Letting Go

As I let items go, I began to relax and really breathe again. It was a process of learning to live in today and not the past! Knowing why we hold onto  our items is they key to being able to let them go. We have all acquired items over time and will have more items entering our lives in the future. The secret to organization is:  Knowing how to release items when they no longer have usefulness in our lives.


So where do you start and how do you know what to keep?

Simple. Start in the area that is bothering you the most.

Start small. It is easy to be overambitious and plan to tackle an entire room at once but you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and not finishing.

Start with a drawer, a part of the counter, or a shelf in the closet.

Begin sorting through every item to measure its usefulness. To measure usefulness you will need to be honest with yourself and ask what the item really means to you.

Here are a few guidelines:

If it is a memory item:

  • Do you have other items with the same memory?
  • Do you really need the item to hold the memory?
  • Do you even like the item?

If it is a family item:

  • Do you value it enough to display it?
  • Is it something you want?
  • Can it be passed to someone else who really wants it?


If it cost a lot of money:

  • Why hold on to it if it is not used?
  • Are you willing to give up space for it?
  • Can you call it a mistake and let it go? (why keep reminding yourself!)

Letting go of clutter is an amazing feeling!

When you make the decision to move forward, don’t expect immediate results. It may be a slow process and it may dig up old feelings. But don’t give up! If it is too difficult to sort through items on your own, ask a friend or family member to help you. A professional organizer can be a great impartial party to help with decisions and organization of the items you love and keep.

The best way to maintain spaces after organizing is to regularly do a sweep to gather up items that have become no longer useful. This continued maintenance is essential to keeping your home clutter-free and livable. Click here for more maintenance tips.

Life really is better when the clutter is gone!

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5 Easy Organizing Tips for the Holidays

The holiday season always seems to bring lots of activities, so many things to get done and often, guests in your home. So how do you get yourself organized and keep your house clean during this busy time? Try these 5 Easydreamstimefree_1537888 Organizing Tips for the Holidays:

1. Schedule Events 

Keeping your calendar up to date is the best way to make sure you get in on all the fun and don’t lose track of any important dates. Add holiday events and parties to a calendar and start thinking about what you will need: clothing, gift, food. Be sure to get input from all family members when updating. Include school events, guest arrival dates, special play dates, etc.

2. Keep Lists

Stay on track by using a list. Use a small notebook that you can carry with you and write down anything you want to get done or need to buy. Start your list several pages into the book because you will need the front pages for planning. Start by adding any of the items you came up with above for the upcoming holiday events. As tasks are completed, mark it off the list. At the end of the day review your list and feel accomplished! It feels great to  get all of those little (and big) errands/tasks completed. Anything left on the list – no worries – it’s already on the list for the next day!

3. Plan Ahead

Decide on two gift-giving budgets: One for your family and one for everyone else. Now pull out the small notebook (with your lists) and use the front pages to record individuals, budgeted amounts, and gift ideas. As you buy gifts for each person, make note of the gift and the cost in the notebook. I have tried several different ways to stay on budget and more importantly, remember what I have already purchased. This has been my tried and true way to stay on track.

4. Keep the House Clean With a 10-Minute Walk Through

I love doing the 10-Minute Walk Through! It’s a quick race the timer game to collect up and return stray items back to their homes. Employing your family to help makes it even more effective and fun. Gather items into small piles according to the room they belong in and when all collected, put them away in the correct place. The result is amazing. Just removing the clutter from the day or week can make your house look clean and welcoming! It’s a great way to keep your house ready for those drop-by holiday visitors.

5. Create a Gift Wrapping Area

During the holidays, a lot of clutter seems to find its way around the house. Gift wrap can add to that clutter. To stay organized, gather all of your holiday gift wrap, bags, ribbons, scissors, tape, etc. and put them all into a plastic tub, drawer, or whatever works for you and then find a convenient location to keep it. The idea is to keep it all contained. I like to decide on a place in my house to do the wrapping and try to store the container nearby. Having everything you need right there, together is priceless! Be sure to allow yourself enough time to finish and still have the time to put everything away.

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Happy Holidays! Stay Organized!

phone-159  Debbie





Take control of your space to gain extra time and less stress.

Harmony Organizing Services helps individuals take control of their space, deal with clutter, organize, time management and more.  You can have a relaxing, clutter-free home!

If you are seeking more free time to spend with family, would like to take on new projects, or just want to be able to do the things you love – Now is the time to find your Harmony!

We hope you will find answers to your organizing questions and find inspiration!  If completing a project on your own seems to big or you just don’t know where to start, we can help with confidential professional organizing sessions!  Call us for a free thirty-minute phone consultation at (941) 877-1231.

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