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!

Debbie

Take a quick survey to let me know what you are interested in for future posts and giveaways!

You might also like:

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

6 Tips for Organizing Success

How to Manage Your Make-up Madness

 

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,

THIS CHALLENGE IS FOR YOU!

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.

towels

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!

You might also like:

6 Tips for Organizing Success

Living clutter free

The Hunt for Hidden Clutter

 

6 Tips for Organizing Success

As we go about our busy lives, clutter finds its way into our homes and offices and we in turn, find creative ways to manage it. In time, clutter can take over our lives and our spaces, causing us to become unproductive and stressed. Many people claim they feel like a weight was lifted and have a new sense of calm, peace, and clear-thinking after removing the clutter and organizing. Try the 6 tips for organizing success below when you are ready to let go of clutter once and for all and find organizing success:

  1. Create a plan and find a system that works for YOU

There are millions of articles, videos and books we can turn to for organizing ideas but not all organizing solutions will work for you. Knowing how you want your home to flow will help you know what will and will not work. Before you start your next organizing project take the time to think about what you hope to accomplish. pexels-photo-234790What will the end result look like? How will it feel? Think about how you want your spaces to function and how they are currently used. If living in a small apartment or home, do you have the space for everything? Keep in mind that trying to cram too many items into a space can make it look cluttered and disorganized. Is there too much furniture in the space? How much “stuff” do you really need? Decide if you thrive in a space where items are contained or one where items are visible. Many believe that being organized means that everything is lined up perfectly and is labeled, but it is really about removing unnecessary items and being able to find exactly what you need, when you need it. Think about your goals and then get started in one area. Complete the one area before you move on to the next one.

  1. Don’t rely on staged photos to guide your efforts

Pintrest is a great place to find amazing photos of organized homes and organizing ideas. We pin, we dream, we try, we sometimes have success, and we often wonder why we don’t get the same results. Sound familiar? Or what about the home makeover shows? It’s so quick and easy and amazing! So why can’t we get our homes whipped into shape with a few changes? One reason: it’s staged. Staged spaces are not functional spaces. Take a look through photos of pantry organization for example and you will find the most beautifully arranged space with containers and baskets and coordinated colors. It looks perfect and we want it! But in many of them, if you look closely, they do not contain the usual items an average household would have on hand in their pantry. You may be able to copy some of the elements but it will never look just like the picture. The point is, don’t go for perfection! Make it your own and most importantly make sure it will work for you!

  1. Purge, purge, and purge again!

Organizing is not a one-day event but an ongoing process of acquiring and letting go. As you evaluate items, ask yourself what the item really means to you and what would happen if you never saw it again. Would you miss it? Sometimes we think something means a lot to us but often, we are just used to having it there or it holds a memory of some kind. Think about why you have kept an item and what it really means to you. If it is a memory item, do you love it enough to display it? If it only sits in a box, is it really that important to you? Have you considered taking a digital photo of the item as a way to keep it?

We all struggle with letting go of items. We think about how we may need the item one day or that we spent a lot of money for the item. With clothing, we argue that the item will fit again after losing weight or that the style will come back around eventually. pexels-photo-165831The best way to evaluate clothing is to ask “Would I buy this in the store today for full price?” If thought or hesitation is required to answer the question, the item should most likely be removed. The clothes that remain should fit great, be the right colors, and be in excellent condition. If you have organized your home and removed all of the unwanted items and it still feels cluttered, you may need to do more purging. A good rule of thumb is: three times is a charm! Typically, it will take three times of purging to get down to what is really wanted and/or needed.

  1. Give items a home and make time for upkeep

Does everything in your house have a home? Every item should have a place where it lives when it is not in use. By following this rule it is simple to return items to their place and maintain organization. In our house, we do a ten-minute clean-up where we gather items and quickly to return them to their homes. Read more about ten-minute clean-ups and hidden clutter here. When we finish, the house looks picked up and comfortable. As items enter your home, decide right away where they will live to avoid clutter build-up. It is also a good idea to create a routine for entering the house with items such as: your purse, jacket, shopping bags, groceries, mail, and so on. Decide where these things should be placed so that they are not creating clutter.

  1. Think before you buy

A steadfast way to maintain a clutter-free home is to stop clutter at the door! Evaluate your purchases and think about where the item(s) will live. Do you have the space? Will you remove something else? Do you already have something similar? Why are you buying it? img_5940

These are hard questions, especially when you really want something. Try to step away from your emotions to answer the questions honestly. Think of the money you will save over time! Do this with all purchases and learn to shop with purpose by keeping a list of items you need to buy and then stick to the list.

6. Get inspired! Now is the time to get organized! Good luck!

Visit Harmony Organizing Services at www.HarmonyOrganizing.com

The Hunt for Hidden Clutter

The New Year is a great time to start a handy new habit – hunting for hidden clutter! In my previous post How to Follow Through on Your New Year’s Resolution to Get Organized, I proposed that making several small goals to reach a big goal is better than making a New Year’s resolution. A small goal I keep year-round is to keep my house clutter-free of papers and miscellaneous trash, what I call clutter-trash or hidden clutter.

I don’t know how it accumulates so quickly, but there is never a shortage of this type of clutter in my house. I enjoy doing this activity because it makes such a big difference and only takes about five to ten minutes. The first time will take longer and you may need to set aside a few hours to conquer it all. The most common response to clutter-trash is to throw out the obvious trash such as empty plastic water bottles or wrappers and to stack everything else. Its the everything else that is creating the cluttered, unpolished look you are trying to avoid. Don’t stack – if you don’t use it or need it, toss it! If it belongs somewhere else, take it there!

To tackle your clutter-trash go on a hidden clutter hunt. When you are done you may feel like you’ve found a treasure! This can be especially fun for kids and is a great way to teach them how to keep their rooms and other spaces in the home clutter-free.

To get started, gather up every bit of trash in your home – you know, the scraps of paper, old magazines that will never be read, mail that is stacked all over, old fliers, kids paperwork that is no longer relevant, and so on. Check every room, dressers, counter tops, coffee table, desks, entryway, dining table, and anywhere else the clutter-trash may be hiding.

As you go, carry one bag for trash and another for items that will need to be shred. If you aren’t sure about an item, set it aside with any others and evaluate it further when you are done. You may be surprised by the amount of trash and paper you end up with in your bags! Once you are finished, throw out the bag of trash and then shred the items in the other bag. This is a habit that should take place at least once per week but daily is even better. It is a great feeling to go to bed every night knowing the clutter-trash is cleared out.

When it comes to shredding papers, I have found that most people keep a stack or a box or a file of items that need to be shred. In the past, I also used this method. But let’s be realistic, unless you have hundreds of items to shred per day, there is no need to keep them around. I discovered this when my pile of shredding grew so large I had no choice but to stack-letters-letter-handwriting-family-letters-51191deal with it. It took a full day of shredding, waiting for the shredder to cool down, and shredding by hand as well. By the end of the day it was all done and I decided that I would never let it get to that point again! I created a new system for myself that has worked well. Every night I go through my purse for receipts and then gather any mail or papers around the house. I look through each one, keep any that I may need and hand shred the rest. Yes, hand shred. I have found that I do a better job than the shredder and I am able to make sure all important information is completely destroyed.

The first time I completed the hunt for hidden clutter exercise I was amazed by how much I collected! I couldn’t believe that so much trash was sitting out around my house! Sometimes, when items such as trash and paper sit for a while they just become part of the scene and we begin to look past them. Take a look around your home with fresh eyes to see what you can find.

Learn more about Harmony Organizing Services at: www.harmonyorganizing.com

 

How To Follow Through On Your New Year’s Resolution To Get Organized

Have you made New Year’s resolutions for the new year? Is getting organized at the top of the list?  Top New Year’s resolutions for many include: losing weight, quitting a bad habit, or finally getting organized once and for all. As the year draws to a close, something about starting a new year brings longings of a fresh start, a clean slate, and a desire to remove accumulated clutter both physical and mental. So many see it as a time to make proclamations for the New Year and envision how things will be different. Some swear by the New Year’s resolution while others run from it, knowing that chances are, the resolution will be abandoned within weeks.

For me, a resolution is an empty commitment made simply because it is a new year and it is something I wish I could do. I don’t make the life-changing annual resolutions. Instead, I plan small goals for myself that will move me closer to achieving a bigger goal. More importantly, I don’t create these goals a the start of a new year.

Let’s face it, we all have bad habits or things we’d like to change. The best way to deal with them is head-on and regularly, throughout the year. Why limit yourself to just one time per year to make changes? And why make just one change? I come up with new goals for myself regularly. An ongoing goal I set for myself is to keep my spaces uncluttered. I know that doing this helps me in all other areas of my life. Cluttered spaces can lead to a cluttered mind!

Clutter can build up quickly if it is allowed to. I describe clutter as a leaky pipe. At first, it is not noticeable and the small amount of water is manageable. But if that leak is left unattended, it will soon overtake the area and the space can no longer serve its purpose until it is dealt with. If your spaces have been overtaken by clutter, take the time each day to stop the leaking so that you can begin to feel in control of your space.

I encourage you to rethink how you go about making New Year’s resolutions. This year, prepare a few step by step, deliberate, manageable goals for yourself to accomplish throughout the year. pexels-photo-58457If you are not currently in control of clutter, think about how you can get organized. Evaluate each room in your home. How is the space used? How you would like it to be used? Are there too many items in the space? How about items that should really be in a different room? Think about how you would like your space to look and be used. Look at pictures, write down ideas, and dream a little to get started. In upcoming posts I will help you move forward with this goal by providing actionable organizing tips and steps for success.

Learn more about Harmony Organizing Services at: www.harmonyorganizing.com