Back To School Made Simple

July 21, 2015

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Can you believe it’s only 3 weeks until the kids go back to school?  Don’t panic! Simply Organized is going to make it simple this year. I’m speaking Sunday July 26th from 2-3pm at the Cumming Library on how you can simplify your back to school this year. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. SHOPPING

SCHOOL SUPPLIES:

Most schools have the list posted online for each grade. You can also buy “packs” from most schools which include all needed supplies.  I recommend you print out your list and shop at home first. You probably have tons of paper, pencils and more left over from last year. Gather everything on the list into one place and check those items off.  The rest can be purchased at any retail store and most have great deals right now.

(ex. Crayons, Ziplock bags, glue, scissors, folders, paper, pencils)

CLOTHES:

Make time to have your children try on the clothes and shoes they wore last year to see what fits.  For the first couple of months (at least in the south) they can probably stay in their summer clothes but go ahead and make a list of their fall and winter wardrobe needs now.

(ex. NEED Shirts: short sleeved #4, long sleeved #4, pants #5, shoes #1, socks #5)

2. SCHEDULE/ ROUTINE:

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FAMILY CALENDAR:

You should have a dry erase, paper or electronic shared calendar for your family.  Each member should have their own color. Place all activities on the calendar including after school, trips, sleep overs, teacher meetings and weekend plans.

ROUTINE

Even if every day is a little different, families thrive on schedules. Have a PLAN B for days with after school activities and a PLAN C for weekends.  To combat confusion and set expectations, use the following daily routines:

Wake up time (ex. 6:30am) eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth

Out the door time (ex. no later than 7:30 am)

Home work time (after school ex. 3:30-4:30) play time, chores

Dinner time (ex. 6:30 pm) then game or tv, bath, brush teeth, read story

Bed time (ex. 8 pm)

3. ORGANIZATION

A place for everything and everything in it’s place – right?  Start these good habits with your family now and it will save you time and stress later.

DROP ZONE

Every person in your family should have their own hook and or basket near the entry and exit of your home.  Even if you do not have a mud room, you can easily create this area around a storage bench, breakfast room, laundry room or garage. This is also a great place to put a family calendar.

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Each night before bed: all homework is completed and put into backpacks near the exit.  Make lunches (or let your kids do it), snacks and even breakfast the night before and have it in the fridge ready to go.  Lay out your children’s clothes (or have them do it) the night before. Keep their shoes in their closets with their clothes or in a storage bench or basket near the door. Use a charging station for all phones, laptops, etc. and plus them in before you go to bed. Keep the charging station near your keys. Do the same thing every day and you will not be frantically looking for your keys, phone, shoes and homework every morning before school.

4. CHORES

Kids love having a few responsibilities and they love helping mom and dad.  Depending on the age and maturity of your child, most experts recommend you start adding 1-2 tasks each year starting when you feel they are ready.  Most kids can start with making their bed, brushing their teeth and picking out their clothes.  When you think they are ready, add setting the table, clearing the dishes, unloading the dish washer and making their own lunch to their daily or weekly chore chart. This makes them feel proud and helps you out at the same time.  The chore list below was found at www.thirtyhandmadedays.com. You can customize it and print it out.

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Back to School should be a fun time. It’s a fresh start and a new beginning for you and your kids. Try to get the task completed early so you can enjoy it!

If you need any help with organizing your home or your time, please contact Simply Organized at 404-825-2105 or email us at: heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Father’s Day – Garage renovation for my dad

June 17, 2015
Happy Father’s Day – Garage renovation for my dad

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Three years ago, my parents remodeled their 1974 home. They left one space off the list – the garage. My dad asked his contractor to put the old kitchen cabinets in his garage so he could use them someday. We have been asking him when he’s going to remodel his garage for three years.

Two weeks ago (while my parents were out of town) my brothers, husband and I decided to tackle dad’s garage project as a surprise father’s day gift. My parents came home yesterday to an updated organized garage. I’m excited to report that both of my parents love what we did (trust me – we were nervous) and I’m also pleased to be able to show you the before and after photos along with some tips on how you can make this happen for your own space.

If you’ve read my blogs before, you know there is a way to organize every space and we used the same methods for my dad’s garage as we would for any room:
1. Take all items out and sort them with like items (yard tools together, power tools, cleaning supplies, auto supplies, nails, screws, etc. My parents also keep camping chairs, paper towels, extra lumber, folding tables and lots of coolers in their garage.

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2. Get rid of anything that is broken, hasn’t been used in years and multiples. My dad is a saver so this was difficult. I threw away and or donated his broken weed eater (he had 2), a recalled de-humidifier, an old leather chair, 2 old kid’s car seats, Styrofoam coolers and several empty cardboard boxes and plastic containers.

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3. We hired a painter to paint the walls, cabinets and ceiling.  As you can see in the photos, they started with dark paneling so lightening up the space was a must. I ordered new cabinet hardware online to update and refresh the old cabinets.

4. My brothers and husband are very handy so they built a countertop for the lower cabinets and installed peg board. They also ran (plug in) lighting and added two power strips to make electrical access easier for tools. On the walls, they added inexpensive hooks to hang ladders, power yard tools and a hanging strip for the rakes and shovels.  I bought three new shelves and put them together (very easy) for the bulky items that would not fit into cabinets.

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5. When we started putting all of my father’s stuff back into the garage, we made sure everything had a proper home and all like items were together. For instance, all of his screws and nails are in clear plastic containers inside the same cabinet. Also in that cabinet are nuts and bolts. In a lower cabinet we put cans of paint. On the shelving, we got larger clear plastic bins to house auto supplies like oil, anti freeze, and oil funnel.  In a different container we placed all the gardening supplies.

6. You may need to relocate some items that don’t belong in the space. We put their folding table in their basement and a large picture frame in their storage closet inside.

***It’s important to note that this process is about finding the right amount and size space for the particular items. You may need to move some items around a few times in order to find the perfect spot.

Now you can see there is enough room in the garage for all of my parents items and to park two cars.  More importantly, the garage  is now a space that is functional and my dad will want to work there.  It also matches the remodeled inside of their home.

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WANT TO GIVE A GREAT GIFT? BUY A GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR SIMPLY ORGANIZED!

If you would like help with your garage or any space in your home, please contact us at 404-825-2105 or heather@simplyorganizedyou.com.

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Get Your Taxes Done Today and Sleep Better Tonight!

March 30, 2015

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Every year I write a blog about doing your taxes. Last year I focused on charitable donations: http://simplyorganizedyou.com/?s=taxes. This year I want to try to minimize the stress associated with doing your taxes.

Many people do their own taxes on Turbo Tax or another software program, some go to a service like H&R Block or hire a different CPA firm or private accountant. No matter which method you prefer to get your taxes filed, my motto is just get started – now. Procrastination adds so much stress that is unnecessary. Figure out why you are putting it off and change the behavior.

I’m not sure anyone thinks doing taxes is fun, but if you are putting them off for any other reason, I may be able to help you out.

1. Are you delaying your tax filing because you don’t feel like you know what you are doing? Hire a professional. The cost is minimal compared to the amount of time and stress you will save.

2. Is your paper work a mess? Take 1 hour and get it all together in one place, then hire an accountant. If you can’t face it, hire me or another organizer to get your paper work together for you.

3. Are you unaware of what is needed to file your taxes this year? Here is a check list for you: http://www.hrblock.com/tax-offices/tax-prep/tax-prep-checklist.html

4. Are you afraid you will owe money? Delaying the process of filing your taxes will not help. You will have to pay eventually. If you don’t have the money to pay right now, go ahead and file an extension: https://www.irsextension.com/?gclid=CL-zn-D8zsQCFQpk7AodynQAVg

I hope some of that helped you feel better. Doing your taxes does not have to take up a ton of time or cause any stress. Once you commit to doing it, it’s a fairly simple process. Remember there are only two things that are certain in life – death and taxes. You can’t avoid them so you may as well check “DO TAXES” off your list!

Need some help, Call us: Simply Organized 404-825-2105 or send us an e-mail: Heather@SimplyOrganizedYou.com

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How to sell your stuff

March 16, 2015

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90% of my clients have a combination of needs when it comes to getting rid of their belongings. We donate most items to Goodwill, Humane Society, Hope House, Pat’s Place, etc. A few broken items have to be thrown away or recycled. Then there is the furniture, clothes, décor, dishes, tools, bedding, etc. that can be sold. There are many different ways to sell these items:

1. Let Simply Organized List online at E-bay or Craigslist:
Pros: You get to advertise to buyers who want your items and will pay accordingly.
Pros: We will ship the item or meet the buyer and exchange money through Paypal (fees) or cash. We will take photos and post your ad online.

Simply Organized will do all the work for you for 45% of the profit.

2. Estate Sale:

If you have a lot of furniture and smaller items in your house and have at least 2 weeks, this is the best method for selling a large quantity and getting the most money.
Pros: The estate sale company does all of the set up, pricing and advertising for you for a minimum fee (usually 30% of profit).
Cons: You will have several hundred strangers in your home for 3 days. It is best to not be present at your own estate sale.

3. Online auction:

This is similar to an estate sale except all sales are done online and no one comes to your home until pick up day.
Pros: The auction company does all the work for you and takes a % of profit.
Cons: This process takes 2 week to set up and auction takes 1 week.

4. Consignment:

Take your clothing or furniture to a consignment store. They usually take 50% of profit.
Pros: They have clientele who are specifically shopping for certain items and they keep your items in their store until they are sold.
Cons: You either have to take your stuff in or pay a moving company to pick it up (furniture). They only take seasonal clothing at certain times per year and they may refuse your items based upon condition or style.

5. Move Loot:

Furniture Consignment that picks up your furniture for free, they list it and sell it for a 50% commission.
Pros: They pick up your furniture for free.
Cons: They only take furniture and some decorative items.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to selling your stuff.  We can help you with any and all of the options I’ve listed.

Please contact Simply Organized for referrals to any of the above businesses or help with your items you would like to donate or sell.

404-825-2105 or Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

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Recipe Organizing – great snow day project

February 17, 2015

recipeblog5So today was a very icy day in Cumming, GA – no power, no TV, no internet, etc. I’ve been wanting to get my recipes in order for years and my husband gave me this beautiful recipe book for Christmas.  I took pictures of my progress so maybe this will be a helpful project for you to tackle someday.

I decided to go the paper route. You can certainly scan or copy your recipes onto your computer so you can have them electronically.  We did this years ago for my mom’s recipes and made her a printed book for a gift and CD’s for all of her children to have.  Now we can easily e-mail them or print them out if needed.

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1. Throw away all those recipes you’ve had for years and never used. You can always look something up online.

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2. Organize the recipes you want to keep into categories that make sense to you. “Appetizers”, Soups and Salads”, “Main Dishes”, “Desserts”, “Breads”, etc.

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3. Either use a pre-made book like the one in the photo above or get a 3-ring binder. With either option you are going to want 81/2 x 11 sheet protectors and or 4×6 photo or recipe card holder pages to insert your recipes.

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4. Simple way = place your recipes into sheet protectors /More difficult (but prettier) = type or write all of your recipes onto the same type card (index or recipe cards) and then insert into 4×6 card holder pages. The book my husband gave me already had blank recipe cards and recipe card holder pages in it.

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5. After you’ve inserted all recipes into sheet protectors, place them into your book or binder by category. If using a 3-ring binder, use tabbed sheets in between categories and label them “Appetizer”, etc.

Wahlaa – in about 1 hour, you should have all your recipes in one book, organized by category and easy to use anytime you’re in the mood to cook.

Enjoy!

If you would like my help in your home or business, please contact me at 404-825-2105 or Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

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Favorite Organizing Products 2015

February 15, 2015

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Every time I give a presentation to a group I get asked what are my favorite organizing products. What do I like to use? what is the most useful? etc. I usually bring several for a show-and-tell to help people visualize organizing and time management.

Zip Lock Bags – I use them every single day. I love all sizes from snack to jumbo. They are great for organizing items like-with-like. Use them in your junk drawer to put all your paper clips together, loose change, rubber bands, extra keys, etc. Use them in your purse to keep your gift cards together or separate your pills from your hair products and your make-up so it doesn’t spill all over the inside.

Over-the-door shoe holders – Put one on the back of every door in your home! I prefer the kind with clear pockets. Real Simple makes an excellent one you can buy at Bed Bath and Beyond (don’t forget your 20% coupon). Use one in your home office: paperclips, envelopes, pens and pencils, staplers. In your bathroom: cotton balls, q-tips, make-up, vitamins, jewelry. In your closet: all of the various charging cords for your electronics, socks, gloves, belts, scarves.

Clear plastic bins – If you need to organize and contain items in rooms like the garage, toy room, storage room, or pantry, clear bins work great. They come in every size imaginable and are reasonably priced at Big Lots, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, etc. Put all like items together, place them in the container and label it if you like. In your pantry, get small and medium size to contain the snacks, bags of chips, candy, and baking items.

Non-slip hangers – Buying the same type of non-bulky hanger and hanging all items in your closet on them will create 50% more space in your closet.  Wooden and padded hangers take up the most space. The wire hangers you get from your cleaners allow for most items to slide off.  You can get the thin non-slip hangers in bulk from BB&B or Costco.

Plastic “accordion” folders –  For $1 each, you can purchase see-through plastic Velcro-close folders and accordion file folders at Target or Walmart. Use the see through for your coupons and or gift cards. Keep them in your car at all times and you are more likely to use them.  Put an alarm on your calendar once a month to weed through and get rid of expired coupons.  The accordion file folders are great for projects like taxes.  Put each item you receive during the year into the folder labeled taxes.  Having all of your receipts and documents in one place makes tax time so much easier.

Would you like some help? Call me at 404-825-2105 or Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

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Nobody Is Perfect

February 15, 2015

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I love Pinterest. There, I said it – I love Pinterest.  Most people who have used the site love it as much as I do.  I often re-pin beautifully organized closets, pantries and cabinet spaces. We like to look at pretty things.  The reason there are super models and actors on the covers of most magazines is because we like beautiful photos. Is it realistic for us to look like those actors and models? No. Is it realistic for you to have a pantry that looks like the one you just re-pinned? No.

Let’s all lower our expectations a smidge.  If we had all the money and time in the world, this would be a much different conversation.  My definition of being organized is to be able to find what you need, when you need it.  Being organized is about enjoying your space and it not causing you added anxiety.  Having a “photo-ready” home is an unrealistic goal for most of us.

You may need help:

  • if things are falling on you every time you open your closet
  • if you are always losing your keys or cell phone
  • if you don’t open your mail for weeks at a time, if you are chronically late
  • if you have no idea what is inside of that drawer
  • if you are unsure the last time you wore that sweater

However, if your closet doesn’t look like the one your friend just pinned, it’s o.k. Most organized people don’t have homes that look like the ones in the pretty photos.

By the way, here’s where you can find me on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/simplyorgyou/

Would you like some help? Call Simply Organized 404-825-2105 or Heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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How To Work With An Organizer

February 15, 2015

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Most people have never worked with an organizer before.  I’m going to give you a few tips and tools that will not only help you if you ever hire an organizer, but will help you organize yourself as well.

1. SHOP LAST: Almost all of my clients want to go shopping first – before I have even seen their home – they want to know what items to have ready when I show up.  This is a very common assumption.   You can’t know what you will need until after you organize the space.  This is why spending $1000 at the Container Store (or any store) will not magically make you more organized.  75% of all of my clients already have the items we need to get them organized. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you are going to have to make some decisions about your stuff and spend some time and energy to get organized.  Don’t worry, having an organizer makes this process way less painful and will actually save you time and money in the future.

2. ORGANIZERS ARE NOT PSYCHIC: Trust me, I wish we were – it would make life so much easier.  We can sort through your papers, clothing, dishes and other items, sort them into like-itemed groups, make a pile we think you will discard and even get a list of your clothing sizes so we can weed out the high school clothing that may lurk in the back of your closet. We can not however make the assumption or decision to get rid of your stuff without asking you.  I often work without my clients present but always need them at the end of a session or work week to give me the final say so.

3. COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO EXCELLENT RESULTS: I always start my projects with a written goal and the steps necessary to reach that goal along with an estimate of time and money needed to achieve said goal.  We are all human and plans change.  Organizers are usually TYPE A individuals who love plans.  Don’t get me wrong, we accept change and can roll with it as long as our clients communicate with us.  Whether you’ve changed your mind or had a family emergency, just let your organizer know (in advance if possible) so they can ensure your new goals get met just as efficiently and effectively as the original plans.

4. ORGANIZERS ARE PROBLEM SOLVERS: Don’t just tell us about your desire to own a fully functional pantry, let us know what else is going on in your home and life – we may have the solutions. Some organizers are also home stagers, designers and professional packers.  I’ve helped clients find repair crews, painters, pest control, cleaners, floor refinishers, career counselors, a new home for a pet, etc. Organizers have a large network of resources especially if they are members of NAPO (National Association of Profession Organizers) like me.

5. DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE: I know we are all very busy people these days but the earlier you call us, the better we can help you.  I have people contact me the day before they are moving at least three times per year.  I have performed some pretty amazing organizer magic but it caused lots of unnecessary stress to everyone involved. Most people tend to put off the tasks they do not want to do so I understand why I get last minute calls but just bite the bullet and call.  Setting the appointment is the hardest part; the rest of the process is like hiring a personal trainer. We have the organizing skills plus the motivation to get the job done.

Pick up the phone and call today: 404-825-2105 or Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

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Myths about Organizers

January 15, 2015

faqs3Most people have no idea what I do on a daily basis. In fact, many have never heard of a Professional Organizer. Believe it or not, I do not work with hoarders every day and I definitely do not go into homes and throw all of my clients belongings away either.

This is a wonderful article about the myths and facts surrounding our profession:

http://lifehacker.com/what-professional-organizers-really-do-and-how-they-ca-1663496231

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