Recipe Organizing – great snow day project

February 17, 2015
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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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Nobody Is Perfect

February 15, 2015
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Clothes

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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Instead of Tangible Gifts….

December 2, 2014
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I spend most of my days de-cluttering people’s homes. Even though it’s the way I earn my living, I feel it’s my ethical duty to offer an alternative to all the extra stuff this holiday season.

For the holidays, instead of exchanging packages and bags filled with picture frames, candles, sweaters (that never fit) or gadgets, ask for and give something more special this year. Give memories, time and love. How do you do that?

Give a gift certificate for something your loved one needs or wants for instance: massage, manicure, maid service, or an organizing session (I’ll send you a gift certificate).

One of my favorite gifts to give is a date night = restaurant and movie gift card plus baby sitting time so your friend or family member can go out together while you stay with their kids.

Make a photo album or recipe book using Shutter Fly or Snapfish. Give the gift of photo scanning from Pixorium in order to save those important photos.

For a special memory, give them concert tickets, a trip to the botanical gardens, zoo, aquarium or a cool play or comedy show – anything y’all can do together they would enjoy.

Or instead of cash, give an Amazon gift card or one to a store like Walmart or Target so they can buy whatever they want.

If you hesitate to give a gift card because it seems too easy or thoughtless, pair it with something small they will use like a Starbucks card wrapped in a coffee mug or their favorite book or CD wrapped with the gift card.

I promise you, your loved one will not only appreciate you getting something they will actually use, they will also appreciate you not adding any clutter to their home.

For more ideas or to purchase an organizing session for your friend or family, call Heather at 404-825-2105 or e-mail Heather@simplyorganizedyou.com.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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Back To School Organization

August 11, 2014
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Back To School Organization

booksThis has to be my favorite time of year. Memories of going back to school still make me giddy. Shopping for school supplies and clothes, a fresh start with new teachers, friends, football and let’s not forget the crisper cooler weather we should expect in the next month or so.  Hopefully, you had a fun summer and the kids enjoyed not having home work.  Now it’s time to get everyone ready for a successful school year.  Getting organized now is the key to less stress later.  Here are a few tips to help get you started:

Clothes:

1. Have your kids try on their clothes from last year to see what still fits and what needs to be donated.

2. Make a list of what you need to buy with sizes and quantities (ex. 2 pairs of size 5 tennis shoes, 3 pairs of size 7 jeans, etc.). This will save you money and time when you take the kids shopping. Make sure to include any clothes they will need for sports and after-school activities.

Supplies:

1. See of you have anything left over from last year like unused paper, pencils, etc.

2. Make a list of everything you need and make sure you include special classes like art, music, P.E., etc.

Meals:

1. Have a grocery list and menu planner on or near your refrigerator (MEAD makes a magnetic one you can get at Target)

2. Make a weekly menu of meals so you can shop and cook ahead

3. I recommend cooking several meals at once on a weeknight or weekend and freezing them so you don’t have to think about it each night when you get home. I’m also a huge fan of the Crockpot.

4. Let your kids help you pack their snacks and lunches the night before. The less you have to do in the morning the better.

Routine:

1. Set up a weekly routine for yourself and your family.

2. Try to keep a set meal time, homework time, bath time, bed time and play time. Even if it doesn’t happen every night, if you try to keep to a schedule, it makes your evenings and your mornings easier.

Calendar:

1. Have a family calendar (monthly or quarterly) displayed somewhere so everyone can see it easily.

2. Color code it for each family member and put everyone’s activities on it each day (try to pick one day per month for the family to sit down and fill out the calendar for the next month). Make sure the bus schedule, school activities, permission deadlines and all after school appointments are on the calendar.

3. If you prefer electronic, use a system that can sync with your spouse or kids and update it regularly.

Drop Zone:

1. Create a space near the entry of your home for your family calendar, keys, hooks for backpacks, charging station for cell phones and ipads (http://www.greatusefulstuff.com/Faux-Leather-Multi-Charging-Station-a/378.htm), baskets for shoes and a mail center.

2. Every night before bed, make sure all homework is in backpacks and all items in drop zone for the next morning.

3. This alleviates all the running around searching for stuff in the hectic morning hours.

 Organizing your kids homework:

1. Every school subject should have a color coded folder.
2. All “to-do” work should be kept on left side of folder and when it’s completed it gets moved to the right side.
3. Once a week, clean out the backpack and make sure all folders are cleaned out. (Sunday evenings are a good time for this)

 Organizing your kids room and toys:

1. Provide a place for everything: a box for school supplies, a shelf for books, a bulletin board for upcoming projects or new artwork, bins or baskets for toys and an under-bed box for old artwork and papers.

2. Each day have them do a 5 minute quick clean to put all toys and other items away.

3. All clothes should be in a hamper (if dirty) or hung in closet/ folded in dresser each day.

4. In the bathroom, they should hang up their wet towels after each shower or bath.

I hope this information helps. If you have any questions, or would like some one-on-one help, please contact Simply Organized at 404-825-2105.

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Packing and Unpacking Your Home

July 1, 2014
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Tis the season to move! I have packed and unpacked more homes this month than I can count (ok – that’s an exaggeration but there have been dozens)

In my opinion, there are few things more stressful than moving.  A few tips on how to pack and unpack will hopefully help make your move easier.  Of course, if you really want to take the easy route, call Simply Organized at 404-825-2105 and let us do all the work for you!

Packing

#1 You have options: I recommend hiring a professional moving company.  They can do just the move for you or the packing too. Get quotes from at least 2-3 companies and ask them if you can “rent” items like wardrobe boxes from them (this will save you money and storage space after you unpack).

#2 I recommend Atlanta Peach Movers 770-447-5121 and McGregor Movers 404-630-9042

#3 Don’t Wait! Contact moving companies as soon as you know you are moving to get quotes and schedule a date. If you are packing yourself or hiring Simply Organized, start ASAP!

When it comes to DIY packing, time and preparation are key. Start as soon as you know you are moving. Do not wait until the last minute – it always takes longer than you think it will!

BOXES:  Either go to the free section on Craigslist for boxes or buy them at Home Depot or Lowes (they usually have the best quality for the lowest price).  You can get packing paper and bubble wrap at Walmart to save some money too.  Get plenty of small and medium boxes and a few large and wardrobe.

Pack all the items you know you won’t need for the next six months first (ex. winter clothes, holiday decorations, etc.).

Label all of your boxes by ROOM and ITEMS IN BOX plus FRAGILE if their are breakables inside. This will help your movers know where to put your boxes in your new home and help you find your stuff easily.

Have the movers put the items you don’t need in the truck first and your bathroom, kitchen and bedroom items in the truck last so they will get unpacked first.

VIP: Take your most important papers and valuable in the car or on the plane with you! This should include: passports, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, wills, medical documents,  etc.  It should also include prescription medication, toiletries and anything else you need daily.

Un-packing

Congratulations! You are in your new home and now it’s time to get settled.

Start with your bedrooms you are sleeping in that night.  Make sure you have a mattress with sheets on it. Put your toiletries in your bathroom and unpack any important kitchen items you have to have (for some this is a coffee pot or kid’s formula).

If you are working all day or don’t have lots of time to unpack, just tackle one box per day. You know what your needs are.  Most people want their clothes, bathroom and kitchen unpacked first. Your books, DVDs, decorations, garage items, etc. can usually wait a few weeks.

Break down the boxes as you go. If your trash company will not take them, list them on Craigslist under the FREE section and put them on your curb, they will be gone in a day.

I wish you years of happiness in your new home.  Please contact us if you need any help with this process 404-825-2105 or heather@simplyorganizedyou.com.

 

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To Sell or Not To Sell

May 31, 2014
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So many of my clients want to sell their unwanted items.  Everything from clothes, china, furniture and collectibles is “very valuable” to the people who spent a lot of their hard-earned money on it or received it from a loved one.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but these days nothing is selling for as much as you would hope.  Instead of discouraging you from trying to sell your belongings, I’m going to give you some advice I’ve received from professional re-sellers and estate sale experts: If it’s not worth more than $50, think twice! It will cost you hours of time in posting, screening buyers and or shipping your items.

Here’s some advice if you want to sell or consign:

If your thinking about consigning clothes, plan on getting $2 per piece of clothing no matter what you paid for it and how good condition it’s in. I spent an entire day this week contacting numerous children’s clothing consignment stores. Many of them weren’t taking any new clothes right now and the ones that were required an appointment and only accepted 20 items per day. I found a lovely place called Once Upon a Child who was very easy to work with and bought over 100 items of clothing from my client. We were able to get on average $2 per item.

If your considering a garage sale, have an estate sale instead or neighborhood-wide sale. With a garage sale, you can’t control the weather on the day of your sale or the buyers who come so you may wind up spending lots of time and not making very much money. However, neighborhood- wide sales and estate sales are advertised to a larger group of people so they bring in more buyers and hopefully more money.

If your time is more valuable than money, consider donating.

If you would like to hire someone to sell or donate your items for you, see my blog:

http://simplyorganizedyou.com/resources-selling-items-donating/

Happy selling and or donating!

Call or e-mail me for questions or help: 404-825-2105 Heather@SimplyOrganizedYou.com

 

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Home Improvement

April 28, 2014
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website housesLove Where You Live – Home Improvement at any stage

Last week I had the privilege of being part of an expert panel on home improvement.  We wanted to give our audience information they could use regardless of whether they were planning on selling soon, downsizing in 5-10 years or making changes so they can enjoy their home indefinitely.  What we have all seen our clients doing is making great improvements to their home in order to sell it, and then wishing they had done so years earlier so they could have enjoyed it themselves.

Our group included Heather Rogers from Simply Organized 404-825-2105, Pattie Jackson from Keller Williams Realty, 404.202.6440,  Tim Piendel from Great House Contracting  678.352.1035 , Brian Kramer from Assure Exteriors (roofing)  678.460.6410 , Diann Averett from Five Star Painting  404.418.4858 , Mike Buechner from Exquisite Outdoor Lighting   770.401.4140 and Daniel Klueter and Stephanie Rodriguez from PNC Bank  770.579.0199.

There was so much useful information given in the seminar. In order to save you a little time, I am going to share the highlights with you.

Pattie from Keller Williams put the seminar together for us and shared some valuable realtor information such as making sure the outside looks nice and using neutral paint colors.

I spoke about getting your home de-cluttered and ready to sell by de-personalizing and making sure all floors and closets are cleaned out so buyers can see the maximum amount of space in your home.

Tim from Great House spoke about getting the most bang for your buck and shared an unknown statistic: insulation will give you a greater return on your investment than new windows. He also gave us great information on how to hire a contractor so you will not get taken advantage of.

Brian from Assure Exteriors focused most of his presentation on metal roofing versus the standard asphalt. I had no idea you could get a metal roof that looks like shingles and lasts twice as long while saving you energy costs.

Diann from Five Star Painting showed us the “front door” secret. Talk about a great investment – by painting or replacing your front door, you get a 73% return on your money.  Painting your kitchen cabinets is also a great way to make a big impact on your home without spending too much money.

When Mike from Exquisite Outdoor Lighting presented, I did not hear a word he said because we were oohing and aaahing over photos of his client’s homes.  I told him my husband is going to be very upset now that I will be spending all of our money on outdoor lighting for our house. It’s not just beautiful but also helps with security.

Daniel and Stephanie from PNC Bank wrapped up our evening by telling us all of the great ways we can finance the home improvement projects we are now so motivated to do.  Interest rates are low now but won’t be forever so act soon.

If you would like anymore information on our seminar or any of the vendors, please contact Simply Organized 404-825-2105 or Heather@SimplyOrganizedYou.com.

 

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Downsizing At Any Age

April 3, 2014
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You may be nowhere near retirement age or ready to move into a smaller home or assisted living yet but that doesn’t mean you can’t start downsizing now! I taught a class on Monday at the ALTA independent living apartments in John’s Creek on downsizing. My group of “students” were all people who had already downsized into an apartment but know one day they may have to live in a smaller space.

The worst experiences I have witnessed with clients are when they are rushed. I’ve been given one week to whittle 55 years worth of prized possessions down to a small enough amount to fit into a 500 square foot room. Or one day to pack up an entire house so it would look decent enough to list it for sale.

Even though my clients were appreciative, they were left feeling like maybe they got rid of something they wanted. Instead of waiting until you “have” to why not take your time so you can do what you “want” to.

Here are my tips to a successful downsizing experience:

1. Where do you want to live? Independent /Assisted Living, with a family member, etc.

2. Hire Real Estate Agent to sell home

3. How much square footage do you have in your future home/ what can you take?

4. De-clutter and Sort
a. Donate

i. Goodwill (will take everything but mattresses – many locations)
ii. Truck to pick up: www.donationtown.org or – Pat’s Place: 770-873-6058

b. Sell

i. Ebay (under 25 lbs.): 855-322-9826
ii. Estate Sale: Charleen Tittle 404-451-2295

c. Trash

i. Shred company: A-1 877-747-3319
ii. Removal: Just Trash IT 770-399-6605

5. Moving Companies

a. Atlanta Peach: 770-447-5121
b. McGregor: 404-630-9042

6. Pack

a. Make sure you take your most precious photos and important items
b. Don’t over crowd your new space
c. Do not rent a storage unit (you will spend the same amount of money in one year of rent as it would cost to replace all of the items in storage)

7. Un-Pack – Getting settled in your new home

a. Creative Use of Space
i. Use your vertical space
1. Bookshelves
2. Hooks
3. vertical wall pockets
ii. Doors
1. Inside closet doors – hanging shoe/ clear pockets
2. Inside cabinet doors – kitchen and bathroom
3. Behind office, bedroom and bathroom doors
iii. Under the bed
1. Bags (and space bags)
2. Boxes

Call me for help with any or all of the above Heather 404-825-2105 heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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Simply Organized

March 20, 2014
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better home jan

 

I saw this Better Homes magazine at the grocery store yesterday and had to buy it. It’s the January edition so I feel there was extra fate involved in it being displayed for sale in March. Obviously, I was drawn to the cover “Simply Organized”. It’s not only the name of my business but it is my mission statement, my daily goal and my motto when working with my clients.

Most people try to over think and complicate everything. I don’t think we do this on purpose, but perhaps we think that’s the only reason it hasn’t gotten done yet – “it will take too long, be too hard, I don’t know where to start, I’m totally over whelmed”, etc. If these words sound familiar to you, here’s my advice: KEEP IT SIMPLE!

You can hire an expert to help you do almost anything these days. If you have the resources, outsource it. I do everything from daily de-cluttering to move management, help with estates, finding you cleaners, painters, junk removal, shredding services and on and on. If you have a problem with your home or business and it’s weighing you down or stressing you out, call me. If I can’t help you, I will find someone who can.

If you are short on cash but have some spare time, look through my blog posts. In the last two years, I have written instructions on how to do everything from cleaning out your garage to doing your taxes. Can’t find the solution on my website, look on the internet and I am sure someone has a solution for you.

The most important thing to do is start. Whether you call me or research your problem, just get started. The sooner you find help, the quicker your stress can be gone and you can go enjoy the beautiful spring we are having!

Problem Solver: 404-825-2105 or Heather@Simplyorganizedyou.com

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