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
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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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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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CONTAIN IT!

September 5, 2014
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Would you like your pantry, kid’s toys, bathroom cabinets, closets, garage, home office, and every other space in your house to look neat and organized? CONTAIN IT!

My father always says that the difference between his “junk” and my mom’s “junk” is that hers is in a pretty box so it’s ok. Well in many ways, he is right. The first way it’s ok is that it is contained in a pretty box so it doesn’t look like there is stuff spread all over a desk or counter top. The second thing she’s doing is containing all “like” items so she can easily find what she’s looking for when she needs it.

Containing and labeling the items in each room will help you not only find what you need but make your home cleaner and neater looking.  Unfortunately,  just buying a bunch of containers will not get you organized. You need to go through your items and only contain what you are using.  Anything you haven’t used in a year or anything broken can be donated to a charity or discarded.

Today, I used these really cool containers I found at Target to organize a client’s pantry.

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All the seasoning packets went into a small container, all the bread went into a larger container and so on. When you contain like items, they are easy to find, odd sized items don’t fall off shelves or spill and when the container is getting empty, it’s easier to identify what you need to buy more of.

They make all different sizes, shapes and colored containers. If you need to contain tiny toy pieces like Legos try these:

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Larger toys can go into a storage ottoman like this:

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Electrical cords, office supplies or even accessories would look great in these:

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Hang one of these shoe holders on the back of any door in your home to store vitamins, charger cords, bathroom toiletries, arts and crafts, cleaning supplies, socks and gloves – any small item in any room.

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If you’re trying to contain large items like tools in a garage or holiday decorations, go with a large plastic bin. I prefer clear but they come in lots of colors.

Please call me if you need help containing. Simply Organized 404-825-2105 or Heather@SimplyOrganizedYou.com.

*** All pictured items came from Target.com ***

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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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Organizing is cool!

February 17, 2014
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So far, I have seen Organizing as the main topic in three March magazines. Redbook has a great article on managing your time, Reader’s Digest devoted their “what they won’t tell you” section to Professional Organizers and Oprah’s theme is “De-Clutter Your Life 2014!”  in the March issue of O. I’ll give you my favorite parts of each of the three articles.

redbook

 

In the Redbook article on managing your time, they state an opinion I agree with:  “We’ve convinced ourselves that extreme busyness is a virtue.”  I find this to be so true in our current daily lives.  It’s an American theme that we work too much as mentioned in this fact: “Office culture rewards extreme hours – Americans work longer days and have the least vacation time of any country.”  So what is the solution? The article suggests having no more than seven items on your to-do list (which is all our brains can handle).  Also, prioritize your lists and leave the small stuff (folding laundry) to 5% or less of your time.  I say,  instead of feeling guilty if you are not running crazy 24/7, try to schedule yourself less.  Say no to the extra committee meeting or volunteer job every once in awhile and turn all of your technology off for an hour each evening and half a day on the weekends for family time.

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The “13 Things Professional Organizers Won’t Tell You” in the Reader’s Digest article includes a few of my favorite organizing tips for clients. #8 is do not waste your money on a storage unit. “You could buy all the stuff that’s in there for the price of the annual rental fee – and that doesn’t include the cost of the moving truck.”  #10 is about having a home for all of your belongings.  My advice to my clients is always: if you know where everything goes and spend five minutes a day putting things where they go, you will never have to spend hours trying to find items you’ve misplaced or waste money re-buying things.

Oprah has Peter Walsh giving advice in her March O magazine.  My new favorite quote from Peter Walsh is also about having a home for all of your belongings. He says “everyone has a place in their house for forks. If you found a random fork in the bathroom or under the couch, you’d immediately know it didn’t belong there and would return it to it’s drawer without another thought. Everything in your life should be this easy to put away. If an item occupies no specific location when it’s not in use, it becomes clutter.”

Some more quotes from Peter Walsh: “That ugly sweater your mother gave you is not your mother.” “When you put things into a pile to deal with later, you have lost the battle.”  I hear both of these excuses from my clients every day. They are afraid to part with a gift because it might hurt someone’s feelings but the person who gave you that gift was not intending it to become a burden to you.  The second quote is pure procrastination. Deal with it now so it does not become stress later.  This is especially important when it come to mail.  Deal with it immediately, don’t let it pile on top of a counter or surface it doesn’t belong.

I am thrilled to see organization getting so much attention in mainstream media and print.  Being  organized is now the cool thing to do.  It’s also a great way to make your life less stressful and increase your time so you can spend time doing what you love.

If you would like some help with your time or clutter management, give us a call at 404-825-2105 or e-mail heather@simplyorganizedyou.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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