Category: Commentaries (Page 1 of 6)

The Shady Crevices In Our Home

hidden clutter

There are shadowy places in our home that just lie in wait for us to venture back in. These exist in deserted drawers, within corners of closets, inside ignored cabinets, and of course crouched in the notorious storage areas of the garage.

hidden clutter

The places remain dark in our minds, always trying to remain buried or hidden from our conscious levels of attention. I refer to them as the black holes in our home spaces that carry a warning sign in front, “Stay away!”.

Since it’s often unknown what exists in these dark places, we can only guess it contains stuff we once put there just to deposit it someplace and hopefully never need again.

When we stumble upon these shadowed areas again every now and then, all we might visibly see are boxes holding gawd-knows-what, or a mish-mosh of indistinct items piled among each other, or a hodgepodge of nameless and endless paper.

It’s rare that we remember what lurks in these obscure areas within our home. Time gone by makes it easy for us to forget them and file away in our mind as unimportant, at which time we are able to block out their existence.

As we forget about its presence, they keep getting bigger and bigger until they consume everything.

There have been those times when we’re forced to view what’s inside. This happens when it’s time to move out of the house, but sometimes it’s voluntary, like when we’re organizing or spring cleaning.

As for me, I like to know what lurks in every inch of my home. I want to know what’s there, why it’s there, and if it needs to be there now, at this present time.

That means, my home is free of dark holes and shady areas. And man, does that feel refreshing. It gives my home a sense of harmonious peace, as well as tranquility in my mind.

Confronting the black holes around the house head on might have its challenges. Yet the only potential danger in those areas is forgetting about them. It’s not from being inside these areas. And once you do get inside to deal with it, the black hole will disappear into oblivion.

My challenge for you is to find all the dark, shady black holes in your home. Write down where they exist. Then put on your invisible space suit and venture inside. Then blast that area to extinction!

The Lost World of Paper

This is not a science fiction story. It’s about the digital world of the “cloud”. I’m referring to cloud-based storage (online – on the Internet). At one time that was Sci-fi stuff, but not now.

In this digital age that allows us better online platforms to organize stuff, a lot of us still find it impossible to be paper free.

I’ve noticed over time that, with all the past talk of going paperless, it seems that we’ll never be completely 100% paper free. However we can cut down tremendously on paper by making use of the digital options available to us.

When my printer broke down, I found that I didn’t really need to print everything that I was printing before. Yet I still felt like I needed a printer, so I bought a new one. But now my daughter has that one.

Am I missing my printer? No, I can’t say I am. In the past 6 months, I needed to print one document and copy another. I just sent it to my daughter via email and had her print it or copy it for me.

I also cut my paper files down to a minimum since I no longer keep paper bank or credit card statements or bills. I pay bills online and access my statements whenever I want.

Since the file cabinet often becomes “The Lost World” of documents and paper, that’s a good place to start when trying to lessen your paper load.

I don’t print photos anymore either since these are stored in my iCloud account. Occasionally though I will get my favorite photos printed to put in a frame. This can be done at a lot of places, like Walmart, CVS, Office Depot, places like that.

If you want to organize your photos on a computer hard drive, a friend of mine scanned all her photo albums and individual photos and stored them in folders on the hard drive, She then was able to share the photos with family.

One of my past clients wanted to digitize a majority of his papers in files and bought a great high speed scanner – a Fujitsu Scan Snap IX1500 Scanner. By the time the project was completed, there were only a handful of file folders left in his file cabinet.

Although not in Cloud storage on the Internet, all his documents were available to him digitally and he could search and find anything fast and easy.

You’ll want to do your own research to find the best cloud-based storage options for you, but here’s a few commonly used ones:

  • Dropbox
  • iDrive
  • One Drive
  • Google Drive

I’m still saving up for the high volume, high speed scanner I want so, until then, I’m storing in the Cloud universe by uploading my computer and iPhone files to the Cloud.

If you’re tired of all the papers you have around, invest in a high speed scanner and donate those file cabinets!

The Impractical Goal of Perfection

Cyndi Seidler professional organizer los angeles

Most of us try to do our best and be our best. There’s nothing wrong in that. Pushing ourselves to be better is a good thing. Pushing ourselves to total perfection is pointless, and sometimes counter-productive in our goals. Especially if we keep failing to achieve it.

Let me explain.

We, as humans, like to win. When we set out to accomplish something, we want to achieve it, and that’s a win. If we don’t allow ourselves to get to the finish line in our achievement, we feel like we lost.

To NOT allow ourselves to reach or arrive at the goal we set out to achieve, we feel like we’ve failed. And that often happens when we’re not satisfied with the outcome, or end result of our achievement.

I get that. We want to feel satisfied when we’ve reached a goal. And, when we don’t, we keep adding things to that goal, sometimes things that are impossible to obtain.

So we set ourselves up for failure time and again, over and over, because we’re never satisfied when we achieve a goal.

The thing is, first take a win on getting to the goal line, even if it doesn’t bring the kind of joy that warrants a big celebration and lots of party hats. You’ve accomplished something. That’s good.

Now, if you want to add to that goal to make that achievement even better, make a new goal. And one that is attainable, not impossible.

Keep taking wins whenever you accomplish something.

Remember, not reaching perfection is NOT failure. You only fail when you stop.

This relates to getting organized, which is what made me think of this topic. When you set out to get better organized, take wins along the way. Set small goals at first and, when you achieve them, you’ve prevailed – you’ve won.

Don’t go for perfection in your organizing quest. That will keep you going and going and never arriving, especially if you’ve made impossible goals, like a $2000 closet system when you can only afford $100 or less to get your closet organized.

See what I mean?

Make your goal to organize the closet and get that done. You can always add to that goal by making a new broad-range goal that’s achievable later.

And start taking more wins.

What Food Dinosaurs Lurk In Your Fridge?

I know there are people out there who, when they open their fridge, enter the Jurassic Fridge. The food dinosaurs are often hiding behind other food ready to attack your immune system if you grab them to use in a meal.

There are various species of food dinosaur breeds – The Bread Mold Dinosaur, the 2-week old Meat Dinosaur, the Left-over Soup Dinosaur, the Rotten Fresh Veg Dinosaur, the Spoiled Dairy Dinosaur, the Forgotten Condiment Dinosaur, and so on.

After a trip to the grocery store, we come home with certain foods that need to go in the fridge. When these sit in the cooling chamber for longer than its life-span, they will begin to morph into a dinosaur. It’s a given.

Another problem is not having room in the fridge for all the new groceries we just bought. The space is overly occupied with Leftover Dinosaurs.

The actual life-span of most refrigerated food isn’t as long as we’d like it to be. Some food however can last quite a long time, like certain condiments which can last up to a year. But even those will eventually take on a different life.

I found a great chart for the life span of refrigerated food:

Website: One Good Thing

As you’ll see from this chart, there are not a lot of foods that last over a week.

Check those expiration dates and, for leftovers, I recommend throwing a label on the container with the date. I use Post-it labeling tape.

There isn’t a lot more to say about this. Get rid of those food dinosaurs and keep your fridge happy.

A Humane Killing of The Clutter Beast

Cyndi Seidler showing art table

“It was beauty that killed the beast,” in the famous line from the movie King Kong. And that’s what will kill the clutter beast – beauty.

Increasing aesthetics in a space in place of clutter not only tames the horrid monstrosity of chaos, it calms the senses. It provides an atmosphere of “Ah” (delight and pleasure).

When you’ve just added a nice, beautiful piece of furniture to your room, do you think you’d be less inclined to clutter it up with junk? Usually not, although I’ve been wrong in some cases.

Let’s say you’ve just organized your clothes closet and it’s now in tip-top shape. The idea of tossing clothing on the floor would conflict with the closets newfound beauty, so we usually avoid falling back into the old ways that created a mess in the first place.

This is how organizing a space works well with those who are likely to want to keep it that way. They created beauty and it killed the beast.

If you’re organizing a storage area, that too can have beauty by using stacking bins all lined up neatly in rows. It has its own “beauty” in the way they now look, as opposed to unsightly, collapsed or bent-out-of-shape boxes.

I’ve talked about this before in other articles, and it’s a subject that I tend to elaborate on using different angles of emphasis because of its importance. I particularly liked the “beauty killed the beast” angle!

Go at it, and destroy the beast of clutter!

What To Do With Doodads

Cyndi Seidler organizing drawer

First, I’ll define the word doodad for you, because it’s actually a real word and therefore has a real definition. It is simply referring to an unspecified gadget whose name is either unknown or forgotten.

As a gadget, it is then associated as a small part or thing that has little value and often used as a novelty, like a trinket or gizmo. Some even call these whatchamacallits or thingamajigs, like I do.

It would stand to reason that we all have doodads somewhere, someplace. I can usually find my doodads in a junk drawer or hardware case. Some people find them in their kitchen gadget drawers where they have bought something and don’t remember what it is or used for.

organizing gizmo stuff

Whenever I’ve sorted through belongings with clients, I’ve asked them to make decisions on what to keep and what to let go of. In doing so, they’ll end up picking something up only to find out they don’t even know what it is or what it is used for!

Not knowing what something is or what it is used for means it will never be utilized because you don’t know what it is used for.

Therefore, in knowing what to do with doodads, the first question is, “What is it?” If you actually know what it is, then you’ll know what it’s used for and can then determine whether or not to keep it.

If you don’t know what it is, then you can safely discard it. You won’t miss it, guaranteed.

This is not a subject matter I need to elaborate much on. Every piece of belonging you have should have a use, even if it’s decor because the use of decor is bringing aesthetics to a space.

I think the real problem with doodads is that they wind up squandering space somewhere and usually end up becoming clutter – gadget clutter, that is.

Where do you think your doodads might be located? Challenge yourself to find them. I’m sure they are lurking about here and there in your household too.

Spiff Up Your Clothes Closet

organize clothes closet

Don’t think about installing a closet design system just yet. There are things you can do to improve the functionality of your existing closet by doing only a few things to it.

Best clothes hangers to use in your closet

First of all, no more wire hangers, as Joan Crawford said to her daughter in the movie, Mommy Dearest. And, even though your dry cleaner still use them, they will get tangled together in your closet and your clothing will eventually droop and get out of shape on them, almost guaranteed.

Many people started replacing their wire hangers with the fat plastic hangers. Well, these don’t tangle up among each other, but they sure do take up valuable space in our clothes closet. Also, clothing typically slides off of them.

The invention and widespread use of velvet hangers has been the answer to our hanging clothes wish. Clothes don’t slide off them and they don’t tangle with each other. Best of all, they are thinner and don’t require as much clothes rod space! So I recommend these foremost as a “step one” in spiffing up your closet.

Refined Rooms

Then there’s the space-saving hangers to hang multiple skirts and slacks, and even blouses on one hanger.

Access your clothing accessories easily

We want our clothing accessories to be as convenient to reach as our clothes, and there are quite a few product solutions for these.

You’ll want to browse through the various options for each type of accessory you have and see which accessory holder / organizer best suits your needs. I’ll post some pictures of the ones I found and liked from Pinterest boards below.

Here are types of holder / organizers you’ll want to get to embellish your closet with (based on your accessory needs, of course):

  • Belt hook organizer
  • Tie hook organizer
  • Scarf hanging organizer
  • Purse organizer
  • Folded clothes dividers (for closet shelving)
  • Hat organizer

Shoe racks should accommodate a growing shoe collection

My favorite type of shoe rack is the adjustable metal ones that adjust in width and stackable for added rows. Here’s an expandable and stackable for adding more tiers that I use:

I also have a bench shoe rack typically used in an entryway in another spot of the closet.

There are many types to choose from and you’ll want to see which type works better for you, and which type you like better in the way they look.

Some closets have space for adjustable shelving and this is a great way to store shoes.

Adorn your closet with any of these closet accessory organizers:

Create Your Slice of Happiness at Home

Cyndi Seidler professional organizer los angeles ca

People’s happiness is as great as they can create it,” said philosopher L. Ron Hubbard.

That quote inspired me to elaborate on this because I was looking at how we can make our home our “happy place.” I’ve written about this before, but I don’t think I can really say enough about it.

The thing is, we can sulk in all the bad news we hear or we can turn it off and start doing something that will make us happy. We can frown when things don’t turn out the way we wanted them to, or we can look at what we can do to change it.

I consider that we create our own happiness and that we can do this in many ways. When I’m sad about anything, I force myself to smile about something, anything. That alone brings me up to a state of mind where I can start action toward what’s positive.

By focusing on the positive rather than the negative, I free myself from the hostilities of the world, so to speak. It’s quite therapeutic.

Clutter, sorry to say, is negative energy. Disorganized areas are a muddle of chaos, so that’s negative as well.

If your home is a negative space, it won’t bring you happiness. Instead, it gives you negative energy and it’s more difficult to pull yourself up, especially into action, because the space is pulling you down.

Abe Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” So again, we’re talking about CREATING. We need to bring into existence, to bring into being. That’s the simple definition of create.

Our future is something we put there. We can generate what we want it to be and make it happen by doing what we need to do to bring that into existence.

I didn’t write all the numerous books on this subject matter, but it has a lot of truth in it, which I have first-hand experience with.

So, pull yourself up and out of the negative and replace it with what’s positive instead. And especially, create your home environment to be a place of happiness, in lieu of unfavorable conditions.

In other words, to make yourself happy at home, you need to make your home happy. If you don’t believe me, try it. See what happens.

Having A “Guest Ready” Home Makes Life A Lot Easier

cyndi seidler on staging home

I think a lot of us have experienced these scenarios: The doorbell rings and you find yourself in a scramble to tidy up the house when someone calls and tells you that they’re in the neighborhood and want to stop by. Or, the doorbell rings and you weren’t expecting anyone.

Keeping a home guest ready is a real time-saver and will be a lot less terrifying when those “drop by” or last minute visitors come.

Allow me to explain what a guest ready home is and what it looks like, as well as its gratifications for you.

Essentially, it’s when your home is always welcoming to visitors / guests. It’s tidy, it’s orderly, it’s pleasing to the eye. If it’s clean, even better. That would make it in tip-top shape for sure.

Get into the habit of staying tidy

As for me, I like to pretend a lot. And those of you who have read my other articles may have read the one about Benefits of Pretending To Move When You’re Not.

This one is similar – I like to pretend I’ll be having guests over. So I tidy up and make sure there’s not clutter lurking around, and then I just do my best to maintain it to keep it that way.

I do this on a daily basis, just to keep the routine going of being tidy at all times. Some people do it regularly, like once a week when it’s cleaning day or something. But if it gets messy, it becomes unwelcoming for guests.

And actually, I not only do this daily, I do it immediately after creating a mess instead of waiting until later. That means I clean up after myself (and others if I have to) before leaving the area.

If I eat in the living room while watching television, I remove my dishes after the show is over (and I wash up my dirty dishes). If I read a book in a common area of the house, I put it away when I’m done reading. If I do laundry, I make sure I also have the time to put the clothing away right away. If I’m doing paperwork, I clean off my desk when I’m done before leaving the room … and so forth and so on.

Those are good habits to get into – all of which means to clean up after yourself. And, when you have other members of the household, try to get this policy implemented as a house rule so you don’t end up being the only one cleaning up messes.

Set the stage in your home to be appealing

cyndi seidler on staging home

Beyond being tidy is to stage your home. Staging your home is a real estate term meaning to prepare your home for sale by making it appealing and thereby increase your chance of selling the property more swiftly.

A lot of decorating elements fall into place to stage a home. Often times, the place needs to be re-painted, the furniture is moved around to provide more space, floral arrangements are scattered around to make the place inviting and fresh, things like that.

When you walk into the guest (or spare) bathroom, it’s clear of personal stuff on the counter. Fresh towel linens embellish the room. A tray of decorative soap sits near the faucet. Maybe there’s even some shampoo and conditioner samples to provide a full hotel experience and give guests a special treatment.

In the kitchen, the counters are kept clear of non-essentials. Not storing food (except a bowl of fruit) on counter-tops is vital to having it be clutter-free .And too many small appliances clutter the counter, as well.

As for any other common areas in the house, they are kept clutter-free and pleasing to the eye with decorative touches.

Don’t wait for the holidays or seasonal occasions to get your home prepped

spring organizing

To wrap this up, let me just add that making your house guest ready for when planned guests are coming should be done presently, then kept that way.

As for the normal guest preps of having clean bed linens and blankets, I’m talking about going beyond the guest room savoir-faire and getting the whole house ready straightaway before they arrive.

I’m pretty much there myself except for constantly having to gather up dog toys all around! Good luck!

Love It Or Leave It

love your stuff

We hear this a lot among people saying to another in respect to America, “Love it or leave it”. Well, I’m an American and I approve of that message!

Aside from the usage of that phrase, I want to apply it to the stuff in our home. It’s our home (our “America”) and we should love the stuff we have in it. Or, at least like it well enough to let it stay.

Now, while this doesn’t necessarily refer to every single thing we have in our home. You don’t have to love your hammer, or your can opener or other useful things around your house. Yet, for all our other belongings, it certainly does call upon thoughts on how we value our stuff.

Marie Kondo is an author who became well known for her organizing philosophy of “If it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go,” or some such. Let’s take a look at what joy is …

Joy is that which brings comfort, pride, gratification, delight, satisfaction, happiness, pleasure, enjoyment, and the like. These are all “feel good” words, emotions and sentiments.

Love has the same emotions and sentiments. It does however also associate with characteristics such as appreciation, admiration, and reverence.

Therefore, joy and love work together in bringing the imperfect spaces in our home closer to perfection.

Turn the negative things in your home into positive things

There are probably things around your house that need to be re-evaluated. These fall under categories such as clothes, furniture, home furnishings, art and decor, things like that. They also expand out into other types of things you have, as well, like kitchenware, electronics, linens, as so on.

When you don’t like something you have around, it sends a negative vibe. The solution to this negativity is to get rid of it or do something else about it.

Do you hate your sofa but haven’t been able to replace it yet? Do you hate your old refrigerator yet can’t buy a new one? Do you hate your car but can’t get a new one right now?

Well, you can turn that hate into something more likable. Clean that fridge really well and possibly paint it. Get a cover for your old sofa and toss some pretty throw pillows on it. Clean out your car inside and out and make it more enjoyable. Things like that.

Belongings in the home need routine re-evaluation

A majority of the time I do take my own advice on getting and staying organized. When I glance around a room in my home, I don’t find anything that I hate. There is however a floor in my home office that I don’t like, but am working toward solving that as affordably as I can. And there’s one plant that isn’t doing so well that I used to love, but its lost a lot of leaves and now doesn’t give me much joy. So, I’ll have to make a decision on that soon as well.

What’s around your home that you don’t love? For those things, I propose that you get ready to make a decision about leaving it or making it into something more pleasing.

Then, celebrate what’s left. These will be the things you love that bring you joy.

« Older posts

© 2021 The Organizing Lady

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑