Author: The Organizing Lady (Page 1 of 11)

The Fast Track To An Organized Home

storage drawers

Since there seems to be a fast track to a lot of activities, I wanted to devise a fast track to getting your home organized using the same principles.

Fast tracking is primarily a way to shorten your project time as quickly as possible. It involves an established technique to cut down the time it would normally take on a project.

With any project, there are steps. To fast track those steps a method would need to be formulated to streamline the activity and establish a less comprehensive sequence for the scope of a project, yet still get the same result.

That said, we need to first know and understand what it takes to organize an area of your home, since that is the project we’re talking about here.

Organizing is a process. It has steps to getting organized. The key elements of those steps involve:

  • Collecting up all the clutter and things that don’t belong in the space
  • Sorting through stuff
  • Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of
  • Establishing a place for everything
  • Obtaining organizing solutions (products) that improve the space – optional, as needed
  • Putting everything in its place

Pretty simple, right? It is, except when a person gets bogged down on a step, like establishing a place for everything. That’s when it can get a bit tricky and take longer to finish the project if we don’t know where to put something.

sorting clutter

In making sure stuff has a place, sometimes we need to buy something to keep stuff in – like storage containers and the like. And sometimes we just need to create a place from spaces we already have, or organizing products we have around but not utilized yet.

So, to fast track this step, let’s add a step before the step of “putting everything in its place.” Let’s add this:

  • For items that you’re unable to find a place for, put it in a bin until you have a place to put it permanently.

Although that’s an extra step to the organizing process, it provides a faster track to organizing your space as a whole. It also buys you time to go out and find and get an organizing solution for those items – giving these a permanent “home”.

Some things already have a place but need better organizing solutions to make it a better space. A kitchen, for example, might be better off if the cabinets had space-saving stacking shelves for dishes, or bins to hold packaged like-items, things like that.

In this case, after the sorting of what you want to keep, put everything back and get what you need to make the space better later.

Same with a clothes closet – after sorting through the clothes and accessories and removing what you are getting rid of, you can get organizing products afterward to improve the functionality of your closet. Before you do, however, tidy up the closet by grouping like clothing together (shirts, blouses, slacks, etc.).

So, the fast track would be like this:

  • Collecting up all the clutter and things that don’t belong in the space
  • Sorting through stuff
  • Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of
  • Establishing a place for everything. For items that you’re unable to find a place for, put it in a bin until you have a place to put it permanently.
  • Putting everything in its place
  • Obtaining organizing products that improve the space – optional, as needed

Those added steps allows you to fast track your way to an organized space. It removes the obstacles that stop us along the way to finishing the project. Hence, a fast track to organization.

I didn’t want to complicate this process and, instead give you an outline and progression of getting organized. It is a process – a sequence of steps – that will get you from Point A to Point B.

Try not to get overwhelmed during this process. Take one step at a time if you have to, and ultimately you’ll end up better organized!

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!

Using Taste and Functionality For Home Organization

Storage bench

Whether you’re doing a room makeover or home renovation, take into account for both style and functionality in your plans. Kitchen remodeling is especially one of those times to incorporate these elements into the design of your kitchen plans.

I’ve seen kitchens with lots of flair but had missed out on several components that would have given more advantages to organizing kitchenware and foods. Therefore it’s important to consider organization and storage while designing your areas.

In the photo gallery at end of this post are some storage ideas to browse through. Looking through Pinterest will give you lots more built-in storage ideas.

For a kitchen, there are built-in pull-out sliding drawers for deep cabinets, special racks to organize pots and pan lids, divider slots for cutting boards and bake-ware, and other cool organizing solutions inside those kitchen cabinets.

In a living room, den or family room, get some furniture that serves both style and storage. Ottomans with storage and accent or end tables with storage will stash those things that might end up collecting on furniture surfaces.

The bedroom is a place that requires plenty of ample storage for clothing and accessories, so this is definitely an area that needs good storage solutions. And a good closet system is key to organizing these.

Aside from generous space for clothing rods to hang clothing, an ideal closet would include enough space or shelving for shoes, a place for belts, ties, scarves, hats, purses to hang, If drawers can also be incorporated into the design of the closet, that’s great for folded clothes, undergarments, and certain accessories.

The home office, bathroom and any other areas of the house that are being remodeled also need to account for built-in or stand-alone storage functionality.

storage bench

With all this in mind, here is a collection of ideas that might help you in what to consider in your makeover plans,

Home Style and Storage ideas

Organize On A Dime

Cyndi Seidler at Dollar Store
Cyndi Seidler at a dollar store (wearing mask during Covid-19)

The HGTV show “Design On A Dime” is still running new episodes (since early 2000) and it’s no wonder why it’s such a popular program – it affordably transforms a room with a $2500 budget.

I want to take the concept of that show and shift it to organizing. The “organize on a dime” proposition is easily done using the same fundamentals and smart shopping, just like the decorating show does.

The main difference with organizing vs. decorating is that we don’t need the budget that decorating requires. We only need some basic organizing “tools” (products) that will help us store stuff more effectively.

Now, in taking the concept of “organize on a dime” I’m actually going to get a bit more realistic and call it “Organize On A Dollar.” That’s because we can get a real bang for our buck at a dollar store. And yes, I’m A Dollar Store Junkie!

Cyndi Seidler at dollar store

You can can also get really creative with some DIY (do-it-yourself) projects by repurposing items – see gallery below.

Essentially, organizing solutions don’t have to be boring. By taking some basic storage unit and devising a composition of it to blend with your home decor makes it look a lot nicer.

If the storage unit you’re using is inside a cabinet or closet, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, as long as it’s functional and serves its purpose. However the storage you want that’s visible in a room should mingle with the other things in the room.

Cyndi Seidler at dollar store

So, without much ado, let’s browse through some ideas …

Repurposed & Dollar Store Organizing Solutions Gallery

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:

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