Author: The Organizing Lady (Page 2 of 11)

Why I’m In Love With Lazy Susan Turntables

cyndi seidler lazy susan turntables

To me, there’s something truly special about lazy Susan turntables. Apart from their known practicality, I find them advantageous in so many ways as a suitable method to organize and display various types of things.

The origin of the term lazy Susan is an Americanism term dating back to 1915. According to lore, Thomas Jefferson invented the device, which was known as a “dumbwaiter” for his daughter Susan.

Nonetheless, it’s a round rotating tray so that whatever it holds can be seen and reached easily.

While their common use has been on tables to aid in distributing food and kitchen countertops for spices, they are also handy in pantry cabinets, the refrigerator and other places.

I’ve seen them used for things like cosmetics, nail polish, facial products, bathroom products, cleaning products, medicines, craft supplies, desktop supplies, and so on.

Pinterest has lots of ideas for these and they go beyond what they’re commonly used for. Especially the DIY ones made in 2-3 tiered layers to hold stuff.

It’s easy to make your own, too. You just need a swivel so the tray can revolve. When you want to make tiered layers, that’s where you can get really creative. I’ve made my own tiered lazy susans using candle holders from the dollar store, but there are lots of other things you can use.

I grabbed some photos from Pinterest of several lazy susan ideas and uses (as well as my own) to show you how versatile these are. Here’s what I found:

crate and barrel lazy susan turntable
Crate & Barrel
Etsy lazy susan turntable
lazy susan turntable
Container Store
lazy susan turntable
Container Store
lazy susan turntable
lazy susan turntable
lazy susan turntable
lazy susan turntable
Container Store
lazy susan turntable
Bed, Bath and Beyond
Bed, Bath and Beyond

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.

How Paper Becomes Stuck In The Paperwork Flow

cyndi seidler about paper flow

If you live in a big city, you’ve experienced traffic jams on a highway trying to get from one place to another. And often times cars that were once flowing along an open road will end up coming to a complete halt when a pile up happens in a space only meant for so many vehicles to travel on.

That’s the analogy I want to use with paper. When paper begins to pile up, it will create a traffic jam in your office space. See, paper that is flowing into the space and not flowing out of it becomes stuck. A stuck flow, we can say.

Paperwork that is overflowing is as frustrating as driving on a road that’s stacking up with cars and more cars. When the flow of paper keeps coming in without going somewhere, it creates a pile up and we’re engulfed with what becomes paper clutter.

This paper jam can halt our productivity because, once we’re inundated with paper, it gets to a point of overwhelm. That overwhelm then hampers our ability to function well in the space due to the liability it’s caused toward getting anything done.

The flow of paper

If we were to draw up a flow chart for paper coming into our office area, ideally here’s what it might look like:

  • It enters the office area and lands in its designated “In” basket / box.
  • It gets picked up and looked at.
  • It gets handled (taken care of) by either:
    • Put in filing tray basket to be filed
    • Put in an Action file like “Bills to pay” or active project file
    • Put in a pending tray basket to finish or follow up later
    • Put in a shredder or shredder basket or thrown away
  • It gets dealt with (again) a little later if it’s been placed in an Active, pending or active project file to complete its life cycle (i.e., paid bills, forms filled out completed, correspondence written, etc.)
  • It leaves the Action / active file spots by getting filed, shredded or thrown away.

Where it breaks down in this flow is where it needs to be fixed.

For example, if the Action papers end up all mushed together in a pile on the desktop instead of a designated place to hold them until action can be done with them, that part of the paper flow needs to be fixed.

Likewise, if completed papers sit on the desktop with actionable papers, that part of the paper flow needs to be fixed.

When papers are piling up in the “File” tray, they eventually need to be filed or they will also create a traffic jam in the flow of paper.

The ideal paperflow (above) is how to repair your stuck flow of paper. In essence, think of paper like cars – paper comes in and they have to go somewhere and then eventually leave.

It’s really as simple as that.

The tough part is dealing with getting your flow of paper moving again once it’s piled up. Just put on your thick skin and dive in.

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.

Storage Resting Places Before Final Burial

storage area

Put it in the garage, they say. There’s some room in there, they say. Yeah sure, there’s maybe some space for it, but for how long and how much can the area take as more and more accumulates?

The plan for storage spaces has gone afoul. With storage facilities, we have the high cost of storing the things we can’t fit in your house. With garage storage, it’s all the unwanted items that no longer have a place in our house. With attic storage, it keeps all the stuff that we thought we should hang onto but don’t really need anymore.

All storage spaces are the same when it comes to a place to store a lot of our unused or unwanted things. And all of these places soon become the forgotten land of storage.

With the exception of document archives and some boxed keepsakes, most everything else is just resting in storage before we decide to bury it. That burial would be in terms of throwing out or donating.

I’ve been guilty of this. I want to get something out of the house but am not quite ready to get rid of it so that it’s 100% gone. Then after awhile, when I end up going through stuff in storage, I feel fine about getting rid of it. After all, I haven’t missed it after all the the passed time has gone by.

If I haven’t missed it, I won’t mourn over it when it’s gone, see?

The one thing I’ve noticed about people storing furniture that they’ve inherited from a family member is that they don’t want it in their house, but can’t let it go for sentimental reasons. So it sits in storage, unappreciated, not admired, and forgotten.

What value does that have?

I’ll tell you. The value of inherited furniture sitting in storage has completely lost its value. It has no value to you, and it might be depriving someone else who could value it for themselves if they had it.

I’ve known of people storing miscellaneous stuff in storage facilities for years without ever having looked at it or even know what’s in there. Since the monthly storage costs average $100/month or more, the math on storing those unknown things adds up to $1200/year. And after say, 5 years, you’ve just paid out $6000 to keep items that are probably not even worth a couple hundred.

That’s a lot of money to store unknown, forgotten and self inflicted over-valued stuff!

Storage spaces can be compared to the theme of the movie, Field of Dreams, quoting the famous line, “If you build it, he will come.” Because, similar to storage areas, we can say, “If it’s there, it will be be filled.”

To quote another famous line from the movie Jaws, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” that’s what you’ll need as more and more stuff accumulates.

After reading this, try to take a moment to re-evaluate the value of the things you have in storage. Save yourself more years of clinging onto things that you don’t even know exist anymore.

After giving closure to those items you can start arranging their funeral and finally say your good-byes.

I’m A Dollar Store Junkie

dollar store storage containers

God bless the day the 99 Cents Only stores opened their doors. And yes, following the marvelous success of dollar-priced items, countless other dollar stores sprung up in what seemed like an overnight awakening.

Aside from the killer price on items, it’s been the promised land to professional organizers and others seeking inexpensive organizing solutions and the like. And if it wasn’t classified as an organizing product, it soon became a tool to organize our stuff into.

From this also ascended DIY (do it yourself) videos on using dollar store items and turning them into something uniquely awesome for our storage needs. Heck, even I got into doing those! I made DIY lazy-susan turntables from round cake pans and marbles. I made stacking serving trays for various uses out of plates and candle holders. I had my fun.

Now I see some very creative ideas from people who are, what I consider “Dollar Store Specialists”, making all sorts of cool things from dollar stores for around the house. Quite inspiring.

One can’t have enough of those plastic shoe-box containers either. These are good for, oh so many things. I especially like them as dresser drawer organizers for my undergarments. And I use them in food cabinets as well. The list goes on how I use those!

I group as many like-items together as I can in storage containers from dollar stores. Nothing remains un-grouped in my house!

Don’t get me started on the dollar store specialty stuff because these are a godsend and inspiration to further organize my junk … I mean, stuff. I’ve got those wall hanging framed noteboards, chalkboards, and anything else to goodies on.

I do try not to overdue it. I regulate what I should and shouldn’t buy now. But in the beginning, no holds barred. The thing is, there always seems to be something new and inspiring to do something with!

Now I walk into a dollar store (most regularly, to this day) and discover “a find” for whatever reasons I think it can be used for. It’s not funny. I literally can’t walk into one of these stores and not find a doodad that seems worthwhile (or at least a bargain that can’t be ignored).

Who’s relating with me here? Anyone?

I know, I know, I talk about having less is better. And, in most circumstances this is true. But we’re talking organizing ideas here, so that’s an exception, is it not?

I stand by this so it’s okay, go out and discover your own dollar store organization “finds.”

There’s No Place Like Home

cyndi seidler at home

We cannot fail to remember the line from Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” It’s embedded in our memories because home, to most of us, is where our heart is. It’s where we come to be in our element and feel the comforts of what’s domestically familiar.

To me, it’s that plus a lot more. And, if it doesn’t embellish my life, I know I need to work on it to give me that little slice of heaven I want to come home to.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that, while on the end of their dream vacation, they couldn’t wait to get home. Or, after arriving home from a nice vacation say that they are so happy to get back home. Why do you think that is? What does home have that their dream vacation spot didn’t have?

Well, it has everything else that a vacation spot doesn’t have, that’s why. It has what we’ve endowed it to have to make us feel settled. It’s been cultivated to make our surroundings that to which we’re accustomed to.

Beautiful surroundings outside the home are indeed a pleasurable and gratifying experience, but that enrichment should also be waiting for us at home. If it isn’t, we need to make it so.

The surroundings we create at home should be the atmosphere of our Shangri-la, our Nirvana. It should be adorned to make us feel happy and give us joy.

Anything unfavorable in our place of home can be fixed. We just need to put our heart in it because that’s where we want our hearts to be when we’re away from it.

Most things at home that are negative to our well being is redeemable, or fixable. If it’s unsuited to our personality or opposed to our serenity of being, than home becomes a place we’d rather not be, even with all its familiarity.

The elements of home is something that it gives us a vibe and reflects how we feel. A bad or unseemly space in the home is antagonistic. A good or cheerful space in the home is upbeat and happy. So space resonates our mood.

To feel the delight of coming home, or being at home, is so important to our well-being. That’s why it’s imperative that we take measures to make it engaging and exceptional for us.

My home welcomes me every time I come home. It’s captivated my sense of pleasure and gratification with its charm and alluring ambience. I love coming home. No matter where it happens to be located, it’s always “home.”

If you don’t have that feeling, “There’s no place like home,” then just make it so.

Designing Some Structure In Our Lives

cyndi seidler

I love all the words associated with the word “structure” – like system, method, composition, arrangement, format, order, organization. These are related words that each have their own meaning, yet similar to their concept.

Blueprint is another word relating to structure. In looking at the blueprints of a home, we see its structure, its framework of the building as a whole.

Same thing can be applied with understanding structure for our own life. We incorporate work, family, friends, personal dynamics and activities within the “building” of our life. We assimilate our groups, hobbies, interests, and goals into this building. And we also integrate animals, plants and spiritual importances within the foundation of our building.

To be really good at balancing and harmonizing all those things within our building, we need a good infrastructure. When we fail to have that, the structure begins to collapse in some way or another.

So, like designing a building, we want to know what we want in it, what we want it to look like, what we wish it to be like, and figure out what aspects of it are most important to being the driving force and motivations of our structure.

All right, now we get into the layout or groundwork of your building’s interior – designing how big you want each of the areas to be. Do you want more space for family? Do you want to expand or cut down the space for your career? Do you want a big or small area for personal interests? And so forth.

Once all those sizable components are broken down into things of most importance, then you can fill the areas (or rooms) with the pieces that go into them. Done well, each room should have enough space for what you want in it.

If you haven’t been able to follow me thus far, then let me explain it another way. In your life you have family. If you work all the time, like that of a workaholic, then the structure in your life is off balance and you would need to do something to give space for family and other important matters in your life.

If you neglect space for your friends and you want that space, then you need to make a space for them a bit bigger than it’s been.

If you are not allocating space for personal interests, then you need to build a room for that space so you can do those other things that enhance your life.

For instance, if you like to go hiking or go to the movies then you need to make space for that too. I make sure I go to the movies once a week, and get together with friends every as well (with the exception during the Covid-19 virus quarantine).

If you want to become an artist, then create a space to do that. If you have to adjust your space by lessening another space to fit in a space for something else, then you can renovate your structure for that.

It’s not up to me or anyone else to tell you how much space you need for building the structure of your life. Only you can determine the necessity and importance of those things for it to be the catalyst to change it.

By creating a better structure for your life, you will be able to integrate all the things that elevate it to be more balanced and fulfilling.

You’re the architect of your life. Build it the way you want.

The Plight Over Out of Control Spaces

Cyndi Seidler on quarantine organizing

I won’t be giving a lecture about clutter being a hindrance in our lives because we already know this. What I do want to say about it is that it wrecks havoc in so many other ways besides being a nuisance to us.

When house clutter becomes “normal”, there’s a crummy downside to that. We no longer see it. It’s like it becomes almost invisible to us as we maneuver around it. If I didn’t know better, I’d say we put an invisible cloaking device over it just so it doesn’t bother us.

The downside of having it exist can be anything from depression, anxiety, apathy, to having brutal circumstances happen.

This morning I watched a short video that hit the nail on the head in regards to making a difference in your life and, as a result, to those around you as well. His first advice was to to get up and make your bed every morning. Make it pristine. Then go on to do the next task and the next and so on.

Pretty soon, as you begin to accomplish more and more tasks around the house, you feel better and better about yourself and your environment.

This started off with a man whose home had gotten out of control and all he watched was bad news about the quarantine. He was depressed and getting nothing done. He seemed apathetic.

But then, he made his bed and almost immediately lifted himself out of his funk. He then went into the kitchen and started clearing out all the junk and washed up.

By the end of the day, he looked happier and, after continuing to do daily tasks that improved his life, he became a better man. What a difference he made in his life by just taking control of his areas and himself.

With that, I leave you with this link to the video from GoalCast that is bound to inspire:

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