There is no limit to the amount of information that is available on the topic of home and office organizing. I compiled the following list of resources for purchasing organizing supplies. They are also great resources for ideas. I also included some recommended reading on the topic.
Organizing stores generally also have websites so you can order on-line! *** 99 Cent Store Amazon.com Bed, Bath & Beyond Big Lots Clevercontainer.com Crate and Barrel Dollar Store Dollar Tree DotandBo.com Flea Markets Garage Sales Goodwill HGTV Magazine Home Depot Ikea Lowe’s Marshall’s Office Depot Office Max Onekingslane.com Organize-It.com Overstock.com Pier One Pottery Barn Real Simple Magazine Ross Safavieh.com Schooloutfitters.com Scoutbags.com Seejanework.com Serenaandlilly.com ShopYourWay.com Staples Target The Organizing Store Mythirty-one.com Thrift Stores Ultimateoffice.com Walmart Wayfair.com Williams-Sonoma World Market Zulily.com
YouTube There is an endless amount of videos on YouTube.com teaching you anything you want to know. Just search away!
Helpful Books There are many books available on home organizing, whether you want to declutter and organize your entire home, or just want information or ideas on how to organize your garage, your office, your kitchen, etc. Amazon.com is a great source for books on organizing. And you can save money by purchasing used books in good condition or looking for them at your local library.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Marie Kondo
Organizing: Cabinet and Closet Organization: Creative Solutions for Storing Linens, Clothes, Coats and More Angela Agranoff
How to Organize (Just About) Everything Peter Walsh
Organizing from the Inside Out for Teenagers Julie Morgenstern and Jessi Morgenstern-Colón
Organize Your Garage In No Time Barry Izsak
The Home Office Handbook: Rules of Thumb for Organizing Your Time, Information, and Workspace Lorie Marrero
Black hole: “a place where…things…disappear without trace.” How many times have you frustratingly declared "I have nothing to wear!" while peering into your jam-packed closet? We’ve all been there, but no more! It’s time to clear out the chaos and unearth those forgotten treasures! I personally find this to be a really fun home organizing challenge. Just follow my easy-to-use guide! *** In advance, purchase matching hangers – no wire hangers (they ruin shoulders) – and consider cascading hangers for small spaces. Non-slip hangers are great. If you go to www.hsn.com and search for "huggable hangers," you will find excellent Joy Mangano hanger sets at a great price. Also consider purchasing a system for storing your shoes and handbags that works with your space. There are several ways to do so. I suggest you check out www.containerstore.com. (You can always store them under your bed.) There was also a helpful article in Good Housekeeping about "DIY Closet Organizers." http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/organizing/g2171/diy-closet-organizers/. *** Now, let’s take stock of and purge your closet so you will have even more to wear! First, set up 5 locations (using marked boxes and a bag for trash): Maybe/Alter/Donate/Sell/Trash. Keeps will be left on the bed. Next, start removing everything from your closet (clothes, shoes, boots, hats, scarves, handbags – the whole kit and caboodle) and put each item in one of the 6 places after checking for size, rips, stains, style, likeability, and how long it’s been since you’ve worn it.
If it doesn’t fit and never will? Donate.
If it’s nice but needs alterations or mending? Put it in the Alter box IF you really like it and it is worth the expense (or if you can do it yourself). If not? Donate.
If it has rips, tears, or discoloration, Trash.
If it’s in fine shape but you just don’t like it, Donate.
If you aren’t sure, put it in Maybe, but just for NOW.
Vintage, trendy or pricey? Sell. There are numerous on-line companies that specialize in this. There are also thrift shops and consignment shops.
Be prepared: This process will take a while. Don’t rush it. Consider having a friend help you decide what looks good on you. Maybe that person will want some of your “don’ts.” *** So now that you have weeded things out and categorized them:
Pitch the trash.
Put the donations in a bag, tag it, and leave it by the front door to be taken to your car.
Put the items to be altered in a tagged bag, as well, and leave it by the front door to be taken to your car. If you leave them in your closet, they will never make it to the alterations place.
Leave the sell items in a prominent place to be dealt with when the closet is finished.
Now reconsider the “Maybe” items. If you just can’t decide, put a container in your closet for them, label and date it, and calendar it to review again in 6 months. Did you miss them? Now decide.
*** Assess your Keeps. *** Clean the shelves and floor. Put in any organizing items you have purchased. *** Now it’s time to rehang your Keeps in your nicely-cleaned closet on brand new hangers that will protect your clothing! There are a couple of ways to hang them: According to item type = all jeans together, all blouses together, all suits together, all slacks together, etc. OR According to occasion = casual/work/date night/dressy. Once hung, sort according to color (e.g., all the reds together). Doing so will make finding things, as well as re-hanging them, quicker. *** Certain items belong in the dresser: t-shirts, lingerie, socks, gym clothes, sweaters, tank tops, and pajamas. When it comes to sweaters, they keep their shape better if folded. If they must be hung, be sure to use padded hangers. Fold t-shirts and tank tops according to the KonMari method to save space and avoid wrinkles. (There are many Marie Kondo videos on YouTube.) *** You can and should wear an article more than once if it’s still clean and fresh. It’s actually better for the garment, which will last longer and stay white longer. You can freshen jackets, wool skirts, sweaters, etc. by using one of the dryer "dry cleaning" kits. TRICK: Are your clothes wrinkled? Put them in a low heat dryer with a damp cloth for about 5 minutes and the wrinkles will fall out. Then shake, hang, and wear. *** OTHER CATEGORIES: Scarves – There are special hangers for scarves if you wish to hang them. They can be found at The Dollar Store. Or simply fold them neatly and place them in a pretty basket on one of the shelves of your closet. Hats and gloves can also be stored on a shelf. Coats and outer garments should be kept separate and hopefully you have a coat closet. If you have seasonal clothes, you may need to separate the closet according to seasons. Ideally, you can pack and store them elsewhere when not in use. *** Suggestion: Follow the 1-in-1-out rule, meaning if you purchase a new item, an old one needs to go. This will keep you from re-stuffing your closet. Some people like to turn hangers when an item has been worn. At the end of 6 months or a year, take a long hard look at the unturned hangers (untouched items). Time to go? *** Now comes the fun part! Did you find things you forgot you had? It’s like shopping in your own closet! Consider matching different pieces together. Add a piece of jewelry or a scarf and you have a new outfit! Maybe make a few inexpensive purchases to add some style or trendiness. You can get rid of one part of an outfit but keep the rest (e.g., suit jackets). Use your imagination and fashion sense; be creative! *** WANT TO MAKE IT EASIER TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE ON WORK MORNINGS? On Sunday night, put together 5 work outfits. (Check for spots, loose hems, missing buttons, etc.) Hang accompanying jewelry or scarves with each outfit (you can put jewelry in a plastic grocery bag and hang it on the hanger). Put the appropriate shoes/boots underneath. And each morning, VOILA! Just pick one and go! *** When all else fails, perhaps you need a wardrobe consultation and/or closet organization by a professional. Many Professional Organizers offer this service.
It’s everywhere you turn – on the news, in your neighborhoods, in magazines, and especially on Facebook. It’s what I call “Animal Porn,” those ever-increasing pictures, headlines, and articles on animals being tortured. Dogfighting. Sadistic torturers. Festivals in China and Korea. At the hands of unscrupulous farmers. For those like me who love all animals – almost more than people – unspeakable cruelty against animals is just unfathomable and too painful to witness. So I will continue to be a vegetarian, will send donations to do what I can to make it go away, will avert my eyes from TV ads and magazine articles, and will no longer receive Facebook posts from any source providing views of these horrendous acts. I know they exist. I don’t need proof.
I admit it. Bad grammar drives me crazy! So do bad punctuation and spelling errors! I have an uncommon ability to find typos everywhere and finding them is one of my favorite things to do. However, in my own work, I often become too familiar with the text to catch all of my typos. Then I notice them later and am frustrated by how long the typos were there before I noticed them. That’s why it’s always advisable to have new eyes proofread your text.
I use, and highly recommend that every writer download, “Grammarly,” which has more than 250 grammar checks, proofreads and detects plagiarism, and provides users with a list of possible errors for correction. During its text review, Grammarly presents potential errors one at a time, with commonly confused words or faulty sentences highlighted in light red and a text box offering an explanation that provides good and bad examples and suggests corrections. Grammarly also provides citations when it detects plagiarism. Other features of Grammarly include: A grammar checker that can analyze general, business, academic, technical, creative and casual writings and a contextual spell checker that determines the appropriate spelling of a word as it is used in a sentence. It finds misspelled words and also identifies correctly spelled yet incorrectly used words. Best of all, basic Grammarly is free!
What do the following have in common -- your and you’re; me and I; its and it’s; lay and lie; who’s and whose; that and which; then and than; can and may; to and too? They are just a few of the most frequently-misused forms of grammar.
Example Which is correct:
Me and Sam went to the store.
Sam and I went to the store.
The answer is #2. First, the other person is always mentioned first. And if you remove you, the other should be able to stand alone:
I went to the store.
Me went to the store.
Obviously #1 is correct. But English grammar is complicated and generally not this easy, even though I hear it everywhere! Many people find English grammar to be particularly difficult.
FACT: Using grammar improperly may lead people to believe you are uneducated no matter what your degree. This applies in written form and when speaking.
There are far too many grammar rules to launch into here. The point of this article is for you to be aware of grammar errors and how to correct them. For the writer, Grammarly is excellent. For the speaker and writer, there are articles, blog posts, and books galore that may help you. Just search the internet.
Here are a few books that can be purchased from Amazon. I recommend buying used books in good condition. They are much cheaper. Some are available on Kindle. Strunk and White is my favorite.
I hope you will take the importance of proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling seriously. AND IF YOU EVER SEE ME WRITE SOMETHING GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT, PLEASE CORRECT ME!
I wrote this for a DIY client. Perhaps you will find it useful as well:
1. Toss any clothes you haven't worn in a year or longer and/or just don't like. E.g., a sweater that you don't like the color of and never wear (recycle). If it doesn't bring you joy, don't keep it. (Marie Kondo) 2. Keep like with like. All coats together, sweaters together, jeans together, etc. Roll t-shirts and other things in your drawer to make more room and keep wrinkles at bay. I suggest you follow the Marie Kondo way of folding, which is what I use for t-shirts and jeans. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs7Lk6WOM7Y) 3. Ask yourself "where would I look for it?" and store it there so you can easily find it at any time. 4. Keep a basket at the front door for new mail. Go through it immediately, recycle the junk (perhaps have a small trashcan or shredder there). Put files on your desktop for bills to pay, to do and urgent. File other mail away asap. 5. Keep your keys, sunglasses, keycard, etc. in that front door basket as well. That way you won't misplace them. 6. Leave anything that you need to take with you at the front door. I also put large post-its on the front door if there is something special I have to remember in the morning (like making a call before leaving for work). 7. Don't let items get pushed behind others so you forget they exist. 8. Look at the items in your closets. If you have items you must keep but rarely use, set aside a small closet for those (if you have no offsite storage). 9. In kitchen cabinets, purge as much as possible and, again, store like with like, including food. Look at expiration dates! 10. Organize your bathroom items and only keep things in there that you use. Maybe get something to hang on the wall to give you more room. 11. Organize your makeup and other personal items. Use small plastic bins to separate things, such as foundation, mascara, brushes, etc. Same for jewelry. Things ideally can be stored in top dresser drawers. 12. Organizing bins are very helpful in closets (think hats, gloves) and for makeup, jewelry, etc. You can find them at the 99 Cent Store or the Dollar Store. You can also shop at the Container Store, a bit pricey but great storage solutions. 13. The secret to organizing is creating systems. If you follow those systems, things will stay relatively organized. Every once in a while, or when you notice things slipping, put them back in order RIGHT AWAY or you will end up back where you started, or worse. 14. If you make up your bed every morning, it sets the tone of organization for the day. Seriously! Good luck, and I will be back in touch soon.
If you are interested in a DIY project, see my Services page for more information.
Moving can be an anxiety-provoking experience. It makes sense to do as much prep work as possible early on. Waiting until the last minute may not only cost you more money but can increase stress, as well. Here are some tips to make your move smoother.
Prepare a checklist of things to do -- including change of address notifications to the post office, banks, credit cards, lawyers, DMV, IRS, State Franchise Board, utility companies, healthcare companies, online shopping companies, etc.
Ensure that all essential documents are filed and clearly labeled (e.g., financial plan, estate plan, taxes, medical and insurance records, personal information). Shred any documents you no longer need to keep that include account information. There are shredding facilities that can handle this for a fee.
Measure your new home and decide which pieces of furniture will go where. Also consider closet space.
Sort, purge and manage papers, clothing, furniture and other possessions that will not be moved into the new residence -- gift to family or friends, have a moving sale, sell, pack for storage, donate to a charity (remember to get a tax receipt), recycle or discard.
If certain items evoke special meaning but can't be brought along, photograph them and email the pictures to family members to see who would like to be the new owners.
Remember, moving fewer items will cost less in packing boxes and materials as well as moving company costs. It will also leave your new space looking more spacious and inviting.
Estimate how many boxes will be needed and the best place to get them -- used boxes from someone who has just moved, a friend's office or purchase new boxes from a storage facility or packing store; different sizes will be needed. (You can also purchase packing materials there.) Remember, someone has to lift them, including you when stacking and at your final destination, so don't pack them too heavy. The cost of extra boxes outweighs the pain of an injured back. If boxes are bought from a storage facility or packing store, extras can be returned for a refund or additional boxes and supplies can always be purchased. And don't forget plenty of wrapping paper, peanuts, bubble wrap, labels, markers, scissors, a box cutter and tape. You can also purchase special boxes and supplies for packing glassware, dishes, pictures, etc.
Determine who will be available to assist in preparing for the move as well as the move itself. Assistance may also be needed after the move.
Consider the amount of time needed to pack and label all boxes.
Get several estimates and book a moving company. If you have expensive/irreplaceable items, you may want to purchase additional insurance. And if you have a piano, be sure to hire someone who specializes in large, heavy items.
Arrange to turn off/turn on utilities.
Pack boxes as early as possible, starting with items that are rarely used and ending with items you use every day. You will undoubtedly need to seal up and even pack a few boxes the morning of the move.
When labeling boxes, be sure to mark anything that's breakable and "this end up."
There are many systems for labeling/keeping track of boxes. One I like is to number your boxes 1-? (place number on all 4 sides and on the top of each box) and keep a master list of what is in each box and what room it should go to.
At your new home, put a sign on each room so that boxes are delivered to the correct place - OR - designate a staging area from which you will pull boxes as you unpack.
Arrange for someone to check for mail or packages if you can't stop by on a regular basis until mail forwarding has kicked in.
Remember to let neighbors know where they can reach you.
Pack a small suitcase to take with you. It should include vitamins and pills, pajamas, a clean outfit for the morning after the move and any grooming or medical items you will need, and some Wet Wipes for those dirty hands. Be sure to take some TP with you if there is none at the new place.
Leave behind cleaning supplies so you or hired help can return for a final clean up.
Don't forget your food. Perishable items will need to be put in coolers with ice the morning of the move. I always say eat as much of them as possible beforehand.
It's always important to make sure that coffee, beverages and foods are available for the next two mornings.
Get a good night's sleep!
Good morning! Time to work with the movers to ensure a smooth move.
Give a copy of your master list to the movers and anyone who will be helping with the move-in. When you move boxes in, cross off each box once it has made it to its final destination. This list will help you determine if you are missing any boxes once the mover has left.
Put perishables in your new refrigerator.
Unpack and begin to organize your new residence. I always recommend that the bed be made up first so that a tired, weary mover can collapse when ready. (Maybe I should have suggested you bring some wine along.)
Determine where to leave the emptied moving boxes and whether they need to be broken down. Move them out in small batches to get them out of the way. You can advertise free boxes on Craigslist and people will flock to take them away. Or if you think you may move again and have the space, break them down and store them.
If you did #3, you will basically know where to put each piece of furniture, utilizing the space to its best advantage.Have someone make a quick trip to the store for some water, food and necessities.
Relax...have a good meal...get a good night's sleep, and prepare to pick up where you left off in the morning.
Return to your former residence and clean up as necessary, or hire someone to do it for you. Remember you left cleaning supplies behind for this purpose (#19)?
Once you have unpacked and have food in the fridge, think about where to locate or shop for items that may be needed to complete your new home (think window coverage, trash cans). Meet your new neighbors. Enjoy your new home! And please try to keep it organized! <smile> Oh no! What about CHILDREN!PETS! When kids and pets are involved in a move, there are many additional physical and emotional matters to consider. And, of course, moves that are not local have their own set of details to attend to.
Finally, people often need assistance coordinating what can be an overwhelming, and sometimes emotional, experience. This is especially true of seniors. Perhaps they don't have enough family members or friends who can make the commitment to assist them. This is where a Professional Organizer can be of service. We can guide them through the process and help them in many ways. Do YOU need a move consultation? I can help you!
Hi! My name is Karen Wilson, and I am the owner of "I Luv Organizing," based in Los Angeles. I thought you might be interested in a little about who I am, so here goes....
I was an Air Force brat. We lived in Germany twice, in New Mexico once, and in Washington, D.C. for a spell before settling down in Maryland -- all before I was 7. Unfortunately, I was too young to get much of anything out of our stays in Germany, but my younger brother was born there and my older brother learned to speak some German. I did experience something in New Mexico: a sandal full of RED ANTS! I remember this vividly. My mother and father made life-long friends and really missed the comraderie when they returned to the U.S.
Once we settled in, my Dad became a volunteer fireman. It was another opportunity to build close friendships. He loved it. My grandfather and uncle had been firemen, my older brother became a jr. fireman, I became a majorette, and my mother joined The Women's Auxillary. This was such a fun time filled with trips to the beach and marching in fire department parades.
Of course, once in my teens, things changed as they are wont to do. I no longer wanted to "hang" with my parents and instead broke many rules, and spent a lot of time on restriction. High school was more of the same. But there was the Moon Walk!
I was lucky to be born when I was because I was able to experience "the 60's," which were really the early 70's. While I participated in peace marches and dressed like a hippie in my off time, I was definitely someone who liked working. My first job was as a stenographer at The Pentagon, and then I moved to Capitol Hill. I worked for the House of Representatives for a number of years. It was so thrilling and we were always in the thick of things. But salaries were frozen and I had rent to pay, so I took a more lucrative job as a legal secretary. It was there that I met my future husband. We married and moved to California. Such exciting times!
Two years later my son was born and 6 years after that I divorced. I went back to working in the legal field where I excelled. Once people realized how organized I was, there was no limit to the tasks I was given. I ultimately worked my way into the HR Department of a large law firm. I stayed at that firm for 19 years but moved on due to a change in management, and not a pleasant one.
Ultimately, I decided it was time to do something creative so after reflection, I studied, practiced, and became a working Professional Organizer. I am my own boss, can work at home in my pajamas, I arrange my own schedule, and I meet many nice people. My work is very rewarding. But I also have other interests and talents. People call me the grammar police because of my ability to proofread, edit, and write. I edit websites and blogs in addition to other documents. In addition, I love little kids and babysit regularly. I also do some work with the elderly. And I report to two cats.
So that's me in a nutshell. It's hard to cram so many years into a few paragraphs, but I think I included the high points.
My goal is to write about a myriad of topics -- organizing, of course, but other topics as well. I hope you will enjoy my thoughts and always come back to see what's new.
I want to organize my home. Where do I begin? Getting started can be the most difficult obstacle. Many people never get beyond just thinking about it. And those who do start often get discouraged when they realize how large the project actually is and how long it's going to take. One positive step is to hire a Professional Organizer.
What is a Professional Organizer? A Professional Organizer is a trained, skilled specialist who works with people to create order where it is lacking so they can make long-term improvements and keep disorder at bay.
Why should I hire a Professional Organizer? A Professional Organizer sorts, declutters, cleans, organizes and beautifies your environment in order to make it a more enjoyable place to live, leaving you with systems in place to help you maintain that organization.
What are the benefits of getting organized? There are many, including: Once organized, you will find yourself having more free time and less stress. You will know where things are located, saving time and avoiding headaches. You will no longer need to buy items you already have but can't locate (saving money). You will be able to get dressed more quickly and look more pulled together because your closet was purged and organized. Did you know that current research has shown that living in a cluttered, unclean space can cause illness and weight gain?
Do Organizers organize offices and small businesses? Many do. Having your workplace decluttered and organized can save you money and allow you to be more efficient and productive. Filing systems can be set up and papers can be filed.
I have many things that mean a great deal to me. If I get myself organized, do I have to get rid of them? Absolutely not. We all want to surround ourselves with things that bring us joy. You should never be asked to give away anything that means a great deal to you. In the end, the final decision is yours.
Which areas of the home are serviced? Most areas of your home, home office, storage area and garage.
Will an Organizer jump into a sales pitch for organizing products? If affiliated with a business that sells organizing products, it should be kept separate from an organizing job.
Will an Organizer work with me or just coach me? It’s entirely up to you. If you don’t want to touch a thing, you don’t have to – they will do it all. But if you want to help (which is highly recommended), especially with the sorting and decluttering process, the job will get done faster, and, in the end, save you money.
So they don't just give advice and go home? No. They should recognize the emotional impact of the work that needs to be done and listen carefully, then quickly analyze and strategize before starting. Personally, I sit on the floor with you, sorting through stacks, helping you make decisions and offering moral support. I will roll up my sleeves to organize each area and ensure that it has been thoroughly cleaned. I will set up filing systems and help you get your filing current. However, if you feel you would like to do the work yourself but only need some ideas and/or guidance, some Organizers have a DIY service.
What if I only need help for a few hours? Small projects are fine. However, there is generally a 3-4 hour minimum.
What if I am moving? Many Organizers will work to make your transition much smoother. See my blog article on moving.
Will my sessions be confidential? YES! It's all about trust: gaining, building and maintaining it. Confidentiality and discretion are paramount. No one should even know you are a client unless you tell them.
How do you change your approach when working with baby boomers and the elderly? Personally, I love working with baby boomers and the elderly on the downsizing they often face and help make their transition and any move as easy as possible. I make it a point to be extra sensitive when suggesting changes, keeping in mind the daily challenges they already face. Sometimes it's just a little thing, like honoring someone's need to hold onto an item because of the memory associated with it. I treat elderly folks as I would want someone to treat my Dad: with the respect and dignity they deserve.
How much do Organizers charge for their services? Rates differ from organizer to organizer. Many offer discounts for larger projects. Often work will pay for itself in the results, such as improved inventory control to reduce excessive spending, unearthing cash uncashed checks, and eliminating penalties for late payments and missed appointments.
What forms of payment are accepted? Most Organizers accept cash, checks, and credit cards.
What takes place at the Assessment? Your space is evaluated as-is. There is a discussion of problems you have with your space, what works for you and what your goals are. You will receive an estimate of the amount of time it will take to complete the project. You will discuss any products that may be needed (most of which will likely be things you already own). Should you decide to go forward, there will be a few forms to fill out and sign.
When should I start? Right away -- why wait? Seriously, when does later ever really happen? You will always be tired, busy, have something else to do or not have the motivation, money or energy.
How do I get started? Simply contact an Organizer and provide an idea of what you hope to accomplish. Note: It is most important to find a Professional Organizer you "click" with so that the process is pleasant and smooth. *** If you live in the Los Angeles area, please see my Services page for the services I offer and contact me if you would like to chat about your needs. I am here to help you!