Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Seasonal Switch

Hello Friends,

I have blogged before on the benefits and how to's of clearing out a clothes closet, here, and here.  

Today with Spring weather finally hitting here in Northwest Wisconsin, I thought I'd run through switching out our clothes closets for the seasons.

Living here in this cold climate means we have a lot of clothes. If you live in an older home like I do, there isn't much closet space.  If you've ever wondered why?   Here is the answer!  If you're not like me, it's not what you think.  Fascinating.

So the end result is there isn't enough space to store all our clothing for all the seasons.  Most people, unless they have beautiful walk-in closets, use plastic totes to store off-season clothing.  Some people store these in different areas of their home, depending on how large the off-season clothing storage closet is and if it all fits in there.  Sometimes clothes end up being stored in different closets.  When it comes time to switch seasons, often clothes are misplaced, lost or forgotten about.  

The struggle is real.

Recently I read this article/video where an organizing expert opens up his apartment and uses it as a classroom to teach organizing skills.  I love this idea, but I wonder would people really pay to come see my apartment?  Leave a comment below.

Until that decision is made, here is a peek into my system for switching out my clothes and a glimpse of how I organize my closet.  I hope it inspires you!

I live in a small 450 square foot 2 bedroom apartment so I have 3 closets.  This is my extra closet.

I store my off-season clothes and summer items, such as beach towels in these fabric bins that are no longer available - sorry!  I love them because I can neatly store 4 on the top shelf of the extra closet.  They fit exactly!  Always measure first.

First, pull the in-season clothes in my case fall/winter out of the bedroom closet and decide if you'll wear it again next season?  Does it still fit?  Is it in good repair?  Does it need laundering? Does your partner enjoy seeing you in it?

Sort into piles.

I keep a donation bag handy behind my bedroom door as it's easy to try something on, decide it needs to go and put it directly in the bag.

Roll up the clothes you decide to keep and store in your bins.  Rolling keeps the wrinkles at bay.

I decided to label my totes this year as sometimes I will steal back a sweater in the summertime.

Then it's on to the shoes!  You know the drill and the rules.  Keep what you love!

My special occasion and off-season shoes fit perfectly in a tote!  Joy.

I added a special touch.  If beauty is important to you, consider taking photos of your shoes and affixing to your shoe boxes.  It looks so high-end and makes me smile whenever I peek in my closet.

Now the big reveal!                                                                           After


So drab and boring before...all those neutral, dark colors for autumn and winter.

Now refreshed for spring and summer, bright, happy colors!

Why yes, my dresser is in my closet!

As you can see, I have WAY too many clothes for this space.  Last year I inherited a huge box of clothing that I am deciding if I will wear or not - the items I kept are slightly crammed as shown.  I plan to winnow this down by at least 1/3 in the next couple of months as I create new outfits and see if the new items are a fit for me and my preferences.

Buy these velvet hangers.  Your slippery, strappy clothing will stay hung.  

The felt boxes in this closet - well most of them anyway - are from Ikea and they are my absolute favorites for storing folded clothing aka Marie Kondo style. 

The newly labeled totes are back on their shelf.

And I'm excited to wear the rainbow.

Happy Spring!

Contact me if you need help with your seasonal switch.
Live too far? Schedule a virtual organizing session with me!
Having an unbiased second opinion can make sorting much easier.

What's one clothing item that you have too many of?

What's your best takeaway from this blog post?

Check out the May Special, makes a great gift for Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

How Do You Know If You're Ready to Get Organized?

Hello Friends,

This week I've been exploring the topic of readiness; as in how do we know when we are ready to get organized?

First, assess your situation.

Use this checklist to understand if you are experiencing any of these common problems that can be solved by getting organized.

___  Perpetually losing things and being unable to find them.  

___  Spending money unnecessarily to repurchase items you already own but have forgotten about.

___  The clutter in the home feels overwhelming and there isn't a clear place to start.

___  Things have piled up in the corners and edges of rooms and hallways.  In some cases, they have overtaken the floor and it is a hazard to navigate.  In fact, you've tripped and maybe even fallen  
        on occasion trying to get at what you need.

___  There is at least one room in your home that is filled with items that are no longer used.  You'd like to use this room for another purpose, but the thought of moving all that stuff out is daunting.

___  When you sit down to rest, instead of feeling peace, your surroundings have you feeling anxious.

___  You can't remember the last time you were able to park in the garage as there is no room for your car.

___  Closets and cupboards are stuffed to the brim with no room for anything more so rarely do you put things away.  Instead, they are sitting out on the flat surfaces of your home on countertops, tables, shelves - wherever they fit.

___  You own lots of clothes but find yourself wearing the same outfits week after week.

___  As you survey your home, there are many bookcases, shelving units, plastic storage with drawers, yet there doesn't seem to be enough room for everything.

___ When you clean your home, there is a lot of dust.  Perhaps you can't remember the last time you really cleaned as there are too many items in the way.  This includes underneath your bed and the floor in your closets.

___  You have pets and have either discovered or have suspicions that there have been accidents in rooms and closets but you haven't been diligent about cleaning up after them.  People have commented that your home smells (or you are afraid they will notice.)

___ There is no clear system for dealing with expired food both in the refrigerator and in the pantry.   Maybe you've even experienced illness from food poisoning.

___ Your bedroom isn't how you would like it to be and lately, you've been experiencing sleep issues.  

___ Entertaining used to be your thing, as you enjoy having friends and family over, but you haven't as you're embarrassed by the state of your home.  More likely is that you have people over, but you are fearful they will open a door and see your clutter.

Well, how did you do on the checklist?  

If you checked even just one, your HOME is ready to be organized, even if you're not.  

So how do YOU get ready?

It's no secret that people either operate from a place of fear or desire.

By fear I mean we are motivated by the feeling of being afraid that something bad will happen in the future if we don't take action now to change things. This fear can be paralyzing and keep us from moving forward.  Fear can be overwhelming!

However, change can happen when we listen to the little voice inside that us that knows we can do better and have better for ourselves.  We want something more.  Desire is that little thrill of hope that we feel inside at the thought of making an exciting improvement to our situation.  This hope is the catalyst for us to stop listening to the fear and move forward following our desire.

We are ready to get organized when we recognize and acknowledge the fear but move forward anyway.

We say, "Hello Fear, welcome back my old companion.  I am listening to you, but I'm not sure that what you are telling me is actually true.  Let's find out by experimenting a little.  I'm going to take a step forward in decluttering my house and see what happens next."

That step could be:

 __Clearing off a flat surface be it a countertop, table, or shelf.

__Emptying out one box and sorting through the contents.

__Taking out everything from under the bed and resolving to find a different place to store it (or throwing it/donating it/selling it).

__Throwing out all the expired food in the pantry &/or refrigerator.

__Sorting out the pile of photos into decades.

__Grabbing a garbage bag and throwing out 9 items - Go!

When you're done with this first step, check back in with yourself.  How did it go?  How do you feel?  Do you feel ready to do more or do you need to stop?  Did fear or desire win out?

Remember, your home is ready to be organized and cared for.  Are YOU ready?

What fear is holding you back?

What is one small step you can take today?

Do you need assistance?  

Contact me for a no-obligation phone chat.  
Send a text to:  (715) 410-9532

Monday, April 2, 2018

Is Your House A Home?

Hello Friends,

When you think of your home, what comes to mind?  

I love this particular definition, "a place where something flourishes."

Unfortunately, in most of the homes I work in, the disorganization has flourished and not much else.

From my experience, there are 3 types of homes. 

The Store  

Your home contains more than adequate storage such as built-in shelves and cabinets, but every nook and cranny is filled with rows upon rows of brand new items that are stockpiled as to never run out. Typically there are cases of paper towel, toilet paper, kleenex, bottled water, multiples of commonly found kitchen tools, duplicates of small appliances but can be racks of clothing with the tags still on, multiple dish sets, even a gift closet gone awry and the list goes on.  Some items are kept in multiple places and some are located behind others.  It's hard to find what is needed so it becomes easier to just buy more and more.  Facing what's behind all this shopping and warehousing may be so painful, that it's easier to just close the doors and continue to be the shopkeeper.

The Storage Facility

This home has spare rooms, a basement and/or garage packed to the brim with everything imaginable.  All items were removed from other parts of the home and placed here to decide on later.  Out of sight, out of mind is the thought.  Some items are broken and some boxes just contain pieces or parts to once useable things. Items could be organized and stored in plastic totes or cardboard boxes but the trouble is, there are random items mixed in and since it is difficult to find a path to walk into the room to find what we need, we just don't.  Everything is usually dusty, there is sometimes evidence of insects, mice and sometimes mold, mildew, pet damage and even water damage that has gone unnoticed.  It feels like a burden to live with all this clutter, but it's easy to distract yourself and forget it's there....that is until company arrives.

The Museum

This home has become an archive for collections. Some belong to you, some to relatives and there may be some that pay homage to a friend's gifts to you or to someone dear who has passed away.  These items are displayed on every available shelf and surface space. They require frequent dusting but some are located on the tops of cabinets and cannot be reached with ease.  These collections may also include memorabilia and photos stored in bins and totes, shoe boxes and envelopes and hidden away in closets, tucked under beds, and located inside drawers.  This is your family history and whether you like it or not, the amount of collected stuff is too great to actually decide to do something about it.  Whether it's guilt about the money spent or the panicked feeling that you are dishonoring a memory if you were to get it out of the house, it feels like you will always be the caretaker of the museum.

Which home resonated with yours?

Isn't it time to do something about it once and for all?

What would you like your home to be like/feel like?