Let it go! Let it go!

 Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

 

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Spring cleaning your house can be rewarding but challenging. For some, deciding what to toss, what to keep, and what to donate can seem daunting. This stops some people in their tracks, causing them to give up their organizing project completely. After pulling all items out of the area that you are organizing and sorting them by kind (legos with the legos, cars with the cars, etc.), now is the time to make some decisions.

Although there is no one strategy that will work for all people, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide when it is okay to let it go!

Consider these questions and decide which one(s) resonate with you. Ask yourself only the question or two that will move you into action:

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Have I used this item in the past year?

If no, and it is not an heirloom, you should toss or donate it.

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Organizing Mistakes – What not to do when conquering your clutter!

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

Sometimes we have good intentions – let’s get rid of some clutter this weekend! But then Sunday night rolls around and all you have are new piles of stuff and a few things thrown away. Here are some mistakes that people make when trying to declutter their homes (and how to avoid them).

Zig-zag – The biggest mistake that people make when organizing is what is called zig-zagging.  You are planning on an organizing session in the kitchen, you find a book there, you go into the office to put it away, you find a toy there so you go to the playroom to put that away, then you start putting away toys and you never make it back to the kitchen.  When organizing, keep an “upstairs” bag and an “office” bag, for example, near the door and put those items away after you are done in the kitchen.

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Getting Distracted – Another common mistake is not making a commitment to focus on the organization without distractions – no kids, no phone calls, no emails, for a set amount of time. Set a timer if needed and keep working until the timer goes off!

 

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Continue reading “Organizing Mistakes – What not to do when conquering your clutter!”

Habits From College That Can Help You Stay Organized Today!

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 Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

College dorm rooms are typically small with multiple occupants sharing one space. Although you may not want to return to those living conditions any time soon, some habits that you had back then could help you stay clutter-free today. Here are five ideas to keep in mind:

1.  Shower caddies – If bathroom space is limited, give each family member a portable shower caddy for carrying toiletries to and from their bedroom. They are light and inexpensive!

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Children’s Artwork: What to Keep and Where to Keep It

 

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

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We all love our kids’ artwork. The tiny handprints, the sun with the face, the macaroni skeleton. But saving it all is impractical. As a professional organizer, I am constantly being asked: With all these piles of masterpieces, how do we decide what to keep and how do we store it?

Here are some ideas to help you and your child proudly display, sort, and store those works of art.

Display It

Designate one high-traffic area where you can display the newest, favorite works immediately. A clothesline can be strung high on a wall with clothespins to hold the art or clips can hang from the ceiling.

thermostat camoflauge with IKEA RIBBA shelf   kids art hanging from ceiling

Photos above courtesy of  www.DIYDelRay.com

A hinged frame from hearthsong.com is great. Newer works are placed in front; up to 50 older works are stored behind it. This allows for easy display and storage.

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Getting the Kids to Help you Organize

      

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

Put your kids to work doing some tasks that are a big help to Mom and Dad, but that they enjoy too.

Organizing plastic containers. Sort the plastic containers: bottoms in one pile, tops in another pile.  Then, match up each bottom container with the appropriate top.

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Any top without a bottom, or bottom without a top can be recycled. (Where did those missing pieces go?) Also, consider donating or recycling any excess if you find that you have too many of one size. If you end up with one extra larger-sized bottom, it could be used to hold the tops. Stack smaller containers inside larger ones.

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Replace the containers to your kitchen cabinet.

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Furniture as Storage – Double Duty Pieces

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

For those of us making the best of small-space living, furniture that doubles as storage can be a godsend. You don’t need custom-built or pricey pieces. Finding furniture that increases your home’s storage capacity without gobbling up tons of square footage can be fun! Here are some creative examples of furniture that doubles as storage.

I found this old pie safe on the curb nearly twenty years ago. It was yellow and had glass panes with ducks painted on them. I painted it blue and removed the glass, replacing it with chicken coop wire. It now stores the kids’ arts and crafts supplies, my cookbooks, trivets, etc. I use this piece so much that when I renovated my kitchen, I left a space for it.

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This next piece is a refinished trunk. It was a wedding gift from my uncle and aunt (he re-finished the outside, while she fixed up the inside). The possibilities here are endless. I use it as a coffee table and I store lesser-used board games here. But, you could use it to store extra linens, out-of-season clothes, or wrapping paper.

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Conquering Closet Clutter Once and For All

Conquering Closet Clutter Once and For All

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

We all have that all-purpose closet that has become our dumping ground for everything from high school yearbooks to grandma’s tea set.  We know those holiday decorations are in there somewhere, but there is too much clutter on top of them to get at them easily.  (Or, very often, we can’t even remember what is in there!)

Although it may seem daunting, cleaning out a closet will save you time formerly spent looking for lost items and give you the sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering your clutter.  So, now that you know you are going to tackle the closet, put aside a couple of hours, make a plan, and stick to it.  Use the following steps to get that closet in shape.

Sort and Purge

First, pull everything out of the closet.

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Separate and arrange contents by category and type. For example, balls, gloves, bats and bases.

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baseball gloves

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Top Five Kitchen Organizing Products

Top Five Kitchen Organizing Products

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

We all spend a lot of time in our kitchens – preparing meals, packing lunches, baking for bake sales. So, having an organized kitchen can truly improve your daily life. Getting organized takes a little work up front. But, with a little know-how and the right products, you can have that organized kitchen you’ve always wanted. Here are my top five favorite kitchen organizing products to help you tidy up your kitchen.

1. Clear Drawer Organizers

Messy kitchen drawers can only lead to frustration and time lost looking for that favorite wooden spoon. To solve this, first, remove everything from the drawer. Only keep the items that you use often. Then, measure the entire drawer: depth, width, and height before shopping for products. (If a drawer organizer is too tall, you won’t be able to close the drawer – been there, done that.)

Purchase clear drawer organizers that will fit the items that you are keeping and your drawer. The photos below show a drawer before and after tidying up. It took about 10 minutes of sorting, 10 -15 minutes of shopping, and about $25 in product cost.

drawerbefore    drawerafter

Insider’s Tip: If you are a highly visual person, cut out a piece of newspaper to match the size of your drawer. Bring this, along with the height of the drawer, with you when shopping. Place the newspaper on the floor of the store and arrange drawer organizers on top of it to help you visualize what the drawer will look like.

 

Divided drawer organizers aren’t just for pull-out drawers. One Mom uses two of them side by side in her pantry to hold granola bars. She stores full boxes of the bars behind them. The kids can easily help themselves and she can tell at a glance if she is running low on any of their favorite snacks.

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Insider’s Tip: If you are looking for tall drawer organizers, check the bathroom section of the store. Often, taller organizers that are designed for hairbrushes are displayed there.
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Cleaning Out Clutter: Where Can It Go Besides the Curb?

Laine Hardman can be reached at TidyUp.Laine@gmail.com, 703-401-4829 or http://www.TidyUpNow.com.

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions I receive from clients about how to clear out our houses without filling up our landfills.

What can I do with all these books, DVDs, and CDs?

Schools often have used book sales to benefit their PTA and would be happy to take used books off your hands. If you’re in Alexandria, you can donate books for the George Mason Elementary school’s book fair through Sarah Goldstein. Mount Vernon Community School just launched their Alexandria Book Shelf in the front lobby which enables kids to take as many free books as they want. You can contact the PTA for information about how to donate your used books.

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Books, CDs, and DVDs can also be donated to your local library to be placed in circulation or, more often, to be sold at book sales. If you’re in Alexandria, contact your branch’s Friends of the Library. It is helpful to the library if you call ahead of time with information on the materials, the amount of the materials, and the estimated time of the drop off.

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Continue reading “Cleaning Out Clutter: Where Can It Go Besides the Curb?”