Today I thought I would talk about super simple organizing tips and tricks that are either minimal cost or completely free!

I have implemented most of these techniques around my own house, so I can testify as to their effectiveness. Most of them utilize basic items we interact with on a daily basis and have never considered as having additional purposes.

Bread Tags

collecting-bread-tags

Unless you are the sort of person who bakes your own bread, most of us have probably found these little plastic tags hiding on our counters or under our fridge. (Possibly in other random places if you have cats who like to play with them, like mine do!)

So aside from keeping our bread bags closed, what else can these be used for?

Keeping track of your cords and cables! How many of us have TV stands and computer desks where there is a tangle of cords lurking behind? I know I do!

You can use bread tags to label your cords. No more confusion about if the plug belongs to the Xbox or the DVD player! Simply label the tag with a permanent marker and slip it on the appropriate cord

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You can also use this for tagging unused cords and cables that are being stored or for marking the length of your various extension cords so that you can always find the length you need.

Shower Curtain Rings, Hooks, and Rods

Did you know these handy little rings can be used outside of the bathroom? Here’s how I have put them to work in my room. (This is not my picture; just one that demonstrates the same technique.)

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Free up valuable drawer or closet space by hanging your camisoles and tank tops using shower curtain rings! I have so many that I used a tiered pants hanger along with the rings. It has the added bonus of the padding on each bar preventing the rings from all sliding to one side.

Following this same inspiration, you can use shower curtain rings or hooks to store and organize tons of things in your closet, such as scarves, jewelry, belts, and bras!

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shower curtain hooks jewelry

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One of my favourite ideas that I am planning to try out soon is to purchase some additional shower rods. Depending on your closet measurements, you may have to go to a home improvement store and have a wooden or metal rod cut to the right size. Just make sure whatever option you choose is able to hold some weight!

You hang the rod above the shelf in your closet and that is where you hang your purses, bags, hats, and other accessories. This technique probably won’t be helpful if you’re lacking in height! On the higher rod, the hooks will work better than closed rings so that you can easily remove the desired item.

shower curtain hooks purses

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Using a second shower rod along with some plastic baskets that are easy to clean in the bathroom can help keep your shower more organized too!

shower storage

Craft rooms can become more streamlined and efficient with the addition of rods, hooks, and rings.

shower curtain rings crafts

shower curtain hooks craft supplies

Even a short rod plus some hooks in the kitchen can help make pots and pans more easily accessible.

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Over-the-Door Pocket Organizers and Storage Baskets

You’ve probably seen these before at the store, showing a simple way of organizing your shoe collection. I had one as a teenager for my tiny bedroom and it was very helpful!

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Later on though, I didn’t really like having this hanging on the back of my bedroom door. Let’s face it, shoes can get stinky, and I didn’t like the smell of shoes and sweaty feet wafting about my bedroom. Luckily, these handy organizers can be used for storing things other than shoes.

My over-the-door pocket organizer now hangs on the back of the door in my kids’ room where it is used to organize their small toys. They have certain toys that they are only allowed to play with under supervision and so these are stored in the top pockets well out of their reach!

A former acquaintance of mine used her organizer to store her socks and underwear since she was in a small bedroom and had limited dresser space.

Hanging on the back of an office or craft room door, they are an ideal way to store additional supplies.

Bathrooms that are lacking in storage space can also utilize an over-the-door pocket organizer or an over-the-door storage basket option to organize extra towels and products.

overdoor storage baskets

There are different styles of over-the-door organizers available so look around and find the one that’s best suited to your needs!

Soda Can Tabs/Chain & S Hook

This is not one I have used because I have hangers that allow me to do this due to their design, but this is such a simple, handy technique I had to include it!

Maximize your closet space by using soda can tabs to hang garments in a cascade effect. This is also great for keeping outfits together.

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You can also use a chain and S hook to create this effect.

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The KonMari Folding Technique

Marie Kondo, author of the bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, suggests that we have been folding our clothes wrong by aiming to make them flat and then stacking them in our drawers. Her method involves folding the clothes so that they can stand vertically! Items are lined up instead of stacked, and the result is an organized drawer with all of the items visible. No more digging for the shirt we want!

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Here is a link to a short write-up that includes two videos that demonstrate the folding technique: http://www.womansday.com/home/organizing-cleaning/a53369/why-you-should-fold-clothes-vertically-konmari-method/

I have adopted this method and I am very satisfied with the results. I have also done something similar with my underwear drawer, though I used some dividers to help the items to stand up.

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By implementing these various techniques, I have brought a greater sense of organization and order to my home. I’m still researching and looking for other possibilities to try out. I especially love ones that involve re-purposing items for a new use!

What do you think? Do you think the tips I suggested here could work for you? Do you know of some other great organization solutions? Let me know in the comments; I would love to hear from you!

Happy organizing!

My Personal Organizing Journey Update

Oh my goodness! I haven’t checked in here for quite awhile! My apologies, dear followers!

Things have been busy, busy, busy. I have still been cleaning and decluttering and organizing around my house and in the storage unit I share with my dad as well. We have boxes and bags and piles of stuff that are ready for our yard sale, which is happening this Saturday! I am so excited to set things out and hopefully make a few dollars. Anything that doesn’t sell will be donated or recycled.

I am hoping to have a good turnout because my little town is doing a community yard sale, so there will be a number of people doing their own yard sales which should mean good foot traffic. There is also a business registry at our resource centre for people with their own businesses as myself, to run a table and advertise their services. Crossing my fingers that I will see some interest in what I have to offer!

I am moving into a mindset that has the “urge to purge”, and I get so excited when I see the recycle bags or donation bags filling up. After so many years of having more stuff than I knew what to do with, it feels so good to minimize my belongings.

Something else my boyfriend and I will be doing in the next few months is refinishing some furniture. I’ve never done projects like this before, and I’m very excited! On the to-do list is my old childhood dresser getting a new paint job before going in my boys’ room and some wooden pallet boxes that were being thrown out at my boyfriend’s work that we are going to turn into planters for our yard!

I don’t have much to go into detail about my sorting and organizing today, because it’s honestly been a bit all over the place. However, I have some ideas for writing some posts with tips and suggestions from some things I’ve been implementing around my own house, so stay tuned!

Happy organizing, everyone!

My Personal Organizing Journey – April 11th & 15th, 2017

April 11th, 2017

I’ve been neglecting to record my progress updates for awhile, but I’m back! Let’s get caught up.

I went through my closets and dressers and removed my seasonal winter clothing such as sweaters, thick leggings, and so on. They have been packed up into the storage containers that hide under the bed, and the spring/summer clothing has made its way out. I actually downsized even more, finding another pile of things to remove.

I went through all of my shoes. I tried on pairs that I haven’t worn for years, and it seems that my feet have changed since my pregnancy because quite a few of them didn’t even fit anymore! Bye bye, shoes!

I started working in the bathroom closet, getting rid of old makeup and other products that I should have thrown out a long time ago. I will need a few small containers or baskets to really finish the job of organizing things like my nail polishes and esthetics supplies, but it’s coming along. I also removed the kids’ training potty. Both of my boys are using the toilet like pros!

I’ve been doing more work in the storage unit. It’s getting pretty full now that my dad has moved most of his stored items over. Then I’ll be helping him to sort through his belongings and get rid of more things.

I’ll be having my yard sale in a few weeks, so I’m hoping to make a few dollars and then donate anything that hasn’t sold. I’m looking forward to seeing the cleared space!

April 15th, 2017

Today while my boys were enjoying watching movies and playing with toys in the living room, I brought down ALL of my crafting supplies to the dining room from their various scattered locations. I worked on sorting things into categories, condensing, removing items that were worn out or didn’t spark my creative interest, and then organizing them into containers. Some of my larger supplies and things that are for future projects (such as when I learn knitting and crocheting from friends) have been put away in a large storage bin that is back in the basement.

The things I use more regularly with my kids such as markers, crayons, paint, and paper are in a smaller container with a handle so I can easily carry it around. Other additional supplies for crafting with my kids are in a larger clear container.

I have two decorative boxes that I keep on a shelf in my living room as part of my “emotional crisis emergency kit”. One of them contains my colouring books and puzzle books (things like sudoku, word searches, crossword puzzles, etc.) and the other has a few small projects that require focus to put together (wooden 3D music boxes my boys received as Christmas presents).

I also had a shallow clear container which fits under my living room love seat that holds my extra cross stitch supplies. I wanted this one easier for me to access, since it tends to be my craft of choice.

The office was one of the rooms that was a total disaster since moving in, as we haven’t fully figured out how everything is going to be set up in there. But now that I have sorted out my craft supplies, I have cleared a handful of half-full boxes out of there and opened up the floor space! The room is closer to being finished and I am feeling fantastic about that!

Once we have gotten rid of some of the large items currently being stored in the basement, such as a queen size box spring that we no longer need, I am hoping to utilize a small area as my crafting corner.

The snow was falling for us this Easter weekend; here’s hoping it melts away fast. I want to start my yard sale!

Cheers, and happy organizing!

Personal Organizing Journey – March 21st-26th

March 21st, 2017

Yesterday I ended up weeding out about ten cookbooks from my collection, as well as a binder full of magazine and written-out recipes that my mom had collected for years. I kept the ones that interested me, and when I have another day where I am feeling low-energy, I am going to work on typing out those recipes on my laptop where I can then print them out and organize my own recipe binder neatly!

Tonight my boyfriend and I went through a giant tangled mess of various cables and cords that were lying jumbled together on the basement floor. Most of them had been in our old house since before I had moved in, and there were a couple where we had no idea what device they had belonged to in the first place. We filled a small cardboard box to overflowing with the cords and cables that are going to the eco centre. All of the ones that are being kept have been coiled and put together with like cords. For now they are back in their box, but I intend to come up with something more put-together in the near future. I personally need labels for some of the cords so that I remember what their purpose is!

March 26th, 2017

The plan for today was for my boyfriend and I to clean the kitchen and then reorganize the cupboards and drawers, because I am not satisfied with how the space is being used. I even started the process yesterday by removing the coffee cups we never use and putting them in a box for our upcoming sale. However, my boyfriend woke up feeling very under the weather, having caught my cold. Unfortunately for him, his body decides to feel like death and try to fight off being sick all in one day as opposed to me going through “stages” of being sick.

I had promised we would help a friend of ours move today, so I told him to rest while I started in the kitchen. I got most of the dishes done and finished washing my grandparents’ wine glasses that I am adding to my collection. I also got part of the cupboard reorganization done!

After returning from moving my friend to her new apartment, he went back to bed and I started working on some other tasks. I went through more of the library books I had checked out for research, and then I kind of jumped from one thing to another.

I rehung my curtains in the living room, hung curtains in the dining room, put away my baking pans and supplies in the kitchen that I had brought up from the basement. I sorted my bottle depot refundables into the bags in our shed and put out the recycling and garbage for pick up tomorrow.

An idea I’ve been toying with for awhile now is to condense my various games (things like Balderdash, Apples to Apples, Taboo, etc.) into one box or container. I mean, each of those game boxes is literally full of cardboard stuffing to hold the different pieces in place. There’s hardly anything in them!

Some people might not like this idea since you are discarding the original packaging, but I am going hardcore with condensing, and I think it will be so much more convenient to be able to grab my one box that has all of my games in it rather than having to cart a pile of awkward boxes around, especially if we go to a friend’s place and are asked to bring our party games.

Plus, I now have more shelf space!

For some of the organizing projects I want to work on in the upcoming days or weeks, I’m really going to need to pick up some more containers or boxes. I want to look for decorative boxes that are pleasing to the eye as I intend to use these containers in the living room for sorting different kinds of items.

When money is tight, it can feel frustrating when certain projects have to be put on hold until some money is available to put towards them, but I am trying to focus on the projects I can work on without needing additional supplies. Perhaps I can use my bottle depot money to buy some of the things I need!

Just keep working on a few tasks every day, every other day, or whatever time you have available. This is a big project, especially if you are working throughout your entire house like I am! It may feel like it’s going too slow, but it’s better to work at it when you have the time and energy to really focus on the task. Trying to force the process when you are tired or feeling overwhelmed may cause problems when you try to make decisions about letting go of items or deciding on how to organize them in a certain space.

We’re moving into spring cleaning season! Happy organizing, everyone!

Personal Organizing Journey – March 13th-20th

March 13th, 2017

Today, since I am lacking energy for a number of reasons, I decided to start clearing out my email inbox. I had over 500 messages sitting around, and I have whittled that down to 250. I sorted emails that need to be kept into different folders, although there are probably more that I can clear out. Good start to it, though!

I actually have quite a few projects involving organization on both my laptop and desktop computer that I would like to get done, but I often push them aside because I feel like if I am not physically organizing and decluttering then I am not actually being productive. Of course, this isn’t true at all! For someone who uses their computer regularly for a number of reasons, it makes sense to spend time making sure files and folders are organized and well-managed.

So I am reminding myself today, and will probably do so many more times, that working on my computer is not a waste of my time!

March 14th, 2017

I’m still struggling to regain my motivation. I’m spending a lot of time lying around on the couch and watching the PVR so I’m trying to make the most of this time by working on cleaning up my computer.

I started deleting pictures I didn’t need or want anymore. I take pictures of books I want to read, so I started adding them to my “To Read” list on my library account and then getting rid of the pictures. I sorted things into the correct folders and deleted duplicates.

It’s still hard to believe that I am productive when I am not physically sorting through items, but I just have to keep telling myself that this is part of getting my space and my life more organized!

March 15th, 2017

Today one of my best friends came over and helped me with a project I’m working on. I had decided to condense more of the family photo albums so that they took up less space on the bookshelf. I set my friend to finish removing the pictures from albums my mom had put together many years ago. These albums had adhesive pages, so it made getting the pictures out a bit challenging. He had to cut some out with an exacto knife.

I worked on the family albums. I pulled out all of the pictures I want to keep, leaving the duplicates or ones that pertained more to my sister and my dad in the albums for them to go through and take what they want. I am planning to arrange my favourite family photos in the new albums, and all of the others are going to be kept in a photo box.

It was nice to go through those old photos and remember things that had been long forgotten, and I’m excited to put the new albums together to enjoy in the years to come.

March 20th, 2017

A bit of catch up for the last few days.

On Saturday, my boyfriend and I worked on reorganizing the items in our storage unit. We took the yard items that had been stored for the moving process back to the house so we had more room in the unit for my dad to start bringing his things over. I also took 12 boxes of my grandparents’ china and wine glasses back to the house to sort through. My boyfriend and I unpacked everything onto the dining room table so that we could see what was there. The plan is to find out if my aunt wants anything from it and if not, I’m going to try and sell the items I don’t want. I’m keeping more than I intended, but I will re-evaluate in a year or so if the items aren’t being used.

Sunday was my two year anniversary with my boyfriend, so I didn’t spend a lot of time organizing. While he was out and arranging the surprises he had planned for me, I worked on washing the mountain of dishes as well as the items that had been unpacked the day before. I’m realizing that I need to massively reorganize my kitchen cupboards, so that will be a project for the near future.

I’m planning to go through my cookbooks again as well and try to downsize. I have a number of books that are quite a bit older and the cooking styles and methods might be too outdated for my taste.

*****

I’m feeling pumped up and motivated to get more done, and luckily my boyfriend is on leave from work for two weeks, so he’s going to be helping me with certain jobs to get our new house looking put-together and beautiful!

So if you’re struggling to start making progress, remember, even taking ten minutes every day to put things in the right place will get you on the right track. On those days when you’re struggling to get up and declutter, follow my example! There are lots of small tasks you can do on low energy days when all you want to do is lie on the couch and watch bad TV. Clean out your email inbox, sort through a box of miscellaneous objects, gather up the pens around the house and test them out to see which ones still work, or bring over a box of unorganized papers along with folders, marker, and recycling bag.

Organizing your home and your life doesn’t mean you have to dedicate long hours of hard labour every day. Some days you will be hauling boxes and bins, and some days you will be sitting at the table sorting through papers. Some days you will challenge yourself to let go of items that held sentimental value for you, and some days you will find a box of things that you can easily toss out. Some days you will dedicate time to digital organizing, like on your phone, computer, or tablet.

So be proud of the progress you make on whatever sort of day you are having. Every little bit helps!

Happy organizing, everyone!

My Personal Organizing Journey

Since working with friends and clients is temporarily on hold, I thought it might be a fun idea to share the organizing I’m implementing in my own home! What better way for me to experiment with different methods and systems than in my space, where I can play and tweak with the various options without eating up anyone’s time but my own?

I recently checked out a number of books from the library to research more techniques and ideas for my business, and I’ve found some great information and suggestions. One of the books I’m reading suggests journaling as part of the process and with that in mind, I have begun my own personal organizing journal, which I will be sharing here!

Here is my first entry:

March 8th, 2017

Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time is really weed out the clothing I’ve been hanging onto for years. I am guilty of keeping clothes from when I was a smaller size with the hopeful intention of getting back to that size.

However, as I made my list of goals last night, I reminded myself that if I allow myself to let go of these clothes now, when I do lose some weight, I can reward myself with new clothes. This is a great reward for me because I absolutely adore shopping!

Besides, the truth is I may never fit back into those clothes that I wore before having children. My body has changed in some ways that means things won’t fit the same way, and that’s not a bad thing. My body is still beautiful, in a more mature way. I’m not a skinny teenager with a small bust and tiny waist anymore, but I am a young woman with lovely curves. It’s fun to think about exploring a new style that better suits my new body!

The other fact is that these clothes are meant to be worn, and by sitting in bins waiting for a time that may never come, they are not fulfilling their purpose. There could be a young woman starting a new job who needs some professional clothing and has very little money, so she visits a thrift store and finds the trousers I have donated. It’s past time for me to let these items go and bring happiness and new opportunity to someone else.

I have made the attempt to let go of clothing multiple times over the past several years, and while I do find pieces to put in the donation bag, it’s only ever a few items at a time. Of course, for someone who does struggle to let go, this is important progress! But this time, I was really fired up and determined to remove unworn and unwanted clothing.

I find that having something going on in the background helps me from getting too overwhelmed with this sorting process. If I get too focused on the idea that I’m trying to get rid of things and yet I’m not finding things that I am willing to part with, I get upset and usually give up on the whole process, throwing everything back where it was. So I decided to bring all of the items being sorted into my living room and worked while whittling down the recordings on my PVR.

I had recently gone through my dresser and closet, so today I was working on the “skinny” clothes and seasonal clothes that are being stored either under my bed, in the office closet, or in a large bin in my basement. I brought them all into the living room and got to work.

I started with the bin of “skinny” clothes, knowing that I was finally in the right mindset to let go of things that I had not been able to wear for many years. One that was a hard decision to follow through with was to put the multiple pairs of work pants in the donation bag. In my head, the part of me that wants to keep everything says I should hang onto them because I am working on losing weight and that I will need a professional work wardrobe for when my business gets going. I was able to argue back that I have not used these clothes for years, and I have no definite time when or if I will be able to wear them again. So in the bag they went!

I was also able to get rid of dresses that didn’t fit properly, jeans that are too tight at the top and too long in the legs, shirts, skirts, and shorts that no longer work for me, and other items as well. I had already started a bag with clothes my boyfriend was getting rid of, along with some household linens we no longer wanted, and today I was able to fill that bag to the top!

I do still have a bin in our storage unit that I need to go through, but it’s maternity clothes, and I have already weeded out the items I didn’t feel comfortable wearing during pregnancy. I don’t know if there will be much left, but with my new determined mindset to downsize, I am certainly planning to go through it again!

I have started working on a list of basic wardrobe essentials that I am currently lacking so that when I do go shopping, I can keep focused on only buying those pieces that I need to build a complete and functional wardrobe.

Once I was finished going through things in the living room, I took my bins back upstairs to put them away. I was still pumped up so I decided to reorganize our bedroom closet as it has been stressing me out for some time now.

Our new house does not have closet rods. It has a shelf with a weird awning-like attachment that the hangers hook into, which limits the types of hangers you can use. Since none of the hangers I used for my boyfriend’s clothes worked, I decided to temporarily utilize my rolling laundry rack in the closet for his things. It worked but also brought its own frustrations, plus hanging laundry to dry in the basement has been a pain.

I was able to rehang and reorganize our clothes in such a way that I no longer need the rolling rack! I’m still looking forward to having proper closet rods installed, as it opens up even more options for me to maximize the space, but since I have no idea when contractors will be coming to do the work, I’m happy about the results I achieved today.

I also reorganized two of my dresser drawers. I used makeshift dividers to help me maximize the amount of shirts I could fold and put away in the drawers, which also helps to reduce the amount I needed to hang in my limited closet space.

I’m feeling really good about what I accomplished today, and it’s nice to cross it off my list. On to the next task!

A Quick Check-In!

Hello, everyone! Yes, I’m still here!

The past few months were pretty hectic, what with the holidays and then my boyfriend and I moved to a bigger house! There’s still quite a bit of work to be done at our new house with getting everything in order, but I haven’t forgotten my page or my passion for this business I am working to build!

I am hoping to get back to working with a few friends of mine and sharing our results here, as well as writing about new tricks I have learned or insights I have gained.

Thanks to those who follow my page and have been so patient. I appreciate it greatly!

Hope to check back in soon! Cheers!

Days One & Two: Sara & Joe

Sara and Joe’s Place

October 19th, 2016
Day One
Start time: 4:30 pm
End time: 9:30 pm
4.5 hours working (half hour dinner break)

So Sara is another friend of mine, and she asked for my help with organizing the basement suite she shares with her roommate Joe.

First impressions walking in: they had a lot of stuff in a small space! There were boxes and bins and bags everywhere, and there was no sense of order. Boxes and bins were not labeled and contained a total mish-mash of items. Sara’s dresser was sitting in the middle of their entry room. There was also quite a bit of garbage and recyclables lying around, especially beverage containers.

The living room set-up, I felt, was not utilizing the space efficiently so that’s something we’ll be looking at in greater detail once we have removed the excess clutter.

Sara and Joe are close friends, so each of them had been storing personal belongings in the room belonging to the other person. Joe’s room especially was pretty bad. You couldn’t even see the floor because of the clothes, books, garbage, and everything else piled in there.

And in Sara’s room, Joe had a lot of boxes and bins of computer parts, and some of the clothes that weren’t fitting in his closet. There was also a black shelving unit storing all kinds of things that are for the household, and really had no business being in her room.

There was a lot to be done!

So Sara and I put together a quick list of what we wanted to work on:

  1. Clean up garbage, recycling, and refundables.

  2. Move all of Sara’s belongings into her room.

  3. Move all of Joe’s belongings into his room.

  4. Move the black shelving unit into shared living space.

  5. Move Sara’s dresser into her room.

We decided to start with Joe’s room since we needed to find Sara’s belongings and have space to put Joe’s belongings away. Armed with boxes, garbage bags and recycle bags, we got to work. I put Sara to work collecting the dirty laundry into hampers while I started filling a box with the refundables to take out to the kitchen. Some of them still had liquid, so I had to be very careful! I did about three trips of filling that box, and we filled a blue bag to take to the bottle depot.

Once the laundry had been cleared, we had a bit more floor space to actually get in the room and start sorting through what was on the floor. Since Joe was not present, anything that was his was put into boxes, as it is my policy to not make decisions for a person who is not there.

We filled several bags with recycling, another with garbage, and moved all of Sara’s items into a pile. I don’t know how long we were in that room, but it felt like we got through it pretty fast! By the time we were done, you could see the floor. I even did a quick sweep to get the dust and small bits of things out. Joe was certainly in for a surprise when he got home from work!

Next we moved into Sara’s bedroom and began clearing items from the shelving unit so that it could be moved out to the living room. We discovered some broken glass as we worked so we had to be very careful.

With the shelf out in the living room and a floor path cleared (and swept), we were able to slide Sara’s dresser into her room!

Out in the living room, we began putting things away on the shelving unit and moved some of the boxes of Joe’s things onto the lower shelves. With a little more floor space, we went through the few boxes of Sara’s things that were out in the living room. Sara is great to work with in that she was very quick to decide what she needed and wanted to keep and what could be tossed or donated. We managed to condense her several boxes all into one bin! High five, Sara!

We also quickly sorted through the bathroom cabinet and removed a fair amount of garbage and recycling. By the end of the night, we took four blue bags and two garbage bags out to the curb. That’s what I call a productive session!

I left them a short to-do list of things to work on in their own time. I asked Sara to clean out her freezer and to organize all of her craft supplies in her room. I asked Joe to start sorting through his boxes of computer parts and to designate a place for all of the tools/home maintenance items. (Sara messaged me later that night with a picture showing the freezer clean out was done. Nice work!)

Progress Update:

  1. Clean up garbage, recycling, and refundables. – Task started!

  2. Move all of Sara’s belongings into her room. –Task started!

  3. Move all of Joe’s belongings into his room. – Task started!

  4. Move the black shelving unit into shared living space. – Task complete!

  5. Move Sara’s dresser into her room. – Task complete!

  6. Clean out freezer. – Task complete!

It was nice to hear from Sara that when Joe got home from work and saw his bedroom, apparently he just sat down on the bed and looked around for 20 minutes in total amazement!

October 24th, 2016
Day Two
Start time:1:30 pm
End time: 3:00 pm
1.5 hours working

This was a spur-of-the-moment session, and unfortunately we had to cut it shorter than originally intended as Sara had to pick up Joe from work. Still, we got a lot done in that short amount of time!

Sara had picked up some furniture that needed to be moved into the intended spaces. So first, we moved her small fish tank to its new stand. Then we moved the old stand into her room to be her night stand. We moved her small bookshelf into the space by her bedroom door. (A perfect fit, what luck!) We also moved the very large desk table in the living room. It had been sitting in the corner but we centered it along the wall so that our final move, a new bookshelf, could go in the corner. Apparently Joe is planning to paint it, so we didn’t put anything on it.

Since the bins and boxes in the entry way had been moved into Joe’s room, Sara was able to set up their shoe rack in a more desirable location, under their coat hooks. This opened up space in the “created hallway” behind their small couch where the shoe rack used to be.

Joe has some very cool decorative items that have not been put into place yet because of the clutter. One of them, an old style heater, has found a new home beside Sara’s fish tank. Some of the other items have been put on top of the shelving unit so that they don’t get damaged while waiting to be hung up.

We didn’t get into much sorting because Sara received the call from Joe saying that he was done work early that day and needed to be picked up. However, she did have a pile of donations ready to go, so I helped her load them into her van.

Progress Update:

  1. Clean up garbage, recycling, and refundables. – Task started on October 19th, and ongoing!

  2. Move all of Sara’s belongings into her room. –Task started on October 19th, and ongoing!

  3. Move all of Joe’s belongings into his room. – Task started on October 19th, and ongoing!

  4. Move the black shelving unit into shared living space.Task completed on October 19th.

  5. Move Sara’s dresser into her room.Task completed on October 19th.

  6. Clean out freezer.Task completed on October 19th.
  7. Move furniture into place. – Task complete!

Things are really starting to come along in their space!

Day Five: Kyle and Kim’s House

Kyle and Kim’s House

October 15th, 2016
Day Five
Start time: 2:30 pm
End time: 5:00 pm
2.5 hours working

We decided to take a break from the tasks on the list and sort through the boxes in the basement! Part of the reason for this is because there were certain items that they were hoping to find and utilize upstairs, things like a mail organizer, or some of Kim’s candle holders.

I have to admit, this is one of my favourite parts about this line of work. There’s something exciting about opening up boxes and bins and not being completely certain of what we’re going to find inside. It’s a bit like a real-life treasure hunt!

Kim and I set ourselves up on the floor with one box for items to be taken upstairs, one for donations, one for items she plans to sell, our recycle bag, and our garbage bag. Kyle carried the boxes over to us and we worked through each one pretty fast.

Kim has a lot of decorative candle holders (she sells Partylite) so there are a lot of items of that nature that will require a good place to be stored and easily accessible. That is definitely going to be an important thing to figure out!

There’s not too much to say about this session, as there’s only so much that can be said about sorting through boxes. It was a highly productive session, that’s for certain. I think we worked through ten boxes! We filled two or three recycle bags and two boxes of donation items along with a bag of clothing. We also had two boxes of items that were brought upstairs to be put away where they were needed.

You can really see how much work we did in the before and after pictures!

Before (August 28th):

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After (October 15th):

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Kim and Kyle were super motivated during today’s session, and I hope that seeing how much they accomplished in such a short amount of time has encouraged them to keep working hard.

Also, Kyle sent me a picture the following day of a significantly emptier laundry area!

Before (August 28th):

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After (October 16th):

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I was so impressed! High fives all around!

Day Three & Four: Kim and Kyle

Kyle & Kim’s House

September 27th, 2016
Day Three
Start time: approx 4 pm
End time: approx 8 pm
Roughly 4 hours working

This ended up being an impromptu, spur-of-the-moment session!

Kim was tired after a long day of work so instead of having her working on anything too intense, I set her on continuing to sort through their piles of paperwork. I had Kyle working on dishes and keeping the laundry running.

I began working on kitchen cupboards and decided to start by going through their food storage containers. How many of us hold on to parts of containers that don’t have matches for months or even years? I know I’ve been guilty of that! So I matched everything that I could, and we were able to throw away quite a few partner-less pieces in the recycle. I felt that the cupboard that they were being stored in wasn’t the best use of that space. (Their bottom cupboards are quite deep and tall.) No one likes to have to dig through a giant stack of containers to get the one they’re looking for, so I moved them to their rotating cupboard. With that set-up, the containers are all stacked by size, and you can easily spin the shelf to get the size you need.

They had a few different cupboards with food items, so my next task was putting all the food items in one area of the kitchen. Kim had concerns with certain food items being in a bottom cupboard, just because there are mice in their area, so we put all things like cereal or pasta in a top cupboard, and things like cooking oils and vinegar on the bottom cupboard.

I cleaned out the “junk drawer”, which I’m pretty sure every home has! It’s not really so much of a junk drawer as it is miscellaneous drawer, with items like rubber bands, random nails and screws, glue, etc..

Once that was done, I moved to the top cupboards. They have a large assortment of water bottles, but all of the lids were currently being stored in a different cupboard in a basket. I had Kyle adjust the shelf height in the cupboard where they keep all of their water bottles, cups, glasses, plates and bowls. With the top shelf raised slightly, they now had the space to put the lids on the matching bottle or thermos cup instead of having to dig through the basket for the right one!

I started tidying the lower cupboard with the baking sheets and glass pans, making space for some of the things that were currently being stored on the metal rack in their dining area. We also found quite a few things for donation or recycling!

We cleared off more than half of the items on that metal rack, so we were hopeful that on the next visit, we’d get it emptied entirely!

Before (August 28):

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After (September 27th):

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By the time I was heading home, Kim had finished sorting through one huge box of papers! Way to go, Kim!

Progress Report:

The First Ten Tasks

  1. Laundry – washing, drying, folding, hanging, and putting away. Also potentially getting rid of any items that no longer fit, get worn, or are damaged and not worth repairing. – Task started! They are still working on keeping up with the laundry.

  2. Organize the kitchen cupboards and the metal rack in dining area. Get rid of any items that do not get used, and store large items that are only used occasionally (such as large stock pots or roasting pans) on a designated shelf in the basement. – Task started!

  3. The dining room table. (Remove all clutter and keep clear to serve its purpose as a table!) – Task started on August 28th. They have not added to the clutter on the table since my last visit!

  4. The six part organizer. (Remove excess clutter and organize contents.)

  5. The DVD shelves and bookshelves. Categorize, alphabetize, and personalize in the case of the bookshelves. – DVD shelves done on August 28th.

  6. Kitchen island and the top of the fridge and cupboards. – Task started on September 4th.

  7. Kyle’s desk area and the filing cabinet. Implement some kind of under-desk storage for Kyle and organize the filing cabinet. – Task started on August 28th. They have not added to the clutter on the desk since my last visit!

  8. Set up the bed frame in the master bedroom. Position the bed exactly where they would like it. – Task complete!

  9. Master bedroom closets. – Task started on September 4th.

  10. Hang up pictures in master bedroom. – Task complete!

October 1st, 2016
Day Four
Start time: approx 1 pm
End time: approx 7 pm
Roughly six hours working.

For Day Four, we had talked about continuing to work on the laundry and to start sorting through boxes in the basement. We got a little off-track but we still got a lot done!

To get the ball rolling, I got Kim started on hanging and folding the laundry, and I had Kyle help me unload and then reload the dishwasher. I knew I would need the counter space available to me if I was going to work on organizing the kitchen cupboards again.

I then spent probably a bit more time than I would have liked tucking a cord behind the DVD shelves so that it would no longer be in plain sight. There was a big tangle of cords under the computer desk that it was mixed in with, so I told Kyle that one of his personal projects would be to tidy them up!

I had their daughter do a bit of dusting and joined Kim in working on the laundry, hanging their daughter’s clothes. When I took them upstairs to put them away, I noticed that there was a bit of disorder happening in her closet, and I took a few moments to straighten it out. I had to re-hang several garments to keep them in order with my hanging system.

I asked their daughter to put all her dirty clothes in the empty basket. She wasn’t really on board with the organizing work that day, so I tried to make it a little more interesting by sending her on an “expedition” that only she could do: crawling under her bed and pulling everything out! When I checked in with her later, she had gotten most of it, but was apparently too tired to finish, so I squeezed myself under there! She didn’t want to be overly involved in helping me go through what we had pulled out, so I did a lot of it myself. When working with kids, you have to know when it’s going to be worth the effort of trying to get them involved or when it’s time to recognize that today they’re just not up to the task. Choose your battles!

I filled one small plastic bag with trash and another with recycling, so I think I made some good progress in tidying her room. One step closer to being able to run the vacuum cleaner through!

Back on the main floor, we finished emptying the metal rack in the dining area and moved it to the basement. They are now able to use that corner for their garbage can!

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We moved down to the basement, and while Kyle put together a wooden shelf unit, Kim and I sorted through another metal rack of various items. I found a lot of expired dried goods, so we filled a garbage bag with that, and Kim found things for donation. We also filled a blue bag with recyclables! We cleared a lot of space on that rack and were then able to add the large items from the rack that had been upstairs.

I continued working on the kitchen cupboards, and organized their pots and pans along with the glass and ceramic cookware. Ideally, we would like to purchase some racks to help make better use of the space in all of their cupboards, but since we have a limited budget right now, we’re making the best of it.

One of my favourite things about organizing is that there are so many ways to go about it! Just because you may not have a lot of extra money to go out and buy racks and shelves and bins and other supplies doesn’t mean you’re unable to improve things. Creativity and an open mind go a long way to finding new solutions to a clutter problem!

Progress Report:

The First Ten Tasks

  1. Laundry – washing, drying, folding, hanging, and putting away. Also potentially getting rid of any items that no longer fit, get worn, or are damaged and not worth repairing. – Task started! They are still working on keeping up with laundry.

  2. Organize the kitchen cupboards and the metal rack in dining area. Get rid of any items that do not get used, and store large items that are only used occasionally (such as large stock pots or roasting pans) on a designated shelf in the basement. – Task started on September 27th! Metal rack was completely emptied and moved to the basement on October 1st.

  3. The dining room table. (Remove all clutter and keep clear to serve its purpose as a table!) – Task started on August 28th. They have not added to the clutter on the table since my last visit!

  4. The six part organizer. (Remove excess clutter and organize contents.)

  5. The DVD shelves and bookshelves. Categorize, alphabetize, and personalize in the case of the bookshelves. – DVD shelves done on August 28th.

  6. Kitchen island and the top of the fridge and cupboards. – Task started on September 4th.

  7. Kyle’s desk area and the filing cabinet. Implement some kind of under-desk storage for Kyle and organize the filing cabinet. – Task started on August 28th. They have not added to the clutter on the desk since my last visit!

  8. Set up the bed frame in the master bedroom. Position the bed exactly where they would like it. – Task complete!

  9. Master bedroom closets. – Task started on September 4th.

  10. Hang up pictures in master bedroom. – Task complete!

We had another very productive day, and I was proud of the work they did. I know they’re starting to feel a little better about their home every time we have a session, and I’m so excited to keep working with them to reach that end goal!