All Posts by Noreen Music

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About the Author

Owner of Organize My Space Calgary. A Trained Professional Organizer passionate about helping you become free from clutter and disorganization both at work and at home.

Getting Unstuck When Organizing
Jul 21

Getting Unstuck When Organizing

By Noreen Music | Organizing Tips

Getting Unstuck When Organizing

If you are stuck on whether to keep or get rid of an item, ask yourself these 7 questions.

HINT – if you say “No” to one, some or all of these questions, considering getting rid of it!

Remember….the more of these decisions you make, the easier it gets.

Getting Unstuck Question One

Have I used this in the last year?

Getting Unstuck Question Two

Will I use it in the next year?

Getting Unstuck Question Three

Would I buy this item again today?

Getting Unstuck Question Four

If it’s broken is it worth fixing or will I spare the time & money to fix it?

Getting Unstuck Question Five

Is it easily replaced or borrowed if I need it again?

Getting Unstuck Question Six

Would I keep it if I moved?

Getting Unstuck Question Seven

Do I have a duplicate of this item in better shape?

Still Stuck?

If you are still agonizing over an item, put it in a box with a sticky note with an expiration date on it for a few months from now. 

If you don’t reach for the item in that time frame, remove it from your home. 

Do You Need More Help?

Do you need more help from a professional organizer to help you get unstuck when organizing?

Contact me by using the comment box below and we can book your free, no-obligation 30-minute call.

I will help you get unstuck with your organizing project and let go of what no longer fits in your life.

More Resources For You!

Sometimes all you need is a solid plan to get unstuck when you're organizing! Here is our blog post Don't Expect Progress Without an Organizing Plan.

Two of our most popular posts are 7 Tips to Conquer Your Clutter and Being An Organized Person.

Download your FREE resource guide Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season and I will walk you through step by step on how to organize every area in your home.

Remember, I am always here to help you find your freedom to live your best life!

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

Why is change so hard?
Jul 21

Why Is Change So Hard?

By Noreen Music | Organizing Resources

Why Is Change So Hard?

Guest Post Written By: Kristine Morris, The Change Maven

You don’t have to look very far to see the pressure for change all around us. 

Magazine covers telling us how we can get slimmer, stronger, smarter, and sexier. YouTube gurus telling us how to be more productive, wealthier, more influential.

Why are we so drawn to change? And if it’s so irresistible, why is it so hard?

First, we are drawn to change because we are wired to evolve; without change we would still be living in caves, dragging our knuckles, and fighting off saber tooth tigers.

“Without change we would still be living in caves, dragging our knuckles and fighting off saber tooth tigers”

Why is change so hard?

Why then, if we are ‘supposed to’ change, is it so hard when we try to do so? We can turn to our ancestors for this answer as well.

As much as we are wired to evolve, we are also wired to follow the known path, to make the choices that our brains recognize as safe.

Historically, our lives depended on us NOT making the same mistakes over and over again. 

It was very important, from a survival perspective, to know that we must RUN when a saber tooth tiger was chasing us. 

Our lives depended upon us knowing NOT to eat that same strange looking berry that our buddy ate and died from the previous day. 

Our brains are wired to remind us of DANGER!

Unfortunately, our brains have not evolved enough to recognize the difference between true danger and the natural discomfort of change, which we routinely misinterpret as danger.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you are terrified of speaking in public. I’m talking TERRIFIED - puke worthy, sweaty palms, pee your pants kind of fear.

Your brain reads this as danger on par with being chased by that saber tooth tiger, and so it tells you to RUN!

Your brain literally does not know between the two scenarios, creating a reaction in your body that tells you “this is not safe”. 

To reinforce the message of “this is not safe”, your body throws in the feeling of wanting to vomit all over your new shoes, along with sweaty hands and feeling like your heart is going to explode out of your chest.

Mission accomplished: you are now thoroughly convinced that speaking in public is DANGEROUS!

From a survival perspective it makes total sense that you would avoid this activity, the same as you would avoid pissing off a saber tooth tiger.

So naturally, when you try to reason with yourself and say “no, I am not in danger, I can speak in public”, your brain and your body screams “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Why our brain doesn't like change and what to do about it.

NEUROPLASTICITY

NEUROPLASTICITY

Let’s compare your thoughts to you walking in the woods. You are your thoughts, and the path in the woods is your brain.

When you are walking, you naturally look for the clearest and smoothest path, right? I know I do! That’s exactly what your thoughts do - they look for the clearest, smoothest thought pattern in your brain, which is the one you are used to thinking (for example “public speaking is terrifying!”).

Does this mean that you can’t walk through the tall grasses or cut through the thick bushes? No, of course you can. But it will be harder.

It takes more effort to cut through a less trodden path than a well trodden one.

That is EXACTLY how it is with our brains and our thoughts. It’s EASIER to default to what we are used to (the belief that "public speaking is terrifying") instead of going on a path that is less familiar ("Hey, I think I can try this public speaking thing and it just may not be a danger to my survival after all!").

When we understand WHY we feel the way we do when faced with change, we can take concrete steps to making the changes we want in our lives.

Change IS scary, some more than others, but it IS possible.

What thought patterns do you have that you assumed were "hard wired" but that you could change?

More about Kristine!

Read more interesting and informative blog posts from Kristine!

If you would like to chat with Kristine, her contact information is here.

Find out more about Kristine and her coaching, workshop, speaking and event/retreat offerings at The Change Maven.

More resources for you!

You may also find these blogs on our Freedom Living page interesting reads.

How To Be An Organized Person
Organizing Obstacles
Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity

Enjoy!

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity
Jun 16

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity

By Noreen Music | Productivity

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity

Hello, my name is Noreen.

I’m a recovering perfectionist and I struggle with the dark side of perfectionism every single day

Trust me friends....this blog is written from a place of hard-learned lessons.

My perfectionism was once the enemy of my productivity, but no more!

Ask yourself these tough questions to find out if you are a perfectionist ...

  • Do you avoid failure at all costs?
  • What about feelings of unworthiness?
  • How about low self-esteem?
  • Do you base your worth on what you accomplish?
  • Are you highly critical of yourself and/or others?
  • Do you have a problem with starting or finishing projects?
  • Are you afraid of trying new things or taking risks?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, perfectionism may be a challenge for you too.

What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a deep need to appear flawless and a wrong belief or way of thinking that perfection is possible.

If taken too far, perfectionism can express itself as obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, chronic stress, and workaholism. 

These extreme expressions of perfectionism are not a healthy way to live.

Perfectionism is NOT the new black.

Why Does Perfectionism Derail Productivity?

Having an impossibly high standard of “perfect” makes it almost impossible to get anything done.

That being said, striving for excellence (not perfection) is a good thing. Wanting things to be well done and polished is perfectly fine.

This excellence mindset is far more balanced and attainable than a perfectionist mindset. 

Let’s just agree that the goal of reaching perfection is unattainable and can become toxic to ourselves and others.

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity

One of the high costs of perfectionism is to your productivity at home and at work. 

Productivity isn't about how much you get done but rather what you get done.

Completing your most meaningful and important work is critical to increasing the time you spend with family and friends, enjoying your hobbies or working on your passion project.

Defeating perfectionism and improving your productivity will give you the freedom to live your best life, whatever that means to you.

If your mind is set on perfection, you may not start projects or if you do start them, you don't finish.

Being afraid to fail or believing your work is never quite good enough, can paralyze you from completing it. 

As you can see, perfectionism is debilitating and inhibits healthy progress on your goals and tasks.

Perfectionism really is the enemy to your productivity.

You Can Overcome Perfectionism and Boost Your Productivity

There are ways you can combat and overcome your perfectionist tendencies!

Trust me, it is a counterproductive mindset that is worth letting go of.

Stop striving for perfect (it doesn’t exist) and focus on working towards getting your most important tasks or projects done instead. 

Read the following points and allow the 2-3 that resonate with you to really sink in.

  • Strive for excellence, not perfection.
  • Come up with a “good enough” plan.
  • Adopt an excellence mindset as opposed to a perfection mindset.
  • Break down important goals and tasks into small time blocks.
  • Schedule time in your calendar to complete your tasks and stick to it.
  • Learn to fail forward instead of seeing failure as a death blow.
  • Avoid looking for faults in yourself and others. We all have them and it's okay.
  • Vulnerability is the door to walk through to build true connections. Most people are less critical of you than you think.
  • Bite your tongue when a critical comment or thought pops into your head. It serves no one to speak harshly.
  • Not every decision requires your full attention - delegate to others and let it go.
  • Focus on what you are deeply grateful and thankful for.
  • Realize that most people think about you way less than you think they do.
  • Stay in the present moment so fear and worry of the future doesn’t take over and you spiral downwards.
  • Be flexible - don’t let your self-discipline turn into a compulsion.
  • Don’t over-deliver when you don't have to.
  • Remember that you are more than what you produce. You are human and are worthy of living abundantly and with great joy.

Take one step and then another.....

The key to overcome your perfectionism is to just take the first step on the journey.

Be content with what you accomplish, even when it's not perfect.

Take small steps everyday and this will make a huge impact on how productive you are.

Let go of your deep-seated fear of failing. These are lessons and good for you in the long run.

You only truly fail if you never start or if you start and take yourself out of the game before you cross the finish line.

Contact Me!

Feel free to reach out to me below if you are ready to crush your perfectionism and increase your productivity!

I know exactly what you are dealing with.

Additional Resources


Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

Organizing Obstacles
Jun 03

Organizing Obstacles

By Noreen Music | Organizing Tips

Organizing Obstacles

Do you ever wish you had an organizing fairy who could wave a magic wand and all of your clutter miraculously disappears? Oh yes, please.

Getting organized is simple but it's not always easy.

There are some common brick walls you might encounter when embarking on your decluttering journey. 

You may even be reading this Freedom Living blog because you are frustrated with an organizing obstacle right now!

Big Organizing Obstacles

Clutter Blind

It happens. The clutter in your home turns into wallpaper and over time you don't even notice it anymore.

Stuff has a way of creeping into your cupboards, your closet, or your garage, and then before you know it, your spaces look like a bomb went off!

Take a look around you. What do you see? Clutter and disarray? Or are things neat and tidy? Is it time to take off your blinders and be honest with yourself about how much stuff you have?

I understand. It's difficult to organize and overcome clutter especially when it's an obstacle you can't see.

The good news with a blind spot is, once you are aware of it, you can choose to change it!

Overwhelmed

Knowing where to start when you are frustrated and overwhelmed with your clutter is a challenge.

You have a burst of energy to tackle your clutter mountain and then you fizzle out partway through.  And it's hard to get back at it.

This is where a professional organizer comes in. We know where to start. We climb the clutter mountain with you. We don't give up. We make sure you reach your goals and vision for your spaces.

We cheer you on when you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or discouraged.

It's perfectly okay to ask for help to conquer the organizing obstacle of overwhelm. Helping you is why I do what I do.

Emotional Attachment

Letting go is hard. It's normal to feel emotionally attached to a possession, especially when it evokes a fond memory or it reminds you of someone. 

That special item, that thing you love and brings you joy, you should keep.

The emotional attachment organizing obstacle comes into play when you refuse to let something go that has no special meaning or value, you don't need it and you never use it.

During the decluttering process, emotions will come up. You might feel excitement, fear, guilt, relief....these feelings are normal. 

What is key is to acknowledge and allow yourself to feel whatever emotion happens to surface while you are decluttering. This is an important and healthy part of the letting go process.

If you are willing to be uncomfortable yet keep making decisions about what you want to keep and what you want to edit, you will become comfortable with the practice of letting go. It does get easier the more decisions you make.

Only when you face this organizing obstacle head-on does the brick wall come crashing down revealing the bright, beautiful blue sky of freedom from your stuff.

Staying Organized

Okay, now that we've overcome a few big organizing obstacles, here's another doozy. 

You're not convinced you will actually stay organized.

I'm here to reassure you that, you will.

It does take work, time, and willingness. But if you can commit to a bit of effort every day to keep all of your hard work in order, you will maintain your clutter-free status.

Simply tweak your routines. Make your bed every morning. Shine your sink after dinner. Hang up your towel after you shower. Put a load of laundry in the washing machine every day. Tidy up the living room at the end of the night.

When you work with a professional organizer, we help you focus on how you can live in organized ways by sharing our expert organizing skills, processes, and routines so that you are able to organize yourself and stay organized over time.

Being an organized person can be learned, it is not a genetic characteristic.

By implementing a few simple routines into your day, this organizing obstacle will no longer be in your way and you will find the freedom to live your best life.

For good.

Organizing "Don'ts"

As you organize, you may encounter some of these common organizing "don'ts" while you are working at creating more freedom in your life.

These aren't huge organizing obstacles however, you should be aware of them so you know what not to do.

  • Don’t transfer clutter from one area or surface to another. Declutter.
  • Don’t keep doubles (or triples).
  • Don’t keep things where you don’t use them.
  • Don’t buy a ton of organizing containers or solutions right away. Use what you have on hand and only buy something if you really need it after purging & sorting.
  • Don’t “over” organize as this can lead to frustration and make it hard to keep up.
  • Don’t assume your family knows where things go – label everything.
  • Don’t fill every space with stuff. Keep some “white space” open.
  • Don’t assume your used stuff is worth a fortune – it might be, but likely not.
  • Don’t keep donate/sell/consign stuff in your home – remove it immediately after editing.
  • Don’t push your clutter onto friends or family.
  • Don’t just deal with surface clutter – deal with hidden clutter in cupboards & drawers too.
  • Don’t assume kids can’t help – teach them so they learn these solid life skills & habits.
  • Don’t keep something just because it was a gift.
  • Don’t keep all of your kid’s hand-me-down clothes and toys.
  • And the most important don't of all is.......
Don’t give up! Organizing is hard work but worth every ounce of effort to experience more time, freedom, and pride in your home! - Noreen

Free Resources For You

Do you need to download your own personal professional organizer? Here is our FREE and easy to use resource guide Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season as our gift to you.

Need help with an organizing plan? Well, here you go!

Read our Ask a Professional Organizer Freedom Living post for more information about daily routines to help you stay organized.

You've got this!

Free Gift to You

Need More Help?

Leave a comment below if you have a question for us or if you need more help to overcome your organizing obstacles.

We are always here for you.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

How to Organize Your Garage
Jun 02

How to Organize Your Garage

By Noreen Music | Organizing Tips

How to Organize Your Garage

With summer upon us, it is time to start thinking about cleaning out and organizing the garage.

The garage always ends up as a dumping ground for your unwanted or broken stuff. It's easy to shove everything in the garage out of sight until you can't park in it anymore!

Here is our step by step guide with expert tips to help you get your garage in great shape for summer. It's everything you need to know to organize your garage.

Disorganized Garage

How to Start

Ensure you are wearing the appropriate clothing and protective equipment such as work gloves, dust mask, eye protection, closed-toed shoes, long pants with your hair tied back.

Gather the supplies you will need to tackle this area such as heavy-duty trash bags, shop vac, broom and a couple of large plastic baskets.

Do a basic cleaning by giving the floor a sweep or a vacuum keeping an eye out for nails, oil or chemical stains, evidence of pests.

As you are cleaning, remove any obvious trash, recycling, donation, doesn’t belong or broken items.

You are well on your way to a clean and organized garage!

Time to Declutter & Sort Into Zones

Declutter by pulling everything out onto the driveway then divide all items into the following categories:

  • TOSS
  • KEEP
  • DONATE
  • TRASH
  • SELL/CONSIGN

If you have too much stuff, divide the garage in half or by zone (tools, sporting equipment, camping gear, garden tools, etc.) before moving onto the next area.

Group all the items you are keeping into like categories such as car supplies, small tools, large tools/equipment, recycle centre, garden tools, sports equipment, general storage, etc.

Assess how much room each zone is going to need and plan out your garage accordingly.

A super organized garage is always arranged with "like with like" items in defined areas.

Organized Garage

Organizing Products for the Garage

Check online or in local stores for various garage organizational products if you need specialty storage containers, toolboxes, pegboards, or vertical/ceiling storage options made just for the garage/shed. 

Work with what you have first and only purchase only what you actually need. You may be surprised by what you have already on hand or what you can re-purpose.

A rolling tool organizer works great for gardening tools or car cleaning items saving back and forth trips.

The fifth wall in your garage is the ceiling so use this vertical space for storing wood, ladder, seldom used storage boxes, camping gear, and seasonal sporting equipment.

Make sure horizontal surfaces and shelving in your garage are heavy-duty enough to support the weight of what you are storing on and in them and properly affixed to prevent accidents.

Label everything! Bins, baskets, shelves....when your stuff has a home, the easier it is for you and your family to put it away where it belongs.

Organized Garage Tools

Expert Tips for the Garage

Ensure birdseed is kept in a container with a tightly closing lid to keep pests out.

Create a junk box for the garage to keep those odds and ends out of your cabinets and drawers.

Keep one surface clean to work on. You can fill a pot with pencils and keep a small box on the work surface for small frequently used tools, measuring tape, etc.

Dangerous items such as chemicals, pest control sprays, or poisons, paint supplies should be stored in a fireproof lockable cabinet.

Dispose of old paint cans, chemicals, and electronics properly. Go online and check out where you can drop these items off in your community. Or you can access our DIY resource page where we have gathered a lot of this information for you already.

Paint Can

Organizing your garage is well worth the effort to get it there. You will be the envy of your neighbours and gone are the days you feel the need to close your garage door as quickly as possible!

Our FREE Gift For You!

Please accept this limited time offered gift to help you get and stay organized through every season.

Click on this link to receive your FREE copy of our resource guide Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season as our gift to you!

Free Gift to You #2

Let us know if you have any great tips for how to organize your garage. We love to hear from you!

If you have any questions or need more help, please leave a comment below and we will reply to you within 24 hours.

We are always here to help.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

How to Organize Your Vehicle
Jun 02

How to Organize Your Vehicle

By Noreen Music | Organizing Tips

How to Organize Your Vehicle

Between commuting to work, driving your kids to after school activities, and running errands on the weekends, you spend a ton of time in your vehicle.

As important as it is to declutter and organize your home and workspaces, your vehicle also needs a little love.

At least twice a year, we recommend you clean out your vehicle to keep it organized and tidy. Your passengers will thank you!

Messy Car

Declutter, Organize & Deep Clean

Start with decluttering, organizing and deep cleaning your vehicle.

Remove everything and only keep what you actually need in your car. As vehicles are small spaces, they can become very cluttered very quickly. This includes the glove box, console, and the trunk.

Start the cleaning process with a good vacuum. Vacuum the floors, mats, seats (don't forget to vacuum under the seats as well!), trunk carpet and all of those hard to reach crevices.

Next, wipe down the dashboard, console, inside of the doors, trim, and any other rubber, vinyl, or leather surfaces with an appropriate cleaner for the type of material in your vehicle.

Clean the upholstery and carpet with a carpet cleaning machine if deep cleaning is needed or simply spot clean for minor stains.

Clean both the inside and outside of all of the glass as well as the rearview and side mirrors to make them shine!

If you spend a lot of time in your car, maintaining it in a clean and organized state will help keep your stress levels down as the inside of your vehicle will be calm and serene even if you are stuck in a traffic jam or someone cuts you off!

Cleaning Car

How to Keep Your Vehicle Organized & Clean

Keep wet wipes and a cleaning cloth in your vehicle for those inevitable spills and for periodic dusting and wiping smudges or fingerprints from the glass.

Ensure that your shoes are clean. Knock off any snow or mud from your footwear before getting into the vehicle. It's never a bad idea to keep a plastic bag with an extra pair of shoes in the trunk just in case!

Have a trash bag handy in your car for coffee cups, old receipts, and other odds and ends. Empty the trash bag weekly or when full. Keeping trash out of your vehicle will keep it smelling better too.

Use a cup holder liner to make cleaning up those coffee spills a breeze.

Don't eat in your vehicle, or at least use a container that will catch any spills or crumbs. If something does spill, clean it up as soon as possible.

Use various over the seat, console, and coin organizers to keep your items contained and help them stay in place. Put items such as an umbrella, reusable grocery bags, flashlight, first aid kit, emergency road kit, and extra wiper fluid in a trunk organizer.

Coupons, receipts, and reward cards can go in a small plastic accordion folder in your glove box.

Every time you get home, take everything in that needs to go inside. This practice will go a long way to keep your vehicle clean and organized on a daily basis.

Ensure you have a well-equipped first aid kit, road safety, and emergency kit. Keep proper emergency supplies for both summer and winter weather such as water, granola bars, candle, jumper cables, blanket, extra gloves, and so on.

Place a “RETURN” box in your trunk for when you are running errands.

Clean Car Interior

Our FREE Gift!

For more tips on how to organize your home, download our FREE resource guide Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season.

Free Gift to You #2

We would love to hear your tips on organizing your vehicle so let us know by leaving a comment below.

If you need more help, let us know and we can chat.

We are always here for you.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season by Organize My Space Calgary
Jun 01

FREE GUIDE: Keeping Your Home Organized

By Noreen Music | Offers & Discounts , Organizing Resources , Organizing Tips

Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season

Have you decided this is your year to declutter the garage, the pantry, and all of your closets? Good for you! 

Getting your home to an organizational level that works for you and your family is well worth the investment of your time, dollars, and energy.

The benefits of getting rid of your clutter are numerous and life-changing. You will have more time, find things faster, and spend less time lost looking for stuff. You will save money by not buying duplicates of items you can’t find.

You might even make some money by selling or consigning your no longer useful items. The peace of mind and reduced stress that decluttering and organizing brings is a game-changer for your life.

Decluttering and organizing does take planning, determination, and commitment to see your home transformed. By arranging your families organizing projects by the seasons, the likelihood of completing all of your plans over time improves.

Finally Organized

The first and most important step when organizing any area is to minimize. Ask yourself what adds value to your life compared to what you don’t want, need or use. Once items are reduced, it is much easier to organize and arrange what’s left.

The second key to ultra-functional spaces is to keep like with like and knowing where everything is. Keep your daily essential items close at hand. Store away items you don’t need or use every day.

You can start organizing in any of your home however, we suggest you start with the easiest areas or projects first. Donate, consign & trash what you know can live without.

Another strategy is to start with the space that causes you the most frustration. When you get these quick wins under your belt, you will be super excited and motivated to keep going.

How Long Does It Take To Get Organized?

There are quite a few different factors to consider when determining how long each room or area will take to get organized. Some of these reasons are:

  • The size and layout of your home.
  • How long you have lived in your home.
  • The shopping habits of you and your family.
  • How much visible and hidden clutter there is.
  • Is anyone in the home is chronically disorganized or has a hard time letting go?
  • If someone in your home is a collector.
  • If everyone in the family is motivated and willing to declutter and get organized.
  • Decision making speed when decluttering.
  • Whether you get outside help from friends, family, or a professional organizer.

Decluttering Principles

  • Keep only the belongings that are relevant to your life today & define your current vision.
  • Let go of items that point to your past or parts of yourself that you want to change.
  • Only hold onto things that make your heart sing and bring you joy.
  • Release objects that make you feel sad, guilty, or unhappy with yourself or others.

Storage Principles

  • Items that are used more often should be stored within easy reach, preferably at eye level.
  • Things that are used infrequently and heavy should be stored below the waist.
  • Stuff seldom used and lighter should be stored above the head.

Basic Steps Of Organizing

  1. Remove everything
  2. Organize – put like with like
  3. Edit/declutter
  4. Clean space & keep items
  5. Containerize & label
  6. Return everything – put items where you use them

Getting Unstuck When Organizing

If you are stuck on whether to keep or get rid of an item, ask yourself these 7 questions (hint – if you say “No” to one, some or all of these questions, considering getting rid of it). The more of these decisions you make, the easier it gets:

  1. Have I used this in the last year?
  2. Will I use it in the next year?
  1. Would I buy this item again today?
  2. If it’s broken is it worth fixing or will I spare the time & money to fix it?
  3. Is it easily replaced or borrowed if I need it again?
  4. Would I keep it if I moved?
  5. Do I have a duplicate of this item in better shape?

If you are still agonizing over an item, put it in a box with a sticky note with an expiration date on it for a few months from now. If you don’t reach for the item in that time frame, remove it from your home.

Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season

You can start your home organizing journey at any time of the year.

We suggest starting in the spring as this is typically the time of year you are more energized for a fresh start. The months of March, April and May are when we begin thinking of clearing out the dust and dreariness from the long, cold winter months.

There is excitement that winter is over and for the promise of summer ahead. So, take advantage of the burst of get-up-and-go that spring brings to kick start your organizing projects.

Now You Can Keep Your Home Organized Through Every Season!

We have prepared for you a comprehensive and easy to use FREE resource guide to help you organize your home through every season. Our Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season guide includes:

  • Ready to go checklists so you can easily transform cluttered spaces in a weekend.
  • Easy to use checklists for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter so you never have to guess where to start.
  • Expert Tips that will have your friends begging you to tell them why your house looks so amazing.
  • Love living in your home again!

Get Started Right Away Transforming Your Spaces!

Please accept this limited time offered gift to help you get and stay organized through every season.

Click on this link to receive your FREE copy of our resource guide Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season as our gift to you!

Free Gift to You

Why Would You Give This Away For Free?

I get asked this question all the time. When you claim your copy of this amazing resource book, you will too.

I created this because I am on a mission to help people like you find your freedom through organized spaces. I know this resource will be exactly what some people will need to finally get and stay organized.

By gifting this incredible resource to you, it's my way of starting our relationship together on the right foot. I want to earn your trust so that I can help you find your freedom to live your life.

If you have a second, I'd love to know

Why did you request Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season?

What can we do to help you get more organized right now?

Just leave a comment below and I will reply back to you within 24 hours.

Don't forget to download your FREE copy of our resource guide Keeping Your Home Organized Through Every Season!

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

Organizing Strategies for Kids
May 26

Organizing Strategies for Kids

By Noreen Music | Organizing Tips

Organizing Strategies for Kids

It is important to involve your kids in organizing strategies that involve their spaces.

When kids are involved in their “clean your room” projects they will better understand organizing logic and maintain their clean and organized spaces.

The age and stage of development of your child will influence their ability to understand these concepts and help with the organizing projects you want to tackle. You know your child best so tailor this advice to what suits your family and your child’s individual needs and preferences.

Pre-school and early school-age children are more than capable of starting to work with you on basic organizing principles.

When you get your child involved in getting and staying organized early on, you teach them valuable life-long skills that will set them up for success into adulthood.

First Steps

Help your child focus on what areas, spaces or systems need improvement by asking them:

  • What’s working for you?
  • What frustrates you?
  • What do you want to improve or change?

Once you identify the areas and changes that you and your child want to make, help them get to the root cause of the problem to come up with the best organizing solutions. 

Keep in mind that your priorities may differ from your children so try to create win/win solutions. 

Talk to your child about why getting organized is important. Focus their attention on the positives like what they are keeping as opposed to what they are letting go of.

Remind them that what they giveaway will go to a less fortunate child.

You may even want to consider having a garage sale and they get to keep the money from selling their stuff!

Create a simple action plan together. Plan time to work on these projects together in blocks of time dependant on their individual attention span. 

It may take longer to work with your child and complete everything rather than doing it while they are out of the house or sleeping, but it will pay off big time in the long run.

Teaching a child

Organizing Ideas

Hooks

Hooks are a child’s best friend. Use hooks for hats and coats at the backdoor, for clothes or PJ’s in their room and closet, for towels and their bathrobe in the bathroom, and so on.

Closets

Take the doors off their closet. For a small child, opening a closet door can be a challenge and it poses a barrier. If you want them to help put away their own clothes and get dressed with little to no help, having fewer barriers helps.

Lower the clothing rod. Again if your child has a hard time reaching their clothes, they are less likely to put their clothes away and to pick out an outfit to wear without your help.

Keep a basket in their closet for clothes that no longer fit and when it fills up, send it off to donation.

Put a few outfits together that they love. Not only will this help with saving time getting ready in the morning, but it reduces arguments as they have already chosen a few of their favourite outfits in advance.

Bins & Containers

Use clear bins with no lids. Kids need to be able to see exactly what goes where and what they have.

A lid is also another barrier that will ensure when it’s time to clean up, the toys don’t go back where they belong.

Easy access for your child is the whole point. Make it easy for them to put things away.

Picture labels (age dependant) are best. Get creative with pictures and colors to help your child know exactly where things go.

Organize from the bottom up - frequently used items should be kept on lower shelves or drawers.

Rolling carts are a great way of storing craft supplies.

Over the door closet organizers work wonders for shoes and toys.

Kids Organizing Strategies

Create Zones

Consider your child’s interests, abilities, and needs. Is it drawing, reading, music, puzzles, fort making, homework, etc.?

Talk with them about how all of their stuff should have a home. This will keep things tidy as they know where everything goes and makes clean up time a breeze.

When zones are established, this is a visual cue for your child and each zone is the ideal place to store items that will be used in that area.

The zones become the natural home for things to be found and where it goes when it’s time to put it away.

Zones also help to reduce distractions so your child can focus on one activity at a time and everything they need is right there.

Keep toys in certain areas of the house like your child’s room, a designated playroom, the backyard, or the family room.

Create “toy free zones” like the kitchen, dining room and your bedroom to contain the toy clutter from taking over the entire house.

Kids Zones

Quality Over Quantity

Children do better with less - they are far more creative and less overwhelmed when they have fewer choices.

Ask extended family members to respect limits on excessive gift-giving.

Consider buying experiences instead of stuff such as zoo or science centre passes, movie or kids theatre tickets, or a “date” to their favourite restaurant.

These memories and time together as a family are far more precious than the cheap, plastic toys they hardly play with.

When it’s your child's birthday or Christmas time, tuck away at least half (or more!) of the gifts they receive and bring them out one by one over the year.

Declutter toys and clothes that they have grown out of at least once or twice every year. I suggest you get in the habit of doing this with the change of seasons.

This will help them develop the skill and habit of letting go and they won’t end up with an overwhelming amount of toys and ill-fitting clothes.

Quality Over Quantity

Time Management

Time management is a powerful mental talent that your child can learn to know what’s important and when to do it.

Teaching your child to use their time effectively is a key foundational skill that will boost their success in school and in life.

When they finish their homework as soon as they get home from school or do their chores every Saturday morning before going outside or watching TV, they are learning precious time management skills.

Help your child to categorize their priorities into 3 groups. #1 priorities are essential and should be done first. #2 priorities are not critical and can be done when there is time. #3 priorities are optional.

Use a calendar to block all activities and reminders, homework time, chores, etc.

Decide how much time each task will take and when they will have the energy needed to get it done.

For instance, a big school project probably shouldn’t be done the Sunday night before it’s due and chores should be done before soccer practice not after.

Building-in flexibility, downtime and family time into your routines is essential.

Over-scheduling leaves no time to chill and have fun which can lead to exhausted and cranky kids.

When unforeseen obstacles aren’t allowed for in your kids schedule this can derail important plans and must do's.

Time to rest and spending time together is vital for each family member and will strengthen your family bonds.

Time Management for Kids

Family Command Centre

Check out this post for more information on how to set up a Family Command Centre.

https://organizemyspacecalgary.com/organize-your-familys-paper-clutter/

Safety

Safety for children is paramount.

Injuries can happen when you’re not paying attention, if your child is eager to help but they haven’t learned the skill, they don’t have the dexterity yet, your child is somewhere unfamiliar or if they are tired or hungry.

Always make sure there is nothing within reach that could harm them such as harmful cleaning chemicals, furniture that could topple, small items they can choke on, or sharp objects.

Keep cords out of reach, never place cribs, beds, playpens, or other furniture near a window where a cord is easily accessible, properly affix all furniture or larger items on shelves to prevent them from falling on the child.

For more information on safety around the house click on this link:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/home-safety/safety-around-house.html

Kids Safety

Evaluate the Outcome

Any organizing plan once implemented needs to be reviewed to make sure it is effective. 

Keep in mind that your child’s organizing needs will evolve over time as they grow and change.

Regularly monitor and maintain your child’s organizing efforts and systems to keep things working for them.

Additional Resources

If you have challenges getting your family organized, here is our blog "5 Secrets to Organize Clutter When Your Family Doesn’t Agree".

https://organizemyspacecalgary.com/5-secrets-to-organize-clutter-when-your-family-doesnt-agree/

Need More Help?

Contact us by using the comment box below and we will respond back to you within 48 hours.

We are always here to help you and your child enjoy the freedom of organized spaces.

Cute Little Girl

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

Don't Expect Progress Without An Organizing Plan
May 26

Don’t Expect Progress Without An Organizing Plan

By Noreen Music | Freedom Fridays , Organizing Tips

Do you struggle with clutter and disorganization?

Are you frustrated by not getting things done? 

Is it overwhelming to think about creating an organizing plan?

Have you always wanted to make progress on clearing your clutter?

You need an organizing plan.

Don't Expect Progress Without An Organizing Plan

Decluttering and organizing takes planning, determination, and commitment to see your home transformed.

Don't expect progress without an organizing plan.

When you make the decision to eliminate the clutter and disorganization that frustrates and overwhelms you, upfront thought and planning are key to transform your space once and for all.

By creating an organizing plan, the likelihood of making progress and completing all of your projects over time improves.

Elements of An Organizing Plan

Step One: COMMIT

Commit to do something about it – this is an important first step.

Remember to take before and after photos to keep track of your progress and to keep you motivated!

Step Two: GOALS

Think about your goals and how you want your spaces to look and feel as you move about in your home.

Plan your spaces to serve you and how you want to live.

Come back to your organizing plan if your motivation wavers and you need a little push to keep going.

Step Three: DECIDE

Decide in advance where you want your unwanted items to go.

There are a lot of options for donation, online selling, consignment, or landfill (as a last resort).

We have done most of the research for you here on our DIY resources page.

Step Four: START IN ONE AREA

Start small.

Begin with a manageable project such as your junk drawer, linen closet or bookshelf.

Or you can start with your top 3 most important areas to declutter and rank the rest of your rooms or areas from highest to lowest.

You can rank whole rooms or areas within rooms to break it down in more manageable chunks.

Step Five: TOOLS

Ensure you have what you need to start.

Items such as boxes (donate/sell/keep/doesn’t belong), garbage bags for trash & recycling, and cleaning supplies.

Step Six: GET HELP

Ask a friend or family member to help or hire a professional organizer.

Step Seven: BOOK TIME

Book 2-3-hour blocks of time in your calendar when you typically have the most energy to ensure you stay on track and accomplish the projects you want done.

Even 20-30 minutes each time will go a long way over time.

Step Eight: REDUCE DISTRACTIONS

Reduce distractions – get a babysitter, put the dog in another room, turn off your phone/TV, make sure no one is dropping by.

Music to get you pumped up is totally okay though!

Step Ten: CELEBRATE

Celebrate your hard work on your decluttering journey and enjoy the freedom of living with less!

Once you have completed your organizing projects, it is important to assess and evaluate how your new organizational systems are working for you based on your original organizing plan.

Tweak if need be.

We Are Here to Help

Do you need more help from a Professional Organizer to create a unique organizing plan for you? Use the comment box below to connect with me.

As an organizing expert I help clients through the organizing process with an expertly prepared plan. I will share with you all of my insider tips and tools so you can become free from the clutter and disorganization that causes you stress.

Need more inspiration? Check out our posts on 7 Tips to Conquer Your Clutter and How to Organize Any S.P.A.C.E.

We are here to help you find renewed freedom and passion in your life.

All you need is an organizing plan to make progress!

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

5 Secrets to Organize Clutter When Your Family Doesn't Agree
May 05

5 Secrets to Organize Clutter When Your Family Doesn’t Agree

By Noreen Music | Freedom Fridays , Organizing Tips

5 Secrets to Organize Clutter When Your Family Doesn’t Agree

Every Family is Dynamic and Diverse

Does your family disagree on how much clutter is too much? Do you have a hard time organizing the clutter in your home so it works for everyone?

Your family is dynamic and different from every other family. The various strengths, challenges, and personalities within your family make it unique. You are a family unit and yet at the same time you are different from each other.

Those differences bring a diversity of perspectives into your home and can make organizing your clutter a challenge.

It may be that you and your family don’t agree on how clutter should be organized. I get it. My family and I don’t always agree either, although I’m usually the one who’s right. I am the Professional Organizer after all, right?! Ugh wrong.

We each have various needs and different ideas about how much clutter is acceptable and what we are comfortable with.

You may like things tucked away out of sight while your kids need clear, open bins to see where everything goes. Your spouse might like to display his prized beer mug collection and you, well, not so much.

We all land somewhere on the clutter scale. Being at one end or the other or somewhere in between isn't right or wrong, it just is what it is.

Different Learning Styles

Another factor that can play into disagreements around how to organize your families clutter stems from the fact that we all learn differently.

There are kinaesthetic, tactile, visual, and auditory learners.

When putting an organizational system in place, take these learning styles into account so that the end result works for everyone.

The same organizing system may work quite well for each family member but different cues are needed to make it effective for each person.

For example, the visual learner needs to see a bill to be reminded to pay it and does well with charts. A person who learns best by hearing may need a calendar ding or a voice recording reminder.

5 Secrets to Organize Clutter When Your Family Doesn’t Agree

Secret One

Understand yourself and who you are living with.

What type of learner are you? How about your kids or spouse? 

Find creative ways to compromise with each other when setting up organizational systems.

You will actually be less frustrated because your family will embrace the new system if their needs are respected as well as your own.

A win/win is always better than a win/loss and your clutter gets organized!

Secret Two

Get everyone involved. This is critical.

Agree together what your greatest areas of concern are when it comes to how your home functions and talk about what each family members priorities are. 

When your family discusses and plans your organizing projects together, you will have more buy-in and help to get it done.

Establish a plan with a budget in mind and schedule the time to work on organizing projects together.

It is always better to encourage "skin in the game" than forcing your ideas, or doing it all by yourself, and then getting frustrated when clutter returns and things don’t stay organized.

Secret Three

Don’t be too quick to say no to an idea.

If one of your family has what they think is a great idea and they are excited to implement it, why not try it? 

Be sensitive to the needs of others. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work well and you have to tweak it later. The best thing that can happen is that it might be really awesome!

Secret Four

Let go of perfect or “it’s not good enough”.

Trust me, very few homes or organizing systems are perfect. You don’t live in an Ikea catalog and neither do your neighbors! 

Comparison and perfectionism are real joy killers.

Surround yourself with colors, accessories, and stuff that you LOVE. It doesn’t have to match or go perfectly together. It doesn’t have to be the latest organizing product from Bed, Bath & Beyond. ​

Repurpose and use what you already have on hand as long as you need it, use it, love it and it does the job for your family.

For instance, one of my all-time favorite desk drawer organizers is the white box that your iPhone comes in. Really, try it and you'll see what I mean.

Secret Five

Keep your organizing strategies simple and functional. Don’t over complicate your organizing efforts.

The simpler your family systems are, the more likely you will all stick with it over the long haul and stay organized over time.

Overcomplicating the end result will only lead to frustration and disorganization. 

Organizing Your Families Clutter With Diversity in Mind

Organizing clutter with each of your families diverse needs in mind will bring mental and emotional well being to you and your family, not to mention a better functioning home so you can have more fun and downtime together.

If the clutter in your home is leaning more towards a chronically disorganized state, it might be best to work with a professional organizer who can help with understanding why you accumulate stuff, provide you with effective strategies for letting go and teach you how to stay organized.

We Are Here to Help

If you have a question, fill out the comment box below and I will get back to you within 48 hours.

You may find this blog post about organizing your families paper clutter helpful as paper is one of the biggest challenges we see families deal with.

Another post that will help you conquer your clutter is our 7 tips to conquer  your clutter.

Take good care and if you need us, we are here to help.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

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