Category Archives for "Organizing Tips"

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

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

FB - How to Organize Your Paper Clutter
Mar 31

Organize Your Family’s Paper Clutter

By Noreen Music | Organizing Tips

How to Organize Your Family's Paper Clutter

Paper Clutter Challenges

Are there piles of unsorted paper all over your house and things get buried and lost?

Paper clutter is one of the most challenging and prevalent forms of clutter in our homes.

One of the main differences between managing paper at the office and your family's paper clutter is that there is many different sources, sizes and topics of paper making its way into your home.

Think of your children's artwork, junk mail, newspapers, school papers, magazines, notices, bills, vital documents and more!

Read on to discover how to organize your family's paper clutter.

Paper Organizing Strategies

Types of Incoming Paper

Even though each family member contributes differently to the paper clutter in your home, paper tends to fall under one of these categories:

  • Urgent or time sensitive
  • General information or current activities
  • Reference
  • Archive

To properly deal with the incoming flow of paper and organize your family's paper clutter, it is important to implement a system that takes into consideration each of these different types of information.

Decluttering Your Paper

Before you organize your family's paper clutter, the first step is to edit the quantity of papers you keep. This means going through each and every piece of paper and asking yourself these questions:

  • Does this need action?
  • Is this information recent enough to be useful?
  • Would I use it again?
  • Is it difficult to obtain again?
  • When was the last time I used it?
  • Is there a tax or legal reason for keeping this?
  • Does it belong with my memorabilia?

Once you have sorted and organized all of your family's paper clutter, you are ready to set up your paper management system.

Did you know that we generally only refer to 20% of the information we keep 80% of the time? Be brutal with what paper you hold on to.

Paper Management System

When you are setting up your family's paper management system to capture and sort all incoming paper, think through these questions first:

  • What types of paper do we deal with?
  • Who brings in the paper?
  • Where should the paper management system go so paper coming into the house will land there?
  • Who has the main responsibility to oversee the paper management system?
  • How do I ensure my family members use the system?

It is important to be clear on what kinds of paper your system needs to be designed to handle and who will be using it before you decide what your system will look like.

Having one person ultimately in control of ensuring your system is being used by family members and that the papers are being dealt with will ensure your paper management system will continue to flow well.

Organizing your family's paper clutter is a group effort but it generally lies on one parent or the other to keep the paper in order.

Family Command Centre

Every family should have a family command centre to contain your family's paper clutter. The main purpose of it is to keep the family on track by providing a place to keep note of appointments, meetings, activities, weekly meals, the grocery list amongst other things. 

The main components and supplies needed for a robust family command centre includes:

Main Components:

  • Calendar (paper or electronic)
  • Chore chart
  • Phone book with emergency numbers
  • Information binder
  • Daily tickler file ("action" file)
  • Reference files
  • Archive files

Supplies:

  • Clock
  • Recycle bin nearby
  • Storage baskets
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, note pads
  • Calculator
  • Family computer or tablet
  • Hooks for keys
  • Bulletin board (this is a great spot for your grocery list!)

Pick a high traffic and convenient spot in your house for your family command centre and use it to organize everything. It doesn't have to be fancy, just functional for your family's unique needs.

It will become the place where everyone goes to see what's going on with everyone else and your family's paper clutter will disappear!

Calendar

The calendar has all of your family's activities written or keyed in including activities for each family member, family birthdays and other important dates, holidays, reminders, doctor and dentist appointments and meal planning information.

Chore Chart

Use a chore chart to help your kids become more responsible and to help out around the house more as they grow. You can tie your child's allowance, screen time or other rewards to help motivate them to complete all of their chores.

There are so many great ideas online for different and creative chore charts so do a little research and implement one that your kids can help create and that they will stick to.

Information Binder

Your information binder is for current but not date specific reference materials such as game schedules, school contacts, team lists and so on.

You could also include important family, doctor, vet, dentist and emergency phone numbers in your information binder instead of using a separate phone book.

Daily Tickler File

Things that are date specific like school field trip permission forms, party invites, bills to pay, prescription receipts to submit, medical requisitions, etc. all go into your tickler file which is checked daily.

Your tickler file is for holding all "in progress" or pending paper - think of putting paper here that is categorized as ACT, PAY, READ, WRITE, CALL, PENDING.

Reference Files

Papers that are useful but not urgent go into your reference files. This is where home and auto insurance policies go, receipts, warranties, report cards, last and current year income tax information, medical records, paid bills to keep.

Many of these items can also be scanned and kept in electronic format to save on the amount of paper you keep in your reference files.

Reference files should be cleaned out once a year. This will ensure your family's paper clutter will not accumulate.

Archive Files

Archive files include tax returns, legal documents, property deeds, life insurance policies, old employment records, photos, memorabilia.

Paper versions of these types of documents generally must be kept.  

You could consider putting these archive files in a water and fire proof safe in case of a disaster.

Paper Filing System Examples

You can set up your reference and archive files numerically, alphabetically or by category. Here is how a home filing system might be categorized:

Reference Files
  • Child Care
  • Decorating Ideas
  • Employment
  • Activities
  • Family & Friends
  • Health
  • Memberships
  • Pets
  • Subscriptions
  • Travel
  • Warranties & Manuals
Financial Files
  • Auto
  • Banking
  • Budget
  • Credit Cards
  • Insurance
  • Investments
  • Utilities
Vital Documents
  • Birth Certificate
  • Education Records
  • Health Records
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Passport
  • Tax Documents
  • Life Insurance Policy
  • Wills
  • House Deed

These are suggested categories and names of files for you to use however, the key to creating a filing system that works for you is to name a file with the first word that comes into your mind. That way it will be easier for you to remember where you filed something and it won't take long to find what you need.

You can also colour code your files by category so it is easy to see, files are a breeze to put away and it just looks great!

Keep on Top of Your Family's Paper Clutter

Deal with incoming mail and paper every day.

Open the mail, put the bills you need to pay in your tickler file and recycle the envelope and inserts.

Have the kids take out their school papers from their backpacks every day and put the papers where they belong in your new family command centre.

Reduce your family's paper clutter by going electronic! Have your bills come to your email inbox instead of your mailbox.

Unsubscribe from newsletters, publications, magazines that you never get the chance to read. Go digital by reading the newspaper and your favourite magazines online.

Let us know how we can help you.....

We hope you enjoyed learning about how to organize your family's paper clutter and that you are motivated to conquer your paper mountain!

You might also like to read another one of our most popular articles called "7 Tips to Conquer Your Clutter". 

Leave us a comment if you have any questions or if you need help with organizing your family's paper clutter.

We are always here to help.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen

Takes less time to clean an organized home
Mar 20

Save Time Cleaning an Organized Home

By Noreen Music | Freedom Fridays , Organizing Tips

Save Time Cleaning an Organized Home

Reducing clutter and getting organized saves a ton of time when you need to clean your home.

Did you know that for every 1 hour you organize, you save 2 hours of time?  WOW.

What if I told you that an organized home takes 40% less time to clean?

You're in right?!?

Get a handle on the clutter in your home to save time cleaning

The fastest way to save time on cleaning your home is to get rid of all of the obvious trash and recycling. Go through every room with a trash bag in hand and start picking up what you know belongs in the garbage or recycle bin.

The next step is to pick up all of the dirty dishes lying around and put them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand and put them away.

Do you have soiled laundry lying around on the chair in your bedroom or on the bathroom floor? Pick it all up and put it in the hamper or better yet put a load in the washing machine.

Now go room by room picking up what you know doesn't belong in that space like the kid's toys or books. Tidy up as you go, fluff pillows, fold blankets.

You are ready to save time cleaning!

Minimize Dust

  • Now that you have reduced clutter, you can dust your home properly.
  • Clean light fixtures, windows, blinds and shelves first and then work downwards.
  • Allow time for the dust to settle before vacuuming.

Keep Your Kitchen & Bathrooms Clean

  • Wash and disinfect your kitchen sink as e-coli is commonly found lurking there.
  • Clean and disinfect kitchen countertops to keep germs and crumbs at bay.
  • Wipe down bathroom mirrors, sinks and countertops daily.
  • Clean and disinfect bathroom shower stalls, bathtubs, sinks and toilets weekly.

Clean From the Top Down

  • When cleaning, mop the floor or vacuum the carpet last. 

Clean as you go


  • Make your bed every morning.
  • Deal with paperwork and mail on a daily basis.
  • Clean up as you cook.
  • Tidy up at the end of the day - fold the living room blankets, do the dinner dishes, have the kids put their toys away.
  • Fold and put laundry away immediately after it comes out of the dryer.
  • Hang clothes up or put them in the laundry hamper as soon as you change your clothes.

A clean house is important for the health and well-being of your entire family. A clean home is a healthy home. 

Living in a clean and organized home makes you feel happy, but more importantly, it eliminates the stress that's caused by a chaotic environment.

And of course, by living without clutter, you will save time cleaning.

More resources for you

Here is a link to an article posted in our Freedom Living blog about All-Natural Homemade Cleaning Products to help keep your home chemical free.

If you have any questions or need help with decluttering and getting organized, leave us a comment below and we will get back to you within 48 hours.

We are always here for you.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.

Noreen