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Best Closet Organizing Strategies

Best Closet Organizing Strategies

We use our closet every single day (okay, except for pyjama days.) It makes sense to make it easy to find the perfect outfit for your day. No mess, no stress. 

Streamlining your closet tells you a lot about yourself. How you dress tells people who you are. And how your closet is set up is also uniquely you. My closet is extremely practical – because I’m a practical kind of person. So if that’s what you are looking for – read on!

Closet Style
The first thing you want to consider when thinking about your closet is choosing a style. It may be dictated somewhat by your living arrangement and your budget, but you always have choices and it is up to you to create the closet of your dreams (within budget of course!) So whether you choose to use your built-in, have a stand-alone wardrobe, or do a free standing rack, it’s up to you.

I like a clean look in my room, so I prefer to have my clothes behind a closed door and in drawers.

Declutter using TRACKED

Declutter your Closet

A few years ago an organizer friend of mine said that the Pareto rule also applies to closets. The Pareto rule (applied to closets) says that you will use 80% of the items in your closet 20% of the time and 20% of the things in your closet 80% of the time. I started to take a really critical look at the things in my closet. The percentages may not have been 100% accurate, but there were certainly things in my closet that I barely wore or hadn’t worn in a while. Time to declutter!
Find the questions that support you in getting to your desired closet when decluttering. What do I mean by that? Marie Kondo uses the question “Does it spark joy?” Other questions you might want to consider are:
  • Do I love it?
  • Do I wear it?
  • Does it fit?
  • Do I have too many of these?
  • What is “enough” for me?
  • Do I look and feel fabulous wearing this?
  • Does this match who I am?
Hanger Trick

The Hanger Trick

One sure way to not lie to yourself about what you do and don’t wear is to use the hanger trick. It’s pretty simple and does take some time to set up (if you have a lot of clothes) but it does really help you not cheat on this. Here’s how it works:

  1. Decide on a time frame (3 months, 6 months, 12 months)
  2. Reverse all the hangers in your closet
  3. When you wear something, put it back the right way
  4. At the end of the time frame, anything you haven’t worn will still be the wrong way around and you know you can let it go.

If you do cheat – I did (there were a couple of pieces of clothing that I just loved and told myself that I would wear in the next 6 months) be sure to repeat the process 2 or 3 times. By the time you’ve not actually worn that loved item, for double or triple the time frame you gave yourself, it’s really time to give it a new home.

I have an exception. I still have my wedding dress. I do still fit it and I have worn it several times since my wedding, but not for a while. And I’m very clear I’m keeping it for sentimental reasons, not as an item of clothing in my closet.

Practical Closet Strategies

Make a point of using vertical space strategically. Use double hanging rods, use shelving, hooks, etc. to use the vertical height in your closet.

Vertical space in your Closet

Sort the clothing items in your closet so that you can find them easily. You can use just one classification or several depending on the amount of clothing you have. For instance, I have things arranged by length (long hanging and double hung), by type (shirts and pants separately), and my shirts are organized by sleeve length and then by color. 

But you may choose to put together outfits for each day of the week and hang those things together so you can just grab the things you are going to wear that day.

And some people rotate the clothing they have in their closet depending on the season. I don’t have that much clothing and find I wear a lot of my clothing year round (one of the benefits of living in Southern California.)

Keep like with like in your closet

Use the Right Closet Storage Tools

Storing your clothing and accessories in a way that makes them easy to access and put away is pretty much the goal here. Use see through containers and label them so it is easy to see where to put things back. Use the right containers or storage tools for the items. 

Your Best Closet

There are lots of different ideas presented here. Some of them will work for you and some of them, eh, not so much. That’s okay. You think the way you think and some ideas will “fit” better than others.

So which tips will work for you? What makes sense for your closet? Make sure to take some time to implement those tips this week!

 

Garage Storage Hacks

Garage Storage Hacks

Garage storage can be difficult. The variety of shapes and sizes of items kept in garages can make storage tricky. Garages can be scary places. Spiders, stacks and stacks of boxes piled precariously, half finished projects, sports equipment and more. They can store forgotten treasures, tools and sports equipment, things to help you enjoy life, all of which you would use if you could reach them. Some garages have cars parked in them, but often garages end up as our last storage spot when we’ve run out of handy spots in our homes.
Garage storage don'ts
There are some things that we definitely should not be storing in the garage because they don’t cope well with temperature changes, humidity or pests. Some things to avoid storing in your garage are:
  • important documents – water damage, mice, other insect pests could make these documents useless
  • photos – water damage, mice, other insect pests could make these memories fade faster than your own memories
  • vinyl records – these will warp with the temperature changes
  • wine – needs cool even temperatures
  • food – mice and rats are excellent at finding small holes to enter your garage and will chew through packaging in a heart beat
  • delicate clothing – easily water damaged and don’t like uneven heat or humidity
  • paintings – easily water damaged and don’t like uneven heat or humidity
  • old paint – it will quickly become unusable with the heat
  • wooden furniture – it can be easily damaged if there is a leak
  • hazardous waste – be sure to drop off at a hazardous waste drop-off point
  • propane tanks – these need a lot of ventilation
  • and don’t store things in cardboard boxes – things inside can get water damaged if there is a leak.
Garage organization

Declutter your garage

Don’t use garage storage for stuff you no longer need or use. As a rule of thumb, everything in your garage (or substitute storage area) should be something that makes life easy or enjoyable. The things you own should be used. I’ve see many garages that house furniture from a deceased relative, from a move where two homes were merged, or the owners downsized their home but didn’t manage to downsize their belongings at the same time. If you have a specific reason you are keeping the items, for instance, someone has specifically asked for an item and given you a date by when they will pick it up, then by all means keep it if you don’t mind your garage space being used by that item. Otherwise, I recommend letting them go. This is the most important decision. After you’ve decided to let something go, you can decide how to let it go. You can sell, donate, or trash your items depending on the quality and state of the items. Do a little research if you think your items are worth selling, but resolve to let them go within a certain time frame. You don’t want the items still sitting in your garage because you couldn’t get the price you thought it they worth. That will cost you more in peace of mind than the items were ever worth.
Garage storage ideas

Best way to store things in your garage

Garages are notorious for having difficult storage needs due to the variety of items and their very different shapes and sizes. To determine your needs, collect things together that will be kept together. Some categories might be sports equipment, gardening supplies and tools, DIY tools, camping gear. Once you have collected these things together, decide which area of the garage each type of item will live. Consider using vertical storage where possible and aim to get things off the floor. There are hooks and racks on the market for just about everything. You can reach out to a professional garage outfitter like Jay at Organized Garage Solutions or Gus at OrganizIt! for more ideas or help if you need to install garage organization systems. Make sure you’ve decluttered before you have them come over – otherwise they’ll be building a system for stuff you don’t need!

If you’re doing it yourself and need extra shelving, cabinets, or overhead storage, consider the size, shape and weight of the items you want to store. All of these things will affect the storage solutions you ultimately end up using. Pay attention to whether your storage solutions are fixed or adjustable. The best solutions will be adjustable so you can change them as your needs change over time.

How will you change your world this year?

How will you change your world this year?

What will you change in your world this year?

We have seen this week that what was normal is not okay for many people, black people in particular. I have already written on facebook about the tragedy of George Floyd and many others. A friend shared a picture of our kids protesting the death of Eric Garner 6 years ago. Their sign read “I can’t breathe.” I am a white woman from New Zealand and I have lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years. This is my inherited world.

So I ask, what will you change in your world this year?

Maybe you are in a position to affect policy change. Please do. Please make sure that the most vulnerable of our population are cared for, nutured, and encouraged to contribute their worth. Because they are worthy.

Maybe you are a business owner who is looking to hire. Who will you hire?

Maybe you are part of the privileged. Will you support higher taxes to ensure public schools get the funding they require? Will you donate time or money to help kids who need it most? Will you support our police departments to be less of a police force and more of a police community support?

Maybe you can have a yard sale to benefit a local group doing good in the community (Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program has chapters in many places around the country, including Los Angeles: https://www.obama.org/mbka/)

Maybe, instead of buying something that you want, but don’t need, you could donate to a cause, or hire a young black person.

Maybe you are a black person – I encourage you to dream, don’t give up hope, and help us help you. Keep asking for what you need. I will listen. I will vote for the people who can affect positive change for you. I will support those organizations helping you. I will ask my clients to donate their items they no longer need to support causes that help people in need like you. I will stand with you and not be silent.

COVID-19 Safer at home: Declutter by Video or Phone

COVID-19 Safer at home: Declutter by Video or Phone

You are in one of two camps.
1. You’ve got lots of time on your hands and are either surng netix or nding odd jobs to do around the house. Use the time to get organized!

2. You’re starting to go crazy, managing remote work, kids schooling, self care, oh, and, right, sleep! Let us help you strategize to get some time back for you.

Use our experience to help guide you to make decisions, give advice, and keep you motivated.

virtual organizing-green keyboard

DECLUTTERING BY PHONE OR VIDEO
Virtual Organizing

Design your own program – a full session, or short check-ins with you as you organize.

remote computer organizing

DIGITAL ORGANIZING
Remote Computer Organizing

Finally get your digital life under control!
Desktop icons, multiple versions of files,
naming conventions, photos, music,
online storage. We can help you get it
sorted!

email decluttering

EMAIL MANAGEMENT
Email Declutter

Zero inbox? More like 45,000 inbox!
We help you get your email under control.

Garage Storage Hacks

Garage Storage Hacks

Garages are notorious for having difficult storage needs due to the variety of items and their very different shapes and sizes. To determine your needs, collect things together that will be kept together. Some categories might be sports equipment, gardening supplies and tools, DIY tools, camping gear. Once you have collected these things together, decide which area of the garage each type of item will live.

read more
How will you change your world this year?

How will you change your world this year?

We have seen this week that what was normal is not okay for many people, black people in particular. I have already written on facebook about the tragedy of George Floyd and many others. A friend shared a picture of our kids protesting the death of Eric Garner 6 years ago. Their sign read “I can’t breathe.”

read more
Overwhelmed to Overjoyed for the Holidays

Overwhelmed to Overjoyed for the Holidays

Plenty of people get stressed around the holidays. Schedules are disrupted, more demands are presented. Parties to go to, gifts to purchase, family to get ready for or to travel to, food to prepare, the list seems to go on and on. And the time to get it all done dwindles faster than it normally...

read more
ID the scope of your organizing project

ID the scope of your organizing project

The first step to any project is clearly identifying the scope of the project. Specifying what your aims are as a closed project will help you to know when it is complete. However, you don't need to drill down into the details as you're outlining your project.    "Getting organized" is not...

read more

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Overwhelmed to Overjoyed for the Holidays

Overwhelmed to Overjoyed for the Holidays

Simple holidays

Plenty of people get stressed around the holidays. Schedules are disrupted, more demands are presented. Parties to go to, gifts to purchase, family to get ready for or to travel to, food to prepare, the list seems to go on and on. And the time to get it all done dwindles faster than it normally seems to. But all the busyness and stress takes away from the spirit of the holidays. There are ways to reclaim that spirit and get back to living a joyous life.

Simple holiday tips

Here are some tips for going from overwhelmed to overjoyed and having a sane and joyous holiday season.

Start planning early

Leaving decisions to the last minute raises blood pressure and might mean shortcuts or compromises will have to be made. Take some time with a notebook, make a mind map, write a list, do some doodling – whatever it takes for you to create your ideal and define it. A vision clearly seen is much easier to bring to life than a foggy, blurry semi-formed idea.

Keep things simple

The spirit of the holidays is what’s important. Connect with family and friends, deepen relationships, find things to be grateful for, laugh about, and enjoy. Take time to do things together. Holidays don’t have to be about getting fancy, they can be about authenticity and being present with each other.

Re-think gifts

Ask people what they want. Maybe you think you have to be clairvoyant to be a good gift giver, but sometimes asking someone is very simple and at least you’ll get them something they want. More than half of all Americans receive at least one unwanted gift during the holidays. Don’t just get the nearest gadget just to cross someone off your gift list. Be thoughtful and consider giving an experience, consumable or give to a charity in the name of someone. 

Say no 

You don’t have to accept ALL the party invites. And you can say no to rich food and excessive alcohol if you know that you won’t feel well the next day. Enjoy yourself at the party, but not at the expense of ruining the next day.

Share the workload

Let all the family members (or friends) help with preparations (or cajole them into it.) Create the festivities with everyone involved. They will feel more of a part of it and it will help to build your relationships through shared effort.

In the end, holidays are to be enjoyed. If you need help getting your home ready for guests, give us a call.

ID the scope of your organizing project

ID the scope of your organizing project

The first step to any project is clearly identifying the scope of the project. Specifying what your aims are as a closed project will help you to know when it is complete. However, you don’t need to drill down into the details as you’re outlining your project. 
 
“Getting organized” is not specific enough. Equally, a list a mile long with specific instructions such as “Create 43 hanging folders, each labelled with 3.5 inch tabs with 20 point Arial font with the following labels… and filing all the loose paperwork into those folders, being sure to purge any utility bills older than…etc” is probably too much detail at the beginning of a project. 
thought bubble
Here’s how to identify the scope of a project. 
 
Choose an area to organize. It can be as small as a drawer in a bed side table, or a shelf in a closet. It could be as big as a whole room. (Again, “organize the whole house and the garage” is a bit too broad). 
 
Imagine how you want the space to be at the end of your project, and make that your goal. You might want to specify that all horizontal surfaces are clear or with a certain number of decorative items remaining, or perhaps that all like objects are together, or that you only want one of each of the types of objects in the space. However you choose to state it, someone else should be able to come into the space and say, “Yes, you’ve done it!”
 
Know what you will do with the items that don’t belong in that space before you start. Dealing with these items should be part of your project – as long as they don’t expand the scope of your project. For example, you might need to move some items to the garage from the room you are organizing. If the new space is organized, then go ahead and put those things away. But if it’s not, it’s okay to put them in a holding place until you can organize them there. (See last week’s blog post about the domino effect.) The point is to come back to the project you started, not to get distracted by another space. 
 
How to start a project when it seems overwhelming

How to start a project when it seems overwhelming

One of the biggest concerns people have when they start an organizing project is where to start. We call it the domino effect.
 
51648948 - row of dominoes in a circle shape on a neutral background
 
There are some clothes in the home office that need to go to the bedroom closet, but the closet is stuffed, so we’d need to make some space in there to put the clothes away. There’s some sporting equipment in the closet that really should go in the garage, but there’s no room in the garage unless we put the bulk supplies in the pantry. But the pantry had a few boxes of paperwork that used to be for current paperwork, but that are now so stuffed that you can’t fit any more paperwork in there and the stuff in the boxes is kind of out of date and could either be recycled or archived in the home office, except there’s no room in the home office unless we take out the extra clothes that should be in the bedroom closet ….
 
It’s like a slide puzzle. And we want to do it with the fewest moves possible. 

pocket sliding fifteen puzzle game isolated on white background. with clipping path

 
Start with making sure you have some space in the room you are working in. So purge (recycle, donate, return, sell) items you know can go. If you need instant gratification to give you some momentum, focus on large items you know you don’t want so you clear the biggest amount of space in a short amount of time. 
 
Stay in one space. Resist the urge to start moving things in other areas. That way your effort will produce the biggest visible return.
 
Once you’ve cleared some space, you can use the space for one category that makes sense in that space. Sometimes that is nothing, and that’s okay. 
 
To extrapolate, to start any overwhelming project, start with a small do-able piece. The start is the most important part. It’s easier to keep up momentum. 

How to make big goals happen

So you’ve got a big goal this year. Congratulations!
 
So, you’re in one of two places.
  1. You’re excited, you’ve already taken some action, things are rolling.
  2. You’re stopped. Suddenly you’re afraid of failing, overwhelmed, don’t know where to start. You’re about to decide that you didn’t really want that big goal anyway.
 
How do you go from being in category 2 into category 1?
 

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