Monday, January 25, 2010

2nd Chance

I have spent many hours in the month of January down at the Alexandria ReStore and I've gotten to see first hand the many great items that have been donated from individuals, stores and contractors, that are no longer needed. I have also seen ReStore shoppers who see these same items as a great new addition to a room in their home. They are giving these used items a 2nd chance and the ReStore benefits by raising money for the NOVA Habitat for Humanity Building projects.

For the Wellness/Organizing Event held at the ReStore this past Saturday I put together a family room using their furniture, and then I brought in new storage pieces and accessories. I got a chuckle, while I was putting it together, because several shoppers were wanting to buy both the "old" furniture and the "new" accessories. As an organizer, I wanted people to see the multi-functionality of the pieces I had selected and see how adding some proper storage could make them function better. For the ReStore, I wanted to highlight what I viewed as being great pieces of furniture.

I am so pleased that the ReStore had great sales on Saturday and raised money from the event raffle. It was a great opportunity for me to talk with people who came to the event, and the other wellness professionals about the connection between getting organized and being healthy. Disorganization can increase stress and worry and adversely impact a person's health. Additionally, disorganization can contribute to financial stress by incurring late fees on bills not paid on time, making duplicate purchases and over buying.

A lot of what I do for clients is help them figure out what they no longer need in their space and if the items are in good condition, it is an opportunity to donate the items to a charity. This is the ultimate in recycling and repurposing when items are given a 2nd chance.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Do I Get Organized?

The first step to getting organized is knowing why you want to get organized and knowing what you want. I always ask my new clients many questions to get them thinking about their motivation and goals for the specific area they want organized. Some of the questions center around what they do in the room, and then we figure out what items are needed in the room to support those functions. Next we figure out how the existing storage needs to be modified to store the items, so that the room looks neat and uncluttered.

Once you know your motivations you are ready for the 2nd step - modifying existing storage and identifying all of the possible storage options in the room, some obvious, and others not so obvious. Many times it takes a fresh pair of eyes to see that shelves, drawers, etc are not being utilized to the fullest. Freeing up space in existing storage is very important and hopefully identifying additional underutilized storage, is a critical component for success.

Then the not so easy part starts...the sorting and purging. I recommend starting around the perimeter of the room or divide the room in quarters and focus just on one quarter of the room. Everything out in the open should be dealt with first, then move inward. Have 3 main categories 1. trash 2. donate 3. keep. Set a timer for 30 minutes and go at it. Don't leave the room to move items that you think belong elsewhere in the house, just put them in the keep pile. Move the items that belong elsewhere in the house at the end of your sorting and purging adventure.

Once you finish sorting/purging the first section of the room, move the trash and donate bags as they are probably full (please say they are) and get new bags to tackle the next section. If you have scheduled a charity pick-up place the donate bag(s) by your front door and if not, do so anyway so you will have a visual reminder to call or drop them by a charity. Continue on if you can and you may need to reset the timer. The timer helps hold you to task and makes you move along quicker making decisions of what to donate and what to keep.

Once the room is sorted and purged the fun part starts of putting your room back together. Some helpful organizing principals are:

  • Every item should have a home
  • Put like items together
  • Place items where you use them most
  • Put frequently used items at eye level & in prime space
  • Group small like items and if necessary put into containers and label
  • Organizing is an on-going process
  • Remember the 80/20 rule - we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time; kids play with 20% of their toys 80% of the time; & 80% of what we file, we will never touch again
More to come....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting Organized in the New Year

January is the month that the National Association of Professional Organizers designates as "Get Organized Month". Most family/women's magazines feature a clutter buster or organization article since they realize most people have the innate desire to start the year fresh, organized and positioned to feel balanced.

As each year passes, I realize first hand, and through my clients, how getting organized can help us meet our New Year goals. Many of us have getting organized as a specific New Year's resolution, but really getting organized is the foundation to support whatever goals we have set for ourselves for 2010. I think the process of getting organized innately goes with our desire to have control, to get things in order and in its place before the onslaught of our busy year hits us.

The retail stores frame getting organized with buying the right organizing products or closet system. Though the right storage is important, there is a huge process a person has to go through to get organized. In my blogs in January I will focus on different aspects of getting organized.

Meanwhile, mark your calendars to come out to the Alexandria ReStore on January 23rd for the organizing/wellness event that Simplify for Life is co-sponsoring.