Garage Playroom Before & After

Garage Before Garage Before

Before: Can you believe 2 little boys can make this much of a mess? Of course you can. These boys had too many toys and they were taking over the garage.


Garage After

After: We needed to create zones to keep the toys and other garage essentials contained. Our zones were: music, bikes and vehicles, working out, lego/trains, and outside toys/sports equipment.

Garage After

We laid down foam squares to mark the lego/train zone and keep it contained. We created 2 bins with each boys’ name for the toys that they don’t share so they are each responsible for their own toys.

We lined up all of the bicycles and vehicles in the front so they can be easily taken outside. We put all of the workout equipment together.

Garage After

In the corner, we set up the drum set and other music equipment from both the garage and other areas of the house. Now all of the music making happens in the garage, and not in the house.

We also corralled all of the balls, bats, etc into a floating basket on wheels which could be wheeled outside to the basketball hoop or yard for sports.

Garage After

Toys are now contained in bins. Nerf guns and their ammo are housed together in a cabinet. The many small parts that we came across were separated out, and we asked the boys what they went to and which were worth keeping.

Anything that did not fit into the zones was put away in another part of the house. Once the rest of the house is organized, there shouldn’t be any temptation to stash things in the garage that don’t belong.

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Recycling Old Paint Just Got Easier!



The days of opening up your old cans of paint and waiting months for them to dry out before you can toss them into the trash is over. There is a new solution in town ~ Paint Care!

Here’s the skinny, taken directly from their website”

PaintCare, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was created by the American Coatings Association (ACA), who, working with state and local government stakeholders, passed the first paint stewardship law in the United States in the state of Oregon in 2009. This legislation provided for a pilot program for an industry-led program to manage postconsumer (leftover) paint. The program in Oregon was made permanent in June 2013.

PaintCare has also set up programs in California and Connecticut and is planning programs for four other states that have passed similar legislation: Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota and Maine. We expect similar legislation to be introduced in several other states in the next few years.

Prior to PaintCare, the best options for residents to recycle or dispose of unwanted paint were government-run household hazardous waste (HHW) facilities and special one-day “round-up” events with limited days, hours and locations. In states with PaintCare, many new paint drop-off locations are established, mostly at paint retailers who volunteer to take back paint. These retailers take back paint during regular business hours making paint recycling and disposal much more convenient for the public.

In parts of the U.S. that previously instructed people to dry out old latex paint and put it in the trash, we now encourage people to take it to a PaintCare drop-off site so we can sort it and recycle more paint. Post-consumer paint can be collected for reuse, recycling, energy recovery, or safe disposal, but doing so requires public awareness and a convenient and effective infrastructure that exceeds local government budgets and capacity in many parts of the United States.

Click here to find your closest donation station.

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A Messy Pantry Gets Organized

Pantry Before

Before:  A mother asked for our help when she became fed up with her disorganized pantry. Her 3 kids would make a mess every time they went in there, so we needed to develop a system that everyone would understand and follow.


Pantry After

After:  We created zones and made better use of the can stacking device and lazy susan that were underutilized in the space. The can stacking device, which was pushed in the back of the pantry is now front and center. The lazy susan is in the back corner housing sauces and other liquids, and a quick spin keeps anything from getting lost in the corner.

Pantry After

We also moved all of the kids’ favorite foods to 2 shelves that they can easily reach. The kids’ section is in the back of the pantry rather than right by the door so that if they do make a mess, the rest of the pantry is still accessible. We containerized the kids’ snacks, bread, and sandwich ingredients in clear plastic double shoeboxes. We also put cereal into tall, clear plastic containers. This eliminated stale, unsealed cereal bags and empty boxes from going back on the shelf.

Pantry After

The shelves near the entry of the pantry are now used for Dad’s supplements and bars as well as canned and dry goods that the kids don’t use.

We also made a zone for baking items like sprinkles, food coloring, etc and those are now in a lidded container behind the more often used items, to be pulled out when needed.

Pantry After

We containerized medicines, separated by type so they can easily be found when needed. We also made room for sodas which use to live outside the pantry.  We made sure to keep them in a plastic container as they had leaked in the past.

Finally, we labeled all containers so there is no question as to where things belong. This is a very important step when you need everyone in the family to work together to keep an area organized!

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Death By Clutter: Sometimes Your Mess Can Kill You

We’re all guilty of amassing clutter in some form. Whether it’s a stack of magazines that you keep meaning to read, a smattering of clothing that you haven’t got around to hanging up, or your collection of tchotchkes that do nothing but sit and look pretty while collecting dust. For the most part, our clutter is manageable.

But what happens when these seemingly innocuous piles of stuff multiply, joining other supposedly benign piles until they form one continuous mountain of trash? If you are sharing your home with a Mount Vesuvius of things and find it impossible to part with them, you are likely a hoarder.

What is a hoarder?

A hoarder is an individual who accumulates and retains objects or animals in excess. These possessions begin to interfere with the hoarder’s ability to function in their family, employment, and social roles.

What does a hoarder’s home look like?

If any of the following statements describe your home, your hoarding problem is out of control and poses a danger to everyone who lives there.

-  Your home does not have a pathway throughout the house that is at least three feet wide.

-  You do not have safe access to all rooms in the house.

-  Your floor joists have been strained by the piles of stuff that they have been bearing.

-  You have windows or doors that are blocked off by possessions.

Why is hoarding dangerous?

Falls. Hoarders run a high risk of tripping over stray clutter or setting off an avalanche of falling items within their home.

Pathogens. Dust, dirt, insects, rodents and rodent feces, are more plentiful in the homes of hoarders–all of which can lead to respiratory illness, skin conditions, and various diseases.

Stress. Hoarders live in a constant state of chaos, which is extremely stressful. They run the risk of withdrawing, becoming anti-social, or suffering from acute depression. Relationships suffer as family members and friends find it more and more difficult to cope. Hoarding parents also run the risk of having their children removed from the home.

Collapse. The weight of stacked magazines and newspapers and other assorted hoarded items can compromise the integrity of the home, itself, leading to sagging or collapsed floors.

Fire. If fire should break out, hoarders often find themselves trapped. Due to the overwhelming amount of combustibles present, flames tend to spread quickly. That coupled with the fact that passageways and doors are often blocked, equates to disaster for anyone within the home.

Sadly, hoarding stories with tragic endings are becoming more common. In November of 2013, a fifty-five-year-old New Hampshire man succumbed to smoke inhalation when neighbors and first responders were unable to make their way into the home. The doors were blocked by clutter.

On December 5, 2013, an elderly London couple were found dead in each other’s arms after a blaze whipped through their home. A tea light candle ignited the fire, and due to the enormous volume of contents within the home, the flames spread very quickly.

In August of 2010, a Las Vegas woman was discovered buried beneath a pile of refuse in her home. The woman had been reported missing by her husband four months earlier. Police and sniffer dogs had searched the home several times prior to the discovery of her body, but due to the extreme odor within the home, they were unable to pick up her scent. Her husband came across her body when he was cleaning out a back room that he referred to as her “rabbit hole.”

Yes, clutter can sneak up on you and take over your life. If you fear that your clutter is getting out of control, you need to take action immediately. Start clearing “things” out of your life and if the job seems too big to tackle, contact a local health professional.

What tips do you have for de-clutting a home?

Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. She is a social media addict who has written a barrage of stories on social media marketing, blogging tips, and online technology degrees. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

Image courtesy of

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Too Many Things to Do! Your Brain in Overload

Clutter can take the form of too many things to do with too little time. Clear your schedule by removing the things that are not your biggest priority. Focus on the 3 things that will really move you toward your BIG goals. Try it – you will feel a huge sense of satisfaction and much less frustration!

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Top 10 Things Clients Say When Getting Organized!

I love this list. It was sent to me from a fellow professional organizer in the bay area. It seems we all hear the same things! Do any of these sound familiar to you?

1. Oooooo! THAT’S where that is!

2. Is this the worst you’ve ever seen?

3. I thought I’d lost that! Now I have two. Can’t believe I bought another when it was right here the whole time.

4. *Gasp!* Where did you find that? I’ve been looking EVERYWHERE for that!

5. Why didn’t I do this earlier?

6. While going through Memorabilia: “Awwww! I had forgotten all about that [vacation, trip, hike, etc.]”

7. I can’t believe I still have this!

8. That’s not even mine!

9. Why in the world do I own this? No body wants this–not even me.

10. What in the world IS that? I don’t even know what that is!


Reproduced from and courtesy of Kiera Rain    Bay Area Professional Organizer


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Myth #12 About Clutter and Getting Organized

Myth # 12

I am a hoarder

Just because you have too much stuff does not make you a hoarder. Less than 10% of all people are hoarders. Hoarding is a diagnosable mental disease. It is most likely that you probably simply have too much stuff. If you have more than most people that you know and have a few hoarding tendencies, it is probably because the circumstances in your life have invited one or more of clutter’s best friends to visit you: death, disease, divorce or depression, it is likely that you are not an actual hoarder. If you still feel like you truly are a hoarder, get yourself checked out by a medical professional.

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Myth #11 About Clutter and Getting Organized

Myth #11

If there is open space in my closet, desk or drawer, I should fill it up with something.

Some people cannot stand having any surface open. If it is empty, they want to immediately fill it up.

It is a great exercise to have at least one area in your home that has absolutely nothing in or on it. Not only is it good feng shui which creates a vacuum for good things to enter, it helps you realize that most possessions require a lot of time cleaning and maintaining. Dusting off an empty shelf takes about two seconds. Dusting a shelf full of trophies can take over 10 minutes! What is more valuable – your time or your possessions? This is absolutely your choice and whether you realize it or not, you do choose every time you bring something new into your home.

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Myth #10 About Clutter and Getting Organized

Myth #10

I might really need this some day

One of my clients came up with a brilliant idea all on her own. She now stores the things she might need in her own personal store! She practices going in and out of Target and Costco without making one single purchase. Her ‘not buying’ muscle is now as strong as her ‘letting go’ muscle. She knows that if she truly does need something later, it is a short car ride away!

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Myth #9 About Clutter and Getting Organized

Myth #9

I need to keep this in order to remember what fun we had that trip!

Your memory will not disappear when the item leaves your possession. Even if you do develop alzheimer’s, which is an argument I commonly hear, with no disrespect, the item won’t help you remember it any better!

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