Organizing Tips

Scrapbook Organizing Tips

scrapbook shelf

Many of my clients are stuck in the muck of their scrap booking projects. Scrapbook inertia is a common phenomenon. It often comes from wanting to make your pages perfect or simply not knowing where to begin.

Perhaps you can’t figure out how to (more…)

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Seven Tactics To Create More Time For Fun

Fun

1. Learn to say NO

“Life is a journey, but it is not a race. Do yourself a favor and slow down.” Richard Swenson, MD

  • Don’t volunteer until you take a moment to (more…)
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Storing Seasonal Sports Clothing

Off Season Sports Clothes

Hi Kathi,

Thanks for the great tips on sock organization…. It seems to be working great…but I have a challenging question in regards to seasonal clothing.  My family of four is deep (more…)

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Mommy Tips for Surviving Teenage Schedules

Teens going out

This one is from Maria Bailey of Blue Suit Mom fame and BSM Media. I love it!

If one of her four (God bless her!) teenagers want to go somewhere or do something, they have to answer these questions:

Who are they going with?

What will they do?

How will they get there?

Where will they be?

When will they be home?

Over the years she has had to abridge these rules a bit. Now her teenagers have to write it down on an index card before they ask. If their wish is granted, the card goes on the fridge for the duration of the event. When they call at 9 pm saying they will be late, she no longer has to hear, Mom, I said 10 pm since it is in print!

Another addendum to the rules is, no changes to the agreement once the wheels of the car are in motion. Savvy parenting, go Maria!

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What Items Should I Place in the Different Sizes of Moving Box?

Moving Boxes

I received a question the other day that made me search for more information. You might have wondered this as well so I thought I would ask an expert and answer in detail.

Dear Kathi -I ordered moving boxes and supplies and received three sizes of moving boxes in my moving kit. I am not sure what I should place in each of the different sized boxes?

Professional movers use standard sizes of moving boxes so they can consistently pack specific items into each different size with the goal of providing  the maximum level of protection. Also, professional quality moving boxes are sized to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. These boxes effectively stack on top of each other in a moving truck or a storage unit. The 3.0 fits on top of the 4.5 etc. This helps save you money on the cost of your move, as movers are faster and more efficient.

It is a fact that if you pack your belongings in the right size of moving box, you will have greater protection of your valuables from moving damages.

All Purpose Moving Box-1.5 Cubic- The most important size of moving box is the 1.5 cubic, otherwise known as the All Purpose Moving box.  This size of moving box is actually the smallest of the moving boxes, but it is the one that is recommended by professional movers for most of your belongings.

The reason why this box is so valuable is you can put just about anything in it, fill it to the top and not worry about it becoming too heavy to lift. After all, one book is not heavy on it’s own, but 100 books are.  The great news is with the All purpose moving box, you can put any items that you want inside of the box, fill it to the top, seal it and know your valuables are protected and it isn’t too heavy.
Examples of what to put in the All Purpose Moving Box include: books, cans, photo albums, plates, office supplies, music, small electronics like phones, answering machines, 85% of your home can be packed in this size of moving box. etc.

The Kitchen Moving Box-3.0 Cubic- This size of box is most useful in the kitchen to put large woks, large pots and appliances in like toaster ovens. This size of box can also be used to pack folded clothes.

The Large Pillow Box- 4.5 Cubic- This box is a size that some professional movers chose NOT to recommend to their clients. The reason is that so many people think that bigger is better and they want to pack most of their home in this box. This is a big mistake.

The box will easily become too heavy to lift if you put anything other than very lightweight items like pillows or light plastic toys.  This box is great to have to put pillows is. Other than that, be very careful.

Wardrobe Boxes
This box is wonderful to have on moving day. There is a bar inside of the wardrobe box that is designed to hang clothes inside of. Literally you can take your clothes directly from your closet to your wardrobe box-almost like a portable closet. This saves you time when you are unpacking and you will not have a pile of clothes that have to be ironed after moving day has been completed.

The wardrobe box is more expensive than the others because it is designed to support the heavy load that clothes has on it.

Hope this helps!

Article compliments of Moving Box Delivery:
Kirstie Berzanski, President-Owner

Moving Box Delivery provides recycled moving boxes and moving supplies to help take the stress out of moving and make moving easier and less costly.

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How to Organize Before a Move

Dog in Moving Box

When preparing to move, many folks don’t know where to start. The key is to establish a plan to stay organized leading up to and during the move.

Many people think of moving day as being a “day event,” otherwise known as “moving day.” When in actuality, effective planning of your move should be looked at more like the planning of a wedding. It is an event that requires planning weeks and sometimes months in advance. The more you are able to chunk what is needed to be done into smaller parts, the less overwhelming it will be.

Organizing a move breaks down into 8 major parts.
1. Changing addresses- You will need to contact 20-100 different places to change addresses depending on your stage of life. Create a spreadsheet and list everyone that you will need to contact to change addresses for. You can do this well in advance of your move.

  • DMV
  • Social Security
  • Post office for a forwarding address
  • Friends/family
  • Schools/churches/day cares
  • Bills (Phone, cable, Internet, trash, electric, cell phones)
  • Speciality delivery services like Netflix
  • Doctors
  • Magazines/newspapers
  • Credit cards/banks/estate papers/wills

2. Donating or Recycling Items You No Longer Want
Before you even start to pack, it is advisable to go through your entire home and select which items you want to keep, and which ones you want to donate, throw out or give away. A good rule of thumb, if you have not used it in the last year, you should get rid of it. There is no point to moving items that you no longer want.

In San Diego you can donate to many wonderful charities, one of my favorites being the following:

  • Father Joes Village will come to your house and pick up belongings and donate to several different causes of your choice.

Nationally:

3. Selecting your moving vendors
It is good idea to select and find your moving company 1 month in advance if you have the time. Many moving companies, particularly in the summer, get full booked. Schedule in advance, and then change the date if you need to.

  • Check with your local BBB for the ratings of your moving company. Only go with a moving company that has an A rating and is fully licensed and insured.
  • If you are moving locally, you will save money going with a local company that charges by the hour and who is fast and efficient. When you are paying by the hour, efficiency and experience matters.

4. Start packing early
Order moving boxes on-line to save time and start packing early. Most people create a lot of stress simply by waiting too long to get moving boxes and start packing. Areas that can be packed weeks ahead of time are the following:

  • The garage
  • The bathroom and laundry room (you can not move open cleaning products though)
  • Winters clothes if it is the summer, or summer clothes if it is the winter.
  • Fine silverware
  • holiday decorations
  • anything you will not use for a few weeks

5. Don’t change your routine during the moving process
A big part of organizing effectively during a move is keeping a level head. Make sure that you continue to keep your normal routine of exercise, reading, or soaking in the bath. These moments of relaxation will help you organize in a calm and effective fashion. Many people stop engaging in these activities the month they are moving, which helps increase the stress level.

6. Make Sure to Have Everything packed in moving boxes BEFORE your movers arrive.
Local movers charge by the hour. Therefore, if you are fully packed and ready to be moved, the total cost of your move will be less than if the movers have to wait for you to seal moving boxes or collect loose items off the floor. Time is money when you are moving and you are totally in control.

Happy moving!

Note: My colleague Jerry Berzanski, President of Discount Movers has graciously provided these professional moving tips.

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Leftovers, Fridge Storage and Weight Loss

Fridge

Pre-planning what you eat on a regular basis will save you money and inches off your waistline. The problem that most of us face is that we don’t take, or think we have enough time during the week to eat right. There are a few things that you can do to keep your weight under control and spend less time eating junk food.

Tip One: Eat more leftover meals.To make sure you don’t forget to eat your leftovers designate a shelf where they always be kept, a leftover shelf, so to speak. The best shelf will be the one closest to eye level. When  family members are rooting around for a snack or you need a quick lunch on the go, you will find the tasty leftovers that are ready to provide a quick solution.

If the leftover shelf will be shared with other food items, make sure to keep the containers in the front portion of the shelf. Leftovers that are pushed to the back of the fridge typically never see the light of day until they turn green.

Tip Two: Create organized zones within your fridge and keep them consistent. The best way to create zones for fridge items is to take everything out and begin anew. Begin with a clean slate. Think about the types of before you begin placing items back into the fridge. DO not put things back in automatically until you determine your family’s eating habits.

For instance, should the eggs and butter be kept side by side? Should the marmalade be also in the same vicinity? Some fridge manufacturers have thought these questions through and others have not.

Where items are best stored depends a lot on your lifestyle. For instance, if you rush into the kitchen and dash out the door with barely a piece of toast, you might want to consider placing all items related to breakfast into one area. I like to use large plastic bins for breakfast items. When everything is contained in a bin, it is very easy to pull it out, make toast, grab a yogurt and head out the door.

A bin in the freezer will keep all sticky smoothie fruit bags contained and easily accessed for your morning smoothie ritual. This bin also keeps the sticky fruit residues out of the freezer and off the kitchen countertop.

The same procedure can be used if you eat lunch on the go from home. Keep meats, cheese and condiments all stored together in a plastic bin large enough to hold all related items together.

Tip Three: A great way to simplify your life is to eat alternate between original cooked dinners and leftovers every other night. This practice cuts down on your time in the kitchen and also helps make certain that your leftovers are eaten before they become a science experiment.

Tip Four: Prep-cooking staples rice, beans or meat on Sunday night or while you cook dinner will save you money and time during the week when you cone home too tired to cook. When you are exhausted from a long day these items can be turned into a healthy dinner in a flash.

Don’t feel badly if you don’t get your new fridge zones perfect the first time around. It takes 4-6 weeks of practice before you and your family members will understand where things are stored and where they need to be returned after use. The main idea is to save time, eat better food and have less fattening carryout food in your weekly menu. A little planning will upgrade your food lifestyle and probably also downsize your waistline!

For more fridge storage ideas, watch this NBC News segment.

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Garage Organizing ~ FAQ

Cleaning Garage

Here are a few answers to my most frequently asked questions:

Q) What Tools Do I Need To Organize a Garage?

Gather boxes, in all shapes and sizes along with a box of large trash bags.

Q) When Should I Begin?

The day after trash is emptied if possible.

Q) How Should I Begin?

To begin, remove everything from your garage. I know this sounds intimidating, but this is the only way you will clearly see what you are holding onto.

Start 3 piles outside (more…)

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Five tips for smooth sailing when coming home from a summer holiday

by Maria Connor

The reason people go on vacation is to escape the demands and drudgery of everyday life.  They scrimp and save all year in order to afford a tropical cruise, take the kids to visit Mickey Mouse at Disney World or travel to a foreign country they’ve dreamed about visiting.

People work hard for their break from reality.  They go into work sick so their vacation time isn’t docked.  They forego new clothes or dining out. With all that effort, it’s a shame that coming home can take the bloom off that vacation rose.

Have you been there?  It’s close to midnight and the flight was late/delayed/overbooked.  You have to be in to work by eight the next morning, the kids have school and there isn’t so much as a shriveled apple in the fridge.  In the frantic rush to get back to your routine, the suitcases remain parked in the front hall for a week, and the kids begin recycling their socks.  And you’re already behind on saving for the next vacation because you’ve spent $75 on carry-out this week.

Planning for your homecoming should be given as much consideration as your tour of Yosemite.  With a bit of forethought and a little organization, you can remain relaxed, refreshed and reinvigorated.

Just one more day. Allow at least one day to transition from vacation mode to work mode, recommends Sharon Hayward, owner of The Organized Advantage in La Mesa. Come home a day early or tack an extra day onto your vacation.  This provides time to go through the mail, restock the kitchen, catch up on laundry and read your email.

Thanks, neighbor! Leave a house key with a trusted neighbor.  Ask them to pick up bread and milk the day before you return home so there’s something edible in the house until you can go grocery shopping.

Easy unpacking. Organizational expert Kathi Burns of AddSpace to Your Life! in Leucadia suggests packing a few plastic grocery bags.  When preparing to head home, put the dirty laundry in the plastic sacks so it can be sorted right into the laundry room when you get back.  Burns says it also helps to empty your luggage immediately. Things are more likely to get put away if they aren’t hidden out of sight in the Samsonite.

Leave it like you want to find it. Preparing for vacation requires a lot of energy and effort, but allow time to make sure your house is in order before you leave  Empty the refrigerator of any foods that might spoil.  Take out the trash.  Change the bed linens.  Run the vacuum.  Leaving your house neat and tidy is critical, Burns says.  Coming home can be a letdown after the glamor and regular maid service of most hotels, so make your welcome as comfortable and welcoming as possible.

Odds and ends. Here are a few random tips to consider.

*Freeze a couple of casseroles before you start your vacation.  Dinner will be a cinch until you’re back in the groove.

*Consider traveling Wednesday to Tuesday or returning midweek.  Coming home to a three-day work week is infinitely easier than facing five long days.

*Leave an outfit or two in the closet so you’ll have something clean to wear.  Same goes for underwear, socks and linens.

*Avoid catastrophes.  We live in an area vulnerable to earthquakes, Hayward says, so take a few minutes to shut off the water main and unplug appliances and computers.

Maria Connor is a freelance writer and mother of four in San Diego.  She says there’s no such thing as a vacation for mothers; it’s just doing the same thing is a more exotic location.

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Organizing for College move-in day starts with preparation

College

Sept 3, 2008
By Maria Connor – Featuring tips from Kathi Burns
published in the La Jolla Light

Going away to college is a chance for new grads to savor independence and broaden their experiences, but it’s also a time that requires some adjustment.

“There’s a whole education that goes on for the student outside of the classroom,” said Pat Danylyshyn-Adams, resident dean of John Muir College at UCSD.

Much of that education comes through living away from home. No longer are living quarters called dorms; now they’re residence halls or just plain apartments.

In the past, university officials paired up based on interests.

Now, Danylyshyn-Adams said many colleges have gone to a computerized system, while others allow students to choose their own roommates.

Adjustment period
Most residence halls open to incoming students a few days before classes begin.

“We want you here as early as you can get here,” Danylyshyn-Adams said, adding that it’s usually best if parents help their child move in, take them out for a nice lunch and then hit the road.

“Students are concerned about making friends, belonging. If you have a parent hanging around, that’s really hard for them to do.”

Most rooms provide the basics: bed, closet, desk and chair, chest of drawers and bookshelves. More and more universities are also including hook-ups for cable and Internet.

A pre-move-in visit to the residence hall, if it can be worked out, will give students an idea of how much space is available and if extra supplies – a reading lamp, storage bins, etc.- are needed.

To provide all the comforts of home, many students bring TVs, mini-refrigerators and microwaves.

Communicating beforehand with a new roommate can help to plan who is bringing what and can save some money.

Comfort a good thing
Choosing a few personal items to help students feel comfortable in their new surroundings often helps. Photos, one item from a treasured collection or a handmade quilt will transform the dorm room into their room.

“We want them to be comfortable; we want them to be successful,” Danylyshyn-Adams said.

Overpacking is a common mistake, said professional organizer Kathi Burns of add Space To Your Life!

“(Students) don’t really understand how small a space they have,” she said. “I think a good rule of thumb is to take what you need up to winter break.”

Both Burns and Danylyshyn-Adams recommended that students bring a footlocker or storage bin that can be secured to stow valuables such as computers, jewelry and personal papers.

While a roommate may be trustworthy, his study partners or new friends may not be, Danylyshyn-Adams said.

Avoiding clutter
Staying organized is one of the biggest challenges for many young adults living away from home for the first time, noted Burns.

Providing a daily planner, file folders, a bulletin or message board, and address book with important phone numbers will help students stay on top of their busy schedules.

Frequently overlooked supplies
- printer
- surge protector
- office supplies
- iron or steamer
- alarm clock
- flashlight
- first aid kit
- removable hooks
- sewing kit
- clothes hamper or laundry basket

Maria Connor
To make comments about articles, contact talkback@lajollalight.com.

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