Tag Archives: Organizing

Helping Kids Learn Organizing Skills is a Worthwhile Endeavor

Helping Kids Learn Organizing Skills is a Worthwhile Endeavor

One of my readers seems to be at her wits end trying to keep her son from tossing everything on the floor. She was so tired of the constant chaos that she wrote to me for help. This is her situation and my recommendations:

Dear Kathi,

I am a subscriber to Add Space to Your Life and enjoy reading and seeing people’s lives change by simply getting organized.

Well, my question involves my son.  He is 8.5 years old and is the most disorganized child I’ve ever known, he keeps everything and most of it gets left on the floor or stuffed in a drawer.  It drives me crazy and I need some suggestions. 

He has school papers, books, toys, art/craft items, etc.

What we have in place (more…)

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Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Your Home

Tips for Decluttering Your Life and Your Home

I recently received a question from an addSpace follower. I am certain that many of you also have a similar concern so I wanted to go into detail and provide practical steps to help you declutter your life. This is what she asked:

What questions can I ask myself as I sort through boxes of “stuff” in order to get rid of most of it?

The answer:

For starters, if these boxes have been packed and loaded for a long period of time (over 3 months), before you open them you need to ask yourself – “what exactly is in there?

If you don’t have a (more…)

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Organizing time for the holidays


Time is our most precious resource. We all have the same amount and although it can never be replaced, it can be optimized. During this busy holiday season it is especially important that you prioritize your list of tasks at the beginning of each week and also each day.

Begin by recognizing your daily energy peaks and surges. Use your biological rhythms to your advantage. Identify the times of day when your energy levels are high and schedule your most important tasks at those times. For example, if you don’t function well in the morning, plan your brain-intensive activities for late afternoon and use the morning for errands or follow-up phone calls. After you determine your most productive hours, you can begin to tackle your scheduling issues.

To accomplish more each day, never do errands on impulse. Plan your routes carefully, handling as many errands as possible each time. The sequence in which you perform tasks on an everyday basis has a profound effect on how much you accomplish in life.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every minute that you spend planning your day will save you three – five minutes later. I Minute Planning = 3-5 Minutes Extra! Abraham Lincoln stated that every one hour of preparation saved him three hours of perspiration. Are you ready to change your habits to have more free time?

The very act of taking a moment to think about your time before you begin your day will improve your time management skills dramatically. Take for instance, you need to run several errands and make several stops today. If you think before you drive and consolidate your trip into zones, you will save gas, time and money. You can cross off each errand on a well-thought out route planned to avoid traffic and back-tracking.

Chunking tasks into similar activities will also help you optimize your schedule. Double up on certain tasks. Do small tasks simultaneously, such as sorting through mail while you are talking on the phone or answering emails while eating lunch.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to do everything on your list. As you go about your day, you might decide to push a low priority item onto a future day’s schedule. Timelines will also reposition activities of lower priority to activities of higher priority as you near deadlines.

Diligence and flexibility will help you reshuffle your priorities as necessary. The best schedule is one that is fluid and able to seize the golden opportunities as they present themselves.

These tips will help cross off everything on your list quickly and still give you time to relax and enjoy the holidays! Kathi is a Professional Organizer, image Consultant based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com

San Diego Professional Organizer

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Organizing Your Pet’s Clutter

Cat with Toys

Ok,  I already know that Fido has too many toys and does not spend his free time keeping his stuff organized. I know this because (more…)

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Seven Tactics To Create More Time For 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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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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The Keys to Designing a Functional Kitchen

Functional Kitchen

Today, kitchens are the focal point of many homes and account for a fair percentage of the total square footage in any new home. Planning a kitchen for optimal workflow will enable you to get the most out of your space. What you do most in your kitchen will determine the focus, but there are a (more…)

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Deep Bathroom Shelves Can Become a Black Hole

Bathroom Shelves


I have a challenge for you:
I have built-in shelving in my bathroom.  It is behind the door and goes from the floor to the ceiling.  Only thing is, they are very, very deep.  The dimensions are 15″ wide x 23″ tall x 35″ deep.  There are 4 shelves.

We would like to organize this space with all of our bathroom stuff (towels, hair stuff, lotions, shaving, bath toys, etc.).  How in the world do we do this?

I had considered just buying some pretty wicker baskets to make it pretty, but still, our stuff would just be thrown into each basket without any order.

Dear Help,

You are so lucky to have floor to ceiling built in cabinets in your bathroom. The only real challenge as I see it is that the cabinets are deep and probably act as a black hole with minimal effort.

Here is what you do to keep items form disappearing into the deep recesses:

Separate and organize all items by type of use. Your categories might include toiletries, bathing, makeup, towels, medicine etc.

Segregate each collection into containers.

Towels might be able to fit into large plastic bins that will act as drawers that you can pull in and out of the shelf as needed.

Bottles can swirl joyously on a very large (perhaps 24”) lazy susan

Bath toys can be hung in a hammock within the shower area or relegated again to another plastic bin of appropriate size.

Smaller items can be separated and stored in plastic Sterilite drawers

The items that are rarely used wil be tucked into the back of each shelf in separate bins so you can pull them out as needed after you pull out the items in front.

Consider your frequency of use for each ‘type’ of item

This will determine which items are stored at eye level and which are stored below or in the back of the shelf behind other more important categories.

I am assuming that you have already purged and donated the excess items that you no longer need or use. By the way, for all readers, women’s shelters and shelters of all kinds absolutely LOVE the small travel and sample bottles of shampoos and soaps that we bring back from our hotel stays. Please donate these to your local shelters; they are a valuable commodity to these organizations!

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Top Ten Tips for Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet

Medicine Cabinet

Have you or someone in your family ever felt that “cold coming on,” late at night and all the medicine cabinet had was old, half-empty, probably expired medicine? Does the tiny area of the medicine cabinet seem like a hunt in a deep forest when looking for something in particular? Managing prescriptions, first aid, supplements, and cough medicine is important. Getting things organized can help you minimize the frustration of hunting for “those pills” or “that medicine.”

Here are ten medicine cabinet organization tips, in no particular order, that can help resolve some unhealthy chaos. (more…)

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Organizing a Study Space in Your Child’s Room

Study Area

A child’s room often needs to serve as both a play area and a study area. It is important to be able to organize so that the space is functional and clutter free. Here are some tips on how you can create a space in your child’s room that will give it a dual purpose without hassle. (more…)

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