Tag Archives: Organizing

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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What Documents to Keep and What You Can Pitch

Click image to see a larger versionDocuments To Keep and Documents To Pitch for Tax TimeFall Filing Cabinet Fix-Up: What To Keep and What To Pitch via H&R Block

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Best Practices For Organizing Your Garage


Many folks feel that getting their garage in order is an overwhelming project. In fact it can often be too hard to handle in the course of a weekend if left to their own devices and skill set. Quite honestly, this is why Board Certified Professional Organizers keep so very busy!

I would like to inspire you to create room for yours cars in the garage if they are not already living inside. The garage after all, was designed for your cars which are typically worth tens of thousands of dollars. Automobiles and vehicles are one of the largest investments we make, falling right behind the investment in our homes. In the past 12 years as a pro organizer, I have found that the value of my clients cars always outweigh the value of whatever is currently in their garage and blocking safe passage for the cars.

Here is what my client had to say about getting her garage organized and orderly!


To help you get inspired to get going, here is the real life case study from this client project:

Situation: The garage had become a holding zone for household items and memories. These items were not properly contained or stored and took up way too much space.


The garage had a built in work table that had turned in to a dump zone – does that sound familiar to anyone out there?

Also – all of my client’s signs, which were vital to his business, were scattered around the garage, getting bent and beat up but most importantly were not easily accessed on the fly.

Three bicycles were absorbing a large amount of the usable floor space.

The only vehicle that could fit into the garage was the BMW motorcycle. Two brand new cars had never been inside the garage and the cars they replaced had not seen the inside of the garage for over 3 years!

Solution: We purged the unnecessary and then organized the remaining objects into plastic containers. I then created zones for holiday, sports, business, gardening, auto detailing and big box overflow of household items.


We scheduled a hazardous waste pick up for the old cans of paint, and chemicals. By the way, the City of Carlsbad will pick up hazardous chemicals for only $10. Most cities offer this service – check with your waste disposal company.

I advised my clients to get rid of the free-standing old-fashioned workbench that had been inherited and move the saw onto the remaining built-in workbench. This allowed us to move the tool chest from the back wall next to the workbench – makes sense right?

bike in garage

We hung the bicycles from the ceiling which enabled us to move the motorcycle safely into the back corner.

Eliot signs 2 - Version 2

Once the back wall was cleared, we were able to set up a zone for the realtor signs and hang them off the ground for safe-keeping.

Results: My client just texted me that he sold the old workbench for $150 – Yay!

The workbench is set up for sawing, drilling and general handyman projects.

A friend was thrilled to pick up the no longer used automobile restoration materials.

After left wall

The zones are set up and easily maintainable for holiday decor, sporting equipment and more.

After full view

The work bench is ready and open for household projects!

workbench cleaned

Two cars, one motorcycle and three bicycles are now safely living in their garage!

cars in garage

If you are a ‘do it yourself’ type and want detailed instructions to get your entire home organized from the front door to the back, check out my online training course – Home Organizing Made Simple.

I have to add this side note: If you or anyone you know is getting ready to buy or sell a house in the San Diego area – reach out to Eliot Rachman at 760 828 4474. He is amazing! He has helped several of my clients sell and buy their perfect homes and has been in the top 1/2 percent of all Century 21 Real Estate Advisors worldwide for the past 5 years. He is a true professional and always does the right thing for his clients!


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10 Lifestyle Guidelines for Trimming Down Your Clutter

1. If you are looking for something and you are unable to find it immediately, unclutter the area surrounding that object as soon as possible.

2. Ask your family or housemates to help you declutter and rearrange your home in a more organized fashion. The more buy-ins you have from others using your space, the easier it will be to maintain your new systems!

3. If you can no longer see the surface on your counters or tabletop, it’s time to clean up your act and ditch the muck!

4. Set up a particular area for the items that you use daily – install hooks to serve as key holders, a bin for magazines, etc.

5. Make it a habit to clean up and stow random objects from your living room before you go bed each night.

6. Be uncompromising. Throw out papers, such as newspapers, magazines and useless mail every week.

7. Create a list of household essentials and hang it on the inside of your pantry door. Checkmark the items when you run out. This will let you see at a glance what you have on hand and what you need to restock during the next shopping expedition.

8. Set a regular schedule to rid the house of unnecessary objects such as dead batteries, dried-up pens, burnt out lightbulbs and other garbage. Make it a point to find the locations nearby your home that recycle those items.

9. Do not be sentimental on things! Donate or trash items if you are no longer using them.

10. Set up a donation box somewhere in your home where it can live permanently. Place it in an easily accesible location and add to it every time you run across something that you no longer need, love or use.

Find your closest donation facility and go there every month to empty your box. Getting rid of at least one box per month will make a big difference in your lifestyle!

According the the US Soap and Laundry Association, clearing your clutter will save you 42% more time cleaning your house. How’s that for a bit of motivation?

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Daily tip #8: Internal conflict creates external clutter

Sometimes clutter can be an indicator that the person wants to retreat from the world or even a relationship. After all, if the house is too cluttered, friends cannot come to visit.

If the person who is in charge of cleaning the house lets it go, perhaps they are hoping that the person they share the house with will go as well.

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Daily tip #7: Let go of the past

Here is another ‘clutter versus change’ scenario to ponder. Sometimes people hold onto possessions they no longer use because it reminds them of times gone by when they were in a happier state of mind or life circumstance.

I have noticed that when my clients are surrounded with objects from the past, they have a hard time being in the present moment. This makes it difficult for them to be open and spontaneous to creating new and happy experiences.

The more clutter you have, the less you are able to be in the present moment and grab the good times as they happen.

Here’s a bonus to get you moving towards a clutter free home. Did you know that simply getting rid of clutter in your home can save you 40% of your cleaning time?

Click here for more information on how being organized and ditching old items can make you healthier…

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Daily tip #5: Confront the cause of your clutter.

There are many hidden reasons why people have cluttered surroundings. It could be that they are avoiding something, and I don’t necessarily mean housework!

Bills and statements could be piling up because they don’t want to confront their financial woes.

Many people have the idea that if they do get on top of their bills once and for all, they will see how dire their financial situation really is. The good news is that when you organize your finances, you are two steps closer to taking control and avoiding late fees and rebuilding a potentially poor credit rating.

Click here for more tips on organizing your finances…

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Daily tip #4: Stop paper clutter from entering your home

Here’s a staggering statistic: The average disorganized home contains over 3000 documents. Papers often enter your home without effort. Come rain or sleet or hail or shine, the mailman always delivers. Maybe this is the year that you should unsubscribe from all of those pesky mailing lists, unread magazine subscriptions or perhaps even sign up for paperless online bill paying.

Click here to read more…

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Daily tip #3: Switch to Online Banking and Turn off the Paper

Here’s tip #3 for 2015. Ditch the paper bills and take advantage of online access to your banking information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- no mailing or filing necessary!

If you have been meaning to convert to online banking, make it a priority this month. You will save boatloads of time and money by taking control of your finances and becoming proactive with your bank account!

While you are at it, turn off the related paper bills. Save the trees and save your clutter! If you do implement online banking, make sure to download and save your financial statements onto your computer hard drive or onto some type of cloud software like Dropbox so that you can access it years later if necessary.

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Planning and Organizing a New Years Party

Dear Kathi,

I am planning a party this New Year and would like to hear some suggestions on how to prepare ahead. I hate being bogged down at the last minute. Thanks for your help.

Glenn, San Marcos


You can make your last day of the year fantastic by preparing for your party days in advance.

Stock up on all your party snacks and drinks several days ahead of time. You don’t have to worry about cooking; most items can be store bought.
Light snacks, cocktails, or finger foods are the way to go on New Year’s Eve, as opposed to a sit-down dinner. This will give people the opportunity to mingle with others, without restricting them the dinner table.
Arrange all your food onto platters the day before and then cover them with aluminum foil and place them in the fridge until party time.

Make sure you have a nice selection of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Have hot coffee on hand for those guests who are the designated drivers. Explore the transportation options ahead of time and compile a list of transportation phone numbers. Hang this list by your front door.

Include plenty of ice (at least a pound per person), glasses (at least two per person or you’ll be washing glasses all night), cocktail napkins, and backups of everything (hidden in the kitchen or under the bar)
Because this is typically considered the biggest party of the year, it wouldn’t hurt to have ibuprofen and aspirin on the food table to take care of all those “Oh, my aching head” complaints. Tums wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

If there’s ever a night for champagne, this is it. Make sure you have some bubbly to cork open when the clock strikes twelve. Also, make sure to have champagne flutes, or at least wine glasses handy.
Arrange to rent a large screen television at least one week in advance.
(if you don’t have one) to show the Times Square New Years Ball drop.

Decorate your home with streamers in black, white and silver the day before the party. Order balloons in advance from the local party supply store and pick them up the morning of your party along with the extra ice you will need. Other party favors to consider are; party hats, confetti, horns, noisemakers, and tiaras.

Organize a buffet table the night before, and arrange cutlery, plates, and cups on the table leaving space for the food platters. Use paper cups, plates, and plastic cutlery to avoid things from breaking and to avoid having to do the dishes the morning-after.
Select the music you will play a few days in advance of your party and program it into your system or burn a few CD’s. Your play list should include dance, dance, and more dance, and some slow music for when things get mellow.

A really cool thing to do during your party is to ask each friend to write a letter that describes his or her personal wish for the coming year and seal it in a self-addressed envelope. Write this task into your schedule now and store these cards with your holiday decorations. Next year they will magically appear at the right time and ready to mail! Then surprise your friends by mailing the letters the next Christmas or New Year’s.
This special treat only requires a few envelopes, paper and pens gathered in advance and grouped into a basket. Many of your friends will meet or exceed their goals next year and you will be amazed at the many thank-you calls and stories that come back to you from the letters!
You want to be jolly and jubilant when guests arrive, so plan your prep time and menu around your available time and budget. Relax and realize that even if you serve Mexican take-out, your guests will know they’re part of something memorable.

Have a great New Year’s, party like it’s 1999, and remember, don’t let others drive home drunk.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com

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