Tag Archives: summer

Garage organization

Dear Kathi,

We are really motivated to clean out our garage this summer. We want to play ping-pong during our Labor Day party. To do this, we need to put the garage in order. This is the largest part of the preparation for our party. It is piled high with boxes, tools and old toys.
I’m not even sure where to begin. What guidelines do you advise for this huge task?

Suzi and Kevin, Oceanside

Suzi,

Gather boxes, in all shapes and sizes along with a box of large trash bags. It helps to start this project the day after trash is emptied if possible.

Hire an expert or get a team of people to work on this project. Without a good support system, it could turn into an overwhelming task that will be abandoned part way through. While friends and family may be willing to help, be sure you have a plan in place to direct the process from start to finish.

Consider what categories of items you want to store in your garage. Does luggage really have to live there, or can it live in the attic or an indoor closet? Do you have a shed? Maybe your paints and chemicals could live there instead of the garage. Items that are typically housed in the garage are tools, gardening supplies, recycling bins, bicycles, sports equipment, camping gear, automotive supplies and seasonal décor.

Once you have determined what categories of items will “live” in your garage, begin pulling everything out of your garage, and grouping into these categories in the driveway. Use a lot of boxes during this process. Relegate loose objects to small boxes within each grouping.

Purge any excess, broken, or unnecessary items. Reconsider, donate or trash items that do not fit your categories. If you discover random parts or singular items that you need to keep, group and store them with the closest similar category. If this is too much of a memory stretch, store them in a visible place so you will remember you have them.
Once items have been consolidated like with like, you are ready to begin planning where each category should live within your garage.

Determine where you want each type of item to live by frequency of use and available space. Parking is probably your most frequent garage activity. Make certain that the area around your car is open and easy to get in and out of the car and the garage.

The recycling bin can live near the inside door to your home for quick access. Tools should live near the workbench, shovels by the fertilizers and so on. Shelves at eye level should hold the most frequently used items. A large shelf near the inside door is a great location for the extra rolls of toilet paper from the last warehouse purchase.

Plan for an entire weekend. Set aside enough time to work on your project. Back-to-back days are recommended so items that are being sorted do not have to sit outside in piles for long. Plan for an entire weekend unless you are working with a Professional Organizer. A seasoned professional will usually reduce your time by half because they have been through this drill many times.

After your garage is put back into order, commit to a regular schedule of maintenance. Promptly put things away after using them and schedule a couple of hours of maintenance every season. Follow this strategy and your next Labor Day party will be a breeze!
You can read more specific advice about garage “zones” in an article published in The Coast News by visiting http://www.addspacetoyourlife.com/advice04_01_05.html

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com
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San Diego Professional Organizer

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Great Colors to Wear for Winter and Summer Skin Tones

Winter and Summer complexions are both cool skin tones with a blue base. These ‘seasons’ so to speak are helpful when determining what clothing to buy and what to wear.

Both of these seasons are best served by wearing cooler or more blue based colors.

Summers differ from winter complexions in that they are a bit softer. Winters will have a large contrast between their skin, hair and eyes where summers will bled more gently together. Because summers are themselves of softer tones, they look best in blended colors, not with dramatic variations. Wearing strong contrasted colors will make them appear overpowered and tired.

Winter complexions are usually more dramatic with a strong contrast between skin, hair and eyes. The combination of black hair, pale skin and blue eyes. is a typical indicator of a ‘winter’ complexion. A strong pairing of contrasting colors will enliven and accent the already intense look of a winter.

Taking notice of the colors in nature during each of these seasons also helps you determine which colors correspond with your tonality. Take for instance the stark contrast of crisp white winter snow and the deep red of a poinsettia.

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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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