Four Simple Reasons to Give the Gift of an Experience

 1. Save Money

Giving experiences does not have to cost a lot of money or put you into debt.  An experience can be as simple as an afternoon in the park, inviting someone into your house for a homemade dinner or going for a hike together.  No one wants you to go broke purchasing material gifts for them.

2. Make Memories

The memories created when you spend time one-on-one with friends or family are kept forever. The anticipation alone of an experience can bring much more joy than a material gift. They are not tangible like a bottle of wine or a set of decorative towels that will soon be used up or packed away into storage.

3. Quality Time

Time with a loved one brings you closer and allows you to focus on the relationship you hold dear.  Friendship is spending time together listening, learning and helping.  Memberships, lessons and outings together are great quality time.

4. Less Stuff

Material gifts soon find their way into storage or are left to feel more like clutter.  Toys are left on the floor to be tripped over and pieces lost. Eventually, a material gift can add stress and burden to the recipient.

Still not sold on the idea of giving an experience instead of a material gift?

Start slow.  Consider a fun photo frame to give with the experience so a photo of them enjoying the experience can be placed in the frame. Create a memory book of the past year’s activities, outings and experiences. Give a puzzle or game that you can play with your friends and family.  These options still give you the opportunity to spend time and create memories together.

Have fun and enjoy making memories.  If organizing and planning are overwhelming, a professional organizer can help.  See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey.  Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.

Steps to Refresh Wardrobe for the Cooler Season

The cool weather is here and it is time to organize your fall and winter wardrobe.  Here are some basic steps for refreshing your wardrobe for the cool seasons ahead.

1. Pack Away Summer Items

Fall Wardrobe OrganizingTake all spring and summer items out of your closet and dresser. Have all your items cleaned before placing them in storage. Moths love food remains and sweet smelling scents. Use storage containers that will allow air to flow. You don’t want to trap any moisture into the fabrics by sealing up your clothing in plastic bags and containers. Store the clothing and shoes away from your fall and winter shoes and clothing. Storage areas could be an extra closet, basement, attic, or simply in the back of your closet.

2. Organize Fall and Winter Items

All fall, winter and year-round items should be pulled out of your dressers and closets. You will want to sort items into categories; piles of pants, tops, sweaters, shoes, scarves, etc. Take some time to assess what pieces serve you well, what pieces can be removed and what pieces should be replaced. Before returning the items to your closet and dresser, neatly fold and hang them. If any items need cleaning, take care of this so your wardrobe is clean and ready for the season.

3. Remove Items

This is a great time to assess your wardrobe. Donate and consign items that no longer serve you. Women’s centers are always delighted to take in clothing.  Consignment sales, such as Divine Consign, are a great way to recoup some of your investment, and purchase items to complete your current wardrobe.

4. Replace Basics

Replace items that are stained, stretched, faded or no longer fit. Adding some fresh new basics to your wardrobe can make seasonal favorites feel fresh and new. This is also a great time to update undergarments and socks.

If wardrobe changeover and organizing is overwhelming, a professional organizer can help. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.

Fall Organizing Checklist to Prepare for Cold Winter Months

Fall brings the feeling of nesting for us all.  The season change and a cold winter ahead has us planning and preparing.  Getting a start on fall organizing will make your fall more relaxed.  Here are some things you can do right now to prepare.

Garage Organizing

With any organization process, the key to cleaning is clearing away the clutter.

  • Spread everything into your driveway, to go through everything you’ve piled into the garage.
  • Group by use such as toys, tools, garbage and equipment.
  • Get rid of anything you haven’t used in two years.
  • Get rid of anything broken, or otherwise considered junk.
  • Buy hooks and shelves to get as much as you can off the floor. Storage is important. Peg boards, wall shelves, rolling carts and wall hooks should be used whenever possible.
  • Buy clear bins with labels to help keep smaller items organized and easy to find when needed. Consider open bins for toys and equipment that are frequently accessed.
  • Mark areas where items get stored such as labels on the walls and shelves, and painter’s tape on the floor.
Outside Organizing

With your outdoor areas packed up, you can enjoy the cooler month’s guilt-free and tucked indoors.

  • Take care of and pack up your outdoor living items.
  • Clean any pieces you plan to store: cushions, hammocks, umbrellas.
  • Stack patio furniture and cushions, and store in your garage or on a covered porch. If you don’t have the room, you can leave furniture outside with heavy-duty waterproof furniture covers. These will stand up to winter weather and keep everything protected. Most granite pieces can withstand the elements so you can leave those alone, but softer stones like cast stone, marble or manufactured stone should be either covered or moved.
  • Clean and cover your grill, but you don’t need to pack it away. Keep your grill available for grilling all winter.
Yard Organizing

The beginning of fall is the perfect time to prep your lawn for a lush spring. You won’t be planting any new plants, but you’ll want to prep your green areas for the impending cold. And cooler temperatures mean you won’t be boiling in the summer sun while you work outdoors in the yard.

  • Reseed any bare spots in your lawn and use a winter fertilizer that builds resistance to the cold.
  • Prepare for the fall and winter by fertilizing, mulching and pruning shrubs and trees.
  • Always rake fallen leaves.
  • Plant bulbs for spring flowers.
Kitchen Organizing
  • Pull out summer entertaining items and outdoor dishes to free up space in your cabinets and countertops.
  • Clear the pantry of summer convenience foods.
  • Before your next trip to the grocery store (or delivery), empty the refrigerator. Toss items that are expired.
  • Wipe down all shelves and walls of the refrigerator.
  • Inventory what food items you have and plan some meals around those items.
  • Jot down some favorite fall meals to make your meal planning a bit easier.

Enjoy the cooler weather. Remember to take your organizing journey one step at a time. Focus on what matters and what will have the biggest impact for you.

If finding the time and creating a strategy to organize is overwhelming, a professional organizer can help. See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey.  Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.

Secrets to How to Save Time and Money with Organizing

How to Save Time and Money with OrganizingGetting organized will save you time and money. Here are six ideas on how this can really happen.

  1. Meal Planning
    When you plan meals, you spend less money at the store (or eliminate a trip to the grocery store altogether), eat healthier and waste less food. Having a plan prevents impulse purchases of overpriced convenience food and last minute carryout meals. When you know what food you have in your pantry, you can build meal plans around the ingredients you already have.
  2. Sell your clutter
    Sell the items you no longer use or love, and the items you have multiples of. In addition to making a little cash, you will love the extra space to breathe.
  3. Limit repeat purchases
    Getting organized helps you keep track of what you own so you don’t run out to purchase something that you can’t find. Like items get placed with like items… you’ll soon discover how many bottles of sunscreen and kitchen spatulas you actually own.
  4. Late fees vs. discounts
    You’ll avoid late fees, and you’ll be able to see new ways you could save on your expenses. Instead of spending time trying to settle delinquent bills, you can ask your providers for discounts for being a good customer. Being on top of bills and due dates will keep your budget on track.
  5. Save time
    Once you’re more organized, you will spend less time trying to find things and making multiple runs to the store. You can use that extra time for to be more productive, make more money to pay off your debts or add to your savings. Also, once you realize what you own, you will less likely go out shopping. This will save time, money and gas… double bonus!
  6. You’ll discover more ways to save
    Once you get rid of the clutter in your house, you’ll free your mind up to figure out more ways to cut back or earn more. You will also see how little you really need, realizing you do not need to shop.

If planning and orgainzing are overwhelming, a professional organizer can help.  See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey.  Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.

Feelings of Lightness and Freedom through Spring Cleaning

Spring CleaningSpring cleaning for some is a chore for others a joy. However, the result of a thoroughly cleaned home brings lightness and freedom to everyone.

Spring cleaning items:
  • Strip the beds down to the mattress and wash all linens.
  • Clean the frames and headboards of beds.
  • Moved and empty furniture and wash baseboards.
  • Clean ceiling fans.
  • Empty china cabinets and give them a good cleaning.
  • Empty every inch of each closet and inventory, value assess, wash and clean surfaces, and organize clothes in a useful and efficient way.

Effectively spring cleaning means no corner is left untouched by brooms, dusters, scrub brushes, rags and other cleaning weapons.

The task of spring cleaning is big. But, if you break it down into daily tasks, your home can be fresh, clean and organized before the kids get out of school.  Although I’m personally not a cleaning expert, I do love a clean house. For some great cleaning resources check out cleanmama.net, and their free printable’s like their spring cleaning checklist.

You will feel a change of energy in your home and in your self after a day of thorough de-cluttering and cleaning. Your home will feel lighter, brighter and more cheerful.

The best part of de-cluttering and organizing for me is hearing my clients describe similar feelings of lightness and freedom after a session together. Whether organizing a home or office, de-cluttering can be a cathartic passing of the old and the start of a whole new season in life.

What are your plans this spring?

Is a cluttered room or desk stopping you from enjoying your home or office the way you’d like to enjoy it? Have your dust bunnies proliferated beyond a reasonable limit? Do you find spring-cleaning to be a daunting task of Olympian magnitude? Has it never even occurred to you that a good spring-cleaning would be appropriate at the office?

If organizing and cleaning is overwhelming, a professional organizer can help.  See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey.  Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.

How to Start Your Organizing Journey

Getting organized and being organized is a dream that can come true! However, an organizing journey will be most successful if you have a plan. Write down your organizing goals. Dream big and don’t hold back. Share these goals and dreams with someone to help empower you to get started. Use these tips to help with your plan and to launch you forward on your organizing journey.Starting Your Organizing Journey

Deciding Which Area of Your Home to Organize First
Deciding where to start is challenging when you have many areas of your home that need to be organized. Having a plan as to which areas you will work through first and last will help you stay focused.

Here are Some Ideas on Where to Start:

  • Top Down or Bottom Up
    Starting with the top of your home (or bottom) is a logical way to work through your home, organizing area by area.  Start in your attic.  Then work through bedrooms, bedroom closets, linen closets and bathrooms.  Next work through your living room, dining room, kitchen, playroom and home office. Then the final areas would be your basement, garage, storage unit and yard.
  • Inside Out
    Starting with the inside of you home is another strategy. With this process, you work through all your closets and your pantry first. The next areas are the attic, basement and garage. The last areas would be bedrooms, kitchen, home office, and then living rooms and dining room.
  • Areas You See Everyday
    Organizing the areas of your home you see first everyday will have immediate impact and encourage you to meet your goals for other areas of your home. Areas you see everyday include your bedroom, your bathroom, your closet, kitchen and office. Choose the area with the largest impact and work through that area to completion. Enjoy the results before moving to the next.
  • Areas You Do Not See Everyday
    Organizing areas that you do not see everyday can be beneficial.  If the organizing process will bother other family members or take an extended amount of time due to your schedule or the size and condition of the space, you may want to start with areas you do not see everyday. Working in a basement, storage area or attic where you can close a door during the process will help reduce stress for you and your family if the thought of organizing and removing unneeded items brings anxiety.

Once you have a plan of how you will work through your house, set organizing goals for each area of your home and write them down.

Where to Start with Organizing Items
You can also divide your organizing project into item categories of what you will organize first, this will bring structure to your journey. Also, write down all the items you want organized in your home to provide guidance and keep you on track.

Here are Some Ideas on How to Organize by Categorizing Your Items:

  • Start Easy
    Start with items that are easy to organize.  These items will have obvious categories and obvious places to be stored.  Items easier to organize include clothing, linens, pantry items and toys.  Once the easy items are managed, move on to more difficult categories such as paperwork, kitchen items, garage items and many items typically stored in the basement. More difficult items would be saved for last, when the rest your home is organized.  These items include photos, old paperwork, mementos and items that have been in storage for a long time.
  • Items You Use Everyday
    If you organize the items you use every day first, it will motivate you to continue to organize the rest of your home. Starting here will give you immediate gratification as you see and use these items everyday. This items include your clothing, your toiletries and your kitchen items. This area may also include items on your desk and paperwork.
  • Items You Do Not Use
    Organize items you do not use frequently first, this way you can free up space and energy for the items that you use frequently. Going through the items that you do not use frequently and purging the unnecessary is a good place to start if getting organized will bother other family members.  They will notice a tidy space before questioning what you did with the items.  These items may include tools, mementos, items from past hobbies and projects, and seasonal items.

Save the Difficult Items and Areas for Last
Start with an easy area or item.  This will build motivation to continue organizing your home.  Difficult items and areas include photos, mementos, basements, attics and storage units.  Your family is likely to help in these areas after they see the results and enjoy the benefit of all the other organized areas of your home.

Getting organizing is a journey. Start with small projects and enjoy the results. A professional organizer can help you along the way.  See if Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Contact Jayme to schedule a consult or chat about organizing.