By: Barbara Reich and Erica Keswin, Founders of Never Caught Up, LLC
Every year, as the weather grows warmer, there’s a flurry of interest in spring cleaning. Morning television segments, news articles, and blog posts will all feature the latest organizing tips, cleaning short cuts, and advice on how to get to those hard-to-reach areas. That spring cleaning is “business as usual.” But, there’s another kind of spring cleaning that no one talks about…that is, spring cleaning your friends.
Continue reading “The Spring Cleaning No One Talks About” »
A few months ago I was on hold with a telecommunications company when the recorded voice announced that the wait time would be three minutes. I thought, “Great. I can put my phone on speaker mode while I take a quick shower.” As I reflect on this now, I’m still not sure if this was a testament to my efficiency, or a pathetic reflection of how busy I was.
Continue reading “Efficient or Overwhelmed?” »
After more than a decade of organizing people’s homes and offices, there are certain things that I’ve often wished never existed. The ubiquity of these, and the speed at which I do away with them, has me convinced that the world would truly be a better place if I never saw another one. Sounds harsh, but read on, and I’m sure you’ll agree. Here are my top ten:
Continue reading “Eliminate These and Make the World a Better Place” »
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s a great time to think about storing your jewelry and the best options available. While costume jewelry is often bulky and difficult to store in a traditional way, these beautiful jewelry boxes are perfect for cocktail rings, your grandmother’s pearls, and the delicate necklaces and bracelets you’ve accumulated over the years. Here are my favorites:
The Wolf Palermo Large Jewelry Box includes 15 storage compartments, 2 watch cuffs, 3 ring rolls and lots of drawers. Under typical storage conditions, the special LusterLoc fabric lining inside the jewelry box will prevent tarnishing for up to 35 years. $449 https://www.wolf1834.com/item/213093/womens-jewelry-boxes/
Continue reading “Decadent Jewelry Storage for Valentines Day” »
Here are some helpful tips for getting through the holidays…
- Be prepared with suggestions when someone asks what you or your kids want as gifts. If you’re at a loss, ask for a gift certificate. Return the favor and give gift certificates whenever possible.
- Display holiday cards until New Years Day, then discard them. You’re not expected to keep pictures of children other than your own.
- Don’t keep gifts you don’t want. If you can’t return it, give it away. You won’t feel any better about disposing of it in a year or two, so you may as well do it now.
- Now is the time to clean out the playroom and children’s bedrooms. Tell your children that they can’t get anything new unless they make room on their shelves by donating what they no longer use.
- Teachers like to send home all of the semester’s artwork just before winter vacation. It only takes a few minutes to look through the pile when it comes home. Most of it should be discarded. If you don’t do it immediately, you’ll end up shuffling the same pile around for the next 6 months. Then, you’ll discard it anyway.
- When packing for a holiday vacation, think light. New airline regulations levy a charge for suitcases that weigh more than 50 pounds and most charge extra for more than one piece of luggage per person. If you’ve been accustomed to traveling with large heavy pieces, invest in some lighter weight canvas/nylon carryalls.
- Before starting your holiday shopping, search your closets for those gifts you bought throughout the year and then promptly forgot.
- Keep a supply of hostess gifts and gift wrap handy. A bottle of wine is always appropriate and can be put in a pretty bag in seconds.
- If you entertain, keep a list of everything you prepare or order. Make notes about what you’ll need more or less of next year.
- Create a spreadsheet of all of your addresses in Excel or another similar software program. This enables you to make labels for holiday cards that can be easily updated each year.
- Distribute your holiday tips a few weeks before the holiday. The recipients will be able to enjoy the gift when it’s needed most, and you’ll be able to cross one big thing off your list.
- Get ready for next year by keeping a list of all of the holiday gifts you give this year. In addition to family, include your hairdresser, housekeeper, nanny, doorman, garage attendant, secretary, teachers, and postal carrier. You’ll no longer have to wonder if you’re forgetting anyone, whether you’re giving anyone less than last year, or how much you need to budget.
I love shopping, and I pride myself on not getting sucked in by sales and not buying what I don’t need. But, based on the closets that I help organize everyday, most people are easily sidetracked and end up buying too much and not the items they need. So, for those of you who may be shopping on Black Friday or any other day, here are my tips for an efficient shopping experience.
- Don’t be sidetracked by items you don’t need.
- Check that inventory tags have been removed before leaving a store.
- Have gifts wrapped at the store when possible. Also have them shipped whenever possible.
- Don’t go into a store without knowing what you want and how much you want to spend.
- Ask for help. If it appears that an employee is clueless, disengage immediately
- When shopping in a department store, start on the top floor, get everything you need there, and work your way down.
In spite of the fact that so much of our communication takes place digitally, there seems to be more paper in our lives than we’d like. In fact, the average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year! If you feel like you’re drowning in paper, here are some tips for reducing paper clutter.
- Consolidate both credit card accounts and bank accounts. The more accounts you have, the more accounts you have to monitor.
- Cancel accounts you no longer use. Extra paperwork from unused accounts creates unnecessary clutter.
- Avoid the temptation of new credit cards and the annoyance of insurance offers by using OptOutPrescreen.com or by calling 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5-OPT-OUT). You can opt out each member of your family for 5 years or forever!
- Reduce unwanted catalogs by contacting the mail-order companies directly or use a free service at (http://www.catalogchoice.org/), which will send opt-out requests on your behalf.
- Stop mailings for deceased family members by going online to the DMA’s Deceased Do Not Contact List (http://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php).
- Use automatic transactions whenever possible. Pay bills online, have your employer use direct deposit for your paychecks.
- Shred ATM receipts, bank deposit slips, and credit card receipts each month (once you’ve checked them against your statement).
- Take bills and statements out of the envelopes. Discard the outer envelope, and put bills in an in-box.
- Have a set routine regarding bill paying. For example, pay bills on the same day every week. When bills are left unpaid, they get sent again and again until they’re paid, causing even more clutter.
- Touch each piece of paper once. Take care of what you can immediately. Put the date in your calendar, send the check, RSVP, and be done!
Recently, a friend of a friend came to me with the following dilemma: “My husband is a slob. He won’t put anything back where it belongs. Sometimes I think he does it just to bother me. How can I get him to at least make an attempt at being helpful around the house?” My response to her follows:
It’s a challenge to live with someone who doesn’t share your desire for organization. While it’s frustrating that he won’t put anything back where it belongs, you can try to show him the benefits of doing so. For example, he won’t waste time looking for things if they’re in a designated place, he won’t waste money buying things he already has, and life will be less stressful when he’s not wasting time and money. If he recognizes the upside to being organized, he may be more willing to help around the house.
From a practical perspective, your husband can be a slob, but you can confine him to “his” areas of the house. The kitchen, living room, and den are public spaces that need to be kept clean. His closet, dresser, and desk area can be as messy as he’d like. If he leaves his belongings in the public areas of the house, I would drop them in his area, and close the door or drawer. At some point, he may decide that he can’t live with his mess, and make more of an effort.
Now that a new school year is right around the corner, it’s a great time to really clean out your children’s rooms! You’ve had a brief respite from the influx of papers, toys, school notices, clothing, trophies, school projects, and books, that need to be constantly addressed, so before it starts up again, take stock of your children’s stuff. While a child’s room shouldn’t be as sterile as an operating room, no one can relax, let alone study, in an environment that’s filled with clutter. And you and your child shouldn’t lose countless hours looking for things, trying to decide what to do with things, and moving things around.
So, what can you do to eliminate the stress of a child’s room that is overflowing? The first step is to get you and your child/ren comfortable with having less. You can throw away, give away, or recycle, but you have to ruthlessly pare down. Here are my 10 tips for de-cluttering your child’s room. Continue reading “Summer Organizing – Before It’s Too Late” »
If you’re lucky enough to be taking some vacation time this summer while your housekeeper is working at home, here are some summer projects s/he can tackle while you’re gone.
- Polish all silver.
- Remove everything from the refrigerator and wipe down all shelves and products before returning to the space.
- Remove everything from the pantry, and wipe down all shelves and products before returning to the space.
- Take everything out of the coat closet. Set aside any missing gloves or boots that may be too small.
- Take any winter shoes that need to be cleaned or repaired to the shoe maker.
- Go through children’s closets, setting aside anything that’s too small, stained, or beyond repair.
- Deep clean the house. Clean light fixtures, the top of the refrigerator, behind the freezer drawer, wipe down moldings, and window casings
- Dust all books and bookshelves.
- Look at all sports equipment and separate what has become too small.
- Shampoo carpets.
- Put printed photos in photo albums.