December 30, 2011

Manage Your Time with the Word 'No'

Whether you have very little or a whole lot--time is precious. We don't want to waste it on doing things that don't make us happy or enhance our life.

On my Facebook Page this month, I've been talking about Time Management. For my last Facebook December/Time Management tip, I wrote about a little word that takes one second to say but can save you hours/days/weeks of time.

That word is 'No.'

In doing a bit of research, I came across a great article that summed up the importance of using the word, 'No.' It's called:

 The Gentle Art of Saying No by Leo Babauta

In the article, Mr. Babauta discusses his top ten tips for learning the 'Gentle Art of Saying No.' It was so comprehensive that I felt the need to share. Read it to learn how to value your time, know and acknowledge your priorities and practice saying the word 'No.'

So, if you find yourself constantly telling people 'Yes' when you really want to say, 'No,' read The 'Gentle Art of Saying No.' It will add precious hours back into your already busy life.

December 21, 2011

Eyeliner as Time Management Tool?

If you've been reading my posts for the past few months, you already know that every Friday I post an organizing tip to my Organized Artistry Facebook Page. Each month has it's own theme--December's theme is Time Management.

While creating content for this theme, I came up with a bunch of products that help manage or save a person's time. Typical products like calendars and kitchen timers came to mind but as the night wore on, I got punchy and came up with a few 'unorthodox' time management products. The one I'll be talking about today is one I use at least 5x a week. Gentlemen--you may want to get up for a few minutes and have your wife/mother/girlfriend/friend read on 'cause we'll be talkin' about makeup.

Makeup? Yes, the stuff ladies wear on their faces.

Makeup as a time management tool? Yes--I'll make you a believer by the end of this post...

I promised myself (and my husband) that when we had kids, I would make the time to, as my mother likes to say, 'put on a face' in the morning. We now have two small children so my makeup routine has to be quick and simple.

I have this eyeliner I love--the color, the texture, but it seemed as if I had to sharpen it every 2-3 days. That's fine if you have the time in the morning but lately, I just don't.

I stopped into my local Sephora to see if they had another eyeliner in that color that I wouldn't have to sharpen so often. They did!

Today's Cool Product/Time Management Tool is the...

The Sephora consultant showed me how I didn't need a sharpener at all with this eyeliner. All I had to do was give it a twist and more eyeliner would reappear. Now it takes me about 1-2 seconds to get my eyeliner ready for use as opposed to the few minutes it took with the other pencil. Perfect for the mom on the go!

They come in a multitude of colors--I use Brown #08 for everyday usage.

The only 'con' about this eyeliner is that you don't know you're at the end of the eyeliner until you try to turn the base and it stops turning. I live near a Sephora but I can't always get there so I use another time-management strategy--I buy multiple products--usually 2-3 at a time. This saves me from having to make a last minute trip to the mall which I rarely have time to do.

Bye-bye eyeliner sharpener! Hello, retractable (and time-saving) eyeliner!

December 13, 2011

LEGO Storage

If you have a kid who likes playing with LEGO but can't seem to keep it off the floor and other horizontal surfaces--help is here! 

Chloe at Get, Set Organize has written a most amazing blog post on storage options for LEGO. Carve a good 15 minutes out of your day to digest it all. There's A LOT of information jam-packed into that post.

Not only does she offer 26 storage ideas both store bought and DIY, she also gives tips on how to organize a LEGO collection.

Kids learn through play. So, why not teach them to be organized through play? They'll be home for Christmas/Holiday break soon. A LEGO organizing project is a great way to keep your floors free of LEGO and teach your kids sorting skills, responsibility, and an appreciation for living an organized life.


December 5, 2011

Marry a Professional Organizer? The Pros and Cons...

I like to infuse my blog with humor. So, when I looked around for some funny stuff about organizing, I came across two blog posts that really made me laugh.

I've read articles about people's experiences working as a Professional Organizer.

I've read articles about people working with Professional Organizers.

But this I had never read before...

Top 5 Reasons You Should Marry a Professional Organizer


Top 5 Cons of Marrying a Professional Organizer (includes a 'Marriage-Saving Disclaimer')

When I told my husband about these blog posts, he had a good chuckle, too. He hasn't read them yet, but I'm sure he'd be in agreement with what most of what the author says.

So if you live with a Professional Organizer or someone who acts like one, please know you are not alone!

What do you think--marrying a Professional Organizer--Pro or Con?

November 30, 2011

NAPO-NNJ Soles4Souls Shoe Drive

Let go of those lace-ups. Say 'so-long' to those slippers. People need them.

The National Association of Professional Organizers has partnered with Soles4Souls to collect new and gently used footwear for those in need.

According to their website, Soles4Souls, "collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty."

On Sunday, December 4, 2011 donate your new or gently worn shoes to Soles4Souls at Sports Authority of East Hanover or Clifton, NJ between the hours of 11am and 3pm.

Sports Authority
Location #1: 142 Rt. 10, East Hanover
Location #2: 415 Rt. 3 East, Clifton

Besides knowing that you've helped someone in need, what else do you get from donating your shoes on December 4th?

• Receive 20% off your entire purchase at either Sports Authority store that day.
• Receive a $10 off coupon from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

You can't go wrong--especially if you have some shoes in your closet you don't want anymore. Get 20% of a new pair of sneakers and consider using that $10 off coupon to haul away other items in your home you no longer need. It's a win-win if I ever heard one...

November 25, 2011

Wedding Thank You Note Book Sale

Got a bride-to-be on your holiday shopping list? I am hosting a 25% off sale Black Friday through Cyber Monday on Payvment--the Shopping Mall on Facebook.

My book, 7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note is usually listed for $8.95 but with a 25% discount it comes to $6.71--and there's FREE SHIPPING, too!

It makes a great stocking stuffer and is very lightweight if your bride friend/relative lives halfway across the country!

7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note--don't let a bride walk down the aisle without it!

November 21, 2011

Helpful Organizing Tip - Prevent Parking Lot Panic

For the past few months, I have been posting organizing tips on my Facebook page based on a theme. November's theme is 'Holiday Organizing' and a recent tip was geared towards holiday shopping. It didn't have to do with making lists. It didn't have to do with organizing receipts. It was all about you, your car, and the mall parking lot.

Holidays or not, going to the mall can make you dizzy! Add in holiday decorations, tons of people, blaring holiday music--all that can make a brain very tired. So when it's time to go home and you exit hopefully through the same door you used to enter the mall, it may take you a moment to think about where you parked your car.

Not any more! Because my holiday tip is:

Use the camera on your cell phone to take a picture of where you parked your car. No more wandering around the parking lot in a panic. (Whew!)

I do this even when it's NOT holiday time. To the left is a picture of my car at the Paramus Park Mall. I only had to run in and out of one store but I snapped the photo just in case.

When you take the photo make sure to have a 'landmark' in the background such as a store or a parking lot sign. If you look at the picture look closely, you'll notice that I'm in Section 26 parked near the Sears Auto Center.

Now you have one less thing to worry about this holiday season! Less stress for you and more time for the joy of the season. Who can't appreciate that?

November 15, 2011

Organizing Up and Down - a Vertical Makeover

If you've read the 'About Me' section on the right hand side of my blog, you know I grew up in a tight space. My bedroom was 5'x12' and I had to keep most of what I owned in that room. Because of space constraints I could not spread out much. But I quickly learned that horizontal space was not the only space I had in my room--I also had VERTICAL space.

I have worked with clients in spaces as small as a studio apartment and as large as a mini-mansion. Regardless of the size of the home, I have found that people use horizontal space more often than their vertical space. It is at that point that I remind them of a very basic organizing principle:

If You Can't Go Outward, Go Upward!

Translation: If you've run out of room in your room, buy some products to help you utilize the wall space you didn't know you had.

Here are a few products that will help you to use your vertical space efficiently:

They're not just for books--bookcases are perfect for anything you want to store or display. Measure your space from floor to ceiling. Then buy the tallest bookcase you can afford. For ideas, Google, "how to use a bookshelf for storage." You won't believe what people are getting off the floor and tabletops and putting on to bookcases... Try IKEA for inexpensive options.

These shelves are ones you mount to the wall. Great for displaying collections, photos, and knick-knacks.

Freestanding Closets
Need extra closet space? Purchase a freestanding closet. Again, buy the tallest one you can fit in your home and make sure it has at least one shelf at the top for extra storage.

If you have low cabinets or don't have enough, consider cabinets that go to the ceiling. Take advantage of high-up space for things used only once in a while like holiday dinnerware or guest towels.

File Cabinets
Need lots of paper storage? You can buy a file cabinet that is five drawers high instead of two or more that are two drawers high to save on your horizontal space.

Step stool/Stepladder
Unless you're 7' tall, you're going to need a step stool or stepladder to reach your vertical storage places. I recommend having at least one of each depending upon your needs. To reach my high up storage spots, I use a Rubbermaid step stool and a 3-step ladder I got at The Container Store.

When you've finished reading this post, take a look through the rooms in you home. Could you use a vertical makeover?

November 8, 2011

Post-Baby Clothing Purge

It's rare to find a Professional Organizer that doesn't follow their own advice...

I'm always saying to clients: "When it comes to your closets, get rid of/donate the old to make room for the new." I help people (mostly women) clear out torn and stained clothes, too-small clothes, clothes with bad memories attached to them to make room for clothes that make them look and feel fabulous.

But, yet another saying comes to mind: "The shoemaker's son has no shoes."

You see, although I dispense this advice, lately I have been the shoemaker--too busy to tackle my own closet. My closet has been a hodge-podge of what I wore before I got pregnant six years ago, what I wore between my first and second pregnancies, what 'kinda' fits me now and what I've bought even though I'm hoping to drop another five pounds. This closet even has some clothes that pre-date my wedding day eleven years ago!

A few weeks ago while the rest of my family was out, I took an hour to sort through and purge my closet. What did I do?

• I took out anything I hadn't worn in years and yes--literally dusted the items off.
• I made four piles: donate, throw out, keep, laundry.
• I tried on items that I thought might not fit me anymore.
• Anything that I was keeping (that had pre-pregnancy dust on it) I threw in my laundry basket.
• I counted all the empty hangers and made an appointment with myself for a little shopping...
• I donated items that were tight, that I no longer liked or suited my lifestyle.
• I wrote down what items needed replacing (white blouse, green sweater set).
• I created a drawer I call 'Another Five Pounds' which means, try these on again in a few months to see if they fit (mostly pants).

I bagged up all purged items and took them to Goodwill.

And I'm not done. I need another hour when the kiddies aren't home to keep purging. Those winter clothes that didn't fit me last year will be tried on in the next few weeks and ruthless decisions will be made. I took a quick look in that closet last week. I have a feeling I'm going to have more empty hangers...

November 2, 2011

Helpful Organizing Tip - Post-its on Coupons

Do you clip coupons? In today's economy, it's especially wise to do so. Who can't use a few extra dollars in their wallets?

Clipping coupons for the supermarket is easy. There's a picture of the item--you know immediately what you'll be using the coupon for. Then there are those coupons that are vague. They offer deals like free shipping, 25% off your total order, or $5 off of a $50 purchase. These are great--I use them all the time. But it's very easy to put them in a pile and forget about why you cut them out in the first place.

To remind you to use them and to remind you what you need to buy, my helpful organizing tip is:

Attach a post-it to the coupon. On the post-it, write down what you need to buy from this particular store or website.

Here are some examples...

The above coupon is for the Carter's store. With two little kids, I'm there a lot. I was very excited when this came in the mail. I clipped it, stuck a post-it on it and wrote down what clothing my children needed. Using this method, I don't have to gaze at the coupon while at the store and ask myself, "Why am I here? What did I need?" Big time saver.

I'm also in need of some picture frames and a new photo album. I saw this coupon last week, cut it out, stuck a post-it to it and went around my house with it looking for frames that needed to be replaced. I still have to go through an envelope of recently printed pictures to see which need frames but I'll add that info to my post-it (or use a bigger one) when I'm done. Now, when I get to the store, I won't have to stand there staring at the frames wondering what sizes and colors I need. Like I said, big time saver.

So, next time you're clipping coupons, grab a post-it pad and a pen along with those scissors. By using this helpful tip, you'll be saving yourself a little time here and there during your day. But, make no mistake--those minutes add up!

October 27, 2011

Top-Ten Feng Shui Kitchen Makeover Tips

Take a look at your kitchen. Are the cabinets overflowing? Can you see your countertops? Can you find what you need when you need it? If not, you're in luck. Our guest blogger and Feng Shui Consultant and Expert, Ann Bingley Gallops of Open Spaces Feng Shui  is here today to offer us the steps to take to create a kitchen that nourishes us in more ways than one.

Did you know the kitchen is considered the heart of your home, symbolizing health, wealth and abundance from a Feng Shui perspective?

The food from this room not only sustains you, but also fosters prosperity in your life. Creating meals and cleaning up afterward are important to show how much you care for yourself and your loved ones.

Your kitchen must be an appetizing place, which is why keeping it clean and clutter-free is so important. Sending this message of wealth and abundance will make your life easier and happier, besides!

Here are my Top-Ten Feng Shui Tips for making your kitchen into the “healthy heart” of your home:

1. Clean everything inside & out. And I mean EVERYTHING: drawers and cabinets, appliances, walls and counters. Shelves should be lined with fresh liner paper, and the floor will need a good scrub. This requires you to take everything out of the cabinets, leading naturally to step 2.

2. Assess what you really use. What do you use, need and love in your kitchen? As you remove things from cabinets and drawers, ask yourself, “When did I last use this? What’s what the likelihood I’ll use it in the future?” If you must keep an item you seldom use, put it on a higher shelf or into deep storage.

3. Clear the counters. Small appliances can take over your counter space, preventing you from having adequate space to work comfortably. So remove everything, wipe down all surfaces and replace only the things you use on a daily basis.

4. Put like with like. While sorting through your cabinets, make life easier by putting similar things together. For example, separate sweet baking spices from savory ones, and store coffee filters near your coffee mugs.

5. Adjust shelves to maximize storage space. As you put things back into the cabinets, separate tall items from shorter ones and adjust your cabinets’ shelf-height appropriately.

6. Use “shelf helpers” for convenience and efficiency. Anything from tray racks to lazy susans can make your kitchen easier to navigate and, quite frankly, change your life. Don’t forget to measure your cabinets and drawers before heading to the store!

7. Get good Chi energy flowing by making sure everything works. Broken things must be fixed and doors should swing freely. If you have chipped bowls or glasses, replace them. Be sure to sharpen your knives.

This is a crucial step in Feng Shui — things that are well cared for signify your intention to take the very best care of yourself, too!

8. Recognize the importance of your stove. The stove symbolizes Wealth and Abundance in your life. In Feng Shui, the stove is the centerpiece for the “Heart of Your Home.” It must be treated with particular respect. Keep it clean and use all the burners regularly to draw more positive Chi into your life.

9. Use mirrors to create more wealth. Since the stove burners symbolize Wealth, you can symbolically multiply it by placing a mirror behind the stove. This mirror will also reflect activity behind you, so you can relax and focus on your cooking.

10. Balance the elements. Four of Feng Shui’s Five Elements already exist your kitchen: Fire, Water, Metal and Earth. If Wood is missing, simply bring in a small plant, bowl of fruit or a picture of these. With balanced elements, your space will feel great.

Ann Bingley Gallops is a Feng Shui expert and the owner of Open Spaces Feng Shui in New York City. She offers private Feng Shui consultations for homes, offices and business, helping clients achieve their personal and professional goals by balancing the elements in their spaces. 

Her services include long-distance consultations, space-clearing and blessing ceremonies, and Feng Shui design with a modern, practical approach. Ann also works with interior designers, architects and home stagers to maximize the beauty and value of any space.

Ann practices Feng Shui with an MBA from Columbia University, a Practitioner’s Certificate from the Western School of Feng Shui, and Red Ribbon Professional membership in the International Feng Shui Guild. 

Check out Ann’s blog, Feng Shui Tips & Insights, and subscribe to her popular Feng Shui newsletter! Follow Ann on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

October 25, 2011

Cool Product - Getting Organized Magazine

Since I started organizing in 2002, there have been a few magazines dedicated to organizing and it's profession. The first one was called Balance. The second one was called Organize--lucky me had the privilege of being involved with it at its inception as the author of the 'Organizing on a Shoestring' column.

Now, a new magazine has been created for Professional Organizers and anyone interested in getting and staying organized. It's called:

Getting Organized Magazine is the brain-child of Stacey Anderson, a Professional Organizer in the State of Washington. According to her blog, Stacey says, "This is a magazine that will cover everything organizing: home, work, technology, paper, time management, ADD/ADHD, book reviews and much more."

Go check out the website! It features articles, tips, videos, experts, events, and resources.

For a sneak peek of the first issue coming out in January 2012, click here.

If you'd like to follow the magazine on Facebook, click here.

There are two ways to subscribe--by print (arriving in your mailbox) or by electronic/digital file (arriving in your inbox). I'm not sure which I'll choose but as soon as I decide, I'll be signing up for my subscription to Getting Organized Magazine...

October 19, 2011

Wire Pull-Outs for Kitchen Organization

October is Kitchen Organizing month at Organized Artistry's Facebook Page. Every Friday I post a tip based on the monthly theme. My first tip was...

"Got deep cabinets? Make your kitchen items easier to see, access, and organize by installing pull-out drawers. No more surprises in the back of your cabinets! (This comes from personal experience--I love my wire pull-outs!)"

I really believe that up there with the label maker, pull-out drawers for cabinets are one of the greatest inventions designed for getting and staying organized.

Here's how I came to love my pull-out drawers...

Our kitchen was built in the 1950's. It's about 10'x10' and didn't have much cabinets and countertop area. Hubby and I had a piece designed by Home Depot that doubled our counter and cabinet space--hooray! In configuring the cabinets to hold our kitchen items, I realized that the bottom shelves of these cabinet were going to be a challenge to access. I didn't want to waste that valuable new space. But how was I going to make the most of it?

I decided to look in my local Home Depot and there they were--wire pull out drawers. I knew they would do the job--and they were the perfect size, too! I brought them home and installed them myself in a few hours with the help of a pencil and an electric screwdriver.

I use one pull-out drawer for frying pans...

And one for storage containers...

Why are pull out drawers so great?

• They increase your storage space
• No getting on your hands and knees to look for what you need
• Never lose items in the back of your cabinets again

Hubby and I have talked about redoing our kitchen one day. Mark my word--if that ever happens, there's going to be a large amount of money in the budget for pull-out drawers!

October 15, 2011

Professional Organizer Humor

Thought I'd share some Professional Organizer humor with you...

Bumper sticker seen:

"Professional Organizers do it on Schedule"

Look out for it on a highway near you...

October 10, 2011

Anniversary Post

Today I celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the Organized Artistry blog. Woo-hoo!

In my first year of blogging, I was getting used to writing weekly while juggling a pregnancy and new baby. This past year, I've learned a lot about blogging and although still sleep deprived, wrote and posted more often--one of the many goals I had set out to accomplish.

Some of my other goals were:

• Post more pictures with blog posts. Check! I think it livens up the page a bit more, don't you?
• Post 3x a month or more. Check! Who knew that there was so much to write about on the topic of organizing?
• Post more entries on unique organizing products. Check! I'm always on the lookout for cool products. Stay tuned for a review of a product I just bought for myself...

Some goals I didn't meet:
• Talking about my book, 7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note
• Discussing the process of writing a full length manuscript on the above topic (while juggling family and lack of time and sleep)
• Offering more organizing tips to brides and grooms

Although I will still create posts on this topic, I am considering creating a separate Facebook Page for my current and future book in 2012. I'm working on my manuscript in small chunks--just like I would advise an organizing client to do with a large task--break it down so it's more managable. Will keep you posted my progress....

What I've added to my blog:
• Guest bloggers! I've been doing some guest blogging lately, and I thought, 'Why not invite some bloggers to post at Organized Artistry?' I think it's been a fun way to bring new ideas and writing styles to my blog, I hope you've enjoyed reading the posts.
• New Categories! Such as 'Guest Blogger,' 'What's in my Workbag?' and 'Kitchen'
• A connection to my Organized Artistry Facebook Page
• The ability to subscribe to my blog via email (top right of page)

My goals for this year are:
• Post more often
• Post helpful content
• Offer more guest blog posts
• Give you the answers to your burning organizing questions
• Build a growing readership

I have a blast writing this blog--I hope you enjoy reading it and learning from it. Let me know what you've learned or would like to learn about organizing this year. Your questions and need for answers are my future blog posts!

Related Posts:
Anniversary Post October 20, 2010
Blogging Beginner October 10, 2009

October 7, 2011

Facebook Tip of the Week - Kitchen Organizing

I mentioned last week that I would be revealing October's topic for my Facebook Tip-of-the-Week. Here it is: It's all about the kitchen in the month of October!

Why the kitchen? Well, I thought it would be a good idea to offer kitchen organizing tips this month because the holidays are coming. And what do holidays revolve around? Food! And where do we prepare food? In the kitchen. And what room do many of our guests gravitate to when they come to visit? The kitchen.

My first Facebook Tip-of-the-Week for the month of October has to do with cabinets. Read about it and check back for a blog post on my own experiences with this week's tip.

Have any kitchen organizing tips that have worked for you? I'd love to hear them!

October 2, 2011

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Today, I’m pleased to welcome guest blogger Cena Block of Sane Spaces. Besides being a Professional Organizer and Mom-Preneur Clarity Catalyst, she is also the President of the Northern New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Cena’s talking about a key organizing philosophy—grouping ‘like’ with ‘like.’ Read on to learn more about what she calls, ‘one of the oldest organizing tricks in the book…’

Pattern Recognition is the one differentiating skill set that organized people have - we see and recognize patterns where there aren't any!  It's why an organizer can walk into a chaotic situation and be successful - we immediately see "like with like" and patterns that work!

What I've found with clients in their homes and offices is that for you to be successful, you need to begin to recognize how you create patterns in your environment naturally, in order to create organizing solutions that stick.

One of the oldest organizing tricks in the book is to group ‘like’ things together. Organizers call this: putting "like with like" - or grouping all items that seem to go together, together. The interesting thing about this process is that each of us does this step a little differently.

As part of my community service, I offer a class to area elementary schools called NAPO In The Schools. This class is designed to teach 2nd - 5th graders basic organizing principles. There is an informational segment where the kids are introduced to "Disorganized Drake" who can't seem to get it together. He frequently loses homework, can't find supplies, and generally has a really rough time as a typical 4th grader!  I ask the students to help Drake by applying simple organizing strategies to his books, his room, his desk and his backpack.

The class ends with an exercise where students are given a bag of school supplies and asked to group them "like with like".  It always fascinates me that some will group them by function (all things you can write with together), by color (all blues go together), by category (all pens, all crayons, all toys), or by some other construct that makes sense to them alone.

What patterns do you recognize? What makes you comfortable? Do you prefer to sort by color, by use, by function, by location? Whatever works for you, is the right answer.  Determining which "one of these things is not like the other" is really up to you and the better you get at recognizing your own abilities for pattern recognition - and accept them as so, the quicker you'll be able to move forward with organizing your items!

Copyright 2011: Cena Block

Need help at home? Download my Products:

Time To Toss It E-Book -
This is a full color guide that gives guidelines on how long to keep items and when to get rid of them. (There is a whole entire section on how long to keep paper and files.)
Dimensions Workbook -
This is a self-driven workbook that offers you the support of working with your very own Professional Organizer without the hourly fees.
Get Organized To Keep Your Family Sane Ebook/Audio Tips -
This e-book and the accompanying weekly audio tips provide nearly 6 months of weekly organizing ideas to implement for your home and family. Whether you have a slew of children, or are kid-free, these tips are modeled after “best practices” that work with real families.

Cena Block is the Owner of Sane Spaces and a Mom-Preneur Clarity Catalyst. She helps people find sanity through clearing their spaces, creating systems, understanding themselves, and getting the support they need for success. Her Slice of Sanity eZine gives subscribers ideas and inspiration to get clear and out from under whatever is stopping them. If you are ready to get sane, you can click here to sign up for a F.R.E.E. e-zine subscription to Slice of Sanity. Learn more from Cena at her Facebook page, on her blog, and on Twitter.

Related post: Group It! April 25, 2010

September 27, 2011

Facebook Tip of the Week

For the past three months, I have chosen Fridays to be 'Facebook Tip-of-the-Week Day.' I've picked a theme for the month and every Friday, offered up a related tip to my Facebook Fans.

In July, I gave tips on Getting Organized for Travel. During the month of August it was all about Back-to-School. September's tips had everything to do with Decluttering.

Now, it's time to select the theme for October...

You have my word--it will not have anything to do with ghosts and goblins or falling leaves. This Friday I'll be posting my last tip on decluttering. After that, stay tuned for some subtle (and maybe not-so-subtle) 'what-could-the-next-theme-be?' hints. Here's the first one--

I'll be talking about a particular room in the home...

Keep checking my Facebook Page for more hints or drop by Friday, October 7th when I reveal the first tip of the new month. Looking forward to reading your comments!

September 20, 2011

The Organized Bride

Brides, I apologize.

I haven't written a post about organizing a wedding since before the summer. I know many of you have returned from your honeymoon and are settling into married life (and writing all your thank you notes). I promise, I won't let you down again.

I have found a website for you to check out and for those of you who live near Frederick, Maryland--you can hop right over to...

The Organized Bride (I love the name!)

According to their website,

"The Organized Bride is a one-stop shop for invitations for all occasions, favors, attendant gifts and ceremony and reception essentials."

Looks like they have a beautiful store!

But if you don't live near the brick and mortar store, they have an online shop where you can purchase a myriad of products for your ceremony and reception.

I've discussed in the past how important it is to be an organized bride. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so...

September 13, 2011

What's in My Work Bag? The Tape Measure

Do you remember Felix the Cat? If not, here's a little background: Felix the Cat was a cartoon character. Felix had a 'bag of tricks' also known as the 'magic bag.' He always had what he needed when he needed it--and it was all in that bag.

When I go to a client's home, I bring a tote bag of basic organizing supplies. Some of my clients have called it my 'magic bag of tricks' because the contents of that bag seem to 'magically' help them get organized.

What's in my 'magic bag of tricks?' I'll be sharing the contents with you in blog posts called 'What's in My Work Bag?' Today's first nosedive into my workbag brings up...

The Tape Measure

If tape measures were not such an important tool, there would be no such thing as the saying, " Cut once, but measure twice."

Using a tape measure is critical to organizing any space in your home--especially when incorporating organizing products into that space. 'Measure twice and buy organizing products once' is my motto!

I don't just carry one tape measure. I carry TWO. One is 15 feet long and the other is 5 feet long and attaches to a clip in my bag. Why two? Each organizing job is different. I could be organizing a large house one day and a studio apartment the next. I could be measuring a double closet in the morning and measuring kitchen drawers in the afternoon. No need to use the 15 footer if I'm checking out the size of a medicine cabinet. On the flip side, it would be tedious to attempt to measure and organize a garage with a five foot long tape measure.

Tape measures are equally as important to me at work and at home--I keep one in the kitchen. I even carry a teeny tiny 3 foot measuring tape in my purse! This comes in handy when I'm in a store and I need to measure an item for my home or believe it or not, the waistband of pants for my 5 year old who is super-skinny.

Tape measures aren't just for Professional Organizers. Everyone should own at least one for their home.You never know when you'll need to measure the size of your room, the length of your curtains, or a space that needs an organizing product. For a great selection try your local hardware store or big box store such as Home Depot or Lowe's.

And always remember, 'Measure twice and buy organizing products once!'

September 8, 2011

Declutter, Donate, and Do Good

Every Friday on my Facebook Fan Page I offer my fans an organizing tip based on a monthly theme. September's theme is Decluttering.

Decluttering is about sorting and purging your belongings, creating a logical home for them and letting go of the items that you no longer want. Sometimes those items will go in the trash. Sometimes they'll end up in the loving arms of a friend or family member.

Sometimes, they'll end up in the loving arms of a stranger. A stranger who has been looking for that item you are giving away. A stranger who cannot otherwise afford to buy that item new.

As the saying goes, "One person's trash is another person's treasure."

Before you begin the decluttering process in your home, think about where you would like to take your donations to. This prevents the donated items from lingering in your home too long. Either...

Bag 'em up. Put them in your trunk.  Drive to a donation center.


Bag 'em up. Call for a pickup. Place bags in front of your door.

Below is a short list of organizations that accept donations. Some have freestanding stores and some will pick up at your home. All will give you a tax deduction form for your records.

Vietnam Veterans
The Salvation Army

These are the biggies, but don't forget your local thrift shops and donation centers, too!

Where do you usually donate your unwanted items?

September 3, 2011

Is Your Outlook Email Overflowing?

The first steps to getting ANYTHING organized is sorting and purging. That goes for emails, too. Today’s guest blogger is Susana Fonticoba of Home and Office Computer Training. If you use Outlook, you’re in luck. Read to find out how to make your inbox go from overflowing to oh, so empty…

For some people, it is a traumatic prospect to clean out their inbox. “But, I NEED those 2,000 emails,” we’ll hear you say. Not to worry. Let’s take baby steps…

First, in Outlook, sort your emails by whether or not the message contains an attachment (Arrange By | Attachment). Now skim through the attached files and right click the file name, choose Save As, and file it in the appropriate My Documents Folder.

Once the attached files are safely stored in your documents library, check to make sure the body of the email contains no earth shattering information. No? Now delete it. Didn’t that feel good? Do it again – until you get through the all the messages that contain attached files.  

Now let’s head over to the Sent Items bucket and this time we’ll change the sort to File Size and choose ‘Smallest’ first.  Most likely, these will be comprised of such rip roaring reading material as, “ok, thanks”; or “yes, I’ll be there”; or the ever popular “that’s great!” Even the worst email hoarder has to admit those one-liners can be let loose into email heaven.

After this is done, note how many you’ve deleted by moving over to the Deleted Items folder. Jumpin jiminy! You’ve deleted 1357 emails! Are you brave enough now to empty your deleted items folder? C’mon, I have faith in you!  

You’ve done it! Time for a reward and a pat on the back. See--it wasn’t as difficult as you thought. Now, I’m sure you’re pumped to toss some more.

Sort your mail by “From” and see if you can file a bunch of emails from that one client into the folder you made for him/her.  Sort your mail by “Subject” and perhaps those 50 emails around the subject of “Christmas Party 2009” can finally be sent off into the light.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of determining that you don’t REALLY need all of those emails, a once a week cleanup will be as easy as hitting ‘Delete.’

Susana Fonticoba is the Founder and Principle of Home and Office Computer Training in Hanover, NJ. She specializes in empowering small business owners with the computer skills and confidence they need to succeed. Follow Susana on Facebook and and Twitter @njpctraining and learn more about computers, social media and technology at her blog, RightClickAdvantage.

August 29, 2011

Jerry Seinfeld on Organizing...

"Your home is a garbage processing center where new things are purchased and slowly demoted through various stages of trashification until you're done."

--Comedian Jerry Seinfeld

August 24, 2011

NAPO-NY at IKEA Brooklyn

Live near Brooklyn, New York? Need some post-summer organizing tips?

If you answered 'Yes,' grab a notepad and head on over to the free 'Get Organized for Fall' event at IKEA-Brooklyn on Saturday, August 27th. Professional Organizers from NAPO-NY will be available from 1pm-2:30pm to answer your questions on clutter, organizing challenges, and maximizing your space.

Here's the schedule:

1:00-1:30         Office & Home Office Organizing Tips
1:30-2:00         Back to School Organizing Tips
2:00-2:30         Home Organizing Tips

You can get there by subway, car, water taxi or bus--here are directions. 

Why not make a day of it? Have lunch at the IKEA cafeteria and then be on the lookout for a NAPO-NY professional organizer. Bring your questions, ideas, photos--they're a knowledgeable bunch!

August 21, 2011

I'm a Guest Blogger!

Babies are so little.

Babies are so cute.

Babies are so disorganized!

OK--so they don't have the upper body strength to sort and purge and they certainly can't address their own birth announcement envelopes. But, their parents can...

Know anyone having a baby soon? Good--I'm guest blogging at this week with a helpful post called Get Organized For Your New Baby!. Feel free to share my post with those who have a bundle of joy on the way. I have two little ones and take it from me--being organized enabled me to find what I needed when I needed it on very little sleep...

August 20, 2011

Back-to-School Organizing Tips

During the month of August I've been posting weekly organizing tips to my Organized Artistry Facebook page. The topic: back-to-school organizing.

This past week I talked about how to avoid the age old question, 'What should I make my kids for lunch?'  But, lunch is not the only thing that can go in a lunch box. How about including a note or surprise in that lunchbox that shows your kid that you're thinking of them during the day? Need some good note/surprise ideas? How about 51 of them? Read...

51 Smile-Inducing Lunch Box Notes and Surprises

Keep it organized by determining when you'll include a note or surprise with your child's lunch--every Monday, the day of a big test, or when you want to give them a little extra lovin' are a few good ideas. Mark it on your calendar as an extra reminder.

My son starts kindergarten this Fall--I've bookmarked the site so I can refer to it during the year. He's going to love some of these notes and surprises. I like #19 and #25 best.

Which one will your child like?

August 14, 2011

Helpful Organizing Tip - Master Shopping List

Between raising a family and being a business owner, there's a lot going on in my brain. If I need to remember something, I have to write it down or else it's as good as gone. I'm a visual person so I like post-its and pads of paper for quickly jotting down ideas, to-do's and lists.

With four people in our household, we go through a lot of food. When we run out of something, I add it to my shopping list (my main supermarket is ShopRite). But, I shop in four or five different markets depending where I'm driving past that day and what food item I've run out of. I needed a central place to keep track of all our food needs. That's when I came up with the Master Shopping List.

My Master Shopping List
I went to Michaels and purchaed a magnetic pad with lines and stuck it on the side of my fridge. I wrote in the names of stores I shop in often--ShopRite, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Fairway, and Costco and left room underneath to write what I've run out of. When I buy the item, I cross it off my list. Sometimes I'll circle an item if I need to purchase it later or at another store.

Keeping this list close to the fridge or pantry makes jotting down items a quick and easy task. If you don't like to or can't hang items on your fridge, store your Master Shopping List near your refrigerator. Don't like the note pad? Create something similar to this on your computer.

The master list is not just for food. Use it for drugstores, big box stores--wherever you shop often.

This master list has made my life much easier. If I notice we are running low on an item from a particular store, I grab my pen and write it under the appropriate store name. If I know I'll be passing by a certain store after working with a client, I'll jot down from the master list (onto a separate piece of paper) the things  I need and cross items off them off the list when I return home.

I guarantee--creating a Master Shopping List for your family will work as well for you as it has worked for me. Give it a try. It's all about making our lives easier and having what we need when we need it.

August 8, 2011

Get Organized for Dorm Life

Going away to college? These tips are for you!
It’s no secret--dorm rooms are notoriously small. In order to embrace your itty-bitty home-away-from-home, it’s important to arrive organized and create an organized space for yourself.
Here are some organizing tips for the college-bound student:
De-clutter Before Leaving Home
Mom and Dad are having a tough time watching you ‘leave the nest.’ It won’t help matters if you leave that nest a mess before you leave. Sort through your belongings and decide what you’d like to take with you to college and what you’d like to leave at home. Purge out unwanted items and create a neat and organized space for yourself. You’ll want to come back to an uncluttered room at vacation time.
Ask for Information - Call Residential Life
Give the Residential Life office a call to ask about furniture, size of room and storage options so you’ll know what to bring and what to keep at home. Another good question to ask is what’s NOT allowed in a dorm room. Many colleges and universities prohibit microwave ovens, coffee makers, hot pots. and candles. 
Make Decisions - Call Prospective Roommate(s)
Once you find out who you’re roommate is, contact them—not only to introduce you’re self but more importantly to discuss who will bring what! You don’t want to stuff two DVD players, two TV’s and two fridges in your small, shared space. You need all the square footage you can get!
Shop at Home
Don’t wait to get all of your stuff at a store down the road from campus. Everyone else had the same idea and already bought out the coolest looking comforter sets and memo boards. Now that you’ve spoken to Residential Life and your roomie-to-be, start looking online and in brick & mortar stores for dorm room organizers and other needed items. Involve Mom and Dad in the process and let them help out. They want to know you’ll be OK  (and organized) when you’re away...
How will you know which products you’ll need to set up an organized dorm room? Start by asking older friends and relatives what they used to maximize space in their dorm rooms. Refer to college checklists offered by many stores. Before you start shopping, here’s a list of some popular and functional storage products to turn your dorm room into an organized oasis:
Bed Risers
 Bed Risers elevate a bed to provide more storage space underneath. It’s a great place for storing off-season clothes and rarely used items.
Under Bed Boxes w/Wheels
 This is the perfect container for storing those off-season clothes and rarely used items discussed above. Wheels make it easier to pull out from under the bed.
Bed Organizer
 A Bed Organizer or ‘bed pocket’ tucks under a mattress, hangs over the side, and contains multiple pockets that organize the little things that can create clutter in a small space. Perfect for holding whatever a college student needs by their bedside.
Hanging Hamper
 No room for a laundry basket? Use a Hanging Hamper! This type of hamper is equipped with a hanger at the top--hang it from a doorknob or closet rod. Some models have a carry strap—great if the laundry room isn’t close to your own room.
Closet Organizers
 Consider using a Canvas Hanging Sweater Organizer and/or Shoe Organizer. These items have mini shelves that are designed to store sweaters, shoes and much more.
Folding Bookcase
 A folding bookcase is the perfect solution to a shelf-less dorm room. It can be used as a freestanding bookshelf or as a hutch on a desk. Often, there is no assembly required and it folds for easy moving and storage during vacation time.
With a few phone calls, some shopping, and a bunch of cool products, you’re on your way to getting an A+ in Organized Dorm Living 101!

August 5, 2011

Back-to-School Time!

If it's August, it must be Back-to-School shopping time!

In honor of the tradition, I'll be posting weekly organizing tips on Organized Artistry's Facebook Fan Page on the topic of Back-to-School organizing. Check back every week in August for a new way to get your kids (and yourself) organized for the upcoming school year.

Until then, I leave you with one of my favorite commercials...

I'd better practice my singing--my five year old starts kindergarten this year and he needs supplies!

July 26, 2011

Organized Artistry's 9th Anniversary - 9 Organizing Tips for You

July 27, 2011 is the 9th anniversary of my first client. Thank you Mrs. Z for trusting me with your papers and your closet. Hopefully, you had no idea I was a 'newbie' when I walked through your door...

Since that time, I've worked with more than 50+ clients--all of them like snowflakes--no two were alike. But, the one trait they all shared was their desire to get organized. Over the years, my clients have asked for some key tips on how to become and stay organized. In honor of Organized Artistry's 9th anniversary, I am going to share 9 organizing tips to help you reach your goals and lead a less stressful life.

Use one, use some, or use them all...

1. Just Do It. Stop complaining/thinking/worrying about your clutter and instead draw out a written plan to tackle it.

2. Start small. Rooms full of clutter overwhelm most people. Start by sorting items one shelf, one drawer, or one corner of a room at a time. Feeling ambitious? Try one more and get back to sorting the next day.

3. Know Thyself. When do you work best? Mornings? Evenings? Organize when you are at your most energetic.

4. Give 'em a Good Home. Invest in a high-quality file cabinet for your papers. My father's file cabinet is almost as old as I am and still functions well. My favorite brand of file cabinet (and my dad's, too) is HON.

5. Save Money Where You Can. Don't spend a ton of money on organizing products until you know exactly what you need. Until then, use shoeboxes, Ziploc bags and other free or inexpensive organizers.

6. Wear Sturdy Footwear. You never know what might fall off a high (or low) shelf. You never know what you might step on. Protect your feet while organizing--no flip flops or bare feet!

7. One-In-One-Out. If you bring something into your home, something must go. Bought some new towels? Purge some old ones. Got a new pair of black shoes? Send another pair walking. One-in-one-out keeps the amount of 'stuff' in your home at an even level. To really de-clutter, live by the One-in-three-out rule.

8. Take Before and After Pictures. You don't have to show them to anybody. Just take the pictures and keep them for yourself. My prediction is that you'll make sure your home never reaches 'Before' status again!

9. Reward your Accomplishments. Whether you organized a large clothes closet or a small drawer of office supplies, note the accomplishment and reward yourself accordingly. Manicure? Double-chocolate cookie? An evening on the couch with a good book/funny movie/loving spouse? You've worked hard at reaching your organizing goals--you deserve it!

Nine years in business is quite a milestone. Thanks so much to my clients, colleagues, family, and friends for helping me to get to this day.

July 24, 2011

Got Post Its?

I don't know anyone who doesn't love Post-Its. Those somewhat sticky pieces of colored paper have become an everyday part of our lives. I have two or three packages of them on my desk and a ziploc baggie full of different sizes and colors in my work bag. I love Post Its so much, I even use the Classic Stickies program on my Mac--I'd be lost with out it.

We use them for reminders, to dos, shopping lists and a myriad of other uses. But I thought I'd share some great tips in the following article:

Creative Uses for 3M Post It Notes

I already use a few of the ideas offered by the experts but I plan on utilizing #18 next time my five year old is bored...

Get creative and have fun with your Post Its!

July 19, 2011

Cool Product - Jewelry Organizer

I just received The Container Store's Happy Organized Home Sale catalog. Lotsa great organizing products--and at affordable prices, too.

But, I HAD to share what I think is one of the most creative transformations of an already existing product...

Have you seen those jewelry organizers you hang in your closet? Some of them look like this:

Jewelry organizers like this one are functional and utilitarian. But look what else you could have hanging in your closet to organize your beads and baubles:

I took one look at this and thought, 'COOL!' Besides the fact that it holds a boat-load of jewelry, it looks like a dress in your closet! Made by Umbra exclusively for The Container Store, the 'Little Black Dress Hanging Jewelry Organizer' is made from cotton canvas and features 39 pockets and 24 hook and loop closures.

So if you need a new way to organize your jewels and have some room in your closet, check out The Little Black Dress. Umbra definitely knows style...

July 15, 2011

Organizing for Travel Tips on Facebook

I just posted the second of my four travel/organizing tips at my Organized Artistry Facebook page.

If you're going away for more than a night, you'll appreciate this week's tip. Hint: it has to do with footwear...

Wishing you safe and organized travel!

July 8, 2011

Facebook's Payvment Shopping Mall

A short while ago, I discovered an new app for Facebook--the Payvment Shopping Mall. It is a shopping cart system using 'Open Cart' technology that allow customers to shop from storefront to storefront--all without leaving Facebook.

Although I sell my book via Amazon and my website, I am always looking for other venues to list my book. When I saw the opportunity to launch a store while the app is still in public beta, I jumped at it.

What's also great about Payvment Shopping Mall is that it makes it easy for fans and shoppers to Tweet or Like a product which then enables it to appear in their various News Feeds. It spreads the word about a product with a single click!

Here's my listing for 7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note. Why not check out the Payvment Shopping Mall? You never know what you'll find once you're done checking your friend's status...

July 3, 2011

Facebook Tip of the Week

People are always asking me for organizing tips. I enjoy being able to provide helpful advice and strategies so starting this week, I'm going to be offering a 'Tip of the Week' on my Facebook Fan Page.

Every month I will cover a different topic. July's tips will be all about Getting Organized for Travel. Are you going away this summer? Be sure to check my Facebook Fan Page for tips to help you get where you want to go in an organized fashion...

June 29, 2011

It's the 2nd Annual Social Media Day

According to Mashable, a popular social media and technology blog, Thursday, June 30th is Social Media Day.

From their website:

"The global event is a celebration of the technological advancements that enable everyone to connect with real-time information, communicate from miles apart and have their voices be heard. It is a way to recognize and celebrate the huge impact that social media has made on all of our lives"

Tweet and 'Like' to your heart's content. Check in on FourSquare and link up on Linkedin. After that, watch The Social Network with a bunch of your Facebook friends. Don't know much about social media? Then Thursday is the perfect day to start thinking about joining the social media revolution.

I joined Linkedin first--I have a small business. It made sense to me to join as a small business owner and wouldn't require a ton of my time. I didn't want to join Facebook at first. As a mom of a then four year old and newborn baby, I barely had time to devote to our basic needs, let alone a new pastime. But, my colleagues (and friends) advised me that it would be a smart move to have a social media presence for my business and my book. So, as soon as the baby (and I) started sleeping better, I set up my personal and business profile. Although I post as often as I can, (still working on the lack-of-sleep issue) I also enjoy reading what friends, relatives, colleagues and business owners are up to.

This week I added social media buttons to my blog posts for easy sharing of information. Tomorrow, I'm going to make sure my profiles on Linkedin and Facebook are up-to-date and research how to create a Welcome page for my Organized Artistry Facebook Fan Page.

How will YOU celebrate Social Media Day?

June 27, 2011

Social Media Buttons - Hooray!

I always wondered where people got those cool looking social media buttons. I wanted them for my blog but didn't know the first thing about finding them.

So, today while my little guy was napping, I did a search. Much to my surprise, they're all over the place! They come in different colors, shapes, styles--all I really wanted was a simple set to place after each of my blog posts--nothing fancy.

In my search I cam across a very helpful article at Internet Marketing for Mommies. The directions were very easy to follow. Found my buttons at AddThis and a few minutes later--Presto! I have social media buttons after each of my posts.

Now that the buttons are there, feel free to go back to some of your favorite posts and share them with those who you think might learn from them and enjoy them. Thanks!

June 21, 2011

Cool Product - Fridge Binz

I'm lucky to live so close to The Container Store! Even if I don't need anything specific, I'll drop by, walk up and down the aisles and check out some new products now and then.

A short while ago, I was in the 'kitchen' aisle and came upon a product that I thought was not only cool but it could also help me with my own organization problem--my refrigerator.

Food was getting lost in my fridge. Food was going bad in my fridge. I didn't want to open my fridge!

OK--it wasn't that bad but I was having 'bread issues.' Loaves, buns, pita, wraps, and mini-bagels were getting lost and smushed in my fridge.

And then I met my new best friend--The Fridge Binz Tray. These heavy-duty plastic trays help to organize food items and create additional storage space. They come in different shapes and sizes but this one suited my needs best:

I looked at the tray in The Container Store and whispered to it, "Come home with me..."

I brought it home and it has become one of my favorite and most useful household organizing product. Here it is in my fridge:

All the bread products are in one place! When I want some, I pull it out by the handle:

Voila! Bread products slide out. Bread products slide back in. Nothing lost. Nothing smushed. Nothing wasted.

Take a look in your fridge. Could you use a Fridge Bin?

June 10, 2011

Too Chaotic for Company?

Whenever I give a presentation on the topic of clutter, I like to talk about CHAOS--a word that describes a home (or any space) filled with clutter. I write it on my easel pad like this:


and I ask people if they know what it stands for. I always get a good laugh out of my audience when I let them know it stands for...


Do you ever feel like you suffer from CHAOS? 

June 2, 2011

National Donut Day

Friday, June 3rd is National Donut Day--I'd probably be hard pressed to find someone who didn't want to celebrate that day!

You may be asking yourself, 'So, what do donuts have to do with organizing?'

When I work with a client, I always end the session by reminding them to reward themselves in some way for a job well done. Can you think of a more yummy reward than sinking your teeth into an ooey-gooey, or chocolatey, or sprinkly donut? If you're planning on doing any organizing on Friday hop on over to a participating Dunkin Donuts after you've finished your task. They'll give you a free donut with the purchase of a beverage (while supplies last).

Now for a little history: According to the Entenmann's website, National Donut day was created to honor Salvation Army volunteers who served donuts to troops in World War I. For more information, read this. The Salvation Army takes donations from thousands of people a day who are purging through their belongings during the organizing process.

See? Organizing and donuts--it all leads to The Salvation Army.

May 27, 2011

Get Organized for Summertime--Do the Winter/Summer Switch

The Memorial Day weekend is finally upon us--Yipeee!

Are you ready?

Do you still have heavy sweaters in your drawers? Is your snow shoveling gear easier to get to than your kids' floaties? Are your boots blocking your collection of flip-flops?

If you answered 'Yes.' then it's time to do what I call 'The Winter/Summer Switch.'

Doing the 'Winter/Summer Switch' started when I was a kid. With three kids, a small apartment, and very little closet/drawer space we had no choice but to store out-of-season clothing in a place other than our closets. My parents were very creative. They had luggage that they rarely used so our off-season clothing would be stored there. At the end of the Winter and then again at the end of the Summer, my father would take the suitcases down from the top of the closet. We'd try on the clothes and make piles of what to keep for the upcoming season, what to store as hand-me-downs and what to pass on to younger cousins.

That's just one example. Here are some ideas for jumpstarting your own personal 'Winter Summer Switch:'

1. Identify the areas of your home that are in need of 'The Switch.' These might be the garage, clothing closets, outdoor storage area, linen closets, etc.

2.  Make an appointment with yourself to choose ONE area to focus on at a time. Please don't spend the entire holiday weekend switching your stuff around. Even most Professional Organizers wouldn't do that...

3. Gather supplies such as garbage bags, labels, markers (or a label maker), and a pen and paper for jotting down any thing you discover you need or want for the upcoming season.

4. Sort through your items, purge what you don't need and determine the best way to store what you are keeping.

5. Repeat Steps 2-4 as necessary until you are ready for the Summer. You're one step closer to being ready for the new season...