Spanx vs the Lapband: what’s your clutter situation?

Did you ever consider losing clutter to be analogous to losing weight? It is! And though everyone is unique, in Get Organized Already’s professional organizing adventures three different situations show up over and over.

Which of the following weight loss scenarios best describes you? Check out my pro tips to help you get organized no matter what the size of your clutter is.
nonni w basket

Tummy tuck anyone?

Sometimes when we walk in the door with our cute aprons and our magic organizing basket, people want to have a complete overhaul. Their house, or just a room, is too packed to be usable anymore. If this sounds familiar, you are probably too overwhelmed to know where to start.

Pro tip: Start with a trash bag, a lined donation bin, and a box for any papers you find. Start in one corner of the room and set a timer. Touch everything only once, put each item in the appropriate container, and work until the timer goes off. That’s less daunting than tackling the whole room, right? In situations like this, our professional team will spend a few hours getting your room, or home, back to a manageable state. The momentum will keep you moving forward on your own or with people who love you.

Staying in shape

My personal organizing style is livable and comfortable. I know where everything is, but the beds may not be made. (Shocking, I know! But this is real life we are living—not a movie.) As long as the people in my home know where stuff lives, we can all navigate around each other and not spend our time searching for our things (and yelling, “HAVE YOU SEEN IT?” across the house). This scenario is for those who need a maintenance plan to keep their home organized.

Pro tip: Let all users of items know where things belong using labels. (It doesn’t have to be fancy. A sticky note or painter’s tape works just fine inside cabinets, drawers, and pantries.)

People generally flip out about this comfortable style of organizing because they have fallen victim to thinking that organized means rigid and perfect. Newsflash: perfection is not possible! A comfortable style of organizing suits most people because it is realistic and less expensive (as in no fancy labels or matching containers to buy). And works a lot better than what about 56 percent of you have going on right now: the dreaded PicMonkey Collagewe-don’t-have-a-system approach.

Ready for the college reunion

At the far end of the organizing continuum lie the Martha Stewart and Howard Hughes personalities of the world. Get Organized Already can help you, too! I have two lovely ladies on my organizing team with extensive backgrounds in interior design. They are amazing at creating the types of rooms you see in magazines. Whenever someone calls and I can tell they want to take their home to the next level (think Better Homes and Gardens or Apartment Therapy), I send out my Label Ladies.

I love to be in these places: fresh flowers and herbs in the entryway, a calendar printed in chalkboard paint and framed in a custom frame. Open the drawers and angels sing. The labels whisper beautiful phrases like, “fresh nutmeg” and “organic basmati rice.”

I’m not kidding. It is very peaceful and if I could, I’d have a Get Organized Already organizer over here every day to keep my shizzle looking like that in a heartbeat!

Pro tip: Getting organized isn’t a one time event. It has to happen regularly.

Everyone has their comfort level. Whatever your state of comfort or chaos, there’s a way to stay organized. And my team can help you accomplish your vision of the just-right organized home for less than you spend on two trips to Whole Foods. True story.


Turkey Day Preppers

Get Organized Already

Photo credit to Vicki Nikolaidis via Flickr

Preparing for Thanksgiving is kind of like preparing for the end of the world. Everyone is hoarding food, the store shelves are stripped bare, and everyone is running around like they are never going to see the light of tomorrow.

The biggest stresser is timing. I mean, the turkey takes hours, the gravy takes minutes. There are sides, and salads, desserts, and cocktails. How in the world are you going to make sure everything comes out at the right time?

Plan ahead.

This important step may add a little more time to your prep routine, but it will be worth it. It’s something I have done to keep me from losing it every holiday season. Plus, once you have your routine down to a science, you can it apply it to other times like birthdays or the super bowl party your other half springs on you a week before.

First things first: The guest list. You can’t possibly know how much to make if you have no idea how many people are coming.

Once you have your list, prepare 1.5 servings per person even for children, because while they may not eat their allotted serving, that extra will be there for the person who comes back for their third plate.

Get Organized Already

Photo credit to Bruce Turner via Flickr

Next thing: Grocery list. Decide ahead of time what you’re going to make and write a list of food items with each one’s ingredients underneath. You don’t need to include measurements in this list. Go through your pantry and cabinets and cross off what you already have on hand. Eggs, butter, and milk are things to buy even if you have some on hand. Chances are you’re going to need more than what you have.

To make your big day easier, prep some of your food the day before. Assemble the baked macaroni so all you’ll have to do is pop it in the oven while the turkey is resting. Boil your potatoes the day before and mash them on the day of. You can even put pies together, refrigerate, and bake them while everyone is eating.

How much early preparation you do depends on your comfort level and what you’re making. To make it easier (and because I’m a huge list person), write out everything you will be making the day before. List all of the preparatory steps one food item at a time. The list will keep you from feeling frazzled, and going in circles.

What are some Thanksgiving cooking tips and tricks you find helpful?

Or is this your first Thanksgiving? If so, what are some concerns and worries you have?

Cleaning up the Christmas crap

I sit here in my newly un-decorated living room with mixed emotions.

I’m happy because it’s over. The tree can’t stay up forever. I mean, what would people say if a professional organizer left the wreath on the door and the lights on the roof until March?

I’m also sad because it’s over. Christmas is the happiest time of the year in this house—not just December 24th and 25th—the whole season. It is the time of year when I am living in each moment the most. I am glad to wake up each morning and thankful for all of the seasonal things to be done. It is my busiest time at work which also makes me feel fulfilled and grateful. I love December! All of those little red and green decorations around the house remind me to stop and take breath—to drink it in. And the lights on my house make me feel lucky every time I drive up.

So today when we took it all down and packaged it into (perfectly organized red and green) boxes I played my holiday channel on Pandora and enjoyed the season one last time.

After a couple of hours, it occurred to me: this takes a long time!

I got a little side-tracked thinning out my old sheet music (btw: Who knows where to donate sheet music??) and making juice in my new juicer. (health kick, party of one!). But doesn’t everyone get side-tracked? This is why I have a job. Going through this stuff and deciding what to keep and what to put where is time-consuming. Our house is very thinned out and it still takes a minute. No one wants to spend a day doing this! Well, no one except for weirdos like me who love it!

So, if you still have some decorations up, even if you still have a pumpkin on your porch (I won’t tell), call me and let’s get it over with! Now is a great time to get rid of some of the toys your kids won’t miss and nic-nacs you keep out simply because it’s a pain to make a decision.

It is a pain. And my job is to make it less so.

Call me.

Nonnahs      323.230.0297

Holiday Organizing: A letter to my people

Friends of Get Organized Already,

I’m looking forward to some down time this holiday season.  You, too want to have a peaceful end of the year I’m sure.  Here are a few (unsolicited, but still awesome) tips from me for keeping your party season calm:

  • Say yes to no more than 2 parties per weekend.  I don’t care if you are only invited to 4 all season and they are all on the same day.  Do yourself and your family a favor and only go to two in a weekend and enjoy them completely.  (This includes kid parties.)
  • Get out your calendar now and schedule your Christmas dinner shopping trip.  I don’t want to hear about any of you getting a headache from going to Bristol Farms on the 23rd.  Put two hours on the calendar right now.
  • Think about the things you love most about December and the advent season.  What are they?  Put up a reminder of those things.  For example:
    • (easy version) Write “football, sweaters, cooking a pie” on a piece of scrap paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror.
    • (advanced) Print out a photo of your family at a game, rip out a picture of some cashmere, and find your favorite pie recipe and put them all up on the fridge.
    • (Martha Stewart style) Make a collage.  Read a novel about football.  Start designing your Christmas cards.

At whichever level you choose to participate do these things with no pressure on yourself about whether or not you do these activities perfectly or even at all.  Just think on them.  See what happens.

  • Call a relative or old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while who will love hearing from you.  Ask a couple of open-ended questions and just listen.  When are you going to do this?  Sooner is better.
  • If you feel stressed about what to wear to holiday events, take time now to go into your closet and put together a comfortable nice outfit.  Now wear that outfit to every holiday party/gathering this season.  Problem solved.
  • Think for a minute about other such things that stress you out over the holidays: gift buying, recipe planning, mingling, holiday card mailing, etc.  Take a deep breath and let yourself decide whether or not you are going to do that activity this year.  You could probably drop it right off of your plate.  Or you could (at least partially) delegate it.
  • Don’t buy gifts you aren’t inspired to buy.  This is not the year to be giving frivolous gifts.
  • Call me for some relief.  :o)  We can get the kitchen ready for cooking, the guest room ready for your aunt, your shopping done, your menu planned, gifts wrapped, the living room de-cluttered.  YOU NAME IT!  It’s a lot quicker and more fun when you have a helper.

I hope you find some ideas for yourself in these tips.  I’ll be writing more here on my blog about once or twice a week if you want to stay inspired.  Please click the Follow tab up there on the upper left part of the gray bar on this screen.

And let me know what you are up to and what you are going to say NO to this December.