Category archive - Organizing

Hints for an Easy Move

Hints for an Easy Move

You have finally sold your house- Yippee! Now comes the time to move. Here are some points to make the moving process a lot easier whether you are doing yourself or having someone else doing the packing and moving.

 A house for sale that has soldGetting Ready to Move and Pack

  1. When picking up boxes to pack consider getting smaller boxes,  people tend to overload them and then they become to heavy to lift. You should keep the load well under 50 pounds per box.
  2. Purchase more supplies than what you think you might need, you can always return what you don’t use. Buying supplies the day of moving from the moving company will cost you far more.
  3. To save even more try going to U-Haul they will give you used boxes at no cost, yup $0. After you move into your new place bring them back to U-Haul so someone else can save and you are recycling. You might also be able to get inexpensive boxes from BoxCycle in your area. Of course you can visit your grocery and liquor stores too.
  4. Bubble wrap is good, but can cost a lot. Instead wrap breakables individually with six to eight sheets of newsprint paper wrapped around the piece. Don’t overload the box and have it marked clearly with “breakable.” If you have objects like a jewelry board consider wrapping with press and seal to prevent everything from tangling.
  5. If you are doing some of the packing I always tell clients this is a great time to start de-cluttering. Yes if you pick up an item ask yourself how often do you use the item, if not at all get rid of it now so you are not packing, wrapping, carrying, unwrapping and trying to decide where to place it in your next new home.
  6. Who to use for your move? Call a few moving companies to get quotes, make sure it is in person so they can see the entire house contents including the garage and attic. When comparing quotes evaluate each one looking for similarities to be able to attain which is the best value. You can also check for reputable companies.
  7. Ask for a list of items movers will not pack and move for you. If you need to move them realize it will fall on your shoulders to do the packing and carrying of those items so maybe you really don’t need them as much as you thought.

    The actual moving day

  8. Day of the move you may want to see if a neighbor or family member can watch pets and little ones while the packing/moving is taking place. It will make it a little less stressful for them and yourself.
  9. Make sure you have lots of water available for everyone helping with the move and some high energy snacks for your self so you can keep you stamina up.
  10. Create a box that is the last to be loaded on the truck, and the first to be unloaded when you get to your new home. It should contain items that you know you will need as soon as you start unpacking.pile of brown moving boxes

Once you have everything removed from your house and before the driver leaves your home, do one last check for anything that might have been left behind. Be sure to check attics, storage sheds, and basements. Make sure you go through and also turn off all lights, your furnace, and your air conditioner. Lock your windows and doors, and leave behind your keys and garage door openers for the new occupants. Enjoy you new home!!

Other links:

Your House Sold Now What

No Brainer De-Cluttering

Identifying Clutter | Move On

Clutter Prevent it Before it Takes Over

Clutter Prevent it Before it Takes Over

When preparing your home to sell I hear it from clients all the time; “what should I do with all my clutter” Preventing the clutter in the first place would be ideal, but not realistic for many of us with mail, the laundry, items we have through the house, gifts that we don’t know what to do with and then the purchasing of items we don’t necessarily need. Don’t despair there are ways to prevent clutter before it takes over your house and your life. Here are some suggestions.
Have too much clutter in your kitchen, start in one area. If you don’t have enough storage area start there in the cabinets and drawers eliminating utensils and items you don’t use on a regular basis. Keep only the basic essentials that you need or use on a regular basis. Do you really need your holiday serving platters, or roasting pan to be taking up space that could be used for something essential? Remove the clutter off the counters; you will enjoy having the work space when needed. This is always a recommendation to sellers is too, keep counters clear of nonessentials; it will make your kitchen feel like it was intended for, to cook.Model kitchen
Another problem we all encounter is mail- we get too much. Probably a lot of it we do not need or want, so how do you reduce this clutter? Do not provide your personal contact information without asking yourself if it is really necessary. Same goes for your email address. This can be a time consuming task too if your inbox has mail from senders you have no interest in. Think first before giving out the information if you really want to be contacted by that company, this will reduce the garbage in your inbox and time you spend deleting unnecessary correspondence.
Plan before you buy. We usually have a reason why we are going to a store to purchase something but sometimes find that bargain that we can not live without. We bring it home and realize that it was not as great as we thought, but never return it. Plan and think before you buy. Stick to your grocery list, when purchasing furniture and accessories, have a plan as to what will fit in the space, what you really need. If it is not needed or works as you thought, return it or give it away.
Closets are a place where many of us could declutter. Each season BEFORE you go shopping go through the contents of your closet and edit out anything that you did not wear last year. Anything that is worn, or looks not up to your standards, get rid of. Don’t hang onto something that you think “someday I will fit into it” unless you are on a plan to make sure you will be fitting into it, chances are by the time you do, it will be out of style. Pack up and give to the Salvation Army or Goodwill it can be considered tax deduction.organized closet
While on the subject of closets, organize your closet similar to a high end department store. Group similar articles of clothing together pants, then shirts, etc. within those sort by color. Yes sounds a little obsessive but it does help you when picking out clothes to wear and when shopping. You will have a better idea of what you have so you do not duplicate and end up with a cluttered closet. Do the same with your shoes too. This is another area I tell sellers to concentrate on when preparing a house to sell and to give the closet a pulled together appearance use all the same hangers.
Each season is a good time to edit other areas of the house like the attic, basement and garage. These tend to be places that catch all the “stuff” we don’t know what else to do with. Stop that habit now. With spring here this is a great time to go through everything in the garage, if it is broken, hardly working, or you have no idea what it goes to, get rid of it. Do the same with the basement and/or attic. Yes you do need to store something’s, but store only what is useful.
Last if you are tired of your spaces consider re-decorating versus throwing everything out and starting new. Not sure how to even begin the process? A great resource is a Professional Home Stager that specializes in interiors. They re-invent people’s spaces for selling and can create magic in home reducing clutter and getting the spaces balanced with the right amount of furniture and updated style you maybe looking for.
Share with me any simple organizing ideas you have.

Chi The Energy In Your Home

Chi The Energy In Your Home

The first time I heard about Feng Shui and Chi I thought… ok not so sure, tell me a little more. So I started reading and came to realize that there definitely is energy always around and surrounding us. The condition of the building, photos, art, windows and the way the sun comes in through windows, colors and how they change in different light, furnishings- imagine a chair covered in a fabric you think is horrible, but then the same chair covered in a fabric you love- objects that surround us daily whether we realize it or not are giving off energy; positive or negative that affect us.

What is Chi you ask?  Chi is the energy of life itself; it is the balance of Ying and Yang. Chi is the term for the universal energy or the energy that permeates everything around us, like the items we have in a room.  When Chi becomes unbalanced, stagnant, or depleted; emotional and physical problems can begin, you just don’t feel like yourself.

blue bedroom

Before After


The first step, look at your building outside with objective eyes. Does the building itself make you feel happy when you view it? The outside of a building can affect the energy in the space inside. Look at the outside of the building, is it in good repair, are their any obstacles that feel offending to you? By doing repairs, removing garbage cans, possibly repainting your front door to complement the outdoor surroundings along with adding planters with vibrant colors on either side of the door can improve the outdoor Chi of your home. The outside energy and that surrounds the front door into your home – known as the mouth of Chi is where the energy enters the home.Bagua Map

Good Feng Shui for an entire home has basic guidelines. Important factors to consider are keeping the rooms clutter free, good air quality and light are essential to creating a good foundation of positive energy in a room. Understanding the Bagua or energy map of your home for your rooms also helps. Knowing which area a room lies within the Bagua will help you determine the best colors for that room and placement of furniture within the room. Include the five feng shui elements, wood, fire, earth, metal and water in each room; but be aware that they will be used in different proportions depending on the location of the room according to the Bagua.

If this seems confusing or overwhelming keep in mind when creating a room; color, form, flow and function are elements in every room that create balance. If one is not quite right you will notice it, possibly not understanding why you feel it. The key to a balanced room and life is to develop positive energy within the room. If something is amiss look objectively at the spaces you live in and surround you. I thought “like it will really make a difference”, but also thought “try it what will it hurt.” By changing a few things within the space of a room might create balance and more positive energy again.

Sterile or Styled | Makes a Difference When Selling

Sterile or Styled | Makes a Difference When Selling

Many people think they understand the purpose from reading blogs, and their listing Agents, that they need to declutter and remove their “stuff” in order to sell and make their property appealing. They need to clean and eliminate, style the rooms but not make them sterile. The crucial factor to making it all work comes down to what you eliminate, and how you edit the “stuff.”

Statistics have proven that a clean decluttered house presents better than one where nothing has been done to it. The “this is how I live” look does not necessarily convey well to buyers looking for a property. But if the house is decluttered and no style exists, then the property will still fall flat in reaching its target market. Part of the styling comes from the existing features in a house. If the “bones” of the property are good then it is a little easier for a non-professional to prepare the house to look great. If the house is a little dated, has too many “personal touches” then it is essential to bring in a professional home stager to assist the seller, giving them direction as to how to bring out the best in the property.

kitchen before and after

Before Staging | After Staging

I have heard it repeatedly; why do I need a Professional Stager if my Agent told me what to do? Your Agent is a professional responsible for fiduciary and marketing duties, but that does not necessarily fall into styling knowledge. They may be aware of styles that will sell better in certain markets, similar to them understanding what is important in an inspection. Although neither are they professionals or responsible for; therefore it is wise to have the knowledge of a professional in the field. Would you ask your lawyer to perform a heart transplant on you?

family before after

Before Staging | After Staging

Back to sterile versus styled, this is the balance a Professional Stager can crate though a property, making the house stand out above the competition in the area. If you watch HGTV you see it with the Property Brothers, Love It or List It and other similar shows, the Agent sells the property and negotiates the best price for the client, the Designer/Decorator creates the beauty and style throughout the house that buyers fall in love with.

So when listing your property honestly ask yourself; “am I able to style and update this house without investing a ton of money or losing a ton of money so buyers to fall in love with it the very first time they see it?” If not, ask to have your property professionally staged.

Other Articles

Benefits of Staging Your Property

Advantages of Home Staging

Adding Color to Your Outdoor Spaces

Adding Color to Your Outdoor Spaces

Adding color to your outdoor spaces is easier than you think, if you know what resources are available to you. Living outdoors is similar to indoors, adding color just enhances the space.

I know the first thing that many people will think of are plants, but you can go beyond that to give your outdoor space personal touch and color you desire. Being a home stager in Orange County NY, I always advise my clients to pay attention to their outdoor spaces because these really are an extension of great living space. Color can add to an outdoor space, similar to indoors. Consider some of these elements to create an atmosphere that is the talk of your friends.

Ways To Add Color

Flowers- these can add beauty and color, annuals are great for all summer bloom, and perennials can add interest and back drop to a great garden. Why not repeat some of your selections in pots to balance your yard? Speaking of which…

Color Pots – are a great way to bring color and interest to the outdoors. Bright color pots to coordinate with your exterior house color can be awesome accessories.

Lighting – Why not add some paper lanterns in bright colors. They add interest and can be easily changed according to the mood you would like to create. color lanterns hang from trees, colorful pillows, a green side table Throw Pillows – the great thing with these it that they bring the space together, the multiple prints and colors can set a mood for the outdoor space. They are relatively inexpensive and you can change them according to your mood.

Outdoor Rugs – these can pull together seating areas and really create a warm feeling in an open outdoor space. The great thing with these are that they are low maintenance and can create a focal point in a vast rug, colorful pillows on porch swings outdoors

Paint- spray that is- you have a few pieces of metal furniture or wood furniture that is not in that great of shape, think spray paint and in color! Think bases of tables, or chairs maybe a side table, all of these can add that little pop of color in just the right amount.

When thinking of your outdoor spaces, many can be treated similar to indoor spaces by using similar elements to update and make them feel cozy and areas that you just want to sit back and enjoy the summer.

Other Good Reads:

Summer time Outdoor Room Decor

Plants that Help Us Enjoy the Outdoors

Being Organized Do I Have to Be OCD?

Being Organized Do I Have to Be OCD?

Being organized does not mean that you have to be OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), really! It does help that when you are trying to get organized, spend some time in one room setting up a system that you can maintain on a regular basis. Once you have organized that room you will feel calmer and probably like entering the room. Where do you start?cluttered room

I will suggest to my clients to start in one room that they feel always seems like chaos to them. It could be an office, toy room, kitchen, a closet or simply the entrance way into your home.

Once you identify the one room to start with, identify what is driving you crazy about that room. Is it that you have no storage space, no place to put items, it is the catch all for everyone’s else’s stuff, or too much in one room that is taking up valuable time when you need to find something? Once you identify the problem it becomes easier to address how to correct it.

If you feel that you are lacking storage space, can you build shelves to create more storage space? Using shelving helps sort and store a lot, but they need to stay organized otherwise they just lend to the clutter. Do you have a closet that might be underutilized? By adding an additional shelf or another rod might solve your problem.

Baskets are a favorite of mine to store items in. For one you can put similar items in one and label it for easy identification. They can be decorative or you can get practical plastic tubs to store items. I love that manufactures are now even coloring totes for holiday items, Halloween items etc. Makes it even easier to identify what is stored in that tote.

Everyone’s items that end up in one area, get everyone to pitch in and help. At the end of the day before everyone heads to bed they have to go through the house and pick up all the items, and put away in the proper place. Of course having those spaces organized help them by having a place to put everything away.

Being Organized does not mean being OCD, but having systems in place that can help keep the chaos at bay.

Organizing | Systems to Use

Are You a Piler or a Filer?

Are You a Piler or a Filer?


What am I talking about??!!??

A Piler– you know, the kind of person that has papers piled high up, you think you know where everything because you have multiple piles of them.pile of paper


Or a Filer – as soon as you get a piece a paper it goes into a file either to deal with at a later time or once you are finished with it.

file drawer


Is one better than the other? Not necessarily, it depends on what works best for you and your peace of mind on a daily basis. I find that the best way to get control of the mess that can accumulate is to set up a system, and keep to that system that allows me to find what I need when I need it.

In some areas of my house I have the piles, right now there are piles of left over greeting cards, piles of newspapers to use in the wood stove and piles of bills to be paid. I also have the files of last year’s taxes, current and past clients I work with, files that contain design work and color consults. So either way you choose it, it needs to work for you.

How do you start?

Take a look at those piles and files and what is in them. Sort through everything; yes that means look at every piece of paper in that pile or file.

Create three piles

  1. Keeper that does not need to be addressed every day, but that you need to go back to every so often and keep “like things” together.
  2. Address now, those items that need your attention within a relatively short period, like within the month of time.
  3. The garbage those items that you have hung onto and really have no purpose anymore. These could be receipts from a year ago that have no need for business i.e. the sandwich you might have bought but cannot deduct. Or that instruction manual to the leaf blower that broke a year ago that you threw out, you get what I am saying here. Stay present.

OK so now that you reduced one of the piles it is time to decide what to do with the “Keepers” and the “Address now.” Decide if they have to go into a file and be labeled, or made into a pile. Be careful with those piles though you don’t want them to get too high that you never get to the bottom of them.

Once you set up a system you will find that you feel like your daily routine starting to feel a little more sane. Remember everything that surrounds you exerts an influence on your life. You do not want those things around you turning the energy that you do have, into negative energy. Start small- one area of a room at a time. Set a goal to finish; let’s say your kitchen by the end of the month, and then move to the next room.  As my mother use to say “inch by inch life is a cinch, yard by yard life is hard.”

Keep in tune of your progress!



Organizing and Decluttering a Closet

Organizing and Decluttering a Closet

What a project this always is! Getting into your closets and removing all the things that are cluttering and taking up space; then organizing them, it can be consuming. Think of it this way, by organizing your closet and de-clutter the mess it will help you conserve time later by being that much easier to find things and know what you need. For every down side there is an up side!

colored closet

So where do you begin? Follow these simple steps and you well be on your way to easing the clutter and chaos in your closet. First open the closet doors and take a look at the contents.

Start with taking everything out one item at a time. When doing so create piles.

  • A pile to discard (let’s hope this becomes the biggest)
  • A pile of items you use, want to keep and know you will continue to use
  • A pile of not really sure (we will deal with later)

Pile of clothes

 Now that you created the piles attend to the pile of the items you know you want to keep and use. This one is what you will organize so that you can find things in a closet. Group like things, for instance if you are working in a clothes closet group together all shirts, pants, shoes etc. Then when placing items back in your closet make sure that the “go to” items are easily accessible. So if you have a reach in closet those items that you know you use everyday are front and center. Other items that you do not use as frequently, put toward the outer corners or up high, giving room to the most frequently items.

Along with grouping like things, in a clothes closet you can also group by color which will further ease what you need to find.

Now to deal with the two piles left behind. The one to discard is easy if the items are in good enough condition donate them to Good Will, your local place of worship, or look into local charities. Keep a list when you donate because these items might be able to be used as a tax deduction for you.  Otherwise if the item is not usable, discard it.  No matter what is in that pile it must be removed otherwise those items might tend to creep back into your organized closet.

The next pile, the one you are not really sure of… honestly look at the condition and see if you can possibly sell any of those items locally on Craigslist, local second hand shops, there are Face book Groups that have local yard sales look for them in your area if you are on Face book. Or you can also try selling on EBay. This pile may take a little longer to remove but with effort and time you will be pleased with your results.

Organizing Your Kitchen and Food Part 2

Organizing Your Kitchen and Food Part 2

Ok you have started to organize your kitchen starting on the inside, all your cabinets and drawers are in order now is the time to tackle your food.

As I said in Organizing a Kitchen Part 1, if you have food on your floor pantry you have too much and need to either start eating more, entertaining more, stop buying as much, or give some away to your local food pantry! We as a nation tend to purchase more than we can ever consume, like really, what are those people doing with all that food on that Extreme Couponing show anyway?!!?

Ok so how do you get organized with your food? First start pulling everything out of your pantry and look at the expiration dates of your food, anything that has expired goes in the trash. As you are pulling out your food group the packages like a grocery store does, by “like items” all soup together, all cereals together, all pastas together, all… you get the idea. Then edit. I do have to say that those staged selves with multiple of the same thing are beautiful to look at, but really who has that that much of the same thing? Edit your items, make sure what you have in your pantry is fresh.pantry


When placing items back group like things; oatmeal with cereal and pop tarts for example on the same shelf so your family knows where to locate these items, and better yet, knows what shelf to put them back on. This is also helpful because it will make your shopping list easier to compile when you need to. If you cannot remember what you need to purchase you can open up the cabinet door and voila you can immediately see what you are getting low on.

Next move onto your refrigerator, and edit and organize what lurks behind those doorsOnce a week I strongly suggest go through and check all those mysterious packages that have accumulated throughout the week. Many things that have been in your refrigerator cannot be stored indefinably as some might believe. The site outlines safe time limits in an easy to read chart that could be good to print and put on the fridge if you tend to leave food stored for a while.

food safty chart

organized refridgerator








Now that you have organized cabinets, drawers, pantry and refrigerator you are well on your way to a well organized easier to use kitchen. Having problems feeling like you can accomplish this? Contact me, I will be happy to help.

Organizing a Kitchen Part 1

Organizing a Kitchen Part 1

The kitchen can tend to be one room that becomes the collection spot of everyone’s “stuff.”

How do you control all of the mess, and keep things in order and organized in one of the busiest rooms in your home, your kitchen?

If your kitchen counters are anything like mine they are the dropping ground for everything, and I mean everything! My husbands’ tools, my daughters’ dog leashes, my sons’ latest computer part project and it goes on, but you get the idea. In order to have peace of mind I start with the inner parts of the kitchen and then work out. Huh? I make sure that my cabinets and drawers are in order and without a lot of extra stuff to keep my piece of mind.

Remember, if you are limited on space you have to get smart to get organized, going upward always can give you more space to store things. For your dishes, keep the items that you use the most on the bottom shelves and stack like things up, those items you use less keep higher up so they are not using up key valuable space. If you feel things will topple think of getting some cabinet organizers that will add additional shelving that you might need.extra shelves


Another way to get organized in your cabinets is keeping like things together. When we finally renovated our kitchen I said I wanted all baking items next to the oven, while all cooking items over near the cook top. It may seem simple, but believe me, when actually baking or cooking having everything in the vicinity of the task you are doing makes working in the kitchen enjoyable.pot rack



While sorting through kitchen cabinets really be honest with yourself and ask: when was the last time I used this? If your answer was over a year ago, consider giving it away. If it is something you use for holiday entertaining then it definitely can go to the top and back of a cabinet if you know it is a family favorite, or better yet stored in the attic next to that particular holiday decorations that you only pull out for that celebration.

Once you get your drawers, cabinets organized, sorted and in order; next you have to deal with food storage. Food storage in  the pantry and refrigerator needs to be organized too. As I say to many clients, if you have to store your food on the floor of your pantry you have to either start eating up faster, buying less or give some of it to a food pantry, SERIOUSLY!… and this will be for my next blog, ideas for food storage.

Organizing Your Kitchen and Food Part 2