HeartWork Organizing

Helping you find peace and purpose through organization and design

How to Get Rid of Ants April 12, 2012

Filed under: General,Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 1:43 pm
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It’s hard to feel good about organizing or decorating when ants go marching two by two through your space.  For those of you who think I lead a charmed life, sorry to pop your balloon.  We have ants.

True, these ants have tenure.  I’ve only lived in this house 4 years, and the ants have probably been here for most of the hundred years the house has stood here.  But I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to share my snacks with them.

Since I have kids and I like to be all goody-goody about reducing chemicals in my home, I don’t just head for the pesticide aisle.  A couple of years ago, I contacted Mike McGrath, who hosts the show You Bet Your Garden on WHYY, which is a wealth of resources on plants, organic gardening, and natural lawn care techniques.  He pointed me to this little product, that has revolutionized my war on bugs.

ant killer

It’s a bit different because you don’t spray your stuff or your crawlers.  No, this is more subtle.  You just put a couple drops of Pic Liquid Ant Bait Killer down in a little cardboard or plastic doormat (included), and let the ants walk on it.  And they will, because this stuff is like Easter candy to them.  Did you know that ants are very systematic?  They follow in each other’s footsteps to their food source, and then the ants go marching home again, all in a line.  But at my house, their little legs will be coated with blue juice, which they carry home to their colony.  Within days, all of the ants in the colony have had a taste of the Kool-Aid.  No more ants.

Still, they are ants, and I have to go through this every spring.  I’ve been doing this for 4 years, and you see how much of this tiny bottle I’ve used?  Since I’m using so little, I worry a lot less about unintended targets getting a taste of my blue wrath.

After that’s all taken care of, I can get back to the fun stuff, decorating and organizing for spring.  Here’s hoping for peace around your baseboards.


Organizing the Car Trunk Means Less Rattle, More Mileage April 5, 2012

Filed under: Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Last week, I was driving very, very carefully.  Driving conditions have been fine, but I was driving gingerly because I was harboring a noise-maker in the back: a wire bin with wheels on it, that I hadn’t yet returned to the store.

how to organize your car

Empty trunk + metal bin on wheels = lots of noise when driving

Did you know that organizing your car can keep your car quieter AND save you real money? Predictions are that gas prices will rise above $4.00 by April.  Every extra pound that you carry in the car trunk (or anyplace else) leads to lower gas mileage, costing the average family an additional $40 per year, and more as the price of gas increases. As if you needed another reason to get organized.  Here are some strategies to get it in gear:

Read More on How to Declutter the Family Car

This is excerpted from the article originally published at  ShopGetOrganized on March 21, 2012.

What essentials do you keep in your car?


How to Organize Kids Art Projects April 3, 2012

Filed under: Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Kids’ art projects are notoriously hard to organize.  The topic comes up constantly.  There are a bazillion ways to store your little Picasso’s projects, of course, but really, simple is better.

My absolute favorite storage solution is the Li’l Davinci art frames.  You can check out this video of how these front-hinge beauties from Dynamic Frames work.  My kids (2 and 5) decide which creations are frame-worthy, and they love to help me load their new opus into the frames at least once a week.

While we have enough wall space in our house for a mini art gallery, we don’t actually have enough space in our house for the art studio it takes to create said art.  So I was thrilled to take my little ones to a new place recently, the Creative Clubhouse in Havertown, PA.  Unlike the pottery studio just down the street from our house, the Creative Clubhouse is geared for the younger set (12 months to 8 years), and I didn’t feel like I was bringing my bullish children into the china shop.  The setup is simple, with areas set up for Lego play, dough play, simple glue projects, easel art, magnet boards, a huge chalk wall (sure kids, go ahead and draw on these walls), and an area for building towers from blocks.  They also run scheduled art and music classes throughout the week.  If I had an extra room in my house for art, it would look just like the Creative Clubhouse.

Look around this space, and you’ll see some pretty simple but effective art solutions that can easily translate into most homes, even if you don’t have your own art room.  Owner, Amy, will tell you that they are all IKEA solutions, easy to pick up and easy to install.  Supplies, like paint brushes, crayons, and any other high-risk implements can be stored in cute and shiny cans hanging from organizing rails, originally meant to organize a kitchen.

how to organize kids art

Smocks and aprons, the wardrobe staple of the preschool set, hung on simple keyhook bars in the lower left corner of that shot, were super accessible to the kiddos.  At home, you might be able to hang these on the inside of a pantry door or coat closet door.

If you can’t spring for a set of Dynamic Frames, then a simple set of clips hung on airline wire, normally used to hang curtains in a hip loft space, will allow you to hang painted art, especially great for those that need a bit of drying time.

How to organize kids art supplies

For hardback or canvas creations,  this skinny ledge provides the perfect perch for a rotating display of color.  It’s only about an inch and a half deep, so it can fit into just about any space. I like the idea of adding in some favorite books to create a seasonal or theme display.

How to organize kids art supplies

Last, think multi-functional in every single piece of furniture you bring into your house once you have kids.  I think it should be a crime to manufacture any bench or ottoman without storage underneath.  With just a little planning and maybe a basket or two, a bench can store even more puzzles, games, and creative supplies.

How to organize kids art supplies

We’ve been back to the Creative Clubhouse, and I love that my kids get to be creative and messy, but I don’t have to clean it up.  If you need a few more ideas on how to store your kid’s art, check out how to organize creations in digital form, and 5 more ways to organize kids art supplies.

Are any of these solutions to organize kids’ art working in your home?


Fear Of Buttons March 29, 2012

Filed under: Closets & Storage,Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Are you itching for a new spring wardrobe?  Beware not to let koumpounophobia, a real documented phobia of buttons, set in.  Watch this tip on how to store those extra buttons that come with new garments so you can actually find the right buttons when you need them.

If you can’t see the video thumbnail, click here:

Please comment below to let me know what you think of this idea to save and store buttons, and how you would make it even better.


Home Office In a Closet March 28, 2012

I was talking to a friend about this particular transformation, and realized it had never made it to the blog, so here you go.  For those of you who work at home, you can have a super-functional and pretty office, in just about 30″ of space (deep).


how to have a home office in a closet


How to have a home office in a closet

What would you accomplish if your office was this pretty?


Why I Love My Job March 22, 2012

Filed under: Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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This week I’m enjoying hanging with my organizing peeps at the National Association of Professional Organizers annual conference. Did you know there is one?  It is always one VERY organized agenda!

I can’t wait to get back and share what’s new in the industry.  I’ll be spending a few days in the land of crab cakes and Orioles.  Too bad we’re a few weeks ahead of opening day. It’s true, I have one of the best jobs a person could ask for.

I love my job.

This is one of my favorite parts of my job.  I almost never work alone.

linen closet organizingThis is Smudge, and he was doing the safety check and space planning for this linen closet reorganization.   I have a million shots of my your little furry children helping me organize your spaces.  Next time I’m at your place, please remind me to snap a shot of the silly things they do to help us out.

Enjoy your week.

What do you love best about your job?


Organizing While Human March 20, 2012

Filed under: Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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People I work with often blame their current organizing state of affairs on the blessings of being an American.  Let’s face it, while the 99% have gotten a lot of press with the Occupy Wall Street movement, most Americans are still the richest 2% of the world’s population.  If we feel overwhelmed by our stuff, our debt, our gadgets, our calendars, and our information, is it just because we are Americans living in the year 2012?


One of the biggest reasons we keep too much is because we treasure possibilities.  We keep things we’ve never used just in case we might need them some day.  We keep relics of activities we used to do, but are unlikely to take part in again.  We keep magazines we don’t have time to read because there might be a cool article in there. There’s lots of psychology behind this, but basically it boils down to us being human, not the year we live in.

I found a little organizing story tucked in the book of Acts in the Bible.  Acts tells the story of what happened to Jesus’ followers immediately after he rose and ascended to be with the Father.  His guys were sent all over the ancient world to tell His story.  Paul, one of the new guys, heads over to Athens, Greece and is hobnobbing with the folks who run the town.  “All the people of Athens spent their time talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” (v.21)  Sounds a bit like us, always plugged in and getting our news practically by I.V. drip.  The Greeks were really into their gods, as you might recall from mythology.  The guys in charge ask Paul what he’s in town to discuss, and Paul says, “As I walked around, I looked carefully at the things you worship, I even found an altar with to an unknown god written on it.” (v.23)

In effect, the people of Ancient Greece were keeping an empty building or shrine in high-rent downtown real estate labelled to an unknown god, just in case they might need it one day!

There’s no need to beat yourself up about a little extra in your life here and there.  After all, there are times when being prepared makes a lot of sense.  The ability to plan makes us human and sets us apart from the rest of the animals. But taken too far, you might be taking up valuable real estate for something that really is a little wacky. We’ve seen it for two thousand years and more.  We’ll always organize while human.

Paul says that not only can he describe the God that they are holding a place for, but that God doesn’t even need a separate shrine, that He’s master over everything and everywhere.  Hey, Greeks, he’s saying, listen up.  That space could be better used than sitting empty.  Today, our unworn sweaters, unused books, uneaten food, unworn shoes, and yes, probably even our unoccupied real estate, can be better put to use helping our fellow humans.  Donating unused goods is a good thing!

Stay human, but keep the just in case within reason.