HeartWork Organizing

Helping you find peace and purpose through organization and design

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

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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

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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?

 

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).

Before:

how to have a home office in a closet

After:

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

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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

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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?

Nope.

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.

 

Candyless Month: SMART Goals Help Organize Smarter Snacks February 16, 2012

Filed under: General,Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 3:43 pm
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Remember when I told you I was going to try to get a handle on my candy addiction in January?  Boy, am I glad that’s over!

You might be wondering, how is this an organizing or decorating story?  Trust me, it is both.

The thing about organizing is that if you have a plan, a system, and the right tools on hand, you can be successful.  Without any of those things, well, you get more of what you’ve always gotten before.

My plan was to cut out my candy binges.  Not calories.  Not candy entirely.  Just the 3 o’clock and 8 o’clock binges.  That’s where I sit down and eat half a bag of M&M’s or an entire box of Girl Scout cookies.  My system was to have some substitute sweets on hand, including frozen fruit, oranges, Greek yogurt, and roasted vegetables. And the tools, well, that’s where you came in.  Every time I went into the pantry, I thought about this post I was eventually going to have to write, and so I thank you for being there for me.

My goals were SMART:  specific, measurable, applicable, realistic, and time-bound.  There was absolutely no reason I couldn’t be binge-free for thirty days.

Things pretty much went as planned.  Not having my daily sugar dose, some mornings I definitely woke up less sluggish.  Sugars that come from processed foods and candy really do gum up my works, which is way more noticeable than in my twenties.

Oh, and I remembered that I needed to drink more water.  Not just pour it and let it sit nearby, but actually drink it.  Osmosis isn’t a good way to get your hydration.

Then, near the end of the month, I took on a two day staging job, and my system failed.  (That’s the decorating part of the story.) I fell back on chowing through an entire bag of Skittles to get me through the job instead of taking sensible breaks for water and real food.  Skittles are so seductive, I even got my assistant hooked on them.  Sorry, Jill.  Although the Skittles.com site is one of the biggest wastes of time ever, I have to agree with the tweet/quote, “Where there are Skittles, there’s a way.”

OK, one slip is not bad.  But then I had a weak moment in the evening, which began with me reaching for a box of chocolate drizzled popcorn that I bought as a hostess gift in case I was invited to a holiday party.

 

Note to self:  buying candy just in case is probably a bad idea.

I struggled with this one, so close to the end of the month.  So I flipped the box and checked the stats.  10 servings in the box.  130 calories per serving.  Are you kidding me?  Stalling, I pulled out 9 plastic baggies, intending to eat just one serving.  It works for those Nabisco hundred calorie packs; it might work for me.  Here’s what one serving looked like.

Pathetic. Hardly worth the calories.

That particular night, my better nature won out.  I opted for a tub of Greek yogurt instead and saved about a gazillion calories.  ‘Cuz you know I was not just going to eat one serving of that popcorn.  You know I was going to eat the ENTIRE BOX, right?

 

Organizing my pantry and my thoughts help me stay on track.  I have no idea if I lost weight or not, but I can definitely say that one of my favorite shirts feels more loose.  Yeah!

So, it all ends well.  Borrowing a title from my blogger friend, Stephanie over at Intentional Girl, I’ve become a bit more intentional about my snacks.  Which is good, because candy season never really seems to end, does it?

 

Forget Resolutions: Do This One Thing and Sleep Easier January 2, 2012

Filed under: Business Organizing,Financial Organizing,Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 1:53 pm
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 

How to store tax files for 2012And, by the way, forget the resolutions.  Who ever thought up that idea, anyway?

But here is one thing you can do in three minutes or less that can make a real difference for you this year.  Not kidding.  Right now.  Read this, and then run to find your nearest file folder, oversized envelope, or empty box.  Yes, you can even repurpose a gift box if you need to.

Use any box, file, or envelope you have for tax files

Label this folder, oversized envelope, or gift box with a thick, dark marker:  TAXES, 2011.

Set this folder, envelope, or box aside in your home office, or near where you process your mail.  If you share your home, let your spouse know where this is and what it is for.  Start filling it with items you might need to file your taxes this year.  You’ll start gettting these items in mid-January, possibly through February.  You might already have a few receipts or pages to add right now.  But if not, you’ll find them over the next few weeks.  When you find stuff that is or might be tax related, just pop it in here without worrying about organizing it.  Get something in email that you might need?  Save your sanity today by actually printing it out and popping it in the safe spot you just created.  Do you run a small, disorganized business from home?  Start pulling all of your records together now, and you’ll have what you need come crunch time.

Important tax records include W2’s, 1099’s, receipts for charitable gifts and donations, 529 records (contributions or expenses), end of year banking statements, refinance records, energy-saving home improvement records from the past year, and, of course, any unreimbursed work expenses.  If you aren’t sure whether it might be tax-related, pull out last year’s (2010) tax return and use that as a guide.

Don’t organize this stuff until you get ready to prepare your taxes; you are weeks away from that.  Right now, you are just trying to corral the little buggers that you’ll need for your 1040.

There.  Done.  You’re all organized, and it’s only day 2 of the new year.  Good for you!

 

 

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