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?


It’s Perfect Weather to Organize the Garage June 19, 2011

Filed under: Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:55 pm
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How long does it take to organize a garage?  One day.  No kidding.

What lurks behind those doors?

If you are dreading this rite of summer, stop fretting.  All you need is a plan.  Whether it has one, two, or three bays, one day is all a garage deserves.  Get in, get organized, and get on with your life. Here’s how.


1. Make your plan. Before moving anything, decide or discuss with your family what you need your garage to do for you.  Is parking the car in garage the goal?  Must you store trash bins, sports gear, or an extra freezer?  Do you have the right type and amount of storage and shelving?  Can you store pool gear and seasonal furniture? If your house lacks a mudroom, would your life be easier if there were lockers and a drop off point before entering the house?  Is there a high ceiling where you can add a loft for storage?  As much as possible, purchase containers and organizing gear in advance so you’ll have them on hand during the job.  If you follow my advice regularly, you might be surprised to hear me recommend that.  Unlike other organizing projects, however, it pays to have all of your items on hand before you start so you can finish a garage project in just one day. Be sure to schedule a trash container or charity pickup if you might need one.

Be sure shelving is safe and secure.


2. Meet up with the family.  I almost always have staff and multiple family members involved in a garage project.  The larger or more cluttered the space, the more people I try to have on a job.  Recruit a professional and as many family members as you can.


3.  Methodically work around the space. Start in one corner of the garage, sort by moving one item at a time out into the driveway or yard, creating piles or stacks of similar items.  Label each pile so everyone knows what it is.  I recently organized a typical two-car suburban garage, and at the midway point some Jehovah’s Witnesses came up the driveway and remarked on our apparent garage sale.  Although it may seem like a lot of work to move everything out only to move it back in, it must be done.  Only when the garage was clear could we re-position the wall hooks, fix shelving that needed repair, and move large items to better spots.  By the way, this is the hardest step for my clients.  They tend to get sidetracked with errands, phone calls, wanting to clean the garage before it is empty, and discussions about where things need to be stored inside the house.  All of these activities will sabotage your one-day plan.  When empty, assess your garage for the next step.

Piles are good, but only for a short while.


4. Move back in using zones.  Typically children’s toys and bikes should be located on the side with the least traffic or closest to the yard.  Extra appliances and food items should be stored close to the house entry.  Items that are almost never used can be stored in a loft or in the space above the garage doors (if you don’t decide to donate them). Set off each zone with color, signage, chalk boards, or labeled storage bins or shelves.  You might have categories like cleaning chemicals, paint, car maintenance gear, tools, sports gear, trash bins, brooms and mops, and gardening supplies.


Organized zones and nearly everything off the floor.

5. Make mine a mojito. Tidy up by sweeping the floor and shaking out or replacing the mat that leads into the house.  Label shelving with a label maker, masking tape and permanent marker, or hang tags from an office supply store, which work great on wire shelving.  Haul the trash to the curb.  Tarp the pile for donation.  Pull the car back in the garage.  And pour yourself a drink in celebration.


How long did your last garage organizing project take?

Now that you’ve seen this plan, do you think you can tackle yours in one day?

We’d love to know.


Mom’s 10-Week Summer Organizing Plan June 15, 2011

A huge part of my business happens in the fall when moms everywhere realize that their plan for getting organized during the summer didn’t happen as planned.  School is out this week where I live, so I’m offering up this 10-week strategy for getting organized.  The idea is that you tackle one manageable topic each week, and you find yourself a bit more organized at the end of the summer, but you still have time to enjoy yourself, guilt-free!

I’d love to hear how this works out for you.  Please post a comment and let me know if this plan helps you.  Happy summer!

Week 1: summer calendar, backpacks and sports gear

During this week, ensure that all summer activities, camps, vacations, babysitter time-off, and travel is on the same calendar to avoid overlaps and gaps.  Also, unpack backpacks and sports bags coming home from school to avoid lost items and fuzzy green sandwich remains surfacing in the fall.

Week 2: summer clothes

During this week, cull through all family members clothing to ensure everyone is covered, so to speak.

Week 3:  fitness routine

During this week, if you’ve let your own fitness routine slip, look at ways to incorporate fitness, healthy eating, or other healthy habits back into your day.  Take a class or enlist a buddy to help make it stick.

Week 4: kid artwork and paperwork

During this week, get each kid to review last year’s treasures and masterpieces with you, and decide on the best items to archive.  Then order Dynamic Frames to help organize next year’s works effortlessly and beautifully.

Week 5: an unfinished project of your choice

Choose something you’ve been meaning to get done and tackle it, whatever it is.  Refinishing a piece of furniture, organizing the garage, having a contractor make repairs, or even making that long overdue doctor’s appointment for yourself deserves your attention this week.

Week 6: household paperwork

Yep, you knew this was coming.  Devote just 30 minutes each day this week to clearing off counters, desks and tables.  If you need to set up or tweak your filing system, challenge yourself to do this in under an hour.  Ensure there is a mail handling station you can live with.

Week 7: mom’s closet

Earmark one day this week to cull through your closet for items to donate.  Anything that is to small, too big, stained, ripped, hopelessly out of date or ill-fitting needs to go.  Then, and here’s the fun part, make a list of items you want to add to your wardrobe, and go shopping for good quality staples.

Week 8: school clothes

This is the week you tackle the kid’s clothes.  Get in there with your kids, and get an idea of what is in good shape and what needs to be replaced.  The stores will be having back to school sales by now, and going armed with a list of what’s needed will save you money at the registers.

Week 9: school supplies

Ditto last week.  Take a day early in the week to clear out the junk drawer and desk drawers, lightly organizing, before hitting the office supply stores.

Week 10: new routine (dry run)

This week, take pride in the fact that you’ve accomplished so much this summer.  Then write down your new routine and run it by each member of the family.  Get agreement on activities, house rules, curfews, and morning routines.  Do a daily dry run the week before school starts, and you’ll have less whining and more smiles come fall.