Organizing your Garage can be a challenge

February 23, 2009 · Filed Under Home Organization Ideas · Comments Off on Organizing your Garage can be a challenge 

garage-organizationThe garage can be the messiest part of your home. The main reason for this is because it’s hardly ever seen by others. It can be overlooked because it’s not a place visited regularly. It can also be a catch all for anything you don’t have room for in your home.

This is not good because the purpose of a garage is to park your car. How nice would it be to have your car parked in the garage when it’s snowing outside? I’m sure you would really like that. Not only does it keep your car warmer, but it also saves you time because you won’t have to sweep off the snow and scrape the windows.

Here are some organization tips you can use to clean up your garage, so you will have room for the car.

•    Wall Shelves

Shelves are a great place to put cans of paint, spray paint, oil, antifreeze, and any other container like that. When you place them on shelves, you will be able to store items on the floor that can’t go on shelves. You will also have easy access to them when you need them. The downside to wall shelves would the space. They are usually 12-18 inches wide, so you may find things that won’t fit on those shelves.

•    Shelving units

These units are wonderful for storing larger items such as air cleaners, car parts, and boxes. There are several different types of shelving units you can purchase. You will be able to purchase these units at Home Depot or Sutherlands. You’ll find plastic, metal, or wood units to choose from. Before you make a purchase you’ll want to measure the area you have to you make sure you don’t buy one that is too big or too small. You will want to measure length, width, and height.

•    Hooks

Purchase hooks for bikes so they can hang in the air from your ceiling. You can also purchase hooks that go in the wall for rakes, shovels, leave blowers, and weed eaters. These make for perfect storage and they are off the ground and out of the way.

•    Larger Items

You might consider a small shed for items like the lawn mower, wheel barrow, lawn chairs, and other lawn furniture. These are usually bulky items that may not fit to well with the car.

•    Tires

During the off season, you may have tires that do not go on your vehicles. These can be difficult to store. One option is to take a piece of plywood and put it on the 2×4’s in your ceiling and place the tires on the plywood. You will want to make sure the plywood is strong enough to hold the tires. Don’t stack them on top of each other because that can add weight that the plywood may not be able to hold.

Cleaning your garage and organizing it so you will know where everything is and have easy access to it will make your life so much easier. Plus you will be able to park your car in there and save yourself time. An organized garage is a wonderful garage and place you won’t be embarrassed about.

Save yourself Time when you organize

February 21, 2009 · Filed Under Home Organization Ideas · Comments Off on Save yourself Time when you organize 

day-plannerOrganizing yourself can be very difficult to do if you are unsure of the process. It can also be a challenge at the beginning. When you organize your time you likely remember appointments that you have and you will be able to get more accomplished in a day.

The first thing you need to do is decide how you will organize your time. You can use an online calendar such as Yahoo or Google or you can use a book calendar such as a day planner. You will need to decide which way works best for you. If you use an online calendar you may be able to link it to your PDA or check it via your cell phone, if you have that capability.

Once you decide which method you will use, you need to start adding your appointments and commitments. The beginning stages of organize can be time consuming, but well worth it in the long run.

As time goes on and you add appointments, you will need to remember to add them to your calendar. If you use an online calendar, you will need to ask for a reminder card or you will need a notepad to write them on until you get home and you can add them.

You will need to remember to look at your calendar periodically throughout the day so you don’t miss something you have scheduled. If you use an online calendar such as Yahoo, you can include your cell phone number and set it up to send you an email and a text message at a certain time to remind you of your appointment. This is a great feature and should be used if it’s available. That way whether you are on the computer or in the car you will receive a reminder of your appointment.

Adding a to-do list to your calendar will help you keep track of what you need to do each day as well. Depending on the type of calendar you use, you might have a place for notes or you might have to include it somewhere on that day. To-do lists will help you manage your time that may not be scheduled. Laundry, articles, blog posts, and ezine creations are just a few of the tasks that you can add to your to-do list.

You need to calendar things like meetings, doctor appointments, calls that need to be made, and project deadlines. You should also calendar blog post times, article writing times, and family time. Look at everything you do in a day and calendar the things that are difficult for you to get done or ones that you put off. You should also calendar time each day to write down your to-do list and weekly to set your goals.

Organizing your time will help you get more accomplished in a day. It will also help you feel less stress because you won’t forget something you need to do. When you calendar every day you will feel organized and you will know exactly what you need to do each and every day. Organizing your time is important and a need for anyone, whether you own a business or not.

An Organized Kitchen makes for a Great Kitchen

February 19, 2009 · Filed Under Kitchen & Dining Ideas · Comments Off on An Organized Kitchen makes for a Great Kitchen 

Dishes In the CabinetWorking in your kitchen is relaxing to some people while others stress and don’t like being in there. It’s possible the main reason is because their kitchen is not organized in a way that makes everything go smoothly.

Preparing a full meal can take concentration, time management, and organization. Now you may ask why it takes organization to prepare a meal. This article will show you why you need organization in the kitchen and how to get there with very little work.

When you prepare a meal you need to have your cupboards organized in a way that makes sense. You don’t want your plates and bowls above the range because they will be a struggle to reach. If you have the range on, you could easily burn yourself.

Organizing your cupboards is the first thing you need to do. Look at the way your kitchen is set up to decide where everything needs to go. If you have lived in your home for any length of time, you will need to remove everything from the cupboards which may be a challenge. You might be able to work with a few cupboards at a time and be able to switch things around. So decide how you can do this as easily as possible.

You want your glasses and cups close to the sink, so find that cupboard and put all of those in there. Make sure you put all the large glasses together, all the small glasses together, and all the coffee cups together.

Next you want all your spices close to the range, so find a cupboard that is next to the range and put those all together. Arrange them in a way that makes sense to you. This may be alphabetically or put the ones you use the most in the front.

The next cupboard you will want to tackle is the one for your pots and pans. Some people use the range drawer for these while others use them for cookies sheets and pie pans. This is up to you and what you prefer. If you choose to put your pots and pans in a cupboard, you should use the one right next to the range. It will give you the easiest access to these.

The next cupboard will be the one that contains your plates and bowls. This one is a little controversial because some people think they need to go by the sink while others feel they should go by the range. I’ve had it both ways and I feel it’s better to have them by the range. The reason for this is that you may need to grab a plate to get something off the range before it burns. If you have to take three to four steps to get your plate, you may burn what you are cooking.

Now, the cupboards above the range and above the refrigerator are used for miscellaneous items. You should put items you don’t use very often, in the cupboards above the refrigerator since it’s more difficult to reach those items. The cupboards above the range are for items you use more often but not every day because they may also be hard to access.

An organized kitchen makes it easier to be in when it comes to cooking. With these changes, you may find it difficult to find things for a while. But it will be worth it in the long run because it will make your cooking time easier and that’s what it’s all about.

Controlling Holiday Clutter

October 31, 2008 · Filed Under Home Organization Ideas · Comments Off on Controlling Holiday Clutter 

Holidays are a hectic and busy time. In addition, the gift giving and good intentions of family and friends usually mean more “stuff” accumulating in your home. Add that to the decorations, the cards, the gift wrapping supplies and you can have a recipe for a clutter strewn zone. Or, you can follow some easy tips to reduce the chances of being overcome by clutter and chaos and enjoy the holiday season in a calm environment. Here are some ideas to get you on the right track:

Start a holiday binder (a 3-ring binder from an office supply store will suffice). Create dividers for different categories, such as recipes, gift lists, store sale flyers, Christmas card list, etc. Then get a flat plastic pencil pouch to put in the binder to hold all the holiday receipts, including gift receipts.

Incoming Holiday Cards– find creative ways to display incoming holiday cards. Some ideas include finding an attractive holder (you can find really attractive and inexpensive versions at Lillian Vernon and Current). You can also use scotch tape and tape them around a door or onto kitchen cabinets. Punch a hole in the corner and use red or green ribbon to tie them to a wreath. Let your kids create a collage or laminate and make placemats. Be creative.

To organize outgoing holiday cards– consider going to sending e-cards. This cuts down on stamps and time. Otherwise, try to set aside a few hours and get them all finished, addressed and ready to mail at one time. I have always set aside the weekend after Thanksgiving for this task. Having a time on the calendar to take care of a large project, such as mailing holiday cards, can make the task seem less daunting. Another idea is to only mail out cards to those people you receive from. Keep all your holiday card supplies in a basket near your mail station and as cards come in, sign, address and stamp a return card.

To cut down on too many gifts under the tree or too many gifts to store until you meet with family, consider giving more gift cards to favorite stores. Gifts to charity in honor of a loved one are also quickly becoming a popular way to give a meaningful yet clutter-free gift. In economic times like these, consider talking to your family/friends about picking names or just giving gifts to children. Everyone is feeling the pinch in their wallets so most will not be offended (they may even be relieved) by the suggestion of skipping the gift exchanging this year. Replace it with a fun family get-together with hot cocoa, board games and time for reminiscing. Those are the moments that memories are made of and clutter-free to boot!

Try to designate an area in your home for gift wrapping. Keep everything you need including scissors, gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper, gift tags, pens and ribbons in one place. Many stores, including www.containerstore.com, have storage solutions for all your gift wrapping needs.

Just remember, the simpler things are the less stress you will encounter!

Happy Holiday Organizing!!

Kitchen Organization Ideas

September 22, 2008 · Filed Under Kitchen & Dining Ideas · Comments Off on Kitchen Organization Ideas 

KitchenCreative Commons License photo credit: WilsonB

When you decide that your mission this year is to get your home organized, you’ll find the kitchen has a distinct challenge as compared to the rest of the house.  Unlike other rooms that may only need straightening up once a week or so, the kitchen requires constant cleaning and organizing throughout the day simply to maintain its function.  But, you can save time, and your sanity, with some basic organizational strategies and ideas for clutter reduction.

Step One:  Inventory
Take inventory of the kitchen.  Pull out all of your pots and pans, utensils, storage containers, food wraps, plates, cups, cleaning supplies, and take note of what you have. Now is the time to get rid of anything you don’t need.  If you haven’t used it in a year or more, donate it to someone who will.  Don’t forget your “holiday only” items and special serving pieces.  Everything is going to need a spot, so be ruthless with your decisions regarding what to keep, especially if your space is limited.

Step Two:  Function
Store your kitchen items based on each item’s function.  This may seem elementary, but you are not going to save yourself any steps by storing plastic food containers in the back of the pantry with the muffin pans when you need them almost daily during clean up after a meal.  For instance, keep the baking sheets in one cupboard near the oven, the cutting boards and knives near your vegetable chopping area, etc.  Keep often needed preparation equipment near your general work area, not stuck in a cupboard or way up on a shelf on the other side of the kitchen.

Step Three: Consider Specialized Storage
Take into consideration storage units designed to use with specific items.  A great space saver is a pot rack that can be hung from the ceiling.  You must make sure you can identify the location of the ceiling studs and you must use the right kind of anchor bolts that will support the weight of the rack and pans.    If you are not a competent do-it-yourselfer, or lack the proper tools, get the help of a certified carpenter before you attempt to hang a pot rack.  Also check out the vast array of portable workspaces like rolling carts. They quite often have storage space built in and can be put in a corner, closet or pantry when not in use.  Items as simple as spinning racks for spices, larger spinning trays for inside bottom cabinets, stacking shelves, wire pull-out baskets, and countless ready-made units, will amaze you with the “found space” you’ll be able to use at a relatively inexpensive price tag.  If you don’t have a window above your sink, measure the space and go shopping!  You’ll be amazed at what sort of inexpensive dish storage pieces you can find.

Step Four:  Creative Storage
You might have an old bookshelf in your hallway or back porch that could be put to use storing extra canned goods, paper products and seldom used kitchen gadgets that are taking up room in your kitchen cupboards.  Perhaps you could store your towels in your bathroom and your sheets in your bedrooms which would free up a linen closet for kitchen gadget storage.   If you aren’t using your dishwasher, you might want to remove the racks and get creative with an alternate use for that space.  (I use my dishwasher to hold my recycling until it’s pick up day.)  Don’t forget to look up, as well.  There may be some forgotten space between the ceiling and the cabinets that, with a few shelves, could be used for storage or display.  You know all those baskets you’ve been collecting over the years?  Hang one above the sink to store your dish towels.  Use an assortment of small baskets to store your tableware and napkins.  Any way you can free up some cabinets and drawers by using otherwise unused space will help relieve the congestion and frustration you are now experiencing in your currently crammed kitchen.

Step Five:  Food Storage
Your refrigerator, freezer, and food pantry is a different sort of challenge. Because you are restocking food items at a much faster pace than you are buying utensils, you will need to take stock of what you have on a routine basis and develop a master shopping list.   This will help prevent wasteful spending by not duplicating food items, and by not having to throw out food that you’ve forgotten you have in the freezer.

The steps listed here should get you on the right track to smoothing out the kitchen traffic and congestion you experience every time you try to simply cook a meal.  Of course, with any first attempts at organizing a room in your house, you’ll need to “tweak” it a bit along the way.  If something just isn’t working the way you expected, give it a second go around.  You won’t know until you’ve lived in your “new” kitchen what works and what just keeps making you shake your head.  This is the one room in the house that you are going to have to put in some real time until you get it just right.  Have fun and don’t give up if you get frustrated or overwhelmed.  Take a break… then get back in there!

Check back for even more kitchen organization ideas in coming weeks. I hope this gets you started!

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