Organizing for Winter – Get Ready Now

Oh, how I dislike winter. I am not one of those Canadians that enjoy the cold. I do not skate, ski, snowboard or toboggan. I look awful in winter hats. My feet are always freezing.

people in winter clothingSo, I hibernate on my couch under a cozy blanket and stay warm. The only thing good about winter in my mind is that it’s followed by Spring.

With winter and the onset of cold weather it seems to me that things are more cluttered and dirty everywhere.

The colder weather has already settled in here in Stouffville so I hope you have started to get ready for the next 5 months of boots, mitts, scarves and heavy coats.

Get your winter gear ready

If you don`t have the closet space to keep all your seasonal wear in one front hall closet (most people don`t), or you haven’t already rotated the summer and fall coats and footwear and have the winter goods into the closet by the door, now is definitely the time to do so.

pets in winter

The front hall closet, which is where most of us keep our seasonal outerwear, is not normally the largest of spaces and keeping 4 seasons of coats and footwear in there will typically lead to a lot of overcrowding and frustration.

Winter coats especially take up a lot of room due to their bulk.

Help always needed

Despite small front hall closets, many of my clients try to keep all seasonal clothing in the front closet and wonder why it is such a chore to find the coat they need, why it took so long to get the kids ready to go outside and why the closet and front entry way is always such a cluttered disaster area. In fact, this is the one area in the home that almost every one of our client`s asks us for help with. We are the closet masters!

Switch it up

If space is an issue I recommend switching it up twice a year – once in the spring to put spring and summer items in the closet and again in the fall to switch it to fall and winter items. Keep everyone’s coats together so they know to go to the same spot in the closet and not have to search through many other coats to find theirs.

Keep it separated

Wicker baskets are ideal to keep everyone’s hats, scarves and mitts separated and prevent them from falling on to the floor. Another option is a hanging shoe bag. One for each child can hold their own gloves, hats and scarves and also make it super easy for them to access and put away as well. front entrance closet

Mom and dad can each have their own bin or basket to contain their items separately.

Don`t forget a bin for your pets as well.

Pare down properly

And while we are making the switch this is an excellent time to take stock of the items that don’t fit any longer or are out of style or you just don`t seem to wear and know will not get any more use.

At this time of year there are many charities looking for warm clothing for the less fortunate and rest assured they will go to good use. So stay warm and stay organized!

If you find you just don’t have the time or skill to handle this project on your own, just contact us here for a free telephone consultation. We can achieve order with any organizational challenge!

Make Room For Santa: Pre-Christmas Toy De-cluttering

Written by: Anne Gideon

The holiday is just ahead and will be here before you know it! About this time of year, it’s a good idea to contemplate the toy situation in your child’s room or playroom. Clear the decks and cut kid clutter with a pre-holiday toy clear-out!

too many toysIt’s a fact of modern life. Children’s playthings have exploded in number, size, and complexity, while children’s storage options have remained static. Just try storing a Happy Meal collection in the average toy box! Even the best-organized kid’s rooms can easily drown in today’s toy avalanche.

And nowhere is the clutter more apparent than at Christmas. Time for a sneaky/secret/flat-out toy reduction! OR get your kids involved to help other children and donate what you collect from their rooms.

kids donate

For very young children, it’s relatively simple. Corral and store several “big” items like Fisher-Price play sets, and cull the rest. Come a winter’s rainy day, you’ll be able to pull out the stored toys, their magic refreshed by a stay in the attic.

Replace them with other toys. You’ll cut clutter in the kids’ rooms, and give yourself a welcome “new toy” break from time to time.

Older children require more care and thought. Depending on your household’s customs, you can ask for toys for a charity toy drive (being sure they’re safe, complete and in good condition) or point out that Santa can’t leave new toys if there’s no room to put them away.

Get the children involved in the solution, and you’re ahead of the game.

Whatever you do, think ahead. You’ll need to clear the decks in the children’s play areas before Santa arrives!

Storage bins for organizing toys

Toys add and add and the clutter can be ridiculous. Cleaning up and donating every single year helps you with your all-year-organizing.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with any organizational task in your home or office and are looking to get organized for the holiday season, contact us here for a FREE telephone consultation to take you from clutter to calm!

Don’t Make These Mistakes When Organizing & Packing for Your Trip

You know me. I am organized. But I did learn a valuable lesson on my latest vacation to Arizona.

packed suitecase
I do all the packing when we go away. If I left it to my husband he would throw things in a suitcase and realize what we were missing when we got there and then panicked.

So I packed. Everything was neat and tidy and in an organized manner.

Zip lock bags are a must.

All the shampoos and other liquids get packed in ziplock plastic bags in case they get crushed or explode in mid-air, which has happened a few times. It has been a blessing as it could have made a mess of our belongings.

Have identifiers on your bags

On this recent trip we took three suitcases, two of which were checked baggage and one was a small carry on. The carry on had a few things I didn’t want to lose, so having this with us would be safe, right? For our two checked bags have put a special identifier on them for our easy retrieval off the luggage carousel. I have a bright red sock tied to one of them and on another we have a colourful ribbon.

lost and found
So we get to the airport and board the bus to pick up the rental car. We get to the rental car building, we depart the shuttle bus and when the two suitcases come off the bus we head in to get our car. Once we arrive at our destination we ask each other what the other did with the carry on. Oops! It was left on the rental car shuttle bus!! No identifier, no tag, nothing on it. Panic set in pretty darn quick.

We called around frantically and find the number to the lost and found for the Phoenix International Airport but it is now Friday at 4:00 pm and they close for the weekend at 5:00. Just our luck. We spent the next two days of our vacation wondering if an honest driver or passenger would turn in our suitcase. You just never know these days.

Luckily they did and on Monday afternoon we made the drive back to the airport to claim our suitcase. Phew!

Travel case for your underthings

bra travel case

Now, because we did not have anything on our carry on to confirm it was ours the lost and found staff had to open our suitcase for us to describe the contents, some of which were of a private nature. For your information, the woman at the lost and found counter was quite amused by my contents.

I happen to have a travel case for my bras so they don’t get crushed en route. It’s a hard case, shaped as a brassiere with pretty polka dots on it. The lost and found lady wanted to know where to purchase such a thing! Lol. The male attendant at the Lost and Found couldn’t stop smiling. I was a tad embarrassed but what the heck. We got the case back so it was all good.

Don’t forget your tags!

luggage tags
Next stop for us is off to the luggage store to purchase some permanent tags for each of our suitcases and carry on’s and on our next vacation we will stop at every turn to ensure that all bags are present and accounted for.

If you are dealing with an organizational task and don’t know where to start, contact us here for your FREE telephone consultation.

5 Best Kept Secrets for Kitchen Organizing

The kitchen is the one area of the house that everybody uses and is usually the focal point of the house where conversations are held while cooking or where we eat together as a family.

sparkling kitchen

That makes it especially important to keep organized so you are not wasting time looking for things and getting frustrated rather than enjoying family time.

Follow these 5 simple tips to stay organized in the busiest part of your home.


Like with like

Keep like with like. Sounds simple but it is easy to get away from. Organize and keep all of your spices, food containers and pots together. And when you are storing your food containers keep the lids on the containers if you have the room. How many times have you found the container you need but just couldn’t get your hands on the lid for it?

Just this one simple tip will keep you from running from cupboard to cupboard or drawer to drawer looking for something.

Clear is better

Use clear containers. Now that you have sorted like items with like items, use clear plastic containers to keep things in. Just by opening the cupboard you will see that all of your sauces and gravies are in one container and perhaps all of your desert packages are in a larger container. In our house we go through a variety of cereal type snack bars.

When we get home from shopping they come out of their box and are placed into a clear container so we can see the choices we have, quickly grab the one we want and be able to keep everything in one place.

Risers for your shelves

spice shelf riser

Be able to see everything. Storing and organizing your spices may just be the biggest challenge. We all try to organize by alphabetical order but when things get put back everything is thrown off. Purchase an inexpensive tiered rack (riser) so the rows of spice containers are stepped behind each other for easy visibility. Just like tiered seating at a sports event. Keeping them in alphabetical order when putting them away will be a lot easier.

A Lazy spin

Purchase a Lazy Susan or have one installed. Don’t feel bad about using something with the word lazy in it. This item can be an organizing life saver. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Spin the shelf and what you need comes to you!

No more having to reach to the back of a cupboard or take everything out to find what you need.

cupboard lazy susan

These are especially great for corner cupboards or those lower cupboards with hard to reach spaces or hidden corners.

Clean out your refrigerator.

This seems obvious but we all put items in the fridge and just forget them. Have you ever found that green surprise in the back of your fridge or that container of salad dressing with a best before date older than your kids? I have.


Diarize the cleaning of the fridge and you will always have room for groceries when you get home from shopping and not find those nasty surprises.

Follow these secrets and you will have a well-organized kitchen.

If getting your kitchen organized feels overwhelming to you or you just don’t know where to start, contact us here for your free telephone consultation and we’ll work it out with you.

Organizing With Labels: A Label of Love!

Labels can be an organizer’s best friend. Whether you are a professional organizer or you are just fed up with not find, stay organized and find things easier. The challenge is finding the right label that will work for you and get the job done.

Here are some of my favourites I have used and come across.

chalk tags

Chalkboard labels

Chalkboard labels and tags can be a life saver when you are changing your containers to hold different items. These labels are just like the description implies – write on them, erase and use them again.

They come in a variety of styles that can be attached in many different ways.

Cable ties and tags

In our home my husband drives me crazy with the number of wires that are behind the cabinet that holds our entertainment equipment. We have the TV, sound system, DVD player and cable box wires all running behind the cabinet not to mention the speaker wires for 5 speakers and a sub woofer.

Occasionally we have to access the wires for whatever reason and then the curse words can be heard until that is, I had him tag the wires so he knows exactly at a glance which wire belongs to which piece of equipment with having to play the guessing game.

Now we know exactly which cord or wire to access using tags with the name of each piece of equipment labelled directly on it. Even something as easy as those bread tags with the plastic clips on the end that you find at supermarkets will do the trick.

Clothing labels

clothing labels

Do you have children at home of similar size, or perhaps even twins? I found these no iron clothing tags that are laundry safe for up to 20 cycles.

Great to label clothing so there is no confusion or fighting, over who the item belongs to.

They are also great for backpacks and jackets so there is no confusion at school or camp.

Textured labels

For the artistic people who like to make gifts and give them at birthdays or Christmas there are textured labels that you can run through your home printer (or write on them) after selecting the script you want to use.

textured labels

How nice would it be to receive a homemade gift with a professionally finished label?

Whatever the need there is an endless supply of labels out there to help you get and stay organized.

Contact us now for a free telephone consultation and for assistance to get you organized for life!

5 Tips for an Organized, Stress Free Halloween

Before you know it Halloween will be upon us. Will you be ready?

Halloween has changed over the years. It can be as simple as dressing the kids up to go door to door collecting treats to something more elaborate as a house party.


Pre-planning works wonders

Give it some thought ahead of time. Society has changed where there are some parents that do not want their children going door to door for various reasons. Is the traditional door to door canvassing still in your plans?

Are you hosting a neighbourhood party where you can control what goes into the treat bags?

Make a list of everything that needs to be done ahead of time to save the stress of stopping on the way home and avoiding the rest of the last minute shoppers and bare shelf horror. Candies, pumpkins, treat bags, party supplies and of course costumes should all be at the ready.

Do you bake those orange coloured cookies or other themed baked goods for Halloween? If so, take stock of what you have versus what you will need and ensure you have it all on baking day.

Halloween décor

halloween storage

Like Christmas, we only use the Halloween decorations once a year. Bring them out a couple of weeks prior to the day and put up those scary witches and goblins around the house for the kids.  Make sure you toss anything that is broken, damaged of that you don’t care for anymore.  Get your kids involved in the decorating as well.

We like to add a touch of fall colour to our home and this is a good time of the year to do it.

Chill out with the ghosts and goblins

On Halloween night have your handouts ready at the door. If you live in a kid friendly neighbourhood you may as well pull up a comfortable chair and enjoy the wide variety of costumed characters coming to your door rather than continually getting up and down.  Get yourself a costume too so you can chill on your front porch!

pet halloween

Take care of your pets

Do you have a pet? Think of them as well on Halloween. Some are spooked or alarmed by constant door knocking or door bells and others do not take well to strangers coming to the house.

Know your pet and ensure that both they and your visitors are safe.

Loot bag survival

halloween lootLastly, be prepared for the arrival of your excited kids coming back home with their loot. Make sure they know the house rules and have an area ready for them when they get home to inspect their goodies before they dig in.

Don’t forget that once Halloween is over, the décor and costumes should be put right back in the Halloween storage bin and tucked away for another year.

My mother allowed us to eat anything we wanted the night of Halloween but we were limited to just a few items per day after that. Our loot seemed to disappear quicker than I thought it would.

You don’t think my mother was helping herself to our candy do you?

Contact us here for a free telephone consultation to start you on the right track to an organized home!

How Much Stuff Is Too Much? 4 Great Tips To Downsize.

George Carlin once said “All I need is a place for my stuff”. True enough and we have become a society that enjoys our possessions. We all need a place for our stuff or we won’t be able to get around our “place”. But exactly how much stuff is enough?

too much stuff in clothing

There have been a lot of articles and blogs written about this.

But when you get to the point where you realize that you have too much “stuff” and are ready to do something about it, here are some tips to assist you through the project.


Look objectively

Look at things objectively. When looking at your belongings take a good look at them. When was the last time you used it? Are you holding on to it in the hopes that you may someday use it or someone else may need it? Ask the same question of all items whether they are clothing items, dishes or whatever.

Every day is special


If you know me, I will always suggest that the “special” dishes be used every day if you want to keep them because, after all, shouldn’t every day be special?

If you think someone else could benefit from an item that you have and rarely, if ever, used it why not make their day and give or gift it to them?

If you can’t remember the last time something was used it is probably time to go.


One in one out

If you love clothes, and let’s face it – who doesn’t, I like to use the one in and one out rule. In fact, if you are climbing over stuff in your home, maybe even make it one in, two out!

When you come home with a new piece of clothing go through your wardrobe and let something go to make room for the new piece. Clothing is an area where most people can make additional room in the house. Your local shelter or community re-purpose charity will thank you for any clothing donations that you can make.

Collections and technology

Are you a collector of books, records or CD’s? With today’s new technology a lot of these entertainment items are now stored digitally and can be accessed anywhere. The days of having a wall of books or CD’s to access is long gone.

Services such as I-tunes and many e readers changed that a while ago and now services like Next Issue allow you to store and read magazines on your digital device.

But let’s not preach minimalism. “Stuff” does represent who we are, what we enjoy and what successes we have had. There is nothing wrong with holding onto possessions that we are proud of and that shows to others who we are. Just don’t let “stuff” overtake your life.

Contact us now for a free telephone consultation and for assistance to downsize your possessions for an organized, stress free lifestyle!

Five Tips to get Your Home Office Organized

With more and more of the work force working from home these day there are tons more home offices across the country. Some companies are actually encouraging people to work from home. It saves on commuting time and costs but if you are not organized you can actually be less productive than if you were still working at the office. You owe it to yourself and your employer to be as productive as possible.

organized-home-office-torontoSeparate personal from business

We don’t all have the luxury of having a separate office for professional use and another for personal or family use so let’s assume you have one office for both. The most important thing to do is not to mix business with pleasure.

Have a separate filing cabinet or at the very least separate drawers for your business and personal files. Never the twain shall meet as the saying goes. You are going to lose a lot of productive time trying to sort through files that contain both.

Finesse your filing

Keep your filing separate as well. Throwing both your business and your personal files into the same basket for filing away later is dooming you to working on both at the same time or having to needlessly go through and put aside files you don’t need to touch at all. Better yet, get into the habit of filing documents away as soon as you are finished with them.

www_002Corral the cables

How many times have you got your feet tangled in a mess of wires under your desk? Take the time to ensure that your wires are connected correctly and that they are run under the baseboards or held together with zip ties or similar for a neat appearance and to ensure that no wire accidentally gets pulled out of place right in the middle of that long report – that didn’t get saved!

Necessary tools

Make sure you have all the tools you need at your disposal – waste basket, recycling box, in box for mail, out box for documents needing to be mailed or couriered to the office, etc. Most people need a shredder these days to protect both your personal information as well as the company’s. Hey, if you work from home at a company’s request will they reimburse you for all or part of these expenses?


Clean controls clutter

Keep a clean desk. This is very important as a lot of time is wasted each morning in just getting organized to start the day. You would be surprised to track the number of hours we waste in just “preparing” for the day.

If you share a home office with other family members who use it for school, games or whatever, ensure that whoever uses it leaves it the same way they found it. The last thing you need to do when you are under the gun for a deadline is to stop to clean up someone elses’ mess.

Follow these simple tips and you will have a much more productive day. If you need some professional help getting your office organized, contact us here.

Low Cost Ideas for Organizing the Bathroom

Organizing the bathroom can be a real challenge. Generally they are much smaller in space than any other room in the house yet they have so many items that we need to have and use on a daily basis. We have all gone into a “friends” bathroom where it looks like a hurricane has gone through.

Hairbrushes and toothbrushes strewn across the bathroom counter. Wash clothes and towels hanging over the back of the door and tub.

Admit it, you have opened at least one of the drawers and thought – how do they find anything in there?

Containers and labels

ikea-bathroom-drawerIf you read my blogs you know I am one for containers and labeling. One of my bathroom drawers is for my husband’s essentials where I have purchased a variety of small and inexpensive open top containers where he keeps his dental needs, shaving equipment and hair products separated.

Open the drawer and voila! No need to rifle through a lot of messy stuff to find what you are looking for.


The same for the drawer designated for my needs.

All of my hair products, nail polishes, lip sticks and make up are separated into inexpensive containers for easy access and put away. That big clunky hairdryer can be hung on the inside of a cabinet door rather than thrown under the sink or left on the counter to get in the way each day.

Decorative baskets do the trick

organized towelsDo you have limited space for towels and wash clothes?

Decorative wicker baskets to sit on the floor, on the back of the toilet or on the edge of the tub will do the trick. Fold them in half or thirds and then roll them up for a nicer touch.

These baskets can also work for keeping extra rolls of toilet paper, baby wipes or any other supplies that frequently run low.

A spot for everyone

For those of you with a busy bathroom (one bathroom, many users) try a shelf or cabinet on the wall where each family member can have their own space for toiletries. Just be careful where you place the shelf or someone will be retrieving things out of the toilet.

Be creative

Lastly, here is a tip I recently saw that I love. We all have extra terra cotta pots hanging around the house. You know those small planters that we put begonias or similar small plants in? Buy a can of spray paint to match your décor and paint the pots. When dry use them to store brushes, soaps, Q tips or similar needs on your bathroom counter. Decorative and affordable.

You don’t need to spend a lot to transform your bathroom.

Contact us now for a free telephone consultation and for assistance to get your bathrooms organized for a stress free morning routine!

Organizing Your Child’s Bedroom

messybedroom_web-300x225It is never a fun time to organize your child’s bedroom, but with summer almost over and the kids now in school, routines are the norm again and now could be the best time for both you and your child.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when organizing a child’s room.


Involve the kids

Most importantly, don’t forget to involve the kids. It may seem appealing to go into their room while they are at school and go to it but think of how you would feel if someone went through your belongings and kept what they wanted and discarded what you thought was important.

Your kids are attached to their possessions just as you are to yours and therefore need a voice in what stays, what goes and what is placed where. Also, keep in mind that they are just kids and therefore smaller than us and need to be able to reach things so try to avoid adult sized desks, bookcases and the like if possible.

Messy clothes closetControl the clothes

Let’s start with the clothes first. Kids tend to accumulate clothes. Back to school purchases, birthday gifts, and impromptu purchases from the grandparents, and don’t forget those hand me downs that come from seemingly everyone.

Do the clothes in the closet and drawers fit anymore?

Let the kids know that clothes that no longer fit will go to good use. Take your kids with you to the used clothing center or drop box to give them the sense of helping out. Use the same rule that you would use for yourself – if it hasn’t been worn for a year it is time to go. (It probably doesn’t fit anymore anyway.)

Storage bins for organizing toysTame the toys

Now here comes the hard part. Toys! Do your kids play in their room? Is there a designated play area in the house? If they play in their room toys must be organized for easy access and put away.

Store like with like, small with small and keep it easy for the kids to put toys away.

Don’t put toys away on the top shelf of a six foot high case when they can’t reach it – it will always end up left on the floor.

Purchase a few clear plastic bins and keep all the small cars together, all the doll accessories together so the kids can see what is in each container. When cleaning up or putting everything away for the night they will soon get the idea behind the containers.

If you know your child’s favourite toys, the ones they always go to, keep them within easy reach. If they are within easy reach it will be likely that they will be put away more often. Perhaps you could even label the shelf that the toys are stored on if your child is old enough to read.

Electronics etiquette

Finally, as kids grow older so too does the value of the toys, especially when you get into electronics – video games, tablets and the like. Teach your kids the value of possessions today and reward them with a job well done in looking after their toys and putting them away. Praise and hug go a long way.

If you think you may need some help in getting your child’s room and belongings organized for a stress free school year, contact us for a free telephone consultation!