November 30, 2011

NAPO-NNJ Soles4Souls Shoe Drive

Let go of those lace-ups. Say 'so-long' to those slippers. People need them.

The National Association of Professional Organizers has partnered with Soles4Souls to collect new and gently used footwear for those in need.

According to their website, Soles4Souls, "collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty."

On Sunday, December 4, 2011 donate your new or gently worn shoes to Soles4Souls at Sports Authority of East Hanover or Clifton, NJ between the hours of 11am and 3pm.

Sports Authority
Location #1: 142 Rt. 10, East Hanover
Location #2: 415 Rt. 3 East, Clifton

Besides knowing that you've helped someone in need, what else do you get from donating your shoes on December 4th?

• Receive 20% off your entire purchase at either Sports Authority store that day.
• Receive a $10 off coupon from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

You can't go wrong--especially if you have some shoes in your closet you don't want anymore. Get 20% of a new pair of sneakers and consider using that $10 off coupon to haul away other items in your home you no longer need. It's a win-win if I ever heard one...

November 25, 2011

Wedding Thank You Note Book Sale

Got a bride-to-be on your holiday shopping list? I am hosting a 25% off sale Black Friday through Cyber Monday on Payvment--the Shopping Mall on Facebook.

My book, 7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note is usually listed for $8.95 but with a 25% discount it comes to $6.71--and there's FREE SHIPPING, too!

It makes a great stocking stuffer and is very lightweight if your bride friend/relative lives halfway across the country!

7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note--don't let a bride walk down the aisle without it!

November 21, 2011

Helpful Organizing Tip - Prevent Parking Lot Panic

For the past few months, I have been posting organizing tips on my Facebook page based on a theme. November's theme is 'Holiday Organizing' and a recent tip was geared towards holiday shopping. It didn't have to do with making lists. It didn't have to do with organizing receipts. It was all about you, your car, and the mall parking lot.

Holidays or not, going to the mall can make you dizzy! Add in holiday decorations, tons of people, blaring holiday music--all that can make a brain very tired. So when it's time to go home and you exit hopefully through the same door you used to enter the mall, it may take you a moment to think about where you parked your car.

Not any more! Because my holiday tip is:

Use the camera on your cell phone to take a picture of where you parked your car. No more wandering around the parking lot in a panic. (Whew!)

I do this even when it's NOT holiday time. To the left is a picture of my car at the Paramus Park Mall. I only had to run in and out of one store but I snapped the photo just in case.

When you take the photo make sure to have a 'landmark' in the background such as a store or a parking lot sign. If you look at the picture look closely, you'll notice that I'm in Section 26 parked near the Sears Auto Center.

Now you have one less thing to worry about this holiday season! Less stress for you and more time for the joy of the season. Who can't appreciate that?

November 15, 2011

Organizing Up and Down - a Vertical Makeover

If you've read the 'About Me' section on the right hand side of my blog, you know I grew up in a tight space. My bedroom was 5'x12' and I had to keep most of what I owned in that room. Because of space constraints I could not spread out much. But I quickly learned that horizontal space was not the only space I had in my room--I also had VERTICAL space.

I have worked with clients in spaces as small as a studio apartment and as large as a mini-mansion. Regardless of the size of the home, I have found that people use horizontal space more often than their vertical space. It is at that point that I remind them of a very basic organizing principle:

If You Can't Go Outward, Go Upward!

Translation: If you've run out of room in your room, buy some products to help you utilize the wall space you didn't know you had.

Here are a few products that will help you to use your vertical space efficiently:

They're not just for books--bookcases are perfect for anything you want to store or display. Measure your space from floor to ceiling. Then buy the tallest bookcase you can afford. For ideas, Google, "how to use a bookshelf for storage." You won't believe what people are getting off the floor and tabletops and putting on to bookcases... Try IKEA for inexpensive options.

These shelves are ones you mount to the wall. Great for displaying collections, photos, and knick-knacks.

Freestanding Closets
Need extra closet space? Purchase a freestanding closet. Again, buy the tallest one you can fit in your home and make sure it has at least one shelf at the top for extra storage.

If you have low cabinets or don't have enough, consider cabinets that go to the ceiling. Take advantage of high-up space for things used only once in a while like holiday dinnerware or guest towels.

File Cabinets
Need lots of paper storage? You can buy a file cabinet that is five drawers high instead of two or more that are two drawers high to save on your horizontal space.

Step stool/Stepladder
Unless you're 7' tall, you're going to need a step stool or stepladder to reach your vertical storage places. I recommend having at least one of each depending upon your needs. To reach my high up storage spots, I use a Rubbermaid step stool and a 3-step ladder I got at The Container Store.

When you've finished reading this post, take a look through the rooms in you home. Could you use a vertical makeover?

November 8, 2011

Post-Baby Clothing Purge

It's rare to find a Professional Organizer that doesn't follow their own advice...

I'm always saying to clients: "When it comes to your closets, get rid of/donate the old to make room for the new." I help people (mostly women) clear out torn and stained clothes, too-small clothes, clothes with bad memories attached to them to make room for clothes that make them look and feel fabulous.

But, yet another saying comes to mind: "The shoemaker's son has no shoes."

You see, although I dispense this advice, lately I have been the shoemaker--too busy to tackle my own closet. My closet has been a hodge-podge of what I wore before I got pregnant six years ago, what I wore between my first and second pregnancies, what 'kinda' fits me now and what I've bought even though I'm hoping to drop another five pounds. This closet even has some clothes that pre-date my wedding day eleven years ago!

A few weeks ago while the rest of my family was out, I took an hour to sort through and purge my closet. What did I do?

• I took out anything I hadn't worn in years and yes--literally dusted the items off.
• I made four piles: donate, throw out, keep, laundry.
• I tried on items that I thought might not fit me anymore.
• Anything that I was keeping (that had pre-pregnancy dust on it) I threw in my laundry basket.
• I counted all the empty hangers and made an appointment with myself for a little shopping...
• I donated items that were tight, that I no longer liked or suited my lifestyle.
• I wrote down what items needed replacing (white blouse, green sweater set).
• I created a drawer I call 'Another Five Pounds' which means, try these on again in a few months to see if they fit (mostly pants).

I bagged up all purged items and took them to Goodwill.

And I'm not done. I need another hour when the kiddies aren't home to keep purging. Those winter clothes that didn't fit me last year will be tried on in the next few weeks and ruthless decisions will be made. I took a quick look in that closet last week. I have a feeling I'm going to have more empty hangers...

November 2, 2011

Helpful Organizing Tip - Post-its on Coupons

Do you clip coupons? In today's economy, it's especially wise to do so. Who can't use a few extra dollars in their wallets?

Clipping coupons for the supermarket is easy. There's a picture of the item--you know immediately what you'll be using the coupon for. Then there are those coupons that are vague. They offer deals like free shipping, 25% off your total order, or $5 off of a $50 purchase. These are great--I use them all the time. But it's very easy to put them in a pile and forget about why you cut them out in the first place.

To remind you to use them and to remind you what you need to buy, my helpful organizing tip is:

Attach a post-it to the coupon. On the post-it, write down what you need to buy from this particular store or website.

Here are some examples...

The above coupon is for the Carter's store. With two little kids, I'm there a lot. I was very excited when this came in the mail. I clipped it, stuck a post-it on it and wrote down what clothing my children needed. Using this method, I don't have to gaze at the coupon while at the store and ask myself, "Why am I here? What did I need?" Big time saver.

I'm also in need of some picture frames and a new photo album. I saw this coupon last week, cut it out, stuck a post-it to it and went around my house with it looking for frames that needed to be replaced. I still have to go through an envelope of recently printed pictures to see which need frames but I'll add that info to my post-it (or use a bigger one) when I'm done. Now, when I get to the store, I won't have to stand there staring at the frames wondering what sizes and colors I need. Like I said, big time saver.

So, next time you're clipping coupons, grab a post-it pad and a pen along with those scissors. By using this helpful tip, you'll be saving yourself a little time here and there during your day. But, make no mistake--those minutes add up!