April 24, 2012

Yard Sale Tips

It's Spring! And after weeks of Spring Cleaning, de-cluttering and purging, you may be ready to host a yard sale.

When my husband I got married and joined households years ago, we had a yard sale. It was a fun and exhausting 2-day event that took weeks of preparation. We had a lot of stuff! We made enough money to buy a eight-person patio set for our backyard and anything that didn't sell was donated to the Vietnam Veterans Association.

A few months ago some of my yard sale tips were featured in an article on SheKnows.com called 'Tips for Holding a Successful Yard Sale.' The article offers good advice and ideas on how to price, market, display and negotiate. If you're thinking of hosting a yard sale, I suggest you take a few moments to read it--you just may pick up a few tips to make your yard sale not just successful--but profitable, too.

April 17, 2012

Best Products for Organizing Your Car

Long commute?
Live far from your family?
Got kids?

Then you probably spend a lot of time in your car.

Our cars are like a home-away-from-home. Sometimes we eat in our car. Sometimes we sleep in our car. We have TV screens and stereos and storage spaces in our cars. Yup--sounds like home to me...

So, if it's important to keep our homes organized, it is equally important to keep our home-away-from-home organized, too.

I drive a big SUV and if I didn't organize it, it would resemble a dumping ground on wheels. I have to organize my belongings, stuff for my kids, supplies for my business and supplies for the car just like I would organize any space in my home. When you're 'on-the-go' you have to be able to find what you need quickly.

This month on Organized Artistry's Facebook Page, I've been offering tips on how to organize your car. The first two were:

• Just like all other spaces, it's important to start organizing your car by sorting and purging the items inside of it.  Short on time? Start with the driver's seat and each time you have a few moments, sort/purge a different section of your car until the task is complete.

• To prevent a purge pile-up, get a trash receptacle for your vehicle. Some hang, some sit on the floor. You can even make one to fit in a cup holder. Got a mini-van or SUV? You may need more than one...

Check the Organized Artistry Facebook Page for more car organizing tips every Friday through April!

Your first step towards an organized car is to sort and purge the items currently living in it. Once you know what is staying you'll need a few organizing products to help you keep your home-away-from- home neat and tidy and of course--organized.

Here are a few products I use in my own car and a few that might be useful in special situations:

Trash receptacle - If you don't want your car looking like the city dump. I highly recommend purchasing a trash receptacle for your car. This is the one I have by Case Logic and it works well for me:

I keep it thrown over my gear stick and hanging into the passenger side. It's easy to stuff the garbage into the top and the velcro bottom opens easily to release the trash. I own this in tan to match my car's interior but when it has seen better days, I'm getting one like this:

Auto Trash Bag by The Mod Mobile

There are so many fun, colorful and cool designs, I'm not sure which I would pick! Check all of them out on Allyson Hill's The Mod Mobile Etsy site.

Visor CD Organizer - Downloading songs to my iPhone is on my long list of 'Things I'd Like to Do Someday.' So in the meantime, I've purchased a CD organizer for my visor--also from CaseLogic. My music, kiddie music--it's all stored neatly and at arm's reach.

Collapsible Crate - I got mine at a discount home store a bunch of years ago but you can find them at some office supply stores and The Container Store.

Photo Courtesy of Office Max
This is what is in mine: box of manila folders for organizing jobs, plastic bags, rain cover for my son's stroller, extra umbrella, and the 'restaurant' bag I'll be discussing next. Other items that can fill the crate are groceries, car accessories, and random items that might otherwise float around your trunk or back of car.

"Restaurant" Bag - I got a drawstring backpack as a promotion from a store I was making a large purchase at a few years ago. When I saw it, I knew what it would be perfect for--a 'restaurant bag.' I call it a 'restaurant bag' because it is filled with items to keep my kids occupied when we go out to eat. I keep it stocked with paper, crayons, stickers, and my two year old's highchair cover. This is kept in the crate so I'll always know where to find it when we pull into the restaurant parking lot.

Other Organizing Products for Your Car:

Recycle Bag Holder - According to the Tote Buddy website, the Tote Buddy is the 'world's first reusable bag holder.' It neatly holds all of your recycle bags when you go to the market. It's perfect for keeping all recycle bags in one place instead of strewn across a trunk or backseat. Here is an example of one below:

The Tote Buddy
The people from Tote Buddy were at the NAPO Conference 2012 EXPO with all of their beautiful designs. It would make a great gift for someone who prefers to use recycle bags when they go shopping.

Organizer for Kids: Kids come with a lot of STUFF and they like to bring some of that STUFF with them when they go in the car. To prevent all that STUFF from being all over your car, consider an organizing product that hangs over the driver/passenger seat and faces the child. Many styles have room for crayons, hand-held games, books, DVDs and other STUFF kids like to have with them in the car.

Over-the-seat Car Organizer by Lillian Vernon

Desk: Do you or someone you know work out of their car? This product is a very good solution for those with mobile office needs. The Car Go Desk secures in the passenger seat with a seat belt and offers space for files, mobile equipment and peripherals.


OK--next time you get into your car, take a good look inside. Would any of these products make your car more organized? Do you currently use any of these products? Tell me--I'd love to know!

April 11, 2012

Organizing 'Quick Tip'

After purging items for Trash, Donation, or Repair get them out of your home ASAP.
Photo: Stacksandstacks.com
• Trash goes to the curb/garbage room
• Donations go to a local thrift shop or drop-off bin
• Repairs go to the tailor or fix-it shop

Put Donations/Repairs in the trunk of your car and deliver the bags to the appropriate places as soon as you can. If you can arrange it, purge items from your home the day before your garbage is scheduled to be picked up.

April 4, 2012

Get Organized: Overcome Procrastination

I was going to write a blog post today about procrastination but then I thought, "I'll just write it tomorrow...'

Ha, ha, ha. That's just one of many procrastination jokes we've all seen on a magnet or a bumper sticker. But, really--procrastination is no joke. It can get in your way when trying to complete tasks or reach your goals and it can mess with your self-esteem.

If you put the 'PRO' in 'Procrastinator,' then you're in luck. Moreen Torpy of De-Clutter Coach in Ontario, Canada has written an eye-opening piece about what might be causing you to procrastinate and how to get past it. Don't put it off until later--read it NOW...

Have you been raised with the admonition to not put off till tomorrow what you can do today?

Have you ever said to yourself or another person, “I’ll put this here just for now?” Then forget you left it there?

Do you postpone doing something because you think you don’t have time to do it perfectly? Then you begin to doubt if you ever could?

What can you identify in your life that leads you to procrastinate? Here are a few ideas and what you might do to stop:

Doubt: You doubt your ability to put something away where it belongs, or if you really don’t know where it belongs, assign a place for the item and always return it there.

Perfectionism: By putting off doing something because you can’t do it perfectly. Let go of perfectionism—it’s not worth the headaches it causes.

Overwhelmed: There’s just too much to do to, for example, organize your space. Refocus and break the project down into smaller pieces then deal with only one piece at a time.

Not in the mood: When will you really be in the mood?

No visible benefit: Does it fit with your long-term goals? If so, do it. If not, let it go. And don’t tell yourself you “should” do it.

You may have more reasons than these. Make a list and write why you feel you can’t deal with them.

Then forgive yourself for procrastinating. In 2010 a group of researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario determined that by doing this, your negative emotions about organizing in the future will decrease the possibility of continuing this behavior. Basically, they say to get over it and get to work. How to do this?

Set goals: Make a commitment to a project to work toward. You can focus on smaller bits of the project so it’s more do-able.

Banish boredom: Beware of time stealers. If you’re beginning to feel bored, tackle a project so the boredom doesn’t take hold and pull you into procrastination.

Let go of perfectionism: As long as you complete the project, say organizing your bedroom, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. Give yourself permission to change your beliefs. Sometimes “good” is “good enough”.

Dismiss fear of failure: If you’re afraid to do something because you believe you’ll fail at it, procrastination will be happy to take over. And failure will move in with procrastination! That’s failure.

Discard fear of success: If you’re worried that if you do something well, you’ll always be asked to do it. Learn to say “no”. There’s no reason for you to have to do the same thing over and over again.

Think Challenge: When you see a problem as a challenge, your whole energy will change. You will feel in charge, encouraged. And procrastination will cower in fear of you.

Refocus: Change the way you look at things. Turn your thoughts from negative to positive and see how different things are.

By implementing these tips, you can eliminate procrastination from your life and vocabulary. You’ll be on your way to living a productive life.

Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See goforwarddownsize.com for more about the book, and decluttercoach.ca to learn about her organizing services.