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As we all sit at home during our third and hopefully final lockdown, we are constantly face-to-face with our stuff. Most of us are tired of staring at the same wall decor, the same clothing and the same walls. And like most of us, you may be realizing that you have too much stuff. Here are some tips on minimizing some of the clutter during this seemingly endless pandemic.

  1. Work on one room at a time.
    • Choose one room in the house that you want to transform. It can be the one that you use the most (office/family room/school room). It can be one that you use the least (because of clutter or lack of function). Choose one room that will make your life easier or more enjoyable once it is transformed.
    • Picture an image of what you want your room to look like. Many rooms these days are having to pull double duty. How do you want your space to function? Does your family room need to function as an entertainment space and a home office? Is your basement now a playroom and a home gym or school? 
  2. Break things down into smaller tasks. Don’t tear apart a high traffic room without allotting the time to put it back together
    • Identify how much time you have to declutter and commit to that time. If you have time to dedicate a whole Saturday to the project then make sure that you don’t schedule anything else during that time. Treat it like a workday and let family and friends know that you are unavailable. Or enlist their help!  If you have to fit the project in between work, homeschooling, childrearing, etc. then breaking it down into a 30-60 minute job may be more realistic. Set a timer and commit to that one task. For example, one drawer or one specific item, like books.  Once you have completed your time and accomplished a smaller task you will feel motivated to do more. 
  3. A place for everything and everything in its place. 
    1. It is especially important that everything has a home when rooms have more than one function. If your family room is doubling as a home office, then all paperwork needs to be returned to a designated area in the “office” area. All home entertainment/family items need to have a place in the “family room” area. There should be no overlap between spaces. Having containers or bins for similar objects will keep items neat and organized.  Then label so everyone can find items. 

When it comes to organization the key is to take it one mess at a time.  Clutter often comes with a sense of being overwhelmed with “stuff”. But by breaking things down into manageable tasks and feeling good about completing those tasks, you are more likely to succeed. Happy organizing!

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Our vehicles tend to collect items as we go from work to home, running errands and taking the children where they need to be.   

Garbage collects, clothing, recycles, things that need to be taken somewhere and more. Although with the pandemic and the lock down your use of your vehicle may have changed depending on what you do.  However, we are still using them and sometimes they are the last thing we think about as far as cleaning and organizing. 

We have a collection of things we need in our vehicle; snacks, cushions for the dog, blankets for use with children, pets or just to protect the seat, hand sanitizer, masks, sunglasses, first aid kit and more. 

A few minutes each day or week will save you time. 

Here are a few tips to help you simplify:

  1. Clear trash regularly, just take out at the end of day and have everyone else take theirs.  I have a soft side trash receptacle in my car that just hangs on the shifter.  This is great for small items such as tissue, candy wrappers, snack wrappers and more. 
  2. Over the seat organizers are great for small children.  They hang on the back of the front seats and hold activity books, crayons, snacks etc.  Also just a small plastic bin with a lid on the seat is great. 
  3. Small items like extra hand sanitizer, masks, sunglasses, serviettes, tissue – make easily accessible but in a small zip bag so it does not fly all over.  Coins in a small container in the console for when you need them. 
  4. Make your trunk area a storage place for reusable shopping totes, blankets, first aid kit, bottled water, sports equipment – put in bins to make compartments, makes it easy for cleaning and things will not move around so much
  5. Plan to clean regularly so that the air is clear of dust, smells and odours. 

Taking care of your car not only makes it enjoyable for you to be in, but it sets a good example for your children and other people that ride in your vehicle that you take care of your valuable possession. 

Happy Organizing! 

Photo by Oziel Gu00f3mez on Pexels.com

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When I meet new people I often get the question, “Is your home really organized and clean?”. I tell people yes it is organized for me, for what makes me happy. Clean it is not always spotless, but it is liveable, but cleaning is not organizing. They do go hand in hand but they are not the same. If you were to come to my place to borrow something, chances are I could put my figure on it in a few seconds, 99% of the time.

Organizing for me is not having things folded in drawers so they look pretty when I open them, it is having things folded and put away in the same drawer all the time. It is not about having my spices in alphabetical order, it is about having them all lined up in a drawer, like with like. For example, dip mixes together, broth mixes together, hot spices together, basic herbs and spices together, etc. My kitchen counter sometimes has a few things on it that do not belong, but that only lasts a few days, not weeks. Now all that being said this does not mean that the other ways are wrong, they are just not my style. We all function differently.

Surprisingly enough when I tell people organizing has a lot to do whether you are right brain or left brain dominate they so, “Really?”. Meaning are you more creative or more linear thinking. I am more linear/logical thinking. I do not like to see my organization. Meaning I do not like clear bins, open shelving etc, I like mine labelled and behind close doors.

Home Organizing is like trying a new lifestyle diet. It takes time, it takes dedication and it takes maintenance. You can not go from a house full of clutter to a perfectly organized home overnight. It takes time, dedication and training of new habits. Just like running a marathon, you do not run 40km the first time, you start one km at a time.

Keep things simple. Do not look at the complete home. Look at one room, one cupboard, one drawer at a time. Take 30 minutes a day and start.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

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10 Tips to Keep you Organized in You Home!

1. Have a home for everything, so at the end of the day you can do the 5-minute tidy, then you can wake up to an organized home, not a home of chaos.


2. Laundry – have a spot set up near the bedrooms, because this is where most the laundry is created, with 4 hampers, Darks, Lights, Colours and Towels. This way when the hamper is full you know you have a load of laundry. Train everyone in the home to understand this, so any one can do laundry when needed.

3. Have an OUT BASKET near the door – this is for books to return, borrowed items, mending or dry cleaning – anything that has to be delivered somewhere.

4. Have a calendar of chores that need to be done each day with a name beside them. Manually or on computer. Then you will have no arguments who’s day it is to empty the dishwasher etc.

5. Make everyone aware in the home, if you put things away, keep things neat and tidy and take 10 or 15 minutes everyday to help out around the home, everything will run smoother and that will leave you all more time to do what you want to do.

6. Have a mail centre set up for incoming and outgoing papers. Use the RAFT systems. READ, ACT, FILE and TOSS. Files set up so you can quickly sort mail and papers in 5 minutes.

7. Have a filing cabinet for all important information, paid bills, insurance, bank information, children’s information – ie teams they are, events they are part of, forms and information for camps, colleges, university etc., – teach them how to keep there own papers in order and they will function better. I have a file for each child and if they are looking for something they know where to find it.

8. Keep original copies of important papers in a fire safe or safety deposit box. Also have a list of all important information and contacts for someone you trust outside the home in the case you were to die or be incapacitated that someone would have this information.

9. Do not be too hard on yourself, none of us are perfect.

10. DON’T SET IT DOWN, PUT IT AWAY!

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To be honest I’m a type of person who likes to have a routine.   But I can sway when someone comes up with a better idea of what we should be doing?  This week’s been …..shall I say like going on a hike – you go up for a bit, then you go down for a bit,  then you go up a bit more and then you may go down another hill, or you may plateau and just walk there.   I don’t know about you, but the past year has given me; and I’m sure many of you …… a lot of opportunity to think.  It can be good and it can be bad, but what I do know when we are given the opportunity to pull out the good in the past ten months, we can grow with that.  Our business has been shut down fully for 3 months and now this past month only very essential services.  I know many of you have been shut down for more than that, or you may have been laid off from your job. So we can focus on that; ……or we can choose to change and/or ‘be’ with what surrounds us.

 Yesterday morning my daughter called, we were chatting and she was telling me about her week, …. then she asked me about mine. I said,  “Well ……..let me just put it this way, I’m starting over this morning”.  She giggles and says. .. “ that’s awesome Mom, a two day week.” I said. “ yes you are right”.   So I was ready to fire through the day and work on the routine that I had in place for the day ahead.  Before 11 a.m.,  I been up and down, emotionally,  three or four times already.  Why?….. because the stuff that was coming into me was from my close outside world, so I couldn’t just turn it off.  It was emotionally draining.  Noon came and I thought, okay I got this we are just going to start over again……… didn’t work out that way, but I did plug on and I was determined to get X number of things done that needed to get done before I left the office.  I was able to accomplish it, when  my day ended I was thankful that those things got done.  Ross came home, he asked about my day ….. that was a loaded question.  So, long story short I ended my day with happiness. I had yoga that night .  I go into my spare room that I have set up for my yoga, turn on my blanket, light the candles, open up the laptop for Zoom, the next hour unfolded and I was thankful that I had done my yoga, and I was thankful that Ross encouraged me to do it.  We can all live in a state of frustration, anger, or paralyzation, ….. all of those would be very simple to do right now.

BUT INSTEAD ………I would like to offer to you something different.

These past months have given me an opportunity to grow a part of my business that I have been aiming to do.  So here it is  February 1st — I now  have a membership available to people to sign into and they will enjoy the benefits of my blog, my tips, my courses etc., and much more to come that I’ve been learning over the past 19 years.

Please join our New Service for you- click on FOLLOW! And Join us on Facebook and Instagram .  Just sign in and click the links below. 

Start Bringing your Chaos to your Calm!

https://www.facebook.com/JITSolutions

https://www.instagram.com/chaostocalm/

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April is a fantastic month.  My amazing daughter was born on the 23rd.  My wonderful sister was born on the 17th.  My parents were married on the 20th.  As well as, my mother-in-law and many great friends were born in this month.  April is a month of new birth and growth.

What are you going to plant?  What are you going to weed out so new growth can come in? What are you going to eliminate so you can be more at peace and relaxed?

April is always a great time to help your children go through their toys, books, clothes and other belongings.  Decide what they did not use, wear or need for the past winter months.   Help them see that when they purge their surroundings it is easier for them to find the toy or book they want.  It is also a great thing to give to others who do not have as much as you.  Help them take the belongings to the women’s shelter, the Salvaltion Army, or charity of your choice.  No matter what the age everyone can use a little help with this and it gives you an opportunity to spend time with them and catch up.

People talk about “Living with Less”, “Get rid of Clutter”, “Downsize” etc. Let’s put a positive spin on this – Let’s “Live Real!”  Live your life with you, your family, your friends, enjoy the people around you. Stuff just gives us things to clean up, to put away, to spend money on and to store.  People give us life experiences. 

Take a honest look around your home.  Look at everything in your home and think of what value it has to you, what it reminds you of and what emotion it creates for you.  If it is a negative response, remove it so someone else can enjoy. 

Now it is time to enjoy Spring!!

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Spring is coming, and so is patio weather.   This is the time to get all your closets, storage areas, kitchen and bathrooms purged and organized so you can head to the patio in the nice weather. 

Often this time of year we talk about going through your closets, but this year I am going to talk about the kitchen.  I find it is one room that gets neglected, but is normally the most used room. 

Do you live in fear of something falling on your head

 when you open your cupboards?

 Do you find yourself having to take out half the shelf and stuffing everything back in every single time you need something?

When was the last time you pulled everything out of your kitchen cupboards to see what you a really have?

 YES, I said EVERYTHING!

  1. Pull out all your dry goods. Those that are expired, throw out; those you will never use; take to the food bank.  Spices have different shelf life, if unsure, pale in colour or poor aroma likely means old and should be discarded.
  2. Pull out all your cooking utensils, graters, knives etc, group them according to wood spoons, spatulas, knives etc.   Those items you don’t use, or don’t like to use, move them on to someone that will. 
  3. Small appliances – broken, get rid of – never use, move on to donation – those seldom used, but enjoy using, store in cupboard that is difficult to use – the rest need to all go together in the same cupboard for easy access.  FYI counter tops are for preparing food, not storing items. 
  4. Lastly, cookware.  It baffles me why someone would need 6 or 7 frying pans, but I always get a good story as to why they need them.  I have a small and a large.  I have one set of pots, not 2 or 3.  
  5. Small storage bins, drawer organizer, grip liner for drawers, glass or Tupperware to store dry goods – all great things to help you organize your kitchen.   When a cupboard is wasting space – add another shelf. 

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We made it through January, the days seem to be getting a little longer and we want to believe spring may be just a little bit closer.  

February also brings us Valentine’s Day. Have you ever heard the term Happy Spouse, Happy House?  Why spend money on flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals or expensive jewellery, if none of that is what either of you really want or need?

Organizing is not just about cleaning up what you have, but it is also learning to keep out what you do not need.  It is about being a smart consumer and filling you space with less stress.  So, before you buy into the hype of what consumerism wants you to believe Valentine’s Day is about, STOP, and be honest with yourself and your partner (if applicable) and family.  Maybe this Valentine’s Day you think outside the box (of chocolates) and get something/do something that is really for you and your family.  So, how can Professional Organizing help you find this truly meaningful gift?  By offering the best gift of all, the gift of organization.

Instead of bringing more into the home, or spending money on an expensive dinner and possibly a babysitter, spend the money on making your home, you, and your family happy.  Reduce the stress that too much stuff or lack of organization can create. Let us teach you, your significant other (and even the kids) how to get organized and stay organized.  Do something together, or for each other that will last longer than one day.  Make Valentine’s Day about loving your home, your space, and your time. 

Trust me, the high you get from the gift of organization is almost as timeless as diamonds! 

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2019 Has Begun

2019 has begun, January has passed!

January is a month of change, the weather changes from one day to the next, our new clubs and  exercise classes change, as a business owner this is when I think of things to change and improve in my business and the list goes on.

So if there is something you want to change and the time is right, do it!!

I am sure you have been hearing a lot about dieting, exercise, organizing and many other things to get your new year started.  If the time is right, great. If not, don’t feel you need to do it because the media is telling you too.

I am also sure you have or someone near to you has heard about the new KonMari method of Organizing.   This method has been introduced by a Japanese organizer.  She has a few books out on organizing, as well as a NetFlix show.  Marie Kondo has a unique way of organizing that I am sure will work for some people, she has unique tips and tricks to get organized and she has a peaceful way of doing it.  As a Certified Professional Organizer I always welcome new ideas, new organizers and most of all the publicity that the profession gets when someone like Marie Kondo hits the airwaves and social media.

For those of you who are new to getting organized please know there is more than one method to get organized.  It takes time, patience and support for most people.  When you are ready to get orgainzed know the team at Just In Time Solutions will be there for you, and will not leave your side until the job is done.

Wanting to get organized, check out our contest this week with the Mom and Caregiver Magazine on Facebook –

/www.facebook.com/themomandcaregiver/

Till next time ….. “Don’t set it Down, Put it Away!”

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We got an email from an old friend last week.

“We moved and I can’t take it anymore. We have too much S*%! and I want it all GONE!”

So being the incredible business that we are, we squeezed our friend Mrs.P into a week that was already busting at the seams. But we understand when someone emails or calls us and they are in that much of a state, we HAVE it help and quickly.

There’s just no sense at all to have a friend feeling overwhelmed for weeks on end when we can come in and get it under control in a day or two.

Our response was ” We’re on our way!”

So, now because this was a desperate plea for help we moved fast and booked her into a tight time slot. And then  moved onto helping the clients we had booked in prior to Mrs.P.

FYI – Mrs.P lives about 1.5 hrs away in the lovely rolling hills of Southwestern Ontario.

The adventure begins: Erin and Rebecca rub the sleep from their eyes and roll out of bed extra early in order to get to Mrs. P in good time. Rebecca jumps behind the wheel and they’re off! Heading north ( that’s all Rebecca needed to know, as Erin is the navigator).

As they are travelling NORTH, Erin starts to check into the very organized calendar of Just In Time Solutions and is having a hard time finding the “NEW” address of Mrs.P.

You see Just In Time Solutions had gone “paperless” since seeing Mrs.P the last time. So, Rebecca and Erin had an idea of where Mrs. P’s new house was but no real address. They had contact information…. however, Mrs.P has three small children and as every Mother knows

Do Not Bother me before 9 am! Do Not Pick up that phone because you will go down that rabbit hole and your morning routine will go out the window!-

So, being the organized and structured Mom that she is, Mrs. P was not answering calls or checking emails. ( to which Erin was trying desperately to get a NEW address)

Rebecca takes the bull by the horns and arrives at a small village that she believed would head them in the right direction and if nothing else could be used as a bathroom break!

Without fear or hesitation Rebecca abandons Erin in the van and heads into a quaint little general store. Asking the clerk behind the counter if he knew where Mrs.P lived.

His answer ” No, better check the post office.”

And then it happened….A bulk of a figure beside Rebecca turns around, pushes his glasses up onto his nose and points a well worn finger at Rebecca saying

” I know a Mrs.P! She lives on my road!”

Rebecca responds ” That’s her!”

With amateur artist ability but decades of local knowledge our new friend took a pen and paper and drew a map to Mrs. P’s NEW home. Now, you might ask why not just put the road name in the GPS? Well our new friend had lived here all his life and said “they keep changing the road names on me so I’ve given up and I couldn’t possibly remember what road I live on.” ( let’s be honest he said a few choice words in between , but you get the idea)

Rebecca graciously thanked the gentleman and headed outside to the van waving a piece of paper at Erin as she crossed the street.

After getting settled into the van Rebecca looks out the window to see her new friend leaving the store,  he then proceeds to get into a tractor that is parked on the side of the road.

Being patient Rebecca waits for the tractor ( slow moving vehicle sign attached) to pull out. It’s then that they realize their new friend is heading home and they happily accept the wave of his arm to “Follow”.

Yes, it was an early morning.

Yes, even professional organizers don’t get ALL the details ALL the time.

Yes, Rebecca and Erin were in a hurry.

But, it’s moments like this…moments when our team is in the right place at the right time. When they meet extraordinary people and smile and say

“Thanks” for the reminder to slow down and enjoy the ride!

Tractor

p.s Mrs.P was a very happy client by the end of the day!

 

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