September Closet Clear-Out Challenge

Although the weather (in the East) has been swinging frantically back and forth between incessant rain and temperatures approaching 100 degrees, we all know that fall will eventually come. Before the harvest season sneaks up on us, I decided to conduct a challenge that will help us all be prepared whenever it arrives.

The September Closet Clear-Out Challenge will take place via email and consist of me providing you a step-by-step guide to effectively purging your closet over a period of 14 days. I am a fan of purging categorically, so each step will focus on purging all items within an identified category. I will also be providing helpful tips and strategies along the way to help us maintain our newly organized closets!

SIGN UP HERE TO JOIN THE SEPTEMBER CLOSET CLEAR-OUT CHALLENGE

It’s totally free of charge and will equip you with skills that will help you maintain a more organized closet.

Not Your Average Room Divider: Chic, Affordable Solutions for Studios and Large Spaces

The following room partitions will add a touch of elegance to any studio apartment or combined space without breaking the bank. Best of all, most of these products are priced well under $50.

[The images below are Amazon Affiliate links, which will redirect you to Amazon’s website, where you may purchase the featured item directly. Because I am an Amazon Associate, Amazon will compensate me a small percentage of each item purchased through my Affiliate links.]

 

Create the appearance of a wall behind a long bench, sofa, desk, or other seating arrangement with this DIY hanging panel screen. Price: $26.99

 

Price: $37.89

 

 

Price: $26.99

 

 

Ugh. I love sparklies and metallics. This one also comes in black and white wide vertical stripes and light silver. Rod not included. Price: $9.99

 

 

DIY Curtain System perfect for an enclave: $69.95

 

Freestanding curtain – Price: $124.95

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016E9PRTY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B016E9PRTY&linkCode=as2&tag=helpmelanda-20&linkId=5b22625a1f7a82f89cec2557803fd5ef”><img border=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&MarketPlace=US&ASIN=B016E9PRTY&ServiceVersion=20070822&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&Format=_SL250_&tag=helpmelanda-20″ ></a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=helpmelanda-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B016E9PRTY” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Introducing Virtual Organizing Sessions!

Afraid to hire a professional organizer? Don’t quite have the budget for a comprehensive reorg? Transform your home one room at a time by booking a convenient eOrganizing Session.

Virtual organizing Sessions work especially well for people who are motivated and are more DIY-inclined. To schedule a session, simply contact us, to submit photos or video of the area you would like to have organized. Within 24 hours, you will receive a free consultation, at which point you will be asked your specific goals and desired outcome for the project. You will also receive a link to purchase your virtual session should you choose to do so. Upon receipt of payment, you will receive a detailed, illustrated plan with detailed steps to help you achieve your goals specified during the consultation.

Remote virtual organizing sessions are perfect for individuals who are short on time, but simply require an overall layout, plan, or professionally-designed organizing system to help keep them on track.

Click here to speak to us about setting up your first virtual organizing session. Mention the code REORG, and receive a 50% discount on your first remote session!

Definitive Guide to Buying Closet Organizing Supplies

After seeing how helpful the moving supplies guide has been, I decided to begin work on my second “Definitive Guide.” Below are some of the most commonly prescribed closet organizing tools I recommend to clients. [Note: the following links are Amazon Affiliate links. As an affiliate, Amazon compensates me with a small percentage of each sale that is made through the links listed below].

Shelf dividers can save a great deal of frustration when storing folded clothing on shelf space. Dividers are available in a variety of materials. It is important to measure the thickness of your closet shelf before purchasing to ensure the divider will attach. If your shelves are too thick for dividers, there are other options (such as fabric cubes and baskets) for keeping folded clothing and linens organized on shelves.

Wire Shelf Dividers

“Platinum” Shelf Dividers

Unbreakable Acrylic Shelf Dividers

Baskets – I am a fan of keeping folded clothing and linens contained, but visible. One of my favorite hacks is to place a stack folded items into a basket or fabric cube HORIZONTALLY, which allows you to see all the folded edges when looking into the basket. Then place the basket onto the shelf on its side. Doing so grants total visibility of the stack of clothes you wish to keep folded. Baskets may be used in their traditional manner (with the opening facing the top) for items you wish to store on a shelf, but don’t require visibility.

 

Java – Set of 3

Seville Classics Hand-Woven – Set of 2

Fabric Storage Cubes – Alternative to basket storage; also useful in various other areas in the home. Low-cost and efficient way to organize items on shelves, including folded clothing.

 

 

Shoes & Boots – Virtually every U.S. household has multiple pairs of shoes. Depending on the climate, some also have boots. Most of us in the NYC area have both. Here are a few tools that will help you store them neatly and keep them off the floor.
10-Tier Space-Saving Shoe Rack

3-Tier Shoe Rack

Over-the-Door Shoe Rack – 36 Pair!

Hanging Boot Storage

Boot Shaper Inserts

 

 

 

Linen Storage – Many of us change linens with the seasons. There are several items that can help you store heavy blanks and large comforters when they are not in use.

Linen Storage Bag

Vacuum Storage Bags – I should not that I very much prefer the vacuum bags that require vacuum suction versus the bags that require folding and manual removal of excess air. When using a vacuum storage back, I typically vacuum out the air until the fabrics transform into a solid rectangular block.

 

 

 

Hangers – 99% of households have closets with a hanging rod. The type of clothes hanger you choose can actually help save space and improve the aesthetics of your closet.

Velvet Hanger – These are thin, strong, and available in a variety of colors; perfect for color-coding the clothing categories within your closet. I mean. If you’re into that.

Kid-Friendly Organizing Tools

[This post contains affiliate links, which means Amazon will pay me a commission on purchases made through the any of following product links]

Parents often lament the state of their children’s play areas and bedrooms. The truth is these are oftentimes the areas that lend themselves to successful implementation f the most basic organizing strategies. When approaching a kids zone, the main objectives should be to categorize, label, then categorize even more if necessary. By getting the child involved, he or she can even improve other skills while learning to maintain his or her room. Color-coded buckets and bins, containers of different sizes and shapes, and keeping toys and art supplies well-sorted can enable small children to practice the same basic concepts they are required to learn and leverage in school. The act of restoring order to their room or play area can also help reinforce positive lifestyle habits and even teach the child to organize his or her thoughts.

Choose Tools That Suit the Child

Children who are very small or those whose motor skills are still in early development may especially benefit from having their toys organized into larger containers that have an open top. Balls and building blocks may be stored in larger open bins. Stuffed animals may be stored in a toy box or on a low shelf. The goal is to make cleanup time easy for kids and parents even if the child does not have the agility to latch and unlatch complex containers. Open bins and large boxes also allow the child to grasp and further develop the important concept of object categorization while participating in the practice of clearing and “resetting” the play area.

Restrict Access When Necessary

Small children may have toys and puzzles that consist of many pieces. Parents who are concerned about the pieces becoming scattered should consider utilizing containers that have a latch closure or a locking mechanism. Storing these types of toys on high shelving can also minimize random spillage. Art supplies may also be stored in a similar manner when not in use.

Cube Storage for Older Kids

Once a child is able to read labels, fabric storage cube are a fantastic option for separating the many different items older children use throughout the week. My client have used cube storage systems to create a designated place for winter accessories like hats and gloves, folded sports uniforms, clothes (in rooms that are too small to accommodate a large dresser), video game controllers, pajamas, arts and craft supplies, and more. Fabric cubes can be used with a cube storage system like the products offered by Closet Maid or on regular built-in or freestanding shelving.

Success in keeping a child’s room or play area organized most often depends on the parent and child working together. Parents can set their children up for organizational success by keeping systems clear and simple, but effective and, most importantly, by involving the child in the process of organizing and maintaining the area as often as possible.

How to Tame Your Junk Mail

Despite the tremendous technological advances mankind has achieved, most of us still have a steady stream of “junk mail” that enters our home. Junk mail is one of the most common obstacles that separates households from becoming organized. Some people allow their mail to accumulate on a desk or table that is typically located near the front door, where the mail makes its entrance. Others simply stash unwanted mail into a large bin or trash bag with the intent to sort and declutter by eventually shredding the excess paper.

The following suggestions will help you avoid the massive pileup that often results after weeks, months, and after especially years of an unaddressed influx of mail.

1. Go Paperless – Unless you require paper copies of bills and statements, paperless is the way to go. Virtually all financial institutions and utility providers offer–and even prefer–e-statements, which can be accessed online or received through email, depending on the issuer.

2. Create a System – Most homes need a system by which mail can be quickly and easily divided AS SOON AS IT ENTERS THE HOUSEHOLD. I recommend using a hanging mail sorter like the one below. One tray should be labeled “IMMEDIATE” for mail that requires immediate attention. The second tray should be labeled “NON-URGENT” for mail that requires action within the next several weeks or months (i.e. renewing a magazine subscription). I also highly recommend placing a basket or small bin labeled “RECYCLING” directly under the mail sorter.  This is where junk mail should go as soon as it enters the home.

Hanging mail sorter example (Amazon affiliate link):

3. Schedule time for upkeep – You will need to schedule time to address your junk mail organizational system. Otherwise it will overflow. I recommend setting aside an hour weekly to (1) address any lingering urgent mail, (2) move non-urgent items that are approaching their deadline to the urgent box, and (3) empty the recycling bin (and prepare it for curbside pickup if offered in your community). The weekly hour of mail decluttering can be scheduled concurrently with another activity, for example, if you are a person who enjoys watching television or listening to podcasts. It may also be easier to tackle a task like mail intake as an end-of-day cleanup activity before going to bed. Although I am recommending an hour, most households that address their mail weekly will likely need far less time to complete this task.

4. Deal with currently overflowing junk mail bags and bins – Many of us already have a stash of junk mail we “intended to go through and shred.” Over time, looking at that pile can become overwhelming. While the best approach is to simply go through and shred all the unwanted mail at once, many people may feel they simply do not have the energy. If this is the case, I would advise dividing the backlogged mail and setting goals (i.e. sorting and shredding 1/4 of the pile Monday, another 1/4 Friday, and so on until it’s gone). The important elements in this less intensive, “incremental” approach to decluttering mail are 1) setting clear goals and a realistic, but productive timeline and 2) being diligent in execution. If you set a productive timeline and stick to it, your pile of junk mail will be gone in seemingly no time, and your only related weekly task will be basic upkeep of your new system.

The key to both overcoming and avoiding junk mail clutter is to work at it strategically and consistently over time.

 

Portable Wall Storage Cabinet

[Disclosure: This post contains a sponsored affiliate link. Therefore, I receive a small commission from Amazon for all purchases made through the following linked image. Clicking the product photo will take you directly to Amazon’s site, where you can make read product specs and make a secure purchase.]

This piece is a steal at $39.99. Whether you need to stash children’s toys discretely and seamlessly, or if you simply need a little extra storage for linens or clothes, the Kousi Portable Clothes Closet Wardrobe can help you create additional storage in practically any room.

Entertain in Your Home Without Last-Minute”Cleaning Anxiety”

Most people can relate to making a mad dash around their home before people come over. But not only is this frantic routine avoidable in a properly organized home, it ultimately becomes completely unnecessary. Remaining ready for guest drop-ins is not always indicative of a need to clean more frequently, but it is often a matter that simply calls for more planning and deliberation when it comes to home organization.

Addressing the Issue at its Root Cause

It’s pretty easy to assume that the need to scramble to tidy before entertaining guests comes from simply not getting around to cleaning up. While this may be true in part, the underlying issue runs much deeper. A home in which every object has a designated resting place is less likely to require frantic cleaning. In the case of the person who says he or she struggles to put things back in place, I would even go one step further and say the problem lies in the fact that the current system of organization simply doesn’t suit the individual or household.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

I often encounter clients who say they tried purchasing various containers and organizing tools and read books on organizing, but still find themselves struggling with their spaces. Upon evaluating the client’s lifestyle and home, I typically observe glaring incompatibility in the way they are attempting to organize their home and their current needs and behavioral habits. The easiest way to combat this incompatibility is to spend a day observing your routine and arrange the home accordingly. For example, people who like to change immediately after work, but find that their clothes tend to accumulate on chairs and furniture should consider placing a clothes bin or hamper near the entrance of the bedroom, in the bathroom, or in close proximity to the furniture that seems to attract the discarded clothing.  Those who find that their bedroom requires more storage space for shoes, should consider keeping the shoes they wear most often on a rack in a common coat closet or on a shelf near the entry of the home. Sometimes departing from tradition can lead to a more functional approach that makes the task of keeping a home neat and guest-ready much easier.

The Bottom Line

Being more intentional in choosing storage containers and organizing tools–and even in planning room layout–can save time that would otherwise be spent gathering loose items and returning them to their rightful place. Therefore, it is okay to think about what “feels” right in terms of organizing as long as you achieve your ultimate end goals for your home and lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dual Workstation Bookshelf

Got kids? Need two separate work desks, but are running a little low on space? This DIY Dual Workstation Bookshelf might be your solution.

To create this piece, you will need to be somewhat handy. Simply cut a wooden table in half. Then secure each half to opposite sides of a wooden bookshelf. One side of the bookshelf can be used to office or art supplies while the other side can be used to display a cork board. If you have a little more space and would like to create storage on both sides, simply position two book shelves back-to-back. Then secure the table halves to each side.

doubledesktopbookshelf

(photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy)