The Art Of Organizing

You know how sometimes you walk into a house and it just feels good? People remark on how it has “great energy?” That simply doesn’t happen when you walk into a space that’s messy, chaotic, or overflowing with clutter. The energy is stale, and you feel off-balance the minute you open the door.  

At Organization & Relocation we spend our days increasing people’s productivity by organizing their homes and offices or relocating them--sometimes across town, sometimes across the country. We recommend movers, oversee the move (from pre-move purging to organizing the new space), make the beds, and hang the art. We make packing paper and moving boxes magically disappear. 

Throughout this the house becomes a home and the office becomes a place you look forward to spending time in. We want our clients to walk in, sit down, and feel that everything is in its place. We are committed to taking the stress out of the process and setting up organizational systems that work for them. Our motto is, “It’s all in the details,” because the art of creating a beautiful space that has only what you need and use comes down to the little things.  

However, organizing is not just about making sure everything is properly put away. It’s about creating beauty and sanctuary within a space. Even if you consider yourself among the creatively challenged, here are a few habits you can incorporate into your everyday life that will make organizing the kind of art you can master:

  • The Lifestyle Change: If you have less stuff, it naturally follows that you have less stuff to organize. Are you keeping that vase from Grandma just because it was hers even though you can’t stand it? When making a purchase, consider why you are buying it and whether you really need it. Be thoughtful.

  • The Art of Purging: Grab two trash bags, and walk around your house for 10 minutes. Label one bag “donate” and the other “trash.” Do you have piles of pens you never use because you make notes only on your phone? Do you have six spatulas but hardly ever cook? Be ruthless.

  • The Burning Questions: Ask yourself these three things when purging: Do I use it? Do I love it? Do I appreciate it? If you don’t get a resounding yes to any of them...get rid of it. Make room for things in your life that you really want. Be honest.

  • The Beauty of Colorizing: Use the same hangers, whichever style works for you, and organize clothes by genre and color from white to black along the color wheel to make each closet a work of art. Be detailed.

  • The Art of Art: Hang your art so that the center of the piece is 60” from the floor. Many people hang it too high, believing that it makes the room feel bigger. Your room will feel balanced, and the piece will show better. Be precise.

  • The Clutter-Free Home: Clear your surfaces and containerize, label, and vertically store meaningful items you absolutely must hang on to. Be selective.

I believe that organizing is a lifetime process, not a one-time event. You don’t have to devote an entire weekend to a massive project. Use ten minutes here, twenty minutes there. Do one drawer, one cabinet, one closet at a time. Try to impose order and beauty where there was none before.

As van Gogh pointed out, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” That’s the true art of organizing; focusing on the details so the masterpiece can be revealed. 

Happy Organizing!

The Older You Get, The Less Stuff You Need

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I cannot seem to remember exactly where I heard this, but I recently read an article that made me think about the elderly and how much “stuff” they hold onto and why they should let most of it go. In order to achieve this necessary step in downsizing, you will need to identify what items bring you happiness and in order to achieve this, you will first need to define what makes you happy.

One thing I read was that when elderly people begin downsizing their belongings, they should not only hire a professional organizer to help facilitate this transition, but they should also keep a memory box/container of items that is known as their “throw out” box. As sad as it sounds, we all are going to eventually pass away and when that time comes, we don’t want our families to have to go through all of our belongings while trying to mourn their loss, so why not make it easier for them to enjoy the happy memories? This idea of the “throw out” box is as simple as it sounds - make a box dedicated to items/memories that only you, yourself, hold onto because of personal feelings or reasons you never shared with anyone else, that way when you are no longer with us, that will be the one box that your family knows won’t hurt your feelings if they just threw it out!

Also, another good tip would be to create bins for each person whom you want your belongings to live with :)

Whether your next phase in life is downsizing into a smaller home, moving into assisted living, or passing away - you shouldn’t have to worry about all of your “stuff” weighing you down!

Written by: Lindsay Gomez, Professional Organizer

Prepare your Home for Fall with these 4 Tips

With Fall just around the corner, it's time to prepare your home for colder weather. Don't have time? Or feeling overwhelmed with clutter? Not to worry, give us a call at  303-448-9966 and schedule a home organization refresh with one of our professional teams today!

  • Beautify Your Bathroom: Avoid exposure to germs and bacteria by giving your bathroom a deep scrub before the moisture builds up with the fast approaching Fall months. 

  • Check for Drafts: Use a lighted candle around doors and windows and if you see a flicker, inspect for broken or cracked seals.

  • Furnace Inspection: Hire an HVAC professional to check heating efficiency, test for leaks and change the filter.

Organize the Shed: Summer filled up your shed space; time to sort, categorize, purge and organize summer gear. Move summer gear to the back and organize winter gear to the front for easy access.

Household Management Stats:

80%  of what we keep we rarely use, Agency Sales Magazine.

23%  of adults pay bills late and incur fees because they can’t find their bills, Harris Interactive.

40%  of housework can be eliminated by simply getting rid of clutter the National Soap and Detergent Association.

25%  of people with two-car garages fill it with too much stuff that they can’t park a car inside, U.S. Department of Energy.

80%  of household clutter is the result of disorganization, not lack of space, The National Soap and Detergent Association.

By: Analiese Ross, AMR Digital Marketing

What to do when the kids leave but their stuff stays?!

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One of the issues that comes up with the empty nest situation is what to do with the belongings of a child who is slightly nomadic but still needs a home base to store things. I have two at the moment and I have come up with a pretty good system to keep things orderly and accessible.

The first thing I do is wrangle them to spend at least half a day with me systematically going through their items and sorting into piles of keep, donate, and archive. I like to use The Container Store’s Deep Sweater box for clothing and larger items, and their regular Sweater Box for smaller things. Labeling with a label maker is essential to the process which makes it much easier to locate specific items. We then put the bins in a closet of their designated room, and then archival items we place in our storage room. It goes without saying that this process requires occasional editing and more purging.

We have found that this process makes it easy for them to either call me from the road and send them certain items, or when they do return they have a much easier time finding that flannel shirt they love.

Written By: Leslie Dietrich

Five Ways to Get your Kids Organized and Prepared for a Successful School Week!

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  1. Keep a Family Calendar – encourage your kids to write down big events, assignments and due dates on the calendar each week. On Sundays go over the events with your whole family to make sure everyone is prepared, organized and planning accordingly!

  2. Sort through returned schoolwork – Take a couple minutes each Sunday to go through your children’s backpacks with them and remove all old/returned schoolwork, trash, and unneeded items.  We recommend purchasing a bin for each child. As you go through returned schoolwork and projects they can place the keepsakes in their personal bin. At the end of the school year, you can look through the bin and choose which pieces to keep! *Our favorite bins are from The Container Store.

  3. Get ready the night before – Have your kids lie out their outfits and pack their backpacks the night before. This will help make Monday mornings run smoother for both you and the kids.

  4. Routine, Routine, Routine – Creating structure and routine will help your kids get organized and stay organized! Try creating a study space for your kids and set aside a period of time after school for homework. This is a distraction-free time when everyone is focused, quiet and working. Another place where routine is essential is around bedtime. A structured bedtime routine will allow them time to unwind, relax, and prepare for the next day (this is also a great time to for them to pick out their clothes and pack their backpacks for the next day)!

  5. Reward good behavior – Building good organizational skills isn’t always easy. Make sure to recognize and reward good behavior as you see fit! Once you have implemented these new strategies, encourage your kids to take initiative and begin these activities on their own, without your help! – Once they do, reward them!

Written by: Analiese Ross, AMR Digital Marketing

Back to School Already?!

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3 WAYS KIDS USE ORGANIZATION SKILLS TO LEARN

(By Amanda Morin, Understood for Learning & Attention Issues)

1. Following Directions

Following through on directions requires kids to do two things: focus on what needs to be done and come up with a game plan to do it. Both of these require mental organization and planning.

2. Literacy Learning

Literacy, requires a number of organization strategies. For kids to read books and write, they have to keep track of many things at once: characters and their relationships, plot, sequences of events, supporting details and the main idea. If your child struggles with organization she may not be able to gather all that information and organize it. Labeling organizing containers within your home is a great way to help kids learn letters and words!

3. Learning Math

Kids have to use organization skills to learn math because it’s a very organized subject. There are rules and procedures to follow all along the way. Math also involves organizing information based on relationships, such as sorting things into groups by size, color or shape.

6 Steps to Simplify Your Space

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Here are six S-I-M-P-L-E ways you can show the clutter in your life who’s really in charge.

Start - If you’re so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to begin, try starting with one small area that haunts you the most--a section of kitchen counter, a small drawer.

Integrate - Pick up five things, and return them to their proper location. These should be items you’re used to seeing deposited on counters or floors; mail, the dog’s leash, your daughter’s hair clip, random sport socks. If you don’t have a designated place for them, think about one that would suit, and start using it all the time.

Maybe - Give yourself the gift of a “Maybe” box that you can put things in for now. Sometimes, even though we know we should get rid of something, we can’t quite let it go. Look at the random selection you’ve kept a few months down the road--chances are it will all go straight to donation.

Purchase Wisely - Be a more conscious shopper so that you’re not filling your decluttered home with more clutter. Whenever you see something you want, add it to an ongoing list with the date you first saw it, and then revisit the list 30 days later. You may find when you check back that the urge to purchase it has gone.

Lessen – studies show that less visual clutter leads to less overwhelm.  Only display items that are beautiful to you or that bring back a wonderful memory.

Eliminate - Just get rid of these things--I mean, seriously: why are you keeping them? 

6 ITEMS TO PART WITH TODAY!

  • Ø  Trash

  • Ø  Broken items

  • Ø  Duplicates                                       

  • Ø  Items you hate

  • Ø  Gifts you never bonded with

  • Ø  Any gadget unused for a year

Living in a cluttered home or trying to work in a cluttered office is an exercise in frustration. Car keys get swallowed up, you can’t locate your important report in time for your meeting, or you replace something you can’t find only to have the original turn up shortly after. Isn’t that the worst? Make sure that never happens again by getting clutter under S-I-M-P-L-E control... one random sport sock at a time.

Written By: Jennifer Gowler, Project Manager, Professional Organizer

Image by Chris Nyce

A Professional Organizer's Guide to Seamless Travel

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A Professional Organizer's Guide to Seamless Travel

1. Get ahead of the game

Before your journey begins, research the conditions and requirements for your trip.  Start a checklist of basic needs so you don’t hurriedly over pack at the last minute.   If you travel frequently create a packing list that you can use as a template with a section for  “necessities” and a section for “trip-specific” items.  Another tip for jet-setters: keep a separate travel kit of flight compliant toiletries.  You’re wasting precious time in life if you’re packing toiletries each and every time you venture out.  

2. Pack light

It’s time to channel those capsule wardrobe lessons into your travel.  Clothing choices should be lightweight, versatile, climate appropriate and neutral in color.  Think ‘little black dress’ of travel.  The less stuff you struggle with carrying, the more you can maximize your experience!  Carrying a purse = rookie mistake.  Invest in a stylish hip slung carrier (yes, a fanny pack) to keep your documents close and credits cards protected and easy to access.  Find super cute packs here: https://tandl.me/2NW6cra

3. Use the airline app

I know you aren’t still printing your boarding passes.  Right?  

4. Send out your personal press release

Let your friends/family/caretakers know the details of your travel.  Schedule the pet and house sitting early, vacation departure dates always come faster than you think.  Alert your credit card companies that you’re traveling, automate your bills, and pause your memberships.  Again, if you travel frequently, this list of ‘travel to-do’s’ should be kept as a template in your computer to carry out swiftly with every trip you plan.  This should only take you minutes after you set up your process, and will save you countless hours. 

5. Now that you are so incredibly organized, you can truly detach and get the deep rejuvenation benefits that well-planned travel can offer.  Bon voyage! 

Written by: Amy Young, Project Coordinator

Child’s Memory Box, a Gift of Love

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As a parent, you know there are many precious baby objects that can get lost as the years fly by, especially in the very early years.

How can we capture these items besides in a photograph?

One of our families most precious possessions is a Memory Box of our two sons baby years, check this out! 

We have a piece of their hospital blankets, first hats, shoes, toys they chewed on, hair and even teeth (!) and other prized possessions that matter to our family.

All you need to do is find an old or new printer drawer of a size to your liking. 

But, even before that, create a box or container to store items with meaning in one location. 

When ready, look back in this box and take out the best and most loved pieces and place in the printer’s drawer, you can get all sizes or have one made. 

Purchase cut plexiglass fit to size over the drawer to keep out dust and stay clean. 

Add a bit of trim and you have a FANTASTIC piece of history that your children and many generations to come will cherish.

Happy days!

By: JD Farley, Project Manager & Professional Organizer 

Master 4th of July With These Party Planning Hacks!

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1. Take Advantage of Technology!

Skip the envelopes and stamps. Instead, Use a website such as evite.com or punchbowl.com to send free email invitations and keep track of your guest list. Also, post the event on your Facebook page and invite your friends from there.


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2. Do as much in advance as possible!

BBQing is always an easy and festive option for the fourth. Do your best to prepare everything ahead of time so all you have to do it throw it on the grill. Consider sauces and side dishes that can be made the day before. Frozen treats are also great options.



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3. Make it a Group Effort!

Putting on a 4th of July party doesn't mean you have to do everything. Ask your guests to bring side dishes and drinks, while you provide the hamburgers, hot dogs and anything else you want on the grill. Or encourage them to bring their favorite yard games and fireworks!




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4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

You can pretty much count on the Fourth of July to be sizzling! Make sure their are plenty of drinks available (water included). As the host or hostess, you don’t want to be mixing drinks all day or night. Instead, try a large-batch cocktail like a festive sangria that you can mix up the night before!

5 Things All Organized People Do

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1. THEY ARE CREATURES OF HABIT
Organized people are consistent. They set a routine for themselves and they stick to it. This means, they do the same things at the same times every day. 

2. THEY DON'T PROCRASTINATE
Organization is best done a little bit every day. The more you procrastinate the bigger your to-do list gets and the harder it gets to accomplish each task. It's a vicious cycle. Organized people understand this and use it as motivation to stay on top of their to-do lists. 

3. THEY REDUCE CLUTTER
Organized people declutter their homes and their lives frequently. The best way to cut back on clutter is to implement a "give one, get one" rule. This means that every time you bring a new item home, you must donate an old one.

4. THEY MAKE LISTS
Organized people write everything down. They keep to-do lists, shopping lists, packing lists, and more! Writing these things down allows them to declutter their mind without worrying about missing a deadline or forgetting a meeting.

5. THEY MAKE TIME FOR THEMSELVES
Organized people set aside time for themselves every day. Even if it's only 10-15 minutes. Organized people are able to prioritize their time and create space to decompress and relax. This "me time" is essential for preventing burn out.

Get Your Home Market Ready - 3 Steps from Professional Organizers

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Prepare to sell!  The decision has been made to sell your home and relocate.  Now your mind is full of the multitude of tasks that need to happen. Where do you begin?  Here are 3 tips to get your home market ready based on Organization and Relocation’s project manager, Jennifer Gowler’s recent personal experience of putting her own place on the market.

  1. Put away all your personal photos and items.  You want potential buyers to visualize their own pictures and items in the space.  Packing up these items properly for moving right now will get you a step ahead in the moving process.  Bonus!

  2. Clear out excess/un-necessary furniture to make the rooms seem larger. This is also a good opportunity to get rid of those items you don’t use or love (or maybe they have been so loved their time has expired).  Any furniture you plan on using in your new home that doesn’t quite accentuate your current space should be put in storage while your home is on the market.

  3. Pick a theme and stage the home with items that will look good in photographs. It may not be your particular taste, but that is ok.  It is not going to be your home for much longer.  This is part of the transition process of leaving a home.  Some simple staging can go a long way.

Following these three simple guidelines will put you well on the road to seeing that sold sign in your front yard. It is easy to get attached to our spaces (and our things).  Change is rarely easy, but it is a good time to reflect on what and who is truly important to us.  Create the lifestyle that you want with the people you want to share it with.  Happy moving!

Written by: Jennifer Gowler

Photography by: Chris Nyce

READY, SET, Get Organized!

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After you you've decluttered, level up with these 5 tools: 

1. MATCHING HANGERS

This is one of the best investments you can make and the main ingredient of every organized closet!  Try Huggable Hangers from The Container Store.  They aren’t bulky and grip your clothes so they don’t slide off.

2. LINUS DRAWER ORGANIZERS 

These clear containers from The Container Store look great in any drawer and make it easy to see what’s inside! They also lighten the space and create a spacious uncluttered look.  We love the versatility of this line and they can be used over and over again in your current and future homes! 

3. STICKY NOTES  

When you rework your organization systems, things are bound to move around.  This is especially true if you are relocating!  Don't let the entire family open every drawer in the kitchen to find the spoons.  Label with sticky notes them until you've all acclimated to your new home!  

4. UNIFORM STORAGE CONTAINERS 

We know you.  We know you pulled out 10 different jars before you found what you were looking for.  In addition to looking good, uniform storage containers allow you to utilize your space more efficiently.  And you will find what you're looking for in a fraction of the time.  

5. SHELF RISERS

Shelf risers from The Container Store are the best solution for making sure everything is visible and accessible.  You won't use what you can't see and that is where clutter begins. These beauties are expandable so when you move you can fit them into your new cabinets and shelves, no problem!  

RELOCATING THIS SUMMER?

Let our expert staff at Organization & Relocation coordinate your move from start to finish.  Kick back, relax and don't cancel that family vacation.  Contact us to today for a free consultation. 

Expert Tips to Prioritize a Clean Mind, Home, and Finances

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Boulder Lifestyle Magazine Article by Camille Wilson

As daylight hours lengthen, birds return to chirping, and flowers fill the air with their sweet fragrance signaling renewal, new growth, and life.

Many use this season to clean the home, purging unwanted clothing and deep cleaning items not scrubbed, squeegeed or vacuumed since last year. What better time than spring to clean other aspects of your life as well? We asked local experts for advice on spring cleaning your mind, your home, and your finances.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR MIND

Yashoda Devi Ma and Victoria Larkins, Co-founders, The Subtle Mind

Through a wide spectrum of workshops and meditation options, visitors to The Subtle Mind find a holistic approach to developing mind, body, and energy in a space curated to be fresh and modern. Options include Vedic meditation courses, conscious living workshops, and events, kirtan, art and sound meditation.  

Co-founders Yashoda Devi Ma and Victoria Larkins both have challenging experiences in their pasts, and, through these techniques, have found it is possible to move through any discomfort—financial, emotional or physical—that show up in life.

“When we have a clear mind, we can process life at a more optimal level allowing us to live radically alive,” says Larkins. “This is living from the heart.”

The choice to clean your headspace is a matter of priority. With 1,440 minutes in a day, finding time for just two 20-minute meditation sessions should be easy. After all, this time spent reflects on all aspects of your life, helping achieve organization, creativity, and happiness—your best self.

BEGIN WITH JUST 5 MINUTES 

It is better to do something than nothing. After a week or two, slowly increase your time per session, but there is no need to exceed 20 minutes at a time.

GET COMFORTABLE 

It is best to learn meditation from an expert who can show you how to sit with your back supported on a couch, bed or favorite chair. Close your eyes, tune into your breath and relax.

BE ACCEPTING 

Thoughts are always a part of meditation. Know that it is part of the process, but don’t try to do anything. Practicing the act of accepting your thoughts and letting them go will translate into life, and you’ll be able to manage things that come your way better.

BE CONSISTENT 

Judge your practice not by what happens while your eyes are closed, but as you navigate your days. With consistency, you’ll soon find you are more accepting, organized, focused, and happy.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR HOME

Sheryl Hadley, Organization & Relocation, Inc.

Organized physical space leads to a more focused and enjoyable lifestyle, according to Sheryl Hadley, owner of Organization & Relocation, Inc., a professional organization and moving preparation service. After 13 years in the business, Hadley has seen the astounding positive changes in a family’s or business’ happiness and efficiency after they choose to get organized.

A firm believer that beauty and efficiency are essential complements to each other, Hadley—a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals since 2005 and past president of the Colorado chapter for two years—says of any organization system, “If it doesn’t look good, it’s not going to function well!”




AVOID GETTING OVERWHELMED 

Set aside 10 minutes to walk around with a bag collecting things for donation. Doing this weekly or monthly helps overcome the sense of not wanting to start a huge project if there isn’t time to finish. It also frees up mind space to focus on your priorities.

THINK BEFORE ADDING ANYTHING NEW 

Whether it’s a pretty vase or something larger, before bringing anything new into the home, ask yourself if it is worthy of taking up physical and mental space in your life. Ask, “Do I use it, do I love it, do I appreciate it?” Skip or immediately get rid of anything that doesn’t pass this test.

IT’S OKAY TO HOLD ON 

Though minimalism is trendy, sometimes there are practical reasons to hold onto things and have them take up closet space. In the case of acquired family heirlooms, the cleaning process can be emotional and take time. By establishing this as a priority, you give yourself patience and can keep items until you’re ready to make decisions.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR FINANCES

Jennifer Egbert, Jennifer Egbert Modern Luxury

Jennifer Egbert has lived in Boulder since 1992 and worked in real estate for 16 years. Specializing in Boulder’s luxury neighborhoods, she enjoys working with clients at all price points. Valued for her trustworthiness and vast local expertise, a high ratio of Egbert’s transactions are with clients on a luxury budget—her average transaction is $2.2 million—who are looking to build in Boulder, and her knack for articulating modern architecture and design concepts helps bring her clients’ visions to fruition.

Boulder has seen among the nation’s highest equity growth in the past five years at 60 percent. Egbert enjoys helping clients build wealth through adding investment properties to their financial portfolio and advises those with the means to make the numbers work to consider this worthwhile opportunity. A longtime client spent $600,000 in down payments on condos and single family homes over a period of 12 years, and those properties are now worth $3 million.

When considering real estate investments for your financial portfolio, Egbert gives these expert tips:

LOOK AT THE LONG GAME 

Even with equity gains slowing compared to several years ago, Boulder is still well above average. Real estate investments are about building wealth over a decade or more.

USE A BOULDER AGENT 

Boulder is a sophisticated city often underestimated by outsiders. In many ways, it also has a coffee shop, handshake feel where transactions happen off-market. Agents who live in and specialize in this market are in a much stronger position to find the best fit for you.

BE WILLING TO TAKE THE PLUNGE 

Those who understand lower capitalization rates and high equity gain currently happening in Boulder will win. After researching numbers to make sure you can afford it, if your trusted real estate professional likes the deal you’ve negotiated together, be willing to go for it.

Green Up Your Act! Getting Your Gardening Zone in Shape

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Spring always seems to lead the charge when it comes to getting things in order. Maybe the inspiration comes from opening windows long closed against winter’s chill and feeling the sunshine flood in; maybe it’s hearing the robins’ song as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. Regardless, a true spring clean is never confined to just the inside of your home. It extends outside as you clear debris out of garden beds, cut back dead growth, and generally give the outside of your house the same facelift you gave the inside a few weeks back.

Getting your gardening gear in order makes all the difference to the success of your project. Whether you have a shed or a simply a dedicated area in your garage, here are a few tips to whip your green thumb zone into submission.

One of the most useful organizational tools for a gardening area is a bulletin board. Here’s where you hang your calendar of events: what you planted, when you fertilized, what’s coming up in your veggie garden, what tasks are ahead. You can also use it to tack up labelled envelopes for used seed packets, plant info stakes, or receipts for plantings that come from stores with a 12-month survival policy (like Home Depot). Having a simple gardening HQ keeps you on top of your home’s curb appeal.

A ready-when-you-are garden carryall is a real timesaver. Anything with a handle is perfect for this--a basket or even an old-style milk delivery crate will do the trick. Stock it with gardening gloves, clippers, weeder, knee pads, and any other tools you always like to have close by. You may be surprised how much quicker it is now to weed the petunia bed!

Keeping as much off the floor as possible is key, so designate a hanging area for shovels, rakes, and hoes, and a few shelves with containers for smaller items. If you have space on the wall or the back of a door, a compartmentalized cloth shoe rack works well to store full seed packets, gardening stakes and twist ties, and smaller hand tools. Keep hoses and extension cords for power tools well coiled with Velcro straps.

At a certain age a potting station (which can be as simple as two sawhorses with a piece of wood or counter across them and a lattice against the wall) is the only civilized way to work on your planters and window boxes. It also provides storage underneath for soil, compost, and fertilizer. These large bags are best stored off the floor either in oversized plastic tubs or on a shelf. If you use chemicals in your garden, you might consider a locked box or high cabinet to ensure curious children can’t get at them.

Because soil is an integral part of the equation whenever you are talking gardening, your shed or garage gardening area is going to--you guessed it--attract dirt. Keep a small broom and dustpan on hand in this area to keep dust, dirt, and cobwebs at bay.

Any project you tackle, inside or out, is always easier when the required tools are organized, visible, and easy to access. It’s amazing how much easier it is to head out to the garden when you don’t have to spend fifteen minutes searching for those elusive clippers. Give your green zone the same love you show the inside of your house and get paid back every day with a healthy, thriving garden.

Happy Organizing!

Getting Your Move On: Purging, Preparing, and Packing

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Moving is high up on our stress lists, isn’t it? And it’s an inescapable part of life: Americans move an average of 11.7 times during their lifetimes. Just thinking about a move is overwhelming: there’s so much to do, and where to begin?  

At Org & Relo we specialize in relocations, and we love them. We handle everything from recommending and coordinating the movers to helping you de-clutter before you pack to unpacking and organizing your new space so that it works for you. I can’t tell you how much happiness and immediate satisfaction results for all of us at the end of a successful move! My clients especially love how stress-free a move with us can be. One of them recently said: “With the help of your company, the physical and emotional stress of our move was so minimal. There is something about uprooting that sends your brain into a whirl. I will never forget the end of our first day with you. We retired to our bedroom to find our bed made and all of our clothing neatly organized. It was such a "zen" moment and just what we needed.”

My best advice is that it’s never too early to start preparing for a move. Leaving it all to the last minute is stressful and taxing. You’ll just be flinging things in boxes, labeling them “misc.” (or not labeling them at all), and filling your new garage with a depressing hodge podge of stuff. Pre-move prep can make the current space you are living in calmer and less chaotic as the pressure of the move builds. 

Approach it methodically. Prior to packing, start purging your stuff. Why pay to pack it, pay to move it, pay to unload it, pay to unpack it, and pay to get rid of it? I know letting things go can be challenging, so maybe asking yourself my three magic questions might help:

  • Do I use it?

  • Do I love it?

  • Do I appreciate it?

If you’re not getting a resounding “Yes!” to any of these then you know what your answer is--time to give away, donate, trash, or recycle. One way to reduce clutter at the outset is to be really careful about what you bring into your home. (True story: I pondered a slow cooker for two years before I took the plunge and bought it.) And any item of clothing that is invited into your closet should be adored as it was in the store, since that’s the mirror in which it always looks best. Avoid half-hearted purchases; those are the ones you’ll be wanting to get rid of before the year is out.

Another way to ease the letting go is to figure out where an item is headed. Gifting a box of beloved kids’ books to your sister for her new baby or passing on a great jacket you rarely wore to a girlfriend who always admired it can make a purging decision easier. Consigning is another great option, and Boulder’s own Clutter Consign is a fabulous place for much-loved treasures. Look up consignment stores in your area. Once you’ve decided to get rid of something, do yourself a favor and get it donated or recycled immediately--not stashed in a pile in the garage. The energy in your house will thank you... and so will your to-do list.

Stay ahead of the curve early on by pricing out moving supplies, or checking curb alerts on Craigslist for used boxes and paper. You can start packing long before move day arrives--low-rotation areas, like the linen closet, kids’ toys, sideboard items, books, etc. These boxes can be packed and stacked neatly in the garage to minimize the rush. Keep all the boxes for each destination (kitchen, basement, playroom, etc.) grouped together to make the loading and unloading more efficient. When packing boxes, labeling is key. Use a Sharpie to label the designated room in ALL CAPS on the same place on each box, and list what’s in it underneath. As the move approaches, pack up as much as you can before getting to the high-rotation rooms, like kitchen and bedroom, at the end.

A few other things to tackle ahead of time:

  • Get move estimates from reputable moving companies (if you are moving between Memorial Day and Labor Day, moving companies are often overbooked).

  • Think about what’s in the freezer and pantry, and plan meals around those items so you don’t have to pack or toss a lot of food.

  • Contact us for a detailed list of what to do in the last few weeks like address changes, booking pet sitters, safely disposing of household chemicals, and more.

Closer to move day, you’ll want to pack (and label!) your “Essentials” boxes, such as sheets and towels, and make sure they’re last on the truck and first off. You’ll also pack suitcases with personal items like clothes and toiletries (this is also a good place for jewelry and important files) and transport them yourself.  Take anything you consider valuable with you.

A move doesn’t have to be one of life’s great stressors. With a little planning, time, and attention, you can pull it off without a hitch.

 Happy Organizing!

How Do I Choose A Good Moving Company?

Imagine this: you’re standing on your front steps with every single thing you own locked up tight in the moving truck parked outside. The mover walks up to you, says there are extra charges for this, this, and that and, until you pay what he asks, he won’t relinquish your stuff. Or, even worse, the final box gets put on the truck, it drives off into the sunset, and that’s the last you ever see of your worldly possessions.

Researching movers is worthy of a serious time investment. While the majority of moving companies are legitimate and above board, the mere fact that a website exists called “moving scam” is proof enough that they can’t all be accepted at face value.

The best time to move is between October and April; moving companies aren’t as busy then and are more willing to negotiate a better rate. If life dictates that you have to move during the summer months, book your movers way in advance. And if you’re unlucky enough to have to move the last week of July--always the busiest week of the year--try to work at least three months out.

Getting recommendations for reputable movers from friends, colleagues, professional organizers, or realtors makes a lot of sense. If that’s not an option, ask the movers you’re interviewing for customer contact info to help with your decision. At Org&Relo we work with many different movers, and we definitely know the ones who set the bar high. For example, any mover who slides a box across a hardwood floor is off our dance card!

Don’t accept an estimate over the phone. The only way you can get an accurate accounting of your moving costs is to have a real person walk around your house while taking notes. Show the estimator everything you want moved, including items in the attic, storeroom, or outside shed. If on moving day the foreman thinks you have more than was calculated, he can challenge the original estimate before it’s all loaded on the truck.

Make sure the estimator knows about any challenges in the destination home like stairs, narrow doorways, or unusual distance from the front door. Find out whether estimates are binding or non-binding (this often depends on whether you’re moving out of state). Request specifics on the company’s insurance policy--there is always a deductible unless you pay an additional fee. When you get your estimate, ask clarifying questions about anything you don’t understand. Don’t make assumptions that something is covered if it’s not written down. Cross anyone who requests a cash deposit off your list.

When you have a shortlist of three or four companies that look good, do an initial screening by checking with the Better Business Bureau and Moving Scam. You can also scan reviews on Yelp. If the company is local, do a drive by and see if they look established and legit. Next, check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to find out about consumer complaints. SAFER Web can provide you with safety and licensing information.

A good thing to pay attention to with movers is whether or not you feel you’re being listened to. Are the people you’re interacting with attentive to your needs? Moving is a stressful, time-consuming undertaking. You want to work with an organization who respects all aspects of the process--including any anxieties you may have or special details you want addressed.

Do your research well in advance so that you don’t have to make a rush decision about this important aspect of your move. Once you find a good, reputable mover, you’ll be able to sit back and let them take charge. That’s worth more than I can say.

Happy Organizing!

Is Your Office a Hot Mess?! It Doesn't Have to Be!

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“You’re not on top of things.”

That’s the message a disorganized office sends to your boss, your colleagues, or your family if you work at home. A messy office screams “constant overwhelm!”--probably not the foot you most want to put forward professionally.

In one of the stranger twists on the modern workplace, as technology improves many of us feel less productive. In some ways, all the tools we now have at our fingertips lessen our ability to accomplish things. How often do you say (or hear) that there are too many meetings or too many emails to get the basic elements of your job handled day by day? To say nothing of the Internet lurking in the background to snatch you away from focused time with Facebook, Flappy Birds, or Kevin Spacey’s twitter feed.

If you follow this blog regularly, you already know some of my tips and tricks from previous posts: declutter, purge, clean, label, etc. So let’s just assume those crucial basics are all part of whipping your office into shape. Now let’s go deeper than that and talk about other lesser known measures that will improve your personal organizational style--and send an alternate message to the world at large.

Plot your master calendar

There’s nothing like seeing deadlines written or typed in to a calendar to make them more real than dates that drift aimlessly around in your head. Whether you keep a digital calendar or an old-school paper version, get used to listing all important dates and deadlines as far out as you can go. You’ll feel more committed to the outcome--and things won’t fall through the cracks.

Find your sweet spot

Some people are most productive in the wee hours when the office is empty or the house hasn’t yet started humming; others don’t really get their creative juices flowing until their three o’clock cup of coffee. Get a leg up on your productivity by determining your sweet spot and how you can best harness it for your work day.

Exercise the “two-minute rule”

Productivity consultant David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, encourages us to relieve stress and make progress by identifying what can be done in two minutes and simply doing it. Whether it’s a phone call, a brief return email, filing some stray papers, or making an appointment for your dog at the vet, small tasks that can be done quickly and efficiently reduce our mental and physical clutter.

Keep notes

Keep track of calls, notes from phone conversations, and any other important “small stuff” in your work day in a spiral-bound notebook. No more random Post-it notes in random locations that never turn up when you need them! When you have these things captured together in the same place, it makes it super easy to backtrack and pull up info quickly. Or, if you’re only wired for digital, you can always use the “Notes” section on your smartphone or Evernote, which will sync notes, projects, photos, and files across all your devices.

Nurture your flexibility

The world changes fast these days; faster than it ever did before. One way to keep on top of things is to learn how to flow with change--and to have a sense of what Plan B might be if a client flames out or you have to scramble to do a presentation for a sick coworker. Instead of using your mental juice to be upset, judgmental, or resentful, channel your energy into embracing the change; it’s much easier to shift gears and move forward that way.

Clean up before you leave

This is so simple I can hardly believe I’m recommending it, but it’s one of those “so obvious you could miss it” kind of tips: arriving at an organized desk every morning gives you the sense that you’re ready for the day and what’s ahead. Even if all you do is put away files, neatly stack your in-box, and wash out your coffee cup before taking off at the end of the day, the energy of a fresh start awaits you in the morning. Use the last few minutes of your day to give yourself that gift.

Like management consultant Peter Drucker said, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” How great would it be if your hard work in “organizing” your office started broadcasting something different every day, like “Wow, you’re really together,” or “I can’t believe how much you can get done these days!” Give your workspace and your personal work habits a tune up, and let the compliments roll in.

Happy Organizing!

Are You Spring Ready?

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With the onset of spring; now is the perfect time for a little spring cleaning and organizing. 

Follow these 3 Spring Organizing Tips:

  1. An organized closet is the first step to an organizing the rest of your home. You've heard it before, take action NOW and get rid of unused clothes and accessories (there are so many people in need of clothing if you are not wearing it!) If you haven't worn it in a year, you probably never will. Organize by type & color or just by color depending on how you function. Either way, your closet will look more appealing and your everyday routine will be easier.

  2. Bookshelves are a great project for an immediate impact. Start by removing all the books and determining which you are keeping or donating (hardback books are like a piece of art, paperbacks are not as pretty). Changing the way you display books or accessories is a great change of energy to your space. Clean the shelves by using a soft towel to dust each book. You can organize your books by color and organize some vertically and some horizontally in a rhythmic pattern. This will relieve the monotony of rows and give a fresh, clean, and new perspective to your room.

  3. Be ruthless when it comes to decluttering; If you don't love it, and/or you don't use it, it's clutter. Spring is the perfect time to embrace the Feng Shui art of uncluttered living. Feng Shui teaches that if energy can easily flow through a room, your life will be more harmonious and happy--and clutter is an obstacle to reaching this relaxed and calm state.Make it a quest of yours to be ruthless when it comes to your decluttering efforts. You'll have less to dust, less clutter to look it, an easier time finding the things you do use and less stress in your life.

Spring Cleaning Tips!

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"Spring has sprung, The grass is riz, Wonder where the flowers is?" Ogden Nash

Isn’t it amazing how every year after the snow melts (or sometimes before!) the same thing happens? Spring shows up again. However, where you might be seeing daffodils, tulips, and sunshine, I’m seeing cobwebs, dust bunnies, clutter, and dulled windows. That’s because this season has “spring cleaning” written all over it for me.

Organizing and cleanliness are very tightly linked. Let’s face it, if a space is dirty, no amount of organizing is going to make it look good. And while the regular cleaning we do to keep on top of the daily build-up works great, there’s nothing like a full-on swan dive into the bottomless pool of spring cleaning that really gives us the opportunity for a fresh start.

Here are ten seasonal cleaning tips that will make your house look like a million bucks - and might even make you glad you dove in for the deep clean!

Set Yourself Up for Success

  • Grab a bucket or caddy and stock it with all the supplies you need before you begin; microfiber cloths, multi-surface cleaner, abrasive powder, squeegee, duster, rubber gloves, etc. Don’t ruin your momentum by having to retrieve something from somewhere else.

Break Out Your Ladder

  • Start with your ladder or step stool right beside you so that you can easily and safely access tough-to-reach areas. Use an extendable pole if needed for awkward corners.

Work Top to Bottom

  • Begin at the top of a room by dusting ceiling corners, light fixtures, and fans and work your way down by cleaning walls, windows, and surfaces before vacuuming up all the dust you’ve dislodged. If you do it the other way, you’ll have to vacuum twice.

Recruit the Family

  • If you have kids, plan a family cleaning day where everyone has his or her job--set up a garage sale, use teams to move furniture, get everyone to purge winter clothes before they get packed away. Involving children empowers them to learn these habits at a young age. Plan a fun event at the end as a reward.

Purge, Purge, Purge

  • A spring clean is a fabulous time to get rid of stuff. Pay attention to things that haven’t been used or moved since the last time you cleaned them. Bring a donate box and a trash bag into each room as you’re cleaning, and talk yourself into letting things go.  Ask yourself: Do I use it, do I love it, do I appreciate it?

 Consider Systems

  • While taking this up close and personal view of your space, think about what systems you might use to further streamline and organize. How can I best maximize the space that I have? Is there a better use for an existing piece of furniture? Use this as an opportunity to make improvements. You have more space than you think.

 Do the Things You Never Do

  • Vacuum under & behind furniture. Clean the fridge. Wash or dry clean curtains, and wash or dust blinds. Break out a lint roller, and take it for a spin over the lampshades. Dust light bulbs. Clean under the beds. Wash windows. Clean tops of cupboards. Scrub light switch plates and floor vents. Look for areas that don’t get much cleaning TLC during the rest of the year, and make them your priority.

Pace Yourself

  • A thorough spring clean can’t be done in a single day--especially if you don’t have extra hands helping out. Be methodical. Plan certain tasks for certain days, and do them over a couple of weekends or several evenings. Give yourself the time you need so that you don’t succumb to overwhelm.  Remember, a lot can be accomplished in thirty-minute blocks of time.

Make It Fun!

  • Crank up the tunes. Listen to an audio book. Open the windows, and let the fresh air in. Have something special in the fridge to look forward to when you’re done. Do whatever it takes to keep you on task and motivated.

Take care of and take pride in your belongings.  Stay on top of scuff marks, dust, paint touch ups, loose hinges, or any small fixes as they happen.  Same goes for hiring a handyman to do any bigger jobs you don’t want to take on. Keeping things in tip-top shape in your home will save you money and time. Who doesn’t want more time these days?

Remember those spring flowers we talked about at the beginning? When you’re finished, buy yourself a massive bunch of tulips or daffodils, put them in your best vase, and set them up on your newly polished table. Then sit back in a sunbeam, and enjoy the view.

Happy Organizing--and Happy Spring!