When your pantry says BOO!

When your pantry says BOO!

It’s that time of year that many people get excited and energized to go to a haunted house.  They love the suspense of what is lurking around the corner.  I know so many who thrive off this adrenalin rush.  Are you one of them?  Or are you like me and hate being caught off guard?

If you are one of these who love it, can you say the same thing about your home?  Do you know what is lurking in the corner of that pantry?  The pantry is one of the most neglected areas in a home.  Most people I know would not be able to give me a detailed inventory of their pantry.  Or even a semi-detailed inventory of their pantry. 

Pop Quiz:  Make a list of 10 items (and quantities) of what you think is in your pantry.  (no cheating…don’t look).  After your list is complete, compare your list to the actual contents. 

How did you do?  100% - you rock!  50% - average.  25% or less – you better keep reading.

I love organizing a pantry!  Why?  Because in just a few simple steps, a huge impact can be made.  And my experience has given me the gift of implementing simple systems in a short amount of time. 

Here are the few simple steps I was referring to above.

1. Take everything out of pantry. This is where the pantry may say BOO! to you but stay brave.  It is worth it. 

2. Toss/recycle/compost all expired, almost empty items.  Donate all items that are not expired but no one in your household will ever eat or you have duplicates that will not be consumed before they expire.

3.  Wipe down all the shelves and sweep the floor if needed.

4.  Return items to pantry, that belong in the pantry.  Do not put anything back that does not belong in there!

5.  Step back and admire your efforts.   And feel free to show it off to the rest of the family. 

Halloween may be scary but your pantry shouldn’t be!

Written by: JENNIFER GOWLER, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

 

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Too much storage!!! Is there such a thing? 

Too much storage!!! Is there such a thing? 

Yes, this is a real issue.

A big selling point to any living space is how much storage there is.  The reality is that we like our stuff and need a place for our stuff.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I moved to a new home last February and was so excited about the walk-in closet.  Having all my clothes (and my husband’s) in one closet and able to see them all, feels so great. 

Not having enough storage is a very common issue but over the years I see more and more cases of too much available storage space.  You may be asking how is that not a great thing?  Here is what I have observed as a professional organizer…

Too much storage can…

  • Make it difficult to find what you are looking for as there are more options to where it could be.

  • Increases the volume of stuff you purchase since space is not an issue.  A side effect of this is you increase waste as many bulk items may expire before they get used or you forget you have them and buy more.

  • Create more clutter – excess surface space just gives you more room to create “piles” that just stare at you and make you want to run away. 

  • Cause procrastination in downsizing.  Out of sight, out of mind….until you have to move and end up doing a stressful crash downsizing session or paying movers to move things you do not need or want.

These are just a few of the negative consequences of too much storage.  I’m sure you can come up with more once you start thinking about it.  You can acquire stuff to fill your storage or create storage to fit your stuff.  I am a big supporter of the later.  There are so many creative ways to create storage space when it is needed.  And a good purging session can take so much weight off the shoulders!

So, what is your situation?  Do you have just the right amount of storage?  Are there cabinets, closets, rooms that you have no idea what you would find in there?  Do you need to get those creative juices flowing (either yours or a professional organizers) and get smarter with the little storage you have? Come up with a plan and take action today – it will be well worth it.

 

By Jennifer Gowler, Project Manager 

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Transforming your Junk Drawer into a Junk Door

Transforming your Junk Drawer into a Junk Door

One of the ways I like to control the junk drawer dilemma is by creating a junk door. On the door of our pantry I have taken a clear over the door shoe hanger and filled the LABELED pockets with various items such as tape measures, chip clips, small tools, string, tape, flashlights, and anything else that one needs quickly to complete a task.  It is very important that the pockets are labeled otherwise it becomes a free for all when items are being put back.  Our family really likes the junk door because they never have to hunt down random items.

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The Not So EMPTY Empty Nest

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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, Project Manager, Professional Organizer

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!

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!

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!

Quick Tips: Controlling Kitchen Chaos!

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1. Unearth Secret Storage.
Think outside the box.  Finding unique ways to use awkward spaces will help transform space that appears unusable to really useful

  • Use a Lazy Susan for storing canned goods, spreads and cooking oils.

  • Adjust your shelves to fit more contents.

  • Upright storage for cookie sheets and cutting boards, keeping everything in sight and easy to grab by adding a couple of inexpensive tension curtain rods inside a base cabinet!

2. Customize Your Pantry.
Pantries are usually deep and awkward. Cabinet shelf dividers create more space

3. Minimize Small Appliances. 
Keep you counters clear of clutter - only keep out what you use daily.

4. Always Store Like Items Together. 
You will be surprised at how many of the same items you have, when they are all together!

5. Get Rid of Bulky Packaging. 
Clear canisters let you see what have and what you are running low on

6. Free Up Your Counter Space. 
Use hanging baskets to display fruit/vegetables, so that way you actually eat them; instead of letting them rot in the fridge or take up MORE space on your counters!

7. Hang a Rack. 
Yes, just like the ones you have in your shower - but use them on the inside of a cupboard, underneath the sink to keep dish soap and sponges handy

8. Too Many Cookie Cutters? 
Use a paper towel holder to store them!

9. Pegboards. 
Hang a sheet of pegboard, add a few hooks and Voila! You've got plenty of versatile hanging storage!

10. Designate ONE junk drawer! 
Use dividers to maximize the space and maintain organization!

Back to Basics

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Back to Basics

  1. Shoes! Store shoes heel to toe. This allows you to see heel height, toe style and color for quick selection. Check out the products we love for additional shoe maintenance and storage.

  2. Clothes. Prioritize you clothes to better utilize the spaces within your closet. Store your most used items at eye level, less used items just below that and least used items up high.

  3. Bags and Purses. Hooks are a great way to organize your bags and purses in order to keep them off the floor as well as maintain a shaped arm strap.

  4. Finishing Touches. Little, but impactful adjustments like coordinating hangers, labeling and incorporating additional lighting to your closet can make all the difference.

Editing Your Kitchen, One Gadget At A Time

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With my interest in all things food, it naturally follows that I love being in the kitchen. Cooking is relaxing for me, and the kitchen is the hub of the home--what party were you at recently that didn’t end up there? My point exactly. And since, like many of us, I work full time, I want to come into a kitchen at the end of the day where it’s easy to make a wonderful meal. 

At Organization & Relocation, we know the only way to make this happen is if the kitchen is organized, user-friendly, and lean. That means an annual purge and deep clean that sets the bar high--but not out of reach.

We start by emptying and cleaning every single drawer. Cleanliness always infuses a space with new energy. Next, we sort like items on the counter and look them over with a discerning eye. Is anything repeated? What is that ancient cherry pitter doing here, anyway? Are there utensils that don’t get used because a sharp knife will suffice? If so, I encourage my clients to give them away or recycle them. Not having to paw through your utensil drawer for five minutes looking for that elusive peeler is a beautiful thing. 

We then transform the drawers with clear organizing trays, simply by puzzling together different-size trays that best accommodate the contents of each. The clear ones work well because you can really see what’s in them.

A “junk drawer” is essential to every kitchen, and it’s a great place to store those pesky things that never seem to have an obvious home--matches, pens, scissors, string, Post-it notes, etc. After the purge I suggest that my clients reassemble these random items (singing bottle opener, anyone?) in a different way to make sure they notice what’s in there. And yes: the junk drawer gets organizing trays, too!

Next on our thorough clean and purge list are the cupboards. It’s amazing how obvious the lesser-used items become when everything’s out and similar things are grouped together. Why are there so many mixing bowls? When was the last time that wok was liberated from its shadowy corner? We always attempt to improve the layout, depending on the client’s habits and favorites, as we replace items after the purge. We encourage clients to use the Org & Relo mantra: “Do I love it? Do I use it? Do I appreciate it?” This helps to make decisions without sentimentality confusing things.

Then come the food zones. Food gets edited with a ruthless eye, especially the classic, “This looks cool, I’ll try it tonight!” that’s still sitting there a year later. Shelves are wiped down and we only put back the items the client will use, grouped by type. Ergonomics are key to organizing any space, so we order in a way that makes sense for your needs—healthy and most-used items at eye level, baking items all together, pet food on the bottom (if your pet can be trusted!), sweet treats for kids on an upper shelf, etc. In the pantry we use containers with typed labels to group smaller items.  

Keeping our kitchens organized and ready for action makes cooking a meal at the end of a long day a surprisingly stress-free experience. And you know what? That may be the most delicious local ingredient of all.

Happy Organizing!

Holiday Bark Recipe

Snow crunching underfoot, houses outlined in sparkly lights, the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting out of the kitchen — the holidays are here again!

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To kick off this holiday season, I attended Lifestyle Publications cookie exchange. It was a fabulous time with good friends, holiday tunes and lots of cookies. I brought chocolate raspberry bark for my “cookie” submission, and it was a hit! Boulder Lifestyle is featuring my recipe along with a few others in their current issue. Check out the full article and see my recipe below:

Holiday Chocolate Raspberry Bark

10 oz chocolate chips (at least semi-sweet, preferably 60%)

1/2 c. freeze dried raspberries, crushed

1/2 c. cacao nibs, crushed

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir in raspberries and cacao nibs and spread on wax paper on a cookie sheet. Place in freezer for approximately 15 minutes or until firm. Break bark into pieces with hands & enjoy!

**you can also substitute 3/4 toffee pieces (Heath) to stir in, spread on wax paper on cookie sheet, and generously grind sea salt on the melted chocolate before freezing.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Whatever Holiday You Celebrate, and, of course, Happy Organizing!

Get Your Home Holiday Ready

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“Tis the season for guests, entertaining, shopping and decorating. Keeping your home peaceful and organized with the demands of of the holidays can seem like a daunting challenge. Yet clearing the clutter and a little bit of organizing can help lessen stress, free up time and create some welcome ease. Here are our holiday organizing tips to keep you sane this season:

  • Make a central holiday calendar. Include holiday shopping, deadlines for shipping, decorating, sending cards, baking, parties and travel plans. This will have you feeling in control instantly. 

  • Clear out the clutter! Donate clothes, coats and toys kids have outgrown. De-clutter by putting your everyday decorations away while you have your holiday decorations on display.

  • Before you decorate, give your house a good cleaning. This way it will be sparkling and looking great in more ways than one.

  • Evaluate holiday decor. As you pull out decorations ask yourself: Do I use it, do I love it, do I appreciate it? Keep your favorites and donate the rest. 

  • Create a gift-wrapping station. According to Consumer Reports, the average person spends 3 hours wrapping gifts. Organize your supplies by sorting them into different categories: bows, ribbon, tissue paper, gift tags, tape, etc. Having an organized system will save time.

  • Clear out and clean out your coat closet. Make room for guests’ winter jackets and extra hangers. Clear the floor of odds and ends to store shoes and boots.

Holidays are the time of year to celebrate life with family and friends. When we are organized there is more time to enjoy the season with those we love. 

Happy Organizing!