Maximizing Your Office Space

Let’s face it—whether your office is an executive suite, a cramped cubicle, or you find yourself working from home, we’ve all encountered the overwhelming sense of frustration clutter and disorganization can bring. No matter how much space you may have it sometimes feels like there’s nowhere left to put anything! Try following a few of these easy tips and you might be amazed to realize office organization is within your reach!

  1. Consider adding shelving to your work space. While this might seem like a daunting task at first, there are plenty of easy and low-budget options out there. Swing by your local Lowes or Home Depot for ideas on mounted shelving. If power tools aren’t your thing, there are plenty of stand-alone options as well from places as convenient as Target.
  2. I think everyone should have a label maker. I have two— one that is attached to my computer and a hand-held one. These come in handy in any office and help you stick by the mantra “a place for everything and everything in its place”.
  3. Three-ring binders work great for keeping track of bank statements and investment statements since they usually already come with three holes punched in them. Using binders and filing systems is great for keeping paperwork organized and your desktop de-cluttered.
  4. One of my go-to brands for office organization is Sterilite, which you can find at most Staples. They have small, white, basket-like trays that come in four sizes and are perfect for organizing drawer space. You can mix and match to fit in whatever desk drawers you have!

Planning for the Holidays

Can you believe it’s December already! This year has flown by and now we are approaching the Holidays. As a professional organizer, I am conscious of clutter, which makes me think very carefully about the gifts I give. Will they serve a purpose or just add to the clutter that already invades their space? Ask yourself this question when you are shopping for gifts this holiday season.

Make a list of who and what you need to buy.  Group your trips.  If you can get a few things done at the mall or a plaza that has more than one store, plan ahead.  If at all possible shop locally and support your community.  Many towns have wonderful shops with unique items!

 

Here are a list of local events that offer great holiday gifts and while you shop can support the local businesses and artists at the same time!

Holiday arts & eats at assembly row Ducks in a Row

 

Fri December 6, 6pm – 10pm
Sat December 7, noon – 6pm
Sun December 8, noon – 6pm

 

 

Ducks in a row organizers craftboston holiday
New England’s premiere exhibition and sales of contemporary art, craft and design.
Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston St.
Boston, MADates & Hours
Fri. December 6, 10am – 7pm
Sat. December 7, 10am – 7pm
Sun. December 8, 11am – 5pm

What is your gift buying strategy? How do you make your gifts more meaningful? What’s the best gift you ever received? Share your advice with us on our Facebook page!

8 Steps to Switching Your Wardrobe For Winter!

ducks in a row organizers

The seasons are changing here in New England and it’s time to switch out your clothes and home goods. It’s a labor-intensive process that many people don’t like, but some preparation can make this process smoother.

Step 1: Before you dash off to any store to buy containers, first take the opportunity to sort through your clothes and eliminate any that are torn, stained, stretched, out of style, etc. Make sure to empty all of your pockets of coins or other items left.

Step 2: Launder or dry clean clothing before you pack it away, even if you have only worn it once.

Step 3: Sort clothes by fabric type. Protein-types like wool, silks, and leathers should be packed together in breathable containers to prevent drying out or cracking.

Plant-type fabrics such as linen, cotton, and rayon should be packed separately.

Step 4: Choose the right storage solution for you. For breathable storage, think canvas or mesh. For airtight storage, I prefer the Sterilite 66qt bin with the white lid. Target always has them and I like their sizes. You can also use “Spacebags,” they are similar to large ziploc bags that you vacuum air out it minimize space. If you choose to, place the compressed bags into the bins, this will help keep any moisture out. I like the bins as they are stackable.

Step 5: Invest in some sort of moth repellent. Cedar is a good choice. Just remember to give the pieces a light sanding between seasons to reactivate the oil in the wood.

Step 6: Keep everything labeled in case you need to access it during the season.

Step 7: If you want to store clothes hanging (dresses) in hanging bags, like your favorite dress or outerwear make sure its a cloth or muslin bag. Using a plastic bag or dry cleaning bag, traps moisture inside and mold and mildew can be created and it is terrible for your clothes.

Step 8: Depending on what kind of space you have in your closets, nesting things will save space. Smaller bags inside larger ones. Tall boots can be put up on the top shelf if the ceilings are high enough. I like to stuff the boot shafts with paper so they keep their shape. Jackets should be hung on a sturdy hanger, wood if you have them. Hang the items by length first, long coats and jackets all the way to one side so you can see the floor easily. I always like to hang things by color and sleeve length, vests with vests etc.

Gloves and hats can be kept neat by using a basket or clear bin. If there is room, one basket/bin for each person.

Step 9: Choose your storage location, store things in a cool, dry place. Work within the space you have, if the only place you can store things is the attic or basement it is okay unless the basement gets wet or is damp, moisture invites mold and mildew.

Guest bedroom closets are great for off-season storage. Under the bed works well if your bed is high enough. If you’ve got room in your main closet, stack the boxes in the back of it.

If you have any off-season clothing storage advice, PLEASE share! Do the same with any questions, and I’ll comment to offer an answer!

Hope you all enjoy the adventure of going through your summer clothes as you store them away. Watch out winter is on it’s way!

Quick Tips to Home & Office Organization!

Messy Desk We all do it, we check our email over and over again throughout the day. Resist the urge to continually check email or voicemail. Instead, set specific times – perhaps once in the morning, once after lunch, and once before you end the day – to do this. You can set the sender’s expectation in your signature line, saying “I check email 3 times daily. I’ll respond to your request as soon I am able.” Find what works for you and your schedule.

Find your desk covered in stacks of paper, sticky notes, and coffee mugs? Reduce waste at the office. Try to generate less paper by printing less and saving more to electronic storage, such as to your computer or a flash drive. Think before you hit “print” and you’ll have less paper to deal with on your desk.

Do you end each day stressed about your next days activities, jobs, or things to do? Plan for tomorrow at the end of the day. Take 15 minutes at the end of every day to create tomorrow’s to-do list. This habit of planning will give you the gift of focus, allowing you to get a jump-start the next morning. In a sense, you’re creating a map for the following day!

I hope these tips help you make it through your day organized and successful!

 

October is Computer Learning Month

Here are some computer and office tips to keep you learning
and organized this month!

Illustration by Ben Wiseman

Illustration by Ben Wiseman

Computers make our lives oh-so-much easier, but they can be a gateway to identity theft, so:

1) install a computer security system and update it often.

2) Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders, and

3) make your passwords hard to guess combinations of letter and numbers/symbols.

Resist the urge to continually check email or voice-mail. Instead, set specific times – perhaps once in the morning, once after lunch, and once before you end the day – to do this. You can set the sender’s expectation in your signature line, saying “I check email 3 times daily. I’ll respond to your request as soon I am able.”

Reduce waste at the office. Try to generate less paper by printing less and saving more to electronic storage, such as to your computer or a flash drive. Think before you hit “print” and you’ll have less paper to deal with on your desk.

Plan for tomorrow at the end of the day. Take 15 minutes at the end of every day to create tomorrow’s to-do list. This habit of planning will give you the gift of focus, allowing you to get a jump-start the next morning. In a sense, you are creating a map for the following day.

Also check out this wonderful article “What a Messy Desk Says About You”

For some time, psychologists and other researchers have been studying how personality traits affect health and health-related choices. Not surprisingly, they have found that people blessed with innate conscientiousness, meaning that they are organized and predictable, typically eat better and live longer than people who are disorderly. They also tend to have immaculate offices. Read more here!

Prep for Fall

Survive yard work this fall with some organization!

The leaves in New England are starting to change color. Before we know it leaves will be falling and the weather will turn a little colder – the autumn season is upon us – which means it’s time again to clean up the yard for winter.

A few simple taskes to do during autumn can ensure a great-looking yard come spring. Most yards require as much attention in the fall as they do in the spring. To make the process faster and easier, rake a couple times a week. Leaves can pile up pretty quickly with the fall wind. Round up leaves in a lawn bag with a great product like the Rubbermaid Roughneck® BagBone™, can help make these tasks like raking leaves little easier by holding open paper lawn bags as you are filling them. The durable frame flexes to fit securely inside paper lawn bags during clean up. Removes easily when you are done. Rubbermaid has the right tools to help you clean up your yard and garage this fall!

Roughneck BagBone by Rubbermaid

Don’t forget to give everything in your yard a trim. Tidy hedges and but back perennials if you live in a mild climate. For colder areas, leave dead stems in place to protect the plant. Prune trees and bushes to neaten and direct tree or shrub growth for the spring.

Clean and stow yard furniture. Choose a dry and sunny day to do this. Clean pillow and seat-cushion covers, wipe down chairs and wash metal furniture. Let everything dry thoroughly before putting away in the garage or in your outdoor storage shed. Store small other outdoor supplies, lights, flowerpots, hoses, garden tools, sporting equipment and more can be stored together in a deckbox or shed. How do you prepare for Fall?

Happy Fall Organizing!

Organizing the Disorganized Child

With school starting, it’s a great time to help kids with their organizational skills. Here is a wonderful book filled with tips to help you and your children as they go back to school!

Organizing the Disorganized Child, Ducks in a Row Organizing

Organizing the Disorganized Child” by Martin L. Kutscher and Marcella Moran is packed with helpful, straight-forward strategies for getting the correct work home from school, planning the work, and getting it back to where it belongs. It also includes tips that will help every child – disorganized or not – improve reading, note taking, studying and test taking.

Find more tips on Facebook from Organizing the Disorganized Child!

 

The Organizing App for the Modern Family!

Looking for a way to organize your family’s busy life? Cozi is a free online service that helps families keep with appointments and lists, and coordinate work and home schedules. Access this service from your computer or download the app and use on your cell phone. Check out www.cozi.com, The organizing app for the modern family!

Fight Procrastination Day!

Why do we put off until tomorrow what we can do today? Because it’s so darn easy to delay! September 6th is Fight Procrastination Day, if you can’t seem to motivate yourself, grab a partner. Sometimes just the camaraderie of a friend can push you through a tough job. If you need a neutral, non-judgmental assistant to guide you through, a professional organizer (like me) can help!

Back to School Time!

Back to school time, ducks in a row organizers
It’s never too early (or too late) to teach kids how to get and stay organized with schoolwork. The skills they learn now will carry over into high school, college, and ultimately, their careers and home management as adults.
For all kids, here are some general tips or rules of thumb for getting the kids back on a schedule:
  • Pick a bedtime, shut off electronics an hour before bedtime to give their brains ” a rest”. Transitions are difficult. Going from staying up late and sleeping in during the summer to walking up early and doing homework isn’t an easy transition. It’s helpful to acknowledge this and try to start the new sleep schedule a week or so before school starts.
  • Pack the backpacks the night before, choose the clothes the night before and do the same for lunches.  Don’t forget to plan out breakfast. I love these Rubbermaid products for easy back to school lunches! Check them out!
  • Mornings will flow more smoothly once you create an out-the-door plan to get everyone on the road with everything they need for the day. Wouldn’t it be nice if you never received another “I forgot my soccer cleats” calls from your kids at school?
  • Going to a new school is very difficult. Remember it may be exciting to you to see your kids advance to a new level of academics, but they may not know the kids, the layout, the schedule, or the demands that will be placed upon them. This is especially true for the move into middle school or high school. Most schools host open houses for new kids and parents, and it may be wise to attend. If there is no open house, you could give the school a call and see about bringing your kid to visit.

These are just some general tips, and every kid is different. One size does not fit all for kids, as they negotiate the turbulent path back into the classroom. Remember that you know your children; remember to separate your agenda from theirs; and remember what you’d expect of someone else the same age.

At the end of the day, there are always good movies to wrap up the year.  A family night out to dinner and a show is great way to ring in the excitement of fall.  Good luck!


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