Daily habits that keep my home organized

Once you have established your home as ‘organized’ it can be tough to maintain if you dont make daily organizing habits a priority. For me, I have a few things that generally get done everyday to keep my home (and family) running smoothly. For the most part, these habits happen everyday, but obviously life happens and there is the odd time that the house is a mess and their is stuff everywhere! What differentiates an organized person from someone who is not, is the mere minutes it takes to clean up the mess, instead of hours or days trying to reclaim your space.

Below are a few daily habits that I make every effort to complete:

  1. I do laundry (almost) everyday. Now this sounds like a lot, but the loads are always small and I run the washing machine on quick wash, so for the most part every load takes 15-20 minutes and I can switch to the dryer in the same hour. At some point in the evening, I fold the hot clothes out of the dryer (and remember this is a small load so takes me about 5 minutes to fold) and at bedtime, I put all the clothes away.
  2. The dishwasher is turned on before bed and emptied at breakfast. Now this doesn’t happen everyday as we dont fill up a dishwasher daily but anytime the dishwasher is full, it is emptied in the morning and any dirty dishes from breakfast are put in the dishwasher. All the counters are wiped clean afterwards
  3.  The blankets on the couch are put back in the basket and the pillows are fluffed and upright. Ok, this sounds super Type A, but when the couch is made up it makes the entire family room appear in order. I also like to clear off anything from the coffee table, except for the plant in the centre.
  4. When mail is brought in at the end of the day, right away I open it in front of the recycling drawer. I immediately recycle any junk mail, envelopes and any extra pages that your bills and statements like to include. Anything that needs to be paid right away is set aside on an area of the kitchen counter for my husband and I to discuss. Any statements or receipts and anything that needs to be filed is walked directly over to our filing cabinet and filed in a specific category.
  5. With my sons help, we tidy the playroom before bed. At 4 years old, he fully understands that If he doesn’t help to tidy his playroom, those toys will be given away. (and I mean that, check out my facebook post a few weeks back). So him & I will spend about 5 minutes tidying up, putting toys and books back to where they belong. I think this not only teaches kids respect for their things but respect for your home and the privilege they have living in it.
  6. At the end of the night, I look at my day timer and go over the next day. This quick glance just helps me to prepare for the next day, see who i’m going to work with, what time I’m getting up, and what time I need to get out the door.

I strongly believe that in a household with more than one adult at home, there needs to be chores/duties assigned to each person. As mentioned above, those are the household duties I am responsible for and my husband has his own set of duties which include;

  • Taking out the recycling everyday (this involves taking the two bins from our kitchen into the blue bins in our garage) which is about 15 steps away…
  • ok ok, he empties the dishwasher in the morning, I HATE IT! like seriously hate emptying the dishwasher. I have been known to leave dishes in the sink for days just so I dont have to empty it.. loading? I’m all over, but for some reason I just can’t empty it, so thats his job.
  • Vacuum. In addition to the weekly vacuuming I do with our heavy duty vacuum, my husband uses the Dyson battery powered V8 to do a very quick job around the main areas of the 1st floor.I’m talking like 2 minutes, its the most handy product we own!

All of these tasks/chores/ habits take 2-5 minutes each to complete but they are so critical in maintaining a clean and organized home. I can honestly say that most days when we come home, we can truly relax because everything is put back in its place and the small daily tasks that we complete haven’t been left to pile up, creating an over -cluttered and disorganized home.


Donation locations in Victoria, BC

One of the many perks about working with me is that any items you wish to donate, are taken away by me on every visit. You are not stuck with bags of unwanted items in your home or in your car for weeks on end. I try to keep up to date on what various organizations and charities are looking for or accepting and can donate your items accordingly for you.

I have been asked on many different occasions where I like to donate to, so I have compiled a list of the places in the greater Victoria area that you can take your unwanted belongings too! Do you know of an organization that I haven’t mentioned? Send me an email and let me know as I am always looking for different places to donate to.

The Salvation Army

https://www.salvationarmy.ca

The Salvation Army is a Christian organization that provides hope and support to over 400 communities across Canada and in 128 countries. They accept:

  • Clothing
  • Housewares
  • Furniture
  • Electronics
  • toys
  • media and books
  • accessories
  • antiques and collectables
  • computers

The Mustard Seed Victoria

https://mustardseed.ca

The Mustard Seed is a non-profit, fighting hunger and resorting faith to hurting souls in Greater Victoria. They welcome;

  • clean gently used clothes
  • shoes
  • home appliances
  • bagged and canned pet food
  • socks
  • backpacks
  • personal items such as shampoo/conditioner
  • hair brushes

Anney’s Closet

http://sivw.ca/ac/

Using household items donated by downsizing seniors, friends of Soroptimists, and other kindhearted folks in our community, we’ve created a “free store” for women and girls who need household items. They welcome;

  • Gently used, Like new condition Cookware & Bakeware
  • kettles, toasters, small microwaves
  • cutlery
  • kitchen linens
  • mugs, glasses, dishes
  • towels, facecloths, shower curtains
  • pillow cases, sheets, duvet covers, quilts
  • new pillows
  • small furniture
  • small flat screen tvs
  • irons/ironing boards
  • laundry baskets, mop/buckets/broom

Single Parent Resource Centre

http://singleparentvictoria.ca/inkind-donations/

Providing practical support, opportunities for growth, and a sense of hope. They welcome;

  • Clothing (men, women & children including shoes, hats, belts, jewelry & accessories)
  • Household items
  • Instruments
  • new makeup and toiletries
  • Baby Items (car seats less than 6 years old), breast pumps, diapers and formula
  • Toys in good condition
  • Books & Puzzles
  • Bicycles

The Cridge Centre for the Family

https://giveconfidently.ca/ways-to-give/non-cash-gifts/

The Cridge Centre for the family is a place where people can find hope and direction when they are most vulnerable and in need. They accept;

  • household items
  • furniture
  • computers
  • office supplies
  • tools/building supplies
  • books

BCSPCA Thrift Stores

http://spca.bc.ca/about-us/locations/thrift-stores/

Each location is privately owned and operated, contributing a percentage of income each year to the lifesaving work of the BCSPCA. The location for Victoria is 2630 Quadra St and they welcome;

  • Housewares
  • China/Flatware
  • Rugs
  • Curtains
  • Appliances
  • Electronic equipment
  • Clothing
  • Games
  • Books

BCSPCA also accepts pet food and supplies and even stuffed toys to provide comfort for rescued animals. Just ensure any plastic parts (i.e: nose, eyes, etc) are removed from the stuffy prior to donating to an SPCA location (not the thrift stores)

Victoria SPCA is located at 3150 Napier Lane.

 


Seasonal clothing switch out

Every Fall & Spring I make it a priority to assess my closet. Before I moved into a home with more space, I had to make the best of sharing a very small closet with my husband. In the spring, (around May) I gather my ‘Seasonal Tote’ full of my warmer weather clothes and begin the switch out.

 

I pile all of the cold weather clothes from my closet  onto the bed and go  through every single item before it goes into storage for 5-6 months.

With a few questions in mind I determine;

  • Did I wear this piece of clothing this season?
  • Is it in good shape?
  • Do I feel good in this?
  • Is it clean?

 

If I can answer yes to the above questions, into the ‘seasonal tote’ it goes. If any of the answers are no, it either goes into a donation pile or into the trash.

Once I have emptied the closet of all colder weather clothes, I can then begin to fold or hang all of my spring and summer clothes. Evaluating each piece as place it in the closet, I can assess once again the questions asked above.

 

 

This process ensures I only keep in my closet what I truly use and enjoy. There is no point to having clothes in your closet that you don’t like, or don’t flatter your body. Everyone has that favourite t-shirt of pair of jeans. Why not make every piece of clothing you own, your favourite?


My trip to ‘Type A Home’

I love Victoria. I love pretty much everything about living on this part of the island. What I don’t love? the limited amount of boutique style shops that specialize in certain items. I would love it if we could see less of the big box stores and more ‘mom & pop’ shops set up. Finding good, well made organizing products is difficult in Victoria, and too often I am forced to order online and even from the U.S. which can get pretty pricey. So I was so excited when I saw that the owners of Parc Modern had opened up a sister store specifically for all things Organizing, called Type A Home.

This husband and wife team didn’t disappoint. The main level Uptown store location was filled with items for travel and car, to kitchen and bathroom. I circled the store a few times, each loop finding something else both practical and functional. There were one too many items to list as favourites, so I selected my top 5 below.

If you haven’t made it in to Type A Home yet, make sure to pop in and see how these well selected, thought out- organizing products can help you organize and simplify your home.


5 habits for a Clutter-Free home

Creating a clutter-free home doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it take zero effort to maintain. Keeping an organized home clutter-free and tidy takes small daily habits to keep your home functioning well. Below are a few habits that I think are both realistic and easy to follow.

1.Handle Physical Mail immediately. I always recommend switching to online banking and receiving bills and invoices electronically but there are a few exceptions when physical mail is essential. Once the mail arrives at the house, don’t let it sit on the counter and pile up. Process it right away, recycling what can be discarded and sort what needs to be addressed or filed. A simple paper divider or paper tray in a kitchen corner or office is a great idea for the “in between” papers being received at the house and the filing cabinet.

2. 10 minute tidy before bedtime. Every night before my family heads to bed, we do a quick run through of the main floor and tidy. This isn’t something that takes more than 5-10 minutes and usually consists of:

  • filling and turning the dishwasher on
  • clearing off all counters in kitchen
  • any wet laundry to go in dryer
  • all clean and folded clothes put away
  • lunches made for next day
  • play room tidied and all toys put away

3. Keep Kitchen counters clear. Besides the everyday essentials,  the kitchen counters should be kept clear. Making easy storage space for items like blenders and toasters allows them to be easily and quickly put away when you aren’t using them the other 23 hours of the day. Having clear counters will help to prevent you from ‘storing’ items in the kitchen and finding homes elsewhere.

4.Clean dishes after each meal. The rule in my household is whoever cooked, doesn’t clean up. (so that usually means I am cleaning). Most of the time nothing else is started until the dishes have been cleaned and loaded in the dishwasher. This includes wiping down all the counters and putting away any leftovers. We are even teaching our 3 year old to return his plate to the sink and put his napkin in recycling. Once the kitchen is clean and the dishes are done, half the house is basically tidy!

5. Complete 1-2 minute jobs immediately. Clutter often occurs because of procrastination, small jobs left unfinished that end up becoming major tasks. Try thinking of it this way; If a job can be completed within 2 minutes, tackle it right away. Jobs such as taking out the garbage, folding a towel, making a bed or sweeping the kitchen can all be completed in 2 minutes or less. Tackling these smaller jobs will help to minimize the impact the bigger tasks have.

 


Why fewer toys will benefit your kids

Toys… they seem to be never ending these days. If you have children you understand! I am constantly telling clients, less! less! less! So for this post I complied a few reasons why fewer toys will actually benefit your kids.

Toys are not JUST playthings, they actually form the building blocks for our children’s future. While an abundance of these building blocks seems like a logical idea, kids thrive on much less toys than you would expect; and here’s why:

1. Kids experience more of nature. Children who are not bombarded with toys filing up their rooms, family rooms and basements, are more likely to explore the great outdoors, running, hiding, and involving themselves in physical exercise which leads to healthy bodies and healthy minds.

2. Kids learn to be more creative. So many toys prevent kids from letting their imagination run wild. With less toys, kids are forced to make believe, be creative and think outside the box.

3. Kids establish better social skills. Children with fewer toys, learn how to develop relationships with their peers and even with other adults. Instead of busying themselves with an abundance of toys, they learn how to converse back and forth with others.

4. Kids learn to take greater care of things. When children are overwhelmed with the amount of toys in their possession, they are naturally less likely to want to take care of them all. They do not learn to value them if there is always a replacement ready at hand.

5.Kids live in a cleaner, tidier home. If you have children, you know that toy clutter can quickly take over your entire home. Having fewer toys results in a less cluttered and more organized home.


5 Reasons to hire a professional Organizer!

So often I hear from clients, “I know I could do this myself but I didn’t know where to start,” or “I’ve tried organizing our home so many times but it doesn’t seem to work.” Some people feel shame or embarrassment with “having” to hire a professional organizer and that definitely doesn’t need to be the case! Plenty of people hire professional house cleaners or personal trainers, tutors for your children or dog walkers for your pups, so why the need to shy away from hiring someone to help you create a more functional home? Nothing to be ashamed of about that!
Hiring a professional organizer can be quite liberating . There is so much freedom in de-cluttering and becoming organized. What I love most about my job is working with families and seeing the huge changes that take place once we work together and create a beautiful space that they never thought possible.

 

So, below you will find 5 reasons why you might need to hire a professional organizer!

 

1.YOU NEED ACCOUNTABILITY

For the same reasons people will hire a personal trainer to help motivate and hold them accountable for reaching their fitness goals, you may need a organizer to help hold you accountable for your organizational goals. When your trying to organize yourself, it’s easy to talk yourself out of things like what items to hold onto or what items to purge. Its also easy to give up and go eat a bag of chips instead! What a professional organizer can do is encourage you along the way and keep you motivated to complete the task. When you’ve booked an organizer to come into your home, theres no excuses!

2. YOU NEED HELP MAKING DECISIONS

Organizing your home can be very overwhelming and you can easily get stuck in the process of de-cluttering because of the challenges your faced with when it comes to keeping or tossing household items. Professional organizers can coach you through every decision so that you are able to move forward and get through the challenges with a little more ease.

3. THE DAYS ARE TOO SHORT

There are only so many hours in the day, and with work, kids, school, groceries, cleaning, errands, and sports just to name a few who has time to sit down and organize a room? Hiring a professional organizer, can keep you focused on the task at hand and spending your time organizing more efficiently!

4. YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START

Oftentimes when a job seems too large we become paralyzed and put off starting for “another day.” An organizer can wok alongside you and break down that huge job into smaller more achieveable tasks.

5. YOU FIND IT HARD TO FINISH A PROJECT

As I mentioned, I hear this all the time. Usually when people have decided to hire me, it has come after multiple unsuccessful attempts to organize their home. You see these amazing homes and DIY organizing tips on Pinterest and think you can do it all in one quick go, but unfortunately it just doesn’t happen like that. Where a professional organizer can help is keep you focused and realistic about the process and motivated to achieve the look and functionality of the room until its complete.

 

These are just a few of the reasons you might find it necessary to hire an organizer. Personally, I love working alongside people in their homes. The messy, disorganized and chaotic homes are what I love to work with, so there is never any pretending or shaming. I am always so thankful when families welcome me into their homes, it’s a job i thoroughly enjoy and take pride in!

So, what are you waiting for?


Why you should have a junk drawer

Whether you’ve meant to or not, you likely have a designated “junk drawer” in your home. For most people, this drawer belongs in the kitchen, while for others its in the office or even a basket in a hallway somewhere.

Junk drawers are the perfect resting place for all the random items in your life. Where else does it make sense to keep the few batteries needed for the flashlight, some chapstick, rubber bands, hand lotion, calculator, coupons, etc.

What does belong in your junk drawer should be those items that you need daily or weekly that don’t necessarily need the space for their own home. If you throw things in here that need a more permanent home, this is where the junk drawer can become a catastrophe.

How to keep your junk drawer tidy?

Drawer dividers are essential to keep your junk drawers tidy. Each compartment can house a certain type of item or product. Also ensure you use the space in between the dividers and drawer walls as well. Separate the items by size and contain the various categories seperately.

A typical junk drawer before me 🙂

o-BEFORE-570

 

A quick purge of items not used or expired and a $10 divider purchase ensures a functional and tidy space.

o-AFTER-570

 

 


7 Easy Organizing Tips

IMG_3949-705x522

 

Below are tips on how to organize various spots throughout your home. The last one is my favourite and truly the “secret” to remaining organized.

 

1) SORT THROUGH THE JUNK DRAWER

Junk drawers are a necessity, but they need some help once in a while. Tip: Once they’re organized, don’t try to eliminate them or the loose change and batteries will end up in another drawer. (Trust me on this one, I’ve tried.) Just try to organize your junk drawers every 2-3 months.

2) KEEP A LIST OF YOUR PASSWORDS IN A SAFE PLACE

With all the recent hacking stories in the news, I do not recommend keeping this list electronically. My recommendation is to write them down (in pencil) in a small notebook. When required to change a password, erase it and write down the new one. Keep your list in the same place so it never gets lost!

3) UPDATE YOUR MOVIE STORAGE

Do you watch a lot of streaming video on Netflix, Crave etc? Free up space and consider selling or donating DVDs you don’t watch or don’t need. UsedVictoria or Varagesale are great sites to sell unwanted DVD’s.

If there are home videos you would like to save, have them converted to a DVD or other type of media. But otherwise, ditch your VHS tapes! Get rid of that shelf of DVD cases! Put your DVDs in a binder (or two, or three) with plastic sleeves to save space.

4) CHECK EXPIRATION DATES

Check your pantry, medicine cabinet, make-up drawer, cleaning supplies, and toiletries.

If it’s expired, you shouldn’t have it. If you have good food that isn’t expired and you aren’t going to eat it, donate it to a shelter in Victoria. For all of these items (even if it isn’t expired), if you don’t need it or use it, then get rid of it! Pare it down and only keep what you need so you can free up space.

5) DITCH YOUR MISMATCHED SOCKS

Everyone has socks that just don’t have a match. Next time you find one or open that sock drawer, spend an extra 15 minutes to sort through the socks. The ones that don’t have a match should be ditched. If you find one, hold onto it for a week or so and then move on. Missing socks are a part of life and shouldn’t burden you! If you don’t want to throw them away, toss them all into a zip bag and donate to Goodwill, or another place that will also recycle clothing items.

6) KEEP TRACK OF YOUR INSTRUCTION MANUALS

To keep them organized, store your instruction manuals and receipts for major purchases all in a centralized spot. I recommend using a 3 ring binder with plastic sleeves or a folder, or in a accordion style file folder.

Another option is to ditch the manuals altogether and find a link to them online. Look up the item number, copy the link to the manual, and place them all into a document on your computer saved as “Instruction Manuals”.

7) STOP LISTENING TO ORGANIZING “EXPERTS”

Wait, what? Haha!

Despite what most of Pinterest, organizing stores, makers of bins, “experts” and bloggers tell you, you don’t need fancy new bins or dollar store items that can be repurposed. You don’t need to hang onto everything because you are not a store. Stop going to the thrift store and buying stupid organizing devices designed not to organize, but to take away precious space.

No, no. Ignore all of that. You don’t need more places for your stuff. 🙂 You need to get rid of stuff. I promise, you don’t need it all.

The best way to get organized is to have less. Then, put your stuff away and keep it in the same spot. (I know, earth shattering stuff here!) And then, stop bringing so much in.

 


FAQ’S from my booth at the Women’s Show!

What a busy and fantastic weekend at the Victoria Women’s Fall Expo.This was my first time showcasing my business and it was such a great experience. I learned a lot from the women (and some men) I met throughout the weekend and made some great friends. I received a lot of great questions and feedback regarding the organizing business so I thought i would address some of the repeated questions here on my blog…

1. Do you sell any storage products? Do you provide any organizational products?

I personally do not sell any products. I can however, recommend a wide variety of of organizational products to add to my service. For a small fee, most clients have me purchase the products for them that fits within their budget and within the space we create for them. Other people enjoy shopping for the products themselves from a descriptive list I create for them. The choice is up to you!

2. Do you clean?

A benefit to having an organized home is that when it does come time to clean, there is less stuff lying around to pick up and move to clean under. When I do move items from one place to the next or create a new space in your home, I always make sure to dust/wipe down any surfaces so that we aren’t placing any of your items on a dirty surface. Some of my clients hire a cleaning service ( I can recommend a few) after I have completed the organizing process to really feel like they have made a fresh start and clean slate!

3. Do you organize small spaces?

Absolutely! I have been hired to organize bachelor apartments to a 4000 square foot home.  There is really no project to big or to small that I won’t consider.

4. Is this service confidential?

When you decide to hire Space In Your Place, you can rest assured everything about your experience with me is completely confidential.

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