Diane Albright
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How to Avoid Mistakes Getting Organized

7 paper-_folders_pileMistakes to Avoid in Getting Organized

Nothing can be more frustrating then spending time on getting organized only to find that over time it returns back to the way it was. There are common mistakes made in getting organized – most often because you tried to hard. When getting organized at home or work, remember to set up a system that will work for everyone in your environment – not just you. You don’t want to be the only one who can understand and use the system. Seven common organizing mistakes are below. 

1. Be Careful with Color Coding Files
Use caution when color-coding. When setting up a filing system don’t color code with file folders. The only color you will probably remember is green for money. If you can’t remember the color-coding, how will others remember it?

It is okay to use simple color-coding. For example, you may want to designate files that belong in one location. You can designate them by using two different colors, one color for each location. This way it will be very obvious when a file was put back in the wrong place.

You also can designate important files versus unimportant files. Important files can be red. A good rule of them to keep it simple is to use no more than 2 colors.

2. Getting Rid of Air Space, aka Wasted Space
Don’t fall victim to thinking that all items of the same category have to be on the same shelf. If you do, you may have air space or wasted space above them. For example, if you place baking items on a shelf and you place a bag of flour and box of baking soda on the same shelf, you’re definitely going to have some wasted space above the baking soda. If you find considerable air space, you may want to get rid of it by making some easy adjustments.

To understand the concept, think of the soda isle at the grocery store. All Coke products are not on the same shelf or row. Instead, all Coke products are in the same column. You’ll find each shelf, or row, with soda of the same height. All 2-liters of soda are one shelf. All 22-ounce bottles of soda are on another shelf. All soda cans are on yet another. This way there is no air space or wasted space above the different heights of Coke or other sodas.

To maximize storage space, always choose pullout shelving over stationary shelving. With stationary shelving you need to leave space above items to see and reach to the back. With pullout shelving you do not need to leave any space. You will be able to put in more in pullout shelves than with stationary shelves.

3. Don’t Buy Containers
When taking on an organizing project, don’t buy containers before you begin. You’ll need to sort and purge to determine what and how much you have left to organize and containerize.

4. Don’t Let Your Giveaway or Recycle Pile Stay
The first step in getting organized is to purge and get rid of what you don’t need or want. Designate two bags or boxes as giveaway and recycle. But more importantly, make a definite plan as to when you will be dropping these off. A common pitfall is letting the giveaways and recycling sit in a room or garage. If you need to, designate someone, a family member or friend, to see it through.

5. Organizing Takes More Time than You Think

Divide your organizing project into achievable segments. Don’t pull everything out of your garage or clothes closet and think you will get it all done. Before you know it, it’s nightfall. The car needs to go in the garage, but there still is stuff that you pulled out and put on the driveway. Or it’s time for bed and now you need to move your clothes from the bed to chair. Your organizing project looks worse than when you started.

To avoid this common pitfall, first decide the area you want to get organized. Then, determine how much time you have or how much time you can realistically last working on organizing. Then decide what specifically you are going to work on and divide it into achievable segments. Keep in mind the first step in any organizing project should be to sort and purge. Then you will see what you have left to organize.

6. Hire Help or Take a Class
Realize that you’re not an organizing expert and that you can’t be good at everything you do. Your niche may be crafts or cooking. If it is, let it be just that.  Some artists are born with the natural talent to paint. The same is true for organizing.  You’re either born with the organizing gene (passion) or not.

Books on organizing may be great but most people have trouble getting organized from a book because there is no one to talk to and ask questions. If this applies to you, consider taking a class on organizing or hire a professional organizer. This way you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions.

There is so much to learn and know about organizing. Keep in mind, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

7. Organization Takes Maintenance
There are very few things that don’t require maintenance. Just like your lawn and laundry, organization requires maintenance. Your house or office is not going to stay organized unless you take the time to maintain it. For example, your file folders and clothes closet will be bursting at the seams if you don’t take the time to purge once a year.

Have a designated place for everything and put things back right away. If your life gets chaotic, stop and take a half-hour to put things away. For consistent ongoing maintenance to have a clutter-free home, consider having clutter patrol once a night. That means taking 10 minutes at the end of each day when everyone in the household goes around putting their things away.

The same techniques appliy at the office. Stop a half-hour before quitting time. Take 10 minutes to tidy-up. While tiding-up, create your to-do list for tomorrow.

Happy Organizing!
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Posted in General, Maximize Space, Paper Management | 2 Comments »

Kitchen Cabinet Blind Corner Solution

blind_corner_cabinet_solution_webAs a professional organizer and designer for custom pullout shelving, one of my favorite solutions is one that converts the unusable space in a blind corner into usable space. This creative solution gets rid of the black hole.

If you look closely at the photos I took in my client’s home you’ll see how it works. blind_corner_cabinet_solution_1_open_webThe blind corner solution consists of installing two perpendicular shelves on two separate levels each. We install two pull out shelves, one upper and one lower, to pull through the door opening. Then we install two pull out shelves, one upper and one lower, in the blind section that pull over perpendicular to the first.

When one of the pull out shelves is pulled through the door opening into the kitchen, the pull out shelf on the same level in the rear (in the blind spot) can be pulled into the space that was made vacant by the first pull out shelf after it was pulled through the door opening. It doesn’t matter if the blind spot is to the right or left of the door. We adjust the solution accordingly.

blind_corner_cabinet_solution_2_open_webIn a standard base cabinet, typically the upper shelf only comes out halfway causing you to loose storage space. When we install the blind corner solution we make our pullouts shelves the full depth and width of your cabinet maximizing your space to the full extent.

If you are interested in this blind corner solution, or any other pullout shelving solutions, feel free to contact me for assistance. You can reach me at Organize@DianeAlbright.com or call (610) 782-0636.

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Posted in Kitchen, Maximize Space | 3 Comments »

How to Simplify Laundry

Laundry News Segment - Diane Albright

TV News Segment – How to Simplify Laundry

View TV Segment: How to Simplify Laundry

Does laundry seem like a never-ending chore? Wish it was done and off your checklist? There is a simple way to quickly and efficiently get laundry done.

If you follow the system below, it will work! The first week or two will be the most difficult as you will be catching up on laundry from ages past. Don’t dismiss using the system until you have used it fully for 3 weeks – it will take that long until you see how wonderfully it works.

You’ll be following a very easy system of doing all your laundry on the same day each week or as close to one day as possible. Yes, it can be done! Once you start doing all your laundry on the same day you’ll be amazed at the amount it decreases. This happens because you’re getting it all done at once and it is then off your checklist!

Begin the process by removing laundry hampers from the different areas of your home, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Then designate three laundry baskets, hampers or laundry bags – one each for whites, lights, and darks. Next, place these baskets or bags in a common area to the bedrooms of your home such as a linen closet or if you have to, in the hallway to get the process started. You can decide later on a permanent location. For towels, consider placing a hamper in the bathroom or nearby.

Announce to your family the new laundry system which will require each family member to place their soiled clothing in the appropriate basket according to color. It must be done daily, and should be done as soon as the clothing is taking off the body.

There are no exceptions to who does or doesn’t follow the system unless 3 years of age or under. If you have little ones (or big ones) that struggle with differentiating between what is white, light, or dark, consider placing solid colored stickers or ribbons to designate which colors go in each basket or hamper.

Next, determine a designated day that you will do laundry. Yes, just one day, not days! Monday is ideal and it cannot be stressed enough that Monday is the perfect day, whether your work or not. This way all the clothing is clean for the week.

Guess who else did all their laundry on Mondays? The pilgrims did! By completing all your laundry on Monday it will be done and off your checklist for an entire week, no more thinking about it all week long.

Skeptical on how you are going to do all your laundry in one day? Keep in mind that your laundry will already be sorted allowing you to “grab n’ go” with it. As soon as you rise on Monday, grab the basket or bag, put a load in the washer before you take a shower. Once out of the shower, put a load in the dryer and a new load in the washer. Working all day Monday? No problem! Put a load in the washer before work and then a load in the dryer as soon as you come home. Continue until done. To help with dinner, make a large enough meal on Sunday so there are leftovers for Monday!

 

Helpful Info:

If you have a frontloading or non-agitating washer you’ll find you can complete your laundry quicker. Clothing will come out of the washer with less moisture if washed in a non-agitating washer. Therefore it significantly reduces the drying time, in most case to 30 minutes.

You’ll find that you’ll have twice as many dark items in the winter and twice as many light items in the summer.

 

Challenges:

Your child plays a sport that requires a uniform.

Wondering what to do when your child is playing a sport with one uniform and two games a week? Do laundry as usual on Monday, but in the middle of the week do one load (of the color needed) to launder the soiled uniform.

Not sure your family will comply?

It is up to you to enforce it. A simple way to enforce it – if the clothing isn’t in the sorting hampers or baskets, it doesn’t get washed.

Nowhere to put 3 baskets or hampers for sorting?

Be creative. You can use 3 shelves in your linen closet or, if floor space is limited in your house, buy tall kitchen plastic garbage cans to use as hampers – tall ones take up less floor space. Don’t let finding space be an excuse to avoid getting started. Just put 3 hampers or baskets in the hallway or your room to get the system started.

Nowhere to put clean laundry?

It is not uncommon for laundry not to get put away because there is no available space in drawers or in the closet. Don’t let this stop you from doing your laundry all on one day. With managing your time better from completing all your laundry in one day, you’ll have time to purge your dresser drawers and closet of unused items to provide the room to fit the clothing you actually wear.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy doing laundry just one day per week!

Happy laundering!  View TV Segment: How to Simplify Laundry

Diane

 

 

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Posted in Laundry, Moms | 2 Comments »

Quick & Simple Travel Packing Tips

Baggage ClaimTo simplify packing, first and foremost, don’t wait until the last minute to pack. A travel packing checklist is key and will make packing less overwhelming. Once the list is created, save it on your computer and also take a copy with you on your trip. During your trip, jot down any items you wished you had brought along. Update the list when you return and next time packing will be even more streamlined.

In travel preparation, review and edit your packing list at least 2 to 3 weeks before your trip. This will allow ample time to make needed purchases. If traveling out of the country, review the list 2 to 3 months prior.

No matter if flying or driving, packing a carryon with the certain items can make a substantial difference in your trip. If flying, pack your carryon with items that would be difficult or expensive to replace while away (contact lenses, bathing suit, etc.) as well as items you would need to comfortably get by if your luggage was lost such as a change of clothes, underwear, toothbrush, etc. If using our packing checklist, these essential items are indicated with an asterisk after them.

When driving to your destination, pack your “carryon” with essentials so you can enjoy your vacation the minute you arrive without the need to unpack your entire suitcase. In your “carryon” toss in your bathing suit, sunscreen, flip-flops, etc. You’ll be able jump into the pool or lake before the sun sets.

Quick and simple travel packing tips:

  • Stuff shoes with sunglasses, electronics, and other items you don’t want to break.
  • To prevent shoes from soiling other items, place shoes in Ziploc® gallon size bags (or plastic grocery bags), especially for the return trip.
  • Put items such as hair brushes that can snag or scratch things in a cosmetic or Ziploc bag. Place large hairclips around the handles of brushes to prevent the clips from breaking.
  • Pack extra Ziploc bags, a small and large one. They work great in a pinch for leftovers or packing wet items on departure day.
  • Pack a small pair of scissors, Scotch® tape, rubber band, binder clip, and sewing kit. All will help when the need to close something arises or the expected occurs.
  • Store jewelry in a nylon jewelry case or folding (hanging) jewelry organizer with zipper pockets. Place it in your carryon for security measures. Also, jewelry tends to be heavy adding weight to your suitcase that may put you over the 50 lb weight limit.
  • In your carryon include two Ziploc bags of essential toiletries (items you’ll need if your luggage gets lost). One Ziploc bag should be for liquids such as contact lense solution, cosmetics, etc. and the other Ziploc Bag for non-liquids such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. With a Sharpie or P-touch® laminated label tape, label the front of the bag. Then list the contents of the bag on P-touch label tape adhered to the back or on an index card inside. This way you’ll know what to pack each time on your trip out and back.
  • Travel size containers can help with the packing of toiletries. Bed, Bath, and Beyond carries a nice selection of travel size items and containers. Label these bottles for reuse, i.e. shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. Use P-touch laminated label tape so you won’t need to re-label due to wear and tear or drips.
  • Small sizes of items such as Vaseline and Advil take up little space and are refillable.
  • Weigh your luggage at home. Don’t wait until you get to the airport. Typically the weight limit is 50 lbs.
  • Before leaving for the airport tie a colored/patterned ribbon to your luggage handle or place a large unique sticker on the side(s) of your suitcase. This way as the luggage carouselgoes around you’ll be able to easily identify your luggage.
  • Keep items like Advil or allergy tablets in your carryon or purse, not your suitcase.

Happy traveling!

Diane

 

 

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Posted in Summer, Travel | 0 Comments »

Christmas Shopping Quick and Simple

Free Shopping Made Easy Planner

Is the holiday season approaching a little too quickly for you? No time to shop or no one to watch the kids for repeated trips to the mall?

For the absolute most time-efficient shopping, complete all of your shopping on one day. Yes, that is right, one entire day! Don’t say you can’t do it. Think about how multiple trips to the mall and stores, wastes time. If you make 5 trips to the mall, that adds up to 5 times the drive to and from, 5 times getting ready, 5 times stopping for lunch and 5 times walking through the same stores. That equals hours of wasted time and extra money spent on lunch and gas.

If you have non-school age children, the hardest part will be finding someone to watch your children for the day or until your spouse arrives home. Consider swapping a day of babysitting with a neighbor, friend, or relative or ask your spouse to take a personal or vacation day.

Before you go, plan your trip. If you can, ask family members for their Christmas wish list. Then, use our free shopping made easy planner. Next, preview sales flyers and coupons. Additionally, if you plan on making any purchases online, do so ahead of time to verify availability.

Put on comfortable clothes and shoes and be at the first store when the doors open. As you shop throughout the day, you should find that you like this new shopping method. If you spot three different sweaters in three different stores that all look nice for your nephew, they will all be fresh in your mind so you can easily make a decision that day. You won’t have to try to remember for day or weeks which store had the nicer or less expensive sweater. Take food and drink breaks as needed and don’t forget to rest your feet. Stay hydrated.

Shop until your holiday shopping is complete. You may not be returning home until 11:00 PM at night, if so, ask the security guard to escort you to your car or take advantage of valet parking that some malls offer. You should arrive home with a car full of gifts and children nestled, asleep in their beds. Take this opportunity to sort through which bags get tucked away and which bags can be left out for others to curiously peer through the next morning.

You’ll go to bed with tired feet, but a smile on your face. You’ll be able to add one enormous check mark on your “to do list.” It will be an amazing feeling knowing that you didn’t have an ounce of shopping done the day before and now it is complete! It only took one day of your valuable time, not multiple days. Afterwards, if you find some extra days to shop, go for the fun and excitement of the season.

If you try this method, please let us know how it worked for you!  Don’t forget to use our Shopping Made Easy Planner.

Happy shopping!

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Posted in Holidays, Time Management | 0 Comments »

Stress Free Mornings

School BusWhether it is off to school or off to work, take simple steps to get you and your child out the door in the morning with little or no stress. By eliminating stress from the morning rush, you and your child will be able to think more clearly, feel in control, be happy, and perhaps even be a bit more friendly or patient with others.

The key to a successful morning is to prepare the night before. Prepare and pack all lunches, backpacks, gym bags, etc. Be sure to include lunch money and notes. Before you go to bed everything that you need to get out the door and have a successful day needs to ready but don’t wait until you are too tired. Prepare right after dinner, before you sit down and turn on the television.

Also, pick out your outfit for the next day – everything from underwear to jewelry. Hang all of the items over the hanger with your clothing. Place your shoes right below the hanger. Studies show you will dress better if you pick out your clothing the night before. If you select your clothing in the morning when you are tired and grumpy, you will probably choose your most comfortable and casual clothing.

Happy stress-free mornings!
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Posted in Kids, Moms | 2 Comments »

 

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FTC Disclosure: Every so often companies may provide me products at my request or theirs so I can review them for TV segments or my blog. I only review and recommend products I feel are worthwhile to my clients, audience, and visitors. On occasion I may receive compensation which helps to offset the time and expenses I incur reviewing and writing about products. I can assure you, I have turned down many offers as I truly must believe in a company and product to be associated with it. My reputation comes first.
Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.