Organizing Small Spaces. Its not a one size fits all type of solution.

MOP_BLOG_Graphic_smallspacesAs a professional organizer, I research ideas for organizing all the time and what I discovered is that organizing tips can feel trendy and inappropriate for some. Its not a one size fits all type of solution. Using organizing products like bins may help but they don’t make you an organized person. In general, its those habits you keep that allow you to maintain the basic principles for organization.

When living in a small home, you may have a limited amount of space to own many things, but my best tip is to gain a new perspective about small spaces. Its not about what you deny yourself, but rather, how you expand your life by living in a small home.

“Your home may have gotten smaller but your world just became bigger” I see living in a small space as a great opportunity to surround yourself with the things you like or love, creating comfort without much maintenance. The hassle of keeping up with your life turns into living a life full of outside activities such as meeting friends, exploring your world or being motivated by new interests.

Living with the essentials can change depending on what stage of life you are in. Are you living single? married with children? or empty-nester?

Either lifestyle you choose, living in small spaces can work. You’ll have the inclination to need less when you resolve to living this way.

The best practices for living in small spaces is to know your current priorities in life. Know what you can and can’t live without. Choose an anchoring piece for each room. Have a place for everything and add time to your daily routines so that you can put things a away when life is too busy and gets messy.

10-15 minutes added to each task will assist you in not only completing your task but allows you to go the extra time to put things away immediately. Cooking is a good example; you make time for your meal, eat and then return to clean up your kitchen.

Once you apply these new perspectives, it won’t matter what amount or space or design you prefer, your home will have a flow and ease and can support you in your endeavors.

Are walk-in closets overrated?

Walk-in closets are wide open spaces with shelves, extra hanging rods for clothes and lots of drawers. They can be customized to your specific needs.  For the most part walk-in closets are a must have in any new development and condo. People seek out the closet and they can even be a deal-breaker when purchasing a new home. Having a walk-in closet in your home makes you feel great. It feels luxurious. Its a sign of social status and means you have “it” together. Yes! You made it baby!

If you enjoy spending a LOT of time in your closet and use it as a luxurious fashionista’s dressing room it will function for you just great. You will benefit for having it in your home. But for most people I meet and work with, I find walk-in closets overrated.

I have come to learn from my experience as a professional organizer helping many individuals to de-clutter and organize their closet, that this kind of space doesn’t necessarily mean they gain extra square footage. I’ve discovered that in many homes, one can actually lose sight of how to use the master closet properly. The open space in the middle of the closet is mostly unused.  In fact, if not used correctly, it can even be detrimental to your closet organization. People will use this middle space to dump everything and create an avalanche of clothes or shoes. They find themselves buried under their piles and become so overwhelmed that they need help straightening it all out.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like the fact that these closets are open and spacious and created with the lifestyle of the modern man and women in mind. Having a walk-in closet is an obvious solution to can keep your clothes in order and tucked away from sight. Its a place to access what you need and the place to dress for success. However, it takes effort, will power and discipline to keep that open space free and clear of clutter. What should you do if you have such a room?

Walkin closets

  • First, make sure you are keeping only those clothes you love and use often
  • Keep clothes that fit and donate clothes that don’t fit properly.
  • Limit the kind of clothes you are holding on to for special occasions, like the tuxedo or evening gown for a formal event.
  • Use the best hangers to make clothes look uniform and tidy.
  • Designate a spot for the hamper and don’t let it overflow.
  • Do your laundry. fold, hang up and put clothes back in their place.
  • Remind yourself just because you see an open space it doesn’t mean you have to fill it up with more.
  • Stick to the boundaries of this room. If you need more space then consider adding a piece of storage to accommodate everything else
  • Hire a professional organizer to help you.

In the end, ask yourself. “How much do you need to own to make you happy?” Realize you have chosen to live in a home with this kind of closet. Its a closet filled with clothes, keepsakes and other wanted items. How cool is that? Yes, that’s cool!  Why not be thankful for that. Then ask yourself how much do you own that makes you feel overwhelmed?

“Let it go”- Feel Empowered

“Letting go” for any reason can be easy for some and not so easy for others. When it comes to organizing it could be the one thing that is holding you back from feeling more harmony in your home or be more productive in your work.
I encourage a person to let go of only those items in their space that they no longer need, love or find useful in their lives.

People sometimes hold on only because they don’t know what to do with their “stuff” and feel guilt or feel irresponsible if they throw them out of their lives. If you find this being true for you and acknowledge you don’t need, like, love something you own and don’t know what to do with “your stuff”, then we encourage you to donate, and recycle responsibly. Don’t allow not knowing what to do with something to hold you back from creating the space you need for future goals. Letting go can make you feel empowered. Visit our list of useful resources to call and arrange a pick up of your de-cluttered donations.

The Song from Disney Pixar films is an encouraging song. Its motivating to own up to who you are and what you possess. Not be fearful. Inspiring you to take action and create a better place for yourself.

Presenting our new YouTube Channel – MOP-TV

Visit our You Tube Channel to view some of our staged homes for sale. The realtors always appreciate a home that is de personalized and de-cluttered. It helps them accentuate the best features of a home.

In addition, we created a video with a slide show of some Before and After Pictures. We work on homes and offices alike.

 

Top 10 tips to win the paper chase

We were asked to be the guest blogger for Zealous Good; a not-for-profit organization helping others to give and receive donations.  They promoted spring cleaning and asked us for a few tips. We find that gaining control of the unruly paperwork is the top most difficult challenge our clients encounter so we shared our top ten tips.

MOP_Article_TIPS_PAPER_CHASE

“If you don’t have a system you’ll always have that overwhelming feeling that you can’t catch up. Take charge of that information overload because it won’t stop until you decide it stops.

1. First, back up your computer as many times as you can afford. Burn CD’s. Use www.carbonite.com or www.backblaze.com. Back up to an external hard drive.

2. Stop mail. Cancel catalogs, make a request at stopjunkmail.org, use the PaperKarma App to have them stop junkmail for you.

3. Reduce your mail. Have bills, bank statements & financial statements emailed to you instead of snail mail. Banks offer online bill paying services.

4. Don’t Print. Save documents as a .doc or .pdf files & keep in an labeled folder.

5. Take it to the cloud. A cloud is a service that holds your data online. Try dropbox or MS Live.

6. Make time to process your mail immediately separate documents from envelopes.

7. Recycle envelopes as soon as you open them.

8. Remove any shredding piles to either do yourself or take to locations that do this for you.

9. Bookmark it: Try Delicious, Diigo. Save your notes and lists in Evernote, or others like them.

10. Save pictures in Google’s Picassa, or Yahoo’s Flickr. Why not create a book of all your favorites to make as a keepsake.

Now that you will have all this unused extra paper and office supplies lying around, you will be able to create more space by donating your excess to charities. Zealous Good is a great way to give when your business only has these kinds of supplies to offer.

These simple tips are an example of a few online services that are not only time savers but are going to help you reduce your carbon footprint in your home. “

New resources for parents of children with ADHD

According to the National Resource Center on ADHD. “Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition affecting children and adults that is characterized by problems with attention, impulsivity, and overactivity.  It affects between 5-8 percent of school age children, and between 2-4 percent of adults”.

For people who suffer ADHD, typical distractions can affect their lives more dramatically than those who don’t encounter this challenge. As a personal & professional organizer, I cross paths with people with ADHD often. I help people create systems in their homes so that their daily routines can become easier day by day. I value the benefits of an organized day and keeping the stress away, because without these systems, daily life can be very difficult.

Meet-Up group in Chicago formed; December 2012, for parents of children with ADHD. This parent support group will not only share their personal experience but also schedule professionals to speak. They will educate and provide resources on how to manage those challenges.  For more information on the support group please contact their group’s organizer: Maggi Steib via this link.

To sign up: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-ADHD-Parent-Support-Group/events/93811422/

Group meets 2nd Wednesday of each month at Flourish Studios: 3020 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657- Tel: (773) 281-8140, Email: icanflourish.com

More about Flourish Studios:
THERAPY SERVICES:
Flourish Studios® is a counseling center where adults, teens, children, couples, and families who are experiencing emotional, behavioral, or social challenges can figure out their next best steps in life. We are a group of psychotherapists, social workers, counselors, psychologists, and consultants who provide supportive and effectivecounseling and educational services to address a variety of issues and concerns.
RETAIL STORE:
Flourish Studios also includes a retail store that offers life-enhancing products for children and adults such as inspirational art, therapist-recommended self-help books, and books, toys and games that promote social-emotional development.

Creating a sustainable business starts by getting organized.

The first few things that come to mind when someone owns a business is how to create cash flow, or how to maintain a loyal client base. How to get everything done before the day is done. Small businesses rarely have the opportunity to look beyond and analyze one’s methods of operation. Nor does one wonder what habits they can build upon? Creating a sustainable business appears for some to be something a bit beyond their reach. However, At Mercury Organizing Professionals, we don’t think so, we work as a personal organizing coach to show you how to use simple techniques that prove beneficial to grow your business.

How can being a sustainable business help grow my business? Let’s determine what defines a “Sustainable Business”.  Sustainability means different things to different people but in most cases its a strategy that looks for ways to optimize the effectiveness and quality of one’s social and physical environment, with the benefit of a long term profitability.

When we work with a small business or individual; sustainability is on the top of our minds.  Every client has different needs and priorities at the moment. so putting their needs into consideration while we project manage the organizing is vital. Consciously choosing to work and live in a sustainable way helps you gain the focus you need to accomplish your goals in less amount of time.

Are you wasting energy? Are you buying things over and over just because you can’t find them? Are you piling paperwork and can’t find important documents? Ask yourself what perpetual habit causes you to create clutter or to become overwhelmed with excessive non-core tasks? Its what you do in the first place that takes you to a level of conscientious choosing. Creating a sustainable business means you value the process as well as the result.

 

We met somebody fabulous today! updated…

Finding a favorite consigner is like finding your favorite electrician, handyman or something like it. A consignment shop you like can be like finding a new best friend. What a better way to make room for new things in your life then to get rid of old clothes. Some people confess to us that they just don’t know what to do with these unwanted items. They know they have good quality clothes but they may just be tired of them. Giving away responsibly is really their only challenge.

A consignment shop like “The Haute Spot” in Chicago is a great resource to put these clothes in a consignment arrangement.  In addition, if they don’t sell,  The Haute Spot will donate them for you and give you the tax sheet for your records. How cool is that? We find this service to be very helpful to our clients. As an organizer who wants to save our clients time and money, we are happy when they can earn some cash back in the process. Cha-Ching! Did you just get cash back for your next trip to the mall?

The Haute Spot has been nominated this month in the Time Out Chicago magazine. Check them out and vote for your favorite consignment shop.

UPDATE: Reviewing the Oct. 25th, 2012  issue of Time Out Chicago and discovered that our favorite Consignment Shoppe was selected in the Best of Chicago’s Consignment category. Congratulations Haute Spot!

Dinner is served!

I spoke at Dream Dinners on Damen In Chicago last week along with a friend who helps people organize and balance their financial life. The theme was creating a balanced budget. Some of the key points we discussed were the following: create a plan, avoid unnecessary spending, get organized, clear clutter, clear distractions, focus on your goal. Our tips and helpful perspective were hopefully beneficial to our guests. I think they left with some great ideas to take home to implement into their lives. When I was asked to be a guest speaker last week, how could I refuse? You put two of my favorite things together; food and organizing, and you have a happy person in me.

Dream Dinners

The real star of the evening, however, was Dream Dinners on Damen. They have a wonderful menu and offer and a whole new concept that helps an individual or family save time and money. Their concept is to provide you with an environment where you can prepare all fresh and healthy ingredients for a fabulous meal to take home. It’s as simple as that. You take home as many meals as you can handle. Once you get hungry and ready to eat, all you do is cook the tasty meal you prepared. You skip the shopping, the storing, the prepping and go directly to cook and eat. I really enjoyed this experience and having an option like this is so helpful in our crazy, busy lives. Did I mention how delicious our meal was? Dream Dinners is nationwide check out their website and see for yourself.