Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What to do with Holiday Cards (after the holiday)

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(201) 666-1717 or 800-304-4848

My family loves getting all those wonderful, festive, colorful and thoughtful holiday greeting cards this time of year. My daughters especially love looking through them. But, what can you do with them all after the holiday time is over? Here are a few suggestions:

Make a Flip-Book: Keep your favorites, punch a hole in the top corner of each, and, using a simple loose-leaf ring, attach them all together as a 'flip-book' to display each year.
Make Gift Tags: Cut the pictures out into a tag shape, punch a hole, and use them the following year as tags on Holiday gifts.
Donate to a worth cause: St. Jude's Ranch takes old greeting cards (any occasion), replaces the backs and then sells them on their website. The proceeds benefit St. Jude's Ranch, which houses neglected and abused children. For details on how to donate, go to this link:
Save as memorabilia: Put your favorite keepsake cards in a ziploc bag, write the year, and store in a memorabilia box (this approach, however, has potential to create huge volumes of cards over time, so use cautiously!)
Scan them: If you hate to toss used greeting cards because of their sentimental value, scan them into a computer. Then put on a flash-drive to display on a digital picture frame at holiday time.
Discard (recycle): This is,of course an option, and it's completely OK to do so. If you have a problem with guilt over doing this, remember that the sender sent you the card to bring you joy and a smile. If the cards become a burden to you, then the sender's intent is no longer there, so it's ok to discard them.

Linda English - Owner/Professional Organizer
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To Do or Not to Do, Ask Yourself that Question!

Contact: to help you with your closet and home office "to do list!" 800-304-4848

Ahhhh To Do's. I love that I have a great way to keep track of them in my Planner, and in my Action-Files, however, I've begun to notice that quite a few To-Do's aren't ever making the transition from 'To-Do' to 'DONE'. Sound familiar? Now, I'm not talking about the ones that I HAVE TO DO, or REALLY REALLY WANT TO DO. Those are getting done.

I'm talking about other valid To-Do's : some are great ideas for my business; some are fun family projects; some are clippings from magazines or printed emails that I think I could possibly benefit somehow if I took some action on them; some are things that I thought at one point would be really important to do, but after a while, not so important anymore. You know what I mean? Can you relate to this at all?

When something's been on your to-do list for quite some time, it begs the question: "To Do or NOT To Do?" In other words.... it's decision time. Either commit to doing it, or get it off your list. And when I say commit to doing it, I'm not talking about just moving the paper higher up in your pile of to-do's (because we all know how easy it is to just stick that piece of paper back on the bottom of the pile again), I'm actually talking about scheduling WHEN you will commit to do it, and then on that day (or days) - DO IT. If you can't bring yourself to commit to doing it, then perhaps it's not that necessary or meaningful to get done.

So now, it's decision time for you: To Do or NOT To Do? Take a look at your TO DO lists, piles, and files, and really think about which ones are truly worthy of getting done. If they've been lingering around for a long time, perhaps they don't have much true value in your life, and you can declutter your To-Do's by getting rid of them.
Linda English - Owner/Professional Organizer
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Monday, November 29, 2010

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Less Stuff, More Time and Money

You can have new organized closets and home office systems by the end of the 2010 year!

Organizing Tip: The Math of 'Stuff'
Today I share with you some simple mathematical equations about your stuff.


So...simply speaking....
The more STUFF you have, the more TIME it takes to take care of it, clean it, put it away, read it, file it, etc...
The more STUFF you have, the more MONEY it takes to buy it, take care of it, clean it, maintain it, store it, etc...

Therefore, if you reduce the amount of STUFF, the math changes to:


And don't we all always want more TIME and MONEY to do what we really want to do in our lives?

Therefore, the solution? REDUCE YOUR STUFF!

Until next time, wishing you an easier life by Organizing With EASE.

Linda English - Owner/Professional Organizer
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Declutter YOur Brain!!??

Call The Custom Closet to Declutter your House!
(201) 666-1717

Organizing Tip: Declutter Your Brain: Write It Down!

Clutter doesn't only happen in our homes and offices. It can also happen in our minds. If I were to open up your brain and look inside, what would it look like? (OK, yeah - yuk, but not literally! :)) Would it be the equivalent to a cluttered desk or a junk-drawer? If we could SEE inside, would it look like a jumbled mess of tasks, ideas, reminders, schedules, floating around and constantly nagging at you? This causes unnecessary stress and anxiety, so let's try to change that.

You can declutter your brain by simply writing things down. Once the thoughts and tasks are on paper, they no longer need to clutter up your mind. Get your appointments, priorities and ideas in your calendar, planner or notepaper. Or, if you're the electronic type, then put it all in your PDA. Keeping a notepad by your bed also helps to capture those nagging thoughts that keep you awake at night. Writing it down helps get it off your mind.

If everything gets written down, then, the only thing you have to remember to do is to look consistently look at your planner/PDA/notepaper to tell you what to do!! You won't have to worry about forgetting appointments and to-do's - you can trust that they will be there for you when you need them, because you have written them down.

Enjoy your newly de-cluttered brain!!

Linda English - Owner/Professional Organizer
Organizing With EASE, LLC
201-638-9593 | |

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Organizing for School

Let The Custom Closet help Get the Kids Ready and Organized for School

Finalize School Shopping:
FOR THE KIDS: Make sure you've got their all school supplies and any new clothing ready!
FOR YOU: Treat yourself to a little something for surviving the summer!
Plan for the Paperwork!
FOR THE KIDS and YOU: Back to School time = Paper time! Create a method for managing all the paperwork the kids bring home to avoid the piles on the counter, and keep your sanity!
FOR YOU: Maybe the piles are already there... if you've been putting off dealing with the piles on the counter and desk, NOW is the time to get to it! (p.s. - if you need help, this is my specialty! Give me a call).
Create a Homework Station
FOR THE KIDS: They'll need good lighting, comfortable seating, and all the necessary supplies handy. For the supplies, a simple shoebox filled with the necessities will do, but even better is this Homework Supply Organizer. Contact me if you'd like to purchase: Price: $20.00

FOR YOU: Create a Mail Station - Use another caddy just like this one to keep all your mail and bill-paying supplies handy.
Plan your lunch menu:
FOR THE KIDS: Create a menu, listing all the kids' favorite lunch options, and each week, sit with them to plan their lunches for the week, whether it be home-made or school-provided.
FOR YOU: Shop in advance for their favorites, and do the meal selection with them religiously! No stress, complaining, or mystery in the morning on what's for lunch!
Plan and Manage the Crazy Family Schedules!:
FOR THE KIDS: Make sure you've got some kind of calendar/planner system to manage the family schedules, and that can be viewed by all. This is critical for keeping all the family rhythm going smoothly. (Another specialty of mine!)
FOR YOU: If you don't yet have a good planner/calendar system, then GO GET ONE! Declutter your mind by putting the details of your family's schedule on a calendar.
Morning Checklist:
FOR THE KIDS: Create a checklist on a dry-erase board listing what each child needs to accomplish, and by when, each school morning. Have them check items off as they do them.
FOR YOU: Check your Calendar/Planner each morning to get a handle on what you plan to accomplish each day for work, family and self.
Evening Checklist:
FOR THE KIDS: Similarly, to make the time after school until bed more manageable, make a checklist outlining all the things they need to do before they go to bed, including: Homework completed, important documents given to mom & dad, clothes picked out, backback ready to go, brush teeth, bath, PJ's, bed. Include fun things like reading a book, family game time, or some TV time, so kids have something to look forward to doing on their list as well!
FOR YOU: Make sure you take some time to relax and unwind. Review your Calendar/Planner from the day, check off what was completed, and plan/review your schedule for the next day.
Create a positive outlook towards school:
THIS APPLIES TO BOTH YOU AND THE KIDS: Kids will be nervous, excited, scared, anxious, etc... so it's up to the parents to calm their fears, and instill a positive attitude towards the new school year. Focus on the friendships they'll acquire, the exciting new things they'll learn, and all the fun activities that will soon begin. They'll need your support, so plan the time to be there for them, really listen, and focus on what they're sharing with you. A little daily one-on-one time goes a long way to a healthy school year and a healthy family!
Linda English - Owner/Professional Organizer
Organizing With EASE, LLC
201-638-9593 | |

Friday, August 13, 2010

Laundry Room Tips

Create a Tidy Laundry Room
call: 800-304-4848

Laundry, laundry laundry..... it never ends, huh? So, instead of dreading it, embrace it and be thankful that washer/dryers exist instead of having to wash everything by hand!!! Ugh!

So today I'm giving you some ideas to help simplify your laundry room. If any of you have other ideas that have worked for you, please share with me - I'd love to hear them!

Laundry Room Tips:
Put a small trash basket on top of the dryer for putting dryer lint and other small pocket trash.
Place a small basket or magnetic container on top or side of dryer for putting pocket change and other items that will certainly turn up.
Install a wall mounted drying rack if possible and appropriate for the room to create more floor space.
Use an over-door pull-down ironing board to save space as well.
Use a basket for mis-matched socks, to eventually find matches, or simply use as dust-rags after time.
While unloading dryer, sort items into different baskets labeled for each family member, then have each family member be responsible for folding and putting away.
Have each child have their own laundry basket and wash all their clothes during one session. No sorting involved and that child's clothes are completely finished!
Create a clear workspace for placing clean laundry and for folding.
Lighting can make or break a laundry room so make sure there's enough of it! If it’s not a cheerful place to go, you will do just about anything besides the laundry.

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Keep that Car Clean

Organizing Tip: Tips for keeping car clutter under control

Contact: to get your home organized!
800-304-4848 or (201) 666-1717

During the summer months, we often spend A LOT of time in the car traveling to vacations, BBQ's, swim clubs, the beach, friends/family's homes, sports, and other activities. All this time in the car can create a lot of clutter. So here's are some tips to help you keep your car clutter under control:

GET A TRASH BAG/CAN: The #1 cause of clutter in the car is that there is nowhere to put the garbage! You can get one of those car garbage cans, or simply hang a plastic shopping bag somewhere convenient. Make a habit of emptying it daily or weekly, depending on the amount of trash you accumulate. I personally use a smaller version of this one and love it! I line it with a store shopping bag, and when full, emptying it is a breeze!
USE BINS/BASKETS to contain your items. In the front seat or trunk, use a collapsible container for your 'TO GO' items, ie: items you are returning to stores, or to friends, or items related to errands. Keep another handy basket in the backseat somewhere to hold KIDS TOYS, and activities for the car-ride. You can also use containers in the TRUNK to keep other items, such as sporting equipment, tools, shopping bags, and other supplies. Periodically review the contents of all containers to prevent them from becoming catch-alls for everything, and ensure they only contain the items you need in the car.
NOTEPAD/PEN - keep these somewhere handy in the front (like the side pocket on the door, or in your center console. I don't know about you, but I'm always thinking of things to do, or ideas while driving, so it's convenient to have somewhere to write it down (so it doesn't clutter up my brain!).
VACUUM/SHAKE OFF CAR MATS: Vacuum the car every-so-often if you can (especially after beach vacations!). Between vacuuming you can keep floors clean by periodically shaking out the car-mats.
HANDY ITEMS TO KEEP IN THE CAR: Extra trash bags, grocery bags, first-aid kit, paper towels, tissues, small pad/pens, bottled water, flashlight, car-wipes (for easy dusting and cleaning)
Lastly, ESTABLISH NEW HABITS: Even with the best car-organizing products and systems, clutter will continue to accumulate unless you establish maintenance habits. Make a habit of taking trash out of the car each time you exit. Return items to your home or office daily. Schedule time to get your errands done, so the items don't stay in the car longer than necessary. Do a weekly cleanout. Have your kids be responsible for their items and the area surrounding where they sit. If everyone pitches in, then clutter will remain under control, and you'll enjoy the time in the car much more.

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC
201-638-9593 |

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

If You Own It You Don't Need to Keep It

Let The Custom Closet help you get organized! Call 800-304 4848

Today's tip is simply what the above statement says, "Just because you own it, doesn't mean you have to keep it." Quite often my clients will show me an item and say, "I don't know what this is, or how I got it, or why I have it... but I HAVE it, so where should I keep it?" and I say back to them, "Well....just because you HAVE it, doesn't mean you have to KEEP it." We then discuss whether or not the item is useful to them, or if they love it, or if it's simply just taking up space. Quite often they don't realize that just because they own it, doesn't mean they have to keep it. With a change in perspective, they can give themselves the authority and power to get rid of the things in their lives that they don't want, need, or love. Sometimes it's as simple as that. Just giving yourself the authority to say, "I don't want this." Then, go ahead and purge it (donate, throw out, recycle, or give it away.)

So look around your home and office, and find the things that have no true value to you that are simply taking up space, and give yourselves the authority to get rid of them. You'll be left more open space for the really useful things you truly want and value in your life. Enjoy!

Until next time, wishing you an easier life by Organizing With EASE.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Custom Home Office with lateral files

Recent home office installation helps home owner organize family papers.

For more information and photos visit

(201) 666-1717


Friday, June 4, 2010

Take 2 Minutes to Organize

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Today's tip is quite simple, but it's effects in your life can be quite extraordinary. It's called the '2-Minutes or Less Rule'. Basically, it means if you can accomplish something that needs to be done in less than 2 minutes, then JUST DO IT! Don't put it off. Think about how much clutter could be avoided if you did the small things that take just a couple of seconds or at most 2 minutes. I'm talking about things like:
Putting a piece of clothing back on it's hanger, in it's drawer, or in a hamper instead of on a chair or the floor.
Putting a dish in the dishwasher instead of leaving it on the counter.
Putting a piece of paper in a meaningful file folder instead of in a pile.
Making a quick phone call to RSVP for a party, then putting the invitation in your 'invitations/appointments' file.
Having your kids unload their backpack folder and hand you the items that need your review.
Putting your shoes in a basket, shoe rack, or away in a closet instead of leaving them all around the house.
Putting a toy away.
Writing down a To-Do instead of hoping you'll just remember it.
The list of 2-Minutes or Less items is endless, so you can see how clutter can quickly accumulate if all these little items don't get done. Alternatively, you can see how clutter can be PREVENTED if you and your family simply stick to doing the 2-Minute or Less Rule, and JUST DO IT (and then it's DONE!)

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to Manage Deep Shelves

More Organizing Advice from

Organizing Tip: Solutions for DEEP SHELVING
Some of my clients have very deep shelving (deep front to back) in their closets, cabinets or open shelves in their garages and other storage areas. It's great to have all that room, but sometimes it can do more harm than good if not organized properly. Deep shelving can cause things to get lost in the back, and make it really cumbersome to access things stored in the back. This can make all that extra space become ineffective, and even wasteful. So, what to do? Here are some options:

1) INSTALL PULL-OUT SHELVES: This is an optimal solution for kitchen/bathroom cabinets, and even some closets because the shelves can then be pulled-out and you will have easy access to everything. But, this may not be a workable solution for wire shelving or garage/attic shelving.

2) LAZY SUSANS: For shelves at or below eye level, put inexpensive 'lazy-susans" in the back section of the shelves. Not a maximum use of space, but whatever is put there can be easily accessed by spinning what's needed into reachable distance...

3) STADIUM SEATING: Think of the concept of the tiered spice racks for the back-end of the shelf, or a make-shift version of this using old shoeboxes or even sturdy cardboard mailing boxes to raise up what's in the back half of the shelf so it's view-able. Keep what you store in the front of the shelf low, so you can see what's on the higher level in the back. (you can wrap the boxes in nice paper to make it look more pleasing. Can combine this w/ the lazy susan idea as well.

4) DEEP BASKETS OR TRAYS: Long baskets or trays that you can pull out to see what's in back. I've also heard someone using window box liners. Not the best looking, but can be very func tional and act as a long slide-able tray.

5) USE THE DOOR: If it's a closet or cabinet, then another great solution I I found is installing baskets, racks, bins, on the inside of the door itself. These can be a larger/deeper size if you install them in the right location on the door so that when the door closes, these bins fit in the space between the shelves. You can then mark a line on the shelf w/ paint, marker, shelf-paper... to block out the area that get's taken up by the baskets, so you know not to put stuff there. Then, your shelf is not so deep anymore b/c you're only storing stuff behind the marked line, and everything, both on the door and on the shelves, is more easily accessible. I've also heard of cutting a U-shaped area out of the front of each shelf to accommodate baskets on the back of the doors and allowing you to reach the back of the shelves.

6) IDENTICAL FRONT TO BACK : Process-wise, you want to store identical things on deep shelves in rows going front to back (no surprises on what's behind the front item - all the same going to the back and nothing unknown get's lost behind the front.)

7) LABEL: Even if you do have to store items in the back that don't relate to what's in front, then simply label the front of the shelves so it's clear what's stored in the back.

So, you can see, with a little creativity, you can transform those deep shelves into much more functional storage spaces!

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC
201-638-9593 |

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Organize with Zipper Bags!

Call The Custom Closet for all your Shelving needs:
(201) 666-1717

How great are zipper storage bags? (such as Ziploc brand). OK, I'll answer - they're awesome: a cheap, effective, durable organizing product. Here are some tips for how to use zipper storage bags around your home and your life:

Use a zipper bag to contain all the loose pieces of board games, like Monopoly, Candyland, etc..

Keep toiletries intended for travel stocked in labeled zipper bags. When you're going on a trip, just grab the bags and go!

Hang a zipper bag on the inside of a cabinet door or on the fridge for keeping coupons. When it's time to shop, just grab the bag and go!

Store off season clothing in large size zipper bag totes.

Home Office:
Put owner's manuals and warrantee receipts in zipper bags labeled by room or other meaningful category. Store the bags in alphabetical order in a file box, basket, or drawer.

Put shoes inside large zipper bags to keep clothing clean in the suitcase.

Put your boating license, boat insurance and registration papers in a sealed zipper bag filled with some air. If the bag accidentally falls overboard, it will float!

If you have to take a short break during a painting project, place the brush into a zipper bag, squeeze the air out and seal. When you resume your painting, the brush will still be wet and ready to go!

Keep a zipper bag in your purse or briefcase to corral all your receipts.

Do YOU have any great ideas on how to use a zipper storage bag? Send me an email and share!


Until next time, wishing you and easier life by getting organized!

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC
201-638-9593 |

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Office shelving and organizing

Just in time for tax season, The Custom Closet outfitted Weber and Shapiro, tax accountants in Ramsey, NJ, with new shelving and cabinets for their expanded office.
Go to for more information.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tips to Get Organized with Index Cards

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(201) 666-1717

1. Make a to-do list. Probably the most obvious, but what’s great about using index cards for this is that it forces you to be concise. I write my top 3 Most Important Things to accomplish today on my Today list.

2. Take notes. I’m in a meeting with someone, and need a handy medium to take notes … so I whip out a blank card and keep bullet-point notes. Later, I’ll transcribe any necessary actions to my action lists and file the card.

3. Create a PDA. By now the Hipster PDA is pretty famous among productivity circles. It’s a way to keep all the info you need with you anywhere you go, using only index cards and either a binder clip or a rubber band to hold it together. Very handy.

4. Make context lists. In the world of Getting Things Done, context lists are central to organizing tasks. You can create a card for each context — computer, home, errands, etc. And the cool thing: unlike other organizing systems for context lists, with index cards you can place the context card where you need it. In other words, the @Home card is at your home, the @Computer card is next to your computer, the @Errands card can be taken with you.

5. Keep track of projects. There are a million ways of keeping track of all your projects. But few as simple as writing a list of them on an index card. And if you need to expand, you can create a card for each project that needs an outline.

6. Create a crazily obsessed organization system. Personally, I love this one: POIC (Pile of Index Cards). Created by a Japanese guy obsessed with organization, he took GTD to the next level. It’s a bit much for me, but the fetish-ness that he brings to the index card is just wonderful.

7. Create a novel. One card at a time. Nabokov, most famously, wrote entire novels on index cards, composing the novels in bits and ordering them into a book. But other writers have used similar methods using index cards.

8. Leave a note for someone. I like to write notes on a card when I’m forwarding a document or delegating an assignment, clarifying the actions that need to be done to the recipient.

9. Create a quick reminder. Need to remember to do something in the morning? Write it down on a card and place it somewhere you’ll never forget. I like to write down a reminder while I’m on the go, one per card, and then toss it in my Moleskine. When I get to the office or home, I just transcribe the reminders to the appropriate list (or do them immediately).

10. Make your life’s short list. Want to figure out how to simplify your life? Make a card with the 4-5 most important things in your life — your short list. Then focus your life on those things, eliminating all else. By putting this short list on a small card, you can post it somewhere visible and keep those priorities in mind, always.

11. Trick out your Hipster PDA. The regular version not enough? Add a Levinger Pocket Briefcase and some cool printed templates.

12. Organize your research. Regular notes not good enough? Use this system to keep things organized, geeky and useful.

13. Flick them at people in meetings. Ninja-star style. This might not go over too well in some corporate cultures. Be prepared for retaliation.

14. Develop consensus. The Card Carousel technique is actually an interesting way for a group to share ideas and come to a decision.

15. Organize your bills. Create a card for each bill, writing the name of the bill at the top. When you pay the bill, create an entry on the card. This way, you have a running log of all the bills you pay.

16. Doodle. Bored at a meeting? Use a blank card to doodle. Or if you’re more artistic than I am (and it would be hard not to be), you can use it as a mini-sketch pad. Just don’t let your boss see the sketch you did of him in his underpants.

17. Keep recipes. An old-fashioned use for index cards, to be sure, but one that works well. A card is perfect for a recipe, and if you keep them in a handy box, you’ve got them all organized alphabetically, for quick access when your kids are crying from hunger and you can’t remember the Stroganoff recipe.

18. Make a paper airplane. Not as light and far-flying as a model made from lighter paper, but cute nonetheless. Again, another great diversion for those weekly staff meetings. Bonus points: write love notes on them.

19. Flash cards. My kids use these to study for tests. They work well.

20. Origami. OK, I admit that I don’t know how to do this. But how cool would that be?

21. Shopping lists. Keep one posted on the fridge, jot down things as you run out of them, and take it with you on your shopping trip.

22. Book lists. I like to keep two book lists: one is a running list of books I’ve read, and another a list of books I want to read. When I hear of a good book, I add it to the list.

23. Handy log. Want to keep track of your spending, or eating, or anything else? Keep it on an index card, which you can carry wherever you go.

24. Organize your entire home. GTD not overboard-organized enough for you? Try the SHE system (Sidetracked Home Executives). They use index cards to organize everything: tasks that need to be completed on a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal basis, cleaning, decluttering, correspondences and more.

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Achieve Success with Simple Disciplines

Check out to help you get started with your organizing discipline!

One of my favorite quotes is: "Real success is the result of implementing simple disciplines, and practicing them constantly." (or at least consistently) (I wish I could recall where I heard it so I could give proper credit.)

In any event, I really like this quote because it's so true and applies to most things in life, especially organizing. Here are a few simple organizing disciplines that you can apply to your own life.

Simple Organizing Disciplines:
Put away what you take out.
Put items away in the same place each time.
Abide by the in/out rule: When you acquire something new, discard something old.
Keep similar items together.
Write a realistic to-do list each week, and refer to it daily.
Use a single calendar system to plan your tasks, appointments and events. Refer to your calendar daily.
Process your incoming mail/paperwork daily and in the same place each day.
"Weed" constantly (a critical tip from author/organizer Kathy Waddill). In other words.... PURGE a lot!
Clean up after yourself.
Plan your meals and stick to your plan.
File paperwork often.
Getting and staying organized does not have to be so difficult. You can be successful and achieve your goals by implementing some simple disciplines....and practicing them constantly!
Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Organizing Tip: The Concept of "Limiting Containers"

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Today let's talk about keeping our volume of stuff in check. By this I mean.... MOST OF US HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF! So, how do we combat this problem? One way is by using the concept of 'Limiting Containers'. Simply speaking, if you assign a specific amount of space for your stuff, then it's obvious when you've got too much stuff and it's time for some decisions to purge. And by purge I mean: Throw out, donate, relocate, give away, or sell.

You already have limiting containers all over your home. Your kitchen drawers, your closets, various bins and baskets, even your garbage can. But, the big question is: are you using these containers as LIMITING CONTAINERS, ie: only keeping enough stuff to fit comfortably in these containers? Or, are you letting the stuff overflow?

Let's take the garbage can as an example. It's a container, right? And, even more, you've defined the kind of stuff you want to put in it, namely: GARBAGE. OK, so throughout the day and week, you're putting garbage in the container. At some point, it gets full. If you keep filling it, then it starts to overflow. If you don't do some purging, it will keep overflowing and you may even decide to stop putting garbage in it and start leaving your garbage all over the place. This is now clutter (not to mention it becomes unsanitary).

BUT, if, when the garbage gets full, you make a conscious decision to PURGE (ie: empty the garbage and put it out for your local trash-removal service), then you've established it as a LIMITING CONTAINER, and when it gets full, you make the decision to purge.

So now let's apply this same principle to 2 other problem areas of your home. For example 1) a Child's Playroom or 2) a Filing Cabinet.

1) Child's Playroom
If your child's toys are overflowing both in and out of the room, then it's time to designate the room as a limiting container, and within the room, assign specific shelves and bins/baskets as limiting containers for various kinds of toys. When things get full, it's time to purge. Teach your children that they can only keep the amount of toys that will comfortably fit inside the room, and inside the bins and boxes, and they will learn a valuable lesson in life to keep their volume of stuff under control.

2) Filing Cabinet
If your home or office filing cabinet is full to the brim, then it is likely that not only can you not find what you need when you need it, but you will also probably stop filing documents and leave them all over the place instead. Establish the cabinet as a limiting container, and start purging the old documents that are no longer needed. Then, establish your rules for purging documents on a regular basis so that the backlog doesn't happen again. Additionally, make sure you are only keeping documents that you truly need for either personal, legal or tax reasons, and stop saving the rest.

By implementing the concept of LIMITING CONTAINERS, you will be well on your way to keeping your volume of stuff in check and eliminating your clutter!
Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC
201-638-9593 | |

Friday, February 12, 2010

Find What Motivates You (and use it to get organized!)

Let's Get It Started:

Today I thought I'd talk about MOTIVATION. A lot of people say that they want to live a more organized life, but they just don't feel like doing anything about it. Or, they begin a project, then give up after a while. There could be many reasons for these scenarios, but one inherent theme is that if you don't have the motivation, you simply aren't going to do it. And, even more importantly, as with anything in your life, if the motivation doesn't come from within YOU (ie: not someone else telling you that you need to do it), then the likelihood of you succeeding is very slim.

So, if you're having a hard time finding the motivation, here are some ideas to overcome that challenge:

Think about other areas of your life where you actually ARE motivated to do something, and try to tap into that motivation somehow. For example, maybe you thrive on competition. So, create a competition between you and a friend to achieve some organizational goal you've been struggling to tackle. (Maybe even add a little wager of some sort to make it more interesting!)
Tap into the feeling of the end-result. Recall a past time when you achieved something you wanted, and remember how great it felt. If you keep your eye on that feeling, it can drive you to achieve your goal!
Make the project smaller: Maybe the project you want to do is overwhelming to you. Well, break it up into small chunks, and tackle one at a time. The feeling of accomplishing even the smallest of goals can keep you going to do more and more!
Get a 'Clutter Buddy'. If you think getting organized is boring (not me!), then perhaps you need a 'clutter buddy'. This is someone who is NON-JUDGEMENTAL, who can simply be with you while you do the work.
Throw a party! This has worked in my home a lot. Whenever my husband and I have been putting off doing some kind of home-improvement or decorating, hanging pictures, whatever.... we decide to throw a party. That gives us the motivation to finally get it done in time for the party!
And, of course, sometimes you simply cannot find the motivation on your own. Then, tell yourself it's ok to ask for help. That's why businesses like mine exist. We really can help, and as for me personally, I LOVE to help people live easier lives. THAT'S WHAT MOTIVATES ME! Just give me a call at any time for a FREE 1/2 Consultation to discuss your needs and determine if hiring a Professional Organizer is right for you. And, as a side note, quite often, if you're paying to have someone help and guide you, then the fact that you're paying money is enough motivation to get it done in the quickest time possible! (And... you had an expert help you do it the best way possible!)

Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC
201-638-9593 | |

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January is Organizing Month!

Create an organized closet or home office now : Go to:
Call (201) 666-1717

Organizing Tip: Simple Kitchen Organizing Tips

I'll be at a friend's house tomorrow for a popular kitchen product home party, and I've put together some simple kitchen organizing tips to enhance the party, and get everyone's organizing juices flowing! While the guests drool over the latest greatest cooking gadgets, I'll be helping everyone figure out how to best store all those wonderful items.

Will you be hosting some kind of product home party soon? Call me... I can add value to your party by offering tips and expert advice related to whatever the home-party's them is! (Free of charge!)

So, in honor of kitchens, cooking, and family meal prep, I offer you the following tips. Enjoy!

Create a central “Command Center” with a calendar to manage the family schedules, and a file system, in/out boxes to manage all the incoming and outgoing mail and family paperwork.
Create a standard grocery list and post it on your fridge or inside a cabinet door, then you can just check-off items as you need them.
Put a phone message pad or small notepad near the central family phone so messages will get written down!
Create a weekly meal plan so there’s never the 6:00 question: ‘What’s for dinner?’
Store ‘like’ items together and create zones for categories like a grocery store, such as baking, spices, entertaining, small utensils, servingware, etc…
PURGE! Keep only what you love and use, and donate the rest.
While preparing meals, keep a bowl handy for tossing waste.
Install pull-out shelves to make it a breeze to access items stored in the back.
Use cupboard shelves or under-shelf baskets to double your shelf space.
Think VERTICAL: Store large cooking trays vertically in a cabinet instead of stacking them in piles that topple over. Use vertical dividers to maintain order.
Find a happy home for every item in your kitchen, not just ‘where it fits’. Catch yourself when you say “I don’t know where to put this, so I’ll just put it here FOR NOW.’ That statement is the #1 cause of clutter.
Store frequently used items in places most easily accessible, and less-used items a little higher or lower. Rarely used items should be stored furthest away.
LABEL, LABEL, LABEL! There will never be the question: ‘Where does this go?’
Periodically declutter and refine your system to keep your kitchen running smoothly!
Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Storing Holiday Decor

www.thecustomcloset recommends these tips

Organizing Tip: Tips for Storing Holiday Decor

Well, the holidays are almost over, and in the next week or so, it will be time to take down all our holiday decorations and store them for next year. A fundamental ORGANIZING TECHNIQUE is to store things based on how you will use them in the future. This technique works well for holiday decor. Store your holiday decor in such a way that will make it easiest for you to use it next year.

Here's how:

1. PURGE: Purge any broken items, such as broken ornaments (beyond repair), strings of lights that do not work and that you will not repair, or old decorations that never seem to make it out of the decorations box anymore. Space is precious in all homes, so only store what you will definitely use in the future.

2. Determine your decorating style, then store your items based on your style. Select a style below:
a. You like to decorate each room pretty much the same way each year, then I recommend storing your holiday decor in separate containers by room. ie: have a container for the Family Room, one for the outside decor, a gift-wrap container, holiday kitchen-ware, etc... By storing your items in separate containers by room, it will make it so simple for you to decorate next year. If a room's decor isn't enough to have it's own container, then simply divide the container in layers by using a piece of old gift-wrap or cardboard

b. You like to mix-it-up each year and decorate differently: then store your items by the kind of item it is: ie: all the lights together, all the candles together, all the little items together, all the big items together, all hanging items together, etc.... Then, next year, you can easily see your kinds of items, and can 'shop' from your containers to decorate your home any way you want.

c. You like to decorate with all NEW items each year: Then donate or sell your holiday decor. There's no need to store items you will no longer use in the future.

NOTE: I recommend using clear Rubbermaid/Sterilite style plastic containers for storing your holiday decor.
3. LABEL! Clearly label your containers!! You can use envelope labels, or a piece of masking tape with a sharpie, or this great product:

4. STORE! Put away your containers. Put them in a very out of reach location, like the attic or on a high shelf in the garage or out of the way place in your basement. Just be aware of keeping them away from any location with water/dampness problems.

When the 2010 holiday time comes, you'll be so thankful that you took the time to organize and properly store your decorations!!
Linda English
Organizing With EASE, LLC