About 10 years ago I was putting away Christmas decorations and I had a really hard time throwing away the Christmas cards. It was after my first daughter was born and so many friends and family members were also having babies and getting married and the pictures in the cards were such great memories. As an organzier and a person who is always trying to eliminate clutter, it should have been easy for me to just toss them but I couldn't bear the thought of all those sweet pictures in the trash. I came up with a quick solution that I have been using ever since.
I found these little things called binder rings at Target. They are only a few dollars and they come in packs with several different sizes. I used the biggest size for this project. Basically what you do is punch a hole through the top of each card with a hole puncher and thread the card through the binder clip. All of the cards are attached the same way and you end up with your huge stack of cards attached together and in one place. Each year I put them in a little basket or bin and keep them out throughout the season.
Each clip holds about 3-4 years worth of cards but it depends on how many you get each year. My kids absolutely love going through everyone's old cards each year and seeing how everyone has grown and changed. It is so fun to see friends and family through the years. Do you keep Christmas cards?
Too soon?? It sounds very obnoxious, I know, but the holidays are going to be here before we know it! It is one of my favorite times of the year but it can also become one of the most stressful. In order to stay calm and have fun during this time, I try and do as much as I can early in the season so I am not rushing around at the last minute. A few years ago I came across a post by Courtney from A Thoughtful Place. She created a Christmas Wrapping Box for those times when you need to wrap little things like a gift card for a teacher, or a hostess gift, and you don't want it to seem too impersonal. It is such a great idea and makes the gift seem so personal and thoughtful even if it is just a gift card. I loved her idea and I have been using one ever since.
The main idea is to fill a box, bin or basket (preferably one you already have) with everything you would need to wrap a quick gift.
The Dollar Spot at Target is already stocked with all things Christmas. I picked up several things the other day to add to my Christmas wrapping box. I suggest heading up there now before they run out. You will be so happy you did;)
Here are a few more ideas to help you get started...
This holiday card caddy is from Honey We're Home . Such a great idea to put together all of the essentials for addressing your holiday cards and gifts.
Jen from I Heart Organizing has a gift wrapping closet. You have to check it out. It's no joke. Most of us don't have the space to devote a whole closet to gifting, but we can take some of her great ideas like the basket above. She uses magazine files to separate bows, and ribbons and gift bags within the larger basket.
Has anyone else started getting organized for the holidays yet? Would love to hear some other tips and strategies that you use (other than wine;) to stay calm throughout this season.
So there has been a lot going on here at Placed, which can explain why my blog posts have been pretty much nonexistent. Between working with clients, generating new business, late, late nights cheering for our beloved Indians, and this handsome new addition to our household...
...I have been crazy busy! I love to write and would like to post more regularly so hopefully you will continue to check in every now and then.
The holidays really are just around the corner and as a professional organizer you can bet that I already have my lists going. Planning ahead really is the best way to stay on top of things throughout this season. I'm also looking ahead to next year and with that I am in the market for a new planner. I have used just about every planner you can imagine, and so far I have yet to encounter one that I use for an entire year, or one that I really loved. I have been doing my research and have narrowed it down to three choices so I thought I'd share...
My first option is from Blue Sky Planners. They are online and at many retailers, like Target, Wal-Mart and Staples. I have recently discovered the build-your-own option on their website which I am loving! It is so easy to do. Here is the start of mine...
They give you so many options to personalize your planner to suit your needs. They even offer add-ons for meal planning pages, shopping lists and note pages. All for around $40, and in the world of planners that is such a great price!
My next option is through Etsy. There are so many small businesses on Etsy that I love to support so it is always one of the first places I look when I want something custom made.
ShePlans has tons of options available to build your own planner. You download the files and print them on your own. You can use them in a binder or even keep them on a clipboard. There are several different sizes available and tons of options for formats so you really can customize it to suit your needs. She also offers a hardcover planner. I have had a few questions about her products and she is very quick to respond and easy to work with.
The last option is from a company called Appointed. They are a Washington D.C. based company and they are not in a lot of retail shops yet. In fact there are no retailers in my area that carry this brand so I haven't seen them in person yet. The website is beautifully done and I love the style and simplicity of their design. There are no bells and whistles or fancy stickers or add-ons, just a very basic and clean format. They offer a binder option as well as a spiral bound notebook.
Not sure which one I'll choose and I'd love to hear any other suggestions. What's your favorite go-to planner?
Closets are one of my favorite projects to work on in a home. I have been working on a lot of them recently and I wanted to quickly share two very different spaces. They both needed to be organized and were done so in very different ways.
The first is a master dressing room that had two separate closets within one large room. The client had a ton of great space but just needed some help when it came to finding a place for everything. This closet was a quick fix. One trip to Target for a few things and a day of work made a huge difference.
This next closet was definitely a bigger project. It was in my daughters room and it was in desperate need of a mini-renovation. We wanted a closet that could grow with her (she is only 9) and one that could withstand a lot of wear and tear through the years. We also needed one that could accommodate all of her clothing so she wouldn't need a dresser in her room. For these reasons we chose to install the Elfa system from The Container Store and we are all very happy about the results. From start to finish this project took several weeks to complete and was a bit of an investment but totally worth it!
Both of these closets are great examples of what Placed can do for you. Whether it's a small project or a bigger one I would love to help you get to the "after" photo you are hoping for! Call/email today to schedule a consultation!
As a professional organizer I am always trying to find the best solutions for people who need help containing the clutter. I am also a firm believer in the fact that the product is not always going to solve the problem, but sometimes you just need that perfect container to help contain your stuff! It's also a huge plus when the product ends up having several different uses. All of the products listed are things I have used in my own home as well as in clients homes. Here are some of my favorites.
I have always lived in an old home and often times my clients are living in old homes as well. I absolutely love the charm and character that an old home has but one thing that I am never a fan of is the tiny closets! I have become very good at keeping my wardrobe under control but no matter what the seasons change and inevitably we all need a place to store our out of season clothing. These boxes are wonderful. You can stack a few on top of each other on a shelf in your closet to save space and the clear front allows you to see what is inside. The boxes pictured below are from The Container Store but any sturdy garment box will do. You can find them at TJ Maxx, Marshals or HomeGoods as well.
This case is made by Sterlite and it is under $10 at Target. I use these cases all of the time. If there is one piece of storage I would recommend to anyone it would be this case. It is super inexpensive but has a million uses. I've used it to for Lego storage, art supplies, a first aid kit in the car, even hardware and the list goes on and on. The best part is that the inserts are removable. I took them out of one case, and now I use them in my junk drawer to keep things in order. The possibilities are endless and with a great price you really can't go wrong.
I love using containers in the pantry. It's a great way to keep track of what you have and what items are running low. It is also keeps your pantry looking neat and clean. These Oxo Pop containers from The Container Store are my favorite to use when working in a clients pantry. They fall under the category of you pay of what you get. They are a little pricey but the quality is amazing and they will last forever. I have tried to go the cheap route when it comes to pantry storage but I always end up regretting it. The cheaper versions just don't last as long and never work for the space. It's definitely worth it to spend a few more dollars for these containers. You can also find them at Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Crate and Barrel.
I originally purchased these photo storage cases to hold photos that I had actually printed. They are great for that purpose but unfortunately since I rarely print photos anymore I quickly realized I could use them in so many other ways. I have used these to hold art supplies, hair accessories, Lego storage, office supplies and even to hold cash and credit cards for our pool/beach bag. They are great because they are clear so you know exactly what is inside and they hold up really well.
If you follow Placed on Pinterest I have a board featuring more of my favorite products. Anyone have any organizing products that they just can't live without?? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear about it!
To celebrate The Container Store opening in Cleveland, get one free hour of any home organizing service if you mention "The Container Store" when booking your appointment! (for a limited time only)
It's back to school time for many of us and one of the questions I am most often asked is "What do you do with all of the paper?" After having kids in school for several years now I feel like I have a good grasp on the whole paper situation. Here are some tips and solutions I have used throughout the years to control the amount of paper that comes home with our kids each day...
GET RID OF IT
It sounds a little ridiculous but the goal is to get rid of the paper as soon as it comes in the house. The problem that most families face is that we aren't sure where to put all of the announcements, fliers, schedules and homework and so all of this information begins to pile up on our counters and on the front of the fridge. This just causes more clutter and confusion so the best thing to do is to get rid of it. Every day when my kids come home from school I go through their folders and pull out all of the fliers, announcements and homework papers that are in their take-home folder and I write down any important information on one of the dry-erase calendars in our kitchen. If there is a flier announcing the school picnic, I write down the day and time and any other important info for that event and then I throw the flier away. I never keep the flier. This is huge! I used to keep all of the papers and fliers and they piled up on our counter. I would think I would remember these things because they were right there on the counter but of course I would forget things because I didn't write it down. One of the best things you can do to get rid of clutter is to get rid of the piles of paper on the counter and the fridge. Just write down the important information and you are good to go!
Our calendars are from Target but obviously any calendar will do. Everyone in our family has a color that I use to write down their different sports schedules, bday parties, playdates etc. It saves space on the calendar not having to write down names next to each event. We use two calendars because I like being able to look at the month ahead. It helps with planning and keeps everyone on the same page.
I also write the same information down in my planner so I can check things when I am not at home. This is where I keep track of my own clients, meetings, class schedules etc.
There also are so many digital options to keep track of important dates and times. Cozi.com is a great free app that helps coordinate everyones schedules, manage to-do lists and even keeps track of grocery lists. Google calendar is also another great option that most people love. I have tried to go digital but I still love writing things down but I know for so many people digital is what works best for their family.
My kids are still young so we haven't encountered the crazy homework situation just yet, but it is most often my responsibility to remind them what they need to be doing on a daily/weekly basis. These folders from Target have been a lifesaver. Each child has their own and the folder is always kept in the same place in the kitchen. When my daughter comes home on Monday with the spelling words she needs to study throughout the week, the list goes into the folder under the spelling tab. This way we always know where things are. This is also a great spot to put all of the homework policies, routines and schedules for each class. That way you will always know what is expected. When I tell the kids it's time to work on their homework, they can grab their folder and they get to work.
We keep a file box on our counter that has really helped keep a lot of the paper situation contained. If you have the space in your kitchen this can be a great thing. Ours is from The Container Store but you can find one at Target, IKEA or any office supply store. This is where I keep a lot of important information for school such as the directories, class lists, login information for computer programs they use for school and any other paper that needs to be kept throughout the year. This is also where I put tests and quizzes and papers that the kids get back and I want to hold onto for a bit. Most of the time these papers get thrown away after a few weeks (or less) but it is nice to hold onto them for a little so that when your kindergartner asks where her apple paper that she worked so hard on is, you don't have to make any excuses. I also post the full school year calendar on the front of the file box but we haven't received it yet;)
Every family situation is different and what works for our family may not work for everyone but hopefully this helps some of you with the paper problems that we all face. I'd love to hear some of your solutions too! What do you do to help contain the paper that comes into your house. Does your family use a digital calendar?