Monday, September 26, 2011

One Small Thing at a Time

When people find out that I am a professional organizer/organizing consultant, they often make comments like: "Your home must be perfect" or "You must have everything labeled perfectly". While I would never hesitate to let a surprise visitor inside my home; I am often busy like you and I share my home with a husband, two children and a 70 pound shedding dog. Perfection is not the goal. Having a clean, livable home where we can find stuff is.

The fact of the matter is that maintaining organization takes a little time and a little effort. For the most part, with daily tidying up things stay fairly organized in my home. There are those areas that get messy and need some attention from time to time.

My latest mini-project (that took all of 5 minutes) was the area where I keep shopping bags and grocery bags. Let me preface this by saying that, yes, I do employ reusable bags often, but not always. In our home we reuse a lot of stuff, including shopping bags, grocery bags and plastic bags.

The "bag shelf" had become completely overrun with bags, packing paper and even a few kids' toys shoved in at random. To organize this area, I took everything off the shelf. Note, that I didn't try to organize the whole room, just one shelf. This is important. Then I sorted the bags into two categories: grocery bags and all other bags (i.e. shopping bags and reusable bags). All the rumpled bags were put into recycling and kids' toys returned to their proper home. Here is the result:
This is not fancy or even labeled. It is just a shelf where I can go to when I need a bag.

During this process, I came up with a lot more grocery bags than you see here. If you have an over abundance of grocery bags, like I did, check with your local food pantry to see if they can reuse them. Faith in Action took my extra grocery bags. Here are two volunteers stocking the shelves at the Dexter, Michigan location, which is currently in need of crackers for the food pantry. They also have a facility in Chelsea, Michigan.
In addition to the blog, I also publish a free e-newsletter that is distributed on the 1st of every month. Sign up today to receive the October edition, where I will provide tips on what to do with all those receipts.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mom 2 Mom Sales in Dexter and Saline

With school in full swing and fall upon us, there is no better time to clean out those closets, get organized and make a little extra cash while doing it. This coming Saturday, September 24, 2011 there are two Mom to Mom sales being held in the Ann Arbor area, specifically Dexter and Saline.

Head out to Dexter's Cornerstone School at 7480 Dan Hoey Road bright and early Saturday morning. The Cornerstone Parent Teacher Group (CPTG) Mom to Mom sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The entrance fee for adults is $1 with all proceeds benefiting the CPTG. For those of you with children's items to sell, there are still a few tables available. You can reserve your table by contacting Kathy Fletcher at 734-637-9646 or

From Dexter drive over to Saline's Mom2Mom Consignment sale at Liberty School on Saline-Ann Arbor Rd. This sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a consignment Mom2Mom sale--a little different than the "normal" kind. All toys and clothing must be dropped off by Friday, September 23, 2011 with prices marked. The items will then be aggregated by type and size for re-sale. Any unsold items can be picked up at the end of the sale or donated, if you choose. There is a $1.00 admission fee at the door. For more details on selling or shopping, please check out the website at

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Musings

Despite all of my good intentions, it has been a long time since I have posted to the blog and summer is rapidly slipping out of our hands here in Michigan.

After such a hot summer, I welcome fall, my favorite season of the year. I recently discovered, however, that many busy families dread fall. They are stressed by new schedules, the deluge of papers from the school and the general busyness of it all after the supposed lazy days of summer.

Here are three quick tips to address the stress families feel in fall:

1) New Schedules---Times of transition and change can be difficult for adults and children alike. For many readers this may be the first full week with kids back to school. Remind yourself it might take another week or two to adjust to new schedules. In the meantime, pull out your calendar and put EVERYTHING in it. Your calendar is your time management bible.

2) School Papers---This is where nearly everyone struggles. The problem with paper is that it just keeps coming at you, ready or not. The trick is to have a few simple systems in place and keep ahead of that paper monster. Designate one place for incoming papers and take 5 to 15 minutes daily to file, act upon or toss those items.

3) Busy Days---Mahatma Gandhi once said that "There is more to life than increasing its speed." I always joke that my clients have much more interesting lives than myself and there's a lot of truth in that joke. My clients are often the folks that hold up our communities: the go-to people in the schools, churches or synagogues. They are wonderfully kind people, who sometimes take on too much. Remember, to take a step back and slow down life a little if you have inadvertently taken on too much.

I hope these quick tips will help you feel just a little less stressed this fall. For more free tips and a free gift, sign up for my monthly newsletter at Simply Organized Life.