Vacaville Organizer and LuLaRoe

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I see a lot of closets. Just recently, I helped a client edit and organize a closet which yielded 18 black garbage bags in donations. Closets are a woman’s inner sanctum…the place we let few people see. Why? I think it is one of the most personal spaces in the home. Our closets are full of memories-both good times and bad. Closets usually house our various sizes; I would say most women have at least three sizes in their closet. There is often regret about garments with the tags still attached. It is, generally, a place that I am not invited to organize with a client until a relationship is established. Revealing our closet contents makes us vulnerable.

Working with clients has made me realize that there is a need for comfortable, modest clothing. How many times have you purchased a stylish outfit and counted the seconds until you could take it off and get comfortable again? I see closets packed so tightly that you can’t remove a hanger, yet the client truly feels that she doesn’t have anything that suits her. Accessories are brimming off of the top shelves and piled on the floor in an attempt to put “your individual” stamp on mass-produced items.

I share this with you because I can relate personally. In fact, I was so frustrated with finding clothing 6 months ago that I considered sewing the skirt myself! (Sewing is an amazing skill, but not when you don’t have the time, talent or proper equipment.) It is about this time that I was introduced to LuLaRoe. I fell in love with my first item. I couldn’t stop talking about it; I wanted to tell everyone. There is nothing like it on the market.llrspring2016_188

This unique company offers on-trend, modest and comfortable clothing. Only 2,500 items of each print are ever made so you won’t see your shirt on every corner. I love that this company embraces all sizes of women by offering sizes from a 0-24. There are solid, conservative styles and fun patterns that suit the most creative personalities. Pencil skirts, dresses, “buttery” leggings, shirts, tunics, maxi skirts and more in every woman’s size.

Further, LuLaRoe clothing can enable women to edit their wardrobes down to simple basics that actually fit, make them feel good and express their unique style. When organizing a client’s closet, it actually becomes easier to dress with fewer items. A capsule wardrobe that travels well can free your time, budget and emotions.

As a professional organizer, I am excited to have a resource for individuals who are looking to simplify. As a LuLaRoe Consultant, I look forward to helping women bring organization to their closets through mindful editing, folding techniques, storage ideas and space planning. Organization and mindful clothing selection go hand-in hand.july4th_llr_85a

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Inventory and exciting things are coming in August! This blog, my LuLaRoe Facebook page and Instagram will all have updates about organized, comfortable clothing.

 

-Lorinda, Organized Fashion Consultant

 

The Magic of Two Hours

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Where does the time go?

Two hours can pass so quickly. In two hours you can watch two evening television programs, one movie, wash and dry a load of laundry, make and serve dinner, drive back and forth to work, go to the dentist or a myriad of other seemingly ordinary, mundane tasks. Do you ever ask yourself where the time went at the conclusion of a busy day? You may feel exhausted, but you look around and get discouraged that more of your goals weren’t accomplished.

You are NOT alone.

The majority of my clients describe their daily life as “over-whelming”, “exhausting”, “fast-paced” and “difficult to manage”. These same clients are successful in their professional lives and at home, but lack the time to tackle projects that would improve their quality of life. A recent business article entitled, “12 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast” by Jenna Goudrau will surprise you….specifically #4 and #10.

Working on a Personal Project

Strategizing and Planning

 

The Silently Overwhelmed

I recently had the privilege of working with a lovely, successful and gracious client. This client had worked hard to develop her professional career, devoting 8 hours or more daily at the office, extended education, travel and working into the night at home fielding calls, doing reports and managing her team. She is a single mother who runs the household, is an attentive and nurturing parent and has more friends than most. She is fun. She is talented. She is career-driven. She is also over-whelmed, but you would never know it looking from the outside. She may be just like you….quietly drowning. 

“Throw me a life preserver!”

I share my lovely client’s struggle because she is like so many clients that I am privileged to be invited into their inner-circle to help. She may even be a little like you…the “you” that doesn’t come out at dinner parties or at work. I want to tell you that there is a life preserver that can help “drowning in clutter, projects, unfinished business”. It is two hours. In two hours, magical things can happen partnering with a professional organizer. At the two hour mark, we can dig you out of a proverbial hole and you will begin to see headway. Two hours of concentrated and planned work can lift your spirits. Those same two hours can give you the encouragement to press forward. Successful people realize the importance of their own projects and strategize how to devote time to get them done. In Goudrau’s article, she outlines that successful people plan to be able to do things that are important to them. As a professional organizer, I would add that doing those nagging clutter-clearing projects that make your life difficult will give you peace. Two hours can throw you a life preserver in a sea of chaos.

Maybe you have a room, a garage or a corner in your home like this one.

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This photo was actually taken about twenty minutes into the clearing process, when we could actually swing the door open. This was a weighty project on another client’s list. His adult child left home AND a big mess. Over a few months, this morphed into a completely unusable room and a great deal of stress for the homeowner. The project became more unmanageable and unpleasant to consider beginning. Work, the holidays, travel for work and family obligations seemed to fill up every opportunity to tackle such a big project. The client decided to book an appointment with me for four hours. He planned to make this personal project a priority, just as Goudrau described. At the two hour mark, we snapped these photos of the room:

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after2_4174What a difference two hours make.

I give high marks to this client. He was ready to make decisions and a hard worker. We took bag after bag of trash, donation items and things to be relocated out of this space. We had a strategy, we set aside the time and just dug in. Amazing things can happen in the span of a few hours. Nothing was purchased for this project. The only tools required were different colored garbage and donation bags. The room was now functional again! More importantly, the burden of clearing out this space was removed from my client’s list of things that were weighing him down, causing him stress and even disturbing his sleep. This room was no longer a daily irritant.

Vacaville Organizer books appointments for a minimum of four hours. This enables us to build in time to strategize, clear out the space and get it to a point of equilibrium before we leave. I am always so excited to reach that magical two hour mark with a client and see encouragement in their face. Two hours can make a difference in even the largest of projects. At four hours, there are usually high fives all around!

Do you have a Monster Project looming over you?

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Do you feel overwhelmed, over-worked, under-appriecated and without hope due to a situation of excess? I would encourage you to develop a plan and set aside time to work toward your goal. Your plan may involve partnering with Vacaville Organizer, hiring a babysitter to help with the children so you can work uninterrupted, taking a day off of work or another creative solution. Then set your phone’s clock for a two hour alarm and dig in.

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You’ll be surprised with how much you can accomplish in just a few hours.

Read, set, organize!

-Lorinda, owner of Vacaville Organizer

 

 

 

 

 

The Myth about Storage Bins

 

storage bin coverStorage bins, baskets and containers are everywhere after the holidays.

They are alluring.

They are on sale.

They come in great colors.

They are offered in a dizzying amount of sizes and styles.

They illicit thoughts of neatly organized spaces.

Don’t buy a single bin until you read this.

Our homes are over-run with storage, yet we are not more organized as a result. You may ask yourself, “why”?

It actually isn’t your fault.

We are all fed a nefarious lie every January. Retailers would love you to believe that your home will be organized by simply purchasing their products. They seduce you by the neatly stacked displays. They remind you of your resolution to become more organized. (Becoming more organized has been consistently in the top 5 most popular New Year’s resolutions for the past ten years.) If you pay close attention, you will see organizing products in nearly every cart as you leave Target and Costco in early January. It happens every year.

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Buying more bins alone won’t make you more organized.

In every home or business I have organized, there have already been storage bins and boxes present. In fact, those individuals who often need the most organizational support have MORE bins than they could every use. It often looks like a “container graveyard” in their space. Clearly, valiant attempts have been made to use the organizing items my clients have purchased. A lot of money has often been invested. However, the retailers have left out some crucial information to make you successful when you purchased your bins.

What you need to know before you buy another bin, box or basket this year:

1. Edit

You won’t know what needs to be stored until this vital step is completed. Before you put away your holiday gifts or pack up the Christmas decor, consider if those items truly fit your lifestyle and taste. Local charities could be blessed by your duplicates or excess.

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Are the items in poor repair? Don’t hesitate to toss them. Space is a valuable commodity. Choose what stays in your home carefully.

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2. Consider the storage location

Will the items be stored in the rafters? Heavy-duty bins that withstand heat/cold temperatures will be essential with visible labels. Will the bins be stored in closets? Measure the space you have so that they stack neatly and work with your space. Are pests a factor? Make sure the bin you choose closes securely for dark, deep sheds and garages.

3. Be honest with yourself about your needs.

We only access 20% of the papers we file. We wear less than 20% of our wardrobes. Children play with only a small percentage of the toys they own. Before you purchase bins or storage systems, truly consider WHAT you are storing. Perhaps that nifty, new file box isn’t the best answer and buying a scanner would fit your paper needs better. You may surprise yourself and enjoy the found space removing ill-fitting clothes/shoes provides rather than the newest closet system. Maybe rotating toys into your child’s space would benefit your family more than purchasing bins for every new Christmas toy. In short, careful and creative consideration is much more valuable when organizing than a bin ever could be.

Bins are not “the answer”, just a tool.

Consider editing, the storage location and being honest with yourself about your storage needs before purchasing any more bins. You will save yourself valuable money, time, aggravation and space by carefully considering your personal needs. “Bin” there, done that!

Vacaville Organizer would love to partner with you on your holiday storage project through vacavilleorganizer.com, directly at (530)902-5960 or by using the contact form below. Local consultation are always free.

Happy Organizing!

Lorinda with Vacaville Organizer

NEW! School Memory Book Service Offered

Memory Binder Ad

New Service:  School Memory Books

In nearly every home I encounter bins of school papers. The most common explanation as to “why” families haven’t done anything with their children’s paperwork, school photos, artwork and memorabilia is two-fold:

  1. They simply do not have the time. These are busy, dedicated mothers and fathers who often have more than one job and adding to their already lengthy daily “to-do” list simply isn’t possible.
  2. They don’t know what to keep and what to toss. As a result, they simply keep EVERYTHING.

Would you like to eliminate the guilt of collected school memorabilia for your child?

 

Would you enjoy being able to access those memories/photos/papers to enjoy them now…rather than in 20 years?

Vacaville Organizer is offering a limited time service of creating memory books for clients. The process is a simple 3 steps.

  1. Make an appointment to Vacaville via phone, email or text.
  2. Vacaville Organizer will come to your home (within our service area of Fairfield, Vacaville, Winters an Dixon) to pick-up your items, in a sealed tub. We will provide you with protective envelopes in which you can sort your child’s art/mementos/photos by year in school.*
  3. Within two weeks your finished product will be returned to your home.

*There is a $40 deposit required for each book.

What do the books look like?

Vacaville Organizer uses crisp, white 2 and 3 inch binders with acid/archival free page protectors. The outside of the book will be customized to your specifications. Some clients choose a “school theme”, while other prefer a simple color that matches the decor of the home. Dividers are placed to delineate each year in school. The format includes a school photo, class photo, reports cards and then any artwork, reports, certificates and school memorabilia for each year in school.

Generally, it takes (1) or (2) 3-inch binder(s) to cover grades K-8 and one 2-inch binder for the high school years.

What will be included in my binder?

All school photos, report cards, 8.5X11 artwork, personal writings, certificates and anything with a hand print will always be included. Generally, workbooks, mass-produced art, tests and things that are not personal in nature will be put aside and returned to the client in a sealed enveloped.

What if I have over-sized items that I would like to include?

We can absolutely do that. Our answer to those bulky items it to take a photo of the trophy, diorama, jersey or oversized art piece and include that in your memory book.

Can you scan it?

YES! Vacaville Organizer uses a high-powered, professional Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner. We can scan your entire school memory book for you and provide you with a disc containing the image of each page. You can their ensure that these memories will last a lifetime, you can share their memory books with loved ones and store a digital copy of their books in a different/fire-safe location such as a safe or safe deposit box.

The cost is for scanning each book ranges from $75-100 per book, depending on the amount of pages in each book.

What if I later want to scrapbook these items?

If, at another point in life, you decide that you want to make a scrapbook for your child, the School Memory Book Vacaville Organizer creates will have preserved the integrity of all of the important photos and artwork for you, in chronological order.

Let go of the guilt today.

I help many families who are simply overwhelmed by the task of creating a way to enjoy their children’s keepsakes. Vacaville Organizer would be honored to partner with you in creating a keepsake that can be easily displayed on a bookshelf and enjoyed with your children for years to come.


 

Fresh and Tidy Pantry Organization

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I have the privilege of sharing a beautiful pantry today. This darling client I had the pleasure of partnering with had a clear vision for her pantry.

During our consultation, she expressed a desire for her pantry to have the following elements:

  • Tiffany-blue and grey color scheme
  • Canvas bins for bulky items (did not want to see ugly, larger bags of product)
  • spice and pantry staple storage located in the pantry
  • adequate cereal storage space
  • easy snack access for younger family members
  • clean and tidy appearance that would be easy to maintain
  • custom art piece

Having a distinct vision for your organization project is extremely helpful. Before embarking on any big organizing home project, jot down your own “wish list” for appearance and function. Reviewing this list will enable you to hone in on your goals as you work through the different steps of your project without distraction.

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Tour of the Pantry…before

This pantry was neat and tidy, but lacked systems for the homeowner. As a new build pantry, it was generous in size. The client wanted to add function, distinct areas for food and color/style to reflect her own great design sense.

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There were aspects of this pantry that WERE working. The spice storage functioned well for the client and simply needed to be expanded. Evaluate areas of your space that are easy to access, things get put away and are visually appealing just as they are. There is no need to re-invent the wheel when embarking on an organizing project.

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Identify areas of the space that are a source of continual frustration. These areas are generally hard to keep clean, family members are resistant to the systems presently in place or items are difficult to find or access. Efforts should be concentrated on these areas. This client identified a lack of storage for various food categories and a desire to use all of the shelves in her pantry more completely.

Consider Appropriate Storage

Working with a professional organizer brings a world of possibilities to you. Following the consultation, various storage systems were presented. A professional organizer will measure your space, take photos, do extensive research and provide various viable solutions from which the client can choose. The wonderful part of this is that it all occurs in your home, at your convenience, and the choices are presented to you. For this already highly organized client, careful consideration was given to systems that would function well for years to come. The client selected an affordable option for her cereal containers with these Rubbermaid containers:

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They were carried for a brief time at various Costco locations, but can also easily be purchased online. They are durable, kid-friendly and came in a complimentary color. The blue color was found at Costco, but can also easily be purchased through Amazon in this same Sky Blue color.  The angled side makes the container easy to grasp.

The client already had a few of these plastic, thatched baskets that have been popular in a grey color purchased for her pantry.

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I notice that Target’s online selection of these is now very limited. This line is most-likely being discontinued and is limited to what remains in your local store. After considering my client’s specifications and pantry plans, I purchased complimenting baskets in a Tiffany blue color to bring color and additional storage to the pantry. A professional organizer can provide options to compliment existing storage to make one cohesive system. In addition, options that are not readily available/known can be obtained through the organizer to make your pantry truly special.

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Establish “Zones”

Creating various zones for different types of food or to accomplish certain tasks is a huge time-saver and maximizes the use of your space. More specifically, this client requested a pantry staple area. My recommended storage containers are made by Snapware. I like their durability, price point, that they take up identical footprints so they can be modularly stored, that they are easy to grasp, they contain a flip top action and they are easy to manipulate with one hand.

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Lazy Susans are another way to establish “zones” in difficult to access corners or on deep pantry shelves such as the ones in this pantry. We corralled the clients oils, vinegars, sauces and spreads on a separate, rotating lazy susans for easy access and maintenance. This is my favorite brand with its fixed base and smooth as silk turning ability. These can also be purchased in either size from Amazon here. (NOT an affiliate post.)

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These Snapware containers work well in for clients with large walk-in pantries as well as those with smaller, cupboard pantry configurations.

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Keeping cans by category in these fabulous and sturdy rolling can racks further separates the pantry into zones and makes inventory a snap.

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“Personalize to Prioritize”

Adding your own personal touch provides needed encouragement to keep the pantry tidy. When you are personally vested in a space and it is visually appealing to you-as well as highly functional-the space is easy to maintain. The newly organized area becomes important to you. In this pantry, the gorgeous rug (selected by my client) performs the added function of preventing glass items from instantly shattering should little hands lose grip. A low pile rug that does not impede the function of the door and can be easily vacuumed (rubber backed) is a smart choice for a busy, young family.

My darling client’s initial wish list also included a custom sign featured on a popular HGTV television show. Although we were unable to find the original, antique tin sign, a custom piece was made especially for her pantry in her desired Tiffany blue color scheme.

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Label, Label, Label!

Labels often are viewed as clearly an aesthetic aspect of the organizing project. However, adding labels enables things to be returned to their correct area after use. Labels and bin/baskets help to set limits, preventing over-stocking a pantry. When clients work with Vacaville Organizer, custom labels are created to their distinct specifications. In this fresh and tidy pantry, custom laminated labels with brad fasteners were used for a polished, personal look. This type of label is not only durable, but also highly functional. Attention to detail and the extensive time spent creating custom labels are a complimentary service Vacaville Organizer offers clients at this time.

Pantries are the hub of our kitchens. Make yours truly special and “tidy” today!

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Vacaville Organizer would be honored to help partner with you to make your pantry truly special and function well for your family’s needs. Call or email Vacaville Organizer for a consultation appointment to bring your organizing dream to a reality.

Happy Organizing!-Lorinda, owner of Vacaville Organizer

Pretty Pantry Organized

HappyPantry#1It is pantry season this spring with lots of inspiration to share! Most families face the challenge of managing food. An organized and functional pantry is at the top of the spring cleaning list. There are many ways to maximize storage, regardless of your pantry size and configuration.

I had the privilege of partnering with a wonderful client with her pantry organization project recently. Her pantry was absolutely typical for a busy family who cooks daily. It is full of healthy food that this busy mama uses to prepare meals. She kindly allowed me to photograph her pantry on a very busy day to demonstrate that even the neatest homes can benefit from a little boost in function.

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I appreciate gracious clients who allow me to see their spaces without tidying before I come. As a organizer, I use the clues left in this photo to develop a system that will solve problems and work long-term based on “organizational tracks.” By studying the photo, I realized that following areas/items needed to be addressed in our pantry organization design:

  1. Ability to assess shopping needs more readily
  2. Categories of food placed together for ease in meal preparation
  3. Small items corralled so they aren’t lost on shelves
  4. Baking items contained and easily accessible
  5. Access to daily snacks for the children
  6. Use of space under the lower cabinet
  7. Bag storage
  8. Art supply storage relocated for easier access
  9. Sweets put out of the reach of children

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We used rolling crates to contain shopping bags and vegetables such as potatoes. This was a great storage choice to maximize the space under the bottom shelf and works with the angled wall. This darling client doesn’t use many canned vegetables, so we placed them (by category) on a rolling can rack under the shelves. Adjacent to the cans is a light-weight grey and white basket. This basket easily slides out, adds texture and holds paper supplies for easy access.

Woven plastic baskets were used to organize the various categories of food. These basket are HEAVY DUTY, easy to clean and add the pop of “happy”this busy mom wanted.

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We further addressed storage on the shelves by adding striped baskets for snacks which the children can help themselves to. The baskets are at a level her children can reach and hide the ugly, big bags (i.e. beloved Pirate Booty) that were making her “crazy”.  We also contained all of her cereals in uniform containers to allow the children to pour their own cereal and to make shopping inventory a snap.

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Lazy Susans are used to maximize the shelf’s width and accessibility.

  1. The oils are contained here
  2. The various vinegars are contained here
  3. The spreads are housed here
  4. Baking staples are also housed in the pantry in this home. We placed them near the door-at the optimal level for the homeowner-so she could easily reach in and grab what she needed to bake. The airtight containers ensure that the shelves will remain flour/sugar free and that the ingredients will remain fresh between uses.

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As I said, this mama can COOK and she has the cookbooks and recipes to prove it! We used magazine holders to contain the lightweight cookbooks and odd-sized recipe books. This configuration allows the homeowners to pull out the books/recipes they need and the books won’t topple over. Tidy success is built-in to this system.

Designing a system that fits the routines, shopping habits, cooking patterns and invidiual family is paramount in pantry organization. Vacaville Organizer would love to partner with you in your own pantry “spring tidy-up”.

Happy Organizing!-Lorinda, owner of Vacaville Organizer

HappyPantry#1

Cupboard organized for $12


Organization does not have to be time-consuming or expensive. This quick kitchen cupboard update’s cost was less than $13 dollars and took less than an hour. Take a little peek inside of a darling client’s cupboard I had the privilege of giving a “quick update” to recently.

This is a very typical kitchen cupboard and my client had great components already in place. Often, there isn’t a need to purchase very much to make a space function better. They key lies in thinking about function. The client needed access to her spices on the bottom shelf; she wanted to be able to see them clearly. The cupboard’s plan was built around the need for proper spice storage. Here are some of the key components to this fun update:

1. Command hook: ($1): Install a command hook to keep measuring spoons at your fingertips. No more hunting in various drawers to try to find a way to measure!

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2.  Dollar Store bins: ($2) and Shop your home ($0): These simple dollar store bins were all that was needed to store extra baking supplies for re-stocking purposes. Shop your home first! We found the bin on the left in another room and it was the perfect finishing touch to store her decorating sprinkles.

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3. Lazy Susan ($0): We were able to repurpose the turn table on another shelf in the cabinet and define its purpose. The benefit of the Lazy Susan is that it allows items that would normally be out of reach to be available through the rotating design. We were able to utilize the space on the higher shelf that would normally largely be “out of reach”.

4. Mason Jar ($1): This idea is all over Pinterest and is a fabulous storage option. I hate when my cupcake/muffin liners get wrinkled and ruined. The tall jar’s design allows you to stack multiple sets of liners in a small footprint. The blog, Table For Two, (click over here to read more) featured this inspirational photo which was a snap to recreate.

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5. Expandable Stair Organizer ($7.99): My client already owned one expanding stair organizer, so we decided to extend the multi-level concept across the entire bottom shelf. I love the flexibility of the risers and the fact that it enabled her to see all of her spices at a glance. We further categorized her spices, to fit the way her family uses them. The spices on the far left are “blended” the spices in the middle are sweet (i.e. nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.) and the spices/rubs on the far right are all “grilling”. Some quick labels on the necks of the containers toward the back ensured that all the spice names were visible for her and is a system that will be easy to maintain. Organize your cupboard items to fit the way you cook and use them.

Cupboard Before and After

I can assure you that your cupboards are absolutely normal and probably need just a little “organizing love”to get them to function a lot better for you. Vacaville Organizer would love to give your kitchen cupboards organization with creative, custom ideas to fit your lifestyle. 

Happy Organizing!

-Lorinda, owner of Vacaville Organizer

Hall Closet Organized

Hall Closet Organized

Hall Closet Organized

Spring project: Hall Closet Organized

Hall and linen closets are often a goldmine of wonderful space in the home. I had the privilege of working with a darling client to organize her hall closet that served many functions. This hard-working closet served as the family’s linen closet, medicine chest, household stock warehouse and storage for more essentials than I could even list. Storage is often at a premium in homes so every cabinet needs to function well. My lovely client lives in an older home and was looking for a way to brighten and lighten the feel of the aging wood in her closet without the time, hassle and mess of painting. Within a few hours with Vacaville Organizer, her closet was transformed into a happy and organized space.

Getting started:

This was a relatively quick and inexpensive project. As with all projects, everything from the closet was removed and the shelves were thoroughly cleaned. The contents of the closet were then carefully categorized and a bit of purging took place.

Typical hall closet

Typical hall closet

 

Add some fun!

With the shelves gone, removable contact paper was installed to give my cute client the “pop” of color she was looking for. I have been encouraging clients to add color and personality while we are working on their organizational project. When you open a drawer or cupboard, seeing the freshly organized space with a lovely background of pattern is so pleasing. There are several brands of removable wallpaper and shelf liner now which enable you to add pattern without the commitment of traditional wallpaper. Some of my favorite shelf liner is found through Amazon and made by MacBeth (click here for the link). Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 11.30.36 AMOnce the back of the closet was properly lined, the shelves were adjusted to maximize storage for the client’s various categories of items and the storage systems which we selected. One of the most common misconceptions homeowners have is that their present shelf placement is the only option. Most cabinets and shelves are fully adjustable and can be customized to your individualized storage needs.

Before re-installing the shelves, each shelf was also lined with the same fun chevron print liner. Lining the older shelves made them feel fresh again.

Loading the newly organized closet:

The contents of the closet were then carefully arranged to allow for proper access for this family. Consideration was also given to children who reside and visit the home. Medications and other caustic chemicals were arranged on the top shelves-out of reach. Vacaville organizer created a first-aid kit in a tall shoe box with inserts to hold various sized band aids and ointments.

Tall Shoe boxes perfect for First Aid

Tall Shoe boxes perfect for First Aid

First aid kits should have the ability to be removed, instead of put in a stationary storage system, so that it can be taken to the place of injury. The tall shoe boxes are also wonderful as liquids such as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can be placed upright, minimizing leakage.

 

One of the most popular items lately for clients has been this type of “grab and go” bin. It is perfect for items that homeowners need to access quickly such as sunscreen and their deep bin and sturdy ability to stack is a recipe for success. Also, since there is no need for a lid, the system is nearly maintenance free.

Grab and Go stackable bins

Grab and Go stackable bins

  Labeling as a final step

Labeling the space is also important to ensure that items return to their proper place and to involve the entire household in the new system. We selected bright yellow labels that are easy to read for this hall closet.MP containers

Spring is just a few weeks away. Hall and linen closets have been a popular request for the clients I have had the opportunity to set systems up for this month. Just a few hours can easily create a happy and organized closet in your home.

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Vacaville Organizer can make your hall closet just a happy in a few hours time. Contact us and ask about the “happy hall closet” special for the month of February exclusively for blog followers.

Happy Organizing from Vacaville Organizer!

Organized Pantry Reveal

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Organized Pantry Reveal

I had the privilege of working with wonderful clients recently with their new build pantry. In California, a spacious walk-in pantry is a rarity! My clients wanted to maximize this new space with a thoughtful plan. I considered what a wonderful opportunity this process would be to share for those interested in over-hauling their pantry.

Organized Pantry=Healthier Eating Opportunities

How motivated are you to cook a healthy meal when the pantry is a “hot mess”? Are you much more likely to eat convenience foods when your kitchen is not set up for cooking? I know that having a mess of expired, unappetizing food stuffed in my own pantry has me thinking about take-out in a New York minute!

In a fascinating book I love entitled Life at Home in The Twenty-First Century, in-depth studies have been conducted by ethnoarchaeologists. Traditional archeologists excavate houses and cities of ancient civilizations. In this book, archaeologists use these same methods to record and analyze modern domestic households.

In this interesting study and book, only about 1/4 of the studies’ families cook a weeknight dinner from scratch. However, studies conducted by the Center on Everyday Lives of Families at UCLA, point to the startling statistic that, on average, it takes just 12 minutes longer to cook from scratch each night.

Cooking from scratch time for dinner: average of 38 minutes

Cooking from pre-packaged/convenience foods: average of 26 minutes

A well-stocked, healthy pantry makes cooking from scratch a possibility for families. Having food organized by categories that make sense for your family and meal preparation encourages cooking. My clients are a terrific example of how having the right ingredients- organized-can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

This is the pantry after just a few items were moved into the space on moving day.pantry before

The clients wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of their recent move to organize and mirror their healthy lifestyle.

Steps for an existing or new pantry organization project:

  1. Empty the contents of the pantry.
  2. Purge any items that are expired or compromised.
  3. Separate food into categories (i.e. pasta, beans, breakfast foods, sweets, baking, snacks, etc.).
  4. Decide on the zones* for the kitchen cupboard area (*more on the kitchen zones in an upcoming post). Relocate these items to the correct “zone”.
  5. Ask yourself a few questions: What is the desired goal for your pantry? Are aesthetics important? Do you have small children to consider when placing items such as glass? Are there those with disabilities that could not reach certain shelves? What are the present trouble spots in your pantry? Actually write these answers down and refer back to them throughout the organizing process.
  6. Use PostIts to begin thinking about food placement. Place the PostIts where the appropriate food will be stored. Move around as necessary.
  7. Inventory the storage pieces you may already own and add to them if necessary.
  8. Place the food, by category and frequency of use, back in the pantry.

Now…wait a few days and try things out.

Inevitably, as a professional organizer, I end up making small adjustments to high-use, important areas such a pantries after the install. The families use the space, go shopping and make important observations post-organization. I then come back in and get feedback from the client. Changes are made to maximize their space.

In this particular pantry, my darling clients wanted an “organically tidy” look (no overt plastic, minimal clutter and no bright colors). We opted for more natural materials. One of my favorite products for a variety of spaces are these glass storage jars from World Market. They have a one gallon capacity are very affordable at $6.99 each. I love their tight-fitting lid, large size, they don not leach scents/colors like plastic and they are dishwasher safe. These jars are a great investment.

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I also adore using canning jars for organization. My favorite size for pantries is the pint and half. We put legumes, dried fruit, nuts, specialty rice and other dry goods in this type of jar. We did our shopping at a local grocery store and were able to get a dozen for less than $12.00. (The online price in the hyper-link is considerably more, so shop smart locally if you use this option.)

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The client and I scoured our local TJ Max stores, Homegoods, World Market, Ross and Marshall stores over the course of a week to gather the baskets required. Baskets are useful not only for aesthetics, but they also set limits on each category. You know instantly that if “pasta” is full, that you need to use what you have before purchasing any more. This simple idea is really helpful for pantry maintenance. The baskets don’t have to match exactly, but having similar hues/styles is helpful.

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Now, comes the labeling. We labeled the top of each glass jar’s lid, just in case the client decided to change the contents. In addition, labeling only the lid kept the integrity of the glass. The textures and colors of dried fruit, pasta, nuts and legumes is art in itself and we didn’t want a label obscuring the beauty of the food.

Organized Staples

Chalkboard tags with a sturdy grommet were added to each basket to indicate its contents. These tags can easily be changed out if the client’s needs and food categories change as well.

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What a difference an organized pantry can make!

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Happy Organizing-Lorinda with Vacaville Organizer

Wrapping and Crafting Organized

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January is National Get Organized Month according to N.A.P.O. (the National Association of Professional Organizers). I decided to tackle a project closer to home, my own disaster craft and wrapping supplies and take advantage of the Container Store’s semi-annual Elfa Sale. Elfa is a line which the Container Store offers that includes shelving and other storage pieces which is completely customizable and expandable. One of their most popular pieces is the Elfa Gift Wrapping cart. It includes a five easy glide drawers which have the ability to open from both sides, a wrap organizer smooth rolling casters and an ample work table on top. Since it is an Elfa product, you can customize and place the baskets and holders where they work best for you.

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Firstly, the item came packaged perfectly with clear instructions and easy assembly. It literally took minutes to put together.

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I decided to purchase an extra basket (less than $5) to store twine under the wrap rolls. In addition, the wrap cart came with a ribbon holder. However, I felt the ribbon holder was better suited for holding scissors and tape to ensure that they were always handy. Don’t you hate when you can’t find those necessities? I would suggest purchasing a designated pair of scissors and roll of tape just for your wrapping area.

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Now, for the fun part….organizing my huge mess of supplies that never fit correctly in the closet. Plastic storage drawers are often a great answer for storage, but I had so many drawers that I often lost things and forgot about the items contained. In addition, the drawers were temperamental and didn’t slide easily. They didn’t nestle correctly and frequently toppled over.

I edited the items that I hadn’t used in a bit, donated some items and honestly just tossed quite a bit.

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The drawers are amazingly large and hold a great deal of supplies. I was able to reduce all of my stacking bins and wrap from this:

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To this handy, manageable cart that slides right into the same closet footprint.

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The tight wire mesh allows you store even small items. I maximized the space in each small drawer by adding inexpensive dividers.

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For those who don’t have a large place to designate to hold wrapping the crafting supplies, the Elfa Wrap Cart is a great option.  When you easily roll it out, you immediately have work space and all the supplies at your fingertips. The cart could easily tuck in a hall closet, a corner of a guest room or with just a few feet of extra space in a closet.

One of Elfa’s most popular items is a variation on the wrap cart and is a super functional Mesh Rolling File Cabinet on the same casters and frame. It is a wonderful option for individuals who don’t like filing or are very visual. The paper is always at arm’s reach, easy to access and tucks under any desk. Also, since it is on smooth rolling casters, you can roll your filing anywhere you need to. The two handy drawers allow you to keep office supplies right where they are most needed. If you hate and don’t use filing cabinets, I suggest this as an investment you won’t regret.

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Organizing always involves editing and finding the right solution for individualized function. Exploring your habits, personality and history enables a professional organizer to suggest creative solutions that fit you. Vacaville Organizer delivers and even implements the new system for you. Headache gone!

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Happy Organizing Month and explore options for storage to fit you as an individual.

Lorinda with Vacaville Organizer

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