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

 

 

 

 

 

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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

Clutter=Delayed Decisions

medication storage

Clutter=Delayed Decisions

Clutter is, simply put, delayed decisions.  We are all familiar with it.  It is a constant battle for most of us.  Cupboards brimming with more mugs than even St. Nick himself could ever use, books that have a thick layer of dust on brimming shelves, clothes that no longer fit sit idly in our closet-many of these scenarios exist in our homes.  Sometimes the decisions of what to keep and toss are simple.  Sometimes the decisions are wrapped in emotion, guilt and memories.  These are the wonderful clients I often help sort through their precious possessions. However, I do think there ARE easy decisions to be made in our homes.  These decisions are often the catalyst for bigger changes and the confidence it requires to delve into the “hard stuff.”  I am beginning a series entitled:

What should I get rid of today?

Each challenge will have a suggestion for items that are easily sorted through.  I will even provide the parameters for what to keep and what to toss.  Additionally, these are quick projects.  Please feel free to follow along if you feel like you would like to make some headway this summer in stream-lining your home.  Maybe you would just like to do something for you.  Hop on board and “follow”!  I will be there every step of the way and you can feel free to reach out to me if you have additional specific questions as we go through each challenge.  You can totally do this!  (As always, if you would like to work with me individually in your home, contact Vacaville Organizer through my contact form or find my through findmyorganizer.com.)

Challenge:  Expired Medications

This is an easy, clear-cut challenge.  (If you have little ones in the house, please clear out your medications in a responsible manner, away from your “helpers”.)  I love this challenge because the date is clearly printed on the side of every bottle in your medicine cabinet!  Yes!  According to present FDA guidelines, here is what you need to know about disposal of expired medication:

FDA and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy developed federal guidelines that are summarized here:

  • Follow any specific disposal instructions on the prescription drug labeling or patient information that accompanies the medicine. Do not flush medicines down the sink or toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
  • Take advantage of community drug take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Call your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service (see blue pages in phone book) to see if a take-back program is available in your community. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, working with state and local law enforcement agencies, periodically sponsors National Prescription Drug Take-Back Daysdisclaimer icon
  • If no disposal instructions are given on the prescription drug labeling and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash following these steps. 1. Remove them from their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter (this makes the drug less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs). 2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the drug from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.

Ilisa Bernstein, Pharm.D., J.D., FDA’s Deputy Director of the Office of Compliance, offers some additional tips:

  • Before throwing out a medicine container, scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.
  • Do not give your medicine to friends. Doctors prescribe medicines based on a person’s specific symptoms and medical history. A medicine that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.
  • When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.

Bernstein says the same disposal methods for prescription drugs could apply to over-the-counter drugs as well.

 

Okay, now that we have handled all the “sticky” aspects of disposal, get rid of it!  I would also encourage you to make a list of the over-the-counter medications that you dispose of that you need to replace.  You don’t want to be caught with a nasty headache or fever without a stocked medicine cabinet.

 

Now, that you have sorted through your medications according to date, you may wish to consider storage.  If you have a family, with multiple members, multiple ages and regularly need medications, separating the prescriptions may be a good idea.  Here is a fun idea from the talented, Ana Mosely.

Here is another idea of medication storage, very similar to Anna’s featured above.

medication storage

 

 

Small changes and just a little bit of time can make a big impact.

Happy Organizing-Vacaville Organizer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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