Life Organized: The Blog

Tips & Tricks from Barbara

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

· Lifestyle, Time Management · , , , , , , , , ,
Wynwood Walls exhibit, Miami Florida

Credit: Wynwood Walls Miami, Florida

Every year, so many of my friends and clients vow that this will be the year they get organized. And, despite the best of intentions, organization often falls by the wayside. So, instead of resolutions that are so ambitious or broad that they’re destined to disappoint, here are five simple behavioral changes you can implement to help you stay organized in 2018.

  1. Tackle the Tough Task: Do what you dread most first—the rest of the day will run more smoothly without that dreaded task hanging over your head.
  2. Stick to a Routine: Get in the habit of doing things the same way every time—if you always put your cell phone in the same pocket of your handbag, you won’t be scrambling to find it each time it rings.
  3. Fight the Onslaught of Paper: Discard all catalogs, solicitations and advertisements you get in the mail immediately. Personal correspondence, bills and necessary financial documents should all go in an in-box and then addressed weekly.
  4. Declutter Your Digital Space: In your downtime (waiting on line, waiting on hold), unsubscribe from all of your digital junk mail. Create an online filing system, so you have a place to put emails other than leaving them in your inbox.
  5. Minimize Stress by Being Prepared: At the end of each workday, make a to-do list for the next day. Knowing what’s ahead of you will let you unwind in the evening and start the next morning in an organized way.

Nix Holiday Stress in 6 Easy Steps

· Holiday · , , , , , ,

Holiday StressWe all know holiday prep has a way of spiraling into full on hysteria. From gift shopping and RSVPs, to party attendance and clean-up, managing your holiday schedule is a full time job. This season, approach “the most wonderful time of the year” with a clear, organized plan of attack. Keep calm and party on!

  1. Buy gifts you love in bulk and give them to as many people on your list as possible. Gift cards are your best bet.
  2. Have hostess gifts on hand and keep it simple. It’s okay to bring a bottle of wine or to buy a dessert instead of cooking or baking.
  3. Take inventory of your holiday decorations before and after the holiday. Before the holiday, you can assess whether you need to buy anything new. At the end of the holiday, you can get rid of anything broken or soiled.
  4. Keep a spreadsheet of all of the holiday tips you give. You may not remember how much you tipped your mail carrier last year, but he or she will.
  5. If you have a social commitment that you’re dreading, be targeted about how you spend your time when you get there. Arrive early and spend a few minutes one on one with the host. Put in your face time, do the necessary networking, and be on your way.
  6. Don’t feel obligated to save your friends’ holiday cards with their children’s pictures. Since you probably don’t have your own children’s photos perfectly organized; why would you add pictures of someone else’s kids to the mix?

The Incredible Shrinking Wallet

· Paper Organizing
Prada Wallet

To purchase this wallet, contact Bonnie.williams@prada.com.

When friends and clients pull out their wallets in my presence, I often gasp when I see the receipts and papers coming out in every direction, money crumpled in various compartments, and membership cards by the dozen. Generally, I ignore the pleas not to look and insist on cleaning it out on the spot. I immediately throw away the useless Starbucks receipts, consolidate the frequent flyer and membership cards, and arrange the money in order by denomination. By the time I’m finished, the wallet is slim and neat with only the bare minimum carried inside.

Over the past several years, my own wallet has become smaller and smaller. I no longer carry a wallet the shape of a checkbook with a zipper closure. Since I never carried checks with me, I finally realized the large size was unnecessary. Then, last year, I injured my back and stopped carrying a large tote bag. This in turn, compelled me to use a smaller wallet, a trifold with a change purse and eight spaces for credit and identification cards. By eliminating a few cards that weren’t crucial, everything fit perfectly. Continue reading “The Incredible Shrinking Wallet” »

When Everything Is Special

· Purging · , , ,
Stuffed Animals

50 “special” stuffed animals (and a dog).

Deadly flooding, devastating hurricanes, and raging wild fires – never in my memory have so many natural disasters occurred in such a short period of time. News reports talk about the loss of lives, loss of homes, and loss of financial security for those impacted, and even weeks later, for some, the unavailability of basic needs like water and sanitary supplies is still an issue. Yet, even with such unthinkable loss, the victims are equally saddened by the loss of sentimental items held so dear.

People sometimes facetiously consider what they would grab if there were a fire or an immediate need to leave their home. Yet, in a true emergency, when these questions are no longer hypothetical, an emotional paralysis ensues. Your child has 50 “special” stuffed animals. You have 30 “special” sweaters, and no idea where your important papers are stored, or, even what would be considered important. Your home is overflowing with so many “special” items that, in the end, nothing is special.

Continue reading “When Everything Is Special” »

Essential Oils and Organization

· Home Improvement / Decor · , , ,

Essential Oils & OrganizationOver the past few years, I have become interested in wellness, particularly as it applies to organization. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to Julie Peacock who integrates essential oils into her practice of yoga, nutrition, and wellness. According to Julie, essential oils protect against seasonal and environmental threats. They are nontoxic and don’t pollute your home, water supply or the environment. They are also multi-purpose and inexpensive.

Here are 6 essential oils Julie identified that can be used to clean and refresh your home:

Continue reading “Essential Oils and Organization” »

Moving Tips

· Moving · , , , ,

After BarbaraMore moves take place in the summer than any other time during the year. In addition to my tips in this month’s issue of Real Simple “How to Move Without Losing It” and on the MakeSpace blog “8 Expert Solutions to Your Toughest Moving Problems,” here are some additional moving tips I’ve provided to clients this month.

Moving With Children

  1. Purge all of the toys they no longer use, anything broken, or missing pieces, AND all clothing that no longer fits or is stain, torn, or beyond repair.  It’s expensive and time consuming to move what is no longer needed or wanted.
  2. Prioritize their rooms first.  Moving can be stressful for children. By setting up their rooms first, the disruption in their lives is minimized.
  3. Create excitement. If you’re moving locally, show them their new room. If you’re not moving locally, share pictures of local attractions, the house, their new room, and school.
  4. Enlist babysitters to keep them occupied the day of the move or possibly for a few days, so you can get settled without them under foot.

Continue reading “Moving Tips” »

Memorial Day Makeover for Army Veteran

· Makeovers · , , , ,

Last month, I met Sergeant First Class Luciano Yulfo, a veteran who served our country for 36 years. In 2014, he retired from active duty after being injured in Afghanistan. “Louie” wears braces on his leg, walks with a cane, and will most likely face the amputation of his leg in the next year or so. Currently, he lives in Staten Island with his daughter Sonia, 27, who is his full time caregiver. Unfortunately, Sonia herself strugglesMemorial Day Project with health issues, and the burden of caring for her father can be overwhelming. Thanks to an organization called Luke’s Wings, I was made aware of the situation, and teamed up with ClosetMaid and Hooplah to help.

After visiting the Yulfo home, we decided that we would install ClosetMaid ShelfTrack closet systems in the master bedroom, Sonia’s room, and the front hall closet.

Continue reading “Memorial Day Makeover for Army Veteran” »

“I Have Too Much Storage Space,” Said No One Ever

· Makeovers · , , , ,

“I Have Too Much Storage Space,” Said No One Ever… Especially a Fashionista Who Works at Prada

Working in the luxury goods retail market for over 20 years, Bonnie Williams had amassed an impressive collection of designer clothing, bags, and shoes. Yet, her beautiful and expensive items were crammed into closets, overstuffed drawers, and piled from floor to ceiling in her studio apartment. When her closet rod broke under the weight of her hanging clothes, Bonnie knew it was time to move to a bigger space.

When contemplating the move, Bonnie realized that without professional help, her situation would remain largely the same; everything stored haphazardly, only in a larger apartment. That’s when she called me to help with a complete apartment makeover, and I sought out ClosetMaid, a great source of affordable DIY closets as well as a line of storage furniture and closet accessories.

Bonnie and I began by purging; we pulled everything out of the closets and drawers, eliminating duplicate kitchen accessories, unwanted books and cookbooks, clothing and shoes she hadn’t seen or worn in years, financial documents that were no longer relevant, and makeup and toiletries well past their expiration dates. Once we had thrown away, given away, or consigned all that we could, Bonnie was ready to move, and we began designing organizational solutions. With assistance, Bonnie and I assembled the DIY ClosetMaid systems.

Continue reading ““I Have Too Much Storage Space,” Said No One Ever” »

The Kitchen from Oz

· Kitchen / Nutrition, Makeovers · , , , ,

Upper West Side Kitchen

Walking into Holly Merrin’s kitchen is a little like Dorothy seeing Oz for the first time. From the emerald green terrazzo floors to the bold green leather chairs and fabulous views of the Hudson River, this kitchen is long on the wow factor.

The mom of the moment is long on the wow factor too. Petite and pretty, Holly enjoys preparing meals and snacks for her family. A 2015 graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute, it’s more than a hobby, but not yet a career. Holly contacted Curated Kitchen to tackle both the physical organization of the kitchen and her need to address a wide range of food preferences in the most nutritious manner.

Continue reading “The Kitchen from Oz” »

A Perfect Day to Purge Your Pantry

· Kitchen / Nutrition · , , , ,

Lara Metz and Barbara Reich - Organized Healthy KitchenIs your pantry a disaster of stale cereal and junk food? Do you have multiple bags of half eaten chips left over from the super bowl party you hosted in January? Is there food that has been there for weeks, if not years?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone. And, the prediction of 12-24 inches of snow makes today the perfect day to purge and create a pantry that’s well stocked, organized, and filled with nutritious food.

Continue reading “A Perfect Day to Purge Your Pantry” »