Organizing Tip #21: Bag Lady

Organizing Tip #21: Bag Lady

We have a joke in our family . . . we are all bag ladies! You can never have enough bags because when the occasion strikes, you need the perfect bag!

I am not talking about expensive purses here, just bags in general. They can be dollar store shopping bags or Target backpacks. The price is not relevant. But the size, shape, and design is the deciding factor for which bags to hoard and which bags to eliminate.

There are four girls in my family and we all have a stash of bags. We openly joke about it! In fact, I have passed on this accumulation habit to my daughter. She has her own stash of bags in her closet! We once left TJ Maxx with four new bags because she could not decide or eliminate any of them.

I should clarify that “bags” does not mean purses. It includes purses but it also includes all types of other bags.

When I clean out my closet, I must also sort my bags. I lay them all out on my bed and look at which ones I like to use for different occasions. It is hard to let them go even if I haven’t used it for several months.

To store my collection, I place the same type of bags inside the largest one of that type. For example, I have backpacks, carrying bags, and purses. I put all the backpacks in the largest backpack. I put all the carrying bags inside the largest carrying bag. And finally, I put all the purses in the largest purse. It is a system that works well for me. When I head out the door and need a bag, I can find the perfect one quickly.

If you are a bag lady like me, I hope this helps you keep the number of bags you possess under control and organized. And no, unfortunately, this blog post is not a joke. I really do have an obsession with bags and proudly call myself a “bag lady.”

Featured photo by Alfonso Ramirez on Unsplash.

Organizing Tip #20: Pile of Papers

Organizing Tip #20: Pile of Papers

A pile of papers on my desk is about the worst thing for me to see or clean up. It isn’t the papers on their own, it is the guilt I feel when I look at that pile! I am not sure why a pile of paper on my desk makes me feel so badly. Maybe it is because I mentally labor over what is in the pile. Is it bills? Do I have to read them? Or just file? Once the pile is gone, I feel on top of the world! Wow, the power of paper!

Here is how I handle that build up of paper piles. Let’s look at first, what to do with the pile; second, how to avoid ever having a pile accumulate; third, how to enjoy not having paper anymore!

#1. What do you do with the pile of papers?

When I am faced with the dreaded pile staring before me, I gather the entire paper pile off my desk and put it on my bed or counter so I can sort it. Next, I clean and straighten my desk. Ahhh, that feels better already! Now, I divide the big pile into several, little, separate piles: throw away, file away, bills to pay, stuff to read, stuff to do.

This process is a simple example of how to take an overwhelming task (the pile of papers) and break it into small steps (throw away, file away, etc.).

Now just deal with each pile. Throw away – easy. File away – easy, just boring. Bills to pay – put where you pay bills or just go ahead and pay them. Stuff to read – put where you like to read maybe your bedside table. Finally, stuff to do – the more difficult pile because there may be a variety of things here you need to do. Pour yourself some tea or coffee and get it done. Yay! You did it!!

#2. How to avoid accumulating a pile of papers.

This is an easy solution. Create a place for each type of pile you had in #1. I learned a simple rule about 25 years ago . . . handle paper once. You handle it when you get it. You get your mail. Open each piece of mail and as you handle it this first time, you decide where it goes. Is it a bill? Put it in your file folder or bin for bills. Does it need to be filed? Put it in your filing system (ie file it). Is it something to read like a magazine? Put it where you read. The stuff to do pile is always tricky because it may be a phone call or a response needed. Make a bin for to-do’s.

If you do this, you will not end up with a pile of papers because everything will be where it needs to be for when you are ready to do those tasks.

#3. How to not have paper anymore.

I recently went digital. I scanned in all my paper files and created digital files on my computer. I contacted all my utilities and bills to go paperless. Everything I used to file, I now get an email or pdf and I put it in the digital file. Even when shopping, I ask for email receipts instead. I even got rid of my filing cabinet! Yay!! My mail has decreased significantly and when I moved recently, I still updated my new address, but I didn’t have to worry about losing mail.

Tackle your paper, create a system, and don’t let the piles of paper get you down!

Featured photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

Organizing Tip #19: Prime Locations

Organizing Tip #19: Prime Locations

When we bring a new plant into our homes, we have to consider where is the best place for it to thrive. Does it need a lot of sunshine or just a little? The things we care about and use often should be in places where they serve us well and are convenient. These items get a prime location.

Unpacking, downsizing, and getting organized were recent areas of focus for me since we moved into a new place. I have come to use this new term while I am deciding where to put things. When you have a lot of space, it doesn’t really matter as much where the blender is stored; however, if you have a limited amount of cabinet space, you have to make decisions that affect your day-to-day lifestyle. By the way, I use my blender frequently so for me, it matters!

My kitchen is smaller than it was before so I used the idea of prime locations to help me decide what goes where. Everything I use daily, gets the prime spots. What I rarely use, was placed in the hard-to-reach places. The rest went somewhere in the middle. Sounds confusing? Actually, it was really easy and helped me unpack my kitchen in a few hours, which was faster than ever before.

If you have been living in your home for awhile and find yourself digging out that slow cooker all the time, maybe it needs a more convenient spot in your cabinet. Take notice of when you feel frustrated that you have to jump over fiery hoops to get something you want.

This principle works for all rooms in your home. My workspace was rearranged as well as my bathroom. It is just a little thing to keep in mind when you are organizing, but very helpful!

Featured photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash.

Organizing Tip #18: Moving In

Organizing Tip #18: Moving In

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I would be moving soon. Well, that day arrived, passed, and I am exhausted! I love unpacking and organizing, as you probably already know. But most of all, I love the possibilities that a new place represents. So much anticipation and dreaming goes on when a person makes a new home. We envision ourselves living in this new space and I have to admit, I am good at dreaming of what my life will be.

It is exciting to open each box and find the perfect place for each item. As one box is emptied, another one is opened and the process continues until there are no more. As an organizer, it is an exciting challenge to find the best place for everything.

I had to downsize in this move and I was happy to simplify. With less stuff around, I feel like I uncomplicated my life in many ways. And it feels really good. Less stuff, less choices, less to think about, less to clean! Which leaves me with more time to do more of what I love to do!

I hope that I won’t be moving again for awhile. I feel settled here and content. And I am all moved in.

Featured photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash.

Organizing Tip #17: Shoes

Organizing Tip #17: Shoes

Are your shoes in a pile at the back of your closet? Is it hard to find the shoes you need for work tomorrow? Here are a few tips for organizing all your shoes.

The first thing to do before you organize is to sort and get rid of unwanted shoes or those you haven’t worn in more than a year. If you aren’t wearing them regularly, than chances are you won’t miss them either.

After you have sorted your shoes, divide them into two piles: those you wear often (every week) and those you wear occasionally.

I like to use shoe racks or shelves lined up at the bottom of my closet for all the shoes that I wear frequently. They are easier to find and put back when all I have to do is reach for them. There are also hanging style shoe holders that work too.

For the less worn shoes, I like to store them in clear plastic shoe containers on the shelf at the top of my closet. I can see what shoes are inside at a glance and even though it is a little harder to reach for them, it is okay because I don’t wear these as often.

This system works for me because I can rotate my shoes. During the summer, my sandals are out where I can reach them and winter shoes are put on the shelf. In the winter, I put my sandals away and bring out my booties. Each season, I am moving my shoes around so I am constantly sorting and updating them.

A little tip for knee high boots is to cut one of those swimming pool noodles to fit inside your boot. The noodles look like long tubes and usually can be cut in about three or four pieces depending on how tall your boots are. I insert this piece inside my boots to help them stand upright, keeping their shape.

Have fun organizing!

Featured photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash.