National Association of Professional Organizers
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NAPO-Ohio Blog

Tips & Tricks from the Experts in the Industry

This is the blog post from the home page of NAPO-Ohio.

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  • 23 Jun 2017 8:23 PM | Christy Lingo

    One of the main services offered at Pixelwinx is custom photo albums and slideshows.  We love putting our creative mojo to work for our clients.  We also get to ‘travel’  along on special trips, celebrations, new babies,  and love captured in their photos.

    That being said, it may surprise you to know that most of the time, Pixelwinx picks out the photos used in creating the albums and slideshows.  This fact is usually met with skepticism by our clients and leads to the #1 question we hear at Pixelwinx.   “How do you know what pictures to include?”

    Usually, the conversation goes like this: 

    Client - “How do you know what photos to choose for albums and/or slideshows?”

    Pixelwinx - We know & we’ve been doing this a while.

    Client - “Really? I don’t have to pick out the pictures?”

    Pixelwinx - Nope.

    Client - “But how do you KNOW?”  

    Pixelwinx - We know.  

    Client - “Really??  How could you possibly  know what pictures I love?”

    By this point we are getting ’that’ look - you know the one where you are trying to be polite but don’t really believe what the other person is saying.  Now when we choose photos for our client’s project it doesn’t mean they are not involved in the process. We have an initial ‘get to know you meet up’, then prepare a few layouts to make sure we are on the right path, use our client’s feedback & make revisions. But we really do choose most of the photos used in the layouts. 

    Kim,  ‘Designer Maven Extraordinaire’ & I talk about this topic often so I decided to interview her about it and share her answers.

    Tamara -  When choosing photos what do you look for when working with client photos?

    Kim -  A good photo creates an emotional response.  It’s so true.

    Tamara -   What do you look for from a design perspective:

    Kim -  I see lots of photos of the same subject and lots of care in the photo taking angle. People in the photo are looking at you while taking the picture.  I also see lots of different angles of the same subject -  horizontal/vertical shots. The quantity of photos taken is also more than other subjects.

    T - What do you consider when creating a custom design for a client?

    Kim  -  I love designs/spreads with the same color palette. If I don’t have enough of one color, I make sure the second spread is in a complimentary palette. Sometimes photos that are not great palettes can be significantly improved by changing to black and white.

    T - How do you handle the huge quantity of photos?

    Kim - I would rather put in one great photo that tells the story than multiple good photos of the same shot.  I’m looking for the photo that tells a story.  The subject is front and center in photo, not a stuck in a corner like a postage stamp.

    T - what do you discover about your clients in their photos?

    K - After we work with a client for a while - we discover their special places, routines, events, vacations - always using the same birthday hat or going to the same beach or lake for year after year.  The photos will include a location where photos are always taken or in front of the same fireplace.

    It’s also fun to see what different families take pictures of - food, swimming in the pool, playing cards with Grandma, or doing puzzles. Families have favorite traditions, vacation spots, love Grandma’s apple pie, sunset or fishing off the dock.

    T  - Do people take good photographs?

    K -  Many people have a good eye for taking photos - whether technically trained or not. Other people - not so much .  It’s all relative.  Just because a photo might not be National Geographic material doesn’t mean they are not special, meaningful and beautiful to that family. Everyone takes photos for a different reason - some people take photos of silly things - like a pineapple or shoe or a tiny fish in the water.  You can’t really see the fish but it represents the moment they are trying to capture. I always look for the items each family takes photos of consistently. Remember the favorite Uncle who never smiles ON PURPOSE?

    T - Do clients have different photographic ’styles’?

    K -  Some clients take lots of posed photos - very formal, proper, dignified, showing the moment. Other clients are more about movement, running, action, capturing the story, thru their creative side.

    T - Is it different selecting photos for client’s books than your own personal albums?

    K - While we love to see your photos and often get emotional viewing them, we are not emotionally attached to the people or places in the photos. That helps us more easily select photos while still experiencing your people as our people & get a glimpse of special moments of love, family & traditions. If I limit the photos to the good ones, I’m more likely to remember the details - because you are putting your camera away and actually participating & investing in the memory vs capturing it or the photo.   Most of our parents were learning how to use a snap & shoot camera & the photos show that but they still capture life. Unless you were a photographer with a darkroom, photography was sort of a crap shoot.  You got what you got when you picked them up at the Drug Store. You learned as you went & no matter what some folks always had a finger showing up in the picture;).

    We’ve learned how to take MANY photographs but still not necessarily good ones.  The photos we take now are about documenting EVERY SINGLE MOMENT.  There is less care in picture taking because we can delete the bad photos, except we rarely do. Many of us never even print the photos. Our kids know how to take pictures & document every single second but have no interest in saving the photos or printing them.

    Several of our clients have kids who have begun to ask for books about their lives - like an antique  - because they are not familiar with the printed page or photo albums to look through. YIKES! Kids want to see themselves at different ages, hold the book in their hand, talk about the stories.   Books capture their stories, growing up & don’t need any special technology.  

    I’ve been trying to put this into words for a long time and one day I was listening to an audio book by Brené Brown.   She was discussing her research & used the phrase “data with a soul”. AH HA!  That finally captured how special photos are to us.  Pictures are ‘pixels with a soul’.  They mean more than just the people, paper, or places in them. They have a soul. Now if we can start to take back control over the quantity, filter out the good ones to share, talk about the memories, we can create & preserve our "data with a soul”  forever


  • 25 May 2017 9:47 PM | Birdie Brennan, CPO®

    Travel is supposed to be fun and relaxing, but getting ready to take a trip can be stressful!  Being organized with travel lists can take the stress out of your preparation.

    These three types of travel lists should be comprehensive enough to encompass all things travel: Pre-Travel Tasks, Packing List, and Vacation Activities. We always recommend using an electronic device to create and store lists (instead of paper).  And we give double points to those who sync the action items from the list to their digital calendars!

    Pre-Travel tasks that can be accomplished well in advance of your trip include:

    • making pet arrangements
    • booking transport to and from the airport
    • stopping mail (most zip codes can do this online) 
    • pausing any home services
    • arranging childcare if necessary
    • paying bills that will be due while away
    • filling necessary prescription
    • gathering passports and travel documents. If you print boarding passes and the like, you can do this well in advance as well

    For packing, we find that  separate lists for clothing and for toiletries is most helpful. Pack away the items that you can early, leaving only the outfit and toiletries that you need up to departure day. For toiletries, remember there are limitations to liquids and other personal care items. Think travel size! Consider also the potential for shipping clothing and necessities to your destination. This can be a safe alternative to checking bags and can reduce hassles at the airport.

    Now, while you are on vacation, is there a once in a lifetime experience awaiting you?  Make sure it is not sold out by doing some research and planning before leaving home. Booking excursions and making reservations ahead of time ensures your good time, helps you manage your vacation calendar, and keeps you from “working” to have a good time while you are away.

    A word to the wise, travel experts recommend that you not post your travel information or destination locations on social media until you are home. This could help prevent any potential crimes here or there.

    Happy travel preparations!

  • 01 Apr 2017 12:12 PM | Olive Wagar

    Thrifty Organizing Solutions

    It doesn’t have to be expensive to be organized! I enjoy looking through books and magazines for clever and practical organizing ideas. However, I hardly ever go with the most expensive option. Seeing those pictures helps me to visualize new possibilities. Then I challenge myself to create a similar effect with a thrifty alternative.

    My all-time favorite book of ideas is Country Living’s The Little Book of Big Decorating Ideas: 287 Clever Tips, Tricks, and Solutions. Each page is a full color photo of simple ideas that make a big difference! I even managed to find a used copy of the book after I had checked it out of the library multiple times.

    Some of their great ideas include:

    #16—skateboards used as wall shelves

    #33—old ladder used as a towel rack

    #47—metal tray used as a message board

    #51—stepstool used as a side table

    #62—stack of vintage suitcases used for storage

    #85—fruit crates used as wall shelves

    #264—shadowbox filled with prize ribbons

    Sometimes I simply notice what items are available at less expensive stores. It gives me the opportunity to try out an organizing solution without making a major investment. Sometimes I upgrade to a better version, but often the cheaper item solves the problem.

    Here are just a few of the useful items I have discovered:

    DOLLAR TREE—

    drawer dividers; plastic dish pans; cubical bins

    DOLLAR GENERAL—

    clear shoe, sweater, or file boxes; decorated storage boxes

    ALDI—

    wreath storage box; wire baskets; 10 drawer file cart

    WAL-MART—

    12 pocket vertical organizer; 24 pocket door shoe organizer;

    cubical shelves; free standing clothing racks

    I do enjoy browsing at The Container Store! It would be quite easy to spend a lot here.  However, I can say without hesitation that my favorite lower priced item is their crystal clear drawer dividers made by Inter-Design. They instantly upgrade any drawer to fabulous and add a simple touch of luxury. I have used them in my kitchen for utensils and in my vanity for jewelry.

    I was helping my brother organize a small bedroom closet a few weeks ago. The closet rod was simply too high and rather awkward to use. We found a free standing clothing rack at Wal-Mart that was perfect. It even included 4 shelves on the side and a shelf across the top. The bonus was the note on the box that mentioned no tools required for assembly! And less than $40! It actually transformed his closet. He can enjoy this simple solution every single day. As he put it, “I actually like using this!”

    Don’t rush out to get the most expensive “must have” organizing item. Take time to reuse or recycle items you already have. Be willing to try a different solution. Enjoy the challenge of thrifty organizing!

    Olive Wagar

    The Compassionate Organizer

    www.organizedbyolive.com


  • 16 Mar 2017 4:07 PM | Janet Jackson

    Since Daylight Savings doesn’t really save any daylight, here are some tips that really will help you save some time every day…

    • ·         Do just one thing at a time. There’s a lot of time - and energy - wasted by going back and forth between tasks.
    • ·         Set a timer and focus. Focus on that one thing while the timer is running. When the time is up, get up and take a quick walk even if it’s just around your desk. You’ll feel like you made some progress and will be refreshed to continue or start on the next task.
    • ·         Check email on your terms. Instead of letting emails constantly interrupt you, turn off the automatic notification alert and choose when you will check and process emails.

      How:
    In Outlook versions 2010 and later,
    1.       Click on the File Tab and select Options
    2.       On the Mail tab, go to the Message Arrival section and remove all check marks
    3.       Click OK

    May you have blessings & balance,

    Janet Jackson

    www.ABetterWayTo.co

    www.OrganizationSolutionsllc.com


  • 30 Jan 2017 2:39 PM | Cathy Van Volkenburg CPO®

    2017 – Let’s Get Organized!

    By

    Certified Professional Organizer

    Cathy Van Volkenburg CPO®

    With 2017 in full swing, many people put “Getting Organized” at the top of their list.  It is exciting to find inspiration on Pinterest , houzz and other fun websites. As a Certified Professional Organizer and Design Consultant for The Container Store, let me give you one big piece of advice as you begin your project. Don’t go to the stores and buy containers and bins first! Many people are tempted to buy pretty storage containers and all kinds of cool looking products before they begin the process of organizing. Save purchasing until the very end of the process for the best results.

    Steps to Maximize Efficiency in Any Space:

    • What is the end goal? Less stuff? Quicker Identification?
    • Gather Like Items together
    • Sort and Purge:  Duplicates? Unloved items? Broken items, ill-fitting clothing? Donate, trash or sell!
    • Create Zones for Remaining Items: Every day items get front and center stage, less used go high or low
    • Containerize – bins for out of season, bins for loose items like socks, shoe boxes for less frequently worn items. Buckets for toys…
    • Evaluate and maintain

    Only after you have gathered like items together can you possibly make decisions on what you have. When your 35 silk blouses are together in a category, and you notice that 12 of them are black, you may want to donate 6 of them that you never wear! Suddenly you only need space for 23 blouses instead of 35.  Now you are on the right track for maximizing efficiency based on what items are serving your lifestyle right now.  Good job!  Now treat yourself to some pretty products that will make your space attractive and easier to maintain.

    This process applies to pantries, kid’s toy areas, garages and more!  AFTER you have gone through the above process, you will be able to purchase containers that make sense for the quantities that will be stored. 

    Final tip for maintaining the system you have worked hard to organize:  Use clear containers so you can see what is inside OR use LABELS so you can find what you need in a snap!

    My favorite labels: Smead Poly Pockets

    http://www.staples.com/Smead-Self-Stick-Poly-Pockets/product_SS1020860

     Use blank business cards for labels that can be changed easily and seen from a distance! Comes in many sizes! Stick ‘em on and go! Find what you need quickly- save time!

    Cathy Van Volkenburg CPO®

    Accent on Organizing


  • 13 Dec 2016 11:55 AM | Daniel Smith

    What do I keep? How do I sort?

    There will come a time when you have to decide what of your memories, or your parents memories, to digitize or dispose of. As a general rule, my attitude is to digitize as much as you can. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost is that you need to keep the “long view.” Recognize that you can’t predict what will be interesting, important or meaningful to someone in your family one hundred, or two hundred years from now. But, it you make the effort to have your memories digitized, it is almost certain that someone in the future will, at least in their own mind, thank you for doing so,and implicitily or explicitly remember you. However, if you cannot resist the urge to purge, then follow two rules: 1: Eliminate duplicate or similar images. If you have three photos of Baby Jane in her high chair, taken at the same time with the same degree of cuteness, get rid of two. 2: Get rid of photos without people. All those photos of Mount Rushmore? Unless there is something significant about it, it can be pitched. You can find better photos of Mt. Rushmore on the Internet.

    Should I still have my stuff put onto DVD?

    More often these days, people want to know if they should put their stuff onto DVD, or some other form of digital media. There are two good reasons for still doing so. First, a DVD is still the cheapest and most permanent form on which to store your family memories. You can’t accidentally delete things off of a DVD. And with good labeling, no one will mistakenly throw your DVDs in the trash. DVD players will still be around for more than a few years, and even though your laptop may not have a DVD tray anymore, you can buy a good one for dirt cheap at most electronics stores. Second, for videos, the DVD format is still the easiest and most enjoyable form of a group experience. You can pop it in, watch it on your TV abd use a menu to navigate to the parts you want to enjoy. You can still do this with other media, but it is a bit more challenging, and no one wqnts to crowd around a computer screen. Other media–particularly external hard drives- are also recommended as storage devices. They serve other purposes better– mainly that you can easily copy files from it, and you can edit those files to make your own creations. But beware– external drive can break more easily, and if you are not careful, you can accidently delete a file that you only meant to copy. Solid state hard drive are coming down in price , and would eliminate most of the fear of drive failure. Still, for the tech savvy person, having your memories on an external hard drive is an absolute necessity. I recommend that you stay away from jump (for “flash”) drives, for one good reason– you can lose them easily.

    Why should I digitize my family’s memories?

    The answer is not always obvious to people. The simple answer is that once your memories are digitized, they can be shared more broadly. So if you have four brothers and sisters, you dont have to fight over who gets what. And neither do your children or your grandchildren. There is, however, a deeper reason. In this day and age when its hard to trust what you seen in the media or history books, isn;t it important to pass on to your progeny something that gives them an independent point of view? Something that shows them where they came from and what the journey of theiir family was like. This reason is more than mere entertainment. It is valuable, and it is necessary.

    Visit www.MyFamilyography.com for more information.

  • 08 Nov 2016 9:56 AM | Birdie Brennan, CPO®
    As we move further into Fall, here is a general checklist to help make your home and wardrobe Fall ready!


    Fit List for Fall:

    1. Get Filters for your furnace and schedule your annual maintenance, if you haven’t already
    2. Review coats for condition and fit. Send out for any mending and/or dry cleaning. Now is a great time to donate any coats that don’t fit.
    3. Do you change bedding for the seasons? Now is the time to launder or dry clean summer covers and trade them in for warmer comforters.
    4. Cozy throw blankets will be in heavy rotation soon. Launder or dry clean so they are fresh and ready for the task.
    5. They say our shoes should be waterproofed once a year. Check leather and suede shoes for dry brushing and apply waterproof spray.
    6. While the weather is still mild, it is a great time to wash window screens and put away. And a clean winter window will allow the warmth of the sun to come through. Good to prep and wash storm windows and doors.
    7. Make sure you have umbrellas that are functional and handy.
    8. Recycle all spring and summer magazines and catalogs.
    9. Gloves, hats, scarves, etc. will need a home or homes that are convenient. Consider creating a designated space near the coat closet or mudroom for each family member’s gear.
    10. We want this to be a no scraping season! Let’s plan on getting the car into the garage. Move summer yard tools to the back or to a shed. Regroup tools and supplies, and put bikes away.

    Happy Fall Transitions!

  • 28 Oct 2016 9:09 AM | mike foti

    So you’re sick and tired of the mess that is your walk in closet. Whether you’re looking for clothes for work – or worse yet – that formal event where you’re trying valiantly to find those seldom used jewelry and accessories, getting ready to go in a disorganized closet can be a pain.

    The challenge is who do you call to rid yourself of this closet disaster. Who will not only “feel your pain” but is qualified to evaluate your storage needs and make recommendations to make your space work (and not make any “deadly” design mistakes you can’t fix later)? Since you can’t call “Ghost Busters” here’s 4 types of people who might be able to help: 

    • The local “handyman” – You could stop at your neighbor’s house who is using a local handyman (who hopefully hasn’t turned into “Eldon the Painter” from Murphy Brown fame). Maybe he can do the job….. but what does he really know about closets?
    • Put the project on your spouses “honey do list” – OK – the list is a mile long already…but maybe they’ll get to this one pretty soon….but what kind of product will they buy? Will the local home center have options which work effectively and efficiently in your space? Will there be a human being at the store that has any concept about closets to help pick out the right things?
    • A finished carpenter- There are finished carpenters who do beautiful woodwork. The challenge might be can you afford them? Are they really experts on how to design and plan a closet? Would a wood closet system be the best way to go?
    • A closet designer - They have the specific expertise in closet design – but will they have a system(s) to fit your budget?

    While you can call any of the 4 types above will they know how to design the space to not make mistakes (or deadly sins) which you can’t work around (or if you have to they will cost you money you shouldn’t have to spend if the design was correct in the first place)? The most likely type to get it right would be the closet designer since they focus on this product specifically.

    Knowing the 7 deadly sins can help you save money, improve functionality and increase enjoyment of using your closet. Let’s take a look at these 7 deadly sins.

    Deadly Sin #1 – I can’t open these closet drawers fully

    Adding pull out drawers and baskets to a custom closet design will dress up the space (and provide cool ways to compartmentalize your jewelry, socks, watches and clothing). Custom closets are the luxury features owners in Dublin, Worthington, Upper Arlington or any nice neighborhood in Columbus would love to have. With that being said if you put drawers in the wrong place it can be disastrous. According to custom closet designer Denise Butchko (a design expert with Butchko and Company in Chicago IL) it’s best to place your drawer’s front and center in the design. Center them on the door opening and design other hanging spaces or shelves around them. Whatever you do, don’t put them behind the closet door so the drawers and door bang into one another.

    Deadly Sin #2 – Not “accounting” for shoe location

    In many existing closets there is a rod along the top with a shelf above and shoes laying on the floor in a disorganized mess. Why do your shoes need to be buried on the “down low” – other than you don’t have a good system today to get them off the ground? Moving shoes up is ergonomically better and then you can visually see them. So don’t commit the deadly sins of burying your shoes. Consider using closet accessories like a shoe shelf or shoe cubby to keep everything available and visible.

    Here’s a bonus design tip accounting people might like. In accounting you talk about FIFO (first goods in, first good out). With shoe location use the same “accounting principle.” Place the shoe storage as the first area inside your closet - since you put on and take off your shoes as you enter your walk in closet (first shoes in, first shoes off).

    Deadly sin #3 – Failure to “space out” your dimensions – You’re not designing a hotel closet which is there for the use of many random people and is seldom used. Your closet is all about you (and your significant other) and the multitude of stuff you have. Think through how many shirts and blouses you want to hang. How many sweaters do you need to fit on these shelves? Allow about 1” for the shirts/blouses and 10 – 14” wide for the folded sweaters (depending on size). Taking the time to inventory what you need to store can guide the decision making process of how wide dimensionally you need to space apart the vertical sections of your closet to effectively utilize space. 

    Deadly Sin #4 – The “standard” closet system is in the middle of the air vent or access panel

    So your husband went out and bought one of those low-priced standardized closets from your local big box store (so far, so good). He started installing and figured out the supports go right through the middle of your access panel for your plumbing in the adjoining room. What do you do now? Effective closet design starts with a thoughtful game plan (and possibly different sized sections between shelves and the vertical panel supports). Don’t commit this closet design sin. Know where the obstructions are before you buy a system, or get a closet designer who will design around these hidden landmines.  

    Deadly Sin #5 – Cutting corners in closet structure and design

    In design and in structure cutting corners (while cheaper for the contractor or homeowner in the short run) can cost you the ability to have useable space or result in a system which wants to pull away from the wall. From a structure standpoint make sure if you use a wall hung system it is properly tied into the studs with the right anchors. For floor mounted cabinetry use cleats to tie in the vertical shelf support to the walls. From a design perspective if you have a “U shaped” design with shelving around the corners make sure they are 24” to 30” deep – otherwise it will be difficult to use this space for hanging or folded clothes in the corner.

    Deadly Sin #6 – Don’t plan as if you’re Gumby and can reach anywhere 

    If you’re old enough do you remember the green rubbery toy (which had its own show in the late 1950’s and 1960’s) which could stretch and reach anywhere? Well – while I wish I had the flexibility of Gumby (maybe I could get closer to this if I just attended those Yoga classes my wife has been trying to get me to go to), I don’t have a stretchable arm that can reach anywhere (and my guess you don’t either). Given this fact we need to design closets to be thoughtful about reaching the top shelf or top rod and storing the right items up there. For the top shelf it’s usually best to keep lighter things you don’t need to access often. If you’re vertically challenged (or need the assistance of a wheelchair) consider adding a pull down rod to bring clothes on upper rods down to meet you.

    Deadly Sin #7 – Trying to fit 5 lbs. of S*** into a 10 lb. bag. The overdone closet design

    When I was growing up my Dad used to say don’t try to fit 10 lbs. of S*** (fill in the expletive here) into a 5 lb. bag. Basically it’s possible to become so enamored with all the fun “bells and whistles” of a new closet design (adding doors, drawers, valet rods, jewelry boxes…the list can go on and on) you overdesign the space. A clean, organized and effective life is often simplicity in design (think about the IPhone and how easy it is to learn this unit “on the fly” is an example of design simplicity).

    To ensure a cleaner, minimalist design first take an inventory of all the items you have in your closet and determine what you’re not really using and can give away. If you’re in Columbus Dress for Success is a great organization that helps women who need clothing for work you could donate your seldom used things to. Pair down first, then think what storage components you need to keep things nice and tidy for your new custom closet design (note a Professional Organizer can also help you with this). After you’ve streamlined the closet (and thought of items you might like to add to the closet like jewelry or home office storage that’s in other rooms) then you’re ready to do your design (and not overdesign) your space.

    Conclusion

    While these 7 deadly sins of closet design might be scary, it’s nice knowing you haven’t started your project yet.

    If you have questions, comments or need help with a Columbus custom closet call the numbers below or add your thoughts to this post.

    ###

    For help with a Columbus home organization project call Innovate Home Org in Columbus at 614-545-6888 or in Cleveland call 216-658-1290.

    Follow the author @Mike_Foti or our companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg on Twitter.


  • 02 Oct 2016 5:16 PM | Olive Wagar

    START WITH SIMPLE: 

    A FRESH APPROACH TO ORGANIZING


    When we really don’t want to do something, we tend to find a way to make it complicated. Then we have a good excuse for not doing it in the first place! We agonize over the cost of the supplies or how much time it will take. We over analyze the procedure and research way too many websites.

    How about a different approach?

    Start with SIMPLE!

    SIMPLE DECISIONS:

    1. Decide to make your bed every morning.
    2. Decide to clean up the kitchen every night.
    3. Decide to wash/dry/and put away each load of laundry.
    4. Decide to sort your mail every day.
    5. Decide to immediately trash/recycle junk mail.
    6. Decide to create designated homes for items you use.
    7. Decide to put items away, not just anywhere, when finished using them.
    8. Decide to arrive 5 minutes early at your destinations.
    9. Decide to go to bed at the same time each night.
    10. Decide to get up at the same time each morning.

    SIMPLE QUESTIONS:

    1. Is this item beautiful?
    2. Is this item useful?
    3. Does this item make me smile?
    4. Does this item honor a loved one?
    5. How many do I have of this item?
    6. When did I last use this item?
    7. When exactly will I use this item again?
    8. Is this item broken, ruined, or obsolete?
    9. Would I pay to replace this item?
    10. Does someone else need this item more than I do?

    SIMPLE SOLUTIONS:

    1. I never liked the ugly mess of internet cords on my kitchen shelf. How delighted I was to find a small crate to hide that mess and yet not interfere with my internet wireless service!
      20160811_085953 20160811_090109
       
    2. I’ve been looking for new bedroom curtains for several weeks. With 2 simple stitching lines, I can transform a pretty lace tablecloth into a pretty curtain panel!
      20160817_113519
       
    3. I wanted one place to track my monthly income and expenses. I created a simple one page Word chart that is concise, handy, and easy to use. The charts for the year all fit into a small binder with room for receipts and statements.
      20160906_145745
       
    4. I wanted my pantry to be useful and stocked with foods I really eat. I emptied all the shelves, sorted all the items, and only put back what I really use. I lined up the items like in a grocery store so I can quickly see what is available or needs replaced. I eliminated random specialty items for forgotten recipes! Other items were donated to a food drive.
      20160906_144428
       
    5. I wanted my kitchen cabinets to be easier to use. I emptied all the shelves, sorted all the items, and only kept what I really need and use for this season of my life. It is easier to find a particular dish and easier to put clean dishes away. And I even had room on the top shelf for some pretty “special occasion” dishes that I can now easily use every day!
      20160906_144643
       
    6. I wanted to expand the size of my flower beds. I bought one specially designed garden tool, “the garden weasel”, and managed to do the job myself on all 4 sides of my house!
      20160903_194101
       
    7. I like having a clean and tidy car. Every time I get out of the car, I collect up trash, papers, coupons, and cups. I keep a package of wet cleaning wipes under the front seat and quickly wipe up any spills. I store first aid supplies, personal supplies, treats, maps, and coupons in zippered pouches in the glove compartment or door pockets. I go to the  $5 car wash every month.
      20160906_145340
       
    8. This simple clip for my keys is actually quite useful and has saved me tons of time (slight exaggeration)! It easily slips on my purse handle, belt loop, or wall hook. Quite a deal for $1 or sometimes free at trade shows!
      20160901_135915

     

     

    Start with Simple: Simple decisions. Simple questions. Simple solutions.

     

    What is your favorite way to start with simple?

    Please read my weekly blog at www.organizedbyolive.com!


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