Ugly Drawer Day #8


Today is the day! It’s officially “Ugly Drawer Day!” Actually, if you check your calendar, you’ll see that there are actually twelve of these in a year, one per month. And it usually falls in the first week of each month. Okay, so maybe that’s just the calendar in my head, but you still need to organize, so here goes:


Pick the UGLIEST drawer in the house. This could be your underwear drawer, a junk drawer in the kitchen, the silverware drawer, or a super-messy desk drawer. Completely empty it onto a flat surface (a counter or the floor work just fine.) Clean it out using a slightly damp paper towel, and then begin to fill it right back up again, this time making it look as pretty and uncluttered as possible. If there are things in half-opened packages, remove the trash and discard. Use small containers like shoe boxes or Tupperware with no lids to “divide and conquer.” While you’re at it, get rid of everything that just doesn’t belong there in the first place and (*gasp*) put it back where it belongs!


Now you’re one drawer closer to an organized home. And every time you open that drawer, you will feel that happy little sense of calm come over you. Here’s to pretty drawers!





Fridge Rule #1


Here's a tip that I share with clients for both organizing and staging projects: Go ahead and use your refrigerator to house very important papers from time to time, but the big rule has to be... absolutely nothing on the doors! This way you still get to keep some things handy, but it creates a much calmer and cleaner look. Also, you won't have things flying off when the doors open and close





Archiving Photos on Your Computer


Here’s a little trick I sometimes use with clients who are trying to get their computer files organized… Now, this works with just about any type of file you can think of, but I personally use it for the photos and videos I download from my personal camera most of the time.

·        Select which drive you want to store your photos on. I use a separate hard drive specifically for all my pics.

·        When you’re taking photos off the camera, decide what the main subject is. That should be the title of the FOLDER it goes into. For example, my oldest dog’s name is Boomer, and all photos of just him go into the “Boomer” folder. If the photo is of both of my dogs, it goes into the folder labeled, “Boomer and Bailey.”

·        When you are labeling a group of photos (maybe even a smaller folder) within a folder, use the date as the first part of the name. Start with the year, then the month, then the day. This will keep all of your pics in perfect order. Today’s downloaded pics would start with 2008_08_06.




 Groceries, Uninterrupted


Have you been shopping at the same grocery store for years? Are you familiar with the layout? If not, grab a map of the store the next time you're there and follow me!


Here's how to get through the grocery store quickly and really stick to the list while using the correct coupons: Create a document on your computer with four columns, and begin to jot down, aisle by aisle, items that you might purchase from the store. You can view my personal grocery list (if you'd like to see an example) at the bottom of this page. Make sure there are spaces to separate the different aisles. When you're finished, print out a few copies to keep on hand. Put one on the refrigerator, and as you need items, simply circle the item instead of having to write it down. On shopping day, pull your list down and pencil a large dot to the side of each circled item that you also have a coupon for. You also might want to review all of the items on the entire list (circled or not) in case there is something you might have forgotten.





Filing for Dummies


Keep your filing in general categories. An example of this would be to file your car’s insurance paperwork under the broad, general topic “Cars” instead of  “Geico – Honda – 2007.” Although it does make locating paperwork later easier (to use the more precise description) it makes it much harder to do the initial filing. More and more I am seeing clients who just don’t file their paperwork because it’s too labor intensive.


Keep all of your paperwork for the current year in a small, hanging file near the area you pay your bills. Here are some examples of broad categories: receipts, credit cards, banks, work, house, car, medical, utilities, phone/TV, cell phone, and taxes. When a hanging file folder gets too full, transfer it into the larger filing cabinet as mentioned in the next paragraph. Also, make sure that every December 31st, the entire hanging file is emptied into the large cabinet system.


Keep all of your paperwork for 5 years using this system: Use five file folders for each broad category. Each folder should read something like this: “Cars 1/6,” for any year that ends in a 1 or a 6 (i.e. 2001 or 2006). You can do the same for the others… “Cars 2/7,” “Cars 3/8,” “Cars 4/9,” and “Cars 5/0.”


If you’d like more detailed information on how all of this works, please feel free to shoot me an email anytime for further clarification. Good luck and happy filing!





The "Guest Drawer"


When guests come to stay at my home, I sometimes find that they are at odds of where to put their "stuff" on the main level of the house. It's just not practical to have them keep everything in our upstairs guest room... Things like a wallet, a watch, or even medication can end up cluttering kitchen counters and guests may feel like they are imposing. Here's my solution: find a kitchen drawer that can easily be emptied for the duration of your guests' stay. The drawer I use in my own kitchen is the one that normally stores linens such as dish cloths and pot holders. I simply put the linens in a bag and hang the bag in the pantry using an "opened" paper clip as a hook.


I promise that your guests will appreciate the effort as well as the convenience of having their own distinct space.





Room for Linens


Here’s an idea for those of you with no linen closet, or if you’d like to repurpose the linen closet you do have: Hang your extra bed linens and towels up on clothes hangers in the pertaining room’s closet! I like to use a clip hanger for those darned fitted sheets that I just can’t (for the life of me) figure out how to fold properly!