Renovations are stressful! People are all up in your space, and your everyday creature comforts, like a working kitchen or bathroom, may be inaccessible. Once the renovations are complete, you're just exhausted and want to have your home back and ready to use.
Planning ahead and organizing BEFORE the renovations begin is essential and will reduce your stress immensely throughout the process. There will be less mess and fewer headaches, making the reno process a little easier to endure!
Read ahead for our 3 tips on organizing before your renovation starts...
Step #1: Declutter and Decide What Needs to Go
Instead of dreading how you're going to fit all your stuff back into your newly organized kitchen or bathroom, think of the renovation as your chance and motivation to declutter! You don't want to move your unused, dusty, unloved items into your new, glistening space. Ick!
Think about what you love and what you actually use. Now's the time to let go of all those "just in case" items. If you really end up needing something you decluttered, you can easily run to the store or click "buy now" on Amazon. Think of all the spaciousness and organization you'll have in your improved space. Things will be easy to find and look visually appealing.
As you declutter and prepare for the renovation, make a list on your phone of what you might need to buy later. Don't clutter your space now with more items you'll need to store away for the reno.
For more decluttering tips, read A Professional Organizer’s Guide to Decluttering.
Step #2: Get Organized and Begin Packing
Now that you've decluttered, you can more easily decide what stays during the renovation process and what you still want to keep but can be stored away for the time being. Remember to keep out things like medicine and other items that are used daily.
Pack items in clearly labeled bins so you can easily find things you need that you packed away and so you can easily unpack when the reno is over. Renovations are dusty, and the last thing you want is a brand-new kitchen with all your plates and glasses covered in dust.
Step #3: Move Boxes to Storage and Prep for Your Reno
If you're braving it out and living in your home during the renovation, you may want to store items somewhere outside the home, such as a temperature-controlled storage unit or pod.
Don't fill your garage with items, and then realize you need to use your garage as a temporary kitchen!
Speaking of, start setting up things like temporary kitchens before the renovation begins. You don't want to start this task when you're stressed and hungry and your home is already a construction zone. Plan on giving yourself grace with more ready-made meals, take-out, and non-perishable snacks.
Our specialty is helping our clients through moments of change, such as renovations and moving. This is like a mini-move! You have to declutter, pack, and unpack the space you're renovating. Can you say stressful? It's ok to ask for help.
If you're ready to hand off your pre-renovation organizing to an expert, we've got your back! Download our organizing guide to see how we can help!
See you soon,
Toys somehow keep sneaking into your home. The piles keep growing and growing with each passing holiday and birthday party goodie bag! Sometimes, the toys strut right in and demand to live rent-free in your precious little storage space. Your playroom is bursting with toys, yet your kids look disengaged and bored. How is that even possible?
Tip #1: Keep Toys That Spark Creativity
Did you know that studies show that too many toys can make kids feel overwhelmed and bored? Fewer toys actually mean more creativity and play. "Enough is enough," you think! But where would you even start creating a simplified and organized playroom? Read ahead for our expert tips on organizing your playroom to enhance fun and creativity.
The most important step we take as professional organizers in organizing playrooms is decluttering! We work with clients to let go of toys that are broken, outgrown, or that aren't favorites or played with often. You’ll end up with the highest quality toys and items that can spark creativity.
Remember, too many toys can be overwhelming. Many toys "entertain" kids with flashing lights and music. While having a couple of these can be useful, they don't allow kids to be independently imaginative. Items like books, art supplies, and toys that enable them to create the narrative are best. A dancing scarf can become a dragon flying through the sky or a blanket to swaddle a baby doll.
When decluttering toys, parents often worry their kids will get upset and want something back. A good safety net for this can be to keep items in the garage in bags for a month before donating (without your kids knowing they're there!). That way, if your child gets upset that something is missing, you can get it back from the garage. Although we don't usually encourage holding onto donations (we typically take them to donate for you on the day of your session), we like to make this exception with toys.
Tip #2: Let Your Kids View Their Options
We want to keep similar items together when sorting items in a playroom. For example, all stuffed animals, art supplies, puzzles, kitchen play food, and legos are together. Then, keep them visible by storing them in clear bins, open baskets, or displayed on shelves.
Seeing items encourages kids to play with the toys, and since we've already decluttered and sorted like items together, there will be minimal toys out to create visual clutter. We love using baskets to store books since they're easier to sort through. You can choose a book, put it away, and grab one book without the whole bookshelf falling off or over.
Tip #3: Rotate Toys to Keep Things Exciting
Along with decluttering, consider rotating toys to limit what your kids can access at once. This can be helpful if you have too many favorite toys but don't want them all out simultaneously. Involve your kids when it's time to rotate by letting them know you will have some "new" toys to play with from storage. For example, tell them they can pick out five new toys to play with this week, and the other current toys can have a rest. Store unused toys in the rotation in bins somewhere, like a closet or attic. Set a reminder on your phone to rotate new toys after a couple of weeks so you remember.
An even easier solution than having a rotation system: storing toys you don't care to be played with often in cube shelf bins or other closed storage will naturally encourage less play. Then, you can pull out the bins when you'd like them to be played with. This is an easy way to "rotate" toys without much added effort of remembering to actually rotate!
Tip #4: Encourage Your Littles to Get Involved & Help Clean Up
Broad categories with large baskets or toy chests allow quick and easy clean-up. For example, you can use a large toy chest for stuffed animals, a few book baskets, and a smaller basket for all those small toys. This corrals the mess and reduces visual clutter. It also makes it super easy for kids to help clean up.
Getting the kids involved can help maintain the organization. Do they have a special spot they want to line up their stuffed animals? Pretend the playroom is a neighborhood, and each toy needs its own special "home" to live in and go back to at the end of each day. Making a little "parking garage" on the floor with painter's tape can be fun so your children can park their mini cars and ride horsies.
Increase their motivation by making it a competition with siblings to see who can put their toys away the fastest. Making the process fun will increase the likelihood you're not the only one stuck keeping things in order.
Organizing your playroom and dealing with the constant barrage of toys can be overwhelming. We get it! No playroom is going to be perfect. If anything, take this as permission to let go of many of their toys. Remember, it will help their creativity to have less, not hurt it.
A simple, easy-to-maintain system will encourage order, creative play, and learning all at once! Your kids can get messy and have a blast and then be able to get things quickly back to square one.
We've got your back if you're ready for an expert to create playroom organization systems that simplify your life! Download our organizing guide to see how we can help.
See you soon,
Do you find yourself buying items at the grocery store just to come home and be frustrated when you realize you have one, two, or multiple of the same item already shoved in your kitchen pantry? Food is getting PRICEY as it is, so it's annoying to make this common mistake.
Pantries can be black holes of duplicate items and items that are expired. When your pantry is organized and labeled, it's much easier to see what you already have.
We're sharing 4 tips we use in our clients' homes as professional organizers to help you transform your pantry from a chaotic, cluttered stressor to pristine and clean, and how to keep it that way with maintainable systems.
Tip #1: Remove All Items & Review Expiration Dates
The first step we take is to empty out your entire pantry. Yes, all of it. We create a staging zone on your dining room table and kitchen counters to lay everything out. Once it's all removed, we give the shelves a good wipe down and vacuum the floor, if necessary, to have a fresh start.
We then look at all the expiration and best-by dates and toss what's past its prime. You'd be surprised how many items have gone bad; we've found items that are even 10+ years expired. Like we said, pantries can be a black hole!
We'll also check with you and toss anything stale, like chip bags left open by the kiddos or items you bought but aren't ever going to use (if you prefer, you can always donate unexpired items to a food pantry or post them on a buy nothing group on Facebook).
Tip #2: Create Categories & Keep Like Items Together
Now that we've widdled it down to fresh items you want to keep, we'll sort everything into broad categories that are easy to maintain.
We don't need to get super specific and create categories for every little thing. A bin for kids' snacks will be much easier to maintain than separate bins for goldfish, gummies, or crackers. You don't always buy the same items and we want your pantry to stay flexible for your ever-changing family.
We'll cater the categories to what works best for you and your family. Some common categories we use are snacks, kids' snacks, pasta, grains, nuts & seeds, baking supplies, breakfast, canned foods, and sauces.
Commit to keeping like items together and your pantry is on its way to staying organized long-term.
Tip #3: Select Storage Solutions & Get Ready to Problem Solve
We love large bins or baskets that can fit many items for our broad categories. We then label them with either chalkboard sticker labels for plastic bins or bin clips for hyacinth-type baskets.
Large turntables work best for items such as sauces and oils and work especially well for pantry corners. Tiered expandable canned shelves are our go-to for canned goods. Using a door rack can create and utilize all space for smaller pantries.
We love decanting baking supplies such as flour and sugar into clear containers. These containers can also work for clients who want a more uniform look and are willing to do the upkeep involved.
We always like to discuss the decanted option with clients that ask about it since even though it looks great, it does take extra work to maintain and empty food into the containers after a grocery trip. This can be a beautiful option if you purchase similar foods consistently and are willing to put in a little more maintenance (or have us help!).
When purchasing supplies, we always buy a good amount more than we will likely need since we do a lot of problem-solving in the moment. We could take exact measurements and make an elaborate plan of exactly what bins will go where, but it would be a waste of time and would end up changing a lot.
You just don't know what will work until you're in the space. We overbuy, see what works best once items are decluttered and in the space, then return what we don't use.
Tip #4: Make a Plan to Maintain the Space & Get Your Family Involved
Grouping and storing like items together makes it easy to put items away after grocery shopping, so the whole family can find what they need quickly and help put food back after they're done.
It doesn't have to all land on you to maintain! Kids can get excited about the new system by having snacks where they can reach them. They love to be in control and big helpers. Make a game of helping you put groceries away after you shop and give them a choice from their bin at snack time.
Let your spouse know how putting items back in the correctly labeled bin helps you save money by not buying duplicates and helps you know when snacks are getting low so your family always has their favorites on hand.
Now that everything is labeled and grouped together, it's much easier to maintain order in your pantry. Keeping it tidy is key. Make sure to take the extra few seconds to put items in the correct spot. It also helps immensely to glance into your pantry when making the grocery list and before shopping to see what you already have.
We encourage clients to have a shared groceries note on their phone where each spouse (and older kids) can add something to the list when it's getting low or is out. If you don't want to maintain it yourself or it's just gotten too out of hand, we offer maintenance sessions to bring your pantry back to square one.
Our lives can feel like they revolve around food. We have to eat! With an organized pantry that's easy to maintain, you can take some of that daily stress, buying duplicates, and searching for items away.
Dinners can be made faster, favorite snacks grabbed easier, and grocery lists made in a breeze. Our clients even love to show off their pantries to visitors! It will feel good to have a pantry you're proud of.
If you dream of an organized pantry but all of this sounds daunting to do alone, get our organizing guide to see what it's like working with a professional organizer. We're here, so you don't have to spend an entire weekend looking at expiration dates. No one has time for that (except us, we live for this)!
Did you know we also set up pantries with organizing products from day 1 with our unpacking services? Start your new life in your new home with a gorgeous, eye-candy yet functional pantry.
This project was an unpacking and organizing job for a sweet mom and young daughter. They had moved about 1.5 months ago from a 2200 sq ft house to a 1200 sq ft apartment. It was a big change and a stressor for them. It was hard for the mom to focus on unpacking and organizing things, but she wanted it set up soon for her daughter to feel at home again. Plus, the mom needed an organized home to function well.
The biggest goal was to get the daughter's bedroom and playroom unpacked. The daughter was sleeping in her mom's room and sharing her closet since there were too many boxes to walk around in her bedroom. The playroom was also packed full of boxes since they had more room in their old home, and it didn't all fit in their new playroom.
Our Process & Project Launch
This was a 6-day project with two organizers, 5 of the 6 days. The space that took the most attention was the playroom. The organizers also worked on the daughter's bedroom, closet, linen closet, mom's bedroom and closet, the garage, parts of the kitchen, gift wrap center, and command center.
The home had many unpacked boxes that were not in the correct room and items that needed to be purged. One of the first steps was making a whole house pass to quickly find items to donate and put items in their correct room.
The client also had bags of donations ready to go that we were able to take and donate for her. Throughout the process, we brought empty cardboard boxes and trash to the apartment trash/recycling center and donations to the local donation center.
The playroom had many toys and books. It was tough for the mom to declutter since so much had already changed for her daughter. We coached her through letting go, and she successfully purged 5 boxes of books, among other items.
Home Organizing Revealed
The finished product was truly transformational. The playroom can now fit many toys, stuffed animals, and books by utilizing vertical space. Boxes are unpacked, and items are where they belong. There's room to move around, and everything has a home.
We transformed this empty entryway into a functional and beautiful command center. We used items around the home as well as some new items such as coat hooks, a shelf with baskets, desk organizing supplies, and a marble dry-erase board. Their new command center allows them to easily find what they need when leaving home and returning, allowing transitions to be more joyous and less stressful.
The daughter loved her large stuffed animal collection, but it took up so much room. We needed to utilize the vertical space in the playroom. We installed a fun stuffed animal crate to store her collection, two tall shelving units (and safely secured them to the wall) with added baskets, a craft cart to make art creations, and magnetic boards to display her art and other important papers.
The new tall shelf with baskets, a stuffed animal cage, and an art cart use vertical space to allow many items to fit in this playroom. Her existing frozen storage system works well to hold smaller toys like dolls and doll accessories. She has room for all her toys, a play kitchen, a place for her and her friends to sit and do art, and ample floor space.
The daughter can now move, dance, and play around her room. Her new mermaid bedding makes it extra special.
The daughter was so happy with her new playroom, where she could make art, play, and hug her stuffed animals. She is now able to sleep in her own organized and cozy bedroom. The mom feels like she can function again and that this can finally start to feel like their new home.
Thank you for joining us in this project transformation. We're so happy for this family and wish them the best in their new apartment! Learn more about our Packing & Unpacking Services here.
Tired of clutter but too overwhelmed to get organized? Download our organizing guide to get a good idea of how we'll help you let go of clutter, organize your belongings, or start fresh in your new home.
Clutter is stressful. If your home feels like a mess, you might feel like a mess internally too... not a great feeling. Clutter can make finding what you need difficult. You lose things often and always feel like you're in a rush. You don't want to invite friends over and live in fear that someone will "swing by" and see the state of your home.
You know that clutter is taking a toll emotionally, but did you know that clutter is costing you more than just your mental well-being? It's also expensive! Read ahead to see what all that clutter is really costing you.
1. Cost of Re-buying Items You Already Have
You swear you bought more sunscreen for your kids, but you can't find it anywhere. You decide to just buy another tube at Target. Later, you end up finding that you already had not only one tube from last summer, but you bought a 2-pack last month, as well. Now you have FOUR tubes of sunscreen, and they'll definitely expire before you use them all.
When we get you organized, you'll have a home for your kids' sunscreen so you know exactly where to look to see how much you have left and when you actually need to buy more. No more buying duplicates and wasting money on items you'll never have time to use up.
2. Cost of Long-Term Storage Rentals
Are you spending money to rent a storage unit for items you don't use or are hoping to sell one day? Months pass, and people often don't even remember what’s inside. How much money (and mental energy) are you wasting by holding on to these items? It can be very freeing to give yourself permission to let it all go, and it will save you a monthly bill!
3. Cost of Delays
Do you have piles of mail that you dread opening or that get lost on your cluttered countertops? When you do open them you're hit with a bunch of bills that now have late fees. These fees can be avoided if you create a system for opening mail and keeping up with it- email included!
We love creating systems for clients' mail and decreasing the mail that comes into the house. We work with clients to turn those paper statements and bills into paperless. We help set them to auto-pay so you never miss a payment and don't incur late fees. One possible way to MAKE money by opening your mail: we've had clients find uncashed checks in the mail that have been sitting around for months. These checks can expire, so you want to make sure you're not missing out.
A Better Use of Your Time & Money
Getting organized frees up time, and time is money. Could you spend that quality time with your kids, spouse, or friends? Could you use that money on experiences that will last a lifetime in the form of memories and photos to look back on, instead of spending it on storage units or duplicate items?
Spending our time with people we love and doing things that bring us joy is what life is all about. Decluttering and organizing your home isn't just about putting things into pretty containers, it's about changing your life for the better. Looking for more professional advice on how to declutter your space? Read our decluttering guide here.
If you're looking to bring some orderliness and structure to your daily routine, we can help! Download our organizing guide to get a good idea of how we'll help you let go of clutter, organize your belongings, or start fresh in your new home.
Until next time,
At Hello Simplified, we specialize in helping clients going through big life changes. We offer home organizing services and packing & unpacking services. Read through for tips on how we help our clients feel less overwhelmed and more in control of their busy lives and homes.