Begin The New Year By Looking Back

By | Weekly Tip | No Comments

Eating an Elephant

January Newsletter

Christmas is over and the new year has begun! January is a great month to look back over the past year to see what items in your home didn’t get used. Whether it’s clothes, shoes, jewelry, tools, perfume/cologne, books, bathroom or kitchen items or other random items around the house, there are probably several things that need to find their way to the “donate”, “recycle” or “trash” pile. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but purging even a few items will help get your new year off to a good, and organized, start.

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

A Guest Post All About Garages

By | Guest Post, Weekly Tip | No Comments

Today’s guest post is by Morgan from Morganize with Me and it’s called How to Organize a Garage / Storage Area.  I know for some readers this may not mean much – maybe you don’t have a garage or storage area.  But trust me, this tip can apply to more than just those 2 areas.

Her 3 basic rules are:

  • Create Zones: place like items together and put items that are used more often in an easier place to access and the items that are used less often in harder to reach places.
  • Less IS More: don’t just toss stuff into your garage/storage area, just because you can. Use the space for items that you actually need to keep and hold on to.
  • Put Things Away: commit to putting things back to where they belong and work to keep the order in place.

To find out how she applied this to her space, click the title of her post and check out her before and after pictures.

Do you have your own garage / storage transformation to share?  Let me know! Contact Top Shelf

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

Don’t Go On a Shopping Spree

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | One Comment

The 3rd week of the month is supposed to be a post about an organizing tool I don’t usually recommend or something that I use differently than how it’s marketed, but I also want to include some general “Don’ts” if you’re serious about getting organized.

My first “Don’t” is: don’t go out and buy a bunch of random containers without knowing what you need.  Generally, before I start a job I do a consult with the new client and we discuss what needs to be done.  We create a general game plan for the upcoming space and then I do research and send different ideas to the client.  Sometimes we need to buy containers and sometimes we don’t.  While it is nice to have an assortment of options when I come in to get a space organized, I would rather have something that I know will work, as opposed to trying different options and settling for one just because it’s already there.

Now don’t get me wrong, when I come into a new job and see a bunch of baskets and bins already there I get really excited but sometimes it creates more of a headache later on because it can also limit what can be done in that space. And, if you over-buy bins then you either have to take some back to the store or you have to find storage for them somewhere and either way you’ve wasted money.

So whether you want to tackle your organizing job yourself or you’re hiring a professional organizer to come in, please make a game plan first and then shop.

Do you have your own organizing “Don’t” to share?  Let me know in the comments below!

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

A new way to store your tools

By | Weekly Tip | No Comments

And now it’s time for the third tip in the “garage series” (for the rest of the posts in the series check out post #1 and post #2).

If you’re looking for a simple yet efficient way to hang your tools but the thought of using a peg board makes you go “blech”, then try out this idea: Hang the tools you can… on a towel rod (aka another cool way to reinvent the wheel.)  “S” hooks are probably be the way to go for this project because you’ll need a hook big enough to hold on to a towel rod but also sturdy enough to hold a tool without bending under the weight of it. Utilizing this tip will keep your tools off of the floor as well as maintain an open counter space (aka your very dear and precious work space). This is a great way to keep track of your tools and is an ‘easy-to-grab’ and ‘easy-to-put-back’ alternative to tool boxes and peg boards.

Bonus point: With this tip you can switch out individual tools if you know you’re going to be using certain tools more than others for a specific project.

*This idea also works for sheds, basements, or wherever else you may keep your tools.
**I’m not just referring to typical “building” tools, but also gardening tools or anything else you may store in your garage.
***Obviously this idea won’t work for ALL tools but hanging even a few will help clear the clutter from your work space and, who knows, you may end up coming with other cool ways to store your tools.

Do you have an interesting way to keep your tools organized? Comment below and spread the news!

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

Trash bags…. A post about trash bags…

By | Weekly Tip | No Comments

Here’s a second tip in the “garage series”:

Trash bags. What can one say about trash bags? Not much so I’ll just get to the tip. A handy way to store trash bags is with a paper towel holder. It can be a standing one or one that you hang on the wall. If you do the wall hanging one, just make sure it’s sturdy. And when I say sturdy, I mean S-T-U-R-D-Y. Have you felt how heavy a single roll of trash bags is? Very! Way (“weigh” – haha) more than a paper towel roll! So, to avoid a costly repair (if that thing fell off the wall it would definitely do some damage) make sure the holder you get is more than a simple tension rod with a couple of 3M Command Hooks. You also have to make sure the paper towel rod is skinny enough to fit through the center of the bags. Remember those 2 words – sturdy and skinny. Sturdy and skinny. Sturdy and skinny…

p.s. If you’re curious in the first tip, click here!

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

The Garage Job

By | Recent Work | No Comments

These homeowners had a house fire and after 14 months they were finally able to move back in to their home in early 2016. The wife tackled the inside of the house, but the husband’s domain was their 2 stall garage and they called in Top Shelf to help get him unpacked and organized.

I met with them in early April and they purchased the recurring package to get the garage organized. The husband already owned several large filing cabinets along with one shelving unit we utilized in the storm shelter. We were able to use those (pictures below) and in addition to what he already owned he had cabinets installed along part of the back wall and bought 2 more shelving units (1 more for the storm shelter and a larger one for the center section of the garage.

2 months later, after a lot of sorting, purging, donating and selling, rearranging, re-planning, re-labeling and finagling, we were able to get their 2 stall garage organized with all the bins labeled so now the husband will know exactly where everything is. He and his wife are thrilled with the results and I was so excited to see the finished result.

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

When I say “bungee” you say…

By | Weekly Tip | 2 Comments

When I say the word “bungee” do you think “jump” or “cord”? I feel like the way you answer that questions shows where your mindset is. My first thought is “jump” because I’ve always wanted to go bungee jumping, but obviously that’s not the case for everyone and even more obviously it’s WAY off topic for the tip of the week. And since I can ramble and go on a tangent at the drop of a hat when I start writing, let’s nip it in the bud right now. Getting back to the point in 3… 2… 1. Whether you thought “jump” or “cord” or something else, I need everyone reading this to turn their minds to “bungee cords” because they are the inspiration for the tip you get today.

We all know they’re great for strapping things down when traveling and keeping items contained when rolled up. One way you may not have thought to use them is for all those random items like electrical cords and hoses. Unless you have a specific container or holder made for those items, they can be a pain in the butt to keep controlled (I can recall many days growing up, spent cleaning out my parent’s garage and trying new ways to keep all those orange extension cords contained in an orderly fashion but no matter what I did they always ended up in a mangled mess). So, one easy way to keep those cords contained is to wrap each one individually (or run the risk of the mangled mess I just mentioned) – wrapping it around your arm and hand as everyone does with any kind of long cord or wire – and then loop the bungee cord through the center hole you created and hang it from a wire shelf or on a hook on the wall. Honestly, I wish we would have thought about this when I was younger. It would have made “garage cleaning day” a lot easier…

Now, you don’t HAVE to have a bungee cord to organize your extension cords and hoses, but what makes the bungee cord great is you can wrap it around the item a couple of times to keep it from spilling all over the place which ALWAYS happens (*ahem dad and mom). How great is this tip?! Personally, I love it and think it’s a great idea (thanks Connie!) and hopefully you (specifically you mom and dad) do too.


Please follow and like Top Shelf:

Garages… so much more than just a car home

By | Weekly Tip | 3 Comments

Final Day (4)

You may have noticed I don’t post a lot about garages. That’s mainly because I just don’t think of them. And that’s mainly because I don’t have one. However, thanks to one of my current organizing jobs I have been spending a LOT of time in a garage lately, and since this blog isn’t just about me and ideas that make my life easier, here’s a tip for some garage organization for all of you garage owners.

Take an over the door organizer (clear pockets are great so you can see what it’s in them – similar to this) and hang it on the wall of your garage using a couple of 3M hooks or nails. Once it’s up, fill the pockets with whatever you need. Spray paint cans, tools, gardening supplies, paint brushes, etc. Easy to see, easy to grab and easy to put back.

For those of you looking to get SUPER organized, label each pocket so you know exactly what goes back in there (this is especially helpful when you have to take out several items at once)

Bada bing bada boom you’re on your way to getting organized.

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

When the lack of something inspires creativity

By | Weekly Tip | One Comment

I spent this past weekend down on the gulf coast of Alabama with a dear friend and her adorable little family. It was my first time down there and amidst playing with her 2 little boys, looking at the gorgeous sights of the bay, and catching up on life with her, I completely missed an awesome organizing idea until right before I was about to leave!

Ashley and Andrew live in a great house, which they love. But there is one area Ashley is frustrated with, and that’s the issue of a mud room. The house just doesn’t have the space for one. So the duties of a mud room get split  between different areas. And one of those areas is the garage. I know, I know “what’s awesome about that?” but wait! It’s in a very cool and very unique way! She and her husband (it was his idea) took a regular multi-level shoe rack, stacked it on a 2×4 and drilled both the shoe rack and the piece of wood into a stud in the wall… in the garage… right outside the door that leads into the house! Brilliant!

Now, one thing I should mention is Ashley and Andrew have steps up to their door, so don’t think they just randomly mounted a shoe rack to the wall and that’s why it’s a good idea. Ashley and Andrew can easily reach out the door and the shoes are right there are the top of the steps. I can try to explain it more but the picture is the best way to show it off.

I know this isn’t a typical “Eating an Elephant” blog post, but tuck this idea away for future use. I know I will!

P.S. Ashley was not happy that the shoes weren’t organized when I snapped the picture (without her knowing it), but apart from the top shelf (no pun intended) it’s actually quite good!

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

First tip of the new year!

By | Weekly Tip | No Comments

To start off 2016 I figured the best tip to give would be this – call Top Shelf! I know I know, that’s a slightly (okay very) selfish tip. But here’s the thing, it really is the number one tip I can give to help you start your new year off right. If you’re in the greater Nashville area and you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the clutter in your life/house but are determined to tackle it, the best way to get the kick in the pants you need is with the help of a professional organizer, aka Top Shelf. Or, if you’re not in Nashville, find a PO in your area. You don’t have to use them for the entire house, or even the entire room. Some PO’s do have a minimum number of hours you have to use them, but once those hours are done voila! There’s your kick in the pants and now you may be able to tackle the rest by yourself.

Or, maybe not. You may be a person who reads this blog and thinks “Hmm that’s a great idea.” but never actually gets around to doing whatever the tip is. Or, you may be a person who thinks “That’s a great idea but I have no idea how to implement it.” Guess what. I can help you with both of those issues! Did the new presents you received this Christmas add to the mess you already had? Did you resolve to lose weight in 2015 and now 2016 is here and you have a bunch of clothes that you can’t wear but aren’t quite ready to get rid of yet? Maybe you’ve resolved to become a better cook and now have a bunch of cooking equipment and no place to store it. Or maybe you simple resolved to de-stress your life and this is one of the ways that can help. Whatever your organizing need, Top Shelf can help.

So, do yourself a favor and contact Top Shelf.  The worst that can happen is you’ll get organized.

Please follow and like Top Shelf:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)