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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

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A Mid-Year’s Resolution
Well, we are now officially over halfway through the year. How’s it going so far? The end of summer and the beginning of fall is the perfect time to take a quick look back. If you’ve stuck with your resolutions/goals/new habits, great job!! Keep it up! If you’ve slacked a little bit and haven’t quite stuck to what you wanted, then I have the perfect solution:

Create a Mid-Years Resolution

Whether that means picking up again what you started at the beginning of the year or trying something completely new, it’s still the new year! You haven’t missed it and you haven’t wasted another year. Buckle down, get serious about your commitment (whatever that may be) and finish strong through the rest of this year. You only have a few months to go, and what you start today will be a habit by 2020. So take a few (or 20) minutes, evaluate your life, home, habits, etc and decide where you can make a change. Then create that end-year goal and make it happen.
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My First Rule of Decluttering

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

Top Shelf’s First Rule of Decluttering

Recently I’ve gotten several clients with larger organizing projects and sometimes they are totally overwhelming, to my clients and even to me.
I typically schedule several hours at a time for jobs like these, but some of my clients have tighter time frames or budgets so longer days aren’t possible.
When that happens the first thing I choose to do once we start the job is
– a general decluttering of the area.

There are almost always items that don’t belong in the space and removing those items will make a big difference during the beginning phases of the organizing process. Keep this in mind the next time you have an overwhelming project and don’t know where to begin

– start by eliminating the items that don’t belong.

This will make what does belong easier to organize and makes the end goal attainable.

You got this!

– Jenna –

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One Size Does Not Fit All in Organizing

By | Least Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | 2 Comments

I think we can all agree that Pinterest is both a blessing and a curse.  As a whole it provides amazing ideas, recipes, inspiration and laughs (I could spend all day on the humor page), but it also gives an incredble influx of information that not everyone can handle and sometimes (okay a lot of times) makes us ungrateful for what we have, jealous for what we don’t have, envious of someone else, and sometimes we spend more money than we should, just to keep up with what we see on Pinterest.  I’ve searched MANY Pinterest pages and boards looking for ideas and inspiration for my clients and if there’s one thing I’ve learned , it’s that, when it comes to organizing, you have to create your own system.  You can’t copy someone else’s work and expect it to work flawlessly for you.  Yes, you can grab ideas, find bins, labels, organizing tools and more but don’t find a picture on the internet and say, “This works for them therefore it will work for me.” It’s not going to happen.  Each space is as unique as the person/family using it and should be organized that way.

Here’s why – your space won’t have the same items the other space has, your needs and expectations are different from the other person’s needs and expectations, and your space as a whole is probably different, even if it’s just slight.  Or maybe it’s not.  Maybe it’s a cookie cutter build and you have an exact match to a space you love but guess what, you’re not that other person!  You’re you!  With your own life to live and with your own life that will fill that space differently.  No two closets I’ve worked in are ever the same.  My clients have different preferences.  There may be similarities, but never identical in the items they hold.  No two pantries are the same.  Again, there may be similarities but I have never come across an exact match for any pantry I’ve seen or worked in.

And I don’t know about you, but I love that.  I love the challenge of coming up with new ideas that will work for my clients.  I love the process of transforming their space to fit their specific needs.  I love seeing the satisfaction on their faces when it’s done and they realize what we’ve done can be maintained after I leave because it was organized with them in mind!

So yes, do your research, find ideas that will work for you, get inspired!  But when it comes down to it make sure the way you’re organizing fits you and your lifestyle.  You’re unique and your space needs to reflect that.

Have any stories to share about your own way of organizing?  If you do, share it with me! Let me know in the comments below!

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A Great Non-Traditional Organizing Tool

By | Most Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | 2 Comments

This is a tool I really like, but it’s not one I commonly use.  And that’s just because it’s not a common item to have in the house.  So what’s the item?  A small tension rod.

The reason I like it is because it’s so easy to use and can transform spaces.  How?  Well you can use them in your pots and pans drawer for lids, in your tupperware drawer to keep lids and containers separate and organized, under your sink to hold spray bottles, as an under the counter paper towel holder, to keep cutting boards organized, and even as a spice rack!  And that’s just ideas for the kitchen!

There are SO many creative ideas out there for all areas of the home.  Type “organize tension rod” into your search engine and then click “images” to see so many different ways to use tensions rods.  Incorporating this one simple item into your home will make your life a little easier, reduce stress and keep those spaces organized… for not a lot of money!  Win win!

So head over to Google and get inspired to get organized today!

Do you love tension rods too?  Or do you think they’re more of a nuisance?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

Picture credit: CountryCurtains.com
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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!

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I Love this Organizing Tool

By | Most Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | No Comments

Last month I wrote about large baskets and how much I love them.  This month I’m going to write about smaller baskets and just a few my reasons for loving them.  If you want a cheap way to organize a drawer, go to a dollar store and buy some pencil baskets.  As much as I love drawer organizers not everyone wants to spend the money on them when small pencil baskets do the same thing AND are easier to move around, which makes re-organizing and rearranging easier.

What else are small baskets good for besides junk drawer organization?  Well they’re a great “catch all” spot for small items when you don’t have time to put them away right away.  By having a designated space for these items they don’t end up all over the house (I wrote about the benefits of having a “drop zone” in your home in a previous post).  Small baskets can be used in pantries to hold random condiment packets or food items; they can be used in cupboards to keep measuring spoons together or all your supplements in one space.  Ladies, they are great in the bathroom to keep nail polish accessories together or all those random hair ties you haven’t lost yet (key word – “yet”).  Gents, need a space for the random coins that end up in your pockets?  Or maybe you need one in your garage for nails or screws.  Parents, keep your kids crayons, markers and colored pencils each in their own specific basket…  Are you getting my point?  There’s so many ways to use small baskets and even if the items in the basket are random, less items out creates more order in the house and makes de-cluttering and organizing a simpler process.

Do you love small baskets too? Or do you find them annoying? Comment below and let me know!

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A Favorite Organizing Tool

By | Most Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | No Comments

I love medium – large baskets.  If I get to a client’s house and they have random large baskets for me to choose from I get so excited.  It makes my job much easier because they’re so easy to use!  Seriously, you can use them in closets, on shelves, in dens and offices, in the pantry; you can use them to store blankets, linens, stuffed animals, kids toys, winter gear, summer wear…. So many possibilities!  And for you parents, they make clean up SOOO easy!  Have your kids toss all of their balls into one basket, all of their stuffed animals into one basket, all of their whatever they have into a basket. Or, if it’s possible just lump all of their toys together in one basket.  That’s the beauty of a basket: it’s contents don’t have to be perfectly arranged so you literally can just throw things in there.

And I’m not prejudiced.  I love all kinds of baskets – wicker, metal, plastic, wire, fabric, whatever.  If it’s a larger basket that I can use to help a person become more organized and stay organized, then I’m all about it.

Now, just to make things clear – I’m NOT advising you to go out and buy a bunch of random baskets with the hope that you’ll find uses for all of them (that’s another post for another time).  But if you have a need and know you’ll use it TODAY, then go get one.  It’s a simple and easy fix for clutter.

Do you love large baskets too? Or do you hate them and think they’re a waste of space? Comment below and let me know!

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One Favorite Organizing Tool

By | Most Favorite Organizing Tools, Weekly Tip | 3 Comments

One thing I absolutely love to use in most of my jobs are utensil organizers.  Obviously they come in handy for utensils (small and large) but I also love them for other random drawers.  I’ve used them in play rooms, arts and crafts spaces, storage areas, junk drawers… They really come in handy in almost every room of the house.  And there’s so many different options out there!  Nice bamboo ones, steel mesh, plastic/rubber, and so many more options! Whatever your style, whatever your budget, investing in a utensil organizer will help any room in your house.

Like this idea? Don’t like it? Comment below and let me know!

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A simple tip to keep the clutter from taking over

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Today’s tip is pretty simple and straightforward. No steps to take, no instructions to read, no cutting, hanging, sewing, rearranging or even organizing. So do you wanna know what this crazy simple tip is? Just this: One in, one out.

How many different neutral toned cardigans do you need? How many pairs of black boots/heels? How many tennis shoes? How many different shades of pink nail polish? How many different pairs of jeans? Or t-shirts? Or hand towels? Or coffee mugs? Or whatever? Though this tip usually gets applied to closets the concept can really be used in any space where items are stored – for every item you put in, pull an item out and get rid of it. Especially if you already have more than you need.

This tip goes hand in hand with one I posted a few months ago “A Tip that’s Little but Mighty”. If you keep these 2 rules in your head whenever you shop then you’ll always have enough space for everything you own.

If you like this tip leave a comment below letting me know! Or leave your own idea for keeping your closet organized!

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The Playroom… Again

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This couple recently purchased a new house for their family of 5. They stayed in the same area of Nashville so while it wasn’t a difficult move distance-wise it still required moving and then setting everything up in a new house. Thanks to some great friends they were almost completely moved in pretty quickly, except for the new playroom. I came in shortly after they moved in and got everything put away and organized so the girls could have their own space in their new home.

In the old home the playroom had previously gone from a messy playroom to an organized arts and craft room. The wife wanted to keep that, but also give her youngest daughter a place to play with her toys. As the girls continue to grow this room will continue to change, but for the moment mom, and the 3 girls, are happy to have a place just for kids.

Oh, and that gigantic unicorn in the corner? It got moved between the girls room and the playroom before Mike deflated it and tucked it away, just waiting for the next pool day.

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