1 Simple Tip to Make the Seasonal Change a Little Easier

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Fall Is Approaching…

July is here! Hopefully you’re in the midst of summer fun. But before you realize it autumn will be here, and with it school for kiddos, cooler weather, changing out the wardrobe, heavier shoes, protecting plants, switching out summer gear for winter, etc. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with the change of seasons, begin your prep now. How? Simple.


Make a list of all you need to accomplish


I’m a big fan of lists and keep an ever changing, constantly updating “to do” list on my phone.
if you tend to feel overwhelmed with all that comes with the change of seasons (which is different for every person), take advantage of this tip and get your list going now. Whether you’re a paper and pencil person or someone who keeps everything on their phone, once you’re in the midst of the craziness of fall, you’ll be glad you have the friendly little reminder that will leave you feeling productive and on top of what you need to tackle. Just make sure that list is easily accessible and not in a place where you’ll forget it!



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I Need Help!!

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

Overwhelmed with your project(s)?

Do you have too many projects surrounding you? Last month I challenged you to start a project during the month of January. Did you do it? Did you begin a project? The bigger question is, did you finish the project? So many times people start a project but before finishing it they begin another one, and then another one, and then another one…
and eventually they get overwhelmed and just give up on everything they’ve been working on and nothing gets completed.

So here’s today’s tip:

Finish one project before moving on to the next

Pick one project, big or small, and FINISH IT!
Then ride the wave of excitement that comes with a project being done and tackle another partially completed project.
Focus on each project as you’re working on it and see each one through to completion before going on to the next.

You can do it!


One Way to Overcome the Post Holiday Blues

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

Beating the Winter Slump

Christmas is past. We’ve rung in the new year and now 2019 has begun… and for most of us, that means a few more months of dark, cold winter. If just the thought of that makes you feel depressed, here’s one tip that will help banish that gloomy mood and will keep you motivated and productive when winter feels like it will never end:

Tackle A Project

Think about it, winter is the only season when you’re mostly inside your home. It’s dark longer, it’s usually very cold (relevant to where you are) and snow days are real things, in work and school. There may be the occasional walk or play date outside, but no one is packing up their family for a picnic at the park and staying out late in January (at least not here in the US). Since you’re going to be home more anyways, find a project you’ve been meaning to tackle, and use this month to actually do it! Whether that is organizing, painting, rearranging, purging, DIYing, etc, make the most of this forced “inside-ness” and stay productive. Then, when spring finally rolls around, you can get outside more knowing your home is in good shape.

One of my Favorite Tips when Tackling Storage Spaces

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Eating an Elephant Monthly Newsletter

Don’t Mix and Match

Whether you’re organizing your garage, attic, basement or storage shed,
this one piece of advice will go a long way in getting that area organized in  a way that you will be able to maintain it:

– use the same containers –

This could mean the same bins throughout the entire space, or specific bins for each category (Christmas, keepsake, kids clothes, etc).
However you choose to organize them, having the same bins in the same area will make organizing, stacking, and locating
easier than trying to shove a bunch of mismatched bins together in one place.

Also, I typically recommend bins with locking lids when working in these areas, because they last longer and
do a better job keeping dirt, insects and who knows what else out of your bins.

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 –

The Tool Unit

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This job was a little different from other one’s because this job came to me through an online auction I participated in. The winner received a free consultation and 2 hours of organizing. She chose her husband’s “tool area” that occupies a section of her basement. She purchased plastic bins from Dollar General (which helped to keep the cost down) and in 2 hours we were able to purge, sort and organize her husbands tools as well as a few other random items that needed a home on the newly organized shelving unit.


Slide the blue line R and L to see the before and after

A new way to store your tools

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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!

Basement Storage

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This working mom and her family lead a very busy life – both she and her husband have full-time, out of the house jobs and they have 3 young kids at home, as well as a large dog. So when Mother’s Day came around, this busy mom knew exactly what she wanted as a gift. She contacted Top Shelf to organize her main area of frustration – the basement shelving unit.

She wanted the items on the shelf to be accessible but still organized and stored, so no storage bins were needed for this job. I was able to work while the family was out of the house and within a few short hours had the shelving unit organized and usable for this active family of 5.

I made sure to leave some space so as things get added or taken away, there will always be room for the items on the shelves.

To see the “before/after” slide the blue line right and left.

First tip of the new year!

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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.

Past the point of no return…

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Organizing isn’t for everyone. I get that. I count on that for my business actually. But one thing everyone can do is throw something away. In fact there’s a very good chance you already do that on a daily basis (at least I hope you do!).

I know one of the first assumptions people make about professional organizers is they come in to the house and just start throwing things away. But guess what… that’s simply not true. HOWEVER, if something has expired then yes, it definitely needs to go and professional organizers will be the first person in line to chuck those items in the trash. Not because all expired items are harmful but they do lose some of their potency and/or taste once they reach the date of expiration. Below is a list of items with expiration dates, and some of them might surprise you:

Dried pasta: 12 months
Maple Syrup: 12 months
Mustard: 2 years
Olive Oil: 2 years
White Rice: 2 years from date on box
Aerosol Air Freshener: 2 years
Bleach: 3-6 months
Windex: 2 years
Body Lotion: 3 years
Lipstick: 2 years
Nail Polish: 1 year
Blush/Bronzer: 18 months after first use
Mascara: 3 months
Face Moisturizer: 12 months after first use
Soap: 2-3 years
Dishwasher detergent: 1 year
Spray Paint: 2-3 years
Laundry Detergent: 6-12 months
Disinfectants: 2 years

So today, go through a room, a closet, a cupboard or a drawer and start checking expiration dates and then start chucking. If you aren’t sure if something has an expiration date you can probably find it on-line. Here’s a helpful link to get you going:

77 Surprising Expiration Dates

Once you’ve cleared out the expired items from a localized spot, suddenly organizing isn’t quite so overwhelming.


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