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 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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An organizing tip for your counter top organizer

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This idea was sent to me (along with the pictures) and, quite frankly, I think it’s a pretty smart idea. If you use a counter top organizer for random items (pens, pencils, notepads, mail, etc) one handy item to keep in there is a pair of scissors. But how do you keep those scissors standing up straight when the items around it are constantly getting taken out and then put back in? Or, how do you keep the scissors from sliding down as soon as you put the them back in? Well, this clever lady put her scissors in an old glasses holder she had lying around and VOILA! No more digging for scissors at the bottom of the container!

I love this idea and I also love receiving ideas from you guys! If you have any organizing tips you use in your every day life please leave them in the comments below or email them to me (jenna@topshelforganizing.com). I’ve received some great ones already like the post about bungee cords and this post about six pack holders. Let me know what works for you because I’m always on the hunt for great tips and tricks.

Also, in case you missed this announcement from several weeks ago, for every idea you send me you get 15% off future organizing or staging services. And that’s not limited to readers in Nashville. If you’re within a 60 mile radius, or you are in Mason County up in western Michigan, this applies to you as well! (Unfortunately at this time anything more than an hour away from Nashville is not possible for me).

So, leave a comment below with your favorite organizing tip and/or let me know what you think of this tip! 

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Office Drawers

By | Recent Work | No Comments

This client and his wife have amazing storage in their home. One room in particular is the office. He has a great built-in desk with lots of drawers and shelves and another built-in piece that resembles a dresser but with slim drawers. These 2 pieces have long been in desperate need of organizing and, fortunately, my client asked me to take care of them for him, which I gladly did in just 2 hours.

Below are just a few pictures of the drawers I organized that day.




Slide the blue lines right and left to see “before/after” pictures.

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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.

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Must…. Buy…. Containers…. Or maybe not.

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When you’re setting out to organize, it’s easy to let your imagination run away with you and rush out to buy all the best organizing doo-hickeys and baskets and containers and everything else stores and magazines tell you you absolutely need in order to organize your space. But guess what, chances are you’ll spend a lot of money for stuff you don’t actually need. There are a couple of steps you can go through to avoid spending a lot of money or having to deal with returning a bunch of items once your done with your organizing project.

First, pull out everything you have in that room/space and sort it into piles (i.e. trash, donate, for friends, keep in space and put in storage). This will make a bigger mess, but it always looks worse (way worse) before it gets better (helpful hint so you don’t freak out when it happens). From there, notice what you already have lying around. Hopefully you just put a good amount into the trash, donate and for friends piles – what were those items held in? Is there anything you can group together (still keeping like with like) that will free up a container? Do you have a random basket tucked away in a closet that you just couldn’t part with, and until now haven’t had any reason to use but just knew one day you would? Chances are you already have storage bins and containers without having to go to the trouble of buying a lot more. I’m a big advocate of using what you have. I understand wanting spaces to look trendy with matching baskets and complimentary colors, but if you’re more concerned about being money-savvy, get creative and see what you have lying around your house… or in your basement… or attic… or closet… or under the bed…

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And where does that go?

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Happy Monday! Man, I never knew how quickly a week could go until I had a deadline to meet each week. People who do daily blogs have my utmost respect!

So, for this blog I’m pulling from another person experience. Not personal as in ‘I’ve noticed this in myself so learn from my mistake’, but personal as in ‘I’ve noticed this about people around me so learn from their mistake’. Here it is – when you are done with something PUT IT AWAY RIGHT AWAY. I guarantee if you get in to this habit you are going to be amazed at how clean your house stays.

Done eating breakfast? Don’t leave the dish(es) in the sink where they will pile up and then just become overwhelming and not something you want to tackle after a long and exhausting day. Take the bowl and spoon directly to the dishwasher (assuming, of course, you have a dishwasher. If you don’t, keep a soap dispensing sponge brush handy and give that dirty dish a quick clean after using it).

All done making that amazing cup of coffee? As you drink it, take a minute to put away whatever you had to pull out to make it. Just came in from running an errand or picking the kids up from school? Put your keys, sunglasses, purse, wallet, shoes, and whatever else you brought in with you where they go. Get in this habit and your evening won’t entail cleaning up the messes that have accumulated around your house throughout the day.

Obviously we don’t always have time to put things away right away. On those days, put the dirty dishes or scissors or paperwork or tape or check book and calculator or whatever it is away as soon as you can.

*Bonus points if you have kids and start teaching them to do this with their toys, clothes, school items, etc. It will be a good reminder for you to do it as well.
**If you made time to take it out, take time to put it back.

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Forget the counter top, I thought i had a table here….

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A few weeks ago I wrote about paperwork taking up precious counter space, but let’s be honest – for most people it’s not simply paperwork cluttering the counter tops and table tops, it’s life…. in every form it can take. Bills, pens, pencils, keys, homework, the newspaper, magazines, books, spare change, photographs, ticket stubs, fliers, coupons, random items we aren’t even sure how they got there or where they go and so much more that, yeah, it can get out of control very quickly.

But it’s also not just counter tops that can be collection points – ANY flat surface is a magnet for junk. So, on places where you don’t want clutter to collect, keep just one or 2 items so it’s obvious when something gets put down that doesn’t belong. And then be proactive and put that item away.

If the space just naturally has more than 1 or 2 items, keep a small basket or bowl or jar to keep the junk contained. Usually a space gets cluttered over time – this one small single item turns in to multiple items that turns in to a pile that gets bigger and then maybe another pile gets added to it and eventually you can’t even see the counter/desk/table top.

Believe it or not, keeping the items contained in something (as long as it’s not a large container) will actually make going through the items less overwhelming. When clutter gets out of hand is when the out of control feeling starts and our natural tendency is to push-off taking care of it until another day. To combat this, set aside a specific time each week to go through that collection bin/jar/bowl and deal with the items right away. Put them where they go.

Now, go look around your house and see what surface needs to be cleared.

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I thought I had a countertop here…

By | Weekly Tip | One Comment

Here’s a personal tip from a job I’ve been working on for the past year (and it’s a recurring job, not an organizing job that has taken a year. That would be crazy). Anyways, here’s my tip: don’t let papers pile up on any surface whatsoever. It may be a desk, a coffee table, a kitchen table, a dining room table, a counter top, or it may be any other surface you can think of that I can’t. Wherever that place is you’re thinking of right now, I can almost guarantee papers don’t belong there.

Papers belong in 1 of 3 places. #1 In a filing cabinet. #2 The trash/recycle bin. #3 In a box for safekeeping (this includes important papers or mementos). Or, they may end up in a small box/bin to go through at a later time (where they should then end up in 1 of the 3 aforementioned places. So I guess that’s like, 3.5 places). In my (*ahem) professional opinion, if a piece of paper doesn’t have a place to go, it will end up haphazardly thrown on whatever surface you were thinking of earlier and it will just end up taking up space. And no one wants that to happen. Not me and especially not you.

So get in the habit of putting your paperwork where it belongs right away. Otherwise, you may never see that section of flat surface again.

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One way to not end your life miserably

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Do you have a messy desk in your home office, spare bedroom, or, as in my parent’s case, kitchen? One way to stay organized in this area is to give each drawer its own category, however broad or limited that may be. This will come in handy when you’re on the hunt for that one item you desperately need. Too many junk drawers will make it almost impossible to locate it and then you’ll get frustrated and if you get frustrated you’ll get angry and if you get angry no one will like you and you’ll lose all your friends and be miserable for the rest of your life. Don’t end your life miserably – organize your desk drawers!

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