Sometimes we just need to be reminded of the basics! If you have an organizing project and don't know where to start, look no further than this quick guide! It's all about the basics.
1) SET ASIDE TIME: Block of 3 hours to start your project. Make this a time with no interruptions. No kids or phones!
2) START SMALL: Pick a room and choose a small area, such as your desktop or one drawer to start.
3) ASK QUESTIONS: For every object, as yourself, do you want it, love it, or need it? If the answer is "no" let it go!
4) CAN IT BE DONATED? Donate items that still have use! Check out my favorite donation organizations here.
5) HOW ABOUT RECYCLED? Can't donate it? Use the RecycleWhere tool to find recycling and responsible disposal options.
6) KEEP GOING: Stay focused on your chosen area and your work will pay off! If you need some extra help, feel free to book a session!
In San Francisco, our garages need to work hard. They may hold a collection of bikes, tools, toys, art supples and even a car! Too often, however, the garage is the ultimate dumping zone. Wouldn't it be nice to walk in your garage and love it? Imagine a place where it's easy to get around and find what you need. Is garage zen too much to ask for? I don't think so. It just takes some time and work.
PLAN. Block off a section of time to start your project. I recommend 3-5 hours. Make this a time with no interruptions. No kids, phones or pets. You may not be finished at the end of this time, but you will have a good start. Keep at it and stay focused.
SORT. Pick an area (such as the workbench) or a category (such as sports gear) and start asking yourself questions about the items you find. Is this item being used by you or someone else in the family? Is it needed? Does it work? Has it seen better days? Assess EVERY item you come across.
DONATE. If the item is not needed or wanted, can it be donated? Not sure? Check out my list of local SF donation organizations. Place smaller items in grocery bags and put everything near the door. It's helpful to label the bag with the organization's name. If it's not something you can donate, recycle or responsibly dispose of it. Is it toxic? Call Recology to do a pickup at (415) 330-1405.
ORGANIZE. If the item stays, find the right home for it, remembering to place it with like items. Not sure where it goes? Would bins, hooks or shelves be helpful? Put these items on a list and keep going. Stay focused on the task at hand.
STORE. Once you have purged the area, additional storage is often needed. Should you hang the bikes? More shelving? You could go with a simple shelving unit from a home supply store, mounted shelving such as Elfa Utility, or an entire garage system such as Monkey Bars. Whichever way you go, purging and organizing must come first. For additional garage organizing ideas check out my garage Pinterest board.
As always, feel free to book a session if you would like some help in creating your own garage zen!
Collection of Beanie Babies that were donated to UCSF Children's hospital. Rabbit not included!
Remember Beanie Babies? If not, they were hugely collectable stuffed animals in the late 90's. People went nuts for them for a time! Well, a client of mine recently decided that it was time to let go of her vast beanie baby collection. She had at least 100 beanie babies of every variety. Chameleons, scorpions, zebras, lobsters and lots of bears. Who knew?
My client wanted to let go of them, but it was important to her that they go directly to a kids organization. Thankfully Nicole and Heather in the Community Relations department at USSF Benioff Children's Hospital were happy to accept them! Now they will be brightening up the lives of lots of kids and their families! I can't think of a better way to part with a beloved collection.
Heather of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital accepting the beanie babies and my daughter helping to make the delivery!
Being an organizer, means you haul a lot of stuff around. For the months of September and October, members of NAPO are challenged to post photos of each of their donation loads for the #NAPOCaresChallenge. The photos below document all of the donations I hauled and donated in September as well as the recipient organizations!
In case you were wondering, NAPO (The National Association of Professional Organizers) is an association of over 4,000 organizing and productivity specialists who are dedicated to helping people and organizations bring order and efficiency to their lives.
I have been a NAPO member since 2006. As well as being a national member, I am also an active member in our local Bay Area Chapter NAPO-SFBA. Being involved in this wonderful organization helps me to continually educate myself on best practices in the organizing industry. It also means I have a wealth of resources, in the knowledge of my fellow members, at my fingertips!
Do you have a few things around the house that you no longer want or need, but haven't gotten around to giving away? We all do. Maybe it's time to check out Yerdle.
Yerdle is a new website that's basically an online swap meet. The big difference with Yerdle is instead of using cash to buy and sell items, you use Yerdle Dollars. After getting an account, you post a photo of the items you no longer need. You then send it off to the purchaser with a prepaid envelope provided by Yerdle. By doing this, you earn Yerdle Dollars which you can then use to purchase other items on Yerdle. Their mission is to reduce the number of new things we purchase by giving and receiving items instead. So far over 600,000 items have been given on Yertle!
I love this quote from their About page "Our relationship with stuff is broken. We all feel overwhelmed by our clutter, even as we race along the treadmill of buying more stuff."
I couldn't agree more!
I have not used Yerdle personally, but it sounds pretty awesome! You can use the following link to get $35 in free Yerdle Dollers! If you do, I would love to hear about your experience.
When helping a client get organized, we often come across things they no longer need, but they just don't know what to do with. When it is something of a crafty or unusual nature, I automatically think of donating it to SCRAP.
SCRAP is one of my all-time favorite San Francisco donation sites. For almost 40 years they have been helping teachers, artists and other crafty folks get supplies at affordable prices. Walking into their Bayview warehouse is like walking into someones very well supplied and organized garage. There are rows of fabric, buttons, frames, paper and decorations and everything is lovingly sorted. There are also dolls, artwork and other unusual treasures awaiting you.
So the next time you clean out your craft closet, fabric stash or holiday decorations, take them to SCRAP and have a ball wandering through their wonderland. It's worth a trip!
801 Toland St. (entrance on Newcomb)
San Francisco, CA, 94124
Kids are prolific artists! The painting, the gluing, the drawing! It's wonderful to see our child engrossed in making art, but perhaps it's not so wonderful to see the dining room table covered with glitter glue.
There is a solution. Whether it's a table in the corner of the kitchen or a whole room, let them have a space to unleash their creativity.
Gather & Purge. The first step is to gather all the art supplies in one place and purge, purge, purge! Keep what they need and take the rest to SCRAP.
Get the Essentials. You don't need much to create an art area. I suggest a table, a few chairs, pen/pencil holders, and a place to hold supplies like paper, coloring books and stickers. Get some inspiration from my Kid Art Areas Pinterest board.
Create a Gallery. Kids love to see their work displayed! The fridge is fine, but two of my favorite ways of displaying art is on a clothesline and in hinged frames. Have fun making art together!
So many of my clients have beautiful jewelry they would love to wear, but don't because it's in a tangled mess. If this sounds like you, here are some steps you can take to remedy the situation.
1) Purge. Take everything out and assess. Ten pairs of hoop earrings? Broken necklaces? Clear out everything you don't love and donate or sell it.
2) Store. Next, look at my Pinterest board about Jewelry Organizing to give you some ideas about storing your favorites. Could you use drawer inserts, or a tree stand? Pick one or two and go for it. Maybe now that all the excess is gone, the storage you have works perfectly!
3) Organize. This is the fun part! Organize all of your favorites into your new system. Remember to maintain the system by putting things back after you wear them. Be prepared to feel fabulous!
Erin Becker is the owner of PICK IT UP, a