organize

Get Organized with FAT- File, Act, Toss

Hello and Happy New Year! While we’re still on our motivational highs for 2015, I thought I’d continue where I left off last week, as I discussed tips to declutter your home post-holiday season, here. So now that you’ve tossed all the unnecessaries and shed the weight it’s time to get FAT… in a good way! FAT is an organizational system that a friend of mine created. It’s a wonderful antidote to hoarding, and it’s a good fat, not fat chub chub. Who’s with me for some organizational tools that actually work?! We just spent time cleaning/tossing/donating all our excess, so now we must sort through what’s staying and where it’s going to live!

Step #1  F – File it

If it comes in the mail, if you need to hold onto it, if you want to keep it for future reference, file it. And file it now. Today! Otherwise it will sit in a pile and the pile will grow and grow until you can’t remember what it is anymore. We’ve all been there. All those coupons we swore we were going to use only to find them buried between 8 pounds of Restoration Hardware catalogs. We get eagerly excited to see our dear little discounted friend again, only to realize… yep, it expired a month ago! No bueno. Identify a designated area in your home (where you stack your mail often works well) where you will sort through things like mail, bills, medical records, legal documents and all that paperwork that comes home from school and start sorting.

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As for all those loose items like gift cards, reward cards and coupons? Use an errand planner or business card file concept that keeps things all in plain view. I’m not proud to admit that I’ve found myself at the cashier stand at Target only to walk away realizing I had a gift card hiding in my wallet somewhere that I could have used. Ouch. You been there too? If you can’t see it, you don’t know it’s there. Time to get organized.

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Step#2   A – Act on it

Do you need to pay it? Return a call? Email it to someone? Act on it now and then file it or throw it away. Cross it off the list and be done with it. Take a few minutes to take care of those important little things so you don’t forget to do it. Don’t put it off! If you are one of those people who come back to it over and over again, act on it first thing in the morning before you start your day. Resist the temptation to check emails and social media. That can all wait. Get your head on straight and knock those lingering tasks off your list before today’s curveball gets thrown your way. You’ll be glad you did!

Step# 3   T – Toss it

Why are you keeping this item/bill/record/etc? Is it truly necessary for the future? Will you need it in 6 months to a year? If so, then File it! And, file it within your system. If not, shed the weight! Here’s a great flow chart you can refer to…

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Keys to Success

–          A label maker. Everybody can use a label maker at some point or another. They’re awesome, they’re helpful, and they’re downright fun to use! I like the Brother P-Touch personally. Everybody needs a Bro-tha!

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Ahhh, the look of labels. You can officially uncross your eyes!

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–          Virtually file. Bank statements, utility bills, etc. can all be stored on your computer. Get rid of unnecessary paper waste, go green, and save these to your computer. For other task management systems like to-do lists or recipe storage, try an app that works both with your computer and your smartphone, like Evernote or Wunderlist. Toss that extra paper into the recycle bin and enjoy your extra shelf space.

–          Compartmentalize – in other words, contain yourself! Stores like The Container Store are around because they are downright awesome. Stack of magazines? Tuck them into a basket and keep them current! If you’re holding onto it for one measly article, clip that article, file and store. Kids toys? Group those in stacking baskets.

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Organize that junk in your drawers into neatly divided sections with Lucite drawer inserts. Clarity is key. You can compartmentalize but if you can’t see it, you may not know it’s there. I’m a big fan of clear dividers for this reason! All of a sudden you can find your paperclips, stapler, post-its, tape, makeup, etc. You can find things in record time, and if things are lying around on the counter, you have a designated well-organized space to put them.

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–          Treat yourself to stylish and fun organizational accessories that make you smile. Bright colors, a dose of sparkle, whatever it may be, if you love the way it looks, you will definitely be more committed to using it! See Jane Work is a fave staple of mine that offers it all – a hip, thoughtful collection of goodies sure to help you organize your desk and your life.

Everything deserves to have a home within your home, it’s that simple. Cheers to getting FAT in 2015!

xo,

Emily

 

Project Undecorate

I spend a lot of time in my little corner of the internet chatting about decorating. But what about undecorating? Whether it’s the holidays or the middle of your average uneventful week, everybody can and should undecorate. Now is the perfect time to do so since you’re just coming out of your Christmas food coma and wondering what to do between now and New Years. Why not make decluttering a New Years Resolution? This is the perfect time to shed the weight. We resolve to do it for New Years with our bodies, so why not do it in our homes?? With the holidays we go out and spend money to buy MORE stuff to bring into our homes! The average household has way more stuff than most of us ever need or even use. This week I am personally dedicating some time to shedding the extra stuff, the extra weight and here’s how you can join me in some very easy, achievable solutions for a fresh start to 2015, starting with your living space!

Unload, unburden, get rid of stuff. Edit, edit, edit.

#1 Put It Away

Start with the easy things- all that holiday garb. Nobody wants a Christmas tree in their living room come March. No one thinks your blow up lawn Santa is cute after January 2nd and Christmas lights are not meant to be left strung up year round. Bottom line, none of this is adding anything to your post-holiday curb appeal. Take that Target gift card Santa gave you and treat yourself to some color coded bins (red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween, etc.) to store your holiday items so they are easily recognized and accessible.

#2 Throw It Away

If your singing holiday angel now croaks because she was dropped on floor one too many times, get rid of it. If there are too many glitter infested ornaments leaving slut dust all over your floor, think about eliminating some, I mean, how many can you really have? If things break or no longer work or just start to look like a collection of junk, edit them down.

#3 Donate

Goodwill, Salvation Army- get that tax deduction before year end! Still worried about “giving” something sentimental away?  Why not give it to a family that can truly use it if you aren’t?

#4 Edit, edit, edit

I often hear, ‘I don’t like it, but that’s worth a lot of money!!’. It’s only worth something if you sell it. If you don’t like it, it’s not worth anything to you! If it truly is worth something, cash out and move on! Ebay, craigslist, garage sale, antiques road show, whatever, but don’t keep it just because someone might potentially pay you something for it, especially if you don’t like it.

My recommendation is that if you haven’t worn it or used it in 1 year, really evaluate if you have use for this item? If not, set it aside. I like to keep a running giveaway bag at all times in the closet in the guest bedroom. When I come across clothing, toys, books, whatever that I am no longer using, I put it in that bag. I would say that I add to the bag at least every week. I’m not a hoarder but I’m certainly not a minimalist either. Bottom line is that we accumulate, and at some point some things have got to go! It’s truly amazing when you clear out things and literally create more space in your environment, how you feel that you have created space within yourself and your mind as well. I am rigorous with clients about getting them to declutter, donate, filter, and once they literally unburden themselves of things, they always tell me how much better they feel in their mind as well.

Lastly, note that everybody has some sentimental items that might be seen as ugly, or useless, or inconsequential. You have them, I have them, we all do. I’m not saying to get rid of anything ugly or old just because it’s not currently en vogue or because your stylish neighbor poo-poos it. Just carefully select which items you choose to surround yourself with. Surround yourself with things that are a reflection of the best side of yourself and if that’s all stuff from your great-grandmother, so be it. But if something is useless or bothersome, or ugly to you, then part with it and leave it at that. Stay tuned for our next post on getting organized and staying organized in the new year! Happy New Year and here’s to shedding those empty calories Design Dish style!

xo,

Emily

P.S. Check out this hilarious little stand-up clip from the Tonight Show where Jerry Seinfeld all about how we accumulate ‘stuff’!