Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Animal Series, Article 2 – Is Your Mustang in Your Garage?

Article 2 in a Series of 3

I’ve watched a few episodes of ” Two Broke Girls” on CBS.  When Caroline (the newest broke girl) moved into Max’s (the already broke girl) apartment, she brought along few possessions from her former rich lifestyle. Her most cherished possession, however, was a horse that they put in the backyard since they obviously coul not put it in the small apartment. I found it hilarious that they thought they would be able to keep the horse in the backyard and eventually, with winter approaching, they had to move it to a stable that would, of course, be an extra expense to them.

I’ve never seen a horse in anyone’s garage, yet. However, we acquire so much stuff, I’m wondering if someone does have a horse in their garage. If you know someone who does, let me know. Our original intent of having a garage is to keep our cars in it.   When other stuff starts piling up, where do we put our cars?  Outside! This can become an extra expense because your car can obtain weather related damage.

Some of you may want your garage to serve as a multi-purpose space. A garage and a workshop or a garage and storage area are two examples. Whatever your space needs are, here are a few simple organizing tips to making your garage a functional space:

1. Develop a plan for how you want the garage to function.

2. Clean out the space completely and make repairs where needed.

3. Sort items. Items that are no longer useful or important that don’t need repair, give away or sell.  Discard junk that cannot be repaired. These are usually the things that take up most space in the garage.

4. Everything that you plan on putting back into the space, sort into categories, such as sporting equipment, tools, chemicals and paints, seasonal items, etc..

5. Items such as rakes, shovels, lawn chairs, bikes, and sleds can be hung on the wall with large, sturdy hooks. You can purchase garages at hardware stores such as Ace Hardware.

6. Invest in some type of cabinetry or shelving units to store items that cannot be hung on the walls.

7. Be safety concious. Store chemicals and paints in their original containers in locked cabinets. Keep a fire extinguisher rated “ABC” (effective for all types of fires) in the garage.

Clutter is all about delaying making decisions. So if you haven’t decided what to do with the “horse” you’ve kept in the garage, make the decision to get out it right now, especially since spring is just around the corner.

The Animal House Series, Article 1 – What’s Hogging Your Closet?

 Article 1 in a Series of 3

(Are those…   canned goods…  in your closet?!!!)

    After leaving my job in Washington, DC, I returned home to stay with my Mom until I could find a place to live in Nashville, TN. With time on my hand, I did the thing that was most natural for me. I found tasks to keep me busy and to “earn my keep” while my Mom was at work. Although semi-retired, she still runs her own housecleaning business.

I opened my Mom’s clothing closet, and not to my surprise, I found stockpiled can goods and staples. I wasn’t surprised because my Mom is from the Depression era and she always stockpiled food during my childhood.

After sorting the food items, I put quite a few rusted, expired cans and a couple of old bags of rice and macaroni in a  box and placed them on her back porch  (to assure her they were expired before I threw them away). I then organized her kitchen cabinets placing the food items from her closet into them. When she came home, I showed her my work. She politely said she knew she probably had a lot of expired food, that some had been given to her and some she just forgot about.  She wasn’t quite sure if she liked the newly arranged cabinets but thought she could live with the change. However, I think she wanted permission from someone else that it was okay to let go of some things people give you.

Change doesn’t come easy for many of us. Lesson learned for me–always ask before proceeding to make changes to someone’s home, even if I do have good intentions and even if it is my own mother!  Let me assure you, as a professional organizer, I will work with you and will never intrude into your space to discard anything or make any changes without your permission. I hope she’ll let me organize that closet soon.

We all know that food products have an expiration date. However, if we’re keeping food in our closets, or places other than our pantries, and don’t use before expiration, we’re wasting money, space, and  a possible health risk if we eat expired food, according to WebMD. You can get more information on food product dating from USDA Fact Sheets: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Food_Product_dating/index.asp. Whether we stockpile food because we grew up in a less prosperous time, or because we feel obligated to keep what others have given us, letting go or using food items before expiration can be a weight off our shoulders. In fact, it may feel a bit like hog heaven!

Click here to download a free printable Grocery List!