Get Organized and Be Lazy

On January 27, 2014, in Home Organizing, by Janice Simon
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As a professional organizer, one of the questions I’m asked on a regular basis is if I’m organized because I like it or have OCD.

Well, I have a dash of OCD, and I do like being organized. More importantly,  I am organized because I am lazy.

I am not fond of looking for stuff when I need it especially when getting ready for work in the morning. When I get ready, I need my clothes, shoes, socks, make-up, brush, and everything else at my fingertips and ready to use. If I’m looking for a document or photo, I want to find it quickly.

Get Organized and Be Lazy

Never fear, dear readers. You, too, can get organized and be lazy!

Here’s how:

  • Everything in your closet should fit you and be ready to wear. If it’s not your size or needs to be repaired or ironed, it should come out or be stored in another part of the closet or home. The same goes for shoes, underwear, pajamas, and other clothing items. This helps me get ready much quicker in the mornings since I know everything is ready to go.
  • Have a landing strip. Drop your keys, purse, and wallet in the same spot each time you come home. This eliminates the need to find your keys and such when you’re leaving the house.
  • Have assigned homes for your stuff. When you return your things to assigned homes, you can find your stuff easier and faster. Since I am super duper nearsighted, I can grab my lip balm in the dark of night without my glasses because I know where everything is located.
  • Know what you need. When mail comes into my home, most of it goes into the recycling can or the shredder (affiliate link). I know I don’t need new furniture, credit cards, phone service, real estate agent, or a dentist, and I also like to shop at particular stores. When I get mail for anything I don’t need or not interested in, I trash it immediately. No fuss, no muss.
  • Know what you have. Because I can easily see items that I do have, I’m not buying duplicates of things I already have. I know what I have, and when it gets low, I capture that on my shopping list.
  • Know what you use. On Evernote, I have a list of the beauty products that I currently use. The list includes the hair color I use to cover my special blondes, cosmetic brands and names, moisturizers, etc. When I’m out shopping, I can easily look up what I use if I can’t remember the specific color or number on a product.
  • Make paper digital. Paper leads to clutter. To cut down on paper, I pay my bills online and signed up for paperless statements with the companies who offer them. When I receive special bills, such as annual vehicle registration, I pay them online when possible.

With these tips, you too can be organized. Then, take a nap.

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3 Simple Reasons Why You Should Maintain Your To Do List

On January 24, 2014, in Productivity, by Stephanie Shalofsky
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As 2014 has just started, this is the perfect time to re-think the process that is being used for managing your to do list as there are probably an ever increasing number of tasks that need to be addressed in both your professional and personal lives.

There may be a new project to be started at work, plans to be made for the upcoming family trip to visit your parents, and re-storing and restocking your home now that the holidays are officially over.  Everywhere we turn there will probably be another item to add to the growing task list which will make organizing your to do list potentially a project all by itself!

The real challenge is capturing all these tasks in one place and then managing  your list.  You may believe that you can easily remember what needs to be done and might not see the need to start making lists.  But, I am a firm believer in organizing your to do list and then maintaining the list.

Maintain Your To Do List

Here are three reasons why your should maintain your to do list:

1. Have Less Stress. We all lead extremely busy lives and likely don’t want to add to our stress levels. By relying on your memory to address all that needs to be done is tempting fate. There is always that one really important, time sensitive task that needs to be done that will keep popping in/out of your mind…most likely at 3 AM when there is nothing that you can do about it!

By noting what needs to be done — either on paper or by using an app — you will be able to clear your mind so that you can focus on the actual mechanics of getting the tasks done.

2. No More Scraps of Paper. Keeping an organized to do list of all those tasks you need to complete, whether they be mundane like stopping at the dry cleaner or more significant like setting your first quarter goals, will put you on the path to getting the essential tasks addressed.

The key to success is actually creating a list so it doesn’t really matter whether you use a paper pad or an app.  Jotting down what needs to be done on old receipts, takeout menus, or today’s newspaper may provide a temporary feeling of relief. However, when there is another scrap of paper containing a notation of something that you should be doing every place you look , it will soon become abundantly clear that this approach for maintaining your to do list is not effective.

3. Have More Control.  If you collect all of your to do’s in one place, you will be able to see the big picture and, after a very quick review of the list, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about each day’s priorities. By doing this, you can ensure that all of the key deadlines will be met. Reviewing the list provides an opportunity to include additional tasks that may have been overlooked so that your task list is as complete as possible.

Keeping a master to do list to track your current and future tasks will prove to be great tool in improving productivity in 2014 There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing a completed task off the list!

 

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Many thanks to Marilyn Rogers for today’s post on productivity.

Take a minute to close your eyes and visualize the places and spaces that boost your productivity.

Are you most productive when in a tidy corner at your favorite bookstore or library? Are you productive at your favorite coffee shop – even when conversations and customers surround you? Perhaps you enjoy working by the warmth of a cozy fire at your favorite beachside restaurant.

Wherever your “happy productive place” might be, there’s something that these spaces have in common. They’re well organized, functional, and comfortable. Imagine making your home office into a special “happy productive place.”

Keep reading for tips to transform your home office into a space for extreme productivity.

extreme productivity

Original Image Credit: New Workspace by nkeppol 

 

1. Clutter is Kryptonite to Productivity – Eliminate it!

Do you remember Superman’s reaction to Kryptonite? Superman becomes paralyzed with the inability to do even the simplest things, his strength and motivation diminishes, and he falls to the ground –- powerless. Clutter destroys your motivation just like Kryptonite zaps Superman’s energy. Clutter can inhibit your creativity, problem solving skills, and negatively impact your efficiency.

Picture a group of people poking you on the arm and saying, “Hey, can I get a minute?” This is clutter.

Clutter is the insidious attention grabber that’s always demanding your focus. There’s an easy fix — clear your space to clear your mind.

There are several organizing products and solutions designed to help you tackle clutter. Most of these products and solutions have one thing in common – they’re designed to hold related items in groups. Clustering your things into groups helps you find items when you need them simply because it’s easier to remember where they’re located.

Clearing your workspace by stowing items away that you don’t need to use every day will help you get productive in no time. Tools for grouping and organizing these items include:

  • Filing cabinets and filing systems for paper items
  • Holders and organizers for pens, pencils, paper clips, and other office supplies
  • Bookshelves where you can divide books by novels, DIY, writing, business, etc.
  • Baskets (affiliate link) and bins for larger items and keepsakes

Once your office is clutter-free, don’t forget to maintain it by taking 5-10 minutes each day to file or digitize new paper items, and by putting away items that you’ve used during the day.

2. Work in Happy Spaces Defined by YOU

According to a study by the University of Exeter, participants who have control over design and layout decisions in their workspace enjoyed increased productivity of 32%. Consequently, decorating a space to your own liking might greatly increase your productivity, as well.

Everybody has his or her own unique style. What motivates me may or may not motivate you to be productive. Take note of the colors and designs that inspire you. Think about your “happy productive place.” What do you like about it — the color, the natural elements, the layout?

The next time you’re making amazing progress on your daily tasks and feeling focused when away from home, take photos of and notes about the inspiring space where you’re working. This way, you can later apply the design concepts to your home office.

3. Choose the Right Colors – They Make a World of Difference

color wheel

Image Credit: Colour Lovers

Feng shui is a practice that applies spatial arrangement and energy balance for optimum design and layout. Color has special meaning according to Feng shui principles, and it can have a profound effect on your feelings and actions. Use concepts from Feng shui when picking color schemes for your office.

Consider the type of work that you perform in your office and your personal energy level before choosing your wall and accent colors.

For example, if you’re a high-energy person, limit the color red, which is a strong color that represents fire. It’s associated with power, luck, happiness, and romance. Red can make you feel more anxious.

According to Feng shui, white combined with metal helps you focus and also motivates you. Gray can be considered a metallic, which boosts your concentration. Gray walls with white accents are an excellent combination for attentiveness.

Yellow and gold are associated with cheerfulness, creativity, money, and wealth. To enhance these elements, yellow is a great addition to your home office as an accent wall or through interesting artwork.

Green is linked to growth and decisiveness. If you’re a leader who makes day-to-day decisions, green might be the color for you. Green brings forth feelings of calm. Plants are an outstanding method for introducing green into your home office.

Blue can help you concentrate, be creative, and feel confident. However, be careful with blue – a dark shade can have an undesirable effect. Choose shades for your home office that remind you of water elements, such as the sea. Turquoise is a good combination of blue and green that enhances healing and growth.

4. Create a Paperless Office for Increased Productivity

I mentioned how clutter can zap your productivity. Another method for removing clutter from your home is to go paperless (or nearly paperless).

Purchase a reliable scanner (affiliate link) and use cloud services (like Evernote or Box) for documents you want to save for future reference.

If you’re concerned about the privacy of cloud services, use flash drives, CD-RWs, or hard drives. Make sure to create backups in case of hardware failure.

Tablets and smartphones are great replacements for paper calendars and notebooks. Use a personal organization or planner app for note taking, event planning, to-do lists, projects, and calendars (like Trello).

Another significant advantage of digital over paper is the ability to quickly find notes, to dos, and appointments through tagging and searching features. You’ll be much more productive by saving time when searching for the documents and items that you need to reference.

5. Keep Items Within Reach to Lift Efficiency

Remove anything on your desk that you don’t use every day or week – file it, toss it, donate it, or store it. Additionally, eliminate anything in your workspace that annoys you.

What are the things that you use every day? Examples could be your phone, tablet, mouse, mouse pad, notebook, pen, pencil, laptop, or sketchpad. Make sure these items are easily accessible and that everything else is stored away.

6. Add Personal Touches to Heighten Productivity

Keepsakes that remind you of family, friends, pets, and good times make you feel comfortable in your space. Create a family photo wall with decorative wall shelves and interesting picture frames to display keepsakes.

Do you save small souvenirs from events and trips, such as concert tickets or programs? Store these mementos in an attractive keepsake box or display them with your photo display. Digitize, frame, or file away kids’ artwork, homework, and report cards.

When you take breaks during your busy day, sit back and enjoy the memories that you’ve chronicled. These reminders make you feel happy, which fuels productivity and efficiency. I love what Albert Schweitzer said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”

Your Turn

Please share your tips for organizing your home office for extreme productivity. What works for you?

About the Author

Marilyn RogersMarilyn Rogers is the Marketing Director and Blog Editor at LightArrow.com, makers of apps for personal organization and business productivity — including the popular LifeTopix app.

She’s been writing everything from technical manuals to website copy in the tech industry for over 20 years, and considers herself a jack of all trades in Marketing. Her expertise is focused on personal productivity, search engine optimization, marketing operations, and project management.

On the weekend, you’ll find her riding horses, walking dogs, and making lists and checking them twice.

Connect with Marilyn: Web | Marilyn on Twitter | Light Arrow on Twitter | E-mail

 

 

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It is time for this month’s 5-Minute Organizing Challenge! What can you do in five minutes to get more order in your life? Since January is National GO (Get Organized) Month, let’s focus on getting your home office organized.

5-Minute Organizing Challenge Home Office

Original Image Credit: Houzz.com

 

Here are a few steps that will each take as little as five minutes to complete.

1. Clear your desk. Start out by filing papers on top of your desk (and on other surfaces) into folders. If you need to create new folders, have manila folders, hanging folders, and tabs ready to go.

2. Recycle unwanted papers. Next, bring your recycling container over the desk area and toss all the recyclable paper into it. If this step (or any of the steps) will take longer than 5 minutes, then schedule 5 minutes each day until it is completed.

3. Shred sensitive information. For all your paperwork that has personal information such as your phone number, medical information, social security number, etc., turn on your shredder (affiliate link) and run the pages through it.

4. Discard business cards. Now you’re ready to approach business cards you have collected. Purge any business cards you don’t need, and then categorize the rest according to your preferences. After that, either scan (affiliate link) the business cards or file them into some type of holder, like this one (affiliate link) found on Amazon.com.

5. Cull your e-mails. Finally, go through your business e-mails and delete the ones that are not of interest or outdated. If you want to continue working on your e-mail this week, schedule 5-minute sessions to file all the emails in your inbox into folders.

Congratulations! You now have a more organized home office! What other 5-minute steps can you implement in your home office to get it completely organized?

 

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4 Ways to Have Fun With Feng Shui

On January 17, 2014, in Feng Shui, by Naomi Cook
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Have you ever heard of Feng Shui? Or, are you a little uncertain about what it means? Those two little words may seem odd, but they can create an abundance of positive energy in your home.

Feng (wind) and Shui (water) is defined by Merriam Webster as “a Chinese system for positioning a building and the objects within a building in a way that is thought to agree with spiritual forces and to bring health and happiness.”

So, if you’re thinking about shaking things up a bit and making some design changes, why not have a bit of fun with Feng Shui? It doesn’t have to be complicated and you can use some basic principles to get started.

Fun with Feng Shui

Original Image Credit: Lindus Construction

 

4 Ways to Have Fun With Feng Shui

 
1. Incorporate Mirrors. Mirrors reflect light and can help give a room the appearance that it is bigger.  Plus you can check out your beautiful face whenever you pass them by!  Try them on a wall across from a window to maximize the most light.  After all, who can’t use more light on gray winter days!

2. Remove Clutter.  As wind and water are elements that flow and circulate, clutter becomes a dead end in the movement of Feng Shui.  A pile of magazines or too many papers on a desk can halt the Chi, or life force, in a room.  Try a more minimalistic approach and put magazines in a pretty basket and file papers away in your file drawer.

3. Rearrange Furniture.  Just as clutter can obstruct the flow of Chi, so can furniture. Too much furniture in a room, or poor placement, it can be hard not only for you to get around it, but also for energy to as well.  Try a new placement and create natural pathways to other rooms without obstacles such as coffee tables.

4. Add Accessories. By adding in symbols of fire, wood, earth, and metal to the water and wind, you can round out the elements and create a cohesive and energetic atmosphere.

  •  Fire:  Use candles or candle holders, picture frames, pillows, art, lamps, and vases in fire colors like reds and oranges.  If you have a fireplace…well, then you have a wonderful fire element right there!
  • Wood:  Consider incorporating healthy plants (no faux ones!) to help oxygen flow as well as objects made of wood.  Additionally, bring in accessories that are green and brown.  If you have wood floors, there is your automatic wood element!
  • Earth:  Use natural raw crystals and items made of clay, like figurines, decorative tiles, and pots. Choose warm brown and terracotta colored accessories. If you have any earthenware pieces, there is your automatic earth element!
  • Metal:  Incorporate metal frames and sculptures as well as accessories in bronze, silver,and gold.  If you have a fireplace and with tools, chances are they are made of metal…and there is your automatic element!
  • Water:  Be sure to use water features like fountains and accessories in blues, as well as images of water in a piece of artwork.  If you have a mirror, there is your automatic water element!

Most importantly, have fun with Feng Shui. It may sound like a serious thing, but it is designed to make your home a beautiful and exciting place to be! If you have found this very interesting, take Feng Shui to the next level and read about a Bagua (affiliate link), which is an energy map of your space.

 

Related Information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The holidays are over and it’s 2014!

How were your holidays? How did you make out this year? Get some good gifts? Receive any not-so-good gifts?

Perhaps you received a gift card to a restaurant that isn’t nearby or to a store you would never buy something from? Great! Yep, you read that correctly. I said, GREAT!

Gift Card Exchange Websites

There are some totally awesome websites out there that can help you turn these seemingly useless gifts into valuable little nuggets. And that means no more fake smiles and phony displays of appreciation for a gift you want to throw out the window immediately.

How, you ask?! I’ll tell you…

  • EXCHANGE – You can swap your unwanted gift cards for ones you actually want. It’s easy, just use one of the below websites and you’re done!
  • CASH – Not interested in getting a different gift card? Fantastic! Then simply sell your unwanted gift cards for straight cash and get a bill paid or take out your significant other for some good grub.
  • REWARDS – Don’t care about a gift card exchange or getting cash? Superb! Then trade your unwanted gift cards in for rewards such as Best Buy points or United Mileage Plus miles.

All of this good news is made possible by utilizing one of the four websites below. Check them out!

1. CardPool.com – This website offers the ability to exchange gift cards by selling yours and then buying what you want or trading your gift cards in for cash.

CardPool.com

 

2. PlasticJungle.com – This site allows you to trade in gift cards for Best Buy points, CVS gift cards, or United Mileage Plus miles.

PlasticJungle.co

 

3. GiftCardGranny.com – With this website, you can buy and sell gift cards AND you can also buy and sell gift cards in bulk.

GiftCardGranny.com

 

4. CardAvenue.com – Avoid getting useless gift cards ever again by using this website to create a registry of gift cards that you want. It’s great for weddings, birthdays, holidays…you name it!

CardAvenue.com

So, now you know! Getting a bunk gift card that you can never actually use does warrant a real smile. Show off those pearly whites and thank your family member genuinely, because you can now use this gift card one way or another. Hooray!  Crisis averted.

Now, what to do about that hideous, hand made Christmas sweater Aunt Sally gave you? Well…you can always wear it to the next “ugly Christmas sweater” party!

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“… while waking up to a chilly, soggy morning may very well dampen your mood … unpleasant weather is thought to improve concentration and productivity, in part because a rainy day or snowy day kills the potential for leisure time outdoors … “

Read More:

Winter Weather = Bad Mood? It’s More Complicated Than That. | Entrepreneur.com | 1.6.14

 

 

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January is known as Get Organized Month for those of us who are professional organizers. We’ve talked about it many times on this blog (like here and here and here). Since increased organization is usually on the top ten list of New Year’s resolutions, it’s only natural that we focus on this specific goal at the beginning of each new year.

The start of a new year is also a time that usually gets people thinking about other goals. This is a time to reflect on past achievements and to look toward accomplishing new ones. Some people recycle their old goals or look at them in a new way when a new year rolls around.

This is a helpful practice that can allow you create a reasonable plan for the year, but there is …

One Goal That Trumps All Others

And, that goal is to remain calm and balanced as much as possible.

Remaining stress-free makes it more likely that you’ll achieve just about anything you set out to do. (Tweet This)

Think of stress-free living as the thread that, when woven into the fabric of everything that you do, creates beautiful patterns … worthwhile habits that are easy to keep and that don’t feel burdensome.

 

Stress-free Zone_500x500

What Stress Does to You

Stress can have a big, unpleasant impact on your general well-being and how successful you are with completing your goals. It can also negatively affect the people around you.

Keep in mind that stress can …

  • Sap your motivation. When you feel anxious or stressed on a regular basis, you’re likely to experience an emotional and physical depletion that can lead to burnout. The pain of burnout is obvious: You just can’t get motivated. You might feel worn down, ineffective, and unproductive.
  • Create negative emotions. You’ve likely experienced burnout at some point in your life and though you may not always be able to pinpoint when it’s about to attack, you do know how it feels. You might often find that glass to be half empty and about to break. Stress can make you tense, agitated, and unhappy. These feelings (along with other negative emotions) work quite well as people repellers, which only exacerbates the problem.
  • Reduce your productivity. Feelings of negativity can often be reflected in your performance. How well you get stuff done and how consistently you cross things of your task list may decline and color your year in a dark hue … even before you really have a chance to get started on those important goals.
  • Waste your time. Stress is a waste of time and energy because while you’re in the midst of it, you might not even realize it. You might keep rushing around trying to get stuff done when you could actually be having an amazing, fulfilling personal and work life. 
  • Make other people feel anxious. Did you know that stress is contagious? Yes, really. Secondhad stress can be passed to those around you.

Sometimes burnout creeps up on you, building over time, while other times it jumps out of the blue and blindsides you. Be prepared and …

Make 2014 a Stress-free Zone

We’re all susceptible to feelings of stress. Unfortunatley, there is no magic pill that can remove anxiety completely from our lives. But, there are some simple things you can do to keep feeling of anxiousness and overwhelm at bay.

1. Focus on a stress-free theme for the year. Focus on cultivating a habit of an emotionally balanced life as you work toward achieving milestones. You may find that the more you focus on being calm and positive, you’ll …

2. Be more mindful. Being more aware of what causes you stress will help you be more strategic about what you allow in your life. You’ll also find that the more mindful you are, the more in tune you will be to how you’re feeling.

Consider the circumstances, people, and projects that trigger stress for you. Stay away from them. (Tweet This)

3. Check your stress meter

… before making a decision and gauge how anxious you’ll may feel when you come out on the other end of project or a decision you say “yes” to. Make a habit of doing a stress check before taking a step. When you’re stressed, you’re likely to make poor decisions and there’s research to back this up.

4. Call in the troops. You’ve likely heard this one before (and it’s a strategy I probably need to use more often) — you should ask for help. When you don’t have to do it all yourself, you can breathe a little easier. You can be still involved but not solely responsible for carrying out every single action.

Who can you tap on the shoulder for a little assistance?

 

5 Tips for Toy Organizing

On January 6, 2014, in Home Organizing, by Ellen Delap
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5 tips for toy organizing

The holidays have come and gone and your home might resemble a toy store! With the gifts from Santa and Grandma, your kids’ toys are probably overflowing. And, there might also be too many toys for your kids to really enjoy and for you to put away easily.

Now’s the time for toy decluttering and organizing to get things back to normal.

1. Teach Toy Organizing Skills

Uncluttering and organizing are skills that you can teach  your children.  Promote the idea that sharing your toys is a family value.  Then, just start organizing with a timer set for 15 minutes.

  • Ask your kids to donate 3 toys to those who have less.
  • If your kids are motivated, keep going.
  • Place the toys immediately into bags and have your kids drive with you to the donation location.  This can be a wonderful after Christmas holiday tradition for your family.

If you are meeting resistance,  you can ask your kids which three toys are most important to them. Sometimes, children need help prioritizing and making decisions. Reframing these decisions can help your kids think about their toys in a new way.  Once you know what is too important to part with, you can proceed from here with decluttering and donating.

2. Archive Special Keepsake Toys

Some toys are special. Archive the most precious ones in a 66 quart bin (affiliate link) labelled “Toys” and place this in storage.  As parents and grandparents, we know there are special items to keep. Our family has a set of metal trucks that my husband, son, and grandson have all played with and enjoyed.  Not every toy is special, so be discerning about what you keep and how much you keep.

Toys can also go on “vacation” from time to time. You can rotate some items seasonally and move toys to new locations in your home.  Your children will likely enjoy them again and again in new ways.  Toys on vacation can also be stored in 66 quart bins.

3. Use Kid Friendly Storage

Keeping items in easy to access and easy to return storage makes for great organizing.

Define the toy space (i.e., create zones for specific activities/toys). This will help the toys look more organized and help your children find (and put back) the ones they want to play with.

  • Decide how many toys you want available in one area.
  • Its best not to overload shelves or baskets.  Even if you can fit more toys on a shelf, use good judgment on how many to place there.
  • Add one item or group of items per basket.  The adage less is more definitely applies.

4. Create Play Zones

Consider grouping toys around themes, like kitchen and dolls together or matchbox cars and race tracks together. Your kids will play more when they see these toys together in sets.

  • Sterilite, 3-drawer bins (affiliate link) work great to store items near related toys.
  • Just like in a preschool classroom, store pretend food and dishes near the kitchen, and blocks and other building toys together, books together, art supplies together, and so on.
  • When clean up occurs, separate out the items into the storage spots.

As for Legos, multiple drawers (affiliate link) for different colors makes sorting and finding pieces for new creations easy. One clever mom came up with her own Lego storage solution. Check it out on Pinterest.

  • A  shelf for completed projects can help keep projects in process safe from destruction.
  • Store instructions in a drawer near the construction site.

5. Use Labels to Make Clean Up Easy

Everyone can help when storage containers are labeled!

  • The labels can be simple words or pictures or both.
  • Labels can be preprinted and adhered with  clear packing tape or Zots Clear Adhesive Dots (affiliate link).
  • Clean up more frequently than you think you may need, at least twice a day.
  • Frequent clean up sessions makes it easy to keep the space more organized.

Most importantly, with more organization and fewer toys, your children will be entertained for hours!

 

 

 

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It’s time to shake things up for 2014! When was the last time that you updated your living room or bedroom?  Moving some furniture or artwork and accessories around can give you a fresh perspective and breathe new excitement and energy into rooms that might have gotten a little stale. 

Think of your rooms as giant snow globes.  Imagine them being picked up and shaken about and realize that your belongings can land in an infinite amount of positions. 

shake it up 2014

Layout Your Space on Paper

While doors and windows can affect the placement of furniture, think about moving your sofa across the room. Or, consider breaking it away from the anchor of the wall and into the center of the room.  A fun and easy (free of back breaking labor!) way to try things out is by creating a furniture layout.

When I was setting up my living room for my home (almost 8 years ago), I went old school, drawing out the room’s shell on paper in ¼” scale and cutting out the ¼”pieces of furniture using blue 3×5 cards. This was a fun way to figure out the layout because I could just shuffle the pieces around like a puzzle until I got the right fit.

Important Tip!  Make sure to note your cable jack and outlets, so that you can have the lighting and your TV where you want them.

Layout Your Space Using an App

Another even easier idea  is to use a furniture layout program on your computer!  I found a great FREE one on Better Homes and Gardens website called, “Arrange-a-Room,” which allows you to not only  quickly and simply shorten or lengthen walls, but drag and drop furniture pieces in as well.

Old school ¼” templates are a thing of the past with these programs.  Sofas and chairs have always come in different shapes and sizes, not just one, right?  This program allows you to manipulate the length and width of your furniture pieces, as well as color, so you can get an ideal representation of what your room can look like!  Technology is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Get Started!

1. Get help. Once you have a plan in place the physical work can begin.  Enlist the help of family and friends for large, heavy, and awkward items and let the transformation begin!  Furniture gliding pads (affiliate link) are a great investment for helping with those heavy items as well.

2. Get creative. When it comes to your framed artwork, use the same furniture program, but just give a measurement of the wall (where you will see your items as an elevation) instead of the floor (where you will see your items in a bird’s eye view).

And, use the rectangular dining table that you can modify to be the same size as your artwork!  That way you can play around with them until you get a nice grouping set and you’ll know the ideal spots to put those nails in.  Often the ideal height for a framed piece of art is 5’ or eye level.  Make sure you account for the heights of your furniture pieces, so you don’t have anything running into each other.

3. Get groups of three. Finally, play around with your accessories when all the furniture is in place.  Groupings of three are popular in interior design and offer a visual appeal as well as a sense of balance.   Think of one tall vase flanked by two smaller ones. Or, going back to paintings, you can group a pair of two smaller paintings, hang one above the other, and then put them next to one larger one.

Groupings of 3

Original Image Credit: All-free-download.com

However you decide to shake it up in 2014 … whether you update your room by just playing around with your accessories or by shuffling your furniture, I hope it brings you peace, joy and calmness this New Year!

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