Every woman dreams of having a Carrie Bradshaw closet — a space as big as her master bedroom that’s full of beautiful clothes, designer shoes, and a jewelry armoire the size of a dresser. Sadly, this dream isn’t a reality for most women. In fact, my reality is from from this dream. I share a closet with my husband, and it’s not even a walk-in. It’s a built-in-the-80s-sized sliding door closet.
Despite my small space, I’ve managed to steal tips and tricks from these dream closets — and I’m going to show how you can too!
This attic closet is simply amazing with its sloped ceilings and racks of clothes as far as the eye can see. Part of what makes this closet so great is the lighting. The skylights introduce an abundance of natural light, and the white walls, mirror, and reflective art on the slanted ceilings make this space simply glow.
Now, you might not be able to knock a window into your closet, but chances are you can add some lighting. After months of searching for clothes in the dark, I added a small light to our closet, and it makes all the difference in the world.
If you have the room to add shelving to your closet, by all means do it! Not everything can (or should) be hung up. Shelves are great for shoes, pants, handbags, and delicate tops that shouldn’t be hung. If shelving isn’t an option, at least invest in a shoe rack and some organization tower tubs. Although these additions take up precious space, they’ll keep things organized in a way that helps you make the most of your items.
You know what makes this closet so beautiful? It’s not the roses or the Tory Burch shopping bags. It’s how organized it is! Even the tiniest closet can take organization inspiration from this beauty.
This woman has her clothes organized by style and color. Bright pants are hung over hangers on the top left. Shirts are on the bottom left. Long pants are organized on the top right, arranged by hue. Also, I love how all of the hangers are the same. This isn’t really necessary, but it’s much more aesthetically pleasing if all your hangers are the same color.
This closet is just pretty. Its chandelier, flowers, candles, mirror details, and coffee table books are enough to make anyone feel like a queen. And while this probably isn’t an option for you, there are ways to beautify the smallest of spaces. Take an afternoon to take everything out of your closet. Clean it with a damp cloth and dust everything off. Put some some delicious-smelling sachets in it, or add a nice-smelling bar of soap (this doubles as scent and moth protection!).
If you have drawers, add pretty drawer liners to them for color and protection for your clothes. If you have a walk-in, try adding a mirror to a wall or the back of the door; this is practical and makes your closet appear bigger. And if room allows, why not add a little wall art to your closet? You may be the only person who sees it, but that’s okay if it makes your closet feel more special to you!
Do you have any tricks for turning a regular closet into dream-worthy inspiration?
Certified Professional Organizer® and Family Manager Coach, Ellen Delap, offers solutions for families struggling with ADD.
Remember the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?” And so it goes with ADHD. Many newly diagnosed kids in turn have newly diagnosed ADHD parents. If you and your family have multiple generation ADHD, it is important to learn about your diagnosis and learn the next steps, too.
Looking with objectivity of this diagnosis is difficult. Think of this diagnosis as one that includes challenges to executive function, a part of your brain that involves planning and processing. It is more than just attention and hyperactivity. Executive function can affect you and your child’s daily life, not just at school or work.
Aspects of ADHD include transitions, getting started, organization, prioritizing, motivation, and working memory. Getting a good team together to inform and address ADHD is critical, including professionals on the medical, counseling and coaching arena. Developing a trust relationship, putting aside judgment, and focusing on care will help you develop a plan that works for you and your family.
There are many venues to learn about ADD. Associations such as the Attention Deficit Disorder Association and CHADD are two of the primary first steps. These associations have online, national and local presence for you to tap into and learn about ADD. Finding a local chapter makes for camaraderie and a sense of belonging in your community.
Reading may be a top priority for you. Blogs and books offer a look into the life of families and individuals with ADD. Among the top are Terri Matlin, Tara McGillicuddy, Arianne Benefit and Laura Rolands. Books include:
• The Family ADHD Solution by Dr. Marten Bertin
• Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett
• Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell
• Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden
If you are looking for a few basic solutions for your family, these are a few first steps for you.
• Set up good self care with bedtimes and good nutrition for everyone in the family. Having adequate sleep and high protein meals can make a difference for everyone. Often this is the first area that families overlook.
• Take care with over scheduling for the family. Allow more transition and down time than other families. For families with ADHD, the transitions and the rush of daily life ends up tripping them up. Be sure that you are mindful of all members’ commitments.
Use a family calendar, either with Google calendar or a large month at a glance calendar, posted in the kitchen where everyone can see it. Host a family “meeting” weekly to go over who is going what, who is going where and what other new “surprises” are going on this week.
• Address the stress with exercise, yoga, art, therapy and other ways to release the tension. These activities help everyone with clarity. Just being outside, taking a walk or even just a little movement can make a difference. All families have stress, but even more so with ADHD.
• Place clocks in many places throughout your home. A timer is a great investment in helping you and your child stay on task, get started and get done. Choose a clock and timer with a “clock face” in order to see time lapsing. Use it in transitional times, too.
• Put into place additional help throughout the week. A daily “homework helper” can be a blessing for both parents and students. A local college student, older high schooler or other person can help your student focus and work as a partner with less stress than the parent. A cleaning service, additional driver or daily money manager can be a blessing to a parent who struggles with these aspects.
• Make a morning plan and evening routine with your family. Talk through the plan, note the obstacles, make a chart and stick with your design for smoother family times. It is always a struggle to be consistent for those with ADHD, but implement a smooth, simple plan for both the beginning and ending of the day.
Families with ADHD do best by focusing on the positive in specific, genuine ways. Remember that a hug, a smile and a pat on the back can bring about the desired behavior and most especially the emotional feeling of being understood and loved. It is in understanding the emotions and behavior of ourselves and our family and we can empower and affirm each other.
About the Author
Certified Professional Organizer ® and Family Manager Coach, Ellen Delap, is the owner of Professional-Organizer.com. Since 2000, she has worked one-on-one with her clients in their home and offices, streamlining their environments, creating effective strategies for an organized lifestyle, and helping them to prioritize organization in their daily routines.
She holds ADD and Chronic Disorganization certificates and specializes in working with ADD and ADHD adults and students. Ellen has been featured at The Woodlands (Texas) Home and Garden Show, on ABC13 Houston, in the Houston Chronicle, and is an Expert on The Clutter Diet, an online organizing resource.
My kids were not even back to school a week, and I was already experiencing paperwork overload. Forms to fill out, PTO information, upcoming fundraisres, dates to remember, and those special art projects that just need to be saved and displayed. What’s a mom to do, and just how does one keep it all organized? Having two kids in school for the first time this year (a first grader and preschooler) I knew immediately I needed to put a system in place. I assessed my space, and figured out a way to utilize it, to meet my needs.
The Hall Wall/Wall of Fame
Outside of my office lies a hallway, which connects the kitchen to the mudroom. It’s a major traffic area and we pass through it every day going to and from school. The wall was large and empty, and screaming for something, anything, to keep it company. Ideally, I would love to open the space, bust out a few walls, and do a complete renovation of the space. But since that plan didn’t make it on the short list this year, I decided to go to Plan B.
This wall, typically referred to as “The Hall Wall” or “Wall of Fame,” is where ALL of the important “stuff” gets posted. School calendars and schedules, cafeteria menus, homework assignments and any important dates or information are displayed for everyone to see. It’s in your face, so you have no excuse not to see it. I also post up those special projects that come home, that my little guys are oh so proud to show off. When the wall is filled, new projects can go up, only after one comes down.
Anything that doesn’t make the “Wall of Fame,” or comes down from it, goes into a binder – each kid has one. This way papers are not left all over the place. If you have a wall that is empty, it’s a perfect way to utilize the space. And it keeps the refrigerator door clutter to a minimum as well. I put a cute little ABC teacher boarder to outline the space – it defines the space, and being a former teacher, that’s just how I roll!
This is the only place in my life where this word is a good thing! Just to clarify, getting FAT does not refer to eating bons bons while watching Regis and Kelly when the kids are in school, as tempting as that sounds. FAT, in this case, refers strictly to my organization system and stands for File Action Toss. When papers come into the house, they must fit into one of these categories. The paper either gets filed, acted upon, or tossed. Realistically, it may not be convenient to take action at that very moment, so ACTION papers are placed in a file in my office, and are weekly acted upon.
My three tier file holder on the wall, allows a space for each of my kids, and myself (my husband has his own office and dare I say, organization system, in place). The children’s files contain school/sports papers that need action, mine are bills, and any other items non-school related. The “T” in FAT is the easiest of them all and so important to keep clutter at bay. How much junk mail do you get on a regular basic? Obscene, isn’t it? Get rid of it the second it enters your house, and you will feel better instantly. With several weeks under our belts, the system appears to be working nicely.
The key is to implement a system and stick to it daily. A few minutes each day can save you hours down the road and you’ll never miss a homework assignment or PTO meeting as a result! Plus, being organized, will free up some additional free time while the kids are at school…stay tuned for an upcoming post on how to organize that free time ~ unfortunately, this will not involve eating bons bons either.
How do you stay organized?? Here’s wishing you all a great school year ahead!
“The typical businessperson experiences 170 interactions per day (phone calls, hallway conversations, emails) and has a backlog of 200 to 300 hours of uncompleted work.”
Don’t Manage Time, Manage Yourself | FastCompany.com | 3.31.98
Do you think this stat has changed much since 1998?
The best way to manage magazine clutter is to cut back on subscriptions, particularly for those that you don’t read often. When you have finished reading the ones you like, move them onto the next stage of their life by:
- Being Green. Throw them in the recycling bin. That’s it. You’re done. Well, not exactly. You still have to take the bin to the curb to be picked up.
- Donating to an Office. Give them to your local hospital, doctor’s/dentist’s office, retirement home, or women’s shelter (basically, anywhere people have to wait).
- Donating to an Individual. Give them to your neighbors (or friends/family) who like that particular mag. If your neighbors are new to the area, be sure the magazine is current and perhaps add it to a welcome basket.
I do have one final thing to share that may sound a bit odd. You could keep one rolled up magazine in your car, tote bag, or murse. Why? Strangely enough, it can be used as a self-defense tool (seriously). I watched an episode of Fight Science on National Geographic where this was demonstrated. Of course, I’d much rather you not have to make that type of decision (nor am I advocating that you do this), but it’s an interesting tidbit, no?
How to recycle old New Yorkers (timesunion.com)
How diligent are business professionals about keeping a clutter-free workspace?
· 30% of respondents report having lost an important document due to a messy desk
· Food (32%), old newspapers (32%), coffee cups (31%) and spare shoes (12%) were cited as the most likely items to cause workspace clutter
· Disorganization commonly leads to lost time (47%), meeting tardiness (16%) and missed deadlines (14%)
[Small Business Trends · Campaign Launched to Help Business Professionals Get Organized · Office Depot Survey · December 2009]
Get Your Work Space Organized
Hello, readers. Here’s hoping this post finds you well, as well as I felt on Sunday night. Most of the week has been an introspective one in that I have been thinking about how I could better organize my time. It’s more than just a planning process. Time management, for me, is the very focus of Deb’s entire blog – organization resulting in revitalization.
For those of you who are familiar with The Odd Couple, the character Felix Unger is an obsessive compulsive neat freak. While I can’t claim such a personality, I can’t function efficiently in disorganization. I find that doing my daily planning in spaces that allow maximum focus and minimal interference works well for me. While the environment doesn’t have to be library quiet, a clean, organized workspace is necessary to at least lay the foundation for the day’s activities.
My organized workspace – the most organized being my home recording studio – employs certain elements of feng shui that makes the process even more enjoyable. An integrated ability to manage time and resources requires skills not usually taught in the mainstream. Are there many books and online resources that teach the foundations and methodologies of effective time management? Sure there are, however, I believe because everyone is different, cookbook approaches may not work for everyone. Once you understand your particular personality in areas of goal setting, planning, resource management, and the like, you can customize all that you learn to best work for you.
My first taste of organized time management came from my first job as an engineer over twenty years ago. I picked up tips that I still use to this day. They’re not ground breaking, but make sense to try.
1) Plan your next day the night before, just as you find that quiet time before retiring. Your mind is generally (keyword is generally) less active and can better assess what lies ahead without the daily distractions.
2) Find a quiet place to do so. Quiet, by definition, varies from one person to the next, but make it such that your thoughts flow freely. I usually like to have some chilled tracks playing as it relaxes me.
3) Have your calendar and contacts list handy, as well as any tech apps that you use to manage your time and schedule. If your email inbox is set up to filter important items you need to address, include that in the planning process.
4) Have your workspace as organized and clean as possible. I’m a sucker for workflow ergonomics with a ‘lil feng shui mixed in. Many people often comment, “Wow, your recording studio is SO NEAT!” :-) A clean and organized space will help make the planning process go easier.
5) Visualize yourself accomplishing the goals you set for the time allotted (e.g., the next day, next few days, or week ahead).
6) Procrastination is a time management KILLER (I speak from great experience). Learning to conquer it is something that is forever on my plate. Start with the little things and watch them soon dissipate.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a quote I often put at the top of my to-do list daily. NOTE: Pay particular attention to the very last part of it, for out of its entirety, the last part is key.
Failing to plan means planning to fail, so plan the work, and then work the plan.
Until the next time, wishing you increased productivity.
Get More Information
- The Value of a Good List (dallisonlee.com)
- Get More Done by Organizing “Just Enough” [Organization] (lifehacker.com)
“If you don’t celebrate the holidays, that means you’re more organized…right?” [Deb Lee · Random Thoughts · Week of November 23, 2009]
Alright, so this week’s Fact Friday, is not so much of a fact as it is a question. So, what do you think? Is it a fair assumption that if you don’t celebrate the holidays – no dinners to prepare, no presents to buy, no house/office to decorate – you are more organized?
What say you?
Hey, did you miss me? I took a week off from my Jems to take a vacation with my family - road trip to Disney – more on this journey to come. It was this specific trip that prompted me to blog about this next Jem. Driving such a long distance with two kids under 5, we took several days to reach our destination. A real bonus to this was the fact that we did not pay for one hotel stay along the way. That’s right, not a one. How did we do it? It’s the point system, baby!
There are many credit cards out there today that offer great rewards for using them. My husband and I use two specific cards that totally allow us to cash in on some huge benefits. The first one is a Starwood American Express. The second is an Amazon Visa. We usually float between the two cards, and use them to pay for anything we can, that we would normally pay cash or write checks for, then pay off the balance at the end of each month. The points we rack up allow us to cash in for hotel stays, as well as fun “toys” for the family. Hey, we scored a Wii Fit from our Amazon card, back in December, for FREE. Another way to earn valuable points is to take advantage of any business related travel, if you or your spouse has any. My husband travels a lot for his job, so he always makes sure, when possible, he stays at the same hotel chain. Each stay earns points, which he pays for via credit card, earning him additional points, before his company reimburses him. It’s double the points, and costs nothing! A win – win situation, and you’d really be surprised how fast those points add up.
There are many reward programs out there, the key is to just find a card that works for you. There are many without annual fees as well, so it costs nothing to use, and you can reap many benefits just by using it for things you would already buy, anyway. It’s worth the time it takes to research, to find the right one for you. Work the point system, and then take a trip and enjoy!
Stay tuned for more details and tips from our East Coast Road trip, and exactly how I survived (barely) the 12 day adventure!
“Getting organized is unquestionably good for both mind and body — reducing risks for falls, helping eliminate germs and making it easier to find things like medicine and exercise gear.”
A Clutter Too Deep for Mere Bins and Shelves | NYTimes.com | 1.1.08
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