Company Logo

Sign Up

Sign up here to receive new posts from SolutionsForYou Organizing in your inbox. You might even receive occasional subscriber-only offers as well!

Follow by Email

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Garage Organization Demystified

Does the thought of organizing your garage seem too daunting?  Do you wonder where to begin when you can’t even walk in there?  When was the last time you were able to park your car(s) in your garage? Let me help you get started--because sometimes that's the hardest part!  Here’s how:

  1. Set aside an entire weekend – schedule on your calendar
  2. Schedule a donation service to pickup your donations after the weekend
  3. Gather Materials
    1. drop-box or a bagster for your mountain of discards that can’t be donated
    2. tent canopy to set up in your driveway or yard to keep you shaded or dry during the process
    3. 3-4 folding tables to set up under the canopy for sorting
    4. boxes for sorting items you want to keep and labeled by category
  4. Identify the different categories of things you want to keep in your garage; i.e. sports equipment, tools, gardening, household supplies, automotive, camping, holiday, etc.
  5. Set-up your staging area
    1. Keep Area - sorting tables and boxes labeled by category
    2. Donate Area - place tarp on ground to designate this area
    3. Trash Area - dumpster

  1. EVERYTHING comes out of the garage and as it does DECIDE and sort by:
    1. Keep and what category – place in appropriate bin/box
    2. Donate – place in large garbage bags or boxes in the Donate Area
    3. Discard – place in the dumpster or trash bags

  1. Sweep out the garage before placing items back
  2. Install uniform shelving and bins to fit each shelf area to maximize the space
  3. Designate zones in your garage related to each category and where you will be able to easily access items.
  4. Designate shelves for each category
  5. Place items in containers (like with like) and label

Once your garage is organized you will want to keep it organized.  Practice new habits such as
  1. Put things away where they belong after you use them
  2. Keep zones intact so you can easily find things when you need them
  3. Don’t put something in the garage to decide what to do with it later—decide now
  4. Designate a Donation Zone and container for items you no longer want

Does the task still seem too daunting?
Here's some garage inspiration! 

What questions do you have?  What garage organizing tips work for you?  Come join the conversation. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Top Ten Travel Organizing Tips

Summertime often means travel time.  Already this year, I have traveled overseas three times and domestically three times.   I have learned a few packing and travel tricks and tips that I want to pass on to you so your travel can be less stressful.  Based on these tips, I have never checked a bag and I could lift my carry on bag into the overhead bin without help.
  1. If you are planning on traveling overseas consider getting global entry.  You will move through immigration and customs much faster and you will always get TSA-pre on your domestic flights.  Trust me you want to do this!
  2. Order your foreign currency where you bank.  You will get a much better foreign exchange rate here then your destination.
  3. Get a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.  These fees add up fast.
  4. Remember to take power converters for where you will be visiting.  Sometimes, those will fail--I blew up two flat irons! On my third overseas trip this year, I decided to buy a flat iron that works outside the USA.
  5. Don’t just pack a bunch of clothes.  Decide what outfits you are going to wear on which days and to what events.  You will pack less and won’t have to make those decisions while traveling. You will have adequate room in a carryon suitcase if you pack each outfit in a travel space bag.  Most clothes won’t get too wrinkled and there will be an iron where you are staying if you can’t stand a wrinkle or two.
  6. My friend Berry Kruijning of Crowning Communications travels A LOT! She put together this fun picture of what and how to pack for a trip.  I have followed her advice on the number bottoms and tops to pack.  And, the packable puffer jacket saved me in January in the Swiss Alps.
  7. If you are traveling by plane, take only two pairs of shoes and wear your bulkiest pair on the plane.
  8. Book your hotel as far in advance as possible.  Hotels often offer great early booking discounts.  We got our Seoul hotel rooms at 40% off by booking early.  If you don’t see a discount on the hotel web site, ask for one.
  9. Pack snacks.  If you are on a road trip you don’t want to be at the mercy of what is available along the roadside.  If you are traveling by plane, trust me you don’t want to eat what they serve!
  10. There are tons of travel apps to help you navigate the streets, subways, trains, restaurants, weather, and foreign languages.  Load them onto your phone and/or tablet and familiarize yourself with them before you leave.
Final tip, have a plan for what you are going to do each day.  You can waste a lot of time being spontaneous and travel is expensive!
If you are traveling this summer, I hope you have lots of fun and make happy memories.  If you are not traveling this summer, maybe you would like some organizing help—that can fun too!
What is your top travel organizing tip?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tax Time SolutionsForYou

It happens every year, whether we want it to or not… tax time.  Every day I receive something by email or snail mail reminding me… tax time is coming. 

Are you dreading the task of gathering up receipts to prepare your tax filing?  Do you have financial records that you don’t know what to do with? Do you have stacks of unopened bills? Do you stress out at tax time trying to find all your required documents? And, are you lacking a system for managing all this mess?

Here are a few solutions for you:
  1. Track your non-cash donations with ItsDeductible by Intuit. IRS approved.
  2. Scan your receipts with the GeniusScan App and attach the pdf to your Quicken or Quickbooks entry for easy retrieval should you be audited.
  3. Not sure whether to scan, shred or store that piece of paper? This quick infographic can help.
  4. Are you a geeky nerd like me and want to be on top of the tax rules? Then J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2015 is right up your alley.
  5. Hire a professional organizer to help you organize your paper and information and set up a system for your tax filings.
What's your favorite tip for organizing tax information and filing?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Strategies for Avoiding Holiday Stress

The 5 Steps to Organizing process as it applies to your Holiday schedule:

#1 Strategize
 List all your holiday activities that you want to do

    ACTIVITY                                                                 WHEN
1.    ______________________________________________
2.    ______________________________________________
3.    ______________________________________________
4.    ______________________________________________
5.    ______________________________________________

List everyone that is on your gift list and your budget for each.

    NAME                           GIFT IDEAS                      BUDGET
1.    ______________________________________________
2.    ______________________________________________
3.    ______________________________________________
4.    ______________________________________________
5.    ______________________________________________   

#2 Prioritize
  • Work from the above list and eliminate the activities you and your family do not wish to continue.
  • Eliminate the activities that are in your “should” category.
  • If it is too difficult to decide, narrow it down to each family member can pick one and only one activity that is most important to them.
  • Create new traditions as your family grows and matures.
  • Make an agreement with those on your previous gift list to eliminate that practice this year or donate your time, money or possessions to a charity.
#3 Localize
  • Write down your new and improved list of activities, traditions and gift list you want to continue this year.
  • This list is what you will now use to create your timeline for the rest of the holiday season.
#4 Containerize
  • Work backwards from your winter holiday to determine what you need to do and when.
  • On your family calendar write down when you are going to do each activity and any other days necessary to complete the activity. 
  • For example, gift making can involve more than one day to buy materials, make gifts, wrap gifts, and mail or deliver gifts.  Or, hosting a holiday open house involves planning the menu, deciding who to invite, buying or making the invitations, shopping for the food, preparing the food, and cleaning the house.
#5 Maximize
  • Can you follow this plan easily?
  • Did this plan help you to enjoy the activities you chose?
  • Did this plan enable you to enlist the help of your family?
  • Will you want to continue this next year?
  • Now, you and your family have an agreed upon holiday plan.  When other activities come up—invitations to parties, school productions, etc.—you can look at your holiday calendar plan and decide if it will fit into your plan.  If not, say NO and be at peace with your decision.  If it will, say YES and enjoy the holidays!

Please share your strategies to you have for avoiding holiday stress.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014



A bit about me...

I love to organize anything! I love to read anything on the subject of organizing. I especially love helping others learn the joy and simplification organizing habits and behaviors can bring to their lives.

Click here to learn a bit about me and visit our websites (organizing services), (training and education for professional organizers) and my book web site

Anne Blumer

Anne Blumer
Certified Professional Organizer, Certified GO System Trainer and Consultant, and Certified FreedomFiler Consultant

Client Before and After Pictures

Certified Professional Organizer

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 SolutionsForYou, Inc. - All Rights Reserved