Ten Easy Ways to Get Organized for Fall
It’s easy to think of summer as a season, but it is the shortest season of all because school starts in early September. Why not get a jump on your family’s organizing projects so you can enjoy the beautiful fall weather? Here are some quick and easy but very important organizing tasks that every family should do:
- Take a photo inventory of all the important contents of your home, including your garage, attic, basement and the contents of your safe. In the event something happens to your home like a flood, a fire, smoke damage, mold, earthquake, you’ll have photos to immediately submit to your insurance company. Save the photos to a flash drive and keep the flash drive in your safe or in your safe deposit box or with a family or friend offsite. If you’re pressed for time, do a quick, narrated video and open doors and drawers while you’re videotaping so you don’t forget anything. Save the video in the same manner as above. I’ve worked with many families as a project manager, and these photos have simplified and expedited insurance claims. Also, don’t worry if your home is not as neat as you would like-the insurance company won’t mind.
- Empty all your luggage, remove airport tags, inspect the luggage for repairs and for identification tags, clean out the interior with baby wipes, restock toiletry bags and store your luggage for the next trip. If you still have hotel shampoo bottles and other amenities and are adding new ones from this year, purge everything that’s more than 2 years old. Old shampoo can be used for hand-washing delicates if you wish. Make a “spa” basket for your guest room or powder room. A client of mine has a bin in her powder room for all to help themselves to. How thoughtful and welcoming that is!
- If you’re not planning to use bathing suits, beach towels or other summertime things, clean and store items from your summer wardrobe you know you won’t be wearing through September. Order a garment rack and store your clothing on hangers in canvas zip-up bags if you have the space; if not, store in clear Sterilite containers with while snap on lids and use your label maker to identify each bin. Store beach towels a and hats and shoes as well to free up space in your closets. Next year, you’ll know that everything is together in one place.
- Get ready for school and don’t waste money on duplicate school supplies. Take an empty bin from room to room and gather all school materials like pens, pencils, markers, rulers, erasers, post-its, new notebooks, loose-leaf paper, poster board, binders, book covers, flash drives, backpacks, calculators, staplers, staples, paper clips, tape etc. Determine what’s still usable, buy plastic bins from the Dollar store and organize the bins on a shelf in a central location. Have the family shop from this shelf as if they were at an office supply store. Once school starts and the lists come home, you’ll know exactly what you still need to buy.
- Install a “memory” bin for each child in their rooms and teach them to save only what is very important or has sentimental value. Go through what they have saved, try to pare it down with them and label the old bin and put it into storage. Remember, a picture tells a thousand words, so you can always photograph a project that is difficult to store instead of trying to keep it.
- Create a digital estate plan Make a spreadsheet with all of your online accounts, user names, passwords, answers to security questions, pin numbers, etc. so that your heir can access all of your accounts in the event you are out of commission. File this in the same place as your Will. It’s a reality that some of this information will change over time, but remember on January 1st of each year to update this document by scheduling an appointment with yourself on your phone. Don’t have a Will, Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney? Contact me for a referral to a dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Think of it as a gift to your family, which it actually is.
- Free up space inside the cabinets, closets and furniture in the public spaces of your home so if you have last-minute guests, you can temporarily toss things away from sight. Yes, we all have personal “fire drills” Wouldn’t it be nice to tidy up in a flash and still find everything the next day? General Rule: Store things in the room in which you use the item and you won’t be hunting for anything for days, years or forever. Even professional organizers don’t have perfect homes! We’re busy helping everyone else.
- Take out your insurance policies and if you truly don’t understand them or feel you might be over or underinsured, call your insurance broker or insurance company to go over your policy. I do this with many of my clients and we always find surprises there, Sometimes they’re over insured, underinsured, or no longer even have items listed on their policies or forgot to add new ones. Get new appraisals for valuable items if you’ve had them 5-10 years or more.
- Take care of your needs first, and that means if your bathroom vanity or clothes closet is stuffed and you can’t find anything anymore, take everything out, put each item on the bed, evaluate everything and only put back inside what you truly use, love and wear and donate everything else. Only keep a maximum of two sizes down and reorganize your closet so you can be available in a flash during a very busy fall season. Tip: When it comes to drawers, empty ALL the contents first before evaluating anything. It’s a psychological trick that really works when you remove the item from its home. Same idea applies to taking everything out of the closet before making decisions.
- Make a list of all the annoying little repairs that need to be made around the house and call in a handyman to take care of them. As a certified home stager, I’m often confronted with despondent homeowners who wish they had fixed everything BEFORE they had to move so they could really enjoy their homes. Don’t wait, and if you need a great referral for a handyman, contact me.
Get more organizing, redesign, home staging and productivity tips at http://staging.kirnaconsulting.com