Fall into Organization

Fall is upon us once again!  And when it comes to Fall, there are some seasonal trademarks you just can’t miss:

1.     Fashion Season

Yes, we love summer and shorts, but who doesn’t love boots?  As you transition into fall, keep those lovely leathers in shape.  Boot inserts help keep your boots molded and in top condition, and some inserts even come with hooks.  Handy, if you have extra hanging space and need the floor space for more storage.  Like for storing more boots.

As the rain picks up, don’t get angry at those beautiful boots for trekking a minor flood into the mudroom.  While you’re at The Container Store or Bed Bath & Beyond getting boot shapers, also pick up a boot tray.  Add some rocks, and you have a cute, functional drip station solution that protects your floors (and socks) from muddy puddles.

2.     Back to School Season

Speaking of the mudroom, it wouldn’t hurt to do some touch ups on the space that sees the most damage during the school year.  We all know the damage doesn’t come from actual mud as the name suggests, but from the backpacks, sweaty sports equipment, books, shoes, jackets, superhero lunchboxes and whatever additional hodge podge of items that comes off the school bus.  Really, it’s not the mudroom.  It’s the mayhem room.

A cubby system is fantastic for keeping everything organized as you swing back into the heart of the school year.  Don’t have the luxury of built-in lockers?  Bins and labels for each kiddo will be your new best friend.  Pretty baskets and clip-on tags from The Container Store are some of our favorites.

3.     Pumpkin Spice Latte Season

Coffee is a must-need for power-productive organizing sessions.  Trust us, we’re professionals.

4.     Raking Season

When the leaves start falling, the pool toys and patio furniture start coming back into the garage.  Rather than shove everything in for the winter, now is a perfect time to do some sorting.  Fall is perfect working-in-the-garage weather, and you’re already going to be outside cleaning the grill and gutters, right?  Give your garage the TLC it needs now before the holidays arrive and the cold sets in.  When spring comes around, we’ll promise you’ll be glad you did.

image via: thecontainerstore.com

image via: thecontainerstore.com

image via: marthastewart.com

image via: marthastewart.com

Happy organizing!

-the Puka ladies

Multi-Function Systems: Purchasing For Life

How to purchase multi-functional pieces that will shift with you throughout your life.

 There is nothing more satisfying than leaving a project with a beautiful result…every bin labeled, every item in its place, a breathtaking before and after.

And then we get a call a year later…they have outgrown the system, the labels don’t work, the items have re-located, etc.

Whatever the case may be, we have learned over the years to provide systems and products that are more flexible and that are easy to conform to changing needs. We live by the mantra “shift happens”…that’s just life!

After years of learning to focus on what works on a practical and everyday level for our clients, we are constantly looking to find systems and products that can easily shift into new homes and functions.

Here are a few multi-function pieces that we are loving!

Image via: IKEA

Image via: IKEA

In light of recent breaking news in Nashville...we are getting an IKEA! This cart is absolutely a favorite of ours, especially for small space organizing. There are so many different uses and spaces to put one or two of these throughout the home (or office!). Even better, there are so many other stores that carry a variety of rolling cart styles.

Check out this one from World Market:

Image via worldmarket.com

Image via worldmarket.com

Hello, small kitchen dream solution! These carts are extremely flexible and can be re-purposed as your organizing needs change.

Next on our must-haves: an industrial chrome/shelving unit.

Seriously-we have probably been the exclusive buyer of these since 2005. They are our favorite way of organizing garages, attics, and any other storage spaces! The shelves are adjustable and they come with rolling casters so they can be easily moved around if needed. Did we mention they can hold up to 350 lbs? They are incredibly durable and will last a very long time!

Image via: findingtop.com

Image via: findingtop.com

We love that it can be adjusted and incorporated in any part of the home!

Image via: amazon.com

Image via: amazon.com

I mean, it's amazing what some creating some vertical storage will do to your spaces!

To round up our favorite multi-function solutions, we LOVE wall solutions. Pegboard, slatwall, Elfa boards, grid wire systems...we love all of it! These systems are especially great for those of us who are incredibly visual. You can see everything you have, and everything is extremely accessible! 

Image via: Craving Some Creativity

Image via: Craving Some Creativity

Image via: The Home Depot

Image via: The Home Depot

Image via: IKEA

Image via: IKEA

So, next time you go to buy a new organizing system, make sure you buy one that will last you in the long run...make your investment count!

 

Happy organizing!

-the Puka ladies

The Playroom Battle: Keeping Your Organization Sanity

We love to give simple tips that are practical and easy to apply…and let’s be honest, kid’s spaces are the most challenging to keep even the least amount of organization.

We have come across just about every kid’s area you can think of: craft spaces, closets, bedrooms, playrooms, and nooks of all shapes and sizes.

Here are a few bits of wisdom that we would like to pass on:

1.     Keep it simple & broad. We like to call this “top of the funnel” organizing…this means that we focus on the general categories first.

2.     Keep it colorful! Never underestimate the power of a good color-coded system. Who can resist brightly colored labels?

3.     Keep it contained. We all have those last-minute surprise visits by friends, in-laws, neighbors…and we all have that inevitable “ten-second tidy” that ensues shortly after we welcome a surprise guest. Containers that have lids are a blessing from above. In open or visible storage, baskets or non see-through bins are the best way to keep those toys out-of-sight…at least for an hour or so!

 

Here are a few systems we love for playrooms:

 

For the high-end, Pottery Barn Kids has some beautiful baskets and storage systems like this one:

In the mid-price range, The Container Store’s Elfa® designs has really flexible and affordable (can I get a hallelujah?!) options, much like this multi-purpose solution:

On the low end of the price range, Ikea has this fun system that is also super flexible...it can grow and change as your kids move through different phases. 

image via: the homes I have made

image via: the homes I have made

Now it's time to grab some beautiful bins or baskets to finish off your playroom (and train your kids to keep everything in order)!

As far as the organization goes, we happen to know an excellent organizing company that could really help you get your playroom in order…hint hint.

For more playroom organizing inspiration, check out our Instagram feed!

Happy organizing!

-the Puka ladies

Spring Cleaning

This is the definition of spring cleaning according to Google:

spring clean·ing

noun: spring clean; plural noun: spring cleans; noun: spring cleaning; plural noun: spring cleanings

1.     a thorough cleaning of a house or room, typically undertaken in spring.

verb: spring-clean; 3rd person present: spring-cleans; past tense: spring-cleaned; past participle: spring-cleaned; gerund or present participle: spring-cleaning

1.     clean (a home or room) thoroughly.

 

And according to Wikipedia:

Spring cleaning is the practice of thoroughly cleaning a house in the springtime. The practice of spring cleaning is especially prevalent in climates with a cold winter.

 

Here in Nashville, winter doesn’t exactly always require down vests and thermal long underwear.  Heck, many of us never even bothered to take out our heavy sweaters this year.  But spring is dawning, and that means it’s time for spring cleaning.

Where did the notion of spring cleaning even come from?  One theory is that it originated from the Jewish custom of Passover, or the religious renewal many Christians experience in preparing for Easter.  Or maybe the credit goes to the Chinese, and the customary house cleaning that takes place before the Chinese New Year.

Regardless, humans are more tired in the winter.  Why is that relevant to spring cleaning?  Hormones in our bodies react to the amount of sunlight we receive, and with the shorter, cloudier days that come with winter, we’re put into a sort of extended sleepy stupor.  Longer, sunnier days bring us more energy, hence the arrival of spring cleaning frenzies.  Just look again at Wikipedia’s definition: the practice of spring cleaning is especially prevalent in climates with a cold winter.  So the math works like this:

Winter = sleepiness = laziness = letting the clutter build up.

Yep, I just gave you an excuse for being lazy all winter.

Actually, Wikipedia did.  And since it’s from Wikipedia, that means it’s completely accurate, right?

But now it’s spring, so that excuse was short-lived.  Sorry.

Along with religious rejuvenation and watching nature’s greenery re-emerge, spring can provide a restart for the soul. When we decide to scrub down every surface in our homes and clear the clutter, we are clearing away the weight of cabin fever and starting anew.

Don’t forget that besides cleaning, the de-cluttering aspect of spring cleaning is just as important.  Just as grime builds up on the inside of your oven, clutter builds up around your house.  If you take the time to actually look at it, you may realize just how much stuff built up over the dark, dreary months.  Purging unwanted items and creating clear, clean spaces brings peace to the mind and soul, and we highly recommend it.

When you’re wiping down the pantry shelves, go ahead and dig through all that food in the back and check for expiration dates.  Cleaning the bathroom drawers?  Surely there’s some make-up or old lotion in there that you tried once and decided you don’t even like.  If you’re never going to use it again, toss it out.  Maybe even take a look at some of those winter clothes you haven’t worn in over a year.

It’s not that hard, and it will help you feel a whole lot better.  I promise.  You are literally helping your house lose weight.  Just in time for swimsuit season, too.

 

-Heidi

Professional Organizer &  Organizing Enthusiast

Resolutions or Goals? To Set or Not to Set...

I stopped making New Year's resolutions several years ago because this is how it usually went... I would decide that starting January first, I would stop or start some lofty habit. By the middle of February my steam had fizzled out. I spent the rest of the month feeling lousy having disappointed myself, yet again.

 

I would tell myself that my failure was because "I set unrealistic goals." "I'm a serial high-achiever." "I'm an idealist." But, who was I kidding? I failed because the goals I set and the image I had of myself did not match. I failed because I didn't actually want to reach the goal or to do the resolution I made. Or perhaps I didn't really want to do the work necessary to achieve the goal.

 

Now, if you are one of those people who can pull off their New Year's resolutions, I salute you, and you can stop reading! But, first, please teach a class so I can attend, because I am not that person.

 

For the rest of us who struggle with New Year's resolutions, may I encourage us to stop making them? Additionally, can I encourage us to pause before we set any goals at any time of the year? Let's get some coffee or tea and have an honest conversation about our self image. If you're on our website and social media, it's likely because you are interested in organizing. Perhaps you want or need to get organized. Perhaps you feel stuck. If so, this article may help. 

 

I ask you to consider this premise: to the same degree that you feel disorganized you likely have a correlating sense of embarrassment, shame or frustration. To comfort you, I've included some pictures of my own garage and basement, right now. Yes, even organizers have areas to work on. 

IMG_8045.JPG

 

Back to that self-image, as long as we see ourselves how we have always seen ourselves, we will continue to think and to act as we have always thought and acted. If we want to behave differently, we have to grow our mind. Repeat after me: I am the most dynamic and extraordinary of all of God's creation! Try this one on for size: Who I have seen myself to be has served me well, until now. This image no longer fits me, and I am growing. I AM growing.

 

How are we growing? Using myself as an example, my leading phrase for 2017 is "If not now, when?" I decided on this phrase, because I have a habit of feeling overwhelmed by the numerous ideas and projects that I come up with then put off out of fear. This may have served me in the past but no longer. Now, I am growing more bold. I am growing more focused. I am the most dynamic and extraordinary of all God's creations, and I am becoming a newer version of me. That is what I am saying to myself. 

 

What are you saying? How are you growing?

 

If you want to see more simplicity and organization in your life -- it doesn't necessarily start with organizing. It doesn't even start with us helping you. It starts in your mind.

 

OLD THOUGHT:     "I wish I wasn't so busy, I would have more time to organize, to think..." 

NEW THOUGHT:     "I am growing in knowing my own boundaries. I'm growing, and it is helpful to delegate. I have good thoughts and ideas."

 

OLD THOUGHT:     "I am just not an organized person."

NEW THOUGHT:     "I am growing, and I accept myself just as I am, right now. I am also growing in my skill to organize. I can learn anything."

 

OLD THOUGHT:     "I don't know how to organize. I don't know where to start."

NEW THOUGHT:     "I am growing. I am competent, capable and amazing. So, I am growing in my skill to organize. I can ask for help. I can do this."

 

OTHER NEW THOUGHTS: 

"I am growing in patience with myself and others."

"I am more flexible than ever."

"I am growing in boldness."

"I am growing. I can start. I can try. I am more energized than ever."

 

Let us start here, seeing ourselves with the knowledge that we are growing. By March, instead of finding a resolution list taunting us with failure, we will see a new image in the mirror celebrating its confidence and beauty and tackling life's goals and challenges.

 

Rest assured, new challenges will come along. New goals will need to be set. Thankfully, these won't be as scary, overwhelming, or hard, because we will have cast off our old garments, our old ways, and grown to fit the new ways required to climb these mountains. Our January self learned to grow. Our January self learned that any new challenge simply requires a new wardrobe of thoughts.

 

I am so proud of you! It is difficult to face the inner self. It is easier to try and fix external things. But, you are growing, and now it is time. It is time because you are reading this. "If not now, when?" You have got this, so go on; give it a go. One small step. See you later this year!

 

"Success is a progressive realization of a worthy ideal." -- Earl Nightingale

 

-Autumn

Organizer and Lifestyle Management guru

Lighten the Load

Why are some of us so obsessed with organizing?  Does it bring peace of mind?  Yes.  Do some of us have OCD tendencies that are only satisfied by making a room look picture-perfect?  Definitely.  People often ask me why I’d want to clean up after others, but I firmly tell them that what we do isn’t cleaning; organizing is completely different.  

Picture coming home from work and the kids are whining, the dog is barking, notifications are chiming nonstop on your phone, you have emails to send and phone calls to make, dinner to cook, and no time to clean up the mess in the living room before that dinner party this weekend.  Your daughter decides she will only eat apples for a snack, and after opening every single kitchen drawer, you still can’t find the apple slicer.  You’re trying to calm down the lack-of-sliced-apples situation when your boss calls asking about paperwork you can’t seem to recall.  Then your son tosses his sweaty shin guards into the living room, knocks over a drink onto the new carpet, and you spend so long looking for the carpet cleaner that it’s too late, and there’s already a stain.

Now imagine that you knew that the apple slicer is always kept in the second drawer to the right of the sink, and that you can cut that apple while on the phone assuring your boss that you do indeed have the paperwork he needs, because you know exactly which file in your office has that specific paperwork.  And you know that when your son gets home from soccer practice he knows to put his shin guards in the bin in the mudroom labeled ‘shin guards,’ instead of on the middle of the living room floor.

Maybe if life was like that, you’d breathe a little easier.  Maybe it would help you to realize that yes, even amongst chaos, you can have your life together.

Now don’t get me wrong, no one has got it all together.  Not even professional organizers.  We’re all human, just like you.  And eight-year-old boys will not always put their shin guards away, even if they know exactly where to put them.

But do I personally keep my files in order, and know where to find my apple slicer?  Yes.  Does it make me feel more in control in my own home, and less burdened?  You bet.

Organizing helps.

That’s why our tagline is what it is: Lifting burdens.

According to a study from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, clutter in the home can actually affect your hormones.  The study found that women living in more cluttered homes had higher reports of depression, whereas those who lived less cluttered homes were able to better control stress and negative thoughts.

Becoming organized is like discovering something you didn’t realize you were missing out on.  Like hearing music for the first time through Beats headphones, or switching from Converse to Nike Frees.  Or sailing.  Or homemade cheesecake.  Or How I Met Your Mother.

I think you get the point.

 

-Heidi

Professional Organizer &  Organizing Enthusiast

Organizing...In Real Life

Life is Interesting. Actually, people are interesting. Sometimes this is fascinating and enjoyable. Like the [insert a story here] Then, there are the other times. You know, the downright frustrating times when you are beside yourself in disbelief that another person could be that rude, unkind, impatient or any other slew of vices we as humans are capable of.  Boiled down, people can be difficult.

In our line of work we meet people from all sort of backgrounds and histories: successful career people who are chronically disorganized, some with a clinical diagnosis for hoarding or PTSD. Those who are type A, type B, ADD, ADHD and OCD. Often times, people are easy to please and satisfy. Yet, sometimes they are difficult. Rich, middle class and poor, we meet them all and difficult people can happen anywhere!

What is the common denominator? They are all people! That’s what makes this job so interesting… and challenging… and rewarding. It is the number one reason I love organizing, I’m helping people; every person whether celebrity, local hero, or hero only to their family is all the same inside. We want to be happy, healthy, and we want our family and friends to be happy and healthy. At our core we want to feel important.

So, when I’m working with someone I keep that in the forefront of my mind. How can I make this person’s day better? How can I help them feel important? If this person is particularly grumpy, frumpy, disgruntled or otherwise having a bad day, chances are very high it started before I arrived on the scene, it has nothing to do with me, and I am experiencing their overflow. I make it a game; how can I show love to this person, hear them? How can I make them feel important?

I am more than bringing calm to the chaos of a space or event. I am helping to bring calm to a situation, organizing is very rewarding this way. I have found a change in their attitude happens the majority of the time. Once this shift happens, it is much easier to find them interesting and fascinating, which in turn, makes them very enjoyable to be around and work with. At the end they not only are more organized, they feel happier, like the sun came out after a rather stormy day.

How about the arrogant person, who knows everything? Chances are high they are masking a fear of failure or lack of confidence. Cut them some slack and bolster their personhood. Maybe they will let down some of the arrogant garb they think they need to succeed and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you made a positive difference in someone’s life, even if it is just a seed for change.

At the end of each day, we’re all people being made beautiful. Helping someone get simplified and organized in streamlined systems and categories is one way to create beauty. But, I see that as only one facet of organizing. Organizing our client’s hearts with grace, compassion, humor and validity is a beautiful thing too. Don’t let difficult people ruffle your feathers, find a way to see them beneath the exterior and see the interesting and fascinating pieces that create them special.

 

PRACTICAL TIPS:

·      Smile

·      Look for something you can give a genuine compliment about. Flattery is easily recognized and seldom appreciated.

·      Use the phrase, “I hear you”.

·      Take ownership. If you made a mistake, apologize right away and admit your error.

·      Look for something to foster good will and ask about it. E.G people usually love to talk about their kids, their pets, their hobbies.

·      If someone is upset, let the person finish venting. Then validate their concern with affirming words such as, “I hear you,” or “I hear you are frustrated, I would feel the same way myself if I were you.” Most often, someone who is frustrated needs to simply be heard.

·      A driver cuts you off, or someone won’t let you in. Take a breath and slow your own pace down. No need to drive close to someone in a bad mood, they might do something else erratic or unsafe. I like to settle into traffic with good music or an audio book.

·      The person on the other end of the phone sounds like they are getting angry or impatient. I find it most helpful to say something along the lines of, “I’m so sorry. I think there may be a misunderstanding and it sounds like you may be frustrated. Have I said anything to upset you?” Nine times out of ten, they recognize they need an attitude adjustment, apologize themselves and you discover they are just having a bad day too.

·      Show empathy by asking questions, “How is your day going?” “Can I help?”

·      The person checking out in front of you is rude to the cashier. Make a positive comment to them when it is your turn. Don’t gossip about the grumpy pants, just affirm that you see how hard they are working to satisfy customers.  Or, if they were rude back, just empathize with having a hard day. “Man, is it Monday? It must be hard to always keep a positive attitude. I know I find it hard sometimes.”

 

-Autumn

Organizer and Lifestyle Management guru