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3 posts from February 2012


Using Containers Effectively

Using containers is one of the best ways to create and maintain organized spaces. Items on shelves, in cabinets and even in drawers should be arranged so they do not fall on other items, move around in the space or mix with other items.

There are some guidelines to remember in choosing containers.
  • Use the most attractive containers in places where they are on display or seen. Decorative boxes and baskets are options for containers that will be seen by everyone. Those containers used in closets, cabinets or drawers need not be as attractive or expensive.
  • Keep like items together in containers. Do not mix types of items such as pens with paper clips or earrings with bracelets.
  • If there is more than one of the same type of item, containerize them together.
  • Separate items from each other in a drawer or cabinet with dividers or containers.
  • Group small items on a shelf in containers. Sauce packets in a pantry and rings in a jewelry box are examples of items that could be grouped together and contained.
  • Containers should fit the space and hold the designated items in an orderly fashion. Using the same size, style, etc. creates a more attractive system.
  • Measure spaces and items before purchasing any containers.
  • Use square or rectangular containers whenever possible as they are more space efficient than round or oval ones.
  • Clear plastic containers are the most versatile and functional because you are able to see the contents clearly. Label containers that are opaque.
  • It is preferable to used stacked drawers units rather than stacking more than 3 containers together. It is too difficult to get to the items in the lowest container.
  • Use trays or shallow boxes to contain items on dressers, vanities, counters, etc. It makes cleaning those surfaces quicker.
  • Consider recycling boxes and other containers in the home for a new use rather than purchasing new containers the same size.
In today’s organizing happy world, there are containers available in every size, shape, color, material and price. There are even stores and outlets opened specifically for selling containers and organizing supplies. With so many choices, there should be something for everyone. Make using containers a habit and your organizing and cleaning tasks will be much easier. For more information, please feel free to contact us through our website: www.OrderlyPlaces.com or email us: maryfrances@OrderlyPlaces.com.


Safely Destroying Papers and Documents

The fear of identity theft and not knowing how long to keep documents accounts for much of the paper clutter professional organizers see with new clients. In our January 24th post there are recommendations on how long to save most documents. In general documents that describe who you are and what you own should be saved. Most monthly statements, tax records over 6 years old and expired policies can be destroyed.

As incredible as it appears, your name, phone number and address are not confidential. Try any of them on Google and you will be surprised. So it is a waste of time and energy to shred every envelope with your name on it as I have seen clients insist on doing. The important information to shred is anything with your account numbers, medical information, social security number or financial documents including offers for credit cards.

Another concern arises on how to destroy those papers. Where there is an accumulation of years of papers that need to be shredded or burned, it is not a good idea to shred them yourself. Most home and small office type shredders are not made for large amounts of paper to be put through them at one time or in one session. The motors will burn up before the job is done. If you shred documents on a daily or weekly basis, these work fine. The most secure are those that cross cut or shred the paper vertically and horizontally. If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, you may be able to use it to destroy papers. In addition, there are some localities where outdoor burning in metal barrels is permitted.

If you are, however, one of those who has a paper accumulation of several years and you need them shredded, I recommend having a professional records management company destroy them with a certificate of destruction. Their facility is secure, they require identification, and the destruction is done promptly. I also recommend using communtiy shredding events. While I understand there have been programs showing how one can put back together a document that has been shredded by some of these companies, this was in a controlled setting where the shreds could be gathered and reassembled. Most mobile shredding units are so large and the amount and of papers they are shredding so diverse, that being able to find the shreds of any one document would be statistically impossible. Of course the hysterics that follow such programs often cause nothing to be done and the pile of papers continues to stack higher and higher.

As you complete your tax forms and documents this year, evaluate your paper situation. If you have documents you no longer need, make the decision to remove them safely and permanently. For more information on retention guidelines, search the IRS website at www.irs.gov or contact us through our website www.OrderlyPlaces.com. We look forward to your comments or questions.


Organizing Checklist for February

January was a busy month. If you have packed away the holiday items and worked on your files, inventory and budget you can take some time this month to enjoy your entertainment and hobby spaces.
  • Sort through videos and CDs and remove those no longer used. Let’s face it, if you haven’t run them in the last couple of years, you probably will not. Our tastes in music and movies change over the years. Sell or pass them on to someone who wants them.
  • Clear the bookshelves of fiction you have already read and reference books. It is unlikely you will reread fiction and reference books become outdated quickly. Use the Internet to keep up to date on those topics. You can sell or donate those items and make room for more good reading on cold winter nights.
  • Review your cookbook collection and recipes you have collected. Consider online sites for new recipe ideas. I promise you can find any type of recipe you want with Google. Save only those with recipes you continually use or those with sentimental value.
  • Review the holiday magazines you purchased last fall, clip out items you want to save and recycle the rest. Consider donating them to local doctor’s offices, beauty shops, etc. I promise they need them. I personally am tired or reading Golf magazines when I am in waiting rooms.
  • Purge those catalogues, too. They are simply printed commercials and you know how much you hate those interruptions. Why waste time on the printed version? If you must, save the back page with the promotion codes, etc. If you need to make a purchase, you can go online, find the item and use the current discount.
  • Make the most of indoor time by finishing up indoor decorating projects and/or enjoying time on indoor hobbies. Sort through your supplies and remove those no longer useful.
  • Begin planning for early spring activities. Buy seeds now and consider planting them indoors for early blooms and crops. If that is not convenient at least you will have better seed choices now.
  • Make preliminary plans for spring or summer vacations. Early reservations are usually less expensive. Insure all travel tickets.
The days are getting longer now and with daylight savings time coming early in March, we will soon be spending more time outside. I look forward to spring flowers and green leaves on my trees