Enjoying the holiday season this year might be simpler than you think. But, if we can take care of a few essential things first, this is possible.
It Starts with Halloween
Let’s see. It’s Halloween, and you have precisely the stuff you need to create the theme you are going for this year. You know this because you have that neat area in your garage dedicated to holiday décor where every box is labeled. So decorating will be a breeze!
This year you are dressing up and having fun with the neighbors on Halloween!
You are enjoying it even more because you know how easy it is to put everything away (and while your kids are at school, you can eat all their candy!).
Then Thanksgiving Arrives
While putting all the Halloween décor away, you want to take out all the Thanksgiving stuff. Easy! It is all well-organized. What used to be a grumpy task is now an enjoyable thing to do.
And just like that, Thanksgiving has officially started in your home. Time to think of the menu, the guests, football, and all that comes with it. But guess what? You do have the time and capacity to think about all that now.
Your home is decorated, organized, clean, and ready for holiday guests because after that initial effort and investment last year (when we worked together in managing your home and all the storage), you have maintained the place.
On Thanksgiving Day, you can eat all you want and blissfully go into a food coma while watching football.
And Before You Know It
When recovered, it will be time to decorate for the major holiday of the year and put all Thanksgiving stuff away.
Everyone wonders how this process became so easy this time – everything is organized, accessible, and clean. You are in a jolly mood. It is a beautiful atmosphere.
You do have time to go shopping or tackle all your gift shopping online in a couple of hours.
Since your home looks, smells, and feels like the holidays, you have fun gift wrapping. But, of course, it helps that you have a fantastic gift-wrapping station stocked with everything you need for this purpose.
Probably It’s Not You (Yet)
Okay, this is probably not your case. You need to contact My Space Reclaimed now. Let’s start planning and organizing now, so the picture described above gets to be your story.
People go frantic during the holidays. They have to clean and get the home ready for guests, decorate, plan special activities, shop for gifts, gift-wrap, mail cards, and cook.
But with a neglected house, seasonal decor shoved everywhere, and disorganization, it is hard to feel at ease or properly decorate, shop, gift-wrap, cook, or do any coherent planning. That does not sound much like the jolly spirit.
Shining A Light on Your Home
No other time of the year shines a light on our home and family life as the holidays. Our home is where we cozy up with friends and family to celebrate, cook, eat and drink while cold outside. So make your home an inviting nest that genuinely speaks of love, gatherings, family, and joy.
All these holiday-related activities can be joyful if we first take care of the fundamentals. Things like the physical organization of the home and developing systems that help us every step of the way is how we create the foundation for a joyful holiday season.
So be proactive this year! Start analyzing which home processes can be more efficient, what changes your home needs to feel and look its best, and what home areas need reorganization.
The holidays are around the corner, and we would love to ease your burden during this time. Contact My Space Reclaimed and see how we can help you.
In the minds of most, cleaning and organizing are two activities that go together. We think of a messy place and we imagine it both disorganized and dirty. For the same reason, Organizers get asked over and over if we clean, too. When asked this question, I politely smile and say, “Well, I clean my house, of course!” So, you talk dirty to me and I will tell you some cleaning secrets now.
I do have to say that most Organizers, myself included, refuse to place items neatly organized in dirty spaces. Therefore, we do our best to clean some or engage the client in doing the cleaning, so the project ends at its best. But I am the first one to tell the client to please postpone any special cleaning project until the home is organized – for best results on the cleaning.
So Many (Unused) Products!
As an Organizer, I admit I am impressed by the number of cleaning products I find in every household, especially those that need the most cleaning. There is often a plethora of products for every purpose imaginable, as well as multiples of the same products and cleaning tools.
Another factor that confounds me is the presence of dirty cleaning tools. It does not make sense to clean with dirty tools. It would make sense to clean those tools when we finish cleaning, so we keep the clean tools in our newly clean space.
But since it seems like this rarely happens, I feel free to suggest to my clients a handful of multipurpose products and tools that accomplish many cleaning jobs and eliminate most of the extra work.
What You Need
In my opinion, these are the only products and tools you need. Don’t overcomplicate your life and save space in your cabinets and laundry area.
NOTE: These cleaning alternatives might not be preferred options for the environment since they are chemicals and disposable items. Some are not the most cost-effective either. But these products get the job well done with a minimum of effort, which is what most people need. They keep the tasks simple and are a less expensive alternative than engaging a professional cleaning company. You can also research natural alternatives to the chemicals, especially recipes created with Young Living essential oils, baking soda, and vinegar.
5) Clorox Ultra Clean Disinfecting Wipes (1 container per bathroom and 1 in the kitchen)
6) Clorox Free & Clear Multi-Surface Cleaner
7) Scotch-Brite Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponge (4-6) – these are the best sponges, even for doing the dishes manually
8) Ajax All-Purpose Powder Cleaner with Bleach or Comet Cleanser (one or the other, but just one) – for when additional scrubbing power with bleach is needed.
9) Assortment of brushes with and w/o handle and different kinds of bristles
10) Gloves (you need to protect those hands!)
11) Arm & Hammer Clean Shower Daily Shower Cleaner (1 bottle per shower or tub) – this product is truly a miracle. Tilex has its own version as well.
12) Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponges (tough stains, marks on walls, even cleaning the tub w/o bleach)
13) Microfiber rags (4-5) – Use dry with Windex for stainless steel, glass, and mirror. Use it to dry off washed surfaces. Use wet with the multipurpose cleaner to clean all surfaces.
14) Clorox toilet wand kit (one per toilet) – The kit leaves in the bathroom by the toilet. The sponge is single-use, disposable. The sponge contains the cleaning agent, so there’s no need to have an additional product. Do not flush the sponge. Dispose of it in the trash.
15) Windex (regular kind – just 1 bottle)
16) Pledge Multi Surface Antibacterial Everyday Cleaner – If you have special surfaces such as wood, use this product instead of Clorox Multipurpose. Use with a dry microfiber rag.
17) Cleaning caddy – Keep all your products in the caddy, so they can be moved around your house. Only one set of products is needed. You want a caddy that is rectangular, with straight angles, and not overly divided.
18) Trash bags in sizes according to trashcans in the home (very important to always line your trashcans. To avoid ruining the look a nice-looking trashcan, use transparent bags. Pro tip: knot the rim of the bag to make it fit the border of the trashcan. Hide the excess bag between the trashcan rim and the bag rim.
19) If you have dogs/cats, you will want these two things:
a) Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum
b) Evercare Pet Extreme Stick Plus 100 Sheet Lint Roller (and extra rollers) Or some other product with this purpose. Pro-tip to use lint rollers: do not dispose of the cover. After using the product, peel off the used sheet and leave the new sheet ready to use protected with the original cover.
Follow A Process
Assign a day to wash towels and bedsheets. A good idea to simplify your life: have only one complete set of towels per person, per bathroom, and one set of sheets per bed that truly complement the décor. When it is laundry day, wash, dry, and place them back in use. No need for storage space. No need to fold.
Wash bathroom rugs at least once a month.
Assign a day for each household person to do their laundry (from start to finish on that day). That way, family members take turns and there are no loads of clothing waiting around for washing.
Accumulate all dirty dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher. At night, run the dishwasher. Empty the dishwasher completely and put everything away, first thing in the morning (or before bed). There is no need to keep that strainer or piles of dirty dishes around the kitchen day after day.
If you have dogs or cats, it’s probably a good idea to vacuum once a day or at least once every other day. With the cordless vacuum, this is truly therapy.
Keeping disinfecting wipes in the kitchen and bathroom makes it easy to wipe off surfaces as often as needed.
At least once a week, clean the inside of toilets with the toilet wand and the outside with the Clorox wipes. Clean all surfaces with wipes and clean the mirrors with Windex.
Keeping a bottle of Clean Shower in your shower or tub helps you use this product daily. When you do this, this product virtually eliminates the need to clean the shower! Probably once a month you’ll want to scrub the tiles and all other areas with Ajax or a Mr. Clean Eraser sponge.
Dust all that you can see with the duster. It is so easy to work with this product, that you’ll get in the dusting mood quite fast. When finished, just trash the duster.
Always clean top to bottom and left to right so you can keep track of what has been done. Also, dirt falls on the floor and you want to leave the floor for last.
Finally, use your vacuum all over, go over the floor with the dry Swiffer if desired, and finally, use the wet Swiffer to clean the floors.
Don’t forget to dress your beds, re-place bathroom towels, and change all trashcan liners at the end.
Get yourself a wonderful glass of wine and take a bubble bath in your clean tub!
All this is exponentially easier if your house is uncluttered and organized. If it is not, let’s start with that, shall we? Then you’ll see how easy it is to maintain your home clean.
Paulo Coelho, the author of “The Alchemist,” said, “And when you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”
This quote makes me think of a blog I wrote some time ago, highlighting the importance of summoning your strength and your will and using your head when your heart won’t just take you where you ought to be. And when you do that, the universe responds accordingly by boosting your journey.
The Energy Follows
Some weeks ago, a very dear friend of mine wrote to me recounting her story, which reminded me of the words from Paulo Coelho and my own blog.
Thinking about her journey, I saw that some instances are more challenging than others, but that no matter the circumstances, when we put our attention and intention towards a goal, the energy around us will carry us forward.
When emotions prevent us from acting, we must do whatever it takes to bypass those emotions and raise our energy. Soon, that energy will change your feelings. In time, it will feel easier to achieve your goal.
A Little Story of Hope
Here is the story of my dear friend and her emotional journey following one of the most challenging times of her life:
After my marriage ended, the kids and I returned to our previous home, in Fall 2017, right after hurricane María. We came to a sad, dark, beaten, dirty house without running water or power. Even remembering this makes me so emotional.
Right after we moved back, as sad, dark, and dirty as the house was, I knew I had to face this move with grace, determination, efficiency, and elegance, or the situation would defeat me.
So, I started cleaning, decluttering, and organizing right away. And then something fantastic happened! Plants welcomed me with palpable excitement, birds would come to watch me rebuild our life here, and orchids suddenly bloomed. I felt like Snow White!
I had stimulated the home’s energy, and it came to my rescue. I felt at peace. Only the home office remained to tackle. But one day, I just felt exhausted. So I shut the door to the home office to avoid dealing with that room for a while.
This room quickly became chaotic because I had abandoned my systematic decluttering and organizing efforts for a moment. And maybe because this room was already messy, the movers continued piling random things and unopened boxes in that room whenever something else came home from the last house.
As time passed, I recognized why this home office was a pause point for me. It carried a heavy emotional burden for all that it represented:
a broken business partnership
the place where we envisioned so many family plans
pictures and memories of a once happy couple
past team effort toward my professional goals
a smaller space where I needed to start all over again now
physical and emotional clutter I needed to let go of to move forward
It was a lot, and I had placed all these emotions in that room. So finally, I had to pause and decided to shut the door.
Although that room still needs attention, my feelings have now changed. At this moment, I feel the strength to open that door and face it all. Even more, I know this change in feelings has a lot to do with the fresh energy brought by the much-needed pause I gave myself. I recharged my emotional battery by maintaining the rest of the house organized and clutter-free.
Maristella, I want you to know that your blog validates my path on this journey. Somehow along the way, reading your blog, that connection between clutter and emotions you write about dawned on me. I saw how the states my home had been through correlated with my path to emotional healing!
Your blogs are very helpful, even for those of us that already experienced what you preach. The life principles you promote through your business are a vital ministry that enhances the lives of others, helping us heal and live with greater peace and wellbeing.
So, please send me your best wishes and energies to engage in this final effort – I promise to send you pictures of the room once I finish!
You’ve Got This!
When you direct your attention, intention, and best effort toward those big goals in your life, the universe conspires in your favor. It whispers: “you’ve got this! I’ve got your back.”. Don’t doubt it!
According to the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), people aged 65 and up will account for 20% of the U.S. population by 2030.
Families may no longer be the first line of contact in relocating a senior due to various challenges arising from everyday life. On the other hand, the process of downsizing and moving can be emotionally overwhelming and physically demanding for individuals who have not moved in 30, 40, or 50 years. In addition, many older adults who have not relocated from their current homes in over 30 years have many things to sort through. Families need help! A Professional Organizer can be a much-needed resource when relocating the seniors in your life.
A Professional Organizer Can Help
The following is a list of services that a Professional Organizer might offer in helping their client downsize:
Developing an overall move plan
Move coordination/oversight – before, during, and after the move
House de-cluttering services
Shipping heirlooms to family members
Arranging for storage services
Unpacking and setting up the new home
Connecting the client with realtors who specialize in selling homes for seniors
Organizing and staging the property to be sold
SeniorAdvisor.com is a helpful resource to make confident decisions about senior care and services for your senior loved one.
Achieving a functional storage space that looks great both inside and out is challenging. For example, what to do with an overload of things to organize when there is little to no closet, drawer, or cabinet space available?
That’s when people typically place everything anywhere, just as long as these things are on a flat surface. Well, that does not look organized or pretty (but no one said they were trying either). Some places do have open storage space by design. And this is where the challenge is.
One of the most charming houses I’ve ever worked with was a custom-built home without any storage space! The few areas available to store things, even in the kitchen, were small and exposed (as in no cabinets, drawers, etc.). Furthermore, every storage area consisted of built-in niches, which made the use of storage furniture pieces an awkward proposition.
Consider This To Make It Work
Some factors to consider when organizing an area with open storage are the style of the space, harmonious storage solutions, minimalism, and maintenance.
When things need to remain in plain sight due to lack of concealed storage space, arrange them stylishly- that is, those items that might look good enough to display by themselves.
However, when storing items that clearly can’t stand by themselves as they are, like food or cleaning products, consider using baskets or bins that share either color or style to create a homogeneous, harmonic look that complements the style of the space. Otherwise, the area will look disorganized and cluttered.
Maintenance is essential because, over time, we turn blind to the looks of a space we see daily. We forget that such storage space, due to its openness, is an integral part of the area’s decor and style. Therefore, visible space needs to be well-kept, not only in order but also in color, item arrangement, and balance with the rest of the space.
Consider the picture below.
Open storage space is an organizing challenge
This kitchen would not look this appealing without attention to color balance, positioning, and item amount. Some kitchens rely on open shelves like these instead of upper cabinets.
NOTE: The attention that open storage space requires does not excuse using cabinets and drawers carelessly (as in shoving everything inside in a messy pile) because these are concealed storage areas. These covered spaces still need to be organized to know what we have and easily access it. Otherwise, why keep any of it?
Please reach out to us if you find yourself in a difficult spot deciding about your own open storage space.