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Let’s Go Shopping!

Let’s Go Shopping!

We are thrilled to take you on a shopping experience like no other- introducing Shop with Us*, our website’s newest development.

Shop with Us is a carefully selected collection of what will elevate your daily life and home experience.

Some clients ask what’s reasonable to have in a home without excess or deficiencies. For these people, the shop may serve as a guide or validation of their home’s inventory.

Others have the deer-in-headlights syndrome when visiting certain stores. They might face innumerable options without knowing what works best for what or why, or what systems go together. For this group, the shop offers a confident buying experience since items are divided by home space and the best organizing and style solutions had been pre-selected. 

This is an eclectic shop – From the mundane (like cleaning and home miscellaneous) to the sublime (design elements for the sensory experience you want at home). Each piece of the puzzle is equally important in developing the elevated lifestyle you crave. We bring you an intentionally driven purchasing experience without confusion, straight to what each space needs.

Some clients have jumped with us into the unknown (without a parachute) to start a new chapter in their lives. We’ve witness the healing power of starting anew. (Have you ever noticed it’s easier building something from nothing than fixing or transforming something else?). But despite its benefits, starting over from virtually nothing is only for some. However, our experience with those brave souls led us to consider, source, and create new homes and lifestyles for them.

Please note that before acquiring organizing solutions or deal with home design, we must let go of the excess – physical or otherwise. It’s not our intention that you accumulate more stuff or shop for the sake of shopping. Buying storage solutions, containers, or design elements without the proper context will only result in additional clutter. The goal here is to transform your home experience into a streamlined, simpler, organized, exquisite, and fulfilling one.

So, if you have yet to eliminate the clutter in your home and life or you look at this shop collection without a clue of what to get or why, let’s backtrack the process. We’ll happily walk you to a simpler, more organized, stylish, and fulfilling home through design, virtual organization, in-person consultation, or hands-on assistance.

We are constantly learning and growing, and would certainly appreciate your contribution to this shopping experience. Let us know of products that speak to you or diverse uses you give to some mainstream products. Please share your ideas for this shop with us for everyone’s benefit. We’d love your opinion on this new initiative.

Please know that if the items in our shop are not to your taste, you may still use this store as a checklist for all the essentials and charm of a minimalistic, styled, and cozy home. But also, we’d happily create a custom look just for your home, if that’s something that appeals to you. Just contact us!

Shop With Us here.

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualified purchases

The Mari Kondo / Container Store Alliance

The Mari Kondo / Container Store Alliance

My point about Mari Kondo’s method is that she is not in a professional organization. Not really. 

If you need systems to improve organization and efficiency, need to uncover the root causes for your disorganization, or need to break free from a life of disorganization, you need a Professional Organizer. Mari Kondo can’t help you there.

This might still be true – I am not sure of that at this moment- I have not revisited the criteria I used at that time to reach my conclusions. 

However, Mari Kondo has bent the knee to the value of aesthetics and design, as indicated by her alliance with The Container Store. 

Before, she had nothing to say about containers other than “containers and pretty baskets are unnecessary.” Nothing seemed important in her process beyond decluttering. However, Organizers know what comes after decluttering is essential.

Oh! But things have changed. The first thing you see on The Container Store’s website is Mari Kondo’s merchandise. I remember when she did not want anything to do with the store and vice versa. 

This alliance with The Container Store does not make Mari Kondo a Professional Organizer. However, she now conceded that systems bring efficiency, the proper containers keep the clutter at bay, and sound design promotes the maintenance of the space. (Those “pretty baskets” command some respect, right?)

My Desk Looks Great! (All Papers Are on The Kitchen Counter)

My Desk Looks Great! (All Papers Are on The Kitchen Counter)

Organizing Paper

So you say: “My desk looks great,” but all the papers are on the kitchen counter? Aren’t we proud? (LOL)

If this is you, please know you are not alone and that paper clutters homes the most because it is harder to corral, classify, and organize.

Paper is sneaky, and you can’t see the chaos it makes by looking at a page here and there. But when it accumulates enough for you to notice, then it is too late.

Whether it is brochures, magazines, newspapers, instruction manuals, receipts, unopened mail, coupons, gift cards, or schoolwork, these things hang around the house and clutter everyone’s lives.

When organizing clients’ homes, they are often surprised by an unpleasant by-product: the unforeseen accumulation of paper and other items that don’t have a definite place in the house.

We gather all paper, including magazines, brochures, children’s papers, and projects. These should be addressed later by the client. We can’t save our clients from doing this work.

Because looking at the paper collected, it is impossible to know what you need to keep; you’ll have to do the work you have been avoiding in the first place (except that now it is all accumulated and is a lot!)

Since this part of the process is a necessary evil, and people fear paper so much, leaving you in the dark to do your homework is unfair. So, here is a detailed guide to winning the paper clutter battle.

NOTE: Before we start, you need to establish a cut-off date, after which you will manage your incoming mail and papers using your new system (thus, staying on top of that).

1. Clean up your files

You will need space for the new stuff that requires filing. If you do not have a filing system, this is the time to create one. Your filing system should preferably be in your home office. The best options would be a rolling cart under a desk by the kitchen or a filing cabinet that complements your décor in the living room.

But every household needs a filing system. Every piece of paper worth keeping should have a permanent home where you will know to look for it.

2. Gather every piece of paper

Gather every piece of paper throughout the house. This group includes magazines, coupons, receipts, notebooks, journals, books, and gift cards.

This exercise might result in several bins of stuff you’ve never seen before. And that is okay! We’ll take one box and one category at a time.

3. Divide and conquer

Start with one box and sort its contents into the categories you find in that bin or container. Then, tackle the second bin of mixed contents and repeat the process.

As you move along, take your trash to the trash and clean the bins that you empty.

Pro Tip: Tackle each category separately. Do not start with a group while still working on another.

4. Sort bigger items

Start with the bigger stuff, such as books and magazines. Decide what can be donated, sold, trashed, or recycled.

Then, see where to allocate what you keep. For example, you might already have a logical space in your home for those items. In that case, merge your gathered items with corresponding objects in their designated home space.

Note that if you run out of space to place all items together, you can purge items by evaluating the entirety of your collection. If this does not give you the needed area, consider an alternative space for these items. The important thing is to keep the same type of items together.

5. On with the paper

Set up the following boxes to collect four types of paper:

  • Recycle

  • Shred (only for sensitive information)

  • File (all documents you decide to keep in paper format)

  • Digitize (paper to be digitized and let go of print)

Keep paper to digitize in a separate box and set aside as a project for the near future.

Every piece of paper needs a decision, and every piece you keep needs a permanent home in a file.

6. Create These Files

  • “Important Documents” File

Important and official documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and the like need their file, so you will always know where the most important things are.

  • “Medical” File

You will want to make a “Medical” folder for each household member. Here is where you file medical records, EOBs, insurance, etc. If you have too much paper in this category, you may need to have Medical-Records, Medical EOBs, Medical-Insurance, etc.

  • “Taxes” File

Decide what you might need to keep for tax purposes for the current year and place all that material in a file called “Current year taxes.”

When filing past years’ taxes, eliminate anything other than the IRS’s need if they audit you.

Discard any envelopes, especially manila envelopes, and unfold papers to letter size.

If you need to keep papers or receipts together, paperclip or binder clip them on the right side. That way, when they are in their folders, you can easily see what’s what.

Keep seven years’ tax history and shred the oldest each year.

Consider digitizing everything. Digitized documents are acceptable to the IRS. But always check with an accounting professional regarding financial/tax decisions.

  • “Owner’s Manuals & Warranties” File

It does not matter what these are; it needs a file to keep a user’s manual. Create a “Household Manuals” folder and place them all together. You can be more specific and divide the category (like tools, appliances, miscellaneous, etc.).

  • “Hold & Throw” File (or tray)

The Hold & Throw is a parking spot for things you may want shortly, but that will be irrelevant in a few months.

This space could be a tray or a file within your system. Some examples in this category are receipts for clothes, neighborhood trash schedules, and paid bills. These items are not worth filing long-term, and you can safely throw them away every couple of months. This practice negates piles of advertisements, receipts, brochures, and things people put on their refrigerators. If the paper will be irrelevant in a few months, it goes in the “Hold & Throw” folder.

  • “To Do” File (or tray)

Among the papers you find, decide what is “to do.” Place that in your “to-do” tray/file. Once done, let go of these papers. You might want to make a note on your schedule to ensure you tackle those “to-do” tasks promptly and consistently.

7. Sort other categories of paper

  • Coupons

Get a coupon wallet to keep in your kitchen drawer. All store coupons and gift cards can live there until needed. They will be accessible whenever you go shopping. Review this wallet monthly to let go of expired offers and coupons.

  • Loose pictures

Set pictures apart and place them with other images you might have. Photos deserve their category, and the procedures to handle picture organization are here.

  • Business cards

Transfer business cards (including those refrigerator magnets with business information) to your computer or mobile phone with card scanning apps or software available.

  • Receipts

You can find discarded receipts online by accessing your bank account or transaction history with the vendor.

If you need receipts to return or exchange something, those receipts should probably go into your “To Do” file or your “Hold & Throw” file.

Moving Forward with Mail

Mail comes into the home daily for most people. We would return to square one very soon without a system to handle mail effectively.

Handling mail daily doesn’t mean handling everything completely. Instead, it means opening each mail piece and directing it to where the action will occur. This should take one or two minutes of your day when you come home.

To this end, you should have your recycle bin and your “To Do” and “To File” files or trays in your mail processing area. Have a recycling bin next to the mail processing area so that all junk mail goes immediately to recycling. Then, sort the rest according to the action each piece will require in the future.

Recycle — Place all junk mail in your recycle bin immediately

To-Do — Things that will require some action (like paying a bill or RSVPing to an activity)

To File — Papers or documents that you’ll want to keep for reference and that belong to any of the file categories in your filing system

OHIO Rule (Only Handle It Once)

If you want to be one step ahead, apply the “OHIO Rule.” It means that you immediately deal with any paper coming into your home instead of setting it down, unopened, to deal with later.

In this case, you commit to processing each mail piece completely when you first handle it. Handling your mail this way reduces paper clutter and eliminates the need to deal with paper later.

Schedule It

Remember that if you follow the steps to handle mail every so often, you need to schedule in your calendar as a weekly or biweekly activity — time to finish processing the mail you pre-classified. The “one-touch rule” eliminates this second part of the process.

Tackling your paper might seem daunting. Nobody said you must finish organizing all your accumulated paper in a day. Paper is the thing that takes the longest to manage! Take your time and work on one category at a time. The space and relief you will feel afterward are worth every moment you invest in the project.

You can tame the paper monster. But, as with everything in life, keeping it under control requires commitment and effort.

If you need help organizing and deciding about your paper, contact us! We will be thrilled to nosedive into your paper mess. Truly!

Designing The Perfect Kids’ Playroom

Designing The Perfect Kids’ Playroom

Note: This is a guest post by Kevin Connors of Inspired Organizers in Phoenix, Arizona

Creating the Perfect Kids’ Playroom

When envisioning well-organized spaces in your home, the kids’ playroom may not be the first that comes to mind. However, creating that ideal place  for your children can foster their creativity, exploration, and joy.  It also makes it easier for parents to maintain order and encourage imaginative play.

In this guide, we’ll explore the best practices for organizing a kids’ playroom. Striking the perfect balance between fun and functionality creates a space that nurtures learning and enjoyment.

First, Declutter and Organize

The initial step in organizing a kids’ playroom is decluttering the space. Begin by sorting toys, games, and other items into specific categories, such as puzzles, building blocks, stuffed animals, art supplies, and board games. Discard broken or unused items. Consider donating toys your children have outgrown to make room for new experiences.

Investing in proper storage solutions is crucial for maintaining a tidy playroom. Combine open shelving, closed cabinets, bins, and baskets to store toys and belongings effectively. Open shelving allows easy access to frequently used toys, while closed cabinets can safely store items that might be hazardous to younger children. Clear bins and labeled baskets help children identify where to return toys after playtime. This encourages them to participate in the cleanup process.

Activity Zones Ideas

Organize the playroom into different activity zones to stimulate specific types of play and learning. Here are some ideas:

  • Reading Nook: Designate a cozy corner with a bookshelf or bookcase, soft cushions, and good lighting to create a welcoming reading space.
  • Art and Craft Area: Set up a table with art supplies, drawing paper, coloring books, and washable markers to ensure ample space for creative exploration.
  • Building and Construction Zone: Utilize open shelves or storage units for items like LEGO, building blocks, and magnetic tiles. This inspires engineering and imaginative play.
  • Pretend Play Corner: Arrange a play kitchen, dolls, action figures, dress-up costumes, and accessories for imaginative play.
  • Transform the playroom into an excellent environment for learning. Introduce educational elements like a whiteboard for drawing and practicing writing skills. Consider adding a map, alphabet chart, or numbers display to make learning fun and accessible.

Additional Considerations

Consider implementing a toy rotation system to keep things fresh and avoid toy fatigue. Store some toys away and rotate them periodically. This method reduces clutter and reignites children’s interest in toys they last saw a while ago.

Safety is paramount in a kids’ playroom. Anchor large furniture to the wall to prevent tipping, cover electrical outlets, and use cord holders to manage wires. Keep small items or toys with small parts away from younger children to avoid choking hazards.

Flexibility is vital as children’s interests evolve, and their playroom should grow their interests.

Kid's Playroom by Inspired Organizers Arizona

Designing an organized kids’ playroom is a fulfilling investment in your child’s development and happiness. You can build a space that encourages creativity, imagination, and joyful play by decluttering, employing smart storage solutions, creating purposeful activity zones, emphasizing safety, and incorporating learning elements.

With some planning and effort, you can create a magical haven where your child can explore, learn, and make unforgettable memories.

About the Author: Kevin Connors owns Inspired Organizers in Phoenix, AZ, and serves as the Director of Membership of the NAPO Arizona Chapter.

Professional Organizer Vs. Mari Kondo

Professional Organizer Vs. Mari Kondo

It has taken me an excessive amount of time to write this piece. I had allowed the cloud of dust to settle. In the meantime, I have been learning about the subject, filling in the information gaps where I deem appropriate. So here is what I’ve got on Professional Organizer Vs. Mari Kondo.

The way I see it, Mari Kondo helps you eliminate the clutter and teaches you how to fold your shirts and underwear in a particular way. Still, her method is not about professional organization. Some KonMari-certified consultants are Professional Organizers. But more than following the KonMari process is needed to call someone a Professional Organizer.

The Need That Each Serves

Please do not take me wrong. I’m not at war with Mari Kondo. On the contrary. She brings a lot of attention and value to our industry. But having said that, she serves a specific portion of the market. What she does is different from what a Professional Organizer does.

Choose the KonMari method or a Professional Organizer if you need to declutter your space. However, you need a professional organizer to find the root cause of disorganization and implement systems that maintain order. Unfortunately, Mari Kondo can’t help you there.

Let me present a couple of criteria to compare how the KonMari method differs from the Professional Organizer’s approach.

Scope and Focus

Organizers typically follow a method that involves evaluating, classifying, purging, allocating, containerizing, and labeling spaces. As part of this process, they emphasize improving the client’s productivity and the space’s efficiency. To achieve that, Organizers implement systems and processes. 

On the other hand, the KonMari method focuses on decluttering the home using the classification of items. Her process does not address the organizing details. Indeed, Mari Kondo does not focus on systems or methods to enhance the efficiency of the space or maintain the order achieved.

Ideal Clientele

Mari Kondo does not address the root cause of disorganization in a home or a person’s life. Therefore, it is logical to presume that her process does not work for people whose clutter problem is “not about the stuff.” Should these individuals follow the KonMari method, the chances are that shortly after, they will be back on square one. 

Organizers train in a wide variety of areas to help their clients best. Therefore, looking for an Organizer best suited to each person’s needs is essential. A good Professional Organizer seeks to find out the root cause of the problem, transfers skills, and designs systems to make their client’s life easier.

Aesthetic Value and Design

The KonMari method emphasizes reusing what the client has available to organize and containerize the client’s items after decluttering. The process expressly avoids the purchase of containers and systems. Not buying additional equipment or supplies could be advantageous when considering project costs. However, things have recently changed with the merger between Mari Kondo and The Container Store. 

Nevertheless, as humans, we are more inclined to maintain the organization of areas that look neat and that are pleasing to the eye. An organized place should be decluttered and functional but also aesthetically pleasing. An organizing design does not need expensive organizing products to look fantastic. However, it requires careful consideration of style and form. And random repurposed containers might not achieve great-looking results.

Room by Room Vs. Categories

One of the fundamental KonMari principles is organizing the whole house using a process based on categories, placing together all items from the same type to evaluate them simultaneously. Some see this method as more definite, fast, and conclusive than organizing room by room.

But Professional Organizers agree with the organizing by categories! One hundred percent! We all want to place similar items together before the client decides what to keep. The difference lies in what happens next with each category once the client has decided what to keep. 

Organizers Go Further

Organizers take it a step further, clarifying the purpose of each room to assign items to their logical place. But yes, we completely agree that it should be a whole-house approach. 

And the whole-house approach is inevitable anyway. People love to spread their things all over the home, regardless of item type or home space purpose. So, we must search the whole house to combine all items in the various categories.

Once And For All?

As they say, the KonMari process is a “once-and-for-all solution.” But organizing is a life skill. Habits must be learned and exercised throughout life to keep an organized space. 

The order does not magically happen “once and for all.” People change, fail, recover, let go, and come back. We are more complex than “once and for all.” Without addressing disorganization’s root causes and the human condition, how can anyone sustain the “once and for all” claim?

When clients work with a Professional Organizer who shows them how much easier life can be by using the “logical place for things” and the “one home per category of items” approach, they usually adopt new habits.

In Conclusion

We are not opposed to the KonMari method – it works in specific situations and for a particular type of client. However, people should understand the fundamental differences between the KonMari way and what Professional Organizers do. 

It is time that people needing organization services stop thinking they don’t need a Professional Organizer because they read the KonMari book. Those requiring a Professional Organizer will see no progress with the KonMari method. On the other hand, people who do not grapple with disorganization or any underlying clutter situation will be happy, experiencing joy with what they keep and gratefully saying goodbye to their discards.