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Organizing Media

Organizing Media

Sneaky Media

Media, like DVDs, cassettes, videos, CDs, and books, insidiously clutter our homes. These items sneak into our space without us even knowing why. We are organizing media today. Want to join us? Keep reading!

These items are often invisible until they overrun our environment or until they gang up with other types of clutter to take us down. Do you know that feeling?

Let’s strike back and end this battle now. Follow these simple steps and suggestions.

First, go through your home and gather every book, CD, DVD, video, and cassette (if you have any of the last two?). Do not get distracted by papers, clothes, Knick knacks, or other stuff around. You need to stay hyper-focused if you want to finish this process.

Then divide this large media group into five categories: CDs, DVDs, videos, cassettes, and books.

Let’s Do This!

Cassettes (Tapes)

Let’s deal with those cassettes first, if you have any.

Do you have the equipment to listen to these? And would you listen to them — ever? (Honestly!). What are their contents? Are the contents something you can easily find online (like music)? Or is the material recorded conferences, for example? If so, could you find the same content online?

If the contents of the cassettes are something personal you recorded and need to keep, find a service that can transfer that tape contents into digital. A digital format preserves the material and also makes it more accessible.

Then you can let go of both the tapes and the tape player. Off with clutter!!!

If you MUST keep one or two tapes in the actual cassette format for utmost sentimental reasons, that item should go in your “warm & fuzzy” box.

What is that box? This box is a special box everyone should have in their closet or under the bed, with very few carefully selected items that make you laugh or cry throughout your entire life.

Of course, not everything can or should go in this box. You have to be super selective!

Place all cassettes you decide to digitize in a box or bin marked “to digitize.” Then, get your calendar (yes, right now) and schedule a date when you will do any research about this service and mail this material to be digitized.

VHS, anyone?

Everything said in point number 3 applies to any VHS video in your home.

Answer the same questions and take the same actions described for cassettes with your videos.

Organizing Media

Photo Home Decor Obsession

Books’ turn!

Check all those books collected through the home and see if anything should go away through donation, recycling, or selling. If you have a decent number of books to let go of, see if you can sell them at Half-Priced Books? They also buy movies and music, so keep that in mind.

Take the books you will keep to that home area where other books live. If you do not have a central place for the books in your home, it may be time to assign such a place.

Don’t let the lack of space or bookcases limit your ideas. There are infinite ways to create bright displays for your books. In addition, books can make a design statement! Just check Pinterest, and you will see. Smashing idea; Points for Design!

A word about vinylOrganizing Media

Vinyl has come back- no doubt about it. But being a vintage item, vinyl makes a statement on its own. Because we tend to listen to records on special moments and need vintage equipment to play them, these items tend to behave more appropriately. They don’t run away like their CDs and DVDs relatives. There is not much we need to say about vinyl. But if you have some records and their player but have yet to give these items the standing they crave, you are missing all the fun. Consider a place of honor to display and listen to your Vinyl music. You are unlikely to have records you no longer want out of their jackets or in random home areas. But if you do, I am simply out of words. Let’s leave it at that.

How about DVDs and CDs?

Make a space in the living room or a home office for all your DVDs.

First, you must pair DVDs and CD cases with their discs! For mysterious reasons, half of the cases we find are empty. That tells us their corresponding disks might be broken or scratched somewhere or under some gooey, unknown blob. Those disks are no longer suitable to keep; you can feel okay trashing them. But when you let them go, discard their case as well.

Other DVDs and CDs will be in good condition. So, after matching them with their cases, you can decide to keep or donate them.

The DVDs and CDs you keep should be all together in a single place in the home. Typically, the optimal location for these is the living room.

When you decide where all your DVDs and CDs will live, take those you found during this exercise to that place in the home. Then, see if any of the discs in your collection can go. You could donate or sell them (remember Half Priced Books?).

When you go through all your disks and eliminate what you don’t want or enjoy anymore, you make a more comfortable, appealing space for the DVDs and CDs you keep.

The Most Brilliant Idea Yet

On the other hand, consider that movies and music are easy and inexpensive to download these days. It might cost you more to store these items if you consider the space they occupy in your home and the amount you pay for each square foot of the house. And when was the last time you watched a movie from your DVDs or listened to a CD? (No, honestly!)

Some DVDs and CDs might be homemade, with great sentimental value. You may want to keep all that material.

However, here is my brilliant idea: Transfer their contents to an external drive dedicated to photos and videos or place the material in your computer and copy it to the cloud. This way, all your memories are safe, shareable with others, more accessible to enjoy, and do not occupy the physical space CDs and DVDs take. Furthermore, you can also let go of CD players and DVD players. How about that? Off with the clutter again!!!

These steps and ideas will help you tackle the media clutter in your home. Probably, media is not the most significant factor cluttering your environment, but every little bit counts. So, we must divide, conquer, and work on every puzzle piece to achieve our desired results.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help or advice with your home organization.

Suggested Reading

The Shame That Binds You

The Shame That Binds You

The Shame That Binds You

Many people, especially women, feel ashamed about being unable to keep up with a tidy home or an organized life. Is that the shame that binds you?

But why does this happen? Where does such a thing come from?

Well, it starts with some harmful beliefs society has perpetuated. These beliefs are particularly detrimental to women.

Harmful Beliefs

Society has perpetuated three beliefs that are particularly harmful to women:

  1. It is a woman’s job to organize the home, her life, and the lives of everyone in the household while even working outside the house.
  2. This female job comes from the fact that a woman’s capacity to organize, plan, and manage comes inherently to the female gender.
  3. A woman should be capable of doing all that naturally, effortlessly, and excellently.

However, planning, organizing, and managing require engaging the brain’s executive function. Whether it is due to an accident, illness, a brain condition, or genetics, the ability to plan, organize, and manage takes work and requires learning for a large part of the population. The truth is that most people do not excel at those activities, even less enjoy them.

An Outsourcing Economy

And that should not be a problem. Our societal arrangement provides for outsourcing services and products we cannot make ourselves due to the lack of skills and time. 

We defer the making of products and provision of services we need to groups or individuals who are experts at what they do because engaging our time in or learning all the skills required to produce our products and services is not cost-efficient.

And there is no shame in that.

For example, we go to a salon to get a great haircut. Of course, we could cut our hair, but that does not mean we should, would want to, or be successful at it (I know, I’ve been there! LOL).

Or we go to a store or tailor to get clothes instead of sewing our own. Although many people excel at sewing, that is not most of us. 

And even those good at sewing would only make some of their clothes. Making their whole wardrobe from scratch is not an efficient use of their time. So they even outsource their clothes acquisition.

Why The Shame?

So, why the shame around organizing, managing, and planning?

Is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company embarrassed to engage a business coach or a team efficiency expert? No! It is even expected from a person in such a position.

The shame of being unable to keep a tidy home and an organized life comes from thinking we are inherently capable of achieving this. And if we can’t accomplish that, something must be wrong with us. Furthermore, if those skills are innate, they are expendable at some level.

A Compounded Problem

We are dealing with a double fallacy that compounds that shame.

Believing a person is inherently capable of planning, organizing, and managing negates the possibility of needing to learn these skills, as is the case for so many.

Consequently, someone without those skills might feel ashamed and even less open to acquiring the skills by learning.

How about focusing on what we excel at and what makes us joyful? It is easier to feel happier, accomplished, and fulfilled in life this way instead of pounding ourselves with guilt every step.

Here’s The Solution

And for things that involve knowledge we don’t have, skills we were not born with, and time we don’t want to spend (like organizing, planning, and managing, for example), the Professional Organizer comes to the rescue!

A Professional Organizer is skilled and, in many cases, instructed in organizing, planning, and managing physical spaces, time, people, systems, and ideas.

A Professional Organizer Can Help

Professional Organizers can help by:

  1. Doing the organizing and planning, you do not have time to do
  2. Doing the organizing and planning you do not want to do
  3. Developing systems that make your life and home more efficient
  4. Using their knowledge, experience, and skills to build systems to make your life and home more efficient
  5. Teaching you the fundamentals of their work, should you be interested in learning to maintain your systems

A Professional Organizer sets household members up for daily success and long-term goal achievement, plus a home that operates like a well-oiled machine. Who would not like to have that?

A Matter of Perspective

Look at it from the perspective of that Fortune 500 Executive that engages a coach to crush their short- and long-term goals while learning to work smarter, not harder. After all, you ARE the CEO of your home.

So, stop the guilt if that is what’s holding you back. Instead, give a Professional Organizer a chance to show you how easy life can be! You might be surprised. Your only regret might be not making that decision sooner.

Creative Ways to Maximize Space in a Small House

Creative Ways to Maximize Space in a Small House

Redfin is a real estate brokerage that represents home buyers and sellers. In their blog, Redfin asked some organizing experts about Creative Ways to Maximize Space in a Small House. My Space Reclaimed was one of the Organizers consulted. Here’s a link to the original blog post. Read along and see how you can make the most of your space in a small house.

Creative Ways to Maximize Space in a Small House

February 12, 2020, by 
Updated on December 18th, 2020
 

When you have a smaller home, every inch of space counts! If you’re feeling cramped in your tight quarters, don’t worry, making a small space more livable can be easy. To help you get started, we asked organizational experts for their best tips and tricks for maximizing space in a small area. Check them out and you’ll feel like you’re living large in no time.

1. Start by purging your items. Set up three boxes and label them “keep” “donate” and “trash.” Set a timer for two hours and start categorizing the items within the three boxes. Don’t step away to put an item in the room or area that it belongs, just place it in the keep pile for now. If you come across things that spark a trip down memory lane, set them aside for now in the “Keep” category. Plan a “Memory Night”, order some food in, and take that trip with family and friends! – Organizing by Ali, Alison Monaghan

2. Store less frequently used kitchen items elsewhere. In the kitchen, look for small appliances, big cookware, extra canned foods, and extra paper products that are not used regularly and move to another storage area in your home. This frees up space and allows for a less cluttered feel. – Cleared Spaces, Amy Van Arsdale

3. Accommodate the storage spaces you’re working with, versus attempting to accommodate your belongings. So many of us feel we don’t have ample storage, however, we may just need to pair down our belongings in an effort to truly work towards a simplified space in a smaller home. – Organized for Life, Lauren Silveira

4. Incorporate storage within your decor. For example instead of having shelving staged with only home decor and books, mix in beautiful bins to house other items. Think of electronic accessories, envelopes or office accessories, and even toys. – Freshly Organized, Melanie Schmidt

Tall bookshelves or cabinets can also store clothes, crafts, and toiletries. – Arranged by Erin, Erin Kelly

maximize space with over-the-door organizer linen closet
Photo Credit: Let Your Space Bloom

5. Use over-the-door organizers. The back of a door can be a wonderful storage place. Buy an inexpensive clear hanging shoe organizer, place it over your door and use it to store items such as scarves, socks, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, travel toiletries, or hair products. You can even use them for shoes! – Aim 4 Order, Cindy Bernstein. In the absence of a linen closet, utilize over-the-door organizers for fun and functional linen storage. – Let Your Space Bloom, Amy Bloomer

6. Remove doors from closets. If you have bedroom closets with bi-fold doors and you need more space, remove the doors. They pop out easily. Once they’re gone, the space will feel larger, and you can put up a curtain instead if you like. The closet can become an office, too, with a desk, computer, and other office accessories.

7. Have a paper filing system. Every household needs one. Every piece of paper worth keeping should have a permanent home where you will know to look for it. There are things that will have to be kept and those need to be filed. Most likely, those files will have to be created as you go. – My Space Reclaimed, Maristella Bertram

8. Utilize vertical wall space. New York City apartment dwellers are always looking to maximize their tight spaces. Make use of vertical spaces with shelving, hooks, or other mounting options.  Backs of doors are hidden gems, as can be tight spaces to the side of fridges, washer/dryers, etc.  Using wall space can be a great way to blend the functional with the visual hooks for a decorative hat display or floating shelves with color-coded books are great ways to add personalized decor while also adding storage. – Embrace Your Space NYC, Sarah Grace

9. Clear the medicine cabinets. Medicine cabinets are often home to mostly expired medicine, lotions, and all manner of potions.  Find inexpensive drawer organizers at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, or The Container Store. Keep first-aid stuff close at hand. Use baggies to gather hair clips, razors, nail supplies, etc. – A Clear Path, Dr. Regina F. Lark

maximize space with file folding in closet
Photo Credit: Lisa The Organizer

10. File fold. Things tend to get lost in deep shelves that hold clothing. To solve this problem, plastic boot boxes from The Container Store allow one to “file fold” so clothing isn’t stacked. File folding allows you to see what you have and eliminates the clothing from falling all over if it was in a pile. – Lisa The Organizer, Lisa Haubenstock

11. Remember that less is more. We can all cut down on the number of products we buy. If your space is overwhelmed with products, that clutter can make an already small space feel tiny. – Clutterless Home Solutions, Lahni Carney

12. Turn cleaning into a game for the kids. To de-clutter the playroom and instill de-cluttering habits in your kids, make cleaning fun by turning cleaning into a game! Use clear packing cubes as a smart storage solution for toys and other knick-knacks. Categorize each packing cube and ask them to match the toys to the corresponding packing cube. – EzPacking

13. Save space in your laundry room. Use open shelving or a hanging rack system placed on the back of a door. Both are good options to keep washing supplies organized and easily available. Zone the shelf space and use containers to keep categories together. – Everyday Organizing, Nancy Patsios

14. Use clear or mesh wall pockets for mail. These are a must for organizing mail when you don’t want papers piling up on your kitchen counter or dining room table. Designate one wall pocket for magazines/catalogs, one for bills to pay, and the third one for all other types of mail. Be sure to label your wall pockets and go through them once a week to keep the papers from piling up. – reSPACEd, MaryJo Monroe

15. Find storage solutions for “dead” space. These are places where furniture or full-size wall shelves won’t fit. Some examples of dead space are:

  • The wall underneath stairs  – Perfect for hooks to store coats, keys, hats & bags, a dry-erase board/bulletin board/family calendar, or wall pockets to store mail.
  • The inside of kitchen or bathroom cabinet doors – Ideal for 3M Command hooks or magnetic hooks or cups to store small items like pot-holders, dish towels, Tupperware lids, scissors, make-up, or toothbrushes. – Cluttershrink

16. Be careful when using vacuum-sealed bags. Never use vacuum-sealed bags for delicate textiles like cotton, suede, silk, leather, etc. Only use them for durable fabrics such as denim or ski gear. Natural fabrics need to breathe or else the fabric will be irreversibly damaged. Don’t ruin your clothes in order to save space using a vacuum-sealed storage bag. – Garde Robe, Doug Greenberg

17. Give your items a consistent home. If you notice piles of clutter, it is likely that you have never designated a particular spot for them. Every item needs one consistent home, so when you are done using it, you know where to put it, and when you need it again, you know where to find it. – Cocozza Organizing + Design, Heather Cocozza

18. Invest in storage containers like baskets and bins to organize valuable square footage. Whether it’s reorganizing your kitchen, decluttering a storage room, or tackling overstuffed closets, implementing an organizational system is a vital storage hack for maximizing each area of your home. – DFW Packing Pros

19. Install a custom space. Built-ins tailored to your needs can utilize every available sliver of space. When they’re part of the walls, you don’t lose as much valuable square footage. For example, turn a wall into an office or craft space. – SolutionsForYou, Anne Blumer

20. Double-duty furniture. This allows you to not only maximize your physical space but also the functionality of a space. 

  • For example, my ottoman holds a dozen shoes, my mirror is hiding all of my jewelry, and my nightstand doubles as an underwear drawer. It’s all about getting creative while finding homes to store your things and the possibilities for multi-purpose furniture pieces are endless!
  • In your living room, choose a coffee table or end table that provides storage below for books, blankets, etc. either by neatly placing the items or by utilizing baskets to conceal the items in the space.”  – Orderly by Danica, Danica Finocchario-Smith