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Month: July 2020

Organizing is a journey

Introduction to my Blog

Hello! Let me introduce myself. My name is Kris and I am the founder and lead organizer for Krisp Solutions.  

I often get asked by my clients “Is this the WORST room (kitchen, garage, attic…. you fill in!) that you have EVER seen?” My answer is always the same resounding…”NO!” Everyone has clutter. And everyone’s house has different clutter.  There is no perfectly organized house. And there is not just one way to be organized.  Organization is really all about processes.  Processes that entail making decisions about what to do with your possessions (do I keep? toss?, donate?, store away?) ….and THAT decision will be different for everyone. My job as an organizer is to help people make those decisions…and move forward!

My thought is that “Organization” is not a destination….it is a journey!  As an experienced organizer both personally and professionally…. I would like to share with you in these blogs how to make this journey. I will provide practical tips for you to use to get organized.  Of course, you can always me hire to do it.😄 …but I do hope that you can learn from my tips…and then you can maybe find a way to do it yourself! I hope that I can inspire you to give it a try!

 If you have some specific problem areas that you would like to me to discuss…. please let me know.  

 For now, I am going to start at the beginning of the alphabet with A. 

A is for Attic….and I’ll bet yours needs some organizing! 

 See you each month as we take an organizing journey…

Hugs- Kris

Attic Organization

A is for ATTIC…

My Favorite #KrispTip for Attics: 

I recommend to clients that they give each family member their storage container in which to keep their memorabilia.  When my brothers and sisters were little, my mom gave each of us a classic steamer trunk with our names painted on the outside.   Nowadays, an extra-large plastic bin will work just as well (and might be preferable if it is going to be kept in a basement or garage). Parents may want to put mementos in it when the children are little (favorite artwork, a stuffed animal, pictures, report cards).  But as they get older the grown child should be the one to decide what goes in it (awards, yearbooks, photo albums).   The plan could be that the trunk will go with the child when he or she finally moves away from home. But it is also possible that child as an adult will finally take it away when their parents reach a downsizing age.  The point is that each person has a reserved space AND a limitation to their space. The rule is to keep it to the ONE trunk per person which means that there may needs to be some sorting and purging through the years.   

Bear - Organization

Attic DIY Process:

It’s almost summer and if you have not cleaned out your attic this year…you may be running out of time before it becomes too hot to go up there to do it!  No matter what climate you live in, you are very fortunate if you have an attic in which to stash things! It makes excellent out-of-sight storage. But it can also easily become the place for anything that you can’t decide what will be its next purpose. It is easy to just banish it to the attic…and the decision gets put off for another day! 

            As you can tell from the before pic, when I started this attic project, we couldn’t even get INTO the attic because it was so packed.  In the search for the Christmas nativity…. birthday wrapping paper…. last year’s sports equipment…. a favorite lamp…. kids’ books to donate…. each person who entered the attic rummaged through bins or boxes.  With no rules to follow…or follow up… it was several feet deep with STUFF. 

            So where to start on organizing an attic? Well, organizing follows the same process for every room in the house.  

  • Step #1: “The Sort”. Categories were agreed upon to group items.  These were then written down on notebook paper and taped to the ceiling in intervals apart. In this family the categories were “Christmas”, “Personal”, “Other Holidays”, “Household”, “Donate”.  Yours may be totally different…it is what works in your space. Then the items were sorted…and moved around…and sorted…and moved around.  While that was being done, the empty bins were collected. Any without lids were set aside. (If at the end, the lids do not show up…the bins are repurposed (for extra boots in the garage?) or discarded. Bins are relatively inexpensive to replace.   
  • Step #2: Decision Time. Someone or all of the family needs to be present to help make decisions to toss, donate or sell.  Each of the family members (this household had 4 young adults ages 15-22) was individually called by the mom to come up to the attic… and decide what to do with their things.  We had piles of items to toss, donate or keep.  The toss and donate were immediately moved out to make room. 
  • Step #3: Store It.  This step means putting the items you plan to keep into some kind of storage container.  This could be plastic bins, cardboard boxes or any storage method that works for you. Baskets, tubs, or shelves might be other options although in an attic something with a lid is preferable.    
  • Step #4: Label it.  This is the fun part and most creative.  I will do a blog later on labeling, but the ideas are limitless.   I also recommend an inventory list attached on the outside of each container. The list can be as high level (such as non-Christmas decorations) or detailed (July 4th flags, Easter baskets, Halloween lanterns.) I prefer more detail on the list as that avoids someone later dumping out bins looking for one item!
  • Note: There is one more potential step… but only if needed.  I recommend that “Rules of the ATTIC” be created and left pinned to the attic door or a beam as a reminder. “Put everything BACK in its place!” is the primary one. 😉

RECAP of KrispTips:

  • Plan how to start the organization (categories, storage method)
  • Have the family involved in decisions of disposal
  • Every person should have a trunk/storage bin/shelf to keep things in/on
  • Label everything when done
  • Make attic rules to ensure everything stays put away

Getting Help with Attics

If it seems too overwhelming to organize your attic…. please reach out to us.  If you have some questions, I am happy to help you get your DIY kicked off….at no charge!  And if you still need more help, we can discuss if a Krisp Solutions project would work for you.  Another option is that during Covid 19 restrictions we can do virtual consulting over Zoom or Facetime.  Contact us and let’s see what help or inspiration you need!

Hugs, Kris

Book Organization

B is for BOOKS…

My Favorite #KrispTip for Books: 

When guests come to visit they will love your special hospitality touch that you share with them your favorite reading recommendations!  I put out some of my favorite books on the guest room night table… and in them is a homemade bookmark with a note to my guests. “This was my favorite read this year”, “Best Nonfiction ever!” “Good beach read – a mix of romantic and comedy” or even “Best book from my childhood”!  Leave a variety of book selections out for them…and you are sure to please everyone! (I have Happiness is a Warm Blanket out in my guest room😊) It is such a personal touch and I promise it will touch them!

Books DIY Process:

I must admit that I have gone to reading most of my fun books (mysteries, urban fantasy) on my Kindle.  That said I think it makes me prize my hardcover books even more.  Maybe it is “old school” but I still love to peruse book covers on a stroll through Barnes and Noble. I am pretty sure that I am not the only out there that loves to hold a real book. I like to read on the jacket the author’s bio and a summary of the possibilities inside. I still keep many of my favorite books going back to childhood (my earliest favorite is still The Secret Garden!) through school (Shakespeare, Dickens) and then on to the business gurus in graduate school (Carnegie, Covey, Peters). Now I have tons of professional books (How-to-books mostly with some inspirational ones).  

            And on top of coveting all those books, I have recently decided to tackle one of my bucket-list items – to read the Great Books! Yowzer!  I am finding it very hard to keep up with some brilliant scholars that are in the Great Books conversation group. There is a continuous email debate going on amongst them about philosophy versus economy.  (I may be in over my head! But I will DO this!)

To organize your books, it’s my same organization process: 

  • Step #1: The Sort This may need some space so if there is a bed or sofa in the room with the books, it works to make piles on it.  This sort sounds simple, but it really takes time. First sort by like to like. You may have some of these categories: How-to, Religion, Cooking, Classics, Language, Travel, Women’s Studies, Art, Children’s, Business, etc.   Fiction may be broken down by author. Non-fiction may be broken down into biography, history, current event, American, English, etc. If you can just arrange the shelves, that makes it much easier…but be prepared that you may have to empty the shelves to get your piles. 
  • Step #2: Decision Time Most likely you have more books than space. So once you have sorted, then you next need to decide what to keep.  If books are chewed on by the dog or (heaven forbid) are mildewed…. they should be tossed. You may have a relative or friend that reads a favorite author and those can go into a box for him/her.  Your space will dictate how much you can keep.  The next decision is whether to donate some of your books to someone else. Think of it this way: There will be someone who NEEDS them and WILL LOVE them as much as you did!   Your local library is probably your best bet. If they don’t want to keep, they will still likely take them for their annual book sale.  Other options are used bookstores (not too many of these anymore but google your area) or a donation site such as Habitat for Humanity. Please call your donation location as some will take books and some will not.  If you have large coffee table books, you might be able to take them to a consignment shop…but call and check.  One other great donation place is senior centers.  You will want to check but many have small libraries and look forward to new arrivals especially the latest best sellers and history books.  When my parents moved into assisted living at Thrive Frederica, they took their books with them and donated them to Thrive.  They were placed on some shelves just down the hall from their room and my stepdad used to like to go down and “arrange” them.  I believe that it gave him great personal pleasure that other people would now also enjoy them. 
  • Step #3: Store Okay… once you have pared the books down to a manageable quantity, now it’s time to put them back into the shelves.  This can take some time to keep the categories/authors together.  Here you work with category first and then go to author (maybe alphabetizing) …. or it could also be arranged by size.  It depends on your books and bookshelves.  Small paperbacks can be placed 2 deep if you run out of space. 
  • Step #4: Label Time I would recommend labels only in specific situations where it does not affect the aesthetics of the shelves.  Basement or kids room bookshelves are great for labeling.  The family room or family office…. that would not be so pretty. 

RECAP of KrispTips:

  • Sort by categories first…then later by author or size within category
  • Donate the books you don’t want…. your library is probably a good option.
  • Labels might work for kids’ rooms or basements not libraries or dens
  • For a personal touch, leave out several book recommendations (with your comments) for your guests to enjoy during their stay

Getting Help with Books

If it seems too overwhelming to organize your books…. please reach out to us.  If you have some questions, I am happy to help you get your DIY kicked off….at no charge!  And if you still need more help, we can discuss if a Krisp Solutions project would work for you.  Another option is that during Covid 19 restrictions we can do virtual consulting over Zoom or Facetime.  Contact us and let’s see what help or inspiration you need!

Hugs, Kris