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by Georgia Theodorou

It’s almost summer and the question is – Have you accomplished your goal of getting organized? Was this goal one of your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you still have one of those “How To” books on your table? Don’t worry. It’s not too late to get started and get going.

With today’s busy moms, life can get very hectic from balancing work and family obligations to juggling the kids’ school and outside activities. Just trying to find the time to relax is extremely challenging. The road to a more balanced life can be accomplished once your home, work and daily routines are in place and organized.

To be successful in getting and staying organized, you need to focus on three key themes: set up good habits, always follow up and stay consistent. Some of the key tips and techniques to help accomplish your goals include:

Start with Small Steps

If you find that you want to organize and declutter your home or business, don’t try to conquer everything all at once. Start with one room and a small section at a time. Maybe choose the top of your desk and once this is organized then look at your drawers. Set simple goals and work to accomplish these target areas. Believe me, this will help you eliminate the feelings of overwhelm and frustration.

Everything Should Have a Place

Remember when mom would tell us to put our things away as kids? Little did we know that she was preparing us to be organized. If you follow this concept, your life will be on the way to being organized and clutter free. How does this work? Every item you own should have a designated area or place. It should not be on the floor or on top of your desk or kitchen table. Take action and put all the items away as you go. This eliminates piles around the house.

Create Routines

The best way to keep your life organized is to create routines. We have routines for our children and as busy moms we need routines too. The same applies to organizing our homes and our lives. Set a routine for everything from laundry, bills, running errands, mail, household chores, cooking, work responsibilities and so on. Make sure to be consistent and to follow up with your routines. Have a daily or weekly list of things you need to get accomplished. If for some reason you can’t complete your task, make sure to follow up the next day. Don’t get behind because the more you have to do the more you feel overwhelmed and not do anything.

Put Things Away and Clean Now

Are you finished with something? Most of us will leave the item somewhere with the intention of putting it away later. But what happens in the meantime is that other items will stack on top and the pile becomes larger and too overwhelming to conquer. If you finished folding the laundry, put the clothes away now. The same applies for cleaning up. Develop a good practice of cleaning as you go. Don’t wait till the dishes pile up in the kitchen sink. Wash them right away. Trust me, it takes less time to clean as you go then to wait for things to pile up.

Simplify Your Filing System

One of the most basic ways to find papers when you need them is to retrieve the papers from an effective filing system. A good filing system will allow you to find what you are looking for with no problems. Most will utilize one or a combination of three basic filing systems: alphabetical, numerical or chronological (Jan, Feb, etc…). Use the system that works well and that you will follow to locate your documents quickly.

Share A Calendar

It doesn’t matter what type of calendar system you utilize, just as long it works for you and your family. Make sure to indicate all your activities from work, personal, kid’s school and extracurricular activities, birthdays, family obligations, and other activities to ensure follow up. Keep all of your family’s scheduling in one place. Google calendar is a great online tool that is quick and easy to use.

Tame Your Email and Mail

With today’s abundance of technology, I find that keeping a handle on email is a growing area of frustration and disorganization. Why? Most individuals will look at email and take action later. This approach turns into hundreds of emails and piles of mail. My advice… “Touch it and take action!” Read your mail and quickly sort all the bills in one place to be paid and read the rest and take action. This same theory applies to email. Reply to your emails and then create folders to put your emails that you want to save. Strive to have no old emails in your inbox. Your inbox should have the recent emails that you are following up. Don’t get behind in this area, it will get overwhelming and eventually out of control.

You can be organized by utilizing some of these essential ideas, however many individuals will have a difficult time continuing with these methods on a consistent basis. Give it a try—you have nothing to lose! You might even be surprised how easy life can be once you are organized. If you are still having a difficult time, please let me know. As a Professional Organizer, I evaluate each of my client’s needs and make suggestions to help implement effective and repeatable techniques. Whatever road you take, make sure to get organized and you will notice that your life will be more balanced and you will have additional time to enjoy the things that are most important in your life.

Georgia Theodorou

Georgia Theodorou is a Professional Organizer and founder of Organizational Concepts & Balance which specializes in residential and small business organizing. Georgia is committed to organizing and creating efficient households and effective businesses for the long term. Georgia has helped many clients from working professionals to stay at home Moms and today’s busy families. All of Georgia’s clients have one thing in common, they want to stop the chaos and find more time to enjoy life. The road to a more balanced and enjoyable life can easily be accomplished once your home, work and daily routines are in place and organized. Visit www.OCandB.com for more information.

Nicole Cavanaugh - Interior Designer
It’s no secret that our homes are extensions of ourselves. We begin and end our day here. We entertain friends here and enjoy special moments with family, creating memories along the way. But what does it take to be happy in your home?

At my very core, my whole outlook on interior design is ‘Believe in a Better Life by Design’, so I recently began thinking of what steps I take for clients to give them a better life in their home. Interior design is generally about ‘Out with the old, in with the new’. If you’re thinking about re-designing your home, you want something new and fresh, something that will make you feel alive, relaxed or happy and something with better function. We lose the feeling of happiness in our home because we end up tolerating things in our home that don’t support us. The New Year is a new opportunity to create a new home and a new you! I’ve found that a few tweaks to how you live can help you have a better life in your home, increase your productivity and overall, your happiness. Making just a few small adjustments can not only help you create happiness in your home, it can help you feel more in control of your surroundings.

» Here are a few tips:

1. Design your home with pieces that mean something to you and your family. Just recently, I added a photo to my desk of my mom and I playing on the beach on Cape Cod when I was just 6 years old. I found a beautiful frame for it and I feel happy and uplifted each time it catches my eye! I remember the happiness I felt at the time because my mom holds such a special place in my heart. It’s important to make the memories, then enjoy looking back on them, and if you surround yourself with things you love, your home will make you happy.

2. Give yourself the space you need to do what you want to do in life. Above all, our environment should support who we are and what we do. I know that seems basic, however it’s true. If you love music, create a space that supports you in playing or listening when the mood strikes you. If you love art, look into creating an environment where you can draw, paint or be creative on the computer, or arrange a gallery of collected pieces for yourself. We’re not just designing a home; we’re creating an environment for ourselves to grow, as well.

3. Touch it once. Clutter drives me crazy and I work to create design solutions for clients that reduce what I call their ‘clutter experience’. Clutter creates stress in our lives and it wastes time and energy, so I believe in making each room as ready as it can be when I leave. If you set something down in a room, set it down in its place. If this is difficult, take 2 to 4 minutes before leaving a room to put things back in drawers, close cabinets, hang up clothes or put them in the laundry hamper. A cleaner room will greet you when you return and will feel so much better. Trust me!

4. Make a statement where you enter your home. Whether it’s pictures of your children, a vase of fresh flowers, a beautiful lamp, wind chimes or even new wallpaper on one wall, take the time to put something at your front door or in your entry area that will make you happy. You’ll notice you’ll feel much differently when you look at these things than at a pile of shoes, the dog’s bed, a stack of laundry or a cluttered table.

5. Make your bed. When the bed is made, the bedroom looks infinitely better because the bed is the focal point. Also, statistics show that making your bed allows you to begin functioning in an organized way each day because you are accomplishing a goal first thing in the morning. Making our bed also sets a good example for our children and a neater child’s room definitely makes for a happier home for Mom and Dad!

Nicole Cavanaugh

Mind, Body + Home
Interior Design
Nicole is the founder of Cavanaugh Interior Design Group. Her goal is to provide people with functional designs of spaces. Read more about Nicole and her mission here.