Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Toolbox is Handy to Have Around!

In order to be organized, things need to be where you use them. Sometimes this means installing a hook or a shelf where there isn’t currently one. Plus, I always have little jobs around the house that I want done; hanging a picture, loosening a sticky door knob, tightening drawer pulls, etc. I used to avoid these tasks (or have to wait for help) because I never had the required tools handy and I did not feel like running to the downstairs workshop to hunt for what I needed from my husband’s tool bench. I found this frustrating.

I finally realized that what I needed was my own set of tools, (labeled as mine, of course) kept upstairs, so I could use them whenever I needed and always count on them being there. So, I purchased a small, inexpensive toolbox like this, to tote my tools. Make sure whatever one you buy closes and latches tightly and easily. I like the kind with the storage compartments built into the top, so that I can keep nails and screws.

Here's what's in my toolbox:
  • 4 in 1 screwdriver (with small & large, Phillips & regular heads)
  • Small hammer
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Metal measuring tape
  • Safety glasses
  • Small level (to use when hanging pictures)
  • Knife (retractable)
  • A basic cordless drill (with charger)—this one also comes in red, but the pink is so pretty)
  • A small assortment of drill bits (for hanging hooks which require anchors—in drywall)
  • WD40-pen size; for loosening stuck/tight metal things, and removing sticker adhesive
  • Plastic zip ties (short and long) great for tying things together that you want to stay put, such as replacing a broken luggage strap or tying up a plant to a stake.
  • An assortment of short and medium nails, screws and anchors (small and medium)
  • Plastic zipper baggies (snack and sandwich size)
  • Scissors
  • Black Sharpie marker
  • Pencil
  • Velcro One-Wrap® Straps; very useful for wrapping cords which are too long. These are easy to undo and redo, making them ideal for cords of appliances that are used often (these are 8". They come in 12", too.)
  • Command Hooks; Stick on, removable hooks for hanging all kinds of things. The previous link is for use with .5 lbs or under, but this link leads to the whole page with a range of options.
When you want to hang something on drywall, don't let it scare you. Plastic screw anchors are easy to install. I have even taught my 10 year old girls to do it! It is simplest to purchase the anchors like the ones linked above, which come in combination with the properly sized screws. Note the size of drill bit needed, it should be just a little smaller than the diameter of the anchor so it grabs when pushed in.

Mark the place where the hole is to be drilled with a pencil, tape a plastic baggie underneath and drill the hole. If you need to drill a second hole, make sure to use the level before you mark/drill the second hole to make sure the shelf or hook will be straight when you are through. Push the anchor in (use gentle hammering if needed), then screw the hook into the wall. That’s it! You’re done!

For help with any organizing project simply call Linda, 716-631-5619.
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Simple Solutions Series: Six Steps to Getting Organized

One of my first goals after starting my business (in 2007) was to publish an article about organizing. As it is with any task, getting started for me was the hardest part. My self talk sounded a little like this: “I really should write that article—but noooo, not now, I only have five minutes.” “I really should write that article—but noooo, not today, I have too much to do.” “I really should write that article—but noooo, I don’t know where to begin.”

It was not that I did not have any ideas. In fact, I had too many ideas. That is exactly what made it difficult to begin; my mind was overstuffed with ideas! That is what made me realize I could write my first article about simply getting started. Organizing is basically about making choices. It is about choosing among too many or too much of something……..…….anything. When we have too much, our minds get dull, overwhelmed, stuck, and shut down. We avoid doing anything about it, which makes it worse the next time we think about it.

Many of us know, that if only we could get a handle on “X, Y or Z”, we would feel so much better, but for many of the reasons I stated above, we just cannot get started. Sometimes it may help to choose a friend or relative to sit with you while you organize, or turn on music you enjoy. Alone or together, choose a first organizing project you know you can begin and finish in one sitting, in a short amount of time, approximately three hours or less. Examples may be organizing a desk drawer, a small closet or pantry.

Got the project in mind? Okay, now schedule that three hour block on your calendar. Make sure you have support from your family or make it at a time when you know that you will not be interrupted. Now follow these simple steps:

  1. Begin by making four index cards and writing on them: “Keep Here”, “Keep Elsewhere”, “Donate/Give Away”, and “Chuck(Trash)”. Arrange these four cards in quadrants around you, far enough apart to have clear boundaries between them.
  2. Take each thing out of the space that you are going to organize (the drawer, shelf, closet, entryway, etc.) and place it into one of the four piles. This may be difficult and painful, depending on the types of items you are going through. If you really cannot decide which category it goes in, come back to it or put it in either the “Keep Here” or “Keep Elsewhere” pile.
  3. When you have finished sorting into piles, box up the “Donate/Give”, take the “Chuck” out to the trash or for recycling, put the “Keep Elsewhere” either away where it belongs or set it aside (in a container) to put away later.
  4. Next, look at the “Keep Here” pile. Begin to sort that into natural categories of items that go together.
  5. Decide if you need additional storage containers to house those natural categories. If so, make a list of “Supplies to Purchase”. You may also have discovered a few “Tasks” that need to be completed, such as hanging hooks or shelves. If so, make a list of “Tasks to Do”, as well.
  6. You can return the items to the area you are working on, as soon as you are satisfied with their category, container and useful placement. Try to think about storing things where you use them. For example, if you live in a condo or apartment, keep the keys to the basement near the front door. If you have “Tasks to Do” or “Supplies to Purchase”, make a date on your calendar to do them.
Congratulations! Just like me, now you have accomplished your task! You have organized your space and narrowed your choices. You have decided what to keep and what to part with. Just like me, you first had to make one overall decision; which project to focus on, then, many smaller decisions about what to include in your final space. It is difficult, but rewarding, and hopefully encouraging, as one good finished project will inspire more.

For help with any organizing project
simply call Linda, 716-631-5619.

Comments Welcome!
If the comment box is not visible, click on the "No Comments" link
~ Counter-intuitive, I know, but it's a Blogger quirk