Kitchen Essentials Drawer!

Dear Friends,

The holiday season is now upon us and I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you. I was able to turn my passion into my profession and I’m full of gratitude.

Thank you for hiring Happy Home Organizers to help you declutter and organize your homes. Thank you for reading my newsletters. Thank you for attending my “Conquer Your Clutter” seminars. I hope you learned a new organizing tip or two.

This month, since many of you will be cooking in your kitchens more, I wanted to share with you how to declutter and organize your KITCHEN JUNK DRAWER. Please watch my vlog below. I think every kitchen needs a junk drawer, unless you have an “office area” right off your kitchen.You always are going to need a pen and paper handy and a place to throw your small miscellaneous “stuff”. I’m a big believer in having one kitchen “junk drawer”. Only one though! No more. Also, just because I’m using the word “junk”, doesn’t mean this drawer can’t look clean and organized.

Remember, each time you open a drawer, all items should be clearly visible and accessible. No digging! That’s the goal. Stuff you no longer need or want? Trash or donate. As always, if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out this holiday season and need help with your closets, rooms, or drawers, please reach out to me. My job is to bring order and efficiency into your home. My goal is always to make your life easier and better.

I’m just a phone call, an email, or a text away. I’m very grateful to all of you and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

When It Comes to Keeping the Home Clutter-Free and Organized, the Entire Family Has To Be On Board!

When It Comes to Keeping the Home Clutter-Free and Organized, the Entire Family Has To Be On Board!

The other day, as I was driving away from a client’s home, I got to thinking about how decluttering and staying organized is similar to losing weight and keeping the weight off.  It’s all about healthy habits and lifestyle.  You can put in all of the hard work with exercising and eating well, but if you don’t maintain your efforts after you have reached your goal weight, the pounds will slowly begin to creep back on and you’ll be back where you started.

The same is true for organizing a home.  My clients and I put in a lot of time and effort in going through boxes and drawers, closets and cabinets filled with items and helping the house to “trim down.” But, once the home is organized and looks amazing, if everyone who lives there doesn’t do his or her part to keep it that way, the clutter will begin to pile up again and the organized system will be gone.  And, it’s simply not fair to expect one person to do all the work!

Have a Family Meeting 

This is very important.  Communication is everything.  Really try and have a serious conversation with your family about how much it means to you to live in a clutter-free, clean, and organized home.  It matters.  Try and make an effort not to yell, curse or fight with anyone.  Speak calmly and politely.  You are communicating  with your family how you feel.  

The Importance of Teamwork

Wouldn’t life at home be so much better and easier if everybody simply did their part to help out?  Wouldn’t that be great?

If you are struggling with this issue yourself, please know, you are not alone.  Believe me, all of my clients go through this.  As a mom of two teenagers, I go through it myself.  And I’m a Professional Organizer!  I get it, I really do.   At your family meeting, explain that everybody in the home needs to work together.  You all live there.  It’s your home together.  You all need to take pride in your home and how you live.  

You are also asking that everybody try and show consideration for others.  In the common areas that everybody uses, like the kitchen and bathroom, you are asking that they leave it clean for the next person coming in.  

Treat Everything Like Your Toothbrush!

When you are done brushing your teeth, you put your toothbrush back where it lives, right?  People rarely lose their toothbrushes.  

The same should go for everything else in your home.  After you use something and you’re done with it, simply put it back in its proper home, where it lives!  It really is that simple.  

Teach them the “3 Golden Rules” in STAYING organized:

Rule 1.  Home for every item 

Rule 2.  Like with Like 

Rule 3.  One In, One Out 

Follow these simple, easy rules and you really will be golden.  This is how you stay on track.  

Rule 1: This means that every single item in your home, has to have a home.  Where do things live?  Make it a game even- for yourself and if you have kids.  After all, children learn through play!  Example: “This hairbrush is lost.  It doesn’t want to live on the dining room table.  It wants to find its way home, back to the bathroom.”  Put the hairbrush back in the bathroom.  That is Rule 1.

But, that hairbrush misses its family!  It wants to live with its brothers and sisters, the comb and hair ties.  Or maybe the hairspray and blow dryer.  Whatever the “category” is.  Don’t just throw that hairbrush in with the toothbrush and tooth paste.  That is not following the “like with like” rule.  

Similar items live with similar items.  That way, when you are looking for something, you will know where to find it.  No mixing your categories.  No mish-mosh.  You want to find what you need, when you need it.  That’s the whole point.  That is Rule 2.  

“One In, One Out” works wonders in keeping clutter under control.  Remember, “your stuff has to fit your space!”  If things keep coming into the home but things never leave the home, you are going to be buried with too much stuff.  Example: Next time you buy yourself a new pair of sneakers, donate your old pair.  Or two!  That is Rule 3.  

Plus, feel good about donating!  It is very important to teach our children all these rules.  These are LIFE SKILLS.  

A Made Bed and a Clean Kitchen Sink Matter

Two of the healthiest habits you can do for keeping your home looking clean and organized: Make your bed every morning and make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink when you leave your house for the day.  Everybody in the home has to do this.  Everybody has to do their part.  Children too!  Trust me, the sooner your child learns to make their own bed and helps with dishes, the better.  Make these two habits part of your everyday routine.  

Walking into a bedroom where the bed is made and a kitchen where the sink is clean, you just instantly feel better.  You breathe easier.  Makes such a huge difference.  

Think of making your bed each day like drinking a glass of water in the morning.  Healthiest way to start your day!

Consequences

Finally, let everyone know that there will be consequences for not doing their share.  In my home, I find that an afternoon or two without a smartphone or video games will get my kids back in line and cleaning up their messes.  You have to figure out a consequence that works for you.  

While you can’t necessarily force others to care, you can definitely enforce your new decluttering and organizing policy.  After all, you’ve worked hard to lose the “house weight” and you can and will- keep it off.  You can do it.  I know you and your family can!  

 

Rachel Winter, Founder and Owner

Happy Home Organizers, LLC
www.HappyHomeOrganizers.com602-469-5950

Life is Happier… when your home is organized!

2016-2017 NAPO-AZ Membership Director
2015-2016 NAPO-AZ Marketing Director

Forget New Year’s Resolutions—Back to School Resolutions are even better!

Forget New Year’s Resolutions—Back to School Resolutions are even better!

I was in Wal-Mart and the Dollar Tree last week doing some shopping when a group of kids and parents caught my attention.

They were standing among the giant displays of Back to School items—you know, the piles of fresh boxes of crayons with the perfect tips and the stacks of blank notebook paper and spiral notebooks— all talking about the start of the new school year.

It was cool to hear how excited the kids and parents sounded about everything; a few even made comments about how fun it is to start fresh with new supplies.

That’s when it hit me: while most of us think of resolutions as being a January type of thing, for parents, the new year really starts when our kiddos head back to school.

In other words, this is the perfect time to adopt some new resolutions that will make the school year go smoothly—not just in the first few hectic weeks, but throughout the entire year.

With that in mind, check out the following back to school resolutions that will help you to start the school year off on the right foot—clutter-free, organized and feeling confident:

Tame those backpacks

When kids come home from school, they often plop their backpacks on the floor or hang them on the back of a chair, which usually causes the chair to tip over backwards. Designate a backpack area in your home where they can be stored or hung safely. Of course, on the East Coast where I grew up, we usually had mud rooms right by the front door that were perfect for this kind of thing. Here in the Valley of the Sun, we can attach strong hooks to the door that leads into the garage, or add a bench with cubbies in a laundry room—wherever it makes the most sense for your family. Giving your kids a specific place to put the backpacks will also eliminate those panicky moments in the morning when they call out “Mo-o-o-m!! Where is my backpack!!  I can’t find it!”

A Place for Important Papers

If your kiddo has ever missed a field trip due to a permission slip that went AWOL, this tip will really help. Buy a beautiful flat basket that you love, and place it in the kitchen or family room. Let your kids know that ALL important papers must be taken out of their backpacks and placed in this basket—this includes school picture order forms, permission slips, volunteer requests and the scads of other paperwork that requires your attention and/or signature. This way, vital papers won’t be floating all over the house, getting lost under the couch or chewed up by the family dog.

A Calm and Quiet Place for Homework

Many kids prefer to do their homework anywhere but their own bedrooms. If this sounds familiar, set up a homework station in a quiet area of the home—it can be the formal dining room table you usually only use at the holidays, a corner of the family room or wherever you like. Stock the area with cups and baskets filled with plenty of pencils, pens, paper and other materials your kids will need. This way, all of the homework, books, and school supplies will be contained in one space instead of being scattered all over the house.

 

If you would like to learn more tips about back to school organization and/or need help setting up these important areas, I am always available to help you—give me a call or email and I’d be happy to come by to assist!

Spotlight from All Right Moves

Organizing Expert: Spotlight on Rachel Winter

Here is an article from a company that I have worked with out of Philadelphia, I feel this is a really great company and am honored to have them write an article about me.
I hope you enjoy this article and can take away something of value, as always, if you have any additional organizing questions, please contact me!

For a link to ALL RIGHT MOVES

Q: How would you describe your method of organizing?
A: I work as a Declutter Coach and Professional Organizer. I consider myself a “Personal Trainer” for your home. I whip people’s homes into top shape!

Q: Do you have any areas of specialty?
A: I really specialize in helping overwhelmed, stressed-out Moms of babies, young children and teens. Because I’m a Mom too, this is a demographic that is near and dear to my heart. I understand the importance of having an organized system at home – a “foundation of order” – especially when you have young children. My passion is helping clients go from chaos to calm. I help bring order and efficiency into people’s lives.

Rachel Winter Professional Organizer in action!

Q: Why should people choose a NAPO professional over other non-NAPO service providers?
A: In my seminars, I always talk about NAPO and the importance of hiring an organizer who is a member of this excellent organization. Being a member of NAPO just proves a level of commitment and professionalism to the industry. In addition, NAPO members are required to operate by a Code of Ethics. Being a residential organizer, clients are trusting me in their homes and working with their personal possessions. It is a very intimate job and it is all about trust. I always recommend that if you are going to hire a Professional Organizer, you hire a member of NAPO.

One of the best decisions I ever made, both professionally and personally, was joining NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers). I joined NAPO-Connecticut and then after I moved to Arizona in 2014, I joined NAPO-Arizona. I am now on the Board of NAPO-AZ, serving as Membership Director.

Q: What other services do you provide through your organizing business?Happy Home Organizer Rachel Winter
A: I enjoy public speaking and I run seminars called “Conquer Your Clutter!” I always try to educate the public about the professional organizing industry. Many people simply do not know that we exist.

Q: What is your favorite part of working for All Right Moves™?
A: I tell all my clients and everyone that attends my seminars that the best time to hire a Professional Organizer is when you are moving! Let us help you with packing and purging BEFORE you move so you are not moving your clutter! Let us help you unpack so you can start life in your new home with a totally organized and efficient system. Plus everything will be super clean and fresh. All Right Moves is a wonderful company to work for. Annette and her team are the consummate professionals.

How to Work with Rachel:

Rachel Winter is a NAPO professional based out of Maricopa County, AZ. She has assisted in several successful All Right Moves™ relocations in and around the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas. Rachel is a Professional Organizer, founder and owner of Happy Home Organizers, LLC. Those who have had Rachel work on their All Right Moves™ relocation job can hire Rachel for continued organizing services at a discount by contacting All Right Moves™.

Spring Cleaning Tips

Dear Friends,

Hooray- Spring has sprung!

I’m looking at a gorgeous blue sky. My doors and windows are open as I write this. It’s time to fill your home with fresh spring air.

Springtime is all about renewal. Starting new. We are saying goodbye to the cold Winter and welcoming in warmth and beauty. Flowers are now blooming.

That’s what Spring Cleaning is all about too. The goal is to make your home fresh and pretty. You want it to look and feel good.

However, take it from a Pro, before you can really do a deep, thorough cleaning, you need to declutter and organize first!

I’m happy to share that I was featured in the April issue of Chandler Lifestyle magazine. The article is titled:
The Physical and Emotional Benefits of Spring Cleaning.

Please, take a read and learn more:
http://www.chandlerlifestyle.com/2017/03/31/refresh-your-life/

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If you need help with your Spring cleaning, please, give me a call. Let’s get it done together!
For those that celebrate, I wish you a Happy Passover and Happy Easter.
Enjoy the beautiful month of April and as always, Happy Organizing!

Warmly,
Rachel Winter, Founder and Owner

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3 Steps for Declutering and Organizing

Dear Friends,

Happy March! The Easter decorations are in the stores now and I’m seeing tulips being displayed. Spring is in the air!

March 20th is when Spring officially starts but people are already asking for Spring Cleaning advice. That’s next month’s blog!

This month, I wanted to share my fun and exciting experience being featured on the morning radio show “Mathew Blades in the Morning” on 96.9. They were looking for an organizing expert to share some tips on how to declutter and get organized.

It was a very quick interview but his questions were typical of what all my clients ask:

What do you do when you have too much stuff?

What do you do when all your closets or under your kitchen sink is just a mess? Can you relate? The radio hosts, Mathew Blades and Priscilla Ornelas, were terrific. I’m now their biggest fan.

Here’s my advice..

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Happy Home Organizers’ 3 Steps for Decluttering and Organizing:

Step 1. Take everything out of the area you are organizing and SORT- “like with like”. Similar items with similar items. Make your categories.

Step 2. Purge! Decide what you will no longer wear again, use again or want and get the items out- immediately. Feel good about donating!

Step 3. Find a Home for all the items you are keeping. Where will all your items live?

This is how you create your organized system- your “foundation” of order. Now that you are organized, you want to STAY organized.

Rachel’s 3 Golden Rules for STAYING Organized:

1. Home for Every Item
2. Like with Like
3. One In, One Out Rule

You follow these 3 organizing rules and you will be golden!

Please, take a listen…

"Good Life" Radio Interview with Mix 96.9

Happy Home Organizers was featured as the organizing expert on the radio show Mathew Blades in the Morning on 96.9. Thank you Mathew and Priscilla for having me on your show and sharing my decluttering tips!

Posted by Happy Home Organizers, LLC on Monday, March 6, 2017

I’ll be back next month with my tips for Spring Organizing and Spring Cleaning.

Have a marvelous March-
Happy Organizing!
Rachel Winter

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Want an Instant Closet Makeover?

Want an Instant Closet Makeover?  Treat Yourself to New Hangers!

In the 1981 movie, “Mommie Dearest”, there’s a famous scene in which Faye Dunaway, playing Joan Crawford, screams at her young daughter, “No wire hangers!!!  Ever!!!”  It’s a very disturbing scene.  I’m not that crazy but I do agree with her point: Get rid of all your wire hangers!   

Why?  Wire hangers are ugly, that’s why.  They make your whole closet look cheap and messy.  There is nothing aesthetically pleasing or positive about them- except that they are free from the dry cleaners.

There are several reasons why you should get rid of all your wire hangers:  clothes slip off too easily and they end up piled on the floor;  they create unsightly points in the shoulders of many fabrics; they can leave rust stains on your clothing; they are twisted at the top to create a hook and then can snag your garments.  In addition, because they are made of light metal, wire hangers can sag or buckle under the weight of heavy garments.  Bottom line, wire hangers hurt you more than they help you.  A wire hanger is not your friend. 

Donate them to any local dry cleaners for recycling.  Get ‘em out.  They are happy to take them from you.

So, what hangers should you have in your closet?  Pretty much anything but a wire hanger or a cheap plastic one.  You want your clothing on attractive, good quality hangers.  I recommend they all be the same color to have a nice, clean look but that is certainly personal choice.  Children and teens might like different color hangers, maybe to match their bedroom decor and that can be fun and “cool” looking too.   

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Nice hangers do make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your closet.  I’ve organized gorgeous, stunning master closets with expensive, designer clothing and as soon as I see wire hangers, the whole look is destroyed.

Get an instant closet makeover… buy yourself new hangers! 

My personal favorite is the velvet slim hanger.  This style can be used for both men and women.  They sell them at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, The Container Store, Costco and several other retail stores.  They are normally $9.99 for 35 black velvet slim hangers at Costco but I’ve even seen them there for as low as $6.99.

At Bed, Bath & Beyond, with the 20% off big, blue coupon, the price is around $25 for 50 velvet slim hangers.  At BB&B, they usually come in black or stone, which is an ivory color. 

The velvet slim hangers solve all of the problems that wire hangers create.  Clothes don’t slide off, their rounded edges eliminate that annoying “shoulder bump”, they have a swivel head which makes it easier to hang your clothes up and have them all face the same direction and because they are so slim, they allow you to fit much more clothing in the same amount of space.  

What about wooden hangers?  While wooden hangers are heavy and take up significantly more space in your closet, Happy Home Organizers does think they serve a purpose.  Traditional wooden hangers are great for heavy winter coats and men’s suit jackets.  As long as you have the room to accommodate them, they are a great choice for your “coat closet”.

“Clip Hangers” are also on my lists of favorites.  These work great for skirts, shorts and even pants because they allow you to hang these items without folding and creating creases that later need to be ironed.  These also work great for sleeveless tops and dress.  Just make sure they are of high quality.  Avoid plastic clip hangers which tend to break easily and don’t hold up to the weight of heavier clothes.  Look for sturdy metals ones with rubber clips that don’t leave marks or imprints on your clothes.

Giving your closet an instant upgrade with the right hangers is certainly a step in the right direction.  Buying yourself new hangers and transferring your clothes from the old hangers to the new ones will also force you to do some decluttering in the process as well.  It will force you to look at each article of clothing.  If you don’t love it or haven’t worn it in a long while- get it out.  Donate!  Remember, if your closet has too much “stuff”, you need to create space.  The ONLY way to create space is to purge.  When you are decluttering and organizing, purging = progress.     

If you are feeling overwhelmed or having a little trouble getting started, please contact Happy Home Organizers for a FREE consultation.  Don’t delay, call today!  We want you to love your closets!

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Organizing Your Spices For The Holidays

Organizing Your Spices For The Holidays!

spicesThe holidays are coming!  You know you’ll be cooking and baking up a storm! Are your kitchen spices ready and at your fingertips?  Follow the organizing steps below and they will be!

As with all organizing projects, the first step is to SORT your existing spices.  Place all of your spices on a counter or table and examine them.  Check the expiration dates.  According to StillTasty, whole spices will stay fresh for 4 years, ground spices 2-3 years and dried herbs 1-3 years.  Now that it is empty, this is also a great time to clean your cabinet!

The second step is to PURGE.  Throw away anything that is expired, that you can’t identify or has a missing lid.

The third, and in my opinion most exciting, step is to ORGANIZE.  There are a few things to consider when it comes to organizing your spices.  

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Location:  Where should you store your spices?  Store them where you use them!  The location will depend on the configuration and amount of space available in your kitchen.  Spices can be stored in drawers, cabinets or pantries.  The number of spices you have might also determine where you store them.  Make sure you pick a location that can accommodate your current selection and perhaps 10% more in case you buy something new.  Always leave a little room for expansion.

Organizing Products:  There are lots of products that can help make your spices easier to see and get to.  Think vertical!  My favorite product for spices is what I call the “mini bleacher”.  These fit great in cabinets and pantries and they let you see all of your spices.  Other options included tiered racks for drawers, racks that mount on the inside of your cabinet doors and even a lazy susan.   They key is to be able to see the spices in the back row(s). 

Once you have decided on where you are going to store your spices and what product(s) you are going to use, the last decision is how to arrange your spices in your new system.  Happy Home Organizers suggests that you arrange your spices by putting the ones you use most frequently front and center for easy access.

Finally, an organization system is only as good as how you use it.  Remember to periodically sort and purge old spices and ALWAYS put things back where they belong as soon as you are finished using them.

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Want to Feel Happier? Start by Making Your Bed!

 

If you made your bed today, you deserve a round of applause!  Good for you!  You should feel very proud of yourself.

Making your bed is one of the healthiest habits you can acquire.  It’s not just about being neat and tidy.  It sets you up for success!

As a Professional Organizer, many of my clients feel depressed about their clutter.  They are completely overwhelmed by too much stuff.  They become paralyzed and don’t even know where to begin.

My advice is to start by making your bed!  Every day.  It’s a task that is manageable.  It should not overwhelm you.  It should take no more than 3 minutes.   

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Making your bed starts your day on a positive note.  It puts you in the right frame of mind.  Making your bed makes you feel productive.

I also feel strongly that you should love your blanket or comforter.  Your sheets and pillows too.  You should love how your bed looks and feels.  Everyone deserves nice, comfortable sheets, pillows and a blanket.  Maybe it’s time to go shopping and treat yourself to new linens.

True, some comforter sets and pillows can be very expensive but you should not have to spend a fortune to have a nicely made bed.  Buy something that makes you feel good.

Making your bed nicely and with pride will also have a calming effect on you.  You will feel more in control.   You will feel happier!

Plus, your bed is the focal point of your room.  When your bed is made, your room instantly looks better.

Recently, I saw the above video on Facebook.  It is an excerpt from the commencement speech given by Admiral William H. McRaven to the class of 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin.  In it, he explains the importance of making your bed each day.  It’s really a brilliant speech.

He explains, “By completing this one quick and simple thing, you have successfully accomplished the first task of your day.  While small, it can give you the sense of pride and encouragement you may need to tackle the next task, and the next, and the next.  By the end of the day, that one task will have turned into many.”  So true.  Please watch this short video.  Enjoy!

Remember, I am here to help you get organized and stay organized.  I want you to be healthy and happy.  Call me or email me if you need me.  I provide FREE one-hour consultations.

Please, do yourself a favor.  Start each day- by making your bed! 

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Life is Happier… when your home is Organized!