Organized On the Go

Guest Blogger: Pooja Gugnani

Kids Backseat Auto Organizer Whether you’re a new mommy or a veteran mommy, road trips with the rugrats are mostly inevitable.  Whether it’s a summer vacation to your lake house, or a short getaway, if you don’t plan ahead you will quickly find yourself on a trip to Insanityville! Plus, planning a road trip with a little one or two is a completely different state of affairs.  So, here are some tips to simplify your planning so your trip will be more pleasant.

  • Take stuff, but don’t stuff: Packing enough to keep your kids busy is wise, but packing too many of the “just in case” items can be space hampering.  Keep the packing simple!  If they’re old enough, involve your kids in the planning process, by giving them a choice in the game or stuffed toy they bring along or if you have a baby, bring things that can serve a dual purpose – for example a stroller/carrier combo.  Check with the family or hotel you’re staying with to see what gear or amenities they have and pack accordingly- no pool, no bathing suit needed!
  • Food is Key: A hungry kid is bad enough, but a hungry parent in addition can be a disaster.  I always advise parents to be well fed themselves, before heading out.  During your travels, try to eat your biggest meal at lunchtime to save costs.  Get creative and pack up on healthy fun snacks your kids will enjoy, to avoid random stops at vending machines and french fry pit stops.  Most importantly, stock up on enough water and drinks!
  • Plan for contingencies and avoid them: On a roadtrip with kids, Ziploc bags are truly multipurpose and come in handy to hold those sea shells your child collected on the beach or to double bag a sticky piece of candy they want you to save.  Some other items to bring along: few laundry bags, plenty of change for unexpected tolls, a couple rolls of toilet paper, spare batteries & a flash light,  and garbage bags for the car so you can make a habit of taking the trash out at every stop.  It is always a good idea to take your vehicle for a check-up before you take it for the long drive.
  • Don’t agonize, organize: You may be the most organized mommy on this planet and still probably forget something.  Make peace with this and don’t fret over it once you are on the go.  Remember the planning is to make your trip more enjoyable, but ultimately this is a getaway for you and your family – so don’t waste time worrying about what you didn’t bring along and pat yourself on the back for taking the time to plan your best.

It is easy to get excited for a roadtrip and just as easy to get frustrated when the trip isn’t going so well.  I say, plan beforehand so you can smile afterward!

- Pooja Gugnani, Professional Organizer & Owner, Organizing With You, Inc., Chicago. 312.282.8280,

Check out great travel gift ideas!

Closet Systems

Installing a closet system is a great winter project.  If you are hiring a company to install your closet system, call now to get on their schedule.  This is their busiest time of year.  If you are installing it yourself, it makes for a very manageable weekend project.  Whether your closet is large or small, a closet system can make a huge difference in your ability to find what you are looking for, the time you spend looking for an item, and the volume that you can reasonably fit in your closet.

Closet systems can be made out of a number of materials, including wire, coated wire, laminate, wood or plastic.  Wire is typically the least expensive, and wood is the strongest and most expensive.  You need to consider your budget, personal style, and use when choosing a material.

Regardless of which material you choose, most closet systems have different drawers, cubbies, shelves, and bars to choose from.  These options allow you to group like items in your closet together for easier retrieval and return.  Before you get started, it is important to sort through and get rid of items you no longer need so that you can plan your closet system to work for you going forward.  For example, you don’t want to purchase a large number of shoe cubbies only to discover that you are donating half your shoes.  On the other hand, you want to make sure that you plan for some growth.  If you currently have ten pair of shoes that you use regularly, you will want to plan for a couple of extra shoe cubbies if space allows.  A Closet System Designer or a Professional Organizer can help you plan and design your closet system to best fit your style and maximize your space.

Start the New Year off right – transform your closet into a stylish and functional space that you can enjoy!

-Donna Lindley, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Rochester Hills, MI-based Organize Your World, Inc.

If you’re looking for more information about purchasing a custom space, Organize-It can help!

  • Contact one of our design representatives @ 800-210-7712 (press 2 when prompted)
  • They will walk you through all the details and answer any questions you may have about the process

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How Many Calendars is Too Many?

Happy New Year!  January is National Get Organized Month.

One of the oldest and best organizing tools is a good calendar.  Notice that I said ‘a good calendar’; not multiple calendars.  One of the most common time management mistakes I encounter with my clients is that they have too many calendars.  I’m not sure which is worse, too many calendars or none at all.  The key is simplicity.  The more calendars you have, the more places you have to check, update, and maintain.  It is very easy for them to get out of sync, causing you to miss important appointments.  I recommend using the fewest number of calendars possible, optimally one.

That being said, I often get asked which is better – paper or electronic?  With all of the electronic gadgets out there, many people feel the pressure to be using a PDA (personal digital assistants) or smartphone to organize their appointments.  While these tools provide many wonderful, time-saving features, they may not be right for you.  A paper-based calendar can be just as effective.  Analyze your needs to determine which type of calendar is best for you.  For example, if you travel, a PDA is a great choice.  It allows you to carry all your contacts, to-dos, and appointments, check your email and voicemail, access the internet, and make phone calls (smartphone) all in the palm of your hand.  If you are a stay at home mom, a large wall calendar might be the answer.  It gives you a lot of space for each day and allows everyone easy access to the family schedule.  Budget is also a consideration since PDAs are much more expensive than a paper-based solution.

No matter how diligent you are about writing things down in your calendar, if you don’t refer back to it on a regular basis, it will not be an effective time management tool.  Get into the habit of checking your calendar regularly. For example, check it each morning when you get up and again before you go to bed.  This habit will ensure that important appointments don’t get missed.

Follow these tips to start your year off right and get control over your schedule!

-Donna Lindley, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Rochester Hills, MI-based Organize Your World, Inc.

Minnie the pup roaming Organize-It HQ

This crazy dog makes our day:

Minnie on Liz's lap, working hard!

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Make Life Easy, Organize-It

New Year, New Home: Kick the Clutter Habit

In an ideal world, your home is an oasis of peace in the middle of a chaotic world. Keeping the chaos out is the tricky part. Instead of walking through the door and feeling a sense of peace, do you feel like there is a ton to do? You’ll get to the mess tomorrow, next week, month, year… or eventually when the kids go to college. Well, putting it off will leave the burden on your shoulders, continually dragging you down, begging for more than you can give it. January is the perfect time to take action and enjoy your slice of oasis for the rest of the year and begin being aware of how to rid the clutter for good.

clean home

  • Purge: If you haven’t used an article of clothing or item in the last 12 months, donate it. The less load you have, the more manageable keeping things in place will be. Just remember: Clutter steals from the most precious things in life, complicating daily rituals and intensifying already stressful situations.
  • Handle a small area each day: Let’s face it, you’re not going to declutter and organize your entire home in a day. It takes time; don’t stress yourself out by taking on your entire house in one day. Take it slow, do a little day by day and eventually you’ll get to where you want to be.
  • Put it away, right away: Hang up your coat when you come home. Put your shoes where they belong. You’ll start realize the “put away item”s pile in the corner of the room will vanish for good.
  • A place for everything: Buying framed artwork? More clothes? Exercise machines? Do you have room for that? Make sure before going on a shopping spree that you have the space for all your wants & needs.

We’re human, our lifestyles change and so do our homes. We can’t keep everything; so make room for the new and say goodbye to the long forgotten.

Make Life Easy, Organize-It!

Organize Your Holiday Decorations

holiday storageNow that the extended family has departed and the kids are back in school, many of you are probably looking around wondering what to do with all of your holiday decorations.  Follow these tips and you’ll have them protected, stored, and ready for next year in no time:

  1. Identify a Storage Area – The first step is to determine where you are going to store all of your decorations.  A corner in the basement or overhead storage in the garage are excellent possibilities.  The key is to find an area large enough to store all of your holiday decorations together.
  2. Sort – Before you pack your decorations away, take an inventory of what you have.  Are some worn out or broken beyond repair?  Do you still like all of your decorations?  Will you use them?  If not, box up what you no longer want and donate it.  You are sure to make someone else’s holiday a little bit brighter!
  3. Containerize – Plastic bins are a great storage solution for general holiday decorations.  There are also many specialized containers for items such as trees, wreaths, ornaments, and tableware, which provide extra protection.  Right now there are many storage options in red/green for Christmas decorations.  By purchasing color-coordinated storage, it makes it easy to quickly identify what to pull out next year.
  4. Label – Even if you are color coding by holiday, I still recommend that you label the outside of your containers if you have more than one container per holiday.  Labeling makes it easy for you (and others) to find what you need when you need it, and it also facilitates a speedy clean-up.

Follow these steps and you will have your decorations cleaned up, stored and protected in no time.

- Donna Lindley, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Rochester Hills, MI-based Organize Your World, Inc.

Dog & Cat Bowls

We have these new retro cat & dog bowls that we wanted to experiment with. Since we didn’t have a cat laying around to test these cat bowls out, we tried to make our own “handmade” kitties with paper. Which one’s better? 1 or 2?… your opinion is worth a billion points because one of us can enjoy bragging rights for the day! Speaking of using office supplies for other uses, staples as toothpicks?

cat feeding set

Thankfully, we found a real dog to model with the dog feeding set! (we’re allowed to bring our dogs to work!)

dog feeding set

Do you like these? Let us know what you think!

Make Life Easy, Organize-It.

Mark Can’t Stretch Like a Woman

Everyday at 3:00 we have our stretching session. It’s how we deal with desk-coma. We try to spice it up and do a new routine everyday. This particular day brought on this 5 minute stretch video lead by a woman, and Mark had a little trouble reaching his feminine side. Check it out:

Make life easy, Organize-It.

Post-Holiday Storage Solutions

There’s nothing more frustrating than untangling a pile of lights or trying to find that decoration you know you have but seemed to have suffered from amnesia earlier in the year. We’ll help relieve the stress and chaos of holiday decorating by giving you tips on how to store it easily for stress-free decorating next year.

General Packing

  • Pack similar items together (lights, decorative figurines, etc.)
  • or pack by room (decorations for living room, dining room, outdoor, etc.)


    tree storage

  • Artificial: If you have an artificial tree and decorate it the same way every year and have the room to store it upright – use a TreeKeeper storage bag. Then, you can store it decorated and simply take the bag off of it next year and you’ll have a fully decorated Christmas ready-to-go!
  • Live: A natural tree will really cut down on your storage needs. You won’t have to think about storing it when the season’s over! Take the hassle and mess out of removing your live Christmas tree from your home with a Live Christmas Tree Disposal Bag. It slides onto the trunk of your Christmas tree before being placed in the tree stand, and simply slides over your tree when it’s time for it to be removed. After taking your holiday tree to the curb, slide it out of the bag, wash it, and reuse it next year and enjoy your needle free home.

Light storageLights

  • The tangled light problem can be conquered with cardboard. For an inexpensive solution, wrap them around an empty wrapping paper tube or piece of heavy cardboard.
  • We also carry a Christmas light storage box that organizes by 4 plastic spools that fit neatly into slots in the walls of a plastic container to wind Christmas lights and not to forget the garland, extension cords, and more, making the hassle of tangled Xmas decorations a thing of the past.

Ornamentsornament storage

  • To store your ornaments knowing they will not get smashed or broken, an ornament chest is a great investment. Stable dividers keep each ornament nested safely away.
  • Have leftover tissue paper? Use that to provide extra cushion.

Wreathswreath storage

  • Artificial wreaths and garlands keep their fresh-looking appearance and dust-free shapes longer when stored in a container.
  • There are wreath storage options for all sizes of wreathes.
  • To store them off the ground, you can also hang them on the basement or garage wall and cover them up.

Wrapping Papergift wrap organizer

  • Centralize all your seasonal wrapping paper and accessories with organizers.
  • Gift wrap organizers come in many shapes; pick an option that fits your home best (under-bed, over-the-door, hanging).
  • Take into consideration if you need compartments for bows and ribbons.

Packing all your holiday decorations in a way that makes decorating next year easier takes a bit of planning, but is well worth it.

Make Life Easy, Organize-It.