Archive for the ‘Home Organizing’ Category

Change Seasons, Change Space

Posted on: September 1st, 2019 by Open Space Organizing


As summer draws to a close and the weather begins to turn, I feel motivated to make adjustments in my home space.  Sometimes it’s a closet refresh, sometimes a maneuvering of furniture, sometimes the beginning of a whole new chapter.  In the Chicago area, the change in seasons from summer to fall can mean a big change in the weather. It’s now time to pull out the scarves, sweaters and boots!  During this time of year, when we swap our summer wardrobes for fall and winter, it is also a wonderful opportunity to purge some of the items you aren’t deeply in love with anymore.  A fun fall idea to motivate your purging is to have a wardrobe, purse or jewelry swap with friends!  Purge your items, and swap for something new – costs you nothing, and gives you a fun night out with friends!


The best part about fall for me – BACK TO SCHOOL!  The school supplies, crisp air, and renewed feeling of learning always excites me!  However, for little kids, adjusting to a new school routine and staying organized can be tricky.  Routines can be so helpful with this. Having the same wake up time every day, setting aside time for homework every day at the same time, having a place for backpacks to hang and reminders to hang them there – everyday.


Students need a homework station – and even in the smallest of spaces, this can be accomplished.  Having a clear space with a jar for pens, pencils, rulers, glue, etc. is really all that’s needed.  But it needs to be clutter-free and removed from distractions like phones, TV and games.


Create a space for backpacks for school as well as activity bags for sports, teams, etc. In the mudroom, or garage are great places for these!  Use your vertical space and 3M hooks to hang bags in neat order!  When it’s game-time, you can just grab and go!


Independence From Clutter!

Posted on: June 29th, 2019 by Open Space Organizing

So have you decided to declare your freedom from clutter?  Are you looking for more space in your life for summer fun?  Are you struggling to find items you tucked away after last summer?  Have a closet or two holding your suitcases or camping equipment hostage?


The first step is to take baby steps and start with one space.  Pick one table, closet or drawer to tackle TODAY.  Take everything out and decide if you need it – if you truly love it, keep it!  If you don’t REALLY love it, then decide – is it trash or can I give it away?  Once a week, do one space.  Make room to put things away, and cut down on clutter on your tables, counters and shelves.  Give yourself permission to give away things that were gifts or even items you purchased but haven’t used. Their purpose was served – to make you happy in the moment of receiving them or in the moment of purchasing.  But now that time has passed and their usefulness is done.  Let someone else find pleasure in these items.  It will fill your heart with pleasure to gift them away.


Cutting down on what you have in your space, and storing it in a way that is easy to access, slows down your pace of life and leaves you time to spend with  friends and family.


So, let’s enjoy this summer, in peace and independence from clutter in our space!



Posted on: March 17th, 2019 by Open Space Organizing

March 2019 only!  Contact us for details!

Simplify So Your Office Functions For You

Posted on: March 3rd, 2019 by Open Space Organizing

10 home office organizing tips!

  1. Purge paper into the system of three: shred/toss, file or take action.
  2. Put into use a color coded filing system. Here’s how we like to do it:
    Green – Financial
    Red – Medical
    Orange – Personal
    Yellow – Insurance
    Blue – House
  3. Create a Mail Station. In order to maintain control of the paper coming into the home office, create a mail station. Make a folder for incoming and outgoing mail, mail to file, bills and a folder for every family member. As soon as the mail comes in, file it in the mail station. Then once a week, take a few minutes and go through each folder.
  4. Printing station – space for printer and supplies to live
  5. Store in containers – office have lots of little things like paperclips, tape, staples, etc. They are easier to find when they’re in their own container, inside a drawer or box.
  6. Use a label maker! Because, you all know my love for labels, it makes it simple to find what you need, and put it back when you’re finished.
  7. Categorize:
    1. Stickies (sticky notes, tabs, stickers, etc.)
    2. Tools (straight cutter, staple, staple remover, hole puncher)
    3. Budget (checkbook, calculator, bill calendar)
    4. Writing Tools (markers, pens, pencils)
    5. Mail (envelopes, stamps, address labels)
    6. Labeling (labeler and label tape)
  8. Organize books: keep books so you can easily find them. Sort by color, title, author, or subject. It’s your library – you get to choose!
  9. Life binders: grab-and-go in case of emergency:
  10. Wall space: hang filing systems, whiteboards, calendars, shelving, etc. save space by going vertical!!

Peaceful places, Productive spaces

Posted on: February 5th, 2019 by Open Space Organizing


Welcome to February, organizers!  (Yes, I think all of us are organizers, in our own way.)


February is the time to stay inside and rethink the resolutions we made more than a month ago.  Haven’t kept with yours?  According to an article I recently read in The Independent, January 12 was the day most of us gave up.


Why, you may ask?  In my opinion, our goals are too big, and generally unattainable.  “I’m getting my WHOLE HOUSE cleaned up TODAY!”  Is just not usually going to happen. So, today, our focus is on SMALL places we can get organized in one Saturday afternoon.  Such as, your pantry.


The pantry is by far the “closet” we use the most.  We are in there between three and ten times a day!  Per person in our house!  How much time can we save just by making our pantry so it’s easier to find things, our food is stored in a way that keeps it fresh.  So, this month, with every purchase of organizing hours, you’ll receive your choice of jars or containers to help get your pantry working for YOU!

Downsizing – The Art And Challenge Of Letting Go

Posted on: January 31st, 2018 by Open Space Organizing

Downsizing is about changing your space to suit your current needs and is a rite of passage for many. It can be done in place, or by moving to a new residence and a key element in the process is letting go of the past to embrace the future. The age and time when downsizing occurs varies widely and depends on individual needs and circumstances.

Common Reasons to Downsize Include:
  • Saving money (smaller space equals smaller mortgage)
  • Decreasing maintenance and upkeep
  • Adopting a new lifestyle or adjusting to new health needs
  • Types of Downsizing Include:
  • Minimalism/Simplifying (with or without moving)
  • EmptyNest/Repurposing (with or without moving)

Downsizing is beneficial as it creates an opportunity to take a fresh look at your space and it breathes new energy and new purpose into your space and your life, whether you are downsizing in place or moving. As the furniture and clutter shifts and is removed there is an opening for new beginnings.

One of the greatest challenges to downsizing is going through belongings and deciding what to keep or let go. In any life transition there can be sadness, fear, and the feeling of loss as the adjustment to change occurs. Hard decisions are necessary concerning what to keep and what to donate, recycle or gift to family and friends.

It is best to make plans and goals for your space and new needs and consider which items will fit those needs. Start the process as early as you can and work in phases, systematically going through rooms for an initial sweep, and then returning for a second look, rather than attempts to make all the decisions at once. This will help you manage the process in steps and feel less overwhelmed by the size of the task.

Expect and prepare yourself that letting go of items can be emotional. Belongings are a part of a family’s history and often tell a story of how a family lived and grew. Experience, feel and discuss these emotions with those close to you and give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling, and permission to move forward. Keep yourself focused on what lies ahead and the benefits of the changes being made.

Five Tips to Help You Navigate Downsizing;

Start the process as early as possible

Work in phases

Focus on moving forward and staying present focused on your new lifestyle needs

Look at the process as a chance to grow

Get help and support as needed


Open Space Organizing is happy to help with planning, purging, packing and unpacking for your transition. Take advantage of our free assessment!

Call 630-453-2582

Downsizing, Tiny House





Minimal Is Best, Gather Memories, Not Stuff

Posted on: July 31st, 2017 by Open Space Organizing

Key to going minimal is to gather memories and not stuff. Less is definitely more! Strive to own less to feel increased independence, freedom and peace. July is coming to a close so take the remainder of your summer and choose independence from material possessions, focus on simple pleasures and spending time with those important to you. Summer is the perfect time to keep it simple, spend time outdoors and focus on activities with family and friends.


The Price Of Clutter

The accumulation of clutter can cost you, both in terms of time and money. “15-20% of the average American budget is spent buying duplicate items that have been misplaced” (National Association of Professional Organizers). Clutter makes it difficult to find what you need, when you need it because you have to sift through multiple items to find anything. “The average American wastes 55 minutes each day looking for lost items” (Newsweek). Is that how you want to spend your time? “Decreasing clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in an average home” (National Soap and Detergent Association). Save energy by decreasing clutter, rather than collecting more and more things. So be aware in your own life how clutter is affecting you. Forming new habits to keep clutter minimal can bring you the freedom and peace you are searching for.


Tips To Gather Memories:

  • Spend time outside
  • Find healthy, active hobbies
  • Plan outings with friends and family
  • Prioritize investing in relationships


Tips To Gather Less Stuff:

  • Spend less time in stores, shop less
  • Use a shopping list
  • Keep focused to avoid impulse buys
  • Avoid shopping when you are tired or stressed


The minimal accumulation of stuff equals more time, more energy, more peace and more money in your pocket. In addition, keeping your focus on relationships and gathering memories helps you to remain connected to what is important. If you need help to form new habits, rather than adding to your collection of stuff, contact Open Space Organizing today! We will be happy to help you create the space and the lifestyle you are seeking!

minimal gardening

Minimal Gardening, Wild Flowers

Dreading Your Own Basement?

Posted on: May 8th, 2017 by Open Space Organizing

Dreading your own basement? Is it beginning to look and feel like the set from a horror movie? Has it become a dusty, dark, disorganized area for storing items you are not sure what to do with? You are not alone. Basements are a challenging area for many as they are out of the way, large, and have a door you can close. They become a spot for delayed decisions. Items that are still “good”, but no longer being used, get boxed, binned or bagged and brought down. Instead of deciding to recycle or donate the item becomes delegated to the basement, where it can languish sometimes for years, forgotten! Things get piled on top of one another and chaos results. The chore to find something is so daunting and time consuming that the owner gives up and either does without or goes to the store and buys new. Dreading your own basement becomes something you start to accept. The door remains closed and the space is unused.

Tips To Reclaim Your Basement (and make Hollywood look elsewhere for their horror movie set):
*Make a plan for how you would like to use the area. Examples; Exercise Area, Play/Toy Area, Craft Area, Theatre Area, etc.
* Purge items not being used, or not needed. Hint; items that have 4 inches of dust on them, items that no one can identify, items the family has outgrown, items missing key pieces, etc.
* Designate one area for storage to resist using the entire basement for storage. Use labels in this area to indicate what item goes where.
* Carefully consider new items before bringing them down. Consider if it is needed, if you already have one, or if you are keeping it just because there is room.
Follow these tips and turn your horror set back into a useful space!

The opposite of dreading your basement

Organized basement

Simplicity and Organizing

Posted on: November 20th, 2016 by Open Space Organizing

Simplicity in our spaces and schedules leads to an ease in the ability to organize both. As we simplify, weeding out excess, it becomes possible to see what we have, what we need and what it is ok to let go of. Having less enables one to get clear on what is important. This can be especially useful to do before the overwhelm of the holiday season, which brings additional demands and complications to our time, our finances and our space. Keeping it simple and organized brings calmness into our lives.

Achieving Simplicity in Your Home:
Consider why you are keeping items you are not using, or have duplicates of
Have a donation box/bag accessible to add donations to, on an ongoing basis
Have a plan in place to donate, recycle or toss those items
Especially for the holidays:
Review your holiday decorations
Donate or toss any decorations you no longer love
Toss any decorations that are broken
Make a plan to keep decorations simple (easier to put up, easier to take down, easier to store)

Achieving Simplicity in Your Calendar:
Say no to some holiday commitments and events – create a limit and stick to it
Say yes only to what you truly want to do
Schedule nights off on the calendar
Schedule family time on the calendar (game night, movie night, make dinner together night)
Repeat anything you did last year that you loved
Avoid anything you did last year you did not love
Schedule an event/activity you missed last year that you wish you had done
Be purposeful, have a plan

Achieving Simplicity in Your Thoughts:
Practice gratitude daily
Keep focused on what you have
Prioritize and work on one thing at a time
Remind yourself to keep it simple

Happy Thanksgiving from Open Space Organizing!
Make it a great holiday!!


Organizing and Yoga; The Benefits of Practice

Posted on: September 2nd, 2016 by Open Space Organizing

Organizing and Yoga

Are you searching for a calm space in your life? Organizing, like Yoga, can create a calm space for you to relax into. I am a student and a teacher of Yoga. I was drawn to Yoga during a time of upheaval in my own life. Now as a professional organizer I see the similarities and connections between the benefits received from organizing and Yoga and the practice of each.

The Benefits of Yoga:
Yoga is about consciously connecting to your breath and your body to increase your awareness. Yoga breathing requires inhaling, deeply and slowly, filling your lungs with fresh oxygen and then exhaling completely, emptying your lungs of old air. If you practice this type of breathing, even for just 3 breathes, you will notice feeling calmer, more relaxed, and more centered.

Yoga is also about testing your limits and pushing yourself, stretching yourself in new ways into new poses. It does not feel comfortable at first (Yoga teachers call it feeling sensation) but as you repeat and practice poses it becomes easier and you can feel your body able to stretch farther and hold for longer. The more you practice, the greater the benefits and the easier it becomes.

The Benefits of Organizing:
Organizing is about changing what is in your space. When our environments become filled with old, no longer useful things, it is like hanging onto old air. Removing what is stale and old from your environment and opening up your space can have the same effect as yoga breathing. You begin to notice a feeling of calmness in your space. Your senses are no longer bombarded by objects piled, stacked, falling and filling up your surfaces. Instead of feeling distracted and overwhelmed you begin to feel lighter, free, calm and more in control.

Organizing is also about stretching your limits and trying new ways, which at first do not feel comfortable (feeling anxious when you start can be expected). Again as you repeat and practice organizing principles you begin to “find your flow” and it starts to feel easier, more natural and you feel and see the benefits as you accomplish each of your organizing goals. The more you practice, the greater the benefits and the easier it becomes.

Try it for Yourself:
First practice yoga breathing. Breathe in deeply through your nose to the count of 4, breath all the way into your abdomen. Hold your breath for the count of 7 and then breath out completely to the count of 8. Do this 3 times.

Next grab a large garbage bag and make a sweep through your space challenging yourself to find at least 27 things to toss or donate. Place your donations in your car and those things you want to toss into the garbage receptacle.

Now sit back and notice how you are feeling, notice the difference. Ahhh… just like Savasana!

For more thoughts on the similarities between organizing and Yoga see by professional organizer Hazel Thornton.

Contact Cathy at Open Space Organizing today to begin your practice of organizing, to find your calm and open your space! 630-453-2582