Organize Your Garage Before the Snow Flies

sam_5985You may have missed the National Clean Out Your Garage Day (second Saturday in September), but there is still time to look at the purpose of your garage. The definition of a garage is: a building or indoor area for parking or storing motor vehicles. Does your motor vehicle fit in your garage?

Consider the value of the things in the garage compared to the value of your motor vehicle, which is not in your garage. Any climate is hard on your car and you. The hot sun can fade a car finish and the cold weather makes it difficult to get in your car. An ice storm can cover your door handle and no one wants to scrape the snow off the car when you are running late.

Like a basement, a garage can serve many purposes. Setting up zones in your garage allows you to know where things belong and gives them a home so you know where to find them. An organizing principle in the garage is to keep things 12” off the floor. This allows you to easily sweep the garage and avoid the creepy crawlies that invade most outdoor spaces.

Another organizing principle is to utilize vertical space. Cabinets and shelving on the walls help to keep things off the floor. Your yard tools can easily be hung on a variety of tool organization systems. Cabinets help to organize small things. Shelving helps to organize larger things. If you put shelving on the floor in your garage, get the kind of shelving with adjustable shelves. This allows you to set up the bottom shelf several inches off the floor so you can sweep under the shelf. If your garage stores seasonal décor, be sure to mark tubs so you know the items inside those tubs. Don’t forget the lid to keep the dust off as well.

Keeping your garage organized keeps the car in the garage and your things stored properly and easily accessible. It makes it so much easier to find things and put them away.

Earth Day 2016 – Yes You can Recycle That!

This was posted by 1-800-Got-Junk. I think it is worthy of reposting!

Your recycling questions answered!


Did you know that the average American generates almost 5 pounds of waste per day but only recycles 1.5 pounds? Let’s change that. This article was originally posted on America Recycles Day, and to celebrate, here are the answers to some of your commonly asked recycling questions:

Q. Can I recycle batteries?

Yes! Get in the habit of never throwing batteries in the trash, especially rechargeable ones. They contain heavy metals, which can leak and contaminate the environment. See if your local electronics recycler accepts batteries. If not, sometimes electronics retailers and hardware stores offer battery recycling programs.

There’s a useful program called Call2Recycle, which recycles rechargeable batteries. Check out the Call2Recycle program locator to see if there’s a drop-off point near you.

The good news about technology is that more and more devices are using rechargeable batteries that you just need to plug in to charge. But the next time you need to purchase new alkaline batteries for a camera or handheld game, look for rechargeable ones—they’ll be a greener choice than single-use batteries.

Q. Where can I recycle my old cell phone?

Try your local electronics recycler. If not—Call2Recycle, mentioned above, recycles mobile phones!

Q. What do I do with my old laptop?

Laptops can definitely be recycled. If the computer is intact, contact your local electronics recycler or computer retail outlet (see if they’re running a program). If the screen is broken or there are fluids leaking from it, it’s considered a hazardous waste product. If the electronics recycling facility can’t take it, your local waste collector may have a recommendation. The most important thing to know is that you shouldn’t throw your laptop in the trash!


Q. I bought something new, and not only is the old one too big to throw away, I would feel bad sending it to the dump. It’s still in good shape!

A. We still call it ‘recycling’ when we donate items in good condition, because that item is being given a second life and not being dumped in the landfill. It may also help someone in need. Think about donating that old lamp, MP3 player or forgotten toys to a local non-profit or charity thrift store, and feel good about making that choice!

Q. What other surprising things can be recycled?

A. If you can’t find a drop-off point in your community, there are organizations popping up all over the place that will accept niche ‘what-do-I-do-with-this’ items if you are able to ship to them:

SHOES: The glue that holds shoes together can be toxic to the environment, so chucking shoes in the garbage is a bad idea. The national shoe charity Soles4Souls collects used and new shoes to help needy people in the community. Check out their website to see if they’re running any drives near you, or send them a package with your old shoes (make sure to follow the instructions on doing this properly).

TROPHIES: Did you know that you can recycle trophies? A company called Lamb Awards accepts old awards you no longer want cluttering up your room.

CRAYONS: Crayons—which contain petroleum and shouldn’t go in the landfill—can be sent to the Crayon Recycling Program where they melt down the wax into new crayons!

What is America Recycles Day?

Every year on November 15, America Recycles Day promotes and celebrates recycling in the US. The program, initiated in 1997 and now organized by Keep America Beautiful, is a nationally recognized day to educate people on the importance of recycling through thousands of events around the country.

You can learn more about America Recycles Day on their website or check out their go-to guide for more great information. For more cool facts, check out some of our previous blog posts here and here!

It’s well worth taking the time to recycle. We recommend you set a personal goal this America Recycles Day and see how much you can recycle over the next year…and beyond!

Read more at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Blog:

Your Kitchen Desk

Is this your desk? (Click on image to enlarge.)

The kitchen desk. Such a practical addition, but so difficult to maintain. Are you using it for its intended purpose or is it your dumping ground?

We tend to have dumping grounds in various spaces throughout our house. These are things that do not have a home or we have not made a decision with regard to where said item should live.  On this kitchen desk, we need to determine what needs to stay and what needs to live elsewhere.

I like to start many jobs like this with the “MACRO” sort.  This is where we just quickly pick up items and put them together with like items on another surface, for instance the kitchen table or a nearby counter.  Within the 2 hours needed to sort this, each of the listed items became a pile.  We didn’t really look at the medical mail, but could tell by a quick glance that it was medically related. And so on with the other things. By seeing the types of things to sort, the client was able to make decisions much easier.  Looking at the desk in its messy state is overwhelming.  Breaking it down into smaller decisions gets the job done. Junk mail got tossed, recipes went into a file near the cookbooks, medical mail went with bills to pay and so on.

2 hours may seem like a long time to take to clear off the desk, but it certainly wasn’t created in 2 hours, considering I found paperwork from 2 years ago. “That desk hasn’t been that clean in years,” was the comment from the client.  As the pile begins to represent that messy state again, take a smaller amount of time each week to prevent you from having to spend a long time in the future. Or wave the white flag and say HELP!



Get Organized Bishop Watterson

Presenting a talk on Getting Organized for the Bishop Watterson Mothers’ Club Fall Social.

Tips & Thoughts on organizing through the house, a little bit of paper organizing, products I love and a few of the ever popular B4 and pics!
Join us at Bishop Watterson HS, Wednesday, August 28th, 2013, 7:00 pm.

Back to School: College Style Presentation

How many college “What to Bring” lists have you seen?

For all you graduated seniors, Organized by L is presenting “Back to School: College Style”.  Some topics include Tips for heading to college, what do you really need on those lists and time management ideas. Door prizes as well.

Cost is $10/person or 2/$15.  June 27, 6:30 pm at Bishop Watterson High School, Dominican Hall, 99 E. Cooke Rd., 43214.

Visit: and click on the Back to School button to register.

Parents and students are encouraged to attend.

Call 614-499-2443 for answers to your questions.

Organizing Expo


Join the NAPO-Ohio Professional Organizers at the 2013 Organizing Expo.

We will have a variety of speakers and topics that appeal to a broad range of individuals.  We will have exhibitors with products to help you get organized and  members of NAPO-Ohio ( ) will also be there.

2013 Organizing Expo will be held at the Funny Bone Comedy Club at Easton Town Center, Saturday, April 27 from 10am – 2pm. Admission is $5, but in honor of Earth Day (April 22),  the fee will be waived with any e-waste donation or any donation for Goodwill.
We will be raffling off a special organizing gift basket to those invited by NAPO-Ohio members. The details of how to register for this basket, valued at over $200, are on the attached file. EXPO Community Outreach Flyer .
The Funny Bone is accessible from the West Parking Garage on Easton Loop W.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, 614-499-2443 or .
Hope to see you there!

Easy Garage Organization

Image Courtesy of

Garages tend to be the dumping ground for everything that doesn’t have a home. National Clean Out Your Garage Day is the Saturday after Labor Day; September 8, 2012. What is the value of your car sitting out in the elements compared to the value of the stuff taking up the space in your garage?

Get it organized Now! As summer approaches, work on the garage so by Clean Out Your Garage Day, all you will have to do is sweep.

Here are a few tips to get you the gorgeous garage you dreamed of:

  1. Get vertical: There is a lot of height in a garage that can be useful for storage. Most items in our garage are used occasionally. Get them up and out of the way while you are not using them.
  2. Wheels: If it has wheels, it can stay on the floor. No wheels, it has to be off the floor. It makes it easier to do a sweep or a hosing if there isn’t stuff on the floor.
  3. Shelving: There are a variety of shelving units on the market. The ones I like best have adjustable shelves for the different items you will be storing. Even cabinets should be installed off the floor.
  4. Sort: As with all organizing projects, putting like things together gives you an idea of any duplication you have.
  5. Ask for help: Many times projects don’t get started because one doesn’t know where to begin. The services of a Professional Organizer can do wonders for your project. They will get you started and give you motivation to continue. Yes, you will get motivated to do more.
  6. Money: Be willing to spend some money on the project. Yes, it will cost money to organize your garage, but how much are you spending on items that aren’t cared for properly and need to be replaced

You too can have a garage that can be utilized for its intended purpose.

Paper Organizing

This is an excerpt from Organizing Guru, Barbara Hemphill.  She hits the nail on the head, so I thought I would share it.

The first step to success is recognizing that organizing files is a part of everyone’s life — like organizing your closet or the garage. You either have to do it yourself, hire (or bribe!) someone else to do it, or live with the cluttered consequences.

1. State Your Vision. Define what “organized” means to you. What is the level of organization you need in your filing system to be able to accomplish your work and enjoy your life? My personal criteria for paper files is that I want my desk to be totally clear of papers when I leave work at the end of the week. My personal criteria for electronic files is being able to find the file I need in a few minutes.

2. Identify Your Obstacles. What specifically prevents you from reaching your desired state of file organization? Lack of space? Lack of time? Lack of a filing system?

3. Commit Your Resources. For example, how much time are you willing to invest per week to solve the problem? How much space do you have to store files? Who could help you? What filing systems do you already have in place that work? Once you have addressed the above issues, then it’s time to move to Step 4 in the Productive Environment Process:

4. Design your plan. If it takes longer than 30 minutes to clear up the papers on your desk, your filing system needs work. The best place to start is OVER! Ignore the old papers and create a new filing system for the current papers. If you have difficulty finding electronic files, identify the SPECIFIC source of the problem. For example, are you using your “In Box” for a filing cabinet — and then can’t find what you need? Are you taking advantage of the “search” capabilities of your computer?

If you don’t know what they are, ask someone younger that you are, and they probably will!  If you know what to do, and you just haven’t done it, now’s the time to design and implement a plan for the newest papers. Then you can incorporate the old papers as you use them. If you’re totally overwhelmed, now’s the time to get help.

5. Maintain your success. Let’s face it — life is messy, and sometimes our filing systems reflect that reality. Building in a system to maintain your success is crucial.

Like Barbara mentioned, sometimes you have to shake up the old to reinvent the new. The assistance of a Professional Organizer can offer a fresh set of eyes to help you create that new system. Remember, 80% of the files/paper we keep, we never refer to again. – Ellen

Refrigerator Organization

 Yes you need to organize your refrigerator. You shouldn’t have to wear a respirator mask when you open your refrigerator. If you get that smelly waft of air when you open your fridge, something needs to be addressed in there.

Start with a bucket of soapy water and paper towels. One shelf at a time, empty the contents and toss any “fuzzy” food. Wipe off the shelf and the sides near that shelf.  You can also take the whole shelf and wash it in the sink if it really needs more of a scrubbing.

Before you put the contents back on that shelf, wipe off the bottoms of each item.  Glance at the expiration dates. Most condiments will last beyond their expiration date for a short time, but when we’re talking YEARS, you might want to consider replacing those items.  There are many condiments/sauces that were bought when you tried a new recipe. Maybe the recipe wasn’t as good as you thought. Can you use that condiment for something else, or is it past it’s useful life and needs to say good-bye.

 Don’t forget the drawers. There usually are many a science experiment growing in there. There is a liner that you can put in your drawers that is like the mesh drawer liners. It helps let some air circulate under the produce in the drawers.  And the door shelves. Those in particular get nasty quickly.

When you return the items to the fridge, think of like things together. Most condiments would go in the door.  But even those can be organized. Dressings on one shelf. Sauces, condiments etc on another. Pickles and jarred items together.  On the shelves, put dips  and the like together. Yogurts together and other dairy.

While you are at it, the freezer probably needs attention. Shelf by shelf identify what you are pulling out. If you can’t identify it or know what it is, it is probably time to go.  The freezer requires extra hot water to prevent your rag from sticking to the walls.

 To keep things in check, consider dating items as you store leftovers. The product label once from The Container Store allows you to write the date on the label, with the special marker included, and then easily wipe it off when you empty that container. Same with the freezer. If you use freezer bags, write on them as well

Now that you are done cleaning out the fridge, close the door, now open it and take in a deep breath. Isn’t that refreshing!

Cabinet Pullouts

A simple and my favorite kitchen organization solution is to install pullouts. That might not be the official name, but that’s what I call them.  Simply, you pull them out and you have access to all that stuff in the back of your cabinet. Even better, you can reach it without crawling on your hands and knees.  There are a variety of pullouts and at different price points, but whichever you choose, just get them. 

Some are easily installed into the base of a cabinet.  If you can handle a screwdriver, you can do this. It would be easier if you had an electric screwdriver, but it can be done manually. A small pilot hole would speed up the  installation too.  If you must hire a handy person (many women are handy too, including Organized by L), the labor charge shouldn’t be too high.  Others have the gliding tracks installed on the side of your cabinet.

Now if you have those cabinets with the small shelf in the back, that’s a different story.  That shelf would have to be removed and a differnet kind of pullout would be installed.

All cabinets and pantries would benefit from pullouts.  You can order custom ones that fit your cabinets exactly from Slde a Shelf or Shelf Genie or Shelves that slide.   With the slide a shelf, you would most likely need to install an L bracket in the back to prevent the shelf from tipping forward with the pullout fully extended. These are installed on your exisitng shelves. Shelf Genie is it’s own pullout shelf. Some can be ordered on line and shipped to you. Keep in mind that you should be relatively handy if you want to venture forth to save a few bucks and install them yourself. Or sometimes it is worth the extra $ to have the job done quickly and correct.

 Pullouts are not limited to kitchen cabinets. Wherever you have a cabinet, you can install a pullout.