Ellen’s Tips for Flower Garden Organization

Springtime flowers are beautiful. After a drab winter, who doesn’t want to add some color to their yard?

And why is Ellen writing about flowers? Well, organization takes place outside your house, as well.

When you decide to add color to your yard, you’re also adding work to your plate. Yes, it is work to plant the flowers, but maintaining them is where the real work begins. Consolidating your floral maintenance is the best plan.

Consider container gardening or planter gardening to consolidate the workload. There are a wide variety of moderately priced pots of varying sizes, colors and textures. Try an odd number of pots of different sizes near your front porch. The pots will add some dimension, and of course, the flowers add the color. Hanging baskets add color at a different focal point. A screw eye with a hanging chain from your garden center can make that basket hang a little lower.

And when it comes to watering the flowers, a coiled hose (not the pocket hose) works great by not having to wind up a hose. It springs back on its own and can easily lay behind a bush. By placing the pots and hanging baskets near the hose, they can easily be watered in five minutes. Even if you planted some flowers in your beds, they can be watered at the same time. Speaking of beds, don’t feel the need to plant flowers the entire length of your beds. A clump of color in a few spots that can be watered easily will add something without adding too much maintenance.

Of course, if you don’t live with a plumber, having a water source nearby your front porch may not be as feasible. But consider how much time it takes to drag a hose and set up the sprinkler – it may be worth it in the long run to have the expense of that additional spigot installed in a convenient location. Beauty in the yard can happen if you help yourself create an easy maintenance program.

Spring Cleaning: Garage Organization

Spring has sprung, and the snow has stopped flying, at least in Central Ohio. That means that it’s time to get rid of the remnants of winter in the garage – and I’m hoping you were parking your cars in the garage over the winter.

Now is the time to consider evaluating the things in your garage. If it has wheels, it can stay on the ground. If not, hang it on the wall. Or, install some shelving to corral all loose items. It is much easier to keep the garage clean with a quick sweep or hose down when there isn’t an abundance of things on the floor.

Although bikes have wheels, if they aren’t ridden very often, a pulley system is a great way to get them up and out of the way.







This system screws into the beams in the ceiling and easily pulls up and down for ease of access.

A track system for hanging tools is the ideal system to address all your tools.








This system screws into the beams on your walls. A variety of hooks are available to accommodate several different tools. There is also a hook to hang a large ladder.

Get the garage organized, and you will enjoy the summer (and ultimately the winter) when the car takes precedence over the stuff of your life.

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 ( www.napo-ohio.com ) 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 ellen@organizedby.com .
Hope to see you there!

Easy Garage Organization

Image Courtesy of monkeybarstorage.com

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.