Exciting News from OCD!!!

Happy New Year everyone!

OCD has some big news to share with you all… BL and I are having a baby! And it’s a girl! And we’re moving (hopefully)!

Although BL and I had been house hunting for a while, we turned our search to high gear when we found out we were going to be parents. While we could definitely have made our 1200 sq. ft. apartment work if we needed to, the idea of having more space to grow (and organize!) is really exciting!

While I have been feeling the brunt of pregnancy fatigue for the last several months, I am finally starting to feel a little more like my old self again (with the addition of a new baby bump). With all of the exciting things happening in our lives, I am definitely going to need my energy!

We are supposed to close on our house at the end of the month, and Baby L is due in May. It looks like 2013 is going to be a big year for the OCD family, and we hope you’ll come along for the ride!

Stay tuned for moving updates and tips and baby prep and organization ideas…

House Hunting

BL and I have been house hunting for a while now. We have seen some interesting properties over the last several months, but the one we saw most recently takes the cake!  Last week, we went to see a house that I can only describe as a disaster, possibly even a scene from “Hoarders.” This, of course, doesn’t scare me, but it definitely would scare most potential buyers off. Being a professional organizer allows me to see beyond the clutter and assess the space’s potential; however, many prospective buyers can’t or don’t want to do that!  Buyers want to envision themselves living in the house, and clutter is a definite obstacle to that vision.

My advice to sellers… clear out the clutter! (And don’t just stuff it in the closets and garage, either!) Whether that means finally following through with your Spring cleaning or if it means renting a storage unit to give it all a temporary home, it is in your best interest to minimize the chaos and maximize your home’s potential.   Stick to a neutral color palette and try to minimize the personal items left out when your realtor shows the home. Chances are that if you have crazy colors on the walls with family portraits and knick-knacks everywhere, buyers will be less likely to give your home the consideration it deserves. Giving potential buyers a warm and inviting feeling when they tour your home will definitely go a long way towards getting it sold!

The Linen Closet of My Dreams

I was reading a magazine the other day called Storage-  yes, it’s a real magazine published four times a year by Better Homes and Gardens- and I found the most amazing linen closet! BL and I don’t have the luxury of having a linen closet in our apartment, but if we did, I would want it to look exactly like this one!

I scoured the internet looking for a link to the article, so I could post it, but I didn’t have any luck. The best I could do was to scan it and link to the images below. I hope you get as inspired as I was by this article and give your own linen closet the facelift it deserves!

Pay It Forward and Donate to a Good Cause

People are always asking me where I donate the things I don’t use or want anymore.  If you are looking to donate your stuff, whether it be clothes, furniture, cars or otherwise, here are a few ideas:

Goodwill: Goodwill stores and donation centers across the country accept all sorts of donations, from clothing to appliances and furniture. Some even accept cars! Just drop off your donation at the nearest donation center.  To find a donation center near you, go to http://locator.goodwill.org/.  For Goodwill’s donation guidelines, visit http://www.goodwill.org/get-involved/donate/donation-acceptance-guidelines/

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA): The VVA is always looking for clothing and household items. They will even pick up your donations, no matter how large or small, as long as the driver can lift them.  Here’s what they will collect (courtesy of their website):

  • Clothing of all types & sizes (men’s, ladies, children’s, baby’s)
  • Clothing accessories
  • Shoes (all kinds)
  • Baby items
  • House and glassware
  • Books, toys, bikes
  • Stereos, radios, portable TVs
  • All bedding, draperies, curtains
  • Kitchenware
  • Usable small furniture & rugs
  • Small appliances
  • Tools (all kinds)
  • Jewelry and cosmetics
  • ALMOST ANYTHING!

All you need to do is gather your donation, put it outside your home where it’s clearly visible and marked for the Vietnam Veterans of America, and their driver will pick it up. It’s as simple as that!  To schedule a VVA pick-up, visit: http://www.clothingdonations.org/For more information on other ways you can help the VVA, visit http://www.vva.org/.  

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity accepts new and gently used building materials, appliances, furniture and household goods, as well as cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and RVs. While they will coordinate a pick-up of any donated vehicles, all other items should be dropped off at one of their ReStore locations.  To find a location near you, visit http://www.habitat.org/cd/env/restoreUS.aspxFor more information on Habitat for Humanity, please visit www.habitat.org.

Salvation Army: Salvation Army accepts clothing, appliances, furniture, cars, household goods and pretty much anything else you want to hand over.  Donations can be dropped off at any of their Family Stores or donation centers across the country, or a Salvation Army truck may be able to pick up your donated goods. To locate a donation center or store near you, go to http://www.satruck.org/donate-goods. To schedule a pick-up, call 1-800-SA-TRUCK or visit http://www.satruck.org/search.

Local Homeless Shelters: Many homeless shelters accept clothing and household items, in addition to food, so check with the shelters in your area for specifics.

In addition to the major charities above, there are multiple organizations around the country that focus on donations of specific items…

Cell Phones:

Cell Phones for Soldiers collects your old phones and sells them to a recycling partner. The money received is used to buy calling cards and other communication tools for U.S. soldiers.  For more information on how to donate your old cell, visit http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/AT&T also participates in the program, so you can drop you phone off at one of their many participating locations nationwide.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence collects cell phones to help fund their programs  aimed at stopping domestic violence. For more information on the NCADV, visit http://www.ncadv.org/takeaction/DonateaPhone.php.

Verizon has launched its own initiative to help stop domestic violence with its HopeLine program. For more information on their program and how to donate, go to http://aboutus.verizonwireless.com/communityservice/hopeLine.html.

Books:

Operation Paperback has been collecting gently used books nationwide since 1999 and sending them to U.S. troops deployed overseas. You can become a Volunteer Shipper and help ship the books yourself. For more information, visit http://www.operationpaperback.org/.

Books Through Bars aims to distribute educational materials to prisoners to facilitate education while in prison in order to promote a successful reintegration into society. For more information on the types of books they look for, visit http://booksthroughbars.org/get-involved/donate-books/.

Books for Africa accepts donated books of all kinds, but looks more for reference books and recent textbooks, and sends the books to students in Africa. For more information, go to http://www.booksforafrica.org/books-computers/donate-books.html.

There are so many organizations out there that could really benefit from the things you don’t need anymore. Pay it forward and donate those items to any of the charities I mentioned above or any local charity in your area. Do something good for others and get a tax break in the process!

Jewels of Inspiration…

A friend of mine recently asked me for some advice on how to store her jewelry.  She has more jewelry than she knows what to do with and often forgets about a lot of pieces.  While not a bad problem to have, many women, myself included, seem to suffer from this “ailment.”  If you are one of these people, you want to store your precious gems properly, but you also want them to be easily accessible. Our conversation inspired me to share some of the ways I store my jewelry and other ideas I’ve stumbled upon that might inspire how you store yours…

While I would love to be able to store all my jewelry in built-in drawers and cubbies in my closet, BL and I share a fairly small closet, so I’m not afforded that marvelous luxury at this time. A girl can certainly dream though! For those of you who can spare the closet space, here are a few great designs I found online at Closet Factory and One Kings Lane, respectively:

    

Since I am working with limited space, I utilize whatever areas I can. That includes wall, counter and drawer space for different pieces, depending on their function and how often I wear them. To keep more delicate necklaces from getting tangled, I hang them in pin board shadow boxes above my dresser.  

I use the pins that come with the box in addition to generic screw hooks from the hardware store, but you can certainly get as creative as you want! You can use decorative pins or line the back of the box with a fun patterned paper. Martha Stewart has some great DIY tutorials like this one.

I store my chunky and cuff bracelets on a funky paper towel holder that I found in HomeGoods.  Like most professional organizers, I am a Container Store junkie, and discovered this gem (pun intended) of an idea in the “Expert Tips & Ideas” section of their website. Check out some of their other tips here.  While I can’t take credit for it, I think it’s an absolutely ingenious (and inexpensive) solution!

All of my dangling earrings are kept front and center on a jewelry holder on top of our dresser. Not only do they add a little festive decor, they are also easily accessible!

You can find fun jewelry holders at places like Urban Outfitters and Etsy.

I keep all of my small earrings and bracelets, rings, watches and bulkier necklaces in nightstand drawers, where they are readily available.  I use bamboo drawer organizers that I bought at the Container Store, which you can find here, so everything has its own compartment. 

The Container Store carries a plethora of other options that can be found here. You can even use kitchen drawer organizers, assuming the dimensions work for you, that can be found at stores like Bed Bath and Beyond or Target.

Explore some of the other great ideas I’ve seen along the way at Shelterness (http://www.shelterness.com/50-cool-jewelry-storage-ideas/) and of couse, the blog I told you all about last week, Apartment Therapy (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/3-unconventional-jewelry-stora-98440).

A Blog After OCD’s Heart…

I recently discovered an amazing blog called Apartment Therapy and immediately became obsessed! They believe “A calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness and success in the world,” and I couldn’t agree more! That is why I founded OCD… to help people create calmer, simpler and more efficient living spaces, where they can relax and enjoy life.

Apartment Therapy offers some great ideas from DIY design projects to organizational ideas to green and budget living suggestions. I came across this post today offering time management tips for those who find themselves constantly procrastinating and thought I would share it: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-tackle-a-humongous-unwieldy-beast-of-a-nagging-household-chore-174566. They share several helpful suggestions for realistically managing your to do list and time, so if you are a “professional procrastinator,” as they refer to it, definitely check it out!

I’m engaged, I’m married… Now what?! Part Deux

We’ve covered gift tracking and thank you note writing, but what do you actually do with all those gifts?

BL and I live in a 1200 sq. ft. condo with limited closet and storage space, so like a lot of other engaged and newlywed couples, we quickly ran out of places to put everything.  Lucky for BL, I am O.C.D. – Organization. Creativity. Design. – so it’s my job to keep everything organized!  Here are some ideas to get you started…

Allocate a space for storing gifts. When gifts arrive, the last thing you want is to have them stacked up in your living room! Choose an area in your home, whether it be a storage closet or spare bedroom to keep the gifts until you are ready to find them a more permanent home. We temporarily stored our gifts in our sparingly used guest room until we decided on their final abodes.

If you’re like me and you’re on the more sentimental side, you may want to keep some or all of the cards people send with their gifts. An easy and aesthetically pleasing way to store these is a pretty photo box or keepsake box that you can store on a bookshelf. You can find them at a number of places including Pottery Barn and The Container Store.

Replace your old items with the new ones. Likely, you registered for newer version of things you already have. Once you receive a full set of one type of item, replace the old with the new. Decide whether you’d like to sell, donate or throw away the old items and follow through with that decision. There is no reason you need to keep two sets of glasses or pots and pans. For me, it was an easy decision… my younger brother is moving to a new place, so I passed along much of my old stuff to him. Anything he didn’t want, I packed up in the boxes from the new items and donated to a local homeless shelter. This is an easy (and thoughtful) way to make room for all of those new household gadgets you’re going to acquire!

If you can manage to do some of these things as you go, it should take a little stress off your shoulders when all is said and done. Then you can just enjoy the days of newly wedded bliss that follow!

I’m engaged, I’m married… Now what?!

Hi everyone! I’m back and I’m married! Say goodbye to Marjorie Klein and hello to Marjorie Liff!

Now, on to the important stuff…

The registry is complete and the gifts are steadily arriving at your door… how do you keep track of them all and how are you going to write all those thank you notes?!

My husband- let’s call him BL- and I got married about a month ago, but the gifts started rolling in long before that and are still coming. Here are some tips to help you stay organized and hopefully relieve a little stress at such an overwhelming time in your life…

Keep track of gifts as they arrive. Presumably, most brides-to-be or their wedding planners have created spreadsheets to house their guest lists for each wedding related event, i.e. engagement parties, bridal showers and the wedding itself.  Open a new Excel workbook and rename the sheets* to reflect the different events where you may be receiving gifts:

*To rename a sheet, right click its tab at the bottom of the screen and click “rename.”

Then copy and paste each list into its corresponding sheet in the workbook and add columns for gifts and thank you notes:

Now, you can either print the blank spreadsheets or store them on the computer.  Either way, as each gift arrives, handwrite or type it into the workbook on the appropriate sheet next to the gift giver’s name. If you receive gifts and open them at an event, such as your bridal shower, designate one of your bridesmaids to make a list of the gifts as you open them. If you choose to print the sheets, make sure to store the lists in a folder or designated section in your wedding binder.

If you forget who sent one of the gifts, many registry sites, such as Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel and Williams Sonoma, have a Thank You Note Manager, where you can track gifts and their senders, so be sure to find out if your registry offers this feature.

Don’t let thank you notes pile up and DON’T think you need to do them alone. Rather than wait until after the wedding to write all of your thank you notes, set aside an hour one day a week to write thank you notes for the gifts you received that week. This will let your guests know you appreciate their generosity, and trust me, your hand will thank you for not writing 100 or more cards at once!  As you write the notes, make sure you check them off your gift list.

And if your fiancé or husband thinks that writing thank you notes is the woman’s job, please set him straight! It’s only fair to split them up. You shouldn’t be expected to write a note to his favorite Aunt Edna and he shouldn’t be forced to write one to your dear Uncle Fred! BL and I decided that I would write the thank you’s to my nearest and dearest and he would tackle his. Marriage is all about compromise folks!

Hello World!

When I was a child, every doll had its proper place on the shelves in my bedroom.  When I was a teenager, my closet was always color coordinated.  When I went to college, my day planner housed my life schedule, from classes and final exams to parties and football games.  And when I became a lawyer, my organized mind prepared me to be great at my job.

For as long as I can remember, I have been organized and I have loved every minute of it. So much so, that I’ve decided to do it for a living!

My name is Marjorie Klein, I’m a professional organizer, and this is my blog.

Check back for weekly organizing tips and my thoughts, stories, trials and tribulations of life as an organizer. Hopefully, my posts will inspire you to get organized, or, at the very least, entertain you for a minute or two!