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Decluttering and Organizing Tips

Since 2022, Organization Pending has served Columbus, OH and the surrounding areas, creating functional spaces to serve you. 

Find in-depth discussions on decluttering and organizing below, or make sure you're following Organization Pending online for the ongoing Home Organizer Tip, Did You Know and How To social media post series. Visit the Community Recommendations page for local recommendations on decluttering, donation and recycling. 

Stay up-to-date by following Organization Pending online, and subscribe to the Organization Pending Newsroom for free.

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Moving Checklist

Early Holiday Planning, October 2023

Are you getting ready to move in the spring or summer? The average person attempts to declutter four times a year, but 49% of survey respondents say they have less room since 2020, and only 24% would consider moving to a bigger home (Opendoor). If you want to downsize before moving, decluttering is essential - this will save you from paying for a larger truck, extra packing supplies, storage unit, and will save you headaches while unpacking. At Organization Pending, clients have reached out anywhere from one month to years in advance of a move. No matter the timeline, there are a few tips to make this stressful time run more smoothly.

  • Declutter! : Take a look at the family calendar and schedule decluttering sessions, or call in Organization Pending for focused decluttering sessions. Start with family areas to help motivate the youngest members of the family for their spaces, and make it fun! See how much work can get done in short bursts, or ask the kids to fill a box with all their favorite toys and see what can be donated to other children from their not-so-favorites.

Don't forget about Columbus Fashion Academy for clothing donations - Organization Pending offers free donation pick up of these items with in-person services.

  • Need a moving professional or resource? Take a look at Organization Pending's Community Recommendations for local realtors, home inspectors, mortgage lender and more!

  • Plan: Using a floor plan of your new space, compare it to the spaces in your current home. How will the dimensions of your current spaces work in your new home? For example, do you have three storage closets and a basement work space that will all need to be combined into the basement of the new home? Take measurements and form a space plan for your new home, helping you know how to label boxes. A note!: If you're using a moving company, most will not insure anything they didn't pack themselves, even if you hired an outside company to pack. If you're taking a DIY approach, paper rather than bubble wrap is recommended.

  • Organize: Starting in storage areas, organize items into "new home" zones for the movers - label each cupboard or zone with the floor and room those items will go into in the new home. Moving yourself? Start boxing these low-use items, labeling the top and two sides of the box with the contents (fall decorations) and where it will go in the new home (basement closet). Or consider color coding box labels to save time. Each floor of the new home can use a specific color, and paper signs can be placed above door frames in the new home indicating what room it is (yellow box label for 2nd floor, and label says "bathroom 2"). Providing movers with a labeled floor plan, and having a copy on the entry wall in the new home helps keep everyone on the same page.

  • FIRST!: When packing high-use areas, make sure the boxes with items you will need first in each area are labeled FIRST! - this ensures finding a set of dishes, bedding, and toiletries immediately in your new home. Make sure to zone all FIRST! items in one location if you're using movers, and have these boxes put at the entryway of the new home.

  • Paperwork: Make sure you have a current list of anyone who will need your updated address, including credit cards and auto-pay bills, fill out your forwarding address information with the USPS, talk to your children's schools about transferring records, and talk to your doctor and/or veterinarian about prescriptions. Don't forget to ensure utilities in your new home are set up for your arrival!

If you have photos or sentimental items, consider digitizing before your move with Vintage Solutions.

 

  • Essentials: Depending on the length and location of your journey, consider keeping valuables and irreplaceable memories with you. In a bag that stays with you, pack chargers, snacks, a roll of toilet paper, and other items for immediate access during travel or upon arrival to your new home.

  • Moving locally? Have Organization Pending over for unboxing and organization sessions, unlocking your new home's full potential. Or check out the Community Recommendations for a list of trusted Organizers in other locations.

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dumpster

Holiday Decluttering and Organizing

Early Holiday Planning, October 2023

With Halloween coming up, many families are preparing their homes for winter celebrations and extra people in the house. Instead of hiding things behind closed doors, start by decluttering and passing along items you're not using!

In a recent Clutterbug video, Cas talks about the ways clutter subtracts from our lives, including the shocking statistic that one in ten American households are losing money every month renting storage units for their home's overflow. "The REAL Cost of Clutter - It's Shocking!!!" dives into how clutter affects our health, stress, sleeping habits, interpersonal relationships with our families, friends and children; amount of free time in the day; lost usable space in our homes; and how clutter wastes money when we have to rebuy missing or expired items.

 

Challenge yourself (and the kids!) to fill a box with items than can go towards making someone else's holiday season warmer - February's "Springing Forward" and March's "Going Green(er)" Newsrooms talked about some of the Columbus local options for recycling, upcycling, and donation. Visit the Community Recommendations page for additional options to support your community while on your decluttering journey. Are you looking for kid-specific tips for decluttering and organizing? Check out July's "Back to School" Newsroom, and don't forget to let the family know about all your hard work - ask for experience-based gifts for the upcoming holidays, instead of more things to declutter!

 

While you're pulling out fall-themed decorations, make sure your holiday storage is organized with each season or holiday in its own zone. Putting decorations back into storage at the end of the season is the best time to declutter items that never made it out, or that you've realized don't hold meaning or joy anymore, or have become too worn to use again.

 

Expecting guests and want to give the bathroom an extra polished touch? Check out this How to Fold (ROLL) Bath Towels Like a Pro tutorial from Judi the Organizer.

ull, Twink Death, Let's Go Ghouls and SISTAAAS! Witch crewnecks and t-shirts before the season ends!

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seasonal holiday zones

Holiday Gift Planning

Early Holiday Planning, October 2023

If you're anything like me, getting holiday shopping out of the way as early as possible is best. Many of us find it difficult to find seasonal cheer in the midst of consumer culture, planning for family visiting while feeling the pressure to have everything look and feel a specific way, trying to grant all of the kids' wishes and make it a magical time, running out for one more gift for that last-minute party...on top of the usual work and responsibilities. If you haven't already picked up items during the year, or started idea gathering, create a spreadsheet! Having access while you're in the store to your entire list, gift ideas, bought items, and how much money you've already spent is essential to creating and tracking a gift list and budget. Don't forget to add your partner as an editor to the spreadsheet, and take advantage of color coding - green is bought items, yellow is ordered, red is for ideas.

 

Did you read last year's "Sliding Into Winter" discussion of giving clutter-free usable and unique gifts and experiences? Those gift ideas aren't replicated below - make sure to take a look at last year's post if you need additional recommendations, including travel agent Dodo Expeditions! for travel deals you won't find online.

Check in with the people who have been enjoying the membership you gifted them last year - ask if they'd like a renewal, or a chance to explore a new location.

Do you have a bird and nature lover on your list this year? Consider gifting them a Grange Insurance Audubon Center or Columbus Audubon membership! Membership at either grants membership to both, and to the National Audubon Society. Members receive free and discounted Columbus Audubon field trips and programs, the Song Sparrow newsletter and Audubon magazine, invitations to special events and meetings, and other perks.

 

Want to gift a piece of Upper Arlington history to someone on your list? The Upper Arlington Historical Society, in partnership with UA High School students, is selling $12 wooden bear keepsakes in the iconic UA Golden Bear shape, created from the same 200-year-old historic wood that serves as the core of the Amelita Mirolo Barn.

 

Looking for a personalized gift, created with your photos or kids' artwork? Head over to Vintage Solutions' custom keepsakes for puzzles, wood panels and slates, magnets, sketch books, coasters, t-shirts and pillowcases! Find out more about Vintage Solutions in the "Springing Forward" edition of the Newsroom.

 

Have a Halloween lover on your winter holiday gift list? It's not too late to snag one of Queerencia's new designs! Take a look at their Rainbow Skull, Twink Death, Let's Go Ghouls and SISTAAAS! Witch crewnecks and t-shirts before the season ends!

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toy santa on a roof

Organizing Your Family's Vital Information

Back to Books, July 2023

If something happens to you, or if someone is taking care of your household while you're on vacation, do they know how to run the household without you? If you are your parents' emergency contact, do you know what medications they're taking, or their insurance and medical information? Are you scrambling to find your house's or kids' passwords? A household management binder can help keep you and your loved ones organized and ready for an emergency. Cas the Clutterbug talked about 5 HUGE Paper Organizing Mistakes (and HACKS to fix them)! to help us get prepared.

  • When papers aren't categorized, everything feels important so we keep it all. Once a year, declutter and shred old papers.

  • If you keep receipts, designate a box for them and throw out old ones when the box is full.

  • Implement a space for incoming sentimental items, sorting them to long-term boxes once a year - chances are some of those papers are no longer sentimental.

  • Establish incoming paper command centers for each family member and pet.

  • Create a household management binder with passwords, medical information, insurance information, doctor contact numbers, babysitter information and family contact information, including addresses and birthdays. Add other categories and information as it makes sense for your family, or Cas is offering fill-in options for $2 or $5 - the mega value option includes extras such as a packing list, meal planning helper, and home maintenance checklist.

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household management and emergency binders

Shopping with Kids

Back to School, July 2023

As a home organizer, I follow a variety of people in the organization community. One of these is Dawn, The Minimal Mom. While I don't consider myself a minimalist, I find that Dawn's focus on honing in on the items around the house that are needed and used to be a good guideline for remembering how to find joy in the objects I see everyday. Dawn recently took two of her young children on a thrift store shopping adventure, explaining the tips she uses for herself and her family when they're at any store, or shopping online. Many of us struggle to show our children the value of things and money, and many of her tips have come from facing her and her children's own struggles living in a consumer culture.

  • Have a shopping list of the necessary items, and items you're interested in shopping around for - make sure to check the new price on your ideal item, because thrift shopping doesn't always mean savings.

  • Let your kids purchase one or two items that catch their eye with their own money - this of course lets them learn money skills, but also lets them have the experience of making that choice. If these items don't hold up over time, remind them of these experiences the next time, helping to reinforce their decision making skills.

  • Implement a monthly "Buying Day" where the family reviews the non-essential items they asked to buy throughout the month. Every time someone asks for an item that's a want, not a need, save a picture or screenshot of it in a folder on your phone to locate the list easily.

  • Show your kids the same skills you want them to learn by expressing how beautiful or awesome an item is that you want, consider the price, and practice walking away to think about it while you're walking around the store, or add it to the Buying Day folder - chances are you might not even remember about the item by the time you check out, or by the time it's Buying Day!

Check out all the tips and shop around with Dawn in her Minimalist Thrifting Secrets video!

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container with the word things on it

Back to School Organizing

Back to School, July 2023

Before the kids get back to school, I'm sure most of us have decluttering and organizing their clothing and work spaces on our to-do lists - starting early ensures back-to-school shopping lists are complete, and you don't waste money buying items that are already there. Is the thought of shopping with the kids making your heart rate go up? Planning early and having a list alleviates some of this stress - see the Tip of the Month below for ideas on mitigating shopping stress with kids from The Minimal Mom!

 

Start with decluttering your kids' clothing by size, or if items are worn through, and invite them in to look at what's left in categories - what are their 14 favorite t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, hoodies, shorts, and pants? For the remaining clothing, are there items they never want to wear that can be donated so another kid can enjoy them? Decide together how many items in each category make sense for them to need, and use that as a guideline for deciding how many more remaining items should be donated from each category. Establish an ongoing donation basket or bag in the closet to catch further donations as the kids outgrow clothing or change interests in character shirts.

 

When organizing their newly decluttered wardrobe, consider if they have clothing that is only used for school or sports. Create zones for these options, then categorize by sleeve and pant length to create their daily options zone.

 

Creating a specific and organized space for homework helps your child maintain focus, allowing them to find supplies quickly and without having to wander through the house looking for an item, or asking you where something is. Declutter dried-out supplies every season, and utilize quick-grab baskets for often used art supplies that are a hybrid zone between school and personal creative projects.

Did you miss our how-to social media posts on specific tips for decluttering and organizing kids' toys? Make sure you're following along to get home organizer tips in your feed!

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how to... organize kids' toys social media post

Better Dishwasher Performance

Catching Rays, June 2023

With extra people in the house this summer, is your dishwasher struggling to keep up?

Decluttering expert Dana K. White met with Maytag® engineers to bring us the secrets behind how dishwashers are designed, and how we can most effectively use them.

  • New regulations and consumer bias led chemists to focus on creating better dishwashing pods versus other soaps - White reports this slight price increase at the register is worth the better performance.

  • Become familiar with all the settings available on your dishwasher - the designers are working hard to give you the best performance for every level of need.

  • Check the mechanics of the dishwasher before you run it - tall dishes or cutlery on the bottom could be blocking the spinner from reaching the top rack, or the detergent drawer from opening.

Struggling to keep up with the dishes? "It's not the machine, it's the routine," White explains. Time yourself emptying the dishwasher to discover how easy it is to fit into the day. Commit to establishing a daily routine of picking up stray dishes and loading them, and avoid hand-washing or soaking when possible. Just like White discovered when she committed to a laundry routine, having consistently clean and available laundry or dishes allows a person to see what their family is always using first, letting you declutter the rest and put clean items away more easily.

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Decluttering Books

Going Green(er), March 2023

Books are easy to collect, and it's easy to find reasons to buy more, but they also are some of the heaviest belongings during the moving process, and when the piles of unread books are taking over your life...it's time to find a better way.

Before purchasing books, check them out for free from your local library, and don't forget about their audiobook and eBook options. Can't find what you're looking for in their catalog? Upper Arlington Public Library takes purchase suggestions, or check out their new releases and reading list recommendations for ideas. If you won't read that book time and time again after all, you've saved yourself money, and space in your home.

If your own collection is overwhelming, or you haven't read much of what's on your bookshelf, use the library's annual reading programs as a way to decide if you want these titles as part of your permanent collection. Sell the decluttered books for a bulk cash offer at Half Price Books, or donate directly to Free Little Libraries in your community.

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bookshelves

Spring Cleaning Secrets

Springing Forward, February 2023

Are you wanting to make spring cleaning quicker? Start with decluttering belongings and organizing them in a way that benefits you and your family best - as an added bonus, a quick cleaning while everything's out of the space between decluttering and organizing gets a jumpstart on that deep cleaning we all want for spring.

Decluttering is the most beneficial aspect of home organizing. It can also be the hardest, and come with the most emotions. Organization Pending suggests starting in areas with low emotions, such as kitchens or bathrooms, where there are expiration dates. Starting small, with a single drawer or shelf in a cabinet can build decluttering skills to take on larger projects, and also help snowball motivation to keep going.

Jumpstart your journey with your seasonal clothing! Use this seasonal switch to declutter mittens that lost mates, hats that were uncomfortable, and other seasonal clothing that wasn't worn this year before packing the rest away.

A Tip from the Organizer: Use unscented white garbage bags for soft donations, boxes or bags for breakable or book donations, and black trash bags for garbage to keep your piles visually separate!

Want a hands-on learning session for decluttering and bringing personalized organization to your home? Contact Columbus home organizer Organization Pending to schedule your free virtual assessment at organizationpendingllc@gmail.com!

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organized kitchen towels and pot holders

Organizing Date Day

Organizing Love, January 2023

Those of you who read November's "Sliding Into Winter" edition of the Newsroom will be familiar with our emphasis on creating experiences and spending time with those dearest to us. For this Valentine's Day, consider putting together one or several Mystery Dates! Use these to celebrate the holiday with your partner(s), children, or take yourself out on a self-care or single's date!

Do you pass by a store or restaurant and always say, "Oh! We've been meaning to check that place out!" Is there somewhere you take the kids that you always feel rushed through? Do you enjoy exploring new places and supporting local minority-owned businesses? The home organizer behind Organization Pending used these kinds of ideas to put together a series of Mystery Dates for their partner!

On the outside of a vaguely decorated envelope, they put details such as if the date was indoor or outdoor, the distance from the house, open/holiday hours of the business if needed, and appropriate way to dress (one date required sturdy clothing, boots, and a flashlight!). Many of these included a "stop along the way" to get coffee before the date--one of the Organizer and their partner's favorite treats. The card inside had the location and additional details of the date, and the money or gift card for the excursion! These Mystery Dates create year-round opportunities to take time out of busy lives and focus on each other, without the stress of figuring out what to do.

Want a quick list of local businesses and restaurants? Check out Experience Columbus's lists of Black and Queer -owned local businesses, and Organization Pending's Community Recommendations of LGBTQIA+ -owned and affirming local businesses.

Planning a Mystery Date for you and your children? The Columbus Metropolitan Library is offering Culture Passes for in-person checkout, allowing free admission to nine central Ohio organizations, including the Ballet Met, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Zoo, Franklin Park Conservatory, and Ohio History Center.

Want to plan a Valentine's Day specific Mystery Date for your partner(s)? For music and science lovers, check out the COSI After Dark event series for ages 21+.

 

Considering planning a trip for your Mystery Date? Reach out to Community Recommendation Dodo Expeditions for ideas and updated special offerings only available through a travel agent! Learn more about this business in our Community Recommendation Highlight from November's "Sliding Into Winter" Newsroom.

Looking for adult themed gift ideas? Take a look at Hoelistic Shop's body-safe and organic collections, or book a consultation as a Mystery Date for a personalized recommendation. Learn more about owner Sadea Bryant's mission, and emphasis on "Educated Good Clean Fun," based in her experience as a Queer Black Femme and mother.

Have you considered combining Valentine's Day efforts into something everyone in the household can enjoy on a daily basis? Add to the atmosphere and health of your living space with The Plant Gays! If you're already an indoor plant enthusiast, take a look at their online shop, Doordash delivery options, or purchase a gift card and plan a date day to their shop in East Market! Want a professional design for your space, or are you unsure of the best plants for your space, light, and maintenance needs? The Plant Gays offer custom design and repotting services for your home with a free consultation.

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Mystery Date envelope and card

"Why Organize?" Social Media Series

New Year: Improved You, December 2022

Do you love the look of an organized home, but you're unsure how organization can enhance the functionality of your spaces?

The "Why Organize...?" series started November 18 with seasonal spaces you might not have considered before, including a year round gift wrap and party supply area. The last post of this six part series goes up next week on Organization Pending's Instagram and Facebook accounts--check out the whole series to learn how organization in these common household spaces can create a home that serves you, including tips to get you started!

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Why Organize seasonal items social media post

Organizing for Working Out

New Year: Improved You, December 2022

Are you getting back into working out this year, or need ideas on how to make the habit easier to form and follow through with? The Organizing with Ease podcast discussed how to reduce barriers to working out in their Simple Organizing for Working Out episode.

If you create a system that doesn't make you think about it, you will do it! Learn tips for pre-setting your gym bag or planning your at-home routine the night before, including a product and book recommendation.

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simple organizing for working out podcast

DIY and Repurposed Drawer Organizers

New Year: Improved You, December 2022

Are you interested in trying drawer organizers, but you're not sure if you'll like them? Did you know home organizer Marie Kondo, author of Spark Joy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, recommends repurposing boxes as organizers before purchasing any products?

When a space is fresh from decluttering and organizing, it's possible that as the space is used, a few things need to be reorganized to attain the highest level of functionality for your family. To save yourself the cost and time of trying to deal with returning items, take a look at this step-by-step guide from Organization Pending for creating DIY repurposed drawer organizers.

  • Taking any box that is the length and width you need, check the height of the box in the drawer.

  • Cut off the top and trim off extra height if needed, using a utility knife on a hard surface.

  • Reinforce the inside flaps with sturdy tape, doing the same to the cut edges to increase durability for high-use areas like sock drawers.

Like the idea, but want a different aesthetic? Marie Kondo also suggests long term repurposing of boxes and other small containers that bring you joy.

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repurposed DIY drawer organizers

Meaningful Gifts at a Slower Pace

Sliding Into Winter, November 2022

Bring serenity to this busy time of year and add meaning to the gift giving process with usable and unique gifts and experiences for everyone on your list.

 

Do you struggle with what to buy individual members of a family? Consider buying a gift card for the family to enjoy an experience together, or a family admissions pass to one of their favorite local attractions.

The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) offers family memberships starting at $181.25, or individual plus guest memberships for ages 13 and up for $141.25.

Family membership for The Columbus Zoo starts at $124 online, with upgraded levels to include additional guests and Zoombezi Bay season passes. Tiered individual memberships are also available for the adult animal lovers in your life.

The Ohio History Connection offers unbeatable membership deals for individuals, couples and households with access to over 50 historic sites and museums across Ohio, including Columbus local attractions Ohio Village and Ohio History Center. Basic plans range from $45-$85, and for the ultimate history buff in your life, take a look at their premium option with special event access, reciprocal access to over 300 institutions in 40 states, and a Smithsonian magazine subscription.

Do you have art lovers in your life? Columbus Museum of Art and the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art offers a family membership for $100, with individual and upgraded options to include more than 1,000 museums in North America. This option, available through the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association, also includes local attractions Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University, the Ohio History Center and Ohio Village, and the Ohio Designer Craftsmen/Ohio Craft Museum.

 

For the people you're always trying to find more time for during the year, including the people you live with, consider planning a future event with them. Detail your idea in a card, with a gift card or cash for the future event.

For an immersive sensory art experience, Other World is a fun all ages adventure to plan.

For an adult friendly theatre experience, head over to Short North Stage to look at their upcoming shows, or consider gifting one of their various season subscriptions for discounted tickets throughout the year.

 

For the recurring gift of time throughout the year, take a look at the Community Recommendations in the Around Town: Restaurants and Food section--purchase a gift card to include with a "let's meet up!" card to set up two or more times throughout the year to be able to sit down, catch up with each other, and treat yourselves!

 

Do you have a gamer on the list? Many adults and kids enjoy playing games online with friends, or have their eye on an app they won't buy for themselves. This season, gift them a fun bonus experience within the game(s) by giving them a gift card to pay for special items, or an app store gift card for a new experience they wouldn't have otherwise.

 

Are tabletop games more their style? Head over to Dragon's Lair in Westerville to check out their large selection of new board games, role playing games, trading card games, graphic novels and more. Don't forget to take a look at their calendar of daily events while you're there to see if you could plan a get together to go along with the gift!

 

Looking for unique gifts to give the people that ended up on your extra good list this year? If you don't find what you're looking for in Dragon Lair's consignment area, Half Price Books is another one of our favorite locations for holiday browsing. Many customers familiar with their stores also know about their Rare Finds and Collectibles sections, featuring books, ephemera, comics, vinyl records and more. Browse their options for shipping from locations across the country, or stop in at their local stores. Available options are unique to each location and many stores feature cases for collectibles within the regular sections for specialty items like vinyl or comics.

During your next visit to the Upper Arlington Public Library, make sure to take a look in the glass cases at the various collectibles for sale as well. The perfect unique gift could be there.

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gift cards

Giving Back While Decluttering

Sliding Into Winter, November 2022

Many of us use the holiday season as a reason to declutter before intaking presents. This is especially true for children, who benefit the most from a yearly decluttering of toys they've grown out of or unattached to.

The Children's Advocacy Project hosts a list of local organizations that help children, teens and families with a variety of needs. Scroll through their list to find where your specific donations could find their best fit!

Did you just get through decluttering your household's books? Pass along these stories and knowledge freely to your community in Little Free Library kiosks! A location map is available online or through their app.

Do you have a variety of items for all ages and want to help your community anonymously? Consider the Columbus Blessing Boxes Project, 24/7 access to household goods, necessities, and other "blessings" located around the city.

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Essential or Hobby Work?

Sliding Into Winter, November 2022

This year, emphasize the importance of slowing down and being able to separate essential work from "hobby work," as discussed on The 4 Kinds of Work, from the Organize 365® Podcast.

Why organize dolls and accessories by specific brand, when organizing by the category "dolls" would suffice, and make it easier for the child(ren) to put toys away? Why edge and vacuum underneath all the furniture weekly, when monthly with weekly touch ups of heavy use areas is enough? Why add to your workload with this extra hobby work, when that time could be spent on your unique purpose work?

Discover useful ways to divide and prioritize your time this season, creating more time throughout the year to focus on the work you do that uniquely adds to the world.

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the 4 kinds of work podcast

Organizing Halloween Decorations

Fall Around Columbus, October 2022

This 11 minute episode from the Organizing with Ease podcast discusses the how and where of decluttering and organizing your Halloween decorations, including useful tips that work for all of your once a year decorations.

 

For those who enjoy a more DIY craft approach for themselves or children, check out their ideas for fun and recyclable autumn décor options!

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organizing Halloween decorations podcast
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