Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
October 2015 – Vol. 14 No. 6

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. ~C.S. Lewis

What’s on your fall chore checklist?

Last week, I was asked to do what’s called a satellite media tour (SMT) – a live broadcast from a studio in New York that goes out to television and radio news programs across the county via satellite feed. The theme of the segment was “Fall Chore Checklist.” I had three sponsors on this tour – 303 Products, STA-BIL, and Seventh Generation – all brands that I was honored to represent.  Following is a recap of the broadcast which included some good information about prepping your home for the coming season that I wanted to share with you.

FallFall isn’t just back-to-school time…it’s also time to get your home prepared for winter before the cold and snow arrive. And the best place to start? Start outdoors while you still have the weather on your side. Think about the things you won’t be using during the winter months like lawn and gardening equipment and pool or patio furniture. Now’s the time get these things ready to put away. And hey, maybe clean and organize that storage shed while you’re at it!

About that outdoor furniture, do yourself and your furniture a favor…do not put it away dirty.  That just gives stains a chance to set, maybe permanently. 303 Multi-Surface Cleaner is the perfect cleaner for the job. It will remove even the toughest of summer stains and it rinses clean. When cleaning fabric, let the fabric fully dry, then treat with 303 Fabric Guard. This restores lost water repellency and protects against future soiling and stains. Working in a well-ventilated area, make sure to treat all of the fabric, and let dry for 6-12 hours before storing. To further protect furniture while in storage, spray hard surfaces with 303 Aerospace Protectant – it actually repels dust! (When you take the furniture out of storage in the spring, spray it again to protect it from damaging UV rays.)

Okay, so now that your lawn furniture is all clean and stored, let’s talk about prepping anything with a gasoline engine that you plan to store for the winter – from your lawn mower and weed wacker to motorcycles and classic cars. My husband is a car guy and he swears by STA-BIL® Storage. STA-BIL is a non-alcohol-based fuel stabilizer that protects from corrosion and ethanol issues and helps your engines start right up come spring. Just add a small amount to a fresh tank of gas to keep it fresh for up to two years. Be sure to run the engine for a few minutes to distribute the fuel stabilizer throughout the fuel system before storing.

Other fall chores that you may want/need to add to your list include raking leaves, clearing out gutters, sealing windows, getting your chimney(s) cleaned. And don’t forget to test your smoke detector batteries! You might also want to sweep your front porch, clear away cobwebs around your door and under eaves, and clean outdoor light fixtures.

There are two big fall chores indoors. First off, before storing summer bedding and clothes, be sure they are clean. Yes, that might mean doing a few extra loads of laundry. So choose to use a cost-effective laundry detergent. Seventh Generation Energy Smart Natural Laundry Detergent has been designed to save you energy and money, while also helping to protect and care for the environment.  It does not include any dyes, synthetic fragrances or artificial brighteners. What makes it different is advanced enzyme technology that gives the same performance in both cold and warm water. So you can do all of your laundry using cold-water settings and save $17 a year on average. The cold winter months can make energy bills skyrocket, but smart savings like this can make a difference. (This is a new detergent was just launched exclusively at Target.)

Finally, plan a purge. You’re going to be cooped up inside for the next 4-5 months. A little decluttering will go a long way toward making your home feel bigger. Remember that someone, somewhere could really use what’s just taking up valuable space in your home. Donate that stuff to charity and take the write-off on your 2015 taxes if qualified.

Or, if you prefer to turn that clutter into cash, check out the completely revised and updated version of my book How to Declutter and Make Money Now – available as in paperback and for Kindle.

Happy Kitchen & Bath Month!

October is officially National Kitchen & Bath Month. What if you use this “holiday” as the impetus to declutter and organize these two high-traffic areas in your home?

In the October issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life magazine in an article on “The Good Life Guide to Decluttering” on page 104, I recommend moving medicines to somewhere dark and dry, like a hallway closet. That’s because medicines should be stored away from moisture. I also recommend organizing medicines by type or member of household – whichever you prefer.

I share more kitchen and bath decluttering tips in two separate articles that were recently published on Bed, Bath & Beyond’s blog:

Your shopping guide for (finally) getting organized

Organize like a pro – 5 tricks for tackling clutter-prone spots

Watch for a blog post next week on how to use office organizing products to organize your kitchen.

Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 14 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources. Every month in this column, I share my favorites.

In the last issue, I introduced you to Shelf Scouter, a grocery organization app that was created by a mom to organize and track the products you use and make shopping lists that you can print or email or access through the app. Your lists can include groceries, household goods, baby needs, and pet supplies. What I love is that as you create your lists, you’ll see products available for ordering online from major retailers such as Walmart or Amazon so you can have them delivered to your door if you wish. It’s the perfect app for busy professionals, active families, and persons with limited mobility. It’s available for Apple, Android, and the Web. And it’s free!

This month, I invite you to look at SendOutCards, a program I use to send real paper greeting cards right from my laptop. I’m not talking about ecards. You just choose a card you want from their online catalog – or create one using your own photos. You write a personal message, sign it, and then hit send. SendOutCards prints, stuffs, seals, stamps and mails your card for 93 cents plus the cost of a stamp. You can even send gifts with your cards!

SendOutCards also makes it easy to design and send invitations and holiday cards to everyone on your list, saving you all that licking and stamping. Just hit send. I’ve been using SendOutCards now for nine years and I love that I always have the right card for at any occasion at my fingertips. If you want to check it out, you’re welcome to send a few cards on me with no obligation. Let me know what you think!

Shameless promotion: Living large in a small space

20151003_073404I’m writing today from Albuquerque. My husband and I volunteered to be on the chase crew for the Hearts A’ Fire balloon – one of 550 hot air balloons flying at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. (That’s the envelope of our team balloon in the lower half of the photo at left.)

I wasn’t sure if I could get up at 4:30am every day for 9 days straight, but like “they” say…you can sleep when you’re dead! This is a truly joyful event that you might want to put on your bucket list if it’s not already on there. This is the song that runs through my head every morning as hundreds of balloons ascend into the sky.

Reminder: On Wednesday, October 7, I have a book signing for Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness at Bookworks, an independent book store near Old Town in Albuquerque. I’ll be talking about living large in a small space.

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links in this organizing tips newsletter may be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission. These earnings go toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter which is free to you, but does cost to distribute. Please note that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.