Category Archives: Back to School

Contain and Label

It sounds so simple and easy, keep things together and where they are most convenient for use.  Often though our treasures are spread throughout the house.  Using containers that are the same size help maximize space.  Then the most important step is labeling the contents. Organized storage in basements, garages and attics will save you time and help you enjoy the activities they represent.

Moving is perfect time to organize

Does this stress you out?unpacking

A new home makes life a little more busy.  The “to-do” list usually becomes an activity booklet. But work, family responsibilities, other commitments have not slowed; and you still need to find the moving company and get everything packed and purged.

During the packing process boxes should be labeled to the new house destination.  This makes unpacking much easier.

The unpack is the time to think about how to be more organized.  Keep things where they will be used.  Sort by category and in closets use uniform hangers.  Everything will hang at the same level and clothes will not be playing hide and seek.

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Utilize walls for vertical storage.  Such as for ties and belts in closets, or pots and pans in the pantry.

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Should you need storage in a garage or basement, line a wall with shelves.  While I love the beauty of stylish design and architecture, there is something appealing about a wall of metro shelves organized into zones.  Slat wall or peg board is a fun way to organized a work space.

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And the best and most important moving tip, edit before you pack the old house.  There is so much that is hiding in our homes that is no longer important.  With the clutter gone, all that is left to organize is what will enhance your new home and life.

Organize Time, Don’t Hoard the Clock

Time is one of life’s most precious commodities.  We never have enough for family and friends. It seems work and project deadlines are always upon us; who reading this has too vacations that are too long?

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Recently a friend , not an organizing colleague but a professional in another field, was sharing an experience of working with a hoarder. “She kept me waiting for an hour, another time she was still asleep the when I arrived” he said.  I explained that hoarding not only happen with collections of “stuff”, but it also can occur with time.  A time hoarder is someone that is trying to “do it all, not just keep it all”.

Dicitionary.com defines Hoard as a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.  Saying “yes” to every opportunity, not being able to “edit” your schedule can make your free time disappear.

Schedule work and play activities, check the calendar before making commitments, and most importantly do not be afraid to say “no” or “not now”.  You will be surprised how quickly the clutter of your minutes become pleasant organized hours.

Kitchen Clearing Clutter Game

Play High, Low, or Let It GO!

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If it is difficult to edit the clutter from your kitchen, try a fun exercise I created when helping a client organize her kitchen. The new custom home was finished and the move-in had just begun.  After the long anticipation my client found it difficult deciding what to edit and where to place the keepers.

So in the kitchen, I mounted the step ladder with items in hand. After creating the zones for kitchen work – food storage, food preparation, cooking, and cleanup – I simply asked “High, low, or let it go?”  Things needed for daily use were placed in the lower part of the tall upper cabinets.  If they were seldom used, but needed for entertaining they went high.  Quickly, she realized that if items did not fit into either of the first two categories, there were easier to pass on to others and clear the clutter.

After ten minutes, she said this made the process into a more enjoyable game.  If you have had a time editing your excess, try “High, Low, or Let It GO!”

Mr. Vanderbilt’s Organized Moved


I love Biltmore, the largest home in America and just 2 hours from Knoxville.  It is a beautiful study of a different time, grand entertaining and gracious living.  The article below shares the struggles George Vanderbilt had in 1895 as he made his dream a home.

His struggles were the same as our moves are today.  What is going to the new home?  What room will the boxes be unpacked?  Where will things go, where to start?  How will the household run once completely moved and settled?

George Vanderbilt’s 250 room house had a large staff attending to every need of the family. Today, a professional organizer is available to help simplify the details of your move into your personal “Biltmore”.

Read “Moving Into Biltmore House, October 1895” from Biltmore.com

 

 

Tailgating Starts in a Organized Home

Football season is here (what happened to the summer?)!  That means fans from Neyland Stadium to the Rose Bowl are ready for Tailgate Parties.  Menus need planning,  supplies will be bought, but is your home field organized?

Here are some simple tips for successful Tailgating season:

1.  Team effort – get family involved and delegate tasks.
2.  Home field advantage – clean out and organized the refrigerator and pantry.

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3.  The field house (garage) – have space in garage to keep dry goods stored for each weeks game – paper goods, coolers, folding chairs, etc.

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4.  The pre-game Stadium (your car) – get that trunk cleared out and find containers that can go from garage to trunk for quick set-ups.

With just a little planning the Vols will not be the only ones running through the “T” this tailgating season.

Clear Your Clutter, Help A Cause – KARM

You have started the process of having an organized home.  Good and tough decisions have been made and you are ready to let go of the past, but what can you do with that unwanted stuff?

DSCN0331Donate unwanted, unused items that are in good condition to your favorite charity.  In Knoxville, a great place to consider is KARM – KnoxvilleArea Rescue Ministries.  Over 18 thrift stores in east Tennessee will turn your clutter in to treasures for the homeless in our area. They offering pick up services, even for businesses.

Don’t let your clutter stay piled up in the garage, get it out of the house.  And remember, this is a process.  In a few months do a quick check around the house and see what is in your way.

Keep it organized!

Elements for an Organized Closet

Sure there are basic things every closet should have…uniform hangers are the first to come to mind.  But there are other elements that will keep clutter under control.

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Belt Hooks – placed on end panel or side of closet
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Tie Rack – on an open wall space (ties sorted by color)

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Waste Basket and Laundry Hamper – will keep dirty laundry together and give place for waste from pockets at end of the day
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Velvet Lined Jewelry Drawers – necklaces can get tangled in a box and other jewelry is quick to find when organized
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Valet Rods – allows the next days wardrobe to be prepared early

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Many times these elements can be added to an existing closet.  If not, the principles discussed can still be included when organizing your space.  Getting organized is not about “things” as it is the way we think.

Keep your clutter under control and your closet can be your favorite boutique.

note:  this closet was organized by Knoxville organizing firm Well-Kept Spaces and designed by east Tennessee’s Closets by McKenry.

Keeping Outside Organzied

In Knoxville, the beauty of East Tennessee makes our homes so much larger in the summer as we love to spend time outside.  For all the activities that we have, the garage gets even busier this time of year.

An organized garage will give you more time for the fun.  Think of your garage as the store you love to shop and create zones.

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Tools and Automotive

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Slat Wall for Vertical Storage

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Outdoor Crafts and Projects

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Even Space for the Cars

Whether your garage was designed by Closets by McKenry or someone else, it won’t organized itself.  Clear out the things no longer needed and spend a few minutes putting things away when finished.

The result?  An organized garage and more time outside having fun.

Knoxville’s Professional Organizer
for Your Well-Kept Spaces

Well-Kept Spaces comes to Knoxville with 15 years experience organizing homes and being a leader in the professional organizing industry.  While in Los Angeles Chris McKenry was president of the LA chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). During that time he created the Los Angeles Organizing Awards and served on the national board of NAPO.Featured imageNow we are thrilled to return to Knoxville with a new name and a new sister business, Closets by McKenry – for custom closet & garage design.  Recently we work with a client of Interior Designer Todd Richesin.  The beautiful new home was nearing completion and Todd turned to Well-Kept Spaces to unpack and organize the new home for the family.  We even helped plan this beautiful play area for the kids.  Notice the cut-out containers in the desk top for crayons and even the seats are storage bins.

 

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Professional organizers never forget labels.  When using beautiful baskets, gift tags can help identify contents in the gift wrap closet.

To see our “brag book”, as one client called it, click here.  It might give you an idea for your Well-Kept Spaces.