Let's face it, we are spending more time indoors, spring is on the way, and it's about time we get our shit together. Folks who use virtual organizing services often say, "I know I can do this - now tell me what to do." Perhaps you have always wanted to work with a professional organizer and you are curious about the whole process of chaos to order?! Many people are familiar with the “hands-on” method of working with professional organizers. When working hands-on, the organizer and client agree on a date and time, the organizer travels to the client’s home, and together they make a plan and transform the space. The organizer works independently (or with the client work side-by-side), helping the client to make decisions about their organizing goals, then choosing what to keep or discard, find a home for everything, and how to make the best use out of your space. Organizers will typically help to donate, pack, and move large quantities of stuff in the process.
What is Virtual Organizing? Virtual Organizing is the innovative process of helping you to become organized remotely using technology such as telephone, email, digital photos, videos, and video calls. Similar to on-site organizing sessions, Virtual Organizing includes structured planning, space-saving arrangements, product suggestion lists, and various organizing tips. The only difference is you do the physical organizing and we provide off-site virtual support.
There are many reasons why a virtual organizing service would be beneficial to your life - Let's dive in!
1. YOU ARE MOTIVATED & PHYSICALLY CAPABLE TO ORGANIZE YOUR SPACE!
You feel confident you can commit your time to getting the job done, but recognize you could use structure and accountability throughout the process. Fortunately, you are not limited physically nor lack the motivation to get sorted. But, doesn't mean you couldn't use some guidance. Professional organizer will guide you with a structured and customized plan, help you with potential space saving arrangements, suggest useful products, and provide you with various organizing tips throughout your process.
2. YOU ARE LONG DISTANCE!
If you live somewhere across Canada or simply out of range with your professional organizer than virtual organizing is a fantastic option. It will save from paying any potential travel fees!
3. YOU ARE ON A BUDGET! $$$
Virtual organizing services are, in comparison, more affordable than on-site organizing services because professional organizers can conduct the virtual meeting in short time lengths which saves both the client and the professional organizer time.
4. YOU WOULD LOVE TO HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER!
An accountability partner is a person with whom you share your goals and your progress towards those goals. Your professional organizer will help you stay committed to your organization related goals and dramatically increase your chances of reaching your organization related goals!
5. YOUR SCHEDULE MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO COORDINATE!
Virtual organizing provides more time flexibility – no more need to block out an entire half-day for an organizing session!
6. YOU LOVE SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES!
Who doesn't love to support a small business. It feels great to support other folks' dreams and receive great service!
7. YOU NEED A FRESH PERSPECTIVE!
You recognize that the way you have been tidying has not been sufficient. A fresh perspective is in order!
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." - Albert Einstein
8. YOU WANT TO LEARN HOW TO BETTER ORGANIZE YOUR HOME AND YOUR LIFE!
Really organized people are not born organized, they have to cultivate these habits, which then helps them to stay organized. So even if you see yourself as a naturally messy or disorganized person, you can still learn to be more organized as long as you're willing to learn and practice.
9. YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU SHOULD & SHOULD NOT BUY FOR YOUR SPACE!
Many clients have told me that they would like to buy new organization products to enhance their space, but have no idea where to look and what they actually need. Professional organizer help you customize your space with exactly what you need while still maintaining your aesthetics. It's best of both worlds!
10. YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE YOU SHOULD GIVE YOUR DONATION ITEMS!
Your professional organizer knows all the best spots to donate your donations. Get Sorted is a big supporter of local registered charities and reducing items going into the landfill. Your organizer will provide relevant resources to you so that you can donate your unwanted items.
Hey! I am your friendly Canadian neighborhood professional organizer, Kelsey! Check out the video below to learn what virtual organizing is and why you should consider it!
Whether you are self-employed, you earn a low-middle-high income, you're a student, stay-at-home parent, or have a 9-5 job paper clutter will impact your life. As we get through tax season it seems fitting that paper declutter tips be shared! You know what I get asked all of the time? "I have so much paper clutter - where do I start?" Paper clutter requires time and attention to detail. Sifting through hundreds of documents can take hours. Your first major paper decluttering process may take a while, but moving forward here are simple tips to keep you and your documents organized to avoid any future paper clutter buildups!
#1 TRASH IT, SHRED IT, OR RECYCLE IT
Acknowledge where you do most of your paper sorting (i.e. incoming mail). Based on wherever you sort through incoming mail I highly recommend keeping a small trash can or recycling bin near by. It will make disposing of your unneeded documents much easier and less likely for paper clutter to buildup.
*TIP: Keeping your tax records is important to support the information you have provided to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA recommends keeping your tax records for at least six years. This six-year period starts at the end of the tax year to which the records relate.
#2 DELEGATE IT
Once you have decided what documents you are keeping you need to delegate it. Use delegation tools based on priority. You want to make a plan for each document so it is clear where or who it needs to go to.
#3 ACT ON IT
Documents such as unpaid bills, invitations, practice schedule/commitments, and coupons are among the papers that typically need to be visible to everyone in the household. This way everyone can react or respond to them. Designating command centres are great addition to any household. Try vertical file folders or wall pockets to create accessible storage!
TIP: Don't assume that you don’t need to bother filing a tax return because you have no income. Some low- or zero-income earners still think there's no need to file a return. This misunderstanding can cost thousands of dollars in lost benefits and credits like the GST/HST credit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. More and more benefits are being distributed through the tax system these days. So, if no return is filed, no benefits get sent. For some benefits, like the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Working Income Tax Benefit, recipients need to apply every year. Provinces also offer sales tax credits and property tax credits for low income earners. But again — no tax return, no credit.
#4 FILE IT
Well-organized filing systems can take time to perfect. Each person will have a slightly different process that works better for them, but it is worth it in the end. "Short-term pain for long-term gain" is the mantra for filing for your documents. Important papers need a smart filing system - one that caters to you and your needs. Whether you organize your files in a classic cabinet, a few boxes, or a portable file binder it will improve your ability to access any document at any time.
Make a list of all of the tabs and files you will need to start, You will most likely make more categories along the way.
Stock up on manila folders, 4 different colour hanging folders, and plastic tabs if you don't have any.
Start with financials. Sort through your documents related to income and expenses. Create tabs for banking, credit cards, investments, mortgage, employment, taxes, utilities, wills/estates, and more! Sort these documents in one colour, say green.
Next, sort through insurance and vehicles. Create folders for everything related to insuring your home, cars, life, and health. Sort these documents in another colour, such as blue.
Next, sort through the home related documents. Use this section to sort past and future home projects such as renovations, decorating, furniture purchases, landscaping, homeowner details, and more! Sort these documents in a red file hanger.
Consider separating the "irreplaceable" documents together so that they are easy to access in case of an emergency.
Lastly, sort through the personal documents. Create a section for each family member living in your household, including pets. Yes, we have a file dedicated to our dog that has all of her vet medical invoices. Categories can include education, medical records, sports or club registrations, receipts and more!
TIP: "If someone has passed away - how long should I keep their income taxes?" The CRA doesn't make a distinction for the records of deceased taxpayers. These records should be kept by the executor of the person's estate, including receipts used to calculate deductions. Since returns are filed the following year, tax documents actually are kept up to seven years.
BONUS: SHOULD I SHRED THIS?
The main two reasons to shred any document is: You don't want to be taken advantage of financially and you don't want others to know something specific about you.
DON'T SHRED IT:
TIP: Most personal income tax returns are due by April 30, which is the date any outstanding income tax is due. After April 30, penalties and interest start to apply to any outstanding balance owed. If you are self-employed or filing for someone who has passed away, please see the CRA 's website for filing deadlines.
ARE YOU TAX SEASON READY?
When you wake up do you feel tired? groggy? unprepared? stressed? I have, many times in fact. I started to become REALLY tired of being tired. Being more prepared can take away the common stressors that we experience in our mornings. Your bedroom is where you begin and end your day - so it is especially important to have a minimal space that you can rest and recharge. I can confidently tell you that my mornings are much less stressful and harmonious when I commit to a routine and feeling more organized. Whether you realize it or not, your brain registers a disorganized environment as a job to be completed. The "principle of sleep hygiene" is that "you need a space you are comfortable in, where you are able to tune out and turn off". A bedroom or home in general that is overflowing with mess can make it hard to put away thoughts of "unfinished tasks" and lead to sleep-disrupting anxiety (According, to Dr. Carl Bazil from Colombia University Medical School). You want your bedroom and home to feel like your home, not like a storage room or dumping ground. If you're finding that the clutter is overwhelming, it's important to analyze your choices. You can have the item(s) or the space that the item(s) is taking up, not both.
Clothing, accessories /jewelry, a few books, a notebook & pen, and any other bedtime aids are among the few items that should be in your bedroom. Studies have shown that people who have cluttered bedrooms reported sleeping worse than those who don't have clutter.
By taking the actions to prepare for your morning you are setting yourself up for success. We often hear about the importance of instilling a routine for children, but often dismiss the value of routine as adults. How we begin our days can set the tone for how we function and flow throughout our day. Changing your habits can take time. It doesn't necessarily happen overnight, but taking the steps to improve your lifestyle goes a long way. Like any lifestyle change, consistency is key. It is not about being perfect or having a perfect household. It was never about that. It's about making asking yourself does this action support the lifestyle that I want to be living. So here are my top ten tips of how to get sorted in the evenings for a simplified morning PLUS a bonus morning game changer!
1. Put dishes in the dishwasher.
Before you head to bed, empty (if needed) and fill the dishwasher! If you don't have a dishwasher wash what is in the sink or on the kitchen counter. While you sleep your dishes will be washed and ready for your morning routine! By cleaning your dishes each night you reduce your chances of attracting bugs, mold build up, and odor. Plus, it just feels better to have maintained this household task. Whether you live alone or with a house full of kids, dirty dishes are notorious for piling up fast! If you don't clean each day it can only get worse. So do yourself a favor and put the dishes in the dishwasher.
2. Charge your main electronic devices.
Before you go to bed, I highly recommend storing your electronic devices outside of your bedroom. If you aren't ready to set that boundary then I recommend placing them in a designated drawer or box in your bedroom. By doing this you will reduce the visibility of the many little lights that accompany them. As well, charging your devices overnight will have them fully charged and ready for you as you take on your day!
3. Lightly tidy the living room.
Before you go to bed, take the time to ensure that the common areas are tidy because it makes for an especially restful sleep! Folding any blankets, setting up the couch cushions, removing any toys (children or pet related!) from the area rug, and clearing the coffee table makes for a calming space. Remember, it's not about perfection - just clearing the space and putting items away so that your space is fresh for the next day.
4. Lightly tidy the kitchen.
Before you head to bed, clear the counters of any excess items, put the dishes in the dishwasher, and wipe down the counters. The kitchen doesn't need to be spotless, but it helps to have a tidy kitchen. It always feels better to tidy your kitchen the night before so that when you wake up to get ready, make breakfast, and prepare to head out the door you can do so without any setbacks like having to scramble to wash dirty plates and mugs!
5. Pack for tomorrow.
Before you go to bed, check that your keys, wallet, workbook, water bottle and any other items that you will need tomorrow when you are heading out the door! Making your lunch the night before is also a game changer. It's better to have realized you that you misplaced something in the evening than in the morning right before you leave for work or to drop off the kids! No one wants to start their day in a panic and I certainly do not want that for your either! So do yourself a favor and pack for tomorrow.
6. Decide your outfit the night before.
Before you head to bed, it is extremely helpful to know what you are going to wear the next day. In fact, it is surprisingly a major time-saver. I have incorporated this into my evening routine and it makes getting ready so much more pleasant. Layout your entire outfit from shirt and pants to underwear and any accessories. Get specific so that you do not have to make any decisions in the morning on what you are going to wear.
7. Communicate with your spouse and/or kids on their upcoming schedule(s)
Before you head to bed, check-in with your partner and/or kids. Communication is key! Before heading to bed, I have found it so helpful to check-in with my partner on what's going on in each others schedules. If you have kids, checking-in on their schedules can be so helpful for everyone. Whether that looks like dropping off kids to school earlier for a basketball try-outs or making dinner plans with your friends. If you struggle to communicate with your partner or kids then I highly recommend some soul-searching on why that is. If we can improve in any way - being able to effectively communicate with your family is a major one. If we are able to communicate our schedules then it provides the opportunity to see how we can best support one another.
8. Put away clothes
Before you go to bed, put away your clothes. Don't leave any clothes on the floor, on a chair, or your bed. Put them in the hamper, hang them up, or fold them into your dresser drawers. When we do a little each day it makes it much easier to maintain then trying to do it all on a Sunday. Especially, if you have kids in the house - I highly recommend doing one load of laundry every day. Because, it beats writing off your whole Sunday to chores.
9. Create and review your to-do list.
Before you go to bed, make a to-do list. If you have a busy life with many responsibilities chances are you have a lot on your mind. As someone who also has a scattered brain and tends to several social and professional responsibilities when I write down everything that I need to do the next morning and day it's as if I am emptying it out of my mind. Among the many benefits of creating a list includes structure, sense of ease, and clarity. It also reduces the chances of you not forgetting anything that you need to complete! If you find list making daunting, then I recommend creating subsections in your to-do lists such as a self-care section, a professional section, personal/social section, and a cleaning/tidying section. It puts your needs into a clearer perspective and from there you can better prioritize.
10. Invest some time for yourself.
Before your go to bed, check-in with yourself. I know. You may be thinking..OH, F*CK OFF. LOL. I know many people find taking time for themselves challenging, guilt-wrenching, or truly feeling that they do not have enough time. This is precisely why I am writing this blog. I want to provide readers with tools and guidance to have more time and energy. Taking time to reflect and check-in with yourself is just as productive to your health and wellness as anything else. We can often get lost in our careers and taking care of others that we lose track of how we are feeling and recognizing what we need. So unplug, brew yourself a cup of chamomile tea, maybe do a face mask, write in a journal, read, stretch, or just be still.
BONUS: Rise 'n Shine - Make your damn bed.
YES, i'm telling you to make your bed! So, when the sun rise, your alarm starts blaring, and you roll out of bed - make it. It doesn't need to be hotel standards, but make it. It feels good, fresh, and productive. It truly is the best way to begin your day. It will simply make you feel better to not see a mess. As Lewis Howes said, "it's not just about having a neat place to come back to later. It's about instilling order in your life." Committing to completing the small tasks such as making your bed, taking a shower, and eating breakfast. They are small tasks that you absolutely can guarantee that you'll get done at the beginning of your day. Prioritize your time to the best of your abilities - because, when your prioritize your time, you are prioritizing yourself.
Apply these evening routines so that your mornings can be simplified and all you'll have to do it rise 'n shine!
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the level of clutter and disorganization in your home - let me tell you now - you do not have to keep living in it. Reaching out to others can be uncomfortable - there is this sense of pride that many people hold. An internal dialogue that says I need to do everything. It's okay to surrender to support from community and resources. Get Sorted offers a complimentary consultation to answer all of your many decluttering and organizing service related questions. Professional organizer provide much more than a quick tidy up - it's about going through everything by sorting, decluttering, and setting up systems as needed. Getting sorted is more than about labeling containers and jars or picking up things off the floor - it's where organization meets wellness.
What do you do in the evenings to prepare for the morning?
WE MADE IT! New year, same you, but with an extra notch of experience! Whether we like to admit it or not, we gain some form of experience in life through each year that passes. Personally, I completed another year in business - and I'm still here! Get Sorted still exists and is supporting so many individuals and families. And, for that I am beyond grateful. Don't worry, I don't want to bombard you with yet another "NEW YEAR-NEW ME" trendy topic, so instead of telling you why the "new you" is "better". Instead, I want to focus on the importance of self-reflection. It's important to self-reflect even if you don't like doing it. Reasons you may not like self-reflecting is because it causes you to slow down, acknowledging that you don't understand something, experiencing inefficiency or messiness, or having to take personal responsibility...yikes! For many, this is like pulling teeth. But, truly, this is short term pain for long term gain. Think of self-reflection as an investment...in yourself. The more you know about yourself the better partner, leader, friend, co-worker, and community member you can be!
OKAY, I know we are a week into January but, you know those few days in between Christmas and New Years where everyone is just reeling in from the whirlwind of a holiday season that just blew by them and no one knows what day it is, what’s really going on, or where they’re headed in life? Yeah. Those days that seem to get lost in a time warp are often the first few days where people start to reflect about the past year, or in this case, the past decade. So many of us in the final days of 2019, spent our time writing in our journals about the top 10 things that happened to us this decade, making vision boards, re-posting our best 9 on Instagram, and obsessing about how we will absolutely, definitely, CHANGE, in the new year and how the following decade will positively DEFINE our lives. And a lot of us shared our best intentions with the world via Instagram, Facebook, and whatever social media platform would listen to us pour our hearts out.
This willingness to change can be well intentioned, yet so scattered and misplaced. Our list of resolutions can go on and on! Our goal setting has just turned into one resolution a month, one thing to do a day - but there are 12 months and 365 days! For some of us, in spite of our best efforts to do better for ourselves, we have just inadvertently caused ourselves to feel overwhelmed at the thought of aaalll of those new habits that we have to improve on and all of the goals that we have to reach. As well, it takes more than just writing down the vague goal - we need to be SPECIFIC and create a plan. Start with one or two goals and expand from there. Our need for perfection and so-called success has actually caused us to feel the opposite - failure, as we struggle through the clutter that is our resolution list all while realizing that we cannot possibly achieve it all at once.
So in 2020, we should reframe this narrative of self care from a never-ending series of instagrammable highlight reels of our life, to being true, honest, and steadfast with ourselves about the things we need to focus on in order to live the life we are striving to live. This is about the real work. The dirty work. The sit-down-with-yourself-and-get-shit-done, work. & it isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to dive deep and sit with that one thing that seems to be stopping you from feeling your full potential. Because it’s often buried under so many other things that disguised as the actual thing. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the things we don’t acknowledge but need to. It’s the things that keep us up at night and are at the back of our heads during the day.
True self-work, is facing our deepest fears, regrets and desires - the same way that organizing our spaces and our homes allows us to see through these things. We need to sift and sort through the mental and emotional clutter in order to exist as our authentic selves. And this processing part of the equation towards a better life can be messy, and confusing and can downright feel off. But that’s the point of processing, because once we’ve acknowledged and processed the heavy stuff, it’s time to start letting stuff go.
The beginning of this decade feels intense. 2020 on a personal and global level is defining in the ways that we move through the rest of the decade and the rest of our lives. I will I choose to live my life and how will I choose to impact other people's lives. In recognizing our own shortcomings (whether it be our triggers, weaknesses, or disadvantages), in seeing the problem with clear eyes, we can begin anew. It takes knowing what will propel us and what will slow us down. 2020 can be a fresh start to a year full of committing to ourselves in healthy ways that benefit us and everyone around us. We can create reasonable resolutions, realistically achievable goals, and slowly but surely create real and lasting change in our lives.