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Discover Space to Live In

by Debbie Bowden

Tips on organizing your home




Debbie is one of those naturally organized people, who also happens to like to paint (as in walls, not canvas), enjoys reading (but never has enough time), and is constantly awestruck with the simple things in life (such as when she spotted an eagle perched on a tree limb). She is a native of Delmarva, and now resides with her family and four cats in Queen Anne's county.

Debbie is the owner of Organize Now, in Barclay, MD.

Get Control of Your Closet!

“What do I do with all these hangers?”

by Debbie Bowden

Empty HangersThat is a frequent response of my client who have gone through a closet purge. It is as if the hangers are whispering sweet nothings, saying “put something on me. I’m lonely up here on this closet rod. How can you stand to just leave me hanging!”

 I help those who suffer from “empty hanger” syndrome by taking the hangers away. Not all the empties; the client and I figure out how many extras are needed by taking a quick inventory of clothing that needs washing, ironing, or dry cleaning. I encourage the client to trash the freebie hangers from the dry cleaners and from purchases.

 Now this can be the really scary part for the client – I tell them that the number of hangers they have right at that moment is finite! That means when they get new clothes, and they don’t have an extra hanger, they must purge something old. This is the ONLY way that a closet is going to stay clutter-free.

Is Sentimental Clutter Making You Miserable?

by Debbie Bowden
Debbie is the owner of
http://www.organizenowmd.com[_new]Organize Now, in Barclay, MD.

We all keep mementos of the past as a trigger for the memory connected to the thing. Presumably the memories attached to the thing are good memories, otherwise, why would we hold on to it? Many are afraid (strong word, but very appropriate) to get rid of the memento for fear the memory will fade also.

That good feeling from the memory triggered by the thing is trumped by the bad feeling of clutter!

What memories will you have 5 10, 15 years from now of your home? Will the plastic flamingo key chain from Florida with one of the legs broken be what you remember? Will you be thinking of the dried carnations from the corsage your boyfriend gave you at the senior prom? Will you remember the gads and gads of STUFF from places you visited (or worse, the gifts from places other people visited)?

The key to finding your keys

by Debbie Bowden
How many times have you misplaced* your keys in your purse? Go ahead, I’ll wait while you recount the number of times.

I have done it myself (it happens to all of us) even though my purse is organized. But a little piggy saved me – here’s how.

I was given an orange piggy key fob. I don’t collect pigs and I don’t like to have a lot of extraneous stuff on my key ring. But I thought, “wait a minute!” What a great tool to have to help me find my keys. The vibrant color makes it perfect to see when I’m searching the depths of my purse. The unusual shape is great to get a hold of when I’m rooting around the pockets. And if by a slim chance my keys are grouped with other sets, I instantly know which set belongs to me.

Have no fear of organizing!

by Debbie Bowden
Fear is a powerful emotion. Most times it causes us to not move forward, to stop in our tracks. Even when our brain is saying, “its ok,” the fearful spirit says, “but I’m afraid.”

Starting the process of organizing can be a scary experience, especially when you bring in an outsider to help.

Here are some things that clients have told me they thought before letting me help:

Being “Clothes” Minded

by Debbie Bowden

Here's an easy way to keep your clothes organized -- use the same color hangers! You will be surprised at how much neater your clothes seem when they are on the same color hangers. White hangers are great, but you can be colorful too (there are even purple hangers out there). And one more thing -- keep a place on the closet rod to hang empty hangers. Once you wear an item, place the empty hanger in this space. That way you don't have the empties jetting out all over the place.

To really get your clothes straight, start by sorting all like items together -- jackets, suits, dresses, skirts, pants, tops. Then organize the like items together by color and hang them up going from dark to light. This method works just as well in dresser drawers -- keep like items together and sort by color.

Organize Your Purse at the Car Wash

by Debbie Bowden

With the recent winter weather, and subsequent road salt, we all are taking our vehicles to the car wash. This is a perfect time to organize your purse and immediate surroundings in your car.

Start with your purse. Take out your wallet, remove all the unnecessary bits of paper, put your money in order, and smile at the picture of your kids (or significant other, or pet for that matter). Set the wallet aside. Move next to the largest item (say a makeup case). Take everything out, throw away old and unused items, and replace everything neatly. Set it aside. If your purse has inside pockets, do the same routine – remove, trash unnecessary items, replace, set aside. Do a quick wipe of the inside of your purse and put everything back. Viola! Your purse is organized (and I bet the car wash isn’t even at the rinse cycle yet).

Move on to the immediate surroundings in the car. Empty the console in the same method as your purse, wipe everything down with a hand-wipe, and put your stuff back. Repeat the process with the glove compartment, door pockets, etc. Do a quick wipe of the dash, squirt some Febreeze, and you are done. As is the car.

Household Quick Tip #1

Quick tip for removing wrinkles

Use water and sunshine to remove wrinkles!Use water and sunshine to remove wrinkles!by Debbie Bowden

Ironing is a necessary evil. But who has the time? So, the ironing piles up and piles up until you’re facing a rack-full of wrinkly garments.

Here’s a tip to remove the wrinkles without the ironing board.

Put your dry clothing on a hanger, button up the shirts, hang the slacks with the crease, and clip the skirts nice and tight. Now, take it all outside to the clothes line. (If you don’t have a clothes line, I advise you to invest in one if you’re able. It saves a ton in energy costs). Hook the hanger over the line, and spritz everything down with water from a spray bottle. As the breeze goes through and the sun shines down, the wrinkles disappear! By the end of the afternoon, that pile of ironing smells fresh and looks wrinkle free.

Note, this trick will not remove stubborn wrinkles and the clothes don't have a pressed/starched look. But for everyday cotton and cotton-blend shirts, pants, and skirts, it is a time-saver, a money-saver, and an energy-saver.

Be Green (as in environmental stewardship) by Managing Green (as in dollar bills)

by Debbie Bowden

Protect the planet and save money tooProtect the planet and save money too
The clutter that many Americans face is because we used to buy more than we needed (or at least more than the space we have). Even in these tough economic times, it is tough to not buy stuff. It is the basis of our economy. We want to grow as a nation.

However, a dollar spent ends up being a dollar cost. The cost is in space – both your space and space at the landfill. When you run out of space and de-clutter, more than half of the stuff will go to the dump.

What it all boils down to is this -- too much stuff comes from too much buying. Building sustainability at home, at work, in your community, starts with better resource management. And resource management starts with not wasteful spending.

Now is the right time for better resource management with a halt to wasteful spending, and thus discover space to live in!

I've Got Too Much Stuff!

Let's talk about that word "stuff." It's a nice word that describes everything one could want to organize -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's a label for all the clothes in the closet, all the holiday decorations in the attic, all the trinkets around the living room, all the extra plastic food containers in the kitchen. It's the cast-offs, the mess, the debris. It's the nice vase from your favorite aunt, the jacket you wear once a decade, the lasagna pan you use to bake that delicious apple crumb.

"Stuff" isn't judgmental. The old adage, "One man's junk is another man's treasure," is true, true, true! It is important to not question why someone feels the need to keep a piece of notepaper yet get rid of a perfectly good hammock.

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