Gift cards, love ‘em or hate ‘em

Ahhhh, summer in the air brings high school graduations, college graduations, birthdays, weddings, even times to appreciate your staff – and that means gifts. Sometimes all those presents come in extremely small packages… gift cards.

Gift cards, in my opinion, are both a blessing and a curse. The reason I say this is because it is a fabulous gift to allow people to choose what they want. In addition, the cards are easy to mail and don’t require tons of boxes or wrapping paper to make them look like presents. They are a curse because people forget about them or lose them in piles somewhere in their homes. I’ve encountered this a number of times, not just with clients but also among friends and family. read more

Reproducing the Vacation Tranquility at Home

A client of mine told me a story of how she had to move out of her home temporarily and live in a much smaller apartment. She only took her utmost essentials. When she was able to move back into her home, she came to the sudden realization that she was able to live happily with very little and is currently on a mission to purge the unessential from her life. I thought to myself, “That is exactly how I feel when I get back from a vacation.” Have you ever gone on vacation and realized when you came home that you had lived quite easily without all the “stuff” in your home? Would you like to recreate that feeling again (without having to move out of your house) so you are motivated to purge the clutter from your home? read more

The Reach Ability Factor

Reach Ability Factor
by Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®

In organizing, just like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.  Where we permanently and temporarily place our belongings, papers, projects and information, is important because it helps us find what we want when we need it.  The Reach Ability Factor is a system that helps us decide the best location for things based on how frequently we use them.  We have 4 sections.

  • Section A:  Items in this section are things we use daily, like our toothbrush, our favorite coffee mug, and underclothes.  Everything in section A is easy to reach, all we have to do is reach out an grab it.
  • Section B:  Items in this section are things we use weekly but not necessarily daily, like our workout clothes, and specific utensils or dishes.  Everything in section B requires us to move a little, but still within comfortable reach.
  • Section C:  Items in this section are things we use occasionally, like suitcases,  a food processor, and extra blankets.  Everything in section C requires us to exert more effort to reach, like bending down or using a step stool.
  • Section D:  Items in this section are things we use once a year, like holiday decorations, or things you can’t part with like our wedding gown.  Everything in section D would be in a remote storage area like the basement, attic, or a cabinet that is more difficult to reach.

The Reach Ability Factor is meant as a guide to help individuals evaluate the best location for their belongings.  What is a perfect spot for one person is not the best spot for another.  Organizing is personal.
Please note that it’s important to concentrate efforts on one’s current lifestyle and reevaluate the placement of items once a year. read more

Create Quick Kits for Everything

One of my favorite ideas was recently captured in this Pinterest pin about creating quick kits for all your activities and needs.

Source: via Erin on Pinterest

I have little personal care kits in my briefcase & purse. I’ve helped clients create kits to entertain their kids in the car, to take care of their dog for weekend car trips, and many others.

Take a look and this might inspire you to create some quick kits to make your life easier.

Erin WErin Elizabeth Wells is Founder and CEO of Living Peace LLC of Salem, MA and Winchester, MA.  Check us out at  Or call (617) 519-5693. read more

Craft Organizing: Toilet Bowl Brush as Crafty Clean-Up Tool

Did you ever think there may be an alternative use for a toilet bowl brush other than scrubbing the toilet?  There actually is!

The tight, coarse bristles on the brush work well to pick up stray pieces of string on carpets.

This is especially helpful for quilters who are often cutting small pieces of string that don’t always make it into the trash can.

As I mentioned in a video blog about craft room organizingone of the biggest parts of keeping your craft space organized is spending a few minutes after your crafting session to clean up your project.  Making your craft space clean and orderly will help you stay focused and feel more productive at the next session.  Doing a little cleaning of the carpet will help you feel as cleaned up as you can be. read more

Craft Organizing: Store Knitting Needles in Hanging File Folders

You may have several sets of favorite knitting needles, but organizing them for easy access and clean-up can be a challenge.

Here is a crafty organizing idea a client of mine came up with:

  1. Buy a portable file caddy
  2. Add hanging file folders
  3. Label each file tab with a needle number
  4. Group needle sets in labeled plastic bags or wrap them together with a rubber band
  5. File your needles!

Sets are now easily organized in individual file folders according to categories of size. When you need size 5 needles,you’ll know how to quickly find them and return them when you’re done.

If you would prefer to organize your needles by material type as well, you can add a descriptor to your tab. It would look like this: 5 – bamboo. This system can be as flexible or specific as you want. read more

How a Home Inventory Can Help Keep You Organized

Organizing is never just putting stuff in its rightful place and calling it a day.  It is a systematic process with a heavy dose of behavior modification that takes a great deal of strength, determination, and will power.  Once a room, house, office, etc. is physically organized, the work is only half done.  Keeping the space organized is the other half.  This is where a Home or Business Inventory can be extremely beneficial.

Think of an Inventory of a blueprint for an organized space. Tanking inventory with photos, video, and written descriptions of the items within each room is an extremely powerful tool for staying organized.  A Home or Business Inventory is a binder that is laid out room by room documenting photos and written descriptions of where each items should be in a room.  The addition of video to the inventory caps off the process, allowing for easy reference of what should and shouldn’t be in each room. read more

Smart Phones Are For More Than Making Phone Calls

The invention of the smart phone has changed our world in more ways than one.  In the world of organizing, smart phones can be utilized to help keep lists, schedules and general information.  This in turn leads to less clutter (both in your home and head!).

When working with a client recently, we came across a food product that had not been opened, but was likely quite old and should not be consumed (the container had no expiration date on it either).  My client was clearly heming and hawing in his head thinking about what to do with the food; he had interest in consuming it but could not remember when he acquired it. read more

Feng Shui Lighting the Holiday Table Brings People Together

The best part of the holidays is reconnecting with those you love most.

Lighting your holiday table means illuminating faces to draw people together

Simple lighting has power beyond mere illumination. Feng Shui tells us light is a form of energy. Architectural Psychology points out that human beings are drawn to light and avoid the dark. Lighting is a powerful tool for bringing people together – if you know how to use it.

Lighting your holiday table means illuminating faces to draw people together.

Think of the archetypal camp fire and how it invites everyone to gather ‘round. It’s in that circle we make eye contact and deepen connection. The holiday table (no matter its shape) is the place for such gathering. You can enhance this human connection by bringing light to the center of your dining table –  with a pendant light, a chandelier or cluster of candles. The dim light around the edges of the room will enhance this and gather people together.  Recessed ceiling lights alone cannot create this welcoming pool of light. read more

Cookie Sheet Work Station

I recently attended a button bracelet making class (yes, it is as cool as it sounds) and discovered a creative way to contain a project with small parts.  Michelle Wilson of Creative Design often beads using a mat made of Vellux on top of a cookie sheet to contain her project while she is working on it. (Michelle recommends using a beige colored mat because white and black are hard on the eyes).  This set-up makes it easy for her to sit with the project on her lap or on a table and to get up quickly if neededwithout the risk of ruining the project.  Consider using a surface like a cookie sheet when clipping coupons too.  Again, having a surface that can be moved easily avoids the risk of sudden disaster! read more