The Organizers Quarantine Essentials

Hi everyone I hope you are all staying healthy. Today I want to share some items that I have been using and loving while in quarantine. This has been a new normal in many ways for me and one big change has been our daughters moving back in with us during this time of uncertainty. As a parent, this has been such a big relief to have them under our roof safe and protected. On the other hand, our nest has been empty for quite a few years so it has been an adjustment for all of us but we are getting used to it. We also started a major home renovation at the beginning of February and have not been living in our home so when they say life can throw you curve balls they definitely are not kidding.

Like, everyone, we have been enjoying a lot of family time and I have to be honest although it’s a parents job to raise your children to be on their own with their own lives I think every Mom secretly wishes they could go back in time and appreciate the younger years because time goes so fast and you don’t realize it until your older. In my wildest dreams, I would have never imagined there would be a time when my children would move back in with us and spend every meal, every evening and every day for over a month without leaving the house. Impossible right? I know it won’t last so I have been savoring the meals, the laughter, the games, the music, and the talks. It has been so surreal and if anything good has come from this crisis it is the ability to get something back that you thought was impossible. I am sure there are a lot of you parents of adult children who can relate to this new unexpected normal.

Now that there are four of us working from home these have been a few items that have made it easier for me to stay organized and in a routine which I think is so important during times of stress and uncertainty.

AirPod Case This case has been a lifesaver with all of us using headphones in the same house. I know which case is mine and I can easily find them when I need them. They are inexpensive and come in many colors.

Elfa File Cart I have mentioned this file cart previously but I cannot tell you how essential this has been to keep my files and office supplies organized while living in a temporary space. It has wheels so I can it take from room to room and when I’m not using it I can store it in a closet. Perfect for small spaces.

iPad Pro Smart Keyboard I originally bought this smart keyboard for when I travel but lately I have been using my iPad as a second computer. It’s lightweight and has an attached cover to protect the screen so I can carry it with me.

Calm Cards for Serenity I originally brought these to our rental because I thought I would need some calm inspiration to get me through the renovation. Now with everything going on it has become a daily routine to pick a card and discuss it. We could all use some calm and serenity right about now.

I love to cook but as an empty nester, we have been used to either an easy meal at home, take out or eating out. Now that we are quarantined together as a family I have been cooking more in the past few weeks than I have in years! I have to say I have really enjoyed family mealtime again and having more than two people to cook for. These are a few favorites I’m loving in the kitchen!

Green Pans I absolutely love these pans! They are non-stick which means easy to clean, scratch-resistant and 100% non-toxic. I bought one pan and now I own a whole set!

iDesign Containers As an organizer you knew I would have to talk about a favorite to get you organized. These containers have kept the pantry in our rental organized which has been so important now that I’m grocery shopping for four. I use these all the time with clients but they are are a must-have in my own home. They come in different sizes to fit any pantry or bath space and they are on sale!

ECOS Fruit and Veggie Wash I have always washed my fruits and vegetables but recently I started using this and it takes washing to another level. Easy to use, no fragrance and rinses off with no residue or taste left behind.

White Colander Speaking of washing this is the perfect size colander to clean fruits and vegetables. Another plus looks great sitting on the counter waiting to be used multiple times a day. It’s dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe too!

Like many of you, I have been enjoying a very low key skincare, makeup, and wardrobe in the past few weeks. These have been a few favorites some new and some oldie but goodies.

Pimple Patch I keep these on hand anyway but when you have a house full of women these have come in very handy and they work!

T3 Hot Rollers If you are new to my blog you can go here and watch my YouTube video on how I style my hair and why I love these rollers so much. These have been a lifesaver now that salons are closed. I wash my hair use leave-in conditioner and put my hair in a bun overnight. In the morning I put the hot rollers in for 15 minutes and when I take them out I flip my head over, run my fingers through it, flip it back and I have full soft curls.

Kerastase Hair Mask When you have hair as thick and coarse as mine you experiment with ways to tame the frizz. I have actually been using this mask as a leave-in and love it! It has been hot and humid and this helps way my hair down and adds moisture. I just use it on the ends so my hair does not get greasy.

Nail Hardener I removed my dip nails when I saw the direction this health crisis was taking and I always go back to this product to get my natural nails strong and healthy. It really works in just a few days if you follow the directions. My daughter has been using it too and said Mom this really works!

Tom Ford Foundation Stick Like many of you I have not been wearing any makeup which has been a nice break and my skin has been so happy. If I have a video conference meeting or I’m making videos this is my new favorite foundation. It is a stick which makes applying it so easy and it covers so well I can use it as a concealer too! I apply it with a brush and the finish is amazing and the color is perfect.

Athleta Pants I love Athleta for work, travel and to lounge around the house. These have been a new favorite because of the wide leg and comfy waistband. You can dress them up a bit or just wear flip flops and a t-shirt.

Portable Speaker This was a gift from a friend and I brought it to our rental and little did I know this would provide hours of family entertainment. We have enjoyed playing music at mealtime and a competitive after-dinner game of name that tune. It is Bluetooth, easy to use and the sound is incredible!

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Simple Tips To Set Up A Home Office

I have always worked from home so the office is one of my favorite spaces to organize. Now with the current health situation, more people are having to work from home so I wanted to share simple tips to get your space set up, organized and help you be more productive at home.

I usually start by establishing a workspace that is calm and stress-free but I know that may be impossible with kids home from school or if you live in a small space. You don’t need a dedicated room for an office it’s more important to designate an area and for many of you, this is a temporary situation so you might be using the kitchen table. Definitely not ideal but my goal is to help you establish a routine and get organized. I recommend when setting up an office to purge what you don’t need and what does not belong in an office, sort like items, keep the space simple and set up a system that works for you. What works for one person may not work for another so find out how you work best and implement it. Here are a few simple tips I recommend when setting up and organizing a home office.

Shredder
I know this sounds obvious but you have no idea how many homes I go into and they do not own a shredder and the paper clutter is out of control. Open the mail and shred immediately all those credit card applications and anything else that you don’t need. Keep countertops free of paper clutter by spending a few minutes each day shredding or recycling paper that is no longer needed.

Drawer Organizers
If you want to keep an office drawer neat and organized invest in a drawer organizer. It will save you frustration, aggravation and time when searching for items. There are many different types but this is one of my favorites because it keeps all the essentials in one organizer.

Office Drawer Essentials
Stapler, pens, pencils, scissors, paperclips, post-it notes and tape are some of the everyday essentials to keep in an office drawer. Corral all office supplies in one area so you know what you own it will save time and money. No more searching for the paperclips or scissors and repurchasing what you already own.

Desk Top Collator
I love having a collator on my desk to keep everyday files at my fingertips. Label folders and keep papers you need to sign, bills to pay, orders placed, etc. It is definitely an everyday essential I use in my office.

Note Pad
I love notebooks and notepads for jotting down notes and making lists. Although we all have phones to keep notes sometimes it is just easier to write it down.

File System
Whether it’s a desktop file, scanning papers and sorting into computer files or investing in a file cabinet choose what works best in your space. This file cabinet is on wheels so you can move it from room to room or store it in a closet when you are not using it.

Label Maker
There are many different options and price points when it comes to choosing a label maker. You can use it to label files, boxes or containers the ideas are endless. Once you own a label maker you will wonder how you lived without it!

Boxes and Containers
Use the vertical space on shelves for stacking labeled boxes or containers. Keep seldom-used items or backstock in containers for easy access. 

This is going to be the new normal for a while so it is important to establish a new routine that will minimize paper clutter, save time and simplify your life. Keep checking back to get tips to get purge and organize your home!

 

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Welcome to the Neatly Designed blog, where I share my favorite organization tips, and must-have organizing products.

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How to Refresh Your Closet in the New Year

We are almost a month into the new year and as an organizer, I feel it is never too late to get organized and give yourself a fresh start. There is no better place to begin that transition than purging and organizing your closet. Your closet should be a reflection of who you are today no matter the size of your closet.

Remove Everything Out of the Closet
The best way to clean and organize any space in your home is to start with a clean slate. Removing everything will get you the end result you are looking to achieve. 

Keep, Toss, Donate, Consign
This is the time to finally let go of the “what if” clothes. Those items keep you living in the past and my job is to help clients choose the clothes that fit the lifestyle they are living today. You should only keep clothes that you love, make you feel good when you wear them, fit you well and are in style.

Clean the Closet and Make Necessary Changes
This is a step that can be overlooked but it is necessary. Vacuum the dust bunnies and figure out what is not working for you and fix it. A fresh coat of paint can make a closet look brand new. Small changes can make a big difference in a closet.

Change Your Hangers
Changing your hangers is so simple, inexpensive and will give you a clean uniform look with immediate results.

Keep Like Items Together
Color coding your clothes allows you to quickly see what you own which prevents overbuying and saves you money.

Use the Vertical Space on a Shelf
Use the vertical space on a shelf for stacking containers. I love these for shoes, sweaters or accessories. Don’t forget to label!

Utilize the Space Under Short Hanging
Are you lacking drawer space? This is a favorite to use under short hanging or if you have extra space in your closet. It not only adds drawers but it is easy to take it with you if you move.

Make a List of What You Need
Take inventory of what you need as you get rid of items. Do you need another pair of white jeans? New undergarments? Keeping a list will help you buy only what you need.

Keep the Current Season in Your Closet
Your closet is prime real estate so it is important to keep what you will be wearing this season in your closet. Store out of season or seldom-used items in labeled containers with lids under a bed or in a spare closet.

Don’t Forget Shoes
Shoes also need to be purged when cleaning out a closet. Take them all out and let go of the ones that hurt your feet, you never wear, are no longer in style or are in bad shape. If they need repair, repair them or let them go. Don’t let the fact that you paid a lot of money guilt you into keeping shoes. Consign them and use the money to buy something you will wear.

Keep a Shopping Bag in Your Closet for Items You No Longer Want
When you put something on and you don’t like how it fits or the way you feel in it do not hang it back up. Drop it in the bag for donation or consignment.

Enlist the Help of a Professional
If you feel stuck it never hurts to have a second set of eyes when you are cleaning out a closet. A professional organizer can help you make the tough decisions you have difficulty making.

Tackling your closet can renew your self-esteem by keeping only the things you love, wear and make you feel good about yourself. You will save time by not searching for an item and feel less frustrated and have a sense of calm every time you open your closet door. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make these simple changes. Invest the time to reap the reward for the closet you deserve.

Photos by Julie Ryan Photography