Organization Ideas

A blog dedicated to order and harmony.

Thanks for stopping by. Here you will find all sorts of useful information on how to get and maintain order and harmony in your life, as well as inspiring organization ideas for both home and office.

December 16th, 2011

Organizing Products: Friend or Foe?

Written by Lucy Sharpe

Organizing Products

I love organizing tools; they are fantastic and can really help people function better in their spaces. But, not all organizing tools are helpful.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when organizing their office or home spaces is that they buy organizing tools before they know the quantity and kind of items they are dealing with, and often assume that the tools will naturally have a place in their space. More often than not this is because we are so focused on and bedazzled by the ‘space saving’ title, or the ‘organize your life’ tagline that we neglect to think about where and how the organizing items will fit into our space.

When we buy organizing tools, we are not always solving our organizational dilemma. Instead, we are often adding to the problem. Now we have 5 blue bins that don’t have a place, a plastic shelving unit that holds items well but has become a ‘trash drawer’ that doesn’t function well, and a photocopier that sticks out into the corridor that has heavy traffic where people frequently pass and where they daily, get a little bruise on their hip.  These are just some examples of buying organizing products before we know what to do with them. The tools themselves can easily become a part of the problem instead of the solution.

We can avoid this trouble by taking care of a few logistical problems before we buy:

  1. De-clutter your space first and see what items you have that need a spot.
  2. Look at the area you would like to buy an organizing product for and measure it. Keep the depth of the product in mind because this will greatly affect your pathways and how it will feel in the space.
  3. Conduct research on the type of storage unit/tool that might work for your items and check the dimensions to make sure they fit your space.
  4. Guard yourself and be careful because this is the point where what we often think is cute or beautiful may not fit in our space at all. It is very easy to say to ourselves “It is two inches too big, but I love it!” The trouble is that before we have even purchased the product we are settling for one that will have problems right out of the gate.
  5. Check what the product is made out of and ask yourself, “Is this product well made? Is it flimsy? Will it last? Will my items fit nicely in it?” If the answer to any of these questions is no, then move onto another product.
  6. If the product requires assembling or mounting, and you are not sure if you can do it alone, make sure you have a pair of experienced helping hands (safety first). When organizing your home or office, nothing is more upsetting than having a product fall on you.
  7. After you bring the product home, test it as soon as possible. Set it up and put all of your items into it. If it does not do the job you hoped it would, return it to the store. All stores want happy clients. They would prefer you to return the item and purchase one that fits than hold onto it and tell 10 to 20 people that you purchased something from them that doesn’t work, or is of bad quality.

Visit next month for tips on ‘How to make goals stick’

December 9th, 2011


Written by Lucy Sharpe


I can hear you say “Ugh” right now. There’s nothing new about a post on procrastination, you’ve heard it all and then some and for some reason the word “procrastination” creates a visceral reaction in your body with a tightening in your stomach and a clenching of your jaw. How can talking about this ever help you right? Well I’m not going to tell you what to do, I am only going to tell you a short story about what happened to me and then maybe, you will see some beauty or find an ‘aha’ moment that will mean something to you and help you jump right into whatever it is you feel you need to do. Here goes nothing

Newton's BallsI felt inertia working on me in the most unsuspecting and sneaky way possible.

I started my business with the help of the Toronto Business Development Centre where excellence and speed were expected to complete the program. The work was described during an information session as a Masters of Business in 12 weeks. Needless to say, the entire group was exhausted and super busy. But somehow we all managed to complete pages upon pages of our business plans with original surveys and research that consumed approximately 60 hours of work per week.

The pace was steady and high but for some reason, the process for me felt like moving through air. I kept getting things done and feeling really hot about myself. Then the in class portion was over. It was time to get to work in the ‘real world’. Like fledgling birds we were kicked out of the nest and were told to keep our heads up and our eyes on our business plan because the reality was that when we left, we would most likely feel like we had nothing to do: Everything would stop. Dead.

I didn’t feel this at first. I had set things up so I would be busy and had appointments booked up until a month in advance. This effort output continued and I thought, thank god that didn’t happen to me. And then it did.

The appointments I had booked slowly passed and things slowed down to a crawl for a  month. And then the “should haves” begin to creep into my mind. While lamenting in the  “should haves” I began to think and procrastinate on the “should haves”. I thought about  what I had done wrong, I reflected on how I should change things, I thought and thought  and thought. And inertia had kicked in. As I thought, the only thing that kept happening  was thinking and so nothing in the physical world was accomplished, and in reality, very little in my mind was accomplished while on the broken record.

                                         And then one day I did the “should haves”.  

And you know what, embarrassed as I am to say it, the “should haves” only took me 20 minutes. The cycle was over and the inertia turned back into a positive effort = outcome. I felt good again. “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

So when you look at that thing that you think will take an hour or two, or maybe even a week – try an experiment: break it down and just commit to 5 minutes a day (thank you Andy Heap). That shouldn’t interrupt your thinking and thinking phase too much. Then let me know what happened.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.”

Organizing Tip: if you want service when you go into a store, ask the employee who is busy at the time (stocking shelves, moving around the store quickly) to help you. They are experiencing inertia in a positive way and you will most likely be served faster.

Visit next month for a touch of, ‘organizing products: friend or foe?’

November 29th, 2011

Top 10 organizing mistakes

Written by Lucy Sharpe
Topics: Organizing Tips |

Welcome to my blog! I hope you will enjoy the stories and tips that are soon to come, and mostly, I hope that this blog will help you think outside the box to help you find more free time. I’d like to introduce this blog by giving you a top ten list of what I think are the most important organizing mistakes that people make, and once a month for ten months I will post a detailed description of each mistake with a solution to the problem.

Here are the top ten issues we will be discussing in the coming weeks:
  1. Procrastinating
  2. Buying organizing products before we know what we will use them for
  3. Having unclear goals
  4. Forgetting to Delegate
  5. Thinking we can manage time, when really we can only manage projects
  6. Holding onto the ‘just in case’
  7. Believing that items hold the memories instead of triggering memories
  8. Keeping presents that we don’t enjoy
  9. Expecting perfection of ourselves and others
  10. Living to work instead of working to live
Visit next week for thoughts on Procrastination, Positive Inertia