NATIONAL CLEAN OUT YOUR GARAGE DAY

 

garage

 

Did you know that there is a ‘National Clean Out Your Garage Day?’ Well, sure enough there is, and it was last Saturday, September 12, 2015. Why not take advantage of the beautiful, upcoming autumn season, and get the process started?

Purging your garage and utilizing all the space your driveway affords, is the perfect spot to sort through all the clutter that you’ve accumulated over the years. Soon enough, you’ll need your Halloween décor and Thanksgiving Day bin, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been busy entertaining, traveling, and heading to the pool all summer. Believe it or not, even as a professional organizer, my garage tends to get messy. There’re serving platters from my last social gathering, cases of beverages that haven’t been placed into the garage fridge yet, suitcases from our last trip, my pool chairs, and my cooler which I bring to the shore on the weekends. Also, I have my donation bags that I fill year round, electronics that I plan to recycle for my clients, and gardening tools that I keep on the floor for ongoing projects.

Below are some helpful tips to help you get the process started:

Set up bins & trash bags in the driveway labeled donateshredtrash, recycle, & sell.  Keep in mind that most liquor stores give boxes away for free, and they are small enough to handle when heavy.
Put everything that is on the floor outside in the driveway. Now you can walk safely around your garage. Sweep and dust as you go.
Make a plan as to where you’re going to store your belongings. For example, garden supplies on this wall, tools here & seasonal items there. Set it up like a little store. Use temporary labels for your specific zones.
Start sorting like with like. Maybe you’ll need some shelving. Personally, I like Gorilla shelves or clear bins. Also, I use nice big labels on all sides of the bins and on the shelves.

Even though ‘National Clean Out your Garage Day‘ is history, the present state of your garage may require your getting it done even though it is a few days or weeks later. If the task seems a little daunting, that’s the perfect time to ask for a some help. Professional organizers are well equipped to help with the most exhausting of projects. You’ll get it done right, and you’ll get it done quickly!

 

HOW DO YOU REMEMBER?

 

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Some of us love change. With each new month we tend to change our clothing, eat different foods and decorate our homes. That’s a lot of work for some of us. How do you remember everything that needs to be done? I use my calendar. Each month reminds me of what needs to be done. Below is a monthly glance at my calendar.

  • January
    First on the list is the holiday decor, accessories, and gifts. If you do it right, you will be very happy unpacking next year. Clean, sort, contain, label, and store all your holiday items. I give the house a good cleaning hoping to pick up every pine needle from the tree, plus all the spills and dribbles from my youngest guest. Next, I purge my files of last year’s documents and put them in my tax file. Even if your financial documents are online, you can do this. This updates the file for the new year. Then, I hibernate, and I don’t feel guilty!
  • February
    This month I commit to organizing my photos. I place last year’s photos on the dining room table and create one book for each of my three children. I organize my videos in the cloud which although it takes a few weeks, I get it done. In the meantime, I cook soup, lots of hearty soups. My house is warm and the aroma is wonderful.
  • March
    Now is the time to find my “green” clothes or at least put my wools away in hopes of an early spring. I visit my friends more and schedule game nights. Usually, I am freezing in the spring, so I increase my cardio exercises. I enjoy the soups I put in the freezer. I also change the clocks, check our batteries and discuss a fire evacuation plan with our family.
  • April
    Now is the time to clean all the windows and blinds and take the covers off the outdoor furniture. I clear out the dead plants/shrubs in the yard, decorate for the spring holidays and clear out the garage. I also schedule to get our air conditioning system serviced.
  • May
    Gardening begins now. Flags go out on Memorial Day weekend. Clean and repair deck/patio as needed. I air out our suitcases, Jersey shore here we come!
  • June
    Purge the children’s rooms, store school memories and wash out the backpacks. I scrub the freezer and prepare for my 4th of July Ice Cream & Fire Works party. Also, I wash our grill accessories and summer platters.
  • July
    Start to relax into summer and enjoy.
  • August
    Swim in the ocean as much as possible. Read on the beach. I deserve it!
  • September
    Concentrate on back to school paperwork and schedules. It’s school shopping time! Put vacation accessories away and repack pool bags for next year. Clear dead plants and shrubs. Harvest the veggies. Bring flags in. Put summer accessories towards the back of the garage.
  • October
    Bring my fall clothes down from the top of my closet then shop for what’s missing. Halloween décor and costumes come out just for fun. Make sure the garage is clean so I can retrieve the holiday supplies.
  • November
    Heavy kitchen cleaning is done at this time, food shopping and of course, eating. Check fire alarm batteries, smoke detectors and have that fire safety discussion again. Cover deck furniture.
  • December
    Holiday madness, parties people & food!

How do you remember?

An easy way to keep up with the changing seasons is to set an event in your calendar for each month and have it notify you. Or, maybe break up things into weekends, starting each Saturday morning with a “things to do list.” I pretty much have it memorized and enjoy the changes that the seasons bring.

 

 

A simple Halloween Party

 

 On October 1st my two Halloween bins come out of storage. One contains decorations, the same ones I use every year because they are full of memories. And the other of costumes, which we like to try on throughout the month just for laughs.
 Around the second week of October, I place a flyer in every mailbox on my street, email the neighbors I know personally and start spreading the word whenever I see anyone out and about. My invite reads:
 

Halloween Party at Danielle’s house
Dress warm, bring a chair & snack to share
BYOB


On the third week of October I purchase my candy, beverages and paper products. During this time, I also make sure I have enough fire wood and clean up my fire pit.
 Finally Halloween arrives! I start off the day with a short trip to the Conshohocken Bakery. There I buy tomato pies, cakes, granola bars and cookies for later that evening. We set up a buffet table and our fire pit in the driveway and not long after that the neighbors arrive with chairs and snacks to share.  
 Sitting under the stars outside with my neighbors, enjoying the warmth and beauty of the fire and watching the children make their rounds from house to house is a great way to spend Halloween. It’s relaxing, fun and you don’t even have to clean your house! Try it you’ll love it.

 

 

Holiday Entertaining – Happy 4th of July!

When I was a child, my parents used to have these huge picnics on 4th of July. Everyone was invited. My parents spent weeks prior to the party cleaning, shopping and preparing enough food to fill our two refrigerators. My father worked the grill all day and my mother worked in the kitchen sending food out to the backyard and cleaning the platters that were coming in. It took a least a week to clean up the house and put it back to normal.

Now- a- days my sisters and I don’t seem to have the time for a huge BBQ nor do we wish to work that hard, but I missed those holiday picnics, so I decided to start my own holiday tradition for the 4th of July. Equipped with some organizing skills and a good imagination, I have planned a party that takes a lot less hard work. Here’s how:

I’m lucky. I live on a public park and every year on the 3rd of July our borough plans a wonderful fireworks display. So we invite everyone over for our “Ice Cream & Fireworks Party” which starts at 7pm. The invitations go out one month prior to the party. The preparations begin by defrosting and eating all the contents from the freezer. This is also a good time to scrub the freezer. Shopping is done over the course of the next few weeks by watching for coupons on popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, water ice as well as other ice cream novelties. Every week I check for sales on the five gallons of ice cream I will need. The week prior to the party my family and I form an assembly line in the kitchen. We collect all of our drinking glasses, the juice glasses are the perfect size. We create delicious ice cream sundaes such as traditional, caramel, cookie crumbles and blondie sundaes. We cover them with plastic wrap and label them. They are then layered with small pieces of cardboard in the freezer.

On the day of the party I set up the drink station with iced tea, lemonade, soda, an ice bucket and cups. I put a cute red bucket of spoons and a cute red bucket of napkins on the dining room table. Helpful hint: buy all your paper products in red. Red can be used for your New Year’s party, birthdays, Valentine ’s Day, Christmas, Memorial day, labor day and of course 4th of July. I put a huge teak bowl on the table for the ice cream novelties, the toys go outside, the pets go in the garage, the music gets turned on and we are ready!

Around 8:30 my helpers and I huddle in the kitchen. We top each sundae off with whipped cream, cherries, jimmies and a mint leaf. I carry them into the dining room on trays and place them around the big bowl of novelties. Now is the time to try not to get run over by the mad rush to the ice cream. After ice cream our guests are adorned with the neon jewelry that my husband loves to purchase for our guest, and we take our places on the deck with blankets and chairs that our guests know to bring.

After the fireworks the children usually raid the freezer for one more sundae.  While I say goodbye to our fifty guests and direct traffic off our tiny street, my friends help me out by tossing the trash for me. A quick wipe down on the table and a wet swift of the floors and this party is over until next year.

Don’t think of the holidays as being so daunting with all the shopping, cooking and cleaning. Keep it simple. Start early, create your own traditions. You too can entertain without wearing yourself out or putting a big dent in your budget.

Happy summer!

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