October 23, 2016

Report to the Command Center!


In a few houses now I’ve seen a station that the homeowner calls their “command center”. This is typically a household with kids or lots going on or both! Most houses have what we call “the hub”, which is the spot in the house with the calendars and schedules and here the mail, keys and phones are set down. Most often this is in the kitchen close to all of the action.
The “command center” that I am talking about it a spot like the hub but a bit more intense... in a good way! The things included can be a calendar, chore list, schedules, kids bins (for things to go back to school), grocery list, charging station, mail collection, weekly meal plan, return items bin, library return bin, receipt drop, and on hand pens, pencils, paper and scissors. This is where the family comes together in planning, organization and team work!

Check out our new Pinterest page with some great ideas for your “command center” and make sure to get other family members involved! https://www.pinterest.com/RTBorganizing/command-center-hub/

September 17, 2016

Back to School is here. Be ready with a homework station for your kids!

Yes sometimes we think kids will do homework in the office or in their rooms but most of the time they want to be near you and near the action at home. This most often is the kitchen or dining room. Set up a station here with all the supplies they need so it makes homework time efficient and easy to keep tidy.  The supplies will vary with the age of your kids but some suggestions are: scissors, glue, pens and pencils, pencil crayons, etc. This can be done as a fun DIY activity with you kids so they know where things are and are happy to use it and hopefully keep it tidy. Check out our “Homework Station” Pinterest board for ideas.

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August 14, 2016

Outdoor Party Planning Checklist

Guest Blogged by Paula Blundell

August is here and Room to Breathe is squelching any excuse you’ve made to put off entertaining guests at your own backyard affair. In the case you’re already everyone’s favorite party event planner, tuck this list away for your next get together in the fresh air.

Party invitation – Consider including dining time, what to bring, what to wear and what will happen in case of rain. Give your guests an idea of the vibe (musical instruments and children welcome?) so they can come prepared.

Notify the neighbours – Invite them to join you or give them notice of any potential noise, crowd or parking concern.

Table(s) and chairs – Prepare with enough seating.  Bring dining chairs, stools and ottomans outside.  Picnic blankets, cushions, tree stumps, and even a hammock make for a casual atmosphere. Renting folding chairs is a surprisingly inexpensive option.

Tableware - Placemats, napkins and/or tablecloths. Plates/bowls, cutlery and drinking glasses. Mason jars are a quick way to increase capacity if that’s your style. Serving plates, bowls, utensils and trays.

Lighting - Candles, torches, lamps, string lights or patio lanterns make for ambient lighting.

D├ęcor – Add a pop of summer colour with paper lanterns, place settings and outdoor cushions. Add a taste of rustic DIY or classy elegance with menu signs and fresh flowers.

Music – Plan ahead with a 5 hour playlist. Choose upbeat music and consider directing speakers against the side of a house for a more even soundscape.

Consider temperature – Shade hot sun with patio umbrellas, and offer handheld fans or cold compressed cloths in icy water.  Have warm blankets, shawls and portable heaters on hand for cooler nights.

Mosquito repellent – Remove any standing water by emptying the kiddie pool and bird bath, plug in a few fans, light citronella candles or offer guests natural and healthy fly repellent lotion.

Entertain children with beach balls, bubbles and games. Bocce ball for big kids too.

Take care of waste - Receptacles for compost, recycling and waste to landfill could ease post-party clean up time.

Food – Whether a buffet, plated meal, tapas or potluck, create thoughtful ingredient cards for those who may have food preferences. Mesh covers are handy to protect food and beverages. Don’t forget the condiments!

Drink - Cooler, ice bucket, ice, tongs, bar towel and damp cloth for cleaning up spills. Corkscrew and bottle opener. A blender if blending drinks and a power source and extension cord if needed. Water is a must-have under the hot summer sun.

Recruit help – From pre or post party clean up to serving guests, you’ll always be grateful for thinking ahead and enrolling a professional, friend, family member or teen’s paid or voluntold hand.

June 11, 2016

Get Geared Up and Gone!

As we kick off summer my husband and I get out to the mountains more and more. As a professional organizer I sometimes wish we only liked one hobby so we only have to buy gear for one hobby and always know what we were doing on the weekends…

Nahhh that would make things too simple! Instead in the winter we downhill ski, back country ski, cross country ski, snowshoe, winter back country camp and my husband occasionally ice climbs. In the summer we hike, backpack, canoe, rock climb, mountaineer, scramble, mountain bike, road bike and car camp.

This leads to a lot of gear! And that leads me to our “Gear Closet”. We live in a condo without storage in the garage, so the closet in our spare room/ office is our gear closet. As a professional organizer I take pride organizing and setting it up so we can grab and go. It took a bit of switching around and containerizing but we have it now! (At least until we decide to start another hobby!).

Room to Breathe organizes using Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E. method.

Sort: Sort all your gear by activity first and then by season.

Purge: If there is gear that you no longer use or that needs to be thrown out for safety reasons, now is the time to do so.

Assign a Home: Maybe you have a whole garage of space to custom set up for your gear and activities or maybe you’re like us and have a closet of space, either way you should set up zones for each activity and each item should have a home in the correct zone. If every item has a home then it should be easy to maintain and you will be able to find what you need every time, speeding up the time it takes to get geared up and gone!

Containerize: Snag some bins as required, peg boards, hooks, etc to give each item an easy to access home. For very little used items place them in a bin with a label and stick them in the harder to reach areas.

Equalize: As an organizer I love this part as it is the final touches on the job. Equalizing essentially means making it easy to maintain. Labels are key here so you and everyone who uses the area know where things belong. As well, my husband and I have placed a few lists in our gear closet. In our daytrip bin we have a list of other items that we need to bring. For example we need to bring our headlamps that are in our personal bins. Also you can include some activity gear lists. Hang a canoe trip gear list on the door so you can do a final check through on your way out.

Organizing can feel overwhelming at times but encourage yourself in knowing that once your set up properly it will be easily maintainable. This will help save you lots of time, stress and energy. You will then be able to be out doing what you enjoy more!

Check out our Gear Closet Board on Pinterest for a few ideas.

March 28, 2016

Simplify in Six Steps: How to Purge & Declutter Your Home

Simplify in six steps!  This post narrows in on how to successfully purge and declutter your home and is filled with organizing tips to create order in any space:

February 01, 2016

Labeling Inspiration

Do labels have to be crafty and beautiful to be effective?  No way - but if you spend a little time on the details, the end result will not only be more appreciated but will probably last longer too!

From handwritten decorative hanging tags and chalkboard stickers to label maker tape and computer print outs, check out our latest "Label Inspiration" Pinterest board here for your next label making session.

Follow Room to Breathe on Pinterest for more professional organizing tips and ideas for your home in Calgary.