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news press wedding guide

KMD Featured in the "Santa Barbara News Press - Weddings 2012"

September 2012

Check out my article on page 4, Wedding Planning - Secrets Unveiled, for tips to help you stay organized during the wedding planning process. Click here to view.

mini hue mag

KMD Featured in "The Mini Hue Mag"

March 2012

Check out my article on page 3, Pop into Spring, for tips on creating a bright and efficient work space so you can be more productive and organized. Click here to view.

Surviving the holiday aftermath

December 2011

We all know the holiday season is a busy time of the year. After all of the planning, the preparation, the travel and the activities, we are worn out when the celebrating is done. I want to give you a few tips to help you undo the holiday chaos so you can have a smooth transition to 2012.

1. Storing the Decorations -- Keeping your holiday items neat, tidy and organized saves you time and energy when the season rolls around again. Use sturdy plastic bins which you can find at the local hardware and home improvement stores. Perfect for decorations, greenery and lights. To avoid the Griswold-style knot, roll a section of newspaper into a cylinder and wrap the lights around. Start with the male end, keeping it accessible to test the strand next year. Look for specialized boxes for ornaments that are tiered and sectioned. I use coffee filters to protect breakable or glittered ornaments. Don’t forget to label!

2. Taking Down the Tree -- For a fresh tree, get a plastic tarp or an old sheet. With someone’s help, remove the tree from its stand and lay it down on the tarp or sheet. Wrap the material around the tree carry/drag the tree outside. This will minimize the messy needle drop and sap transfer. For tree removal dates and information, go to (a great SB recycling resource), click on the “Yard Waste” tab and scroll down to “Christmas Trees” and you’ll find all the information you need for pickup or disposal. If you have an artificial tree, you can purchase heavy duty storage bags to accommodate the tree’s sections.

3. Disposing Gift and Shipping Boxes -- Usually both of these types of boxes are cluttering up your home and storage spaces after the holidays. Yes, it’s great to reuse them, but we don’t always have a place to store them. You can bring shipping and packaging materials that are in reusable condition to local shipping businesses (boxes broken down, peanuts bagged). If boxes are torn or destroyed, stop by one of the recycling outposts at:

a. *South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station—4430 Calle Real
b. MarBorg Industries —119 North Quarantina Street
c. MarBorg Industries' Recycling / ABOP Center—725 Cacique Street

*If you don’t live in Santa Barbara, do an internet search for cardboard recycling and Christmas tree disposal in your city.

4. Making Space – With the holidays, I’m sure you and your family are bringing some new goodies into your home so create some space by getting rid of the old. Don’t overwhelm yourself and think you need to do an organizing overhaul just yet (unless you really need one!), but take away the old and unused toys, the games no one plays, the movies no one watches, the clothes you never wear. Go for a 1:1 ratio – one new sweater in the closet, one sweater out. And there are many local charities that would be more than happy to take those items off your hands.

5. Say, “Thank You!” – Remember when your mom would make you sit there and right thank you notes? It’s a habit that has become less and less popular over the years with our busy schedules and reliance on email, but this year, take the time to show people your gratitude. In writing. Yes; actually hand-written. Thank people for gifts, for opening up their homes, for giving their time or just tell them how nice it was to talk or reconnect. Buy the cards and stamps early and set a goal of "x" per day so they are all sent by January 10th. You can even pre-address one the evening of a party so you can write the hostess the next morning. Another idea is to reuse sections of wrapping paper or gift bags. Cut out a piece, fold it in half, pop it in an envelope and voila!, instant, personalized and green thank you notes.

I wish you a very happy and organized holiday season!

Bathroom Organizing Quiz

October 2011

1. "I paid for this so I have to keep it."
False. You should never keep items out of guilt. You may not realize it, and I'm not trying to sound too hooey, but those items project negative energy and who needs anymore of that?

2. "I might use it someday."
False. If you haven't used it yet, you probably never will. It just doesn't fit into your lifestyle whether it's curlers, bubble bath or hot pink lipstick. Invest your time and energy into who you are, items that fit into and compliment your lifestyle. If you used to use it, remember there's a reason why you don't anymore and it's probably old, separated, dried up, whatever. Most of these items are easy to replace anyway (and you'll probably be gifted another bath set).

3. "I hate to throw away perfectly good products."
False. If you think about it, you're paying to store unused items via your rent or mortgage, just like a storage unit's cost per square foot. You may think tossing "perfectly good" products is wasteful, but keeping things you don't use is wasteful. Remember that a lot products don't last forever. Toss the contents and recycle the containers. You can donate unopened products and trial sizes to women's or homeless shelters, but opened items have to go for safety and hygiene reasons. And don't pass your refuse onto your friends and family members. They may get distracted by something new and/or feel obligated to keep it. That's another article all together.

How did you do? Now that we've addressed some potential roadblocks, are you ready to organize?

How to Get Started

September 2010

Do you want to be more organized? Many people share that goal, but getting organized can be a daunting task. People often feel overwhelmed when it comes to addressing their clutter and they're not sure exactly where or how to start. Here are a few simple tips and strategies to help you get on your way to clearing clutter.

“So much of my space needs organizing; I don’t know where to begin!” Organizing expert and author, Julie Morgenstern suggests, "Start with a place that has the highest percentage of stuff with the least emotional attachment, and use that as a point of entry." Some examples of this are the kitchen junk drawer, bathroom toiletries, the piles of newspapers and magazines or your bookshelves. These smaller projects give you the feelings of accomplishment and freedom without taking too much time.

If the project is still too intimidating, try this tip suggested by many organizers and household experts: Set a timer for 15 minutes and get to work. The key to a successful 15 minutes is to stay focused. Remove distraction by turning off the TV and silencing your phone for these sessions. Don’t stop to take out the trash until you’ve finished. Don’t leave the room to put gathered items away, not yet anyway. Put everything in a container and after your 15 minutes are up, then disperse them to their proper homes. You’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish in such a short time. Get everyone in the household involved too. In the beginning, you may only have time to address trash and gathering up the items that belong elsewhere, but it’s a start. Set yourself up for success by making a plan and set 15 minute appointments on the calendar. Choosing a regular time may be helpful. If you’re a morning person, do this with your first cup of coffee. Or right when you get home from work. Fifteen minutes and you’re done for the day! Clearing physical clutter allows for some of the mental weight to be lifted, leaving you feeling refreshed, energized and ready to move forward.

Now that you know where you’re going to start and how you’re going to do it, you need a plan. Set a goal for yourself and the space. Ask yourself questions that will help you during the process of decluttering and sorting. What is the function of the space? What is your vision for how it will look? What is working and what is not? Is the space cluttered because there is too much stuff? Is it because items are where they don’t belong? Do the items have a properly designated “home,” in this space or elsewhere? What systems will work best for me, or for my household? Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to make decisions that will lead you to the results you want to achieve.

The plan is in place. Now comes the challenging part – addressing the clutter. Most often, disorganization is the result of too much stuff in too little of a space so you will most likely need to part with things. In order for the process to work, you need to be in the proper mindset while organizing. But before we clear the clutter, let’s define what constitutes clutter: Clutter is not only what is messy, it comprises those items that you no longer need, use or find beautiful. Some items will be easy for you to make decisions about, but others will be more challenging. Questions to ask yourself in this part of the process are: Do I currently use this? Does it fit my lifestyle? What is the worst thing that will happen if I get rid of it? Does it enhance my life in some way?

Be careful of the traps:

• “I might need it someday.” If you do need it, will there be a better, more updated version available?

• “I paid for it so I have to keep it.” Is that item taking up valuable space in your closet or cabinet? Would eliminating it ultimately make you feel better? Is it enriching your life?

• “It was a gift.” Parting with that unused gift does not mean you are diminishing the kind gesture or your relationship with the gift-giver. We should only keep what is useful or what we find beautiful.

• “But I’m going to make my own sushi (or read the classics, learn to bake bread, fit into these jeans someday, start wearing purple, etc.)” Be aware of the fantasy version of yourself and be realistic about your lifestyle. Again, do you feel better about yourself by having these items?

If you struggle with these scenarios, I give you permission to let go of the guilt and let go of the stuff! No matter the source, i.e., the money spent, the gift received, or the "I really should start...," you will feel so much better not having negative triggers around you. The goal is to fill your home with items that reflect who you are, that make you feel good and that fit your lifestyle.

If you're still having trouble parting with items, consider the positive effects of donating the items to those who could really use them. If you have items of value, you may be able to sell them on eBay, Craigslist or at a consignment store. But these options come with more work and you must be prepared to follow though. For items you'd like to sell, set a schedule to list them and a deadline to have them sold in a short, reasonable amount of time. If you have not listed or sold those items, they get donated. If there are items that need repair, consider if the benefit outweighs the cost of fixing the item. Use the same schedule and deadline system for these items. And please remember to only donate or sell items in good condition; those that can be reused by others. It can be difficult, but you need to be objective. Just because you value something does not mean someone else will.

Once you have cleared the clutter and are left with only what you need and what belongs in the space, you have to decide where to put it away. Sometimes you have to try things in a few places to find what works best. You may end up with items in a completely different place than where they were kept before. It’s all okay; getting organized is a process. It takes some work (as you well know by now) and you have to be patient. There are storage solutions available to help contain and identify items which can be very helpful. I recommend that you wait on buying baskets and bins until you know what you’re keeping, and where you want to keep it. Remember that it takes time to get used to changes and to make new habits, so allow yourself some time to adjust while you’re figuring these new systems out. Also remember that the organizing will only be successful if you continue to make the effort to stay organized. Although “getting organized” is a common goal, it really is a continually evolving process that requires regular attention.

Are you ready to go? I hope so! If you need help, feel free to ask me questions and remember, I'm available to work with you to reach your organizing goals.