Tips

Wednesday 08.30.17

A NEAT Vacation Home

Whether it is a home at the lake, in the mountains, or on the beach, we love helping clients organize the favorite home away from home! These are the places where lasting memories are made and where everyone can get some R&R. They are meant to be enjoyed, not a source of stress.

Since Wisconsin is the land of lake houses, our Milwaukee Organizer, Liz Girsch, has had a lot of experience helping create the perfect spaces for stress-free vacationing. Here are a few of her tips ...

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Vacation time often means party time. When you have a vacation home, you need to be ready to feed, entertain and house lots of guests. It’s important to set up your space to make hosting easy for you and make everything accessible to your visitors. Hense TIP #1 ... designate an easy to find closet or cabinet for the essentials that your guests are sure to be looking for..... sunscreen, bug spray, plastic tumblers, water toys, etc. When this space is organized, guests can feel free to help themselves and be part of the clean up process.

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We talk a lot about the importance of labels. TIP #2 .... At a vacation home, labels are extra important! It allows your guests to settle in and find things on their own. They won’t feel bad asking you a million questions about where things are. Labels also allow them to help out - which good guests want to do. So make sure your pantry, your linen closet, your laundry space and any other spaces your guests will be poking their noses in have clear labels!

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TIP #3 .... As you organize things in a vacation home, it’s helpful to think about zones or section to place things. The outer perimeter of your kitchen is great for snack areas and dishes. Place your entertaining paper goods in these pretty Tosca baskets, which move easily from a cabinet to a countertop. Designate a place of importance for all your supplies for the nightly fire - store the matches as well as graham crackers, marshmallow and roasting sticks for everyone’s favorite s’mores. Gear for heading out on the lake should be kept near the door together - gather up extra beach towels and roll them into wire baskets for easy grab on everyone’s way out.

TIP #4 ... All bedrooms and bathrooms should be well equipped with everything your guest will need. Make sure you have back up of everything too so that you don't have to worry about checking your stock every time you head to the lake. Upon arrival, place sets of towels on the end of each bed. Share the WiFi code on a beautifully handwritten card or create one on your computer and leave on the guest's nightstand. The more your guests feel like you went above and beyond the more they will too when pitching in (wink wink!). 

By taking just a little more time to get some guest friendly systems in place, you will see that entertaining becomes so much easier and you can then spend more time just relaxing with them.

Since lake house season is coming to a close, you have at least 6 months to start implementing some of these tips before next year! Happy Organizing! 

xx,
the NEAT girls

Wednesday 08.23.17

11 Back-To-School Organizing Tips

This is is a crazy time of year for all of the families out there. There are lunchboxes to pack, books to buy, new clothes to get washed, paperwork to fill out .... and the list goes on! We checked in with some of our NEAT Moms to see what their #1 tip is for making this school year less chaotic than the prior years and here what they had to say .... 

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Britt Dignan (Westchester, NY) :: Bento boxes are wonderful for organizing school lunches ahead of time. I make a list of meals for each day of the week (ie: turkey sandwich and apples on Mondays, hummus and pretzels on Tuesdays, etc), and then prep most of the containers the night before.

Jennifer Ferriso & Erika Downes (Morristown, NJ) :: Start prepping for back-to-school early and store what you buy far away from the kids :).

Katie Koentje (San Diego, CA) :: Purge and go through clothes so that you know everything fits and everything is school appropriate. This will make the mornings more efficient and hopefully drama free!

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Sarah Edelman (Atlanta, GA) :: On Sunday evenings, I have my daughters lay out all of their clothes for the week and place them in a hanging organizer in their closet. Then when the alarm goes off, there is no searching for a pair of shorts or socks-it is all there and ready to put on!

Emmaley Otis (Scottsdale, AZ) :: My tip to is to build a school wardrobe that is mix and match (we stick to mostly stripes, khaki and navy).  My son's school does not wear uniforms, so we have kind of created our own.  Any combination of tops and bottoms is an automatic (matching!) outfit.  I guess it's kind of like a capsule wardrobe for kids?  ;)  One less thing to have to think about each morning!

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Liz Girsch (MIlkwaukee, WI) :: Own your calendar; don't let the calendar and activities own you. I love using Cozi.com as it is tailored to families and school/sports/club activities. This way everyone in the family can download the app and access the calendar.

Laura Fraser (Tampa, FL) :: Making lunches may be my most dreaded chore. I've got two shelves in my pantry that are dedicated to the kids. And they know it! If their missing something, they'll give me a heads up.

Melanie Walker (Las Vegas, NV) :: Set up a homework station. Something mobile that you can store away and pull out where your kids do their homework. It can have all the things they might need i.e. crayons, makers, glue sticks etc. and keep it stocked.

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Lisa Ruff (San Francisco, CA) :: It may seem a little odd, but it works for us.  If your refrigerator has the space, put the backpack in fully packed the night before.  I put the lunch, water bottle and any paperwork that needs to be returned in their backpack and then put the entire thing in our fridge.  In the morning, the last thing we grab is the backpacks from the fridge before we run out the door.  We've never forgotten a lunch this way!

April Chalk (San Antonio, TX) :: My #1 tip is to create a system to handle all of the crazy piles of papers that kiddos bring home every day (so they don't end up in piles on the kitchen counter). 

Dina Madigan (Rochester, NY) :: Make sure each child has a hook for their backpack and coat of the season that is where the backpack and coat lives for the entire school year.

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Well there you have it from the professionals! Happy 2017-2018 school year to you and all your kiddies! 

xx,
the NEAT girls

Tuesday 11.15.16

4 Quick Ways to Update Your Craft Space This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for holiday hostess gifts, family presents and greeting cards. No matter how big or small your space is, there is always a place in the home that holds crafting items such as gift wrap, cards, ribbon, scissors, and tape. During the holidays, that space is used more than any other time! We wanted to share 4 fast ways you can update your space to make it more functional this season.
 
Tip #1:: Categorize :: It seems like a simple suggestion but make sure you have like items together. Dedicating space for each category allows you to find what you are looking for with ease. 
 

Tip #2:: Eliminate :: We often hold onto every pen and paper pad we have ever received. Take just one minute to recycle/trash anything that doesn’t inspire you. Test your pens and markers out and keep only the best. Trust us, you will never pick a dried out pen to write your holiday cards!

Tip #3:: Contain :: When it comes to craft spaces we love anything and everything that is clear! Craft items are typically colorful which looks fun and inspiring in anything that you can see through. It also helps you recall what you already have in your space.

Tip #4:: Keep it Together :: No matter how large or small your space is, make sure your craft items don’t creep into other areas of your home. Trust us, if all the craft items are stored together, you are sure to create the most beautiful gift this holiday season.

Happy Crafting!
Xx
the NEAT girls
 
Thursday 07.14.16

NEAT IT NOW :: Virtual Organizing

For over 5 years, we have been providing home organizing services across the Country. First, San Francisco got a taste of The NEAT Life and when they couldn't get enough of it we started launching in other cities (18 to be exact). During this time we have been perfecting our craft, or Method if you will, and are beyond excited to announce that we are ready to bring it to the masses.

What does that mean exactly? Well, for now we can only tell you a small part of what it means because we have something even bigger in the works. However, what we can tell you is that we are officially offering virtual organizing services. So, if you are (a) not in a city where we have a location, or (b) prefer a DIY project to tackle on your own, you can learn to live the NEAT life virtually!

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Excited?! So are we! Have questions? We figured ....

Here is an overview of how it works ... 

1. Submit our NEAT IT NOW Intake Form – we will be in touch about your project within 48 hours

2. Schedule a 30 minute phone/video conversation about your particular space and what you want to accomplish

3. Receive your personal shopping list as well as instructions on how to complete your space

4. Complete the project with a 30 minute follow up call/video to ensure the space gets the NEAT stamp of approval

5. Admire and enjoy your NEAT space(s) every day and be sure to share it using the hashtag #NEATitNOW

Sound fun?! We can't wait to share the ins and outs of our well developed Method with you! For more information head over to our NEAT IT NOW page. 

xx
the NEAT girls

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Tuesday 03.15.16

What Needs to Be Done BEFORE You Spring Clean

Hate Spring cleaning? We have 13 organizing solutions that will make the cleaning process ten times easier this year!

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1. Take everything out of all spaces (even those that have been previously organized) to make sure you are actually keeping things for all of the right reasons. 9 times out of 10 you will discover you actually don't want some things anymore. 
 
2. Sort through kids wardrobe/shoes and see what does not fit and needs to be donated, passed down or consigned. Then, make a list of key items that need to shopped for in the coming months. 
 
3. Bathing suit review for entire family! Toss faded ones and any cover ups/white t-shirts that are not crisp white anymore from sunscreen stains etc... 
 
4. Freshen up the garage. Look at it as a seasonal rotation-- fall/winter items make way for your spring/summer gear. For example, move all ski gear and winter layers back and make it easier to access the beach umbrella and beach chairs. 
 
5. Donating those sweaters that pilled and boots that got ruined from the salt on the roads. 
 
6. Before packing up your winter gear, make sure that you’re saving things that will fit next year. If they don't fit, have holes or are worn out, donate them now! 
 
7. For the grownups' side of the house, refresh the linen closet by neatly refolding items and re-categorizing items or readjusting any of the storage solutions. 
 
8. Go through the toys to pull out anything with missing parts, broken items, paints and playdough that might be dried up, coloring books that are filled, etc. 
 
9. Purging at this time of year is key! Start by focusing on bathroom products. It’s a great excuse to buy a new scent of some new shades of makeup. 
 
10. Re-organize our kitchen to get ready for grilling and entertaining which will happen more of in the spring/summer.
 
11. Go through spices, oils and fridge condiments. These categories can often be forgotten
 
12. Create a designated area where you can collect items all year long that we are no longer using and can be sold at a Spring garage sale. The rule is after the sale, NOTHING comes back in the house. If it doesn't sell it goes directly to a donation center. 
 
13. Go through items under the sink and make sure that our cleaning supply is well-stocked for the big "spring clean."
 
Ready to tackle Spring Cleaning? Let's do this!
 
xx
the NEAT girls 
 
Monday 06.01.15

The 5 Fastest Ways to Sneak in Last Minute Spring Cleaning

It is officially June which means if you haven't gotten around to Spring cleaning yet, now is the time! Today we are giving you some ideas for your closet that take little to no time at all but have HIGH impact! First, let's get down to the dirty business... laundry. Make your life ten times easier by purchasing a divided hamper. This hamper from West Elm is a triple threat...literally. The three compartments can be used for lights, darks, and dry cleaning. If you don't have room for a hamper with three sections, at least consider two to separate dry cleaning from your wash and fold pieces. 

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If your problem seems to be larger than just sorting laundry (read:: you cannot currently see your floor due to the amount of laundry) consider using an on demand laundry service like Washio. They will come to your home, pick up your laundry and return it to you washed and folded. Are you particular about the way it's done? Feel free to leave some instructions for them too!

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Next up is that closet of yours! Take a peek at it now - does it have a lot of plastic dry cleaning bags scattered within there? We understand that some items need to be protected from dust since they aren't worn nearly as much. Consider using a breathable cotton bag from The Container Store instead. 

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Ready to make some room? Forgo those bulky, tubular platic or wooden hangers for the thin, velvet option. Trust us, you will change and never look back! More closet space = less wrinkles in your new, favorite LBD. 

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Finally, if you are still packed to the brim in your closet, let us be your therapist for a second and let you know that you might have a shopping addiction. You are not alone. Luckily, we know how you can continue to have that addiction without breaking the bank or the closet rod with too many clothes - Give Le Tote a try! For a monthly fee you can rent clothing and accessories an unlimited amount of times! 

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Now get after that Spring cleaning before it's too late!

xx

the NEAT girls

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