Spring Switch Out and Where to Donate

The sun, the heat, the vitamin D… the ALLERGIES! They are all back and I couldn’t be more happy…. besides the allergy part. No more cold, no more freezing when you get out of bed in the morning, and most importantly, it is staying light outside till almost 8:30 pm. I AM L O V I N G IT!

This year I’m running a little behind on my “Spring Switch Out”. You know what I’m talking about. Switching out those comfy sweaters, coats, and other warm clothing and bringing out all of the glorious, colorful spring attire. This can also include switching out seasonal toys for spring/summer ones, and outdoor furniture.

So that you can truly enjoy your spring and summer without having the “Switch Out” hanging over you, take the next few days and follow the steps below! BONUS: There is a list of donation resources available at the end of this blog for items you might purge.

 
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Clothing

A change in the temp means a change in your closet. Take all sweaters, hats, gloves, thick scarves, fleece lined leggings, and winter coats out of your closet. Before storing these items go through each piece and remove any that don’t fit, you don’t love, have lost it’s shape, or that you didn’t wear at all in the winter. Don’t forget to also edit your winter shoes. Now that all of your winter gear is removed, go ahead and add in your spring wardrobe.

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Toys

Sleds, ice skates, snow fort building blocks, and any other winter gear can be stored. Be sure to edit just like you did in your closet. Anything that is broken, no longer fits your children, or simply was not used can be set aside to donate. One of our beliefs is, “if you no longer love it or need it, someone else will!” This makes room for summer toys and crafts that will frequently be used during school break.

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Outdoor Furniture

This is an area that doesn’t really need a swap. Consider this category to be spring cleaning. Walk around your home and garage and collect any snow shovels, the snow blower, or any other winter equipment and store them in a shed or a designated home in the garage. Bring out the grill, the patio furniture, the cushions, and umbrellas and clean them off.

Donations

By now you should have some items you would like to donate. Below is a list of donation resources available for those in Cecil County and Delaware.

Clothes - Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity takes clothing and other household items. The best part is they will even pick up your donations. Use this link to schedule your free pick up.

For those in Cecil County - Wayfarer’s House for Women & Children

Wayfarers’ House (Women’s and Children’s Shelter) provides emergency/transitional residential shelter services for women and women with children who are experiencing a period of homelessness in their lives. This is a great place to donate gently used clothing and unused personal care items. Please be sure to reach out to Gladys Lacy for donation items.

Toys & Sporting Goods - Green Drop Donations

Green Drop is another great option for items such as ice skates, board games and stuffed animals. You can find a list of acceptable items here. Their website makes it quick and easy to schedule a pick up as well.

We are always looking to add charities and other organizations to our list of places to donate. If you have any suggestions please be sure to leave a comment below.

Can Your Business Benefit From a Virtual Assistant? ... YES!

Admit it… no entrepreneur is a Superhero!

Are you a busy business owner trying to do all the things? Do you wish that you could clone yourself or that there could be more hours in a day?

Enter outsourcing! Hiring a Virtual Assistant allows you to subcontract the time-consuming tasks that end up being pushed to the bottom of your to-do list, so you can focus on what’s most important! 

Whether it is inbox management, social media assistance, or book keeping there is someone out there that can help.

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Here are a few ways hiring a virtual assistant can help you and your business:

  1. Save Time

    Time is our most precious resource! ESPECIALLY as a business owner trying to wear all the hats. So how good would it be to have more of it to focus on growing your business, doing things you love and maybe even being able to take some much deserved time off? By delegating time-draining tasks and projects, you are literally gaining hours back in your schedule. That is time you can use to work on more important things or take a load off (for once).

  2. Cut Costs

    As a business owner, hiring staff isn’t always viable. Employees come with costs such as time off, insurance, payroll taxes, and benefits. When hiring a VA it works the same way as hiring a contractor. Most VA’s charge an hourly rate for their services. Not only does this allow you to only enlist their help on a need-to-need basis, but it reduces ongoing costs that are associated with hiring permanent staff.

  3. Only Do What You LOVE

    Here’s the thing… I’m willing to bet the reason you started your business was NOT so you could respond to hundreds of emails, lose your mind during tax season, or break out into a stress rash anytime you have to deal with an IT issue. You started a business because you have a LOVE and a PASSION for something . The not so fun part about a being a business owner is the actual business side of things. (You didn’t sign up for that part) Here is the good news. You can outsource all the things you 1. Don’t like to do and 2. Don’t know, and don’t want to learn how to do. There is a VA out there who actually loves those task. I promise!

If you are busy boss babe struggling to do it all and often become overwhelmed with your endless list of tasks, hiring a VA is your solution. They are a cost-effective way to get things done, reduce stress and gain back your precious time. Check out the list of VA services we offer and contact us for your free consultation.

Show Notes Episode 64 - Guest Appearance on Real Moms, Real life Podcast

I recently had the honor of being interviewed by Beth and Andrea of the Real Life, Real Moms Podcast, and I had a blast answering all kinds of questions related to organizing. If you missed the show and want to know what we talked about keep on reading:

Logo of Real Moms, Real Life podcast pink outline and co-hosts as well as Amber Barrett with the words “Episode 64, Organization with Amber (Arranged by Amber)

Clothes Closet

Q. What do you hang? What do you fold? How do you make the closet look better overall?

A. Closets are one of my favorite places to organize! I like hanging as much as possible. This maximizes space and keep things from becoming a wrinkled mess.

Keep like with like. Group all long sleeved shirts together, all short sleeves together, and tanks, etc.. Take it a step further and color code each group. I promise it doesn’t have to be in ROYGBIV order but in case you are curious it goes: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Slim line, uniform hangers make all the difference in closets. Not only does it add a uniform look having all the same color hangers, but the thin design allows for more items to be hung.

Fold all of your sweaters! No one likes hanger bumps in their shoulders. Bulky items can be folded and stacked. I love using clear dividers to keep everything vertical and from falling over. If you have a lot of jewelry use command hooks on the walls and hang necklaces and bracelets. This adds a boutique feel to any closet and makes getting dressed WAY more fun!

If you struggle with trying to figure out what to keep and donate from your closet try this hack. Turn all of your hangers backwards and each time you wear something and go to hang it back up, face it forward. This is a fast way to take inventory of the pieces you actually use and love.

Corner Cabinets

Q. I have a cabinet that has a deep corner. It feels like such a wasted space. What do I do?

A. Shelf risers are the best for corner cabinets. These allow the otherwise useless vertical space to be utilized. Lazy susans are another great option for corner cabinets. Consider storing round items like: cooking spray, spices, and oil. Round items on a round turntable are a match made in heaven.

Junk Drawer

Q. The household junk drawer. Do you think it is ok to have designated spot for the crap we aren’t ready to get rid?

A. Every home has one. The best thing to do is utilize drawer dividers. This will keep batteries from spilling into your pens, birthday candles, and random change. As long as everything is visible and not piled on top of each other the junk drawer is a keeper!

The Dining Room Office

Q. My husband uses our dining room table as his office space which means there’s a laptop or two including mine, paper work, etc always on it. It just always feels so disorganized. Any magic ideas?

A. A file box is the perfect solution for the dining room desks. Paper can easily get out of hand if not stored properly. Mark files for essential things like to do, to file, receipts, and whatever else might be appropriate for your work. Make a note on your phone calendar to go through the box at the end of the week so you can remove items that no longer have a purpose.

Q. What about the cords?

A. A world without cords would certainly be a prettier place. But since that is not yet the case my tip is to get cords that match the wall color. If you have a white wall and a black cord just switch it out. Use a clear cord if you have fun, colorful walls. Try using cable cord organizers . Theses stick to any surface and allow the cord a place to rest when it is unplugged. That means no more bending or reaching. Major plus!

Kid’s Toys

Q. My kid has so many stuffed animals and we end up putting them in hampers. What are some better ways?

A.The Stuff ‘N Sit is the perfect solution to stuffed animals. It is essentially an empty bean bag that can be filled to the brim with stuffed animals and then used as a chair. If the idea is to get rid of some of the stuffed animals, visually show the child that the items that won’t fit in the Stuff N’ Sit are going to be donated. Kids are smart and once they are understand the toys they no longer use or love are going to children that don’t have toys, the process becomes painless.

Kid’s Artwork

Q. We get about 4 to 6 pages of art work a day. What are your suggestions on storing the ones I want to keep?

A. Sweet artwork should be displayed and let’s face it, the refrigerator isn’t going to do the job. Try using these art frames. These store up to 50 pieces of paper and can be interchanged anytime with the easy access door.


If you missed Episode 64 of the Real Moms, Real Life podcast on organizing you can check it out here.

Organizing doesn’t ave to be overwhelming. Try starting on a small space and clearing out the items you really don’t want or need anymore. To help get you started you can grab my organizing guide and use my step by step process in your own home!

Are you always late leaving the house? Here are my 5 secrets to getting out the door on time with 0 stress.

If you are anything like me, you LOVE your sleep. So much so that you wait till the last possible second to emerge from your cozy sheets to get ready for the day. I like to think of my ability to get ready in about 8-10 minutes to be a super power… but really I just know how to prep. If you struggle to get out of the door on time I have just what you need. Read on to learn my secrets on how to avoid the worry, the hurry, and the stress.

  1. Prep the Night before. Mommas, this is especially important for you. Pack lunches and pick out clothes the night before. Get the kids to help. They love being included. Give them two outfits to choose from and remind them that this is what they will put on in the morning.

  2. Keep your Bag and Keys in the Same Place, ALWAYS. It takes 21 days to form a habit. Start by placing your essentials in the same spot each day when you return from work. A simple hook by the front door will do. This way you can grab what you need while walking out of the house and you never have to hunt for the car keys again.

  3. Create a Family Command Center.  Do yourself a favor and go to Pinterest and type in “Command Center” This will give you the inspiration to customize one to fit you and your families needs. Include a spot to hang your keys, jackets, bags, and some type of bins for the mail.

  4. Trick Yourself to Being on Time. Set each appointment in your phone calendar for 10-15 minutes BEFORE the actual meeting. This means no rushing, no speeding, and no big deal if you miss a turn. BONUS: if you use google calendar and enter the address of your destination the appointment reminder will give you real time traffic updates.

  5. Create a Breakfast Station. Designate a cabinet or drawer near the toaster. Put inside any cereals, breads, pop tarts, and spreads that don’t need refrigeration. It makes morning breakfast preparation so much simpler. Not only will this help older children learn where to find their morning meals, but it also is an easy way to see if an item is getting low and needs to be restocked since it is all in one place.

If you implement these steps in your home tell me how they are working for you! Do you have any other tips on getting out of the door on time? Let me know below!

P.S. Struggling to implement this for yourself? Learn more about our Hands-On Organizing options!

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Professional Organizer

If you have ever considered hiring a Professional Organizer here are 5 questions to ask first:

  1. Do you work alone or with a team?

    This is super helpful to know especially if you have a project with a deadline. Perhaps family are coming to town for the holidays and that guest bedroom is looking anything but ready for guests. Two sets of hands are faster than one.

  2. How long does it take to complete a project?

    This is important for two reasons: 1) It will give you, as the client, an idea of the time and cost associated with your project 2) it will help you to set realistic goals. While there is no way to know exactly how long a space may take to organize, it is helpful to know that the client is actually the one that mostly determines how long a project will take. This is due to the client’s decision making ability. Keep the ugly, bejeweled cat sweater that grandma gave you, or donate it? Sometimes, especially if there is a sentimental value attached to an item, it can be hard to make fast and sure choices. Which is why #3 is important.

  3. What is your process like?

    I truly believe “One size DOES NOT fit all” Too often, I see organizers give their clients a laundry list of reasons why things aren’t working in the space and what the client “should have done” The thing is organizing is a sensitive business. It requires a high level of trust and vulnerability from the client in order to open up their homes and drawers for someone else to see. That’s why I think it is so important to ask about the process. If you have recently gone thru a death in the family and need help going through that loved ones items, you don’t want someone moving a mile a minute pressuring you to make a decision about what is going into the keep and toss pile. Each client, situation, and home is different. Find out if your organizer will be flexible and work at a pace that is comfortable for your personality and current situation.

  4. What is your fee and what is included?

    Most organizers charge a flat hourly rate for their time. In addition, they might charge a consultation fee, a fee to haul off trash and donations after a session, as well as shopping for supplies. Tip: try to find an organizer that offers organizing packages. Think -all inclusive. One price for everything it takes to get the job done. Packages take the guess work out of the equation.

  5. Can you do it ALL for me?

    Let’s be real. Sometimes we don’t want to know how to fix something. We just want it fixed! I don’t ask the plumber what size PVC pipe is needed to fix the leak in the bathroom. Same goes for our stuff. Now and then we just want a professional to come in, work their magic, and fix our problems without having to lift a finger.

If you are more of a do it yourself-er and want to know how to conquer any space in just 5 simple steps you can download my FREE guide. You will learn the exact process I use to organize any space.

GRAB YOUR FREE GUIDE HERE!

Why I Became a Pro Organizer

Pretty sure growing up I never thought… I’m going to be a Professional Organizer. Now, an opera singer, stunt driver, and wedding planner were definitely ones that made the list of professions.

My mom tells me all the time I was born to organize. Probably because when I was a child I would spend hours setting up all of my Barbie doll accessories. I had a huge tote filled with clothes, shoes, and furniture for Barbie. I wanted nothing more than to line the shoes up row by row and hang all the clothes in the dream closet. Color coded of course!

While I have always had a love for labels, sorting, and in general organizing “all the things”, becoming a professional organizer was never on my radar.

Going into college I was a bit clueless. I fully intended to get my degree in something general like accounting or business, find an office job that had opportunity for growth, and of course climb the corporate ladder. Why? Because isn’t that what you are supposed to do?

So that’s what I did. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. I got a 9 to 5 office job. Went back to school to get my MBA and boom - life didn’t change. I thought earning my degrees would give me all of these open doors to take on new projects at work and more responsibility. No one tells you climbing that ladder takes years… and that was just not for me.

I quickly became overwhelmed by the idea that I was planning to work for someone else for practically my whole adult life, doing something I hated, at that. I might sound a little dramatic, but my idea of living this one and only life was not going to be spent staring at a computer screen, making coffee, and ordering office supplies on the daily.

So I decided I needed to make a change. I started asking myself… What am I good at? What would get me jumping out of bed each morning excited to start the day? What do I never get tired of doing?

You guessed it! The answer was and is ORGANIZING (light bulb moment)

That is how Arranged by Amber came to be. Out of my deep desire to not only spend my time doing something I really love, but also getting to do something that helps others.

I get to hang out with amazing women, and organize their stuff. Hello dream job! My clients are the reason this work is so rewarding. Seeing their reaction to a space in their home after I have had my hands on it brings me so much happiness!

So if you are new here welcome! I’m excited for this new journey and to share it all with you!