Tag Archives: advice

Best Time of Year to Buy Christmas Trees

3 Jan

Christmas in Squaw Valley

It is the best time of the year to buy artificial Christmas trees that is. Everywhere has deep discounts to unload the Christmas merchandise. I usually get all my Christmas lights this time of year, but the real savings are in the artificial trees. They have come a long way since when we were young. They still don’t have the smell of a real tree, but if you have a place to store them, they are much more economical in the long run.

Here are the links to several retailers.

Kitchen Organizational Excuses

17 Nov

picture of organized kitchen

Excuse vs. Truth

Excuse: “My kitchen is just such a mess. It would take days to clean it out!”

Truth: This sounds like an unhealthy statement! Your kitchen should be one of the most organized and clean rooms in your house! It’s where you gather with family and friends to cook, eat, and spend quality time together. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a Tupperware container and its matching lid in under 10 minutes? How would your kids feel if they knew nothing in the fridge was moldy and they could eat anything without worrying about its freshness? With a little time and organization, we can transform your kitchen. And with just five minutes a day of maintenance, you will be able to keep it spotless!

Closet Organizational Tips

7 Oct

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

The first thing you need to do is commit yourself to having the closet you really want. Think about what it’s like now, then dream about what it could be. Think about how your life would be simplified, how much time and money you would save, and how good you will feel once the job is complete.

Next think about the closets you want organized. When you determine which one makes you most stressed, start with that one.

Few things in life come without compromise. You may have to give up a few items in order to make your closet the best it can be.

Closet Organizational Excuses

27 Sep

Excuse vs. Truth

Excuse: “I need more space and bigger closets before I can get organized.”

Truth: By organizing your existing space, you automatically gain the extra room you need. It’s not how much space you have, but how you use it.

Excuse: “I just did my spring cleaning, so I don’t need to get organized right now.”

Truth: Organizing is not the same as spring cleaning or straitening up. If you organize properly, it’s a one-time activity. Organizing systems are fairly maintenance-free when you use them as part of your daily routine.

Fixing Bathroom Clutter

18 Aug

Greetings from Shorter Designs! When you open your bathroom cabinets, do things fall out? When you open a bathroom drawer, do makeup, Q-Tips, and toothpaste roll around together? Are there unsightly bottles on your bathroom countertop? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, read on.

Gaining Control of Your Mail

10 Apr

Greetings from Shorter Designs! I hope you are each enjoying the nice Spring weather we have been having. My daughter is old enough now to really like playgrounds, so we have been having fun playing outside.

One thing we all have in common, no matter how organized we are, is what to do with our mail. We all get lots of it, and if we don’t stay on top of it, it will cover our countertop space, baskets, and wall organizers before we know it. Here are some ideas to help you process mail efficiently.

Organization for Your Baby

25 Jun

Greetings from Shorter Designs! This month my daughter, Rachel, turns one year old. I can’t believe it! It truly seems like it was just a few weeks ago I looked into her eyes for the first time. Thinking back on this past year has caused me to want to write a newsletter on organizing for a baby. Sorry to those of you who don’t have or plan on having a baby. (Maybe you could forward this to a friend who does!)

Organizational Help From Readers

3 Dec

Thanks everyone for thinking about how to help each other this holiday season with your tips! Here are the wonderful ideas you came up with. Merry Christmas!!

Compiling Organizational Ideas

11 Nov

Greetings from Shorter Designs! This month I wanted to try something different. Every month, you get to hear from me, so this month I want to hear from you!

I know many of you personally from helping you get organized in your homes. You all have wonderful ideas and suggestions, and I know that people who read this monthly newsletter could really benefit from things you have found that works for your busy lives.

Prioritize What’s Important

23 Aug

Greetings from Shorter Designs! As you may have noticed from the brief newsletter in July, my husband and I had a beautiful baby girl, Rachel Leah Shorter, on June 13. She and I are doing well, and my maternity leave is over now. I am back doing one of the things I enjoy most… helping people get and stay organized!

The summer can be a relaxing time, but it can also be stressful. We have vacations to plan, the kids are out of school, and things can quickly seem to spiral out of control if we are not careful.

Color Code Your Way to Organization

1 Jun

Greetings from Shorter Designs! With flowers blooming all around bursting with color, I was inspired to write this month about how color-coding just about anything can help you get, and stay, organized. Read the below list, and try out what works best for you!

Linens and Clothes

  • If towels end up on floor frequently but you don’t know who the culprit is, assign one color towel per person in your household. The next time you see a misplaced towel, you will know who it belongs to. Also, no more mix-ups when getting out of the tub!

7 Steps to Cut the Clutter

17 Mar

Greetings from Shorter Designs! March is a wonderful time to finish up projects in the house before the weather gets nice and you want to spend more time outside. With this in mind, let’s cut the clutter in our homes and do a little Spring Cleaning! Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Items you don’t use get in the way of items you really would like to enjoy and use. Get rid of things that you do not use regularly so that you can easily see and reach what you do use frequently.

Unshackle the Romance at Home

13 Feb

Greetings from Shorter Designs! Since most of you who subscribe to this newsletter are young mothers, this month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we are going to focus on your romantic relationship and how organization can help strengthen it. I have heard people say before that organization does not sound “romantic,” but let’s look at how being organized can ignite that flame! Imagine with me if you will…

Get Organized

3 Jan

Greetings from Shorter Designs! As we all know, New Year’s is a popular time to make resolutions. Many people resolve to “get organized” in the coming year. How many times have you made that resolution? How many times have you stuck with it?

One of the ideas I teach clients is that of not biting off more than you can chew. In the case of New Year’s resolutions, if you know that a year-long commitment to get organized is more than you can handle, why not try a “Get Organized Month” instead?

Holiday Planning – Part 2

10 Dec

Greetings from Shorter Designs! This is the second part of a two-part holiday newsletter.

After doing the ideas from November’s newsletter, consider what type of ambiance you would like to have at your gathering. For instance, do you prefer childlike fun or adult elegance? Once you have decided what feel you would like your home to have, flip through holiday magazines to get ideas for centerpieces and other decorations. Make a list of the items you need to buy for your decorations.

Holiday Planning – Part 1

19 Nov

Greetings from Shorter Designs! This is the first part of a two-part newsletter. The rest of it will appear in December.

I was talking with a friend the other day, and she stated, “The conversation I dread all year happened yesterday. My husband said to me, ‘My parents want to have Thanksgiving at our house. What do you think?’”

For most of us, Thanksgiving is the beginning of the most stressful time of year. There are parties to attend, gifts to buy, company coming over, and seasonal traditions to observe. With a little preparation, the holidays won’t be so overwhelming. Here are some helpful ideas to get you started on your plans.

Gain a Fresh Perspective

5 Oct

Greetings from Shorter Designs! I am so excited that October is here because I love the changes that autumn brings. I enjoy the colorful trees and the crispness in the air, the fall flowers and pumpkins that adorn homes. These are things I used to take for granted.

I grew up in North Carolina and lived here 24 years. After spending the last four years in Florida, I am now back “home” where the weather actually changes and the seasons are pronounced. It is amazing to me the difference living here now as opposed to when it was all I knew.

Learn from Athletes

13 Sep

Greetings from Shorter Designs! Over the last two weeks I have watched countless hours of the Olympics. What a joy to watch so many athletes from around the world compete! I continued to be amazed at their strength, flexibility, endurance, and determination. It seemed like during every sport I asked myself, “How do these people do it?”

I enjoyed listening to the athletes’ interviews after each event, and most of them mentioned how extensively they trained. The majority of these Olympians spent years training for one event! That is how they do it. They are great athletes because they practice.

Let Them Know You Care

2 Aug

Greetings from Shorter Designs! Later this month, my husband will be the best man in a wedding. So many people get married in the summer; this time of year is perfect for reflecting on marriage and my own commitment to my husband. He is the most wonderful and kind man I know, so he is quite easy to love. I have been very blessed.

Nurture Your Friendships

5 Jul

Greetings from Shorter Designs! What are your plans for the Fourth of July? I hope that you are going to celebrate with some of our time-honored Independence Day traditions: fireworks, family and friends, and hot dogs and hamburgers. My closest friend, Jill, says that the Fourth of July is her favorite holiday. She especially enjoys eating watermelon and watching fireworks.

Friendship is an important part of life, but many people find it difficult to find, make, or keep friends. Life events, such as moving to another neighborhood, starting a job, or having a baby, can isolate us from our former support group and make forging new friendships more important than ever. Be sure to let your friends know how much you care.

Do More Fun Things

13 Jun

Greetings from Shorter Designs! As you know, summer is here which for most people means—vacation! I always loved vacations growing up and looked forward to them for months in advance. My family would get free tickets to Disney World every year, so that is where we normally ended up going. I never got tired of it; but as I have gotten older, my idea of a fun vacation has changed.

Now that I am married, one of the hobbies I share with my husband is traveling to new places. We’ve been to 43 states, lived overseas, and traveled on five continents. There is just nothing we enjoy more than experiencing new places, new sounds, new food, and new people.

Organizational Advice for Your Move

17 May

Greetings from Shorter Designs! My husband and I just moved, which is nothing new for us. We have moved nine times in our seven years of marriage, so we have it down to a science. Relocating is a great way for us to keep the clutter to a minimum and only hold on to the bare essentials.

The reasons surrounding our moves are always good, but at the same time, moving is never easy. Each time we changed cities, we had to find new friends, a new church, adjust to a new job, and learn our way around a new place. Moving is stressful, but we’re always surprised how quickly a new town and new house can become “home.”