Toys, Toys, Toys, They are Everywhere!

Do you hum this little tune to yourself on the daily?  

I was seriously the girl before kids that said this, and I quote… ”My house will not look like a toy factory threw up.”  Now, l am in the real world with 2-year-old twins.

There is a slide and a play kitchen in my living room. The real kicker though, it isn’t a bad thing!

My kids need to be able to play and have creative outlets - or they will go crazy and then I go crazy which is just no fun for anyone involved.

With that said, there is a happy medium.

Even though our living room is their main play area, it is also our main area to chill. And I can’t chill with toys flying at me. In fact, it makes me anxious!

Three Tips to Getting the Best of Both Worlds:

LESS IS MORE

Per Dr. Lockhart with A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC, “Due to a child's under-developed frontal lobe which impacts executive functioning (which include organization, planning, decision-making, and self-control), when they are in a space where they are overloaded and over-stimulated with stuff, they cannot function optimally in that space.”  

A method to help with this overwhelm is to rotate toys in and out every few months.

It will keep their toy selection minimal and keep excitement in the toys they have, without going and buying more. An example of this is on Christmas. Do your kids look like deer in headlights with all the stuff they get? The 1st box they are ecstatic but by the 20th, they are over it. I keep out the toys that they are playing with and the rest I take to another area to store them.  

As you switch in and out, it is also a great time to declutter and pass on the toys they have outgrown or just don’t love.

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GIVE EVERYTHING A HOME

Kids are creatures of habit, they crave routine. By giving everything a home, they have a routine and can easily identify where everything goes when it is time to put the toys up for the night.  

According to Dr. Lockhart, “when things don't have its place and when they have too many things they don't use anyway, then they will have a challenging time maintaining that space in a way that is desirable for parents. They should have things that bring them joy and excitement.”

In addition, give everything a home helps to maintain and sustain being organized.  

We have baskets, bins that are labeled by category which makes it super easy to put everything back in its home.  

If your kids are too young to read, a fun way to label is by picture!

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HAVE FUN

You are only kids once and then you must grow up and be an adult, gross. Let the kids enjoy playing without worrying about making a mess.

At times it looks like a bomb went off in my home. I used to freak out and try to clean up behind them as they go, but I was fighting a losing battle.

Instead, I started to have fun with them. Do you remember how fun it was to just be free and doodle?  I joined my kids a few weeks ago and had a blast! My husband had to tell me it was time to clean up, I lost myself.

Once we were finished with that activity it wasn’t me cleaning up after them yelling to come back and help….it was a family affair.  

We made it fun to clean up and it was easy because everything had a home that was clearly identified. Plus, it is now a routine, so it comes naturally.

The time with my twins is flying by, they are becoming little people before my very eyes.  

I want them to be able to be creative, have a lot of fun, and just play! The will have to adult soon enough.

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It's Derby Time!

The first Saturday in May is always a special time here in Louisville, KY.

Why you may ask?  This day is the day the Kentucky Derby runs every year.  Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the City for the greatest 2 minutes in sports!

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This year marks the 145th Derby.

For us Louisvillians (yes, that is a mouthful) we kick off Derby two weeks in advance with Thunder of Louisville. It is pretty much a party for the next two weeks, with lots of events and energy in the City.  We even go as far as essentially shutting the City down the Friday before, so all of the locals can attend the track.

Don’t be shocked if you called a local business and they had an out of office voicemail for the day, I swear I am not kidding! 💁🏼‍♀️

We love this time of year here in Louisville. So much so, we invite all of our friends and family from out of town to enjoy with us and many will rent out their homes.  

This got me thinking: how do you prepare for overnight guests so they feel like they are staying in a 5 star hotel?

Personally, I  always have a list of hand for what essential items are needed to make my overnight guests feel at home.

Having the wifi password easily accessible is at the top of my list as that is generally the first thing my nieces from St. Louis ask for when they arrive.

My go to list is in a place I can always find it, so I can quickly do an assessment if I have everything or if I need to make a quick Target trip!

This is always my routine, but I decided to reach out to my good friend Jenny Margolin Watts, who is a Business Manager at WJWatts Consulting, to see how she prepares for guests.  We often joke that Jenny runs a Bed & Breakfast because she hosts us and others so often.  

She makes us so comfortable that many of us don’t want to leave. Below are a few questions I had for Jenny.

What do you do to prepare for overnight nights?

I try to take some time to think about who is staying over -- is it someone that has stayed before or will they be joining us for the first time?  

What are their favorite snacks/drinks/etc and I always make sure to have those on hand. hostess secret: I make notes of guests likes/dislikes, activities we have done when they visited, allergies, etc. This way I can refer to them for future visits and not have to ask or take them to the same restaurant for the 4th time.  

I make sure the guest room(s) are clean and fresh sheets on the bed(s). The closet in our first floor bathroom is stocked with fresh towels and easily accessible items guests may have forgotten (toiletries, Advil, lotion, hair dryer, straighter, etc.)

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I also stock the shower with shampoo, conditioner, and soap.

I then will take some time to think about our itinerary -- do I need to prep any meals, make reservations, or plan any activities we might want to do?  

What is one item you make sure to always have on hand when having overnight guests?  

This varies, depending on the guests but I would say coffee.

I also have the wifi network and password readily available with a little card on the side of our fridge.

What is the most overnight guests you have ever had stay at the same time?

I think 9....although I left for this occasion when East Mitchell (boys weekend) took over the house.  Typically we are hosting anywhere from 1-6 people at a time.

Any good stories to share?

I love hosting and having friends and family stay with us!  

Taking a little time to prep before guests arrive is key for me.  That way, I am able to spend more quality time with them during their visit and I think it makes them more comfortable too. I want them to feel at home and relaxed.


Hopefully these fun tips help for not only this week as we welcome friends for Derby, but year round.  

One Kentucky tip I will share: make sure you have stocked up on plenty of bourbon.

While the drink of Derby is mint julep, which is bourbon, most of us prefer to just keep it simple with a good ‘ole bourbon on the rocks.  

Cheers! And most importantly, go baby go!

Kim







The Tax Time Dread

Did you hear the clock ticking...tick tock tick tock.  

Did you feel your blood pressure also ticking along every day that inched closer to the dreaded doomsday of April 15?

According to the Internal Revenue Service in 2017, “nearly 50 million taxpayers have either spent the last week scrambling to locate key documents and file their returns, OR have scrambled to locate key documents and instead filed for an extension.”

Process that for a second.  


That is basically the entire population of South Korea. Can you imagine an entire country not filing their taxes until the month they are due?  I mean my heart is racing just thinking of this.

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Of those 50 million people, how many of them do you think are saying next year will be different?

What if I told you that next year CAN be different by following these simple steps!?

PREPARE TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL

Set up files on January 1st to maintain tax documents throughout the year and place them in an area of your home that is easy to just drop into the files.  

A perfect example is the donations you make during the year, like a drop-off to Goodwill.

How many just leave these receipts in their car until they get sick of seeing it and toss it?  Then when tax time comes, it then becomes a major scramble.

It would be so much easier if you could easily give that receipt a home as soon as you receive and not have to worry about it!

MONTHLY UPDATES

Put a calendar reminder once a month to clean up all outstanding records that you haven’t completed during the month, like expenses or mileage.  

It is much easier to update when it is fresh in your mind and not multiple months down the road.

DON’T GIVE YOURSELF A REASON TO DREAD IT

This is especially true for those are self employed or contract workers.  

Set aside funds during the year to prepare to pay the IRS - because one thing that will never change is good ‘ole Uncle Sam coming to collect his money! 😰

Also, if you notice in the prior year you didn’t have enough taken out of your paycheck, amend that problem immediately.

JANUARY IS YOUR MONTH TO SHINE

All tax documents have to be mailed by January 31st.  Your mailbox will feel like it is on tax overload.

Prepare a spot where all tax documents can be placed until you are ready to separate and file all items.

A common issue is leaving it in the “mail stack” on the counter - there is the risk that something will be spilled on it, the risk of it getting mixed in with junk mail and sent to the trash, or the risk of it just disappearing.

Don’t take any risks when it comes to tax documents!

CHECKLIST

Create a checklist of all the items you need to complete your taxes the first few weeks of February.  

If you are missing an item, it is easier to collect this early before the rush sets in.

BOOK APPOINTMENT WITH ACCOUNTANT IN ADVANCE

I was at my Accountants office on February 15 this year!

My Accountant and I booked my appointment in early January - so I was forced to get my last pieces of information put together by that date.  

It held me accountable.

I also got a chance to discuss with my accountant at length and asked a lot of questions, without feeling rushed or under a deadline.


April 15th can truly be just another day on the calendar.  

You can avoid the panic, pressure, and stress of a looming deadline.

And if you haven't started to create a plan of attack for 2019, it isn’t too late, but start TODAY!

Spring Cleaning

Spring has finally arrived!  

While I am so excited for April to enjoy fresh air, flowers blooming, and a chance to finally see the sun -others are not as excited.

To many when they think of April, the happy thoughts are lost by the date of tax season and on top of that, they have to spring clean? Get out! 🙅🏼‍♀️

I always love when I can finally get outdoors, put all my outdoor furniture back out and clean off my porch. To be honest, very few things bring me that much joy every year. And while, 78% of Americans plan to Spring Clean, 55% of them dread it according to SpareFoot blog.

In fact, 54% would rather do taxes than Spring Clean. 😱

This got me thinking: what can you do to look forward to Spring Cleaning?  

Here are 3 simple tips to do year round to be better prepared for Spring Cleaning.


It’s a Marathon

Why do you need to do a year’s worth of tidying in just one month?  I mean - I would dread that too.

Focus on one room at a time during the year to get organized.  

No good house flip is done without taking the house down to the studs to see all the problems and the same is true for organizing.  

You must remove everything from the space to evaluate what you have.

Then determine what you really value and choose to keep. Once you have narrowed items down to what you love, be systematic about where you place the items back into your space.  

This is key, because you want to make it easy for you to maintain the area being organized.


New items need a home

One of the most common issues I find is that people obtain more ‘stuff’ that comes into their home over time - but they don’t give it a home.

As soon as you walk into the door, give this item a home. A lot of times you will find yourself a lot more eager to hang up a new outfit if you really love it.  If you notice that the shopping bag sits on your floor for weeks not touched, do you really need that item?

Once you give the item a home, it is now organized.

Remember: The items that sit around and never make it past the hallway are clutter -- and clutter only grows bigger and bigger.


Enjoy the outdoors!

Save your outdoor organizing projects for when it is nice outside.  

I have been itching to get outside all winter, but instead of complaining that I can’t get out, I’ve completed almost all of my indoor project!

The second the sun is out, I am out that door - and you won’t see me inside again for at least 3 months. 🙌🏼

Hello garage! You often have your garage door open a lot more during the warmer months, so what better time to have a nice, organized garage for you (and your neighbors) to look at!


I know that when you implement these small changes next year, you will be ready for Spring Cleaning, rather than dreading it.  

Give it a try, what do you have to lose right?




Toys, Toys, Toys - They Are Everywhere!

Do you hum this little tune to yourself on the daily?  I was seriously the girl before kids that said this, and I quote…” My house will not look like a toy factory threw up.”  

Oh, young and naïve Kim - you're so silly!

Now l am in the real world as I have 2-year-old twins. There is a slide and a play kitchen in my living room. The real kicker though, it isn’t a bad thing! My kids need to be able to play and have creative outlets - or they will go crazy and then I go crazy which is just no fun for anyone involved.

With that said, there is a happy medium. Even though our living room is their main play area, it is also our main area to chill. And I can’t chill with toys flying at me. In fact, it makes me anxious - imagine that.  

So how do you get the best of both worlds?

Less is More

Per Dr. Lockart with A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC, “Due to a child's under-developed frontal lobe which impacts executive functioning (which include organization, planning, decision-making, and self-control), when they are in a space where they are overloaded and over-stimulated with stuff, they cannot function optimally in that space.”  

An awesome method to help with this is to rotate toys in and out every few months.  It will keep their toy selection minimal and keep excitement in the toys they have, without going and buying more.  

The perfect example of this is on Christmas. Do your kids look like deer in headlights with all the stuff they get?  The first box they are ecstatic but by the 20th, they are over it.  

I personally keep out the toys that they are playing with, and the rest I take to another area to store them.  

As you switch in and out, it is also a great time to declutter and pass on the toys they have outgrown or just don’t love.

Give Everything a Home

Kids are creatures of habit, they crave routine. By giving everything a home, they have a routine and can easily identify where everything goes when it is time to put the toys up for the night.  

According to Dr. Lockhart, “when things don't have its place and when they have too many things they don't use anyway, then they will have a challenging time maintaining that space in a way that is desirable for parents. They should have things that bring them joy and excitement.”

In addition, give everything a home helps to maintain and sustain being organized.  

We have baskets and bins that are labeled by category which makes it super easy to put everything back in its rightful space.  

 
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If your kids are too young to read, a fun way to label is by picture.

Have Fun

Your kids will only be this young once. Let the kids enjoy playing without worrying about making a mess.

At times it looks like a bomb went off in my home. I used to freak out and try to clean up behind them as they go, but I was fighting a losing battle.

Instead, I started to have fun with them. Do you remember how fun it was to just be free and doodle?  

I joined my kids a few weeks ago and had a blast! My husband had to tell me it was time to clean up!

Once we were finished with that activity it wasn’t me cleaning up after them yelling to come back and help - we made it a family affair.

It became a fun game to clean up and it was easy because everything had a home that was clearly identified. Plus, it is now a routine, so it comes naturally.

The time with my twins is flying by, they are becoming little people before my very eyes. I want them to be able to be creative, have a lot of fun, and just play!

 
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What are your favorite toy storage tips? I’d love to hear them all!

Happy Tidying!

Kim


Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

The new show on Netflix: Tidying Up featuring Marie Kondo as been all the buzz the last month or so - but just in case you have been living under a rock, the show is all about Marie Kondo who is an adorable, yet fierce, Japanese organizing consultant and author.

She created the KonMari method, which is a lifestyle brand inspiring people to choose the items that spark joy and complete their tidying adventures.

The show follows her into people’s homes and help to clear out the clutter.  

People ask me about it all the time and often send me pics of their own DIY efforts.  It always makes me so excited that other people are as excited about getting organized as me. Is this a dream?!

Before the KonMari Folding Method

Before the KonMari Folding Method

After the KonMari Folding Method

After the KonMari Folding Method

While I don’t partake in telling my clothes thank you as I toss them into the giveaway bag, I think a lot can be said about asking yourself…does this shirt bring me joy?

Often, we keep a lot of clothing for various reasons: I got it on sale, it was a present, or I feel like I need it are just a few of the reasons.

One of my Clients told me she would always look at her closet stock full of clothes and say, “I have nothing to wear.” Does this sound familiar? She went on to say once she cleared out her closet and only kept the items that “sparked joy”, she could clearly see what to wear daily and the process was easier. The icing on the cake is that she has received multiple compliments on her outfits since decluttering her closet!

Why? It is because she is wearing the outfit proudly and, I assume, exuding confidence.

I know when I wear an outfit that I don’t absolutely love, I feel frumpy. When I feel frumpy, I walk frumpy, my work product is blah, and I try to hide or not be seen. On the days when I dress in an outfit I love, I walk in a door like I own it!

So why don’t we wear outfits we love daily?

It seems like such a basic concept, but one we all get caught up in. If your closet is busting at the seams, rather than deciding you need a bigger closet, look at all the items and see what you truly want to keep that brings you joy and happiness.

This method can go far beyond your clothes. For me, it is a lifestyle. One I love to share and talk about nonstop.  

So regardless if you thank your socks for their hard work or not, Marie Kondo does offer a lot of valuable lessons about clearing clutter and how it can change your life!  

Now, I am off to go binge watch some more, eat my popcorn, and smile nonstop as I watch my girl Marie transform the lives of many.

If you want more tips and tricks on how to KonMari your life, hop over to my Instagram where I’ll be hosting Tuesday Tips with Kim!

Happy Organizing!

I Have a Dream

Today is the day we celebrate and remember the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK).  This weekend has always been one of great memories for me: it usually falls on my brother’s birthday, my aunt and uncle got married on this weekend, sometimes I got a day off, this year it lands on my niece’s birthday, but most importantly I realized that anything and everything is possible if you have a dream!

 

My Dad is the one to ignite the dream vision for me many years ago.  He was involved in the Union where he worked and once did a speech about “having a dream”.  His dream was to have the day off and for this day to be recognized as a Holiday.  Now he was also being somewhat of an a** here, but he did have a few valid points.  First, why not recognize this day as a holiday for the man who led the civil right movement and died doing so?  Second, if we have a dream let it be heard and follow those dreams not just today, but every single day.

By definition, a dream is a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep.  It can also be defined as a strongly desired goal or purpose. 

My dream for years and years was to have kids.  I felt like something was missing in my life and yearned to be a Mom.  It was a long road; lots of needles, and tears but my dream became a reality.  In fact, my dream doubled, and I had twins!

After the twins were born, I realized anything is possible and why do I continue to work an 8-5 job stuck behind a desk all day when I am not happy?  So, once we made it past the first year of twin life (holy cow, what a blur), I focused on my next dream: to own a successful Home Organization company.  I wanted to take my passion of being organized and helping others to the next level.  Luckily, I spoke my dream out loud, to everyone who would listen.  I told Lara at the gym at 5:30 in the morning and she immediately said, “let’s do this”.  I also had the support of family and friends telling me to go for it!  They also provided a lot of knowledge, like do you have a business plan? 

 

 I am naturally an organized person, but I soon realized I needed a lot more than that to be successful.  Ok fine, I was the girl who alphabetically organized my CDs by genre in my bookcase on my waterbed, so I am truly next level organized freak.  That was my foundation, but I had to plan, learn, and grow for 6 months before L+K Home Organization ever became official.  Even then, I had struggles and had to continue digging deep. Yet, I continued focusing on the dream.  A year later after becoming an official business owner, I continue to reach the next level of my dream.  However, don’t let me fool you…every day is not rainbows and butterflies. 

 

What is your dream?  A dream can be whatever you want it to be: run a marathon, jump out of a plane, get a promotion, take a European vacation, etc…  It could be getting organized, which lucky for you I am here to assist (joking…maybe).  No matter what your dream is, it can be accomplished with a lot of hard work, determination, and kicking fear in the butt.

I will leave you with a very strong quote by MLK himself, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”

 

With that, Happy MLK Day and remember to always have a dream!

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New Year, New You!

Happy New Year!!!

I always find the first few days of the year to be exciting and filled with possibilities, but it quickly dissolves.  Why is that?

The first week starts with lofty goals; I want to win the lottery, lose 500 lbs, and buy a house on a private island!  Then, for some crazy reason when that doesn’t happen, we give up!  The same can be said for getting organized.  Many people would love to get organized, but how?  When it isn’t something that magically happens, they get defeated and give up.

To win the lottery, you must play…right?  You must invest the $2, go to the store to get a ticket, AND then check it.  There are steps taken to get there.

What steps are needed to get organized?  The first step is to create a plan of attack!  Do you start with the garage that you don’t even want to look at, the stacks of pictures that you end up sitting and looking thru for hours, the playroom that looks like a bomb went off, the closet you can’t walk into, or the pantry that is flowing onto the counters?  My recommendation is to always start small; an area you can complete within a few hours, and then build.  It is also best to start in a room where you don’t have the emotional ties that pull at your heart strings, ie the children’s artwork or old love letters. 

So what is the best area of the house to get started you may ask?  I would recommend starting in the bathroom or the kitchen.  However, keep it small.  Instead of thinking, today I am going to organize the bathroom, start with organizing under the sink.  The kitchen can be the same, but on a larger scale that can be broken down into several small pieces. 

My favorite place to start in the kitchen is either under the sink or the spices.  Did you know that spices only have a shelf life of 6 months to a year?  When you read that, were you secretly thinking I have never checked the expiration dates on my spices?  You are not alone.

So, let’s get started!  Take all the spices out into an open space.  Check every single bottle for the date and if expired, pitch it!  That is pretty black and white right?  So now you are thinking if I keep the spices that are expired, am I really going to die?  No, of course not.  However, the spices have lost their freshness, aroma and flavor at that point, so why keep them? 

Once you have gone thru all the spices you have, it’s time to keep them organized!  My go to for spices is to alphabetize them in your open space to see what you have. 

If you have 5 bottles of cinnamon that are half used, condense them down for space.  Do you feel better already?  Does a weight feel as if it has been lifted off your shoulders by having 100 spices all over the place to now having 15 spices in a central location?  Yes!!!  Make time for a little happy dance and let’s get to the fun part.

Pick a dedicated area to give these spices a home.  If you cook a lot and use a lot of spices, then the pantry on the other side of the room from the stove may not be a great spot.  Once you find a spot, then I would suggest purchasing an organizational tool that will display the spices neatly and you can easily see what you have one hand.  This doesn’t need to be expensive and many times we have items laying around the house.  Do you have a lazy susan or a can good stair step organizer?  These will work!  So, place everything back in alphabetical order, labels easy to see, and only one spice per type.  The rest can go into an overstock area and be replaced once out. 

 

Congrats! You are on your way to getting organized.  Take baby steps until you are ready to tackle that garage or basement you have been avoiding since moving in! 

 

As always, if you need assistance, that is what we are here for!  Please click the link below to schedule a 30 minute call to discuss.