Part 2 – Before You Go Outside Organize Inside

Last week I posted suggestions from Carolyn Burnham, owner of Healthy Home & Business LLC, for organizing a new (or perhaps not so new) home. Carolyn helps people take control of their environment through her services as a professional organizer. She works in the western suburbs of Chicago, and can be reached at 630-441-3403 or

In the previous blog Carolyn discussed buying furniture, shelving and recycling things you don’t need in your new home. Here are some more suggestions:


Invest in a Closet System If your closets only came equipped with only a closet bar and a shelf it might be a good idea to invest in more appropriate storage for your clothing.  Like before, don’t rush into it.  Go through a season or two and see how you are using your closet and make efforts to purge items you longer wear.  Measure the amount of hanging space you need, count up the shoes you need to store, add up the amount items you need to fit on shelves and baskets before you get started.

  • ClosetMaid sells nice DIY closet systems at both Lowes and Home Depot.
  • Local company ClosetWorks and Closets by Design will come into your home and design a system for you.
  • Make an appointment at the Container Store and they will design an elfa closet for you.  Elfa usually goes on sale in January and August.

Setup a Command Center:  This is the area where you enter the home where the mail and your car keys naturally land.  Include in this area a pocket or slot for mail for each member of the family, a calendar for family events, and a corkboard or magnetic dry erase board place to put notes to your family and enough surface area to sort the mail.  Fill a small desk organizer with some basic office supplies such as pens, paper, sticky notes, envelopes, stamps, scissors and tape. If you have school-aged children consider adding a place to put school related paperwork.  Locate a recycle bin or garbage can nearby for quick sorting out of the mail you don’t need to keep each day.  Good Housekeeping has some nice pictures of ideas for Command Centers.

Get your Emergency Information together and post it in your Command Center in your home.  This should include contact information for doctors, dentist, police, fire, alarm company, gas and electric companies, schools, 24 hours clinics or hospital, poison control, neighbors and friends.  If you have kids at home include the parents’ cell phone and work numbers on the list.  What is your family emergency plan in case of a fire or other event.  Write it down here.

Setup a filing system for your new home:  In a box or in your existing filing system create files for home related items.  This would include but not limited to receipts and warranty information, repair and home maintenance files, home improvement projects and idea files.

Use Evernote or Pinterest to help keep track of ideas for your new house.  Since many people do most of their research online both of these are great applications that can be used on mobile devices and your computer to keep track of all the projects that you want to do in your new home.  Out shopping? You can take a picture of furniture pieces and can save to your Evernote “Living Room Decorating” notebook and look at them when you get home.


Before You Go Outside Organize Inside

Hooray – it’s supposed to get downright balmy in northern Illinois during the next couple of days.  We are longing to get outside to play and begin working in our yards. Before winter’s grip is totally broken it may be a good time for people who have moved recently (or those of us who have allowed things to slip) to get organized inside. Carolyn Burnham, a professional organizer, and owner of Healthy Home & Business LLC has some useful advise for all of us. (more…)