Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 2/11/2019

So, you want to create a command center to enable your family to all be on the same page once in a while. The ideas online are as numerous as they are creative. Your supply list grows along with your doubt; maybe this wasn't such a good idea. As thoughts go, a command center is a great plan when you have several people on different schedules and many activities to attend. A command center doesn't have to be large to be effective. The size all depends on what and for how many people you need to keep track.

What to track

Common things you will see command centers track are:

- Weekly Menus
- Calendar
- Budget/Bills
- Keys/Leashes/Umbrellas
- Chore Lists
- School Bags/Homework
- Quotes

To keep the command center as simple and easy to use, limit the number of things you track to five or six. This way there is a better chance your household will adapt to using this tool and not be overwhelmed. 

Where to set it up

Most of the command center examples show them set up in and around the kitchen area. The kitchen is one place you know everyone in the house will at one time frequent at least once a day, hopefully. Other locations could be a small corner of shared space or even an exposed side of the refrigerator. A mudroom or entryway could work as a more substantial drop zone and command center. Anywhere that you know it will be seen and utilized will work. The key is to make sure the accessibility is appropriate for the entire household, keeping the age of all users in mind. 

How to put it all together

Now that you have a scope of the things you want to incorporate in your command center look around your home and see if there are items you can use before you rush out and start purchasing new things. Old clipboards and corkboards are great for hanging up and controlling papers. Use whiteboards for making menus, tracking chores or writing those inspiring quotes. Even old picture frames with glass can house an updated calendar page, and with a dry erase marker you can create your family calendar. Layout all the pieces on the floor before you hang anything up, that way you can play around with it before you commit.

Visit some open houses this weekend and look for places a command center would be useful. Contact your local realtor for a list of open houses.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 10/8/2018

There's a cheap office supply product available almost anywhere that can improve your home organization, save you money, and help prevent food-borne illnesses: ordinary stickers.

By stocking up on a variety of blank stickers, you can boost your efficiency around the house, save time, and reduce confusion.

Here are a few examples of how this basic strategy can prevent problems and simplify your life:

  • Leftover food: How many times have you looked at a container or package of leftover food in the refrigerator and wondered if it's still reasonably fresh and safe to eat? If you label it with the date, you'll never have to risk getting sick from food that's been sitting around in the fridge for weeks (or longer). "When in doubt, throw it out" is a good policy for dealing with perishable food items, but you also don't want to get in the habit of throwing out perfectly good food. Everyone has slightly different standards for how long food should be kept, but when leftovers are not labeled, your only option is to guess how long it's been there -- and that method isn't too accurate! As a side note, there are several government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that can advise you on recommended refrigeration storage times (and safe temperatures) for different types of food. Generally, it's three or four days, but it can be more or less, depending on how perishable it is, whether the package has been opened, and if it's cooked or raw. Frozen food has a much longer shelf life (usually one or two months in the freezer), but if you don't label it, you may have no idea what it is ("mystery meat?") or how long it's been in storage! Clearly labeling refrigerated and frozen food will give you peace of mind, help prevent you from throwing away food prematurely (saving you money), and reduce your chances of getting food-borne illnesses.
  • Old keys: Did you ever stumble upon an old key and wonder which door, suitcase, file cabinet, or car it's meant for? You can always try it out on different locks, luggage, or vehicles, but it could easily be from a previous residence, an item you no longer own, or a vehicle you traded in years ago. A much more efficient method would be to place the key in a small envelope or zip-lock bag and label it with identifying information. Labeling the tag on the keychain is another option.
  • House paint: Paint cans that have been around for years can often be difficult to identify, especially if the original product label is obscured by paint spills. By adding a descriptive label displaying the date, the room it was used on, and the color, it will be much easier to organize and find the paint you need when you want touch up your walls or baseboards.
While some members of the family may tease you for putting labels on everything, the amount of time, money, and frustration you'll be saving down the road will be well worth the inconvenience (and the ribbing)!





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 5/14/2018

The thought of trying to declutter your home could stress you out. If you put off the act of organizing, however, you could end up even more stressed out. Clutter in the home is proven to be a cause of stress. Not being able to find what you need can cause you to feel that you’re living in chaos. There’s a few tips that you can take into consideration to help you declutter, destress, and get organized for good! 


When Planning Storage Solutions, Measure First


If you shop for containers and other storage organization tools first, you’ll never know what will fit properly. Taking the time to measure things out and get the right size containers can help you to avoid creating more clutter for yourself. Measuring spaces helps you to come up with a plan for what your vision is for that space.


Declutter For Less


You don’t need to go into a huge debt to declutter your home. You can shop at the local dollar store to find containers, hooks, and bins to help you stay organized. Organization doesn’t need a lot of fancy tools. 


For Kids, More Is Better


When it comes to finding containers and bins for a child’s room, more is definitely better.  Having many separate compartments really helps the kids to stay organized and find what they’re looking for when they want it. 


A Junk Drawer Is Actually A Good Thing


You can actually keep that junk drawer or bin that you have in the house. A junk drawer is a great place for collecting items. Just learn to keep it organized. If you have a bin, make sure that you clean it out from time to time so that tons of things don’t end up building up there in a pile. If you have a junk drawer, try to compartmentalize it with categories and separators for a “lost and found” or “things that need to be put away.”


Every Door Is An Opportunity


In your home, think of each and every door, cabinet door, or closet door as an opportunity to create more storage. You can hang things on the backs of these doors including spice racks, shoe racks, hooks for coats, and so much more. Don’t miss out on a simple yet very effective space saver.


  

Create Zones


In each room, there’s places where the same activity is done over and over again. Creating zones helps to reduce clutter and increase organization. In the kitchen, for example, you probably have a dedicated prep space along with a clean up station. In bedrooms, there’s a place where you get dressed, throw your dirty clothes, and get ready for the day. Have everything that you’ll need in each “station” or “zone” so that you can stay on top of being tidy.





Posted by Andrew Abu Realtors on 4/9/2018

When you stop and think about all the details you have to take care of as a homeowner, it sometimes feels like you're running a business! That's especially true if have to coordinate everything from family doctor appointments to home remodeling projects.

Many people get so caught up in their daily routines and responsibilities that they lose sight of all the things they actually can handle, do overcome, and can accomplish!

No matter how organized and motivated you are, though, problems, oversights, and blunders do occasionally happen. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of making mistakes or forgetting something important.

Don't depend on your memory. Writing and revising lists of daily priorities, appointments, and reminders can be a valuable strategy for organizing your day. Mobile devices also have scheduling capabilities, note taking apps, and calendar features that can help you stay on track. When you commit a priority to writing or set up a reminder on your cell phone or tablet, you're increasing the probability that you'll remember appointments, fulfill obligations, and keep household projects moving forward.

Start with small steps: One challenge many people struggle with is motivating themselves to tackle an important project around the house. For example, let's say you desperately need to paint a room, straighten out a closet, or organize your filing system. Whether you're "too busy to turn around" or just plain unmotivated, it can be difficult to get started on a home improvement or organization project!

While you may have a few pet theories on why you can't seem to get started on a project, it might boil down to Newton's Laws of Motion. Back in the 17th century, physicist Isaac Newton stated that a stationary object (one that's not moving) tends to stay out of motion -- unless it's acted on by an outside force! Granted, he may not have been talking specifically about human beings, but the same principle seems to apply. Whether you're trying to get out of a warm, comfortable bed in the morning or take advantage of your new gym membership, it's often difficult to nudge yourself into action when you're in a state of rest. It's a problem we all have at one time or another.

The solution is to start small and build momentum as you go. Taking small steps at first, such as buying the supplies you need for a home improvement project, can often provide the extra push you need to get started. Telling a friend or family member that you're going to accomplish something this weekend can also help propel you forward.

If you need help in remembering things, consider buying a couple notebooks for writing daily lists. If you view yourself as a "technophobe," make it your mission to learn how to use the calendar app on your phone or tablet.

In addition to old-fashioned schedule reminders like wall calendars, appointment books, and desk calendars, you can even send yourself reminders via email or enlist the help of friends, family, or colleagues to remember appointments and priorities.

However, regardless of how many memory devices you use to organize your schedule or tackle household projects, keep in mind the motto of U.S. President Harry S. Truman: "The buck stops here!"