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Hello Friends! Fall is almost here. We all know fall brings cooler weather, the leaves change color, cozy sweaters, and “pumpkin spice lattes!” Fall is the transition of seasons, and like the seasonal change that occurs, we need to adapt the way we take care of our homes. Our homes are one of the most important investments. Since our home is valuable to use, we need to maintain it. Friends, I have tools, tips, and tricks for you to maintain your home year-round.  

The first step is to have a plan to clean. I like to reference Beautifully Organized at Home Planner to keep track of the daily, weekly, and even monthly cleaning checklist. As we enter Fall, we’ll spend more time at home, which can mean more messes in the home. I believe in your home. Therefore, it is important to set up systems to help your home run efficiently.


I believe cleaning the home is an equal opportunity event. Don’t be afraid to get the whole family involved. Make it a fun event with either a reward or a competition.

Photo Credit: Abby Murphy Photography

The fun idea is to put all the tasks you need to do, like checking faucets for leaks or cleaning exterior Windows, on cleaning recipe cards. I like to get a cardholder, and within the cardholder, you’ll have a divider for each room in the house, like the living room, the foyer, guest bedroom, and a completed section. Each section on a “Cleaning Recipe Card” lists what you would like to get done in that room. Like for the living room, it can be clean and dust fan, reverse the direction of the fan when cleaned, and that would be a Fall task. Each of these cards can be laminated to make them easy to wipe off.

Photo Credit: Katie Charlotte Photography

You can have a cardholder for each season to really break down what you need to clean. Towards the front of every box, I have a list of cleaning supplies I need to clean. I like to get natural cleaning products from the Grove like sprays, disinfectants, and even sponges. I keep in mind that by September, I need these cleaning items to clean my home successfully.

The next step is to work the plan. Place your cardholder box out where it is visible to everyone, and I like to put it on my entryway table. This makes it easy to see, so you can pull a card from the card box each day you come home. The process is to take one card a day and work on that task for one hour; grab another if it can be completed sooner. An hour is your time limit. This can create a fun competition with kids or teens.

For each completed task, they can add their personalized dot sticker to the back of the card. At the beginning of each year, you can assign a dot color to each family member, and when they complete a task, they’ll place their dot on the back of the cleaning cards. Then, during your family meeting, you can tally up and see who completed the most tasks, and whoever completes the most tasks can get a reward.

Family members, kids, and teens feel a sense of accomplishment after completing cleaning tasks. I highly recommend this activity for families to do each season.


Friends, let’s not forget about the outside of our homes. A Home Maintenance Checklist is perfect for reminding you of important tasks for the upkeep of your home. In addition, this checklist is perfect for keeping track of your HVAC servicer and other companies you use to help maintain your home.  

If you need more cleaning tips and tricks, you can watch my video here, where I share my secret weapons for cleaning my kitchen with you!


As we change seasons, it is important to adapt your home to face many changes throughout the year. It is my pleasure to go on this journey with you to make our homes Beautifully Organized.   


Hugs and Love,

Nikki

Friends,
It’s back-to-school season, and back-to-school is a chance to start fresh and bring in a successful school year. I have teamed up with my friend to help set up her classroom for the students this fall. Teachers, like anyone, get overloaded with class items, supplies, and papers. It’s easy for things to get put into the wrong cabinet or added to the piles of paperwork.


The system I like to organize a classroom is the same system I use to organize any space. It is important to create systems that you can use year after year, which is easy for teachers and students alike.

The first step is to set up an organizing command center. This can be an open space in your classroom to prepare to layout the items you are about to organize. This is similar to a home command organization center, but instead of “keep, donate, and purge,” you will refine it to meet your classroom’s needs. For this step, categorize the items in your space. For example, “teaching materials,” “art and crafts,” “cleaning supplies, and “purge.” Then, write out the categories and tape them along the wall in the space you have put aside to organize on a blank sheet of paper.


Now it is time to pull everything out. Pull everything out of the cabinets and drawers, and place them in the categories you have labeled. I love this step because you can see what you have and really take a mental inventory. In most cases, we have duplicates of rulers, staplers, or just too much construction paper. But that’s okay, and we can take these items and put them in the purge category. Everything is pulled out and placed into categories. Your cabinets and drawers are now empty. This is the perfect time to really wipe down the space. You can get into the corners and hard-to-reach spaces. This will give a sense of revitalization to your space, knowing it is cleaned from top to bottom.

Everything is clean and clear. It’s time to implement systems. I like to start with a teacher’s cabinet. A lot of the time, teachers forget about themselves. The teacher’s closet is a personal space where you can put away your bag, water bottle, hang your jacket, and your Teacher Planner. I love to use linen bins because they are so versatile and easy to clean. The bins also offer label inserts so you can label what you have.

Moving to the supply cabinet, create a system that frequently used items are easy to reach and on lower shelves. For example, crayons, markers, and pencils can be placed in pencil holders on the supplies table. Put like-items together into bins that make it easy to see what you have. I like to use clear acrylic bins so that it’s easy to see what you need before you take it out. This also makes it easy to move, especially if you move classrooms every year. For loose construction paper, I place them in paper bins.

The fun part of every classroom is the decoration. My advice is to streamline decor by color coordinating. The binders can match the color of the bins. This creates a fun look while still keeping that crisp look. These systems will provide ease and enjoyment to the classroom. These systems can be used year after year to create a nourishing, fun, and beautiful environment for yourself and your students.

Friends, are you stressed, unbalanced, or feel like there’s no work-life balance? It is often said that how well we perform at work depends on how well we manage our lives outside the office. I have found through managing my professional organizing firm At Home With Nikki that you must set yourself up for success.    

Photo Credit: Katie Charlotte Photography

Work-life balance is achievable if we make the right choices and implement systems that help us find peace. In my new book, Beautifully Organized at Work, I share tips on creating a beautifully organized work life. 

First, I would make a master list of things you need to accomplish each workday. Take out a loose sheet of paper, or “Brain Dump,” page and a pen to get started. Take this time to really think about the tasks that need to be completed. This list will include everything, from getting dressed to breakfast. Anything that takes time out of your day will need to be written down. This is the perfect time to get family members engaged especially if you start your days together. Take each task and assign it enough time to complete but remember to limit yourself so other tasks can get done. 

I like to pull out my planner and utilize my “Day on a Page.” This page is perfect for planning your day. The day is broken down by hours, to-do lists, reminders, and even a reminder on daily water intake. Start with the simple tasks of getting up in the morning, making your bed, and moving on to the rest of the day. The list can be written the day before to ensure a successful, stress-free day. 

Preparing the day before is key to achieving a more balanced work-life. After I write out what I need to do for the upcoming workday, I select my clothes. The hassle of selecting your clothes in the morning can add unnecessary time to your day. When choosing your clothes, think of the work outfit as a uniform and select pieces from a similar color palette. Save time by matching the same brand or even a neutral color palette. When selecting clothes, always consider your shoes as a part of the outfit, so you won’t end up spending fifteen minutes looking for them.

Plan your breakfast and lunch. The night before, have your lunch prepared and packed away. This saves time when you’re at work. You can use your lunch to recharge and rest instead of waiting in line for lunch. In the morning, use a programmable coffee maker to wake up to a freshly brewed pot of coffee or tea. Talk about a motivator! Next, have a simple breakfast you eat every morning, so you don’t have to think about it. A yogurt parfait is easy to make and healthy breakfast option that can be stored in the refrigerator. In my monthly meal plan, I have easy breakfast recipes that will start your morning off right. 

The next area of your work life is your desk. It is where you spend most of your day. A cluttered desk can cause frustration. When assessing the top of your desk, it is important to keep the essential items. I like to keep my planner, notebook, phone, and computer. A desk tray can keep a stapler, pen holder, tape dispenser for functionality. “Desk trays” can be used to keep small items in places like pensbinder clips, and “letter openers.” It is important to remember that everything has a place on your desk, and keeping it there will create a sense of ease throughout the day. 

The advice I share in my “Beautifully Organized at Work”  will bring peace and productivity to your day. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed remember that, that is no way to live. The tools I share take time to implement and will not happen overnight, but you will become more beautifully organized if you are committed to staying organized. 


Hugs and Love,

Nikki

Hello Friends,

I have an easy, affordable DIY gallery wall decorating project for you. This project is quick and can be completed within one afternoon.

The At Home With Nikki team took on the task of decorating a blank wall in the office. It was important that we display our values as a daily reminder of our mission along with beautifying our space.  This project can be made with items you already have around the home or at your local craft store (Michaels). 

1. Pull Out Your Cricut Machine. The Cricut Machine is a versatile printing and laminating machine. It can be used to create labels for a pantry or the command center in your home. But today, we are going to use it to make wall art. On plain paper, print off your image. This can be a simple black and white image. The lamination machine will add a little “pop of color” later. 

2. Get your gold foil and place it over the desired word. Take your time with this step, and precisely place the cut-out gold foil on the desired word. For our wall art, we decided to laminate the word “Our Mission.”

3. Place the paper in the protector and place it between the roller. The machine will be warm, so use caution. Gently push the paper in the protector through the machine until it comes out on the other end. Pass the paper through the machine at least two times.

And Voila, the image is finished! All that is left is to put it up. We got three white frames from Michaels and placed them on our wall. 

I always feel empowered by DIY projects. It allows me to express my creativity and instills a sense of accomplishment. The motto on this wall will serve as a reminder to the team and our friends that At Home With Nikki is a place  “Without Judgement, here to help individuals, families, and businesses, make their home and work life function beautifully and promote the importance of having a well-organized space.”

Friends, I hope you enjoy this DIY gallery wall decorating project. You can watch more of my DIY projects on my YouTube Channel, where I share with you some DIY Project tips and home organization tips that will help you around your office or home.

Hugs and Love, Nikki

We all have excuses for doing some of the negative things we do. Holding onto clutter is common, and having excuses as to why we keep all the “stuff” is par for the course.

Do you know what the real problem is with getting organized?

We have too much stuff! 

I’m willing to bet you have some things you (or someone you live with) keep without having a good enough reason.

Photo by: Katie Charlotte Photography

So why DO we keep so much stuff?

The thing is, it’s easier to find excuses for why you should keep something and delay making a decision rather than making a firm (and sometimes difficult) choice to say goodbye to your “stuff.”

Here are four of my favorite excuses…

1. “I might need it someday.”

Yes, you might. But the thing is most of the items we keep can easily be found or replaced within a day or two. Lots of men (my dad included) keep every screw and nail created and store it away like a squirrel with his nuts.

Photo by: Katie Charlotte Photography

But what happens is these little tiny items create more and more clutter, and it gets to a point where you can’t find that little screw anyway because it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

2. “I’m going to lose some weight and start wearing this again.”

I hope if you have a goal to lose some weight, you do everything in your power to make it happen. And when you do, I give you permission to go out and find a sale and buy some brand new clothes. You should be proud and it’s the perfect time to reward yourself.

3. “So-and-So Gave Me This.”

I’m all for keeping memories and items that remind us of people we love. But the truth is, memories are not in the clutter, the knick-knacks, and “stuff” you have shoved in a box.

Photo by: Katie Charlotte Photography

I won’t say get rid of everything, and it’s not always an easy decision, but try and only keep the special things you cherish. Get them out in the open, on display – where you can enjoy them and have a story to tell when someone comments or asks a question about the item.

Remember: Don’t feel obligated to keep every single thing that everyone gives you in your home. Don’t hold on to things out of obligation. I have mentioned this in one of my videos where I discussed Creative Tips To Declutter Your Home.

4. I paid good money for this… “thing!”

I’m sure you did. But the thing is, what has more value…this “item” you no longer have any use for or the way you enjoy your house? The item… or your happiness? The item… or your space?

Photo by: Katie Charlotte Photography

5. Oh, I’m just trying to figure out what to do with it…

Okay, so maybe it’s not worth holding onto.

See, if it takes that much mental work to figure out what to do with something, you can take a pretty good guess that it may not be worth as much to you as you think. 

If you can’t figure out what to do with something… it’s a safe bet you won’t miss it too much. One thing that can help you decide is by referring to the Decluttering Guide that is on page 28 of my book Beautifully Organized. This book will help you assess your home to transform your space based on your lifestyle.

Photo by: Katie Charlotte Photography

There is a lot more value in enjoying your home, your friends, and your family than the “stuff” you paid for.

Let’s breakdown your clutter together.  Click here to get started. 

Hugs and Love, Nikki.

Are you determined to get your home office under control? It doesn’t take long for financial records to get the best of us. One of the most important steps to organizing is determining what is worth keeping and what isn’t. Paystubs, credit card bills, mortgage statements, utility bills, and the endless stream of financial mail are enough to overwhelm anyone.

There are several records that are important to save:

1. Save pay stubs for a year. If you receive your paycheck via direct deposit, you can get away without saving your paystubs. Though errors are infrequent, the ability to double-check your W-2 form against your paystubs can be useful. You can run them through the shredder a year after your taxes are completed.

2. Keep investment records for as long as your investment. Waiting 12 months after your taxes are filed is even safer. It’s beneficial to double-check your gains or losses when selling. Remember that these records are frequently available online, so paper copies are redundant.

3. Keep tax returns for a minimum of four years. For a standard audit, the IRS will go back 3-4 years. If you’ve underreported your income by 25% or more, they can go back even further.  If you want tips on how to organize your taxes, you can check out my Tax Organization Tips video and I hope you will find that helpful.

Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional so you will always want to follow the advice of a tax professional.

Do you have a nanny, housekeeper, gardener, or other domestic help that you hire directly? Keep 3-4 years of pay records.

4. Mortgage records are also worth saving. This includes all the documents received at closing and records of payments. Also, keep receipts related to home improvement projects.

Fortunately, there aren’t many records that require saving. While there are financial records worth keeping, most paperwork can be fed to your shredder. 

Avoid keeping these records:

1. Put your bills in the shredder. Most bills aren’t worth saving. Only keep bills that are necessary for tax purposes. Check your bills for accuracy and then pay and shred them.

2. Throw out all junk mail except preapproved credit card applications. As annoying as junk mail can be, avoid the urge to throw all of it in the trash. Shred preapproved credit offerings to avoid identity theft issues.

3. Computer media can have sensitive information. Be aware of simply throwing away memory sticks, old computer disks, or hard drives. There are companies that will destroy these items for you. A hammer can serve well, too. Some experts recommend fire, but the fumes aren’t exactly safe. A hammer is more environmentally friendly.

4. Unless needed for tax purposes, avoid saving receipts. If you’re very conscientious and go over your finances in great detail each month, keep your receipts for a month. Otherwise, throw all receipts in the trash except those that are for items that you might want to return. Keep these receipts until the return period has expired.

As a general rule, the more expensive the item, the longer a receipt should be saved. It makes more sense to keep a receipt for a new washer and drier than a pack of gum.

It’s easy to determine which items should be shredded. Shred items that you wouldn’t want falling into the hands of strangers. If an item contains your social security number or credit card number, shred it. Beyond that, it’s up to you.

Financial records are a part of everyday life. From ATM receipts to mortgage statements, financial papers accumulate at a rapid rate. It’s important to know which financial records are worth keeping and which aren’t. Avoid keeping records that serve no purpose. Keep your financial records neat and organized. If it gets to a point where you are overwhelmed with the piles of paperwork in your home, you can click here to schedule a Virtual Organizing Session with me and I would be happy to be your go-to Professional Organizer so we can tackle this seemingly overwhelming task together.

Hugs and Love, Nikki

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