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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

For many people, simplification can feel like an overwhelming task. The amount of stuff that may exist in your life may look like too much to tackle.

Photo by: Christopher Shane Photography

This begs the question: Can you get by with less?

Be aware that you don’t have to simplify all at once. You can take it one step and one day at a time until you’ve conquered the mountain. You’ll get there eventually, and you may even enjoy yourself along the way. In the end, you’ll discover that a simple life can be the most fulfilling!

Try these strategies to help simplify your life:

1. List your top priorities. Create a small list of the most important four or five things that you want to accomplish in your life. What are your priorities? Where do you most want to devote your attention? Keep this small list with you at all times, so you never forget where you want to be. 

2. Drop one of your commitments. Find a commitment that takes up your time without giving you much value. Perhaps it’s something you dread doing or simply no longer enjoy. Take action today by dropping that commitment from your load.

3. Start with a single drawer. Choose a single drawer or shelf in your home to begin your purge. Empty everything out of the area into a single pile; then select only the important stuff you really want to keep. Get rid of everything else, either by throwing it away or donating it.

Photo by: Christopher Shane Photography

* Clean out the drawer, simplify it, and organize it, and then you have your foundation for a simpler and more organized life. Ensure that everything remaining is put back in an orderly manner. From here, you can try another drawer or shelf. 

Photo by: Christopher Shane Photography

4. Simplify daily routines. Take a look at your daily routines and to-do list. If you’re trying to fit more than 10 tasks into your list for a day, then there are probably ways for you to simplify things. What can you eliminate, delegate, outsource, or even ignore? Shorten your list as often as you can by focusing on what really matters. 

5. Free up your time. Find at least 20 minutes each day when you can sit down and think about simplifying.

6. Clean up your desk. A clean desk can completely change how you’re feeling, and this is a simple task to complete, as well. Clean everything off your desk, creating a pile. Process your pile starting from the top to down, one object at a time. Deal with each item individually. File it, route it to somewhere else, note it on a list of to-do items, or trash it. 

Photo by: Christopher Shane Photography

* Repeat the process until your desk is clear, and your pile is empty. Complete this process at the end of every day, so that your desk is always clean, organized, tidy, and most of all, simple. If you do this daily, it will take you only a few minutes each time.

One thing that I believe a lot of us can relate to when it comes to simplification is our make-up. If you are having trouble organizing your make-up stash, you can count on my 5 Simple Make-up Organization Tips for the Minimalist to be your go-to video.

7. Slow down. Stop rushing through the day and start living at a slower pace. Work on simplifying your life by doing less and living much more consciously. Walk, drive, eat, and even work more slowly. Learn how to live in the moment, to be present, and to think simply. 

8. Avoid multi-tasking. Rather than multi-tasking, strive to do one thing at a time. Remove any distractions, resist the urge to check your email, and focus on one task at a time until you complete it. This will boost your productivity and reduce stress. You can begin taking small steps toward living the simple life today. Know that you can learn to get by with less than what you have, and you can live well in the process – perhaps even better than you did before!

Hugs and Love, Nikki.

Decluttering and organizing your home can quickly feel overwhelming and frustrating. If you’re afraid to get started because it seems like so much work, try doing fewer tasks at a time. When you take small steps to declutter and organize your home, you can conquer the task smoothly.

DIVIDE THINGS UP

Tackle only one room at a time. This will make your task appear much less daunting. Avoid moving on to the next room until you’ve completed the last one.

Try these tips for organizing and decluttering your home in small steps:

1. Choose your starting point. Select a room that you can tackle in a day, rather than the most challenging one in the house. Once you’ve chosen your room, start early, so you have as many daylight hours as possible to work on your cleaning and decluttering.

• One thing I recommend is to use a Cleaning Checklist. This will give you a general overview of what needs to be done and brings structure to your plans. Day by day you will see what you have finished and this will give you a sense of accomplishment which is very important in reducing stress caused by overwhelm. Check out my Cleaning Checklist Printable here.

2. Basic sort. Go through everything in your starting room and sort out items you no longer want. Everything that you touch in the room should go into one of four categories: Things you want to THROW away, things you want to DONATE or SELL, things that should REMAIN where they are, and things that you want to KEEP but that are in the wrong room.

• Use this sorting principle for every item in the room. When you’re finished, you should have four distinctive piles or areas in the room. Each item in the room will be in one of the four piles.

3. Remove trash. Merely taking all the “throw away” stuff out of the room is going to make a huge dent. Keep in mind that personal paperwork should be shredded rather than simply put into the garbage.

4. Remove donation items. Anything that you intend to sell, give away, or donate should come out next. Store these items somewhere else in the house for now. Continue to add to this section from each room in your home until you’re ready to make one single donation or yard sale.

5. Sort the “belongs elsewhere” section. Do not merely move these items into another room; otherwise, you’ll need to sort them again. Create a box or container for each room for which you have the items. Make sure that you want to keep them so that you can transfer them into the right room without having to sort them again later.

• To help you with decluttering, check out my video on what items you should get rid of to start the organization process.

6. Organize what’s left. Now that you’ve removed a large portion of “stuff” from your room, you can organize everything that remains. When you’re only working with the things that are supposed to be in the room, decluttering and organizing becomes much simpler.

7. Repeat this process. Continue steps 1-6 in each room until you’ve finished the whole house. When you handle one space at a time, the process will be much simpler and less stressful.

Once you’ve finished organizing your house, take a few minutes each day to ensure everything you’ve used during the day is back in place so you can continue to enjoy your “new” clutter-free home.

Big tasks can seem overwhelming. Break your decluttering challenge into smaller increments and before you know it, your house will be clean, organized, and absolutely ready for a celebration.

On the subject of celebrations, I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I have launched my Home Hostess Collection. This toolkit will help you plan a party with the fine details and party budget and inspirations for menus and party themes. I am so in love with this collection, and I hope that you will too!

I hope these decluttering and organizing tips can help reduce clutter in your home. If you feel like you need a little more help, you can schedule a virtual home organizing session with me here. I will be happy to talk to you about your organization needs. See you!

Hugs and Love, Nikki

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