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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

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Home Depot. As always, I only partner with brands that I love and truly believe in, allowing me to share how to bring beauty and function to our homes. All opinions expressed are my own.

Every home reaches a point where it starts to show it’s age. Well, our house is at that point. Our palace is almost twenty years old, and boy is it time to give it a little botox to keep it looking fresh and new. A few months ago, we upgraded our guest bathroom sink, mirror and lighting. The space now needs those final finishing touches to bring it to life! Even if you do not makeover your space you can transform it in minutes by implementing a few simple upgrades such as new hardware and accessories.

SIMPLE FIXES

You don’t need to call in a contractor and spend a lot of money upgrading your bathroom. There are simple fixes that can transform a bathroom space into a beautiful oasis and bring it right into 2019, such as your hardware.

One thing that was dated in my bathroom was our door handle. It screamed early 1990! I wanted something to coordinate with the upgrades we completed a few months back in our bathroom. Clean and modern was the look I was going for, and I found it with this beautiful chrome door handle. Something about chrome just says “new and fresh”. I immediately fell in love and now it feels like you are walking into a luxury hotel every time you open the door!

A 10 minute project has removed years from this one area in our bathroom. I also wanted to add a door hanger for guest to hang their robe or clothing. Because this is a smaller bathroom, I needed to use my vertical space to keep the bathroom from feeling cluttered.

SPECIAL TOUCHES

Adding the special touches is always the fun part, especially in my guest bathroom. It gives me the opportunity to make our guest feel as if they are at their own personal spa. Every spa needs a plush robe, and this was the perfect addition to my new hook.

I love an all white bathroom, but something about mine was saying it needed a pop of color. Lately, I have been loving implementing the color green in my white and grey color scheme. I found this beautiful artwork called “Watercolor Leaf” that provided the perfect “pop” needed in my stark bathroom.

A great way to bring color into your space is with plants. I love how this vase coordinates with my artwork and overall theme for the bathroom.

When I am refreshing a space in my home, I always love to think about my senses and incorporate something into the space that will bring pleasure to not only my sight but to my senses of touch and smell. This candle warmer was the perfect addition to my bathroom to bring a beautiful scent to the space, along with a soft bathmat to enhance the experience of touch in the space. Not only is it the perfect grey, it is the perfect size for my bathroom counter.

It only took a few minutes of my time to bring my bathroom to life! Such little effort to bring value to our home.

Before After

Check out Home Depot to upgrade your space. They have a wonderful selection of beautiful hardware to fit any style and budget.

This post is a paid collaboration with Lowe’s ® Home Improvement. All opinions are my own.

As we are getting closer to Christmas, the pressure of selecting the perfect gift gets heavy. As a professional organizer, I love sharing ways to give amazing gifts that bring order to your life. We all get our fair share of perfume, clothes and the latest tech item but by the Christmas, we have forgotten everything we received for Christmas. I recently created a home maintenance center in our garage. This is a place where the entire family can easily get to tools needed to maintain the home on a daily basis. This means that instead of hiring a professional to install Dino composite decking, one of us should most likely be able to do it! Whether hanging a picture or tightening a loose screw by having a well-organized home maintenance center helps you knock out these tasks with ease and stress-free because all your tools are right at your fingertips. While we are talking about tools, if you are looking for a new cordless drill, then take a look at this guide from Coolest Gadgets to see a range of the latest products. This would be the perfect sidekick for any upcoming home improvement projects you have planned. If you are planning large-scale renovations then it might be worth using this loan calculator to help you finance the project.

Financing any project can be difficult and you will want to make sure that you are financially stable to ensure you can afford to support yourself throughout the project. Home improvements and projects such as fixing garage doors can be complex, you can click here if you want to check out some garage door repairments, having great garage doors to protect your car and belongings is essential to building any comfortable home.

In my latest video, I share with you how I created a home maintenance center in our garage in no time. You all know how I am a fan of coordinating just about everything. Well, tools are no different. Lowe’s ® has a variety of brands such as CRAFTSMAN ® , Bosch, DeWalt ®, Kobalt™ and more great prices which makes it simple to coordinate all of your tool essentials to look seamless in your home.

The essential CRAFTSMAN ® tools that I used to create my home maintenance center are:

To bring beautiful order to all my new tools, I found this affordable and very streamline metal pegboard as I was headed to check out. I got so excited because I knew that this was the final piece to bring my home maintenance center to life. My husband Mike and I had so much fun unboxing our tools and organizing them in a way that made it easy for us to access our tools. I think what I love more about this center is the fun that Mike and I had spending time together unboxing the tools and arranging our center. Lowe’s ® has some fantastic deals currently so take advantage of this one-stop shop opportunity this Christmas season. Don’t forget to share your home management center with me on Instagram and Facebook. I am excited to see what you and your family create this Christmas! -Nikki

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