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Black is the new red this Christmas!

Want to go somewhere warm and sunny in February? Don’t we all! By keeping your Christmas budget in the ‘black’ rather than the ‘red’ you can do it! It’s easy peasy and a wonderful, well deserved break after the hustle and bustle of Christmas! All it takes is 15 minutes to getting organized and you’ll be ahead of the game. Check out my organizing tips!

Here’s a couple of pictures of Steve & I renewing our wedding vows on our 25th anniversary in warm and sunny Maui!

beach  couple on beach

Organizing Tips:

1) Consider who you need to buy for? Family, friends, neighbours (remember sunny holiday in February!)
2) Who can you remove from the list?
3) Budget – how much do you want to spend per person? $100, $50, $25, etc.
4) Use only cash to shop, that way your credit cards are are in the clear for your February trip!
5) Set a goal for when you would like your shopping done, e.g. Dec. 15th, that leaves you time for meal planning, and enjoying social occasions
6) What do you buy? Gifts, gift cards, stocking stuffers, chocolates, etc.
7) Create your own gift card coupons for services or chores, e.g. two hours of gardening, cooking, cleaning, etc.
8) Send a “thank you” card to those people who dedicate their lives to helping others – military, police, fire fighters, teachers – or make some homemade nuts & bolts to take to the local fire hall, or some freshly baked cookies to a teacher, the vets, doctor, mail carrier, garbage person, etc.
9) Shopping Mall or online shopping? Check out Amazon Directory here and Wayfair Canada here
10) Review shipping deadlines to ensure you meet Canada Post deadlines
11) Xmas cards? Do you need to mail them? Can you email them?
12) Spending more quality time together – think of creative ideas – grab a hot chocolate or coffee at Starbucks and drive around to see all Christmas lights!
13) Giving to charity – it’s a win-win for everyone, and you’ll feel good! Find out what something means to somebody, make a charitable donation in their name and let them know.
14) Asking for help – we all are so busy these days so ask away!
15) Plan your trip – if you live in a big city chances are you’ll need to go all over, so map out first what things you can purchase in one area of town and so on.
16) Invest in yourself! Remember sunny holiday in February!
17) All it takes is 15 minutes, so get organized now!
18) Be in the ‘black’ this Christmas not the ‘red’!

christmas list

Congrats!
In April 2017, I decided to start a blog for a six month challenge. I challenged you to send me a photo linking you to the blog topic to get your name in for a free 2 hour consultation and/or help with decluttering a space. Congrats goes to Emma Whittingham! Looking forward to working with Emma!

What’s next?
I love writing these blogs…the 6 month challenge may be over but I hope you’ll stay tuned and keep reading. Keep the questions on suggested topics and ideas coming in! The next blog will be about organizing your Christmas decorations, and after that meal planning!

Collect Memories, Not Things!

September 2017 – Recycling, Repurposing and Retiring!

I’ve learned that recycling can be confusing, overwhelming and complex! I knew this intuitively but even more so with all my research for this blog. I’ve also learned that you can repurpose those household items into works of art! And I’ve learned that my husband Steve of 32+ years would love to work at our local recycling centre when he retires, go figure! Keep reading to find out tips, tricks and resources.

Here’s a few reasons for recycling: no space for waste as landfills are quickly filling up, having a positive impact in the world we live, making products from raw material costs more than from recycled materials, and preserving natural resources for future generations.

There’s a ton of information out there to help you with recycling – focus on what matters to you and keep learning and recycling as you go. Here’s what Steve and I do in our home, feel free to use any.

  1. Create a recycling space in your home or the garage (if you have one)
  2. Purchase or use plastic recycling totes – check out the first photo below of ours
  3. Label each bin, e.g. paper/newspaper, plastics, cans/aluminums, cardboard, glass, bottles
  4. Hang a bulletin board with the schedule so you know when to take it to the curb
  5. Keep your organic green recycling bins outside – they smell! And freeze meat products before you add it to the bin…trust me you don’t want maggots! (they love hot weather!)
  6. Repurpose your china teapots, cups and saucers! Check out the second photo below of them hanging on a tree. We were taking our dog Poppy for a walk and saw this tree. The owner said he could get rich by charging two bits a photo for every time somebody snapped one – now that’s repurposing!

recycle 1 recycle 2

Did you know that Waste Reduction Month in Canada is October 16th – 22nd?
Check out the events, resources and daily themes here:

recycle 3

Did you know there’s several different ways to recycle, repurpose and donate?
Check out the links below filled with tons of information!

Questions from Colette
Thanks to Colette for asking how to organize the glove compartment and cubby space inside her car, and also the baskets of scarves, gloves, touques, mitts, etc. on top of her closet.

Answer: Take everything out, and yes I mean everything so you can see what you have. This applies to all organizing. Using the “SPACE” method – Sort, Purge, Assign a home, Containerize and Equalize. Think about what you really need in your car, a change purse for parking, lip balm, spare napkins, a pen and notepad in the cubby space and of course your current insurance papers. As you’re sorting through the items think about their purpose and how often you’ve used them. Same method goes for the baskets of scarves, gloves, touques, mitts, etc. What colours, patterns, textures, etc. do you still like/not like? Remember your organizing categories – Keep, Donate or Sell. Good Luck!

Keep those pictures coming in!
You don’t want to miss out on getting your name in for a free 2 hour consultation and/or help with decluttering a space. In order to qualify, send in one photo of you recycling, repurposing or donating by October 31st, emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Good Luck!

What’s next?
October’s blog will be about organizing your Christmas shopping list!
November’s blog will be about organizing your Christmas decorations!
December’s blog will be about organizing meal plans!
Stay tuned.

Collect Memories, Not Things!
If you have things – and lots of them – I can help you organize them!

August 2017 - Collect Memories, Not Things!

Summer is filled with outdoor activities, lots of fun and busy-ness! That’s the way it should be! My June blog referred to carving out 15 minutes each day to get into regular routines or creating new systems, but cut yourself some slack, like I did. We moved in mid-July and it’s been non-stop chaos ever since, so I took July off from writing my blog, so go easy on yourself. However, it’s now August and I’m raring to go! Are you? This month’s blog is about moving and what I learned, and I’m passing my tips on to you.

Collect Memories, Not Things! You’ve all heard it before but when push comes to shove what do we do about it? If you’re like me you have good days and not so good days. Having just moved after 12 years in the same house opened up my eyes – wow we have a lot of things! Do you?

Before we moved we decluttered by purging, selling online, giving away, dropping off at thrift stores, recycling and taking things to the landfill. And we still have a ton! In fact everything was jam-packed into a 7 ton truck! (see photo below).

Life is about making ‘memories’, and here’s one that I will have forever! This is the view (see middle photo below) from our new house – amazing eh! Well ok, it’s actually from the driveway, but none-the-less it’s still amazing! Now onto those tips!

Capture

Pre-Move

  • Be patient, relax and have a sense of humour!
  • Supplies needed – check out the dollar stores for these!
    • A stack of different coloured post-it-notes to label boxes (see photo above)
    • Moving boxes – check out online (some are free) or liquor boxes are free too, and good for small breakables
    • Packing tape – we used at least 12 rolls
    • Black markers to clearly mark the post-it notes
    • Newspaper, or purchase bubble wrap and/or packing paper
  • Use one colour post-it-note for each room in your new house
  • Book the moving truck…yes even if it’s 2, 3 or even 4 months away! Or if you have lots of friends book them in advance too! Beer and pizza go a long way, lol!
  • Start packing at least 6 weeks in advance, even if you pack one box a night, that will help with stress
  • Change of address with post office, contacts, bank, utility companies, friends, you name it
  • Start cleaning so it looks presentable to the new owners, just as you would like your new home to be
  • Pack a suitcase with clothes and toiletries for your first night in your new home
  • Pack jewellry, valuables, and expensive breakables into a box(es) and take them in your own vehicle
  • Hire a cleaning company and/or carpet cleaning company to clean the day before (if time allows)
  • Phone the moving company a couple days ahead of time to ensure they show up on time!
  • Mark a box(es) with ‘Open Me First’, with your coffee maker, coffee, cup, etc.!

Move

  • Remember to have patience, relaxation and a sense of humour! (especially when the movers show up late)
  • Buy coffee, donuts, and/or Timbits for your wonderful helpers
  • Ensure all boxes are clearly labelled
  • Take beds apart before movers arrive
  • Ensure there is room for the moving truck to park
  • Movers will bring packing blankets so no need to use your own
  • Finish cleaning house
  • Leave all paperwork for appliances, etc. on a counter in clear view for new owners
  • Final walk-through! Warning…it may be a little emotional!

Post-Move

  • Just a subtle reminder about being patient, relaxing and having a sense of humour!
  • Unpack the necessities first, e.g. kitchen dishes, food, clothing, toiletries
  • Take your time unpacking other boxes and go through them to continue decluttering and put things aside for selling online, giving away, dropping off at thrift stores, recycling, a future garage sale, etc.
  • Break down moving boxes and ask around to see who can use them
  • Contact city/town to find out about garbage/recycling pick up and local information
  • Live in the house a few months before making changes or purchasing big items, e.g. dining room suite
  • Enjoy your new home!

Keep those pictures coming in!
You don’t want to miss out on getting your name in for a free 2 hour consultation and/or help with decluttering a space. In order to qualify, send in one photo of you decluttering, purging or recycling by August 30th, emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Good luck!
Your questions and feedback!
Thanks to Colette for her question, she wants to know more about organizing her car and what to do with scarves, gloves, touques, mitts, etc. Also recycling will be September’s focus – stay tuned!

Do you find my blogs valuable? Interesting? Not so much? Any tips or suggestions for topics? Be honest, I can take it! I enjoy writing these blogs and I too learn from these and especially from your great questions, keep them coming! Thanks in advance!

Collect Memories Not Things!

June 2017 - 'Time' Friend or Foe?

Who wants more time to play this summer?
Who wants more time to travel this summer?
Who wants more time to spend with family, friends and pets this summer?
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions keep reading!

poppy Here’s a photo of my hubby Steve  and our 9 month old cute puppy Poppy!

We all lead busy lives.  With 86,400 seconds we’re given every single day we need to make the most of it – wouldn’t you agree?! (my May blog referred to the number 86400).  Whether it’s working, caring for children and/or grandchildren, fitting in exercise, hobbies, squeezing in friend time, house cleaning, yard work, keeping up with technology and social media or the luxury of being retired it’s hard to keep up with the every day mundane tasks around the house.  By getting into regular routines or creating new systems you’ll be stress free, less overwhelmed and happy go lucky to spend your time on activities you want this summer (and beyond).  All it takes is 15 minutes a day!  Here’s some tips to get you started (and yes I do these every single day!);

  • Create a space for keys after you walk in your door (we have a beautiful glass psychedelic dish);
  • Hang up your coat and neatly tuck away your shoes in the closet (colour coordinate both);
  • Empty your lunch containers/dishes into the sink and/or dishwasher;
  • Empty your purse of receipts, garbage, tags, etc.;
  • Get comfy – change out of your work clothes & hang them in your closet (colour coordinate);
  • While making dinner fill the sink with dishwater and wash dishes as you go;
  • Make lunch(es) so they’re ready to go in the morning;
  • Wash, dry and put away the dishes (don’t wait until tomorrow!);
  • Take recycling to appropriate bins (label them – e.g. newspaper, cardboard, plastics, cans, glass);
  • Take the garbage and food recycling out;
  • Oh, and spend 15 minutes less each day on social media (YES that means FaceBook too!);
  • Now you can sit down, relax and watch TV, colour or play ball with your puppy (like I do) stress free!;

Question from Sarah
Thanks to Sarah for asking how to organize cleaning supplies and equipment and/or creating a schedule for spring cleaning (what should be done every week vs only what you need to do once a year).

  • Since we’re all unique, there’s no one size fits all approach, however by keeping these tips in mind you can create a regular routine or system and be on your way to the joy of a clean home!
  • Create a zone in your home for cleaning supplies (ours is under the stairs in a narrow closet);
  • Hang a cleaning schedule/planner in that zone so everyone in the house can see, and use it!;
  • Keep products in their ‘zones’ for cleaning specific areas, e.g. bathrooms – I have an old ice cream pail that holds a pair of rubber gloves and a toilet bowl brush, and beside it the products – windex, toilet and bath/shower cleaners, paper towels and rags;
  • A zone for floor products – swiffer dry/wet cloths, hardwood floor cleaner, dust pan & broom, and the vacuum flo hose neatly wrapped around a garden hose hanger;
  • Kitchen zone for stove top cleaner(s), stainless steel cleaner, paper towels, and SOS pads;
  • Consider what chores need to be done daily, weekly, annually including:

Floors in general – sweeping/washing/vacuuming/floors (I do these once a week, sometimes more especially with a puppy);
Bathrooms – weekly;
Kitchen – cleaning out fridge, freezer, pantry weekly;
Washing windows inside and out – I suggest twice a year – spring and fall;

  • Purchase this great book by Toni Hammersley here called ‘The Complete Book of Clean: Tips & Techniques for Your Home’  – it just came out this spring.  It’s the perfect home manual for guidance, quick tips and resources, plus it’s full of Pinterest worthy photography, cleaning recipes, and schedules that will help guide you every step of the way.  I have Toni’s Complete Book of Home Organzation and love it!.
  • Also check out Pinterest for house cleaning schedules, and create your own weekly and annual planners;

Keep those pictures coming in!
You don’t want to miss out on getting your name in for a free 2 hour consultation and/or help with decluttering a space.  In order to qualify, you’ll need to send in one photo each month of you completing your space, e,g. hanging clothes in your closet, taking the garbage or recyling out or making lunches.  Photos are due the 30th of each month and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Good luck!

What’s next?
I had planned to post my blog in mid-June, however we’ve been busy packing getting ready to move to our new home on July 15th so you now have until July 30th to get your photos in – don’t miss out on the opportunity to get your name in for a free 2 hour consultation and/or help with decluttering a space.  

July’s blog will be about moving!  Stay tuned.

Collect Memories Not Things!

 



May 2017 – Crappy to Snappy!

April’s blog was about relaxing more – how did that go for you? Feeling more relaxed? Less? Same? It takes time to get into a routine…some say it takes 21 days to form a habit…it takes longer for me, so go with whatever works for you…it’ll be just right

Before After
before may 2017 after may 2017

May’s project of tackling the cupboard underneath my kitchen sink proved to be energizing! Yes energizing! Once I got started I didn’t want to stop till it was all done. And I’m ecstatic with the result! What do you think? Here’s some tips for tackling the same space or another:

1) Create a vision of what you want the final space to look like;
2) Measure the space – width, length, height and depth before doing any shopping!
3) Determine budget;
4) Get your family involved;
5) Invest in a label maker;
6) Add a pop of colour;
7) Keep it simple.

If you’re a shopper like me you’ll be in your glory picking out colours, textures, functionality, purpose, fit, etc. If you’re not a shopper look for recyclable items around your home or office…you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. I had these great little woven baskets I had tucked away in the garage, and they were the exact size and shape for the 2 tier mesh stand, and free – perfect! The 2 tier mesh stand was purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $26.99 – a great piece for functionality, purpose and fit, and looks great!

My husband Steve had a great idea for keeping the food recycling bag in place around the outer rim of the new food recycling bin (purchased at Wal-Mart for $15.99) – you know those thick, office elastic bands that rarely get used…he tied a whole bunch together to form a circle and voila perfect fit! And free to boot.

And who doesn’t love colour! My favourite colour is red…it’s vibrant, it makes me feel alive and it adds pizzazz! Wal-Mart has great prices and I picked up a red oven mitt and matching tea towel which fit perfect on the newly purchased plastic hooks (Dollar Store) residing on the inside door. Add a little colour to your space, it’ll make you feel alive too.

Investing in a label printer is one of the best tools you’ll purchase…from labelling boxes in the garage, to Christmas boxes under the crawl space to labelling your paper files it serves many purposes. There’s lots of different styles and prices…mine is from Staples and I’ve had it for over 10 years and it still works like a hot dam! Price them out and get yours today.

My final budget for the space was just over $70…a steel I thought for what I bought. The biggest factor for me was time…shopping at various retailers to get the best prices takes time. From Bed, Bath and Beyond to Wal-Mart to the Dollar Store – my time – and yours – is precious! That’s why you need to measure before you shop, you’ll be glad you did!

Finally, keep it simple. I’m a very linear thinker…I know I know boring…I would like to think more ‘outside the box’, lol, however I keep coming back to it. I love the look of my new space…it’s neat, tidy and linear…and makes me feel good. What works for you?

What’s your next project?
Keep those pictures coming in…you don’t want to miss out on getting your name in for a 2 hour free consultation and/or help with de-cluttering a space. In order to qualify, you’ll need to send in one photo each month of you completing a space, e.g. adding colour, going shopping for a container or investing in a label printer. Photos will be due by the 30th of each month, and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Good luck!

I’d love to hear from YOU!
Thanks to Sarah who would like to know more about how to organize cleaning supplies and equipment and/or creating a schedule for spring cleaning (what should be done every week versus what you only need to do once a year). Check out June’s blog for tips on this.

What other topics do you want me to write about? Let me know.

What’s next?
For June it’s all about the number “86400”! Can you guess what that refers to? Stay tuned and find out!

Collect Memories, Not Things!

April 2017 - Getting started is the hardest part!

How do you get started? What do you do? Life is too busy! If you’re like me you’re feeling overwhelmed. The winter blues, too much couch time (+ a few added pounds!), too much screen time and social media…it goes on and on and on. And to boot I’ve been meaning to start an organizing blog for months now! So here goes. Today’s the day I start the blog and get myself more organized, and I hope you do too…please join me on this journey.

Over the next six months (April to September), I’m going to tackle one project per month - no matter how big or small - and each one has to cost $100 or less! Free is even better! Are you still with me? I know what you’re thinking – Wanda is a Professional Organizer so why does she have to get organized? Yes I am and because I’ve let things slip too…I’m not perfect. So here goes, for April’s challenge, it’s to de-clutter your mind first, yes you heard me right…keep reading...

For a few months now I’ve been attending yogalates classes every Monday evening from 6 – 7 pm. Yogalates is a fitness routine that combines pilates exercises with the postures and breathing techniques of yoga…for somebody who can’t sit still, this was a challenge from the get-go! I’ve always thought that yoga was for other people, not me. However, I have come to love it! One reason is that I love my instructor, Sonja Bidese of Success Fitness. Another reason is that it’s a great core workout, and the best reason of all is that after every class I feel calm, relaxed and my mind is clutter free! That’s what you need to start organizing. Once you de-clutter your mind, then you can start thinking about tackling projects. Here’s some other suggestions to get you started for your April project:

1) Take a vacation! I flew to Vegas to meet my sister for 5 days…that helped beat my winter blues!
2) Go for a walk! Try 30 minutes each day for a week, then extend it to an hour each day, or get a dog and you’ll need to walk him/her (our puppy Poppy keeps us moving);
3) Reduce screen time and social media to 3 times a day or less! (Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, you name it!)
4) Read a book – on the plane back from Vegas I read Simon Sinek – Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire To Take Action. I highly recommend it!
5) Think about your May project…will it be organizing a drawer? A cupboard? A closet (clothes)? Clean out your winter wardrobe and replace them with your spring clothes? Maybe buy a new spring outfit?

What’s in it for you?
In addition to the tips, links and resources I’ll be posting on my blogs, I’ll be giving away a 2 hour consultation and/or help with de-cluttering a space, and yes I can work something out virtually too if the winner is outside of Victoria. In order to qualify, you’ll need to send in one photo each month of you completing one of the suggestions (or your own), e.g. relaxing on vacation, going for a walk, reading a book, etc. Photos will be due by the 30th of each month, and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . No matter what you do to get started is a start, so start today! Good luck!

I’d love to hear from YOU!
What do you want me to write about? Are there certain areas, spaces, cupboards that you’re not sure how to organize or even start? Let me know. I’ll write about as many different topics as I can.

What’s next?
For May I’m going to tackle the cupboard under my kitchen sink…it’s been driving me crazy for years, so stay tuned for tips on that!

Collect Memories, Not Things!


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