How are YOU?

Have you ever had someone ask, “How are you?” and the answer that comes to mind is … “Busy”

If the answer is yes, it may be time to stop and reflect for a moment.

Is busy really even an answer? Is it a defence? A mindset?

Socrates once said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

These are busy times, no doubt ~ but perhaps it’s time to change the mantra.

A simple mantra can help remind you what is really important ~ in an instant.

Find Inspiration

Replace the word Busy with Blessed.

What makes you happy? What do you wish was more of a priority in your life?

Less busy and more…

  • Time with loved ones
  • Me time
  • Time outside in nature  
  • Family time
  • Time to disconnect
  • Purpose
  • Rest

How do you wish to spend this life?

Write down your intentions and turn those good intentions into actions habits.

Make it happen.

Set Some Goals

Spring to Summer can be a busy transition time. Long days, short nights.

Moving. Schools Out. Holidays.

It’s a great opportunity for change. A time to set some goals.

Recognise what eats up your schedule to create this busy feeling.

Identify little things that agitate you. Perhaps a few small changes would ease the stress.

Create new habits. Embrace the positives and don’t aim for perfection.

Can We Help?

Our motto is ~ Simplify Your Life ~ Get organized with Neat Spaces.

If there is any way we can be of service to help you to be less busy and make this a Summer to remember ~ Contact Us.

What is on your Wish List?

More time with friends & family at mealtimes.  A tidy pantry & kitchen ready for new recipes.

An organized closet with wardrobe to get you out the door efficiently, in the morning.

A clean garage with sports equipment & leisure toys at the ready for family fun.

You may be surprise at what you can accomplish with a few changes.

Less Stress. More Time.

Let us help you change the narrative.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. ~Socrates

Now, ask yourself the question “How are you?” And know what you would like the answer to be.

 

Read what Angela had to say about our services.

Testimonial

There can be no price for peace of mind

I am extremely pleased with the whole process and all work done. There can be no price for peace of mind and a restored independence. I was able to enjoy my home this past weekend, and to do several things (including baking!!) I haven’t done in months. I also had the energy to continue the sorting and re-arranging with Jo- Anne’s advice and suggestions echoing in my subconscious. Now that’s a very relieved client! So, with many thanks, I will certainly be back to you, and have already sung your company’s praises to several people.

Angela Collett

What’s for Dinner?

Does this question create a feeling of excitement or anxiety?

Schedules are packed and it’s a challenge to regularly feed our family healthy & delicious meals.

With the cost of groceries on the rise, there is certainly a benefit to keeping an eye on your weekly spend and making the most of your on-hand items before they expire while reducing waste.

Spring is a great time to give your pantry and refrigerator an overhaul.

Where to Start

A first step to building a better panty is a good thorough cleaning.

Whether you like to take every single item out or work shelf by shelf take the time to clean.

Get rid of the dust and grime and sticky spots. Sort and categorize, putting like items together.

Baking, breakfast items, condiments, you get the point.

Rotate product and discard any expired items.  

Get to the area way at the back that you don’t even have access to anymore.

Are you making the most of your pantry real estate? Create order, don’t allow items to become hidden.

Rearrange larger items at the back so they can be seen. Create a use first zone or drawer.

Next, do the same with your fridge and freezer.  Clean, rotate and toss.

Inventory

Take stock. 

Whether you program it in your phone, find the perfect printable on Pinterest or prefer an old fashioned handwritten version ~ create a list to work from.

Be mindful of your inventory prior to making your grocery shopping lists.

Make this new habit a priority.

A clear picture of what you have on hand and what you need will help you steer clear of impulse buys.

As you are taking stock create a meal plan for a couple of nights. Add missing ingredients to your list.

Be Inspired

Change your habits and create new positive meal rituals.

Create a compilation of pantry recipes.

Stock up on versatile canned goods like tomatoes, lentils and beans.

Try a meatless night once a week, why not try “Meatless Mondays”?

Drink smart. Choose water more often ~ It’s healthier and budget friendly.

Food Waste

It’s easy to see why fruit and vegetables among the most wasted food items.

Consider buying frozen fruit and vegetables or freezing items for soups and smoothies before they become unusable.

Brush up on storage tools and tips on how to keep items like produce longer.

Did you know celery packed in foil will last longer? Some produce items keep longer when stored separately. 

Items like tomatoes, potatoes and onions should not be kept in the refrigerator but in a cool dry place.

Enjoy

Sure, schedules may be hectic but don’t underestimate the value and comfort of a good family meal.

Life is easier with a well stocked kitchen.

With a little planning you can keep the budget in line. Have the pantry and refrigerator tidy and organized for preparing amazing meals your family will love.

 

See what Pamela, a past client had to say about Neat Spaces helping a loved one downsize in this Thank You…  

 “Everything went great with the downsizing – she was very impressed that they even looked after salting her walkway and giving her a hug at the end put her right at ease – Thank You”

The Sandwich Generation

In our profession, we see many people of the “Sandwich Generation” wishing to lighten their load.

Just what is the “Sandwich Generation”?

The term Sandwich Generation was coined in 1981 by social worker Dorothy Miller, to describe caregivers that found themselves “sandwiched” by the responsibilities of caring for aging parents while supporting their own young children.

It can be stressful, busy, and often very demanding to balance this role.

Sometimes we help to downsize or move. Other times, our purpose is to help get a handle on a home’s overwhelming contents.

It may be something as simple as putting new systems in place to make the paperwork or chores more manageable, that creates a big impact.

There’s Help

The Canadian Government recognizes with our aging population, more and more Canadians are encountering this role. A webpage dedicated to aiding caregivers can be found through here. With resources and tips for balancing work and responsibilities, as well as links to supports and services.

This information can aid in developing a plan that works for you and your family.

Click here for more information.

Schedules & Planning Ahead

It is an incredible challenge to balance commitments as the caregiver to elderly parents and children.  

Schedules are key in keeping appointments and commitments straight.

It may be helpful to create a Home Command Centre to keep track of dates and obligations.

A family Calendar is key ~ electronic, paper or both – it should be the easily shared.

The managing of paperwork can be overwhelming too so there is value in a processing system that works!

By customizing your systems to your own organizing style, you can achieve success.  An effective filing system and organized storage solutions for documents is invaluable. Documents should be filed correctly and be easily accessible. In the case of emergencies, it is crucial to have important documents and information close at hand.

Contact Us

We are happy to help busy families and individuals create organizing systems within their home.

Do you have a home office that just needs to be organized to be functional? A storage catch all space that needs to be converted to living space?

If it’s a specific problem area that can be addressed, we can work together creating a path for you to move forward and continue to stay organized. It can be difficult to find enough time in the day to fulfill the work and home demands. We’d be happy to assist with moving, downsizing & an estate sale or a household clear out.

See how we’ve made a difference with past clients …

Thanks for making the move so easy for my mom. I appreciate it. She is very comfortable with you and it made a huge difference for her. With you and your team showing up, my mom told me that she felt safe and totally prepared to move. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, as it truly means a lot me.  E. Welsh, Oakville

Holiday House Guests

The Holiday Season is upon us. 

Christmas carols, festive décor, visiting family, holiday parties and …house guests. 

It’s the perfect time to review guest and host etiquette, should your plans include overnight visits.

Guest Etiquette

Arrive on time. 

Arrange to have clear arrival and departure times and dates and stick to it.

Come bearing gifts – dessert, wine, flowers. Be creative & personalize it.

Make your stay effortless – Clean up after yourself!

Donate to the household. Whether it’s conversation or jobs. Offering to chauffeur the kids to sports or walking the dog. Bonus points. It’s nice to feel like a part of the household and helpful to your hosts.

Offer to cook or take them out for dinner. For an extended stay, why not do both?

Always abide house rules- shoes off, no smoking etc. Follow their lead.

Respect their schedules. Bedtimes, work schedules or homework time. 

Life does not stop just because you are a guest. Let them have time to themselves. Don’t expect to be entertained or catered to. Entertain yourself and give them some time to themselves too.

A well-mannered guest brings their own toiletries. Remember to pack the essentials.

Don’t be critical, be grateful for their invitation. Enjoy their home, company and hospitality.

Bring a thank you card and a gift of appreciation to leave for your hosts, at your departure.

It’s wise to be a gracious house guest, especially if you want to be invited back.

 

Reminders for a Courteous Host

Preparing for a visit – Of course, there will be house cleaning to do! Clean & declutter and clean again.

While you are sprucing up the place have a look for items that may need to be fixed ahead of a visit. 

Fix that leaky faucet or that handle you have to jiggle, rather than having to explain it – or worse… avoid awkward situations.

Try to make the space neutral by removing photos and personal objects. Put away sensitive or important items. Child proof and/or pet proof, if necessary.

Style a clean, comfortable space. New fresh bedding & towels. 

Create closet space with extra hangers or a few drawers.

Make useful items handy, like an umbrella, a waste basket, a clock, a mirror.

Revisit the thermostat temperature and provide extra blankets. 

Anticipate your guests needs and provide thoughtful touches.

Place nightlights in bedrooms.

Clear a plug for guest charging items. Include a card with the wifi info. Expert level… print it & frame it, so it won’t get lost or misplaced.

Stock up on extra toiletry essentials too, just in case.

Snacks and caffeine are vital! 

Set up a coffee, tea and snack station so they don’t have to wait for you in the mornings.

Communicate well ahead of the visit- know your guest’s favourites and allergies.

Be sure to confirm travel arrangement details, especially the meeting time and place. 

Do they need to be picked up? Provide directions. 

It would be considerate to accommodate a parking spot upon arrival.

Let your guest know your schedule.

Consider drawing up an itinerary. Especially if it is an extended stay. 

It will avoid confusion – especially if they wake up wondering where you are!

Your guest will appreciate some alone time too.  

Try to reconnect by the end of the day. 

 

Have Fun

Plan as much as possible, but also remember to look forward to the visit. 

Don’t aim for perfection. Your guests are not there to be critical. 

Keep in mind the goal is to enjoy the time spent together!

Welcome your guests into your home. Give them the tour upon arrival.

Have fun and be proud of your home and the accommodation you are providing. 

Help them to feel at home.

I hope you have a memorable visit filled with love and laughter.

Need Help?

Take the stress out of preparing for your guests arrival by enlisting our help.

Should you want help getting ready for your Christmas guests, our experienced, trustworthy team is available!

You will be surprised at how quickly NEAT SPACES can turn your cluttered spaces in neat spaces.

Happy Holidays!

 

Testimonial

Read what satisfied customers like Carolyn from Burlington have to say about NEAT SPACES:

“I couldn’t be more pleased. Thanks to NEAT SPACES I now have my basement reclaimed. I was able to have Christmas gatherings in our old recreation room with my family. They remembered it from their own childhood, which was awesome. So, I now have my entire house completely reorganized and purged. Finally, it’s livable and entirely my own, rather than me living in my parent’s home. Of course, there are plenty of reminders of my childhood left on purpose, but it’s MY home now. They did an awesome job, I was fortunate to have their guidance. Thank you”.

Saving Time in the Kitchen!

Autumn can be an overwhelming time and it can leave you feeling drained. 

It’s never easy to juggle a jam packed extra-curricular schedule, homework help, making lunches and the stress putting a healthy dinner on the table at a reasonable hour. 

It’s a challenge, no doubt, but we can try. 

Here’s some simple tactics to tame the kitchen chaos and find more time in your day.

 

Your Pantry

Be Prepared.  Keep your pantry well stocked. 

Pro Tip: Use quality storage containers to preserve bulk or unpackaged food items.

Buy frequently used items on sale & in quantity. 

Organize & rotate regularly to avoid waste and to keep inventory.

Label, Label, Label. You will be more efficient and it looks fabulous!

Bigger fridge? A Lazy Susan will work well in there.

 

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Grocery Shopping & Meal Planning

An organized shopping list has many benefits. Less store visits will save time & money.

Buy extra staple items like eggs, milk and bread to avoid extra trips.

Try to organize your grocery list according to the store layout to save time and avoid missing items.

Shop the flyers, especially big money savers like meat & produce items. 

Give yourself extra points for a budget friendly list and in season fruit and vegetables!

Plan your meals. Start by making a list of your family’s favorite meals. Ask the kids as the answer may not be what you think it is.

Next, break down ingredients required to prepare each meal. 

Craft your grocery list based on several weekly choices. 

Change it up each week and try to add a new family approved recipe each month. 

Bonus points if it’s a good crock pot or one pot recipe! Less dishes? Yes, please! 

 

Veggies First

Busy days, means growing kids are working up an appetite. 

How often are you prepping for dinner and they sneak past to raid the fridge or pantry because they just can’t wait!? They stare, fridge open for something they can grab quick. 

Beat them to it. Why not put out a veggie plate with dip ahead of dinner. 

When they reach for the fridge door let them know it’s the only appetizer option. Help yourself.

They may just be soooo hungry they dust it. Leftovers? Pack them up for tomorrow’s lunch box.

Kids eating healthy, without your familiar dinner time plea to “finish your vegetables” is a win, win.

 

Testimonial

We enjoy working closely with our clients to help with their specific needs.

See what Kathy had to say about her experience with Neat Spaces.

“Wendy was just the right person to help me get out from under boxes and bags that filled my basement. I knew I needed to purge but… She listened when I whined and pleaded to keep things, but then showed me how every single item had a place. She took things to donation centers and women’s items to a shelter, art materials to a non- profit school. Then she separated the recycle into every category imaginable; there was next to no ‘throwing away’. It was great! Thank you, Wendy!!”

Kathy Brownlow

 

Back to School ~ Ask Wendy!

Summer is zipping by! Time to get your household ready for September and back to school.

Why not involve your children a little more in the process this year? 

It’s good to encourage independence and including your kids will help them to be more prepared and accountable.

Here are a few ideas to help you successfully navigate back to school, together.

School Supplies & New Stuff

The allure of new stuff is hard to resist. Go through their school items together and decide what is still useful. Make a list of items they already have. Just get the basics, instead of just buying all new items. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Most teachers will send home a list of what they will need for the school year. Avoid purchasing unnecessary or duplicate school supplies. They may not require a math set this year. 

Do a closet clean out and remove items your child has outgrown ~ Donate ~ make room for new items.  It’s hard to resist back to school fashion, but before you shop ~ Ask them what they would like to wear for the first day of school? They may have ideas of their own and it may already be in their closet. Perhaps all that’s required are a few finishing pieces, like new shoes or accessories to update the look. 

Packing lunches

School mornings can be hectic. Packing school lunches is a daunting task. Enlist the kids help.

If they help pack their lunch, they may be more likely to eat it. 

Consider working towards this job being their responsibility. Setting goals are good, but be realistic. 

Perhaps every Wednesday, they could make their own lunch or each night they could pack any non-refrigerated items themselves? 

Explain the school’s allergy policies. It’s important to understand how to read ingredients on food labels.

Use reusable containers. Have the kids match up storage containers lids and discard items that have lost their mates. Invest in a reusable water bottle, most schools have hydration stations for easy refills.

Ask your kids what they like in their lunches and create a grocery list together. 

Designate a place in your kitchen cupboard for lunch boxes and a spot in the freezer for ice packs.

It should be their job to clean out their lunch box and put everything back in its place after school. 

Yes, even a kindergartener can master this task.

Transportation 

How will your child be getting to school? 

Discuss transportation with your kids so they know what to expect and what time they will need to be ready to leave, to be on time. Aim to be 10 minutes early, since bus times are approximate.

If your child is biking to school, it’s a good idea to revisit helmets, locks, bike safety and signals.

Routines

The key to a stress-free 1st day, an early bedtime. 

Decide on a reasonable bed time goal for you both. 

Work on improving your sleep routines well ahead of the first day to be at your best come September. 

Enjoy this Special Day

Don’t wait until the last minute. Prep as much as you can ahead of time, so you can enjoy the excitement of the first day of school. Don’t stress too much about it. Breathe. Take a step back. Let your kids help. You may be pleasantly surprised by how capable they are. 

Don’t forget to take an annual back to school photo… It’s a great keepsake and so nice to look back on how much they’ve grown each year.

 

Making Memories

Ask us at NEAT SPACES about our easy and guilt free way to organize school and sport/hobby photos (I know they are all over the house where you would least expect to find them LOL)

We have set this up for many families, you don’t have to be a Martha Stewart to have your children’s memory books all together and organized. Trust me! There’s nothing better than seeing your children enjoying their class and individual photos with friends when they come over and laughing together. I have a budget and time friendly solution. Ask Wendy!

 

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Testimonial

It’s always nice to hear from satisfied clients.

Read what Jeff from Milton had to say about NEAT SPACES Professional Organizing Service.

WOW! What can I say, I am absolutely thrilled with the final outcome of the basement, it has brought tears to my eyes as the basement has been a huge sore spot with me for many years!  I always hated going down there to get something….Please thank all those involved with this project, it’s so greatly appreciated! Thank you once again for “clearing up my life”.

Finish what you start and get your people to take part!

This week I found myself reading an article written by Erin Rooney Doland, an expert on organizing and being uncluttered.  For over 10 years she wrote online articles covering everything organizing and found these 9 things to be tried and true, no matter what your current ‘organized’ state is. 

I completely agree with each and every one of them.  Take a read and apply what you can to your life. You’ll be glad you did.

  1. Buy what you actually need and use; don’t buy a lot of other stuff. Practice makes perfect here but worth the effort.
  2. Except for mortgage, education and car loans, try your best not to use credit unless it’s a real emergency. You will save a ton of money.
  3. Before you buy anything, know exactly where you’re going to store it. Otherwise, that object will always be out of place. Everything needs a home.
  4. Finish what you start: Laundry isn’t done until it’s put away. Dinner isn’t over until the dishwasher is loaded. And be sure to make sure those who live with you take part.
  5. Write tasks down. Or make a list in your phone, however it works for you.
  6. Do the tasks you’ve written down. (Of everything on this list, this is the hardest item for most people.) You can do it!
  7. You can’t win at organizing, so keep organizing systems as simple as possible. The simpler the better.
  8. Establish routines for all the chores in your life; the less you have to think about them, the more likely they are to get done. Maintenance is the key.
  9. Being uncluttered isn’t a destination; it’s merely clearing a path so you can do something more worthwhile with your time and energy. #liveyourbestlife

 

So thank you to Erin for this article and countless others related to being uncluttered.  It is an ongoing process, a lifestyle and a commitment. The hardest part can often be getting started.  Once you do, the rest will come in time and you will be so happy that you made the effort.

 

Wendy.

Out with the old and in with the new!

That is what the New Year is about right? It’s a good motto to have when starting to purge and declutter in 2017.  Start in the kitchen, and we don’t mean the cupboards, we’re talking about behind that stainless steel door!  Throw out expired or old food and commit to doing it once a week.  […]

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Less is More

I know we hear that from someone, somewhere or read it from something almost every day but really what does it mean? As I was “googling” this phrase today, I came across an interesting blog that I wanted to share with you. I couldn’t have said it better, so I won’t. 🙂 Written by Mike […]

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Tips for the Season

Tips for Your Home Rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher directly from the table before the food dries. If you keep plastic containers to use for leftovers, mark the tops and bottoms with the same number so you can easily match the container with the correct lid. Hold a pantyhose leg over […]

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