Tag Archives: organization

The Why & How of spring cleaning

I have a confession. I’m one of those maniacally organized people who, in spite of a demanding job and two little ones, cannot sleep when the house hasn’t been returned to order. My house is organized. There. I admit it. My containers match, I fastidiously use a label maker and you know  what, I love a good surface wipe. But, even though my house is pretty organized most of the  time, I still get that urge to turn the place upside down and go all Container Store on it every April. Why?! Trust me, I do not need another single thing to do. And, every year when I’m knee  deep in a pile of stuff while both of my kids nap (I know what’s WRONG with me) I think –  WHY?! Why do I feel compelled, driven even, to participate in full blown spring cleaning  whenever the tulips pop?

Turns out there are strong cultural roots pulling us towards trashing our homes only to immediately set them right again when the sun starts shining. This practice is shared around the world, supported by biology and part of deep rooted American traditions. In the Jewish faith the  house is rigorously cleaned in anticipation of Passover and Christian faiths suggest various cleaning rituals starting on lent and throughout the days leading up to Easter. Iranian New Year, Nowruz, falls on the first day of spring and dictates a thorough house cleaning too. For the agnostic among us, longer, sunnier days mean less melatonin fogging our brains, and less  melatonin means more available energy. And for the history buffs, during the long winter frontier families’ homes would become covered with soot from the fires used for cooking and heat.

When the weather was finally warm enough to open the windows these homes got a through scrub down to remove that soot layer.

Now that I’m convinced spring cleaning isn’t just me killing time I don’t have, I’m going to break down how you can make it happen this spring in spite of all of the other things demanding your time and attention (because you know you want to…).

Set Your Goals
Pick one or two priority areas that need your attention the most and define your goals for the space. For example, if you chose your entryway, your goal might be getting out the door in the morning faster. If you’ve chosen your kids toy room, maybe your goal is to bring older toys to light again. By defining your goal you will automatically align your actions with your desired end result.

Out, Sort, Distribute – Repeat
Pull everything out of the space you’ve chosen and set it out so you can see as much of it as possible. Sort your belongings into 3 piles, Keep, Donate, Lives Elsewhere. Organize the Keep pile in a way that supports your goal. Ferry the Lives Elsewhere stuff to its rightful home and  drop those donations off early in the season so those who need them most can take advantage  of your generosity.

Keep It Simple
If you have a bunch of time on your hands, sure, go full on Marie Kondo, but if you have limited  time and competing priorities what sparks joy for you might be getting that one cabinet in order so you don’t have sippy cups raining down upon you every time you open it. And you know  what? That totally counts. Keep it simple and do what works for you.

Our team of expert, skilled and savvy GYST Assistants had a few things to say on the topic too. GYST Assistants are excellent spring cleaning partners and even better than doing it yourself is  delegating to an expert. GYST Assistants will help you set up organizational systems that are  efficient, effective and easy to maintain and Bell Family Company families enjoy exclusive access to GYST Assistants on a project basis. Give us a call at (917) 912-9206 or say hi@gystplease.com to learn more. Our goal is to set our clients free to focus on what matters  most.

About GYST
GYST sources, selects, educates and retains top personal and executive assistants and offers clients a flexible, high level assistant experience in a program optimized for long term success. Learn more at www.gystplease.com.

A special thanks to Brooke Stone, Founder and CEO of GYST, who shared her exploration of spring cleaning, organization tips and advice from GYST Assistants.

Home Organizing Is Done & Done!

Done & Done does your home, too!

With a move and a baby on the way, it’s near impossible to find time to organize my closets and pack. I have so much unnecessary stuff that I needed to pitch, but it’s hard to throw away memories and find the time. There is a chance I might be making excuses…

I finally asked one of my clients who owns an organization company to help. She booked an appointment with me right before the holidays, so I could start the new year off right! Kate and her team started with my baby’s closet full of everything from toys, clothes, luggage, blankets, boxes of old photos – you name it – it’s in there.

She pulled out the endless number of towels I had, and went through what to keep and what to donate. The keep items were perfectly folded in a hotel-like way back into the closet. I had no idea how many holiday hand towels one person could accumulate. Bye!

We all know kids’ toys take over a NYC apartment fast; I stuffed all of mine in the closet. Everything was pulled out and assed; do I really need this?

Then came the boxes. We started filling them with items we didn’t need until after our move; kids clothes, blankets, old pictures, toys no longer age appropriate… off they went into labeled boxes.

It took about 2.5 hours to get everything together and organized, then off they went wishing me well in the new year with a fresh start of no clutter! Below is a before and after of the closet.

Baby closet-before

Baby closet-after-1

“It’s important to have an organized home since babies and children are by nature somewhat unpredictable. Having an organized home allows for a feeling of control and the ability to handle anything that might occur at any given moment.”

Book your appointment with Kate’s mother, Ann, and mention Bell Family to get 10% off! Promo ends March 1st.

To learn more about Done & Done, click here.

Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Office Organizing Is Done & Done!

Kate Pawlowski gets to hang out with her mother whom she adores. Everyday, they meet interesting people, help them declutter their life, and this is their job…amazing!

When I found this out, I was immediately drawn to her business, as I also work alongside my mother everyday – and it’s seriously the best! Kate and Ann Lightfoot co-founded Done & Done Home in 2012, and have an impressive client list organizing for some of our favorite movie stars, TV personalities, and authors.

“Time is so incredibly limited and precious. Ten minutes that are wasted spent looking for things you need around the office are ten minutes you don’t get to spend with your family.”

I needed my office organized bad. I was eight months pregnant with baby number two, and had no energy to deal. Kate and Blandy – one of her trusted team members – greeted me with open arms and guided me through the purge process. As a sentimental Sally, it’s hard for me to throw memories away; my original business plan, my first company shirt I had made, my logo drafts… It was beginning to clutter and it needed to go. We went piece by piece to see what should stay and go. It was so nice to be able to take baby steps through it all, and thankfully they were kind and understood that it’s not easy letting go.

Three hours later, I probably cut my office belongings by 75%. The office looked fresh, clean, and in complete order to start the new year.

What I have been putting off for years, debating in my head and weighing me down for months, was done in three hours flat. It was fantastic and such a relief!

I needed someone to come in and just tell me what to do to get it done, and Done & Done did just that.

Here’s a before and after of my office clutter: children’s toys, arts and crafts, company shifts, etc.

Done-Done-shelf   DoneDone-ppl

And here is the dreaded file drawers, which I haven’t touched in years.

Done-Done-drawer

Book your appointment with Kate and mention Bell Family by March 1st, and get 10% off!

Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Keeping your sanity with back to school routines and transitions

In our house, summer was one big playdate without enforced bedtimes and scrambling each morning for camp (we are NOT a morning household).  Come the first day of school none of us were prepared, couple that with an earlier start time for the bus and we were in a tizzy.  Great advice below from BFC resident social worker, nanny coordinator and all around great gal, Ali Shepard….

It’s that time of year again as the kids are slowing getting back into their school routines or starting school for the first time! A time of vast transitions for many families and keeping parents, kids and caregivers happy and sane can seem impossible. Here are some simple easy reminders to help your family get back in the swing of things and set everyone up to win with less bedtime battles and flustered mornings rushing to get everyone where they need to go!

  • Be realistic and patient
  • Keep it simple
  • Make a plan and stick to it
  • Get the kids involved when transitions happen children often feel that they do not have control. Find ways where your kids can be part of creating the schedule
  • Use picture charts for children 2-6 years old as a way to empower them to get their “jobs’ done (Betimes and morning routine) then then can earn a reward. Rewards can be playing a game, reading stories together, playing on the computer, watching a short TV show, or playdate etc. Use these things as motivators not just givens.
  • All children need down time. Build it into the schedule.
  • Children can feel overwhelmed when there are a lot of adults telling them what to do. They to keep the talking and number of adults to a minimum.
  • Avoid frustration and upset by being matter of fact and flat with your emotion and reactions
  • Set limits, when you say no, mean it
  • First things first. Children need reminders/little nudges. Use less words.
  • Make it fun and keep your sense of humor
  • Get support/be a team

It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out, especially when dealing with so many moving parts and changes. Remember that children are not little adults, their brains are not able to understand the world like we are. We have to role model the behavior we want to see from them. Enjoy the time you have and find creative fun ways to tackle the day to day routines.