Monthly Archives: April 2016

Simple Garden Tool Organization

Pixabay Garden Shed v1Well, Spring has certainly sprung around the great Pacific Northwest!  The four consecutive days over 80 degrees recently got me thinking less and less about organizing inside the house and more and more about organizing outside the house.  Specifically, organizing all the assorted lawn and garden tools and equipment tucked in various places: garage, shed, assorted outside storage nooks and crannies.

As with any organizing project, before we can get down to actual organizing, we need to know exactly what it is that we need to organize.

So, the first thing that needs to be done is to gather all your tools and equipment in the same place, putting “like-with-like.” For example, all the hand trowels need to go together, all the gloves need to be in one area, all the rakes need to be placed together.  You get the idea.

Once you’ve placed like-with-like, decide if everything needs to be kept and, therefore,  organized.  Do you have far more rakes that you could possibly use?  Can you donate a few?  Are some of the hand trowels bent and rusted and need to be thrown away?  Are there mismatched gloves that need to be thrown away?  There is no need to plan on organizing things that really don’t need to be kept.

Once all the items are together, think about the space where you plan to keep your tools and accessories.

  • Is there an option for hanging a tool rack?
  • Do you need a free-standing option?
  • Would it help if the storage were mobile?

Once you’ve determined what will be organized and where the organization will take place, the fun part begins!  How to corral everything. There are literally hundreds of storage options ranging from a simple nail in the wall to hang a trowel or a bag of gloves, all the way up to systems that cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

Here are some options that fall in between:

For hand tools:Amazon Hand Tool Storage

Free-standing option:Amazon Free Standing

Wall organizer for large and small tools:Amazon Small and Large Garden Tool Storage

Moveable storage:Amazon Moveable Garden Storage

Wearable organizers: Amazon Garden Tool Belt

5-gallon bucket organizer:Amazon Bucket Storage

Combination large/small wall organizer:Amazon Combined Garden StorageEverything is easier to do if we can find the tools we need for the job.  There are many, many options for whatever you need to organize and wherever you need to organize it.  Whatever your choice, the best advice I can give is to just get outside and enjoy this amazing place in which we live!


Note:  All organizing tool images:

Honoring Earth Day: How to Keep Mother Earth Happy and Healthy

Pixabay Tree Earth“The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. For more information, visit

The three pillars of environmental responsibility:  Reduce.  Reuse.  Recycle.

Reducing the amount of waste we create and energy we consume is the most effective, and possibly simplest, way to help Mother Earth.

A few easy suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of mail that comes in your home by unsubscribing from mail you don’t want or need. These websites can help you with that:
  • Reduce energy consumption (a big drain on the environment) by turning down the heat, shutting lights off, carpooling when possible, lowering the temperature on the water heater, washing your clothes on the “cold” setting, etc. Every little bit helps!
  • Create a network of friends and neighbors to borrow or lend items you don’t use frequently. For example, I have a table saw.  Once I completed the project I purchased it for, I only use it a few times a year.  I’d be happy to loan it to a friend or neighbor.  What do you have in your house you could do the same with?  (Facebook is a great way to get the word out.)

Finding a way to reuse what no longer serves in its original purpose is another great way to help the environment. (If you watch Flea Market Flip or any of those types of shows, you will also hear the term “upcycle”.)

How to do that?

  • Look at any sturdy packaging you may be about to throw away.  Can it serve another purpose? Shoe boxes become drawer organizers.  Empty cottage cheese containers become food storage. Tin cans become pencil cups (you may want to decorate them up a bit.)  You get the idea.
  • Invest in reusable shopping bags.  In addition to the kind the retainers sell, there are some really fun and practical choices on Amazon.
  • Use cloth vs paper napkins.  The energy it takes to create a paper napkin is unbelievable!  If you want the stats, click here.   I would imagine the energy consumption to produce paper plates and plastic forks would be the same. Use “real” silverware and dishes whenever possible.
  • There are many, many great charities that support individuals that could really use what you don’t need.  Do some research on what’s available in your area.  Give where it feels good.

And then there’s recyclingPixabay RecyclingRecycling has been around for long enough that most of us are in the groove.  As a matter of fact, some cities are actually fining folks that don’t recycle and compost efficiently.  Mother Earth thanks those cities from the bottom of her beautiful heart.

Some thoughts on this:

  • Check your local municipality for recycling guidelines . . . I’m amazed at how much they differ!
  • Go that extra step when looking to make a purchase and look for items made out of recycled products.

At Organize To Simplify, we are dedicated to giving back to others and the environment by celebrating Earth Day every day!

“Together we can help others and the environment by reducing, re-purposing, and recycling items you no longer need to lessen the long-term impact on our environment.”

How do you celebrate Earth Day?

Cindy Jobs

Organize to Simplify

Member Color - Web   National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
 ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website   Certified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization




Taxes are Taxing: Take Care Of Yourself!

taxes-646511_960_720It’s hard for me to believe, but the the first quarter of the year is already in the books and taxes are due next week.  Hopefully you are one of the lucky, non-procrastinators that filed their taxes long ago and have done something fun with the huge refund the I.R.S. sent you.

Then there’s the rest of us for whom I offer the following.

You are not alone.

According to approximately 30% of the 2014 taxes were anticipated to be filed in the final two weeks before the deadline.  Why do we procrastinate?

  • Laziness:  We just don’t want to do it.  Who can’t see themselves in this one?
  • Thrill-Seeking:  We think we work better under pressure.  Generally we don’t.
  • Lack of Urgency:  There’s no penalty for dropping them off at the post office at 11:59 PM on April 18th.  Why hurry?
  • Availability of Extensions:  Extensions don’t mean you have more time to PAY, just more time to file.  If you are expecting money back, why extend?
  • We Don’t Expect a Refund: If you aren’t getting money back, why give Uncle Sam our money a minute earlier than we have to?

Well, whether we expect a refund or not, there is still stress and anxiety involved in filing our taxes at the last minute.  Knowing that, some additional self-care may be in order.

silhouette-1082172_960_720What the heck am I talking about?  Well, when I work with clients and they’ve completed a task that is hard, stressful, anxiety-ridden, emotionally taxing, or one they’ve procrastinated on, I suggest they spend some additional time focusing on their personal self care.

Self-care takes many forms and what works for one doesn’t always work for another, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Sleep:  Treat yourself to an extra few minutes of sleep, or even better, indulge in a nap.   According to the Mayo Clinic napping reduces fatigue, increases alertness, and improves our mood.
  • Exercise: Take a nice, long walk with a friend, join in on a fun exercise class at the gym, or even just dance around the house to your favorite song.  According to the CDC ( “People who are physically active for about 7 hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.”
  • Eat something that makes you feel good:  There are physical and mental benefits of sitting down to a healthy fruit and cheese plate, a nutritional smoothie, or a nice bar of dark chocolate (it’s good for us, right?).  Indulge!
  • Meditate:   Sometimes we just need to block out our crazy world!  According to  Charles L. Raison, MD, clinical director of the Mind-Body Program at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, meditation improves both physical and emotional responses to stress.

So, whatever your tax filing situation is, know that once it’s behind you, the stress may not be.  Relax, rejuvinate, have some fun . . .  you deserve it!

Cindy Jobs

Organize to Simplify

Member Color - Web   National Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
 ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 website   Certified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.”

2016.04.01 Unsplash Jeremy ThomasWhen we worry, our brains are in a constant swirl of “what if?” questions.  Personally, as the John Lubbock quote (subject line) attests, I find worry extremely exhausting!  My mind races, I lose sleep, and I get distracted from what’s truly important.

Is worry worth it?  According to “The Complete Sales Action System®” worry chart, maybe not:

  • 40% of all things we worry about never happen
  • 30% have already happened and we can’t do anything about them
  • 12% needless worries about health
  • 10% petty miscellaneous issues
  • 8% real worries
    • 1/2 we can do little about
    • 1/2 we can

So, before your brain engages in a constant swirl of worry, think about:

Will this matter a year from now?  This thought compliments of  Dr. Richard Carlson’s book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff  . . . and it’s all small stuff.   Things that may not matter in a year: missing a meeting or  your wife’s birthday (wait, that may matter a year from now); making a non-life-threatening mistake; or having an argument with a colleague, friend, or family member.  You get the idea.

Does this worry belong to someone else?  How many times have we taken on  worry that doesn’t belong to us?  Personally, I’ve worried about RSVPs to a party I’m not hosting; worried about a comment someone else made to a mutual friend; and worried about whether or not my husband has left for the airport on time (he’s perfectly capable of managing his time).  I couldn’t control any of these situations and they really weren’t mine to manage or worry about . . . but I did.

What’s the very worst that can happen?   Sometimes there is a legitimate reason to worry, but it helps to put some thought into “what’s next” if the worst happens.  For example:  Taxes are due within the next couple of weeks.   What’s the very worst that can happen if you don’t file on time?  Penalties, fines, or triggering an audit.  Not great options.  What can you do about it?  File an extension.  The worry was not misplaced, but once the extension is filed, you can rest a bit easier . . . for a while.

Is the problem solvable?  Can whatever we are worrying about be fixed, prevented, or resolved?  If so, the worry may be warranted.  If not, the worry energy may well be misplaced.

Maybe we can take some advice from the Dalai Lama:

“If there is a solution to a problem, there is no need to worry.

And if there is no solution, there is no need to worry.”

Cindy Jobs

Organize to Simplify RGB

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
 ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization