Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Guest" Practices

This holiday season is about to come to an end and we at Genius are thinking about our clients tackling clutter and disorganization in the New Year.

Often one can become overwhelmed and feel guilt over a disorganized situation. Don’t let it consume you. Don’t let it impose on your enjoyment of this time with loved ones.

Use the fact that you have guests coming or currently in your home as motivation to keep moving forward with your organizational goals.

While your guests are there, the dishes get done more often, laundry gets put away, shoes and clothes get put in the closet, right? Why not carry those practices into your everyday life? YOU deserve this meticulous care, as well as your guests.

If every day you take the time to implement a few of these “guest practices” you will find yourself not only less cluttered but with more free time. You will also find there will be less need to scramble right before you have guests come visit.

Here are just a few small things that can cause a big impact:

1. Hang your clothes up / put them in laundry as soon as you take them off, EVERY DAY.

One shirt on the dresser is no big deal, but 3 shirts and a pair of pants becomes a pile and a pile is stressful and overwhelming.

2. Do your dishes, EVERY DAY

Even though this is more cleaning than clutter, it is one of the world’s most daunting but common tasks that sets the tone for other areas in the home. Go around the house, pick up all the cups and glasses and wash everything, every day.

3. Put away laundry, THE MINUTE IT IS DONE (or comes back from the cleaners)

If it sits in the bag or basket, you can still get to it, right? Then what happens is you keep using it out of the bag or basket and now you have no place to put your dirty laundry. If you put it away, it is a small “win” for you that you accomplished something in your day. Self-encouragement is a helpful way to stay organized AND feel good about you.

4. Process mail, EVERY DAY.

That mail isn’t going to open itself, and you certainly won’t know how much you owe without opening it. When mail piles up, it is not only unsightly but it is financially dangerous. If you haven’t gone totally digital and you still get statements and bills open them EVERY DAY and immediately put the discarded envelope in your recycling bin. It is ok if you then put the bill in your “In Box” or "Bill Box," but by reading it first, you make a mental note of what you owe and you are storing less paper by discarding the outside used envelope. IF you cannot do this EVERY DAY, make sure you have selected - and noted in your planner - a time each week that you are going to take care of incoming mail. Take it from us, this is essential.

5. Straighten up, EVERY DAY.

Take ten minutes every evening as you are wrapping up your day, to walk around your house and put things back in their places, empty waste baskets, close drawers and doors, etc. This is painless daily maintenance that makes every day in your life neater with only ten minutes of effort! It's an unbeatable plan for keeping your act together.

We hope this helps in your quest to become a better, more organized you! Let us know your feedback on these "guest practices." We love to hear from you!

Make sure you check out our new before and after pics on our FACEBOOK page.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Small steps to make your Holiday go off without a hitch

We have already talked about gifts and the “Big Meal” so what is left?
GUESTS. Ugh. Save yourself the trouble of last minute scurrying with a couple of planning ideas.

Today’s Tip: Prepare for the INCOMING by taking small steps

Starting next week:

Monday - Wash all towels & bedding and set aside specifics for guests.

This is a time consuming task that has to be done so best to get it out of the way.

Tuesday - Clear out a drawer/closet for guests to be able to put some of their stuff

Don’t go bonkers. Guests know that they are invading your space; it’s a nice touch to offer a couple of hangars or half a shirt drawer.

Wednesday - Plan at least ONE sit down home cooked meal. Don’t just think it, WRITE IT.

If you write things down you are less likely to forget anything and have to make that last minute run to the grocery store. Plus, this will also help keep you on budget when you have to look at all the things you have to buy.

Thursday - Make reservations/get tickets for one event out of the house

It’s cold outside, its family inside and its tense all the way around. Get up and out to give yourself a break on cooking and give everyone something new to talk about while showing off your town.

Friday – Shop for all dry goods from your home cooked meal

Start to put together your special section of your pantry for your big holiday menu.

You are on your way. In one more week you will be done with everything and ready to sit back and let the family roll in.

Happy Holidays

Nicole & Julia

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble Gobble Toil and Trouble

Today’s Holiday Tip: Setting the menu without it going a-fowl…

Planning ahead.
Pick plenty of recipes you can make ahead of time and pull out of the
fridge at the last minute. Wow your friends with variety and recipes like this Sweet & Spicy Mixed Nuts.

Spiced nuts Recipe

Don’t sweat it.
Choose recipes with quick cooking times, or cold salads. One stove burning around the clock with lots of people in the house makes for a very unpleasant Thanksgiving, as well as a moist, frantic host.

Kale Salad Recipe

Take all the glory.
Make the Big Bird and let the guests bring the rest. Who cares if you
can’t do it all? You work hard all year long and this day should be a
vacation for you, too. Don’t try to do too much. You’ll enjoy the day much

The path less traveled.
Watching your weight? Do something radical. Plan a family hike or bike ride.
Volunteer at a food bank or a shelter. Who says you have to have
can-shaped cranberries and overstuff your face with turkey and green
bean casserole?

Happy Holidays!

Nicole & Julia

Monday, November 23, 2009

Here come the holidays!

Holiday advice can be overwhelming. Throughout the next month we will give you easy and concise things to keep in mind that will help you maintain your holiday composure.

Today’s Tips: How to KEEP the JOY in giving gifts

Spread out your holiday shopping over the whole year. When you travel or see something that is right for your friend or Mom, why wait? Get it then.
By the time the holiday comes…you have several things ready to give not to mention, you won’t be strapped for cash having spent an extra lump sum in one month on presents.

Be sure to create a dedicated space (box, shelf or drawer) for “gifts” so they don’t create clutter, and/or get lost, damaged, or used by someone other than the intended recipient. Establish a place for these future gifts and always put them in their place as you bring them home.

The KIT.
Scissors, wrapping paper, labels, tissue paper, bows and ribbon should all be kept in one place. The size of the storage depends on how often you wrap gifts. If you are a once a year wrapper then a simple shopping bag will do. Or, you can purchase a “gift wrap center.” Here are three examples available at The Container Store:

This last one is the big winner because you should always choose VERTICAL storage if you can. This saves the most space.

Start wrapping presents the second you get them home. Wrapping presents can be the most time consuming thing you do this season. Don’t procrastinate. A little bit every day will save you LOADS of time.

SAVE MONEY & Be Unique.
Use unconventional wrapping paper.

-Subway/Road/Country maps
-Newspaper (then paint on it!)
-Old T-shirts (cut in strips and weave them together, or just wrap the shirt around)
-Good ol’ aluminum foil
-Extra fabric you have saved

Order every gift online and choose “gift wrap”. Most online retailers offer a gift wrapping service for an extra fee. If you have the cash and not the time…you could be done with all of your shopping and wrapping in just an hour or two.

Happy PRE-holidays,

Nicole & Julia

Friday, November 13, 2009

It’s time to clean the pantry.

Have you ever purchased a can of black beans only to get home and look deep in the depths of your pantry to find out you already have two cans already?

It happens to everyone. Let’s change that!

Today’s tip: Use unique products and organizing tools to make your pantry work for you.

Get the Ball Rolling

First follow these steps…

1. Take everything out of your pantry.

2. Clean everything and line the shelves with contact paper. This makes cleaning easier down the road and a clean pantry is a pest-free pantry.

3. Group like items together on your counter or table. This makes putting things back in easier and creates order. Don’t just think “grains”, “canned food” and “pasta” when grouping; make groups like “Kids After School Snacks” and “Easy One Pot Meals”.

4. Check expiration dates on EVERYTHING and throw away anything expired.

NOW...let's get to organizing.

Use Your Space Wisely:

Think UP.
A double stack lazy susan is a great way to increase your vertical space and still see what you have.

Think UNDER.
Put a basket under your shelf. This picture doesn’t have food in it, but imagine if all your pasta was up out of the way, not getting smashed behind and under cans and boxes.

How about using a pull down spice rack? Those tiered racks are great for seeing the spices but how practical is it for USING the spices? This is one of the most amazing tools we’ve seen to date.

Label the Contents:

Shoe boxes are great and if you cover them with contact paper that you used on your shelves it makes for a MUCH neater cabinet. Or if you want to get fancy, purchase some boxes with a very clear labeling system.

Put large labels on the boxes so there is no mistake by anyone in your household about where things “live” in the pantry.

Think AHEAD.
If you are hosting a big holiday or dinner party you might want to think in advance about what you have or need to purchase. Place a sticky note that lists the ingredients of what you are making on the outside of a new box. As the days go by, you assess what you have and place what items you already have in the box then strike through what you have. When it’s time to go shopping, simply take the note with you and buy what’s left!

Keeping it tidy:

Use the inside of your cabinet doors! Today there exists many technologically advanced paints that you can apply to the inside of your cabinets. There is a magnetic paint we are absolutely crazy about that will allow you to hang magnetic hooks or put up recipes. Or you can use chalk board paint which will allow you to write shopping lists and reminders. The same goes for dry-erase board paint. These are amazing, fun to use and show off, and we encourage their use!

Now that you are organized AND have a handy surface inside your cabinet for notes, put up a cleaning schedule for the pantry 4 times a year, repeat the steps 1-4 listed at the top.

Make sure to include people in your house when labeling items and cleaning out so that it isn’t just the “weight of the pantry” on your shoulders.

Don't forget to come see us LIVE for FREE Organizing ideas and address your own clutter issues!

782 Union Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues in Park Slope)
Come hear Nicole speak about getting your space organized for a much better you. She will be joining personal trainer Aja Davis in discussing overall wellness.

Ellis Bar
627 5th Ave (between 17th and 18th Streets in Park Slope)
Join us to discuss your clutter and hear innovative ways to get started on your most pressing projects.

Nicole & Julia

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Let’s start at the very beginning…that’s a very good place to start…

Do you sometimes look at the mess and clutter and think "how in the heck do I even begin?" Sure, reading blog tips about how to organize your home is great, but what if you have a really big problem and you can’t even imagine how you can accomplish it all.

Today’s tip: Do one thing today, a small thing

If you look around your house and your heart beats fast and your breath gets short and your world starts to close in…step back and BREATHE. Life is not going to come to an end if your house does not run like clockwork. Keep reading and let’s learn how to slowly begin the process of building a more efficient home and a more calm serene you.

The best thing to do is to start small, start with ONE drawer. Sure, you can dive right into that walk in closet but you will most likely run out of steam very quickly without a game plan.

We at Genius Organizing are HUGE fans of the organized drawer. Why, because its one small thing that can be accomplished in under 20 minutes. In the overwhelming world of organizing your home, you must have victories along the way or else you will never see the forest for the trees.

Once you organize that ONE drawer and really create a designated place for everything that should go in that drawer, it is infinitely easier to keep it maintained.

For this example we are going to use your sock drawer. Why? Because everyone has one and it almost always contains the same ingredients. There are three ways you can go about organizing a drawer.

1. LABEL it, just a little bit: This is the part where we are going to talk about labels again. In the theater, a prop master will often create a table covered with butcher paper divided with tape lines to create boxes like a large grid. Then each box will have the name of the designated prop written in. You can do the same thing in the bottom of a drawer.

2. DIVIDE and conquer: Purchase a divider, either one that creates the little boxes for you or one that creates long lines or a diamond shape for little things. You can’t go wrong with one of these items but MAKE SURE you measure your drawer before purchasing anything or else that divider will find its way to the “someday I’ll return this pile”.

Here's a before and after drawer as well as different divider options.

3. RE-PURPOSE, reuse, and recycle: Take those old shoe boxes and gift boxes you have and configure them inside the drawer any way you like. Again, you will need to write the items that go in each box on the bottom of the box, but it also gives you a chance to try out one configuration and then another easily. OR take the “socks box” with you over to the sofa while you are folding laundry and watching the telly. Then you can easily pop the “socks box” right back into the drawer!!

Just a reminder, TONIGHT, come see us live at Solas Bar for a FREE "Meet Up" Organizing Workshop. Hope to see you there!

Also, check out our ad in The "L" Magazine:

Nicole & Julia

Friday, October 30, 2009

Use 'em if you got 'em!

In our previous blog entry, we talked about ending your addiction to paper. Now that you are getting rid of all that paper, you will need to shred documents with sensitive information on them and what happens if you don’t have a shredder?? Do you sit around all day with a pair of scissors, painstakingly cutting paper into tiny squares?

NO. Use the washing machine!

Tip for the day: Repurpose your things in imaginative ways to help achieve your goals

1. Use your washing machine as your "shredder!"

That’s right, stick your most sensitive papers into one of your most delicate items (a stocking) and throw it in the washing machine. You can’t substitute anything for a stocking and I know two legs don’t necessarily hold a whale of amount of paper, but if you are diligent, every time you get a run, stuff both legs with your “delicate docs” and put them through a cycle. Then pluck out the stuffed “Leggs” and toss them confidently in the trash.

You contain the mess and at the same time make all paper illegible.

2. Use a lazy susan under your bathroom sink!

It’s dark down there. Who knows how many half empty bottles of self-tanning lotion or kitschy body wash flavors you have under there? While putting a stick-up light up is possible, it would be best to make that stuff more accessible. This product merry-go-round will help you realize what your new scent of the month might be as well as see what’s expired and what you might need to refill.

3. Use a picture frame hanger to hang your hair dryer!

Get your styling equipment up off the sink, floor and/or counter top. Most models of hair styling equipment come with a hook or loop at the back end for this very reason. This will also prevent the gnarled cords that tend to miraculously appear over time. Put up a picture frame hook in your bathroom or vanity area and hang your stuff up for easy access and to greatly reduce clutter.

Don’t forget, come see us live for a FREE workshop:
Wed Nov 4th 7pm @ Solas Bar in NYC

We are hosting the NYC Declutter and Get Organized Meet Up

Nicole & Julia

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This is the first day of the rest of your life and your addiction to paper stops here.

Tip of the day: Stop using paper and start getting digital.

We are always amazed at the lure paper has over our clients. Sometimes asking someone to throw away their papers can be like asking them to burn money. Hate to say it people, but the future is coming and you are going to be left behind to drown in your cozy-comfy paper world.

FIRST STEP: Buy a scanner.

What kind of scanner you ask?

We highly recommend a receipt scanner called “Neat”.

It is very easy to use and works on everything, not just receipts. It allows you to convert receipts into an excel spreadsheet for taxes or whatever. It allows you to convert business cards into Outlook. It is slim and sleek and can fit anywhere and can scan almost anything.

SECOND STEP: Get rid of your Post It notes.

You have a computer AND a hand held computer and I bet you 5 bucks you are under using them. No need to write things on little scraps of paper. You have in both or all of your electronic devices a “Note” application. Use it and save a tree and your mind!

THIRD STEP: Scan all non-essentials.

You know you have some paper stacked up somewhere that you think you need to keep but you don’t really know why, like for instance…the gas bill. Well, if you aren’t sure…scan it and then recycle that bill and then go online and ask the company for an e-bill which will eliminate a bill coming in paper form and you having to scan it.

FOURTH STEP: Educate yourself.

If you don’t know what to keep and what not to keep, talk to the important people, like your accountant or your lawyer. Research which documents you will be required to keep in hard copy form.

FIFTH STEP: Stop bringing paper into the house.

We encourage clients with P.A.D. (Paper Addiction Disorder) to think before they bring paper into the home. If a client jots down a phone number on a cocktail napkin, that number should get transferred into their phone immediately OR better yet, reach for the phone first before the pen!

Get all of your bills delivered in e-bill format. Doing this alone will make a tremendous difference in your life.

Also, our government can help you with your mail!

The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years. When you register with this service (for a $1 fee), your name will be put on a “delete” file and made available to direct-mail marketers. However, your registration will not stop mailings from organizations that do not use the DMA’s Mail Preference Service. To register with DMA’s Mail Preference Service, go to

To recap…if you are deeply affected with P.A.D. and are scared of even performing step one, at the very least…please try to implement step five.

OR you can always hire us to come to your house and scan and trash that paper for you (SUPER WINK!).

Julia & Nicole

Monday, October 26, 2009

Energize your base

Today’s tip: Enlist your family/spouse/roommate in a grass roots campaign to win over the Organization district: your home.

By asking your people to contribute to creating the systems in your home, you are upping your percentages that they will also participate in the good fight to maintain order.

YES YOU CAN do it by yourself but why would you want to?

Let us begin with LABELS. Don’t be scared. Some disorganized people I know get extraordinarily angry at the mention of labels as if it puts them in a Stepford Wife category of organization. Not so.

Kill two birds with one stone and get your kids involved in an activity of creating their own labels for Toys, Clothes, Pots and Pans, Blankets, Magazines, Shoes. They get to be creative, practice their spelling and unknowingly learn where things in their house “live”.

For a spouse or a roommate, crayons and sticky paper won’t do the trick. You have to do some polling and figure out what things are more important to them. For instance, if your spouse is the one responsible for filing insurance papers, you may want to ask their opinion on how the files should be labeled.

“Well, I think “Insurance” is too general. I would file the medical as “Aetna” and the car as “All State”.

TA-DA! You just got other people involved. It is that easy! Let go of some of the control in order for other people to participate.

If you think labeling your kitchen cabinets or even the fridge is too uptight, think again. Putting away groceries and dishes has never been easier and now you can put an end to the excuses…“But I don’t know where any of that stuff goes!”

If you want 4 MORE YEARS of organization, put the people in your party to work.

Julia & Nicole

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ti-i-i-ime is on your side....yes it is!

"I just don't have time" is a popular answer to the question "Why are you so disorganized?". Now I'm sure, no one ever asks you that question but you feel it in your bones every time you purchase a paint roller and then three weeks down the road you unearth 2 of the same deep in your closet or garage.

Today's tip: Clock Yourself

You can use time to your advantage. We at G.O. are super big into using a TIMER. Using a timer can change the way you live your life and especially the way you take care of your space. Looking at a project that you know will take hours is daunting but giving yourself 20 minutes a day on a timer is a breeze.

Here's a challenge...list the 3 most disorganized spaces in your house. Let's get your mojo going by starting with the last on the list and work our way up to the "big mess". Grab your kitchen timer and set it for 20 minutes. Focus on doing one thing for that sliver of time. For instance, if it's your home office, pick up only paper. Put that paper in 3 piles. Toss, Keep, Review. At first glance if you aren't sure, put the paper in the Review file. This will keep you focused on beating the clock vs getting emotionally invested in the paper itself.

You aren't big on the timer, huh, well a built in quick timer is the way too long commercial break. Often we encourage people to do one small task during each commercial break. You'd be surprised how much you can get done.

You can do it, we know you can. Don't be shy, write us and let's talk about tackling your biggest disorganized space. Use the timer method, invite a friend over to help...let us know how it worked.

Julia & Nicole

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Elephant in the Room

New York City is tight. We live in tiny spaces so we have to get creative about where we put stuff. The first apartment I ever saw when I moved here was shaped like a "C" and the bathroom door when opened scraped the edge of the toilet. Oh yeah, and there was no sink. I was terrified that I was forever destined to brush my teeth in the shower or over the kitchen sink. Luckily I found a different apartment.

Even if you don't live in NYC, sometimes easy camouflage options and tight spaces are overlooked. Much like that big purse you put in your lap when you sit down, a couch can hide something large and unsightly too.

Today's tip: Big Furniture hides Big Things

Yesterday we put two large folded clothes drying racks behind a client's headboard. You cannot see them at all, but you can reach in from either side of the bed and pull one out. We also often hide items behind the back of the couch, under the bed, and under the couch. People are always hunting for more storage in their homes but only think of it as closets and cabinets. Extra space, even tight space, behind and under the furniture, should not be overlooked.

See the armoire.
See the hidden boxes behind the armoire.
Although the trays aren't hidden completely they are out of the way and are easily accessible.

Ok so what have we learned?

1. Shop around when it comes to apartments.
2. Hide your flat stuff.
3. Do sit ups.

Come see us in the flesh!!

Wed Nov 4th 7pm @ Solas Bar
We are hosting the NYC Declutter and Get Organized Meet Up

Sat Nov 14th 10am @ The Park Slope Food Co-Op
Nicole is speaking with her personal trainer in regards to overall wellness.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks to making your home/office a better place!

Nicole & Julia

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Welcome to the blog

We at Genius Organizing want to get the word out about our company and at the same time create a fun blog for people to learn cool and interesting ways to organize their home or business.

We will use this forum to announce public events you can attend to hear some of our Genius ideas as well as write us with quandaries on your cluttered office or home.

We are here to encourage and entertain!

Coming soon in November:
Check out our ad in the upcoming "L" Magazine Services Directory
Read all about us in our "Hire This" spread in Time Out Magazine
See Nicole live at the Park Slope Food Co-Op preaching the commandments of organization

And so it begins.


Julia & Nicole