Posts

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year….

Rosy cheeks, the awesome smell of pine, decorative lights, and a feeling of anticipation in the air prompt us to think of holidays, loved ones, and hopes for the New Year. But 2020 has been difficult for many, and in the struggle to keep up, many things may have gone undone.

Do you feel overwhelmed by these end-of-year tasks?

  • Creating memorable holiday events
  • Organizing your business or personal paperwork for tax season
  • Finding space for continuing work or school from home

Not Sure Where to Begin?

Don’t let feelings of stress and frustration overwhelm you. Take a deep breath and consider some of these easy suggestions to plan and complete your end-of-year checklist.  To keep it simple, pick just one task and one tip to accomplish. This might be all you need to feel settled, or maybe that success will lead you to tackle more!

Holidays Covid-Style

This year instead of trying to do it all, focus on one specific area you would like to decorate.  Maybe you’d like to have the most welcoming entryway filled with lights, fresh greenery or silly snowmen. Or perhaps fill your home with wonderful scents and place candles or potpourri around your living space. Cranberry, cinnamon, cookie dough, peppermint, and pine can all conjure up a winter wonderland.

For gift sharing, consider making memories. One creative suggestion is sending your loved ones a party in a box, so everyone can share an experience together. Gather favorite songs or recipes from your family and friends and create a digital playlist or cookbook to share. These kinds of activities are limited only by your imagination.

Tax Time

While sorting receipts and collecting paperwork for taxes is no one’s idea of holiday fun, being organized and ready for tax time will give you piece of mind. If your desk is cluttered with bills and mail, the simple task of sorting and filing will make your work easier in the long run. An added benefit is that space will be clear for family zoom-time, gift wrapping, or decorating!

If you’re ready to move your finances online and don’t have the know-how, ask a friend or family member to gift you the time to teach you this new skill.  You will both benefit from the connection.

Preparing for More School or Work from Home

It appears that 2021 will begin with many of us still working or schooling from home. After the last few months, you probably have a better idea of how you’d like to arrange space or activities in your home to be more productive and efficient.  Making this a family project, complete with hot chocolate and holiday music, will create a memory that lasts into the new year.

If it’s chores that need organizing, turn that into a game that assigns family members to complete them. Using an app with built-in rewards might be a way to engage teenagers in household tasks.

If you are alone, you can pick one thing each day (or week) to complete yourself. Then treat yourself.

Ask the Experts

Your holiday can be a little more ‘merry and bright’ with just a little bit of time and planning.  If you find you’d rather have professional help to help accomplish your To-Do list, Queen B Organizing offers all these services and more and is here for you.

If you don’t know where to start, Queen B Organizing offers a one-hour “Pick Your Brain” session with a professional organizer.  In that time, a client can ask questions and get useful tips for how to handle any space, event, or organizing need with ease.  For $100, you could offer yourself, a friend, or family member a useful and memorable gift!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa or just reflect on the calendar year ending and the new one in sight, end this year with the feeling of peace that comes from being organized.

And make a New Year’s Resolution to check out this blog every week for more helpful organizing ideas!

Preparing Your Home for Fall and Winter

Post and photos courtesy of Sue Long Realty Group

Fall is the perfect time to prepare your home for the cold months ahead. We still have some summer-y days in the forecast, but with all the smoke we experienced from the wildfires and many of us working or schooling from home, some of these tasks are more important than ever. You will prevent costly damage and reduce your winter heating costs. Plus, your home will look and feel cozier once you’re done getting it ready for fall.

You really only need a weekend to tackle these tasks. From simple changes to decor to items to clean while the weather is still nice, you will be ready regardless of how unpredictable the forecast is.

Willamette Valley Area Home Decor to Change for the Fall

Cooler temperatures mean it’s time to get your favorite cozy clothes out of storage. Fall is also a great time to swap out your home’s textiles and furnishings.

  • Hang heavier drapes and curtains: Hanging heavier drapes in the fall helps to insulate your home from Oregon winters. Darker colors absorb the sun’s heat through windows, which adds heat to your home. Open your curtains once the sun rises but close them before sunset to trap the warmth indoors. Don’t forget to clean your summer curtains before storing them.
  • Rearrange Furniture: If you have a fireplace, that is a natural focal point for your furniture in colder months. So, part of getting your home ready for fall often means rearranging rooms. Moving seating areas away from the drafty windows and doors also helps you stay warmer. And when you’re sitting in your favorite spot, you’re less likely to crank up the thermostat.
  • Rotate Area Rugs and Cushions: Bright summer sunlight fades fabrics. Lots of use wear out rugs and cushions, too. To help things fade and wear evenly, rotate your rugs at the end of summer. Do the same with sofa and chair cushions. This is also a great time to clean between the cushions. Add cozy throw blankets and pillows to get your home ready for the chilly fall nights.

What to Clean After Summer Ends

More time is spent outside in the summer, but that also means a lot of dirt is tracked into the home. Add to that the smoke from the wildfires we experienced here in the Willamette Valley! Even if you are not up for an official fall deep cleaning, here is how to get rid of some summer grime from all that treasured time we spend outdoors during long Oregon summers.

  • Shampoo Your Carpets: Cleaning your carpet reduces dust and odors in your home. This is the perfect task to do when you’re getting your home ready for fall.
  • Wash Your Windows and Inspect Screens: Summer dust, storms, pollen, wildfire smoke and ash all leave windows grimy. Sometimes, you don’t even know how dirty they are until you have cleaned them. Washing windows is best done on a cool, overcast day, which makes them another great task to help get your home ready for fall. All you need is a bucket, a squeegee, and a window cleaner that doesn’t streak. Make sure your screens are in good shape, too, or remove them for the winter.
  • Clean and Reverse Ceiling Fan Blades: Ceiling fans get extremely dusty over the summer. To clean them, use an extension pole and a ceiling fan brush. Then, push the switch on the side of the motor housing to reverse their direction. When the blades rotate clockwise, they pull warm air down from the ceiling into your room where you need it.
  • Clean Your Storage Areas: The end of summer is an excellent time to make sure your garage, basement, and attic are free of mold and spider infestations. Don’t spend a lot of time, but do give them a little attention. Look for cracks and water damage while you’re in there, too.

Getting Your Heating System Ready for a Mid-Willamette Valley Winter

Whether you rely on a furnace or fireplace for heat – or both – there are a few steps you should take before you fire it up. It’s always best to do this early in the season before repair companies get busy, so try to do it when you are getting your home ready for the fall. Once winter sets in, you won’t enjoy shivering for several days until they get your heat working again.

  • Seal Cracks and Gaps Around Doors and Windows: Eliminating gaps will keep your warm air in and cold air out. To discover hidden gaps, hold a lit stick of incense or a candle in your hand. Move it around your window and door frames slowly. If the smoke or flume flutters, you have a gap. Seal it with caulk or weatherstripping. You will save your heating system extra work and save money!
  • Clean Your Furnace and Change Filters: A quick service inspection keeps your furnace running well all winter. But, you can get your home’s furnace ready for fall by cleaning it yourself in minutes. All you need to do is shut off the system and remove the cover. Then, vacuum away dust, change the filter, and put the cover back on. Finish up by making sure nothing flammable is near your system.
  • Change the Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Some people change their batteries during Spring Cleaning. Others wait until Daylight Saving Time ends November 1. The important thing is that you change them every year, so that you know they are working to protect your family. Remember to dust your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, too, so their sensors can do their job.
  • Reprogram the Thermostat: If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider getting one-it will save you a bunch of money. Set it only to run when you are home, or to kick on right before you return. Then program a low temperature at bedtime when you are warm under the covers. Many programmable thermostats even let you set a different schedule for different days of the week.
  • Clean Your Fireplace and Get Your Chimney Inspected: If you have a fireplace, give it some TLC as you are getting your home ready for autumn. Sweep away dust and cobwebs, so you don’t have to smell them burning when you light your first fire of the season. Use a little soapy water and a scrub brush to clean soot (and wildfire ash) from your fireplace walls. And, if yours is a wood-burner, be sure to get your chimney inspected. Hidden build-up can keep your fireplace from venting correctly an put your family at risk.
  • Stock Up on Firewood: If you have a wood-burning fireplace or fire pit, stock up on firewood before the demand peaks. You might even be able to find free firewood near you. Don’t forget to refill your stash of marshmallows to roast over your home’s wood fire, too!

Written by Heidi Gornik on September 21, 2020. Posted in Heidi’s HintsHome Tips

Keeping Up With the Queen B

Keeping Up With the Queen B

“The worst thing you can do is stay stuck.”
-Kristin Bertilson

Have you ever considered what it takes to start and grow a business?

Kristin Bertilson started Queen B Organizing over 10 years ago during an economy that was just beginning to recover from the recession of 2008.

While most small businesses don’t last longer than five years, Queen B Organizing finds itself not only with its doors still open, but powering through this unprecedented time of the COVID19 pandemic.

How has she done it? By not allowing herself to become stuck with indecision!

Kristin, a Certified Professional Organizer, was recently interviewed about forming and growing her business for a podcast with her professional organization, NAPO.

When asked about what she wanted listeners to take away from her appearance on the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals’ podcast “Stand Out”, the first thing that came to mind was not allowing yourself to become stuck.

It’s fascinating how many business owners and professionals may become frozen with indecision.

Kristin mentions that, not only should we push forward, but we can learn to be okay with the idea of failing, because if we allow ourselves to fail, we gain knowledge and the opportunity to grow.

Listen here to the full podcast and check out our Facebook and Instagram posts for organizing tips, updates on estate sales, and more!

-with thanks to Isaieh Heiken