Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Announcing Arlington's Messiest Place Contest!

Functional Places is on the hunt for Arlington's Messiest Place! Enter your "messy place" in our contest for a chance to win a 3-hour session with a professional organizer and a $250 gift certificate to The Container Store to help take it from messy to functional!

The winner will be chosen by the public at the Functional Places booth at Town Day on September 26th. Everyone who votes will be entered into a free drawing for some organizing goodies of your very own! So even if you don't think you have the Messiest Place, come by and vote and help us choose a winner.

To enter the Arlington's Messiest Place contest:
Email or mail a photo of your messy space to Functional Places (contact info at the end of this post). Include a description of your space, the challenges you are facing with getting it organized, and a paragraph about why you think you should be the contest winner. Also include your contact information so that we can contact you if you are voted the winner. And then tell your friends to come by our booth at Town Day and vote!

The details:
- All photos will become the property of Functional Places and may be used in marketing materials, on the Functional Places website, or through the blog/social media sites.
- Submissions may be made by residents of Arlington, MA or Arlington-based businesses/offices.
- All submissions must be received by Friday, September 18th, 5:00 pm EST to be considered.
- Functional Places will select up to 12 finalists from all submissions based on individual's need, level of organizing support needed, and personal story/submission. Winner will be selected based on votes received by the public at the Functional Places booth at Arlington Town Day, September 26, 2009.
- No individuals' or businesses' names will be used publicly except for the winner. Winner agrees to provide permission for use of their name and before/after photography for publicity purposes. Functional Places respects your privacy and adheres to NAPO's code of ethics.
- Winner of the voters' drawing at Arlington Town Day will be selected at random from all ballots received at the end of the day. Winner does not need to be present to win. One vote/entry per person.
- Current or past clients of Functional Places are eligible to win.
- Winner of the Messiest Space Contest will be contacted by Functional Places during the week of September 28th. Winner will have up to one year to redeem gift certificate for organizing services.

Please contact us with any questions and act fast to get your Messiest Place entry in!

Functional Places
13 Medford St
Arlington, MA 02474

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Packing is Underway...

I got started on the packing effort for our move yesterday. Here are some tips for making packing manageable:

1) Start with the infrequently used items. I began by packing up serveware and my "nicer" set of dishes that we use for entertaining. Since I know we won't be having guests between now and the move, it's easy to pack that stuff up without impacting our daily lives. My next "sweep" will be holiday decorations, knick-knacks, out of season clothing and artwork. Then on to books and CDs, and I'll be saving our everyday dishes, clothing and our office supplies for the final week before our move.

2) Label the boxes! I can't stress enough how important this is. First of all, I bought brightly colored neon labels on which I'm writing the destination room so that the movers will know where to put the boxes in our new house. Then, I'm using a larger white label to jot down an inventory of what's inside, so I know where to find things when we arrive.

3) Take this opportunity to purge. More likely than not, there are items that you simply don't use or need anymore. I have started a pile for Goodwill and will be making a run there later this week. Better to give items away to people that can really use them than to pay to move stuff you don't need.

4) Consider your new space/storage options. As I am packing boxes, I am thinking about where the items will go in our new home. For example, our new kitchen is much smaller than our current kitchen, and we have about half of the cabinet space available. However, we will have much more storage in the basement. So, I am packing up rarely used serveware and kitchen items to be stored on a shelf in the basement. So they are going into a "basement" box rather than a "kitchen" box.

5) Don't pack things too heavy. Even though we've hired some burly movers, it's easier for them to move smaller, lighter boxes than ones that are super heavy.

6) Pace yourself. I'm going to try and pack up just a few boxes each day so that I don't get overwhelmed or fatigued. Oh, and stretch and bend at the knees when lifting those heavy boxes!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How a Professional Organizer Plans Her Move

The Book Baron and I have decided to move, and the big day is September 1st. In the Boston area, 9/1 is a big moving day as students return for the fall and many leases change over. So we have our work cut out for us - and just a month to pull things together.

I thought I would share tips, ideas, and real-life experiences as we go along. As a professional organizer, I have helped many clients prepare, pack, coordinate, and settle in from their own moves. And I personally have moved 14 times - and this will make Move #15. So I've seen it all. But this might be the tightest turnaround time I have experienced, so we are going to have to be organized to keep our sanity. We have just 30 days (and a mini-vacation squished in there) to get it all done.

We signed our lease over the weekend and are hosting a Book Rack Employee BBQ today, so packing won't begin until later this week. But, I accomplished the following things last week:

1) Booked a mover. Since 9/1 is such a popular moving date, I needed to move fast to get a quality mover scheduled for that day. A tip for those moving: Always take the morning appointment. Many movers overbook themselves or underestimate the time required for a job, so if you are the 2nd or 3rd move of the day, you may be left waiting on the curb with your stuff. (Been there.) I also walked through each room of the house to put together a detailed inventory so that I could get an accurate estimate from the movers. It's easy to forget about the air conditioners in the basement or folding chairs that can make a difference in the time and space required for your move.

2) Bought some gently used moving boxes and bubble wrap on Craigslist. Often, you can check sites like Craigslist and Freecycle and get a supply for free. Purchasing moving boxes can get expensive, so why not re-use and recycle? I also picked up some packing tape and labels, so that I can inventory what goes into each box and mark the appropriate room destination to make things easier on moving day. Benezra Boxes in Arlington sells used supplies and offers free delivery and pick-up service for orders over $50 in their service area.

3) Scheduled installation of our satellite TV at the new house. Installation appointments can be hard to come by, so the earlier you can notify your cable, internet, and phone service providers the better. I'll be wrapping up the other calls tomorrow to try and minimize our "downtime."

More to come!