Garage Organizing Tips

We find that most people tend to use their garage as a storage unit and it ends up a cluttered mess. Kind of like the “junk drawer” in the house, the garage tends to be a catch all for all the miscellaneous things and it all piles up. Whether you take the weekend and tackle the whole garage, or take it a section at a time, these tips will help to remove the clutter and efficiently organize the space.

Tips on how to de-clutter the garage

A good purge is always in order. Designate 3 piles: keep, toss, and donate/sell. Go through everything and try to be realistic about what you use and what is just collecting dust. If the items no longer serve a purpose, they will most likely serve someone else’s needs much more than your own. Once you sort through it all or per section, its time to organize the keep pile! Organize into categories; sports, tools, cleaning supplies, camping gear, etc. and keep similar items in the same area. Wait to purchase storage items until after the purge and sorting is complete. This will allow you to purchase the correct size items, bins, and storage units to best serve the space and not overbuy.

  • Write up a tentative plan for the layout to utilize the space efficiently and improve the functionality.
    • Put the most frequently used items at eye level and the least used either up high or down low
    • Practical placement: recycling bins should be closer to the house door, the bikes and kids’ toys closer to the garage door, and gardening tools closer to the side door for easy access
    • Keep a broom and dust-pan on wall mount hooks near the tools or work station to make it easy to clean up after each project
  • If you can, try not to double park (one behind the other) storage bins and other items. It makes it difficult to access the items further back, takes up more space and it gives the appearance of clutter.
  • Go up. Utilize vertical storage space with peg boards, hooks, and shelving units.
  • Ceiling storage is a great option for seasonal gear or items that are not used on a consistent basis. Just make sure they don’t interfere with the garage door and it leaves enough space for the car!
  • Open shelves in the garage are a total YES. It will help to keep things organized and less cluttered–compared to closet type storage with doors, where it can be easy to stuff things inside and just shut the door.
  • Clear storage bins and/or labels make it easier to identify what is inside without having to open every lid.

Every year or biannually go through the garage and toss what was never used, what the kids grew out of, or what has aged/broken with time. This will help to KEEP the space organized and de-cluttered!

Ps. It will feel really nice and sets a good vibe to come home from work or errands and park in a clean and organized garage before walking inside the house (at least for us!) : )

Check out Life in Jeneral on Instagram and Twitter for more organizing ideas!

{Shop here to start organizing your garage}

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DIY: Ways to re-use jars

Our love for glass jars runs deep! They are versatile and simple and with a few additions can be completely transformed. A little time and a lot of love can bring new life to a once empty jar. There are so many options when it comes to re-purposing glass jars, so we chose one for a holiday gathering, romantic setting, and one that’s perfect for spring!

Transform old jars into holiday decor
These are great for a holiday party and when the season is over, just wrap them up and save them for next year! Any bottle with a smaller opening would work great, these are pressed juice bottles that are spray-painted (use different colors for different holidays!). Glue on the craft letters, tie raffia around the neck of the bottle, and add some faux branches and voila! Holiday décor! Get the full details here.

Spring flowers bring new life to empty glass jars
How cute are these?! First write down a few of your favorite quotes and sayings on lined paper (book pages also look adorable!) Use Mod Podge before and after (dries clear!) to glue the notes onto any size mason jars. Add raffia or ribbon around the rim and a few single flowers to bring it all together. These would be perfect for Valentines Day, just add a candle and change the quotes to love song lyrics, get the full details here.

A few changes to bring life back to an empty mason jar
Love how organic and simple this one is! Use a jar that has a bigger mouth to fit the succulent, compared to a wine bottle with a smaller opening. Add some rocks halfway up, a little bark, and soil almost to the top. Plant the succulent where it isn’t restricted and add some twine around the jar! These work great as gifts and are perfect for the springtime. A similar tutorial here, image via.

There are so many ways to re-use jars, the possibilities are endless!

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We’re Hiring!

We're Hiring!

We’re hiring!! Life in Jeneral is looking for people who are passionate about inspiring others to find new ways to de-clutter, simplify and live more fulfilled, organized lives.

We’re looking for personal organizers, both team leaders and assistants, who are patient and compassionate to those who are organizationally challenged, have a genuine need to help people, and are empathetic to a client’s unique situation.

Exceptional communication skills, coupled with an outgoing personality and a professional demeanor is a must. A little knowledge of a lot of things will allow candidate to interface with people on many different levels. Must be comfortable working one-on-one with clients, independently and on a team.

Skilled candidates must demonstrate assessment and problem-solving skills; be versed in organizational solutions from the garage to the attic, to the desktop to the file system, whether it’s a residential or office project. Be organized and detail-oriented; and knowledgeable of current organizing/storage products.

Project scopes and timelines vary, so flexibility is required. Projects require physical activity, must be able to lift 25 pounds. Project locations and hours vary based on project demands. Minimum commitment expectation is 3 days per week – 18 hours.

If you love organization, having fun, meeting/helping new people, coffee, are to-do list obsessed, solution-oriented, love a new planner and want to be apart of an awesome team, you should definitely apply! Please email info@lifeinjeneral.com for all inquiries!

Team leaders must have additional design and management experience. Portfolio is a huge plus!

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How to organize your side tables

Sometimes you just want to work from your cozy, warm, and snuggly bed. And we don’t blame you! But has your bedside table morphed into a miniature desk or even worse a junk drawer because of it?? The bedroom should be a retreat, a space that brings you joy! We are all for a good computer sesh in bed, but when work and such starts taking over the bedroom–we start to have issues. So take back those bedside tables and lets get organized!

What should be in your bedside table?

Declutter your bedside table

The essentials for your side table

Remove & Relocate. Take everything off of and inside your bedside table and place it all together in one location. Go through all the items and decide on what can be thrown away and what can be relocated.

The less you have next to your bed, the better you’ll sleep (or something like that!). Take a peek at what is leftover. Choose only the essentials to keep on top and inside your bedside table. A good rule of thumb is if you don’t use an item getting into bed or getting out in the morning, put it elsewhere.

Keep it simple with your side table

Wrap books in pretty paper for decor!

Some essentials we love to have inside:

  • Note pad/Journal
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Hand lotion
  • Chap stick
  • Tissue
  • Lighter
  • Flash Light
  • Compartments

Optional:

  • Books (2 or 3 total)
  • Phone charger
  • Coasters
  • Eye Mask

Some essentials we love to have on top:

Optional:

After you have chosen the necessities, its time to put them in their place. Keep it clean and simple on top with a lamp, something to keep your jewelry and glasses on, and one other thing…maybe a candle or your current read. Since bedside tables have relatively small counter space, limit the amount of stuff that lives on the top to minimize clutter. As for the inside– grab a few baskets or drawer organizers to keep things from rolling all over the place.

The purpose of keeping the space fresh and clean with fewer items is so when you get into bed, your mind is clear and less cluttered too. Now that the bedside tables are organized, you may even be more motivated to climb into bed and get some work done, or better yet… take a nap!

Follow Life in Jeneral on Instagram and Twitter for more organizing tips!

{Shop here to organize your side table}

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How to make more time for yourself (no matter how busy you are)

Life gets busy and without even thinking, we manage to slip to the bottom of the priority list. Too often our lofty to-do lists take over and when you do find 5 five minutes to yourself, it usually consists of taking a shower. Continue to work hard and set ambitious goals, but at the same time we need to listen to our own personal needs and wants. We are all guilty when it comes to trying to do it all & sometimes we take on too much. By investing in you and taking time for yourself, you will actually be able to give more and do more in return.

Enjoy the little things and make more time for YOU

Schedule ME time. Yes, write it down in your calendar! Schedule specific time to do things that you love and don’t make any exceptions. This could be 15 minutes of sitting down and reading a book or going to the movies Monday night. Treat this time as you would any priority, because it is just as important.

You can say NO. Learn to say no when there is already too much on your plate or to things that do not bring you happiness. Be picky and engage in the things that bring you joy!

Reassess your priorities. What is important to you? What is taking up most of your time? Can you delegate any tasks? The laundry and whatever other chores are on the list can wait or be passed on to someone else. Schedule out your days by level of importance and be realistic with how much can actually get done in one day.

Refocus your time. Eliminate distractions and make the most out of your time. Efficiency is key here. When you are at work, school, or at home- give whatever you are doing all of your attention and don’t let the small things get in the way. Focus on what’s important and what the overall task/goal at hand is.

Shut down your cellphone, computer, Ipad, etc. Make a conscious decision to turn off the electronics. Constantly checking emails and text messages can cause you to focus too much on technology and not enough time on your own reality and what really matters most.

Reflect at the end of each day. The days go by all too quickly, often without the chance to appreciate daily tasks and activities. Self-reflection allows you to acknowledge your individual mishaps and achievements each day and allows the opportunity to get better.

It takes practice and dedication to carve out the necessary time for yourself. Life gets crazy and it is easy to forget about your own needs. Schedule it in your planner and make it apart of your routine. By reassessing your priorities and taking the time to re-energize your mind and body, you will be able to give more to your family, friends, job, business, and everything in between.

Follow Life in Jeneral on Instagram and Twitter for more organizing ideas!

Image via

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Jenerally Speaking

organization tips, organization questions and answers

1. My inbox is overflowing with emails. How can I organize them so they won’t constantly build up?
Clean it up. Emails should not just be hanging around in your inbox. Go through them all and delete the ones that you no longer need. For emails that you never read or open, go ahead and hit unsubscribe. It will save you time and space. Now create folders with categories for the emails you want to hold on to and file them accordingly. There are also programs like Unroll.me and Bommerang for Gmail that can help assist in the clutter madness by helping you to unsubscribe and defer emails to come to your inbox at a later time.

2. I have so many re-useable water bottles, what do I do with them all?
Gather them all and start sorting. Make sure that you have all the working parts to the water bottles and only keep the ones that you and your family actually use. You can always donate the rest. Water bottles are a little challenging to store, since they can have multiple parts and are rather unstable. If you have quite a few bottles, an over the door organizer will work great. Otherwise, you can grab a few tall bins and store them in the pantry or in a cabinet.

3. Any tips on keeping the clothes in my drawers organized?
Sometimes you don’t even know what is in your drawers when you stack or toss everything inside. Group similar items together, color coordinate, and designate what will go in each drawer. The file folding method is a way of folding clothes to save space and keep logos or patterns displayed. It is essentially exactly what it sounds like, fold clothing to fit in the depth of the drawer and file the rest in behind it. This way you are able to see every item inside the drawer and they are easily accessible. To help keep the clothing in precise rows, use dividers.

4. The middle console in my car is overflowing, how do I contain the clutter?
The car can sometimes be a catchall, so it is a good idea to keep something in the car that acts as a trash bag. There are some specifically for the car or a re-useable bag works too. Organize the paperwork that needs to be in the car (insurance cards, registration, etc.) into envelopes and label them. Depending on the width and depth of the console, grab a few compartments or pouches to keep the essentials organized; pens/pencils, tissues, notepad, hand sanitizer, mini first- aid kit, pepper spray (just in case!). If you have a family or find that you have way more stuff that does not fit inside the console, there are organizers that strap on to back of the seats for more storage.

5. How to organize on a low budget?
Whether on a budget or not, a simple purge and a few key product purchases will go a long way. Use what you already have. There are so many options in re-using one thing for another. Go through your things and see what you can use to help organize. Once you figure out what you can re-use, then you will be able to decide on what specific products to purchase that would really benefit your space. Focus on one space at a time and purchase items for that specific space, then move onto the next. This will prevent purchasing organizing items on a whim and will be easier to see what each space needs. Small changes that do not require money are file folding (your drawers), color coordinating, and labels. Shoeboxes work great as photo boxes, recipes, or Legos. Cover with fabric or paper to make it feel like it goes with the space. Grab a chalkboard maker and label old jars (from spaghetti sauce, jelly, coconut oil) for food storage or to organize a craft space.

Click here and here to check out previous Jenerally Speaking posts! And don’t forget to follow Life in Jeneral on Instagram and Twitter for more organizing tips!

{Shop here to start organizing!}

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How to organize inside your shower

Although we all may not wash our hair on the daily (thank you dry shampoo!) showering happens on the regular (we hope!). But with half empty bottles cramped in the corner and the lopsided caddy dangling from the showerhead, it can feel a little less enjoyable and more of a cluttered mess. But hello!! A shower should be a treat. Five minutes to yourself– to freshen up, to take a deep breathe, to relax. Depending on how much space and the style, the best shower organizer is one that fits you (& your families) needs. Here are some options when it comes to organizing the inside of your shower.

Keep the inside of the shower organized

To solve the lopsided caddy, buy some suction cups (some come with suction cups already attached) and attach them to either side and stick it to the wall (while hanging over the shower head). If your hair products are too tall and can get in the way of the water flow, try hanging it on a coat hook on the opposite wall or you can even hang it from the ceiling!

For something that doesn’t require tools, place a tension shower rod lengthwise and hang hooks from it. Attach a basket (with holes) to hold bath products, bath toys, or just a hook to hang a loofa. Psssst- those hooks can also work to hang jewelry, purses, hats, and even kitchen utensils! You can also opt for the corner tension rod that has attached shelves. This is a great option for guest bathrooms, since there are not as many products to store and it is has a simple and clean look.

A great space saving option is the mesh shower organizer that hangs on your current curtain rod. It has pockets that can hold anything from shampoo, to your body wash, or even your razor. And the best part, if it gets a little funky just toss it in the washing machine! The last option is getting hooks that have clips on the end to hold a specific product. Although these only work for products that are in soft squeeze tubes, bottles not so much!

More of a bath person? A bathtub caddy is a fun and convenient way to hold all your bath salts, soap, a good read and maybe even a glass of wine! With a little organization, hopping in the shower (or bath) will be more of a treat and less of a chore!

Follow Life in Jeneral on Instagram and Twitter for more organizing ideas!

Image via

{Shop here to start organizing the inside of your shower}

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How to be more present

It seems a little strange that we have to make a conscious effort to live in the present moment, don’t you think? But when you actually break it down, it is rather difficult to eliminate the thoughts of what needs to get done today, next week, or even next month. There are so many things going on in our lives that yes, we do have to make a choice to live in the moment and be present with our thoughts and actions. It sounds much easier than it really is, but focusing on your senses and on your own reality takes time and practice. Being present in your day-to-day activities will make life so much more fulfilling. All we have is now and we should make the most of that.

“There is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power.”
-Leo Tolstoy

Live more in the moment

Remove unneeded belongings: You do not need much to be happy. Removing the excess stuff that clutters your space and mind will help to bring peace and simplicity into your life. Also by letting go of things associated with the past, will help allow you to start living in the present.

Use your senses: Be aware and conscious of all of your senses. What do you see? Smell? Hear? Feel the sun shining or listen to the raindrops, allow yourself to embrace what is happening in the moment and connect with the present.

Choosing joy in the usual mundane tasks: Take the time to acknowledge everyday tasks like brushing your teeth or making a coffee. Recognize what makes up your daily routine and appreciate the little things that you do and that happen on a regular basis.

Find what brings you back: Choose something to remind you and bring you back to the present. By taking a few deep breaths and feeling the air fill up your lungs and then release, can bring you back to the present, to remind you to focus on this very moment.

Take notes from children: There is this little boy. He was playing outside and every time there was a gust of wind, it would take his breath away. He would continue to play and every gust of wind would catch him off guard and he would giggle with excitement. Something as simple as the wind can bring a child so much joy. Try to see things as children would, image experiencing it for the first time and let it bring you joy.

Focus on one thing at a time. Too many times we are focused on remembering the moment instead of living in the moment. If you are eating, then eat. Working out, then work it out! Take it one thing at a time and it will help you to eliminate distractions and be more present during each task.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

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How to keep your Macbook organized

Back in college we took notes (on paper! say what!!) Everyday after class was a mission to go through them all and organize them neatly with tabs and labels. You can imagine how time consuming and maybe a little crazy that was. Now everyone takes notes on their computers, duh! Computers have turned into virtual filing cabinets, without taking up the physical space! Hallelujah. But that poses another problem– searching and sifting through all the documents to find the one you need!

LIJ_Desktop1

It will take some time upfront to organize your files, but it will save you time in the end. So to begin you will need to decide how you want to set up your organizing system. If it is a family computer, it may be a good idea to have folders for each individual and then sub-categorize within each (personal, business, social, school, etc.). Each folder can have as many sub-categories as you deem necessary. Properly name the files and folders so you can identify what it is without actually opening it. Trash any documents that you no longer need and then virtually empty it!

LIJ_Desktop2

The next step will be de-cluttering your desktop and keeping it that way! We have some great downloadable desktop organizers to help differentiate your files. There are 4 categories: to do, to file, to read, and pending. Place everything that is currently on your desktop into the appropriate sections. Once you are done working on a document, file it right away, or move it to the “to file” section and get back to it. You can also tag them with colors to make important documents stand out.

LIJ_Desktop3

Just as we tidy up our space at the end of the workday, start to do the same with your computer. Take 5 minutes at the end of each day to go through your desktop files and move them accordingly and file them away to clear the excess! Find a system that works for you and stick to it!

Choose from 3 FREE desktop organizers (pictured above) to get started:

Click here to download desktop organizer #1

Click here to download desktop organizer #2

Click here to download desktop organizer #3

How to download: First press “click here” on the desktop organizer of your choice, the image will open in its own window. Drag it onto your desktop, go into system preferences, click on desktop/screensaver, and click on the image to set as your background.

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How to organize and better plan your budget

Starbucks run, brunch with friends, pit stop at Target…. things add up, and they add up quickly! That doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself, but a budget can make you more aware and conscious of what you are spending your money on. The purpose of a budget is to account for every penny coming in and every penny going out. To help determine if you need or want to redirect money towards priorities you deem important.

How to budget for your goals

Break it down by month. There are a ton of monthly budget printables online, or make your own on an excel spreadsheet; utilize a budgeting app (mentioned in our how to organize with apps post) or a pen and paper will work! Start with income, list the sources of income you receive each month.

Next, write down all your fixed expenses per month. Make categories at the top that say budgeted amount and actual amount, and fill it in accordingly. These may include rent/mortgage, cell phone, loan payment, insurance and so on. When it comes to discretionary expenses, we prefer breaking it down per week. These can include; groceries, clothing, gas, dining out, household essentials, etc.

Time to set some goals. Sit down and come up with a goal or goals that you truly want to achieve and write it down. Do you want to be debt-free? Family vacation? Increase your savings? Once you decide your goal(s) set a timeframe.

When you pay your monthly expenses, add your goal as an expense. This will ensure that you make it a priority and help you achieve your financial goal(s). When it comes to discretionary expenses, keep in mind that these can be adjusted per week. This is where keeping receipts and writing down everything you spend becomes important. One, this will help you keep track of your spending and soon you may notice places where you can cut back and save more. And two, it will hold you accountable.

Keep all of your budgeting documents together in a hanging file for easy accessibility. Label files/folders for monthly bills, monthly budget, weekly budget, receipts, etc. Set an alarm every three months to go through the paper work and electronically file them or throw away things that are no longer necessary.

Implement, assess, and adjust. The hardest part is actually sticking to the budget you created. Early on take a peek at your overall budget once a week to make sure you are getting the hang of it, adjust things accordingly, and stick to it. The longer you budget, the easier it will be. And when you reach your goal it will be completely worth it and you will be achieving your next goal in no time!

Budgeting tips:
1. Meal planning can help minimize the cost of throwing food out.
2. Place cash in envelopes for Holidays and birthdays so you do not overspend.
3. Need a reality check: Gather bank and credit card statements and highlight the necessities in yellow and non-essential items in orange. This may hurt, but Starbucks is not a necessity.
4. Have happy hour at your house before you go out to dinner to save on drink expenses.
5. Plan ahead. If you are going out with the girls’ next week, make adjustments to your budget this week.
6. Need more structure? There are a variety of specific budgeting methods to choose from.

Keep up with the #LIJhowto series by following Life in Jeneral on Instagram and Twitter!

{Shop here to start organizing your budget}

Posted in How-to series, Live Simply, Organizing | Leave a comment
  • Hey! I'm Jen, founder of Life in Jeneral, and this is my blog (spoiler alert!). Here you’ll find tips on living an organized life textured with bits and pieces of other things I swoon over. Enjoy!









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