Real Expert Interview: 6 Decluttering Tips from Organizing Junkie Laura Wittmann

Does the idea of decluttering your shoe closet or re-organizing the recycling area immediately cause you anxiety? You aren’t alone. Our lives are so busy with commitments and appointments, it can be difficult to find the time to make everything shine like a pretty penny.

For some, cleaning, tidying, and organizing the home is a chore to be dealt with. For self-proclaimed organization junkie Laura Wittmann, it’s a high she can’t get enough of! And she’s quick to share the fix.

Laura is a home organization expert and author of the book Clutter Rehab: 101 simple, practical tips and tricks to the organizational problems encountered everyday. She believes having a perfect home where everything is perfectly organized all the time isn’t what home organization is all about. Life happens, things get messy, and her practical tips help you manage it all in real life.


1. Everyone’s story is unique. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to be an expert in home creation and organization?

Real Expert Interview: 6 Decluttering Tips from Organizing Junkie Laura Wittmann - London DrugsI’m not the type of person who was born an organizer. But living in a small house with four people where moving wasn’t an option, we had to figure out how we were going to do it in such a small space.

Subsequently, my journey to living a simpler life really helped me see how life-changing organization can be. I started my blog to share my excitement in hopes of enticing others to get hooked on organizing right alongside me.

I love helping others experience the benefits of living a life with less clutter and chaos. From how to slow down in a crazy busy world, to practical tips like how to manage your paper piles, my blog tackles it all.

The best part is, you don’t need any special skills to reap the rewards of an organized life.

 


2. Getting organized is not a one-step process, and it can be challenging for many. Could you share any growth moments or revelations you’ve experienced while creating and organizing your home?

 

One of the first lessons I had to learn when I started out was discovering that being organized wasn’t just about throwing stuff into cute containers and calling it organized.

There is so much more involved which is why I created an acronym to help with the PROCESS. It starts with having a Plan and ends with a Smile. Decluttering plays such a huge role in the organizing PROCESS but it’s one people try to avoid. Yes it’s hard and requires some decision making; however, the more we practice it the easier it gets, I promise!

Another area of growth for me was learning how to say no. Organization isn’t just about organizing our stuff but also our time. For me, it was about learning how to slow down and recognizing that jam packing my family’s schedule was a choice I was making. My kids didn’t need to be in multiple activities and everyone was much happier when we weren’t running around constantly on overdrive.

It would be hard to go back to living that way now that we’ve experienced the incredible impact it has had on our home and our stress levels.

 


3. Do you have any guidance for those wanting to create a warm, relaxing, and organized home? Perhaps some preparation tips, tools, or mindset suggestions?

 

The problem with clutter and chaos is that it can be pretty overwhelming, that’s for sure.

One of the things I recommend is to break down projects into 5-15 minute tasks. It’s much easier to make the time for a quick organizing task than find the time to organize an entire room. Drawers can be done in a small amount of time for instance. Closets may take longer so it might make sense for you to start with shoes, then pants, then shirts, etc.

Get in the habit of doing one small organizing task a day and before you know it, you’ll be feeling much more at peace in your space. Removing the things that you no longer love or use or have the room to store will allow your home to become a beautiful sanctuary for you and your loved ones.

 

Real Expert Interview: 6 Decluttering Tips from Organizing Junkie Laura Wittmann - London Drugs

 


4. Do you have any products or tools you’re passionate about or find useful in your home creation and organization?

 

Oh yes I do!

Some of my favourites include cabinet shelves in my kitchen cabinets to add more space, and plastic stackable drawers for extra storage in my bathroom cabinets and linen closet.

I also absolutely love using the space on the back of all the doors in my house. This space is so often ignored but it’s prime space for hanging shoe organizers to house anything from hats and mitts to bathroom products. Over-the-door hooks also provide storage for purses and bags to even jewelry. The possibilities are absolutely endless.

 

Real Expert Interview: 6 Decluttering Tips from Organizing Junkie Laura Wittmann - London Drugs

 


5. We are strong advocates for living green. Do you have any environmentally friendly organizing ideas to share?

 

Absolutely!

Take a look at some of the product packaging that comes into your home. There are so many instances where these things can be reused to help you create organization.

For instance, tissue and tea boxes make excellent dividers in drawers. Simply cut off the tops and line your bathroom and kitchen drawers to create separation. This will help immensely when it comes to finding what you need.

 


6. What are a few unconventional, surprising, or quirky tips you have for creating and organizing your home?

 

People are often surprised when I tell them the goal of organization isn’t about having a magazine-worthy home where everything is perfectly placed. Instead, the goal should always be to create spaces that allow you to breathe easier, that don’t stress you out, and where you can easily find what you need.

The beauty of this is that what works for you may not work for someone else. So it’s important that we don’t compare our home to another. Make your space work for you and your family! You can start by storing stuff where you use it.

For instance, this may mean keeping dishes in lower cabinets so your kids can help themselves or put them away out of the dishwasher. Your home should function for the season of life you are in. Organization is not once and done; it’s a constant tweaking of systems to make life easier, not more complicated.

One of the posts on my blog that always surprises my readers when I bring it up is that I don’t sort my laundry. I know I’m such a rebel! Yet this area alone has been life changing for me and I highly recommend it if laundry is an area that stresses you out.

My basic advice: Simplify, simplify, simplify even if it goes against everything you’ve ever been taught, ha!

 

Real Expert Interview: 6 Decluttering Tips from Organizing Junkie Laura Wittmann - London Drugs

Laura Wittmann has been working as a professional organizer and blogger since 2006. She is the founder of the blog I’m an Organizing Junkie where she provides regular encouragement and education for organized living. By providing organizing advice and tips, a little bit of tough love, and citing her own personal experiences as a mother of three, she inspires her readers to move from chaotic clutter to sensible order. Laura’s advice has been featured in numerous magazines, including Woman’s World, Better Homes & Gardens, Canadian Living and Family Circle. She lives with her husband and kids in Alberta where she’s constantly on the lookout for her next organizing “fix.” You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram. For additional tips on how to organize your home, you can also drop by your local London Drugs and talk to any of our in-store experts. 

Real Expert Interview: 6 Decluttering Tips from Home Organization Expert Jenn Lifford

Home is where the heart is. Unfortunately, it’s also where all the stuff is, too.

Spring cleaning got an early start this year, thanks to Marie Kondo. But if you haven’t started yet, we’ve got some tips to help. After all, we can’t think of a better way to spend these dark winter days than cozying up in a tidy, organized, and peaceful space. Just add good company and a steaming mug of hot chocolate!

Let’s be real though: getting our homes organized is not always an easy process – both technically and emotionally. The old adage that the things you own end up owning you is true.

That’s why we’ve asked Jenn Lifford, Mission, B.C.-based expert organizer and author of the book The Home Decluttering Diet, six questions about how she gets organized and how you can use her methods to make your home a cleaner, leaner, and more beautiful space to live in.


1. Everyone’s story is unique. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to be an expert in home creation and organization?

 

Jenn Lifford - Home organizing tips influencer expert series | London DrugsI’ve always loved organized spaces, but as our family grew and our time decreased, it became harder and harder to keep up with the chaos. Our house generally looked tidy, but our drawers, closets, and cupboards were overflowing. It was hard to find what we wanted and I always felt so overwhelmed with everything.

At the time, my blog was more of a craft blog, but I started to add a few organizing projects here and there. I found that the posts really resonated with my readers and it helped encourage me to keep going with the organization process. Over time, I developed The Home Organization Diet, which is a year-long plan to declutter, deep clean, and organize the entire home. I still follow this every year (some years more faithfully than others!) to keep up with the ever-changing needs of our family.

I’ve learned that having an organized home is more about changing your mindset and adopting new habits rather than just taking some time to organize a space with pretty bins.

 


2. Getting organized is not a one-step process, and it can be challenging for many. Could you share any growth moments or revelations you’ve experienced while creating and organizing your home?

 

The decluttering process itself is often more complicated than just getting rid of stuff. There are often a lot of emotional reactions that go with it and it can be a hard task for many people.

I learned a lot about myself during this process in terms of what my priorities were and what was really important to me. I’m definitely a lot more intentional now with what I buy and bring into our home.

Throughout the whole organization process, I’ve also been working on trying to let go of the idea of perfection. In the past, I would often put off anything that I could not do exactly the way I wanted. I was always waiting for the perfect time or the perfect budget before starting. I’m now trying to focus more on just making progress and being happier with what I am able to accomplish.

 


3. Do you have any guidance for those wanting to create a warm, relaxing, and organized home? Perhaps some preparation tips, tools, or mindset suggestions?

 

Change of any kind always requires time and patience. Creating a relaxing and organized home is no different.

To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on one space at a time and appreciate all of the little accomplishments you make along the way (even if you still have a lot of other things you want to do!) Commit to a certain amount of time each week that you will devote to getting things organized and stick with it!

I find that writing down a plan is always helpful and I like to put on a timer to keep myself focused when I’m working.

 

Organized Kitchen | Jenn Lifford - Home organizing tips influencer expert series | London Drugs

 


4. Do you have any products or tools you’re passionate about or find useful in your home creation and organization?

 

While there are a variety of awesome organization products on the market, it’s important that you have a really good idea of the space you have available and what items you need to store before running out and purchasing them.

I love using clear acrylic containers for organizing (I especially love the InterDesign brand). You can find them everywhere from our fridge and pantry to our bathroom cupboards.

I’m also a big fan of Command hooks and use these for hanging smaller items such as dog leashes, keys, and jewellery.

You can also try shopping around your home for everyday items that can be used for organizing. Mason jars, egg containers, pretty bowls, etc., can always be used for other storage purposes.

 


5. We are strong advocates for living green. Do you have any environmentally friendly organizing ideas to share?

 

When you’re going through the decluttering process, it’s important to minimize your waste as much as possible. Be creative with where you donate your items.

Vet clinics are generally happy to take old towels, women’s shelters will take clothing, bedding, and unopened personal care products, while schools are often looking for craft and school supplies or educational toys and games.

If the items are beyond repair, be sure to recycle as much as possible before deciding to throw them into the trash. Check your local recycling guidelines to see what items can be recycled.

Finally, as you’re going through the decluttering process, take note of what items you tend to overbuy or purchase when they’re not really needed. Learn from these past mistakes and be more intentional about what you purchase in the future. There’s no point in taking the time to declutter your home if you’re just going to fill it back up again!

 

Organized Kitchen Command Centre | Jenn Lifford - Home organizing tips influencer expert series | London Drugs

 


6. What are a few unconventional, surprising, or quirky tips you have for creating and organizing your home?

 

In general, having less stuff means having more time for the things you really love. Be sure that the items you keep are ones that you use, love, or make your life better in some way.

Get in the habit of putting items away rather than just putting them down. Taking those few extra seconds to do this will make a huge difference in keeping your home tidy. Make sure that every item in your home has a specific place to live and make sure everyone knows where this is.

The simpler the organization system, the better it will work. Items need to be easy to access and, even more importantly, easy to put away. Make sure everyone in your family knows where things go and stick with it! Over time it will gradually become more of a habit and easier to do.

 

Summer Front Entry Organizing | Jenn Lifford - Home organizing tips influencer expert series | London Drugs

Want to get more ideas on how to organize your beautiful home? Find Jenn at Clean and Scentsible, and on Facebook and Instagram. You can also drop by your local London Drugs and talk to any of our in-store experts. 

Tips for Cleaning Your Kitchen Like An Expert

You clean regularly, but spring is a good time to roll up your sleeves and really dive into the grime that builds up in the kitchen. We’ve found some surprising tips and hacks to get your kitchen shining like a diamond.

1. Clean your oven easily without all the chemicals

You’ll need:

Mix the baking soda and dish soap together, then stir in water slowly until you get a runny paste. Wearing rubber gloves, rub paste onto inside of oven and door. Leave oven door open and let sit for 15 minutes. Go have a coffee.

After letting it sit, wet the scour pad and scrub your little heart out, concentrating on trouble spots (it won’t take as long as you think, we promise). Once you’re done scrubbing, collect as much of the paste as you can and wash it down the sink, then use the damp rag to get the rest. This last step might take a few rinses of the cloth before it all comes off. Polish the baking soda film off with the dry cloth.

2. Take your oven racks to the spa

You can’t have a clean oven with dirty racks, so to get them up to snuff, soak them in the tub overnight with 1/2 cup of dish soap and 6 dryer sheets (yes, we said dryer sheets). Once they’re done soaking, rub off the dirt with the dryer sheets, then rinse them well under warm water.

3. Don’t forget that other oven

The microwave can quickly get covered with caked-on crud. Instead of the tedious spray-and-scrub-spray-and-scrub routine, put a handful of wet paper towels inside and run it on high for 3-5 minutes. The steam from the towels will soften the grime and save you a lot of elbow grease. Wait for the paper towels to cool down then use them to wipe down the interior (or put on your rubber gloves if you don’t have time to wait).

4. Clear up that coffee pot

Nothing like that brown film inside your coffeemaker to put you off your morning cup of joe. For a quick and natural clean, fill the empty jug a quarter full of ice, add the juice from half a lemon and 2 tbsp of salt. Swirl the mixture in the jug for 2 minutes, then rinse out with warm water. Voila! No scrubbing required.

5. Blast the grime off of your range hood

Ever tried to wipe off that layer of greasy fudge on top of your stove’s hood with a damp cloth? Doesn’t work too well, does it? That’s because it’s mostly made of cooled oil, which doesn’t mix with water. (Hello, elementary school science class!) The best way to loosen it up is with heat. Grab your hair dryer from the bathroom, put it on the hottest setting and give it a Brazilian blow out for about 30 seconds. Then wipe it down right away with a warm, soapy cloth. Lustrous!

6. Treat your wood cabinets right

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

Wood cabinets add warmth to your kitchen decor, but wooden surfaces can lock in bacteria that is tough to get out, and harsh chemical cleaners can damage their finish. Baking soda is a great alternative for cleaning wood: mix 1/2 cup baking soda with a litre of warm water and use a clean sponge to rub it on the wood surface. Rinse with damp cloth, blot with a clean towel and allow to air dry completely.

If the finish is looking dull, use boiled linseed or vegetable oil with fine steel wool to rub it in. To seal it, add another coat of oil 24 hours later, wiping off the excess between each application.

7. Ugh. The fridge.

Cleaning out the fridge is a big job, but it’s worth it. Obviously, the first thing you need to do to tackle the fridge is to clear out any old food. But wait! Just because it’s past the “best before” date doesn’t mean that it’s not still good. The best before date isn’t the same as the expiration date–it’s just the date recommended by the manufacturer when the product should be consumed for the best quality. There are other food safety guidelines to keep in mind (read more here), but as long as it smells, looks and tastes normal, eating food that’s a little past the best before date might only affect the taste and quality and likely won’t hurt you.

Now that your fridge is cleared out, you might as well roll up your sleeves and really get in there. Unplug it, clear out the rest of your food and take out the shelves and bins. Fill a bathtub with six to eight inches of water and add a small box of baking soda. Soak the shelves and bins for about 15 minutes; rinse and dry.

Use a non-toxic cleaner or natural solution of 2 tbsp of baking soda in 1 litre of warm water and wipe out interior. Clean small crevices in the door seals with a pointed-tip cotton swab dampened with warm soapy water. Dry with a towel.

Phew. *wipes brow* Before you put away your food, check out this comprehensive guide on how to best store all of your groceries.

 

 

Do you have any surprising kitchen cleaning tricks? Share with us in the comments!

4 Tips for Beautifully Organized Drawers

It’s easy to let your drawers fall into chaos. They’re only open for a few seconds at a time, and they’re easy to hide. But you know they’re there–whispering behind your back, just waiting to explode. We’re here to help you wrangle the clutter with these easy and satisfying tips for beautifully organized drawers.

1. Tidy Your T-Shirts the KonMari Way

If you have a big collection of t-shirts, you know how quickly your drawer can turn into a mess. To save time in the morning, and prevent wrinkles, stack your t-shirts upright in the drawer instead of flat. Your drawer will hold more, you’ll be able to see them all at once for easy choosing, and they’ll stay neatly folded.

Folding skills a little lacking? Take a tip from Abby Lawson on using the KonMari method to fold like a pro:

2. Use Smart Compartments For Odds and Ends 

Your silverware drawer is pretty organized, right? Knives, spoons, and forks are all in their right places. That’s because of the organizer in there! You probably already have one in the kitchen, so why not get one for your other drawers that need some TLC? Cutlery trays and small bins are inexpensive, and great for keeping cosmetics, junk drawers, craft drawers and other small odds and ends tidy.

3. Contain Those Pesky Kitchen Containers

It’s your kitchen’s dirty little secret. It’s your… FOOD CONTAINER DRAWER! Don’t worry—you’re definitely not alone. Everyone’s is a mess. But it doesn’t have to be! Despite food storage containers being bulky, awkward, and mismatched, your drawer can actually be a soothing place of zen organization.

Recycle any tubs or lids that don’t have a mate. Ahhhh. Feels good, doesn’t it? Next add a drawer divider or two and separate items into size/shape categories. Start with the largest items in the corner and add smaller ones around. Lastly, stack your lids horizontally so you can ‘file’ them instead of digging through the pile every time.

Pro tip: Nest plastic containers together, and turn them on their sides if the stack is too tall for the drawer. Don’t nest glass containers together, as they could get stuck together and break. And store plastic containers and lids separately, since a seal can trap moisture and create a stale smell.

See more tips, tricks, and photos from Better Homes & Gardens

4. Upcycle Using What You Already Have

Upcycle Muffin Tin Egg Carton Organization Tips London Drugs

Images from zillow.com

We love a good upcycling tip! Keeping a messy drawer organized can be as easy as re-using old stuff from around your house. Have you got things collecting dust around your house like old gift boxes, egg cartons, muffin tins, or food containers without their lids? (Really, who doesn’t?) Well then, you have an organized junk drawer!


There, another spring cleaning item checked off your list! Share your best drawer organization tips in the comments below and find everything you need online at London Drugs.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Organizing and Storing Your Photos

March brings the sun, the greenery, and of course the allergies! It reminds us to dust off some of that hibernation clutter that has collected over the last few months. Tis’ the season for spring cleaning!

It starts with the dreaded junk drawer and ends with moving around the furniture, but somewhere in between, you’ll find that ever-growing collection of family portraits and candids in boxes or old photo albums, and like the bedroom Feng Shui, they could probably use a little TLC.

Spring cleaning, organizing and maintaining your treasured snapshots is as easy as pie—with only a few steps to a lifetime of crisp (and easy to find) images.

Back-up and Digitize

The easiest way of ensuring your photos really last, is by simply scanning and backing them up to a disk, hard-drive or USB. The Seagate 1.5TB Expansion Portable Hard Drive is a great option; it has drag and drop file saving right out of the box, and lots of room to store your photos. Running the risk of your memories cracking or becoming discoloured becomes virtually impossible- and clutter free!

Make this process even more efficient with our Photo Scanning Box – preserving childhood memories or historic family images has never been easier. Fill the FREE photo box (found in-store or online) with up to 800 photos or documents, return the box to a London Drugs Photolab, prepay and our LDExperts will do the rest. They’ll digitize your keepsakes at high resolution, then return the hard copies to you, along with a USB drive full of all those photos you hold dear.

Once you have those digital copies, you’ll want to make sure they’re backed up safely. To avoid losing all your precious photos due to a fire or flood, power surge or hard drive failure, it’s best to use the 3-2-1 back up rule.

This means that you should have:

  • 3 copies of your digital photos
  • Stored on 2 different media or devices
  • With 1 copy located off-site.

For example, you could store your photos on two hard drives and on the cloud (a service like iCloud), and take one of those hard drives and store it at your parents’ home. That way, even in the worst case scenario that one or even two of your storage methods fail, you’ll still have a failsafe copy.

Organize and Store Safely

Of course, after making digital copies, you’ll need somewhere to store the originals – it’s important to take necessary precautions in order to avoid misplacement or damage, and it helps to keep them organized.

Suggested items before beginning any photo organizing project include:

  • Cotton gloves: Oily residue naturally found on your fingertips can lead to deteriorating your photos. Avoid this by handling documents with a pair of gloves.
  • Soft lead pencil: Including the date, year, or name on the back of a photo is a must when organizing your photos, because you’re not always going to remember if you took that photo in ’86 or ’87, or who that person third from the left is. Make sure you’re using a pencil that isn’t permanent so it doesn’t harm or indent the photo—never use a pen!
  • Photo-safe storage box: A good quality storage box with labelled index cards can make a world of difference, in the event that you’re looking for a specific photo. It sure beats rifling through old shoeboxes and drawers!

Obey the Two-Second Rule

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is all while going through old photos is to obey the two-second rule.

It’s okay to take a walk down memory lane—but it’s important to prioritize your time. Spring cleaning doesn’t need to take the entire season. When cleaning and organizing your old photographs, remember not to linger longer than two seconds before determining its place. You’ll have plenty to enjoy them after they’re organized!