Henry & Higby

getting organized

Take it From Me: When a Professional Organizer Needs to Follow Their Own Advice

OrganizationAnnie & MichelleComment
 
Henry & Higby Kitchen Organizing
 

As organizers, our clients often ask us if our homes are perfectly organized. Overall, our homes are pretty organized but perfection is definitely in the eye of the beholder and, as we all need to remember, being organized is not a destination but more of an ongoing journey. 

All of that said, I knew that my own kitchen was in need of a little attention and that perhaps it was time to turn the tables and ask myself the hard questions that I always ask my clients – if you aren’t using it why are you keeping it? 

The reasons vary but and three of the most common – at least that we run into - sound something like this…  

  • It was a gift from a friend/family member [insert someone important here] and I don’t want to hurt their feelings by getting rid of it or not having it around when they come to visit.” 

  • “I bought it, never used it and now feel doubly bad about wasting money on it.” 

  • “I might need it some day for X – even though I haven’t used it in five years.”

My own kitchen editing session took longer than I thought it would initially. Although the contents were organized, I seemed to have accumulated quite a few trinkets and tools over the years. I am fortunate that my kitchen storage is pretty ample but I needed to heed my own advice - even if you have a lot of space, you do not have to fill it! 

There were several items that fell into the bucket of “I bought this and thought it was a good idea at the time but have never used it” and “I might need it some day…” 

Upon reflection, it may seem that I have a weakness for the cooking tools section at Williams Sonoma. Everything looks so pretty and shiny and absolutely critically to my success in the kitchen while I’m in the store. But, when I get it home, I find these pretty, shiny, critical tools sitting there in my drawer unused and unappreciated and often passed up in favor of my old standbys. It is now time to move along the egg tongs and the avocado shaped scraper. 

 
Henry & Higby Kitchen Organizing
 

After tackling tools, I turned to my baking section which had grown unwieldly over the years. My reason for the excess is that baking is a hobby my son and I enjoy together. We have experimented with almost every baking category. We went through a mold phase, a rainbow cake phase (which required multiple individual cake pans), a cupcake phase with fun toppers to boot and the classic (never to be revisited) elaborate fondant phase. However, no matter what fun trendy baking phase we try though, we always end up making our favorites – cookies, breads and basic cakes. So, the question is…why am I still holding onto all the other baking accessories? Perhaps it is holding onto them for sentimental reasons or perhaps it is that I haven’t taken the time to actually do something about them but, regardless now is the time to move all of it along to someone else that can use them rather than have them collect dust in my upper cabinets. 

 
Henry & Higby Kitchen Organizing
 

With my drawers and cabinets cleared of the items I no longer use I feel the freedom that comes with clearing clutter. Clearing the physical space frees up mental space. This is our mantra during edit sessions and it definitely rang true during my own tune-up.  

- Michelle

Clearing Clutter to Find Your Inner Calm

OrganizationAnnie & MichelleComment

I recently re-connected with a colleague from my former days in public relations. She also left the agency world and is now an entrepreneur herself having started a yoga business, Topsy Turvy Yogi, with a friend. During our conversation, we found a lot of synergies between the calm that comes from getting organized and the calm from practicing yoga and wondered if we could help make the connection for others too. 

Life gets hectic and clutter can fill both your mind and your home but that there are ways to eliminate those distractions and to create a sense of calm from chaos. So we are helping you clear the clutter and find your inner calm by equating the process of working through your chakras with simple yogic practices with the process of organizing your home. The important thing to remember is that everyone and everything is a work in progress so the key to success is to keep trying. 

Read on to work through the process of finding calm both inside and out. 

Happy organizing and namaste!

Chakra Organizing Chart_09.jpg

How to Organize: Business Cards

OrganizationAnnie & MichelleComment
 
Business Card Blog
 

No matter how paperless I try to be, I always seem to find business cards in my wallet and in the bottom of my purse. I can't say that I handle the situation immediately -- there may still some cards at the bottom of my bag right now -- but I'm going to put the work into it now. If you find yourself in the same boat, try one of these methods below. 

Happy Organizing!

Use an App (Paid): There are a number of applications you can use to assist with scanning and handling business cards but one that comes highly recommended is CamCard. With this app, you can not only scan and store your business cards but you can also exchange e-cards on-the-go when you are running out of paper ones. Alternatives for Apple users include ScanBizCard and Business Card Reader Pro

Try Evernote (Free): Evernote Scannable is an app that allows you to scan contracts, receipts and business cards - really any paper that you come across - so that you can move it along. The reason that it is so great for business cards is because it pulls information from them and will save it to your contact list. 

Take a Photo: The easiest app-less way to handle business cards is to take a picture and save it in a special business card folder on your phone so that you know where to find it when the time comes. 

Type it In: Go old school and just type the information into your phone contact list or even into your real address book if you love paper. Granted this takes a bit of time but it is reliable and doesn't require much on your part but a little bit of time - plus it gives you a chance to type in some extra notes at the same time about the meeting. If you have a smart phone, you can even take a photo of the logo and assign it to the contact to give yourself visual reference. 

How do you handle business cards? 

Our Favorite Donation Locations in NYC

Organization, New York CityAnnie & MichelleComment
 
donations edited.jpg
 

Letting go of items that have accumulated can be hard but many of our clients find it easier to let go of things if they know that those items can be donated and have a life and purpose with someone else. So, if you are looking to make donations for stuff that is accumulating in your home, check out our quick tips and the list below for some of our favorite donation spots in and around the city.

  • Many organizations reserve the right to refuse pieces that are being donated so make a call if you aren't sure if a piece will work out. There is no point in bringing it across town only to have it be rejected. 
  • If time is on your side, some donation spots will come pick up your furniture and other items but this service is often booked up for weeks in advance so it isn't a great option if you need to get the stuff out of your home quickly. 
  • If you can't donate a piece or just don't want to deal with it, consider calling JunkLuggers who for a relatively reasonable fee will haul your stuff away without any fuss on your part. And, the good news is that they try to donate everything first so you don't have to worry about all of your stuff ending up in the garbage. 

Happy Organizing! 

 

FOR BOOKS: Housing Works Book Store

Location: 126 Crosby Street, New York, NY

Accepts: Books, DVDs & CDs, LPs and Textbooks (less an 1 year old)

 

FOR WORK CLOTHING (WOMEN): Dress for Success

Location: Manhattan - 32 East 31st Street, 6th Floor New York, NY || Queens - 114-14 Jamaica Avenue
Richmond Hill, New York

Accepts: See full list of accepted items here

Note: Donations are accepted in Manhattan every third Saturday of the month and in Queens every second Saturday of the month. However, professional clothing in plus sizes (16-24) is in such high demand that they are accepted in the Manhattan location during the week as well as on donation Saturdays. 

 

FOR WORK CLOTHING (MEN): Career Gear

Location: 125 Maiden Lane, 3B New York, NY 

Accepts: See full list of accepted items here

Note: Donations are accepted in-person on six dates throughout the year so check their website before making a trip. However, donations can also be made via the mail if you are inclined to ship the items during times that fall outside of the donation day windows. 

 

FOR CLOTHING & FURNITURE: Housing Works Stores

Location: Multiple locations around the city

Note: Furniture must be in excellent condition as determined by the shop manager

 

FOR CLOTHING, FURNITURE & HOUSEHOLD GOODS: Goodwill

Locations: Multiple locations around the city

Accepts: See full list of accepted items

 

FOR ART SUPPLIES, OFFICE FURNITURE AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS: Materials for the Arts

Location: Northern Boulevard between 33rd and 34th Streets, Long Island City, NY

Accepts: See full list of requested items here

Note: All donations must be approved before dropping them off. Please reach out to donations@mfta.nyc.gov or 718-729-2065 to confirm that they will take them. 

 

FOR BABY THINGS: Room to Grow

Location: 7 West 30th Street, Floor 3 New York, NY

Accepts: All donations should be new or nearly new, clean and in truly excellent condition (click here for a list of acceptable items)

 

FOR OLD SHEETS AND TOWELS: Veterinary Offices & Animal Shelters

Note: Many veterinary offices and even animal shelters will accept donations of old sheets and towels to help line the cages, etc. so try making a call to one of your local spots when deciding where to donate them.

 

What are your favorite donation spots in and around the city? 

A Few of Our Favorite Organizing Products for Small Space Living

Organization, New York CityAnnie & MichelleComment
 
Henry & Higby Favorite Organizing Products
 

As organizers in New York City, we are used to the small and sometimes oddly shaped spaces that New Yorkers call home (ourselves included!). From irregular sized cabinets to no cabinets, we have seen and organized it all but part of our success is due to the items we use that help maximize the space.  While this may not be one of our more traditional organizing posts, this is a shout out to a few of the products that make our job a little easier. 

Henry & Higby Like-it Bricks

White Like-It Bricks Narrow Bins

We love using these stackable bins in tight spaces like on top of a bathroom medicine cabinet. They can store and hide an array of toiletry items and, since they are only 2 and 5/8 inches wide, they can fit almost anywhere. 

 
Henry & Higby Clear & White Drawer Organizer Trays
 

Clear & White Drawer Organizer Trays

Recently, we have come across shallow desk drawers that don't accommodate standard organizing trays. Initially it was a little frustrating but then we found these relatively inexpensive drawer organizers that clock in at only 1 and 3/4 inches so now tidying almost any drawer is a breeze.

 
Henry & Higby Command Broom Gripper
 

Command Brand Broom Gripper

These removable broom grippers are a lifesaver in small spaces that don't have a household closet. We use them in hidden corners and along side refrigerators to make storing brooms, mops and/or Swiffers easier and, in the long run, damage-free since there is no drilling required. 

 

What products do you use to make living in small spaces easier? 

How to Keep Your Gym Bag on Pace

OrganizationAnnie & MichelleComment
 
Henry & Higby_Gym Bag Organization
 

We all struggle with losing things at the bottom of our bags and gym bags are no different. Inevitably, there is a time crunch after finishing your workout and getting to your other daily commitments because life doesn’t stop for SoulCycle! Once you head back to the locker room, there is almost always a lot of time wasted searching for things no matter how well the bags were packed at home.

After many a struggle on the floor of the locker room, we have found that the easiest way to minimize search time is using smaller pouches in your larger gym bag. Basically, it is a bag of bags. Read on for our tips and tricks on packing this bag of bags below. Happy Organizing!

  • Make Getting Ready Packs: Sort the items you need to get ready after class into sections. For instance, if you always shower after class, pack your shampoo, razor and shower sandals in a small "shower" zipper pouch so it is easy to grab while getting into the endless shower queue. Then, categorize all the items that you use post-shower such as toiletries and/or makeup and put them into separate zipper pouches so they are easy to find once you are out of the shower. Who knows, now that you have all the goods gathered, you might be at the front of the line! 
  • Find a Pack: Although almost any bag will do, we would be remiss not sharing our beloved Baggu Nylon Pouches as an option to keep everything sorted in your gym bag. The lightweight material is easy to clean and these pouches can be filled to the gills regardless of size or shape of the items being stuffed in them. 
  • Bring an Extra: If you are anything like us, you will want to wrap up those sweaty gym clothes so that they don’t touch anything else in your bag. In that case, just bring an empty pouch to contain your clothes. And, a bonus if you choose Baggu pouches is that you can throw them right into the washer. 
  • Wrap it Up: A great way to keep your clothing organized particularly if you are heading to the office after class is to use packing cubes. Not only do they keep your clothing clean but they can also help keep them free of wrinkles. 
  • Pick a Bag: The easiest way to stay organized at the gym is to only have one designated gym bag and to stick with it. We can be bag switchers too but this is the only way you can be sure to not lose something. 

What do you do to keep your gym bag organized?