Organizing BEFORE You Move: Save Time and Your Sanity

So, you’re moving! How exciting and yet, utterly terrifying.

Moving doesn’t have to be your worst nightmare, though. It CAN have the potential to be only a mildly scary mini-dream. Below are a few tips to help you tame that moving beast while staying organized and at least partly sane.

Visualizing the New Place

Firstly, let’s start by visualizing your new place. Moving into a new home can also be the start of a new chapter in your life. Homes are often a marker in time when you think back and say, “it was when we were in the yellow house on Drury Street, or was it still when we lived at the condo?” Each home has a different feel and elicits different emotions. Looking forward, what kind of vibe are you wanting from this new place?

A few major factors that determine this are:

  • Location
  • Decor
  • Size

Each of those factors play into and off of each other. It’s not likely to feel like a quiet, relaxing oasis if you’re on the corner of two busy streets and you probably won’t get that authentic southwestern feel if all of your furniture and decor is mid-century modern. If you’re decreasing or increasing the square-footage, think about your current furniture and how that will physically fit in the new place.

Drive around and map out the new neighborhood. Think of some specific decor pieces that you can visualize beautifully placed in your new space. Taking measurements of the new rooms, your current furniture, and planning the furniture layouts beforehand can save you time and frustration when you realize mid-move that the new sectional doesn’t fit down the basement stairs.

Create Moving Notebook/Folder

Use whatever you have to keep all this moving-related info together. You don’t have to get super fancy with a hyper-organized, tabbed and color-coded binder, but having one place as your go-to can save you a lot of time when searching for your moving info.

Some good things to keep in here are:

  • Research (moving companies, storage units, internet/cable providers, new utilities and trash companies, etc)
  • To-do list:
    • Utilities to Turn on/off
    • School Paperwork to Transfer
    • Change of Address, Notifying Relevant Parties of Address Change (banks/credit cards, magazines/subscriptions, HR at work, etc.)
  • Moving Schedule, Appliance Drop-Offs, Carpet Cleaners, Etc.
  • Donation Center for donate items
  • Recycling Center for post-move boxes/packing paper

I also suggest creating individual folders for the following paperwork. Though most of these are moving-related, you will need to hang on to this info for much longer.

  • Loan/Closing Documents/Lease
  • Appliance Instruction Manuals
  • Warranties

Lighten the Load

Now, onto the most important part of this whole shebang. Do not bring anything to the new house that you didn’t use or love in the old house. If it’s broken and you don’t have solid plans to fix in with-in a few weeks, it’s time to go.

Before you move is the perfect time to “trim the fat”. A couple great areas to focus on de-cluttering and pairing down are:

  • Kitchen appliances and utensils
  • Bathroom and bedroom linens
  • Each family member’s wardrobe
  • Books and Media
  • Children’s toys

Now is also the time to go through those old boxes in storage that you’re not quite sure of the contents, yet have drug around to the last two or three houses with you. Odds are that they are full of items that don’t serve you anymore.

If you’re thinking that they are mostly keepsakes and memorabilia, it’s still a good idea to go through them and purge what you don’t absolutely love and want to still be holding onto 10 years from now. Chances are that the the last time you went through those old boxes, it was probably a lot more important to you to hold on to that high school graduation tassel than it would be to you now.

Packing

Now that you’ve gotten rid of things you don’t love or use anymore, it’s time to start packing up what’s left. It’s a good idea to start packing the items that are the least accessed/used and finishing by packing the every-day items. Starting this processes early will save you the most time and eliminates a lot of that last-minute scrambling and stress.

A couple tried-and-true packing tips:

  • Mostly use small and medium boxes
  • Put EVERYTHING in boxes
  • Put related and like-items in the same box
  • Label each box with:
    • What room the box should be taken to
    • What is mostly in the box

Selling Your Home

If you are listing your current home to sell, pack up as many of the household items as you can. While your home will be shown, it’s vital that there is no clutter anywhere.

  • Remove any non-neutral decor, especially personal photos and knick-nacks
  • Remove kitchen counter top appliances, store food out-of-sight
  • Keep bathroom and laundry counter tops clear
  • Give storage rooms a purpose, i.e. stage as a craft/sewing space etc.
  • Create illusion of space by moving some furniture to storage
  • Pack and store off-season clothing and shoes
  • Pack and store majority of children’s toys – especially large bulky toys like play kitchens, riding toys, etc.

Compile a Moving Essentials Kit

Alright, now you’re ready to move! It’s also a good idea to create an essentials kit with some of the items you will need to access right away that will save you from having to rip open and dig through boxes just to find one or two items. Here are just a few things that are great to include in your moving day essentials kit:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels/Paper Towels
  • Trash Bags
  • Soap: hand, dish, multi-purpose spray
  • 1 Dish Set/Disposables, Silverware, Cups
  • Box Cutter
  • Light Bulbs
  • Shower Curtain
  • Set of Bed Sheets for each bed
  • Teapot/Coffeemaker
  • Baby/Kid Items

Un-Packing

Now it’s time to unpack and settle in! This part can be especially overwhelming. Below are some tips to help it stay a little less chaotic and a little more manageable.

  • Start unpacking right away
  • Only unpack one room (fully) at a time
  • Put things where they should permanently live as you unpack
  • Tear down boxes and move to recycling as you go

Additional Resources

Check out this thorough Organized Moving Checklist from the Container Store to make sure you’re staying on point.

Also, if you’d like some help getting your move organized, de-cluttering, or sorting through storage items, please contact me, I’d love to help!

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Before and After Pics

closets

Busy Professional Man's Closet - Before and After

  Organizing and Containing Bathroom Items - Organized and Contained Bathroom Items Before and After  organized closet before and after From Closet Chaos to Closet Tidy - Organized Closet and Room Before and After

offices

Photographers Home Office - Before and After 1 Photographers Home Office - Before and After 2 Photographers Home Office - Before and After 3 Photographers Home Office - Before and After 4 Catch All Home Office - Before and After 1 Catch All Home Office - Before and After Dumping Ground Home Office - Before and After

garages

Un-Packing a Catch-All Garage - organized garage before and after left side Dads Tool Bench Organized - Before and After Cluttered Garage - Before and After

craft rooms

 A Sewing Room - Before and After A Craft Room Rediscovered - De-Cluttered Craft Room Before and After A Craft Room Rediscovered - before and after of an organized sewing counter

Basements and Storage

Organized Basement Storage - Before and AfterOrganizing a Storage Closet - Before and After Organized Storage Closet

play rooms

Organizing a Toy Room - Before and After Organized Toy Room Organized Play Room - Before and After

laundry and linen

 Creating Laundry Room Storage - Before and After Stuffed Linen Closet - Organized Linen Closet Before and After

unpacking into organization

Unpacking a Kitchen 1 Unpacking a Kitchen

Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair

Do you create handmade goodies or artwork?
Are you thinking of setting up a booth at a local craft show or maker’s market to showcase your righteous creations?

We just finished a successful craft fair selling our soap! products at the bi-annual Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair here in Kansas City.

After having a couple other vendors asking questions about organizing their booths, checklists, and sales so it got me thinking about putting together a list of things to keep in mind while going through the whole process to keep your booth organized and functional, to help you sell a lot of items, and to stay on top of your marketing game.

And here is what I came up with:

1. Choosing a Craft Fair/Show/Market to Participate In

Choose an event that you know will have traffic.
Feel free to contact the organizer with these questions: 
How many years has this event been going on? How many attendees do they usually have? What type of people usually frequent this event (moms, grandmas, dads, golfers, artists, etc.)? How many vendors will be at this event?

Find an event with a fee that is reasonable for your situation.
Remember, you will need to at LEAST be able to make the amount of the vendor free back from the sales of your items. If you’re just starting your business and you’re wanting to join a large professional expo event where the vendor fees are higher than a typical month of sales, it might be a better idea to look for a smaller event.

Choose a well-organized fair that seems established and requires forms for vendor submissions. 
Look for an event that has dedicated organizers who are on top of things like marketing and promoting the event and getting back to you quickly with any questions you might have. Feel free to contact them with any of the traffic, logistic, and demographic related questions.

2. Vendor Paperwork

Complete and submit the vendor application.
Read the directions thoroughly and follow them exactly.

Submit your vendor fee.
Try to get this in ASAP. Of times events fill up pretty fast with prospective vendor applications. The sooner you get your payment in, the more likely you are to be chosen to participate in the event.

Confirm your participation with the event organizer. 
If you haven’t heard back from them in one week (or by specified date), contact the event organizer to confirm.

3. Selling your Items

Know what products you are going to sell. 
Make what you create the best. How many other vendors will be selling similar items? What makes yours stand out from the rest? Look at the vendor list for the event and scope out the competition by going to their website and social media pages to do a little recon. If there is no vendor list, browse sites like Etsy.com for similar items. How are their prices compared to yours? Does the time invested in creating your products match up with the amount buyers would be willing to pay for it?

Have CLEARLY labeled products.
Make sure your labels are simple and easy to read so that people just glancing at your booth as they walk by can get a clear idea about what it is that you are selling. If applicable, make sure all ingredients are listed on your products.A simple, clearly labeled Dry Shampoo that lists ingredients and website.

Make sure prices are easily visible.
People do not like asking for prices on items. If prices aren’t clearly visible, they may just continue on to the next vendor.
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Price Sheet

Display portfolio of other items not present at the fair.
For people who do a lot of custom items or services, having a portfolio of images of previous products or custom orders for other customers is a great way to show people the bigger scope of what kind of products and services you offer.

{We brought a portfolio of our Professional Organizing Before and After Photos to show customers more of the organizing side of our business in addition to our soap! products.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Portfolio

4. Craft Fair Booth Decor

What is the decor theme of your booth? 
What kind of feel do you want customers to get when they walk up? What are some thematic elements you can incorporate into the decor/design?

{Since we sell all-natural products, our theme is more of a natural/woodland theme. We tried incorporating that with twine leaves, babies breath flowers, and various woodland decor.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Woodland Decor 2 Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Woodland Decor

Booth:
What is the booth size? How many tables will you need? What kind of layout?
Will you use rugs? Will you need extra lighting?

{We played with a couple different table layouts before we settled on one with our booth partner Victoria at Melting Pot Love. Since we were on a corner, we settled on keeping both tables toward the outer edges, giving us enough chair/walking room on the interior of the tent.}

Table:
What kind of tablecloths will you use? Table decorations that match your theme? Table banner?

Item Displays: 
Get creative with your displays. Make sure you utilize height and dimension. Flat tables are boring. Will you need shelving, stands, trays, hooks?

{My husband, Kelly, built us this awesome 3 tier cupcake stand out of wood pieces to display our Vanilla Sugar Scrub and Dry Shampoos on.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Height and Dimension

Signage:
Let customers know who/what you are right away. Will you use a banner, business sign with your slogan/tagline, price signs, social media signs?

{We put our banner right on the front of our table so that everyone who walked by could tell what our booth was selling without having to come right up to the table.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Front Banner

5. Point of Sale

Have a cash box or bag.
Depending on the prices of your items, keep enough small bills cash that you’d be able to make change without having to leave your booth.

{With our prices between $6 and $12, we started with $60 in change in 5’s (7) and 1’s (25). I had to make a trip on the second morning to get more $1 bills.}

You NEED an electronic payment device.
These days, a majority of people pay with their cards. There are several different card readers: Square, Paypal Here, Amazon, etc.

{There were several people who stopped by our booth who said they only had cards, sales we would have otherwise missed if we hadn’t used our Square Reader. Over half of our customers used their cards.}

Throw in a Thank You card with a coupon for buying additional products/services.
Reward the customers who have supported your business with their purchase. Make it easy for them to come back and buy more of your awesome products.

{We included a coupon for $50 off of our Professional Organizing Consultation that they could use or give to a friend.}

6. Marketing and Customer Contact

Display product information cards. 
If you have several products with different ingredients, it’s a good idea to have some printed material for people to pick up, read, and get more information about your products. Rack cards are a great resource for people who also might want to give the info to friends and family who may be interested in your products.

{We had rack cards for all of our soap! products, listing the prices and ingredients. Several people opted to pick these up and read them instead of trying to lean over at a crowded table and read the displayed price sheet.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Rack Cards

Have brochures and business cards available. 
If you do custom products not displayed at the booth or if you have additional services that you offer, having brochures out on your table is a good way to let customers know about them. You can always direct them to a brochure with images of your other work to get a better idea of your other products and services. Having business cards available is a quick way for someone to pick up your contact info for re-ordering products or to give your info to someone else.
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Brochures and Business Cards

Have an email sign-up list that doubles as a product give-a-way. 
Getting your customers information is key to developing a relationship with them. With an email list you can let people who are interested in your products know when you are will be at other craft fairs and are having special events or promotions going on.
A great way to get people interested in your products is to give them away for free! Using the email sign-up as a drawing for free products or services is a great motivator for people to share their contact info with you.

{Since we both provide products and services, we used our email sign-up for a Professional Organizing Consultation and 1 Hour Session give-a-way. We chose one winner each day of the craft fair. We emailed the rest of the people who signed up to thank them for stopping by our booth and to share our website/social media pages with them.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Email Sign up and Giveaway

7. Everything Else

Have a booth partner or helper.
Being stuck at your booth at ALL times is not fun. You need small breaks to go to the bathroom, stretch your legs, and to meet and network with the other vendors. Having a co-working or friend who is outgoing, knows your products and will be good at fielding related questions is key to selling your products.

{Nicole and I were a great team. It was awesome having two people who could talk to customers. One of us would be ringing up the sale as the other person bagged the item. It was great to be able for each of us to get breaks to check out all of the other amazing vendors.}
Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair - Nicole and Shawna

Things you’ll need for your comfort during the event.
Unless you plan to spend all your profits at the food vendors, it’s a good idea to bring a cooler with plenty of water and snacks.
Though you might not get much use out of it, bringing a chair for yourself and your booth partner.

{We found that we didn’t do very much sitting at our booth because we were wanting to engage our customers and it’s hard to do that while sitting behind a table. Nicole had the brilliant idea of bringing a tall stool to sit in on day two. The height of the stool still allowed us to rest our little piggies while still sitting at a similar height as a browsing customer on the other side of the table.}

8. FREE Downloadable Vendor Checklist

Here’s a free checklist you can download (PDF) and print off before your next craft fair!

CraftFairVendorChecklist

Organizing your Booth for a Craft Fair (13)

 

Post by Shawna in Kansas City.

Glitzy Christmas Wonderland

Once Thanksgiving day has come and gone  you know Christmas is truly almost here, but time seems to slip away faster as your gift buying, baking & to do list grows longer.  There’s so much more you want to be busy with than pulling everything out to decorate so you can all bask in the glitzy Christmas wonderland.  My client was ecstatic to have her whole family together on her favorite holiday for the first time in over 5 years! So, I quickly channeled my inner Elf and to work I went on creating a cozy space for all of them to enjoy.

Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Front Door

An inviting front porch sets the tone for the Christmas wonderland your guests will step foot in!Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Front Porch

Collecting holiday decorations over the years through travels, fun finds and family heirlooms can be both heartwarming and overwhelming. It was fun choosing the items with my client that held  the most meaning and importance to her so that we could truly display all the sweet memories & stories they hold.

Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Piano MemoirsGlitzy Christmas Wonderland- Family History

The history that oozed from this one area was unbelievable! I loved the rare antique Christmas decor that was handed down from my client’s mother alongside some of her re purposed vintage perfume bottle holders that now held candles. I can just imagine this room being filled with the sounds of the childrens giggles as they wind up the musical boxes that are amidst their ancestors photos. Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Classic Memories

I  brought together items my client already had to create centerpieces that were both festive & glitzy! Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Centerpiece

This tree may be one of my favorites I have ever laid my eyes on! It’s woodsy chic charm quickly served as the inspiration of our glitzy Christmas wonderland  we were creating.Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Christmas TreeGlitzy Christmas Wonderland- Unique Christmas Ornaments

Santa collections, nutcrackers & gorgeous Nativity sets filled the space to bring that holiday charm!Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- International Nativity

Many of the decorations came from my clients international travels in Saudi Arabia, Latin America and her time living in Columbia!Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- International TrinketsGlitzy Christmas Wonderland- Christmas Corner Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Nutcracker Crew Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Touch of Spirit

I’m in love with this centerpiece that came together perfectly when my client and I put our heads together! Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Outdoor CenterpieceGlitzy Christmas Wonderland - Lanterns and Greenery

The antlers, greenery and pops of red poinsettias really brought this outdoor space together.Glitzy Christmas Wonderland- Antlers & Greenery

Now wouldn’t you just love to enjoy a cup of coffee here after a nice meal with your family?! My client was a pleasure to work as a team with and by the end of our time together she truly felt like family! Excited for the memories she and her family will be creating in this glitzy Christmas wonderland I had the pleasure of sprucing up.Glitzy Christmas Wonderland

 

Project by Soraya in Austin, Tx