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  • Thursday, May 28, 2015 6:58 AM | Nia Spongberg (Administrator)
    Sports Equipment can become a frustrating, jumbled mess if you don’t have a good strategy and system for keeping it organized. This can translate into big headaches when you’re scrambling to get the kids out the door to soccer practice or rushing to make your tee time. What follows are four key considerations and associated suggestions for helping keep all your gear and accessories in order so you can enjoy your athletic pursuits to the fullest.

    (1)   Pick A Zone


    Begin by identifying and designating one zone – such as a corner of your garage, or a closet in your entryway – that will serve as the storage area for all of your sports equipment. Ideally this zone will be easily accessible in order to facilitate easy-come, easy-go use.


    (2)   Sort Into Categories


    Next, walk around your entire home and gather up every single piece of sports equipment you own. Bring all of it to your new storage zone. Now, sort the items into the following six categories. As you sort, be sure to get rid of any equipment which is damaged or unsafe to use, or which is no longer relevant (your kids have outgrown it, you no longer play that sport, etc): 


    1.      Long Things:  bats, sticks, clubs, racquets, skis, sleds, fishing poles, etc.


    2.      Things That Go:  balls, pucks, birdies, darts, kites, etc.


    3.      Protective Gear:  baseball mitts, goggles, helmets, pads, mouth guards, etc.


    4.      Clothing: uniforms, hats, etc.


    5.      Footwear: cleats, rollerblades, skates, ski boots, etc.


    6.      Accessories:  bike pumps, water bottles, fishing tackle, golf cart batteries, scuba tanks, etc.


    (3)   Add Structure


    Now, take a close look at what you’re keeping. Take time to thoughtfully envision how much space each category will require in your storage zone, and how the categories might be optimally arranged within the space. Also consider the specific type of storage (within in a bin or basket? resting on a shelf? hanging on the wall?) that’s best suited for each category. If you don’t already have appropriate  storage structures in place, now is the time to obtain and install them. Below are some storage systems I like, as well as specific strategies for each category.


    Storage Systems We Like for Sports Equipment


    1.   Chrome shelving unit with pull-out bins, from Frontgate: http://www.frontgate.com/chrome-finished-sports-shelving/157335?listIndex=0&redirect=y


    Chrome-finished Sports Shelving with Pull-out Bins


    2.   Free-standing 4-bike rack:  http://deltacycle.com/free-standing-4-bike-storage-rack?search=rack


         3.  Elfa products for sports gear, from The Container Store:

              http://www.containerstore.com/shop/garage/sportsEquipment

    Specific Storage Strategies for Each Category

    Long Things: Store upright in an empty garbage can or other stable barrel/bin/container; hang them from hooks on a wall/pegboard; lay them flat on a shelf; lay them flat in a saddle/cradle suspended from the ceiling.



    Things That Go: Store in a see-through wire basket of appropriate size (make sure the balls aren’t smaller than the mesh openings of the basket) or in open-front, stacking crates/cubbies. For  larger balls like soccer, basketball, and footballs, mount on the wall in a Ball Claw -http://www.ballclaw.de/en/products/ball-claw



    Protective Gear: Store in clear, plastic, latch-top totes (to help keep dust at bay), or in bins/baskets on shelves.



    Clothing: Store in clear, plastic, latch-top totes (to help keep dust at bay), or in bins/baskets on shelves.


    Footwear: Store directly on shelves, or in open-front, stacking crates/cubbies. 


    Accessories: Because accessories are so numerous and varied, it’s not possible to provide a generalized storage recommendation. Instead, let the physical attributes of each item (size, shape, weight, etc) serve as clues to help you find the best storage solution.


    (4)   Be A Good Steward


    Things don’t stay organized on their own or simply because you have good storage structure; people keep things organized. So you will need to devote a bit of time and energy to tidying up your sports equipment zone on some regular basis. We suggest doing it four times a year with the changing of each season and corresponding change of sports. We also suggest an annual “deep-clean” where you review all your equipment, purge items that are no longer relevant, give the space a thorough cleaning, and re-organize things that have gotten out of order.


    Summary


    Keeping your sports equipment organized involves many of the same organizing principles that apply elsewhere in your home or office.  


    ·        First, assign a home to every item;


    ·        Store like items together;  


    ·        Keep things off the floor by making optimal use of vertical (wall) space;


    ·        Make sure everyone who uses the space knows where and how things are stored (labeling can really help facilitate this); and


    ·        Use clear/see-through containers that make it easy to see items and return them to their homes.


    For further inspiration, you may wish to do a web search or a search within Pinterest with keywords such as “sports equipment storage”.


    Written by NAPO Michigan Chapter member Nia Spongberg of Spruced Up Spaces, LLC.

  • Friday, April 10, 2015 10:00 AM | Nia Spongberg (Administrator)

    Michigan Organizers Help Lift Spirits

    Press Release March 31, 2015

    Members of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-MI) regularly give back to their community by volunteering to organize the spaces of a local non-profit organization. On April 10, 2015, NAPO-MI members will participate in a project to support Kadima, a Southfield-based nonprofit that serves individuals in Oakland County who have chronic and persistent mental illness.

    The Kadima staff does a tremendous job serving their community, which leaves them very little time to optimize their working environment. NAPO-MI members will help to organize Kadima’s Lois and Milton Y. Zussman Activity Center that provides daily activities such as psycho-educational classes, art lessons, craft projects, tutoring, outings, volunteer service projects, music, and more. The Center offers Kadima clients needed opportunities for social, recreational and peer interactions.

    On April 10th, members of NAPO-MI will step up to help organize their space by decluttering and optimizing storage of arts and crafts supplies, games and exercise equipment, closets and common areas, laundry and kitchen supplies, and staff offices. Kadima is purchasing organizing equipment at cost and members of NAPO-MI are donating their services and supplies for the event, which will take place from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm at Kadima’s Lois and Milton Y. Zussman Activity Center, 15999 West Twelve Mile Road, Southfield MI 48076.

    The National Association of Professional Organizers was established in 1985 and now boasts over 4,000 members in the U.S. and 23 other countries. The Southeast Michigan chapter,http://www.napomichigan.com, came into being in 2003, and currently has 35 professional organizers and 6 associate members in related industries.

    Kadima is a non-profit social service agency that provides services to individuals diagnosed with chronic and persistent mental illness and support for their families. Services include outpatient therapy, case management, residential options, transportation and social activities. Kadima is committed to provide community education and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for individuals and their families affected by psychiatric disabilities and to reduce the stigma so often associated with mental illness. Learn more at http://www.kadimacenter.org.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    NOTE: This volunteer work day is open to NAPO Southeast Michigan Chapter Members only; no visitors, please.  Members: if you would like to volunteer at Kadima and have not already signed up, please contact: mgsobo@gmail.com.

  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 3:00 PM | Nia Spongberg (Administrator)

    Do you look up at the clock in the morning and realize that, yes, your family is behind schedule, again?

    Do you have a hard time remembering to stop to eat lunch, leave for the day, or floss your teeth? Consider enlisting your smartphone for help! Set thematic songs as alarm ringtones for critical or forgettable parts of your routines.

    Songs catch our attention more than clocks or even timers, and are easily recognized by kids too young to read a clock. Start by picking one or two trouble spots. These might be transitions, like waking or leaving for school, or good habits you want to cultivate, like consistently eating lunch or cleaning your desk before stopping for the day.

    This playlist can get you started: http://proforganizer.com/about/routinesplaylist

     Add more songs as necessary to support your family’s daily routine. With small kids, songs every 5-10 minutes throughout morning routine and bedtime routine makes it easier to be firm and consistent, improves everyone’s ability to estimate time, and replaces nagging with dancing!

    It might take some experimenting to find out which times work best for each step, and which steps need to be added. Ask the kids which songs would keep them on track, and what they want a reminder about! Challenge the kids to “beat the pajama song.”

    Every few months, delete any alarms that you regularly ignore, adjust the times of others if needed, and add new songs to keep things fresh and relevant.

    And be sure to listen to Kate Carpenter’s song “Orderly and Organized.” If professional organizers had a theme song, this might be it!  The link is: http://www.broadjam.com/player/player.php?mediaID=572528.

    ~ ~ ~

    This article was written and contributed by NAPO Southeast Michigan chapter member Melanie Sobocinski of Prof Organizer LLC.

  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 2:00 PM | Nia Spongberg (Administrator)

    Members of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers will give back to their community by volunteering to organize the offices and storage areas of a local non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity Detroit.

    Habitat for Humanity Detroit helps build affordable homes for working families and eliminates poverty housing.  The Habitat staff does a tremendous job serving their community which leaves them very little time to organize their working environment.

    On April 1st, 2014, there will be No Fooling Around” as members of NAPO Southeast Michigan will step up to organize their space by decluttering work areas including desktops, desk drawers, and file cabinets.  Storage areas for several areas will also be revamped, if time permits.  Members of NAPO Southeast Michigan are donating their services and supplies for the event which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Habitat Offices located at 14325 Jane Street in Detroit.

  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 1:00 PM | Nia Spongberg (Administrator)

    As a caregiver, it is a constant challenge to keep balanced and organized.  Of course, the best way to get organized is to have a plan of action BEFORE a crisis occurs.

    However, if you become a caregiver unexpectedly, these lists and tips from the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers will help your family prioritize what needs to be done. 

    In either situation, involve your loved one as much as possible, carefully considering his or her input.

    ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS

    Medical: medical directives, DNRs, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Wills, disability/health/dental/long term care/life insurance, contact information for all doctors, detailed information regarding prescriptions. 

    Personal:  will, birth/marriage/divorce certificates, driver’s license, organ donation, military record, passport/visa, Durable Power of Attorney.

    Financial: banking, deeds, loans and bills, investments.

    Final wishes: regarding funeral arrangements/wake, music, passages to be read, officiate.

    FAMILY MEETINGS / UPDATES

    Share this opportunity with others to give back. Family members, friends, church family, etc. can do something to help Grandpa, or you (prepare a meal, laundry, errands.)  Say “yes please!” to assistance – everyone will benefit. 

    Identify action items, and assign each task a level of importance.  Set priorities first, taking care of less important details later.

    Discuss what needs to be done, by whom, how often and for how long, how it will be paid for, and at what location.

    Embrace the theme of simplification regarding physical space, schedules, obligations and responsibilities to make way for new and evolving circumstances.

    COMFORT

    Remember your personal needs.  You will need to refuel, gain perspective, and work through any number of frustrations.  Know your limits and respect them.

    Lean on the healing power of relationships and emotional support.  Family nights, outings, visits from friends, activities, phone calls, or conversation can take both your minds off illness temporarily.

    Utilize online tools: from caregiver calendars, lists and charts to support groups.

    Give everyone a generous learning curve, including you and the patient.  Work hard to let go of perfection and hyper-vigilance in things that don’t really matter.  What really matters in this chapter of your life, and perhaps the last chapter of your loved one, is love.

    ~ ~ ~

    This article was written and contributed by NAPO Southeast Michigan chapter member Jennifer Asselin of Living Arrangements Professional Organizing.
  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 12:00 PM | Nia Spongberg (Administrator)

    With the launch of our new website, we are now hosting our blog right here (yup, you're reading it!) on our very own website. Until now, we'd used Blogspot to host our blog. For obvious reasons, we've decided not to spend time copying & pasting over our many, wonderful, older blog entries. But, we aren't saying goodbye to all those great posts either. Instead, we're keeping the old Blogspot venue alive!

    So, you're welcome to view our older blog entries by visiting:

    http://www.napomichigan.blogspot.com

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