Five Tips for Moving in a Hurry

Suppose you’ve just found out you have two weeks to move, and literally nothing is packed. Should you panic? Should you throw it all in the trash, or conversely into random boxes with no rhyme or reason?

Here are some tips to make things go smoothly without too much time or frustration:

Tip 1: Make a plan. Five minutes of planning can save hours on the other end. Make a diagram for the movers of where you want your items. Tell your packers what your priorities are. Decide what items are essential for daily life and what you can wait to look at for a few weeks.

Tip 2: Label your boxes according to plan. Of course you want to write what’s basically in them, but for example, if you are moving things to multiple locations or rooms, code your boxes with numbers for where the items will go and how important they are. 1 for “immediately needed at the new place”, 2 for “send to new place but don’t need right away” and 3 for “storage”. Then you can tell the movers some basic rules about those 1, 2, or 3 boxes and your life will be much easier the day of move in.

Label your boxes with large numbers, coded for their final destination.

Tip 3: Don’t spend too much time on this end sorting papers and small things. Make a large rule, like “keep all papers until I can sort later” or “all stuffed animals can be donated”. This information can be communicated to whoever is packing with you and you can get much more done.

Tip 4: You will need more boxes than you thought and more supplies than you thought. Look for free boxes on Craigslist or used boxes at Get lots of small and medium size because heavy things should go in small boxes.

Tip 5: Donate whatever you can easily donate. Put out an ad on Craigslist for all the free things in your driveway. Try to get rid of as much as possible so you don’t ever have to deal with those items again. Items that will bring more than $100 can be sold, but try not to spend too much time on that when you’re frantically packing boxes.

Bonus Tip: If you’re overwhelmed, call an organizer. We can often make a plan or help you just a little bit. $50 or $100 spent on an organizer can save you tons of time and frustration.


Organizing Kid Projects

If your kids are anything like mine, they go through stages of what they are really into. Right now my kids are into three things: origami, coloring cards for Christmas, and homework. Well they probably don’t want to be “into” homework but they have to be. So rather than putting all of those supplies back in the office every day, and also to respect my husband’s space as he works in the office, we are making little stations for those activities in the living room, where the kids hang out.


I have been a little puzzled as to how to implement this properly over the last few weeks, because each project takes up so much space. Finally I looked at the entertainment cabinet, which is not really full at all, and realized that I could use the space where all of our millions of movies and CDs would be if we had millions. There’s big shelves under there, it’s easily accessible to the kids, and there are doors so the clutter can hide.


So this morning I will be rearranging the movies and CDs to make room for my kids’ projects, and hopefully all of us will win in this situation.


Call us if you need new eyes to look at your frustrating areas and brainstorm new ideas!


Elementary School’s Attic

Today we tackled a school attic that was in dire need of cleaning out. According to fire code there are supposed to be three pathways clear across the room. There were no pathways. Two teachers were hoping to find room to store some of their supplies, and there was no space.

We spent three hours organizing 3/5 of the 80 by 20 foot area (the other 2/5 was already fairly well organized).  We had three teachers in addition to myself, and three custodians hauling off all the trash.

Art/PE Area Before

Art/PE Area After

The end result was so encouraging and fresh looking! We found some items that had been lost in the shuffle that teachers wanted to use. We found a lot of items that were old, broken, or obsolete. We found about 12 boxes of blocks (evidently blocks are out of fashion this year but still valuable). We found very sturdy and well-made carnival games that hadn’t been used in years. And we found some awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wooden cutouts.

Kinder/PreK Area Before

Kinder/PreK Area After

Serene Spaces was very proud of the teachers and principal we worked with. They were all ready and motivated to get rid of all the things that were broken or unnecessary, and they were very happy to have the space organized. We were so thankful for the custodians who helped us carry all the trash to the dumpster.

Trash Pile 2

Trash Pile 1

As you can see from the pictures, we were able to make very large pathways for the fire code, and we will paint the paths so that no one stores things in those areas anymore.

Files Area After

It was a really great day!


Lucy’s Kitchen

The client:

Lucy is a lovely lady who doesn’t have a natural talent for organizing. She decided to learn more about how to make her house work better for her. She has a nice big kitchen with lots of cupboard space. She was also ready to sell some things at a garage sale.

The problem:

Lucy had not sat down and thought about which cupboard would work best for different items. She also had some items that she wasn’t using which were taking up space.

We found some extra empty bins in her house that we could use to help sort the items, and we also went through and found some things to sell at a garage sale. It’s amazing what you can do in just a few minutes with a few dollars. The biggest challenge in Lucy’s kitchen was deciding where everything should go and what would work best for her family. Once we decided that it was a matter of just moving things to their new places.

Before, both sides


After, right side

Our box of garage sale items was full!

After a long day of sorting we were ready to have a break.