How to stay organized when working from home

Now more than ever, people are working from home. For many people this may be a totally new experience, and to ensure it is a smooth one, here are a few tips to help you stay organized at your home office.

Setup your own space at home

Allocate a designated work space for yourself at home and keep your space organized. Keep a minimal and streamlined workspace. Clutter in your work area can cause confusion and mistakes, and cause you to waste time looking for things.

To avoid nuisances and interruptions, identify a workspace that comes with the least potential for noise. If a separate home office is not possible, work out of a nook or corner of your bedroom.

Embrace ergonomics in your workstation setup. Make sure you have a chair that helps you maintain proper posture, keep your wrist at a 90-degree angle to your keyboard, and keep your monitors at eye level.

Install a shelf over your desk

Expand your work space by adding shelving above your desk. This creates room to store extra files, tech items, or books.

Keep your desktop organized with an organization station

Make sure you have enough space on the top of your desk to read, write, and work. You can hang organizers onto your wall. For example, install a bulletin board to keep your calendar, schedule, or to-do list in clear view, and include desk organizers for the office supplies you use on a regular basis.

Use drawer dividers

Use small boxes or acrylic dividers to divide and organize your desk drawer space. Keep small notepads, paper clips, stapler and staples, sticky notes, small cords, memory sticks in their own compartments.

Install a Keyboard Tray

With a nifty keyboard tray, you can keep your laptop or notepad safely stowed when not in use.

Additional storage

A smart looking filing cabinet, drawer unit, or small table storage caddy at the side of your desk provides additional storage to ensure your workspace remains uncluttered.

Digital planners to keep you organized

There are many digital planners to help keep your work tasks organized. Here are a few that are highly rated:
To-do lists, reminders and a calendar all in one app. Create lists, take notes, and schedule appointments, all in one interface.

Clear Todos
Clear Todos keeps your tasks organized by color-coding them. Straightforward but visually appealing checklists.

Fantastical is a scheduling app that allows users to organize personal projects, work meetings and family activities across time zones and devices. Includes video link detection for Zoom and Google conference calls, and more.

Microsoft ToDo
Break tasks down into simple steps, add due dates, and set reminders for your daily checklist to keep you on track.
Enter your task’s properties in one line, including due date, priority, repeat, tags, and more. Subtasks break your tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Paper planners to keep you organized

A paper organizer? In 2021? Yes, for many people their phones are almost a constant distraction. Reminders, emails, text messages, news headlines, Instagram, and group chats can keep your phone buzzing and keep you distracted. Having a paper daily planner takes you away from these constant distractions and keeps your tasks and projects organized. Also, it will never freeze up, need rebooting or have other Internet or IT problems.

Here are a few daily planners that have received good reviews:

The Daily Planner from Completist
It is undated, so it’s flexible in case you stop filling it out for awhile. Each weekday has its own page. There is a section for a to-do list, a section for appointments and meeting times, and a box for random notes

The Moleskine XL Softcover
Each left-side page is a weekly calendar with space to mark meetings, while the right is a blank, lined sheet of paper to fill up with notes and tasks. 

Poketo Concept Planner Melon

It has year-long and month-long calendars to write in appointments, work phases, and other important dates. The majority of the pages are set up as weekly spreads, with space to list goals, random ideas, and individual checklists for each day of the week.

Get help from a professional

A professional organizer can put you at ease and help you get and keep your home in order. Renaissance Lifestyles, a Calgary organizer and senior and personal concierge, is fully equipped with the storage solutions and decluttering techniques that will work for your unique needs and living space. Contact us today.

Aging in place – support for Calgary seniors

What is aging in place?

Aging in place means staying in your home or community for as long as you wish to or are capable of doing so.

How can I age in place?

For seniors and those getting closer to becoming seniors, to successfully age in place, you can begin by ensuring you have the health and social supports and services you need to live safely and independently.

Planning to age in place

Don’t wait until some sudden change occurs with your health or your mobility to start planning your senior years

Think about how you want to live as you age. What supports do you currently have? What supports might you need? What do expect your financial situation to be as you age?

Modifying your home to help you age in place

One of the most important things you can do to ensure you can stay in your home as you age is to assess your home to determine if it can meet your future needs.

You may want to consider making changes to your home to help you as you age. This might delay or even prevent the need for a future move. Home modifications might include making it more accessible to a wheelchair or walker by widening the doorways or install a chairlift or elevator.

If you reach a point where your home no longer meets your needs, perhaps you still want to live within your current community. There might be the possibility of moving into a more wheelchari accessible or smaller home. Or maybe you need to explore assisted living or long-term care.

Maybe you need a home without stairs, one that has handrails and ramps. Will you be able to maintain your home on your own or who will be available to help you?

Will you be able to afford to make the necessary changes to your home or to live in an assisted living facility?

Your cargivers

Do you have friends and family who act as your caregivers now or are willing to do so in the future? Talk to your friends and family

Sometimes additional supports are also available from non-profit organizations in your community, including churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues.

If you are planning on becoming a caregiver, there are also resources to help you in this role.

Caregivers Alberta has a number of resources to help support you — “Whether you’re looking for someone to talk to, trying to find resources, or want to better manage the stress of providing care—we can help.”

Aging safely – resources

The City of Calgary has many resources to help people age safely. These include:

  • home and personal safety

  • home maintenance and repair

  • grants and assistance with expenses

Resources for seniors from the City of Calgary

Elder Abuse

Unfortunately, elder abuse does occur in our community. Elder abuse is defined as any action or inaction by a person in a position of trust that causes harm to an older person.This includes emotional, physical, sexual, or financial abuse as well as neglect and violation of rights.

Calgary has an Elder Abuse Response Team, which is jointly supported by Carya, the Kerby Centre and the Calgary Police Service. To report a suspected case of elder abuse, call (403) 705-3250 (Elder Abuse Resource Line).

Other support for seniors at The Kerby Centre

Get help from Renaissance

Renaissance Lifestyles offers complete senior concierge services, which includes helping people, declutter, downsize and move, if necessary. We also provide a wide range of supports for seniors who need an extra hand. We accompany clients to medical visits, shop for groceries, gifts and personal products, assist with laundry, including folding and putting away & bedding, do housekeeping, and more.

Click here for more details on our Senior Concierge services.




How to stay organized

7 tips from a professional organizer on how to stay organized

So you’ve finally done it – you decluttered and organized your home. Maybe you even hired a professional organizer to help you. But how can you ensure that your home stays organized on an ongoing basis?

Here are 7 tips and tools to help you improve your organizing habits so that your home stays neat and organized.

#1 – Give each item you own a place to live

A place for everything and everything in its place. Go through each room in your home and assign each item you own a place where it belongs. Each item should have its designated place. This makes it easier for you to stay organized and to remember where to find it when you need it and where to return it once you are done with it.

Ensuring this kind or order in your home will become second nature as you will soon memorize where everything goes. You won’t stress about trying to find that item you need as you will already know where it is. This kind of order brings you peace of mind and supports your mental health and well being.

Being able to always find the items you need also saves you money because it means you don’t lose things and ending up having to buy the same items again.

#2 – Ensure you have the right storage and furniture for your needs

It is common when moving into a new home that the space, especially if you have downsized into a smaller home, doesn’t quite have the right furniture, shelving, or other storage solutions you need. When this occurs, people never quite fully settle into their new home. But they need to commit to investing in the furniture and storage solutions that will work in this new space.

There are storage solutions for your smaller items, too. Consider a key hook. As soon as you come in the door, keys go on the hook. On your dresser, you can use a small box, sometimes called a valet box, to store the other small items from your pockets, such as your phone and wallet.

Shoes are another item that most people have too many of but for which there are creative storage solutions. Shoe storage can be in racks that hang from your closet bar or in shelves, or in special drawers/organizers designed specifically for the job.

#3 – Group similar types of items together

Placing similar items in the same place will of course make it easier to find things when you need them. But another bonus of this technique is that you can immediately see how much of that item you already have on hand and this may discourage you from purchasing additional items that you don’t really need.

In some cases, you will still need to break up the group if the items you use most frequently need to be in a different place in order to be more easily accessible. For example, maybe the one or two books you are currently reading belong on your living room table or night stand, while the rest of your home library is all in one place on a larger shelf.

#4 – Put it away now

One of the most of effective ways to stay organized is to put away whatever item you have just been using – a dish, book, phone, ipad, hairbrush. Put it away immediately after using it. This will prevent clutter from building up in your home.

Put your clothes away. Hang up your clothes when you take them off if they’re clean.  If, not throw them in the laundry hamper.

Get help – whether it’s asking your family members to put their things away when they’re not using them, delegating tasks to others in the household or even hiring a professional organizer, it’s a good idea to enlist the support of others.

#5 – Put it away later

If you don’t put things away right away, then do a tidy up at the end of the day.  Every night before bed, everyone in the house can do a quick clean-up by gathering things around the house that  aren’t in their proper place and put them where they should be.

#6 -Store items as close to where you will use them

Make your life easy and reduce the amount of running around you have to do each day in your home by keeping your most used items closest to the place where you actually use them.

For instance, if you have a large soup pot that you only use occasionally, you can store it somewhere else so that you can free up space in your kitchen area for the pots and pans you use every day.

#7 – Explore minimalism

Living with a “minimalist” lifestyle means living with less sfuff … “Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise. ” – Source –

“At its core, being a minimalist means intentionally promoting the things we most value and removing everything that distracts us from it. ” Source –

Even if you don’t want to fully embrace minimalism, ask yourself before you buy something: “Do I have a place to store this?” If not, you may be adding to your clutter.

Get help from a professional organizer

A professional organizer can put you at ease and help you get and keep your home in order. Renaissance Lifestyles, a Calgary organizer and personal and senior concierge, is committed to ensuring a stress-free experience for you. Let us help you make your life easier so that going forward you spend less time managing your possessions and more time enjoying your life. We are fully equipped with the storage solutions and decluttering techniques that will work for your unique needs and living space. Contact us today.




10 tips from an organizer to help you get organized for a move

To make your move easier, doing some decluttering and organizing beforehand will make the process go more smoothly.

Here are some tips and some local Calgary resources to make your move easier.

1. Get rid of as much as possible before packing and moving

The more unused and unnecessary items you eliminate from your home, the less stuff you’ll have to pack up, haul across town, unload, and organize.

Doing a massive purge before the move will have the single biggest impact on the efficiency and ease of your entire process.

2. Donate

To help you organize and declutter before you move, you can donate your unwanted items. Below are some places where you can donate your old clothes, books, furniture, toys, and more.

Women in Need Society (WINS)
WINS helps vulnerable women and their families. You can donate gently used items that are then placed in their thrift stores or given to families in need. You can donate clothing, furniture, sports equipment, jewellery, etc.. Furniture and large donations accepted at Dover location (3525 26 Ave SE, Calgary) and Macleod Plaza location (180 94 Ave SE, Calgary)

Goodwill provides career training and job opportunities to Albertans with disabilities. It partners with other organizations to help support the community.
Seven locations in Calgary

Diabetes Canada
There are dozens of their donation bins in Calgary. You can bring your goods on your next grocery store visit, and simply place them in their bins. They have a list for what’s allowed in the bins and a list for what’s allowed for a home pick-up.

Calgary Drop-In Centre
Catering mainly to men and women in need. You can donate adult clothing, work boots, winter gear, and/or backpacks, furniture and household appliances for their Move Out Program.
1 Dermot Baldwin Way SE, Calgary (24 hour drop off) and
3640 11A Street NE, Calgary (Mon to Sun: 8am – 4pm)

Calgary Donations
The Calgary Donations Program helps fund MOMS Canada, which helps single moms and their families. Schedule a pickup online and leave the items outside of your house. Clothing, sporting goods, small kitchen accessories, home accessories. No furniture or large items. Schedule a pickup online only.
1350 42 Ave SE

Inclusion Alberta
Mostly clothing, shoes, and accessories as well as small home items. Inclusion Alberta advocates on behalf of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.
Check the web site for locations or schedule a pickup.

Calgary Inter-Faith Furniture Society
They accept mattresses, chairs, tables, bed frames, small appliances, and clothing. These items are then offered to new Canadians and disadvantaged Calgarians.
635 – 35th Avenue NE, Calgary (9:30AM to 4:30PM Tuesday to Saturday)

The Children’s Cottage Society
This non-profit accepts donations mostly for children and families, especially toys, clothes, and essentials like diapers and formula. 845 McDougall Road NE, Calgary

Calgary Flames Sports Bank – Founded by Bill Comrie
A great way to make sure every kid has a chance to play sports, Comrie’s Sports Bank takes sporting equipment and redistributes it to families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the expensive gear.
3557 52nd St SE, Calgary

People for Progress Foundation
The People for Progress Foundation accepts laptops, cell phones, cameras, office supplies, musical instruments and other items that can be used to help people learn valuable work skills.
303- 228 90th Ave SE Calgary

3. Sell some of your things

If you have some items that you no longer want but you feel they are too valuable to donate, there are places where you can sell them.

4. Create a moving to-do list

Spend some time actually planning your move. Any good project manager will tell you that a very significant portion of their time is spent planning out all of the details.

So get a pen and note book and start jotting down your ideas. A few more items will come to you each day. Jot those down, too. When you move, you end up having hundreds of different things to do and remember. Don’t let all these tasks and important reminders, no matter how seemingly obvious, slip your mind.

You can also use an app such as Microsoft To Do or Remember the Milk to make a detailed list of your tasks.

No detail is too insignificant. Make lists of things you are donating, selling, of where have packed those small but important items such as the screws that will be need to put your furniture back together.

5. Get extra packing and moving supplies

Get free moving boxes from your local liquor store or purchase them from Staples or Uhaul.

Be sure to stock up on packing tape.

Stock up now on extra supplies like light bulbs, extension cords, and power strips so you’ll be set to go when you start moving things in.

6. Label moving boxes like a professional

The key to finding your stuff easily is labeling all your packed boxes accurately and clearly. When you’re stacking boxes in a van or car you won’t be able to see their tops, so make sure you label the sides as well.

Label the boxes by category and by room. For example, bedroom, kitchen, books to speed up the unloading process.

Some people use colour codes to help them more easily see the category of each box.

7. Pack a clear plastic box with things you’ll need right away

Your moving kit should include santizer wipes, softsoap, hand lotion, a tissue box, rags, Clorox, and trash bags. You could also include toilet paper, a shower curtain, hand soap, towels, sheets, snacks, and whatever else you might need for the first couple of days in your new home.

Having a few essential items on hand will make you feel more at ease and better equipped to focus on the main job of unpacking.

8. Pack a personal overnight bag

Your personal overnight bag for moving would include pyjamas, clothes, toiletries, water, laptop, snacks, reading material, candles, incense, and anything else that will make you feel comfortable. You probably won’t get everything unpacked in the first day, so bring whatever you need to feel relaxed and settled on your first night.

A change of clothes, your toiletries, a water bottle, and your laptop can go a long way in making your new place feel more like home.

9. Set aside cleaning supplies for moving day

Make a list of the cleaning supplies you need and be sure to have plenty on hand for the move. Your cleaning kit might include: a broom, mop, dustpan, duster, sponge, cleaning products, paper towels, and old rags for wiping the hidden surfaces you could never get to when all your stuff was in the way.

10. Load boxes from the same rooms together

Stack and load boxes into the moving van in groups according to the rooms indicated on the boxes. Put all the kitchen stuff together, all the bedroom stuff together, and all the living room stuff together. This will streamline your unpacking process. You will unload all the boxes in groups into the appropriate rooms.

How Renaissance will help get organized and get moved

We provide professional organizing and project management services in Calgary. We are experienced in organizing, packing, moving, and helping people get organized and settled into their new home. We can help whether you are upsizing, downsizing or moving into a senior care home or assisted living facility.

Some of the many tasks we do for you…

  • decluttering and organizing before the move
  • all planning – lists, timeline
  • project manager – delegate tasks, before, during after the move
  • packing
  • change of address
  • dealing with your cable, internet, electricity, and gas providers
  • we bring the materials – fragile items with packing paper, bubble wrap, or blankets, stacked moving boxes with packing tape, a moving blanket, and bubble wrap

Contact us for help with organizing, decluttering, moving, project management, or our personal or senior concierge services.