Calendar icon February 6, 2023

10 Organizing Hacks that Will Change Your Life (a little)

Be more organized in just five minutes


Some studies have shown that the benefits of maintaining organization may stretch far beyond the obvious. Organization in your life can reduce stress and decrease the time required to complete tasks, which can lead to better eating habits, better sleeping habits, and better overall wellness.

Unfortunately, being organized isn’t as common as you’d hope. The average American spends one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items, and more than 25% of people say they aren’t more organized because they don’t have time to put organization systems into place.

So while creating a comprehensive organization system would obviously be a good idea, who among us actually has time right now to put towards something like that? Apparently, about 80 million Americans don’t. There’s hope for us time-starved, hard-working adults. A little creativity goes a long way to make your home more organized and things more accessible. We’ve gone ahead and taken the liberty of being creative for you and came up with ten quick and straightforward ways to be more organized today—yes, right now.

Double hang clothes with soda can tabs.

  1. Time: 5 minutes
  2. Cost: $0.00
  3. Unless you’re someone that regularly gets rid of clothes you don’t wear, you probably don’t have a lot of closet space. You can clear some up without having to go spend money on closet organizers. Simply take the tabs off cans of soda (or whatever cans you’re drinking) and run the hook of a hanger through the top circle on the tab. Take a second hanger and run it through the bottom hole, and now you can double hang clothes and save some closet space. You could even triple hang clothes if you wanted, as well as put similar garments together to save time when looking through your closet.
This coat hanger trick can double your closet space

Use toilet paper rolls and shoeboxes to store cords.

  1. Time: 20 minutes
  2. Cost: $2.00
  3. The ultimate challenge when it comes to staying organized is managing charging cables and cords for your electronics. Somewhere in everybody’s house is a drawer or bag packed full of chargers and headphones that without fail are tangled to the point of insanity. You can end that today. Take old paper towel or toilet paper rolls and line them up in an old shoebox. Simply glue or tape them to the bottom of the box and then store your cords inside the rolls. You could even label each one on top of the box and leave a corner for charging blocks. It may sound cheap (and we admit it is), but your cables will magically stay tangle free.

Put sheet sets inside pillowcases.

  1. Time: 10 minutes
  2. Cost: $0.00
  3. Keep your bed sheet sets together with what is probably the easiest hack on this list. After you’re done washing and folding sheets, stick the whole set inside of the pillowcase before putting them away. Now each sheet set will be kept together, and there’s no more searching for them in your linen closet.

Wash socks in a mesh bag.

  1. Time: However long it takes you to put socks in a bag
  2. Cost: $5.00
  3. Tired of losing socks in the mass of clothes in your washing machine and dryer? Of course you are. Take a small mesh bag and place all your socks in it, then only wash and dry the bag. All your socks will still get cleaned, they’ll stay together, and they’ll thank you.

Jumbo clothespin mail sorters.

  1. Time: 10 minutes
  2. Cost: $15.00
  3. Not many things can build up faster if they’re ignored than mail. Bills, junk mail, magazines, and other tree-killing wastes pile up if they aren't taken care of. It’s more stressful to take care of if you're trying to wrap your arms around disorganized chaos. Solution: purchase some jumbo clothespins, label them, and hang them on the wall, and you can have all your mail sorted and not taking up space on your counter or desk (and definitely not forgotten in your junk drawer.) The only caveat here is that you do need to take care of this mail because jumbo clothespins won’t hold 604 bills. They will eventually run out of space, but maybe that’s the extra motivation you need to take on the bills.
  4. Oh, and when it comes to bills, most companies allow for e-bills and automatic payments. Just a thought.

Use bread bag tabs to label cords.

  1. Time: 10 minutes
  2. Cost: $0.00
  3. Hack number two showed you how to take care of chargers and other electronic cords when they aren’t in use. What about the cables that are plugged in behind your computer? Have you ever had the problem of needing to unplug something and not knowing what is what in that powerstrip? Try labeling them with old bread tabs. Any time you buy a loaf of bread, save the little square tabs and label them with a corresponding cord, then hook them onto the wire and never again will you have to track cables to their devices to figure out what they go to.
  4. If you don’t eat bread, we’re deeply sorry. We’re sure your happy friends who still eat bread will let you have their leftover bread bag tabs.

Store plastic bags in old disinfecting wipe containers.

  1. Time: 5 minutes
  2. Cost: $0.00
  3. Every single home has a place somewhere where they have a bunch of grocery bags. You go grocery shopping, you bring home a bunch of bags, and you need somewhere to stuff them. Well, how about an old container of disinfecting wipes? It's big enough to hold quite a few bags, and you can pull them out one at a time like tissues, instead of picking through a huge tangled bunch of bags and having to fight for one.

Use a magazine holder to keep tin foil and plastic wrap organized.

  1. Time: 5 minutes
  2. Cost: $15.00
  3. There’s not really a great place for a bunch of rectangular containers like those that hold tin foil unless you’re willing to make your own. The good news is that making your own is quite easy and you won’t need to find a place to cram those things anymore. You can purchase a magazine holder for around $10-15. Just hang it on the back of the pantry door using a command strip or any other adhesive used on wood. Then take all your tin foil or saran wrap containers and store them there. They’ll be easy to get to and won’t take up the all too precious space in your kitchen.

Hang trash bags on a paper towel roll.

  1. Time: 30 minutes
  2. Cost: $30.00
  3. Ever tried to pull a new trash bag out from under the sink, only to pull like four out and take the box with you? One great way to save time and avoid potentially misplacing things is to hang your kitchen bags and trash bags on a paper towel holder. They already come in rolls, so all you have to do is hang up the holder. It’s as simple as finding an open area of a concealed wall (we imagine you don’t want your trash bags easily visible in your kitchen) and hanging a paper towel holder.

Use a shoe organizer to store cleaning products.

  1. Time: 5 minutes
  2. Cost: $5.00
  3. A shoe organizer is an excellent tool for organizing all sorts of things beyond just shoes. The slots are sized for shoes but can fit things like cleaning bottles, dress socks, or even cords if you need that much space for them. Cleaning products in particular, such as disinfecting wipes or sprays, are things you want to keep out of reach of the kids. Hanging them on the back of the closet door can be a great way to keep them organized and out of sight. You could even arrange them so that the bottles that are running low are on the bottom, making shopping lists easier.

Hopefully, you can find some use in these quick, simple, and cheap organization hacks that can remove some small stressors from your life. We’d love to hear from you and any awesome organization ideas you have. Share your ideas with Second Nature on Facebook.

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Chambers Theory Endorses Second Nature’s Resident Benefits Package

Chambers Theory is a world-renowned property management team with clients in more than 30 countries worldwide. They specialize in serving the U.S. military, State Department, and Foreign Services families. Their motto “Real Estate With Intelligence” is more than just a saying. It’s on full display through the introductory videos for landlords and residents on their website in seven languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, French, Croatian, and English) - all spoken fluently by their own property management (PM) team. Since its founding in 2018, Chambers Theory has been achieving extraordinary performance benchmarks. They’ve led the marketplace in delivering the “Golden Triangle of Success” to their clients, which means the lowest vacancy, the highest average rents, and the highest quality of tenants of any property management firm in its same service area. They’ve also donated over $100,000 to local charities and community organizations, while also leading the way in promoting sustainability practices in real estate and property management services. Their outstanding team attributes their success to their ability to develop and utilize their emotional intelligence skills to capacity to care with all their interactions with both landlords and residents. That’s why they fully endorse the Resident Benefits Package at Second Nature! Find out more about what a Resident Benefits Package is, its benefits, and how it can help create a Triple Win for you, as well as your residents and investors. Related: The State of Resident Experience Report

Calendar icon July 18, 2024

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Investor Experience Platform™️ IXP™️

An Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP) in property management is a suite of products, services, and benefits offered by property management companies to property investors. Just like a resident benefits package is a way to drive value for residents, investors, and property managers, the IBP™️ is an innovative approach to property management that focuses on driving value for an investor's assets and turning that value into profit for the property management company. In this article, we’ll dig into the different features that an Investor Experience Platform™️ can include, and how those benefit not just investors, but property managers and residents, too. What Is an Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP)? As stated above, an Investor Experience Platform™️ (IXP™️) is a comprehensive suite of services that offer property investors higher quality property management, stability, and profit. An IBP™️ typically includes concierge-level services beyond basic property management – such as property insurance policies, eviction guarantees, rent guarantees, maintenance plans, asset performance reports, etc. These services are aimed at maximizing the investor’s assets, stability and convenience, profitability, and peace of mind in managing their properties. They're commonly managed through an investor experience platform to securely manage and monitor the performance of these assets online, which we'll discuss later. The first step to outlining an IBP™️ is to define what your basic management fee means and covers. If the answer is, it’s collecting rent, handling maintenance, and general communication – does that include maintenance coordination or is that a separate fee? Does it include asset reporting or is that an additional service? In your management agreement, define what the management fee is, what it covers, and how much it is. An IBP™️ can be an effective tool for articulating the new and differentiated things that an investor wouldn’t be able to do on their own and that you are offering beyond basic property management. Articulate your unique and differentiated services (IBP™️) and use that as a tool for positioning and charging for what it’s worth. What’s Included in An Investor Experience Platform™️? An Investor Experience Platform™️ should include a range of solutions to help deliver consistency, insight, and asset protection to a property owner’s portfolio. After all, professional property managers don’t have to be functional managers of a home – they can be strategic partners in the management of financial assets. You might hear services similar to the IBP™️ called an “owner benefit package,” but at Second Nature, we believe that the “investor” term is useful in encouraging a longer-term mindset, and emphasizes the economic value professional property management can bring. According to Eric Wetherington, VP of Strategic Initiatives at PURE Property Management: “As property managers, we need to think more like asset managers. This client made an investment, and we should be guiding that client through managing that investment, not just collecting rent.” To build and manage a winning IBP™️, property managers need an Investor Experience Platform that unlocks scalable product and service customization, digitized onboarding, accounting policy automation, and more. In addition, Investor Experience Platforms provide transparency and convenience for your investors. Here are some of the most valuable services that property managers can offer through an innovative Investor Experience Platform™️. Property insurance program Similar to offering a renters insurance program through an RBP in the lease agreement, property management companies can offer an insurance plan to investors to cut costs and ensure the safety of their assets. Most management agreements will include the requirement that the investor carries insurance on the property and that the property manager is additionally insured. But what if you as the property manager could help manage that for the investor – at scale? Property Insurance for investors should have dynamic pricing based on individual investors’s property portfolio and needs. The benefit beyond flexibility is the savings they’ll see on their premiums while also getting insurance that’s tailored to the needs of their specific property class. At Second Nature, we work primarily with single-family rental properties and small multi-family residences. Property Insurance Programs can bring scale that will drive economic value for the investor over what they could get retail on their own. They’d still have the option to go get their own insurance that meets requirements, but they can pay you a small fee to manage it for them. Rent guarantee An IBP™️ can include a number of financial guarantees to protect property investors and drive ancillary revenue for PMCs. A rent guarantee, or rent protection, ensures a consistent rental income to investors by protecting them against resident defaults or non-payment of rent. If a resident fails to pay rent, the property management company covers the unpaid amount and takes necessary steps for eviction or collection, providing financial security and minimizing the risk for property owners. Rent guarantees work for professional property management companies that have enough properties to balance the loss of rent if a resident doesn’t pay. The risk is low and the additional profit from fees for this guarantee can have a very high ROI, while driving satisfaction and stability for the investor. Plus, if you’re using services in an RBP to help incentivize on-time rent payments, you’ll rarely find yourself out in the cold. Eviction protection guarantee An eviction protection guarantee also goes beyond the normal scope of property management services and can be used as a secondary source of revenue. Eviction Protection is a service provided by property management companies to property investors that offers additional security and financial protection in the event of an eviction. Under this guarantee, the property management company assumes the costs associated with the eviction process, including legal fees and court expenses. It helps alleviate the financial burden on property investors and provides peace of mind by ensuring that they are safeguarded against potential losses resulting from resident evictions. The eviction guarantee helps protect property owners from the complexities and potential costs associated with evictions, ensuring a smooth and efficient resolution to tenant-related issues. Pet guarantees & other guarantees A pet guarantee is a service offered by property management companies to property investors that aims to address any potential issues related to allowing pets in rental properties. It typically involves implementing policies and procedures to ensure responsible pet ownership, such as thorough pet screening, pet agreements, and collecting additional pet deposits or fees. The pet guarantee may also include services like pet damage insurance or assistance with pet-related issues during the lease term. It provides property investors with a framework to accommodate residents with pets while minimizing risks and maintaining the condition of the property. For many residents, finding a pet-friendly apartment increases retention and profitability. They’re willing to stay longer and pay more for a pet-friendly place. And–get this–pet damage is less likely to happen than damage from kids! It’s not a huge risk to the asset, but can provide a big benefit in terms of satisfied, longer-term residents. Maintenance plan Home warranties are a four-letter word for property managers. They’re a massive headache to deal with, and yet there’s high demand for them among property investors. Because of that, most property managers charge a fee for home warranties, for each they have to file. Imagine if there was a world where home warranties weren’t needed. Here’s the thing: Professional property managers already have the vendor network and the know-how to coordinate maintenance jobs. What they don’t usually have is a product that’s priced to give the investor the experience they want. Let’s say right now an investor is paying $50 a month for a cheap home warranty. The warranty only covers 40% of issues and it creates all these extra people and friction in the middle. For anything moderately significant that goes wrong with a property, PMCs generally must contact the investor for permission to get work done. It’s all a massive hassle and loses time in maintenance requests that leave residents frustrated. What if there was a product that costs, say, $150 to $200 a month but it actually covered everything? Instead of having sudden expenses and emergencies, this maintenance plan smooths out the experience and makes it more predictable for the investor. For PMs, it means taking the initiative on fixes without waiting for approval. Imagine a world where you didn’t have to get owner approvals for 95% of maintenance issues – because they’re already budgeted for and already paid for. For residents, it means better maintenance, and faster. Another Triple Win! Asset performance reports Another piece focuses on property managers as asset managers. Think about any investment app, like Robinhood, Acorns, etc. You can log in to these apps any time, 24/7, and see how your stock and investments are performing. In most investment classes, you can see in real time how your assets are performing. Why shouldn’t property investors have that as well? An IBP™️ can include exactly that: a dashboard or online portal that shows investors regular reports on how their property is doing. They could get updates on the value of their home over time, the home price appreciation, rent price over time, and project rent growth, typically maintenance costs and how they’re doing against that, and more. Resident Benefits Package Another piece to include in your IBP™️ is to highlight the benefits of your resident benefits package to your investors. Explain how features like a filter delivery program protect their assets and reduce HVAC repair costs. Show how a renters insurance program can ensure coverage and protection. Give numbers on how credit reporting incentivizes on-time rental payments and helps ensure financially stable renters. Explain how a movie-in concierge saves both time, headache, and money. Each of the pillars of an RBP is critical to encouraging better resident behavior, increasing renter retention and lease renewal rates, reducing vacancies, and more – all primary goals for a property investor. A note about Rent Advance Programs There’s been due buzz about “Rent Advance” offerings, though many advise caution when approaching this financial product. It works in some ways like cash advance programs, which can satisfy urgent needs, but not be more valuable for anyone long term. The way it works is PMs offer to send a year of rent upfront to the investor in a big chunk, and collect monthly from the resident. The investor typically pays a 5-10% premium on the advance, which can be their entire expected return. So the question becomes, where do they put that cash to get a better return instead? Another thing to think about is who would actually use this product. Investors who don’t have enough cash on hand? How does that benefit anyone in the long run? What happens when there’s a big maintenance bill later? Does this encourage better decisions and practices by the investor? To date, there’s been pretty low adoption of this program, which is another sign it may not be hugely beneficial to everyone involved. But plenty of innovations start that way, evolve, and find traction. One case where it might be a value generator is if an investor is looking to take a cash advance and put it toward a down payment for another house. That would benefit the property manager as well, promising more business, and the PM could offer a lower rate for getting more properties to make the financing more attractive than hard money loans or other alternatives. The jury is still out here, it’s an interesting one to track. How Can Investors and Property Managers Benefit From an Investor Experience Platform™️? Investors and property managers can benefit from an Investor Experience Platform™️ in several ways. They’re also great for residents in the sense they build more stability and quality into the renting process. Here are just some of the benefits of an IBP™️. Enhanced investor attraction An Investor Experience Platform™️ provides incentives and advantages that can attract more investors. Financial guarantees and protections against the risks associated with evictions or late payments can increase stability, while services like a maintenance plan can ensure premium care of their property assets without increasing their workload. By offering attractive perks, property managers can differentiate their offerings and generate greater investor interest. Increased investor retention Both IBP™️s and RBPs help build loyalty with residents and investors. By fostering a strong relationship and demonstrating ongoing value, property managers can build trust and loyalty among investors, and retain them over the long term. IBP™️s help establish the stability, transparency, and asset growth for a real estate investment that an investor hopes to achieve. Improved property performance An Investor Experience Platform™️ can also contribute to improved property performance. For example, by offering discounted property management fees or access to professional services at reduced rates, property managers can help investors optimize their returns and reduce costs. Additionally, incentives such as rent guarantees or eviction protection can mitigate risk for investors and attract more capital to the property. Streamlined communication and transparency A well-designed Investor Experience Platform™️ facilitates effective communication and promotes transparency between property managers and investors. This can involve regular reporting on financial performance, property updates, and the sharing of relevant market insights. Transparent and consistent communication builds trust and confidence among investors, fostering a positive and long-lasting relationship. Competitive advantage A comprehensive Investor Experience Platform™️ can give property managers a competitive edge in the market. When investors have access to exclusive benefits and advantages, they are more likely to choose a property managed by a company that offers a compelling package – and to recommend it to others. Say hello to increased investment inflow and a stronger market position for your PMC. Should You Make an Investor Experience Platform™️ Mandatory? The first thing most property managers ask us when we’re talking about an RBP or an IBP™️ is: Should I make this mandatory for all investors or do I make it a flexible opt-in/opt-out program? Unlike RBPs, where best practices are more proven and established, different PMs are taking different approaches with their IBP™️s. Some have a mandatory level of service set at a flat price. Others may say they’re fine offering a base level of service without these differentiated products, giving investors the choice to simply pay a baseline management fee and opt out of the IBP™️ premium service. Some may offer a baseline to all investors and then give them the chance to opt in for premium IBP™️ services. There are a lot of ways to do it. With the RBP, we’ve found that making it mandatory does not generate nearly as much pushback as people expect – and can be a strong value add overall. Final Thoughts About an Investor Experience Platform™️ The Investor Experience Platform™️ is an innovative way to generate ancillary income and create more value for investors and residents. Similar to Second Nature’s premier Resident Benefits Package, the IBP™️ can deliver high-quality service for investor experience – and help create a triple win for investors, residents, and property management companies. The IBP™️ reinforces the value of a professional property management company for investors and helps differentiate you from the crowd. Stay tuned to learn more about the latest in the IBP™️ space, or learn more about how a resident benefits package can launch a whole new level of value for your PMC.

Calendar icon July 17, 2024

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