Monday, July 25, 2016

Grab A Basket - Clear Your Clutter

It's summer and you should be outside enjoying the beautiful weather - instead of deep cleaning your house. Don't misunderstand me - you really do want a clean house - but sometimes some things are more important - such as spending time with your family.

So - grab your laundry basket (or whatever large basket or container you have handy) - and walk into your living room - and pick up things that don't belong there. Put them into your basket.

The clothes that are laying round. The magazines or books that are on the floor. The newspaper. Games, toys....  dishes, cups.... 

Put everything into the basket.  Only things that belong in the living room should be there.

Fluff the pillows and straighten the rug.

Now take your basket and walk into the kitchen and take the dishes & cups out of your basket and put them into the kitchen.

Take the books & magazines and put them back on the bookshelf or magazine rack.

Take your clothes and put them back in your closet or into the laundry hamper.

When the basket is empty - you've accomplished your task!  You've cleared a room of the clutter that did not belong there.

You can use this process on each room that is cluttered with things that don't belong.

It's a quick way to have an uncluttered room.

Another way is to always take anything that you brought into the room - out of the room when you leave the room.

Unlearning bad habits is hard. Remember - "everything should have a place of it's own to live".

Now that you've decluttered a room - go out and enjoy the great weather!

Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Organizing Your Pantry

Organizing is not a one time and you are done deal. It's an on going process. Every once in a while you should go through and reorganize each part of your home. Each drawer, each closet, each room.

With daily use these areas will naturally start to get unorganized - if you aren't diligent in putting things back where they belong or if you have acquired more items and not gotten rid of anything.

Start by taking everything out of each drawer or shelf (only work on one shelf at a time - otherwise it will be overwhelming).

In your pantry it's really important that you look at labels on your food items and check for expiration dates.

Make sure that the cans/bottles/jars are sealed (look for cracks or leaks).  Put all of the like items together. All of the vegetables, soups....  

Gather all of your pasta in one spot.

Have a spot for your cereals.

Put all of your snack foods in one spot.

Put all of your baking goods (flour, sugar....) in one spot.

I like to use baskets to keep all of your lose foods contained (especially snacks). It's easy to just graab the basket - pick out what you want - and put the basket back. Nice and organized.

Once you open an item (such as cereal) - put it into a large ziploc bag. This will ensure that the item stays fresh and does not spill out all over the place.

By having like items stored with like items - it helps you know - at a glance - what you have an what you need to buy.

Now - go and organize that pantry!
Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, July 14, 2016

It's MY STUFF! You Can't Make Me Throw It Away!

As a Professional Organizer I am very aware that when I go into a person's home or business to help them with their organizing issues I am being entrusted with their things and their confidence. I give my clients possessions the respect they deserve and I maintain a strict confidentiality on what happens in their home.

When people use their friends or family to help them organize - or in most instances - just clean their home (not the same thing at all)  - there is not the same understanding of confidentiality or non-judgement. In fact - there is so much judgement that it usually - in most cases - causes issues within the family or friendship.

The number one complaint from most clients who have - at one point or another - used a friend or family member - is that they tried to make them throw out their "stuff", they threw it out themselves without asking, or they were very judgemental, condescending or just plain mean.

I know that they were just trying to help - or they thought they were helping - but they weren't.  They were putting their ideas of organization, cleanliness and decorating on their friend.

I have heard many clients say to me  "It's MY STUFF!  They tried to make me throw it away!".  And a friendship was lost. A family was torn apart from anger.

Everyone has their own idea on what it means to have an organized, clean, picked up or decorated home.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

As a Professional Organizer I try to give my clients the best advice that I can - without judgement - and being aware of how they live, what their needs are and how they function.

A Professional Organizer never MAKES a client throw anything out. It's THEIR STUFF!

How would you feel if someone came into your home and just started taking things and throwing them out?  I am sure that you would not like it - and you would be very angry.

It doesn't matter what you think - it's what your friend or family member thinks.  It's their stuff - not yours.

It's not always easy when you have a client that is so chronically disorganized (and possibly a hoarder) - to not want to get rid of things and "make it all better" - but that's overstepping the boundary. Part of a Professional Organizers job is to try and teach the person how to make better decisions, how to organize their space better so that they can fit things in where they are supposed to be. A Professional Organizer can guide a client - but they can't and should never throw things out without a client's permission.

As an "outsider" - a "professional" - it's much easier not to become attached to a clients things and to be objective.

So if you don't want someone coming into your home and taking your things - don't go throwing away your families things. It won't end well.  

It's their STUFF!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 11, 2016

Too Many Things To Do ....Not Enough Time To Do Them All

Summer is a busy time. There are so many activities but only so much time. How do you do them all? How do you know about them all? How do you not miss anything?

Next weekend for example - there are three different fun things to do in one day. Two of them we love doing and the other one is a new festival that we have never been to - but that is supposed to be awesome!  How do we pick?  I know - a horrible problem to have!  

In order not to miss anything over the summer you have to be organized.  Yes - even fun needs organization!

In the spring I usually try to update my "summer list of fun things to do".  I have a spreadsheet where I list every festival or fun activity and the date it happens.  As new things come in I add them to the list. These are reoccuring things - like festivals and shows and activities that happen every year. All I need to do is update the exact dates - and I have a list of fun things to do all summer!

Having fun and being busy actually requires some work and planning. I have found that a lot of people in the city really have no idea of all of the fun things there are to do and when they happen. When I first moved to the city I had to really make an effort to find out what was happening - and therefore I was able to do a lot of things that most people here have never even done.

After I have my list done - I take my calendar and put all of the activities on the calendar. That way I am sure not to miss anything.  I have choices.

It still doesn't solve the problem of too many choices - but what a great problem to have. You can alternate the activities that happen on the same day by switching which ones you do this year and then do the other one next year.

A lot of things also need to be planned ahead of time - especially if children or other family members are involved. Camping or mini-vacations require that you plan ahead of time and leave enough time to get everything ready so that your trip is as stress free and relaxing as possible.  Being organized - and having your vacation packing list is essential.

By taking an hour to plan your summer fun ahead of time - you will be able to enjoy yourself without having to worry about forgetting anything or having nothing to do.

But remember - don't forget your sunscreen!

Have fun!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, March 14, 2016

Stuff - Why Do We Have It?

People keep asking me - "how much stuff can I have?".  "What is too much?".

The answer is - "you can have as much stuff as you want - if you have the room - if you can afford it and it does not negatively impact your life or your families life - and if it's organized or contained so that it does not negatively impact your life or safety".

That's the quick and easy answer.

Then it gets more complicated.

Why do you have all of the stuff?  Why do you need all of the stuff?

Are you compensating for something?

Can you just not let go?  Why not?

Does the stuff make you happy?  Or does it make you sad?  Does it remind you of things you would rather not be reminded of - but can't let it go?

Or do you just not have the time or energy to get rid of the stuff?

It's your stuff - it's your choice.  No one can or should make you get rid of it.


It's causing a health and safety risk.

Stuff - causes complications.

Think about why you have it and why you can't let go.

It's a very complex issue.

Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Good Reason for Clutter

It's been a great week - not! We had a pipe leak and water everywhere. The pipe was in a storage crawl space that we rarely go into. Thank goodness we happened to go into the space to get something.

Everything was soaking wet. Who knows how long the leak was going. Luckily most of our things were packed in plastic storage bins. Except of course one huge box - which was so wet it literally fell apart when I touched it. Inside the box most things were o.k. - except the nativity set which was in another box that was also soaking wet.

After removing most of the bins in the crawl space we got busy putting towels around the pipe and floor and calling the plumber.

It would be a long week before things were finally fixed.

In the meantime - let's just say that I had boxes in the hallway, the bedroom and office.  Stuff everywhere.

As a Professional Organizer I like things in their place - where I put them - not all over my house. But this was an instance where I had little control and - well - I had "clutter". 

I kept telling myself  "it's o.k. - stuff happens".  It will eventually work itself out and be back to the organized place that keeps me calm.

So - a good lesson was learned. Never put anything directly on the floor that might get wet. Place all boxes or bins at least a few inches off the ground. Especially if your room has a water pipe in it!

Remember - clutter happens to all of us - at one time or another.

Organizational Consulting Services

Friday, February 19, 2016

" Hoarders" show - shot in Montana - now airing

Finally - after months of waiting - the episode of the Hoarders Show that we shot will be airing! We worked on the "Kathy" episode.

It was a great experience working on the show. The cast and crew were wonderful to work with.

Dorothy-Breininger was the lead Organizer in this episode. Cindy Julian and I were the other two Professional Organizers on the team. Marty, Dorothy's husband and right hand man was awesome to work with!

A & E Television. Back to back Episodes every Sunday Night at 9 PM and 10 PM PST/EST.

Our episode will air this Sunday, February 21st at 9 PM PST/EST.

The episode is entitled "Kathy & Elmira".

Hoarders is a Prime Time Emmy Nominated series.


H97 – Kathy & Elmira

Kathy has hoarded out her triplex and a dance studio and is facing financial ruin if she can’t clean up and rent out her spaces.  Her 12 children, including a daughter who developed split personality disorder to cope with the hoard, will try to get her to face her demons.  Elmira’s hoard has become so bad that code enforcement is on the verge of condemning her home.  Elmira’s family will have to resolve their “step vs.  blood” dynamics to help her through the process. 

As featured on A&E's hit television show Hoarders

Organizational Consulting Services