Monday, December 28, 2009


There is misconception that a Professional Organizer is little more than a “cleaning woman”. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A cleaning woman “cleans”. She dusts, vacuums, washes the floor, cleans the toilets….. All necessities but not an organizers function.

A “Professional Organizer” doesn’t clean toilets or wash the floor.

A “hands-on organizer” will take everything off of a bookshelf and de-clutter a room (getting rid of non-essential items) and might even dust the bookshelf before putting things back into place – but dusting and cleaning is not their function.

An “organizer” might even take everything out of a room to have a “clean slate” before putting things back in a more “organized and functional” manner. But “cleaning” is not their function.

“Organizing a space to make it function better” is the professional organizers goal.

A cleaning company doesn’t “organize” your kitchen or office so that everything has a place. They clean around what’s on the counter. An “organizer” puts everything in a place that makes sense and is functional.

Organizing a “space” is just one aspect of what a Professional Organizer can do for you. A Professional Organizer can also help you organize every aspect of your business or life. For more information on how an Organizer can help you, visit our website.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, December 21, 2009


Medicines expire:
Most people don’t pay attention to their medicines or their expiration date. But the dates are there for a reason. Medicines lose their potency. For example, if you have a prescription for an antibiotic that you didn’t finish, and a year later you have a re-occurrence of that same illness, the medicine that you saved is probably no longer any good. You are not saving any money by saving medications for future use if that medication is expired. You will not get better if you take expired medication.

Medicines can also lose their potency or become altered if they are not stored properly. Heat, humidity and sunlight can all affect medications. With the humidity of a bathroom, the medicine cabinet is really not the ideal place for medicine.

If you have children a medicine cabinet is not recommended because it is usually not a place that can lock and children get into everything. Use a locked box and put it on the top shelf of your closet so that little children can’t reach it (the lock should keep older children out). Accidental poisoning is a leading cause of death in children.

Get into the habit of going through your medicine cabinet and checking the expiration dates on your medication. You should do this at least twice a year. Or coordinate it with the change of seasons (for four times a year). Get rid of anything that is expired or damaged. Be sure to always keep medications in their original containers so that you know what the expiration date is.

Besides prescription medications you don’t want to forget “over-the-counter” medications such as aspirin, cold medications, antibiotic ointments and anything else in your cabinet. They all have expiration dates.


The medications can contaminate groundwater. Even putting it into the garbage can contaminate the soil. Some cities have collection sites for expired or unused medications.

Women tend to forget that make-up also expires. When you buy a new cosmetic mark the date you purchased it (or opened it) directly on the cosmetic with a black marker. That way you won’t forget when you started using it.

Replace your makeup in the following manner:

Mascara & Eyeliner - every 3 months
Lipstick & Lip liner – once a year
Eye Shadow (powder) – every 2 years
Eye Shadow (cream) – every 1 year
Makeup sponges – every week
Makeup brushes – should be washed every week.

Don’t use mascara if you have an eye infection and never share makeup.

Placement of items in your medicine cabinet:
Group like items alike. Keep only one (1) of everything in your medicine cabinet so that it is not overcrowded. That means one deodorant, one dental floss, one eye drops, one toothpaste….. Keep the extra’s in a closet or under the sink (if you have room).

If you don’t have kids and you keep your medicines in your medicine cabinet, group all like medicines together. All pain reliever’s together, cold medicines together and so on….

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, December 14, 2009


Everyone knows that after the holidays there are bargains to be had. If you can, put aside some money to stock up on holiday essentials. Take advantage of the sales on wrapping paper and Christmas cards. You can find a lot of these on sale at 50 % – 75 % off !

I found an out of this world sale on gift bags (in all sizes) during the fall a few years back. I grabbed an entire shopping cart full of bags and I won’t have to shop again for gift bags (which I prefer to wrapping paper – because I can’t wrap) for years to come.

Planning ahead can save you money, time and your sanity.

I have a “gift closet” where I keep a stock of candles and other items that are generic enough to give to anyone at a moments notice.

Things such as movies, DVD’s, CD’s, games, clothes…. don’t have an expiration date on them and if you can save 75 % off by buying them a few months earlier, go for it.

Being organized is about planning ahead.

Happy Shopping !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, December 7, 2009


Christmas should be about more than “how many gifts am I going to get”. Christmas should be about family and friends. Not “things”.

That said, we all like to get gifts. Especially the children. But how much “stuff” does one person really need?

It is fun to open presents, especially when you get the new sweater or new toy that you’ve been wishing for. But how many sweaters do you really need? And how many games can you play with at once?

When my daughter was very young we started the tradition of “sharing” her toys. We would go through all of her toys at the beginning of December and decide which ones she really played with and which ones she really didn’t. Then we would decide which ones she wanted to “share” with other children whose parents couldn’t afford toys.

It is really important that you make your child understand the “importance” of sharing. Of giving. But, it has to be “their” idea. It’s not an easy concept for kids to understand. Especially once they realize that you are “taking” their toys away.

My daughter thought it was a great idea. At first. Until I took the bag filled with toys, which she picked out herself and tried to leave the room. Then she cried. I had to sit down with her and explain that not everyone has extra money to buy their kids toys at Christmas and that by her sharing her toys….toys she didn’t play with anyway and that she had outgrown…she was making another child happy.

Once she really understood that she had control over what and how much she gave away she was happy. And every year after that she knew that at the beginning of December she would start putting together a bag or two of toys that would make a difference in another child’s life. And a “sharing” tradition was born.

There are many group homes, children’s organizations and churches that accept donations around the holidays. Find one and start your own “sharing” tradition.

By starting when your child is young you can teach them a lesson that they will remember the rest of their lives and hopefully pass on to their children.

And you will have a more organized and less cluttered house and a tax deduction.

Happy Holidays !

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Another year is coming to a close and a new year is looming ahead.

There are a number of things that you can do now to get ready for next year.

Go through your closet and the rest of your home and get rid of anything that you have not used all year or anything that you have outgrown (clothes, toys….) or anything that you just don’t want anymore. Take your items to a donation center (such as Goodwill or your church…..) and be sure to get a donation slip so that you can deduct it off of your taxes. It’s a win-win situation. You give things that you no longer use to someone who can use it and you get a tax deduction.

Get Ready for Next Years Taxes:
As the year winds down start thinking about the year end process of cleaning out your files and establishing new files for next year. Make sure that you have the needed supplies (folders & envelopes….) to store the past years information.

Getting ready for taxes can be painless if you’ve kept track of things throughout the year. If not, now is the time to start making your lists and spreadsheets so that you can start fresh next year .

You don’t need to wait for January to start copying all of your spreadsheets and lists and anything else and labeling them with “2010”. If you have Excel spreadsheets for your expenses or donations it’s a simple process to copy them and then blank out the 2009 data. You will be one step closer to being organized for 2010.

Once you have paid your last bills for 2009 you can pull everything out of your files and put them into envelopes with the appropriate labels. For example: have an envelope labeled “Household Expenses – 2009” and include your gas, electric, water, phone, cable….bills. Have another envelope labeled “Bank & Credit Card Info – 2009” and include all of your bank statements, checks, credit card statements….

These are just some examples of ways to organize and store your information.

Have an envelope all ready for your accountant labeled “Tax Info for Accountant” and as you get your W2’s and your year end financial statements and anything else that you usually give to your accountant immediately put it into your envelope. That way you won’t need to search for it when you are ready to do your taxes.

By starting to at least think about this before year end and leaving yourself time to get things organized at a pace that’s comfortable for you ….you won’t be stressed out come tax time.

Now is the time to transfer all repetitive events to next year’s calendar. Birthdays, anniversaries, meetings, doctors appointments….

Keep one main calendar that has the entire families schedule on it so that you can see everything at a glance instead of having to go to each person’s calendar.

Make notations on your calendar for reminders, such as scheduling all of your yearly check-ups, dental appointments, kid’s physicals….. Depending on your doctors scheduling policy I usually put a reminder note at least 3 – 4 months in advance so that I can book my appointments early (and get them at a time that’s convenient for me).

By thinking ahead for next year you can avoid the New Year organizing rush.

Happy Organizing !

Organizational Consulting Services

Saturday, November 21, 2009


One key to good organization is to have all of your papers, documents, receipts and everything else filed and filed correctly.

How to set up a filing system is dependant on if you are setting one up for your own personal records, your home office or an offsite business. It varies on how complex you need or want it to be.

A filing system has to work for you and your personality. If it’s too complicated you will not use it or will not use it efficiently.

Start by making a list of things that you want / need to keep (filed).

One system is to set up and group things by categories.

For example: Household Expenses
* Gas
* Electric
* Water
* Cable
* Phone - home
* Phone – cell

Household Expenses would be the “main” category and all of the bills that fall under Household Expenses would be “sub-categories”. Use the Pendaflex tab for “Household Expenses” and the other categories would have manila folders.

Or you can file everything Alphabetically.

For example:
* Cable
* Electric
* Gas
* Phone – cell
* Phone - home
* Water

Everything would have its own Pendaflex file.

When working with clients there is no “one size fits all” answer. It all depends on how complex you want to get, how much information you have and how you are going to use that information.

Some other examples of categories are:

* Car
* House
* Life


Medical (you can break this down by person or just by medical / dental)

* General Information
* Report Cards
* Awards

Mortgage Information
* Monthly payment
* Taxes

Major Appliances
* Owners manual
* Expenses

Credit Cards
* Card information
* Bills

For Business:

Depending on the size of your business and if it’s home based or if you have an office outside of your home, there are a number of ways that you can organize your files.

If you have a fairly good sized business you could set up one drawer just for your clients and another drawer for your vendors. They would be filed alphabetically, with all invoices and payments in the appropriate files.

If you have a smaller client base that doesn’t take up an entire drawer or filing cabinet, you can create a main “category” called “clients” and have a manila folder for each client (with information about that client, including all invoices and copies of payments received).

Other categories:

Affiliations (business & networking groups)
Business entertainment
Business Forms
Computer hardware
Computer software
Marketing expenses
Mileage expenses

If you have employees, you will need to set up separate employee files for each employee. Having employees also creates another set of problems and requirements for your filing system. There are federal guidelines you have to follow and you will also need to limit access to employee files.

A good filing system is one that works for you and one that you will use. Spend some time thinking about how you will use your filing system and come up with a list of categories that you think you will need. Look over the amount of information that you have for each category and decide if you really need that category (based on the amount of information that category will hold).

You can create too many categories that you will never use….or….you might have too much information in a certain category that actually needs to be broken down further.

By first taking the time to look over how you’ve captured the information in the past and how much information you actually need, you can come up with a solution that works for you.

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


It’s getting cold outside and with that comes snow !

So – are you prepared ?

Now, before you really need it, is the time to stock your car with winter essentials.

In your backseat:
* Snow brush
* Ice scraper (or two – various sizes)
* Blanket
* Gloves (keep extra’s in your car)
* Hat
* Scarf

In your glove compartment:

* Paper
* Pen
* Matches (in something waterproof)
* Candle (in a tin) – this can be used if your flashlight doesn’t work or for extra heat
* Tissues
* Hand wipes
* Snacks (if you are stuck at an accident for a long time….or if you have kids)
* Water
* Cell Phone Car Charger
* Flashlight (make sure the batteries are good – or get a windup one)

In your trunk:

* Salt or something to throw under your tires if you get stuck
* Extra Windshield Fluid
* Extra Antifreeze
* Spare Tire
* Shovel
* Jumper Cables
* First Aid Kit (basic)
* Towel (this can also be used as an extra blanket)
* Rope
* Bungee Cords
* Duct Tape (so many uses!)
* Tire Gauge
* Tire Repair kit
* Road Flares
* Fire Extinguisher (small one)
* Plastic Garbage Bags

Being prepared is always the best defense. Now relax and embrace the weather.

Organizational Consulting Services

Friday, November 13, 2009


There are a million different ways that you can be organized and more productive. Below are just a few. Not all of these tips will work for “you”. Each person has to find what works for “them” and what changes can enhance “their” life.

A Professional Organizer listens to you and gives you advice that is very specific for how you function. What works for one client doesn’t necessarily work for another.

So take what you can and try it for a while….. and see if it can make your life run smoother.

When are you most productive?:
One of the first things that a Professional Organizer will do is ask you about your work habits and go over your daily routine. One of the things they will learn from this is “when do you function your best?”.

If you are a morning person, that’s when you want to do most of your work. If afternoons work better for you then schedule most of your work in the afternoon. By scheduling your work around your most “productive” time you will obviously accomplish a lot more. Sounds simple, yet most people don’t follow this method.

Trying to start your day with a huge workload when you are definitely not a morning person will just make you miserable and you won’t get everything done anyway. By simply rearranging your day to best take advantage of your “optimum” work time you will not only accomplish your tasks but you will also be much happier!

Everything has a place:

Being organized means that everything has a place and everything has a function. Once you have established a place for everything you must then get into the habit of keeping it organized. Not an easy change for a lot of people. It takes weeks to change a habit.

Start with one thing and once it becomes second nature work on changing another habit. For example: designate a specific place for your purse, briefcase, keys, mail…

By having a designated spot for these items you will always know where they are and will always able to find them. No more wasted time searching for things.

Just fifteen (15) minutes a day:
Set aside just fifteen (15) minutes a day to clean / straighten up / organize one area in your home. It may not seem like a lot of time but if you do it every day you will see a dramatic change in your life. Set a timer so that you don’t need to be checking your watch every few minutes.

By setting aside just fifteen (15) minutes a day you will cut your cleaning / straightening up / organizing time significantly. Instead of dreading spending almost two (2) hours cleaning your house on a Saturday you might have more time to spend with your family doing something fun.

Try mopping the floors on Monday, dusting on Tuesday, vacuuming on Wednesday…and so on…. Whatever works for you.

In your office you can spend Monday paying bills, Tuesday updating your spreadsheets, Wednesday filing……

There are a lot of uses for those fifteen (15) minutes…..and once you get in the habit of using your time efficiently you will have more time for the things you like to do.

Efficient use of time:
With technology taking over we all seem to be tied to our computer, emails, phones…. Whenever we hear that “you got mail” sound we all jump to check our email or check voicemail….. But this is really not an efficient use of our time. If you stop what you are doing every time you get an email the project that you are working on gets behind. Then you have to remember where you left off on your project and get back up to speed. It wastes time.

Set aside blocks of time during the day when you read all of your email or check your voicemail messages. (Handling email efficiently is another topic).

Plan your outings:
With gas prices going up and the economy going down we need to look at the way we manage our time and our car usage. By planning your day and planning your outings you can save time and money. Instead of running up to the store to get milk in the morning and then running up to the store again later to get school supplies for your kids and then again later to go to your exercise class plan one car trip and do all of your errands at the same time.

The key is planning ahead. By jumping in your car every time you need something you are not only spending money on gas but also on the wear and tear of your car and the biggest part… are wasting your precious time. And if you have a family you are pulled in enough directions already and time is something you don’t have a lot of.

Plan ahead and save time and money.

Plan your meals:
Everyone knows that you never, ever go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. We’ve all done it. But what happens? We buy things we normally wouldn’t and don’t really need (both economically and on our waistline). By planning out your meals for the week ahead of time and having a list when you go to the grocery store you will save money. Make that list and stick to it.

Plan your organizing projects:
You’ve been inspired and now you want to organize your entire house in one day. There are dozens of projects that you have been ignoring and you want them all done at once. Well, that’s a nice thought, but not very practical.

Your house / office didn’t get cluttered and out of control in one day …so it’s going to take more than one day to get your clutter under control. You’ve wanted to paint the living room and dining room for the last few years and put all of your photos from the past ten years into albums and re-landscape the yard.

But unless you’ve taken a leave of absence from your job to get it all done or hired people to do it for you it’s going to take time. And if you try to do it all at once….you are going to be very tired and will probably never want to do it again.

Don’t over-do things. Start simply. Make a list of all the things you want to do. Then pick one project to start with. Get that done and feel proud of yourself. Take a rest before tackling another project.

Soon all of the projects will be checked off of your list.

If you are at the store and you have the sudden urge to buy something…force yourself to stop and ask yourself “do you really need this?”. Is there a place for this in my home?

For a lot of people shopping is therapy. It’s psychological. It makes you feel better. It’s also how some people get caught up in the “clutter cycle”.

If you don’t have a place for the item or if you already have a blender, do you really need another one? Yes, I know it makes great smoothies…but can’t your regular blender do that ?

Make a habit of “one in – one out”. You buy an item, you get rid of an item. You don’t need two blenders or three mixers or ten black dresses. Replace things when need but don’t buy things you don’t really need.

Remember, when you donate something be sure to log it into your donation spreadsheet. That way you can deduct it from your taxes.

Children and toys:
When your kids are small so are the toys. And they are usually everywhere. Your house can be organized even when you have children. Start by getting some containers for the toys. Have one box for books, one box for dolls & accessories, one box for cars & trucks, one box for puzzles….and so on.

When the children are as young as two you can start by having them help you put away their toys at the end of the day (or at the end of a play period). No, they are not too young. Believe me, if you start them young it will become a habit and your house will be clutter free. Two year olds might take a bit longer to put away their toys so you need to allow enough time for them to do it.

If you are of the mindset that it takes too long or you don’t have time for them to do it…and you don’t do it for them….toys will take over your house. And your children will learn that clutter is “normal and acceptable”.

Help your children develop good habits at an early age.

Children and mornings:

It seems that mornings are always chaotic. The kids oversleep and they can’t find their homework. They are late for the bus and they don’t have time to make their lunch.

Sound typical? Children do not understand (they choose not to) that if they go to bed at a decent hour they won’t be tired in the morning and they will wake up on time. They will have plenty of time for breakfast and time to make their lunch and time to find their homework. But that doesn’t always happen.

Figure out how long it takes your child to get up, dressed and ready for school and add 15 minutes to that time. Set their alarm (make sure it’s really loud!).

The night before have them make and pack their lunches. Don’t wait until morning. That’s just added stress for you. Even if the children are too young to make their own lunches include them in the decisions and reinforce good nutritional choices. If you only offer them food that is nutritious they will eat it. They won’t let themselves starve.

After their homework is done at night have them immediately put it into their backpack. That way they will always know where it is. Make it a habit. Ask them if their homework is done and if it’s been put into their backpack. By reinforcing this over and over again it will become a habit for them.

Have them set the table for breakfast before they go to bed. That way it’s one less thing to do in the morning.

By getting as much done the night before as you can, your mornings will be a bit more calm.

Being organized is a way of life. Start with small steps. Make it a habit.

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Yes, “Organized“, “Stress Free” and “Thanksgiving” can be used in the same sentence.

It all starts with the word “organized”. Don’t let it scare you. Embrace it. By being organized and planning ahead you can actually enjoy a holiday.

Start by deciding on what you want your holiday to be like. Do you really want to serve a sit down dinner for twenty (20) people? Or would a buffet be acceptable for you? Would it be acceptable for your “family”?

The pressure of trying to please everyone, especially parents and doing things “exactly” like when you were little and everything was perfect is how the “stress” starts.

It’s your house and your dinner party. You can start new traditions. I didn’t say that it would be easy or that you wouldn’t get some flack, but all “traditions” started somewhere. Make your own. You deserve some happiness.

If you really want a fancy sit down dinner party but twenty (20) people is too much for you to handle then cut the guest list down.

If you really want all twenty (20) people there then maybe you should consider a buffet. It’s much easier and your family will eventually come to terms with the fact that maybe you aren’t serving a formal sit down dinner, but the food is just as good.

You can make Thanksgiving as simple or as complicated as you want….it all depends on how organized you are willing to be.

A good way to keep the stress levels down is to divide and conquer.

Enlist your family for help. Don’t take “no” for an answer. This is your holiday too and you have a right to enjoy it.

And we all know that old saying “if Mom isn’t happy, no one is happy”.

Start at least two (2) or three (3) weeks before Thanksgiving.

Decide on the type of gathering (formal or informal), the size of the guest list and the menu.

Don’t attempt to make something new for dinner or try out a new dessert that day. It could turn out to be a disaster and that would cause you more stress. If you really want to try a new dish….test it out prior to Thanksgiving.

Menu: Do you really want to serve cranberry relish and sweet potato’s even if you don’t like them and only serve them because “they are always served at Thanksgiving”?

Make up your own menu (yes, it is radical). Serve something different. Serve something you like!

If you are having a small Thanksgiving dinner don’t feel obligated to serve Turkey. I know, blasphemy! Last year I made stuffed Cornish Hen. It was wonderful and just as delicious as turkey. You can also stuff a small chicken or even a duck! Or be really different and have Ham! The possibilities are endless.

Start new traditions! It’s not easy to buck the system but once you make up your mind that you deserve to be happy and stress free on a Holiday you will wonder why you waited so long.

Remember, the whole point of a Holiday is family and friends and spending “quality” time together. Everything does not have to be perfect. Be thankful for what you have and not for what you don’t.

A great piece of advice: don’t attempt to clean your oven Thanksgiving morning before you put in the turkey. I did that once, years ago. I then found out that after the oven is cleaned it needs to cool down and the oven will stay locked for another hour or so after it’s done. And you can’t open it! It certainly put a dent into my dinner timetable!

By starting early and making lists and getting as much done ahead of time as possible you will avoid a lot of stress.

Once you have your menu planned work backwards and make up a timetable to what needs to be done. For example: if you want your dinner to be served at 6 p.m., what time do you have to put the turkey into the oven? What time do the potato’s and vegetables need to be started? Just make a list and put it on your refrigerator door so that you don’t have to second guess yourself and aren’t panicking at the last minute.

When your family or guests start to arrive your mind and attention will be elsewhere….so a list can help you stay on track. Don’t leave anything to chance.

A few days before Thanksgiving:
* Shop for all of the essentials, including as much of the food as can be purchased ahead of time
* Make sure that you have enough spices and things that you will need for the food (and rarely buy)
* Do any of the baking or make any desserts that can be made ahead of time
* Thaw the turkey (the size will determine how many days it takes to thaw in the refrigerator)
* Buy the wine or any beverages

The day before Thanksgiving:
* Buy any last minute items at the grocery store
* Chop anything that can be chopped ahead of time (vegetables, bread for stuff…but do not stuff the turkey ahead of time) and put them in plastic bags so that you will be all ready to go the next day
* Make sure you have enough ice
* Prepare any of the food items that can be made ahead of time
* Make your family aware of exactly what you need them to help you with on Thanksgiving.
* Having assigned tasks for your kids and spouse ahead of time takes away some of the stress of what’s expected of them the next day.

The night before Thanksgiving:
* Set the table and get out all of your platters and serving dishes.
* Make sure that you have enough dishes and silverware. If you don’t, now is the time to call one of your guests and ask to borrow something. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out that you broke the gravy boat last Thanksgiving and never replaced it.

When I entertain I love to use all of my special platters and dishes. I love to fuss over my family and I love to set a very special table. I don’t consider it extra work or a hardship or stressful. It’s my way of telling my family and friends just how special they are.

But again…..the Holiday and family and friends are what’s important….not the china or the food. So if you aren’t the type of person to pull off a sit down dinner with all the decorations don’t beat yourself up. There are only so many Martha Stewarts around. And she has a staff to help her!

Thanksgiving Day:
* Wake up early so that you can have some “you” time to have coffee and relax before
the day starts (it will get stressful enough later, so the morning might be the
only time you have)
* Read over your lists and timetable
* Gather all of your food and cooking utensils, pots and pans ....
* Measure out everything that you can ahead of time and set it aside
* Follow your time table and start making the food according to the schedule
* Once the food comes out of the oven let it rest a while (you can cover it with
* Start cutting the meat and plating the food
* Have family members start their assigned tasks (setting out and serving food,
pouring the drinks…)

ENJOY your meal…… sit and talk…..

After the meal:

Have a plan in place to clear the table. Since I always make a ton of extra food so that my guests can take home leftovers I start with portioning the leftovers into plastic containers and putting each family’s containers into a plastic bag and setting it near the door so that they don’t forget them.

Once I have the leftovers divided up and mine put away in the refrigerator and freezer I then start to collect the rest of the dishes and put them into the dishwasher. I don’t start the dishwasher until after they leave so that we won’t be bothered with the noise.

Again, this is where your family members can jump in and help clear and stack dishes. It makes quick work of things when you have other people help.

I need to have as many things cleared up and put away as possible before I start serving dessert. This also gives everyone time to rest and relax before they start eating again.

Some people like to leave the dishes and the mess until the next day. And sometimes I wish I could too, but its worse the next day when you get up and walk into a mess. I’d rather get it done and over with.

Make quick work of it (or as much as will fit into the dishwasher) and then sit and relax and spend time with your family.

Remember, a Holiday is supposed to be enjoyable. If it’s not, figure out why it isn’t and change it. Skip the big complicated meal, the fancy desserts and the good china and make it as simple as you are able to handle.

Start your own tradition….and make it about family!

Happy Holiday !

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


You have decided to sell your house and want it to look it’s best for your Open House. So where do you start?

Having a clean home is very important but it’s only the beginning. You need to be able to step back and see your home through the eyes of a buyer. That’s not very easy to do if you’ve lived in your house a long time and have become attached. There are probably a lot of memories in your home. But you have to remember, they are your memories and not a potential buyers.

This is the perfect time to get the help of an “outsider” to help you with organizing, de-cluttering and staging your home for a sale. Someone that is not “attached” to the house can give you an honest opinion on what needs to happen to get your house ready for potential buyers.

Staging is not “interior decorating”…. it is the art of making your home look its best to show off the features that can really sell your home.

Before you start the actual “staging” you will want to simplify, de-clutter, clean and fix anything that is wrong with the home (painting, fixing loose tiles, replacing missing light switches, replacing missing light bulbs…..). You probably won’t want to start any major renovations at this point. It all depends on your budget or time frame, but fixing the little things that you’ve let go for the last ten years is a “must do”.

De-cluttering is a must. Remember, not everyone is a collector of dolls or salt-and-pepper shakers. You will need to box up your collections and put them in storage.

Basically, and I know this will “hurt”…but you need to remove anything that is “you”. It’s not an easy thing to do. You need to stop thinking of the house as “yours” and start thinking about it as “someone else’s house”. Remember, you are trying to sell your house. It’s not about “you” anymore.

Since you are moving anyway start boxing up as much of your personal items as you can including all of your family pictures. Just think about the time you will save by doing this now instead of waiting until you actually move.

Remove everything from the top of your dressers. Take down any personal items that are on the wall. Have your children take down all of their posters and any certificates or awards that they have hanging up.

Wallpaper is very “personal”. If you can take it down it’s recommended. If you can’t do it yourself and its cost prohibitive to have it done by a professional, see if you can paint over it. Check with a professional first, but there are ways to seal the paper so that you can paint over it and still have the walls look good.

Make sure that the wall colors are neutral. Black walls or dark or vibrant colors will turn off potential buyers that can’t see past the orange walls.

Freshen up as much of the house as you can with new paint. It’s an inexpensive way to make your home look inviting.

Clean your house from top to bottom. Yes, those dust bunnies must go! People do not want to see dust bunnies, dirt and bathtub rings when they are looking at your house. Make sure that there are no fingerprints on the cabinets or the mirrors. Empty the wastebaskets in the bathrooms. Get a cleaning service if you don’t want to do it yourself. This is not the time to scrimp on cleaning.

Also, before your Open House have your carpets professionally cleaned. I bet you didn’t know that your carpeting was actually blue and not brown!

When you have your Open House turn on all of your lights (and please make sure they all work) and show off each room in the best possible light.

Now to the actual “staging”. You need to be sure that each room does not have “too much” furniture in it to make it look crowded. You want to make each room appear as large as possible. That might mean putting some furniture into storage.

Be sure that any furniture that you have in the room is clean and in good condition. Slip covers might be an inexpensive option for a worn couch if you can find one that looks good and not like a slip cover! If not, remove it.

Rearrange your furniture so that the room functions for it’s intended purpose. If you’ve used your dining room as a toy room for the kids, now is the time to turn it back into the dining room.

If you’ve turned your living room into an office, playroom and game room….now is the time to turn it back into a living room.

If you have children….be sure that all of their toys are put away and out of sight. You might turn off potential buyers if all they can see is kiddie clutter.

If you have pets….clean out their litter box and put it away for the Open House. Never have any pets around for the Open House or you will turn off potential buyers who can’t get past the fact that the dogs probably peed on the carpet!

The exterior of your home. Not only is the inside of the house important but so is the outside. That will be a potential buyer’s first impression. Make sure that the grass is cut and the weeds are non-existent. Trim any overgrown shrubs and bushes.

Add some inexpensive plants for a splash of color so that the outside will lure potential homebuyers in.

Staging is a “process”.
Remember, you want to sell your home, so don’t forget to add a professional organizer and a stager to the list of people that will make that a reality.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 19, 2009


An organized closet does more than just look good. It serves an important function. Yes, it holds all of your clothes. But it does more than that. It keeps you organized. Or it should.

If your closet is organized correctly it will save you time and money. Time – because you will be able to find things easily. And money – because you won’t be buying clothes that you don’t need because they are already in your closet and now you can find them.

But remember, a closet has to work for you. Not me. I designed my closet to fit my wardrobe. I wore only suits so I needed lots of space for skirts and jackets. I never wore pants or dresses to work so I didn’t need any space to hang long things. But that’s me.

In designing your closet space you have to look at what types of clothes you wear. Don’t just accept the closet space that you inherited when you moved into your house or apartment. It’s probably totally inefficient. So why do you think that you should be stuck with it? Even if you are in an apartment and are not allowed to “build out” your closet there are plenty of options that will work to make your space more efficient.

First, take everything out of your closet. Sort your clothes into piles. Don’t analyze each piece at this point. Right now you just want to put everything into the proper pile.

* Keep pile : wear regularly (at least in the last 6 months) and it fits
* Haven’t worn in the past year
* Doesn’t fit
* Needs to be repaired
* Donate
* Garbage

Next, go through each pile and make the next decision.

Keep pile : wear regularly (at least in the last 6 months) and it fits
* It’s still in style > keep
* It’s out of style > put into the Donate pile

Haven’t worn in the past year
* Haven’t worn it because you didn’t know you had it > put it back into the Keep pile
* Haven’t worn it because you don’t like it > put it into the Donate pile

Doesn’t fit
* If in good condition put it into the Donate pile
* If you have a tendency to go up and down in weight frequently you might want to keep a few basic items in another location should you have another weight change (but only a few items). Please do not torture yourself and think that you will go back down to a size 2 “one of these days” – donate the item – it’s been 10 years!

Needs to be repaired
* If it can be repaired and fits & you will wear it > fix it and then put it into the Keep pile
* If it can be repaired and doesn’t fit > fix it and then put it into the Donate pile
* If it can’t be repaired > put it into the Garbage pile

* Things that you will not wear or haven’t worn or are out of style
* Be sure to keep a list of donated items

* Anything that can’t be fixed

This is the time that you will need to decide on the type of storage accessories that you need for your particular space. Do you need more hanging space? Do you need more shelf space? There are many options for shelf dividers. Do you need more space for shoes?

There are many inexpensive options available and this is where a professional organizer can help you make the right decision so that you can get the most use out of your closet.

After your closet has been re-designed to accommodate your lifestyle it’s time to put your clothes back into the closet. Neatly and folded ! You will be amazed at how much more room you will have.

Organizational Consulting Services

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It seems like an impossible task – getting your kids to be more organized. But it all starts with you !

Kids learn from watching their parents. So if you aren’t organized, your children won’t be.

Maybe now is the time to start changing the way you do things so that you can set a good example for your kids.

Let’s start with breakfast. I’m sure that you’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I know that for a lot of families it is also one of the most stressful times.

The kids get up late. They can’t find their homework or shoes. You can’t find your car keys. There is no time for breakfast much less packing lunches. Everyone is yelling. And you are ready to pull your hair out.

Let’s take a deep breath and see what we can do to rectify this situation.

First, we rewind the clock and go back to yesterday. Let’s pretend the kids did their homework. Then they put their homework into their backpack and put their backpack in a designated spot, maybe near the door.

Then, they get their clothes ready for the next day. No more trying to find the “right outfit” at the last minute in the morning. If anything is missing you have time to hunt down the missing socks or shoes before you get ready for bed.

After their homework is done and put in the appropriate spot and their clothes are all laid out for the next day, they have time to make their lunch for school.

Give the kids some responsibility. Expect them to be responsible. This should start at a very early age. Even if they can’t get their clothes ready on their own or make their own lunches yet….this is the time to teach them. Help them decide what to wear (but as the mother of girls…don’t pick their outfits…or you’ll be up all night because they can’t possibly wear what their mother picked out). Let them help make their lunches if they are too young to do it on their own. This is the time to guide them in the direction of “good food choices”.

If you don’t expect the kids to help….they won’t. If you don’t expect the kids to pick up after themselves…they won’t. If you don’t expect the kids to make good choice…they won’t.

Having a routine is crucial. It not only teaches the kids responsibility it also helps to reduce your stress as a parent.

Now back to breakfast. Maybe you might want to set the breakfast table the night before to give yourselves a head start in the morning. Or you might want to pack a quick “take along” breakfast that the kids can eat in the car or at school before school starts.

It is much cheaper and healthier to make your own breakfast at home. You can make a nutritious breakfast in less than five minutes at home. Try cutting up an assortment of vegetables ahead of time and putting them into a tupperware container for use later in the week. Pop a couple of slices of toast into the toaster. Heat up a skilled and throw in a spoonful of vegetables. Stir in an egg and in a couple of minutes you have a nutritious breakfast. Add a few slices of fruit and it gets even better.

The trick is to have everything prepared ahead of time.

My husband makes the world’s best pancakes (just ask the kids!). When he makes pancakes he usually makes up a huge batch and puts two at a time in individual freezer bags. When the kids were younger they just took a bag out of the freezer, popped it into the microwave and in a couple of minutes had a hot and delicious breakfast.

It’s all about planning. That’s what being organized is all about. Planning ahead to make things easier in the future.

The more organized you are now….the less stressed you will be later.

Teach your kids when they are young and it will become a part of their lives.

It’s not an impossible task. And it all starts with you.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 5, 2009


Three D’s that can not only make your home more livable and function better but it can also be a godsend to other people.

People downsize for a variety of reasons – economics, the house is too big after the kids leave or a spouse dies, they want to spend less time cleaning a big space or yard, they want a different lifestyle.

Downsizing can also be “freeing” – both financially and emotionally. If you have less space (or things) you have more time for yourself and time to pursue other activities (hobbies, volunteering, school….).

Do you really need a 3,500 square foot house if you live alone? Do you really want to spend all of that time cleaning rooms you never use? And what about the mortgage? Wouldn’t you rather spend that money elsewhere? Like your retirement?

Downsizing is not a “bad” thing. It doesn’t mean that you are “poor”. The word should actually be changed to “right sizing”. What was “right” ten (10) years ago might not be “right” for your today.

If you always wanted to live in the city and be a part of the hustle and bustle and in the center of all of the culture….maybe now is the time. If your kids are grown and you don’t need a four (4) bedroom house in the suburbs why stay?

Change is hard. But once you jump in and “right size” you might wonder why it took you so long.

De-cluttering. Not only will you gain space you never knew you had in your home but you will be able to find things more easily. Saving you time and money. Think about the repercussions of not being able to find things. What happens when you can’t find your keys and are late for work? You could possible be fired.

What if you are running late for your child’s play rehearsal because you can’t remember where you left your purse? You are probably screaming at your kids, running around the house looking for your purse and they are crying because you’re yelling at them. Whose fault is it that you can’t find your purse?

De-cluttering brings about “order”. It reduces stress – because now everything has a place and you aren’t searching for things.

Do you really need to keep bits and pieces of toys that you can’t find? Do you really need to keep toys that don’t work? Or your children have outgrown? Do you really need to keep clothes from when you were 20 something ? Really ? Like you actually believe they will come back into style? Before you’re 50 ?

LET GO! It’s a hard concept for most people. It’s mostly psychology with a bit of nostalgia thrown in. What if you “need” (insert whatever you are keeping). What if ?

Now take a deep breath and say to yourself “I can live without (insert whatever you are keeping) “. Put it into a garbage pile or a donate pile and move on. Don’t think about it too long or you might try to fish it out.

Soon you will have de-cluttered an entire room and when you look around you will have so much more space you might think you’re in the wrong house!

Donating. Not only are you “recycling” your household items and helping people that don’t have the money to buy new things, but you are also getting a tax write-off. Be sure to keep a list of exactly what you donate, date, amount, value and where donated. Be sure to get a receipt for your taxes.

We keep a “donate box” in the garage and make it a habit to go through our closets and cupboards every few months to get rid of things that we’ve outgrown or haven’t used in a long time.

Then when the box gets full we drive down to a donation center and drop off our box.

It makes us feel good that we aren’t just throwing things out that others can use.

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The world is changing. People today are going back to the basics. Part of it has to do with the economic climate and part of it is that people today care more about the planet and how what we do affects the planet and its people.

Personally, I care about my health. I seem to have gotten more “sensitive” to scents and chemicals as I’ve gotten older. Throw in a mild case of Asthma and everything seems to bother me these days.

So, I’ve slowly eliminated (or banished) a number of things from my home. Nail polish, polish remover and perfume have been banished from my home. My daughter has vowed to come up with an odorless and chemical free nail polish. And I hope she succeeds.

Cleaning products, harsh chemicals and toxic fumes have also been banned from my house. Replaced by “earth friendly” or “chemical free” or “green” products.

Watkins has a great line of “earth friendly” cleaning products that really work and don’t make me wheeze ! (

There are numerous sources of “green” cleaners. And going back to basics not only saves the earth but saves you money too !

A bottle of vinegar and a box of baking soda can clean your entire house. You can use vinegar and water to clean windows.
Make a paste of baking soda and water to get rid of stains in your sink and countertops.
Unclog your drain by pour baking soda down your drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Step back as it will bubble up like a volcano!
Use a mixture of ½ tsp. olive oil and ¼ cup vinegar to use as furniture polish.
Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet to get out odors. Vacuum up after a few minutes.

These are just some of the ideas for earth friendly cleansers – and you thought they could just be used for

Plastic bags. Everyone knows that plastic does not biodegrade, yet people still use plastic bags for their groceries. Even my husband does! Why? Because we haven’t gotten in the habit of remembering to take the cloth bags out of the trunk of the car! It will take time to change our habits….but if each of us starts using cloth bags we can save thousands of trees.

Plastic and Styrofoam plates and utensils. There are now alternatives to disposable plates. Products that are biodegradable, compostable and sustainable. Try plates that are made from “sugar cane fiber”. They biodegrade in 60 – 90 days. Cups that are made from “cornstarch” biodegrade in 150 days. There are many site on the internet that have products available that are more earth friendly and won’t be around 100 year from now. An internet search of “going green” or “biodegradable products” will give you many options to choose from.

Going green is not a “trend”. It is a “must”. Because if we don’t get back to the basics and start eliminating the chemicals and pollutants we won’t have much to worry about. Because we won’t have a planet. Harsh, maybe. But it’s a reality.

It will take a lot of “organization” in our lives. Changing the way we do things and think about things. And that’s the first step. “ Thinking ” about things. And realizing that we have to start caring about ourselves and our earth if we are to have a future.

Go Green and help to save our planet ..... Start today !

Organizational Consulting Services

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Yes, it’s getting to be “that time of year”…. And anxiety starts to build.

Why? Aren’t holidays supposed to be a “wonderful time of year” ? Of course they are…and they are also supposed to be about family and friends. Not “material things”.

Maybe with the current state of the economy people might now “get back to basics”. And learn to “enjoy” the holiday season.

That said I know that a number of my friends run around like maniacs and try to cram everything into the last minute right before the holiday. And the “joy” that’s supposed to be there….is only on T.V.

What goes into the Christmas holiday? Buying cards, sending cards, buying presents, wrapping presents, sending presents, decorating your house, decorating the tree, family dinners, holiday traditions….and so much more.

And all that is crammed into the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why?

Where is it written that you can’t write Christmas cards until two or three weeks before Christmas? Why can’t you write them… You can write out a few each day instead of cramming in a hundred cards in one sitting. The holiday police won’t come and get you!

Condense the time it takes to get cards ready by putting all of the people that you send cards to every year on computerized labels. It might be a bit time consuming at first but after that you can add, delete or change your list quickly. It will save you hours of writing out cards every year.

If you want to save even more time….get your cards pre-printed with your name on the inside.

If you want to save money….skip the (mailed) cards all together and send e-cards! One site that is free is They have cards for all occasions.

Take some time to sit down and make a “holiday schedule”. Put all of your parties, dinners, commitments on a calendar.

Plan your holiday meals and make a grocery list for each meal so that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute and forget something.

This year, instead of trying to do it all yourself divide the meal among your family / friends and have everyone make / bring something so that all of the work does not fall onto your shoulders. Yes, I know that “you” always do it all….but it’s time to let go and give yourself a break so that you too can enjoy the holidays.

Decorating the house and the tree. Some people go all out and decorate every room and multiple trees. Some people don’t decorate their tree until Christmas Eve. Some people don’t decorate at all. It’s all a matter of preference. But it should be a fun process and not a chore.

We have a tradition of decorating the day after Thanksgiving. It’s an all day process that includes Christmas music to get us in the mood. Singing at the top of our lungs. Champagne and snacks.

We talk about every ornament as it gets put up on the tree and my daughter whines about how embarrassing it is that I kept the ornament she made when she was five. I love that ornament. Almost as much as the one that I made when I was that age that I still have and proudly put on the tree every year.

The holidays are supposed to be about memories and tradition and keeping them is very important. No matter how horrible your year has been….by forcing yourself to follow tradition you too can find peace and a little happiness.

If you make it a fun day where everyone in the family takes part and helps it will not only get done faster but a tradition can be born and the kids will never know they had a “bonding moment”.

Holiday gifts….keep it simple and get back to the basics. I really look forward to my sister’s gift every year. She makes the best homemade pasta sauce and I am lucky enough to receive a gift basket of her sauce every year. One year she gave me something else and I was upset. She said she didn’t want to give me the same gift every year. But I really looked forward to it and a “ tradition “ was born. I make up a basket of dried herbs and herbed oils and vinegars that I make from my garden. Simple and made with love.

Everyone has a talent. Whether it’s cooking, baking, sewing, knitting or any number of other things. There is the ever popular “coupon book” idea. Kids can make up coupons for things like lawn mowing, babysitting, tutoring….

If you have a talent such as wallpapering or laying tile and your best friend doesn’t ….exchange your talent with her talent of decorating your house or having her cook you a few meals. You both get something you need and you also get the satisfaction that you helped a friend.

Gifts don’t need to be expensive and the most cherished ones are ones from the heart.

Wrapping gifts…. This is also a time consuming process. I don’t do it. I am the world’s worst gift wrapper. I stumbled across a sale of gift bags at Marc’s (3 for $1.00) and bought a ton of them in various sizes. Every gift is now put into a gift bag with tissue paper and I saved a ton of time wrapping and beating myself up over the fact that I am a terrible wrapper..

I always keep a supply of gift bags on hand….because you never know when you might need to give a gift throughout the year and wrapping paper is something that people tend to forget.

A good time to buy your supply is immediately after the holidays when everything is discounted 50 % – 75 %.

Wrap your gifts as you get them and have a spot set aside for them. But, you will need to keep a list of gifts that you already have so that you don’t forget what you have and who you bought it for. I keep a list for each family. Wrapping as you go is a lot more painless than sitting down and spending hours doing it at the last minute.

Start planning, organizing and putting your holiday plans into motion a little bit at a time so that you are not overwhelmed when they actually roll around.

Now that you have everything under control you can sit back and enjoy the holidays as they approach.

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Professional Organizer 4 U

A Professional Organizer does more than "organize" your closets. Or your kitchen. Or the garage....

A Professional Organizer can help you organize almost every aspect of your life.

It isn't only "rooms" that need to be organized ....... but your entire life.

Stop and think about it. If you have a job you need to be organized. You need to know when you have to be at work. You need to know when projects are due. You need to get them done, in a timely manner, following certain steps, in a certain order.

If you have a family, you need to get the kids to school on time, get them to all of their doctors appointments, their after school activities... Plus, you have to make dinner and help them with their homework.

You then have to juggle your kids and your spouse and your job.

This can't happen if you aren't organized.

Well.... it can happen....badly....

But if you were organized things would run smoother....and you would be less stressed.

You would get to where you needed to be, when you needed to be there, with as little stress as possible.

Sounds like a fairy tale ?

No.... it really is possible. requires planning and organization.

School is going to be starting in a few weeks (believe it or not)...... Are you ready? Or are you going to wait until the last minute and be stressed out and fighting over the last of the school supplies with another parent that waited until the last minute?

That's just one example of how being organized can help you..... by keeping you on track and making your life run smoother.

Being organized in your job, having your office organized so that you can find things easily can help you save time and money.

Having an organized home to come home to will not only make your life less stressful but it can lead to downright happiness !

Sit back and think about walking into a cluttered mess where you can't find anything........ and then think about walking into a home where everything is in it's place and you feel a calm come over you and you can relax.

A Professional Organizer can help you organize your home so that you can feel calm and stress free in your sanctuary. They can show you how to make your home flow better and teach you how to keep your spaces organized.

A Professional Organizer can teach you how to de-clutter your home and your life. They can teach you structure and a way that works for "you".

And that's the important part..... it has to work for "you".

A Professional Organizer is non-judgemental and caring.

There is an entire psychology around being organized. So don't beat yourself up over not being organized. Maybe you were never taught to be organized.

An outsider.... a Professional Organizer.... can show you the way to a More Organized You !

Call us today....... and let us help you change your life !