Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Tragedy strikes – usually with no warning. Are you prepared? If a fire swept through your home would you be able to give your insurance company a complete and accurate listing of the contents of your home? And if so, does your homeowner’s policy cover all of the items listed?

Having a complete and accurate list, with all of the necessary information before you actually need it is crucial. Unfortunately, most people aren’t prepared (and don’t get prepared) until it’s too late.

A home inventory should be compromised of such things as:

Item Description, Brand Name, Model #, Original Cost, Serial # (if it has one), Where purchased, Date Purchased

The easiest and most efficient way to compile a household inventory is to simply go room by room. Make a complete list of all of the contents of each room. Don’t forget to go through all of the drawers and inside any cabinets. Each item needs to be logged.

If you can, take pictures of each item (or a grouping of items). Also, be sure to take a picture of the room itself. If you have a video camera it would also be helpful to take a video of the entire house.

Don’t forget the closets, laundry room, pantry, garage and all outside areas, such as the patio or a shed.

Once your have your list, review your home owners policy to be sure that you are covered for all of your items. This might also be a good time to sit down and review your policy with your agent to be sure that you are satisfactorily protected. You don’t want to be surprised that something you though was covered really wasn’t.

Another important point to remember is that you need to put a copy of your home inventory list in a safe spot outside of your home. This can be in a safety deposit box at a bank or you can give a copy to a relative to hold for safe keeping.

Making a home inventory list is very time consuming. But it is something that is definitely worth the investment of your time. Once you have made the initial list you should update it at least once a year. The yearly updating should only take a fraction of the time it took to create the original list.

Invest in yourself…… protect your home.

Organizational Consulting Services

Sunday, January 24, 2010


January is winding down and everyone is starting to collect all of their financial papers and documents for our favorite time of year. Yes, I’m talking about “tax time”.

January is “get organized” month. And most people don’t even bother to make New Years resolutions anymore. And W4’s and financial papers are showing up in everyone’s mailbox.

What does any of this have to do with anything?

Well… it seems that a lot of people are feeling a bit stressed right now. They are trying to gather all of their papers and get everything organized to take to their accountants. And some people are feeling a bit cranky. Because they don’t know where anything is or they haven’t documented anything or it’s in piles everywhere.

So what’s the answer….. “make a resolution to get more organized this year”.

New Years resolutions on New Years day.... well... no one takes them seriously anyway. But a resolution at the end of the month... well... you’ve had plenty to time to think about it... so it must be a “serious resolution”.

Get your files in order. If you don’t have a filing system, create one. Put your bills and receipts into the proper files as they come in. Keep accurate records. Have a plan in place to work on your bills and financials at a specific time (every week, every other week... whatever works for you).

Decide now that you don’t want to feel stressed and cranky this time next year….by making a resolution to become more organized now.

And then….. do it !

Happy Organizing !

Organizational Consulting Services

Friday, January 22, 2010


A lot of people are working out of an office at home these days. For a variety of reasons.

* They are self-employed and don’t need an office outside of the home
* They work in sales and don’t need a desk at their companies office
* Their company is letting them “telecommute” from home so that they can save money on
office space
* The company doesn’t want to lose a valuable employee who has children and wants to be at

The list goes on and on….

Working from home also saves you money (on gas, wear and tear on the car, clothes, lunches….). And it also cuts down on pollution from your car.

But working from home also brings about some challenges. There are a lot of distractions.

You might have a tendency to throw in a few loads of laundry while you are downloading some software or waiting for an important phone call. Or you might want to run the vacuum cleaner and dust while you are waiting for a fax to go through.

In order to work at home you must be very disciplined. You have to act in a professional manner just as if you were in an office outside of the home. That also means getting dressed and not working in your pajamas (who knows if your boss might stop over?).

My old accountants had an office at home in their basement. They had remodeled it with state of the art computer equipment and if you didn’t know you were in the basement you would have thought you were in a first class office building! Every morning they put on their business suits and worked from 9 am till 5 pm. They were always ready for a client to stop by or to go off to a business meeting. They ran their home office like a real business. They saved a lot of money by not paying for additional office space and therefore they were able to keep their overhead down.

On the other hand, some people never get out of their pajamas when they work and the clients on the other end of the phone don’t know the difference.

Being professional when you are talking to a client on the phone, no matter what you are wearing, is crucial in having a home office.

Working at home if you have small children brings on a whole new set of “challenges”. Having a child screaming in the background when you are trying to talk to a client is not very professional. By scheduling your calls to clients while the children are sleeping or while they are busy with a project of their own is one way around that problem.

Having a “dedicated” work space is very important. If you treat your “at home” business like a real business you will be much more successful. By having a desk or workspace set up with all of the essentials and having a filing system in place you will be much more organized and efficient.

Working at home should not be an excuse for “slacking off”. You should have the same dedication and drive as if you worked in a “real office”. And you definitely have to be the type of person that can work by youself…without having someone standing over you telling you that you have a deadline to meet.

It’s not for everyone. Some people need the interaction that an outside office brings.

But if working from home is something that you want or have to do (maybe because you live in a remote area), then treat your office at home as if you worked in an office building.

Have the proper tools and the proper attitude. And you too can be successful and happy “at home”.

Organizational Consulting Services

Friday, January 15, 2010


An organized adult usually starts out learning to be organized as a young child. Chances are that if you aren’t taught organizational skills as a child you will probably not be an organized adult. By starting when your child is young you can teach them skills that will be useful to them for their entire life.

Having an organized room lets you find things easily. It helps reduce your stress because you aren’t constantly searching for things. Organizing a child’s room is a little different than organizing an adult’s room in that you will need to use more “visual” aides and labels.

For toys: use plastic bins (clear works best because they can also see through them). Label each bin with what’s inside. For example: Cars/trucks, building blocks, games, puzzles, books…

For toys and things that have a lot of parts, get smaller containers to house those parts so that they have a place to go after they are done playing with them.

If you child is not old enough to read or if your child is more of a “visual” thinker….you can cut out pictures of whatever is in the bin and tape it to the outside.

The same idea can be applied to their clothes. Put a picture of “pants” or “shirts” or “socks” on the outside of where you want those clothes to go.

Get down to the child’s level! If a child can’t reach the hangers or the bins to put their things away…the clothes and toys will just end up on the floor.

For a child’s closet you need to hang things at their level (and as they grow you should be able to adjust their shelves to a higher level….which will also give you more room on the bottom). If you keep a child’s closet at the standard “adult” height and they can’t reach it….they won’t be able to put their things away themselves….and they will always expect you to put everything away for them. And you just set yourself up to be their maid.

Under bed storage. There are a variety of great under the bed storage bins (some come with wheels) that can take advantage of the room under their beds. Toys or extra clothes (not in season) or extra blankets….can all take advantage of the wasted space under the bed.

For school age children have a place set aside in their room for their books and homework. When they are done with their homework have them put it into their “school spot” so that they are ready for school the next morning.

Start the teaching process for good organizational skills when the kids are young. Very young. As soon as they can start walking…they can be taught to put their things away. By having a place for everything and having pictures or labels on it so that they know exactly where things should go…they will get into the habit of putting things into the correct spot. And before you know it, their rooms will be “organized” and clean.

Remember, Mom is spelled “ M – O – M “ …. Not “ M – A – I – D “ !

Organizational Consulting Services

Friday, January 8, 2010


You are setting up a new office. Before you go to the store and randomly start buying things you will need to make a list of some basic supplies and equipment. By making a list of the essentials you will save yourself time (because you don’t have to go back to the store over and over again) and money (because you know what you have and therefore won’t buy duplicates).

Don’t go overboard on supplies when you are first starting out. Buy the essentials and keep a list of things that you still need. What you “think” you need and what you “really” need can be two different things. Just because you “want” the best of everything and like all of the “things” in the store doesn’t mean that “you” need them. If you don’t need a rolodex because you are using a computerized system, don’t buy one. If you don’t need a holder for you pens/pencils because your desk has a built in one, don’t buy one.

Start simply and once your office is set up and you’ve used it for a while you will be able to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for “you”. Since everyone works differently you don’t want to be stuck with an office set-up that doesn’t function according to your needs.

By putting some time into planning your office according to how “you” work you will end up with an office that is functional and not just one that “looks good”.

Following is a list of some basic supplies to help you get started:

Basic Office Supplies

Envelopes – Business size
Envelopes - Legal size
Filing Bins
Folder Labels
Legal pads
Manila Folders
Paper – copy
Paper Clips
Pen Holder
Pendaflex Folders
Stapler & Staples
Tape & Dispenser
White Out

Basic Office Equipment

Copier / Fax / Scanner
Copier -Toner
Filing Cabinet
Storage Cabinet

Basic Business Supplies

Brochures - Marketing
Business - Letterhead
Business Cards

Organizational Consulting Services

Friday, January 1, 2010


It’s a New Year and everyone makes “New Years Resolutions”. Why don’t you make one that says “I will be more Organized”.

I don’t mean that you need to run out and buy all types of “organizing gadgets”. Or that you drive your family crazy with your new found organizing obsession.

What I mean is that you should start with small steps, such as making a list of ways that you can “organize” your home, business or life. Just like your resolution to exercise more will probably go by the wayside, so will your resolution to be more organized... if you don’t fully commit to it.

It took years to develop your behaviors and it will take you weeks or months or longer to change them. It’s a lifestyle change.

Once you have made a list of what you want to change in your home, business or life (and this has to be your idea or it won’t work) then you need to start implementing the changes. One at a time, otherwise you will become overwhelmed and you won’t stick to anything.

I’m a list maker. I have a list or an Excel spreadsheet for everything. My family makes fun of me but my motto is “why re-invent the wheel”. If you have repetitive tasks they can be turned into lists. I have a “what to take on vacation” list. Every family member has their own column and they check off things as they pack them. Now things aren’t forgotten and I don’t hear “Mom, I forgot my bathing suit”.

I have a list for “what to pack for college”. And yes, my daughter refused to use it the first year. But the following year I heard “Mom, can I have the college list...”. Music to a mother’s ear. I’m not as useless as I thought!

I have lists for school supplies, list for groceries, lists for vacations, lists for medical information, lists for donated items, lists for events that I go to every year and equipment I need to take, lists for meetings…… and on and on. There is no end in sight.

If you do it more than once ... make a list. That way you won’t forget anything.

If you have a list of spaces to organize or projects to do, break them down into manageable pieces. For example, break down the “I’m going to organize my kitchen” project into smaller projects. Such as:

* I’m going to organize the kitchen drawers
* I’m going to organize the kitchen counters
* I’m going to organize the kitchen cabinets
* I’m going to organize the kitchen pantry

That way you can start and finish each project in one sitting and feel like you’ve accomplished something, instead of getting tired or frustrated and never finishing it and then never starting another project. Start a small project. Finish a project. Feel proud of yourself. Go on to the next project.

Not everyone can become organized on their own. That’s why there are “Professional Organizers” that are there to help you and to teach you how to become more organized (teaching should be part of the organizing project).

Since most people call a plumber or an electrician when they have a plumbing or electrical problem, why shouldn’t you call a Professional Organizer when you have an organizing problem?

By having a Professional Organizer help you with your organizing dilemma you can get more accomplished in less time. A Professional Organizer is there to guide you through the process.

How many people have bought workout tapes for use at home but never used them? Good intentions but people tend to work harder when they go to a gym and have someone watch over them than when they try to work out by themselves.

So call a Professional Organizer and let them help you become more Organized – Less Cluttered – and Less Stressed.

Organizational Consulting Services