Thursday, February 25, 2010

Getting Organized at Home Is Easier Than You Think

People today have more space, more stuff, and less time than ever before. But with the luxury of “more” can also come more clutter and more disorganization, making the need for professional organizers greater than ever before. So, it’s not surprising that, according to the industry authority, the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO®), the professional organizing industry is booming. More than 148,000 clients were served nationally by NAPO® members in 2008.

Many of NAPO®’s members specialize in niche areas — whether it’s the garage, kitchen, home office, closet, pantry, or any other residential space — great news for the ninety-six percent of people surveyed on behalf of NAPO® in 2008 who said they would save time every day by becoming more organized. Among those, fifteen percent felt they could save more than one hour of time daily if they were more organized at home, giving them an extra 15 days in a year. Many Americans just do not know what to keep and what to toss. With statistics such as these, it is more important than ever to consider ways to get organized and take that step to better living.

Here are a few tips to help you to save time and money and reduce stress:

• Make the garage work for you. Determine how you wish to use the space.

• Sort, purge, and then decide the proper storage containers or fixtures for the treasures that you must.
*** Clearly label both the tops and the sides of the containers.

• Consider floor-to-ceiling possibilities for shelving, racks, stackable drawers, hooks, and pegboards.

• Go through your closet today. Pull out everything you haven’t worn in the last year.
*** Hang like items together.

• In the kitchen:
*** Things that work together should be stored together.
*** Feel the flow of activity in your kitchen.
*** Place glasses near the sink or the refrigerator.
*** Put snacks in a convenient drawer or cupboard.

Member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO®).

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, February 22, 2010


Most people don’t want to think about getting older and all that it entails. They never want to believe that they might end up having to use a walker or possibly being in a wheelchair. That happens to “other” people. People who aren’t healthy and who don’t maintain an active lifestyle.

And when they least expect it….an accident or illness sets in and their world comes crashing down around them.

It doesn’t even have to be an illness that creates problems. Just the fact that as you age your needs and what you are able to do…change. That’s not an easy word for people to accept. And most people don’t want to look ahead…because that means acknowledging the fact that they will get old.

But if you look ahead and plan for the future….even at the young age 40 or 50….when you are planning on buying a new house….you will save yourself a lot of money and the headache of having to “re-design” your living space to accomodate your changing needs, when you are in your 60’s and 70’s.

Simple changes like the styles of doorknobs and faucet handles can impact your ability to be self sufficient. As you age it gets harder to turn “round” doorknobs and faucet handles. By simply using “lever” style door handles and “single” faucet handles you have eliminated one major, yet little thought about problem as you age. A simple “style” change that can make your life so much easier.

Some other things to think about:

Hallways: the width of your hallways is crucial. By having hallways that are wider you will be able to accommodate a wheelchair or walker should you need one.

Also, wider doorways of at least 32 “. If the chair needs to turn then you will need 36 “.

Kitchen: if someone is in a wheelchair there needs to be enough floor clearance of at least 60 “ so that a wheelchair can turn around without bumping into anything.

The counter space needs to be at least 30 “ wide and at least a 27 “ clearance (30” – 32” is preferred), and 19 “ deep.

Bathroom: the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) says that the wheelchair access in the shower needs to beat a least 36 “ by 36 “. The curb cannot be more than ½ in.

You can have a walk-in shower and bench if you are able to stand for short periods. There are roll-in showers that have shower seats. Be sure to have support handles that can take the full weight of a person.

The shower controls also need to be low enough so that a person in a wheelchair or a person that is sitting in a shower seat can reach them.

The height of the sink needs to be lower.

The toilet needs to be raised, they are too low for a person in a wheelchair. And a grab bar needs to be next to the toilet.

The medicine cabinet should not be too high from the floor. No more than 44” is suggested.

Miscellaneous items:

Carpeting – not recommended. It makes it hard for wheelchairs to get around

Light switches – the height of the light switches should be low enough for a person in a wheelchair

Closets – the rods for the hangers should be lowered to a level that a person in a wheelchair can reach.

Stairs – a ranch style house (all on one level) works best as you age, but you can also do things in the future such as install a chair lift if you have a multi-level house

Laundry room - putting it on the main floor means that you won’t have to go down into the basement

This article was meant to make you “think” about the future…It was not meant to be “expert” advice. For more information on how to make your home “age / disability” ready…check out the ADA or other expert websites.

Planning for the future doesn’t mean that you are doomed to “need” all of the above changes. And making some of the changes mentioned doesn’t mean that your house has to “look” like you are “old and disabled”.

By being organized ahead of time….by planning for your future….you are taking a proactive approach to your life.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, February 15, 2010


People have asked me “Why do people hire you to organize their home? Can’t they just do it themselves?”.

The simple answer is “NO, they can’t”.

But there is nothing simple about the “real” answer.

It’s sort of like asking “why do people hire someone to mow their grass?”. The answer, “because they don’t have the time”. Or “because they don’t like yard work”. Or simply “because they don’t want to do it themselves”.

Yes, a lot of people are “capable” of “organizing” their own home. But they need someone to stand over them to direct them and to make them do it. They tend to second guess themselves and really need an outsider’s opinion and direction.

People that have a disorganized workspace or home are not less educated, in fact a lot of people with disorganized spaces and clutter are actually very bright and highly educated. And that’s part of the problem. They think that the task of “organizing” is “boring” and they can’t stay focused long enough to get anything accomplished.

Some people just get overwhelmed when they try to start organizing a space. Instead of focusing on one aspect at a time they look at the entire room and just see one big mess and start hyperventilating. Then they just throw up their hands and call it a day.

A professional organizers job is to get the client to focus on one aspect at a time and go through a “process”. They need to keep the client on track to get the job done.

Some people were just never taught any organizational skills when they were younger.

Some people just let things go too long and the clutter got out of control and they know that the project is too big for them to handle.

A lot of people think that being “organized” is too time consuming. They don’t understand that once you are “organized” you will actually save a lot of time because you will be able to find things easily. Maintaining an organized space is also a lot less time consuming because you aren’t spending a lot of time thinking about how you are going to organize the space, it’s already organized. You are merely putting things into designated spaces.

When you have an entire family that is disorganized it is really important that everyone is on the same page if you are going to get your space de-cluttered and organized. If your family won’t cooperate with your plan to organize your home it’s almost impossible to have an organized home. Another reason why people tend to throw in the towel. “Why bother, they are just going to mess it up anyway”.

It is crucial that the entire family is on board with the organizing plan. A professional organizer can transform a space…but if the family isn’t on board with the idea, the space will just go back to the cluttered mess that it was before the organizer got there.

A Professional Organizer does more than just de-clutter and organize a space. They also educate the client (and the entire family) on why a space should be organized. On how to organize a space. On how being organized saves you time and money. And on how “being organized” is a crucial lesson that will stay with them the rest of their lives and will be something they use in all aspects of their life.

Being “organized” isn’t only about space management and clutter control. It’s about time management, paper management, project management and life management.

Organization affects all aspects of your life.

Start today and have a more “organized” life.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, February 8, 2010


An organized home doesn’t miraculously happen. It takes everyone in the home to create an environment that is organized and functions smoothly. Having kids doesn’t mean that your home has to be disorganized or a cluttered mess. Children learn from their parents. If you start expecting things from your children at a young age and teach them responsibility you can have a home that is neat and organized.

Following is a list of chores for children. This is just a basic list of some things that children should be able to help with. Remember, each child is different and they all have different capabilities. For the younger children “helping” with some of these chores will probably take more time than if you did them yourself. But that is not the point. The point is to teach your child some valuable tools for the future. It is really important to give them encouragement and let them know that they did a good job.

2 – 4 year olds

Put away toys
Pick up clothes off of the floor

4 – 6 year olds

Clean up spills
Wipe kitchen table
Learn to make bed
Learn to set the table
Match socks

6– 8 year olds

Make the bed
Put dishes away
Sweep the floors
Put clothes into the hamper
Set the table
Clear the table
Learn to separate clothes for the laundry

8 – 12 year olds

Put their own laundry away
Help make dinner
Make their own lunches
Rake leaves
Help wash the car
Empty garbage
Clean the bathroom
Help with actually doing the laundry
Weed the garden

13 – 15 year olds

Clean the entire house
Learn to manage their schedule
Mow the lawn
Yard work
Wash the car on their own

16 – 18 year olds

Get an after school job
Go to the grocery store
Run errands as needed
Learn how to make a resume
Learn how to manage money

Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, February 4, 2010


A professional organizer isn’t just great for helping you organize your closet.

They can help you in many ways that you probably never thought of.

They can help you with space management, showing you how to use your space more efficiently.

They can be a life coach, guiding you through the clutter of your life.

They can be a business coach, helping you organize your procedures and workflow.

They can help you with time management, showing you how to make better use of your time.

They can help you with paper management, dealing with all of the incoming paper and creating a filing system.

They can help you with project management, defining your goals and coming up with a game plan.

They can help you with organizing and planning meetings and events.

By becoming more "organized" you will also become "less stressed", "more efficient" and will "save time and money" .

Less Clutter = Less Stress ….. in your home, your business and your life.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, February 1, 2010


Going to the doctors, no matter if it's just a routine visit or if you are sick, seems to make most people very nervous. They feel intimidated because, well, they are a doctor after all.

So you get to the visit, the nurse comes in and asks you a few questions. Then the doctor comes in and before you even have time to ask your questions, he’s gone. And you are left wondering “what just happened?”.

It’s a typical scenario. And even the most educated and professional people seem to be intimidated by doctors. And they shouldn’t be.

A doctor works for you. Not the other way around. But with the constraints made on doctors to see as many patients as possible and the very limited time they are allowed per patient….it’s crucial that you come prepared to your visit. Don’t think that you will remember all of your questions during your visit, because you won’t.

Before your visit you will want to make a list of all of your symptoms and/or concerns.

Then, make a list of all of the medications that you are currently taking, including dosage. Don’t forget to include a list of all of the OTC (over the counter) medications, vitamins and supplements that you are taking. Some of these can interfere with your medications and your doctor needs to see a complete picture of what you are taking.

Bring a copy of your health history (include your history plus any relatives that you know of). This is especially important if you are seeing a doctor for the first time and have to fill out paperwork. Do not rely on your memory. This is too important.

In your families health history, be sure to include the dates of diagnosis and also what your relatives died from. Sounds morbid, but health history is very important and could be an indicator of what you have to look forward to.

If you are going to the doctor for a particular ailment that you have had in the past be sure to include information on medications that you took and if they worked for you or not. If they didn’t work or you had problems with the medication be sure to tell your doctor about it. A lot of people just stop taking the medication and don’t bother to tell the doctor and he never knows it didn’t agree with them. Then he will prescribe it again. And you’ve created a cycle.

Take a notepad and a pen with you and write down any information that the doctor gives you. If you get a diagnosis write it down. If you don’t understand it make him explain it to you. Don’t pretend that you know what it means if you don’t. You didn’t go to medical school. There is no need to be embarrassed that you don’t understand all of the medical terminology. If you write it down you can look it up later when you don’t feel rushed.

Make the doctor explain any treatment options and medications. Ask him about any side effects that you might experience.

If you forget any questions while you are at the doctors be sure to call the office back and ask your questions! Your health is too important to ignore. Don’t ever be embarrassed to ask your doctor anything. Don’t ever thing that you are wasting his time. It could be a matter of life and death.

Take control of your health. Take control of your life.

Organizational Consulting Services