Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The world was slightly disorganized last week because a lot of organizers went to the National Association of Professional Organizers conference in Columbus. There were about 680 or so “professional organizers” at the conference. Talking about “organizing” of course !

If was my first conference and my brain is in “overload” at the moment.

There were so many interesting seminars that it was hard to pick “just one” for each session. From technology, marketing, growing your business, working with the aging population, hoarders, ADD, Green organizing …and so much more And people thought we only talked about “closets” !

And I am very (make that very, very) proud to announce that I PASSED my NSGCD CD exam !!!! (National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization – Chronic Disorganization exam).

I was talking to a client and she said “wow, you have exams?”. Yes, we do! As a very serious organizer we take tons (that’s dozens and dozens…..) of classes / seminars to learn everything we can about “organizing”. There are so many different aspects of organizing:

* Chronic Disorganization
* Basic ADD Issues with the CD Client
* CD Client Administration
* Basic Physical Conditions Affecting the CD Client
* Understanding the Needs of the Elderly CD Client
* Learning Styles and Modalities
* Basic Hoarding Issues with the CD Client
* Understanding the Needs of the Student CD Client
* Basic Mental Health Conditions and Challenges Affecting the CD Client
* Study in Life Transitions (LT)

The conference also had a special reception – a “meet and greet” with some of the members of the “Hoarders” show. It was very exciting! Lots of pictures and lots of chatter!

I want to give a special “Thank You” to Matt Paxton of Clutter Cleaner, one of the members of the “Hoarders” show for spending so much time with me discussing client issues (client’s names are never discussed and privacy is always maintained). Hoarding is a very serious and complex issue that requires the services of not only a professional organizer but also a therapist and other providers.

It was a long week and I think that all of the organizers that were there are now busily trying to incorporate what they learned at the conference into their businesses.

We are constantly trying to improve ourselves and the lives of our clients.

Remember….. “Less Clutter = Less Stress” (SM)

Happy Organizing!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, April 26, 2010


Everyone should be prepared for an emergency. Whether it’s the loss of power and electricity (which could last for days) or a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster…. Or a terrorist attack…

We’ve had numerous “disasters” in the last few years….the World Trade Center attack (9/11/2001), Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004), Hurricane Katrina (2005), Haiti Earthquake (2010)…

Being prepared is not an “option” anymore. Even if just the electricity went out…and you happen to have an “all electric” home….would you be able to survive? Do you have enough food to last you for a few days? What happens if all the stores are closed?

These are just some things to think about…..

There are numerous websites and articles that tell you to be prepared to survive for at least three (3) days if an emergency occurs. The “72 Hour Kit” as some people call it.

Besides the basic kit, you also need to have an emergency plan in place. Below is a basic list that will give you some ideas to get you started (there are numerous variations of this kit).

Basic Kit:

Water – one (1) gallon per person , per day for at least three (3) days
Food – 3 days supply of non-perishable food. Some ideas are: soup mix, granola bars, trail mix, crackers,
peanut butter, beef jerky, fruit cups….
Plastic / paper – plates, cups, napkins…
Radio – battery powered
Flashlight – with extra batteries
First aid kit – basic kit
Can opener
Garbage bags & plastic bags (various sizes)
Sleeping Bag
Clothes – for three (3) days
Coats & rain gear & cold weather gear
Personal hygiene products such as: shampoo, lotion, razors, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine
products, sunscreen…..
Wet wipes
Toilet Paper
Sewing Kit
Paper & pencils
Matches / lighter (in water proof container)
Basic tools (wrench, pliers, scissors….)
Water purification tablets (or Chlorine Bleach)
Hand Sanitizer
String / rope / cord
Cooking appliances (portable stove with fuel….)

Some things (like medications…) cannot pack ahead of time…so have a checklist prepared for those items.

Checklist for supplies that need to be packed last minute:

Prescription medication
Infant formula
Pet food
Family documents (passport, birth certificates, identification cards, bank info, insurance info….)
Games for kids

Start thinking about how you and your family would handle an emergency….and start planning for it today…before that emergency strikes.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, April 19, 2010



Even in this electronic age we are still inundated with paper. The mailman brings us stuff that we don’t even want. Junk mail, bills….. A never ending cycle.

So what do we do with it? Besides let it pile up and ignore it?

Where do we put it…besides the kitchen table? Or dumping it on our “office desk”? Where it sits…waiting for us to “do something with it”.

If you want to cut down on mail and paper there are a number of options:

* Send a letter to DMA and request that they stop sending you “junk mail”:

DMA Mail DMA Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, New York 11735 – 9008

* Cancel your magazine and newspaper subscriptions and read them on-line.

As soon as the mail comes immediately sort it into piles:
* Junk (immediately sort that right into the garbage can)
* Bills to pay
* Personal mail (letters, cards…)
* Business Mail
* Magazines & Newspapers

Pick a specific day or time that you are going to sit down and go through each pile. In business you will probably have to deal with it more often than on a personal level.

Set up a schedule where you will deal with your bills. Once a week, once every other week…whatever works for you. But then stick to it.

For business mail you should also have a schedule where you will sit down and deal with your mail. When you go through it put it into piles of things that you need to deal with immediately, things that you can deal with later, information to keep or things to toss.

By compartmentalizing your mail you are able to focus on one thing at a time and actually able to accomplish something instead of going from reading a letter, to paying a bill, to dealing with a business issue…and so on.

It is very important to remember that when you are tossing out mail or any papers that you remember to protect yourself and your identity by shredding personal or business information that has your social security number or credit card information or any other information that could be used for identity theft.

Another important aspect of paper management is “paper retention”. How long do you really need to keep information? There are record retention laws that relate to personal records (taxes, financial info….) and business records. Be sure that you know how long you actually need to keep things. There is no reason to keep papers forever…unless you happen to have lots of extra room that you have no other use for.

In your filing cabinet you should only have records for the current year. Last years information should be taken out of your files and stored elsewhere (basement, attic….).

Cutting down on your paper usage and paper shuffling saves you time, money and storage space.

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Magazine Article and Organizing Kids at a Young Age...all in one week !

Well... it's been an exciting week ! A couple of great articles have come out.

First, I have just completed training for a great program through NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) to teach children in grades 2 - 5 how to become more organized. It's a really fun and interactive program and I hope to be able to teach kids a lesson that they will be able to use throughout their entire lives. The program is called " NAPO in the Schools ".

Then, I was interviewed for a magazine article on "organizing in the church". Yes, churches need to be organized just as much as your home or office! I am in the article with Peter Walsh, the organizing guru on the show "Clean Sweep". What an honor !

Monday, April 12, 2010


Time….something that most people don’t have enough of. Something that most people waste.

Time management….an interesting concept since you can’t manage “time”, you can only manage “yourself”.

So what can you do to take better advantage of the time that you do have?

First, you need to figure out what you “actually” do all day long. And it will surprise you. For the next few days write down “every single thing” that you do all day long. Break it down by the hour. If you do multiple things in that hour write it down. After a few days take a good look at your log and you will see how much time you actually waste.

Second, decide what’s important in your life (or business) and what you really want to accomplish. Then come up with a game plan, a timeline on how you are going to accomplish those goals.

People continuously complain that they don’t have enough time to get everything done in a day or to reach their “goal”. By seeing how much time you actually waste during the day you can start to make changes in yourself and re-claim some lost time.

A few ideas on managing your time:

Make each outing a “multiple purpose” event. When you are using your car make the most out of the trip by combining errands. Go to the grocery store, post office and dry cleaners all in the same trip instead of three (3) separate trips. You will save time and money on gas and wear and tear on your car.

When you have an appointment where you will be waiting (such as a doctors office or at the car shop or waiting to pick up your kids from ballet) use that time to catch up on reading your magazines or mail. Or doing homework or studying.

While waiting for the roast to be done for dinner…throw in a load of laundry.

Avoid interruptions at work by letting people know that they need to make an appointment to talk to you. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Be nice but be firm and say something like, “I’m in the middle of a project now, can you come back at 2 pm so that I can give you my full attention?”.

Be considerate of other employee’s time by saving up all of your questions and asking them when they have time, instead of continually stopping by and asking them ten questions throughout the day.

Learn to say “no”. (a hard one for many people)

Plan your tomorrow, today. At the end of the day today, plan out your schedule for tomorrow. That way you’ll know what to expect and will leave yourself plenty of time to get things done. Be sure to leave enough time for “unexpected” emergencies. You can also group all of your activities that require driving into a logical order.

Break your main project up into smaller projects to make them more manageable . This will also give you the feeling of having accomplished something when you finish a project.

Don’t over schedule your day or you will be stressed out. And that’s when you make mistakes.

Time…. Learn to manage it….. Don’t let it manage you.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, April 5, 2010


Calling in a pro can help keep emotions out of deciding what to do with all that “stuff ”

Downsizing can be a tough process for anyone, but especially for seniors who find themselves with large homes no longer full of children. More and more are tackling the huge job of downsizing their living spaces. In fact, about six percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 move each year, according to the Over-50 Council of the National Association of Home Builders.

As seniors reach the time to downsize belongings and move into smaller, more manageable homes, many have a hard time figuring out what to do with all of the “stuff ” they’ve accumulated over the years.

According to NAPO …“A major reason seniors have a hard time downsizing is they feel they are the ‘keepers’ of family heirlooms and so they have a hard time getting rid of items which they don’t really have room for anymore,”.

Here are some tips for seniors taking the plunge into a more simplified lifestyle:

• Start looking for other family members who would like to have heirloom pieces now, especially if they are not being used on a regular basis. There are many organizations that accept donations of valuable heirlooms in support of a worthy cause. Professional organizers can help seniors sort through household items to strategically figure out what will work in their new space. They also can help seniors identify which organizations to turn to that are best at finding new homes for family heirlooms.

• Find movers specializing in making the transition easier for seniors. Professional organizers can help find the perfect “mover match” for a client, and can help pare down items before the move making the process easier at moving time.

• Have a professional organizer reassess every five to ten years or as needed to make sure the senior’s home is still working for them. Sometimes seniors don’t realize that everyday activities and household chores can be made easier just by adjusting the setup in their homes. Professional organizers are great resources to help identify easy ways seniors can simplify to improve their overall quality of life.

A professional organizer won’t tell the seniors what stays and what goes, but they will ask the tough questions to help them decide for themselves. Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part, and having a professional with an outside point of view to assist is the perfect way to move forward.

Organizational Consulting Services