Monday, December 26, 2011

After Christmas Sales - Shop with Caution

It's the day after Christmas and all through the land people are scurrying to get what they can.

It's bargains galore and Buy One, Get One Free.

Where will I put it? says the inner me.....

Yes, the bargains are many and this is a great time to stock up.....BUT, if you have no room and have no plan for what you are going to do with all of the "bargains" that you buy....and probably won't even use some of the things it really a bargain?

If you can take advantage of the sales and have a plan in buying Christmas cards for next year or things that you can use as birthday presents in the upcoming months....and have a place to store them....then it's fine.

But, if you don't have the storage space and don't really need all of the "stuff", then is it really a bargain?

A lot of people shop just to shop. It's an emotional thing. But you have to look at the reality of your finances and your storage space. If there is no room for all of the "stuff" then you are just causing yourself more stress by overcrowding your home with things that you don't really need. Once the "adrenaline" of shopping for bargains wears off you will be left with a pile of things that you don't have any room for or any use for.

So take a step back and ask yourself "do you really need this item?". If the answers is "yes" and you have the extra money and storage space then go ahead and save yourself 75% and buy it. But if you don't have the space or the money then it's not really a bargain.

Being organized is about thinking and planning ahead. It doesn't mean that you can't take advantage of a great sale. But step back and think beyond today's shopping excursion and make sure that you don't overextend yourself financially and shop yourself out of space!

Have fun shopping for bargains !

Organizational Consulting Services

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Wishing all of you a very

As in our German tradition we will eat a very special meal of German white sausage. Topped off with some desserts and then the best part.... opening our Christmas presents!

Then off to midnight mass with Christmas songs to fill the air.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Time Management During the Holidays

It's getting close to Christmas and a lot of people still haven't even put up a tree or sent out cards.

The holidays are not a time to be stressed so don't beat yourself up over not getting everything done. It you are running out of time you have to decide what you can live without so that you don't drive yourself crazy.

Being organized is about "time management". If you haven't finished everything on your list give yourself the gift of "not finishing". Let it go. Most people that I know haven't even sent out their cards yet, so you are not alone.

BUT.... this should give you some incentive to start earlier next year! If you have your 2012 calendar, open it up and put a note in the calendar for some of the things that you need to accomplish for the holidays. For example:

* Write out cards

* Start Xmas shopping

* Decorate the house

By using your calendar and making "appointments" with yourself you will be more likely to get things done on time.

Time Management at home is just as important as in the workplace.

Schedule some time each day of the next week to get the rest of your projects done, but allow some extra "breathing" time so that you don't get to the holiday and just wish it would go away.

Anything that you can let go of at this point.... LET IT GO! For some people being a perfectionist causes too much stress and actually wastes time. Learn from your "disorganization" and last minute "craziness" and know that you can do better next year.

And remember, if your family wants a great holiday they should be willing to help you. Don't try to do it all yourself. Assign tasks to everyone and work together to make this holiday season a good one.

Happy Holidays!

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Organizing Your Closets For Christmas

The holiday season is upon us and as always it comes at the end of the year. To those of us that are extremely organized we are not only dreaming about the holidays, presents and snow, we are also thinking about all of the things that we have to do before the end of the year and the beginning of January.

Prior to Christmas is a great time to de-clutter and organize. It's the time to go through your closets and get rid of things that you have never or rarely worn, things that no longer fit, things that are worn out.

DONATE... DONATE... DONATE... >>>> read >>>>> TAX DEDUCTION !

Have the kids go through their clothes also. They outgrow things quickly and therefore a lot of their clothes are barely worn. Or, as kids, they tire of them very quickly and haven't worn them in forever and won't wear them anymore anyway. So donate them to someone that can use them.

Also, have the kids go through their toys and donate those that they have outgrown or don't play with anymore. Let it be their "idea" so that they feel empowered and are not upset with you for getting rid of their toys. This is a great learning experience for them.

Everyone knows that you will be getting new things for Christmas - so make room now!

You can only fit so many things into your closet so now is the time to take a realistic look at the room you have and what you have in your closet. Be honest with yourself. If you haven't worn it and it's taking up room that you don't have, get rid of it.

By getting a jump start on organizing your closet now you will be much happier after the holidays when you are trying to squish things into a crammed closet.

Remember, by de-cluttering and donating now you can get it into this years taxes.

Happy Organizing and Happy Holidays !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, December 5, 2011

What are the Holidays About ?

It's December. The stores are filled with decorations and lights and there bargains are everywhere.

It's also a time that creates a lot of stress for a lot of people. Maybe it's time to remember what’s important. A time to celebrate what you have, not what you don’t.

Opening presents is fun and exciting. Not only for kids. Adults love getting presents also. Whether they admit it or not.

But in this rush to buy presents step back and think about the person that you are buying a present for. Get them something that they like not that you like. If you are unsure if they will like what you picked out …put it back !

Don’t just buy things for the sake of buying things. If they don’t like it they will just smile and pretend that they do and they will never use it (or wear it). Then it will end up being clutter. Stuff they they feel they cannot get rid of. Because you bought it for them. Guilt will set in. The clutter will be there forever. Reminding them that they cannot throw it out.

So remember that when buying gifts. If you aren’t 100 % sure that they will absolutely love the gift don’t buy it. Save everyone the emotional trauma of having to pretend.

The holidays aren’t about gifts. They are about being together as a family and friends.

Give the gift of time. That is something that everyone will love. And remember forever.

Happy Holidays !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lists....and then What ?

Being organized involves many things. Even the most organized people need a little help. I know that I can't remember every single thing that needs to be done in my day, so I am constantly writing out lists.

This helps me remember what I need to accomplish during the day or week. But a "list" is not the "end all" of being organized.

If you constantly write things down, does that make you "organized"? The answer is "no". Writing things down, on your calendar or on a piece of paper (or electronically) does not make you organized.

Once you write things down you actually have to take the next step: do them! If you write things down but never actually follow through with completing your tasks you are no closer to being organized than if you never wrote it down in the first place.

After you make your list you need to take a good look at it and make sure that you can accomplish everything (or most things) on your list. If you can't, take it off the list.

Then you really want to "prioritize" the list by importance.

Next, you want to "schedule" the items on your list. Put it on your calendar. Set a date and time that you need/want to have the item accomplished. Be realistic. Allow yourself enough time to get the task done. Allow time for interruptions or traffic.

By scheduling your "to do" list you have taken the next step to accomplishing your goals.

Now follow your schedule and cross the item off of your list!

And don't forget to put "scheduling your week" on your "to do" list and schedule. Because if you don't schedule "planning" time you will have left out an important step.

Being organized in your life takes just as much work as in your job. Give it the same importance.

Have a great week!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Thanksgiving....Are You Prepared ?

It's only a few days before Thanksgiving and people everywhere are rushing around trying to get everything done. They make food they haven't made all year, some of it most people don't even like.

Why? Because. That's all. Because that's what you are "supposed" to have for Thanksgiving.

So if no one in your family actually eats cranberries why do you continue to serve them?

Serve food that you and your family actually like and make the holiday something special for "you".

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.

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”.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stress and Lack of Organization

It seems that every day I hear people tell me that they are totally stressed out by their situation. Too much clutter, can't find things, embarrassed to have people over, feeling totally out of control.

And I say to them "take a deep breath, this is normal". The feelings I mean. Most clients that I have call me up or email me and I hear the same stories. They are at the end of their rope and they want help and want everything to be perfect. Now.

So I keep telling everyone "your feelings are normal, you are not alone, don't be embarrassed by your clutter and step back, breathe and let's take it slow".

Things didn't get this way overnight and they won't get fixed in a day. It's not only about all of the stuff, it's about a skill that wasn't learned and the way you were brought up. It's about environment and so much more.

And of course now that the holidays are near everyone wants everything to be perfect and the normal holiday stress is adding more stress to the mix.

But, at the same time, people are starting to realize that clutter and chronic disorganization does cause stress. And that's a big step in the learning process.

The next step is doing something to change your behavior and the way you live your life. And that's a really big step. It takes time. Time to learn new ways of doing things. And new things are always a bit uncomfortable. By realizing and accepting the fact that you are stepping into unkown territory and will be leaving your comfort zone you have taken another step into becoming more organized.

Baby steps. One thing at a time. Don't think that you are going to be just like one of the T.V. shows and your house and life will be totally transformed in one hour. It won't be. So don't set yourself up for disappointment. Learn to accept and appreciate the small steps and know that you are starting on your way to being more organized and will eventually get there.

But don't stress yourself out in the process and understand that it is a process. And it's a process that will take time. But it's a process that is worth going through.

Being organized will make you feel better and you will have more time to do the things that are really important.

Just take it one step at a time.

Remember: Less Clutter = Less Stress SM in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Planning Ahead for Year End

This is a really busy time of year. The holiday season has started and some of us are already thinking about Year End and taxes. Well, maybe you aren't but I know that some of my clients are already dreading the end of the year and the piles of receipts that they have waiting for them to sort through.

Now is the time to take a deep breath spend a few minutes thinking about where you dumped all of your receipts and tax related papers. Yes, I did say "dumped". Or was that shoved, as in shoved into a drawer never to be thought of again? It sounded like a good plan at the beginning of the year. "Deal with it at year end and get a whole year of not thinking about it".

Well, the end of the year is near. And now I hear by clients moaning about "the piles".

So take a deep breath and deal with it now.

* Make a list of the files that you need to create.
* Make a list of all of your documents that you will need to gather for the accountant.
* Separate your receipts into piles such as: house related expenses, business expenses, donations....
* Make an appointment with yourself to sit down for 30 minutes at least once a week to get some of your papers into order.

By taking some time now to think about the end of the year and what you will need to gather for taxes and your accountant, you will spread the "tax stress" out so that you are not hit with it all at once.

And also, think about how to create a better system for next year so that you don't have to go through the "year end tax stress" every year.

Happy Organizing !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 31, 2011

Multi-Tasking - How Effective Is It Really ?

A lot of people talk about "multi-tasking"and how they can do two or three things at once. Maybe they can. But how effective are they really being? Are they giving 100 % of their attention to one particular project? Obviously not.

It's impossible to multi-task and give your complete attention to one project. So they are short-changing someone or something. If you are at work and "multi-tasking" you are opening yourself up to a lot of mistakes. You can't constantly start and stop a project and be effective. Every time you stop one project and answer a question about another project your brain has to "stop" and remember where you left off and re-think what you were doing and what you were going to do on the project that you left off on. See, it's complicated.

Even a thirty second break in your thought process will require your brain to go back a few steps to remember what you were doing and start again. So that's one step forward in another project and two steps back in your main project. Maybe it doesn't sound like a lot of time but it all adds up when you are constantly starting and stopping instead of finishing one project before going on to another.

Even if you were just on the phone talking to someone and you were interrupted by someone else who just wanted to ask you a simple question, you have to stop, answer them and then try to remember exactly where in the conversation you were with the person on the phone and then re-start that conversation.

When you are working on things that require a lot of concentration like a work presentation or accounting or dispensing drugs at a pharmacy multi-tasking can cause serious problems.

When you are looking at things such as driving and texting...well, we all know how dangerous multi-tasking is in that scenario.

You can multi-task in some situations such as throwing some laundry into the dryer and watching T.V. until your dryer buzzer goes off. But if it requires much more thinking than that you are really not getting ahead by trying to do two or three things at once.

If you want to give a project or your family your undivided attention you need to do just that "not divide" your attention and give them the time they deserve.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 24, 2011

Organizing Questions - Let's Hear Them !

I know that a lot of people have organizing questions that they would like to have an answer to. So let's hear it !

What are some of your most challenging organizing dilemma's ?

What do you want to know about organizing or being organized ?

Which room of your home bothers you the most ? And why ?

Are you more disorganized in your home or with your time management ?

What great organizing tips would you want to share with others ?

Send in your organizing questions and tips and let's share them with others.

Put "Organizing Questions / Tips" in the subject line and send me an email at

We will put the questions, answers and tips in upcoming blogs.

Happy Organizing !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 17, 2011

Planning Ahead for the Holidays

With the weather turning colder the thoughts of the upcoming holidays and everything that we have to do is not far behind.

I am sure that you have all seen the Christmas decorations already out there and 50 % Off Sales are starting to spring up everywhere.

Starting early in your holiday preparations and shopping is actually a good thing. BUT you can't let yourself get carried away by going overboard on your spending.

If you don't have the money or the space to store all of these "great deals" then you shouldn't be buying them.

But, if you do start shopping early then it's a really good idea to make a list of what you bought and who you bought it for. Because if you don't you will forget and keep buying more presents for the same person. This is especially true if you start your holiday shopping really early in the year.

By having a designated place for your holiday presents and having a list you can avoid overspending.

Starting early can let you enjoy the holidays without having to worry about last minute shopping.

Now that I've planted the seed start thinking about what you want to get each person on your list and just keep your eyes open. By spreading it out over the next ten weeks instead of cramming it into a couple of days you won't feel the pressure of having to buy.

But first....let's enjoy the holidays as they come...that means that Halloween comes before Christmas.... no matter what the retail stores try to tell you!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 10, 2011

Winterize Your Garage

It's time to winterize your garage and get ready for the snow. A good place to start is by taking everything out of your garage and giving it a good sweeping.

Throw out any broken items and put any items that you no longer use in the "donate" pile. That would include any toys that your kids have outgrown.

If you have any leftover gardening supplies (mulch, dirt, bulbs, seeds....) or anything that you won't be able to use next spring, get rid of it.

Re-arrange your garage to put the snow blower where you can easily reach it. Make sure that it is ready to use by doing any maintenance that it might need.

Make sure that you have access to any snow shovels or anything else such as salt for those snowy days.

Some people might still be able to use their lawnmower a few more times before the snow falls, but plan on having your lawnmower winterized and empty it of any liquids according to your manual.

By organizing your garage before the weather gets really bad you will save yourself a lot of headaches in trying to find everything when the bad weather hits.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 3, 2011

Winter Is Coming Soon ....Is Your Car Ready ?

It might only be October and some people really don't want to think about the cold and bad weather that comes with winter. But ignoring the fact that winter is just ahead won't make it stop coming.

So – the question is ..... are you prepared ?

Now 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
* 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

If you are going to be driving outside of the city limits I would also suggest that you keep water and snacks in your car, especially if you have kids. You never know when an accident might keep you tied up for a long time and you will need water to keep you hydrated and snacks to keep the kids occupied.

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

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, September 26, 2011

Disasters - Emergencies - and everything in between....

Having just passed the anniversary of 9/11 we should all be aware of the fact that disaster can strike anywhere. The question is "are you ready"?

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…

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….. especially if you live in a remote area and don't have quick access to a store.

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, September 19, 2011

Organizing Your Purse (Briefcase / Backpack)....

You can admit it... your purse (or briefcase or backpack) is a bottomless pit. You throw things in there never to be seen again. We all do it...admit it!

Everything we have is important so we have to keep it. The problem is that we don't have an endless amount of space in our purse (briefcase or backpack).

There are a number of things that we could or should do on a regular basis. Clean it out! Take a few minutes, yes only a few and empty the entire thing. Shake out the dirt and bits and pieces of things that have accumulated on the bottom.

Separate everything into piles, just like in your home. Must keep, goes somewhere else, garbage.

All of those receipts that you just threw in there need to go into a file or somewhere else. It's a good idea to keep a small envelope in your purse just for receipts so that they don't end up all torn up or lost. When you buy something that you might need a receipt for (such as clothes that you might want to return or appliances....) put it into a receipt file. At least once a week go through that envelope and put the receipts in your permanent file or check it against your credit card statement and then toss it.

There are a number of great purse organizers in all sizes that have a lot of different sized pockets that let you keep your purse organized and clutter free. I have a number of them in different sizes that are great to use in all kinds of purses, briefcases, backpacks, luggage and more. Or you could just use Ziplock plastic bags for things like makeup and other small things that might get lost in your big purse.

Being able to find things quickly in your purse makes like so much easier. And you all know that by cleaning out your purse at least once a month you will lose a few extra pounds of weight that you really didn't want anyway!

Happy Organizing!

Organizational Consulting Services

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Grandparent's Day

Wishing all of you a very Happy Grandparents Day !

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Making Organization Part of Your Routine

Being organized is not easy for everyone. Some people even think it's not important. But organization makes everything run smoother and makes people a lot less stressed. If everything is in its place and you can find things easily you are less likely to be running around frantic and you are not yelling at your kids or spouse. Sounds logical doesn't it?

Yet a lot of people still resist the idea that organization makes life easier. It's not a fad. It's a way of life.

Being organized takes practice. It takes time. Just like any other new learned process it doesn't always come easy to some people. It sometimes takes months of "forced organization" to become a part of your everyday routine.

But knowing where everything is and being able to find things easier and quicker is such a simple concept that most people don't realize how much of a difference it really makes in your life.

Try getting all of your clothes, your lunch, your briefcase & purse ready before you go to bed at night. You aren't wasting time in the morning making decisions about what you are going to wear. Your briefcase & purse are right there so you don't have to search for them. You've saved yourself time and frustration in the morning, a time when you really don't have a lot of it to spare. You get out of the house on time instead of running late. You are less stressed.

A simple experiment. A simple example of how organization can make a difference in your life.

Now take that example and use it in the rest of your life. Your work. Your living spaces.

Organization can have an impact on all of the parts of your life. Just learn to make it a part of your life and your will have more time for other things.

Happy Organizing!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hoarding Is Still Out There

A lot of people think that Hoarding is starting to go away because more people are now aware of the problem. But it's not.

I have been getting a lot of emails and phone calls from families of hoarders that are looking for help. They worry about the health and safety of their family members. And they should worry. But it's not only the physical health problems that they worry about. It's the psychological problems and how they affect the family.

Many people out there have family members that are hoarders but it's still a well kept secret. Because if they told someone then their friends might think that they too have mental health issues. But it's not something to be ashamed of. Just as you can't control your family and friends in other aspects of their lives, you can't control people that have hoarding issues.

They have to be the ones that ask for the help. They have to be ready to try and change their lives. They have to be willing to part with some of their possessions and clean up their homes.

It has to be on their terms. If you or a family member just go into their home when they are not there and clean up and throw out what you term "worthless garbage" you will cause severe emotional harm to that person.

It is a hard concept for families and friends of hoarders to understand. But just going into someone's home and taking their possessions - no matter what the conditions of those possessions are - you will cause emotional distress.

How would you like it if they came into your home and took your stamp collection or your Hummell collection or your 50 pairs of shoes because they thought it was a waste of space and money? It's not the same you say? Well, to hoarders it is.

Everyone has a right to their "things". Unfortunately, hoarders "things" can cause them harm because of the quantity of things. And because the quantities are out of control and can cause physical harm. And because hoarding can cause isolation.

But that does not mean that you rush in to "save" them. It takes a person with experience in the many aspects of hoarding to be able to help a hoarder. And it usually takes a variety of people to help a hoarder and that may include a professional organizer, a therapist, a social work and a variety of other people.

Hoarding is a complex issue. It can't be solved by simply "cleaning out the house".

As a Professional Organizer I take my education very seriously and have acquired the following certificates:

Certificate of Study in Chronic Disorganization
Certificate of Study in Basic Hoarding Issues with the CD Client
Certificate of Study in Understanding the Needs of the Elderly CD Client
Certificate of Study in Basic ADD Issues with the CD Client
Certificate of Study in CD Client Administration
CD Specialist - Level II Certificate

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting Ready for School

It's almost time for the kids to get back to school. Most parents are happy, kids, not so much.

But the end of summer vacation is drawing to a close and parents and kids have to get back to their reality. That means getting up on time, getting dressed in something other than shorts and t-shirts, having their backpack and homework plus all of their signed parent notes all together and in their backpack.

Sounds easy enough. Yet the usual scenario is more like chaos with stressed out parents yelling at their kids for not being ready on time and kids yelling because they can't find their shoes or their favorite shirt.

So get a head start on being organized for the school year by talking to your kids about the upcoming start of school. Make sure that you have gone over a list of what they need, from clothes and shoes, to backpacks, lunch bags and school supplies.

Then their is "the schedule". Make sure that everyone is on the same page as to the upcoming new schedule. Getting up earlier, getting ready on time, who needs the shower when... yes, some people have to plan out a detailed scheduled to make things run smoothly. Unless of course everyone has their own bathroom (we all aren't so lucky).

If you have your backpack from last year, make sure that it is cleaned out and ready to go (this should have been done at the end of last school year, but if it wasn't now is the time). Make sure that there is a "place" to put backpacks and anything else the kids might need to take to school. A cubby for each child by the door or hooks or whatever works for you. But have a designated spot and make sure that the kids stick to it. There is no reason that they should be scrambling every morning looking for things.

Now is the time to talk to the kids about a new "organized" procedure for the school year. Make them unpack their schoolbags every night and go through any notes that you, the parent needs to sign, have them do their homework and immediately put it back into their schoolbag and then put the schoolbag by the door (or the designated spot).

By implementing an organized routine you have a better chance of not getting that phone call about the missing homework or the missing permission slip.

Kids need structure. They need a routine. And so do adults.

Being organized makes mornings much easier and stress free.

Enjoy the last few days of summer vacation and start your school year on an organized note.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 15, 2011

Organizing Your Junk Drawer

Admit it. You have a junk drawer. Don't be embarrassed. Everyone has one. Some are just more messy than others.

But today is the day to clean it out. Yes, you have to clean out that drawer. Come on, you can do it.

I know that you are thinking "how did this drawer get like this" or "why is this stuff in here and what is it?". Well, we all keep things. "Because we might need it". Bits and pieces of stuff.

Start by getting a garbage can and putting it next to the drawer. Take out each item and if you can't identify it or it's use, throw it right into the garbage can.

Anything that you think you might really have a use for (be honest) should be placed into a pile on the floor. If you can't remember why you kept the item, get rid of it because you probably don't need it. Next, try to place like items together.

The reason that most "junk drawers" look "junky" is that everything is usually just in one big drawer, all jumbled together. Depending on what you have in the drawer and the sizes of things you will want to get some dividers to keep things more organized.

There are numerous inexpensive options such as small plastic trays or ice cube trays that will do the trick. Any container will do. I have used the boxes that my checks came in as divider trays for my desk. Be creative. You don't need to spend a lot of money for this drawer.

By keeping things confined in smaller spaces within the drawer it will look less "junky".

And try to break the habit of just throwing things into the drawer because you don't want to find a place for it. Your junk drawer should be confined to a drawer, not the entire house.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 8, 2011

Organizing Wishlist

A lot of people wish they could be organized.

They wish that their home was neat and clutter free.

They wish that everything had a place.

They wish that everything was perfect just like on those decorating T.V. shows.

Well, what's wrong with wishing? Nothing!

But why don't you take it one step further and make that wishlist a reality?

Start by making an actual list. Write down all of the things that you dream of doing. Go ahead. Dream. Just start writing.

Give it a few days and write down as many things as you want to on that list. It's your list.

Then prioritize your list by what bothers you the most and what you would like done first, second ...and so on....

Now here comes the hard part. Step back and be really, really honest with yourself. Ask yourself why the things on your list bother you and why you haven't accomplished them. By doing this you might rearrange your priorities. Something that you thought was a huge problem might move down on the list.

Then take your calendar and pick a date to accomplish your first wish. It could be as simple as "I want to de-clutter my basement". Maybe you haven't organized it because no one could see it but it really bothered you. Well, now you have a date on your calendar that you want it done by.

As I said, don't overthink it. You are working backwards. First, you pick a "due date". Next, you make a list of exactly what you want to accomplish in the basement. Such as "clear out the old toys or excercise equipment you never used" or "organize your tools". Maybe you want to convert the basement into a playroom or workroom. What do you need to do to accomplish that?

Keep making your list and break it down into smaller pieces. Put a due date on each piece.

By doing this you are giving your home the same importance as you would give a project at work. You have deadlines to meet, therefore you are more apt to get it done.

And don't you deserve to have a nice home? Organized and clutter free.

By putting your wishlist on paper and then onto your calendar you are motivating yourself.

And once you are motivated you will find a way to get it done.

And once you are done with your project.... you will want to go down your list and cross off the next project. And before you know it your wishlist will be finished.

But you have to start by making your list. So go ahead. Start wishing.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kids, Clothes & Charity - How Are They Connected ?

I know that most people don't want to think about the summer coming to a close and everything that it entails, but being organized means thinking ahead.

The end of summer means the start of the next school year.

The start of the new school year means new clothes for the kids.

And that means that you will be taking their old clothes (and I mean clothes that don't fit, not tattered clothes) to Goodwill or another charity that could use them.

Kids outgrow things. Sometimes too quickly. You turn around and the next thing you know they are 4 inches taller than when they got out of school in June. It happens! So you have to buy them new clothes.

But before you just randomly go to the store and buy everything in sight you need to go through their closet and drawers and take an inventory of what they really need, not just want they want. BUT, you need to get them involved in the process.

This is not always fun for the kids and they will probably fight you on this, because they have better things to do than go through their clothes, things like playing outside or being with their friends. But as a parent this is a "teaching" moment. You are teaching them how to make decisions, how to organize their closet and drawers, how to recognize when clothes don't fit and the biggest lesson of all is why it's important to donate things that you no longer need to a worthwhile cause. And of course you know that you get a tax write-off.

Once you have gone through their closet and had them try on all of their clothes and put them into piles of "keep", "donate" or "trash" (because they were too worn out to donate) it's time to make a list of exactly what items they will need.

Making a list is very important because it will save you time and money at the store. You won't remember how many socks they had and they will try to get you to buy things that they don't really need.

Once you have the "needed items" (socks, underwear, pants...) you can look at "extras" but try and keep it in perspective. They don't need twenty pairs of jeans or twenty new pairs of shoes. Kids outgrow things very quickly.

By starting when they are young and helping them understand the concepts of "moderation", buying only what they really need and also buying only what they have room for, you are teaching them skills they will use their entire life.

Get into the habit of going through their closets at least once a season, especially when they are young and growing like weeds. And by the way, why don't you clear out your closet at the same time. You would be setting a great example!

Happy Closet Organizing!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 25, 2011

Making Excuses for Not Being Organized

When I talk to people about organizing a lot of people tell me that they want to be organized but for one reason of another they just can't get organized.

They have ADD
Their spouse won't get on board with organizing their home
Their kids won't help with keeping the house neat and organized
Their parents never taught them how to be organized
Their parents were hoarders so they are hoarders
There isn't enough time in their schedule to get organized
They are overwhelmed
They don't think their messy house / room / office affects anyone else
Their disorganization doesn't really affect their job

and on .... and on ....

Excuse after excuse .....

But all they are doing is .... nothing....

So how can the problem ever change? It can't. But first they have to acknowledge that their disorganization is a problem. And that's the hardest step.

Yes, disorganization does affect your job. And your family. And your life.

So if you want to change, you can. I didn't say it would be easy. It won't be. It will feel very foreign for awhile. But as with any new habit it will eventually feel "routine". It will eventually start to be just a normal part of your every day life.

First you will start to pick up your clothes off of the floor and put them away in your closet. Then you might put the dishes in the dishwasher immediately after a meal instead of piling them on the kitchen counter and leaving them their for a week.

You might even go through your mail on a daily basis and through out all of the junk mail as soon as you get it.

Or you might do all of your filing on a weekly basis.

The next thing you know .... you are organized!

Watch out ..... it can happen to you.

All you have to do is stop making excuses ..... and start .... anywhere....

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Fun .... Get Organized and Have FUN !

It's summer. The kids are home from school and they are bored. What's a parent to do?

Plan things our course! But get the kids involved. Don't let them sit around and complain! If they want things to do then let them come up with ideas.

There are a lot of things that are available...all you have to do is find them. Take a look in the various newspapers and neighborhood magazines that are available. They usually list the upcoming activities for the summer. There are usually a lot of craft fairs and concerts and family events throughout the summer.

Have everyone in the family highlight all of the activities that sound interesting.

Then grab a calendar and write them on the calendar. This is really important because you won't remember them later in the summer.

Don't worry about having too many activities. Just because you write them down doesn't mean that you have to do them...but at least you will have options.

Add in some of the things that you have neglected over the years...such as visiting the museums or the Zoo or the beach. Or how about penciling in some visits with friends that you haven't had a chance to visit with in a long time.

How about exploring your own city? There are too many people out there that have never been more than an hour away from their own neighborhood. Be daring....explore your own state!

By taking some time in the beginning of the summer and planning your schedule you can have a fun and exciting summer even if you can't afford to get on a plane and fly off to another country for a vacation.

Stop complaining and create your own fun! With a little advanced planning and organizing you can have a great summer!

Enjoy !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 11, 2011

Multi-Tasking - Is is Productive ?

A lot of people think that they are more productive when they "multi-task". But are they really?

What exactly is "multi-tasking"? It is "doing more than one thing at a time". Sounds like an easy explanation. But it's not that straight forward.

Most people think of multi-tasking as doing something like driving a car and talking on the phone at the same time. Sounds like a productive thing to do. But it's dangerous. Which is why a lot of cities are making it illegal to talk on your cell phone while you drive. You can't pay attention to the road and all of the other drivers while you hold a conversation with someone else. At least not if you expect to be totally involved in that conversation.

How can you make important business decisions or give legal or medical advice when you are trying to watch the road?

The answer is " you can't ".

In this example, multi-tasking can be fatal.

But doing the laundry and watching T.V. are also examples of multi-tasking. And in this example it's O.K. to throw in a load of laundry and go back to your favorite T.V. show.

Or reading a book or checking your email while you are waiting at the car dealership to have your car worked on.

Or planning your day while you are on hold on the phone.

There are "active" and "inactive" types of multi-tasking. "Safe" and "dangerous".

If you need to have your mind present while you are doing an activity you cannot do more than one thing at a time. Because if you do you will not be productive at either task.

The time it takes you to move from one task back to another overrides the effectiveness of "multi-tasking".

It might seem like you are accomplishing more by trying to do two things at once, but you really aren't.

Being productive does not mean doing everything at the same time. It means planning your activities so that everything gets done and gets done well. Cramming a lot of things into your day does not mean that you are organized or productive.

You have to pick and choose what you can accomplish in a day. Be realistic. If something needs your undivided attention give it the time it needs. You will accomplish more by doing less in a day.

Being productive and being organized go hand in hand. Just be aware of what you can and cannot do at the same time. For safety reasons as well as for productivity reasons.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 4, 2011

Organizing to Leave for a Vacation

It's almost time for your vacation and you are already thinking about what to pack and what you are going to do when you get there. But have you thought about what you are going to come home to?

The reality is that coming home from a vacation is almost more stressful than leaving for one. You will have piles of laundry, mail, messages and a dirty house. Makes you not want to come home!

Before you leave for your vacation there are some things that you can do to make coming home more pleasant.

* Leave your house clean. I know that getting ready for a vacation isn't always easy and if you work full time you probably won't think about cleaning your house before you leave because you have too many things to do to get ready for the vacation. But, if you give your house a quick clean before you leave (put fresh sheets on the bed, vacuum, dust, start the dishwasher before you leave....) you will be much happier when you return. You will be walking into a clean house instead of a whirlwind of a disaster. And having fresh sheets on the bed when you are too tired from traveling to do it when you come home is worth the few minutes it takes to do it before you leave.

* Have a neighbor or friend stock your fridge with a few simple ingredients so that you have something to eat when you get home and before you have a chance to get to the grocery store. Some bread, lunch meat, eggs, milk .... will hold you over until you get a chance to get to the store. It's a small thing that really makes a difference. And I always appreciate my sister doing that for me.

* Get someone to cut your lawn and take care of your yard while you are gone. You don't want to come home to an overgrown yard.

* Make sure that your mail is stopped before you leave for your vacation.

* Change your email to say "on vacation" so that people will know that you are not avoiding them.

* Make a copy of your credit card numbers and leave a copy with someone you trust in case you lose your credit cards.

* Make sure that you leave your contact information and itinerary with someone you trust in case of emergency.

Thinking about what you will come home to when you are planning a vacation isn't a top priority for most people, but a little planning ahead will take the stress out of coming home.

Now go and enjoy your vacation !

Organizational Consulting Services

Fourth of July

Wishing you all a safe and Happy 4 th of July !

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Parties - More Organized & Less Stress

It's summer. Time for parties and picnics. So make your life easier by keeping things simple and keeping things organized.

Spending time with family and friends should be easy. But a lot of people get stressed out when they think about entertaining. That's not how it's supposed to be. You can make entertaining more enjoyable by having things planned out and organized ahead of time.

* Step back and look at the big picture. Keep things simple.
* Decide on how many picnics, BBQ's and parties you will probably have this summer.
* Use paper plates and plastic utensils. Buy enough at the beginning of the summer to keep you stocked throughout the summer.
* Buy all of your beverages (pop and such....) ahead of time so it's always on hand.
* You can also buy any canned items or other munchies (chips, pretzels....) that are on sale.
* Plan simple meals. It's about being with family and friends, not impressing people.
* If you are having friends over let them bring a side dish or dessert so that you don't have to do it all.
* For a BBQ, buy some pre-made side dishes and just BBQ your favorite meat. There is no rule of entertaining that says that you have to make all the food.
* Don't feel that you have to "entertain" your's just about being together.
* Relax and enjoy yourself. It's not like on T.V. No one is going to judge you on how well you entertain.

For spur of the moment picnics:

* Keep a basket / bag filled with picnic essentials. Paper plates, cups, napkins, silverware, plastic bags for garbage.
* Keep a blanket in your car at all times for impromptu picnics or an evening at the beach.
* Pick up sandwiches and drinks at a grocery store on your way to the park or beach.
* Enjoy an hour or two at the beach / park at any time.

By planning ahead you will be able to enjoy the summer and have more time to relax with your friends.

Entertaining doesn't have to be nor should it be stressful. By planning ahead you too will be able to enjoy your summer.

Happy entertaining !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Cost of Disorganization

A lot of people don't realize that being "disorganized" costs them money. A lot of money.

Being organized is not only about everything "having a place" and "being in its' place", it's also a way of life.

When you are organized things run smoother. You know where everything is. You aren't searching for things. You get to work on time because your briefcase and keys are where they are supposed to be and you have left plenty of time for unexpected emergencies, like traffic jams.

But, when you are not organized you tend to be frantic. You are constantly searching for missing items. You then go to the store to buy items that you don't think you have. But then, someday, you run across that missing item. So you have just spent money on something that you really didn't need, because you really did have it.

If you do simple things like "put like items with like items" you will always know where things are. If you simply hang all of your "blue shirts" together you can easily find them when you need them. You will also be able to tell at a glance that you don't have a "blue shirt" when you need it.

By putting all of your "like" canned goods together you know exactly how many cans of "baked beans" you have, instead of buying more cans of things that you don't really need.

Constantly buying things that you really don't need because you already have it is just one "cost of disorganization".

Being late for work or a meeting and getting fired is another.

Not turning in a report at school and getting a failing grade is another.

Disorganization disrupts your life. It causes stress.

Take ten or fifteen minutes a day and get yourself organized.

You will feel better. Really you will.

Remember: Less Clutter = Less Stress .... in your Home, your Business and your Life

Organizational Consulting Services

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Wishing all of the Fathers' a very Happy Father's Day !

Monday, June 13, 2011

De-Cluttering for a Move

Moving is not fun. Planning for a move is not fun. De-cluttering for a move is not fun.

But... sometimes it has to be done. Even a Professional Organizer will want to pull their hair out during a move. Especially when it's not done their way.

If you know that you will be moving you should immediately start the de-cluttering, purging process. It will make your move much easier. And much lighter. Which in turn will be much less expensive. Because most moving companies charge by truck weight.

I have done many move unpacks for clients that have just moved into town and I am always amazed at the things they decide to move. Old, worn out things. Things that should have been left behind. Because when you are moving it might be the only time that you really think about how often you have actually used the item.

If you know that you are moving ahead of time start going through your house and get rid of things that you have never used, aren't using, things that are old or worn out. Now is the time. Not after you move. If your washer and dryer are 15 years old why move them? It will be cheaper to buy new, more efficient appliances once you move and you will also save money by not paying to move them.

Go through your clothes and get rid of everything that you have not worn in a long time or is out of style. You may not have ever gone through your closet before this but now is the time. Why move things that you will not wear? If you are moving to a warmer climate and won't need those 25 sweaters...donate them. That goes for the snow ski's that you won't need in Miami. Of the treadmill that you have never used.

Get rid of everything that you can before your move. It will feel good! Really it will. You will wonder why you didn't do it sooner. And be sure to keep track of everything that you donate so that you can take a tax deduction.

Moving is a stressful endeavor. Try to make it less so by purging before you even think about packing.

Remember: Less Clutter = Less Stress .... in your Home, your Business and your Life

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chronic Disorganization in Families

I have been getting a lot of calls from people lately telling me that they have a family member that is disorganized and that it is affecting the entire family.

They are frustrated and feel helpless. They don't know what to do or where to start. They want their home and their life to be "normal". They don't want to live in chaos.

But the family member thinks that they don't have a problem. Or the family member thinks that the person with the chronic disorganization issues could change if they wanted to and they are just lazy. Or the family member thinks that if the other people in the house would just get rid of the "clutter" then everything will be "all right".

None of those are true. Chronic Disorganization is a serious issue. It obviously affects the entire family or their would not be arguments and I would not hear from people complaining about their families.

Being disorganized affects not only the disorganized person but also everyone around them (family and co-workers). Unless you live alone it's not only one persons problem but it's a family problem. And the entire family has to be on the same page as how to fix (or try to start fixing) the problem.

It's not easy. The first step is to admit that there is a problem. Yes, it's just like all of those other "programs". You have to admit there is a problem. Sometimes there even needs to be an intervention.

As a Professional Organizer it is very hard to work with one person in a family if the other family members (or spouse) objects to the organizer being there. If they put the other person down or are negative (to the family member or organizer) then it makes the process of organizing or teaching organizational skills or making changes in the home almost impossible.

If chronic disorganization affects your life to the point where you are miserable or you are making your family miserable ...then it's time to take the first step in getting help. Whether it's working with a Professional Organizer or seeing a need to be comfortable in taking that first step.

Chronic Disorganization is a complicated issue. Once you understand that and are ready to learn how to get your life and home back on track you will be much happier.

A Professional Organizer does not judge. They will teach you skills that you can use for the rest of your life. They are supportive and caring. They understand that not everyone can be as organized as they are and they will not expect you to be. They will help get you to an organized place that you are comfortable in. They will help you set up systems that you can maintain. Because if it's too complicated and you cannot maintain it then you will be right back where you started.

Take things one step at a time. Decide that you or your family need help and direction and take the course that's right for you. With the right person.

Chronic Disorganization does not have to own you.

Organizational Consulting Services

Sunday, June 5, 2011

World Environment Day

Clutter, stuff, garbage.... all of it ends up taking up space in our world.

Please try and remember the environment on World Environment Day and pledge to make the world a better place by Reducing, Reusing and Recycling.

Educate yourself on green and/or natural cleansers that don't pollute the earth and are healthier for you.

Be realistic about your needs and your consumption of products.

Our world will only last as long as we let it. Think before you buy products that you don't need and will clutter up our world. We want our world to last....we want our world to be healthy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Business - Organizing Your Schedule and Paperwork

Small businesses are crucial to the economy and we like to use and support small businesses and neighborhood businesses as much as we can. And for the most part we always get better and more personalized service when working with a local business.

But sometimes we are disappointed because the business "forgets" to return our calls or "forgets" to come out and provide the service we requested on the day they arranged to come out. Most often the business will apologize and they will come up with some excuse. The problem is that the excuse shows how unprofessional they are and how unorganized they are.

Having run a number of small businesses my first priority was always to create the feeling of a bigger company. At least in the eyes of the client. Some clients don't trust that a person that runs a business out of an office in their home will be "professional" or "experienced" enough for them. One has nothing to do with the other. Today many businesses are run out of home offices to save money and for convenience and life style choices.

One of the first accounting firms that I did business with had their office in the basement of their home. But once you got into their basement office you would have thought that you were in a high class accounting firm. The office had the highest quality equipment and beautiful furniture. But they saved money by not pay thousands of dollars a month in rent and therefore passed that on to their clients.

Having forms that are professional where you can capture client information is crucial. Not only does it present a professional image but it also allows you to capture the needed information without forgetting anything. Even if you are a roofer or plumber you need to present a professional image when it comes to paperwork.

Writing quotes down on a scrap of paper does not present a professional image and chances are you will lose that scrap of paper.

Which is what happened to one of the plumbers we tried to do business with. He lost the order...somewhere..... He couldn't find our contact information and didn't call us.

Having a filing system and logging phone messages and client schedules is crucial to a small business. Being organized in a small business is even more important than in a larger company because the smaller business depends on client referrals more than a larger company that has a big advertising budget.

By having systems in place to capture client information and having a process in place to follow-up on that information you will save time and your clients will be happier when they get the service they need on the day they need it.

Being organized in business is crucial. Start today. Step back and take a look at your business and see how you can improve and make your clients happier. You won't be disappointed in the end result.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ready For Change

Change is hard. Believe me, I know. I don’t like change. I like things the way I like things. And even though I know that some changes are good for me it sometimes takes me a while to warm up to the idea and make that commitment to the change.

So I really do understand my clients’ fear of change and their hesitation in getting started in any new project. 

When a client initially contacts me they are usually at a point where they feel they need to make a change. They are tired of their disorganized home, office or life and want to be free of the clutter. They want a more organized life. They want to be able to have people come to their home without being embarrassed by the clutter. They want to be able to juggle their busy life without feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. They are ready for change.

Or so they think.

What happens most of the time after the initial phone conversation about the change that they are about to undertake is that they panic. Their mind starts going over all of the things that a change means and they get scared. Scared of change. And they step back and decide they are not ready to let someone else into their lives to help them make that change. 

And that’s O.K. Really it is. A person has to be ready for change. And when they are ready they will let you know. 

I get a lot of calls from family members saying that their mother or sister has severe chronic disorganization or hoarding problems and they want them to get help. And I when I tell them that the person must be ready for the change or it won’t work, they are not happy. But you can’t force change on a person. Any type of change. It won’t work.

The person might even initially agree to work with me and then back out at the last minute when they feel that their family member was forcing them to do something that they did not want to do.
You can’t force change on someone. You can plant the idea. You can be supportive. But you can’t make a person change.

A hard lesson to learn.

So when they are ready I will be too.

Remember: Less Clutter = Less Stress SM in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Summer Schedules

Summer can be a fun time or a stressful time. For kids it's fun. For parents, especially parents that work and have kids it's not so much fun. With younger kids it's easy. There are a lot of different activities that the kids can go to and keep them busy and out of trouble. For kids that are over ten (10) there aren't many group activities and even though most ten year olds think they are "grown up", leaving a ten year old home alone all summer long never made me feel comfortable. A lot of people don't have the luxury of having family around to watch the kids or have the money for expensive "summer camps". So what is a parent to do?

Sit down with your kids and make a very detailed summer schedule. Plan your activities ...even things such as going to the library. Knowing exactly where your kids are will make you feel more secure.

If you have the flexibility of taking your kids to work, even for a few days over the summer, it's a great learning experience for them. And you can also get a lot of things done at your office that you never had time for, like organizing your stock room or office, putting together brochures or mailings or any variety of things.

If you can spread your vacation days out and take one day off a week you can plan mini vacations to the beach or the park for some "family time". Inexpensive and relaxing.

You can also offer to take your friends kids with you on these "outings" and they in turn can take your kids on their outings. This gives the kids fun things to look forward to and you not feeling guilty that you aren't taking them on a summer vacation or leaving them home alone bored all summer.

By making the kids responsible for coming up with ideas for their summer schedule you let them have some input into their summer and you teach them responsibility and scheduling.

Coordinating a successful summer for kids isn't easy. But by planning ahead and being organized you will be more relaxed and your kids have a lot of activities to look forward.

Have a fun and safe summer.....

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mother's Day

Wishing all of the Mothers the very Happiest Mother's Day !

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The End of the School Year

It's that time of year again. The end of the school year. An exciting time for kids but maybe not as much for parents. Along with having to re-arrange your schedule and come up with summer activities you also have to deal with all of the "stuff" that your kids bring home from school.

Projects, books, tons of papers and maybe even the tupperware that you were missing. So what are you going to do with all of that "stuff" ? Besides let it sit in the hallway for most of the summer?

Now is the time to start thinking about it. As soon as your kids come home from school (grade school, high school or even college) make them responsible for putting their things away. Go through their backpacks and throw out all of the "garbage" (you all know what I'm talking about). Take back your tupperware. Go through the clothes they bring home and donate the things that don't fit any longer or throw out the things that are beyond repair.

Keep a "few" of the special pictures that your kids made for you (take a digital picture of the rest) and toss the rest (you don't have the space to keep every single thing they made...really you don't).

If you have leftover school supplies make sure they are still good and that you will need them for the next school year. If your kids won't be able to use them give them to a parent that can or donate them.

By immediately dealing all of the things that the kids bring home from school you will not have to trip over it all summer and you can start your summer vacation with one less thing to worry about.

Have a great summer.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, May 9, 2011

Protecting Your Privacy - Identity Theft

Life is very complicated these days. We are inundated with so much mail....most of it unwanted. Credit card offers arrive on a daily basis for most of us. And most people just toss them right into the garbage. A very dangerous mistake.

As organizers we tell our clients to "open the mail next to the garbage can and throw the junk mail immediately away" . This is usually to prevent it from being piled on a table creating a mess. BUT, we also need to be very careful about what we are throwing away. Anything that has identifying information, such as your name, address, social security number, birth date should be shredded.

Identity theft is rampant and can cause a lot of damage. Damage that can take years and thousands of dollars to undo. The aggravation and emotional toll that it can have on you far outweighs the small amount of time it takes to shred anything with identifying information.

Get into the habit of putting anything with identifying information into a "shred box" and then shredding the information on a consistent basis.

Also, start paying attention to who is asking for your identifying information. Don't give out your social security number and birth date to everyone that asks for it. Just say "no". These days you can't get a quote for anything or any type of service without giving up this information....but that just opens you up to the possibility of identity theft. Keep a list of the places where you give out this information.

Protect yourself. Protect your identity.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, May 2, 2011

Organized and Clean - What's the Difference

A lot of people have this misconception that being organized and being clean is the same thing. It's not. You can have a clean house that is a cluttered mess. Or you can have an organized house that is filthy and dusty. One does not necessarily have to do with the other.

Organization is a state of mind. It's subjective. What's organized by some people's standards isn't necessarily organized by others.

But dirt. It's sort of black and white. Mostly black. I'm sure that you have all seen the old fashioned white glove test. You can't argue with black dirt on a white glove.

Just because a space is organized doesn't mean it's clean. When you are sitting at a desk and you are wheezing because of all the dust bunnies on and under the desk...chances are it is not clean.

But when you get a manager that says "well, no one else has complained" ....obviously it must be clean and you are just too picky. Right? WRONG !

I'm sure that you have all seen the "Hoarders" shows. Those people live in their homes and they don't complain. So does that make it o.k. ? No, is the correct answer.

Just because everyone around you doesn't complain doesn't mean your office space is clean. It just means that they don't mind living and working in a dirty environment. That doesn't mean that you have to. And your manager should be ashamed of himself for subjecting you to a dirty working environment and for making you feel like you are the one that has the problem for speaking up.

It sort of reminds me of the story "The Emperor's Clothes". Everyone just went along with the program and no one wanted to rock the boat. Until a new person came to the palace and said "no, don't see the clothes....he isn't wearing any".

Taking a stand and saying that you want a clean and organized work environment is not easy. Especially when you are made to feel like there is something wrong with you for speaking up. But your health should come first. And people will eventually thank you for speaking up and creating a safer and cleaner work environment.

Remember....being Organized involves being Clean. They are not exclusive.

Organizational Consulting Services

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Wishing you and your family a very happy Easter !

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Difference Between Chronic Disorganization and Hoarding

Hoarding is a hot topic. But a lot of people confuse clutter and disorganization with hoarding. I‘ve had some clients think they were hoarders when in reality they just had a cluttered and disorganized house.

So what is the difference? 

According to the dictionary, clutter is a “confused or disorganized state or collection”. 

A confused state? Yes, you can have clutter of the mind. But most people think of clutter as just “stuff”. A collection of random objects scattered all over the place. That’s a nice and simple definition. It could just be that you hadn’t bothered to pick up after yourself and have stuff everywhere. 

Then we get to a more serious and a more cluttered situation and we could end up with chronic disorganization.

Chronic Disorganization also has a definition:
  • Chronic disorganization is having a past history of disorganization in which self-help efforts to change have failed
  • an undermining of current quality of life due to disorganization
  • the expectation of future disorganization.
This means that you have been disorganized for many years. And it has started to affect your quality of life. You can’t find things. You are constantly late because you can’t find things. You are embarrassed by your mess. It’s a little more than just basic clutter.

A person can be organized in one area of his life but not in another. They can be organized at work but be disorganized at home. They can be organized by how they manage their time but not with how they manage their stuff.

Then we go up another level and get to “hoarding”.

What exactly is “hoarding”? According to “Frost & Hartl’s (’96) definition of clinical hoarding:
1) the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
2) living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designated
3) significant distress of impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding

Some people have an obsessive need to acquire things. They tend to develop an emotional attachment to things that many of us would consider trash.

Family and friends of hoarders don’t always understand that “hoarding” is an “illness” and that the hoarder needs professional help. They sometimes feel that by just going in and cleaning out the house (sometimes even when the hoarder doesn’t know that they are going to do it) that everything will be “o.k.”. Once the mess is gone. Problem solved. But that can actually make it worse.

Hoarding is a complex issue. An issue that not even the mental health community can agree on. An issue that there might not be a cure for.

It’s a problem that many people won’t admit they have and one that might cost them their family or even their life.

A problem that is more common than you think.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, April 11, 2011


When you walk into a business that is organized and clutter free you have confidence that the person that runs the business knows what they are doing and are successful.

When you walk into a home that is organized and clutter free you feel a sense of calm and are happy to be there.

De-cluttering your home and your business is important because it allows you to function better, be more efficient and saves you time and money, but it also makes other people feel better and makes them want to associate with you.

If your business is cluttered or disorganized people will not want to do business with you. If your home is cluttered and disorganized you might be too embarrassed to have people over to your house, thus creating social isolation.

But there is also something called life clutter”. You have too many things that take up time in your life. Too many activities. Either in your job or in your personal life. You are pulled in too many directions. But you can’t seem to let anything go.

Life clutter can be things such as being involved in too many business groups or too many extracurricular activities (yours and your kids). Yes, there are some business functions that you have to go to, but how many is too many? Are they taking away from your family? Will missing an after hours business function really hurt you? It can feel like that when you are young and just starting out, but as you get older you realize that family is more important and kids grow up too quickly.

What about kid’s activities? How many sports and other activities (piano lessons, swimming lessons, karate lessons….) does one child actually need? Or want? Do they want them or are you pushing them on your children because you didn’t get to do them as a child? Be honest.

If you never have time for your family and friends then your life is too cluttered. Friends are like the plants in your yard. They need to be nurtured. Take the time to nurture your relationships.

Decide what’s really important and let the rest go. Get rid of the life clutter and start living your life.

Organizational Consulting Services