Monday, December 31, 2012

Organizing for the New Year

It's New Years Eve....and tomorrow is the start of the New Year!  It's the day that everyone makes New Years Resolutions.....  What is yours going to be?

Why don't you start the new year off right by promising to try and GET ORGANIZED.  The key word is try.  Make a real effort... to at least think about it.

Don't make big promises that you can't or won't keep. Don't say that you are going to organize your entire house....when you probably won't.  Make a commitment to think about changing your life by becoming more organized.

One step at a time.......   You can't rush organization.  You can't change your habits in one hour or one day. It takes time.

Making a commitment is scary to a lot of people.  But once you do....and once you start the actually organizing process..... you will wonder why you waited so long.

And it is a "process".  Having an organizing coach....a Professional Organizer.... just like your workout coach.... will help keep you focused and going in the right direction.

So..... make a plan. Any plan. How about "organizing your office".  Or "organizing your kitchen".

Break it down into manageable pieces. One drawer at a time. One hour at a time.

Once you have accomplished one task and can physically see the will be inspired to continue.

So make that New Years GET ORGANIZED !

Wishing you a very Happy and ORGANIZED New Year !

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. May your day be filled with joy and happiness.

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas Eve - Time to Reflect on Family

It's Christmas Eve....and most of us are done with our shopping and ready for Santa. But for those of you that aren't ....don't stress....just try to be a bit more organized next year.

The holidays are not about presents. They are about family. The best present that you can give anyone is "yourself".

Time is a precious thing. It goes too quickly and there is never enough of it.

Picking up the phone and calling your loved ones....a real phone call...not a text....means more than you will ever know. Hearing a loved ones voice. Hearing the caring and knowing that you are a precious thing.

Reach out to your friends and family during the holidays. Let them know that you have not forgotten them. In this busy time where we are all working, struggling to make ends meet...the gift of yourself is more precious than anything that you can wrap up.

Wishing all of you a very HAPPY HOLIDAY and a more ORGANIZED NEW YEAR !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, December 17, 2012

De-Clutter For the Holidays

It's getting close to the end of the year....that means TAX DONATIONS are coming to an end for the year !

In the midst of the Holiday buying craziness you should take a step back and clear out your closets.

There are many reason for this - and de-cluttering your closets and life is not the only one. With Christmas just around the corner I am sure (if you were good) that you will probably get some new clothes and the kids will get new toys.

Do you have room for them?  What about the things you no longer use or need? What about the things that your kids have outgrown?  Including toys.

Now is the time to clean our your closets and cupboards.  Have the kids clean out their toy box (let it be their decision on what toys to donate to other kids).

Not only are you de-cluttering your house - you are also taking advantage of the tax deduction that comes with donating things that you no longer need.

But hurry..... the year is coming to a close and so is your opportunity for last minute deductions.

By de-cluttering and donating you are not only helping others.... you are also helping yourself and hopefully teaching your kids a valuable lesson in giving.

Happy Holidays!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Holidays Are Getting Closer....

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 2013 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 to get the some 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't realistically get done 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.

For more great organizing ideas during the Holidays >>>>

Re-read:  Holiday Gift Ideas.... or Dont's

Re-read:  Planning Ahead for the Holidays

Re-read: Organizing Your Closets for Christmas

Happy Holidays!

Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Growing up German, St. Nicholas Day was a very big deal for us. And still is. A boot is put outside the door on the night of the 5 th of December. St. Nicholas fills the boot with candy, chocolate and small gifts. As kids we liked to use my Dad's shoes because they were obviously bigger, which meant more candy! In the morning we would race to see what St. Nicholas brought us.

To me St. Nicholas Day is super special. It reminds me of my heritage. It is also the start of the Christmas season.

I want to wish all of you a very HAPPY ST. NICHOLAS DAY !!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Shopping for the Holidays - Do you have a Budget ?

 The holidays are here in full swing. Everyone is having a sale. There are bargains to be had everywhere.

Are you getting carried away?  Are you over-buying?  Just because it's on sale?

Come on.... be honest. It's hard not to get caught up in the shopping frenzy.

But....there will be a post-holiday letdown. It's called "getting your credit card bill"!

So take a step back. Find a quiet place - I mean away from the mall!  Sit down and take a realistic look at your finances.

Christmas is a time for family and friends. A time for giving of your "time" -  not necessarily spending money. Especially if you really don't have the money to spare. The economy is bad and everyone understands that.

So be realistic about the amount of money that you can actually spend on "gifts".

Set a "per person" budget. Also set a "holiday budget". That would include gifts and all the extra's that go with it (wrapping paper, cards, going out to parties....).

Think about the person when you are buying your gift. Will they really like it? Can they really use it? Remember, don't just buy a gift that you will like, buy one that they will like.  There is a big difference. And it's take a lot more time to find the perfect gift for each person. If you just buy a gift so that you can say that you gave them something - it will most certainly end up in the "clutter pile" and they will never use it.

Leave yourself plenty of time to find your gifts. Don't wait until the last minute. You will feel stressed and end up buying whatever is in front of you instead of what you really wanted.

Being organized for the holidays take a bit of planning. But if you plan things out and think of them ahead of time you will feel less stressed and you will be able to save money by buying only what you need.

Remember, don't just buy a gift because you feel that you "have" to. You should only buy gifts because you "want" to.

Stick to your budget and you won't feel the "after holiday shock" come January.

Happy Shopping...... and a Happy Holiday Season !

Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Wishing you and your family a HAPPY THANKSGIVING !

Monday, November 19, 2012

Traveling for the Holidays

A lot of people will be traveling for the Holiday. Take the stress out of trip by being organized ahead of time.

Make a list of things to take so that you don't have to think about it as you pack. Make sure that you put clothes and personal items on the list. Don't forget coats, gloves, scarves. Remember to put any medication that you need on the list. Don't forget your glasses or your phone charger. Two things that you really don't want to be without.

It might sound silly to put all of these things down on paper but if you are leaving right after work you will be pressed for time and can easily forget things.

Make sure that your car is ready and gassed up at least a few days before you leave. Don't forget to check your wiper fluid and make sure that you have a snow brush in your car and that your tires are fully inflated.

Depending on the length of your trip you might want to have snacks with you (especially if you are traveling with children). And also toys and books to keep the children occupied.

Why constantly re-create these lists.....  do it once and you will always have it handy. You can tweak it after every trip and make your travels go much smoother.

Happy Traveling...... and a Happy Holiday !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, November 12, 2012

Emergencies Happen - Are You Ready

Most people thing that "disasters" only happen to other people.  Mostly people that live near the ocean.  The East Coast just got hit with a major disaster. Most of the people probably weren't as prepared as they should have been.

Disaster can and usually does strike when we are the least prepared. So what can or should we do about it?

We need to get away from the "it won't happen to us" mentality.  Even if you don't live near the ocean disaster can strike. The west gets their share of wildfires.  The mid-west gets tornadoes. Disasters take all kinds of shapes.

But the bottom line is.... "Are You Prepared"?

Do you have supplies and more importantly "personal information" ready?  Information such as your birth certificate and other identifying information, insurance information, bank information, contact information for family and friends.... 

Cash - because if the electricity is out your credit cards won't do you any good.

Gas for your car.  Extra food and water to last you a while. Medication. Clothes.

There are a lot of things to think about. Don't wait. Start putting together an "emergency plan" today.

Just in case. Be prepared.

For more information re-read   "Disaster - Emergencies and Everything In Between"

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving - Organized and Stress Free - Yes, It is Possible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A good way to keep the stress levels down is to divide and conquer.  Enlist your family for help. Don’t take “no” for an answer. This is your holiday too and you have a right to enjoy it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving Day:
* Wake up early so that you can have some “you” time to have coffee and relax before
the day starts (it will get stressful enough later, so the morning might be the only time you have)
* Read over your lists and timetable
* Gather all of your food and cooking utensils, pots and pans ....
* Measure out everything that you can ahead of time and set it aside
* Follow your time table and start making the food according to the schedule
* Once the food comes out of the oven let it rest a while (you can cover it with foil)
* 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, October 29, 2012

Are You Ready for Winter ?

 It's getting colder! We've even had snow. Are you ready?

There are a number of things that you need to do to get organized and ready for winter. Starting with your car.

Do you have your snow brush in your car? How about a snow scrapper?  Are they inside your car? Not in your trunk.

 A shovel for digging yourself out when you get stuck?

How about a blanket - just in case.
Extra gloves?  A hat?

A flashlight for flagging down help?

What about a bag of sand (or whatever your city allows) for putting under your tires for extra traction when you are stuck.

And don't forget some snacks for the kids if you have to wait for a tow truck for hours.

It might sound silly or depending on where you live it could be just common sense. But people tend to forget that they need to be organized for emergencies.

Unfortunately emergencies aren't usually written on your calendar....they just happen.

So be prepared - have extra supplies in your car..... just in case!

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time and Priorities

Time is something that we can't control.  I know.  I've tried.  I keep saying "if only I had a few more hours in the day....".

But, then what? You could cram more things into your life?  Step back and take a look at what's important. Do you really have to do all of the things that you try to do? Really?  Are you being honest with yourself?  Or are you just trying to impress all of the people around you with how much you can cram into your day and your life?

I remember when the kids were little and one of my neighbors had her kids in gymnastics, ballet, basketball, piano lessons.....and on and on.  I was exhausted just listening to her. I know that they didn't really have the money for all of the activities but it seemed like it was "expected" of the parents. Give the kids everything. But at what price?

Doing too much costs you time, money and your sanity.  Let's be honest!

Kids get tired just like adults. They need "down time". They should be allowed to run outside and play, without being dragged from one "activity" to the next.

And adults...... same thing goes for you. Are you involved in too many activities that you don't have enough time for yourself?  Or your family?

Are you on too many committees and trying to impress too many people with how busy and exhausted you are?

Step back and re-think your priorities. Family should come first. That doesn't mean that you drag them to every possible event. It means that you give them your time. Your undivided attention. That is more precious than everything else in their life.

Time.....   It goes by too quickly!

Re-examine your priorities.  Yes, you can have activities.....but don't go overboard. Do what feels right for you.... not everyone else.  You don't need to impress your neighbors with how busy you are.

Have a great week and remember.....   Less Clutter in your Life makes for a happier you !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 15, 2012

Too Much Technology and Disorganization

Everyone thinks that all of the Technology that is available today is great. We are connected 24/7.  We are never out of touch. We don’t miss a thing!

That’s great…. Isn’t it ?

The answer is …. “No, it’s not great”. 

Being connected and in touch 24/7 might be required if you are an executive or in the medical field. But for most people it is not a requirement. So why does everyone feel that they can’t be out of touch for even an hour?  Because we are being told we can’t be.

Being in touch, strapped to your phone or computer 24/7 does not mean that you get more work done. Multi-tasking is a myth. Most people really can’t multi-task. At least not with any accuracy. When you are going from one task to the next there is “lag time” in your brain when you are finishing one task and going back to your other task. Therefore, you are not really saving any time by doing two or three or four things at once because your brain has to "stop" and "re-focus" on the task that you are picking up and continuing with.

It might seem that you are getting more things done, but you really aren't. And if you do manage to do multiple thing at once.....are they really being done "well" ?

In order to do your best work you really have to concentrate / focus on one thing at a time. That might not be what everyone wants to hear because people want to believe they are being more productive doing multiple things....but they really aren't.

It's like trying to have a conversation on the phone and having your kids talk to you at the same time. You really can't have two conversations at once, even if you are answering your children's questions, because you are missing what the person on the phone is saying.

You might be able to fold your clothes and watch T.V. at the same time....but double check that you put the right socks together. You never know!

Doing too many things at once, being connected 24/ your brain and your body no time to rejuvenated itself. You, your brain and your body need rest. Peace and quiet. Otherwise you can make mistakes that are costly.

With no "down time" you can feel stressed and disorganized. Disorganization causes stress. Stress causes a multitude of emotional, psychological and physical symptoms.

Turn off your phone and your computer. Unplug. Take a walk. Breathe some fresh air. Get rejuvenated.

Life is more than technology. Turn off your phone for an hour and you will realize that the world won't stop.

Now go talk a walk!

Organizational Consulting Services


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Holidays Are Coming

They come at the same time every year...but the holidays always seem to be a surprise for many people.

They get overwhelmed with all of the advertising and commercialism and total chaos at the stores.

The sad part is that even though we have a number of holidays before Christmas the pressure is already on to start buying all of the Christmas decorations and presents and those other holidays just fall by the wayside.

Take a deep breath, step back and concentrate on one holiday at a time. Enjoy each one. Don't let the commercialism spoil those other holidays.

Yes, the holidays are a stressful time....because of every one's expectation of television holiday perfection.

But you should make the holidays be what you want .... simple and real always wins over the commercial stress that we have come to expect.

Plan for one holiday at a time. I know it's not easy when you are trying to find Halloween costumes and Christmas ornaments are in your way.

Know that your stress will probably start to rise in the next few weeks. Start planning some "quiet" time to decompress in between the craziness. Even if you just take an hour to sit down at the mall, have some coffee and watch all of the people scurrying slowing down and forcing yourself to take some time to will become calmer and less stressed.

It know that it's not easy to take that time... most people don't think they have it... but if you let the stress build you will eventually stop functioning at all.

Now....take a deep breath and try to enjoy the start of the holiday season.  One holiday at a time.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, October 1, 2012

Raising Organized Kids

School is now well underway. Everyone is getting settled into their daily routine.

The question now is "Do you have a calm and stress free routine ?".  If not, why not? The answer is probably because things are not as organized as they could be.

Kids are never too young to start learning how to be organized. Kids as young as three can be taught how to put their toys away.

School age children should have a daily routine. Everything from getting up in the morning, getting dressed themselves, making their beds and getting their backpacks all ready for school. This includes making sure they have their lunches!

By making kids responsible for themselves they can start learning organizational skills. It also helps takes the pressure off of the parents.

Even though as a parent you might want to do everything for your would be doing them a disservice if you did. Don't you want your child to marry someone that can take care of themselves? Someone that helps around the house?

By teaching your kids some basic skills when they are young you are setting them up for success!

Kids love to learn new things. They love to think that they are in charge. Let them charge of themselves!

As a parent your job is to give the kids tools they can use in everyday life. Being organized is a crucial tool.

Parents, especially single parents, need all of the help they can get. Teach your child to be self sufficient and you too will reap the rewards.

And don't use the excuse "I am not an organized person myself".  I have a lot of clients that aren't organized themselves....but they know the right people to teach their kids various skills.

If you can give your child piano or gymnastics lessons.... you can give them "organizing lessons".  It's something they will use forever. Not that being able to do a cartwheel isn't important!

By starting young and having expectations from your children you are helping them be a better person. Their teachers, bosses and future spouses will "Thank You"!

Start Today..... Raise an Organized Child

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, September 24, 2012

Love It or List It

If you have ever seen the show  "Love It or List It"  you can appreciate the  "idea" behind the title. Two realtors try to make a couple choose whether they can re-design their house to make it work for the couple - or list it for sale.

The idea can be used when it comes to organizing your home.  If you feel that your home is not functioning the way that you need then you should make some changes.

Pick a room.  Any room. It's just a place to start. Look at the things in the room. One piece at a time. Decide if you "love it" or if you want to get rid of it "list it" (on Craigslist or ebay...).

Don't keep things just because you've had them a long time or someone that you care about gave them to you. Your tastes and mood can change over the years.  Don't let yourself get stuck in a rut.  Don't feel that you have to keep things forever.

People "downsize"  or  "right size" at various points in their life. If the furniture or decorations or size of the home don't fit your lifestyle any longer .... make a change.

Don't feel forced to be stuck with things that you no longer care about.

It's time to play "Love It or List It".

Go ahead.....You can do it !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, September 17, 2012

Using Time Wisely

Everyone is so busy these days it's hard to fit everything into each day. But some people are busier than others. Or so it seems because they run around like chickens with their heads cut off.  A lot of people make fun of people that plan their day (work or pleasure). But if you plan ahead you might not only get more work done but you will also get it done without the stress of being disorganized.

Yes, there is a common thread in disorganization. That is "stress". If you miss deadlines or are late for a meeting you have to admit that you get stressed. Organizing your time with alleviate that stress.

By planning your day ahead of time.... by having an "end goal".... you are doing more than just  "random stuff".   You are accomplishing something.  Even if you think that you can do everything that you are supposed to during the day without pre-planning, you are probably not as calm and confidant as those people that plan their day.

By having a plan and knowing what you want to accomplish you will be more focused and have a greater chance of getting everything done. If you have a lot of things that you need to accomplish in a day,  by writing them down, by having a plan - or a checklist - you can follow the plan and check it off as you get each item done (either with paper or on your computer).

Without a list - you will probably forget things and you will not be as focused. By taking the time to plan your day (work or personal) you can accomplish more - with better results.

Take the time now to plan your tomorrow- or you will spend more time tomorrow doing things that could have been done in less time.... and with less stress.

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Organization and Knowing Your Limitations

Being organized is a talent that not everyone has. Luckily it's one of my few talents. I can look at any situation and make it (room, closet or project) better.

But a lot of people just look at a disorganized space and immediately start to hyperventilate.  They shut down, close the door and never look back. I hear that story all of the time. It's normal.

I get that way when someone tells me to draw something.  "Just draw what you see"  they say.  I start to sweat and nothing comes out on my drawing pad.  I can't draw.  Not at all. Not even a straight line. It's a talent I will never have.

So for people that can't organize - it's O.K.  Really, it is.  I know where you are coming from. We all have our talents. That's why there are Professional Organizers around to help you. To give you great advice and ideas and solutions.

Yet a lot of people are too embarrassed to call in a professional.

I guess the reason is because it's a lot more "personal" than calling in a plumber or electrician. People aren't embarrassed to call in those professionals.

And even though a plumber will have an important impact on your home - a Professional Organizer can change your life. They will not only help you with your organizing project - but they should leave you with lessons that you can use in the future.

A more organized home, office or life will drastically change your life.

Not everyone has the talent or time to do everything themselves. It's not a negative thing. Knowing your limitations and using a professional to help you makes you a very wise person.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 27, 2012

Being Organized ... A Work in Progress

Being Organized is not natural for everyone. Being organized is always a  "work in progress".

For some of us it does come naturally and we can't live or work in an unorganized setting. But for most people it's a struggle. So don't feel that you are alone. You're not.

Being organized takes work. It takes planning and commitment. It takes practice.

It is something that can be learned. But it's not easy for most people. As a Professional Organizer I am constantly teaching people ways to simplify and organize their life. But I am also teaching people that everyone has different styles and levels of organization that they need in order to be comfortable.

Not every space has to be perfect. But it has to function for each person. In families, each family member might have a different organizing style. And that's o.k.. In fact, it's quite common. What has to happen is that we have to find a way to organize the family so that everyone is comfortable with the process and that every member of the family can and will follow the plan.

By coming up with solutions for the family as a whole you have a better chance of actually being able to have an organized house. If you only created a system that works for one family member and the other could not or would not follow it then you will have accomplished nothing....because the system would fail within a short period of time.

Being organized is always a work in progress. It needs to be tweaked over time to make it work for your particular needs.

Relax and just go with it........

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moving - Ten Years From Now.....

You have a great house, a great job ... and you have no intention of moving. Ever. Fast forward ten years and all of a sudden your life has changed dramatically. You are offered the job of a lifetime and you are about to move.

Are you prepared?  Most people aren't.

Even if you think that you will never move you should have your household possessions documented with accompaning receipts. You do...don't you?

As an extremely organized person, who never thought I'd move, I wasn't prepared to hand over receipts for things that I had bought ten years earlier. For insurance purposes to the moving company who lost a lot of our possessions. Why keep receipts for furniture, decorations, things that could never be replaced?

The answer is .... because if you don't have them the moving company will not give you anywhere close to what the items are worth.... even if you have the highest insuranace coverage available.

Moving companies will do anything to avoid reimbursing you for things they lost or damaged. Our experience with Mayflower was beyond horrible. Even though we had witnesses to the abuse of our property by the movers they didn't care.

So even though you might not ever think you will move.... treat your possessions like you might move...someday. 

  • DOCUMENT everything in your home.
  • Keep receipts for your appliances and furniture until you get rid of them.
  • Keep receipts for anything that you value.
One way to do this is to use a binder and divide it into things such as:
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Decorations
  • Equipment

Whenver you buy something, put the receipt in the binder. When you get rid of the item you can get rid of the receipt....but not before.

By keeping all of your receipts you will be one step ahead.... if you ever need to prove the value of your possessions.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 6, 2012

Yes, There Are Good Lists

 I make a lot of lists and yes, my spouse just shakes his head. Making lists helps me to save time and brain power. Why keep re-inventing the wheel?

There are times when making lists makes sense. Like when you are going camping and don't want to forget anything. By having a "camping checklist" I can quickly pull everything together for an impromptu camping excursion. By using my list I don't have to wonder if I forgot anything. I have columns for camping gear, clothes, food and miscellaneous items.

If you have a family you can put each person's name on top of a column and they can check off all of the things that they need to bring. No more "Mom, I forgot my swimsuit".

The lists are on the computer and can easily be changed or updated as needed and printed off right before each trip. It takes the stress out of your "enjoyable" weekend.

Admit it, packing a family up for any trip is not easy and if you forget anything the whining will ruin your "enjoyment". So stop re-inventing the wheel and make a list for activities that you do a lot. Your life will be easier and so what if your spouse thinks you are "too organized".

Whatever makes our life easier will make our families life easier - whether they admit it or not.

Happy Organizing !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 30, 2012

Getting Ready For School

 Summer vacation is not over yet and you want us to think about getting ready for school?

Yes, I do! Why wait until the week before school starts or for some people the day before school starts, to get organzied and ready for school?  Eliminate the stress by planning ahead!

The schools will probably have a supply list out already. School sales start early so take advantage of them. Avoid the crowds of last minute shoppers. Avoid the stress!

If you are just starting to send your kids to school forthe first time you should also think about the end of school - all of the pictures and projects that the kids will be bringing home over the next year. Think about how you want to organize everything and buy the appropriate tools now while you are buying everything else for school. This will save you a lot of time and money later.

There are many different options for organizing your kids papers and projects. A Pendaflex with space for each grade. A 3 ring binder, a file box.... Whatever works for you. By thinking about it ahead of time your year will be a lot smoother.

Clothes:  Your kids will probably have grown over the summer. Go through their closets (yes, again - and tell them to stop growing already!). Make a list of what clothes they have and what clothes you will need to buy. Keep an eye out for the sales, but please don't get carried away!  Buy only what's on your list.

Let the kids help. Tell them to keep an eye out for the sales ans teach them to shop responsibly. It's never too early to start teaching them how to be organized!

Have a great school year !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 23, 2012

Impromptu Picnics

Summer is here and one of the things we love to do is have "impromptu"  picnics. Whenever the mood strikes, a picnic makes you feel like you are on vacation - even if it's only for an hour.

It's easy to do if you have a "picnic basket" all ready to go at all times.

I usually keep a basket filled with paper plates, cups, plastic utensils, napkins, small trash bags and a few other things all ready to go and near my front door. I always have  a few water bottles half filled with water in the freezer and fill them up with water whenever we go on a picnic or hike. By having the water bottles half filled and in the freezer you never have to worry about having ice cubes. I usually have some fresh fruit available and some crackers or snacks  in the cupboard. You can quickly make a couple of sandwiches or pick some up on your way to the park or beach.

Keeping it simple is the key. Picnics are about getting out and enjoying nature and the people you are with.

Picnics should not be a one time only summer event. Have them often and feel your stress dissolve.

By being prepared and being organized you too can enjoy a spur of the moment picnic anytime!

Have a great summer !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Paper Shuffle

 Organizing spaces is easy and fun (well, for some of us).  Paper - not so much. Getting your paperwork and files organized is time consuming and draining (both physically and emotionally). You have to make decisions about every single piece of paper. There can be hundreds of pieces of paper in an inch. Hundreds of decisions that have to be made about what to do with each piece of paper.

Is the piece of paper important?

Do we have to keep it or can we pitch it?

What do we do with it?  File it?  Where?

And so the paper shuffle begins. From one stack to the next. You can't make a decision so you move the paper from one pile to the  "I'll get to it later" pile.

But you never do. And the pile just continues to grow.

So what's the answer?  Well, it all depends on your "style" and the ability to adapt to a new "plan".  A Professional Organizer always takes the clients "style" into consideration when coming up with a solution. There is no "one size fits all" in organizing.

But no matter what the solution is - there is not getting around the fact that you have to "deal with the paper". Go through the process once, come up with a solution and hope that you will "stick with the program".

Coming up with an easy, yes, you will (not "CAN") do it plan is the first step.  By having a system in place the time spent filing your papers into the appropriate and meaningful files will be drastically reduced.

When a bill or some other important piece of paper comes into your home or office, you will immediately be able to put it into its appropriate place instead of just piling it on top of an already ignored "pile of things" to deal with.

By handling each piece of paper only once you will save a lot of time and your desk will be a pleasure to work at instead of somewhere you would rather not be.

Organizing paper takes a lot of  thought and organizational skills. Not everyone has it. So don't be concerned that you are the most disorganized person out there.

You aren't!

Happy Organizing!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 9, 2012

When You Are Ready

So you have decided that you are ready to "Get Organized".  GREAT !

Now what ?

A lot of clients will just start throwing things out at a frantic pace. Everything must go!

It seems to an outsider that they have gone from one extreme to another. Disorganized on Monday to a purging maniac on Tuesday. They go at a frantic pace until finally they crash from exhaustion.

Organization is great. I am all for it, obviously. But you have to have a plan. Any plan. And you have to pace yourself so that you don't get burned out. Otherwise your enthusiasm will go out the window along with your energy.

Slow down! You have waited this long. Step back and come up with a plan. What do you really want your "end result" to be?  Break your "plan" up into manageable sections (hours per day) so that you will want to continue the next day.

Do some things that will produce a "noticeable" result so that you feel like you have made some progress. This will fuel your motivation to continue.

It took you years to get "disorganized". It takes more than a few hours to get your home to look like the cover of a magazine (which is what clients expect).

Be realistic and you won't be disappointed.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, July 2, 2012

What Bothers You ?

A lot of people are intimidated by what other people think. They think their house should look a certain way because other people have told them that "you should clean this" or "you should get rid of that". They get overwhelmed by everyone telling them what "should" bother them and how they "should" clean up their home. So they do "nothing". It's a lot easier than not doing what they "should" do.

I'm sure we all have "well meaning" family and friends who try to "help" you by giving you  unsolicited advice on how to take care of your home. But what they don't realize is that they are actually doing more harm than good.

People don't want to be told what to do. They want to make their own decisions. They want to have control over their home and their life. They don't want to be told what they "should do" or "should feel" about their home.

So it's a mess.  O.K.  We acknowledge that it's a mess. Why does it concern anyone else?  All it does is make people "not" want to clean because they don't want to be told what to do.  It's basic psychology.

Everyone has their own tolerance of  "enough".  And when it's dirty enough or disorganized beyond what they can tolerate any longer, they will "clean" and "organize" the space. 

People have to "be ready" and "want" to change. You can't "force the issue".

So when something "bothers" you enough that you want to change.... you will.

But only when you are ready.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, June 25, 2012


Some people love to make "TO DO" lists. But some of those list makers just make lists and never actually "DO" anything on the lists.

Making lists makes those people feel like they have accomplished things - but they really haven't.

Writing things down is a pretty powerful tool. It makes things "real". But you have to actually "DO" what's on the list to be able to say that "you accomplished something".

This might sound silly and very "basic" to a lot of people - but I have run across many people that never get past "the list".

So step back and ask yourself - "are you ever really going to (accomplish this task)"?  If you really know you have no intention of completing the task - or really don't have the time - Don't put it on the  "TO DO"  LIST. 

Maybe you could make a  "I'll have someone else do it"  list!

Being honest with yourself (and your spouse) will save you a lot of time and aggravation. And it will make your list a lot shorter.

Remember - after you write it down - the next step is  "DOING IT"!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, June 11, 2012

Organizing Your Life

People seem to think of organizing as something that you do to "things",  but you can also "organize your life".  Just like having an organized room, having an organized life definitely reduces your stress.

You don't have to go overboard and have every detail of your personal life organized and outlined in your "Franklin Planner", but by knowing what you are going to do and what you have to accomplish you will be more productive and less stressed.  If you want to have a great weekend or a great vacation they need to be planned out.  If you want to have a great "date" it needs to be planned out.

By taking charge of your life and treating it as something that is just as important as your job and by giving it the same thought and careful planning, you will function better and there will be fewer "surprises".

Planning and organizing your life instead of leaving it to chance also means that you are in better control of our finances, which in turn helps to alleviate stress.

So take some time for yourself and think about how in control you are of your life. Write down all of the things that you feel you are "not in control of". Number them in order of importance. Then write down some ideas on how you might want to change those things.

It can be as simple as coming up with a calendar that everyone in your family uses so that you know what everyone is doing. Or scheduling extra travel time for your appointments so that you aren't always running late and getting stressed. Or taking some things off of your schedule so that you aren't over scheduled and have more time for your family.

You can also think about re-organizing some of your routines to make your day run smoother. Things such as "getting your next days clothes ready the night before". This gives you more time in the morning and reduces your stress in having to make decisions while everyone is trying to get out of the door.

Or how about making a list of all of the errands that you have to do during the week and planning your trips so that you aren't backtracking from one side of town to the other.

There are a lot of ways that you can "organize your life" and make your life run smoother. Just take it one step at a time and you will soon be on your way to a "more organized you".

Happy Organizing !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, June 4, 2012

End of School Organizing

School is about to end for most schools. Kids will be cleaning out their lockers and bringing home - well, lots of stuff! Maybe even stuff that you didn't know that you were missing - like Tupperware!

They will also be bringing home lots of papers and other things that they have cleared out of their lockers, maybe even some clothes. If they are like most kids they will probably just dump it all in the hallway where they came in. And drive you nuts in the process.

So before you get too far into the summer take some time to organize the mess. And if you can, make the kids help. It is their mess after all!

First, throw out all of the garbage.

Second, take back your Tupperware, dishes, silverware...

Third, grab those clothes and throw them in the laundry. After they are clean, decide if they still fit or might still fit by the start of the next school year. Otherwise, into the "donate pile" they go.

Fourth, go through their papers and decide which ones you want to keep (things such as Art work or other papers you really want to keep). You might want to dispose of the other papers when the kids are not around. If you have a folder/box or notebook for each child you can put anything you want to save into their file (by grade).

Fifth, any extra school supplies that can be used for the next year can be put away in a bag and you will have a head start on shopping for the next school year. Be sure to keep a list of what you already have so that you don't buy duplicate when you get the rest of their school supplies.

Sixth, check the condition of their backpack and lunch box and toss it or put it away for next year (after a thorough cleaning of course!).

The mess is now gone and you can get on with our summer!

Have a great summer!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, May 28, 2012

Seniors - Getting Ready To Downsize - Start De-Cluttering Now

As your children grow up and move out of your home and as people age they start  thinking about downsizing. They don't need a big house, they don't want do to all of the housework and yard work anymore.

Why not start thinking about it years before you are ready?  That way there is no rush, no pressure.

If you give yourself plenty of time you can make the decisions about your belongings at your own pace instead of having to decide what to get rid of as the moving truck is pulling up.

The first and most important part of any move and downsizing is the decluttering.  Start going through each of your rooms and decide what you can get rid of.

And of course, that means, donate or give away (for the most part). If you haven't used it or don't want to take it with you, put it in the "donate" box.

One thing that you will also want to start thinking about is the size of your new home. If you have a four bedroom home now and want to downsize to a one or two bedroom home you will have a lot of things to get rid of.

Don't think that you have to get rid of the entire extra room. You can pick or choose pieces from each room that will go into your new home. Only take the things that you really love or that are functional.

Start thinking about giving away things to your loved ones now, when they can enjoy them. Why wait until after you are gone so that you won't be able to share in their happiness?  It might sound morbid, but it makes sense.  You know that you love to see the look on their faces when you give them presents for their birthdays or holidays.

By taking control of your own decluttering now, when you are not in a rush, you will be much calmer and more rational. Trust me, moving is not a fun process. Take the stress out of it by planning ahead and decluttering on your terms.

For many children that live away from their elderly parents it sometimes helps to have someone, such as a Professional Organizer help with this transition. It helps the seniors in getting the job done on their terms. A Professional Organizer with experience in working with seniors can also help in planning out the move and help in the design of the new home to be sure that everything fits and that everything has a place. Not everyone has the luxury of taking time off of work to spend a few weeks helping their parents with this process. And when they do have the time off it's better spent on visiting instead of decluttering and packing.

Start early. Take your time. Declutter without the stress of a move, before the move.

Think about it....and start decluttering......

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, May 21, 2012

Moving - How to Protect Your Possessions

Moving  - How to Protect Your Possessions
It’s that time of year where a lot of families move. The kids are almost out of school. You can slowly start packing up your house and dream about your new home.
But before you get too happy you need to protect yourself and your possessions. Even the most organized people have lost valuable possessions in a move. Once you let your possessions out of your sight and into the hands of “professional movers" you have lost control.
When you are searching for a moving company you need to do your due diligence, read the fine print and demand references.  The companies are always nice before your move, but once they pick up your furniture it’s a different story.
There are a number of things that you can do.
1)       Make a list of everything that you are packing and where it is packed. Yes, this is time   consuming but this will help to protect you should the unthinkable happen (lost boxes).

2)      Take pictures of everything. Close up pictures to show the condition of the items.

3)      Gather all of your receipts for any big ticket items or anything of value. If your possessions are lost or damaged the moving company will demand receipts before they pay for the damage. Oh, you bought that couch five years ago and don’t have the receipt? Too bad!

4)      If you are packing yourself here’s a newsflash – the moving company won’t believe you  when you tell them that you packed (whatever – of value) in a box that was lost. Since they did not pack it, they will not reimburse you.
       5)     When the movers hand you the papework to sign when    they are loading the truck….look over the paperwork very, very carefully. Question every single tick mark on the paper. Don’t let them intimidate you into signing the paperwork unless you know what every single mark means. Believe me, you will regret it later if you do.
People think that packing themselves saves money, but if anything is lost you will have a terrible time trying to get compensated by the moving company.
Mayflower is a great example of a moving company that will not reimburse you for anything that you packed yourself because they will say that you have to prove that it was actually in the box.
The major problem with moving is that it is very stressful, even if you are totally organized.
By starting early and leaving yourself plenty of time to get your home de-cluttered and packed you will save yourself a lot of stress. Don't try to cram all of your packing into a few days.
Before you pack it....ask yourself: 
                "Have you used it, worn it or even remembered that you had (insert name of item) it in the last year?"
If the answer is "no".... re-think packing the item. Why take clutter with you to your new home?
Even if you aren't planning on moving for another year....start thinking about the processs as early as possible. You will save yourself a lot of headaches!
Happy Moving!
Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, May 14, 2012

Organizing Your Kids Summer Activities

Summertime, kids out of school, vacations are all fast approaching. You might think it’s far away, but your kids, believe me, they are thinking about summer vacations already.

If you are able to go away on vacation get your kids involved in planning it. Let them come up with some ideas on things to do. If they are old enough, put them in charge of planning the activities. This teaches them how much work is involved and also empowers them to make their vacation their own.

Let them come up with a list of things to pack. Make sure to look it over and make sure that it’s reasonable and that they did not miss anything. It also teaches them to work within restrictions – such as airline weight restrictions or car room restrictions. No, they can’t take every single toy on vacation.

If you are not going away on vacation you can still plan plenty of activities to keep your children occupied.

Let them help come up with a list of things that they want to see or do in your city. Museums, the zoo, the beach are all fun activities. They can also plan “day trips” to places a bit further away. From planning on what to pack for lunches and what they will see and do.

By letting them help plan these activities it gives them ownership of their own “fun” and makes them understand how much everyone counts on them for planning a great vacation or activity.

By involving your kids in the planning stages they will be more likely to enjoy their summer. And if they don’t come up with any ideas – oh well, I guess they will be bored! And it will be their own fault.

Empower your kids at a young age to help plan their summer and you will not only have happier children who think the plans were all “their idea” but you won’t have to come up with ideas all on your own that the kids will whine about.

Summer is not about keeping your kids busy….but it’s about teaching them valuable lessons that they can take with them as they grow up.

It’s never too early to teach your kids organizational skills. And they can have fun as they are learning.

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What People See.....

Everyone has a different idea of  "clean and organized". They are not the same.

For some people, clean means that they can find what they are looking for. It doesn't matter how long it takes. Five minutes, an hour, a few days. It doesn't matter. If they can find it, the room is clean and organized.

For some of us, that doesn't exactly cut it. For me, I need to have everything in a designated place. But I don't judge.

O.K. .... I do when I'm walking around the block. I admit it. When I'm walking and people have their garages open and you can't even see the back of the garage because "stuff" is piled from floor to ceiling.... I want to secretly clean out their garage. I can't help it. It's not about them. It's about me. I have a need to see things put away in their place.

But most of all, I wonder. I wonder if they care that other people can see their disorganized space. I'm sure they don't. It only seems to bother me.

For most of the people that I work with they don't let other people see their disorganized house. It's hidden behind closed doors. But when the garage door is open, everyone can see their disorganized space.

But it also makes me think about a client that I had who had one of the neatest garages that I have ever seen and who thought his garage was messy. I told him, "it's a garage, it's not supposed to be perfectly clean".

People have different levels of  "what bothers them".  But it also has to do with "what other people see".

So if you are going to open your garage and you know it's not as organized as your neighbors would appreciate, you have two choices. Clean out your garage (and who knows if you'll find a car in there) or keep your garage doors closed.

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Clean Does Not Mean Organized

I have heard a lot of people confuse the words "clean" and "organized" lately so I thought it was time to set the record straight....again....

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.

My Motto:  Less Clutter  =  Less Stress.... in Your Home, Your Office and Your Life (sm)

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, April 23, 2012


The warm weather is here and people are starting to spend more time outside. But is your garage and house ready for the change of seasons? Can you easily get to your rake and gardening tools?

While the weather is warm take a few minutes to drag everything out of your garage and give it a good cleaning. Sweep out the leaves and dust. Re-arrange your tools and equipments so that the things that you need for the warm weather are more accessible. Move your snowblower and shovels to the back and bring your rakes and other summer toys out front.

The same goes for the inside of your house. Open all of the windows. Air out the house. Clean the windowsills. Rearrange your winter clothes and put them in the back of the closet and bring out your spring/summer coats and clothes. Be sure to get rid of things that are too small or that you haven't worn.

Put your "winter" toys away (ski's and such...). Find the beach towels and blankets for those great impromptu picnics. I always carry a blanket in my trunk just in case I decide to take an hour to relax and enjoy the great weather outdoors.

Start thinking about all of the "small projects" that you might want to do outside and make a list. Remember, break down all projects into small, manageable pieces.

Putting your projects on your calendar and scheduling them gives you a better chance of actually getting them done than by just "thinking" about doing them.

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Excuses for Not Staying Organized

I hear a lot of excuses from people, especially parents telling me that they can't "stay organized" for very long or that their kids won't stay organized for more than a couple of days.

It's an excuse. Very simple. It's sort of like saying " I don't really see the benefit of school so why bother doing homework". Would you let your child get away with that? "No" is the answer.

NO EXCUSES ! Yes, all new "habits" take time. And that's exactly what "organizing" is. A new "learned habit".

Kids love organizing! It's a game to them. "See what piles to put things into". "Learning how to sort". It's a "learning experience" for them.

Even adults need to "re-learn" things. And unfortunately a lot of adults were never "taught" how to be "organized". It's a stange, uncomfortable, "new thing" that they have to do.

It will feel "strange" and will feel "forced" for a long time. It takes 90 days to learn a new habit.

So if after a few days you or your child decide that you are tired of "continuing" the process and "stop organizing" .... then you will have gained nothing except frustration.

Sort of like "dieting". Everyone is hung-ho the first few days and then it's back to eating junk food and sabotaging your health.

For a lot of people it's not easy. Not everything in life is easy.

But eating healthy food instead of junk food keeps you healthy and gives you more energy.

Staying organized keeps you on time, decreases your stress and saves you money.

And if your kids are organized you aren't constantly yelling at them to hurry up and find things and being late for appointments.

Everyone wins.

So.... stop making excuses. Stick with the program. Keep plugging away.... one small pile at a time.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, April 2, 2012

Are You Really Ready To Get Organized ?

Getting organized is a great idea. For some people the road to even thinking about getting organized is a long one. And even when someone thinks they are finally ready to "get organized" and take control of their life... panic sets in and they take a step back.

A lot of people don't understand the trauma that "organizing" brings to some people. They think "what's the big deal....just clean up already". But that's not how it works.

For a lot of people the thought of "organizing" is traumatic. It brings a lot of stress and emotion into the picture. They think that they are going to have to "throw out" their possessions and they regress. They shut down and won't even contemplate trying to get their home into some type of order.

I have a lot of clients that call me that think they are "ready to organize"....but they aren't really ready.... yet. They might have taken the first step by calling me, but they really aren't ready to proceed.

Organizing involves a "process". Thinking about getting organized is just one step in the process. Reaching out for help is another step. Actually doing it is another step. A really, really big step.

And that's where a lot of people have a stumbling block. But that's O.K. They have acknowledged that they want to change, that they want and maybe need help.

For family and friends the "step back" and not continuing the process and actually "getting organized" is disturbing and annoying.

As a "professional organizer" it's a "normal" part of the "process".

I can wait. I know that you really have to be "ready". It has to be "your idea". Not your families or your friends.

"You" have to be ready. And when you are the process will continue. But it has to be a personal choice and you have to be ready.

No one can force you to be ready before your time.

Being organized is a wonderful thing. It frees up not only your space but your life.

When you are ready.... you will know it.

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaching Your Kids Organizational Skills

People always ask me "at what age" they should start teaching their kids some organizational skills...and the answer is "before they are even out of diapers".

It's never too early to start teaching kids how to be organized and how to pick up after themselves. Even a two year old can be taught how to pick up a toy and put it into a basket. To them it's a game. So let it be fun and make it a part of their everyday routine. Play time followed by "putting your toys away time".

But if you didn't start at a young age it's not too late! And don't worry if you aren't the most organized person in the world, you can still teach your kids how to be organized. It all starts with "ground rules". You have to be able to set rules on how things are done and when they are done. And you have to stick to your guns!

Yes, your children will probably say "but you don't XXXX" .... but I'm sure that they already say that about a number of things, so don't let that throw you.

Set some rules:

1) you have to put your dirty clothes in the clothes hamper (instead of on the ground)
2) you have to hang up your clothes in the closet (instead of on the ground)
3) you can only have clothes in your dresser drawers (instead of toys and garbage)
4) your dresser drawers need to be organized by "type of clothes" (socks, underwear, shirts...)
5) you have to put all of your homework in your back pack immediately after finishing it
6) your back pack needs to be set by the door before going to bed (so you don't forget it)
7) your clothes for the next day should be set out the night before school
8) bath towels do not belong on the bathroom floor (they need to be hung up to dry)
9) put your dirty dishes in the sink after eating
10) Mom and Dad are not your maids

Kids need rules. They need structure.

Set some rules. Enforce them. Watch the change.

It takes time but it's worth it to have an organized child. They will be less stressed and on time for school! And you will be less stressed and have time for yourself.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, March 19, 2012

Too Much Stuff !!!

How much "stuff" does one person really need? Do you really need 25 pairs of jeans? Or 50 pairs of shoes? Maybe the celebrities do but "everyday, ordinary people" who aren't millionaires really don't. Let's be honest!

"Stuff" overwhelms people. "Stuff" controls people. "Stuff" smothers people.

Don't get me wrong. I like to have nice things. I have things that I collect. But there is a difference between a collection and going overboard and having too much "stuff" clutter up your home and your life.

If you can't find things easily and continually buy the same things over and over again your space is too cluttered. You need some organizational help to get things under control.

But having too much "stuff" and continually buying more is not just a "space" issue but a deeper issue. An issue that is hard for some people to acknowledge and sometimes to understand.

Constantly buying things that you don't need might be fulfilling some emptiness inside yourself. Or it might be a way that you cope because of some things that are happening in your life. It can be an "escape".

Whatever the reason, stuff needs space. And if you don't have the space to properly store your stuff then you end up with clutter everywhere.

Sit down and be honest with yourself and try and figure out why you have the need to continually buys things that you really don't need, don't have room for or can't really afford.

It's not just about the "stuff".

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, March 12, 2012

Organizing Your Files

Organizing is an on going process. It's not a "one-time deal". And it's not something that you have to set aside an entire day for.

Organizing your files and your paperwork is extremely time consuming because you have to look at each piece of paper and make a decision. It's emotionally exhausting. So why wait until year end to go through that process?

For best results and the least amount of trauma make it a habit to go through your filing cabinet, files or desk drawer and clean out your paperwork at least once a quarter or every few months.

Go through each file and toss anything that you really don't need, anything that is expired (coupons or notices that are past the deadline....) or anything that you have not dealt with. This does not include anything related to taxes or any legal papers.

People tend to keep too much paperwork because they are afraid to get rid of things or because of their "good intentions" of doing something with it.

Make sure that your files are labeled according to what makes sense for you. Don't use a system that is too complex and that you will never use or keep up. It might work for some people but that doesn't mean it fits into your lifestyle.

Make sure that all of your papers are filed at least monthly to keep the mess at bay.

Only keep "current" files in your filing cabinet. Archive old files and store them out of the way. If your filing cabinet is too crowded and you cannot get into the files easily it will give you another excuse for not filing.

Keep it simple. Keep it organized.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, March 5, 2012

Organizing For Seniors - Moving Your Parents

I've had a lot of people call to tell me that they need help in clearing out and organizing their parents home due to a move to an assisted living or nursing home. It's a sad and stressful time for them.

Clearing out your own home is much easier because everything is yours and you can make the decisions. Helping your parents or other relatives clear out their home is much harder because you are making decisions for someone else and there are a lot of emotions involved. If you make the wrong decision about what to get rid of the person can harbor resentment. If you throw things out without asking you are opening yourself up to a lot of anger and rage. You might think that you are helping by "getting rid of the junk" ...but you are not.

It's complicated. It's emotional. It's exhausting.

If you have to put your parents or other relatives into an assisted living or nursing home there usually are not a lot of things they can take with them. What do you do with the rest of the stuff?

How do you make the decisions on what they should take?

During this time period you are usually also going through a lot of complicated paperwork and a lot of decisions about their care. Organizing for their move could be made easier by using an outsider (such as a Professional Organizer) that has experience in dealing with seniors and downsizing. They are a non-judgemental third party that can get the job done without all of the emotions that a relative has.

In some assisted living facilities there are people that can also help the seniors with coordinating the move and making decisions on what will fit into their new space.

It's a tough time in a persons life. The child has to acknowledge that their childhood home might be no more .... and the parent is forced to let go of a lot of things they have collected over the years. Not an easy thing to do.

As your parents age and while they still have their memory it is a good idea to encourage them to start the process on their own. Encourage them to give away some of the things that they would leave to people. By doing it while they are still alive they get the pleasure of seeing the people enjoy their gift.

Downsizing is a long and emotional process. Encourage your parents to think about it years before they even think about moving. By doing it on their own time it will be a lot easier.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring Is Around The Corner - Is Your Closet Ready ?

I know that it's still February... but if you've been to the mall lately you will see a lot of spring and summer clothes out already. There are sales everywhere and I'm sure that some of you just can't resist. It's O.K. .... really.

But when you bring home new clothes you have to have somewhere to put them. Do you? Is there room in your closet?

Since the winter weather is winding down it might be time to take a look at your closet to see what you can put in the "donate or get rid of" pile. You might also re-examine your spring / summer clothes to see if they are in good condition and if they still fit.

Take some time and go through your closet with a new perspective. Do you really like the clothes in your closet? When was the last time you wore them? Are they in good condition?

Make a list of things that you might need to buy. That way you aren't just buying random items but things that you really need.

Remember the "one in - one out" rule. Unless you have unlimited closet space you will probably need to purge some things out of your closet to make room for your new clothes.

Organizing your closet is time consuming and very emotional. Break it down into smaller sections so that you are overwhelmed.

Keep the bigger picture in mind. Clean out and organize your closet first and then shop. That way you know what you have and what you need and aren't buying things that you already had hidden in the back of your closet.

Happy Organizing !

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, February 20, 2012

Moving - Avoid the Nightmare - Document Your Belongings

Spring is fast approaching. The time of year that sees an increase in house sales and people moving.

You aren't in the market to move? But you might five or ten years from now when you have outgrown your home or are downsizing. So now is the time to start planning and getting yourself organized. It's always easier if you do things at a slower, more relaxed pace and you aren't staring at a deadline.

Moving involves many things including picking a reputable moving company. When I moved across the country last year I found, what I thought was a reputable mover. A national moving company, Mayflower. Jump forward almost a year later and I am still trying to get them to take responsibility for all of the damage they caused and the lost boxes of items that I will never be able to replace.

Yes, I had lists upon lists and everything that was packed had a number on the box and a corresponding number on my spreadsheet that listed the contents.

BUT, that is not the issue. Who among us has receipts for a couch that is ten years old (and in perfect condition because you never let anyone sit on it)? Who has receipts from a family heirloom that was given to you years ago?

Do you have receipts or pictures of the antique ornaments that you bought five years ago? Receipts, yes. Pictures, yes....but those were in one of the boxes that the moving company lost. Convenient for them.

As organized as you are you will still need to document every single item that was lost or damaged. You will need to prove that the item was in perfect condition prior to your move.

So as you set up your home document all of your belongings. Keep a file with receipts of any items that you care about and include pictures of those items. Keep that file in your possession when you move.

Instead of getting rid of paper clutter the moving company expects you to have every receipt that you ever had. This assures them that most people will just take whatever they give them as payment for the damage and walk away. Otherwise they will drag out the process and torment you with paperwork.

Moving day can be stressful.... BUT, do not let the movers leave your driveway without asking them if they noted any damage of your possessions on their list. They won't tell you that they noted any damage and you will be shocked to find that your furniture was damaged and abused prior to their moving it (according to the movers). By the time they deliver your furniture it's too late to object and they won't listen when you try and tell them that your furniture wasn't damaged.

Protect yourself..... DOCUMENT your home. Take pictures of everything so that you can prove that your belongings were in good condition prior to your move. I had pictures of my furniture but did not have close up pictures of every angle.

If at all possible, try and have a friend or neighbor there to help you when the movers are unloading so that you have a witness to how the movers handle your belongings. If you notice any damage at all take pictures immediately.

And DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING without reading it. You will be bombarded with dozens and dozens of pieces of paper that the mover will want you to sign after unloading. They will try and coerce you into signing them. You will be totally exhausted by the end of the day...but DON'T SIGN the papers until you have read every single word and have accounted for every single box.

They won't like it. But you need to protect yourself.

Even a national company like Mayflower will try to intimidate you to sign things that you are not comfortable with and they will not accept responsibility for their actions.

So start now and document your belongs. Take pictures and keep a file (by room) with all of your receipts. You never know when you might need them.

Organizational Consulting Services