Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Setting Goals and New Year’s Resolutions

There’s always something awesome about kicking off into a New Year. It’s a powerful feeling to know you have a brand spanking new year ahead of you and the opportunities for success are endless.

The word resolution comes from 'resolve' and means to make up one's mind or decide firmly. Take the time and reflect on where you want to go or do next.

Some of the most popular New Year resolutions are:

Lose weight
Stop smoking
Spend more time with family
Get more organized (woo hoo!!)
Exercise more

As fellow professional organizer Theresa Brune states, “Put your goal in writing – make it clear, conscience, and thorough. The more detail, the better.”

Once you know your goals and objectives, then you need to think about a plan of action. It is often the lack of action which will stop you from achieving what you most want. There will be setbacks and frustrations as you strive to reach your goal.

“You only fail when you stop trying,” Thomas Edison.

Acknowledge and embrace these little hiccups and then get right back on track.

Setting goals and taking action can be easier than you think!

Visit the blog of  the Amazing Michigan Chapter of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers)  for more organizing tips.  In fact, there will be a new organizing tip every day in January!

What is one goal for yourself in 2011?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Can You REALLY Organize a Teenager's Bedroom?

Organizing in a teenager's bedroom.

Is this even possible?!?

Why yes it is!

Rocket Organizing strikes again with a new organizing video for you. Check out how to bring some coolness (is it still "cool" to say "cool" anymore?) to your bedroom by assembling a Closetmaid Cubeicals storage system:

You could not pay me to relive my teenage years. I'm thankful I was able to bring a smile to one teenager's face. (a significant triumph in itself)

If you are looking for a great organizing product, easy to assemble and an awesome price, check out the Closetmaid Cubeicals. This one was purchased on sale at Target.

What is scary about your teenager's bedroom?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Always Best to Honor your Memories

"Terry" admits she get overwhelmed in attempting to stay organized. Like many of us, the dramas of life can take over and the last thing on your list of things to care for is yourself.

Terry had been hanging on to a gift certificate for my services for 11 months. The certificate made her feel good when she received it and if she used it, Terry felt it would be gone. Finally, she broke down and we met.

We talked a bit about her goals. I gave her some ideas about managing tasks to get and stay organized. Then she told me about a craft box in her attic.

This craft box was her mother's. Terry cherished this box of craft supplies. The thing is, Terry's mother passed away 11 years ago. Yes, 11 years this box sat in her attic collecting dust and funk.

She finally decided that the time had come to part with it. Terry told me she believed,

"If you release what is holding you back, good will come back."

A woman came to Terry's home from Freecycle to pick up her mother's craft box. The next week, there was a knock on Terry's front door.

The woman had returned to give Terry this Christmas display for her home. Made only from the items found in the gifted box. Terry immediately recognized certain parts of the arrangement that her mother decorated with. Needless to say, Terry was beside herself with joy and happiness. I got the chills when she told me the story.

Memories of a past loved one are good. They should be honored since they played a loving role in your life. Though if you have them cramped in a dusty, funky smelling old box in your attic, is that really a positive way to remember them?

If you are not enjoying them, perhaps it is time to part with them.
Another person will find joy in the items you give.
........ And good will come back to you.

What's in your attic?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Organizing Trick for Your Bathroom

Morning are not a place for frustration or being annoyed. When you are getting ready in the morning, you ideally want your daily ritual to be easy and as simple as possible.

Here's a great little trick for organizing your bathroom, specifically your hair dryer:

Interested in more sassy, sexy fun organizing videos?
Go to

Rocket Organizing is about bringing something different in the organizing entertainment world: ideas and tips YOU can relate to (perhaps even tackle yourself).

What do you do in your home that you were not allow to growing up?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

But Dust Bunnies are sooo Cute!

It's just a mess.
I don't even no where to begin.
Look, I know I have a problem.
This is so embarassing.
I have heard all kinds of lines from clients.

"I am proud of 'Marty' for taking this step to call you,"
stated the wife of Marty to me.

Marty and his wife run a couple businesses out of their home. Needless to say, it becomes a bit tricky keeping the office organized. Throw in a move a couple years ago, business doesn't stop, and the place gets out of control quickly.

Stacks of papers on the floor, covering the desk, piles on the chairs. Leaving no place to work. It was getting quite frustrating for Marty. And he was starting to get depressed about the mess because he felt terrible about their office area.

When I started working with Marty, I noticed he knew where everything was. There was some order to the mess. He was able to put away many of the needed papers and receipts quickly. Two large bags were taken to the dumpster. And, another 4-5 large plastic containers of papers were ready to be taken to a local shredding company, probably close to 200 lbs (91 kg).

6.5 hours later ... A clean desk top, no more dust bunnies!

Marty felt better about the office area.
He had a desk again and a plan to keep it organized.

Like Marty's wife, I am proud of him for tackling this project.
I am confident he WILL keep it organized.

When helping your clients,
what statements have they made to you?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Drawer Magic with Rocket Organizing


We all have them. Many times STUFFED to the brim with pencils, screws, papers, power cords and other odds & ends. If you have your drawers organized, bonus to you.

In this video from Rocket Organizing (a new division of Organized Solutions), we take a look at an organizing magic trick to keep your drawers organized and in check:

What is your favorite drawer in your home?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Don't be a Squirrel, Get Organized

Now is a great time to get your pantry organized AND help those in need.  Most schools are collecting pantry items for holiday food drives, so donating is as easy as stopping by your local school.

Time to take a look through your collection of can goods and pantry items.
Anything dusty?
Label faded?
Stuff you don't even like?
Do you REALLY need 12 cans of green beans?

Set these items aside for donation.

Now, take a look and make sure cookies and peanut butter jars are not hiding in your plates or glasses. Bring all your pantry items into one area of your kitchen. This not only makes it easy to see all the food you have available, it will also save you from buying more of what you already have in your home.

Finally, set up your own family grocery store. There is a reason stores are set up this way, it's practically been perfected. All you have to do is duplicate it in your own home. Use your grocery store to reorganize your pantry items: Canned goods, pasta, snacks, condiments, etc.

Take your faded, unopened items to your local school to be used by so many other families in need.

Now, don't forget to reward yourself for your job well done.

What was the oldest pantry item found?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Organized Solutions Helps Overwhelmed Professionals

Holiday gift giving can be challenging, especially if the someone has everything.  But what if they have too much of everything?  The Toledo Free Press interviewed yours truly as part of their gift giving guide for this holiday season: 

Yes, the gift of getting organized is becoming more and more popular.  You can even purchase professional organizing certificates in the right column of this blog.  Look for the blue "Add to Cart" button. You can save some $$ with your larger projects AND a $10 bonus discount when you use Google Checkout.

Thank you Toledo Free Press for the great article ... You ROCK!!

What is your favorite gift  you are giving this season?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Perhaps We're All a Tinge OCD

OK, I'm going to jump right in an say I have a routine I must do or my day just feels weird.

One of my things:
I must put on my right sock,
then left sock,
then put on my right shoe and tie it,
then put on my left shoe and tie it.

If this sequence is jumbled up,
I will start over to bare feet and begin again
(I'll feel like I'm walking in circles all day if I don't).

Many of us have these little "routines" we do everyday. Perhaps we are aware, maybe we are oblivious though others around you are totally laughing inside at your antics. That's OK, you're happy right? Nothing wrong with having an OCD tendency here and there.

Think about this:
Being TOO organized with everything in its place. Nothing ever so slightly crooked on your walls. Perhaps to the point of shelves and bins labeled. No dust on any of your flat surfaces (Oh, I have excepted dust into my household as my friend). You may be a bit OCD.

On the other hand, you have stacks of clothes, papers, newspapers, egg crates and such everywhere. You love collections. There is a bit of order to the chaos in your home, though its just a lot of stuff. Keeping you from enjoying your home as you wish you could. This may be a bit OCD, too.

See we all, likely, at some level have OCD.
Again I believe whole-heartedly in:

"Everything in moderation is good."

Take a moment and think about what's going on in your life and home. Perhaps there is an area that has gotten a bit out of control. Lasso that bad boy and take charge.

You'll feel better.

What is your daily OCD routine?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Value Do You Put on Being Organized?

Today's world seems to function as such a crazy, fast pace. It is very easy to lose track of time and things. Just as a little snow ball rolling down Mt. Everest, it slowly builds and builds, and builds ... into this monstrosity of a beast barreling down the slope out of control.

Lack of organization in your home or office begins very small. Maybe its just setting down the mail on the counter as you walk in the door. Perhaps you go change your clothes, start watching TV, or check on your 257 Facebook friends while the mail pile waits. Then you get hungry, make some dinner, get the kids to work on homework, check on Facebook again and get ready for bed.

Waking up in the morning you rush to get everyone out the door on time, grab your keys nearly knocking all of the mail on the floor (geez, that would have been a mess) and dash out to your car.

After a day at work, you nearly get hit by a teenager swerving while texting, you make it safely home. Grab the mail and as you walk into your home ... well, mine as well set it on the counter with the other mail.  You'll get to it later. BAM! Your little organizing snow ball has just begun.

Repeat this cycle a few days and you certainly have an organizing nightmare staring at you every time you get home.  Making feel overwhelmed, stressed and not the happy person you deserve to be.

My fellow professional organizer, John Trosko, who is the founder of OrganizingLA a premier Southern California organizing firm beautifully stated the value of our services:

"Some people wonder why organizers charge so much. Well, our fees are an amazingly value when you compare it to the time, effort & worry you encounter searching for something, not to mention the cost of having to replace an item you can't locate and the discouraging disappointment that comes from this circle. A professional organizer can help you get organized faster and more thorough than doing it yourself."

Being organized is an investment in yourself.

Sure you can focus and bring organization to your home, office and life all on your own.  Though if you are struggling, frustrated and ready to wave a big white flag, find a local professional organizer. We are here to help you love your home and office, again.  Get you out enjoying the fun in life.

What value do you put on enjoying yourself?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Woo Hoo! Get Organized for the Holidays!!

Getting organized has just become a little bit easier.  Organized Solutions is now accepting your favorite credit card for payments on all your organizing projects and organizing gift certificate purchases.  Google Checkout is a fantastic new element and we are very excited to offer this feature to you (See the right side bar on this blog.  Website access coming soon.)

As a kick-off celebration, from now until  December 25th, you can save $10 on your first purchase of $60 or more.  You can use this saving toward your projects before the holidays or purchasing organizing gift certificates to be used later.  The choice is up to you.

If you are thinking of purchasing a gift certificate, I encourage you to contact me to make sure your gift will be happily received. Nothing worse than getting a gift like that ugly sweater your Aunt Bonnie gave you when you were 16 year old.

What was the worst gift you ever received?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our World Could Use a Few More Charlies

After helping "Charlie" with organizing his garage, he asked me to help his wife get her new apartment ready. I purchased new bedroom furniture, bedding and shower items for "Sandra," then returned to help get all her items put away.

During lunch, Charlie's wife began telling a bit about his life.

Charlie's father was a physicist who was in the US Defense Department working on weapons of mass destruction. Due to his father's responsibilities, Charlie spent his entire childhood under the care of the secret service. Bouncing from home to home, with a new last name each time he moved. WOW!

Sandra continued to tell how he ran off and joined the Marines at age 16. Ranking a Major in the US Marine Corps, Charlie fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. She continued on with stories about their travels and hobbies.
I was in awe!!

Charlie gazed at his wife with such a loving look in his eyes. It was amazing to see a man care so very much about his wife. Not by anything he said or did, just his eyes. Stunning.

Sandra mentioned her back ached a bit. Charlie, speaking very slowly from the effects of his stroke, "Would you like me to arrange for a massage?"

In a flash, Sandra snapped back:
"Oh so now your gonna do something for me.
What the hell would I want anything from you? Your useless."

Charlie simply pursed his lips, nodded to me, his eyes broken.

"Sandra, why don't you eat your lunch so we can finish unpacking your room?" I stated in attempt to skirt what just happened.

Charlie went off for a haircut. Sandra and I went to her new room to get her items unpacked.

Charlie is an amazing man. He has told me he will always love his wife despite what her dementia is doing to her. My respect for Charlie grows with each meeting I have with him.
Hmmm ... funny, I randomly chose Charlie's nickname.
He is more than a good man. Charlie is a great man.

Sometimes what you learn from a stranger is priceless.

What have you learned from someone?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Are You Dedicating Your Breaths to Today?

This clip is just too powerful to not be shared.
Please take the 2 minutes to watch.
Organizing can wait another day:

"If you feel you have something to give. If you feel that your particular talent is worth developing, is worth caring for? Then there is nothing you can't achieve." ~Kevin Spacey

Thank you Kevin Spacey for your gentle reminder.

What are you achieving today?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Organizing Your Sock Drawer with Rocket Organizing

Rocket Organizing is a new venture of Organized Solutions and a sister to this blog.  

The purpose is to have short fun organizing videos, Q&A interviews, sassy shenanigans and geez, who knows what else.  This is the first complete organizing video on organizing your sock drawer.

We believe Rocket Organizing will  lead ultimately to a TV network picking up the program and adding some sassy, sexiness to the organizing world.

.... think of the trifecta of Rachel Ray, Ellen Degeneres and Lucille Ball.

Yes, we will have action figures.

Are you ready for some reality in the organizing world that YOU can relate to? 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Send in the Organizing Cavalry

One of our biggest battle as professional organizers is not stacks of papers, piles of toys, jammed closets with clothing, wall of boxes in the basement or linen closets tumbling with sheets. That's just stuff.

[disclaimer: True, there are many great, wonderful, supportive, loving, dudes out there]
You are embarrassed and frustrated with your home and know that help is out there. And you need and want it. At a moment, you take a giant step to contact a professional organizer.

After chatting with your professional organizer, you have a sense that the Cavalry is on its way.

Hope and relief that soon your home will feel special.

[enter your husband] He says, "No, to the project."

- If it is a money issue, completely understandable. You definitely should not overextend yourself when it comes to cash. Use the internet to find free tips.

- If it is a control issue, that is something for you to seek help.
(Been there, done that myself. Be strong)

- Perhaps your husband is embarrassed himself for the appearance of your home. Find a quiet moment to talk together about how you will both feel better with completing your organizing project.

Professional organizers are not judgemental. Our purpose is to help you love your home. We will take the time to discuss each of your goals and expectations. Getting your husband to understand the project may be all that is needed to get the supportive green light.

If all else fails, ask for an organizing project for your next holiday gift, birthday present or other special occasion. Most professional organizers offer gift certificates.

When there is a will, there is a way. And when your husband sees how great your home can be, perhaps he'll want to get his stuff organized, too!

What battle are you winning?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Get Organized and Breathe Again

Maggie wanted to get organize to regain her own space again in her home which she had seem to lose to her children and grandchildren.

As I walked through Maggie's home, we entered her bedroom. She became visibly upset. This is where we needed to start. She was upset, nervous and felt overwhelmed.  Though as we continued to chat about a plan to get her bedroom organized, she had thanked me and told me she felt like there was hope ... and she began to feel better!

This is how Maggie's bedroom looked when we started.
We sorted out her dresser drawers and cleared the piles.

In the end, we had a large bag for the trash and several bags and boxes for donation.

"I can Breathe!"

We were also able to get Maggie's closet cleaned up in our 4 hours of time together, too.
Clients like Maggie remind me why I love my job.

Helping people feel better about their home is fantastic!

What client has reminded you why you do what you do?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Everyone Loves Big Red Bows

Big red bows are the best. Period.

If you want to set the stage for happiness,
it might be as simple as a big red bow.

As a professional organizer, my goal is to help you love your space again. Whether it is organizing your home, office, garage, basement or junk drawer, my hope is for you to feel better about yourself because you deserve it!

Starting today ... daah da da dah ...

Organized Solutions can arrive at your home with a big red bow on the car. People have purchased gift certificates for friends, family & loved ones and I just haven't felt like we have done anything special to acknowledge or signify this gift.

But hey, I'll bust out the red bow for any occasion that you might feel the need. Heck, just even holding the big red bow makes you feel all tingly inside.

What little thing makes you feel special?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Organizing Chaos ... Oh, Yeah Baby!!

"Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line ... Nature exhibits not simply a higher degree but an altogether different level of complexity". Benoit Mandelbrot

The Mandelbrot Set is infinitely complex though generated from a simple equation involving complex numbers.
(OK, how many are completely lost? Please bear with this Rocket Scientist)

Fractal geometry = rough, fragmented, complex geometric shapes
Complex numbers = meet me at Panera's and I'll explain
Simple equation = Z = Z^2 + C (This explanation may require beers)

ANYWAY....What does this have to do with getting organized?!?

If you look around you there may appear to be chaos, where likely there is order. When working with clients, I notice that usually they know where things are. They have a system or method to their madness. It is when control is lost, their feelings begin to turn negative toward themselves, then I am asked to step in and help.

Chaos exists in Nature and Math, which gives us clouds, lighting bolts and really cool images. These are all beautiful results from chaos.
Chaos is good. Really GOOD!

Without chaos, life would be boring.

Look around you at the chaos in your life. Is there order to it?
Appreciate the beauty of chaos and have fun.
If you are struggling, then get a grip, take charge
and bring in some order.

Give us an example of good chaos.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Fall Organizing Projects

Summer is coming to an end,
Fall is fast approaching.

Here are 6 projects you can think about:

1) Wash the windows. You want to be sure you're able to enjoy the colors of fall. So, grab a squeegee and window cleaner (bucket of water with vinegar). If you get really crazy, rinse off your screens with your hose. (Please remove the screens from the windows first)

2) Hose 'em down. Lawn mowers, plastic garbage containers, bikes and other items stored in the garage tend to get very dusty. While everything is out in the driveway, take the opportunity to sweep out your garage.

3) Have a closet session. Plan to go through your wardrobe from last fall and winter to see what you want to keep, and what you want to donate. Take your donations to a local charity. Once this is done, you'll be able to determine if there's anything new you need to buy to make my fall wardrobe complete. (yeah, shopping)

4) Old toys. My boys and I will go through their toys and have them put the ones they no longer play with in a large box. We'll then drive together to a charity drop-off to make our donation. Finally, we'll make one last stop at a toy store to pick up one new toy for them for being so kind and giving. (Hey, you just went shopping for new clothes. Kids deserve a little reward, too)

5) Skip the grocery store. Plan to skip going to the supermarket for one week (just pick up milk at the convenience store) and use up any food you already have in the house. You will be surprised how many meals you could scrape together from your refrigerator, freezer, cabinets and pantry. Before shopping the following week, give all of those food storage areas a good cleaning--it will be quick because most of the food will have been eaten!

6) Prune the perennials/Plant bulbs/Trim trees. You usually wait until late fall to do landscape pruning. Go out on a nice, sunny day and get it all done in an afternoon. Afterwards, go back inside and reward yourself. (OK, you've gone shopping, frig and pantry are bare, guess your reward may be a long soak in your bath surrounded by candles)

What is your Fall Project?
More important ... What is your reward for completing it?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Organize and Be Thankful

As you begin to organize and store your summer items, think about how they look and feel to you.

If you do not love them now, tell them "thank you for the memories" and let them go.

What are you letting go this year?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smiling and Organizing Papers

What a fun day today!! I helped an older woman, "Cathy", sort out and organize some of her papers and boxes she has accumulated in her lifetime. Our goal was to make space in her living area to invite friends to her home. We did not get a before shot because she was so excited to get started, we just forgot. There were boxes and papers all over her sofa, as they were two weeks ago at the inital consult.

When I left the sofa was cleared off and ready for her friends to visit. She ended up with a partially filled box of important personal documents and memorabilia. I took away one large bag to the dumpster and one box of documents to be shredded.

Now, I mentioned lifetime earlier because Cathy had saved her father's paperwork from 1953! Interesting to see all these old documents, however no need to keep these records.

I enjoyed today because I love helping people, especially the elderly. Cathy told me some great stories about some of the items we sorted through. She began to get excited as progess was being made in finding her sofa again. When I finished, she was truly pleased with my help and I felt great knowing I did a good job.

You know, sometimes you come across someone who just makes you smile. I am quite thankful for meeting Cathy.

What did you do for a client that made you feel wonderful?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Organized Solutions Thanks You With FREE Professional Organizing Service

In your weakest most vulnerable moments, greatness is there if you are strong enough to see it.

Crazy when I think about it.
-Brand, spanking new single divorce mother of two boys, 6 and 4 years old.
-Been a stay at home mom for 5 years, after leaving a senior engineering position at Ford Motor Company.

Everything I had worked so hard for in my world, shattered apart. Gone.
At least it appeared that way ...

For at that time, I felt an opportunity was at hand.
"Well, if I'm going to start completely over in life. Let's make a difference and have some fun with it."

Single mom, 2 boys, unemployed, HUGE mortgage, alone, family living 2 hours away ... Yeah, let's start a business. All I knew was my whole life I loved to help people and I was learning again how much I loved to have fun. Guess the combo worked!

Organized Solutions is 6 years old today!

Hot Damn!!

I am so thankful for all the people I have met, clients who I have helped and companies who have contacted me. Thank you for reading this blog and commenting.

None of this could have been possible without my boys in my life. These dudes rock my world and keep my head on straight. They have been the best business partners anyone could ask for. It is so awesome to see their enthusiasm for our business.

To celebrate, we are giving away 4 hours to someone in need of getting organized. We need to hear your story. This could be yourself or someone you care about. Send me your nomination by the end of September and my boys and I will select our recipient. We need to keep this local to the surrounding Toledo area, though I will work to find help for those out of the area. I know professional organizers across the country who can help you.

My email address:

Thank you for all your help and support.
You all ROCK!!

Who do you need to thank for your success?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Seriously?! Another School Form To Be Signed. When Will This End?

How's it going?
School has been in session for about a month for everyone, except us Michiganders. Woo Hoo, finally a full week of school for our kids!

Your family should be getting back into a routine.
If not, there is likely a bit of stress in your home due to the school papers stacked up everywhere, frantically making lunches/snacks in the morning and, oh yeah, you still have to get ready for work on-time.

If you find yourself feeling under pressure, take a moment and get a grip of what's happening.
(and sing along with Queen and David Bowie)

1. Last Year vs. This Year - Think about and WRITE DOWN the pros and cons of what is going on in your home. From this list, you will be able to see areas you need to change. Writing notes down is far better than letting your thoughts clutter your head and it will be easier to see where you can make changes.

Once you've gathered your thoughts, get the family involved to come up with a plan that will work for everyone. Because if you involve people in decision making, they have a better chance of following up on actions.

2. School papers - A method to the madness of school papers coming home is a MUST! Create a spot for all the papers to be that you need to look at (preferably near the trash).

If you don't need to respond, trash it.
If it's a calendar item, get it on the calendar and trash it.
If it's a field trip, sign the permission slip and write the $5 check and trash it.
If it's the amazing handwriting sheet or math test, acknowledge the wonderful work and, yes, trash it.

Getting through the daily barrage of school papers is a success story in itself.

3. Homework - Kids need a consistent spot to get their work done. No TV/Games/iPod/phones allowed (you gotta be tough). The sooner you instill the importance of being responsible, the better for them. Some kids work best at homework right away after school. Other's need a bit of a break, then hit the books.

4. The Night Before - Preparing at night might be the last thing you want to do, though think about how well you will sleep knowing you are ready for the morning. It's your kids bags, have them make sure all is packed and signed before bed. If they forget their library book one or two time, perhaps they will start to remember. Don't bail them out! Let them learn. Get lunches ready and set in the frig. You could even go as far as setting the table for breakfast.

Getting a household to run smoothly is a constant work in progress. Like anything, little changes add up to success. Be patient. You are doing a great job.

What's your favorite school subject?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Clutter Road - Hoarder or Not?

Today's post comes from guest blogger, Melanie Dennis, owner of Neat Streak Professional Organizing, who shares some insight on hoarding.

Tell someone you are a Professional Organizer and they will tell you they need you or someone they know does. They will tell you they have seen the shows-Hoarders, Hoarders-Buried Alive, and the Oprah episodes featuring people with mountains of clutter, and living conditions that are not safe or sanitary. They will ask if I heard the story of hoarder who died and were not found for days because of the clutter. What is good about all this awareness is that people who need and want help can more easily find resources to get it.

I get emails and calls from people who are worried that they have clutter and might be a hoarder. They have watched an episode and worry that they might be going down that road. Hoarding is one of those things that runs a spectrum from mild to very severe. In mild cases, the clutter has grown because organizing systems have not been put into place or those in place have not been maintained. They may have been organized, but now the clutter has grown, things have not been put away, and they are simply too overwhelmed to know where to begin. Perhaps they have been ill or taking care of someone who was, or been too busy to take on a project. They know something is wrong and are emotionally ready for change. The prognosis for these people is often good.

More serious situations may result from an accumulation of possessions way beyond what is normal- where rooms cease to function for their intended purpose, other people may be prevented from entering and repairs can't be done. The person may lack the ability to discern categories or even what is trash and what is not, they may have a profound sense responsibility to not be wasteful, or compulsive urges to acquire things. Some other reasons we see for hoarding are OCD, depression, ADHD, perfectionism, grief, compulsive shopping, mental illness, or a cognitive disorders. Researchers believe that there may also be a genetic component. Often the choice to declutter is not the hoarder's idea. They may have run out of options. Collaborative therapy- using professional organizers, community resources, cleaning specialists and mental health professionals working in accord can be helpful in improving the safety and quality of life for these people. The NSGCD has established the Clutter Hoarding Scale to help professionals have a common language with which to describe what is being seen. The primary focus in helping hoarders is to improve the safety of the home.

I am happy to have worked on a team helping a Central Ohio gentleman for an episode of A&E's Hoarders. I saw the whole story unfold. Not all the little successes during the 16 plus hours filming nor the hours of aftercare that the show provides can make it to the one hour finished result. Thanks to those who film and produce the episodes and all the brave people who have put themselves out there. You have helped countless others--hoarders and not.

Melanie Dennis is a Certified Professional Organizer® and the owner of Neat Streak Professional Organizing in Columbus, Ohio.

Thank you Melanie for allowing me to share your article.

How have organizing programs helped you to get organized?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I'm a Sensational Woman!!

Recently, this professional organizer here had the distinct honor of being featured on Writing Without Periods blog as part of the Sensational Woman Saturday posts. This is a great blog with fun little observances on life and every Saturday an amazing woman is featured and asked 5 questions.

Please visit the original post and check out the other sensational stories. For now, here are my answers:

Angie, how young are you?
I'm nearly 41 1/2 years old (yes, my half birthday is coming up on September 5th and we will celebrate with cake.)

What a great idea. I need to celebrate half birthdays too. More celebrations, I say.
What type of work do you do?
I'm a Professional Organizer, Rocket Scientist and overall Superhero to my boys.

You're a rocket scientist? So am I. And a Superhero? Yes!!
What do you do in your free time?
Because I'm a single mom of 2 boys (12 and 9.5 years old), and a business owner ... I sleep. Seriously, beyond having fun with my boys. I love to scuba dive in crystal clear water, golf on sunny days, laugh with my friends, dance 'til my feet ache and falling asleep on a beach.

I love your attitude, especially the dancing part.
What are five things a Rocket Scientist and Superhero can't live without?
I'm gonna' skip mentioning my boys and friends because as a woman, life without our kids or girlfriends would be empty and obvious choices.
1. The ocean waves crashing on a beach - 9 yrs until I retire to my "shack" on a beach. Make me an amazing business offer now and I'm outta here!
2. Music - I'm a 60s hippy chick to the core. Music makes all things better and brighter. If it's got a beat, and I can dance to it, I love it!
3. Sex - yeah, I said it. You know deep down you feel the same, too.
4. Rrrrr, I hate to admit it. My Droid - This little device can do anything. It's downright the most perfect electronic contraption ... Ever!
5. Turtle cheesecake - I don't eat it every day, though I would eat it every day if there were no consequences.

Love answer number 3. Honesty rules.
What age do you feel?
I always think of myself being 21. Just an amazing time, before life got really complicated with careers and kids. Though my latest visit to Cedar Point (Ohio amusement park) reminded me how old I may have become. At first, I thought "Man, they really need to tighten the bolts on these roller coasters." Then I realized, the coasters are great. I am getting old. (bummer).

Age is all in the attitude.
What keeps you young?
My quest to absorb life and squeeze every drip out of it.

What does a personal organizer keep in her purse?
Dumping out onto my floor we find: a pen, wallet (ooh, money), business receipts, lip gloss and stick, Velcro strips (odd, where are those from?), business cards, lip balm, grocery list from last week, Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon that expired 3/31/2010 and a notepad.

You, a desert island and….
Matthew McConaughey. I really know nothing about him or his ability to survive a deserted island. Simply going for eye candy here. I'm guessing watching him build us a shelter would be pretty sweet.

What’s your motto for life?
No regrets.

Thank you Mary for thinking of me as a Sensational Woman!
I think you ROCK!!

Who is a sensational woman in your life?

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's a Gladiator Garage

Your garage is likely one of the most used areas by everyone in your home. It also tends to be one of the most unorganized areas, too.

This is a bad combo!

After a long days work, as your garage door raises to welcome you home is there order or chaos? Sure your garage is a great big, open space to store a ton of stuff. Ideally, though ... your car is suppose to fit inside and you are not suppose to be climbing over boxes and bins to reach the door to your home.

Think about using your walls to get organized.

There is the tried and true nails-into-studs system for hanging items onto your walls. You can go a step and use the peg board system which gives you more flexibility. Or, you can use fancy, smanchy wall track system like Gladiator has called GearWall.

Here's the garage area before the installation began. The only tools needed are a drill or power screw driver, level and a stud finder. First I marked the walls for the location of the studs, then marked a level line (horizontal) as a guide for the lowest panel. Once the first panel was up, it was a matter of stacking the panels up on each other and securing to the wall.

Once the 4 panels were in place, the hooks and baskets for the GearWall were brought in. With this wall system, you can buy a variety of accessories to fit your needs. The great part is everything slides around and easily moved as your storage needs change.

The wall system holds up to 50 lbs per square foot which is nearly the weight of a bag of sand ... not that I'm not sure why you would store sand on your wall, but it's for comparison. Gladiator offers all sorts of hooks, baskets, bins and shelves for your organizing needs.

This GearWall system went up like a charm. Seriously, if you can hang a picture, you can install this product. It is a bit of a pricier system, but the clean look and versatility in organizing options make this garage organizing system a winner and definitely worth the investment.

Besides, if you can eliminate a point of chaos in your life, you should go for it.

How does your garage make you feel?