Friday, January 29, 2010

Time To Get Organized: Challenge #10

Saving one of the worst,
most dreaded organizing tasks out there
for the last of our organizing challenge series.

Though it must be done.

And, if you can come up with a system, you will save a TON of time.

Today's organizing project:
Your paper filing system

Sort & Purge those files

Reward: Tell the kids they can have cookies for breakfast
if they let you sleep in.

Organizing paper is very tedious and time consuming. It is likely that as you begin, every paper needs to be glanced at to figure out "why am I keeping this?" Once you get on a roll, hopefully the papers will begin to fly into the recycling bin or shredder.

Not sure what you need to keep? Check out this post from last year:
"Do I Really Need My Last 5 Years of Electric Bills?"

If you're computer savy, toss the majority of manuals because they are available on-line. Think about your Federal and State tax line items, perhaps set up a folder for each one this year. Saving a big of time and effort rather than sorting a wad of receipts at the end of the year.

Think about how paper moves in and out of your home. Set up your filing system to work with it. For all the great filing systems out there, they will not work unless you use them.

Here's a list of our 2010 organizing challenges:
#1 Organizing Your Inbox
#2 Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet
#3 Organizing Your Pantry
#4 Organizing Your Work Area
#5 Organizing Your Magazines
#6 Organizing Your Car
#7 Organizing Scavenger Hunt
#8 Organizing Your Linen Closet
#9 Organizing Your Sock Drawer

My hope was to give you a starting point to becoming more organized in the new year. Perhaps from time to time I will add a little challenge here and there to keep you on track. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.

What is the oldest manual you had filed away?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Organizing a Drawer is about as fun ... SQUIRREL!

Getting distracted is sooooo easy to do.

Ellen DeGeneres did a little bit on her struggles in getting organized and how procrastination leads you down the distracted path of whatever you are attempting to accomplish.

Now that I've spent the last hour or so watching the rest of Ellen's standup, I can get back to business ... uh, what was I doing?

One favorite quotes from Ellen (on hands-free devices):
"If you need both of your hands to do something,
I'm thinking your brain should be in on it too"

What are you procrastinating from doing?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time To Get Organized: Challenge #9

Ever realize at 3:00pm you have on one blue sock with one black sock?

Heck, I remember one time going to work at Ford Motor Company with one blue and one black pump. Now that I think about it. It was around 3-4:00, too, when I realized the fashion faux pas.
Today's organizing project:
Your Sock Drawer.

Dump it out and start over

Reward: Crank up the music in your home
and dance like you're Beyonce.

Dump out drawer and check out the pile.
Match up your socks.
Group them into colors and styles.
Return your happy little sorted piles into the drawer.

Remember to place your black socks away from your blue socks. If you put your gym socks in the middle of them, may keep them from drifting together a bit longer.

Ah, an organized sock drawer. No more fumbling for the right socks ... well, at least of a little while.

What song did you crank up and boogie?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Time To Get Organized: Challenge #8

Sitting in your closet for months, years, waiting to be used. Yet, nope ... just doesn't happen. Your old towels and sheets are "too good" to throw out, yet you just cannot part with them.

So they sit ... and sit ...
in your linen closet waiting for the day you will need 6 blue bath towels sets, even though your bathroom is now green. Then there are the double size sheet sets you still have, alas now you have a queen size bed. Yet there is nothing wrong with the double sheet set except they do not fit your bed.
Today's organizing project:
Your Linen Closet.

Remove towels or sheets that are not being used

Reward: Kick back, enjoy your favorite beverage
and think about the last time you laughed REALLY hard
(if its been too long, go rent "The Hangover.")

My favorite place to donate linens to are your local animal shelter. They are always in need of towels, sheets, blankets, rugs ... heck anything to wipe up a mess or let the animals cuddle up into for a nap.

By organizing your linen closet, you are going to end up with a TON more room. Instead of blankets tumbling out everytime you open the door to grab a fresh towel, everything will stay in place. Plus, you'll only have your freshest and softest towels for available for use.

One week left in National Get Organized month and hopefully you are beginning to feel a bit lighter around your home, the air seems easier to breathe and you are able to relax and enjoy yourself more.

Here's a list of our 2010 organizing challenges to date:
#1 Organizing Your Inbox
#2 Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet
#3 Organizing Your Pantry
#4 Organizing Your Work Area
#5 Organizing Your Magazines
#6 Organizing Your Car
#7 Organizing Scavenger Hunt

What made you laugh REALLY hard?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Teacher I need a Break From Organizing

Let's take an organizing break with a simple question you can ask people you come across all day long. It's a great way to peak inside someone's life:

Who is your favorite teacher?

Mine is Mr. Straub, high school physics.

This man is legendary, even has his own Facebook group page started by past students. He inspired me to think outside (no box required), never took attendence because figured you had something important to do, threw out tests when the class failed because he failed, believed you could answer "yes" to multiple choice questions and so much more .

Physics is around you everyday day of your life. Mr Straub taught you how to use it to your advantage. F=ma can solve pretty much any problem in life.

Thank you Mr. Straub for everything.

You Rock!!

What did your favorite teacher teach you?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Get organized to save time and money!

Looking for tips on organizing your office, laundry room and pantry. Check out this short video featured on 13ABC-WTVG Toledo "People, Places and Things" segment:

Thank you Rebecca Regnier for your interest in helping people get organized in 2010.
Check out her blog, Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat? for fun diet humor.

What are you looking to get organized in 2010?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time To Get Organized: Challenge #7

"One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?"

Aaaahh, the classic Sesame Street song.

Who knew you could use something you learned on Sesame Street to get organized?
Today's organizing project:
A Scavenger Hunt.

Walk around your home and pick up items that do not belong.

Reward: Schedule an appointment for yourself, a lunch date,
doctor visit, hair or nails, something you need to do for YOU.

This is a GREAT little organizing project because everyone in your home can play along.

Grab a bag, box or basket and simply walk around an area in your home and pick up items that do not belong. After you have gathered your stuff, then take and put the items back where they belong.

You may have many items that no longer even belong in your home. Those need to leave your home, either donate or trash. Your challenge should be to grab 27 items to stimulate good Feng Shui energy in your home.

Who's your favorite Sesame street character?

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's the Season For Organizing

Today's post comes from guest blogger, Melanie Dennis who shares some insight in dealing with all our possesions.

It started the day after Christmas. The ads in my paper were pushing shelves, bins, totes, and organizers of every shape and color. The message is clear- You got stuff. You need stuff to store your stuff. The time is now when you are stuck inside with your stuff. There was National Clean off Your Desk Day this week, "GO" (Get Organized) Month from the National Association of Professional Organizers, Oprah has Peter Walsh organizing again, and A&E will spotlight another Hoarder so we see how bad it can get. There is no doubt about it-Organized is better. Organized students get better grades. Organized bill payers have better credit ratings. Organized workers get better jobs. Do we need to be reminded that we have so much that we can't find what we need? Apparently so.

There has never been a time in history when a society has had so many possessions. We could not have learned from the past how to deal with too much. I watch old westerns (my guilty pleasure) and think how hard it would be to narrow down my possessions to fit in a covered wagon or to carry my possessions like a refugee on the news. This is, of course, extreme but many of us have developed unhealthy and fearful relationships with our stuff. I have heard clients say that a teddy bear would feel lonely or rejected if we tossed it. People feel they're stuck for eternity with a cheese plate because "It was a gift". They worry that tossing something owned by one's parents is disrespectful to the past even if it costs them the use of a garage or basement. They hang on to checks written in the last century in fear that the government will come beating on their door requesting proof of a "Save the Children" donation. The good news is that with the help of a professional organizer, asking the right questions, they were able to re-frame their thinking. The gift was not meant to weigh them down, the IRS has rules about what you need to keep and for how long, and their parents would rather they stayed warm in their garage.

We need reminders and support as we learn to deal with the stuff in our life. We need reminders to bless others when we have more than we need. We need guides to help us make rules for ourselves about what to keep, for how long, or what to do when we inherit a household. Remember- no product will completely make you organized. You have to first re-frame your thinking. The goal for each year is just to get better.

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 post.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Time To Get Organizing: Challenge #6

Between your driving commute for work, hustling the kids around for sporting/social events and your own shopping errands, you are likely spending a lot of time in your car.

Today's organizing project:
Your Car.

Grab a bag (or two) and clean up
all those papers and toys.

Reward: Call up a friend you have not spoken to in far too long.

Nothing worse than scrambling in the morning to get everyone off to school and you jump into your car with papers, toys and that lingering smell of a 3 month old french fry under the seat.

Clean up all those crumpled fliers and receipts, wipe down the dashboard and steering wheel and shoot some Febreeze on the floor and seats for a fresh smell.

Now, when you jump into your car. You'll have a bit of a sense of peace as you cruise down the road singing like a rockstar. Plus, you had a great chat with your friend. Perhaps you are meeting for lunch later in the week.

What song makes you sing like a rockstar?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Organizing a Bachelor Pad

With a pending move looming, "Tom" was not motivated to completely unpack from his latest move the last year. Living amongst boxes was not ideal for him. Thought as soon as Tom found out his move was not going to happen, he was ready to FINALLY get organized.

"Look, I really don't have a clue what I should do or buy to get more organized," Tom told me when he called to talk about his home.

After getting an idea of what Tom's intentions were for getting his laundry, bathroom and kitchen organized, I was off to find some stuff that would be perfect for organizing this bachelor pad.

Originally I wanted to find a rolling storage laundry cart, the kind that fits in between your washer and dryer. Alas, my quest was unsuccessful in finding it, but came back with this great little black shelving system. Turns out it was a much better organizing item.

With all of Tom's laundry and cleaning supplies organizing on this new shelving, we moved onto his kitchen to get rid of the bins and boxes he has been digging through for the past year.

This kitchen cart was PERFECT!
Drawers to store his cooking utensils and shelving for Tom's favorite pans and beverages. He was particularly pleased with the little wine rack at the bottom.

Moving on to organizing his bathroom. He was tired of knocking over his bottles of different toiletries, Tom just wanted something to "just make this area functional."

The organizing solution = A bathroom space saver. These units are wonderful for created all sorts of organizing space in a tight area.

With only a few essential items left on Tom's bathroom counter, he was "blown away" at how much was accomplished during his organizing day.

Not only did he get organized, Tom was able to continue working while I did all the running around gathering up supplies and assembling all the items.

Tom feels now there is a plan for him to work on unpacking his other items around his home and begin settling down ... in an organizing fashion that is.

What area of your home is unsettled for you?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Organizing Christmas Present

"Jody" wanted to do something different for her mom's gift for Christmas. Thinking she had everything she needed, perhaps a bit too much, Jody decided to get her mom's, "Mary", closets organized.

Wanting to create more hanging space in Mary's closet, her current shelf and rod system was removed. We then installed a double shelving/hanging system along with a couple of great shoe shelving units.

The over-the-door shoe rack was removed. It was no longer needed with the shoe shelves in Mary's other closet. Again in this closet the shelf and hanging rod were removed. Though here she wanted more storage space for sweaters, shirts, pants and handbags. So we installed a shelving system.

Mary was so delighted with all her new storage space, she began organizing all her clothing as I was gathering up my tools.

"Wow! I really have a ton more space," Mary said to me, "This is unbelieveable. Thank you."

Everytime I finish an organizing project I truly am thankful for the positive difference I am able to make in my client's lives. Being a professional organizer is a very rewarding career for me. I love my job!

What was your favorite Christmas present?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Time To Get Organized: Challenge #5

Who knew these innocent little reads could cause such headaches as the pile up around you, if you do not keep them in control.
Today's organizing project:
Your Magazines.

Clear out your magazines.

Reward: When taking a shower, linger for
an extra couple minutes with your eyes closed.

Grab a brown paper grocery bag and start loading it up with your old magazines. Any magazine over 3 months has got to go. Most articles are available on-line if that is your justification for keeping it. If there is a layer of dust on them, it has got to go. (plus do you seriously want to dust a magazine?)

Please consider dropping off your magazines to a recycling center or check with you local school to see if they may need them for art projects.

The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has deemed January as National Get Organized Month. Michigan Governer, Jennifer Granholm recently signed a proclamation in support of being more organized in 2010.

Remember getting organized is an investment in yourself.

Enjoy the day!

What's your favorite magazine?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Time To Get Organized: Challenge #4

When you are surrounded by too much stuff, you just can't see all the good stuff you really have.

Monday's require an quick and easy organizing task. Look about the area you are sitting at right now. I bet there are at least five things you could pick up and put them away where they belong or just TOSS THEM. Look for dusty stuff if you're struggling ... it is Monday.
Today's organizing project:
Your work area.

Look for at least 5 items to pick up or throw away

Reward: take 5 minutes to think about what you are thankful for.

Moving stuff is good Feng Shui. You know it is good for your body to get up and move around from time to time. If your work area is feeling a bit bogged down, give this Feung Shui magic trick a shot.

You've moved your five items and thought about a few great things in your life. That, my friend, is an AWESOME way to start off the week.

Get out there and enjoy the day!

Here's a list of our 2010 organizing challenges to date:
#1 Organizing Your Inbox
#2 Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet
#3 Organizing Your Pantry

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Time to Get Organized: Challenge #3

Recently found a can of soup from 1998 in a client's pantry which got me thinking about our next organizing challenge:

Today's project: Your Pantry.

Pull everything out, clean the shelves
and organize those cans and boxes

Reward: Rent that movie you keep passing,
yet you always look at it.
Oh, you'll need some popcorn, too
(hey, this is bigger than a 10 min project)

Organizing your pantry is a great weekend project. It's not going to take all weekend (I hope), though it will be longer than 10-15 minutes.

Remove everything from your "pantry" or the area you have all your food items. As you take items out, organized them into like groups:
soups, veggies, rice, pastas, sauces, treats, snacks, etc ...

You also will need to make sure you LIKE the stuff you are keeping and you will USE it. If it is from 1998 and you moved it from one home to your current home and you still have it, uh ... you're not going to use it in 2010.

Now, there will be crumbs and crusties about on the shelves.
Everyone has them.
I don't know how they get there, they just do.

You've got your storage area cleaned up.
Start placing your stuff back in the area using the groups you have sorted items.

Boom Baby!
You are ready to enjoy that goofy movie because your pantry is a fagizzely organized pantry.

Previous organizing challenges (click here)

What movie you chillin' with tonight?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Organizing expert, Monica Ricci, recently invited me to write an article for her blog, Your Life. Organized. She is a wonderful person and I am honored to share some organizing wisdom with our readers.

Here's the post:

So you want to be organized. Your tired of having the heavy feeling every time you step into your basement, kitchen or bedroom. Well, you need to make some changes.

Albert Einstein said,
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Being organized takes work.
Making changes can be scary.
Though the benefit of getting organized to your life and soul will be profound.

This isn't about getting your entire home looking as if it belongs in Better Homes & Gardens magazine (not that there is anything wrong with that). But rather getting your closet, desk or countertop organized and feeling better to you. Your success of a small organizing project will lead you to conquer the next one.

The holiday season involves more stuff coming into your home. It is very important to work at letting go of items that have lost their purpose in your life, especially if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed in your home now.

Your transformation begins with the first item you place in a bag to be removed from your home. The second item will be easier. Soon you will begin to feel lighter, the air will seem fresher and a sense of freedom will fill your soul.

As difficult as change can be, it leads to something better.

What are you ready to change?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Time to Get Organized: Challenge #2

Sticky cough syrup bottles.
Deep blue, sparkly eye shadow from 1985.
Orange pills in a faded prescription bottle.

Let's start out the New Year with a freshly cleaned and organized bathroom cabinet. Remove all those bottles, jars and boxes out of your cabinet or drawer. Use your favorite cleaning method to wipe the area clean.

Now, seriously look at all the stuff you pulled out. Begin placing the items you use everyday back. Check expiration dates on the bottles and jars. If you are REALLY using it, then place it back. If not, then it's gotta go.

This is a new year baby and you want only THE BEST stuff in your life.
Today's project: Your Medicine Cabinet.

Get rid of old makeup, expired medicine and toiletries
that you haven't used in months (umm … years?).

Reward: Extra couple minutes in the shower to do nothing
but let the hot water sooth your body

Previous Challenge #1: Your Inbox

Check back for the next organizing challenge.

Remember all this organizing work is an investment in yourself.

What's the oldest bottle you found?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Time to Get Organized: Challenge #1

It is that time of year for New Year's resolutions and perhaps getting organized in 2010 is yours. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has deemed January as National Get Organized Month. A national event dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits of getting organized and hiring a professional organizer to help you get it done.

January is the perfect month to get organized and start your new year off right.

With a few days to rest and recoop from the holiday hoopla, now it is time to get back to business. I'm going to be posting organizing challenges every day or so to give you some direction at conquering your organizing goals.
Today's 10 min project: Your InBox.

Spend 10 minutes deleting (yes, I said 'delete')
old emails from your inbox.

HUGE slice of cheescake, or an alternate reward,
if you get your box down to 25 messages.

Check back for the next organizing challenge.

Imagine how awesome you are going to feel by the end of the month!

How many messages are in your inbox (before & after numbers)?

Friday, January 01, 2010

2010 Dreams

365 more days in paradise... and only one request of you:

Beautiful new start is given to all of us. Wipe away your any frustrations or disappointments and believe that today is a your first step toward your wishes.

You control your thoughts and actions ... choose good ones.

What are you dreaming of in 2010?