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?