Posts Tagged ‘association of professional organizers’

Now What? Are you forgetful?

September 30, 2015
Retiree and senior care assistant talking together

Retiree and senior care assistant talking together

Are you forgetful? Do you forget where you have left your keys, your wallet or your handbag? Do you walk into a room and forget why you went into that room? Do you remember a person’s face, know that you have met them but don’t know their name? These are memory lapses that happen to all of us from time to time. If they happen regularly then you might start thinking about being tested.  Have you ever wondered what it would feel like if you were diagnosed with either Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? I have. My memory is something that I pride myself on. These diseases scare me. Do they scare you? Do you know someone with one or the other of these diagnoses?

I had the privilege of attending the Institute for Challenging Disorganization conference in Cleveland, Ohio earlier in September. One of the speakers, Margit Novack, gave a presentation titled: Still Someone: Working with People Who Have Memory Loss. It was a terrific talk and gave countless tips on the ways to help who are no longer as in control and adept as used to be.

Here are a few of Margit’s handy tips:

  1. Make lists – keep them short
  2. Post frequently called numbers by the phone
  3. Create detailed schedules to let the individual know exactly what’s going on during the day
  4. Include the individual in the conversation
  5. Don’t talk about them as if they aren’t there
  6. As much as possible allow them to make the decisions
  7. Speak loudly, clearly and slowly but not condescendingly
  8. If the person is telling a story don’t interrupt and don’t correct them – even if a few of the details are wrong!

Margit also told us that it’s so important for the seniors in our care (whether you are a professional organizer, a home healthcare worker, a therapist or a family member) to give the person as much control as possible. This helps to build their confidence and self-esteem. We can take a few extra minutes and make another list or explain something again or even listen to the same story again. After all, we may be there ourselves one day and will want someone helping us to be kind and respectful.

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Now What? Another NAPO 2015 update

May 13, 2015

Last week I told you about HomeZada – a wonderful computer program to help you with everything to do with your house and home. This week I’m reviewing the Purse Perfector. This is not a new invention but the company has been tweaking their design and this year I decided to really investigate it. This is the perfect tool to help organize your bottomless tote bag. You know the one you carry to the beach. The tote bag holds everything: your book, hat, sunscreen, water bottle and all the other various and sundry items we women carry in our bags. I don’t know about you but I always end up holding things in my bag for other members of my family too! Usually I am asked to please hang onto hats, sunglasses, other family member’s books or magazines so my tote bag is necessarily very big.

How do I find MY things amidst all these other belongings? Well, that’s where the Purse Perfector comes in very handy. It has pockets, sections, and slots to hold all my necessary items. It comes in two sizes: medium and large. It’s on sale right now in honor of Mother’s Day. Here is a picture from the website:

Large-Silver-Sage

I put my driver’s license, health insurance card and a credit card in the slots in the very front. My lip gloss goes in the little holder and right next to that I put gum or breath mints. I have room for a kindle or e-reader or small notebook in the center section. Behind that I put my reading glasses and sunglasses. Then I stash my keys in the section next to my glasses. This is how I keep my things all together and organized – even when they are at the bottom of a large tote bag!

The Purse Perfector comes in a variety of colors and you can use it in all sorts of different ways. It even zips apart if you want to use it in a small handbag. Check out their website for more information! http://www.purseperfector.com

Think Replacement…

January 21, 2015

I often get asked how to organize a closet. Something to remember is that we generally wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the tIme! You know which clothes are your favorites. Since this is true, why are closets so full to over-flowing? My suspicion is that garments are not replaced. By that I mean when shopping for yourself, are you replacing something that is worn or that is either too big or too small or are you shopping because you’d like a new outfit?

If you have children, this is something you do already – I hope. First, you sort through their clothes. As you sort, you determine which clothes are too small and which ones are so well worn that they must be either cut up into rags or tossed. The too small clothes are put into bags or boxes to hand down to a younger child or relative or to donate. Then you go shopping to replace those clothes. If you don’t have children I bet this is something that your mother did for you as a child!

So, if your closet is over-full ask yourself when you go to buy clothes what are you replacing?

As a professional organizer I recommend you remove 2 items for every item you bring in. This adds space to your closet. You’ll be able to see what you have and find what you’re looking for!

Here are some other closet organizing tips:

1. Group your clothes according to type and color. Put short sleeved shirts together, long-sleeved shirts together, slacks, skirts, jackets, and dresses together. Then sort by color within the grouping.

2. Take a hard look at what you have. How many pairs of black pants do you have? How many do you need? How many can you wear at one time?

3. If you have ever put something on, looked in the mirror, and then said to yourself, “this doesn’t look right…”. You take off that garment and then put it back in your closet, right? I suggest that you take off that garment and give it away. If it doesn’t feel right or look right today it will never look right!

4. Keep a donation bag in your closet for those clothes and for any clothes or shoes that you haven’t worn in awhile.

5. Turn the hangers backwards. As you wear an item turn that hanger around. At the end of 6 months revisit your closet and take a look at the hangers that remain backwards. Consider giving those clothes away. The exception to this rule is the clothes that are special event clothes.

If organizing your closet is on your list to do, follow these tips and remember to think replacement!

Under Pressure?

October 10, 2014

I know I’ve taken a break from writing this blog for sometime now. Usually, I’m all about not taking on too much – knowing that when I say ‘yes’ to someone to do something I not only know that I will do that task but that the task will take time away from something else. Well, I have really been over scheduled and over-committed the past few months and the pressure will not be off until the middle of November. That’s still almost a month more of living in a time-sensitive pressure cooker.

Are you wondering what tasks, projects, and chores I’ve taken on or maybe you’re wondering why I did this to myself? Let me answer the last part of the question first.

I took on all these projects because each one appealed to me on some level. Have you ever taken on a project because you are friends with the person asking you for help and you didn’t want to let them down? Well, I have and I did recently. I agreed to do the other projects because I believed (and still do) that they are very worthwhile. So there you have it. I over-committed myself without any regard to the fact that all these projects would be due within several weeks of each other. If they had been more spaced out during the year I would not be in this state of over-whelm.

The tasks or projects I took on are widely varied. One is a volunteer project for the community in which I live. It’s a great project, I like the people involved and wanted to join forces with them. I just didn’t count on the project being quite as time consuming as it is. Two of the other projects I’m currently working on will have an impact on my role as a certified professional organizer. I’m excited about being involved in these projects because I love being a professional organizer and these projects (if I do a great job – which I plan to do) will reflect my passion for organizing and the clients I serve. My final project is to get the word out that my book: Now What? A Simple Organizing Guide is now published! YIPPEE It is available for purchase on my website and will be up on Amazon within a few weeks. I know I should have been marketing this book for months now – building a buzz – but I was working on all these other projects and simply didn’t do it. So, now, marketing my book is another project.

I truly understand what it feels like to be under a lot of pressure with time demands hitting you right and left. Coming to the end of this season of over-whelm for myself I can fully appreciate just how heavy the pressure can get. Having said that the next time someone asks me to volunteer for a project I plan to ask what the deadline is, how much time they anticipate it will cost me (double whatever they tell me) and then I will check my calendar before jumping at the bait!

How about you? Are you under pressure? Can you relate? Please let me know! Also, if you have any marketing tips for my book I’d love to have them!

Getting Organized?

December 31, 2013

It’s almost the New Year and time to begin again. Is one of your resolutions to finally get organized? If it is, you’re not alone. Many people say they want to get organized. January is National Get Organized month – a perfect time to start.

How should you begin? The first thing many people do is go shopping for organizing supplies. Now, if you’re organizing a filing system I would say ‘great’! Go ahead and get manila files, hanging folders, a shredder and perhaps extra tabs for the hanging files and a few sharpie pens. You absolutely need those supplies when organizing a paper filing system.

If you’re organizing a closet you might go ahead and get some hangers. However, until you know how many sweaters, t-shirts, or shoes you are keeping (when you begin organizing one of the steps you’ll take is to sort through your belongings to determine if any of those items will be leaving your house to be donated, recycled, trashed, or consigned) you should not buy containers!

Let me say that again… Do NOT buy containers, baskets or bins until you know what you are putting in said containers. Are you thinking, why not? You save yourself time when you wait until you’ve completed the sorting process to buy organizing containers. When you buy them ahead of time you don’t know how many of which size, shape or style container you need. When you sort first you know where you will put the containers and approximately what the containers will hold. When you buy containers before sorting you will almost always have to return some containers and buy others of a different size and shape. So, you have to make a second trip to the store! When you sort first and have a good idea of the space in which you are putting the containers you usually go to the store once thus saving yourself a return trip to the store!

Now where to begin this organizing project? My advice is to start small. Start with a drawer or a small closet. See how much time that takes you. Then decide if there is a bigger organizing project in your house that you want to tackle. It’s important to finish one organizing project before beginning the next.

No matter the scope of the project being more organized in any area will give you satisfaction and hopefully encourage you to tackle another project in your home.

Let me know what you decide to organize and how it turns out!

Why Organize with a Professional Organizer?

October 30, 2013

Do you have an area in your home that never seems to get organized. Things are generally out of place. You don’t know where to begin to make it better so you don’t. The problem area either remains that way, gets worse, or perhaps a friend offers you a suggestion and one day you tackle it.

Well, this is something I hear often from clients. They feel they should be able to get organized on their own – by themselves. They are embarrassed that they need to have a certified professional organizer come into their home to help them.  They ask why can I tackle these projects with you here? Shouldn’t I be able to make a plan and follow through by myself?

My answer is that it is easier for you when you have a trained professional organizer to guide you. When you’re working with your organizer, the organizer can help you think through the steps in a project to achieve your goal. We talk about how you envision using the space, determine the belongings that stay in the space, remove items that don’t support the stated activities in that space and figure out what you’re doing with those things. If you’re keeping them – where do they belong? if you’re not keeping them we can help you figure out if you can recycle, donate, consign or dispose of them.

Finally, your professional organizer is a cheerleader. Someone who will encourage you as you work on a project to see it through to completion and then celebrate with you. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to complete large projects.  Having an objective professional working with you makes the process much less overwhelming – easier to deal with. To find a professional organizer in your area visit: http://www.napo.net or http://www.challengingdisorganization.org

 

 

Are You Organized?

January 17, 2013

What does organized look like? I believe that being organized feels and looks different for everyone. Some people like having a little bit of clutter or disarray around. They are really O.K. with that. They know they are organized because they can find what they are looking for, the amount of clutter they allow to accumulate does not stress them out, and they feel in control of their environment. Other people get stressed when there are a few items lurking around without homes. These people like to have everything put away and do not allow any clutter to accumulate.

Part of my job as a professional organizer is to find out what organized looks like for each of my clients. Everyone of my clients has a unique definition. Helping each of my clients define organized and then working with them to achieve that sense and feeling of being organized is my passion.

This is not to say that you can work to become organized, achieve that feeling of being organized and then stop. Being organized is a constant work in progress. This is because life is constantly evolving. What works for you this month may not work for you next month.

Once you have your definition of being organized and you get organized then you have to have a strategy or system to maintain the organization. When your circumstances change or when life tosses you a challenge take a step back, reassess your defintion of organized and then work to achieve it again.

Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:
1. create a daily routine
2. Put things away when you are finished with them (later rarely happens)
3. Only have things in your home that you either love, use or both
4. If you don’t love an item or you don’t use it then let someone else have it!
5. Jump start your organizing process by hiring a professional organizer

Are You Prepared?

September 4, 2012

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organizers) is working to make all homeowners more aware of ways they can prepare for disaster and emergenices in their homes and workplaces.

So, how prepared are you? Do you have an emergency medical kit? Are you curious about the items that make up such a kit?

My kit has: bandaids (a variety of sizes), gauze pads and paper tape, iodine, ant-bacterial hand santizer, latex gloves, tweezers, benadryl (topical ointment and tablets), asperin, an ace bandage and baby wipes

When you put together your kit think about the sorts of injuries that you generally take care of and then think about the items you use when dealing with those injuries.

Do you have a bag or file box that you could grab quickly with important documents/ information?  Are you wondering what documents are ‘important’? They are the ones that you would use to prove your identity (birth certificate & passport), home ownership, insurance – all types, bank and investment account numbers to name a few.    Do you have your important documents scanned onto a jump drive with the originals  in a safe deposit box at the bank. If you do, that jump drive could be in a prepared tote bag in your front hall closet.

Are you wondering if you should go to such extremes to be prepared? Well, you never know when disaster is going to strike and even though it does take time and effort to become prepared, as the saying goes – better safe than sorry.  Isn’t it better to have all the documents you would need to prove who you are, where you live, to give you access to bank accounts or investment accounts, insurance information etc. than to wish you could put your hands on them?

How else should you be prepared?  If there was a sudden fire in your house do you have smoke/carbon monoxide alarms to alert your family? Have you changed those batteries recently? Do you have fire extinguishers? Are they fully operational? You can take your fire extinguisher to a hardware store or the fire station nearest you to check their functionality. What if the fire was so sudden and enormous that everyone had to leave the house does everyone know the safest way out? In school we had regular fire drills so we would know exactly where to go should the alram sound. It’s a good idea to practice that with your family.

Take some time this month to look at ways you can prepare yourself just in case of a natural disaster!

For more information on this topic check out Judith Kolberg’s book: Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Your Home For Any Natural and Unnatural Disaster

Choices

January 18, 2012

Choices… we all make countless choices everyday. Some choices we make without even realizing that we are, in fact, doing so. Are you scratching your head trying to figure out what I might be referring to? I am talking about the unconscious choice a person makes when she walks past something that really should be either thrown out (recycled), put away, or dealt with in some fashion. When this happens it’s as if she has blinders on and really does not see these things that are out of place. Since this is the eighth year that NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organizers) has promoted January as the month to ‘Get Organized’ some people have made the choice to take a more active role in making that happen in their offices and homes. One choice you can make is to open your eyes and take a good look at what you have around you. Let’s say there are a few things in the kitchen that don’t belong. Maybe there are some papers to be filed, a book that should be returned to the library, and a pair of shoes. As you go on your way through the kitchen move the papers near the filing cabinet, put the book in a tote bag and leave it near the door so that you take it with you when you next leave the house (don’t forget to schedule a stop at the library), and deposit the shoes in the bedroom closet. You don’t have to do it all at once! In fact, you could have a basket in which you collect things that don’t belong. Then, when you have a few free minutes each day, make a choice to deal with the things in the basket. Decide to add organizing to your daily routine! Every little bit helps. Part of my routine is to take a few minutes at the end of everyday to organize my desk. I file loose papers, put away information I have pulled during my day and leave my desk tidy – ready for the next day. This really helps me stay on top of all the things I  have to do.Think about the choices you make each day, will you make some different choices in an effort to be more organized this year?