Posts Tagged ‘Certified Professional Organizer’

Changing Routines

August 31, 2016

Last week I let you all know that I spent the last month or so preparing to move and then moving. I am going to spend the next couple of weeks talking about what else has to change – other than the physical address. Are you scratching your head wondering what I mean by that?

Let me give you a little personal history. I grew up in New York City. My family moved apartments 3 times before our final move to Connecticut when I was 16. That’s the house my mother lived in until she passed away in 2009 and the house that I think of as my home but I only really lived there for 5 years.

The longest I ever lived in any 1 house is 10 years and that’s the house I just moved out of! I had established really great routines and places to keep all of my belongings. After all, I am a Certified Professional Organizer and I walk the walk. I don’t keep things I don’t use, I do periodically tweak my filing system, and I’m careful about the things that I keep so that I don’t end up keeping too much.

It’s been really hard to change how I tackle some tasks and to realize that I just have to change some of my routines and habits. I’m not planning to change them completely, just alter them to fit better in this new home.

Are you wondering why? Why can’t I just do the same things I did in the other house, follow the same routines – just in a different location?

It’s not always that simple. Some things I can definitely keep the same – others have to change. Where I lived before I could walk my dogs every morning and evening safely in the neighborhood. There are wide sidewalks that are well lit with street lights. Where I live now there are only narrow sidewalks, there are very few street lights and the sidewalks do not follow the entire length of the road. But there is a park only a short 2 minute drive from my new house that has well-lit very wide sidewalks. My dogs and I love it there. We can still have our 30 minute morning walk safely. We just hop in the car and away we go.

Over the next few weeks I’ll tell you about other habits or routines that I’m changing.

My big take-away is that sometimes we are so comfortable in our routines and habits that it’s hard to imagine doing what we want to do in any other way. This move shifted me out of my comfort zone and put me in a place of discovery. Everyday I’m tweaking my routines a little at a time so that I can still do what I want to do – just differently. It’s all good! In fact, it’s even better.

Is there a routine or habit that you want to change or have to change because a shift in your circumstance makes change necessary?

Write me back and let me know!

 

 

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Moving Again?!

August 24, 2016

Yes, I took some time off writing this blog because I was preparing to move again. I did what I tell all my clients to do. I took a long hard look at my things. I emptied out cupboards and only packed that which I really wanted to take with me. I donated some things, sold some things and put some things out for the trash. And I scheduled 3 appointments with a professional organizer. Yes. Even professional organizers need some guidance and encouragement when tackling difficult tasks!

Then the move happened. I didn’t go far – only about 8 miles or so from where I had been living but it seems light years away. More about that in a moment.

It doesn’t matter how organized or prepared you are – moving is stressful. There is a chaotic feeling about the day of the move. I knew this would happen so I took my dogs, Miles and Josie, to be boarded for a week. I didn’t want them to get even more upset watching the process of dismantling their house. Also, with all the doors open there was a chance that they may get lost!

The truck made its way to my new home. Everything was unloaded. Furniture was placed. And then the boxes. OH, BOY were there ever boxes!

I gave myself a week to unpack, put things away, and hang pictures. That was a very tall order. I did get all the boxes unpacked and everything put away. I am pondering the placement of a few pictures but most of them are hung and look great!

Miles and Josie came home to a house that was full of familiar smells, familiar pieces of furniture in unfamiliar places. They have adjusted well and so have I.

I’m resuming a normal work schedule and feel really settled. I am attending to some volunteer tasks that I had let slide while I was preparing to move.

Yes. I still have things I want to do. I want to tweak the shelving in a few places. I want to paint the rooms. I have HUGE ideas for my garden. These things can wait. I will get to them one project at a time.

The most important thing I want to share with you is that while moving is undeniably stressful there are things you can do to speed up the transition from one home to another.

1.      Be mindful of your decisions of what to take with you when you move

2.      Only bring things you Love, Need, Use

3.      Unpack and put away as quickly as you can

4.      Unpack your bedroom first so you can get a good night’s sleep

5.      Pace yourself

6.      Recycle the packing paper quickly

7.      Cut down and flatten the boxes (my moving company reuses the boxes and came to collect them)

8.      Board your pets – moving is stressful for them too!

I’m so happy to be in my new home! I hope if you move some of these suggestions will help you in your transition to your new home!

Workers Putting Furniture And Boxes In Truck

 

 

Now What? Musings from the NAPO 2015 Conference

May 5, 2015

I’ve been home now a couple of weeks from the NAPO 2015 conference in Los Angeles. Can you imagine staying in a hotel with (I’m not sure exactly how many) about 600 or so professional organizers? It was a very large hotel and conference center. I get lost easily and so was thankful that the conference organizers had lots of signs directing us to various and sundry classrooms.

For us organizers (those new to the profession and those of us who are more experienced) it was a magnificent few days. It offered us time to connect with friends we really only talk to face to face once or twice a year as well as time to take classes. I made lots of new connections, took terrific classes, and visited with vendors in our expo hall to learn about the latest and greatest organizing products.

My head is still spinning from all the new information I acquired. I plan to take my time deciding how to incorporate this information. A few classes I took were focused on running a business. Even though I’ve been in business now for ten years (WOW!) the elements I took away from those classes will help me to run my business better and to better serve my clients. I’m excited about that.

My plan is to review with you some of the things I learned at NAPO 2015 that I plan to share with my clients. Maybe these are things you would like to implement also.

The first is a program you can download. I plan to use it myself. It’s called HomeZada. As I said this is a program you download but it is cloud based. So, it’s accessible from anywhere, anytime. This is important because the HomeZada program provides you with tools to create a fantastic home inventory. If anything should happen to your home because this is cloud based and you can access it from anywhere anytime you would still be able to provide the insurance company with an accurate record of the contents of your home. How fantastic is that! Also, a home inventory comes in very handy if you’re planning to move.

HomeZada also has a way to keep track of routine household maintenance schedules and renovations. You know that it’s important to have great records of any and all home improvements. With HomeZada you have a tool to record what you did, how much it cost, and when the renovation or repair happened. All very important details. The program does other things too but these are the functions that impressed me most.

I can’t wait to start creating my own home inventory. How about you? Are you interested? Does the thought of having a home inventory, maintenance records, home improvements, user manuals all in one place – thus easy to find and access – thrill you? Check out HomeZada at: http://www.homezada.com and let me know what you think!

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!

Small changes?

April 16, 2014

Sometimes a small change in the way we do things can have a really HUGE impact. One of my clients had the habit of waiting until April 14th to begin gathering the information needed to prepare his taxes. It would take him all day and most of the night of the 14th to gather everything together, figure out what he had to do, download the forms, etc. You get the idea, I’m sure. Maybe some of you do this very same thing.

Last year, we created a current tax year file. All tax related information went into the file. I encouraged my client to begin preparing his taxes on April 1st which he did. He was finished with his taxes very quickly as he didn’t have to hunt down any information. His taxes were mailed by the end of the first week – without having to lose any sleep! The small change of creating a central place for all tax related information really helped.

Another client was talking to me about doing laundry. For her, laundry is one of those things that just never seems to end – there’s always more to do. To complete the laundry cycle it must be washed, dried, folded, and put away. This client was good about the washed and dried part but emptying the drier, folding and getting the laundry put away was a problem.

In conversation, my client told me that she starts laundry in the evening and remembers to get it out of the washer and into the drier but quite often she forgets about it and then goes to bed. I suggested that she start the laundry in the morning after taking her child to school. This way she’s up and around the house. I also suggested she set a timer to remind herself to take the clothes out of the drier, fold them and put them away. This small change has really worked! Changing the time of day to do the laundry has helped to keep the piles of laundry under control.

What small change can you make in your day which may make a HUGE impact? Write me and let me know.

What To Do At Home When You Can’t Go Out

January 6, 2014

Does this cold weather have you staying home wondering what to do? I have a few suggestions for you which will also help you organize your home.

Take a look in your closet. Are there a few pieces of clothing that are:

1. too small

2. too big

3. in need of repair or alterations

4. haven’t been worn in the past season

5. when you put it on, you decide not to wear it and then put it back in the closet

Take these items out of your closet and make some decisions. Either schedule a day and time in your calendar to have alterations made or put the items in a shopping bag to take to your local Goodwill.

Miscellaneous Drawer

Everyone has a drawer where they put small things that don’t have an immediate home. Empty the drawer and start sorting. Put the small change in a change jar. Put the pens and pencils in a pencil can or drawer. Figure out if the other odds and ends like batteries, rubber bands, golf balls or whatever can be put away. If not, do you need them or want them?

Filing Cabinet

Get out some extra manila files and a pen or a labeler if you have one. Go through your files. Make the 2014 files for your financial documents, investments, and taxes and any others that you switch out from year to year. Remove the 2013 files and put them in a place where you can work on them to get your taxes done ahead of time!

Now go through your other files, one at a time. Determine if there are any files that are obsolete. Shred them, if necessary. As you’re going through your other files – be sure to look at each piece of paper – determine if there are any papers in those files which you don’t need any more. Shred them, too, if need be.

You want to do this every year so that you don’t just accumulate paper. Know what you have in your filing cabinet.

Kitchen

Maybe this is a good time to empty the kitchen drawers, one at a time. Wash them, dry them, and then put the items back where they belong. If you come across something that doesn’t belong, or that you don’t want, or that is broken either find it a home, donate it, or toss it.

Children’s Art and School work

This could be a great time to go through your children’s art work and school work with your children. Weed out the things the two of you decide you want to keep and put them in a memorabilia box. Recycle the others.

There are lots and lots of things to keep you busy, not bored, at home during this cold snap. These are just a few suggestions. I’d love to hear if you take me up on any of these ideas and if it leads to further organizing in your home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Blinders?

April 3, 2013

Do you wear blinders in your house? So many of my clients admit that they are so bothered by the chaos and clutter in their homes that they intentionally pretend it’s not there. Do they actually wear blinders? They do not. However; the fact remains that they pretend the piles of paper or clothes or empty boxes aren’t there.

This is where I come in. As a Certified Professional Organizer who specializes in Chronic Disorganization I help my clients remove these blinders and devise strategies for clearing the chaos and removing the clutter. 

This means that I work closely with each of my clients to figure out what they want to keep and how they want to be able to find their belongings. We talk about their priorities and make a plan to tackle each area of their home.

 This is not an overnight easy fix. Creating organization out of chaos is time consuming and requires scheduled organizing sessions. I even assign homework! The goal is to teach basic organizing skills and to develop maintenance routines so that  home becomes a place my clients want to be.

Even those who do not have chaos reigning in their home sometimes wear blinders as they travel through their home. Really open your eyes and look to see if there are things out of place. Maybe there is a pair of shoes beside a chair because you kicked your shoes off and curled up in a comfy chair last night while you were watching TV. There’s nothing wrong with that! Just open your eyes, see the shoes, and take them with you to your room as you pass by that chair.

It’s the daily looking around, noticing what’s out of place, and putting it away that keeps the clutter from gathering in your home.

 

Clutter-Free Gifts

November 28, 2012

Did you go shopping this past weekend? Maybe you were one of those who shopped after their Thanksgiving Dinner? I didn’t shop on Thanksgiving Day but I did shop at some of the small businesses in my community on Small Business Saturday. Did you? I will admit that I’m a great cyber shopper and in fact was one of those shopping on Cyber Monday. Interesting don’t you think that these shopping days have been named…

There was a terrific chalkboard saying posted on Pinterest last week regarding purchasing gifts for children. It went something like this: 1 thing they need, 1 thing to wear, 1 thing they want, 1 thing they read. I love this and hope you do too!You do not need to purchase an abundance of things. Too many things just adds to the collection. As a professional organizer, I’m always repeating this mantra to my clients: 1 thing goes out before 1 thing comes in. This is a wonderful time of year to help your children organize their toys and books. If there are toys that are in good condition but that your children no longer play with donate them to a local charity or Goodwill. Books in good condition can be donated to a childcare facility, your local library, or even your school. This way you make room for some things to come in and teach your children that they do not have to hang on to things they are no longer using. A valuable life lesson!

We usually take a family vacation over the holidays and the vacation itself makes up a large portion of my gift to my children. I am a big believer in clutter-free gift giving. These gifts usually involve an experience and they don’t take up any space! You don’t have to put them away.  There are many ways to give a clutter-free gift All you have to do is know the person to whom you are giving and then use your imagination. Here are some questions to get your creative juices flowing. What do they like to do? What are their favorite foods? Do they have a hobby?

Here are a few concrete suggestions:

1. Tickets to a show, the movies, or a local attraction – like the aquarium

2. Something baked: cookies, a cake, or even a casserole

3. Gift certificate to a restaurant (if the person has children you could include babysitting!)

4. Gift certificate for a spa service: facial, manicure/pedicure

5. Gift certificate for a lesson: tennis, golf, skiing, snowboarding, ballroom dance

6. Hire a Professional Organizer for a few hours to help a friend or family member get organized in 1 area of their home

The best part of giving a clutter-free gift is that you are not just giving a thing to use you are also giving an experience! It’s two gifts rolled into one – Isn’t that wonderful!

How Do You Show Gratitude?

November 20, 2012

As Thanksgiving Day approaches I have been thinking about all the many things for which I am thankful. The most obvious are my health, my family, my friends, my home, my hobbies, the community in which I live and the fact that I have a job I love. I appreciate all the blessings in my life but am I outwardly showing my gratitude?

One of the ways I demonstrate how thankful I am is to care for my home and garden. I make sure the inside of my home is organized. The items I treasure are displayed. Other items have homes in cupboards and closets. When I need these items I know where to find them and then when I’m finished they go back to their pre-determined home. My plants are watered. Infact, I go around most mornings with a watering can and admire the flowers or the new leaves that are pushing up. It’s easy to show appreciation and thankfullness for my home and garden because they require daily care, daily maintenance, in order to remain as lovely as they are.

What about my family and friends? Every now and then I promise myself that I will stay in better touch with my family and  friends.I have a large family – 2 brothers and 2 sisters, each of them has a family and we are spread out in the north east. I also have 2 sons and a daughter-in-law. My single son is in California and my married son in New York. I admit that I am in in close touch with my children but not as close with the rest of my extended family. This year I began a little weekly friends and family update e-mail. In the message I filled my family and friends in on things that are happening in my life. That lasted about 6 months or so. I skipped a few weeks and those weeks turned into a few months and before I knew it I had lost touch again. The truth is I treasure my family and friends. I am eternally grateful to have them in my life and appreciate the support they show me. I’m not sure they really know how I feel so because we are all so far apart, geographically, I will revert to showing my gratitude by reaching out in e-mails and phone calls.

I show my gratitude to my clients in the small extras I provide and by saying ‘Thank You!’ I do not take them for granted and am thankful for the trust they place in me by allowing me to provide them with my professional organizing services.

Every morning I watch the ‘Eleven Alive’ morning news broadcast. This station promotes what they call ‘Random Acts of Kindness’. I love hearing about the ways a reporter has helped someone in our community or something someone else has done to help a neighbor. It starts my day with a smile and gets me thinking about my behavior for the day. I believe that being kind in general is a behavior that is underrated. We all benefit from acts of kindness. It can be something as small as holding the door for the person behind you or something big like bringing dinner to your local fire station. These acts of kindness bring happiness not only to the recipient but also to the donor.

There is a man who works at my local grocery store. He and I exchange pleasantries when we see each other. He says ‘Good Morning, how are you?’ My reply is typically ‘fine. how are you?’ His answer never fails to get a smile out of me. He always says ‘I woke up today. It is a good day’. This reminds me that I am grateful for each day, that I should make the most of everyday, be thankful for all the blessings in my life and try to ensure that those I love and appreciate know how I feel.

Happy Thanksgiving!