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The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook: Book Review

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

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There is a small but growing group of Professional Organizers who are also published authors. We like to write. We like to organize. We like to write about organizing–what a surprise! My colleague, Professional Organizer Vickie Dellaquila, CPO, CPO-CD of Organization Rules, Inc. is one of those Professional Organizers. She is the author of, Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move.

Vickie recently adopted a mascot for her business and her name is Ophelia. She even has her own Facebook page! Ophelia offers answers to people’s organizing questions and just started doing book reviews. When I saw her post looking for books to review I popped one in the mail for her to read. Boy, am I glad I did–I think she enjoyed it.

The Organized Bride's Thank You Note Handbook: Book Review I Don't walk down the aisle without it! organizedartistry.com #weddingthankyounotes

Her review…

 

“Oh how I wish I had this handbook when I got married! The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook by Stacey Agin Murray is the perfect guide for overwhelmed brides seeking assistance in the daunting task of writing thank you notes. Almost every bride I know has complained about this task specifically due to the amount of legwork and trying to think what to write to people. Stacey has it all here for you in this handbook down to keeping track of who bought you what present and for what occasion (engagement, bridal shower, etc.) to great examples that are personalized, thoughtful, and truly will show your appreciation for each of your wedding guests. I highly recommend The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook to brides out there or newlyweds who are dreading the thank you note writing task. This handbook will guide you through every step of the way and keep you organized with the built in charts. Please do yourself a favor and order your copy before starting your thank you notes!”

Thanks, Ophelia (and Vickie, too)!

I’ll be attending the NAPO Conference in Pittsburgh in April 2017 which is Vickie/Ophelia’s hometown. I’m looking forward to meeting them and thanking them in person for their lovely review of The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook.

Have you read a book lately? Help an author by writing a review on Amazon or Goodreads–they’ll be grateful for your time and words.

 

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Categories: Facebook, NAPO Conference, The Organized Bride's Thank You Note Handbook

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Organizing MY Home: Where Do I Put it NOW?

Friday, September 9th, 2016

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As you may have read in my past three blog posts, last year I was a little busy with a home addition/renovation project. I knew it would be a challenging and rewarding process–and it was! But, there was one thing I didn’t realize would need to happen after we had moved back in…

I was going to have to find new ‘homes’ for almost everything we owned.

Although I don’t formally ‘move’ clients as part of Organized Artistry’s list of services, on occasion, I have helped a client  unpack their belongings into a new home. Within that process, I have assisted clients in finding new ‘homes’ for their kitchenware, linens and anything else that needed a home. With all the work that went into making our new house safe and beautiful, it never dawned upon me that I was going to have to figure out new ‘homes’ for everything we owned. Our house barely looked the same after the renovation/addition. Much of our old furniture was gone. We had a brand new kitchen with ample cabinets and pull-out drawers (squee!)–new closets, vanities, and storage options, too.

A Professional Organizer re-creates homes for everything she owns I organizedartistry.com

One of the storage pieces we created–four drawers to hold BBQ and entertaining pieces.

Yup. I’m a Professional Organizer and ‘finding new homes for everything we owned’ had not made it to my To-Do list.

We had lived in our pre-renovation house with mostly the same furniture and storage systems for fourteen years. For fourteen years the tape measure, the check book, and most of what we owned had ‘lived’ in the same place. I always knew where to find things when I needed them. Now, after almost six months in our house, it’s more like…

“Honey, where’s the (fill-in-the-blank)?

or

“Honey, do you remember where we decided to put the (fill-in-the-blank)?

or, once in a while it’s more like…

“WHERE IS THAT (fill-in-the-blank)? I COULD SWEAR I PUT IT IN (that drawer, that closet, that room)!

I’ll be honest–this has been pretty frustrating for me as a person and for someone who finds ‘good homes’ for people’s belongings for a living! It has left me discombobulated and a little freaked-out when I can’t find something.

Like I tell my clients, nothing happens overnight and I have to remind myself of that, too. A task this large needed to be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. The joke is, “How do you eat an elephant?” and the answer is, “one bite at a time…” It’s an ongoing process. I broke it down into three parts: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary (like on the color wheel). Here’s how I’ve been breaking down the task to meet this challenge head on…

Primary: What Did I Do First? 

• On move-in day, I set up a bin in my new kitchen–large enough to accommodate papers. Any important papers that I needed to not misplace and have in front of my eyeballs went in there (ex. forms from school, our packing list, a wedding invitation, etc.)

• I thought of what rooms/hotspots HAD to be organized for us to function as a family in the days and weeks post move-in. Those turned out to be the kitchen/panrty, the kid’s homework/supply station, basic bedroom, bathroom, and home office set ups, current season clothing and sporting equipment (for my two boys).

• The tape measure and checkbook found semi-permanent homes!

Secondary: Three Months later–a few examples… 

• I have been slowly determining where items should now ‘live’ based on our new habits and the flow of the house.

• Important papers used to hang on my fridge and I kept some in a magazine holder on my kitchen counter. Now I keep them in plastic sleeves in a binder that lives in one of my kitchen cabinets. It’s now a ‘home’ for papers I need to look at regularly (schedules for recycling, school, sports, phone lists, etc.)

 pre-renovation magnet-covered refrigerator

This is what our old fridge used to look like! We had a ton of fridge magnets–my kids loved them!

• My kids needed a place to put their most popular games/puzzles/books on the first floor of our home. Certain kid games/puzzles/books now live in a dresser that is being used as an entrainment console until we get a new one. Other games/puzzles/books live in the basement and kid bedrooms.

Tertiary: Tasks left on the to-do list… 

• Holiday, BBQ/Entertaining items, Art Supplies are still in boxes. If I need them, I know where the boxes are and what’s inside of each since my packing list perpetually lives in the bin described above. Still haven’t figured out where everything will live–especially since we’re still in need of some furniture that will serve as storage pieces for the items in these boxes. Find the turkey platter, fondue pot, and glitter glue? No problem. Where to store it for the next few years? I’ll have to get back to you on that one…

• When the movers brought some of our boxes up to the attic, they were put up there in random spots. Once the weather gets cooler, hubby and I can organize them better–especially the bins of seasonal kid clothes. Those can be a beast!

• I am still slowly determining where items should now ‘live’ based on our new habits and the flow of the house. I think we’re going to have to live in the space for a year–four seasons–to know where everything should live.

I’m taking it slow and if you’re in a similar situation–you should, too. Find a fork and eat that elephant–one bite at a time!

What have you had to recently find a new home for in YOUR house?

 

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Categories: Basic Organizing Principles, Organizing MY Home

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Organizing MY Home: Don’t Move Without this Packing System!

Friday, August 12th, 2016

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If you’ve been following my recent Organizing MY Home series, you know that I moved twice in one year due to an addition/renovation project.  Part of what made such an upheaval bearable and organized were a few key moving tips I created for myself and a packing list system that helped us find anything we needed while we were living in our rental space.

Organizing MY Home: Don't Move Without this Packing System! Tips for finding what you need when it's all in boxes I organizedartistry.com #packingsystem

This wasn’t your typical move from one home to another. We were packing up our entire house, moving it to a rental property but not opening all our boxes and setting up to stay. Our plan was to only open boxes of items we truly needed and keep most of the rest sealed until we returned to our renovated home.

As a Professional Organizer, I have offered clients packing ideas but never for a double move. I also hadn’t packed up and moved myself for many years so I took to the internet and did some research on line on how best to pack an entire home. I came across a few posts, mostly from military wives who had lots of practice packing and relocating their households and gleaned some ideas from their experience. I quickly learned that writing the contents on the outside of the box is a magnet for unscrupulous movers. And what if we stacked the boxes so we couldn’t see what was written on the outside? I needed some other ideas. I then came across this post from DesignMom. I didn’t follow exactly what she did –but it (as well as the post comments) gave me some good ideas that I adapted to our particular situation.

Based on ideas I read in the above post, I chose to create a numbering system that would enable my husband and I to track and quickly locate of all our belongings during both moves. My husband created the cover sheet and tracking sheets of the packing list and left a few lines blank for anything we needed to add.

 

Organizing MY Home: Don't Move Without this Packing System! Tips for finding what you need when it's all in boxes I organizedartistry.com #packingsystem

My ‘vintage’ NAPO-NY clipboard and trusty black marker.

Each room in our home received a number series. As we packed items from each room, we wrote down the contents of the box on the line next to the box number. We also jotted down where the contents/box would be in our rental and where it would go once it came back to our renovated home. An example is below:

Organized Artistry Blog Post: Organizing MY Home: Don't Move Without this Packing System!

A sample page from our packing list.

Here’s the breakdown of the columns on the page:

• Top of the page: Room Name (also written at the bottom of page–not shown in photo)

• Column 1: Box number

• Column 2: Where box is going in rental home (a room vs. the garage for storage)

• Column 3: What room the box will go to when it comes back to our renovated home (our address was originally next to the word ‘Location’)

• Column 4: Contents of the box

In the above photo, the ‘Green Room’ (the walls had been green for many years) at this point only had one box. This was because my home office was relocated there after our second child was born and the contents of the room would eventually be spread to three different spaces after we moved back in. Lucky for us, our rental space was a split level very similar to ours so you see in column 2 that we figured the box would either live in the garage or be unpacked into the rental home’s equivalent of our ‘Green Room.’ In box 701 (column 1), was framed family pictures (column 4) (they ended up in the garage) that eventually would live in my home office and my husband’s home office (column 3).

Depending upon the room and it’s contents, some of the pages looked fairly empty. Then there are rooms such as the kitchen that practically filled two pages! (Yes–we did purge before packing.) Notice–the top part of the page dealt with the move to the rental property while the bottom part (and the next page, too) dealt with the move back to our home. We unpacked much of our kitchen stuff and then had to repack it for the move home. Example:

Organized Artistry Blog Post: Organizing MY Home: Don't Move Without this Packing System!

Lots more to pack in the kitchen!

 

You might be thinking, “This sounds like A LOT of work!’ Yes, it was a lot of work! But, when it comes to time management, I advise my clients that spending more time at the beginning of a project will save you time at the end of it. Take the time to write the contents of each box on your list. You’ll be happy you did when you’re looking for an item you need!

This system isn’t just for double moves. You can delete a column or add an extra one for your unique moving situation. My husband and I found this system to be incredibly helpful in keeping us organized and knowing where to find all that we owned.

A few tips for using this packing system:

• If you are keeping some numbered boxes in storage for a while, group the boxes by ‘like’ numbers (all 200’s together, all 500’s together, etc). It will make finding the box you need much less time consuming!

• Write the box numbers on the top and at least two sides of the box–the more sides the better–a good task for kids old enough to write!

• Use a thick dark colored marker for writing the numbers on the boxes. Buy a box of them–they will run out of ink quickly from numbering all of those sides!

•  When you are finished packing, back it up! Make a photocopy of the Master List and put it somewhere safe and take pictures of each page with your phone.

• Designate one spot to keep your Master List in so you’ll always know where to return it to and where to find it the next time you want to pack/unpack more boxes.

We’ve been living in our renovated home almost six months and some of our boxes are not yet unpacked. I still refer to the Master List when I’m looking for something and it sits in the same spot I designated for it the day we moved back in. As helpful as this system was, my husband and I agree–we’re not moving again for a LONG time!

Could this system be helpful to you in a move? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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Categories: Helpful Organizing Tips, Organizing MY Home, Time

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Organizing MY Home: Moving Tips

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

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I haven’t moved much in my lifetime. I went away to college and moved some of my stuff with me. As a single gal, I moved in and out of a one bedroom apartment, then moved those belongings to a house when I got married. After that, no moving for fourteen years.

So, when my husband and I decided to renovate and add on to our home, we chose to move our family and 98% of what we owned to a rental across town for the duration of the project. Once our house was finished we would pack up again and move back in. Two moves in one year. Gulp. I was a little out of practice. But, I knew that if we were organized, we’d get the job done with barely a few mishaps.

Here are some tips that helped us have an organized move (twice!):

Start purging early

If you have been in one place for a while, you have probably accumulated some ‘stuff.’ For some of you, you might have A LOT of ‘stuff.’ Advice that I learned early on and continue to pass on to my clients is, “Don’t pay to move anything you don’t want moved in the first place.” With that quote in mind, I created the ‘two-can’ rule. Every weekend, we purged an area of our home and made sure to fill our two garbage cans before trash collection day. Making decisions can take a while–my recommendation is to start purging as soon as you know you’ll be moving.

Delegate

It takes a village to pack up a home and move so line up your villagers and let them know how they can help! Some examples of how they can help you are:

-Get your kids involved. Have them crumple up newspaper. Have them bring empty boxes to different rooms. Ask them to purge and pack their own belongings. It is a good exercise in decision-making and takes some tasks off your already-full plate.

kids helping with a move

-Ask friends and relatives to bring you their old newspapers, help you pack boxes, hold onto valuables, babysit your kids–whatever you need to ensure a smooth packing and moving experience.

-Get it delivered. The internet can be part of your village, too. Run out of packing tape? Order it. Need more boxes quick? Look on Craigslist to see if any of your neighbors are getting rid of boxes and stuffing. Need to research moving companies? Google! And have dinner delivered, too…

NAPO. Yes–there are Professional Organizers who specialize in packing and moving people. Head to the NAPO website to find someone in your area and let a professional be part of your village.

Organize your packing supplies

If you can, start the packing process as far in advance as you can. You’d be surprised how long it takes to pack an entire home! While you’re purging, this would be a great time to start collecting packing supplies such as:

-boxes from the liquor store or from a boxed product other than food
-a minimum of one tape gun per person doing the packing
-packing tape
-newspaper and store circulars
-thick black markers/Sharpies
-bubble wrap/packaging from packages you’ve received
-scissors/box cutter
-plastic wrap/plastic baggies of varying sizes
-paper/pen/labels

Keep all of your packing supplies in one spot. Use a bucket/caddy large enough to hold your tape gun, scissors, 2-3 black markers, labels, etc. A bucket/caddy is easy to transport from room to room and easy to spot amidst a room full of boxes. Place supplies back in the bucket when you’ve finished a box-packing session so you’ll know where they are the next time you want to fill a box.

Create an organized packing system

We had to keep track of over 100 boxes. Some of those boxes we unpacked in our rental home and some stayed packed for nine months in our garage. In order to find what we needed during those nine months, I had to create a packing system that would allow us to easily locate clothes and other belongings for Summer, Fall and Winter. Keep an eye out for my next post–you’ll see the Master Packing List my husband and I created to keep us organized through two moves.

By the way, some things just don’t fit easily in a box. Here’s how I moved our close-to-full olive oil dispenser–who knew my driver’s side cup holder could be the perfect spot to nestle it for the short ride across town?

Organizing MY Home: Moving Tips. Get yourself a whole lotta packing tape! I organizedartistry.com #movingtips

Thanks to some organization, our amazing ‘villagers,’ and a highly competent moving company, we survived our two moves!

Organizing MY Home: Moving Tips. Get yourself a whole lotta packing tape! I organizedartistry.com #movingtips

Montvale Movers moved us twice!

Next post: The packing system that got me through two moves in a year…

 

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Categories: Helpful Organizing Tips, Organizing MY Home

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Organizing MY Home: Renovation and Addition

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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Think about an organizing project that would challenge a veteran Professional Organizer–what would it be? A room filled with loose papers? A fashionista’s exploding closet?  An overstuffed garage?

How about a renovation/addition project? Her own homes’ renovation/addition project!

For about eight years my husband and I kept going back and forth trying to decide–move or renovate/add on to our home.  We kept lists on paper and eventually in Evernote as to what we wanted/needed and didn’t want/need in a future home. Our house was ‘whispering’ to us–sending us ‘SOS’ signals. Slowly, appliances began to die, cracks appeared in the walls, plumbing started to malfunction. We were busting out of our closets, kitchen, and living space. It was time to make a decision.

 

Organizing MY Home--Renovation/Addition. Must read! Organizing steps you'll want to take before starting such a huge project... I organized artistry.com #homerenovationaddition

This was our house before the renovation/addition project began.

 

After much deliberation, we decided to stay at our current address and renovate/add on to our home. I knew this was not going to be a quick and easy project. I also knew this would take and enormous amount of energy, thought, coordination, and organization. This project was so all encompassing that during this time I had to take a few things ‘off my plate’ such as blogging. This is my first blog post in over a year–I’m writing it happily from my new home office!

Here are some of the organizing steps we took for this project to flow smoothly…

Purging of our entire home

Based on our contractors’ recommendation and the fact that we have a child with food allergies and need a full kitchen to cook for him, we decided to rent a house across town during the construction process. That meant we had to take everything with us. Eve-ry-thing.

After meeting with our contractor and architect, we started the purging process. Each weekend before our move-out date, my husband and I would tackle a room together and purge it of what we didn’t want to come back into our new home (we purged during the week, too). I created ‘The Two Can Rule.’ Our garbage pick up day was Tuesday so every Sunday, we had to fill a minimum of the two garbage cans from our purging session. We also created bags for donations and gave things away to family, friends, and schools.

Creating an organized packing system

The last time I had packed to move, it was the contents of my one-bedroom apartment when I got married. Now, I was packing a three-bedroom house with a filled attic and basement. This double move required a multi-tiered packing and tracking system. Half of our boxes were stored in the garage of our temporary rental home and the rest were unpacked for daily use. Then, before moving back in to our new home, we had to purge (again!) and pack up to then finally unpack (again!). More on my packing system in a future post.  If you or someone you know is moving in the future–keep your eye out for it. You’re going to want to know about the system I used. It was a success!

Creating a ‘home’ for all project-related paperwork and correspondence

This renovation/addition project churned out an inordinate amount of paperwork–even for a Professional Organizer to keep on top of. Keeping track of receipts, returns, contracts, finances, bills for two homes, design choices and all other related papers was overwhelming. I created a binder for all papers and created folders in my inbox for emails from our contractor, subcontractors, designer and others. (True PO Confession: The project plus our everyday life became so overwhelming, I just started putting all papers in one box so I would know where to find them if I needed them. Last month, I created a portable hanging file box for all renovation/addition papers and they’re stored in my closet.)

Creating a ‘home’ for all design-related items

I quickly found that I needed a space for things I would need handy for the design part of this project. I stored a recycle bag in my car filled with paint and tile samples, fabric swatches, a tape measure, scissors, and a roll of blue tape. It was always there when I needed it–at a store, at the construction site, in my car. If I had a dollar for every time I used that bag, I’d be a rich lady!

And all of this doesn’t happen with out an amazing team that was organized in their own areas of expertise…

Contractor/Architect

Rich Palmacchio of RTJ Construction and Joseph Donato, Architect

Designer

Deborah Glazer of DRG Design Group

Mover

Montvale Moving

Plus subcontractors, friends, relatives, salespeople, and everyone else who kept us focused, informed, and sane. A big organizing shout-out goes to my hubby who became a purging, packing (unpacking) and organizing LEGEND during this project.

 

Organizing MY Home--Renovation/Addition. Must read! Organizing steps you'll want to take before starting such a huge project... I organized artistry.com #homerenovationaddition

This is our house after the renovation/addition project was complete.

 

They say it takes a village to raise a child? It also takes a village–an organized village–to raise a house!

 

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Categories: Organizing MY Home, Time

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Getting Organized: A Quick FAQ

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

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Whether I’m at a networking meeting, a client’s home, or a social or family gathering I am often asked the same few questions about getting organized. Some people ask me about products, others ask me how I feel about all the organizing shows that have been on television, but most ask the questions below.

I hope the answers to these questions prove to be helpful as you begin or continue your journey to an organized life.

Why is it important to be organized?
Organized people are able to find the things they need when they need them—and finding what you need when you need it is what ‘being organized’ is all about. Being organized saves you time, money, and stress. By being organized, one is able to put lost time back in their day, money back in their wallets, and live life with less stress and frustration overall.
calendar
How do I get organized if I don’t have the time?
You have to MAKE the time. If you didn’t make the time to get your car an oil change would it work well? If you didn’t make the time to exercise and cook healthy meals would your body be able to maintain an active lifestyle? If you don’t set aside the time to ‘get organized,’ your household as well as your life will not function to it’s fullest capacity.

Start by making a fifteen-minute appointment with yourself at a time of day when you are most energetic. Mark it in a calendar and stick to it. You don’t need to devote eight hours on a Sunday to getting organized—you’d be amazed at how much you can get done by spending fifteen minutes in ‘organizing mode.’

Where do I begin?
I’m always asked this question and the person asking it usually has a look of panic on their face! I always recommend to people that they take inventory of their organizing needs and select an area that is driving them crazy or making their life difficult. For a small business owner, it may be their filing system. For a stay-at-home mom, it may be the playroom or the kitchen.

Break the task down into small, manageable tasks. For instance, if it’s your kitchen that’s disorganized, start by going through the silverware drawer. After you’ve tackled the drawer, you’re done with organizing for the day unless you choose to move on to another small section of the kitchen such as the sippy cup collection or the spice rack.

Once I’m organized, how do I maintain it?
The most important thing you need to keep your home/home office organized is DESIRE—the desire to keep your space organized and the desire to put forth the effort to keep it as so. Realistic goals are also necessary when it comes to ‘staying organized.’ You cannot expect an overnight change–on average it takes 21 days to establish a habit. So, if you install a hook by the front door for your keys and you forget once in a while to hang them there, don’t beat yourself up over it—it will come naturally soon enough.

Be prepared–there will be some days where you won’t have the time or energy to organize even the smallest of spaces—that’s OK. Just do your best. I tell people that one of the most important things they can do when they lack the time or energy to organize is to just stay ‘on top of their lives.’ Putting dishes back in the cabinet after they’ve dried, dealing with your mail shortly after you walk through the door, straightening out the medicine cabinet while you’re brushing your teeth are all quick and easy ways to prevent disorganization from creeping back into a newly organized space.

NAPO logo

National Association of Professional Organizers

What can a Professional Organizer do for me?
A Professional Organizer has the skills and experience to provide their clients with information, ideas, solutions and systems to increase productivity and reduce stress. By hiring a professional organizer you will not only be able to take advantage of their knowledge, and expertise, but you’ll be able to benefit from their non-judgemental physical and emotional support as well.

To find a Professional Organizer in your area, go to the website of the National Association of Professional Organizers and click on ‘Find an Organizer.’ It may be the first step on your journey to an organized life.

Do you have any other questions? Ask away!

Categories: Basic Organizing Principles, Clutter, Helpful Organizing Tips, Time

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NAPO Conference 2015: Lotsa Learning in Los Angeles

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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I just had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA (can you imagine 600+ Professional Organizers in one place at one time?). Since my first conference back in 2004, I’ve stuck to the east coast and midwest locations. Jet lag is not my best friend but this year, I decided to not let that stop me. I heard the whispers…

“Go west, young lady!”

And so I did! Off to the 2015 NAPO Conference in sunny Los Angeles I went. And besides looking forward to learning and networking, I was looking forward to that California sun. The winter here in NJ was long and dreary and I needed some natural Vitamin D to jumpstart my body for Spring. The five hour flight provided me with time to indulge in a novel–what a ‘novel’ idea since most books I have read lately have to do with my business, my kids, or health. If you’d like to read a great book, try Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.

This year, my Conference experience was a bit different. With two kids at home, it’s not easy to get away for an extended period of time. I usually get to the Conference as soon as it begins and leave as it’s ending. This year, I flew in the afternoon before and stayed an extra day to visit with my cousin. Took the red-eye flight and was home before 8am. Shout-out to my hubby for ‘holding down the fort’ so I could grow in my career and visit with family in L.A..

Also different about this year’s Conference: my book. I belong to a NAPO Special Interest Group (SIG) for people who are or wish to be authors. This year at our EXPO/Marketplace, our SIG had a bookstore and I jumped at the opportunity to sell my book, The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook in the bookstore along with more than twenty of my PO/Author colleagues. Besides having my book on display for purchase, I had a book signing which was a ton of fun. I signed books while wearing a tiara and veil–it definitely drew people to my table!

 

The Organized Bride's Thank You Note Handbook

The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook

NAPO EXPO Authorship & Publishing Bookstore

NAPO EXPO Authorship & Publishing Bookstore

Me and the first person to buy my book--she's just got engaged!

Me (in the tiara and veil) and the first person to buy my book–she’s just got engaged!

The EXPO/Marketplace was abuzz with large and small companies showing off their organizing wares to the attendees. Some of the booths I found to have interesting products were: Forever, Time Timer, and of course–Pendaflex which gave out a bountiful goody bag to everyone who walked by. Who could resist?

Pendaflex swag

 

The NAPO Conference is always chock full of interesting workshops. This year, I took classes in Virtual Organizing, Branding, Digital Photo Organizing, YouTube Video Marketing, and Using Technology to Increase Productivity. Learned a few things I didn’t know in an Evernote workshop, too.  There was an ‘Ask the Business Organizer’ panel and an Opening and Closing Keynote. The Opening Keynote was done by two guys who call themselves ‘The Minimalists.’ If you haven’t read their blog and their back story (which was fascinating) check out The Minimalist’s website.

 

The Minimalists

The Minimalists giving the Opening Keynote address at the 2015 NAPO Conference in Los Angeles

This has very little to do with organizing but I felt the need to snap a picture of this yummy dessert we were served at our last lunch of the Conference.. And yes, it was as good as it looks…

 

Mmmmm....

Mmmmm….

 

After three days of workshops, networking, and noshing it was time to leave the Westin Bonaventure and meet up with my cousin who is a life-long resident of Los Angeles. We had about 24 hours together and I got to see the highlights of L.A. including a quick trip to a beautiful place I must get back to someday–The Getty Museum.

 

Stacey at The Getty Museum

Me visiting The Getty Museum

 

The day I returned from the NAPO Conference, my son was on Spring Break. This week I’ve been catching up with organizing appointments and meeting with prospective clients. Next week, I’ll be focusing on what I learned in the classes I took at the NAPO Conference and bit by bit will be incorporating the knowledge into my business. I’ve already got my sights set on attending the NAPO Conference in Atlanta in 2016. No jet-lag worries! Can’t wait–it should be just peachy…

Categories: Cool Product, NAPO Conference, The Organized Bride's Thank You Note Handbook, Travel

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3 Items to Wear While Getting Organized

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

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Before I leave my home office to work with a client, I make sure that I have everything I need: label maker, trash/recycle bags, post-its, and a whole host of other organizing tools I keep in my work bag. The other thing I make sure I have ‘on’ me: comfortable clothes.

Getting organized is a physical endeavor. Lots of moving, stretching, bending–it’s important to be dressed comfortably. You don’t want tight clothes, itchy tags, or shoes that rub the wrong way to distract you from reaching your organizing goals.

Before we start working together, I advise my clients to dress comfortably for our organizing sessions whether we’re working in a basement, clothes closet, or home office. I let them know that I’ll be ‘dressed to organize,’ too. Comfort is key–this is not the time to try out a new maxi dress and flip flops.

Since starting my organizing business over twelve years ago, I have spent a great deal of time searching stores for clothes and shoes (and maternity clothes for two pregnancies) that work well for my profession. It’s taken me many visits to stores, but I’ve come up with a short list of must-haves in my wardrobe for getting organized.

3 items I wear while organizing clients and my own home are:

Clothes with stretch I move A LOT on the job and my clothes have to move with me. I’m a hoot to watch in a store dressing room. I put on the garment and start pretending I’m helping someone organize a room. I bend over, stretch high, twist my body left to right. I do all of this to make sure tops and bottoms move with me as I move. In fact, most clothes that I wear to organize in are cotton or a cotton blend and have some kind of spandex material in them for that very reason. Like the one below, I’ve started wearing draped cardigans with a tank top underneath for ease of movement. They’re stylish and can be dressed up or down depending upon who and what I’m working with.

3 Items to Wear While Getting Organized - Be comfortable! I organizedartistry.com #organizeclothes

Draped front cardigan – Modcloth.com

Wrist watch Time flies when you’re engrossed in an organizing project. It’s wise to wear a wrist watch in order to always be aware of the time. Yes, you can use your phone but maybe you’re not wearing clothes with pockets or maybe your surfaces are filled with stuff and you may not be be able to find it under the piles. Wear a watch. As a Professional Organizer, not only am I helping my client get organized, I’m also managing the time during our sessions. My watch needs to have a face that I can see easily with a quick glance. I don’t own this, but I thought it would work perfectly…

 

3 Items to Wear While Getting Organized - Be comfortable! I organizedartistry.com #organizeclothes

Geneva Platinum Ladies’ Large Round Face Silicone Watch from Walmart.com

Closed-toe footwear Of the three items I wear while organizing, wearing closed-toe shoes is the most important–not so much for comfort but more for safety. Have you ever noticed that dropping even a light object on your bare foot can hurt? I have made clients change into closed-toe shoes before starting a session in a garage/basement/attic–even a clothing closet! You never know what will fall on your foot. Let’s keep those little piggies safe. I like to wear Skechers–they’re as comfy as a sneaker but have more style.

 

3 Items to Wear While Getting Organized - Be comfortable! I organizedartistry.com #organizeclothes

Skechers Relaxed Fit Breathe Easy Miss Me

I have a Pinterest board on this very topic–check it out for some comfy and stylish ideas…

What is your most comfortable outfit to wear while organizing?

 

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Categories: Clothing

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5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet

Friday, March 20th, 2015

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Great ideas! 5 Must-Haves for Spring Cleaning Your Clothes Closet | organizedartistry.com

 

Where I live, it’s kinda cold. And it’s the first day of Spring (insert frowny face here). As much as I’d love to start doing a little spring cleaning in my closet, I still need my polartec tops and flannel lined jeans. May have to start elsewhere this weekend…

But, if you live in a warmer climate or just can’t look at your boots one more day, then by all means start spring cleaning your clothes closet.

 

Here are the 5 ‘must-haves’ you’ll need for this project:

Garbage bags

Despite their name, these bags won’t all be used for garbage. Grab two colors–black, white, and a third bag can be a reusable tote. Designate black for trash, white for donations, and the tote for repairs. Why use this system? I have heard stories of people accidentally donating their trash and putting their donations to the curb because they used bags of one color.

As you are sorting through and purging clothes from your closet, place them in the correct bag. Clothes with repairable tears and shoes/handbags that need a little TLC from the shoemaker go in your tote bag. When you finish, place the black bags wherever you keep your trash, put the donation and repair bags in your car or at your doorway, and mark off a day on your calendar to drop off them off at their next destinations.

Pad of paper and pen or cell phone

As you go through your clothes, you may find that they have an old stain, they’re too loose or tight, or you just don’t love it anymore. When getting rid of garments, keep a list of items you’d like to replace. That way, when you’re at the mall, you don’t have to think about what clothes you need–just refer to your list and you’ll know exactly what purchases to focus on. Use pen and paper or your cell phone to create the list–whichever works best for you.

Bottle of water/snack

Spring cleaning a clothes closet is a physical activity. Handling some sentimental items and items with ‘bad karma’ attached to them can be emotional as well. Even if you’ve eaten a large meal before starting, I’d recommend having a bottle of water and a snack at arm’s reach. You’ll need a break to clear your head and refuel–how often you do that during this task is up to you and your needs. But, I always advise my clients to bring a snack and drink into the space we’re working on. It means they don’t have to leave the room and lose focus while we’re working.

Large flat or multiple small flat surfaces

When going through a clothes closet, it’s important to have a place to put the clothes while sorting them out. If your closet is in your bedroom, use the bed to place the garments down as you make decisions. If your clothes live in a room without a bed, use folding chairs or storage tubs to separate your clothes by category. The floor is NOT a good option unless absolutely necessary. If that’s the case, please open a flat sheet, lay it on the floor and place your piles on top of the sheet.

Time

A basic organizing principle to follow for spring cleaning or any organizing task is. ‘Make an Appointment With Yourself.’ We make appointments to see doctors and to make our hair look fabulous and we wouldn’t consider canceling them except in an emergency. Do the same with Spring Cleaning. Take out your calendar and pick a day to start. Pencil in 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour–whatever amount of time you think you can manage. Keep that appointment. You’ll be glad you did.

What do you think you’ll find in your clothes closet this Spring?

 

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Categories: Basic Organizing Principles, Closet, Clothing, Donations, Shoes, Spring Cleaning, Time, Trash

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Spring Cleaning History

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

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Ever wonder where the phrase 'Spring Cleaning' comes from? Read to find out! Spring Cleaning History | organizedartistry.com

Every year around the months of March and April we hear people talking about it, we read about it in magazines, and see thousands of pins on Pinterest about it.

What could I be referring to?

Spring Cleaning!

We all use the phrase freely but where does the expression ‘Spring Cleaning’ actually come from?

History tells us that back in the ‘olden days,’ spring cleaning was a much different concept than it is today. Prevalent in climates with cold winters, this cleaning was a necessary routine because of how people had to heat their homes and keep them lit. They would use kerosene, wood, gas, oil, and candles which caused the home to develop a dark, sooty grime around it.

The arrival of spring signaled warmer temperatures and the need to clean the ash, soot, and grime left behind on household surfaces. Thus, the notion of ‘Spring Cleaning’ was born. Thankfully, most of us have modern heating systems and have an easier spring cleaning routine.

Today, we do not do ‘Spring Cleaning’ for the same reasons our ancestors did. In the 21st century, most people think of ‘Spring Cleaning’ as a time to throw open the windows, exchange their sweaters for lighter-weight clothing and clear through clutter that has collected as we burrowed in our homes during the months of winter. It’s a time to re-energize our bodies and our homes for the coming seasons.

Look at your calendar…when will you make an appointment to start your Spring Cleaning?

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Categories: Pinterest, Spring Cleaning

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