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5 Reasons Why You Should Try Virtual Organizing

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Get your home and life organized from miles away! 5 Reasons Why You Should Try Virtual Organizing | organizedartistry.com

If you watch HGTV or read Real Simple magazine, you’ve probably heard of’ ‘Professional Organizing.’ It is the art of helping people create and maintain systems and processes using basic principles of organization.

But have you heard of ‘Virtual Organizing?’

Virtual Organizing is the art of helping people create and maintain systems and processes using basic principles of organization–virtually. When I say ‘virtually,’ I mean helping people get organized via the phone, Skype, FaceTime, email–as opposed to working with them in person.

Virtual organizing has evolved over the past few years. Although there are thousands of Professional Organizers in the United States, not every Organizer lives in a densely populated area that might provide them with an adequate amount of clients. Not everyone wanting to hire a Professional Organizer has one in driving distance of their home. Thus, a new way of organizing was born. If people could use technology to communicate with friends, relatives, and business associates, why not use it for helping people get and stay organized?

Why I started offering Virtual Organizing services…
I have been doing Residential Organizing since I formed Organized Artistry in 2002. I love rolling up my sleeves and working side by side with a client to help them reach their organizing goals. I work with clients within a 30-minute radius of my home and wished to somehow widen that radius without having to travel far. With school-aged children, I wanted the option of working close-to-home. At the 2016 NAPO Conference, I heard a veteran Professional Organizer speak about how she added Virtual Organizing to her business model so she could work with people around the country who were in need of her specialized skills. She developed a tele-class in Virtual Organizing and offered it to colleagues so they could learn how to organize virtually, too. A few days later, I signed up for it. I successfully completed the course and now offer Virtual Organizing as part of my list of services.  I still work with clients in their homes but I’m excited to organize those in different regions and time zones, too.

Have you been thinking about getting organized but didn’t realize that Virtual Organizing was an option for you?

Here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Try Virtual Organizing:

• You don’t have a Professional Organizer in your area
Although there are over 4,000 members of NAPO, you may not have a Professional Organizer in your immediate area. Maybe you need a Professional Organizer with a specialization or particular skill set. That Professional Organizer is just a phone call, email, or FaceTime session away from helping you reach your organizing goals.

• You want/need accountability or support for your organizing project
You started organizing a space in your home but the project stalled for a multitude of reasons. That’s OK–it happens. Working with a Professional Organizer ‘virtually’ can provide you with someone to check in with, help get you back on track, and to your measure progress. They’ll be a cheerleader, resource, teacher, and provide ideas, motivation, and support. Consistently moving your organizing project forward is key to it’s completion–Virtual Organizing can make that happen.

• You don’t want a stranger in your home
There are hundreds of reasons why you may not want a stranger in your home. Maybe you have small children, a sick family member living with you, or maybe you have white carpeting and want to keep it as white as possible by having as few people in your home as possible. Or, you may have something in your home that you don’t necessarily want people to see (besides the disorganization). Virtual Organizing is a way of inviting a Professional Organizer into your home without actually having them walk inside.

• You would prefer to do the ‘physical organizing’ when it’s convenient for you
Does your work schedule change often? Are you a night owl or an early riser? You may want to do the physical work of organizing when you have a pocket of time or when you have the most energy. This might not necessarily be when a Professional Organizer could come to your home (I don’t know many Organizers who start at 6am or see clients at midnight…). So, schedule your ‘virtual’ appointment with your Professional Organizer and block out time on your calendar to do the required sorting/purging/labeling/filing when it works best for you.

• You prefer to be comfortable. Really comfortable.
Organizing ‘virtually’ means you can organize in your PAJAMAS! No need to get dressed if a Professional Organizer won’t be coming to your home for two or three hours. Other Professional Organizers might mind, but I don’t care if you FaceTime with me in your pajamas or bathrobe. I, on the other hand will be dressed (unless we mutually agree on a ‘pajama day…’).

With today’s technology, Virtual Organizing makes perfect sense. Can you picture yourself getting organized ‘virtually?’ If the answer is ‘Yes,’ click here to see how Organized Artistry and Virtual Organizing can bring organization to your home and life from miles away.

Transform your home from the comfort of your home…with Virtual Organizing.

NAPO Conference 2017: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh

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A peek into the place where Professional Organizers learn, exchange ideas and find inspiration. NAPO Conference 2017: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

I just flew home from the NAPO Conference in Pittsburgh and boy are my arms tired! But, seriously folks…

Over a week ago, I attended the NAPO 2017 Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Over 500+ Professional Organizers descended upon ‘The Steel City’ to learn, network, and talk organizing. I had a fabulous time doing all three.

NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Productivity, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh

The conference was held at the Westin Pittsburgh which is attached to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center–the two buildings are attached by a short sky bridge. Even though I sat for the workshops, I got a lot of exercise going back and forth between the two buildings (happy Fitbit). And apparently, the Heinz Corporation is headquartered close by. Look at what the NAPO-Pittsburgh chapter gave out to us–itty bitty ketchup and pickle pins. They will definitely be a part of my wardrobe during BBQ season!

Itty-bitty Heinz ketchup and pickle pins given out by NAPO-Pittsburgh. NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh

After attending the Opening Keynote, I went to the first workshop which this year centered around three TED Talks. I attended the session based on Amy Cuddy’s popular TED talk: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are and learned all about the idea of ‘Power Poses.’ Next, the EXPO–where organizing-related businesses/organizations showcase their products and services to the attendees of the conference. It’s the perfect place to find out about the newest innovations our industry partners have to offer.

This year, I had two EXPO favorites:

OXO. I Love this company. They are experts at combining good design with functionality. I’ve owned and currently use some of their kitchen products since receiving them at my bridal shower sixteen years ago. On display were two of my personal favorites: OXO POP Containers and their Expandable Drawer Organizer. But, two products that were new to me were their OXO Good Grips Over-the-Door Fold Away Valet and their Large Expandable Utensil Organizer. I love the idea of the retractable valet–great for putting together outfits or for hanging the dry cleaning before it goes back on good hangers in a closet (that’s a not-so-subtle reminder that you need to give those wire hangers back to your dry cleaner…). And, when OXO says ‘large’ they mean LARGE. The utensil organizer is one of the largest I’ve seen.

Over-the-Door Folding Hook by OXO: NAPO 2017 Conference: Poer Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com
OXO Large Expandable Utensil Organizer. NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

Rubbermaid. My favorite company for bins/totes. They are some of the sturdiest ones you can buy. On display this year were items from their ‘Auto Collection.’ I was oohing and aaaahing over some of the pieces. They had a small trash receptacle and a ‘wedge’ to place between seats for pens, paper and other slim items that might otherwise fall through the crack between the seats. Then I saw what I needed for my car–the Single Headrest hook. I’ll be looking into buying those for my kids so they have a place to hang their baseball hats, knapsacks, and neck pillows in the car.

Rubbermaid Products, NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

The conference is more than the EXPO–there’s learnin’ to be done! Workshops I learned a lot from:

How to Prioritize When Everything is Important
I wasn’t going to take this workshop because I thought I had some pretty decent prioritizing skills. And I do. But, I learned how I can prioritize my work and life EVEN BETTER. I had seen this speaker (NAPO member, Mridu Parikh) at a conference a few years ago and greatly enjoyed her workshop then and now. So glad I decided to make learning about priorities, a priority!
Workshop Tip: If you need help focusing on your work, try using a Pomodoro app.

How to Succeed at Speaking for Fees
After having my second child, I took a break from public speaking. It’s been seven years, and I just jumped back into giving presentations. I was thrilled to leave this session with many helpful take-aways that will enable me to grow the public speaking part of my business.
Workshop Tip: Create a title for your presentation that is engaging, clear or intriguing, and shows a benefit to the audience.

How to Get and Keep Media Attention
Most of my media exposure has been in print and online. But, on the off chance I break out of my comfort zone and try to get on TV or Radio, I’ll be prepared thanks to this workshop. Lots of talk about the media and how to pitch them stories–my pen worked overtime taking notes in this session!
Workshop Tip: If you want to get on TV, start getting comfortable on video with You Tube.

If you thought all Professional Organizers like to do is sort and measure things, you’d be incorrect. We like to party! Good food, good music, and a little Cha Cha Slide makes for happy organizers. I danced half the night away and got over 14,000 steps on my Fitbit (really happy Fitbit!). Here’s many of my NAPO-NNJ colleagues before we hit the dance floor–lookin’ great in NAPO blue and white!

NAPO-NNJ at NAPO 2017 Conference Blue and White President's Reception. NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

I have to give a shout-out to the peeps of Pittsburgh because everyone I encountered–the staff at the Westin, the airport, the SuperShuttle, and restaurants, were SO NICE! Across the board–helpful, courteous, and pleasant. And boy, do they love their sports–Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers. Lots of people walking around dressed in yellow and black and it’s not because they love bumblebees…

A big thank you goes to my hubby for holding down the kid/homework/baseball/meals fort while I was in Pittsburgh. I could not succeed in my business without his support!

At our last lunch of the conference, 2018’s conference location was revealed. Next year, something new–a corporate retreat in Chicago. Did they say RETREAT? I’m all over THAT in a big way. I’m starting to relax just THINKING about it. Pardon me while I go register for the retreat…um, I mean conference. Then it’s off to do laundry and get back to organizing!

NAPO 2017 Conference: Power Poses, Products, and Professional Organizers in Pittsburgh | organizedartistry.com

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

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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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NAPO Conference 2015: Lotsa Learning in Los Angeles

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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…

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom

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The last week of November was a busy time in my household. It was Thanksgiving. It was Hanukkah. And it was also my birthday. Lots of food and festivities. Not a lot of downtime.

But, my hubby and I chose to carve out a small amount of time that weekend to make our home more organized. The colder weather was upon us and we had to come up with a solution to a recent organization problem.

We have a front door and an entry-way closet next to that door. Coats, shoes, umbrellas and accessories are kept in that closet.

Problem: My children and I enter and exit our home most days through the garage, not the front door. No closet next to that garage entrance door. Instead, we have a tiny laundry room with an even tinier broom closet that we converted to a storage closet years ago. We installed a row of hooks across the top and at the bottom of the closet we store shopping and recycle bags of varying sizes.

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
On this closet door, we installed a 4-pocket organizer from Babies R’ Us which has proved to be an extraordinarily helpful organizing product. Each of us has a pocket to store accessories and one is for infrequently used items like snow gloves.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces

This worked well for a while. My children were young and had little coats and my jacket fit just fine next to theirs. Now, my kids are bigger and so are their coats. They have more hats and mittens, too. With all three of our winter coats in there, the closet door no longer stayed closed. And the hooks were so high, I was the person in charge of hanging everyone’s coats.

What to do?

I had suggested a hall tree for the room adjacent to the garage which just so happens to be my home office. It wouldn’t thrill me to have coats and backpacks hanging in my work space but it was better than having them spill out of the storage closet–especially when I was doing the laundry.

My husband did not like the hall tree idea for two reasons:
1) He thought a hall tree would have looked messy. (I agree)
2) The hall tree would have to stand in the space currently occupied by his grandmother’s table which he loves and it would not fit in our attic.

So, for a while we thought about it, spent the summer leaving camp bags in the garage but then Autumn came and the problem was back. Backpacks and diaper bags were dropped as we entered the house and coats were dumped on a couch that sits opposite my desk in this room. (No picture is available–too embarrassing for this Professional Organizer to admit!)

Besides the fact that it looked terrible, it didn’t exactly instill the importance of being organized to our two young children.

Once again we asked ourselves, “What to do?”

Solution: One day, my husband looked at me and said, “What if we move the ironing board and vacuum cleaner out of the laundry room and use that space as a mudroom? I measured the space. It was 24” wide. I was skeptical but I grew up in a 5’x12′ bedroom. I knew I could make this work.

Challenge accepted!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
I’ll give my husband credit for thinking of utilizing this space. I probably never considered it because my husband likes to iron despite the fact he doesn’t do it much anymore (Yes–he does laundry, too. I’m a lucky lady…). We had not hung an iron in the iron holder since our first child started crawling six years ago. It was a great iron/ironing board organizer from Rubbermaid but it’s time was up. We relocated the real vacuum to the garage with the ironing board and the toy vacuum went to the basement playroom.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
I thought to myself, “Where am I going to find what I need to fit into a two-foot wide space?”
I looked in Home Goods and online and didn’t see much that would fit my tight secifications. Then one day, I was in Target and went to check out their Closetmaid collection. I’ve used their products in the past for organizing my kid’s toys and got to check out their new products at the NAPO Conference last year.
I walked down the aisle and not only did I see what would work for me, it was on sale!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
The Closetmaid 24″ Horizontal Stackable Organizer

 

Twenty four inches wide, too! What luck! My plan was to have the boys keep their backpacks on the top shelf, store their sneakers on the middle and bottom shelves and since their feet aren’t too big, maybe there would be room for a basket to hold accessories.
Now, I needed to figure out the second half of the mudroom–a place to hang coats. There are so many hook choices out there from the simple to the whimsical. We just needed simple. And, we needed more than one set of hooks. One was to be placed at the top of the space for my coat/handbag/hat and the other was to be placed so my kids could hang and retrieve their own outerwear.
Before Thanksgiving, I attended the holiday party for the local organizer group I belong to–NAPO-NNJ. Besides a lovely dinner, we had a Yankee Swap. The table was filled with gifts and I had pulled the last number for picking. By the time it was my turn to pick, there was one gift left on the table. You’ll never believe what it was?
A SET OF HOOKS!
What else do you think Professional Organizers would bring to a Yankee Swap??? It was meant to be!
And, the person who bought the hooks hadn’t removed the price tag entirely. They were from Bed Bath and Beyond. You can’t imagine how giddy I was over a set of hooks!
The next day with my trusty 20% coupon in hand, I bought another set. I was ready for construction to begin.
We charged our electric drill, connected with our inner Bob Villa, and made Mudroom Magic. Hubby and I put together the Closetmaid shelf in less than ten minutes. We measured and hung the hooks making sure they were straight with the iHandy level on my iPhone.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Measure twice, make hole once!

 

My kids tried putting their backpacks on the bench–plenty of room!

Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Hooks were hung and so were the coats. The laundry room is tight–here’a a few pics of what it looks like now.
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
Organizing MY Home: A Two-Foot Wide Mudroom | Organizedartistry.com. See how my husband and I took 24" off our laundry room to create a space for coats, shoes, and backpacks... #smallspaces
My kids have been using it everyday–I am so proud of them! Sometimes I find my husband staring at this space with a big grin on his face. I love it, too. No more coat clutter. It looks great. It keeps us organized. Twenty-four inches of space. Challenge accepted. Challenge met. Challenge complete!
What organizing challenges have you resolved in your home recently?

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Teach your Kids to Do Anything–Even Organize!

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Got kids?

Me, too.

Ever feel like you’re constantly trying to pick up after them and maintain their stuff?

Hey, guess what–me, too. It’s kind of like shoveling snow during a blizzard.

At my first NAPO Conference in 2004 (a few years before I had children) I took a workshop called ‘Organizing the Family’ given by Professional Organizer, Allison Carter of Digital Life Organizing. In that terrific workshop, I learned something that I still remember almost ten years later. I’m sharing this with you in the hopes that you will use it to make your life as a parent a little easier.

In the workshop, I learned the five steps to follow to teach your child mastery of almost any task.

Woo-hoo! Hallelujah!

Write these five steps on a post-it and stick it where you can see it. Or, write them in an app on your smartphone. Jot them down somewhere you can access them easily. You’re going to want to refer to these steps often. Remember, they’re going to make your life as a parent easier (If you’re reading this and you’re not a parent, pass them on to someone who is!). Here they are…

To Get Your Kids to Master  ______________ …

Step 1. Demonstrate the task you’d like your child to master
Step 2. Do the task with them
Step 3. Supervise your child doing the task
Step 4. Let them do the task alone
Step 5. Supervise your child occasionally

What are some skills your kids can master using these five steps?
• Putting away their toys
• Doing/folding their own laundry
• Setting the table for a family meal
• Using a knife
• Sorting and purging their school papers
• Household cleaning/gardening chores

Each step will take some time, effort and patience on your part but in the end, the investment of time will be worth it. And believe me–your future sons and daughters-in-law will thank you.

Thank you, Allison Carter for sharing your wisdom!

NAPO Conference 2013 – Cool Organizing Products

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I’m back from the NAPO Conference!

Look how the 600+ of us were welcomed when we landed in New Orleans. I thought that was pretty cool–it was right next to the Arrivals and Departures sign.

Landed around 6pm and by the time I got to the Sheraton New Orleans, I was hungry. Hubby and I are members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program so I was able to use points to cover the cost of my room and upgrade me to the Club Floor. On the Club Floor is the Club Lounge. In the Club Lounge there is food–breakfast in the morning and hors d’oeuvres in the evening. The night I landed, alligator meatballs and frog legs were on the menu. I had my doubts but ate them anyway. YUM!
Now I can say I’ve eaten alligator–can you?

Three days of workshops, panels and lunches kept me very busy. But, year after year one of the most exciting parts of the NAPO Conference is the EXPO. The EXPO is a place for companies that specialize in organizing products and services to ‘share their wares’ with the Professional Organizer community. 
Since I traveled with one carry-on bag and a purse, I tried my best to not grab every product sample and brochure available to me. Instead, I took pictures of some of the ‘cool products’ to remind me to look for them in stores and so I could share them with you.
Up first, some cool containers from Rubbermaid
Dishwasher safe, BPA free, stackable, see-throught lids–perfect for pantries.
Premium Modular Canisters by Rubbermaid
ClosetMaid had a great booth at the EXPO. I learned a lot about their product and shot a quick tip video for them about hangers. Thought this floor organizer was an interesting option for getting shoes and the like off of closet floors…
Floor Organizer by ClosetMaid
SMEAD had a few ‘cool’ products this year. First, these file folders have tabs that are erasable! Use a Sharpie to write on the extra large tab. Made a mistake? Want to change the name of the file? No problem and no need for a new manila folder!
SMEAD Erasable SuperTab File Folders
Next is the ColorVue Expanding File with SuperTabs–colorful and easy to use! Perfect for color coding. I put my hand in the middle of the ‘V’ shape and it was very easy to retrieve papers from the pockets.
ColorVue Expanding File with SuperTab by SMEAD

‘Tree Free’–I love that name. Whoever thought of it should get a raise, in my opinion. They are made from sugar cane waste fiber. I have no idea what that is but it saves trees so it’s OK by me. Super Tabs–another great idea especially for those who have ‘large’ handwriting or a lot to say on the tab of a folder. 

SuperTab Oversized Tab File Folders by SMEAD
Jill Yesko, of Discover Organizing Inc. had a great idea. Besides being a Professional Organizer, she is the owner of Clearly Noted, a company that offers greeting cards to Professional Organizers and their clients. These cards, ‘encourage, motivate, and congratulate your organizing client.’
Her cards are brightly colored, whimsical and offer a bit of bling, too. The part I liked best was that a Professional Organizer has the option of placing a sentence on the inside of the card giving permission to the client to recycle the lovely card at the end of the week. We don’t want to make more clutter for our clients!
Kudos to Jill for creating a product that Professional Organizers can use to express their gratitude!
Greeting cards by Clearly Noted
You paint a room in your home. You either label your paint can with a Sharpie, or your label maker. OK–maybe you don’t label your paint cans in the hopes you’ll remember where you used that color and the year you used it. The people at What’s That Paint have made the labeling process a snap with their fill-in-the-blank paint can labels. Despite their simplicity, everyone was ooohing and aaahhhing over them. They also used a paint tray instead of a box to collect business cards for a raffle–loved that creativity! 
What’s That Paint fill-in-the-blank paint can labels
This is just a smattering of the products I saw at this year’s NAPO Conference EXPO. Absent this year was 3M/Post-it. Good thing I hadn’t used up my samples from last year. The people from Brother were also missing–they make amazing label maker products. Maybe they’ll be back for next year’s conference in Phoenix. The bigger question is–will I be there? If so, I promise to report back on some new and exciting products.
Which of these products would help you get more organized?

I’m Attending the NAPO Conference 2013 in New Orleans!

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In a few days, I’ll be attending the National Association of Professional Organizers 25th Annual Conference. This year it’s in New Orleans. I’ve never been to ‘NOLA’–I’m very excited to go! This will be my fifth NAPO conference since I started my business back in 2002.

Last year’s conference in Baltimore was a blast. It was jam-packed with meeting new people, learning new ways to grow and enhance my business, and it started off and ended with my first lengthy solo drive (for 3.5 hrs each way from NJ).

This year, since the solo drive would be MUCH too long, I’ll be flying. I’ll be packing everything I need in a carry-on bag–this is where my skills as a Professional Organizer will prove very useful. I’ve decided that despite the warm weather report, I’ll base all my outfits around the colors black, red/purple/pink. I’m trying to limit the shoes I bring to three pair. The true challenge will be paring down my bag of medical/health/makeup products!

Last year, I took some ‘techie’ workshops–this year I’m focusing on some areas I have little or no knowledge of. The workshops I’m signed up for are:

Self-Confidence: The Secret Success Mindset (taught by NAPO-NNJ’s Chapter President, Cena Block)
Organizing: Eyes Toward Re-Design
Packages, Programs and Value-Based Pricing
Pinterest for Business
Becoming a Kindle Book Author
Turning ‘Likes’ into Paying Clients

There will be two ‘Ask the Organizer’ Panels – one of which will feature Golden Circle Members on the panel (those who have been in business over 5 years). I always learn something new from my colleagues at these panels.

In addition there will be three Keynote speakers, a NAPO Business Meeting and Luncheon, and a NAPO Awards Luncheon. If it’s anything like last year’s Awards Luncheon, it’s sure to be a three hanky affair…

And let’s not forget the place to learn about new and exciting organizing products–THE EXPO! Big names like Rubbermaid, Ziploc and 3M are there as well as small business that provide Professional Organizers with products to revolutionize our client’s lives (and ours, too!), If the Command Hook people are there, I’m going to have to stop by for a demonstration. I always forget how to use those hooks properly…

Stay tuned for my post-conference blog post!

SMEAD – ‘My Organizer’ Products

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While at the NAPO Conference in Baltimore this past Spring, I got to meet a lovely representative from SMEAD at our Product EXPO. She and I chatted about office products, ‘liked’ each other on Facebook and a few months later, she asked me if I would want to review SMEAD products on my blog.

What organizer can say no to checking out new organizing products?

A few weeks later, I received the MO File System.  MO stands for ‘My Organizer.’ There are three parts to the MO File system: a folder kit, a file case and a case wrap. Here’s a video with all the details:

I received three pieces: the File Case, the Case Wrap, and the Financial Kit. They come in different colors but I got the green pattered one which coincidentally fits in with the decor of my home office.

Besides the Financial Kit, the other kits sold are the MO Medical Kit, the MO Project Kit and the MO Starter Kit. According to the SMEAD website,

“MO file kits provide all the help you need to get organized. Each kit contains 9 letter size SuperTab folders, one label sheet with pre-printed and/or blank labels and a detailed instruction sheet.” 

The My Organizer system can be found at most office supply stores and on Amazon.com.

Why consider the My Organizer File system for your paper organizing needs?

– It fits easily into a letter-sized file drawer
– It is easily transportable
– It’s a great way to organize papers for a particular project or aspect of your life

I haven’t started using it yet but here’s what I like about My Organizer File system so far…

– It’s compact
– The File Case slides out of both sides of the Case Wrap
– The Super Tabs on the file folders are huge! Plenty of space for writing file descriptions.

I have a lot of business and family-related papers that always need action or are pending so I’m going to explore the features of he My Organizer File system and give it a try on my desk. I’ll keep you posted!

Best Products for Organizing Your Car

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Long commute?
Live far from your family?
Got kids?

Then you probably spend a lot of time in your car.

Our cars are like a home-away-from-home. Sometimes we eat in our car. Sometimes we sleep in our car. We have TV screens and stereos and storage spaces in our cars. Yup–sounds like home to me…

So, if it’s important to keep our homes organized, it is equally important to keep our home-away-from-home organized, too.

I drive a big SUV and if I didn’t organize it, it would resemble a dumping ground on wheels. I have to organize my belongings, stuff for my kids, supplies for my business and supplies for the car just like I would organize any space in my home. When you’re ‘on-the-go’ you have to be able to find what you need quickly.

Your first step towards an organized car is to sort and purge the items currently living in it. Once you know what is staying you’ll need a few organizing products to help you keep your home-away-from- home neat and tidy and of course–organized.

Here are a few products I use in my own car and a few that might be useful in special situations:

Trash receptacle – If you don’t want your car looking like the city dump. I highly recommend purchasing a trash receptacle for your car. This is the one I have by Case Logic and it works well for me. Unfortunately, it’s so old, the company doesn’t make it anymore:

I keep it thrown over my gear stick and hanging into the passenger side. It’s easy to stuff the garbage into the top and the velcro bottom opens easily to release the trash. I own this in tan to match my old car’s interior but when it has seen better days (the time is coming soon!), I’m getting one like this:

Auto Trash Bag by The Mod Mobile

There are so many fun, colorful and cool designs, I’m not sure which I would pick! Check all of them out on Allyson Hill’s The Mod Mobile Etsy site.

Visor CD Organizer – Downloading songs to my iPhone is on my long list of ‘Things I’d Like to Do Someday.’ So in the meantime, I’ve purchased a CD organizer for my visor–also from CaseLogic. My music, kiddie music–it’s all stored neatly and at arm’s reach.

Collapsible Crate – I got mine at a discount home store a bunch of years ago but you can find them at some office supply stores and The Container Store.

Photo Courtesy of Office Max

This is what is in mine: box of manila folders for organizing jobs, plastic bags, extra umbrella, and the ‘restaurant’ bag I’ll be discussing next. Other items that can fill the crate are groceries, car accessories, and random items that might otherwise float around your trunk or back of car.

“Restaurant” Bag – I got a drawstring backpack as a promotion from a store I was making a large purchase at a few years ago. When I saw it, I knew what it would be perfect for–a ‘restaurant bag.’ I call it a ‘restaurant bag’ because it is filled with items to keep my kids occupied when we go out to eat. I keep it stocked with paper, crayons, stickers, and a package of wipes. This is kept in the crate so I’ll always know where to find it when we pull into the restaurant parking lot.




Other Organizing Products for Your Car:

Recycle Bag Holder – According to the Tote Buddy website, the Tote Buddy is the ‘world’s first reusable bag holder.’ It neatly holds all of your recycle bags when you go to the market. It’s perfect for keeping all recycle bags in one place instead of strewn across a trunk or backseat. Here is an example of one below:

The Tote Buddy

The people from Tote Buddy were at the NAPO Conference 2012 EXPO with all of their beautiful designs. It would make a great gift for someone who prefers to use recycle bags when they go shopping.

Organizer for Kids: Kids come with a lot of STUFF and they like to bring some of that STUFF with them when they go in the car. To prevent all that STUFF from being all over your car, consider an organizing product that hangs over the driver/passenger seat and faces the child. Many styles have room for crayons, hand-held games, books, DVDs and other STUFF kids like to have with them in the car.

Over-the-seat Car Organizer by Lillian Vernon

Desk: Do you or someone you know work out of their car? This product is a very good solution for those with mobile office needs. The Car Go Desk secures in the passenger seat with a seat belt and offers space for files, mobile equipment and peripherals.

cargodesk.biz

OK–next time you get into your car, take a good look inside. Would any of these products make your car more organized? Do you currently use any of these products? Tell me–I’d love to know!

What area of YOUR life needs organizing?

Contact Stacey to Get Started!

Professional Affiliations

NAPO Member NAPO Golden Circle  Bergen Health and Life 2015 POWR
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