The Organizing Tip That Will Change Your Life

Storage ToteSimple, but super: Never leave a space empty-handed.

Sometimes, it’s the simplest of things that can have the biggest impact on our lives. I know in my own life, in this fast-paced world we live in, it seems like there is never a time when something isn’t disorganized and out of place. Our homes, our cars, our offices, even our computers – they all have stacks, piles, bags and bits sitting around and cluttering things up with stuff that doesn’t belong.

Yet I’ve found one simple and proven way to take a powerful step toward streamlining your spaces and tackling your mess before it tackles you. That is to never leave a space empty handed. Read more

5 Tips For Organizing Your Pampered Pet

pampered pet bedDo you own a pampered pet? Maybe two, three, or more? If you do, then he/she is very much a part of your everyday life, and it’s important to include the pet in your overall organizing plan for yourself or your family. Here are some ways you can organize your pet’s stuff:

(1) Use an old plastic container or wicker basket as a central holding point for the pet’s toys. Place it in a spot where the pet spends a lot of his time, and a spot where he can reach inside the container easily to get the toys. At the end of the day, you can make a round of the play area with container in-hand, picking up the pet’s toys and putting them back inside the container. Read more

Mail, Mail, Go Away! Easy Ways to Tame Your Mail Piles

letter_traysAs you may or may not know, I’m a contributor to FranklinCovey’s Get Organized Community, along with the likes of Dr. Stephen Covey (think: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). As a contributor, I recently answered a question about MAIL, and it’s so applicable to so many people, I thought it might benefit YOU.

>>>>>> Question < <<<<< Do you ever have those days when you barely have enough time to get your mail, much less sort through it? I do, and I’ve been having more and more of these types of days, which means my mail pile gets huge. Read more

Get Organized for Tax Season in 5 Easy Steps

tax filingIn the words of Dave Barry, “It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.”

Filing taxes = huge pain. We all know it. We all go through it once a year. And while there’s no way around tax season, there is a way to make the process less stressful.

P.R.E.P.A.R.A.T.I.O.N. Read more

Painless Holiday Shopping and Gifting

giftsThere’s only one way to take the speculation out of gift-giving: preparation! If you wait until the last-minute to figure out what to get whom, you’re going to waste valuable time in the process.

One manageable way to stay on top of your gift-giving game is to create a list of must-know info about each person. This includes:

– Favorite colors, brands, and sizes for clothing

– Favorite stores, hang-outs, and restaurants

– Favorite authors and magazines

– Favorite music, TV shows, and movies

– Favorite foods, wine, and beer

– If they have any collections, hobbies, or special interests

– Etc. Read more

How to Select the BEST Planner for Your 2011

plannerWilliam Penn, the founder of the great state of Pennsylvania, once said: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

Does that sound like a day in your life?

One of the cheapest, easiest ways to solve your time management problems is by using a personal planner. (And just to be clear, this does not include “using” it as a coaster, doodle pad, paperweight, or otherwise unrelated purpose!)

Here’s a look at the different types of planners, and how you can pick out the best planner to suit your personality and lifestyle. Read more

What’s Your Organizing Personality?

ducks-in-a-rowOrganizing systems are not one-size-fits-all. Your organizing personality — or what I like to call your logic type — is truly the most important aspect to consider when organizing any room or project.

If you try to organize something that runs against your system of reasoning, then it will never, ever stick!

That’s why, in my work as a professional organizer, I have identified four logic types: Geometrical, Positional, Chronological, and Categorical. Read more

Do You Suffer from Cobbler’s Children Syndrome?

cobblers toolsThe word “cobbler” comes from a bygone era and quickly conjures up visions of Charles Dickens and not so much modern times. But the fact of the matter is — despite living in the 21st century — you may suffer from Cobbler’s Children Syndrome (CCS) all the same.

Simply put, CCS describes a situation where a cobbler spends so much time repairing shoes for all the villagers, that he has neither the time nor inclination to do the same for his own family. As a result, his children have the worse shoes of all the children in the village.

Now, I doubt YOU are a cobbler in the strict sense of the word, but the irony of this syndrome can play out in many situations. Read more

College Entrepreneurs Develop Hip, New Organizer

AccessiblesThis week, I was contacted by a very inspiring group of college students from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts who have developed Accessibles, a hip, new way to organize notebooks and planners.

Rui Wang, one of the students in this group of budding entrepreneurs, explained that, “We noticed that lots of people store their thoughts chronologically and subsequently made etched-metal monthly tabs to let you control how you organize…” Read more

Get Rid of Clutter – Transform Your Life

motivationIt’s often hard to keep the momentum going after you start an organizing project. Reason being, unless you are a professional organizer or self-proclaimed organizing junkie, organization can seem…boring…pointless…overwhelming…difficult.

Does this situation sound familiar to you? Then it’s very likely that when you think about getting organized, your natural procrastination mechanism kicks into overdrive.

You are not alone! In fact, one of the most popular questions about organizing is: “How do I get/stay motivated?” Read more

Are You a Grasshopper or an Ant? And Why It’s Good to Know…

ant-and-grasshopperOnce upon a time, there was a Grasshopper enjoying a beautiful summer day. He was hopping about, chirping and singing to his heart’s content.

In the middle of the Grasshopper’s delightful afternoon, an Ant passed by, struggling to carry an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of working so hard?” Read more

Do You Feed Your Clutter?

which wolf will you feed?There is a story about an old Cherokee who was teaching his grandchildren about life.

He said to them: “A battle is raging inside me…it is a terrible fight between two wolves.

“One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

“The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” Read more

Is Your Life Unbalanced?

balancedOften times, we tend to think of clutter as “stuff” in our space: piles of paper on the desk, clusters of toys on the rug, mounds of mail on the kitchen counter, stacks of magazines on the sofa, and heaps of laundry on the bed. And while this is true, there are other types of clutter that can creep into your life.

For example:

**Do you over-commit to people, organizations, or causes? Then you have something that clutters your schedule.

**Do you have someone in your life that bleeds your energy and patience, so much so that the very mention of their name causes you great stress? Then you have something that clutters your spirit. Read more

Conquer Spring Cleaning (and Organizing!)

spring-has-sprungSpring has sprung! Which means it’s officially time to start up your annual spring cleaning overhaul. Here are a 4 ideas to jump-start your efforts:

(1) Update your files.
We all have the looming April 15 tax deadline ahead of us. (At least the Americans do!) This is a great time to sort through not only your financial paperwork but also other documents in your files. Clear out the old stuff, back file what is necessary in storage, and shred whatever you don’t need to keep. Read more

5 Things That Should Not Be in Your Closet

“totally rad” 80's costumeYou didn’t know it when you woke up this morning, but today is your day of reckoning. Yep, that’s right! It’s time to open up your closet doors and face your wardrobe head-on.

There are many considerations when it comes to editing your clothing and accessories, and here are the top 5 “wardrobe violations” that should not be in your closet — EVER.

(1) Stains
This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many sweat stains and ketchup stains I run across in my line of work. Staining is a constant threat to any article of clothing! And it can happen anywhere, so clothes should be checked all over. The biggest problem spots tend to be the edges of long-sleeve shirts or jackets, around the inside of collars, and underarm areas.

(2) Outdated Style
What happened in the 80s, fashion-wise, should stay there and not your closet. (Unless it’s for a “totally rad” costume, of course!) Read more

When Lists Don’t Work

not-to-do-listGenerally speaking, a list is a good thing because…

When you write a list, it helps you focus. When you follow a list, it keeps you on track and moving toward list completion. And when you cross off list items, you feel productive. And yet, despite proven results and positive qualities, lists don’t always work for everyone, every time because…

When you have to make a list, it means you have lots to accomplish. When you have lots to accomplish, you suddenly don’t want to do anything but sit on your couch, watch TV, and eat ice cream. Read more

The Key to Finding Balance and Getting Organized

blahWhen you are responsible for taking care of others — whether it be at work, at home, or both ― then taking care of YOU can become a low, maybe even non-existent, priority.

Women, in particular, feel incredibly off-kilter when this occurs, but men are also not immune to self-neglect and its repercussions.

Here’s what I mean…

– You’re working more hours, so that’s less time for exercise. You gain a few pounds, and your pants are fitting tightly…and you feel blah. Read more

Charity Profile: Books for Soldiers

If you love to read, I bet you’ve got a pretty nice stockpile of books. I’ll go even further and say that I bet you only read 2-5 of those books on a regular basis, and the rest are just “dust collectors.”

Am I right or am I right?

I just came across a wonderful charity that can help you downsize your library, opening up a little more space for something else! It’s called Books for Soldiers. Read more

Recycling Beauty Products

Are you really going to use that lotion that you got at the office gift-swap party 2 Christmases ago? Ummm…no.

Chances are, you’ve got some beauty products that are — but really shouldn’t be — taking up some valuable real estate in your bathroom.

This week, I encourage you to go through your bathroom storage, tossing anything you no longer need, want, or use.
But don’t just put the bottles and boxes into the trash! Opt to be environmentally responsible. Read more

National Magazine Seeks Organizing Tips from Real Women

Do you have a special organizing tip that helps you get organized and stay organized?
If you have something – a routine, a hint, a method for keeping your home neat and tidy – a national women’s magazine wants to know! They are looking for fresh ideas from real women around the country.

Send your submissions to Leslie Pepper at by Friday, July 3rd. (BTW, pro organizers can submit as well, but keep in mind that only your name, city, and state will be included in the article, not your business name or website.)

Once your organizing tip is approved, you’ll find out what magazine it is! And it’s big…

Don’t forget to share your ideas here! We’d love to know the scoop.

Wanna Get Organized? 3 Must-Do Steps!

daisyWhen it comes to organizing, it’s best to set guidelines for a project – guidelines that will not only help define what you want but also help determine a project’s time line and framework.

Don’t say: I’ll organize my house completely over the next

Do say: I want to organize my entire house by Halloween, and I’m starting with the garage. I’ll give myself 3 weeks to finish it, and then I will move to the bathroom, kitchen, etc.

Why is the 2nd option the best? Because… Read more

Carmen’s Favorite Organizers A to Z – Part 4

(4) D is for Desk Dots by Dynomighty Designs. (Dare you to say that 3 times, fast!)

Ever want an organizer with super powers?

Desk Dots are very strong ceramic magnets that hold together, even with lots of stuff between them.

And the Dots can withstand multiple configurations as well. You can lay ’em in a row…pile ’em on top of each other…stick ’em on your fridge or file cabinet. (Just don’t let your boss catch you playing around!) Read more

Carmen’s Favorite Organizers A to Z – Part 3

(3) C is for the Calendar Tin.

Calendars normally contain your reminders, appointments, and important dates. But this calendar doesn’t hold words – it holds office supplies!

The Calendar Tin stands 3 “stories” high. (Not literally, silly! That would be pretty big.)

Each story is a compartment…one for tacks, one for paper clips, and one for rubber bands. And all of these supplies are included with the tin, which makes it even a better bargain. Read more

Household Routines Improve Your Happiness

Getting organized — specifically getting into a household routine — is scientifically proven to improve your overall well-being.

According to the book The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, it’s important to establish a schedule to take your tasks from “To Do’s” to “To Done.”

Dr. David Niven writes: “We often feel overwhelmed by the chores that have to be done on a regular basis. Read more