Friday, October 31, 2008

What if you are NOT Ready to Start but Everyone Says You Need to Organize!!

This can be tough. What if your husband or wife, friends and family are telling you that YOU NEED help? You may not think you are ready for that step.
First of all you have to think honestly to yourself.....
1) Are you happy with how your house looks?
2) Are you proud of your house?
3) Are you embarrassed to have people in your house?
4) Can you find what you need when you need it?
5) Are you ready for a change?
6) Are you ready to stay in the situation you are in?

These are several things that you can ask yourself....and be honest with yourself. You don't have to tell anyone your answers.

If other people are telling you have a problem...and you don't feel you are need to ask yourself...why?
Why do you want to keep your home the way it is? If you aren't proud of it...if you can't have company over because you are embarrassed.....then why aren't you ready to make a change?
Change can be scary. It can be hard...and that is usually the reason that we are resistant to it. We are scared of things that can be hard. We are scared of things that make us face reality. No one likes to do that. Plus it just seems too overwhelming to us to handle.
When you do realize you need help...then to reach out and get that help is the hard thing....once you get will feel wonderful. It will feel like a weight has been lifted and you can breath.
Imagine if your mother in law or friend decides to drop in at on you at the last minute and you have no problem saying ...."Come on in and sit down!!"....without embarrassment! That would be great wouldn't it?
Think about it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Being Sick but still keeping up.

This is sometimes how we feel we look when we are sick!! But being sick is no fun. If you are like me you just want to crawl back under the covers and stay there all day. I don't usually want to do anything!! But in todays busy world sometimes that is not an option.
Even if you aren't well enough to go to work there are still some thing you can do around your house that take little physical effort that will help you stay caught up in other areas of your life.
Balancing a check book would be a good one. Yuk...who likes to do that?
You know that big pile of papers that you have in your office that need to be filed? This is a great time do to that. Just take in your cup of tea and your blanket and file away.
Go through your "to do" list and update that. There may be some things on there that you can take care of since you are home. Make Doctor and Dentist appointments that are overdue. Call the cell phone company and complain about that bill that they messed up. (Oh and complain to someone when you are sick...that poor company!! Hee Hee)
Look for the little sit down things that need to be done, and make yourself do at least one or two of those. You won't feel like your day has totally been wasted.
When you feel just plain yucky....there are still some things you can do that at least make you feel a little better about your day at home.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Peanut Butter and Pickles Review Blog

You will have to go to the Peanut Butter and Pickles Review Blog at: Lacie does reviews of products and I sent her a pouchee to review. She really liked it and we planned a give away of a free pouchee. So if you want a chance to win a free pouchee then go to her site and sign on the comments.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How To Decide What To Get Rid Of.

Trying to decide what to get rid of is a very hard thing to do. That is why it is very helpful to use an outside person (Professional Organizer) to help you. We don't have the attachments to the objects that you do. It is easier for us to help you make the decision based on need and not on emotions.
Here is a list that was compiled by the NAPO (National Assocation of Professional Organizers) Chat Group. Then Ilene Drexler ( took that list and organized it and added a few cute twist to it. She gave me permission to use it for you.
Here is a good list to read down and help you decide if you want to really keep something.

General Areas

*Was it a purchase mistake? (if so, it does not make it better to keep it)
*Does it take more time and effort to manage than it is worth?
*Does it make others unhappy to see it? Am I putting things before people and relationships?
*Do you need it? Is it redundant (i.e., do I really need 3 measuring spoon sets)?
*Do I love it? Does it make me happy or unhappy to see it?
*If you were moving, would you pay to have it packed and moved?
*Would you buy it again?
*Is it broken, and if so, are you ever going to fix it?
*Are you ever really going to finish this project (book, quilt, etc.)?
*Can you borrow or purchase another one, if needed, without spending a fortune or having trouble finding it?
*When's the last time you used it (assuming you knew it was there)?
*If you knew that someone else would really benefit from having this (i.e. if you found a great place to donate it), would that make it easier for you to let it go?
*Is this adding value to your home or business?
*Is this item getting in the way of your ability to find what you need, when you need it?
*Will this help me make or save money?
*How much space does it require (the more it takes, the more critical you should be in your decision to keep it)
*If you keep it, will you remember you have it? If you remember you have it, will you be able to find it?
*Convince yourself that you need to keep it.

*Am I legally required to keep it (i.e. vital & tax records), and if so, for how long? (a topic for another whole newsletter)
*Will I actually use it/refer to it/need it?
*Is the information still current?
*Can it easily be duplicated or created if needed again (i.e. found on the web)?
*What's the worst that can happen if you toss it?
*Is it a duplicate?

*Is the item in good condition?...does it have stains or tears or is it too worn)?
*Is the item still in style (And no.....1980's shoulder pads are not going to come back into style in the same exact way)?
*Do you love the item, or even like it? Does it make you feel great to wear it?
*When was the last time I used this item….Would I use it again now that I remember that I have it?
*How many do I currently own of this type of item (maybe 20 pairs of black pants are too many)?
*Does it fit? If not, is it within a reasonable number of size ranges of my current size range to keep it?

*Do you have anything else that reminds you of this (event, person, time)?
*If we took a picture of it, would that make it easier for you to let it go?
*Am I keeping it because someone gave it to me and I'll feel guilty if I get rid of it?
*Does the sentimental value exceed the practical value (if so, by all means, keep it!)

Using these guidelines can make it much easier to help you decide if you are going to part with something.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Closets - Be creative



I was having a hard time working in a clients new office. It had been a bedroom in the past and I had a great closet that I could use for supplies...but the little shelves that were in there were not that functional. It was a rented house so we didn't want to install a closet system to help out.
My client had an extra bookshelf that I was SO excited to measure and find that it would fit into the closet!!!
We took out the shelves that were not attached...and just moved the bar that was half way down (no problem to put be all back when the move out). The bookshelf fit perfect. I was like a kid in a candy shop I was so excited for all the space. My client has a lot of extra supplies and I was able to put the closet to very good use!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cool pink tool huh?

My friend knows that I sell Tomboy tools and she sent this picture to me!
As she said...this is the "ultimate Tomboy tool"!!!
She was visiting her son in Alaska when she spotted this. She stopped and took a picture for me. Great friend too...huh?!!
Thanks Karla!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This by the way is a garage.
If you think you have the possibility of being a hoarder then you need to seek out some professional help from a psychologist or counselor. They can help determine if you really are and what steps you need to accomplish to get some help. Once you have that going then you can get some help from a professional organizer to help you get through all of your things.
Hoarding is not an easy fix. Its not something that your family can come in and throw all of your things away while you are gone for a weekend and expect that its all over. There is something else there. There is some deeper rooted problem that is causing the anxiety over parting with your things.
There is hope and you can get better, so don't give up.
I will have some posts on here before too long of these spaces as they are cleared out. It will be great!!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Hoarding is more than just a messy house. It is a real psychological problem. There are usually a few things that help define hoarding.

1) Buying or picking up free items and refusal to part with them or even move them. Many times they are of useless or have limited value and usually aren't being used for what they are intended.
2)The person's home is so cluttered that you can use the spaces as they are intended.
3) significant limitations in functioning and distress over their situation they are in because of the hoarding.

I recently saw a show on TV called "How Clean is Your House". They had a contest looking for the messiest house. Most of the pictures if not all of the pictures they showed for contestants were that of hoarders. Not one time during the show (unless I missed it) did they mention hoarding. The "winners" of the contest were a mother and her two daughters that had a terrible hoarding problem. The entire house was packed full of junk. The mother was the worse and they showed many times her refusal to part with something and her stress over the situation. I am hoping that they also got them all some counseling along with their new house make over so that they will not fall back into their same patterns,but they never mentioned anything like that. It was very disturbing to me that they never mentioned hoarding on the show at all or talked about these people needing some real treatment.
Treatment is key to making a change for these people. Counseling should be for sure and many times medication is also used in theapy. That along with help from a professional organizer can make dramatic changes in a hoarders life.
Hoarders want to change (most of the time)and many times try on their own and fail and then they fall into deeper depressions and give up even more and their situations can become life threatening.
When we work with clients who are hoarders we need to assess to what level their hoarding is. Is there a place to sit in their house? Are there pathways in the rooms to get to things? Are doorways blocked? Are there pets in the house and if there is, is there animal urine and feces? (Many times animals can't get to a door to be let out)

Hoarding is a very big problem and should not be looked at as just a "messy house".
If you think you are a hoarder you can go to this web site and look at the "clutter hoarding scale" and evaluate yourself. (National Study Group for Chronic Disorganization)
Just as there is help for other problems, there is help for hoarders and they should be no means ever feel like their situation is hopeless.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don't trash your Donate by Accident. you now have a clear chair, but you have a bunch of stuff that you have to figure out what to do with next.
I suggest getting a box of black trash bags, and a box of white trash bags. If you recycle (which is highly suggested) then also get a box of clear trash bags.

Black is for trash that goes right to the trash can outside.
White is for donate.
Clear is for recycle.

Why the different colors....that seems like a pain in the butt to buy 3 different boxes of trash bags!!
It is to keep from getting bags mixed up in the clean up and clear out process. As you are loading things into the bags it is easy to think that you will remember what is where....but after you have loaded up several and you happen to take a break and come back to it, its easy to get confused.
You don't want to accidentally throw away something that was meant to be donated and someone else could use.
I suggest the white for donate and not clear because...if you don't get that bag out of the house the same day, it may give you time to reconsider what is in it and you may find yourself pulling things out to keep. Then you are defeating the purpose and you may not get rid of all the clutter you need to.
The clear for recycle because you can then see easily what is paper, what is bottles etc. when you go to take it to the recycle location. (Or hopefully if you are lucky enough...just out to your curb...we aren't so lucky in our town to have curb side recycle yet. Pain huh?)
This simple solution for loading up different colored bags can make things much easier on the "getting out of the house" end of the process.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Where do you start?

When you see a room like is easy to not do anything because you just don't know where or how to start.
You have to take a tiny piece and just start there. You can't think.."I have to clear this whole room", you can start by saying, "I want to clear off this chair so I can sit down." Then you need to start the sorting process.
You have to make decisions, and you need to make them fast. If you spend 10 minutes trying to decide if you want to keep the smelly old backpack that your daughter used in kindergarten (she is now in college)..because you remember buying that backpack and you remember her first day of school and how she was scared, and you remember walking her there and how nice her teacher was and.....and....and..... You get the point. You need to pick it up and try not to apply the memories to that piece. You STILL have the memories, no one is going to take them from you. But keeping a backpack that is falling apart and smells because at one point in its long life it was left out in the rain and then got thrown in the garage...isn't going to help you remember that day any better. You can take a picture of the backpack if that would help you to let it go. But you need to take seconds to decide. That helps you to take the memories out of the picture(at least a little bit).
But you just take one thing at a time and make a decision. Does this belong in another room? (If it does, put it in a box or bin that goes elsewhere. Don't physically walk it to another room because you will get distracted. STAY IN YOUR TARGET ZONE!!! (That is the chair you are working to clear)
Do I need to keep this? - Do I love it? I can't live without it.
Can someone else use this more than I can? Will it enrich someone else's life?
Is it something that should be stored? (Christmas, Halloween decorations)
Is it something that can be thrown away? Broken items, missing pieces, worn out.

Don't overwhelm yourself. Start small. Clear just that chair. Then if you have the time and energy (many times seeing some improvement can help to "jump start" your organizing engine.)
Don't try to bite off more than you can chew....remember what your mom told you, "Take small bites so you don't choke."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My kitchen feels so much better

I worked for about 8 hours today in my kitchen. I am not completely finished, but I feel so much better. I did the majority of my kitchen. I still need to do the refrigerator and stove, along with just a couple of other cabinets. Having white cabinets and 5 can imagine the fingerprints and dirt we get on everything. I used soft scrub and really did some cleaning..inside and out. I went through the drawers and got crumbs and stuff up. I still need to do the floor really really good. Not just a mop, but on my hands and knees and getting up under the edge of the cabinets.
I was in big time work mode. Dave had the kids at the farm working today. I need to work without a lot of distractions when I get into "work mode". It is best that the kids weren't here.
It feels really good to get that done!!!

Coffee cabinet

I know it is strange to have your coffee and your medicines in the same cabinet....but with a small kitchen you sometimes have to do some things that you may not do in other kitchens. This is kind of the "Morning Start" cabinet. My husband gets his vitamins everyday before he leave for work. I also have the ibuprofen and cold medicines handy. The coffee maker sits right below this cabinet and so the coffee supplies and the mugs along with the travel mugs are in the right place here.

Organizing my plastics cabinet

My plastics cupboard was also driving me crazy!!!! Lids everywhere, little plastic containers with no homes.
I went through and threw away any lid that didn't have a bowl that fit it. I got a couple of baskets that I already had and used those to house the lids and little disposable plastic containers. It looks much better

Organizing my baking cabinet

These are the "Before" and "After" pictures of my baking cabinet. I didn't purchase anything to do my kitchen today. I just sorted through what I had and got rid of things that I didn't use. Then I cleaned everything. (It needed it). I put everything back in with some order.

Organizing My Pantry

My pantry after I organized it. I forgot to take a "Before" picture until I was almost finished!! But believe me...this looks much better.
It shows the floor too.
I had a few extra wire shelves in my basement that I brought up to use to create some more usable space. What I had problems with is that wire doesn't sit well on wire. The one shelf that I was able to sit the extra shelf on worked kind of extended a little bit over the edge on the right, so that it stayed put. But I hung the other shelf that has the cans on it.
You want to utilize as much of your space as possible. That includes the floor, the door and the top shelf.
On the top shelf I put the items that we don't use too often.

Organizing My Own House

Yesterday and today I have had time off from one of my clients that I didn't expect. So I decided that I needed to work on my own house. My house is not perfect but I wish it was. I have needed to get back into the kids rooms and switch out the summer for winter clothes. Sort through and see what can be donated or put into a bin that will still fit them next year. With the triplets it is kind of nice that Zach is about 3" taller than Alex and weighs about 12 pounds more, so that usually Zach can hand down to his triplet brother. Then of course with Tim and Drew who are 14 and 15, they are wearing the same size, and their clothes that are too small have to wait a couple of years for Zach and Alex to fit into them. Elise being the only girl doesn't have family that passes her down clothes, but we have had a dear friend who has given Elise some wonderful clothes from her daughter.
I spent about 5 hours yesterday working on their two bedrooms. I worked on their closets and drawers and over all reorganizing and getting rid of extra stuff that accumulates over time.
Here is a picture of Elises room. Two years ago I painted all of her bedroom furniture the pink, purple and green. I found that shelf at a garage sale for $2.00 and painted it. The bed canopy thingy (what do you call those?) was from a garage sale and cost $5.00. I love it!
Today I am going to tackle the kitchen. I have a pretty small kitchen and pantry. For seven people in the house I have a hard time fitting everything. Things have become a mess again in my cupboards and it has been driving me crazy!! I have a husband and kids who do an ok job putting things where they should go, but I would love it if they always put things away like I wanted them to.
I will get some before and after pictures of the kitchen. They will actually be pretty embarrassing for me....because things are pretty bad right now. I also do not have the time to go to the store and find any organizing products like I would like to do, so I am going to have to figure some things out.
Here goes!!!