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Organizing is Child's Play

Posted on 16 January, 2014 at 12:19 Comments comments (2)
At a recent local area Home Show, a fellow organizer and I played an organizing game with some of the children who stopped by our booth with their parents.  The object: to sort out a jumbled mess of office supplies and fit them into a compartmentalized tray.  The kids had a timed minute to complete the task and then received a prize.

Early learning toys teach children how to sort and organize.
1.  Promote organizing skills.
So many early learning toys are geared toward one of the most basic organizing tools - sorting. Children learn to sort by color, shape and size sometimes before they can even walk or talk! As parents, if we recognize that these are actually life skills, we can be aware of them as our children grow and remind them that they have these skills as they meet new challenges.

Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much organizing you can get done.

2. Make sure they have the necessary tools.
Children can't be expected to put things away if they don't have an environment set up that makes clean up clear and easy.  Organizing tools for kids range from toy bins to reachable clothing hangers to timers that can be set for a round of "Beat the Clock" organizing!

Kids who learn organizing at a young age have learned a skill for life.3.   Give them a chance to do it on their own.
An infant needs help for everything, a toddler wants to start doing things on their own, a pre-teen's hormones make them see things differently. Each developmental stage our children go through is a also a developmental stage for us as parents. We are challenged to learn how much autonomy we should give at each stage. A good rule of thumb is: if there's no harm in trying on their own, let them try.

Organizing is a life skill that can support your child at every stage of their life for the rest of their life.  Give them that gift.

Free Time

Posted on 11 January, 2014 at 22:29 Comments comments (9948)

Using my schedule in this way helps me make my Busy life, a Full one - and that is worth my time. Because, its not about the time, it's about the Times of my Life.

I'm looking forward to my lunch with Sue on January 23rd.

Give Credit Where It’s Due – You!

Posted on 31 December, 2013 at 12:12 Comments comments (1)

What do you have on your plate that is just crying out to you, needing to get done? Chances are, several things flew through your mind when you read that. What were they? Write them down, get them out of your head, and then ask yourself “What can I do to get these things taken care of right now?” Notice I didn’t say “What do I have to do myself to get these things taken care of right now?” I don’t mean that you need to take care of everything personally, but you do need to be in charge of getting the ball rolling. 

Where I live, we have these bright yellow flags at each crosswalk called “Take It to Make It” flags, and our city claims that more than 60 people have been injured or killed when not using the flag, and zero injuries/fatalities have resulted when pedestrians do carry the flag with them when they cross the street. I’m not saying that all of the responsibility falls on the pedestrian for road safety, but when a pedestrian is willing to take that extra step to be safe, they are often willing to go the extra mile and tend to be more aware of their surroundings, which makes them safer all-around. 

You may be wondering how these two things relate, and I’ll tell is all about YOU taking responsibility. YOU have to make sure that you have the right team in place to take care of your stuff for you. YOU have to be in charge of making sure your stuff gets done, either by you doing it, or by delegating it out (my preferred method). It is up to YOU to go that extra mile and make sure that YOUR stuff gets done. In the end, it’s up to YOU, and in the end YOU get to give credit where it’s due! It’s time to start walking forward, and don’t forget to Take it to Make it! 

Susan Brennan is a speaker, personal assistant and productivity enthusiast. You can learn more about her and how she helps people Be Productive Vicariously, by visiting her website at 

Three P's of Moving

Posted on 25 October, 2013 at 12:04 Comments comments (5)

Gearing up for a Big Move?

If you are doing the packing yourself, you may already be starting to plan: what supplies you’ll need, when to start, and what to pack first and save for last.  If you will have a company coming in to pack for you, and with all the other details that you are taking care of, you may not have packing on your radar.  Either way, doing your own packing or not, taking a moment now to think about these three P’s can make the difference between a peaceful and a stressful move.     

The three P’s I am referring to are, in short: paper, pearls and pills.  Whether you will have a one or two day cross-town move or a four to five day cross-country move, it will benefit you to have control of items that are critical and vital to you and your family.    

Papers:  The papers that you will want to keep in your possession are anything having to do with the move – moving company contract, rental agreements, etc., school registration requirements, identification for each family member.  With the exception of ID, it is also ok to keep these items digitally.  Try using Evernote to take a picture of each document.  Evernote will store them by the date and location the picture was taken.  Make sure you practice this in advance.  When I first tried this, my pictures were not saved because I did not realize I had to make a selection to choose to save them.  

Pearls:  Whatever jewelry you may have of any value should be kept with you at all times or securely stored in a safe or safety deposit box.  Moving time can be confusing; don’t leave your valuables to chance.   

Pills:  Yes, you plan to be at your new home tomorrow, but then the truck breaks down, your flight gets cancelled, there’s a family emergency in Florida and Aunt Alice needs you to get there right away.  Sometimes unexpected things happen. It may not be easy to refill prescription while in transit.  Be sure that you when you travel you bring a two-week supply of medications for each person.   

Naturally, you can spend time post-move searching boxes for these essential three P’s.  I suggest you save yourself the added stress.  Make a list now and, when it’s time, start by setting these items aside.  You’ll be happy that you did.

Do you have a busy family with no time to waste? Visit All Right Moves to hire a team of NAPO professional organize who will unpack and organize your home in a matter of days. All Right Moves will help you move in so you can move on!   

Check Out this "Info-Graphic" on Clutter!

Posted on 30 July, 2013 at 23:11 Comments comments (0)

A new wave in sharing fast facts is the Info-graphic.  Info-graphics combine information, statistics and pictures for quick, at-a-glance answers.

This Clutter info-graphic was created by Sparefoot and gives

15 Fantastic Reasons to
Clear Out Clutter at Home. 

From earning more money when selling your home to improving your health and even bumping up your credit score - clearing out clutter pays off in more ways than you may think.

  • Wondering if you should declutter before putting your home up for sale?
  • Having trouble in your family with asthma and want to improve the air quality of your home?
  • Trying to find ways to reduce your family's stress?
  • Struggling to find ways to save money?
  • Can organizing even improve your sex-life?

Check out this infographic and find out what professional organizers already know!

Visit Sparefoot to read the full article.

Organizing One Step at a Time: Paper Clutter

Posted on 24 May, 2013 at 0:00 Comments comments (10)
Paper invades your house on a daily basis. Mail, bills and statements, arts and crafts, magazines, school papers and sticky notes are inevitable, but they don't need to take up space or clutter your home. Organizing them and coming up with a system that works for you is key to keeping the clutter at bay.

Create a System That Works For You Before you begin organizing take some time to think about a system for filing that makes sense to you. Ideas for categorizing your paper work and documents: ·      Household Documents ·      Business Documents ·      Car ·      Insurance ·      Medical

Wrangle the Mail Controlling your mail is one of the easiest ways to avoid paper clutter. First, go through all of the mail you have laying around. Toss the junk and place all of your bills and important papers in an accordion file. To keep mail from stacking up, sort everything the minute you walk in the door. Immediately toss junk or anything that doesn't interest you. Also, go online and have your bills sent to your email box instead of your mail box. Most utilities, banks and credit card companies offer this option. Consider purchasing a scanner and getting all of your important documents and paper work in electronic form.

Manage the Magazines If you're a magazine subscriber, it's likely you have a stack or two of magazines cluttering your home. Try these steps to keep your collection of periodicals more manageable:

  • Toss any magazines you've read or donate them to a friend, hospital or local doctor's office. You could even leave them in the break room at work.
  • Buy a small basket and set the basket by your favorite chair. Whenever you get a new magazine, keep it in the basket so that your reading material is always handy.
  • Try getting e-subscriptions and loading them to a tablet or e-reader.

These tips also work well for newspapers.

Sort Out School Work If you have kids, at least once a week a backpack is unloaded and you are presented with a mountain of graded worksheets, permission slips and school newsletters. Here's how to keep it organized:

  1. Go through your child's stack of paper while sitting near a trash can. Throw away everything you don't want to keep.
  2. On a wall calendar, write down important dates found on newsletters and then trash them.
  3. Put drawings and other artwork you want to keep in an accordion file, that way you can organize the artwork by year and/or child.  Another great idea is to purchase some bright colored frames and display their artwork in your home – this looks great and helps you stay organized too!  
  4. Sign permission slips right away and then put them right back in the child's backpack.

Stick It to Sticky Notes While sticky notes can keep us more organized, they can also create clutter.  Try a digital version of sticky notes on your computer or smart phone and be sure to throw away any real note as soon as you don't need it any more. Using these tactics, paper clutter in your home will be a thing of the past and you can focus your energy on more important things.  

Paul Benjamin works for EZ Storage, a company providing self storage to the Philadelphia metro area for over 40 years.

Step Right Up!

Posted on 14 March, 2013 at 10:49 Comments comments (0)
Step right up and see the show! 

Do you ever use your steps as a temporary holding zone for items waiting to either head up or down?  I do.  There's just no denying that traveling up and down the steps, no matter how quickly you can do it, takes time.  And extra time is something that most of us lack.  Staying in one room until a job is complete and then making your trips to other parts of the house to deliver stray items is much more efficient.

Besides, if you have trouble with staying focused or completing projects, running up or down stairs frequently is an easy road to distraction.  Staying on task in one area until the job or your allotted time is done, is a good plan for success. 

Using the stairway as a landing spot for stray belongings however, only works when that landing spot is cleared.  Regularly.  Consistently.  

Staying organized requires completion - not just of the first steps of a task but, of ALL the steps - this should always include putting things away when you're done. 

For instance, you decide to clean and organize your bedroom.  You may end up with a glass or mug from the kitchen, a towel from the bathroom, wrapping paper from the hall closet and tape from the junk drawer, all needing to return to a different room.  Putting these items near or on the stairs to be delivered when you're done makes sense.  Leaving them there as you run right past - again, and again and again, day after day - doesn't.

Piles of clutter on a stairway are an eyesore, an inconvenience and, most importantly a safety hazard.  Allowing stuff to pile up on a stairway is a formula for a disaster that can only be found as funny if you're donning a clown's nose and shouting - Ta Da!

Yoga & Organizing?

Posted on 26 February, 2013 at 22:16 Comments comments (1)

I participate in a monthly call - a national gathering of Holistic Organizers who meet to learn and discuss ways in which we can and do incorporate holistic and spiritual practices into the lives of our daily careers and the work that we do with our clients.  Tonight's topic, Yoga & Organizing, sounded like two separate things to me.  

Here's what I learned.

I guess the basic goals are the same for both - form, peace, health - to name a few.  And, although the paths are different, each can support the other.

So many yoga positions rely upon the practice of balance.  Balancing our mind and body through yoga can reflect in or be reflected by the balanced or unbalanced environments we live in.

Breathing and grounding techniques practiced in yoga are known to boost brain function.  In organizing, this helps with our decision making capabilities.  How often do you wonder, 'Where do I start?'  'Should I keep this or let it go?'  'How should I set up this room?'  It's hard to think when your mind is cluttered just as it is hard to function when your space is cluttered.

A short session of controlled yoga breathing and/or exercise helps to unite our bodies and spirits.  If we can claim control of the health and well-being of our selves, we can take the next step and ask who is in control of our spaces?  Do we have the authority to make decisions about the organization of our bedrooms, offices and other environments?  If not, who does? 

I think I will take a deep breath this week and treat myself to myself.  I'll try a session or two of yoga. 

The Memory or The Life?

Posted on 18 February, 2013 at 19:59 Comments comments (1)
"We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give."
- Winston Churchill

 This is a picture of my daughter sitting on a paint can "helping" her dad paint a room in our house.  She is wearing one of my favorite outfits of hers.  This was about 20 years ago.

Today, as I dressed, I decided I wanted to wear a skirt.  Since it's fairly cold out, I wanted to wear some nice warm stocking or tights to go with it.  And so my search began.

You see, I haven't worn stocking in quite a while and don't wear them often anyway.  I went through four pair before throwing in the towel and grabbing a pair of slacks.  You see, some got runs in them as soon as I went to pull them up.  Others just didn't have the elastic to stay on properly.  Ugh, so exasperating!

Well, I suppose it's time for me to go through that drawer and do some purging and re-stocking (ha-Ha!).

Elastic is one of those things that just don't last forever.  Most things don't.  So why do feel like we are loosing something if we don't hold on to them forever?  

Do you know what happens to the boxes and boxes of cute little baby clothes we hang on to because of the memories they hold?  Most often, they sit in the basement or attic for many, many years.  When the boxes are opened, some are remembered, some are not and many are covered in crumbled elastic or have been visited by a critter or two.

The beautiful things we are lucky enough to have bless our lives with joy.  Consider passing them down or passing them on to bless yet another life and let the child continue to bless your own.

Close, But No Cigar

Posted on 28 January, 2013 at 20:59 Comments comments (3)

Remember that saying, "Close, but no cigar"?  In other words, you've played the game, but didn't quite win the prize.

How often do you come close....close enough....almost there.......but notquite?  I got home today from babysitting for my niece and nephew in Maryland for the weekend.  Soon after I came into my house, I brought my weekend travel bags upstairs, unpacked and put it all away. 

Unpacking for a trip of any length is normally attended to pretty quickly in our house.  Yet, I know this is not the case for many and I can understand why.  It's so much easier to drop everything once you get home, walk away and leave it to think about another time. 

Or is it?  Is it really easier when you can't find your favorite pants and search the entire house before realizing that they're in the suitcase from your last trip?  Is it easier to step around your travel bags every time you cross your bedroom?  Is it easier to use toiletries out of your carry-on bag as if you were a tourist in your own home?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

Aside from travel bags, think about what other items in your home that you come "close" with without actually winning the cigar?  Do you put your jacket or shoes down near the closet but not in it?  Do you put your jewelry down on your dresser instead of in it's box or holder that's only inches away?

Go ahead, take that extra step and win the cigar this week!