10 Common Mistakes when Organizing

common organizing mistakes



Even with the best of intention and efforts, your organizing may not be making a difference. You may have tried many times to get organized, but for some reason your home is cluttered.  It may be that one of these common organizing mistakes is a problem.  Check out these solutions for common organizing mistakes.


Plan your work and work your plan

Too often we jump into organizing and find we have made a bigger mess.  Take a few minutes to think about what you would like your organization to look like, what you need most, and what routines will keep it organized.  A little pre-planning makes all the difference.


More bins = more organized

It’s not about having more storage. It’s not about having the right bins.  Hold off from buying bins until you have worked through and decluttered your space. Then you are ready to decide on storage options.


Difficulty decluttering

We start decluttering, get everything in a bag, and it stays at your entry or in  your car for weeks.  Make decluttering easy with an easy way to drop off your donations.  Have a donation bag set up in your home for regular drop offs.  The easier it is, the more you will donate.

Zig zag organizing

You start in one space and realize you need to bring stuff to another room.  You head there and – oops – that space needs work too. Labeled as zig zap organizing, you will see the most success if you remain in and worn on only one space at a time.  Place the stuff at the door with a post it note on it.


Too much coming in

Even the most organized home suffers when more and more is brought in to the space.  Start an awareness of how much you purchase, why and when you purchase items.  By creating a barrier to more stuff, you are able to establish organizing systems and routines.


Label, label, label

It can be surprising how much labeling a space makes a difference. Everyone knows where items belong and can put them away.   Labeling keeps you organized.


Daily distribution

It’s easy to stash and dash. That’s when you get a new item but regretfully never put it away.  Set up a daily distribution time to reset your personal and family organizing, put items away and put away the bags they came in.


Paper, paper everywhere

Keep your paper together. It sounds overwhelming, but keeping it in one spot helps you sort, recycle and keep the important papers. When paper gets spread out, all of a sudden it’s everywhere.  Create one designated spot for mail to come to and sort.  Triage it daily and work on your papers weekly.

Keep it all, just in case

We don’t know what paper we might need to we keep it.  We think we might use something, and we keep it just in case.  It’s time to make a decision and decide what to eliminate.  Basic questions to ask are these.   When will I use it again? Do I have another good one?  Would I purchase this again today?  Don’t let indecision keep you from being organized.


Team up

Organizing is hard work! Don’t go it alone!  Gather up a team, whether it’s your family, church members, office colleagues or hired help. When  you work together you make more progress and have fun too.


Are you struggling with getting organized? Post your question or problem here for a solution.


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October is the time to start your Holiday Organizing

holiday organizing


Santas have been in Hobby Lobby since July. Orange and black fall decoration organizing bins just arrived at retailers.  Should we celebrate Halloween first before jumping into the holiday spirit?  As surprising as it seems, the best time to start your holiday organizing is now.  There are some basic elements to the holidays that make it easy to organize now and enjoy the season.


Organizing Your holiday lists

Year after year we follow many of the same holiday traditions.  Why not start your lists now?  Some easy to start lists are gift giving and holiday card lists.  These lists are typically the same each year, however starting early gives you the opportunity to review, add and delete from these lists. An early start affords you time to break these lists into smaller chunks.  Gift giving can be more manageable and even tweaked to become a gift of experiences.  Holiday card lists include dates for picture taking, stamp purchases, addressing cards and then mailing.   Getting an early start is one way to be sure you are ready when the holiday rush starts.


Organizing your holiday experiences

The holidays are jammed with get- togethers.  Focus on what’s most important to your family by talking about your holiday experiences. Reflect back and focus forward on what will be the highlights of this year’s holiday season.  Get online early to purchase tickets for events, purchase airline tickets, and set calendar dates for what’s most important to your family. Simplifying your holiday experiences will make every experience more meaningful.


Organizing your holiday decorations

Decorating for the holiday season can be overwhelming. It can be downright Grinch – like when families clash over Christmas trees and outdoor light displays. Start early with your holiday decorating. Take it room by room, inside and outside, or create family teams to tackle different spaces in your home.  Take out your decorations early to see what you are ready to part with and ready to display.  Giving yourself the gift of time to decorate can be one of the most fun parts of the season.


You may still feel a little bewildered at this early start to holiday organizing. But year after year my clients reflect back that they wished they had started earlier on their holiday organizing.  You can start organizing with your Pandora Christmas music playing in the background and your wassail simmering on the stove.  October is the best time to start  your holiday organizing.


Check out my pinterest Happy Holidays tips!

10 Tips to Live the Life You Imagined

live the life you imagined




“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.”


We can spend our days not following our dream or our path.  Move forward in your personal direction by having a plan for your day.


1. Start the day with meditation, exercise or spiritual pursuits. It will start you on the path you want for the day.

2. At the end of each day write down your 3 most important tasks for the next day. You will start the day knowing and being productive.

3. Let go of activities that have become meaningless or lost value. Not really into knitting but now love cross stitch? No longer biking or lifting weights at home? Not loving the volunteering you used to love? Share them with other who love that activity.

4. Create a routine then ensures connection to others. Have a weekly Sunday supper with your family. Call your Mom and Dad every Tuesday when you drive home from work. Go to the waterpark with your grandkids every Friday afternoon.

5. Practice an attitude of gratitude. Write a thank you note, text to say thanks, and start a phone conversation with a thank you.

6. Be fabulous.  Keep only clothes, shoes and accessories that make you look and feel fabulous.  Have nothing in your home or office that is you do not believe to be useful or beautiful.

7.  Take good care of yourself.  Eat and hydrate well. Nourish your insides with water, fresh fruits and veggies. Get a great night’s rest.

8.  Take extra care to be kind to yourself.  When a bump in the road happens, graciously accept it as a small stop rather than the end itself.

9. Pace yourself.  Build in transition times during the week, between activities and meetings and between the week and weekend.

10. Surround yourself with positivity.  Nurture and support others and accept the same in return.



It’s truly about not only creating a life you envision, but acting on your plan too.

My Organizing Obsessions: Wall Pockets

wall pockets organizing



From a young age, I loved adorable small boxes, neatly arranged closets and all sorts of planners.  Of course these obsessions molded choice of my profession!  I’d love to share my current organizing obsessions with you  ~ wall pockets!


Wall pockets are used for paper management in your command center. These can be in your office, kitchen or other places to keep paper clutter away.  You can label these with different categories for your paper, such as To Do, To Pay, or To File.  For your kids, there can be one pocket per kid for incoming school or activity papers.


Container Store wall pocket paper management

Container Store Wall Pocket Charleston style


Office Depot wall pocket paper management

Office Depot See Jane Work Wall Pocket


wayfair wall pocket paper management

Wayfair Wall Pocket


Here are a few ways to use wall pockets and see them in action!


office with all pockets


wall pockets command center



Match  your wall pockets to the colors of the space.  Be sure you have one pocket per category and be sure to label your pockets.  Happy organizing!



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Motivation for Organization

motivation and organization


Some times the hardest part of getting organized is getting started.  Having a compelling motivation makes all the difference!

  • Start with the end in mind.    Start with a beautiful picture of what you want your space to look like.  Have a visual in mind of what your end results to look like.  Cut pictures out of magazines, search websites or blogs, or go to online organizing stores to see a picture perfect result.


  • Ready, set, go! Set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes.  We can all do something for just 15 minutes. Once you are started, you are likely to get in the groove and work longer on your organizing.


  • Baby steps, please.  Start with something small.  Remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Knowing that you can accomplish your organizing in baby steps makes a difference.


  • Plan a party.  Inviting company into your home to celebrate makes you want to get your homes organized.   It is scary but you can do it!


  • Partner up!  Include a clutter buddy in your organizing plans.   Having a trusted partner who works along side you or just sits while you work helps get you started on organizing.


  • Walk the walk, talk the talk.  Be a role model for your family.  Our children look to us to show them how to organize and why it is important to be organized.  It’s pressure, but it works.


  • What’s holding you back?  Acknowledge obstacles to organizing.  Once we clear our minds of what might hold us back, you are ready to push forward on organizing.


  • Acknowledge your successes in organizing.  Often we look at what is not done. Rather, give yourself a pat on the back, and a reward, for what you have accomplished.


  • Use your anxiety to push you forward.  Chaos causes stress!  Set a boundary on your disorganization and get started knowing you will have peace of mind once you are organized.  It’s that old adage of what’s most frustrating is what’s most motivating.


  • Know what’s good enough for now.  Our colleague Donna Smallin says “done is perfect.”  Put aside perfectionism which can paralyze you.   Perfectionists are overwhelmed with how long the task will take and how much energy will be used.  Create a simple plan to get your organizing started and completed.


What compelling reason have you used to get started on your organizing?

Declutter with these 6 Smart Strategies




The change of seasons calls us to do some decluttering. With this change around us outdoors, we feel inspired to make change indoors.  There are many strategies that can help you declutter.  Try one of these 6 smart strategies to declutter your space at home or work.


Tournament Method

The Tournament Method helps those who are especially overwhelmed. Just like in any sport, compare two items and one “wins.”  Keep the winner and pit it against another “competitor.”  Soon you will have eliminated almost half of your items.  If you want to keep your decluttering simple, the Tournament Method works well.


Treasure hunt

Rather than decide about what to give away, decide what is a treasure to keep.  A treasure hunt strategy keeps you positive and pro-active.  When sifting through a large box, dig for treasures only.  The rest is decluttered and given away. The Treasure Hunt method works well if you tend to lose focus when you are decluttering.


FlyLady Method

FlyLady has been a staple for many to help start decluttering.  Her strategy relies on small, fun tasks that break your decluttering into bite size efforts.  Establishing small routines makes your decluttering happen. One of my favorite routines is the 27 fling boogie.  You grab a garbage bag and eliminate 27 items at a time.  If you are a person who is looking for decluttering routines, Fly Lady’s method work help you make changes.



Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write the blog, The Minimalists.  Their game came from their new perspective on stuff and minimalism.  The game starts on the first day of the month. On day 1, you eliminate 1 item. On day 2, you eliminate 2 items. And so it goes.  It’s a great way to make a game of your decluttering.  Challenge others in your circle to play too.


Keep the End in Mind

Organizing guru Peter Walsh  reminds us to Keep the End in Mind. Create a vision of what your space will look like decluttered. Permit only what will work with that vision to remain.  Use a vision board, pinterest, or a magazine to help you stay focused on your goal.  Knowing what you want your space to look like when completed helps you make decisions on decluttering.


Konmari Method

Recently Marie Kondo, best selling author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, created the Konmari method to declutter.  Her mantra about the items we own is, “does this spark joy?” Keep only what brings a smile to your face.  Does everything have to bring you joy?  For Ms Kondo the answer is “yes!”  Surrounding yourself with only what is fabulous is definitely life changing.  Learn more about the Konmari method here.


No matter the method, get started on  your decluttering today!  Your changes in your space will bring about changes in your daily attitude, stress and positivity.


More organizing tips and tricks each month! Join my newsletter here.



Resilience and Organizing

resilience and organizing




Resilience is the ability to bounce back, overcome obstacles, work through a problem, get back on your horse.


Fall down seven times………. get up eight.


There are times we feel that we can’t just get up that last time. That’s when resilience comes into play.  We have all experienced that feeling.  It’s a powerful combination of tenacity, flexibility, and resourcefulness.


We can build resilience.  By creating structure for your time, making connections with others, and  keeping an optimistic and hopeful perspective are all contributors to resilience.


Structure for your day should include taking good care of yourself. This way you have the physical ability to bounce back. This includes a good bedtime to get a good night’s rest, proper nutrition including lean protein,  and moderate exercise regularly.


Staying connected to others is important. The vitality of others makes you more energized too!  Ask for help when you are finding solutions to work through a problem and gather resources that will make that decision easier.  Be one to offer help and be about others in working to better the world around you, such as by volunteering or small acts of kindness.


Your perspective can make the biggest difference! In a recent speaking engagement, several audience members came up and mentioned that they realized they are MORE organized than they thought!  Optimism and positivity spring from gratitude. Find small ways you are grateful daily, whether it is writing in a journal or reviewing this mentally as you drive around town.  Joy and happiness can come from the smallest of moments, whether seeing a beautiful sun rise, smelling a fresh flower, spending time with a friend, or sitting quietly.  Bundle all of this together and out springs hope! That is when resiliency blooms!


Resilience is not only a matter of perspective, it’s also a matter of organizational strengths.  Having strong organizing skills makes it easier for you to be resilient.


If you are facing an obstacle  whether it’s organizing or not, what are your steps toward overcoming it and being resilient?


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Top Down Planner


top down planner


As you might guess, I am a big fan of planners! Your planner is a tool to help you process and plan.  We all have our favorites.  Here’s one I’d like to introduce you to that I have recently found.


Top Down Planner  was created to help you achieve your goals by writing them down.  The planner includes 12 monthly and 52 weekly sheets for you to write in your tasks. Each page includes a space to declare your goals so you keep on track to align your tasks with your goals. No more off track activities that bog you down or get you side tracked.


The emphasis on goals makes this planner different.  More than just recording what needs to be accomplished, your goals are in front of you daily.  Having your goals, tasks, and appointments all on one page make for more focused and productivity.  The Top Down planner helps you start at the top of your priorities and work down to ensure your success.


Interested in this planner?   You can buy  it  at  Top Down Planner

OR you can post a comment below about why using a planner makes a difference in your work and at home.

Winner will be chosen by random drawing.  Hope you win!



Organizing Inspirations

a journey of a thousand miles


Our greatest weakness lies in giving up


the secret of getting ahead is in getting started


6 Organizing Survival Strategies

organizing survival strategies



Organizing can make the difference whether your survive or thrive.  You’ve lost your keys, you’ve lost a check and you have lost your mind!  The more you have going on, the more important organizing can be.  Organizing helps you feel and look put together.  Here are 6 baby steps for organizing to help you go from surviving to thriving.

  • Start with your own organizing first.  It’s easy to see where everyone around you is pulling you down.  It’s that old adage, “put your own oxygen mask on first.”  Your purse is a perfect first step to organizing.  Take stock of what is in there, declutter the junk, create categories with small clear zipper pouches for medicine, makeup, money and receipts.  Empty and refresh your purse weekly.   Apply this same process to your closet and your calendar. 


  • Have one spot where all the very important papers go.  The most important papers can be in a basket or box in the office, in an accordion file or in a file bin.  Whatever container your choose, you can group papers together in files or clear pockets.  No more worry about where important papers are and easy to access this way too!


  • Edit your closet to keep only what you would buy and wear today.  Items that are too big, too small, too scratchy, or not your style, need to be dropped off at a donation spot or consignment.  If you can go into your closet and choose an item to wear right away,  you will save time and energy.


  • Declutter your calendar.  If you are running between activities, don’t have time to put away groceries or other purchases, arrive late at most meetings or church, it’s time to prioritize your commitments.  Take one thing off your plate for 6 months and assess at the end of that time how you felt and how you operated.


  • Routines make the difference for daily life.  Set routines for doing the laundry, getting dinner done and heading to the grocery store.  When you have assigned times to these basic tasks, life runs smoother.


  • Gather a team to help.  We can’t do it all and we can’t do all of it all the time.  Gather resources to help you get things done.  You know it’s time to use your resources when things get really stressful for you. Use your partners and team members to delegate and make things happen.


  • BONUS! Plan your perfectionism.  What holds you back most and creates procrastination is that feeling of having to “do it all perfectly or not at all.”   Create a new mantra of “good enough for now” to push past and get started on your organizing.

Not enough tips still? Check out these habits of organized people.


You don’t have to apply all these tips all at once. Just start with one way to make your life more organized.


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