10 Tips for an Organized Home


10 tips for an organize home


Home should be where we feel the most nurtured and in control. However that is not always the case with too many papers coming in, too many toys and too little time.  Follow these 10 tips to make a difference and create an organized home.

  • Start with a place for everything and everything in its place. Every item in your home should have a home.
  • When shopping, know where the new stuff is going in your home when it arrives
  • Set a timer to declutter.  Just 15 minutes makes a difference!
  • Set a time each evening for the 7 minute sprint.  During this time, your family gets everything back to where it goes and everyone works together.
  • Establish a paper command center with your calendar, slots for paper (action, pay, file) and a bulletin board for invitations and reminders.  Set a time weekly for your admin time to go through and work through your papers.
  • Lists make a difference in keeping clutter out of your head.  Keep your list in a notebook in categories. Go back and prioritize what’s on the list before starting to tackle it.   Decide on 3 Most Important Tasks to get knocked out early in the day.
  • Create routines for each day to conquer the regular stuff like laundry and dinner.  Decide if you are doing one load daily of laundry or assigning days to colors of laundry.  Make dinner early in the day with a crockpot or do a series of dinners on Sunday. Routines should fit your personal style.
  • Host a family meeting weekly to communication and collaborate.  At the meeting write in activities on the family calendar, talk about upcoming events and have some family fun!
  • Ask for help! Whether it is clearing the table or cleaning the toilets, ask your family to be a part of the organizing and cleaning.  Post a chart with everyone’s responsibilities, including deadlines.
  • Once a season, set a Saturday to do a little catch up.  Busy families need a day to restore order in their homes, in their closet, and in their pantries.

Share your tip for home organizing too!

10 Tips for Time Management at Work

So much to do and so little time to do it all! It is no wonder we feel drained, unproductive and overwhelmed at work.  Follow these 10 tips to make a difference in your efficiency and effectiveness at work. 

  • Choose a planner that works for you. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook or a Google calendar.  Having one place to consolidate dates makes it easy to keep up with activities, projects and tasks.
  • Use lists. Consolidate your list in one spot.  Making the list is the first step, prioritizing your activities is the next step.
  • Set your day’s priorities the night before.  When you come in to work and you know your focus, you get started right away.
  • Choose 3 Most Important Tasks and get these done early in the day.  Every day is filled with distractions and interruptions.  Getting the most important tasks done early helps you feel productive!
  • Establish times to work hard.  Have a power period in the morning and the afternoon.  These are times where you just work on one project. Turn off all distractions, including your cell phone, email, and post a note on the door for your colleagues, to keep this time sacred.
  • Keep your action items in a desktop sorter in files.  Finding papers you need to work on saves time and energy.
  • Delegate lower level tasks to an assistant.  Know what is worth your time and what is less important. Set up a process for your assistant to check back in with a time line and specific deliverables.
  • Take a break during the day to eat, walk a little and get refreshed.  You will work better with brain food. You may think you have too much to do, but a break will help you be more efficient.
  • Set specific times for email.  Do an email triage, with a quick scan and filing, and then consolidate projects and tasks on your list to work on during your power period.
  • Set a time to end your day.  It’s important to get out of your office and connect with others too. 

What are your tips for time management at work?

10 Tips for Mini Emergencies


The world is a crazy place right now! Every day we are faced with mini emergencies that make our lives a little more difficult. Follow these ten tips for those “just in case” situations.

  • Know your options for a flat tire.  Have the phone number for roadside assistance handy in your cell phone.
  • Place a key and a back up key outside your home in a hidden spot. In case you need one and forget to replace it, you have a spare.  Make an extra car key and keep it in your purse or wallet just in case. 
  • Keep flashlights with batteries ready to go, consolidated in a basket in your laundry room.  No power at the last minute is not a problem.
  • Add the In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact to your cell phone.  Use an ! in front of the contact in addition too so it will be easy to find in your contacts.
  • Keep a list of email, cell phone and home phone numbers of your family in your wallet, cell phone or Evernote.
  • Purchase an extra cell phone charger for your car and to travel.  Being out of power means being out of touch.
  • Make a list of all the medications and all the allergies of family members. Store this in your cell phone notes under Medical Information. You will have this with you in case you are headed to the emergency room.
  • Keep emergency medical telephone numbers such as doctors, poison control, veteranarians, and rescue personnel in your cell phone or posted by your telephone.
  • Be in touch throughout the day to know your family’ plans.  Know where your spouse, kids and parents will be throughout the day.
  • Teach your kids your cell phone and their grandparents cell phone numbers. They will be able to contact someone just in case.

What is your tip… just in case?

10 Ways to Stay Organized While Moving



It’s moving time! Though you may be excited about moving to a new place, you may not be looking forward to the move itself. Organization will help you get through it.

  1. Out with the old. The first step to staying organized while moving is to toss out the stuff you no longer need, use or want. Why take it with you? Go room by room; create a pile of things to pack and a pile of things to throw out. Donate the items you don’t want to the local Goodwill or have a garage sale to make some extra money for your move. Remember, what may be trash to you may be someone else’s treasure.
  2. Inventory. Now that you have thrown out the stuff you don’t want to take with you, take an inventory of the valuable items left in your house to ensure those items make it to the new place. Create an Excel spreadsheet to list your items making sure to specify which room you want them set up in the new place. Check off each item as it is packed and then unpacked at the new house. This is also valuable information for your home owner’s or renter’s insurance.
  3. Start packing. Now that you have thrown out the old and created an inventory spreadsheet now is the time to start packing. Be sure to keep each room separate. Don’t pack items from the kitchen in the same boxes as the kid’s room. Also, only pack the items you won’t need in the near future for anything such as clothes or bathroom items, those items should be packed in overnight bags and kept apart from items going on the moving truck.
  4. Label everything. Don’t be shy with the permanent marker or use printed labels, just make sure everything is labeled for easier unpacking. By knowing which room everything goes in will help eliminate that huge pile of boxes in the new place that will take even longer to unpack because you have to figure out where it all goes. Reading the instructions you’ve marked on the outside of the box is a lot better than ripping into every box to determine which room it goes in.
  5. Use plastic bins. Cardboard boxes can be crushed or ruined during a move and it’s almost guaranteed that not everything will be unpacked. Boxes of Christmas decorations or winter clothes are considered seasonal so why take the chance of those items being ruined before that time of year to unpack them? For these types of items, plastic bins will be the way to go when staying organized during your move. Purchase the bins with lids, pack your seasonal items in those and then stack in the garage at the new place without worrying about the elements ruining everything.
  6. Plastic boxes for other things too. Plastic bins come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. For instance, smaller ones can be used for paperwork, bills, files, etc. To help you stay organized while moving; use a plastic box strictly for moving paperwork such as the mover’s contract, change of address forms, receipts and more. The last thing you want to do when confirming a storage unit is dig through dozens of taped up boxes searching for the receipt.
  7. Organize the bills. Just because you are moving doesn’t mean the bill collectors will understand so pay the bills ahead of time to ensure you aren’t late. When trying to stay organized during a move the last thing you want to realize is that you forgot to pay the utility deposits at the new place or forgot to send the car payment in and by the time you locate the box the bill is in it’ll be considered late. Pay the bills ahead and then keep those receipts with all of your moving paperwork.
  8. Pinch a penny. Another step in staying organized while moving is obviously saving money. Call multiple moving companies to get quotes on their services. Remember to ask what their rates include and then choose the one that meets your needs and won’t dig too deep into your pocket. Set up a specific moving time also so you aren’t waiting hours for the truck to arrive.
  9. Set up childcare. Whether it is a family member or someone you hire for the move, having childcare in place will help you tremendously with your move. It’s almost impossible to move those heavy boxes with the kiddos wrapped around your ankle.
  10.  Organize meals. Between moving from the old place to the new place you’ll still need to eat. Knowing how much you have to spend on eating out will help keep you on a budget. Once you’re at the new place you may not feel like cooking in the midst of all the unpacking so create a meal plan that doesn’t require you standing over a hot stove.

By using these organization techniques during your move you’ll save time and money and possibly save yourself an extra headache.

Guest Author Bio: Ryan Franklin is an organization expert and writer who blogs on behalf of uShip. He believes hiring a moving company is one of the first things you are getting organized to move.  Learn more about uShip at http://movers.uship.com/texas/houston/

10 Tips for Student Time Management

Our students have a lot on their plates! There is homework, sports, homecoming, church and more! Time management is an important skill for them to develop early on to be sure they feel successful academically and personally. Follow these tips to help you do your best!

  • Write in your assignments in your planner in each class. Check your teachers’ websites to be sure you have all your assignments too.
  • Check your planner each afternoon, write in what you missed.
  • Review your out of school activities and write these in your planner.
  • Keep your papers in your homework folder that need action, keep your papers in your binder that are reference
  • Prioritize and plan the week out. What is most important to do on what day? Anticipate the next test.
  • Plan your week by working around existing activities. Wednesdays are especially busy!
  • Break big projects into baby steps. For example, flashcards written, study for short periods, review with someone.
  • Get started and work hard during homework time, from 6 – 9 pm. Take breaks when your concentration stops, but get back to work in 5 minutes.
  • Pack your backpack and your homework before bed.
  • Wind down and get in bed by 10 pm. A good night’s rest makes all the difference.

Take Back Your Life Now…by the Sea! “Nourish to Flourish”

Take Back Your Life Now! … by the Sea!
Nourish to Flourish
Presented by:
Deborah Olson, M.A., LPC, Kingwood Counseling
and Ellen Delap, CPO, Professional-Organizer.com

  • Uncover your core values, needs and personal priorities
  • Learn tools to create an environment to flourish in
  • Discover ways to nurture and nourish your soul
  • Enjoy sessions on interior design, photography, and fashion
  • Relax and rejuvenate at the spa, walking the beach and reflecting
  • Share and bond with engaging and energized women

Register Now:
Event: Take Back Your Life … By the Sea
Date: January 25-27, 2013
Location: San Luis Resort, 5222 Seawall Blvd, Galveston TX » SanLuis Resort, 5222 Seawall Blvd, Galveston TX.
Seminar Cost: $295.00
Includes: all workshop materials as well as breakfast and lunch Saturday, afternoon snacks and breakfast Sunday. Register with Ellen or Debbie.
$275 Early Bird Registration by
November 1, 2012.

Hotel Fees: $139 per night,
single or double occupancy.
Register at www.sanluisresort.com
Register for your room by January 2, 2013

Holiday Organizing Tips and Holiday Time Line

Holiday organizing and holiday time line


During the holidays, we add on to our already full plate with an oversized portion of mashed potatoes and holiday responsibilities! We are adding more tasks and time commitments with the holiday season. To ease the stress, let’s take a long term perspective by spreading out the time for planning and preparation. A time line helps us add in holiday activities while not overwhelming us. Follow these holiday organizing tips in a week by week time line to help you get organized for your best holiday yet.

This year Chanukah begins at the end of November. Move all these dates up 2 weeks to be ready for your celebration.


Week 1

  • Assess your family budget for the holidays. Include actual costs from the previous year for cards, entertainment and gifts. Establish a budget that will work for your family.

Week 2

  • Take pictures for holiday cards. Compile holiday card list and purchase cards. Write holiday letter and purchase stamps from usps.com

Week 3

  • Compile your gift list. Set up family gift swaps and share names with those who are swapping. Make a list of what you have already purchased throughout the year and match that with gift recipients for the holiday.

Week 4

  • Celebrate Halloween and enjoy some pumpkin treats!


Week 1

  • Host a family meeting to talk about each person’s priorities for the holiday season. Write a list including one favorite activity of each family member for the holiday season. Be sure to include a volunteer activity to help others during the season.  Ask how everyone can work together decorating, writing cards, wrapping gifts or cooking throughout the holiday season. Post your helpers names and jobs on a chart in the kitchen to remind everyone.
  • Post a holiday calendar with dates of family activities and commitments during the holidays. Add to the calendar as new dates come in.
  • Create your holiday music play list on Pandora with help from your family.
  • Now’s the time to purchase air travel and make hotel reservations for holidays away from home.

Week 2

  • Write holiday card addresses, stuff and stamp envelopes so they are ready to mail on December 1.
  • Holiday shopping trip #1. Be sure to shop for items that need to be mailed.  Purchase gift wrap, paper goods, batteries and other supplies for the season.
  • Enjoy holiday marketplaces. Purchase stocking stuffers and hostess gifts.
  • Finalize Thanksgiving menu and share cooking with family members and friends.

Week 3

  • Thanksgiving preparations and Thanksgiving dinner. Your family can help prepare dinner together and enjoy that time too!  (Our family decorates the tree that day too!)

Week 4

  • Pull out your holiday decorations and begin decorating your home and office. Set a time for your family to decorate together with holiday music and festive simple snacks.
  • Bake and freeze breads and bar cookies for later to share at parties.
  • Set up your gift wrap station to wrap as you go.


Week 1

  • Holiday shopping trip #2. Online shopping can save time and money too. Be sure to stay true to your list and your budget.
  • Complete decorating your home and office. Purchase your live tree or visit a Christmas tree farm to cut down your tree.
  • Host a family meeting to keep on track with family fun and responsibilities.

Week 2

  • Holiday shopping trip #3. Make this final trip just in case your list was not complete.
  • Mail gift items by December 10. This was your gifts arrive early.
  • Happy Chanukah! Celebrate with friends sharing all faiths with some easy store bought desserts.

Week 3

  • Holiday gatherings are in full swing! Enjoy the festivities with friends and colleagues.
  • Finish your holiday baking.
  • Charge batteries for recorders and more.
  • Decide where you will be attending services Christmas Eve.
  • Finalize holiday plans. Set your menu and share responsibilities for family gatherings.

December 25   Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a delightful and festive holiday season!

Join me on Pinterest and view my Happy Holidays board!  www.pinterest.com/EllenDelap

Breaking Through Email Overload

Email overload is taking over paper overload! The email tsunami and electronic technology can overwhelm and paralyze you.  Use one of these tips to help you make a difference during your computer time.

  • Synchronize all your technology using IMAP. With this system, you can add and delete information on one machine and all machines will be updated.  Not sure what to do, get a great technology person to assist.
  • Be sure all your spam filters are up to date. Nothing is worse than having to delete, delete, delete.
  • Be sure  you are backing up with Carbonite. It is not if but when your computer will crash.
  • Be deliberate about your email, reading and list servs.  Process your email 3 times a day.  Have your reading come to a separate area with an RSS feed.  Stay on only the list servs that make a difference in your work.
  • Have a file folder for processed email. It can be just one folder, just so you can slide completed email in there and out of your inbox.
  • Color code your really important email.  Email from a boss, your most important client, or your family should stand out so that you can find it easily.
  • Remember, the more email you send the more you receive. Pick up the phone when you are ready to finalize a date, a contract, or a meeting. It will save you time and energy.

What are your email and technology organizing tips?