Address the Mess at University of Houston Small Business Development Center. January 19.

Join us for Address the Mess! 

Join the UH SBDC as they team up with the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) to bring you an exciting and informative session on the latest ideas and solutions for organizing your business.  NAPO is a group of over 4,000 professional organizers dedicated to helping individuals and businesses bring order and efficiency to their lives. January is national GO – Get Organized month so make plans now to attend.  You will receive strategies for email productivity, must-have guidelines for organizing your business finances, and secrets for organizing and preparing your desk and workspace for immediate impact.

NAPO speakers include:

Holly Uverity, CPO®, Office Organizers – The Entrepreneur’s Organizer™

Ellen R. Delap, CPO®,

Gayle Goddard, The Clutter Fairy

Breakfast included.

ADHD and Paper


ADHD and Paper


It’s a love/hate relationship with paper!  What do we keep? How long do we keep it? Or are you just overwhelmed by it and can’t even get started!   What’s a person to do?

Working with paper if you are ADD/ADHD, hone in on your strengths and personalize your systems and routines.  Start by facing the fear, overwhelm and hatred (yes, a powerful emotion) about paper.   It is an evil monster, an anchor, and the enemy. But  now that we have vented, we are ready.   Paper may never be easy, but something we can work through.

Be brutal about what to keep and what to toss.  Often we are keeping way to much!  Using these resources, as well as asking your accountant,  you will keep less and work with less paper.

Keep paper from even coming in your home. Drop paper at the gas station when you are filling up. Shred paper by having a baby shredder in the kitchen.  Say no to receipts for gas.

It is very important to create “slots” to drop your paper.

  • Everyone needs a command center with easy access.   Here is where papers that need action start.  If you need to have a basket just to hold paper until “processed,” it can sit where you normally drop the paper.  In the command center are the actions you need to do.  Label the slots with what you call these items. Action, Pay, File are all required here.  But in addition you might have Pending, one for each of your kids and your partner, Receipts, and Contacts.
  • Next step is to create your files, which are the papers you will reference in the next year.  First decide what to keep and how long.  Don’t get overwhelmed, thinking about how much you have back logged on paper here.  Just work in 15 minute segments with a timer.  Everyone can do this for 15 minutes!  Start with general categories, like Auto/Home, Finance and Personal.  Keeping categories general makes it simple to file and simpler filing means more filing!
  • Add an archive section for required papers. This includes your taxes, legal documents, and other long term papers. You may need to add a section for investments that are getting to be a very large volume.
  • Keep your important documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, wills and related papers in a safe or safe deposit box.  You will always know where these are.

Sounds like a big project? Get help each step of the way with a professional organizer, trusted friend or reliable assistant in turning your paper  into a workable system. It is worth the work to create what works for you!


Image courtesy of the Container Store.

Emergency Preparedness: Organizing Your Important Documents


emergency preparedness organizing your important documents


For the past few weeks, our news has been filled with weather related emergencies, family’s homes being devastated, and natural disasters.  On any given day, we could be faced with the unexpected in a significant way.  In case of emergency, we want to have access to the very important papers we need to assist those we love. To be prepared, here is a list of documents and storage options for security and access.

Personal records such as birth certificates, adoption papers, citizenship records, marriage certificates, divorce documents, military service records, passports and social security cards should be stored in a safe or safe deposit box. If you will need to refer to these items, make a copy and store them in your filing cabinet, listing the specific name of the item on a file folder in your “Personal” file drawer.

Tax returns are required by law to be retained permanently. The supporting tax information must be retained for 7 years. (Although the IRS can only audit returns for the previous three years, many exceptions can extend the deadline.) Keep tax returns separately from your supporting documents.  These can be kept in an attic or the bottom drawer of your file cabinet.

For life insurance policies, you must retain the initial policy as well as any addendums. Keep these originals together, each in a file labeled with the name of the insurance company on the file folder, in a safe in your home. Keep a list of the policy numbers and insurance companies in a file in your “Financial” file drawer, labeling the file “Insurance – Life”.  Any payments for these policies can also be kept in the “Financial” drawer.

Legal documents, such as power of attorney and wills, should be kept in a safe in your home and at your attorneys. Give a copy of the document to the executor and family members. Do not keep these in a safe deposit box, as this may be sealed when the box owner dies.

Property information for your home and auto, such as the deed to your home, mortgage, or car title, should be kept in a safe or safe deposit box. For home repair and maintenance bills, keep these in a filing cabinet labeled “Home Repair” in the “Home/Auto” file drawer. For auto repair and maintenance, label these “Auto-(name of car)”, and also keep these in the “Home/Auto” file drawer.

A household inventory is important in the event of a home catastrophe. Your insurance provider will need proof of loss in the event of a fire, flood, or robbery. Videotape or photograph your possessions. Place the photos in a notebook with receipts and appraisals for expensive items. In the video or notebook, categorize the items in your home by room. Keep the video or notebook in a safe or safe deposit box.

If your wallet is lost or stolen, it is important to keep a copy of the contents. Using a copy machine, photocopy the front and back of your credit cards, driver’s license, insurance cards and all else in your wallet. Store the copies in a file folder labeled “Wallet- (your name)” in your “Personal” file drawer.

September is National Preparedness Month.  By organizing your documents in case of a family emergency, you will feel peace of mind and security. Your family will appreciate your efforts on their behalf!

Technology Tweaks with Big Organizing Payoffs

Even the smallest tweak and tip with technology can make a difference.

  • Need to create your grocery list or other list by store? Try the app ziplist for your smart phone. It helps you create a checklist by store. 
  • Use click ‘n ship at   Get postage online and print it on  your computer! All you have to do is drop it off!
  • Getting lost? Print out your map from google and keep it on the car seat next to you. 
  • Use Evernote or Dropbox to keep up with your ideas and notes. 
  • Use Send Out Cards to send cards and gifts to family, friends and clients.  I joined Send Out Cards because I am passionate about making mail more fun!  Just click on this to send a smile, a congratulations or celebrate an event!
  • Love to try new recipes or looking for old favorites? Try
  • Keep all your important phone numbers in your phone for easy dialing.

What is your favorite technology tweak?

Getting Your New Business Organized

I am honored to post again on D. Allison Lee’s blog, Organize to Revitalize.

If you have just started your new business, getting organized is vital to long term success! Check out this post to learn the critical organizing success factors!

ADD and Productivity

ADD and Productivity


Slow to start, hard to complete, lose interest, can’t get it perfect? These are some of the stresses of productivity and ADD.  Having some tools to work through these challenges can help.

  • Know your strengths and work from your strengths.  Have the best possible match for your work.  Creativity, being in the moment, and being a people person are often strengths for people with ADD.  Also an intense curiosity and love of information are common. Tedious, every day tasks are usually not.  Whatever your strengths, capitalize on them in your work.
  • Create partnerships that work for you.  It can include an administrative assistant, a colleague, or technology.   The interaction with your partner will help you get started and the accountability will help you finish.  Be sure to ask for help in addition if you need this from a professional organizer, an ADD coach or a productivity consultant.
  • Set a timeline that is compelling. Your brain clicks, clicks, clicks with a deadline.  Set a series of baby steps with faux deadlines to get projects completed on time.
  • Use a planner that works for you.  For technology your smart phone is always with you and can remind you.  For paper think about the planner pad with its lists, week at a glance and month at a glance features.  Focus on using the week at a glance features to help you “see” what you are doing each day.
  • Capture tasks on paper or with technology.  Always have a way to have a brain dump, then prioritize your 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs) for the day.   You can’t get it all done, but you can get the most important done!
  • Establish routines in your day and your week.  Have a power period each morning and afternoon, with interruption and distraction free times.  Assign certain tasks to certain days, such a Money Monday or Financial Friday.  Routines ensure that you are on top of the most important tasks.
  • Delegate what you don’t do well.  Continuing to struggle can be demoralizing and distracting.
  • Know what good enough is.  Perfectionism can strangle your work.  Reflect on what a minimum standard and a good enough standard are and come to a compromise.

What is your best go to idea for struggling with productivity?

Sync or Swim: 201 Organizing Tips You Need to Survive the Currents of Change


Sync or Swim: 201 Organizing Tips You Need to Survive the Currents of Change are the next-generation organizing tips for getting things done and controlling clutter without falling into a sea of complexity. Seventy organizing and productivity specialists share 201 of their best tips and 100 most valuable resources in home management, information organization, and organizing every basic area of life. It is a 93-page ebook written by award-winning professional organizer, Judith Kolberg, and certified professional organizer, Allison Carter.  I am one of the contributors!


“New Organizing Tasks”: 20 years ago we didn’t have to deal with syncing calendars, avoiding spam, scanning, defragging, or managing the overload of information that comes our way every day. Our tips help you to survive the day to day chores of this generation.

“Tech Lite” Resources: This ebook contains 140 unique resources for syncing, reminding, tracking, reducing, organizing, scheduling, balancing, and so much more! But it’s not scary high tech. It’s easy to access organizingtools you can use today.

“New School” Tips: New ways to do old tasks: Filing, cleaning up, setting reminders, viewing photos, even changing the oil.

Purchase your copy at

ADD and Routines



For some of us, creating routines is natural and comfortable.  We love repetition and the sameness of routine.  However, some of us like spontaneity and the excitement of new and fresh!  Can there be a balance or a way to merge these two ideas?  With the challenges of ADHD, often there is a big void of routines.  It is unnatural and uncomfortable.   However, a few important small routines can make a difference.

  • Start with an awareness of how routines can make a difference for you. If you have ADD or ADHD,  think about how whether having one day established for a certain task might be helpful?  The time does not have to be rigid, but it should be compelling.   I suggest having one hour of administrative time once a week to catch up with tedious, required tasks.  Having a routine set for admin time, such as Sunday afternoon between nap and dinner, make certain that paper is acted on. A routine might be something that happens daily or weekly.  Laundry days can be every day in the morning or every Monday and Thursday.
  • Add on one simple, small step to an existing routine.  If you are already successful at a task, add on a related task as the next step in your routine.   It can be simply empty the trash in your car each time you get gas.  Toss the junk mail right after you put the kids to bed.
  • Add a partner to get a task finished.  You and your kids, spouse, or friend can fold and put away clothes, clean up the kitchen, or file and chat.
  • Give yourself permission and time to do a routine well.  If bill paying is the priority, that is all you need to accomplish in one day.   It is okay to accomplish one big job in a day.
  • Use a checklist to successfully begin a new routine.  Your checklist will prompt you visually with the steps in  your routine and you won’t have to rely on working memory. Your checklist will ensure completion too!  A checklist can be used at the beginning or end of the day and placed in a spot where you will see it regularly.
  • Don’t give up a routine easily.  It takes at least 3 weeks and up to 6 weeks to get a routine established.  Have tenacity and a compelling reason to keep your routine going.

What are routines that work well for you?  What is your “secret?”

Getting Dinner Done

organizing your dinner plan


One of my personal priorities is getting dinner done.  It is a great time for communication, cooperation and role modeling for our families.  It all starts with setting a time for your family to gather and getting dinner on the table.  There are several short cuts that can help.

Planning dinner

Having  a plan is the biggest part of getting dinner done.   The success factor for dinner means you have a plan that works for you.   Gather your family together for your family meeting and brainstorm 10 meals everyone will eat.  These can be very simple, including dinner for breakfast, sandwiches or simple assembly with pre-cooked ingredients.   Moms sometimes like to throw in “surprise night” so that you have the opportunity once a week to be creative.

My colleague Susan Heid recently added her own cookbook for sale. With the discount code of CP20, you can purchase it online at her website.   Susan includes making your lists and conversation starters too!

Susan enthusiastically wears the hat of mom, step-mom and foster mom to 4 awesome kids – ages 18, 14, 10 and 14 months; is married to her very own prince charming, loves coffee, cloudy days, and does think the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle. You can find her at her other day job, The Confident Mom and get a FREE copy of her popular eBook “Getting Kids to Cooperate and Become Team Players.”

Online resources for creativity include and  All of these boost your meal planning organization in different ways.  Choose what works for you to get the plan going!

One amazing way to make your family and husband VERY happy is to post the meals of the week! You will receive not only amazing compliments, lots of hugs too!

Planning shopping

One of the trickiest shopping is for groceries.  Everyone’s ideal is different, but most agree that have a way to capture the list, and getting to the store regularly, make for the easiest organization. You can google your store and print out the list of groceries by aisle and keep this on a clipboard near the pantry.  Having two days that are the “regular” shopping days make sure there is always milk in your home.

Planning cooking

At 4:30 your kids become aliens who were raised by wolves! Having a plan on when to cook is the last step in dinner planning.  You can set aside time on Sunday to double batch, you can start your dinner early in the crock pot before you leave for work, or  you can entertain your kids in the kitchen with you while cooking dinner.  You can mix it up with partnering, where you and one child cook one night, and your partner and another child do the dishes that night.  Delegating and cooperating are fun parts to cooking dinner and everyone can have a job.   All of these are great ways to have preparation time.  Know what works for you and set up your time accordingly.   For me, even without kids at my feet, I love to cook on Sundays and adore my crock pot!  My husband and I share the clean up responsibilities too.

What are your best ways to get dinner done?

Get ready for summer travel, camps and more!

get ready for summer



Now is the perfect time to be planning your summer holidays.  Many families are choosing a stay-cation for spring break, taking time to catch up, do projects, and get in a little fun locally.  Get ready for the summer by choosing camps or other activities for your kids, planning an extended summer vacation or even preparing for local summer fun.


Start by corralling all those important summer dates and ideas.

When does school end? What events like family reunions or weddings are already planned? When is Vacation Bible School or Swim Team? When does school gear back up with activities like sports or dance?

Host a family meeting focusing on summer fun. What do your kids enjoy the most? What new adventures or activities would they like to try?  Where would you and your kids like to travel? Is there time for you and your spouse to have your own get-away?


Your approach gives you time to investigate some great online resources.

Check these out!

If you are planning a summer stay-cation, check out this site.

Our most beloved family vacation was at Yellowstone National Park.


Think about alternating busy weeks with low key weeks.

You and your family will feel less pressured in preparing and enjoy the vacation more.   It gives you time to prepare for each event and travel.  Kids need down time too!


Making early decisions on your summer plans can save you a bundle.

Once you have committed and paid, remember to keep a folder in your command center specifically for summer.  Move this into your filing cabinet at the end of the summer to keep a record for future trips.   As your summer plans get near, check online for coupons for activities and recreation in your vacation area.  There are lots of ways to save with internet resources.


What is your summer plan?  Need ideas?  Check out my Summer Fun pinterest board for great free ideas!