Snow Day


Snow Day

On January 15, we were treated to a rare delight in southeast Texas. It was snow!  It was snow that started as the pinging noise of sleet and continued in fluffy white flakes through the afternoon.  The weather gave us a rare snow day in Houston.  Now the decisions of how to spend a day at home.


Snow Day as Work Day

In a completely unscientific Facebook poll, most of us opted for getting ahead and getting organized.  Posts ranged from paperwork (so unfun!) to organizing closets.  Most of us took the day to get ahead on projects we had let lag.  That was me as well!  I loved having a productive day.  It seemed far less difficult that other days to be productive since it was “free day.”  For those who chose a work day, I congratulate you on your organizing and productivity!


Snow Day as Fun Day

Half way through the “blizzard”, it was time for me to spend time out and about. I could not resist the opportunity.  Having time outside was a great way for me to think about the kids running and dashing, the real reason we identify as a snow day.  I remember just how important an unscheduled day makes me. It builds my energy and engages me in more thinking. For those who chose a fun day, I congratulate you on seizing the moment for fun!


Snow Day as Possibility Day

We may not have the specific opportunity for a snow day for a while, however you can think about the possibilities. I love the idea of planning a snow day!  What could your snow day bring to you? Could you invent a snow day for yourself, keeping you and your kiddos thinking?  What would the possibilities be?  I encourage you to set aside an annual snow day to rejuvenate and relax.


Learn more about the  possibilities here!


Words Matter: My Organizing and Productivity Mantras

organizing and productivity



For over 15 years, I have been sharing organizing mantras with my clients. These come out when we are working together on organizing and productivity.  These also come together as I create presentations and work with virtual clients.  These come from years of experiences, in a variety of settings, for organizing and productivity.  I am sharing these here to help you on your organizing and productivity journey too.


Less Stuff = Less Stress

All your stuff takes a toll on your. You have to take care of it, put it away, make sure you have it, and make sure it works when you need it.  That’s a lot of care for stuff.  The more stuff we have the more stress we have on just how to take care of it.  It’s hard to do, but less stuff means you have less stress.


A little structure goes a long way

Structure is the way you set up something. It could be the way you set up a space, like a desk or a kitchen, or a day, like your schedule and calendar.  It’s the way that we establish what’s around us that matters most.  The impact of structure is that you set yourself up for success.  The reason a little structure makes a difference is to keep you nimble.  A little structure keeps you within a good working routine and complete chaos.


People matter, stuff doesn’t

Recently at home we had a small accident.  There was sadness and, well, some blame.  As I said to my family, people matter, stuff doesn’t.  It’s a reminder that truly relationships are the most important part of our lives.  The stuff we have either adds or diminishes relationships.  Let’s make people matter the most.  That’s not to say that taking care of your stuff isn’t important, however its important to keep it all in perspective.


Plan your work and work your plan

Planning in itself is not enough.  It’s getting started and working your plan that makes the difference.

Keep it simple sweetie

If you tend to over complicate and make work too complicated, this is the mantra for you.  It’s about choosing the most simple process to get the results  you want.


Hugs and Happy Organizing

Hugs and happy organizing is how I sign my success notes for my clients.  It’s that happy feeling because you are more organized and productive.  Check out lots of before and after successes with my clients in this Hugs and Happy Organizing category of Ellen’s Blog.


I’d love to hear the mantras that inspire you to be more organized and productive.  Add a comment here!



people matter stuff doesn't





Intentional, organized living

intentional living is key to all of us



“Intentionality is the linchpin to living well.” – St Francis de Sales


When I work with clients, it’s their intentions that we set as goals.  We are finding ways to make the future what they intend. The future that my clients hope for is uncluttered, productive and intentional. They want to live the life they imagined, free from clutter and distraction.  How do you turn that intention into your lifestyle?

Compelling reasons to act

There’s lots of good reasons, but do you have a compelling reason?  Intentional living requires the most compelling of reasons. It’s the reason to postpone a reward now, for your future self.  Adults and kids struggle with this.  (Have you heard of the Marshmellow experiment?)  Your personal compelling reason, the reason that stops  you from purchasing more, helps you let go of more and keeps your goal front and center is key.  People who believe their actions affect their destiny have a higher motivation.


Moving into action

To create the life they imagined, it’s moving from intention into action.  The decisions and choices my clients face are what we all often struggle with. Its different questions.  What do I do now to have the greatest impact on the future?  As you step back and take in the big picture of your intention to live well, what do you see and what would you like that to look like? What is a baby step you can take to move in the direction of your intention?  Choose one of these, or your own question, to help you get started.


When intentional living gets the most difficult

True integrity is doing the things that are harder in the moment. How do you stay on track?  Prevention with self care is the first step.  Self care includes eating healthy, getting good rest and exercising.  These self care steps build us up.   It’s easier to stay on target when you have gotten a good night’s rest.


Keep your intentional living upper most with small reminders each day.  To keep mindful, a mantra or saying, a medallion or disk you can hold, or a post it note can keep you on track with your intentions.


In a word filled with fear, where do we start with gratitude?  There’s stress about relationships, health, work and family.  It’s well documented the relationship between happiness and gratitude.  Gratitude is the key to happiness, productivity and organization. How do we practice gratitude?

Starting your day with gratitude

A grateful start to your day shapes your day.  Spend a few minutes each morning either writing in your paper or digital journal.  Dig deep and find meaning in what you are recording.  Think of one idea that will shape your day as you go forward.   Throughout the day you will make lemonaid from the lemons.


Random Acts of Kindness

Lots of random acts of kindness are recorded daily. Find a way to share your gratitude and kindness.  From paying for the person behind you in line to stopping to help someone take their recycling from their car to the bins, there are little ways each day to practice being grateful by helping someone else.


Gratitude jar

Take a moment each day and place a small slip of paper in a jar.  At the end of the month or year, read back and reflect on your moments of gratitude.


Hand written notes

When was the last time you snail mailed a letter of thanks?  If it’s been too long, start this week.  Use your lovely stationary and write a note to thank a special someone, a teacher, a spiritual leader, or a family member.


 Twenty five percent of us volunteered for one organization last year. What way can you add meaning to your life and share a skill, take on a project or make a difference?  Serving and giving to others adds joy .

Adding gratitude to your day

In the spirit of love, pick one way you can add gratitude to your day. Gratitude need only take a minute. Check off a way to make gratitude happen today.


More on organization and productivity here!


More sites for Happiness


Values in Action (VIA)

Authentic happiness













Organizing and Productivity Books

organizing and productivity books



There are lots of books on organizing and productivity. My favorite organizing and productivity books focus on topics that are more than just “how to books.”   The topics include content that provide insights into the big picture of organizing and productivity.   Some of these focus on what holds you back.  These books promote creating new perspectives and new awareness.  Here’s a list of my favorite organizing and productivity books.

The Power of Habit

A New York Times best seller, The Power of Habit shares how habits work.   The book shares the science of habits.  Develop powerful positive routines with this book.



Greg McKeown shares the value of paring down to what is essential to you.  In order to say yes to what’s most important,  you have to know what to say no to.  This book shares a new perspective on how to prioritize.

Organizing from the Inside Out

Julie Morgenstern wrote this book in the early 2000s, at the dawn of organizing. It’s a must read for all who are interested in changing their space.  This book outlines simple ways to organize.


ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

Written to address the needs of those who have ADHD, this book shares practical strategies for organizing. Written in collaboration by an organizer and a therapist, ADD friendly strategies start with self – help and move to working with professionals.


More Attention, Less Deficit

Beginning with a review of ADHD symptoms, this book provides extensive suggestions for overcoming every day challenges face by those with ADHD.


Organizing Plain and Simple

This book is a simple reference for all sorts of organizing challenges and practical ways to make a difference in your home or office.



Maybe you are not a reader.  Many of these books are offered as audio books.  Maybe you like to read several books at a time.  Choose a book that sounds interesting and share what resounded with you here.


If you love books as much as I do, you want to organize them too!


Celebrating 15 year of Organizing

Ellen Delap celebrating 15 years of professiona organizing and productivity consulting


It’s hard to believe that is celebrating 15 years of making a difference with individuals, families, students, professionals and stay at home people.   In 2000 when started:

  • Hoarders and Clean Sweep were not on TV
  • Professional organizers and productivity consultants were just beginning to be recognized as resources to help you at home and work.
  • Clutter was not recognized as one of the top 3 resolutions for making change in our lives each year.


What I love about my work is the mutual trust, respect and joy of my work with my clients.  My clients are brilliant people who organizing has eluded their lives.  I have learned so much from my clients over the last 15 years.  Here’s what we have shared over the years.


Our work together has many emotions.

There’s tears and laughter and anxiety and hope. There are many emotions in our work.  Working together it’s more than the stuff.  It’s how we feel as we approach organizing and where we are in our lives too.


What’s most powerful about our work is the positivity that comes from it.  When we work together, clients feel empowered and positive about organizing and productivity.  It starts with feeling successful and trickles over to all parts of their lives.


There’s always a hug at the end!

There’s lots to talk about.

More than anything, there’s lots to communicate about when organizing. Every item has a story behind it. Our stuff is linked to experiences, people, and feelings.  Our stories help us let go of or value our stuff.  We do a lot of talking and processing about our stuff to let it go.


Many of my clients are verbal processors. As they talk through a situation, it becomes clearer to them. In their heads there was a lot of clutter too. Verbalizing and talking helps them focus and find clarity.


Talking through a decision helps my clients. When they are paralyzed by indecision, we work together to bring about clarity.


We work best with a partner.

Organizing can be isolating, scary and sad.  Working with a partner brings energy and positivity to the work.  A second set of eyes, hands and feet make the work load much easier.  When we are sitting together going through paper, having another person there to help with decisions makes it easier.


Having a partner makes every situation less stressful and less of a work load.  When I arrive, we are committed to our work that day.  It lifts the burden for my clients.  It brings energy to our work to have add a partner.


Different situations cause disorder.

Many of my clients were highly organized and then “life happened.”  There are many complicated situations that brought about disorder.  Taking time to catch up can restore confidence and peace of mind.


We have  high expectations of ourselves.  It’s hard to stay organized during a health crisis, a family crisis, or a combination.  We often think we can do more in the time we have or with the energy left after a crisis.  I often hear from my clients that they were organized and then they lost a parent they cared for in their home.  I also learn that they are managing the paper work and possessions of several family members.  With my being a part of the team, they are able to restore order to their lives. They feel capable and competent going forward.


Everyone has a different organizing style.

Many of my clients have never been organized.  It was never their strength.  It was never how they thought. I love helping them create their own style of organization by our work together.  There is no one “right” way to be organized.  There are many levels of organization, from minimalist to Martha.  What works for you is what’s most valuable.



I am planning on another 15 years of organizing and productivity consulting.  It’s remarkable to work as a team  and I am excited to be a witness to the transformations I see every day.  You can see them too by checking out Hugs and Happy Organizing, true stories and pictures of my work with clients.   I always sign off with hugs and happy organizing too!