Tag Archive for: organizing your home

What To Organize Now


During the first half of the year this year, we have been working through many challenges of life. We have faced these challenges with empathy, positivity and hope. Through our learning, we have come to think about what we can organize now and do now to make our home and our community a better place. For me, I work on one small thing at at time. That small thing compounds to make a big difference.  Here is my list of what to organize now for a sense of well being and productivity.

Take one small step to build a routine

I am hearing from people with ADHD how much they want to build a routine. That routine usually means how to start the day.  Start with one small addition to existing routines or one general habit that will be a foundation for establishing a routine.  The first, best choice is to set a bed time. It is a difficult first choice and worthy of that difficulty.  Strategize what time to get ready for bed, how to decrease blue light and device use, and what sets you up for getting a good night’s rest. Track your success to help you know your return on time investment.

Take one step to better health

We’re learning the importance of general good health.  One small step to better health will help you feel better physically and emotionally.  That might be adding exercise daily, even in the smallest increment, to your schedule.  Walk 15 minutes a day, take the stairs, park farther away to walk more or eat more veggies daily are all small ways to a path of better health. There are many small ways to improve your physical and mental well being.


Take time to connect daily

Our busy lives can prevent us from true connection with friends, colleagues and family.  We must intentionally schedule time to talk on the phone, write a note or text.  This small step brings us immeasurable joy. I’ve shared many conversations with long time friends where we laughed and processed this crazy mixed up time. Give yourself that joy too!


Curate information

We are literally bombarded with information that is “useful and helpful.”  Curate your trusted sources to help you stay balanced and informed.  Keep the big picture in mind as you learn new information and process how to use this.  I find epidemiologists and virologists to be amazing resources currently and follow them on social media.  Determine what is “enough” information and move onto another activity when you feel anxious.


Create an environment of joy

What surrounds you lifts you up. Now is the time to level up your space. That is decluttering first, then using color and decor to bring you joy. There is a lot of home renovation happening, including painting, landscaping and interior decorating.  Creating something beautiful when there is discord keeps you engaged and away from all the extra “noise.”


Give back

You can make a difference in a special way.  It is in thanking a shop person after a purchase, listening to a stranger who had a rough day, talking kindly with customer service when something went wrong or sharing a meal with others. There are many ways to give back.  It is in our power to respectfully work with others.


We’re in times of great change. What we can organize now is our spaces, our time and our thoughts. Set yourself up for great positive connections, more productivity and better self care with the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


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?

10 Easy Eliminations

10 easy eliminations


Ready to make a big break in decluttering?  Not sure where to start?  Sometimes it is best to start with the easy eliminations to make a quick visual and emotional difference.  Choose a few that are really easy for you!  Here are 10 easy eliminations for your home or office.

1. Boxes

I find that families keep toy boxes, shirt boxes, shoe boxes and boxes galore!  Now that boxes are free at the post office for shipping, keep only a small number of different size boxes for mailing.  If you think you may return a product, keep the box only until you have confirmed your decision.  Only keep 2 of those shoes boxes for upcoming school projects please!

2. Tee shirts

Each race we run, vacation bible school we attend, and school alumni celebration adds to our tee shirt collection.  It is time to pare down to a number that can fit in a drawer or hang in a section of your closet.  What number depends on you.   A memory quilt is a good next step if you are not ready to part with these.

3. Ball caps

We all have our favorite!  Pull a few together, hang them in an easy access space, and part with the remainder.

4.  Single use kitchen items

Some of the least useful are often the most space hogging items!  If you have more than one miscellaneous kitchen drawer, go through and pare down to one drawer.  In the newly empty drawer you can fit hand towels or pot holders.   When was the last time you used that breadmaker, fondue pot, or air popcorn popper?

5. Toys that your kids have outgrown.

Our kids are blessed with an abundance of toys.  Keep a few that you consider to be keepsakes.  Ask you kids to be a part of the decision making process. Donate to local philanthropies to make a difference.

6. Cookbooks

Who doesn’t want to have a wonderful home cooked dinner on the table? But having more cookbooks than needed does not make you a better mom or an Iron Chef.  Pare down to what you really love and use.  Think about using allrecipes.com or the internet to find recipes too.

7. Extra towels

You get new towels, but the old ones are put in the back of the closet or in the garage.  Keep a few for those big spills, a few for padding, and move the rest on!

8. Cell phones

Cellphones for Soldiers takes your old cell phone and turns it into a phone card for our service people.  It is free to send it off too!  As soon as you get your new phone, send the old one packing.

9.  Junk mail

Stand over the recycle bin, just inside the garage before you enter the house, and drop in the junk mail.  Right away you feel better!  We are overwhelmed when the mail comes, so just have this baby step as the first step to getting in gear with paper.

10.  Receipts

More than ever, the clerk asks if you want your receipt.  Answer no if it is at Starbucks, at the gas station if you don’t keep a mileage record, at locations with small purchases, and where you think a return is not necessary.  Having fewer receipts keeps them from piling up!

What are the easiest eliminations for you?


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Organizing your Teen

Organizing your teen might feel a lot like herding cats.  Are you really making a difference?  Approaching organizing can be overwhelming, distracted and extremely frustrating! But with a few tips, you can make organizing happen. 

Start by establishing a work plan that appeals to your teen.  Set a time that you can both work and require mandatory attendance. To work together, you need their input to know what to keep and what to eliminate. Set a time that your teen can really be on target in making decisions.  Work for 2 hour segments as well so you keep on task and get things done.

Help your teen establish a boundary for keepsakes.  Having attractive boxes for keepsakes and plastic 66 quart tubs for alternative storage make for great options.  There will be keepsakes for sure! Having these options gives your teen a boundary for how much to keep, helps them start making decisions, and also allows for safe storage. Attractive boxes can hold paper keepsakes, while storage bins hold models, dolls or other precious items they have outgrown but not out-loved.

Add energy to the project with food and music! Adding a professional organizer in the mix adds objectivity, focus and project management too!  In just two hours, here is what a mom, a teen and I knocked out in two hours over spring break!

What is your organizing challenge with your teen?

Presentation: Its A Spring Thing! Tackle the Clutter & Take in the Color

IT’S A SPRING THING! Tackle The Clutter and Take In The Color 

Get ready for spring with a new look for your home! Join Certified Professional Organizer and Family Manager Coach Ellen Delap to learn the six step technique to tackle your clutter.  Interior Designer Leslie Sarmiento will share the newest trends in color and design for your home.  Bring a friend to enjoy this delightful afternoon program held at Kingwood Public Library on February 15 from 1 – 2:30 pm.  Please rsvp to Ellen at edelap@professional-organizer.com or Leslie at lesliesinteriors@msn.com

 To learn more about organizing, visit www.professional-organizer.com.  To learn more about interior decorating, visit www.lesliesarmiento.com.  Join us on Facebook at Professional-Organizer.com or Leslies Interiors.