Re-defining “Organized” after Having Children

I recently ran into an old friend who was telling me about how her idea of what an “organized home” looks like has changed since she’s had children.

Before she had children, my friend was very particular about how her home looked.  Now, she has three children (including an infant) and all the equipment and toys that come with them.

Did I mention that her family lives in a two bedroom apartment and that she works from home while her husband is getting his Ph.D.?

Yes, her definition of “organized” had to change in order for her to keep her sanity.  The toys are going to be in every room of the house.  The school work is going to live on the kitchen counter.  Her office work is going to have to be in her bedroom.  And that’s OK with her. read more

Making sense of memorabilia

It’s usually on the very top shelf of your closet or buried in the basement. It’s usually in a cardboard box, sometimes beaten up and ripped by multiple moves, or sometimes clean and crisp because it has never been opened. When I come across this little treasure with a client I usually hear, “Oh I know what this is…Wow it has been a long time!” Have you guessed? It is a collection of childhood, school and special memories known to most of us as personal memorabilia.

We often keep these items because they are associated with a special or significant time in history and our lives. We have the best of intentions and clients are often reluctant to let any of these items go. But they are perfectly content to pack the everything back up to be stashed away, often times where the box will remain untouched for many more years. This has always perplexed me. How can something be so important to us but not fit into our lives now? If we are not going to enjoy it in some manner why are we keeping it? read more

Making a Grocery List

Adventures in Being Prepared when Grocery Shopping

I made a menu for the week, made my grocery shopping list, and when I arrived at the grocery store I realized I had forgotten my list!  What a bummer!  I always advocate shopping with a list and here I am racking my brain to remember what I was going to buy!  Thankfully my list was short and when I checked my list after getting home I remembered everything.

Something I believe helped me remember what I needed is that I have created a spreadsheet of my grocery store by aisle.  I obtained a list from the customer service desk at the grocery store I shop at most frequently.  They offered me a list of products in alphabetical order with correlating aisle numbers.  This did create some work for me as I had to translate that into aisle format, but it enabled me to determine which items I felt should be on my regular shopping list.  If I do not purchase lima beans often, I should not have them be a consistent fixture on my shopping list? read more

NAPO New England Go Month Event 2012

Napo New England will be teaming up with IKEA Stoughton on Saturday, January 14, 2012 from 11am to 3pm for an exciting event! NAPO-NE’s Get Organized (GO) Month event 2012 will be part of IKEA’s national Bring Your Own Friend event.

On this day, IKEA, The Life Improvement Store, will be hosting their nation-wide, in-store BYOF event. This event is to encourage IKEA’s current customers and Facebook Fans to come to their local store, bringing along a friend, and experience a special day of shopping, free giveaways and inspiration. The event will include: read more

Avoiding “Thrower’s Remorse:” Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Bring Stuff into Your Home

I was recently working with a client who has “Thrower’s Remorse;” she hates to throw things away because she knows they’ll just be going to a landfill.

I resonate with her desire to create as little waste as possible.  So I shared with her the only way I know of to prevent over-contributing to the landfills:  Be careful what you buy in the first place.

Everything you bring into your home, from the smallest cheap plastic toy to the largest stainless steel appliance, is going to leave your house someday. It’s going to break or stop being useful, and you are going to need to get rid of it.  If we keep that fact in mind whenever we’re shopping (or accepting freebies from friends), we may just bring less into our homes in the first place. read more

Write it Down: Get Those Fleeting Thoughts Out of Your Head!

The Problem of Too Many Thoughts

How many thoughts do you suppose run through your head in a day?  I didn’t do any formal research for this blog post, but based on personal experience I would suspect hundreds.  How many of those thoughts flutter in and out so quickly that you are left saying, “wait, what was I going to do?”

This phenomenon is something that has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.  The reason for bringing it up now is that a client of mine seems to have several of these moments every time we meet.  Often they are paired with a sense of urgency or dissatisfaction with himself for not following through with the thought.  I asked him what (if any) system he used for writing down those fleeting thoughts of things to buy, people to call, tasks to deal with.  He responded that either the idea did not get written down or it was jotted on a piece of loose paper sitting around. read more

Labeling Baskets with Key Tags

I have a bookshelf full of identical wicker baskets holding all different sorts of craft supplies.  I like the way they look- nice and uniform on the shelves.  But it’s been really hard to remember what is in each basket without pulling them all out to find what I’m looking for.  I needed labels.

It’s easy to slap a label on a plastic container or on a cardboard box.  But how do you label baskets?

The solution I’ve found is to use split ring key tags, available at office supply stores.  You can thread some ribbon, wire, or string around one of the reeds of the basket and tie the key tag to the basket.  Then you can label the key tag with whatever is in the basket.  One tip: label both sides so you don’t need to worry about the tag flipping around. read more