Three Tips for Creating a Successful To Do List

I have been making To Do lists since I was a kid.  And these are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

1. List single tasks, not entire projects.

A task is a single, actionable step whereas a project is a series of tasks toward a goal.  So, for example, let’s say you want to paint your house.  If you write, “Paint house” on your To Do list, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  But if you write down, “Pick up paint chips at hardware store,” you can actually get started! read more

Managing Your Mail

Most of us are drowning in paper these days. For many of us, a large piece of the paperwork puzzle is the stuff that just keeps coming – the mail! Don’t get me wrong, some mail is good, but if you’re like most people, you get more mail than you need or want. If you don’t have a good way to manage and maintain it, it will just keep piling up. Here are some tips to make your mail maintenance quick and easy.

  • Make time everyday to open and read the mail.
  • Open mail in one mail center area with all your tools and supplies.
  • Have a wastebasket, recycling bin, and shredder nearby to toss the mail in as you open it.
  • Make decisions as you open the mail…

Scan the contents of each piece and process it appropriately. Immediately: read more

Staying Organized

Staying Organized
by Janine Cavanaugh
As a Professional Organizer I’m often asked by the homeowners I work with,
“How can I stay organized?” They explain that they spend time creating order and
buying cool organizing products to help them stay organized, but in two months,
things look just like they did before. In addition, their cool new organizing products are not helping or worse, they’re not even being used.
The best way to answer their question is to share this example. Imagine you
have magazines all over your house, piles of them here and there, and you have a
hard time throwing them out. You decide something needs to be done with them. So, you purchase a few magazine racks to help corral them. Great! Problem solved,
right? No! In a few months the magazine racks are overflowing and magazines are
finding their way to other parts of your house again. So, what can you do?
You need to complete the organizing process. I call it the ‘creating guidelines
phase’. By purchasing the magazine racks you have created a place for them to be
kept, but now you need to create some guidelines for yourself pertaining to those
magazines. The guidelines help you decide how long to keep each magazine and
when you have enough magazines.
Guidelines take the form of questions, and I find it helpful to write them down.
Here are a few examples:
1. How long will you keep a single magazine issue?
2. What are the deciding factors for keeping an issue longer than the given
time frame?
3. What is the maximum number of magazine issues you will keep at one time?
4. As many as will properly fit in the magazine racks?
5. Once that maximum number is reached, will you practice the one in, one out rule?
6. How frequently will you go through the racks to prevent stockpiling?
Answering these six questions and establishing a system to process your
magazines, enables you to keep them organized. By practicing the process and
having a little self discipline you should be able to stay organized.
These guidelines can be modified to fit other items in your space. If you are
struggling with the ‘creating guidelines phase’ I recommend using the six sample
questions listed above to help you establish organizing systems for the things and
paper in your life.
©2010 Janine Cavanaugh, Professional Organizer. All Rights Reserved
For more information or a consultation please contact Janine Cavanaugh at
(508) 699-6652 read more

Clean and Organized Makeup

Spring cleaning is just around the corner, but there are a few things that you can get do to get a jump start on the process.  Begin now by weeding through all of your cosmetics and toiletries.  Pay particular attention to make certain your makeup brushes are either cleaned properly or replaced.  Makeup can be germ central, so give it a good cleaning.

1.  Brushes need to be cleaned or replaced.  I like to use I.D. Well cared for by Bare Escentuals once per month, (link below).  You can also use any mild detergent on a good brush. read more

Organizing: Hard work, but well worth the effort

“Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it”.  ~Author Unknown

This blog is going to be short and sweet.  Re-read the above quote.  Soak in its truth, which is this:  Success of any kind takes intention and hard work.  If we set a goal and then expect it to be easy to reach, we set ourselves up for failure.  Surround yourself with people who will encourage, empower, and support your goals, so when the work gets really really hard, you can rest on the strength of trusted friends and family. read more

Never Underestimate the Power of a Simple Solution

I love when we can discover a simple solution to resolve a client’s challenge.
Recently, my staff member Amy and I were meeting for an Initial Consultation with a new client. This client had several GREAT systems and overall was very functional with primarily her storage zones needing TLC.

What was a joy was discovering that her big “Ah-ha” came from my suggestion that instead of stashing her pajamas in her bathroom drawer during the day, she could tuck them under her pillow.
She had simply never thought of that easy solution. read more