The Simpler the Better

Receiving a thank you note in the mail is pleasant. It’s even more pleasant when you’re being thanked for something you didn’t realize would make an impact on the other person. This happened to me when I offered a simple organizing solution to a Realtor I had met at a networking event. She asked me if I had any ideas how she could keep all her real estate forms portable and organized. I suggested a portable accordion file. The next thing I know, I’m reading a very sincere thank you note that makes me smile. It just goes to show you, sometimes the simplest organizing solutions are the best solutions. In this case, find a good home for paper and things. read more

Do you qualify for a Home Office Tax Deduction?

Can’t you just feel the excitement in the air?  The season is upon us…TAX SEASON that is.  It’s that time of year when weary eyes abound and refrains of “where did I put that?” can be heard uttered through out the land. Most of us are fortunate in that we can hand over documents and information to a qualified accountant (who mysteriously understands the language spoken by the IRS) and thus magically transforms it all into a completed IRS tax return.  I certainly am not a qualified accountant…I am not even an unqualified accountant.  But I am an office organizer who specializes in home offices and in my travels I hear a lot of confusion about this issue…so I sought out advice from tax expert and CPA Marietta Z. Courtney who helped me understand the “home office” tax deduction…explained simply. read more

New Traditions , Easy as Pie

Ever wonder if you can change how you do large holiday meals without feeling completely overwhelmed? Do what I did this year and consider letting go and doing some serious delegation. It made all the difference in my experience with 14 people around the table this year in my modest home.

First, be clear about what you ARE willing to do 

  • I was happy to host but only wanted to cook the turkey and make the gravy. Being an organizer everyone thinks it’s easy for me to host every year (and I am good at it) but this year I made it easy on myself and delegated the meal planning to a nephew, a young adult who is old enough to do this. Together we came up with a list of things people would sign up for: food items, set up, clean up, desserts, centerpieces, iced tea, wine, etc. you get the idea. He sent out the email and tracked everyone’s response. One by one everyone brought and did what they agreed to do and the meal was even more delicious.

You may ask, why didn’t you just send out the email yourself? To let everyone know this wasn’t my meal to them it was our meal together. It created a new interest level to have someone else lead the way and gave everyone permission to take charge of their task in my kitchen and home. I needed to relinquish this long held tradition of doing just about everything and send the message that we can do things differently and have a great time together. read more

Communicate Your Expectations

Communication is key when working toward maintaining a home with others.  Everybody is “wired” differently and may not be aware of the the same household tasks that need to be accomplished.  For example, if the dishwasher contains clean dishes, my first thought is, “the dishwasher needs to be emptied as soon as possible.”  My husband however may think, “the dishwasher needs to be emptied sometime.”  Therefore, I may leave the house for the day and when I arrive home later, although he may have been home all day, the dishwasher will not be emptied.  This is not a task that he felt needed immediate attention and piling dishes on the counter is acceptable to him.  If I do not verbalize my expectation that the dishwasher should be emptied as soon as possible, it will not be done. read more

It’s a Family Affair

When organizing a home occupied by many family members, it is critical that all members be on board to help with the organizing changes.  Organizing involves habit and lifestyle changes.  To maintain the new habits, everyone has to be aware of what needs to be done and on what schedule. Communication is key.

Keep the lines of communication open in the family.  If one member of the family is working with an organizer, it is essential that he/she transfers skills and ideas to the other family members in a timely manner.  There is nothing worse than attempting a major change in your home only to have it sabotaged because others are not on board due to lack of knowledge. read more

Treat Your Car As You Do Your Home

I feel it is important to keep your car as clean as you do your home.  For many of us, our car is an extension of our home because we spend so much time in it.

  • Take the time to keep it orderly by removing trash daily and maintaining a schedule for cleaning and maintenance.
  • If car cleaning is not your thing, delegate to a professional detailer or hire a youngster or neighbor to do the work for you.
  • If you make it part of your routine when exiting the car to take all bottles, trash and bags from the day, you will be refreshed with a clean clutter free car each day!
  • read more

    Tolerations- What’s Draining You?

    The plug in my bathroom sink is broken. You know… that round silver thing in the bottom that allows you to plug the drain. It stays closed by default and will no longer magically lift when I pull on the lever behind the faucet. This unhappy fact become true a few weeks ago after several months of annoyingly trying to prop it, turn it, lift it to make sure that my toothpaste water would actually drain.

    Why am I telling you about this? Because it’s a perfect example of a “toleration,” one of those slightly annoying issues that most of us just pretend to ignore every day. As organizers, we see them all the time. Other examples include: read more