March, 2012 browsing by month


Out of Sight Organizing: Storing Stuff in the Dark!

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

We want to be able to keep our stuff, have it accessible, and still have space to move around in our home or office. That calls for plenty of storage space.

Storage defined is “The place we put our stuff while we aren’t using it.”

New home buyers and organizers have this in common: we are on the lookout for multiple storage options in the houses we visit.  Some of those options are:

  • Built-ins – shelves and cupboards attached to or inset in walls
  • Storage rooms – laundry rooms or closets meant specifically for this purpose
  • Dual purpose furnishings – hollow window seats and ottomans that can hold stuff
  • Moveable storage – open filing bins and butcher blocks on wheels

If you want to have an uncluttered and airy feel in your room, this is the designer advice I try to follow:

In open storage, fill shelves about half full with a mix of utilitarian pieces and colorful accents.

     In closed storage, maximize the available space with additional shelving and containers that
corral the smaller pieces.

As much as I love the look of open storage, closed storage is my favorite!  What could be better than to have all that NOT beautiful stuff behind closed doors, in the dark, out of sight!

With the proper mix of shelves, hangers, bins, and pullouts, I am amazed at how much we can store in the smallest closet or cupboard! Also, when the door stays closed, dusting is cut by 75%. Hooray!

My request to you:  Pretend you are a new home buyer looking at your home.
Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you satisfied with the available storage?
  • Could you find a way to store some things under beds, behind doors?
  • Is there closed storage that is not being utilized to the max?
  • Do you see empty air where an extra shelf would be useful?
  • How could you use containers to double the height of those piles without the crashes?

Get a friend’s opinion in addition to your own. If you still can’t find enough room for everything, call a designer or organizer. We want you to be healthy, happy and organized!

They Did It! Inspiration and Encouragement

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

My passion is giving folks methods to de-clutter and simplify at home and at work so they can live a fuller, more meaning-filled life.

Today I want to share with you how two readers have taken a bit of advice and run with it. I hope their stories inspire and encourage you as they have me!


“Martha –

I want you to know how much your suggestion to set a timer for 30 minutes has helped me.  I have more than 30 years of ‘stuff’ in my basement.  I’m now of an age that I’m beginning to consider moving to a condo or retirement community.  In the past, every time I went to the basement I couldn’t get anything accomplished.  I think it was because my goal was to clean out the whole basement which was too big and completely overwhelming.  Now my goal is 30 minutes and I’m having success.  I have a long way to go but I’m started.

Thank you so much for your time, suggestions, and emails


 Susan S, Upper Arlington, OH”




  • A desk – went through floods
  • 2 closet doors – moldy
  • 6 pieces of wood – moldy
  • 3 picture frames – have also been through floods and are rusted & collected dirt
  • 2 table legs
  • A 4-level shelf my grandfather made
  • A ceramic cup/mug that had a hole in the bottom
  • A door/shutter – very well made, doesn’t fit anything in my house…

All went out for the trash ‘cause you sent that L.I.F.E. list… I’m not sure it was the L.I.F.E. or the definition of Clutter – anything that does not help me to fulfill my purpose or add to my quality of life.

I was staring at a desk that was not helping me – it hurt to keep it – hurt to pitch it, and so it and the others are out on the curb and I have a wonderful clear space (and of course more piles to go through still)- but I have a wonderful clear space!

… and a few tears that I didn’t pitch them years ago. I’m going to throw out a green lamp next!

Thank you!

Lynda S, Columbus, OH”

Are You Pinning Yet?

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Recently, my Virtual Assistant, Trisha, brought to my attention Pinterest.  For the last few weeks, I’ve been “pinning” like crazy.(Connect with me here)  Because I’m still in the learning process, I’ve asked Trisha to take over my blog post and introduce us to Pinterest.



Faster than Google+! More powerful than LinkedIn! Able to bypass YouTube in a single bound! Out in cyberspace, look! It’s Boards! It’s Pins ! It’s Pinterest!




If you haven’t heard of Pinterest, it’s the hottest addition to social media! Even though it’s still in the beta stage and the only way to use it is to be invited, it is hot, Hot, HOT!

If the statistics below don’t make you get off here and sign up then we need to have a serious talk.

Who’s on Pinterest?

Here are some of the recent stats on Pinterest:

  • The fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark
  • Average user time is 83 minutes!
  • 11.9 million unique visitors
  • 80% women
  • Household income of 25k-75k

If this describes your target market, don’t finish reading this article until you have sent me an email ([email protected]) titled “Please Invite Me to Pinterest”. Once you have done that, come back and let me share more.

Pinterest’s mission:
“connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online pinboard that allows users the ability to create boards and pin images to each board.  The amazing part is that everything you pin can be linked back to a website. So, whether you are pinning a recipe to your “Yummy Desserts” board or a book to your “Books Worth Reading” board it is probably linked to a website where you can read the whole recipe or purchase the book.


Can You Use it for Business?

This creates so much opportunity for businesses.  Are you brainstorming yet?  Get a notebook and pen and put it on your nightstand because if you are like me, I brainstorm in my dreams!

You can absolutely advertise your business on Pinterest. Make sure you remember it is your responsibility to link the product you pinned back to your website.  I’ve seen several images that I’ve clicked and it linked to nothing and they missed out on a sale because I don’t have time to dig around and find where I can buy it.  Don’t miss out on a sale, link your pins!


Is it Like Facebook and Twitter?

As far as similarities and differences with Facebook and Twitter, I don’t see a lot.

Yes, you “follow” people like you do in Twitter and you have a lot of connection with Facebook friends and can post your pins on your Facebook page, but I really don’t see a huge similiarty with either of these social media channels.

Pinterest is different and once you start digging around and having fun with it you will understand.

My only concern is that people are going to become bored with it because there is not that relationship building like Facebook offers. But, for now it is the hottest social media channel and you need to tap into it for your business.


How Can I Get Started?

To get started you must setup your account through an invitation as described above. It is simple but, if you need help, email me and I’ll send you a video tutorial that I’ve sent my clients.

Once setup is complete, I recommend looking around at some of your friends’ boards and pins to start.

Keep in mind you can always change the names of your boards so, don’t get overwhelmed that you have to get it perfect the first time.


How Does “Pinning” Work?

If you see a pin that you like, you can “Repin”, “Like”, or “Comment.”

Repinning will allow you to pin the image to one of your boards.  Still don’t be alarmed if you don’t have your boards setup, Pinterest allows you to create a new board anytime during a repin.

“Liking” a pin will add it to your likes, but will not pin to a board.

When you “comment” it allows you to link to Facebook friends by using the “@” symbol just like you do in Facebook.


What Are Your Favorite Boards?

A few of my more popular boards are “Encouragement for WAHM” and “Social Media Tips & Training”.  My new favorite board is my “Dream Farmhouse”.


What Else Do We Need to Know?

Have fun with it at first and then start brainstorming for your business.


Where Can We Learn More?

I’ve been studying Pinterest for a few months and have so much more information to share about promoting your business. This month I’ve been private coaching clients on how to promote their business using Pinterest.  Out of this private coaching I’ve created a Home Course.  If you like learning at your own pace, check my Home Study Course here.


Happy Pinning!



Trisha is a successful work at home mom that has a passion for helping women in business succeed!  With three young daughters at home, she has learned how to balance work and family time although it is a weekly challenge. 

You’ll want to check out her newest blog “Devotions for WAHM” where she offers daily encouragement. To find out more about her business and read her blog you can visit

How to Organize: Assign Homes for Everything

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The tried-and-true method  we organizers use goes like this:

  1. Take everything out and sort by putting like things together
  2. Let go of stuff you don’t use or find beautiful, and move things you don’t use in this room to where they are used.
  3. Find homes for what is left.

Let’s stop at step three and camp there today. People ask me, “Martha, how do I decide where to put things? What dictates the home I choose?”

My answer is, “Think of the space you are organizing as a bull’s-eye with you at the center.”

Stand or sit where you will perform one of your main tasks. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • What supplies or tools do you use everyday?
    Place those items within the first circle radiating outward on your bull’s-eye, within arm’s reach. Counters and desk tops are prime real estate. Only allow daily use items to live there. Convenient drawers can be used to corral small things.

Kitchen – on counter: coffeemaker, knife holder, paper towels

Office – on desk: writing tools, stapler, computer, and phone, current project files

Bathroom – on counter: favorite makeup, razor, liquid soap dispenser, 5 oz cup holder

Bedroom – on bedside table: lamp, book you are currently reading, alarm clock


  • What supplies or tools do you use on a weekly basis?
    Go one circle further out on your bull’s-eye. These things should be within a step, or one level up/down from work surface, preferably in a closed cabinet or drawer. Think of your waist as best height, so choose between knees and shoulders for this ring.

Kitchen – baking pans, lesser-used utensils (those long ones with odd shapes!), plastic storage containers, towels and dish clothes.

Office desk – frequently referenced files, extra staples, whiteout, 3 hole punch, copy paper supply

Bathroom – pain medicine, extra toilet paper, replacements of toothpaste and shampoo

Bedroom – everyday wardrobe, robe, cough drops, flashlight, set of linens, extra blanket, pair of reading glasses


  • What supplies or tools do you use say… once a month or every other month?

Yep, one more ring out from the center of your bull’s-eye. Place these files, supplies, tools across the room or even in an adjacent room. You still want fairly easy access – no ladder or going through piles of boxes.

Kitchen – the crock pot or rice cooker, pantry supplies, and serving dishes for company

Office desk – reference (finished) files, book case, mailing supplies

Bathroom – linens, first aid supplies, heating pad

Bedroom – extra pillows and blankets for company, reference books, boots, seasonal clothing not being used


  • What are the things you use consistently, but only on a seasonal basis – once a year or less?

These are best assigned the highest shelf, or placement in the basement, garage or attic.

Kitchen – Christmas cookie cutters, punch bowl, Easter baskets, large coffee urn

Office – folding table, tax records 2-7 years old

Bathroom – nothing, if you haven’t used it in a year, toss it!

Bedroom – family heirloom quilts maybe? Otherwise, ditto from above.

The things you love or find beautiful can find homes on the wall, displayed on a shelf, or in an archival box to be displayed on a rotating basis with your other treasures.

If you don’t love it or use it, why would you keep it around? Give the good things to someone who can use or appreciate them and toss the rest.

Now you have a home for everything. Make your stuff go home every night. Don’t let those guys go on permanent vacation!