May, 2012 browsing by month


Product Review: Grid-It! Organizing Systems

Friday, May 25th, 2012

The Grid-It! by Cocoon is another new product we organizers saw featured at the 2012 NAPO Conference in Baltimore this year.

Think of weaving pot holders on a loom with those stretchy t-shirt loops. That’s rather what this product reminds me of. It’s a plastic pad with a grid of different sizes of woven elastic bands on one side. You can find a place to stick any sized object and it is not going anywhere!

This is ideal for organizing your iPad, iPod, iPhone, BlackBerry and other digital devices along with their accessories (earphones, chargers, etc.) As a matter of fact, there are Grid-It! products made to be your MacBook Air or iPad sleeve with the grid on the outside to keep everything in one place.

Right now The Container Store has the 7.25″ x 9.25 Travel Grid-It! on sale for $11.99 (Reg $14.99) during their Travel Sale. This would be a neat gift for Dad on Father’s Day.

Taking Control of Your Space, One Day at a Time

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

This past weekend, I was excited to view my client’s progress in clearing out and organizing a large space in her home! In January, she shared her vision on what the space would look like. We formulated a plan for what would stay and a chose a holding area for items to sell at a spring yard sale.

Other than one 3 hour work session together sorting/purging and getting her started on designated storage areas, my client and her family worked steadily on their own, de-cluttering and organizing over several month’s time.

Her space still isn’t totally as she wants it. A few items that didn’t sell will be donated. Then she will do a deep cleaning before setting up her activity zones. We spent some time brainstorming about next steps. Mostly I gave her the praise and credit she was due for all her hard work!

She said that friends were asking her how I helped her. Her answer was, “Martha gave me permission to work on de-cluttering a little bit at a time – say, one hour on one shelf only.”  Before our meeting, she was waiting to do a 10 hour massive overhaul that was so overwhelming she never got started.

Today I am sharing her story with you to encourage you. You, too, can bring order to your surroundings if you start small.

My request to you – start taking control of your space today. These steps will help you begin your journey:

  1. Choose one shelf or drawer to start with.
  2. Name this space with its ideal use. Ex. Everyday Office Supplies, Hats & Scarves, Lesser Used Kitchen Utensils.
  3. Sort by putting like things together, give away/sell things you don’t love or use regularly.
  4. Put back only things that fit the name of your space. Use containers to corral like items. Move other keepers to another room/area that makes more sense.
  5. Deliver the giveaways and toss stuff that no one would want within 3 days.

I hear people say, “I want to get organized.” I think changing that statement to, “I want to begin making changes toward becoming more organized,” is a better goal.

As you are going about life, spend 15 minutes a day putting away those things that have definite homes. Take about one hour each week to deal with another small area. Soon you will have definite homes for much more stuff.

In a year’s time, you will have spent 48 hours or more getting control of your space. How cool is that? You can do it, one small step at a time!!

Surround Yourself With Encouragers

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

A week ago I was in Baltimore, MD, surrounded by 800+ of my fellow organizers at the 2012 NAPO* Conference. Yes, I did have a seafood dinner while there.

We gathered for advanced training and encouragement from experts in our field, to greet old friends, and to take care of Association business. The camaraderie was great and I met some amazing people.

I am constantly surprised at Conference by the many unique businesses represented. Organizers specialize in relocation, business processes/ productivity, senior transitions, planning for student success, organizing for the disabled, coaching persons with ADD or who hoard, and efficiency in home management, to name a few.

On the other hand, the one unifying trait I see at Conference is that of serving. I am convinced that people and businesses need to increase efficiency now more than ever. My fellow organizers have the same mindset – that of helping their clients learn how to save time, money, and frustration by eliminating excess and simplifying everyday routines.

In a society that proclaims more is better, that promotes consumerism as patriotism, and where sitting still is seen as sloth, it is so nice to hear a voice of reason!

At the end of her lecture on disorganization perpetuated by the latest technologies, veteran organizer, Judith Kolberg, shared this story from the New Yorker magazine:

Bumping into Mr. Ravioli  by Adam Gopnik  
New Yorker | September 2002
My daughter Olivia, who turned three, has an imaginary friend whose name is Charlie Ravioli.
Olivia is growing up in Manhattan, and so Charlie Ravioli has a lot of local traits: he lives in an apartment “on Madison and Lexington,” he dines on grilled chicken, fruit, and water, and, reached the age of seven and a half, he feels, or is thought, “old.”
But the most peculiarly local thing about Olivia’s playmate is this: he is always too busy to play with her. She holds her toy cell phone up to her ear, and we hear her talk into it: “Ravioli? It’s Olivia . . . It’s Olivia. Come and play? O.K. Call me. Bye.” Then she snaps it shut, and shakes her head. “I always get his machine,” she says. Or she will say, “I spoke to Ravioli today.” “Did you have fun?” my wife and I ask “No. He was busy working. On a television”

This is the saddest commentary of all. A three-year-old’s imaginary friend doesn’t even have time to play with her!

Let’s make some changes, want to?  Do I wish I had listened more when my children were toddlers? You betcha! Let’s slow down and take a look at what is truly important… and it’s not the stuff!

Surround yourself with like-minded people who will both encourage you and hold you accountable to slow down, spend time instead of money, and enjoy the moment.

*National Association of Professional Organizers,