Thursday, October 29, 2009, 05:20 PM
There’s Still Time to Get Organized BEFORE the Holidays!!

As I write this, Halloween is days away, which means that Thanksgiving, Chanukah & Christmas are right around the corner!! It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost crunch time.

How can you feel in control this holiday season? Grab a pad and make a list of all of the undone tasks that are robbing you of the focus and energy you need to tackle the holidays. Here are a few to get you started:

Recycle unwanted electronics! (monitors, CPUs, TVs, VCRs, etc.). Staples, Best Buy & other retailers have recycling programs, and each county holds its own series of electronics recycling events as well.

Eliminate paper piles! Sort your paper into these piles: “RECYCLE”, “SHRED”, “FILE”, “ACT”, & “BILL”. Designate a place for bills, keep a bag for shredding, set up easy-to-use files and be sure to make time for all of those action items.

Switch over your clothing! The time for shorts and tank tops is over. Remove all of your warm weather clothing from closets and drawers and find your sweaters and corduroys! Use underbed boxes to store out-of-season clothing and even shoes.

Make way for holiday gifts! If you’re expecting lots of incoming gifts for the holidays, make sure there’s enough storage space. Purge your playroom, bookshelves, and other storage areas. For each area, set up 2 bags: one for “garbage”, another for “donations”. It’s amazing how many bags you can fill!

Create a holiday gift spreadsheet with FOUR HEADINGS: Name, Gift, Wrapped? and Mailed?/Delivered? Use it to track your progress throughout the season.

Call or e-mail me any time with your Organizing questions. And, if you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this letter, you are entitled to $25 off your next organizing session of 3 or more hours 

Happy Organizing!


P.S.—Looking for a unique holiday gift? I offer gift certificates. Buy one for a friend or ask for one for yourself.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 11:30 AM
Need to see some change NOW? Try organizing the kitchen. While other rooms can get complicated, the kitchen always seems to follow some very general, basic rules, making it (for the most part!) a faster, more gratifying organizing experience.


Make sure you have a clear surface either on your counter or on a nearby table. Go through each cabinet and separate items into 2 piles: "Often Used" and "Rarely Used".

The "Often Used" items will find their way back into the cabinets. The "Rarely Used" items should either be TOSSED or placed in a farther away STORAGE AREA (often the basement in the homes in which I work).

How do you decide what to toss or donate? Be honest with yourself. Do you ever actually make bread in the bread machine? Do you like Belgian waffles? Kitchen items can be bulky and hog precious cabinet space, so really try to keep it to what you ACTUALLY USE.

"Rarely Used" items to be put in storage are often items only used for particular holidays or seasons. You need them, but they don't need to clog up your space 12 months a year.

Finally, decide where to put your "Often Used" items. You'll want to place items nearest to where they will be used. Pots and pans should be closer to the stove, appliances should be near plugs and counters where they'll be used, etc. As with most rooms, I suggest setting up "zones". Food should be together, as should kitchen tools, small appliances, pots & pans, mixing bowls, etc. These are very simple rules, but ones which are sometimes ignored and cause a lot of chaos.

One final note: paper can also cause a lot of chaos in kitchens! If this is true in your home, you need to tackle those piles, too. More on that another time...

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My "Busman's Holiday" 
Sunday, September 20, 2009, 09:19 PM
Last week I had a free morning and thought I'd "clean up" our playroom. Ha! Little did I know what I was headed for. FOUR HOURS LATER I was done. I was exhausted and stunned. What happened? Why was the room so out of control? What had I learned from the experience?

Here's what I learned from suffering through my ordeal:

--A room should be fairly easy to clean. If you feel there's no real way to tidy up an area, you probably need to devote several hours to a decluttering and reorganizing session.
--It's amazing how quickly a room can become cluttered and disorganized if you don't maintain it. I filled THREE large Hefty bags during my session, which was about triple what I thought I'd fill.
--Toys and crafts need to be reviewed CONSTANTLY. If you turn your back they multiply. Small goody bag items, broken crayons, markers without caps and abandoned Lego projects keep coming and coming, so it's really important to keep an eye on the buildup.
--It's important to be purge toys and crafts that no longer reflect your child's developmental stage. My eight-year-old has been done with Play Doh for over a year, yet there it sat on my shelf.
--Extended organizing sessions are VERY challenging. They require instense focus and can really sap your energy. Pace yourself.
--Extended organizing sessions are not always fun! You need to be motivated by a concrete goal, or you may be tempted to walk away and find something more enjoyable to do! My goal was to return my playroom to the organized haven it had once been, and after many hours I was rewarded. My kids have been happily playing ever since...

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Join me for a special program: "Organizing Your Financial Life" on 6/17! 
Tuesday, June 9, 2009, 06:58 PM
On Wednesday, 6/17, I'm teaming up with a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and holding a special program titled "Organizing Your Financial Life".

The program will be held at On The Side Spa at 740 South Ave. West in Westfield from 7:30-9:00 P.M. Please call me at 908-358-3460 if you'd like to register. The cost is $10/person.


My co-presenter, Diane Taylor, is a CFP with extensive experience with financial planning and tax preparation. You can read her bio on her employer's web site: www.shapirofsg.com.

If your desk is buried and your financial goals are unclear or unmet, this is the program for you. Call soon--space is limited.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009, 06:53 PM
I've written a new article that's been published on www.chicmommagazine.com titled "Organizing for Moms: What Works in YOUR House?".

While the word "mom" is in the title of the article and the name of the publication, the organizing concepts I discuss can be applied to a variety of people and situations.

Here's the link:

http://chicmommagazine.com/articles/sur ... your-house

The article is connected to one of my earlier blog entries ("Assess Your Mess!), and provides an up-close look at how I work with my clients.

Happy reading!

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