Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God really does work in mysterious ways. Here it is 5 am and my morning is off to a rollicking start. I was awakened by the sound of water running...hmmm...must be the irrigation (it's on a timer)...that's good...but wait...too much gushing. I go retrieve the flashlight from its basket by the front door (see, it pays to be organized), go out into the pitch black back yard and discover that, sigh, yes, there is another leak in the irrigation. I also discover that one of my roses is not getting any water even though new irrigation was just run to it last week. Back inside to put on shoes and now, going out the front door, I walk around to turn off the irrigation. So now I have two issues to resolve in the backyard and it isn't even 5 am. When I return inside I hear one of the cats, my elder one, crying a bit pitifully. So I start searching for him. After checking every room in the house, I discover him in the laundry room where he's been trapped all night. Now, see, if the irrigation hadn't woken me up, I might not have discovered the poor guy for many more hours. While trapped in there, he managed to pee, poo, and tear apart the trash bag I had hanging in there. So, again, remember it is still not 5 am I get to clean the laundry room (which frankly was on my list anyway). For some ridiculous reason that I cannot fathom, this inspires me to write an entry for my blog which I haven't done in well over a year. So, I say again, God works in mysterious ways. Now I would like to go back to bed, but I am afraid it is futile.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time Flies

It's been waay too long since I've made an entry here and for that I am sorry. Hard to believe that it is October (almost November) already. Now is the time, if you haven't already done so, to begin preparing for tax season. Yes, that's right, it is almost upon us. There are an unprecedented number of new items to deal with this year, thanks to TAARP. A number of these are tax write-offs and incentives. Given the opportunity, it might not be a bad idea to get familiar with what is available until the end of the year to see if you can take advantage of it.

Here are the basic ground rules I use in approaching what to keep and what not to keep. If it has a tax impact, keep it, if not, toss it (unless there is some other reason, such as a dispute or legal matter that merits the item being kept). If you don't know what has a tax impact, it is a really good idea to become educated about such matters. You are welcome to ask questions of me, or consult your financial advisor or accountant.

The more organized your records are, the less money you will end up spending on having tax professionals organize your records. Basic organization consists of: Tax Forms (mostly these deal with income and interest deductions such as 1099's, W-2's, 1098's etc.); Schedule A items (these would be medical expenses, taxes paid like vehicle taxes and other itemized deductions); Schedule C items (which I won't go into now....too much explanation needed); Schedule D items (backup for any stock sales and the like that are captured on a 1099). If you set up files for these and routinely file bills and receipts in the files, preparing for taxes can be quite simple. And the additional benefit is that once taxes are done, you can file away the backup and you are already set up for the next year. If you want further detail on setting up your filing for taxes, please write me and let me know.

In the meantime, for those of you experiencing it, enjoy the fall weather.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Last week I was watching a show on A & E that focuses on hoarders. It was fascinating. I am acquainted with one of the organizers who worked with one of the hoarders.

It reminds me of how difficult this issue is to address. Hoarders, for the most part, are unable to distinguish between what is and what is not valuable. Letting go of items is an extremely anxiety ridden proposition. Many times hoarding is a result of needing to exert control over an environment. To alter the environment and mind set of the hoarder is often a long term project. Frequently, a team approach is helpful and patience and being non-judgmental are critical.

One of the things I found really fascinating is the level of detail the hoarders were able to report about the most minute items (even food that had completely rotted!).

All of this made me ask myself, where am I a hoarder in my life? We all have things that we have a hard time letting go of. Even things we know have little to no value. This is different from collecting of course. For me, silly as it sounds, I find it hard to throw away plastic grocery bags. I suspect this is both from an environmental standpoint and a utilitarian one. I end up using them for trash can liners, but somehow the volume of bags always outstrips the amount of uses I have for them.

So, what do you have trouble letting go of? And why, do you think, that is? It will be interesting to see who has what to say.

Have a good weekend, all.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On Blogging

Ok, I admit it. I still don't quite get this whole blogging and twittering thing. Maybe it's because I am a professional organizer and I don't want to clutter up the internet with my every thought (that's an attempt at humor of course). I don't think anyone (sometimes including me) is that interested in my every thought. I would prefer to write when I have something to say. It would be even more fun if anyone would pose a question or start a dialogue. It is difficult to think of new things to write about on a regular basis. I mean I could write about just about anything, but who would want to read that?

For example, I was quoted in the local paper on August 2nd in an article about helping children keep their rooms tidy.

I have also been accepted as a local "expert" on organizing on Examiner.com (Tucson) and will be publishing my first article in the next few days.

I guess what I would like to know is: what would YOU like to know?

Jump right in and ask. I promise to respond.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What the Heck IS a Professional Organizer?

I am often asked by people who have never heard of my profession, what exactly is a professional organizer.

First of all, Professional Organizers, much like lawyers and doctors are often specialists. Some work only with physical space organization, some only with paper, some only residential, and so on. There is an enormous range of services being offered. For the most part, we all work with systems and processes. I consider myself to be a general practitioner, as I offer a pretty broad array of services. Some examples of services I have performed include (in no particular order): entire house organizing or re-organizing; room or area specific organizing; home office set-up and organizing; work-flow process development; estate inventorying, moving prep. (packing/unpacking), and coordination, yard sales, tax preparation, downsizing, filing systems, software training, public speaking, business systems, policies & procedures, and so on.

What often prompts that first call is that someone has reached a point of frustration or overwhelm that has pushed them over the edge. Or, they just recognize a need for assistance in dealing with a situation. When this happens, a professional organizer can be an enormous help. Because we are not inside your chaos, we can bring calm, objective counsel as well as action to what may appear to be an insurmountable problem.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Why do so many of us have a love affair with books that tends to take over our space?  

When I was a child, we moved about every three years.  This, I suspect, led, as least in part, to my relationship with books.  Unlike friends I made along the way, they came with me everywhere and, to some extent, became the friends I could count on being there.

Most of my clients have substantial and unwieldy book collections that take up huge amounts of space in their environments.  So, I though perhaps we should look at that today.

As I have gotten older, I have gotten better about keeping books.  Ask yourself, truthfully, are you going to read a particular book again?  Really?  If so, then keep it.  How many books are in your collection that you have NEVER read?  That should tell you something, too.

If you are concerned that you will forget what you have read, maybe you could keep a list (say on a spreadsheet).   This is especially useful when we are working our way through an author's entire collection.  Such as Tony Hillerman, Janet Evanovich, Anne McCaffrey.  When authors are prolific it is easy to forget which books we have read, and which we've not yet.

Think of it as going green.  Once you have read a book, pass it on, trade it in for credit at a used book store, sell it.  Just don't let them take over the house or office!!!

Have a mindful day.

Friday, June 19, 2009


As Michael Douglas's character in the movie Wall Street said (even though I disagree with HIS statement), laziness is GOOD!  

I believe that one of the best benefits of getting and staying organized is that it is for lazy people (like me!).  I personally do not want to spend one more minute than I have to doing things I don't want or like to do.  The best way I know of to reduce the amount of time we spend tending to the tedium of everyday life is to be organized.  The set up will be a bit time consuming, but maintenance is a breeze.  Ideally, we want to set up our environments so that the tools we need to complete the task at hand are all within easy reach.  For example, when working with paper, a shredder, recycle box, trash can, and appropriate files should all be in reach of where you are sitting.  That way you deal with the paper pretty much only one time.  If you have a small set of files on your work surface for organizing the papers for action, that will also help reduce the amount of time you spend with them.  Examples might be such things as: Bills to Pay; Things to Schedule; Calls to Make and so on.

Have a lazy weekend, and feel to write me with any questions you may have.