Schedule Down Time

Organizing tipAre you feeling like there is no time for organizing? Are the days flying by and the clutter piling up? One way the take control is to schedule down time. An easy way to do this is to make sure you and your family have only a maximum of four nights out per week. Schedule 3 or more nights at home and one of those nights reclaiming order.

Chart of Organizng Flow

Arriving On Time

Organizing tipArriving on time to your first appointment or commitment for the day is a great way to reduce stress. It also helps kick-start an organized, productive day. Here are a few tips to help make this a reality.

  • Plan your outfit the night before and place your clothes, shoes and accessories in a designated spot.
  • Make your lunch the night before and have it ready to go.
  • Have a physical or mental check list of what you need to bring with you the next day.
  • Establish a morning routine for getting ready and eating breakfast. Time this routine so you know how long it takes. Allow yourself a bit of wiggle room.
  • Figure out how much time is required to leave home, travel, park and arrive on time. Give yourself the time required and extra minutes for potential delays.
  • Be confident that you can handle any last minute mishaps.

©January 2019  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

one dollar bills

Shop Less

Organizing tipShop less and buy less. When we have less coming in we have less decisions to make, less to organize, act upon, and maintain. One thing that has helped me buy less is to think before I buy and ask myself gatekeeper questions.


Gatekeeper Questions

Helpful Organizer BlogDo you love to shop, hunt for bargains, and practice retail therapy? If so, you are not alone. For many, shopping is their favorite pastime. It’s easy to get caught up in a buying frenzy with friends. It’s thrilling to find great deals, and see how much we’ve saved. It’s fun to purchase gifts, and surprise loved ones. It’s so convenient to shop online and have things delivered right to our door. But how often do we stop and think before buying something? Do we really need a life-time-supply of dog chews? How much extra are we spending each year to get the “free shipping”? Is it worth getting two free if we can’t even use up one before it goes bad? How much of what we buy is extra, surplus, or wasted?

I’ve found a successful way to help me stop and think before I buy. I’ve compiled a list of gatekeeper questions that allow me to pause and ask myself, “Why buy this?”. These questions are called gatekeeper questions because we control the gates to our properties. We all have the power to prevent a purchase from entering our homes. When shopping ask these questions (to the item) before committing to buy.

  • iron gateWhy are we buying you? Need? Want? Impulse? Obligation? Fundraiser?
  • What value will you add to our household?
  • Are you a practical, useful item or are you just for show?
  • Do we already own something just like you? If so, why do we need another?
  • Are you a replacement purchase? If so, what will we do with the old item?
  • Will you make life easier or are you going to be more trouble than you’re worth?
  • Where do we have a place for you?
  • Are you well made and worth your price tag?
  • Will you make our space feel crowded, cluttered, or overstuffed?
  • Will we want to keep you forever or at least a very long time? If not, how hard will it be to get rid of you?
  • Are you a gift for someone? Will you be a pleasure to them or a burden to them?
  • What will happen if we don’t buy you today?
  • How will we feel if we don’t buy you?
  • How often will we think about you, if we don’t buy you today?

This gatekeeper system requires some practice and discipline, but it helps me feel more prepared to make a mindful purchasing decision. Hopefully you will find it helpful as well. Try it and let me know what you think?

©June 2018  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

clutter in basement

Keep Clutter at Bay

10 years in business
in 2018!

I’m happy to be celebrating 10 years in business
, but I wouldn’t be in business if it wasn’t for my sister. She was looking for a new job in 2007 when I was, and that is when we decided to attend a NAPO New England meeting. After that meeting I knew I wanted to start my own business and become a Professional Organizer. My sister decided to pursue a different direction, but if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thanks sis! I owe it all to you!  

Recent Blog Articles:

Downsizing Action Plan

Organizing Small Spaces

Why We Hold Onto Things?

Innies or Outies

Question:  Do you change your wardrobe in the spring and pack away your winter clothes? If so, do you spend time removing items you didn’t wear or don’t wish to hold onto until next winter?  Please share.
Join Our Mailing List
Hi  Janine,

      I’m amazed each year at the colorful  transformation spring brings from brown and drab to green and lush. It motivates me to transform my home into something lighter and brighter. What about you? Do you get motivated to make changes and improvements to your home? Do you get motivated to organize and declutter?

Here are 10 things I do to keep clutter at bay.

  1. Have a do-it-now attitude. I do my best to make decisions and take action in a timely manner. This helps prevent piles from starting and growing.
  2. Make bed every morning. This small act helps me jump start my day creating order.
  3. Have a morning and evening routine, and include activities essential to health and well-being. These routines allow me to start and end my day with calm focus. Two activities included in my morning routine are eating breakfast and meditating. Two activities included in my evening routine are preparing for the next day by reviewing my calendar and planning my outfit.
  4. Have a place for everything and put everything in it’s place. If you struggle with this, I recommend establishing a home for important items that you use daily, for example, wallet, keys, pocketbook, and toiletries.
  5. Have a return-home-routine. I allow myself time to put things away each time I enter my house. This prevents me from littering my entryway with piles of clutter and facilitates an organized home.
  6. Process mail daily. If you struggle with this, I recommend that you collect all incoming mail into a specific container and pick two days a week to processed what is in the container.
  7. Use personal daily calendar that keeps track of important actions that need to get done. A calendar is a great tool for keeping appointments and remembering birthdays, but I find it’s real value is prompting me to take action on tasks and projects.
  8. Use weekly tickler files. I use pocket folders to collect notes and papers that would otherwise be all over the place. The system I created for myself is one folder for the current week, two folders for the following two weeks, and a folder for anything beyond 3 weeks. I schedule time on Sunday night or Monday morning to organize all 4 folders.
  9. Use a donation box. This is a box that holds what I wish to get rid of until I can drop it off for donation. This box performs the important task of helping me separate what I don’t want from what I’m currently using.
  10. Spend time every day reclaiming order.

Shredding Resources

Now that tax season is over it’s a great time to shred all the old papers and files you don’t need. If you’d like a list of how long to hold onto a particular papers visit or

Here are 2 shredding options for you:

  1. Mansfield Shredding Services – They are a non-profit organization located in Mansfield, MA, that has pick-up and walk-in services. They offer a certificate of destruction. 508-618-4222
  2. Shred ‘N’ Go – They are located in Johnston, RI and have pick-up and walk-in services. They offer a certificate of destruction. 401-943-0522

Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
logo square

If you’ve worked with me in any capacity, I’d be grateful for a review.  Simply click on this link and answer 3 questions.  Thank you and happy organizing!