Tag Archive for: organizing

Removing the word ‘why’

Removing the word ‘why’ lets us focus on the solution instead of the problem.

It’s good to acknowledge the problem, but the goal is to find a solution. By asking ‘why we have this problem’ we’re looking at the past and things that can’t be changed. By removing the word why, we’re looking to the future with new ideas and possibilities.


Why do you think you’re not good at organizing?   vs.  How can you develop your organizing skills?

Why did this room get filled up with clutter?  vs.  What can you do about this clutter?

Why does the clutter keep coming back?  vs.  How can you prevent this clutter from coming back?

Could you find me a spoon?

Organizing tipIf you invited me into your home could you find me a spoon? Of course, but what about a postage stamp, last year’s W2 form or tweezers? Are those things stored in a place that is easy to locate? Having a designated spot for things is the guiding principle of organization. So, treat every item as if it were a spoon and give it a designated storage spot.



Live with less = less stress

The Joy of Less

Helpful Organizer BlogDuring the past 10 years I’ve been in business, I’ve worked with over 1450* individuals to help them organize, downsize, and de-clutter. Although every project is different, with its own unique goals, the outcome is always achieved by getting rid of some stuff. The process of organizing includes removing what we no longer need, use, or want.3 steps to organizing process By removing stuff we free ourselves from the burden of having more than we can successfully maintain. By reducing the amount of material possessions we own, we have less to organize, clean, and stress about. Having less allows us to spend more time on what is important to us. Spending more time on what we enjoy improves the quality of our lives. The conclusion is we find the joy of less.

Through the years, I’ve witnessed how my clients’ lives improve with less stuff, and I’ve also seen first-hand how having less stuff has improved my life. My husband and I have participated in the Minimalist Game twice, May 2016 and June 2017. Each time we were successful in completing the game and getting rid of 930 things. We decided not to play the game this year, but we are continuing our efforts to have less, buy less, and reduce often. To us, having less means we have enough and aren’t overstuffed or overwhelmed by our things. Having less means we appreciate what we do have and really see the value in it. Instead of being overabundant with material possessions, we are working on being abundant in love, friendship, happiness, kindness, and gratitude. We are continuing to work on finding the joy of less.

Has this motivated you to see what having less will look like to you? What it will feel like? Will it bring you joy? One way to find out is to let go of all that you no longer need, use, or want, and experience the outcome. Keep me posted, I’d really enjoy hearing your story.

* This number includes hands-on paying clients as well as organizing students and presentation attendees.

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

scary pumpkin

Organizing Doesn’t Have to be Scary

Busines card colors

Side Notes:

I’ve been in business 9 year, and for all those years I’ve been a  member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. However, they have recently changed their name and logo. They are now the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.


***  Have you ever heard of the Buy Nothing Project? It is an on-line community for giving, lending, and sharing. You can search your local area to see if there is one in your neighborhood. You do have to have a Facebook account.

***  Question:  Have you ever rented a storage unit? If so, how big and how long? Please share.
Join Our Mailing List

Hi  ,

Isn’t it hard to believe that there are just two more months left in 2017? Fall is upon us. The colorful autumn leaves are finally sharing their splendor. The Halloween decorations are out, and costume preparations are under way. Now’s the time to  share,

How to Overcome Five 


Thoughts About Organizing.

 1. I’m not ready to organize.
I understand that being in the right mindset when tackling a project can impact the success of the project. If that is the case, take your time and do some planing and preparing before jumping in. However, if this is a procrastination technique, you’re not helping yourself. Commit and get started.
2. It’s too hard to do.
Organizing can be difficult, especially deciding what to keep and not keep, but you can always ask for help. Ask for assistance from sincere friends, empathetic family members, or Professional Organizers. The project will get done faster, and it is much more pleasant to work with a supportive helper.
3. I’m no good at organizing.
The best way to get better at a skill we’re not good at, is to practice. The more you organize the better you’ll get at it. Organize for 10 minutes a day, every day, and see what happens after 3 weeks.
4. I don’t know where to start.
I recommend that you start any organizing project by sorting things into general categories. The idea is to put like items together first, and then make decisions about what to keep and for how long. For more information about the steps of organizing read my blog, 3 Step Organizing Process.
5. It will just be a mess again in a month.  
There is a natural flow to organizing, and it goes like this, there is order, natural disorder (work, life, mess), and then reclaiming order. In this way, organizing is like doing the laundry or dishes. You have to reclaim order for the mess to be controlled and contained, otherwise it creeps back.  

Recycle Resource
Finding new ways to reuse, recycle, and reduce for myself and my clients, makes me happy. Everyone is more motivated to get rid of something when they know it is going to someone who will really use it. At Household Goods in Acton, MA they take donations and give directly to those in need. They help people in a variety of situations make a home for themselves. This is a wonderful organization. Please check them out.
If you have a donation that they don’t accept, or if you’re not close to Acton, they provide a good list of other organizations to donate to.

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!

When is Enough?

Helpful Organizer BlogHave you ever ask yourself, “When do I have enough?” Is enough when every drawer and cupboard in our homes are stuffed to the max? Is enough when we can’t possible fit another thing in our closets? Is enough when we can’t see the walls in the kid’s playroom because the toys are stacked to the ceiling? It’s an interesting question, and I know the answer is different for everyone.

So, I challenge you to go through your personal possessions, and the rooms in your home, and ask yourself, “Do I have enough?” Open your closet and ask yourself, “Do I have enough shoes? Handbags?” Pull out your kitchen drawer and ask yourself, “Do I have enough gadgets?” Look at your bookcase and ask yourself, “Do I have enough books?” Open your desk drawer and ask yourself, “Do I have enough technology? Office supplies?” What answers did you come up with?

Deciding when you have enough maybe something new to you. It may be something you’ve never really thought of before. If that is the case here are a few guidelines that can help you.books

  1. Use containers as your guide. For example allow yourself one bin of handbags. When the bin is full, and you can still close it, you have enough handbags. This guide can also be used for toys, DVDs, decorations, games, and craft supplies.
  2. Pick a maximum number and use that as your guide. So, pick a number that will signify when you have enough of something, and only keep that number. For example keep only 2 sets of towels per person. This guide can also be used for bed sheets, coffee mugs, eye glasses, water bottles, and umbrellas.
  3. Use organizing products as your guide. For example allow yourself one shoe rack. When the shoe rack is full, you have enough shoes. This guide can also be used for books, tools, jewelry, cosmetics, and kitchen utensils.
  4. Use a date as your guide by creating your own expiration date. For example give yourself 3 months to use a recipe by putting an expiration date on the recipes when it’s received or printed. This guide can also be used for magazines, unmatched socks, catalogues, and things waiting to be repaired.

Setting up guidelines will help you know when you have enough, but what then? What do you do with the extra and surplus? I practice the one in, one out rule. This means if something new pushes me beyond the “enough” mark, something old has to go. For example if I get a new pair of shoes, then an old pair has to be donated. This also helps when I’m shopping, because now I’ve gotten in the habit of asking myself, “If I buy this, what will I let go?” This  requires time and practice, I know, but I’d like to hear your progress on finding your ENOUGH.

Another helpful organizing tip can be read in my blog about exit strategies.

©September 2017  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved