Undone Things

Organizing tip

It’s not the things we do that make us tired; it’s the things left undone that wear us out. So write those undone things down. Make a list. Prioritize it. Then tackle one thing from the list a day or a week depending on how big the project is.

action clapboard

Get It Done Today

Organizing tipAsk yourself at the beginning of each day, “What is the most important thing for me to get done today?” If the most important thing you have to do today requires more time than you have to devote to it, ask, “What is the first step I can take that will get me closer to completing that one thing?” After answering these questions, take action before doing anything else.


Situational Disorganization

Organizing tipSituational disorganization is when our organizational systems are temporarily derailed, or when we’re temporarily overwhelmed by life. A few examples are when one has to downsize in less than 3 months, when one has to clean out the family home to prepare for a sale, or when one inherits a mass quantity of things all at once. In these situations I’d recommend asking for help from a Professional Organizer.


The Best Organizing Product In The World

Helpful Organizer BlogDuring my organizing classes, I often ask the class, “What is the best organizing product in the world?” This question grabs their attention. They stop what their doing, and look up. I see a question in their eyes, and hear it on the tips of their tongues, “What?” They really want to know. Their curiosity is peaked. After a brief pause, I tell them, “The one you will use.” The response is usually a universal, “OH!”

Many of us buy bins, containers, organizing tools, and products that never get used. We convince ourselves that these products are the things we need to make the magic happen. We purchase the items with the best intention, to get organized, but that doesn’t happen. Why do these items end up collecting dust in the back of the closet?

Usually, because they aren’t a good fit for our situation. So, what would make them a good fit? Here are some criteria to use:

  • Make sure the product is the correct size, shape, and dimension.
  • Make sure the product saves time and effort, and doesn’t add unnecessary steps to the process.
  • Make sure the product is convenient to use, not cumbersome, flimsily, or difficult to use.
  • Make sure the product is easy to take out and put away.
  • Make sure the product is used.

Having an organizing product that is just right for the job is very helpful. However, a bit of sorting, planning, and product testing may be needed before the purchasing happens. Here are some things to do before spending any money:

  • Create some order by sorting and reducing before purchasing.
  • Measure before purchasing.
  • Use a box that’s around the house to test out the effectiveness of the solution before purchasing.
  • Ask yourself if you’ve tried something like this before and if it worked, before purchasing.
  • Have the product be part of the organizing process and test that process, before purchasing.

Having the right organizing product can make a world of difference. Here are two examples:

I like my makeup holder vs. a makeup bag.

cosmetics organized










I like my utensil holder vs. having everything loose in drawer.

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What organizing products do you like? Please share with me.

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



Lessons Learned From Clients

Helpful Organizer BlogBeing a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) is educational and rewarding. As a member I receive valuable training, business support, and resources. One of the best benefits is the collaboration with other Organizers. There are several smaller groups within the association, and one that I belong to is Golden Circle. We meet 4 times a year to discuss a specific topic, to offer each other support, to get to know each other a little better, and to socialize. Last month we met to discuss lessons we’ve learned from our clients. Everyone had such valuable insights to share.

One important lesson I’ve learned is that it’s not easy to accept reality, especially when it means that our dreams are unattainable. For example a client of mine had collected large amounts of books with the dream of spending hours enjoying her books. Although she wanted my help to sort, reduce, categorize, and organize these books, the reality was that her eyesight was going, and she would never be able to read the majority of her books. My practical, organized self, encouraged her to reduce and let go, until she said to me one day, “What if the doctors are wrong, and my eyesight improves?”  That is when I realized that she wasn’t giving up on her dream. So, I needed to respect that, and not be a dream crusher. Coincidentally, it was not an easy reality for me to accept.

Here are some lessons we (Professional Organizers from NAPO-NE Golden Circle) have learned from our clients:

  1. It’s necessary to give up our right to be right.
  2. We’re like Velcro. We throw out solutions and some stick and some don’t.
  3. Everyone is good a something.
  4. We’re done when our clients are done.
  5. There is value in talking and communicating, not only physically organizing.
  6. Our clients motivate us to walk the walk, and organize and reduce in our own homes.
  7. Everyone organizes at their own pace.
  8. It takes courage to ask for help.
  9. We never know someone’s whole story.
  10. If we can remain neutral, we allow our clients to arrive at their own best solution.
  11. We affect each other in powerful ways.
  12. We all need personal support in our lives.
  13. The first step for change is a shift in perspective.
  14. You’re not a hoarder if you can see the floor.
  15. Running a home is a business in, and of, itself (the business of living).
  16. Sometimes it’s about me, the organizer.
  17.  We don’t know what we don’t know.
  18. Organizing is not always a priority.
  19. It’s all relative.

Another lesson I’ve learned is that simple solutions are often the best solutions. To read more, click here.

©June 2016   Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®   All rights reserved