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  • June 22, 2018 10:23 AM | Jamie Steele (Administrator)

    Please enjoy this NAPO Austin guest blog

    by Kate Martin, owner of Organized Joy.




    It’s 6 months into the year and our New Year’s resolutions are mostly memories by now. In fact, according to statisticsbrain.com, last year only 9.2% of people “felt they were successful in achieving their resolution.” Goal setting, making to do lists, and planning projects are things we love to do. But why do only some people follow through all the way?

    As Professional Organizers, we help people achieve goals that they cannot do on their own. Individuals and businesses hire us because it’s much easier to get a project done with more help. Especially help from someone without personal attachment to the project. Working with a team is one of the many secrets to better achieving the goals you set for yourself. So, let’s take a closer look at a few things you can do to make next year’s goals even more successful.




    Brain Dumping

    Some people don’t follow through on their resolutions because they’ve set the wrong ones. There are so many things we want to do and we want to do them now, of course. But taking a bit of extra time to really soul search is worth it. Set aside some free time and write down anything and everything you want to accomplish. Then pick your top 3 or 5 priorities to focus on this year. Save the rest for when you’ve accomplished your current goals, but keep in mind that they may change along the way.

    Look at your past resolutions and determine if they were too big or too small for you to do. Say your goals out loud. Write up a pretend resume with your completed goals to see if it makes you feel proud and accomplished. Research the people you admire to see if your current goals align with who you want to be. Put aside old disappointments and focus on the possibilities of the next 6 months.




    Get Detailed

    For each of your big goals, determine each and every step you need to take along the way. Get incredibly detailed with your steps and leave nothing out. People get tripped up when their goal is “organize the house” or “lose weight” so not much gets done. By breaking the goal up into bite sized pieces, it's much easier. Progress is better measured and small victories can be celebrated along the way.

    If you ran into a stumbling block mid-January, recognize and accept it. However now you can analyze which step made you stumble. This time around you can ask for help, delegate certain tasks, or approach your goal in a new way.




    Set The Date

    Your new very detailed goal can seem daunting now that it’s gotten quite large. The secret to accomplishing these many parts is assigning dates to each thing you want to do. Let’s say one of your goals is to re-do a room in your home – paint the walls and move the furniture. Setting aside one weekend may get a lot of it done, but not all. A more successful goal timeline might look like this:

    Thursday: List all room projects to do and supplies needed

    Friday: Buy supplies and call friends to help out

    Saturday: Order pizza, assign tasks to friends (move furniture, paint, clean up, put furniture back in place) and everyone starts working

    Sunday: Buy additional supplies (another Home Depot trip as usual) and finish up tasks on your own (new artwork hung, new linens washed and put in room)

    Monday: Return supplies not needed and drop off trash/donations

    Tuesday: Have your best friend over to point out the things you didn’t see and finally finish your room.




    Free Up Your Brain Space

    People often get bogged down with daily tasks so they can’t find ample time for their big goals and projects. The more you can automate your daily items, the more you can devote to your big bold goals. If you use a paper planner, try writing in your entire year’s tasks now. Then you can see what chunks of time you have left to devote to your big goals.

    If you use a digital calendar, create tasks that repeat every week, month, or year so you never forget the little things again. If you are a true techy, have Alexa, Siri, or Google remind you in a fun and frequent way (try getting Alexa to tell the kids it’s time for bed instead of you!).

    Here are a few tasks to automate and remove from your brain:

    Birthdays - sending cards or buying presents

    Quarterly or yearly paperwork requirements like tax due dates

    Changing AC filters

    Rotating your mattresses

    Purging your wardrobe seasonally

    Checking fire extinguishers and smoke alarm batteries




    Two Is Better Than One

    Let’s go back to that first tip about how people hire Professional Organizers to help with their goals. It’s often much easier for someone who doesn’t live with you to help you because they see things you can’t. We sometimes move into our homes and place objects in random places thinking we’ll move them later. 5 years afterwards, that item has its home, for better or worse, and it’s up to a professional to ask why.

    It’s the same way with goals, so ask someone else to be an accountability partner for you. Tell them your goals, explain your why (which might even surprise you), and state your dates. Check in regularly to keep up your progress and reward yourself along the way for sticking to your plan. Try also being an accountability partner for your friend and celebrate your success together.

    You’ve got 6 more months until the end of the year. Plenty of time to add author or professional chef or artist to your repertoire. So, figure out your 2nd set of goals for the year and get going. There’s no time like now.


  • June 11, 2018 4:48 PM | Jamie Steele (Administrator)

    NAPO-Austin Librarian, Beta Shad, reviews "Growing Your Business!"

    There are so many text book style references about different ways to grow your business. Hundreds of pages long and needless to say BORING! Growing Your Business! is a quick and simple, to-the-point read that gives easy to implement strategies to effectively grow your business. That is what we are all striving to do right?


    This book gets you thinking about which direction you want to take your business and what it will take to get you there. Whether you are just getting started or you are well established and you are interested in learning a new perspective, this book is a tiny gem for anyone in business. LeBlanc provides variations on ideas that exist in the business world today and offers strategies on how to position yourself for more prospects. He suggests that you present the outcomes of your work and it will lead you to more clients and sales.

    He also touches on the hot topic of mindset. But he is not referring to changing your own mindset from negative to positive thinking, although that is very important. He offers the perspective of the potential clients mindset and suggests that if you can understand their way of thinking you can then respond in a way that will meet their needs.

    “Position what prospects need in a way they want it, and you will have people busting down your door!”

    Just like in any area of your life, in order to see results you must keep your focus daily and TAKE THE ACTION. What you focus on expands, so get clear on the most important aspects of your business. Putting your focus there will make decision making easier, which will cut out some unnecessary stress. By keeping it simple, with consistent effort everyday, anything is possible.

    Last but certainly not least, as another important way to help grow your business, LeBlanc recommends surrounding yourself with people who really care about your success. And that is what NAPO members are for! :)

    Additional reading recommendation: The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino


  • May 02, 2018 3:56 PM | Jamie Steele (Administrator)

    NAPO Austin Professional Organizer Ryan Lanier of LOVE Your Space Organizing reminisces on her time at the NAPO 2018 Retreat.




    I started my biz in Jan 2017, but was not able to go to Conference that year, so it’s been over a year of anticipation for me to finally GET TO GO!!  This year’s “retreat-style” had all the veterans head-scratching and wondering what it could possibly look like?  The Q Center in St. Charles, IL, just outside of big-town Chicago, was indeed in a restful, wooded area, but also had ample facility to host several concurrent conferences. Here are some take-aways...

     

    Top 3 things I loved about Conference:

     

    #1.  The cafeteria!  The extensive buffet-style food was included, delicious, and catered to ALL dietary needs.  The seating area invited interaction, and I made it a priority to sit down and introduce myself to new people so as to make those connections that are the invaluable part of going to Conference.  You have to push yourself sometimes in order to reap benefits.

     

    #2.  The sessions!  Wow.  From the keynote, Jessica Butts, who blew our minds with fascinating research and compelling evidence as to how imperative it is for us to take our clients’ personality types into consideration while working with them, to the session on how multi-taking ACTUALLY makes us stupid by dividing our attention so badly that you’d be more productive while being HIGH than trying to do to “simultaneous” tasks!!!  If you couldn’t go, make time to listen to the sessions.  Again, push yourself to get educated from other NAPO members.

     


    #3.  The sisterhood of powerful women!  Unbelievable.  The caliber of strong, motivated, successful entrepreneurs at both elbows is simultaneously intimidating and intensely compelling. As a newbie of less than 1 ½ years in biz, I found the energy of being surrounded by so many levels of business owners to be intoxicating.  The resource that NAPO is, the education it offers, the legitimate business generator that it provides are here for us to access and integrate into our own businesses.  (Oh, and they LOVE to DANCE like no one's watching!!!!)

     

     

    The best news of the weekend was that next year it will be in FORT WORTH:  within driving distance for us!  This is a perfect opportunity to GET TO CONFERENCE in 2019 without the added expense of a plane ticket.  So register now in the early-bird window, and pat yourself on the back for deciding to drink the NAPO Kool Aid!  (and register!  Do it now!)

     

    --

    Ryan Lanier

    Professional Home Organizer

    LOVE Your Space Organizing



  • March 24, 2018 6:26 PM | Kate Martin

    Please enjoy this guest post, reprinted with permission from
    NAPO Austin member Melynda Weiland of Order To Everything


    5 EASY STEPS TO AN

    ORGANIZED CLOSET


    Having a disorganized closet is stressful and can create a domino effect of other disorganized spaces in your home.  Here are 5 easy steps to get you to an organized closet and free you from your overwhelm.




    SAY GOODBYE TO CLOSET CLUTTER!

    Do you have a closet where, when you walk in, your anxiety level goes up 10 notches?

      

    You know, when you step over things on the floor and reach over piles to get a shirt off the hanger or when you're unable to find anything because it's busting at the seams?  So frustrating!!  It’s a pain to get to the clothes in the first place, so putting them back isn’t any easier.  This leads to a jumbled mess of clothes on the floor or draped garments over anything that appears to be a surface.  

    Having a cluttered closet can cause undue stress in our already chaotic lives.  Not only is it a time waster, it can literally set a bad tone for your entire day stirring up irritability and frustration.

    Mess = Stress = Time and Energy Lost   Who wants that?!


    This pattern of clutter can spill from the closet through the entire home.  Nobody wants their day to start with an overwhelming feeling of anxiety or stress.  Worry not, this post has got you covered.  I've put together 5 easy steps to free you from your closet clutter and take that anxiety level down to zilch.

    Closets come in all shapes and sizes and the amount of clutter will differ from person to person, but the way in which you organize it is the same.  Set aside a bit of time, use these 5 easy steps to organize your closet and you’ll be doin a little dance in your clear space instead of getting overwhelmed in the mornings.  


    The 5 Easy Steps To An Organized Closet

    1. Remove Everything
    2. Ask Yourself Some Questions
    3. Put Like With Like
    4. Take Inventory
    5. Put It All In Place

    Your closet is going to be clutter free and fabulous, are you ready?!  

    OK, let's dive in.


    EASY STEP #1 -  REMOVE EVERYTHING,
    THAT’S RIGHT, EVERYTHING!


    OK, so remove everything from your closet first.  It’s important to see and touch all of your clothing, shoes, etc. to make accurate decisions on whether you will keep them or not.  

    Taking a closer peek at each piece will give you, not only the opportunity to see how many things you’ve kept from the 80’s or still have because you know you’ll fit into it one day, but a better view of the styles, colors, and condition of what is there.   

    Viewing the empty space of your newly cleared out closet will also give you a different vantage point.  This will allow you to see all the possibilities of placing items back into your space.


    EASY STEP #2 - ASK YOURSELF SOME QUESTIONS IN YOUR DECISION PROCESS. 




    Does it fit?  Will I ever really wear this?  Are there any rips or tears?  Do I love it?  Do I really need a furry hat with tassels?

    Be honest with yourself.  Just because you may lose weight this summer, will those jeans really be what you want to wear?  When going through your items, divide them into 6 piles: save, relocate, donate, sell, recycle, and trash.  The answers to your questions will help you put items in the right piles.  Whatever is in the save pile goes back in, everything else goes.

    Doesn't that feel great?!

     

    EASY STEP #3 - PUT LIKE WITH LIKE


    Create categories to keep your closet orderly.  Having categories such as tank tops, sweaters, long sleeve, short sleeve, etc.. will not only make the space look better, it will also make it easier to find what you are looking for.   You can find more category ideas in my free Clothing Category Guide here.




    Start by separating clothing by type such as season, business, casual, etc... For example, separate your date night attire from your every day, on the go wardrobe.  

    Once you have your core types, move on to create sub-categories within those types as mentioned above.  Long sleeve, short sleeve, tank tops, etc...  This will create an additional layer of categorizing to amp up an easy “go to and grab” system for your closet.   

    If you want to have a little fun, take it one step further and organize each category by color.  The next time you need a black tank top, you’ll find it in a snap!

    EASY STEP #4 - TAKE INVENTORY





    Time for the fun!  Now that you know what you’re going to save, it’s time to gather any bins, hangers, etc.. you may need to put it all in place.  Begin by putting everything back in the closet where you want it to go and take inventory.  

    Create a list of containers, shelves, hangers, etc.. needed to house your items and measure, measure, measure.  

    You may think that measuring the shelf is enough, but measuring what is being placed there is essential as well in finding the right size container or organizing solution.  

    Think height, width, and depth of everything from the shelving, that stack of purses you’re going to hang, to how long those 3 rows of shoes are and write it down.  You’ll thank yourself later with a latte or glass of wine, promise!  With your measurements of height, width, and depth in hand, or on your phone (I use Asana, check it out here), it’s time to go shopping!  

    …did you remember to measure?

     

    EASY STEP #5 - PUT IT ALL IN PLACE  


    You’ve gone shopping and you have everything to need to complete your closet.  With your new containers and organizing solutions, place all of your items in their new homes.  

    Create labels for bins and, voila!  You have an organized closet.  

     

    HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO AID IN YOUR CLOSET ORGANIZING PROJECT:

    • Velvet hangers streamline the look of a closet, eliminate hanger bumps on clothing and maximize hanging space.  I get mine at Costco.
    • If you’re tight on time, start working on one section of the closet first and move on to other sections as you go.  

    • Use space saving shoe holders or shoe bins to create more space for your shoes.

    • Always measure the largest item to go in an area when measuring for bins to ensure everything will fit.

    • Think vertical.  Most closets have a ton of space above the top shelf.  Store luggage, stack bins with lids to house seasonal or rarely used items, or add shelving to utilize the space to your advantage.


      I’m going to be tackling my Master Closet. I'll be documenting my progress on Facebook next month.  What closet are you going to conquer to clear your clutter?  

      I’d love to know and see what you’re doing!  Come visit me on Facebook or Instagram and share your progress, your pains and your wins. 




      Don’t forget to download my FREE Clothing Category Guide!  Click here to grab it.

      This page contains affiliate links which means I will earn a commission if you use those links at no additional charge to you. I only recommend products and brands I use and trust.

  • February 18, 2018 9:57 AM | Carol Jones (Administrator)

    What do you get when you throw a bunch of NAPO-Austin Professional Organizers into a room with disorganized craft supplies? Well, at first, you get lots of wild sorting, big messy piles on tables, and some crazy laughing. At the end, you get a room full of beautifully organized items.

    NAPO-Austin is the local chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. Our professional organizer members love nothing better than to tackle big messes and make them more manageable.

    For our “Keep Austin Organized” community project in January 2018, NAPO-Austin went to AGE of Central Texas at the Round Rock location to help them out. AGE of Central Texas is a wonderful nonprofit organization that provides services for senior citizens. They have a Health Equipment Lending Program where they lend out wheelchairs, crutches, shower chairs, and other mobility equipment, for free.  http://www.ageofcentraltx.org/help.php  They offer Caregiver Information and Resources  http://www.ageofcentraltx.org/caregiver.php  and an Early Memory Loss Support program. http://www.ageofcentraltx.org/early_memory_loss.php

    They do a fabulous job of taking care of our senior citizens who need help, in Austin and Round Rock! In their Adult Day Health Care Center, they have all kinds of craft supplies, toys, and games to keep their senior clients entertained.

    Organizing all those things was going to be a fun challenge! Here is the NAPO-Austin team that tackled this project. Top row from left to right: Merilee Abboud of Clutter Concierge, Carol Jones of A Jones For Organizing, Pam Clyde of BritLin Services, Courtney Grand of Make It Grand Organizing, Christina Potter (retired), Kate Martin of Organized Joy, Melynda Weiland of Order To Everything, Jamie Steele of Steele Organizing, bottom row, left to right: Ryan Lanier of Love Your Space, Kathy Blair of Envision Organizing, and Angela Murphy of Organizational Bliss. Not shown: Randi Lyman of A Helping Hand.



    Before we started the project, the storage room of craft supplies looked like this. 



    Some bins were labeled incorrectly, items were scattered in different places, and nothing had a permanent home. It was difficult to find what you were looking for, and impossible to keep track of inventory.



    After we finished, it looked like this!



    Everything is now grouped by categories. The games are all together, the paint bottles, fabric, yarn, and beads all have permanent homes, and everything is clearly labeled. There was enough room left over to keep three shelves empty for drying wet art projects.



    Grouping similar things together into labeled spots makes everything easier to find. Managing the craft supplies and incoming donations will be much easier now for Naomi Dalsbo, Activity Director of AGE at Round Rock. “You all are rock stars!” said Naomi. “I can’t tell you how great this improvement will be for us.” Below, Naomi Dalsbo is thrilled with the chaos because she knows it will be so much better when we are done.



    See below for some fun pictures of the process.

    Let the transformation begin! We pulled everything out of the storage room, put it on tables, and began sorting. It always gets much messier at the beginning! 



    Ryan Lanier of Love Your Space and Christina Potter, retired organizer, break into a dance at the thought of organizing all this fun stuff.



    Kate Martin of Organized Joy and Jamie Steele of Steele Organizing love figuring out the best way to organize paper supplies.



    Randi Lyman of A Helping Hand and Melynda Weiland of Order To Everything take a smile break.



    Kathy Blair of Envision Organizing finds some oversized playing cards and tiny poker chips.



    Kate Martin of Organized Joy finds a fun project to work on.



    Angela Murphy of Organizational Bliss blisses out on organizing the beads.



    Randi Lyman of A Helping Hand and Jamie Steele of Steele Organizing crack each other up.



    Naomi Dalsbo and Christina Potter share a hug amid the piles of crafts.



    Kate Martin of Organized Joy and Courtney Grand of Make It Grand Organizing discuss strategy.



    Kathy Blair of Envision Organizing and Melynda Weiland of Order To Everything work on organizing the games.



    Courtney Grand of Make It Grand Organizing proudly shows off the color coordinated paint cabinet she organized.



    Ryan Lanier of Love Your Space and Naomi Dalsbo celebrate nearing the end of the project.



    Angela Murphy of Organizational Bliss and Pam Clyde of BritLin Services make some color-coded labels for the wire shelving units. Using color to easily find categories is one of our favorite organizing methods!



    Melynda Weiland of Order To Everything and Pam Clyde of Britlin Services find a cute sign.



    Now, everything has been sorted, containerized and labeled.





    One aspect of good organizing is using space effectively. Every inch of available storage in this supply room was used. The vertical empty space underneath this counter was perfect for storing inflatable balls in a wire toy barrel.



    Things in this supply room used to get set down on any available flat surface, which made them hard to find later. Now that the NAPO-Austin organizers have swooped in and designated permanent homes for everything, it will all be easy to put away now, and find later. Even the paper cutter and corner punch have official labeled homes!



    The NAPO-Austin team of professional organizers had a great time turning a chaotic collection of craft supplies and toys into a straightened-up, shipshape, easy to maintain space. Now we are looking forward to our next community project!

    Thank you, AGE of Central Texas, for all that you do to care for our beloved senior citizens in the community!


  • December 06, 2017 8:13 AM | Kate Martin

    How to Survive the Holiday Season

    By Lindsay Palmgren,
    Professional Organizer at 3e Organizing


    A few weeks ago NAPO Austin invited me to guest blog on “How to Survive the Holiday Season.” While I brainstormed for different tips and strategies that others could employ in order to not feel so frazzled, I realized I needed to take my own advice. Between renovating our new home and packing for our week-before-Christmas move-in date I am overworked, overcommitted, and overwhelmed. I am just plain, over. Add to this my in-laws and my parents are coming for two weeks to stay at the new house… the one that doesn’t have flooring installed or all the walls painted yet.

    And while I’ll be glad to see them, I’m also stressed at the idea that I still need to get floors and walls completed (and the toilet from the garage) in order to host a Christmas dinner that might resemble something like a Stouffers lasagna commercial. Oh, and the PTA is emailing me about getting involved with the school carnival. And there is a club I’m trying to set up at school. And I just found out that my daughter needs to make a dish authentic to Greenland to share with the class!?!? Greenland, really? Can she bring ice? #SnowConesAnyone #DecemberProjectsAreHard



    Trying to balance all of this, while also keeping my own home organized (it’s not) and making room in my own schedule for clients. Is hiding from your family in the closet with a box of wine and chocolate a bad thing? If your to-do-list chaos resembles mine, then keep reading for some hot tips on how we can all get through this together.

     

    Prioritize… prioritize… prioritize!

    A calendar and to-do-list where you can prioritize action items can be your best friend this holiday season. Break down your list into an A, B, and C list. A is the most important action items, the ones that are time sensitive. The B list is things that need to be done, but maybe don’t have a deadline. The C list is for the things that are nice to get done, but can be put on the back burner if you run out of time. 

    The trick is you need to stick to it, no matter what. For example: feeding your family is crucial. That goes on the A list. Feeding your family a Pinterest-worthy dinner of toasted-walnut-stuffed-rigatoni made with the tears of unicorns, is not a priority. It’s on the C list. Simplify your to-do-list and you’ll simplify your life.

     

    Streamline your Holiday Shopping

    While I normally advise people to shop local, it isn’t always the most practical when you’re overwhelmed with a busy schedule. It’s not always likely that you can go to every mom-and-pop boutique in between boycotting your Pinterest pasta recipe, so therefore Amazon may become your best friend. #AddOnGiftWrapping (P.S. I receive no money or compensation from Amazon for this suggestion.)

    Another way to manage your big list is to buddy shop with a friend who has a similar shopping list. For example, if you have to buy for kids in the same age range or same interests, you can trade lists and cut down on your brainpower. This can apply to groceries and other errands as well. This is a great time to hire a babysitter or do a child care trade with a friend. Nobody likes a screaming kid in the store, especially the parent that is trying to hurry. Two heads are better than one so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

     

    Be Mindful

    It’s important to be mindful of your available time and energy and to know when to take action and when to take a backseat. If your kids are fighting and something’s on fire in the kitchen, you would obviously put out the fire and let the kids fight. Every day things, however, aren’t as easy to delegate and prioritize. You may be asked to head the committee to make authentic handmade glass blown ornaments for children around the world. While of course you may care a great deal about this cause, perhaps you could donate to your favorite relief fund instead? My suggestion is that the relief fund will not only get the most appropriate help to where it needs to go, but it will also be far less stressful for you, and more meaningful to the recipients.

    Sometimes we need to be mindful of where our efforts are best spent to have the most meaningful impact.  So be strategic about what you take on this holiday season, and leave room in your schedule for all of those inevitable house fires. Hopefully there won’t be real fires. #MicrowavesAreNotForPreschoolers #SpeakingFromExperience


    Plan for Buffers

    Speaking of leaving room in your schedule, here’s another important tip; give yourself plenty of time for travel. Holiday shoppers and travelers make the roads way more congested. Every-Single-Trip is going to take longer. The errands in the store will take longer. The phrase “stop in quick” will become an oxymoron. Nothing is quick in December. So leave a huge buffer for driving. If you get somewhere early, it's not a terrible thing. Heck, you can get yourself a coffee, power nap in your car, or review your to-do list while you wait in the parking lot.  Just enjoy the peace of not feeling rushed. And no, this is NOT the time to scroll Pinterest for holiday ideas. Just say no; you do not need pinecone placecards. #LearnFromMe 


     


    Bend it Like Beckham…. or Just Be Flexible

    Flexibility is the key to maintaining your sanity, especially this time of year. Things aren’t always going to go the way you planned. Checkout lines are longer, traffic is frustrating, and people are more frazzled. You may tell your well-meaning family that you don't want to receive a roomful of loud squeaky obnoxious toys, however you really can't control what they do buy. You can control the current toy collection by paring down on some of the things the kids have outgrown or no longer play with. If your schedule allows it, try to declutter some in your home before the holidays to make room. If you’re not able to, that’s okay, don’t stress about it. Really. There is always tomorrow. In the meantime, just breathe.

     

    Take Care of Number One

    The best way to reduce stress this holiday season is to take care of YOU. I know there's a ton of articles out there about how to have an easy Christmas or happy Hanukkah or a sensational season.  I’m here to stress to you, that YOU are the most important person to take care of. Nobody knows you better than you. So whether you need a box of wine hidden in your closet, a bubble bath, a massage, silly YouTube videos, or heck, even a stroll through Walgreens all by yourself; do whatever it is that helps you be a little bit more human.  I won’t judge – do whatever it is that fills your cup. When we give to everybody else and not give to ourselves, it's not a pretty thing.

    Nourish yourself both metaphorically and literally – that is, don’t forget to eat! Stash a few granola bars in your purse if you need to. This is a lesson I am learning late in life: don't neglect yourself as a sacrifice for others. Make sure to get enough sleep instead of staying up until 3 AM wrapping gifts and then being exhausted and crabby the next day. This doesn't really benefit anybody. You're better off getting plastic bags with a bow slapped on top. Eat well, get lots of sleep, and do one thing a day that feeds you.  Trust me, everyone else around you will appreciate this more. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you can’t give to other people without giving a little to yourself.

     

    So there you have it – there are my tips to have a less stressful holiday season. I'm certainly not perfect, and I’ll need to re-read the list to myself. Many times. Even as a Professional Organizer. We all need to be reminded to take it easy on ourselves this season. Peace and love to you all!



    #StouffersLasagna #Amazon #BoxWine #Babysitters #DropOffDaycare #TradeWithAFriend #Sleep #MyAuthorFriendHelpedMeEditThis

     

     

  • September 25, 2017 9:24 AM | Kate Martin

    Please enjoy this NAPO Austin guest blog by Lindsay Palmgren,
    owner of 3e Organizing, reprinted with permission from NAPO National’s blog.




    “Brrrrrrrrrriiiinggg!!!” There’s the bell signalling a new school year! This means shopping for school supplies, preparing for new schedules, and getting ready to hit the books again. “Back to School” is for more than just the kiddos. As Professional Organizers, we understand the need for checklists and learning, but are we underestimating the resources right in front of us? Regardless of if you are a new Organizer, or an experienced Organizer, NAPO University has something for everyone! Here are my top 5 reasons why I’ll keep checking out the courses at NAPO University.


    1. There’s No Tardy Bell. With courses available both pre-recorded and live, there’s no need to worry about being marked ‘tardy’! You can fit your coursework into YOUR schedule – in between kids’ swim classes, after client appointments, first thing in the morning (after your coffee is brewed, of course), whenever it works for YOU.

    2. Syllabuses and Outlines. The courses are broken down into specific topics and segmented videos, with downloadable outlines. This makes it easier to tackle subject matter in small chunks, to take notes, and to resume a class. It makes my organized heart sing!

    3. Ditch the #2 pencils. As a NAPO newbie, I was relieved to discover that Organizing 101, 102, and 103 course provided relevant examples and realistic case studies to solve. This really got me thinking about new strategies and methodologies. There wasn’t a scantron test to take either, so no test anxiety here!

    4. Members and NAPO improve each other. Learning new skills improves the way we can help our clients, but it also improves the reputation of NAPO as a whole. When NAPO members become more educated, our organization becomes more respected. It helps unify the standard that NAPO sets within our industry.

    5. Personal development. Philosophies taught may benefit our personal lives, in addition to professionally. In Organizing 101, the speaker suggested using the “Premack Principle” with a client, however I found myself using the principle on myself. My own goal was to complete the first three NAPO “Going Pro” courses, Organizing 101, 102, & 103, and the reward would be replacing my broken purse. Well, I finally finished my 3-class goal, and have “Gone Pro”.

    So there you have it, a NAPO newbie’s take on why NAPO University is a great investment. Now if you excuse me, I’m off to go shopping for my new purse, and my next NAPO course.


    Lindsay’s testimonial to NAPO University:  “The first class in the NAPO University that I have taken is the Organizing 101 course. It was jam-packed full of valuable information for the newbie in the business! I have taken a few other organizing courses, and this course provided more organizational theory and information within the first 20 minutes than what I had obtained from another (non-NAPO) class. A definite “must take”, and I can see why it’s titled, ‘101’. Thank you, NAPO!”

  • September 05, 2017 12:33 PM | Kate Martin

    Please enjoy this NAPO Austin guest blog by Ryan Leary Lanier,
    owner of Love Your Space Organizing.


    Here are 5 Back To School Organizing Tips For Success:




    The Night Before

    A successful day starts the night before!  Establish the routine of a "launch pad" where your kid puts together his/her outfit from top to bottom (where ARE my SHOES???!?!), backpack with all homework and signed papers, and any special items.  Preferably, create a spot near the door for the items (except the clothes!), so it's ready, set, launch!  Use a "don't forget" sticky note on the door if an item is in the fridge.  "Today me takes care of tomorrow me!"


    Organizing A Homework Area

    Designate an area for homework and stock it with all the necessary supplies to cut down on the "where are the glue sticks?!" moments.  Use lots of pencil cups to keep everything neat and tidy.  If you need to stow it all away, choose a shower caddy to hold everything for easy toting.  Most kids like to do homework in the kitchen near the action so making a portable supply center will help tidy up after worktime is over.


    Managing School Lunches

    Spend some of Sunday afternoon or evening prepping and stocking the lunch making station.  Cut veggies, make sandwiches, cook a bunch of pasta, put trail mix into small containers, and then these items are ready all week to throw into those lunch boxes.  If you have leftovers from dinner, go ahead and put into lunch sized containers and then they are ready to roll!  When training your child to pack his/her own lunch, teach him/her to choose something from each food group.  Lessons learned now can benefit them their whole lives!




    Helpful Apps For The Family

    Google Calendar is the way to go for family activity management, and to do items.  Link everyone's calendars and designate each person with a different color and life will look pretty in its craziness!  We always have our phones, so use that to your advantage.  Any thought, date, or whim can be entered on the calendar and not overlooked.  A must for families with a traveling parent too, to keep him/her in the loop!


    Go To Parenting/School Resources

    For any and all advice, tips, funny stories, blogs, podcasts and Facebook groups to help with being a successful home CEO, turn to www.organize365.com and you will find a wealth of logical, do-able, and clever strategies to cope with this crazy life!  Lisa Woodruff has been through it all and has created many products and programs (lots of free ones) and an online community for support and tips whenever you need it.  And we all need it!


    Just take it one day at a time!


  • July 10, 2017 2:56 PM | Kate Martin

    5 Top Summer Vacation Travel Tips


    Please enjoy this NAPO Austin interview of guest blogger Erin Morper,
    owner of Start Somewhere Professional Organizing Solutions




    1. What lists do you make before going on vacation?

    I make my packing list by grabbing a sheet of paper and making three columns; in the first column I list the days of the vacation, activities, and the weather forecast for each day, in the second column, I list each item of clothing and whatever accessories I’ll need for each activity, and the third column is a running list of everything to pack. To streamline my lists, I keep the lists necessary for all trips electronically in Evernote so they’re easy to update and share. I have a before we leave, house sitter instructions, and general packing checklist, which saves me so much time getting ready for a trip.

     


    2. What is your favorite travel item?

    My favorite travel item is my VW bus toiletry bag. It’s colorful and fun and just packing it helps me get into vacation mode!


     



    3. Do you have any special way of packing a suitcase - fold or roll, certain items on top/bottom, jewelry packing secrets?

    It’s amazing how much space you can save in your suitcase by rolling your clothes instead of folding them. I also like to bring my own pillowcase, which doubles as a travel case for necklaces or bracelets to keep them from getting tangled. Simply lay the pillowcase out, place a necklace close to one end, fold the pillowcase over the necklace and repeat!

     


    4. What is your favorite app to use when traveling?

    Tripadvisor is my favorite travel app. It’s like Yelp for travel; you can find things to do, restaurants, and real-time reviews wherever you are. If you’re traveling with pets, Bring Fido is an app that locates pet-friendly accommodations and dog parks along your route.

     


    5. What things do you suggest bringing along on a road trip to keep the car clean, organized, and not too boring?

    One of my road trip must-haves is a car power inverter with USB ports. It keeps everyone’s devices charged and if you want to plug your laptop in to watch a movie, you can do that too! One thing that’s always on my Before We Leave list is to download podcasts, music and videos for the trip so we can access them in the middle of nowhere without using all of our data. To keep the car clean and organized, I recommend packing wet wipes and a roll of paper towels for messes and spills and a handful of plastic bags for the inevitable accumulation of road trip trash, muddy shoes, wet bathing suits and laundry.

     


    A big thank you to Erin for all of her fabulous travel organizing tips!

    If you are planning a vacation and need a little assistance, check out our Find An Organizer page for more help.


  • June 21, 2017 5:39 AM | Kate Martin


    *Adapted & reprinted with permission from the author,
    Jamie Steele of  www.steeleorganizing.com 

    Master Your To-Do List

    We all have so much to do it can be overwhelming. Here are 6 strategies to keep your sanity and master your to-do list.


    1. Keep A Master List


    If you don’t have a master list start one right now.  Set a timer for 20 minutes and write down everything you have to do.  If you keep your lists in multiple places, now is the time to gather all the scraps of paper and put it all down in one master list.


    2. Brain Dump Weekly On To Your List


    Now that you have a master list you need to keep adding to it.  Every week block out some time to brain dump all your new to-dos.  List everything that pops into your mind.  No item is too large or too small to be added to your list.  By now you probably have an enormous list and it is a bit overwhelming.  We will take care of that in the next couple of steps.


    3. Delete Items That Are No Longer Relevant


    So, you have brain dumped and gathered all your miscellaneous lists into one master list and you are totally overwhelmed with all there is to do.  I want you to go through your master list and cross off anything that you really don’t need to get done.  We add items to our lists thinking we are supposed to be doing these things.  Not necessarily.  Don’t succumb to the pressure of what others are doing.  Look inside yourself to determine what needs to be done and cross off those items that are irrelevant.


    4. Delegate Items That Don’t Need To Be Completed By You


    We all need help and with the list you have going, you have to enlist the help of family, friends, and co-workers.  Go through your master list and decide what doesn’t need to be done by you.  Delegate those items out.  No need wasting your time on tasks that are not your strong suit when there are plenty of resources to help you.  For example, do you hate grocery shopping? There are services who will do the shopping for you.  Delegate that task out.


    5. Transfer Items From Your Master List To Your Daily To-Do List


    This step is one of the most important, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by your master list.  Review your list and write down your top 3 priorities for the day.  Trust me your day will throw you curve balls, and you most likely won’t have time for more than 3 of your to-dos.  Do this every day, and you will start making progress on your master list.  It doesn’t mean you can only do those 3 items.  You may find yourself with extra time to tackle more items on the list.  Just make sure you get the top three done.


    6. Schedule Your To-Dos


    Writing your to-do list down doesn’t mean it is going to get done.  You need to block out time to accomplish your tasks.  Take a look at your calendar and decide when you will complete your tasks.  Make an appointment with yourself and stick to it.  No rescheduling.  You need to get these tasks done, and you have made time for it so respect your schedule.



    Following these strategies will put you in control of your to-do list!

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