<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • 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



  • 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!

  • May 21, 2017 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    During our monthly May meeting, we had a round table discussion about various organizing business related questions. It was great and we had thoughtful and helpful conversations. 

    What struck me through the course of the small groups sharing their topic highlights was that people enter into professional organizing as a career in two main ways - wading in or jumping in. 

    Waders - They think about organizing for a long time, slowly crafting a business with the perfect name and branding and website. They start with one or two clients they know and grow from there. 

    And that is totally okay. 

    Jumpers  - They dive head first into organizing, they may or may not have a social media presence or website or even a name, but they start organizing and figure it out as they go. 

    And that is totally okay. 

    I bring this up because no matter how you start your business or how you journey down the business owner path, it is your journey. No one can tell you how fast you should be going or what you should have done by this or that date or year marker.

    There are times when you need to heed wisdom, to act, to slow down, to process, to learn. That is part of being a business owner. 

    There are also times you need to listen to your self and own that you might be wading into organizing or jumping in and either way is normal and okay. 

    Words to Leave You With:

    For the Waders, remember that your business and website will always be a work in progress. Don't wait until everything is perfect to act, it never will be.

    For the Jumpers, remember that business goals and plans orient you and keep you focused on ideal clients and you know - having a legal business. Don't wing it, plan it!

  • March 28, 2017 9:15 AM | Anonymous

    As a new organizer, there are thoughts, questions and maybe even pressures to pick a specialty. Do I specialize in ADHD organizing? Holistic organizing? Senior Moves? Is holistic organizing even a specialty or a methodology? The next meeting is tomorrow and I have to introduce myself, so what do I say?

    You might be a seasoned organizer and still feel the pressure.

    I have sat in many chapter meetings and heard frustrated exclamations of "I don't have a specialty yet!" or slightly embarrassed "I am 'just' a generalist." 

    It saddens me to see the anxiety or embarrassment. Those are totally normal feelings, but let's start to shift the mindset of specialties. I have a few thoughts on how to do that:

    1. Picking a specialty is like picking your favorite color. You don't really pick your favorite color - you just know. So go with what feel right and what you enjoy.
    2. Don't stress about it. You don't have to have a specialty. You might develop one later or never. That is okay!
    3. Having a specialty is really for you, not your clients. It gives you a really specific and clear snippet of what you do, so others automatically think "that is me!" or "I know so and so that could use your help!" 
    4. A specialty is also really for your marketing purposes. Marketing is best done with surgical precision, not a shot gun. A specialty helps identify where to focus your marketing efforts in finding and bringing in your ideal clients.
    5. Be aware that if you do everything for everyone, you aren't going to be anything for anyone. Being a generalist doesn't mean that you tell people everything thing you do. Listen to what they are telling you or what group you are in and tailor your elevator pitch or project examples you give about what you do! 

    If you are in the process of specializing or living large as a generalist, I hope this has given you some helpful pointers and encouragement!

  • March 03, 2017 4:22 PM | Anonymous
    Looking for an organizer specializing in ADD/ADHD? Interested in specializing in ADD/ADHD as an organizer?

    Stephanie Eyster with remedy., one of our very own ADD/ADHD specialists, penned some helpful information on ADD/ADHD and how organizing can support individuals with ADD/ADHD.

    ADD/ADHD Is... 
    ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and replaces what was once known as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). 

    It is a condition that affects both adults and children and symptoms include:
    • inattentiveness
    • impulsiveness
    • hyperactivity

    How Professional Organizers Support Adults with ADD/ADHD...

    Professional Organizers can support adults with ADD/ADHD by explaining the organizing process in depth to lower anxiety levels. Organizers can also break large projects down into smaller objectives, so clients feel less overwhelmed.

    Organizers can also develop routines during the organizing process that allow clients to sustain the organizing systems established. A professional can also create an appropriate reward system, so achieving an objective is fun and personally rewarding!   

    How Professional Organizers Support Children with ADD/ADHD...

    Professional Organizers support children with ADHD by providing structure, developing routines, and laying out expectations. ADHD children work well when their environment and schedule are structured. 

    Why? Structure takes the guess work out of knowing what to do and when. The children build confidence when they can successfully follow a routine to achieve an objective or when they are familiar with an expectation.  

    Helpful Tools...

    A Timer

    When working on the actual physical organizing with a client with ADHD, a timer can be your most valued tool. Set the timer for 15 to 30 minutes then allow the client to take a 5 minute break in between. 

    A Calendar

    A calendar of any kind is a very important tool for a client with ADHD. The calendar can be on their smart phone or in paper form. All activities and appointments must be represented on this calendar and it's important that they have only one calendar to reference. When working with several calendars at once, appointments are often missed or overlooked. 

    A "To Do" List

    "To do" lists are equally as important to a client with ADHD. This can come in the form of a planner or utilizing a "to do" list app on their smart phone.  

    For Organizers...

    How Can I Specialize?

    What are Some Local Resources?

    • The NAPO Austin Chapter library has several resources that address clients with ADHD (Come to our monthly meeting for library access!).
    • Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD by Susan C. Pinsky is an excellent book that guides organizing processes for ADHD clients. 

    Photo 1 by Annie Spratt

    Photo 2 by Brooke Lark

  • February 22, 2017 9:38 AM | Anonymous

    Hello and Welcome to NAPO Austin's blog!

    This is a fun new adventure for us, so we hope you will enjoy the various topics!

    You will see blogs on things like

    • how our chapter can support you in reaching your organizing goals
    • how our organizing specialities tailor our work to you
    • all the details on events you might enjoy
    • a few organizing tips to encourage you along your organizing journey.
    And for the professional organizers, we'll share
    • helpful business tips for you
    • some of the "whys" to our methods
    • how new developments in our field can support your business
    • even some fun product reviews of things we love.
    We are jazzed about our blog and hope you are too!
<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 

Recent Posts

  • There are no blog posts to display.

Have a Blog Topic?

Love to blog, want to dip your toes into the blogging world, or have a great idea for our blog?

Then Contact Us with your idea!

We are always looking for guest posts on a range of organizing or organizing related topics.
© NAPO-Austin
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software