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  • 10/02/2018 2:12 PM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    Don’t Coast to the End of the School Year Without A Plan

    Written by: Laura Kavinski, CEO of Crux Organizing 

    There is such a hubbub about back to school. All of the preparation for the 1st day of classes & adorable pictures of children missing their teeth. Followed by back to school night and the feeling that the school year has been kicked off to a great start. 

    We then set our sights on Halloween, Thanksgiving and impending Winter. This year, I challenge you not to let things coast until the end of the year. Below are 5 ways to make sure that your student(s) and family stay organized throughout the school year. 

    1. Check in Daily with Your Kid(s)

    Ask your children how they felt about their school day. It’s so easy to ask what they did, but what’s most important is how they felt about what they did. Was it easy? Did they struggle? How are their grades? Do they need outside help?

    1. Check in [at least] Weekly with Paperwork

    Schedule time for a guardian to review the paperwork that is coming home from school. Make sure trips & important deadlines are listed on the family calendar.  Be sure any actionable items are completed. No one wants their child to miss the field trip because the permission slip wasn’t signed!

    1. Check in [at least] Weekly with the Calendar 

    Confirm that the calendar isn’t over scheduled. There must be time and energy to do homework and retain information.

    1. Check in [at least] Monthly with the Teacher(s) 

    In this day and age, it’s easy to connect via email with a teacher. It’s so nice to hear the good and the “needs improvement” areas so you can be aware and make sure attention is paid. 

    1. Check in [at least] Monthly with the Family 

    Be sure that all systems that are in place are working smoothly. If not, identify hiccups and revise as needed. 

    With the guidelines above, you’ll be sailing into a successful end of the year before you know it! 

    Laura Kavinski, CEO of Crux Organizing 

    Crux is the culmination of over 13 years of experience optimizing organization and productivity. We are well versed in both Business and Residential settings – offering both virtual and on-site consulting. Combining a love of teaching, problem solving, and customer service, we will tailor our services to the client’s specific needs. By improving organizational deficiencies in all areas impacted by disorganization, we will leave you with the skills necessary to maintain your systems in our absence. Contact Crux today and they will help you, “Build the tracks to run the train.”

  • 07/26/2018 8:29 AM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    When is DIY Organizing or Productivity above your paygrade? …and the permission to admit it. 

    Written by Laura Kavinski, Immediate Past President of NAPO Baltimore

    Organizing & Productivity Consultant; Owner at Crux Organizing

    Problem Solver + Customer Service Wizard

    A friend recently posted on social media about a comment made on her business Facebook page. My friend is a very talented artist and takes rocks from their natural state to works of fine art (see above). This poster had tagged their friend and said “ [Name of Friend] You can do this.” In that moment my friend’s frustration (and rightfully so) was in this poster using an artist’s page to tell someone to copy this work/idea. Plagiarism in any form is a no-no, but that’s a blog post for another day…

    This was the conversation that started me to this thought process. “When is DIY [organizing or productivity] above your paygrade? …and the permission to admit it.”

    I responded to my friend’s post “It’s like when some people hear what I do (professional organizer & productivity consultant) and they say they can get someone organized. I wince. Their “help” is often hindering and does a disservice to the person and to the organizing industry. [As a professional organizer,] I am trained to create habits and systems that maintain things, time, and intangible processes. But sure, go ahead and clean their room like you would at home.” 

    Some might say that’s snarky, but I disagree. Not everyone possesses the skills to be a master artist, nor be a master organizer, and that’s OK. There is no shame in this. If your toilet was overflowing, you’d call a plumber. If your car was driving funny, you’d take it into the shop…. And there’s nothing wrong with that. No one would fault you. 

    However, there’s this shame and a DIY mentality that surrounds productivity and organization (and creative ventures as well, which is why I saw the link to my friend’s artwork – and have heard similar stories from musician friends). Clients say time and again:

    “I should be able to do this myself.” 

    “I shouldn’t have to pay someone to help me do this.” 

    “A neighbor [insert mother, sister-in-law, husband, brother, friend] has offered to help do this for free.” 

    “People have helped me a few times, but I keep ending up like it is now.” 

    And I just nod my head. Because, I know. I have seen it and I assure them that working with a true professional organizer or productivity professional will be different. 

    Just like a plumber or mechanic who has spent much time training in their trade, a NAPO Professional will prioritize their own education.  They will adhere to the NAPO Code of Ethics. They have a network of colleagues and business professionals to refer you to when your project is out of their skills and expertise. Additionally, NAPO Organizers & Productivity Professionals place a much-needed emphasis on transference of skills. Meaning they will teach you the skills to maintain your systems & tackle new projects when they’re not there. Why? Because lectures lead nowhere. 

    When I started to build my own organizing business (I’d been organizing & creating efficiencies in every job I’ve ever had!), I went to my local NAPO Chapter. I knew that I would not be able to help others unless my education was on point. There was a lot that I learned in that first year (and continue to learn), taking classes, and learning from my colleagues. NAPO taught me how I needed to interact with clients to best transfer those skills and create successes for my clients. 

    Through that I was able to curate my preferred style when working in a residential setting: which is to use my clients’ learning styles and a few other factors, to shepherd the conversation, asking questions to get my client to a conclusion. When those steps are taken inside their head, instead of me telling them how to do something, it is more likely to stick sooner and permanently. I love when I can practically see the gears turning as that ah-ha moment is about to happen. Or the excited call when they “Used the ‘Laura Method’ to tackle a project on their own.” In reality it is a method tailored exactly for them. 

    I truly believe that you get what you pay for. Sure, someone offering free help might get a cluttered room cleared out in a few hours, but to minimize backsliding, change habits, create maintainable systems tailored to the specific needs of a person, family or business? That requires the help of a professional. To find a NAPO Organizing or Productivity Professional to help you get unstuck in your home, office, or other space: Find an Organizer or Productivity Professional

    Ps. If you’re interested in checking out Ore To Art you can find them on their Etsy Store Ore to Art

    About the Author: If you couldn’t tell, Laura is passionate about organization and creating a great life through structure that allows for maximum creativity. She helps her clients “Build the tracks to run the train” both in residential and business settings. When she’s not solving problems using organization, she can be found running 5k’s, 10k’s and ½ Marathons.

  • 07/06/2018 1:06 PM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    As professional organizers, one of the most common things we hear is: “I might use it someday.” 

    We may hear this while looking through old shoes to broken plates…. crumbling books, plastic bags, and of course, some things that actually can and should be reused. And we aren’t all type-A tyrants. Anything that serves a purpose or CAN be re-purposed usually falls into the category of future-use-potential. Many times, our clients have a point, though sometimes sentimental value (or even forgetfulness) is outweighing their decision making abilities. 

    This week our country celebrates the Fourth of July, which made us recall a fabulous client of ours. Her favorite holiday was July 4th. Upon coming across her vast supply of red, white, and blue party supplies, I suggested we weed through them and perhaps cut down the quantity. That was immediately met with “but I might use them some day.” This client had the kindest of intentions and was a client who purged so often that when she did hold on to things, she usually had a reason that I could not argue with. So when she was resistant with these party supplies, I was content to believe her. 

    A few months later, July 4th rolled around and we were still working together. I arrived a few days before the 4th and found that she had gone out and purchased brand new party supplies with a different pattern than the ones she had kept earlier in the year. When I asked her, “What about the ones you already had?” She exclaimed, “Oh shoot, I forgot about them. But you know what, even if I hadn’t, these are so cute I would have bought them anyway!” I was fairly surprised by this. She had seemed so sure of her future use for those supplies. 

    This may seem like a tiny example, but please regard for a moment, the thought process that went into it, and the money and time that was spent surrounding it. Not just the purchase of more party supplies but the hourly rate of a professional organizer.  Now… times that example by 100’s of other examples. How much is a delayed decision – ie. Clutter, costing you?

    The moral of this story is “Now Is The Time!” Now is the time to get out those party supplies you have held on to because you “might use them someday.” If they are in an organized space, you should be able to find them easily! If you do choose to purchase new supplies, let go of the ones you kept before. If you are ready to begin again then you are ready to let go of the old. This lesson applies to every other item that you have hung on to, due to the idea that you might find a use for it later. Life continues and moves forward. Times, trends, and tastes change. Use what you have OR allow yourself to move forward. NOW IS THE TIME!

    I challenge you to use what you have this week and for every holiday to come. Find fun, new ways to incorporate your current possessions into your special occasions. Personally, my friends and family will be eating off of Princess Sophia plates tomorrow because THAT’S THE STOCK THAT I HAVE right now left over from my 4-year-olds birthday. But don’t worry, I’ll sneak some stars and stripes somewhere into the day.  

    Original content provide by: Erin Hodge, previous Professional Organizer with Charm City Organizers, 2014.

    Edited by Mary Cate Claudias, CPO®, CEO of Charm City Organizers, LLC, 2018.;; President, NAPO Baltimore

  • 06/06/2018 12:36 PM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    What I Love About Being Apart of NAPO Baltimore

    About a year and a half ago I decided that I wanted to start a professional organizing business.  

    Like many others, I had no clue if this was already a profession or not. I hopped onto Google and started my search quickly finding the amazing National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. I was blown away! I was NOT the only one who thought this profession was needed and, not only that, there was this outlet of education, discussions, and so much more! “I need to be a part of this,” I thought. I continued my “googling” and found NAPO Baltimore, noticing that they have monthly meetings. When I saw that I could come as a guest I quickly registered for the next event.

    I remember waiting in anticipation for the day to come that I could meet these other organizers, and I have to say… I was not let down. I got to the meeting early and waited until their board meeting was finished and they opened the doors. I was instantly greeted by many warm welcomes and smiling faces. Once all attendees were there we sat down and introduced ourselves. When I stood up, said my name, and told them that I was interested in starting my business I felt a proud energy that my future colleagues sent towards me and a sense that I belonged.  I remember that this particular meeting was discussing bookkeeping, they had a guest bookkeeper come in and talk about what she could do for small businesses. I had yet to start my LLC but, boy, was this getting me excited and ready to do so! 

    I was so thrilled that I left the meeting that night and joined NAPO national. Shortly after that, I joined NAPO Baltimore and attended the NAPO conference in Pittsburgh where I saw many of my colleagues who pulled me under their wing. Upon leaving the conference I decided to join the NAPO Baltimore Board as their Director of Marketing. What an amazing position this has been. I feel SO involved within my profession, but more importantly, involved with some of the most astonishing people. We boost each other up, give each other business, and grow as a unit. Not only are these people my esteemed colleagues, they are quickly growing to be my friends. 

    I am so thankful that I found and joined NAPO, there’s nothing quite like it! 

    Christie Bell

    Owner, Orchid Professional Organizing, LLC.

    (443) 812-1806

  • 05/07/2018 8:30 AM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    Downsizing Photos 

    -Creating Digital Photo Books from Old Photo Albums-

    Creating digital photo books from old photo albums offers an opportunity to share precious memories with your family and friends near and far. Scanning the old photos, a necessary first step, safeguards your photos with a secure back up. And rather then storing bulky, mismatched albums in a cabinet or a box in the back of a closet or under a bed, albums of a uniform size and color, beautifully displayed out on a shelf, will more likely be viewed and enjoyed.

    While there may be a slight learning curve if you have never created a digital photo book, most programs are easy to use and offer good technical support. Following, is a list of benefits that will make the time involved in this type of photo organizing project, well worth the effort.

    Multiple people may want a copy of the same album. This can easily be accomplished by printing several copies of a photo book. Depending on the program used to create the project, your photo book can most likely be saved, allowing additional printing of the book years later.

    (Before: Albums of varying sizes and colors.)

    Old and damaged albums are not safely holding your photos, especially those with sticky pages. The photos need to be removed and after scanning, should either be stored in acid free boxes or, if you choose not to make a digital photo book, they should be returned to better quality photo albums for viewing.  Some people are comfortable letting go of their photos after scanning and securely backing them up. For self-protection, wear a mask if handling moldy albums and for the protection of the photos wear a pair of gloves while removing and scanning. 

    Couples going through a non-amicable divorce may want to limit which photos they view in their photo book. Once a digital album has been made, it is easy to go back and alter the book by removing or adding photos and creating a different version of the original photo book as family circumstances change.

    For anyone who is downsizing, a smaller home may not have enough shelf space for big, bulky albums. By reducing your photos into more of an overview, you will end up condensing your albums. Uniform albums, designed with a consistent color and shape, will provide a beautiful display on your shelves and may compliment a fresh start in a new home. A more compact shape can also make the photo book easier to hold, especially for an older person.

    Floods, hurricanes and fires have resulted in many heartbreaking situations where all memories are lost. A photo book that has already been created and backed up can easily be printed again. There is even the possibility that some insurance companies may cover the cost of reprinting lost or damaged albums.

    Consider collecting photos from other family members to create an album. Adding additional comments and storytelling can turn a photo book into more of a photo journal. This is an opportunity to reach out to family members and learn about their stories and family histories. A photo book of this type makes a wonderful gift for a family member and can especially be enjoyed at a family reunion.

    (After: Photo Books of uniform size and color taking up less room on a bookshelf.)

    Creating photo books can be time consuming. The more organized your photos are from the onset, the faster and easier the process will go. Consider hiring a photo organizer to help you with this special project and make it an ongoing goal to keep your current and future photo collections organized!

    Nadine Sachs, the owner of Organized2Succeed, specializes in Custom Closet Design and Photo Organization. She has appeared on the Fox45 Morning Show, and has been published in the Baltimore Home Improvement Magazine, Chesapeake Family Magazine and The Baltimore Sun. 


    Nadine Sachs


  • 04/02/2018 9:16 AM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    Renew and Improve – Level Up Your Organized Spaces

    By Michelle Rosen, Owner of Hop To It Organizers, LLC


    The season of Spring makes me feel a bit more energized and hopeful. It’s a time for renewal. You can feel it in the air and see the tiny buds of blossoms and leaves appearing on the tree limbs above you. Have you noticed crocus flowers peeking out already?

    Whether you are just starting out or have been working on organizing for a while, every system needs a bit of tweaking and TLC once in a while. Spring is a great time to renew, improve, and level up your organized spaces. On that note, read on for three practices to help you do just that.

    If you’ve been through the “big decluttering and organizing” experience of your home or office in the past, you probably want to avoid having to go through that again. You might remember how overwhelmed and stressed you felt right before you started, and once you finished, how awesome you felt.

    You want to keep that feeling of awesome going, right?

    Following, are three simple practices to help keep your spaces clutter-free and organized. When you apply these suggestions not only can you continue to keep things humming along great, but also make them better and better. Ready to level up your organized spaces?

    1. Review regularly:

    If you’ve noticed some backsliding on newly formed routines and habits, you are not alone. It’s completely normal. To counteract this, make sure to regularly check in with yourself and others responsible for maintaining the space. Put a reminder on the calendar to check in every few weeks.

    Some questions to ask:

    • What’s working here?
    • What’s not working?
    • What needs to happen to fix what’s not working?
    • What can we make even better?

    Plan and carry out any solutions you uncover. When you’re reviewing on a regular, fairly frequent basis, your systems will naturally become more refined and functional.


    2. Discover your “Why”:

    I’m thinking you probably don’t want to get into the situation where everything is in such a total disorganized mess that you can’t even think straight again. Am I right? Especially if you’ve already been there and done that more than once. Could this be one of your “why’s”?

    The first reason that prompted you to get organized may have shifted. Go down that path of discovery again.

    Beyond wanting to find something quickly when you need it, what are some of the deeper reasons?

    Motivate yourself again:

    • Do you want to invite a new friend over for coffee without feeling like you have to apologize for “the mess”?
    • Are you tired of discord and squabbles over clutter and long for a peaceful, happy environment?
    • Is there a fun or important project you want to work on, but there’s no good place to spread out to do it?

    Dig down to uncover your true motivations. It’s sure to put you back on your right path every time.

    3. Get back on the horse:

    Successes are fraught with failures. You don’t have to beat yourself up, throw your hands up in despair, and walk away. It takes time, practice, and perseverance to make new habits stick.

    Be kind and gentle to yourself:

    • Realize you are human, forgive yourself, and get right back into your routine at the first opportunity.
    • Enlist some help if you need it, from a friend, or schedule a maintenance session with your professional organizer.
    • Spruce up an existing system you’ve organized with new labels or smart-looking containers


    Visit to read our other blog posts.

    Get started organizing your space with a free 20-minute phone assessment.


    Michelle Rosen

    Hop To It Organizers, LLC

    10227 Wincopin Cir., Suite 1360

    Columbia, MD 21044

    (443) 741-2575

    Have you been successful at renewal of your newly uncluttered and organized space? How have you improved it and kept it fresh?

    Leave your comment below:

  • 02/27/2018 6:26 PM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    5 Easy Ways to Save Time Now

    By Rachel Jennifer 

    Rachel Jennifer Interiors

    There's a shift that's happening for many people and families across the country.  While resources such as money and clothes and stuff and homes have always been considered valuable in society, there's one valuable that will always be finite and fleeting.  That one thing is "time".  It can be said that families and people in the workforce used to have more free, unscheduled time from day to day.  But with today's busy schedules, dual income families, and multiple sport per season kids, free time is regarded as a precious resource of which many of us have very little.  So, we know how to make money, and how to slowly save for the things we want to purchase.  But how do we make the most of the time that we have, and create the feeling that we have more of it?

    Be present.  Multi tasking can be overrated.  Live in the moment, and focus on what's right in front of you.  It's hard to enjoy the little moments with the kids, your favorite tv show, or walking the dog on a nice day, if your brain is already focused on the big meeting you have to lead the next day.

    Plan ahead.  Often the moments we feel like we have the least amount of time are when we are simply trying to squeeze too much into too little time.  For example, anything that can be accomplished at night to ease the morning routine makes a huge difference.  Taking 15 minutes before bed to pack lunches for the next day, empty the dishwasher, and lay out clothes at a leisurely pace makes the next morning feel much less time crunched.

    Delegate.  What do the busiest of CEOs and celebrities all have in common - they have assistants!  If you're not in the position to have one yourself, get creative.  Use an electronic calendar on your phone for not just appointments but tasks and reminders too.  Use a notepad (in paper form or on your phone) to track ideas and thoughts you don't want to forget.  Writing it down saves the idea for later and lets you get back to focusing on what you were already doing.

    Budget.  Not just for more things and purchases, but for services that will free up your spare time.  Hire a cleaning company to come through once a month, pay for an amazon prime membership or grocery delivery service.  Of course you can always put a call in to your local professional organizer as well.  We all know getting organized and streamlining our belongings saves time looking for things and makes tidying up take much less time.

    Prioritize.  When it comes down to it, every time you put something on your calendar, you are prioritizing that activity over having free time at home.  Organizing your calendar can be much like organizing your things.  Sometimes there is just too much to fit in one space, and something's gotta go.  If it's hard to resist scheduling something into an opening of free time, then plug "Sunday at home" into your calendar!  Sorry we have plans that day.  We're going to be at home catching up on things we have to do around the house.  Or doing nothing.  But that's the fun thing about free time, you can do whatever you want with it!


    Since 2015, Rachel Jennifer Interiors has provided relief to busy families and homeowners through home organizing, staging, and decorating services.  Rachel proudly serves on the board of NAPO Baltimore as Programs Director.  For more information on getting organized and creating systems that save time, visit, call us at 443-584-3723, or email

  • 02/01/2018 7:09 PM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    Hey Friend! 

    Quick Question? How are those 2018 goals coming along? Well I hope! The truth is by now over half of the people that made New Year’s resolutions have forgotten about them, stopped being consistent, or have not even started towards those goals they talked about so much the first week of January. If you want to see results, you must take fast action. Don’t wait until everything is in place to get started. Start with what you have and keep going. As for this organizer, being a better steward of time management is my goal for the first quarter. I am being more mindful of how I spend my time, use free time more wisely and continuous networking to grow my professional organizing business. 

    From the bedroom closets, kid’s room and home office spaces, people are ready to make room for the life they love.  I was recently helping a client organize her home office and walk-in closet. After we sorted through and shredded old documents, we moved on to her closet space. About five minutes in she said, “I hate feeling so rushed in the mornings. I feel like I am always rushing and never have time to even grab breakfast.” 

    My immediate response was Awesome! The look on her face said, really?! I always tell clients 

    that part of the organizing journey is identifying the problem. Once you know what the problem 

    is, we can work together to establish systems that solve those needs. 


                            You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. 

                                     The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. 

                                                                                                                       –John C. Maxwell


    I asked my client if she had a routine and to list three to five things she would like to do in the morning before starting her day. Do you have a morning routine, or do you just start your day?   After she created her list, she noticed that three out of the five could easily be done the night before. By ironing her clothes, laying out accessories, and having lunches packed, that was an additional 10 minutes saved. Exercise was another important part of her day. She enjoys staring her day feeling energized, but the conflict with time was becoming a real issue. Lastly, makeup and breakfast. I explained that to command your mornings, you must first be aware of how long each activity takes. This helps to manage your expectations, taking your to-do list from an idea, to a habit, until it becomes a routine. 

    Your Routine matters because:

    Regular schedule


    Utilize time wisely

    Trust yourself

    Investment in your wellbeing

    Nourish your mind

    Energy to be effective 

    This list is my motivational reminder when I need to get it done. Remember, you may not always “feel” like do something, but once you get going, nine times of ten you will want to get if done and checked off your to-do list. When you decide to give those things most important to you a tyme, date and place to get done, you cancel out someday and turn it into mission accomplished. Being proactive requires constant motion.  

    Which do you check first your to-do list or your calendar? Before you commit to anything you check your calendar first, right? 

    The same rules apply to your workout schedule, date night, play date for the kids and so on. If you want to see results, put it on the calendar and show up! 

    Before you go…just a few questions to ponder?

    Do you have a morning routine? 

    If so, is it working for you? 

    Do you need to make any changes since the new year has started? 

    Maybe you are not sure where to start with your morning routine and that is okay. 

    Write down three things you know will help to positively start your day and do those activities for the next 7 days. 

    Take a few moments to reflect on what is working and then write down what needs to be tweaked. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to your routine, but it MUST add value to your day. 

    Until next Tyme,

    Be Happy. Be Organized. Be Awesome. 


    Abike Anoka is a Professional Organizer in the Laurel, Maryland servicing Prince Georges/Anne Arundel/ Howard County areas. She specializes in residential and small home-based business organization. Ready to get organized, but not sure where to start…LET T20 by the way to go!!!

    For more info contact 443-351-8153 or book your consultation today at www.

  • 01/02/2018 6:51 PM | Christie Bell (Administrator)

    Happy New Year!

    One of the most popular New Year's resolutions is to GET ORGANIZED!

    There are so many great reasons to eliminate clutter from your life but what if being organized  helped you save money and become more thrifty!  These 5 facts may give you a new perspective on the clutter in your home:

    1.  Replacements: Have you ever purchased an item at the store because you thought you were out? This often happens in the pantry. You thought you needed tomato sauce. You swore you were out.  4 days later, you find 6 jars on a random shelf in the basement. These were purchased as a back-up but since you don’t have a good organizing system, these errors happen more than you care to admit.

    2.  Deadlines:  Recent reports say up to 23% of adults are late paying bills (and incur late fees) because they actually cannot find the bills in their homes. Not only does this clutter habit cost you money but it is stressful too!

    3. Fees:  Americans are hooked on self storage. According to the self storage industry generates more than 24 billion dollars in revenue (2014 estimate) annually.  That is a lot of money that could be spent on other things – like a fabulous vacation, getting ahead on your bills, or a higher balance in your IRA.

    4. Space:  The US Department of Energy reports that 25% of the households with a 2-car garage can’t use the space for parking because the garage is filled with “stuff”. What is the square foot value of  your home? Do the math - you are paying a lot of money for space that you can't use for your car. 

    5.  Health:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention magazine state unequivocally that 80% of our medical expenditures are now stress related. Clutter and disorganization create stress for everyone – from the head of the household to the child who can’t find her gym shoes for school. 

    So even after you have bought and paid for the things in your home, you are still paying to store, clean, move and manage your stuff!  Maybe looking at clutter from this point of view will motivate you to finally take care of your clutter problem.  Go to Girl Organizing Solutions can help you reclaim your garage, empty that storage space or set up a bill pay station.  Control your clutter and save money too – we promise it will make a difference in your life!






    Go to Girl Organizing Solutions:

  • 12/01/2017 12:20 PM | Christie Bell (Administrator)


    By Amy Rehkemper, CPO

    Simplify Organizing, LLC

    “I need help!” said an exasperated working mother of four, “This week, I’ve tripped over a box in my storage room, forgot an appointment, and lost my d%#* keys!” After years of being chronically late and disorganized, this frustrating week was the last straw. Fed up, she decided to call a professional to get her home and life organized. 

    Frustration can be a great motivator. Sometimes it takes literally falling over the clutter to realize that it’s time to clean-up life a bit. I like to think of these experiences as “failing forward.” I’ve done it countless times. Mess up enough and that foul-up becomes the very catalyst you needed to take action and figure out a better way. 

    Motivation is a powerful tool to use for anything requiring action, but my purpose in this month's blog is to help you find the motivation to GET ORGANIZED! 

    Do you cringe at the thought of tackling that cluttered spare bedroom

    Do you hate the mundane process of uploading photos from your phone every month? 

    How about that pile of dirty clothes screaming to be washed?

    Do you dread the unopened mail begging to be purged, paid or filed?

    (This list could go on and on…right?!)

    You understand the importance of these household chores, but you still avoid them, procrastinate, get a root canal-- anything to delay addressing the clutter.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed, even paralyzed by disorganization, then it's time to tap into the power of motivation! Here are five techniques the team at SIMPLIFY ORGANIZING, LLC has found successful:


    LITTLE BY LITTLE- If you walk into a cluttered room and feel hopeless, you’re not alone. The room didn’t become cluttered overnight and it won’t get cleaned up that quickly either. Break up large decluttering and organizing goals into easy bite-sized tasks. Create a task so small that motivation is not even required! 

    Instead of saying, “I’m going to organize my entire basement storage room this morning,” focus on only the holiday decorations that are stored in that room and break that category down even further by starting with recycling torn or crinkled gift bags and wrapping paper you won’t use. Then, move on to purging seasonal wreaths that no longer look fresh. Once you’ve sorted, purged, and containerized the decorations category, then move on to the camping equipment. Don’t look at it as needing to organize the space as a whole (wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling in one fell swoop). Break it up and tackle it little by little. 

    The Japanese philosophy kaizen means “continuous improvement” and encourages taking the smallest steps possible. Steps are to be made so small that they result in zero intimidation, zero stress, like “open the drawer,” or “recycle one newspaper.” Few would object to completing such miniscule actions. Through this perspective, one overwhelming goal is actually 50 super easy tasks! As long as you are taking steps to continuously improve your home – no matter how small a change might be – it is progress… and progress fuels motivation.


    LET’S GET VISUAL, VISUAL- Beautiful spaces can motivate you to get and stay organized. Sure, I believe function should precede form, but good room design, attractive furniture, or even cute matching containers can be just the motivator you need to keep a space looking good. Nobody is driven to keep clutter off a stained and tattered rug. However, if you switch it with a gorgeous rug, I bet you'll be more inclined to keep it free of mess.

    Flip through home magazines, or search for "organized spaces" on Pinterest, and you are sure to find a ton of rooms that call out to you. When you're stuck on what to do with an area of your home, this is a great way to find motivation and inspiration. Here are some of our favorite online sources to check out: IHeart OrganizingIKEAHOUZZ, and


    TURN NEGATIVITY ON ITS HEAD- Does your mother-in-law come by dropping "helpful" comments about the benefits of a tidy home? Does your spouse complain that the house is an embarrassing mess? Does your neighbor hint that your porch is in need of a clean-up? 

    Instead of feeling defeated and that you're somehow not up to snuff... take those negative comments and turn them into positive action. Show the world and yourself what you're capable of and let those words be the reality check needed to motivate you. So, instead of getting bent out of shape, take the hint, and improve your situation. If you cannot make positive changes on your own, bring in a friend, or a professional organizer to get the job done. 

    “Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.” 

    --James Cook



    People are like teabags… you don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water!  

    Some people will not act until they are about to get in trouble. Time ticking toward trouble is an excellent motivator. Remember in college when you were given two weeks to write a paper, yet you weren't motivated to start until two days before it was due? Some of you may even be in the two-hours-before-it’s-due camp!

    One of my clients (who I'll call Jane) is a collector and enjoys a great abundance of possessions. For years Jane refused to downsize her belongings. She had so many collections that she couldn't even locate most of them, but when she learned that she was facing eviction, suddenly she found the motivation to reduce the excess.  

    I’m not suggesting that you set yourself up to be evicted, but I encourage you to think of a way to purposely put yourself in hot water!  My favorite of these "teabag tricks" is to schedule a regular party at your home (maybe it's a monthly book club, or a dinner date with neighbors). You'll find that it forces you to make the place welcoming and organized. I admit that hosting my Company’s Team Meetings at my home every month has been a great source of motivation for me to stay on top of household clutter! (Yes, Professional Organizers have bouts of clutter build-up too.)

    Avoiding embarrassment is a great motivator. Remember that spare bedroom that's bursting at the seams? Just invite an out-of-town friend to stay with you for a weekend. You'll surprise yourself with the sudden ability to create a guest room fit for Martha Stewart!


    DO IT NOW- The voice in your head needs to hush-up! The one that’s saying: "I'll get to that when I have more time... more money... more space... more information." It's also saying: "I'll do that when everything is better... easier... happier." Frankly, it might even be saying "Well, I can't start without finding motivation!" HAH!

    Don't listen. That voice is self-defeating. Don't wait for the perfect scenario. It rarely comes. Sometimes the hardest part is to start! So start wherever you are and with whatever you have. Just start.  Do as much as you can with what resources you have. The positive motion from just getting started will open the floodgates to possibility.  

    Which of those five techniques could work for you? When and how will you employ them? As this year comes to a close, it's important to reflect upon and appreciate the successes you've made - even the small ones. December is a time when we begin to look ahead to a new year, seek a fresh start, and an opportunity to better ourselves. I encourage you to start implementing a few of these powerful motivation techniques, and no procrastinating! Don't wait for January to take positive action. Find your motivation and resolve to get organized…TODAY!

    About Simplify Organizing, LLC

    Since 1999, Simplify Organizing, LLC has been organizing everything under the residential roof from attics to basements and all rooms in between. That includes time, paper, photos, and even your next move! Owner Amy Rehkemper was one of the first Certified Professional Organizers in the U.S. and has been featured on HGTV. The company is based in Towson, Maryland and has been twice-voted Best of Baltimore. To learn more, please visit


    Amy Rehkemper, CPO®

    Simplify Organizing, LLC

    P.O. Box 42523, Baltimore, MD 21284

    (410) 370-4109 

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