NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PRODUCTIVITY AND ORGANIZING PROFESSIONALS
Author: Gabrielle Proust, Proust Dynamic Organizing
It was only after I shoved aside the third casserole pan in my quest for a trowel that I faced my worst fear. I am a Professional Organizer, and I couldn’t find anything in my own garage! Tools were intertwined with tires, bike pumps and bric-a-brac were bonding, and the decorations were dangling with the dust pans.
“Enough!” I said aloud. "Enough of this catastrophic conundrum of chaotic containers cluttering up my car spot!"
You see, an hour earlier, the rain and leaves falling on my head had convinced me it is Fall. And with it, my professional training announced itself with a big voice in my head:
Fall is a great time to clean up and organize garages and outdoor sheds. The weather is cooler, the garden is waning, and it’s time to bring in the tools and cover the patio furniture.
Problem was, I spotted that one weed missed. It had to die. Right then and there. So off to the garage I went for a trowel. Argh! Three hours later I have no trowel, the daylight is gone, and I swear, that weed is grinning menacingly at me.
Then I thought about Susan.
I’ve changed her name to protect her from the Clean Police – you know, those people always raising their eyebrows at messes and “harrumphing“ when they spot disorder.
Yeah, them. They are so annoying.
Susan moved into her dream house several years ago – a Victorian cottage that needed a little work.
Years later, all was gorgeous and immaculate…except for the garage. During the initial home renovations, everything that didn’t fit somewhere landed in the garage. She always intended to sort it out once she had the time.
Well, as is true for so many of us, life happened. Her garage became One Big Mess. She was just too busy to organize it, so she called the professional - me.
She hired me to organize the projects, arrange the equipment, and discard the junk.
At the start of every organizing project, I ask my clients what is most important to them, and what are they ready to move along. But before she could even answer that question, we had to inventory the garage. We identified five major categories:
Simply coming up with the categories helped her feel like the task was no longer overwhelming. It was the first time she smiled inside her garage in years.
With list in hand, we sectioned her garage. She has a large space, so the process took 4 days.
Category 1. I started on the right side where there was already shelving. I pulled out everything that wasn’t training & showing dogs related and set it aside. Next, I moved to the opposite side and did the same for the power tools. Heavy tools went on the bottom shelves.
Accessories, lighter tools, and auto supplies went in the cupboards above. The piles of batteries were sorted and stored with the corresponding tool. I left the workbench empty and ready to use.
Category 2. Next, it was time for the back wall where all the small tools and restoring projects would be organized. Susan is “vertically challenged”, so both peg boards needed to be lowered to a more practical height.
Category 3. Sorting the tools into categories helped make the placement easy: painting, wall-paper equipment, general tools like hammers, goggles and gloves. Most of the tools went in drawers that were labeled simply (this is a garage after all). The paint brushes and frequently used tools went on the pegboard. I made sure to use the little clips that keep the pegs from jumping off.
Once I established the best placement, I used a black marker to show where “home” is for each tool on the pegboard.
Category 4. For the garden area, it worked better to put the tools just outside the back door on hooks under an overhang in the garden. The supplies stayed inside on shelves near the door.
I told Susan to take a little time now to clean, sharpen and paint her garden tools so they’ll be ready to go when the gardening bug comes back next spring. We also moved the old fertilizers and hazardous materials to the Junk pile.
After 8 hours the first four items on her list were sorted. Once that was done, number five was easy. Junk was everything that remained!
Three trips to Goodwill and one trip to the dump (and hazardous materials drop-off) was all it took. Susan was pleased, and her garage was no longer an embarrassment.
Do you have One Big Mess than needs organizing? Does it feel overwhelming?
You will find clarity as you finish each area, and you can take a break to do some tweaking. Many of my clients only need a push to get started. They are motivated to get it finished after I leave. Other clients have me back once a year to refresh and modify the whole area.
Either way, they can find what they want, when they want it, making the garage a wonderful useful space.
Last weekend, I took the same approach to my One Big Mess. Genius! I also found the trowel and that weed is no more!
Author: Gabrielle ProustNAPO Oregon Chapter President Proust Dynamic Organizing
Author: Sarah Gomm, New Chapter Transitions
As the weather starts to cool down and that crisp, autumn-y feel is in the air, I begin to think about fall décor. The cozy blankets and throws in plaids and autumn colors, woven baskets, scented candles and naturally...everything pumpkin spice.
Fall is such fun, but it can be easy to get caught up in a decorating frenzy and purchase more décor and seasonal tchotchkes than needed.
Here are 4 ways to cull more and purchase less this season!
Look at what you are pulling out of your seasonal storage bins. Are you excited to see it after it being stashed away for 9 months? Do you still say “Oooo, I love this”? If so, keep it. However, if it doesn’t still wow you, release it, giving it a chance at a new life via your local charity shop.
Do the pieces you decided to keep still express the look/feel of your home or the vibe you want? Maybe your style in years past was ‘cute country’, and now you much prefer the ‘coastal grandmother’ look. Our tastes and preferences can change. If it doesn’t reflect who you are now, donate!
Just as fast fashion is real, so is fast décor. Think dollar stores and aisle endcaps tempting you at the store. These things are made cheaply, look cheap and don’t last.
Rather than buy a bunch of fast décor, consider buying ONE special, high-quality item that really speaks to you. Gold star to you if that one purchase is from a local store rather than online. And of course, donate the fast décor from years past that you no longer enjoy.
Here's one of the best things about fall: very likely there are free decorations right outside your front door! And if they aren't free, they are available at your nearest pumpkin patch for a low price. Best of all, these items can all be composted at the end of the season, which frees up storage space in your home.
There are so many objects from nature this time of year that will create an autumn mood, such as:
Have fun incorporating nature’s décor with your favorite traditional pieces. Mix up the styles to create a curated look. It will appear as if you have collected over the years and hand selected every item with a creative and discerning eye.
Once the season is over, do a review of what you used for your fall decor. If there are items that you didn’t use because you just didn’t have the space for them (or simply because they didn’t speak to you) ditch/donate them now. Next year when you pulled out your seasonal bin, you will be thrilled to see only the things you love and cherish.
With every change of season, it is a great time to reevaluate our things, culling and donating items that we no longer love. It gave you pleasure and now it can give someone else equal pleasure!
Author: Sarah Gomm
NAPO Oregon Chapter Treasurer and Provisional Member
New Chapter Transitions
Author: Christi McLaren, Bright Space Organizing
Have you ever considered the fact that your car is actually a room on wheels? It's true! The average American spends 51 minutes per day in the car, according to a study performed by AAA. As a result, an organized car can make a huge difference in your everyday life.
Just like an organized kitchen makes cooking easier and safer, an organized car makes traveling easier and safer, too!
Here are 5 simple steps to get your car organized, and KEEP your car organized!
First, grab a trash bag and a box. Start by gathering up all of the garbage in your car (fast food containers, gum wrappers, grocery receipts, etc).
Once the trash is collected, grab all the items that belong in your home and place into the box to put away inside your home. That could be bags of merchandise, school supplies, mail, etc.
Next, remove all the items that belong in the car and place these into categories (like with like). This will be things that you might keep in the car but still need to review and declutter. Think CDs, reusable shopping bags, first aid kit, etc.
Review these items and create a donate pile for those things you no longer use, need, or love (outdated maps, uncomfortable sunglasses, CDs that you never listen to, etc).What now remains are only those car items you use, need, and love.
Now that your car is empty, it’s the perfect time to wipe down the dashboard and center console, vacuum the seats and floor, and clean the windows inside and out. Every car needs a trash bag!
This is also a good time to wipe down the items that are getting put back into the car. These can get grungy over time.
Designate a “home” for each item going back in your car by placing it where it makes the most sense to you. Containerizing can be very helpful. That could mean zipper pouches for the glove compartment, a folding trunk organizer for groceries, or a seat car organizer for your various smaller items.
Finally, restock your car with any necessary missing items (car tissue, hand sanitizer, replenishing your first aid kit, flashlight, etc).
Make sure all important papers are current, including your car insurance documents, drivers license, emergency contact numbers, and so on.
Maintenance is the most important step! Harness the momentum of your hard work to create a new routine: Every time you arrive home, remove all items that do not belong to your car. Request your passengers to help!
Designate one day a week to clean your car and fill up with gas. I recommend doing this every week, whether it needs it or not.
Implement these tips and you and your family will always have a clean, well organized car ready for use!
Author: Christi McLarenChapter SecretaryBright Space Organizingbrightspaceorganizing.com
Author: Megan Spears, Disorder2Order LLC
Paper is one of the most frustrating things to organize; it accumulates fast and can be easily lost. It also takes energy and time to read through a document and decide where it goes. It’s easy to see why we procrastinate dealing with paper piles. We spend a lot of time searching, sifting, sorting, filing, and churning all that paper. It’s exhausting!
As tax deadlines approach, a reminder will arrive (often coming in the form of a document in the mail from your accountant or the federal government), to get your records organized. This is the perfect time of year to finally set up a system to manage your records: when your taxes are on your mind!
Set yourself up for long-term success next year by creating a filing system while you are sorting through records and preparing your taxes this year. This filing system will work for you, instead of against you! Here are five steps you can take to get your paperwork organized.
A massive amount of paper lying around is somehow related to filing taxes, so it’s good to start there. Use your previous year’s tax records as a checklist to help you create file categories.
You can create a series of folders (paper or digital) with each category listed. As records come in, simply file them right into the folder.
If you have a record that you don’t need for tax purposes, ask yourself why you’re keeping it. Speaking of that…
“If I can get this information somewhere else, do I need to keep it?”
This is a critical question you should always ask yourself when trying to decide if a paper record is worth keeping.
For example, if your bank has copies of all your records accessible to you online, do you really need to keep the paper copy of your statement?
Remember, if you have access to that record, is it worth keeping it? Perhaps the answer is yes! If that’s the case, then you’ve answered your question and it makes sense to file that record. If not, perhaps it’s OK to let that go. You can also check directly with your bookkeeper or CPA to find out.
A command center can help you organize your most important documents in one place. Usually, they have separate compartments to keep documents or folders organized and at your fingertips.
You can set up your command center in your office or kitchen, but ideally, wherever you process your mail is the best spot. Pick something that works for you.
For the best search results, google desktop file organizer.
Photo credit: The Container Store: Like-It Large Desktop Station
Having a recycling bin near or close to you while you process paperwork can make all the difference when staying on top of managing your paper piles.
You can easily toss envelopes, inserts, or junk mail immediately. Allowing less time processing and more time on records that need your focused attention.
If you want something to get done, you must make the time to do it! Managing paper is no exception. Set yourself up for success and start small: 15, 20, or 30 minutes at a time is perfect.
Use that time to ONLY deal with your paper piles. Don’t pick up your phone or read your email - just sort paper. Sort your records into your designated categories, then file or decide you don’t need it, and then recycle.
Even though the IRS is moving slowly this year, it doesn’t mean you should. Having a system in place to manage your paper means less time stressing and more time doing things that you love.
Author: Megan Spears Professional Member CPO® Disorder2Order, LLC
Whether that means decluttering a room, organizing your paper piles or hiring a Professional Organizer to get the ball rolling, we are here to make the process easier!
In the spirit of GO Month, I've put together some decluttering tips to help support both homeowners and organizers who support them. I hope you find these useful!
1. For those who have a hard time making decisions when decluttering, it can be very helpful to designate a specific home for everything. When the available space for that category is used up, this serves as a visual cue that it’s time to declutter. Relying on these visual cues takes the decision making outside of the emotional brain, and allows our more rational-thinking brain to make choices about what to keep and what to declutter.
2. Starting the decluttering process can be very daunting. If you feel overwhelmed, focus on one corner of the room and work outwards. Don’t worry about the rest of the space - that will follow as you build momentum and confidence.
3. Before you begin decluttering, grab a bin and designate it as a “go elsewhere” container. Any items you find that need to be put away in another room should go in there, which helps you to avoid wandering into other rooms and getting distracted.
4. If you feel overwhelmed by organizing, start in areas with a "low emotional barrier" - places like the bathroom or laundry room where you'll feel more ready to let go. That will look different for everyone.
5. Kitchen cabinets are clutter magnets for items that rarely get used. If you have two of the same thing or two different things that serve the same purpose, choose between the two.
6. When decluttering in the kitchen, getting rid of excess food storage containers is half the battle! If you have Tupperware that you can’t find the lid for - get rid of it.
7. 85% of all textiles thrown away end up in landfills. When decluttering your closet, if you have items that are too damaged donate but you don’t want to put them into the trash, cut them up and make cleaning rags out of them.
8. You’ll never be “done” with decluttering; it is a constant process that becomes much easier with daily practice. To maintain your larger decluttering efforts, set up a donation bin in an easy-access location (or two!). Pop some trash bags in the bottom and a Sticky Note “donation” label on the font. When it gets full, place everything in one of the trash bags and donate!Ti
9. Place a small recycling bin in each room of your home. You would be amazed at how much clutter just sits around in the form of items to be recycled! Bathrooms, bedrooms and near where the mail piles up are all great spots.
10. Decluttering your bathroom might be as simple as checking the expiration dates on a lot of your products. Many makeups, sunscreens, medications, supplements, lotions and nail polishes can expire or dry out. If you look on the back, you can see the number of months from the open date when the product will expire. (This usually looks little a little jar or bottle with the number 18M or 12M - that means 12 months from the open date. Here is a quick video with examples if that is helpful.)
11. Take before and after pictures of your decluttering projects. Seeing how much progress you have made will inspire you to keep going! It’s easy to forget how far you have come and so helpful to have a reference for the times where you are feeling overwhelmed.
12. Schedule your donation drop-offs and pick-ups right away. A pile of things you are planning to get rid of is still clutter until it is gone. If it's in your calendar, you are more likely to follow through. Remember, this is an ongoing process. Each small step - even dropping things off at a donation center - should be celebrated!
Author: Aimee Bloom Professional Member Inspired Living NW
Life is full of transitions. Changing careers, launching a business, navigating through pandemics, dealing with the death of a loved one, and even organizing your home...these transitions can all be overwhelming at first. During times of transition, to-do lists can feel endless. You might feel bombarded by the mountains of information to sift through and absorb. Then there are the inevitable times that you will stop and question, "is this endeavor worth it?"
As I began launching my organizing business, there were many days when I felt that the lists were insurmountable and the obstacles too large. Even as an organized person. When I felt this way, there were two words that helped me calm myself down and refocus:
I chanted these words to myself each morning as I prepared to tackle another checklist item. I uttered them aloud in the kitchen, thinking about all that needed to be accomplished. They were a constant comfort.
When frustrations gummed up the works and progress came crashing to an unwelcome halt, I felt blessed when those around me whispered (or more likely admonished rather loudly), "BABY STEPS!" to remind me that everything would get done in due time. It would not happen all at once, regardless of how impatient I got.
My mission for the business launch was to give myself a year to get everything up and running by the time my last bird flew the nest, and I would become a "Free Bird."
You see, I wanted to avoid feeling sorry for myself due to the changes in my life, watching my kids blossom into their adult paths taking them far away. Lo and behold, I DID get it all done...and more. The Practical Sort is now in it's 5th year, and business is going strong!
The next time you take on a big project that feels daunting, like changing careers or trying to organize your home, simply close your eyes. Notice if your stomach is churning and the muscles in your back and neck tighten because you have no idea how it will all get done.
Then, say these words or keep them in the back of your mind, "Baby Steps." Repeat if necessary.
Sometimes it is best to start with a very small project or area because the pay-off will be more immediate. Your brain will experience the surge of endorphins while you admire the progress made. This can stoke your energy and motivation to keep going!
And when you find yourself in over your head, figure out how to calm down your amygdala and get back into your prefrontal cortex, the rational thinking brain. That might look like:
Baby steps indeed. It will all happen in due time.
Author: Sherri Curley Professional Member The Practical Sort
We hope these help you and your clients move forward into the new season and to close the year with intention. DISCLAIMER: NAPO Oregon does not specifically endorse these organizations and is not liable for their performance.
Local shred events are a great opportunity for our clients to eliminate shredding and support a good cause at the same time. These events are increasingly geared towards collecting food donations as well as shredding, so always check before you go!
Note: Unfortunately, the Beaverton Police Department has discontinued their Shred events.
Saturday, October 30th from 9 am – 12 pm at the Sherwood Police Department.
Protect yourself and your clients from identity theft while the Sherwood Police Department works to restock the community’s food pantries. This event is sponsored by The Sherwood Police Department and Pride Disposal. They will allow two boxes of shredding maximum and a minimum of two non-perishable food items. Call 503.625.5523, #2 with questions.
More Information Here.
Saturday, November 6th, 2021 from 8 am - 1 pm at 3083 NE 49th Pl, Hillsboro, 97124.
This is the fall shred event in Hillsboro, which benefits the Safe & Sober Grad Night Celebrations for Hillsboro High Schools. You are allowed three grocery bag/banker boxes of shredding and a minimum $5 cash donation per car. This event starts at 8am and they go till the trucks are full! They ask us to remember to bring PAPER ONLY.
More Information Here.
As many of our members know, buried in Treasures is a FREE 16-week peer-led, judgment-free program sponsored by Washington County Disability, Aging, and Veterans Services. There is a group starting October 18th and running for 16 weeks on Mondays from 12 pm -2 pm PST.
NOTE: The dates for this course are decided once enough participants are registered on the wait list! So if you have a client who wishes to attend, they should go ahead and get themselves signed up. Once they have enough for a group, they will contact participants to decide on a time.
This program provides in-depth training and support for people with clutter, chronic disorganization, and hoarding tendencies to learn practical skills in a small group setting of up to 12 who share similar experiences.
Each 2-hour session focuses on a chapter in the provided book, Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding (Tolin, Frost, & Steketee, 2nd ed. 2013, Oxford University Press), with readings, activities, and homework between sessions.
Participants are expected to commit to attending all 16 sessions as well as to participate actively. Research by Randy Frost and colleagues indicates that up to 73% of participants are much or very improved by the end of the group.
Participants will find a supportive community of people who are struggling to cope and are ready for change.
Contact Kera Magarill at 720.210.8481 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Recycle or Not is a great local resource that can help clients who struggle with recycling to develop an understanding of what Oregon Metro takes at curbside pickup.
To benefit from this resource, simply follow their Instagram page. They post common household items with info on whether the item can be recycled or not. You can also Direct Message them with a photo of an item you have a question about, and they are great at getting back to you!
Note: Recycle or Not focuses ONLY on what Portland Metro's curbside service takes. There may be alternate recycling options out there for some items! For the savvy recycler, this resource will be less helpful, but it's an excellent guide for beginners who want to stop "wishcycling."
You can find out more about them at recycleornot.org, or follow them on Instagram here.
This is a great resource for our Oregon Chapter Members only! It contains resources for recycling, repurposing, selling and disposing of unwanted items. The Resource List is maintained by the NAPO Oregon Resource Committee as a benefit to current NAPO Oregon members. If you are a Professional Organizer and you are NOT a member, this resource guide is a great benefit of joining the chapter!
Once you have joined, the Resource Guide will be available in the Members Only section of the NAPO Oregon Website.
Author: Veronica Bishop Business Partner Bishop Content Studio
NAPO Oregon, Incorporated is a legal entity separate and distinct from NAPO, Inc. (the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) and is not entitled to act on behalf of or to bind NAPO, contractually or otherwise.
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