Tips from NAPO Seattle Area Professional Organizers
Terina Bainter, Clutter Cutters
“To save time in the kitchen cut and chop your onions, carrots, and celery then freeze them on a cookie sheet. After they are frozen, you can place them in a Ziploc bag and use them by handfuls as you need them.”
Jaime Bourne, Bourne 2 Organize
"It's OK to ask for help! A great organizer will create simple systems that will improve your life in ways that work for you!"
Linda Deppa, Uncluttered
"Ask yourself questions like, when am I going to use this again? When was the last time I used it? Do I really need this? If you start these answers out with “but it… or if I…” you probably don’t need it. The one I hear a lot is, “but it was given to me by a friend or family member and if I get rid of it that person might feel bad.” But really stop and think about it. Your friend or family member would most likely never want you to feel burdened or weighed down by something they had given you. So it’s time to let it go if it feels like a burden or something you won’t use anymore. In addition, if you donate it, it might be exactly what someone else needs or is looking for at one of the local charities."
Sue Ive, Organize to Optimize
“When you have a pile of paperwork you need to sort through, get 4 containers, label them ‘File’, ‘Action’, ‘Reading’, and ‘Recycle’. Then take each paper one by one and place in the appropriate container.”
Catherine Jewett, Reversible Chaos
“If you have a large project, break it down into small tasks. Each task should be small enough that you feel like saying ‘I can do that!’ Once you break your project into tasks, assign each task to a date on your calendar or in your planner.”
Cindy Jobs, Organize to Simplify
“Before you start to organize, identify the best CURRENT use of the space. Just because it was a guest room doesn't mean it needs to stay a guest room (possibly a home gym or office makes more sense right now.). Just because the cookie sheets have always been in a particular cupboard doesn't mean they have to stay there (possibly use that awkward space above the refrigerator.). Our needs constantly change, so does the need for how we use our space."
Laura Leist, Eliminate Chaos
Use a digital notebook, such as OneNote or Evernote to keep track of information, such as: ideas for your home, things you want to buy, shopping lists, recipes and so much more. For example, I keep one digital notebook in OneNote that is only used for recipes. I have sections based on the type of food and each section ash pages for individual recipes. the notebook syncs to the OneNote app on my iPhone and then when at the store I have access to all ingredients. Using digital notebooks will help you eliminate a lot of random notes and scraps of paper you may have lying around your office. The best part? It's backed up so you will never lose the information."
Sheila Perreault, Blue Nest Home
"It doesn't matter where you start; just pick a spot and begin. If you are overwhelmed with an area and don't know where to begin, start to your left and work clockwise around the room."
Alan Regala, ShelfGenie of Seattle
"If your kitchen feels cluttered with too many items on the counters, chances are you're not utilizing your cabinet or pantry storage effectively. You can maximize storage and accessibility by using Glide-Out shelving and placing them close enough together vertically so there's little dead space."
Debbie Rosemont, Simply Placed
Take 15-20 minutes at the end of one day to plan for and prioritize the next. This time can be used to clear the decks: put things away that were used during the day but not yet put in their proper home, process remaining email, review your calendar for the following day and to prioritize tomorrow's task list. It saves so much time to bring closure to one day and set yourself up for success for the next in this way."
Sheila Taylor, Clutter Controllers
"Keep a basket near the the door that you enter after getting the mail. Put the mail in the basket and set up a weekly time to go through the mail. I review mine on Sunday nights since I am normally home. Allow yourself about 30 minutes to evaluate each piece of mail, placing each in one of three piles: action, file or recycle. Follow through on action items, file what needs to be filed, and place the third pile in your recycling. This will eliminate any chance of misplacing bills and invoices, and their corresponding late charges."
Melanie Warren, SOS by Melanie
“Once a year, when you are going through your closet reverse all your hangers so your clothes are hung backwards. As you wear them, hang them back up normally. At the end of six months, look at all the hangers and see how many are still hung backwards. It might be time to donate these items.”
Steve Webber, Steve’s Organizing LLC
“You don’t have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep. You don’t have to designate a home for all of your possessions, just the ones you want to find.”
Lauren Williams, Casual Uncluttering LLC
"Do everything you can to figure out how you organize before you start. Pace the floor, play music, imagine everything in big colorful boxes. The more you do to understand what is comfortable for you, the more successful you'll be at designing systems that work for you."