Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Time to GO! (Get Organized, of course!)

January is a great time to organize. Why? Because it fits right in with New Year's resolutions and plans for making 2009 your best year ever, that's why. There are so many great things going on during GO month. You can take advantage of the 30% off Elfa sale at The Container Store. Or look into hiring a professional organizer to get that tough organizing project you've been procrastinating off your mind once and for all. There are also lots of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) organizing events going on all over the country that you can check out too. No matter what you decide to do during GO month remember that getting organized is one of the best gifts you can give yourself this year. Whether you decide to organize a single closet or your garage just do the best you can! And feel free to call on me if you need some help reaching your 2009 organizing goals!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More stylish than Staples...

Sometimes you just need to get organized and it doesn't really matter what your paper tray looks like. However there are times when some stylish, fun, colorful organizing tools are just what you need to get motivated to keep things in order. For some fun ways to organize office supplies or just about anything check out the MacBeth Collection at A client of mine bought cute buckets and tubs for organizing her home office because she was going to be using them on open shelving to hold things like pens, pencils, ribbon, candy (every office needs candy!), extra office supplies and so forth. She wanted the visual display to reflect her business and her personality. Because she loves the way it looks she cares more about how it works--that happens sometimes! See, organizing is fun!

You can choose from all sorts of designs. I happen to like paisleys!
P.S. Sorry for not including links. I had to take them out due to "technical difficulties."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I want a messy house too...

...but only if Peter Walsh and the Oprah Winfrey show comes to my house and gives me a FREE organizing and decorating makeover!! How awesome would that be?

Don't you just love organizing shows? I do, I do! Yesterday, Oprah aired a show featuring organizing guru Peter Walsh who launched "Oprah's Clean Up Your Messy House Tour".

So I guess Peter Walsh is leading a convoy of VW bugs around the country for the next six months looking for messy houses to organize and clean up. I've considered messing up my house to see if he'll stop by...Yes, that's a fantastic plan!

Yesterday's show had some really great results (check out and some fun ideas for displaying and preserving your children's art work. As an alternative to saving every piece of paper your child ever doodles on, take digital pictures of their favorite pieces and make a snapfish book out of them! How clever is that? To entice us all to give it a try, Oprah offered a free snapfish 8x10 photo book to get you started. But you have to move quickly since you have to get your coupon by Friday and redeem it by Sunday!

Oprah's website also has a link for a 20% off coupon at The Container Store which is good for one week. This offer ends Nov. 19th so check out your wish list and see what you need to help you get organized this week. I know I'm going to!

Even better, as part of this "tour" Peter Walsh is sending out a newsletter for the next six months designed to help you declutter. Follow this link to sign up and begin helping yourself!

Now, I have to get going--I have a house to clutter up! ;)

Your Busy Bee Organizer,


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Remembering to Recycle

In the course of any organizing project there is always a question raised about what is recyclable and what is not. I thought I would post a great one page sheet that I found on the Fairfax county website that helps you remember what is acceptable recycling material to put out on the curb come recycling day. Keep in mind that this information is for Fairfax County and your county may have different standards.

I'm going to keep my printed out cheat sheet near my trash and recycling bin as motivation to recycle more. I'm also going to go dig out the 6 metal cans I just tossed in the trash last night, clean them and put them in my recycling bin!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Picture Perfect Organizing!

I had the privilege of helping my fantastic photographer friend Virginia Payne organize her home office this summer. It was such a fun project (I think all organizing projects are fun!) and I was so excited when she offered to take the "after" pictures with her professional camera which, by the way, turned out so much better than the ones I took on my little red Nikon! To see a little bit of both our work check out this posting on her professional blog and for more information about Virginia Photography check out her website She takes amazing photographs and is such a wonderful person to work with.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Introducing...The Busy Bee Toothbrush Holder!

This is so funny--I just had to post it!
It's the Busy Bee Toothbrush Holder.
Why didn't I think of that?!?
It actually has a little suction cup on the back so you can hang it on a mirror or in your shower. Tempting isn't it?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vidcast: Refrigerator and Pantry Tips

If you are working on your refrigerator and/or pantry and want some great ideas check out this helpful vidcast from professional organizer Susan Stewart of Perfectly Placed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Organizing Doesn't Have to Cost a Fortune

Although I love The Container Store as much as the next organizer, I am all about finding great organizing tools just about anywhere. Finding that perfect solution and finding it for a great price is just so rewarding! Last year I began receiving a catalog called The Lakeside Collection that offers a variety of household items for great prices. I even did some Christmas shopping with them last year and was happy with everything I bought. Recently, I was flipping through their catalog and found some things I thought were definitely worth sharing.

They protect their web images so you'll have to follow the links. Note the prices!!

Set of 3 Magazine Protectors for $6.95: I thought these would be particularly helpful for storing magazines in an attic or basement.

Set of 2 Woven Storage Trunks for $22.95: Cute and functional. They look really well made too.

5-Piece Space Bag Combo for $14.95: Just as a comparison, Bed Bath and Beyond sells a pack of 3 large, 3 extra-large and one jumbo bag for $39.99.

Closet Organizers for as low as 5.95 per set: You'll pay $9.99 for a set of two over the door purse racks anywhere else.

Set of 2 Canvas Storage Totes for $8.95: These are super cute for kids toys and stuff. They look like something the Pottery Barn sells.

I think you get the idea! Check out their website and happy hunting for that perfect and affordable solution to your organizing needs!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fabric Wall Mount Magazine Organizer

I bought one of these a few months ago from The Container Store and just love it! I originally bought it for my kitchen to hold magazines I like to read while eating breakfast, but I recently transferred it to my home office to hold my Organize Magazines that I use for inspiration when working on projects. I decided to hang it over my supply closet door in my office from a couple of over-the-door hooks that I already had. It's nice to look at and because it's on my closet door it's not taking up valuable wall space in my small office. Has anyone else found a great use for this fun magazine organizer? I bought the brown one and the other colors are fun too! This style of organizer could be used just about anywhere you like to read magazines. I thought it could also be used to store office supplies, forms, paperwork, etc. in an office setting. Lots of potential!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Coupon Organizer

If you like to use coupons but don't have a good way of keeping them organized, you might like this product for organizing grocery coupons. For those of you like me who have found yourselves in a grocery isle wishing you had that coupon you left at home, or digging through your purse trying to save 50 cents this might help you put those coupons to use and save you some money. However, before you go to the trouble of organizing coupons (or anything) make sure you ask yourself if you really use coupons enough to make it worth organizing them to this extent. Some people need something as simple as an envelope because they only save and use a few coupons now and then. But if you use coupons regularly and need a better organizing system then check out Mrs. A's Grocery Coupon Organizer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just have to share this!

Isn't this the cutest hamper??
Maybe it makes laundry more fun...probably not--but it's still cute!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Busy Bee is Back!

Hi all,
Sorry I've taken such an extended vacation from blogging. To be honest, I started to feel like I was spending too much of my free time on the computer and my neck was telling me "no more!" I hope you'll forgive me! Spring is finally here in full force and I have been working on some great organizing projects in the last few weeks. Some with clients and some of my own. Saturday I cleared out some paint cans and some other "junk" from my own basement because our town home association arranged for The Junk Army to pick up junk in our development. It was such a great thing! They don't take flammable stuff (paint thinner etc.) but they do take latex paint which was nice. I just kept the paint colors we have used in the past few years and tossed a bunch that was here when we moved in three years ago. It felt great! I also recently rearranged and reorganized my little tool/garden shed a few weeks ago. I was reminded that it only takes about 20 minutes in a space like a basement, garage or shed to make a huge difference. So my advice is don't put those areas off because you think you have to do it all at once and that it will take hours of blood sweat and tears. Take 20 minutes and just get busy--and if you are working outside like I have been, watch out for the bees! Seriously, I know the experts are saying there aren't as many bees anymore--I think they must all be hanging out at my place!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What to Keep, What to Toss?

Do you absolutely dread paperwork and filing? When it comes to paper it can be hard to know what you need to keep, how long to keep it and what you can part with and most of us keep way more paper than we really need to. Not having a clear idea of what you actually need to keep can make you afraid to toss anything. It quickly piles up, fills up file drawers and becomes overwhelming especially if you don't have some basic guidelines and a schedule for paring down and keeping it in check.

I like to use tax time each year (just after I file) to do a major weed out paperwork that I know I no longer need. As a professional organizer I have researched and used various guidelines to help my clients (and myself) take control of paper piles and overstuffed files. I ran across a set of guidelines on The Container's Store's webite that is short, sweet and to the point. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines so check with your financial advisor if you have questions about your particular situation especially if it's complicated.

And if all else fails use colorful folders to make filing more exciting!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Choosing a PDA

To answer Amy's question on my last post, there are many electronic options for staying organized. I happen to use the TREO. I know other who like the Blackberry. There are other options now like the iPhone which seem very cool. You could research options for weeks, I'm sure. With that said, I'll give you some specific information based on my own experience with my TREO and then you can start to look at specific options that will work for your needs and price range.
Before I converted from paper and pencil planners to a handheld PDA (I was absolutely convinced at one time that paper and pencil was the only way to keep my life organized), I had spent some time using an organizing software program called AnyTime Organizer. Looking back I realize that this computer program is what eased me into planning with a computer and taught me that I could, in fact, keep of track of my life in this computerized format. Big step! I really loved the AnyTime Organizer. It was simple and easy to use. I could type in and check off my to do items. It even had this option where you could post little "sticky notes" on your desktop as reminders which was fun. I loved being able to copy and paste information from emails (directions to places, times, event details etc.). It was great. However, before long I realized I had to actually be sitting in front of my computer for maximum benefit. Not so great. Soon it started to irritate me that I could not take it with me when I left the house because it made scheduling very difficult. I tried printing out pages to take with me places but it just did not make any sense to have to go to all that trouble to keep everything current. So at that point I started to really want to have my AnyTime Organizer capabilities with me all the time, especially when I left the house.
That Christmas I got my TREO and things changed dramatically in this aspect of my planning my life. I got the TREO 700P Smartphone (about $600 now--ours came with a $200 rebate which helped) because my husband had one and we could "beam" (share) contacts and calendaring information in seconds--very cool! I chose the Palm software to go with it because we were both familiar with Palm Desktop software from having used a Palm Pilot "back in the day" when PDA choices were more limited. With the TREO I now had my phone, calendar, to-do list, agenda, memo pad for note taking, contacts, camera (good enough for basic use), music (fun!) and the option of getting online all in the palm of my hand. I even uploaded books, like the scriptures onto my memory card. It was amazing to have it all in one place and with me whenever I needed it! I can't tell you what a difference it made for me.
Now that I have raved about the TREO I would encourage any of you who are interested in buying a PDA to research your options and make your decisions based on your own personal circumstances. Like me, you might have a family member who already uses one type of PDA and you might want to get the same kind to make communication and use easier and even to shorten the learning curve. You may want something more lightweight--the TREO is a little thicker than other choices, I believe. You may base your decision on price or software/application familiarity. With all the choices out there to consider I would advise you to go to a store and actually look at, hold and play around with the ones you're interested in. I chose the TREO because I like the way it felt in my hand and because there there was an individual button to push for each letter. I didn't have to learn any new languages to use it! :) You will also want to base your decision on the types of applications the PDA comes with (to do list and calendar for sure!). See the above list for the ones on the TREO that I think a useful PDA should have. And above all use common sense. Think about what you want out of a PDA and ask others who use them for their input. And just to be clear, it's well worth the extra time, effort and money to transition from paper to a PDA to have everything you need to plan your life at your fingertips.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Shopping for a Planner?

In the last issue of Organize Magazine there was an ad for this planner created by professional organizer Julie Morgenstern and sold through Franklin Covey. Julie Morgenstern wrote the book Organizing from the Inside Out. Many of the people I work with already use or have need of planners and are just not interested in using a PDA. As a result, I am always on the lookout for a planner that fits the bill for an easy to use yet comprehensive planning tool. This planner has a clean-cut, sophisticated layout and looks very user friendly. It's daily pages have just what you need to organize your day. There's a nice two page spread with space for you to write your appointments in for the day and a whole page for daily tasks (a.k.a to do list). If your planner's just not cutting it or you're sick of all the separate lists you have going and you have no central place to keep track of your life, you really should check out this planner or take a look at this fantastic selection. I have to admitt--if I wasn't in love with my Treo I would get one of these cool planners. Once I saw all these cute planners I was actually tempted to go back to paper for a brief moment!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Maximizing Closet Space

This closet rod doubler is such a great space maximizer in a clothing closet. It's length is adjustable and it fits on smaller closet rods (like mine). I just love how it gave me twice the hanging space in my own closet. I was able to hang things that used to be taking up space on my shelf and I was able to use the previously underutilized space on the floor. Take a look! I was trying to squeeze a lot of those hanging clothes you see onto one rod--wasn't working!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Start the New Year By Simplify Your Mail

Are You Tired of Junk Mail?

If you dislike junk mail as much as I do and agonize over how much wasted paper is sent through the mail each and every day, you'll be interested in the following information I ran across while reading the recent Get Organized Now newsletter. "To reduce the amount of junk mail you receive, write to:
Mail Preference Service DMA
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008
Include your name and address and a request to be removed from any list. And finally, stop the pre-approved credit card offers by calling Trans Union at 1-888-567-8688. They have options to remove your name for two years or permanently. They share data with Experian and Equifax so you won't have to call them to make the same request."

Happy New Year!


Take a look at some of my organizing success! (Photos and text used with permission.)


Cluttered Desk


Clean and Clear of Clutter

Chaotic Shelf

Neat and Tidy Home Office

Client Feedback

I work out of a home office without any administrative support. I worked with Melissa to organize both my personal and professional effects as I prepared to relocate. I wish I had done it years ago. While organizing my office and paperwork Melissa identified my natural tendencies and created an organizational structure that was easy for me to maintain. When I began looking for a personal organizer, I mostly wanted someone else to come in and take care of the mess I had allowed to build up over the years. Working with an “uninterested” party during the purging process helped me lighten my load considerably. During the process Melissa provided me with simple intuitive skills that have not only allowed me to maintain my newly found order but help friends and family organize as well. I can honestly say hiring Melissa is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Kelsi Reeves