Company Logo

Sign Up

Sign up here to receive new posts from SolutionsForYou Organizing in your inbox. You might even receive occasional subscriber-only offers as well!

Follow by Email

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Strategies for Avoiding Holiday Stress

The 5 Steps to Organizing process as it applies to your Holiday schedule:

#1 Strategize
 List all your holiday activities that you want to do

    ACTIVITY                                                                 WHEN
1.    ______________________________________________
2.    ______________________________________________
3.    ______________________________________________
4.    ______________________________________________
5.    ______________________________________________

List everyone that is on your gift list and your budget for each.

    NAME                           GIFT IDEAS                      BUDGET
1.    ______________________________________________
2.    ______________________________________________
3.    ______________________________________________
4.    ______________________________________________
5.    ______________________________________________   

#2 Prioritize
  • Work from the above list and eliminate the activities you and your family do not wish to continue.
  • Eliminate the activities that are in your “should” category.
  • If it is too difficult to decide, narrow it down to each family member can pick one and only one activity that is most important to them.
  • Create new traditions as your family grows and matures.
  • Make an agreement with those on your previous gift list to eliminate that practice this year or donate your time, money or possessions to a charity.
#3 Localize
  • Write down your new and improved list of activities, traditions and gift list you want to continue this year.
  • This list is what you will now use to create your timeline for the rest of the holiday season.
#4 Containerize
  • Work backwards from your winter holiday to determine what you need to do and when.
  • On your family calendar write down when you are going to do each activity and any other days necessary to complete the activity. 
  • For example, gift making can involve more than one day to buy materials, make gifts, wrap gifts, and mail or deliver gifts.  Or, hosting a holiday open house involves planning the menu, deciding who to invite, buying or making the invitations, shopping for the food, preparing the food, and cleaning the house.
#5 Maximize
  • Can you follow this plan easily?
  • Did this plan help you to enjoy the activities you chose?
  • Did this plan enable you to enlist the help of your family?
  • Will you want to continue this next year?
  • Now, you and your family have an agreed upon holiday plan.  When other activities come up—invitations to parties, school productions, etc.—you can look at your holiday calendar plan and decide if it will fit into your plan.  If not, say NO and be at peace with your decision.  If it will, say YES and enjoy the holidays!

Please share your strategies to you have for avoiding holiday stress.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014



Sunday, November 9, 2014


A serious contender for why clutter and disorganization occur is an inability to easily make decisions about where to put things and what things to keep.
  • How do you decide where to put your stuff?
  • What stuff do you not know where to put it away?
If this is a challenge for you, try the D.E.C.I.D.E. model to determine what to do with items that are cluttering your environment:
D define when and where you use the item.
E = establish the criteria for whether or not to keep the item (i.e. do you use it, do you love it, is it beautiful. etc.).
C = consider all the alternatives of not keeping the item (i.e. can you borrow it or easily replace it later if you do need it).
I = identify the best placement for where to keep the item based on use.
D = develop and implement a plan of action for clearing the clutter.
E = evaluate and monitor the placement of your things and adjust/relocate when necessary.
The more often you practice and exercise the decision making part of your brain, the easier it will become to make decisions about your stuff.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to School Shopping for Adults

My favorite part of going back to school was shopping for school supplies.  This past weekend I did some back to school shopping at the Container Store and updated my 10 year old [tired] ticker system. #feelingorganized

What is a tickler system? It is a series of files related to the days of the month (1-31) and months of the year (Jan-Dec).  

Why use it?  If you want to be reminded to handle something in the future, but don’t want or need to think about it until then, it can be “tickled” to show up exactly on the day or month you’d like to see it again. Reminders such as:

  • appointments
  • tasks
  • repetitive activities such as housecleaning chores
  • bills to pay
  • follow-up on items delegated
  • birthdays
  • anniversaries
  • a place holder for future events (i.e. travel itinerary or concert tickets)
Here is some reminders/information I currently have in my tickler file:
  1. Bills 
  2. Upcoming client session files
  3. Upcoming conference information (flight info, conference schedule, speech)
  4. Upcoming board meeting information (board report, flight info)
  5. Tickets to the moon watching at the Japanese Garden
  6. Virtual Training - Session III information
  7. Newsletter outline
  8. Task list - moves daily
Do you use a tickler system? Why, or why not?


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Products I Love - Time Timer

Timers have numerous beneficial uses such as to reduce hyper focusing (something I do). Or, to set a limit on how long to do something i.e. time spent on the internet.

I use the Time Timer app every morning to focus on my critical task for the day.  

It's also available as a desktop timer in various sizes and its disappearing red disk is helpful to:
  • Teach children the concept of elapsed time 
  • Manage the stress of transitions by showing “how much longer”
  • Make homework and practice time more productive 
  • Reduce conflict in family and household routines
  • Increase productivity by breaking projects into manageable segments 
  • Keep meetings, appointments and events on time and moving forward
To learn more uses follow Time Timer on FaceBook 

Do you use a timer? If you do, what do you primarily use it for?

Monday, June 16, 2014

stuff, stuff, and more stuff

It seems the Portland housing market is picking up because my team and I have been downsizing/rightsizing, packing, and unpacking many clients this spring.  I have lost count, but I would estimate that we have eliminated over 200 black garbage bags of "stuff" in the past two months.

I have learned over the 11+ years of working as a professional organizer, that it is very difficult for people to make decisions about what to keep and that's why they have too much stuff.  We decide to deal with our stuff later and later never comes.  [Lack of] decision making is often the reason we have too much stuff.

Regular practice of anything makes the task or activity easier.  If you want it to get easier for you to make decisions about what stuff to keep, exercising the decision making part of your brain daily will help immensely.  It doesn't have to require a lot of time.  Simply spend 5 minutes each and every day and let go of 5 things you have multiples of.  Every day it will get a little bit easier to make a decision about what stuff to keep and what to release.

To get you started, below is a list of 30 items you probably have multiples of that you can reduce. In 30 days you will have 150 less things taking up space.  If you practice this for 1 year you will have 1,825 fewer things and a very strong decision making brain!
  • Vases (you know, the ones you get from the florist that you have 20 of)
  • Books/DVDs/CDs
  • Writing instruments (pens, pencils, markers)
  • Plastic food storage containers
  • Bags (plastic, paper, boutique, gift)
  • Water Bottles
  • Threadbare socks
  • Underpants
  • T shirts
  • Shoes
  • Broken Objects
  • Unfinished Projects
  • Expired canned/package food
  • Linens
  • Home d├ęcor objects
  • Partially burned candles
  • Buttons
  • Hotel soap/shampoo
  • Single socks/gloves/mittens
  • Expired or really old spices/herbs
  • Weed 5 files
  • Wire hangers (I say ditch all, but start with 5 if that is too hard)
  • Magazines
  • Catalogs
  • Greeting cards you received
  • Household cleaners you decided you don’t like
  • Toys/games/puzzles
  • Expired over the counter medications
  • 5 items in your junk drawer (I know you have one drawer, maybe two)
  • Expired makeup/dried up nail polish

Let me know what you experience from this exercise and what other items you released.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Top 5 Tips for Organizing with Kids

Top 5 Tips for Organizing with Kids

Tip #1 - Involve your child in the organizing processGuide your child to make decisions about what to keep.  Focus on the present, rather than the past (keeping something because it represents a memory) or the future (keeping something because they might need it ‘someday’).  When asking your child to pick up their room, clean up their mess, or put away their laundry, model what those tasks look like until they understand.  Practice the KISS principle when setting up organizing systems with your child.
Tip #2 - Regularly purge their things – Repeat after me, holding on to everything makes nothing important.  Teach your child to make decisions and to let go of the things that are no longer useful or they have outgrown.  Encourage your child to let go of (donate, recycle, resell) nine items each month in exchange for one item they want. You can set the dollar amount.  In one year they will have 96 fewer things.  In ten years they will have 960 fewer things!
Tip #3 - Have fun putting away their things – Use an analog timer to teach your child how long a task takes. To make the task of putting away their things fun, give your child a small basket of their nomadic items you found during the day or week.  Set the timer for 10 minutes and ask them to do a reverse scavenger hunt. Instead of finding things, their goal is to find the home for each of the items in the basket and put each away.  Like many games, you might reward your child with a small prize.  This will also teach your child everything has a place and everything belongs in its place.  My mother did not learn this concept until she was 62 years old, when I taught her.
Tip #4 - Developing new habits – Teach your child a new habit by attaching it to a current habit.  For example, if you want your child to pack their backpack each school night, have them do it just before or just after they brush their teeth or take their bath.

Tip #5 - Children’s art creations – there will be many over 18 years! To keep the volume under control consider taking photos of their art. You can also take a photo your child holding their masterpiece. Additionally, display the photos in a digital picture frame – kids love watching their artwork on display. ARTKIVE is an app that is designed for photographing, cataloging, storing, and sharing your child’s artwork. An art case is best for storing their masterpieces in paper form.  However, be mindful about are you keeping the art/school work for your child or for you?  Not many 18 year old kids leave home with their childhood art/school work!

A bit about me...

I love to organize anything! I love to read anything on the subject of organizing. I especially love helping others learn the joy and simplification organizing habits and behaviors can bring to their lives.

Click here to learn a bit about me and visit our websites (organizing services), (training and education for professional organizers) and my book web site

Anne Blumer

Anne Blumer
Certified Professional Organizer, Certified GO System Trainer and Consultant, and Certified FreedomFiler Consultant

Client Before and After Pictures

Certified Professional Organizer

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 SolutionsForYou, Inc. - All Rights Reserved