Thursday, July 29, 2010

Organizing and Gardening

Organizing is a lot like gardening. In a garden your first step is to pick your site and then visualize how you want your garden to look and what you want to get from it.
You make your plan. You develop zones for your different types of plants. You put on your calendar when to plant the seeds or plants. You only plant what you need or love.
Then you start to work. You prepare your soil. You put in your plants or seeds. You fertilize and water them in.
A few days later you come out to check on the garden. The plants you put in look a little droopy. You pull out the hose and water again.
Next week you come out to check on the garden. The watering and rain have definitely perked up those plants but what is all that other green stuff growing out there? You pull the weeds.
Things go along pretty well but you notice something has been chewing on the leaves. You do pest control.
You discover that you need to remove not only weeds but vines and dead leaves to promote the growth of your garden.
Organizing is much the same. You visualize your area. You develop a plan. You implement your plan. It looks great.
A few days later clutter starts to reappear. The area doesn't look as fresh. Pests invade (pets, children, spouse).
Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance!
Maintenance will keep your garden and your organized area the best it can possibly be and you will reap the rewards.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Joy of Money

I have often used a matrix when prioritizing time but I had never thought of using it for money until I read The Joy Dividend by Martha Beck in the latest O magazine. It makes so much sense. Basically you look at the satisfaction or joy you get from your purchases. What you value comes from your unique desires.
Martha's matrix is a simple two-by-two matrix. There are 4 quadrants labeled 1) Top-Dollar Items: I really NEED it and I really LOVE it. 2) Bottom-Dollar Items: I really NEED it, but I don't really LOVE it. 3) Remaining-Dollar Items: I don't really NEED it, but I really LOVE it. 4) No-Dollar Items: I don't really NEED it, and I don't really LOVE it.
Start by writing down all the things you spend money on. If an item falls in category 1 or 2, you must budget for it before buying anything extra. Martha suggests you start with category 2 and you buy these items as cheaply as possible. Save all the money you can in this category. Then in category 1 buy the best things you can afford. Don't listen to others but go with your own gut. If you have any money left over, spend it in category 3- things you love but don't need. This might be the gourmet coffee you buy as a treat or a piece of art work. Don't buy items from category 4. Just because your friend buys something and is so pleased by it, doesn't mean that it is for you. If you don't need or love it, don't succumb to the purchase.
So for me, I spend the least I can get by with on electronic gadgetry, a lot on good food and food preparation items like good knives, hope to have money left to buy flowers for my house, and don't buy antique jewelry or knickknacks.
Bargain for your needs, celebrate your loves, and keep an eye out for the joy factor.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Re-purpose Party

This past weekend I held a re-purpose party. Everyone was to bring or tell about something that they re-purpose. What a wealth of ideas! Some were very practical, some were whimsical, some were artistic. Let me share some of these ideas with you.
The picture shows a piece of art done by Tami Puckett made from found materials. It is made from: the tip of a palm frond, a peach pit, cherry seeds, the end of a paper roll, Celluclay (an instant paper mache), beeswax, colored pencil and acrylic paint.
Ann Langley took a piano apart that they could not even give away and used parts of it for art. I especially liked the use of the wooden music holder as a piece hung over a doorway. She also has used the rack of hammers as art on the top of a bookcase and intends to use the soundboard as wall art or a sculpture. She is also wanting to use some of the wood as shelving.
Feriel Feldman uses a footed sewing box to hold her dog leashes and collars near her front door. She also uses an antique pottery chamber pot for mail, floral glass frogs to keep small jewelry tools, and a man's tie rack to hang jewelry.
Diane Robinson uses a bucket to collect air conditioner water to water plants or put in her fountain. She also uses tins (the kind foods or cookies come in) to store food or to wrap and transport gifts. Doug made a beautiful dining table from old found rafter wood.
Claudia uses bounce sheets in many ways- in place of stabilizer on fabric or to put her needle through when sewing (it stops thread from tangling), to freshen the air in drawers or shoes or car seats or the trash can, or to collect pet hair off the furniture. She also had uses for empty cardboard rolls, newspaper bags, sand paper, and freezer paper. She sent me a whole page and could do an entire blog herself.
Darin uses his cappuccino maker to quickly heat water for tea.
Len made a unique candle holder out of a glass P-trap from a lab. He also came up with the great idea of using a metal pasta ladle to clean out gutters (his sister, Ann, also said they were great for dipping ice out of a cooler.)
Amelia suggested using egg cartons for sorting earrings and I used the lab beakers for vases.
I'm afraid there were some other good ideas that I may have forgotten.
I would love to hear from some of you about what you re-purpose.
Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, July 9, 2010

Open Spaces

I pride myself in keeping an uncluttered home but sometimes we get so used to seeing things where they are that we don't notice some absurdities that have crept in. It takes an outsider to come in and open your eyes. I am very good at doing this with my clients - for myself, not so much. That is why I called in help in the way of Tami Puckett,, to help me with design issues. It started with needing help to pick fabric to recover my sofas and ballooned into a reworking of the living room. She had ideas that I would have never thought of (putting a narrow table between the sofa and the window so the cats might be tempted to lay on it looking out the window instead of the cushions of my newly covered sofa), reinforced some things I already knew (that coffee table had to go- not too pretty and taking up waaay to much room), and showed me how to open up more space by getting rid of a rather large piece of not too pretty furniture, whose sole function was holding a fountain. She has other ideas to lighten up the room and open it even further. It will be exciting to see the room unfold.
This week I suggest you take a room and either try to look at it with the eyes of a stranger, with the idea of opening up more space and checking to see what might be changed to make an area more usable; or you call in someone to walk though the area with you.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, July 2, 2010


I have worked with several clients whose homes have been heavily damaged by fire or water damage. In these cases, the insurance company contracted with a company to come in and remove the items from the home, clean them, and return them. Sadly, there have been badly damaged pieces and some valuables that never returned to the owners. The proof that these items were in the home and in good repair is up to the owner. It often looked like old china and crystal were run through industrial dishwashers and chips and breaks occurred. The client swears they had service for 12 but pieces are missing. Some items may have been destroyed by the fire or water but the client has to remember and fill out forms as to what they had.
I recommend that everyone do a quick inventory to begin with. Go through your home and take pictures of everything. Open up cupboard doors and drawers and take pictures. Take pictures of large items like TVs or antiques. Put these pictures in a safety box or send them to a relative or save them off site. Later, go back and do a more compete inventory. As you organize and clean each zone of your house, make a spread sheet of your valuables. Include item name, description, quantity, brand/manufacturer, serial/model no.,where purchased or obtained, date of purchase or age, current value or replacement cost.
This takes a long time to begin with. However, the next year when you go through your zones you can just update it by adding new purchases and deleting items you no longer have.
If you have a disaster, this will make life so much easier.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer