Thursday, March 31, 2011

NAPO conference

Next week I will be attending the NAPO conference in San Diego. This will be my 5th conference. Before I head off to the conference I set goals for myself.
I want to learn about the latest trends and resources in the organizing industry. I plan to glean information from experts in the field that I can use to improve my services. I want to see the newest products and services offered in the industry. I hope to network with other organizers in different parts of the country. This will give me a chance to meet face to face with some organizers I have just chatted with or shared information with on Facebook. I will also have some social time with organizers from my own chapter.
I also plan to have some fun. I have never been to San Diego so I am going one day early in order to see the city. I hope to take a tour and learn more about the area.
When I return I will develop an action plan from this wonderful experience.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grab and Go Bag

One never knows when a disaster might strike at home. Often it is very sudden and you only have minutes to get out. For my peace of mind I put together a Grab and Go Bag. I used the guide from Judith Kolberg's Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Home for any Natural or Unnatural Disaster.
While this took me a while to assemble, I sleep better nights knowing it is ready.
Some items in the kit have to do with safety and communication. I have a radio, flashlight with extra batteries, and a first aid kit. Very nearby is my purse, which will have my cellphone and charge cards.
Some items in the kit allow me to be able to survive outside for a while. I have food, a can opener, water, matches, blanket, plastic bags, plastic drop sheet, a Dopp kit, tissues, and pen knife.
I also have one change of clothes, extra shoes, extra eye glasses, extra sets of keys, a small pad and pencil.
Inside the bag is also a folder holding essential documents, information, and cash.
Part of the essential information in the folder are names/phone numbers/email address/account numbers of my banks, financial institution, insurance, an appraiser, utilities, Dept. of Motor Vehicles, Pharmacy, and credit cards. I also have a copy of my driver's license, social security card, and credit cards along with my original passport. I also have copies of my password and user code for my accounts, security system, bank, etc.
It is also good to have copies of your last income tax papers (first 2 pages), deeds, titles, loan information, stock and bond certificates, vehicle titles and registrations, will, living will, power of attorney, marriage certificate or divorce decree.
I also have cash in this folder.
You might want to put together a second bag for pets with their vet/shot information, extra collars and leads, food and water, a pet dish, blanket, a toy.
I put together my kit several years ago so maintenance at least once a year is a good idea. Old food and water should be rotated out. Information should be read over to see if there are any changes. For example, I bought a new car this year so the key and title had to be changed in the bag.
Having a sleeping bag in the same closet would also be a good idea.
I would be interested in hearing what unique items would you put in your Grab and Go Bag.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Organizing for Spring Break

Taking a trip over Spring Break is a tradition for many families. How can you organize this trip so that you are not exhausted by the time you leave or return from the trip?
Let's start off by assuming that you have chosen your destination and made any travel arrangements.
As you plan to leave your home for a week or more, set up a list of things to check off. Do you need a house or pet sitter? Will you need your lawn mowed? Have you stopped your mail and newspaper or scheduled someone to pick it up for you? Are any critical bills coming due while you are gone? You don't want your house to look vacant.
A few days before departing, check on any reservations you have previously made. If flying over Spring Break, review airline check-in and baggage limits and procedures. If driving, make certain that your car has recently been serviced. Check to see what the weather is like at your destination.
If you are traveling with children, have them take responsibility for their own light-weight backpack. Let them choose one outfit, a few favorite toys and books, and a snack to carry. If you are traveling by car, also have a bag with food, snacks, trash bags, sanitizer, wipes, and a couple of surprise activities for the children.
Develop an all purpose packing checklist for your family. This will make packing easier and make it less likely that you will forget to pack underwear of the swimsuit. If you keep a copy of the checklist on your computer, you can print it out and highlight the items you pack for this trip. Put the list in a protective cover and slip it into your suitcase. This makes it easier to check to see that everything is also repacked to come home. Include on this list personal items like passports, reservation information and contacts, cell phones and chargers, cameras and iPods.
Please share any great tips that you might have for a carefree vacation.
Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Living Room Zone

If you are following the zone plan, this is a good month to organize your living room. I always start out by reviewing my vision for the zone. Has anything changed since the last time I worked in this room? This past year I have done some minor work in this area to lighten it up and make it more interesting. The activities that I pursue in this room, however, are the same. I still entertain, eat, read, listen to music, and work on projects in this room.
I want this room to feel inviting and comfortable both to me and my friends. I want my area to feel open yet cozy. I want people to come into this room and be able to exhale.
Whenever I work in a zone, I always try to purge some items that are no longer necessary or do not add to my pleasure in this room. I divide my room into four sections and do one section a week. As this room has four walls, I use a wall to define the section.
Items that might be let go of in this zone could be coats/sweaters I no longer use or love that are hanging in the closet . I might purge some of my CDs or books. This time I have let go of a large coffee table and an end table. I have a credenza that holds supplies for parties and entertaining. I can usually toss some items like old napkins or candles from this piece of furniture.
At the end of the month, when I finish this zone, I will celebrate. A good way to do this is to bring in some cut flowers and have some friends over.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Natural Disasters

There have been so many natural disasters in the news lately. Earthquakes, mud slides, floods, and fire strikes to name the most recent. I have a friend from New Zealand (earthquake), family in Ohio (floods) and grew up with tornadoes.
Often these disasters come with little warning. What can you do to be prepared?
First, stay informed. What likely disasters make strike your community and what are the community plans for dealing with the disaster?
Have a plan if you have to evacuate. Keep your gas tank nearly full. Keep your phone charged. If time, know how to shut off your utilities.
Keep a grab and go bag packed. I use the guide from Judith Kolberg's Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Home for any Natural or Unnatural Disaster. I have money in the bag as well as copies of all important papers and passwords, food, change of clothing, radio, flashlight, first aid kit, and more.
Have a plan for your pets.
Quick evacuations happen more frequently than you might imagine. I had to briefly leave my home when a tree fell.
Please share with me your plan.
Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer