Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Preparing Your 2016 Calendar

By now you probably have your calendar for 2016 and have already put in some January commitments. Now is the best time to take the opportunity to really set up your 2016 calendar so that it can be a huge resource for you in the coming year.

I do this every year as an end of year ritual. I sit comfortably with some nice pens, my old calendar, a hot drink, and some pleasant music in the background. I take my time to reflect on the past year and plan for the upcoming one.
  1. I go through my old calendar month by month. I note birthdays, anniversaries, and standard meeting times (networking groups, goals group, weight watchers, my zone plan teleclass, etc.).
  2. I transfer these events onto the new calendar in red. This is pretty easy to do since they were in red on my old calendar. I use red because I want these dates to stand out from all the other appointments and meetings that will crowd my calendar throughout the year.
  3. At the top of each month, I note what zone in my home I am planning on working (see former blogs about my zone plan). January will have "office" zone marked. February will have "guest bedroom"  zone and so on throughout the year. On the notes side of my calendar I will write in other actions that I regularly do in that month. March will have "write newsletter" for example.
  4. Also on the notes side I keep track of when I pay yearly obligations (deposit box), renewals of subscriptions (so I don't renew a magazine 6 months before it runs out), scheduled donations, and memberships. When I start getting mail asking me for a donation or to renew a subscription, I can look at that note section to see when I plan to take that action.
  5. Finally, I write in any known scheduled events for the upcoming months such as doctor appointments, client appointments, presentations, and upcoming adventures ( a Road Scholar trip in January).
As I perform this end of year ritual, I get to review the past year. I see when I got together with friends or when I held or went to a party or went on a trip. And then I also know that I will not have to worry about missing a birthday or anniversary or doctor's appointment set months in advance. I am ready for anything the new year is going to bring.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Final Countdown of the Days

It's almost here! It's time to relax and enjoy the season. Let good enough be the rule now and allow time to revel in all that you have been preparing. Take time to enjoy your decorated home and enjoy some of the goodies you have prepared. Enjoy the holiday music that is everywhere and watch some of those old movies.

Here are a few tips to help you on your way.

  1. Cleaning:
  • just do maintenance work now
  • delegate where you can
2. Cooking:
  • keep it light
  • eat out more
  • plan a picnic meal by the tree
3. Holiday tasks:
  • set up a gift wrap station and finish wrapping - get rid of those scrappy pieces of wrap that clutter up space
  • as cards come in, check addresses and update your contact list
  • keep an eye on the tasks you have delegated on your calendar - adjust where necessary
  • play some holiday music
  • put together a container for Christmas morning - have in it a couple of trash bags fro used wrap, paper/pen to note who got what and from whom, scissors for opening those pesky wrappings
  • plan a car trip to view the lights or to visit a light display
4. On the day:
  • start jotting down now a list of ideas for future gifts - list sizes - if you plan on doing any re-gifting, make notes of who gave you the gift
  • if you receive a gift that duplicates something you already have (hello nice new coffee maker) start a donation box for the items no longer needed
Wishing all the best holiday season ever!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Annual Christmas Panic

OK, it is really December and the days are speeding up for sure. I feel a combination of excitement and panic. I'm looking forward to some parties and church events. I am looking forward to enjoying my decorated home. I am enjoying the holiday foods and music. But, wow! There are a lot of things that are not done. Most of the cards have not been mailed. Some gifts still need to be purchased - still unsure of what to even get a couple of people. I still have more baking to do. The house is in some disarray because of the process of decorating. No gifts have been wrapped.


These projects are scheduled on my calendar. I am only a little behind there. I am finding though that although the date is scheduled, when that day comes, finding the hours to prioritize those tasks is not easy. However, I am working on it.


I must get back in touch with my vision of the perfect holiday. How do I make this happen? Certainly not by using up all my energy every day. How do I deal with setbacks?


Some baking may not get done. There will still be plenty. The boys' favorite cookies will get done for sure.


The house will get back to normal once I finish the decorating. That should get done this coming weekend.


I'll look at that friend, my calendar, and schedule a time to wrap packages to mail and another time to wrap packages for here. I'll put on some music and sip a hot beverage. It will be fun.


I have scheduled one day away from all chores and work to spend with my hubby. All is good.


Enjoy your holidays!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is that special day when we stop and reflect on all of the abundance and joys that we have in our life.

One of the things on the top of my list is my wonderful family - which just keeps increasing. My family is my bedrock and my haven. They give me such joy and laughter. We recently connected with my sister Ann and her shoot of the family tree. Last summer I reconnected with my brother Jim and his family. I am hoping to soon visit my sister Lynn and her clan. This delightful picture was when we all came together in 2011.

This Thanksgiving we will break bread with some of Rob's side of the family in New Mexico. It's wonderful to have my family expanded through marriage with this wonderful man.  Then, when we return I'll have a special meal with my son who lives near me.

I also give thanks for my friends. My friends are like my extended family near by. I love to spend time with them and I know that we support and care for each other.

I am also thankful to have good health. I do what I can to stay healthy and I recognize this as a gift and I am very grateful.

I am also thankful that I can continue to work and have sufficient abundance in our home. Life is very good.

My hope for you is that you find many things to celebrate on this special day.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Priorities - Taking Time for Self

I love my profession and I love my clients, but........ sometimes, I just need a break. I love taking small vacations and grab them when there is an opportunity. This past week, Rob and I took a small vacation and attended a Road Scholar program in Florida. We met some wonderful people and learned about close harmonies, leading ladies Meryl Streep and Julie Roberts, and movies made into musicals (imagine Rocky as a musical!). This program was held on Eckerd College campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. The instructors were great and the food was tasty. Then we spent a day and a half at my sister's home. There she gathered local family and we had a wonderful time catching up with everyone. I had some quality time with my hubby and family as well as attending classes with a wonderful group of people.

While on my vacation, I checked emails and responded to clients. I did a Zone Plan Coaching call from the car using my cell phone (worked fine but couldn't record the call). This did not take a lot of time and I still felt in vacation mode.

When I returned, I was refreshed and ready to get back into the full swing of things at work and for the holiday preparations. I hope all of you find some time to take care of your needs to rest and relax this fall.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Monday, November 2, 2015

Organizing Your Attic or Basement Storage Areas

The attic or basement is the perfect zone to work on in November. It's not too hot or too cold and very likely your seasonal decorations are stored in this zone.

While you are up in the attic (or down in the basement), look around before you start. Make a list of all the categories you store in this zone. You might store:
  • Seasonal decorations
  • Seasonal house items like fans/heaters
  • Extra furniture and household accessories
  • Off season clothing
  • Suitcases
  • Archival papers
  • Sports Equipment
  • Toys to pass on to grandchildren.
Group all related items together and then designate zones for each category. Items that you do not plan to use in the next year or so should be stored the farthest from the entry. This might include the extra furniture, toys, and archival papers.

Leave space between each zone so that you can safely maneuver and get to items.

Label containers. It helps to locate holiday items if you use colored or themed containers to store your decorations, but still label the container with primary items. This keeps you from having to dig through multiple boxes to find the advent wreath or crèche you want early in the season.

While sorting, if you come across broken or unloved items that have been languishing in this area for years, now is the time to let them go. You will feel so much lighter when this is accomplished and next year, when this zone rolls around again, it will be a much easier task.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

T'is the Season for.....Catalogs

Unwanted catalogs, credit card offers, donation requests really seem to swamp us this time a year and can really clutter up our homes and offices. Yesterday alone 7 catalogs and 2 donation requests came into my home. Some of the catalogs and donation requests came from groups that I have never used. Many companies send this mail because they have bought our information from a data broker.

More than 100 billion pieces of junk mail are mailed to U.S. households each year, including 12 billion catalogs! That's a lot of trees, people. Over 100 million trees are cut down each year to produce our junk mail and 1.72 million tons of junk mail ends up in landfills. Only about 40% of the junk mail is recycled.

So, what to do? I always recycle my junk mail but this is not enough. There are several sites to help you stop your junk mail. I have just signed up with a free one (although it asks for financial help) called Catalog Choice. I set up an account and listed the catalogs that came yesterday. It was easy to use but takes a bit of time to find your catalog in their lists.

Another option is to call up the number on the back of the catalogs and ask them to remove you from the list. By law, they must honor this. It would not take too long if you did each one when it comes through.

There are still some catalogs that I enjoy looking through even though I rarely buy form them. Those I will continue to let come to my home but will recycle them out very quickly.

The important idea is not to let catalogs become clutter in your home or end up in the landfills.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Calendar Is Your Friend

This is the time of year that things can become crazy busy. If you live with others, it is not only crazy busy but can become stressful. This is why, right now, you need to have a family meeting (and if it's only you - still call that meeting).

 Find out what everyone's obligations are for the next two months. Write them on the family calendar. If there are conflicts, negotiate now. Now add in the fun things that people want to do like go to the Botanical Gardens at night to see the lights or go to the Nutcracker or go caroling with the choir. Let everyone have their say. Get dates on the calendar and put someone in charge of getting tickets or making reservations.

Next, decide what family traditions are happening and decide who will do what when. If a party or big Thanksgiving meal is part of the plan, write on your calendar all the tasks that take extra time to make this event happen. If you are sending out cards, write in when the cards are going to be written and addressed (same thing for invites if you are giving that party). If you are doing a lot of holiday baking, schedule on your calendar when this is going to happen. Schedule the time to buy the tree and greenery or decorations. Schedule the time to decorate and un-decorate  the house and yard (which may be several dates if you are decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. If gifts need mailing, put on your calendar when you plan to buy the gifts, wrap the gifts, and mail the gifts.

Now look at your calendar. Remember that regular day to day chores are probably not on this calendar. Is this what you want for your holidays? Is there anything you can give up?

Once you are satisfied with you plans, just follow the plan. There is no need to stress or worry about when things are going to get done because you have that planned. Do leave some wiggle room though because you know unexpected opportunities will crop up.

Your calendar is your friend. It will help you get through this busy time without the worry of if there is time to do everything. Don't let the calendar become a bully though. Things on the calendar can be changed if everyone involved agrees.

Enjoy your holidays!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pantry Organization

This time of year is great for organizing the pantry. It gives you a chance to organize your food items to see what is on hand for the increased amount of cooking that comes with the holidays. The purging of unneeded items as well as organizing what you are keeping will open up space for the extra items you bring in for special holiday dishes.

It doesn't matter if you have a very small pantry of only a few shelves or a large walk-in pantry, after a year things will have gotten out of order and need organization.

Organize your pantry like a grocery store. Have all pastas and grains in one area. Put all canned goods in another area, separating vegetables, fruit, soups, etc. If you have more than one can of green beans or tomato soup, put the newer cans behind the older cans so that you rotate your food and use up the older cans first. While going through the process or organizing the cans and condiments, take a look at expiration or "best used by" dates. Discard cans that are past their expiration date and donate cans of items you bought some time ago but have no plan of using soon. This will open up your shelves for holiday shopping.

Think before you stock up on large quantities on a sale. Will you really use all those cans before they expire? Do you have space to store the cans in a usable manner? Are you saving enough money or time shopping by buying in bulk to make up for the inconvenience of cramming your shelves or having to look elsewhere to store the extras? Next year will you find 10 cans of pumpkin in your basement along with the 20 rolls of paper towels?

Once organized, you will be surprised at  how much space you now have for your holiday food shopping.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Organizing Your Kitchen - The Zone Plan

I use a Zone Plan to organize my home. Each month I focus on one area. During the month of October I focus on my kitchen. The holidays are coming up fast and my kitchen will become very active. This is also the time of year that food drives kick into high gear, so it only makes sense to clear out the pantry now.

I like my kitchen to look uncluttered yet warm. I want my countertops ready for action. I want to feel that I can work on food preparation without clearing a space first. I want my stored food and spices organized so that I can easily put my hand on what I want to use. I want to feel happy working in this warm space.

I make a brainstorm list of all I need to do to make this vision come true.

Some items on the list might include:
  • Remove any items that are not daily used or that are beginning to annoy you - for me that is getting rid of a toaster that isn't working well and a second coffee maker
  • Purge the cabinets - are we really using all those pots and pans? Do all of the food storage containers have matching lids?
  • Organize for convenience - put rarely used items to the back and often used items to the front of shelves that are easy to reach
  • Set up zones within the kitchen - designate a food preparation zone, cooking zone, dish zone, storage zone, and serving zone
Now that the plan is made, it is time to work the plan. I divide the tasks into four weeks and work one set of tasks each week. I schedule a time on my calendar to achieve this.

Week 1 - Cooking Zone
Tasks might include: clean the oven, stove, and microwave and organize and purge pots, pans, cooking utensils, and bake ware. If you have special cookware that is only used for a specific holiday, store that ware with the holiday decorations.

Week 2 - Food Preparation Zone
Tasks might include: clean the refrigerator/freezer and organize and purge cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, spices, mixers, blenders, and measuring cups and spoons. Toss spices that are beyond their expiration date.

Week 3 - Dish Zone
Tasks might include: clean your sink area and dishwasher and organize and purge your dishware, mugs, glasses, and flatware. Toss chipped, cracked, broken items as well as excess dishware.

Week 4 - Food Serving and Storage Zone
Tasks might include: organizing and purging placemats, napkins, trivets, large serving pieces, and going through your pantry and organizing and discarding food that has expired. Excess food that has not expired but that you don't expect to use soon can be donated. When you replace the food in the pantry, group the foods by type - all soups together, all pasta, fruit, etc.

By the end of the month, you will love working in your kitchen. You are ready for anything the holidays throw at you.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Conference Recap: Unlocking the Secrets to Teens

One of our sessions let by David L. Marcus was a powerful insight into how parents sometimes (usually?) push their dreams and expectations onto their children. The vision of the parent is not always the vision of the child. The skill set of the parents is not always the skill set of the child. The learning style of the parent is not always the learning style of the child. You get the picture.

Dave advises parents to "help your children find their hidden talents," and "teach your children to be independent." He has learned much of this not only through research but also by becoming aware of the talents (much different from his own) of his son.

Here are some pointers for success at home:
  • Need constant structure
  • Both parents need to be on the same page
  • Help your teen find a passion, even if it changes
  • Emphasize the "soft" skills, like leadership
  • Help your teen learn to socialize
  • teens need mentor who is not a parent, and they need to mentor others
  • Get them professional treatment for anxiety, depression and other disorders
  • Talk openly about mental health
  • Disorganized teens often become more organized when they guide others
As a special education teacher for many years, and the parent of two sons, I can certainly get on board with Mr. Marcus!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Conference Recap

I always go to conference with goals in mind. The theme of the conference this year was ICD R.O.C.K.S. The plan was to walk away from conference with information on the latest Research, have Opportunity to expand our thinking, Collaborate with peers, gain Knowledge through the presentations and from each other, and to learn Strategies to use on ourselves and our clients.
Diane Quintana and I also went with the idea of letting other participants know about our new children's book, Suzie's Messy Room. We had hoped to have the book in hand by conference but that did not happen. We did have a mock up and some post cards telling about the book.
The presentations were fantastic. We were exposed to:
    • Unlocking the Secrets to Teens
    • Still Someone: Working with People Who Have Memory Loss
    • Hoarding Disorder: Definitions and Best Practices
    • MESS: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House & His Act
    • Recognizing & Managing Compassion Fatigue
    • Universal Design: Making Life Easier for Everyone
    • Nervous System Resilience
    • I Have What? A Practical Guide to Working with ADHD Adults
The conference certainly did give opportunities to network and expand our thinking. The challenge now is to incorporate all of this learning into practices with myself and my clients. I have the handout material and will set aside some times to review each presentation. I have clients in mind that will benefit from all of this new research and learning.

Next year the conference is in Portland, Oregon. The theme is Blazing a Trail. Wow!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Preparing for a Disaster

September is National Preparedness Month. Emergencies can happen with little warning. You may only have minutes to evacuate. To improve your chances for survival, you should be informed, have a plan, and have an emergency kit.

For information on preparedness check out:
Develop an emergency plan with your family. Then practice that plan. If everyone is at home, assign each person a job. Decide who will be responsible for corralling pets and putting them in carriers. Who will pull out the sleeping bags or bedding? Who grabs the emergency kit? Who will load the car? If the family is not together, have a plan on how you will communicate and where you will connect.

Always have your car on the ready. Keep your car well maintained and with at least a half tank of gas. Make sure the spare tire is usable and jumper cables are easy to access.

Put together a "grab and go" bag and/or clear bins already prepared to put into your car. Some items in the bag will have to do with safety and communication. Have a radio, flashlight with extra batteries, and a first aid kit with your medications and prescriptions. Have your wallet or purse in a consistent place with your cell phone, charge cards, and your driver's license. It is a good idea to have an extra phone charger in that kit. Have emergency apps already downloaded on your phone. Check out http://www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps

Put together some items that will allow you to survive outside for a while. Have food, water, a can opener, matches, blankets, plastic bags, a plastic drop sheet, a Dopp kit, tissue, and a pen knife in your kit. Also have a change of clothes, extra glasses, extra keys, and pen and paper.

Have a prepared folder with all your essential documents, information, and cash. Have names/phone numbers/email addresses/account numbers as well as contact numbers for insurance, utilities, banks, etc.

If you have a pet, also include vet/shot information as well as extra collars and leads, pet food, a dish, blanket, and a toy.

It takes a lot of time to put this all together but if you break it down into small sections and work on it a bit each week, it is doable. Then update it every September.

It gives great comfort to know that you are ready should the unexpected happen.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Zone Plan - Workshop/Garage Zone

I choose to work in the workshop/garage zone during September. The weather has begun to cool down. Summer equipment is ready to clean and store. Fall yard equipment needs to be accessible.

Storage areas can get pretty messy and unorganized in a year. They are not in your main living area and therefore not so visible. It is so easy just to walk in and dump items "just for now."

I actually have two areas to tackle. One is a small room off the carport that also holds the hot water heater. The other is our shed house behind our home. Whatever your zones are, you should start with deciding the purpose of the area. In your zone, do you plan to:
  1. Park your car
  2. Store your trash cans/recycling
  3. Store gardening tools and accessories
  4. Have a potting area
  5. Have a workbench for projects and a place to hold tools
  6. Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  7. Store outdoor entertainment supplies
Once you deicide how you will use these storage areas,  bring everything outside. If this is a large or much filled area, do it by sections. Sort like with like. Put aside items that are broken or have not been used in the past year. If an item is broken, decide if you need to replace it or just trash it. If you have items that are duplicates or that you no longer use, donate them. Tool banks can make good use of your extra items. (http://toolbank.org ) Get rid of expired seeds, old chemicals, and paints.

Knock down cobwebs and sweep the floor of the area you have emptied. Now decide where each zone should go. If you are working in your garage and plan to park your car, pull the car in now and mark off the space with tape. Allow plenty of room for the car doors to open.

You want to place items that you regularly access near entrances. As you are grouping your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items that are rattling about. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves; a flat basket can hold gardening tools. Maximize your wall space. Utilize shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers as you are sure to want something that is in the bottom container. Label the containers.

You'll be amazed at how much more room you have now that you have discarded some items and bunched together and stored away the rest. Now reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink on the deck my be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

When to Hire a Professional Organizer

I have had clients greet me at the door with the comment, "My mother would just die if she knew I paid someone to come in and help me with this project." Somehow we just feel that we should be able to do everything ourselves with no support.

Well, I am a professional organizer and I have hired other professional organizers to help me - more than once. I also hire a cleaning person, lawn care, an accountant/CPA, a webmaster/graphic designer. Why should I take on projects that I could do but am not really proficient or projects where I just don't want to spend my time? I am really much better served doing what I do very well and love doing, and hiring out the rest. This way I can devote more time helping my clients.

There are many reasons to hire an organizer. Let me list a few.
  1. You are in way over your head and your therapist has been recommending one for years. You might be a hoarder. You might me suffering from depression. There may be many reasons but a professional organizer can partner with a coach or therapist to give the maximum help and support.
  2. You have a permanent condition that makes it hard to get and stay organized. Clients with ADHD, TBI, or other conditions can reduce stress and anxiety by working with a professional organizer on a regular basis.
  3. You are going through a life event that has thrown you off your organizational game for a while. You may be getting married, going through a divorce, combining families, having children, downsizing, dealing with illness or death. These events take an enormous amount of energy and added stressful tasks on top of living your day to day life. Hiring a professional organizer to get you through this event just makes sense.
  4. You need help in an area that you are not proficient in or that you just hate to do. You hate organizing your computer files or your paper files. You are terrible at laying out an efficient kitchen. You love to look at your photographs but have no idea where to start in organizing them.
  5. You have a couple of projects where you would like a "kick start". You've let that extra bedroom or the basement get out of control over the years. Now, you'd like to reclaim that space but it overwhelms you. you may just need a professional organizer to get you started and then finish it yourself.
  6. You can definitely do the projects yourself but you would like some accountability and support. This is where organization coaching can be useful. I have a Zone Plan Coaching teleclass where I lead groups through projects via group calls and virtual support.
As you can see, there is a wide range of possible ways to use an organizer. What is your reason to give us a call?

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

From Start to Done

I have a client who last week lamented to me, "I never reach done!" I heard what she was saying. She usually has multiple projects going - some of them ongoing - and she really hasn't benchmarked a place where she can say, "done!"

I show up at her home and we talk about what she wants to accomplish on that session. I get a grocery list of maybe 6 - 8 items (and often items are added as we go). Some items are small and can be knocked out easily. Some items are very important like bill paying. Some items are time sensitive like a new roomer coming in that night. I often feel like we are doing triage. As I left last time, she said, "Make a note that the next time we work on updating my Christmas mailing list."

"But, Suzanne, it's only August."

"Yes, but I plan on getting married soon and this will be the list I use for the invitations."

Ever since that last session, I have been thinking about ways that Suzanne can reach "done."

Let's take this Christmas mailing list as an example.

She has defined the project and we certainly know the motivation. I have helped her once before try to update this list so I know it is not a simple task. She has this list divided into categories - clients, friends, family, old school friends, etc. She has bits and pieces of paper that show changes in addresses, phone numbers, and even changes in names.

I would like her to develop her vision of what the completed project would look like. If this list is going to be updated mainly at this time for the purpose of wedding invites, could there be some sections that could be skipped at this point in time? Only she can answer that.

Then we'll come up with a brainstorming list of what has to happen to reach that vision. Some items could be:
  • Pull the list off the computer and onto a thumb drive or a folder in dropbox so that she can work anywhere
  • Round up all scraps of paper and put them into one container - she might just start with the ones that are easy to find and add others as she comes across them
  • Break the list down into manageable bites
  • Set aside scheduled times to work on this project and nothing else
  • Color code the names of people she might want to have on her invite list
I'm sure she will come up with other items for her list and maybe delete the ones I have listed. This will be her brainstorming list.

Next determine a time that she really wants this finished - i.e. when the invites must be addressed. Then get the calendar out and clearly schedule each benchmark - i.e. update all family members.

At the end of each session she should reward herself and consider this part "done." As part of "done" she puts everything away and clears her space until she has her next scheduled session.

When she has her list the way she wants it, she should set up a maintenance plan. Perhaps each time she gets a change in her list, she puts this change in one container. Then once a year she goes into her list and makes all of those changes.

Now the project is truly done and has a maintenance plan as well.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Maximize Success in the Coming School Year

 I know it seems impossible. It still is summer, but by now almost all children are back in school. This can be an exciting time and a stressful time. Both you as a parent and your child want this to be the best school year ever. Here are some tips to make this happen:

  • Allow plenty of time for morning routines. Give your child more time than you think necessary to get up, get dressed, and have a good breakfast. You don't want to start off school mornings with both of you stressed. This is easier, of course, if everyone had a good night's sleep the night before.
  • Teach your child to be self-sufficient. Certainly at the beginning of the school year you will monitor his school preparations and homework habits but then begin to back off. Also reinforce self-reliance by having him do chores at home as well.
  • Make and keep contact with the school. Meet the teacher early on. At home speak positively about the school and the teacher. Know who else is important at the school for your child - the secretary, administration, nurse, janitor, lunchroom help, and other teachers. If possible, volunteer at the school. There is not better way to know what is really going on than to volunteer. It also shows your child that you think he and his school is important.
  • Don't over commit your time or your child's. Limit after school activities. Allow some down time and time to do things together.
  • Have a communication center that incorporates school activities. Put up a calendar where all home and school events are recorded. Put together a notebook or folder that holds contact numbers, school events, days homework is sent home for review, and any correspondence.
  • Provide a good example. Let your child see you reading and enjoying it. Take a class and let your child see you study. Go to the library together. Do some educational field trips.
  • Have family meetings. Let everyone have a chance to share their wins and concerns. Really listen.
Enjoy the journey!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Organizing the Laundry Zone

August is a good time to tackle your laundry area zone. You may still have some laundry left over from vacation. Depending on where you live, you may be washing and storing your summer clothes - here in Georgia, not so much. You may have new school clothes and sports clothing that needs washing. You want this zone under control before fall season hits.

Laundry zones can be large or small and can be located in many places. Some older homes have a laundry zone in the basement. Some are located off the kitchen. I have seen them in closets in the hall or at the top of the stairs. I have even seen them right off master bedrooms. What you don't want to see are piles of clothes migrating into surrounding areas. Mounds of clothes are not enjoyed by anyone but the family cat.

Keeping up with the laundry becomes less a chore with a well organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the mountain of laundry. It helps to have designated times scheduled to do laundry instead of waiting until an item is needed. "Mom, where are my soccer shorts?"

The idea is to keep laundry moving. Only bring to the laundry zone, the items you intend to wash right now. Leave everything else in the designated laundry baskets. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their "home."

Some laundry zones (like mine) are also used for other purposes than just doing laundry. I have my cleaning products stored here along with my laundry products. I have ironing supplies, pet supplies, recycling bins and cabinets for entertaining supplies. The important thing is to decide what goes where and keep the different zones from running into each other. What you don't want is something that was just stuck in this zone "just for now."

During this month I look at my cleaning products and toss and consolidate. If I have a product that I am no longer using - out it goes. If I have ended up with two partial bottles of Woolite, I consolidate them. If I have a large container of soap that I store on the floor, I transfer some into a smaller container that is easier to handle. I want everything in this zone intuitive and easy to find and use.

Having this zone organized may not make you love to do laundry but it certainly will make this task less of a chore.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Back to School - Ready or Not

In a very short time children will be returning to the classrooms. Although most children will be excited about the upcoming year, switching from an easy-going summer schedule to earlier hours and changes in routines can be tough. Also, most children will have at least some concerns about working with a new teacher, a different set of peers, and a tougher curriculum.

Here are a few tips to help ease the strain:

1. Watch Your Attitude
As parents you have a strong influence on how your child views the upcoming school year.
  • Don't express your doubts. If you say, "I hope you don't have trouble with Ms. ______." or "I know that 3rd grade is tougher," you set up worry spots.
  • Play up the positives. Say, "I'll bet there will be a new child for you to befriend," or "I understand there is a unit on dinosaurs this year!' or "I've heard the school menu has really expanded." Now you have your child looking forward to something positive.
2. Start Routine Changes Early
  • Start getting up earlier the week before school starts
  • Have a full breakfast at an earlier time
  • Put together the new backpack and practice walking in the door with it and putting it in its assigned home
  • Develop a new checklist for chores and morning routines
  • Update the family calendar and post it - log in already known school events and deadlines
  • Determine set times for homework, chores, packing lunches, packing up the backpack, and laying out clothes for the next day
3. Set Up a Study Zone
  • Find a consistent location that works for your child
  • Put together a basket or container of all items your child will need in order to complete assignments
  • Set up a file for papers that are going to be kept during this semester or school year
4. Incorporate School Papers Into Your Communication Center
  • Have a folder for each child to place papers that need action - such as a signature or an upcoming event that needs to be logged onto the calendar
  • Add a contact folder for school contacts and special activities for this school year
5. Start a Back to School Tradition
  • Have a cookout the weekend before the first day of school or take a trip to a favorite place to eat where the children can order what they want - talk about the joys and concerns of the upcoming school year
  • Have a prize wrapped up for the children to open when they come home from school on day 1
Ready or not - the school year begins. Let this year be the best one yet!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Zone Plan Coaching Program

In May I started The Zone Plan: A Method for Organizing Your Home. This coaching program is about setting your vision, developing a plan, and implementing that plan so that your home truly becomes a place you love.

The coaching program explores 10 months of two open line calls a month (recorded for your convenience), one personal closed call to each member, motivating content and exercises, a pdf copy of my workbook From Vision To Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home, and a secret Facebook page. All of this is designed to set you on your path of living in the home you envision.

The inaugural group has been great! I love their sharing and their enthusiasm. We have worked through 2 zones so far. We took off the month of July ( and will take off the month of December).  You can join this group at any time. Each month I will suggest a zone but the beauty of this program is that the concepts will fit any zone or project that you want to tackle.

The program is powerful, yet affordable. Look at all that you will receive for the investment of only $450 (yes, that is for the year - not for a month). There is even a 2-pay option if you need to spread payments out.

If you want results and are ready to make your home the one of your vision, then join us.
Call Time Space Organization - 404-299-5111 or email jonda@timespaceorg.com  to save your place.

Starting now will help set your home up for the holidays and the new year!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Self Care

"Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel." ~ Eleanor Brownn

Part of taking care of me is going away on vacations. I find that if I am at home, even if I have taken a day off from work, I still am working from the office or around my home. I always like to have a vacation planned to look forward to. Once a year or two, I like to take a long vacation and then scattered in between, I like long weekend trips.

I really reboot during these times away. I get uninterrupted time with my hubby or any family members we are visiting. I rest more. I eat different foods. I usually walk more. I come back with more energy to give to others.

I think of the spiel given by the airline personnel - "Put on our own oxygen mask before helping those around  you." You are good to no one if you are dead - either literally or dead exhausted.

This next week I am going on a trip to Europe to study WWI sites and history. This trip will be headed up by my favorite brother (OK - only brother). Hubby is going with me as well as some other family members, friends, and others. I will not be working during this trip but I will take my IPad to check emails probably once a day. I am really looking forward to this trip and have been excited about it for a while.

When I return I will get back into harness with a renewed spirit.

Bon Voyage!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Plan for Summer Fun

Summer is really here! I love summers. I think this goes partly back to when I was a student and then a teacher and summer was break time. In summer time our schedule usually changes. This may be because kids are home, a vacation is planned, or it is just so hot.
To make this summer really special, let's come up with a plan.

  1. Start with developing a vision. What is most important to you this summer? How do you want to feel? What do you want to do? Do you want more family time? Do you want more "me" time? Do you want that special vacation or a series of day trips? Have a family meeting to get everyone's viewpoint, then make your bucket list. Now prioritize it because you probably can't do it all.
  2. Brainstorm all that has to happen for this summer vision to come true. What family routines will be maintained and what ones can be relaxed? What events need prior reservations? Who will be responsible for the listed tasks? What is the budget?
  3. Sort the tasks on your brainstorm list. Find the ones that are similar. Group those tasks together. For example, if phone calls need to be made to schedule events, write a list of all calls and schedule a time to make them. If outings - to the pool, parks, concerts - are part of your list, put together a basket or container for items needed like beach towels, sunscreen, bug spray, coolers, and summer hats. Have a designated place to keep that container.
  4. Now pull out your calendar. First put in all of the nonnegotiables. Put in all doctor appointments, summer camps, and other prior commitments. Next schedule the fun stuff on your bucket list. Then schedule time to prepare for these fun events. Schedule the time to make calls, pack, shop, etc. Don't forget that even if you are on a relaxed schedule, you still need some time to clean, shop, cook. Look at the schedule now. Is it too full? Have you allowed some down time just to read a book on the deck? When the calendar is complete, post a copy for everyone to see. If something comes up after the calendar is complete, and it will, have another meeting and decide if the new possibility is worth dropping something already scheduled. Remind all family members that if an event or outing is not on the calendar, It isn't going to happen.
No matter what your plans are, visualize yourself having fun this summer. Be prepared to be flexible. Celebrate this lovely season.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Party Perfect Preparation

I love to give parties! It's important to me to have everything in place by party time so that I can also enjoy the party.

When planning my parties, I first set my date, and then look at the guest list, the theme, the menu, and the location.

Date: I try to find a date that I feel will work for most of my friends. I usually avoid holiday weekends like the 4th of July and any weekends that I already know my best friends are unavailable. I chose the date at least 6 weeks out and send out save the date emails. About a month before the party I send out paper invitations.

Guests: Guests are the most important component of the party. I love to invite a diverse group of people who will enjoy each others' company. I usually have a core group of long standing friends and then add some new friends that I think everyone will enjoy. For me, the whole idea of the party is to bring people together to visit.

Theme: The theme holds everything together and makes the planning simpler. The theme determines the invitations, the food, the decorations, and any activities. I feel that having different themes keeps the parties fresh.

Menu: The menu usually follows the theme. I also keep in mind my guests' food preferences and restrictions. I try to see that everyone has at least a couple of items that they can eat and drink. My house is small so I cannot accommodate everyone sitting down to a table to eat. I have a lot of finger foods. I usually have on the menu a mixture of items I prepare and order.

Location: Usually my parties are at my home but I have had some great ones at other locations. When giving a party at my home, I go for "clean enough" so that the board of health won't be concerned but not so clean that open heart surgery can be performed. Good enough is good enough. People are more interested in each other than my home.

Once I have found my date, I put together a timeline. I list every task that must be done before that first guest knocks on my door. Then I put an intended date by each one of those tasks and enter them into my calendar. The timeline is what keeps me sane. I know that there is a lot to do but I also know when I plan to do it.

When the date and time arrives, I am ready to enjoy my party as much as my guests. I do love to give a party!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Organizing Space for a Guest

Now that school is out, more people are traveling. Than means that we are more likely to have guests, either just for an overnight stay on their way to another destination or just to hang out for a few days to visit. Sometimes I know way in advance that guests are coming and sometimes I have very little prior notice. Either way, I love having family and friends come to stay.

It helps to have a plan in place for guests. I am lucky in that I have a spare bedroom (even though it also stores extra office supplies and some off season clothes. Determine now what areas of your guest room/area need the most work and then tweak it from there.
  1. Keep this area decluttered. If you store items in this room, keep the items stored out of sight - in the closet, in the dresser drawers, or if necessary under the bed.
  2. Make this area inviting for your guests. Have a place for them to hang up an outfit. Designate a place they can place their suitcase to unpack. Clean bed linens, extra pillows, and blankets are important. Have items on hand so that you can assemble a guest basket for the room. I always have a washcloth and towel (in a distinctly different color than family), a pain killer, some lotion, and some water and a glass. I add other items depending on the guest. I like to have something on the night stand to read as well.
  3. Add finishing touches that say "welcome." I like to add fresh flowers and perhaps a snack in case they get the munchies in the middle of the night.
The goal is to make the guest feel comfortable and welcome in your home. If you have your plan in place, then you can relax and enjoy their company to the fullest.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bathroom Organization

If you  are following my zone plan, this month is a good month to work on organizing your bathrooms. If you have a linen closet, include it in this zone.

Your bathroom is one of the smaller rooms in your home but it is also one that is heavily used and holds many items. A bathroom can get disorganized and cluttered quickly, so it is important to have a vision and a plan for how you want to use this space. Keep clutter to a minimum. Minimize what you actually store here.

Look at the storage space you have available. Do you have room to store your medicines and first aid material here? Do you have room to house cleaning materials? Some of what you are currently storing in the bathrooms may actually be stored somewhere else. In small bathrooms, first store only what you need each week and then, if room permits, add other items.

Use the medicine cabinet, drawers, or space under your sink to store items that you use regularly like daily grooming supplies. Small baskets are great for makeup and hair supplies. The medicine cabinet may hold toothpaste, dental needs, deodorant,  and some q tips and cotton balls. Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays, and all items for your hair can be stored in a container under your sink. If your space is limited, you might also have a hanging bag on the back of your bathroom door for storage. An extra roll of toilet paper and personal hygiene items can store under the sink area.

If you have drawers, designate each drawer as a container for like items. One drawer may be everyday makeup, one may be for eye products, one may hold hair products, etc.

As you are sorting your like items together, consolidate partial bottles and get rid of any items you no longer are using or items past their expiration date.

Shampoo, body wash, soap, and a wash cloth may be stored inside your shower or tub. There are shower cadies that fit over the door of your shower or over the shower head. Another option is to use a shower dispenser to hold shampoo or body wash.

Medicines can go in bins on a shelf in the linen closet or in the kitchen. Both spaces are better than the actual bathroom as moisture and heat can ruin some meds. Consider sorting your medicines by type and placing them in separate bins. One bin might hold outdoor items like sunscreen, bug spray, or Benadryl. Another might hold pain medicine and cold/allergy medicine. Still another might have first aid materials. Get rid of expired items while sorting. Not only do some medicines lose their effectiveness over time but some can actually become harmful. Dispose of these items responsibly. Do not toss medicines in the trash and never flush them into our water system. The DEA offers a Prescriptions Drug Take Back Day. Check http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback?index.html for more information.

If you have a linen closet, keep your extra towels, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies there. But as you organize, be ruthless about throwing out items. You don't need 5 partial bottles of shampoo, 6 sample soaps, or that free sample in foil of a shampoo/conditioner that came in the mail.

If you don't have a linen closet, you may use towel hooks, over the toilet shelving, or baskets to store your extra bath towels, wash cloths, and extra toilet paper.

When you have your bathroom organized, then work out a maintenance schedule to keep it under control. Next year, when you revisit this zone, it will be an easier process.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How Many Homeless Items Do You Own?

Often when I am helping people declutter, we first work on a very basic sort - you know, the one that has boxes labeled "Keep in this room", "Goes elsewhere", "Donate", "Trash", "Recycle/shred." Sometimes when I pick up an items and ask, "Where does this go?", I'll get one of the following responses:
  • Oh, it is used all over the home
  • I don't know - wherever
  • Where do you think it should go
These are the homeless items. They are just left where they were last used or moved somewhere because they were in the way, but are never really put "away." Some of the most frequent homeless items are:
  • laptops or IPads
  • keys
  • phones
  • chargers
  • purses
  • shopping bags
  • mail
  • magazines
Homeless items generate clutter and take up valuable time when one has to go on a grand search for it. These homeless items also lessen your awareness of your space.

Even if items "float" throughout your house, they should have a final resting place or "home" when you want to clean up or prepare for guests. Finding "homes" can be like working a puzzle. Some clues to the puzzle might be:
  • Where is it mostly used? (put it on a shelf or basket nearby)
  • Who needs this item unusually? (find out what makes sense to them)
  • Why is it getting dumped where we now find it? (maybe the logical home is too crowded)
There is no "right" answer to finding a "home" but  it should be a logical place for the person who needs the item. everyone should know where to look for the items and where to put the items away. So if keys go on a hook or bowl near the door, or if mail goes on a landing pad near the door or into desktop folders, or shopping bags go on a hook by the kitchen door or back to the car, does not matter. Just have agreement and consistency.

You will find that your uncluttered home looks so much more spacious and relaxing. You will find that cleaning up becomes so much simpler. And perhaps, most importantly, you will find less stress and tension because you do not have to spend hours looking for your stuff.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Last Day of School

The last day of school is almost here! The children are soooo ready for this final  day (not to mention the teachers). On the last day, you just know they are going to run home, dump their school stuff in a corner, and run off to play.

OK, so give them one day. But that pile in the corner has to be handled and throwing it into a closet is not the answer. Those stacks of old school papers, that whiffy backpack, old supplies,  and the end of year mementos have got to be dealt with before summer can really begin.

  • Clear a space - maybe put down newspaper and keep dogs and cats clear for their own safety.
  • Pull out the top layers and then turn the backpack upside down and dump the contents on the floor. Shake it a few times so that what is stuck to the bottom with old gum and candy also falls out.
  • Do a sort. Smelly clothes and sneakers go to the laundry. Tattered papers and candy wrappers go to the trash. End of year awards can be salvaged and filed or put into memorabilia boxes. Check out old crayons, pencils, and other school supplies and see if they are usable for summer art or are in such bad shape they need to be trashed.
  • If anything in the pile moves or tries to crawl away - step on it.
  • Decide if the bag is going to be used again or is now also ready for the trash (broken zippers, tears, straps broken).
  • Put everything that is saved away and everything that is no longer usable put into trash or recycle bin.
Now, enjoy the summer!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seven Steps to Reducing Clutter

You look around your space and you know you have too much "stuff." But it all seems important to you. After all, you either bought it or it was a gift.

How do you go about making the decision of what goes and what stays?

  1. Look at your motivation. Why are you considering getting rid of this "stuff" at this time at all? Are you moving? Do you want to entertain? Do you want clear open floor space? Are you just tired of all this stuff? Your motivation will help you with making decisions.
  2. Form a vision of you space without all of the clutter. Feel yourself in this space.
  3. Sort all of your "stuff" in the zone you want to tackle. Put all like items together. One way to sort is by function. How many objects do you have to hold beverages? How many vases do you have? How many staplers or scissors do you own? how many black slacks do you own?
  4. Pick a number. When you see a lot of objects that have the same job, it's easier to let some go. Decide what is a real number for you of how much you want/need. I want 4 juice glasses, 8 water goblets, 8 mugs, etc.
  5. Prioritize the items in the groups. Which ones give you the most pleasure? Which ones do you love? Which ones are you keeping just because someone gave it to you? Which ones are you keeping just because they have been around forever?
  6. Ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that would happen if I let something go and wanted it later?" Imagine that you got rid of 100 items and later you had to go out and purchase 2 of them again - aren't you really ahead of the game?
  7. Remind yourself that if you hold on to things that you are not using/wanting/loving, you are keeping those things from others who really do need them or want them.
"There are three approaches we can take toward our possessions: face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die. The choice is ours." ~ Marie Kondo

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Zone Plan - Master Bedroom

For organizing and decluttering my home, I use a Zone Plan. Every month I choose a different area to clean, declutter, and organize. During the month of May, I concentrate on the master bedroom.

Whenever I work in a zone, I start with my vision for the space. Since I share this room with my husband, we must form this vision together. Last year we decided that we wanted our room to have a soothing, calming, and supportive look. When we are in this space we want to feel secure, relaxed, and happy. We like soft light yet still have enough lighting for reading. In the past year we have painted this room a very soft yellow to help capture the light and changed some of our artwork and accessories to meet this vision. We will continue to explore and when we find an item that builds on our vision and gives us joy, we will bring it home and place it.

I use four weeks to complete this zone.

On week one, Rob and I clean out our dressers (and clean the walls where the dressers stand). We take out every article and toss anything that is stained, stretched out of shape, or holey. Then we donate anything that we no longer need or love. I change out my heavier tops that were stored in a drawer for lighter ones that were in a bin in my closet. I clean and wax the dressers and light a candle.

On week two, I work on the closet which stores only my clothes. I pull our all the clothes and sort them on the bed. I get rid of anything that does not fit either my body or my lifestyle. I also do this for my shoes. This closet also stores my suitcase and a duvet.

On week three, we tackle our end tables. This means purging or rehousing a lot of reading material that has accumulated. I also clean one window, and clean the bed and all bed linens. I clean the wall behind the bed.

On week four, I finish the room. This means cleaning one more wall and window, brushing the ceiling and the ceiling fan.

As a reward for finishing the bedroom zone, I buy fresh flowers and stand back and admire our clean, uncluttered space. I know we will sleep well here.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Minimalists

The keynote speakers at our NAPO conference were the Minimalists. (http://www.theminimalists.com/) I had been looking forward to their presentation and I was not disappointed.

They told their life stories and the lessons they learned. Both men had great six-figure jobs, nice cars, big houses, all the latest electronics, and lots of stuff. It dawned on them that they were really caught up in gathering stuff and status. They were actually spending more than they were making. And they were not happy or contented. In fact, they felt stress, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and worry over growing debt. What was worse was that they didn't have control of their time and thus didn't control their own lives.

So in 2010 they took back control using the principles of minimalism to focus on what was important to each of them.

They reminded us that minimalists don't focus on having less, rather they focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, and more contentment. Clearing out clutter made that room.

A few bites from their talk that I loved were:
  • You can't change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.
  • Love people and use things - it doesn't work well the other way around.
  • Feel comfortable getting rid of anything that is under $20 and less than 20 minutes away.
The final take away was that getting started is as simple as asking ourselves one question: how might your life be better if you owned fewer material possessions?

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NAPO Conference 2015

Next week I head off to my 8th NAPO conference. It is in LA this year and I am so excited both for the conference itself and because I have never visited LA before.

I look forward to learning about the latest trends, resources, and products in the organizing industry. I am excited about sitting in on workshops and presentations given by some of the great experts in our field. The opening keynote presentation - The Art of Letting Go - given by The Mimimalists should be fascinating.

During the conference, I look forward to receiving information and inspiration that will improve my services to my clients. I enjoy meeting face to face organizers that I have only chatted with via Facebook and reconnecting with organizers that I only see at conference.

I also look forward to a social evening with other organizers from the Georgia Chapter. We plan to go out for dinner one evening and catch up with each other.

When I return from conference, I will develop an action plan to fully benefit from my conference experience.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Coaching Help with Organizing Your Home

I'd like to introduce you to my upcoming coaching program. The Zone Plan; A method for Organizing Your Home is about setting your vision, developing a plan, and implementing that plan so that your home truly becomes a place you love.

Join me for the 10 month Zone Plan Group Coaching Program, starting Friday, May 1, 2015. We will benefit from exploring 10 months of 2 open line calls a month (recorded for your convenience), one personal closed call to each member, motivating content and exercises, a pdf copy of my workbook, and a closed Facebook group. All of this is designed to set you on your path of living in the home you envision so that you control your space.

Each month (skipping the months of July and December) we will concentrate on one zone of your home. I will suggest a zone but the beauty of this program is that the concepts will fit any zone that you want to tackle.

The program is powerful, yet affordable. The early bird rate is only $400 if you register by April 24 and $450 thereafter. There is even a 2-pay option if you need to spread payments out.

If you want results and are ready to make your home the one of your vision, then join us!

Register by emailing jonda@timespaceorg.com.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is Your Home a Money Pit?

Do you wonder where in the world all your money goes?

Let's find some of those holes and turn them around.

1. You buy items you already have. You buy that cute green shell only to later realize you already have four in your closet. You buy BBQ sauce only to find a bottle in the fridge and several on different shelve in your kitchen. The answer to this is to group all like items together so that you can see what you have. Then look before you shop.

2. You are continually paying late fees and paying recurring fees for items you don't really want. Even worse, you are damaging your credit rating. Organize your bill paying and keep a calendar of when bills are due. Even when credit cards are paid automatically, look them over. you might find that you are being billed automatically for gym membership or subscriptions that you don't even want. You might even find fraudulent charges.

3. You are paying monthly offsite storage. One in eleven households rent a storage container to hold stuff they don't want in their house. Now it the time to start purging. Why pay to hold on to items you don't want in your home?

4. You are keeping clutter in your home that you no longer want but that may have some value. These items take up valuable space and camouflage items that you love The average US household contains 52 unused or unnecessary items worth the average of $3,100. Sell, consign, or even donate for a tax write off.

5. Your clutter hides items of real value. As you start to clear your spaces you may well find money, gift cards, and un-cashed checks.

5. You are losing valuable time. You can never regain the time that is lost looking for your keys, phone, or missing sweater. If you have fewer items and keep them organized, you will have more time to spend on something that really matters to you.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


"If you want to have the time of your life, change how you use the time in your life." ~ Tim Fargo

As my family gets older and more geographically and age spread out, it becomes increasingly difficult to find time to get together and visit. When that opportunity does arrive, I want to  make certain that I grab it with both hands.

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to have family time with my 2 sons and wonderful daughter-in-law (as well as hubby). I feel so blessed to be able to have the whole day to visit, hug, walk, cook, eat, and talk, talk, talk. Everything else that I usually schedule for that Sunday found another time slot or got dropped altogether.

When I know family events are coming up, I look forward to them and make plans to enjoy the days to the fullest. I know that this summer I will see some of my family on a trip to Europe that my brother is heading up. This will be a glorious time for which I am already making plans. I also hope and expect to visit with some of my family at some other time - not yet determined.  I love my family time.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Organizing the Living Room for Spring

I follow a zone plan for my home. My home is divided into 10 zones and every month (except July and December) I tackle one of these zones.

March is the month that I organize my living room zone. Spring is around the corner and I want my living room fresh and ready.

The first step in organizing the room is to review my vision for this zone. As this is a shared room it also needs to have a shared vision with my husband, Rob. At times we both use this room singly. I start my day here with coffee and the paper. Later when I am in my office, Rob often sits in his chair with coffee and paper. Together we often connect in this room. We plan our day, week, and future here. For entertainment we work on the daily jumble and crossword puzzle. On a more passive note we often listen to music or perhaps watch a DVD or television. If we are having a light meal, we will often eat here. We entertain family and guests in our living room. We welcome people from our front door.

We want this room to be welcoming and warm. We want this room to be relaxing but yet have positive energy. We want to feel comfortable, secure, and happy in this room. We want our friends to feel comfortable enough to kick off their shoes and stay awhile.

After revising my vision, I scan the room to see if the space is living up to that vision. We have soft comfortable seating and warm accents. Are there things in the room we no longer need or love? This past year we obtained some new CDs and DVDs We need to pare down our collection and pass on those that we have enjoyed but will not likely play often. This makes space for new opportunities. I will make certain that our magazine basket only holds current issues. The accessories and candles will reflect the season. Gone is the nut bowl and poinsettia plant and out are the pastel candles and spring flowers. We will also purge the clothes closet of any extra outerwear or anything we no longer enjoy.

As I go through every zone, I clean and polish as well. By the end of the month, the room will look and feel bright and ready for spring. I will celebrate with fresh flowers, a lit candle, and a nice glass of wine with Rob.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Organizing Storage Containers

Grouping like items together in containers makes an area look so much neater, not to mention that it makes it a lot easier to locate items. For example, pulling down a labeled container of spices is so much easier than pulling out the individual containers of spices until you find the one you need. Pulling out a labeled container of office supplies is much easier than having a bunch of loose items on a shelf. You get my drift.

Now, let's discuss these containers. When clients want to organize, one of the first things they want to do is run to the store and to buy pretty containers. Do. Not. Do. This.

First decide what is going to be grouped in the container. Cull out any duplicates or unneeded items. Now you can see the quantity and size. Next, decide where this container will live. Measure the space. Now you know the maximum dimension of that container. You may need two smaller ones instead of one large one.

Decide if you want the container to be attractive or does it just have to be utilitarian. Now, you are ready to shop.

Don't get into the mindset that items stored in the bathroom have to be stored in "bathroom" containers or items in the office need to be stored in "office" containers. Shop around in all sections.

I have seen Lego containers that cost four times as much as kitchen containers of the same size. I have seen office containers that are perfect for storing short sharp knives. And don't forget to shop from your home first. That bread basket might be just the thing to hold some rarely used kitchen gadgets. The plastic shoe box is very versatile. Inexpensive leftover food containers make great containers.

I would love to hear about some of your favorite container ideas.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dream Folders

While helping clients declutter and organize paperwork, I often come across brochures, newspaper clippings, or magazine articles on various topics. These papers accumulate on desktops or counter tops and don't seem to have any real "home." Most of these have been read but are papers the client still wants to keep. The clients just don't quite know where to put them. So they lay about, "just for now."

I suggest that these papers are organized by topics and then stored in dream folders/notebooks or topic folders/notebooks. Some topics I often see on counters are: financial advice, home decorating ideas, landscaping ideas, vacation ideas, health/exercise topics, and recipes. If there are a lot of recipes, I suggest making folders or notebook dividers for each category (i.e. appetizers, soups, main dishes, etc.) Sometimes the clients are researching on bigger projects like a daughter's wedding or a retirement home. A better solution to bigger projects are project bins with internal folders.

The idea of the folders is to keep the paper clutter corralled and off the desk/counter top surfaces and to organize the paper so that it can easily be reviewed. I keep my folders on a shelf in a bookcase. They can also be kept in a file drawer or box. At least once a year, skim through these dream folders. Then you can note what still interests you while tossing the rest. you may even find that you have implemented some of the ideas and now no longer need the original inspiration.

So, gather up your papers and make your dream folders. Enjoy those dreams and make them happen.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

It's almost Valentine's Day! This is the time we show special people how much we care about them. Depending where you are and where you are in your life, you may receive just a few cards and gifts or a ton.

If you have small children, they will make you gifts and cards. If you are a teacher, you will receive cards from your students. You might have a secret pal give you gifts at work. Special friends may send you fun cards. A special someone in your life may give you a card and a gift.


Now, let's think of someone 60+ years of age. What if they kept every card, every gift, every dried flower or deflated balloon? Wow! That would be overpowering.

I have heard clients say, "But, my friends made these things for me. My friends put a lot of thought into these gifts. I love the reminders that people care for me."

This is a very personal decision, but I am pretty sure you don't want to dedicate a whole room to storing these items.

Consider these options:
  1. Chose the most special mementos - like the year your son wrote his own special poem in the card or your mother wrote you a special note - then box them up in a lovely box and label them. Put them away on a shelf and revisit them once a year.
  2. Spread out your favorite gifts and cards and take a picture of them. Then let them go.
  3. Make a collage of the best cards and bring it out for decoration each Valentine's Day.
  4. Pass on old cards to schools or nursing homes so that they can re-purpose them in projects.
Keep in mind that if you toss out a card that your mother or child gave you 25 years ago, you are not tossing out the person or the love for that person. By all means keep a couple of cards, but not all.

Letting go of some of the memorabilia will clear up space for more happy memories to come your way.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spare Bedroom - Place for Guests or Dumping Spot?

I use a zone plan to organize and declutter my home. In January, I tackled the office zone and in February, I follow up with the spare bedroom zone. This makes sense in my home because the spare bedroom is used as offsite storage for my office. While cleaning out files in my office, some of the files end up dumped on the dresser in that spare bedroom. Now this area looks cluttered to me and demands attention.

My spare bedroom is also used as a place for guests to stay, a location to store my memorabilia, and storage for some off season or rarely worn clothing. My vision for this room is to have an open and inviting space for guests. I also want to have all items stored in this location easily accessible.

During this month I will clean out and reorganize the closet. Files will be updated and some truly archival files will head for the attic. I will toss out items that I have saved but now feel I do not need or love. I will clean out every drawer in the dresser and designate zones within the drawers so that each drawer has its purpose. All of this activity will open up space for any new items.

By the end of the month, I will have this spare bedroom matching my vision for the upcoming year. I will celebrate by putting fresh flowers on the dresser.

For help in setting up your zones, purchase my workbook - From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home (http://wwwtimespaceorgcom/order_bookphp)  Also watch for a newsletter telling about upcoming teleclasses on zoning and organizing your home.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Paper, Paper, Everywhere!

Paper, paper everywhere! Where does it all come from? How do we make it go away?

We all dream of having that clutter free office and clutter free desk. But somehow that dream often eludes us.

Where does this paper come from? As I look around my office, I see a presentation I am working on, some notes on a potential client, a client folder from a client I worked with today, an itinerary I printed on a trip I am taking this summer, a report from my Feng Shui consultant, information on an event I may want to see this weekend, and my calendar. I have just recently disposed of today's mail. At other times I have had coupons from a store that sells office supplies, a receipt to enter into QuickBooks, a card to send to a client, a magazine, and menu ideas. Paper continually invades my space.

Fortunately, I do have a plan in place. I have action files and project bins nearby that will allow me to clear my desk before I leave it this evening. The presentation notes and the Feng Shui notes will go into project bins that are held in my cabinet. The itinerary for my trip will to into my pending folder. My notes on the potential client will go into my call folder. My today's client folder will go into my desk drawer file of current clients. This evening I will discuss the event with my husband and we will decide if we are going to attend. If we decide to attend, the event will be noted on my calendar and then the information will go into my pending file. If we decide not to go, the information will go into the recycling bin. The calendar lives on my file cabinet next to my desk.

Those coupons I was talking about went into my purse. My receipts went into a labeled envelope after being recorded. The card was addressed and laid out on the landing pad to go out in the mail the next day. The magazine was dropped into the magazine holder in the living room. The menu ideas went into a folder in the kitchen.

Yeah! No visible papers in my office. The point of this is that, yes, paper continually comes into my office zone but I do have a plan. Daily maintenance is very important if I don't want to feel overrun by paper. Clearing the paper and thinking you are done is foolish. That's sort of like washing the dishes and thinking you are done with that task. It all needs to be done again the next day. But, it's all in having a plan and a schedule.

For more information on handling paper, come to Diane Quintana and my presentation on From Paper Piles to Files on February 14 (9:30 am) at Finders Keepers (2753 East College Ave., Decatur, GA 30030).

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer