Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Keep Your Desk from Becoming One Big Inbox


I had a client once tell me that his desk was one big inbox and that he really didn't have an outbox. Looking over his desk, he was pretty much right. Unless I was sitting there and sorting papers with him and having him trash, shred, and file, things just accumulated in piles.

Now I understand that people with ADHD characteristics panic when paper is filed or placed where they don't see it. But the truth is that some of that paper has been there so long it has stuck to the desk or fallen behind the desk or is so buried that unless there is some trigger to dig for it, it is forgotten.

Every person has a different comfort zone for clutter and for filing but here are some suggestions:
  • When paper comes into the office, do a quick triage. What is obviously trash or needs shredding? What needs an action soon? What do you want to read and ponder? What ads do you wish to consider?
  • Take care of the trash and shredding right then.
  • Have a landing pad for items needing an action soon.
  • Have a basket for magazines or articles you want to read and ponder. When that basket gets full, acknowledge that you have more than you can handle and either set aside some time to read or dispose of some of the material.
  • Have a folder for ads or upcoming workshops or events that you are considering.
Now this has corralled most of the paper but still very little has really gone away.

Here comes the harder part:
  • Schedule a time to pay bills or check on bill pay. Then immediately file or get rid of paid bills.
  • Weekly, at a scheduled time, take care of any receipts or invoices that need entering or filing. If possible scan these items and get rid of the paper.
  • Take a couple of the items you want to read and ponder and either leaf through them at that time or remove them to another location to read later. After looking through them, dispose of them.
  • Schedule at least monthly a time to leaf through the ads and toss any that you know you don't want or that have expired. Look over any upcoming offerings and see if some no longer appeal to you or have passed their due date and dispose of them.
While you may never get your desk completely clear of paper, do realize that paper has a purpose and when that purpose is complete the paper should go somewhere besides on your desk.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Helping Children Cope with Natural Disasters

All across our country right now it seems like we are having one natural disaster after another. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, fires, and floods abound.

These disasters are overwhelming to all of us but can be even more devastating to children. Without really understanding the whys, children can feel scared and insecure. Even children who do not personally experience the trauma but see the events on TV and hear adults discussing the destruction can feel strong emotions. Try to limit the amount of time watching TV where so many traumas are highlighted. After watching TV together, talk about what is being portrayed.

Exposed children may start demonstrating fear or sadness. They may act out or revert to bedwetting, sleep problems, or separation anxiety. For many children, these reactions may be brief but some children may be at risk for psychological distress. This is especially true if they were directly involved and had to be evacuated, lost a pet, or experienced a real life-fearing ordeal. Children that experienced on-going stress by living for a while in a shelter or somewhere else, loss of friends and social networks, loss of personal items, hearing parents worry over unemployment and costs of recovery may be more at risk.

Children's coping skills are often learned from their parents. They can sense adults' fears and sadness. It is important parents and other adults take steps to manage their own feelings and plans for coping because they are the best source of support for their children. One way is to have children become a part of planning before disaster strikes so they know what to expect and have a sense of control. After a disaster include the children in the family recovery plan.

Don't leave children out of discussions. Encourage the children to share their thoughts and feelings. Clarify any misunderstandings. Listen to what the child is saying. If they have difficulty expressing themselves, ask them to draw a picture. Give out a lot of hugs. Calmly provide factual information and plans for safety. As soon as possible get back to your regular routines.

If your child continues to show stress or his behaviors start to cause him trouble at school or with other children, it might be the time to talk to a professional like the child's doctor or clergy. Look for support networks or start one for yourself.

Looking forward, preparing for disasters as a family helps everyone accept that disasters do happen and gives the family an opportunity to collect the resources needed to meet basic needs during and after a disaster. When families feel prepared, they cope better and this includes the children.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Organizing the Shed and Garage

September's cooler days inspire us to organize our sheds, garages, and any other outside storage areas. It's time to put away our summer equipment and muck out the debris that has been tracked in. Even if you do this zone once a year, it can easily get disorganized and cluttered because it is so easy just to open the door and drop something "just for now".

Before you start your project, take a good look at the way it is now. Notice what is working (don't mess with that area) and what is not working. Envision how you want to use this zone. Your vision might include a place to:
  • Park your car
  • Store trash cans/recycling
  • Store gardening tools and accessories
  • Pot or repot plants
  • Work on projects and store tools
  • Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  • Store outdoor entertainment supplies
  • Store extra products
Bring everything outside or if this is a large or very filled area, pull stuff out by sections. Sort like with like. Note what is broken or what you have not used in the past year. Get rid of these items or make a note to replace them. Get rid of expired seeds or old chemicals. Give away or sell tools you no longer use. The Tool Bank is a great place to donate tools for community projects. http://toolbank.org

Next decide where to logically place your zones. Items that you use frequently are best stored near entrances. As you group your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items together. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening tools. Use shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because, for sure, you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.

Knock down cobwebs, sweep the floor, and start putting things away. You'll be amazed at how much room there is now that all the items have been bunched together and stored away.

Now reward yourself! A hot shower and a cool drink might be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Kudos to the Decatur Book Festival

I am excited to be a part of the Decatur Book Festival this coming Labor Day weekend!

According to Daren Wang, the executive director, the book festival will include more than 450 authors, 130 exhibitors and sponsors, and 80,000 booklovers. It is also very impressive that there will be more than 900 volunteers working this venue. The book festival is said to be the largest independent book festival in the United States.

Diane Quintana and I will be part of the Sycamore Family Zone (Organizing for Kids - booth 610) and will also have our 15 minutes of fame (1:45 - 2:00) on Saturday on the Sycamore Family Zone Stage.

When you enter the free festival you will want to pick up the AJC guide. In the guide you will find a map showing the location of the booths and the 18 stages. Each stage has a listing of presenters and the times they are on stage. The Decaturbookfestival.com site has a wealth of additional information.

Show up early so that you can join Bookzilla to kick off the fun each day with the Children's Parade!



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dealing with Clutter Overload

You're never quite sure how it happened but over time clutter completely took over an area in your home. At first it was just grandma's china that was put into the room "just for now". Later you had to quickly clear up the other guest bedroom for company and you just scooted some of the projects you were working on into this area. Then it was already a bit of a mess so anytime you didn't know where to put something - in it went.

Now, you want to reclaim the room. You'd like a craft room or a place to keep and sell items on eBay. But the mess is huge. You can hardly open the door. You don't even have a goat path clear across the room. You are overwhelmed and don't know where to start.

When I work with clients I like to use a variation of the Mount Vernon Method. This method involves starting at the door and moving clockwise around the room completely cleaning one area at a time. I use a similar method but do it in two or three sweeps around the room.

On the first sweep around the room we only deal with items that are on the floor. Each item is identified and placed where it belongs. To keep from running all over the house, we set up zones outside of the room. One zone is "belongs in the house but not here". Another zone or stack is "will go back into this room". Then there are the trash, recycle, shred, and donate piles. Sometimes we also have a "leaving the house but going to someone specific" stack. The client is strongly discouraged from going to another area in the room and is always refocused back to the area at hand. The idea is just to keep on moving around the room one step at a time. Depending on how much stuff we have in the piles, about 30 minutes to an hour before quitting time we go to the stacks in the hall and deal with them. Hopefully by this time we have some clear space in the room to stack the items that will eventually live in this room. Items going somewhere else in the home are now taken to that spot. If there is no place to put them at this time, we just put them as close to where they are supposed to go as possible. Trash is taken out right away. Donate and shred piles can either be dealt with right away or held until more of the room is completed.

After we have cleared the floor, we go back around the room and deal with the surfaces of any furniture. We use the same technique. Then we look at what is stored out of sight in the furniture.

The client has a vision of how she wants this room to look and what function the room will have before we even begin. So the last step is placing everything back into the room that supports that vision.

I love the way this works with clients and they can really see their progress after each session.

If you have one of these "rooms of shame" you can get help to keep you focused or you can try this method on your own. A big part of making this work is to break the project down into manageable tasks and sticking to a timeline. Always allow time at the end of each session to clear up the stacks you have placed in the hallway.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How do you want that? Fast, budget friendly, or perfect?


Sometimes I receive a phone call from someone needing an organizing job done and it needs to be done before the end of the month - usually for a move. Great! I'll put together a team......."but I can't afford a team".......Then, we'll do what we can with a rough sort, getting rid of what is obviously trash and then just boxing up the rest by categories.... "but I don't want to move what I don't need and some of this paper I'll need at my fingertips during this process."

Sigh! I am not the organization fairy who can wave a magic wand and make all of this happen. Here are some pointers on what to expect on your project:
  • Fast - You will need a team or just have me move in with you. Teams are usually not more expensive in the overall  picture, in fact, they can really cost you less, but you do need the money now, not spread out over a year.

  • Budget Friendly - This works best when you have a lot of time and can do work by yourself in between each visit. The benefit of this plan is that you learn more organizing techniques and are more in control of the process.

  • Perfect - This plan works for the person who wants a project done that looks like a magazine shoot when we finish. You will want a team with organizer that specialize in skills like redesign, placing art, and closet design. This will be more expensive than the usual team that only has one or two experienced organizers and the remaining organizers that are newer to the profession but great at following directions. This plan will need almost all seasoned organizers and will probably also use some of our organization's associate members.
When you contact a professional organizer to work with you on a project, know what is important to you and communicate that with the organizer during the intake process. That will make the project more successful and more pleasant for everyone involved.

Happy organizing!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Organizing the Garage

Now that the weather is cooling down a bit, it's a great time to organize your garage.

Before pulling out all that stuff onto the driveway, take a good look at what is in your garage now. Why is it there? How did it get there? Do you still need it?

Decide on the functions of your garage. Is one of the functions to park your cars? 82% of homes have two-car garages or larger, but only 15% use them to park the car inside.

Do you keep your lawnmower and gardening supplies in the garage? What about bikes and sports equipment? Do you have a workshop area with tools? Do you keep your recycling bins here? What about a shelf or tow that stores all those extra packages of paper towels or packages of soft drinks? Do you still have boxes of stuff from your last move that have never been unpacked because you have no room in the house?

Once you have decided how you plan on using your garage, divide it into zones. Items that you frequently use outside like yard and garden tools are best stored near the garage door. Items used frequently like recycling bins or overflow storage of house supplies should be stored near the door to the house.

Decide on how much space you can devote to each zone and still have plenty of room to navigate and use each zone. Now you are ready to start pulling things out.

Pick one zone area. Pull everything out of that area and sweep it out. Put back what belongs in that zone and leave anything else on the driveway (or if you are only doing one zone at a time, put the rest near the zone area planned for it). As you put items back, make sure you still need them. Do you really need two hedge clippers? Why are you still holding on to that broken weed eater?

Continue going from zone to zone. Look at the shelving and storage options you have at hand. Is there a better way to store items in the zone? Shelving makes it a lot easier to get to boxes and containers. Using clear containers to keep like items together makes finding them, using them, and putting them away much easier. If it is difficult to get  to an item that you need, the likelihood of getting it put back away is slim to none. If you can't easily see what is in containers, label them.

Once you have completed this task, hopefully you will have room to park at least one car. Your future you (the one coming out to the car on an icy morning) will thank you for taking the time to do this chore now.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Organize Your Laundry Zone

Once a year I really spend time organizing and decluttering my laundry zone. In the past I have found that in August many people return from vacations and the laundry zone gets out of control with backed up piles of laundry. Kids are getting ready to start back to school and have school and sports clothing that need washing. Now is the time to make the laundry zone orderly and efficient.

Laundry zones can be large (a big area in the basement) or small (fold-out doors covering a washer/dryer combo in a closet size area) or somewhere in-between. Depending on the size of the laundry zone this area may have other functions besides doing the wash. If there is room, it makes sense to store ironing supplies in this location. My area is large enough to store pet supplies, recycling bins, cleaning supplies, and some over sized or underused party supplies. All that works for me.

The first step in organizing this zone is to develop your vision. How do you want to use this area? How do you want it to look? How do you want to feel when you are in this zone? Get rid of anything that is now in that zone that does not support the vision. Because my zone is roomy and near the back entry, it is easy to just drop something in there "just for now" because I don't want to take time to put the item where it really belongs. Now is the time to gather up all those items and get them out of this zone.

Cleaning and laundry products can multiply in this space. Products that sounded so promising (will get rid of any stain) or "green" (got rid of no stains) or products that just have a nasty chemical smell or items that got shoved way in the back of the shelf or cupboard that you for got about and then bought another bottle of the little used product are now all taking up precious space and adding to the clutter. Get rid of all of these items and take the ones that are left and group them according to function.

One of my goals in the laundry zone is to keep the laundry moving. I don't want to walk over mounds of laundry. Only bring to the zone the laundry you intend to wash that day. The rest stays in the dirty clothes hampers until you plan on washing them. Get the clothes from the washer to dryer or drying rack as quickly as possible. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their "home". Having a different colored basket for each member of the family is helpful. As you pull clothes out of the dryer, put them into the correct basket and take them to the proper room. Have family members put the items away. If an item needs repair or ironing, have a designated place to store those items and then schedule a time to do that task. You should not have your Christmas table cloth in the ironing bin in August.

Keeping up with the laundry is less of 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 schedule to do laundry instead of waiting until an item is needed (Mom, where are my soccer shorts?). An added bonus is that having a well organized laundry space makes it easier for family members to participate in doing laundry.

See picture of one of my family helping out.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Back to School Basics









It just doesn't seem possible that the new school year is already here. However, like it or not, school is about to begin again. Everyone wants this new year to be as good of an experience as possible.

Here are some tips to make this vision happen:
  1. Set the stage for a great experience.
  • Watch your attitude. As parents you have a strong influence on how your child views the upcoming year. Don't express doubts or worries you might have (I know that 3rd grade is tough.) but instead play up the positives (I understand there is a unit on dinosaurs this year.).
  • Take away the fear of the unknown. Visit the school together before school starts, talk about the schedule and the teacher in positive terms.
  • Provide a good example. Let your student see you enjoy reading or studying. Take trips together to a museum or science center.
  • Allow time for morning routines. Give extra time in the mornings to get ready. This is easier if bedtime is also earlier.
  • Teach your child to be self-sufficient. Have him do chores at home, develop checklists, have him lay out clothes and pack up for school the night before.
2. Develop good study habits.
  • Know peak work times and use them when scheduling homework.
  • Set up a calendar showing the study schedule.
  • Chunk up big projects so that the projects are not so overwhelming and so that your student can say "done" more often.
  • Use the calendar to show all commitments so you child is aware when he has after school activities, doctor appointments, music lessons and can then plan his studies and projects without setbacks.
3. Organize school materials.
  • Obtain and use a planner.  The planner should be checked every morning and evening.
  • Synch the planner with the calendar.
  • Organize notebooks, folders, and binders so that they are easy to use and find. Color coding for different subjects helps.
  • Organize and minimize study supplies so that they are easy to carry to school and to use at home. Check with the school supply list. Avoid buying "fun" items that are a distraction to learning.
  • Choose the best backpack for you child. Check to see if the school has any restrictions before purchasing.
  • Set up a file at home for all returned and graded school papers. Keep all papers until grades come out. If the grade lines up with what you have, then purge most of them only keeping the ones that show growth and creativity.
5. Individualize study to suit your child.
  • Know your child's learning style. Is he a visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic learner? Use his strengths to  help him learn new material.
  • Make learning real. Use new skills in real life settings. Use math to shop or cook. Use reading to follow directions or enjoy a funny story. Use writing to make lists or write a letter.
  • Set up the best study environment for your child. Discover if he works best alone and with quiet or in the hubbub of the kitchen area where others are present.
For fun, start a "back to school" family tradition. Have a cookout 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 excitement of the upcoming school year. Have a surprise wrapped up for the children to open when they come home from school after the first day.

Let this be the best year ever!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Backward Planning for Stress Free Projects

I frequently use and recommend backward planning as a time management tool when working on any project. Backward planning works equally well on smaller projects like planning a party or preparing a presentation, or on larger projects like moving or house renovation. Once you have developed your plan, you just follow the plan and relax knowing that everything is covered.

It works like this:
  • Start with the end in mind. What does the end product look like and how are you going to feel? Using a party as an example, I would envision that my home is filled with friends, there is an abundance of good food, and that I am enjoying this party as well as my guests.
  • Plan an end date. When does all this have to come together? When is the party? When is the move?
  • Do a brain dump of all the things that must happen in order for your vision of a perfect project to come true. For the party some items on my list are: make up a guest list, decide on a theme, send out save the date emails, choose invitations to mail, plan a menu, schedule extra yard maintenance, schedule extra house cleaning, decide what foods I am going to order and what ones I plan on preparing, make shopping lists, prepare the food, and set up seating areas.
  • Put your "do" list in a sequential order. For the party I started with who I was going to invite and ended with lighting candles and making cozy seating areas.
  • Give each item on the list a "do it" date. Several items can be done on one day but make sure each item has a time attached to it. Allow some wiggle room. Sometimes things happen so you can't do an item on your intended date so have a fall back time available. Also, start early. For a party I start the process two months out.
  • Now, just follow your plan.
The real advantage of using this system is that you won't have all these thoughts about the project squirreling around in your head and you won't worry about how you will get this accomplished. You just make your plan and then work your plan.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Open Your Mail!

Seriously, open your mail daily or at least weekly. Unless the envelope reads "to current resident" or it is very obviously an ad or plea for money, just open the envelope and see what is inside.

As a professional organizer I often help people sort paper and old mail. Here are some of the things I have come across.
  • Old checks made out to the recipient - sometimes 10 years old
  • A final notice that since the speeding ticket had not been paid (notices in other envelopes not yet opened) the drivers license was being revoked - right before a big road trip for this lady
  • Gift cards
  • Thanks for donations form letters - that should have gone into the tax folder
  • The car title of a car that the owner now wants to sell but she had not opened this envelope and gone to DMV to get the title in her name
  • Credit cards and debit cards that have not been activated - sometime duplicates sent at different times
  • Invitations to parties or weddings long past
  • Recall notices on items purchased
  • Warnings that utilities will be turned off if the bill is not paid because old bill were not opened and paid
Have a landing pad for all incoming mail. Immediately discard ads, catalogs, and any other obvious trash. Then open that mail daily or weekly and put the items in action folders or baskets so that all bills are in one place, all items to file are in one place, and any mail that requires an other action is in one place. Schedule a time at least once a week to deal with it. Then the mail never becomes overwhelming or fearful.




Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fear of Filing

I had a client this week meet me at the door with Judith Kolberg's book ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life and the words, "I want to find out why I have a fear of filing".

I knew from working with this client before in other areas of her home that she definitely suffers from the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome. She is afraid that if she puts something away in a file, she might as well just trash it because she will never think of it again. So she has stacks of papers on the coffee table, on her desk, on her office table, and randomly elsewhere. The clutter bothers her and the fact that when she finds something (ex. papers about her father's health plan) it is usually just a part of what she needs to start her research and make calls so she just postpones the task. This worries her as some of the tasks are time sensitive.

Sooo....What to do?
  1. First we gathered all of her papers and put them in one spot.
  2. Then we used the "verb" system to do a rough sort. I would ask her, "What is the first thing you need to do with this information? Is there an action required or do you just need this paper for reference?" While going through all of the papers she found a significant amount that she could now just let go to the recycle bin. She had a reason in the past to  keep them but not so much now. The categories she came up with for her stacks were:
  • Do this task this week
  • Do it when I can
  • Wait for the right time or someone else's response
  • Read
  • File
  • Ask my husband about these papers
3. We then looked at what papers did not really fit into any of those categories and we found:
  • Coupons
  • Current information about her clean streams work
  • A project she was working on for her dad
  • Memorabilia
  • Directions and warranties for items in the house
4. We found homes for all of these categories. Normally when I make desktop or action folders I like  to use a cascading vertical file holder. We had tried this system earlier in her office downstairs. It obviously was not working.  She had recently purchased an attractive file folder with a lid that clasped and had a handle. This has a much better chance of working because it can stay by the coffee table in her living room and this is where she sorts her mail and does many of her projects. The handle allows her to lift it up on the coffee table or couch when she is working. We relabeled the tabs with all her "verb" categories and the one on streams. Coupons were housed in the kitchen. Memorabilia was put into a memorabilia box. A project box was found for her dad's project. Warranties and directions already had a file elsewhere but she put the directions for the TV in the cabinet below the screen and the directions for her heart monitor in the box it came in as she accesses these frequently.

5. Since we had a lot to file, we used her existing systems to file those items now. Moving forward she can put items in her file section of her folder until it gets too bulky.

6. Last we did the most important task to make this work. She scheduled on her calendar times to look in this folder. I encouraged her to make it the same day every week so that it would eventually become a habit. Ideally this would be every week but some weeks she is gone so we just skipped those weeks and scheduled the next good time after she returned home.

As we finished up our session, she was really pleased with the results. But she held one small set of papers in her hand. "I really need to do this today," she said. "Do I need to put it into this file?" That's when we talked about Judith's "Hot Spot". She designated a place on her coffee table for any paper task that needed to happen immediately.

I think her fear of filing might be gone!


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Time Management and Health


This morning another client wanted to change his appointment for an organizing session. This happens fairly frequently with clients and often the reason is illness, exhaustion, or overwhelm. I'd like to explore how not just reducing clutter and organizing your space but also developing some good time management techniques could actually improve your health.

Here are some practices that help a person stay healthy.
  •  Healthy eating
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Keeping mentally active
  • Maintaining strong relationships
  • Taking vacations
All of the above practices take time and at best should become routine. If we push ourselves all day long at work and then squander what free time we have on social media or grabbing a snack, we will deplete ourselves and illness, exhaustion, and overwhelm will become a mainstay in our lives.

To allow time to develop these health practices we need to:
  • Develop schedules that are realistic - block off times for self as well as for work and then honor those times.
  • Prioritize - choose the 3 most important things you want to accomplish in a day and start your day with exercise and a good breakfast. Then end your day in time to get enough sleep.
  • Stop multitasking - do one thing and do it well. Aim to complete a task before moving on to another. When you take breaks from a task, make it a meaningful break not just a scroll through twitter or facebook. Instead, read an article or work on a puzzle or take a walk.
  • Schedule times to do things with friends and family. Schedule lunch dates. Schedule vacations. People who take annual vacations are less likely to die from heart disease. They are also less likely to suffer from stress and depression.
I struggle with some of this misuse of time myself and I know lifestyle shifts are not easy but our future selves will surely thank us if we start working on a couple of these practices.



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Organizing Space With a Small Child



That new bundle of joy comes into your home and suddenly your home explodes with baby clothes, furniture, baby accessories, toys, books, feeding apparatus, and more. How did this happen and what to do now?


  1. Utilize the container system. I feel that as long as you can contain items in an orderly fashion, you can have as much "stuff" as gives you pleasure. A container can be the shelf for the books, the drawer for the sleepers, the hammock for the stuffed animals, the room for toys, and even consider your house as a container. When a container is full, no more items can come in unless some go away first.
  2. Set ground rules for gifts. When a baby first arrives or even before, there are parties and gifts start arriving. It helps everyone if there is a gift register and there is no sin in taking back to the store duplicates or items that just won't work in your space. After that first influx, let it be known that gifts should just appear on birthdays and special holidays - not every time someone is out shopping and sees something cute. Let gift givers know your boundaries - like no gifts with batteries or a gazillion small pieces or items bigger than a breadbox. If a grandparent or favorite uncle brings in a large or loud gift, thank them and tell them that they should keep that toy at their home for baby to play with when they visit.
  3. Set limits on books. Children have favorites that they love to hear over and over again but I have seen bookcases overflowing with books - for children not even in kindergarten. Cull books regularly. Locate independent book stores that will accept used books for credit. Remember the library? What fun to go once a month or every two weeks and pick out some books to enjoy!
  4. Rotate toys and books. If there are too many books and toys around, the children tend to play with one of them a few minutes and then drop it and go to another one, etc. They get bored easily and can't focus on any one thing. I have been in playrooms where you can't even see the floor. Decide on a good number and variety of toys depending on your child's attention span and age and then store the remainder of toys. In a few months, put away some of the less played with toys (or give them away if all interest is gone or they have aged out of it) and then bring out some of the stashed toys.
  5. Arrange the storage of items that are out so the toys, books, puzzles, etc. can easily be put away. Have items at eye level for the child. Have bins labeled with words and pictures and do not put lids on the bins. Make it easy for small children to scoop up their blocks and dump them into the appropriate bin or container. Teach children at a young age to put their toys away at night.
There is no right way to all of this. Find what works for you and your family. Remember that the house belongs to the adults - not the children. Find your happy place and then enjoy it together.

For more ideas see the following: both books are available on Amazon or Barnes and Nobel.





Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Organizing the Bathroom Zone

If you are following my zone plan, this month is the 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 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.

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 any cleaning materials? To keep your bathroom uncluttered, some of what you store here can go somewhere else.

Use the medicine cabinet, drawers, or space under your sink to store items that you need and use regularly. Store your daily grooming supplies here. Use a bin, small basket, or drawer for cosmetics you use almost daily. A medicine cabinet can store toothpaste, dental floss, deodorant, q tips, and cotton balls. Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays, and all items for your hair might be stored in a container under the 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 could also fit under the sink.

If you have drawers, designate each drawer as a container for like items. One drawer might hold everyday makeup, another might hold eye products, and a third hair products, etc.

As you are sorting your like items together, consolidate partial bottles and get rid of any items you are no longer 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 caddies 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 Tylenol, aspirin, and cold/allergy medicines. Still another might hold harger items like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and mouthwash. Get rid of expired items while sorting. Not only do some medicines lose their effectiveness over time but they can actually become harmful. Dispose of these items safely. Do not toss medicines in the trash and never flush them into our water system. The DEA offers a Prescriptions Drug Take Back Day which occurs in October this year. Check http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html for more information.

If you have a linen closet, keep extra towels, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies there. The linen closet is also a good place to store any duplicate items. 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 towels, wash cloths, and toilet paper.

When you have your bathroom organized and decluttered, then work on 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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ready to Go

Sometimes we have prior warning that it is our "time to go." Sometimes there is no warning at all. I keep reminding people that we never know when we will turn up our toes on 285 or some other unexpected catastrophe. So, we should always be in a state of readiness.

I think we all know about the importance of the will, the power of attorney, and the living trust, but what about some of the other paper work? I have heard of estates being held up for over a year because a car title couldn't be found, or a husband who couldn't get into his deceased wife's accounts because he did not have the password.

Does your executor know where your important papers are located? Some examples might be account statements, insurance policies, beneficiary designations, deeds, car and boat titles, stock and bond certificates, business paperwork, and tax returns.

But let's go beyond that. I was blessed in the fact that the death of my mother and my husband were expected. We had a chance to discuss burial plans, what circumstances were to be considered if we had to make a decision to "pull the plug", where important papers were located, what items were to go to special people. While neither of my family were high tech, it is still important to know such things as the IPhone lock code, passwords, account numbers, etc.

The greatest gift you can give your family is to set up files with all the vital information in one place and to have "the talk" with family on what your final wishes are on your funeral, your possessions, and anything else you can think of. The planning in advance will never be regretted and it will free up your loved ones to focus on their emotional needs and your specialness in their lives.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Priorities - Me Time


I love my work and I work hard but that is only one part of my life.

I love my husband and my family as well as a whole set of friends who are almost like family. I love my home but I also love to travel. I know the importance of taking care of myself.

So, for the next 15 days I am going to take care of myself and travel with my husband to Greece. Going back to visit Greece has been on my bucket list for a long, long, time.

For the next 15 days I am going to eat a lot of delicious food, walk a lot, meet new people,  and jut relax. I intend to come home with a whole lot of experiences and memories. I will stay connected to clients, family, and friends while gone but only minimally. I plan to come back invigorated and ready to resume my normal routines.

ασφαλή ταξίδια (safe travels)


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Zone Plan: A Method for Organizing Your Home

My coaching program, The Zone Plan: A Method for Organizing Your Home, is now starting year 3! This program helps you set a vision, develop a plan, and implement the plan so that your home truly becomes a place you love.

Every month, except for July and December, we concentrate on a project. Because I have a smallish home and have done this on my own for years, by the end of each year I have touched everything in my home.

This month I am working on my entry area, a storage wall in my laundry area, and finally just cleaning a back hallway. My vision for the back entry area is to create a space where incoming and outgoing items are held. My husband hangs a couple of pieces of his seasonal outerwear on hooks and I hang a favorite hat. Cloth grocery bags are temporarily hung on the doorknob as soon as groceries are unpacked so the next person going to the car carries them out. Outgoing mail is laid on the bench until the next trip to the mailbox. I smile when I enter my home by this door as I have hung and placed some whimsical art here. The entry way is right outside my office, so the bench holds some of my office supplies.

The storage wall in my laundry room has many purposes. Here I have recycling bins, a cat box, extra cat supplies, bird seed, a tool kit, cleaning supplies, and some large serving pieces I use for parties. It is quite a mix but works well. As I organize this area, I mainly look for items that I no longer use or have expired and for items that have gotten dropped into this space but really need to go to the outside storage zone.

While I have personally used this zone plan for years, I am truly excited when others join me in this program.

If you would like to try it, join me for the 10 month Zone Plan Group Coaching program. We will benefit from exploring 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, and a closed secret Facebook group. All of this is designed to set you on your path of living in the home you envision so that you can control your space.

Each month we concentrate on one zone of your home or a project of your choice. I suggest a zone and model it but the beauty of this program is the concepts will fit any zone or project you want to tackle.

This program is powerful, yet affordable. The yearly rate is only $450. There is even a 2-pay option if you need to spread out payments.

If you want results and are ready to make your hoe the one of your vision, then join us! Contact me at jonda@timespaceorg.com.



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

NAPO Conference 2017


Tomorrow I head off to my 10th NAPO conference. This year it is held in Pittsburgh.

As I think about our conferences, I always look forward to learning about the latest trends, resources, and products in the organizing industry. I get excited thinking about sitting in on workshops and presentations given by some of the great experts in our field.

During the conference I always receive information and inspiration that improve my services to my clients. I enjoy meeting face to face organizers I have only chatted with via Facebook, reconnecting with organizers that I only see at conference, and meeting organizers from all over the globe.

I also look forward to a social evening with other organizers from our Georgia Chapter as we go out to dinner one evening and catch up with each other.

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


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Closet Redo for Spring

I hope warm weather is finally here to stay and that it is safe to swap out winter clothes for spring and summer clothes. If you are lucky, you may have a second closet in a guest room to use for the swap. If you are in a smaller home or your closets are already fully used, then consider under the bed storage containers or plastic bins at the back or top of the closet, or some drawers in a spare bedroom for storing some of the winter items. Then you can reposition your spring/summer clothes for easy access.

As you remove winter items, look carefully at each piece. Is it clean? Is it in good repair? Does it still fit? Do you feel good when you wear it? In fact, did you even wear it last season?

If it is clean and in good repair but no longer fits or you no longer love it, donate it to a charity. If it is torn or stained, throw it away. If it needs a good cleaning or some repair and you still love it, take care of it now before you put it away for the season.

Now, pull out your spring/summer clothes and hang them in the closet front and center. Again, give them a good look over. Is there a spot that won't come out? Is it dated? Was it a bad purchase that you spent a lot of money on but hate to wear? Toss or give away all those items that you don't love to wear.

Seasons go by and we find that certain items of clothing just languish in our closets, neglected and unworn. We may not even be aware of it. We may have 5 black tops but in reality only really wear 3 of them. A trick I have learned is to hang your new season clothes in the closet with the hanger facing the wrong way. The first time you wear the item, turn the hanger around so that it is hanging correctly. At the end of the season, really look at the clothes in the closet that still have the hangers facing the wrong way. Ask yourself why you didn't wear those items. It might be that it is a really special occasion outfit and that occasion didn't happen this past season. But it also might be that you have other items that you prefer to wear. Let go of all items that you do not need or love. Let the remaining ones have room to breathe. You will find it much easier to assemble your outfits if you don't have to dig through all those unloved pieces.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Flexibility and Time Management


Nothing seems to happen exactly as planned. Well, rarely. Life happens.

You just can't control the universe. Bad weather happens. Overpasses collapse. Illness happens. Other people have changes in their schedules that affect your plans. There seems to be daily obstacles to overcome so remaining flexible is key to survival.

Setting up a daily/weekly schedule certainly helps you manage your time. Routines are great! With daily/weekly routines you don't have to think about every single task you do.

Each morning, as you start your day, look at the big 3 things you want to accomplish and any other tasks that are floating around. Then prioritize and pin actual times down to these tasks. This helps you focus on the important and high priority tasks first. This sets your intention for the day.

Keeping a balance between work, home, and personal health and well being is vital. Times for all these facets of your life should be scheduled and honored.

But at any given moment something might happen that throws that plan right out the window. Someone cancels an appointment with you or someone badly needs your help right now! The cat gets sick and needs to go to the vet. The computer crashes. You get the idea.

When these life events happen, step back and evaluate what just happened. Take a few moments to just breathe into this new reality. Don't do an immediate knee jerk reaction. What is your priority now? How can you adjust your schedule? How can you keep a positive attitude? Here is where the ability to be flexible can keep your day or week from crashing down around you.

Take another look at your calendar. What can be dropped or moved to another day? If a cancelled appointment opens up time for you, what upcoming project can you work on now that will save you time and stress down the road? Breathe and move into your new reality for today. It's all going to be OK and another day and opportunity will come tomorrow.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Organizing the Bedroom Zone

Spring is a wonderful time to declutter and organize your bedroom. It's a good time to evaluate your cold weather wardrobe and bring to the front clothes for spring and summer. It's a great time to open up clean spaces and let the sun shine in.

Anytime I start working on a zone in my home, I begin with a vision. And since I share this room with my husband, it needs to be a shared vision. We want this room to have a calming, relaxed feel and be a place that sparks joy and happiness. We like soft light but still desire enough light for reading. My husband meditates here so the room should have an uncluttered, peaceful feel.

Then, I make a brainstorm list of all that we need to do to make this room align with our vision.

This month I will:
  • Declutter my closet: I will discard all clothing I no longer need or love and organize the space so the most often worn items are the easiest to reach.
  • Declutter the dresser drawers: I will discard all that I no longer want and organize the space to make it more efficient. I will move the long sleeve tops to a lower drawer and place the short sleeve tops and shells in a higher drawer.
  • Strip and clean the bed: I will clean the frame and all the linens and store the duvet until it gets cold again.
  • Clean and clear the nightstands: I will remove reading material that we have already read or that has stacked up and empty and clean out the drawers.
  • Evaluate the accessories: I will remove any that we no longer love.
  • Clean windows and blinds: I only wash the inside of the windows at this point in time as at another time I clean all of the windows on the outside.
  • Clean and wax furniture: This is one time where I really clean and then use paste wax on the good furniture.
All of the above tasks are scheduled on the calendar with some "wiggle room" for when unexpected events happen or if tasks take longer than expected.

At the end of the month I reward myself by buying a couple of new items to replace some of the tossed items. Then I put out fresh flowers and enjoy the clean, fresh bedroom.




Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Working on Work-Life Balance

Long, long ago in another universe, boundaries between work and home were clear. Here and now, not so much. This is especially true if you work from home.

I work (funny word usage here) on keeping a balance but it is a constant struggle. Setting limits is the key.

We know that time is the same for all of us so it is up to us to make decisions on how we use it.

Setting Limits:
  • Track how you use your time now. This is always a first step on using your time wisely. It's a lot like planning a budget. You need to know how you use your resources now so you can plan on how you want to move forward.
  • Use your calendar. Know when and where you have obligations that must be kept. Mark out times to do self care routines like taking walks, doing yoga, or meditation. Plan ahead times for days off with family and vacations.
  • Delegate time sucking tasks that others can do better than you or that you hate to do. This allows available time to do the things you do best in your work and leave time for rest and fun.
  • Leave work at work. This is really a hard one. When I walk out of my home office, I try to leave the work behind. I only take work related phone calls after that time, if I suspect it is going to impact tomorrow's schedule. When on vacation, I limit the times I check email, voicemail, and texts. I attend to what I feel is very important and make notes to attend to other tasks when I return home.
  • Learn to say no. Be selective in what volunteer work or extra projects you take on. You do no one a favor if you set yourself up for failure or collapse by taking on too much.
Good luck to us all as we continue on this journey of balance and happiness.



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Benefits of Virtual Organizing

Virtual organizing is a service that Time Space Organization offers. It is a great option for some people. The organizer uses her hands-on expertise and knowledge to create an action plan to meet the client's needs.

How does virtual organizing work?
  • First there is a free phone consultation to determine if virtual organizing would work in this given situation
  • Once it is determined that it is a good fit, a questionnaire is filled out to help solidify intentions and goals for the sessions
  • If appropriate, pictures of the target area are sent
  • A  vision of what the area will look like and how you will feel in this area is explored
  • A brainstorm list is put together of all tasks that need completing for the vison to come to fruition
  • Possible organizational roadblocks are studied
  • A completion date and time line are developed
  • During each session, we refine the plan and dates to complete tasks are put on the calendar
  • As the organizer, I hold you accountable, help you prioritize, and make suggestions
  • Once the project is complete, we develop a maintenance program
How do you know if this would work for you? It would work if:

  • You can work on your own and are motivated but you want/need some guidance and accountability
  • You recognize the importance of organizational help but are on a budget
  • You are comfortable communicating by phone, email, skype, and can send emails with photos
  • You are creative and want custom-tailored sessions
  • You would rather work with an organizer in one hour sessions rather than the hands on 3 hours plus sessions and can work on completing projects on your own time
  • You are not physically close to professional organizers but still want their help
For more information visit my web site http://timespaceorg.com/services/ or contact me by email (jonda@timespaceorg.com) or phone 404-299-5111.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Organizing and Cleaning the Living Room for Spring

Spring is in the air! I love this time of year. In spring I want my home to feel fresh and sparkly. I want the sunlight to stream in. The living room is the first thing you see when you enter my home.  For that reason, I choose this area to organize in the month of March in my Zone Plan program.

The first step is to review your vision for the living room. I start my day here with coffee and the newspaper. Later in the day, my husband sits in his chair with coffee and the paper and maybe watches some news on TV. Together we often connect in this room to plan our day, the week, and the future. For entertainment we work on the daily jumble and crossword puzzle together. Sometimes we watch TV or a movie. We often eat our supper in the living room. We entertain family and friends here and welcome people from out front door. Therefore, I want this room to feel welcoming and nurturing. I want everyone who comes into this area to feel like they can exhale and enjoy their time here.

Papers, books, brochures, and magazines can accumulate as we relax and read/discuss the literature. It is a gathering place. To keep the area feeling uncluttered, I have a plan for that paper. Every morning before I sit down I make a sweep and put away any papers that we left out the night before. My rule for newspapers and magazines is when a new one comes in, the old one goes out. We get quite a few magazines so I have a basket to hold them. If there is an article that I want to read when the new magazine comes in, I'll leave that magazine out on the coffee table and read it within the next few days. We also have a tray for a landing pad for that one book we might be reading there or any brochures we are studying.

Multimedia like DVDs and CDs are usually found in the living room. During this month I sort the entire collection. We cull out the ones we are ready to donate or pass on to a friend. I use a container system to manage our supply. We keep as many DVDs or CDs as will easily fit into our containers. If they don't all fit in with some room to spare, then some must find new homes elsewhere.

While I am organizing this space I give it a good deep clean and change out accessories to match the season. Gone is the nut bowl and winter candle. In their place I have fresh spring flowers and a pastel candle.

When the zone is complete, I celebrate by having a nice glass of wine, a lit candle, and some down time with my hubby.



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Keep That Paper Movin, Movin Right Along


I had one client tell me his office was one big inbox with no outbox in sight. What can we do to keep that paper moving right along off our desk and out of our office?

Try this:
  • Immediately trash/recycle/put in the shred box what you don't need. Be ruthless here. If you don't need more clothes why keep the clothes catalogue at all? If a fancy vacation is not possible now, let the travel ads go. More will come later.
  • Put all magazines and catalogues you are keeping in a basket near where you read. Each month clear out the old editions.
  • All papers you are now keeping need an action. Look at the papers (and yes, that does mean opening the mail) and decide what the first action you must take with this paper. Paper piles build up because you defer making those decisions on the spot.
  • Have action or desktop files ready. This is where those papers will go. You might label your files "read", "pay", "file", "pending", or "contact". What labels you use will depend on what actions are needed for your kept paper.
  • Know that the action referred to in "action files" is not the action of putting the paper into the files. You must schedule a time to pay bills, make contacts, and follow up on pending items. Schedule times on your calendar to do the actions that the folders demand. Don't let papers live there forever.
  • Set up idea folders for those papers you keep that are not immediate actions. These folders might include vacation ideas, landscaping ideas, party or home decorating ideas. At least yearly, clear out what no longer interests you. These folders can live in a file drawer or in a bookcase.
  • Use project bins. These bins are for ongoing projects. Designate a bin for each big project (daughter's wedding, book you're writing, etc.). Some smaller projects can go into folders within a bin. I use folders for business ideas or organizations I attend. With project bins, you pull out what you need to work on and as soon as you are finished or out of time, you sweep it all back into the bin.
  • Keep regular files (insurance, car, medical) updated and cleared out.
Following these habits will help you maintain a clear desk, office, and a clearer mind. Getting rid of the piles of paper that scream "Look at me!" when you are working on something else keeps you from getting distracted.

Let's keep that paper movin' right along and to its final destination. No more paper pile ups!




Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Bargain or a Hook?





Everyone loves a bargain! A word of caution, many bargains are not really bargains but just clever advertising. Some examples:
  • "Buy this and receive a gift!" Cosmetic companies are really good at this one. "Purchase $55 or more on cosmetics and receive a free gift bag." You really like their foundation for $39.50 and you find yourself looking for something else you might use just to get that cute gift.

  • "It pays to stock up! Earn a $10 gift card every time you buy $50 in participating stocking spree items." Example items - 12 mega or 24 double rolls package of paper towels, buy 2 family size cookies, buy 2 bottle of dressing etc. But wait, I've only spent $23. What else can I buy? You end up buying items you don't really need and don't have adequate space to store just for a $10 gift card.

  • "Free shipping when you buy $75 or more!" You love that blue blouse. It costs about $49. Standard shipping/processing charges will add $11.99. You find yourself leafing through the catalogue looking for something $26 or more. You end up ordering some socks or underwear that you really don't need to save on the shipping.

  • "Everything a dollar!" What a deal! Or is it? Many times big-box retailers can actually be a better buy in quality and price.

  • "Winter sale! Everything 50% off!" A couple of things here. Those same items were probably marked up for the holidays and 50% off of something you don't need or love is not $75 dollars saved but $75 spent for something that will just sit on your shelf or hang in your closet.
Am I telling you to never grab that bargain? Of course not. You should shop a bargain when it is something you really need, love, and have a place to put it away. Just know what you are doing and why.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Teach Young Children Organizational Skills


As parents we sometimes assume that some life skills are absorbed just because we model them and the children are living in the home. And sometimes that worked but not as well as if we actually taught them these skills. After all, we taught them how to brush their teeth and wash their hands. We didn't expect them to know how to do this just because they observed us.

So what are some of the organizational skills you can teach young children?
  • Break large projects down into smaller easier parts. Don't tell children, "Clean your room." Instead tell them, "Pick up your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper." Then when that task is complete, "Put away your clean clothes." And then, "Put your books on the shelf."
  • Sorting. Younger children will do a broader sort than older children. A sort category for younger children might be putting all the legos into one tub. Older children will probably sort their legos into finer categories. Younger children might sort all dirty clothes into one hamper while older children might separate whites from colored clothes or heavy duty wear from delicates.
  • Culling. When a toy has become broken or is no longer used or loved, teach the children that it is time to let that item go. Don't do it without the children being part of the process. Explain that they are no longer using something so it should either be thrown away if no one else would want it or given away if another child will enjoy it. The same goes for clothes,  books, or any other item the child owns. Do be sensitive though that some items may have sentimental value. If that is the case, start a memory box with them.
  • Everything has a place. Every item the child owns should have a place for it to go when it is not being used. Because you want the child to put his own things away, make the designated places easy to access. Keeping fewer items makes it easier to put things away.
  • Reward yourself for a completed project. These rewards do not have to be big. It could be a story read to them or some phone time (to brag) with Grandma. It could be a sticker on a chart. Just do some little thing to show completion and satisfaction of a job well done.
Let me end with some words of caution. You are teaching these skills. It is an ongoing lesson. Do not expect perfection. If the child puts his clothes in the bin and some hang out a bit, praise him for putting the clothes away. Do not tuck that article of clothing back in the bin. If the bed is made but not straight, do not straighten the covers. If the box of legos is put on the shelf crooked, do not straighten the box. If you correct what he has done while he is learning these skills, he will feel that his efforts have not been good enough.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Organizing the Spare Bedroom of Bonus Room

Most of us are lucky enough to have that extra room dubbed as the Spare Bedroom, Guest Bedroom or Bonus Room. Often these rooms have multiple purposes. I have seen them used as offices, craft rooms, play rooms, exercise rooms, storage rooms, and even as dedicated guest bedrooms.

In February I work on my "Spare Bedroom" zone. I choose this month because last month I organized my office and a lot of stuff purged from my office landed on the bed, floor, and dresser of the spare bedroom. Now it is a disaster.

My spare bedroom has multiple functions. It has a closet that is used for offsite office storage (and it is packed full). There is a dresser that holds off season clothing, gifts, holiday cards, and some memorabilia. This room also holds a secondary cat box as well as a cat condo and a cat bed. When overnight guests arrive, this is their room (and the cat stuff is temporarily put into my office).

I want this room to have an open and inviting space for guests. I want all items stored in this zone to be out of sight but easily accessible. I want to feel drawn to this room and feel calm and happy when I enter.

To make this vision come true, 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 or donate items that I have saved but now no longer need or love. Since I have a lot of pictures and memorabilia in the closet, I will open each box and scrapbook, have a remembrance time, toss some items, label some more items, and return the rest to the containers. I feel if I want to keep this memorabilia, I ought to honor it and look at it at least once a year.

I will clean out every drawer in the dresser and designate zones within the drawers. I will probably decide that 3 heavy sweaters stored there are about 2 too many and that some holiday clothing is no longer loved. This will open up space for any new item.

By the end of the month, I will have this guest 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, sign up for my Zone Plan Coaching Teleclass (jonda@timespaceorg.com) or purchase my workbook - From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home (available on my website www.timespaceorg.com).


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February is Time Management Month

Good time management is really good choice management. We can't save time. We can't speed up or slow down time. We all have the same 24 hours or 1,440 minutes a day. It's up to us to spend it wisely.

Easy to say - harder to do.

Below are 9 tips to help you stay in control of your day:
  1. Know how you are using your time now. Track how you are using your time for a couple of weeks. The first week you might track Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The second week you might track Tuesday and Thursday. Add in weekend days if that is also an issue. Use a timer and every 1/2 hour make a quick note of what you are working on. No cheating! (Wow, the timer is about to go off, I'd better log off Facebook and pay some bills!)
  2. Notice what interrupts your time and pulls you off task. Do you answer every phone call? Do you really need to? Do you have an audible alert when emails come in? Do you check them when they come in? Do friends or colleagues feel they can drop in at any time? Anytime you are pulled away from a task, make a written note of what you were doing just before answering the phone or talking to the person in your doorway. That simple task locks in the importance of your task and makes it easier to return to it.
  3. Never multitask. Having said that, you can fold laundry and talk to your husband. You can go for a walk and mentally put together a plan for tomorrow. What you can't do is write a report and talk on the phone or pay your bills while checking emails. Neither task will get your full attention. It is exhausting for your brain to keep switching back and forth. The adrenaline rush will hurt your concentration. There is no way you can get into the zone where work flows easily. Do one thing and do it well.
  4. Know your priorities. What is important to you today? What 3 big tasks need to be worked on or completed? Are you keeping in mind other priorities besides work? Is exercise and a time to eat a healthy meal a priority? Is family time a priority? Keep in mind that some priorities are not urgent things to do today but tasks that will help you down the road.
  5. Use your calendar. The calendar is your friend. I like calendars where I can see the whole month. Every appointment, every obligation, every birthday/anniversary is seen at a glance. As soon as I have a known date for a commitment I put it into my calendar. Long term projects are put on the notes side of the calendar of the months that I intend to devote the time on.
  6. Use a daily schedule. My calendar holds the big things, but my daily schedule has the details. This is where I not only have down what I plan to do for the day but also when I plan to do it and how long I have allowed for the task. I work in transition times between tasks. When life happens - and it does - and I know I will not get through everything on my schedule, I pause and do triage. I pick out what must get done and move the rest to later in the week.
  7. Know your peak production times. These are the times you schedule the tasks that are more difficult and require concentration. For me, I kick in about 9:00 am and need to stop the morning by about 11:30. In the afternoon I can get into heavy lifting around 1:00 and am getting weary by 5:00. Anything I do after that is mostly automatic non-thinking tasks.
  8. Delegate. Some tasks I know I do not have expertise. Some tasks I can do very well but I choose to use my time on another task. So I pay for others to do these tasks. I also am lucky in that my husband is willing to run errands for me like taking items to Goodwill or going to the post office. I have clients who can delegate some tasks to their children like taking on the shredding. Don't try to do it all.
  9. Come to each day rested and spend some of the day on you. If you are not rested, well nourished, and centered you will not concentrate on tasks at hand. On your daily schedule allow time for breaks, meals, whatever centering practices that you use, and a decent bed time.
Look over the above list and choose a couple to concentrate on for February. I would love to hear some of your wins.



Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer