Archive for June, 2009

Organizing Your Closet, A How-To Series

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Recently I filmed a series of how-to videos for, a website where you can learn how to do, just about anything.  They contacted me to film a series called, “How To Organize Your Closet, Like a Pro“.  This nine-part series, shows all the steps I take when organizing a closet.  We event show you how I ripped out the existing closet, and installed a new elfa® system from The Container Store.  This is a must-watch video series for the DIY organizer.

Today, I’m sharing with you, Part One of this series.  You’ll see how I turned this cluttered closet into a space perfect for this home owner. Watch out for falling ironing boards, closet organizing is hazardous work!  This video is only 2 minutes and 15 seconds.  The others are only three to five minutes in length.  I encourage you to watch the videos and leave your comments and questions below. I’ll be posting the rest of the series here on soon.

For more information on closet organizing, please check out these two previous posts:

Fashion Meets Eco-Friendly Shopping in DC

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I’m a huge fan of Goodwill for many reasons.  Mainly because it’s a convenient way for my clients to donate items that have outgrown their home.  And by doing so, they support Goodwill’s mission to educate, train, employ and place people with disabilities and disadvantages.  By supporting Goodwill of Greater DC, we’re assisting people right here in our own area.

Goodwill will be hosting a Trunk Show in DC and is calling all fashionistas, designers, and eco-friendly shoppers to attend and shop ’til they drop! Goodwill of Greater Washington’s Travelin’ Trunk Show will be returning to Greater Goods on Saturday, June 27th from 12:00 – 3:00 PM.

Greater Goods is located at 1626 U Street NW in Washington, DC 20009. If you’ve not had the chance to visit this very cool, eco-friendly store, now you have two reasons to check out the Trunk Show!  While at the store, be sure to checkout and register for one of their ‘Green Living’ classes.

Goodwill will have racks and racks of contemporary and vintage fashions along with donated fabrics and buttons. So, if you’re in the market for some vintage fashion or some fabric to make your own creations, please check out this event on June 27th.

Goodwill also will be accepting donations from your home or closet. All proceeds from this event will support Goodwill’s mission to educate, train, employ, and place people with disabilities and disadvantages throughout the greater DC area.  For more information on Goodwill’s mission and fashion events, visit this website, or read their fashion blog.

Get Organized At Home With These Helpful Products & Services

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I recently attend the National Association of Professional Organizers Washington, DC – Metro Chapter’s June meeting.  Members featured new products and resources from the NAPO Conference in Orlando, Florida which I attended this past April. One by one, members demonstrated various products and explained the highlights of some new services. Everything shown was new, unique or a great resource. Below is a list of eight items featured. I’ll blog about the other five items in a future post.  Thank you to all the companies who donated their product.  Each product was given away as a ‘door prize’ at the end of the meeting!  Read on to discover which item I won.

Shelf Improvement Rollout Shelves
Shelf Improvement makes glide out shelves which only require four screws to mount and have a “2 minute” estimated installation time.  They were very solid in construction and had beautiful dovetail corners.  I was very impressed with the quality and price.  The glide out shelves are $79.00 plus $10 shipping for any size.  The widths available are: 10″-30″ wide increasing in 1″ increments and the depths are 21.5″, 18.5″, or 16.5″.  If you’re a do-it yourself type, check out these glide out shelves.

Clearly Noted
These designer note cards were created specifically for Professional Organizers.  They are the concept of my friend and colleague, Jill Revitsky of Discover Organizing from Pittsburgh, PA. The designs are fresh, unique and feminine in style.  They’re also very reasonably priced at $15.30 for a 6-pack.  If you’re an organizer and need stylish stationary to stay in touch with your clients, buy these cards!
The owners of, Maxx & Monica attend the meeting as guests.  Their unique service will scan your precious photos, old slides, and convert your old VHS Tapes and 8 mm film to DVD.  I love the idea of their service called – Stuff ‘n Send. A prepaid box which will hold up to 1600 photos. The photos are scanned at 300 DPI and returned on your choice of digital medium for the current sale price $99.95. They really couldn’t make it any easier.  Make this your Father’s day gift!

Brother P-Touch 1230PC
This easy to use label machine connects to your PC via USB.  You do not have to load software on your PC because it’s preloaded on the machine.  You can conveniently design durable, laminated labels up to ½” wide using your PC keyboard and monitor.  The labels print on their TZ label tape which comes in white, clear, and various other colors.  You can load additional logos or any True Type Font on the machine.  Brother says it’s “Perfect for home or home office labeling needs.”  I won this label machine in the ‘door prize raffle’ at the end of the meeting but I’m a Mac user – so, it’s not so perfect in my opinion.  For PC users, at $49.99, you could use this label machine – a bargain in my opinion.

List Planit
Jen Tankersley has branded her company as “List to Put Your World in Order”, and I agree!  List Planit has over 400 attractive, printable lists and planning pages for you to manage life.  They’re conveniently organized on their site by categories – life, business, kitchen, finance, etc.  They have three types of membership – print, download, or professional ranging from $20 – $50 yearly. That’s If you like paper lists, I highly recommend this service.

Time Timer®
If you saw the episode of Time Makeover on The Fine Living Network when I worked with the Lucchesi family, you would have learned about the very cool, Time Timer®.  Their products demonstrate how much time has elapsed.  If you see the color red on the face, that shows you how much time remains.  If you have trouble managing time or if you’re teaching the concept of time, there is no better tool than a Time Timer®. Their website boasts “This innovative tool constantly reinforces the sense of elapsed time in order to promote better time management.”  You can buy the 3″, 8″ or 12″ version or their handy wrist watch style.  They even have a new PC/Mac software that runs on your computer screen.  I’ve been using it since April to help manage the time I spend on Facebook and Twitter.  Prices start at $30 and I recommend you purchase the timers with the optional audible signal.

Recipe Nest® by Recipe Relish
I’m in love with this concept because I frequently tear recipes out magazines, dreaming of the day I’ll learn to cook.  The Recipe Nest® is perfect because it’s designed to store full-page recipes from your printer or from magazines.  They’re organized with tabbed dividers.  No more trying to punch holes in the flimsy magazine paper!  The built-in easel easily folds out and works with the clip-on the front to display the recipe you’re using.  This keeps my dirty hands off the recipe when cooking and I use a plastic sheet protector, or you can buy the specially designed ‘Recipe Sleeve,’ to keep the recipe clean as you cook.  The surface of the Recipe Nest® is also spill proof, so you can splash and splatter all you want!  There are great colors to choose from and the Recipe Nest® easily fits inside most kitchen cabinets or on a bookshelf.  Choose the color that matches your unique style.  Mine is Kiwi Green!  This is perfect for anyone who likes to cook at $38.95.

Easy Find Lid Food Storage Containers by Rubbermaid
I blogged about these Easy Find Lid Food Storage Containers by Rubbermaid back in September 2008 which I featured them on a WUSA 9 TV Appearance.

Their unique design allows you to snap the lid to the base of the containers.  You’ll never lose a lid again!  They come as small as .05 cup up to 2.5 gallons and all sizes in between.  With this graduated size design, they easily nest together. I’m a huge fan of square storage containers because they optimize your storage space.  Yes, you can microwave and freeze meals in these containers.  A 20 piece set is around $15.99.  I’ve seen them for sale at Target, Harris Teeter and Giant.  Click here to download a coupon for $1.00 off your purchase.

We had five more products featured at the meeting which I’ll feature in a different blog post.  Did you find anything above that would be helpful to you at home or that would make the perfect gift for anyone?  Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts and ideas.

Three Steps to Organize Your Kitchen – What’s Hiding In Your Kitchen?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

As a professional organizer, I’ve been in a few hundred homes, and one thing I’ve discovered is the kitchen is an easy place for clutter to pile up.  Does your kitchen have clutter? If you’re like most Americans, it does!  Keep reading, below are three steps to organizing your kitchen.

You know the kitchen clutter I’m talking about – the plastic grocery store bags that multiply overnight, the mismatched plastic ware, the bread machine you ‘should’ use, or the ‘obligation’ purchase you made at that last Pampered Chef party. The clutter sometimes lands on the kitchen counter but often the disorganization lurks behind the cabinet doors or in the deep, dark pantry.  Because it’s out of site, out of mind, the it easy to forget about the clutter. But, the time will come when you need to find something specific and you’ll have to dig.

You may be on your hands and knees digging in the back of the cabinet, or you’re dropping cans of soup on your toe as you forage past the Mickey Mouse shaped waffle maker, the Ginsu Knives, and the battery powered flour sifter. Either way, it’s frustrating! I’ve seen counter clutter so deep that it has caused personal injury!  Save the digging for the garden this summer and organize your kitchen.

Use my ’3-P’ kitchen organizing method to start process – Pull, Purge, Place.

Pull – Start in one area of your kitchen and pull all the items from the cabinets. When was the last time you wiped down those shelves?  While you are working, clean the shelves! As you place items on the counter, group the similar items together.  You may need a small folding table or your dining room table to have a larger working space.

Purge – Now that you are able to see all of your dishes, plastic ware, kitchen gadgets, pots and pans, etc., it’s time to purge! Kitchen clutter is usually not about having enough storage space. It’s commonly about too much stuff. With that in mind, keep the items you use most often. Beware of multiple items. How many potholders, spatulas, and frying pans can you use at once? If you’ve not used an item in the last year, do you really need it?  Do you have two items that are different but serve a similar purpose? NOTE – Things not to save include; take out containers, plastic ware missing it’s bottom or top, plastic stadium cups, rusty pans – you get the idea.  Give your surplus items to a student moving into their first apartment, have a garage sale, or donate the items to charity.

Don't Do This!!!!

Once You Purge, Don't Do This!!!

Place – When placing the items back in the cabinets, designate a home. For example: coffee maker near the sink with the mugs close by, glasses by the dishwasher, pots by the stove, knives in the food prep area, and so forth.  Your kitchen items should be stored in the area they are used.  Resist the urge to pile everything back into the drawers.  Use drawer organizers to divide utensils in the drawers.  The goal is to be able to open a drawer and see everything inside.

My ’3-P’ method is a good self-help method for organizing your kitchen.  You may need to add accessories to your counter top, drawer glide outs or shelves to maximize your kitchen.  If you have a specific kitchen clutter problem, leave us a comment below, we’ll be happy to help.

Happy cooking, from my kitchen to yours – LOL.  (OK – I laugh because I only prepare food, I don’t cook!)