Organizing Madison Blog

A personal code
July 25, 2010, 11:55 am
Filed under: Organizing Tips

Having a personal code can really help you to live your life to its fullest.  Don Aslett has written a number of great books on de-cluttering and organizing your life.  The following is his personal code from his book Lose 200 Lbs. This Weekend: It’s Time to Declutter Your Life! 

A personal code that works for me

Here is a personal code that has really worked for me, to help prevent all those pounds from creeping back on.  I call it “Living Providently” –the big 10.

1. Keep yourself, and your place, space, and possessions clean and orderly–uncluttered–no excess.

2. Keep yourself in top physical and emotional condition.

3. Spend less–in accord with your financial capacity and need, not the neighbors or what the networks have to offer.

4. Think of your vehicle as safe, economical transportation–not a matter of ego or status.

5.  Work hard–be eagerly engaged in a good cause.

6.  Stay home more.  Don’t waste your real estate.  Make home your life center, not the malls, shops, cafes and stadiums.

7. Take real advantage of what you have, before expanding or getting more.

8.  Know the difference between a standard of living and a standard of luxury.

9. Create minimum waste–to help save your personal and our public environment.

10. Take care of those in need, ease others’ burdens when you can (save souls instead of stuff, you might say.)

Aslett has a great outlook on things and gives us all something to strive for.  What is your personal code?

Home Office Organization
July 8, 2010, 4:22 pm
Filed under: Office Organization, Organizing Tips

Home Office Organization

Home offices can be a challenge to keep neat and organized.  Whether or not you actually work from home, we all are inundated by paperwork: bills, statements, kids’ stuff, ads, etc.

The following tips will help you to manage the piles that build up in your home office:

  • Think before you file.  Do you really need it?  According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), 80% of papers that are filed are never referenced again. 
  • Clear the Junk Mail Clutter
    Go through your mail immediately and shred or discard all junk mail before it becomes a pile on the desktop.
  • Control Magazine Build-up
    If you subscribe to magazines for information, rather than keep the entire magazine, tear out the articles that you will use.  Place them in page protectors and then into a binder labeled with that magazine’s name or file them according to topic so you can reference them when you need them
  • Stop the Subscriptions!
    Be realistic.  If you find that you have no time to read, don’t torture yourself by continuing to subscribe.  Only subscribe to the magazines that you enjoy and really add value to your life. 
  • Stop printing!  Print only what you absolutely need. 
    • “More than 40% of printouts are discarded within 24 hours.” (Daniel Lyons, “The Paper Chasers,” Newsweek 12/01/09, Statistics, Xerox Research)
  • Keep kids’ stuff under control  No need to keep every spelling test or art project.
    • Have your kids help you decide what to keep and what can go
    • Frame your favorite pieces of artwork
    • Take pictures to keep the memory of their work before you toss it.


Food for thought:  Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in the average home.  (National Soap and Detergent Association)





School’s out for summer…
June 14, 2010, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Organizing Tips
It’s finally summer…school’s out, so why are we still stressed out?
Busy summer schedules filled with kids’ activities and more can really take a toll on us.  So what can we do to organize our calendars and simplify our lives?
First and foremost:  Don’t be afraid to say NO.  Not every minute of the day needs to be occupied.  Some simple tips for helping you manage your calendar and enjoy your summer:
  • Keep only one calendar and keep all appointments/activities on that calendar.
    • you can opt for a paper calendar or an electronic version…though an electronic calendar allows you to sync the calendar for multiple users.
  • Look at your calendar often, especially at the beginning of the day and the end of the day.
    • viewing the night before helps you to prep for the next day.
  • Get the kids involved in preparation.
    • depending on their age, kids can make sure that their uniforms/equipment/etc are ready for the next day’s activities.
  • Designate a place for everything when you come into the house.
    • this will help parents to track down items that need to be washed before the next game.
    • it will also help avoid the “I can’t find my jersey/soccer cleats” cry of despair 10 minutes before game time.
  • Plan your meals accordingly.
    • if the upcoming week is jam-packed, prep for easy meals (i.e. made ahead & frozen) to help avoid the last minute fast food run.
    • have healthy, quick snacks available for kids as they go from activity to activity.
  • Schedule time for the family (or even alone time).
    • often if it’s not on the calendar, it just doesn’t happen.

Breathe deep & relax…it’s summer!

May 14, 2010, 10:36 am
Filed under: Before and After pix, Organizing Tips
Simplify Your Life
Life is already hectic…and now with weather getting nicer, wouldn’t it be nice to spend more time taking advantage of the weather and all the fun things that Madison has to offer rather than spending time constantly dealing with the chaos in the home?
A few tips…
  • Reduce Clutter
    • Keep only things that you use/need/love
    • Be realistic (if you haven’t used/worn it in a year, it’s time to get rid of it)
    • Enlist help (friend, family or professional)
    • Donate, Recycle or Toss things you don’t use/need/love
  • Reorganize/Repurpose things in your home to make your life easier
    • i.e. spice cabinet –> spice drawer (see attached before & after pictures)

    • The cabinet made it hard to find things, drawer makes all spices visible and accessible
    • If needed, invest in shelves/drawers so you have a place to put things
  • Limit what you bring in to the house
    • shop only when you need something
    • don’t buy something just because it’s on sale

Getting Organized, Thinking Green on NBC15!
April 23, 2010, 7:44 am
Filed under: "Green" Organizing, In the News, Organizing Tips

Check out Organizing Madison, LLC, on NBC15!

“Organizing and Thinking Green”

Earth Day!
April 22, 2010, 2:57 pm
Filed under: "Green" Organizing, Organizing Tips

Getting Organized, Going Green

When getting organized, the first step is to decide what to keep and what to get rid of…

To decide what to keep, only keep the stuff you need, the stuff you use and the stuff you love.  Easier said than done, right?  Do your best to be realistic about what you really need to keep.  Find a specific home for all of the items that you’ve decided to keep.  Store like items together.  Store things where you use them.

Now…what to do with the stuff you’re getting rid of?  It would be easy to just throw it all away, but in honor of Earth Day, I want to encourage some alternatives:

  • Try to repurpose your things to use in other ways. (i.e. an old t-shirt makes a great dust cloth!)
  • If your things have some value, consider a garage sale or taking things to a consignment shop
  • Post online…,,
  • Donate to a local charity…St. Vincent’s, Goodwill, etc  (get a receipt for tax deduction!)
  • Recycle…not just cardboard and aluminum cans anymore
    • Electronics
    • Batteries
    • Medications
    • Athletic shoes
    • And so much more

(these ideas are posted on the blog of my website, but the City of Madison also has a great reference…the “Recyclepdiea.”)

 It may take a little extra time and effort, but it’s better for our world!


“Spring Cleaning” segment on NBC15 news
March 25, 2010, 5:43 pm
Filed under: In the News, Organizing Tips

Here’s a link to the segment on NBC15…

“Spring Cleaning”