An Organized Life: An Organized School Year

stacking shelves

These stacking shelves from the Container Store are not only great for toys- but what if they became your family’s “IT” place – if it is yours, it goes in the “IT” spot.  Lal them up, be creative – and most important – set a time to clear out that space!



#getorganized #organizedlilfe #anorganizedlife #habit #routine #stayorganized #organizedspaces #beautifullyorganized #stayingorganized #organizesimply #iloveorganizing #loveorganizing #simplyorganized #organizedcloset #closet #beautifulcloset #beautifullyorganizedcloset #organizedclothes #organizedclothing #professionalorganizer #professionalorganizing #personalorganizer #organizemyday #howtoorganizemyday #organizemydayforproductity #productivity #organizedday #organizedhome #personalorganizing #personalorganizer

#icanfindit #notamess



An Organized Life: Why the words we choose are so important

8 Practical Ways to Change Your Self-Description


How we talk to ourselves matters. Numerous studies indicate that our self-description, in a very real way, becomes the end to which we live.

The words we use with ourselves—both aloud and in our mind—begin to define the reality that we live.

When we describe ourselves as lazy, undisciplined, or prone to procrastination, we begin to reflect those patterns in our everyday life. On the other hand, when we change the words we use to describe ourselves (both internally and externally) focusing on positive attributes, we begin to display those positive behaviors more frequently.

In athletics, we see this all the time. Athletes are encouraged to visualize making the shot, sinking the putt, or winning the game. Interestingly, we also see it in small mechanical reminders… “keep your head down,” “elbow in,” and “follow through.” This positive self-talk becomes more than the self-description we begin to live towards, it also serves as healthy instruction on the kind of lives we want to live.

Often times, declaring to ourselves that we can accomplish a task or follow through with a desired change is the first step in achieving it.

How then, do we go about changing our self-talk? Many of the negative thoughts that shape our thinking have been around us for decades, ingrained in to us at a young age, so subtle we barely recognize them.

Simply knowing that these negative thoughts are harmful is not enough. We need to intentionally replace them with positive self-talk. Here are eight practical strategies you can use to change your self-description:

1. Start in the morning. At the beginning of each day, make it a practice to speak positive, encouraging words into your life. Find room for it in your morning routine. If you are looking for some ideas, Farnoosh Brock has a list of 100 positive affirmations.

2. Remind yourself of who you desire to become. Too often, we notice our weaknesses and the things we’d like to change about ourselves. This awareness begins to characterize the description we paint of ourselves in a negative light. But rather than focusing on them as attributes we lack, begin declaring them as characteristics we are becoming. This can be accomplished with a simple word change. Rather than thinking, “I’m just not __________,” begin saying, “I am becoming more  __________.”

3. Ruthlessly replace negative thoughts with positive words. No two physical objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Begin applying this same principle to your thoughts. When you recognize negative self-talk happening, exchange it for a more positive self-description immediately—like changing a dirty shirt for a clean one.

4. Recall accomplishments in your life. When you get stuck in a negative cycle, meditate on the accomplishments in your life—the big accomplishments and the small ones. Determine the positive attributes that must have been present for those to occur. And begin focusing more on those positive traits than any negative descriptions.

5. Call out the behavior you want to see. There are times when our self-talk can be more than motivational, it can also be instructional. Similar to how an athlete might remind himself or herself to “keep your head down and follow through,” we can speak into our life’s specific behaviors. For example, if you wish to procrastinate less, try intentionally calling out positive behaviors that would counteract it, “Sit down and just get started for just five minutes.”

6. Ask yourself if you’d treat a friend in the same way. The old adage rings true, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” We apply this principle to our external relationships, try applying it to your internal relationship as well. Take captive your thoughts and ask yourself, “Would I speak this way to my friend?” If the answer is no, replace your disparaging self-talk with something more uplifting.

7. Change “I” to “You.” Sometimes, when talking to yourself, the way you do it makes a difference. Researchers have found people who spoke to themselves as another person would—using their own name or the pronoun “you”—performed better under stress than people who used the word “I.” People whose self-talk used their names or “you” even reported less shame and ruminated less than the ones who used “I.”

8. When failures happen, identify the lessons you are learning. Difficult seasons are part of  life. When failures do happen, make your self-description more positive by reframing it as lessons you are learning. Rather than saying “I’m no good,” think “I’m learning perseverance and discipline and how to work even harder than I did before.” This changes the conversation we are having from self-defeating, to self-improving.

Our words matter. The description we offer about ourselves often becomes the finish line we move toward. Let’s make sure the finish line we are painting is in the exact place we want it to be.

An Organized Life-Be More with Less



Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.

This article is by Courtney and when she  wrote about dressing with less and Project 333 for the first time in 2010, she had no idea that people from around the world would write about their experience and thousands would accept the challenge.

Project 333 was featured in Unclutter Your Life by the Associated Press, on The Today Show website:, in the March 2014 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine and in the BBC article, The Paradox of Stuff.

The Rules

  • When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

Quick Start Guides For Project 333

First Timers

This is for those of you new to Project 333. You may have just heard about it, or perhaps you have been quietly watching others live with less for the past three months and you are ready to jump in.

  1. Take inventory. I recommend the How to Make Space approach. How to Finally Clean Out Your Closet will be helpful too.
  2. Working with your “I Love” pile of clothing, start to build your wardrobe. It will help to make a list on paper.
  3. Consider signature items like a trench coat or pair of boots. Your signature item might be your sunglasses. You will find that having one well made version of something will be far better than 10 of the knock-off.
  4. Once you start dressing with less, pay less attention to what you are wearing, or not wearing and more attention to something more important.
  5. You are welcome to incorporate some of the bonus rules listed below, but I highly recommend starting with The Basics – listed above.
  6. Get connected and ask questions. The Project 333 community is awesome! I’ve included a few important links below to help.

Starting a new phase

This is for those of you who have some experience with Project 333. You completed the first three months and really enjoy dressing with less. You may find that you have more time and space and even that you’ve uncovered your personal style.

  1. Donate any items from your current collection that haven’t been worn.
  2. Start building your new wardrobe with items in your current collection. What will make the cut for the next 3 months? Consider what will fit the season and what you love to wear.
  3. Box up whatever is not coming with you for the next three months, and mark the box accordingly so you can consider the same items for next year.
  4. Make your new list. You have great experience to build your list. What will you change from the first attempt?
  5. Stay connected and ask questions. The Project 333 community is awesome! I’ve included a few important links below to help. Encourage new members and let me know how I can help.
  6. Take a look at the new bonus rules below. Love them or leave them.

Above All Else

Even more important than choosing clothes that match, sticking with 33 and not wearing PJs to the grocery store, please only include clothing that fits and is in good repair. If you lose (or gain) 20 pounds during the next three months, replace or mend the items. Again, this is not a project in suffering. I want Project 333 to bring you joy not frustration!

Other ways to help you get started and stay connected

Other helpful information

  • Project 333 is designed for men and women of all ages and lifestyles.
  • I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. During Phase 1, I had temperatures ranging from 95 degrees to 15 degrees. This can be done with extreme weather variations.
  • This is not a project in suffering. If you need to create a version of Project 333 that works better for you, do it.
  • People will not notice that you are dressing with the same 33 items for 3 months, although they may notice there is something different about how you present yourself.  You will likely get more compliments. That has been my experience and that of others on this journey.

Check out these starter articles

If this is your first visit, take a look around. You will find tips and ideas to dress with less along with style stories and capsule wardrobe inspiration. Please make yourself at home and start with …

The Tiny Wardrobe Tour

Attend an event on the Tiny Wardrobe Tour, hear Courtney’s story, and hang out for conversation and Q & A. Learn more here.

Try the course

You are not in this alone! For extra guidance, motivation and support join the Project 333 Microcourse: Dress with Less and Create Your Capsule Wardrobe.

An Organized Downsize: Helping the Elderly Downsize

“You ask yourself what you want to keep, and the answer is ‘everything,’ ” said Dr. Harrison-Ross, who turns 80 next month. “It’s an emotional roller coaster that takes a toll on you. It’s very tiring.

“I thought I could get down to the bare essence of things myself,” she said. “But that proved to be very difficult, much more than I had expected.”

Her solution: Dr. Harrison-Ross hired a senior move manager.

Moving is stressful at any age, but for those who have lived in one place for many years, getting rid of things that have accumulated over decades is a large barrier to overcome.

As people get older, said David J. Ekerdt, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of Kansas, cognitive and physical issues hamper divestment. “It’s also a very emotional task. It’s hard to quantify the attachment one has to certain possessions,” he said, adding that the probability of people divesting themselves of their belongings decreases each decade after age 50.

Senior move managers specialize in the issues that comes with downsizing, including donating and selling items and hiring movers. In New York, these managers maneuver through the often stringent moving and trash-disposal rules adopted by co-ops and condominium buildings. They also deal with out-of-town family members who may want items sent to them. They pack and unpack; they call the cable company. Most also help with decluttering and organizing the homes of seniors who wish to stay put.

The specialty is new, so no one can estimate just how many senior move managers there might be in the United States. But Mary Kay Buysse, the executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, said: “Our membership has grown from 22 members in 2002 to nearly 1,000 members today. Though most of our current data is anecdotal, we know members managed over 100,000 senior moves last year.” She added that total revenue among the members was about $150 million last year.

Dr. Harrison-Ross, a commissioner of the New York State Commission of Correction and chairwoman of the commission’s medical review board, said she first thought about moving from her four-bedroom co-op on the Upper West Side about five years ago, but didn’t start looking for a smaller place until health issues took a toll about two years ago.

“There were rooms I didn’t go into for days,” said Dr. Harrison-Ross, who has lived in the apartment for 48 years.

She found a spot in an apartment building for seniors on the Upper West Side, but knew she was in trouble when her first impulse was to “stick everything I had into storage and forget about it unless I needed something.”

She asked a friend to help her get organized. But the two puzzled over how to get rid of large items or whom to call to sell furniture and artwork.

Then Dr. Harrison-Ross’s real estate agent referred her to Katie Hustead, who with her husband, Joseph Weston, runs Paper Moon Moves, a Brooklyn company specializing in seniors. She talked to Ms. Hustead on the phone and met with her in person before she signed on.

“It’s very important to hire someone that you can trust, because the decisions you’re making are very emotional,” Dr. Harrison-Ross said. “Once I knew I could trust Katie, things started to move forward, because any suggestion she would make, I knew she had thought about what was important to me.”

Most senior move managers in New York charge about $100 per hour, higher than the national average. In a 2014 survey conducted by the National Association of Senior Move Managers, 50 percent of the respondents said they charged between $41 and $60 per hour.

Ms. Hustead said she likes potential clients to get in touch with her about six weeks before a planned move date. She will then sort and inventory all the items in the client’s home and determine what should be donated to charity, given to a friend or relative, sold or trashed. To decide which furniture can be moved into a client’s new home, Ms. Hustead uses Mark On Call, an interior design app, on her iPad, to help clients visualize what furniture fits in what room.

“This is helpful because it shows the client that you can’t bring everything, because it simply won’t fit,” Ms. Hustead said.

She also takes dozens of photos of the insides of cabinets, closets and dressers, so if she is asked to unpack after the move, she can recreate the placement of things for her clients.

Move managers also have a long list of contacts for specific tasks, Ms. Buysse said. For example, a good move manager will know not to call a top-tier auctioneer for something worth a few thousand dollars, and know which estate liquidators or junk haulers work well with seniors.

Move managers can also step in when adult children don’t live near their parents or don’t have time to help sort through belongings. Judith Kahn, who owns Judith Moves You, a Manhattan company that specializes in senior moves, said most seniors can handle an organizational task for only about three hours a day, which can frustrate adult children who have flown in for the weekend and want to get things done quickly.

“Kids often have a different idea of how their parents should move, so it’s better if a move manager can be that understanding, neutral person,” Ms. Kahn said.

Items with monetary value are either handed over to auction houses, which take a commission after the items are sold, or to estate liquidators and dealers, who give the seller money upfront.

Documents that can authenticate artwork are key, said Robert Berman, an owner of Capo Auction in Long Island City, Queens, who visited Dr. Harrison-Ross at home one afternoon. After looking at her furniture and artwork, which included paintings by Herbert Gentry, an African-American expressionist painter, Mr. Berman took the Whitney baby grand piano, which had been given to her by her parents. She kept the paintings.

“This is a nice size, perfect for a Manhattan apartment,” Mr. Berman said of the piano. He estimated it could fetch between $800 and $1,200, from which he would receive a 23 percent commission.

Midcentury modern furniture is perhaps most coveted by dealers, while most ornate dining room sets — especially those that come with china cabinets, buffets and hutches — will not sell, according to Ms. Frankel. “It’s sad, because dining room sets were the biggest purchases people of this generation made, and it holds huge sentimental value,” she said. “But even their kids don’t want it.”

A member of the staff of Judith Moves You organizes the bookshelves in the bedroom of the client’s new apartment.

She often shows her clients how low similar furniture has been priced on internet commerce sites and how long it takes to sell such items, which quells most ambitions to seek top dollar.

Instead, she tells clients that the most likely scenario is that “someone will buy it from a dealer or a thrift store and it will have a new life,” Ms. Frankel said.

That said, people hire move managers not just for their organizational skills but for their discerning eye. Ms. Frankel once came across an Arabic manuscript in a pile of books; her client had no idea where it had come from. Ms. Frankel had a hunch it was a rare find and she was right; the book was a late-17th-century Ottoman Quran and sold, she said, through Sotheby’s London in 2014 for about $50,000.

Move managers can be found online. Many are referred by real estate agents, estate lawyers, geriatric care managers and staff at senior living facilities.

Not surprisingly, specialists in senior moves say their business is growing. According to the New York City Department for the Aging, about 1 million individuals in the five boroughs were 65 years and older in 2010. By 2030, the number is expected to grow to about 1.35 million. The Department of City Planning estimates there will be a total of 8.8 million New Yorkers by 2030, up by about 7 percent from the estimated 8.2 million figure for 2010.

Some people hire move managers to help make it easier to stay in their apartments.

When Donald Pandina, 80, and Sal Cigna, 78, a married couple who have lived in a Brooklyn Heights co-op since 1978, called in the cavalry, they had accumulated so much they were using one of their bedrooms “as a garage,” Mr. Pandina said.

“There are things in there that we thought would be great to use in our vacation home, which we never purchased,” he said.

Mr. Cigna said their spacious apartment seemed more and more crowded. A referral from a friend led to Mr. Weston of Paper Moon, who helped them cull their belongings. “By doing all of this now, I think we’ll be able to make quick decisions if and when we decide to move,” Mr. Pandina said.

Many, however, don’t call move managers until the situation is dire. Fran O’Brien, 52, found herself in such a jam when her mother’s health rapidly deteriorated. By early this year, it was clear that her mother, Astrid O’Brien, needed round-the-clock care, and her parents would have to leave their home of 54 years in Riverdale, the Bronx.

“It is truly a frightful prospect to suddenly have to determine what you want to keep,” said Robert O’Brien, Fran O’Brien’s father. “I became anxious because I knew I couldn’t do this alone.”

In early March, Astrid O’Brien moved into an assisted living facility in Paramus, N.J., and Ms. Kahn of Judith Moves You was hired to sort through the couple’s things. The O’Briens, both philosophy professors at Fordham College at Lincoln Center for more than 50 years, had over a thousand books, mostly on philosophy, Ms. Kahn said.

Ms. Kahn and Mr. O’Brien, 85, pared down the collection to about 300 books. Mr. O’Brien said he couldn’t believe how quickly Ms. Kahn worked. In a few weeks she managed to get him moved in with his wife, who died four days later at age 82.

“Judith’s expertise and know-how was simply priceless,” he said.

For Fran O’Brien, hiring a move manager afforded her precious extra time.

“I didn’t want to spend the little time I had left with my mom packing boxes in the Bronx,” Ms. O’Brien said. “It was such a relief when I found Judith.”

Organizing with your Eyes – Organizing Strategies


Organizing with your Eyes – Organizing Strategies

Professional organizers and coaches with training in processing modalities understand that the degree of strength and the degree of sensitivity can be used to help a client get organized and stay organized.

If you are visually sensitive then lots of colour might be irritating while one or minimal colour might be soothing.  Try these strategies:

  • Use storage containers that are all one colour, size or shape if they will be used in one place.  Even just one colour will make a difference.
  • Use containers of similar, complementary or minimal colour to contain items that might otherwise look messy or haphazard.
  • Place things in an orderly fashion by size, shape or colour to minimize visual stimulation.

If you are visually strong you remember items by sight.  You can easily identify the visual difference in items.  Try these organizing techniques to take advantage of this strength:

  • use clear containers to help identify their contents
  • label storage containers to identify their contents
  • use colour on file labels or the files themselves to distinguish between different groups of subjects.  For example, client files might be green while marketing files might be red.
  • use visual cues such as symbols, single words or a sketch to remind yourself to do a particular task.

Use your natural and existing strengths to help you get organized.  Organizing with your eyes is just one way.  Let’s explore others …




#getorganized #organizedlilfe #anorganizedlife #habit #routine #stayorganized #organizedspaces #beautifullyorganized #stayingorganized #organizesimply #iloveorganizing #loveorganizing #simplyorganized #organizedcloset #closet #beautifulcloset #beautifullyorganizedcloset #organizedclothes #organizedclothing #professionalorganizer #professionalorganizing #personalorganizer #organizemyday #howtoorganizemyday #organizemydayforproductity #productivity #organizedday #organizedhome #personalorganizing #personalorganizer

#icanfindit #notamess

An Organized Life / Giving Back

Create balance between beach days and giving back to your community with a volunteer project or shot term mission.
An Organized Life uses August as our animal shelter collection month- blankets, dog toys, dog beds, cat beds, kitty toys, food, leashes, harness – anything our shelters can acquire for the busy fall and cold winter months is a gift.  Help An Organized Life donate to a local shelter – or pick your own way to give back.


United States Mission Trips: under $500: 2016: Individuals: Service Projects & Helps: August – Browse by Organization

#getorganized #organizedlilfe #anorganizedlife #habit #routine #stayorganized #organizedspaces #beautifullyorganized #stayingorganized #organizesimply #iloveorganizing #loveorganizing #simplyorganized #organizedcloset #closet #beautifulcloset #beautifullyorganizedcloset #organizedclothes #organizedclothing #professionalorganizer #professionalorganizing #personalorganizer #organizemyday #howtoorganizemyday #organizemydayforproductity #productivity #organizedday #organizedhome #personalorganizing #personalorganizer

#icanfindit #notamess

#getorganized #organizedlilfe #anorganizedlife #habit #routine #stayorganized

#organizedspaces #beautifullyorganized #stayingorganized

#organizesimply #iloveorganizing #loveorganizing #simplyorganized

#organizedcloset #closet #beautifulcloset #beautifullyorganizedcloset #organizedclothes #organizedclothing

#professionalorganizer #professionalorganizing #personalorganizer

%d bloggers like this: