Thursday, December 27, 2018

Categorizing Thoughts through Writing

When organizing physical spaces, we focus on categorizing like-items to simplify our lives and make things cleaner, easier to find, and more efficient.  There needs to be a sense of purpose to each space and a clear understanding of what the goal is, which reduces stress and saves time.  Similarly, categorizing thoughts is critical in organizing one’s brain and can have similar benefits as physical organization.

Just like a room can be cluttered, we often find ourselves with cluttered minds.  There are so many duties and obligations to keep track of, but there are also thoughts that are less-task oriented that tend to stick with us, thoughts and feelings that don’t show up on a to-do list or a calendar.  Maybe you have thoughts about your day or feelings about an event or a person that you need to get off your mind.  Something might be bothering your or worrying you, keeping you up at night or distracting you from the task at hand.  The best way to clear head space, to organize your thoughts and free yourself to focus on other aspects of your life, is to write or journal.

There are several benefits to keeping a journal or expressing oneself in other forms of writing.  For starters, writing can be a reflective process that allows you to look back and discover what is going on in your life.  It may help you determine what is truly important to you and help you make sense of your life by allowing you to read your thoughts and feelings and reflect on them.  Or, more simply, writing can give you a new, perhaps more objective, perspective on the world around you.  Emotionally, writing can serve as a tool to internalize events and allow one to come to peace with what has happened to them, positive or negative.  Practically, writing memories can be useful for recalling events and sharing stories with people for years to come and creates room in your mind to take in new information and let go of some of the old, knowing that it is available somewhere for you to come back to if you want it.  Whatever you are writing, the power of putting pen to paper or keyboard to document cannot be underestimated as it has the unique ability of clearing your mind.

Often, people wonder what they should write about.  Well, a great way to get the mental categorization and organization flowing is to start with the physical world.  Something about doing more menial tasks, such as organizing your clothing or cleaning out your garage, can free your mind to wander.  This will often bring different worries, fears, hopes, dreams, and other thoughts to the forefront of you mind, giving you the opportunity to contemplate and maybe write those thoughts down later to address them, confront them, or put them to rest.  Working to organize the physical and mental space in your life can help you to achieve calm and peace while making you happier and more efficient.  Give it a try today, even if you start small, and see the benefits that categorizing your thoughts, in addition to you items, can have on your life.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Processes and People

               Many organizations are successful due to their people, particularly the most specialized and experienced employees or volunteers.  However, there are times when vacations or turnover leave organizations without the knowledge to operate effectively on a day-to-day basis.  Without established processes and procedures for replacements to follow, there is room for confusion and errors that cost time and money.  The key to avoiding the disruption of workflow is to make roles and processes work independently of the personnel as best as possible.
               A great example of the power of processes is what happened this year at Organiz-ER.  When the accountant took an unexpected absence this past year, I was able to step in and carry out some of those duties because of the processes and procedures in place.  Detailed instructions in a procedure manual, in addition to printed instructions in corresponding folders, made it relatively easy for me, and probably anyone familiar with the business, to carry out the basic accounting functions for several weeks.  One tool that made it easy to follow was numbered folders.  Many tasks are complicated and require several steps but numbering the steps in separate folders and leaving detailed instructions on how to perform each step makes even some of the most complicated and foreign tasks manageable to an inexperienced person.
               While there is an initial investment to create policies and procedures, they only need to be written once and revised as needed to be effective in keeping things running smoothly.  It’s an investment that could pay for itself with once absence as processes have the potential to save a replacement worker from spending hours trying to figure out how to perform tasks correctly.  Plus, just one mistake could negatively impact an organization and procedures significantly reduce the chances of error.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Friday, November 2, 2018

Emergency Preparedness

               The recent events of the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions serve as a reminder about how important it is to be prepared for any emergency.  One of our employees happened to be in Andover, Massachusetts the night of the explosions and was stuck in traffic for hours, but he was prepared and had supplies in his car that made the wait manageable.  Whether in your car or in your home, you should be prepared for emergency situations by keeping some basic supplies accessible.

               Due to the chance of car problems or inclement weather, it is a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.  Some items to keep in a kit in your car include:
  • Water – an extra bottle or two ensure that you won’t become dehydrated for the duration of an emergency
  • Food – granola bars or other snacks stave off hunger and can help you survive in a survival situation until help arrives
  • Emergency blankets – offer warmth in cold conditions, especially in the winter, if you have to stay in or near your car for an extended period
  • First aid kit – gives you the ability to tend to minor wounds
  • Battery pack – allows you to recharge your phone to be able to contact people
  • Flashlight – provides light to see or signal during the night or in dark places with headlamps offering hands-free light
  • Whistle – to signal for help
  • Multi-tool – you never know when you could use a knife, screwdriver, or other tool
  • Maps – updated maps of the local area can help you navigate when GPS is unavailable
  • Cash – just in case you need to buy something when cards are unavailable
  • Extra clothes – especially socks, jackets, hats, and gloves for cold and wet conditions
  • Hand sanitizer – allows you to disinfect your hands when running water is unavailable

For homes, emergency kits should be more robust.  You want to have supplies for you and your family that will last for several days in case of power outages or other emergencies.  Your home kit should include:

  • Water – about a gallon per person per day with enough to last several days
  • Food – a supply of canned and other non-perishable food to last several days, including baby formula and pet food if needed
  • A can opener!
  • Mess kits – plates, cups, and utensils for eating, disposable or reusable
  • Prescription medications for several days
  • Multi-tool
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Duct tape – good for fixing anything!
  • Battery packs
  • Sleeping bags – provide warmth and ability to bring anywhere for sleeping
  • Matches – allow you to start your own fires for warmth and light
  • Books and games – gives something to keep people, especially children, busy in extended emergency situations
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Extra clothes

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Why Organization Isn’t (Always) Pretty

       Contrary to popular belief, organizing is not always about looks.  Yes, a byproduct of the organization process is the beautification of spaces, but the primary goal of organizing is to make spaces more functional for people.  Having a good-looking place will not necessarily make your life easier or less frustrating, but having a functional place will.  If the kitchen looks pretty, but you can’t find a knife, what good is the space to you?  While making spaces prettier is always a nice benefit of organization and a desire of an organizer, the main focus will always be on customizing spaces so that the users can be more productive and efficient as clutter is minimized and controlled.  After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What’s important isn’t making a space appealing to the eyes of others, but to oneself.

       In fact, some people are able to operate in seemingly disorganized environments very efficiently.  Organizing is the process of making things easier to find and keep track of, not necessarily making everything picture-perfect.  Often, those seeking organization help are those who are not able to operate in messy or cluttered conditions because they become overwhelmed at the sight or the thought of their surroundings.  While this is certainly understandable, such conditions do not cause everyone to be disorganized or inefficient.  Just like people, spaces are unique and the job of an organizer is to make sure that spaces work for people instead of people working for spaces.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Thursday, July 5, 2018

How and Why to Set Up Effective Business Processes

The key to any well-run business is effective processes. Processes are the root of everyday work and determine the effectiveness of a business.  Good processes benefit an organization and allow it to operate smoothly while poor processes can hinder productivity. There are a multitude of ways to go about creating processes, some more effective than others. However, the three most important parts of any business, the ones in need of adequate processes, are administration, marketing, and accounting (or bookkeeping).

Administration ensures the day-to-day work is taken care of so that the business continues to operate.  The purpose of marketing is to get the word out about the business in a meaningful and creative way that drives sales. Accounting processes keeps track of all the numbers and finances with the goal of achieving growth and profitability. Each of these areas must work together for a business to prosper and stay organized. The organization of all the steps to each process into specific folders is the key to remembering to complete each step correctly. The general folders used by Organiz-ER, LLC are listed below, but can be changed around as needed for use in other businesses.

Administration Folders:
1. Process Client Notes
2. Update ACT/Home Advisor
3. Scanning
4. Shredding
5. Photocopying
6. General Administration

Marketing Folders:
1. Update Website
2. General Marketing

Accounting Folders:
1. Prepare Deposits
2. Create Invoices
3. Enter Deposits
4. Credit Card Data Entry
5. Process Expense Reports
6. Write Checks
7. Enter Payments
8. Journal Entry
9. Reconciliations
10. General Accounting

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Friday, June 15, 2018

Reclaiming Your Garage for Your Car

       The garage can be a versatile space, but it’s primary purpose is really to house a car. While it is tempting to use the garage as storage by filling it up with boxes and tools, storing a vehicle in a garage is always worth it.  Garages protect your cars from the elements and theft, but they also provide for easier transportation and keep vehicles at a more comfortable temperature.  Yes, there might be a lot of junk and miscellaneous items in the way but imagine being able to pull your vehicle into the garage again!  Many people keep items in the garage and use it as an all-purpose storage area but cleaning it out can help you get rid of unnecessary items while giving your vehicle the space it needs!

       Before beginning a garage clean out, make sure you know what it is you are trying to accomplish.  Envision the clear space to park the car or store lawn equipment.  Whatever your intentions are for the space, make it concrete in your mind so that you are driven to fulfill your goal. Once you know what you want to do, prepare with the right tools.  Put on some work clothes, grab working gloves, and get ready to move and go through all the things you might have been storing in the garage over the years. The key to success is separating the items into specific piles based on what you want to do with them. Trash, recycle, keep, and store are the largest categories, but you can also make up your own based on the things you have. In a garage, you might have categories such as tools, sports equipment, and lawn care items.  Making these categories and deciding where things go, and if you still need them, is critical.  The biggest barrier to cleaning up a space is making those decisions. We often see potential value in items that we may not ever use and decided to keep them, taking up space and occupying our minds.  A good rule to guide you is to get rid of anything that you haven’t thought about in the past 6 months as well as anything that you won’t think about in the next 6 months after remembering you have it.   If you must ponder whether you need or want an item, set it aside and come back to it later. Ideally, this process will help you have “getting rid of piles” that are larger than your “keep” piles!

       When you’ve finally cleared out the space, make sure to do any needed cleaning and maintenance work.  Take the opportunity to sweep the garage, vacuum, or wash the floor.  This way, even if the garage turns back into a storage area, it will be clean and keep any items from getting dirty.  Then, once the garage is clean and able to be used once more, don’t simply store items randomly around your car. Instead, place items into specific areas that they fit well into where you can find them easily. Motor oil should go near car wash soap, which should be separated from grass seed, for example.  Labelling each of the boxes or containers so you know exactly what’s inside them makes for quick item retrievals and maintains organization.  Similarly, outlining tools on the wall for work benches with tape or marker can be useful in keeping things organized and identifying what is out of place.

       When you’re finally done cleaning, make sure you periodically sweep the area to look for anything out of place and avoid haphazardly putting items in the garage.  Every once in a while, you want to go around the area and clean up and cobwebs or dead insects to keep your items in your newly organized garage clean!  Continuing to keep up with cleaning and reevaluating items you haven’t used in a long time will help you to keep your garage clean and your car in its proper place!

Written by Joe Dumais.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Friday, June 1, 2018

How do you spend your 5pm to 9am time?

How do you spend your 5 to 9 time?

It is a known fact that most people in the workforce are at their jobs from the hours of nine o’clock in the morning to five o’clock at night, Monday through Friday. This is commonly referred to as the 9-5 shift, the standard for many businesses. After this long day at work, many workers feel too tired to do anything but relax and seek entertainment.  The thought of doing more work in a day, like housework, is unbearable.

Many people have family members, children, pets, and general household needs to attend to when they arrive home from work. Various chores needing attention may include cooking dinner, doing the dishes, laundry, and preparing for the next day. The idea of squeezing in a little bit of relaxing, while still achieving that highly sought-after full eight hours of sleep, is farfetched on most weekdays.  Meanwhile, the morning requires the completion of chores such as getting the rest of the house up, making and eating breakfast, preparing lunch, and commuting to work.

Some may think that they cannot possibly bring organization into their daily routines to organize their homes and live, yet daily routines before and after work are the perfect times to regiment. Following a consistent schedule of what to do before and after work will keep your home and life uncluttered and allow your day to run smoothly. Doing the same chores everyday may sound like quite a daunting task, but routine is the root of organization. Simply finding 10 to 20 minutes a day to straighten up the house or sitting down to reorganize your thoughts and actions can immensely aid in organization.

So now I pose a question to the workforce: are you using your 5-9 time wisely?

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Friday, May 25, 2018

How to Tackle an Attic Clean Out

       As a child, it seems like the scariest of places. And yet, even as adults, there is a taboo surrounding the attic, especially when it comes to cleaning it out. Sure, there might be a lot of cobwebs and embarrassing high school memorabilia, but imagine having a whole new space for storage or a nice hideaway to read a book. The attic has so much potential!  It can provide a new place to neatly and cleanly pack away organized items or give the house an extra place to enjoy.  Even if the progress is slow, cleaning out the attic is a good way to organize and improve your house.

       When first starting to clean your attic, envision the result of how the space will look as clearly as possible so you will feel motivated to get the job done. Next, get on your work clothes, grab your gloves, and get ready to haul junk. The key to a speedy cleanup is separating the items into specific piles based on what you want to do with them. Trash, recycle, keep, and store are the largest categories, but you can also make up your own based on the things you have. The decisions of where everything should go is the biggest barrier. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t thought about it in 6 months, nor will you think about for the next 6 months after being reintroduced to it, it’s not worth your time and space. If you have to lull over the artifact for too long, then put it aside and think about it later. Hopefully, your “getting rid of piles” are larger than your “keep” piles!

       After you’ve finally cleared out the space, make sure to do any needed touching up or repairs to the walls and floorboards.  This way, even if the attic turns back into a small storage area, it won’t be the reason for a water leakage two months later. Then, once the room is clean and able to be used once more, don’t just toss things back in randomly. Instead, segregate certain items into specific zones.. For example, Christmas decorations should go near Thanksgiving decorations and not be mixed with summer clothes. Labeling each of the boxes or containers so you know exactly what is inside them makes for quick item retrievals and maintains organization.

       Once you’re finally done, make sure you go up there every once in a while to catch those spiders from creating cobwebs in your newly cleaned and organized attic or enjoy the space as much as possible so that it doesn’t turn back into a storage area again.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Friday, May 18, 2018

Thoughts about Doing Tasks

Thoughts about DOING

The other day, I spent all day doing as much on my task list as possible.  Why? Because I know that for the next two weeks I will be very busy. As I was working on my own stuff, I made some realizations.

1. Sometimes we just plain have too much to do! Because of the complexity of our lives, we have many tasks. We must start asking ourselves questions. Should I spend time filling out my daughter’s renewal for Girl Scouts even though the troop is not very active? Should I volunteer at the library book sales or spend my time reading the books I own?  Our complex lives require us to make choices and we must realize that we can’t possibly do everything we would like to.

2. Certain times are more productive for us than other times. My job as an organizer is to help people be more productive in those times when they have energy and motivation.  We all have to capitalize on those times when we can get more work or tasks accomplished because we have the energy or are in the mood to do it.

3. Task lists are important. When you use them, you don’t have to think about what you have to do until you have time to do it.  Task lists ensures that tasks are not forgotten and everything is completed.

4. It is important to take time each day to do tasks. Some of my clients, as I am sure many people do, keep adding to their list, but never complete any tasks.  The whole point of a task list is to see what has to be done and to do it when you can before it is too late.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Seven Steps to Lighten Your Load

Seven Steps to Lighten Your Load

  1. Do a macro sort in which you separate something into broad categories (Zones) 
  2. Take inventory of what you have 
  3. Evaluate what you need. When considering whether to keep and item, determine if it falls into one of the categories below
    1. item is used regularly 
    2. the amount of space it takes up is proportional to its value 
    3. the item has sentimental value 
    4. item is needed for a current or upcoming project 
    5. set rules 
  4. Purge what you do not need: junk/trash, recycle, sell/ consignment/ thrift/ charity 
  5. Create a home or zone to hold what you are keeping 
  6. Rearrange and organize what you are keeping 
  7. Put items away in the space created. 
For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Saturday, April 7, 2018

An Organizer of Technology

I attended a workshop called “Generations in the Workplace” which focused on ways to retain people based on the company’s needs and skill/technological-requirements/diversities/talents. The premise was that different generations, such as Baby Boomers vs. Generation X, have different skills and we as employers must communicate with and reward them with things that are specific to their needs. This hypothesis is nothing new to many of us.  However, the content delivered by the speaker gave me new insights into the methods or techniques I use when helping people use technology to stay organized.

            The speaker pointed out that younger generation has grown up with technology as part of their lives. In this age of information technology it is hard to function without the use of a computer. For instance, people no longer need a map, they use on line map to find direction; to find a phone number - just “Google it”; and to learn the definition of a word just type it into Wikpedia.
It dawned on me that the clients who are weaker in electronic document management were the older clients who did not grow up with computers.

I also realized that different generations communicate differently as well. The younger generations would rather e-mail or text while the older generation prefers verbal conversation.
We need to manage our clients with the approach that that is the most effective or applicable. That may mean, sending an e-mail when we would prefer picking up the phone.

         We also need to be cognizant of the technological ability of our clients. We cannot teach someone the latest trick when they have not yet grasped finding basic menu shortcuts.

      We are only successful with our task as organizers when we recognize and utilize the strengths and weaknesses of the support employees of our clients as well as the level of technology equipment they possess.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Information Organizing

People have been struggling with organizing information for the entire length of the 19 hundreds. 
With the Advent of computers it is just compounded the issue. People are overloaded with information. It's either in paper or Media or games and the list goes on and on.
The way to help process the information in your brain which is most important is to stop listening to 
Media. Music. Stop reading books. Magazines. 
In other words Shield yourself from the information that is in this world
I am ignoring the influences of music books and as much media as I can. So I am not bogged down with too much information and I have the mental capacity to think of things and process information
People want a guru. They want somebody to follow. 
We'll stop listening to all those other people and listen to yourself
Are you not strong enough for that. Are you not strong enough for that. 
Well the only way you can gain the strength is to put away all the books from the other people. 
Turn off the TV. Turn off the radio. And sit and listen to your own thoughts
Also by eliminating other sources of information a person can be more creative. 
Create your own music. Write your own books. Film your own movies. Draw. Paint. Do artwork

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Resisting the Urge to Fill Spaces

Resist the Urge to Fill Spaces After they are Cleared 

When I work with hoarding clients it is not uncommon for me to clear off a space such as the kitchen table only to come back in a week to a cluttered table. I can see the pattern. If I clear off another space, it will get cluttered very soon after I leave. This is the resistance to change.

I think a good technique would be to clear the same spot every time I am there, until eventually it stays clean.

One time when I was getting a massage, one side would become loose and stress free but it was as if it was all migrating to the other side. As the massage therapist continued to work both sides gently I realized that I must not yet have been ready to let go. Same as organizing clients.

As I clear my calendar, I find myself still having the urge to “do” things. Clean the bathroom counter. Make banana bread. Then soup. Then clean out the garage. Then organize papers. Need to keep busy because someone may judge me and say I am un productive.

This is the same for people who have issues with food. They feel a little discomfort, indigestion or gas for example. Instead of riding it out they add food to the stomach to try and ease the discomfort. To get over it you have to work though the pain.

My hip is a good example. One Saturday, my left hip which has been the source of much pain for many years started hurting so much I needed to take pain reliever. I iced it, took Epsom salt bath and went to massage during the following week. A week and a half later, I realized that when rotating the hip/leg socket there was no longer a click or block in the joint. Sill pain but freedom of movement. The pain is the body’s way of helping me let go of the tension and learn to walk, sit, be with a new set of rules.

We have to recognize all of the avenues of opening so we can be receptive and ready for the next challenges and opportunities that are presented to us.

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit


Monday, January 1, 2018

Yearly Rituals

Yearly Rituals
Staying organized every month of the year sounds like a crazy conundrum- but it’s easier than it sounds. Focusing on doing just one thing every month can help to keep all your belongings manageable. If you don’t focus on just on thing or don’t do anything at all, you will get to a point where everything is overwhelming and you become suffocated by all your stuff. Don’t let this happen to you! Follow the list below of things to do each month and you’ll be organized in no time!
ü  Purge holiday decorations
o   Now that the previous year is over, clear out all holiday things to start your year off fresh
ü  Bring in and push out other holiday paraphernalia
o   Switching out holiday things can also keep you on track, especially since you don’t want to celebrate Christmas in July
ü  Shred mania
o   Focus on paperwork this month and especially getting rid of paperwork you no longer need
ü  Get a jump on tax return
o   While on your paperwork whirl, start on your taxes to get ahead and organized when the time comes to crunch
ü Spring cleaning
o   Now that warmer weather is about, open up the windows and get the Lysol out for a big dose of spring cleaning
ü Clean house party
o   In celebration of your spring accomplishments, throw a party, highlighting your newly fresh home that might even make your friends motivated to clean their own homes.
ü  Tackle storage areas
o   Too much stuff you just can live without? Consider putting it in a storage area in order to still own it but it be out of your daily routine
ü  Prepare for the great outdoors
o   Start to get summer things ready since its right around the corner. Make sure to stock up on sunscreen, flip flops, and sunglasses for the busy summer ahead.
ü  Plan summer vacation
o   Don’t just be a bum all summer! Plan to do things while you have the time to do them, so that come fall, you’ll have great memories.
ü  Organize kid’s summer activities
o   Alongside your own schedule make sure you schedule some things for the kids, so that they have memorable summer as well.
ü  Purge kid’s space before summer vacation
o   Summer can also be the perfect time to purge and clean out all the things that have piled up in the kids room over the school year. Consider donating toys or other things to charity.
ü  Yard sale
o   Mom and Dad probably have some things they can get rid of too. Include the whole family in the yard sale, to get the most stuff out as possible
ü  Prepare for back to school
o   Those five words all kids and parents hate, but they aren’t as bad as they seem. Having a jump start to the school year can help students be ahead and organized for the rest of the year while also keeping the home life neat as well.
ü  Make season switch
o   Sunbathing season is over, so make time to prepare for cool winds ahead. Making an actual switch in season can help to keep all belongings in the right spots so that come December, you don’t still have bathing suits lounging about.
ü  Garage clean-up
o   As your last hurrah to warm weather, open up the garage and finally clean it out. When the snow starts coming, you’ll be happy you can park your car in the garage for once.
ü  Holiday and gift lists
o   Always feel rushed in the holiday season? Start planning ahead so that Christmas time jitters don’t happen. It also leaves time for certain gifts to get ordered and arrive on time.
ü  Relax and enjoy
o   You’ve accomplished so much in the past year! Rejoice and keep your clean streak going into the next year
ü  Commit to New Year’s resolution
o   Make sure to take a couple minutes before the ball drop to make a new and improved resolution list. With a newly cleaned house, things you have had to put off can happen!

For more information, or to get help with your organization needs, visit