Top 3 Tips for an Organized Car

,Top 3 Tips for an Organized CarLet’s Get Organized, Car!

Welcome spring with an organized car.  With an organized car, you will be ready, to hit the road this summer!  The warmer weather and clear roads make many of us start to think about smartening up that car.  if you live in Canada, like I do, you’ve just taken off the snow tires, had the car serviced for breaks, oil and whatever else is on its schedule.  Now a car wash is on the agenda for a warm sunny weekend in April.

Once that beauty is clean and purring, what about keeping it clean and organized?  Here are the top 3 tips for you to follow to keep that and smart looking and organized car.

1. Get rid of the Garbage!

To keep your 4 wheeled baby looking beautiful, managing the garbage is key.  Nothing says, “I’m not organized” like a car full of old fast food coffee cups, bagel wrappers and other debris.  Grab a garbage bag – check through the car and load up that bag. Most of the clutter in cars is associated with garbage that just didn’t make it to the bin.  Kids can help; give them their own garbage bag for their part of the car. Next time you fill up with gas, get them to toss it in the bin.

2. Contain the Car Accessories

Put a box in the back for wandering gear – this can be as fancy as a “car gear box” available at many retailers or as simple as a cardboard box. Toss all the bits and pieces that have to stay with the car in there – cables, hitches, wrenches (for the hitches), roof rack accessories and the like.  This will accomplish two things for you and your car.  First, the car will be clutter free.  Second, you will be able to find the accessories when you need them.  Nothing kills the joy of packing for a weekend fishing trip like searching high and low for the hitch ball.

3. Clear the Glove Box

 Our winters are cold.  There were a lot of trips for coffee and tea en route to ski weekends and ski races this winter.  Our glove box gets full of random napkins and occasionally, if i’m not watching carefully, ketchup sachets and straws. Those who know me know there will be no ketchup, or any other condiment, sachets in my car.  Take only what you need for those chips and, when you are done, throw them out!.  There are lots of napkins and straws that wander into the glove box.  Get rid of the old ones and put in some fresh new ones, along with a fresh package of hand wipes for when water isn’t available.   While you are at it, use the old napkins to wipe of the console and dash of dust and winter debris.

Now the next time you and the family want to hit the road, your shiny, organized car will be waiting in the driveway.

Time Tamer Tuesday – 5 Steps to Time Management at the Office

Time Management at the Office

Time Management, The Illusive Goal

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that time management was actually possible? Do you wish you could get more done at the office?

Unfortunately, despite all attempts otherwise, none of us can manage Time; that is the reality.  It continues to tick away – 24 hours in each day, 60 minutes in each hour and 60 seconds in each minute – each and every day of the year.  We can, however, manage ourselves.  We can manage ourselves to do more with the time we have available. Manage your behaviour around getting things done, and time will seem way more friendly – almost like you did manage it. Here are 5 steps to get help you out.

Step 1 – Commit to Behaviour Change as a Time Management Strategy

Start by committing to managing yourself in order to get time management under control.  Set the intention to become more productive with  your time.  With a commitment to your own behaviour change, time management becomes less illusive.  Make a pact with yourself to take responsibility for doing more in less time.  While time is not to blame for what you can’t get done, only  you have control over what you CAN get done.  So take back control.

This is the toughest step.  Get firmly planted in this direction, and the rest will seem much easier.

Step 2 – Identify Your Top Priorities and Tasks for each Day, Week, Month and Year

Time Management at the Office, Set Goals

You likely already have annual priorities identified as part of your annual planning, goals, performance objectives or other performance measurement or company planning strategy.  Are you an entrepreneur?   Have you got your business objectives lined up for the year/quarter/month/week?  Great.  Now turn them into goals for the month, week and day.  What do you need to get done by the end of the day, week, month, and then the quarter, to accomplish your annual goals?  The priority tasks for today will feed into your priority goals for this week.  The same is true for the month.  By the end of this week, are you a quarter of your way to your priorities for the month?  What has to be finished to get there?

Daily tasks are the key to keeping the productivity up.  Keep your daily priority tasks simple and short.  Now write them down.  Start with a verb to direct your action.  Rather than writing “Managers’ Report” write “Collect data, analyze and write Managers’ Report”.   Writing down goals helps set the intention and for many of us, helps lodge those goals into our brains to help keep us focused and pointing in the right direction.

Step 3 – Book Time in your Calendar to accomplish the Tasks

For time management book tasks into your calendar.

Each task takes a certain amount of time.  Estimate this to the best of your ability and book the time to accomplish the task into your calendar.

There’s a funny thing about tasks we want/need/should get done, especially some of the tougher ones.  If we don’t book time and protect that time, everything else, on everyone else’s priority list, has the opportunity to get

Step 4 – Commit to the Time Scheduled – and Let Everyone Know

Your time is committed; tell the people around you.   Close your door.  Ask not to be disturbed.  Put your phone on silent.  Turn off your email alerts. Turn off all your alerts except for any related to risk management that require you to drop everything and respond (are you on the Code Blue Team?).  This often takes some practice.  With time, however, people will come to understand that you commit to your time and expect them to respect that.  And they will love that you get stuff done.  Your boss knows that managing these boundaries helps you to get stuff done for her/him.  Reports are on time.  Your staff recognize that you get stuff done for them.  Schedules are on  time.  You approve vacation requests quickly.


Step 5 – Commit to Running Productive Meetings

You’ve got a meeting to run?  Set an Agenda.  Send it out ahead of time.  Be clear on what you are trying to accomplish.  Remember, other people struggle with time management as well.  When you are clear on the agenda, people you meet with are grateful.  Stick to it your agenda.  Finish the meeting just as soon as the agenda is accomplished.  While we are all interested in someone else’s successes, their celebrations and someone else’s venting their frustrations, if all that isn’t on your agenda, it will have to wait for some other time.  You run a focused and productive meeting.


With a commitment to managing yourself, identified priorities, time booked for your key tasks, protection of your time and productive meetings, time management at the office is no longer illusive.  At least it will feel like you managed time.

Letters to Clutter: Tell it how you Really Feel!

The Clutter LettersSend me your letters to clutter.  Does this sound like you?

You’re standing in front of your desk, staring at the stacks of paper, frustrated and overwhelmed.  “Why are you still here?  Why can’t you find a file to climb into and make yourself available when I need you?  Somewhere in there is the invoice I’m trying to get paid for – how will I ever get paid if I can’t even find the invoice?”

You open the closet door and glare at the contents.  “I hate you and I love you.  Ugh, how am I ever supposed to make this closet work when a bunch of you don’t fit, some of you I don’t even like and I don’t even know what’s at the back?!”

Your youngster is finally in bed and hopefully soon asleep.  You return to the family room and flop into the chair realizing you can’t even walk on the floor any longer because of the piles and piles of toys.  “Just put yourselves away, why don’t you! Can't you find a nice basket or box and do the Mary Poppins thing - jumping right into them? Click To Tweet  And while you are at it, sort yourselves out and take the toys that no one has played with for the past 6 months to the donation centre.  I’m going to bed.”

If you’ve ever talked to your clutter, or think you might like to say something to it, I’d like to hear from you.  Consider writing a letter or letters to clutter and tell it how you really feel.

Why Letters to Clutter?

You letter or letters to clutter will be considered for inclusion in a project being published later this year.  Your letter doesn’t need to be long, 200 – 400 words is perfect although longer or shorter is also welcome.  Start your letter off with “Dear ________ (item or items of clutter i.e. Paper, Baby Clothes, Garden Tools), What am I going to do with you?” and tell the clutter what you are really thinking.

Types of Clutter

Your clutter might include one of the following items or you might have your own version of clutter.:

  • Costume jewelry
  • Inherited jewelry
  • Inherited dishes, flatware, glass/crystal
  • Paper
  • Sports equipment
  • Particular sports equipment e.g. A bag of balls, an old croquet set, a bag of hockey equipment
  • Clothes that don’t fit
  • Clothes that aren’t liked
  • Clothes in general
  • Childhood books
  • Memorabilia
  • Photographs
  • Someone else’s items e.g. a spouse’s sports gear, clothes or other items
  • Tools
  • Leftover renovation material e.g. tiles, paint, fabric
  • Craft goods

How and Where to Send you Letters to Clutter

Identify yourself only by your initials and your town of residence.  Individuals will not be identified in their submissions and any particular identifying information will be removed.

Send letters to me, Carolyn Caldwell at

Looking forward to receiving your letter or letters to clutter and seeing what you have to say to those trinkets collecting dust on the shelf.

The Path to an Organized Garden Shed

Organized Garden Shed

Keep tools and supplies organized to make gardening fun and easy.

Spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and with it, the promise of brightly coloured flowers, overflowing planters and fragrant fruit trees.  If you have a piece of property, chances are you also have a garden of some size and complexity and likely a shed to house the tools.  So, along with turning the soil, top-soiling the grass and trimming the roses, why not set up for an organized garden shed as well?

No more fishing around for tools you thought you had, can’t remember if you lent out and need for trimming that Euonymus.  Here’s a step by step process to get you off on the right path.

Step 1 – Empty the Shed

Start by completely emptying the entire shed if feasible. Once it is empty, you will be able to start with a clean slate.  You will also be able to see what you have and inventory your tools and their condition.

Sweep out the cobwebs, mouse droppings and other debris.

Step 2 – Inventory and Assess Your Tools

Review all your tools, shovels, rakes and hoes. Are there any that are broken, rusted or beyond repair? Throw out the irreparable and fix what’s needed.  Are there any that are redundant, never used and could use a better home with someone else?  Keep only those tools that you know you will use.

Step 3 – Look for Creative Storage and Give Everything a Home

Think vertical and you will find lots more fresh storage space that you may not have realized existed. The rakes, hoes, shovels can be stored on hooks or nails on the walls. This will get them out of the way and make them readily available when you are ready to rake.  If you have the funds, many garden or home supply stores sell mountable devices specifically designed for hanging gardening tools such as rakes.  If you are looking to organize using limited or no funds, use straight nails for hanging rakes, hoes, shovels and almost everything in the shed.  Have some fun seeing how many tools you can actually hang for storage.

Hang one shopping bag on another hook or nail to hold your digging and planting tools and a separate one for your garden gloves. Cloth grocery bags, made from recycled plastic bags and readily available in stores, are a great storage tool. Label with a permanent marker or bright fabric paint.  An alternative to hanging gloves and hand tools is to repurpose a wooden wind rack as a tool rack.

Items that are used on a daily basis or frequently during the week can be stored near the door on easy hooks or readily accessible shelves.  Think secateurs for deadheading roses, trowel for pulling or upending weeds.  Keep your garden gloves on the same shelf or hook beside – your tools are easy to grab for a quick 10 minutes of deadheading flowers each day.

Step 4 – Hide the Seeds from Wannabe Snackers!

Rodents and small animals would be delighted if you would just leave all those seeds out where they can help themselves.  Let the squirrels find their own nuts and pack up the seeds to limit their scent and make it hard for animals to get access.  Seeds that are stored in a plaster or metal box will be out of temptation’s way if rodents are a regular visitor to your shed. This is especially true of grass seed.

Step 5 – Keep Solutions Legal and Out of Reach

Organized Garden Shed

Daily maintenance of the garden is easier if your tools are readily available.

Review your solution bottles and know your pesticide by-laws. Many, if not all, jurisdictions have outlawed the use of pesticides. Check with your municipality to see where you can take the pesticides for disposal. Then check out your local garden centre to find an environmentally friendly alternative.

Even environmentally friendly products must be kept out of reach of children.  Make sure your organized garden shed includes shelves high enough that curious children can’t get into solutions, anti-fungal products and plant food.  Garden shed shelves, like tool hanging devices, can be expensive and fancy or inexpensive and simple.  Most home supply stores carry industrial shelving of various sizes and strengths.  Make sure to check the weight capacity, usually listed on packaging by individual shelf.  If your shed is metal or plastic, you may be limited to commercial standalone shelves.  With a wood shed, simple shelves can be constructed between the joists.

Step 6 – Use your Organized Garden Shed

An organized garden shed is easy to use and supports your interests in the garden.  Try taking your shed for a test run.  Can you easily find the tools you need?  Can you just as easily put them away?  Arp – e your daily use tools where you can get at them?  Are the seeds safely sealed away from intruders?  Have you kept only what you use and what you need?

Last step – as always, enjoy the fruits of your labours and the bounty of your garden.

So Much Recycling!


Downsize and Recycle

“I didn’t know there was so much recycling!”

This is the exclamation of almost every client when we start to clear out the clutter.  When clients are downsizing, the pile of recycling and other cast off material gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

It is somewhat inevitable.  Living in one home for many years, sometimes decades, can lead to such a build up in clutter and unused belongings that we just basically forget about. We end up purging out a significant amount of material that can not be re-purposed, is not suitable for sale or donation and therefore ends up in either the garbage or recycling. When clearing out a space, even just to reorganize to make the space function better, clients are often surprised how much debris has collected over the years which ends up no more valuable than the garbage or recycling bin.

If you are looking at a downsizing project, I recommend that you start your project armed with information about how to get rid of what may end up being a very large pile of garbage or recycling. Some of the material can go to your regular garbage pick up or disposal although most jurisdictions now carry volume limits on the service. Check into your service provider, public or commercial to find a) volume limits b) size limits or c) alternate places where you can take the material yourself. Most of these places will have a tipping charge. In the jurisdiction where I live, this charge is $10 per 100 kg or part thereof.

If you know there is going to be huge amount of material to garbage you may want to look into a junk removal company such as 1-800-GOT JUNK. In addition, you will need to have a “staging” area where the goods heading to garbage can be put while you continue to clear out your space.  For recycling, check into the requirements to sort the recycling into different elements such as metal, paper and plastic.

Open Mail over the Recycling Box

If you want to avoid the accumulation, learn to process your paper with a paper recycling box nearby.  I encourage clients to literally open their mail over the recycling box or bag.  Of many, if not most letters, there is very little mail left over when the recycling has been taken out for example the envelop it came in and the inserts.  Discarding these items as soon as they enter the house, will help to keep the paper clutter to a minimum.  It also means less paper to house and manage.

“Even precious treasures left long enough, become garbage“.
One of my favourite client quotes.


Organize Taxes – Time Tamer Tuesday

organize taxes ahead of deadline

Three principles will help you organize taxes before the deadline.

It’s that time again.  Time to organize taxes. Yup.  Funny how it comes around every year at the same time.

And since it’s so predictable you’ve anticipated tax season and have everything ready.  Right?

Ok if you answered yes, feel free to leave now and come back next Tuesday or next blog post, whichever comes first.  For the rest of us, stick around and let’s see if we can help you with a couple of strategies to save some time, and maybe some money, on your income tax preparation.

Now, let me be clear – I am NOT an accountant.  I am not offering any advise that might actually impact or have bearing on your tax submission.  You will need someone with a CGA or CA after their name to help with that.  But, with a CPO after my name, I can say i know something about getting things ready to organize taxes each year.

Many of my clients need help with this task.  Some are running a small business and while creative, are not very organized.  But they are clever and have hired me as a professional organizer to help.  To organize taxes we use 3  simple principles.

File When it Arrives

organize taxes

Sort files both paper and electronic as they arrive to organize taxes ahead of the deadline.

As soon as those receipts and invoices show up, get them filed.  Leaving receipts and invoices lying around, whether paper or electronic, is asking for them to start wandering around.  And they do.  Ever noticed how those chiropractor receipts managed to wander from the bag your were carrying when you got your last adjustment to the stack of paper on the table?  The e-receipt from your last product purchase?  Might still be buried in your email. File it as soon as you see the email to help organize taxes ahead of tax season.

File by Expense Type

Simple right? For some people, yes.  They likely aren’t still reading.  For the rest of us, resisting the temptation to drop all files into one folder, paper or electronic, that says “Income Tax”, is a tough job.

You know what your expense categories are unless our are filing income tax for the first time, as a young new employee or new business owner, and therefore have to organize taxes for the first time.  By taking that one extra step to file the material according to the expense type, you will be saving yourself time and effort down the road.  Depending on the role your book keeper and/accountant plays for you, you could also be saving yourself some money.  Their time is precious and usually expensive.  Especially around tax time.

Match Paper and E-Files

organize taxes

Match up your paper files and electronic file categories to reduce the work for organizing taxes.

Although more and more paper files are becoming less and less of our lives and businesses, the reality is we are not yet free of the paper.  So, you are likely to still have some paper and some e-files for your accountant.  An accordion file works well for paper files.  Most office supply stores carry accordion files with anywhere from 6 to 26 (alphabetized) pockets.  Use the one that best matches the number of expense categories you use.  I keep my categories lean so I use the 13 pocket style.

On the electronic side, set up an Income Tax folder with subfolders of the same categories.  The result?  Your brain only has to remember one set of categories and you will get used to using the folders, paper and e-files, the same way.

Can you feel your brain relaxing yet?

We organize taxes every single year.  These three principles will help make it easier for you to be prepared.  And might save you some money in book keeping and accounting fees.  No more running around at the last minute looking for the telephone receipts.

Organize the Closet – Lighten the Load

Organize the Closet? I Can’t see the Closet

organize the closet

Try the Friends, Acquaintances, Strangers game to sort through clothes.

Recently a client and I stood in front of what was supposed to be a clothes closet in her bedroom.  The door was open and the closet was full.  She was desperate to have a beautifully set up, organized closet. But in fact, we couldn’t even see inside much less organize the closet or contents.

Some serious purging and sorting was needed.

Almost all of these strategies were used.  Each strategy has its own merit.  They each work differently for different people depending on the item in question.  What works for you?

Pull Everything Out

Start by getting everything out of the closet.  While this can be an almost overwhelming task, at least you will know what is in there.  Get the clothes, purses, shoes, scarves and anything else out of hiding.

Use the Friends, Acquaintances, Strangers Game

Getting through the sorting of a full closet enroute to an organized closet can be daunting task.  Using the friends, acquaintances, strangers game can help.

Friends are the people you would have for supper.  In other words the clothes that you love, look good in, feel good in and wear often – or would wear often if you could get at them with an organized closet!

Acquaintances are the people you might chat with but aren’t very close to.  Which are the items that you thought you might like but ultimately never warmed up to?  Can they move on to a life outside of your front door? Off to donation?

Strangers are the people you just don’t know.  Or maybe the ones you knew but don’t hang out with anymore.  These are clothes that don’t fit or have gone out of style. You don’t care for them, don’t wear them.  Send them away.

Re – Consider the Gifts

We all have items in our closets that were gifts.  They were loved, liked or found amusing by someone that gave them to you.  But maybe not quite your taste.  Since they were a gift, they are yours to do as you please, right?  Consider, your mother likely didn’t expect you to keep that sweater for 4o years.  If you don’t wear it, love it, cherish it – send it off to someone who will.

Photograph the Cherished

Organize the closet

Which of your shoes are friends, acquaintances or strangers?

And then there are the items we love and don’t use; beloved items that just don’t measure up to today’s – or your – style. Take a photo. That way you have the memory without having the item take up space in your closet.

Organize the Closet

With a lighter load, its easier to hang up, fold up and generally sort everything back into the closet.  Try going through the sorting process again as items go back into the closet.  Sometimes a second round of sorting will lighten the load that much more.

Now stand back and survey the closet.  When you open the doors you ought to be greeted with friends waiting to be taken out and worn.  Items that you love, that make you feel good and that look great on you.

Time Tamer Tuesday – The Organized Workout

Plan for an organized workout

We can’t manage time, but we can plan to get important things done.

An Organized Workout takes Planning

Headed for a workout in the morning?  Are you organized to workout? Whether you hit the gym, pound the pavement, or take you bike for a spin, using organization to help you get there will increase the chances of fitness happening.

Let’s face it, on a chilly March morning, it’s sometimes hard to haul out of bed and find the motivation to hit the gym right?

Since I’m not a trainer, I’ll leave the organization of the crunches and sprints to the folks with the six-pack abs and unfailing motivation techniques.  Here are some organization strategies to help you get out to that workout.

Plan Your Workout – and a Backup Plan for Weather

Whether its a run, swim, spin or walk, decide the night before. Add a backup plan for weather in case you wake up to pouring rain.  With both a plan and backup in place, there is no second guessing first thing in the morning before you’ve had chance for coffee.

Lay Out Your Gear

Lay out your gear the night before – all of it including clothes, socks, shoes, gloves, keys, phone, headphones, shower gear, work clothes and anything else you need to take.  Pack your gym bag.  Get the shoes from where you left them after your run.  Grab the travel kit with the shampoo and add to the gym bag.  When you wake up, you’ll be on autopilot until the endorphins kick in.

Set up the Playlist

I walk for fitness and like many people I have my special playlist.  In fact I have several.  So I know what it’s like to head out on your walk or run, or arrive at the gym, and realize the playlist isn’t there.  Remember how your phone memory was full, so you took it off to save room for those videos you wanted to take?  Nothing ruins a workout more than a lousy playlist or no playlist at all.  Load it up before hand and that workout will be music in your ears.  Pack the headphones.

Schedule your Workout

A dream is a wish without a schedule.  To give your fitness goals some real intention and keep that organized workout, schedule the workout into your calendar.  Morning, noon, evening, night?  That’s up to you and your schedule.  It’s much more likely to happen if you have protected the time by loading it into your calendar.

Set the Alarm

Your organized workout won’t happen if you never make it out of bed…until 30 minutes before blastoff to work time. Avoid missing your morning workout time by setting that alarm.  While you’re at it, why not use a favourite tune on your phone so you wake up to something that makes you feel good even before the endorphins get pumped up.

It’s not always easy to keep our intentions to get active and get fit.  Being organized can help.  An organized workout will set you on the path to achieving your fitness goals.

See you on the treadmill.

Minutes to Plan – Time Tamer Tuesday

plan time to get important things done

We can’t manage time, but we can plan to get important things done.

You are busy.  Learning how to better manage time is high on your To Do list.  You just never seem to get there.

Time Can’t be Managed

The reality is you can’t manage time.  It ticks away at the same pace whether you are prepared for that meeting, unprepared for that exam or running early or late to your client’s home.  Time moves at the same pace.

Plan Time

Being even just slightly more prepared for the day will help you achieve more focus and purpose.  And with that, you can accomplish much more.

15 Minutes to Plan

At the end of the day, spend 15 minutes writing down the top 3 things you want to accomplish tomorrow.  You’ll wake up with purpose and focus.

Organized for Sports – Get Hooked!

Staying organized for sports can be a time consuming task, whether its for your own activities or those of your children.  Some sports are heavier on the gear side, some on the logistic side.  Some like hockey require both since both teams and gear are involved.  Add in an animal, as with horse back riding, and the need for organization gets that much greater.  Your 4 – legged friend is counting on you to be, and stay, organized!

We don’t have a horse in our family but we sure have a lot of sports activity and sports gear.   Over the years there have been soccer balls and team uniforms, baseballs and bats, inline skates, hockey equipment, swim team/practice equipment, sailing gear/tools, skis and ski clothes.  As my children get older, the number of sports has decreased but the sophistication and expense of the gear has increased.  Sound familiar?

Organized ski instructor locker with hooks.

Use Hooks to stay Organized for Sports

How does a professional organizer tackle sports gear for their family?  I’m a hook person and to stay organized for  sports gear, I head first for a hook.  The advantages of hanging sports gear on a hook are many.  Here’s just a few:

  • Gets the gear off the floor and away from harm (dogs)
  • Allows it to dry and breath (swimsuits, life jackets)
  • Uses vertical space for more efficient storage (bicycles, skis, ski poles)
  • Costs very little compared to cupboards
  • Keeps the gear accessible to grab and go

Which Hook?

Depends.  I have several different types depending on the type of gear, how heavy it is, who uses it, whether off season or in season storage and whether the storage location has to change from time to time.  Here are my 3 favourites and hopefully some ideas for you to use as your own.

  • 3M Command Hooks.  These are movable without leaving marks, scratches or holes.
    Sailing bag on hook.

    An empty sailing bag stays clean, dry and out of the way on a hook.

    I use them to hang my name tag, knee brace, helmet, kids stickers, pocket reference book and keys in my ski instructor boot locker.  They can be used for judo or karate belts.  We use them for empty sailing gear bags, life jackets.







  • Vinyl-coated screw in hooks.  These are widely available across North America.  They are great for bicycles and heavier gear that involves weight. They are particularly good for items that need protection from the hook or are wet (paddles).

Hooked Bikes5kOrganized for sports hooks for bikes











  • Nails. What can I say – they still make the least expensive, universal hanging device.  Nails are effective hooks.Cottagers know this better than anyone and use them for paddles, life jackets, cushions, towels and anything else that needs getting up off the dock, floor, deck or ground.

You may have your favourite sports gear hooks as well.  I`d love to know what you use.  How do you store  your favourite sports gear?







3 Steps to Your Best Foot Forward

organizing footwear

I’ve always had an eye for shoes but not perhaps the way most footwear aficionados do.  I see organizing footwear as including presenting yourself with your best foot forward;  its more than just finding the perfect shoes and shoe storage.

People notice our footwear and its big business.  According to Transparency Market Research’s new market report titled “Global Footwear Market –  Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 – 2020,” the Global Footwear Market was valued at USD 19,8782.9 million in terms of value and 9990.7 million in terms of volume in 2014, which is expected to reach USD 220227.9 million and 10,974.0 million in terms of value and volume respectively by 2020. Footwear  can impact your success in a job interview or the amount of respect earned at the office.  Take these three steps to make sure you have your footwear organized for your best foot forward.

Step 1 – Keep Only the Footwear you can Store

The temptation to continuously add to our footwear collection is tough to beat.  It is, however, important to make sure that shoes are stored in a manner that will keep them dry, dust free and easily accessible.  Too often I sort through closets with clients only to find shoes that are so badly damaged due to mold and dust they are beyond salvation.  Ultimately we end up throwing away hundreds of dollars of footwear.  Whether the shoes are stored in the latest, most expensive see-thru container or the shoe box they arrived in is less important than that they are  protected.  Use a storage system that gives you the opportunity to identify the shoes when you need them while keeping the shoes free from damp and dusty conditions.

Step 2 – Review and Sort Your Footwear Twice a Year

This is pretty easy for those of us who live in four season climates.  At least twice a year we sort clothes and put away warm weather clothes in favour of cold weather ones.  Weather your climate changes or not, use a twice yearly schedule for organizing footwear.  This gives you a chance to inspect each pair’s repair status, whether they are still fashionable, need a polish or some repair.  It is also a good opportunity to assess whether the footwear still fits, is relevant to your wardrobe and lifestyle or is due for replacement.

Step 3 – Find a Local Shoe Repair

Check shoes for any that need repair or polish.

Organizing footwear includes checking regularly for repairs and polish.

In today’s throw away culture, a shoe repair can sometimes be hard to find.  A good one that is reliable and easily accessible can be as helpful to organizing footwear as your shoe boxes.  Your budget will go further when soles are replaced instead of the entire pair of shoes, heels are reinforced, polish is reapplied and boots are protected from the winter elements.

Treat your footwear with some respect and it will be there when you need it.  Three simple steps will help you put your best foot forward and keep your footwear organized.


Overwhelmed with Getting Organized?


Have attempts to get organized in the new year got you overwhelmed?

Welcome to 2016.  I’m overwhelmed.  How about you?

The way I feel right now, I could do without a new year ever again.  I’m bombarded with email, tweets, FB group posts, Instagram pictures and LinkedIn comments telling me how to plan, schedule, set goals, accomplish goals, managed resolutions and be successful in 2016.  Since most of us would like to be more successful at whatever we do, that seems like a good start to the year, right?


Too much.

I was feeling so optimistic as 2015 came to a close and now with the bombardment of direction and cheers from well meaning social media, I’m hiding here at my desk wondering how to manage the overwhelm in my head.  Ideas, thoughts, plans, goals, schedules, resolutions;  it’s all there in a big foggy, swirl.  Remember that picture of electrons swirling in circles from high school science?  Put that in a vat of swirling cotton candy and that’s how my brain feels. It hurts.

Anyone else on the same page or am I out here alone on planet Overwhelm?

As a professional organizer, I’m not immune to being overwhelmed.  And like everyone else, I have to get organizing whether I’m overwhelmed or not.  The only difference is I’ve coached and supported clients back from planet Overwhelm and I have strategies I know will help.  I’m going to use them.  A few simple steps to get rid of that overwhelmed feeling when trying to get organized.

Get Moving

Go for a walk.  Moving large muscle groups helps to dissipate stress.  If all else fails, just walk around your house, apartment, room or office.  Head to the water cooler.  Or better still…

Get Some Fresh Air

Walk outside.  The clear, cooler air will help blow away the cotton candy from your brain.  The smell of wood stoves always takes me back to my days working on a reserve on the Canadian pacific coast where life was relatively simple.  The fresh air is almost as good as a RESET button.

Write it Down

Just writing down the swirl of thoughts and confusion can sometimes provide clarity.  Even if the thoughts are randomly written, your brain will start to put them into order.  Grab a pen or pencil and just start writing.  Don’t worry about anything making sense.

Make a List – or Two

Take the random written thoughts and group the ideas together.   Try groups like stuff to do, calls to make, decisions to make, long term plans, next week’s party, business goals, vacation plans.  You have your own stuff going on that will provide natural groups.

Take a Break

Organizing and being overwhelmed will require more breaks than organizing at other times.  Decision fatigued sets in faster when an individual is overwhelmed – if they are able to make decisions at all.  Give yourself lots of breaks to refresh your grey matter.

Take a Social Media/Technology Break

Our cell phones, computers, tablets and television bombard us with direction and instructions.  Take a break and get away from everyone else telling you how to start your new year.  For some, even just a few hours without the device will make a difference to help get you back from planet Overwhelm.

Getting organized in new year is a great thing.  Being overwhelmed is not.  Using these few easy steps I got back from planet Overwhelm and was able to get this blog post written.  You’ll get your stuff done too.