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Monthly Organizing & Productivity Tips from Industry Experts

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  • 2017-10-13 15:06 | Anonymous

    Time Management

    Muffy Kaesberg & JoEllen Salkin of Organizing4U

    We have recently been asked to give talks about time management - it is obvious to us that finding enough time in the day is a challenge for many people.  Highlights from our talk follow and we hope at least one of these ideas will resonate with you.

    1) Manage your time just the way you would your things.   Time can be compared to money!  Being inefficient with your time can be costly to you and/or your employer.  Studies have shown that office employees waste  up to 40% of their day.  This puts a burden on other employees, can result in missed deadline, and create unnecessary stress.  At home, if you spend 20 minutes a day looking for lost things,  that amounts to 5 days a year!  

    2) Learn to plan your day.  If you wake up each day and have your day planned out on your calendar, you know where you need to be and what you are going to accomplish.  Don't do this yet?  The best way to start is choose which kind of calendar you prefer to use - either paper or electronic will work.  First, make a list of all of the tasks you need to do that day, and then prioritize those tasks in order of importance.  By ranking the tasks, you will make sure to accomplish the most important items.  Lastly, assign those tasks a time slot on your calendar.  Take into consideration how long each task will take, what time of day makes the most sense for that task, and what time of the day you personally do your best work.  Another suggestion we have is blocking some time for reviewing emails and another for returning phone calls.  Remember to schedule lunch and break times which are important to your overall productivity.

    3) Avoid interruptions.  It is easy to be distracted, so make a point of trying to stay focused on your task at hand.  Turn off the phone alerts, don't answer the phone and don't look at emails.  Those can be attended to after your project is finished.  If colleagues tend to interupt, ask them to come back at a later time.  Stick to the blocks of time on your calendar, and you will find you are more productive.

    4) Avoid procrastination.  Do you have trouble with this some of the time or all of the time?  Most of us tend to put off those tasks we really don't love to do...Try attacking those things during your most productive time of the day-perhaps that is first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.  Whatever works for you is great...JUST DO IT!

  • 2017-07-06 17:38 | Anonymous

    Follow Through

    Ok, you have your home organized, half the battle is won. So now how do you keep it that way?

     The only way to stay organized is follow through. This can be a big challenge, training family members and yourself to put away everything they’ve used throughout the day, back in its proper place. Here is a way to accomplish this task.

    Build A Habit With Reward

    Habit- Research shows it takes 27 days to establish a habit.  Sit down with your family members and inform them that it is everyone’s responsibility to put back in place anything they have touched or brought in by the end of the day. We will track this for a month.

    Reward- I’ve observed, Cash, Moola, Dough, the green stuff is the most effective motivator. At the end of the day, everyone who has put back everything they have touched receives their cash reward. Adjust the reward to your family’s budget and age range, anywhere from25 cents per day to 5 dollars.

    To help you and your family members remember what this includes, it can be handy to keep a list of examples around.

     For instance, the list could include the following:

    ·        Shoes

    ·        Car Keys

    ·        Mail

    ·        TV Remote

    ·        Magazines

    ·        Laptops/ Tablets

    ·        Glasses

    ·        Groceries and Grocery bags

    ·        Dishes and Cups

    ·        Couch Throws

    ·        Bath Towels

    ·        Lotions/ Beauty products

    ·        Tools

    ·        Coats/ Sweaters

    ·        And yes, all Toys

    As a professional organizer, it is my goal to help people get organized and Stay organized, thereby enjoying a less stressful life.

    Give this a try and let me know what you think.

  • 2017-04-30 19:24 | Anonymous


    by Jennifer Klingbeil of JPK PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZING

    Those lazy days of summer are fast approaching.  If you live in Northeast Ohio, you may or may not be ready for summer; our weather here can change so quickly that there is a season where snow boots and flip-flops can be worn on alternate days.  There will be a day (soon, my friends, soon) when summer will be declared officially “on”, so why not start getting ready now?  Here are a few quick tips to help you get ready for summer so that you can enjoy that glass of iced tea on the patio!

    1.         Kick winter (and its stuff) to the curb!  Take the winter coats, hats, gloves, and boots out of the coat closet or mudroom and find a place to store them.  If they must stay, move them to the back, where they will be out of the way.  Donate outgrown or outdated items; toss or recycle damaged items.   Clean the items you are keeping.  Put all gloves in one labeled box, hats in another, etc.  When the temperature drops, everything will be easily at hand.

    2.         Get that cooler ready!  Summer is the time for spontaneous picnics in the park, alfresco dinners on the deck, or outdoor concerts.  Don’t be caught unprepared!  Put those cold packs in the freezer right now.  Locate or procure items you will need for a picnic:  recyclable plates, cups, cutlery, etc.  Find the cooler and clean it out so that it is ready for that come-as-you-are tailgate party! 

    3.         Start your summer calendar!  No school does not mean no activities:  sometimes summer can be busier than a regular school year.  Start with known commitments – summer camp, family vacation, work schedules, doctor appointments – and put them on the calendar.  Whether it is written or digital, make sure to record these obligations, color-coding by family member, if necessary.  Keeping up with the calendar helps identify gaps or find that perfect 20 minutes for a coffee break. 

    4.         Plan your summer “routine”!  What?  Yes, summer is about being breezy and freewheeling, but that does not mean anarchy and chaos.  Just a simple routine will help keep everything on an even keel and your ship sailing smoothly into the summer sunset.  Choose a few important tasks that must be done each day to maintain your cheerful summer home:  make the bed, empty the dishwasher, wipe the bathrooms, handle the mail.  Use reminders on your phone, a task manager app, or a written list to help you check them off when done.  Don’t forget to share the love and let other family members help out – many hands make light work!

    With a little bit of planning now, those lazy days of summer can become a reality!  Enjoy that iced tea!

  • 2017-04-03 08:30 | Anonymous

    Lynne Poulton of Wholly Organized on LETTING GO:

    As a Certified Professional Organizer, I help people sort through their belongings and donate items to places that feel good to them. Of course, there are a number of reasons why people hold on to things. Here are a few reasons people share with me:

    • I paid good money for it
    • It is a family heirloom
    • It will be valuable someday
    • It was a gift
    • I might need it someday
    • I am saving it for parts

    On the other hand, there are a number of reasons why people choose to let go of things.  Here are a few that I also hear:

    • I haven’t used the thing in a long time
    • I have too many of these things
    • I don’t have room for this thing
    • This thing is too hard to move
    • It brings back bad memories

    The challenges that people encounter are often fueled by guilt and fear. This may be mental clutter that is getting in the way of a life and space that you want. Here are some tips to help you work through letting go of items.

    • If you feel guilty because you spent a lot of money on something that you don’t use, try to forgive yourself. Try to sell it or give it to someone who will appreciate it. Work on making more informed buying decisions next time.
    • If you have dozens of your deceased mother’s knick-knacks and they are in a box or cluttering up your living room, consider choosing a select few that make you think of her fondly and donate the rest.
    • For things that may be valuable, do a little eBay research or talk to an appraiser and get some facts. Ask yourself, do you want more space or do you want more clutter? Unfortunately there are fewer valuable items out there than we hope.
    • Gifts are just that, gifts to you. You get to decide what you want to do with the gift after it is received. The transaction is over and you are in charge. We know the old saying “it is the thought that counts.” I doubt that Aunt Edna is coming over to see if the dish she gave you is on display.

    When a client of mine was ready to declutter, he realized that all the parts he was saving for a future project were no longer good. Try to donate things that you are not using BEFORE the items are no longer useful.

    Don’t ask yourself “could this be useful one day?” The answer will always be “yes.”  Try instead asking yourself some of the questions below:

    • Would you take it with you if you moved?
    • Can you get it again if you find you need it?
    • Could someone use it more than you?
    • How many do you have and need?
    • Do you have a specific plan to use the thing in a reasonable time frame?

    You have choices. I make sure that my potential clients understand that if we work together that they are in charge of the process. My role is to support, guide, and coach people through the decision making process. In addition I offer resources and suggestions on how to reach their goals. Their goal may be to maximize a closet space or make the guest room livable again.

    Try to be very clear on your goals. Cut yourself some slack. Remember that letting go and de-cluttering is a process. We don’t acquire everything at once and so we need time to process our belongings and make decisions that make us feel positive.

    Here are tips from Goodwill on how to best donate items:

    • Separate clothing from household items in boxes or bags

    • Wash or dry-clean clothing
    • Clothes should be in good condition without stains, tears, missing buttons or broken zippers
    • Household goods should be undamaged, have all parts and, if applicable, be in working order
    • Keep shoes paired by using a rubber band
    • Wrap breakables in newspaper and place in boxes
    • Please box or bag all donations in amounts not to exceed 20 pounds for easier transporting
    • Test electrical and mechanical equipment
    • Do not leave items unattended outside a store or Attended Donation Center.

  • 2017-02-26 13:18 | Anonymous

    Creating a Streamlined Daily Routine that Is Joyful and Celebrates You!

    by Traci McBride of TeeMcBee Image  Consulting   

    www.TeeMcBee.com   &   www.StyledByTee.com

    Imagine this: you walk into your organized closet containing only items that make you look your very best, in colors that make you look healthy, energized and ready for anything! With a glance in your personalized LOOK BOOK, you effortlessly choose a complete outfit based on the weather, your goals and your audience.

    Obviously,each of us needs to be dressed each dabefore we leave our homes. Regardless of how you spend your day, getting dressed is universal. Over the years I’ve been told how frustrating it can be to decide what to wear and get all the items needed prepped and ready. I’ve been in closets that have awkward organization, which causes the owner to dig through bins or shelving piled high with clothes to find the “other shoe.” Having the tools you need at your fingertips will completely change how you begin each and every day of your life. Regardless of whether you have a tiny closet or a huge walk-in that you share with your partner, having a system is the key to joy in the closet.

    I talk anwrite about “Closet Detoxes” all the time, yet most people don’t take the time for this. I find when you have a professional come to your closet and sort through everything with you, it’s an eye opening experience. Even if you are organized to begin with, I just know you have some items that you are not getting enough out of (or possibly none at all).


    The system I’ve created has served so many over the years. While each person is unique with diverse needs, the system still works. We always need to begin in the closet.

    Body Shape I.D and Power Color Analysis are two of the tools we use to make the most of our Detox. So with a few measurements, some natural light and my handy color analysis system, we see the best colors to keep and the ones we want to pass along. These very powerful tools serve you daily.

  • 2016-12-09 07:46 | Anonymous

    Holiday Tips

    by Lynne Poulton of Wholly Organized! ® LLC

    If you are like me, I want to do EVERYTHING festive during the holiday time.  Here are ten tips to help you get through the season with less stress:

    • 1)            If you shop:  Make your shopping list now.  If you want to keep the clutter down in your gift giving then try some of these ideas: http://knoxville.citymomsblog.com/40-non-toy-gifts-the-ultimate-gift-non-toy-gift-guide-for-all-ages/
    • 2)            If you are stressed by crowds, the people on the road and want to buy gifts: try the not so “pedestrian” online sites for a change.  Etsy, Shop Spring, Blue Q, Mignon, Flight 001. There is always Amazon of course.
    • 3)            If you host a meal:  Make your menu now. Make your grocery list now. Break down the things to do a week before/day before/ morning of.  Set the table the night before if you can.
    • 4)            If you send out cards:  Invest in the time to create a holiday card address label template. Then print out the labels to save time from hand addressing.  http://bit.ly/2fABR0z
    • 5)            If you decorate:  Only put out the decorations that you absolutely love. Donate the rest!
    • 6)            If you bake cookies:  include the kids in the process (if you don’t have kids, invite your friend’s kids over). You are creating life-long memories of fun and enjoyment.
    • 7)            If you are overwhelmed with a messy area in your house:  schedule “me time” on your calendar and commit to tackling one area so that you feel accomplished, less stressed and more organized for the new year.  Hire a Professional Organizer if you are stuck and want support and guidance!  http://www.naponorthcoastoh.com/find-an-organizer
    • 8)            If you are worried about overeating:  allow yourself one indulgence a day, drink one or two extra glasses of water, aim to eat more veggies and focus on the relationships at the parties and not the food.
    • 9)            If your family members stress you out: Remember, it’s the holidays, decide upfront to not latch on to negativity.  Limit the time spent with stressful family members. Here are some ideas on ways to handle Grinch-like comments: http://bit.ly/2fUMIpZ
    • 10)         Keep it simple and eat a candy cane.  Peppermint is proven to ease your stomach, lessen frustration and calm your nerves.

    Here’s to a less stressful season and a healthy 2017.

    Lynne Poulton, CPO® and Owner of Wholly Organized! ® LLC

  • 2016-11-07 07:52 | Anonymous

    Digging Out From Your Kids' Clutter

    by Shari Campagna of Organize Simply

    With the holidays (and presents!) quickly approaching, and the kids back in school, now is the perfect time to tackle the kids’ toys!  Whether the stuffed animals and Legos are overtaking their bedrooms, the playroom, or even your living room, chances are they have more than they actually need or use.  Here is a step-by-step process to help you clear the clutter:

    Step 1:  PURGE

           Purging is the most important step!

           Before you organize what you have, you MUST go through and get rid of items first

           Start in one corner and work your way around the room or area

           Discard what you can (if it’s broken)

           Donate items and claim the tax deduction

           Sell items (consignment shops, resale events, garage sales, Facebook sites, Craigslist)

    Step 2:  SORT

           Put similar items together (for example, dolls, balls, cars, Legos, etc.)

           Lets you see how many of each item you have; this may facilitate even more purging

           Once you have all of the similar items together, you have an idea of the type and size of storage you’ll need (i.e. baskets, shelves, bins, cubbies)

           Don’t buy storage containers until you figure out what you’re putting in them (size, quantity), and whether you have something available that you can use

           After you’ve sorted, you can buy, build, or find in your home the appropriate storage solution (See included photos)

    Step 3:  ORGANIZE

           Everything should have a “home”- if not it will end up as clutter!

           You don’t have to use the packaging that things come in (i.e. puzzles, games)

           Instead of storing puzzles in the boxes they come in, which would take up a lot of space, store them in a plastic bag along with the picture from the box...then you can keep them all in a plastic container. This will save a ton of space!

           Use vertical space! Walls are often an unused storage opportunity, and shelves or cubbies are a great way to maximize your storage space

    Now that you’ve cleared out space, there will be room for those new toys they’ll get during the holidays!

    Shari Campagna, Organize Simply


    (440) 552-5758

  • 2016-09-28 08:14 | Anonymous

    Tips for Hiring a Moving Company

    by Sam Barkley of The Lincoln Moving & Storage Co. (Associate Member)

    Booking a move with a non-reputable company is more common than one may think; while it is most common during the summer, it still happens year round and often results in a bad experience.  Unfortunately every year some consumers need a last minute mover because of this, but most movers become booked out quickly, especially during the summer, making it hard to find a replacement on short notice.  This is why it's so important to find a reputable company from the beginning.  Here at The Lincoln Moving & Storage Co. we pride ourselves on providing you the best moving experience we can and want to offer some tips to finding others doing the same.

    One step to choosing the best mover for your needs is to gather information, and this can start online.  Here's a few recommended sites to use:

    • The BetterBusiness Bureau (www.bbb.org)
    • American Moving and Storage Association (moving.org)
    • Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (https://omcis.puc.state.oh.us/public/search.aspx)

    These sites can help you learn about the history and ratings of the company, which may include some previous customer comments.  These can also help inform you as to whether or not they are accredited with any or all of these particular groups.  Another way to help you choose your movers is to ask for referrals from your family, friends, colleagues, etc.

    When gathering information about the companies you will also want to ensure that they are bonded and insured; as well as asking about the valuation options that would be offered to you.  This is important to know as it helps cover your belongings for potential repairs or replacements.  This can also be a good time to look into your rights and responsibilities when you move, which can be found online.

    Getting a proper estimate will help you choose your mover as well.  This means that not every move can or should be booked over the phone. We advise that you not book a move online because it leaves a higher risk of essential information being missed, resulting in potential problems for you and the mover.  When you call, the company can help you determine if an in-home survey is needed or if your move can be booked over the phone.  An in-home survey can often be beneficial and here at The Lincoln Moving & Storage Co. we offer those surveys for free.

    Last but not least if you are booked with a moving company be sure to read, sign and return any required contract for your move, such as the Bill of Lading.  If you do not receive paperwork be sure to reach out to the company to ensure that everything is in place for your move prior to your moving date.

    For more questions or to book your move with The Lincoln Moving & Storage Co. please feel free to call!

    216.741.5500   OR   samantha@lincoln-parma.com

    Author: Samantha Barkley

  • 2016-09-06 09:51 | Anonymous

    STYLE Faux Pas that KILL Your Professional Image

    by Traci McBride of TeeMcBee Image Consulting

    When you see it you know it’s wrong to stare but you just can’t help it.  Some blunders are not so noticeable and some are glaring. 

    In professional settings the time has come that managers and HR departments are paying the price for the creation of ‘business casual’ attire.  When business casual became popular, it fulfilled its purpose: helping some employees relax from the matched suit day after day. It was usually just for Fridays but over the decades it has become every day, and from what I’m seeing and hearing, in some businesses it’s often weekend wear seven days a week! Oh my, that wasn’t the intention.  Now we see sloppy, dated, ill-fitting clothes every day.  

    Here is a list of some of the worst image “killing offenses.”


    • Leggings are not pants – even if you do have a nice tush.
    • Head to toe trend or designer – wearing any animal or flower print from head to toe, including accessories.  Wearing Michael Kors everything doesn’t show style; its shows that you don’t know what personal style is and you need to borrow it. This also communicates that you are more about fashion than business.
    • Flip Flops – Only appropriate at the beach!  Unless your office has sand in lieu of carpeting, leave the flip flops at home.
    • Over accessorizing – putting on all your favorite and then some doesn’t make you appear serious for business, and will be distracting to everyone.
    • Too much of a good thing make-up – totally distracting and with all the free videos and advice available at one’s fingertips, completely avoidable.
    • VPL – with all the billions of dollars women spend on undergarments why in the world would you not take the time to avoid all those lines? It’s distracting, especially to the opposite sex.  This photo also shows the hazard of too tight clothing, a caution to being mindful of what your image is telling others about you.


    • White socks with leather shoes – need I say more?      
    • Dress shirts not tucked in.
    • Know the difference between a dress shirt and a sport shirt, and wear appropriately.
    • Avoid clunky, rubber soled, square toe, unpolished or fake leather shoes.

    Both Men and Women:

    • Price tags on the bottom of your shoes – really?
    • Cut your vents!  That big X sewn across the vent of your jacket, blazer or coat is only for shipping purposes- it is not a style detail. I see this more often than you might think, so much so I’m going to start carrying a tiny scissors to snip it when I see it!
    • Lack of tailoring. It’s true - if you spent $1,000 on a suit or dress and wear it without tailoring, it will look like a cheap suit.  Tailoring is so key it can also make a $100 suit look like a $1,000 bucks. 
    • Poor grooming.  The quickest way to miss out on opportunities is to not take this seriously. Hair (on the head and anywhere else it grows where other will see it), teeth, skin, breath, nails, brows. 

    This list could be much longer but I wanted to give my top picks and what I see most often in offices across our city.

    Traci McBride is the founder and Chief Stylist of www.TeeMcBee.com an image consulting company supporting individuals since 2008.  Traci proudly supports NAPO and all it stands for to help others live an organized life.   You can reach Traci through her website and schedule a complimentary phone chat about style, wardrobes, and what might be frustrating you in your closet.

  • 2016-05-30 15:38 | Anonymous

    Getting Married?

    Stay on Top of Your Finances to live Happily Ever After.

    by Judy Singer, Financial Planner at Ameriprise Financial

    Now that you are a couple, it’s important to be honest with each other about your individual money habits. Together, set your goals and priorities. Consider performing a formal review of your finances early in your marriage, or even before the big day to help assure long-term marital harmony. With proper planning and mindfulness, you can indeed live happily ever after! The simple act of dedicating time to your financial matters can also help strengthen your resolve and overall long term organization, efficiency and likelihood of success in meeting your goals. Here are important tasks to tick off on your checklist:

    • 1.     Review spending and income. Be honest with each other regarding your individual spending patterns. Before marriage, did you normally spend all of your income or did you have and stick to a budget? Did any large, unexpected expenses throw you off? Plan to address the unexpected. Either increase your earnings, save more, or cut back on spending. If, on the other hand, you discover that you have more disposable income than you anticipated, come to agreement on what to do with the extra money. You can increase your savings, accelerate your schedule for a planned purchase, or both, but be sure to discuss it and then stick to your agreed plan.
    • 2.     Be honest about Debt. Put together a realistic plan to pay it off as quickly as possible.
    • 3.     Decide who will pay bills, and balance your check book(s).  Every couple has a different way to handle this. So long as you both understand, agree and it works for you, it is fine. Just be sure that the non-bill paying spouse in kept in the loop.   
    • 4.     Check your insurance coverage and costs. Reflect on whether you have the appropriate levels of insurance coverage in light of recent life events. A new marriage, a new home, new job or baby are all life events that warrant an insurance review. It’s also important to keep your beneficiaries up to date as the composition of your family changes. If your premiums are creeping up, it may be time to get quotes and switch to more affordable carriers.
    • 5.     Track your tax obligations. Be mindful of any events that affect your annual tax bill. Have you recently sold investments or a home? If so, it’s wise to set money aside to meet the tax obligation on the capital gains of the sale. Likewise, keep track of any capital losses you have incurred that may reduce your tax burden. In a related area, make sure you’ve selected the appropriate number of exemptions so your paycheck deductions are sufficient to cover your end-of-year taxes. If you’re self-employed, continue to make your quarterly estimated payments, making sure the amount paid reflects your actual earnings so you don’t end up owing an unwieldy amount at tax time.
    • 6.     Review all account ownership / titling by reviewing the name(s) listed on account statements and / or the tax filing documents issued for the prior tax year. Is your new spouse listed as a joint owner or as a beneficiary on nonretirement accounts? Also look for the same investment or stock held in different names.
    • 7.     Adjust your savings. If more money has come your way through earnings, inheritance or other happenstance, bump up the amount you contribute to savings. And if a new goal has cropped up—anything from replacing your car, to financing a remodel or accelerating your retirement—factor it into your savings plan.
    • 8.     Monitor retirement funds.If you have retirement plans, check to see that your assets are distributed in accordance with your risk tolerances. Be sure that your new spouse is listed as your beneficiary. Your financial advisor may recommend periodic rebalancing to optimize returns. If you do not have a retirement plan, start one and add to it faithfully.

    These eight areas will help you be more disciplined and focused in your financial life. If this seems overwhelming, a financial advisor can help and provide valuable guidance to help you stay true to your monetary intentions…so then you truly can enjoy your happily ever after.

    Judith C Singer, CRPC ® , is a Financial Advisor, Cooperrider & Associates, A financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Beachwood, Ohio. She specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for over 30 years. To contact her:

    Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

    3401 Enterprise Parkway Suite 105

    Beachwood, OH 44122-7341

    O: 216.464.5545 | F: 216.464.7624


    Ameriprise Financial and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.

    Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC.

    © 2016 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

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