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Tips & Tricks from the Experts in the Industry


This is the blog post from the home page of NAPO-Ohio.


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  • 29 Nov 2019 1:01 PM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)

    I don’t like being lost.

    I don’t like being confused.

    I don’t like being overwhelmed.

    On a recent trip, I took an unintended detour off the interstate. The roads were unfamiliar to me and not very well marked. The directions on the GPS didn’t seem to match the reality before me. Let’s just say it wasn’t exactly my idea of fun. But I made one decision that made the difference. I decided to keep going north! I knew that eventually I would get back to my intended route.

    Maybe, at times, you have unintentionally drifted through a season of life. It wasn’t where you wanted to be or what you wanted to do. You were confused and overwhelmed. I’m guessing it was not your favorite time, either.

    Whatever the situation, it helps to ask some questions.

    • 1.    What values matter to me?
    • 2.    What decision can I make?
    • 3.    What action can I take?
    • 4.    What can I do differently?
    • 5.    What can I eliminate?
    • 6.    Whom can I ask for help?

    Asking questions and making decisions helps you get past feeling helpless. Doing something is so much better than doing nothing. And there is always something that can be done, even if it isn’t always immediately obvious.

    Consider the frustration of sometimes forgetting to pay a bill or getting charged a late fee. Regardless of how much income you have coming in, you can ease the stress of paying bills by having a written monthly budget. It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. Just one sheet of paper with what bills you normally pay in a month. List them in chronological order with amount & due date. Check off as you pay with cash, check, or online payment. With that one simple tool, you have eliminated the confusion of paying your monthly bills.

    Consider the stress of preparing evening meals. Again, a written plan will bring clarity to this daily dilemma. Decide to simplify your meals. Ask everyone in your family what are their favorite meals. Decide what themes would work well, such as Taco Tuesday or Pizza Friday. Post the intended meals on the frig so everyone knows what to expect and how to help. Look at your activities for the week. Soup and sandwiches might be best for an evening with later activities. You can decide to do something to eliminate the last-minute rush to the drive thru. Or you can plan that and not feel guilty about it!

    Perhaps the holidays bring a sense of being confused and overwhelmed to you. Give yourself grace to determine what “have a happy holiday” means to you. Let that be your filter as you decide what to do in the coming weeks. It doesn’t have to look like last year and it certainly doesn’t have to look like a staged magazine article. There is no “one-size-fits-all” for celebrating holidays. Let your values, your season of life, and your personal resources be your compass. Have confidence in determining what works best for you! No apologies necessary.

    Values and goals.

    Decisions and actions.

    That is how you get past confusion.

    Give yourself the gift of a no-confusion holiday!


  • 29 Oct 2019 1:25 PM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)

    You may not be rich or famous — but you are an influencer!

    It doesn’t matter if you make the evening news or the front-page headlines. You change your corner of the world by the decisions, choices, and actions that you make every day. You can make decisions that bring chaos, confusion, and frustration or you can make decisions that bring peace, contentment, and joy.

    Having a measure of order and efficiency is not just reserved for a chosen few. It is available to anyone who is willing to accept change and a fresh perspective. Too often we settle for the way things have always been. We replay failed attempts and mistakenly assume that future attempts will automatically be the same. That simply isn’t fair or true.

    My one my favorite childhood memories was watching the yearly replay of “Cinderella” on TV. This was before VHS and DVDs! I loved singing “in my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be!” And even as an adult, I still sing those words. I can make small changes in my corner of the world that enable me to live the life I want to live.

     

    I can make changes so that I am an organized person.

    I can make changes so that I am a dependable person.

    I can make changes so that I am a generous person.

    I can make changes so that I am a productive person.

    I can make changes so that I am a gracious person.

     

    One way to change your corner of the world is to significantly reduce the quantity of items in your home. We tend to use 20% of our stuff 80% of the time. In other words, a lot of stuff is simply hanging out, taking up room, demanding your space, time, and energy. Just last night, I pulled about 20 books from my shelves that simply were no longer relevant in my life. I enjoyed the satisfaction of being able to acknowledge that while these books had served a purpose in my life, I wasn’t obligated to keep them forever! I’m glad to pass them along for someone else to use. As a bonus, I changed up the arrangement of the remaining books and enjoyed the extra space. I changed a corner of my world!

    I once helped a client change the arrangement of almost everything in her laundry room. We emptied every shelf and drawer, tossed the items she no longer used, and rearranged the remaining items into zones according to their use. It was refreshing to see how these changes made the room easier to use!

    It became easier to sort and fold the laundry. It became easier to find particular items. It became easier to know exactly what she needed to purchase at the store. She changed a corner of her world!

    I helped another client change an extra bedroom that had essentially become a storage area. We worked through each pile making decisions about keeping, donating, selling, or trashing the items.

    We put the remaining items together in labeled bins. The exciting part was when we saw that the lovely daybed was clear and empty and ready to be used for overnight guests. She changed a corner of her world!

    Each one of these success stories creates momentum for more change. Once you realize that you are pleasantly surprised by the change, you have the courage to step into another area of your home and make another change. Once you get started, it is easier to keep moving!

    That Pareto principle applies to your clothing, too. You tend to wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Deciding to have less clothes will immediately bring very pleasant results into your life. You will spend less time doing laundry, you will spend less mental energy deciding what to wear every morning, and it will be easier to put clean clothes away.  It might be interesting to put together your favorite 5 work outfits, 5 dress-up outfits, 5 jeans, 5 casual tops, and 5 sweaters—or whatever amounts and categories make sense for your life. Box up the extra and set in the garage for a month. Less clothes just might mean less stress, less chaos, and less work. What a lovely way to change your corner of the world!

    When you intentionally change your corner of the world, you create more time for enjoying your family and friends and for doing what matters most to you. You are being an influence for good for you!

     “You can’t go back and change the beginning, 

    But you can start where you are and change the ending.”    C. S. Lewis


  • 30 Sep 2019 2:33 PM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)

    What is one of the fastest growing segments of the US commercial real estate market?

     

    a. Luxury Homes

    b. Smart Homes

    c. Tiny Homes

    d. Self-Storage Facilities

     

    The surprising answer is “self-storage facilities!”

    And www.selfstorage.org reports the annual revenue at $36,000,000,000 — 36 billion dollars!

    That happens to be more than the revenue of the NFL & MLB combined — yikes!

    There are approximately 48,500 storage units in the US — more than all the McDonalds & Starbucks!

    All of this is absolutely C-R-A-Z-Y!

     

    Which leads me to the following observations:

     

    CONFESSIONS OF AN ORDINARY SELF-STORAGE UNIT:

    1. I am not your friend.
    2. I take your peace of mind.
    3. I cannot make your stuff more valuable.
    4. I cannot prevent your stuff from deteriorating.
    5. I cannot guarantee that your stuff won’t be stolen.
    6. I cannot protect your stuff from critters and rodents.
    7. I cannot protect your stuff from extreme weather conditions.
    8. I cannot guarantee that you will eventually still want your stuff.
    9. I do not solve clutter problems.
    10. I actually create more problems for you.

     

    There may be temporary situations where renting a self-storage unit for your personal items is the only option. However, in many situations, another option would be first to eliminate the excess by selling it, donating to a local charity, sharing with a friend, or even setting it at your curb for free pick-up. 

    You will feel a tremendous sense of relief when you finally close the door on an empty storage unit.

     

    Delaying making a decision doesn’t really serve your best interest.

    Living with less and living with limits can be a very good thing!  

     



  • 29 Aug 2019 1:21 PM | Janet Jackson

    As I shared in an earlier newsletter, this was a BUSY spring and summer! First, my daughter and motivation behind Organization Solutions, graduated high school and soon begins college. As if that wasn’t enough, I have also been working on a national project. Let me explain that one a little more…

    The National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) is our industry’s leading professional association. They promote our industry as well as provide education to new and veteran professionals like me. In addition to offering an industry certification, they offer several "Specialist Certificate" tracks. I was honored to be asked to develop and deliver course #2 in their "Team Productivity Specialist Certificate" track. NAPO members around the world will be viewing "Time
    Planning to Enhance Team Productivity" as they seek to grow their skills and help their clients. (Horn officially tooted) Fortunately, the development process includes a review team so there were great minds contributing to the session.

    For the majority of you who are not a Productivity & Organizing Professional, let me share just a quick analogy from the session that I also share in my workshop,
    A Better Way to Manage Your Workday:

    Time management is a lot like money management. With money, when you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, you essentially have 3 choices:

         1.     Make more
         2.     Manage it better
         3.     Spend less

    Unfortunately, with time, none of us can actually make more. There are a finite number of minutes in every day. However, we can get the same result by learning how to manage it better or figure out how to do things more efficiently, thus spending less. Here are three of my favorite tips that you can implement immediately to help you manage your time better or spend it less:

    1.)Have a plan: Budget your time the way you budget your money. Go into each month with a plan of how you want to spend your days. It’s a lot easier to make progress when you plan it ahead of time rather than squeezing it in between appointments.

    2.) Spend less time dealing with interruptions: Especially in regard to notifications, turn them off! Email, social media, text alerts, etc. They will all still be there when you choose to view them. For those that you can keep off permanently, do. For others, consider turning them off for a brief period of time to help you focus. (A-ha! Tip: Windows 10 has a "Focus Assist" feature in their tool set to help you do just that!)

    3.) Don’t schedule more than ½ your day (or week): Yes, I share this tip often. It really is important enough to share again. You can’t be organized or productive if you’re never in your office, working.

    Do those three things and you will be tooting your own horn as well with all of your accomplishments!!

    May you have blessings and balance,

    Janet Jackson

    www.ABetterWayTo.co

    www.OrganizationSolutionsllc.com

     


  • 19 Jul 2019 7:37 PM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)

    Have you ever wondered what treasured possessions you would gather up if you suddenly were in an emergency situation? On a less drastic note, what if you simply moved to a smaller house? Or what about the likely possibility of someday living in a one bedroom apartment?

    We like to surround ourselves with physical reminders of past experiences. Sometimes those things are truly beautiful and lovely. They make you smile. It delights your heart to share those memories with others. But, it is oh-so-easy to keep too much and to keep it all out on display. Then it gets dusty and in the way, or it blends into the random assortment of other mementos and doesn’t end up being special at all. You just keep adding more to the shelf because you feel guilty about throwing away or putting away a memory.

     

    Allow me to offer a fresh perspective! 

    The best memories live forever in your heart. 

    – Olive Wagar

    When you try to keep it all, you diminish the value of every single item. How much better it is to choose the very best—the ones that truly touch your heart without any guilt or pressure. You are keeping a few special things because they capture the essence of an experience or relationship. You keep them because they are meaningful to you.

    It really doesn’t work when you say to another family member, “You need to keep this vase because it belonged to Aunt Martha.” Those are the kind of things professional organizers find in old cardboard boxes in the dark corners of a garage or basement. You can’t force something to be meaningful. Either it is or it isn’t.

    How much better it is when a family member says, “I love thinking of special times with Grandma when I see this pitcher. Would it be ok if I take it home with me?”  That will be a treasure not a burden. 

    During a particularly intense storm a few months ago, I gathered up my pillows, blankets, phone and charger and retreated to a safe room of my home. Then I quickly gathered up 2 framed photos, my box of travel patches, and a box of sentimental cards. It all fit nicely into one bag. I was glad that I knew exactly what I wanted to keep and that I knew exactly where to find them.

    When you take a fresh look at things around your house, you might be surprised to realize that many of the things are very common. They hold no special meaning. They are just there, taking up space. If they were destroyed or ruined, you would not even bother to replace them. By carefully selecting what you really want to keep because it is particularly meaningful to you, you make it so much easier to box up and donate all of the other excess.

    Regarding that box of travel patches—it is my absolute favorite collection of memories with my children. As I hold each patch, I can relive those happy experiences. Sometimes I can even remember what clothes we were wearing or what the weather was like on that day! They fit very nicely into a decorated box that I keep handy on my bookshelf. Those patches delight my heart. They are true treasures.

     

    Please don’t attempt to keep everything from past experiences! You will eventually resent having so much. They will become a burden not a blessing. Trust yourself to keep what truly matters.

    Know that your heart has a greater

    capacity than your house!

    – Olive Wagar

    It is OK to ask for help when you are sorting through your sentimental possessions. Organized by Olive welcomes the opportunity to work beside you, to support you, and to guide you as you discover the less cluttered side of life. It is worth the effort when you have less mess and more space, less chaos and more calm. You will discover peace of mind. And the best part is that you will have room in your life for new adventures and new memories!

    What is your favorite treasure?


  • 28 Jun 2019 3:45 PM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)

    Do you find it frustrating to set goals? Do you have outrageous expectations that only leave you feeling discouraged? Do you even remember the resolutions you made last January?

    The good news is that you can set new goals and achieve personal success any day of the year! You can determine what is most important to you and then choose what tiny steps will get you to that goal. There are 6 months left in the year. Decide now what you will celebrate on Dec 31, 2019!!

    The program for the July 8 meeting of NAPO-Ohio will be "How to Organize Your Life with a Vision Board." You will have the opportunity to create a unique vision board that will inspire & encourage you toward personal success. You don't have to be artistic or crafty--you just need to give yourself permission to have awesome dreams. 

    When you organize your thoughts, clarify your goals, and display your dreams, you increase the possibility that you will actually achieve personal and professional success. Plan now to be at the July 8 meeting!

    P.S. Please register before July 4th!





  • 29 May 2019 11:10 AM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)

    CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF NAPO-OHIO

    15 REASONS TO JOIN NAPO-OHIO!!

    • 1.      Enjoy the camaraderie of friendships with organizing and productivity professionals.
    • 2.      Network with business partners in a supportive and friendly environment.
    • 3.      Engage in professionally relevant round table discussions.
    • 4.      Earn CEU credits from high quality meeting programs featuring professional experts.
    • 5.      Participate in “GO-GET-ORGANIZED” collections for non-profit charities around Ohio.
    • 6.      Gain valuable perspective from experienced Certified Professional Organizers.
    • 7.      Gain access to NAPO’s extensive library of excellent conference recordings.
    • 8.      Take advantage of leadership & volunteer opportunities.
    • 9.      Contribute to NAPO-Ohio’s Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts.
    • 10.  Be included in NAPO-Ohio’s exclusive service directory.
    • 11.  Be encouraged while working through the difficult seasons of being an entrepreneur.
    • 12.  Enjoy 6 delicious buffet lunches with yummy desserts at no additional cost.
    • 13.  Support & promote the growth of the organizing & productivity profession.
    • 14.  Reinforce the truth that there is room in the market place for each one of us.
    • 15.  Celebrate that together we are better!

                                                      


  • 03 Apr 2019 7:38 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    At least twice a year, everyone takes a look at their closet and changes out their seasonal clothing.  If you are like most, you dread the job because you have to look at all your clothes and decide whether they are going to fit still, if the color is good, and if they can make it through another season.

    Maybe you have a separate closet for your out- of -season clothes, or you use bins to store some of your clothes.  It is time to put away your fall and winter clothes and get ready to start wearing those spring colors and then shorts.   As you are putting away those clothes, look at each piece and decide if the color, size and style still works for you and your wardrobe.  Ask yourself the following questions:  Does it make you look your best? If you did not even wear it this season, what changes would have to happen that would make you wear it next year? If you are looking at weight loss as a motivator, that is great, but only keep the really great pieces. You will want to buy new items as you lose the weight.

    Doing this in steps will make it easier and more manageable.  You will probably not be wearing sleeveless shirts right away, but also no longer need turtlenecks.  Ease the ¾ length sleeve items in first while taking out the turtlenecks and then maybe bring in those capris before bringing in shorts.  Hanging can be done all at once since much of that is more based on color and fabric.  As the summer heats up, bring in shorts and then sleeveless.  Remember to repair anything before you store it for the season. 

    Do not store your clothing in dry cleaning bags as they have chemicals on them and can harm your clothes after a long period of time. There are totes by Ziploc with holes near the top to allow the clothes to breathe and keep the bugs and dust out. They come in 2 different sizes and can fit in small areas. Look at storing anything with wool in a breathable storage bag or tote. Anyone can get moths and they will ruin your wool.  If you are lucky to have extra closets, make it simple and switch out the closet and maybe a guest bedroom dresser. 

    Statistics show that you really only wear 20% of what you have on regular basis.  80% of your wardrobe is worn rarely if ever. Another good rule to live by is, when you buy something new, get rid of an old one in your closet to make room. 

    For your kids, try items on by type such as shirts, pants and shorts.  Make a list of items you will need for this season and remember to donate or sell the items they have outgrown. 


  • 29 Jan 2019 10:30 AM | Janet Jackson

     

     


    If you want to be more organized and productive, keep reading for the single best piece of advice that I can share with you:

    Don’t schedule more than ½ your week.


    I did a workshop once with a large organization. They hired me because they felt their employees needed to be more organized and productive in how they worked. Within the first few minutes of the workshop, I realized the problem. The attendees shared with me how they were in back-to-back meetings nearly every day. As a result, they were regularly staying late, taking work home, or just not getting stuff done. Ever since, I make sure to share in my workshops that no tool, no app, no system, is a magic wand. They can help; but, nothing can replace you spending time in your office, getting work done.

    The solution to that problem with that organization seems obvious, right? Stop being in back-to-back meetings. Yet, I wonder how many readers do the same thing without even realizing it. Are you, intentionally, scheduling time to get work done? Or do you flit from one appointment to the next without realizing how much time they are taking you away from your desk each week?

    When you get an invitation to attend something,
    do you simply look to see if you have a conflict on your calendar?
    Or are you intentional about considering the whole week and
    how much time you are giving away?


    Yes, I hear some of you saying, "But I have no control over my time." If that’s you, I encourage you to really think about that. You may not have complete control but I’m quite certain you have some control. Stop and think about what you can change about your schedule instead of what you can’t. And if you’re in management, pause and consider what the meetings you schedule are doing to your employee’s productivity!

    This concept is 100% true for me personally. When things get a little out of control for me, I can always point it back to violating this principle: I am out of my office more than I am in it. Certainly, there will be seasons for all of us when we just can’t help it. The success comes when it is not our default mode of operation.

    So, I encourage you to take the ½ week challenge! You may have to plan ahead a few weeks because of previously made commitments but do try it. For four weeks straight, try not scheduling more than ½ your week and evaluate if/how your organization and productivity has increased.

    May you have blessings and balance.

    Janet Jackson

    www.ABetterWayTo.co

    www.OrganizationSolutionsllc.com

  • 21 Jan 2019 2:05 PM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)

    Extra stuff is not your friend.

    Extra stuff does not serve you well.

    Extra stuff will take over your home.

    Most people tolerate having extra stuff. They passively allow mail, papers, receipts, books, magazines, newspapers, shoes, clothes, toys, craft supplies, and the like to accumulate and multiply on any available surface. The stacks and piles become an expected part of the décor.

    But you don’t have to be like most people!

    You can decide to eliminate and evict the extras!

    Open any drawer, closet, or cupboard in your home. I expect that you will see extra stuff that you do not use, do not like, or do not want. Perhaps you will even see things you don’t even remember owning!

    I spent the better part of New Year’s Day eliminating & evicting several small areas of my home. It was my way of welcoming the New Year with a fresh start. There was no pressure to radically make over my entire house—just to focus on the small spots that often get overlooked. I had delightful music playing in the background and an appetizing assortment of snacks and treats to reward my progress along the way! It was not a burdensome task—it was actually fun.

    With each area, I followed the same procedure:

    • 1.       REMOVE all the items from a particular space.
    • 2.       REDUCE by sorting and choosing to keep only the best.
    • 3.       RECYCLE as much as possible and trash what is unusable.
    • 4.       REPURPOSE by donating, sharing, or relocating.
    • 5.       REARRANGE what you kept in the particular space.
    • 6.       REJOICE that you can easily find & easily put away things.
    • 7.       REWARD yourself for making these decisions!
    • 8.       REPEAT in the next area. J

    What areas received this special touch?

    • 1.       Kitchen Island drawers
    • 2.       Desk drawers
    • 3.       Bathroom cabinet
    • 4.       Pantry shelves
    • 5.       Garage book bins
    • 6.       Garage holiday bins

    I was especially pleased with the bathroom cabinet—adjusting the shelf & rearranging made quite a difference! It holds exactly what I use each day and everything is easy to find and easy to put away.

    Regarding the holiday decorations, I realized that I tend to use fewer decorations each year. Just because I had various items didn’t automatically mean they had great sentimental value to me or my family.  I kept the favorite ones, but gave myself permission to pass along the extras. Then I put things away in a manner that will make it easier to get the decorations out next year. You can do that too!

    It wasn’t a dramatic change--but making those small changes in areas that are used every day amplified the effect.  The extra space, the empty bins, and the donation boxes are evidence that my progress was well worth the effort.

    Most of us don’t live in remote places like Antarctica! We really don’t need all the extra stuff for “just in case.” Try living on the wild side by living with less. It will help you to thrive! I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised!!


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