NAPO-Ohio Blog

Tips & Tricks from the Experts in the Industry

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

  • 01 Mar 2015 6:02 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    The clutter in your home or office affects more than just your belongings.  It robs you of your time, your mental health and your money.  But never fear, there are bright, shiny rewards in store for all your organizing hard work.

    Less Time Spent Looking for Items

    Have you ever actually timed how long it takes you to find your keys or cell phone on your way out the door?  Or your remote when you want to relax and watch TV?  Getting organized is more than matching boxes with labels.  It starts by giving items a home and returning those items to their homes when you’re finished using them.  In his book, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box, John Ortberg states that American’s spend 16 minutes a day looking for lost things.  That equals nearly one year of your life!  It’s time to dedicate those 16 minutes to something you want to do like a hobby or spending time with your loved ones.

    Less Stress

    Are the piles on your kitchen counter or dining room table impacting more than just the space they take up?  Experts agree that clutter has a significant impact on your mental health.   A 2012 article by psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter in Psychology Todaydiscusses the mental cost of clutter.   Dr. Carter states stress occurs because the excess stimulus (clutter) causes your senses to work overtime.  Additionally, you may experience feelings of guilt or embarrassment when friends or family members are in your home, frustration finding items that you know you’ve purchased and general anxiety from piles or bins that indicate work to do or work that’s been avoided.  The good news is you can change this and you will feel a marked improvement in your mental health when you start the process of clearing the clutter and arranging your life.

    Less Money Spent on Replacements or Late Fees

    How much is your clutter costing you financially?  Whether it’s clutter on your schedule or physical items in your home, disorganization can take a toll on your bank account.  There’s the cost of late fees for missed payments, storage facilities to store things you don’t have room for or replacing items you know you own but cannot find.  Clutter can also cost you if you consistently run late for work or missing appointments because you cannot find things or need to work on managing your time.  Little by little, the more you can address your clutter and take back control of your house and finances, the less your disorganized lifestyle will cost you. 

    You may think you don’t have the time or money to get organized but do you really have the time or money not to?  Reward yourself today with less stress and more down time by sliding down your clutter rainbow into a pot of organizing gold.  If it’s too overwhelming to do yourself, check out the fantastic organizing leprechauns of NAPO Ohio who can help you on your way.

  • 01 Feb 2015 7:27 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    Everyone experiences and deals with stress in different ways.   If you are stressed all the time because you consistently feel like you are running and getting nowhere and you still have a hundred things to do at the end of the day, then you need some time management.  Stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating according to Ernesto L. Schiffrin, M.D., Ph.D., physician-in-chief at Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital, and professor and vice chair of research for the Department of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal.   Time management can reduce stress and in return your heart will thank you. 

    The definition of time management is the analysis of how working or daily hours are spent and the prioritization of tasks in order to maximize personal efficiency.   Take time each week to schedule your week and leave time each day for surprise changes because we know they happen frequently.  If your work week is Monday-Friday, take some time on Saturday or Sunday to plan the week.  Schedule the activities you complete daily such as wake time, bedtime, dinner, lunch, and work.  Once you have your consistent daily activities, schedule those activities that have already been scheduled for the week.  As you look at your week, note the days you have some time because those times might be what you will need for the emergencies that arise.  As far as your heart, schedule time for yourself and remember exercise as this will help reduce your stress.   

    For more information contact

  • 01 Jan 2015 10:22 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    January is Get Organized Month according to The National Association of Professional Organizers.  The first month of the year is a popular month for many to make it a priority to get organized.  Some make it their New Year’s Resolution while others just want to start their year with an organized space. 

    The Golden Circle of NAPO is comprised of those individuals who have been in the organizing business for over 5 years.  The Professional Organizers with the Golden Circle designation in the Ohio chapter of NAPO have put together a list of tips to start your journey to get and stay organized.          

    • ·       Start small when you have decided to tackle organizing such as a drawer and allow your- self enough time to get it done.
    • ·       Write down your goals for organizing a space. 

    • ·       Schedule time on your calendar to organize just as you would a doctor’s appointment.  You are more likely to accomplish the goal. 
    • ·       Store like items together in a bin close to where you use them.  Make it easy to put things away.  If it is hard, chances are you will not put them away
    • ·       Always give yourself plenty of room to grow in those bins. 
    • ·       Only keep what your love and use.  The rest is clutter.
    • ·       Use plastic bins that fit your cupboards to group medicines.  Some bins even have handles and the bins will help you keep them in one space and avoid knocking over all the other bottles over as you grab what you need. 
    • ·       Go through your medicine cabinet frequently to discard expired or no longer needed medications.  Many area hospitals will take them and dispose of them properly.  Do not flush them.
    • ·       As you are storing your holiday decorations, write an inventory on the inside lid of the box so items will fit easily and consistently year after year. 
    • ·       After each holiday you decorate, donate those items you are no longer using.  Give yourself permission to change and not put up as much or different decorations. 
    • ·       Label your bins on the outside so you always know what is inside. 
    • ·       Use an over the door clear shoe pockets for gloves and hats in the hall closet.  Guests will have a place to put theirs and little ones can use lower pockets for their gloves and hats.
    • ·       Do not feel guilty for not keeping every card you have ever received from family and friends.  Appreciate the sentiment and recycle the cards. 
    • ·       Keep only one calendar.  Paper or electronic.  Too many calendars will cause you to miss or be late for appointments. 
    • ·       My Medical App for Apple products and My Health Records-Health and Family app for Android products is a great place to record documents, photos, family history and doctor information.
    • ·       Pocket Pharmacist app for Apple products allows you to make sure the medications you or a loved one is taking will not adversely affect each other. 
    • ·       Know Your Stuff App for Apple products and III Insurance App for Android products is a great place to store pictures of important belongings in your home for insurance purposes.  You may also add costs and receipts. 
    • ·        January is tax preparation month and if you don’t have a filing system set up, simple white envelopes work great, categorizing by each tax deductible expense, such as business expenses, daycare expenses, mileage or car expenses, charitable donations, medical expenses, etc.
    • ·       Once everybody has left from the holidays and the decorations are down, take a walking tour of your home and write down areas needing attention or a project you'd like to see done.  Set them by priority and make appointments with yourself during the winter weekends to start tackling them one at a time.
    • ·       When sorting through things determine what you use, what can be donated, and what just needs thrown away. Establish handy places for the things you use the most!
    • ·       Hire a Professional Organizer as they are experts in completing projects, keeping you focused and selecting the right products.  They also have numerous resources for donating unwanted items. 

  • 01 Dec 2014 7:51 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®



    Tis the season you should donate,

    fa la la la la la la la la

    How much stuff did you accumulate?

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Mental clutter does not serve you,

     fa la la la la la la la la

    Clear your stuff and clear your brain too,

    fa la la la la la la la la

    When did you last wear that sweater?

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Do the shoes make you feel better?

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Socks that don’t match, slacks you don’t wear,

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Donate things of which you don’t care

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Do you read the books on your shelves?

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Figurines aren’t cleaned by themselves

    fa la la la la la la la la

    As we age, we find we need less

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Clear your shelves to relieve your stress

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Basements filled with stuff you don’t use

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Can repair men move where they choose?

    fa la la la la la la la la

    What’s the meaning of the stuff there?

    fa la la la la la la la la

    Give to others to show that you care

    fa la la la la la la la la!

  • 28 Oct 2014 6:58 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    Is your house getting fat?  It happens far too easily and in the simplest of ways such as stopping by the store to pick up one thing and leaving with a cart full.   Maybe your parents or a close relative are downsizing and you go to help and leave with a car full of stuff including furniture in a rented truck.  Then there is the community or church garage sale where you buy more than you sell.  Now you have too much stuff.  When you do decide that you have too much, how do you decide what goes and where does it go?  

    First, congratulations on making the decision because "nothing happens without a decision" and next, you need a plan for moving those items onto their next life. How much time are you willing to spend on this project and where will you start? What resources are available for donations, will you need a dumpster; can you get your family to help? What will the end result look like?  

    Make the decision process easier by creating some rules to guide you.

    ·         RULE: I will keep no newspapers older than one week and magazines no older than 2 months.

    ·         RULE: Anything in my food closet older than a year will be donated to a food pantry or shelter.

    ·         RULE: When I clean out my linen closet, I will keep two sheet sets for each bed & 3 towel sets for each person.

    ·         RULE: I will clean out my clothes closet and keep only items I love and can wear.  

    Some general rules will also come in handy.

    ·         RULE:  If it's worn, torn, stained or broken, out it goes.

    ·         RULE:  If it smells, bulges, or oozes it goes bye-bye.

    The key here is to decide before you start so that you will be less likely to get hung up on "they’re pretty, I like it, it was a present, they were moms, or I paid good money for that". Each decision moves you closer to your goal or farther away. Which way are you going?

  • 01 Sep 2014 11:19 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    The new school year is a wide open canvas-take advantage of this opportunity to put new systems in place for the school year as well as revisit  the tried and true ones that worked last year.  All you need is a plan and the commitment to follow through on the new ideas.

    Establish new routines

    Reduce morning chaos by taking care of some key tasks the night before.  Just a few minutes spent before heading off to bed can save everyone in your household time and frustration in the morning:

    • ·       Lay out clothes for the next day
    • ·       Pack lunches/lunch money
    • ·       Put backpacks with all homework and signed papers by the front door along with keys, shoes, and coats

    A helpful after school routine can provide the same stress-free results

    • ·       Use hooks for hanging up back packs and coats-make sure they are at kids' eye level
    • ·       Assign a place to put all papers that need a signature or require effort by the parent
    • ·       Teach the kids to unload their backpacks every day-throw away trash, recycle paper, replenish supplies  and remove all important papers
    • Create a homework caddy 

    A homework caddy is a container that holds all the supplies your child needs to complete homework assignments.  Items such as pencils, erasers, rulers, and scissors could be included in the caddy.  By having these supplies readily available, your child will be more independent, have better focus, and you will also save money.   Children will experience independence by completing homework assignments without having to ask you for supplies.  Having supplies handy will allow for greater concentration and more time on task.  Lastly, you will save money by knowing what supplies are on hand which prevents the purchase of duplicate items.

    • Develop a system to handle school papers
    •  You will need to decide what to do with every paper that comes home from school.  Other than trash or shredding, here are three options to keep papers organized-take action, reference or  memorabilia. 
    • ·       Action items should be handled right away.  These consist of field trip forms, teacher letters, invitations, and anything that requires your signature.  Put them in a colored folder or on a special spot on your desk to remind you to do them.
    • ·       Reference items can be filed in a family binder that holds all your important school information such as teacher contact information, class lists, and schedules. 
    • ·       Memorabilia  can be tossed into a special box or bin and then sorted through periodically.  If your child makes a large item that will not fit into a box,  take a picture of your child with the item and then pick a time limit to keep the item on display.

    Back to school routines and habits are essential to organizational success for you and your children.  The habits that you develop at home will carry over to your children's lives now and in the future.  Good luck with the new school year!


  • 03 Aug 2014 8:30 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    Organize Your Most Successful Yard Sale Ever

    Do you ever look around your home and think “I don’t really need this stuff anymore…I know, I should have a garage sale.”  Then the thought of all that collecting and pricing and setting up and haggling for $50 bucks makes you think twice.  With a bit of planning (and organizing, of course) you can host a successful sale without stressing you or your family out.

    What to Sell?

    The easy answer is anything and everything that you aren’t using, have in duplicate and think is worth something.  If you’re trying to decide between a sale and just donating for a tax write off, consider what you have to sell.  Garage sale attendees snap up tools, baby/toddler toys and clothes, reasonably priced furniture and gently used kitchen items.  Items like books, adult clothing, overused kitchen items, and outdated publications rarely if ever bring in large sales.  Consider if what you have to sell is worth the effort when you account for the hours to set up and run the sale.  If you only have a few pieces of furniture or clothing that you feel may be of value, consider consigning those items and donating the rest rather than using up your summer weekend.  To make the set up of your sale easier, consider buying pre-printed price tags like these that you can slap on items as you collect them from around the house.

    What to Price Items?

    Once you decide to host a sale, make sure to apply for any permits required by your municipality and collect  the items that you want to sell, you need to decide how much to price your goods.   Remember, the idea of having a sale is to make money so your effort is worthwhile.  If you price items too high, you will spend  time pricing and running a sale only to end up donating the items in the end.  Don’t price items with what you paid in mind.  On items that are gently used but in good shape, ask 50-70% of original price paid and be prepared for someone to offer you less.  On items like clothing, books or toys don’t expect to get much more than about 10% of the current value.  Remember, if someone can get a T-shirt you’ve price $1 for $.25 at the thrift store, they will.  Click here for a handy garage sale pricing guide.  For larger or unique items, check E-bay or Craig’s List to see what similar items are priced. 

    What to Do with What’s Left?

    Alas, your sale is complete and you deem it a great success.  Now what to do with the remaining items.  After all, you already made the decision to get them out of your house.  The longer the “unsolds” stick around in your garage, the greater the chance that they’ll sneak back into your home.  Plan to load up unsold items and take them to your local thrift store immediately at the close of your sale or, even better, schedule a pick up by a local charity at the end or the following day.  If you believe what you are donating is worth more than $300 and plan on taking a tax deduction, be sure to make an inventory of what is left and its value for your tax records.   Click here for a guide to the value of donated goods.

    Best of luck and happy selling in your garage sale.  Remember, if you start to feel overwhelmed in organizing your sale, return to and check out a professional organizer in your area that can help you have your best sale ever.

    Christy Lingo is a NAPO-Ohio member, professional organizer and owner of Simple Solutions Design serving Columbus, Ohio and the surrounding area. 

  • 06 Jul 2014 8:07 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    Freedom from Clutter

    As a professional organizer, I hear the word Freedom mentioned quite often. Clients from all walks of life have a common goal when it comes to their "stuff.” They want to be free from the clutter that has taken over their basements, closets, garages and offices. How did it get this way? Why do we have so much? Eventually we reach a point where we simply can't look at the piles any longer. Our stuff owns us!

    We are burdened by the visual noise that all of this stuff screams at us day after day. It steals our time as we look for items we need. Sometimes we buy a new item only to find the original item several days later in the PILE.  If you are feeling controlled by your clutter, fear not. It is time to dig deep and discover why you have the clutter. Once you understand the issues behind the accumulation of clutter, you can take steps to reverse this problem. Below are some tough questions to ask yourself when you feel ready to start the process of change.

    •  Do I keep things that no longer serve me because I paid "good money" for them?   
    • Is my closet full of clothes that may fit me some day?
    •  Am I keeping items I don't like because they were a gift?
    •  Do I purchase new items to fill a void in another part of my life?
    •  Is there so much stuff that I have no idea what is in the  bottom of the pile?
    •  Do I love this item enough to care for it and store it  properly?    
    •  What opportunities am I sacrificing by storing this item?
    •  Is my calendar packed full because I don’t know how to  relax and enjoy time with myself?

    By being honest with yourself about the clutter, you have taken the first step towards living with less. Knowing why you have clutter and making a choice to change will bring you benefits you never thought possible. More time. More money. Less stress! What is better than this?  If you have answered some tough questions, you may have a good idea of how to stop the piles from continuing to control you.  NAPO Ohio organizers are here to help you through your journey toward a life free from clutter. 

    Cheers to your freedom!

  • 10 Jun 2014 12:08 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    Making a Move Less Stressful

    Many families move during the summer months and with moving comes stress. Having an organized move will make the experience a much less stressful event.

    First, whether you are moving around the corner or across the country, moving costs money. You either pay for the hours and number of movers needed or for the amount on the truck and miles. You can reduce this cost by eliminating some of the items you are moving. Some families have months to plan their move, while others have only weeks. You can have an organized move in both instances. One will just require a little more work in a short period of time.

    If you are in charge of arranging the movers, make sure you ask some neighbors, friends, or relatives for their recommendations. It can make a big difference going with a mover others have used versus going with the mover with the cheapest price.

    If you are lucky enough to have time before your move, go through closets and boxes to make sure you want to pay to have those items moved. Are you willing to pay to have boxes of magazines, or stuffed animals moved? Make decisions on decorations around the house too. Maybe the style and colors of your new home will be different. If the items are small or replaceable, maybe you are better off leaving them behind.

    If you have not opened a box or needed any items in that box for over a year, do not pay to move it. That box will just sit in the same spot in your new residence. Take into consideration the amount of space you will have for storage especially if you are moving into a smaller residence.

    To make your move less stressful, make sure you have a checklist of events that must occur before your move. Once you have set up the movers, began the sorting in your home, start calling about stopping and starting utilities, change of address, and cleaning of the residence you are leaving.

    The day before the move, call to check on the mover and the time of arrival. Pack clothes for the evening and the next day or two. If you are moving across the country, make sure you pack for the number of days needed.

    The day of the move, make sure you have food available for your family and drinks for the movers. They appreciate if you think of them and they will handle your furniture and boxes more carefully. If you are not paying someone to unpack, start the unpacking as soon as they deliver them in the new residence. Try to get the kitchen and bathrooms done first so you can make small meals and get a shower and dress as soon as possible. Those 2 rooms in order immediately will make your move much less stressful.

    If you have small children, have small projects for them to do out of the way or have a family member entertain them for the day. Moves can be hard on children so keeping them entertained will keep stress level down for everyone involved.

    When the furniture is all in and the movers are gone, let them help in the arrangement of their room. Being a part of the move and their room will help them in the transition.

  • 02 May 2014 2:46 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    Household Landing Zone

    Has your dining room table or kitchen counter become the dumping ground for keys, purse, mail, chargers, backpacks, school work that needs a signature and the food section from last weekends Sunday paper? Ask yourself why is this stuff here and why does this always happen.? It’s there because you do not have a landing zone and people coming in and out of the house are going to drop whatever on the nearest flat surface. This is an easy fix but will take a bit of effort re-training your family. Look at the door you use most often, does it have wall space to work with? Think hooks for backpacks and purses and a small shelf with a bowl for keys. Is there an electrical outlet? Ikea has a great little shelf with 2 drawers that could hold chargers for your cell phones and maybe a flashlight. Add a couple of decorative wall file holders to corral school papers and the recipes you want to take with you shopping. Now add a mirror for that last personal check before you go out to meet the world. Is the hallway wide enough for a bench? An open bench creates a natural place to stop and unload whatever you are carrying and take your shoes off. Add a large open basket that house-shoes are kept in and your home will be cleaner. Stuff comes in stuff goes out, and everyone needs to be taught this is a landing zone and that nothing lives here permanently.

NAPO-OH All Rights Reserved 2016

NAPO-Ohio is a legal entity separate and distinct from NAPO, Inc. (the National Assoc of Productivity & Organizing Profs) and is not entitled to act on behalf of or to bind NAPO, contractually or otherwise.  

NAPO-Ohio Chapter Members are a legal entity separate and distinct from NAPO-Ohio and are not entitled to act on behalf of or to bind NAPO-Ohio, contractually or otherwise.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software