Log in

NAPO-Ohio Blog

Tips & Tricks from the Experts in the Industry

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

  • 02 Dec 2012 6:15 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    We all could use simple solutions to keep the spirit of the season alive that doesn’t deplete our time banks. I
    don’t know about you, but I’m at the point in my life, where “quality of time” with loved ones mean more than
    Martha Stewart’s “fluff” on seasonal decorating. Sometimes reflecting on what we actually want “out” of our
    holiday celebrations, and enlist a fewr snappy simple solutions can help bring about a more memorable
    celebration. Here’s my top 5 sensational, snappy, solutions to the holiday’s most stressful activities.


    Simply Decorate. Less is more in some cases. A simple table arrangement of antique ornament balls in a dish
    is perfect. Use natural materials, such as branches, fruits, peppermints, and pinecones to accent.


    Simplify Traditions-If holiday baking, newsletters, and dinner parties are iron-clad traditions, then, change
    things up and keep it simple. Partner with friends for a cookie exchange; shop online card sites for multiple
    photo card options telling this year’s story, OR create a themed dinner party event where everyone brings their
    favorite appetizer, baked potato topping, pizza, or dessert. By simplify traditions you can still enjoy holiday
    traditions of the past, with less effort and stress.


    Sophisticated yet Savvy Attire: Select a few clothing items that can be worn for a multitude of occasions.
    Accessories can add glitz and glamour when needed. Keep clothing dry cleaned and hung separately in the
    closet ready to go. Pack a small bag for your trunk that includes heels, makeup, and holiday top just in case you
    need to change. One of my favorite items I’ve discovered are “Fits in Clouds”, portable ballet flats that fold and
    fit in your purse! How cool is that for dressed up tired feet at your fingertips!


    Snappy Shopping Strategies: Create lots of lists! Keep food lists handy on the refrigerator. Keep gift ideas for
    loved ones in your purse or on your personal electronic devise. Create guest lists for dinner parties, food
    creations, and last minute details. ListPlanIt, helps keep me organized for the holidays, and below are a few of
    my favorite. If you like these, visit their website, www.listplanit.com for further information.

    Holiday Party Planner

    Holiday Meal Planner

    Day of the Event Timeline

    Stunning Home Storage Solutions: We never know when people pop over. Take a few minutes each evening
    to pick up and rid up. It’s essential to have the right solutions to help keep this process manageable. Decorative
    baskets throughout the home are perfect for scarves/gloves/ hats by the door, toys and trinkets from the kids,
    extra blankets and reading material. A simple flat tray filled with decorative pebbles or rock is perfect for
    winter boots in the entryway. Create a family communication center to house party invites, calendar, coupons,
    and holiday cards. Natural cleaning supplies like white vinegar, cinnamon, and citrus peels are perfect for
    multi-purpose cleaning and aroma fresheners into the air. Lastly, create a guest room complete with reading
    materials, bottled waters, toiletries, and towels ahead of time, just in case you have that last minute guest.


    Effort ahead of time, allow us to enjoy and create perfect experiences. We wish you and your family a joyous
    holiday season.

  • 01 Nov 2012 11:26 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

                As the holidays approach, it is time to evaluate the current inventory of your children’s toys and “stuff”.  Children grow up fast and outgrow toys quickly. If there is a younger sibling to consider, that is another issue.  Try to find a small pocket of time that you can sit with them and sort the toys into, 1-toys to donate, 2 – toys to keep, 3 – toys/things they don’t really play with, but want to keep as memorabilia.

                Another option is for you to do the sorting. Then have them look at the piles you have created using the same guidelines as above. Be sure to emphasize that “we can’t keep everything Honey.” OR “Can we put that in a special box that you can still keep, but it isn’t with the everyday toys”?

                Once the inventory is sorted, sort them using tried and true organizing principles. Put like things together. Stack the board games separate from puzzles.  But don’t stack them too high. If they want the bottom game, they aren’t going to have success pulling it out from a 20” stack. Your stack should be 12-15” at the most.  It is difficult to shelve odd shaped toys or possibly their K’nex or Lego creations, but find a special place for those to prevent crushing them.

                The cube storage system, found at many stores, helps to store and sort toys more easily.  They allow for a small collection of items. Children tend to have a lot of small things so this keeps them together.  Labeling is important for clean-up time. Label with words and pictures. These cubes can also be used without bins. You can put books in the cube as well. A small collection of books in several cubes may be easier to maintain than a long collection on a couple of shelves. The cubes can also be used to house one toy that is a little bulky.

                Toy boxes are nice to corral toys, but they tend to overflow quickly and small things tend to get lost in the bottom.  You can restrict the toy box to bigger toys, but it’s difficult for children to determine what goes where, unless it is labeled.

                Many adults claim they were not brought up in an organized environment so they never learned the skills involved.  Not everyone is wired that way so it may take a little more work for some.  But teaching your children some of these skills will help them through life when they are dealing with everyday life and not just their toys.  They need to have a certain amount of responsibility for putting things away.  But they will not succeed if the “homes” for things are not outlined for them.  They also need to clean up their messes. Yes, it is easier to do it yourself sometimes, but they at least need to make the effort and you can tweak when they aren’t around.  Set a timer when it is clean up time. That way the timer is the “meanie” not the parent. Some timers show a visual reduction in time which is good for children and people with ADD.

                Children’s toys and things need to be constantly reevaluated. They tend to have more things come in than go out. You have to make a task of sorting more than you would like so your house doesn’t begin to look like a daycare center.

  • 02 Oct 2012 5:01 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    Statistics show over the next 20 years 76 million Americans will retire. Many will downsize.Downsizing can be a very difficult event for many seniors. If they have lived in their current home for a long period of time there are probably many possessions stored. Whether a move is already planned or a senor is just planning ahead, simple steps can be taken to make it less stressful. Many of the seniors today lived through the depression so they have kept everything. Many think they might need those items in the future, but rarely do. It is not uncommon to find bills, magazines and papers from 50 or more years ago. By dividing the downsizing project into small parts, the feeling of being overwhelmed, should be lessened. Start with the furniture. Removal of furniture that is not used or is crowding the room should be dealt with first. If there are some pieces that some relatives are fond of and are no longer being used to their fullest, giving them away will be the best solution. Look to see if any pieces of furniture are in the way of getting around. Moving some furniture out or just in a new location might allow the senior to move about more freely. Rugs are dangerous, so remove these next. If they are valuable, consider selling them or giving them to relatives who have expressed interest. Divide each bedroom into closets and stored items. As the stored items are gone through, ask how long it has been in storage unused and if a move occurred today, would the the item be needed? Antiques and valuable items can be auctioned or if enough exist, an estate sale might be a good idea.

    Discuss pictures with the family to decide what pictures everyone wants or if there is one particular family member involved in the history of the pictures or genealogy. Eliminating some of the pictures in boxes will free up some needed storage space or make the area more accessible and safe.
    Arrange for shredding of old papers. Eliminate the fears of identity theft and have any papers with personal information shredded. Many communities have shredding days that are free or charge a nominal fee for a charity donation. Take advantage of these. Some companies will come to your home to shred and remember to ask your tax preparer how long to keep your taxes. Most will say 7 years, but ask yours to be sure.
    The kitchen should also be tackled. How many dishes are used daily and are they in a good location? Eliminate pots and pans never used and place those used in a space that is easy to reach. If getting on the hands and knees is no longer an option, move the items used to a better location and use the lower cupboard to store items used only when guests are present. Someone will be happy to get the items for you at that time. If getting on a chair or step stool is unsafe, follow the same rules as above. Make those items used daily to a place that is within easy reach.
    Make life simple, downsize today while time is on your side. It only takes an hour a day or so and in no time, you are living a clutter free lifestyle.

  • 01 Aug 2012 9:39 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    There are many people who are leaving their second biggest investment, their car, in the driveway while their garage holds items they no longer use. Organizing your garage will not only allow room to protect your car from the elements, but outdoor projects become easier when you can find things faster.

    A great time to organize your garage is the day before trash pick-up. Trash items can be taken right to the curb as you find them. Start organizing your garage by getting out as much trash as you can so it’s not in your way as you organize. Also, sort out any paint and hazardous chemicals you will not be using to take to your city’s solid waste department for proper disposal.

    Next, look for items that could be stored in your home and take those inside. Most people are in and out of their garage everyday and their unfinished basement once in a while. Stop tripping daily over items that are used infrequently in the garage and store them in your indoor storage area and out of your way.

    Another category that will immediately free up space as you organize are those items you want to donate. Put the donate items right in the trunk of your car so they make it to the donation center and not back into your garage.

    Once the trash, donate, and the items that belong in your home are out of the garage you can sort the remaining items into categories. The most common categories I find while helping someone organize their garage are; tools, lawn/garden, car supplies, kids toys and bikes, sports equipment, paint/painting supplies, pet items, recreational items such as coolers and lawn chairs, and materials used for projects. Sorting into categories will help you see how many items you have, making it easier to eliminate any duplicates.

    Now that you have the items sorted it’s time to find permanent homes for them. The front of the garage should be used for those items you don’t use very often while the back of the garage is used for items you take in and out of the garage regularly. It makes sense to store the snow blower at the front of the garage during the summer months while keeping the lawn mower at the back of the garage for easy access. As the seasons change so does the location of this equipment. Kid’s toys and bikes are another good thing to keep towards the back of the garage. This cuts down on the possibility of your car getting scratched as they leave the garage while making it easer for kids to get their belongings.

    Also at the front of the garage should be items used frequently in your home. Extra bottled water, packages of paper towels and pet food and be kept near the service door for easy retrieval. Keeping a cubby for outdoor shoes in this area is also helpful. I also recommend a small trash can and recycle bin be kept towards the front, making it easy to dispose of trash from the car.

    When thinking about the permanent location of items, those items you use infrequently should be located on higher or lower shelves saving the shelves that are at chest level for those you use on a regular basis. Paint and painting supplies could be stored on a higher or lower shelf while everyday tools are stored at chest level.

    Once you have found a home for everything label shelves and bins with the category names. This makes items easy to retrieve and put away. Labeling not only helps you find it faster, but others in your household know where things belong.

    When your finished organizing the garage take a step back and look at the trash/donate piles and then look at your car. Remember which one is most important to you so you stay motivated to keep your garage clutter-free.

  • 01 Aug 2012 9:36 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    The school year is right around the corner and now is a perfect time to set your kids up for success.  Check out these tips to help make homework go a bit smoother.  First, create a workstation to keep important school supplies easily accessible.   By doing so you won‘t waste twenty minutes searching for a blue pen because a teacher insists all work is done in blue pen.  If a specified desk or “office” is not available for a workstation, try creating a toolbox.  Stock it with the supplies your kids will need on a regular basis and place it in a common area of your home such as a kitchen cabinet or dining room buffet.  Then just pull it out when they need to work and put it away in its designated home when finished.  Keeping supplies at the ready will help to make sure work is completed in a timely manner and with less stress.

    Next, make studying simpler by creating a subject system.  It's terrible when your child sits down to do homework and realizes they have the wrong text book or notebook.  To help prevent additional trips to the locker or late homework, make books, notebooks and folders easier to identify by coordinating items for each subject.  Cover the algebra book with a bright red color and match it with a bright red notebook.  What if your child doesn’t cover their books?  Make a color copy of the cover of their biology book and slide it into a binder with a clear view pocket on the front for easy identification.  Taking time to organize before school starts can help avoid headaches and arguments after school begins.

  • 10 Jul 2012 9:48 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    Are you struggling with all the papers laying around on your desk or perhaps on your kitchen counter?

    You know, those little bits of paper with notes on them with information you received that you don't want to lose, like a phone number.  Here is a good solution to get them organized, gather them all together and first, look them over and decide if you still need the information, if you don't, throw them away.  Second, take action and resolve anything that is on the ones that are left.

    In the future, here is a great way to stop this overflow of paper clutter, try using a small notebook and or your smartphone, (note app) to keep them all in one place.
    I have listed everything from products I saw and want more details on, websites I thought I would like to check out, people I need to get back to for one reason or another and e-mail address I need to add to my contact list the next time I'm on the computer.  I have even listed a great wine I had and want to try later.

    If you opt for the notebook, keeping one in your purse or car can also come in handy.  Just remember to go through it on a regular bases and cross off anything that has been taken care of.  If you are using your smartphone, another option is using your camera to record what you need.  Keeping ahead of the paper clutter will gain you more time and less stress.

    Joan Heath, POC, Professional Organizing Consultant
    Organize it All
  • 04 Jun 2012 7:43 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    The coat closet is always crowded with many coats, hats, gloves, umbrellas and other items that seem to find a home in the coat closet. Many coat closets seem too small to hold all the coats and items end up on the floor or crammed in so tight that nothing can go in or out. Many of the closets have one rod and a shelf.

    There are a few tips to make the closet hold more and be organized which will be covered in this article.  The first step is to remove everything from the closet. Sort the coats into seasons and sort the gloves and hats into types such as driving and outdoor. Separate the scarves and all other items so you know what you have at hand. Go through all the items to make sure they still fit, gloves all have a match, and you are not storing a coat you will never wear.

    I always recommend purchasing an over the door hanger with clear pockets. You can purchase these at many stores and they are inexpensive. In the pockets, put the children's gloves, hats and scarves. This allows the children to retrieve the items instead of calling you each time they need a hat or gloves. It will also eliminate the constant gathering of gloves and hats on the floor when they cannot reach the shelf to put them away. It takes a few times, but they do catch on. These pockets are also a great place for guests to put their hats and gloves. The pockets can hold small umbrellas, binoculars, scarves, hoods to coats, and other items you keep in your coat closet.

    If your coat closet has one shelf, and a large space above, consider installing another shelf. Purchase baskets to fit on the shelf (try for at least 3 per shelf). Place your driving gloves in one, hats in another and outdoor activity gloves in another. If you have a 2nd shelf or have decided to install another one, put items in baskets that are for the other season such as ponchos, umbrellas, rain pants, and maybe even stadium cushions.

    When it comes to hats, I find many of my clients collect caps at different events or have them from work, but never plan on wearing them. To eliminate the guilt, they just throw them in the closet. It is time to give them to someone who needs and wears the caps. Do not keep items you will never wear in an already crammed space. Try keeping the winter hats in one of the baskets and the caps in another location if space is short.

    If you have closet that is too small to hold all your coats, try separating them by season. Put only the current season in the closet. Fall and winter coats take up the most space as they are bulky. For spring and summer jackets, since they take up much less space and usually there are fewer, leave the long coats in the closet and just store the winter jackets elsewhere. Many stores sell cloth bags you can store your off season clothes in. Do not store coats in dry cleaner bags, as they contain chemicals and could cause harm to your coat. Make sure you look at each coat to decide if you need to keep it. Have you worn it in the last 2 years? Is it in the color and style you appreciate?

    If you are lucky enough to have a larger coat closet, consider making part of it a double hang. This way you can fit twice as many coats in and not have to store out of season elsewhere.

    Boots can go on the floor and if you keep your vacuum in the coat closet, put it to the side to avoid damage to the coats. Go through your coats at the end of each season especially if you have children. They can out grow them quickly and someone else could be using them. You might decide the color and style you chose 15 years ago is not what you currently like and look good in. Others can use your coats.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4512069
  • 02 May 2012 5:10 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®

    It's May here in North Eastern Ohio and it looks like after a couple of false starts with 80 degree days in March that spring is finally here to stay!

    So, if you're like me you've been walking through the garage for the past couple of months with blinders on, trying not to notice the mess that has accumulated there over the winter - yes, garage messes accumulate in professional organizer's garages too!

    Today we're going to use my EASY™ formula to deal with that accumulated clutter in the garage.

    • First, Empty the  garage of everything. Yes, that means putting it all out on the driveway, so make sure the weather forecast is on your side.  As you pull everything out, put all of the stuff that doesn’t belong in your garage in one area.
    • Next, Arrange the remaining items you’ve removed that will be staying in the garage into categories. Categories I typically use when organizing garages include:  Lawn & Garden, Tools, Car Care, Sports & Recreation and  Kids Stuff.  After you Arrange these items into categories, next Arrange each category into the following categories:  Keep, Donate, Repair, and Dispose.  Pack up the donations and put them in your car immediately so you can donate them the next time you run errands.  Schedule the repair of the items in your Repair pile into your calendar so the repairs actually get done.  Finally, get the Dispose items into the trash right away.  If you have a lot of dispose items, give JunkAway a call.  You should be left with sorted piles of things you are Keeping.
    • Storage: Your next step is to determine how your items will be stored in the garage.  I typically recommend like categories of items be stored together to make items easier to retrieve.  First figure out where the large difficult to store items, such as a wheelbarrow, lawnmower, and/ or bikes will be stored. Now look at what remains in each of your categories and think about how you use these items and how you want to store them:  Do you use these items once a year or on a regular basis?  Will they best be stored on shelves or bins?  Do they need to be placed out of reach of young children?  Can shelves or hooks be added to your walls?  Only once you have identified what will be stored where in the garage and how it will be stored should you buy and install any storage products.
    • You’re almost done – Remember that pile of things that didn't belong in your garage that you created at the beginning of the process?  Now is the time to put those items away or return them to their rightful owner.  Your last step is to put away everything still left on the driveway in its new home and step back to admire what you've accomplished.

    Andrea Sharb
    CPO-CD®, COC® & CPO®  

    S.O.S. ~ Sharb Organizing Solutions, LLC
    Helping You Overcome Overwhelm™

  • 02 Apr 2012 4:18 PM | Julie Riber, CPO®


    The flowers are starting to bloom and the trees are budding. The weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining in. Are you looking around your home and seeing the remnants of winter? It's time to put the winter coats, hats, gloves and boots away!


    Start small if you are shuddering at the thought of spring cleaning. For example, clean out the glove compartment in your car. Remember to keep your registration and proof of insurance handy.


    Keep your counters clutter-free by sorting the mail into "to-do", "file", and "read" piles. Keep the "read" pile down by placing it near a comfy chair so reading is enjoyable, let yourself recycle old items. Most information is online and you do not need to keep out-of-date books or magazines.


    Make mealtime more enjoyable by sorting groceries in the pantry into categories - everyday staples, baking, sauces, fruits & vegetables, etc. Once you have a place it will be easier to unload groceries and find items before mealtime.


    Set a 30-minute timer and go thru a problem closet. Sort items into "keep", "toss", and "pass-on" piles. You will be pleasantly surprised how much you can clear out in 30 minutes.


    Organizing is all about finding the right home for your things. For organizing help and more time saving tips, stop back at http://napo-ohio.com again!


    -- Terry Cowans, Reddin' Up, Ltd.


  • 13 Feb 2011 8:00 AM | Deleted user
    By Claudia Buck (Printed in Columbus Dispatch)

    McCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS Sunday February 13, 2011 6:06 AM

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. undefined As home offices go, Dianna Lovelace’s work space wasn’t the messiest. But every time the Rancho Cordova, Calif., mother and pastor’s wife wanted to pay a bill, do some writing or work on a project, the clutter crowded out her ability to concentrate.

    Like many of us, the energetic mom, who also runs a women’s ministry and teaches motivational workshops, could never find the time to get on top of her home-office clutter.

    And in her otherwise spotless home, it showed. The desk was covered with family photos, piles of paper, bills, school notices. The wall-to-wall shelves were crammed with books, binders, old phone books, family mementoes, magazines, even a wedding bouquet.

    And the floor? It was a holding station for accumulated household stuff: last year’s Christmas wreath, a bedroom comforter, the vacuum cleaner, Goodwill donations, a bag of to-be-shredded papers and 15 years’ worth of women’s conference materials.

    “All I want is peace … and to be able to multitask a little easier,” said Lovelace, who admitted that she procrastinated several years before hiring Tonya Piper, a professional organizer.

    That’s a typical response. “It’s overwhelming for many people. Sometimes they just need permission to get rid of their ‘stuff,’  ” said Piper, a former engineer who has been a professional organizer the past five years.

    The mantra of every personal organizer: Everything in your house needs its own home, including every piece of paper you keep. And even then, we keep too much.

    “People like to pile, instead of file,” said Ann Nagel, the Elk Grove, Calif., owner of Organize With Ann, who has seen clients’ homes with paper piled on windowsills, dining-room tables, bathroom floors and just about any flat surface. The most typical undefined but worst undefined place, she says, is the kitchen counter, where papers easily get wet or spilled on.

    “About 95 percent of what we file, we never look at again. But it’s taking up valuable real estate in our home office,” said Nagel, who turned to professional organizing after 30 years as a legal and corporate secretary.

    When tackling a home-office organization, there are two necessities: a good filing cabinet and a commitment to purge paper. And an understanding that it’s often ugliest at the start.

    To begin, spread your piles on the bed or floor and sort by category: taxes, insurance, bills, owners’ manuals, etc. Put a sticky note on each pile as you go.

    Once they’re sorted, create subcategories. For example, under “Insurance,” you might have separate files: “Insurance-Health,” “Insurance-Life,” “Insurance-Home.”

    Ultimately, those piles should go into a permanent home inside labeled folders in a filing cabinet.

    “It’s not rocket science. Everyone has the same stuff, but with their own special needs,” Nagel said.

    Lovelace already had color-coded many of her women’s workshop files, but they occupied valuable space inside a desk drawer. Because they aren’t used daily or even monthly, Piper moved them to a nearby bookshelf. She turned brown accordion file folders on their sides, facing out, so Lovelace’s rainbow-hued files are easily accessible.

    Another home organizing tip: Have a single place to store incoming papers. It can be a letter tray, a file folder, a basket or even a box.

    “If it’s all in one spot, you stand a much better chance of dealing with it when you’re ready to take action,” Nagel said.

Site Map   |    Terms of Use

NAPO-OH All Rights Reserved 2019

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