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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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  • 14 Jun 2024 8:11 AM | Jeff Schultheis (Administrator)

    It’s a rite of passage that many students go to college.  While the academia portion is very important, another important portion is the new living space and the packing of the car. We are going to assume that this student is moving into a dormitory. We also are going to assume that this student is also coming to the dorm in a car as opposed to coming on a plane.

    Many students have the opportunity to see their new dorm space, but sometimes, it is eye opening when arriving the first day.   The haul from the car can be overwhelming as well.  Not to be sexist, but a female student is going to have a greater inventory than a male student.

    Many campuses have move-in teams that will help you.  They bring a large commercial grade bin on wheels that you can fill with your items for your dorm.  But in past experience, all items will not necessarily fit in said bin.  You don’t want to be using boxes to haul your things, because there is the issue of getting rid of the boxes after you unpack.  Then come springtime, your family will want you to be packed up before they arrive to pick you up.  And those roller bins are not going to be around to help you move out.

    This is where large reusable shopping bags come into play.  Think those large blue bags from Ikea or any large bag.  They can be filled with a variety of things and then slung over your shoulder leaving your arms free to carry more items.  Sometimes you can even sling two bags over one shoulder.  The best part is they fold up flat to be stored for the school year.  

    Consider taking two sets of sheets and two sets of towels.  Your bed can be made right away without having to do laundry before bedtime.  Also consider a Ziploc flexible tote to store your extra sheets and towels under your bed.  Those reusable shopping bags can also be stored in there as well.  The Ziploc tote is smaller than a large bin and also allows drawer space to be used for clothing.

    Parents, your student is starting a new adventure.  They will figure it out and most likely learn from it.  Let them do the learning their way.

    Post written by:Ellen Limes, CPO®

    Certified Professional Organizer



  • 15 Apr 2024 3:19 PM | Jeff Schultheis (Administrator)

    Surprising Auction Market Trends - Spring 2024

    With spring cleaning in full effect, and the housing market heating up, we are seeing inventory pick up here at EBTH! We are seeing a lot of vintage items come through our warehouse doors as basements and closets are cleared out across the state of Ohio and beyond.

    Luckily for us, the collector's market is thirsty for retro finds. While 1950s/1960s Midcentury Modern has been in style for what seems like decades, we are now seeing a wider range of vintage styles gain in popularity and value. Check out a few examples below!

    1970s-1980s Audio Equipment

    While movie film projectors and reel-to-reels remain undesirable, we are seeing an uptick in demand for certain vintage audio technology.

    This Sony model from the late 70s/early 80s sold for $325. This Marantz receiver sold for $821, and this Pioneer receiver and tape deck sold for $190.

    Again, the market for vintage film equipment remains bleak. These projectors sold for $25, and even this model from the 1940s sold for only $40.

    Vintage Magazines

    After a years-long dip in demand for paper ephemera, we are seeing some decent numbers from vintage magazines and similar items. This lot of ephemera from midcentury wrestling clubs sold for $205. Even a small group of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue magazines from the 1960s sold for $122. In a lot I found personally entertaining, these 1970s Kings Island maps and other pamphlets sold for $120.

    However, not every era or subject matter is a hit. Life magazines are still undesirable, as are most sports publicationsscience publications, or vintage comics that aren't superhero/Marvel/DC.

    Highball Glasses

    We all know alcohol never goes out of fashion, but the formal crystal market has taken a steep nosedive over the past 3-4 years. In its place, modern and post-modern style barware is rising in value. The highball glass is seeing the most dramatic and sweeping demand. This set of six featuring a female face design sold for $226, and this set of 7 gilded glasses sold for $305.

    The bonus of a high-end brand name raises the value even higher. This Baccarat set sold for $436, and this Waterford (yes, Waterford) set of 7 sold for $425. Even brand names you may not think of when it comes to glassware are bringing in big prices, like these Ralph Lauren glasses that sold for $626, or these Charley Harper tumblers that sold for $400.

    While it's true that not every barware lot is a hit, we are watching this trend, and are on the hunt for unique highball glasses!

  • 15 Mar 2024 9:52 AM | John Gutknecht (Administrator)

    Keeping your home organized isn't just about appearances—it's about creating a space that nurtures your well-being and productivity. Here's why organization matters:

    1. Reduced Stress: Clutter and disorganization can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. By organizing your home, you create a calming environment where you can relax and recharge.

    2. Improved Efficiency: When everything has its place, you spend less time searching for items and more time focusing on what matters. A well-organized home streamlines your daily routines and tasks.

    3. Enhanced Productivity: A clutter-free environment promotes clearer thinking and better focus. Whether you're working from home or tackling household chores, organization sets the stage for increased productivity.

    4. Better Health: Dust, mold, and pests thrive in cluttered spaces, posing potential health risks. By maintaining an organized home, you create a cleaner, healthier living environment for you and your family.

    5. Increased Happiness: Studies show that people who live in tidy, organized spaces tend to report higher levels of satisfaction and happiness. A clutter-free home fosters a sense of pride and contentment.

    Investing time and effort into organizing your home pays off in numerous ways, contributing to your overall quality of life. Start small, declutter regularly, and enjoy the benefits of a well-organized living space.

  • 02 Jan 2022 8:56 AM | Anonymous

    Recently I read an article written by Josh Mcloughlin for the Spectator|Australia titled “Jordan Peterson and the cult of tidiness”.   Full disclosure, I haven’t read Mr. Peterson’s book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules of Life.  However, the article written by Mcloughlin about Peterson’s book caused me to reflect on our profession as productivity experts and professional organizers.  Asking myself about the reasons we chose to pursue this profession and the value we provide our clients.

    The idea that clutter makes a house a home is promoted in this article.  That a person can be naturally attuned to things and the relationship with things is not bad.  Beyond a general misunderstanding of what clutter is, there is also a lack of understanding that, as in most areas of life, our attachments can become unhealthy.  It made me realize, as well, that Mr. Mcloughlin may have a general misunderstanding of what professional organizers and productivity experts do.  Even though this article could be dissected even more, I want to address the idea that separating someone from clutter is done even at the expense of the client’s wellbeing and mental health. 

    As members of National Association of Productivity and Organization (NAPO) we are bound by an ethical code.  Causing someone mental anguish is not on our list of a successful client session.  It is about empowering the client to be in control of the things in their environment rather that the other way around.  It is also about giving them power over their time and their calendar.  I am positive we have all worked with clients that have varying levels of comfort with the amount of items in their space.  A true professional organizer is not there to impose these ideas on the person, but to help that person better define those boundaries for themselves to truly have joy in their space.

    As professional organizers, and members of NAPO, we work hard and thoughtfully to support our clients with compassion through the process of decluttering and organizing. Many of us have seen severe and extreme situations that put a person’s health and well being at risk.  All of us have experienced working with a client who has distress, anxiety or concern about clutter and disorganization they personally live with – that’s why they call us.  We have witnessed firsthand the energy change and the emotional uplift decluttering and organizing their space has given them. 

    Being organized and managing your time (productivity) to live your best life is not just a cultural phenomenon, there are true benefits: mental, physical in some cases, and financial.  Professional organizers and productivity experts are trained to support their clients through the process and help them find a system that works best for them.  They are successful when their clients are successful and have achieved their goals.  We are not there to cause our clients mental anguish, but in fact the exact opposite.  We are trained professionals that are there to help our clients achieve mental clarity and hopefully a new found happiness and joy.

  • 30 Aug 2021 1:13 PM | Deleted user

    Let’s establish some organizing ground rules—

    1. It doesn’t have to be perfect!
    2. It doesn’t have to be new!
    3. It doesn’t have to be fancy!
    4. It simply needs to work for you!

    It is very tempting to assume that shopping for matching containers is a good way to get started on an organizing project. Actually — not true. Why buy containers for items you do not need, use or want? How can you determine what size to buy when you don’t know how much you will keep or where you will eventually put them?

    I follow a simple process with any area:

    1. REMOVE all items from the area.
    2. REDUCE the number of items you will keep.
    3. REPURPOSE and reuse items in clever ways.
    4. REARRANGE items to match the purpose of the area.
    5. REJOICE!
    6. REPEAT!

    Here’s a clever secret—

    You will save time and money by learning to

    creatively repurpose items in your home! 

    What exactly does that look like?

    Here are just a few examples!

    • Mason canning jars for tea bags
    • Ice cube trays for earrings
    • Buffet table for entertainment items
    • Garbage can for sports equipment
    • Vintage stool for a plant stand
    • Old ladder to hang towels
    • Old rake to hold garden tools
    • Mint tins for needles & safety pins
    • Plastic dish tubs for sorting toys
    • Window frame for photo display
    • Old door for a craft table top
    • Ceramic cookie jar for receipts
    • Glass relish plate for necklaces
    • Stack of suitcases for games
    • Glass jars for refrigerator leftovers
    • Magazine holder for boxes of wraps
    • Over the door shoe organizers for office supplies
    • Sewing cabinet for end table
    • Travel souvenir mug for pens

    When you have decided that it doesn’t need to be perfect or new or fancy or expensive,

    you allow yourself the freedom to be creative!  And with freedom comes fun!

    Don’t put pressure on yourself to design custom labels from a Pinterest template.

    Simply use colorful painter’s tape or index cards and a black Sharpie.

    Sometimes we make organizing more complicated than it needs to be. Go on a treasure hunt in your own home. See what you can discover and repurpose!

     Read more encouraging blogs by Olive at:

  • 27 Jul 2021 8:03 PM | Cara Marks

    It’s that time again… or maybe the first time in preparing your newly graduated high school student to get ready to go away to college.  Such an exciting time in their lives when they get to go live away from home.  With that, though, is also the “everything” that must go with them to make their new dwelling feel a little bit like home! 

    It can be overwhelming but if you break it down into categories it makes it more manageable.  The main categories are clothes, school supplies, bedding/décor, toiletries, cleaning, and food/kitchen. Oh, and maybe an extra category would be if they participate in a sport or extracurricular activity.  Plan to make a list, adding and subtracting to it from year to year – it’s a great way for those procrastinating young adults to gather all their things efficiently at the last minute and for a quick grocery trip before leaving town.

    Colleges usually have a list of all the amenities that are provided that would help in the determination of some larger items that need to be brought along (i.e., fan, microwave).  It is also helpful if roommates plan ahead to determine shared items like the microwave, mini fridge, air purifier, rug and similar items that really do not need to be duplicated.

    Being an organizer and having experienced packing up for these mini moves, these are my top 5 favorite dorm room picks and tricks to help with the move and keep the dorm room tidy:

    Zipties – These are very multifunctional for keeping electrical cords tidy as they are typically used for.  For a dorm room though, zipties can be used for strapping headboards to beds or even grounded multi-plug strip extension cords to bed railings. Additionally, zipties can be useful to hang pictures, flags, Christmas lights and anything else that can hang from hooks that are typically in dorm rooms.

    Grounded Multi-Plug Strip Extension Cords – A segway into the next item.  A dorm room will probably be limited to the number of outlets for the multitude of chargers one student might have.  My suggestion is to get at least one long one that can go the length of the bed and a shorter one for the desk area or tabletop where their computer or TV may go.

    Square Box Seat/Ottoman (Poppin) – This is the best thing ever!  It can be folded flat but still be strong enough to be a stepstool to climb onto a semi-lofted bed.  It is multi-functional as the stepstool, storage for shoes/socks, and an extra seat for friends.

    Large Ziploc Plastic Cubes (have to give credit to Ellen Limes of Organized By L for recommending these for my son’s first move) – These are so roomy on the inside for packing literally everything but especially items on hangers.  These have built-in handle holes that make them so easy to carry too.  Another added bonus to these cubes – they stack!  Four cubes can be bungyed to a folding hand truck and taken in one trip (less trips the better I say). These zippered cubes are great to fold up inside each other and store somewhere in the dorm room so when it is time to pack the dorm items back up again, the cubes are there and ready to go.

    Multi-Purpose Bin from Container Store – This bin comes in four different sizes and looks like it would just hold magazines, but it is multi-functional in keeping notebooks, extra toiletries, dishes and cups, extra chargers and electrical cords, cleaning supplies (that you hope get used), and extra sheets (and maybe even for storing the Ziploc cubes).  These inexpensive bins hold items vertically and are great space savers while keeping like items contained.

    BONUS TRICK – Small Stretch Wrap – This is by far my favorite thing, and it is very helpful in any move.  This stretch wrap is readily available but the one to look for has a handle that lets the stretch wrap unwind freely without twisting your wrist.  For any item that you are moving that is awkward to handle because it has a lid that comes loose or a drawer that slides out or anything where the contents would spill out, the stretch wrap can be wrapped around the bin, dresser or chest and the stretch wrap keeps the lids on and the drawers closed because the stretch wrap sticks to itself just like that plastic wrap in your kitchen.  Another example of its awesomeness, the computer monitor or TV can be wrapped in the comforter from the bed and then shrink wrapped with the stretch wrap to protect it from getting damaged when transporting.

    BONUS TIP – Label every packed cube/box with the student’s name and room number. Volunteers may be there to help on move-in day, and it ensures that the boxes get to where they are supposed to go.

    This is an exciting time but just as in any move there is chaos before the calm.  A lot of students moving in at the same time, parking spaces are at a premium, there may be volunteers taking items up to the room for you and there may be a time crunch to get all the items up to the room, unpacked, set-up, so the car can be moved.  Planning and organizing ahead of time will create a smooth move-in where most importantly, you are creating a nest for your little bird to get ready to fly and enjoying time together before saying good-bye!

  • 05 Jul 2021 3:36 PM | Ellen Limes, CPO®

    What is the value of your car? What is the value of your stuff filling up your garage?

    You don’t have to be a scientist to figure out the answer to that question. Yet you say, “I need the stuff in that garage!”

    Let’s assume your goal is to put the car in the garage. It’s OK if you want to keep the stuff, but you need to organize the stuff. Start by scheduling a date. You will never find time if you don’t make time. Get realistic. You can find time if you think of the long-term improvements.

    To get started, think of categories. You are going to put like with like. Lawn care, car care, toys, picnic, holiday, trash etc.

    Once you have it sorted, it gives you an idea of what needs to be stored. Not everything needs to be in a 55 qt bin.  If you have a small group of items, it can be in a smaller bin.  You also need to consider ease of access.  If you use it frequently, it doesn’t necessarily have to have a lid.  If its seasonal décor or such, you probably want to have a bin with a lid.   This will keep the dust off the items when not in use.

    Your goal in organizing is to get things off the floor.  If it has wheels, it can stay on the floor. Otherwise, consider shelving or a track to hang on the wall. Five shelf adjustable chrome shelving is great for all those small things. The adjustable shelves give you the flexibility to store articles of various sizes.  Going vertical allows you to utilize space that is available to free up floor space for say, a car.

    Tracks on the wall have a variety of hooks that can accommodate tools and things.  Maybe you have bag chairs standing in a corner. Get those off the floor by hanging them on hooks with yard tools.

    Organizing the garage is a big project, but the benefits of getting in a car inside your garage during inclement weather will make your efforts worthwhile.

  • 02 May 2021 12:10 PM | Anonymous

    We are going to start with a couple of questions.  Do you network?  Are you confident in your networking skills? What would networking do for you professionally? 

    Now let's talk about networking for a few minutes.  Why, because it is important and it is one of the main benefits of being a NAPO Ohio member.  The more confident you are in doing it, the better your experience will be and the more you get out of your experience.

    Networking is the act of meeting new people in a business or professional context. It is common for there to be an exchange of information or ideas.  It can also become a source for referrals or collaborations.  I don’t know about you, but that sounds important to me.  Especially since entrepreneurs often work alone, networking can prevent you from feeling isolated. Great, so its important how do you get better at it?

    First, I don’t consider myself an expert, so if you want to grow in networking you may want to explore the topic with additional resources.  That said my personal journey should give everyone hope that you can grow in the networking skill.  I considered myself weak in the skill and if I am being completely honest, I had a lot of negative talk around it.  The thing I loathed the most, phone calls – wasn’t a fan.  The first obstacle I faced was overcoming my thoughts and ideas about my own networking performance.  If this sounds like you, you aren’t alone.  You can absolutely turn your mindset around!

    If you have decided to get better at networking, set a goal.  I started with professional social media reach outs. LinkedIn, Alignable and NAPO Point are professional platforms you can use to network.  Set a goal of time spent on the platform and/or number of messages you send out.  It helps to have a plan of the businesses or professions you would like to network with. It focuses your efforts and makes the process more efficient.

    Next, I tackled phone calls and then in person meetings.  Since I don’t feel comfortable cold calling, making calls was the second step of my plan, which helped me overcome my mental block.  Set a goal of calls per week.  Calls usually are around 15 minutes in length.  Before making the call identify what you can share and what you might receive.  Are you looking for advice, feedback, or to share a client base?  Be clear about what you are looking for and be open to share what could be of value to the other person.

    Finally, in person (or virtual face to face) meetings.  Phone calls are good, but for me in person is where it is at.  Set a goal of meetings per month.  Come prepared with some relevant questions and business material.  You will also want to be prepared to take notes.  You want to remember important information and note inspiration when it strikes.  It is also important to follow up on any actions you have committed to after the meeting and to send a thank you to the person for their time.

    NAPO Ohio is a great place to network.  We have shared passions and professions.  The contact information for members and business partners are available to you on our NAPO Ohio Site.  If you’re shy, start with social media or an e-mail.  Comment on NAPO Ohio social media posts; I call this digital networking.  When we are in person again, make a point to introduce yourself to one or two members and have a short conversation.  Volunteer to be a buddy for a prospective or new member.  Most importantly, take action today. 

    The most important thing I learned when I decided to get better at networking, because I felt like my business success depends on it, is that taking action is the most important thing you can do to affect change.  I challenge you to take action now on one or two things you can do to improve your networking skills in the next month.  I know you can do it.  Now raise you arms up and say out loud, “I am a networking champ”!

  • 05 Apr 2021 12:39 PM | Julie Riber, CPO® (Administrator)

    April Brings Spring Cleaning

     Every spring you plan on cleaning out all the closets, deep cleaning the cupboards and maybe even having a garage sale to remove all the clutter in the basement or garage.  It seems like you never have the time, or the weather is so nice you would rather be outside.  The kids have started their spring sport programs with practices and games.  Your time is limited so choose the area to clean based on the weather. 

    When it is 70 degrees or above and sunny out, clean out the garage or work on the yard. For the garage, you will want to take most items out to spray out the salt and chemicals that have accumulated on your garage floor over the winter.  Tracking those in the house is bad on any type of flooring you have.  In your yard it means cleaning up the leaves that you missed on the last rake during the fall or picking up all those limbs that fell during the winter.  Some even see small early weeds to pull so they do not take over your early flowers. 

    Save the cooler April days for the basement and inside.  If you have children, choose a rainy April day to go through their wardrobe.  Do not try to do it all in one sitting.  Try on short sleeved shirts one day and shorts the next.  The warm weather happens gradually, so you have time if you did not have to donate all their clothes from last year.  Make a list of items they will need for the warmer weather and maybe you will be lucky and see them on sale. 

    Your wardrobe should also be examined.  Decide what you wore last year and what you did not.  Styles change and most people do not wear in their 40’s what they wore in their 20’s.  Decide on what you like and keep items you will really wear.  Maybe you changed careers and your current job is more casual or you are now working from home.  Many experts will tell you to keep the classics not the trendy clothes and that goes for shoes too.  Comfort is also important on shoes as you do not want to be in pain every time you take a step. 

    The basement can also be cleaned out during the spring, so items are easier to find when you need them.  Shelving will help keep items off the floor and avoid stacking and the often, crushed box or bin.  Remember to remove anything you are no longer using and anything that has been sitting and unused for years. 

    The spring brings us hope and time to declutter so we may enjoy the summer and the outside. 

  • 28 Feb 2021 12:57 PM | Deleted user

    I am very thankful that my little corner of the world has four seasons. I enjoy seeing the promise of Genesis 8:22 unfold before my eyes: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” Knowing that spring is right around the corner motivates me to follow through with the following simple refreshing tips:

    S—SORT through your clothes! Go ahead and freshen up your wardrobe by saying goodbye to clothes that don’t fit, don’t look great, and you don’t like.

    P—PURGE those plastic cups and plastic containers.

    R—READ the magazines (or cancel the subscription). Then freshen up a hospital waiting room by donating your magazines while they are still current.

    I—IMAGINE a calm, clean, uncluttered living room…then write down what you can do every day to make it a reality.

    N—NIP the avalanche of junk mail by signing up for opt-out services, such as:

    G—GIVE your extra and unwanted books, DVDs, and CDs to your local library for their annual sale.


    I—INITIATE one new easy healthy habit.

    S—START your day with a clean and shiny and empty sink.

    A – ASK for help from a professional organizer! :)

    L—LEAVE behind the mistakes and clutter of the past.

    M—MINIMIZE your cleaning supplies by using multi-purpose products.

    O—OPEN the curtains, wash the windows, and let the sun shine in your rooms.

    S—SET limits on your garage storage with similar sized sturdy bins with labels.

    T – TAKE the time to sort through games and toys your children have outgrown.


    H—HEAVE old travel brochures, knickknacks, coffee mugs, T-shirts, souvenirs, and bulky suitcases to make room for fresh adventures.

    E—ELIMINATE last year’s clutter from your porch and yard.

    R—REPLACE your stained and faded kitchen towels with fresh new ones that make you smile.

    E—ENJOY each spring day. Let your heart be refreshed and renewed!

    Do yourself a favor--take advantage of the change of seasons to refresh your home. Use the next three months before summer to discover the less cluttered side of life. Decide what truly matters in your current season of life. Welcome the opportunity to live with less stuff!

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