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NAPO-Ohio Blog

Tips & Tricks from the Experts in the Industry

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

  • 19 Jul 2019 7:37 PM | Deleted user

    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 | Deleted user

    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 | Deleted user



    • 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



  • 21 Jan 2019 2:05 PM | Deleted user

    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!!

  • 09 Sep 2018 9:46 PM | Deleted user
    A common problem area in this home is the home office. It is problematic because it is a hub for kept papers, it is usually behind closed doors which allows for deferred maintenance, and it often becomes a catch all for other hard-to store items (like, the fold out play houses or set of drums). One of my clients even air dries all of her laundry in this space. You get the idea, even if it isn't used as an office all the time, there is plenty of activity happening here.
    So, we have pulled together some of our best tips and products to keep this multi-task area in check. 

    The key for a functional office space is low paper volume. You need a strategy for long-term storage of paper and for the quick and safe removal of unneeded paper. The first step is receiving and storing papers and files. We like the ScanSnap scanner, which makes beautiful, two-sided scans. The feed can handle small to medium volumes. It is great for receipts, forms and important documents.
    Scan snap is also compatible with digital document software like Evernote. This allows for double duty of all your traditionally written notes and document storage. With both tools, you should be able to cut your stored paper volume by nearly half. The other paper-busting tool is a good quality shredder. We recommend investing in a good medium-level shredder that won't clog or overheat easily. Keep the shredder near your desk, (closer to you than the trash can, hint-hint). And make shredding a common ritual for paper clearing.
    Sometimes, you need to see all of your tasks or family activities all in one space. We recommend a wall organizer with a renewable writing surface like this glass-faced erase board that also holds magnets (from container store):
    Say goodbye to sticky notes and tablet calendars. This wall planner plays double duty.
    And when it comes to a desk, don't forget the needed storage. Today's desks are very minimalist with large writing surfaces. But there is no space for basic supplies like pens and envelopes and paperclips. We recommend at least one medium drawer and one deep drawer. And for desk-top and drawer organization these simple products from Poppin are stackable and low profile to get more storage using less space. 
    If your desk takes up a lot of space in your home office, remember the excellent storage space that you have along your walls. Elfa makes adjustable, wall-mounted shelves that are adaptable. Many options are available for specific-use items like tape and ribbon storage, etc: 
    And last but not least, good multi-use containers are in order for a multi-use space. An office may have anything from batteries, extra cords, printer ink and printer paper, labels and specialty inserts, etc. We like containers that are easy to reach for and to reach into, easy to label, and easy to tell the contents on the inside such as with these multi-purpose carriers (available at the Container Store):
    For enterprises large and small, your home office can run smoothly, efficiently, and smartly, by adopting a few smart tools that fit your space and your life style. Get your work space won and tame your paper place! For more tips throughout the home, visit www.getorganizedcolumbus.com.  

  • 23 Jun 2018 6:05 PM | Deleted user
    We 've all had those mornings where pulling together a fresh outfit that helps us feel good about the day results in a ho-hum, not-what-I- was-going-for look. But how can that be, when we have closets full of clothes?

    Usually when clients tell me they "have no clothes," the reality is one of several instances:
    • they have closets that have not been purged of things not worn in several seasons
    • they are holding on to clothing that no longer fits or suits their tastes
    • they have not reviewed their clothes to find pairings that are versatile
    • they have lost track of what they own 
    The result, is jammed packed rods of clothes that are skipped over each day, which makes us feel frustrated and lethargic. Why can't we find anything to wear? It is because we can't see the outfit through the textile piles. 
    Here are a few strategies for finding those fresh looks that are within reach. 
    First, we suggest removing the contents of your closet. It may seem overwhelming, but it is important to get to the clothes that have been lingering in the back and out of range for a while. When doing this, separate shirts from pants-from jeans- from skirts-from dresses.
    Now, make a fit check. Most of us have clothes that either don't fit or that don't fit in a flattering way. Some times the cut just isn't right or maybe a few too many washes has changed the shape. If you are hoping to fit into a size again, consider that most people won't lose or gain a size without significant efforts. If you are not actively dieting or exercising, then don't keep clothes that don't match your current needs.
    The next step is to take a closer look at items that you haven't worn in several seasons, and then ask, why might that be? So many times we buy separates without thinking about what they might match. This is especially true of sale items. When re-evaluating these items, a good rule of thumb is to be able to wear the separate with three outfits. If you feel it does not coordinate well, then it is okay to admit it may not have been a good purchase. 
    Clothes that no longer fit or that don't work with other clothes are great candidates for donation.  On the other end of the spectrum are those clothes which have seen better days. We all have them. The blouse that just needs a button, a pair of pants that needs hemmed, or a frayed edge on a favorite sweatshirt. When we aren't wearing things because we might one day be able to improve condition, it is not likely that we are going to restore them to their original glory. Unless you can sew, or you have a good tailor on speed dial, it is okay to admit these items are the end of their life cycle. 
    Now that you have performed a closet edit, you can begin to look at your clothes with a fresh eye. With the remaining items, take time to coordinate and plan outfits. The most versatile items should help you build 2 or 3 outfits. Hang up clothes by category and by color - from light to dark. This will help you see if you have too much or too little of one color.  And just like that you will be rewarded with knowing what to wear next week, knowing where to find it, and having a closet that fits YOU!

  • 24 May 2018 9:29 PM | Deleted user
    Graduation season is upon us. And for parents with younger children, school doors are about to burst open with kids who are jubilant to be home and free of the confines of lockers, lunches and lessons. Without the structure of school regimens guiding their time, we need to prepare at home for daily routine changes that will happen for both kids and adults alike. We like to help parents find ways to make routines that are easy so kids can enjoy their freedom, have access to things that will keep them engaged, and keep everyone's day running smoothly.

    One of the first things we can do once the kids are home is to remove daily school clutter. We suggest reviewing any saved school papers, homework, notebooks and school art that has collected throughout the year. Keep the items that might be for keepsake and recycle the rest. This also includes letting go of school calendars, lunch menus, workbooks and text books that aren't needed. Start by reviewing book bags and homework areas, and work through any desks, closets or drawers that might be holding unnecessary papers.
    We can also look at closets and drawers to make sure summer clothes and play clothes are accessible. Move any better school clothing or school uniforms to the back of the closet or into a seasonal bin. Perhaps you want to preserve a pair of better tennis shoes so they don't get ruined during heavy outdoor play or put out the flip flops  and swim shoes so you won't have to rummage for them all summer long. 
    Speaking of flip-flops, do you have pool passes or summer sports lined up this summer? Now is a great time, to wash up towels and bathing suits, get out gear bags and stage supplies so that kids, parents and caretakers alike know where everything is located. These sundries may include a full range of items like water bottles, sunscreen, eye goggles and sun glasses, pool toys, sports uniforms and duffle bags filled with all the required game-day garb.
    But this summer ritual isn't just about deconstructing the school day, it is also about changing gears at home too, and finding way to keep kids engaged and involved in learning. Reading is one of the best things kids can do to help keep little minds active. I like to collect all the books from around the home and make sure they are placed on a shelf or in an area that makes reading enjoyable. Along with your child, you can set up a summer reading list. Perhaps an extra treat can be included for each book or series that is completed in the summer series. 
    With more time for the outdoors, comes more space needed for outdoor toys. We suggest designating an area in a garage, mudroom or outdoor area where kids can get toys that are meant for the outdoors. (By the way, do they even make yard darts anymore? I used  to love those!) Anyways, sports balls and kites, and sand toys, and outdoor chalk and bubble makers, and bug collector kits all can be conveniently located in one area. And your kids can help select where to put them and gather these things to be kept in their summer home! It is also good to take a look at bike helmets and protective pads to make sure they are in good shape and fit their owners.
    Also if you want to help kids keep a sense of schedule, you can work on a Summer roster that helps plan for fun and for responsibilities. Maybe you want to limit screen time, or make sure that there is time set aside for practicing instruments or for summer chores. Now is the time to help map that out together so that kids know what to expect for the next 70+ days.
    And just one more thing to be completely summer ready. You may want to plan ahead for more snacks or food and chilled beverages while kids are at home. Summer activities will surely keep them heading for the fridge more often.
    Well that should be a good start to get ahead of the dog days! Bring on Summer! And let us know some of your organizing tips for the summer months!

  • 04 May 2018 9:15 PM | Deleted user
    Have you noticed how questions make you stop and think? You take the time to consider your situation and your perspective, and then you answer. Even if you only say the answer in your mind, you are taking a stand.

    Questions can help you analyze situations and get past roadblocks. It is easy to rationalize inactivity with excuses, but honestly answering questions can be just the nudge you need to get back on track. No deep philosophical discussions—just surprisingly simple questions that bring amazing results!

    As you look around your home, ask these organizing questions:

    Life is really too short for ugly things! Or things that are stained, ripped, or broken beyond repair. Tattered towels and blankets can be donated to the animal shelter. Ugly clothes can donated and recycled as rags. William Morris said it best in 1880—“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

    2. DOES THIS SERVE A PURPOSE IN MY CURRENT SEASON OF LIFE?              We all have seasons of our life where we accumulate specific items for a particular need—kitchen items, baby items, sports equipment, to name a few. But our circumstances change as time passes and the reality is we keep stuff we don’t use or need. It is difficult to embrace new opportunities and adventures if we are using all of our time and energy constantly taking care of things from the past. Accept your current season with a measure of grace. Look at what you have with a fresh perspective.

    Once you realize you don’t need an item, you give yourself permission to pass it along to someone who does. And it doesn’t need to be someone in your family! Many local charities desperately need your extra household goods to help families in need right now, not 10 years down the road. Some charities, like Vietnam Vets and Habitat for Humanity will even come right to your door.

    4. ARE THESE ITEMS KEEPING ME TRAPPED IN THE PAST?                            Most homes have many sentimental items—things that belonged to our children, things we received as gifts, or things we inherited from loved ones. Memories can be good and comforting, until they overwhelm our living spaces and drain our emotional energy. The reality is that you just can’t keep it all! You will do yourself a big favor by keeping only the best, the items that truly capture the essence of a treasured experience with a loved one. You will have room to use, display, and enjoy these special keepsakes rather than stuffing them in a box in the garage or attic. And by keeping less, you will automatically elevate the value of each item.

    Are you burdened with smaller size clothes or unfinished craft projects? I suppose we might use these things some magical day in the future, but it is more likely that we won’t! Our preferences and desires change and that is OK. I can recall craft supplies that I found just the right containers for and even moved them 4 or 5 times, but never actually used—how crazy it that? Let’s remember that we don’t live in Antarctica; if I decide one day that I do want to use craft supplies, I can easily find them at my local stores. In the meantime, I want to spend less time saving things for that elusive someday and more time living and enjoying today.

    6. DOES MY HOME REFLECT THE LIFE I REALLY WANT TO LIVE?             Have you always wanted to host a book club or a family celebration? Have you wished for a dedicated craft room or home office? Do you want to enjoy calm and peaceful evenings at home? Most times it is an accumulation of clutter that keeps those wishes from coming true. Maybe it is finally time to honor those desires.

    One of my favorite sayings is, “All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today.” What you do today matters. All those tiny steps and small actions make a difference. Take time to decide what you really want. Then list the steps you will take to get there. You will be pleasantly surprised as you gradually transform your ordinary house into a delightful home!

    What amazing results have surprised you lately?

    This blog post first appeared on
    www.organizedbyolive.com on Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

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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, Inc. 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.

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