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Serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area | Gayle Grace, 510-654-7983

Monday, December 29, 2008

Time to Elfa-tize

If you're thinking about closet make overs, now's the time. The Container Store's annual Elfa shelving sale is on and you can get a good deal on a great product. I find Elfa far superior to any other "do it yourself" shelving units.

When my client moved into her new house her bedroom closet was a large empty space with a very long pole running through it. We designed this Elfa system to hold all her clothes, knitting supplies and the TV.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy holidays

I'm going to take a vacation from blogging for the next week or two. We wish all of you the very best for the holidays and a very happy new year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday cards

My holiday cards are sitting in their box on the floor, waiting for me to sit down and work on them.

I will, and I am looking forward to it. Several years ago I made the decision to only send cards to those people who really mattered in my life and only to those who do not live close enough for me to see over the holidays. So with a short list of VIP's, it's not a chore to write them a short note thanking them for being in my life.

For those of you who feel that writing holiday cards is a chore, ask yourself why... if it's because you are sending cards to people who really don't matter to you, then you might try dropping them off your list. Concentrate on those who really do matter and then see if it feels good to get those cards in the mail.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Surviving the holidays

Q: Here we go again, another holiday season how do we ever stay organized at this time of year?

A: The holidays are suppose to be a joyful time, but often we feel stressed and anxious over trying to keep up with it all. Give up "perfect" and accept that there is a certain amount of chaos that comes with the holiday season. Look for small areas to declare victory:

Immediately toss catalogs in the recycling bin that you've placed close to the mail box or front door. Like wise with solicitations that you do not recognize or participate in.

Use up the wrapping supplies you already have before buying more. Don't buy rolls of paper that are too big to fit in the drawer or container where you store them. The bag of 1000 bows is not a bargain if most of them end of crushed and scrunched on the floor of the closet.

Check your pantry and make a list before shopping for party snacks. Keep party supplies separate from your everyday foods - label a cardboard box "Party Foods" and store those items you want on hand for the open house you are planning. Toss in the crackers, cookies,nuts and bottles of cider.

You don't have to accept every invitation - learn to say "let me check my calendar and get back to you" rather than the automatic "yes" that you regret the minute you say it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recycling the turkey oil

If you are deep frying your turkey, don't pour that oil down the drain - recycle it for biofuel. Check out for instructions. If you are not from the Bay Area, check the internet for places to take your oil or put it on for pickup by a hungry car.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Seasonal staging

A Realtor called and asked my advice on staging a house for sale during the holiday season. My suggestion is to stage for the time of year, not for a specific holiday.

When you stage your home for sale you are creating an interesting but neutral palette. If it's winter you can use wools or velvets, darker colors or even winter whites, a fire in the fireplace (or a fireplace video on the TV), and a pot of warm apple cider on the stove to make the home feel cozy and comfortable, especially if it's raining or snowing during your open houses.

Remember, the idea of staging is not to interfere with the buyer's ability to see themselves in the house, but to give them a sense of what the house would be like to live in. Too much decorating and all they will see are the decorations and not the house and if the decoration is not to their taste, then they will be less inclined to feel good about your house. In this market, enticing and pleasing the buyer is more important than ever.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Out with the old

As we enter the holiday shopping season, there are some things to keep in mind:

1. Let's use up all of the old wrapping paper and ribbon before we buy new.

2. Let's use up the old leftover holiday cards from years ago before we buy new.

3. Let's include instructions on how to properly dispose of the old television, cell phone and computer when we give the new.

4. Let's put a "donation" bucket in our children's room so they can pick out what toys/books will go to make room for the new.

5. Let's think of people and the planet first, and things a distant second...

Friday, November 7, 2008

To do lists

Today I was going over my TO DO list, which lately has grown into double digit numbers, something I promised myself I would not let happen. However, not only do I have a life to lead, but I have a business to run which doubles everything I have to do.

As I went down my list to dust off those items that have been there for a while I realized that I have violated one of the basic principles of time management. Just listing items to do does not help you get things done. It's the ACTION you have take to accomplish the task that gets the ball rolling.

For example, #5 on my list is to "decide what networking groups to join". Great, can't get more open ended than that. Not to mention that I've allowed myself to skip over that one for quite sometime. Deciding means that I have narrowed my choices and to date, I don't even have a list of choices, I'm no where close to figuring out what to do about networking groups.

To get anywhere close to making a decision there are several steps I have to take first. I have to ferret out groups I am interested in and I need to attend some of their meetings. I need to decide where I want to put my few hours of "free" time, distance I am willing to travel, costs of joining and on and on.

So, I need to move #5 to my goal list and replace it with: Call friends and colleagues and get a list of networking groups they belong to and recommend, get invited to a meeting and go. Those are action items I can do.

Friday, October 31, 2008

O, You

Last week I had the pleasure of joining 4,000 women (and a handful of brave men) in San Francisco, for a day of expert presentations sponsored by Oprah’s magazine, “O”.

In the morning I listened to organizing guru, Peter Walsh, followed by an hour with interior designer, Nate Berkus. I also went to sessions with TLC’s What Not To Wear, Stacy London, and life coach Martha Beck.

I have met Peter Walsh at our NAPO conferences, but he is so much fun and so inspiring that I just had to see him again. Peter really is committed to getting people to understand that “it’s not about the stuff”! It’s about the unfulfilled promises that the stuff represents.

Interestingly, it was Nate’s session that had the most impact on me. A couple of things he talked about really resonated. Essentially he said that rooms and homes should never be thought of as “done”. Homes are organic eco-living systems of their own, and should be constantly evolving to mirror and service the changes that take place in our own lives.

The other point he made is that a home will never look or feel right without a mix of new and vintage items. I realized that this is what my own home is missing - older, worn pieces with character or pieces that I can put my own stamp on, a older chair with a new piece of fabric that relates to me. I tend to buy only new items. I will now think more kindly of flea markets and garage sales.

So here’s the scoop, Nate is shorter than I thought he would be, Stacy is petite and really very nice, Suze Orman is a tough as she sounds on TV and Gayle King is really beautiful.

At the end of the event the surprise we all hoped for arrived, Oprah came and delivered the closing session. She is an amazing force and it was really special to have the opportunity to see and hear her live. She was gracious and inspiring, exactly as she appears on TV.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Welcome to your new home

Our clients moved from Philly to Marin. While they drove across the country with their dog and cat, the moving van arrived here ahead of them. On moving day, the ATH team met the van and supervised the unload and furniture placements. Then we went about unpacking the entire house and putting everything away.

When the couple arrived a day later, their house was completely unpacked and ready for them, the beds were made, the clothes were organized in the closet, the kitchen was ready to cook a meal in and fresh flowers were on the dining table.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Books, books & more books

Without a doubt one of the most emotional issues in almost all of the homes we work in is: What do we do with all our books? People love their books. They agonize over what to do with their book collections and it is getting harder and harder to find the appropriate venues for even giving books away.

Before you buy your next book, ask yourself - who do I want to give this to when I have finished reading it? Another fun idea, form a neighborhood book club and exchange your latest reads with each other. I do this with my own magazine subcriptions, I share them with a neighbor and we split the cost of the subscription.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The great garage sale

Last Saturday I got talked into participating in a large garage sale event by a group of my neighbors. I am very good at keeping down the amount of stuff in my house so I usually don’t have a lot that needs to be gotten rid of. But I took a tour through my condo and my storage area and came up with a couple of boxes of books and household items I really don’t use that often and felt it was time they made a graceful exit.

At 7am on Saturday morning I loaded the car and off we went a few blocks to the neighbors to set up. In short order I was ready for the hoards who would be fighting over my precious offerings. For my neighbors it was quite a different story.

Out of their garages and basements came a never ending stream of broken down furniture and miscellaneous everythings. 99% of it was just plain junk. And not just their personal junk, but junk they have collected from others - stuff they found on the street, stuff they got when their tenants moved out and left it, stuff they inherited and even stuff they bought at other garage sales! It took them hours to drag all this out and set it up for sale.

By noon 95% of my stuff was gone, I had made my lunch money. When I make the decision that something is leaving my house, I become totally unattached to it and it no longer holds a specific dollar value to me - you want my used set of bath towels, they are yours for a buck or two.

So, by 2pm I was completely done and everything was gone. My neighbors would be hauling 95% of the same junk they brought out back into their garages and basements because they would not sell the old rusty sink for $20 instead of the $35 they had priced it at.

As I prepared to leave one of the neighbors asked if I would be back tomorrow to do it all over again and I was very happy to say I had nothing left to sell. I knew they simply couldn’t imagine how I managed that!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Change is in the air

What can organizing offer at this time of uncertainty?

Life is change, and change can be hard, especially when it is dropped in our laps and not of our own doing. Most of us still have a tough go at wrapping our minds around living in a time where nothing seems to be the way it use to be.

But embracing change is indeed what we have to do. As the saying goes, “only one thing is constant - change.”

Now is a very good time to take stock of all that you have and evaluate its real usefulness. Are things just taking up space, keeping you from making decisions and tying you to something that no longer serves your best interest? What steps can you take to get better control of your lives...

If you are holding on to stuff that is no longer useful, let it go.

If you have stuff taking up space in rooms that it doesn’t belong in, put it where it should go.

If your closets, drawers and cupboards are out of control, clean them out.

If your garage is filled to the rafters, clear it out.

If your clothes no longer fit you, donate them.

If your papers and bills are piling up, sort through them, file what you need and shred the rest.

Yes, at this time when most of us instinctively want to hold back, I am telling you to let go...

Organizing can give you back a sense of control in your life and we need that now more than ever. Organizing can empower you to have the space to make decisions that will improve your quality of life, not hold you back from it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cut clutter, cut cleaning time

My friends at The Clutter Diet advise that the National Soap and Detergent Association reports that getting rid of excess clutter could save 40% of the cleaning time in the average home! Gotta love that...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What the mover won't move

Recently on a move I used a new moving company and was surprised when they advised their list of things they would not pack or move, like Soy Sauce. Every moving company has their own list of items they've had bad experiences with, so you must check with them before you pack.

Generally, all moving companies will refuse:

1. Propane tanks, oxygen tanks, gas, car oils, aerosol cans of cleaning and car fluids, fire extinguishers, car batteries
2. Anything explosive or highly flammable, cans of sterno, butane, lighter fluids, lighters, matches
3. Ammonia, bleaches, most household cleaning and laundry products, pool chemicals, pesticides
4. Ammunition and household batteries (as in D, C, AA, AAA, etc.)
5. Paints, paint thinners, even children's paint sets, chemistry sets
6. Gardening supplies, snail baits, poisons, fertilizers
7. Nail polish and remover

Items most commonly in question and depending on the distance of the move:

1. Food - perishables
2. Open containers of cooking oils and liquids
3. Produce
4. Household plants
5. Alcohol and wine

When in doubt, give the item to your neighbors and buy fresh at your new location.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moving in

Just returned home after spending 2 days in Saratoga unpacking one of my favorite clients. They moved from Danville and my associate, Charlotte Scott of Custom Move Solutions and I packed and then unpacked their kitchen and dining room. The weather was hot, but they made it fun and we got to soak our feet their pool to cool down, so all in all not so bad.

Here's the new kitchen on moving day...

And voila, the next day - done!

Here's Charlotte putting the finishing touches on the office bookcase.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Move management

One of my organizing clients recently moved. She opted to manage the move herself. She felt that since they were only moving one mile away and using a major moving company with a good reputation she wouldn't need a professional move manager. Today I went to see her new house so we could start planning the kitchen organizing. When I asked how the move went she told me that they lost 15 boxes on the move. Gone, vanished into thin air. The boxes contained her antique Christmas Ornaments and her grandmother's silver. The moving company only pays .60 lb, so they will be sending her a check for $80.00. There's nothing anyone can do about it.

As a professional moving manager, I have learned that no matter who the moving company is, it's so easy to lose things in a move. Instructions that aren't clearly understood causes boxes that were meant to be moved put into a dumpster instead. Someone not paying attention leaves boxes on the street and they disappear. Moving company help who help themselves to your stuff. Boxes left behind in the old house or in the truck when the move is done.

Moving is disruptive and no one person can be paying attention to everything that is going on during a move. If you are managing your own move here are some points to consider:

1. Pack extremely valuable items yourself and if you can take those boxes in your car. If valuables have to be moved by movers, do not label the boxes "Grandma's Silver" or "Antique Jewelry".

2. Inventory your items. Take photos of your stuff so you can prove what you own.

3. Number the boxes yourself. Moving companies do not do inventories on local moves, it takes too much time so it's expensive. That leaves YOU to count the boxes and number them as they go out your door.

4. Have someone at the door watching your things being loaded in the moving truck.

5. Do not let the movers stop along the route (on local moves). Make you sure you have water and food for them so they don't leave the premises with your stuff in the truck while they go off to find the local hamburger stand.

6. Check the truck before they leave. Make sure the truck is empty! Check under moving blankets and in any boxes left on the truck.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Toni Berry, Hanging Art

Hang things closer together rather than farther apart. I often use the width of the frames as the spacing between pieces, and very rarely hang pictures more than two inches apart.

Use symmetrical or asymmetrical arrangements of art to create either a formal or a casual feeling. Symmetry adds balance and formality to an arrangement and is generally pleasing and calming to the observer. Or do something unexpected by hanging pictures in an asymmetrical arrangement, which can be a casual, fun look for informal settings.

Consider hanging a set of pictures with similar subject matter and frame style in a tight grouping with almost no space at all between the frames, like the photo above. Note the frames and the art itself support the color of the decor, driving the purity of the color as the focal point.

Hang things lower rather than higher. In general, artwork should be hung so that the center point of the picture, or grouping, is at eye level for the average person. (5 1/2 feet from the floor is the "universal" eye- level height).

Don't get stuck in the rut of hanging all of your art in a predominately horizontal arrangement. Create interest and visual excitement by hanging several pieces in a vertical "stack". When hanging 2 pieces one under the other, go for the unexpected - hang the larger piece above the smaller one to avoid a "bottom heavy" look. Or try propping a piece against a wall or mantel, not hanging it at all, this works great for mirrors too!

A grouping of pictures should be thought of as one unit. Test an arrangement of art by laying everything out on the floor, seeing how they relate in size, color and subject matter. Play with combinations until you hit upon one that works, then transfer your final arrangement to the wall.

Relate artwork to the furniture below it. When hanging art over a table or sofa, for instance, the bottom of the frame should sit within 4-8" of the furniture below and its width should be less than that of the furniture.

Bigger is often better even in small spaces. One large painting can make a real statement, keep things simple, and draw attention to a room's focal point, like a fireplace or sofa.

Still need help hanging your art creatively? Marie Antoinette Interiors offers art placement and hanging services - give Toni a call at 925 862-9064.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Start your engines

My client is a retired professional race car driver hoping to finally organize his racing car tools and paraphernalia in his new garage. I spent a day with him gathering all the stuff together, measuring the available space and then shopping for the necessary organizing supplies. The next day we put all the tools, nuts, bolts, files and cleaning supplies in their new storage units and away he went.



Chocolate & Zucchini

I don't know how I missed this, but I have discovered the most delightful books by Clotilde Dusoulier.

In adddition, she has a wonderful blog at chocolateandzucchini and a newsletter - try it, you'll be transported to France at the click of your mouse.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Well, I had no intention of doing movie reviews on my blog, but I have to tell you - I loved this movie! Great fun, wonderful cast (yes, Pierce Brosnan can not sing - but who cares!). I never was a ABBA fan, but somehow I recognized and enjoyed most of the songs.

If for no other reason to see this film, the location is absolutely spectacularly beautiful! If you have never thought of going to Greece, you will after you see this film. It's the cheapest vacation I've had in a while.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hanging it

One of the best parts of my job is solving the unique organizing issues that my clients pose. Not your everyday issues, but one's that are special just to them.

In this case, he wanted a way to keep certain tools and household fixit gadgets neat and handy. She wanted a way to see her jewelry and keep her necklaces untangled.

So, for him I used a clear plastic over the door shoe organizer for the tools.

For her, I used a grid and post system and attached it to the back of a cabinet in their master closet.

Problems neatly solved!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Clever ad for recycling

This scavenger truck got my attention on a San Francisco street last week. If you live in SF you can call 415-330-1300 to pick up your junk - including electronic waste. It's not free, but they take EVERYTHING!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Shred it

EVERYONE should be shredding their mail and sensitive papers, but not all shredders are up to the task. I go into many homes with broken shredders and the owners are reluctant to get a new one.

When buying a shredder, even for home use, go for power! I don't recommend shredders with a mesh basket - chopped paper gets stuck in the mesh and they are a pain to empty.

Office Depot now offers customer reviews of products on their website, so before you buy you can check out what others have to say about their purchases and perhaps make a better decision about yours.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Downsizing or rightsizing?

You could be doing both. Rightsizing is taking stock of what you have and eliminating all those things you really don't need or absolutely love. This can be done at any time of life. Downsizing generally refers to the decision to move to smaller quarters and eliminate much of what you have accumulated over a life time of collecting, whether consciously or unconsciously (as in "where in the world did all this stuff come from?"). Sometimes downsizing is associated with those who are through raising their families, retiring and leaving larger homes for an easier and simpler lifestyle.

I would love to encourage all of us to start the rightsizing process sooner rather than later. Do we really need all this stuff around us to make us feel good about ourselves? Why do we need to buy something from every place we visit or every event we attend? Does the set of plastic baseball cups on the top shelf in the back of the cabinet with the dead spiders in them really bring us any pleasure? Why can't we live without these things?

Author Ciji Ware has written a great book called "Rightsizing Your Life" and I highly recommend it. Go to or and order a copy, then pass it on to a friend or family member.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A well made bed

In the course of my work moving people, I make a lot of beds. I would like to point out some things about beds that are important to the health and well being of you and your family.

Start with a good mattress, especially for children. Mattresses that are stained and sag are harboring a collection of germs and mites more staggering than the national debt. Not to mention the damage they are doing to your back and hips when the springs are shot.

Use a mattress pad on top of your mattress. Mattress pads are meant to be a washable protective layer between you and your mattress. They should be washed monthly in extremely hot water and dried thoroughly. They should be replaced regularly to ensure that they remain a protective barrier.

Pillows should be washed regularly as well. A pillow only has a life time of 1 to 2 years (forget the 5 year warranty tag!). All pillows should be covered with pillow protectors. These are inexpensive zippered covers that act as a washable protective barrier between you and your pillow.

Duvet or Duvet covers (same thing) are meant to go over comforters. They either zipper, button or tie at the bottom of the cover. They are meant as a washable protective barrier between you and your comforter and should be washed regularly.

We spend a good deal of time in our beds and caring for them properly will bring you years of comfort and better health.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Raiding King Tut's Tomb

Recently, we cleaned out the pantry of a couple who are moving. We found loads of canned goods and boxes of dry goods dating back DECADES! It's not the first time we've encountered bulging cans and melting boxes in the back of a kitchen cupboard. A couple of years ago we moved a couple and they had food that was so old the cans had actually melted into the wood shelving. I asked the husband for permission to throw stuff out and he said "well, unless it came from King Tut's tomb, we're eating it"!

Nothing lasts forever.... cans do have an expiration, so do grains like rice and all flours. Just because something is in a can or bottle doesn't mean it can't go bad. And Never, EVER eat anything out of a bulging or oozing can!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

All in a day's work

Our client is a hoarder who suffers from clinical depression and is trying hard to make a new start. We are helping to sort through the clutter, and organize what will be saved. It's going to be a long process, but we are making a good progress...

Here's Ramon sorting through the stuff on the floor...

After sorting and organizing we have boxes with like items for the homeowner to go through and decide if they want to keep or donate.

Another room needing our help...

After Ramon and I have been through the room. We finished these 2 rooms in just 6 hours. Now to tackle the remaining 6 areas...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Green bags

In most of the homes I work on keeping and storing grocery bags, whether paper or plastic, is a big problem. They end up stashed in drawers and cabinets or wedged between the refrig and the stove and often times stuffed into water heater closets. Where are they in your house?

My favorite reusable shopping bag comes from Whole Foods. There is just something right about their "green bag" that works for me. I like the soft light weight material, the hard bottom piece, the size that's perfect for me to lift and carry. I keep a pack of these in my car and use them for carrying groceries, organizing supplies and other misc. stuff. They run about a $1.00 at Whole Foods stores.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting ready to sell

My clients are getting ready to sell the home they have been in for 20 years. This means decluttering the entire house, starting with the 3 car garage where things have been piling up for years.


We dove in, creating piles of things to donate, discard, pack up for storage and a few things to leave out for use while they are still living there. Discard went to the dump, donate went to charity and what's left are packed boxes that will be taken away to storage before the first open house.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What does this go to?

I spent the day on the floor in my client's office weeding through hundreds of electronic cords - every size, shape and color - and no one had any idea what they went to. Most seem to go with equipment that they no longer even own.

When you take your new toy out of the box and you find there are cords and other miscellaneous pieces that you won't be using, put them in a ziplock bag, write the name of the equipment on the bag and then you can safely stuff them away.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Of Cats and PODS

According to Mobile Self Storage Magazine, an increasing number of cats are being found in PODS and other mobile storage units weeks after the units have been packed and sent off to the holding facilities. Apparently cats love to crawl in when no one is looking, get locked in and then taken away. So, before you lock up your POD, check to see if your neighbor's cat has wander in for a nap!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Area Rugs

My friend and favorite designer, Toni Berry of Marie Antoinette Custom Home Interiors, puts out a terrific monthly newsletter. This month she talks about a subject dear to me, area rugs. Here's her suggestion:

The 3 Rug Rules...

Area rugs are a valuable addition to almost every living or family room.The addition of an area rug anchors the conversation area, especially in today's open floor plans where the furniture can be "floating" away from the walls. Three rules to keep in mind:

Make sure the rug is large enough for the space - for most living rooms, an 8' x 10' or 8' x 11' rug is best. (Definitely no smaller than 5' x 8'!)

Place at least the front legs of the seating pieces on the area rug - there should be no "gap" between the rug and the front of the furniture.

When placing an area rug in a dining area, it should be at least 6" wider than the space a chair pulled back would take up. When in doubt always go up in size, not down!

You can sign up for Toni's newsletter by emailing: or call Toni at 925.862.9064. Tell her you read about her on my blog.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Organizing photos

Q: I've got photos stuffed in drawers and tumbling out of cabinets, how can I get them organized?

A: I am all about simplicity on this one. Most of the people I work with always say the same thing, "I'm going to organize these photos into scrapbooks someday." Very few people actually have the time and energy to keep up photo "scrapbooks". Yes, you get started, yes, you buy all the stickies and scissors that cut paper into the shape of the Eiffel Tower, but no, you don't finish and then you're left with a bigger mess and more stuff to organize. So stop already!

My favorite way to keep photos is simply in acid free photo boxes. Just put the photos in and don't worry about the order for now. It's actually more fun to be able to grab a handful of photos and randomly view your family history. The photos are kept safe and clean. Later on you can take one box at a time and group the photos behind the dividers that are included in the box and separate the boxes by year or subject matter...or not!

Acid free boxes can be purchased at craft stores, Michael's,  Target and The Container Store.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vacation memories

Unless you are really desperate for a plastic keychain that says "Surfs Up" or another refrig magnet -- don't buy it! Find things that are more meaningful and lasting to remind you of your visits to great places. A few shells collected from the beach or a small rock from the top of the mountain will last longer, cost nothing extra and will give you more pleasure in the long run.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What's the best way to move furniture?

Question: "How do we move our furniture without damaging it?"
Answer: Here is a series of photos showing the best way to move your furniture...

First, this dresser is being shrink wrapped to keep the drawers from falling out during the move.

Second, the dresser is then blanket wrapped.

Finally, the blanket wrapping is taped in place the piece is carefully taken to the truck for loading.

Certainly, wrapping all your furniture takes extra time, but in the end, it's worth it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Not all organizers are created equal

I heard 2 disturbing stories this week about "professional organizers". One involved a new organizer who took a job with a client whose needs he/she could not serve. The second story involved someone advertising themselves on Craig's List as a professional organizer and turning out to have been convicted of theft.

So, here's the thing. These days anyone and everyone can put up a fairly convincing website or post an appealing ad calling themselves "professionals" and "experts" and "specialists", when in fact, they have few or none of the skills they profess. As always, it is imperative that you check references and credentials of those who you invite into your house.

I wish I could tell you that being a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) was a sure sign of quality, but alas, I can not. While I believe it is important to be a member of this group, it does not assure that an organizer has the skills to solve your particular issue or will abide by the NAPO code of ethics. Many people simply pay the dues, put the logo on their site and hope that you won't ask about their training and experience. I'll be posting a list of questions that I think everyone should consider asking when they are interviewing organizers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dry cleaning

Return wire hangers to the dry cleaners for reuse and ask that my clothes be bundled together under the plastic covers, rather than each one covered in plastic separately. Better yet, only my white or light colored items need to be covered in plastic at all.
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