What To Do With Messy Co-Worker?

March 6, 2017


Your Office Coach, Marie G. McIntyre of Tribune News Service responded to a question about an individual with a messy office.  In Otherwise excellent co-worker is too messy appearing yesterday in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, there are actually two questions.

Responding to the first one: there are other options available rather than a group intervention with “Mark”….something that could actually do more harm than good (see second question in this article).  There could be many reasons that “Mark’s” office is messy: perhaps he is overwhelmed with work, perhaps no one ever taught him organizing skills, perhaps the company has not been clear on retention policies, etc.  The first step for the supervisor is to find the reason, and the next step would be to plan how to make improvements.

As Professional Organizers we have helped many individuals in similar situations.  One such person said “”I was chronically disorganized, and it had an adverse affect on my work. After spending a day with Organizing 4 U, I am much more productive, and I proudly leave the office every day with a clean desktop. No more piles!”.

Professional Organizers organize much more than closets.  I hope that “Mark’s” co-workers will be able to offer alternative solutions.

Thanks for reading,


It’s Almost Tax Time

February 14, 2017

tax-fileIt’s time to organize your paperwork for taxes. Do you have a separate file for this yet? If not, collect all of the tax forms which have arrived in the mail so far, and put them in one file. Check against last year’s file to see if you have received everything you need. Many institutions now put their forms on-line and you need to download them, so do review exactly what you have in hand. Put into this file your charitable donation receipts as well. Have a business with expenses? Be sure to include those and documentation on any other deductions you are permitted to take. Good prep work will make the tax season less stressful!

Muffy and JoEllen

2017 Will Be THE Year!

January 27, 2017


Can you feel it?  2017 has arrived and this will be the year that you will get yourself organized!!!!

If you are one of the thousands (millions?) of individuals who have made a New Year’s Resolution to GET ORGANIZED this year, we want to tell you that we are here to help.

What has held you back from your organizing goals in the past?

What tips and strategies will help you this year?

What are some resources that will keep you on the path to success?

Our New Year’s Resolution is to give you tips every month that will help you achieve your New Year’s Resolution to GET ORGANIZED.

The tips this month are based upon a question from one of our many readers.

So let us know your questions, and we will answer them in an upcoming newsletter.

We find that one of the things that holds people back from getting rid of items, is that they do not know what to do with those items once they have made the decision to no  longer keep them.  Here are several resources for you.  Each organization has a different mission, and they will also differ in the types of donations they will accept.  Many will have pick up services and/or drop off locations.  Follow the links to find out the best fit for you and the items you wish to donate.









Did you do a lot of shopping at Amazon this year?  Amazon has partnered with Goodwill Industries using your Amazon boxes.  Fill them with donatable items, print a free shipping label, then drop them off at a local UPS or Post Office and they will be shipped, for free, to a local Goodwill Industries center.

In addition to accepting books for the Friends of the Library, most libraries have a drop-off box to donate glasses that are no longer your current prescription.

Depending upon what you wish to donate, you can also consider local women’s shelters, churches, pre-schools, day-care centers, senior centers and nursing homes. If you wish to claim a tax deduction, then be sure to secure a receipt and save it in a file marked 2017 Taxes.

Sometimes, you may want to sell an item you no longer need, and most people think of ebay, and craigslist.  However, there is a time commitment involved and it is not always worth the effort.  As an alternative, consider consignment stores and other types of resale shops and on-line auctions where someone else will do the work.  Yes, they will take a commission, but you do not have to do anything but collect the proceeds.

Is that still too much of a hassle?  Then donate your items, collect a donation receipt and take a tax deduction, which we see is often higher than the payment you would receive.

Now that you have all of these resources, you can corral all of your items, put them in your car or schedule a pickup, and let those items find a new home.

What will help you get organized?  Send us your questions…..

We hope you have a Happy, Healthy and Organized New Year,

JoEllen & Muffy


To Keep Or Not To Keep?

January 19, 2017

“JoEllen & Muffy changed my life!”

Wow, I really like this article, and think it is an important read for anyone getting started on an organizing project in the New Year.  In Life Simplified: Expert Advice on Getting Organized, the author, Ann Trainum interviews Professional Organizer Laurie Martin of Simplicity Organizers, who succinctly shares her advice on areas in which we find many of our customers are stuck.

Laurie’s definition of clutter pretty much sums it up:

Clutter is anything that is unused or unloved, anything that exceeds your storage capacity, and anything that if tossed, can be easily and inexpensively replaced should the need arise.

This is just so simple!  Anytime you are working on an organizing project, and need to decide on what to keep or not to keep, just ask yourself these important questions :

  • Do I use this?  Remember, this is not the possibility of…… it is actually do you use it?
  • Do I love it?  This is not, “Am I keeping this because someone gave it to me and I would feel guilty if I parted with it.”  It is also not “because I paid good money for it.”
  • Do I have room to store it?  That’s pretty much what leads to most of the clutter I see.  No room to store it, or don’t know where to store it.  When this happens, it goes anywhere, and can never be found when needed again.
  • Can it be inexpensively replaced?  Or, does the cost of storing the stuff, actually cost more than replacing the stuff?  Or could you find it again easily on the internet?

Ponder these questions as you tackle that area that is bothering you the most.  Start small, and you will be inspired to do more!

We recently worked with someone as she moved into a new home.  We asked similar questions of her as she sorted through all the items she had paid to have someone move, and were then donated.  It completely changed her life, as she wrote to us:

Thank you again for the wonderful and tireless work you both put into helping me make my new home, “a home.” But not only that, you have helped me beyond words because I see an improvement in my physical and emotional health as well because my stress has significantly decreased and my motivation as significantly increased. I didn’t really realize how an unorganized space connected to our health until now. It truly was worth a million dollars and I wish I had it to give to you 🙂

As a result, I am looking forward to my future in that home and pursuit of my other personal goals.

Try the questions and let me know what works for you.

Thanks for reading,



Single or Multi Tasker?

October 3, 2016

paper pileAre you a multi-tasker?

Think you operate more efficiently this way?

Guess what…the research shows otherwise.

A University of Michigan study shows that people who multi-task decrease their productivity by 20-40% and are less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time.  And the time spent switching between the tasks actually makes the task more difficult.

So do yourself a favor, and try to focus on one thing at a time and monitor the results.  We bet you are more productive not trying to multi-task throughout your day.

Muffy & JoEllen

Overcoming Procrastination

September 26, 2016

Are you a serial procrastinator?

Procrastination commonly happens for a few reasons:

  • Getting overwhelmed
  • Poor energy management
  • Lack of discipline
  • Constant interruptions
  • Perfectionism

The first four are the most obvious ones which can be helped by planning ahead today for tomorrow, or doing the most unpleasant task first so the others seem less daunting.  Perfectionists tend to procrastinate because they are afraid when they tackle the project they won’t do it as well as they would like.  This ends up in never starting the project until it is too late to do the best job you can!

Our advice is to JUST DO IT!  If you get a head start on the project, you will actually have the time to make the end product even better, so get started now!

What is your favorite method to overcome procrastination?

Muffy & JoEllen

Controlling Interruptions and Distractions

September 19, 2016

knock-on-doorsInterruptions and distractions are a huge waste of our time!  A study from the University of California, Irvine showed that “once interrupted, it takes people 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they return at all”!  None of us have an extra 25 minutes, or more, per day but what can be done to avoid this?

We suggest a couple of different approaches to solving this problem.

  • First, if you have a door on your office, close it for a set period of time (15 minutes-1 Hour) and focus on the tasks which need to be done today.  If you do not have a door, a simple sign on the entrance to your cubicle will suffice.  It politely lets people know you are unavailable at the current time.
  • Additionally, there are computer/phone apps which can help with distractions – try Self Control, Stay Focused and White Noise Ambience. Use your earbuds and easily block out noises that are hampering your concentration.

Give these a try and let us know what works for you!

Thanks for reading,

Muffy & JoEllen