JERI DANSKY professionalorganizer

September 2007 Newsletter

Tip of the Month: Where to Start


"I don't know where to begin!" say my clients. While there is no one right answer - as is the case with almost everything about organizing - here are some suggestions.


1. Start with whatever area bothers you the most.


2. Start with something easy - to get quick results


3. Start with something hard - because once you've done that, you can do anything. (This might also be useful if you are working with a professional organizer and want to make the most of your time. Once you've done the hard stuff, maybe you can do the easier stuff on your own.)


4. Start with the garage. Or actually, start with any secondary/remote storage, including the attic or the basement. (But in my part of California we mostly don't have basements.) Why start here? Because we often want to move less-frequently used items out of the house to the garage - but there's no room in the garage, so we have to clear that out first. Also, we sometimes start in the garage to take advantage of the nice weather in late spring, summer, and fall - before our California rains start up again.


5. Start with emergency preparation - making sure you can find your critical papers in an emergency, etc. Why here? Because it might save a life - or at least make a difficult situation significantly less stressful. More on this later on.


6. Start at random. Write down all your organizing projects on individual slips of paper. Put them in a container. Close your eyes and pick one.


7. Start with whichever project you were hoping you'd pick when you did the drawing mentioned above.


Product of the Month: Itoya Profolio Books


This is not a jazzy looking product - but it's so very useful. I use Itoya Profolios in place of 3-ring binders to carry information for clients: one for closet ideas, one for garages, one for filing and paper management, etc. They weigh so much less and fit into my briefcase (or a portable file box) with ease. And the Art Profolio version is 100% acid-free and archival safe. They are available in a number of sizes.


[photo from Blick Art Supplies, one of many places you can buy the Art Profolio]



Organizing Event of the Month: National Preparedness Month


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has declared September to be National Preparedness Month. Emergency preparedness is very important for all of us, and there's lots of information available from the Red Cross and many others. (But many of these talk about being self-sufficient for 72 hours; experts I know say you should be prepared for at least one week.)


But another kind of preparedness gets less attention - being prepared for an individual emergency, when someone is seriously ill. If someone had to come into your home (or the home of someone you care about), would they know:


  • Where to find the Advance Health Care Directive and Financial Power of Attorney? And the medical history, the list of medicines being taken, and any known allergies?
  • How to take care of the pets?
  • The passwords to get onto the computer and access e-mail?
  • The location of the checkbook, safe deposit box, and the key to that box?
  • All the oddities that most homes have - the special way you need to jiggle the handle on the toilet, etc.?
  • Who should be notified of the situation, and their addresses and phone numbers?


If not, please consider getting this information (and much more) pulled together and made available to those who might need it in an emergency. Products that might help include:



After dealing with my own mother's illness and death, I know at a whole different level how important all of this is. I truly don't care how you get this information organized - I just care that you and your dear ones take the time to do so. I'm making this my own project for September, and I hope you will join me.


Organizing Poem of the Month: T. T. T.


Put up in a place
where it's easy to see
the cryptic admonishment
T. T. T.


When you feel how depressingly
slowly you climb,
it's well to remember that
Things Take Time.


-- Piet Hein, Grooks



Highlights From My Blog in August


There were 30 entries in my organizing and de-cluttering blog in August. Some of the most popular entries were:



Clutter Control Freak Blog


I'm now an expert contributor on this multi-expert blog; my first post is Seven Hacks for the Incoming Paper Avalanche.



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