I heart my professional organizer! a testimonial

A 2-minute video testimonial from Marge about working with a professional organizer from Get Organized Already–the fabulous Michelle!

We help nice people get organized.


Organizing your kids’ artwork

Rare is the home without this first-world problem: What do we do with all of these projects, artwork, and other creations our kids are making at school/camp/daycare?

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“Gum Sushi”

A few parents who have somehow overcome their American-sentimentality-tendencies manage to sneak a good portion of the macaroni paintings into the trash unnoticed. But even the most cold-hearted of parents may find themselves confronted by these piercing words from a kindergarten angel with a furrowed brow, “Mommy? Where are my turkey hands from school?” And maybe it’s February and you threw away the turkey hands when the cotton-ball snow collage came in in December. Or, maybe you have a box full of artwork and the turkey

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Darla’s invention

hands are mangled under 3 months’ worth of more recent masterpieces. Either way, you are BUSTED! How can this be avoided? How can you keep all of that artwork organized?

Go digital

My very favorite solution is to take a photo of the art project. If you have an iPhone, get the kidzibit app to organize art from each young artist in your life into their own galleries. You can even use kidzibit to keep track of awards and certificates they earn. You can save photos of 3-D projects as well.

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I love this solution because it doesn’t take up physical space, and you can do this as you go. We always have our phones handy, right? So as soon as we are presented with the artwork, we can use this organizing tool right away. This will cut down, or eliminate the piles and build up of artwork and awards waiting to be displayed or filed.

Once you have a picture in your kidzibit gallery, you can use one of the following organizing strategies:

Make a physical gallery

Dedicate one wall to hangable art and one surface of your home to display 3-D projects.The key with this solution is to keep the pieces rotating.


Might I suggest being extremely selective about what goes into the portfolio. Have one portfolio for every 1-2 years, not every 1-2 months! When you went off to college or moved out of your parents’ house, did you want to take a few hundred pounds of childhood artwork? No. Remember that. You are saving this artwork mostly for you. Not for your children.

Play “pick your favorite”

Consider how long it took your child to create the artwork. Let that give you some perspective on how long you need to keep it. The fridge is a nice, very visible space to put this stuff. When your pumpkin makes a new pumpkin picture, ask him which one he likes better and wants to keep up on the fridge for this week.

Share the love

Get Organized AlreadyMailing a piece of kid-art to your parents or other relatives is a great way to keep the piles moving without any guilt. In fact, you actually earn brownie points!

Whatever you chose to do with the art in your life, don’t let it bog you down with guilt. Do what feels right for you. If your mom threw all of your stuff away you are going to be more of a saver and that is fine.

Kids’ art is amazing. Breathe it in and move on.

What other ways do you organize your child’s creations? I wanna know.

Organizing Clothes by Season

Advanced organizing project for people with very little closets.
Also good for people who want to see inside a professional organizer’s closet.
Also good for Paul Simon fans and people who just want to hang out with me a little bit on a Tuesday.

“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon

This is real-ly awesome

I’m blaming it all on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

With their song “Thrift Shop” playing on every station every five minutes for the past few months, my heretofore ignorant-of-bad-words children have turned into little cuss monitors.

Jeff and I go through phases where we say a lot of curse words. (Jeff especially. I’m just trying to keep up, really.) But, we save the potty mouth for our friends and never let anything slip in front of our kids. Honest to goodness, we never do.

Well, maybe Jeff did once but who cared? Not Darla and Zane. They didn’t notice.

Now! They notice. Oh boy do they notice every time someone says even a pseudo-bad word, or the radio beeps out a bad word, they notice. Yesterday, for instance, they heard Jeff on the phone with a friend. He didn’t realize the kids were within earshot so I  guess, from what they told me, he was letting ’em fly like gang-busters.

That was embarrassing.

Which has led us to our newest family challenge: can we, including the grown-ups who love to swear, give it up completely? Could you? As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” If we can’t handle this challenge ourselves, how can we expect our children to?

My angels are old enough now to be hearing bad words at school and on movies and radio. Therefore they feel they are old enough to use them. However, we’ve been explaining to them that it isn’t a question of age which allows one to spout profanities. It’s more of an image issue: classy vs trashy.

I give them alternate colorful words to use, like Samuel Jackson. (Not as in copying his diction, as in saying his name in place of a swear word. “SAM-U-EL JACKson!” Good, right?) And instead of just saying nothing during the f-bombs in “Thrift Shop” while your brain clearly thinks the word. I told them, just sing “This is really awesome” instead. It helps. Try it:

Now you have the idea, do you have some other stand-in lyrics for the other potty words?


PPS: check out the tags on this post. Epic.

Trash, Recycling, and Compulsive Behaviors

My husband has given up on recycling.

He loves the idea as much as anyone. Alas living with me has forced him to quit trying. It’s hard to be married to an organizer.

The problem is my compulsive need to have the trash in the proper container. OK, so maybe when I find things in the trash which can be recycled I pull them out, rinse them, and throw them in the blue bin. Then there are the times I find trash in the blue bin and I have to fish it out to put them in the trash.

NO, I don’t love smelling like nastiness. I just like things in the right place! And I know that for as many of you out there who are scowling (JEFF DRISKILL) at the mention of this bizarre refuse-sorting activity, there are just as many of you thinking “Yes! The right place.”

We are not weird. We are concerned.

And I am especially, inexplicably concerned with trash–Where is goes. How much there is. Who handles it. How can I help.

photo by Michelle Powell


all of our trash on belts getting sorted by hand

To find answers I joined my NAPO neighborhood group (facilitated by the incredible Cari Dawson) on a field trip to the Athens Services Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in the City of Industry. That’s right, we toured the dump! And we liked it! It was fascinating to see what is thrown away and how it is handled by the workers at the facility.

Passing on the knowledge we gained:

  • if possible, do not bag your garbage (or at least leave the bag opened) so the contents are easily sorted
  • remove lids from containers before recycling them
  • hazardous liquids are an enormous problem if they end up in the regular trash (think- running over a huge packet of ketchup in your car. KER-SPLAT!)
  • truck drivers get paid bank and have good benefits
  • in some neighborhoods recycling and trash are collected in one bin and it does get sorted and recycled at the MRF

Now, to see if I can get an internship with the people picking trash from along the freeways…