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.


Spanx vs the Lapband: what’s your clutter situation?

Did you ever consider losing clutter to be analogous to losing weight? It is! And though everyone is unique, in Get Organized Already’s professional organizing adventures three different situations show up over and over.

Which of the following weight loss scenarios best describes you? Check out my pro tips to help you get organized no matter what the size of your clutter is.
nonni w basket

Tummy tuck anyone?

Sometimes when we walk in the door with our cute aprons and our magic organizing basket, people want to have a complete overhaul. Their house, or just a room, is too packed to be usable anymore. If this sounds familiar, you are probably too overwhelmed to know where to start.

Pro tip: Start with a trash bag, a lined donation bin, and a box for any papers you find. Start in one corner of the room and set a timer. Touch everything only once, put each item in the appropriate container, and work until the timer goes off. That’s less daunting than tackling the whole room, right? In situations like this, our professional team will spend a few hours getting your room, or home, back to a manageable state. The momentum will keep you moving forward on your own or with people who love you.

Staying in shape

My personal organizing style is livable and comfortable. I know where everything is, but the beds may not be made. (Shocking, I know! But this is real life we are living—not a movie.) As long as the people in my home know where stuff lives, we can all navigate around each other and not spend our time searching for our things (and yelling, “HAVE YOU SEEN IT?” across the house). This scenario is for those who need a maintenance plan to keep their home organized.

Pro tip: Let all users of items know where things belong using labels. (It doesn’t have to be fancy. A sticky note or painter’s tape works just fine inside cabinets, drawers, and pantries.)

People generally flip out about this comfortable style of organizing because they have fallen victim to thinking that organized means rigid and perfect. Newsflash: perfection is not possible! A comfortable style of organizing suits most people because it is realistic and less expensive (as in no fancy labels or matching containers to buy). And works a lot better than what about 56 percent of you have going on right now: the dreaded PicMonkey Collagewe-don’t-have-a-system approach.

Ready for the college reunion

At the far end of the organizing continuum lie the Martha Stewart and Howard Hughes personalities of the world. Get Organized Already can help you, too! I have two lovely ladies on my organizing team with extensive backgrounds in interior design. They are amazing at creating the types of rooms you see in magazines. Whenever someone calls and I can tell they want to take their home to the next level (think Better Homes and Gardens or Apartment Therapy), I send out my Label Ladies.

I love to be in these places: fresh flowers and herbs in the entryway, a calendar printed in chalkboard paint and framed in a custom frame. Open the drawers and angels sing. The labels whisper beautiful phrases like, “fresh nutmeg” and “organic basmati rice.”

I’m not kidding. It is very peaceful and if I could, I’d have a Get Organized Already organizer over here every day to keep my shizzle looking like that in a heartbeat!

Pro tip: Getting organized isn’t a one time event. It has to happen regularly.

Everyone has their comfort level. Whatever your state of comfort or chaos, there’s a way to stay organized. And my team can help you accomplish your vision of the just-right organized home for less than you spend on two trips to Whole Foods. True story.

Turkey Day Preppers

Get Organized Already

Photo credit to Vicki Nikolaidis via Flickr

Preparing for Thanksgiving is kind of like preparing for the end of the world. Everyone is hoarding food, the store shelves are stripped bare, and everyone is running around like they are never going to see the light of tomorrow.

The biggest stresser is timing. I mean, the turkey takes hours, the gravy takes minutes. There are sides, and salads, desserts, and cocktails. How in the world are you going to make sure everything comes out at the right time?

Plan ahead.

This important step may add a little more time to your prep routine, but it will be worth it. It’s something I have done to keep me from losing it every holiday season. Plus, once you have your routine down to a science, you can it apply it to other times like birthdays or the super bowl party your other half springs on you a week before.

First things first: The guest list. You can’t possibly know how much to make if you have no idea how many people are coming.

Once you have your list, prepare 1.5 servings per person even for children, because while they may not eat their allotted serving, that extra will be there for the person who comes back for their third plate.

Get Organized Already

Photo credit to Bruce Turner via Flickr

Next thing: Grocery list. Decide ahead of time what you’re going to make and write a list of food items with each one’s ingredients underneath. You don’t need to include measurements in this list. Go through your pantry and cabinets and cross off what you already have on hand. Eggs, butter, and milk are things to buy even if you have some on hand. Chances are you’re going to need more than what you have.

To make your big day easier, prep some of your food the day before. Assemble the baked macaroni so all you’ll have to do is pop it in the oven while the turkey is resting. Boil your potatoes the day before and mash them on the day of. You can even put pies together, refrigerate, and bake them while everyone is eating.

How much early preparation you do depends on your comfort level and what you’re making. To make it easier (and because I’m a huge list person), write out everything you will be making the day before. List all of the preparatory steps one food item at a time. The list will keep you from feeling frazzled, and going in circles.

What are some Thanksgiving cooking tips and tricks you find helpful?

Or is this your first Thanksgiving? If so, what are some concerns and worries you have?

Have an Organized Vacation!

Video for people who go to the same rental, condo, or timeshare each year.

Organizing tips for your vacation from Los Angeles area professional organizer, Nonnahs Driskill of Get Organized Already.

Whenever we go to this place I forget if they provide the paper towels. Do they stock olive oil? Did I bring dish soap last time?

grrr… I’m supposed to be so organized!

What do you always forget to bring?

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

The first step to getting organized (it’s surprising)

Staying on top of the trash situation in your living area is the first, most important step to getting organized.

Don’t believe it is that easy? Well think about the organized homes you’ve seen. Do they have trash laying around? Have you ever seen an over-stuffed trash bin in “Martha Stewart Living”? So, see. I told you!

Considering the importance of taking out the trash, here is a public service announcement from Get Organized Already. (at no charge)

When you go to put something into a trash can that is obviously full, please empty the receptacle.

There is no good excuse NOT to do this simple everyday chore.

sample bad excuses

It’s someone else’s chore, not mine! Think about whether it’s easier to just take out the trash yourself or to let them know they have neglected their chore? Which is better: resentment or a stinky room? (tough call)

I did it last time! Thank you! Now do it again. Trash happens every day.

I live alone. Do you want to have to handle that mound of trash later as it overflows onto the floor and the dog knocks you over as you struggle to get out another trash bag for the mess that’s spilling everywhere?

Seriously, if you have to shove the trash into the can, it’s TIME TO TAKE IT OUT. And what better way to express your love for those you live with than to handle it before it gets ugly.

Thank you for listening and feel free to share this with other trash neglectors in your life.

organizing tip #1

cut and paste for your your home

Organizing in the cloud

Because I’m married to a techie I am constantly being forwarded another “rad article” from Lifehacker.com. They are usually full of HTML and PQRS. BUT… Because of said articles (and said techie husband) I have all of my documents backed up on Dropbox.com, all of my photos backed up via google instant upload, and all of my to do lists on catch.com. I have lists, deposit slips, and other things on evernote.com, too.

All of these sites are indeed miraculous and I highly recommend you check them out and increase your electronic organizing prowess. Some people–those using Apple products–call this the Cloud. I call it smart. And it just saved my britches for sure!

You see, this weekend, for reasons unknown to man, MY LAPTOP DIED. Caputz. Can you believe that?! You know this feeling. It’s a feeling of complete abandonment. Like you have lost (almost) everything you need to be productive. Everyone has had a hard-drive bite the dust on them and it never happens at a good time.

Organizing in the cloudJeff tried to fix mine (see photo). But the power source is completely dead. You might think I’d be pulling out my hair and heading over to Best Buy to get a new machine. But, I’m not. I’ve got everything I need to keep working via the internet and I can do anything I need to do at any computer with a connection.

Do you have all your business backed up? Are you prepared for your laptop to kick the bucket or for your latte to spill and render it helpless?

Well, it’s about time to get you electronically organized already! I know a great IT guy, Bob Fitzgerald at PC Essentials in Pasadena. If you need some more advanced tech-geek solutions, he is your man! If you want to go paperless, partially paperless, back up your documents, start paying bills online, balancing your budget online, or any other online organizing endeavor, I can certainly help with that.

Because it’s 2012, people! And a dead computer shouldn’t make you cry. In fact, in shouldn’t even slow you down.