January 26, 2014

Organizing Quick Tip: Organizing Donation Requests

Do you get a truckload of charities and non-profits sending you requests for donations? They can really pile up--especially at holiday time!

This scenario may sound familiar...

You write a check to a charity. A few months later another donation request from the same charity lands in your mailbox.  You don't remember whether you've donated to them or not so you do one of two things:

• you send them more money
• you toss the envelope on your desk and now it's clutter

Today's Organizing Quick Tip will help you keep track of all of those donation requests...

Create a home for 
'donation request' envelopes. 

Follow these steps to keep those donation requests under control...

• Get a small box--approximately the size of a shoe box.

Examples of some boxes for this task:

Stockholm Photo Box from The Container Store

KASSETT Box w/Lid from IKEA

• Place the box in an area close to where the mail enters the house.

• When a donation envelope comes in the mail, place it in that box.

• Go through the box every three months to sort and purge for duplicates. I guarantee--you WILL have duplicates!

• After Thanksgiving, sort and purge the the donation envelopes one last time and decide which organization(s) you'll donate to. Spread the piles across your dining room table or sofa if you need a lot of room.

• Make your donations in December--once a year (if possible). That way you'll have no problem remembering when you sent your charitable donations. This eliminates the need to look back at a year's worth of checkbook and credit card statements to see when and who you donated to.

• If you don't already have one, create a 'tax file' for papers you'll need to collect for tax purposes.

• Place receipts for your charitable donations in the tax file.

• Empty your 'donation request' box and start over.

I recently set up this system for a client and she said it made her life so much easier in these ways:

• It organized all of her donation requests in one spot.
• It allowed her to notice when she had multiple envelopes from the same charity/non-profit.
• By doing her donations once a year, she no longer has to try and remember or look back in a check book register or credit card statement to see if she already made a donation.

This will save you time, money and brain power. Give it a try--let me know how it works for you!

January 14, 2014

Get Organized Month 2014: Operation Preschool

What is January is known for?


White sales.

Lots of award shows on TV.

January is also a time for setting goals for the new year. Maybe you're looking to lose weight or get your finances in order. Or maybe...just maybe...you're thinking of getting organized!

Well, if that's the case, you're in luck because January is Get Organized Month (also known as GO Month).

In 2005, the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) proclaimed January as Get Organized Month. They developed a national campaign to stimulate public awareness of the profession and the importance of getting and staying organized. Local chapters of NAPO as well as individual professional organizers use this month to help individuals, businesses and schools bring time management, organization, storage solutions and productivity into their lives.

The last chapter-sponsored GO Month event I participated in was when I was seven months pregnant with my second child. It was held at the IKEA of Paramus and my job was to walk around the store answering questions and taking pictures of my colleagues giving demonstrations and workshops. Instead of walking, I was waddling and most of the questions I was asked by shoppers were less about organizing and more about my pregnancy!

NAPO started sending out emails about GO Month in late 2013. At around the same time, the director of my son's preschool approached me for assistance. She knows I'm a Professional Organizer and mentioned to me that the two storage closets designated for the preschool were disorganized and could use some TLC. Could I help? "Sure," I said.

When I told the teachers I'd be organizing the closets and they all asked, "Have you seen them lately?" To which I replied, "No. I'm sure they just need a little organizing and some love."

Then I took a look...

Here's another view...

Then I walked into the other storage closet...

OK...maybe they'll need a little more TLC than expected...

This is my personal 2014 GO Month project--to get the storage closets of my son's preschool organized.

What will result once these storage closets are organized?
• The teachers/director will be able to find the supplies when they need them.
• There will be no need to buy extra supplies because what they need is not accessible or can't be found.
• It will de-clutter and free up space in the classrooms and office.
• It will bring smiles to the faces of the people who have been so good to my children (and it will make their jobs A LOT easier).

I'll keep you updated on my progress!