Summer Time is Party Time

I love to throw parties and I am doing two parties this summer. One this weekend and one next month. when I tell people that I really enjoy hosting a party I get a variety of responses – everything from “You must be crazy!” to “Me, too!” A lot of people fall into the “Well, I’d like to give a party, but I just don’t have the ______” (fill in the blank with time, money, energy, etc.).

If you think you would like to throw a party but are worried about all that it entails, consider these points:

  • Visualize. What would your ideal party look like and how would you want to feel? Would you be happiest with an impromptu affair that would involve people dropping in and bringing a dish – either at your home or at a park? Are you more comfortable with a planned party where you are in control of the food and you know in advance how many people are coming? Would you like a sit down formal party that you either host in your home or in a restaurant?
  • Choose a date. Unless you are doing the impromptu party and who shows up is not important, you will want to give people enough warning to keep the date open. I usually send out a save the date email about six weeks before a party. I may check with my besties to see what dates would work for them before deciding on the date.
  • Brainstorm what needs to happen to make this party a fun one for you as well as for your guests. Write down everything you can think of. This list can be edited later.
  • Develop a time line. This is what makes giving a party fun for me. I take my list which includes such things as getting my yard up to snuff, having my house clean, as well as a menu and decorations. I may have 20 or more items on this list but if I spread out the tasks, none of them are overwhelming. When I have every task scheduled on my calendar, I can relax knowing everything will be great.
  • Enjoy your party! On the day of the party don’t overdo. Be ready to roll with whatever happens and know that when your friends start to show up it’s time your you to enjoy their company.
If you are interested in having a peek at my party timeline, send me a request via email (jonda@timespaceorg.com) and I will send you a sample.


Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Master Bedroom Zone

I love to organize and declutter my master bedroom in the spring. It’s finally gotten warm enough to put away most heavy winter clothes. It is also a time when I like to clean the windows and let the sun pour in.

Anytime I work in a zone, I start with a vision. Because I share this room with my husband, it needs to be a shared vision. We want this room to have a calming and soothing feel and be a place that sparks joy and happiness. We like soft light but enough for reading. My husband meditates here so the room should have an uncluttered peaceful feel.

I allow one month to work on this zone and divide the area into four sections. The easiest way to do this is to assign one wall to each week. We look at our calendars and schedule time to do this project. Rob has his hanging clothing items in his office that is across the hall, so he will only have to schedule time to work on his dresser and end table.

  • Week One: I work on my closet. I evaluate all the clothes, shoes, handbags, and accessories to see what needs to go, what needs some care, and what is kept. I use the backward hanger trick (every time I clear out the closet, I hang up all my clothes with the hanger facing the wrong way. The first time I wear an item, I turn the hanger back around to its normal position). Any clothes that still have the hanger facing the wrong way, get a long hard look. Why have I not worn it? It may be a special occasion outfit and that occasion did not occur – so I keep it. I may have similar clothing that I prefer to wear – so I get rid of it. It may make me feel uncomfortable – low neckline, too short, a bit too tight, makes me feel old – so I get rid of it.
  • Week Two: I work on the wall with my dresser and Rob works on his dresser that is on the closet wall. We take every thing out and toss out anything that is damaged and put into a donation box anything that no longer fits or that we no longer enjoy wearing. I take out my heavy sweaters and tops and put them in a container that is in the closet. While working on this wall, I clean the dressers and any accessories that are on that wall.
  • Week Three: I work on a wall that only has a window. I also do the window that is on the bed side wall. I clean the blinds, the frames, and the inside of the windows.
  • Week Four: I work on the bed wall. We clear our end tables. Over the year a lot of reading material has accumulated. We pull out all items we are not currently reading and empty and clean out the drawers. During this week I also clean the bed and all bed linens. The duvet is cleaned and stored away for the warm months. Any accessories that are on the end tables and wall are also cleaned. 
As a reward for completing this zone, I will allow myself a shopping trip to purchase a few items that will replace some of the tossed ones. Then I will put out fresh flowers and step back and admire the space. I feel we will sleep better in the clear, clean bedroom.




Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Clutter Awareness

Clutter Awareness week is the last week in March. Since procrastination and clutter go hand in hand, I am giving you a “heads up” so that you can schedule time to develop a plan to reduce any clutter that has accumulated in your space.

Often, we don’t even see the clutter around us. We get used to it being part of our daily environment. Take a walk through your house.  Pretend you are showing it to sell. Notice surfaces that have piles of paper or other items. Are there objects stacked on the floor? Another technique is to take pictures of your rooms. It is amazing what you see in a picture that you didn’t notice otherwise. The picture may show you that end table stacked with things to read and other bits and pieces. It may show you the kitchen counter so crammed you have to move things in order to prep food.

Clutter can impact your daily living. It can eat up your time as you look for needed items. Clutter can affect your health as it holds dust, dander, and even hides mold. You are less likely to cook healthy meals if your kitchen is cluttered. Clutter can also become a trip hazard. Clutter can cost you money due to overdue payments on bills you have misplaced or buying items you already have but can’t find. Clutter can affect your social life as well. You may find yourself embarrassed to have people come into your home.

Now is the time to plan. Grab your calendar and choose one area of your home to declutter. Make a list of all the tasks you want to accomplish in that area and schedule a time now to complete the tasks. By the end of March, have that one area clutter free!



Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Let’s Throw a Party!

During the holidays chances are that you are either throwing a party or are a part of setting up a party. It might be a large Thanksgiving gathering, a choir or work party, a cookie exchange, or a gala New Year Eve party.

Since I love to give parties, over the years I have developed a plan that lets me enjoy my own parties. The plan involves backwards planning and looks like this:

  • Start with your vision. What is the purpose of this party? Where is it held? How will it look and feel if it turns out perfectly? Look over each component of the party and see it clearly – the local, the food, the people, the ambiance.
  • Choose a date for this event. Then at least six weeks out develop your guest list and send a save the date email followed by the actual invitation.
  • Take each component and decide what needs to happen for the vision to come true. For example, if the party is held in your home and it is a Christmas party, you see your home decorated and set up for the party. Make a list of every detail that needs attention between now and the party. If there is a decorated Christmas tree in your party space you will list decorating the tree, bringing out your decorations, putting up the tree, buying the tree – probably on four different days.
  • Develop your timeline. Put all the tasks on your calendar. Now follow your plan.
If you follow your plan you never have to worry about if you have time to get ready. If you are interested in the timeline I have developed for my Holiday 2017 party just contact me at jonda@timespaceorg.com and request it. You can see how I blocked out times for baking and most of one weekend before the party to prepare the house. This is what it takes to make my vision come true.
Enjoy!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Backward Planning for Stress Free Projects

I frequently use and recommend backward planning as a time management tool when working on any project. Backward planning works equally well on smaller projects like planning a party or preparing a presentation, or on larger projects like moving or house renovation. Once you have developed your plan, you just follow the plan and relax knowing that everything is covered.

It works like this:

  • Start with the end in mind. What does the end product look like and how are you going to feel? Using a party as an example, I would envision that my home is filled with friends, there is an abundance of good food, and that I am enjoying this party as well as my guests.
  • Plan an end date. When does all this have to come together? When is the party? When is the move?
  • Do a brain dump of all the things that must happen in order for your vision of a perfect project to come true. For the party some items on my list are: make up a guest list, decide on a theme, send out save the date emails, choose invitations to mail, plan a menu, schedule extra yard maintenance, schedule extra house cleaning, decide what foods I am going to order and what ones I plan on preparing, make shopping lists, prepare the food, and set up seating areas.
  • Put your “do” list in a sequential order. For the party I started with who I was going to invite and ended with lighting candles and making cozy seating areas.
  • Give each item on the list a “do it” date. Several items can be done on one day but make sure each item has a time attached to it. Allow some wiggle room. Sometimes things happen so you can’t do an item on your intended date so have a fall back time available. Also, start early. For a party I start the process two months out.
  • Now, just follow your plan.
The real advantage of using this system is that you won’t have all these thoughts about the project squirreling around in your head and you won’t worry about how you will get this accomplished. You just make your plan and then work your plan.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Fear of Filing

I had a client this week meet me at the door with Judith Kolberg’s book ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life and the words, “I want to find out why I have a fear of filing”.

I knew from working with this client before in other areas of her home that she definitely suffers from the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome. She is afraid that if she puts something away in a file, she might as well just trash it because she will never think of it again. So she has stacks of papers on the coffee table, on her desk, on her office table, and randomly elsewhere. The clutter bothers her and the fact that when she finds something (ex. papers about her father’s health plan) it is usually just a part of what she needs to start her research and make calls so she just postpones the task. This worries her as some of the tasks are time sensitive.

Sooo….What to do?

  1. First we gathered all of her papers and put them in one spot.
  2. Then we used the “verb” system to do a rough sort. I would ask her, “What is the first thing you need to do with this information? Is there an action required or do you just need this paper for reference?” While going through all of the papers she found a significant amount that she could now just let go to the recycle bin. She had a reason in the past to  keep them but not so much now. The categories she came up with for her stacks were:
  • Do this task this week
  • Do it when I can
  • Wait for the right time or someone else’s response
  • Read
  • File
  • Ask my husband about these papers
3. We then looked at what papers did not really fit into any of those categories and we found:
  • Coupons
  • Current information about her clean streams work
  • A project she was working on for her dad
  • Memorabilia
  • Directions and warranties for items in the house
4. We found homes for all of these categories. Normally when I make desktop or action folders I like  to use a cascading vertical file holder. We had tried this system earlier in her office downstairs. It obviously was not working.  She had recently purchased an attractive file folder with a lid that clasped and had a handle. This has a much better chance of working because it can stay by the coffee table in her living room and this is where she sorts her mail and does many of her projects. The handle allows her to lift it up on the coffee table or couch when she is working. We relabeled the tabs with all her “verb” categories and the one on streams. Coupons were housed in the kitchen. Memorabilia was put into a memorabilia box. A project box was found for her dad’s project. Warranties and directions already had a file elsewhere but she put the directions for the TV in the cabinet below the screen and the directions for her heart monitor in the box it came in as she accesses these frequently.
5. Since we had a lot to file, we used her existing systems to file those items now. Moving forward she can put items in her file section of her folder until it gets too bulky.
6. Last we did the most important task to make this work. She scheduled on her calendar times to look in this folder. I encouraged her to make it the same day every week so that it would eventually become a habit. Ideally this would be every week but some weeks she is gone so we just skipped those weeks and scheduled the next good time after she returned home.
As we finished up our session, she was really pleased with the results. But she held one small set of papers in her hand. “I really need to do this today,” she said. “Do I need to put it into this file?” That’s when we talked about Judith’s “Hot Spot”. She designated a place on her coffee table for any paper task that needed to happen immediately.
I think her fear of filing might be gone!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Flexibility and Time Management


Nothing seems to happen exactly as planned. Well, rarely. Life happens.

You just can’t control the universe. Bad weather happens. Overpasses collapse. Illness happens. Other people have changes in their schedules that affect your plans. There seems to be daily obstacles to overcome so remaining flexible is key to survival.

Setting up a daily/weekly schedule certainly helps you manage your time. Routines are great! With daily/weekly routines you don’t have to think about every single task you do.

Each morning, as you start your day, look at the big 3 things you want to accomplish and any other tasks that are floating around. Then prioritize and pin actual times down to these tasks. This helps you focus on the important and high priority tasks first. This sets your intention for the day.

Keeping a balance between work, home, and personal health and well being is vital. Times for all these facets of your life should be scheduled and honored.

But at any given moment something might happen that throws that plan right out the window. Someone cancels an appointment with you or someone badly needs your help right now! The cat gets sick and needs to go to the vet. The computer crashes. You get the idea.

When these life events happen, step back and evaluate what just happened. Take a few moments to just breathe into this new reality. Don’t do an immediate knee jerk reaction. What is your priority now? How can you adjust your schedule? How can you keep a positive attitude? Here is where the ability to be flexible can keep your day or week from crashing down around you.

Take another look at your calendar. What can be dropped or moved to another day? If a cancelled appointment opens up time for you, what upcoming project can you work on now that will save you time and stress down the road? Breathe and move into your new reality for today. It’s all going to be OK and another day and opportunity will come tomorrow.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

February is Time Management Month

Good time management is really good choice management. We can’t save time. We can’t speed up or slow down time. We all have the same 24 hours or 1,440 minutes a day. It’s up to us to spend it wisely.

Easy to say – harder to do.

Below are 9 tips to help you stay in control of your day:

  1. Know how you are using your time now. Track how you are using your time for a couple of weeks. The first week you might track Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The second week you might track Tuesday and Thursday. Add in weekend days if that is also an issue. Use a timer and every 1/2 hour make a quick note of what you are working on. No cheating! (Wow, the timer is about to go off, I’d better log off Facebook and pay some bills!)
  2. Notice what interrupts your time and pulls you off task. Do you answer every phone call? Do you really need to? Do you have an audible alert when emails come in? Do you check them when they come in? Do friends or colleagues feel they can drop in at any time? Anytime you are pulled away from a task, make a written note of what you were doing just before answering the phone or talking to the person in your doorway. That simple task locks in the importance of your task and makes it easier to return to it.
  3. Never multitask. Having said that, you can fold laundry and talk to your husband. You can go for a walk and mentally put together a plan for tomorrow. What you can’t do is write a report and talk on the phone or pay your bills while checking emails. Neither task will get your full attention. It is exhausting for your brain to keep switching back and forth. The adrenaline rush will hurt your concentration. There is no way you can get into the zone where work flows easily. Do one thing and do it well.
  4. Know your priorities. What is important to you today? What 3 big tasks need to be worked on or completed? Are you keeping in mind other priorities besides work? Is exercise and a time to eat a healthy meal a priority? Is family time a priority? Keep in mind that some priorities are not urgent things to do today but tasks that will help you down the road.
  5. Use your calendar. The calendar is your friend. I like calendars where I can see the whole month. Every appointment, every obligation, every birthday/anniversary is seen at a glance. As soon as I have a known date for a commitment I put it into my calendar. Long term projects are put on the notes side of the calendar of the months that I intend to devote the time on.
  6. Use a daily schedule. My calendar holds the big things, but my daily schedule has the details. This is where I not only have down what I plan to do for the day but also when I plan to do it and how long I have allowed for the task. I work in transition times between tasks. When life happens – and it does – and I know I will not get through everything on my schedule, I pause and do triage. I pick out what must get done and move the rest to later in the week.
  7. Know your peak production times. These are the times you schedule the tasks that are more difficult and require concentration. For me, I kick in about 9:00 am and need to stop the morning by about 11:30. In the afternoon I can get into heavy lifting around 1:00 and am getting weary by 5:00. Anything I do after that is mostly automatic non-thinking tasks.
  8. Delegate. Some tasks I know I do not have expertise. Some tasks I can do very well but I choose to use my time on another task. So I pay for others to do these tasks. I also am lucky in that my husband is willing to run errands for me like taking items to Goodwill or going to the post office. I have clients who can delegate some tasks to their children like taking on the shredding. Don’t try to do it all.
  9. Come to each day rested and spend some of the day on you. If you are not rested, well nourished, and centered you will not concentrate on tasks at hand. On your daily schedule allow time for breaks, meals, whatever centering practices that you use, and a decent bed time.

Look over the above list and choose a couple to concentrate on for February. I would love to hear some of your wins.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Seize the Day

“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.” ~ Charles Richards

Every now and then we get a much needed reminder about how important this is.

Yesterday morning I had a job that ended at 2:00. At that time I checked my phone for messages. I had one from my husband telling me that he had to check into the emergency room of the hospital that afternoon and that probably he would have an operation tomorrow – maybe to remove a kidney. I was at least 35 – 40 minutes from home. I called him back to say I was on my way. On the drive home, I called (hands free device) a person that I was to have a coaching call with that evening. I made lists in my head of who I had to contact to shut down my business for at least this week and to give a “heads up” to the person I was giving a presentation with this Saturday.

I arrived home. My husband had his bag packed. He expected me to drive him to the emergency room and come home. Was he crazy? I immediately packed a tote bag with paperwork, a book, my calendar, chargers, my iPad, a bottle of water, and a sandwich. I knew my way around that hospital and the emergency room pretty well as I had spent a lot of time there with my previous husband before he died. I was scared but at the same time trying very hard to put positive spins on the situation. I did not want to attract bad karma.

After many hours, more tests, and phone calls to the doctor who wanted him admitted and the surgeon on duty, it was decided that this was not an emergency nor was an operation necessary. Instead of looking at a kidney, they were looking at appendicitis and the medicines the doctor had already prescribed when he thought he was probably treating diverticulitis was doing the job on the appendix. That evening we were released to come home.

The evening sky was lovely, the house was warm and inviting, the cats were waiting , and we were very happy. Today, since my clients were already cancelled, I took the time to do some extra coaching calls, set back up the rest of my week, and really savor the joy of sleeping in late with my husband and going about a more leisurely and reflective day.

We never know what the future holds, so let us all remember to love and savor the now.


Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Reduce Tax Stress – Maintain a Yearlong Tax File


Don’t lose your dining room table for a month while working on taxes. One of the files you should have near your desk is your tax folder. I like mine a bright red and it sits behind all of my standard desk files in my file drawer.

All through the year, anything that comes in that is related to taxes should be dropped into this file. Don’t take time at this point to sort them. It is more efficient to sort them when you seriously start to work on your taxes. Acknowledgements of contributions, real property tax statement, monthly mortgage payments, medical expenses, motor vehicle registration, etc. are examples of what you put into your folder. If you have a business, you will need your business receipts. Have an envelope for each month and after you enter the amount into your budget or QuickBooks, just drop the receipt into the envelope.

About this time of year forms begin to come in. Look for W-2 forms, 1099 forms, SSA-1099 for Social Security, investment interest expenses, Roth account statements, IRA forms, your end of year tax stub, and more.  Watch for the forms that you expect and drop them into this folder.

I keep in the same drawer my tax papers from last year. I use this document as a template to make certain all forms are in. Your CPA may also have sent you a checklist. When I pull out last years tax paperwork and look it over, that’s when I remember to get my mileage log out of the car for my business deduction or call any group that have not yet sent me a needed form.

Call your CPA and set an appointment as soon as you feel everything is in or if you do your own taxes, set aside on your calendar a couple of large blocks of time to organize the paperwork and put it on the correct forms.

Doing the tax preparation is never fun but it is a lot easier if you have kept everything in one place.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer