Priorities – Friends and Family

Our lives are busy, and it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day business and forget to carve out time for the things that are important to us.

For me, family and friends rank right up on the top. I schedule times to visit my children and my siblings. I schedule time to visit with friends. Probably not enough but I do make a regular effort.

This past weekend we really got it together and had an 80th birthday party for my husband, Rob. His family pulled out the stops and came from as far away as Texas. Both of his sons and his step-daughter plus many grandchildren attended. A lot of Rob’s friends also attended including one couple who came all the way from Ohio for his party! This get-together took a lot of effort for a lot of people but was so worth it. It was a good reminder that taking time to keep strong relationships with our family and friends really pays off.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Projects for the Summer

Summer is here, and it is hot outside. Our energy level is lower, and we would love to just relax with a book and a cold drink. It is a difficult time to get excited over big organizing projects. Still, we don’t want our home to backslide.

Summer is a wonderful time to work on a few hot spots instead of big projects. Walk through your home and note a few things that could use some work. Maybe the towels in the linen closet are all askew. That cutlery drawer in the kitchen is a mess. You know some of your cosmetics need to be tossed. You’re pretty much keeping up with bills, but filling has fallen behind. Make a list of some of these small projects that could be either knocked off or improved in an hour or less.

Choose one day a week – say “Let’s get started Monday!” or “Let’s wind it down Friday!” and schedule an hour to do one of these projects on your list. It is amazing how good it will make you feel that you have accomplished this small project and how much fun it will be to reward yourself with that cold drink and a delightful book.

Happy summer!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Turn Those Piles into Files

You come in from a meeting and you are tired. You bring in the mail but don’t have time to mess with it right now. You are afraid if you file the paper away you will forget it. So, everything gets dumped on the desk or countertop.

Meanwhile, your desk or countertop becomes one big inbox with piles everywhere. Some paper has been there so long that it has actually stuck to the surface or has fallen behind the desk or is so buried that unless there is some trigger to dig for it, it is forgotten. The clutter is overwhelming and slows down your productivity.

See if some of these tips work for you:

  • When you bring in paper, do a quick triage. What is obviously trash or needs shredding? What needs action soon? What do you need to take some time over and ponder? 
  • Have a trash can and shred box nearby and get those papers handled right away
  • Have a landing pad for all items needing action soon
  • Have a basket or bin for magazines or articles you want to read and ponder. When that basket gets full, acknowledge that you have more than you can handle and either set aside some time to read or dispose of some of the material
  • Have a folder or box for ads or upcoming workshops or events that you are considering
This should corral most of the paper but still very little has gone away.
Here comes the hard part:
  • Schedule regular times on your calendar to pay bills or check on bill pay. Then after paying, immediately file or get rid of paid bills
  • Weekly, at a scheduled time, take care of any receipts or invoices that need entering or filing. If possible, scan these items and get rid of the paper
  • Chose a couple of items you want to read and ponder and either look through them now or remove them to another location to read later. After reading them either dispose of them or file them
  • Schedule a time at least monthly to look through ads and coupons you have saved and toss any that have expired or that no longer interest you. Look over any upcoming events and see if some no longer appeal to you or have passed their due date. Dispose of all expired items.
  • Empty the trash can and the shred container
While you may never get your desk completely clear of paper, do realize that paper you keep has a purpose and when that purpose is completed, the paper should go somewhere else besides on your desk.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organize Your Laundry Zone

Once a year I really spend time organizing and decluttering my laundry zone. In the past I have found that in August many people return from vacations and the laundry zone gets out of control with backed up piles of laundry. Kids are getting ready to start back to school and have school and sports clothing that need washing. Now is the time to make the laundry zone orderly and efficient.

Laundry zones can be large (a big area in the basement) or small (fold-out doors covering a washer/dryer combo in a closet size area) or somewhere in-between. Depending on the size of the laundry zone this area may have other functions besides doing the wash. If there is room, it makes sense to store ironing supplies in this location. My area is large enough to store pet supplies, recycling bins, cleaning supplies, and some over sized or underused party supplies. All that works for me.

The first step in organizing this zone is to develop your vision. How do you want to use this area? How do you want it to look? How do you want to feel when you are in this zone? Get rid of anything that is now in that zone that does not support the vision. Because my zone is roomy and near the back entry, it is easy to just drop something in there “just for now” because I don’t want to take time to put the item where it really belongs. Now is the time to gather up all those items and get them out of this zone.

Cleaning and laundry products can multiply in this space. Products that sounded so promising (will get rid of any stain) or “green” (got rid of no stains) or products that just have a nasty chemical smell or items that got shoved way in the back of the shelf or cupboard that you for got about and then bought another bottle of the little used product are now all taking up precious space and adding to the clutter. Get rid of all of these items and take the ones that are left and group them according to function.

One of my goals in the laundry zone is to keep the laundry moving. I don’t want to walk over mounds of laundry. Only bring to the zone the laundry you intend to wash that day. The rest stays in the dirty clothes hampers until you plan on washing them. Get the clothes from the washer to dryer or drying rack as quickly as possible. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their “home”. Having a different colored basket for each member of the family is helpful. As you pull clothes out of the dryer, put them into the correct basket and take them to the proper room. Have family members put the items away. If an item needs repair or ironing, have a designated place to store those items and then schedule a time to do that task. You should not have your Christmas table cloth in the ironing bin in August.

Keeping up with the laundry is less of a chore with a well organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the mountain of laundry. It helps to have designated times schedule to do laundry instead of waiting until an item is needed (Mom, where are my soccer shorts?). An added bonus is that having a well organized laundry space makes it easier for family members to participate in doing laundry.

See picture of one of my family helping out.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Open Your Mail!

Seriously, open your mail daily or at least weekly. Unless the envelope reads “to current resident” or it is very obviously an ad or plea for money, just open the envelope and see what is inside.

As a professional organizer I often help people sort paper and old mail. Here are some of the things I have come across.

  • Old checks made out to the recipient – sometimes 10 years old
  • A final notice that since the speeding ticket had not been paid (notices in other envelopes not yet opened) the drivers license was being revoked – right before a big road trip for this lady
  • Gift cards
  • Thanks for donations form letters – that should have gone into the tax folder
  • The car title of a car that the owner now wants to sell but she had not opened this envelope and gone to DMV to get the title in her name
  • Credit cards and debit cards that have not been activated – sometime duplicates sent at different times
  • Invitations to parties or weddings long past
  • Recall notices on items purchased
  • Warnings that utilities will be turned off if the bill is not paid because old bill were not opened and paid
Have a landing pad for all incoming mail. Immediately discard ads, catalogs, and any other obvious trash. Then open that mail daily or weekly and put the items in action folders or baskets so that all bills are in one place, all items to file are in one place, and any mail that requires an other action is in one place. Schedule a time at least once a week to deal with it. Then the mail never becomes overwhelming or fearful.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Bedroom Zone

Spring is a wonderful time to declutter and organize your bedroom. It’s a good time to evaluate your cold weather wardrobe and bring to the front clothes for spring and summer. It’s a great time to open up clean spaces and let the sun shine in.

Anytime I start working on a zone in my home, I begin with a vision. And since I share this room with my husband, it needs to be a shared vision. We want this room to have a calming, relaxed feel and be a place that sparks joy and happiness. We like soft light but still desire enough light for reading. My husband meditates here so the room should have an uncluttered, peaceful feel.

Then, I make a brainstorm list of all that we need to do to make this room align with our vision.

This month I will:

  • Declutter my closet: I will discard all clothing I no longer need or love and organize the space so the most often worn items are the easiest to reach.
  • Declutter the dresser drawers: I will discard all that I no longer want and organize the space to make it more efficient. I will move the long sleeve tops to a lower drawer and place the short sleeve tops and shells in a higher drawer.
  • Strip and clean the bed: I will clean the frame and all the linens and store the duvet until it gets cold again.
  • Clean and clear the nightstands: I will remove reading material that we have already read or that has stacked up and empty and clean out the drawers.
  • Evaluate the accessories: I will remove any that we no longer love.
  • Clean windows and blinds: I only wash the inside of the windows at this point in time as at another time I clean all of the windows on the outside.
  • Clean and wax furniture: This is one time where I really clean and then use paste wax on the good furniture.
All of the above tasks are scheduled on the calendar with some “wiggle room” for when unexpected events happen or if tasks take longer than expected.
At the end of the month I reward myself by buying a couple of new items to replace some of the tossed items. Then I put out fresh flowers and enjoy the clean, fresh bedroom.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Office Zone

For years I have been maintaining my home using a Zone Plan. This plan has me touching everything in my home at least once a year. When I work in my designated zone each month, I declutter and get rid of anything I no longer need or love.


The first zone I work on each year is my office. After a year, files are way too stuffed. Project bins are still hanging around even if the project has been completed. Some new items have been added and not enough stuff has gone away. So now is the time to look open-eyed at the office and work my plan.

  1. What is bothering me in this zone?
  • Clutter
  • Too much on the desk top
  • Files too full
  • Too much  paper lying around screaming  “do me”
     2. How do I want my office to look and feel?
  • Uncluttered
  • Clean
  • Welcoming
  • I want to feel productive and happy
  • I want empty space to allow for growth
     3. What do I need to do to meet this vision?
  • Clear our all desk drawers and the desk top
  • Purge files and remove what is now archival to another place
  • Clean out bins of completed projects and ready the bins for new material
  • Clear all surfaces – leave out only what I need and love
  • Declutter and organize bookshelves and the storage credenza
  • Deep clean room
      4. Schedule times to do each task.
  • Pull out calendar and see what times are available to work on zone
  • Write on calendar what tasks I plan to do on available dates – not only date but also time of day
By the end of the month, I will say “good enough”. Daily and weekly maintenance are scheduled but I won’t have to visit this zone again until next January. I reward myself with fresh flowers on my desk and make my plan for the next month in a new zone!


Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Keeping the Fountain Full

My life/business coach, Wendy Watkins, once shared how important it was to keep adding water to our fountains. If we don’t add this water, the fountain will get low of water and the pump will burn up. Of course, she was talking about taking care of yourself. She also personally helped me chose a daily goal of ending my day with some reserve of energy. I have this intention posted on my vision board.

However, sometimes I forget. I try to complete that one more thing. I try to wiggle in one more client. I try to polish that presentation just a little bit more. And on the weekends, I try to complete that one more project at home.

When I allow this to happen, I get tired and grumpy. I also get careless and make mistakes. I’m more likely to get sick.

Awareness that this is happening is key. Scheduling at least 2 days a month with my husband where we sleep late and do fun things together if very important to me. On nights that both my husband I are home (no meetings, choir, etc.), I try to stop office work around 6:00. We try to walk together on as many days as possible. All of these habits help fill my fountain.

I’m very lucky that I love my work. I am also very lucky that I have a wonderful husband that supports me and a family that I love. My friends are fantastic! It is also important that I love and take care of myself. All of this keeps my fountain flowing freely with a delightful sound. I have this fountain in my office and it’s soothing sounds relax me. But, I do need to fill it every day.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

August – Clean Out Your Laundry Room Month

August is the perfect time to tackle your laundry room zone because:

  1. You are coming out of vacation mode and are now washing and putting away those clothes
  2. You are going into a new school year and have school clothes and sports clothing that need washing
  3. You want your laundry zone to be organized and efficient for the upcoming season
Laundry zones can be large or small and located in many places. Some older homes have the laundry zone in the basement. Some are in a hallway or at the top of the stairs behind folding doors. I’ve seen them right off kitchens or next to the closet of a master bedroom. What you don’t want to see are mounds of clothes that start migrating into other areas.
Keeping up with the laundry becomes less of a chore with a well organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the never-ending influx of dirty clothes. The idea is to keep laundry moving. Only bring to the laundry zone the items you intend to wash right now. Leave everything else in the designated dirty clothes hampers. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their “home”. Delegate putting the items away to the family members who own the items. Even young children can sort and put items away. If an item needs repair or ironing, have a designated place to store those items and then schedule a time to do that task. You should not have your Christmas table cloth in the ironing bin in August.
Depending on the size of your laundry zone, you may also use this zone for purposes other than just doing the laundry. If there is room, it makes sense to store your ironing supplies there. My area is large enough to store pet supplies, recycling bins, cleaning supplies, and some large entertainment pieces. What is important is that you have a vision and a plan for how you intend to use your space. Then zone it out accordingly. What you don’t want is something stuck into your laundry zone “just for now”.
During this month, look at everything that is stored in this zone. Keep like things stored together. Toss out anything you no longer need, use, or love. If you have ended up with two bottles of Woolite, consolidate them. Now is the time to pull out your washer and dryer and clean behind them. By the end of the month, your laundry room should be clean and well organized.
Having this zone organized may not make you love to do laundry but it will certainly make it less of a chore.
I offer a Zone Plan teleclass that will walk you through organizing a zone in your house ten months of the year (taking July and December off

To learn more about my Zone Plan click on http://timespaceorg.com/services/.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Office Zone

Every year I make a plan for touching everything in my home. This helps me remember what I have and helps  me to purge items I no longer need or love.

I always start the year in my office.

After a year, my office begins to feel overfull and not well organized. Files are stuffed and new things have come into the office by way of gifts or books.

My vision for my office is to have an area where I work that is attractive and welcoming. I want to feel in control and happy when in my office. I want space to work on a project without the distractions of unfinished work yelling at me.

Now is the logical time to organize and clear out files, drawers, bookshelves and project bins to allow for new projects and growth. I will take the entire month of January to get this space back in line with my vision.

I look around and decide what is bugging me. I see things like too much clutter on my desktop and items rather randomly stacked in my credenza. My couch has become an easy place to drop items.

I start with my desktop and the drawers in my desk. Then I move to the file cabinet that abuts my desk. Files are pulled and taken to the closet in the guest bedroom. Tax papers are pulled together.

Next I will work on the bookcase that is right behind me and the credenza where action files and project bins are stored. I know that some projects are completed but paperwork still lingers. I need to empty these bins for new projects I am working on or plan to work. I will then clean the meeting area of my office and find a better routine for items that get dumped there.

Finally I will work on some files and notebooks that are stored in my laundry room but are part of my office management.

By the end of the month, I will call whatever has been accomplished “good enough” and move on to the next zone. I will schedule regular daily maintenance chores (clear the desk and couch) and weekly maintenance (check action folders and clean room). The office will not need a real zone maintenance until next January. I always celebrate by buying fresh flowers for my office.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer