It’s that Spooky Time of Year

Pumpkins, Turkeys, Menorahs, Santa Clause, Baby New Year are showing up everywhere. It may be getting too late to make reservations to see Santa. I saw an article at the end of September saying where the best places were to see Santa and how to make reservations. Scary!

How do we deal with all this holiday stress? Right now, is the time to sit down, breathe, and write down your vision of how you want the holidays to look and feel. What is important to you in each season. Has this changed over time? Are you on autopilot doing what you have always done plus new items you have added in recent years? Talk with other family members and get their input as well. You may be doing something for someone, like preparing a special food, that they no longer even enjoy.

I used to really go all out for Halloween when my children were little. I decorated. I helped them make costumes. We did the jack-o-lantern thing and then baked the pumpkin and made pie. It was a big deal. Now that my children are grown men, not so much. Now my husband and I put out a few pumpkins, a small inflatable scarecrow, light up a portable fire pit, and sit comfortably in our driveway waiting for the local trick-or -treaters.

My vision for almost all of my holidays has changed and simplified over the years. It’s good to acknowledge and embrace the change.

Develop a list of the most important things you want to do and experience in each holiday. Then go to your calendar and log in when you are going to do such tasks as parties, shopping, baking, cooking, decorating, undecorating, etc. Remember to build in time to just relax and enjoy your decorations and the holidays.

Make this time of year special and enjoyable for you.  

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

To Tree or Not to Tree – That is the Question

Putting up a Christmas tree is a lot of work. Taking it down and carefully putting away all of the ornaments seem like even more work. Is it worth it?

That depends on you and your vision of what this Christmas season looks and feels like. For me, it is totally worth the effort. I love coming out each morning to  my living room, turning on the lights of my tree, and enjoying that first cup of coffee. It centers me and helps me get ready for the day ahead. There was only one Christmas that I was just not going to mess with the tree and that was a year of deep depression. Fortunately others intervened and the tree went up. Almost every ornament on that tree has meaning and memories for me. I know though as I continue to age, it is getting harder. At some point I may need to look at options like hiring someone to help or downsizing the tree.

I have one client who is in the midst of decluttering her home. She has decided that this year she does not want to bring out all her holiday trimmings because she feels it will just set her back on her progress. I have another client who has several artificial trees. She has decided to go with just one of her smaller ones and concentrate on her yard ornaments. Some people are traveling most of the holiday season and plan to put out just a few ornaments around the house and a wreath on the door.

The important thing is to know your vision and your reasons. Don’t do things just because you always have done it or because others think you should. Do what gives you happiness and plan your time accordingly.

Happy Holidays!

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

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 Spare Bedroom of Bonus Room

Most of us are lucky enough to have that extra room dubbed as the Spare Bedroom, Guest Bedroom or Bonus Room. Often these rooms have multiple purposes. I have seen them used as offices, craft rooms, play rooms, exercise rooms, storage rooms, and even as dedicated guest bedrooms.

In February I work on my “Spare Bedroom” zone. I choose this month because last month I organized my office and a lot of stuff purged from my office landed on the bed, floor, and dresser of the spare bedroom. Now it is a disaster.

My spare bedroom has multiple functions. It has a closet that is used for offsite office storage (and it is packed full). There is a dresser that holds off season clothing, gifts, holiday cards, and some memorabilia. This room also holds a secondary cat box as well as a cat condo and a cat bed. When overnight guests arrive, this is their room (and the cat stuff is temporarily put into my office).

I want this room to have an open and inviting space for guests. I want all items stored in this zone to be out of sight but easily accessible. I want to feel drawn to this room and feel calm and happy when I enter.

To make this vision come true, during this month I will clean out and reorganize the closet. Files will be updated and some truly archival files will head for the attic. I will toss out or donate items that I have saved but now no longer need or love. Since I have a lot of pictures and memorabilia in the closet, I will open each box and scrapbook, have a remembrance time, toss some items, label some more items, and return the rest to the containers. I feel if I want to keep this memorabilia, I ought to honor it and look at it at least once a year.

I will clean out every drawer in the dresser and designate zones within the drawers. I will probably decide that 3 heavy sweaters stored there are about 2 too many and that some holiday clothing is no longer loved. This will open up space for any new item.

By the end of the month, I will have this guest bedroom matching my vision for the upcoming year. I will celebrate by putting fresh flowers on the dresser.

For help in setting up your zones, sign up for my Zone Plan Coaching Teleclass (jonda@timespaceorg.com) or purchase my workbook – From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home (available on my website www.timespaceorg.com).

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Enjoy Your Own Party


I love to throw a party. Parties are a fun way to visit and catch up with a group of friends. I love the good food, laughter, the smiles, the memories remembered and being made.

Even the very idea of giving a party can be overwhelming. But like any big project, it is not so  daunting if you break it down into small, manageable tasks. I always start my plan with a vision. What do I want this party to look like and how do I want myself and others to feel? I usually develop my party around a theme, but the theme could be as simple as “catch up and have fun.”

What next? Brainstorm and write down all the tasks that have to happen to make the vision come true.

Items on my list:

  • develop a guest list
  • choose a date
  • send out a save the date email
  • design invites
  • print invites
  • address invites
  • mail invites
  • plan menu
  • spruce up the yard
  • clean deck
  • clean outdoor furniture
  • order any prepared foods
  • decorate
  • make a party grocery list
  • shop
  • prepare food
  • clean house
  • set up food/drink stations
  • enjoy party

When this list is looked at in its entirety it seems overwhelming. But when you break it down over a month’s time it’s not so bad. You notice that I didn’t just say “mail invites” because a lot has to be done before the invites are in the mail. By listing every small step, I only have to look at a small task each time. And don’t forget to delegate. I get help with the yard and cleaning. Some of the food on my menu will be ordered (I haven’t made a cake or desert since I found this wonderful bakery).

The next very important step is to take your list and write each task on your calendar. Now you have made a commitment and you don’t have to worry about how you will ever find the time. You have it scheduled. Leave some wiggle room because the unexpected will happen.

By the day of the party there is little to do but some last minute decorating, some food preparation that couldn’t be done earlier, and the laying out of the food and drinks.

When the guests come, you are ready to party!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Closets

Closets are a fairly new addition to our homes. When I lived in Germany, I found that closets were few and usually free standing wardrobes or armoires. I was told that closets were considered a room and increased the tax on the home.

According to Wikipedia, a closet is an enclosed space used for general storage or storing clothes. It wasn’t until post WWII that larger closets were introduced into housing to attract wealthy buyers. Today we totally expect closets of all types throughout our homes.

I have found that closets become a great place in many homes to hide stuff we don’t want sitting around in our living space. I find items that have been bought and not yet found a home or that need to be returned. I find boxes of mail that have been swept off tables and counters before company comes and never seem to come back out to be sorted and filed. I find broken items waiting for repair. The list goes on. The bottom line is that many closets hide chaos. This is not a happy situation, so what should we do?

  1. Determine the main purpose of each closet. Is it a clothes closet, coat closet, linen closet, utility closet, or an off season clothing closet?
  2. List all other purposes for each closet. Does the closet also hold gift wrap, gifts, suitcases, medicines, back up cosmetics, or paper products?
  3. Develop a vision of how you want the closet to look and how you want to feel when you access the closet. (i.e. I want all items organized and either in labeled bins or aligned so that I can see each item. I want my closet fully utilized but with some space for new items. I want to feel confident when I look into the closet that I can easily find the item I am looking for.)
  4. Develop a brainstorm list of what you need to do to make this vision come true. (i.e. I will sort all like items. I will remove items that don’t fit my vision of this closet. I will add shelves. I will purchase bins. I will label shelves and bins.) Your list will match your needs and your vision.
  5. Plan a time for completing your tasks. Write the “do” dates on your calendar.
  6. Actually do the tasks.
  7. Develop a maintenance plan. Some closets only need a real redo every year. The clothes closet might need serious maintenance each season.

Work on one closet at a time until your whole closet system gives you pleasure just to open the door and find what you want.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

A Plan for Cleaning and Decluttering the Master Bedroom


Spring is a great time to organize and declutter your bedroom. It’s great to make clear, clean spaces for the sun to shine in.

When I start to work on any zone in my home, I start with a vision. As I share this room with my husband, it needs to be a shared vision. We want this room to have a calming, relaxing 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.

I use the whole month to work on this zone and so divide the tasks into four sections, one for each week. I schedule time on my calendar for myself and for working alongside my husband.

During the first week, Rob and I clean out our dressers. We take out every article and toss out anything that is damaged and put into a donate box anything that does not fit or that we no longer enjoy wearing. I change out my heavier tops that were stored in a drawer with lighter ones that were stored in a bin in the closet. During this process, I clean and wax the dressers, clean the walls, and freshen any accessories.

The next week I organize the closet. Rob stores his hanging clothes in another room, so this is a job I do alone. I pull out all my clothes, sort them, and get rid of all that do not fit either my body or my lifestyle. I also do this for shoes and accessories. The closet also holds my suitcase and will hold the duvet that is currently on the bed.

Week three we will work on our end tables. Over the year a lot of reading material has accumulated. We sort out the items we have read and put back only what we are currently reading. We also empty and clean out the drawers. I will clean and wax the two tables. During this week I will also clean the bed and all bed linens. The duvet will be cleaned and put away for the warm months.

The last week, I finish up anything that has not been completed.

As a reward, I will allow myself a shopping trip to purchase a few items that will replace some of those tossed. Then I will put out fresh flowers and step back and admire our work. We will enjoy the fresh fell of this space!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Leap Into the Future You

Yeah leap year! We have an extra day to use this month. Let’s not think of it as just any other day but a day to do something special.

New Year’s Eve we make resolutions or affirmations for the upcoming year. What if on the 29th we make Leap Year Resolutions? Think of this as an abbreviated five year plan.

Write down where you want to be in four years. One life coach had me write a letter to myself dated in the future. I wrote it as if I were writing to a friend and telling all that I was currently experiencing. You could describe what job you’re doing, where you’re living, what you’re doing with your friends and loved ones. Be very specific.

Then write down what you need to do or make a vision board to make these visions come true. Develop a four year timeline and put on your calendar specific times to review your goals and revisit the timeline to see how you’re progressing.

Now share these goals with someone. This will make it real for you.

Happy Leap Year!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Ah, the Romance of Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is a day for romance. It is a chance to spice up the relationship and show the love.

However, if you trip over piles of shoes while entering the front door or have papers cascading off the coffee table, and CDs and DVDs scattered on the floor, your living room is not ready for prime time romance. If your dining table has projects, bills, and used plates and silverware, along with stacks of clothes to fold and put away, you are not ready for that romantic meal. If your bedroom has stacks of books, magazines, clothes, and cosmetics on every surface, you are not ready for that special night.

Look around the common areas in your home. How do you want these areas to look in order to inspire romance? How do you want to feel in these areas?

Remove everything from these zones that does not match your vision. Have a specific place for everything that belongs in the rooms and put the items away. If you are short on space, let some things go or put them in a temporary storage area elsewhere until you can deal with them.

Now, clean and polish those newly exposed surfaces. Put out some flowers and candles. Play that special music.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Being organized
Is romantic, too.

Enjoy your special day!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer