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MESSIEST ROOM CONTEST WINNER RECEIVES ONE-DAY HOME OFFICE MAKEOVER
In the world of Professional Organizers, January is deemed GO Month. That is “Get Organized Month.”
As a Chapter, each year we plan a service project in which we assist groups or individuals with organizing challenges they face. In the past, we have concentrated on helping non-profit groups like Habitat for Humanity or a Human Trafficking home for women and girls get their storage spaces organized in one day. This means a team of about 20 organizers comes in for one day and divides up the project into manageable tasks to get store rooms or individual offices better organized.
This year, we decided to help a person in the community with our residential Messiest Room Contest. This required a smaller group of Organizers so we were a Committee of five. Chapter President Leigh MacReady and Chapter Secretary Betty Huotari, along with Members Terri Closs, Cindy Greenleaf, and Erica Herker planned and executed this fun project.
A special thanks to Chapter Member Jane Hale, who was a photojournalist in another life, for taking the great Before, During and After pictures featured in the newspaper and in this post. Some of the pictures shown here were taken by Cindy Greenleaf.
Planning began in late October as we decided on the rules for applying, preparing the application form and obtaining sponsorship donations. We knew we would need to buy organizing supplies for whatever room was selected. Planning continued right up until and during the day of the project.
NAPO Michigan partnered up with the Detroit News Homestyle section to announce the contest on November 2.
Mark had not seen the contest announced in the newspaper but a friend told him about it so he submitted his application.
We received over two dozen submissions and narrowed it down to three finalists. Each finalist was interviewed and the winner chosen was a unanimous decision. It was announced in the Detroit News Homestyle section on December 7, 2018.
As our contest winter, Mark Steele wrote this in his submission: “This room was originally my computer room. Slowly but surely my wife took it over. She beads, does handcreams, knitting, collecting...My wife passed away in March from cancer. I can’t bring myself to go through this pile of things for fear of reminders of the past and/or not being able to let things go…Please I need help.” He also said he had had a rummage sale and done five carloads of donations as well. He seemed “stuck” with where to start in this room (as a lot of clients are) but was also “ready” to do it with our help.
Ever wonder what it takes to do a large project like this?
It was only a 10’ x 10’ room but it was chock full of stuff.
Here’s how we did it.
Once Mark was selected, Betty and Leigh went to see the room in it’s cluttered Before state and discuss Mark’s goals for the room. He wanted the room to be his computer room again. He’s a Corvette car guy who owns two of them. In addition, he had a lot of Corvette art, model cars, manuals and magazines he wanted displayed once the clutter was removed.
Here are two Before pictures were taken that day.
Photo credit Jane Hale
Once we saw the room and reviewed the pictures, planning began. We selected Billy bookcases (which Mark put together), Magazine files and a rug from Ikea, and a lamp from Target. Mark selected new window blinds from Lowes, which we installed to remove the turquoise vertical blinds that were in the house when they bought it twenty years ago, completing the look.
On Project Day, in mid-January, we arrived at 9:30 am. Mark’s homework had been to build the book shelves and remove any personal items he or his children wanted from the room so this was done when we arrived.
Clients are always in charge when it comes to deciding what items are kept, donated or be tossed. Organizers offer options if they are unclear but the client is in charge of the decluttering process and their goal for the room.
Since the room was too small for all of us to work in, Betty and Leigh worked with Mark in the room and Erica, Terri and Cindy worked at tables in an area around the corner from the Office where we had set up tables in a U-shape to sort and box items for donation. We had boxes donated to us as well. The goal was to have the room emptied of the clutter by noon. Some of the wife’s craft stuff was already boxed up so Mark was easily able to release those items for donation.
Mark had a great attitude towards lots of his clutter. He said, “Everything I need to remember my wife is in my heart and memory. I don’t need these things around to do that.”
In the end, we had 38 boxes of donations by the time the room was emptied just before lunch. Twenty-eight of those were craft items. A second desk in the room was deemed unnecessary and donated as well.
Photo credit Cindy Greenleaf
Professional Organizers always bring one or several different types of tool kits with them to a client’s home, depending on the project at hand. This includes sharpie markers, labeling machines and various types of tape. Since we knew we’d be doing the blind removal and installation, two of us brought drills and screwdrivers as well. Leigh even spackled some picture-hanging holes in the wall. We wanted to be full-service in this office as we tend to be detail-oriented on the small things like that.
Organizers do not ordinarily do things like spackle wall holes or take down or install blinds but we wanted this room to be completely finished when we left so we did those things here.
Mark’s readiness to release the items that he didn’t use or need made this an easy project for us Professional Organizers. He had shown that by his prior actions and his attitude towards clutter, this was going to be a relatively easy project. Clients may say they are ready but when faced with actually releasing clutter, sometimes it’s a different story. Not so with Mark.
Mark took this opportunity to sweep and mop the room just before lunch so it was a clean slate when we got to work after lunch. Leigh gave that beautiful desk a once over with furniture oil, making it glow.
By noon, we took a short lunch break and with the decluttering done, got straight to the organizing and decorating of the room. As a committee, we had discussed one potential space plan for the desk, file cabinets and bookcases before arriving there. So once the room was empty, Mark decided on how he wanted the room laid out. We used furniture sliders to make it easy to move a bookcase around to see how it looked to Mark.
Terri, with a little assistance from Cindy, removed the old blinds and installed the dark wood ones which matched the window sill perfectly. It took about an hour to get that done.
Betty and Erica put together the Magazine files outside the office in preparation for the final bookcase placement. Once that was determined, Mark had additional art he wanted hung so we got that up. Leigh polished up the star of the show, the beautiful oak roll top desk Mark had. The new lamp on roll top looked great and the new area rug completed the look.
An antique child’s school desk sits in one corner awaiting a visit from his grand-kids.
In another nod to his wife, beside it sits a small trunk with key rings his wife collected from places they had visited in their cross-country drives in their Corvette. With the Corvette model cars on the shelves, including a pink one in honor of his wife, his computer room was complete. It was his again free of the crafts and clutter there at the beginning of the day.
It took five Organizers about six hours to get the room complete. So including Mark’s time before and during, it approached 40 hours of work that day to get the amazing After pictures shown here.
Mark was as thrilled with the result as we were. We checked in with him a couple weeks after we left him and he says the room is very productive and he loves it. No clutter has crept in as he likes it so much.
He also said doing that room has inspired him to tackle other parts of the house that need attention. He continues to spend an hour or two in a room and loves the momentum this Room Re-do has given him to continue decluttering in other areas of the home.
As for us Organizers, it was very fulfilling to give a very deserving man a productive Computer Room that was all his again. Plus working as a cohesive team of Professional Organizers is always a fun day.
Here’s the link to the Detroit News article:
Participating Professional Organizers were:
Terri Closs, As You Wish Organizing, LLC
Cindy Greenleaf, New Leaf Organizing LLC
Erica Herker, Erica Organizes
Betty Huotari, Logical Placement LLC
Leigh MacReady, Re-Nest LLC
Sponsors include Studio Z Architecture, Momentum Construction LLC, and Joe Tiberi Agency.
Chapter Member Sponsors include Need to Organize LLC, As You Wish Organizing LLC, Logical Placement, Nia Spongberg Organizing and Coaching, and Re-Nest.
Business Partner Sponsors were College Hunks Hauling Junk and Frisbie Moving and Storage.
We thank them all for their generous financial donations which enabled us to do this inspiring project.
This article was written by Cindy Greenleaf, Professional Organizer and Owner of New Leaf Organizing LLC
The lucky winner is Mark Steele of Farmington Hills, Michigan. We will be tackling a room that was his wife's craft room with a desk area as well. His wife has passed so he wants to use it as a productive office space again by decluttering the craft items in the room.
The project will happen in second half of January so keep an eye in the Detroit News Lifestyle Section and here for the Before and After pictures.
The team is really looking forward to helping such a deserving winner!
Do you or someone you know have a Messy Room that you wish would just magically get organized?
Have we got a contest for you?! \5Our NAPO Michigan Chapter (Professional Organizers and Productivity Specialists) is partnering with the Homestyle section of the Detroit Free Press by having a MESSIEST ROOM CONTEST.
You must submit your application by Noon on November 15. The Application is at our website at napomichigan.com.
The Winner will get their room tackled by Professional Organizers in January.
Read below for details. Exclusions apply.
MESSIEST ROOM CONTEST
One lucky Homestyle reader will be chosen to have a team of Professional Organizers from NAPO Michigan come into their home, tame the clutter in the room of their choice, and give their space new life!
To enter your room for consideration in the contest, you must download and complete the application. The application deadline is Noon on November 15.
The winner will be announced on December 7 and the makeover will happen in January 2019.
If you have questions please contact Betty Huotari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you only have one rod and one upper shelf in your closet, you are definitely missing out on available storage space! Items are tossed up to the upper shelf, only to topple down when you are trying to find something in the pile. And who can find matching shoes and your favorite tote bags in the deep dark bottom of the closet?
The National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals in Michigan wants to share some tips on organizing your closet and finding extra storage space:
1. Add a helper shelf or two to the top of the closet for extra things you don’t use every day. Bins work great to contain items on shelves and can be decorative too. Don’t forget to add labels so you can quickly find what you’re looking for.
2. Make your closet have room for double hanging by using an adjustable closet rod extender. This allows much more hanging space in a small area, especially if you're using those awesome velvet thinner hangers.
3. Place portable storage drawer units in the bottom of the closet. These affordable storage solutions come in many sizes, materials and can store anything more efficiently.
4. Use the back of a solid closet door to add an over-the-door shoe storage rack. So easy to install and use!
5. Fill any unused spaces with hooks for scarves, bathrobes, hoodies, totes, etc. Command hooks are removable and permanent ones come in many styles and finishes now.
Organizing your closet and finding extra space is easier than you think!
By keeping what you love and wear, and arranging what fits nicely, you will have an amazing, organized closet.
For more organizing tips, visit www.NAPOMichigan.com.
Article submitted by Chapter member, Susan Carmody. Owner, www.perfectlyplaced.net.
When your Mom stays over, she seems to throw all her and Dad's stuff into the guest bathroom drawer. Your Dad finds it difficult to identify his things in the guest bathroom versus your mother’s things.
So, you try to think of ways that you can assist your parents during their stay at your home.
One way you can help them be organized is to make the space guests share organized BEFORE they arrive.
The big question is: How do you organize a bathroom drawer for multiple people?
NAPO Michigan would like to share some tips on how to organize a bathroom drawer.
Here are three tips on how to organize a bathroom drawer.
1. Insert interlocking drawer organizers
The interlocking drawer organizers assist in creating areas for various items in the drawer. You can pick these up at dollar stores, Walmart, and other retail stores. For adjustable drawer dividers, the Container Store has customize-able solutions.
2. Separate and Label each bin for each person
Creating areas for each person’s stuff allows everyone to easily identify where things are located and where to put things back after each use. For regular visitors, label their bin or drawer so they know where to put their stuff. Finding their stuff will be much easier.
3. Create a cleanup schedule
Creating a cleanup schedule ensures that after each person finishes grooming, their items are expected to be organized immediately following their use and the space will be clean, so the next person can use the space with ease. Ensuring everyone knows the expectation for picking up after themselves will make for a more pleasant home life for everyone.
Organizing your bathroom drawer is easier than you think!
For more organizing tips, visit www.NAPOMichigan.com. You’ll find other informative articles under the BLOG tab.
Article submitted by Chapter member L. Patterson.
January is National Get Organized Month! Or as Professional Organizers call it "GO Month."
Real Simple magazine readers list Getting Organized as their #1 New Years resolution.
If Getting Organized is a goal of yours, have we got an event for you!
NAPO Michigan Chapter Members and Professional Organizers Donna Lindley from Organize Your World, Terri Closs from As You Wish Organizing, and Kari Grady from Need To Organize, will help you learn how to tidy up, downsize, and get organized in the New Year.
This event is FREE and open to the public.
Registration is required and begins December 8 for Bloomfield Township residents.
Nonresidents may sign up beginning January 1, should room still be available.
To register, go to the Bloomfield Township Library website:
We stock up on new holiday decor, new party attire and start buying gifts for those on our list. Products are marketed to us as the absolute “must” of the season or “best price ever”. Black Friday and Cyber Monday can cause anxiety and fear, if we miss the mark. All this can lead us to buying lots of extras for the wrong reasons.
I am not talking about the well-thought-out purchase of items for us or family members.
I am talking about those last-minute decisions we put in our basket to fill a void, even up the gift count or make the holidays even merrier. Those little finds we convince ourselves we or someone else needs.
I am a gift buyer. Give me a theme for a gift and I am off to the races. Unfortunately, my buying and overbuying makes me guilty of leaving traces of clutter in other people’s lives. Many years ago when my oldest daughter and I were cleaning out her room, I was surprised she was willing to donate all these turtle trinkets I had given her. She liked turtles, we had a turtle tank and therefore, I bought turtle stuff as gifts…for years! When I questioned why she wanted to give it all away, she told me “mom, I like turtles, just not turtle stuff”.
Ouch! But I was glad she felt comfortable enough to tell me the truth. I have had the same types of gifts given to me, but mine all were cat themed. For many years, our family bought stocking stuffers for one another. Inevitably each year, I received a note pad with a cat on it. I would smile and be thankful and when I got home I put it in the drawer with prior years’ note pads…all with cats on them.
Can anybody relate to this?
As Professional Organizers, many of us see the gifts our clients receive. In some cases, we help them deal with where to put the gift, how to store the gift, help them decide if the gift has out lived it’s use and help them deal with the guilt of not wanting it anymore.
Since my children are young adults, I am trying to figure out how to fulfill my desire to give to them, without over giving, filling a void, or thinking they will be happier with more. I do give gifts of need, adventure and grocery-type items that help their pocket book.
I have never believed that gifts need to be kept forever. Gifts don’t have to be purchased to let someone know you love them or are thinking of them. Gifts of time and service are most valuable. I don’t want my family to have to deal with too much stuff because I happen to over buy for them.
I write this partially as my own retail therapy. My husband and I spent this past weekend on a road trip. We stopped and did a little shopping along the way. My oldest daughter said she would like a new flannel shirt for Christmas. I ordered the black and red buffalo plaid.
While in line at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I saw a black and red buffalo plaid hot pad…and in another store, the matching coffee mug. My husband politely reminded me that she just asked for the shirt. Rats! He is so right. She has coffee mugs and hot pads. I know she would think it is cute to get her matching pieces…. but it’s not like she is going to cook in her shirt and use the matching hot pad while sipping hot cocoa.
I am happy he stopped me.
No matter how you celebrate your holidays, take a few minutes to check that list and keep unnecessary clutter off of it.
The following was written by Leigh MacReady, President of NAPO Michigan and owner of Re-Nest LLC.
I’m just back from NAPO’s 2017 Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, and my head is teeming with information and ideas that I’m eager to digest and integrate into my business operations and the work I do with my clients!
But rather than share a laundry list of the tips, tools, products and strategies that I picked up at conference – which would be a long list – I’m going to share some reflections that attempt to sum up my overall conference experience. I’m choosing this angle for this article because I want to emphasize the value of “the conference experience” itself.
For me, the highlight of conference is connecting with fellow organizers. Gathering together in community with peers from around the globe is unbelievably affirming ~ making me feel deep and renewed pride in my profession and reminding me of the high value of my services. Reconnecting with old pals and meeting new friends at conference gets me incredibly jazzed and refuels my tank with ideas and energy for the year ahead.
Here I am (center, front) in Pittsburgh with members of our fabulous NAPO Michigan chapter, from left: Linda Fuzi, Susan Hunsberger, Jo Golda, Kari Grady, Leigh MacCready, Sue Elder, Susie Marsh
I’m not a natural networker, but somehow, at conference, the connections seem to arise organically ~ in the elevators, standing in line for coffee, sitting in a session ~ and the conversations that result invariably yield fun and rewarding outcomes. This year at conference I had the opportunity to spend time with four women who I’ve spent the past 2.5 years with on the phone as students in an organizer-coach training program. It was incredibly special to finally “meet” these friends in person and to deepen our personal and professional bonds. Here we are one morning at conference, out for a walk in Pittsburgh.
Here I am (second from right) out for a walk with organizer friends in Pittsburgh
The second most valuable part of conference for me is the opportunity it not just provides – but begs! – for stepping back to consider the big picture. Too regularly in my day-to-day life, I fall into comfortable routines and patterns, failing to make the space and time for looking at my larger goals and dreams. Conference is a fabulous antidote for this. Conference exposes you to speakers who share stories and ask questions that tug at heartstrings and get the stuck wheels of your brain turning again! For me the big takeaway this year – the thing that I am most excited to spend time exploring and working on (both personally, and with my clients) – is writing a personal/professional vision. I’m intrigued and excited by the potential power of the visioning process.
The third most valuable part of conference for me is learning about specific challenges our clients face and how we can better support them through these challenges. Returning home with new awareness, deeper understanding, and actionable strategies that I can immediately put into practice with my clients is a hugely rewarding part of the conference experience. This year, for example, I gleaned information that will help me in my work with clients who have ADHD, clients who procrastinate, clients who tell themselves little lies related to their disorganization, grieving clients, families of deceased clients, and clients seeking to enhance their productivity via technology.
For any organizers reading this who haven’t been to conference, I encourage you to consider attending next year. It can be expensive, yes, and it can be scary to venture into the unknown, but in my experience, it’s an unparalleled growth opportunity not to be missed.
This was written by Nia Spongberg, CPO®, Chapter Member. Her business is Spruced Up Spaces LLC.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 25 percent of people with two-car garages don’t park any cars in their garages.
If your garage holds everything but your car OR you can never find an item in the garage when you need it, spring is the perfect time to organize your garage.
The National Association of Professional Organizers, Southeast Michigan Chapter (NAPO-MI) want to share their top ten list on organizing your garage.
1. Think about what activities happen in or near your garage.
2. Plan task-specific zones in the garage accordingly. Store related items in each zone.
3. Hang shelves on walls to free up floor space.
4. Use a plastic shoe box to store similar items and parts for each power tool stored in garage. Be sure to label it. Store on shelves.
5. Make use of corners by placing a triangular shelfing unit or gardening tool caddy.
6. Hang pegboard to keep hand tools, hoses and extension cords visible.
7. Use vertical space whenever possible. Use tall shelving units with adjustable shelves to increase storage capacity. Rafter space is often overlooked for storage in garages.
8. Hang L- or U-shaped utility hooks at top of wall studs to hang seasonal items like ladders and seed spreaders.
9. Keep toxic substances like pesticides behind locked doors so they are out of reach of children and pets.
10. Keep a fire extinguisher and First Aid kit handy for any emergencies to save precious time, when needed.
Once you’ve gotten organized, “remember one simple rule: ‘Whatever you get out ~ you have to put away’. This not only applies to parking the vehicles in the same place every day, but it also applies to bikes, sports equipment, yard tools and machinery,” said Kathy Tucker, Chapter member. She can be reached at www.finallyorganizedmich.com.
Organizing your garage is much easier than you think! For more organizing tips, visit www.NAPOMichigan.com.
Article submitted by Cindy Greenleaf, Chapter member, and Chief Organizing Officer of New Leaf Organizing LLC.
Even after you have gotten rid of all the clothes in your closet that don’t fit you, have holes in them or you simply don’t like them anymore, your remaining clothes are still jammed tight on the closet rod.
The National Association of Professional Organizers in Michigan wants to share a tip on
how to make the most of your closet rod space at little cost!
Often when we hang clothes in our closet, we tend to hang them horizontally and forget about all the vertical space that is available as well. When hanging blouses, shirts, pants and skirts, the space below these items is wasted when the clothes are hung horizontally. Hanging clothes vertically maximizes on the rod space available and allows you to easily see what is in your closet.
An inexpensive way to gain rod space and achieve vertical hanging is as follows – use pop can pull tab or shower curtain rings to attach the coat hangers together in a vertical chain.
You’ll need to detach the pop can tabs from empty pop cans until you get what you need. Give them a quick rinse, if needed, because you’ll want them to be clean. Or hit the Dollar store to pick up the shower curtain rings, either metal or plastic. Make sure you know how many you’ll need before you go shopping.
Simply put the pop can pull tab or shower curtain ring through the hook of the coat hanger and layer the clothes vertical. This is a great way to keep like with like and allows you to see very clearly what is in your closet while maximizing the space you have available.
Article submitted by Chapter member, Soo Porter, Professional Organizer and Founder of Your Cluttered Space.com.
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