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  • Monday, September 07, 2015 1:46 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    There’s one essential part of staying organized that doesn’t require you to lift a finger.  No sorting through boxes, no printing labels – this step requires only talking. 

    But sometimes it’s the simple things that don’t get done.  When you share a living- or workspace with someone else, it’s essential that you talk about where different categories of items will live in that space.  (And if you live or work alone, this might be a silent, but just as important, exercise – though you should feel free to talk it out aloud too!) 

    If your partner or colleague doesn’t know where you keep the stapler, he or she will be doomed to a staple-less existence…or you will be doomed to always being the one who puts it away and finds it again.  Taking the 60 seconds to talk about which drawer it goes to can save much more time that would otherwise be lost to frustration or clutter-clearing.

    A family brainstorming session about where to store a new glass measuring cup might go like this: The low cabinet with the plastic bowls? Too likely to be grabbed by the toddler. The drawer with the smaller measuring cups? Not enough room. The high cabinet with the hand mixer? We have a deal!

    We at NAPO-SE Michigan think these conversations tend to be skipped because people assume they’re too basic, too easy to warrant the time and attention.  But when you’ve seen as many clutter-filled surfaces as we have as professional organizers, you know: much of that clutter’s root cause is simple ignorance about where to put the items after using them.  And that clutter becomes the root of tension, unhappiness, and lost keys and even cash!

    So it’s worth the investment of your time: your space and well-being are worth it.

    This article was written by Molly Boren, Chapter Vice-President, a  Certified Professional Organizer® and owner of Simplicity Works Organizing Services for the home and office. 


  • Tuesday, September 01, 2015 12:50 PM | Deleted user

    NAPO Southeast Michigan wants to help bring awareness to an upcoming 8-week therapy group for older adults. This support group ~ held at the University of Michigan Turner Senior Resource Center in Ann Arbor ~ is for those who are experiencing depression, anxiety or adjustment issues related to handling clutter. This group is intended to help participants:

    • Understand why we keep things and readiness for change
    • Learn ways to cope with letting go of belongings
    • Practice strategies for decreasing clutter & organizing belongings

    This group will meet Thursday mornings from 10am-Noon from Sept 24 - Nov 12., 2015. Please call Mary Rumman, LMSW, at the University of Michigan Turner Senior Resource Center for more information or to register, (734) 764-2556. 

    You may also wish to download or print this flyer: Clutter Busters Flyer.pdf

  • Friday, August 28, 2015 9:40 AM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)


    These shelving units are a tried-and-true, cost-effective way to take advantage of vertical space and store many different items in a home or business.  As professional organizers, we routinely recommend these shelves to clients for many reasons:

    •     They maximize use of vertical space in a way that few other solutions    can with so little work and cost;

    •     They are very strong and durable;

    •     The shelves are height-adjustable, so they can be positioned at intervals which make sense for the dimensions of the items you’re storing;

    •      The shelves can be stationary or mobile, depending on your situation (locking wheels are often included, if not you can purchase wheels separately)

    •      Some units come with plastic shelf liners so small items won’t fall through the bars (if not included, these liners can often be purchased separately);

    •      The metal bars are trim, which means they don’t impede access to shelf contents, and they let light through which makes it easier to see everything;

    •      They can be put together relatively quickly and easily (around 20 minutes), and require no tools (although having a rubber mallet can be handy);

    •      They are competitively priced (around $90-100) for the value they deliver;

    •      The standard 18 x 48 x 72 unit can be purchased locally at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club or Lowe’s, so it’s easy to pick one up on short notice;

    •       They are available in any number of dimensions from stores like Target and companies like ULINE and Global Industrial, allowing them to fit in almost any space or hold items of unusual sizes.

    Building these shelves requires a bit of physical strength and dexterity. It’s usually easiest for two people to build the unit together. After you’ve built one, you get the hang of it and you become quicker at building subsequent shelves. One final word of advice: when you get back from the store, rather than hauling the heavy box into your home or office and then unpacking the pieces, we recommend opening the box right in your vehicle and carrying the individual pieces inside to the location where you will be building and using the shelf; it’s much easier on your back this way.


    This Product Review was submitted by Chapter Director of Communication and Technology, Nia Spongberg, who is a Certified Professional Organizer® and owner at Spruced Up Spaces, LLC.


  • Thursday, May 28, 2015 6:58 AM | Deleted user
    Sports Equipment can become a frustrating, jumbled mess if you don’t have a good strategy and system for keeping it organized. This can translate into big headaches when you’re scrambling to get the kids out the door to soccer practice or rushing to make your tee time. What follows are four key considerations and associated suggestions for helping keep all your gear and accessories in order so you can enjoy your athletic pursuits to the fullest.

    (1)   Pick A Zone

    Begin by identifying and designating one zone – such as a corner of your garage, or a closet in your entryway – that will serve as the storage area for all of your sports equipment. Ideally this zone will be easily accessible in order to facilitate easy-come, easy-go use.

    (2)   Sort Into Categories

    Next, walk around your entire home and gather up every single piece of sports equipment you own. Bring all of it to your new storage zone. Now, sort the items into the following six categories. As you sort, be sure to get rid of any equipment which is damaged or unsafe to use, or which is no longer relevant (your kids have outgrown it, you no longer play that sport, etc): 

    1.      Long Things:  bats, sticks, clubs, racquets, skis, sleds, fishing poles, etc.

    2.      Things That Go:  balls, pucks, birdies, darts, kites, etc.

    3.      Protective Gear:  baseball mitts, goggles, helmets, pads, mouth guards, etc.

    4.      Clothing: uniforms, hats, etc.

    5.      Footwear: cleats, rollerblades, skates, ski boots, etc.

    6.      Accessories:  bike pumps, water bottles, fishing tackle, golf cart batteries, scuba tanks, etc.

    (3)   Add Structure

    Now, take a close look at what you’re keeping. Take time to thoughtfully envision how much space each category will require in your storage zone, and how the categories might be optimally arranged within the space. Also consider the specific type of storage (within in a bin or basket? resting on a shelf? hanging on the wall?) that’s best suited for each category. If you don’t already have appropriate  storage structures in place, now is the time to obtain and install them. Below are some storage systems I like, as well as specific strategies for each category.

    Storage Systems We Like for Sports Equipment

    1.   Chrome shelving unit with pull-out bins, from Frontgate:

    Chrome-finished Sports Shelving with Pull-out Bins

    2.   Free-standing 4-bike rack:

         3.  Elfa products for sports gear, from The Container Store:


    Specific Storage Strategies for Each Category

    Long Things: Store upright in an empty garbage can or other stable barrel/bin/container; hang them from hooks on a wall/pegboard; lay them flat on a shelf; lay them flat in a saddle/cradle suspended from the ceiling.

    Things That Go: Store in a see-through wire basket of appropriate size (make sure the balls aren’t smaller than the mesh openings of the basket) or in open-front, stacking crates/cubbies. For  larger balls like soccer, basketball, and footballs, mount on the wall in a Ball Claw -

    Protective Gear: Store in clear, plastic, latch-top totes (to help keep dust at bay), or in bins/baskets on shelves.

    Clothing: Store in clear, plastic, latch-top totes (to help keep dust at bay), or in bins/baskets on shelves.

    Footwear: Store directly on shelves, or in open-front, stacking crates/cubbies. 

    Accessories: Because accessories are so numerous and varied, it’s not possible to provide a generalized storage recommendation. Instead, let the physical attributes of each item (size, shape, weight, etc) serve as clues to help you find the best storage solution.

    (4)   Be A Good Steward

    Things don’t stay organized on their own or simply because you have good storage structure; people keep things organized. So you will need to devote a bit of time and energy to tidying up your sports equipment zone on some regular basis. We suggest doing it four times a year with the changing of each season and corresponding change of sports. We also suggest an annual “deep-clean” where you review all your equipment, purge items that are no longer relevant, give the space a thorough cleaning, and re-organize things that have gotten out of order.


    Keeping your sports equipment organized involves many of the same organizing principles that apply elsewhere in your home or office.  

    ·        First, assign a home to every item;

    ·        Store like items together;  

    ·        Keep things off the floor by making optimal use of vertical (wall) space;

    ·        Make sure everyone who uses the space knows where and how things are stored (labeling can really help facilitate this); and

    ·        Use clear/see-through containers that make it easy to see items and return them to their homes.

    For further inspiration, you may wish to do a web search or a search within Pinterest with keywords such as “sports equipment storage”.

    Written by NAPO Michigan Chapter member Nia Spongberg of Spruced Up Spaces, LLC.

  • Friday, April 10, 2015 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    Michigan Organizers Help Lift Spirits

    Press Release March 31, 2015

    Members of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-MI) regularly give back to their community by volunteering to organize the spaces of a local non-profit organization. On April 10, 2015, NAPO-MI members will participate in a project to support Kadima, a Southfield-based nonprofit that serves individuals in Oakland County who have chronic and persistent mental illness.

    The Kadima staff does a tremendous job serving their community, which leaves them very little time to optimize their working environment. NAPO-MI members will help to organize Kadima’s Lois and Milton Y. Zussman Activity Center that provides daily activities such as psycho-educational classes, art lessons, craft projects, tutoring, outings, volunteer service projects, music, and more. The Center offers Kadima clients needed opportunities for social, recreational and peer interactions.

    On April 10th, members of NAPO-MI will step up to help organize their space by decluttering and optimizing storage of arts and crafts supplies, games and exercise equipment, closets and common areas, laundry and kitchen supplies, and staff offices. Kadima is purchasing organizing equipment at cost and members of NAPO-MI are donating their services and supplies for the event, which will take place from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm at Kadima’s Lois and Milton Y. Zussman Activity Center, 15999 West Twelve Mile Road, Southfield MI 48076.

    The National Association of Professional Organizers was established in 1985 and now boasts over 4,000 members in the U.S. and 23 other countries. The Southeast Michigan chapter,, came into being in 2003, and currently has 35 professional organizers and 6 associate members in related industries.

    Kadima is a non-profit social service agency that provides services to individuals diagnosed with chronic and persistent mental illness and support for their families. Services include outpatient therapy, case management, residential options, transportation and social activities. Kadima is committed to provide community education and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for individuals and their families affected by psychiatric disabilities and to reduce the stigma so often associated with mental illness. Learn more at

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    NOTE: This volunteer work day is open to NAPO Southeast Michigan Chapter Members only; no visitors, please.  Members: if you would like to volunteer at Kadima and have not already signed up, please contact:

  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 3:00 PM | Deleted user

    Do you look up at the clock in the morning and realize that, yes, your family is behind schedule, again?

    Do you have a hard time remembering to stop to eat lunch, leave for the day, or floss your teeth? Consider enlisting your smartphone for help! Set thematic songs as alarm ringtones for critical or forgettable parts of your routines.

    Songs catch our attention more than clocks or even timers, and are easily recognized by kids too young to read a clock. Start by picking one or two trouble spots. These might be transitions, like waking or leaving for school, or good habits you want to cultivate, like consistently eating lunch or cleaning your desk before stopping for the day.

    This playlist can get you started:

     Add more songs as necessary to support your family’s daily routine. With small kids, songs every 5-10 minutes throughout morning routine and bedtime routine makes it easier to be firm and consistent, improves everyone’s ability to estimate time, and replaces nagging with dancing!

    It might take some experimenting to find out which times work best for each step, and which steps need to be added. Ask the kids which songs would keep them on track, and what they want a reminder about! Challenge the kids to “beat the pajama song.”

    Every few months, delete any alarms that you regularly ignore, adjust the times of others if needed, and add new songs to keep things fresh and relevant.

    And be sure to listen to Kate Carpenter’s song “Orderly and Organized.” If professional organizers had a theme song, this might be it!  The link is:

    ~ ~ ~

    This article was written and contributed by NAPO Southeast Michigan chapter member Melanie Sobocinski of Prof Organizer LLC.

  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 2:00 PM | Deleted user

    Members of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers will give back to their community by volunteering to organize the offices and storage areas of a local non-profit organization, Habitat for Humanity Detroit.

    Habitat for Humanity Detroit helps build affordable homes for working families and eliminates poverty housing.  The Habitat staff does a tremendous job serving their community which leaves them very little time to organize their working environment.

    On April 1st, 2014, there will be No Fooling Around” as members of NAPO Southeast Michigan will step up to organize their space by decluttering work areas including desktops, desk drawers, and file cabinets.  Storage areas for several areas will also be revamped, if time permits.  Members of NAPO Southeast Michigan are donating their services and supplies for the event which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Habitat Offices located at 14325 Jane Street in Detroit.

  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 1:00 PM | Deleted user

    As a caregiver, it is a constant challenge to keep balanced and organized.  Of course, the best way to get organized is to have a plan of action BEFORE a crisis occurs.

    However, if you become a caregiver unexpectedly, these lists and tips from the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers will help your family prioritize what needs to be done. 

    In either situation, involve your loved one as much as possible, carefully considering his or her input.


    Medical: medical directives, DNRs, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Wills, disability/health/dental/long term care/life insurance, contact information for all doctors, detailed information regarding prescriptions. 

    Personal:  will, birth/marriage/divorce certificates, driver’s license, organ donation, military record, passport/visa, Durable Power of Attorney.

    Financial: banking, deeds, loans and bills, investments.

    Final wishes: regarding funeral arrangements/wake, music, passages to be read, officiate.


    Share this opportunity with others to give back. Family members, friends, church family, etc. can do something to help Grandpa, or you (prepare a meal, laundry, errands.)  Say “yes please!” to assistance – everyone will benefit. 

    Identify action items, and assign each task a level of importance.  Set priorities first, taking care of less important details later.

    Discuss what needs to be done, by whom, how often and for how long, how it will be paid for, and at what location.

    Embrace the theme of simplification regarding physical space, schedules, obligations and responsibilities to make way for new and evolving circumstances.


    Remember your personal needs.  You will need to refuel, gain perspective, and work through any number of frustrations.  Know your limits and respect them.

    Lean on the healing power of relationships and emotional support.  Family nights, outings, visits from friends, activities, phone calls, or conversation can take both your minds off illness temporarily.

    Utilize online tools: from caregiver calendars, lists and charts to support groups.

    Give everyone a generous learning curve, including you and the patient.  Work hard to let go of perfection and hyper-vigilance in things that don’t really matter.  What really matters in this chapter of your life, and perhaps the last chapter of your loved one, is love.

    ~ ~ ~

    This article was written and contributed by NAPO Southeast Michigan chapter member Jennifer Asselin of Living Arrangements Professional Organizing.
  • Sunday, March 22, 2015 12:00 PM | Deleted user

    With the launch of our new website, we are now hosting our blog right here (yup, you're reading it!) on our very own website. Until now, we'd used Blogspot to host our blog. For obvious reasons, we've decided not to spend time copying & pasting over our many, wonderful, older blog entries. But, we aren't saying goodbye to all those great posts either. Instead, we're keeping the old Blogspot venue alive!

    So, you're welcome to view our older blog entries by visiting:

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