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Does Your Home Have a Good Flow?

streamDoes your house ever feel like one big giant traffic jam? Are there cluttered spaces that impede on a smooth and easy flow within your home?

You are not alone.

Every home, no matter how small, is still a complex setting filled with multiple activities and spaces. Busy households with active children often struggle with bottlenecks in the highly congested areas. Hallways can be hard to maneuver without stepping or tripping over things.

If your house is really clogged up, it might be that you have too much incoming and not enough outgoing.  Or, it might be as simple as stepping up your organization skills. Consider these suggestions.

Assess the damage. Are any of these scenarios the culprits in your home?

    • If your mail lands on a counter that is in a very active hub in your home, chances are it will be knocked over, mislaid, or even disappear.
    • If sweaters, jackets and coats, and scarves are not put away, chances are they will get mixed in with a pile of other unattended clutter. This is a perfect storm for misplacing or losing important items.
    • Too often, items like keys, glasses and cell phones are notoriously misplaced or buried because we put them somewhere or anywhere without a conscious effort to put them in a consistent and exclusive place.
    • You are consistently tripping over abandoned shoes, sneakers, and unclaimed apparel.

If your household is a particular hectic one with multiple activities and busy children, the mess could get uglier. New toys, new clothing, and new technology commonly invade the home before the old items exit. Household clutter creates chaos and negative consequences for everybody in the home.  For adults, it could mean a missing document or an important bill. For the kids, it’s a team uniform, a missing piece to a favorite toy, board game or puzzle.

Find your busy intersection in your home and control it.  Create specific zones in your home for items to land and set up individual spaces (bins, containers, hooks, etc) for each member of the family to organize their own things.  Imagine a natural flow when entering your home at the end of a typical day; hanging up the jacket in the coat closet, then placing the keys in a bowl or on a hook,  dropping the mail in a designated basket or tray, and thereafter returning your phone, glasses, briefcase or handbag back to its consistent resting place.  Now you’re ready to move through your home without a messy trail.  Pretty easy, huh?  As a result, you won’t need to put anything away later, and you also know where to find them when you need them. You’ve just cut your “losses”, literally.

If the kitchen is the most popular hub in your home, design the space so it can accommodate the heavy traffic.  Be creative and make your spaces work for you.  Avoid clogging the areas near the fridge with frequently used appliances.  Keep counter tops clear so that more than one person can utilize an adjacent area without vying for the same spot.  Encourage traffic to flow away from the crowded areas, creating more of a one-way traffic pattern into the more open spaces.

If you find yourself walking in circles to look for something, maybe you should rethink its location and accessibility.  A simple change can alter the flow of your home and impact the common spaces significantly.

A busy life doesn’t need to mean a chaotic one. On the contrary, a busy life needs to be managed that much more acutely.  A little more attention to organization can promote family harmony and help balance the busy effectively.

Invite yourself into your home. Now take a moment, stroll with a more objective eye, is your busy household flowing smoothly?

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On Moving & Downsizing; Guest Expert Moreen Torpy

Family MovingI’m so excited to welcome Moreen Torpy today to talk about the essential tips to consider prior to moving, and some simple steps that can help reduce the overwhelming process. Moreen is the De-Clutter Coach, a trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker and expert in Moving and Downsizing. For more info visit her website here,

Thanks Moreen for sharing your expertise with all my readers!


Moving Takes Planning and Preparation

When we think about moving, the first thing that comes to mind is the packing. Of course, there are plenty of other considerations as well. Here’s a handy list of 9 things to remember to cover as many areas as possible.

1. Allow plenty of time to move. If you can possibly allow eight weeks, you will be able to accomplish everything you need to do.

2. When will your new place be available? If you’re purchasing a home or condo, you can plan for the closing date. However if you’re moving into a care facility, you may have only a couple of days in which to get there or lose the placement.

3. Can you obtain the floor plan for your new place? Using this, plan furniture placement before moving so that the heavy pieces can be placed by the movers. This will eliminate your trying to lift heavy pieces and risk injury to yourself.

4. Book the mover or recruit a team and van. At one point in life, we can’t do all the lifting and carrying ourselves. Get estimates from three companies and ensure they provide this in writing, addressing the same questions, so you can compare and select the one best suited to your situation. Also ensure the company you hire has insurance for any damage that may occur during the move caused by the movers. Get this in writing to protect yourself.

5. Purge anything you can before moving. This is your opportunity to pass along family heirlooms, downsize your wardrobe, sell furniture or household items that won’t be moving with you. Remember that movers charge by time, weight and distance. For a local move, the Time consideration is crucial. The longer it takes to load and unload anything you don’t need will increase your cost.

6. Assemble packing materials—boxes, paper, bubble wrap etc. If such a service exists in your area, rent moving boxes. These are plastic flip-top bins that are delivered to your home a few days before your moving date and picked up at the other end a few days later. Typically you pay for the number of days you have the bins in your possession. If you use cardboard boxes, either scrounge them from stores or purchase them. Stores have less incentive to give the boxes away these days as they can recoup some of their costs by selling them to recyclers. As for packing paper, use unprinted newsprint so the printing ink won’t get on your hands and precious possessions. This paper can be purchased from some moving companies and local newspaper offices (end rolls). The latter is much cheaper if you have access to it. Bubble wrap is great for delicate breakables. It’s available from moving companies and some stationery stores.

7. Use plenty of paper and bubble wrap to ensure nothing is broken. After packing only the most important of your possessions, you won’t want anything to arrive at destination in pieces. Wrap each item well and stuff the spaces between the items with extra paper to ensure nothing moves in the box.

8. Label boxes with large numbers and the room they are to go into. For safety reasons never write the box contents on the outside. Keep that information in a Moving Log where you list all the box numbers and their contents. At destination, when you need a particular item, check your list for its location and go directly to that box. With the room names on the boxes, they can be placed in the appropriate rooms and save you having to sort them yourself.

9. Unpack, recycle boxes and paper—give away or blue box. Start unpacking the boxes in the rooms you need to set up first—kitchen, bedrooms and bathroom(s). Then work your way through the rest as you prioritize.

Moving doesn’t need to be the worst experience of your life. With organization and advance planning it can simply be another day in your life. The next chapter in which you can make new memories and enjoy new experiences.

How will you deal with your next move? Will you do anything different from what you did last time? What would that be?


© 2013 Moreen Torpy We would be honored for you to reprint this article. If you do, please include the resource box below with the hyperlinks intact. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See for more about the book including where to purchase it, and to learn about her organizing services and other books.


P.S. To purchase Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In, visit one of the quality booksellers here:

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The Essential X-Factor in Sustainable Organization







I’m all about sustainability,  it is the very trademark of my business.  By definition, it means the capacity to endure. Yet we must acknowledge that in life, things change, people change.  We grow, we evolve, and so we must continually adapt our daily systems to our current needs.

Countless times, I’m reminded that establishing sustainability can only exist through maintenance, the quintessential X-factorAs a flower needs the rain, our systems need the same TLC.  There is no one trick pony, no eternal fix.

Organization needs “nurturing,” in order to sustain itself.  We must give it proper attention or it simply will not endure.

I re-visit client’s homes and realize that sometimes the systems didn’t work, not because they weren’t good, but because their “needs” had changed. Or, perhaps I didn’t hone in on their specific preference of learning styles. I could never have known that, until it failed.  Together we had implemented solutions that we thought would be fail-safe, but in fact, they could not be sustained. It worked, until it didn’t.

So we tweak, and if necessary, tweak once more.  It is more than a tedious process.  Make no mistake about it, it is a life long journey.

Typically, I begin with an elementary improvement of organization, and the client is seemingly happy.  But with time and an increased awareness, the client yearns for more. They are invigorated and inspired with the noticeable improvements.

Whether it’s a paper filing system or the transformation of their spaces, their standards have been piqued. And so their enthusiasm requires me to micro-manage further. The systems continue to improve. To witness their evolution and personal growth is often remarkable, and one that still astounds me.

Sustainability is achievable but not in a vacuum.  Be mindful that with growth, comes change.  We never stand still, we keep on moving, forever evolving, and so must our life systems.  We must maintain the systems by fine-tuning them to our distinct proclivities. Then, and only then, can sustainability  prosper.

So ask yourself if your home, office, or life organization has sustained itself. Are your systems still working for you?  Have you adapted to the changes in your lifestyle?  Evaluate.  Perhaps you’re missing the X-factor.


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Easing Kid’s Back to School with Organization

After a fun-filled summer of relaxed schedules and extended bedtimes, returning to back to school regimens can be a very difficult transitionfor most children. Particularly, if there were little or no parameters enforced throughout the summer, this can be a stressful time. So if you’ve been guilty of “no schoolbook, no rule-book,” now’s the time to re-calibrate.  Emergency call for structure and organization, STAT.

Whether your child is entering Kindergarten or returning back to a familiar school, most kids experience some level of anxiety prior to the first day of school.  New routines can be scary.  No matter how old the child, they fear the unknown because it is unpredictable.  Studies have revealed that children adapt better when they are prepared and know what to expect.

As parents, the best way to ease your children’s trepidations is with steady and consistent preparation.  The power of organizationcan be calming because readiness exudes a significant measure of confidence.  So if you haven’t already started to organize for school, start now.  Have those conversations about the first day of school.

  • Review their school supplies with them and pack up their school bags now.  Why not be ready?
  • Discuss the new schedule; and morning and nighttime routines.
  • If what they wear is a concern for them, come up with a plan to make the mornings less stressful.
  • Start adjusting their bedtimes now so they can adapt to the eventual earlier rise. Teach them the value of being punctual and being prepared.
  • Make rules. Children need parameters.  In fact, they require them to make them feel safe.

Clarify your expectations. Discuss the rules.  But above all, listen. 

Listen to their fears or worries.  You can alleviate a great deal of their concerns by organizing their routine, their stuff, even their thoughts. Pre-schoolers will require a lot more instruction and direction to feel secure.  But think about it, even students entering High School have an orientation day to aid them with their distinguishable transition.  Most schools offer a walking tour prior to the first day, so inquire within your school district to schedule one if your child is apprehensive.

Do whatever you can to make your child feel at ease.  It could be a trial run to school, making a play date with a classmate, or jotting down helpful reminders or guidelines to keep in their book bag.

Everyone feels more comfortable when they are prepared and are informed. Rules aren’t exclusively designed just for school.  It’s part of life’s lessons.

For most of us, preparing your children for life is a parent’s eternalhomework, don’t you think?


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The Shoemaker and Me

There’s a saying  that “The shoemaker’s son hasn’t any shoes,” and now I understand why. He reaps enormous pride from his work because it is his life’s passion.  But the Shoemaker is so very immersed in his craftsmanship he does not have ample time to make shoes for his very own son.

Lately, the Shoemaker and I have more in common that I would like to admit.

Don’t get me wrong, my home is organized and everything has a place, but not to the pristine level that I systematize for my client.  Together we micro-manage every detail and complete projects with the latest and greatest organizing products.  If there are budgetary concerns, I come up with a more economically acceptable plan, but equally efficient solutions.  I delight in the transformation of a space and even more, the transformation of a person.  Organization changes lives and I get to watch it happen.  I love devising innovative systems for each and every one of my clients and I leave inspired,  knowing that at the end of that day, I have made their life better.

Then I come home.  My trained eye is now looking at my own spaces with a much more critical eye.  I spend all day de-cluttering, and efficiently micro-organizing everybody else’s home.  My own home is not getting the daily attention it deserves.  More importantly, I am not as patient or lenient with my own family (who are the culprits) as I am with my clients; nor are they as consensual with my oh so helpful suggestions, lol.

As I have evolved as a Professional Organizer, my expectations of what “being organized” means, has changed.  The bar has been raised. I am way more cognizant of things not put away, and less tolerant of procrastination. The trials and tribulations of living with a Professional Organizer can be challenging, for sure.  Sometimes scary.

Technology advances and products continue to improve.  Professionally, I research, purchase, and get the opportunity to see them work in my client’s spaces.  I pass on all the new and exciting products I’ve discovered to better organize their things, yet I do not take the time to implement them into my own home. There are so many dated organizing systems and products that I still use that should be replaced with more updated ones.   Fortunately, because I am innately organized, I am still able to achieve the same model organization, re-purposing the old design with some creativity.  Functionality is not compromised, just operating with the basic essentials.

So next on my To Do list, I have high hopes to start with my home-office organization. There are so many new amazing options of high quality colorful folders, decorative desktop organizers, unique office supplies, and drawer organizers that I love and hope to buy soon.  I’ve said this many times before, but it just never seems to happen.  Maybe I should invest in all the bells and whistles including a newly color-coded filing system, as beautifully appointed as my last client.  Maybe.  Just maybe, if I find the time.

Yours truly, Time-management guru, has no time.  Just like the Shoemaker.  My own children are still urging me to help them organize and de-clutter their respective NYC apartments. They are still waiting.

Hmmm…makes me wonder…

Do you think painter’s have freshly painted walls in their own homes?

Do teachers have time to tutor their own children? 

Do accountants file their taxes late?

Do decorators have beautiful homes? 

Do you think dentist’s children have perfect teeth?  Well, I have to tell you that I have met some dentists with shockingly bad teeth and I found that to be surprising.

So I’m thinking that I’m not alone.  Maybe many “Captains of Industry” or tradesmen/technicians do not have time to service their own personal lives with their particular specialty. 

How has your profession impacted your personal life? What do you sacrifice? Do you ever feel like you’ve walked in the Shoemaker’s shoes?




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The Impossible Dream: Perfectionism

Well, you heard it here first… straight from the horse’s mouth. Even Professional Organizers are not perfect.   It is far too high a standard for any person to aspire to be and yet so many of us have an that insatiable desire to still get there.  Indeed, a common, but unrealizitic expectation that we all struggle with.  It’s so hard to get to “perfect”, because nothing, and noone, actually is.

I generally advise my overwhelmed clients to get to “good enough”, and in most cases, that’s a productive middle ground that provides them with a healthy life-balance. But each of us have our own scale of how we measure perfection. One person’s “good” can be another person’s “great.”

Honestly, I try to practice what I preach, but I admittedly do get caught up in dotting the I’s, and crossing T’s syndrome, (I’m not perfect, remember?) But this holiday season provided me with a teachable moment I’d like to share.

I recently blogged about the enormous amount of preparation involved in organizing a Passover Seder. Sometimes it seems like it takes a village to prepare, but that’s before I realized that I could recruit my family as eager volunteers. To really know me is to know that during this holiday, I run the kitchen fastidiously, like I’m some fancy sous chef (which I am clearly not), checking off notes, re-writing lists, all while delegating jobs out to my happy helping hands.  At least, they start out being happy and enthusiastic, until I start micro-managing each of their tasks, as my inner drill sergeant kicks in.  Relinquishing control is not my strong suit, but I realize that I can’t possibly chop, slice, bake, boil, stir, marinate, set the table and babysit the brisket and chicken in the oven, all by myself.  So I focused on completion more than perfection.  That was the plan.

What I did not plan on was my husband getting bitten by a neighbor’s dog, two hours before the Seder.  When we realized the bite had broken his skin, we knew he needed immediate medical care. Our tasks quickly changed from chopping onions to frantically calling local emergency medi-centers that could squeeze him in.  After a long wait, he returned with bandaged leg, tetnis shot, and a script for antibiotics.  Some family members were due to arrive by train and so I detoured to the pharmacy en route to the train station, leaving my stand-in kitchen patrol at bay.

The Seder eventually got started, but not without consequences.  My signature brisket didn’t live up to its infallible reputation, the neglected veggies were not as firm as preferred, and the sauteed onions might have been a bit too well-done.  Don’t get me wrong, everything was still delicious…it just wasn’t perfect.  At the end of the day, I was surrounded by my beautiful loving family, singing and laughing as we recalled the drama of the day. The actual food paled in comparison to the intimate and special celebration of the evening.  We went for “good enough” and it felt just like “perfect.”

How do you measure perfectionism? What does ideal perfect mean to you?

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The Top Ten Virtues of a Snowstorm: It’s About More Than You Think!!

I have learned that there is great value in an epic snow blizzard event, both prior, during, and after.  First of all, because the weathermen get all excited about forecasting the impending doom and scare us all into thinking we will be stuck in our homes for days, it forces us to be more organized than any ordinary day.  The media urge us to get ready and be prepared.

The survival instinct in us emerges and so we all run to the supermarket because we fear we will be on lock-down for days without food, (and of course, let’s not forget the fresh milk, it’s always a commodity and the very first item to deplete itself)

Apparently, when we receive a weather advisory, we take immediate action and seem to react accordingly with little difficulty.  The day prior to a snowstorm, I notice that wherever I go, I get a sense that everybody is preparing, albeit cancelling appointments or rescheduling them, changing travel, etc., all in an effort to plan ahead.  You can feel it, the “hustle-bustle”  is in the air.  A teachable moment indeed, and a great eye-opener for ANY situation.

So this begs the question, where is your inner alert for readiness in an ordinary week?  Try this.  Take a look at your week at a glance with a little more critical thinking.  Prepare with a more heightened sense of organization and I bet it will bring you better results. Being organized prepares you for the unexpected and helps you focus on your goals, just like for a snowstorm.

As for the actual snow day, it’s a great opportunity to measure how you choose to spend your time.  It’s a time to reflect.  You’ve got a day off.

You could:

  1. Organize a closet, a drawer, or any room (hey, if you’re going to dream, dream big).
  2. Read an old fashioned book, if you haven’t got a Kindle or Nook yet (yes, that requires turning an actual page)
  3. Watch a movie or impose an all day marathon (popcorn a must).
  4. Call an old friend (the kind that the time lapsed never matters).
  5. Get lost on Facebook with no time-management in mind.
  6. Catch up on sleep (an impossible goal but worth the effort).
  7. Eat ALL the food you bought.
  8. Exercise at home (probably not likely).
  9. Sort mail and pay bills (this is a tough one, most likely on your “to hate”- list).
  10. Shovel?

 Or NOT!!!!!! Whether the snow day gives us time to do the things we love to do, or hate to do, the mere break from everyday routine is a great rethink for all of us to recognize how we use our time.

After the snowstorm has settled and you’ve shoveled your way back to the mundane, don’t be down on yourself if you went the lazy route, it’s YOUR time and YOU own it.  That being said, after being a recluse for a day or two, I am confident that you will be eager and happy to get out and rock the world tomorrow.  Everybody needs a snowstorm now and then.


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Junk Junk Go Away

Day 23: (June 14) There are all kinds of junk.  After 33 years of accumulating so much , there comes a time to assess what’s dated and no longer cool to hang on to, and the things you’ve outgrown.  We grow, we age, we change. Through the years and if we have the room , we tend to keep a historical trail of our taste in artwork, decor, and so much more.  But hey, I’m moving and now I HAVE to choose.  My entire home has been re-modeled in the past eight years, with the exception of an upstairs sitting room.  The sleeper sofa in that room looks ugly to me now, and the hanging artwork is much too contemporary for my new decor. My children’s rooms have TVs that work, but they are as old as dinosaurs. Think it’s time purge and let it go.  So, although they really shouldn’t be classified as junk, they might as well be to me. So what do you do with all this stuff?

You call JUNKLUGGERS! They are an amazing and reliable junk removal company based out of Port Chester, N.Y. ( which picks up your junk, recycles and donates your undesirables. To be honest, I was very concerned about how they were going to negotiate this huge sofa out of that small room, and make a very challenging turn down a mahogany banister, and skirting by a large crystal chandelier hanging in my foyer!! I was quite impressed with their professionalism and their genuine respect for my home.  They took great care in protecting my hanging wall-art, my ceilings, and padding of my banister.  Most importantly, I was pleased with the organization of it all.  They had to have a plan, and talk about it prior to the actually moving and lifting.  There were pauses along the way so they could stop, rest, and re grip the couch.  It was a successful team effort, and while they had each other’s back, I had my eyes closed!!!

When it was safely out my front door, I sighed with relief, and enjoyed the continuous exiting of multiple old TVs, area rug, old beach chairs, and other random items from my garage.  They hauled my junk away, and knowing it was going to good places, I was a happy camper. In these regard, letting go wasn’t so hard.  High recommendations for these guys, for sure.  Thank you Asher and Kevin.

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