Top 5 Organizing Products To Be Thankful For!

As the holiday season descends upon us, we will take time to celebrate and gather with the ones we love…..making it undeniably the busiest time of year.  Thanksgiving, being the first in the line up, has me thinking about what … Continue reading

Confessions of a Binder Hoarder

The other day I started thinking about all of the binders I am hoarding!!!!  I decided that I am a binder hoarder/organizer!  Let me just show you a few pictures from around the house……. As a Professional Organizer, I can … Continue reading

Inbox Zero ~ Said No One Ever!

Inbox Zero

Well, except for me. I say it all of the time. And because you know how type-A I am, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that all 5 of my email accounts have amazingly pristine inboxes. (Yes, I have 5. Don’t ask. That is for another day.). And not only that, but I have beautifully labeled folders in each of these accounts separating everything from the kids’ school stuff to business ideas. And further more, my iPad and iPhone are harmoniously synched to reflect this state of inbox zen! But did you know that I’m not considered an inbox overachiever? Rather, I am considered a prime example of a healthy inbox owner. And there is an actual word for this! INBOX ZERO! And those 2 words, my friends, help me justify my overly compulsive behavior.

But let’s be realistic, for most of you or rather everyone but me, there is only such a thing as INBOX MILLIONS. So I’d like to offer you some help in this category so you, too, can find peace of mind and that oh-so-important email you haven’t been able to find since asked by your boss to locate it like 3 months ago. Frankly, I’m surprised you still have a job or friends with the way your inbox looks and all…Seriously, your best friend sent you an Evite to your God daughter’s birthday and you never even knew it! Nice. Real nice. Those days are behind you! I am here to save the day.

There is now an app designed to help you with inbox zero and offers triage for your insane inbox situation.  It is called Mailbox! It syncs your email accounts and turns them into a To Do List aiming to accomplish INBOX ZERO.  The company is still very young and so they joined forces with Dropbox to become even more amazing! We all know and love Dropbox.  It let’s you take your documents and pictures with you anywhere and share with anyone! But back to Mailbox…

First, you’ll need to register and get in line for your MAILBOX.  They are currently taking reservations.  I got in line the other day on my iPhone and it told me I had like 60,000 people ahead of me.  However, when I checked back today there are only 12,999 people ahead of me.  I am so excited for my number to be called.  And when it is, I will share the news with you! But for now, I strongly urge you to get your place in line so you can be well on your way to INBOX ZERO.

But while you are waiting for your new MAILBOX try out this other app that I love-PAPER KARMA! Paper Karma helps control the junk mail you receive in your actual mailbox (You know, the one on the street?).  Simply snap a photo of your junk mail and it sends a request to unsubscribe from the publisher’s mailing list!  I have used it a lot and it actually works.  No more unwanted catalogs or flyers! So happy.

Have a great weekend!

Welcome Cara Applegate to Ducks in a Row!

This is an exciting post because one of my long-time and dearest friends is my new partner at Ducks in a Row!  Cara is honestly one of the most organized people I know, and I couldn’t think of a better person to work with, and I am so proud to welcome Cara Applegate as my partner!

cara

Cara holds both a B.S. in Business Administration from the College of Charleston and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from The College of Graduate Studies at The Citadel. She spent 10 years of her career as a licensed sales associate in the financial industry and as a financial manager. After taking some time off over the last several years to raise her two young children, Cara has decided to focus her energy on assisting people in creating a manageable and effective work environment. Home offices and professional offices alike require a space that is well organized in order for you to become successful. Her years of work experience in a high demand environment have given her the insight needed to help you find a balance as well. Cara will help create a system that works for you and organize your office so that you can focus on being productive.

We have so many new and exciting plans for Ducks in a Row!  Check out are new and improved website:  Ducks in a Row Charleston

While I focus on the home organizing side of things, Cara is going to be focusing on the professional and home office side of organizing and will specialize in these services as well as much more!

  • Quicken and QuickBooks Set Up
  • Bill Pay and Auto-draft Set Up
  • Archiving
  • General Office Organization
  • Online/ Computer Photo Organization
  • Music and Video Cataloging​
  • Paperless Processing
  • Calendar and Scheduling System
  • New Office? She will help you create a highly functional environment

Don’t forget that we are offering a spring organizing special where you can get 3 hours of hands-on organizing for $100 if you schedule before April 30th!

We will also be offering several new a la carte such as real estate services where we can do the following:

  • Downsizing-We will help you room by room designate which items you will need to consign/donate and what you will be packing to take with you.
  • Home Listing Preparation-We will help you remove the clutter that deters buyers. We will consign/donate items for you. Also help you with design appeal for showings.
  • Move-In Assistance-We will help you unpack and place your furniture and personal effects.
  • Annual Family Photo Book
  • Entertainment Preparation- Help get your home or office party ready!
  • Consignment and Estate Sales- We can organize and execute all of your consignment or estate sale needs.
  • Moving Day Management-We will oversee your move so you can enjoy the big day and not stress about it!

Be sure to stay tuned for more details and exciting things happening to help you get your Ducks in a Row!!!!

Spring has Sprung: Part 2

Yep, I said it, spring would be here before we knew it.  This weekend it is going to be in the 70’s in Charleston and people will probably be in bikinis on the beach!  So yes, spring has sprung, and there are some very exciting things happening at Ducks in a Row!  I will tell you all about them very soon! Last time I wrote about spring organizing, so here is part 2.

Here are 5 more tips to help you get organized this spring:

1) Purge your file cabinets to ensure that out of date or unnecessary papers aren’t taking up valuable space and making it difficult for you to put away and retrieve the current ones.

2) Go through your email inbox.  Delete what you can and create folders to keep what you need to reference at a later date. Try not to let inbox emails total more than 50 at any given time.  I have written about Evernote before, but if you haven’t tried this app, you must!

3) Keep bathroom cabinets and drawers well maintained. Purge any old make-up, toiletries or hair products. Aim to have the product you are currently using plus one replacement for when it runs out.

4) Clear off the surfaces in your home.  Keep the kitchen countertops, dining table, tops of chests of drawers, floors and any other surfaces clear of stuff that belongs elsewhere.  Remember that everything should have a “place”.

5) Clean out your junk drawer(s). Empty out items and separate into categories – like items together.  Toss anything that can be thrown away.  Put away any items that don’t belong there.  Use drawer dividers to create sections within the drawer to house the items that remain.

Don’t forget about our spring organizing special….3 hours of help for $100….this is a great discount!!!!

Google Calendar for Busy Families

If you are having a hard time keeping track of who is going where and who is doing what in your family, you may want to give Google Calendar a try.  All you have to do is create a free … Continue reading

10 Tips for an Organized 2013

Some of you may have made a New Years resolution to becoming more organized in 2013.  I personally am going to lose 10 pounds, be more patient with my kids, and grow my fingernails.  These are my resolutions almost every … Continue reading

Trendy File Cabinet Options

You don’t have to use boring metal file cabinets anymore.  I have been using some fun file storage options lately to help clients keep their papers in order.  Here are a few options that are especially cute:

Pottery Barn File Cube

Linen Desktop File Box from Restoration Hardware

Havana File Basket from Pottery Barn

File Box from Horchow

Organizing Cards and Letters

I am sharing a recent blog post today by one of my Professional Organizer colleagues based in NYC, Korinne Kubena Belock.  I read her post and immediately thought how applicable this post was to my life.  I am going to follow her tips and do this to all of my cards and letters….I have put in on my calendar and scheduled a week to do this in August when the kids go back to school.  Don’t just say you are going to do something…put it on your calendar and do it so it will actually get done 🙂

I guess you could say I am a card and letter “hoarder!”  I don’t have blank cards around the house, but I have kept every letter or card that anyone has ever sent me or my children…including Valentine’s Day cards for the kids!  Once I read Korinne’s post, I realized I need to organize and purge my cards and letters quite a bit.  Look at this picture of all of the plastic tubs I took from underneath my son’s bed that are filled with letters and cards!  (Please excuse the unmade bed with no bed skirt…his room is a work in progress since we just switched to a big boy bed).  Not to mention, I have several Valentine’s Day decorated shoeboxes of letters from grade school and high school stored in my closet at my parents’ house!  Did y’all ever make Valentine’s Day boxes out of shoeboxes to hold your Valentine’s Day cards?  I always did (actually my creative mom made them for me and went all out decorating them with fancy ribbon and Valentine’s Day wrapping paper) 🙂  I have realized that if I keep this habit up, I am going to have tubs overtaking my house filled with every card or letter I keep!   I don’t know if I will be able to actually purge many letters (I mean, it is so rare for me to actually receive a handwritten note nowadays), but I should definitely be able to purge a lot of cards!

I also keep all of my Christmas cards which I am pretty sentimental about.  If it is hard for you to get rid of your Christmas cards, my creative sister, Kate Castellaw, saw a cute idea on Pinterest.  Store your holiday cards from each year on one of those key ring type circle clasps that are available at any store like Target or Wal-Mart.  This way, you can keep your cards from each year with your Christmas decorations and browse through them each year to see how families grow and change over the years.  Every Christmas when my sister and I see each other, we always bring all of our cards to share and look at each other’s friends and families.  It is a great way to keep them all together!

Here are are the tips and a little bit about my friend and colleague Korinne.  Thank you for letting me share your awesome tips Korinne!  If anyone needs an organizer in NYC, she is the person to call!
Korinne Kubena Belock is the owner of Urban Simplicity, a professional organizing company based in New York City. Prior to founding Urban Simplicity, Korinne was a political organizer for ten years and worked for Mayor Mike Bloomberg, as well as elected officials from The United States Congress to The White House. To learn more about Korinne and Urban Simplicity’s services for both homes and businesses, visit www.UrbanSimplicityNYC.com.

Five Steps to Organize Your Greeting Cards

In this day and age of e-cards and Facebook, it seems like we’re sending fewer greeting cards via snail mail than ever, but I’ll bet you still have many of the cards you’ve received in years past.

This topic is definitely on my brain. Just this week I’ve talked with two clients about organizing their cards and letters.
So, here are five steps to get your old greeting cards organized.
Step 1: Gather them up. Without an organizational system for your cards, it’s likely they are in various nooks and crannies around your home. Grab a shopping bag and go hunting.
Step 2: Set Keep / Toss Guidelines. This can be the toughest step, so here are some basic ideas.
  • Keep cards in which the sender wrote a meaningful personal note.
  • Only keep one type of card from each year. For example, keep your favorite birthday card or anniversary card and toss the rest.
  • Get rid of holiday cards (even if they have photos), because you’ll receive another one next year.
  • Only save wedding invitations for your best friend and siblings.
  • Recycle all envelopes.
Once you have identified your Keep / Toss Guidelines, write them down for future reference.
Step 3: Sort into categories. Before you can begin purging, you’ll want to sort the cards into broad categories. For example: birthday, spouse, anniversary, holiday, wedding, wedding invitations, sympathy, and get well. As you sort you are likely to create additional categories. Write each category on a Post-it note so you can quickly identify the cards as you sort.
Step 3: Purge, purge, purge. Now that you’ve gathered and sorted all the cards, it’s time to put the guidelines you set into effect. First, set up an area to work. Clear off the dining room table, grab a snack and some water. During the purging process, don’t get stuck by reading every card. You want this process to move as quickly as possible.
Step 4: Containerize your cards. It’s now time to identify the best container to store you cards. The container you use should make it easy for you to read and enjoy the cards going forward.
Both of the options below are great because you can separate each category of cards with the tabs in the boxes. Remember to label the tabs.
White Greeting Card Organizer
Photo Courtesy of The Container Store
Clear Card Keeper
Photo Courtesy of The Container Store
You could also use a decorative box that stacks easily. Depending on how many cards you have, you could use a box for each category of cards.
Our Bold Box
Photo Courtesy of The Container Store
Bright Stockholm Office Storage Boxes
Photo Courtesy of The Container Store
Before selecting any container, determine where they will “live” in your home and measure the dimensions of that space.
Step 5: Enjoy it. Setting up this organizational system will allow you to enjoy these special memories for years to come.

Ducks in a Row Favorite Organizing Products

I thought I would write a post to share a few cool organizing products.  I guess my two favorite organizing tools are clear Sterilite Tubs and a label maker, but I figured people already knew that.  So, here are a … Continue reading