Uncomplicate life: Get organized so you’re never late

don't be late to your son's wedding

Is there ever enough time to get everything done in your day? Even without traveling, commuting, and going out much it feels like there is always something else pulling our attention that seems more important than what we are currently doing. The inability to focus is just one part of the problem. We are ALL juggling more these days and being organized is part of the solution.

One of my pet peeves is being late. ME being late and others. It just seems like in this day of navigation apps and audible reminders it just should not happen but it does. I feel like I am disloyal to my profession if I am late and that just feels so disingenuous.

But let’s not tell stories about me. Let me tell you a story about being late to your wedding. 

Of not, your own wedding. But your son’s wedding. Almost late. Like the last- possible- minute- and- we- are- starting- without- you kind of late.

(yes, I have permission to tell this story)

My sister Laura is just like me in her feelings about being late. She makes plans and lists and is a very thoughtful and considerate person. She is not flighty, scatterbrained, or unfocused. 

She would never be late for an event as important as her only son’s wedding. But she arrived at 10:59:32 for his 11:00 am wedding service. 

Here’s what happened:

10:40 My husband and I arrive. We’re early but there was no traffic. Socialize with early arrivals.

10:45 Everyone assumes I am Laura and starts telling me what I need to do as Mother of Groom. I remind them that I am not she. Eyes of all wedding participants widen in shock and horror.

10:46 First of 180 inquiries “Where is Laura?”

10:48 Her daughter asks “Where’s Mom?”

10:50 Groom asks “Where’s Mom? Maybe you should call her.”

10:51 I call her. No answer. I naturally assume she and her husband must have careened off the bridge and are currently drowning.

10:52 I call her husband. After 4.5 rings, he answers. He sounds very calm (monotone) and says “We will be there soon.”

Soon?! Are you kidding me? People are nervous here! 

10:57 Is she here yet?

10:58 When will she be here?

10:59 Um, anyone know where she is?

10:59:32 Car comes screeching in to the parking lot (no exaggeration). Everyone lines up and the wedding nuptials take place.

I wisely decided to wait until after the wedding to ask what happened. 😉

It was a tale of a series of errors that became more comedic as she progressed. 

  1. Waited (patiently) for husband to get out of bathroom. Not in a rush here so why make him expedite his routine?
  2. Although the skirt purchased 5 months ago was hanging in the closet the entire time, it still had wrinkles in it. Bad wrinkles.
  3. Steaming didn’t get the wrinkles out. Must find iron.
  4. Take out ironing board and iron skirt.
  5. Top purchased to go with said skirt for wedding was suddenly missing. 
  6. Must spend time trying on other options to find suitable substitute.
  7. Belt selected specifically for the outfit also missing.

Just writing this makes me feel anxious.

While none of those things by themselves would have caused any problem, it was the compounding of ALL of them that raised pulse rates.

The extra stress that was experienced by so many wedding participants was 100% avoidable. Not to say that mistakes don’t happen but all of these could have been avoided with a little advanced organization. 

I’m not saying life has to be perfect. In fact, it’s the things that go wrong that have made the best and, in this particular case, funniest memories. We are all laughing about this now and I hope you are, too.
If you are ever hesitating to organize that drawer or closet, do it. Make the time and get it done. Or hire someone to do it for you. 🙂

Life is too short to spend any more of it than we have to overwhelmed, stressed, or angry at ourselves for NOT getting things in order. 

When you’re organized, you’re free to experience more of life because your’e not wasting your time looking for the iron or sweater or risking your life to speed to get to the church on time!

Do You Feel Overwhelmed About the Holidays?

The Secret To Peaceful Holidays

Everyone knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but how do you know where to start? After helping clients organize before, during and after the holiday season, I’ve seen first hand how a little preparation makes a massive difference in whether or not people enjoy the holidays. 

Whether you stay home or travel, have kids or not, work out of the office or at home, the holidays are stressful.

From the first of October to the end of December time flies by in a blur and most people would do anything to make it slow down just a little. 

But what if you could start now preparing and make it all a little more enjoyable, a lot more peaceful, and way less stressful.  

Click this link to get 5 things you can do NOW to enjoy the Holidays to get started. You’ll be glad you did!


Save time: Get a uniform

Have you ever considered adopting a uniform as a method to getting organized and saving time? If you had tried to sell me on wearing a uniform in my youth, I would have kicked and screamed and hated you for suppressing my personal fashion expression.

Today, I feel 180 degree the opposite.

Hear me out: I don’t think you need to go buy scrubs or order clothes from a janitorial supply company… at all. But look at the clothes that you wear over and over again. The ones that you reach for when you can’t figure out what to wear. There is a reason that you keep choosing them.

My guess is they are comfortable. You get compliments when you wear them. You feel good wearing them. They are essentially….your uniform.

If you had more of those clothes and less of the ones that you’re not wearing, I bet you’d have more room in your closet. What if you got rid of the following:*

  • clothes that don’t fit you
  • clothes that are uncomfortable
  • clothes that are permanently stained, ripped, or otherwise damaged
  • clothes that you have nothing to wear with (e.g. tops that you can never find a bottom for or dresses that just don’t fit right)
  • clothes that don’t make you feel happy 

This doesn’t give you carte blanche to wear pjs or yoga pants 24/7. Instead it is a permission slip to get rid of what isn’t serving you. Because if you’re not wearing it, there must be a good reason!

You can find comfortable shoes, work clothes, underwear, and even suits. You can wear clothes that make you feel good about yourself. You may need to get a friend to help you but it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money.

Just think of the money spent on clothes that are just hanging there, lonely and UNWORN.

I have a uniform of black pants paired with varying t-shirts for work in clients’ homes. I usually wear my blush pink sneakers with them because I’m on my feet, knees, and climbing ladders most of the day. Sometimes I wear jeans. Sometimes I wear a sweater. Regardless, I can get dressed with my eyes clothes and I know that my clothes will fit, feel good, and flatter me. THAT is what saves me time and money.

I love clothes and always have. But I love even more wearing selecting and wearing clothes that fit me, I wear regularly, and that are comfortable. Try it. I bet you’ll like it.

*the same applies to shoes

Get Neatsmart: 5 in 5


  1. Check your pantry for expired foods. Go to the far reaches of your shelves and pull out anything with dust on it and look for an expiration date. If it hasn’t expired and you don’t plan on using it soon then donate it to a shelter.
  2. Check your refrigerator for expired foods. Hmmm, there’s a theme here. 🙂 The refrigerator door is the home of seldom used condiments. It’s amazing how fast time flies between adventurous cooking sessions. Check these bottles for dates and throw out what’s past its prime.
  3. Don’t stop by the Sale section in a store. Just because something is on sale does not mean it should come home with you.
  4. Name a Folder “Taxes 2014.”  Put all of your deductible receipts, W2s, and any other tax related items. You’ll be happy you did this next year when you sit down to work on your taxes.
  5. Put all appointments on your calendar immediately. This includes anything you are responsible for attending: parties, meetings, doctors’ appointments, forms that need to be returned, etc. Don’t wait until later because it may never happen and then you’re time management is challenged.



5 things you can do in 5 minutes to get organized


Welcome to a new series here on the Neatsmart blog: 5 things you can do in 5 minutes to get organized. If there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years of helping people to get organized, getting started is the hardest part. It feels like a Herculean and Sisyphean task times two to tackle that closet or extra bedroom that somehow got filled up with stuff throughout the years. However, if you can wrestle with one mini, micro, super small project and get it done, the ripple effect will help you in getting the big projects done further down the line.

So Mondays are going to be devoted to 5 organization tasks you can get done in 5 minutes. I’m not saying you can get all of them done in 5 minutes but each one should take less than 5 minutes. Just don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for a job well done. 🙂

So here is your list for this week. Go, get organized!

  1. Empty the dishwasher. If you don’t have one, put away the clean dishes and clean out the sink.
  2. Clean out your car while you are pumping gas. Throw away the trash and shake out the floor mats. Bonus points for cleaning the windshield.
  3. Sort through today’s mail and throw away anything that’s junk into the recycle bin. From now on, do not let junk mail in your home.
  4. Clean out your wallet/ purse. Throw away the trash, file receipts where they need to go, take out anything that doesn’t belong there. Your back will thank you.
  5. Hang up any clothes in your closet that need it. Toss anything dirty into the hamper.

See, don’t you feel better already?

Happy organizing!

If Not Now, When?

DSC_0024DSC_0040DSC_0012Later. Tomorrow. When I have more time. When I’m not as busy. After the holidays. I think you are starting to sense a pattern here. Procrastination is a fancy word for putting off things that you need to do but don’t really want to. And I get it. It’s normal to not want to do your taxes, fold laundry, write that thank you note, or pull weeds but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in accomplishing those things. Imagine what happens when you don’t accomplish those tasks and you move forward. Even though the task in question will ultimately benefit you, it’s not always easy to get started.

I also ask this question when it comes to larger, potentially life changing projects. I worked with a client this week who said that a milestone birthday was coming up and that’s when she was going to finally renovate her bathroom. It took a milestone birthday for me to leave my corporate job and join the entrepreneurial world so I get it. Sometimes you need that milestone to be a reward for massive changes. But I also hear from people that complain about the state of their homes and they say they don’t have time to get organized. They can’t take time to go through a closet or boxes that haven’t been opened since their move x years ago. They are too busy to make their home a place of refuge so it becomes a sanctuary of stuff. They don’t know what they have, don’t know where things are, spend excessive time looking for things, and end up frustrated, irritated, and financially drained spending money buying what they already have. Does this sound familiar? It’s ok, it’s a common phenomenon and there is a remedy:

Get your home in order. You live there now and it should reflect your life, interests, tastes, and needs. There is no perfect time to go through that closet full of unidentified stuff. Just do it and get it over so you can move forward. Not dealing with clutter makes you a slave to it and trapped in the past. Go through it and face it head on. You’ll discover that you either have new-found treasures that will enhance your home or you have stuff that needs to move on to another place. You deserve it. You’ve earned the time to go through this now. The space will then be in order and a pleasure to look at, not an eyesore that drains your energy. Wouldn’t you rather achieve this peace now and not wait for some arbitrary milestone to give you permission to move forward?

Do it for you. Do it now. Do not procrastinate taking care of yourself and your home. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others.

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.  Carl Sandburg

Happy organizing!