- Child's Room
- Children's study area
- Closet Design
- closet organizing
- Home Office
- How to hire organizer
- Mail Sorting
- Moving Tips
- Organizing for Teens
- Organizing pocketbooks
- Organizing Shoes
- Organizing Your Wallet
- Preparing for the Holidays
- Professional Organizer
My husband works for a marketing agency, and preaches that every company should have a story, strategy and system. All his talk about stories has made me want to contemplate mine and the story behind ShipShape. Our customers always ask, “how did you get into this business”? More often than not, when we are cleaning out a basement or in the weeds of paperwork, they not only ask the question but their body language is saying, you are obviously intelligent, capable women, and their question takes on the tone of “are you crazy, why are you subjecting yourself to my clutter?” The answer is two-fold.
Deb and I like order. We enjoy the feeling of peace one feels when everything is in its place. Personally, there is a difference for me when I enter my kitchen after a work day, and see that some of my family members may have left a few dishes and pots and pans in the sink in their mad dash to get somewhere, versus coming back after a day to the same, clean, orderly kitchen I left that morning. We can’t control everything in our lives, actually we can control only a few things when it comes right down to it. Maybe control is even too harsh a word. By having order in my home, it makes me feel like I have order in my life. This structure provides me with a type of comfort, knowing that I can find things when needed. That I am living my life, at least in my home, with me being in charge of belongings, not the other way around.
Many of our clients ask us to help with the goal of then allowing them time to focus on other more relevant aspects of their life, like children, work, creative projects or play. “I need your help because I am taking a few days off to get my house in order – it’s out of control. I just got a promotion and need to start focusing on work and not the chaos that surrounds me at home.” This is an all too common theme. A sense of order at home, let’s you do what you need to do better. Too many people are controlled by their clutter, leading to a feeling of helplessness and chaos in others aspects of life. That feeling when you are leaving for an important appointment and can’t find your keys…. You control your belongings, not the other way around.
The second reason I am in this business is because of my clients. Their accolades make my job so rewarding. Yes, there are challenges to figuring out how to organize an office and specifically what systems will work for them. I was a Psychology major, and enjoy figuring out how people think, function, and use their “things” and the space in which those “things” live. Comments like, “you seem to be able to read my mind,” make me realize that this is the reason I started this business as well. I am good at it, and I appreciate the gratification of knowing a client can find something when needed – from an insurance policy to a special memento.
So, that’s my story of why I do what I do. We all strive to be the authors of our own stories and it seems to me that if you are in frantic mode, you are not the author of the story you would like to tell. Click here to find out more about the ShipShape team and click here for more of the story.
We all have our strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. The challenge is to acknowledge both and come up with strategies to deal with the weaknesses. For me personally, I hate (maybe that’s a little too strong of a word) networking events. To walk into a room of 50 plus people and not know anyone, and we are supposed to garner the courage to go and meet these people? It’s not even a cocktail event so you don’t get the benefit of a glass of wine to calm the nerves!
Way back in the day when educators weren’t as PC, my report cards would come in the mail and under the comments section would be something like “Debbie is a wonderful student, diligent, conscientious and on and on and then came the but….she’s shy and I’d love to see her participate more in class.” As if I didn’t know that was one of my weaknesses and that raising my hand in class caused my heart to race. So, 35 years that same feeling of the heart racing, and the palms sweating comes back to me when it comes to networking. It is so much easier to say no to that BNI or Chamber of Commerce Event.
My New Year’s resolution for work is to “pound the pavement” and network more than I have in the past, whether face-to-face or reaching out through social media. How? By setting goals. ShipShape is holding our team accountable for certain tasks: we have developed a call log sheet and each of us is required to reach out to 5 new people a week. We’ll document our calls and then be able to follow-up on a consistent basis.
I personally am keeping a sheet front and center on my desk with my marketing goals. To-do lists let us remember, prioritize and hold us accountable. Blog once every week (check thanks to this one); Send a thank you note to all new clients from the past month (check); drop off brochures at realtors offices, independent living communities and apartment buildings every month (will be a check tomorrow); Reach out to 5 people on LinkedIn every week (hmm…gotta get to that one); and here’s the hard one….research what’s going on and walk into a networking meeting once a month (soon to be a check). In summary, we are trying to live the Nike motto of “Just Do It’ and I admit it is not easy.
Many of our clients struggle with being overwhelmed by clutter: whether paper or household items. Dealing with paperwork or organizing a bedroom is not top of their to-do list, but recognizing that it is one of those tasks that they don’t like to tackle, we advise them to set realistic goals – maybe mix a little oomph in – and set up a way be held accountable. Sometimes, it is just having someone that comes to your home on a regular scheduled basis and helps keep you on task. We all need help in one way or another whether it be someone to clean our house, mow our lawn, help us with our exercise goals, or “ a professional organizer who supports evaluation, decision-making, and action around objects, and space; helping clients achieve desired outcomes regarding function, order, and clarity.” Together, we can just get it done!
We enjoyed filming this segment with NBC and want to share these simple tips with you. Lazy Susans for hard to reach corners or smaller items such as condiments; risers for canned goods or bottles; expandable drawer dividers for your junk drawer; and elevated spice drawer organizers. A few simple devices can create order out of chaos and give you a place for everything.
With the holiday season upon us, and the joy of gift giving (and receiving), why not give the gift of an experience.
The memories experiences provide.
I recall some of the experiences I have received as gifts. The cross-country train trip when I was in 8th grade; the show my parents took my future in-laws and us to after we announced our engagement; the Rockettes performance I took my children to since my mother had told stories of her going with her parents in NY; the now annual dinner out in Boston with our children once they are all home for the holidays. I can even tell you who I sat next to and specifics of each event. The gift of the experience lasts long after the event. The memories still bring joy.
There is a reason why many say their photographs are their most treasured belonging – it’s because that picture sparks a memory about an event. It’s all perfectly captured in one photo. The ski trips, the school plays, the camping trips – the experiences.
The social aspect of an experience.
We’ve all heard that social interactions have an impact on longevity so maybe you even want to be involved in the gift. Give your family members tickets to a show with you!
Choosing a Moving Company
If you are in the middle of planning a move, it is essential to obtain multiple quotes (typically 3) and get your list of questions ready for interviewing moving companies.
To select a reputable company, see if you can get some referrals from friends. Ask around….and check with the Better Business Bureau.
Ask a moving consultant to come to your home to actually see the items you have so a thoughtful quote is provided. Be sure to have a list ready of items that are not going with you so they aren’t included in the quote.
Be sure they don’t subcontract jobs.
Discuss insurance with moving company. You can purchase additional insurance above the .60 per pound which they offer. If you have a $2,000 piece of art that is damaged and only weighs 4 pounds, the $2.40 you would receive would be a hard one to swallow.
Call your Homeowner’s Insurance Agent to see if your goods are covered in transit
Some offer weekday vs. weekend rates or end of month vs. mid-month. If you have flexibility, move mid-week and typically mid-month.
Ask them if they quote by box or by hour.
You can save money by purchasing boxes on your own.
Will they need to hire a 3rd party for large items such as your piano.
Do they hire temps or are all their employees full-time?
Are they insured and bonded?
Travel charges. When does the clock start and stop?
How do they want you to deal with the file cabinets and bureaus? Some movers allow you to leave papers in the bottom drawers of a filing cabinet.
More Detailed and Helpful tips can be found here.
It has been said that the stress associated with moving falls just after death and divorce. I now can personally speak to that. Here’s how a professional organizer handled her own move. This is a story about a 50 year old woman (o.k. a little over 50 but not yet 55 – phew!) who orchestrated a move 15 days after Christmas.
I had told my 3 daughters, one of whom is a freshman in college and two others who work out-of-state, that I was not hosting Christmas this year. The disappointment was palpable. And, a mother is supposed to hold no guilt, but it kicked in (the guilt was completely self-imposed). So, I can do it all right? Run a company, pack up a house, deal with what seemed like an endless to-do list, feed my girls their favorite meals while they were home for the holidays and host my family and my husband’s for Christmas – no problem! With careful planning, it was possible.
I am not only a professional organizer but a move manager as well. So, who better to handle this than myself.
I can now happily say, I not only moved to a temporary house in Gloucester for two months, while putting my entire house in storage, but now have moved everything out of storage, moved into a permanent place in Beverly and have no boxes lingering around anymore. I did exactly what I tell my clients to do and would like to share these 10 tips to help save your sanity during your move. Good luck!
It is NEVER too early to start.
While it would be nice if we all had clutter-free attics and basements, the reality is we don’t. These are the best places to start because they typically house the items that are not needed everyday. They are the places you have stored things you might need one day and probably have now discovered that you don’t need them, nor may you ever need them.
A recent survey by the National Association of Professional Organizers revealed that the home office, kitchen and laundry room are the most disorganized spaces in the respondents’ homes and that 73% of respondents would hire a professional organizer again.
We at ShipShape Organize Boston are often asked what do you actually do? Do you open people’s drawers? Do you actually look at their financial papers? Yes and yes. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t! It’s important to remember that every professional organizer who is a member of NAPO abides by a strict set of code of ethics which include the utmost confidentiality and respect for the client. On top of that you will find that organizers do not judge, we are there to work with you and help develop solutions to areas in your home that you are having difficulty managing. It is no surprise to us that the home office is the area people have most difficulty keeping organized. People are bombarded with paper, emails, phone calls, multiple to-do’s and distractions on a daily basis. We find many clients have incurred late fees from not paying bills on time, have taken advantage of promotional offers and then find that they haven’t cancelled their subscription on time and are receiving anything from wine, magazines or tupperware items that they don’t want, have trouble finding documentation to file their taxes correctly and on time, and equally troubling they can’t find paperwork they are looking for leading to frustration and who has time to waste looking for lost things in this busy, deadline oriented world we live in. More