Monday, February 1, 2016

Business Organizing - Paperwork, Schedules and Client Satisfaction

Small businesses are crucial to the economy and we like to use and support small local businesses as much as we can. And for the most part we always get better and more personalized service when working with a local business.

But sometimes we are disappointed because the business "forgets" to return our calls or "forgets" to come out and provide the service we requested on the day they arranged to come out. Most often the business will apologize and they will come up with some excuse. The problem is that the excuse shows how unprofessional they are and how unorganized they are.

Having run a number of small businesses my first priority was always to create the feeling of a bigger company. At least in the eyes of the client. Some clients don't trust that a person that runs a business out of an office in their home will be "professional" or "experienced" enough for them. One has nothing to do with the other. Today many businesses are run out of home offices to save money and for convenience and life style choices. As a business consultant and professional organizer I work at my clients home or office - so I don't need to rent an office space to look "professional".

One of the first accounting firms that I did business with had their office in the basement of their home. Once  you got into their basement office you would have thought that you were in a high class accounting firm. The office had the highest quality equipment and beautiful furniture. they saved money by not pay thousands of dollars a month in rent and therefore passed that on to their clients.

Having professional looking forms and invoices that can capture client information is crucial. Not only does it present a professional image but it also allows you to capture the needed information without forgetting anything. Even if you are a roofer or plumber you need to present a professional image when it comes to paperwork.

Writing quotes down on a scrap of paper does not present a professional image and chances are that you will lose that scrap of paper. It's happened to me and I knew it the moment he started writing my information down on a ripped piece of scrap paper. I lost all confidence in the vendor at that time.

Which is what happened to one of the plumbers we tried to do business with. He lost the order...somewhere..... He couldn't find our contact information and didn't call us.

Having a filing system and logging phone messages and client schedules is crucial to a small business. Being organized in a small business is even more important than in a larger company because the smaller business depends on client referrals more than a larger company that has a big advertising budget.

By having systems in place to capture client information and having a process in place to follow-up on that information will save you time and your clients will be happier when they get the service they need on the day they need it.

Being organized in business is crucial. Start today. Step back and take a look at your business and see how you can improve and make your clients happier. You won't be disappointed in the end result.

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Downsizing for Seniors

Downsizing can be a tough process for anyone, but especially for seniors who find themselves with a large home. More and more are tackling the huge job of downsizing their living spaces. In fact, about six percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 move each year, according to the Over-50 Council of the National Association of Home Builders. As seniors reach the time to downsize belongings and move into smaller, more manageable homes, many have a hard time figuring out what to do with all of the “stuff ” they’ve accumulated over the years.

To have a more simplified lifestyle many seniors decide to move to a smaller, more manageable home.

Following are some tips for seniors downsizing:

• Get rid of the guilt factor — Many seniors feel they are the “keepers” of their family heirlooms and have a hard time getting rid of items for which they no longer have room. And even adult “children” have a hard time with their parents leaving the “family home” thinking that their childhood memories will be gone forever.

Instead of waiting to give your children some of your possessions that you would most likely leave them anyway….give them these pieces now, especially if they are not being used on a regular basis. They will be able to enjoy them now and you will be able to watch them enjoy them!

If younger family members are not interested in taking the items then consider donating them to a worthy cause. Some organizations purchase furniture, high-end clothing, and porcelain, and then sell those items to raise money for specific causes or charities.

Professional organizers can help seniors sort through household items to strategically figure out what will work in their new space. They also can help seniors identify which organizations to turn to that are best at finding new homes for family heirlooms.

Find movers specializing in senior needs — Moving is stressful for everyone, but some moving companies specialize in making the transition easier for seniors, and professional organizers can help find the perfect “mover match” for a client. A professional organizer can help pare down items before the move and make the process easier at moving time.

Some professional organizers will also help with things such as helping the clients find people to hang pictures on the walls for  or set up electronics at a new home if they are unable to do it themselves.  Some professional organizers can help with handling the change of address and getting the utilities set up in their new home and so much more.

Professional Organizers can help with a variety of tasks besides organizing your closets!

• Have a professional organizer reassess every five years — As seniors get older, modern appliances or high shelving can become more difficult to use or simply unnecessary considering their lifestyle changes. Hire a professional organizer to evaluate and reassess your needs every five years to make sure your home is still working for you.

For example, seniors who usually eat dinner alone should bring two to three sets of dinnerware to their level instead of keeping everything in out-of-reach cabinetry. Sometimes seniors don’t realize everyday activities and household chores can be made easier just by adjusting the setup in their homes. Professional organizers are great resources to help identify easy ways seniors can simplify to improve their overall quality of life.

Don't wait until you need to downsize - start planning now - at your own pace.

Organizational Consulting Services

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Difference Between Clutter, Chronic Disorganization and Hoarding

Everyone has a different definition of clutter. To some people clutter is anything that is out of place.  If a coffee cup is left on the kitchen counter - it's clutter.  To other people, clutter means you can't walk through a room.  Everyone views clutter differently.
Just as the saying goes "one mans trash is another mans treasure". Some people would define that person as a hoarder.  

Who's right ?

According to the dictionary, clutter is a “confused or disorganized state or collection”. 

A confused state? Yes, you can have clutter of the mind. But most people think of clutter as just “stuff”. A collection of random objects scattered all over the place. That’s a nice and simple definition. It could just be that you hadn’t bothered to pick up after yourself and have stuff everywhere. 

Then we get to a more serious and a more cluttered situation and we could end up with chronic disorganization.

Chronic Disorganization also has a definition:
  • Chronic disorganization is having a past history of disorganization in which self-help efforts to change have failed
  • an undermining of current quality of life due to disorganization
  • the expectation of future disorganization.
This means that you have been disorganized for many years. And it has started to affect your quality of life. You can’t find things. You are constantly late because you can’t find things. You are embarrassed by your mess.

It’s a little more than just basic clutter.

A person can be organized in one area of his life but not in another. They can be organized at work but be disorganized at home. They can be organized by how they manage their time but not with how they manage their stuff.

Then we go up another level and get to “hoarding”.

What exactly is “hoarding”? According to “Frost & Hartl’s (’96) definition of clinical hoarding:

1) the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
2) living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designated
3) significant distress of impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding

Some people have an obsessive need to acquire things. They tend to develop an emotional attachment to things that many of us would consider trash.

Family and friends of hoarders don’t always understand that “hoarding” is an “illness” and that the hoarder needs professional help. They sometimes feel that by just going in and cleaning out the house (sometimes even when the hoarder doesn’t know that they are going to do it) that everything will be “o.k.”.  Once the mess is gone, problem solved. But that can actually make it worse.

Hoarding is a complex issue. An issue that there might not be a cure for.

 "According to the definition established in the new version of  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - (DSM 5), released in 2013, people with hoarding disorder have a conscious, ongoing urge to accumulate possessions, as well as corresponding feelings of anxiety or mental anguish whenever those possessions get thrown away".
It’s a problem that many people won’t admit they have and one that might cost them their family or even their life.

A problem that is more common than you think.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, January 4, 2016

Getting Organized in 2016

2016 is finally here! People are making New Year's Resolutions.....but are they being realistic?  Don't make promises (even to yourself) that you can't keep.  You might try - for a short while - but then it becomes too much of a hassle and you stop.

Wanting to change, to make things better is a good thing. But - be honest with yourself, know your limitations and set realistic goals. Don't bite off more than you can handle.

Being more organized is a good thing!  There is no downside to it!  But after looking at the "big picture" - break it down into smaller pieces and realistically set goals based on what you know you can accomplish - in a given timeframe.

I've already made all of my new spreadsheets for 2016 and starting logging information as it comes in.

I've made new files for my bills and a file for 2015 taxes where I can put documents as they are mailed to me. I am going through my filing cabinet and pulling out last years information and boxing up what I need to keep (for tax purposes) and pitching the rest (remember to shred!).

This is not the most fun project - but a necessary evil.  Just do it - and get it over with.

Once you start taking down all of your holiday decorations you might also want to do some extra cleaning and some more purging.  If anything is broken or old - don't just put it back in the box - get rid of it!

If you haven't put away your new holiday gifts - think about getting rid of the old things (clothes, toys, gadgets....) that you haven't used in a while.

Start 2016 off with a clean slate.

Happy Organizing!

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, December 28, 2015

End of the Year - DeClutter for 2016

2015 is coming to a fast close.  The New Year will soon be here. Before the year ends take a realistic look at all of the new things that you acquired over the holidays. I'm sure that you probably have duplicates of things that you already have. Newer, of course - but duplicates.

Before year end - go through some of your gifts and decide if it's not time to "release" your old things. 

If you received some new clothes - go through your closet and decide what you can get rid of.  Anything that is too small, doesn't fit properly, you never actually wore....  

Be realistic - unless you have tons of extra closet space that you have never filled up - something has to give!

Get rid of your old sweaters or shirts that you rarely ever wear.

Get rid of books and movies that you have finished.

Get rid of anything that you have not used in the last six months.

Someone out there can probably use it - so - donate it!

By making more room in your closet  you are actually taking better care of your clothes. They are not so cramped. They will hang better and you will actually be able to see them - thus - you might actually wear them.

Start 2016 off by being ORGANIZED!

One small step at a time....

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry you and yours....

I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. May your day be filled with joy and happiness.

From our family to yours.....

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, November 16, 2015

Getting Out of Your Door in the Morning

There are a lot of people that are just not morning people. They can't seem to get out of the house on time. They run around looking for their keys and purse / briefcase / backpack.....  They forget their lunch.

It's a problem that many people have - every morning. Yet - there is a simple solution!

GET ORGANIZED - the night before!

I know - it sounds logical and you've tried it - for one day.

Being organized is about staying organized - which is about getting organized.

Remember what I've said in the past - "a new habit takes about 90 days to learn and become your own".

Make time every night to get yourself organized for the next day.

Pick out what you are going to wear and set out your clothes for the next day.

Put your keys and wallet (or purse / briefcase / backpack) next to the door.

Have your lunch packed and ready to go. Leave yourself a note on your purse (or by your keys....) to remind yourself to take your lunch out of the refrigerator.

Set up your coffee maker so that it's all ready to go in the morning and you just have to hit the button.

Set your alarm - and set it for an extra 10 or 15 minutes early - so that you can have a more relaxing morning. By giving yourself some extra time and having everything ready to go - you will cut down on your stress level.

Go ahead....  try it for a while - and see if you aren't in a better mood and on time for work!

Have a great and organized week!

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services