Daylight Savings Time – a great reminder to get organized

This Sunday is Daylight Savings Time! While it’s a lovely opportunity to show up too late or too early to appointments, it’s also a good reminder to get some bi-annual organizing jobs done around the house. With super quick projects, you can make the most out of your Sunday even with an hour less in your day. 
  • In my first fun Clutter Busting Tip VIDEO you’ll see how simple it is to organize your sock drawer. I suggest taking care of this twice a year so you can say good-bye to any worn out items, items that don’t apply to your life anymore and items that might remind you of an ex. In the length of one TV commercial break, you can neaten this area and have an easier daily routine each morning as a result. The only supplies you’ll need are clear plastic shoe boxes or just regular shoe boxes. If you’re feeling crafty, feel free to cover the shoe boxes with your favorite wrapping paper.  
  • Clearing out your medicine cabinet is another quick and easy task that can be done during Daylight Savings Time. Get rid of outdated medications. Be realistic about the make-up you keep in there and toss anything old/crusty or not a good fit for you. Get strict with yourself about hair care products. What are you really using? Is that anti-frizz spray really working for you? Wipe down the shelves of the cabinet and put back only the items that you use every single day. Less frequently used items can be stored in a non-central area.  
  • Gym clothes are the most aggressively used apparel in your wardrobe (if you’re actually hitting the gym – no pressure). Do yourself a quick favor and evaluate the functionality of these clothes. How is the elasticity of your shorts? Are the previously white t-shirts now completely yellow? Do the sports bras fit/support you? When you’re working out, you deserve to look and feel hot to trot at the gym (you never know who you’ll run into!). So feel free to turn that sad t-shirt into a cleaning rag. There are plenty more free charity t-shirts coming to you in your future. Now, each morning when you’re pushing yourself to go work out, you’ll be able to grab what you want and run out the door with ease. 
What other areas of your home can you wrangle in a short amount of time this weekend?
With love, light and less clutter,

Happy New Year! January is “Get Organized Month”!

Congrats on committing to Getting Organized as one of your New Year’s resolutions! But do yourself a favor and ease into it. The most important part of my philosophy with clients is to work in baby steps. I schedule appointments in 3 hour blocks because when we organize, we stir up a lot of energy, emotion and actual stuff.

Just like weight loss (another uber-popular new year’s resolution for many), organizing is a gradual process. Starting off the new year with an enormous, unrealistic push to organize your ENTIRE house or apartment is setting yourself up for disappointment. So take it slow.

Here are some ideas on how to get started gradually without a big burn out: 

  • Make a list of the projects you want to tackle. Now cut that list in half! You’re not Martha Stewart, there is no need to be the First Lady of Organization. Relax and just set out to be more functional and comfortable in your space. Doesn’t that feel better already? When you have a list, you have a starting point. Congrats!
  • Clear as many surfaces as you can in one hour and then stop. When you solely eliminate surface clutter, you can literally see your furniture better and your space will feel bigger. Your head will be clear and your eyes can rest without looking at a dozen tchochkes on one tabletop. This simple beginning gesture will motivate you through the process when you start up again as it’s a great reminder of how you want your space to feel and look. Plus you’ll be able to easily invite people over without wanting to screw it all and buy a new apartment just for a lunch date.
  • After a shopping trip, discard/donate the exact number of items of clothing that you just purchased. For one thing, you won’t need more hangers because you’ll have just vacated the amount of hanger you’ll need for the new duds. When we buy new clothes, we are reminded of our current style and preferences and it’s easier to clearly see what we no longer like to wear. It’s a come-to-Jesus moment only with Bloomingdale’s as your spiritual guide.
  • Create email folders for current projects and delete outdated emails and corresponding folders from old projects. This can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s very freeing and there’s no paper to shred when you’re done. Bonus!
  • Enlist a friend to help when you first get started. If you’re not yet ready to hire a professional organizer (me), get  your kindest, most focused friend and ask them to help you clear some brush in your home for an hour or two in exchange for dinner. It’s less emotional and less taxing to go through some of the hard stuff with a caring partner in clutter crime. They have a perspective you don’t and will make the purging of files or dumping of old VHS tapes a shared experience. You might want to have some wine on hand for a more enjoyable organizing session.


Good luck, Happy New Year and feel free to share your New Year’s goals and resolutions in the comment section!

With love, light and less clutter,



Greatest Hits: Your Collections

Well, hello there! Happy post-Labor Day, end-of-Summer, current back-to-school, pre-Jewish Holidays, post bbq season! That’s quite a collection of celebrations. Speaking of collections (nice segue), let’s talk a tiny bit about how to manage them. While visiting our dear dad this summer in the Catskills, my sister and I marveled at his beautifully displayed camera collection.


With limited space, the genius Brit decided to use the unused 14-inch gap between his kitchen cabinets and the ceiling as his museum space. The cameras looked fantastic and quite regal perched up high and out of the way. Dad has quite a few more functioning cameras stored in temperature-friendly closets but these old-timey gems are the real conversation starters and they force us to look up, which is also a nice way to make a room look bigger. See for yourself:




Closer inspection:

No shelves needed to be installed and the kitchen at Dad’s (as in most homes) is the most populated room in the house. More viewing equals more oohing and aahing.

We all know that collections need to be seen in their best light. You wouldn’t go to the Met and see oils and pastels and tapestries piled on top of each other so that patrons were forced to lift one out of the rubble to admire it properly. Whether you devote your attention to art or figurines or sports memorabilia, treat the collection with respect by curating it every couple of months. Rotate pieces to show them off in themes, like a Greatest Hits album. You can have more than one group of Greatest Hits (just ask Eric Clapton). I have a lovely new client with a fairly large doll collection. She has decided to display her largest and most valuable pieces hanging on the wall of her craft room which doubles as a guest room. She knows that spreading the entire collection throughout her comfortable but limited apartment would be overkill. Think of how often you’d have to dust an entire collection! Think of the dusty dolls’ feelings! Sorry, it was a long bbq season.


Collections are meant to be seen and adored so take some time and care and show off your goodies in a creative and original way. You’ll be glad you did.


What are some of your collections and how do you display them?


With love, light and less clutter, 


Eye of the Clutter Beholder

The very start of my relationship with any new client begins with a phone consultation. This is the time where we talk about the client’s project, what area of the home is suffering the most, what the client’s goals are and what level of clutter is plaguing them. I lay out my methods and we agree on an appointment date and time and go from there. When I get to the part about their “level of clutter”, I always politely but directly asking them if they’re a hoarder. As discussed in a previous post, hoarding is not my area of specialty.


I recently had a new client referred to me by a friend. “You’ll love her, she’s so lovely and sweet, one of my favorite people.” When we had our phone consultation, the client proclaimed over and over again about how embarrassed and stuck she was feeling. I asked her if she was able to move about her home freely or if clutter was blocking any necessary entrances, windows or the use of furniture. She said that she was able to move around. We set a time and she told me how relieved she was to even just set up the appointment to finally tackle the mess.


Before arriving at her apartment, I didn’t know what to expect: she claimed she was messy and bogged down by clothing but she didn’t sound like a hoarder. She opened the door and I was greeted by a petite older woman, neatly dressed inviting me into a beautiful, expansive loft with high ceilings and, to my eye, not one ounce of clutter. After she offered me tea, I asked her to show me her bedroom (where her clothing “problem” lived). She opened her closet and, to my amazement, everything was arranged perfectly, not one piece of clothing was on the floor or stuffed onto a shelf, her five pairs of shoes were neatly lined up on the floor, the hangers were all lined in the same direction, there was room to move each item on the clothing rod.

I had to be completely honest. “I’m a bit baffled, where is your issue?” She told me she had too many pants and I suggested we start going through her items. We discussed each piece, she tried on the questionable ones and I encouraged her, gave my advice and “granted her permission” to donate the items she no longer liked. After two hours, we had filled a garbage bag with pants, sweaters, some costume jewelry and expired make-up from her vanity. The client could not stop thanking me and was so grateful to have that task completed. After she assured me that the session was of huge value to her, my normally 3-hour long appointment was cut down to 2.5 hours, we had a warm hug and I went out into the morning sunshine feeling productive and of service. This client taught me a valuable lesson: clutter does not have to be an obviously overwhelming mountain to someone else, it’s what the clutter represents to the individual. This lovely client was bogged down by having too many pairs of black pants and needed some help. It was not my job to diagnose if she needed my help or not because from her standpoint, she did need help. I felt grateful for the new perspective, which is what organizing is all about.

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day (soon)!


Through my business, I continue my conscious effort to combine decluttering and green thinking and you can join in on this excellent pairing. “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle” isn’t just a catch phrase, it’s a great rule of thumb when it comes to organizing. My favorite is “Reuse”. An example: Forgo fancy new Tupperware and instead use To-Go containers from a restaurant to pack lunch at home. Easy and free!

Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day and I am excited! I’ve signed up to volunteer on Saturday, April 21st with New York Cares to help clean up a park in Harlem. We’ll be weeding, planting, picking up trash and enjoying the sunshine (hopefully).


Also this Spring, NYC Department of Sanitation has coordinated their awesome SAFE Disposal Event. This is a chance for you to finally get rid of all of those paint cans that are clogging up your hall closets, the broken cell phones collecting dust and the random other household items who’s disposal has caused you confusion. Check out the site to see what you can bring down to drop off. All 5 NYC boroughs have a location and a date, the first one is April 22nd in Union Square.


Hope to see you there!


What can you do this Earth Day to celebrate the environment both globally and at home?


With love, light and less clutter!




Work it out!

How many pairs of sneakers do you own? I’ll go first. I own six pairs. How many pairs of sneakers do you USE? I’ll go. I use two pairs. I really am not great at math but I’m going to push through this and figure it out. Okay – I’m chucking four pairs of sneakers right now.

Alright, I’m back.


Listen, my mother instilled in me the value of quality, long-lasting items like tailored jackets, hearty leather totes and anything the opposite of Reece’s Peanut Butter cups. But when it comes to athletic gear, functionality comes into play (pun intended).


In this link about sneakers, Dr. Tim Church (who has a very winning smile), answers the question about when is the right time to buy new sneakers.  If you’re too worn out to click on the link, Dr. Tim basically tells us that irregular discomfort in the knees is a sure sign that you could use a new pair of kicks.


On a more female-centric athletic note…Here’s a link about sports bras. We have to support our ladies when we’re bouncing around at the gym! According to the article, 60-80% of women wear the wrong size sports bra. Ouch!



Now that we know what’s what, take a couple of minutes to inspect and discard these two specific items from your inventory. Since you’re already on track with your fitness routine, go one step further and treat yourself to new and improved gear. You deserve it!


What other gym garments of yours have overstayed their welcome?


With light, love and less clutter







Product Shout-out!

Howdy! I’m not a huge fan of hawking organizing products but there are a few tried and true goodies that I depend on again and again in my business. One big selling point of a great product is versatility. If a product can be used for more than just one function, I’m sold!

Tonight I want to highlight the fabulous and flexible clear shoe box from The Container Store:

I personally utilize this puppy for sorting everything from undies and bras in my dresser to cheese in my refrigerator. Of course they’re perfect for shoe storage as well.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to work with a super fantastic client who wanted to streamline her linen closet which was filled with beauty supplies, hair products, first-aid stuff and lots more. I instructed her to buy a case of the shoe boxes. We removed all of her gels, solutions and band-aids from their original packaging and then went to town filling up each clear box by category. We added white labels to give further order to each box and stacked them back in the closet. Now, whenever she is searching for a specific item, she searches for the right label, can see the item through the clear plastic, pops a lid off the desired box and grabs it in a snap. Another added bonus to keeping all of her supplies in compartments is that when the boxes get too full, she’ll know that it’s time to purge old items because the lid won’t fit anymore.


So that’s my plug for a truly user-friendly product!

Take a look around your home right now. With the help of these great boxes, what could you categorize?

With love, light and less clutter!






Spring Cleaning!

Despite my insistence that I am not a house cleaner (not that there’s anything wrong with that – at all!), I fully admit that organizing and cleaning DO go hand-in-hand.
If you live in the New York area, you and every other non-housebound individual have enjoyed the super early Spring we’ve been blessed(?) with. Spring is a great time of year to clear out winter clutter that you can finally admit has no place in your home: hats we never wore, scarves we never sported, binders of soup recipes we never cooked up.
After you get organized, take a couple of hours to complete the below five Spring Cleaning chores. These are tasks that we normally overlook after the regular light dusting, toilet bowl scrubbing and rug vacuuming that compose our regular to-do lists. Enjoy!!

1. Clean your windows! Even a short fry like myself can do this. Wipe your windows clean from the inside with a simple Windex and rag combo. Now unlatch your window and pull it forward (you can even completely remove it) and clean the outside. Dust, grime, fumes, bugs, small children and animals might be stuck on those puppies. What a satisfying feeling to clean up and let sunshine pour in! If you have windows that do not latch open, you can buy a squeegee that adjusts to a 90 degree angle which will allow you to clean from the inside:;/Pro-Window-Cleaning44578?trackURL=nextag  When you’re done washing your own windows you can take your act on the road.

2. Wipe your bookshelves! Grab your ladder. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a neighbor. If you don’t know your neighbor, make a new friend. Go ahead, flirt a little! Here are some tips for the flirting:

Now climb up to the top of your bookshelf and use a damp rag to wipe away the dust, grime, fumes, bugs, small children and animals. Is one of your exes up there? Beat it, buster! If you have the time, wipe off the top of each book as well. Now, when you grab a book, you won’t be grabbing a year’s worth of nasty stuff along with it.

3. Scrub your fridge! I will admit, that even I, Clutter Cowgirl, have transported useless condements from apartment to apartment during a move. I have not used A-1 Steak Sauce in over two years but there it sits cozy in my fridge door’s holding cell. After I hit “publish” on this blog, I’m chucking it out. Go ahead and toss items that you haven’t used since last Spring. Now get in there with some soap and water, a sponge and paper towels. Wipe out the crusty veg from the drawers, the spilled OJ from the shelf and the stinky cheese droppings that didn’t start out stinky. Wipe down the containers you’re intent on keeping and put them back neatly in your clean, TV-ready fridge. If you want to be all natural about it, check out this link for cleaning your fridge, and many other household items, with vinegar!

4. Clean your oven! There’s a slim chance that heavy roasts and big old casseroles will be prime features on your Spring dinner menus. You won’t be using your oven for much more than storage this Spring so you might as well make it sparkle. Take the time to give it a really good scrub and then go play outside with your grill. This oven cleaner spray is non-toxic:

5.  Dust your light bulbs! This sounds silly but these suckers attract a lot of dust. Take a sock from your dirty laundry hamper and get to it. You’ll get brighter illumination (20% more according to this article: ) and you’ll probably sneeze less near your light source.
So hop to it, you don’t need to spend an entire Saturday doing this, you can break it up into a couple of days. Your home will feel lighter, brighter and more welcoming.
What are some of your quick Spring Cleaning favorites?
With love, light and less clutter!

Cupid vs. Clutter

Sometimes we have to entertain some silly points of view when dealing with a big move like co-habitation. In honor of Valentine’s Day, take a gander at some not-so-serious ideas about moving in with your love.
How to Move in Together and Still Keep the Majority of Your Stuff:
-Step 1: Lay the groundwork:
Early on in the relationship make a big deal about a favorite John Travolta beach towel, broken ice tray, Winnie the Pooh picture frame, etc so that your partner thinks it’s a treasured possession even though you’ve been meaning to throw all of these things down the garbage shoot.
-Step 2: Present your Sacrifice:
            When you move in together, offer to give up that awesome Little Mermaid sleeping bag that you used as a kid “every night”. Your partner will protest but insist (insert appropriate hand movements) that you’re willing to compromise and now that you’re an adult in an adult relationship, you simply don’t need Ariel in your life any more. When you gather up the sleeping bag, dramatically press your face into its plush body to smell your childhood just one last time.
-Step 3: Hooked!
            Your partner will think you’re amazingly mature and will offer to do the same with their stuff.
-Step 4: Be helpful:
            Casually accept their offer (no big whoop) by opening a huge black garbage bag that you’ve had handy for this special moment and encourage your dude/lady to throw everything you’ve ever hated into the gaping mouth of the bag. Interupt the disposal by trying to “convince” them not to throw something out but they will realize on their own that it’s just junk and you’ll nod in support of their decision.
-Step 5: Sacrifice: The Sequel:
            For every five items that your partner chucks out, offer to throw out another “heirloom treasure” from your life. By the way, this is an excellent chance to purge all of those stinky handmade soaps that your Aunt Sheila dumps on you every Easter.
-Step 6: Sleep soundly in your bed with your sheets and your pillows while your partner also nods off thinking that you both just made huge sacrifices.
-Step 7: Enjoy your relationship with one eye open.
With love, light and less clutter…Happy Valentine’s Day!

Saving marriages

Hi Everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted on my blog. I apologize for my absence but I’ve been out in the world saving marriages (insert enthusiastic John Williams music here). I might be stretching the truth a bit because nobody but Dr. Phil can save marriages (insert laugh track here or rim shot, whatever you prefer). When it comes to how we co-exist, organzing can get a little bit tricky and messy and layered at times. Partners have different ways of tackling clutter and when I work with couples, I’ve often turned into a mediator. I break up fights (no hitting) and then encourage couples to talk through how they’re feeling. We revisit old emotional bruises and ugly sneakers and then we continue on our way because I charge by the hour and nobody can afford to unpack every single wound in a short session while staying on budget.


But because this is the season for renewal and recharging, I’m about to share a lovely New Year tale that has no trace of tsuris (Yiddish for woe or aggravation). No, this story is pure happy ending and more importantly, happy organized beginnings. A client who I had worked with once before hired me to shape up her husband’s closet. She emailed me photos of the space and I sent back a detailed shopping list with links to products that she should buy in preparation for our session. This lady meant business and I love working with clients who know what they want. I also love working with clients who don’t know what they want because we can formulate a plan together and man, do I love to formulate! OK, back to the story.


During my appointment with this fantastic couple, there was no bickering, no dramatic door slamming, no awkward silences where I gingerly categorize the husband’s sock drawer by color, no barbs about poor taste in furniture, just smiles and hugs. Do you want to know why it ended up so pleasantly? I’ll tell you. It’s because during this awesome session, the husband was out of the apartment making business calls in the lobby while the wife and I feverishly unwrapped her pre-purchased items from the Container Store, ripped apart his closet, secretly threw away some of his ratty gym clothes and draped all of his snazzy blazers on new hangers. And damn did we have fun! The wife was emotionally unattached from hubby’s belongings and he wasn’t there to get in the way. Sometimes, trickery and secrets are the only way to a beautiful closet and a harmonious union.



Now normally I don’t work this way because the owner of the stuff should be the one digging through the piles. The digging client should ideally be absorbing lessons and learning how to have a daily routine that encourages organizing. But the exception here is that I had already seen this couple interact once before and I hadn’t observed a lot of “heat” around the subject of organizing (the word “heat” is credited to my writing teacher Beth Ann Bauman – who is AWESOME). Another thing that eliminated drama from the scene was the fact that hubby had been saying that he wanted to organize his closet for a very long time so his wife knew that it was a desire of his to get this thing taken care of once and for all. It was truly going to be a gift for him not the thinly veiled “gift for him” that’s usually a gift for the scheming spouse. The wife also knew that her man’s laid-back personality could handle us going through his heaps of stuff without him present and involved. It’s not just New York women who are neurotic, it’s men, too. Not every guy wants you disrupting his clutter nests even if they tell you they’re “chill” about it. Rule #1 of couples organzing: Know your dude!! If you have even an inkling of a doubt that he’d want you picking through his socks, shirts and 91 baseball caps, do not attempt this! I repeat, do not attempt this. BUT, like my lovely client, if you are completely certain that he’d be thrilled over a gift like this, let’s get it on. 

After wrapping a big red bow on the closet door and presenting it to him like a reality show ending, we showed him the changes we had made. We spelled out where everything was and even copped to throwing out a plastic bag of sweaty gym socks.  He could not have been happier, he really was grateful that we tackled in 3 hours what he had been putting off for months. I told the couple that he had 24 hours to enjoy his new closet and then the wife was allowed to present his homework list of the remaining tasks that needed completing. The next day I got an email from the client stating how thrilled they both were and how the husband enjoyed the extra time in the morning he saved looking for lost items. When the wife tried to slip him the homework list, he reminded her about the 24 hour grace period. Once a mediator, always a mediator.  But this marriage didn’t need saving. That’s a true happy ending.



 Do you think your spouse would enjoy a surprise organizing gift? Give me a shout!


With love, light and less clutter,