2010 NAPO Conference Goes Green & High Tech

April 28th, 2010

April 22, 2010

My friend and fellow Certified Professional Organizer®, Deb Lee wrote a great post about how the 2010 National Association of Professional Organizers Conference Goes Green & High Tech.

Can you imagine a conference of all Professional Organizers? You can bet that we are studying each others organizational processes and techniques.  Looking at who brought Sharpies®, highlighters, paper clips and mini-stapler.  Who is taking notes in a binder, on a laptop/netbook, an iPod, and who grabs the hotel notepad laying on the table.  Who is using the conference bag and who brought their specialized/personalized conference tote.

If you enjoy teasing me for my anal retentiveness, you will particularly enjoy Deb’s post.  It’s ok, I enjoy laughing at myself too.

BTW- I even brought a 6 foot extension cord with three 3-prong outlets.  And yes, I have already used it twice & it took up virtually no space in my bag.

Enjoy!  Thanks Deb for including me in your post.

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Get Prepared for the 2009 Holiday Season – Tip 3

December 6th, 2009

On December 8, 2005 I was fortunate enough to be featured in the Home Section of The Washington Post. The article highlighted my tips for an organized celebration. Four years later as I re-read my tips, I am happy to say that my tips are still relevant. So here are my tips on being prepared for the holidays.

Stock up on the basics the sooner the better, before lines get longer and parking lots fill up.

  • Batteries – Consider what batteries are necessary all of your needs.  Think of which size is needed for everything from the games the children are receiving and the digital camera to the flashlights, mp3 player, remote controls and hearing aids.  Consider using rechargeable batteries whenever possible.  Reminder to charge them before the holidays.  (BTW-  do not store batteries in the fridge.  According to Energizer, To maximize performance and shelf life, store batteries at normal room temperatures with moderate humidity levels.)
  • Food storage – Pick up inexpensive food storage containers (like Rubbermaid TakeAlongs, Ziploc or Gladware) for freezing and sharing leftovers.  By having inexpensive containers on hand you won’t have to worry about someone taking home your good Rubbermaid or Tupperware.  Also – grab zip top bags in multiple sizes while at the store.  They come in very handy when sending home leftovers and take up little space.
    • Decor storage– Get wreath, ornament and artificial tree storage now!  They tend to sell out quickly.  This year especially, stores can’t afford to get stuck with seasonal items so they are keeping a lower than normal inventory.  (Don’t want to spend money on these uni-taskers or trying to preserve the environment?  Stop by the local liquor store and pick-up liquor or wine bottle boxes.  The dividers help protect your ornaments and the stores are happy to share the boxes.  Another option – Did you receive a gift of fruit?  Hang on to the shipping box, they usually come with padding which helps protect your decor.)

    • Last Minute Gifts– Have you ever been in a situation when some unexpected fives you a present?  Be ready to reciprocate with a unisex and consumable gift.  Think scented candles, a bottle of wine, fancy maple syrup, gourmet olive oil or vinegar, or a gift card to Starbucks.  I buy generic wrap in one solid color (white or silver) and have ribbons in many colors.   I customize the gift wrap for specific holidays, gender or individual by using a different color ribbons.  I buy clear cellophane wrap for odd shaped gifts.  Attach a blank tag and keep a pen nearby for quick inscribing.

    I hope this preparation helps you have a more enjoyable holiday season!

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    Need a contractor? Where to start?

    September 11th, 2009

    How many of you have relied on AAA (formerly known as the American Automobile Association)?  AAA has become synonymous with the name of the company who bails you out if your car conks out or you get a flat.

    Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Toll Booth
    Image by jimmywayne via Flickr

    As a child I remember my mom’s old Pontiac overheating while we waited at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll plaza.  Somehow (pre cellphone days), we managed to contact AAA. I was terrified, the 3 BIG A’s were going to come.

    Nooooooo!  Not the 3 BIG A’s.  While this was a service who was going to help, as a child I pictured 3 BIG A’s.  We were going to get attacked by the alphabet!!!  Needless to say, AAA sent a service individual to come help us and we were sent on our way. As an adult AAA customer, I learned that AAA does not always have it’s own service trucks. Honestly, I don’t know if they have any of their own trucks anymore. Their service and reputation is handled by contractors who they screen to represent them. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had one stop shopping for all things that cause hiccups in our lives? Boy, wouldn’t that simplify your life?

    I recently learned friends had launched a AAA-like home repair service called HOCOA – Home Owners Club of America. Like AAA offers pre-screened automobile repair contractors to their members, HOCOA offers pre-screened home repair/maintenance contractors to their members. You make one phone call to HOCOA. They document your problem and set you up with the contractor who can repair your problem. Members pay a minimal fee to have access to their pre-screened contractors saving members time and aggravation.  While there are other home repair companies who sell memberships, there are some definite differences.

    I have invited my friends Michelle and Andy Katon, owners of HOCOA Metro DC to guest post about how a home repair network can simplify your life.

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could simplify your life when it comes to home repair.  We discovered a home repair network that can do that, HOCOA. We were so impressed, that we choose to purchase a franchise in the Washington, DC Metro area so we could share this benefit with Washingtonians. Here is how it started….

    We noticed an odor in the kitchen.  We did not realize that our dishwasher had broke mid-cycle.  The following day, Sunday we discovered the odor was from the dishwasher.  Once we noticed it was a broken dishwasher causing the odor, we did not know who to call.  We did what most people would do: opened the Yellow Pages, and started making calls, more calls and even more calls.  After 11 calls and a lot of frustration, we knew there must be a better way. We did finally get our dishwasher fixed but decided that it was time to find a universal solution to the household headache of home repair.  After a lot of research, we found a home repair network called HOCOA.  HOCOA had a proven track record of making the process of finding a contractor/service provider easier.  Further investigation showed that all HOCOA contractors are licensed, bonded/insured and pre-screened.  Best of all, they do all of the  leg work for you.

    Upon moving to the DC area, we discovered there was no HOCOA location in the area.  In an area like DC where people are always on the go, we knew that there was a need for HOCOA.  Most Washingtonians don’t have the time to make all the calls and screen contractors before hiring them.  Yes, you may have your favorite plumber or electrician but who do you call when the roof leaks, the attic fan dies, or you discover mold in the basement.

    So we brought the HOCOA Home Repair Network to DC!  Below are success stories from your DC neighbors.

    WorkerCleaningGuttedDownstairs
    Image via Wikipedia

    A family in Rockville was in the middle of a renovation project. They ran into problems with their contractor, who could not finish the job. What should they do? A friend suggested they call HOCOA. Within an hour, we figured out what type of contractors they needed.  By the next morning, they were back in business and work reconvened using HOCOA contractors. HOCOA was not only able to save them the time and energy of re-interviewing contractors after previously being burned, but the project became stress free because of HOCOA.

    Another family had a light that was going in and out. They called an electrician on their own. He came, fixed the light and did what appeared to be a good job. A week later, the light was giving them the same problem. They called the electrician again, and again, and again. They never received a return call. So much time was spent trying to resolve this issue. The problem was that their electrician had already done the job and had been paid. They were no longer on his “priority” list.

    Through HOCOA, the contractors are held “accountable” because of the way jobs are dispatched. Since the contractors want referrals, they respond almost immediately when called by a HOCOA representative. If the family had called HOCOA for this project, ONE call would have taken care of this problem with NO frustration.

    Joining HOCOA is the way to save time and energy and be able to simplify your life when it comes to home repair.  The value of piece of mind is so much greater than the small yearly HOCOA membership fee.   In addition to the home repair contractors participating with HOCOA, your membership also gives you access to additional resources at wholesale prices.

    If you know of anyone moving to the DC area, a HOCOA membership is an incredible gift.  Know a good reliable contractor you feel would benefit from being part of the HOCOA Metro DC network, please pass our information along.  Feel free to give us a call or send us an email with any questions.  We look forward to helping you simplify your life.

    Michelle and Andy Katon
    Owners, HOCOA Metro DC

    240-683-HOME(4663)
    info@hocoametrodc.com


    Michelle and Andy are extending all Need Another You readers a 15% discount on any HOCOA Metro DC membership.  Use code ORGANIZE when purchasing your membership.   Need to simplify your life?   Be prepared, contact Michelle and Andy today.


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    Who wants to win a $4000 organizing makeover?

    May 25th, 2009

    You are likely thinking, “who doesn’t want to win a $4000 organizing makeover?”.  Even I, a Certified Professional Organizer®, want to win a $4000 organizing makeover.

    The Real Simple Organized Home Sweepstakes is sponsored by Real Simple magazine and The Container Store.  The prize is one (1) Set of Merchandise valued at $3000 from The Container Store and one (1) Real Simple Home Organizer Consultant, to organize the winner’s home valued at $1000.  The contest runs until June 15th and you can enter once each day.  They will be choosing a winner, at random on or about June 26, 2009.

    Do you dream of an organized home?  Then this contest is for you!  Apparently, they have thought of everything.  The entry form gives you the option of a daily email reminder to enter each day.  The only thing they seemed to forget was to include me as a Real Simple Home Organizer Consultant.  Well, at least for now.

    We hope one of our readers is the winner.  If you win, please come back and post a comment.  We would love to hear that merchandise you received and your feedback.  Wishing you the best of luck!

    Sweepstakes link
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    Need Inspiration?

    May 13th, 2009

    If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up.”  Norman Vincent Peale

    Want to organize your life? Organize your space? Remember appointments and be on time? Find things when you are looking for them? Improve your credit rating and lower interest rates by paying your bills on time? Find the dining room/kitchen table and the tools to prepare and serve a meal on the table?

    The first step is envisioning your life or your space in your best case scenario. Then set goals to help you get there. It may be getting up one-half hour earlier or cleaning out one shelf or drawer at a time or it may be hiring a professional to help you through the process. If plan A does not work, go with plan B. Look at road blocks as challenges and opportunities. You may find your initial plan was not the optimal plan. The process of setting your goals and following through to get there will help you achieve self-satisfaction and a more rewarding life.

    kim-signature-small-angle2

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    It's here! My eBook 50 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Productivity & Profitability is here! Don't let the name fool you. It actually contains over 80 resources. Check the special pricing for Need Another You readers.

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