giftcards_insta72

They quietly enter our homes by way of auctions, thank yous, prizes, presents, the mail, and even purchases. Infused with good intentions and the hopes of putting them to use sooner than later,  gift cards, gift certificates, store credits, coupons, and promotional cards often wind up sitting around longer than we ever intend.

Between my own house and those of my clients, I’ve encountered small collections of these papers, plastic cards, and torn- and cut-out coupons languishing in baskets, stuffed into folders, magnetized to the refrigerator, shoved in overburdened handbags, tucked into jacket pockets, lost in piles ‘important’ papers, lost in piles of things to sort, stuffed into bags of mail, and waiting in the foyer. (more…)

This post may be a bit out of the norm for my blog, but it feels necessary. If you’re a reader who is gleefully facebook-free, this will probably bore you to pieces. I’ll be back to my more typical musings shortly!

If you’re a facebook user like me, I’m certain you’ll agree that the unpredictable and ever-changing algorithms and other under the hood shenanigans by the folks over there have led to nothing short of frustration. I use facebook as a research and communication tool for both my business and personal life. I follow a plethora of companies, nonprofits, fellow bloggers, and many other entities from whom I learn and get turned on to information that deepens my civic, intellectual, and social involvement.

Pages I’ve “liked” stopped appearing in my newsfeed long ago. New “likes” seldom showed up. After some searching online for answers, I dabbled my way to this conclusion: organizing the pages I “like” brought them into my newsfeed!

For the sake of your sanity and my own, I wish to share my initial process which may very well be obsolete in a week or two if facebook launches another upgrade or algorithm. In the short term, at least, I’m happy. Maybe you will be, too. (more…)

I am often asked about the lack of before and after photos on my website. I’ll be frank and say it: as a genre, they all sort of look the same, and without context, I find them to be quite uninteresting.

Generally speaking, before and after for organizers illustrates various forms of disarray transformed into various states of tidiness, and predictably, organization. To my eyes, these “results” are partial results as they simply show physical and surface alterations that have occurred. Little is told about what has happened and not a thing is said about why.

When I use photography in the course of working with clients, it is a tool to document a process — before, during, and after. When I choose to share the photos, it is to tell a story about the journey — the benefits and changes for the client and the decisions and observations we made along the way. Oftentimes, the physical changes barely scratch the surface of the shifts that manifest for and/or within the people themselves.

For example, here is a set of before and after photos of the area beneath a client’s kitchen sink…

What do you see? A little less clutter and a little more organization? Yay! We like that. Mission accomplished. Were some containers moved or removed to make it look better? But of course! As before and after images, they do the trick, right? To make my point, the answer is “not really.”

Here’s the story: (more…)

a messy desk covered with piles of paper

Because it’s still early in the year and you are determined to make a dent in your resolution to declutter and get better organized, how about starting with a little paper purge? By removing what you no longer need now, it will be much easier to file, find, and retrieve what you do need later. A paper purge almost always provides great relief, and it often turns up that piece of paper you’ve been looking for.

How to do a paper purge? (more…)

Christmas treeFrom a distance, it looks just like any other bedecked Christmas tree. But this one, residing in the back room adjacent to my neighbor’s kitchen, is a little different from the one in the living room. (Yes, she has two.) You have to get close to see what I mean. This tree is aptly and affectionately called the shoe tree. (more…)

a road sign that reads "time to slow down"

This piece was written for and  published in The Noe Valley Voice, December 2010/January 2011.

The beginning of a new year presents a fine occasion to hit the proverbial reset button and get oneself back on track or onto a new course altogether. It is a time of new beginnings and in many ways, too, a revisiting of the old.

So as the last of the holiday season’s nogs and bubbles are sipped and the glitter and pine needles are swept away, allow yourself to slow down and sit down to think about your resolutions and goals for the new year. What habits and ways are you ready to shed or revise? (more…)

a red question mark painted on a piece of concreteChange is a bloom full of possibility and a wide river of uncertainty. It is a giant question mark, though in the case of the photo to the left, a question mark spray-painted on a piece of cast-off concrete. Change often rings of uncertainty, and with uncertainty comes all sorts of possibility.

We are creatures of comfort. We get used to things just the way they are and when derailed from our normal routines and proclivities, the situation we are confronted with can be an unexpected adventure, a challenging inconvenience, a paralyzing halt, or anything in between. Our individual and unique sets of life circumstances and experiences, values and dreams impact how changes affect us.

One of the privileges of the work I do as an organizer is being front and center with my clients as they go through the many shapes, hues, and volumes of change. In the realm of the change by choice, I have guided and assisted clients as they (more…)

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