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Tuesday, January 22 2019
PLANNING FOR A  WINTER VACATION

We are about a month into Winter and I'm over it already. I am not a fan of bone chilling temperatures, snow, ice and high winds. This week has put me over the edge. I am counting down until my mini get-away in the later part of February. (Honestly, looking forward to it keeps me going until Spring arrives.) I need a taste of Summer.

Are you planning a trip somewhere warm this Winter to get you through?

Before heading off on your vacation, here are a few things you can do so you don't come home to any unwelcome surprises:

1. Water Heater - Set it to the lowest temperature to save energy. New models may offer a vacation mode or wireless control.

2. Thermostat - Adjust it close to the outside temperature but no lower than 50 degrees. (You don't want your pipes to freeze.) In the Summer, you don't want to let it get too hot in the house. If you have wood floors, they can warp. If you have a wireless system, adjust it to it's normal temperature a few hours before you arrive home so it is comfortable when you return. 

3. Electronics - Unplug appliances from the wall outlets (or use surge protectors) in case of any electrical issues. This will prevent the potential for an electrical fire. 

4. Water - Turn off valves to your dishwasher, washing machine and sinks to avoid any leaks. After you return, you might find air in the pipes when turning the water back on, so do it slowly. 

5. Mail - Arrange to have your mail held at the post office until you return home or have someone come to your home every day to bring it in the house. You want to avoid having your home look like no one is home for a long period of time.

6. Newspapers - If you still get a daily newspaper, contact the carrier to put a hold on your delivery until you come home from vacation or have someone bring your newspapers into the home.

7. Neighbors - Make a trusted neighbor aware that you are going out of town so they can keep an eye on your home and look for any suspicious activity. Give them a key and a code to the alarm system, is necessary. Show them how to reset the alarm upon leaving, if need be. 

8. Deliveries - Make sure you do not arrange to have Amazon or any other online store make deliveries to your home while you are out of town. With package theft at an all-time high, you don't want packages being left on your porch or at your front door for an extended period of time. (Not to mention damage caused by inclement weather!)

9. Social Media - Resist sharing on Facebook that you're going away if your home is going to be empty and tell your kids to do the same. 

10. Timer - Keep one or more lights on a  timer in your home that are visible from the outside. Set them to go on at dusk and then turn off shortly before your normal bedtime. This is another way for it to look as if someone is home when you're not. 

Be safe and have a great time on your vacation! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, January 16 2019
USE WHAT YOU HAVE

Another year is underway. Have you made any resolutions? (Honestly, I hate that question.) I don't make resolutions anymore because I have a tendency to fail. I stop exercising after about a month, I start eating more desserts than I should after a few months of eating healthy. It's just too much pressure!

Instead, I set a goal or an intention. I find I am much more successful that way and it makes me feel much less pressured.

Last year, my goal was to declutter and upgrade my entire home, from top to bottom. Yes, one whole year to do so. I focused on one room a month, for twelve months. I planned it out in great detail at the beginning of the year. I decluttered what needed to be, did some cosmetic upgrades and tweaked some organization in my home. By year's end, I was thrilled with the results.

Although I did not get to the basement like I had planned, (mainly because some things took longer than expected), I am setting a goal for the next two months to finish decluttering and organizing the entire basement. With being as busy as I am, this goal is reasonable and achievable.

This year, I decided to have a theme. I decided to name my theme for 2019 "Use What You Have".  I am fortunate to live in a nice home and have what I need. Last year's project re-aquainted me with all that I have. I realized, I have enough. As the saying goes "Enough is enough". I am going on a buying diet. I am going to focus on using what I already have, instead of purchasing more. This is especially true for me when it comes to clothing and shoes. I am resisting the urge to purchase more and simply use what I have.

I plan on making more use of my serving dishes and trays, which have been stored away since my wedding in 2002 and infrequently used.

I plan on burning the candles I have been storing. I love candles and love to use them but I have aquired a lot and have not made it a habit of burning them. Now I will!

I plan on reading the books I have aquired without getting more. This is particularly true for my fiction books. I love books! People give me books! I can't resist accepting their offers to take their books they no longer want. I have enough!

Honestly, now that I am in my late 50's, I recognize that I have to be honest with myself and need to make sure I will have enough time to get to make use all of my possessions. Trust me, storage is not an issue. I have plenty of room, but, I don't want to run out of time before I have used what I have.

Hopefully, this is food for thought. Is it possible for you to go on a purchasing diet, like me, this year, and "Use What You Have"?

I am curious as to what you believe you have enough of and what you can avoid purchasing more of this year. Post a response to this blog below and share your thoughts. Let's all inspire each other to Use What You Have.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with too much stuff in your home and want to simplify, don't hesitate to contact me.

I am here for you!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, January 11 2019
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEED vs. WANT?

Well, Hello!

Happy New Year!

Admittedly, I was very lax last year in posting blogs, but, the good news is...I'm back! I actually enjoy writing so I am looking forward to providing new, updated blogs in 2019 on a more regular basis.

I thought it would be a good time to start with the topic of "NEED vs. WANT".

When it comes to decluttering, these terms can be confusing. Sometimes, we get overwhelmed with the process.

Just imagine that you want to declutter your storage room. You have all types of items in this space and you want to make sense of them. The storage room can easily become a dumping ground for clothes, tools, kitchen items, holiday decorations, toys and memorabilia, just to name a few. You find that your head is spinning when trying to determine whether you should keep something. That's where "Need vs. Want" comes into play.

When I work with my clients and they are feeling overwhelmed with trying to decide whether to keep something or not, "Need vs. Want" can cause confusion. So what is the difference?

The term Need is defined as " necessity, something required that is lacking". The terms Want is defined as "something that is desired". In other words, Need vs. Want equals Require vs. Desire.

There are various factors to consider when determining whether you need or want something.

First, is it for the right reason? 

When you look at an item, do you ask your self whether it's something you need in order to function somehow? Is it a tool that you use for home repair, for example? Is it a small kitchen appliance that you use infrequently, but do still make use of? For example, you might have located a large crock pot for larger dinners and you plan to entertain more this year. Do you exclaim, upon finding it, "I've been looking for that! I need this!" 

Do you, perhaps, look at an item and consider whether it's something you want to keep, such as an old photo album or your grandmother's dishes? Why do you want to keep it? 

Second, can you downsize? 

Let's use the example of small appliances. You have found several crock pots that you have acquired over the years. You don't need all of them. Can you narrow down your collection to one, or two at the most?  Do you have a large set of Grandmom's dishes that you no longer need, but want to hold onto, because it evokes a memory of Sunday dinners with the family when you were a kid? Did you ever consider reducing the 12 place settings down to 4? Can you reduce the amount by half or more? If so, you can still hold onto the memory, make use of the dishes from time to time, but not have to keep the entire large set.

Third, are you keeping it out of guilt? 

Sometimes we purchase something and it cost us a lot of money. Sometimes, someone gives us something as a gift and we don't really like it. These are two common examples of why people hold onto things they don't want or need. When determining whether to keep something or not, do not keep it out of guilt! Remind yourself that you are to only keep things that you need or that you want. Also, remember that everything cannot be your favorite! If you spent a lot of money for something and you no longer need or want it, see if you can give it to someone else who would enjoy it or, perhaps, see if you can sell it. The same holds true for items you get as gifts. Determine right away whether you like something enough to keep it. Otherwise, let it go! (The money was already spent. The item gifted to you is now yours and it is your decision whether you want to keep it or not, not someone else's.)

Keeping these points in mind as you begin your journey of decluttering an area of your home will help you to determine whether you really should or want to still keep it.

If you are overwhelmed with your clutter and have a hard time determining what to keep and where to put it or what to toss and how to get rid of it, don't hesitate to contact me. As a professional organizer I can help you get through the process and make it less overwhelming. 

I am here for you!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 02 2018
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A SERVICE PROVIDER?

I'm sure you've noticed that I basically took the Summer off as far as writing any blogs.

I have been focusing on working with my clients and doing home improvement in my own home. I am working on upgrading some features in my home, including new lighting fixtures throughout, renovating my powder room, window treatments, landscaping, painting, flooring and carpeting to name a few. It's a year long project I decided to take on and hope to complete by year's end.

During this process I have needed to locate and hire professional service providers in order to get some of these improvements completed. It has been a long, tedious and, sometimes, frustrating process.

It took considerable research, trips to various stores and coordination of appointments. I am not done, but my experience has made me realize how important it is to find good, reliable people and companies to work with.

On numerous occasions, I attempted to hire certain individuals and companies based on recommendations but they quickly fell short of my expectations.

I called a painter about a month ago, leaving several messages and never heard back from him. I contacted a carpet installer to set up an appointment to bring samples to my home and take measurements based upon the recommendation of my previous carpet installer who has since retired. He cancelled last minute and did not call me back to reschedule when he said he would.

You can understand my frustration.

I began thinking about how I run my business and what my clients and potential clients expect from me.

I have been a professional organizer for over 14 years and, from the beginning, I always made it a point to do the following:

1. Make sure that I can be easily found on the internet. (Most of my clients have found me via Google.) 

2. Provide clear and concise information about my services, my experience and background relating to professional organizing. (Have you taken the time to look at my website. It's very comprehensive.)

3. Make it easy and convenient for potential clients and existing clients to contact me. (I am available by phone seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and provide several avenues on the internet to contact me.)

4. Promptly return calls. (If I am not available, I return calls as soon as possible and within 24 hours at the latest. If I am away on vacation, my answering service provides you with that information so you know when to expect a return call.)

5. Schedule appointments to meet my clients' needs. (I do my best to make myself available during the week and, if need be, on weekends, for your convenience.)

6. Respond to inquiries so that potential clients get the answers they need as quickly as possible to determine whether they wish to work with me. (I personally respond to each and every inquiry promptly.)

7. Spend time making sure that my clients understand the process of decluttering and organizing. (I want my clients to feel comfortable with the process and know what to expect.)

8. Provide a clear and easy-to-understand written Agreement prior to starting any project so my clients know the terms and condition of our working relationship. (I review the Agreement, line by line, in person, with each and every client.)  

9. Listen. (I listen and do not judge. I rely on my clients to provide me with information about their situation and what they wish to achieve. My goals are solution-based.)

10. Provide solutions. (This is not a cookie-cutter process. It is personalized to meet each of my clients' specific needs.)

Because of my work ethic, I expect the same from the service providers I look to hire. 

If you are considering hiring a professional organizer, l invite you to reach out by phone or by email and speak to me about your particular sitation. I promise to live up to the standards I listed about when working with you to create A Better Space. 

I will provide you with the same standard of service that I expect from others. 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 19 2018
SO HOW LONG IS THIS ALL GOING TO TAKE?

Over the years, I have heard, time and time again, "So how long is this all going to take?". It's a fair question, but not always easy to answer. The honest answer is "It depends."

There are several factors that come into play when determining the answer to this question:

1. How many items are currently in the space you want to organize?

2. What types of things are in the space?

3. What kind of decision maker are you?

4. Does anyone else need to be involved in the decision making?

5. What is the vision you have for the space when it's done?

6. How will you dispose of unwanted items?

Rooms that are the same size can hold drastically different amounts of things. Closets can be stuffed to the brim or under-utilized. Paperwork can take a long time to go through because each piece of paper needs to be reviewed so a home office could take much longer to organize. However, a linen closet or a room filled with furniture will tend not to take as long to go through and make decisions about. It all depends on the contents in the space.

Some people make decisions quickly and are not as emotionally attached to their possessions. Other people need more time to decide. My experience has been that some want to tell me a story about the object before deciding to let it go. That is perfectly normal and understandable as it is a way of letting go. It all depends on what type of decision maker you are. Also, are you the only one that is making the decisions or do you need approval from another family member and a compromise is needed?

Do you have a clear vision of what you want the space to look like in the end? Do you want to re-organize all of the kitchen cabinets and drawers or just the pantry? Depending on what you need to accomplish will determine how long it will take.

How specific you want to be will play a role in how long your organizing project might take.

Lastly, the project is not completed until the items you decide not to keep are disposed of. Do you want to take the time to sell them, donate them or simply throw them away. Sometimes, it a combination of all of them.  The key is to quickly get rid of the items once you decide to do so. Do not hold onto them for that once-a-year yard sale!

Generally, once I start working with a client, I can determine how long, in general, it will take to finish the task. They play a key role in how long it will take. Of course, I am there to guide my clients and keep them focused on the project so it can get completed as quickly as possible. Accountability goes a long way in being successful and efficient. I always make sure my clients understand how varying factors will have an effect on how long it will take to get the job done. 

If you need to get any area of your home under control and organized, need guidance with time management, paper management or budgeting of your finances, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 13 2017
I WANT TO DONATE - BUT WHERE?

Many times we are ready to gather the items in our home that we no longer need or want but are unsure as to where we can donate them. Some items can be more challenging than others. A local donation site might not take what you have to offer.

When you are ready to donate and don't know where, here are a list of suggestions to help you out

Medical Equipment - Many times when I am working with a client who had an elderly relative living with them or is cleaning out that elderly person's home, we come across medical equipment that is no longer needed. https://www.med-eq.org/Donate/ . Med-Eq matches donors with charities that need what the donors are offering. You fill out a simple form online and the staff at Med-Eq will choose a recipient. The receiving party covers any costs such as mailing expenses for smaller items or arrangements are made for pick-up right from your home.

Wigs - There is a wig exchange program which provides free wigs to women experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy. The EBeauty Community can be found at https://www.ebeauty.com/donate-a-wig/.

Musical Instruments - Instruments in the Cloud is a non-profit organization that allows donors to connect with local teachers who are looking for instruments. http://www.instrumentsinthecloud.org/donations/new. For more information, go to http://www.instrumentsinthecloud.org/pages/faqs

Homemade Blankets - For those who quilt, knit or crochet and wind up with more quilts or blankets than can ever be used, I recommend Project Linus. https://www.projectlinus.org/donations/. Materials that can be used to make blankets can also be donated, if you want to reduce your stash. (These must come from a smoke-free environment for allergy reasons.)

Lastly, in honor of Veterans Day this month, Operation Gratitude sends care packages to deployed troops, and all those care packages, including Beanie Babies or other small plush toys, as well as gently used ones, are accepted. https://opgrat.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/beanie-babies-for-the-troops/. There are other ways to donate as well, so take some time to review their site.

So, the next time you are in the midst of decluttering and stuck on how to donate certain items, refer back to this list.

As always, I am here to help you create A Better Space.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 23 2017
I'M AFRAID TO ADMIT IT

With Halloween just around the corner, fear tends to sometimes be on our minds. We experience many forms of fear, but the one I want to talk about is being "afraid to admit". 

Over the years when working with so many wonderful people, I have witnessed, time and time again, how the fear of getting organized can stop people in their tracks.

Admittedly, eliminating clutter, for some, can be overwhelming, intimidating and cause a reaction of embarrassment and fear. 

I have found that it's the fear of the unknown that is your worst enemy.

Think about it. You finally get up the nerve to reach out for help after struggling so long with your clutter. That's a big step. Then you contact an expert like me to help. Great! Then the fear sets in. After you have scheduled your first appointment you may find yourself saying "What have I done?!?!?" You are starting to think about all of the areas that are problematic for you in your home, perhaps, and then feel overwhelmed and embarrassed. Maybe, you haven't had anyone come into your home in a while because of your embarrassment.

You imagine that this person is going to come into your home and judge you. You imagine that this person is going to come into your home and just throw everything away. You imagine that you will lose things or things that mean a lot to you will disappear. You imagine that it is going to be harder than you thought.  This is all fear based, right?

Well, I am here to tell you that, when working with a professional organizer such as myself, this will not happen.

I am particularly cognizant of the fact that my new clients will have a tendency to experience these feelings. I never judge, first of all. What good would that do? I am here to help, not judge.  I would never go into someones home and just start throwing things away. How disrespectful!  I always make sure that things are put in a logical place that makes sense for my clients so they can always find them, because we work together to find solutions that work. If something is particularly special, it needs to be honored and have a good, safe place to be stored or displayed so it can be enjoyed.

Amazingly, after just one session, my clients become much more relaxed about the process and can see how what they thought was impossible, is, in fact, possible.  I always focus on the potential of any space so that my client's vision can come to fruition. It is important to me that my clients to feel comfortable working with me. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Some people are afraid to admit that they are struggling with the actual idea of how they are going to get organized and committing to the process.  It feels uncomfortable. They sometimes make excuses as to why they will not follow through, but the truth of the matter is, they are afraid to admit that its the idea of taking on an organizing project that is making them feel uncomfortable, and nothing else.  It's not monetary. It's not that they are too busy. It's not any of that.  

These feelings are normal, but once it is understood what will be happening and how the process works, the fear disappears. The anxiety and embarrassment go away.

Do yourself a favor. If you are contemplating getting organized and fear is holding you back, give me a call. I can explain how I can help, and you need not worry about the process. That is what I am here for, to show you how its done and be right by your side the entire time, supporting you every step of the way.

Bottom line, don't be afraid to admit you are afraid. Don't let your fear prevent you from having A Better Space. 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 15 2017
IS YOUR LIFE HIGH MAINTENANCE?

Almost every woman I know or have met has created a crazy, busy life for themselves. They tend to have a house, husband or significant other, kids, full-time job and lots of responsibility around the house and obligations to their family. 

Life is complicated enough. We don't need it to be high maintenance. 

What do I mean by that?

Often times, there are ways that we can streamline our responsibilities and our possessions to make our lives easier. 

As a professional organizer, one of my responsibilities is to help my clients identify where they can change either the way they do things or reduce the amount of possessions they have in their life. Sometimes, we can identify items we possess that could be replaced by items that are simply easier to maintain and use.

Some examples could be:

1. Vacuum cleaner -  Is your vacuum cleaner easy to use? Is it portable enough that you can easily move it from one floor to another? Are there tons of attachments? Is the bag easy to replace when full? Does it store away without taking up a lot of room? If not, you might want to consider purchasing another vacuum cleaner that would be lower maintenance.

2. Paper Shredder - Is your paper shredder sufficient for your needs? Does it shred paper efficiently? Does it accommodate credit cards? Does it have a cross-cut feature to ensure confidentiality of your paperwork? Does it jam easily? Does it overheat quickly? Consider these points to avoid wasting time and energy when it comes to shredding your paperwork.

3. Clothing - I don't know about you but I do not like to iron. (I have had the same iron since 1983!) I do anything possible to avoid ironing. One way you can reduce the amount of time you spend ironing is to purchase clothing that is not 100% cotton. Another time-saver is to put your clothes into the dryer - even on a low setting - and hang it up while it is still warm so the wrinkles fall out.  

4. Kitchen - One area of the home that tends to accumulate clutter is the kitchen. How many times have you purchased a small appliance only to determine that it is never used and it just sits on your counter, collecting dust and taking up space? How many items are you not able to put into the dishwasher to clean and have to manually wash them? Do you have a set of silver from your grandmother that sits in a box and is never used? 

5. Knickknacks - An abundance of knickknacks could easily qualify as a high-maintenance item. Do you have a collection of knickknacks that someone gave you and youa re not even fond of? An abundance of knickknacks can mean having to take more time to dust. Consider downsizing your collection to reflect only your favorites and truly special to you.

Items that are hard to maintain are often unused.

What items do you possess that are more trouble than they're worth? Take a look around and share your thoughts. I bet a lot of you have the same type of items!

In the meantime, if you are struggling with "too much" and your life is "high maintenance", it might be time to declutter and organize your home. Give me a call or send me an email and lets talk about your "high maintenance" life.  I can show you how to have A Better Space instead!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, November 03 2016
THERE IS SUCH A THING AS AN ORGANIZED TEEN

I know it's sometimes hard to believe but teenagers can be organized.  We need to guide our kids in various areas so the whole picture comes together.  There is the physical and mental aspects of disorganization which need to be evaluated.

During the school year, keeping teenagers focused on everything that needs to be accomplished in a day can be a challenge. Here are some ways you can help them: 

1. If you have trouble getting your teen up in the morning, buy the most annoying alarm clock you can find and put it far from the bed. That way they are forced to get up and turn it off.  Limit their access to electronics as the day winds down to get their mind to relax, providing a better night's sleep, making it easier for them to get up in the morning.  

2. To keep bathroom time to a minimum, place a timer inside and set it for 15 minutes. Teenagers are notorious for getting lost in the shower.  Once the timer goes off, time's upperiod. This is great for siblings who share a bathroom.

3. Help your teen navigate their school roster by copying their schedule on a copy machine to fit in a wallet or backpack. They can also keep a copy in their locker.

4. List activities on a large calendar and color-code them. Keep the calendar in a central location in the home for all to see. Use a different colored highlighter for each member of the household.  This is a great way to make sure everyone knows where they have to be and when, as well as assisting parents with carpool schedules.

5. My son never liked sitting at a desk in his bedroom when he was in school.  Determine where your teenager would be prefer to do their homework and study.  It might be a dining room table, kitchen table or even a comfortable couch with a loveseat. The important thing is that they like where they are working and are productive.    

6. Help your teenager develop good time management skills by mapping out a weekly schedule of responsibilities.  If they have a larger project to get done, schedule out blocks of time that will enable them to complete the project on time.  

7.  Provide organizing tools such as a clothes hamper in their bedroom, hooks on the back of the bathroom door for towels, and containers to hold desk supplies, sporting equipment or other items for easy access.

8. Create a chore chart that schedules blocks of time for them to do their own laundry, take out the trash, do some light housekeeping or any other responsibilities you want to assign to them to teach them responsibility and lighten your own load.  

Utilizing physical organizational tools and good time management tools will help your teenager to become an organized and productive individual. 

 

 
Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 24 2016
THE BENEFITS OF RAISING AN ORGANIZED CHILD

Being organized does not just pertain to adults.  It benefits children as well.   

Did you know that you can actually boost your child's confidence, their ability to learn and their maturity level by helping them to create order in their life? 

Being organized is more than just a clean room.  For adults and children alike, it is essential for learning.  If you don't have the materials you need to ace a test or you are surrounded by clutter, it affects your ability to focus.

Organization encourages responsibility.  For children, it can be as simple as cleaning up their toys and putting them into clearly marked containers.  When your child is organized, they become more independent and their frustration level is reduced.  If they know what they want and where to find it, they can do more things on their own, which gives them a great sense of independence and self-esteem.

A few habits is all it takes to help your child develop organizing skills.  There are techniques that work for younger children as well as older children.  

1.  Neatly storing their things:

Younger children can get involved with cleanup. Make it fun by setting a timer and creating a pick-up game that lasts about 10 minutes. If you have more than one child, get the entire family involved.  Get your child used to cleaning up as they go and doing a final sweep at the end of the day.  By the time your child reaches grade school, they will be able to keep their toys organized on their own.  Using simple containers set up by category and labeled with pictures of the type of toy or game will make clean up a breeze. 

When it comes to older children, pointing out their successes will encourage them to do more.  Your grade schooler or tween can clean up toys and games, help clear their dishes off the dinner table, dust and hang up their jacket.  Show them examples of what they are already doing and what else they could also be doing. Make it easy for them to be successful.  When your child sees that they already know how to be neat, the task will feel more doable to them.  

2. Time Management and Routines:  

Younger children do not have a concept of time. However, that does not mean they cannot be taught promptness; it's just a matter of creating routines. For example, every night is "bath, book, bed". If it is verbally stated before the routine is to start and implemented each night, they will get accustomed to staying on schedule. 

Older children need to learn not to procrastinate. This can be taught by requiring your child to lay out their clothes the night before or plan out a long-term school project a week or so in advance.  

3. Completing the task

Younger children can learn this concept as young as 1 year old.  Read them a story from beginning to end at bedtime.  They are taught that things have a beginning, middle and an end. Referring back to what I mentioned above, having your child put away a toy after they play with it before pulling out another toy will teach them task completion, as well.  When they are working on a larger project, like a Lego structure, however, you might decide it's okay to leave it for another time to complete.  This will teach them how to manage long-term projects.

Older children need to learn rules and limits.  Older children get distracted by technology, which is a big hindrence for teens when it comes to completing homework or a chore around the house. Set up tech-free zones in the home and create a quiet place for your child to study. Set time limits as to how long and when they are permitted to use a gaming device or their phone for texting.

Lastly, practice what you preach.  Children learn by example, so be sure to follow the rules when it comes to these areas.  

If you are overwhelmed with your own clutter or your child's, I can help.  I work with busy moms to organize their homes and their time, as well as working with their children to create an organized bedroom or playroom and create time management plans for the family.  Don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your particular clutter issues.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:36 am   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 07 2016
HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?

The other day I heard an oldie on the radio and it prompted me to think about clutter.  Strange, I know, but hear me out.  

Do you know the song "How Long Has This Been Going On?" by Ace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAVl_IJV5eI

I find that I ask this question with so many of my clients when I first speak with them and now, I want to ask you the same question.

Do you have ongoing clutter issues that won't go away?  Do you think your situation can be remedied overnight?  

The fact remains that if your clutter has been accumulating for quite some time - months, even years - it will take some time to eliminate it and get organized.

The good news is, however, that it can be done!   

I know how overwhelming it can be.  Sometimes you feel that it is just easier to ignore it. Is that the real solution?  No!

At some point it needs to be dealt with, so why not now?  

Just imagine what it would be like to walk into a particular room (or perhaps many rooms in your home) and feel that immediate sense of calm.  Eliminating clutter and getting organized can do just that!  

Sometimes it is so overwhelming that you don't know where to start.  Sometimes the answer is to reach out for help and hire a professional.  

You and I both know that if we cannot do something on our own, the best solution is to engage the services of a professional.  I do it!  I hire an electrician, plumber, handyman.  Why? Because I don't always know what I am doing and it will take too long for me to figure it out on my own. Also, I want it done once and I want it done right.

The same applies when it comes to clutter and disorganization. Don't you want it done once and for all and don't you want it done right?  Wouldn't it be great to have someone come in who can provide a new perspective and create a solution that meets your specific needs and provide ideas you might never have thought of before? 

As a professional organizer who has specialized in residential organizing for so long, trust me, I know how to do it once and do it right!

So, ask yourself.  HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?  If your answer is months or even years, and you are ready to get past this obstacle and commit to the process, it's time to reach out for help.  Simply pick up that phone now and contact A Better Space.  You'll be so glad you did!  I would love to provide you with a space that you love. 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:50 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 16 2016
IT'S JUST NOT ENOUGH!

Are you a busy mom?  So many of my clients are.  They have young children and/or teenagers.  They either work full-time out of the home, part-time at home or are a stay-at-home mom.  Their life is filled with time constraints, a long list of things to do and a feeling of overwhelm.  Their husbands are great but they just can't seem to understand what it's like to manage it all.  

Does this sound familiar? 

If so, BUSY MOMS! THIS BLOG IS FOR YOU!

I want you to know that I get it!  I feel your overwhelm and frustration.  I know how you have tried to get your home and your life organized, but just can't seem to get it done. I want you to know that it is normal to feel that you are a failure and you just can't understand how this happened!  I know that your expectations of yourself and your spouse's expectations of you are more than you can live up to.  But the truth is, you are not a failure!  

So many moms tell me "I know how to get organized, but I just can't."  I speak with so many moms who contact me simply because they feel frozen and overwhelmed.  

want you to keep in mind that gathering great ideas on "how" to get organized is not always enough. Just having the ideas does not necessarily create enough time, space, discipline and motivation to actually carry through your ideas.

The reality is, it's just not enough to think you can do it.  You need to stop wasting your time and move forward. The longer it goes on, the worse it will become.  I am here to help you stop the chaos and get organized, once and for all.  And the good news is, I am just a phone call away! 

I urge you to acknowledge that it's time to pick up that phone and contact me.  I ask that you think enough of yourself to reach out to me and get some help.  There is no shame in admitting you are overwhelmed.  Busy moms like you are, more so than not, frustrated, overwhelmed and not even sure how to begin the process. These are the most common statements I hear when I get that phone call.  

Are you ready to stop feeling this way and learn the tools you need to get and stay organized? I work with busy moms just like you to help carve out the time, create a solid plan and keep you motivated to get the job done. 

Follow through on your intent to have A Better Space, because thinking about it is just not enough.

I will be here when you are ready.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 09 2015
WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?

I have been working with clients for over 11 years, and over the course of that time, I have spoken with hundreds and hundreds of people.  

Although I have been able to help so many people over the years, sadly, there are still so many who chose not to move forward and get organized.  Are you one of them? 

When it comes right down to it, it's not the money nor the time involved that is used as an excuse to not move forward.  If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it.

The real reason is fear.  There are so many reasons that fear gets in the way.  Here are some that I think are most common.

1.  Fear of losing the memory if you let go of something.  I always say the memory will remain in your head and in your heart.  Taking a picture can help remedy this, as well.  

2.  Being afraid you will upset the person who gave you something that you are not particularly fond of.  I call that "Gift Guilt".  Why not pass that "something" onto someone else who can make better use of it and enjoy it instead of storing it somewhere, unused.  

3.  Envisioning that it will be difficult to make changes in the way you do things and have to build all new habits.  It is not as difficult as you might think.  I make it a point to provide solutions that are customized to my clients' particular style, so the changes feel more natural.

4.  Focusing more on what it will cost - in time, money or effort.  The value in getting organized quickly becomes obvious and outways the cost.  Investing in yourself is invaluable.  Making positive changes can last a lifetime.   

5.  Feeling embarrassed to show anyone, including a professional such as myself, the fact that you live in such a cluttered or disorganized home.  From the first time that we meet, my clients recognize that I am non-judgmental.  I find that it is not as bad as they think it is.  That is because my focus is on the potential of a given space and formulating a plan of action to provide "a better space" that we can envision for a particular room or an entire home.  Although I do see the present condition, I can see "the forest through the trees"!  

6.  Being afraid of letting go because you think you will end up needing that item again some day. I call that "someday syndrome" and explain how that can be detrimental. 

7.  You have a fear of failure.  You think that your attempts to get organized won't work. On the contrary, the systems that I put into place do work because they are so easy to maintain.  Again, that is because they are customized, so they are a natural solution that meet your specific needs and coincide with how you function.   

Which of these sound familiar to you? What are you afraid of?

On a day to day basis, living in fear only results in people remaining in a cluttered environment.  

As we work together to create longlasting results, I spend time coaching my clients and get them past their fears.  This is what creates the positive changes in their lives that they can experience for years to come.  

Unfortunately, some never experience that change because of their overwhelming fear. Are you familiar with the quote by Albert Einstein: "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"? 

If you want different results, you have to do things differently and that involves change. Admittedly, the fear of the unknown can be scary, but with the proper guidance from a professional organizer, such as myself, can you past your fears and onto a much more organized and happy life that is much less stressful.

We have all been there.  I have certainly gotten past fears stepped out of my own comfort zone throughout my life, so I know how it feels.  Getting to the other side of fear, however, provides a profound sense of relief and freedom.  Opportunities open up when you open yourself up to change.  

This holds true when you let go of the obstacle of fear in relation to getting organized. What waits for you on the other side is peace, serenity, time, room to breathe, reduced stress and control of your surroundings. It's so freeing!  

If you want a life without clutter, you need to know that it is possible if you just get past your fears.  You simply need to take action!  Take that first step and don't be afraid to reach out for help. I am here for you.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:20 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 27 2015
HE WAS BLOWN AWAY!

Last week I had the privlege of working with a new client who asked me to help her organize her Sun Room.  It is a room in her home that her husband has not been able to enjoy for several years due to the clutter that had been building up on the furniture and floor in the room.  It was intended to be a quiet get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life.  That was not the case.  It only created anxiety and frustration due to the amount of clutter it contained.

My client wanted to get this room organized for her husband as a birthday present for him.  I gladly took on the assignment.

The clutter in the home had gotten to the point of it being so bad that it was affecting the couple's marriage.  The marriage was on the verge of ending if the clutter that had been accumulating for many years was not cleaned up.  My client was stuck.  She was overwhelmed and did not know where to even begin.

This is a situation that, unfortunately, I am all to familiar with.  Clutter can, in fact, cause permanent damage to a marriage if it gets out of control and cannot be remedied by the spouse who created it.    

Needless to say, my client recognized that she needed help in order to get the house back in order and begin to work on saving her marriage.  She hoped that the Sun Room would be the first of several projects we would work on together.    

My client had asked her husband, unbeknownst to him that it was going to be a present for him, if he had a choice, which room in the home he would like to see organized.  He said the Sun Room.  He expressed to her that he was extremely doubtful that this room could ever return to its normal condition, let alone in one session, but was willing to have me come into the home and work with his wife.

And so, the project began.  For four hours, my client and I went through the contents that had piled up in the room and either relocated it to the proper room elsewhere in the home, organized it within the room, or threw it away.  With some interior redesign, I created the clutter free and spaceous room that he desired.  

My client was so thrilled with the outcome by the end of the session that she cried and hugged me, thanking me profusely for creating A Better Space for her husband to enjoy.  She was hopeful that when he came home, he would be as excited as she was and would ask me to come back to do further work with his wife in their home.

Before I could even get back to my office following this session, I received a phone message from my client advising that her husband did, in fact, walk through the door and was "blown away" by what had been accomplished and, following their vacation, intends to have me return to do other projects in the home.

I was thrilled that I was able to bring such joy to both of my clients and get such a great reaction from the husband.

In a lot of instances, my clients are not able to visualize how such a cluttered space can become A Better Space, but, fortunately, I can.  

Unlike my clients who cannot see past the clutter, as a professional organizer, I am able to see the potential of any given space and, with that, can bring their dream of a clutter free and organized room to fruition.

If you want to be "blown away", contact A Better Space so we can discuss your particular situation and how I can make this happen in your home!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 09 2015

How many people do you know that have lived in their homes for over five years?  Are you one of them?  

Just imagine how much has been accumulating in your home since you moved in.  Do you know what you have? Chances are you don't.  

We tend to gather items over the years and store them away and then forget about them.  There is not one time that I have worked with a client that we do not find something they have either been looking for or just completely forgot that they had.  It's just a matter of time!  

The most common time for people to access what they have in their home is when they are actually moving out of it!  But, I ask you, why wait?  Why not take some time and create an inventory of what you have in your home now?  Here are some steps you can take to get this done: 

1.  A Room At A Time - Don't attempt to inventory your entire home at one time.  Work on one room at a time.  Start at the top of your home and work your way down.

2.  Make a detailed list of items you want to purchase.  Do you want to replace the comforter set on your bed? Write it down. Do you want to change out the light fixture in your bathroom?  Write it down.  Even if you don't think you will make that purchase right away, put it on your list.  Treat it as a punch list that you can use to get things done over time.  

3.  Make a detailed list of the items you need to repair.  Does your closet door squeak?  Does your carpeting need to be steam cleaned?  Put everything you need to repair on one list and then get them done as soon as you can. It is important to always work on the upkeep of your home.  If you create a list for yourself or a handyman, these items can be knocked off your list in no time!  

4.  Create an inventory of the appliances and electronics in your home.  For insurance purposes, it is important to have an inventory of the major appliances and electronics in your home.  Include a detailed description and model number.  Keep this list in a fireproof/water proof safe box to use in case of a fire or flood.  This will speed up the process when making a claim with the insurance company.  

Whether staging your home for sale or just keeping up with the contents in your home and the repairs it might need, it is important to create an inventory and know what you possess.   

Do you know what you have in your home?

If this process is too overwhelming for you, I am here to help.  As a professional organizer who specializes in residential organizing, I can help you identify what is in your home and organize your contents in a way that makes it easy to find what you need, when you need it.  Simply contact me to discuss you organizing stumbling blocks.  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:57 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 02 2015

Wow!  Is it June already?  I have been so crazy busy that I have not had the opportunity to write a blog for the past few weeks.  I have been working with a lot of clients lately who are downsizing.  They are transitioning out of their home into a smaller home. When this happens, many people struggle with how to fit all of their possessions into a smaller space.  That is where I come in.  I help my clients decide what to keep, what to sell, what to donate and what to throw away in the trash.  

I actually get excited when I hear that someone is moving into a new home.  Although it can be stressful, it is a great time to evaluate your possessions and decide what is truly needed and wanted.  It's a fresh start.  So many of us obtain or collect items during the many years we live in a home and do not take the time to weed through our possessions on a regular basis to re-evaluate what we want or need.  Moving into a new home tends to help so many focus on this task.  However, it can be overwhelming.

It is important to keep in mind the following:

1. Always focus on where you are going and how much space you will have.  You need to constantly remind yourself of the amount of space you will have in your new home to help you make smart choices.  Stay in the present when deciding on an item.  If you hear yourself talking in the past i.e., "I used to use this for...", it is time to let it go.

2. Pick your favorites.  As they say, everything cannot be your favorite.  Be selective about the items you wish to take to your new home and be sure the item is needed or brings you joy.  Don't get stuck in the "Maybe someday I will need it" syndrome.  Your home is intended to be lived in, not acting as a storage unit.  

3. Set a deadline.  Many people who are downsizing are doing so because their kids are grown and have moved out of the home. However, they left their stuff behind for various reasons.  Make sure your kids know you are serious about downsizing and cannot take their stuff with you when you move.  Set a deadline and tell them that they either pick up or have their stuff delivered or shipped by a certain date or it will be donated.  You do not have the room to store their stuff any longer and you do not want the added expense of having it moved to your new home.  

4. Become familiar with the home you are moving into.   If possible, visit the home you are moving into to do some space planning in advance.  This will help you choose the items you will have room for and how they will be set up in the home.  This includes furniture placement and cabinet or drawer storage.  Take pictures if possible to refresh your memory when making these choices.  

5. Organize the packing of boxes and furniture.  Be sure to clearly label your boxes and furniture so the movers will have an easier time putting them into the appropriate rooms in your new home.  Use color coding by taping a colored piece of paper on the doorway of each room that coordinates with the color on the boxes.  Moving companies love when this is done.  It avoids them having to ask you every five minutes which room you want certain items.  It will also save time, which saves you money. 

Downsizing is the opportunity to begin a new chapter in your life.  It can be a stressful time but with the help of a professional organizer, it can be an exciting time!  

If you are overwhelmed with the idea of downsizing, I am here to help.  I can help you go through your possessions to make those important choices, space plan your new home and assist with staging your current home for sale, if need be.  I will work with you to help you through the emotional attachment issues you might be experiencing with your upcoming move.   

There is an upside to downsizing!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:07 am   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 30 2015
WHEN YOU WANT TO GET ORGANIZED, BUT...

How many times have you said to yourself "I want to get organized, but"..., then you do nothing about it?  

I know, for a fact, that this happens more times than not!  Do you want to know why?  Why is it we get frustrated, overwhelmed and do absolutely nothing?  

For some, it's because they don't know where to start.  Perhaps it's because it is just too overwhelming when looking at the whole picture.  For others, it's because they have started the process but never finished and gave up.  For certain people, however, it is because of fear.  Fear can cause some people to not even try.  

What causes that feeling of fear?  There are several reasons.  I mentioned frustration and overwhelm.  How about the feeling of failure?  

Is it possible that you want to get organized but are afraid you will not do a good job and therefore, do nothing at all?  

Do you believe that you will not be able to make the right choices when deciding what to keep, toss or donate?  What justifies keeping something, throwing it away, donating it?  Do you know?  These are questions that tend to come up a lot when going through the process of organizing.  

Is it possible that you are afraid that you will commit the time to weeding through your stuff and not get the results you set out to achieve?  Perhaps you cannot visualize what the end result will look like, and, therefore, cannot even get started.  

Finally, is it possible that you are afraid to let go of things you know you don't want but feel guilty about getting rid of them?  

All of these fears can cause you to freeze or feel stuck and either not get started at all, or, in the alternative, start the process and not finish.

As a professional organizer, I work with my clients one-on-one to not only help them visualize the final outcome, but take the steps needed to not only start the process, but get past those obstacles such as fear and get the job done.

The next time you hear yourself saying "I want to get organized, but"..., remember, it is more common than not to feel frustrated, overwhelmed and perhaps frozen with fear when it comes to getting organized.    

The good news is, I am here to help!  If you want to see what some of my previous clients have experienced, I invite you to visit my Testimonials Page on this website at www.4abetterspace.com/testimonials to see what A Better Space has already achieved for others and what is possible for you, too!

Until next time, I am wishing you an organized day!   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:07 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 01 2015
DON'T BE APRIL FOOLISH

Happy April Fool's Day!  

I am so excited that April is here and, hopefully, the Winter weather is finally behind us.  We are all getting ready for the upcoming holidays, Easter and Passover, which both are being celebrated this coming weekend.  Before we know it, the flowers will be blooming and the warmer temperatures will be here to stay.

In preparation for the warmer temperatures and more time spent outdoors, this is a great time to seriously think about what clutter issues you may be contending with in your home.

Sometimes the Winter months can make us feel a bit sluggish and less productive.  We go into hibernation mode and tend to be less motivated to get things done.  Since this past Winter was particularly challenging, with severely cold temperatures and, for some of us, tons of snow, this is even more true. 

Well, no more excuses! It's time to get moving and get organized!

Do yourself a favor and look around your home and be honest about the areas that need some organizing attention.  Is your bedroom floor filled with clothing, is your linen closet stuffed with sheets and towels, are your kitchen counters crowded with papers or other items, does your home office contain piles of paperwork that does not have a home, is your family room no longer welcoming to the family, is your garage so filled that your car doesn't fit in it?

Do you walk through your front door and the first thing you see is clutter?  How does that make you feel?  Just imagine coming home at the end of the day and having your home bring you a sense of calm instead of dread.  I have always believed that your home is your haven and should be a safe and happy place, leaving the chaos of the world behind.  

Eliminating your clutter and getting organized can help to bring that to fruition.  It has a very powerful impact on all aspects of your life.  Here is a comment I received from one of my clients:

"Audrey, I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying my home now.  It is much more relaxing.  You helped me create a peaceful place.  There is a place for everything and it is easy to keep things organized.  I was a little nervous when we first started working together.  I wasn't sure about someone having opinions on items that were important to me but I knew I needed to organize and downsize. You really listened to me and helped me donate things I really didn't need.  Now I have a much more manageable home.  I enjoy entertaining more.  You were such a help and I enjoyed the time we spent working together.  I thank you for helping me in such a caring and professional way.  It was such a pleasure to meet you. Many thanks, Karen A., Newtown, PA"

My intent here is not so much to toot my own horn, but rather to show you what an impact getting organized can have on your home and your life.  

Don't be "April foolish"!  Take some time to evaluate what is truly going on in your home that is keeping it from being what you envision it to be.  If you need a fresh set of eyes to help you evaluate your situation and get you on the road to organization, don't hesitate to contact me.  As always, I am here to help.  I am only a phone call or email away.   

Have a great week and a wonderful holiday!  

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:21 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 10 2015
TODAY IS NATIONAL ORGANIZE YOUR HOME OFFICE DAY

Being a professional organizer and having a home office such as I do, I know how important it is to keep it clutter free and organized.  

Paper clutter as well as computer clutter are both problematic for most people.    It is vital to feel good about your home office environment in order to be productive.

Here are some tips you can use to get and keep your home office functional and enjoyable to work in:

1.  Clear your surfaces.  Paper tends to pile up on any flat surface such as a desk if it does not have a home.  It can be overwhelming to get it organized and under control.  So, the first step is the clear the surfaces of all paperwork and office supplies. Start with a clean slate.  

2.  Provide yourself with sufficient storage space in your filing cabinet.  You need to have enough room to store active files and reference/archival files. If you do not have enough space for a good filing system, your paperwork might end up piled on a desk or even on the floor.   

3.  Keep it separate.  Do not co-mingle your personal paperwork with business-related paperwork.  They should each have their own zone.  If it is not possible to have separate filing cabinets, then designate certain drawers in the cabinet for personal and for business.  

4.  Create sufficient room to work.  If your PC is taking up a lot of space, consider using a lap top computer instead.  Designate a portion of your desk for computer work and another portion for spreading out paperwork.  Be sure to designate space for your printer, scanner, etc.  A good option is to purchase a multi-functional printer/scanner/copier to save space.  Make sure your equipment is placed where you can easily reach it from where you are sitting.  

5.  Out with the old and in with the new.  On a regular basis, you should go through your files to clean out old, unused paperwork to make room for new materials either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.  This is vital to staying organized as your paperwork will always have a good home.  This applies to your computer as well.  Eliminate old email, folders or programs you no longer need or use.

6.  Create an environment you enjoy spending time in.  It is important to have the furniture, lighting and items that reflect your personality in your home office space so that you enjoy being in the space.  This will help you to be more productive.  Create a space that is functional and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  Be sure to incorporate items that will not only be functional, such as a desk with drawers as opposed to just a desk surface and select a comfortable office chair to sit in.  Add artwork or photographs to the walls that you enjoy looking at.   Incorporate bookcases or shelving for added vertical storage.  

The less you have out on your desk and work space, the better.  You will be able to think much clearer and be much more productive when there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.  Of course, you know, that is how you create A Better Space!  

By using the tips mentioned above, you will be well on your way.  If you are just too overwhelmed and need assistance to get it under control, I invite you to contact me.  I can help.  

In the meantime, Happy National Organize Your Home Office Day!    

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, February 17 2015

This blog is geared for those who have already gone through the process of eliminating their clutter and have organized their home and/or their life.  

It is very important that once you go through this process, you are able to easily maintain it.  Of course, from time to time, we need to tweak some areas, but it should not become a large project.  That would defeat the purpose of the work you have already done.  

Maintenance can come in many forms.  When checks bounce or bank accounts are overdrawn, it's because we didn't balance our checking account properly to always know what we have available to use.  When we run out of clothes to wear, it's because we failed to do the laundry.  

Home and office clutter tends to result in the "no maintenance" approach to living.  It tends to be the "toss, pile and deal with it later" approach that gets us in trouble.  Avoid dumping and you will avoid procrastinating (putting off what can be done now for later).

It is not difficult to maintain your "organizing mojo".  If this is a problem for you, here are some tips to help:

1. Put items away in a pre-designated location, each and every time.  When you initially organized a particular space, such as a drawer, closet, shelf or an entire room, you created places for your items that should make the most sense for them to be.  If you should discover that the place you selected is not working for you and you "dump" your stuff elsewhere, I recommend that you re-evaluate the location you selected to see if it is, in fact, the right place for the item to be.  If not, change it.  

2. Some items require more maintenance than others.  Items such as paperwork, dishes, food items, clothing, etc. are examples of items that might require daily maintenance.  If systems are not created to control your clutter, you end up creating more work for yourself in the long run. It could be as simple as creating a basket that is designated for magazines near the coffee table in the living room and making a point to read the magazines on a weekly basis.  Clearing off your desk at the end of each day will help to control your clutter and avoid creating a larger project for later.   It is vital that you have the right organizing tools in place.  

3.  Make it convenient.  If you commonly use a particular item, store it in a place that is easily accessible.  Less oftenly used items can be stored high up on shelves or in a storage area as opposed to the main living space.  

4.  Create a routine.  On a daily basis, schedule 15 minutes or so at the end of the day to put away items that are laying around. Sort your mail daily.  Do your filing weekly.  Determine what routines work best for you and your family and stick to them.  

5. Consider hiring help.  If the idea of maintaining your organizing mojo is overwhelming to you, consider hiring someone to help you. From time to time, your needs change.  Items have a way of building up in the home and you need to bring some balance back into your life.  Consider hiring a professional organizer who can tweak certain areas of your home or office to get it back to the way it should be or create a new, updated system for you and your family to help you regain balance.  

Remember, your home or office does not need to be perfect.  It needs to be functional and feel comfortable and maintaining your organizing mojo can help make that happen.   

Contact me if you want to talk further about maintaining your "organizing mojo".  Have a great week!   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 02 2015
WHEN THE ORGANIZING TRAIN HAS DERAILED

Have you found during your lifetime that you have been organized and other times not?  It is very common but can be frustrating. When your organizing train has derailed, how do you get back on track?  

Here are a few recommendations:

1.  When feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and just not sure where to begin, don't try to take on the whole project at one time. Make a list of the things you need to do to accomplish a task or project and do one step at a time.  Stay focused on a particular task and it will get done before you know it.  

2.  Get the family onboard. Have a family meeting that focuses on the tasks that need to be accomplished and determine who will be responsible for those tasks and when.  You can set a time each day for everyone to help get organized.  For example, at 7:00 p.m. every night, everyone will spend 15 minutes putting things where they belong.  Creating a reward system for the kids is a great motivational tool.  

3. Taking that sentimental journey can cause the organizing train to be delayed. If you find that you are having trouble parting with belongings, keep in mind that holding onto belongings for the wrong reasons can create clutter.  There is no need to suffer from "Gift Guilt".  Set a timer to go through the items in small segments.  Determine what is most important to you and only keep those items that mean something special to you.  If you have inherited items, be sure that they mean as much to you as the person who passed them onto you intended. When your emotions are involved, it can be more difficult to part with items but be selective. Considering donating the items you choose not to keep to a charity so someone else can make use of them.  

4.  Stop drowning in paper.  Your computer can be a huge paper clutter eliminating machine!  Instead of a large paper filing system, consider purchasing a scanner and scan documents into your computer.  Setting a limit on how much space you allow for certain paperwork will help, as well.  Paper is something that is constantly coming through the door.  You need to create a system that can easily be maintained.  You need to go through your mail and other paperwork on a regular basis.  

5.  Someday Syndrome.  Do you keep telling yourself "I will get to it someday"?  If so, you have what I call "Someday Syndrome". If you find that you are having trouble getting started with becoming organized, perhaps you should consider contacting a professional organizer.  A good organizer will help you identify the reason you are collecting and hanging onto your stuff and can customize a plan to get you onto the train to success!  

There is no need for your organizing train to continue to be derailed.  Get back on track.  If you are having difficulty doing it on your own, I am here to help.  Contact me and let's talk about what is going on and I can explain how I can help.

In the meantime, have a great day!

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:12 am   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, December 20 2014
IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR

It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so it is said.  

Granted, we get together with family and friends, donate our time or make monetary contributions to help others and think about all that we have and take time to appreciate those around us.

However, I have to wonder whether it is "the most wonderful time of the year". 

I personally think it is the most stressful time of the year.  

Right around Thanksgiving, a frenzy begins.  We begin to plan holiday meals, go to or have parties, make lists of people to buy gifts for and then go shopping for them, decorate our homes, send out holiday cards, cook large meals, bake cookies, cakes and bread, invite friends and family into our homes.  It can be downright exhausting!

Some of us plan ahead.  We create a plan and meet our deadlines well in advance.  Others, well....not so much.  Many of us wait until the last minute and then run around like chickens without heads, trying to get everything done in time.  

We are only days away from Christmas and so many of us are just getting started.  We are out at the malls and stores trying to figure out what to get everyone and dealing with crowded parking lots and long lines and perhaps picked over merchandise.  I always wonder why people put themselves through all of this. Talk about stress!

Can you truly enjoy the holidays when you are exhausted and frazzled?  It doesn't sound like fun, does it?

Although it certainly is a magical time of year for kids and adults alike, there is something to be said about the commercialized portion of the holidays.  We feel obligated at times to purchase gifts for people that simply just add to their clutter.

Think about how many times you might have received a gift from someone that you bring home, put away and never look at again.  You feel you can't get rid of it because someone gave it to you.

For me, personally, it is more about spending time with those I love and slowing down to appreciate them. Granted, I like gifts as much as the next person, but if you ask me what I really want this holiday season, it's the opportunity to hang out with friends and family and tell them how much I appreciate them being in my life.  It's about giving joy to others.  That, to me, is what the holidays are for.  

So, perhaps next time around, we can all make it a point to plan in advance, purchase less and have more time to spend with those we love.  Less clutter, less stress and more joy will make this the most happiest time of the year.  

I wish all of you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!  See you again in 2015.  

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 20 2014
PRESENTS VS. PRESENCE

Now that we are well into Fall with Halloween just around the corner, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chanukah will quickly follow.   Before you know it, we will be participating in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping.  

I would like you to keep something very important in mind.  

I recently spoke to a Moms Club at their monthly meeting and my topic was about organizing the kids.  One of the points that I made, which is so relevant at this time of year, is that when it comes to gift giving, you need to remember the concept of "presents vs. presence".   

Did you know that the United States has about 3 percent of the world's children, yet U.S. families annually purchase more than 40 percent of the total toys consumed globally.  This tends to happen because there are so many working parents.  They now have less time to spend with their kids so they tend to shower them with toys to compenstion for that perceived "loss of quality time".  Other relatives, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles can also contribute to this statistic.  

There is a difference between "presents" and "presence".  

Presents are great, but in excess, can cause clutter.  

Don't spoil your child by providing too many presents.  There are other alternatives.  Have you considered asking grandparents or other family member to purchase movie tickets, tickets for live events or a favorite restaurant instead of a toy?  Try to come up with creative solutions that do not involve a lot of toys, clothing or other items that are in excess of what is reasonable.

Relatives and friends tend to want to give "things" to your children to show them how much they love them.  However, they need to understand that, although it is appreciated, their time is more precious than possessions.  Too many possessions tend to lead to clutter.

I once worked with a hoarder who used to purchase toys and clothes for her grandchildren and ship them out three times a week.  Can you imagine what that house looked like with all of those "presents" arriving at their door?  I was able to get her to understand that her time with the grandkids meant so much more to them that the gifts they were receiving.  She ended up taking a trip to visit them and spent about 10 days of quality time with them instead.  Now that, in my opinion, is a "gift".  

Before the holiday season gets under way, why not take some time to contact those relatives and friends and express this concept in a tactful way so as not to upset the gift giver.  Having alternative ideas in mind ahead of time will guide them in the right direction and help you reduce the clutter of too many possessions in your home.  Consider doing the same for those you love.  Give your time instead. 

Remember when gift giving this year - "presents" vs. "presence".  Why not choose "presence".

If you are overwhelmed with the toys, clothes and other items that have accumulated in your home, don't hesitate to contact me.  I will help you bring balance back into your home so you can enjoy time spent with your family instead of stressing over the clutter.  

In the meantime, have a great day!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:37 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 02 2014
TURN SPOOKY INTO SPOOKTACULAR THIS FALL

Wow, it's been quite a month here at A BETTER SPACE.  I have had the pleasure of working with some new clients and continuing projects with existing clients as well as doing a vendor event at a Senior Activity Center and an interview that will air on You Tube next month where I discuss time management tools.  (Stay tuned for details coming soon!) 

My latest project was to work with a client who is relocating out of state and needed to declutter her basement.  She had lived in her home for the past 8 years.  We spent two days going through her basement and determining what to keep for herself, what to give to family members, what to sell at an upcoming garage sale and what was trash.  

The basement had not had much attention in the past and some of the boxes we identified had not been opened the entire time she had lived in this house.  They came with her 8 years ago and were never looked at again, until now.  (This is more common than you think.)  The basement was filled with cobwebs and dead bugs as can be common in many unfinished basements.  

I am happy to report that after two days, the basement is now decluttered, the trash is ready for pick-up and my client feels so much better after getting through a project that was too overwhelming for her to tackle on her own.  She has now identified what she can sell at her upcoming garage sale and looks forward to making some money to put towards her moving expenses.  She is now able to sleep better at night knowing that her basement went from "Spooky" to "Spooktacular" in just a matter of two days.  

Fall is a great time of year to eliminate the clutter in your home.  Think about how much better you would feel if you were able to eliminate what you no longer need or want, whether it is by throwing things away, donating them to a local charity, passing items onto family members who would enjoy them or selling them at a garage sale or perhaps online.    

Imagine how good you will feel when you turn your home from "Spooky" to "Spooktacular" before Halloween!  Pick a room in your home to work on and get started now!  

If you need any assistance in getting past your feeling of overwhelm and want to get that project done once and for all, don't hesitate to contact me.  As always, I am here to help and I would love nothing more than to help you make your home "Spooktacular"! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:18 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 15 2014

Tonight I am being interviewed as part of a series called "Clearing The Clutter Inside & Out".  I will be speaking about time management.  (The interview will go viral in November on You Tube so stay tuned for more details in the coming month on where you will be able to view the interview.)

One of the key points that I will be making during this interview is about a tiny little word that has so much power behind it.  It is so fundamental that when children first learn how to talk, it is one of the first words they learn how to say (and once they learn it, they use it often!).  The word I am speaking about is the word "No".  

I sometimes think that as we get older we forget to use it and are told, perhaps, not to use it. I, however, strongly believe that using the word "no" when appropriate, is a great time management tool.  It provides balance.

We have a tendency to overbook ourselves, take on too many tasks and say "yes" to everything.  We forget that it is okay to say "no" when it is something that is going to over-extend ourselves.   A lot of times, we feel guilty about turning down something, whether it is a social engagement, a large project or other commitment that will stretch our time too far.  

When you are thinking "Yes, bring it on!", step back and consider your decision before actually saying "Yes".    Examine your schedule and see if you have the time, the energy or even want to do what is being asked of you.  Contrary to popular belief, you have more control over your time that you think.  

Learning to say "no" without guilt when you need to is perfectly fine.  In turn, asking for help when you need it is perfectly fine. Admitting to yourself that you do need some help does not make you a lesser person.  We all need help from time to time.  

I guarantee that when you learn to incorporate this tiny, yet powerful word into your life, you will gain a sense of freedom and joy in knowing that you are making the right decisions to stay in balance.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities, clutter in your home, your head, or your life in general, don't hesitate to give me a call.  I am here to help.

In the meantime, have a great week!      

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, September 02 2014

It's that time of year when we are settling back down into our routines, either with work, school or the household.  Vacations are behind us, the kids are returning to school and the normal routine of running a household returns.  It's all a balancing act. 

There are some ways that you can (again) create balance in your life when it comes to getting organized.  

1. The "One in, one out" rule.  Whenever you bring something new into the house, get rid of something.  Are you purchasing new clothes for the upcoming Fall season?  Go through your closet and get rid of the items you did not wear this past Summer.  

2.  Do not transfer your clutter.  You will not do yourself any favors by clearing off the dining room table of clutter and moving it to the home office floor.  Deal with it now to avoid a project later.   

3.  To do or not to do, that is the question.   Consolidate all of your "to do's" onto one list and decide whether you are going to do it yourself (and schedule a time to get it done), delegate it to someone else or not do it at all.  Keep your "to do's" moving.

4.  Finish what you start.  Do not move from one area to another when organizing.  Finish what you start and then move on to the next area.  

5.  Store it where it's used.  When deciding where something should go, ask yourself where it is used.  Keep like things together so you can easily find them when you need them.  

6.  Don't be afraid of open spaces.  It's okay to keep a drawer empty or a shelf in a cabinet empty.  You don't have to fill every nook and cranny with "stuff".  It's a great back-up spot for those times when you need a little more space.

7.  Location, location, location.  Mark shelves, bins and boxes with labels so everyone will know where things belong and can help put things away in their correct location.    

8.  Double trouble.  Don't keep multiples of things that are not being used.  You do not need two can openers or four pair of tweezers.  Get rid of the duplicates either by passing them onto someone else, donating them or throwing them away if they are not in good condition.   

9.  Get back on that horse.  Everyone falls off the organizing horse from time to time.  Maintaining organization is a continual process.  Allow yourself to fall behind from time to time, but don't delay in getting right back up, dusting yourself off, and starting over again.  (The good news is that if you are organized to begin with, it will not be so hard to do!)  

If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, I am here to help.  As a professional organizer, I can help you find your balance.  Now, with a new season approaching, it's a great time to create A Better Space.  Don't hesitate to contact me.

Happy September!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 21 2014
HOMELESSNESS

Not only do people need to have a home, but so does their stuff.  

Interestingly enough, I was working with a client of mine the other day and we were discussing her cluttered closets in her home. She has clothes everywhere.  Her dresser drawers are stuffed and she has clothes that she no longer likes or wears.  

She asked me about helping her to create a laundry schedule because she feels she can not get a handle on it.  Of course, I could help her with that. I have done it many times for many of my clients over the years.  

She mentioned that she hates doing laundry.  I asked "Why?", that the washer and dryer do all of the work.  She said she agreed with that except for one thing.  When it comes time to put the clothes away, she does not have a place to put them.  Basically, her clothes are "homeless".  There lies the problem.  It's not the task that she dislikes, it's the frustration afterwards to try to put her clothes away; to give them a home.

It got me thinking.  I have counseled clients over the years on how important it is to find a home for their things.  It is beneficial in so many ways.  Not only can you easily put things away, but you can easily find them when you want them.  It is a tremendous stress reducer and applies to all aspects of your home.  It eliminates procrastination in many instances.

Think about it.  It is important to have a home for all of your paperwork in your home office, groceries in the fridge, cabinets and/or pantry, linens in the linen closet, clothes in closets and drawers, tools in the garage...the list goes on and on.

I have seen it time and again.  When I work with my clients and we find homes for their possessions, they get an immediate sense of relief and reduction of stress.  Their lives are made so much easier, just by being able to put things away where they belong.

So, I ask you.  What items in your home are "homeless"?  Are you able to find a solution?  If not, contact me.  I can help.  My passion is to find homes for your possessions and reduce your stress so you can enjoy doing the things you like to do and have the time to be with the people you want to spend time with.   You deserve A Better Space. 

Let's knock out homelessness together!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:26 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 11 2014

How many times have you said to yourself "I want to get organized, but..."?  We have lots of reasons as to why we put off what we know we should (and hopefully, want to) get done.  Do you tend to procrastinate?  Do you dislike doing certain things?  (We all do!).  Whether it is at home or at work, there are tasks we dislike and, therefore, procrastinate doing.  The result can be clutter and disorganization.

It is possible that changing just one thing associated with those tasks could improve how you think about completing the task. Here are some suggestions: 

1.  It's Time For A Change - Sometimes changing when you do an activity can make all the difference in the world.  It can improve how you think about the task.  For example, if you normally attempt to tackle an unpleasant task right before you leave work for the day, try moving it to either first thing in the morning, or perhaps right after lunch instead.  If you don't like to go food shopping on weekends, make a change and try food shopping one evening during the week instead.  

2.  Looks Mean Everything - This might sound superficial, but if you don't like the appearance of something, you might not enjoy using it.  If your home office is cluttered, not well lit and does not have some things in it that bring you joy, you might avoid spending time in that room.  You are not utilizing the space for which it was intended.  Get some brightly colored file folders, a nice pen to write with and create a system for staying up to date with your paper management.  Paint the walls, hang some pictures and make the room more pleasant to spend time in.  (A Better Space can help you create a room you enjoy spending time in.)

3.  Game Time - Challenge yourself.  If you have some menial tasks you need to get done but keep putting off, set a timer or put on some music and challenge yourself to get them done within a certain period of time.  Clean up your desk surface, take out the trash or wash some dishes.  It just might help you to get those tasks completed.    

4.  Connect The Dots - As in all types of organization, it is best to put like things together.  The same is true with your tasks.  Find a task that needs to be done and see if you can link it to another activity that is more enjoyable.  Plan a business meeting near a favorite restaurant that you can go to afterwards.  Carpool to a distant location with a friend or colleague to make the long drive more tolerable. Play some of your favorite music while cleaning the house.  Some tasks are just not enjoyable but if you link them to an activity that you enjoy, you will improve the overall experience.

5.  Break It Down Into Manageable Pieces - Some tasks, like getting organized, can be so overwhelming that we do nothing to get the job done.  By doing a task or project in small, manageable pieces, you will find that you are more productive.  If you don't like to file, set a timer once a day for 15 minutes.  You don't have to do it all at one time.  Small, consistent chunks of time can sometimes be much more productive.  (A Better Space can show you how to eliminate the clutter, get organized and put systems into place that are not time consuming, but productive.)   

Try one or all of these suggestions and see if you feel a difference when it comes to getting organized and your tasks completed.  Feel free to comment below and share your experience with others.

In the meantime, if you want to get organized, but...you are overwhelmed with your clutter and don't know where to begin, let A Better Space help.  

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 08 2014

Even if you are not looking to take on a large organizing project, there are some things you can do on a daily basis to get and stay organized.  The good thing is, little effort is involved.  

Here are some suggestions:

1.  Make Your Bed - This simple task will not only give your room a nicer look, but if you have pets in the home, it is especially helpful.  Pets have litter, dirt, fur, dander, dust or other items on them that you don't necessarily want on your sheets.  Take five minutes to make your bed first thing in the morning.

2.  Determine Your Route - Are you running errands or taking a trip?  Plan the best route you will take and know travel conditions before getting into your car.  Getting lost or sitting in a traffic jam is not saving you any time.  

3.  Load The Dishwasher or Hand Wash The Dishes -  Dirty dishes left in the sink, on the counter or elsewhere in the house is an invitation for bugs, pests and bacteria.  A cluttered sink makes it difficult to prepare meals.  Load the dishwasher throughout the day and run it regularly to keep your dirty dishes from building up.  Wash your dishes by hand and let them dry in the drainboard as you use them.  Put the dishes away on a regular basis to avoid clutter. 

4.  Open Your Mail - On a daily basis, bring your mail into the house and immediately sort through it, eliminating the junk mail by shredding and recycling.  Open up the rest of the mail to decide what you need to do with it.  This will avoid the build up of paper clutter in your home.  

5.  Lay Out Your Clothes - The night before, decide what you want to wear the next day, even down to accessories and lay them out for the next morning.  This will save you time when you are rushing to get somewhere the next day. 

There are many other ways you can do some "everyday organizing".  Can you think of any?  

If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized or have a larger project you want to tackle, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.  

In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:45 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 24 2014

Many people are baffled and confused and cannot imagine what they need to do to be organized.   Today, I want to help you start to think about some guidelines to follow when you are attempting to get and stay organized.

1.  KNOW THY SELF.  Those that are organized tend to know themselves very well.  They are in tune with how to access information and products to create storage systems that reflect their preferences. They know how to simplify tasks to maintain order.  They know how they prefer to work and live. They are clear about what they need and don't need.  They know what they want in life and their priorities.  Time and time again, I have worked with my clients to help them identify these aspects which are the foundation for getting and staying organized.  

2.  YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT.  There is a misconception out there that if you are organized, you are perfect in every aspect of your life.  I am here to tell you that is not true!  No one is organized in every aspect of their life, every day of their life.  We all fall off the organized wagon from time to time (even me!). The difference is, organized people accept this as part of the process and simply get back on the horse and start again.  If you are organized to begin with, it is easier to get back on track.  

3.  A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING, AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE.  I credit my paternal grandmother for teaching me this adage.   When you have a place to store your items, they have a home.  If something doesn't have a place to be stored, you cannot put it away.   Every coat or jacket needs a hanger to hang it on.  If you don't have a hamper, your dirty clothes will land on the floor.  Store items where you tend to use them most often and it will be easy to put them away and retrieve them when you need them.

4.  CREATE ROUTINES.   Organized people have routines throughout the day.  Clear your desk at the end of your workday.  Create a to-do list for the following day.  Lay out your clothes for the next morning.  Routines create stability for actions that need to be attended to regularly.  

5.  FINISH THE TASK.  Those that are organized know that the laundry is not done until the clothes have been folded and put away.  Dinner is not done until the table has been cleared and the dishes have been loaded into the dishwasher or washed by hand.  Wrapping a present is not done until the supplies - scissors, tape, wrapping paper - have been put away.  You are not finished until the task has been done to completion.  

6.  ANYONE CAN BE ORGANIZED IF THEY WANT TO.  Being organized is a skill set.  Anyone can learn tools to get and stay organized.  Although it can come more easily to some, it does not mean it is not achievable.  Being organized takes practice and maintenance.  

If you are overwhelmed by your clutter and want to learn what it takes to get and stay organized, don't hesitate to contact me.  I can show you, no matter where you are in life, how you can acquire the tools you need.

In the meantime, happy organizing! 

   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 03 2014

No, not me, but many of you are "moving on".  You are getting ready to move out of your current house, condo or apartment and into a new home.  

Sometimes we are happy about the move, sometimes not.  We might be leaving behind great neighbors, a home we grew up in or the first home we bought when we moved out of our parents home.  Sometimes we have raised our children in the home but it no longer serves our needs  Sometimes we are moving because we need to relocate to another city or state for a new job or it's time to downsize (or upsize).  There are so many different reasons that we decide to move.   

And talk about stress!  Moving is one of the more stressful things we do in our lives.  There is so much to do!  There is so much to prepare, but not to worry.  If you create a plan, you will be able to more easily transition from one home into another.  

Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you have a "smooth move".  

1. This is a great time to declutter.  It's amazing how the thought of moving all that stuff gets us to re-evaluate our possessions and begin to focus on how we can declutter so that we do not have to take it all with us.   This is so important to do.  Do you really want to spend the time now throwing all of your stuff into boxes, paying the moving company to move it and then have to weed through it when you get to your new home?  Do yourself a big favor and do it before you move so that you can be sure that what you are taking with you is what you really want to keep.  

2. Select the right type of box for your item.  Moving various things involves using various types of boxes.  Although moving companies have great heavy duty boxes and wardrobe boxes, you can also collect boxes from local liquor stores or supermarkets.  These smaller boxes work well.  The divider inserts in the liquor boxes are great for transporting alcohol or other glass bottles you might have in your kitchen.  (If you are moving across state lines, be sure to check the regulations for transporting alcohol.)  Produce boxes from the supermarket tend to be heavy duty and have handles on each side to make it easy to carry.  Check into purchasing used boxes to save money. There is a store near me in Doylestown, PA called Box-It that is great for this purpose.  

3. Divide and conquer.  When packing boxes, consider dividing them up into categories.  Besides the items you are packing and taking with you, you might have charitable donations, giveaways, items to sell or trash.  Try to use different types of containers/boxes/bags for these various categories.  Do not use a trash bag to pack up items to move.  You might very easily throw the bag away, thinking it is trash when it's not.   

4.  Label, label, label.  You cannot be too careful.  Clearly label all sides of a box with not only the contents, but which room the box should be moved into when you arrive at your new home.  This will make it easy for the movers to put the box in the right room, saving you from having to physically move a box from one room to another.  

5.  Color coding.  Whenever I have moved, I not only labeled the boxes but labeled the bedroom doors and other areas of the home using "color coding" on the boxes to match.  Inexpensive round sticky labels work well.  I found this to be a great tool for the movers.  It avoided them having to ask what goes where.  They were able to do it on their own, saving them time and, therefore, saving me money.   

6.  A room at a time.  When packing, set a goal.  For example, pack the living room on Monday, the kitchen on Tuesday, the garage on Wednesday, etc.  Focusing on one room at a time will reduce the feeling of overwhelm.  

If you are thinking about moving some time this year, now is the time to start preparing.  If you are feeling overwhelmed with the thought of decluttering and organizing the move, feel free to contact me. I am here to help make sure you have a "smooth move".

In the meantime, have a great week! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:34 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 07 2014

Now, you might be thinking "Yes, I am Wonder Woman"!  I do it all!  Can you really?  Are you really a super hero?  Honestly, no offense, but I highly doubt it.  

We only have so many hours in a day and we have so many things we want to accomplish in a day.  I need to ask you, "Are you running yourself ragged"?.  If so, is being "Wonder Woman" really such a great thing?

In my opinion, a "Wonder Woman" is the Queen of delegation.  She is the type of woman who has a lot to accomplish but also recognizes that she can't do it alone.  She knows that she needs to delegate to others.  Whether it's at home, at the office or running errands, delegation is the best tool in the organizing tool box to get it all done.  

How do we delegate?  This might be difficult for some who have never done it before.  It involves trust and imperfection.  It's okay to pass off some responsibility to others!  It's okay that it will not get done perfectly.  The important thing is that whatever it is will be one less thing you need to worry about.  That is smart time management, needless to say, a great stress reducer.

You might want to start by making a list of things you want to accomplish that you either don't have time to do or don't like to do.  

Next, you want to compile a list of people to delegate certain tasks to.  They can be your spouse, your kids, other family members, friends or someone you pay to get the job done.  

Then, you match up the task with the appropriate person.  Understand that even though it might not be done exactly the way you would do it, it can still get done.  You might surprise yourself and find that the person you delegate the task to does an even better job than you would have done.  That's okay!  You don't need to be insulted; be grateful!  Everyone is good at something and some are better at certain things than others.  You have your strengths; they have theirs.

If you need assistance, having to hire someone to help you out is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.

For example, as a professional organizer who specializes in residential organizing, I am an expert when it comes to eliminating clutter and getting others organized.  I save people time and reduce their stress by providing solutions.  This is a form of delegation.

The important thing here is to evaluate all that you have to do and find a way to get it done efficiently without having to do it all yourself.  That's how you truly become "Wonder Woman"!

If you need to reach out for some assistance when it comes to your clutter, time management, paper management or any other type of residential organizing, contact A Better Space.  I am here to help.

In the meantime, have a "WONDERful Day"!

 

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 20 2013
READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS?

Now that Halloween has come and gone, we are gearing up for the official holiday season which begins next Thursday with Thanksgiving (and Chanukah).  After Thanksgiving, we only have twenty-seven (yes, 27) days until Christmas.

Are you ready for the holidays?

This time of year I get so many inquiries about how to transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas in an organized way.

Recently, I was asked how to combine Fall clean up with holiday prep.  

The answer is all of these questions is to create a plan.  As with any other type of organizing project, you need to start at the beginning and systematically work through the process.

Here are some ideas:

1.  Create a holiday notebook.  You can use a paper version (such as a binder), an app on your Smart Phone, a bulletin board or any other method that works best for you.  Do the "brain dump" and jot down all of your thoughts about the things you need to do to get the job done.  This will take the "remembering" out of "remembering" and immediately reduce your stress by providing you with a sense of control and a plan.

2. Divide and conquer.  Take your list and create various categories with deadlines.  What type of things do you need to accomplish?  When do you need to get them accomplished by?  Here are some suggestions:  

Cleaning the Home, Decorating the Home (inside and out), Sending Out Holiday Cards, Gift Giving Ideas, Gifts Purchased, Supplies For Wrapping Presents, Preparing A Menu, Guest Lists for Holiday Parties, Budget/Expenses, etc.

3. Create a holiday calendar.  Devote a calendar to holiday activities and tasks.  Indicate the deadlines you have established for getting things done.  Assign a different color to each member of the family so that nothing is missed.  This can include chores for the kids to accomplish and invitations for parties.  Don't forget to include gift giving to teachers, the mailman and other service providers in your life.  What good is purchasing a gift for them if you forget to give it to them?

4. Choose a select few.  You cannot accomplish everything at one time.  Do yourself a favor and prioritize what needs to be done sooner as opposed to later.  Select a few items at a time and focus just on them before moving onto something else.  Obviously, it makes sense to clean the home before you decorate it, so don't worry about decorating until the home is clean.  Each day that you do this, you will be able to check things off your "To Do" list and move forward.  

5.  Work with a deadline in mind.  Even though you want to start at the beginning of a project, it is best to be aware of your deadline so you can plan backwards.  What I mean by that is, for example, if you are having a holiday party at your home on December 21st, you want to make sure that your To Do list for that project is completed by that date.  Determining how long something will take will enable you to provide sufficient time to get it done and, therefore, everything will be done on time. 

6.  Ask for assistance.  Are you getting bogged down with the details and don't know where to begin?  As a professional organizer, I can help you to create some time management tools you can use to supplement these suggestions so that you can enjoy the holidays with less stress.  (Feel free to contact me.) 

In the coming weeks, I will be providing more tips on how to get and stay organized through the holiday season.

In the meantime, I am sending you best wishes for a happy and ORGANIZED Thanksgiving holiday.

     

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 01 2013

Most of us have a desire to maintain organization in our homes.  We strive to keep our homes de-cluttered and organized on a regular basis.  Sometimes that is easier said than done.

Life gets busy.  Items enter the home and don't get put where they belong.  So, how, you ask, can I keep clutter in my home under control.  The answer is having habits and routines that you follow consistently.  Here are a few:

1.  Make it easy.  Complex routines that require more than three steps can be difficult to maintain.  Create simple routines that are easy for you to manage.  Be sure the system works for your current lifestyle.  Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right solution.  Some examples are to get up 30 minutes earlier to allow time to get things done; keep a donation box inside your closet, sort your mail on a daily basis.   These are easy but productive ways to stay uncluttered.

2.  Do it regularly.  To maintain a clutter-free environment in your home, it requires an ongoing process.  This is not "one and done".  Add some time to your calendar on a regular basis for a specific amount of time (for example 30 minutes a day and 60 minutes on the weekend) to go through your home and put things away.

3.  Do what's right for you.  Be sure to incorporate the right strategies and tools that work for you.  Don't do something just because it's popular.  Use techniques that suit your personality.  For example, you can use a notebook or perhaps a digital option to remind you to get things done.  There is no right or wrong solution.  The best solution is the one that works best for you! 

4.  Put it away not down.  It is best to touch something once instead of over and over again.  Put things away the first time instead of just laying them down.  This will avoid you having to take additional time to put it away later.  This will avoid clutter piling up and you will always know where to find something without having to search for it.  

5.  A place for everything and everything in it's place.  I grew up hearing my grandmother saying this all the time.  Be sure to have a home for everything.  It is much easier to put things away when you have a place to store them. Put items where you tend to use them. 

6.  Be selective when making purchases.  I always teach my client to purchase with intent.  Purchases made without much thought have a greater chance of not being used.  Attempt to plan out your purchases before you go to the store or order on line.  (This applies to groceries, clothing, toys, etc.)  Think about where you are going to put the item when you get home. (Other than the kitchen table.)  If you are purchasing a piece of art work for your walls, do you have room on a wall to hang it?  Do you already have 8 pair of black pants?  Chances are you don't need another pair.  The fewer things you have, the less you have to maintain and store!

These habits can sometimes be overwhelming until you can find balance in your home.  If you are having some difficulty with this aspect of organizing, contact me at audreycupo@4abetterspace.com.  I am here to help.  

Until next time, happy organizing!    

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:15 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 02 2013

Are you struggling with debt?  Are you fed up and ready to do something about it?  Is your debt weighing you down?  Perhaps its time to go on a debt diet.

If you are seriously ready to gain control of your finances, I have some ways to help.

1.  Figure out your total debt.  Do you have any idea how much you owe?  Do you know what the current interest rate is on each of your credit cards?  Are you able to figure out how long it is going to take you to pay off your debt?  Collect all of your monthly statements and make a list.  When you have a clear picture of your financial obligations, you will be able to make better decisions about how to manage it.

2.  Stop spending.  You need to start by figuring out where the money is coming in from and then where it is going.  Most people discover that they are spending more than they are making.  Figure out what things you could easily do without and stop spending money on them. 

3.  Prioritize your debt.  There is a difference between secured and unsecured debt.  Secured debt has an underlying asset, such as your home or car that can be repossessed if you don't make payments.  Unsecured debt does not have assets backing them up.  The worst that can happen is that your credit score drops.  Make sure to pay on the secured debt first.  Be sure to pay your taxes to keep Uncle Sam happy.  Then, pay those credit cards with a focus on those with the highest interest rates.  Try to pay more than the minimal balance.   

4.  Repay your debt.   First you want to reduce your interest rates.  Start by learning your credit score by getting a copy of your credit report.  You are entitled to a free report once a year from the various reporting agencies.  What is your FICO score?  If it is not above 720 (a perfect score is 850), work to raise it by paying all of your bills on time and not applying for any new cards.  Every time your apply for a new credit card, your FICO score goes down.  Every time you make a late payment your FICO score goes down.  Every time you cancel a credit card, your FICO score goes down.  Take steps to avoid doing these.  With a higher score you can contact a Customer Service supervisor and attempt to get a better rate.  You could refinance a car loan for a lower rate.  Consolidate student loans, refinance your mortgage. Then, put as much money as you can toward paying off those bills. 

4.  Create a monthly plan.  Attempt to spend no more than 35% on housing expenses (including taxes, insurance, upkeep and your mortgage).  Attempt to spend no more than 15% on transportation (including gas, insurance, car payments).  Put 10% of your income away for savings.  Put 15% towards repayment of debt including credit cards and 25% on other aspects of your life. 

5.  Earn more money and make hard choices.  Ask for a raise.  Sell some valuable items.  If you are unable to do so, you might need to sell your car or look for a less expensive place to live. 

Do you need to go on a debt diet?  You might want to start with my U CAN DO IT BUDGETING SYSTEM.  It is an easy 6-step process to figure out what is coming in, what is going out and where it is going.  Simply visit my ABS Store right here on my website.  You can download it immediately and begin your debt diet today!

In the meantime, happy organizing! 

 

     

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, July 13 2013

Clutter is not just clutter.  There are more deep-seated reasons why we can be plagued with it.

 

Most reasons fall into one of three categories:

1.  External - Living with a cluttered parent/roommate/spouse or inherited clutter.  

Clutter rooted in external causes can be tricky to overcome.  You might not be able to

transform someone else completely, which means you may be continually plagued with clutter to

some degree as long as you live in the same space with them. 

If you are struggling with inherited clutter, the situation can be stressful as you are required to take

the time to sort through the items you have acquired. The good news is that this type of clutter

will most likely be short-term.  A professional organizer can identify the external reasons and provide

solutions that work for everyone involved.

 

2. Behavioral - Mediocre decision-making skills, lack of energy, poor categorization and                   

                        classifications skills

Clutter resulting from behavioral causes or lack of skill can be more manageable than other

categories of clutter.   You can learn and/or improve skill sets, change habits and discover ways to

increase energy levels.  It can take some time to overcome these behaviors, but it is possible to do

so within a reasonable amount of time with practice.  A professional organizer can help you to identify

and improve your skills and habits more efficiently.

 

3. Internal - Grief, depression, anxiety, lack of trust, overly sentimental

Internal clutter is similar to external clutter in that its solutions vary greatly from situation to

situation.  In most cases, working with a licensed mental health practitioner or doctor in conjunction

with a professional organizer is a positive step in the right direction.  For those that are overly

sentimental, uncluttering assistance from a professional organizer might be all that is needed. 

Sometimes it can be more difficult or a slower process, but there are tools that you can learn to

better manage the situation or solve it altogether.  Seeking help from an outside source is generally a

good idea.

 

 

You might find that your clutter is stemming from more than one of these three categories at the

same time or perhaps by another cause.  Clutter can be a complex issue, but knowing why it is in

your life can go a long way in helping your find a solution that works for you.  

 

If you find that you are overwhelmed with your clutter, no matter what the cause, I can help you to

identify the why and find solutions that work specifically for you.  I am here to help.

 

Contact me to schedule a phone consultation if you would like to discuss your particular situation in

more detail.

 

       

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:31 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 21 2013

Today is the first day of Summer!  So exciting!  However, with Summer sometimes comes emergency room visits - heat stroke, broken bones, severe cuts, head trauma, etc.

 

Are you prepared for that trip to the Emergency Room of your local hospital?  Here are five things you should have ready to go:

 

1.  Your medications - "It is extremely important to know all of the medications you take, how often you take them, the dosage and when you took them last." according to Barb Taubenberger, RN, director of Emergency Services at Doylestown Hospital.  Keep this information in your wallet or purse for easy reference.  Usually a small index card will suffice.  

2.  Your insurance information - In an emergency situation, a hospital will treat you whether you have your insurance card or not but carrying it with you will save you from having to make numerous phone calls afterwards to work out the billing.  If you are not currently insured, let the hospital know before you leave so they can connect you with a financial counselor who will help you in making payment arrangements for your bill. 

3.  Your medical history -  Knowing your medical history helps to create a complete overview.  If your primary physician is on staff at the hospital or if you have been treated at that particular hospital before, they will be able to pull up your records on the computer.  If not, you will be asked about your medical history at triage.  Include previous surgeries, allergies or other chronic conditions you have. 

4. Your emergency contacts - Have a list of your emergency contacts easily accessible.  If you do not have contact information with you, it is a challenge for the staff.  Elderly patients, for example,  might be transported by ambulance and need a ride home.  They might not remember their contact information details of the person who would be driving them home.  Creating an emergency contact list and placing it in your wallet or putting it in your cell phone under "ICE" (in case of emergency) is a helpful tool to use.

5. Your discharge instructions - Sometimes, upon discharge, you are not feeling well and might have forgotten the details of your discharge instructions or the fact that you need to transfer your medical records.  Some hospitals are equipped with a central phone number to call.  Be sure to ask for this information upon discharge.  

 

I certainly hope that you have a safe and healthy Summer, but just in case, this information will help to make the emergency room experience more organized and less stressful.

Have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:32 am   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Monday, June 03 2013

It's very common to add more to our lives by adding something - a bigger home, more clothing, more decorations, more, more, more... 

However, the funny thing is - less is actually more.

Last weekend I decided to declutter and organize my own home.  I had been spending so much time helping others get organized, I was neglecting my own space.  Over time, things built up and it was time to do something about it.

Being a professional organizer, I know all too well that less is more.  When you clear out the clutter in your home and in your head, you clear out the clutter in your life.

Sometimes, our clutter means that we have too many time commitments.  

I decided to commit Memorial Day weekend to my own home and did not commit to any social activities.  I knew that if I committed this block of time to this project, I would be able to enjoy the rest of the Summer.  That was my motivation.  

I systematically went through my home, starting on the second floor and moving down to the first floor, one room at a time; just like what I do when working with my clients when they hire me to organize their homes.  I cleaned, I decluttered, I organized.  I worked 12 hours a day for two days.  It was a lot of work, but, oh, it felt so good!  During this week, I am going to work on my basement and storage room.  Then, my entire home will be organized!

Here are four steps you can take to create more with less:

1.  Enlist an "accountability partner".  Select someone who is committed to supporting you and perhaps creating change in their own life.  This "accountability partner" can be a friend, family member or even a professional organizer like myself to keep you focused and moving forward.

2.  Make a list.  Break down the various areas of your home that you wish to tackle and create a chronological list so you can check them off as you go and get that wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end.  As you think of things you need to do or want to purchase, write them down as well.  This will keep you on track. 

3.  Subtract as you go.  Look closely at what you have and eliminate the excess.  It could be clothing, paperwork, old linens, pantry food items, etc.  Take the time to truly evaluate what you need and will use.   Don't create excuses for keeping something you know you will never use.

4.  Find the additions.  This does not mean that you find more stuff to keep.  It means finding the joy in having less.  Celebrate your successes by inviting people over to see what you have accomplished.  Enjoy your new space and "live" in your home.  Your have now created more space for good things to enter your life.  

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and need assistance in creating a home you enjoy living in and are ready to eliminate your clutter, once and for all, contact me.  I can help you to create a step-by-step system so you can have A Better Space.

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

 

    

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 18 2013

Finally, Spring has arrived and with it Spring Fever.  It's a time for fresh starts.  For me, I am moving up.  I am taking my office space from the basement which has no natural light and moving upstairs to a spare bedroom.  This room has soft neutral tones on the walls and a big window that provides a nice view and, best of all, that natural light I desire. 

I ordered new furniture that will provide me with more room in which to work.  It is expected to arrive in about four or five weeks.  In the meantime, I have contacted my handyman who is going to install a new ceiling fan/light fixture and I am in the midst of arranging the room so it is condusive to my productivity.

One of my passions is books and I love to surround myself with them.  They make me feel warm and cozy.  I love to hold a book in my hands and feel the paper's texture and get lost in the pages.  I am not a fan of Kindle for this reason - just a personal choice. 

When I was doing space planning for my new office space, I decided to incorporate two bookcases in the room just for my leisure reading.  I love to see my collection of novels yet to be read - it is quite extensive. 

However, I am aware, as you should be, that there is such a thing as book clutter.  Piles of books laying around on a coffee table in your living room, on an end table in your bedroom, on your desk in your home office or anywhere on the floor is clutter. 

The author of the blog Epic Write summed up the complex relationship she has with books in her post "Show Me Your Book Clutter": 

            "The problem is I have so many books I want to read.  Or, that I need to  read...Aside from my cluttered side table, I have digital and paper clutter where I have recorded books I want to read.  From my "wants" list on Goodreads.com to titles scribbed on scraps of paper, I am overwhelmed with the amount of books I will get to someday.  even with feeling almost buried by it all, I have no desire to change.  I love books.  I want to see books everywhere." 

For me, I do not want to feel buried by my books.  Although I have a lot of books, I do not have clutter.  My books are lined up neatly in my bookcases with hardbacks in the back and paperbacks in the front, in alphabetical order by author.  I can put my hand on any book I want within moments.  If my books do not fit within these boundaries, I weed them out, which I recently did.

I want my new office to feel spaceous and calm because I know that it will provide me with the space I need in my head to be productive. 

If you have a large collection of books, take the time to organize them in a way in which you can enjoy seeing them.  Not on the floor in a pile, but rather, on a shelf or bookcase that can accommodate them.  Do not hold onto books that you have already read (especially fiction).  There are way too many books out there to still be read.   

If you find that you have too many, donate them to a local library or pass them onto a friend who will enjoy them.  Books are meant to be shared with others. 

Clearly people love books and everything about them.  But, it is possible to keep a reasonable number so that they don't contribute to clutter in your living spaces.  

Honor your books by being selective about the ones you purchase and by keeping your collection in order. 

If you are overwhelmed with your book clutter or any other clutter in your home, contact me.  I am happy to help.

In the meantime, get outside and read a book!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, March 24 2013

More and more people are starting home-based businesses these days.  Did you know that it is expected that there will be more than 20 million home-based business in the United States by the end of 2013? 

I have been in business almost nine years.  I have found that there are some great advantages:

  • I can create a flexible work schedule.  
  • I can control my work environment.
  • I can deduct a portion of my home expenses on my income tax return.
  • I have created a great sense of independence by being my own boss.
  • I focus on doing what I enjoy the most - helping others get organized
  • I find it easier to balance work and personal responsibilities.
  • I have an overall greater level of fulfillment and satisfaction in my life.

However, there are some disadvantages that you need to learn to overcome:

  • It can be difficult to turn work "off" when your workspace and personal space are intertwined.
  • Working from home can be very isolating. 
  • Home-based businesses can cause stress on the family.
  • It can be difficult to grow your business working as a solo-preneur.
  • Depending on the type of business you have, you need to consider if there are zoning regulations you need to explore.

The key to running a successful home-based business is organization, commitment and accountability. 

CREATE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE.  It is critical that you have a separate workspace in your home away from your personal space.  You can use a bedroom, a section in your basement or even change a formal living room into a home office.  Find a location where your work will not interfere with your family life.  At the end of the day, you want to be able to walk away from it.   

YOU MUST GET ORGANIZED!  It can be overwhelming but it is the key to your success.  Create a space where you have everything you need close by to run a successful business.  It is important to know where everything is located at all times.  By doing so, you will stop wasting time.  Adding up all the times throughout the day that you cannot locate something and having to try to find it will make you realize how much time you are wasting.  Being organized with reduce stress.  By doing so, you will enable yourself to think more clearly and make decisions faster. 

SET A SCHEDULE.  One of the biggest transformations that occurs when you start your home-based business is the difficulty in determining your work schedule.  When you work from home, you are not necessarily working 9-5 like you might have in the past.  Your day might be divided into chunks, especially if you have children.  You might work in the morning and then when the children come home from school, you take four or five hours to be a parent.  You will probably need to return to your "office" later that evening and work some more.  If you are in direct sales, you might be doing in-home parties at nights and on weekends.  You might need to attend networking events several nights a week.  You should determine a schedule that best fits your needs for your business and your personal life.

UNPLUG.  Besides closing the door to your office space, you need to unplug.  It is helpful to end your work day by clearing up your desk and writing a "to do" list for the next day.  Otherwise, your mind will race alll through the night with thoughts of what you need or want to do.  You will feel overwhelmed and exhausted.  If you don't take some "me time" at the end of the day, you willl burn out fast.  That will take a toll on your body and in the end, will cost you money.

GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER.  Find someone you can account to on a weekly basis.  Decide what you want to accomplish.  Let them know what you intend to do and the following week you can detail what you did in the past week.  If you get stuck, you can bounce ideas off of them to get your past your obstacle so you can keep moving forward.  Accountability is a powerful tool in growing your business.

When I work with people who have home-based businesses, I focus on paper management, time management and putting in customized systems to maximize potential. 

If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized when it comes to your home-based business, contact me.  I can help.  I can provide you with a system made just for you and be an accountability partner so you can maximize the potential for growth in your business. 

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:55 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, February 24 2013

Last week I addressed the issue of spousal clutter.  I explained the reasons why your spouse, partner or roomate might be causing clutter.

This week I would like to provide you with some routines you and your family can begin to implement to bust through that clutter.

  • When you finish reading a magazine or newspaper, process the information and recycle the rest.  Did you find a great recipe in your favorite magazine, an article your spouse might enjoy or a coupon for your local store? Pull them out from the magazine or newspaper and immediately recycle the rest.  Stacks of magazines or newspapers cause clutter. 
  • Leave enough room in your coat closet for coats, jackets, boots and accessories.  If your coat closet is too full, it's difficult to put things away and retrieve them easily.  Clear out the items that do not belong in the closet.  Create sufficient room for hangers, the floor and top shelf so that these items don't end up scatttered throughout your home.
  • Keep flat surfaces clear.  Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bureaus and tables are all culprits for clutter.  Having a home for paperwork is the key to success.  Create a system that works and you will avoid flat surface clutter.  
  • Wash dishes right away.  Do not put dishes in the sink after using them.  Immediately handwash them and put them in a drain board or load them into the dishwasher.  It will take less time than you think to do this.  Otherwise, you end up creating a "project" and we just don't have the time for that!  Take the time to do this as you go and you will avoid sink clutter.
  • Take five and grab ten.  It will only take you about five minutes to grab ten articles of clothing from your bedroom closet or drawers that you no longer want or wear and put them in a box for donation or in the trash if they are no longer useable.  This will free up space for the clothes you do want to keep.  This will avoid clothing clutter.

I hope you find these tips helpful.  Let me know which tips you plan to implement.  If you need assistance in setting up some systems in your home to make these areas clutter free, let me know.  I am here to help.

In the meantime, have a great week!

    

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:38 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 19 2013

I cannot tell you how many times people say to me "My husband/wife/partner/roomate has so much clutter" or "They are such a slob" or "I think my spouse is a hoarder".  I hear the frustration in their voice and their struggle to understand.

I thought perhaps that I might be able to help you understand why.

The tendency to accumulate items on flat surfaces is, contrary to popular belief, not necessarily because of a psychological issue.

There are other possibilities:  

  • Some people simply prefer the visual aesthetic of many items. (It gives them comfort.)
  • Some people have a hard time remembering where things are so they find them more easily if they are out in the open.  (I believe that if something is put in a logical place, it can be found.) 
  • Some people have positive memories associated with photos and knick-knacks.  (I believe that several items can evoke the same emotion or memory as a lot of items and therefore, you only need to keep out a few at a time.)
  • Some people have issues with visual processing and literally don't see the items that others consider "clutter".  (My son is a perfect example of that!)
  • Some people feel it is a waste of time to put things away when they're just going to use them again.  (i.e. Why make the bed every morning when you are only going to sleep in it again that night!)
  • Some people say they don't care about how their space looks.  (I have to believe they also don't care about themselves either.)  
  • Some people say they have other pressing problems and don't have the energy to put things away.  (This is common among people who are depressed.)  
  • Some people say their schedules are so packed that they don't have time to put things away. (My theory has always been that if you put them away as you go, it will not be a project.  I believe you can find 10 minutes at the end of the day putting things away if you cannot find time throughout the day.)

You might personally be trying to overcome this tendency yourself or, perhaps, you are frustrated with your spouse or significant other.

If you can pinpoint the source of the clutter habits, I believe you can find a solution.  If you need assistance in determining why the clutter continues to exist, contact me.  I can help.

In the meantime, have a great week!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, February 09 2013

Wow!  January was crazy busy for A Better Space.  So many people contacted me to help them get organized.  That is why I did not blog in almost a month!  I believe we can all find a little time in our day to get organized, right? 

If you need to get organized but can't seem to find the time, I have some suggestions for things you can do to at least get started.  They only require about 15 minutes a day!  I am sure you can carve out 15 minutes out of your day to get some organizing done. 

Here are a few suggestions:  

1.  Organize a 15 minute family pick-up.  Get everyone involved to go around the house and gather up items that do not belong in that particular room and put them away. (This can be done on a daily basis to keep the clutter under control.)

2.  Gather your remote controls for the television and gaming devices in your family room and put them into one basket.  If there are similar devices in other rooms, do the same thing.  

3.  Go through your sock drawer.  Gather those single socks, ones that are worn out or no longer worn. Old socks sometimes make great handheld dusters.  Only keep a few for this purpose, though.  The rest have to go!   Pair up the rest and put them away.

4.  Match your plastic containers with their lids.  Go into your kitchen and gather all of your plastic containers and plastic lids.  Put the lids on the containers and get rid of the ones that don't have a matching lid.  Reduce the amount that you have if you have too many. With the lids in place, you will never have to find a matching lid again.  

5.  Do a clothing toss.  Go through your closet and quickly eliminate those items you no longer like, you never wear or no longer fit.  Donate the items that are still in good condition.  

6.  Do a medicine cabinet review.  Eliminate old or expired medications.  Only keep the items you still use.  Old medications can be returned to your pharmacist to recycle. 

7.  Organize your bathroom towels.  Go through the linen closet and get rid of the old and worn out towels you no longer use.  Only keep enough on hand for one week's use.  Too many towels means too much clutter.  

8.  Check the back of the fridge.  You probably have items that have gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator and are no longer useable.  Get rid of them and then organize like items together in the fridge so you can easily find what you need when you need it.  Keep leftovers at the front so they get used up first.  

There are many other ways to get organized in just 15 minutes.  What will you do to get your home organized with just 15 minutes a day?  I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with others.

In the meantime, have a great week!  

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, January 14 2013

Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a fan of the winter months.  The snow can be pretty but I do not like cold weather.

However, there is a reason for me to love the month of January.  It's National Get Organized Month!  What better month is there for a professional organizer like myself.

I don't know about you but I do like to start off the New Year with a new start.  I have been diligently working in my own home to rid it of clutter.  Understand that it is not out of hand but there are still things that need to be gone through and eliminated.

I started the month by working in my clothes closet in my master bedroom.  I have a nice size walk-in closet and it is easy to fill it with clothes, shoes and accessories.  As busy as I can get with my business, I tend to not review my wardrobe as often as I should.  I do go through and eliminate items as I put them on and find that I don't want them anymore, but this time was different.  I took the time to actually try on pants, jackets, dresses, skirts and tops.  I was amazed at what I found; namely, two and a half trash bags of clothes that no longer fit or that I liked.  Wow, I could not believe that I have held onto that many articles of clothing that no longer serve me. 

Granted, I put on some weight over the Summer and it is likely I will not return back to the weight that will allow me to get back in these clothes again.  What can I say, I am getting older and my body type has changed.  Moving on... I am realistic enough to know that holding onto these clothes is not in my best interest.  I do not live with "Someday Syndrome".  

As I continue to work through my home to eliminate the excess, I am feeling the difference.  My home actually feels lighter and more spaceous.  It brings a sense of calm.  

So let me ask you.  What are you doing to lighten the load in your house during this year's  National Get Organized Month?

If you need any assistance in doing so, let me know.  I can help.  In the meantime, have a great week! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 07:38 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, January 02 2013

Happy New Year Everyone!  OMG - Where did the year go?  I don't know about you but I had a crazy busy year and it just flew by.  I was so busy in December that I did not post more than one blog (Sorry about that!), but I am back in 2013 to again blog on a regular basis to keep you on track for getting and staying organized. 

I am working diligently on my health and well being.  I am drinking lots of water, eating three meals a day and eating more fruits and vegetables, leaving less room for junk food and taking a walk every afternoon. 

I think at the end of the year I fell off the cliff a bit and now getting myself back on track. 

One goal that many set for the New Year is to be more aware of their finances.  With the "fiscal cliff" not being resolved in time for the New Year, I think it is more important than ever for all of us to track our expenses.

Although we will be putting out more for taxes (and milk!) and perhaps losing some benefits, I truly believe we can make a budget that works for us.  

Looking carefully at your expenses and seeing where you can make better choices is key.  Taking a look at your priorities and the long term benefits of your financial decisions is vital.  Investing in hiring a professional organizer is a good example.

Since becoming a professional organizer over 8 years ago, I have worked with clients time and time again to help them create a household budget based on their income and help them create a plan to get out of debt if need be.  Talk about long term effects! 

My personal circumstances have changed over the years, but one thing stayed the same - I use a budget to keep track of my income and expenses.  For the past 15 years, I am proud to say that I have been completely debt free.  I do have a mortgage and a car payment each month but if I put anything on a credit card, it is paid by the end of the month.  No interest fees for me!

Although this Country has fallen off the "Fiscal Cliff", we can make strides to not do the same thing personally.  Creating a budget and knowing what is coming in and what is going out will avoid our own "cliff".

Setting manageable goals and sticking with them, whether it is financial or otherwise is important.

If you need assistance in creating a budget, I recommend that you check out my "U Can Do It Budgeting System" at my ABS Store.  This system can be downloaded immediately and you can begin to create your very own budget for the New Year!  

Need assistance with budgeting or any other type of organization to get your New Year off to a great start?  Contact me.  I am here to help.    

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 03 2012

With the holiday season in fulll swing and the New Year right around the corner, many people begin to evaluate the past year and start thinking about the future.  People think about what they had intended to accomplish in the past year and note the things that just did not get done.  Then, they begin to look towards the New Year as a time to reset some goals and plan for the future.  

It's a time for reflection and planning.  

For me, I love the prospect of a New Year.  It gives me the opportunity to take a look at what I accomplished (or did not accomplish) in the past year, both personally and professionally.  It gives me a chance to re-evaluate my priorities.  Are there things I wanted to get done but did not?  Are the things I intended to do this past year still important? 

The New Year gives me a chance to plan for the coming year.  What do I want to accomplish THIS year? 

I have always been an advocate of writing things down.  At this time, especially, I find this true.  I like to take some time and make a comprehensive list of projects and "To Do's". 

That comprehensive list then gets planned out over the coming year.  I pick my priorities, one by one, and work on them.  When something is completed, I select another.

You might have set some goals last year and found you did not complete them as planned.  Why not start fresh? 

Do you need to do some home improvement projects?  Do you want to lose weight and be healthier?  Do you want to get your finances in order or get out of debt?  Do you want to improve a relationship with a friend or family member?  The choices are endless.

Do yourself a favor.  Take some time in the next week or so and reflect on where you have been and where you want to go in your life.  Start planning now for the New Year by setting some goals and create a list of the things you want to accomplish.

If getting organized is on your list, seek out the assistance of a professional organizer who can help you to set those goals and get them accomplished. 

Enjoy this holiday season and the opportunity for a fresh start in 2013!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:17 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, October 31 2012

Two days ago, the eastern portion of the United States experienced Hurricane Sandy first hand.  The devastation is still mind boggling.  Some sustained no damage to their homes. (I am one of them.)  Some sustained minor damage and some sustained tremendous damage.  Many are dealing with flooding in their homes and more are dealing with the loss of power. 

When these natural disasters occur, I can't help but think about how being prepared can go a long way in making it easier to deal with the outcome.

I envision homes where clutter is everywhere, things are difficult to locate and when disaster strikes, there is chaos. Imagine having everything laying around in no particular place and having to find things quickly.  It's next to impossible.  Something as simple as your keys being misplaced can cause a lot of stress in this type of situation.

Things like food, clothing, medications, bedding, pet supplies, cell phone chargers, insurance policies and other important paperwork, etc. need to be easily located and gathered.  Simple things such as batteries, flashlights, battery operated radios, non-perishable food, water and blankets are all needed when the power goes out. Sometimes, an evacuation plan is needed. 

However, I also envision an organized home.  An emergency preparedness plan is in place, essential items are gathered or easily accessible.  There is no clutter to contend with and life is that much less stressful. 

Clutter and disorganization are very stressful in our normal day to day lives.  However, when we are suddenly dealing with a situation such as Hurricane Sandy, clutter is even more stressful.  

Are you prepared for when disaster hits?  Is your home clutter free and items are easy to locate?  If not, you might want to re-evaluate your situation and think about how getting organized can go a long way in dealing with these types of situations.

If you need assistance in eliminating the clutter in your home and in your life, remember that you can have A Better Space.  I am just a phone call away and I am here to help.

For those of you contending with the after effects of Hurricane Sandy, please know you are in my thoughts.  Be safe. 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 15 2012

There comes a time when most people need to reach out and ask for help to get organized.  It can be prompted by life changes such as marriage, divorce, birth of baby, empty nest, death of a loved one, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, downsizing, etc.  

No matter what the reason may be, people reach out to me for organzing help mostly because of the following:  

1. I'd like to be organized, but I never learned how.

2.  I am overwhelmed and frozen.  I don't know where to start.

3.  I do not have enough space for my stuff.

4.  I do not have enough time to get things done.  My To-Do List goes on forever.

5.  When I go to purchase organizing products, I don't know what to buy or where to get the best products.

6.  My kids are out of the house and my parents have passed away.  I have too many things that I have held on to and need help letting go.

7.  I know what I want to accomplish but I can't figure out how to get there. 

8.  I know that the only way I will get organized is if I have an accountability partner who can guide me through the process.

9.  I'm organized but my spouse is not.  It's driving me crazy and I don't know what to do.

10. I have ADD and having difficulty staying focused and organized.  I need to figure out systems that work for me.

Do any of these sound familiar?  It could be one reason or a few.  No matter, a professional organizer like myself is skilled in these areas and can help you to get "unstuck" and moving forward towards a decluttered, organized and stress free home and life.

Comment below and let me know which of these are keeping you stuck.  I am here to help if you need further assistance.

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 11 2012

As you may or may not know, this professional organizer was blessed with a son who has ADHD.  This month is National ADHD Awareness Month so I thought it appropriate to discuss time management.  It tends to be one of the bigger issues for adults with ADHD.

My son, now age 21, is notorious for procrastinating.  He loves to sleep, usually from 3:00 a.m. until whatever time he needs to get up, either for school or work.  The thing is, he waits til the very last minute to get up, grab a shower and run out the door.

Today he has classes from 8:00 a.m. until 2:45 p.m.  This morning I suggested, gently of course, that perhaps he take something to eat with him since it will be many hours until he gets home.  I suggested quickly grabbing a bagel, so he would at least have something.  He is not one to pack a lunch the night before, no matter how many times I recommend this.  (Since he is 21, I no longer make lunches for him. Call me a bad mom.)  His response was "But...I don't have any time!".  Seriously?  He didn't have time to open the fridge and grab a bagel, put it in a sandwich bag and head out the door.  (He doesn't do breakfast.)  I think not!

Here's my theory.  We all have 24 hours in a day.  It's what we do with them that counts.  If he would have just simply woken up 15 minutes earlier, he would have had the time to take his shower and grab that bagel to take with him. 

In other words, it does take some preparation and some thought as to what we need to do and how much time we need to do it.  Then we prepare accordingly.  Waking up 15 minutes earlier could have made such a difference for him.

I am still working with him on this issue, but here is some "food" for thought (no pun intended, well...maybe) for those of you that find that you are running out of time in the morning to get out the door.  Simply prepare. 

To start, make a list of what you need to do and then estimate how long it will take you to do it.  Then add a cushion of time to avoid that last minute rushing around. 

Simply by taking some time (of which we all have the same amount) to get organized and create a plan, you will find that you are no longer saying "But...I don't have any time!".

Try it out and let me know how you make out.  If you need some addidtional help, let me know.  I am here when you are ready. 

In the meantime, take some "time" today to remember 9-11-01.  I think we can all find a few minutes today to do so.

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 06 2012

We certainly live in a fast-paced world these days, don't we?  The stresses associated with work, home and our social lives can leave us feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. 

However, a disorganized life is often the culmination of a number of bad habits.  And we all know that habits can be changed.  

By making a few small changes in how we do things can make dramatic changes in your life from one of chaos to calm. 

Here are a few to try.  Now remember, it takes about 21 to 30 days to form a habit so give yourself some time to form that new habit.  Be patient, but persistent. 

1. CHAOS - cleaning the entire home when it is trashed.  CALM - cleaning a little bit each day and tidying up each night.

2. CHAOS - dropping your mail on the dining room table and going through it once in a while.  CALM - sorting through your mail daily and immediately recycling and shredding the items you don't need. 

3. CHAOS - tossing your keys or cell phone on the nearest table or counter, hoping to remember where they are the next time you need them.  CALM - having a designated spot for your keys, purse, cell phone, etc. so you don't waste your precious time searching for them. 

4. CHAOS - tossing dirty clothes and wet towels on the bathroom or bedroom floor.  CALM - immediately putting dirty clothes in the hamper and wet towels on a hook or separate hamper.

5. CHAOS -  scrounging around the pantry at 5:00 p.m. wondering what to make for dinner.  CALM - planning your means a week at a time so you know what you are making and be confident you have everything that you need.  

There are many other ways to turn your chaos into calm.  What suggestions do you have?  I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, have a great week! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 31 2012

Are you familiar with an old song done by Neil Sedaka - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do? 

Well, he's right.  I recently ended a long relationship with a man and it was so hard to do.  It took me some time to get up the nerve to do it and prepare my thoughts for how I was going to break the news to him.  It included lots of anxiety.  Now that it is behind me, I am experiencing a sense of relief.  I have cleared space in my life for new opportunities. 

It got me thinking that the same is true when you are in the process of decluttering and parting with items that you believe are so near and dear to your heart that you can have anxiety attacks, become frozen and emotionally distraught.  

Eliminating clutter can be difficult and overwhelming at times, especially when you have to make those tough decisions about certain items.  As a professional organizer, I work with most of my clients, at one point or another, on just such issues.  Sometimes there are tears, anxiety or even resistence to what they know, deep down inside, needs to be done.

Emotional attachment issues connected with material things need to be dealt with by taking small manageable steps.  I always tell my clients that, although they may have collections of items from a relative or friend that either passed away or reminds them of a special time in their life, they all tend to evoke the same memory and can be downsized considerably without erasing the memory of the person or event.  People are afraid that they will forget - they won't.

Sometimes it's guilt that prevents them from getting rid of things.  Someone gave it to them and, although they don't particularly like the item, or collection of items, they've held onto them because they feel bad about letting them go.  

My philosophy is that once the item is given to someone, the giver of the item gives up their right to it and it becomes the responsibility of the person they gave it to.  It is up to that person to decide whether to keep it or get rid of it.  If the giver is keeping such close tabs on what they give to you, causing guilt, you need to have a conversation with that person.  This emotional burden needs to be lifted.

Being realistic about what makes sense to hold on to and what makes sense to get rid of is not always easy.  It helps to remember that less is more.  As in ending a relationship with a person, ending a relationship with a material thing can be very very difficult, yet very freeing.

Although "breaking up IS hard to do", it can be done.  By eliminating the clutter that inhabits your space and that sense of overwhelm that comes as a result, you will feel free as well.   

If you are having trouble letting go of those items, utilizing the services of a professional organizer can help. 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:05 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, July 05 2012

Although the title of my blog might be evoking cooler temperatures on this steamy July day, I want to talk today about the current state of your home. 

How long have you lived in your home?  When was the last time you made some changes to the look, feel and functionality of your home?  These are important questions to consider.  Why?  Because we tend to get "frozen in time". 

Working in hundreds of homes over the years, I find it a common problem that people live their lives day after day, year after year, without making any changes.  It's inevitable that your life has gone through changes since you originally moved into your home.  However, has your home kept up with those changes?  Have you gotten married, had children, become an empty nester, a widow or widower, gotten divorced?  These changes effect your lifestyle and therefore, should be reflected in your home.  

Do you have double the items because you have gotten married or become a blended family?  Do you now have children you did not have when you bought your home and need to find room for their things?  Have the children gotten older and they no longer need or want older toys, games or clothing?  Have your grown children moved out (or back home) and you now have a lot more room or a lot less, depending on your circumstances?  Are you now divorced or widowed and living alone with the items from your spouses past?

This are major life changes that change your needs and desires for what your home should reflect.  It is important to keep up with these changes.  Weed out the old to make way for the new.  Use certain rooms for new purposes - ie, using a child's old bedroom as a gym or home office.  Make sure to use the space you have to its best potential - otherwise it becomes a storage space and not a functional home.

Take some time to walk through your home with a new set of eyes and make sure that it reflects your current situation.  If not, make the changes necessary.  

If this means eliminating the clutter and getting organized, then do it!  If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact me.  I am here to help.

In the meantime, I hope you had a nice July 4th holiday.  Keep cool but don't be frozen!     

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:31 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 15 2012

I get lot of calls from people who are in panic mode.  They sound like they are ready to jump off the roof.  They need to get organized and are at wits end.  Wouldn't you assume that they are "committed" to making a change?  I would.  As it turns out, however, sometimes the fear of making a change deters them from making a commitment.  

One day they call me and can't wait to get started and then the next day they call back and cancel.  I hear lots of reason (or excuses) as to why, but I truly believe that it is the fear of commitment that prevents them from moving forward and making a change. 

They might spend a restless night following our conversation on the phone worrying about what is going to transpire.  Is Audrey going to invade my space, make me throw out everything, force me to do things I don't want to do?  The answer is "no". 

I am respectful of everyone's private space.  I do not judge.  I primarily see potential as opposed to the clutter that exhists.  I help find that balance that provides calm and I never force anyone to do anything they don't want to do.  I gently guide them towards the right decision. 

However, I do require that my clients make a commitment and give it the sufficient time needed in order to see the process work itself through.  When they commit to the process, amazing things occur in a very short period of time.  The anxiety disappears and the peace and calm return to their living space.  They can relax and enjoy their environment as perhaps they never did before.  

I truly believe that "When you're simply interested in an outcome, you do what's convenient.  When you're committed, you do whatever it takes." [John Assaraf].

When you are truly ready to make a change and get organized, you need to be committed.  No excuse in the world can stop you - money, time, outside influences. 

Do yourself a favor and "commit".  It promises to be life-changing.  

If you feel overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact me and I will help.  

In the meantime, have a great week and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL OF THE DADS IN MY ORGANIZING COMMUNITY!    

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 31 2012

The summer season has unofficially begun with Memorial Day Weekend and the official  start is just around the corner.  I am thinking that this is perhaps a good time to re-group. 

With the start of the new season, the kids will be getting out of school and a more relaxed way of life can begin with the lazy days of Summer.  Hopefully this time of year means less schedules to comply with and less structure can mean more relaxation.  

This is a good time to consider your priorities and "re-group".  Are there projects you have been meaning to get to but because of the craziness of the school term, you haven't found the time to get to them?

Take some time to consider what projects you would like to get off your "to do" list and then create a plan to get them done.  Does the school paperwork need to be weeded out?  Does the garage need to get organized to allow for Summertime toys (and maybe even that car!)?  Does your wardrobe need to be gone through to determine what to keep, toss or donate to make more room in your closet?

I would suggest taking a tour of your home and creating a fresh new list of things to tackle.  Walking through your home can provide the clarity you might need to create that list.  

If you are in a state of overwhelm and don't know where to begin, contact me.  I will be glad to help you "re-group" to get those projects taken care of so you can enjoy the rest of your Summer.  

In the meantime, enjoy your week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:08 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 18 2012

I have always approached getting organized in a postive way.  When all my clients can see is the clutter, I see potential.  Also, I never thought it was productive to look at a large project with the only approach to getting organized as what is being eliminated.

What I mean by that is, instead of viewing what needs to be eliminated, I take the approach of what needs to be kept.  I find it much easier to approach any organizing project this way.

Most times, people are overwhelmed because they don't know what to take away from the picture.  Instead, I suggest looking at what is important enough to keep.  The remainder will automatically become what gets eliminated.   

This works well for adults and children alike.  When parents are helping their children decide what to keep and what to toss, I have them go in with a positive approach as to what are the favorites.  It makes it a lot easier to get through the process.

So, the next time you are working on an organizing project, try the positive approach.  I guarantee it will be a much more pleasant experience.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and have difficulty picking your favorites (it can't be everything!), don't hesitate to contact me.  I am here to help.

Have a great week and happy organizing!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, April 28 2012

This coming Monday, April 30th, I am privileged to be invited to conduct my very first webinar in conjunction with ADD Resource.  I will be talking about "GETTING ORGANIZED THE ADD FRIENDLY WAY". 

One of the major topics I will be covering has to do with Time Management.  Do you know what time management is and how effective it can be when working to get organized and reduce stress?  Very powerful. 

Did you know that the average person will spend one year searching through desk clutter looking for misplaced items?

One hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing.

It costs over $200 in labor to track down a misplaced document or about $500 in labor to re-create it. 

Anything you can do in your work day to improve efficiency and be more in control of your responsibilities means you are managing yourself in order to make the best use of your time.

One of the things I talk about in my upcoming webinar is doing what I call "The Brain Dump".  I believe you should write everything down that is on your mind in order to eliminate the clutter in your head and the stress of trying to remember things.  

The other thing I talk about is prioritizing.  Planning your day to take care of the most important tasks and not wasting time on insignificant or unnecessary tasks will help you be more efficient.  

Taking the time that is needed to focus on important projects and tasks and avoiding as few interruptions as possible is a great time management tool.  

Having a good paper management system is place will reduce the amount of time it takes to locate what you are looking for. 

There are many ways that you can better manage your time.  These are only a few.

If you want to learn more about this topic and several others that affect adults with ADD, I invite you to attend my webinar on Monday, April 30, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. EST.  It's free but the information I will be providing is so valuable.

http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=27300261

Hope to see you on the call!

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 17 2012

Has your living situation changed recently?  Have you decided that you and your significant other should now be living together?  Congratulations!  It can be a very excited time; the prospect of a new life together.  However, it can bring challenges.  One of them being blending two people (or families) into one. 

I get contacted quite often as a professional organizer by people who have recently married or moved in together and are now struggling with trying to fit two households into one.  We all know, we can't keep everything we own and still have room for someone else.  It takes compromise, a concept we become so familiar with when in a relationship. 

Perhaps it's you who is moving into your partner's home; perhaps your partner is moving in with you.  Perhaps you are both moving into a new home together.  Just how do we make it all work? 

Communication is key.  You need to discuss what is going to stay and what is going to go.  You cannot expect that one person is to give up everything in order to move into the other person's home.  It requires "blended organization".  

You might have double the furniture - two bedroom sets, two living room sets, two dining room sets.  You have to decide which sets of furniture will stay and which will go.  Will they be sold, given to other family members or friends or donated?  I discourage using a storage unit long term to solve this problem.  It is an expense we don't need to incur if we make some decisions. 

You might have multiple sets of pots and pans, dishes, silverware.  Which sets will remain, which will go?  This kitchen is a very common area in which blended organization comes into play. 

You might have lots of artwork, nick knacks, collectibles.  Do you have enough room to incorporate all of it?  Does some of it need to be eliminated?  I find that if someone is that passionate about something, you should do whatever you can to keep the collection in tact, but within reason.  If it's a large collection, it just might need to be downsized in order to make it fit into the home.  Discuss solutions that work for everyone involved.

My late husband was an avid record collector.  We had a wall in our apartment and later in our home that had cabinets filled with record albums and boxes of 45's (all in alphabetical order by artist, by the way!)  We agreed that the entire collection would stay in tact and we were able to come up with a solution for storage that did not intrude on our style of daily living.  The key is to whether the items will take over the home. Remember, we need to own our possessions, not have our possessions own us.

Are you sharing closet space?  If so, it's possible that you might both need to weed out your wardrobe to reduce its contents to make it fit into the designated area. 

My wardrobe currently occupies my entire walk-in closet in my master bedroom and spare bedroom.  However, I can tell you that if and when someone special comes into my life and we decide to combine our households, I will need to reduce the amount of clothing being stored to make room for that special someone.  For now, I have the space to myself and can spread out.  We need to live within the space that is provided.

The bottom line is that when you are combining households, you need to be sure to take the time to communicate about how each other's possessions will fit into the living space.  It might mean eliminating things altogether or it might mean reducing the amount. 

The other factor that comes into play is how each of you function but that is a blog for another day. 

If you have questions about how to blend your home to accommodate each other, contact me.  I am glad to help.    

In the meantime, have a great week!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:34 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 02 2012

I have been in business now eight years - hard to believe.  In that time I have spoken with thousands of people about getting organized.  Whether it is over the phone, by email or in person, everyone says they either want to get organized themselves, or knows of someone.

The truth is, when it comes right down to it, most people are not truly committed to getting organized.  They just want a magic wand to be waived over their clutter to make it all just disappear.  Sounds nice but, it's not going to happen!

If you are truly committed, you either jump in and do it yourself or reach out for help.  This is not something that should be taken lightly.  If you want changes to happen, you have to take action. 

If you are at the point where you are in a state of overwhelm and just cannot seem to get it done yourself, contact a professional like myself to help you.  Take action!  Talking about it and then doing nothing about it will get you nowhere.

When you decide to hire a professional organizer, you need to be prepared for the commitment, not only to time but some expense.  However, when the job is complete and you can move on with your life, the paybacks cannot even be measured.

Your entire life can change for the better.  If you have ever taken the time to read some of the testimonials I have received from clients I have worked with in the past, you can see exactly how life changing it can be.  

Do yourself a favor - commit to getting organized and if you need some professional help.  Don't be embarrassed or ashamed.  Get the help you need.  You will be so glad you did.  And lastly, when you make that commitment, stick with it.  Make it the priority in your life that you so deserve.  Don't let "stuff" get in your way of your focus.  If it is that important to you, you can always find a way to make it happen.  Trust me, I know! 

I am here to help if you are ready to commit to getting and staying organized once and for all.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:08 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 20 2012

 

Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time.  Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season.  After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves.  Here are some ways to  start off the season with some fresh ideas:    

1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever  you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.

2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.  

3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up.  The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!

4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.

5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!

6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.

7. Outdoor Organizing:  With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter?  Does your house need a new coat of paint?  Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend.  Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.

8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge.  Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry.  Check them out right on this website!  Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page.  They are on Page 6 of the catalog.]  Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!

Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!

If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.  

In the meantime, have a great week!  

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 05 2012

Clutter is one thing but when it's not yours, it's something else.

Here's the scenario:

You were always relatively organized.  However, you had kids.  Everyday you struggled to keep pace with their toys, electronics, paperwork, clothing and the like.  Their stuff invaded your home from the moment they were born until the time they grew up and moved out.

And, finally, after all those years, they grew up and moved out.  Okay we had to deal with "Empty Nest Syndrome" but, admittedly, a piece of us was thrilled!  Yahoo!  We finally had our space back and we could again control the environment in which we lived.  Right?  Wrong.

It is said that when they move out, they never really leave.  Is that true in your household?  

Two things could have happened.  One, they moved back home again.  "There's no place like home; there's no place like home", or, two, their stuff moved back home again.  How did this happen?  You were just getting used to having your own space and the calm that comes with it.

In the first scenario, your kids were so anxious to get out in the world and be in charge of their own destiny.  (The grass is always greener on the other side, right?)  Instead what happens is they find out they can't afford to make it on their own.  This is more common than not these days due to our economy.  So they move back home and bring all their stuff with them.  (Probably more than what they left with!) 

The second scenario is that your kids do move out but cannot afford a large enough space to hold all their stuff.  So they turn to you and say,  "Mom, can you hold onto a few things for me because I have no place to put them?"  How many of us have heard that question? 

Now what do we do?  We want to help out our kids but still want to maintain the balance in our lives that we were finally able to obtain.

I have one word of advice - "BOUNDARIES".  You need to set limits on the space that your returning kids can occupy and the stuff that comes with them.  They cannot bring it all back and then some.  Just like before, it is a shared space, but this time, they are adults and need to respect your boundaries.

You need to set boundaries on the amount of stuff you are holding onto for your kids who now reside in their own home.  They need to learn to live within the space that they have and make choices.  You have to and so do they.  Remember, your home is not a storage unit! 

Whether your kids are returning home to live or using your home to store their items, you need to sit down and talk with them about those boundaries and have them understand that they must be respected.  

Spring is a great time of year to evaluate your current living situation.  To me, it represents growth and change.  It's time to make a change and claim your boundaries. 

Until next time...

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 27 2012

There are so many options available to us these days to help us get and stay organized.  I love options because everyone does not function the same way.  Some people are auditory, some are visual and some are experiential learners (hands on). 

There are several ways to organize your paperwork if you like clear your surfaces (who doesn't) but still be able to see what you have. (Visual).  One way is to make use of binder clips!

Here are some examples of how you can use Binder Clips to get and stay organized:

Use them on the back of a door, a cabinet, a bulletin board or a wall.  Adding a magnetic hook or push pins to the mix are a good complement.

I like to take a label maker and put labels on the actual clips themselves to give them a specific purpose.  You can even color code the binder clips as they come in so many different colors these days.  You don't need to stick with black.  

A use for color-coded Binder Clips is to use them for various tasks or for each family member.  Assign a specific color to each.

You can clip recipes together for the week and hang them on the inside of a cabinet door.

Use a magnetic hook on the side of your fridge to hang the Binder Clip on for a shopping list with coupons.  

Use push pins on the front of a shelf to hand the clips.

Hang a Binder Clip inside the door, under the sink in your kitchen or bathroom, to hold your rubber gloves.

Hang magnetic hooks on the side of a filing cabinet near your desk and create binder clips for "hot" action items. 

You can also use a bulletin board with a labeled binder clip called "HOT".

If you can't locate your label maker, you can use a binder clip to clip a labeled index card onto the front of a small bin on a shelf.  

If letter trays do not work for you to sort your mail, use a Binder Clips that are labeled "Pay", "Action" and "File". 

For paper management purposes, Binder Clips create a boundary.  They limit the amount of paper work that builds up.  It forces you to create a limit as to how long you put off the inevitable.  You will need to keep it under control! 

As you can see, there are multiple uses for just a simple Binder Clip.  Use your imagination!  I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with everyone!

So, get out those binder clips and put them to good use in organizing your home and your life.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 07 2012

I am always talking about getting organized in your home but have never talked about how to be organized as a pet owner.  I think now is a good time.

Ninety-nine percent of my clients own pets - dogs, cats, birds, fish and once, a pot belly pig! 

The items in your home relating to your pet need to be organized.  You can use baskets, hooks, drawers or any other centralized location to hold the items that need easy accessibility.  

You might already know that I am an independent consultant for Clever Container and they have three solutions designed to help organize you and your pup.  You can check them out on Page 23 of their 2012 catalog at www.clevercontainer.com

Another area of organization you should consider is pet information in case of emergency.  Have you ever lost your cat or dog?  It can be heart wrenching but if you are organized, it can make it a lot easier.  Here are some tips:

  • Have your pet microchipped and have on file the name of the company, the microchip number and contact information for the company involved.  It's like GPS for your pet. 
  • Know the number of your pet's rabies tag.
  • Have updated documentation of your pet's vaccinations and surgeries.  (I always incorporate a folder in the filing systems I create for my clients for the pets.)  Shelters and vets that take in lost pets will a conduct blood test to identify strays from non-strays.  Knowing which vaccines are in your pet's blood and locations of scars can help in identifying your pet.  
  • Take pictures of your pet at many different angles and of all unique pattern markings.  Have these images in digital format.  Many states and shelters will post pictures of lost pets online and you will want the pictures to print out fliers.
  • Most agencies will only allow you to report a lost pet that has been missing for more than 24 hours.  Find out which agencies will take these notices (usually shelters and animal control centers) and have their contact information available.
  • You still need to have a collar on your pet with identification, even if your pet lives primarily indoors.  Break away collars are best so that your pet doesn't accidentially choke himself/herself.

I hope you never lose one of your pets, but if you do, you will be prepared by having the above information at your finger tips. 

Give your pets a big hug (except if they are a fish, I guess) and have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, January 19 2012

I don't know about you but I spend a lot of time in my car.  I am traveling to and from client consultations, client sessions, networking events, shopping trips for organizing product for my clients, donation drop offs and Clever Container parties for my hostesses.  That's just the time I spend in the car for business.  I also run errands, attend social events, visit with friends, etc.  

I know how important it is to manage your time when you are planning trips and one tip I quickly learned was how to plan out the amount of time I need to get to a new location for the first time.  If we have never been there before, how do we know how long it is going to take?  I have the solution!

My key to success to insure that I will be on time is to go onto Map Quest.  (You can also use Google Maps.) Get directions from your home (or wherever your starting point is) to the location you need to be and determine how many miles the trip is in length.  THEN, double that number and it will give you a good idea as to how long it will take you.

For example,  if I am visiting a client for the first time and I know that her home is 14 miles away from mine, I double that number and I know it will take approximately 28 minutes (give or take a few minutes) to get there. 

Trust me, this works.  I have been using this method for more than seven years; from the time I first started my professional organizing business in 2004 to figure out how much time I should allow to get to my appointments.  Now I use this method for all trips to places I have not been to before.  Keep in mind you might get there just a few minutes early some times depending on traffic but you will not have to worry about being late.  You can always cushion it with an extra five minutes if you will be involved in rush hour traffic, but again, this system works well for me.  I love it because I have found that my GPS is very inaccurate with judging arrival times because it does not take into account traffic delays.  My system does!

We can all use tips to help us with time management and I particularly love this one.  Give it a try and let me know how you make out.

In the meantime, have a great week!  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, January 12 2012

I am posting this blog one week after my official launch of my Clever Container business.  I am an independent consultant for the only company in the United States that provides organizing products and education right in your own home when you host a party.  As a consultant, I come to your home (in Bucks or Montgomery County, PA) and bring organizing products right to your home and educate your guests about how to get organized and the products they can use to do so.  It is a great way to have some fun and get some great products at the same time.  Anyone can order product from their catalog by using my Consultant ID#373 at www.clevercontainer.com.

I mention this because now I am technically running two businesses, A Better Space and my Clever Container organizing product business.  Lately, I have felt that time is not on my side.  Learning a new business is a challenge and I am determined to learn all that I can to provide the best service and products to my clients and customers.  ln doing so, I have had to commit a lot of time and energy to spend the time necessary to do it right.  That is my nature. It doesn't have to be perfect, mind you, but it needs to be the best it can be.

What that means, however, is that I have been getting up early and going to bed very late at night in order to stay on top of all that is necessary to keep it all running smoothly.

Very quickly, I learned, after seven and a half years of being in business as a professional organizer and now as a product consultant, that time is no longer on my side and I need some help.

I am taking the next step and will be looking for someone who can help me by doing some of the administrative work in my office either virtually or in person. 

The reason I am telling you this is to show you that sometimes, we need to re-evaluate our situations and make the changes necessary in order to grow or improve because we sometimes need more time on our side and we can always find ways to do just that. 

Do you need to find more time in your day?  What can you do get more?  Delegation is the key to success.  I would love to hear from you what you have learned to delegate. 

If you are struggling to figure it out and need some assistance, contact me.  I would love to help you find more time in your day. 

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:40 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, January 02 2012

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a great holiday season, but now it's time to get down to business.

As a women entrepreneur who began my Professional Organizing business over 7 years ago, I work with many other women entrepreneurs who struggle with time management and paper management in their home offices.  As a result, I pay lots of attention to the struggles with growth and prosperity that entrepreneurs alike contend with. 

There are many habits that can hold us back so I thought I would list some: 

  • Not returning phone calls.
  • Being late for appointments.
  • Not returning emails.
  • Not having a schedule.
  • Not filing important documents.
  • Not saving money or paying yourself first.
  • Failure to understand the law of reciprocity.
  • Handling mail or email more than once.
  • Forwarding nonsense emails.
  • Not scheduling events.
  • Not exercising.
  • Procrastinating.
  • Lack of systems.
  • Not choosing healthy foods.
  • Not drinking enough water.
  • Not taking time to rejuvenate.
  • Watching meaningless television.
  • Failure to invest in personal development.
  • Failure to listen.
  • Trying to be perfect.
  • Waiting for the right moment.
  • Failure to budget.
  • Lacking or not providing sufficient or efficient communication.
  • Having a messy or disorganized workspace or home.
  • Unprofessional voice mail.
  • Not having a dedicated workspace.
  • Not having a business card.

Which of these apply to you?  Choose two or three habits at a time and replace them with good ones. 

If you need help with time management, paper management, or organizing your messy and disorganized workspace or home, contact me.  I can help.

In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 23 2011

It's hard to believe that Christmas is in two days.  Are you stressed out trying to get everything done?  I want to help you to keep your stress at bay these next few days so you can enjoy the holiday.  Try these three strategies:  

  • Keep perspective. If the present doesn’t arrive until after the holidays, the ornaments aren’t hung on the tree, or the gravy never makes it on the table — you will be okay. In fact, you’ll probably have a funny story to tell for years to come about the year you didn’t serve ham because it was frozen solid and Uncle Joe broke his knife trying to cut it!   (That never happened to me personally but I can tell you that one of my presents this year will not arrive on time so I simply put a picture of it in a box with an explanation.  I know I will be forgiven.  No problem!)
  • Adopt a mantra. I am a fan of mantras.  I think they help us stay the course, thereby reducing our stress.  One of my favorite that I keep finding myself saying more and more is "It's good enough".  Using this mantra takes a lot of stress off of my Type A personality and tendency to want to be "perfect".  Knowing that I did my best, although perhaps not perfect, is "good enough" for me.  Whatever positive saying works for you, use it and use it often. 
  • Let it go. In keeping with the above, you are not a superhero. Perfection is unattainable, so stop trying to be "perfect".  Buy a smoked turkey if you’re nervous about cooking the bird. Throw all your clutter into a closet (did I really say that!?!?!?) and deal with it after the holidays when you’re more level-headed. Purchase a gift card instead of hunting for the exact gift you think you might discover at the last minute.

Do yourself a favor and be a happy holiday celebrant.  It is much more enjoyable for everyone around you when you are enjoying the festivities along with everyone else rather being irritable and stressed out.  Takes all the fun out of it for you too, doesn't it?  

Wishing each and every one of you a happy holiday.  Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!  May you have a stress-free and joyful holiday season.  See you again in 2012!!!!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, December 17 2011

A lot of my clients and organizing community are busy moms who work from home.  I know that you need all the help you can get.  It's a juggling act.   I was interested in what Ali Brown has to say about holiday tips for work-at-home moms.  I thought I would share:

With the kids around more than usual over the holidays, you might be missing quiet time to get solid work done at home. Most moms I know get too busy to properly plan ahead. But, if you get a little creative, you can set your kids up for a fun, memorable vacation and not miss a beat at work.

Hire holiday help
Remember, K-12 kids aren’t the only ones home for the holidays. Most college students have 3 weeks off and are probably going crazy under their parents’ roofs themselves. (Don’t we all remember those days?) Ask your friends and neighbors if their older children are looking for some extra cash around the holidays to play nanny, so you can still play boss.

Volunteer your kids
During the holidays, soup kitchens and animal shelters are always looking for an extra hand. Appoint an adult chaperone (or two) to take the kids out for a day of kid-friendly volunteer work (For kid-friendly volunteer opportunities, click here.) Not only will it get your kids off the couch, but it also might get them into the spirit of giving in a life-changing way.

Indulge their hobbies
Whether it’s tennis, ballet, reading, or art, sign your kids up for mini-workshops that they can attend during the weekdays. If you can’t find a class in the community, then have a bunch of moms pitch in to hire a private teacher and host group classes in your own home (this method works best if you have a basement you can work in ;)). And don’t forget there are a ton of talented high school and college-level athletes and artists who would be thrilled to teach a group of kids!

Keep a routine
If there’s no way around it and it’s just you and the kids, be sure to set some boundaries so their day doesn’t invade yours. Instead of letting the kids run wild all day long, try to set a schedule for them so they get a mix of exercise, education and rest time. Plan holiday movie time or holiday project fun time, to give you 1.5-hour blocks of time to knock a few things off your to-do list.

Streamline your to-do list
Be honest, if the kids are home, you’re not going to get as much done as you usually would. There’s no reason to beat yourself up and feel like you’ve fallen behind. Instead, write down the top 3 work items that you MUST get done each day and make sure you accomplish them. That way you can shut down your computer feeling right about your day, and focus on all the wonderful time you get to share with your kids!

Don’t forget to indulge your own inner child and join your kids in a few fun holiday projects. That’s the beauty of being a “mom”preneur — you get to decorate gingerbread cookies with your kids in the morning, then work while they giggle to Frosty the Snowman in the background. Could you have a better workday than that?

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© 2011 Ali International, LLC

“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com

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Hope you find these tips helpful.  Which one did you like the best?  I would love to hear from you. 

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo with permission from Ali Brown AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 12 2011

We are now in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  With Chanukah starting on December 20th, Christmas on December 25th, Kwanzaa on December 26th and New Years Eve on December 31st, there is a lot to plan for. 

I have a few suggestions as to how you can save some precious time during the holidays.

1.  Give yourself a break!  You don't have to prepare all of the food yourself.  You can prepare those special recipes you enjoy making but have others contribute.  Have your guests bring a dessert or an appetizer.  Order a nice tray from your local grocery store or speciality shop to reduce the amount of time you spend preparing for your dinners or parties.

2.  Avoid the traffic jams on your stove.  Use an electric skillet, slow cooker or food warmer.  You can use them to heat premade foods and set them up somewhere else besides the area around your stove.  Why not use another portion of your counter top, a table or a server? 

3.  Create a centerpiece for the table by using what you already have.  Use a long runner that reflects the holidays.  Use fabric or even wrapping paper and let the food you prepare serve as the decorative part of your table.  Use a nice basket of seasonal fruit to create a focal point on your table.  Put it on a larger plate and surround it with Christmas ornaments for an even more festive table.  Again, if you don't want to take the time, have your local grocery store or specialty shop create the fruit basket for you.

4.  Keep a few gifts on hand for unexpected guests.  We are bound to either forget about someone or someone shows up with an unexpected guest.  Be prepared by keeping a few extra gift items on hand.  Wrap them ahead of time and indicate on a post-it note what it is and you will not be caught off guard.

5.  As I've written about in previous posts for Thanksgiving, do the same for the upcoming holiday parties and dinners.  Give your fridge a thorough clean-out.  Get rid of what you don't need, clean the shelves and make room for those leftovers!

6.  Make a list of the items you will need to prepare your special recipes.  Avoid having to run to the store last minute to purchase that extra stick of butter or some condensed milk.  Go through all of your recipes carefully and make sure you have everything you need when you go to prepare that special appetizer, side dish or dessert.

These suggestions will help you to save some time during the holidays.  Let me know which one you like the best. 

Most importantly, enjoy!     

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 06 2011

We can all acknowledge that this time of year can be very stressful.  It seems like a whirlwind from Thanksgiving right thru to the end of the year.

I have business goals I want to reach by the end of the year, I prepare for my Thanksgiving feast several days in advance and then head right into decorating, sending out cards and shopping for the holidays.  Before you know it, it's New Years Day.

Especially during this time of year, it is very important that we attempt to reduce our stress levels as we have so much to deal with in such a short period of time.

Stress can lead to clutter in our head.  When we are stressed out, we tend to not think clearly and then can not visualize the path we need to take in order to get things done.

The best way to help clear the clutter in your head is to write things down.  Make a list of all the things you need to get done either on paper or on your Smart Phone or other device that you use to keep track.  Then, map out when you will do them and schedule it on your paper calendar or electronic device.

I make a habit of mapping out my "To Do's" on my big wall calendar (even up to a year in advance) and then create a daily "to do" list of things I need to accomplish - putting the most important things at the top of the list.

It is amazing how much you can accomplish when you do this.  It tends to keep you more focused on the task at hand.  You tend not to get so distracted by other things and, before you know, you can check it off your list.

Do yourself a favor this holiday season and reduce your stress by eliminating the clutter in head.  Write it down.

Try this and let me know how you make out.  I would love to get your feedback and hear about your experiences.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 07:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 01 2011

When you think of getting organized, do you think it means that you have to "clean up"?  Believe it or not, cleaning up and getting organized are two different things.

Cleaning up is more about how something looks.  Cleaning up involves putting things away, or at least getting them out of sight.  (That can mean different things to different people). 

Cleaning up is what you do before your guests arrives.

Cleaning up means straightening up those piles or perhaps putting things into boxes or bags and hiding them away.  (We're all sometimes guilty of that!)

Cleaning up can mean gathering up all of those magazines and articles that you have been meaning to get to and putting them into a nice, neat pile.  That's not getting organized.

Getting organized is more about how it works or functions; creating systems that meet your specific needs.  Organizing really has nothing to do with how it looks, although I still think that is important to create a nice look in a particular space or room in your home. 

When you get organized, you decide, honestly, what you will use and how best to store it so that it will be available to you when you want it - quickly and easily.

Organizing is something you do for yourself - not your guests!

Are you ready to do something nice for yourself?  Are you ready to get organized, once and for all?

You can!  Take that small step and contact me.  We can discuss your needs and I can show you how you can have A Better Space.

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 17 2011

I don't know what has happened lately, but I feel that my list of things to do has become endless.  Not only professionally, but personally as well.

Lately I have consolidated bank accounts to make things easier, changed my credit card features to provide me with more "perks", purchased a new car and am transferring my old car to my son, and handling all that goes with these transitions.  Not to mention, all of the other things that need to get addressed on a day-to-day basis.

Professionally, I have been working with my clients and accommodating their changing schedules, writing articles, blogs and my newsletter, preparing for various public speaking engagements and taking classes online to provide the best service to more people.

Whew!  Many people know how busy I am and wonder how I get it all done.

My key to success is taking all the clutter in my head and writing it down on paper.  Then I have my "To Do" list.  As my day progresses and new things come across my plate, I write them down on a pad of paper (not a bunch of notes on different pieces of paper).  Every evening I evaluate my list and select the items I need to tackle the next day.  They go on my "To Do" list for the next day.  One by one, I work through my list and VOILA!  I get it done.  You can do the same thing with an electronic device, if you wish.  

I find that writing it all down takes the pressure off of having to remember everything and an itemized list is easy to follow and check off items as I go.

Do you have a bunch of things you need to get accomplished?  Do you have a "To Do" list?   I would love to hear from you as to how you manage your "To Do" list.

In the meantime, if you are feeling overwhelmed with any type of clutter or organizing issues, please feel free to contact me.  I am glad to help.

Have a great week!   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 06 2011

Just how do you handle the onslaught of paperwork that comes through your door on a daily basis?  Most of us hear the word "paperwork" and think of "work".

Well, it doesn't have to be that way!  Trust me!

By creating a "Communication Station" in your home, you will be able to create a zone where all the daily paperwork can gather and have a home while it is active.  The keyword here is "Active".  This is not a place for old paperwork to gather and accumulate.  There are other solutions for that.

The "Communication Station"  is intended for kids' permission slips, bills, incoming and outgoing messages, mail and any communication among family members.

There are key pieces to have in place to make this area function as it should.

First, it needs to be in a convenient location in the home (like a kitchen or mudroom).

Second, use either stackable letter trays or wall mounted magazine racks for each member of the family to have their own slot for his or her papers. 

Third, a large wall calendar that is color coded for each family member provides a clear view of the schedule for each person.  Use it to jot down events that involve multiple family members (such as appointments that require a driver, etc.) 

Fourth, a bulletin board (be creative with it if you wish) and use it for flyers, invites, etc. This will provide a clear view of the details for upcoming events or RSVP deadlines.  You can add an envelope tacked to the bulletin board to stash coupons, gift certificates or other money-savers you might need to grab on the way out the door.  (Be sure to clear the board on a regular basis to avoid clutter build-up.)

Keep a cup or pencil holder on the flat surface in this area for the various colored markers you are using for the calendar.  Keep a note pad and pen as well as some post-it notes in this area as well.

Keep a trash can or recycling bin and paper shredder in this area to eliminate the "Junk".

Use letter trays to sort your mail DAILY into various categories for various purposes.  Each piece of mail should have a purpose or it is trash! 

By utilizing these tips, you can create your own "Communication Station" and eliminate the chaos of paperwork strewn throughout your home.  You can have A Better Space.

If you are overwhelmed with the concept of getting organized, whether it be paper or any other type of clutter, let me know.  I am more than happy to help.

Submit pictures of your "Communication Station" to provide others with ideas they can use.  They might end up in my monthly newsletter "Organizing News You Can Use". 

Not getting your issue?  You can sign up right on this page!

In the meantime, have a great and organized week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 28 2011

Most recently, my friend and colleague has begun writing a book about making choices.  This prompted me to think more about the ability to get organized by making wise choices.

For me personally, I have been provided with numerous offers to write and speak on various topics relating to organization.  I am thrilled about these offers, don't get me wrong. 

However, I have discovered that since I  am now being presented with more and more "opportunities", I need to take some time to decide whether or not saying "yes" to them is in my best interest or just another project that will simply take up my time.  

We only have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week.  We want to be able to use our time wisely and make the best choices for ourselves.  It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity and forget to focus back on ourselves and what is best for us.

By making wise choices about what you take on and how you spend your time, you will be able to more easily organize your life.

Do yourself a favor and take some time to evaluate how you are spending your time and where.  And, don't forget to say "no" sometimes.  It's okay.  In fact, it's best.

Let me know what choices you have made recently to bring balance back into your life and be more organized.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the concept of getting organized, contact me.  I am glad to help.

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 11 2011

Since I am such an advocate of organization and know first hand what a positive effect it can have on you, your home and your life, I hate to admit there might be a downside to being organized.

In an effort to free up my time, which is so precious to me, I made arrangements recently for my new health insurance carrier to automatically withdraw my monthly premium from my checking account.  I thought this would be the most efficient way to make sure that my payments were received on time with minimal effort on my part. Great idea, right?  Wrong.

Unbeknownst to me, my efficiency backfired.  As a result of what I thought was the best option, I was basically giving full rein to my insurance company to tap into my checking account and take what they wanted.  And, they did.

Not only did they deduct one month's premium from my account, they removed two!  This was done without my knowledge and without my consent.  

Of course, when it came time for them to reimburse me for the extra month (as soon as I discovered what they had done and confronted them about it), that was another story.  Suddenly, they were unable to deposit a refund back into my checking account electronically.  (I did not know it was a one way street.) They advised that they will be sending a check in the mail to me in the next few days.  That is not the resolution I was looking for and, needless to say, I was extremely upset that this occurred to begin with.  What gives them the right to do what they did?

The end result is that I have now elected cancel the "automatic withdraw" option which would have saved me time and effort and I will now have to send the payments to the insurance company manually on a  monthly basis.  (All because of their incompetency.)  I will now be setting up electronic payments with my bank instead since they are the entity I can trust to do the job right.

Lesson learned - as much as we attempt to be organized and efficient, it does not always turn out that way.  Sometimes, without the cooperation of other entities, the best laid plans do not pan out.

This will not stop me, however, in my quest to get and stay organized in not only my life, but those of my family, friends and clients.  Why?  Because it's the right thing to do!

Have you had any experiences where your attempts to be organized have backfired?  I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, I am taking off for five days to enjoy the Jersey shore and wishing you an organized week.  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 07:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, July 29 2011

As someone who wants to keep your home and office organized, it’s your job to immediately identify when things are out of wack and some attention needs to be paid to those places that might be out of place or broken and then fix the situation. There are a few easy ways to do this:

  1. Create a "Closing Duties" or "Daily Chore Chart". It seems elementary to write out chores and end-of-day assignments, but these lists can be very beneficial for helping you avoid Organizational Demise. Before leaving the office or heading to bed, review your printed list of closing duties or daily chores to make sure all tasks were completed properly. If they weren’t, quickly do the chore or re-do it. Don’t leave work or go to bed with an essential task undone.
  2. Keep an easily accessible shopping list. Again, this is pretty basic, but having a grocery shopping checklist (such as the U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist) can be a huge help in avoiding Demise. This list needs to be in a place where any of your family can effortlessly add to it (right when they notice something is running out or has broken.  A pen or pencil needs to be kept in at this location for convenience.  You then take the list with you when you go to the store or run errands.
  3. Having the right tools. If clothes end up on the floor of your bathroom, then you need to put a hamper in your bathroom. If clothes end up on the floor of your bedroom, you also need a hamper in your bedroom. If you want to shred junk mail by your front door and also shred sensitive documents in your home office, have a shredder by your front door and also a shredder in your office. Having multiples of something isn’t clutter if you actually need multiples of something to stay organized and keep from avoiding Organizational Demise.

Do you have receipts on the top of your bedroom dresser that accumulate?  If you empty your pockets and just set the receipts down on the top of the dresser, within a week you can cause Organizational Demise.  It’s amazing how something as small as receipts can cause complete disorder, but time and again they can become a culprit.

If, instead, you have the tools necessary to keep these simple types of clutter from accumulating, you will eliminate these problems.

At the end of the day, leave enough time to finish those tasks that can cause Organizational Demise and it will go a long way.  Simply processing those little slips of paper, getting your dirty clothes into the hamper and all your other end-of-the day chores completed is the key to success. 

So, what is your Organizational Demise?  Can I help?  Let me know.

Until then, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 06:20 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, July 09 2011

Are you in "disorganization" denial?  Let's be honest.  We get used to living a certain way and sometimes forget to look around and see what is really going on.

Have you gotten so comfortable in your cluttered environment that you cannot "see the forest through the trees" so to speak?

I think it's time to be honest with yourself.  Take a good look around and really see what is going on in your home and in your life.

If you are not sure whether you have clutter and disorganization issues, I recommend that you check out my "Quiz" found on this website [the tab is at the top of this page] to determine whether you might need to get organized.  This short quiz can be very helpful in doing so as it triggers in on main issues that you might be experiencing.

It might be time to stop living in denial and start focusing on improving your situation. 

Whether you take on the task yourself or reach out to a professional organizer like myself, it's time to do something about it. 

No matter how small or large a task you might think it will be, you can do it!  If you are feeling too overwhelmed, there is help out there.  You just need to ask for it.

Imagine how much better your quality of life will be when you don't have to continue to be stressed out because you can't find things in your home, you are late for appointments or the paperwork is piling up.  Putting systems into place that are manageable are the key to your success.

You deserve a better way of living and getting organized can give you that.

So, are you ready to be honest with yourself and admit that you are living in clutter and disorganization?  I challenge you to take that first step and admit that you might need to make a change.

Contact me if you do and I will be more than happy to help.

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, July 01 2011

Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate others to get and stay organized, especially a loved one. 

Perhaps you are working to get organized but you feel that the people you live with are undermining your progress by not helping out.

There are some questions that you can pose to that person to help make decisions about what to keep and what to toss - without starting arguments or passing judgment.  Getting organized can sometimes be a sensative subject if it is not approached in a positive way.  Remember, the goal is to reframe the discussion away from the item or items themselves, but rather towards its significance in your lives.

Here are some examples of how to refrase the question:

1.  Instead of "Why don't you put your tools away?", ask "What is it that you want from this space?"

2.  Instead of "Why do we have to keep your grandmother's sewing kit?", ask "Why is it important to you?  Does this particular item have meaning?"

3.  Instead of "There's no room for all of your stuff in there", say "Let's see how we can share this space so that it works for all of us".

4.  Instead of "Why do you have to hold onto these ugly sweaters your dad gave you?", ask "What do these sweaters make you think of or remind you of?"

5.  Insteady of saying "I don't understand how you can live with all this junk", ask "How do you feel when you have to spend time in this room?"

Hopefully these suggestions will help you better communicate your message to someone who you live with who has clutter issues.

Let me know how you make out and if you need any assistance, I am here to help.

Have a great holiday weekend! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, May 27 2011

I am about to go away and take a "well deserved" mini vacation this Memorial Day weekend.  I have been working almost every day this month and decided to take advantage of the three day weekend and head to the Pocono Mountains of PA.

Even though it is only a "mini vacation", I began several weeks ago compiling a list of things I needed to purchase, things I needed to pack and things I needed to do around the house to prepare.

I cannot imagine getting ready for a trip, large or small, without the use of a list.  I have always done this and assumed that everyone else does so too.  Not the case. 

I am surprised to learn that many people, especially men, do not pack for a trip with a list in hand of what to take.  I can only imagine how many times they get to their destination and say to themselves "Oh, I forgot to pack the...."! 

When I go away, I like to make sure I have everything I need when I need it.  I try my best not to overpack and end up removing about a 1/3 of the items on my list (especially clothing) when it comes to getting it into a suitcase.

By creating a list, you can take some time to think about the items that you need, even down to a pair of scissors and be ready to go when the day arrives.

Do yourself a favor.  The next time you take that trip, whether it be a day trip with the family or an extended vacation, make a list and check it twice and you can rest assured that you have what it is you need, when you need it.

Enjoy!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:20 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 16 2011

I am working in my office today and decided I wanted to focus on reducing the amount of mail in my email "in box". 

Just like everyone else who has a business and a personal life, I get lots of emails on a daily basis and sometimes it is a true struggle to keep them under control.

But I am determined to clean up my act today and get back on track.  In doing so, I had an epiphany!

My emails are always listed with the most current at the top, like most people, so you can see the latest activity.

However, today, I decided to flip it around so that the earliest e-mails are at the top and the latest at the bottom of the list.  This worked so well for me today and I am excited to be able to share this with you!

Since I could not see the new entries coming in during my designated period of time that I set aside for this project, I was not getting distracted.  It helped me to focus on the task at hand and get through my list a lot faster.

Another idea is to shut off your notification so that every time a new email comes in, you don't hear a bing, a dong or a bell or whatever sound your email makes to indicate a new entry.

If you try these tips, I assure you that you will be able to remain focused for a longer period of time and will be able to greatly reduce that in-box.

Let me know how you make out.

If you need any other assistance in order to get organized, please feel free to contact me.  I am here to help.

Have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, April 15 2011

One of the main reasons I became a professional organizer 7 years ago was so that I could help others overcome the feeling of overwhelm when it comes to getting organized.  I have the ability to see past the clutter and overwhelm and break things down into manageable pieces so that we can move forward to achieve the goals my clients have in mind.

I have found when I first meet with so many of my clients that they feel a sense of dread.  They cannot imagine how we can clear the clutter, get organized and put in systems to simplify their lives.  By the time I leave their home after the initial consultation, they are already feeling better about their situation and the potential of the space we are going to work on, whether it be one particular room or the entire home.  At that point, the process has already begun.  There is hope, there is potential.

The reason I bring this issue up is that sometimes we need to get past our fears in order to move forward, whether it relates directly to getting organized or taking on challenges that are new and different.

As my business continues to grow, I am given many new opportunities to get my message out to others.  I have been doing more public speaking this year and I now have been asked to appear on a radio show to share my knowledge and skills with others about the vast topic of organizing.

I must admit I am a little nervous about this new opportunity.  I always want to be prepared so I can provide the best content possible and this type of situation is more informal and "off the cuff", so to speak.  I have certainly worked hard in the past several years to challenge myself and get past any fears I may have about taking on something new, and so far, it's all been good.  I plan to take this same philosophy to the radio show I will be recording at the end of May/beginning of June.  I will simply do the best I can and be confident that it will be just fine.

Take my advice.  When it comes to overcoming the fear and overwhelm in your life, whether it is getting organized or simply doing something you have never done before, jump in.  As Nike says "Just Do It"!  I believe you will find that it will all work out.

So, get out there and do that something new and enjoy the journey!

If you need any assistance in getting over your sense of overwhelm when it comes to getting organized, contact me.  I would be happy to help.

Until next time, wishing you an organized day.

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:57 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, March 27 2011

With the Spring season underway, many people decide its time to move to a new home.  The process can be quite stressful, even when it comes to unpacking once you get there.

Here are some suggestions for getting organized when unpacking your belongings after the move:

If your new place wasn’t cleaned before the previous residents moved out, start the unpacking process by having professional cleaners come in and give the place a good scrubbing. No one wants dust and grime under their belongings in closets, on shelves, and on the floor.

After the cleaning crew is gone, I suggest that you unpack supplies and rooms in this order:

 Essential items: Toilet paper, hand and body soap, shower curtain, bath towels, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, paper towels, trash bags, scissors, a change of clothes, vacuum, broom, dustpan, pillows, bed sheets, and pet food and bowls. I suggest packing these things in a clothes hamper and have it packed in the car, not the moving van.

The kitchen. Start by unpacking the food first and then dishwashing supplies, drinking glasses, silverware, plates, pans, and finally everything else.

Assemble beds and put on sheets. You will definitely want to sleep in your bed that very first night.  You will probably be exhausted!

Bathrooms. They’re relatively easy to unpack.  Just remember, put like things together in your vanity and your linen closet.

Coat closet. This is more of a priority in cooler weather than in warmer weather. You will want to know where your coats and accessories are when you are leaving the house.

Clothes closet and dressers. Set up your closets and dresser as you had them prior, if possible, to make it easy to find what you want because you are familiar with its placement.  You can always change it around later.

Laundry room. Dirty clothes tend to pile up quickly when moving. Set up your supplies so you can begin to wash clothes when needed.

Remainder of bedroom. Aside from clothing and bed linens, there are other areas to unpack such as jewelry, nick knacks, art work, end table contents, books for the bookshelves, etc.

Home office. If you have one, just know that hooking up equipment with all of its cords and cables can be stressful, so be prepared to take your time with this step.

Dining room. After putting your office together, you’ll need this low-key room. Set up your dishes and table linens so you can have a nice place to eat after a long day.  Celebrate your move by doing something special.

Family room. Setting up the television and all of its peripherals can be just as frustrating as putting together the home office. Expect it will take some time. 

Porch or Deck. If you have one, take some time to set up your outdoor furniture to give yourself a breather.  Enjoy a glass of lemon aide and take in some fresh air when needed.  

The garage, basement, and storage spaces. Save these spaces until late in the process because it might take you weeks to get these the way you want.  Just be sure to put the appropriate boxes in these spaces so that when you are ready, everything will be together. 

The last thing I would do is hang artwork throughout the entire house.  Nothing makes a house more of a home than hanging and placing personal effects around the home. 

When you’re unpacking boxes (unpack all the boxes!) be sure to lay all pieces of packing material flat to ensure you don’t miss small items. Also, break boxes down as you go instead of waiting to do them all at once. You can sell them on Craigs List or give them to others who are moving through Free Cycle.  Try not to damage them if you can.

Try to wait until you're in the process of unpacking a room to buy any organizing products. You may not need bookshelves, storage bins, etc., once you’re in a space.

Finally, a few weeks after you’re unpacked, evaluate all of your decisions and make any changes as needed or desired.

Do you have any other suggestions?  I would love to hear them.

If you need assistance in staging your home, packing up, organizing the move or unpacking in your new home, contact me.  I would be glad to help.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 18 2011

Lately I have been presenting a lot of seminars on various topics concerning organization.  Last week I did a seminar with a certified public accountant and we talked about the tax benefits if you have a home-based business.  I spoke on how to best organize your home office space so that you can locate your paperwork and keep accurate records for your business.

The major theme of that seminar was "Document, Document, Document".  It cannot be stressed enough as to how important it is to do; whether you have a business or not.

A perfect example came to light for me personally this week when I received documentation in the mail from Wachovia Bank which is soon to be changing over to Well-Fargo Bank officially in my area in mid-April.

The packet of information that was sent included the changes to the various types of accounts.  In reviewing the information, I came to the conclusion that, after decades of being with Wachovia, formerly CoreStates, formerly First Union, formerly PSFS, I did not like what they had to offer and decided I would be closing out my accounts and moving them to another bank.

In the old days, this was no big deal.  You went to the bank, spoke with the bank officer, closed out your account(s) and took your money with you.

Today, because of on-line banking - which I love because it saves me so much time - the transition will be a bit more complicated.  I have not spoken with any representative of the bank as yet but plan to do so within the next week or so prior to the switch over.

I am not sure what their policy is as far as record keeping for accounts that are closed out.  I have been doing online bill paying with Wachovia for the past 3 years and want to preserve that information.

This will be much easier for me to transition because I have kept good documentation of all of my bill paying activities. 

I always urge my clients to print out the confirmation after they have directed the bank to make the payments for a certain amount on a certain day because they provide a Confirmation Number. 

I am comforted by the fact that I have always kept good records of my transactions with the bank, not only on line, but by printing out a paper confirmation to attach to the back of each bill that I pay.  I have taken the steps to create a list of the entities involved, their address where the payment is electronically sent and their account numbers so that my transition will be so much easier.  I do not feel I am leaving anything behind but just moving forward towards a better fit for my financial needs.

The moral of the story is to document, document, document.  You never know when you will need to put your hands on important information that might not be accessible at some point in the future.

Just some food for thought...

If you should find that you need assistance with this or any other type of organization, contact me.  I will be glad to help.   

In the meantime, have a great and organized week. 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, February 20 2011

You might have noticed that I have not written a blog in a few weeks.  Not my intent. 

There are a lot of changes happening as I continue to grow my business.  Not only am I working on more and more in-home service projects, I am writing more articles (both online and offline in publications), guest blogging, and creating more U Can Do It products.  

And, if that wasn't enough, I have recently decided to do more public speaking.  I want to let more people know about the benefits of getting organized - how it can save you time, money and reduce stress among others.  I felt the best way to do this locally was to create more opportunities for those in my community to get to know me and how I can help them.

As a result, I have created a series of FREE seminars that I am providing along with joint venture partners to provide information on how to get organized.

The first one is called "SPRING INTO ACTION" - How to Organize To Maximize The Sale of Your Home.  It takes place in Doylestown, PA on February 25th.  For more information and to register, go to  http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e3ca5kl0cb9d0498&llr=75dnw9cab 

The second one is called "YOUR HOME BASED BUSINESS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SO TAXING" - The Secrets To Getting Organized and Maximizing Your Tax Benefits.  It also takes place in Doylestown, PA.  It is scheduled for March 11th.  For more information and to register, go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e3ele72j8e7d46bf&llr=75dnw9cab

I am speaking to a Mompreneur Group in Horsham, PA on February 28th, a Moms Club in Buckingham, PA on March 16th as well as at a networking event at Bounce U in Horsham, PA on March 24th.

I also have another seminar/workshop in the planning stages with a representative from Tomboy Tools http://www.tomboytools.com where I will be showing women how to organize the garage to make it a space they can use.  The garage is not just a "man cave" anymore!

Needless to say, it is quite a balancing act.  I use myself as an example of how when things change, you need to change with them.  I have had to make changes in my priorities as a result.  The things I used to spend more time on that are less important now are now being put more on the back burner.

This is true for anyone and everyone.  When there are changes in your life, whether in your control or not, you need to be flexible.  You need to take a look at your situation and evalute what is most important and what can be set aside or delegated to someone else.  When a system no longer works, it needs to be modified or perhaps recreated altogether.

Perhaps you just moved in with your boyfriend (or girlfriend), got married, had your first child, had your third child, are getting or have gotten divorced, going through empty nest syndrome, widowed, downsizing or relocating.  These are major life changes that affect the way you do things.  

If you should find that life changes have caused your balance to be thrown for a loop, it's time to figure out what you need to do to get back on track.  As a professional organizer, I can help you create the organizing systems that will work for your changing needs.   

After all, it is a balancing act!

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:31 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 30 2011

There are several reasons why people put things off or delay getting started.

Do you have "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome"? 

Give some thought as to why you are avoiding a project or a task and then take the steps to change:

Are you overwhelmed?  If the task is too overwhelming, break it down. If it is still too overwhelming, break it down again.  Taking smaller steps to get something done is much more productive than not doing it at all!

Are you being realistic?  It's possible that if an item keeps showing up on your to-do list and is repeatedly bumped to the next day, it might be because it isn’t that important to you. Ask yourself if it is really your goal. It could be someone else’s goal, or their goal for you. Figure out if you want to do it or let it go by either delegating it to someone else or just not doing it at all!

Are you DISTRACTED?   It is important to set aside a specific time to accomplish the task.  You might need to go somewhere quiet where the interruptions of children, television, the telephone or your computer will not interfere. Figure out what is causing you to be distracted and make the necessary adjustments to eliminate those interruptions. 

Do you just HATE the job? Try swapping the task with someone else who is willing to do the job you hate and then return the favor and do something for them that they don't want to do.  

Do you feel UNDER-QUALIFIED?  Perhaps you have not tackled a project because you don't know how to do it or don't think you can do it correctly.  Don't be afraid to ask for help!  If need be, do some research, take a class or hire a professional to show you how to do it or have them actually do the job for you.   

With these tips, you will get rid of the "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome", stop procrastinating and get those tasks done!

If you need some help getting organized, you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, don't hesitate to contact me.  I will be more than happy to cure you of  the Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome!

Have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 23 2011

Are you sick of the clutter in your home but don't know how to even begin to get rid of it?  This is a common problem - getting started.  Why not take advantage of the cold temps outside and take some time today to get started?

If you follow the following 5 rules, you will be well on your way to eliminating the clutter.

1) Don't keep things you don't like.

This may sound obvious to you, but so many people have things in their homes that they're really not fond of. It could be a sweater that you never wear because you don't like the style any more or how it fits, but you're keeping it anyway because it was an expensive purchase.

It may be an old, beat up and ugly piece of furniture gathering dust in your storage area and the only reason you are keeping it is because it belonged to a loved one. The bottom line is, if you don't like it, it should not have a place in your home. Donate it to someone who will enjoy it.

2) You're keeping it for someone else.

Remember that your home is not the town storage facility! If you're holding on to things for your daughter who is now married with kids, give them to her and have her decide whether to keep or toss them. They belong to her, not you!

If you and your next door neighbor had a yard sale over the summer at your home, and your neighbor's goods that did not sell are still at your home, have them come over and pick them up today.  If she doesn't want them, offer to have a charity pick them up instead.  Just get rid of them!  Your storage space should only be reserved for you and the family members currently living in your home.

3) Reduce by a definite number.

When getting rid of clutter in a specific area, have a goal in mind. Be specific.  Saying you want to get rid of SOME clutter is very vague. However, saying you want to get rid of 20 items, or 50% of the clutter, is very specific. Focus on reaching your definitive goal.

4) Out with the old and in with the new

This classic saying applies to this situation.  When you buy something new, get rid of something old. If you just keeping adding possessions, without getting rid of anything, your home will soon be overflowing. Avoid this overflow by simply following the one in, one out rule to create balance in your home.

5) Never say never.

Lastly, if you constantly feel like you're drowning in clutter and you don't believe you'll ever be able to surface, the chances of you getting rid of your clutter are pretty slim. Never say "I'll never get rid of this clutter!". Always have a positive, can-do attitude and believe in yourself. Never allow your clutter to rule your life. Remember, you are in charge!

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and you want a better space, don't hesitate to contact me and I will be glad to help.

In the meantime, stay warm and have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:44 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 16 2011

What are you supposed to do if you are organized and your partner isn't?

This situation is more common than not when it comes to relationships.  I get contacted all the time by people who feel that they are neat and organized and their spouse is just the opposite and they are at wits end.  Ying and Yang. 

Although I find that both parties tend to contribute in some way to the situation, there can be a lot of frustration when you are living with someone who is very disorganized and you are forced to live with it.  It has an overwhelming effect on the entire household and your relationship.

I want to help you if you feel you are a mismatched couples.  (I don't mean that you aren't meant for each other, but rather, you are in a situation where one is clean and organized and the other is messy and disorganized and, as a result, there tends to be animosity.)

If you’re already in a living arrangement and are disappointed by your partner/roommate’s level of order, you need to have a conversation. Yelling and passive aggressive behavior isn’t productive and damages the relationship. Having a calm, sincere, and respectful conversation has the possibility of yielding powerful results.

It is good to have ground rules for what to do when frustration takes hold. Here are some productive rules you might consider establishing:

No nagging.  This is a problem that effects both of you and nagging someone about it will not benefit either one of you.  Try to find a reasonable solution that works for both of you.  Create a plan.  

No backpacking. Set a time limit for how long after something happens that it is discussed (like one week).  If you don’t bring up the frustration within that time limit, you have to let it go. You can’t fester or stew on a frustration. Also, if you’ve already discussed something, you can’t bring it up again. The reason it’s called backpacking is because it’s like people carry around another person’s wrongs in a backpack and pull every wrong out of the bag when there is a disagreement. Backpacking isn't fair. 

Discuss the real problem. If you’re upset that your wife/husband/partner or roommate repeatedly leaves dirty dishes strewn about the living room, your frustration has very little to do with dirty dishes themselves. You’re upset because you believe they don’t care about the cleanliness level in the living space. So, talk about the real problem and use the dirty dishes as an example of how that lack of caring is being expressed and how it makes you feel.

May times, the person who is messier than the other doesn’t care one bit if his or her living arrangement is disorderly or orderly. When this is the case, and if you’re the one who prefers a more orderly home, prepare to possibly take on the full responsibility for cleaning up after the other person. Do it because you’re the one who gets the sense of joy from an organized space.

If a pair of shoes in the middle of the living room floor annoys you, just move the shoes to a location that doesn’t annoy you. The five seconds it will take you to move the shoes are less than the time you will be angry over the shoes if you don’t move them. 

Arrange that you will do this for them if they agree to do something for you that you dislike or don't care that much about.  This will make it feel more like you are sharing responsibilities and they are not just falling onto one person.  Everyone has their strong suits.

Perhaps the problem is that there aren’t any systems in place to deal with the mess where it happens. For instance, perhaps your husband stores his wallet in a valet in your bedroom. Perhaps you store your purse in a cube near the front door. He puts his wallet in his pocket first thing in the morning and takes it out at night before he goes to bed. You only grab your purse as you are entering and exiting the house.

If your purse was supposed to be stored in a valet in your bedroom, I can guarantee you that it would never be in the bedroom. It would be on the dining room table or living room floor or wherever you happened to have dropped it.

So, a storage cube near your front door is perhaps the best place for your purse because it’s a storage location that works for you. Think about how you live and find solutions that meet your actual needs.

If need be, designate "clean rooms" or "messy rooms" in your home. You can decide that all public spaces are "clean rooms". This would mean that the rooms visitors will see when they come into your house must be free of clutter at all times. (Generally this is the first floor of your home.)

Visitors rarely come upstairs to your second floor, so perhaps the rules can be less stringent.  Things can’t be dirty (no food or bug-enticing items), but if objects are left out of order in these spaces, it’s less of an issue. Schedule a once-a-week cleaning for these areas.  

Finally, if you’ve tried all of the previous options and nothing is working for you, try seeking outside help. This help can be in the form of a professional organizer or perhaps a couple’s counselor. You want to work with someone who isn’t a part of your relationship and can see it more broadly.

I don’t recommend using a friend or family member for this task.  I find that they tend to impose their own agenda (not out of a wanting to help, but, rather, from lack of professional knowledge and experience). Also,   how they want you to get organized is not the system that would work best for you. 

This situation must be dealt with a mutual agreement between the parties; agreeing that it is something that is important and needed.  Otherwise, the one party might feel resentment towards the whole process.

Professional help could also be in the form of a cleaning service coming into the house twice a month. However, most cleaning services will request that the clutter be eliminated so that they can do their job properly.  I get contacted many times before a cleaning service is hired.  I come in and help eliminate the clutter. After all, they can't clean the floor if they can't find it!  Letting someone else handle the deep cleaning will make the light housework is less of a burden.

If you’re a part of a Ying and Yang couple, what effective strategies have you employed? I would love to hear your thoughts and I’m sure that everyone would benefit from reading your positive results in the comments below.

If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and are living in a "ying and yang" situation, don't hesitate to give me a call.  I can help you find the middle ground that will work best for both of you.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Friday, January 07 2011

So, the New Year has begun and a new decade too, for that matter.

Everyone is on the "resolution" band wagon the past few weeks and I want to let you know that I don't make "resolutions".  I set goals instead.  Resolutions tend to be so definite and so structured.  You either reach them or you fail.  What I mean by that is there tends to be no wiggle room.  Therefore, those resolutions tend to be so impossible to achieve.

Instead I set "goals".  I set them for my personal life and for my business each year.  I don't just have them floating around in my head, I write them down.

Most people do best when they write things down.  Not only do I write down what it is I want to achieve, but the steps I can take to reach my goal.

For example, if you say that you are going to lose weight this year, that is too broad.   That is a resolution that will most likely be broken quickly.  Instead, you can decide that you want to watch what you eat and lose two pounds a week for the next 10 weeks. 

Now, take a piece of paper or a post-it note (bright colored is best) and write down "I will lose two pounds this week".   Post it somewhere visible that you can see it each and every day (perhaps your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator door). You want to say this statement aloud to yourself (I have no problem with you talking to yourself!) and make that statement yours.  See it, feel it, believe in it.

Also, you want to think about "how" you are going to reach your weekly goal.  Using the example above, you can decide you are going to exercise, cut out junk food, drink plenty of water, use a smaller plate for your meals.  These are steps you can take to reach your "weekly" goal and before you know it, you will have reached your overall goal. 

Now, isn't that much better than setting a "resolution"?  I think so.  Just remember to write it down!

So, what are your goals for 2011?  I would love to hear about them.  Do they involve getting organized?  If so, I can help you take that overwhelming project and break it down into smaller, more manageable steps so you can reach your goal! 

I wish you much success in whatever goals you set for yourself this coming year.

Enjoy your week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 31 2010

One of the biggest and most common New Year's resolutions made every year is "I HAVE TO GET ORGANIZED"!!

Disorganization causes arguments, frustration, lost opportunities, embarrassment, stress and much more.  You can't find things when you need them and clutter takes over your home.  There is always too much to do and not enough time to do it.  There's no time left for YOU! 

The list of negative results from disorganization is sad and long.

I happen to know a secret - When you are organized you are free to live the kind of life you've always dreamed of, one that is free of clutter and stress, and full of time for the people you love AND all the fun things you want to do.

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get organized in 2011 and you are ready to live the kind of life you have always dreamed of - one that is free of clutter and stress, then NOW is the time to take that first step.

I am an expert in residential organizing and have been helping others just like you since 2004.  I can help you too.  Take that first step and contact me.  Find out what A Better Space can do for you!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, prosperous and ORGANIZED New Year!

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, November 21 2010

Did you ever wonder about those people who seem to have it all together?  Contrary to popular belief, they are not perfectionists.  They simply follow a few simple rules.

Here are  a few habits of highly organized people:

Rule 1 - Walk Away - Just because you can buy something at a good price doesn't mean you should.  You need to ask yourself "Do I already have something similar?" and "If I did buy this item, do I have a place to store it?"  The answers to these questions will help you decide whether you actually need to buy it or you can walk away. Remember, purchase with purpose.

Rule 2 - It's Okay To Not Be Perfect - Some people won't do a job unless they can do it perfectly.  Most people do a job that's "good enough".  That's fine.  It's okay to buy that store bought pie instead of making one from scratch when having company over.  You can easily get bogged down with the details of a task if you try to do every task perfectly.  You tend to be your own worst critic.  Lighten up!  It doesn't have to be perfect to get it done.  

Rule 3 - Never Label Anything Miscellaneous -  This term is too broad and only causes confusion.  If you randomly put a bunch of things in a file or a box and just write "Miscellaneous" on it, I guarantee that within a week, you will have forgotten what's in there!  Sort your items by specific groups and label them accordingly.

Rule 4 - Schedule Time To Declutter - Instead of waiting until you get in the "mood" to declutter (that will never happen!), create a routine that involves spending no more than 15 minutes a day.  Sort through your mail, pick up toys, clean up the dishes, etc.  Than, take one day of the week to tackle a new project in more detail.  You will find that the clutter will no longer build up and become another "project".

Rule 5 - If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It -  Do you find yourself having to try out every new gadget or thing that comes down the pike?  Be happy with what you already have and stop wasting your time.  Stick with what you have and you will save a lot of time, energy and money. 

So, do you think you possess the habits of a highly organized person?   If you do, keep on doing what it is you do.  

Perhaps you aspire to be a more organized person and just don't know where to begin  If so, let me hear from you.  I am more than happy to help you become the organized person you have always wanted to be.

In the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving holiday! 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:32 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 28 2010

Who doesn't have pets?  Most of us have or have had a dog, a cat or other types of pets at one time or another.  If so, you know how expensive it can be when they get ill and need medical attention. 

Commercial pet insurance can be expensive.  Like traditional health insurance for people, it doesn’t cover all medical procedures and treatments. Also, keep in mind that if you never need the insurance (we certainly hope so), you wouldn’t be able to get the money back that you paid the pet insurance company, accrue interest or be able to apply the premiums to another pet.

A better option is to consider setting up a savings fund.  Consider setting up a medical saving account for your current or future pets you might adopt. 

How to create a specialized saving account:

Start by putting a large amount (such as $500) into a special savings designated just for this purpose and then continue to deposit $20 per month into the account.  By simply creating a specialized saving account for your pet, you avoid being in the position where money has to be strongly considered along with treatment options.

Use this method whenever you acquire a new responsibility.  Simply deposit an eighth or a quarter of your saving goal into a dedicated saving account as the account’s start-up fund (or a multi-use account that you keep records for what money in the account is for what purpose). Once the saving account is open and initially funded, you set up an automatic transfer through your bank to put $10 or $20 (or whatever amount you choose) into the new saving account from your checking account every month. This automatic deposit removes the temptation to spend the money on something else.

You could create a specialized saving account for your automobile — $20 a month can be put aside in an account to cover service needs for your aging car. You can create a fund to save for larger home improvement projects or home organization project.

These specialized saving accounts reduce your stress, allow you to cover large expenses when they arise, and help you to live with an uncluttered budget (a budget where you spend less than you earn).

Do you have specialized saving accounts? Would setting one up help you to prepare for an emergency expense? What reasons do you have to create a specialized saving account?

I would love to hear your ideas!

In the meantime, if you need some help creating a budget, why not consider my U Can Do It Budgeting System that I developed based upon the budget I have used for myself for over 20 years?  You can find it at my ABS Store (look for the tab) right on this website.

Enjoy your week! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:06 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, October 03 2010

My first husband passed away more than 13 years ago at the young age of 40 following a battle with cancer.  Although no one likes to think about losing a loved one, unfortunately, it is a reality. Fortunately, my husband were able to prepare for that day by getting the pertinent information together that was needed in order to handle his estate.

I recently learned of a website www.about.com that I would like to share with you. I found it to be an extremely helpful site with a set of downloadable PDF files that you can print out to aid in organizing all of the events after a loved one has passed away.

The Death, Dying, and Bereavement Guides include six forms to help plan the events after a death: compare funeral/burial/cremation options, information for writing a eulogy, data needed for an obituary and death notices, and flowers and donations thank you note wording suggestions.

Although it might sometimes be unexpected, I think it is a good idea to fill out the forms that can be filled out while you’re still alive and put them in a safety deposit box or other fireproof location in a folder called "In the Event of My Death". (Please note that safety deposit boxes are sealed upon death until such time as an audit can be done so a fireproof box might be a better option.)

I don’t think it is too zealous to plan ahead for something such as this. If I can spare my loved ones some work following my death, during their bereavement, that will perhaps help them get through the process much easier.

Do yourself and those you love a favor and prepare ahead of time. The site I mentioned above is an easy way to get it all organized.

On a brighter note, I hope you have a great week.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, September 26 2010

Recently I learned a very important lesson I want to pass on to you.

Lately, I have been on a webinar and research frenzie, trying to grab all the information I can possibly put my hands on to work on growing my business and providing the best I can to my clients and everyone else who is interested in getting organized.

I signed up for so many webinars, I can't even count them.  I downloaded so many e-books, I ended up gathering such an extensive virtual library of information,  I will probably never get a chance to read it all.

As a result of signing up for all those webinars, I ended up on so many mailing lists and my in-box was filled daily to the max.  Everyday I would receive emails from marketers, coaches and other experts who wanted me to sign up for this or go to that...it was really getting out of hand.  

It got to the point I had to put on the brakes.  It was taking so much of my time to do all this, I was not spending enough time on what was really important.  I have always wanted to provide as much content and information as possible and spending so much time receiving instead of giving was causing an imbalance in my business and my personal life.

So, I made a choice to stop all the noise.  I removed myself from all but a few mailing lists of the people I was most interested in receiving information from.  I reset my limits as to how much time I take each day to review the information I do receive. 

I took a good hard look at how I was spending my time and refocused.  I began by making a list of all the things I needed to do in order to work on my business, not just work in it, and scheduled time in my calendar for them.  This included all the writing I do (besides this blog), networking, joint venture meetings, creating products, following up with potential clients, connecting on Facebook and Linked-In, answering email, and working with my in-home clients.  I set guidelines for myself as to how long to allot for these tasks and when they would be done.  Now, these important things take precedence again.  If there is any time left over, I will listen to a webinar or two, or download an e-book I actually intend to read.

Bottom line, I cut out all the noise so I could hear what was really important.  I now have my balance back and it feels sooooo good!

So, what noise can you cut out of your life so you can hear what is really important?  I'd love to hear from you.

I hope you can cut out some of your own noise but, if not, and you need some assistance, let me know.  I am here to help.

Until next time, have a great week. 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 07:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, August 22 2010

It's hard to believe the summer is drawing to a close and your children may have already started school or may be starting soon.  Start now to develop a routine that keeps everyone on schedule because it takes a few weeks to master. Here are a few ideas to help you streamline the process of getting ready so children make their bus on time with little fuss:

 1.  Get homework, permission slips, lunch money, and anything else that is needed ready the night before.

 2.  Wake the kids up 1 hour before school is scheduled to start.  This should provide enough time to do all of the morning preparations needed without too much stress.

 3.  Have the kids dress, brush hair, and brush teeth before they come down for breakfast.

 4.  For the most productivity in your morning, make a "No-TV-Before-School" rule. Television  tends to make children lethargic and irritable when you need them to be focused and agreeable.

 5. Have a list of favorite healthy breakfast ideas ready so that little time is spent in trying to decide what they should eat.

 6. Make lunches either the night before or while the kids are eating their breakfast.

 7. Have a list of healthy lunch options available for easy reference.

 8. Set a time for 10 or 15 minutes in order to complete a few chores before school: feed pets, make beds, pick up rooms, etc.

 9. Make sure shoes, jackets, and backpacks are easily accessible to children.

10. Start putting on shoes, jackets, and backpacks about 10 minutes prior to the bus arriving.

With these tips in place and practiced daily, you will find that you will be able to get the kids ready and off to school with much less hassle.

Try them and let me know how you make out!

In the meantime, if you are overwhelmed with the process of getting organized, feel free to contact me.  I will be more than happy to help.

Enjoy your week! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 05 2010

As you all should know by now, my favorite time of the year is Summer.  The problem is that mid-way through, we have to start thinking about "back to school".  The stores are all filled with supplies and the sales have begun.

Shopping for school supplies can be chaotic if, as with everything else, you don't have a plan.

Here are some ways you can organize your school shopping experience:

Consolidate Your Lists

When you have several kids to shop for, it's best to consolidated everything you need into one big list. Having a master list can save on time dramatically, which I think is a necessity when shopping with your kids in tow!

Shop For Sales

The school supply circulars are starting to come out in the newspapers, so be on the lookout for the best deals. Since our schools start on August 31st, stock up on supplies now, before the supplies dwindle.  I have found in years past that if I wait until school actually starts, the more specific things we need are already gone.

Sort It All Out

While you most certainly don’t have to dump everything out on the floor or a table to get the sorting process started, it can definitely get the kids excited. They tend to love rummaging through the pile of school supplies. It can be exciting.  Whether you are a kid or not, there is nothing like a pile of "new stuff".  To make sorting easier and to coral all of the school supplies, I suggest using a separate bin for each child. As you check the supplies off of the lists, you can then put them in their designated bins. Now you are ready to put them away until school starts and easily add the few extra things if you need to.  

Label It

Now that you have all of your school supplies neat and orderly, don’t forget the labels! Every school has different rules for what should be labeled.  Make sure you label backpacks, lunchboxes, clothing and outerwear too, especially for the younger ones! After you make the investment on all of that back to school gear, you don’t want it to end up lost!

So, have you started your back to school shopping yet?  If not, what are you waiting for?

Hope these tips help you have a more organized "back to school" experience this year!  If you need help because you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact me at A Better Space.  I will be more than happy to help.

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:36 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 14 2010

A lot of my current clients are away on vacation this week so I have had some time to focus on me.  What a phenomenon! 

I decided to take this opportunity to "get organized".  I know, it's hard to believe that my life is different from everyone else's.  As an organizer, it is pre-conceived that my life runs like a well-oiled machine at all times.  Why not, I'm organized, right?  Well, the fact of the matter is that I also need to work to maintain organization in my home and in my life, just as I teach others to do.

I decided to focus on one floor of my home at a time.  Yesterday, I started with the second floor.  I not only decluttered, I thoroughly cleaned as well.  I eliminated a lot of excess bedding (sheets and pillow cases) from my linen closet and am donating them to a local SPCA. I got rid of a lot of sample products that I had accumulated, including my dentist, who loves to give me dental floss every time I visit! I went through my closet and eliminated clothing I hadn't worn in a while and no longer wanted.  I eliminated paperwork that had accumulated in accordian files in my master bedroom and relocated it to where it should be stored - in my home office. 

I dusted and vacuumed and gathered a lot of items from this floor and am making a large donation to a local non-profit thrift store today.  I even ordered parts for my washing machine so I can make the minor repairs myself.  I feel good about what I have accomplished so far and am looking forward to working on the first floor of my home today and tomorrow.

There is not a lot to do on these floors but I want to block out a specific amount of time each day to work on a portion of it.  The sense of accomplishment I am already feeling is motivating me to do more.

My largest project is the basement.  It encompasses a family room, home office and storage room.  It will take quite some time to go through what has accumulated, especially in the storage room.  It's not unorganized, just cluttered.  I plan to take the entire month of August, in between working, to focus on this area.  I am going to break this down into manageable pieces so I can focus on one section at a time. 

By September, I will have decluttered my entire home.  Now that's a plan!

So, just so you understand, even professional organizers need to declutter and get organized at times.  I make sure the day-to-day stuff is still always maintained.  Sometimes, however, the other stuff needs to be gone through and decluttered as well. 

I am never too busy to help those in need, so if you need me to help you get motivated to declutter and get organized, contact me.  I am here for you.

Enjoy your week!  I'm enjoying mine!

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 08 2010

About two weeks ago, my very dearest friend announced that she was going to plan a surprise 21st birthday party for her daughter.  How exciting!  But what an undertaking in such a short amount of time.

You might think that because she is my best friend she would have a similar personality and the likelihood is there that she is organized.  Not in the least bit!

She called me in a panic the past week because she had taken the first step of inviting people - 73 that is!  She basically told everyone she knows and probably some she doesn't know too well to "come on over" this coming Saturday.  So, before she knew it, she has 73 people showing up.  Yikes!  Where will she put them all!

Now she is only days away from the party and there is no plan as to what she is serving or how she is serving 73 people.

Of course, I volunteered to help her out and create an action plan to get everything organized so that the party could run smoothly.

The first mistake that was made was that she did not make a set guest list and really see how many people she was inviting.  She just randomly asked everyone without taking into the consideration the ramifications of her actions.

The next issue is determining what the menu should be and how much food to provide.  (My friend is notorious for purchasing way too much food because she cannot judge how much everyone is going to eat.)  The end result of not planning is that you can end up with so many leftovers, you end up giving it all away because you just don't have room to store it afterwards.

The next issue is how the food will be prepared and served.  Will it be brought in by a caterer or will it need to be prepared at home?  If made at home, when will it be prepared?  Can it be prepared in advance so everything does not have to be done on the day of the party?  How will it be stored?  Is there enough room to store the food until its time to heat it up or serve it?  Do you need to create a schedule for placing items in the oven so they all are done at the same time?

The next issue is whether you have enough supplies - plates, cups, plasticware, napkins, bowls, serving trays, sternos, crock pots, aluminum foil, plastic containers for storage, etc.   When planning the food, you need to determine how it will be served to make sure you are not left stuck in the end with nothing to serve your food on.

The next issue is decorations.  Since this is a surprise party for her daughter that lives at home, no decorating can be done until that morning when she leaves the house to go to work.  It does not mean, however, that you don't plan what to decorate with and where to place it when the time comes.

Lastly, where will you put everyone - in the living room, dining room, kitchen, basement, outdoors?  With a large crowd such as this, the hope is that the weather will cooperate so many will be out in the backyard.  But, if the weather does not cooperate, what is the backup plan?  Will you put up a tent in the backyard?  Do you have enough seating?  Will you be doing a buffet style service and where will it be set up?

No matter what the special event might be - birthday party, anniversary party, christening, bar mitzvah, wedding, it all takes planning.

Be sure to leave yourself enough time in advance to figure out all the various aspects of planning the special event so that it goes off smoothly.  Reduce stress by planning ahead and then you can have a great time along with your guests.  

If you are planning a wedding, why not check out my "U Can Do It Wedding Preparation Checklist" at my ABS Store right on this website.  It provides you with a comprehensive list of what to do starting a year before the wedding. 

Now, that's how you plan a special event!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, May 30 2010

Do you  know "How Long Is Too Long?" when it comes to keeping something?

This past week, I was working with a client who had bought a new home and was transporting all of his worldly possessions from one home to another.

First, the job was a lot larger of a task because no sorting was done ahead of time.  Everything went with him to the new home.  He put off the task and decided to just do it when he got to his new home.  (There is lots of extra time and effort and expense involved in taking this route.)

Second, a lot of the boxes that were being transported had been stored in the garage for the past 15 years! 

When it came time to sort through all the boxes, it was not surprising to me to find that he didn't actually want 90 percent of it.  He had moved it to the new home for nothing.  A lot of the items were in very poor condition, dated and not useable.

The lesson learned here is two-fold:

One, don't move to the new home without first going through everything that you intend to move to make sure you still want to take it with you and...

Two, procrastination can cost you time, effort and expense.  It takes a lot more time to haul the items, it takes longer to unpack the items and sort through them then just not packing them to begin with, and it costs more to move them when you have to pay a moving company to move excess items that you will end up getting rid of anyway.

Do yourself a favor.  When it comes to moving, do the work ahead of time by sorting through your items, putting like-items together and labeling the boxes clearly so you know what room they should be placed in your new home.

Finally, holding items in boxes that you don't open for 15 years clearly states that you just don't need them.  You didn't miss them all that time, you won't miss them now!

If you are moving to a new location, do it in an organized manner to save yourself that time, energy and money.  If you are overwhelmed with that prospect, feel free to contact A Better Space to get some help.

In the meantime, have a great Memorial Day weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:56 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, May 23 2010

Being a professional organizer sometimes comes with high expectations from others.  I don't mean the quality of my work - I mean the perception people tend to have that I live in a "perfectly organized world".

It's funny to watch people come to my home and look around with eyes wide open, looking to see how a professional organizer lives. 

I always feel that I have to explain that I am human too and that I do not live in a completely organized home at all times.  Life gets in my way too!  However, I do know the things it takes to keep a home manageable and comfortable.  And that is all I expect from my clients as well.  I never expect them to be "perfect", just organized in a way that works best for them and comfortable in their home so they can enjoy it.

You can create your own definition of what living organized is about! In general, I think you would agree that it should:

  • Allow you to find what you need when you need it & have the ability to store it quickly and easily without frustrating you.
  • Work for everyone who needs to use it.
  • Ease your stress.
  • Free up time for the things & people you love.
  • Keep things simple…

And, finally, what it doesn’t have to be is PERFECT!

So, relax.  I can help you to declutter and get organized if it is just too overwhelming for you.  Bottom line, I want you to enjoy your home, not have a "perfect" home!  Contact me if you need me.

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 29 2010

I was thinking the other day about how much I love what I do for a living.  I wake up each morning and am anxious to start my day because I know it means I will be helping others get organized and enjoy their day too.  I am so fortunate to have discovered a profession that makes me so happy.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate.  I speak to so many people, through my client base, networking, friends, family and others.  So many people are just not happy with what they do for a living.  So many feel stuck in a rut with their careers and their life in general.

I can't help thinking the story of Cinderella and how she was forced to scrub floors and take care of her step sisters' home.  Even though this obviously was not what she wanted to do, she found a way to make it a more positive experience.  She whistled while she worked!

I am a true believer in a positive attitude.  It can carry you so much further than you ever thought. 

For example, I have a friend who drives a truck and although he is only 50 years old, he will be able to retire in less than 3 years!  He tends to think about having to go to work each day and the fact that he has to put up with a boss who he does not get along with and how early he has to get up every day.  All negative thoughts.

I reminded him how fortunate he is; that at such an early age he will be able to retire and start a new chapter in his life - to choose what he wants to do with it and get a pension at the same time!  How great is that!

My point is, no matter what you do for a living or where you are in life, you can always put a  positive spin on a situation.  Your circumstances can change if you look for the positive.  You don't have to feel so stuck! 

If you are stuck in a rut, look at what you can do to make a change.  This is true with a job, career, marital situation, etc.  This is especially true when it comes to getting organized.

Do you envision eliminating the excess clutter from your home and getting organized once and for all?  If so, you might be overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  You can simply get help from a professional organizer, even to just get you started.  By taking this one step, you will be able to make a positive change in your home and reduce the stress in your life.  Then, you can whistle while you work, just like me!

Keep those positive thoughts coming and start whistling!

Have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:56 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 20 2010

As a busy mom, you are responsible for running the household, caring for your children, being a chauffeur, and perhaps having a full-time career among other responsibilities. Part of those responsibilities includes meal planning.

As a mom, it is our responsibility to make sure that the family is fed and fed well. Providing good nourishing meals is important to us. However, chances are, your schedule is so chaotic that you hardly have any time to prepare dinner let alone find good nourishing meals that everyone will enjoy.

If you run home after a full day to get something on the table before everyone has to run out the door again for evening activities, you probably don’t have time to figure out what to serve. So, what is a busy mom to do? The answer is "planning".

Once a week, you should sit down with your favorite recipes, recipe books or go on line to find recipes. Plan out a variety of quick and nutritious meals you can make and have ready for those times when dinner is squeezed into a tight schedule. Include chicken, turkey, pork, ground meat, beans, pasta and casseroles into your plan.

Take those recipes and create a list of items you will need to buy at the store to prepare them. When preparing these meals, consider making a double batch and freezing one, so you will have a home made meal that is quick and easy to heat up but still provides good nutrition.

Ask your family what their favorite dishes are and include one of them into your plan each week for a pleasant surprise.

To save time, use a crock pot. Prepare the ingredients in the morning and let it cook all day. The meal will be ready to serve when you come home at the end of the day. The low setting is recommended!

Look for recipes and recipe books that have meals you can prepare in under 30 minutes. Schedule enough meals for five or six nights of the week and give yourself one night off. You deserve it!

Then, prepare your menu for the following week. With this system in place, you will be able to put a meal on the table almost every night of the week and not have to think "What should I make for dinner tonight?"

If you need assistance in pulling together your grocery list when planning your meals, why not purchase the "U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist".  It's a comprehensive and compact list which will reduce the amount of time it takes to prepare for and go shopping because you just simply check off the items you want to purchase from the already prepared list. 

Visit the "ABS Store" right on this website and make it a regular part of your meal planning each week.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, March 25 2010

You've put it off and put it off and now, you are ready to get organized once and for all.  What is it worth to you? 

This past week, I have been contacted by several people who thought they were ready to get organized.  However, when it came right down to it, they weren't really committed to the task.  They wanted a quick, cheap fix.  That is not the way to approach it.  You can always find cheap; but you need to find "qualified".

Would you hire someone who can add and subtract numbers to do your taxes or would you hire a certified public accountant?

So when it comes to getting organized, can you put a price on the benefits of eliminating the clutter from your home and your head?

What is it worth to you to get your home office and your paperwork organized so you can put your hands on anything in moments?

What is it worth to you to be able to enter a room and not trip over everything laying in the middle of the floor with no place to put it?  (Imagine finding a home for everything in your home!)

What is it worth to you to find more time in your day and be more productive?  (Imagine no longer running from one activity to another and being able to get everything done you set out to do that day!)

When you are looking to solve your clutter and organizational issues, can you really put a price on organization?  Not really.

What's important when deciding to take on this goal is to find a qualified, experienced professional organizer who will listen and create a system just for you. 

Whomever you choose, do yourself a favor and make sure that person fits your needs and you can work with them.  If not, you will not get what it is you were looking to achieve.  You will end up in the same state of disorganization once again. 

When choosing a professional organizer, you should feel confident in the fact that they know what they are doing because you are paying them more for their expertise than anything else. 

Anyone can spend four or five hours with you and clean up the mess, but will it stay that way or revert back after a short period of time?  A qualified professional organizer will provide the tools you need to keep it organized well after they are gone.

So, if you are looking for "cheap", that is what you will get.  When you are looking for "expertise", that is what you will find. 

Keep this in mind when taking that step forward.  It's better to put on two coats of paint than one.  It's better to paint all four walls, instead of just one.  Get the job done and get it done right.

I guarantee that those people who contacted me this past week and decided to go with "cheap" will not get what they were looking for.

Contact A BETTER SPACE if you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized.  I am more than happy to help. 

In the meantime, have a great week! 

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 12 2010

Unless you are living under a rock or in a cave, you know and are well aware that we are still in the midst of an economic "crisis". This scares many people. The fear of losing your job, your home and/or your investments can be overwhelming. 

However, the one thing I have observed recently is that this "crisis" is forcing people to stop and think about their particular financial situation and have a desire to become more aware of where their money comes from and where it is going.

The number of people per month who are still applying for unemployment compensation in the United States is staggering.  Of the nearly 52 million U.S. homeowners with a mortgage, about 13.8 million, or nearly 27 percent owe more on their mortgage than their house is now worth, according to Moody’s Economy.com. Most people have seen their investments and retirement funds decrease by approximately forty percent. The average American has approximately $10,000 of credit card debt. No wonder everyone is scared.

Many have attempted to cut back on spending in order to make ends meet and attempt to get out of debt. However, without a plan in place, you cannot be successful. If you do some research, you will find that many financial advisors and other "experts" have put together systems for creating a solution to your budgeting woes. I have found them to be very complex and time consuming, discouraging most people from utilizing them.

In order to successfully create a plan for financial success, you need to create a budget. A budget will provide you with a way to not only analyze your income (by way of a pay check, investment rental properties, alimony, child support, governmental benefits, etc.) but will provide a visual aide to see where the income is going. You cannot budget your money if you don’t know where it is going.

So, how do you begin to even create a budget, you ask? You will need to determine your income, determine your expenses and then create your budget based upon that information. This can sometimes be a complicated and time consuming process.

You will need to determine whether your monthly expenses exceed your monthly income. Does your current problems involve the inability to save month each month? Do you wonder where all your money is going each month? Do you feel that your life is getting out of control because of your finances?

If so, you need to develop a personalized budget so you can better manage your finances. Ask yourself - "How can I possibly manage my money if I don’t have any idea where it all goes each month?" The answer - you need to become more disciplined with your money.

Many people make the mistake of cutting back so drastically that there is nothing left to enjoy. Many get caught up in the "this minor expense won’t matter" syndrome. Before you know it, "these minor expenses" are added over and over throughout a month and before you know it, they really add up. This is sometimes where overspending occurs. And, don’t forget that budgeting needs to include saving money. Planning for those things you enjoy makes it much easier to stick to your budget in the long run.

You may ask why it’s so important to record all of your expenses. It’s important because, if you don’t track your expenses, eventually they get out of control. You need to have a system and it needs to be documented.

Now, more than ever, everyone is looking for that simple way to manage and budget their money. No one wants to take time to work with a complicated system.

No one has the time!

Take the first step now. Acknowledge that you need to get on a budget and commit to finding the support and tools necessary to get it done!

If you need some assistance, I have developed the "U Can Do It Budgeting System" based upon the budgeting system I have used for myself for over 25 years as well as my years of experience setting up personalized budgeting systems for my clients. Visit the ABS Store right on this site learn more.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, February 26 2010

I watched "The Oprah Show" today after a friend of mine called me to let me know she was talking about eliminating the clutter in her own clothes closet. 

If any of you follow Oprah (I occasionally get a chance to watch her show and I do get her monthly magazine), you know that she recently decluttered her clothes closet and eliminated 150 items that she intends to put up for auction on E-bay this coming Monday to raise funds for her school is South Africa.

What fascinated me the most, besides the beautiful clothing she is letting go of, including shoes, purses and blouses, (unfortunately I would never be able to wear a size 10 shoe!), was the fact that she openly admitted that she felt a lot of anxiety when she was getting rid of the items in her closet.

Oprah talked about the fact that she does not like to waste things and, therefore, tends to hold onto things longer than she probably should.  However, like most people, she was able to reduce the amount of items in her wardrobe once she got help to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of and knew that the items she was eliminating would be used to raise money for a good cause.  They were not just getting thrown away; someone who wanted them would be getting them.  Bottom line, if someone else is getting them, it feels so much better. 

I mention this because this is very common issue that I come across when working with my clients.  I am very sensitive to the fact that they don't just want to throw everything away.  (A good professional organizer would never do that.)  I make sure that we determine what charity or person they would like to donate the items to (assuming they are still in good condition).

I want you to know that if you feel anxiety when getting rid of things, it's a normal response and it's okay.  With the gentle guidance of someone you trust, you too will be able to eliminate that clutter in that closet much easier.

Remember, in the end, the clothes in your closet should bring you joy, make you feel beautiful and be usefulness. 

If you need assistance in purging items from your closet - not sure what to keep and what to toss or donate - contact me at A BETTER SPACE.  I will be more than happy to help.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 23 2010

Since we are well into tax season, many people tend to refocus their attention on their workspace where they pay bills, run a home-based business or correspond with friends and family.

For this reason, I thought it appropriate to provide some tips you can use to create an organized and inviting workspace.  After all, who wants to work in a space that is cluttered and, therefore, uninviting? 

Whether you're sitting at the kitchen table writing out bills, working at your desk in the home office, or writing a note to a friend on the computer, a pleasant, organized environment will allow for both productivity and creativity.  Focus on the following suggestions and you will find that the productivity and creativity will become established.

1. Eliminate the chaos.   If you have a disorganized work area, it will reduce the physical space needed for productivity, block your creativity, and increase the chances that you'll lose something which will dramatically increase your stress level. (No one needs more stress.) So, clear the clutter. Provide yourself with plenty of empty space. Keep a wastepaper basket near your workspace to encourage daily decluttering and clean-up.  Don't overload the space with nicknacks and picture frames.  Only keep those few inspirational pieces that you enjoy seeing in view, but out of the way.

2. Stock your workspace for its main functions. Determine what you need to use in the space and plan around that purpose. If you use a desk at home to write out bills, make sure you have a few pens, a calculator, some postage stamps, envelopes, address labels and other necessary supplies right in, or near, that work area. This will help make the task much quicker and easier.  Your filing system should be close by as well.

3. Use those organizing tools. Using appropriate sized baskets, stackable trays, letter trays, pencil holders, paper clip containers, file folders and other organizing tools can help you get your workspace organized. Before buying any of these tools though, be sure to take the time to think about why you need that tool and if the tool you're thinking about is the best one for the job.  For example, a decorative container on your shelf might hold all of your office supplies, but a drawer organizer can allow you to put more like items together for easier access.  

4. Think ergonomics. If you feel physically uncomfortable in your workspace, you will not be able to focus and will therefore be less productive and creative.  Do you suffer from eye strain?  Do your muscles ache from constantly stretching to reach something?  Do your wrists hurt from them being on a wrong angle for too long?  Does your back hurt because your chair is not comfortable?  Then, it's time for you to re-think and rearrange your physical workspace for health and comfort. Make sure there is sufficient lighting conditions. If not, you should consider adding some overhead track lighting or additional lamps that provide good task lighting. If your chair is not right for you, perhaps the seat should be raised or lowered. If your wrist hurts from using the computer mouse, get yourself a mouse pad with cushioning.  Lastly, make sure your computer monitor is positioned correctly, either at or below, eye level, at a comfortable distance.

5. Put stuff away at the end of the day. This is very important!  When you're done using your workspace for the day, put everything back in its place. Don't leave this area in chaos. This way, the next time you return, you'll have an inviting space that will allow you to get down to work without delay.  Who wants to start working in a chaotic and cluttered environment? 

If you follow these simple tips, you will find that you will have an organized and inviting workspace in which to work.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, however, don't hesitate to contact me.  I will be glad to get you on the road to life long organization.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 23 2009

I am so excited about my upcoming coaching program for busy moms.  This past year I have been focusing my business on helping busy moms and women entrepreneurs learn how to get and stay organized.

Not ony have I been busy writing newsletters, blogs and articles on the subject of getting organized, I have produced a line of products called U Can Do It which were specially created to help busy moms.

Now, I am pleased to announce that I have put together an exciting, new coaching program called "Living A More Organized Life".

With this quarterly group coaching program which meets by phone, busy moms will learn how to follow a proven step-by-step method to tackle and accomplish any project, be prepared for every special event, plan vacations and family time, make back to school a breeze and learn how to relax and enjoy the holiday season by having step-by-step ways to do gift-giving, decorating, large family dinners/parties and having overnight guests feel right at home.

This program begins on January 12, 2010 and then continues in April, July and October.

I am highly suggesting that busy moms not miss out on this opportunity to learn how to live a more organized life.  If you or someone you know is a busy mom, don't pass this up.  I only have 40 slots available and it will be filling up quickly.

For more information about this program, visit my special information page at www.4abetterspace.com/coaching.

In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 07:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, November 29 2009

Here are a few suggestions to make your grocery shopping as organized as possible.

1. Get it on paper. As you use up the last of any item, write it down on a designated list under the name of the store where you would purchase the item. This will help you find what you need right away. Have this list handy so your family can add to it as the need presents itself.

2. Avoid making two trips. If at all possible, try and do most of your errands the same day you do your grocery shopping. Make sure you take that list along with you, so you can go on the errand run without forgetting anything.

3. Be prepared. When it is time to shop for your groceries, try and limit it to one day a week. Gather up the lists and any coupons you can use. Have a designated plastic folder or envelope to hold them all, and have it with you at all times. If you should unexpectedly stop at that particular store, you can use the coupon for the items you need.

4. Plan your route. Knowing where you're going, especially when you plan to make several stops, can save you both time and money with the high cost of fuel.

5. Map it out. Make up a list of the aisles in the store, and the grocery items in each. You'll be able to easily pick up the items on your shopping list aisle by aisle, instead of in a random, disorganized fashion. This will help you get in and out of the store in no time.

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TRY THE "U CAN DO IT GROCERY SHOPPING CHECKLIST".  It enables you to simply check off the items you need, as they have already been listed for you, and categorizes the items together to make shopping simple and saves you time!  Go to the ABS Store tab for more info!

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6. Get help from the teens. When you are shopping with older children, divide up the list and have them pick up items from the other aisles. If at all possible, leave the little ones at home. They almost always add to impulse shopping. Plus your focus then needs to be divided between the grocery shopping and making sure the kids aren't pulling things off the shelves, or putting items you don't wish to purchase in your cart.

7. Keep 'em cool. Keep a bag or cooler in the trunk that can hold your perishable items. This will ensure no melted and leaky ice cream packages. Generally shop for groceries last when doing the errands--this way the frozen things won't have a chance to melt.

8. Instruct the Baggers. Request that the Bagger pack all perishables together in the bags so you can grab them first when you return home. This also gives you the option of leaving the non-perishables to unpack at your leisure.

9. Think about your calendar. Look over your schedule for the upcoming week to see if there is something unusual you will be using in a recipe, or an event that may be coming up for which you need to purchase a card or gift. Put that on your list also.

10. Carry the recipes with you. Carry your family's favorite recipes with you on little index cards that have the ingredients listed. You can see what is needed on the recipe card and get the items you don't already have. Saves unnecessary stops at the grocery store during the week for that one forgotten item!

11. Do a bit of prep work. When you get home and unpack your groceries, do some preliminary meal preparation. Cook meat and then package it into meal sized dinners. Wash all your fruit and veggies. Cut the veggies so you can just put them into the dishes you plan on making. This can be a real time saver for your meal preparation.

12. Double up. Plan on cooking a double recipe for some meals. Eat one and freeze the other for a busy weeknight dinner.

13. Create a meal plan. By having a meal plan for the week, along with the items needed on a list, you should have a quick and easy shopping trip each and every week.

14. Think outside the box. There is also another solution for grocery shopping. There are various agencies and many supermarkets that can do it for you. If there is just not enough time in your busy schedule, using that service once in awhile, or all the time if you budget permits, might help you get caught up with your To Do list.

By using some or all of these tips, you will find that you are spending much less time preparing for and going to the supermarket.  Using the "U Can Do It Grocery Shopping Checklist" will be a big help also.

If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE.  I will be more than happy to help.

Enjoy your week!

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 18 2009

I have always recommended to my clients that they make use of a "To Do" list. I even supply new clients with a note pad and pencil to get them started!  It is a  great time management tool and allows you to have that sense of accomplishment, when, at the end of the day, you see what you achieved.

However, sometimes people get too carried away with the concept and write down every little thing they need to do on the list.  I do not recommend that.  What sometimes happens is that you feel you cannot do something until that other thing gets done so that it never gets done and you schedule yourself so tightly that you are constantly referring to the list to make your next move.

You should look to your "To Do" list as a tool by which you learn to discipline yourself to write down only those things you can physically accomplish in a day.  If you list too many things, you tend to produce an overly ambitious litany that you can't possibly complete and which tends to lead to feelings of failure.  That can be very stressful.  The point of having a "To Do" list is the reduce the stress - by writing it down you get it off your head.  Be realistic about what you can accomplish. 

Choose to accomplish one major task per week instead of several in one day.  If you have a whole list of major tasks, put each one on a separate index card and keep them in an index box, pulling out one at a time.  When you have larger "To Do"s, take that index card and break down the steps it will take to accomplish your goal, putting them on the back of the card.  Focusing on one large task at a time will help you get more accomplished.

Let your "To Do" list fulfill it's essential role - to serve as encouragement and inspiring reminders to get the things done you'd like to accomplish.  Allow time to live your life.  Don't let your "To Do" list dictate every move you make.  Let life happen.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to me for help.  If you need assistance with this or any other organizational issues, simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE.  I will be more than happy to help. 

Wishing you an organized and productive week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, September 12 2009

Everyone at times feels overwhelmed.  Whether it's keeping up with the housework, running the kids to various activities, dealing with a sick family member, or getting organized, we all need some help.  All you have to do is ask. 

My first wake up call was when my first husband was diagnosed with cancer and was terminally ill.  I did my best to do it all myself, but quickly found it was impossible.  Reluctantly, I reached out to friends and family to ask for help with caring for my 6 year old son and helping me to care for my husband.  I quickly realized those that cared about me were more than willing to lend a hand during this most difficult time in my life. 

It's not a bad thing to reach out to others when it's all too much to deal with.  We can find lots of excuses not to but don't let these excuses stop you from getting the help that you need:

  • What if they say "No"?  - Don't take it personally.  Give the person credit for being honest with you.  They might be feeling overwhelmed in their life too.  Just find someone else.  Don't let that stop you from asking; it's worth the risk to save your sanity.
  • I don't want to owe anyone. - Believe it or not, most people do not expect, or even want, a favor in return when they offer their support.  They just want to be able to help out, trusting that when they are in need, the favor would be returned.  A simple "Thank You" will do.
  • It's faster to do it myself. - You may think this is true, but most times, it's not.  If you add up all the little tasks, you will discover that it could take a long list of never-ending to-do's.  You could be spending that time doing something that you are more efficient at and, therefore, be more productive.
  • I don't want to be a burden.  - People generally want to help out.  It's a chance for them to show you that they care about you.  They will not look at it as you being a burden unless you over do it.  If you are reasonable in your requests for help, you will get what you need.
  • I can handle it on my own. - Don't be a martyr.  No one can do it all.  Don't let false pride rob you of the chance to enjoy life.  Learning to delegate to others will free up more of your time and let others show off their talents too.  Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.  Together we can conquer whatever comes our way!

If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for help.  It's there for the taking.  And when the time is right, you can always return the favor. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed with your clutter, reach out to me for help.  Simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE.  I will be more than happy to help.  Just ask.

Wishing you an organized week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:15 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, August 30 2009

Life is complicated enough.

I have found that people tend to make their schedules and tasks much more difficult than they have to be. While there are hundreds of things you can do to organize your life, I believe these seven tips alone can help.    

1. Simplify your morning routine. Take a shower and select what you are going to wear the night before.  Go for a more natural look and use less cosmetics to save time.  Get an simple  hairstyle that requires very little work and is easy to maintain.  Set the breakfast table the night before. Wake up a little bit earlier so you can feed the kids, walk the dog and/or have a cup of coffee without the need to race to work.

2. Simplify your schedule. Stop doing the activities that you are no longer interested in doing. Delegate. Consolidate your errands to save time. Pad each errand, appointment or task by about 15 minutes and you will stop rushing from one thing to the next. Don't fill your calendar to the max. Leave some time open for fun and relaxation in between your work-related or chore-related tasks. Stop saying "yes" to everyone and everything.  Learn to say "no" sometimes!

3. Simplify your processes. Is it taking too long to accomplish certain things?  If so, take a look at those tasks.  For example, if it's taking you an hour to balance your checkbook, you might want to consider using a computer software program to manage your money instead. Are you  tired of waiting in line at the post office for postage?  Consider ordering it online.  If it's taking you forever to file your paperwork, perhaps it's time to revamp your filing system.  It just might not be the best system for you.

4. Simplify your possessions.  Remember, when it comes to possessions, quality is more important that quantity. It's better to have a few very nice things than tons of not-so-nice things. Do you have more shirts than will fit in your drawer or closet?  Do you really need that many? Donate clothes you never wear and you'll be helping someone less fortunate while simplifying your wardrobe. Weed out your kitchen cupboards. Reduce the amount of plastic containers.  Get rid of the small appliances or cooking utensils you no longer use.  Have a yard sale. Before you go shopping, get rid of something you no longer need. Use the "one in, one out" rule.  If your kids are off on their own, you may even want to simplify and downsize to a smaller house.  Remember, less is more!

5. Simplify your finances. Consolidate your credit cards. Most people can get by just fine with just one or two major ones. And, don't spend beyond your means! In fact, if your credit card bills run very high each month, consider paying for purchases in cash instead. Pay your bills online whenever you can. Balance your checkbook each month, so you don't fall way behind. Set up a monthly spending budget and stick to it so you don't go overboard with purchases each month. 

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Do you want an EASY way to budget your money?  Are you tired of those complex systems that you can't maintain from month to month?  If so, the U Can Do It Budgeting System is for you.  You will be able to download this e-book onto your computer within minutes and be ready to create your own personal budget in less than one hour!  Simply go to the Budgeting System tab right on this website and download it today!

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6. Simplify your cleaning. Clean as you go, and you'll never have to deep clean. Rinse dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher immediately after each meal so you don't have big pile-ups in the sink. (Remind your family of this rule, as well.)  Use only one or two cleaning products to clean your entire house--you don't need ten!  Create a cleaning schedule. You may choose to do a chore each day, such as vacuuming on Mondays, dusting on Tuesdays, etc. Or, you may prefer choosing a room a day, such as kitchen on Mondays, bathrooms on Tuesdays, etc. Divide up the cleaning duties among each member of your household. If your budget will allow, get a cleaning person to come in and clean once a week, or once every few weeks. 

7. Simplify your meal planning. Choose one day each week (include your family, if you'd like)to decide what you will have for dinner the next seven nights. Write those meals down and make a grocery list of the items you need to purchase to make match those meals.

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STAY TUNED - THE U CAN DO IT GROCERY SHOPPING LIST is being launched in September 2009!

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This is much easier than worrying about what you're going to make for dinner each day. Choose meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Make double, so you only have to cook every other night! Learn how to use a slow cooker so dinner is ready to eat when you get home from work.

 

Please keep in mind that with any plan, maintenance is the key.  By utilizing these tips regularly, I guarantee you will have A BETTER SPACE.

If you need further assistance with this or any other organizational issue, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE.  I will be more than happy to help.

Enjoy the last days of August!



Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, August 14 2009

Some of the people who contact me to help them out with their clutter woes suffer from varying degrees of ADD.  ADD is short for Attention Deficit Disorder.  For many adults with ADD, life feels overwhelming and chaotic.  Their homes are cluttered; laundry and dishes go undone; newspapers and magazines pile up; bills get lost in piles of paper, etc.  

In order to assist those of you who suffer with ADD, I recommend taking these 10 steps to building habits that will help you get and stay organized.

Tie a new habit to an old one.  Once you become an adult, you tend of have some ingrained habits.  It's easiest to develop a new habit if it's tied to an old one.  For example, place your vitamins next to your toothbrush in the bathroom to help you remember to take your vitamins each morning.

Make the habit as easy as possible.  Select a place that makes sense.  Pick a convenient, visible place to put your keys, such as by the front door.  Always return them to the same place each and every time.  Before selecting "the spot", think about where you would most need that item to be.  Usually your first instinct is the right one.

Make the habit hard to ignore.  Put the item in a place where you will notice it.  If you have to return clothing to the department store, put the bag by the front door so you will not be able to leave the house without remembering to take it with you.  I put my mail, bank deposits, cell phone and keys with my pocketbook so I remember to take them all with me when I leave the house.

Put reminders everywhere.  When you are first starting to develop your new habit, put sticky notes where you are sure to see them that remind you to act on your new habit.  You've decided you want to pack your lunch instead of buying it to save money.  At night, put a sticky note on the front door, refrigerator and kitchen counter to remind you to take your packed lunch from the fridge and take it with you when you leave the house.

Visualize yourself doing the new behavior.  Visualization is very powerful.  It allows you  time to actually imagine yourself doing something.  If the new behavior is a morning habit, for example, imagine yourself going through your morning routine which would include your new habit at the appropriate point in the routine. 

Practice correcting yourself. Everyone forgets.  Don't beat yourself up over it.  If you forget to practice your new habit, simply go and do the new habit the instant you remember it.  By just doing the habit at some point in your day, it will make it easier for you to do it in the correct time frame in the future.

Get back on that horse.  Everyone falls off the proverbial horse from time to time.  We are not infallible.  Remember that habits take time; forgetting is not failure.  It's just a part of developing a habit; so don't give up!

Problem solve if it's not working.  If something isn't working for you, change it.  Perhaps you need a different reminder.  Maybe you need to tie it to a different habit.  It might work better for you if you change the time of day you are attempting to do it.  Take some time to make the changes that will work best for you.

Practice, Practice, Practice. It takes at least 21 days for something to become a habit. To help you develop that habit, put the habit on your calendar for 21 days and check it off as you do it.  Soon you will no longer need to write it down; it will just come to you naturally.

FINALLY, Reward Yourself.  Congratulate yourself and celebrate the fact that you reached your 21 day goal.  Now, go on and create more habits.  Work with your ADD to take charge of your life.

You might find that you need the hands-on help of a professional organizer to get you started, especially when the level of clutter feels too overwhelming.

If you are bothered by your clutter and are interested in my services, please send me an email at info@4abetterspace.com and I will be glad to help.

Wishing you an organized week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:11 am   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments  |  Email
Monday, June 29 2009

This is the fifth (and final) organizing misconception I feel the need to "debunk".

It is the idea that just by writing things down, they will get done.  The truth is, you can write things down all you want, but if you don't act on the items you jot down, they will never get done.

One of my former clients was a stay-at-home mom and loved to make lists.  She had To Do lists, lists of movies she'd wanted to see, lists of chores she wanted to complete, a list of friends she wanted to contact and many other lists too numerous to mention.

The lists were good but here's the problem.  She never got anything done on her lists.  She felt that writing them down was enough.  However, it's only the first step.

I think having lists is wonderful and you should definitely keep them.  They are a great way of getting ideas from your head onto paper and relieving the stress of having to remember everything.  I use them all the time.

However, YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY DO THE THINGS ON YOUR LIST. 

I suggest that you schedule time daily, weekly and monthly to accomplish these tasks.  Some things take more time to accomplish so they can remain on a list for the month, with the idea that at the end of the month, the task is completed.  Put several movies on your list to schedule time to see throughout the month.  Don't overload the list so that the task is not achievable.  It needs to be reasonable in order to achieve it.

Some items can be done within the week and you can schedule time in your week to knock them off your list.  I suggest doing similar tasks together - such as running all errands at the same time, returning phone calls at the same time, paying bills at the same time, etc.

Some things need to be done by the end of the day.  If they are urgent, get them done!

Refer to your lists often and knock off as many things on your "To Do" list as possible.  You need to make a conscious effort to work on the lists that you create otherwise they just become lists and nothing more.  That is not productive and will just become frustrating when the lists grow and grow. 

The ultimate goal is to get the tasks done.

With the help of a professional organizer, you can learn how to best utilize those lists and create time to get them done.  As an expert in time management, I show my clients the quickest, most effective ways to best utilize that "To Do" list and other types of lists they wish to have.

If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at info@4abetterspace.com and  I will be glad to help.

Have a great week!

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, May 02 2009

Mother's Day is quickly approaching.  This is when we take some time to stop and appreciate all that our mothers do for us.

Busy moms have a tendency to care for others and forget to take care of themselves.  I have always believed that you cannot be good to others if you are not first good to yourself.

So in honor of Mother's Day, I want to provide a great way to help Mom do something good for herself.

MAKE A "MOM’S TO-DO BOX"

One thing you can do for yourself is to always include some "me-time" while scheduling the other obligations and chores that go along with being a mom.

Create a "Mom’s To-Do Box" that allows a flexible, adaptable method for staying on top of your schedule:

You’ll need:
• a small file box or a recipe box
• 8 dividers, one for each day of the week and one labeled DONE
• 30 3 x 5 index cards

On each card, write or label with a specific chore or obligation.
Some examples might be:
• Laundry
• Grocery Shopping
• Vacuuming
• Car Pool
• Pay Household Bills
• Etc

Be sure to include cards that allow for some "me-time".
Some examples:
• Work out
• Manicure
• Yoga Class
• Power Walk
• Massage
• Read Magazines
• Etc

Keep this box in an easy-to-access/easy-to-see area. As you plan out your week, slot each card into the day of the week you’d like to accomplish the task. Once the task is done, file the card into the DONE category so that you’re ready to plan ahead for the next week.

If you prioritize "me-time" as something that’s as important as all the other chores, you’ll be on your way to finding some balance in your home and life. By taking time for you, you’ll actually be taking better care of your family.

Happy Mother's Day!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 10 2009

Did you know that one of the ways to improve your memory is to organize your life?  That's right!  There are simple things you can do.

Keep items that you frequently need such as keys in the same place every time.  Don't strain your brain trying to remember where you put them all the time.  If they are always put in the same place, it will become automatic and you won't have to think about it.

Use a planner to keep track of appointments and due dates.  Don't rely on your memory to recall appointments and due dates.  Write it down in one place every time.  Keep that planner, whether it's a pocket calendar, your cell phone or your black berry with you at all times so that when you need to log in an appointment or a reminder for a due date, it is easily accessible.

Keep phone numbers in one address book, rolodex and cell phone.  Same is true for phone numbers.  If you keep all the pertinent information in one place, you will always know where to find it.

All of these tips will eliminate the stress of trying to remember to do things.  You will have a "go to" place to retrieve the information you need quickly and easily.

Improved organization can help free up your powers of concentration so you don't have to spend time concentrating on remembering those routine things.  You can focus instead on other things and thereby reduce your stress.

For more tips or assistance with getting organized, simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE.  I can show you how to create those life-changing habits that will reduce your stress and help you focus on more important things.

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:49 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 08 2008

Last Wednesday I was at a networking meeting and out of no where, I went into extreme spasm in my neck.  It was so bad I could not drive home from the meeting and had to leave my car in the parking lot and get a ride home from a friend.  I felt helpless.

Needless to say, the rest of the week I spent focusing on eliminating the spasms in my neck and taking time to recouperate.  As a result, I had to take a week off of work and not do too much around the house.  I could not drive so I could not run errands.  I was not able to keep up with the housework and not able to keep my home "organized".  

I have a hard time not being able to do what I normally do when things happen to cause me to lay low for a while.  Not my style.

I am anxious to return to work this week and resume my normal activities.

I know that most people believe that since I am a professional organizer, my life is always "organized".  However, this goes to show that we can all have times in our life when something comes along, unexpected, that throws us off course.

The important thing to remember is that you need not give up, but rather, work to get back to where you were before and resume those every day tasks.

Of course, being organized to begin with will help you to resume your normal schedule quicker.  Just pick up where you left off and accept that sometimes, we cannot control what happens in life.  Just learn to roll with the punches and be determined to get back to "normal" as soon as possible.

Remember, organizing is not a one-time-and-you're-done kind of job.  It's an ongoing process so get back on that horse and get going!

If you have any questions or issues relating to any type of organizing, please contact me and I will be glad to help make your place A BETTER SPACE.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:20 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 27 2008

I was doing some reading this week, as I always do, relating to professional organizing and came across the following statistic.   

Did you know that the average person wastes over 180 hours (that’s 7-1/2 days) and spends $3000 per year due to clutter and disorganization?

So I had to ask myself where all that time and money goes.  Think about it...

Wasted time is spent looking for lost objects. It’s spent fixing objects that got broken under piles of clutter. It’s spent shopping for replacements for lost items.

Wasted money is spent buying those replacements items. It’s spent on late fees incurred for those bills lost in a pile of clutter and not paid on time. It’s spent on videos, DVDs and library books not returned on time.

Understandably, these issues can cause anxiety and arguments with family members. When the home is too disorganized to provide a calm and relaxing place in which to relax, there is a problem. 

Simply by getting organized these issues can disappear!

Imagine...bringing renewed calm and tranquility back into your home again.  There is no need to waste your time nor your money any longer.  I can certainly think of better things to do with my time and money, can't you? 

If this bit of information doesn't get you thinking about getting organized, I'm not sure what would.  When it hits the pocketbook and your precious time, I would say that it should be sending up a red flag.  It's time to make some changes.

By using the services of a professional organizer, like myself, you will be putting your time and money towards a solution to resolve your clutter and disorganization once and for all.  It's an investment in your future.

For more information and assistance with any organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me.  I will be more than happy to help you reach your goal for an organized and tranquil environment by making your place A Better Space.

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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    Phone: (215)491-5193
    Email:info@4abetterspace.com


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