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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, October 16 2017
HOW DO YOU PLAN FOR THE FUTURE?

I sometimes get asked how to plan ahead on a paper calendar or electronic scheduler. I am sure this is an issue for everyone.

Sometimes we have things we need to do so far into the future, we cannot put it on our current calendar, right? Wrong!

For example, you recently got your colonoscopy and will need another one in 10 years. You need to review your Will, Power of Attorney, etc. every few years. You need to change your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide protectors in your home every 10 years. How are you supposed to remember that?!?!

Typically, if you use a paper planner, you might not be able to add something to your calendar for 10 years out.

However, if you use a binder-style planner such as Day-Timer or Circa you could use a to-do list (or just a blank note page) to capture all these future to-dos and carry that list forward, year after year. At the beginning of each year, you could add any relevant items from that list to the upcoming year’s calendar.

I do the same thing with my annual wall calendar in my office. I make notes at the bottom in the Notes section and each year, when I am preparing for the New Year, I carry those notes over to the next year so that I don't miss a deadline to pay my quarterly taxes, renew a certification or a domain name, etc. You can do the same thing.

You simply need to jot it down on your calendar to begin with and then carry it forward year after year.

As a professional organizer, I provide many other tips and tricks just like this one to create an efficient and effective time management system that you can easily implement.

If you would like to learn more about how to make the best use of your time and get your tasks completed, contact me.

As always, I am here to help.

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:00 am   |  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, February 08 2016
HOW PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZERS STAY ORGANIZED

So many times, my clients and potential clients want to know how I do it.  How do I keep my own home organized when I am so busy organizing others?  I found a video on line that explains, quickly, how it gets done.  

https://www.facebook.com/ELLEDECORmag/videos/10153174978241710/ 

The key is maintanence on a small scale.  It does not require a lot to keep it going after the initial organizing has been completed.

When you have a home for everything and everything is put in its place, it is easy to keep it maintained.  

I hope this short video gives you some ideas and inspiration about what to do after your home gets organized. Knowing how to maintain an organized home is the second step in getting organized.

If you are looking to take that first step and create a home and life that you "love" this month, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space.

I am here to help and have lots of great ideas and inspiration so you can maintain your home on a daily basis, too!

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, August 05 2015
PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS OF CLUTTER

You might not realize that you are living among clutter because you see it every day. Sometimes we cannot see what is right in front of us because we have become accustomed to it being there.  

It is possible that you might need to pay closer attention to the signs of clutter in your home. Here are some of the signs:

1.  Your guest bedroom requires that you move junk around so your guests have a place to stay. More often than not, because your guest room is used infrequently, it becomes a dumping ground for items that do not have a home elsewhere. The day comes when guests are planning on arriving and you need to provide space for them to stay. All of a sudden, it's a race to get the room in order for their arrival.  Learn to put things where they belong and not just throw them into this room.

2.  You know you have an extra set of car keys, but you can never find them.  If you have trouble finding that extra set of keys or any other everyday item, it's a sign that its time to get organized. Your small items might not have a place of their own. Locate a place in your home where the item is used frequently and dedicate that spot to the item. Be sure to teach the other members of your household to put the item back into this spot after they have used it.  

3.  You find that you are having to constantly return home when trying to get out the door in the morning.  You walk out the door to get the kids to school or you are running out the door to get to work and you have to run back inside for your cell phone or the kids' homework. This is a sign of disorganization. Plan what you need the night before and set up a station by the front door where school bags, purses, keys and anything else you need can be placed. Use a sticky note on the front door to remind you of those last minute things you need, such as school lunches, etc.

4.  You are paying late fees and interest charges every month.  Think about what it is costing you each year that you are paying those annoying late fees and interest charges because you do not have a system in place to pay your bills on time. Simply set up a bill paying schedule and designate a place for your mail. Create a consistent time to sit down and pay your bills each week or every two weeks to avoid this situation.  

5.  You never seem to have time for yourself.  It is vital, no matter how busy your life is, to create some "me time". You get up early and go to bed late. You are exhausted. Take a breath. It is okay to schedule blocks of time for yourself on your calendar.  It is a great time management tool. You need to create some time to do the things you enjoy doing, whether it's reading a book, taking a yoga class or even getting together with some friends for a few hours. Life is about balance; it's not all about work and getting things done. "Me Time" can be so empowering.

Take a look around. Pay attention to the signs of clutter in your home and in your life.  

If you are having difficulty with any aspect of getting organized, feel free to contact me. I am here for you! I can show you how to eliminate the clutter in your home and in your life.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  7 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, 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
Wednesday, July 30 2014

Even though it's Summertime and we intend to be lazy, it can sometimes be the crazy days of Summer instead.  The kids are out of school, we are running from one activity to another to keep them busy, we are planning and going on day trips or vacations and we just can't find the time to get organized.  

Not to worry.  You don't have to wait until the kids return to school.  You can still do some simple things to get on the road to organization now.  

I have some suggestions that will take five minutes and help you out:

1.  Hang Some Hooks - They take very little time to install and are a quick solution for getting things up off the floor - towels in the bathroom, camp bags in the mudroom,  clothes in the bedroom, etc.

2.  Do A Hanger Purge - Hangers that are laying around are not being put to good use.  Gather the extra wire hangers and give them back to the dry cleaner.  Refuse hangers when making a clothing purchase at the store.  Keep hangers on the rod for clothes that will be returned from the wash to mark the space where they belong.  One hanger per item is all that is needed.  The rest can go!

3.  Eliminate Junk Mail - While bringing in the mail each day, identify the junk mail before it even enters your home.  Keep a recycling bin and paper shredder near the entrance to your home for easy disposal.   

4.  Take It With You -  Whether you are leaving a room in your home to go to another, going upstairs from the first floor or downstairs from the second floor, take something with you that doesn't belong there and put it away.  This applies to your car as well. Before you get out of the car, take your trash or other items that do not belong there.  

5.  Create A Donation Destination - Pick a room where you can have a container for donations.  A great place to keep a donation box is in a closet or the laundry room for clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer like.  Other suggestions are for toys that hte kids outgrow or no longer play with.  Add to the box as you go and when it is full, take it to your local Goodwill or other non-profit charitable organization.  

So, no matter how busy you are, you can still find ways to get and stay organized with just five minutes of your time.  

Which tip did you like the best?  What other ideas do you have for five minutes of organization?  

If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help.  I have lots of great ideas for you to create A Better Space anywhere in your home. Contact me!  I am here to help.

In the meantime, enjoy your Summer!  

    

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 14 2014

Are you looking for some tips to maintain your newly organized home?  Some of you have already gone through the process of eliminating the clutter and finding a home for your things.  Are you done?  No, you are not!

Now you need to maintain the organized space you have created.  

There are some super simple and easy ways to put your things away.  They are short, sweet and to the point.

1.  Make sure it's easy to put your things away.  You found a place to store your holiday decorations in your garage on top of a shelf above the garage door.  Now you realize it's a bit difficult to get to.  (Been there, done that!  My ex-husband built a geat shelf above my garage door years ago to store the Christmas holiday decorations.  However, he always had to climb an 8 foot ladder and squeeze into a narrow opening to get the items up and down.  When we split, I changed that.  I was not about to climb up an 8 foot ladder, even if it was only once or twice a year, to retrieve my holiday decor.)  Consider how difficult it might be to put away and retrieve your items before committing to that space.  

2.  Make sure everything has a home.  All family members who share in putting things away should know where items belong. When bringing something new into the home, think about where it is going to live before you make that purchase.  

3.  Invest in good tools.  I don't mean the hammer and the nails necessarily.  I mean items like filing cabinets with drawers that extend all the way out so you can easily access the back of the drawer.  Purchase a better shredder to avoid paper jams.  Get items that will last so they don't fall apart and have to be replaced all the time.

4.  Develop routines.  Do your filing weekly.  Set a timer each night for 15 minutes for the family to participate in cleaning up. Eliminate junk mail on a daily basis.  Schedule one day a week to pay your bills consistently.  Determine what routines work for you and your family and be sure to stick to them.   

5.  It's doesn't have to be perfect.  Unless you are putting your home on the market for sale, your home does not need to be pristine. Set a comfortable standard in your home.  It's more important to have a home that is safe, functional and generally uncluttered.  Pefection is too strong of a standard to maintain and can be very stressful.  Relax and enjoy the comfort of your home without the clutter.  

If you have yet to start the de-cluttering and organizing process in your home, I can help.  I can set the stage for a home that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable for all members of the family to enjoy.  I have lots of ways to provide you with the tools you need to maintain the home long after the organizing process is completed.  Contact me if you want to discuss your organizing struggles.

In the meantime, happy organizing! 

 

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:24 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 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
Sunday, May 19 2013

There are times in our lives when we need to step back from our day-to-day lives and evaluate what is going on and whether it's time for some change.  We all need to do this from time to time.

There are times when we need to make some changes to perhaps better manage our time, re-purpose a room in our home or grow our businesses.  

When life changes, we need to change with it.  

Are you finding that you have more responsibility these days and you are not getting everything accomplished that you want to?  It might be time to step back and evaluate how you are spending your time.  It might be a matter of re-prioritizing in order to make room for more, while eliminating what is no longer needed.

Do you have a room in your home that was being used for a certain purpose that no longer serves you?  Perhaps that home office in the basement that you no longer work out of or enjoy spending time in needs to be re-purposed into a work-out room instead.  

If you own your own business, as I do, you might need to evaluate where you are and ask yourself where you want to be.  Is what you are doing working for you?  If not, it might be time for a change.

I personally just moved my home office upstairs from my basement into a spare bedroom that was not be used.  It was wasted real estate.  I have now created a new office space that features a large window and lots of natural light.  I purchased brand new office furniture that provides lots of space to spread out and, therefore, I find myself being more productive. 

Aside from that, I am evaluating my current business structure and considering changes that will help me grow my business even more.  I feel a strong need to reach out to more people and am working on ways to make that happen.

For some time I have felt the need to step back and evaluate my personal situation and take the steps necessary to make some changes.  I invite you to do the same. 

Don't become stagnant in your life.  We are always moving forward and with that comes change. 

If you need some assistance in making that happen, perhaps by determining how to repurpose a room in your home to maximize its potential or learning some time management skills to make better use of your time, please feel free to contact me.

I am here to help.

 

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

 

  

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:45 am   |  Permalink   |  2 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, 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
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
Thursday, September 20 2012

Can you believe I just said that!  Well, it's true! 

It's true that decluttering can lighten your load.  If you wish to sell items you no longer want, you CAN make some money.  That's true.  However...

Have you ever thought about this?  Although repairing broken items instead of purchasing a replacement can save you money, you sometimes end up with more clutter than when you started.  It is likely that you will add new items before the old items leave your home and, if you don't get rid of them quickly, they can linger in your home and take up space.

Here are some ways to AVOID the "clutter build-up" that can occur:

1. Stocking up on coupons and sales flyers.  They can start to fill up precious space in your home if you do not have a specific space to keep your coupons (as well as the large quantities of things you get that you might not need - just to satisfy the requirements of that coupon).

2.  Buying in bulk.  It's true that shopping at BJ's, Costco or any other warehouse type store can offer big savings and the convenience of purchasing paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. is helpful.  However, be careful when it comes to perishables (meat, poultry, dairy) and other items that expire.  It's possible they can expire before you get the chance to use them and then you are just wasting your money.  Also, purchasing in bulk is great if you have the room to store such items.  If not, don't buy more than you can store. 

3.  Saving useless things to make something new.  We all have good intentions but saving scraps of wrapping paper, buttons that come with that new sweater or those single socks with no mates can create clutter.  If we do not have a clear plan for how we are going to use them and a deadline in which to do so, it just all becomes clutter.  Get rid of them!

4.  Saving things that need repair.  It's true that you can save money by doing your own repairs (like hemming pants or sewing on buttons) but if you don't continually keep up with the repairs, the items can become a pile of clutter.  I have seen this time and time again when working with my clients.  Sometimes the cost of having someone repair the item for you may be higher than replacing it.  (A zipper on a jacket, for example.)  Skip the repairs that cost more than 50 percent of what it would cost to buy a new one and immediately get rid of the old one.  

5.  Collecting items for consignment.  Clothing is a very popular consignment item.  Consignment can be great if you have the time to take the items to the consignment shop and it's exactly what the shop is looking for.  Otherwise, it's a waste of time.  Also, you tend to not get a great deal of money for your item.  Why not have a clothing swap party instead? 

Feel free to go ahead and turn your clutter into cash.  Just remember, your attempts at saving money just might be creating clutter.  Pay attention to your lifestyle and whether doing these things make sense.  Don't let your clutter consume your space or your time.

Let me know your thoughts.  In the meantime, have a great week!

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:26 am   |  Permalink   |  8 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
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
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
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
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
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
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, 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
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
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, September 19 2010

Did you know that people spend, on average, 6 minutes looking for their keys in the morning?  That's 180 minutes or 3 hours a month and 2190 minutes or 36.5 hours per year!!!  That's insane!

Something so simple can be using up so much of your time.  This is just one example of how taking small steps to get organized can save you precious time.

The "key" is to select one location that you will always keep your keys, such as a pocketbook, totebag, hook on the wall, a valet.  There are even valets that are charging stations as well so you can keep everything together and your electronic devices charged, all at the same time!

Another step you can take to save time and get organized is to plan ahead the night before.  Take some time to select what you are going to wear to work the next day, make a lunch (which can save you time and money!) and put everything you need to take with you by the front door for the next morning. 

Just by taking one simple step, you can save over 36 hours a year that you can be spending doing other things instead.  Imagine how much time you can save by planning ahead and taking some additional simple steps.  

What simple step can you take besides the ones I've mentioned to save you time?  What is your "key" to sucess? 

For more tips just like these, contact A Better Space and learn time management tools that will streamline your processes and save you time throughout your day.

In the meantime, have a great week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:06 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, August 28 2010

Okay, so now you've organized your junk drawer, your closet or perhaps your garage.

Are you done?  Absolutely not!  There is one more thing you forgot to do.

You need to commit to "staying" organized.  Getting organized is one thing; staying organized is another.  Without commitment, you are likely to fall back into your old disorganized way.

Before you know it, that drawer is a junk drawer again, your closet is a mess or you can't get your car back into the garage.  All because you didn't commit to staying organized.

Most people think that the "process" of organizing involves decluttering, categorizing and organizing.  That's true, but there is still one more step - Maintenance.

Without this important step, the rest will fall apart and all your hard work will have been for nothing.

It's not that difficult to do; it just takes a conscious effort on your part, and on the part of your family, to maintain the organization of the space.  Just by putting things back where they belong when you are done with them is the easiest way to insure that you are staying organized.  By staying organized, you are saving precious time and energy because you don't have to go back and do it again!

So, can you commit?

A professional organizer such as myself will not only help you get organized, but show you how to stay organized.  Contact me if you could use my assistance.

In the meantime, have a great week!

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:24 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
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
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
Sunday, January 10 2010

Now that we have put away the holiday decorations, it's time to focus on some of those New Years resolutions.

A common resolution is to organize your crafts.  You enjoy all your crafts but they are stored haphazardly throughout your home.  They are in the family room, they are on the dining room table, they are all over the floor in the basement, they are in a pile on the kitchen counter.

It's time to get it together and get them organized!

Here are some suggestions to make your craft place A Better Space:

If you find that you are taking too much time to find the necessary materials and it's affecting your craft-making abilities, it's time to focus your creative energy towards a designated craft room.  Keeping your craft supplies organized will save you lots of time - more time to create, less time to locate what you need.

Whether you're into card making, scrap booking or any other type of craft, you'll have more time for the things you love when they are organized.

First rule is to keep all of your supplies and materials in one area of your home, and stick to it! Look around your home. 

Select a space that will provide you with sufficient storage space, space to work and, if need be, the ability to watch of your child as you work.  Why not designate a space in the playroom?  This will keep both of you busy!

If you prefer to have good lighting instead of convenience, set up an area in a well-lighted room.

Are you dealing with a small space?  Why not turn a standard closet into a craft closet, to keep things tucked away when you're not working.  Depending on the situation, you might be able to put a desk space in the closet with storage overhead to create a craft room.  If not, consider using a folding table that you can store away when not in use. 

Be sure to organize by hobby. When you have multiple hobbies (and a lot of creative people do), keep things separated. You can use a different shelf, drawer and/or color-coded container for each craft.  Try to keep these different items confined to their assigned areas so they are easy to locate when needed.  Make sure to put things back in their designated space when finished working on them at the end of the day to keep them organized and distinquished from other craft projects.

Designate a general space in your craft area for items you tend to use in every project - like scissors, glue guns and tape.  Store these items in an easy to access area, such as in a drawer or in a box on a shelf over your work space.

Think vertically.  Look up!  Look down!  Utilize all of the available space, without overrunning the home with craft supplies.  Think about using wall space for vertical shelving, over door space with clear shoe organizers to hold various supplies and even storage under a bed or table. (If it's visible, use a decorative container.)  You will be amazed at how much room you can create for your crafts.  Be creative!

If you want to be mobile, think about using on-the-go storage. A rolling cart will give you the flexibility to take your creative works with you.  Be sure to select a portable container that can organize your projects and supplies by compartmentalizing them.

Use your imagination to create a place where you can maximize your potential without the distraction of clutter and most importantly, ENJOY!

If you need any assistance with this or any other type of organization, please feel free to contact me.  I will be more than happy help.

Have a great week! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:12 am   |  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
Sunday, October 18 2009

I am currently working with a client who has discovered that she has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).  She is working with me to learn how to create a system for getting and staying organized.

One of the things I suggested she do on a daily basis, when I am not physically there with her to coach her, is to simply take just 5 minutes a day to focus on one area of her home and declutter it by putting things away.  Basically, straightening up.

Granted, things need to have a home to begin with so that they can be put away.  That is what I am working on with her during our sessions.  However, in the meantime, she has taken my advice and has begun practicing this ritual.  To her surprise, she has found that just those 5 minutes a day can really make a difference.  Sometimes, she is feeling so productive, she takes more than just 5 minutes, but the 5 minutes is the minimum. 

Consistency is the key to success and if you just commit that short amount of time each and every day, you will find that you can keep it under control.  If there are other family members, get them to do the same thing with a particular area of the home.  Just having each of them put things away for about 5 minutes a day can add up to a lot of decluttering in one day!

Give it a try and let me know how you make out.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, simply contact A BETTER SPACE.  I will be more than happy to help.

Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  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
Sunday, August 02 2009

It seems like yesterday we were getting ready for the Summer season.  The time is flying by but you still have time to organize the time that remains. 

Summer is my favorite season of the year.  I love the warm summer days, outdoor activities, the fact that the sun doesn't set until about 8:30 and the natural beauty of my backyard on a quiet summer evening.  It is a wonderfully lazy time of year.

However, it doesn't mean we can't be productive at the same time. Here are a few examples to help you organize so you can chill out this summer:

1. Plan your dinner first thing in the morning. Make it a crock pot or grill meal. Defrost your meat in the refrigerator overnight. Get your veggies washed and ready early in the morning.  Plan your dessert --something cool and fresh. For example, fruit, pudding, Jell-O, or a simple scoop of ice cream or sherbert.

2. Pre-cook or pick up a rotisserie chicken.  Use the chicken for a dinner or lunch during the week. It's quick and delicious!

3. Do the laundry in the morning. Before the heat of the day sets in, you will be done. If you can, hang clothes outside to air dry. There's nothing like the smell of freshly aired sheets on a bed.

4. Use bath towels a couple of times before washing them. Have each person hold on to their towel for a couple of uses if possible. Designate a different color for each family member. Put hooks on the back of bathroom doors to hang them to dry.  If the kids are in the pool, have them put their towels over the railings or a portable drying rack to dry, and use them again.  Less laundry in the summer is great.

5. If you are planning a trip to the beach, have everything packed up and in the car the night before--including non-perishable foods. If possible have all the perishable foods prepped and ready to grab from the refrigerator and placed in your cooler before you leave.  This will save the last minute hassle of loading up the car in the morning so you can get to the beach earlier!

6. Plan some short distance or local places to visit.  Visit an amusement park, a museum, or public park. Pretend you are visiting a new city and look at it with "new eyes", even if you have been there before. Exhibits change often, or perhaps they are a favorite exhibit that you enjoy seeing over and over again.

7. Have a picnic dinner one evening each week. Sit outside and have sandwiches--perhaps the kids can help prepare them. Serve quick-to-prepare items like fruit salad or pre-made potato salad from your grocer. Be creative!  If the weather doesn't cooperate, throw a big blanket on the floor and have a picnic in the family room or living room! It is the "being together" that is important.

8. Store some home decorations away for the summer. The house will feel more roomy for the summer. There will be less to dust and clean; more time to play!

9. Plan on doing yard work either early in the morning or in the evening to avoid working in the heat of the day. Also, it's best to water your plants at these times of the day.  If it is hot, remember to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated. Don't forget your sunscreen before going out in the sun!

10. Enjoy not having plans a few of days a week. Sleep later and just enjoy the day, read, or work on crafts. When you make your schedule for the week, leave a day or two open to just relax and enjoy without making concrete plans.

11. Have the kids' clothes laid out the night before going somewhere. Avoid running late in the morning, and get on the road to your destination on time so you can take advantage of the full day.  

12. Have a movie marathon. Make a simple meal that includes finger foods, make some popcorn and sit in the family room and watch movies together. Have each person suggest a movie and then you can all decide on the ones to rent.

13. Each week, exchange a meal. Cook a double-size meal for your family and give half of that meal to a neighbor. Then your neighbor does the same for you.  Do a pot luck in the backyard with some friends and neighbors and enjoy those great summer evenings together.

By using some or all of these suggestions, you will be able to relax and enjoy the lazy days of summer - before the kids go back to school and the crazy routines start up again!

In the meantime, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at info@4abetterspace.com and I will be glad to help.

Enjoy the rest of your Summer!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:28 am   |  Permalink   |  2 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
Monday, May 25 2009

Continuing with the same theme as last time, I want to "debunk" another misconception that comes to mind.  Many believe that "multi-tasking" is necessary in order to be organized.  This is so untrue. 

While multi-tasking can definitely be useful in certain situations, sometimes it can actually cause you to lose your focus.  You are distracted by too many things at one time.

For instance, I had a client once that was a graphic designer, named Sue.  She told me about a time when she was working on a very important design project for a major client.  Since she felt she was an excellent multi-tasker, she was always fielding phone calls while she was working on this project.

When the time came to present her project to her customer, it was immediately brought to Sue's attention that there was a major omission in the marketing piece - their phone number!  Needless to say, Sue was very embarrassed.  She had to take additional time to edit the piece and resubmit it to her clients.  

Following this incident, Sue recognized that if she had let her voice mail field her phone calls for her while she was working on this project, she would have fully focused on the project at hand, checking it thoroughly without interruption and would have submitted the project correctly the first time.  She recognized how she originally thought multi-tasking would be productive, but instead learned how counter-productive it can sometimes be.

Whenever you are faced with a larger, more daunting task, you need to block out everything else around you so that you can pay complete attention to that task or project.  

This type of distraction can also be true when working on an organizing project.  I help many of my clients stay focused on the task at hand which enables them to complete the task more efficiently and completely.  When I work with them, we are setting aside a specific amount of time to accomplish a particular task.  I do not allow them to wander off to another room or begin another project until the one we are working on is completed.

You will find that working with a professional organizer will enable you to stay focused and get those long overdue projects behind you.  Keep it in mind...

The next time, we will discuss the art of "flexibility".

In the meantime, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at info@4abetterspace.com and I will be glad to help.

 

  

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 05:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, May 18 2009

When speaking with people about organizing over the course of the last five years I've been in business, I have discovered that many people have certain general misconceptions about what it means to get organized.

For that reason, I have decided it would be a good time to "debunk" those misconceptions in a short series of blogs, starting today.

The first misconception that comes to mind is assuming that containers will organize you.  While it is true that containers can be wonderful tools for helping you get organized, containers alone will not help you.

For instance, I once spoke with a photographer, named Jack.  He called me because he was frustrated.  He had purchased 10 large plastic containers with the idea that they would help him organize all of his photography equipment. 

He told me he divided all of his equipment up among the containers, but when he was done, he found he still couldn't find what he was looking for when he needed it and he was frustrated.  He had been sure that this was a good solution, but it turned out not to be so.  Jack had mistakenly assumed that all he needed to do to get himself organized was a few containers.

What he found out after speaking with me was what he really needed was a bit of know-how about what kind of containers would best suit his needs, proper sorting techniques and appropriate storage.  He hired me to do just that. 

Instead of repeatedly spending time and money trying to solve his organizing dilema, he utilized my services to show him and teach him the best solutions for his situation.  Jack learned a valuable lesson that will last for years to come.

Before you go out and waste time and money purchasing the wrong containers or any other organizing storage product, it's important to first learn about how to get organized.  With that bit of knowledge and some planning, you will no longer waste your time and money trying to get organized.  With the assistance of a professional organizer, you will learn what the best organizing solutions are to meet your specific needs.

Something to think about...

Next time, I will discuss the art of "multi-tasking".

In the meantime, if you have any organizing questions or problems you would like me to address, send me an email at info@4abetterspace.com and I will be glad to help.

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:33 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
Tuesday, June 24 2008

It's officially Summer!  This is a great time to consolidate your efforts to save time and energy so you can have more time and energy to do those Summer activities. 

Here are some quick tips for A BETTER SPACE in your day:

Shop for groceries once rather than three or four times a week.  Plan out a menu for the week and do it all at once.  It will not only save you time and energy, it will save you gas!  You would be surprised how those trips to the grocery store can add up.

Iron a bunch of items at one time rather than one at a time.  It takes time to pull out that iron and ironing board and set it up to iron.   Gather the items you have laundered for the week and do it all at once.  It will also save you time when you go to get dressed in the morning.  You will not have to take time to iron that particular item; it will already have been pressed and ready to go!  Also, cut down on your ironing time by pulling items right from the warm dryer and hanging them immediately.  The warmth from the dryer will release a lot of those wrinkles on their own, saving you time.

Double a recipe and freeze half for another time.  When making dinner, double it and store the additional amount for another meal.  Over the course of time, you will have built up an array of dinner options and all you will have to do is defrost them and heat them up.  This will save lots of time on those nights when there is just a short amount of time to put dinner on the table.

Lastly, buy all the birthday and other special-occasion cards and gifts you need one month in advance.  Sit down with your calendar and figure out whose birthday is coming up the next month and plan to purchase a card and perhaps a gift.  Planning out what you need for when will save you time and effort.  When the day arrives, you will be ready!

Hope these tips will help you enjoy more of your time this Summer and throughout the rest of the year.

For more information and assistance on any organizing issue you may have, feel free to contact me.  I will be more than happy to help you reach your organizing goals.

Have a great week!

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, January 10 2008

Welcome!  This is my first of many blogs!  My intention is to provide you with updated information about what is new and exciting in the world of organization and provide you with Quick Tips for A Better Space.  My goal is to write a new blog on a weekly basis. If I come across something I think you would be interested in, I might blog more often, so check back often to see what's happening!   Feel free to leave feedback at any time.  I appreciate your input. 

This web site has been up and running for the first time this week and I am excited to be able to bring you information you can use in your daily life.

Today, my first Quick Tip for A Better Space is called: 

TIME MANAGEMENT 101

With the start of the New Year, now is the time to get control over your time, rather than have time control you. For both entrepreneurs and individuals with flexible schedules, proper time management can be an invaluable skill when attempting to reach your goals.

Using a weekly planner, look ahead to next week.  First, block off the firm commitments like school or work. 

Next, decide on two to three blocks of time during the week that will be spent furthering your career ie., business reading or researching, networking and making contacts, catching up on emails etc.  

If you are a stay-at-home mom (or dad), create a block of time to accomplish your household management goals for that week, whether its running errands, paying bills, taking Billy to soccer, etc. or larger projects, like cleaning out a closet, planning a party, trimming the hedges. 

Sometimes, the larger projects will require more than one block of time, so look to the next week or even the week after in order to complete the project.  If you are under a deadline, keep that in mind when blocking out your time to be sure you get it done on time.  Don't procrastinate!  Working on your project on a consistent basis will get the job done.

Next add in blocks for leisure and exercise.  These are just as important.  If you take some personal time for yourself, you will feel more energized and better able to handle your other commitments and obligations.

By making time for the things that matter most, you’ll have better control over your schedule and won’t waste time doing things that are not moving you towards your goals.

For more information and assistance on this topic, feel free to contact me.  I will be more than happy to help you reach your goals for organization and make your place A Better Space.

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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    A BETTER SPACE
    Phone: (215)491-5193
    Email:info@4abetterspace.com


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