Thursday, January 10, 2013


It is January and also National Organizing Month!! 

The first goal most people have in January is to lose weight, the second under that is to get organize and most people are not even sure where to start. Personally I recommend starting with Paper. Specifically mail. The reason being a lot of our clutter comes in through the mail, and I don't just mean the paper in your mailbox, that includes the papers that comes home with our kids in the form of field trip forms, play flyers, sports info, homework to be signed, etc. etc. etc. It seems it multiplies overnight or even in front of your eyes. Add that to the bills, and other stuff that comes in and your space can quickly become overwhelming and sometimes even paralyzing. 

I recommend the first thing you do is set up a "family command center". I know I have blogged about this before but I feel it is worth blogging about again because paper is the number one thing that comes into play in cluttered homes. I have organized many rooms that seemed like they had so much stuff and the majority of it was paper. Once we organized the paper part, and threw away the paper they did not need my clients were amazed to see how much they actually had. It is very freeing to control that paper problem.

A few months ago I posted how I got my paper under control and wanted to revisit it and let you know it has been very helpful for me! It was even easier to maintain then I thought. I will be honest I have tried many different systems and setups and they would work for awhile and then stop, but this system I used has really really worked because it takes the guess work out of what to do with my paper. I went from this: 






I have found this so much easier to take care of. :) Yes sometimes it does get full and I have to remember to clean it out weekly or if we are being honest...every couple weeks. But it has worked well and when those papers come in I know exactly what to do with them. How to file them.  I also have been a big fan of this:

Whether I am at the doc office, my kids sports practices or whatever I take some of those files from my command center and pop them right in this and it goes with me. If I am at the doc office and need to take medical history forms etc. I have it available, and when I get new forms or new info from them it goes in here, then home with me and I put it away. Easy Peasy.  I have one for personal and one for organizing business. I keep my forms, catalogs, phone, keys, and of course my trusty label maker with me in it. I also always have my client files (just the file of the person I am visiting) with me so I can see whatever I need to. It has kept my car neat too. But that is a post for another day.

The products I used for my command center are the Sophisticated File Tote (mine is pink, but also comes in black and red and  can be found here,  File the Pile and can be found here and the Panic No More which can be found here. This last one is on special this below to find out how you can get it FREE in January.

I am offering a couple specials this month to celebrate National Organizing month. Here they are:
 For every $50 in regular priced merchandise you spend you will get our "panic no more" filing system FREE (a $23 value!) & for anyone that hosts a party in January (virtual or in person) the hostess will get free shipping. OR for anyone that is interested in professional organizing services I am offering that anyone who books a 3 hour or more organizing session with me in January....virtual, or in person, will receive their consultation FREE! (a $50 dollar value) contact me for more info! I would love to help you start off your year organized. 

Happy Organizing!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dispelling the "Perfect Mom" myth...

Yes you read that right, I said dispelling the "Perfect Mom" myth.

I am starting a new series that is a little off the "organizing blog post" path because this all kind of goes with the organizing process, but is not just tips and techniques. This series gets a little more 'behind the scenes" of organizing by dealing with our emotions first.

As a Professional Organizer probably the most frequently asked question I get, especially when I am speaking to groups is this: "So is your house and family perfectly organized?" followed by: "is your junk drawers perfect with cute labels on them?, is your laundry perfectly caught up? Do your kids have your natural organizing gene?

The answer?? No.  That is because organizing is a process not a destination. Furthermore in the land of Pinterest, homemaking & organizing blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Etsy etc. it is super easy to feel overwhelmed, under-qualified, like you don't measure up, uninspiring, like you are falling behind, even lazy.  In a world filled with social media and blogs the idea is that they are supposed to be encouraging, inspiring, and a great place to share ideas. No matter what era you were born in, most of us Moms all have a little or a lot of that "June Cleaver" mentality that we should all have it together all of the time.

Let's think about that for a moment shall we?  June Cleaver always had her house spotless, the laundry was always done &  she ironed her family's clothes, even their sheets and table cloths, her kids cloths always matched, and they always knew where their toys, back packs, and lunch bags were, and always did as they were asked with a "Yes Ma'am or Yes Sir" and neither of her boys had special needs or any medical issues other then a cold occasionally which was always cured with the from scratch chicken soup she made fresh that morning, she always had time to listen to Ward talk about his day at the office and any problems he had with a smile and witty answer, she even looked great when she answered the phone and her kids never interrupted her while she was on it or visiting with friends. She had a great relationship with her husband where their arguments were no more then a slight frown, an "Oh Ward you behave" comment, and solved in 30 minutes or less. They never went to bed angry, and he adored her and never appeared to look at another female, all her friends were married and they always played bridge or had tea and visited while their perfectly behaved kids played outside or upstairs and never interrupted them. She always made dinner from scratch and had it on the table at 6pm, and greeted Ward at the door with a smile and drink in hand all while looking beautiful, with perfectly coiffed hair, a pretty dress, and her trademark pearls. Let's face it she was Supermom

That sounds idealistic doesn't it? Sort of. Let's think about this: She also did not work outside the home, she had to ask her husband for money for everything including groceries, she did not take care of the bills he did and she had no say. She also never went out, had to do all the laundry herself, cleaned the toilets and house all day, had no outside interests, and I am not sure she even new how to drive. She was not expected to have a job, but was expected to save money and be frugal. Truth be told...she had a wardrobe dept pick out those darling outfits she wore, and an entire crew to set up her perfect kitchen. Her witty answers, and respectful husband and boys replies were all carefully crafted by writers, and hey she was paid to appear perfect.  So really she did not "do it all" as it appeared.
Does that stop me from inspiring to be more like her character? Nope!

I admit I wish I had it all together like she appeared too, and there is areas I excel in and a lot of areas I "try" to excel in and fail. I have a 3 children whom I adore, and who are smart, witty, funny, but who also seem to forget each and every time I have showed them how to do their laundry, who's room is not exactly Pinterest Worthy, who even though they are homeschooled, still don't always get their work done. One of my children has special needs, and to be honest, their is a guilt that goes along with that even though common sense and logic tells me I did nothing to "cause" the issues. There is many successful days with that child but there is many days where there is issues we deal with that are related to the needs that are overwhelming and frustrating. My husband and I have been married for 15 years and while I would not trade him or our marriage for anything, it is not perfect and we have been through many ups and downs. I do have to work. I teach preschool part time as I build my organizing business, I choose to homeschool, and appear to have a lot going for me, does that mean that I juggle it all well all the time? I don't. There is guilt and frustration that goes with that. There is also a lot of  pride and happiness that goes along with my life as well. I do love that one of my passions is cooking and I have freezer cooking down well, I am great at time management, and love to organize (hence my job) the areas I have organized I like and it keeps my sanity. The other thing that has helped me lately is that recently I was chosen among another group of moms to be part of a launch team for Jill Savage's new book "No More Perfect Moms". The book itself comes out in February but as a team member I have been able to get an advanced copy and what I can say is "WOW". It is so liberating and really is amazing. Jill knows exactly how all of us feel in today's high pressure world.  To quote Jill directly :
"Our expectations are often what keep us from enjoying our real lives, our real families, our real bodies, and our real houses. ... More often than not, we need to change our perspective to better cope with real life. We need to change unrealistic expectations to realistic expectations."
{Jill Savage in No More Perfect Moms}
As I go through this book I will be blogging on it and when it releases I encourage everyone to get a copy.  You can also go to Jill's site and sign up for the 31 days email challenge which has daily inspiration, encouragement, and motivation right here: 31 day email challenge

Happy Organizing!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Break...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I am taking a break till January to spend time with my family. However I have a series or two planned for January in honor of National Organizing Month! It will be great!

Until then,
Have a very Happy New Year!

Happy Organizing,

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1 week till Christmas!

~ Congratulations! You are ready for the season and can spend this week, enjoying the fruits of your labor. No stress. Sit back and watch a Christmas movie marathon with your family, turn on the fire place, play Christmas music, sit back and enjoy your beautifully decorated home.  Enjoy your family. Drive around town with mugs of hot chocolate and look at the Christmas lights. 
I will be back in January with a couple new series..and celebrating National Organizing month! Until then....

From my family to yours, I want to wish you a very Happy Organized Holiday Season and thank you so much for reading!

Jen Kagan
Cleverly Organized Chaos

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2 Weeks till Christmas!

2 WEEKS BEFORE:             
~ Put together your Christmas Menu and make sure you have everything you need to make it. Do all your food shopping now to avoid the last minute rush Christmas Eve. 

~ If you haven’t already , finish your Christmas shopping and wrapping. 

~ Start on your traditions, maybe you all take a trip to the Reindeer farm, or sing at the local nursing home, in our family we always take cookies to our local firefighters and policeman on Christmas Eve, so we sit down and make cards for them first, maybe you pack up the family with a thermos of hot chocolate and go drive around looking at Christmas lights.  Whatever it may be now that most of your prep for the season is done you can focus on this fun part ! If you don’t have any traditions yet,  now is the time to start one!  

Happy Organizing!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

3 weeks until Christmas!

~ Start decorating. Check all your lights to make sure they work, choose a theme, check all ornaments and throw away broken ones, purchase any new ones. And turn up the holiday music or put on a favorite holiday movie and decorate!

 ~ Go ahead and wrap a few presents, or all at once. However it makes sense to you, if you are  a person who likes to get it all done at once, go for it, if it is too overwhelming do a couple at a time while watching tv and it is easier. Another thing you could do is hire a teenager to come over and wrap them for you! It gives them spending money and frees up your time. 

~ finish up any shopping you have not done yet. Don’t forget the stocking stuffers!

and yes I do look like this in real life! LOL We all dress like this when we go shopping don't we? hahaha. Oh I kid I kid.  Especially with the holiday treats that are starting to appear everywhere.

Hang in there! Only a few more weeks to go!
Happy Organizing,


Monday, November 26, 2012

4 Weeks Till Christmas. :)

 Welcome to my latest installment in my "Weeks before Christmas" series on how to  have an organized Christmas and be able to enjoy the season!


~ If you haven’t already mail out those Christmas Cards. 

~ Put together the gifts for your child’s teachers, coaches, & music teachers. Some suggestions might be a thank you letter from your child, a bouquet of flowers with a bunch of pencils wrapped around it,  check Pinterest for other creative inexpensive ideas. 

~ Bring out that baking caddy you put together and start your holiday baking, what a relief it will be to know that all of it is done and put in the freezer ready to go at a moment’s notice. 

~ Try on everyone’s holiday outfits and make sure all fits properly. Make sure all tights, shoes, ties, are purchased and ready to go. 
Happy Organizing!