Sticky: Professional organizer

Hi there. My name is Vicki Winterton. I have worked as a Utah located professional organizer for nearly 10 years. I work in the homes and home offices of people located in the Park City, Salt Lake Valley, and Utah County areas. I created this blog so that I could share my experiences and help people everywhere learn how to downsize, simplify, and then organize their home spaces.

Organization is a valuable skill that saves us time AND money, and I offer some helpful insights that I’ve learned over the past decade. In addition to the information contained within this blog, I’ve created do-it-yourself guides that have been purchased by hundreds of people from across the USA right here in my website store. These printable kits (offered this week at a 20% savings) contain proven best practices and procedures for organizing just about any part of your home and daily life. In fact, many of my DIY products are so helpful that they have been optioned up and are now sold through a big upscale online organizing store.

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Book Review

The Organized Mind

Book - The Organized MindI just finished reading the non-fiction book THE ORGANIZED MIND: THINKING STRAIGHT IN THE AGE OF INFORMATION OVERLOAD by Dr. Danial Levitin who included loads of scholarly research.  The author, a neuroscientist himself, tells us in the book that neuroscientists have learned a lot about the brain in relation to organization and productivity, but it hasn’t trickled down to the average reader. His aim was to bring the science to the average person.

Noted below are five tips on organization that I found valuable in Dr. Levitin’s book:

  1. Top 5Take breaks.What do air traffic controllers and simultaneous translators for the United Nations have in common? Their jobs are so stressful, they’re mandated to operate on “duty cycles” of time on and time off. One study showed overtime workers suffer from profound diminishing returns—for every extra hour, they achieved only 20 minutes’ worth of work.
  2. Embrace a (modified) paper to-do list. Dr. Levitin recommends writing to-dos on small pieces of paper like index cards, then making piles based on priority—a technique used by Sheryl Sandberg. You can “rejigger” the cards with ease, he says, and making physical piles frees up your attention for the task at hand.
  3. Don’t forget to purge. Enough said.
  4. Don’t spend more time on a decision than it’s worth. “Figure out what your time is worth or what you and you company stand to gain or lose, and figure out how much time it’s worth investing in the decision,” Dr. Levitin says.
  5. Don’t over-organize.“The obvious rule of efficiency is you don’t want to spend more time organizing than it’s worth,” Dr. Levitin says. “If you’re finding things quickly enough as it is, then don’t go to all the trouble to reorganize.”

A few more trivial interesting facts included the following:

  • Each of us has the equivalent of half a million books stored on our computer.
  • Our brains have a hard time separating the trivial from the important.
  • Our brains are immediate change detectors.
  • Older people tend to remember positive things. Younger people tend to remember negative events and things.

It was an interesting book. I would recommend it.Signature closing

Hoarding – How to Let Go

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I worked with a client yesterday who is a mild hoarder. I have changed her name to protect her identity. I will call her Samantha to protect her real identity.

10 bags of clothes to donateSamantha is a wonderful accomplished woman who went through a major life tragedy 24 years back and coped with her loss by taking up shopping. I have met with Samantha and her husband 3 times previously as we downsized and then organized her kitchen, clothes closet, and master bathroom.

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Home Organization Specialist

home organization specialist 1

Home Organization Specialist - organizing mastery setI was invited once again to be the home organization specialist on KSL Television’s Studio 5 TV Show. The 8 minute show segment focused on the following:

  • Items that can be tossed in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, family room, and home office of every home.
  • How to best organize these rooms with tricks and tools used by trained professional home organizers. (BTW: the products I showcased can be found at your local Bed, Bath and Beyond store.)

As I closed the show I offered a free printable of which you can easily take advantage.

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More Home Organizing Success

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EL in Orem - BEFORE Kitchen Pantry (1)Elise had attended my January 2015 “Home Organizing Success” class at the Orem Library. Elise told me when she called that she had tried to organize her home on her own many times, but had not been successful and that attending the class had helped her understand my 5-step home organizing process, but that she was part of the 40% who needed to work side-by-side with someone to really feel she could organize her home trouble spots.

Those trouble spots were:

  1. Her pantry closet  (see the photo to the right)
  2. Her medicine closet / first-aid closet
  3. Her basement food storage room (see the photo below)
  4. Her sewing room

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Should I Sell OR Donate My Stuff?

getting rid of stuffMany of my clients ask me, “Should I sell or donate my stuff?” Those items that are still in good condition but that they no longer use, need, or love. This is how I help them decide:

Sell it if:

  • It’s worth more quite a bit more than the selling fees and
  • You’re motivated enough to organize the garage sale or online sell.

Be sure it is worth the major time and effort you will have to invest to sell the item.

Donate it if:

  • It’s in good condition and
  • The question of donating versing tossing  helps you let it go.

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Utah Home Organizing Success Story

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BEFORE NP in Lehi Food Stroage Room 2

I helped Nichole move into her Lehi, Utah home five years ago. She and I unpacked and organized the following rooms in her home when she moved in:

  • Kitchen & Pantry
  • Master Clothes Closet
  • Garage

Nichole has added two children to her family since she moved in. She emailed me some before photos of her food storage room a month back and mentioned to me that she knew exactly how to organize the space because she had listened and learned when we’d worked side-by-side while moving her in.  Click the read more tab below to see the after photo of Nichole’s food storage room.

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How to Organize Craft Supplies

organize craft supplies 1

My trainee, Jessica Rose, recently published an article in the Daily Herald newspaper titled “4 Tips to Organize the Mess in Your Craft Room” and I wanted to give my blog readers some extra tips, as well as a free printable, my Craft Room Inventory Guide.

Craft rooms get a lot of use, but it doesn’t mean they have to be messy. Take the time to get your craft room organized, and then spend a few minutes each day, maintaining that organization.

  1. The most important organizing tip I can offer you is this: Organize craft supplies so each item has a good place in which to reside.
  2. The second most important organizing tip is that every item is stored in its place when it’s not in use.

Here are some pictures to help spark some ideas for your own craft room.

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Another Home Organization Success Story

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organized children's playroomThis past month I helped Jessica organize her Provo home. We’ve spent 7 total hours together so far splitting those hours up over a two day period of time. She had purchased a 21 hour home organization package so we are one-third of the way done.

When Jessica gave me the tour of her home the first day I arrived, I noticed that she had plenty of storage space and had already done a very nice job organizing some of her home. See the cute job she did on the upstairs playroom she’d organized for her three children in the photo to the left.

She informed me that she needed my home organization expertise with:

  • her children’s crafting center
  • her garage
  • her home office
  • her kitchen pantry.

Click the read more tab below to see before and after photos of her newly organized garage.

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Organize Kids School Papers

One of the questions so many of my young mom clients ask is, “How do I organize kids school papers?”

They don’t know what to do with all the stuff their kids make and bring home. These sweet mom’s love to sit down and see their children’s masterpieces when they come through the door, but, the one thing that dangles in each mothers mind is, “What do I do with all these papers now?” They don’t know what to keep and what to let go. If you too are concerned with how to select the keepers and easily store those selected, I have a FREE How To Organize Kids School Papers download for you and a two-step process for organizing kids school keepsakes.

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How to Teach Children to Organize

teach children to organizeOrganizing habits learned early on and made part of a child’s life are skills that they can keep with them throughout adulthood. These 3 ideas will make it easier to teach children to organize and then maintain their own living spaces:

1. Make it FUN when you teach children to organize and maintain!

• Make it a game to put away toys. Reward children with a sincere “thank you” or points toward a prize they want. Your appreciation shows your approval.

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