Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
February 2015 – Vol. 14 No. 2

Sweep away the clutter of things that complicate our lives. ~ Henry David Thoreau

A day in the life of an authorpreneur

poohwhatdayisitI am very appreciative that you read my newsletters and blog posts, especially since I write them for you! I do my best to make them helpful and to put a bit of myself in them.

People often ask me if I’ve always been organized. The answer is yes, thanks to my parents who are two of the most organized people I know. But here’s something that might surprise you. I am a decluttering and cleaning expert, but I don’t make house calls.

I like to joke that I snuck in the back door of the organizing industry. My first book, Unclutter Your Home: 7 Simple Steps, 700 Tips & Ideas, was published in 1999. I was a freelance writer back then and I wrote that book on a whim. I had no idea that it would lead to another and yet another book on the subject of decluttering, organizing, and simplifying life.

Fourteen years and fourteen books later, I spend less time writing books and more time writing this monthly newsletter and my blog. As an “authorpreneur,” I also spend a lot of time doing things that I would delegate to an assistant if I had one. Yup, it’s just little old me here behind the curtain.

A typical weekday for me goes something like this:

7:30am Get up, make a cup of coffee, sit down in front of my computer, and start reading. I read articles about writing and publishing, social media, and entrepreneurship. I also read articles on decluttering, organizing, and cleaning that I share on my Twitter and Facebook pages. And I spend time doing research on new products and services that I think might help simplify your life.

9:00am After breakfast, I knock off a few quick tasks like welcoming new members to my Organizing Support Group on Facebook and adding my two cents to some of the group conversations. My husband writes a daily blog about our life on road, so when he’s ready, I edit that for him. By mid-morning, I’ve already responded to a bunch of emails.

10:00am Every day, I exercise for at least an hour – I go out for a hike or bike ride or play pickleball. (Did I tell you that I qualified to compete in a 40K bike race at the National Senior Games this summer?)

11:30am After a quick shower, I throw in a load of laundry, make the bed, and do some light cleaning. (I find that it’s a lot easier to keep up than to catch up, don’t you?)

Noon – Time for lunch! My favorite lunch is a big salad with lots of chicken or fish.

After lunch, I might write a blog post, edit a guest blog post, or write an article, which can take the rest of the day. Or I’ll work on whatever special project is on my plate. (I’m currently revising my book, How to Declutter and Make Money Now and also organizing a bookstore for the upcoming annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers.) Or I might blow off work for the afternoon and do something fun with my husband or a friend. Or run errands. Or meet up with a colleague.

Once or twice a week, I have phone interviews scheduled with magazine or newspaper editors looking for tips on cleaning or organizing for articles they are writing. For example, here’s a Better Homes & Gardens slideshow article that I contributed to (opened to slide #7 so you don’t miss my tip!): Cleaning Hacks to Add to Your Cleaning Bag of Tricks. And here’s another article that was just published on Maximizing Storage in Small Spaces.

Once a month, I review my financials (income vs. expenses), web site and social media stats, and things like that because if I don’t, who will? Every few months, I get hired to do a national Satellite Media Tour (SMT) which entails back-to-back interviews with television news programs for about four hours straight from a studio in New York City, sharing tips on a particular subject like “Clean & Healthy Home” and demonstrating products. A few times a year, I attend industry conferences and shows.

By the end of the work day, I have responded to what seems like 100 emails, but who’s counting? Not me. We almost always eat dinner at home (I think it’s healthier to eat home-cooked food, not to mention less expensive, plus I enjoy cooking). I spend some time each day looking for new recipes and planning meals. I generally start preparing dinner around 6pm and we eat by 7pm.

After dinner, I’m ready to put up my feet and watch a movie or a favorite TV show or read a book. (I just finished reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and before that it was North to the Night by Alvah Simon – both excellent books that were given to me as a gift by Changing Hands Bookstore after my book signings there last month in Phoenix and Tempe.) I also like to check in on my Facebook friends to see what they’ve been up to.

Around 10pm, it’s lights out! This gal needs a lot of beauty rest these days.

How to help a person who hoards

If you know someone who is hoarding and you want to help, you may want to register for this 3-session webinar with Susan Gardner, a fellow professional organizer who is also a Chronic Disorganization Specialist and Hoarding Specialist.

Session 1:  Sunday, March 8, 2015 – 4-5pm Central Time
This introduction to working with someone who hoards includes an overview of hoarding disorder, finding a therapist, approaching the subject of change, and assessing the situation at hand. Learn about hoarding disorder and some of the best practices in treatment and response.

Session 2: Sunday, March 15, 2015 – 4-5pm Central Time
In session two, learn body doubling, a method where a companion is calmly present while a person sorts and discards. In body doubling, you are present without giving advice or commenting on the person’s work. Even isolated people can become open to another person in the home.

Session 3: Sunday, March 22, 2015 – 4-5pm Central Time
Session three teaches about forming, training and supervising a team that will work in the home of a hoarder. From learning the traits to look for in team members to the supplies to take on the work day, Susan will teach appropriate team formation with a person who hoards.

Register today for the entire series and take half off the $48 course fee when you enter the code HRD2015 at checkout.  (It’s Susan’s way of saying thanks to me for sharing this event with you, which I am happy to do because I know that many of you DO know someone who hoards.)

For more information about Susan, visit her web site at

Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 14 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources. Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

Last month, I encouraged you to sign up for a subscription to Get Organized magazine. This is the only magazine that is dedicated to getting organized and written by some of the best, most dedicated professional organizers in the country. And it’s available in print and digital forms. Click HERE to learn more or to subscribe using the coupon code WEB14 for a 10% discount. cover-images.nomination

PCmageditorschoicelogoThis month, I want to introduce you to affordable backup solution for ALL of your devices. IDrive offers backup solutions for PC and Mac along with backup via an app for your mobile devices. Your data is secured with military-grade encryption. You can access it from anywhere via any browser, computer or mobile device. And you can share your IDrive files via email, Facebook or Twitter, making it great for picture sharing. IDrive even backs up your Instagram and Facebook accounts – I didn’t even know that was possible.

IDrive is a top player in the online backup space with more than 3 million customers worldwide. What confirmed this choice for me was when IDrive won the prestigious PC Magazine editors choice award for best online backup solution for 2015. That’s a big deal in the online backup industry. Here is PC Magazine’s review for your review. Not only can you back up all of your devices, it costs less than similar services. I made contact with the company and they have agreed to offer my readers a 75% discount off the regular annual price for 1TB of space for one year, or just $14.88 a year. If you decide to try it out, click here to access this special offer.

Shameless promotion: More about me – really?

HCT CertificateIn a previous newsletter, I mentioned that I attended a two-day course to become a certified House Cleaning Technician. I passed with a grade of 96!

Speaking of cleaning, I was asked to share some of my favorite tips in these magazines that you’ll find on newsstands now:

Martha Stewart Living (February 2015) Order in the Bathroom (page 58)

O Magazine (March 2015) Declutter Your Space Once and for All (page 101)

Good Housekeeping (March 2015) 16 Ways to Organize Your Life (page 54).

Okay, this concludes the “all about me” issue of Organizing Plain & Simple Monthly. (Was that a sigh of relief I just heard?) Stay tuned for two guest blog posts on digital and print photo organizing coming your way next week!

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission which goes toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter. Please note that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.