About Nancy Haworth

Nancy Haworth is a Professional Organizer and Owner of On Task Organizing, LLC located in Raleigh, North Carolina. She assists residential clients throughout the area in organizing homes, decluttering, moving, and managing time. She has been a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers since 2011.

Ways to Display & Organize Holiday Cards

Ways to Display & Organize Holiday Cards TitleWays to Display & Organize Holiday Cards

During the holiday season, greeting cards arrive in many mailboxes.  The recipient then needs to decide what to do with these cards.  Some display them for a while, and then may keep, recycle or toss the cards after the holidays.  Deciding what to do with holiday greeting cards is a personal choice.  If you decide to display or store the cards as keepsakes, there are several display and storage options available.

Holiday Card Display Ideas

On a mantle

Around a doorway, hanging from garland, ribbon, or tape

Hanging from a stairway bannister clipped to garland or ribbon

A metal wreath greeting card holder

A white wooden wreath greeting card holder

A rustic wooden wreath greeting card holder

On hanging ribbon with cards attached using clothes pins

On a wire tabletop tree

Along a twine hanging organizer with clothes pin clips

On an Umbra hang it photo display frame

On strips of cork board

On a bulletin board or a magnetic board

On a refrigerator door

No matter how decorative or simple a choice you make, there are countless ways to display and organize your holiday cards.  Keep in mind there are many do-it-yourself options with supplies readily available at arts and craft stores.

Storage & Organization of Cards After the Holidays

When the holidays are done, carefully consider the next home for your greeting cards.  You may want to keep all of them as keepsakes, or only save those with special meaning.  If you are leaning toward a minimalist lifestyle, you may want to recycle or donate them to be reused as craft supplies by a local daycare centers, elementary schools or community groups.

For keepsake cards, a card storage box like this will allow you to organize the cards.  This box is also helpful for organizing new cards that you’re planning to send. Other types of lidded memory boxes or keepsake boxes can also work well for storing received cards.

Remember to verify the current addresses of all holiday cards that you received to keep your card sending list up to date for the next holiday season.  Having the a display system and storage containers in place will help to keep your home clutter-free in the new year.

By | 2017-10-07T19:47:16+00:00 December 6th, 2017|decorations, greeting cards, Holiday|0 Comments

Laundry Room Storage Tips

Laundry Room Storage Tips TitleLaundry Room Storage Tips

The laundry room is often one of the smaller spaces in a home.  Whether you have a dedicated laundry room, or a small laundry closet, some of these storage products and tips can help improve organization in that area.

Laundry Room Storage Tips

Place a thin rolling cart in between or next to the washer and dryer,

Hang the ironing board and iron on the back of the door with an over the door ironing board holder or use a stowaway in-wall ironing board cabinet .

Use an over-the-washer shelf for storing detergents.

If you have wire shelving in your laundry room, add a shelf liner to prevent spills and drips from detergents and powders.

If you have a wire shelf in your laundry room, a hanging under shelf basket will add a great storage spot for laundry supplies.

If there’s a clothing rod, use a folding clip dryer for air-drying delicates.

A retractable clothesline is also helpful for air drying items.

A wall-mounted accordion clothes drying rack is another great option for drying clothing.

Use space-saving stackable laundry baskets.

Pop-up laundry hampers are also space saving because they can be easily folded when not in use.

For managing large bottles of laundry detergent, try the laundry soap station.

If you store smaller bottles cleaning supplies in your laundry room, try storing them in a cleaning caddy.

Hang a hanger hamper from a closet rod or hook on the wall.

Create extra storage space along the walls by adding floating shelves to hold laundry supplies or decorative items.

The top shelves or cabinets in most laundry rooms are difficult to reach.  Use these spaces to store infrequently used items inside bins or baskets, or designate these shelves or cabinets for paper goods that you may buy in bulk such as paper towels and toilet paper.

By | 2017-10-07T19:31:06+00:00 November 29th, 2017|Laundry, organizing, storage|0 Comments

7 Ways to Organize Kitchen Wraps & Foils

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7 Ways to Organize Kitchen Wraps and Foils

When thinking about organizing a kitchen, people usually think of organizing food in pantries and refrigerators and dishes and cookware in cabinets.  Rolls of foils, plastic wraps,  parchment paper and resealable plastic bags are often forgotten about.  There are actually many options for storing these types of products.

7 Ways to Organize Kitchen Wraps & Foils

Inside a drawer

If you have a free drawer in your kitchen, designate a drawer or two to storing wraps and foils.

Stacked inside a pantry or kitchen cabinet

A kitchen wrap organizer like this can neatly hold 6 boxes of wraps and foils.

Inside a cabinet door or pantry door

Products like the Rubbermaid cabinet door mounted kitchen wrap and bag organizer storage rack or the Design Ideas pantry caddy can make it easy to store these items behind a door.

On an under-shelf holder

The Organize It All under shelf wrap holder can allow for wrap and foil storage under a shelf inside a pantry or cabinet.

On a wall mounted roll

Products like this Leifheit wall mount paper towel holder with plastic wrap, foil dispenser and spice rack can make great use of free wall space.

Be creative and re-use a magazine holder

The popular office supply, the magazine holder, can be reused to hold boxes of wraps, foils, parchment paper and resealable bags in a kitchen pantry, cabinet or counter top.

In decorative baskets or bins inside a pantry

Depending on your style, you may want to store these items in a rectangular decorative basket or bin inside your pantry.  Don’t forget to label the bin or basket.

By | 2017-10-07T19:09:15+00:00 November 22nd, 2017|kitchen, pantry|0 Comments

What to Bring with You on Moving Day

Title- what to bring with you on moving day

What to Bring with You on Moving Day

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events.  One way to reduce stress is to bring essential items with you in your vehicle for the first day and night in your new home.  Often, you may be waiting on movers to arrive or everything to be unpacked.  Being prepared that first day is an important step in the moving process.  Here is a helpful list of items you may want on the first day of move-in.

Items to Pack with You for the First Day & Night in Your New Home

At least 2 changes of clothing per person.


Toiletries including toilet paper, soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste.

A shower curtain.

A hand towel and enough bath towels for your family.

Daily medications.

A first aid kit.

Electronics such as laptops, tablets, phones, chargers and a power strip.

Trash bags, paper plates, paper towels, paper cups and plastic utensils.

Box cutters.

A small portable toolkit.

A flashlight and extra batteries.

A caddy of basic cleaning supplies.

Pet food and bowls.

If waiting on a moving truck to arrive with furniture, pack an air mattress or sleeping bags, and enough pillows, blankets and sheets for your family.

If waiting on furniture, you may want to pack folding chairs and a folding table, if you have space in your vehicle.

For quick meals, pack bottled water and snacks such as granola bars and nuts, a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly, and a box of pasta.  Include a pan, large spoon and colander if cooking on your own.  Many people will order take-out meals until the movers arrive.

Valuable items that you do not want to lose such as jewelry or family heirlooms, if these are not already stored in a safe deposit box.

Important papers such as financial documents, your checkbook, credit cards, passport, the contract from your moving company, and a checklist and contact information of the utility companies that service your new home.

If you want to efficiently and quickly have your home unpacked and organized, professional organizing services are available to help.  If you’re relocating to the Raleigh, North Carolina area, contact On Task Organizing about our unpacking services. If you are moving elsewhere within the United States, check The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals listings for a professional organizer near your new home.

By | 2017-09-05T07:23:12+00:00 November 15th, 2017|Moving, relocation|2 Comments

Organizing Digital Files

Organizing Digital Files Title

Organizing Digital Files

Electronic clutter is often overlooked because you can’t see the physical piles.  If you look at your computer desktop screen and feel overwhelmed with too many files and folders floating around, organizing your digital files can help to improve your productivity.

Improve Search Functions

Once your files are better organized and decluttered, your computer will have fewer files to search through, making it easier and faster to find what you need.  Likewise, if you know which folder an item is located in, it will be easier for you to find the file and quickly access it, saving you time.

Take it One Folder or File at a Time

Schedule time to work on this digital clutter organization project, and look through one folder at a time.  Delete any outdated content, or anything that you know you will not reference again.  Deleting the excess is the first step to creating an organized system.

Visualize a File Cabinet

If you have an organized physical file cabinet, look inside it to see the names of folders and types of information you’ve stored inside.  A computer file system is basically a digital file cabinet.  Use a similar naming pattern and structure that you’ve used in your physical file drawers.

Categorize into Folders

Look at the categories of information you have stored on your computer.  After you’ve done the initial delete and declutter, you should have a better idea of the types of information you store digitally.  Label folders based on these categories, and nest related folders inside them.  You can use any naming convention that works best for you such as by date, number, alphabetically, color coding or flagging certain folders.

Set Up Naming Rules for Files Going Forward

For example, will you date all files starting YYYY-MM-DD ? Will you list folders alphabetically such as Adams, John; Adams, Sam, etc. ? Determine what works for you and keep that similar naming convention when you create new files.

Schedule Regular Digital File Clean Up

After you’ve cleaned up your digital files, be sure to schedule regular maintenance time on your calendar when you can spend time sorting, organizing and cleaning up your digital file system to make sure it stays organized.

If you are located in the Raleigh, North Carolina area and need hands-on assistance in organizing your digital files, contact On Task Organizing for a free phone consultation.

By | 2017-08-29T10:17:14+00:00 November 8th, 2017|digital, Digital Files, productivity|2 Comments

What to Store in a Safe Deposit Box

what to store in a safe deposit box

What to Store in a Safe Deposit Box

Having a safe deposit box is a very useful thing.  If you tend to lose important items in your home, storing these in a safe deposit box in the bank may be very helpful.  Keep in mind that you should only store valuable items that you don’t need to access regularly.

You will have a key to your safe deposit box, and it is important that you decide who else should have access to it as a co-lessor.  An executor to your will may eventually get access to it after you die, so check with your attorney on this when writing your will.

Although some items should be stored on your property or in a firesafe box in your home, a safe deposit box is a great place for the following items.

Items to Store in a Safe Deposit Box

Important contracts & business papers

Valuable jewelry, stamp or coin collections

Personal papers

Social security cards


Birth certificates

Marriage certificates

Death certificates

Copies of wills & trusts

Divorce decrees

Custody agreements

House deeds

Vehicle titles

Insurance documents

Home inventory list

Stock & bond certificates

Back-up external hard-drives

Flash drives

Digital photos

Bank & investment account numbers

Diplomas & education transcripts

Credit cards & account numbers

Any other hard to replace items

Although in most cases, the original documents should be stored in a safe deposit box, you should make a copy of everything and store that in your home where it is easily accessible in case the information is needed.

Safe deposit boxes are a cost effective way to protect your valuables and important records off site, and protect you and your family in case of an emergency.  Please store the key in a place you’ll remember!

If are located in the Raleigh, North Carolina area and need assistance gathering important documents and organizing them to be stored in your safe deposit box, please contact On Task Organizing about our hands-on organizing services.

By | 2017-08-29T10:05:36+00:00 November 1st, 2017|filing, finances, inventory, Paper Management, safe deposit box|0 Comments

Organizing Decorations for all Seasons

organizing decorations for all seasons title

Organizing Decorations for all Seasons

Decorating for all seasons brings beauty and fun to each holiday.  Many people decorate their homes year-round, and they need a functional way to store decorations when not in use.  Decorations may be needed for holidays such as New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Graduations, Pool Parties, Birthdays, 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah and more.  With so many holidays, there’s a constant shuffle of what needs to be displayed or stored.  Here are some tips for safely storing your seasonal decorations so you can find everything throughout the year.

Guidelines for Storing Seasonal Decorations

Determine a Storage Location for Decorations

Choose just one or two locations to store all of your holiday decorations.  I only suggest 2 locations because you may want to store indoor and outdoor decorations separately.  Think about a space that is easy for you to access, and a space that is large enough to hold your decoration collection. Large closets often work best.

Store Indoor Decorations in a Climate Controlled Area

Outdoor decorations are usually fine when stored in a garage, shed, attic, or basement.  To prevent damage from temperature changes, indoor decorations should be stored in a climate controlled area such as a climate controlled storage unit, inside a hall closet, bonus room closet, or guest room closet.

Use Shelving

To prevent stacking, use shelving so you can easily slide items in and out of the storage area.  Hardware stores offer both adjustable freestanding or wall shelving systems.

Create a Container for Each Holiday

Ideally, each holiday will have its own bin or container, so you can keep everything together.  Obviously, some holidays may have multiple containers.  If you do not have enough items from one holiday to fill an entire box, decorations from the same season such as Halloween and Thanksgiving could be stored together in a box labeled “Fall Decorations”.

Label Everything

Be sure to label each shelf and each bin or container, to save time searching for items.  This makes it easier to retrieve or put away decorations in the proper location.

Color Code or Use Clear Bins

If you prefer, you may want to color-code these boxes with black and orange bins for Halloween, red and pink bins for Valentine’s Day, etc.  Colors are easier to see than labels, however using clear bins is another way to help you see what is inside at a glance.

Use Specialty Storage Products for Odd Shaped Items

Decor such as wreaths, lights, artificial trees and other odd shaped items may need specialty storage products.  Invest in these storage products to prolong the life of your decor.  See the blog, 10 Tips for Organizing Holiday Decorations,  for more information.

Regularly Sort & Purge Decorations

At the end of each holiday, if you’ve bought new decor, or there are some items you know you will never use again, sell or donate those to make room for the new decorations.  If items start overflowing, buy a new container for that holiday, but only if you have the storage space for it.

If you need assistance in setting up an organized storage system for your holiday decorations, On Task Organizing offers hands-on organizing services in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, and virtual organizing services elsewhere.  Contact us for your free phone consultation to get started on your home organizing project.

By | 2017-08-29T09:56:06+00:00 October 25th, 2017|decorations, Holiday, organizing, storage|0 Comments

Organizing Automotive Records

organizing automotive records title

Organizing Automotive Records

Owning a vehicle comes with many papers that need to be organized and kept up to date. If you have a car, create folder files or digital folders for handling all of your automotive records.  Be sure to keep your car title and a copy of your insurance information off site in a safe deposit box.  Here is a list of vehicle records that you should keep organized.

Automotive Records to Keep

Purchase Agreement

Auto Loan or Lease Documents

Auto Insurance Coverage (the current year’s policy)

Auto binder, insurance payment info, and any auto insurance claims

Vehicle Title (keep a copy at home & the original in a safe deposit box)

Vehicle Inspection Records

Vehicle Registration and Registration Renewal Information

Auto Property Tax Records

Vehicle Repair Records

  • For resale value, keep a scan or hard copy of every time your vehicle was serviced.  This includes oil changes, tire rotations, body shop repairs, etc.
  • Set reminders for regular vehicle maintenance on your digital or paper calendar.
  • Keep track of your budget with apps such as YNAB or Mint, to know how much you have spent on your vehicle.

Driving Violations Records

  •  Speeding tickets
  •  Parking tickets
  • Accident details

Mileage Records (if traveling for business)

Auto Rental Agreements

Parking space rental, parking fees & garage fees

Fuel purchases (if needed for your records)

Toll records, such as E-Z pass statements

Keeping these records accessible will help you to do your taxes, maintain your budget, and keep your car in working order.  It will also give you an idea of how much your vehicle is costing you.  If you sell your car at anytime, having all of these documents in one place will make the selling process much easier.

By | 2017-08-29T09:37:24+00:00 October 18th, 2017|automotive, car, finances, Taxes|0 Comments

4 Ways to Streamline Email

4 ways to streamline email title

4 Ways to Streamline Email

Are you bothered by an overflowing email inbox?  Many people are overwhelmed by too much e-mail that is unread, unsorted and chaotic.  The organizational system of your email inbox should be as unique as you are.  The way you arrange your email depends on your learning style, the way you process information, and of the type and number of emails you are working with.  Here are 4 ways to streamline your e-mail processing.

1. Folders

Think about the big categories of email information you receive.  Create inbox folders based on these categories.  Remember folders are called “labels” in gmail and “mailboxes” in Outlook & Apple mail.  Don’t make too may folders at first, start with general categories, and if that works well, you can create more.

For example, for a business, you may want broad categories like “Finance,” “Vendors,” “Clients,” & “Marketing”.  For a home email, you may want categories like “Bills to Pay,” “School Information,” “Family,” & “Volunteer Activities”.

When deciding where to store an e-mail, and whether not to keep it, first ask yourself, “Am I going to reference this in the future?”  If so, “What folder is most appropriate?”

2. Filters & Rules

Take advantage of the filters and rules available through your email client.  When messages come into your inbox, they eat up your time, so by establishing filters and rules, you will save time checking, deleting and moving email messages around.  For example, if you receive many ads or coupons from stores, create an “Ads” folder and then set up rules to send all email from those vendors directly to the “Ads” folder.  This rule will keep your inbox clear, and then you can check that folder when you’re ready to shop.

3. Unsubscribe

Unsubscribe from as many email ads, newsletters and other information that you do not need regularly to help clear your inbox. You may want to try the service unroll.me to quickly unsubscribe from many automated messages.

4. Follow Through and Maintain

Email is a huge time waster, many people are checking it multiple times an hour, responding haphazardly, and having it interrupt the flow of their day.  Schedule your email reply time, rather than “putting out fires” every time a message comes in.  Set up 2 or 3 times a day where you will read and reply to messages.  Use a timer to help keep you on task, and to help you realize how much time emails are really costing you.

By | 2017-08-29T09:26:58+00:00 October 11th, 2017|digital, email, organizing, Organizing Tools, productivity|0 Comments

10 Reasons to Organize Your Living Room

10 Reasons to Organize Your Living Room title

10 Reasons to Organize Your Living Room

The living room and kitchen are the main hubs of most homes.  A disorganized shared space such as a living room can cause stress and tension among family members.  A clean sweep and reorganization in your living room can benefit you in many ways.

10 Reasons to Organize Your Living Room:

Better organization and less clutter means less to clean, dust and maintain.

Creating a place for everything clears the floors, making chores such as sweeping and vacuuming easier.

The room will feel more comfortable and visually pleasing

Redecorating or interior design projects will be more manageable.

You will have the ability to host visitors more often.

It will be easier to do the planned activities in this room with everything organized.

Organized book shelves will make books more accessible and encourage reading.

Entertainment will be simpler when you can always find the video game or movie you want.

Board game activities will be smoother, when your family can quickly find games.

Toy organizational systems set up in a living room will make toy clean-up straightforward.

The main benefit of organizing any area is that you will save time searching for items resulting in less stress.  If you live in the Raleigh, North Carolina area and need hands-on organizing assistance or want a do-it-yourself plan, please contact On Task Organizing.  If you live elsewhere, On Task Organizing offers virtual organizing services via FaceTime and Skype to help you with any organizing project.  Contact us for a free phone consultation to get started.

By | 2017-08-29T09:17:09+00:00 October 4th, 2017|benefits, living room, organizing|0 Comments

Fridge Organization Tips

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Fridge Organization Tips

One area that is sometimes overlooked in kitchen organization is the inside of the refrigerator.  Your pantry and cabinets may be neatly organized, but a functional organization system in a fridge will help reduce spoiled food.  It will also make it easier to cook meals, and you will be able to make grocery lists more quickly.  The ability to know what needs to be bought at a glance will make your life simpler.

Fridge Organization Tips

Arrange Your Fridge by “Department”

Grocery stores have departments to make it easier to find items, and you should mimic this inside your fridge.  Designate sections of your fridge for dairy, vegetables, fruit, meats, condiments, bottled water, soda, juices, leftovers, deli meat, etc.

Adjust Your Shelves

Almost all fridges have adjustable shelves, so don’t hesitate to move shelving around based on your needs.  If you find you want or need more shelving, there are products such as shelf risers that can help.

Use Drawers & Sections as Intended

Most refrigerators already have drawers or sections set aside for storing eggs, vegetables and meats.  Use these drawers as intended, but make use of storage products to better contain these items.

Store Tall Items in the Door

Make use of the fridge door for storing tall items.  Most fridge doors have door pockets deep enough to hold 2 liter soda bottles.  Adjust your door pockets and fridge door shelving as needed.

Use Clear Bins to Contain Smaller Items

Linus Fridge Binz come in various sizes.  They are clear and perfect for storing items such as yogurt and condiments together by type.

Use Water Bottle & Soda Can Holders

Water bottle holders and soda can organizers are great products to save space inside the fridge.

Choose Stackable Containers for Leftovers

There are many different types of containers from disposable to plastic to glass available to hold leftovers. Choose whatever type you like, but get a matching stackable set so you can easily fit more in your fridge.

Label Leftovers

Labeling leftovers, containers, and even fridge shelves will make it easier for everyone in your home to find items and put them away.   Erasable food labels  or freezer label stickers make labeling leftovers simple.  You can label ziplock bags using a sharpie marker.  The date is the most important detail to put on leftovers, but you may also want to put a more detailed description or indicate who the food belongs to, such as “John’s lunch”.

Check the Fridge Before Grocery Shopping

Before a grocery shopping trip, always check your fridge for the freshness of items, clear out spoiled food, and make space for the new groceries.

Create a Fridge Cleaning Schedule

Routinely clear out your fridge, ideally weekly or before each grocery shopping trip.  Give your fridge interior a thorough wipe down and cleaning at least once every 3 months. Put fridge cleaning on your schedule, so you won’t forget.

By | 2017-08-29T08:42:41+00:00 September 27th, 2017|groceries, kitchen, Meal Planning, refrigerator|0 Comments

How to Get Your Husband on Board with Hiring a Professional Organizer

How to Get Your Husband on Board with Hiring a Professional Organizer

How to Get Your Husband on Board with Hiring a Professional Organizer

Asking for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness.   I have many conversations with women who need and want the services of a professional organizer, but unfortunately their husband is not on board.  He may  not see the investment of a professional organizer as an investment in improving your life, your time, your stress level, your environment and more.

Your husband may say “you should be able to do this on your own,” or he is too embarrassed to ask for or accept help.  This is a common concern among spouses, and I will say that in my 5 years of organizing, it is usually the husband who argues or even belittles his wife for wanting outside help with organization.

I am not a marriage counselor, but I do know that improving your home organization and time management skills usually results in improved relationships.  Here are some tips on talking to your spouse about why asking for organizational help is okay, and why they should agree to give it a try.

You Hire Experts for Other Needs

You hire a mechanic to fix your car, an accountant to do your taxes, a personal trainer to improve your fitness, a carpenter to fix your roof.  A professional organizer is an expert to help repair disorganized systems, improve your overall environment, and transfer organizational skills to you, so you can maintain an organized home.

These are Skills You Need and Want to Learn

If you wanted to learn how to paint, cook, or play an instrument, you would take lessons.  Some people never had lessons in organization or time management, so a professional organizer can teach you these skills that you may need to improve or want to learn.  Home organizing sessions are personalized and customized lessons about you, your home, your time, your family, your life.  A professional organizer doesn’t just move stuff around, he or she helps you to discover your goals, prioritize, create a plan of action, and make decisions on what to do with all the “stuff” that’s surrounding you.

You Need or Want Accountability

A professional organizer will help to hold you accountable, keep you motivated, and work with you either by your side or via phone or online to keep the process moving.  After each organizing session, follow-up tasks and next steps are discussed.  Your professional organizer will call you or check in with you at the start of each session to hold you accountable.  Sometimes, having an accountability source is all you need to get the ball rolling and stay motivated.

You’ve Tried On Your Own, and it Hasn’t Worked

Ask yourself (or your husband), “How many times have I tried to get this place organized?  How many organizing books or programs have I started or never finished?  When will this get done if I don’t hire someone, schedule a time to do it, have an expert guide me in the process, provide me with storage product ideas, help drop off donations, and provide me with resources for selling or consigning items?”

You are Worth the Investment

The investment in a professional organizer can vary based on your needs. The total cost depends on many factors, including the size of the home, amount of items, number of people involved, and your decision making speed.  As many of my clients can attest, the monetary cost is well worth every penny because you are investing in your well-being, in lowering stress, in saving time, and in improving your surroundings.

If You’re Happier, He’ll be Happier

With a better organized home, you will be happier, and things will run more smoothly throughout your home.  You’ll have more time for enjoyable activities, and most likely this will result in a happier family, including a happier husband.

How much does your husband want to invest in and support your happiness? Call 919-561-0885 or email to schedule a free phone consultation.  I can also set up a conference call with both you and your spouse, so we can really discuss your organizational needs and concerns in depth together.

By | 2017-09-05T07:24:02+00:00 September 20th, 2017|benefits, family, organizing, outsourcing, Professional Organizing|2 Comments

Organizing Recipes: Paper & Digital

Organizing Recipes Title Image

Organizing Recipes: Paper & Digital

Organizing recipes can be challenging because you may have recipes in a variety of cookbooks, on index cards, on loose paper, or stored digitally on your computer or on a website.    Recipes can often add to the paper clutter in a kitchen.  Creating an organized recipe collection will streamline your grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking, saving you time and stress each day.  Getting your recipes organized is a time-consuming task.  Here are some of my tips on recipe organization.

Tips for Organizing Recipes:

Start by Decluttering Recipes

Gather all of your cookbooks and recipes together, and start by decluttering those you do not like or never use.  Reducing the overall amount of books and paper from the start will make the process so much easier.

Decide How You Want to Store Paper Recipes

The way you store your paper recipes is a personal choice.  Decide what works best for you, and stick with that one method.  Here are some options:

Determine One Place to Store All Paper Recipes

Choose a certain cabinet, drawer or shelf, in your kitchen, or close to it, to store this collection of recipes.  Once you’ve gathered them all together, and ecluttered and organized them, you will have a better idea of how much storage space is needed.

Digital Recipe Storage

You may decide it is the time to go digital with all of your recipes.  In that case, scan the paper recipes you use, and save them digitally.  You could store digital recipes on a folder on your computer, on Google Drive or in Evernote.

Retrieve Recipes Online

Search online and save recipes you like by using Pinterest boards, or bookmarking webpages and storing them in clearly labeled bookmark folders on your browser.

Use Apps on Your Phone or Tablet

Evernote is a great way to access recipes digitally.  Recipe specific phone apps such as Paprika or Cheftap are also great options.

Whether you use paper or digital storage methods, or a mix of the two, if your recipes are disorganized, it will be hard to make the meals you love.  If you need assistance with organizing your recipe collection, On Task Organizing is here to help.  We offer in-person organizing services in the Raleigh, NC area, and virtual organizing services elsewhere.  Contact us to get started on a plan to organize your recipe collection.

By | 2017-08-28T15:34:38+00:00 September 13th, 2017|kitchen, Paper Management, recipes|4 Comments

Creating a Home Inventory

Creating a Home Inventory Title

Creating a Home Inventory

In the wake of a catastrophe like Hurricane Harvey, we see many people with homes and belongings that have been quickly and severely damaged from flooding.  It is a frightening fact that a catastrophic event could happen to any of us, such as a as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood or fire.  It is crucial to have your home insured, but it is also important to have accurate insurance for all of the belongings inside your home.  This home inventory list should be stored off-site, so it is not lost during a disastrous event.

There is an home management software program called HomeZada that provides an easy way to create and manage your home inventory.  The inventory is then securely stored in the cloud, so it can be accessed anywhere through a computer or mobile app.  HomeZada offers a standard home inventory service that is free, or a premium service for a small monthly fee. The premium service includes home maintenance, home finances, and the ability to create and maintain home inventories for multiple homes, such as rental properties or vacation homes.

I find the HomeZada mobile app easy to use and manage.  There’s the option to add photos, videos, and scans of documents.  It is easy to take photos of an item, record the model and serial number,  warranty, registration, and owner’s manual, and then indicate where the item is located in your home.

The benefits of a digital home management system like this include reduction of paper by scanning and saving items in the cloud such as real estate documents, owners manuals, warranties, receipts, and business cards of home service providers.  Since the application also allows you to record other home details such as structural information like flooring details, HVAC systems, light fixtures, appliances, floor plans, etc., it can also be a tool to market your home when you’re ready to sell.

Having a home inventory can help you with estate planning, and make sure you are properly insured.  You can also use HomeZada to keep track of remodeling projects in detail, to help you stay within your project’s budget.  The home maintenance function allows you to create recurring reminders for tasks such as changing air filters, removing lint from dryer vents or testing smoke detectors.  Regular maintenance can result in reduced energy costs, and protect your home equipment from eroding.

The value of having a detailed home inventory stored off-site ensures that you’ll be properly insured and prepared for “what-ifs,” and have a more accurate estimate of your belongings.  If you’re in need of a home inventory, I suggest you try an application such as HomeZada.  If you need assistance in creating a home inventory in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, please contact On Task Organizing.

By | 2017-09-05T07:34:10+00:00 September 6th, 2017|emergency, home, insurance, inventory, preparedness|0 Comments

A Visit to The Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC

title - a visit to the scrap exchange

A Visit to The Scrap Exchange

The Scrap Exchange in Durham recently gave a tour of their space to members of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals North Carolina Chapter (NAPO-NC).  As a professional organizer, I provide donation and recycling resources to my clients.  It was wonderful to learn more about this local non-profit organization with a mission to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse.

make art not strach signThe Scrap Exchange is located in the Lakewood Shopping Center in Durham, an area that is being revitalized.  They have an area that accepts donations, a very organized sorting area, an art gallery and a retail store.  In addition to re-selling items, they offer creative workshops and programs for individuals and groups including sewing classes and craft nights.  There’s even a design center with sewing machines, die-cut machines and more.

The Scrap Exchange also conducts outreach activities at schools and community events.  They travel with barrels full of reusable craft supplies and promote creative reuse to the community.  The Scrap Exchange also hosts birthday parties, where party attendees can create their own art in the make ‘n take craft room.

After our tour of the facility, our group of NAPO-NC organizers participated in our own make ‘n take craft time.  We all had fun being creative with the variety of materials available such as cardboard, fabric, ribbon, puzzle pieces, stickers, and old CDs and computer discs.

CD wall art

Craft supplies are not the only items The Scrap Exchange accepts for donation.  They are expanding to another building in the Lakewood Shopping Center and are now accepting clothing, furniture and more for their thrift store.  They accept donations of office supplies, gift wrap, packing materials, trophies, small electronics and more. Visit their website for a list of all materials they accept for donation.

If you are in the Durham area and have items to donate, or would like to shop or create art from reusable materials, I suggest you stop by The Scrap Exchange.  I highly recommend their group tours as well.  At the end of most organizing sessions, I fill my car with donations from my residential clients, it is wonderful to have a donation option like this in the area.

By | 2017-08-28T15:15:05+00:00 August 30th, 2017|Donations, Recycle, repurpose, retailers, Reuse, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Back to School Decluttering

Back to School Decluttering Title

Back to School Decluttering

At the end of the summer, there are many steps to take to prepare for the school year.  If your child starts school in early September, set aside a day or two in August to declutter for the school year ahead.

Items to Declutter Before Going for Back to School

Last Year’s School Papers & Artwork

If you still have a pile of paper from the last day of school, now is the time to sort through it, declutter, and store away keepsakes in a labeled box or folder.

School Supplies

Gather the school supplies your child used last year, and review the teacher’s list for what is needed this year.  Consider everything from pens, folders, binders, electronics, lunch boxes and backpacks.  Determine what can be reused, and make a list of what needs to be purchased.

Summer Camp & Vacation Items

Those unpacked luggage bags, camp crafts, swim goggles, travel souvenirs, camping supplies, sporting goods, etc. may have piled up over the summer.  Work with your child to go through all of this to determine what should be kept or discarded, and organize what remains.  Tidying up these items will make it easier to move forward and make space for items needed during the school year.


As your child grows, there may be toys he or she has stopped using.  At the end of the summer,  sort through these toys, and decide what should be handed down to younger children, sold or donated.  This opens up space for your child’s current interests and activities.


Your child may have been working on many arts and crafts projects over the summer.  Sort through the crafts and all of the related supplies at this time so you can have items on hand for school projects in the fall.

Clothing & Shoes

Have your child try on all clothing to determine what they have outgrown.  Save outgrown clothing for hand-me-downs, or sell or donate these items.  Make a list of what clothing will be needed for the upcoming school year.

After decluttering, schedule a time to sell or donate items.  Next, make a list of everything that needs to be purchased for the upcoming school year.  Plan a time to shop for back-to-school clothing, shoes and school supplies.  Shop with a list and stick to it, so you do not over-buy.

When Organizing Books Don’t Work For You

When Organizing Books Don't Work For You Title

When Organizing Books Don’t Work For You

I think that organizing books are a great source of information.  I’ve read dozens of books on a variety of organizational topics as part of my education as a professional organizer.  In just about every home I organize, I find at least one organizing book, usually more.  These are often found under piles, or on an overloaded bookshelf.

Not All Organizing Methods Work for Everyone

In my opinion, organizing books, like many self-help books are great for practical information; however, just buying or  reading a book will not get your organizing project done.  Many of my clients have read books, and we’ll discuss organizing methods they’ve learned, but not all methods work for everyone.  There are different modes of learning.  Organizing systems need to be set up in a way that works well for the individual.  Some people buy a book, implement the system, and it works well for them, but not all people.

Learning & Organizational Styles are Unique

If you’re among the many well intentioned people who want a more organized life, have sought out books on the topic, and tried time and again to get organized, don’t be frustrated at the book or the author, or yourself.  Your learning style is unique, as is your organizational style.

A Friend’s Help Didn’t Work

Usually, after a book doesn’t do the trick, a person may enlist the help of a well-meaning friend or family member to get organized.  This sometimes works, but many times, you’re now imposing someone else’s organizing method that may not be right for you, and often the process of decluttering and organizing with someone close to you may end in arguments or disagreements.  This can derail your personal relationships.

It is OK to Ask for Expert Help

If you have 1 or 2 dusty books on “how to organize” in your home, and you’re still feeling overwhelmed with disorganization, it is OK to ask for help.  Reach out to a professional organizer trained in various organizing techniques and methods to help you to declutter, organize and simplify your life.  Remember, organizing is not a one time task, so your professional organizer will help to transfer skills to you so you can continue to remain better organized, once you feel your home organizing project is complete.

You May Need Accountability & Motivation

In most cases, a complete home or office declutter and reorganization will bring a person to a baseline level of organization.  This is a clean slate, a new starting point.  A place where organized systems are arranged specifically for you based on your lifestyle, the layout of your home or office, your current needs, and the needs of your family.  This does take time and motivation, but your professional organizer is there for you as your cheerleader, your accountability partner, and motivator.

Reach Out for Help

If organizing books don’t work for you, or you’ve read partway through an organizing book and just thrown your hands up in exasperation, reach out for help.  Over 4,000 trained and educated professional organizers are there for you, and can be easily found through a zip code search on the website of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.

On Task Organizing provides hands on organizing services in the Raleigh, NC area, and can assist you through virtual organization via Skype or FaceTime in all areas.  Whether you need hands-on help, a do-it-yourself plan, time management systems, or just general encouragement, a professional organizer is there to help lighten your load.

For further information, or to schedule your free phone consultation, email me or call 919-561-0885.

Back to School Organizing Tools

 Back to School Organizing Tools

Back to School Organizing Tools

As you prepare to send your children back to school, there are many organizing tools that you can use in your home to make school days less chaotic.  In addition to buying school supplies, consider some of these organizing tools.

Back to School Organizing Tools

A Pantry Snack Station

In your pantry, put after school snacks on a low shelf or in a bin or basket.  This will allow your children to quickly find an after school snack.

A Fridge Bin for Lunch Items

For refrigerated items, set-up a containers like these Fridge Binz to hold lunch making supplies and refrigerated snacks.

Hooks for Backpacks & Jackets

Give each child a sturdy hook to hold backpacks.  Also, supply enough hooks for jackets.  Make sure these hooks are placed low enough for young children to reach.  Labeling the hooks with your child’s name will also help give ownership to your child.

Shelves or Bins for Shoes & Hats

Create a storage area for other items such as shoes and hats.  Hats can hang on hooks or, be placed on shelves, in cubbies or bins.  Place a shoe shelf or bin or basket near the most frequently used door to further streamline the before school morning routine.

An Inbox for Each Child

Place a small tray or bin to act as your child’s “inbox,” for the small items they bring to and from school daily such as lunch money.  If they bring electronics to and from school, set up a charging station for phones and laptops.

A School Paper Wall Pocket or Folder

Set up a labeled wall pocket or folder for papers about school activities and for school forms to be signed by parents.

An Activity Tracker on the Wall

Use a bulletin board, magnetic board or dry erase board on a wall at home to keep track of activities and events.

Calendars or Planners

Give your child access to a planner, a shared family wall calendar or a shared digital calendar to keep track of times and dates of school holidays, after school activities, family events & more.

A Homework Station

Designate one space as the homework station.  Have regularly used school supplies such as pens, pencils, calculators, tape, scissors and rulers nearby.  Keep this surface clear so there’s enough space to do homework.  This should be located in an area with limited distractions.

By setting up organizing tools like these at home, your child’s before school and after school routines will be less stressful.  They will be able to easily find all items they need for going to school and doing homework.  With these organzational tools in place, you will also prevent losing important school papers or missing a school event or after-school activity.

14 Reasons to Organize your Home Office

14 Reasons to Organize Your Home Office Title

14 Reasons to Organize your Home Office

Home offices are one of the most common rooms I am hired to organize. So many people are working from home, or trying to juggle a busy home life and work at the same time, that a home office can quickly become cluttered and overwhelming.  Getting your home office better organized will not only improve your work productivity, but it can also benefit you by lowering stress at home.  Here are just some of the many reasons to organize your home office.

14 Reasons to Organize your Home Office

-Better organization can improve productivity and increase income.

– Save time searching for items you cannot find.

-Streamlined filing systems, reference material storage, and office supply storage will save you both time and money.

-To create a more comfortable workspace with the correct chair, desk and ergonomic set-up for you.

-For a more visually appealing workspace that makes you want to spend time in the home office.

-To make it easier to manage cords and charge electronics.

-For better use of time with improved to-do lists, calendar systems and overall time management skills.

-To save money by not repurchasing items you know you own but cannot find.

-To make space for others to visit such as clients or assistants.

-For quicker preparation for events, meetings and business travel.

-To create improved systems for accounting, budgeting and bill paying.

-To separate your home from business spaces for your business tax purposes.

-Organized tax papers make tax filing time less stressful.

-Less clutter and more organization will make cleaning easier and faster.

Preparing for Tax Free Weekend

Preparing for Tax Free Weekend Title

Preparing for Tax Free Weekend

In many states, tax-free weekend is offered in early August.  This is a great time to plan and prepare an organized shopping list.  Here is a general list of the items usually included, depending on your specific state’s tax-free weekend rules:

  • School Supplies
  • Backpacks
  • Clothing
  • Jackets
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Printers
  • Emergency Preparation Supplies

Not all states offer tax-free weekend, but those that do usually hold it in late July or Early August to coincide with back-to-school.  Some online retailers also offer discounts on tax-free weekend.  Check here to see if tax-free weekend is offered in your individual state.

Tips to for a Streamlined & Organized Tax-Free Weekend

If you know that tax-free weekend is coming up in your area, you can plan for a more streamlined shopping experience and savings, if you organize in advance.

School supplies

When it comes to school supplies, check your child’s teacher’s list, and determine what is needed in advance.

School Clothes and Backpacks

Test out your child’s backpack to determine if a new one needs to be purchased over tax-free weekend.  Have your child try on all clothing to see what they’ve outgrown, and make another list of clothing to be purchased that weekend.  Plan which stores you’ll need to take your child to, and in which order you’d like to go to each store.  I suggest starting at the clothing stores first thing in the morning, and plan a route that uses the least amount of travel time and gas.

Computers, Electronics & Printers

Test out your electronics to determine if anything needs to be upgraded.  Tax-free weekend is a great time to take advantage of discounts.  Make a list of what you need, and research in advance which stores or online retailers are offering tax-free deals and have the items you want in stock.

Emergency Preparation Supplies

Some states also includes tax-free emergency preparation supplies for hurricane preparedness and more during this weekend.  Check your survival kits and emergency supplies, and plan to shop for these items as well.

Since you only have a short time to take advantage of tax-free weekend, start shopping as soon as the stores open.  Divide the shopping amongst family members if needed.  If you must plan for a whole day, plan for a brief lunch break, and continue until you’ve gotten everything on your list.  Making a list and sticking to it is a very important way to keep to your budget, and make sure that you get only what you need.

By | 2017-07-06T10:24:36+00:00 July 26th, 2017|finances, money, shopping, summer|0 Comments