5 Things to Purge in 2018

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Getting Organized

This is my last blog post of 2017, and throughout the year I often listen and reflect upon the comments, questions and feedback I get from you, our clients, listeners and readers. Although everyone struggles with different areas of clutter or disorganization, the one thing that all of us have in common is the desire to live simply, yet it’s often difficult to articulate what that really means.

I was recently interviewed by Alicia Vitarelli from 6ABC on my top 5 list of things to purge as we enter 2018.  The more we can reduce physical and emotional clutter from our lives, the lighter we feel. A couple of my answers may seem cliché, but a few may surprise you. 

   1Toxic People: You know who they are. The people who put you down, people who are too needy, people who don’t value your time. Life is too short to not spend it with people who value you, and who bring value into your life.

   2. Unnecessary Paper: 80% of the paper we keep we will never look at again-that’s a LOT of waste! In my book, HOT MESS: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized I have a whole cheat sheet of what to purge and what to keep. FEAR often holds us back, but once you have permission to let things go, it makes it easier.

   3. Excess Social Media: In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to avoid social media, nor am I suggesting you should. However, if you can be mindful of limiting screen time, you will be amazed at how much extra time you will have in a day to do things that really matter to you.

   4. Clothes from the 20th Century: We’re all guilty of holding onto things for the wrong reasons. Whether it’s the guilt of donating something that cost a fortune, or the “what if” factor that it may come back into style, these items can handcuff us emotionally. My general rule of thumb is that unless it’s a keepsake, the stuff that you’re not wearing needs to go.

   5. Guilt. Nothing weighs us down more than regret. Things we should have done, or things we wish we didn’t say.  Good News! Each day we are given a do-over.  If you feel compelled to apologize to someone you wronged, say you’re sorry; the worst thing you can do is live in the past with remorse.

People are always asking me my thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions. As I shared in episode 054 of This ORGANIZED Life Podcast, if you want to resolve to make a change in your life, GREAT!, but, there’s no need to put pressure on yourself simply because the calendar says January 1st.

That being said, in 2018 I will be sharing 365 days of gratitude on instagram. It’s something that I personally want to do, so I will be sharing something each day through my personal page @organizingmaster,  feel free to follow along!

You’re Getting Warmer….

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Favorite Products, Getting Organized, Organizing Apps

Tile App: Redefining Lost & Found

Do you remember when you were little and you used to play the game Hot Potato?  One person would hide something and then the other person would search for it while the hider would eagerly announce “WARMER!” or “COLDER!” as the seeker would search for the item. As a child, this is a fun and entertaining game, even humorous at times, watching the seeker go completely out of their way looking for something that was in different location.

Fast forward to your life today; have you ever tried to get out the door to work, or take the kids to school, but can’t find your keys or your phone? You search all of the logical places to no avail, and your frustration mounts. How you wish at that moment that you had someone guiding you, letting you know if you are getting “warmer.”

Thankfully, one of my favorite gifts this season was the Tile Pro Series. It’s a tracker for your belongings. Use it to track almost anything, including your phone, keys, purse, laptop, backpack, or luggage.  It works off of bluetooth, and literally with the press of a button you will be notified by sound and signal if you are getting closer, until you locate your item.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret…when I’m onsite with clients, I am constantly misplacing my keys-just ask my assistant, Erika!  I’ll leave them in my workbag, inside a jacket pocket, or buried inside my purse.  Ironically, when I’m at home I know exactly where my keys are, but when I’m out, I’m often distracted, and as a result, I’ll arbitrarily place them without thought.  Has that ever happened to you?

As much as I’d like to believe that I will never misplace my keys again, I know that’s not reality, so why not reduce stress and save time by attaching this little square to my key ring?  The setup was so easy, all I had to do is download the app, enter my name and email, and attach the tile to my keys. No fancy tech set up required!  There are multiple versions available based on your needs and lifestyle. See which one is best for you by clicking here.  Tile is available for both iPhone & android users.





*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own.

Packing & Unpacking Strategies That Won’t Stress You Out!

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Getting Organized, Organized Home


Today’s post comes from one of our SBO Partners, Jenna Nelson, founder of Top Shelf Organizing In Nashville, TN

Moving. Ugh. Doesn’t that word just make you cringe? I’ve moved 8 times since graduating from college in 2006 and 6 of those moves were to different states. At this point in my life I feel like a packing pro which is a skill that has come in handy with my organizing business. I love helping my clients get organized, and that includes people moving from one home to another.

I know packing can seem overwhelming when you look at your house as a whole, and if that’s how you approach it, it will be overwhelming. So don’t do that. Instead, look at one space at a time, even if it’s just a drawer in the bathroom, a shelf in the pantry or a section of your closet. Typically when moving you can’t pack up each room completely because there are always certain items you need to use as long as you are living in the home, but I guarantee there’s a lot you DON’T need during that time.

Here’s a list of items you can pack up immediately without affecting your daily life:

  • Out of season clothes and shoes
  • Extra bath towels and sheets
  • Rarely used bathroom items
  • Memorabilia
  • Personalized items such as pictures and diplomas
  • Handmade arts and craft items
  • Rarely used kitchen tools and appliances
  • Rarely used kitchen dishes, plates, utensils, glassware
  • Rarely used cooking and baking dishes
  • Extra kitchen hand towels and washcloths
  • Books and dvds that won’t be read or watched
  • “Guest” items stored in closets
  • Paperwork you don’t need access to

Listen to Jenna’s interview on This ORGANIZED Life

Another simple tip when moving – this is the BEST time to purge. When else are you going to have the chance to go through every space in your house? When are you going to MAKE time to go through every area of your house? Take advantage of packing and do a total purge/clean out of each space, getting rid of items you don’t need or want anymore. Why should they take up space in the moving boxes if you no longer use them? Bonus, and I know this sounds obvious, but the more you get rid of the less you have to pack and unpack.

When you pick up an item you aren’t sure you really need, ask yourself, “Do I want to find a place for this in my new home?” If you do, keep it. If you don’t, get rid of it. Don’t ask yourself, “Do I want to pack this item?” because there are some items that really aren’t fun to pack (I’m looking at you KitchenAid mixer) but you need them/use them, so getting rid of them isn’t an option.I know moving can seem completely overwhelming but hopefully these simple tips will help make the process a little easier.

For more organizing tips and inspiration, follow Top Shelf Organizing on Facebook at Top Shelf Organizing, Instagram at @topshelforganizing, and on twitter at @TSorganizing or visit her website www.topshelforganizing.com.

WFMZ Segment: Must Have Products to Ease Spring Cleaning

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Favorite Products, Garage Storage, Getting Organized, Media, Organized Home

Spring cleaning is like the New Year’s Resolution of organizing. The hardest part for most people is getting started. I had the pleasure of spending the morning with one of my favorite peeps, Eve Russo from WFMZ, where we talked about some tips and products to help ease the overwhelm.

You can watch the clip HERE   

1. Standing Bike Racks:


I love have everything off the floor as much as the next person, but I’m also realistic. Ceiling or wall mount bike racks are great storage options for the off-season, but you need an easy grab-and-go option during peak times. This inexpensive expandable bike rack will keep you from tripping as you enter the garage and is simple enough that a child can do it themselves.

Available at amazon.com




2.  Wire Locker Baskets:

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, these baskets!  I have them in every color and use them both indoors for hats& gloves, as well as in the garage to store cleaning supplies, bottles of spray paint and other odds-and-ends. They are so versatile and inexpensive (I think I bought mine for around $14.99 each). Believe it or not, I found them at my local gardening supply store, but I’ve seen them online as well. As much as I love a lidded bin, there’s something to be said about the convenience of grab-and-go open storage.



3.  Sterilite Storage Tote:


Normaly you’ll hear me talk about the value of clear storage bins (which still holds true), but these are my new obsession!  I came across these adorable bins when I was re-doing a playroom for a client of mine. They come in 3 sizes (the smallest is not shown in the pic), but what makes these so great are the plastic snap on labels that come in 4 colors (blue and pink not shown).  They are awesome for all those little toys like shopkins, littlest petshop, barbie clothes, and of course legos! Write directly on the labels with a dry erase marker and easily edit as the contents change.

Available at Target.com



One little organizing tip:  schedule a donation pick up  so you have a commitment to get it done by a certain date, plus the donations will not be left in your garage/house indefinitely!

Leave us a comment to let us know some of your favorite organizing tips and you may be featured in an upcoming blog post.

Happy Organizing!



Resolve to Get Organized

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Getting Organized

How many of you ever made a New Year’s Resolution?  I know I have.  They have ranged anywhere from vowing to work out, to taking up a hobby and a bunch of things in between.  If breaking up with clutter is on your resolution list for 2017, you are not alone.
Getting Organized is right up there next to losing weight and saving money as one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. So much so, that January has been deemed: National Get Organized Month!

As with any resolution, most people start strong, but by mid-February are slipping back into their old habits. Why do so many resolutions fail? De-motivation and frustration.
If you are committed to getting organized, you’ve come to the right place. Below are 5 tips to keep you on the “Organizing Bandwagon”.
  • Prioritize.  If I asked you what area of your home you want to declutter, you may want to respond “all of it”! But Rome wasn’t built in a day and your clutter didn’t accumulate overnight, so slow your roll sister. As much as I applaud your attempt to dive right in, the best advice I can give you is to prioritize the areas that are the biggest pain point for you and go from there.
  • Incorporate into your routine. I have news for you, getting organized isn’t a “one and done” thing.  It’s an investment in time and discipline. Whether it’s putting your keys in the same spot each day, working with your kids to put their toys away, or trying to train your husband to put his clothes in the hamper, it all boils down to one word-discipline. Establishing a routine that you stick to is a game changer.
  • Change the way you think.  Clutter is the end result of X (lack of time, too much stuff, poor systems).  How many times have you organized your closet only to find it a hot mess 3 months later? Anyone can get organized, the catch is learning how to stay organized.  The key to success is changing the behavior that allowed clutter to accumulate in the first place.
  • Keep it Simple.  The one thing I can tell you from years of experience is simple always wins. The more complicated the system the less likely you are to stick with it. Think about other areas of your life: recipes, doing your hair, taking off make-up…the more steps it has, the more work it becomes to maintain. Life is already filled with enough things on our to-do list, which is exactly why simplifying the way we find food in our pantry, tools in the garage, or clothes in our closet is invaluable.
  • Set Realistic Expectations.  If you were going to run a marathon you wouldn’t just wake up one day and run 26 miles. You would have a plan, a strategy and small benchmarks along the way helping you get closer to reaching your goal.  Organizing your space or time is no different. Whether you have 20 minutes or 2-hours, do what you can-the key is consistency. 

If you are committed to making 2017 the year you said goodbye to clutter, I’m here to help. Subscribe to our NEW weekly podcast, This Organized Life where you’ll get a first-hand glimpse into my world of kids, clients and organizing strategies that work for people who have little time, a lot of stuff, but don’t have a clue of what to do with it. If there are topics you want us to talk about, please leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!