Ask the Organizer is a segment that I had on my Help-Organize-Life.com website where anyone could ask me their organizing questions. This is a reprint from the original article from 2011.
Q: I am a mother to 5 great kids and have a very hard working husband. Currently I’m going back to school for nursing and I’m trying to balance everything but I feel as if I’m going to fall apart. I think I’m already at that point. We have a construction business and I’m a stay at home mom and I need help trying to make everything work. I just finished with a certified nursing assistant program that is a prerequisite for the nursing program I’m trying to get into and I’m trying to update all the bills that need to be paid. Unfortunately money doesn’t come in as regular as I’d like so I’m in the midst of trying to get everything caught up. I tried using the flylady system and it is good. But they send you so many emails I end up ignoring most of them and losing steam. Can you help me to start simple? I love being in school because it forces me to get everything done but I don’t think it always turns out so good. Lately I feel like that isn’t working as well. Maybe some ADD behavior there? I just really need some help!! Thanks so much. : ) – Tiffany
A: Hi Tiffany,
It does sound like you have a full plate and I see how you can get overwhelmed and want to stop in your tracks. But don’t! Starting simple is the best way to get everything done that you need.
To get caught up with your bills the simplest thing I have found is to either get one of those bill minder binders or if you are short on cash to write down monthly in a notebook all of the bills that are due and when it is due. Then when you pay it put a check mark beside it. Be sure to write down the amounts every month and if possible how much you paid and check number. This is the simplest way to keep track. Have one place in your home where you will keep this notebook and where you will bring all of the incoming bills. You will have to form a habit to do this.
Another way to keep all of the different roles in your life organized is to set up a project box for each role and keep all items related to that particular role in that project box. You can find project boxes or storage containers at Office Depot or Staples or Office Max.
I hope that helps you to get started. If you like using your computer try to get all of your bills sent via email and set up a Excel spreadsheet to keep up.
You can also use free services like Manilla that will send you reminders of when new statements come in and when bills are due.
What advice would you have for Tiffany? Do you feel that you have the same problem? Let me know in the comments below.
*This post originally appeared on Help-Organize-Life.com
My name is Beth, and I am a student in an Entrepreneurial class. We are writing business plans right now, and I have decided to write one for a professional organizer. I have been an organized person my whole life and can see myself really starting a business like this. I was wondering if you could provide me with any advice or additional information on how to go about writing this plan. Are there any very important things I should be sure to include in the plan? What struggles have you faced in this market?
Thank you so much!
You can find out more about becoming a professional organizer at www.naponashville.com/blog under the “Become a P.O.” page and find out what books you need and other helpful information.
The most important things are to have is a business license, a separate bank account, general liability insurance and accounting software. You don’t need a big office since most of your work is done on location with your client.
There are a couple of struggles you may run into when getting started like finding what you really like to do in the organizing field and finding clients who fit what you offer. You constantly need to market your business in order to grow. And not everyone is a client believe it or not. As you get started in the field you will learn what type of organizing you like to do and what you don’t care for.
I personally after many years in business had struggles with burnout. I was doing way to many clients and it all became too much. By taking a step back and assessing what I wanted and how I saw my business evolving I was able to scale back and taylor my business to my life and not the other way around. Now I really enjoy all of my clients and they get my very best because I love what I do.
I hope that helps!
*This post originally appeared on Help-Organize-Life.com
Q: I clean and declutter my desk and dining room table every few months, and every few months the clutter is back. How do I keep these areas clutter free during the busy work and school years?
A:One thing you are doing right is decluttering every few months. But to keep from having your desk and dining room table become clutter magnets and pile back up you need to have a system in place to put things that usually accumulate and cause the clutter in the first place. For kids papers and drawing during the school year you need to have bins or file folders for each kid that can act as a catchall. Then at the end of the month you can look through and throw away what is not relevant anymore or scan in what you need to keep and toss it once scanned. The same goes for your dining room table. If you put back what you have brought out to work on and have a folder to catch the different information as it comes into your home this will help to keep your dining room table clutter free. Remember that if you do a little tidying of these two areas each day it won’t pile up and it will stay clutter free forever. I hope this helps.