Posted by: | December 31, 2012

Get organized in the New Year

Get Organized in the New Year

2013 spread

Organizing your life can lead to better efficiency and a vast reduction in stress.

Organization is key to having smooth, stress-free days. If your life is disorganized, so is your mind; and a mind in a jumble can’t get nearly as much done. If you don’t keep the bills in one specific place, then you’re causing yourself undue stress when you frantically search for them later. If you don’t ensure that your house is clean, then that uncleanliness will constantly nag at your unconscious mind.

For those who rely on routine, keeping all aspects of life neatly in order is absolutely essential. Here are some steps to take to ensure the restoration of order and organization.

  1. Pick everything up from your home/workspace and clean. Don’t worry about organizing everything into piles just yet. First, just make sure that everything is freshly washed or dusted.
  2. Put away everything that already has a logical place while collecting everything else into one central location. Put clothes in the closet, pencils in the desk drawer, dishes in the cabinet, et cetera. Put everything else — loose papers, photos, folders, random nick-knacks — on, say, the dining room table to be gone through later.
  3. Clear a chunk of time to organized the unorganized. It will help if you aren’t interrupted during this period.
  4. Put things in like piles. Put the bills with the bills, the photos with the photos, and so on.
  5. Sort items in an order that makes sense to you. If you want to sort your bills by order of descending date, then do so. Choose an order that will make these things easiest for you to find later, should you need them.
  6. Determine what sort of filing system you will use and put the items away. Purchase a file cabinet or a sturdy folder system.

     7.   Enjoy a Happy New Year!

Posted by: Amy at | November 21, 2012

How to Create A Holiday Mission Statement

The holidays are here.  Do you have a plan?  You might consider creating a Holiday Mission Statement to get yourself started.  A mission statement can be your guide for the holidays.  It can keep you focused on your goals.

The first step to creating a Holiday Mission Statement is to start asking questions. Talk with your spouse and discuss questions like this:

  • What is our budget?
  • What do we want to teach our children this season?
  • Are there some new experiences to share with our children?
  • Is there anything we want to do different this year?

Now you are ready to bring the family together and have a family meeting.  Some more questions could include:

  • What is your favorite family tradition?
  • What do you remember from last year?  Your favorite memory?
  • What are you most looking forward to? What are you dreading?
  • What was your favorite way/thing to give to others?

You may be amazed at the things your children remember and want to do again this year.  From here you have can make a mission statement.  Just a sentence will do.  This will keep you focused on the traditions the are the most meaningful to your family.

The Tokos Family Thanksgiving Mission Statement is to have great food and focus on being thankful.

Pretty simple but it says a lot.  From here I asked my family to define great food.  Are we making the traditional fare or making something different?  Thankfully they mostly insisted on the pumpkin pie.  Focus on being thankful.  How?  The kids want to make a thankful tree.  We do this every year and it consist of tree branches and construction paper leaves.  We write on each leaf something we are thankful for.  We are also going to talk each evening at dinner about what we are thankful for.  Pretty simple.

We are still working on our Christmas mission statement.  Have fun with this and let me know how it goes.  I would love to hear some of your mission statements.

Posted by: Amy at | May 5, 2012

Children and Toys: A Lesson in Organization

If you have little children then there are probably very few times that the toys are all organized and your floor is clear.  Your kids are having a lot of fun but as a parent, it can get very frustrating having constant clutter on the floor.  Here is some good news, there is a way to organize the kids stuff so it is easy for the kids to pick up and also give them an opportunity to learn how to be organized.

When we work organizing families, one of our favorite things to do is help eliminate steps and obstacles for children.  By steps, we mean, if a child has toys stored in a basket on a closet shelf then they have 5 steps to put a toy away.  The steps would be to open the door, pull out the basket, put the toy in the basket, put the basket back  and then close the door.  Now for an adult this doesn’t sound so bad, but for a child it can be overwhelming…so the toy will stay on the floor.  Sometimes, the child will start the task of putting things away but then they don’t finish.  The basket may be left on the floor or the door to the closet left open.

Open containers on open shelves is a great solution for organizing children’s toys.  Now, as an adult, we may feel compelled to label all the bins and have the expectation that every toy have a home.  This might work for an adult but for little kids, it is again overwhelming.  It is great to have a few containers labeled for small things like Lego’s or Polly Pockets but be flexible with the rest.  It helps the children to have unlabeled containers for quick and easy pick up.

We can hear some of you grumbling, “My kids will just toss everything in the containers and it will be a jumbled mess.”  You are correct.  Our question is who does that affect?  It only affects the kids.  The bonus of this is that there is now an opportunity to teach your child how to be organized.  Here is the teachable moment: Your child comes to you and says they can’t find blah, blah, blah toy.   A good response would be “That is a bummer.  Where do you keep that toy?”  Kid says “over on the shelf.” You say “Wow, those containers are a bit jumbled.  Do you have a special container you put that toy in?”  Kid says no.  “Well, after you find your toy let me know if you need help creating a special place for it.”

The benefit of this conversation is two fold.  First, the child gets to suffer a natural consequence for being messy and unorganized.  Next, the mom does not take responsibility for the toy and the child realizes that he is responsible for keeping the toy where he can find it.  After a few times of this process, the child will create a system that works for him.

Being organized does not come naturally for everyone.  We like to give kids systems that can be easily maintained with the opportunity to learn how to be organized.  If these systems are in place and parents can model good organizing then your child will have a good opportunity to learn to be organized.  This is good because in the end, an organized child helps make a happy mom.

Posted by: Sheri Lukasiewicz @ Peace by Piece | January 11, 2012

Chill Out!!

So, the Holidays are in your rear-view mirror.  Have you checked the contents of your refrigerator lately?  Would you discover containers with the contents of Christmas dinner in there?  It’s time to Free your Fridge!!  Take the time this week to give your refrigerator a ‘make-over’.  You know …..less is more.  Empty it of aged food remnants and check your condiments for currency status.  Scrub down the sides and shelves.  If your freezer has an ice maker, and you use less in the winter, empty your ice tray out and let new fresh ice fill it up.     

Here’s another tip:  If you have a newer style fridge, open the doors and study their sides.  These newer style refrigerators’ doors are quite wide and have a good deal of rubber seals.  So while you’re at it, give those wide sides and seals a good scrubbing too.  This ain’t your Grandma’s refrigerator!

‘Tis the Season to give your refrigerator(s) a new start for the new year too!!

Posted by: Cyndy Salzmann | November 29, 2011


MP900430987[1]It’s official! The day after Thanksgiving marked the kick-off to the Christmas shopping season. Instead of Christmas music playing every fourth song on the PA systems of department stores, every title is a holiday classic designed to put us in the mood to add more to our shopping carts.

While these gifts are much appreciated when tearing away the bright paper and ribbon, the real challenge comes after New Year’s when we try to find space to store these treasures. After all, a girl can only have so many pairs of cozy slippers and scented bath products. And my dear husband already has enough plaid flannel shirts to outfit all the campers at Mahoney State Park. Even the dog could do without the stocking full of squeaky toys that have the ability quench even the most robust Christmas spirit.

If this scenario rings true in your home, here are some suggestions for clutter-free gift giving.

Give a gift of education, entertainment or service.

  • · For families with children, a season pass to the zoo or children’s museum is always a treat.
  • · Membership to an online movie service such as NetFlix will provide hours of entertainment on long winter nights.
  • · Those with an interest in cooking or crafts might enjoy a class to learn a new skill.
  • · A book of coupons for various services such as snow-shoveling, yard work or child care is a gift from the heart.
  • Consumable gifts provide memories without the clutter.
  • · A platter of baked treats and homemade jams is always a hit during the holidays.
  • · There’s nothing like a basket of prime fruit delivered on a cold winter morning to take away the chill. Some companies even offer a “fruit of the month” to extend the gift all year long.
  • · A home cooked meal, packaged for the freezer is a much appreciated time-saver for busy moms.

Make a financial donation to a favorite organization in the recipient’s name.

  • · For teachers, make a donation to a scholarship fund or school project instead of wrapping up another apple-shaped ornament.
  • · For the outdoorsmen, send a gift to Ducks Unlimited or the Sierra Club.
  • · For the book lover, donate a book to the local library in his or her name. An added bonus is that the recipient has the option to check out the book to read and then return it for others to enjoy.
  • · For the cook, send a donation to a food pantry or shelter to provide meals for the needy.
  • · People of faith will appreciate a gift to their local church.
  • · A donation to a favorite health organization such as the American Red Cross or Cancer Society is always appreciated and much needed.

I hope I’ve provided some ideas to make your holiday season both happy and LIGHT.

Posted by: organizationstation | September 27, 2011

How does She Do it? Just like the new movie

1.  Make sure that every item, in your home, has a home and make sure that all family members know where that home is.

2.  Make use of the “one in-one out” rule.  Before you buy the next toy for your child, decide which toy is leaving.  The same rule works for clothes, gadgets, and almost everything in your home.

2.  How clean is clean?  Does the house have to be able to pass the “white glove test” every week.  I don’t think so.  Find a compromise that the whole family can live with.

3.  Make sure everyone in the home is helping out.  Even kids as young as three can do many chores and duties.  It may take a while to teach them to do the job, how you want it done, but it is time well spent.

4. Sit down with your family once a week and schedule times, that the person is free, to clean the different rooms of the home.  Only schedule times during the five weekdays.

5.  Buy your groceries during your lunch hour and keep a cooler in the car to keep your cold items cold.  The secret is that not many people shop during the week and the grocery stores are almost empty.  It will take you half the time to shop as it does on the weekend.

6. Never do your laundry on the weekend.  You can ever pick a night to do all the loads and just keep setting a timer to remind you keep changing the loads or you can do one or two loads every weekday.


This will insure that you have every weekend FREE to enjoy with your family and or friends.

You will be refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes your way the next week.


I have written a book on this subject titled: Myth or Reality? Weekends FREE.


Thank you for letting me answer your question!

Diane Sullivan

The Organization Station



Posted by: organizationstation | September 20, 2011

Three Reasons for Organizing your Workstation.


Do you have piles of papers on your desk at work? How do you think this mess is impacting your career? In a recent CareerBuilder study about office hoarding, 2,662 hiring managers and 4,912 workers were surveyed. The study revealed the following reasons to organize your workstation:

  • Your stuff could be weighing down your productivity. One-third of workers said they tend to be hoarders. Thirty-eight percent of workers say that between 50 and 100 percent of their desk is covered with work and other materials, while 16 percent of workers said 75 percent or more of their desk is covered.
  • You’re less likely to receive a promotion. Twenty-eight percent of employers say they are less likely to promote someone who has a disorganized or messy workspace.
  • An employer’s perception of you could be affected. Nearly two in five employers say piles of paper covering a desk negatively impacted their perception of that person. Twenty-seven percent feel that person is disorganized; 17 percent sense he is just messy.

If you think you could use some help organizing at the office, here are a few ways to organize your workstation:

Create a filing system. Whether you have paper or computer documents, a good filing system can help avoid a cluttered desk or desktop. First, create separate folders for different needs. For example, if you work with clients, give each one his own folder. That way, when you go to look for important documents, you know exactly where they should be.

Get rid of things you no longer need. Recycle old papers, throw away trash, and put everything away in its proper place. If you only need one or two pens for everyday use, donate the rest to your office supply room or to a co-worker.

Focus on one thing at a time. When you’re multitasking, it’s easy to let things get out of hand and neglect cleaning your workspace. To avoid this, set aside blocks of time for each project and focus on the task at hand. If you don’t finish with it, put away the documents in their proper place and come back to the task later.

Keep things you use every day within reach.  Do you use a stapler or tape everyday? Keep in on your desk, if you do otherwise keep them in a drawer or on a shelf.

Posted by: organizationstation | September 6, 2011

Do you have any routines?


Do you have any routines that make your life less stressful? It is so simple to start some and yet so many of us resist them! When we have routines in place, and follow them, we are much less likely to be stressed out and overwhelmed.  For instance, most of us would do well to establish a nightly routine to help us get ready for the morning. Plan to:

  • Make lunches for the next day
  • Set out clothes for the next day, don’t forget the accessories
  • Set the table for breakfast

By taking the time to get these few things done in the evening you will have a much more relaxed morning. Less stress is always best!

Posted by: Cyndy Salzmann | August 27, 2011

Recycling Info

Some Things Are Not RecyclableGot enough clutter to fill up the landfill? Here’s a link with some great recycling ideas for everything from electronics to wine corks.

Posted by: | July 27, 2011

Is your home ready for school to start?

On a very hot humid day in July, I had a client that wanted her home organized before school started.  She lived in a beautiful home that was over 100 years old so she wanted it to be efficient so that she wouldn’t have to go up and down the stairs from basement laundry room to the children’s rooms upstairs unless it was necessary.

We started in the top level of the home and we organized each child’s room along with the child so that each one would learn some new organizing skills along the way.   I believe that being organized is a learned skill,  so don’t think it’s too late for you to learn how to be organized or to teach your children.

 By the time we were finished with the whole house “Mom” felt at ease about going on a vacation and to coming back to a nice home that was ready for school to start.  What would make you feel more comfortable in your home?

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