Monthly Archives: April 2014

How to you honor Earth Day?

ImagePeople are passionate about the good stewardship of the environment and every spring we celebrate the outdoors with special focus on how to take better care of nature and the world around us. Earth Day is celebrated with fun runs, outdoor art projects, book and clothing swaps, recycle events, environmental clean-up work parties, educational events focused on green living and environmental sustainability, and much, much more.

Earth Day is April 22, but at Organize to Simplify we celebrate the spirit of Earth Day every day!

As a Professional Organizer and proud member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), my goal is to use my experience and training to develop physical and thought processes to re-purpose a client’s home or office to better suit their needs. The true purpose of a Professional Organizer is manifested when a client takes what we learn in our one-on-one organizing sessions and transfers those skills to other areas of their lives.  Besides teaching the organization process, we teach clients about recycling, reusing, and overall reducing the impact of de-cluttering on our environment.

One of the most frequent questions during a consultation or organizing session is “what do I do with all this stuff I don’t need any more but is still usable?” The answer is pretty simple . . . “sell, give, recycle, or donate.”

SELL: If you believe someone will pay you for it, give selling it a shot. If it hasn’t been sold in 30 days, move it to a “GIVE” or “DONATE” pile. Note: Caution should be used when selling items to ensure that personal and financial precautions are taken.

GIVE: If you know someone that can use the item, label it with that person’s name and a date (usually 30 days from an organizing session). If in those 30 days, the item hasn’t made it to the new owner, it goes into a “SELL,” “RECYCLE,” or “DONATE” box.

RECYCLE: Anything that is no longer usable that can be recycled should be recycled. Many times I’ve carted away old papers, cardboard boxes, old jars, plastic containers, paper and plastic grocery bags, etc. to be recycled instead of being designated “garbage” and sent to the landfill.

DONATE: This is my favorite and I use it with every organizing session. Many of my clients never thought about the social impact of recycling their clothes and household items to an appropriate charity, be it a school, church, thrift store, or many other 501c3 organizations.

As my Mission Statement explains, at Organize To Simplify I “will provide a thoughtful and thorough analysis of a client’s needs, endeavoring to realize their goals of a more organized and peaceful environment. Together we can help others and the environment by reducing, re-purposing, and recycling items you no longer need to lessen the long-term impact on our environment.”

Let’s all do whatever we can to reduce, reuse, recycle, replenish, and restore . . . not just on Earth Day, but every day.

Cindy Jobs

Proud member of:

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), Seattle Area Chapter President

ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteInstitute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD)


Why Have Job Descriptions?


There isn’t clear consensus on whether or not job descriptions do more harm than good in the business environment, but I firmly believe that giving employees clear direction about what you expect of them is always a good thing. An accurate job description is one of the many to do just that.

Not only are clear and concise job descriptions helpful in the hiring process (how many job descriptions these days have “engineer” as part of the title?), but if managed properly, they are a great communication tool for helping employees understand their current role within the company, have a clear picture of what they will be held accountable for, and gives them a road map for future promotion.

Good job descriptions contain the following information:

Job title/working relationship: What is this job referred to within the organization and where is it within the organization (what position(s) report to it and what position does it report to)?

Working environment and requirements: What are the environmental and physical requirements for this position? Is the work done inside vs. outside; weekdays vs. weekends; day shift vs. night shift; what are the physical requirements (lifting, sitting, walking), full-time vs. part-time, etc.

Qualifications: What are the educational, technical, vocational, or years of experience requirements for this position? Does it require a college degree or several years of hands-on experience? It’s important to be realistic with qualifications. If it truly doesn’t require a college degree, don’t say that it does. If for legal or insurance reasons it requires a certified number of hours performing the task, say so. Many excellent employment opportunities have been lost when required qualifications have been understated or overstated.

Specific tasks: What exactly is the employee expected to do and within what timeframe? This is the most important and tricky part of a job description. Be realistic, and be fair. Be specific, but not too limiting. Failure to be open and clear about job expectations can result in the wrong person getting hired for the job, resulting in high turn-over which can be incredibly expensive.
Although nearly every job description I’ve seen includes the verbiage “Other duties as assigned,” be mindful of how broad that statement is really meant to be. Although most employees come to work wanting to succeed and most employers don’t intend to take advantage of their employees, roles become blurred and frustration mounts when there isn’t clear consensus between an employee and the employer about what tasks are included in the job.

Why have job descriptions?
• Ensuring the right candidates apply to and are hired for specific positions.
• Eliminate redundancy or oversight of tasks within an organization.
• Give employees a clear idea of expectations and working environments.
• Job descriptions, if clearly written, can help with potential legal challenges.

What to avoid with job descriptions:
• Don’t be too rigid; allow some flexibility, where possible, for employees to think and work outside the box, potentially improving productivity and profitability. Think results vs. tasks.
• Make sure job descriptions do not become outdated. Review them at least every two years to ensure they still make sense in this ever-changing business world in which we live.

Who should write the job descriptions?
The best job descriptions are those that are written in concert with the employee performing the function, their immediate supervisor, and a representative from the Human Resources department (if one exists in your organization). This three-prong approach ensures the job function, up-line responsibility, and legal aspects are all covered. It is also helpful to have peer groups review the job descriptions to get an “outsider’s” view for obvious oversights.

When an employer can communicate their needs clearly through excellent job descriptions, finding the right fit for the organization becomes a much easier and productive process.

Cindy Jobs

Proud member of:

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), Seattle Area Chapter President

ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteInstitute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD)


Organize in 15 Minutes or Less

ImageTop Ten 15 Minute Organizing Options

Organizing doesn’t have to be incredibly time consuming. Little organizing successes can bring great rewards and not take much time at all!  Here are my top 10 super-fast organizing tasks, each of which can be done in 15 minutes or less.

1. Create a calendar:

  • Find a calendar that fits your needs:  wall calendar, day planner, customized spreadsheet, phone app, etc. Whatever works for YOU!  It doesn’t matter what your friend/mother/sister/boyfriend uses.  Find the one that fits your lifestyle.
  • Fill in obligations for the month.
  • Create an area to document tasks to get done during the month.
  • Categorize tasks by A/B/C priority.
  • Check/update calendar on a daily basis.

2.  Clean out a drawer (pick a drawer, any drawer):

  • Take everything out.
  • Sort items by purpose (do they even belong there?).
  • Throw away anything that isn’t functional; donate items that are functional that you don’t use.
  • Thoroughly clean the drawer.
  • Containerize like items together much as possible.

3. Clean one shelf in the refrigerator/pantry/medicine cabinet:

  • Take everything out.
  • Check expiration dates; throw out anything past expiration date. Going forward, write the date on products as you open them.
  • Categorize items by function: condiments, snacks, salad dressings, etc.
  • Thoroughly clean the shelf.
  • Containerize like items together much as possible.

4. Create a mail station:

  • Mail station should be wherever you are comfortable opening the mail.
  • Put a recycle bin and shredder as close to the mail station as possible.
  • Create an area to put items that need further work: bills to pay; invitations to respond to; filing, etc.
  • Ongoing: Place any important dates on your calendar.
  • Ongoing: Unsubscribe from unwanted catalogs or direct mail items.

5. Purse:

  • Take everything out.
  • Vacuum out the inside; wipe the outside down with appropriate cleaning agent (vinyl can tolerate antiseptic wipes).
  • Reorganize by function: sunglasses/reading glasses in one section; small cosmetic bag in another; wallet in another. If the purse doesn’t have sections, consider investing in a purse organizer.
  • Make a list of everything in the purse.
  • Scan front/back of important cards in case purse is lost/stolen.

 6. Car interior:

  • Remove all the garbage.
  • Wipe down surfaces with a Swiffer® or soft rag and mild detergent.
  • Clean windows and vacuum seats.
  • Create a place for a small garbage can/bag.
  • Containerize like items: one container for reusable shopping bags; others for emergency kits (see below)

7. Create emergency kits:

  • Check for dealer supplied items already stored in the vehicle.
  • Find appropriately sized containers.
  • Gather the following supplies for the everyday situations kit: paper towels, granola bars, water, blanket, coat, gloves, flashlight/batteries, etc.
  • Gather the following supplies for emergency situations: first aid kit, flat tire repair kit, flares, jumper cables, etc.
  • Create a list of items in each kit and check semi-annually.

8. Meal Planning:

  • Check refrigerator to see what needs to be used within the near future.
  • Create a meal plan for the week.
  • Plan at least one day for leftovers.
  • Post meal plan for the entire family to see.
  • Create a master shopping list (Linda’s suggestion: Amazon Subscribe and Save).

9. Clean out the linen closet:

  • Take everything out.
  • Sort by function: sheets, towels, etc.
  • Detail sort by sheet/towel size.
  • Donate any items not.
  • Designate shelf by function if possible; label if possible.

10. Create a regular household “to do” list:

  • Make a list of tasks you perform on a regular basis.
  • Consult with others in the home that perform regular maintenance and include their items on the list also.
  • Separate them by frequency: weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, etc.
  • Create a spreadsheet or other document capturing regular tasks.
  • Review list weekly.

See, organizing doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming.  You will be amazed at how much better you will feel, not to mention motivated to do more, after just a few minutes of organizing