Um, we’re scared too (#1 Creepiest Space You Must Organize)

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You’ve probably heard of “skeletons in the closet,” but what spaces are clients most ashamed of and afraid to organize? Here’s a hint: if you have one, you’re probably not sure what’s there, and when you find out, you may be surprised.

Basements.

They’re often creepy — and full of items you have not seen or touched in years.

When we put together a PDF of services we offer for interior designers and their clients, I joked, “Should we mention basements?” When you were a kid, you were probably scared of them. They’re dusty, disorganized, and full of ambiguous boxes of old things. As an adult, you’re more afraid of the work involved with going through them all and decluttering. Not to mention, what you find is sometimes sentimental.

Believe me, I keep items from the past in basement storage. I hold on to artwork from my kids, old photos, memorabilia. When I go through these items, I am filled with joy and sometimes tears, laughs, and so many memories.

Here’s where a lot of people have room and know they can store things. . . Usually, with no organization. Sometimes the boxes are disorganized and left from old moves to new homes. The items were never sorted.

What are people saving? What if there was a fire, for example, what would you grab? Memories and sentimental items are often stored in basements next to cast-offs: the items you don’t need now and probably won’t need in the future, but you couldn’t get rid of, at a time, for some reason. Sometimes you find old artwork or furniture. Sometimes, you find piles meant for donation or to give away. It’s hard to sort through the cast-offs to get what’s really important.

Here’s my advice:

  • Take time to look at the cast-offs before they are relegated to the basement.
  • Organize the holiday decor into boxes or containers — with labels — before they are shoved into the basement corner. Do you really need 4 reindeers that look the same, and one is broken from last Christmas?
  • Think visually. In basements, structure is so important. These spaces are so large, often, with ample storage, but no built in storage structures. Consider shelves, containers, and labels that are easy to scan visually to locate the items you need.
  • If someone does not live with you, neither should their stuff. There are some exceptions. For instance, kids who are temporarily away at college. Otherwise, that person probably does not want or need it, and neither do you.

Here is the biggest benefit: you can find what you need, especially sentimental items, when you need them. Organizing and storing them properly will also keep them nice. If you have a storage structure and organizational system in your basement, this space will be easier to clean, which means less dust or damage. Also, with organization, structures, and systems, basements are not nearly as creepy and cluttered.

If you have questions about how to create systems or structures for basements, please comment below or email us. If you are about to move, or just moved into a new space with a basement, we have advice. Also, please share this post with friends.

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No Judgment: Professional Organizing

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Professionals are the least likely to judge us when we need help, and yet, often, they are the ones we fear the most.

We prepare for their visits. We research every possible illness on WebMD before making a doctor’s appointment. We shampoo and condition our hair prior to seeing a new hairstylist. We clean our homes before the cleaning company comes.

But why? What are we afraid of? Their reactions? Their judgments? Do we simply want to make a good impression, or not want to be the “worst of the worst”? Sometimes, the difference between a professional and someone you know is judgment, and how you react to it.

Believe me, I have my moments. When someone reacts strangely to something I’m not proud of, I might take it personally. For instance, when my purse gets out of control. Recently, a friend saw me rummaging through it to find my wallet, and joked, “So, this is what a professional organizer’s purse looks like!” It caught me off guard. I felt ashamed at first, then I realized, it was a bonding moment. She meant it more like, you are just like everyone else. You have to take time to get organized as well. It also made me feel so intensely what clients fear before hiring a professional organizer.

They fear reactions or judgments. They have flashbacks to remarks from friends and family members — people they value — that made them feel poorly about themselves. Of course, family members reacted. They do not work with clutter on a daily basis. They experience it themselves, yes, but sometimes it’s unexpected. Also, yes, we take it personally, because these are people we are so invested in. “I am not a hoarder,” clients tell me, often, before I meet with them. They want their spaces to be perfect before an appointment, and they fear their clutter is more their personality than their circumstance.

Life happens, and we provide a nonjudgmental approach. We are professionals. We see clutter and disorganization on a daily basis. We also experience it ourselves. Believe me, we’ve seen it all. You are not the worst, and even if you were, we do not judge. We’re not shocked. We understand, and we want to hear from you.

We are doing something that we’ve never done before! On June 28th and 29th, from 10:00am to 1:00pm EST, we are setting aside time specifically for you to call us and discuss any concerns you might have. We are offering one free phone consultation, for up to 30 minutes, to discuss your hesitations. We want to help you. Sometimes it feels better just to talk about it! Then, you feel motivated to get organized. We want to empower you. Schedule your appointment today! Please email us at rachel@rachel-company.com. Also, share this post with friends who might be interested.

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How to Be the Boss of Your Own Time

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Time management is a topic we’ve all heard and read about. It’s more popular than the latest spring and summer trends because it’s not seasonal; it affects us all year long and especially now since the school year is wrapping up, and our summer schedules are starting. Whether you’re a working professional, a stay-at-home mom, or a college student, you have no time. Even I want more time, and clients come to me for help with time management.

We’re all swimming in so many resources with time management tips and tools, but we have no time to try them. Trial and error can truly be a major timesuck! Especially for the tried and true time management tips that simply don’t work for you!

Because all of you are looking to us (and let’s be honest, we also want the benefit of time) we set out to research the latest and most popular time management tips that we were NOT currently using and see if we should make the switch and adjust our current systems and routines for great results.

Here’s what worked (and what did not work for us):

  • Complete the most important tasks first. For us, often the most important tasks are unexpected. Instead of starting each day tackling these first, we found it’s important to stick to our usual routine, which involves a few daily tasks, and then tackling the most important tasks. Otherwise, we get off of our routines, lose consistency, and get sidetracked by new and exciting opportunities. For us, while we know these are important, so are our current commitments. We say, stick to your routines, but allow for flexibility. After you complete the usual, head to the most important! Don’t get sidetracked or lose the systems you have in place that keep you organized. We also like to take the first 15 minutes of our day to plan.
  • Devote your entire focus to the task at hand. Since we often have a lot going on, it’s easy to want to multi-task. By planning out our days, breaking up our To Do Lists, and focusing on one task at a time, we find that we are more productive and have more time. There are often several bigger, long-term projects that we are working on, along with our daily and weekly tasks. While we work, we find that our phones are lighting up with notifications — social media, emails, and phone calls — often from some of our favorite people with exciting email subject lines. To not let these interrupt us, we simply turn our phones over, devote our full attention to the task at hand, and designate specific times and intervals to check email, phone calls, and social media notifications. This semi-eliminates distractions and allows for more efficiency and ease!
  • Learn to say “No.” This one is key. Unfortunately, in this business, we have to lean more towards saying “yes.” We say “yes” to new opportunities to expand our business and diversify our services. Because of such, Rachel and Company has expanded to include closet design, organized moves, and online courses. We have a fear of missing out on new and exciting opportunities for growth, so we would rather prioritize, delegate, and problem solve to accommodate client needs. However, we agree that it’s about honoring commitments, knowing what you have time for and care most about, and deciding whether or not you can accept new opportunities and overcome obstacles.
  • Don’t think of the totality of your To Do List. Unfortunately, we have to. Although we break up our To Dos into multiple To Dos, and focus on sections at a time, we always have to go back to the master list so that we can prioritize and do not forget To Dos. Especially since we plan events, we must think of the totality of our To Dos in order to manage them most effectively. 

Here’s what you can do now. See how you can apply some of these tips to your own workflow and lifestyle for better time management, more productivity, and more time. Here are some resources, below, too, which can help. Every situation is different, but we can learn from each other! We wanted to test out some of the most common tips, enhance our own time management systems and routines, and share with you! We want to know what works for us, so that we can help you figure out what works best for you!

Resources:

Entrepreneur.com’s “How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

Refinery 29’s “15 Simple Moves That Will Change Your Career”

Please share this post and comment below with your questions and time management tips and solutions that have worked for you and those that were major time suckers! We would love to help you figure out how to adapt and adjust your routine.

 

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The Organized Lifestyle: Q&A

Over the years, I have come across interior designers, business owners, architects, and other remarkable individuals, as clients and in daily life, whose work and lives completely inspire me. After getting to know these women and men, I have found that one of the keys to their success is organization.

As a result, I decided to develop a question and answer series, The Organized Lifestyle, which showcases their work and dives deep into the daily organizational systems, products, and habits they use and incorporate into their lives. I hope we can all learn a thing or two from them!

This week, we interviewed Hillary Denham, owner + designer of Free Babes Handmade, the “classic bows for adventurous souls.” I came across Free Babes on Instagram and quickly fell in love with these darling bows, and of course, the beautiful, organized, and heartwarming photos on the @free_babes Instagram feed. We posted a photo on our Instagram feed of some of her organized bows and are so impressed by Hillary’s success as a designer and entrepreneur. I couldn’t be more grateful to feature her on our series, The Organized Lifestyle.

The Organized Lifestyle: Q&A with Hillary Denham, owner + designer of Free Babes Handmade.

Company Location: Denver, Colorado. Hometown: New Albany, IN.

Unknown-11. Tell us about your business! How would you describe it? What do you like most about your role?

Free Babes Handmade is a baby and girl’s accessory company for little adventurers.  We make simple and classic bows that are the perfect accessory to everyday explorations. I absolutely love getting to be creative on a daily basis and design collections and style cute little outfits.  It’s been a personal adventure to figure out how to create a business that will be a direct reflection of my passions and unlock opportunities for my family and I to live uncommon lives.

2. Does your job require you to stay organized?

Totally. You have the actual inventory side of things with all of our bow collections, and we are also releasing a new collection at least 3 times a month. So we are always planning about 3 months ahead so we can make sure we order the fabric, distribute it amongst our 8 seamstresses all around the US to make the product, send to our photographers for website images and list on the website for each launch.

3. Are there any organizing products or tools you use everyday and “could not live without”? (Can include notebooks, pens, apps, etc.)

I absolutely LOVE my “Basics” brand notebook that helps me keep track of my upcoming marketing efforts and different launches. I also use Google Drive to house all of our company files and the QUIP app to communicate with our different seamstresses.

In the shop, we love the simple birch wood garage shelving sold at Ikea and The Container Store shoe bins to hold our bow inventory.

4. Do you rely mostly on electronic organization systems or prefer the paper and pen type? Would you recommend a combination? How do you best manage both?

Personally, I’m a huge proponent of paper and pen – specifically those Pilot needle point pens. 🙂 I am a visual learner, and writing to-dos and calender items down really helps lock them in my brain. I do love the virtual aspect of apps like QUIP, because they allow us to house all of our communication from the past months in one place. But when it comes to personal planning, paper and pen will always be my go-to.

5. Are there any organizing tips you’ve tried over the years that did not work for you? What were they? Why do you think they did not work?

I have tried to go “virtual,” moving to-dos and calendar items strictly online. But I always revert back to a paper organizer. It’s almost as if once things go on the cloud, they completely leave my mind.

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6. Are there any habits you have formed and use everyday to get and stay organized?

I recently started using “The Freedom Journal” by John Lee Dumas, the podcaster at Entrepreneur on Fire. It helps you break down your big picture goals and make sure you accomplish one significant, but manageable, step towards your goal every day. The concept of eating the frog first, or making sure you take at least 30 min. in the morning to plan your day so you can accomplish something that will lead you towards your business vision (and not just wasting time answering emails and reacting to things all day) is key.

7. What is your favorite organizational tool that you use, whether it be a product, app, or routine?

Google Drive and QUIP.

8. What sort of calendar or planner system do you use? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it?

The Basics Journal. It’s a paper journal with a calendar and daily to-dos that I love! Trust me, I’ve tried so many calendars, planners and journals… it’s crazy.

9. Why do you think it’s important to stay organized in your role?

I’m not a naturally organized person, so I have a lot of past experiences where disorganization has been the tipping point for small parts of the company imploding.  Organization is key because it gives you the peace of mind to know things are under control, so you can focus on the most important things in your business. Luckily, I recently started working with an assistant who is on top of it. The organization she brings helps things move forward and feel steady. I’m learning it’s really important to surround myself with structures for organization. Organization also helps me separate work from home, and truly be present with my husband and children.

10. What is one piece of advice you would give others to stay organized?

Figure out what works for you. So many people out there are really great organizers, but only certain methods will work for you. As Tim Ferriss says when asked the best workout regimen: “The one you will stick with.” If you are not naturally an organized person, that is also ok. When building a business, make sure to surround yourself with people who are strong where you are weak.

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XOXO-Rachel

Changes​, Your Opinion & The Washington Post​ 

When we want something badly, we want it instantly. A friend loses weight, and everyone asks, “How did you do it?” They want a quick fix. The answer “dieting and exercising regularly for 6 months” sounds like a good idea, but maybe not what they were looking for. Transformations take time and regular, steady work. They take endurance. You have to celebrate the small victories, not lose sight of your goal, dedicate yourself to get the results you want, and even enlist the help of others.

In January, after many changes in my personal and professional life, I knew I needed a fresh start and perhaps a new look. It was like that one time in high school when I broke up with my boyfriend and decided I wanted to go platinum blonde (I was talked out of it). It was time for a change and something major: a rebranding of Rachel and Company. I had an idea of what I liked and what I wanted, and realized it wasn’t as easy as going blonde! That’s when I met Marcela, a branding expert and designer for one of my favorite brands (Framebridge), and she offered to redesign my logo and create a new look and feel for Rachel and Company. Take a look.

Rachel and Company Logo

Throughout the process, I could feel and see the changes taking place, but I wanted the transformation to be instant. It reminded me of working with many clients. I joke with clients all the time, “it will not take long to organize and create systems but it will not happen overnight.” Sometimes you read articles, get tips, and these really work. They are immediate fixes, but they are not quite transformations. These quick fixes may not get you to your end goal, and the idea you have for it. For lasting, inner and outer transformations, sometimes you have to take small steps, and be patient. So, alas, I took on the advice that I give to clients on a daily basis.

I am so excited and happy with the look and feel of the new Rachel and Company logo. It is exactly what I want, but it was not an easy transition and took time and work, and the help of an expert. For organizing projects, especially major transformations, here are some tips to get there and not get lost along the way:

  1. Remind yourself of your goal, and stay focused, but take time to recognize and celebrate the smaller results and enjoy the steps along the way.
  2. Work with someone, whether that be a spouse, buddy, coach, to check in with, throughout the process — even keep a diary, or photo journal to remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
  3. Remind yourself of why you are making a change, why it is important to you.

Here’s what you can do now. Think about what you might want to change. What is your goal, and how do you see the end result? Make a list of how you can get there. Brainstorm all the ways. Do not limit yourself. Then, pick 4. Write down why your goal is most important to you and how you imagine the end result to look and feel. Please comment below with your goals, tell us what you think of the new logo, and share this post with friends.

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1. Umbra Cubist Floating Wall Shelf 2. Russell+hazel Leather Mini Clutch – Black 3. Small Wire Storage Basket, Set of 6

Also, check out the Washington Post article I was featured in TODAY:
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XOXO-Rachel

6 Ways to Cut Paper Clutter

“I have a paper problem,” a woman said to me in Starbucks, after she noticed my stack of hand-written thank you cards and complimented my beautiful Russell + Hazel notebook. “You should see my office,” she said. “I have an entire drawer full of stationery. For me, there’s just something about getting and sending mail.” I agreed with her, but I told her I am used to hearing about and helping clients with other “paper problems.”

Did you know paper is the #1 problem that we help clients with when setting up systems for organization?

Junk mail, stacks of opened and unopened envelopes, and bills accumulate. Paper clutter can make a room look messy and disorganized, even when the rest of the space is organized and clutter-free. So, what most people do is buy storage containers and filing systems to make organizing paper more exciting, but many people end up throwing papers in without organization just to hide the clutter. Then it becomes too much.

You must develop a system and get in good habits for decluttering and organizing any paper that comes your way. Below are 6 Ways to Cut Paper Clutter.

6 Ways to Cut Paper Clutter

  • After you get your mail, go to the nearest recycling bin. Of course, don’t dump it all in, but open it there. I would say 80% of the mail you get on a weekly basis is unnecessary (and often not useful.)
  • Organize from the inside out. Don’t just shove paper in bins, boxes, filing systems, or on trays. Yes, “out of sight, out of mind,” until you see it — or need a specific document. Then, you panic, so organize it (and declutter) from the moment you decide to use a storage container or filing system.
  • Use a 5 day rule for any trays for miscellaneous items. If it’s been over a day, it should find a home, even if that home is the recycling bin. Do not let it go for more than 5 days.
  • Have an easy to use, daily system that you know where to find the papers you need to act on and what system you will use for those future papers in limbo ie. get a new driver’s license, sign up my child for camp (even though it is January.)
  • If you don’t need it now, you probably don’t need it. There are always exceptions to the rule (leases, insurance paperwork, etc.) but for the most part, think the 80/20 rule. 80% of what you file, you will never look back at again. So, ask yourself, do I really need it? What about those notebooks from college?
  • Create a system for filing paper but make it easy to do and set up a date on your calendar to review these files AT LEAST once a year.

Here’s what you can do now. Challenge yourself. Set your phone timer for 10 minutes to sort through your paper. Turn on music. Put the TV on. Make it interesting. Sort your paper into three piles: 1) to recycle 2) to file 3) action.

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XOXO-Rachel

Yard Sales: What Happens When You Miss the Deadline?

professional organizer, rachel and company, yard sales, rachel rosenthalWhile yard sale season is the perfect time to get rid of all the items you no longer love or use, what happens when you miss the deadline for the neighborhood or community yard sale? You know, that has already been organized and advertised. Wait until next year? Hold on to your clutter?

This year, I was incredibly excited for our neighborhood yard sale. The girls have always loved them: lemonade stands, learning about money, earning money, and finding new homes for old things. I had organized all of our items into boxes, did an insane amount of decluttering (okay, a little more than usual), and what happened? It rained.

How many times have you dealt with this situation? Weather happens, your yard sale is postponed, or you miss the deadline for the community one. Yard sales can creep up on you. Or, maybe you feel you don’t have enough time to declutter and organize everything you need to? No one likes to miss a deadline or postpone a major transformation, especially when you’ve put in all of the hard work.

There are several strategies for when you’ve missed the community deadline or the one in your head. The most important thing to remember, though, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR and hold on to your clutter. Feel free to call your favorite and most fabulous friends to discuss the utter annoyance of missing the community yard sale, and even go as far as asking to join in on their neighborhood yard sales. OR, plan your own yard sale! There are even online yard sale options.

Just think about it. There are people whose main thrill in life is bargaining! These people will be delighted to discover you’ve planned your own yard sale, even if it takes place immediately after the community one, and they will be happy to take on (and even pay for!) what you find is clutter. No matter what the case, whether your yard sale is on time, during a treacherous rainstorm, or in December, you need to maximize the time, and get the most out of it.

Here are some of my tips for a better yard sale:

  • Set up the yard sale to feel like you are going into a store. It should be easy for people to buy because items are clearly categorized.
  • Clearly label prices. If you like negotiation, go for it. Negotiation can be part of the fun. However, promise me, even if the prices are clearly labeled, your favorite frugal customers will want a better deal, and you have to act! Labeling prices will give you a starting point for negotiation. And it is all about getting the clutter out.
  • Set up your donations ahead of time. That way, items won’t come back into the house! Remember, the point was to rid yourself of clutter, not supplement your income. Earning money from a yard sale can be fun, but the detox and declutter (did I mention free space?) is exhilarating!
  • Be organized with your advertising ahead of time, especially if you plan your own yard sale! Take full advantage of social media.
  • You must know people are about deals, and be okay with it. Negotiating is an absolutely necessary skill to have as an adult, and involving the kids is a practical way for them to learn about money and business!
  • Get the whole family involved.

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XOXO-Rachel

The Dirty Truth About Consigning Clothing

With spring cleaning your closet, comes consignment. When I spring clean, I have piles when decluttering (and if you don’t, you need to!): a pile for donations, a pile for my brother’s girls, a pile for the dry cleaner, and a pile for consignment. Consigning is a great idea for clothing, shoes, purses, and even jewelry that you’ve kept in great condition, but no longer use.

But you want to know the dirty truth about consigning? It takes work. A lot of work.

You have to sort through and declutter your items, take time to haul them to consignment after consignment store, and then you only get back a fourth of what you paid for them. The rest, you have to donate, or figure out a plan B for! Oh, and did I mention your clothing has to be “in season” for it to even be consigned?

In contrast, holding onto things because you paid X amount for them, or don’t make the time to consign, can be stifling. Once you do it, though, it’s like ripping off a BAND-AID, and you might never go back when you realize the benefits and get a good system in place.

I have a client who is a “hoarder” of nice things. Let’s just say that her nickname, that I loved using, (she always just laughed!) was “high-end hoarder.” She was afraid to lose money by consigning, so instead kept replaying the same tape in her head about each item: how much she paid, what great condition it was in, how much she used to love using it, and how it was too much work to consign.

Over time, her closet and bedroom got smaller and smaller, until it became too much for her to deal with on her own. She had to get to the realization (and be ok with it) that consigning would bring her tremendous benefits, even if she would “only” get back about a fourth of what she paid for each item.

Whether you’ve collected Louis Vuitton’s or have too much from J. Crew’s last season, consigning will give you back money for items you are not using, and you will be free with more space and less clutter. Oh, and did I mention how much better you will feel without all the clutter around you? You just need to make sure you are ok with knowing how much you will get in return for selling the item, and the amount of work it took to get it there.

If you know what is in store for you when consigning, just do it. Here’s what you can do now. Take a look at these consignment shops (national and local, in the Washington, DC metro area), and plan — yes, plan and make an appointment — your first trip! What might you bring? What items are clearly consignment and not for donation?

Consignment Shops in the Washington, DC Metro Area

National Consignment Shops

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1. Poppin Sets of 3 Assorted Zip Folders 2. Kate Spade One in a Million Business Card Holder 3. Double Turntable

XOXO-Rachel

THE ORGANIZED LIFESTYLE: Q&A

Over the years, I have met interior designers, business owners, architects, and other remarkable individuals, as clients and in daily life, whose work and lives completely inspire me. After getting to know these women and men, I have found that one of the keys to their success is organization.

As a result, I decided to develop a question and answer series, The Organized Lifestyle, that showcases their work and dives deep into the daily organizational systems, products, and habits they use and incorporate into their lives. I hope we can all learn a thing or two from them.

This week, I interviewed Sally Steponkus Roche, owner of Sally Steponkus Interiors, Inc. I have known Sally for several years, and we have partnered on many projects, since organization and interior design often go hand in hand. Clients love her. I love working with her! Her positive energy and keen eye for detail allow for a seamless partnership, and I couldn’t be more excited to feature her on our new The Organized Lifestyle series.

The Organized Lifestyle: Q&A with Sally Steponkus Roche, owner of Sally Steponkus Interiors, Inc.

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1. Tell us about your business! How would you describe it? What do you like most about your role?

I own a small, high-end interior design firm. My favorite thing about my job is meeting clients and taking their wishes and vision and creating the happiest and most perfect idealization of them. My least favorite thing we have to deal with is when a vendor lets us down no matter how detailed we make our purchase orders, etc. Mistakes happen often in this business due to so much human error, so we try to stay on top of things as much as we possibly can to avoid any problems.

2. Does your job require you to stay organized?

Uhhh, yes. When you have 6 employees and run over 20 jobs at a time, we have to stay super organized. Lots of moving pieces and details upon details.

3. Are there any organizing products or tools you use everyday and “could not live without”? (Can include notebooks, pens, apps, etc.)

Iphone!

4. Do you rely mostly on electronic organization systems or prefer the paper and pen type? Would you recommend a combination? How do you best manage both?

We use all electronic organizational systems: iCal, Evernote, Google Docs.

5. Are there any organizing tips you’ve tried over the years that did not work for you? What were they? Why do you think they did not work?

Hand-written lists & calendars don’t work for me.

6. Are there any habits you have formed and use everyday to get and stay organized?

We like to “pull up” and go through our To-Do List several times a week.

7. What is your favorite organizational tool that you use, whether it be a product, app, or routine?

We keep a Master To-Do List in Evernote that is organized by Client, then by Room and color coded as to who needs to complete which task, etc. This is the best way I’ve found (or my assistants found) to keep us totally organized all the time, whether in the office or on the job. Such a great app!

8. What sort of calendar or planner system do you use? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it?

iCal is super easy for us, and we color code it depending on who is attending the meeting, if it’s an installation, or a group activity.

9. Why do you think it’s important to stay organized in your role?

There are too many details in our business whether it’s per piece of furniture, per room or per job so we try to keep all of these pieces of info organized so nothing falls through the cracks.

10. What is one piece of advice you would give others to stay organized?

Keep a master list and divide it into sections that are easiest for you to read, edit & stay on top of action items.

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1. Metallic Silver Soft Cover Folio 2. Poppin Aqua Grip Grass 3. Russell+Hazel Acrylic File Box

XOXO-Rachel

How to Organize Three Events in One Month and Stay Sane

When you plan your event, whether it’s a backyard cookout, or a large dinner party, does it ever go from dreamy and picturesque to stress? It’s April, and in the next month, I’m organizing three corporate events, two on the same day, in different cities. My calendars and to-do lists look like Gwen Stefani collaborated with Kate Spade on a new line of office supplies: simple and refined (at first) with loads of highlights, strikethroughs, doodles, labels, and sticky notes, creating texture and interest from anyone who notices them.

This month, I organized a corporate meeting in Toronto at the Four Seasons Hotel. The vision was clear, and researching venues, photographers, and menus fulfilled my expectations. As the events piled up, along with other organizing projects, the to-do lists were endless and ongoing. My notes were not pretty, maybe the opposite of what a client might expect, but the event was a success because I stayed organized. Events can seem so far in the future and require so much planning. There are so many steps along the way. There’s so much room for error. Often, it’s not until after the event that you realize you did a good job. So, how do you keep your cool and stay organized when planning events? What strategies can be helpful to manage your event, the plans, the timeline, and the budget?

Here are some of my tips:

  1. Think of planning your event more as any other organizing project. Take time, and set an appointment for all planning.
  2. Start with a brainstorm. Then create a plan with budget and timeline, and begin filling in each section with as many details as possible.
  3. Make an organized list of tasks and decide if/how you can delegate, or where you can bring in help.
  4. Break up your to-do list into multiple lists and categories as to help organize your to-dos.
  5. Give yourself deadlines for your to-dos.

This will help with stress, and you will feel a sense of accomplishment throughout the process. A to-do such as “Plan Menu” is way more agonizing and scary than multiple, little steps: 1) decide on the overall cuisine preferences 2) choose if you would like buffet, sit down or a mix of styles for food service 3) look at choices of food for different categories. Companies don’t want to worry about the small details, and neither do your guests. They want to be able to host an event that’s beneficial: great for networking with their partners and employees, building relationships, and giving a feeling of being taken care of for their guests. It’s not about knowing what it took to get it done, but having a great event in the end — that is why people hire me — so that they can show up and host a great event and receive positive feedback.

Here’s what you can do now. Break down your to-do list into small, actionable steps. See where you can delegate and bring in help. Add these tasks to your calendar and planner, to stay in line with your timeline and keep you on track.

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1. THREESIXFIVE FOG CALENDAR 2. ACRYLIC DUAL CANISTER SET 3. COPPER BASKET

XOXO-Rachel

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