The Latest Buzz

By Dawn Hammon

For many people, the art of organization comes naturally. The calendar is color-coded, the kids have outfits picked out days in advance, the flow of paperwork moves seamlessly from one basket to the next as tasks are completed. Well, maybe not. But many people do have the skills to get organized. That leaves them wondering why they can’t seem to get it done! If this is you or someone you know you’re not alone. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, one in four Americans wish they were more organized. The reasons for this are many including wanting to spend more time with family or doing hobbies, frustration in looking for items, and the cost of replacing items when you can’t find the one you already own. Here are the top five obstacles that are keeping you from getting organized.

1. You’re Overwhelmed

You walk into a room full of energy and motivation. After a few minutes of scanning the room you become overwhelmed and quickly formulate a huge list of other ways you could spend your afternoon instead. We get it. It’s not easy to tackle a seemingly huge project and even more challenging when you don’t know where to start. The key is to recognize and accept that the task is daunting. Own that feeling. It’s fine to feel overwhelmed. That’s when you know that you need to create a plan. You see, often the problem is that you underestimate how long the task will take. You should be able to clean out the garage in an afternoon, right? Or just get the kids to help and that bedroom will be ready for the cover of a magazine by dinnertime, yes? Not so much. In order to do the job properly accept that it will take four times as long as you think it should to complete. You will also need to break it into manageable chunks so that you can experience the small wins when you finish one area and keep your motivation dial cranked up!

2. Lack of Time

You’re running from the office to the gym to the grocery store and then to pick up the kids before you even get to think about a meal. Then the weekend comes and you’re greeted with a lawn brushing up against the side of your car as you pull in, the myriad sporting events the kids have year round and the fact that no one can seem to plan far enough ahead to start a load of laundry until Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. when they have school pictures in the morning. Of course we all consciously understand that being organized saves us time in the long run, but when your schedule has you running through long days and short nights when do you find time to organize anything? It’s a good question and there are several ways to tackle it. Break it into chunks completing little tasks at a time. Use each small win as motivation to put another task on your list. Designate one family organizing day each month. Take that Sunday and put everyone on the same page. After all, from hockey sticks to scuba gear, you all share the same garage. Or ask for help from a Professional Organizer who can come in, quickly assess the required tasks, bring organizational supplies, and create your dream space in no time!

3. Mental Health

Everyone knows someone dealing with a mental health issue. Whether it’s you or someone you know, it’s important to find ways to address depression, anxiety, hoarding tendencies, addiction, OCD, or a plethora of other conditions that keep a person from functioning as their best self. Any of these conditions can be self-perpetuating, meaning that the more it interferes with your ability to keep up with organization around the house, the more your home adds to your stress. Break the cycle and find help so that you can create a plan.

4. Physical Health

We work with many people who live independently but struggle with health issues. This can be an enormous barrier to staying organized. But it’s also one of the most important reasons to have organizational strategies in place. If you are wheelchair bound, items need to be easily accessible from the seated position. For patients attached to an oxygen machine or who use a walker, aisles need to remain clear. If you suffer from the debilitating pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve conditions, back injury, or other related ailments it’s important to have automated tools (think electric can opener vs. manual one) as well as items throughout the house strategically located to avoid lifting, climbing, bending, or other activities that may increase injury. This is a great time to seek help from a caregiver, neighbor, friend, family member, or Professional Organizer!

5. No Concept of Organization

Our brains are all wired differently. Some people see chaos and easily formulate a clear map to destination organization. Others may not have a clear vision of the end result but can get there with a little help from Pinterest. The third type of person has free-flowing, artistic thoughts that struggle to connect in any productive way to the end goal of organization. It’s similar to a person who are directionally challenged (which way is east?) or someone who can remember every movie they’ve ever seen, but struggle with remember their phone number. You’re the artists of the world and that’s great! It just means that organization might not be your thing. If that’s you, hire out. Get those organizational systems in place so you can spend more time doing the art that you love.

Lack of organization can leave you feeling like you’re drowning in your own home. It drags frustration through the door and down the hall. It costs you time, money, and energy. But you can defeat the organization struggle. Acknowledge the problem, create a workable plan broken into smaller chunks, and ask for help from a professional if you need it. Reclaim your space with help from Queen B Organizing! 541-231-6964 or

Posted by: Dawn Hammon

You’ve sorted every sock, found a home for the ever-invasive mail, and wrangled the kids’ artwork into a system that works. It’s such a great feeling to reclaim your space! A week later, you find today’s art masterpiece stacked with the laundry and the socks choosing new partners before your eyes. Once you’ve achieved some level of organization, how do you maintain it? Sometimes maintaining organization is as difficult, or more difficult, than getting organized in the first place. We believe that with a plan, you can keep your maintenance on track and still have time for the next organizational task on your list. Here are our top 5 places to focus your energy so that you can continue to love those newly-organized spaces.

1) “M” is for Maintenance. Start by outlaying a bit of energy to those areas that you’ve already invested in. After all, you’ve worked to sort, donate, and create a system, so be sure that you keep up with the method you’ve put in place. Think about the tasks you’ve recently accomplished. Did you find homes for every item on your kitchen countertops? If so, then vow to end each day with items in their place. If other family members or care givers don’t know where things go, label the shelves for the blender, toaster, and slow cooker. The easier it is for everyone to understand the expectations, the better the system works and the less time and energy it will take to maintain it.

Another example: perhaps you’ve implemented a new shoe storage system. Great! Hang a sign or place another type of reminder nearby so that everyone in the house puts their shoes on the shelves as they remove them. If the kids just inherited some neatly-labeled Lego totes, make sure they clean up before bed or after a play session. Make it fun. Set a timer, race each other, or challenge them to get it picked up before you can get the laundry changed (a win-win!).

Along the way, ask yourself if the system is still working. As you add new items, discard or donate others. If you must keep everything (be honest here), then make sure to up-size the basket or tote accordingly. When things start to overflow, we tend to give up.

Keeping things in order requires the same kind of maintenance as your cars or major appliances. We understand that this maintenance is easier in some areas than others. Offices, kitchens, kids’ rooms, and garages commonly require more energy than other spaces. Don’t worry, you’ve got this! Add an additional 15 minutes into your weekly plan and recruit help when needed—before the area tumbles all the way back to square one. Remind yourself how far you’ve come. It’s worth it to maintain it!

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 9.39.19 AM

2) Tackle the nagging tasks. Often this is a simple thing, like putting shoes back on the rack or taking the newspaper to the recycling. What is it that consistently nags at you when you see it out of place? Is it losing your keys? The mail piling up? The cat food spilling onto the ground? Each of these “small” things can add up to big stress. So before you let it overwhelm you, take a few minutes to complete the tasks and flush them from your “to do” list. Perhaps keep a running list on the counter or the refrigerator and then attack those chores while you wait for your toddler to put on his shoes or while dinner simmers.

When you keep incurring the same piles, think about how you can put a system in place that works better for you. If the mail pile haunts you, try placing a recycling bin near the spot where you tend to drop it. Hang a rack near the front door or use a cute basket to catch errant keys. Perhaps you need to add a rug beneath the cat bowl or get a larger bowl to avoid overflow. Vow to stop repeatedly fighting the same battle, and confront it with a solution instead.

Most importantly, think about your habits and choose a system that works for you. Installing a hanging rack in the laundry room isn’t going to help if you generally fold clothes while watching T.V. in the living room. Bottles and cans will continue to stack up in the kitchen if your receptacle is outside or in the garage. In other words, place the system where the action happens rather than trying to break the habit.

3) Put away items in the “Hold” basket. It’s always best to put items in their proper place after use. But let’s be real. Life doesn’t always work that way. For items that don’t quite make it all the way home, have an area designated to catch them. This hold area is temporary. Make sure it is emptied regularly. The reason that it is useful is that it keeps you from getting items almost home and creating a mess for later. For example, if you’ve recently revamped the system for your gift wrap, then make sure you separate items and place them in the correct spots. This only takes a few minutes longer than just throwing the pile into the gift wrap area. Those few minutes, however, will save you an hour later if you have to re-sort and organize the area again. It also saves you time when you’re looking for a bow or a piece of tissue paper. But, if you’re running out the door and don’t have a few minutes to put gift bags away properly, place the items in the hold basket until you have a time to sort and store them. Then set yourself a goal of emptying the basket each day or a few times each week.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 9.40.40 AM

4) Attack the most-used spaces in your life. Where do you spend most of your time? Is it in the kitchen? The car? Your office? Whatever space eats up the majority of time should be tended to like a garden. Remove garbage and travel mugs from your car. Make a stop at a donation drop-site to void the bag from your back seat. Respond to the memos on your desk. Take out the compost. Whatever tasks you accomplish as you close up shop for the day will feed your attitude, energy, and productivity when the new day dawns. With practice, these actions will become habits. Until then, leave reminders. Place a post-it note in the car reminding you to take trash with you, or put a colorful message on your bathroom mirror that encourages you to place cosmetics back in their spot.

5) Remember the areas where you relax. Now that you’ve put items back in their place and checked the others clogging your mental to do list, spend a few minutes focusing on the place where you relax. This might be a reading nook, a living room, a bedroom, or a home gym. Whatever that space is to you, give it a bit of your energy and it will repay you ten times over. Remove the clothes stacked on the treadmill. Move the to-be-folded laundry off your bed. Light a candle in the living room. Remember that being organized gives you a chance to relax in the spaces you create.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 9.38.59 AM

Organization is an ongoing process. Many people think that once everything has a spot, it will be smooth sailing ahead. In reality it doesn’t quite work that way. More items continuously come into the space, the size and shape of things in your space change, and if you have kids and/or pets you may have a constant stream of tiny wrecking balls working against you.
Don’t let this idea cause you to throw your hands into the air in defeat! We believe in you. To keep your space organized and relaxed, stay focused on the most productive and important tasks. And remember to give yourself a pat on the back each time you can still park your car in the garage, or fit all those glasses into their designated space.

The trend today for green living seems like a hip, new idea to some, but it goes back to a time when green living was just the sensible thing to do.

Restore, Recycle, Repurpose - Randy Florke’s new bookRandy Florke in his book, Restore. Recycle. Repurpose. brings us back to thinking frugally like our grandparents and great-grandparents.  In their day “the biggest sin was waste and hand-me-downs were a way of life.  We reused everything, from jars to fabric to the wood from demolished outbuildings.  Glass jars became storage containers in the larder, and the plaid flannel from a favorite shirt lived on in the patches of a crazy quilt on my bed.  Nowadays they call that repurposing; then we called it another day on the farm.”

Today we have more sustainable goods available to us than ever before.  Creating a green, healthy home is something a lot of us would like to strive towards, but the majority of us don’t have the money to invest in creating a green home from scratch.

In his book, Randy gives three basic tenets for green redecorating that will help you to balance budgetary and environmental needs. [click to continue…]

DCA-sponsored Shredding Day with iSecure   |  Oct. 27, 12 noon-2 pm

The “chomper truck” will be in Downtown Citizens Bank’s parking lot and you can watch as it makes “mincemeat” out of your paper clutter.
So, clean out all that paper “stuff” that annoys you and bring it to the Shredding event.

Special thanks to iSecure’s Scott Krause generously offering this free service so that DCA can make it available to our Corvallis friends.

Controlling Workplace Clutter

September 6, 2012

Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals:
Controlling Workplace Clutter

Did you know that the average person spends more than two hours a week looking for stuff because his or her work area is disorganized? It can be a real problem. If you’re overwhelmed by your stuff and struggle to be clutter-free, then join Professional Organizer Kristin Bertilson in this fun session to learn how to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Guest Speaker:  Kristin Bertilson, Queen B Organizing

Date:  Wednesday, October 10th

Lunch:  11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

Location:  Phoenix Inn, 3410 Spicer Dr. SE

Chamber Members: $15, Guests: $20
Registration Deadline: Friday, October 5th

Register Online Now

Please send your resume to
if you are interested in any of the following positions: Office System Specialist, Residential Spaces Specialist, 
Relocation and Downsizing Specialist. Closing Date is 7/25/12 [click to continue…]

February 18th, 2012  |  10:00-12:00
Samantha Alley and the Home Team of RE/MAX Integrity is helping you to declutter!  Bring up to three boxes between you and your guest for shredding.  Samantha is paying for Shred It to take your document worries away.  You Must RSVP (Please let me know as spots are limited) by February 1st, 2012.
October 29, 2011 is the next take back day for your prescription drugs.  The following website will give you the contact information for this great program!

How tidy is too tidy?

September 12, 2011

Thinking that you have to be extreme to be an organizer? Not true! I always talk about simplifying your life, but that doesn’t mean to extremes. However, people are obsessed with seeing the extremes that others will go to.

Here is a great example:
Organized Soup
Or you can even be on a show:

There are items like these popping up all over the web every day!
Do you have an example of your favorite?

Words for Organizers

August 29, 2011

The below list is a collaboration effort of NAPO organizers to talk about what they are and can be called! It was an idea that Sue from Simplified Living Solutions started, and this was the results. What do you call your organizer? Click here to Read More


We hired Queen B Organizing when we moved our Mom out of her home where she had lived for 60 years.
read more

The Latest Buzz

You've bought the clear totes and saved a pile of boxes, yet you still can seem to get started. What is holding you back from finally getting organized?
read more


Serving the Willamette Valley and providing service at no additional charge within 40 mile distance from Corvallis. see map