Taming the Paper Bill Monster

Do you have a ton of paper staring at you in your office or on your kitchen counter? Most of the time this is a big complaint.

Are some of those papers your monthly bills?

Many of us have files we’ve labeled “Telephone”, “Utilities”, “Water/Garbage”, “Cell Phone”,  “Credit Cars”… Sound familiar? We’ve set up these folders because that’s how our parents used to do it. So when we moved out of their home we did the same thing. Only, we hate to file them. Do you really need to keep those bills?


Probably not. While what I am going to say may make you feel a bit queasy or uncomfortable, I say it to help you eliminate the paper monster in your life.  No, I am not recommending that everyone go paperless, don’t worry.  I am recommending, however, that you embrace technology. Create passwords to your utilities, phone, and credit card accounts so you can access your information online at any time. Get comfortable with their websites so you begin to use this valuable resource.  You can look up past bills, see recent statements at the touch of a button. If you are reading this blog then you have access to the internet so use it and eliminate the need to keep all those paper bills.

It’s okay if you still want to get your paper statement (or you can request that they be sent to your email in box).  The point here is that you don’t need to file or keep those bills. After you pay a bill, shred it. The information is still there online anytime you need it.

So get comfortable and let go (if you haven’t already) – I double dare ya!


Organizing Baby’s Room

I am always happy to hear from clients who have a particular organizing question. Today’s post is about one such question – how best to organize the baby’s room.

The dilemma:

babys room   babys room closet
We are living in a small house and want to move baby into her own room. Because we lack storage closets, half of the closet in the baby’s room is used for dad’s clothes. While we have the baby’s toys in another area of the house, the room needs to hold all of the baby’s clothes, shoes, jackets, diapering needs and stuffed animals. Working with what we have, what do you recommend?

The Solution for Organizing Baby’s Room:

 1. Sort and Purge

Start by sorting through everything on the floor. Have 3 baskets or bins at the ready- one for garbage, one for donations, and one for things that need to leave the room. As you sort, put the baby’s clothes into categories- wears now, too small, and too big.

 Next, take everything off the dresser and sort and purge again. This is a great place to keep any baby mementos that you don’t want played with (or broken).

 2. Location

This is where the planning comes into play. Based on your photo of the room, I recommend adding an additional shelf to the top of the closet and use it to store the file box and things you rarely access. On the original closet shelf I would put the bulk purchase of diapers and wipes for easy access. Since it appears you have already removed one closet door, remove the left closet door as well.

 Purchase an additional hanging bar to increase your hanging space and put baby’s hanging outfits there. I would use the left side of the closet for baby’s clothes so that dad can still have his clothes on the right side.

 3. Containerize

In the dresser you have four drawers. Starting at the top drawer, here is how to organize the dresser:

 * Socks, tights, leg warmers and bibs

* Onesies, play clothes

* Outfits (folded together)

* Hats, sweaters, mittens

Use a hanging organizer on the back of the door to hold all baby shoes. Put the baby shoes that are still too big in the top pockets.

For the clothes that are too large for baby to wear right now, purchase a plastic tote with a lid. Place clothes in there with the largest sizes at the bottom. Label the outside of the tote. You can also use ribbon to bundle the like sizes together and label each bundle.

Purchase a toy hammock for the stuffed animals. Rotate them out two at a time for the baby to play with.

4. Maintain

As your baby grows, remove clothes that are too small as you notice them. Have a donation bag somewhere in your home at all times. Before shopping for more clothes, check your plastic tote for clothes that can be brought out and worn. Purge the toy hammock regularly or those stuffed animals will quickly outgrow the space!

3 Steps to A New Mail Habit

Many people struggle with paper.  Are you one of them?  Creating a new mail habit is the first step to getting your paper better organized.

Here are 3 simple steps to a new mail habit:

1. Create a mail station location.

This should be in the place where you currently are in the habit of opening your mail. For example, this can be in the office, the kitchen, or next to the couch where you watch TV. Once you determine the mail station location, it is important that the mail be put there every single time it is carried into your home.

2. Have the right tools.  

Have a basket, an in-box or some sort of container for incoming mail. Label it as such. This container is only for the mail that has not yet been opened! Also have a trash can and shredder (or a “To Shred” bin)

Taming the paper Bill Monster

3. Train yourself and your family.

ALL incoming mail is to go into the incoming mail basket.

Determine how often you will review the mail – twice a week, four times a week, or every day? The choice is yours, but you need to be consistent! When you are reviewing the mail you must be ready (and willing) to do one of three things:

take action

file it

or throw it away

Do not place mail back in the basket with the idea that you will deal with it later. That will just repeat the vicious cycle of having too much paper to manage and not taking care of it (which is the reason you are probably reading this post, right?)!

 If you want more ideas on how to take action on the mail you receive, check out these videos:


Household Paper Management


Capture those thoughts!

A System for the Day to Day Papers


It’s a New Year and It’s Time to Reset

As we enter into a new year, it’s time to reset. This little button sits on my desk as a constant visual reminder for me.


Reset – verb

1. To set again: reset a broken bone.

2. To change the reading of: reset a clock.


Often, we make resolutions that fall by the wayside about mid-February.  I know I have!

Give yourself a better chance at making the kinds of changes you desire this year by doing a “self reset”.

Grab a cuppa and watch this short video where I explain how to do a self reset.

What does this look like?

  1. Find a quiet place that makes you happy and go there.  Take along some paper and writing supplies .

  2. Let go of guilt by first forgiving yourself for whatever you thought you “should have” or “could have” done but didn’t. You are starting anew, here and now, fresh with no baggage.  This is a huge step that I cannot stress enough.  You have to really forgive and forget in order to reset.

  3. Now push your imaginary reset button and just sit and breathe for a few minutes.

  4. Now bring out the paper and writing supplies.  Now, what is it that you want for yourself in this year? Write down (or draw) whatever comes to mind, don’t edit. Just be in the moment, letting your mind go wherever it wants.

  5. Once you done step 4, I usually recommend that you set it aside and come back to it after “sleeping on it”.  Look at it with a fresh set of eyes the next day and begin taking the actions you desire.

Ready, Set, Organize!

You have decided to finally get this (room, bookcase, closet, whatever) organized.  You have set aside the time and YOU ARE FINALLY GOING TO ORGANIZE.

So off to the store to get some organizing bins and maybe some cute labels…..

Wrong – DON’T DO THIS – I have seen it happen over and over again.  Organizing is work, organizing is not shopping…..

Let’s start off on the right foot, shall we?

Find an area near the location you will be working and set up some boxes.  These can be cardboard, plastic or even laundry baskets- use containers you already have.

Label them:

  • Goes Elsewhere

  • Give Away

  • Garbage

Goes elsewhere is for the things you find that you want to keep, but that do not belong where you found them.  Don’t leave the room, just put them in the box labeled goes elsewhere and keep working. At the end of your organizing session, you take that box around to the various locations in your home or office and put those things away in their proper home.

Give away is for those things you feel you can, well, give away.  You can donate them and get a tax deductible receipt or you can pass these items along to your family and friends (but ask them first if they even want it, don’t assume they do).

Garbage is for those things that just need to be thrown away.  If you are working in an area with lots of paper you may want two garbage receptacles – one for shredding and the other for recycling.

These boxes will help you stay focused and be clear about the decisions you are making.  And remember, no shopping (at least not at this point…)!

It’s Simplify Your Life Week

Photo Credit: Use with permission from Country Primitive Gatherings

Which math equation is simplified?

10+20x+12-x or 22+19x

(No, you won’t be graded on your answer)

simplify: to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier

So …
What can you do to simplify your life this week?

Tools Needed:

The right frame of mind!


  • clear out the entry and set up a place for your keys, glasses, mail, and purses to land

  • make a list of you favorite breakfast foods; group them together in a bin in the pantry for quick fixin’

  • get rid of all the extra bedding – keep 2 sheet sets and one blanket per bed

  • go through all your cleaning products and only save the ones that do more than one job

  • copy your favorite recipes and donate the recipe book

  • remove everything off your bathroom vanity and only put things back that are used every single day (put them in a basket)

Do you need help with more ways to simplify your life? Just give me a call!

Creating A Storage Area

Many of us lament the lack of closet/storage spaces in our homes.  We are faced with thinking outside “the closet” and finding more ways to store things.

First things first, always look for ways to go vertical

Photo used with permission from Classy Clutter

Choose the right containers

Photo use with permission from Fancy Frugal Life 

Use Labels

 Photo used with permission from Delightful Order

Store heavy or large items at the bottom

 Photo used with permission from Organizing Made Fun

As you can see by these examples, creating a storage area is not only possible, but can be visually pleasing as well.

Look around your home, what’s possible?

All photos used with permission by blog owners.

Keeping Things for Memory’s Sake

What things do you have around your home that you’re keeping just because of the memory it holds?

Now I know that’s not the way we normally look at things but that’s exactly what we do. The other day I was in quaint little antique shop in Paradise, California with my girlfriend and I had a flashback. I saw this kaffee klatsch tray that my mom used to have when I was a kid. Here’s a picture of the tray.

Man, was I ever flooded memories when I saw that tray!

10 Small Summer Projects

Summer time can be the best time to get a bunch of the little projects out of the way.

“Little” projects are defined as things that will take an hour or less of your time every week to sort through, purge, and put away.  Most of the time these projects can be put in a basket and set next to your favorite chair. Just taking an extra 10-15 minutes whenever you sit in your chair each day to attend to a project can go a long way.  There’s still at least 10 weeks of summer left so here are 10 small summer projects that can be tackled:

file organization by Natalie Conrad, organzing consultant

  1. One drawer of old files

  2. The junk drawer in the kitchen or office

  3. The leaning tower of magazines

  4. A dresser, one drawer at a time

  5. Shredding old checks/bank statements

  6. That old, unlabeled box in the bottom of a closet

  7. A shoebox full of receipts

  8. Going through all the computer CD’s

  9. A container of greeting cards you’ve saved for years

  10. Going through all the first aid supplies and medications

What tools are needed for this job?

I recommend a basket that can be filled with “the little project”, a timer (if you really want to stick to 10-15 minutes a day), and bags for garbage and items you want to give away.

I’d love to hear from you if you tackle a “little project” (or ten) this summer. Please leave a comment!


Are you willing to let it go?

I am always purging and donating items. We have a donation center in our home; it’s a rather large 3 drawer plastic dresser. All family members know that if they do not want an item or if something no longer fits, you put it in the donation center. Then, when I receive notice that there’s a donation pick-up in our neighborhood (which happens about twice a month) I put everything from the donation center in a box or garbage bag and set it out at the end of the driveway.

Recently, my neighbor mentioned that she is helping to gather goods for a yard sale to benefit the Chico Cat Coalition (her favorite charity). I told her I would “pull a few things together” to donate. Little did I know that this would cause a shift for me in my purging habits… What happened?