Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ADHD Conference

Those of you that receive my monthly newsletter (sign up) later this week will learn about two conferences on ADD and ADHD coming up in October.

I just registered to attend the Michael Golds Memorial ADHD Conference on October 6th. This day long conference will include a keynote speach by Chris Zeigler Dendy on "The Joys & Challenges of AD/HD." There are also three breakout sessions, including one by fellow NAPO Southeast Michigan Chapter member Deb Stanley called "Are You Sure You're Ready to Get Organized? How to Know When Change is Possible." The total cost, including lunch, is $50.

Along with attending NAPO's National Conference, serving on the NAPO Southeast Michigan Chapter Board and reading extensively on new organizing techniques; this is another way I continue my education to better serve my client base.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Preparedness: Insurance

This weekend's Wall Street Journal had an interesting article about house insurance. This is quite timely, as September is National Preparedness Month and a year ago today Hurricane Katrina was making its way toward the Gulf Coast (Katrina hit land on 8/29/05). If you had to evacuate your home, would you be able to find your home owners' insurance policy (and other important documents) quickly?

I often help clients set up files for various personal finance documents, including their home owners' insurance policy. No matter where you live it is important to make sure your home owners' policy is up to date in the event of an unforeseen emergency. The Wall Street Journal Reported that 58% of houses are undervalued for insurance purposes (according to a survey by Marshall & Swift/Boeckh LLC). The survey went on to state that of the 58% of undervalued homes, the homeowner typically only has enough coverage to rebuild about 80% of the home.

Here are my tips for organizing your insurance papers and making sure that you are adequately covered:
1) Have a safe place where you keep your homeowners (or renters) insurance policy. This can be a hanging file folder or three-ring binder, whatever works best for you.
2) File your policy immediately after paying the premium (annually for most people).
3) Keep an inventory of your personal property.
4) Review your policy annually with your agent to make sure you are appropriately covered. Be sure to bring your file from previous years.
5) Let your agent know if you have made improvements to your home.
6) Remember the insurance valuation is based on the cost to rebuild your home, not market value. When the cost of raw materials rises, so does the cost to rebuild your home.

If you do not know where to start when it comes to organizing your home owners' insurance, contact a reputable professional organizer or organizing consultant in your area. We serve Southeast Michigan, Northern Ohio and will travel further upon request.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mini-Seminar Photos

Yesterday evening Simply Organized Life offered a special mini-seminar on kitchen organization and meal assembly session at Ann Arbor's Main Dish Kitchen. Here are a few photos from that event.

Here I am with Margaret making the "Big House Burrito" dish.

Carol, owner of iSold It on eBay on Eisenhower in Ann Arbor, joined in to make meals for her busy family. Pictured in the back are seminar participants Melissa, Jen and Candace. My apologies to Tammi and Donna for not getting a good shot of them working!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Being Organized Makes It Easy

In my last corporate job my supervisor told me once that he "didn't have time to be organized." My reply was that I didn't have time NOT to be organized. Nearly every day I am reminded that being organized makes things easier. Sometimes it's a little thing, like clean socks right where you need them, and sometimes it's a big thing, like taxes (see January 2006 for tax tips). Today, it was a big thing that reminded me that life is easier when your organized.

If you work legally in the United States you should receive a statement once a year from the Social Security Administration. When working with clients on paper management we sometimes find these envelopes unopened, as people just do not know what to do with them. These statements should be opened and filed in a safe place. My statement came and income was missing from one of the years. This is a big thing, because it impacts the level of Social Security benefits I might receive in retirement.

Fixing the error was not a big thing, because I knew exactly where to go to find the past years tax returns and W2 statements. I was able to call the Social Security Administration and provide them with the paperwork they needed immediately. The whole thing (including calling in) took me less than 30 minutes to resolve. If you are not organized, it could take hours just to find the old paperwork.

Trust me, I do not spend hours on end organizing my files or my personal belongings. My systems are simple and cheap. The important thing is that I can find what I need when I need it. This eliminates stress. I hold the same goals when working with my own things or with a client.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Mini-Seminar

I am excited to announce that I will be offering a mini-seminar on kitchen organization at Ann Arbor's Main Dish Kitchen on Tuesday, August 22nd. At Simply Organized Life we are always looking for ways to simplify everyday life. This includes sitting down to a nice home cooked dinner!

Main Dish Kitchen is one of several retail meal assembly locations that have popped up around the nation. They make it easy for you to get dinner on the table by planning meals and preparing all of the ingredients for you to assemble a “main dish” that can be frozen. On those busy days, you can simplify life (and save money) by utilizing one of the dishes you have prepared for your freezer.

On August 22nd Simply Organized Life is offering a special session at Main Dish Kitchen that includes a 30 minute seminar on kitchen organization. The attendees walk away with new found knowledge, a kitchen organizing tip sheet and 6 or 12 delicious meals for their family. Each meal, or dish, serves 4 to 8 people. In addition to the seminar, I will join the group in assembling the dishes and will be available to answer organizing questions in a casual setting.

Please go to our main webpage for more information! There is a minimum charge of $115 for this special seminar and session.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


It is HOT here in Michigan this week. Monday evening the air conditioner in our home stopped, along with the ceiling fans and everything else that requires electricity. The power went out in our neighborhood. We were out only 1 hour and 15 minutes, but it got me thinking about preparedness. Were we really prepared if this was another big blackout like the one that occurred three years ago?

As a professional organizer or organizing consultant, I am probably a little more prepared for an emergency than the average person, but I know there is plenty more I can do to make sure that we are prepared for the unexpected.

Those of you that have attended my seminars or have worked with me personally know that I am not a fan of stockpiling excess "inventory" in the home. That being said, in the event of an emergency, being organized and having enough non-perishable food on hand can make a huge difference in stress levels and survival.

September is National Preparedness Month, which is sponsored by The Department of Homeland Security. This year The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has signed on as a national coalition member. Even if you are overwhelmed with the state your home or office is in right now, an organizer can help you be prepared for everyday life and an unexpected emergency.