Neatsmart mantra: Make Your Bed

“If you want to change the world start by making your bed.”

Navy Seal Admiral Bill McRaven

Navy Seal Admiral Bill McRaven nails it in his commencement speech for the University of Texas. If you want to do great things (or just survive until you can go back to bed), make your bed. You’ll at least start of the day with an accomplishment.

Happy organizing!


Get Neatsmart: 5 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes to Get Organized

Happy first Monday of April! Is it just me or is the year going by super fast? Here is the latest edition of 5 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes to Get Organized:

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Stop the (March) madness!


  • Are you trying to finish a bunch of tasks prior to starting your weekend?
  • Finding yourself ending your day not knowing how you got through it all?
  • Have too much to do?
  • Overcommitted but can’t see a way to say no?

I think we are all guilty of at least one of these at some point during the week, however, your brain can only process so much information at once and you can only be one place at at time. Being present in any moment is what builds those memories in your head. Have you ever attended a child’s play or sporting event and watched the parents too busy filming to actually watch their child perform? It makes me laugh (and cry) that they are working so hard to preserve the moment to watch it later and yet they aren’t really present to experience it live.  Your memory of an event is more important than the image of it. I’m not saying don’t take pictures, I’m saying live in the moment and be present to absorb what’s going on now.

It’s always interesting to me how I read articles or have conversations around a particular theme without planning or thinking about it. Here are some posts and classes you might be interested in on this topic:


5 Things in 5 Minutes: Happy March!

Welcome to the first week of March and the latest edition of 5 Things You Can do in 5 Minutes to Get Organized. Who doesn’t have a little spring fever at this time? I don’t want to rub it in with readers in cooler climes but let me just say the sprouting crocus and daffodils are a sight for sore eyes.


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5 things you can do in 5 minutes to get organized: 2/24

Happy last week of February! Can you believe we are almost 2 months into 2014? Here are some tips to help you get organized so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy!

Simple menu planning will make your evenings more enjoyable & less stressful.

Simple menu planning will make your evenings more enjoyable & less stressful. This is how plans their week’s menu on the refrigerator.

  1. Write down groceries that you need immediately after you realize it. Keep a notepad on your refrigerator or in your kitchen that you can add to periodically and then you’re half way through your list when  you need to go.
  2. Fold clean clothes while you’re watching TV. You can put them away during the commercial break so it will be fast. I know most people record shows and skip through commercials but this is a good way to use that 3 minute segment of time. Bonus points for getting the family involved and it goes faster!
  3. Plan your week’s meals on Sunday. This is especially helpful for dinner if you’re feeding a family. You don’t have to have all of the groceries on hand but you at least know what’s coming and can prepare more easily. Sample menu above courtesy of
  4. Designate a landing pad for your car keys, glasses, wallet, & purse. Avoid that last minute scramble of “where, oh where can my keys be?” They don’t have to be kept together but you should designate a convenient spot and put these items in their home EVERY time you come in the door.
  5. Put your reusable grocery bags back in car after you empty your groceries. There is no reason to store them in your home if you only use them for groceries. Get them in the car as soon as you’ve emptied them so you’re ready for your next trip.


An ounce of prevention…

Atlanta Traffic during Winter Storm Leo, Photo: BEN GRAY, AP

If you’ve watched any news lately, either on TV or online, you’re aware of the weather disaster known as Winter Storm Leon and its devastation of Atlanta roads and the ensuing traffic nightmare. I’m not here to point fingers or be negative in any way. Actually, I’d like to focus on the opposite, which is what can we learn from living through such a disaster to improve our lives. I was extremely fortunate to have gotten home by 1:00 pm so I didn’t suffer like thousands did on the road in cars running out of gas. I have, however, lived through a similar experience about 10 years ago where it took me 9 hours to drive from Washington, DC to Richmond. VA. But I digress….

I know it’s impossible to think that you can be prepared for every type of disaster but here are some things we can all do to make life a little easier. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

      1. Stock your pantry and freezer. I don’t mean get all “doomsday prep-per” and build an underground shelter full of MREs but get & keep some staples on hand such as canned tomatoes, dried or canned beans, rice, pasta, frozen vegetables, ground beef/ chicken/ pork, and even frozen fruit. Just have a few things so that you can live out of your pantry or freezer for a day or so and don’t fight the lines at the grocery store. You can also freeze bread so that you’ve got a least 1 loaf on hand. Thankfully, we have having chili tonight because I had the essentials on hand and it’s perfect for this weather!
      2. Fill up your car with gas before you need it. I know I’ve certainly pushed it when the empty light has come on and I’ve never thought “that was a great feeling!” When you hit that ¼ tank it’s a good idea to start thinking about filling up.
      3. Keep a phone charger in your car. I probably don’t need to offer an explanation here but just do it. Also, those of you that travel, make sure you take one with you, even if it’s a one-day trip. Another experience I had was driving out of D.C. on 9/11, where I was supposed to be for a day trip, and that charger certainly came in handy.
      4. Wear a coat or at least take it with you in the car. I know I sound like a cranky old lady here but take your coat if it’s cold, just in case. Wear shoes, too. Is it really that hard? You just never know when your car is going to break down and there’s nothing worse than needing to walk to a gas station with no shoes or jacket.
      5. Just do it. Whatever errand you need to do that you don’t feel like doing, just do it. Waiting until it’s too late and the roads are covered in ice makes it that much harder and the task more Herculean. Procrastination is a vicious killer of productivity and I truly hate that feeling of “oh, I should have done that yesterday/ last week/ a month ago when I had more time.” My butt is sore from all of the times I’ve kicked myself so now I make lists and try to manage my time better.
      6. Go ahead and work out. You may be surrounded by an inch of ice tomorrow and not be able to leave home. This goes with #6 but just go ahead and do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Maybe I was a boy scout in another life but I love the idea of being prepared, as much as I can without becoming obsessed or fearful. Like I said before, there is no way you can be prepared for every possible event in life and if you were there would be no growth, creativity, or innovation. We can all try to learn from these experiences and do what we can to improve ourselves. You can’t control everything in your life and that’s ok.

Just do your best; it’s all anyone can expect. And help your neighbor.

Happy organizing!