Streamline the Diaper Bag

September 12, 2013

Two things about me: I like to get out the door without too much fuss and I like to travel light. When T was first born, neither of those things felt very doable. But, what started as a Mary Poppins’s-sized infant diaper bag has streamlined down to a small toddler backpack.

Learn how at Brunch With My Baby!


Currently Obsessed with WallCandy Arts

June 3, 2013

Relocating? Make Your Move Stress Free!

September 13, 2011

Even though the season falls smack dab in the middle of the calendar year, autumn is a time for new beginnings.  The cooler air seems to be ushered in by a parade of school buses and moving trucks.  Maybe you’re just starting out in your very first apartment; maybe you’ve outgrown your old space and are on to bigger and better.  Whatever the case may be, I’m sure you could use a little help with the moving process.  Once you’ve found the place, here’s what you do:

Check out my moving tips at Affluent Magazine!

Getting Organized to Get Away

July 13, 2011

Summertime has me thinking about weekends away.  But before you get to your destination of choice, it’s easy to stress about the getting there.  It’s not just the packing, it’s the feeling that you’ve forgotten to take care of something around the house.  Let’s put your mind at ease:

Check out my Countdown to Vacation at Affluent Magazine!

Getting Organized for a New Addition

April 7, 2011

Preparing for a new baby can be very exciting – but it can also feel overwhelming. Hormones and anxieties aside, it’s hard to wrap your head around the growing to-do list and the seemingly endless amount of stuff you need for your baby-to-be. And how on earth is it all going to fit in your apartment?! Don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling overwhelmed – even Professional Organizers can feel this way 😉

Never fear! Using your nesting instincts and these tips, you’ll be ready (and organized!) for the baby.

For tips on how to get ready for baby, read my article at Big City Moms!


Lazy Days: Why Being Lazy Isn’t (Always) a Bad Thing

August 5, 2010

We are well into the lazy days of summer and maybe the heat wave has you feeling less than motivated to tackle that growing to-do list.  And that’s OK.

Being organized means that you can find the things you need, when you need them. It says nothing, though, about your closet looking ready for a photo-shoot for the pages of a home décor magazine.  It says nothing about taking care of household tasks like a TV personality. It says nothing about the number of papers permitted on your desktop. So, let yourself off the hook a little!

Want to learn more? Check out my article at!

And Now Something Completely Different….

March 3, 2010

Before I get back to my regularly scheduled “move update” programming, I thought you might like a little change of pace —

Check out my monthly column on The Beauty Bean — this month, I talk about getting your gym back in order.


Day 30: It’s the Final Countdown

February 28, 2010

duhdaduhdah. duhdaduhdada. duhdaduhdah. duhdadadadada. da. da. dadadadada da daaaaaahhhhhhhh.

Oh you couldn’t figure out what that is? That’s me singing the instrumental after the first line in the chorus of Europe’s 1986 hit The Final Countdown. Obviously.

Movers, Not Shakers will be here at 8:30 tomorrow morning, and we’re ready for them. We’ve got a few boxes around the house….

here's some.

some more.

yep, more.

and finally, the end of the boxes. and me. (I don't know if you can see me, I'm wearing camouflage.)

But of all the boxes we’ve got, this one is probably the most important:

it's crucial to have a "first night" box.

I want to be sure that if we don’t get to unpack every single box tomorrow (and we won’t!) we’ll still have everything we need for a comfortable night and morning. Our 1st Night box (ok… boxes) has the following:

  • Our bedding (which I took in to be dry-cleaned earlier this week)
  • Pillows
  • PJs
  • 2 Towels
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Extra sets of contacts, glasses (we wear disposable contacts, if you don’t — don’t forget solution and your contact case)
  • Cellphone/Blackberry chargers
  • Medications — prescriptions plus Excedrin, Advil and Tylenol — headaches and muscle aches are nearly guaranteed on move day!
  • Shower necessities (shampoo, conditioner, soap, a shower curtain)
  • the bedroom DVD player and Season 1 of The West Wing (i can’t fall asleep without the TV on. although I should be pretty tired by tomorrow night.)

Then there are the things we’re taking with us either on our person or in our own car so we can have immediate access to them when we arrive in the new apartment:

  • collection of extension cords, surge protectors, etc. — we won’t have to wait to plug things until we find the box with this stuff.
  • bag of tools – plenty of stuff might need to be taken apart, put together – never a dull moment on move day.
  • box cutters and scissors — enough for multiple people to be opening boxes at once.
  • laptops
  • checkbook — much easier to pay your movers when you don’t have to search for it.
  • small stereo and ipod — you simply can’t unpack without music.
  • passports – it’s a good idea to know where your passport is at all times and find a safe place for it when you get settled.
  • jewelry – I actually gave my jewelry box to someone I trust to hold on to through the move (she’ll bring it back once we’re in the new place). Now there’s no anxiety about it inadvertently going missing. If this isn’t an option for you, be sure that you pack a bag with your valuables and bring it with you in the car.
  • cleaning products – for your protection (and theirs), there are certain cleaning items that professional movers are not able to legally pack or move. Ammonia and bleach are flammable and should not be moved by a moving company. Open cleaning products have the potential to spill into your boxes, making a mess and potentially damaging your stuff. But you can bring them on your own — think about using a plastic bin, rather than a box, and putting it on the back seat of your car. Plus, you’ll be glad you can reach for the Fantastik and wipe down the cabinets before unpacking your nice clean glasses.

And with that, I sign off excited and exhausted. RB & I can’t wait to get settled into our new home.  Unpacking is really the fun part. I’ll be back online to give the Big Day Play-by-Play on Tuesday when we have internet again.

by the way, we’re finishing our packing as we watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics. seems pretty fitting, really. We’ll miss you 201 East 19th – you’ve been good to us.

Chaos Theory on Parents.TV!

October 5, 2009

Looking for ways to make your family’s morning routine a little easier?

Check out Chaos Theory’s tips on!

Hope you find them helpful!

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Ask the Organizer: What To-Do, What To-Do?

September 11, 2009

What’s the best way to manage your to-do lists? I’ve got at least 7 different lists floating around – sometimes the to-do item appears on all 7, and sometimes things fall through the cracks. I had good intentions, but it’s not working.

I absolutely give you credit for the list-making. Getting those to-do items out of your head and onto paper is a great way to feel in control of a project, a shopping trip, a life… Trouble is, with 7 lists out there, you now have to check 7 different places to make sure you covered everything. I strongly believe in having all your to-dos consolidated in one place – whether it’s set up:

  • Digitally – there are some great Apps out there for this purpose (like Remember The Milk), but a running Word doc could also work
  • In a notebook – perhaps with dividers/sections for the areas of your life that require to-do lists, or
  • On the wall – products like IdeaPaint makes it easy to create a whiteboard on just about any surface, and you can create your own sections using electrical tape

The trick is to find a to-do list type that works for  you. Visually, I love the look of a sectioned whiteboard – with one glance I can see everything that’s going on, broken down by category. Trouble is, I also love the physical act of crossing something off my list. Erasing from a whiteboard simply doesn’t give me the same satisfaction. Plus, when an item is erased, it’s gone forever – but when it’s crossed off, you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished. So for me, the answer is a whiteboard/notebook hybrid. Here’s a look at the way I handle my own Chaos Theory to-do list (those blackout shapes are there to protect client identities and other sensitive information):

The Big To-Do

I wanted the look of a whiteboard on paper – but it needed to be able to handle a lot of information. The answer was an 11″x14″ sketchbook that I divide using a ruler and a sharpie. I assign categories to each section (General Chaos Theory, Client Projects, Business Development, NAPO, Blog Brainstorm, and On My Mind), and when I think of something I have to do, I write it into the proper section. New project arises? Adding a section is as simple as drawing a blue line.

So that’s the master list. A great source of information, but overwhelming if I wanted to use it for the day-to-day. That’s where my ONE sticky note comes in:

Friday's to-do list

Each evening, I plan for tomorrow. Using a combination of deadlines and my general whim, I peruse the larger list and decide what I will get done the next day.  That gets listed on the sticky, stuck to the master notebook, and thrown out at the end of each day. Then I make my master list cross-outs for the day (oh the pleasure!), and plan for tomorrow. Something I didn’t get to today? That’s OK, it can move to tomorrow’s sticky. Find myself with extra time? I can peruse the master for a task to fill the hour.

Like the way I set this up? Try it on your own, using the to-do categories of your life. If this isn’t the solution for you, there are plenty of methods out there. If you need help figuring out what’s right for you, don’t hesitate to email!

Happy listing!

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Got an organizing question of your own? Email and I’ll answer it in an upcoming Ask the Organizer Friday!

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