Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Organize a Busy Schedule

How To Organize A Busy Schedule by Robert Mizrahi of Chaos Commandos
A busy individual is often bewildered by the lack of organization when it comes to their busy schedule. They invest in a variety of hi-tech devices to organize their daily agendas, only to discover these devices can't predict interruptions or unexpected events that sideline organized schedules.

What individuals need in order to create an effective schedule is flexibility. Without a certain level of flexibility, interruptions and the unexpected can inhibit the ability to design and implement an organized schedule and an organized life.

Think of Time as a Choreographed Dance Routine

Time is one of the elements that play an immense role in organizing a busy schedule. Learning to think in "blocks" of time is one way to reshape disorganization.

If a busy schedule was a dance routine, what tempo would it be in? Waltz? Jive? Salsa? This emphasizes how individuals use their time. By creating a busy schedule in blocks of time, individuals learn the art of compartmentalization. Compartmentalizing daily activities is similar to blocking a dance routine. One step in the wrong direction and timing is off and all attempts at recouping organization fail. Choose the tempo of your busy schedule first. This helps smooth out any of the obstacles that manage to get in the way of a well-organized day.

Next, block each segment of your busy schedule. For example, one block may be relegated to one-quarter of the morning hours where your personal needs fall into a pattern. For example, shower, dress, and tend to basic duties before leaving for the office.

Prioritize to Organize

Once at your place of business, organize your thoughts in priority order for the second quarter of your day. This is perhaps the most important block of time. It's the hours when your direction needs maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Prioritize reading your email and other correspondence. While prioritizing, judge which must have immediate attention and which can wait for a day or two. Avoid cluttering your busy schedule with unnecessary communications that are not imperative in this block of time.

Before the end of the second quarter of your now organized day, focus on your direction for the next quarter. By knowing the priorities of the second block of time, the third block of time is more effective and more organized. The end of each quarter block of time is like the end of a chapter of a book. It should accomplish more with each block of time.

The ESP Way to Organize

Some individuals forget they can and do possess a certain amount of ESP. These are keenly attuned people who can predict outcomes easily. For the sake of organization, this is a gift worth more than gold.

However, there is a simple way to predict certain outcomes of your busy schedule. Listen to the little voice warning you when time is wasted. Use your sense of vision to learn to "see" things in an orderly, organized fashion. For example, learn to "speed alphabetize" what you see in front of you. There actually is a defined pattern to clutter if you can learn to see "order."

Batch Work Organizational Skills

Professional organizers understand this one significant element of how they perform their jobs. By thinking "batch work" when organizing, less time is wasted. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Japanese manufacturers implemented "batch manufacturing" techniques. The basic premise of this was to reduce costs, eliminate waste and perfect time by improving the way workers in the Toyota auto plants handled the duties of their jobs.

These ideas soon spread to other industries and were later known as "Quality Circles." The purpose of these techniques was to improve safety conditions for workers and increase their productivity by organizing the duties of their jobs. Employees everywhere learned to "batch" their work to avoid wasting time. First, the work was organized in order of priority. Then, it was batched with similar work for final completion.

Chemists learned to use these techniques with testing results in laboratories. Business offices learned to spot wasted time more easily and individuals became acutely aware of the gaps where their time had been wasted.

Examples of How to Organize a Busy Schedule

When a busy schedule includes daily meetings, interviewing and preparing multiple reports, batch each into a block of time. Try to schedule meetings and interviews in batches. Prepare reports in batches rather than individually.

Robert Mizrahi is the owner of Chaos Commandos, a professional organizing service for New York City, and Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Learn more about their services by visiting:


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to Pack and Organize Your Public Storage Unit

Man organizing his public storage unit.
Public storage units can be a great investment and an excellent way to get some of the clutter out of your home. They also come in handy when you're moving and in a variety of other situations, too. They're really great and can prove invaluable as long as you make the most out of the small space and if you've properly packed everything being stored.

A storage unit doesn't do you much good if you store things there and then can't find the correct items when you need them or can't get to what you need. It also isn't good if your stacks of boxes topple over on top of you or if your possessions become damaged.

Packing Pointers

The first step to organizing a public storage unit is properly packing everything before you store it. Using boxes prevents your items from getting dirty and makes them much easier to store. Resist the urge to wrap items in plastic bags because it promotes mildew. Boxes generally provide adequate protection, but if you want to wrap anything be sure use cloth (the exception being your breakables). All of your packing needs to be thoughtful and strategic. It sometimes helps to make lists of the items you'll be storing and what boxes they'll be going in. If you plan to insure anything while it's in storage you'll also need approximate values and a list comes in handy for this as well.

Don't use more than two box sizes. If you have a bunch of different sized boxes, it makes it a lot harder to stack them efficiently. It ends up turning into a huge puzzle, taking too long and your stacks are also more likely to be unstable and fall. Each box should be labeled on all four sides as well as on the top so you know what it contains no matter what side you see it from once it's in your unit. Be sure to label boxes as fragile that contain anything breakable and wrap your breakables in bubble wrap.

When putting items into boxes, you want to fill be sure to fill up every box all the way. Try to create a balance of heavy items with less heavy items in each box and don't pack boxes full of just heavy things. This creates nice, sturdy boxes and helps to prevent stacks from collapsing and toppling. Boxes that end up being the heaviest should be on the bottoms of stacks to create sort of a foundation for the rest of the stacks. The lightest boxes should be at the tops of stacks.

Organizing the Unit

Before you actually move your packed boxes into your unit, you should have a general plan dictating where which items will go. Make use of the shelves, if the unit has them. If you're going to be storing furniture or appliances be sure to account for how much space they'll take up. Disassemble any furniture you can and pack the parts accordingly in labeled boxes when possible. You can also store other boxes inside of furniture like wardrobes and even refrigerators to further maximize the space.

Prioritize your boxes according to their contents. Anything you don't foresee yourself needing in the near future should be placed in the back of the unit. Items you may need should be located toward the front. Don't just create stacks upon stacks of boxes either. Make sure there are aisles between your stacks so that you actually have access to all of your things. This will make it easier to move your possessions out when the time comes too.

Clean the unit thoroughly and move in wooden pallets prior to taking in any of your boxes. Pallets raise your boxes off of the ground to protect them from water damage and also prevent pests from making homes underneath them. Following these simple tips for packing and organization will ensure that your possessions are both protected and accessible - whether you need the unit for a few weeks, few months or even for a few years.

Robert Mizrahi
NYC Professional Organizing Service
Chaos Commandos

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How to Organize a Cluttered Car

Anyone can end up with a cluttered car. It can plague soccer moms, businessmen, students and everyone in between. It can be minor and just a little disorganized or it can border on unsanitary from the accumulation of fast food trash. There are a lot of reasons people neglect to clean out the interiors of their cars and all sorts of things can accumulate there over time from trash to important items.

An organized car decreases stress while you drive and also makes more room for cargo and passengers. The most cluttered of cars are weighed down to the point that it can even negatively affect gas mileage. Attempting to de-clutter your car can be overwhelming and you may not even know where to begin.

Getting Started

The absolute first step to organizing your car is to park it in a place with plenty of light. You need to be able to see under all the seats and into any little nooks where junk can hide.

The Three-Box Method

The three-box method (or three-pile method) is an organization technique you can use for anything that has become cluttered - from your basement to your office desk. It also works wonders for a cluttered car. For your car you want to have a box for "Trash," a box for "Car" and a box for "House." You'll keep the "Car" items in your car and take the "House" items inside because they aren't trash, but they don't belong in your car. Feel free to bring out your recycling bin if a lot of the garbage looks like paper, plastic or other recyclable items.

Start pulling everything out of your car wherever you'd like, but be sure to have a method to your madness so you don't overlook anything. You may prefer to start with the driver's seat and work your way around clockwise or you may want to begin with the trunk and work your way forward. Remove everything and be sure to check the glove compartment, center console and underneath each seat. Sort the items accordingly into the correct box.

Take Advantage of the Emptiness

Before you start putting anything back into your car that goes there, you should take the opportunity to vacuum it out. This will get rid of food crumbs and dirt that may have been hiding under the clutter. Track down odors and clean up stains. Having a car that looks and smells fresh and clean will remind you to keep it tidy. This will help you stay organized after you've de-cluttered.

What To Keep in Your Car

There are a few obvious things you should keep in your car like your registration and insurance information. Most people keep this paperwork in their glove compartment where it is easily accessible. Be sure you keep your glove compartment clean so you can find the documents quickly if you need them. Anything else you opt to keep in your car needs to have its own specific place that makes sense to you.

Create a Set of Rules to Stay Organized

Rules help you avoid another cluttered car situation. Create rules that are right for you that you can keep. You might want to consider not eating in your car if you had a lot of food trash. If you found that you had a bunch of junk mail in your car then don't allow mail in your car at all and take it straight inside. You may also consider a more regular de-cluttering schedule as a rule. Reserve a bit of time on Sundays for maintenance and get items out of your car that shouldn't be there.

Follow these simple steps and you'll have an organized car in no time. It'll also be easier for you to keep it organized and looking its best. A car full of clutter can be embarrassing if you carpool or a friend needs a ride. You also want to maximize your gas mileage by not transporting around pounds of unnecessary junk. 

Robert Mizrahi is the CEO of Chaos Commandos, a professional organizing service for homes and business. Learn more by visiting his website at

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Organize Your Photos into Albums

Organizing photos into an traditional photo album
Photographs are memories. They remind you of where you came from, who you were with and how you and your family have grown. People have piles of photographs from years of memories. When you want to find a particular photo, it can be difficult to sort through the piles, which is why organization is important. There are many ways of organizing photos into albums, both traditionally and technologically.

Traditional Photo Albums

Traditional photo albums are books where you place your photos in a clear protective sheath. They generally offer inserts for multiple photos per page so you can look at a few at a time. With this type of album, you can organize by time, place or person.

Example: When deciding how to organize photos of children, one way to do this would be to place all photos of one child in one pile and another child in another pile. Then organize in other elements, such as the year, the season, etc. If you want to chronologize your child's life from birth until they are grown, you start by placing baby pictures in the beginning and go from there. Always label these albums with who was there, what you were doing and when it was taken. This will help you find the photos easier when you want them.

Computer and Mobile Albums

One thing technology has given us is the ability to organize everything, including pictures. Most operating systems, Windows, Android and Apple, have the same style of album options so it is fairly simple to streamline the digital organization process.

The first step is to find all of your pictures from your camera, tablet and computer and put them together on one device as well as a backup device such as an external hard drive. Then, organize the same as your traditional album. Start by labeling your new album either by date, place or person, just a name you can remember. Then, go through each photo and add it to its corresponding album. As you go through the photos, you can put one photo into multiple albums. So, if you have one album of a place and another of a person and one photo that has that place and person, that photo can be used in both albums.

If you have traditional photos to add, you can scan them as well. You can scan the pictures with a scanner linked to your computer, take a photo of them with a camera phone or use a photo kiosk and save them onto a memory card. Once the photo is saved, it can be used in a digital photo album. This is a great way to salvage old photos that could otherwise be ruined.

The Cloud

The Cloud is a tool used to keep important files online instead of on your device. Everybody has had that moment when their phone is lost or the computer crashes, taking all of their irreplaceable pictures with it. When you add photos to the Cloud, they are saved virtually, not on your device. You can access them anywhere, anytime, even if you don't have the device. There are options for storage on the Cloud. Google and Microsoft both offer free Cloud storage to a certain limit. Once you reach your limit, you need to pay for more.

Another option is social media. Google+ and Facebook both allow photo uploads and neither have a limit on space. Social media lets you organize into albums so they are still easily accessible. You are also sharing your photos with friends and family immediately so your loved ones don't have to wait to share your experiences with you. Both Google+ and Facebook also offer privacy settings so if you don't want others to see your photos, they won't. These settings can be set so that your photos can be seen only by you, only by friends, friends of friends or everybody. The limit is up to you.

Organizing your photos is simple, although it can be time consuming if you have many photos. By using online methods, you are also saving your photos. When people lose everything in a house fire or robbery, they say that the worst thing they have lost is their pictures. When pictures are stored in the Cloud, they are there forever. The end result of organizing pictures is worth the work you put into it, making your memories once again come to life.

Robert Mizrahi
NYC Professional Home Organizer

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tips for Organizing a Large Basement

Organized storage area in a large basement
Our basements are one of those places in our homes that are inclined to become overwhelmingly cluttered. The basement is a room where we tend to store all of the junk we've accumulated that we think we might need one day or we put things there just to get them out of the way.

A large basement provides an even larger dumping ground for even more items. It can be next to impossible to find something you need in an unorganized basement. After years of treating your basement as a big storage facility it can seem daunting to even get started organizing it. Here are some tips to get the job done:

1. Eliminate Clutter

The first step to organize any room, including a basement, is getting rid of the clutter. Depending upon how much you have accumulated over time it can be a monumental task in itself and by far the most difficult part of getting organized. Not only can the sheer mass of items in your basement make de-cluttering difficult, but you also have to address sentimental possessions as well as the items you do actually use like sports gear and holiday decorations. Start by sorting and you can make this easier by using labelled boxes. You want boxes for items to donate, boxes for items to sell and boxes for the things you want to keep. Keep your recycling bin and trash bags on hand for the items that simply need to be thrown out.

When you are working in your basement you may want to have a clear space to put your sorting boxes. This way you don't have to keep carrying things up the stairs and coming back down. Instead you can just take up all of the boxes up when you've finished. Going up and down the stairs can make the process a lot more work than it needs to be and you are more likely to become discouraged and less likely to complete the task.

2. Make a Plan

Once you've downsized the clutter it's time to make a plan. Figure out what exactly you want to use your basement for. Do you actually want to use it for storage? Would you rather it just be a place for your utilities or do you maybe want to remodel it into additional living space? After you make this decision everything else you do in your basement should be working toward that goal. A large basement can easily become a multipurpose room that serves all of these different functions.

3. Create Zones

When planning you should designate zones. Your zones are going to be bigger areas of organization and each zone serves a purpose. A utility zone should logically be located near your hot water heater, furnace or other basement appliances and utilities. Keep your utility zone easily accessible in case of an emergency and resist the urge to pile storage boxes there.

Your storage zone should be separate and it's the place where it is acceptable to put all of those items you decided to save as you were de-cluttering. Break your storage zone down into smaller zones so that everything is easy to find. Have a certain place in the zone for your holiday decorations that is separate from your camping gear, for example. A living area zone would include furniture, electronics or maybe a pool table or other form of indoor recreation.

4. Appropriate Storage

In your storage zone in particular you need to decide exactly how you want to save and put away items. Invest in some of those affordable plastic bins or tubs as well as an organizer for them. Label your storage containers and then work to keep them accessible. If you play a lot of different sports year round then you will want your sports equipment to always be where you can find it and get to it.

You only need your holiday decorations during the holiday season so you may want to keep those bins in a less prominent location. To help avoid clutter be sure to put your items away according to your mini-zones and your labels.

Robert Mizrahi
Professional Home Organizer
Chaos Commandos

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tips to Set Up and Organize a Garage Sale

Garage Sale sign advertising a yard sale
A garage sale is a great way to de-clutter your home while also helping people purchase much needed items at reasonable prices. A successful garage sale depends on successful planning. To plan a successful garage sale, simply follow these tips.

Place Items for Sale in Plain View

Place items for sale within plain reach and view of customer's eyesight. For example, if you have a stack of magazines, fan them out on a table as opposed to stacking them on top of each other, so each magazine is in plain view.

If you choose to display items on your lawn, create a pathway that people can walk between and catch a glimpse of each item from all angles.

Move Items Not For Sale Far Away

Move any items that are not up for sale as far away from the sale items as possible to avoid confusion. Or, simply cover the items with a blanket or tarp etc. so buyers know these items are not for sale.

Place Items Close to the Street

Place large or your "best" items as close to the street as possible. This way, people can get a glimpse of what you're selling as they pass by which will hopefully lure them in.

Clearly Mark Your Prices

Place a price sticker on each of your items so you don't forget the price. This will help make your job easier, and people will know exactly how much each item costs.

Having a lot of lower priced items (for example, .25 cent items) may encourage people to purchase more items and even encourage them to purchase higher priced items too, because they feel like they are getting a deal. Price items at yard sale prices, unless the item is brand new with the tags still on.

Collecting Cash

Some sellers prefer to station their cashier's table at the end of their merchandise section to make it easier for customers to pay for their purchases as they leave the sale. This way, customers are free to accumulate a variety of items and pay for them all at once.

You may think about offering carrying baskets etc. to help make it easier for them to carry a large number of items at one time, or simply hold the items for them until they are ready to check out.

Your cashier station should have a ledger for recording sales and enough cash to give change.

Advertise Well

The marketing of your garage sale will generally determine the success of your sale. Put time and effort into making high quality, easily readable signs that will catch people's attention. The bigger and brighter the signs, the better.

Many people experience success on free sites such as Craig's List. The more details you put in your ad, the more likely your items are to show up in searches. Focus on your hottest sellers, and list specific details such as sizes and brands etc.

Teach Your Children Entrepreneurial Skills in the Process

Help your children set up a bake sale and lemonade stand so they, too, can share in the entrepreneurial spirit. If it's fall outside, your children can serve toasty treats such as hot chocolate with marshmallows, coffee, S'mores or even fresh cinnamon rolls which will go a long way in making your customers feel appreciated, especially on a cold Saturday morning.

Getting Organized for Your Garage Sale

  • Collect Clutter Year Round- When you come across clutter you longer need, stick it in a box. Once the box is full, fill another one and so on, all the way up until garage sale day.
  • Timing is Everything- Choose a time of year when the weather will be pleasant. Check the weather forecast ahead of time to be sure the weather is clear for that day.
  • Select a Location- If possible, select a location that is near a busy intersection or a location that is easy to get to.
  • Plan- At least 2-3 days before the garage sale, take a day and price and organize everything, and post your ads on the internet. The day before your sale, get your cash together, and post your signs.
  • Displaying Your Items- Do you have enough space? How are you going to display your items? Ladders, clothing racks, tables, TV trays, upside down cardboard boxes, crates and even the patio are great ways to display your items. However, it is best to display your items off the ground to avoid ground moisture or dew.
  • Select Themes- Group your items in themes to help make them easier to locate.
  • Have fun!

Robert Mizrahi
Home Organizing Services

Monday, September 8, 2014

How to Organize An Efficient Student Study Area at Home

Kids organized desk space for homework
The busy schedule of today's families can have a direct impact on the quality of study-time a child can dedicate to homework. There's so much going on. Family members stomp around the kitchen looking for a glass of juice, and little brothers and sisters invade bedrooms, but there are alternative ways to create an efficient study area through planning.

Managing Study Time

Coordinate the block of hours your youngster uses for diving into textbooks. This way, they can balance their time with a sibling. Back this strategy with a notice on the door to let everyone know the youngster is at work.

Use the Right Setup

The bedroom is an excellent area to read and write in peace, but the bed itself should be avoided. The vertical surface is tempting, but it's lumpy and giving, not an optimal place to situate pens and the paraphernalia associated with studying. Also, the bed is comfortable, providing too much temptation for a nap.

Study Surface Basics

Opt for a comfortable chair and a wide table, even a foldaway table will do the job, but a solid construct is preferable. Flimsy tables and chairs can cause distractions due to one leg being shorter than the others. Stabilizing the work surface is an easy issue to fix, but the point here is to minimize distractions.

Expanding on Desks

A modular desk setup allows for a basic selection of textbooks and office supplies, and the structure will grow as the child matures, providing extra drawers for sticky labels and stationary. Over the years, this modular approach can be expanded upon, adding more lighting and shelving for heavier textbooks.

Remove Clutter

Children have notoriously short attention spans. Remove toys and smartphones from the study area, promising access to the confiscated items once the work is done for the night. If necessary, move the desk away from the window and take down distracting posters. Clear the desk of any distractions.

An Environmentally Sound Study Space

Maximize the effectiveness of this developing space by adjusting environmental factors if possible. Pull a shade down, and position a bright lamp on the desk, closing windows to mitigate outside noise pollution. Weigh the cost of adjusting the air conditioning against a clear and cool mind.

Dividing the Study Load

Divide the classes your child is studying into manageable chunks. Create a study table and calendar of upcoming academic exams, prioritizing each subject and color coding the schedule for the benefit of young eyes. Print out the schedule, and pin it up on the wall above the new study area.

The Office Supply Visit

Ensure a period of focused study goes uninterrupted by providing all the supplies the student needs. Paper, pens and pencils should be close at hand on the actual work surface. Keep secondary items such as pencil sharpeners and rulers nearby, but remember the clutter rule. Clear space equals a clear young mind.

The Strategic Placement of Secondary Items

Allocate written material to the study area, placing textbooks and study notes in their designated slots. Slowly shift this responsibility over to the child, using this technique to teach organizational planning to the student. In time, this will show the young mind how to manage resources without being overwhelmed.

Energize the Study Area

Studying is hard work. Even putting work into the efficient setup of a study space is a laborious task. Feed the creative spirit of the youngster. Add a flowering plant to all of this study material, and pin up an inspirational poster adjacent to the schedules. Finally, add a glass of water and an energy snack to the newly configured study space, and leave your child to get on with the work. You may be that final distraction, after all.

Robert Mizrahi
Professional Home Organizer