Miami Neat Blog

Thin out, or give away?


I would have to say shoes, pajamas, and mugs are the hardest for me to part with. I try to keep this rule of thumb when tackling this: if a new pair of shoes, pajamas or a new mug comes into my house, I try to reduce one in each of these categories. This is REALLY hard!!

For so many reasons we become attached to our things and some things more than others. That is why as a Professional Organizer I strive to be compassionate yet realistic with my clients and listen to what Gretchen Rubin simply says, “Do I need it? Do I love it? Do I use it?”

When a thin out is too difficult, I allow some T-shirts from my pajama area to go into the “sentimental” category and put favorite shoes up high for a little while. This aids in keeping a place for everything. Remember we don’t need so much to live well and, with less, it is less to organize. This gives us more time to be present and to relax!

Rumi, a well-known poet, says “life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”

Marie Kondo says a lot of things, but taking time to cherish the things you love is important.

Maybe if we have respect and gratitude towards objects, it won’t be so hard to say goodbye. It’s even more reassuring when we feel good about where our donations are going next or if you say to yourself that it is ok to say goodbye.

Another way to look at paring down is to think of your belongings like friends. Friends stay, acquaintances, move on, and strangers are gone. Focus on the feeling in the process. Or just call me and I will be there to help make decisions with you!

Happy “Sunday” of the summer season to all!!!

Take control and manage your recipes and cook books



To all food lovers and cooking enthusiasts of today. Let’s get a handle on the piles of clipped recipes from newspapers, magazines, digital notes and recipes on your phone, folders, ragged family recipes from long ago and a stack of “maybe someday” recipes stashed in the back of a drawer or a box or bin. Obviously keep the family recipes that are timeless.

Over time we get busy and too much is coming at us in this life. We start with good intentions and think time is endless and we will get to everything eventually. This is not reality!

I have a background in food and hospitality and am especially interested in health, exercise, and nutrition. Sounds like I would have it all together as a Professional Organizer, but I have to work in this area periodically and say will I ever make this recipe? Are these still the food items I use at this stage in my life? Am I the only one who likes this combination of the ingredients in my household (perhaps because it is way too healthy) or am I the only one of my friends or family who will actually eat it? ( that is ok if you like leftovers)I just counted my cookbooks and I have 88 and that is after thinning out in the last couple of years:) I am a bit old school and do prefer to follow a recipe from a hard copy even if I have it in my digital notes/folders. I am just so glad I no longer receive printed newspapers or magazines with the exception of Prevention and Costco which I still enjoy. A realistic goal is to try to keep the paper recipe collection limited to a couple of labeled binders and a couple loose stacks.

I am working with a very special client at this time and she is struggling with going through 30 years of recipes, notes, specialty cooking equipment, serving pieces and really everything. I saw her expression of overwhelm as she eyed the many files, bins, and stacks of recipes that she has as homework from MiamiNeat to pare down. I have been guiding and encouraging her as she goes through the thought process of asking realistic questions to herself as she faces this mountain of recipes and actually a lifetime of collecting so many items. We are reducing everything in order for her to move and she is attempting to keep only what works in her life now and what works going forward. This is NOT an easy task. It’s been like going down memory lane without getting too stuck.

Questions for myself, my client and other foodies to be revisited a couple times a year or more: Do I realistically think I will ever make this recipe? Does my current diet allow for the ingredients? Set a timer a little at a time to go through and…When in doubt LET IT GO!

Storage Solution for Legos

Real people, real solutions! check out this easy modular organizing system for LEGO overload from the container store

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Kickstart Your Mornings with an Organized Kitchen

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Kickstart Your Mornings with an Organized Kitchen

Your morning mood sets the tone for the rest of the day, and most people start their day in the kitchen. If you can’t find a lid for Tupperware or you have to drag the coffee maker out of a cabinet each morning, you’re less likely to sail off into a peaceful day. When organizing your kitchen, the goal isn’t just to de-clutter. The goal is to create a room that helps you have more productive mornings and start your day off right.

Clean out and de-clutter

You can’t map out a new kitchen layout until you’ve done a serious clean-out. Take stock of your entire kitchen inventory and get rid of anything you don’t want, need, is broken, or has expired. Clear out all the clutter and start fresh before you start organizing your new kitchen layout.

Map out a layout based on convenience

As you map out the new kitchen layout, consider your morning routine. Do you eat eggs every morning? Do you prep your lunch sandwich every morning? Organize your kitchen around your typical schedule and place items near where you would naturally reach for them. This means storing cooking utensils and the knife block near the stove or prep area and not in some drawer at the other end of the kitchen. Store everyday dish ware in the easiest-to-reach cabinet, preferably close to the sink or dishwasher. You may even want to hang pots and pans from the ceiling near the oven, rather than down in a drawer. In the pantry, place everyday items like cereal, snacks, and dinner staples near the front where they are easiest to reach. Anything you don’t use on a regular basis can be placed out of reach, so it doesn’t interfere with your kitchen flow. For example, rarely used baking items, turkey basters, and niche ingredients that you only need for special meals can be placed in the high or low cabinets and less prime areas. If you need help organizing your new kitchen layout, consider hiring a professional organizer who can map it out for you.

[Check out how we can help!]

Take advantage of counter space, if you have it

If you make a smoothie and a pot of coffee every morning, keep the blender and coffee maker out on the kitchen. There’s no point in dragging unwieldy kitchen tools in and out of cabinets every single morning. Is it easier to reach for oil and spices if they have a designated spot on the counter near the stove? Place kitchen tools you use every morning in a jar and set them on the counter near your prep space. Of course, more items on the counter create a seemingly cluttered space, so ensure that anything that is placed on the counter is used daily.

Make sure you can see everything

Pantries full of clear, beautifully labeled jars and containers are all the rage on Pinterest, but transparent containers are helpful because they help you actually see what you have in your kitchen. Unload cereal, oatmeal, and baking ingredients into clear containers so you can see what you’re reaching for and easily keep track of how much food you have left. There’s nothing worse than reaching for the cereal only to realize thirty minutes before work starts that you’re all out of Cheerios.

Invest in containers that are easy to open

Before you invest in storage containers, consider how easy they are to open. Canisters with attached lids are easy to open with one hand, and you won’t lose the lid. Beware of buying glass containers online, as the item that arrives might be heavier than expected.

Put frequently used items at eye level

If you reach for oatmeal every morning, place it at eye level in the cabinet. Same goes with coffee, juice, eggs, and anything you routinely pick up every morning should be placed easily within arm’s reach because you’re less likely to use something if you forget it’s there. If your cabinetry depth is significant, consider installing pull-out shelves so that way items in the back are easily accessible each morning.

Keep it consistent

Once you’ve assigned all your kitchen items to their various locations, you have to keep it consistent. The way to eliminate that morning mad dash to find the cooking spray is to put the cooking spray back in the same spot every day. This is especially important if you live with other people; keeping the organizational layout the same streamlines everybody’s life.

Happy organizing!

Bio: Haley writes content with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, a full-service junk removal company that will
load and haul away all of your unwanted clutter.

Hoarders: Season 10 Episode 4

Miami Cleaning

Miami Cleaning

I was recently a part of a Hoarders episode on A&E, It was a great challenging team experience! Hoarding is a very sad disease that affects the whole entire family. Let’s hope we were able to help Patricia in a small positive way!  Click the link below to watch the full episode.

Hoarders: Season 10 Episode 4

Rose Move in & Art Area

When your client is elderly and disabled, moving is extremely stressful. Many nurses will be visiting your client, try to keep the surroundings calm and uncluttered by setting up a work station out of the way. Numerous medical and personal supplies are needed every day, keep it simple by having all like things together for easy access and for easy reordering. When your elderly client is an artist, but can barely create any longer find a way to display their work like a home gallery to be admired daily

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Miami Cleaning

Miami Cleaning

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Miami Cleaning

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How do you keep you and your family organized?


Miami Neat


First, think of organizing as reducing, arranging, and maintaining. You have to lead by example and put your things away and be consistent so your family sees that it is possible in this crazy 24 hour life! If you start to get behind, set a timer if necessary before bed or in the AM for 10 minutes to catch up.

Communicate well, be specific, and tell them your expectations. Don’t just say “clean the playroom.” You have to provide the tools necessary to stay organized like having storage options for everyone to have a place to put things away. Some ideas are to have a bowl/basket or set of hooks by the front door or kitchen for keys, phones, purses, backpacks, lunch boxes, and dog leashes. Have a container in the laundry room for dark, light, and white clothing and cubbies/baskets if possible to distribute the clothes when cleaned or to be cleaned. You will need shelves for books, containers, drawers, and hanging options with more hooks in the bedrooms, the office, and or playroom. I like some sort of label too. If a label maker is too much, just use blue tape (painters tape) and a marker or a sticky pad. If little ones don’t read yet, place a picture of the item that goes in that container on the front of the container so they learn early on to put it back when finished playing. I would sing a song with my daughters that said “clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere clean up, clean up everybody does their share.” Remember it’s all part of the communication. I even put a note in the pantry by the crackers to say eat this first instead of having too many things opened. I also think the family forgets what is in the refrigerator and they need to be reminded to eat something that will perish shortly. Don’t be too serious and keep your sense of humor.

Get everyone together once a week to review what is working and what is not working and make adjustments as necessary. Establish who is doing chores like dinner, clean up, laundry, mail, garbage, or decluttering a high traffic entry area. Life happens so there will be clutter so maybe use the timer again with some motivating music to create dance time neatening. This is especially helpful when storage areas & shelves get crowded as it’s time to pare down again. I have heard people talk about the “clutter jail” too. This is stuff that is left behind and you will have to decide what to do with these things. For example, I couldn’t get my daughters to clean up some of their shoes and I threatened to throw them out and one day I did (good thing they got them out in time). This might be drastic but I am sure you can figure out how to make a point. No matter what, life will never be perfect so be realistic.

Some people are messier than others and especially teenagers. If you have one or two at home then let them keep a “little” messy spot as part of their room. If you want to look more into the cerebral component of family organizing there are many books. Gretchen Rubin has a few like Happier at Home, Better than Before, Outer Order, Inner Calm, and The Happiness Project.

The goal is to live better with less and in harmony.

Happy Holidays

Miami Cleaning

Special Thanks

I appreciated the special thanks for my secretary term with the amazing NAPO South Florida group! 👍

Bed Bath and Beyond

Great getting more educated about bed bath & beyond at our recent NAPO South FL meeting !


The Toiletry challenge: September 2018

How do you manage your toiletries for everyday and for travel?
As far as travel, I have a toiletry bag pretty well set up so I am always ready to travel and feel like I won’t forget much this way. The argument could be how often do you update what is in there? This depends on how often you travel, how accessible, and how well your back up travel items are organized.
Let’s be realistic!
How many times do you collect soaps, shampoos, lotions, makeup samples, toothpaste, and nail products???
Where do you put these items? How do you know what you have? And what would you actually use??
My philosophy is always “less is more “and “keep like things together.” I also promote donating the stuff you may never use to women in distress or to somewhere it will get used.
This gives you the ability to label what you have, keep it together, and easily reach for replacements when packing or for everyday use.
Here are some categories:
1. Everyday back up supplies
2. Travel supplies- A. Body & face cleansers B. Hand, face, body & lip creams C. Shampoo, conditioner, hairspray/gel D. Bathroom spray, wipes, travel tissues
3. Medical
4. Dental
5. Makeup

6. Q-tips/cotton-balls/toilet paper/tissues

Whether you travel a lot or just struggle knowing what you have for everyday use, make it easy to look before going to buy a duplicate!

Before Miami Neat

Cleaning, neat

After Miami Neat

Spring Forward and manage your contacts and passwords

Spring Forward and manage your contacts and passwords

I have been taking an informal poll for a while to see how everyone keeps track of their contacts, business cards, clients, auto and household repairs, numbers and passwords.

So many people forget to record a name or number so when they get a call back from a client, they need to make a repair or find the person, it’s such a struggle to retrieve the information.

In this society of hacking, we do all have to be super careful with passwords and accounts, so I do recommend a password manager like Dashlane or Last pass to keeponline IDs and passwords secure.

If you really want to stay old school with your important data then keep the listing of everything at home in a safe place, but if you need anything while you are out or traveling you have to go home first. You could repeatedly say you forgot your password and update as you go along too.

Many of my clients collect business cards at meetings, on trips or just throughout their days. I see many bagfuls and at this point it has become a big project to figure out what you will actually still need and what you will really use again. Some say they use Camcard, but this still requires you going to the app and taking a photo etc.

Why not just either make these numbers and names into your contacts as you go or if this is not possible then gather this pile and visit it weekly or at least monthly.
What I mean is to go through these notes, scraps, cards and save the ones you will “realistically “ use again on your phone with name, business name, number, and email. Under the note area put a small reminder of why and what they do. Then let the rest go.

Now you will always have this with you and you can quickly update them as needed.

They say “the devil is in the details” and maybe this is true, but in the long run you will save time and feel less stressed.

Why is it a good reason to update your contacts? Because Benjamin Franklin said a long time ago that “for every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned”

Have an organized Spring!

2018 Tip of the Year

Professional Organization Services, Cleaning, Organize, Deep Clean

2018 Tip of the Year

Every January 1st comes the big pressure for New Year resolutions. Everyone starts a new slate and wants to change and do things that have been put on the back burner for the last year and maybe even for the last decade. I think that is too much to ask of anyone especially after surviving the stressful holiday season. All we can expect as human beings is to balance our everyday lives and try to do better and not strive for perfection. One tip which could help everyone is to read your mail everyday!!!! Make decisions and take action!!!

How long could this take? 5-10 minutes, right? Don’t you receive a lot of junk mail? If it says “presorted standard” on upper corner – it’s not really for you, it’s for whoever will read it. LET IT GO! Stand by the garbage and TOSS IT or if it is recyclable put it in  the bin to go out with recycling.
If it is important or personal stuff or bills, put it where it goes to be paid or keep it in your important slot, envelope, file, in-bin, or how ever your brain is wired to remember to go back to it before your bill is late etc.
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If you still receive print newspapers or magazines, cap off the read time at 3 months and then recycle and be done with it because it will begin to cloud your peaceful surroundings.

There are too many other things that we need to make decisions about everyday other than mail. Remember that simply “less is more.” It’s a proven fact that clean and less cluttered surfaces definitely give us a more peaceful feeling in our home living environments.

Why not make February 1st your realistic deadline for starting this new normal.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Professional Organization Services, Cleaning, Organize, Deep Clean

Lessons and Tips From IRMA

Professional Organization Services, Cleaning, Organize, Deep CleanLessons and Tips From IRMA

I have asked my clients this question many times: “If a hurricane comes tomorrow what would you take?”

I believe this helps the client to begin to access and think about what really matters in life.

What is most important to us? What is absolutely sentimental and a part of us? Many of us have accumulated so much and it sometimes consumes us.

I had to ask myself the above questions when preparing for Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Yes, there are evacuation lists and hurricane preparedness lists, but what is my list for life? I left my house with the mindset that I may only come back to a shell of a house based on the category 5 storm heading for Miami. My house is a two story and my upstairs is wood and not mad of concrete block. I do have impact glass windows and a 25 kw generator on a slab in the yard since Hurricane Wilma left us without power for over 2 weeks in 2005, but I live in an evacuation zone near the coast. We evacuated.

The storm went west affecting others so horribly, but kept my house standing with debris, discoloration and really only a big mess to clean up. I could unpack what I brought and begin to get back to somewhat normal. The psychological component continues. I am not sure why. I do know not much matters as far as stuff. Being safe and having what you need is all that matters.

Professional Organization Services, Cleaning, Organize, Deep CleanIn my opinion, these are the most important things:

  • Be safe
  • Sentimental Jewelry
  • Keep trees trimmed during hurricane season to avoid bigger problems in case they topple
    • Bring, photograph or digitize all important documents and or put on an external hard drive too:
      Passports, Birth Certificates, Marriage license, Medical information, Deed to home, Insurances-home, health, flood, life and car.
  • Pictures, albums, framed or boxed (I will be scanning older photos as well as backing them up and perhaps making photo books, videos etc after Irma)
  • Checkbooks, credit cards, purse, pistol, pillow, phone, laptop, chargers
  • Diplomas, Transcripts, Pertinent Business information if home based business
  • Pets/rabies info-get sedatives to take edge off
  • Record and fill all medications, set up a first aid kit
  • Take a video of your house, cars and yard. Pictures of your art, especially children’s art
  • If going or staying, don’t wait until the last minute to prepare. Have water, gas, run down food inventory, but have shelf ready items. Have flash lights, battery operated candles, and battery operated fans. Fill gallons of water and freeze them to keep food safe longer if needed.
    Keep your sense of humor and positive attitude if at home or on the road and throughout. It’s beyond our control and you can’t fool with Mother Nature!

Be safe and organized!  My thoughts, prayers and healing wishes to all affected by Harvey, Irma and Maria this season.

Tips of the Month!

Medicine/vitamins in the bathroom or kitchen?

For families and most people, the kitchen is a better option. There is less chance of forgetting to take supplements etc, more of a chance of having the space to keep many categories together, up higher away from children, easy to get in case of emergency and less humidity.


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Real people, real solutions! check out this easy modular organizing system for LEGO overload from the container store

Miami cleaning