Miami Neat Blog

Recipe revisit after sheltering in place


To update recipe management after massive amounts of cooking, I recommend going digital with your recipes and to also keep a hard copy system. If you are visual like me, you will want to see the recipe you are preparing and you will also like having it scanned on your phone in the notes app or another app with more bells and whistles. This will give you the ability to share with family and friends and at a moment's notice you will have access to the ingredient quantities for shopping.

Thin out recipes and put into categories then place in paper file folders. Categories could be the following: Beverages, Appetizers, Breakfast/Brunch, Soups, Sauces/Marinades, Salad Dressings, Salads, Side Dishes, Pasta, Breads, Grains, Poultry, Beef, Lamb, Veal, Seafood, Asian/Thai, Indian, Mexican/Southwestern, Slow cooker/Instant Pot, Dinner parties/Menus, Holidays, Desserts, Repeaters (frequently prepared) Order 3 ring binders from Amazon such as the Meadowsweet Kitchens recipe binders and the protector pages for full sheets, for 3×5 and 4×6 size recipes (this will fit printed 8×11 recipes, newspaper clippings, magazine clippings, index cards, and handwritten recipes from someone special). Scan or delegate the scanning process to a friend or relative completing a few categories at a time so as not to become too overwhelmed. Put the paper copies in a 3 ring binder or binders divided into your categories with printed labels as you go (if using 3 binders you could fit 6-8 categories in each for quick reference). Bon Appétit!

Takeaways from my latest home project


My husband and I decided to renovate our closet and primary bathroom after living in our home for almost 23 years. I felt excited until I realized I would be displaced for two to three months plus this was going to be major decision making time about a lot of items. I have always felt empathy and compassion for my clients as we decide together what to do with the contents of their lives. It’s an exhausting exercise to say the least but it’s more intense when it’s your decisions.

I have been organized most of my life and have felt like I revisit my primary closet and bathroom inventories on a regular basis so this had to make it easier, right? Not sure that is entirely true! I decided to think of this project as a mini packing/move management job. My first worry was how to decide what to keep out. This wasn’t like packing a suitcase for a couple weeks. I also knew my goal with everything was to do the following:
-Keep only what I use, like, and wear
-What fits into a reasonably sized sentimental container
-What fits into a reasonably sized memorabilia container as a whole

During this thinning out process we also had to ask the same question I ask all my clients, “does this still serve me?”

I relearned for myself the value of taking everything out and putting like things together super thoroughly more often. I also knew there would be a second go around of thinning out as the contents were placed back into the new closet and bathroom spaces. I will go on record saying this was a bit overwhelming.

Bottom line is simply editing clothes, shoes, accessories, and toiletries is good to do at least semi annually. If we are not using something, someone else can use it and it is a terrific feeling to just have less. Less to organize, less to decide about, less to do. And there are so many places to donate to. It is also true that if you can not see what you have, you won’t wear it or use it and you will be prone to acquiring duplicates in many categories.

The best thing to come from this project is yes, there is significantly less which is freeing, and there is a better place for everything. This means everything can be put back with less effort.

Let me leave you with this thought. Did you know that the average person moves every seven years? I am way overdue! How many people have tackled a similar project minus the construction while sheltering in place all this time? Remember to live lightly and value progress over perfection!

Pro Organizer Quarantine Observations, Tips, and Conclusions April 2020

In this twilight zone of a life we are living during this unprecedented time, this could be a pause for a reason and it’s maybe even a restart that we all needed.

The good news is we are not alone, we are all in this together! The best approach is going beyond the phrase “it is what it is.” Our job at the moment is to show up everyday, stay home if possible, social distance, wash hands, and do the best we can. We must keep our sense of humor and remember kindness to ourselves and to everyone.

For those of you who are homeschooling, I’m wishing you patience, special moments, and good experiences. Huge thanks to all the front line workers, essential businesses, and local and federal government. Everyone is facing challenges and we are all looking for comfort and peace during this uncertain period. I am counting my blessings daily and thinking of those less fortunate. I have enjoyed having my adult children home with my husband and me. I pray my stepson will stay safe while working for FedEx.

To manage my mental clutter, I have been doing the things that I enjoy such as cooking, working out, practicing yoga, being present/mindful, walking, hugging my dog, and trying to get through the day until I am able to visit clients again. This is tough for me to just be because I am a high energy person who loves to be on the go. I have determined it’s ok to not be ok and I am learning to shift my ways.

So why do I still feel compelled to do so much more with this extra time knowing my to-do list is always long? The truth is we will always have a life list and may never get to some of those things and it is ok. It’s our ability to prioritize and balance our time here that allows us to live a full and happy life. Is this spring cleaning timing giving us guilt? Abraham Hicks, an inspirational speaker and author, says “you can’t get it wrong and you’ll never get it done!” This means we should not judge ourselves during this time.

Are we supposed to be reducing our inventory in every category of our lives and organizing the whole house one little project at a time? Is it time for repurposing and changing around our furniture and decor inside and out? Yes, but start small because clutter adds to anxiety! Just do one organizing/decluttering project in a category of your choice if you haven’t already, and I give you permission to let go of what no longer serves you. Place like things together with what you are keeping. As far as donations, just put them aside until pick up/drop off is available again.

My mental list of “would like to but haven’t yet” includes: playing piano, speaking Spanish better, playing my childhood clarinet, studying art history, sketching an owl, learning a new dance, reading some books, planting a home garden, posting on my social media platforms regularly, coloring my hair successfully or doing my nails! I recommend picking one fun hobby to go along with your little organizing project.

My current excuse is I feel like the everyday anxiety associated with the fear of the unknown has been zapping some of my energy, focus, and attention for well over a month. We are experiencing an avalanche of emotions. This might be the same for all of my clients.

When do we go back to normal? Who knows. What will normal be like after the world opens? It might be great to establish some new routines based on our less stimulated lives. Our work and family time will probably permanently shift in a good way. I hope we will be clear on what is essential and trust our instincts going forward.

In essence, I’d like to leave on a positive note. Dr. Julio Frenk, President of the University of Miami and an expert in public health, was just stating how this pandemic is bigger and more dangerous to contain than the other four he advised on throughout the last few decades. This is worse because not only is it a health emergency but a fiscal one as well. Based on history we will be ok and “this too shall pass!” 🙂

Go Month


GO Month January 2020 (get organized month) Miami Neat & NAPO chapter give back day to help the animals at the Humane Society of Greater Miami

Miami Neat Helps With Books!

When clients have too many books here is one solution for helping them feel good about letting go!
Drop them off for a book sale that benefits Brandeis- but could be for the school or university of your choice



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

Miami Cleaning

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

Miami Cleaning

Miami Cleaning

Miami Cleaning

Miami Cleaning

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 !


Tips of the Month!

A great solution for storing items dust-free with great visibility in a tight challenging small closet, but get the cat out first!


Professional Organizer


Professional Organizer



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