20 Organizing Tips from the Pros!

NAPO Houston

20 Organizing Tips from the Pros!

  • To help mornings go easier, switch some of the time-consuming tasks to the evening. You can make lunches or have kids lay out their clothing the night before.
  • Keep a ‘To Do’ list and a Project list. This makes it easier to complete projects and marking things off a list is a great feeling of accomplishment!
  • Edit through magazines and be honest with yourself on how much time you have to catch up. Find something to corral them (this container will be your limit). When it gets full, it’s time to edit.
  • Keep your schedule organized by using only one calendar for everything. Using more than one will cause missed or double appointments and confusion.
  • It’s good to go through kids’ toys in November and edit out the ones they’ve outgrown. This will make room for the incoming gifts and it helps keep the clutter at bay.
  • In July, help the kids go through their clothes and donate the old or worn and make a list of items needed to start school.
  • Stuffed animals can really take over sometimes. Find something to hang, house or hold the keepers and donate the excess.
  • Go through all the towels to edit out the worn out or mismatched. You may want to put a few in the garage for big spills/doggie drying and donate the rest.
  • Organize the bathroom by going through all cabinets and get rid of unused items. Be sure to put items that tip over easily into a small basket or container so you’re not constantly picking them up.
  • Small drawer organizers work great to help keep items organized. Go through your cosmetics, hair accessories, and other bathroom items to edit the old or unwanted items.
  • Is your bathroom floor a towel magnet? Using hooks rather than towel rods are easier, quicker and more likely to be used. Be sure to have enough hooks for all members in the household.
  • Cleaning supplies – Put all the cleaners and tools you use frequently in a carry-all with a handle. You can find these at the dollar store.
  • No more junk drawer! Take everything out and sort it like with like. Get a drawer divider tray or small containers to keep items separated and organized. Only keep things you recognize and use.
  • Pick a week and mark your calendar for kitchen clean up! Go through one cabinet each day to declutter. Remember to only keep what you use or love.
  • Help organize your vehicle by putting two containers in the trunk – one for emergency items and one to keep periodic items corralled.
  • Clean out the car and put a stock of small plastic bags under the seat, keeping one hanging somewhere available. Make a habit of putting your trash in the bag and toss it out when it’s full.
  • Declutter hanging clothes easily…slide them down the rod (like you do while shopping). Go with your 1st instinct – you should know quickly if you’ve worn it in the last two years. Donate all those you’ve been skipping over.
  • Edit shoes to those you wear. Get a shoe rack/holder if you need and this will help keep them organized. Donate unwanted shoes.
  • Put on your favorite music and come prepared with small boxes to edit and organize your books. Go through each book pile in your home and edit those you won’t reference or read again.
  • Most crucial tip: Take ten minutes at the same time each day to pick up items and put them in their proper home

Visit www.NAPOHouston.com to find your local professional organizer or productivity consultant.

NAPO Houston – Chapter of the Year

NAPO Houston – Chapter of the Year

Congratulations NAPO Houston!

We are thrilled that NAPO Houston has been honored with the Chapter of the Year designation!  On behalf of the 2020-2021 NAPO Houston Board of Directors, we want to express our appreciation to all our NAPO Houston members, business partners and volunteers who attended meetings, participated in activities, rallied during the pandemic, and served as devoted ambassadors for NAPO Houston. We especially want to thank the Board of Directors who went the extra mile during this past (crazy) year to provide additional virtual gatherings, create virtual content and make our chapter strong.

The Chapter of the Year Application encompasses 9 categories: Administration, Communication, Community Service, Compliance, Education, Leadership, Membership, Innovation, and Processes & Procedures. For each category, there is the opportunity to attach supporting documentation. The NAPO Houston application was a total of 30 pages with over 40 attachments. Here are a few of the highlights of our past year that were considered in the Chapter of the Year designation:

 Business Partners – NAPO Houston is honored to partner with wonderful Houston businesses.

  • Current Business Partners 14
  • New business partners 7
  • Average BP attendance at chapter meetings 3-4

 Communication – NAPO Houston utilizes several methods to communicate with their members. These methods include the following:

  • Annual Member Surveys
  • Chapter Meeting Power Point Presentations
  • Chapter Meeting Surveys
  • Facebook Member Forum
  • Facebook Page
  • Monthly Newsletter

Education – NAPO Houston values a strong and vibrant educational content. This year, NAPO Houston provided the following:

  • 83% CEU-worthy content
  • Annual Back to Business Workshop
  • Regular chapter meetings plus 10 additional virtual meetings
  • Chapter Meeting content
    • (6) Organization
    • (2) Productivity
    • (13) Mental Health / Managing Covid
    • (6) Business Building
  • Notable and accomplished speakers, including: Karen Baker, Cena Block, Michael Charest, Heather Cocozza, Victoria Cook, Ellen Delap, Sheila Delson, Jen Gaudet, Lisa Mark, Kate Martin, Lisa Montanaro, and Casey Moore

 Fiscal Responsibility – NAPO Houston strives to be fiscally responsible in their financial dealings. This is accomplished by the following:

  • Creates and adheres to Annual Budget
  • Keeps 6-month reserve
  • Employs outside bookkeeping firm to manage financial affairs

 Marketing – NAPO Houston is committed to providing valuable social media content and engagement. This is facilitated through the following means:

  • GO Month – Tips and Tricks videos from NAPO Houston members
    • Total reach 4,651
    • Total reactions (like, love, haha) 543
    • Total comments, shares, other 149
  • Social Media
    • Facebook followers 656
    • Instagram followers 554
    • Facebook Member Forum

Membership – NAPO Houston strives to maximize and enhance the member experience. Much time is invested in the following efforts both to recruit and enhance the member experience:

  •  NAPO Houston recruitment efforts
    • Coffee & Convo
    • Pre-chapter meeting Meet & Greet
    • New Member Recruitment Initiative
    • 90-Day Buddy Program
    • New Member Packet
  • Member Benefits
    • Resource List
    • “Members Only” website resources
    • Neighborhood Group Meetings
    • Past conference recordings
    • Monthly newsletter
    • Social events
    • Accountability Groups
    • Facebook Member Spotlight
  • New members 9
  • Members “in the news” 15

 Technology – NAPO Houston utilizes technology to maximize functionality and productivity. The following technologies are utilized to accomplish this objective:

  • Basecamp
  • Doodle Polls
  • Facebook
  • Google Forms
  • Instagram
  • MailChimp
  • Quickbooks
  • SmartVault
  • Website
  • Yahoo Business
  • Zoom

 Please note: Content above encompasses the period from Feb 2020 – Jan 2021.


September 2020 President’s Message

The Great Race | NAPO Houston

The Great Race

Finishing the race, even when you can’t see the finish line

My husband and three children are cross country runners. In the past 20 years, I have attended over 100 races, from diaper dashes to full marathons. In preparation for these races, my family of runners utilized a full arsenal of strategies including interval training, sprints, hill workouts, tempo runs, repeats, and long runs. The beauty of a cross country race is that you can train for the distance and you know exactly where the finish line is.

One of the challenges of life is that sometimes we cannot see the finish line. We may be motivated to start the race – the project, the job, the task – but without a clear and designated endpoint, we sometimes lose our interest, our nerve, and our motivation. Some of the races we run are caring for an elderly parent or an ill child. For some, the race may be a large and overwhelming home project. For others, the race may be a fitness challenge – losing 10 lbs., biking 50 miles, or hiking Kilimanjaro. In of midst of these personal races, we are all slogging through the pandemic, wondering when (and if) it will ever end. Without the finish line in our sites, how can we continue to move forward?

Here are three ideas for finishing strong and staying motivated even when the end is not in sight:

1) Focus on the short-term goal.
In 2019, I had the opportunity to chat with Olympic marathon runner, Jared Ward. A professor at my alma mater, Jared told me that when it comes to goal setting, he does not look at the long-term goals because they seem too daunting and overwhelming. Jared only focuses on one or two short-term goals such as having a good workout, passing the runner ahead of him, or hitting his PR in his upcoming race. With this short-term focus, Jared reduces stress and overwhelm and only focuses on what he reasonably can accomplish. If we take this strategy and focus on what we can do today and tomorrow, we will reduce stress and overwhelm.

2) A strong core.
About 15 years ago, I met another marathon runner, Meb Keflezighi, an Olympic silver medalist. Meb was hosting an annual Fourth of July race in Mammoth Lakes, CA where my family vacations. After this race, we asked Meb the secret to being a great runner. Meb said that to be a successful distance runner, you need to have a strong core as all physical strength emanates from this area. Are our physical, mental, and emotional cores sufficiently strong? If we are going to be successful in our personal distance races, we need to do those things that foundationally give us strength. For some, this personal strength might come from physical fitness or nutritional eating, for others it might be spiritual devotionals, and for others, it might be daily journaling. Our success in completing our personal races will rely, in part, on having a strong core.

3) Joy in the journey.
Sometimes we are so focused on the finish line that we forget to enjoy the journey. As a young mother, I used to hear other young mothers say things like, “I can’t wait until my kids are in school” or “I can’t wait until my kids leave for college.” As a mother of three, I understood the sentiment behind this perspective. But we must remember is that there is beauty in the passing of our life adventure. During a recent bike ride, I saw 5 deer crossing a berm. During another ride, I saw two armadillos. During a particularly challenging ride, I witnessed a breath-taking sunrise. Had I not looked up, I would have missed these incredible vistas and the inspiration derived from the experience.

As we pursue our personal races, especially the races where the finish line is not in sight, I hope we can all find the motivation to move forward and enjoy the journey!

Wishing you health and safety. If you have any questions or concerns, my door is always open!

Lisa Hettinger
President, NAPO Houston Chapter

August 2020 President’s Message & Newsletter

NAPO Houston

President’s Message

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all well, safe, and healthy!

Thank you for your recent response to the NAPO Houston Annual Survey. We will be using the results of this survey as a guide to planning a rich and full program for each of you, our NAPO Houston family.

Our membership with NAPO Houston provides many benefits. Some of these are:


  • NAPO-Houston’s high Google ranking when people search for “professional organizers Houston.” This takes potential clients to our Find An Organizer search.
  • Inclusion in our Find An Organizer search where potential clients can find you…their new Professional Organizer or Productivity Consultant.
  • Social Media mentions in our weekly Member Spotlight and when you provide NAPO-Houston blog posts, and Facebook posts.
  • Use of the NAPO-Houston Logo on your website, social media platforms, and stationery.


  • Members Only access to new industry ideas, products, information, events and more!
  • Organizing Resource Library with access to more than ten years of NAPO National Conference recordings.
  • Professional Development during our chapter meetings and special training workshops.
  • Chapter Message Board to easily tap into the amazing knowledge base of NAPO-Houston members.


  • Neighborhood Groups connect and build relationships with other NAPO-Houston members in your area.
  • Quarterly Special Events provide opportunities to give back to our community, showcase your organizing skills, and have fun with other NAPO-Houston members.
  • Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities through our Board of Directors, regional conference planning, and special committees.
  • Network with Other Organizers at chapter meetings, volunteer events, workshops, and neighborhood group meetings.

In addition to local benefits, we have an abundance of resources through NAPO National. NAPO National recently held their annual Strategic Board Meeting and constructed several new initiatives that will benefit both our chapter as well as you individually. I have summarized these NAPO National 2020-2021 Strategic Initiatives, as follows:

  • Strengthen the foundation of high-quality education program through restructuring and following accreditation standards.
  • Expand recruitment activities across all channels to attract and convert new members to the NAPO community.
  • Continue the integration of productivity into NAPO operations and programs and begin to develop and deliver unique benefits.
  • Identify how to build the core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into our association, as well as implement opportunities and model these values as we advance our mission.
  • Explore the structure of NAPO Chapters to find new and better ways to serve and educate leadership and members on the local level.

To learn more about the NAPO National 2020-2021 Strategic Initiatives, click here.

We are so glad that you all are a part of our NAPO family! If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, my (virtual) door is always open!

Lisa Hettinger
President, NAPO Houston

P.S. If you are interested in volunteering for NAPO Houston, email Lisa Hettinger.

Chapter News & Events
Upcoming Meetings Schedule

September 3 – Chapter Meeting 6-8 pm, Speaker Jen Gaudet, Author and Business Coach
October 1 – Chapter Meeting* 6-8 pm, Speaker TBD
November 5 – Chapter Meeting 6-8 pm, Speaker TBD
December 3 – Holiday Member Party

If you need additional information, contact Kerry Spencer, Professional Development Director.

*The Board made the decision to postpone the Vendor Fair, to its regular schedule in the Spring–May 6, 2021, when we can make new connections with both vendors and Business Partners in person!

August 6 Social – Meeting Summary

Lisa Hettinger hosted a Virtual Happy Hour for current members on Thursday, August 6, from 5:30-7 pm. Each person shared in turn a personal or professional “Rose and a Thorn” story. We were happy to get better acquainted with 17 of our members, including our newest 2 members!

Typically during the Summer we have a Chapter Field Trip hosted by one of our Business Partners, in August, and in July we offer a member social activity. We hope to see you next month, as we return to educational programming for the Fall! Check out our Meetings & Events Calendar for details coming soon.

Connect With Members in Your Neighborhood

Neighborhood Group Meetings (NGM)

Meet with local organizers and business partners in a more intimate setting. Develop relationships with your fellow members and gain professional insights. Open to Members and Business Partners only. RSVP in the Events tab of the Facebook NAPO Houston Member Forum. Mark your calendars with these upcoming NGM dates.

Woodlands NGM
August 17 @ 7pm
September 14 @ 7pm
October 12 @ 7pm
November 16 @ 7pm
December 14 @ 7pm

Inner Loop/Memorial NGM
August 20 @ 7pm
September 17 @ 7pm
October 15 @ 7pm
November 19 @ 7pm

Coffee and Convo

Want to learn more about NAPO Houston and the Professional Organizer industry? This monthly get-together is the perfect opportunity to mingle with new and veteran organizers. Open to members and non-members. Dates and information on the NAPO Houston Calendar.

September 8: Virtual, 7:00 – 8:00 am
October 13: Virtual, 7:00 – 8:00 am
November 10: TBD
December 8: TBD

Meeting ID: 850 3789 8480
Passcode: CONVO

If you need additional information, contact Stephanie King, Membership Director.

Events Calendar

Congratulations to our members who have earned Specialist Certificates!

Marie Marchand: Household Management Specialist
Marie Marchand: Team Productivity Specialist
Nikki Bell: Household Management Specialist
Nikki Bell: Residential Organizing Specialist
Blanka Molnar: Residential Organizing Specialist

Welcome to our New Business Partners!

We are thrilled to welcome three new companies to the NAPO Houston Chapter this Summer:
Stone Coverings of Houston, Julie Leach, Sales & Ana Fernandez, Owner
Family-owned Remodeling Contractor and Countertop Fabricator.
Zen Business, Ross Buhrdorf, Owner
Known for low prices, easy online LLC formation process, and extra business services, like website creation.
CallBox Storage Houston, Aimee Rorick
Concierge Storage Services serving Houston, Dallas, Austin, Phoenix and Seattle.

Member Reminders

Get the most out of our Find An Organizer search! Make sure your Member Profile is updated, including your work zip code, work area radius, and geographic area sections are filled out.

Business Partner Spotlight

Meet Sandra Medrano, owner of Bookkeeping and Beyond (aka BKBY)…experienced accounting professional, QuickBooks Online Certified Pro-Advisor, and professional organizer.

Prior to creating her own company, Sandra spent 20+ years in corporate management in a variety of industries. As Controller, Sandra enjoyed creating solid accounting foundations and processes for her employers.

It was during this time in the corporate world that Sandra discovered her passion for organization. She learned that she loved putting things in order and maximizing efficiency—and that there was no better opportunity to do this than by managing a companies’ financial records through bookkeeping. In 2013, she established Bookkeeping and Beyond—and her many years of experience enables her to serve a variety of client types today.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston and an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from HCC, and is QuickBooks-certified.

We are very fortunate at NAPO Houston to have Bookkeeping and Beyond handling the bookkeeping for our Chapter!

A sampling of services offered by Bookkeeping and Beyond:
Business Management Support
Business and Personal Bookkeeping
QuickBooks Conversions, Setup, Cleanup and Training
Full-Service Payroll
Professional Organizing for Home and Office

NAPO Houston Member – since 2017

713-494-3213 office
We love our NAPO Houston Business Partners!

Get to know our awesome Business Partners by viewing their websites and contacting them directly.

If you know someone who would be a great business partner, contact
Michelle Smithpeter, Business Partner Director.

Submit a Blog

Publishing a blog on our NAPO Houston website is a great way for Members and Business Partners to gain exposure and showcase their expertise! First review the blog guidelines in NAPO POINT > Houston Community > Library (or website Member Area Library). Then email marketing@napohouston.com with your article, a profile picture and a brief biography of you and your business. Each month we reserve a spot to promote member articles, but we do not consistently receive content.

Connect on Social Media

NAPO Houston is on Facebook. We also host a Facebook Member Forum. We are always looking for content to promote and would love to share your inspiration and tips! Please email Ann Zanon to submit your content.

Listen to NAPO National Podcasts

NAPO produces monthly Stand Out podcasts about the Organizing and Productivity profession. In addition to listening and learning, you can apply to be a featured guest. Learn more at NapoPodcast.com.

How To Simplify Your Paper Files

Simplify Paper Files | NAPO Houston

Organizing your files today? Or would you rather watch paint dry on a wall?  It seems that this is not the most exciting topic however it can be one of the most necessary in everyday life and in emergencies.  Simplifying your filing and paper files includes knowing what’s holding you back as well as knowing what to keep.  Build your simple filing system with your strengths in mind.  Here’s how to simplify your paper files.

Assess what’s holding you back

What is filing for?  Here’s the first step to get clear. Files are your reference section to keep information to be used in the next year or so.  It’s not necessary to keep every piece of paper that comes into your home or business, especially if it’s not useful for you.  Be ruthless when it comes to keeping what you need now, knowing you can use the internet, friends’ references, or other ways to get information instead of keeping extra paper.

What do you need to keep and how long?  On Oprah.com, Julie Morgenstern has an extensive list.  Print this to keep as a reference while filing.  However, that’s not generally what’s causing a filing problem.  Instead, it’s the articles on parenting, decorating, landscaping or other hobbies that keep holding us back.  Remember, that’s what the internet, Pinterest, blogs, podcasts, and Google are for when we are ready to get started on a project.

Simplifying your system

What’s the best system?  The best system for you is the simplest way to move paper into a system. It’s also the best system for you to know where to retrieve the paper.  Categories are often the context that’s easiest to use in creating files. Whether there are for file folders, hanging files, notebooks or digital notebooks, using general, broad categories helps us file and retrieve.

For homes, these are the general categories I suggest:

  1. House and Auto
  2. Auto purchase
  3. Home Major Purchases
  4. Home Repair/Maintenance
  5. House inventory
  6. Insurance
  7. Financial (anything to do with money)
  8. Banking
  9. Credit Cards
  10. Investment
  11. Retirement
  12. Property Taxes
  13. Life Insurance
  14. Mortgage
  15. Personal (anything to do with people or pets)
  16. Medical Benefits
  17. Medical History
  18. Medical Explanation of Benefits
  19. Medical Paid bills
  20. School/University
  21. (Interests such as parenting, decorating, guns, etc.)
  22. Work
  23. Work history
  24. CV or resume

For office files, here are categories I include:

  1. Clients
  2. Resources
  3. Vendors
  4. Projects
  5. HR or Employees
  6. Financials 20XX
  7. Expenses

Use hanging files for the broad categories and file folders for the subcategories. Use naming conventions, where the file names are created in a parallel way, in order to stay consistent and find documents.

Archive annually

Tax records for each year, legal documents such as purchase or sale of property, and final loan payments are should be kept permanently. While you only need to keep tax preparation documents for seven years, please consult your own lawyer or accountant to be sure.  It’s best to annually when you are preparing for tax time in the spring.

What’s left?

  • I typically keep mementos and keepsakes in a box, one box per person, in the closet of that person. A one box per person system also helps you limit keepsakes.
  • Important documents are generally kept in a safe or safe deposit box.  Here’s a list of important documents. It’s critical to keep these up to date each year. While you are archiving during tax time, update your important documents too.

Paper can be overwhelming and it’s always coming in. Always keep in mind the document’s value in terms of “shelf life.”  How long will this information be “good” is a relative value and you may be able to find information more easily on the internet or elsewhere.

About Ellen Delap of Professional-Organizer.com

Certified Professional Organizer Ellen Delap launched Professional-Organizer.com in 2000 in Houston, Texas. Ellen works one on one with clients, streamlining their environment, creating effective strategies for an organized lifestyle and helping clients realize their organization and productivity goals. She holds specialist certificates in ADD, Chronic Disorganization, Life Transitions and Work Place Productivity and completed the Coach Approach curriculum.  Ellen works primarily with ADHD individuals in Houston and virtually throughout the United States. She is President of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).

Certified Professional Organizer Ellen Delap