NAPO Houston holds its monthly meeting on the first Thursday of every month (except July) from 6:00 – 8:30 pm. We currently meet at the United Way of Greater Houston’s Community Resource Center, located at 50 Waugh Drive, Houston, TX 77007. The meeting no longer includes dinner but attendees are welcome to bring their own snacks or dinner.
At a typical monthly membership meeting you can look forward to:
Time to network with your peers
Table talk discussions around relevant organizing topics
Chapters news, volunteer opportunities and member spotlights
Guest speakers sharing resources for running your business and improving your skills as an organizer or productivity consultant
As a guest or new member, you are welcome to join the Ask the Organizer table discussion. This is an opportunity for you to ask one of our board members questions about becoming a professional organizer or productivity consultant, business essentials, and our national and local associations.
You can attend three meetings as a guest. After the third meeting, you will not be able to attend additional meetings unless you become a NAPO Houston member.
If you are interested in attending an upcoming meeting, check out our Event Calendar.
If you don’t see the information you are looking for, please contact our Professional Development Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
- House and Auto
- Auto purchase
- Home Major Purchases
- Home Repair/Maintenance
- House inventory
- Financial (anything to do with money)
- Credit Cards
- Property Taxes
- Life Insurance
- Personal (anything to do with people or pets)
- Medical Benefits
- Medical History
- Medical Explanation of Benefits
- Medical Paid bills
- (Interests such as parenting, decorating, guns, etc.)
- Work history
- CV or resume
For office files, here are categories I include:
- HR or Employees
- Financials 20XX
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.
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.
- 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
Join other NAPO members, business partners, and guests who wish to become professional organizers for a visit to the ExactMats® Inc. facility.
ExactMats® Inc. was founded back in 1997 to serve everyday automotive owners. Our founders recognized that the majority of car owners cared about keeping their floors clean and damage free. Most wanted to do it in a way that didn’t look bulky, tacky or otherwise negatively alter the look and feel of the vehicle they took so much pride in.
In 2004 we were fortunate enough to uncover another hidden, yet totally intuitive opportunity, when our customers started to ask us to produce clear, exact-fitting protective coverings for drawers, cabinets, home and office furniture, restaurant surfaces, floors and other applications. They saw the potential applications for such a product, so who are we to argue?
At that moment, an innovation called ExactMats® Home & Office was born.
The product idea was to create custom-made surface protection that exceeds the quality of anything else available on the market, and we wanted to get it right.
So, we created a protective solution that addresses an entire spectrum of consumer wants, ranging from clarity, precise fit, to unparalleled durability and impact resistance. At the same time, it was extremely important for us to help consumers and businesses preserve their investment in fine cabinetry and furniture.
Recently, we innovated once again to bring to market the world’s first FDA-compliant material of its type. This new material has the same physical characteristics as our previous product, only better. And like our automotive products, all ExactMats® Home & Office products are fully made in the United States.
From shelves to desks, countertops to drawers, and pantries to storage rooms, ExactMats® Home & Office lays down a gauntlet of timeless protection that will last for years.
For more information on our individual product lines, ExactMats® Auto and ExactMats® Home & Office, please take a look at the following pages:
The holidays are meant to be time spent with family and friends wrapped up in good food, good times, and good memories.
While that might the ideal, we all know that’s not always the case.
For most people, the holidays are usually filled with frustration, stress, and general unhappiness. In fact, many of us don’t watch the calendar to see how many days are left until the presents are opened; instead, we count down how many days are left until the holiday season is over!
Pro Organizers Best Tips
At NAPO Houston, we believe that the holiday season doesn’t have to be a stressful time for you or your family. That’s why we’ve rounded up a few of our pro organizers to share their best tips for holiday happiness. With these tips, you’ll be able to have more ho-ho-ho and less bah-humbug for the season:
Give Clutter-free Gifts. Give gifts that don’t have to be displayed or take up valuable storage space. Here are some suggestions: movie passes, spa or salon gift certificates, babysit for a busy mom, cook dinner for a friend, gift certificates for services that simplify and improve life, i.e., maid, personal shopper, Professional Organizer, personal trainer, etc. Our time is the most precious gift we could give.
~ Contributed by Neitra Blair, Organizing Lifestyles
Plan Ahead. Planning ahead is the key to staying organized and relaxed during the holidays. It can also save you time and money in the long run.
- Create a master to-do list of everything you need to do during the holiday season. Include things like gift shopping, sending out holiday cards, putting up decorations, etc.
- Create a holiday calendar. Start with a blank calendar and write out all holiday-specific activities, vacations, volunteer commitments, etc.
- Meal prep for parties, and keep extra ingredients for staple dishes in the house, just in case you get invited to something last minute.
- Have extra gifts on hand, just in case. If you don’t end up needing them, donate!
~ Contributed by Amy Vance, EcoModern Concierge
Know Your Holiday Priorities. What is most important to you over the next few weeks? Family, faith, giving back? Determine early on what your priorities are and then filter all your activities through that. If any activity or event doesn’t align with what is most important to you, then know it probably wasn’t meant to be.
~ Contributed by Liana George, By George Organizing Solutions
Declutter Your Decorations + Have Fun! Host a tea or lunch where everyone brings a treat to share along with holiday decorations they no longer use. Have a small gift for a door prize and the winner of the gift also takes the donations to a worthy cause.
~ Contributed by Joanna Laws, Smooth Transitions Kingwood/N Houston
Store smart. Instead of keeping ornaments in the boxes they come in, I wrap them in tissue paper and put them in gallon zip lock bags with general categories like “Always Hang These” and “Dated Ornaments.” They are easier to store, and I don’t have to hunt down the box for each ornament. Plus, if I have limited tree space, I just use the “Always Hang These” ornaments.
~ Contributed by Tiffany Mensing, Space & Serenity – Calm Through Organization
Make gift wrapping easy. Simplify your holiday wrapping decisions by stocking up on just one all-occasion, year-round paper, and then vary your ribbons for fun. For me, it’s always “Brown paper packages tied up with string” using inexpensive brown craft paper…my signature wrap!
~ Contributed by Suzanne Langford, Re-Vision It!
We hope that these tips and ideas will bring more joy and peace to your holiday season. If you need help bringing order and calm to your home, let one of our professional organizers make your Christmas merry and bright with their expertise and knowledge! Visit napohouston.com
to find one today!