Double Take Organizing

"Making life easier!"


A collection of memories

When I was little I always knew I enjoyed writing. Like an artist that never entirely feels like what they do is work and questions why they should charge so much. Writing has never felt like work. It has only ever felt like bliss. It is only natural then that during the toughest time in my life I would turn to writing to release the cacophony of emotions inside me. I have always been able to explain myself better with words on a page than words spoken from my mouth.

The other night I sat in the living room of my parent’s house for what is likely the last time that it would be “their” house. Following that evening the stuff that made up their life was to be moved, sold, and disposed of and I realized with startling clarity why it has been so hard for the clients I have worked with over the last four years that have lost a loved one.

First of all, everywhere I look there is a memory. The time I went to an auction house with my father and he purchased the painting that now hangs in the dining room. The time my husband and father were working on the floor and a giant spider crawled out of the vent. The chair my mom would always sit on and talk to my Dad and read the paper. The table my father would sit at for hours on end and read and do Sudoku puzzles. The shag rug my mom and I purchased on a whim at Home Sense. The bar stools and coffee table that they went searching for on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The picture they brought back from up north on a vacation with both their mothers.

Memories absolutely everywhere and the need to hold onto their stuff not because you need it but because each item triggers those memories and you remember. Will you still remember without the item? Maybe yes, maybe no but letting go of those things is like letting go of a piece of them. I am a practical person and a realistic person. I know these items can’t bring my parents back but the heart doesn’t care. It simply doesn’t let you make rational decisions when you are grieving. I want to hold so tightly to each item to keep them alive in my mind for just a little while longer. When you are on the outside looking in you simply can’t fathom what these items mean to someone. I have always had compassion for all my clients but I never truly understood. Not until now.

Some may tell you differently but for myself, it is the quiet of the night that is the hardest. The day is busy with work, kids, going here, going there and the daily things that need to get done no matter what the situation. It is when the house is still and my husband has peacefully passed on to dreamland that I find myself awake, the ticking of the clock a soft sound in the background. There is a gnawing inside your heart and I am here to tell you that heart ache is not simply a term. It does, in fact, feel like your heart aches. The only lessening of the heart ache is time. Each day that passes. A wise lady I know told me you can’t go around the pain you have to go through it. The truth has never been more difficult.


The other day I saw a blue heron. The blue heron is a beautiful bird that has a large body and two very skinny legs and yet it can stand and soar across the sky. I am told it symbolizes standing on your own two feet. I hope in time I can feel that strength and that I can be standing and soaring just like the blue heron does. But for now, here I sit a collection of memories, each one wearing down my mind at a late hour of the night.


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Last minute organizing tips for the holidays

With less than a week till Christmas you may find yourself scrambling to get everything done. Here are a few tips that could make the next few days a bit easier to get through.

Too late - conceptual alarm clock showing that you are too late


Prepare before your shopping trip – Have a list and know who you are buying for and what you are buying before you go. That way you can get in and get out quickly.

Shop in slow periods – Stores will likely be packed but shopping really early in the morning or late at night may make the process a bit easier on you.

Re-gifting – Perhaps this might be the year to start a new tradition with your family. As an organizer I know that everyone has something in their house that they no longer want or need so why not re-gift? However, I would lay out some ground rules with the family before doing this so everyone is on the same page.

Buy from a friend/neighbour or other small business – If you know someone who is a small business owner call them up and see if they have anything on hand for last minute gifts.

Gift certificates – You may not get the personal touch but if you go to stores like Super Store or Shoppers you can buy gift certificates for a large number of people all at the same time. You can also get these from small businesses too!

Leave the kids at home – If you have kids and can get someone to watch them this may lessen the stress factor for you while trying to get things done on a time crunch.

Dog with Santa Hat Popping out of Present


Eat out – Some restaurants are open on Christmas so if you haven’t had time to get a meal planned why not eat out. Do a search to see if your favourite restaurant is open in your area. Here are some restaurants open in Toronto.

open sign

Hire a service – No time to grocery shop? Hire a  grocery services like Grocery Gateway.To bring it local, you could also contact a concierge service that offers this. The same thing can be said for cleaning services if you are struggling to get your home in tip top shape before relatives arrive.


Car travel – If you are travelling by car be sure you check weather ahead of time so you can give yourself enough time based on weather conditions. If you don’t already, make sure to have your car stocked with the proper emergency equipment should you need it. Blankets, snacks and a charged cell phone are good to have. Also be sure you have at least half a tank of gas and extra windshield washer fluid.

By plane – Be sure to arrive ahead of time. Printing your boarding pass before you leave can save wait time in lines. If you are bringing presents with you you may want to consider keeping the important ones in your carry on so you don’t risk them getting lost. As with any air travel, if you have kids, lots of snacks, books and other toys will make the experience ten times better.

Boeing 747 Aircraft Taking Off


You may be tempted to let all of your normal routines slide over the holidays but try to maintain at least a few of them so that once January hits you aren’t spending hours getting organized again.

Last but not least, make a donation run part of your  New Year routine so that you can start fresh with hopefully less items in your home then you had before the holidays started. My favourite donation place is the Salvation Army. I also like the Canadian Diabetes Association because they pick up and giving to local shelters is also a good option.

And of course, if you should need help in the New Year feel free to let me know.

Happy organizing and happy holidays!


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Baby on the way? Let me help make your life easier

Pregnant woman

Becoming a mom is a wonderful, amazing, exciting experience. It is also scary, frustrating and exhausting.

As a mom to a 4 year old and 18 month old I have been there. You give birth to your bundle of joy and then you go home and you are thinking, okay, now what?

I remember with my first child the first few months were very challenging. There is no parent manual that tells you what to do or how to figure things out. You talk to your mom, your grandmother, other moms, friends, teachers, read articles online and somewhere along the way you figure things out.

But what if there was something you could do before baby to make the transition to parenthood easier?

Enter me, the professional organizer.

Getting your home organized before your baby arrives can relieve tons of post-partum stress. When you are exhausted and getting used to the whole mom thing or taking care of more than one child the last thing you have energy for is to be searching for things. Life is already chaotic enough at that point.

Plus there is nothing worse than being at home and not having diapers on hand? Missing Dr’s appointments, which often have a charge if you miss the appointment or not having meals planned and you find you are living on fast food for weeks.

And did I mention I also do a safety analysis too? The last thing you want after baby comes home is a home with potential safety hazards that could be dangerous for you or your baby.

Another bonus, you can literally put your feet up while I do all the work. Bending at nine months is never fun!

If you have a friend, sister or co-worker that is having a baby and think they could use some help before baby comes please let me know. Gift certificates are available.

Please visit my website for more information on my new mom package and also like my Facebook page or follow my Twitter page for organizing tips, quotes and other organizing help.

Happy organizing!


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Does the thought of getting organized stress you out? Here is some anxiety relief

Often there is panic when it comes to organizing. Anxiety is built upon believing you have to conform to a certain standard. I am here to tell you that organizing isn’t all rules. In fact, it’s more like guidelines. Here is some food for thought to help you stay organized the rest of the year with minimal stress and anxiety.


Guideline #1

If at all possible, try to get organized every time a season changes.  Summer, fall, winter and spring are natural times for change. I recently did a presentation for a group of women with their own businesses. During the presentation I was told this tip made someone feel less anxious because you are not constantly focused on being organized 24-7.

Guideline #2

Plan ahead but don’t overdo it. Think about what you want to accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Make a plan but don’t get upset if it doesn’t go exactly as you thought. I was listening to a song recently that said, “If you want to hear god laugh tell him your plans.” Taken out of a religious context the same is true. Life doesn’t always go the way we thought but sometimes the unexpected is as wonderful as the planned.

Guideline #3

Be realistic. I was recently having a conversation with another organizer who spent ten years getting organized. Little by little she has achieved a level of organization that she is happy with. You may assume that all organizers are organized but that is not the case. Many organizers used to be unorganized. Her story is an example of how challenging getting organized can be. Now, this is an extreme example but if you are looking for the quick fix, sorry to tell you, but there’s no such thing. As the famous line goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Guideline #4

If you have children, are married or are taking care of someone realize that change isn’t always easy. I don’t want to overstep as I am not a psychiatrist or a therapist but I know in my own family that it can take a lot of time and practice for children and even spouses *cough, cough* to get on board with new ways of doing things. It has been said it can take up to twenty one days to form a new habit. So don’t stress when things don’t click right away.

Guideline # 5

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is such a taboo in our society that we can be it all and do it all. Leaning on others is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. I would argue it takes a stronger person to ask for help then it does for someone to try and do everything on their own. In my own life I have begun to realize the power of working with others who have talents in certain areas. Not everyone can be good at everything.  Organizing may not be one of your gifts but it is one of mine. Don’t hesitate to reach out instead of suffering in silence.

Happy organizing!


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Moving and need to get organized?

Organizing…it is word that sends chills down the backs of many. For some it’s the time that it takes. For others it’s an insurmountable task that is just too overwhelming to comprehend and for still others it is the physical and mental toll that organizing can take on someone. Especially in the case of downsizing, when you are moving from 2000 sq. ft. to 1000 sq. ft. or smaller.

House and Keys in Female Hands

I often tell people that organizing is a lot like a diet. You have to be committed to it and once you do it you see the benefits. Organizing can save you time, money and stress. I can’t think of better reasons to get organized.

But how can you possibly get rid of all the stuff you have collected, been given or hung onto for sentimental reasons over the years?

Well the first step in any organizing situation is to sort and edit. And this ladies and gentlemen is the hardest and longest part. So here are seven steps to make the process easier and smoother.

1. Start small – Pick an area that is not too difficult to go through. A cupboard in the kitchen or the shoes in the closet. Once you have completed that small area move onto another small area. It doesn’t really matter where you start just as long as you do.

2. Immediately get rid of things that you know you don’t want to keep. Setting up a recycling bag, garbage bag and donation bag in three different colours will help keep things organized. Especially if you are doing a large job.

3. For the items you do want to keep, ask yourself, have I used/worn this in a year? Do I see any use for it in the foreseeable future? Can someone else make use of this item? If you are downsizing, this part can be especially challenging but be sure to be honest with yourself. Keeping something that you never use only because it cost a lot of money, was a gift from someone or you might use it one day are not great reasons for keeping something and inevitably you will end up putting it back only to take it out a year later and think why did I keep this.

4. Try to stay focused, and this is where a professional organizer comes in handy, often, special items, pictures and other sentimental things can slow down the process tremendously as you stop to relive old memories. Having an unbiased outside party can help keep you track. Friends and family members can be helpful too but the odds are their focus is going to leave right along with you when you start thinking back on past events. It is important in an organizing situation to put those things aside and keep moving on. If there are a lot of pictures for example, put those aside in a picture box and you can come back to them when everything else is completed.

5. Expect that organizing will take twice as long as you think it will. The average amount of time I spend with a client is 6 hours and in most cases that is just one closet or one room. It can often take much longer if the person is downsizing. A whole house can take up to two weeks. Be sure to allocate extra time for the job and don’t expect to be able to run through it with lightning speed.

6. Realize your limitations, not everyone can spend six hours organizing at a time. Maybe 3 hours is preferable. Even 15 minutes a day can yield great results over a long period of time.

7. Start today! Maybe you’re thinking of selling your home down the road but you say to yourself, I don’t plan on moving for a long time, there’s no need to rush into things, which sounds good in theory but the longer you wait the more you accumulate and the older you get which lessens your physical capabilities.

Organizing doesn’t have to be hard and I am one of those crazy people that actually think it is fun! The best part for me is seeing the anxiety on someone’s face disappear after being paralyzed by their stuff for so long. Or to see them motivated to keep going on their own. A few of my clients have told me that after I left they were so motivated they organized a whole other room on their own. Which doesn’t seem like a lot but if organizing isn’t your strong suit this is a huge achievement.

Should you need any help getting started or if you have just moved in and need assistance don’t hesitate to give me a call. Calls are always free!

Happy organizing!



I would love your help but…


I often get told by prospective clients, “I would love for you to come over and organize my house but I am soo embarrassed!” I have heard the line so many times that I thought a blog post was needed on the topic.

I am here to tell you, as a wife, mother, business women and friend, DON”T BE! That’s what I am here for! That’s what I can help you with! That is what gets me going in the morning, knowing that I can help make even a small difference in a person’s life.

As it states on my website, “According to a April 2012 Environics Canada survey, commissioned by the Professional Organizers in Canada, 70% of Canadians said they were not very organized, with 63% of those surveyed saying that their storage areas were less than very organized.”

You are not alone.

It is common to be afraid of change. The fear of the unknown is also a stumbling block for many but I am here to relay some wisdom gained from a conference I attended on the weekend. Nicola Jones, “Prescription 4 Peace,” told a group of ladies that, “Life rewards risk.” I believe this to be true, you just need to gain the courage to walk through the fire.

Be it closets, kitchens, work stations or basements.  There is so much to be gained from a little organizing. Time savings, money savings, health savings, safety, I could go on and on.

So come on ladies and gents, lose the embarrassment and walk through the fire with me 🙂

Happy organizing!