Thursday, December 18, 2008

The most wonderful time of year!?

So the song says… But I think for a lot of us, the last 3 weeks of December may be challenging. There are so many expectations on our valuable time. If we lead stressful lives 11 months out of the year, the month of December can really put a crunch on our ability to enjoy the people that we love, or the downtime we are supposed to enjoy. Aside from all the usual holiday stress, this is the time of year when mess and clutter can pile up faster than the blink of an eye. And so before the most wonderful time of year even begins – you may already be dreading the clean-up.

Erin – a professional organizer in the Midwest - has some great ideas on her website for dealing with the chaos of ornaments and decorations. Her tips include putting all of your decorations in one room to pre-sort what you’ve got so that you can make decisions about what to keep, donate, and toss, Erin’s list concludes with suggestions for storing your decorations for next year. Check her website for more idea:

As you shop for others over the next few days, consider shopping for yourself, too. Check out the cool stuff at Target carries Whitney products that store everything from stemware to ornaments. You can organize wrapping paper, ribbons and bows in one handy container and can get ideas from here:

Wrapping-up the end of the year by organizing all of your holiday decorations will save you a lot of time next year when you bring everything out to start all over again! And smart people know that saving time will definitely save you money. Think of it this way: when all of your decorations are neatly stored in one area, it is easy to take stock of all of your stuff. Next year, you will be able to tell as glance if you need to add to your pile of decorations. Chances are you will see that you have all you need to get you through the season. If your decorating needs are met, you will be less inclined to purchase those items that you already have. One reason why we accumulate “too much stuff” is because we don’t always know what we already have and often end up duplicating (or tripling!) our holdings!

Next time... Getting you organized for the new year!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ideas to Market By….

I have stopped telling people that I am unemployed. Whew. It’s a relief and a lot of pressure. Being self-employed means that I have to support myself, support my business, and support my ideas for my business.

I wrote earlier about how following every lead has brought me to this place of self-employment. Now it will be about marketing the business.Without a marketing background I have to rely upon my common sense, my understanding of people, and my very strong desire for success.
A friend gave me 200 “good” addresses for CPAs and attorneys. I designed and mailed a flyer describing my business, which has so far yielded 2 solid bookings. I understand that a 2% rate of return is a reasonable response. I am also following in the social networking scene. Matt Skallerud, founder of, describes his social networking strategies in a July ’08 article at his website:
Another technique is this Blog. And of course my website which has been upgraded with better photos, a link to A Clear Path blog, and a counter to see how many people are visiting my website.

I am now a vendor with UCLA ( because at the end of January, the campus will host a Resource Fair. The $250 fee to participate in the Fair provides me with a table to display my flyers, business cards, and small calendar magnets with my contact info. For my investment of approximately $500 I have the potential to reach 1500 fair-goers.

I also want to focus on the niche markets that I plan to target: CPAs and accountants, realtors and foreclosure experts, and baby-boomers. I have already begun to get calls from CPAs and I think word-of-mouth will help me to access this audience. I talked with a foreclosure expert who guided me in creating the text for a flyer to send to colleagues doing similar work.

Baby-boomers are an interesting group. Their elderly parents are making the transition to assisted living centers or they are reaching the end of their life. Adult children are dealing with the responsibility of clearing of the family home that is filled with history and clutter. Boomers themselves are also experiencing major life transitions. As they retire they downsize and move to warmer climes, or to active retirement communities.

There is no end to the need for a professional organizer. I believe that this is going to be a recession-proof business. Clutter, chaos, disorganization can often be unhealthful; order can lead to a longer life (who knew?)
Consequently, disorganized people may feel they have no choice but to call me! I truly believe this and I also believe that it’s simply a matter of time before A Clear Path takes off in a big and wonderful way!

Next time… How about some organizing ideas?!