Real Order


In This Issue
Did You Know?
Ways We Can Help
Only in America
Before & After
The Not-So-Scary Basement
S-P-A-C-E Planning
Garage Sale Tips
Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Certified Professional Organizer®
Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist®
(678) 513-6585
Did You Know?
The top reasons Professional Organizers are hired:
  • too much clutter
  • general disorganization
  • difficulty determining what to keep and/or discard
  • difficulty finding things
  • selling a home or moving
Source: NAPO 2009 Member Survey
Ways We Can Help
You can save money. You'll know what you already own, eliminating the need to buy duplicate items. A professional organizer can help you find the perfect organizing products for your space and lifestyle, so you stop wasting money on things you don't need or won't work.

You can become more productive and efficient. A professional organizer can create order and structure out of chaos. You'll receive systems that work for your dominant learning style, your lifestyle, your needs, your challenges, and your dreams.
You'll have a positive self-image and ditch the shame. Once your home or office is neat and tidy, you won't feel embarrassed to have guests visit. The guilt will fade away as you take pride in your surroundings.
You'll have a healthier environment. Physical and emotional clutter obscures your surroundings. An organized home and office is more easily cleaned. Lose the clutter and cut down on time spent moving piles of paper and stuff around.
Your stress level will decrease dramatically. When you can find what you need, are on top of your to-dos, and arrive on time, you'll feel calmer and have more peace of mind. No more feeling overwhelmed by life -- you'll be the one in control.

You'll discover more time for yourself. When you're organized, your days go as planned, and you get a lot more done. That leaves more time to indulge in a little "me time."

Your energy will shine.
Clutter is a mask and a professional organizer can help you take off that mask. Once the clutter is removed, you can showcase your talents, skills, and personality and have the life you deserve.





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April 2011

Spring Cleaning
Tackling Your Basement, Attic & Garage

Dear ,


With the longer daylight hours and warmer temps, spring is the perfect time to clean out those often neglected spaces in your home - the basement, garage and attic. As a professional organizer, I often get requests for help in these areas during this time of year. Even though these spaces are oftentimes not "finished," there's really no reason they can't be clean, organized, and functional. Just think of the time, money and stress you'll save when you can find what you're looking for! Who knows, you may even want to apply a fresh coat of paint in the garage to really spruce it up. If you need the motivation, support and ideas we can provide to get your project off the ground, just give us a call. We'd love to help turn the "scary places" in your home into the not so scary!


Until next time, 

Terri Signature    
Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Real Order Professional Organizing, LLC
(678) 513-6585
Only in America...messy garage

"... do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage."

Before & After

before & after garage 

We did a complete overhaul of this basement storage area. The client wanted her gardening tools easily accessible near the back door. We used the ORG wall system to transform blank walls into storage for keeping tools and supplies within easy reach.

The Not-So-Scary Basement

Whether your basement is "finshed" space or use primarily for storage, it's important to keep it safe and uncluttered. Follow these steps to make basement organization a snap:


Assess the clutterStart by creating three categories: keep, donate, and toss. As you work your way through the items in the basement, assign each one to a category. If you rarely use a piece, it's probably a good candidate to donate or toss.


Donate or toss. Contact local charities and arrange for a pickup of items to donate; put the toss items out with the trash or recycling.


Edit the belongings you're keeping. Separate the keep pile into new categories, such as books, sporting goods, etc. Assign each category a logical location (which might not even be in the basement): Books should be stowed in a plastic storage box placed on a high shelf (or in a corner of the attic); sporting equipment might be sent to a bin in the garage.


Label items. Give anything that's not plainly identifiable a clear label. (Tuck a permanent marker and blue painter's tape in a zippered plastic sandwich bag and have the kit handy for labeling anything and everything.)

metal shelves 

Choose the right shelving. Shelves are critical in the basement, since you'll need to keep your valuables safe from flooding. Consider installing metal shelving: It's affordable and easy to assemble, and it withstands heat and humidity better than wood.


Pick plastic storage boxes. Cardboard boxes, no matter how strong, bend and dent with frequent use-and they're not much protection from dampness. Instead, choose sturdy plastic containers, which shield their contents better, seal tighter, and are easy to carry or move around on shelves (as long as they aren't too big).


Hang items to save space. Use hooks and pegs to create order out of disorder. Consider hanging such items as fire extinguishers, tools, and work gloves.


Source:  Real Simple

S-P-A-C-E Planning for your Garage



Identify what is important that you currently use, love, and need access to

Group similar items together

neat garage






Put elsewhere

Focus on the positive to facilitate your decision-making:

  • More space - Room for things you really use, love and need access to
  • More money - Dollars saved not having to replace lost or broken items, tax deduction by donating, etc.  Plan in advance what you'll do with the money saved to increase incentive
  • More socially and environmentally responsible - Putting "dormant" items back into circulation for others is a good deed and helps the environment


Match size/number of items to size of storage unit

Use single-function storage (don't mix categories within a storage unit)

Logical sequencing (groups similar items near each other)

Consider accessibility and safety



Organize shopping list by zone

Measure before shopping to ensure purchase of proper size containers

Categories of items are grouped and separated in assigned homes

Label containers



Evaluate how system is working after two weeks

Make adjustments until totally happy with system

Integrate periodic maintenance as a matter of routine - change of season or yearly (to coincide with a specific time of year)

Now, What To Do With It?  Have a Garage Sale!

Clearing the clutter feels great. Making a few bucks by selling your usable items is even better! No doubt, a garage salgarage salee takes some effort, but follow this checklist to stay organized and run an efficient sale. 


Prepare Your Sale Items

Sort items into categories (kitchen, books, kids' clothes, toys)

Clean and repair items as you go 

Price items and label with a description when applicable


Clarify Any Sale Regulations

Call city or county government for local yard sale regulations 

Find out about signage rules (size, shape, placement)

Find out if you need a permit to hold a yard sale in your area



Call newspapers for prices and deadlines (don't forget free and local papers) 

Include date, time, address, directions, and items of interest

Run your ad at least one day before and day of your sale 


Determine Your Sale Policies  

Determine the length of your sale (number of days and hours)

Decide if you will accept checks or hold items for people

Decide if you will allow early birds or let people in your home


Gather Your Supplies

Decide if you will allow early birds or let people in your home 

"Checkout" items (cash box, extra bags, tissue / newspaper)

"Try-before-you-buy" items (extension cords, batteries, bulbs)


Multi-Family Sales

Ask friends, neighbors, and family to join in 

Have each participant mark his / her items differently

Keep track of each person's sales in a notebook


Put Up Signs

Put posters at major intersections and along your road 

Put up fliers in local stores, laundromats, and churches

Include address, hours, arrows, and major items of interest


Set Up Your Cash Box

Get change ($20 in coins, $50 in ones, $40 in fives) 

Create a list of "minimum prices" you will accept for each item

Make arrangements for a charity to pick up your leftovers


Set Up Your Sale Area

Make sure nothing is blocking traffic flow

Display like items / complementary items together

Make sure everything is clearly visible


Ask for Help

Make arrangements for a charity to pick up the leftovers

Recruit helpers (at least 2 people to stay the length of the sale)

Educate helpers about your pricing / negotiating


Week Before the Sale

Put up fliers in public areas around town

Place your newspaper ad

Gather supplies, get change, and confirm "helpers"


Week of the Sale

Put up directional signs around your neighborhood 

Block off any areas you don't want shoppers to enter

Get a good night's sleep


What to do the Day of the Sale

Start setting up 1-2 hours before sale is scheduled to start 

Put one person in charge of cash box -- never leave unguarded 

Have fun -- let your kids sell snacks and play some peppy music!

April hath put a spirit of youth in everyting. 
 -William Shakespeare


Most of us recommend restaurants, movies or mechanics to our family and friends. When you recommend Real Order for professional organizing, we want to thank you with a $25 gift card to Red Lobster or Olive Garden - it's your choice. A minimum of four hours of organizing services must be purchased to qualify. To redeem your gift card, simply notify us of the family or friend you are referring to us. Bon appetit!
$25 Gift Card

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