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Terri Stephens

Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS

Certified Professional Organizer®
Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist®




(678) 513-6585

 [email protected]

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An Organized Oasis
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NAPO Soles4Souls Challenge

There's still time to participate! Clear out excess shoes from your closet and do a good deed.


The Georgia chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-GA) is participating in the Soles4Souls project.


Soles4Souls is a non-profit that "collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty." All donations are tax deductible. Go to to learn more.


Soles4Souls accepts all types of shoes: athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, flip flops, boots, just as long as they are new or gently worn. Any donated shoes that are not wearable will be recycled.


Find a drop-off location near you and do two good things at once!


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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October 2011


October is National Kitchen & Bath Month, celebrating the most-used rooms in our homes. Think about it - from your morning shower to preparing meals to spending time with family and friends to brushing your teeth at bedtime, a significant portion of your day is spent in your kitchen and bath. Are yours just the way you want them to be?


If you're considering a major makeover of your kitchen or bath (and realtors will tell you that these projects have great ROI at resale time), the National Kitchen and Bath Association provides experts to help with:

  • A step-by-step guide of the remodel from start to finish
  • Guidelines of details and components to consider while planning
  • Comprehensive design options to choose your personal style
  • Tips for setting a budget range, including advice on ways to save
  • Assistance on finding the right professional for your remodel
  • A checklist of considerations and tips to finalize your choices

If a full-scale renovation isn't in your plans, a few simple organization tips and tools can help make these rooms function more efficiently, saving you time and energy because your space is better utilized and you can find what you need when you need it. Read on for my suggestions on setting up your kitchen for maximum efficiency and creating an organized oasis in your bathroom.

Until next time,
Terri Signature
Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Real Order Professional Organizing, LLC
(678) 513-6585

It's often been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home - it's where friends and family gather, food is prepared, and many other daily activities take place. Since you spend so much time in your kitchen, why not create a space you enjoy coming home to?


First, think about the kinds of activities that typically take place in your kitchen. Aside from the obvious such as food storage and meal preparation, do you need to set up a "command center" with a family calendar, phone, and message board? What about space for the kids to do their homework or a bill paying center?


With these activities in mind, remove anything that doesn't fit into the purpose of the space. Begin sorting into various categories: trash (use heavy-duty black contractor bags), donate/give away, goes elsewhere and store in this space.


For the items to be stored in the kitchen, it's very important to designate a "home" for everything - a place where it belongs and is always returned so you can find it again. How would you feel without a home, a place to belong - a little lost and forlorn, I'm sure!


Organize the zones in your kitchen by putting similar things together. Typically there are five zones in the kitchen:

  • Consumables - food items such as cereal, canned goods, pasta, refrigerated goods
  • Preparation - mixing bowls, small electrical appliances, utensils
  • Non-consumables - dishes, glasses, silverware, plastic containers
  • Cooking -cooktop, oven, microwave, pots and pans, cooking utensils, spices and oils
  • Cleaning - sink, dishwasher, trash can, cleaning supplies

When setting up zones, think about the number of steps between activities and store items in logical places. For example, placing everyday glasses, dishes and silverware by the dishwasher for ease in loading and unloading will save countless steps and time.


Frequently used items should be within easy reach such as the top drawer or the bottom shelf of wall cabinets. Seldom used items should be stored on the top shelf of a wall cabinet or pantry. Keep items on the counter only if you use them regularly, at least 2-3 times per week - otherwise, put them away for a cleaner, less cluttered kitchen.


Tools of the Trade

These are just a few of my favorite organizing tools for the kitchen:


LabelerLabeling is indispensable for keeping things organized and in their "homes." A label maker that makes laminated labels can easily be applied to the edges of shelves and storage containers.




Oxo Good Grips Pop Containers Oxo Good Gripsare my all-time favorite for food storage. The airtight seal will keep food fresh with the simple press of a button. The rectangular modular stacking system saves valuable space in the kitchen.

Pull-Out ShelvesIf you're tired of bending and stooping to find lost items in your base cabinets, consider adding pull-out shelves. I've had these in my last two houses and couldn't live without them - they make a kitchen immeasurably more functional and a joy to work in.


Rope LightingFinally, add a touch of ambience to your kitchen by placing rope lighting on the top of cabinets, which adds a cozy glow to the room. Add timers set to come on at dusk and go off at bedtime. It's a simple do-it-yourself project for a Saturday afternoon.


Bathroom OasisIf you long for your bathroom to be an oasis of comfort, cleanliness and refreshment, here are some great ideas for achieving that goal.


Clear Out the Clutter

Clean out toiletries that haven't been used in six months, medications that have expired (take to the pharmacy for disposal), products that are dried up, duplicate hair styling appliances, seldom used nail polish and eye shadows, old towels, and anything that does not belong in the bathroom. Most cosmetics have a shelf life of only six months and deteriorate with age, causing problems for sensitive skin. Even toothpaste expires - check out the crimp on the tube.


Put Like Things Together

Examples are cosmetics, soaps and lotions, shaving supplies, hair supplies, dental products, nail care, bath accessories, medications, first aid care, and cold remedies. Group towels by color and size - roll for maximum storage. Remove excess items that crowd your space and consider donating to a battered women's shelter that always needs these products.


Simple Storage Solutions

Store only frequently used items on or near the counter such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and hair brushes. Use drawer organizers for cosmetics, hair and nail products. Add glide-out shelves under vanities for easy accessibility to items in the back of cabinets. Install towel bars or rings for adults and children at their level. Add a hook beside the shower and on back of the door for bathrobes. Hang a shower caddie for shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Purchase a standing cabinet, shelving unit or over-the-toilet cabinet for supplies if storage space is limited. Install a recessed medicine cabinet by the vanity. Include a magazine rack beside the toilet for reading materials. Place a hamper in the bathroom for damp towels if space permits.


Sharing the Bathroom with Others

Assign each person a different color towel so family members don't have to grab a fresh one each time. Assign each person a different color toothbrush so there's no confusion. Have a shelf or container for each family member's personal items. Hang a mesh bag for kids' bath toys on a suction hook on the tub wall. Turn cleaning and organizing the bathroom into a fun contest for kids and watch them learn good habits for life.


Consider Color, Lighting and Accessories

Use a monochromatic (single) color scheme in light pastel colors for a relaxed mood in the bathroom. A light-colored shower curtain will give the room a more spacious look and feel. Add task lighting for applying make-up and shaving. Use scented candles around the bathroom to enhance the feeling of tranquility. And don't forget to add a dimmer switch for turning down the light during a relaxing bubble bath in the oasis you've created!



Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~ Albert Camus



DiningMost 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!


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