NAPO Michigan Blog / Media Center

The Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers invites you to explore this blog so you can be informed of the latest news, events and trends in the organizing industry.

February 25, 2013

How Prepared Are You for an Emergency?

Most of us will face an unexpected event in our lifetime. Events that once appeared impossible are the new reality – hurricanes, earthquakes, power outages, and more. 

How prepared are you for an emergency?

The National Association of Professional Organizers Chapter in Michigan has provided a summary of the American Red Cross and FEMA recommendations for emergency preparedness.

1. Get Informed.  Know your community’s emergency plan including the following:

·        Community response plan
·        Community evacuation plan
·        Emergency shelter locations
·        Community warning/alert systems
·        Other community plans
2. Make a Plan. The best way to be prepared is to have a plan and communicate it to all family members.  The plan should include the following elements:

·        Communication Plan
o   Key Contacts List.  Prepare a list of key contacts that can be used by family members to seek help when needed.  The key contacts list should be placed in a visible location within the home, entered into every family member’s mobile phones or placed in children’s back packs. 
o   Designate out-of-state contacts.  Make certain that the key contact list includes contacts that are located outside the community and, if possible, outside the state.  It may be easier to call a person outside the area if a disaster strikes locally.
o   Define emergency meeting locations.  Identify a location outside the home and outside the community where the family can gather if they cannot access the home or the area due to a fire, tornado or other disaster.

·        Define Escape Routes Outline how to evacuate your home, subdivision and neighborhood.  If your home is two levels, a route to escape the upper level should be defined along with an escape ladder.

·        Define Shelter-In-Place Locations  Identify the locations within the home where you can take cover in a weather or disaster situation.

·        Obtain and Use Equipment  The following equipment should be obtained and checked regularly for functionality:  
fire extinguishers,
smoke detectors,
carbon monoxide detectors and
escape ladders.

Family members should be trained on how to use fire extinguishers and fire ladders.
3. Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit. A disaster supply kit should be assembled keeping in mind the needs of family members and pets.  A list of items to include can be found at: The supply kit should be placed in a designated, yet accessible, location for all family members.

4. Maintain Your Plan.  Your plan becomes effective only when it is communicated, practiced and updated.  Make a commitment to review your plan with the family at least annually by indicating a date on your calendar to perform this.  Regularly update any equipment, evacuation routes, key contacts or any plan aspects.

You will appreciate that you were prepared when an emergency happens!

For more organizing tips, visit

Article submitted by Chapter Member Mary Lynn Badr, Professional Organizer, Imagine It DONE, LLC.



February 1, 2013

Problem Organizing Your Pantry?

We are constantly in our kitchen pantries and often are overwhelmed by being unable to find a specific item.  Many of us struggle with this daily.

 This is what we’ve learned in our Chapter:

  • Too many items on one shelf. 
  • Not enough room to store everything. 
  • Outdated items are stuck in here too.
How can I get this together?

 We recommend that you start organizing your pantry; by removing every single item.  Check the expiration date on each item.  If the date is older than 6 months, toss it.  Example: if the date is June 2012 – it’s good; December 2011 – it needs to go.  You can check expiration dates for food @ 

Use your table or counter top, even the floor, if necessary to sort the items, into categories or ‘zones’. 


  • Baking Items
  • Beverages
  • Cereal
  • Fruit
  • Jell-o /Puddings
  • Paper Products
  • Pasta
  • Sauces
  • Seasoning Packets
  • Soups.
Once you have set up your ‘zones’ on your working surface; now look at the configuration of your pantry.  Do you have lots of room on your shelves?   Or is your pantry a small space?  There are many useful space expansion shelves and baskets available on the market.

We recommend lighter weight items to be placed on the top shelves: example, paper products and cereal. Moving down the pantry shelves, place the items you use most frequently; arranged by zone.  Also, there are many neat little baskets on the market to corral those pesky slippery packages and small boxes.  Even a small cardboard box can be used as a ‘file’ for seasoning packets.

Professional Organizer Cindy Greenleaf of New Leaf Organizing, LLC @ suggests you; “think about what you need to get from your pantry to complete a specific food preparation.  Example: baking.  It is really helpful to have all the ingredients in one container on a pantry shelf.  A small container, basket or even a plastic dishpan can hold flour, sugars, spices, chocolate chips, nuts and decorating items: so when you are ready to bake, you only need to reach for that specific container from your pantry to get you started.”

Once you’ve organized your pantry, it will be easier for you and your family members to access it on a daily basis. 

There is peace in the pantry.  Enjoy!!

For more organizing tips, please visit

Article submitted by Chapter member, Kathy Tucker, Director of Membership; owner and partner of Finally Organized, LLC.  You can visit Kathy’s website @ and learn more about Kathy @