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.

May 31, 2013

To Do Apps for Smartphones

If you’re happy with the list-making apps that came pre-installed on your smartphone, you can stop reading now! The fewer apps you have, the easier your phone will be to use.

It’s easy to clutter your phone with a bunch of apps to test. Instead, read reviews of top-rated list apps and make a list of the features you need. Consider

·       Organization: how flexibly can you label, prioritize, categorize, and move tasks around?

·       Ease of use: some list-making apps are more intuitive than others. How easy is it to add or modify tasks?

·       Visual appeal: a graphic design you like (or that you can customize) may help you use it.

·       Reminder options: do you want an audible tone? A buzz? A text? An email? Or some other kind of alert? Do you need more than one alert for a particular task? How far into the future do you want to schedule reminders? Can it repeat tasks at the intervals you require? 

·       Sharing: do you need to share lists with others (perhaps a spouse)? Can you control who adds or edits items? How secure does the list need to be?

·       Paper & memory: do you want to be able to print out the list? Should the app track modifications to individual tasks? Should finished tasks be erased or archived? 

·       Coercion: do you want the app to create or enforce consequences should you not complete a task within the assigned timeframe? Consequences might be social or financial or both.

Some features may involve tradeoffs.

For instance, a multi-platform list may be automatically synced and available on your phone, laptop, home and office computers, but it might be expensive, loading time will depend on your internet connection and data security might be a concern.

On the other hand, a list solely on your phone might load more quickly and might be kept private more easily.

You may even find that you use one app for grocery lists (web-accessible and shared with spouse), another for your work obligations (multi-platform, archives completed tasks), another for routine tasks (very flexible options for repeating intervals), and pencil and paper for thinking through today’s priorities.

It’s helpful to find tools that match the way you think and work. But don’t overdo it. Susan Hunsberger of Strategize Organize LLC warns, “Some people spend way too much time trying to find the ‘perfect’ app; at some point, you’ve just got to pick something and start doing!”

Article written by Melanie Sobocinski, of Prof Organizer LLC, NAPO Chapter Member.

May 15, 2013


Is your mudroom less “mud” and more “mess?”  Can people actually walk through your entryway?

If so, I’m here to help you get these areas back in order.  Here are a few tips to help you begin.
1.  Make sure the things that need to stay in these areas have a proper “home”.  So much of disorganization at home begins with us not consciously thinking about the place items need to “live.”

If a home hasn’t been designated for an item, it’s hard to put it away properly.  So make sure that the families’ items-keys, purses, briefcases, coats, shoes and boots, backpacks, etc. - have a place to live. 
Professional organizers like to call this having a” landing and launching pad” in these areas.  This makes getting everyone out the door in the morning easier because it’s grab and go.  It also makes coming home at the end of the day easier and keeps the mudroom or entryway clear for safety reasons.

2.  To maximize space usage, go vertical as much as possible.  Place hooks and/or shelves with baskets on the wall at the appropriate level for the kids to hang their own coats.  For any containers, be sure to label them clearly with pictures or words, depending on age of children. Beneath hooks or shelves should be a place to sit to put on or take off footwear.  A small storage bench could hold seasonal items such as hats, scarves and gloves or sunglasses, sunscreen and bug spray. 
3.  Don’t forget the dog.  A spot for pet items can make dog walks a breeze when everyone knows where the leash is.

4.  If your household recycles and room permits, having a recycling zone in this area can make it easier for all to get items together for curbside or drop-off recycling.

5.  With kids’ backpacks during the school year, make sure to build a habit of emptying the backpack every night with the child so any permission slips, homework review or assignments can be worked on by deadlines given.  Once that has been accomplished, be sure to get the backpack back to its home for the morning rush. 
6.  For kids with after school activities, getting the next days’ gear washed, gathered and ready the night before and by the exit door can avoid any last-minute pleas of “mom, I forgot I need …. for school tomorrow” the next morning.

Coming and going does not need to be chaotic once thought is given to what your family needs to get organized to be on the go.
For more tips, check out NAPO Michigan’s website at

This Blog article was written by Cindy Greenleaf of New Leaf Organizing LLC.  The website is