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Want to know a secret? My favorite room to organize is a playroom! I like organizing any space in a house, but playrooms hold a special place in my heart because they are where the FUN happens in the home. I find myself referring clients to the same organizing solutions over and over when we work in their kids’ playrooms or bedrooms, so I thought I would share them with you here:

Wire hamper for storing stuffed animals. Because your child is going to insist that his or her stuffed animals have breathing room (sigh …). I like the vertical shape of this hamper, which makes it perfect for fitting into tight corners in a child’s bedroom. Flea Market Orange Wire Ball Bin @ Land of Nod. $39.

Cubbies for various categories of toys. Kids like to be able to see all of their toys at once, so I have found cubbies to be vastly superior for toy storage over boxes or bins with lids. Each cubby can hold a different category of toy (e.g. cars and trucks, dolls, balls, etc.) White Nantucket Stackable Storage Bin @ The Container Store. $99.

Bookcase for holding games, puzzles and Melissa and Doug puzzles. This bookcase is PERFECT for keeping games and puzzles from becoming one towering stack of shallow boxes! Store long game boxes in the top half, and place square puzzle boxes and Melissa and Doug puzzles in the bottom half. Fulton Street White Bookcase @ The Land of Nod. $599.

Treasure box. THIS is the answer to how to store all those little pinecones and eggshells and friendship bracelets and other treasures that your child loves so dearly, but seem to end up all over the house. A treasure box for their treasures! The wood is unfinished and ready for painting or staining. ArtMinds Ornate Wood Treasure Chest @ Michael’s. $12.99.

Stacking baskets. Does your child have Nerf guns? Building blocks? These plastic stacking baskets are wide enough to hold large toys such as those, yet small enough to tuck into a closet or under a window. Best of all, they are a steal at $8.99 each! Our Large Stackable Basket @ The Container Store. $8.99

Like this post? Then like our Facebook page. In need of professional organizing services in the Portland, Beaverton or Lake Oswego area for your home or office? Contact us for a low-cost assessment and get a bid on your project here.


Paper Organizing Secret: All hail the Hour of Power!

by respaced on February 13, 2018

I was recently working with a client who struggled to keep her counter tops clear of paper piles. The paper mostly consisted of mail, magazines and catalogs she wanted to read, documents she needed to sign, flyers for classes she wanted to sign up for — all the usual papers that we all end up with on our counters at some point.

I set her up with a mail station consisting of folders corralling things to be paid, to be read, to be filed, and to take action on. But it wasn’t enough. The papers continued to pile up. That’s when I told her about the Hour of Power. Nope, not the old televangelist show on TV! Instead, the Hour of Power is your very own home office hour.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose a time when you know you will be home once a week. This should be a time when you have the energy and focus to work for an hour uninterrupted in your home office or at the kitchen table. For our family, it’s 7 p.m. on Sunday evenings. Set a recurring appointment date with an alarm on your phone to remind you of your Hour of Power until it becomes a habit.
  2. During your Hour of Power, gather your mail you have collected throughout the week in your labeled folders and do the tasks the folders tell you to do such as: pay the bills, read the documents, make decisions about what classes to take or vacations to schedule, call that business that sent you the incorrect bill, and file the papers. Basically, the point is to Do What the Papers on Your Counters Tell You To Do.

If you faithfully spend an hour a week in your Hour of Power, I guarantee you will see your paper piles start to shrink. Hooray! You will also feel a sense of relief that your bills are paid, that your vacation or class is scheduled, that all those annoying little tasks are slowly getting taken care of.

And how did my client do after I told her about the Hour of Power? She set the calendar date with an alarm on her phone to remind her of this weekly task, and then she started finding great success keeping her counters free of paper piles! She was so thrilled!

All hail the Hour of Power!

Like this post? Then like our Facebook page. In need of professional organizing services in the Portland, Beaverton or Lake Oswego area for your home or office? Contact us for a low-cost assessment and get a bid on your project here.


respaced featured in NW Kids Magazine

by respaced on February 9, 2018

I recently wrote an article for NW Kids Magazine called “10 Tips to Help Your Family Get Organized in 2018,” and I’m really proud of how it turned out! They included one of our photos of a project we worked on earlier this year, and there was even room for a pic of my son sorting his toys (oh man, we really need to get rid of those old blocks he hasn’t touched in 2 years!) Here is the text:

January is the most popular month for starting organizing projects, so here are 10 tips to start your family down the path to organization from a professional organizer:

  1. Have a family meeting to make sure everyone is on board with your resolution to get more organized. Is everyone willing to work toward this goal? If family members can’t agree on what the problem is, they won’t agree on what the solution is.
  2. Pick a room in your house to work in and start by clearing out the clutter. Plan to organize for no more than four hours each day in order to prevent burn-out.
  3. On the day you start decluttering, minimize distractions (phones!) and turn up the music to get the energy pumping. Set aside four boxes (donate, trash, recycle, keep) and start sorting!
  4. Can’t decide whether to keep an item? Ask yourself, “do I use it” or “do I love it?” If you can’t answer yes to one of those questions, the item goes.
  5. After you finish sorting everything, get those unwanted things out of the house pronto before they end up back in the mix! (See sidebar for my favorite family-friendly charities to donate to.)
  6. Find homes for things you want to keep by designating zones in your room. For example, a garage might have a camping zone, sports equipment zone, tool zone, etc. By dividing your room up into zones, it makes it easier to find and put things away
  7. Think of eye-level as your prime real estate, and store frequently used items there. It’s the first place you look, so it’s the logical place for items that get a lot of use. Store seldom-used items up high or down low.  
  8. Matching bins on shelves are a great way to corral groups of similar items, such as kids’ toys or office supplies. Make sure to stick big labels on the bins so everyone knows what lives in the bins.
  9. You did the hard work of decluttering. Now maintain your organization by scheduling a 15-minute clean-up every night after dinner. Each adult pairs up with a child or two and spends 15 minutes in a room doing a quick tidy-up. You’ll be amazed at how organized your home stays with this daily routine.
  1. Still feeling stuck? Consider hiring a professional organizer to kick-start your decluttering efforts. Blogs, podcasts, and organizing-related Facebook groups can also give you inspiration. Happy Organizing!

Favorite Family-Friendly Charities to Donate Your Stuff To

Schoolhouse Supplies. Accepts arts and crafts, office supplies. Runs a free store for public school teachers so they don’t have to pay for classroom supplies from their own pocket.

Portland PTA Clothing Closet. Accepts kids’ clothing, shoes, backpacks. Low-income Portland Public School kids can pick up free clothing here.

Dress For Success. Accepts women’s professional clothing, shoes, accessories. Provides appropriate clothing for low-income women who are going to job interviews.

Community Warehouse. Accepts furniture, small appliances, housewares. Provides house furnishings for families in need.

Impact Northwest. Accepts toys, kid clothing, some baby gear. Works with low-income and at-risk families.

Multnomah County Library. Accepts books, DVDs, CDs. Donate up to two grocery bags of books to any library branch.

MaryJo Monroe has been a professional organizer with her company reSPACEd ( for 10 years. When she’s not helping families dig out from their stuff, she enjoys hiking and biking around her North Portland neighborhood with her 12-year-old son and husband.

Like this post? Then like our Facebook page. In need of professional organizing services in the Portland, Beaverton or Lake Oswego area for your home or office? Contact us for a low-cost assessment and get a bid on your project here.


The daily planner professional organizers love the most

January 29, 2018

I get asked a lot about how I keep track of my schedule, to-do’s and calendar. What system should I use? is a question just about all of my clients ask. The first thing I tell them is, you don’t have to go digital! Digital is just one option out of many. I personally prefer […]

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How to find a professional organizer who is right for you

January 26, 2018

Are you ready for an organizer? If so, what are you looking for? • What kind of organizing help do you need? There is a wide-range of organizing specialties. Some organizers specialize in residential or business organizing. Some organize papers while others orchestrate moves. Some organizers are generalists while others specialize in working with chronically […]

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Professional organizer tricks for getting your bathroom cabinet whipped into shape

January 23, 2018

I feel really fortunate to be featured in Prevention magazine online again, this time for an article about organizing your bathroom/medicine cabinet. When was the last time you cleaned your medicine cabinet? It’s likely been a while, huh? Well, there’s no time better than the present to get it done. Even though you’re probably not […]

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The 6 kitchen organizing products we recommend again and again

January 8, 2018

Here at reSPACEd, our organizers organize A LOT of kitchens. It’s one of our most requested organizing services. So we have learned over the years that a few key organizing products can make all the difference in getting your kitchen organized — and keeping it that way! Here are the 6 products we find ourselves […]

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reSPACEd featured in Prevention magazine article on organizing family photos

January 3, 2018

I was honored to have Prevention magazine feature a few of my organizing tips in its online article “How to Organize Your Family Photos — and Why It Will Make You Happier” this month. You can read the whole article here. If you want to see my tips specifically, scroll down to Tip #5. Organizing […]

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Christmas Decor after Christmas: Recycling, composting, donating options in Portland

December 29, 2017

Christmas is over, which means it’s time for the worst part of the holidays for most people: taking down and figuring out what to do with all of the holiday decor. You can always call in one of our organizers to take down and pack up your Christmas decor for you. Click here for more […]

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5 myths about working with a home organizer

December 11, 2017
Thumbnail image for 5 myths about working with a home organizer

Working with a home organizer can be a positive, life-changing experience! But some people are reluctant to reach out for help because of misinformation about what professional organizers do. Here are 5 myths — and 5 truths! — about working with a home organizer. MYTH: Home organizers will make you throw things away. TRUTH: We […]

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