Hoarding: Buried Alive


Vickie Dellaquila, CPO, CPO-CD (Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization) and owner of Organization Rules, Inc. in Pittsburgh will appear on an episode of TLC’s Hoarding Buried Alive on Wednesday, November 27, 10:00 PM EST on TLC!

Be sure to watch the episode filmed in Pittsburgh and featuring western Pennsylvania’s only CPO-CD helping her client with a hoarding situation!


Wardrobe Decluttered

The leaves are changing and there’s a crisp feel to the air.  Autumn has officially begun!  With the change of seasons, temperature, and weather, it is the perfect time to declutter clothes as you move from a summer wardrobe to winter wear.

Let’s start with your existing summer wardrobe.  Remove it all from your closet and dresser drawers.  Sort into three piles: Love, Like, and Hate.  The clothes you love should fit well, be free of holes and stains, and you enjoy wearing.  Hate is for those clothes that are stained, holey, and do not fit (too big or too small).  Like is for the in-between items.

Take your Love Summer clothes and put them back in your closet (if you’re lucky enough to have space for both your summer and winter wardrobe) or in whatever type of storage you use (I personally love colored coded plastic totes).  Hate Summer clothes will be donated.  Now go through the Like Summer clothes and reevaulate each piece.  Ask yourself questions:

  • When is the last time I wore this piece?
  • How do I feel when I wear it?
  • Is it comfortable?
  • Do I already have similar items in my wardrobe?
  • Would I buy it again from the store?

Answering questions about each piece from your Like Summer clothes should give you a great idea of “wear” that item belongs – to be donated or taking up valuable space in your closet or storage containers.

If you’re really stuck on trying to decide whether or not to keep a specific item or two – wear them for the day!  How do you feel in the clothes?

Repeat these steps with your winter wardrobe and tada, you have a decluttered wardrobe!  What a great feeling to only have clothes that you love instead of ones that don’t make you feel great!  I’d much rather have 10 tops that make me look and feel fabulous than 100 that are “okay” or frumpy!

Happy Labor Day!

Does your closet look like this?

Does your closet look like this?

On Labor Day, I think that summer says goodbye and autumn sneaks into our lives…even if the calendar says we must wait a few more weeks to the official change of season.  This is the time that I start to consider my wardrobe as I know cooler temperatures are around the corner.

Before you switch out your summer clothes for winter wear, you first should think about clothing and your current lifestyle and assess your needs:

  • What do you need to wear for work?  Has anything changed?  For instance, my son-in-law now works for the Army and wears a uniform.  He doesn’t really need all the business casual clothes from his old job anymore.
  • Do any of your hobbies require specific clothing?  Sports?  Outdoor activities?  Hitting the gym?  Ballroom dancing?
  • Do you spend a lot of time going to fancy restaurants/weddings/performances?  Or are you more on the casual side of the social scene?  What types of clothes do you need for your social life?
  • What do you love to wear hanging around your home?
  • Shoes – what types do you need for the different activities in your life?  What’s comfortable?
  • How much of your clothes do you actually wear?

Considering these questions should give you an idea of what types of clothes you do need to have in your wardrobe.  Take stock of what you do have – what are you missing?  What is no longer necessary for your current lifestyle?

5 Items a (Week)day in June Challenge


Baby sock orphans my daughter is letting go of today.

If you follow my Organization Rules facebook page, you’ll notice a month-long challenge! Each weekday in June, find at least 5 things to release from your life – into the recycle bin, to a charity, a friend, or the trash! My daughter and I will be posting photos of our finds each weekday in June. If you do 5 a day for those 20 week days – that’s 100 items to let go! Who wants to join our challenge?

My S.M.A.R.T. Goal for 2013

How has 2013 been so far for you?  Last week I talked about making S.M.A.R.T. goals instead of resolutions and promised to share one of my goals for 2013.

Last year I set out to create a new positive habit of going through and purging my file cabinet on a regular basis.  It was a fantastic idea for me.  My office feels much more organized and I managed to create at least 2 new feet of space within my cabinets!

This year’s goal will go hand-in-hand with last year’s.  I want to move away from as much paper and have more digital files instead.  One, I think that using less paper is better for the environment.  Two, less space will be used.  Three, my computer will hold all of the information that I need and I can access it anywhere, as opposed to only being in my office.  Four, it will make my taxes much easier to have all my business receipts scanned into the computer.

Let’s make sure this is a SMART goal:

Specific – I will scan in all my business receipts to my desktop computer in a specified folder based on date and type.

Measurable – At the end of each week all receipts will be scanned and shredded.

Attainable – Because I will be approaching my goal on a weekly basis, it will not become overwhelming.

Relevant – This is helping with my paper management with my business, something I want to improve.

Time-Bound – Each week I will scan all the receipts.  I will reassess if this system is working and be willing to be flexible and try a new method.

Do you have any 2013 SMART goals?


Everyday Clutter Management

Ever overwhelmed by the little clutter that accumulates each day?  My daughter picking up after her young toddler and not-the-best-at-putting-things-away husband sometimes looks like this by the end of the day:

I enjoy browsing through different organizing blogs, looking for great ideas to share and to implement in either my professional or personal life.  I came across Organizing Made Fun the other day and checked out the series on having a “Fake Immaculate Home.”

First, I loved the title of the blog.  As a professional organizer, of course I strive to help my clients overcome their chronic disorganization or clutter, but I realize that very few people can or WANT to live in a perfectly clean home.  (Including me – who wants to clean all day long???)  So, when I came across this simple tip on Organizing Made Fun, I knew I had to share it.  It’s so simple and can work for almost everyone.
Are you ready?  This may blow your mind.  It will stop everyday clutter and make your home so much more organized.

Here it is: every time you leave a room for another look for anything that should be going to your destination and take it with you.

Feel the light bulb turning on?  It’s so simple!  I’m walking from the kitchen into the basement.  Is there anything in the kitchen that belongs in the basement?  Instead of taking two trips – one for my original purpose and the second at some later point in the day to put away the clutter, take one trip and get the clutter put away!

If you make this into a habit (and teach the rest of the family to do it too!), you will be managing the little every day clutter without it taking extra time or effort!  I love it!

Before you buy your next organizing product…


Yes, stores like The Container Store are fantastic – but they aren’t magically going to organize your home!

It seems like every retail store is interested in helping you to get organized! From giant box retailers to smaller specialty stores, they want to sell you some sort of organizing product. The stores seem to have the idea that if you buy the product, it will magically make you organized! Well that sounds great, but there is no magic pill or product. If there was, I think someone would already be selling it!

When a client first calls me inquiring about organizing services, many times they will say, “I have every organizing product that is out there, but I am still not organized and don’t know why!” I know why!  A product is not going to solve the reason why you became disorganized to begin with.  Even though there are many wonderful organizing products available, you still need to figure out the cause of your disorganization.

Before you buy a new organizing product, think about why you became disorganized in the first place:

  • Have I always been disorganized?
  • Did I have a lifestyle change that seem to attribute to my disorganization? (a divorce, birth of a child, death of a love one, a relocation, etc. All these things can cause disruption and disorganization in your life.)
  • Do you give yourself enough time to work on organizing?
  • Has your space changed?
  • Moved to a smaller home?
  • Have you had new additions to your family?
  • Has your time been eaten up by other things? (Children, pets, taken care of parents, work, volunteer work)

Think about your lifestyle and what has contributed to your disorganization.  Now you need to…nope, not buy products!  Declutter!

It is amazing that a person needs a smaller amount of  storage bins or containers once he or she lets go of unwanted and unneeded items. Many clients will call me and say they have purchased several organizing bins so I can help them get organized! I always suggest to keep the receipt because he or she may need to make a return, once we have decluttered!

Organizing products are really wonderful tools.  I enjoy them myself!  BUT, to be truly organized, you need to reevaluate your space and needs and then declutter.  You will have a much clearer picture of what organizing products will best service your life now that you have organized your space!

Need some help getting started decluttering? Be sure to check out my earlier blog posts on decluttering space in your home in 15 minutes a day!