This week is National Pay Your Bills Week

February 20, 2012

I try not to look at these things as “national holidays” but gentle reminders of ways we can improve our lives.

Given the current economic climate, everyone seems to be more concerned than ever about money.  Having systems in place can reduce stress, save time, and save money. Almost every client who contacts me has those 3 criteria listed in their reasons for wanting to get more organized. Getting more organized does pay! Don’t wait; start TODAY!

Payingi Bills


  1. Have a designated place for all incoming bills.
  2. Decide on a schedule to pay bills and stick to your schedule.
  3. Have a place to pay your bills. Have everything in one place to streamline your bill-paying process: checks, pen and pencil, a calculator or calculator program like Excel, any payment coupon booklets, postage stamps, envelopes, return address labels, and a stapler.
  4. Balance your checkbook prior to actually paying bills. If you have a joint account, this is the time to communicate with your spouse or significant other to make sure all debits and credits have been properly entered.
  5. Have a Master Checklist for all bills. With companies encouraging us all to go paperless, oftentimes if we don’t have a Master Checklist, a bill could be missed; you might incur late fees and/or additional charges. Suggested columns for your checklist: Date of Month Due / Payee / Paper or Paperless Bill.
  6. Automate where possible or where you are comfortable. For example, bills such as your monthly cable bill can be automated to 1 credit card or auto draft to your bank account. You can opt whether you still receive a paper copy of the bill each month. A note of caution: It is your responsibility to review all bills. Phone companies are notorious for attempting to slip through “3rd party” charges to unknowing consumers.
  7. Consider reducing the number of credit cards you actually use to 1 or 2 debit or credit cards. The rewards: less bills coming in; less bills to pay; simplified record keeping; and simplified filing. Those department store and gasoline credit card “rewards” are not truly rewards in the big picture.
  8. Simplify your filing routine. If the bills you pay have no Tax or Legal implication, consider filing them by the month you have paid them (Jan / Feb / March …).

Easy Steps for Reducing Credit Card Debt (okay, I admit it is never totally easy; you first must decide this is something you want to make a priority)

  1. See if you qualify for cheaper credit cards. If you have a credit card at a bank, you may be throwing away money. Simply ASK your current company is you qualify for a reduced rate due to your timely payments and FICO score. If not, check out options at a credit union where reduced rates are often offered.
  2. List your credit cards, with the highest rate card first. Include the balance, the interest rate, and the minimum payment.
  3. Every month: pay extra on your credit card with the highest rate. The goal is to pay that baby off! Keep doing this until all your credit cards are paid off.
  4. Every month: as you pay off your high-interest cards, start paying money into a savings or investment account.

One of my favorite things

September 29, 2011

I am often asked if I believe in using those vacuüm seal storage bags you see on infomercials (space bags). Most do not work well. If you finally do get them to seal up, the seal will likely break open and you may unfortunately finds your linens or other contents have “exploded” into your storage area.

Clear PEVA Storage Chests

As an option, I love the PEVA Clear Storage Containers from The Container Store.

    • they are clear so that you can see the contents of your bag;
    • the zippers are durable so that the contents may be removed &
      replaced time after time;
    • they have handles on each side for ease of use;
    • they come in 3 different sizes;
    • they are affordable $7.99 – $9.99 each;
    • they will stack on top of one another on shelves or fit nicely as under-bed storage.

I store extra linens in this way: comforter or sleeping bag / blanket / sheets / pillow — all in one bag. This way, when we have “overflow” company at the holidays (more than will fit into our 3 extra guest rooms) and we need to utilize sofas and bring out the air mattresses for sleeping, I can simply pull out one storage chest for each guest. So easy!

Safeguard your identity when purging paper

July 8, 2011

Whether you deal with your paper on a daily or weekly basis, as you sort and purge items, be mindful of protecting your identity! This is a must-have tool for me from The Container Store. You can safeguard your personal information from prying eyes with this self-inking ID Guard Stamp. The unique pattern masks your name and address on discarded credit card offers, junk mail or magazines. Use it to cover up account numbers, telephone numbers or other identifiable information you don’t want others to access.

Safeguard your identity. Then, RECYCLE all that paper!

Kespon Guard Your ID Stamp

Happy Organizing ~ Kat Jacoby

National Small Business Week is May 16-20, 2011

May 16, 2011

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes this special impact made by outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners. In 2011, National Small Business Week will honor the estimated 27.2 MILLION small businesses in America. Small businesses are major contributors to the strength of the American economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. According to the Small Business Administration, they also create 60-80 percent of new jobs in the country. Yes, you read that correctly: 60 – 80 PERCENT. I didn’t make it up. That number came direct from the Small Business Administration’s website. Politicians, are you listening? Those are numbers we can sink our teeth into.  Additionally, small businesses drive innovation and increase U.S. competitiveness. Small businesses ARE are the BACKBONE of this country.

As a Professional Organizer, I am passionate about my small business clients and moving them to the next level of success. If you are ready to move your business forward, contact me to help you!

In it to win it with direct sales!

March 7, 2011

Ask any person who is in direct sales why they do it, and they will usually tell you they are passionate about their particular product. It is what originally enticed them to the business as a consumer; then came learning they could actually do “this” as a business and make money at it. Somewhere from that first spark of passion to their time in business, most struggle with actually running their businesses and earning what they expected. There are a ton of direct sales companies out there. Here are just a few:

  • Mary Kay / BeautiControl / Avon / Arbonne
  • Lia Sophia / Silpada / Stella & Dot / Premier Designs / Guy and Eva
  • Juice Plus / Advocare /Genesis Pure / Nature’s Sunshine / Isagenix / MonaVie
  • Pampered Chef / Tupperware
  • Thirty-One Gifts / Scentsy

As an organizer who specializes in helping clients with their paperwork, I often see insides the lives of these very talented people . The problem is certainly not with their chosen line of products. Most of the products are fantastic products which are priced reasonably; the companies themselves are well-known, reputable, and well-respected; and with many, the company itself has invested a great deal in marketing and advertising.  The rate-limiting step is, quite simply, organization. Take heart, however, the problem is not with you. Most of these businesses are paper-driven businesses with a plethora of forms, brochures, product announcements, price sheets, product information sheets; you name it. It can be absolutely overwhelming! Each person trying to run this type of business wears many hats, to say the least: that of trying to run a “storefront” with products on hand, being the sales person, office manager, and bookkeeper, at a minimum. 

Working with clients in these types of businesses, I have successfully put into place systems which help them to run their businesses so that they can focus on what they do best: selling the products they are passion about. I typically hear, “Now, I can really do this!”

Whether you are have been in a direct sales business for a while, you are a newbie to this type of career or are thinking of dipping your toe in the water, being organized is an absolute must. If you want to win at this type of business, start with GETTING ORGANIZED! Then SALE ON, SALE ON, my friends.

Bless you in your day and in your success! ~ Kat Jacoby

Imagine a World Where Filing is This Easy! Workshop 030511

February 22, 2011

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What do fitness and organizing have in common?

February 15, 2011

Getting fit, dieting, and getting organized make the top New Year’s resolutions EVERY year! If any of those were on your list and you’ve sidetracked a bit; take heart, it’s only February and you can easily get back on track!

I was presenting to a delightful group of ladies just recently. It was on the coldest day of the year thus far, and yet all these women had turned out to learn about more about organizing. Moreover, this group had just finished their regular exercise together at a local church’s facility. When I asked them how often they exercise together, they replied: 3 times a week, and they have been doing it as a group for years! Just for the record, the youngest in the group is about age 50. Let me tell you folks, this was a group of “hot” looking women. They had figures and shapes that would defy those of many 20-year olds! Fitness is not defined by age.

Interestingly, organizing and getting fit have a lot in common, I explained to them:

Both are a lifestyle change.You make a decision to exercise and get fit. You must also make a decision to get organized. Change is not easy, but it is good! You can make a choice to change and start living a more simple and organized life. 

Both can be learned.Despite the routine school of thought, people are not “born with the organizing gene.” I was not always organized. I learned as a young mom that when I was more organized, everything else went more smoothly in our home and we all had more peace. I’m still a work in progress and make a commitment to it each day! Organization is a skill which can be learned. Just like learning a new exercise routine, you can learn organizing skills which you can apply in every aspect of your life.

Both have to be maintained.You don’t exercise one time and your muscles are fit. The same goes with organizing a space, however, most folks seem to think of organizing as a one-time fix. You don’t clean your house or office one time and never have to do it again. Lots of living and activity go on in a house and office. For those of you who wanted to hear there was a “magic wand fix,” I apologize for bursting your bubble here. 

Both can be better when done with a friend.These ladies gather together for their exercise because they support and encourage one another in a variety of ways. Encouragement: It is one of the most powerful words I know. Having someone to help and support you in your organizing efforts will ensure success.  

You can have setbacks in both. Practice makes…better,” is the mantra of our friend and beloved Pastor, Bobby Vitek. You will have days where you have interruptions in your fitness schedule and things that deter you from your organizing goals. Organization is NOT about perfection; it is about simple, sensible solutions for real people in everyday life.

The results are rewarding. The results of getting fit: feeling better, looking better, better health numbers where it counts (i.e. cholesterol), reducing stress, getting those endorphins pumping, and then later, sleeping better. The results of getting organized: peace of mind, reducing stress, reducing mental clutter, being able to enjoy your space, finding things when you need them, productivity, and saving money. What would getting (more) organized do for you? You fill in the blank: ________.

“Practice makes…better.” Start somewhere. Start today!

I’m here to help you find peaceful order where you live and work,

~ Kat Jacoby

In this crazy busy world, what do you outsource?

February 14, 2011

I was watching Good Morning America early this Valentine’s Morning and was surprised to see that some folks are SO busy they are even hiring services such as EFlirt to outsource crafting their flirtatious emails to potential on-line dating suitors. I was laughing to myself, thinking, “…if you don’t have time to craft an email to a potential suitor, do you think you are going to have the actual time it takes to do the work of making a relationship work?” Seriously! But I suppose it is a symptom of the frenetically busy lives we all lead.

That said, dear readers, in our crazy busy world, besides child care (which is a given that all parents need a break now and then), what all do YOU outsource or seek outside help with? I would love your feedback!

Housekeeper / Interior Decorator / Lawn Services / Personal Trainer / Personal Coach / Image Consultant / Pet Walker or Sitter

In your business:  Business Coach / Public Relations Services / Website Consultant / Social Media Expert / Virtual Assistant

Elfa is on sale at Container Store…here are some of my quick pick favs

February 3, 2011

Being passionate about organizing & helping others, it’s only natural for me to be in tune with lots of organizing tools & solutions. Not all Elfa requires laborious installation! Here are some of my favs which can be installed in minutes. The result: added storage for your pantry, bathroom, utility room or media room.

Pantry Storage


Utility Room Storage

Media Storage






And then there are these super easy shelf dividers — fabulous!

Great for keeping folded items neatly stored!


Best for organizing purses & bags!

Clear the Clutter! Fav sites, blogs and a free opportunity!

January 17, 2011

One of my strengths is realizing I can’t do it all. Thankfully, I have over 4,000 other Professional Organizers in NAPO to network and resource with through a variety of means. As veteran organizer, Barbara Hemphill notably says, “Together we are better!”

I wanted to share some sites I refer to for information. Of course, I admit to being a Container Store junkie and they have fantastic tips & advice on their site, but here are a few other favs:

Best for pretty desktop items. The “life organization”” section of this site has all sorts of list-makers.

Best for drawer and craft storage and great for all around the house:

And here are a couple of blogs for organizing & decluttering tips:

I’m an Organizing Junkie — read for inspiration and motivational boosts, like the “28 Day Organizing Challenge…”

Unclutterer — read for quick easy-to-accomplish daily tips.

If you are decluttering THIS week, get rid of your clutter FOR FREE & DO A GOOD DEED. This Saturday 01/22/11, NAPO San Antonio is sponsoring a community service event from 10 am to 2pm, at the parking lot of Goodwill at 281 & Bitters. See details.