Forget New Year’s Resolutions—Back to School Resolutions are even better!

Forget New Year’s Resolutions—Back to School Resolutions are even better!

I was in Wal-Mart and the Dollar Tree last week doing some shopping when a group of kids and parents caught my attention.

They were standing among the giant displays of Back to School items—you know, the piles of fresh boxes of crayons with the perfect tips and the stacks of blank notebook paper and spiral notebooks— all talking about the start of the new school year.

It was cool to hear how excited the kids and parents sounded about everything; a few even made comments about how fun it is to start fresh with new supplies.

That’s when it hit me: while most of us think of resolutions as being a January type of thing, for parents, the new year really starts when our kiddos head back to school.

In other words, this is the perfect time to adopt some new resolutions that will make the school year go smoothly—not just in the first few hectic weeks, but throughout the entire year.

With that in mind, check out the following back to school resolutions that will help you to start the school year off on the right foot—clutter-free, organized and feeling confident:

Tame those backpacks

When kids come home from school, they often plop their backpacks on the floor or hang them on the back of a chair, which usually causes the chair to tip over backwards. Designate a backpack area in your home where they can be stored or hung safely. Of course, on the East Coast where I grew up, we usually had mud rooms right by the front door that were perfect for this kind of thing. Here in the Valley of the Sun, we can attach strong hooks to the door that leads into the garage, or add a bench with cubbies in a laundry room—wherever it makes the most sense for your family. Giving your kids a specific place to put the backpacks will also eliminate those panicky moments in the morning when they call out “Mo-o-o-m!! Where is my backpack!!  I can’t find it!”

A Place for Important Papers

If your kiddo has ever missed a field trip due to a permission slip that went AWOL, this tip will really help. Buy a beautiful flat basket that you love, and place it in the kitchen or family room. Let your kids know that ALL important papers must be taken out of their backpacks and placed in this basket—this includes school picture order forms, permission slips, volunteer requests and the scads of other paperwork that requires your attention and/or signature. This way, vital papers won’t be floating all over the house, getting lost under the couch or chewed up by the family dog.

A Calm and Quiet Place for Homework

Many kids prefer to do their homework anywhere but their own bedrooms. If this sounds familiar, set up a homework station in a quiet area of the home—it can be the formal dining room table you usually only use at the holidays, a corner of the family room or wherever you like. Stock the area with cups and baskets filled with plenty of pencils, pens, paper and other materials your kids will need. This way, all of the homework, books, and school supplies will be contained in one space instead of being scattered all over the house.


If you would like to learn more tips about back to school organization and/or need help setting up these important areas, I am always available to help you—give me a call or email and I’d be happy to come by to assist!

Spotlight from All Right Moves

Organizing Expert: Spotlight on Rachel Winter

Here is an article from a company that I have worked with out of Philadelphia, I feel this is a really great company and am honored to have them write an article about me.
I hope you enjoy this article and can take away something of value, as always, if you have any additional organizing questions, please contact me!

For a link to ALL RIGHT MOVES

Q: How would you describe your method of organizing?
A: I work as a Declutter Coach and Professional Organizer. I consider myself a “Personal Trainer” for your home. I whip people’s homes into top shape!

Q: Do you have any areas of specialty?
A: I really specialize in helping overwhelmed, stressed-out Moms of babies, young children and teens. Because I’m a Mom too, this is a demographic that is near and dear to my heart. I understand the importance of having an organized system at home – a “foundation of order” – especially when you have young children. My passion is helping clients go from chaos to calm. I help bring order and efficiency into people’s lives.

Rachel Winter Professional Organizer in action!

Q: Why should people choose a NAPO professional over other non-NAPO service providers?
A: In my seminars, I always talk about NAPO and the importance of hiring an organizer who is a member of this excellent organization. Being a member of NAPO just proves a level of commitment and professionalism to the industry. In addition, NAPO members are required to operate by a Code of Ethics. Being a residential organizer, clients are trusting me in their homes and working with their personal possessions. It is a very intimate job and it is all about trust. I always recommend that if you are going to hire a Professional Organizer, you hire a member of NAPO.

One of the best decisions I ever made, both professionally and personally, was joining NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers). I joined NAPO-Connecticut and then after I moved to Arizona in 2014, I joined NAPO-Arizona. I am now on the Board of NAPO-AZ, serving as Membership Director.

Q: What other services do you provide through your organizing business?Happy Home Organizer Rachel Winter
A: I enjoy public speaking and I run seminars called “Conquer Your Clutter!” I always try to educate the public about the professional organizing industry. Many people simply do not know that we exist.

Q: What is your favorite part of working for All Right Moves™?
A: I tell all my clients and everyone that attends my seminars that the best time to hire a Professional Organizer is when you are moving! Let us help you with packing and purging BEFORE you move so you are not moving your clutter! Let us help you unpack so you can start life in your new home with a totally organized and efficient system. Plus everything will be super clean and fresh. All Right Moves is a wonderful company to work for. Annette and her team are the consummate professionals.

How to Work with Rachel:

Rachel Winter is a NAPO professional based out of Maricopa County, AZ. She has assisted in several successful All Right Moves™ relocations in and around the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas. Rachel is a Professional Organizer, founder and owner of Happy Home Organizers, LLC. Those who have had Rachel work on their All Right Moves™ relocation job can hire Rachel for continued organizing services at a discount by contacting All Right Moves™.

Spring Cleaning Tips

Dear Friends,

Hooray- Spring has sprung!

I’m looking at a gorgeous blue sky. My doors and windows are open as I write this. It’s time to fill your home with fresh spring air.

Springtime is all about renewal. Starting new. We are saying goodbye to the cold Winter and welcoming in warmth and beauty. Flowers are now blooming.

That’s what Spring Cleaning is all about too. The goal is to make your home fresh and pretty. You want it to look and feel good.

However, take it from a Pro, before you can really do a deep, thorough cleaning, you need to declutter and organize first!

I’m happy to share that I was featured in the April issue of Chandler Lifestyle magazine. The article is titled:
The Physical and Emotional Benefits of Spring Cleaning.

Please, take a read and learn more:

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If you need help with your Spring cleaning, please, give me a call. Let’s get it done together!
For those that celebrate, I wish you a Happy Passover and Happy Easter.
Enjoy the beautiful month of April and as always, Happy Organizing!

Rachel Winter, Founder and Owner

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3 Steps for Declutering and Organizing

Dear Friends,

Happy March! The Easter decorations are in the stores now and I’m seeing tulips being displayed. Spring is in the air!

March 20th is when Spring officially starts but people are already asking for Spring Cleaning advice. That’s next month’s blog!

This month, I wanted to share my fun and exciting experience being featured on the morning radio show “Mathew Blades in the Morning” on 96.9. They were looking for an organizing expert to share some tips on how to declutter and get organized.

It was a very quick interview but his questions were typical of what all my clients ask:

What do you do when you have too much stuff?

What do you do when all your closets or under your kitchen sink is just a mess? Can you relate? The radio hosts, Mathew Blades and Priscilla Ornelas, were terrific. I’m now their biggest fan.

Here’s my advice..

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Happy Home Organizers’ 3 Steps for Decluttering and Organizing:

Step 1. Take everything out of the area you are organizing and SORT- “like with like”. Similar items with similar items. Make your categories.

Step 2. Purge! Decide what you will no longer wear again, use again or want and get the items out- immediately. Feel good about donating!

Step 3. Find a Home for all the items you are keeping. Where will all your items live?

This is how you create your organized system- your “foundation” of order. Now that you are organized, you want to STAY organized.

Rachel’s 3 Golden Rules for STAYING Organized:

1. Home for Every Item
2. Like with Like
3. One In, One Out Rule

You follow these 3 organizing rules and you will be golden!

Please, take a listen…

"Good Life" Radio Interview with Mix 96.9

Happy Home Organizers was featured as the organizing expert on the radio show Mathew Blades in the Morning on 96.9. Thank you Mathew and Priscilla for having me on your show and sharing my decluttering tips!

Posted by Happy Home Organizers, LLC on Monday, March 6, 2017

I’ll be back next month with my tips for Spring Organizing and Spring Cleaning.

Have a marvelous March-
Happy Organizing!
Rachel Winter

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Want an Instant Closet Makeover?

Want an Instant Closet Makeover?  Treat Yourself to New Hangers!

In the 1981 movie, “Mommie Dearest”, there’s a famous scene in which Faye Dunaway, playing Joan Crawford, screams at her young daughter, “No wire hangers!!!  Ever!!!”  It’s a very disturbing scene.  I’m not that crazy but I do agree with her point: Get rid of all your wire hangers!   

Why?  Wire hangers are ugly, that’s why.  They make your whole closet look cheap and messy.  There is nothing aesthetically pleasing or positive about them- except that they are free from the dry cleaners.

There are several reasons why you should get rid of all your wire hangers:  clothes slip off too easily and they end up piled on the floor;  they create unsightly points in the shoulders of many fabrics; they can leave rust stains on your clothing; they are twisted at the top to create a hook and then can snag your garments.  In addition, because they are made of light metal, wire hangers can sag or buckle under the weight of heavy garments.  Bottom line, wire hangers hurt you more than they help you.  A wire hanger is not your friend. 

Donate them to any local dry cleaners for recycling.  Get ‘em out.  They are happy to take them from you.

So, what hangers should you have in your closet?  Pretty much anything but a wire hanger or a cheap plastic one.  You want your clothing on attractive, good quality hangers.  I recommend they all be the same color to have a nice, clean look but that is certainly personal choice.  Children and teens might like different color hangers, maybe to match their bedroom decor and that can be fun and “cool” looking too.   

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Nice hangers do make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your closet.  I’ve organized gorgeous, stunning master closets with expensive, designer clothing and as soon as I see wire hangers, the whole look is destroyed.

Get an instant closet makeover… buy yourself new hangers! 

My personal favorite is the velvet slim hanger.  This style can be used for both men and women.  They sell them at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, The Container Store, Costco and several other retail stores.  They are normally $9.99 for 35 black velvet slim hangers at Costco but I’ve even seen them there for as low as $6.99.

At Bed, Bath & Beyond, with the 20% off big, blue coupon, the price is around $25 for 50 velvet slim hangers.  At BB&B, they usually come in black or stone, which is an ivory color. 

The velvet slim hangers solve all of the problems that wire hangers create.  Clothes don’t slide off, their rounded edges eliminate that annoying “shoulder bump”, they have a swivel head which makes it easier to hang your clothes up and have them all face the same direction and because they are so slim, they allow you to fit much more clothing in the same amount of space.  

What about wooden hangers?  While wooden hangers are heavy and take up significantly more space in your closet, Happy Home Organizers does think they serve a purpose.  Traditional wooden hangers are great for heavy winter coats and men’s suit jackets.  As long as you have the room to accommodate them, they are a great choice for your “coat closet”.

“Clip Hangers” are also on my lists of favorites.  These work great for skirts, shorts and even pants because they allow you to hang these items without folding and creating creases that later need to be ironed.  These also work great for sleeveless tops and dress.  Just make sure they are of high quality.  Avoid plastic clip hangers which tend to break easily and don’t hold up to the weight of heavier clothes.  Look for sturdy metals ones with rubber clips that don’t leave marks or imprints on your clothes.

Giving your closet an instant upgrade with the right hangers is certainly a step in the right direction.  Buying yourself new hangers and transferring your clothes from the old hangers to the new ones will also force you to do some decluttering in the process as well.  It will force you to look at each article of clothing.  If you don’t love it or haven’t worn it in a long while- get it out.  Donate!  Remember, if your closet has too much “stuff”, you need to create space.  The ONLY way to create space is to purge.  When you are decluttering and organizing, purging = progress.     

If you are feeling overwhelmed or having a little trouble getting started, please contact Happy Home Organizers for a FREE consultation.  Don’t delay, call today!  We want you to love your closets!

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Organizing Your Spices For The Holidays

Organizing Your Spices For The Holidays!

spicesThe holidays are coming!  You know you’ll be cooking and baking up a storm! Are your kitchen spices ready and at your fingertips?  Follow the organizing steps below and they will be!

As with all organizing projects, the first step is to SORT your existing spices.  Place all of your spices on a counter or table and examine them.  Check the expiration dates.  According to StillTasty, whole spices will stay fresh for 4 years, ground spices 2-3 years and dried herbs 1-3 years.  Now that it is empty, this is also a great time to clean your cabinet!

The second step is to PURGE.  Throw away anything that is expired, that you can’t identify or has a missing lid.

The third, and in my opinion most exciting, step is to ORGANIZE.  There are a few things to consider when it comes to organizing your spices.  

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Location:  Where should you store your spices?  Store them where you use them!  The location will depend on the configuration and amount of space available in your kitchen.  Spices can be stored in drawers, cabinets or pantries.  The number of spices you have might also determine where you store them.  Make sure you pick a location that can accommodate your current selection and perhaps 10% more in case you buy something new.  Always leave a little room for expansion.

Organizing Products:  There are lots of products that can help make your spices easier to see and get to.  Think vertical!  My favorite product for spices is what I call the “mini bleacher”.  These fit great in cabinets and pantries and they let you see all of your spices.  Other options included tiered racks for drawers, racks that mount on the inside of your cabinet doors and even a lazy susan.   They key is to be able to see the spices in the back row(s). 

Once you have decided on where you are going to store your spices and what product(s) you are going to use, the last decision is how to arrange your spices in your new system.  Happy Home Organizers suggests that you arrange your spices by putting the ones you use most frequently front and center for easy access.

Finally, an organization system is only as good as how you use it.  Remember to periodically sort and purge old spices and ALWAYS put things back where they belong as soon as you are finished using them.

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Want to Feel Happier? Start by Making Your Bed!


If you made your bed today, you deserve a round of applause!  Good for you!  You should feel very proud of yourself.

Making your bed is one of the healthiest habits you can acquire.  It’s not just about being neat and tidy.  It sets you up for success!

As a Professional Organizer, many of my clients feel depressed about their clutter.  They are completely overwhelmed by too much stuff.  They become paralyzed and don’t even know where to begin.

My advice is to start by making your bed!  Every day.  It’s a task that is manageable.  It should not overwhelm you.  It should take no more than 3 minutes.   

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Making your bed starts your day on a positive note.  It puts you in the right frame of mind.  Making your bed makes you feel productive.

I also feel strongly that you should love your blanket or comforter.  Your sheets and pillows too.  You should love how your bed looks and feels.  Everyone deserves nice, comfortable sheets, pillows and a blanket.  Maybe it’s time to go shopping and treat yourself to new linens.

True, some comforter sets and pillows can be very expensive but you should not have to spend a fortune to have a nicely made bed.  Buy something that makes you feel good.

Making your bed nicely and with pride will also have a calming effect on you.  You will feel more in control.   You will feel happier!

Plus, your bed is the focal point of your room.  When your bed is made, your room instantly looks better.

Recently, I saw the above video on Facebook.  It is an excerpt from the commencement speech given by Admiral William H. McRaven to the class of 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin.  In it, he explains the importance of making your bed each day.  It’s really a brilliant speech.

He explains, “By completing this one quick and simple thing, you have successfully accomplished the first task of your day.  While small, it can give you the sense of pride and encouragement you may need to tackle the next task, and the next, and the next.  By the end of the day, that one task will have turned into many.”  So true.  Please watch this short video.  Enjoy!

Remember, I am here to help you get organized and stay organized.  I want you to be healthy and happy.  Call me or email me if you need me.  I provide FREE one-hour consultations.

Please, do yourself a favor.  Start each day- by making your bed! 

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Why Hiring a Professional Organizer is the Best Investment You Can Make for Your Overall Health and Happiness

Mom in Chaos

If you had a broken toilet, you would call a plumber- right?  If your power went out, you would call an electrician- right?  Then why, if you are buried in clutter and can’t seem to get organized on your own, would you not call a Professional Organizer to help you?

There’s absolutely no shame in calling for help.   If something needs fixing in a major way- like your home, your family, your mental, physical and emotional health-  hiring a Professional Organizer to help you fix the clutter problem in your life is not a luxury.  It’s a necessity.

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Now it’s true, hiring a Professional Organizer is not free.  Some charge per hour and some charge per project.   The price may depend on the scope of the job.   On average, depending on what state you live in, the rates vary from $50/hour – $75/hour.However, a good Professional Organizer is worth every penny they charge- and then some.  They don’t just help you clear out your clutter, organize your stuff and make your house look pretty.   They transform your life!  Professional Organizers are really “personal trainers” for your home or office.  They whip your spaces into top-notch shape.

Professional Organizers are “declutter coaches”.  We act as cheerleaders too- motivating you and keeping you on track.  We help you decide what to keep and what to let go of.

Living with clutter is crippling.  Extreme clutter and hoarding behavior is dangerous and damages families.

I am always so proud and happy for my clients when they pick up the phone to call me or email me.   I know that if they are coming to me- they’re serious.  They want the help and they’re willing to put in the financial, emotional and physical investment to finally change their situation.

Think of the psychology too.  Once people pay for something, now they are more than just emotionally and physically invested.  They are financially invested.   Once that happens, then they really will work hard to get the job done.

I just finished running a series of Workshops sponsored by the Phoenix Public Library System called “Conquer The Clutter” where I motivated and taught the audience how to declutter, get organized and stay organized.  I really enjoyed it and the audiences were great.  I don’t mind giving away some of my best organizing tips.  I love teaching.  I also respect budgets and if people want to learn how to do it all by themselves to save money- that’s terrific.   I will teach them every technique and strategy I know.   It makes me feel good knowing that my teaching will really make a huge difference in the quality of their lives.

However, I know that some jobs are simply too big to handle on your own.  I organize for a living.  I work  5 hours straight without a break.  Not everyone can do that.   Some people simply don’t have the time or physical strength.

I advise people to chip away at their clutter.  Do a little bit everyday.  (For more organizing tips, please read my other blog postings).

So, for all of you out there who are still living with piles of paper, you can’t see your floor or furniture because of too much stuff or you’re embarrassed to have guests over, please, do yourself the biggest favor.  Call a Professional Organizer.  Ask if they’re a member of NAPO- the National Association of Professional Organizers.   That’s a good starting point.  For more information, go to

The bottom line is this, hiring a Professional Organizer gets the job done and done right.  Think of the rewards… you’ll be clutter-free!  Your home will look good and feel good.  You’ll have less stress.  You’ll feel more in control, like you have a sense of order back.  You’ll be more efficient because you will be able to find things again.  Every item will have a home and you will be able to find it easily.   You’ll get your life back!  It is possible.

Think of any service provider you call to help you.  You might have to sacrifice buying other things.

Hiring a Professional Organizer will be the best investment you ever make for your health and happiness.  It is so much more than just a home improvement.  You’ll be making  a life improvement.

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Start 2017 off with a Decluttered and Organized Home!



Are you feeling overwhelmed and totally stressed out with the clutter in your home?  Do you have piles of paper and stuff everywhere?  Do you feel like your house is a mess and therefore suffer with CHAOS – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome?  Vow to make 2017 the year to finally restore a sense of order and calm to your life.  You CAN conquer the clutter in your home and create an organized system where there is “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

5 Tips On Decluttering and Getting Organized:

  1. Make a commitment to get your home into shape.   You have to WANT it!  You need that “eye-of-the-tiger” and determination to really do it.  It IS hard work in the beginning but just remember to keep your eye on the prize… a clutter-free home you can enjoy and be proud of.  Just like eating right and exercising is how you maintain a healthy lifestyle, being organized is a life-style too.  Once you get organized, you want to stay organized.

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The GOOD NEWS:  Getting your home into shape is A LOT easier than getting your body into shape.  When you declutter, you are creating space.  You get results instantly.  It’s easier than you think.  Dare I say, decluttering and organizing can and should be fun!

  1. Get yourself BANANA BOXES!  Yes, you read that correctly.  As a Professional Organizer, this is my absolute favorite organizing tool.  You can get them at most grocery stores- for FREE!  They are sturdy, they have handles and they stack beautifully.  Why banana boxes and what are we supposed to do with them you ask?  Well, START SORTING!  The first step in the decluttering and getting organized process is sorting all your items into CATEGORIES.  Each banana box represents a category.  Example:  T-shirts in one box, bathing suits in another box, unopened mail/paper in another box, etc.  Keep going.  This is how you start to create your system.  Your foundation for order.
  1.  Decide what items you are going to KEEP, DONATE, SELL or TRASH.  

As you are sorting through all of your items, have a big trash bag ready.  The items that “jump out at you” that you know are broken- trash ‘em.  Get ‘em out.  That’s a no-brainer.

Have a big box or bag ready for donations (Goodwill, Church, Synagogue, etc.)  The items that are still good but you really never use or never wear- donate.  Feel good about donating.  Remember the famous saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. “     So true.

For the items you want  to sell, consider having a Garage Sale, Ebay, Craig’s List, Consignment Shops, etc.

  1. Create HOMES for all your items.  This part is crucial!  For the items you are going to KEEP, you need to know where every single item “lives”.  Once you’ve decluttered and you’re left with only the items you’re keeping, now the magic will start happening.  Your organized system, your foundation, will start to take shape!
  1. MAINTAIN your clutter-free and organized system by always doing the following:
  • Put every item you use back in its proper HOME.
  •  Always store “like items” with “like items”.   Don’t mix your  categories.
  • “One item in, one item out” rule.  Only keep what you have the  room to store.  If you don’t have the use for it or don’t have the room to store it, don’t buy it.

The trick to staying organized is just keeping up with your system. Staying organized is all about forming new habits.  Once you get into your new routine, you will find that keeping a clutter-free, organized home is easier than you think and life will run so much smoother and more efficiently.


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N.Y. Times Article

This article, printed in the New York Times,  is a very good read for anyone who is trying to declutter and get organized.

The best way to declutter is by making a commitment to getting stuff out of your house. You must be willing to “let go”of things. If not, progress will never be made. Period.

I happen to be very sentimental and believe everybody should own his or her own “memory box” of cherished possessions.

However, if items do not qualify as sentimental, you must say the following: “Use it or lose it!”

There are 4 categories when decluttering and organizing: KEEP, DONATE, TRASH, SELL.  That’s it.  Keep it simple.

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If you’re overwhelmed with the amount of clutter around you, then start off easy. Work a little bit everyday. Chip away at your clutter.

Start with the items that jump out at you that are broken or you know you will never use again. The no-brainers. Get ’em out!

You will find that purging your unwanted items will make you feel good. You will feel lighter. You will breathe better, I promise.

Now, the items you are keeping, immediately find a home for. That is where that item shall LIVE. Forever.

Think Ben Franklin’s famous quote: “A place for everything and everything in its place”.

This is the mantra for every Professional Organizer on the planet.

Decluttering and organizing CAN be fun!

Don’t forget to drink water and eat healthy snacks. You need your energy. Think of it as exercise too. Hey, you’re burning calories. Turn on some good music too. Make decluttering and organizing a positive experience.

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Life is Happier… when your home is Organized!