Archive for Books

How to organize to create joy in your home.

man and woman holding hands together with boy and girl looking at green trees during day

I had  a number of questions submitted to me about how to create joy in your home.  Here are my answers.  I hope you enjoy them. Please send me more questions or place your thoughts in the comments about creating joy at home.

How does tidying up a home help create joy?

Tidying up so you are able to find what you want, when you want it, use it to accomplish your task and know where to put it away relieves, stress, tension and frustration.  It also uses less energy to complete your work, leaving more energy, physical and emotional, for other parts of your life.  Feeling less anxious and overwhelmed makes room in your life for happiness and joy because your have time to spend on the important things, health, relationships and personal growth.

How can you use the idea of a happiness shrine to help someone to have more joy and  help reduce clutter?

A “happiness shrine” or “pride shrine” in a home is a shelf/wallspace/corner  used to display items that serve no utilitarian purpose but make you happy.  I have a space in my office where I post 1 picture from some  vacations with my family and a small shelf for interesting items, that remind me of my successes.  This corner certainly makes me smile with many memories.  By having a designated, limited and personal space for sentimental items,  people need to decide which things are really important to them. It allows other areas in the home to be organized purposefully reducing distracting clutter in the commonly used areas. Give each member of the home a “pride shine” area and remember what is in your shrine can change and evolve to reflect your life past, present and future.

White cupboard door with pictures on it.

How can someone organize their running shoes and workout gear in an attractive way  where they are visible but don’t wind up in piles on the floor? 

Exercise is one of many ways to help increase your mental wellness.  People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise   A study showed that people are more likely to exercise or make healthy habits if they can see their workout gear. Goals and habits are easier to accomplish if you are intentional about your plan, set a day and time to exercise.  Organize your sneakers and workout gear on a shelf so you can see them when you enter your room or open the closet. A shoe or pocket organizer hung on the inside of a door will also work well.  Roll your exercise gear, shorts, tops, warm up pants, warm up tops, running jacket, etc and place each item in a pocket.  It will make it easy to see your workout gear as well as limit the amount of gear you purchase.  Don’t forget to put the shoes in one of the pockets too. A drawer may keep your gear hidden from your view but if you prefer using a drawer also put items in the drawer that you use everyday so you will continue to notice your workout gear daily.

Books bring  joy to many people. How can we tidy up our book collections? 

Books are such a personal topic.  Some people read a book once and donate to their library while the book is current and in good shape.  Other people like to be reminded of the stories they have read and so keep books just to remember them.  Still other people like to have beautiful picture style books and enjoy them as entertainment, like watching a movie. Lastly, people like them as reference books on topics they have studied or want to learn about.  Think about why you have books and if they still serve you well.  Perhaps you can check out books from the library, download books, share books or trade books to reduce the number of books you own but still be able to enjoy them.  If you have more books than you can display on shelves in your home, I think you have too many.  Books that are kept in boxes can’t be used, enjoyed or experienced.  Reducing the clutter of owning boxes of books, reduces the time and energy spent on thinking and worrying about what to do with them. It frees up time to spend on the things that are important to you now and it frees up space.

How does donating unused or unwanted items help to create its own sense of joy?

Donating unused or unwanted items creates a sense of helping others.  Your items can be used to help raise money for community causes, given to charities to help people, develop relationships with organizations to make the world a better place for everyone.  We are so privileged to have enough to share with others.  Your sense of joy may come from protecting the environment by keeping useful items out of the landfill, by sharing your wealth to support people and projects locally or globally, by being an example for others to follow.  Joy comes in many forms.

Car trunk full of bags of things to donate

POC Gold Leaf MemberJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at

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Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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National Multiple Sclerosis Day

Dancing with MS

Near the end of May  is National Multiple Sclerosis Day.  I have met a wonderful lady who has this disease and conquers it every day.  She has written a book about her life.  It is an amazing story by Eva Marsh  called Black Patent Shoes Dancing with MS.  Go to her website and order it.  It will make you laugh and cry and rejoice with her.  You will learn a lot about this disease in a fun, entertaining way.  If you need a speaker for your group she is the lady for you, always upbeat, insightful and fun.

If you need help organizing because your health may make some tasks difficult, call me and let me be of service to you.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at


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Recycling and Donating

Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Recycling and Donating

OES Ontario Electronic Stewardship

If you are looking for locations to recycle your computers, TV, printers, fax machines, etc., this website will help you find a location near you.

Highlight Consumer/Retailers then click on Recycle your electronic

Go to the bottom of the page and type in the name of your city in Ontario and it will give you a list of locations


If you have books you would like to donate, libraries and used bookstores may take them.  There is a new organization that is able to put books into prisons.  It is call Books to Bars.  It is dedicated to promoting literacy, creativity and functionality in correctional facilities.


Clothing can be donated to women’s shelter as well as Salvation Army, Value Village, New Horizons Store on James St, Hamilton ON. There is a children’s store that is called Once Apon a Child and a teen and young adult store called Plato located at Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, Burlington ON.  They are not consignment stores.  You bring in your clothes and they buy it (what they want) on the spot and give you the money right away.

Building Supplies

Habitat for Humanity Restores will take building supplies.  Call ahead to see if they need the items that you wish to donate.

Antique Stores

Some antique stores will take window frames, furniture etc.  I have an artist that is looking for  antique items to use in her craft business.  Contact

Decore on a Dime

This store is located in Hamilton, ON and will take some stylish home furnishings on consignment.

Orange Drop

Check out this website to learn locations to drop off your corrosive, flammable, explosive and toxic items.

Single Use Batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be dropped off with your electronics but they will not take single use batteries.  Try contacting your local stores to see if they are a collection depot for single use batteries.



Please go to  and click on the links page for more ideas about recycling and donating good used items.  If you have and questions or other great recycling and donating ideas click on the contact page, I’d love to hear from you.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at

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ADD-Friendly ways to Organize your Life

This is the name of a book that can help people with ADD to get organized.  It can also help other people to understand how they can assist someone with ADD get organized. The person without ADD acts as a coach.

ADD Friendly ways to Organize your Life

ADD Friendly ways to Organize your Life

The book mentions:

  • Stop coaches – help to determine when the task is finished
  • Decision Coaches – someone who can help to clarify thoughts and feelings by asking questions
  • Priority coaches – talk things over to help make things clearer

There are chapters on:

  • different approaches to organizing,
  • thing organizing,
  • time organizing and
  • paper organizing.

Each chapter suggests strategies and processes for a person with ADD to try.  Then the chapter continues and explains how a coach, friend or family member can assist.  The last part of the chapter explains how a Professional Organizer would work with the client.

Easy to Use

The book is written and formatted so it is easy for a person with ADD to use.  The sections are short.  There are circles and boxes, headings and bullet points and a review section at the end of each chapter. Judith Kolberg, a Professional Organizer and Kathleen Nadeau, a Psychologist have collaborated to create a book full of strategies that work.

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What has  been a helpful resources for learning about organizing skills?

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To Pinterest or Not to Pinterest

Pinterest logo

A great site for visual learners

Pinterest can be a great resource.  It has ideas on how to organize everything and anything.  It has DIY solutions in all price ranges and skill levels.    Pinterest is good resource for visual learners, you see the design on your screen.

So why don’t I like it? The problem that arises for me, as a Trained Professional Organizer, occurs when clients see something on Pinterest and ask me to create that system for them.  Just because it is on Pinterest doesn’t mean it is the right solution for you.  It is the right solution for the person who posted it.

Evaluate the idea and think about how you do things before you copy it.  Just because you like the way it looks or because it is trending doesn’t mean it will work for the way you think and do things.  Deciding how to organize your books, jewelry etc needs to be done in a way that you can find what you need, when you need it and in a timely manner.

Organizing your books by colour looks great on the wall but will you be able to find a book you need.  If you did it with  a small number of books or only pick 2 or 3 colours of books you could adapt the idea  and make it work.

Books sorted by colour

Books sorted by colour create an interesting design for your wall

If you organize your jewelry hanging it from the horizontal bar of a hanger using binder clips to attach the jewelry if may be a good solution if you don’t have a lot of jewelry.  If you hang all your jewelry and then slide the hangers on a rod to look for a certain piece of jewelry the jewelry might become tangled as they sway when the hangers are moved. How would you attach your rings? You might end up this your jewelry stored in many different locations and not be able to find what you want.

Jewelery ooohund on a hanger using binder clips

If you have a small amount of jewelery and a space on your wall to place your hanger this might work for you.

A recipe may look great.  Is it something you can make in a big batch and freeze so you can get 2 meals for the time you are spending in the kitchen?  Are the ingredients something you have in your cupboard or will you need to make an extra trip to the store?

Enjoy using Pinterest but use it wisely to help you save time, money and effort.

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Scaling down, Living Large in a smaller space

Scaling down

Great ideas for downsizing, moving or moving a family member

This book written by Judi Culbertson and Marj Decker is a complete guide to help you declutter and move. It has practical solutions for downsizing your clothing, collections and dealing with sentimental items.

It also addresses how to move a family member to a supervised living facility. The authors remind you that if your parent can make decisions that your purpose is to help them move happily from a large space to a smaller space not make decisions for them.

It suggests that you write a book about your life, put it down in black and white. A number of different ways of recording events about your life are provided.

It has a chapter on the step by step process of moving into your new home. They examine the psychology of making the down scaling change

It is a great resource to have. Who knows when you will need it.

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