Newspaper Columns from the New Britain City Journal


leaving things to the kids; finding art treasures

Dear Les Is More:

A few weeks ago my friend’s father had to go to the hospital.  My friend went to his home (he is a widower) to pick up a few things. The place, although clean was disorganized with paper all over the dining room table.  It seemed paper was everywhere and you could hardly step around it without knocking something down. I’m turning  60 next year, (my husband died a few years ago) and do not want the same thing to happen when it is my time.  What can I do?


Dear Michelle:

This is a great question and the easy answer is:Make sure everyone in the family knows your parents’ wishes…and please don’t fight over the blender. But the more difficult answer is: When someone dies, your emotions are highed and the guilt of doing too much, not enough or just enough is also heightened…and decisions are made with these high emotions. These are some ways to not have the guilt and emotion ruin your relationships with family members over the mundane items in your house.

Have a family meeting where you are in control of everything and ask each child what they want in the house.  If there are the same answers to different items, YOU choose who gets it. But, I would write it all in a will.  Make sure you also have given one of your children powers of attorney and please sign a living will. Remember it’s just stuff as the great Peter Walsh, professional organizer says. If there are important items you want certain children to have, leave it in your will or give the possessions to the people now.

Also, contact a lawyer and put everything in writing.  You and your family will be glad you did.

Good Luck!

Dear Les Is More:

Recently, I was looking in my mother’s attic and found a large group of drawings. My mother told me to take them-but what do I do with them? They are not my taste and I feel bad if I just tossed them away.

Sincerely, Shaun

Dear Shaun:

I would find out who the artist is and look up what the drawings are worth.  I fyou cannot find anything on the internet that gives you this; I would call a local museum and speak to the curator. Either photo graph the drawings or if you live close enough make an appointment and bring the drawings with you.  This way you can make an informed decision since you will have all of the facts.  You might be surprised by finding a treasure…you just never know. 


teaching children to organize & sorting the mail

Dear LesIsMore:

How do you make time to organize with two little ones at home and a full time job?



Dear Anne:

Teach your children to pick up after themselves and to keep their room tidy. If you get your children involved they might not have problems with clutter as they grow older. Make this part of their chores and give them a special treat for doing it well.  Also, when you bring something into the home, take something out. There is just so much space in a home and if you need to “let go” of items-then let them go.


 Have an Organized Day!




Dear Les Is More

My pressing problem is how to hide mail clutter. I've tried different tactics but it always end up on my kitchen table in a mess!



Dear Dawn

Why are you trying to hide it?  Buy a shredder and shred it.  You need to go through the mail every day and sort it.  If you are into piles- get some baskets and label them into “bills”, “magazines” and “newspapers.”  Give every member of the family their own basket and sort the mail that way. Set it up in a corner of the kitchen or another room and you will never have a kitchen table that is a mess again.


Have an Organized Day.


Closets and dealing with loved ones things

Dear Les is More:

I do not have the time to clean my closet, but is there one thing that I can do now?

Thanks! Anne


Dear Anne:

Congrats on wanting to get organized. Yes, there is a very easy way to start. I want you to put a laundry basket on the floor of your closet. When you are getting ready in the morning or any other time and trying on clothes and you try on something you do not like, or does not fit anymore put it in the basket.  When the basket is filled, put in a large garbage bag, write down what is in there—and deliver to Salvation Army.  Keep doing this until you have the closet of your dreams. Good Luck.

Dear Les Is More:

My uncle just died and my cousins and I are responsible for all of his stuff—what do we do with it?


Dear Bill:

My condolences to you and your family.  I would go through everything and decide who wants it. Then, when you all have your items separated—then you need decide what to do with them. Pick a few of the pieces you love and he loved or anything you two shared. Next, I would do research on what you are left with, and decide if you want to sell it, donate it or pack it up and put it in your attic. If you pack it up for at least a year, it will hurt less when you are ready to let it go. Good Luck. Have an Organized Day.



Downsizing a home 

Dear Les Is More:

How can you become organized if your brain isn't?



Dear Maureen:

Our brain can be trained to be organized if you know the tools and tricks to do it. First, if you have a lot of worries that you think are cluttering your brain-then write them all down. Besides the worries, write down the ways you think you can stop them. If you worry about money, then do not spend as much and give to charity instead of shopping to you drop.

Then, take one step at a time. Want to organize your kitchen? Do it one drawer at a time. You did not just jump from the womb to walking-it took time. Allow yourself time to get organized and to not do it in one day.

Have an Organized Day!

Les Is More


Dear Les Is More:   What is a good way to start sorting through items when one is downsizing a home?

Thank you,



Dear Carol:  First, think of the new house and the day you are moving as survival and pack a survival kit.  This kit includes sheets for every bed and that will be slept in on moving night and enough kitchen items to make breakfast.  Pack these first and label them survival kit and have this the last thing you put on the truck and the first thing that gets un packed. Then, go through the furniture and pick out what you are keeping and what you are either selling or donating and put in one room.  This will be the room you are using as either donation or tag sale before the move room.

Then, as you pack belongings and decide what to keep and what to donate you just put it in the room.

Start with one room and finish that room before you move to the next room. Each person should have a survival kit of all their items they will need for the first week of living in the new house.

Remember, as you pack if you don’t LOVE it—donate it. This will be a perfect excuse to get rid of everything you don’t love and if anyone asks, “It must have been lost in the move.”

Have an organized day.


Kitchen issues; what to do with all those photos?

Dear Les Is More:

I have kitchen issues!  Do you have any suggestions on keeping school lunches cold and instead of using post it notes or writing on tape how to keep dates on your food? I’ve looked for new products but do not know which ones to trust.


Dear Kim:

I am always trying out new products, so you have come to the right place. First, if you want to bring salad with the dressing in a separate container—you need to try the GLAD with interlocking lids. It comes with a small container that locks into the lid (hence the name) when you put the lid on your glad ware. This is great for nuts, sauce or anything small in size and it works wonders.

I also love the E-Z Freeze stayfit snack stackers with the freezer gel already in the container…freeze it and it keeps your food cold and fresh.

The last one I love is the digital day counter with attaches to a varity of surfaces and it lets you know how many days you did what you did to the food you are storing. Did you ground the coffee when? Did you store the baby food on Monday or was it Wednesday?  With this little counter you will never have to worry again.  Oh and it was on the Oprah Show…when Oprah was on. (

I have discovered a kitchen rug that is wonderful on your feet and makes washing dishes easier on your legs.  It’s called the Microdry Kitchen Mat ( and it uses memory foam and I have two to give away. Email me at and ask me a question about organizing and the best question will win the Mat.   

Have an Organized Day!


Dear Les Is More:

I have loads of photos and really don’t  want them sitting in a drawer and there is no way I am going to scrapbook them –ever.  I used your idea of putting them in a bowl but I want them more organized—any ideas?


Dear Lisa:

Glad you liked the bowl idea (fill a large bowl with photos and leave it on your coffee table instant- ice- breaker).

 I recently tried out a photo tray with built in frames from KangaRoom storage. This lovely leather tray holds 440 4x6 photos and looks great on a coffee or side table. It also can be stacked if you buy one for your family and friends and one for your travels. Its makes looking for a photo quite lovely. Check it out at

Have an organized day.