Newspaper Columns from the New Britain City Journal

Entries in organize (6)


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.


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.


What to do with built in bookshelves

Dear Les Is More:

I am sick of my built in bookcases. They never look like bookcases do in magazines or on TV.  Do you have any ideas what I can do?



Dear Lucy:

Yes.  I have plenty of ideas—thanks for writing in.  However, you don’t tell me the room it is in, or what material it is made out of –so here are my suggestions in no particular order. 

  1. 1.       Paint the inside or wall paper the inside of the bookcases and use texture rather than color to make them stand out.
  2. 2.       Separate your books by color (use the spine of the book as your color guide) and use a few shelves to showcase a different color. 
  3. 3.       Make a few of the shelves book free and use this space for decorative items.
  4. 4.       Use baskets to make the shelf organized.  I love Kaisa Grass Tray Basket (12.00) from SERRV International (  or  1-800-422-5915) this muti-purpose basket can hold magazines and looks great on a book shelf.  Using a few baskets such as Kaisa Basket Set which comes in 3 nesting sizes is great for different items and the handles on the baskets help you to move your magazines to your favorite chair. This is also a fair trade crafts non- profit organization and their products are the most beautiful I have seen in a while, and very reasonable.
  5. 5.       I love using unusual types of baskets such as the (DabneyLeeat Lucite tray which is sexy in all the right ways.  Designed by a New York artist, this tray is beautiful and is perfect for your bookcase.  Use it to house a favorite large scale book, or a favorite book and spare glasses for the bar. Anything from this company makes a great addition to any space.
  6. 6.       Paint the entire bookcase a bold color or stain it if it’s wood.

Good Luck with your design challenge and as a last resort,  you might want  to donate all of your books, take down the book case and buy a e-reader. 


Advice on finding the right purse to keep you organized

Dear Les Is More:

I read your last article and noticed you wrote about handbags being organized, but are their bags that do the trick for you


Dear Karen:

With Charlie Sheen in the news more than civil unrest in Libya, here in New Britain I have been testing handbags to come up with the best handbag that helps you get and stay organized.  I also found out my friends have handbag envy with the array of bags I have touting around.

Although I have only tested a few hundred in the past year I feel as a professional organizer I can finally narrow it to one Handbag Company and one handbag system.

The first one is the handbag system called HeddyFreddy ( and is designed to be a marriage of fashion and function. The core of the system is the HF module which is a purse organizer (or clutch) that glides into the handbag, purse or tote. It is the outside that is changed by YOU from a vast array of styles, leathers, buckles, trims and fabrics. You move the module to the handbag shell of your liking.  Best of all, this is made in Waterbury, CT at Waterbury Leatherworks and its upscale look is less expensive than a designer bag—and it all original for you-not mass marketed like everything else. This idea is not new but the quality and ease in which this moves from handbag to tote makes this the most wonderful handbag system in the world.  

The second bag is made by Ellington. (  these bags are beautiful to look at, beautiful to use and make getting and KEEPING organized a snap. I tested the “Hannah tote” and found it to be almost too roomy. A great excuse to go shopping to fill up my bag. I also tested the “Amelia In flight tote.”  What is amazing about this bag is I bought a heavier version of these 5 years ago and have used it for all of my travels since. It makes me feel more stylish then ever while using this bag. I love  the new lighter version and it slips over the handle of your rolling luggage.  I can hardly wait to fly again knowing I have the most perfect handbags around.  


keeping purses and cars clutter free

  • Dear Les is More: How do you organize the stuff in your car?

Thanks, Trey

Dear Trey:

Every night I want you to take out that day’s trash. The McDonald wrappers and the Dunkin Donuts coffee cups get tossed away—but do not stop there—when you have a moment (and it really only takes a few of these moments) decide what you want from your car—is it a home office or a mode of transportation. If it’s your home office then go to Staples and buy any one of the Peter Walsh organizers to help you (I do like the small receipt binder with the pockets, and notepad) get organized. If you spend 1 minute a day being organized in your car it will not look like a reactor accident when you need it to be nice on a date. Have an Organized Day! 

Dear LesIsMore: My hang bag is a mess. There are never enough zippers or spaces for everything I need—what can I do?

Sincerely, CeCe

Dear CeCe:

Do you clean it out nightly? What about cleaning it weekly?  That is the first step to an organized handbag. Get rid of the trash.  Stand over your trash can and purge, purge, purge. Now you are ready to put only the essentials in your handbag. 

Now for people who think their handbag is an extension of their car and need to shoulder 30 pounds of stuff in it—there are extra pockets you can buy to put in the middle of the handbag.  These are called “Purse Organizers” and there are quite a few of them.  My favorites are the “pouchee” ( and Plaid Doctrine ( –Now you can change your handbag and be organized in seconds. Each one has many many pockets and you can use the extra space to find your cell phone, keys and wallet in a second instead of hunting through your bag—you can see everything-because everything is in a separate pocket.  Genius- Have an Organized Day. Les Is More