Today is the 22nd annual Read Across America day. This is a program that I think is fabulous because I loved to read as a child & I still try to get in as much reading as I can.

Read Across America is dedicated to motivating children in all communities to celebrate reading in conjunction with the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, whose birthday is tomorrow, March 2nd.  Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss’ books?!

As a professional organizer, I am urging all of you to round up those books that you no longer read, need, have grown out of and are gathering dust and donate them.

Here is a list of 10 ideas on how to donate or recycle your gently used books.

  1. Better World Books: A global e-retailer that collects and sells used books online with a matching donation for each sale. They have book drop boxes throughout the United States. The books are picked up from the drop box site and transported to one of their sorting facilities and there they determine which books are able to be sold, donated or recycled. Books in good condition are either sold online through their website or one of their 30+ marketplaces or donated to literacy partners. Books that cannot be sold or donated are recycled and converted into pulp for new products such as brown tissue, cardboard, or even new book covers. Not one book will ever see a landfill! Please visit their website to learn more and to find a location near you.
  2. BookCrossing: This is the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.”The term is derived from, a free online book club which was founded to encourage the practice, aiming to “make the whole world a library.” If you finish your book while you are sitting in your doctor’s waiting area, leave it for the next person who might enjoy it. Make sure that you don’t leave any personal information in it such as your name, address or the bank receipt you were using as a bookmark.
  3. Book Swaps: You can host a book swap at your home. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors – just make sure they enjoy reading! Ask them to bring along 2-3 used books they no longer need. You could also serve food or better yet have a potluck so you are not stuck doing all of the work! The basic gist is that you all swap books and everyone goes home with a couple of books they have never read before. Your guests can talk about the book they brought and why they loved reading it. You can also make a game of it similar to a white elephant party. Just be aware that it could get quite competitive!  There are a ton of ideas online to inspire and help you have a successful swap.
  4. Internet Search: Google “where to donate books” in your area so you can pass on your books to give a little bit of enjoyment to someone else. There are many places that would be happy to receive your donations.
  5. Little Free Library: This is probably my favorite way to donate books!  Little Free Library is a neighborhood book exchange where anyone can take or leave a book. Use their world map to find a library in your area, then stop by and drop off your books! Some of the libraries people build are so stinking cute! Who knows? Maybe you will want to build your own Little Free Library for your neighborhood!
  6. Local libraries: I recommend calling in advance to see if they are currently accepting book donations. You can visit the library’s website as well. They often have a monthly donation day along with a list of materials they can and cannot accept.
  7. Local Retirement Homes: Please don’t just show up boxes of books to drop off at your local retirement home. I recommend calling the location to discuss what kind of books they are looking for and to make sure they indeed want your used books.
  8. Local schools: I would touch base with the school’s district office to see if they are accepting book donations. My grandson’s high school held a book drive during the month of February to raise money for mental health awareness.
  9. Savers: Savers family of stores is a for-profit, global thrift retailer who will accept your gently used books and more! You can feel good when you donate at a Savers Community Donation Center. They help by keeping 700 million pounds of stuff out of landfills each year!   Please contact your local store for a complete list of acceptable and non-acceptable donations. This list may be changed and/or modified as needed to accommodate business needs. They have locations throughout the United States. You can find a location near you on their website.
  10. Read Indeed: Read Indeed is a charity that has grown out of one girl’s wish to share her love of reading with kids in need. Her charity collects and distributes gently use and new books to children from ages 0-18. She has donated nearly 1.8 million books, equating to more than $5,000,000 in book donations. You are can find more information on their website.

Be Awesome!  Be a Book Nut! ~ Dr. Seuss


I am constantly being asked, “What should I do with all of my paper?” It is usually the biggest challenge for most people.

Since there is a very good chance you are working on your taxes right now (if you are done – way to go!) I thought this would be a great time to focus on filing. This is an opportune time to get rid of outdated documents by going through your old papers.

I must preface by saying I am an Organizing Expert, I am not an accountant or an attorney. These are systems that have proven useful for my clients and for myself. If in doubt, please contact your accountant or attorney for further professional advice.

Archive files are files that you rarely need to access. These files do not need to be in your office or in close proximity. They could be kept in the garage up in the rafters, in the attic or in the basement. They can be stored in a file cabinet, plastic file boxes, or corrugated bankers boxes. Whatever you decide to use be consistent and use the same kind. Doing this makes it easy for storage purposes and you will utilize your space efficiently.

Go through all of your files once a year. I like to do it at the end of the year, typically the week between Christmas and New Years. The reason to go through your files annually is get rid of the old and make room for the new.

Be very choosey on what you keep and remember most of this stuff will never be used again!

Some examples of what may be considered to include in archive files:

  • Annual tax returns and supporting documentation  – keep 7 years
  • Audit reports – keep forever
  • Year-end financial summary statements – once you have received the year-end statement compare to your quarterly statements. Assuming you approve the statements, shred the quarterly statements.  Keep with your tax records
  • Bank statements – Keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Credit card statements – keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Receipts – keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Loan documentation – can get rid of once the loan is paid off
  • Mortgage documents – as long as you own the home
  • Receipts for home improvement/home repair records – as long as you own the home
  • Receipts and warranties for any big-ticket items  – keep the life of the product
  • Memorabilia – be reasonable here.  This category can get out of control really fast. Assign one bin per family member. When the bin gets full, something has to be removed before something else goes in. Do not have multiple bins per family member!
  • Personal health records – keep indefinitely. Purge as necessary

I will write about other kinds of files in future blogs.

Happy Filing,


I absolutely love what I do. I live a pretty great life and I am surrounded by people who love me and support me.

I have the opportunity to truly change people’s lives through the work that I do, I absolutely love being a Lifestyle Manager. I am very passionate about helping people live more organized lives, be more productive at work and feel confident that their home is being managed properly. It brings me such great joy when I am helping someone learn to live a less stressful life by letting go and taking back control of their surroundings.

I am here to serve my clients, I am here to help make their lives better and I work hard to build a relationship of trust and respect.

Are you ready to finally stop with all of the excuses?  Are you ready to get serious about reaching your lifestyle goals?  If you think you’re ready to break through whatever it is that has been holding you back then let’s chat.  Click here to get in touch with me.

I want you to love, love, love your surroundings!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Did you know that the month of February is Canned Food Month?

There are so many people in need.  You can help someone less fortunate by donating canned food to your local food bank.

There are plenty of places that will gladly accept your non-perishable items.  Your donation will help put a meal on someone’s table, how great is that!

Perhaps you are willing to organize a food drive at your place of worship, your school or at your work.

If you have non-perishable food in your pantry at home that you know you are not going to eat, don’t just let it sit there and eventually expire – why not donate it to someone who will put it to good use?  Plus you are clearing out space in your own home!

Some ideas to get you started:

  • You could make it a competition to see who gathers the most food.
  • You could get your neighbors involved, a quick way to gather a lot of food!
  • If you have recently lost weight you could donate the amount lost in food.  For example if you lost 20 pounds you could donate 20 pounds of food.
  • You can also donate money or your time.

I suggest searching the directory of food banks and more to find a location near you at

Thank you for your generosity,


Well, January is almost over.  How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?

Year after year I would have a list of resolutions and the only thing that was consistent was me not keeping them, year after year.  So I don’t do them anymore!

I do, however, set goals for myself.  I reach my goals by breaking them down into doable tasks.  Completing the tasks over the allotted time I have given myself helps me reach my goal.

I suggest you do the same.  If your resolution is to “get organized this year” turn it into a goal “I will organize one room a month”.  Then break that goal down into tasks.  Work in the space every day, every weekend, etc. for 30 minutes, 1 hour, an entire afternoon, you get the picture.  Whatever amount of time you decide on, honor your decision and don’t forget to use a timer to keep yourself on track.  Completing your tasks will help you achieve your goal of getting that given room organized in a month.

If you do this you will be completely organized by the end of the year.  What a great accomplishment!

Cheers to you and to a season of new beginnings.

Happy New Year Everyone!

It is hard to believe that another year has come and gone. Thank you for your support in 2018.

I am wishing you all an abundant & joyful New Year!

Cheers to new beginnings and may 2019 be your best year yet!

You write with your left hand?

I didn’t know you’re a lefty.

You are writing with the wrong hand.

You are writing upside down.

You write weird.

Look at the Southpaw.

These are just some of the comments I have heard in my life when people see me writing. I personally have never understood what the big deal was – yes, I am left handed.

Early on in my school years I had a teacher who constantly told me I had to write with the correct hand, my right hand. She would embarrass me if front of my classmates and make me put my pencil in my right hand which was a huge struggle for me. I would go home, cry to my mom and tell her what was happening at school. Now, my mom was not one to argue with any of the school staff, they were smart; they were figures of authority. But I was upset, I was falling behind and so this made my mom upset…very upset. She went to have a “conversation” with my teacher and ever since then I was able to write with the correct hand for me.

I looked up Left Handed on to see what other words were used to describe being left handed. I was surprised & somewhat disheartened but mainly amused to see how negative most of the descriptions were.

  • Ambilevous – having the ability to perform manual skill tasks with both hands.
  • Awkward – Lacking skill or dexterity. Lacking grace or ease in movement. Lacking social graces or manners.
  • Clumsy – Awkward in movement or action; without skill or grace. Awkwardly done or made; unwieldy; ill-contrived.
  • Dubious – Doubtful; marked by or occasioning doubt. Of doubtful quality or propriety; questionable. Of uncertain outcome.
  • Gauche – Lacking social grace, sensitivity, or acuteness; awkward; crude; tactless.
  • Insincere – not sincere; not honest in the expression of actual feeling; hypocritical.
  • Maladroit – lacking in adroitness; unskillful; awkward; bungling; tactless.
  • Sinister – threatening or portending evil, harm, or trouble; ominous. Bad, evil, base, or wicked; fell. Unfortunate; disastrous; unfavorable.
  • Sinistral – of, relating to, or on the left side; left (opposed to dextral). left-handed. (of certain gastropod shells) coiling counterclockwise, as seen from the apex.
  • Southpaw – a person who is left-handed. Sports: a player who throws with the left hand, especially a pitcher or Boxing, a boxer who leads with the right hand and stands with the right foot forward, using the left hand for the most powerful blows.

Something to chew on – If the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body then left handers are the only ones in their right mind. Right?

Here’s to all of the flattened-out spirals on notebooks, ink smudges on the side of our hand, bumping elbows at the dinner table, sitting in right-handed desks in school and learning how to use a right-handed scissor.

When dining out, I get dibs on the chair at the end of the table, so I can move my left elbow freely without bumping into anyone and oh, by the way, I like my handwriting!

Happy Left Handers Day!

by JUDY OZMENT on MARCH 1, 2013

Today is the 16th annual Read Across America day. This is a program that I think is fabulous because I loved to read as a child & I still try to get in as much reading as I can.

Read Across America is dedicated to motivating children in all communities to celebrate reading in conjunction with the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, whose birthday is tomorrow, March 2nd.  Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss’ books?!

As a professional organizer, I am urging all of you to round up those books that you no longer read, need, have grown out of and are gathering dust and donate them.

Here in Mankato our library has a designated monthly donation day.  Donations of new or gently used books can be made on the first Saturday of every month from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm at the Blue Earth County Library Garage, located at 100 East Main Street in Mankato.

To make donations outside of the designated time, please call the library at (507) 304-4005.

To learn more and to find out what is accepted, please visit their website here.

For those of you who are not in the Mankato, MN area, I urge you to do a search “where to donate books” in your area so you too can pass on your books to give a little bit of enjoyment to someone else.  There are many places that would be happy to receive your donations.

Be Awesome!  Be a Book Nut! ~ Dr. Seuss

by JUDY OZMENT on JANUARY 24, 2013

If you live in Minnesota this week and you stepped outside, you probably wanted to go right back in.  We are experiencing some of the coldest weather we have had in quite some time.

I asked this question a year ago – “Do you have a winter emergency kit for your vehicle?”  I thought it would be a good idea to revisit this again since Old Man Winter is showing no mercy.

This reminds me of the winters where I grew in west central Minnesota. I listed some of the basics which will help you organize your items to make your kit.  You should carry this kit in your vehicle during this time of the year.  Remember to have enough on hand for each person traveling with you.

Obviously your kit will vary depending on your location – you probably don’t need as much in your kit if you drive and stay in a metropolitan area, where help can get to you rather quickly.  But if you motor around in a rural area having a complete kit could make a difference between life and death.

  • non-perishable snacks
  • paper towels
  • toilet paper
  • water – smaller containers are easier to thaw.  Do not consume snow, it will lower your body temperature.
  • tire chains
  •  ice scraper/snow brush
  • jumper cables
  • road flares
  • phone charger
  • first-aid kit
  • blankets or sleeping bags
  • flashlight with spare batteries
  • manual can opener
  • extra socks
  • extra gloves
  • winter boots
  • matches
  • candles
  • first aid kit
  • pocket knife
  • medications
  • If you travel with pets, have their supplies on hand
  • shovel – go for a sturdy one with a decent size –  not the little, dinky, portable, fold-up style
  • sand or litter (not the clumping kind) for traction
  • tow rope or chain

If you are planning on taking any road trips during the winter months please make sure to check over your vehicle before you hit the road.  Check your tires, battery, fluid levels, wipers, heater, lights and brakes.  This is not not a complete list but it’s a start.

If you live in the mountains, remember your chains if needed.  I never thought about this until I lived in northern Nevada for over five years.

I have sand bags weighing 130 pounds in my trunk.  I have rear wheel drive so the extra weight in the back helps out a lot!  Keep your fuel tank full or don’t let it get below half full.  My oldest brother drilled this into my head!  Yes, Darrel,  I was listening to you all those years ago!

Let people know your departure time, expected arrival time and your route.  Stay on that route – if you have to make any changes let people know that as well.  This is all very helpful if you don’t show up when expected.

If you should become stranded don’t leave your vehicle!  Stay put and be patient.  Make sure the snow is cleared and not accumulating near the exhaust pipe.  Do not leave your vehicle idling.  Start it once an hour for about 10 minutes for heat and have a window cracked for fresh air.

I certainly hope you don’t have to use any of this but it is better to be prepared and organized in this type of situation.

Stay warm and snug as a bug in a rug,

by Dengarden on AUGUST 7, 2012

Organize Your Attic, Basement and Garage

It is time to tackle the junk havens – the storage areas of many things you probably don’t use or need. Tips:

  • Broken furniture – Schedule a time for it to be fixed or get rid of it.
  • Clothing – If you store seasonal clothing, go through it all to weed out what does not fit or look good. Hang up coats and other clothes on a portable hanging rack to save space.
  • Holiday decorations – Store in large plastic bins and stack them together.
  • Luggage – Keep only the suitcases and bags that you honestly will use. Donate the rest.
  • Sports gear – Make sure tents, sleeping bags and other equipment are packed tightly and consolidated in one area.

You house is almost completely decluttered, and the only area left is the garage. For some, this may be an all day job. Here are some tips for getting your garage organized:

  • Peg boards are good for hanging tools on the wall.
  • Use large hooks to suspend bicycles or other large items.
  • Hang garden or yard tools (shovel, rake, hoe) on the wall.
  • Shelves are a great way to organize the garage. Consider installing shelves along the walls or purchase plastic shelves from a super center or home improvement store. You also may find some sturdy wooden shelves at second hand stores.