The Pre-Sort Process

Are you ever faced with a shelf or drawer that looks like this? Does it devilishly hide useful things?  Does your blood boil when you look at it (If not, maybe it’s ok! Our aim is for things to be “organized enough”)?


But if so, the magical process called a PRE-SORT will make this overwhelming project easier.  Block out at least 30mins and make a pile or box for each major category, eg tools, office supplies, jewelry, recycling, discards; there’s no need to make any more decisions than that during this phase.  Then, redistribute the groups: put the recycling in the bin, discards in the wastebasket, anything that has a home elsewhere (office supplies in the office? Tools in the basement?) in that home.  Those categories that remain will be much easier to manage, and can now be returned to the shelf or drawer, with or without a container such as a drawer divider.

May Tips and Tricks

Do Tackle Toppling

Contain tiny things so they can be moved as a unit & won't topple when you reach for one. Medicine cabinets are big culprits: plucking out the right bottle feels like a game of Operation. But corral them in an open bin on the shelf & grabbing the whole group or just one is a snap. Works everywhere ‑‑ for tea, vitamins, small tools, art supplies ‑‑ & so simple.

Don't Squeeze

Next time you think, "I can squeeze this one last task in before I go," just don't. Recognize it as an example of false efficiency. Cramming the task in when you don't truly have time will cause you to: do it badly, be late for your next appointment, & stress about both. Leave the task undone for now & enjoy being on time.

Get Bejeweled

My favorite way to store jewelry is in a hanging organizer like this one. You can see everything at once, & it's usually easier to hang this on a closet rod or a hook on the back of a door than it is to make room for a jewelry box. (I suppose if you have very fancy jewelry you might need something more secure, but I don't have that problem!)

Give to End Poverty

I'm excited about a poverty‑fighting program with a new chapter in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Circles has a proven (30‑year!) track record of ending generational poverty, attacking it from all sides & involving whole communities. Email me or go here if you'd like to get involved, & go here if you'd like to donate funds!

March Tips and Tricks

Here are 4 quick tips from me, Molly Boren of Simplicity Works Organizing Services. I hope they make your life a little easier.

Do Stop Phone Distractions

Every app thinks it's important enough to shake you by the lapels every 5 minutes. To turn off on‑screen or sound notifications on an iPhone, go to Settings > Notifications > select the app. On an Android it's Settings > Sound & Notification > App notifications > select the app. Limiting distractions is an essential modern skill, for your sanity as well as efficiency. I have been loving this tip lately ‑‑ very empowering!

Don’t Bury Supplies

Vertical is great for papers, but not for office supplies. They get buried in these deep, opaque upright "organizers" when we forget what we've tossed inside (supplies & other things, like cash & jewelry). Dump supplies in a drawer or box instead; it needn't be pretty. Maybe use dividers or small boxes inside & a cup on the desk for pens (but avoid over‑organizing). Extra supplies can live farther away, e.g., in a labeled box on a high bookshelf or closet.

Get Coins Counted

I got these low‑tech gadgets for my son but it's me who really loves them. Spare change clutters most homes, be it in a jar or scattered on surfaces. How to turn it into usable money? Coinstar is a good option, especially if you forego their fee by donating your cash or buying a gift card to a favorite retailer. But it's just as easy to convert 100% of it with these coin counting tubes (& paper sleeves that your bank might give you for free). I rolled $33.50 in 10 minutes while Sam built tiny forts with the finished product. Your bank then deposits the rolls or trades them for bills. You might even get very fancy with these sorting trays.

Give Freedom

Since 1983, Detroit's Freedom House has saved the lives of people fleeing torture, rape, & violence in their home countries. It gives them the tools ‑ such as legal aid & housing ‑ to build stable, independent lives & contribute to their new communities. Freedom House is now facing a 60% shortfall in its budget due to a surprise withdrawal of funding. Help this life‑giving & time‑tested group continue its work with financial or in‑kind donations or as a volunteer.

Jan Tips & Tricks

Here are 4 quick tips from me, Molly Boren of Simplicity Works Organizing Services. I hope they make your life a little easier.

Do Talk to Yourself

Clients think they're crazy for talking to themselves during organizing sessions, but I'm all for it. Organizing is about making things clearer, & when you articulate your thoughts out loud ("This goes upstairs...This is a 'to file'"), especially as you categorize, your decisions are clearer. I do this most nights as I put away the things I've brought home with me.

Don’t Do More

Scrutinize your to‐do list & consider the 4 Ds: is there anything I can Delete, Delay, Delegate, or Diminish? Julie Morgenstern helps separate the "Wish I Could Dos" from the "Actually Really Need To Do Nows."

Get Scratch Free Floors

Furniture socks are the newest entry in the "Why didn't I think of that" category. A client introduced me to these & they're just what they sound like: little socks for the feet of your furniture. They protect your floors with no adhesive to apply (or curse), saving time & money so you can save both for more important things.

Give Breakfast

Talk about a practical way to help those in need. St. Andrews in Ann Arbor has provided free breakfast "every single day no matter what" for 35 years & counting. Donate &/or volunteer to support this vital mission.

November Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks to Make Life Easier

It's easier to have fun when you're organized.

I'm back! Here are 4 quick monthly tips from me, Molly Boren of Simplicity Works Organizing Services. I hope they make your life a little easier.

Do Streamline

Holiday decorations are coming out, so take this chance to pare down. Find the pieces you don't love or haven't used. Donate them now, when charity thrift stores are happy to get them. Decide how much storage space you want to devote to decorations & stick to that volume. They will be so much easier to put away! Extra credit: temporarily remove everyday decorations to make room for the seasonal ones, & store in the empty holiday bins.

Don't Over­Decorate

Don't feel pressured to festoon the whole house with holiday decorations. A pop of the season in a few places can make just as much of an impact ‐‐ or more ‐‐ as a blizzard of tchotchkes. And it's a hundred times less stressful, leaving you more energy to enjoy the good cheer. If you need permission to do less, consider it given!

Get (and Give) Gift Cards

Gift cards for local businesses are the ultimate clutter‐free gift. They also build healthy economies & communities. Here in Ann Arbor, for instance, you can buy a Main Street Area Association gift card for your recipient's choice of any of their dozens of businesses.

Give Survival & Dignity

The International Rescue Committee has a wonderful Rescue Gifts catalog. Buy practical, proven items like mosquito nets & emergency classrooms for refugees around the world, starting at $18. Give in the name of friends & family for a meaningful gift like no other.

The Gift of Organization

Another gift idea: organizing services! (In addition to avoiding clutter, this gift actually removes it.) First and foremost, put a Simplicity Works gift certificate on your own wish list & spread the word to the gift givers in your life. Also consider one for friends & family who've said they want less clutter & more peace in their home or office.

Purchasers can contact, my webpage form, or 773‐915‐3537 to order a handsome gift certificate in any denomination.

Get Organized in December & January

I'm scheduling onsite organizing sessions in the Detroit & Chicago areas ‐‐ as well as phone or video sessions anywhere in the world ‐‐ for December and January. I'll also be available in NYC January 27 through February

Call or email or email to find your best time. (My Michigan & virtual schedules are the most flexible.)

March Tips and Tricks

Do Drawers Differently

You've probably heard pros & cons about Marie Kondo's books The Life‐Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. My advice is to cherry‐pick the ideas that work for your life. For me, one useful tip was to fold clothes vertically in dresser drawers. I love being able to see everything (& fit more in).

Don't Be Hyper­Prepared

Try to remind yourself: "I don't have to be hyper‐prepared," when trying to downsize an I‐might‐need‐this‐someday item; "I can be resourceful instead." This gem is from the Susan Pinsky, author of Fast and Furious 5 Step Organizing. We can borrow, repurpose, or buy to fill the need, or go without.

It's a relief!

Get Safe & Simple Photo Storage

Bonnie Hillman Shay of Mariposa Creative Solutions is a photo‐organizing guru, & if she says these photo boxes are high‐quality & a good deal, I'm sold. Photos getting sticky in plastic bins & or bent in flimsy envelopes? Protect them in these large (but not too large) archival boxes. Even if they're not organized yet, they'll be safe.

Give with Less Junk Mail

This is two tips in one: Charity Navigator tells you how reputable a charity is so you can be confident that your donation will be used well. They also offer this helpful advice for reducing those millions of solicitations you get in the mail after you've done your good deed.

Get Organized in April & May

I'm currently scheduling onsite organizing sessions in the Detroit & Chicago areas ‐‐ as well as phone/Skype sessions anywhere in the world ‐‐ for April & May. Call or email to find your best time. (My Michigan & virtual schedules are the most flexible. For sessions in Chicagoland, check this link for availability.)

We'll identify your trouble spots, break them down into manageable steps, work through them, & keep in touch to help you maintain your progress.


Festival for Women with ADHD: May in Michigan If you or someone you love is a woman with ADHD, celebrate the fact at the Better Together Festival. This May 14 event (near Ann Arbor, MI) is hosted by the godmother of all women with ADHD, Sari Solden, who wrote the groundbreaking Women with Attention Deficit Disorder 20 years ago. The book has meant confidence, hope, & a path forward for millions of women. I'm going with a bunch of organizers & clients & expect to learn from speakers & have fun with many wonderful women.