Perfect Pantry – Almost!

Posted on July 1, 2014 by Tanya

Perfect Pantry

My Mom and I decided that since I managed to get my Dad’s workshop under control (see Organized Hoarder – for Real!), we would work on her pantry (see Organizing the Organized). Though neither needed a lot, the point is that they both needed some help. They are both highly organized people in all aspects of their lives, but even they benefited from having someone else (even their daughter) look at their projects with a different eye.

Even we organizers look for others to help us out. We are constantly learning from others and working to improve our businesses, client satisfaction, and yes, even our personal lives. But, it does not have to be a perfect solution. It just needs to be a solution for you!

I think people often look at an endeavor or project or need as an all or nothing. Either “I have to do it and do it just right” or “I need to find the time first”. We have all said these things and felt this stress. What we need to do is give ourselves a break and allow things to not be perfect, but perfect for us.

So start with something small. I often encourage people to just pick ONE drawer in ONE room and start with that. If you only clear out some trash, some papers, some re-arranging, that is more than you had done before and it is a start. When you next look in that drawer you will be reminded that you really can do it – and be happy with your efforts!

What are you going to do next? What can you do to clear the clutter from your home, office, life, mind, body? Go for it!!!

Organizing the Organized

Posted on June 17, 2014 by Tanya

Meals and Memories

My Mom is very organized and maintains her kitchen as a well stocked source for the delicious products she develops and delivers. And as a Depression-era survivor, she always has lots of extras ready. It is rare that we want to bake or cook something for which she does not have all the ingredients. Her challenges are that she is rather short (incredibly cute at 5′), she is blind in one eye, and she has just one pantry with immovable shelves. It is imperative that she utilize the space sensibly and maximize access.

2014-05-17 Mom's Pantry Before

I had an extra canned goods rack I thought she would appreciate. So, I began pulling out all her cans she had just recently re-organized by categories and fought off her protests with promises of putting them back in essentially the same order. This canned goods rack allows for a three tier stack of cans with a slight incline so you can see what you have with the cans rolling forward.

2014-05-17 Mom' Pantry After


Now she has fewer cans stacked up and more cans where she can see them better. All the fruits are on the left and the ethnic foods on the right. “I DO like the can rack. It helps simplify the pantry some more. I probably would not have gotten that, so thanks a bunch!!”

What could be a better or more tasty endorsement?

Mother’s Day is Coming!

Posted on May 1, 2014 by Tanya

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and what better gift to give your Mom than one that will provide her and your family with peace of mind and relaxation? The HAINES System is simple way to guide you through designing your blueprint for the gathering, organizing, and maintenance of your important papers.

HAINES was my GG’s middle name, Frederick Haines Schmitz, who died last November at the age of 93. He was highly organized and had his papers in such a format that there was very little we had to do when he died. The gift he left us was incredibly clear on that day. Watching my Mom deal with his passing was difficult, but seeing the immense relief in her face when she realized that virtually everything was in order was priceless. It really was. She was so stressed about doing things properly and appropriately that day, but she did not have to be concerned with what GG wanted or did not want; he had made all those decisions years before.

A gift like this is not your typical gift, but that itself is refreshing. Flowers are beautiful, but they fade quickly. Candy is delicious, but is gone faster than the flowers. This year, consider writing your Mom a note to express your love and gratitude for her and give her The HAINES System – you can do together.

If you need some tips for having this conversation, here are some resources:

Dare to be different this Mother’s Day and really show your Mom how much you respect her wishes by completing The HAINES System with her, for her, and beside her.

Organize with a Bondi!

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Tanya

So have you heard about Bondi? It is a nifty new way to hang on to your mobile phone and be cool about it too!

Here it is on an iPhone:


Bondi - Blue holding Phone

Or, you can use it to keep a book open:

Bondi - Green holding Book


Or, use it to keep your phone handy in the car:

Bondi - Yellow in Car

What I like is that I really cannot lose it in my bag and it easily props itself in a few positions so I can best see my phone without a glare on it:

Bondi - White next to Keyboard’s just cute and functional!!

Structured Chaos is now an approved distributor and is authorized to sell them for less than you can purchase online. I do not charge shipping and handling (if local to eastern NC) and tax is figured into the flat $13 price. If you would like one today, just email!

Bondi can help you with managing your time in your office, while you cook, exercise, drive, work or just play!


Delicious Apps

Posted on January 14, 2013 by Tanya

 Grocery IQ – FREE – This is my go-to app for grocery shopping. With this app, you can scan barcodes or type in what you want listed, arrange your list by aisles for your favorite store, and email your list to others to shop for you! It is easy to add items on the phone app or get your basic list added in on your computer to then sync with your phone. As you purchase the items, you tap the list and it removes it so all you have left are those items you have not yet purchased. I always begin my weekly shopping trip by pulling up this list and tapping on all those basic items I always need to buy. There is another feature that would be great if it worked in my area – “Savings card” where you can add store coupons to your list and they will automatically be counted when the store rings up your savings card.

 Better Homes and Gardens Recipe – FREE – This is a helpful, easy to use app with other 500 recipes to choose from all the basic cooking categories (breads, desserts, grilling, main dish…). You can search for recipes based on the amount of cooking time or topic, including “5 Ingredients or Less”. And for those who are more adventuresome, there are “How-To Secrets” for cooking all the basics.

 Real Simple – No Time to Cook – FREE – This is an awesome app allowing you to select the category of food (poultry, beef, pork, pasta, vegetarian…) and the amount of time you have (20, 30 or 40 minutes). It will pull up a lot of recipes from which to choose. If nothing else, it should give you an idea of what to prepare!

Omaha Steaks – FREE – Need to know how long to grill that steak? Check out this app! It provides you with grill time for the cut of meat you have, a steak 101, Recipes and more. And there is always a featured recipe. If that picture does not get your whistle whetted for a slab of beef, I don’t know what will! And, of course, you can shop Omaha Steaks directly from your phone!

And for the coffee lovers…

 Starbucks – FREE – This app lets you find Starbucks near you (based on whether they are drive-throughs only, have wireless, serve food, accept mobile payment and more). You can load your Starbucks card from your computer and then pay from your phone. Of course, to do this you must set up an account. But that’s a small price to pay to get that frappuccino or latte just like you want it!

 Dunkin’ Donuts – FREE – Similar to the Starbucks app, this one lets you pay from your phone, clip offers, find stores and more. You can find a store near you and it will automatically tell you where it is and what it has to offer (drive thru, wifi, directions, hours, phone number and more). You can easily purchase a gift card and have it text, emailed or sent via Facebook. You clearly get a lot along with that cup o Joe!

Enjoy these apps as you enjoy the food they are meant to connect you with. If you need a quick pick me up cup of coffee or are planning dinner for your family, these apps strive to make it all easier and less stressful. And that is a winning combination for me!

Organize Your Kitchen — Now!

Posted on August 7, 2012 by Tanya

Most of us know what we need to do. We just don’t know how to start. Often, starting is the most difficult part. So, set small goals and as Nike® says, Just Do It!

Take your kitchen. As a whole, it could be totally overwhelming. You may have tons of utensils, silverware, tools, knives, dishes, pots, pans, equipment (most you don’t use) and more. The entire room may need a good makeover, but where to start?

There are two ways to approach this: simply take one drawer or one cabinet at a time or tackle it all at one time. Either way, you will make progress and that is really the key.

If you choose to work with just one drawer, do this:

  1. Take everything out of the drawer
  2. Clean out the drawer getting all the dust and crumbs out of the corners
  3. Throw away any trash or items that are broken
  4. Put like items together and back in the drawer


If you choose to tackle the whole kitchen, do this:

  1. Empty each drawer and cupboard by putting like items together
  2. Clean the drawers and cupboards
  3. Throw away trash, old and broken items
  4. Create a pile of items to donate or return to others
  5. Put like items together and expiring items in the front
The key is to start. Pick a drawer or cabinet and resolve to sort through what is in it. Set a time limit if you decide to tackle the whole kitchen. Typically, if you get in there and focus on the task, you should be finished in just a few hours.
So start!
Get your ducks in a row today!