Articles & Advice

Organizing A Halloween Trunk N’ Treat Party In 9 Easy Steps

Are you planning an alternative Trunk’n Treat Halloween celebration for kids and families this year?

For neighborhoods that aren’t conducive to sidewalk trick and treating, Trunk’n Treat parties are a safe, fun alternative to Halloween.

I found a great article on WikiHow that provided good tips for planning this type of celebration and thought that I would add my two cents and share it with you.


Families join together to host a small mim-carnival now known as Trunk’n Treat  celebrations. This is an easy way to create an alternative activity for this year’s Halloween.

Adults organize and prepare booths that children can walk around to, play games, and receive prizes/candy.

You can easily organize this effort by following these 9 steps:

1. Find a venue that will hold your anticipated crowd. For instance is there lighting, parking and wide lanes to walk.

Parking Lot

2. Recruit friends and volunteers to help with parking and setting up booths and overseeing group activities.


3. Determine what type of games will work the best – i.e. bean bag games, art projects, face painting etc.

Art Projects 4. Make a sign for each game that explains guidelines and prizes.

Create List 5. Decide if the children will receive grab bags, prizes or candy.

Prizes 6. Each booth should plan on providing at least 50 treats each.

Candy 7. Get entertainers to appear at designated times.

Witch entertainer 8. Make sure that everyone knows the guidelines for the booths and other entries like whether the cars will be lighted or simply decorated. Also if trucks and vans are acceptable.

Trunk'n-Treat-for-Halloween 9. Decide in advance  based on the age of the children involved and inform attendees whether loud or scary noises are acceptable.

Pumpkin in candy After all is planned and setup, enjoy a night of fun and family!

*All images are licensed by Creative Commons Uploaded by: Wikivisual/addSpace




Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Organizing bathrooms

Dear Kathi,

My bathroom is small and very disorganized. We just moved in to this new condo and I would love to hear tips about streamlining and making sense of all of our stuff. To make matters more difficult, my husband and I share one sink.



You are fortunate to be able to start with empty drawers, medicine cabinet and under counter areas. If you already have put things in, pull them all out again.

You will need to toss old items that you will never use and sort the remaining. Throw out anything with an expired date and all perishables over one year old. Even toothpaste expires; the expiration date is on the crimp of the tube.

Sort all remaining items into like categories.
If you have an unreasonably large collection of lipsticks, nail polish or perfume, pare it down. Get rid of old colors and the excess that you will never use. Any amount over what you might be able to use in one year should go. Sort by item, category, and color. If you have duplicate or similar colors, unless it is your signature color, get rid of all but one. Replace each element of your streamlined collection as you use it up to conserve precious space in the meantime.

Keep your makeup all in one area, preferably in a container. The same for your husband’s shave crème and razor. Ceramic bowls are decorative, keep items from cluttering up the counter and expedite cleaning the counter top.

Attach a long magnet behind the door of your medicine cabinet to cleverly and neatly hold tweezers, clippers and other metal gadgets.
Consider installing a wire shelf by the sink to hold toiletries that you use every day, such as powders, sprays and creams. Hang a simple s-hook (found in any hardware store) by the side of the shelf to hold your hairdryer. Simply tie a knot in the hairdryer cord and pass it through the hook.

Use small plastic bins with drawers for under the bathroom sink. One drawer can be for lips, another for hair, and the third for eyes. Use whichever categories you need. Usually two plastic drawer units fit, with room in between and by the drain pipe for stand up items like shampoo bottles and suntan lotion.

If you don’t need two sets of little drawers, buy plastic stacking bins for the other side to contain like items with like. Use your imagination to find the proper containers to group all like items together.

No bathroom should be without some sort of shower caddy. The basic type is constructed of wire and hangs below the shower head. Whatever variety you choose, these caddies neatly hold your shampoos, soaps, shaving crèmes and lotions. Install a fog free mirror against the back wall for your husband. Look for a style that also holds his razor and shave crème.

If you have a large enough bathroom, buy a coat tree, or standing coat rack. Or install two or three attractive hooks on the back of the bathroom door. These are useful places to hang bathrobes and nighties as well as provide an extra hook for the occasional houseguest.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Organizing a cluttered and messy garage

Q: I need help! My garage has everything in it but my car, which can’t fit because of all of the other stuff in it. I don’t even know where to begin.

A: Don’t despair, clutter is a challenge that we all face. To begin, remove everything from your garage. I know this sounds intimidating, but this is the only way you will clearly see what you are holding onto. Start three piles outside on the lawn and separate your clutter into: throw away, donate and keep. Follow this rule: keep only what you’ve used in the past year or plan on using in the near future, i.e. within six months! If you can’t part with something because it has sentimental value, consider whether it’s the item that holds the good memories or simply the memory itself that is good. Remember that memories take up a lot less space than the items associated with them.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Business casual dress code


I’m starting a new job in August. The dress code is business casual. Are tennis shoes considered appropriate?

Rob, Encinitas


Unless you are a professional skateboarder, basketball player, or work in a medical setting, tennis shoes are not appropriate work attire. Purchase a comfortable leather black-soled shoe in a solid color. Shoes and glasses define a man’s wardrobe. Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can tell a man by his shoes”? Shoes and glasses are the investment items to buy high-end because it is very obvious if they are inexpensive. These are also the areas that you can most easily define your style and make your image count. A well-dressed man wears tennis shoes only when travelling to and from the gym. When dressing, try to match socks with trouser color or a shade darker and never wear white socks with dress shoes.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Choose The Right Boots For Your Figure and Style

It’s that time of the year where we get to begin wearing sweaters and boots again. Yay! For me, this is the only consolation about the weather getting cooler and the darkness coming earlier.

With that said, many of us are scrambling to get a new pair of boots to support us through the cooler months. The selection is amazing right now, which is good, but it can also be very confusing.

So, my clients ask this question every year. How do I choose the right boot to look fabulous, be comfortable and also to carry me through the season? My number one rule for all clothing and accessories is that they should be flattering. SO now you may ask, how do I know what style is flattering for me?

(not flattering)

Choose Your Style Wisely: Whatever style boots you choose, you need to make sure that they are in proportion to your body shape and size. They don’t have to be in classic proportion, but they should add positive, not negative lines to your overall look.

For instance, short boots that fall just under an overlarge calf could highlight the heft of the leg. Stiletto-heeled boots on a very short or heavy woman could look out of balance. A big thick heavy heel will look very out of proportion on a petite frame.

If you have skinny legs, don’t wear baggy boots. Tall boots that are too wide on a skinny leg could make for a bottom heavy look. There should be no more than ½ inch between the top of boot and your leg.

If you are short, keep your hose the same color as your boot to look taller and with a longer leg line. Also, remember that the lighter the color of your boot, the shorter your leg will appear, so choose navy, black, dark brown etc.

So choose with thought. Always think of your entire look – don’t buy a pair of boots just because they’re gorgeous and leather is scrumptious. The boot has to look good on your leg and work with your overall wardrobe.

With those caveats in mind, here are a few ways to wear various styles of boots this season:

Tall Boots: If you only have enough room in your budget or your closet for one pair of boots, invest in slim knee-high boots. This style is a classic and timeless staple.

Wear tall boots with long, short, or above-the-knee length skirts. You can also wear them tucked into skinny jeans. All boots look best with tights or opaque hose.

If you are wearing tall boots with a skirt, make sure the skirt shape is compatible with boots. If your skirt is billowy, wear formfitting boots. Your overall look will also benefit if your hemline ends just over the top of your boots. If your skirt is tight, you can get away with larger boots and your hem should be a few inches between your boot top and your skirt.

If you have large muscular calves, never fear. Many of my clients swear that they cannot find tall boots to fit, but I always can find at least one pair that works for them. Many brands now carry fuller calf widths and there are many that also have elasticized back panels that expand with your calf. As I mentioned earlier, make sure there is no leg bulge sticking out of the top.

Short Ankle-Boots: These are all the rage this year and work great with pants, skirts and dresses. Short boots with flat-heels can also look adorable with sporty skirts and fun socks or tights.

Shooties: Even more popular this season is a boot with an even lower cut called the “shootie.” Many shooties have open toes, which make them a bit more complicated to coordinate. (See peep toe notes below)

Over the Knee Boots: Boots that come over the knee are a risky investment. This style is very hard to coordinate in most outfits. They are also very difficult to look good in unless you’re a long and lean model type.

Midcalf Boots: These work well with a short skirt and opaque tights or dark hose. These also work under a long skirt, again with opaque tights. A skirt that meets the boot top exactly will probably look a little odd. Better the skirt should be longer or shorter than the boot. Slouchy mid calf boots look great with tights and a skirt or with tucked in jeans.

Peep Toe Boots: The smaller the peep, the easier they are to wear. Make sure that you wear opaque tights. Sheer does not work and will date your look immediately. If you decide to go bare foot, keep your manicure fresh and only use this look if your outfit is slender and your hem is high. The bare legged shootie looks works best for the under 30. If you do wear peep toes with jeans, make sure that you add a lightweight sock over your tights so that it does not look like you are wearing hose under your jeans. Avoid heavyweight fabrics for your socks.

Equestrian Boots: This style works well with almost anything this season. If they have super chunky heels, they will work best with extra long flowy skirts. Typically flat equestrian boots can be a bit less fitted to allow for tucking in your jeans.

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Organize Your Time ~ Maximize Your Efficiency

If you are a committed worker, you certainly have your little tricks to maximize efficiency and increase productivity. Also, you should be aware that saving time is quite important. Let’s go through some productivity tips that might be helpful.

Organize Your Real Time

Remember that the time marked by the clock and real time don’t always match. Basically, it is important to remember that real time is the time devoted to work, which should always be your point of reference. If, for instance, you have 8 or 9 hours, you will probably be able to use 6 of them to complete your job, considering breaks, loss of attention, phone calls and distractions. “6 hours” is your real time. Be realistic with respect to the time available and you’ll be able to offer realistic deadlines.

Organize Your Effort and Your Calendar

Small sprints are very efficient. When you have a big project, break it up into a series of smaller goals. This will ease the pressure and it will also allow you to be more efficient, as Gantt demonstrated. Furthermore, use your calendar in an intelligent way, so that it will contain all the relevant data without requiring excessive attention. There are many programs that can save you time, energy and stress, you should learn how to use them. If you use Google Mail, for instance, you can opt for Google Calendar. You can also try Streak, it is very easy to use and extremely helpful. Plus, there are all kinds of applications that help you synchronize the calendar with your smartphone.

Organize Your Working Life

Productivity is measured not only in terms of operational skills, which constitute only a small part of your working life. Brainstorming, meetings and research sessions are, in fact, extremely important too. You have to make sure you leave enough time for these activities, because creativity and knowledge are essential if you want to maximize your productivity. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, if you spend enough time thinking you will do things faster.

Also, close anxiety and worries out of the office. Among the many distractions that characterize a working day, there are many small things that are related to your personal life and that can deeply affect your productivity. Finding a good school for your children, knowing they are safe, hiring a trustworthy person to take care of the house and finding a reliable company to look after your yard (here is an example, if you are looking for a good one), are all ways to increase your inner peace and your productivity.

Knowing that you will return to a clean, welcoming house with a garden full of flowers and colors, and having the certainty that your children are happy and safe, will free your mind and will save you a lot of precious time that you would otherwise spend preoccupying for everything and everyone. Your productivity and your efficiency are truly the consequence of your skills but never forget to take care of your emotions. We are, and we will always be, much more than workers: we are human beings.

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips, Time Management | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Organizing mail


I get so much mail at my office. What is the best way to sort through it and not have piles of mail overtaking my desk all of the time?

Leslie, Cardiff


As you receive mail, sort and toss immediately. Throw out every letter, flier or advertisement that you know is junk right away. Don’t let it touch your desk. Remove the outer envelopes from the important mail and put the letters in a designated waiting area on your desk. If you get numerous publications that you must read, flip through these quickly as they arrive and tear out the important articles. Put these loose articles in a basket or bag with a handle. When you take a lunch break or go home, your reading is ready to go with you and removed from your desk permanently. A few minutes each day will save you many hours of frustration each month.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged | Leave a comment

Choosing a power tie

Dear Kathi,

My business partners make fun of my crazy ties with wild patterns like
chile peppers and pictures of Mickey Mouse. I could really use some help
finding that ultimate power tie.

Bob V. Carlsbad


There is a reason that these types of ties are called novelty ties. They are not to be taken seriously and in my opinion should not be given or worn. I’m glad to hear that you are ready to reform. Power ties are easy to buy. Start your search looking for solid colors. Red is the penultimate power tie color. Gold is the second runner up. Focus your attention on finding ties with discreet patterns and a subtle sheen. Please refrain from wearing shiny ties with large patterns or images. Power is subtle and understated. The strength of a power tie is reflected in it’s refined patterning. Pinstripes are a bit more difficult. Focus on solid colors (preferably red, gold, yellow or silver) and you will be on the right track.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Blog, Image, Image Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Purging clothes closet

Dear Kathi,

My clothes closet is bulging at the seams! How do I decide what to keep and what to get rid of?

Lyn, Encinitas


One technique is to go quickly through your clothes and discard everything that you haven’t worn in the last year. Keep a fast pace, make quick decisions and do not hesitate. Put these neglected clothes in large garbage bags and don’t look back. Seal the bags, put them immediately into the trunk of your car and take them away to your favorite charity. This might sound tough but trust me; you will not miss these items. If you do happen to think about them once or twice, get over it! Realize that over 80% of the clothes in the average closet will only see the light of day once a year. What a waste of space! Why not keep only the clothes that make you feel and look fabulous? In future columns there will be more tips about clothes that will make you look fabulous.


Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Image, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged | Leave a comment

Business card organizing

Dear Kathi,

What do you recommend for organizing business cards? I have filled up a card box and divided them by organization but am now out of room! I like the idea of the plastic sleeve, but not sure I want to go that route.

Debbie, Encinitas


Plastic sleeves are great if you use a three ring binder with pre-made alphabetical tabs or categorical tabs that you create yourself.
With the alphabetical tabs, when you fill up a page containing a popular letter like “s” (“s” always seems to fill first!), you can simply add a new plastic sleeve and keep filling. The hazard of the alphabetical plastic sleeve is that if you forget the company name, you have to go through the entire binder.

Card boxes are good until you run out of room, at which point you are faced with deciding whether to subdivide or begin anew.
If you do create a new box or binder, what will differentiate one from the other and how will you remember who is where two months from now?
The ultimate plan of attack is to maintain a contact management list (such as using Outlook, Act or Entourage) on your computer. These programs store all of your contact information as data so that you have numerous options and fields to retrieve your information from.

A contact management program combined with a business card scanner will take you light years into the future. Business card scanners work quickly by saving your data into fields. Some even save the business card logo and image! It takes a while to learn the technology, but in the long term for helping your business grow, this will be one of the smartest investments of your time.


Please submit your questions to:
San Diego Professional Organizer

Posted in Articles & Advice, Organizing, Organizing Tips | Tagged | Leave a comment