Evernote is a remarkable productivity tool that offers cloud-based storage, flexibility, and multi-platform support. We’re pleased to announce that In Order to Succeed Founder, Denise Caron-Quinn, has become an Evernote Certified Consultant. Having completed the comprehensive Evernote Business training, Denise is recognized as an Evernote expert. She can help show clients how to quickly get Evernote Business set up for their team and guide them towards maximum productivity.
Benefits of Working with an Evernote Certified Consultant:
Custom-designed workflows tailored to meet your needs Guidance on how to best deploy Evernote in your business In-person assistance to ensure fast adoption of Evernote among your team Access to a personal go-to expert when you have questions From small tasks to major projects, Evernote is where you’ll achieve your best work, day in and day out. As one workspace that lives across your phone, tablet, and computer, Evernote is the most productive office for modern teams.
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Denise is looking forward to attending the Evernote Conference: EC4. Please join her and use code EB25 for 25% off registration fee. Evernote Business Certified Consultants
Decluttering your home or workspace can often seem overwhelming, but in truth it can be as peaceful as meditation, and can be a way to practice living mindfully and in the moment.
Decluttering can be your zazen, as it is often mine.
Recently I was honored with the chance to speak to a class at the San Francisco Zen Center, with the wonderful Zen priest Susan O’Connell (one of my favorite people in the world, and my favorite movie star friend). I talked with the Zen students about decluttering, and a couple things stood out for me as I talked:
Clutter is a manifestation of a) holding onto the past and b) fear of what might happen in the future.
Letting go of clutter is a way to live more mindfully and in the present.
The act of decluttering itself can be a mindfulness practice.
Let’s talk about each of those things briefly.
Clutter is holding onto the past, or fear of the future
Why do we have clutter in the first place? Why do we keep it when we don’t really need it? Maybe we think we do need it — for two reasons:
1. We don’t want to let go of the past. Often clutter comes in the form of emotional attachment to objects that have significance to us. They might remind us of a loved one, or a vacation, or a special event like a birthday, funeral, graduation, etc. It might be a gift from someone. All of this is living in the past. I’m not saying we should forget about the past, but letting go of these objects (and they’re only objects, they’re not the events or loved ones themselves) … it is a way of releasing our hold on the past. It’s a way of living more in the present. I never forget the past, but it’s not a place I try to dwell.
2. We’re afraid of the future. Clutter might be things we think we might need sometime in the future. We hold on to them just in case. Over-packing for a trip is a good example — we bring more than we really need, just in case we need them. It’s the same in our houses — we have a ton of things we don’t really need or use, just in case. We’re afraid of being unprepared for the future, but the truth is we can never be totally prepared. We can’t control the outcome of the future, and trying to do so means that we’re never really living in the present moment. We’re always preparing for what might (or might not) come.
Look at your clutter carefully, one object at a time, and ask yourself why you’re holding onto each object. It’s probably for one of these two reasons, if you’re honest.
Btw, books are usually examples of one of these two reasons. We hold onto books we’ve already read, as trophies of our reading accomplishments. We hold onto books we might read in the future (but probably won’t), with the optimism that our future selves are going to be more amazing readers than we’ve ever been in the past. In truth, you only need three or four books — the ones you might read in the next month. Then after you’ve read those, donate those books to charity, and check out a few books from the library.
Let go of clutter to live mindfully
So if clutter is holding onto the past, and fearing the future … how can we live in the present instead?
I slowly get rid of clutter, and in doing so, I release my mind of these attachments and fears. It’s a liberating process. Clutter is the physical embodiment of these attachments and fears — emotional stuff that we don’t realize we have. By decluttering, we are clearing ourselves of these tangled webs.
And when I’ve gotten rid of clutter, I’m freed. I can forget about those things, and live instead in this moment. I can fully appreciate life as it happens, instead of looking back on what has happened before, or looking forward to what might happen later.
It’s of course possible to live in the moment even if you have clutter. There is no prerequisite to mindful living. But decluttering can be a beautiful process of helping ourselves let go of the things we don’t realize we’re holding on to.
Clutter as mindfulness practice
And so, as I declutter, not only am I freeing myself up to live in the present … I am living in the present during the process of decluttering.
It’s a form of zazen — which is sitting meditation, but at its core zazen is really a way to practice being mindful. It’s a way to prepare us for dealing mindfully with the rest of the things we do in life. And really, anything can be used as a way to practice mindfulness. I’ve often used running and walking, but also washing dishes and sweeping.
And decluttering is one of the best mindfulness practices, in my experience. Here’s how I do it:
1. Pick one cluttered flat surface. It can be a tabletop, countertop, shelf, the top of a dresser, floor of a closet, floor of a room (just a section of that floor to start with). Don’t worry about all the rest of your cluttered spaces for now — just pick this one space. Small is good.
2. Clear that surface. Take everything off and pile it on the floor or another table. Clean the surface while it’s clear — wipe it with a cloth, slowly and mindfully.
3. Take one object from the pile. Forget about the entire pile — just look at that one object. Ask yourself why you have it. Is it for emotional reasons, or do you really use it? Is it for “just in case”? When was the last time you used it? If you don’t really need or use it, put it in a box for donation or trash it. If you do really use it, put it in another pile to be put back on your now-clean surface. If you’re on the fence and can’t bear to give something up, put it in a “maybe” box and put that box away for six months (mark the date on your calendar).
4. Repeat, one object at a time. Practice doing this mindfully. Make a decision with each object — keep, donate, or maybe box. No waffling or putting off decisions. Deal with each object once, then move on.
5.Put the objects back, and make a “home” for each one. Each object needs to have a spot that is its home, and you should always put those objects back in their homes. If you can’t find a home for an object, you don’t have space for it. Donate the items in the donation box, and put away the maybe box. Eventually you won’t need a maybe box as you get good at this.
Learn to focus on one thing at a time, mindfully, and deal with each object once. This is a good practice for doing things in the rest of your life.
Monday. Time to get back to work. Time to get motivated. We decided to start the week off with a challenge that will hopefully motivate to do little things each day to stay and/or become more organized. Do one thing today to reduce clutter. You could delete at least 20 files today in your computer hard drive that you no longer need, you could go through your inbox and delete at least 30 emails you no longer need, you could sort the papers on your desk. The possibilities are really endless. Just do one thing. It could take you 60 seconds or 60 minutes, but do one thing to help you reduce clutter this week.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” ~William Morris
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”Â ~William Morris
Monday. Time to get back to work. Time to get motivated. We decided to start the week off with a challenge that will hopefully motivate to do little things each day to stay and/or become more organized. If you’re wondering how to declutter today, you’re in luck. You could delete at least 20 files today in your computer hard drive that you no longer need, you could go through your inbox and delete at least 30 emails you no longer need, you could sort the papers on your desk. The possibilities are really endless. Just do one thing. It could take you 60 seconds or 60 minutes, but do one thing to help you reduce clutter this week.
Each Wednesday In Order to Succeed‘s blog features at least one tip on organizing, time management, moving and relocation, balancing home and business or well anything else we think you will find helpful. This week’s Tip Day Wednesday is about removing clutter. Here are some essential questions to ask yourself before you decide to keep or toss an object.
Ask yourself these questions when deciding to hold on or get rid of an object. If you answer “no” to two or more it’s time to give the possession a new home.
Do I use this item on a regular basis?
Have I used this item in the last six months?
Will I need this item in the next six months?
Is this item hard to replace?
Does this item have sentimental value?
Is this item taking up space that could be used for something else?
“[Clutter] robs us spiritually, because we can’t be at peace in a cluttered home. And it robs us psychologically, by stealing our ability to feel motivated in our space.” – Peter Walsh
A quick way to get reinvigorated about your business is to make room for what you really enjoy. Let’s start with a scan of your office space and resource library – approach it like a re-design project and edit what isn’t working!
I’m a huge proponent of having systems in place that work for you, not necessarily every designer you meet. I also believe you already have several types of systems and processes in action; they just have varying levels of effectiveness and efficiency.
1. Look around your desk and office space. What areas represent your biggest pain points? Focus on these areas first (e.g. resource catalogs, samples, computer files, tear sheets, client files). 2. Ask yourself why you find these areas to be such a challenge. Are you lacking a system? Have you run out of space? Are you short of the time you need to get to it?
3. If you think you’re lacking a system, you’re probably right! Here are a few tips to coming up with a system that works for you:
Create filing systems that make sense for your design business and will support the business of design. Some examples: In and out file sorters (especially helpful if you’re working with an assistant or intern); hot file for urgent and important tasks and activities; client files with items you review with your client versus client files with purchase order, specification and sourcing information; order processing files to keep track of what needs to be ordered, orders entered but needing more details (such as confirmation numbers, pricing, shipping dates), back orders, and items returned awaiting credit.
Categorize your design ‘stuff’ – resources, catalogs, samples, vendor and rep business cards, even bookmarks on your computer – with consistent categories and groupings. So many designers either overcomplicate this or don’t group items at all. Either way, this can lead to lots of clutter, outdated information and mass confusion (again, especially if you’re working with an assistant or intern). I’ve found it helpful to refer to TODL.com, the Trade Only Design Library, for product categories.
Hire a professional organizer, or enlist the help of a design assistant. Sometimes a different set of eyes will bring a completely new perspective.
4. So you just don’t have enough space? Really? This is the time to be completely honest with yourself. The space is there, you just need to find it! 3 words: Purge, Sort, and Store.
You’ve seen the television programs; you’ve probably even read a few books on this topic. It all starts with the purge – and it begins in the area you’ve identified as your biggest pain point. Afraid to “purge” and let go? Think of it this way; you are clearing what no longer fits your vision of you as a designer and you as a business owner; you are creating breathing room, you are giving your mind space to imagine the life and business you want, and you are giving yourself permission and creative license to focus on what’s really important to you and get it. (I’m guessing it’s not about the stuff now, is it?)
Set aside a time to do your purge. For some, setting a timer for 15 minutes of purge time is a great way to get started. For others, scheduling an entire day or 2 may be better. Do what works for you.
Have your supplies ready, such as trash bags, boxes and containers, recycling bins. You’ll need separate containers for items that you’ll keep, dispose of, recycle or donate.
Purge! I like the 1-touch rule – when you pick something up, make a decision right then and there about what you’re going to do with it – into the keep, donate, recycle or trash container it goes.
Yes, you did some sorting in the Purge step, but this is when you take inventory of what is now in your keep container(s). Look at these items, and then look at the area you removed them from. Do they truly belong in that area? Remember, this was the spot you identified as your biggest pain point. Chances are many of your ‘keep’ items from this area belong in another zone better suited to the function.
Sort items according to function, and identify specific zones for each function. This is key to organizing your office space for the business you want. For example, have all your pens & paper landed on a cabinet across the room from your desk because that’s where they fit when you first set up your office? Position items where they belong – where you need them.
You’ve probably identified a few zones for items in your office, such as mail, catalogs, magazines, samples, accounting, client files, and projects. Locate like items and functions together.
Utilize vertical space and stackable containers to maximize space and create additional efficiency in your zones.
You’re a designer, so organize by color! There are tons of fantastic storage options available, so color coding by function and zone is easier than ever.
Back to positioning items where you need them; be sure to store items you use the most where it is easiest for you to get to them.
5. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I know, I never seem to get to everything on my list either, especially when it includes things that frankly aren’t that important! So what’s important to you? Look beyond the stuff and perceived time crunch and imagine not only the life you could be living but the business you could have. Do you have 15 minutes?
Set a timer for 15 minutes and get started. If you can only make time for 15 minute increments each day, that’s fine. (Although I’ll bet you’ll find yourself setting aside more time as you get into it!)
Self-discipline challenges? Implement the buddy system. Enlist the help of a professional organizer or assistant and you’ll get more done in less time.
Consider an office organizing day. Schedule it and treat this time like you would a client appointment. After all, you’re creating a space and systems to support your vision of your business. Isn’t that worth you booking an appointment with you?
So for all you self-proclaimed unorganized or scattered creative types; let go of the comparisons and excuses for not being Martha Stewart-like in your approach. Embrace your individual work style but set yourself up for success by following these simple steps.
by: Kelly Galea Guest Blogger Kelly has worked both as the owner of an interior design firm and as a professional organizer. Currently, as The Design Biz Coach, Kelly helps interior designers, decorators & home stagers build and grow their businesses.
Picture the Scene: You’ve decided now is the time for you to take charge of your office, and to finally get organized! But, you’re not a professional organizer and you want some starter tips. A Certified Professional Organizer talks about the 5 most common mistakes made regarding the organizational process.
The 5 most common organizing mistakes people make are as follows:
1. Don’t try to do it all at once. (At least not without professional help. If you’d like professional help give me a call). Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to get your project done. It did not get cluttered in an afternoon. It may not get uncluttered in an afternoon, either. Break it up into manageable pieces and take them on one at a time.
2. Don’t be so hard on yourself for the things you’ve kept, or the mess that has accumulated. You are taking action now and it will be better. It does no good to beat yourself up over it.
3. Don’t agonize over the thing you are holding in your hand for too long. If you can’t make a decision about the paper or item relatively quickly, then set it aside. Make a pile of the things you are having trouble deciding about and save them for the end.
It is easier to go through the difficult pile at the end. A couple of things can happen. You will have built up a momentum getting rid of so many things that it will be easier to go through. Or you may realize you already have five of the same things and therefore you can let go of four of them.
In some cases it is possible that the pile will still give you fits. If that happens you can analyze the pros and cons of keeping or discarding each item and make your decision. Or, as I stated above, you can call a professional to help you figure out the tough stuff.
A lot of times, when I work with a client, we get started together and come up with a game plan. Then I will go away for a period of time and come back to help with the things they could not do on their own.
4. Whatever organizing solution you come up with might not work perfectly the first time. Getting organized can be magical, but it is still a habit that has to be learned. It may take a bit of tweaking and discipline before your system runs smoothly without a lot of effort.
5. Lastly, and very important! Don’t go shopping for all your new organizing products and containers until you finish the work. Until you have sorted and categorized you don’t know how much you have of something or what type of storage might be best.
What happens when you shop first (and I know that’s the fun part for almost everybody except me), is that you end up with bags or piles of organizing products that don’t work. You have more clutter to deal with than when you started and (see number 2, above) you end up being hard on yourself for creating the mess to begin with. It can be a vicious circle, so remember, shop at the end! Let that be your reward!
Beth Flarida is the owner of Get It Together, a company which has been providing Professional Organizing Services for businesses since 1991. Beth is a Certified Professional Organizer and a member of NAPO, the nation’s leading and most prestigious organization for professional organizers. Visit Beth on the web at GetBeth.com and sign up for her free weekly newsletter, Answers From The Organizer®. Get started right now and claim your 60-minute office makeoversession and jump start your organizational goals!
In most homes the kitchen is often the room that sees the most activity. Everything from children’s craft projects to mail to miscellaneous household items often wind up someplace in the kitchen. Having a clutter free organized kitchen means frequent cleaning but it also means you won’t lose that bill and your children will be able to find those science projects when they need them.
The best way to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning the kitchen is to come up with an organization system that works for you and your family. Here are our tips:
To begin you first must mentally prepare yourself for the task ahead. Look around your kitchen and take an inventory or what belongs in the kitchen, what can be put away, and what you longer need.
Clean and Organize your Cabinets: After you have taken inventory begin planning the best place to store items. We suggest placing items by frequency of use and near where you use them. For example keep pots, pans, and other cooking utensils near the stove, and keep dishes and silverware near the dishwasher or dinning area.
Clean and Organize your Pantry: After taking inventory take everything out of the pantry, clean and place back in categories and by frequency of usage. For example use one shelf for dry goods, another for canned goods, etc. You may also want to consider using baskets for smaller items like gravy mixes, which will make them easier to find and avoid spillage from opened packets.
Use a Spice Rack: Using a wall-mounted or counter top spice rack can save a cabinet space and help to keep your spices organized. Alphabetize your spices and store your spice rack near the stove.
Clean your Counter Tops: Remove any items you don’t use on a regular basis from your counter tops. Keep items you use frequently and want to store on the counter tops in pretty containers such as glass jars. This will give you more room for cooking and improve the overall atmosphere of your kitchen. It’s amazing how much more relaxing the atmosphere in your kitchen will feel by simply removing the clutter from your counter tops.
Organize your Junk Drawer – We wish you wouldn’t have one, but we understand that sometimes having a junk drawer is necessary. However, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be organized. Place small baskets or other small containers in the drawer to store items like batteries, clips and any other interesting things your kitchen collects.
Create a Message Station: Let’s face it since the kitchen is one of the most frequently used rooms in most houses it also often becomes a message area. So, set up a specific place for the telephone, messages, keys, mail, etc.
Clean and organize your Fridge: This is something that should be done every time you go grocery shopping. Remove items that are past their expiration date, bad, empty, etc and wipe your fridge down. Bacteria in fridges accumulates quickly so cleaning your fridge once a week is necessary.
Finally, one last tip. If your household includes children especially young children try arrange your cabinets, pantry, etc with them in mind. Keep items they use frequently on lower shelves and items you don’t want them to get into higher up.
Americans love stuff. As professional organizers, we know anecdotally what the numbers bear out: although our homes are getting larger, we have far more possessions than we have space for. A recent article in The Atlantic notes that, in 2017, “the average size of a single-family house in America was 2,426 square feet, a 23 percent increase in size from two decades ago” and that “there are around 52,000 [self-storage] facilities nationally; two decades ago, there were half that number.” The television show Hoarders, now in its ninth season, chronicles the lives of those Americans whose relationship to stuff has reached a physically and psychologically unhealthy level. Websites like Craigslist are loaded to the brim with a cavalcade of items for sale, but it can be awkward (and potentially unsafe) to invite prospective buyers into our homes. So, after we’ve cleaned up, taken inventory, and decreased our clutter, what should we do with the clothes, furniture, and knick-knacks with which we’ve decided to part? That’s where the thrift store comes in.According to the Association of Resale Professionals (NARTS), nearly twenty percent of Americans shop at thrift, consignment, or antique stores each year, generating more than $17 billion in revenue. In 2014, the nation’s best-known thrift store, Goodwill Industries, reported in excess of $5 billion in retail sales at more than two thousand stores and online. NARTS notes that “there is no typical resale shopper, just as there is no typical resale shop [because] no one is immune to the excitement of finding a treasure and saving money.”But donating your lightly used items to a thrift store is about more than just clearing out your personal space. By definition, thrift stores exist to serve the communities in which they are located. (Generally, consignment and antique stores are for-profit, while thrift stores are non-profit.) Profits from The Carousel, a thrift shop affiliated with the Southport Congregational Church in Connecticut benefit the church, the charities it supports, and the greater community. If you shop at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you’re helping thousands of residents of the Twin Cities whose families have been impacted by poverty. On their website, the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) Treasure Chest in Sarasota, Florida notes that not only do one-hundred percent of proceeds fund their services but also that “SPARCC participants receive vouchers to shop for free for the items they need.” And in New York City, the United War Veterans Council (UWVC) runs a recycling program in which the revenue from sales of donated items supports the program’s mission to “provide all veterans and their families with the care, recognition and opportunities they have rightfully earned.” Deborah Menich, the executive director of the UWVC’s recycling program, explains that the “UWVC collects approximately 12 million pounds of clothing annually,” which both “expands the diversion rate of unwanted items in landfills” and provides jobs to local residents.Over the past several years, there has been some concern that thrift stores do not resell all of the donations they receive. In a recent article for the Huffington Post, Ray Tellez, Goodwill’s vice president of retail operations in southern California, reassures customers that items do not move directly from Goodwill’s retail stores to a landfill. Instead, those items are sent to a Goodwill outlet store; if they remain unsold, they are recycled. (Goodwill estimates that their recycling efforts keep more than 42 thousand tons of textile waste out of landfills each year.) Sustainability expert Jacqueline Tran reminds us that “people don’t realize most clothing is made from plastic…When it goes into a landfill, it’s just going to sit there for a long time.” Donating those clothes—and ensuring that they are reused or recycled—is an important step toward creating a more sustainable world.Thrift stores help their communities, offer places for people to connect with one another, provide employment and volunteer opportunities, and encourage good sustainability practices. They should be the first places we think of when we consider how to declutter, simplify, and organize our lives. Those seemingly simple donations of new or gently used clothing and goods can help to create real, meaningful, positive changes, both in our communities and across the country.For a list of thrift stores in your area, visit Yelp.com or google “thrift stores near me.” To read more about how In Order to Succeed can help you reach your organizing goals, click here.Ben Gott is an Education Specialist and Organizing Consultant at In Order To Succeed
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TripIt organizes your travel plans in one place. Finds alternative flights. Sends real-time alerts. Snags the best seat. We have something for every traveler.
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I can’t say enough about Denise, Robin and their entire army of angels. They were professional, super efficient and a true pleasure to be around - even amidst the stress of moving. Without them, I would literally still be surrounded by boxes!
Savannah Guthrie – Co-anchor of The Today Show
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IFTTT is a free web-based service to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets.
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Robin's organizational skills, tact, and attention to detail are invaluable. She makes things that can be torturous- moving, renovating, getting-a-washing-machine-repairman-to-come-and-being-there-when-he-does-- easy. You will finish things around your house that would otherwise never have been finished.
Tina Fey - Actress, Comedian, Writer
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Busy professionals and homeowners often find solace and guidance in creating task lists. However, it is equally important to consider having a "not-to-do" list. I enjoy reading the blog of Tim Ferris, author of The Four Hour Work Week. His book is somewhat controversial and he is as well. Regardless of how one views Ferris, I think that we can obtain relevant insights from what he has to say. For instance, the 80/20 Pareto principle that he advocates can be employed in analyzing the utility of many endeavors, both professionally and personally. “Not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance. Ferris feels the reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.Here are nine habits that Tim suggests we stop doing now. To understand his rationale for each you'll have to read his post. Whether or not you agree with these views they should provide some good food for thought.
Don’t answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers. Let it go to voicemail.
Don’t e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
Don’t agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time.
Don’t permit people ramble. Redirect the conversation to stay on point.
Don’t check e-mail continuously - "batch them" and check at defined times during the day.
Don’t over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers (the 80/20 principle applies here).
Don’t work more to fix overwhelm - prioritize. If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important.
Don’t carry your mobile device 24/7.
Don’t expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should. Work is not all of life.
It’s important to focus on getting things done, but it’s only possible once we remove the constant static and distraction. Ferris suggests, and I agree, that if you have trouble deciding what to do, just focus on not doing. Different approach, same end result.
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Sarah Stimson uses her background in teaching to help identify, create and implement personalized organizing solutions for client's of In Order to Succeed®. As first a third grade teacher, and then later as a special education teacher, Sarah Stimson developed individualized solutions to meet the varied needs of her students. Just as all students learn differently and require different supports, no two people or projects require the same organizational solutions. Now, as a professional organizer and life management specialist, Sarah enjoys applying the creativity and attention to detail that made her successful in the classroom, to transform cluttered and mismanaged areas into highly functional and beautiful spaces.A native of Rochester New York, Sarah came to New York City to obtain a graduate degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster in Ohio, is a Phi Beta Kappa member and a member of NAPO.Although no longer employed as a teacher, Sarah continues to enjoy working with children as a tutor and also loves bringing order to children’s bedrooms, study and play areas. Sarah loves to run, bake and take on a variety of DIY projects such as building coffee tables and wine racks. Her patient, pleasant and creative personality makes her well suited for working with homemakers, busy professionals and retired seniors to bring new order and serenity to their lives.
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Moving from a very large apartment to a much smaller one, we had many more things than we had room for. Denise and her staff got us to make decisions about what to keep, store and distribute to family members. We never would have gotten it done without their help.
Charles Osgood - Emmy award winning TV commentator and writer Anchor of the Osgood Files and CBS Sunday Morning News Host