Eliminate Residential Chaos
Eliminate Residential Chaos




Kitchen Design by Provanti Designs – Gail Monica Dent ⚬ John G Wilbanks Photography


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In This Issue:

Cheryl Ford HS

We're trying something new at Eliminate Chaos. Designer and Organizing Specialist™, Cheryl Ford, will be writing some of our featured articles. We hope you enjoy them - and get to know Cheryl and her beautiful work. You can read more about Cheryl here. 

Contain Your "Container-itis"

 Container-itis is something that most of us catch several times a  year; the post- holiday season possibly being the most contagious period. We’ve survived the decorating, shopping, eating, and gifts.Now we are ready to move on and jump into the New Year by getting our stuff, new and old, “organized.”  Maybe our favorite store will have the coolest ideas and products to make us become instantly organized! Here lies the danger in catching container-itis. We load up our carts with all of the pretty little boxes and expect them to magically fill themselves with our most needed items. Maybe the containers will also place themselves in the most accessible place for whenever we may need access to them next! Meanwhile, the fever of container-itis is rising as it settles into our minds and pocketbooks.

StorageContainers Compressed

Why not save your time and energy to fight off the real flu and cold season that is upon us. Contain your “container-itis.” As you make your holiday returns, put blinders on when passing the many aisles and piles of large totes, patterned boxes, and containers with colorful lids. Promise yourself that you will come back to the store, but not before you are prepared to contain your stuff properly, and not suffer needlessly from “container-itis.”  Follow a few of the suggestions below and you might just conquer it from the start, or at least reduce the symptoms.

  • As you take down your holiday décor, place new clothes in your closet, or decide to tackle the kids overflowing toy storage, ask yourself if something can be donated, handed down to someone in the family, or simply tossed because it is well worn or damaged.   You may think “but someone could use that for something someday”!  More than likely, you are not that someone. If you don’t think so, try to find some common or replaceable thing that you decided to hang on to more than a year ago. Can you even find it now? If so, have you used it in the last year? Would the space that it is currently taking up be more valuable for some other use? Does the item deserve your time, energy and space to “warehouse” it?
  • If you have trouble deciding what to get rid of, try a method penned by author Judith Kolberg. Think of your “stuff” as “old friends”, “acquaintances”, or “strangers.”  Hang onto the good  friends, trim the acquaintances pile, and say some quick and easy goodbyes to the strangers.
  • After you have determined who your “real friends” are, sort the items into like categories, i.e. “adhesives” – all glues, tapes, paste, etc. or  “office supplies” – all pens, pencils, paper clips, notepads etc, and then get out a tape measure. Measure the approximate length, depth and width of your sorted piles by category.  Take note of which categories are made up of big bulky lightweight items (pillows, blankets) and those that have smaller, heavy items (batteries, books, tools). Lightweight items should be stored higher up in large containers, and heavier items should be stored in smaller containers and reside on lower shelves. Be sure to measure the space you have available for “containing your containers;” such as shelf depths and widths, closet heights, cupboard door and drawer dimensions. Don’t forget to also measure the floor space you want to use for containing any attractive “out in the open storage” such as baskets, bookshelves and coat trees.
  • After you have sorted the keepers, look around the house and garage to see if you have any empty or little used containers from last year‘s bout of container-itis. Use them only if they will contain your things properly, i.e. being able to hold more than one item from a category, but allowing a little space for future additions to that category. Add more of the same type of containers if they work well, but do not force a container to become what it doesn’t want to be, as it will only cause the “frustration” symptom to flare up.
  • Now it is time to treat your “friends” right. With your list of categories and measurements in hand, the next step is to choose your containers wisely and within your planned budget. As you carefully load up your cart, don’t get distracted or enticed by fun colors, sale prices, or novelty storage ideas, (as it can lead to severe cases of container-itis). Avoid purchasing containers that will not fit though your attic door, that are hard for you to latch or unlatch, that have rounded corners when you need to store square items, that won’t stack or nest (whether empty or full), or that are not transparent enough for you to see the contents. If you choose solid color containers as a means of defining some holiday storage, (red for Christmas, orange for Halloween), you may have the added task of labeling them to further identify the contents (lights, ornaments, costumes).

So go ahead and dive into the New Year with enthusiasm for getting organized, but remember to be organized with your methods. You will be doing your part to contribute to January’s “Get Organized Month” and you just may avoid coming down with the dreaded “container-itis."

~ Cheryl Ford

Eliminate Chaos Opens Satellite Office in Eastern Washington

We are excited to announce that we have just opened a satellite office in Eastern Washington.

Brandy Hickey joins our team as an Organizing & Productivity Consultant, working primarily in the Tri-Cities area; however she is able to travel to other parts of Eastern WA as well.

You can learn more about Brandy here.

Phone Number: 509.392.7064

While the team at Eliminate Chaos is still headquartered in Western WA (Seattle-area) we continue to serve a national and international clientele. If you'd like to know how we can work with you in your area, just give us a call at 425.670.2551 or toll free 877.342.8592.

We look forward to working with you - so you have "More Time for Life®!"

Organizing with Laura Blog

Keep up with our new blog on Real Estate.com. Here is a list of topics from December that you might like to read:

The Gift of No

Gift  Wrap Storage and Organization 

No Mess No Stress Organized Holidays

"Like" us on FaceBook for more fun tips and bursts of inspiration or "follow" us on Twitter.

Upcoming Classes and Seminars

Topic: Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life
Date: January 5, 2013
Time: 1:30-2:00 pm
Organization: Seattle Remodeling Home Show
Place: Washington State Convention Center
Address: 800 Convention Place, Seattle, WA 98101
Investment: Cost of Admission to R
emodeling Home Show - or contact us for a Free Ticket!

Topic: Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life

Date: January 10, 2013

Time: 10:30-11:30am
Organization: Eastside Mother's Club
Place: Life Community Church
Address: 232 5th Ave. South - Kirkland, WA 98033
Investment: FREE

Topic: Clutter Clearing & Feng Shui for Stress-Free Life. Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life, Feng Shui Tips for Harmonious Living

Date: January 24, 2013

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm
Sponsored By:Master Builder's Association of King and Snohomish Counties
Place: Federal Way Library
Address: 34200 1st Way South - Federal Way, WA 98003
Investment: FREE

Topic: Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life

Date: February 12, 2013

Time: 7-8:30pm
Sponsored by :Master Builder's Association of King and Snohomish Counties
Place: Renton Highlands Library
Address: 2902 NE 12th  - Renton, WA 98056
Investment: FREE

Topic: Right-Sizing:  Less Stuff = Less Stress

Date: February 27, 2013

Time: 6:30 -8:00 pm
Place: 21 Acres
Address: 13701 NE 171st Street | Woodinville, WA  98072
Investment: $22 by 1/31/13 or $29 after 1/31/13

Register HERE

NEW CLASS for 2013!

Topic: Eliminate Paper & Information Chaos:  How to Securely Organize and Store Files
Date: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: 21 Acres
Address: 13701 NE 171st Street | Woodinville, WA  98072
Investment: $69 by 2/8/13 or $79 after 2/8/13

Register HERE

Click HERE for additional classes being offered in 2013!

Bookmark this page and check back often for places where Laura will be speaking that you can attend at no charge or for a nominal fee.

It's the Little Things....  

ContainerStore ColorfulStackedContainers Compressed

.....that can drive us crazy. Like all the little stuff that you need on a regular basis or maybe only once in a while, such as; Band-Aids, bath toys, golf balls, nail polish, and art supplies, etc... When you need them, you need them; so you look through drawers, cupboards and closets and perhaps still can't find them. You may go without or go to the store and buy what is needed, knowing that you may already have it but simply can't find it.  If you set aside a short amount of time to gather and categorize the little items and place them in clear stackable shoe box sized containers, you will be able to find and use them when needed. They fit neatly on many shelf sizes in a kitchen, bathroom, garage or playroom and deliver the most bang for their buck.

If you feel a bout of container-itis coming on, try purchasing one dozen clear 6 quart boxes, fill them with "like" items, place on shelf and watch your symptoms slowly fade. 

Is the Thought of Getting Organized Overwhelming?

Relax. We can help. We have mastered the art for over a decade!

Let us help you ring out your old stuff and ring in your new for a fresh organized start to the New Year....January is, after all "Get Organized Month."

Let Eliminate Chaos help you manage your time so you have "More Time for Life®".

Give us a call at 425.670.2551, 509.392.7064 or 877.342.8592 to discuss your needs and see how we can put together a team to help.

Happy New Year!

Laura Leist

You may reprint this article in its entirety with the following credit: © 2012 Eliminate Chaos. Reprinted with permission from Laura Leist, CPO of Eliminate Chaos. To receive Eliminate Chaos eNewsletters, click here.

© 2000-2012 Eliminate Chaos


  • Business Services
    • Paper Flow and Information Management
    • Workspace Organization and Space Planning
    • Productivity Assessments
    • Microsoft Business Contact Manager
    • Microsoft Exchange Migrations
  • Visit our business services site
  • "I worked with Erin, one of the specialists who works with the Chronically Disorganized (hoarders). In a word, she was fantastic. In four 4-hour sessions, she helped me go through and box up (keep, donate, trash) almost everything that was stacked up in my kitchen, dining room, office, and bonus room. Erin arrived promptly. We went over what I wanted to accomplish that day, then we got to work. She was focused, calm, non-judgmental, and tireless. She faced very dirty circumstances and didn't bat an eyelash. She never once caused me a moment of anxiety; the relief that I felt when we were done was amazing. And Laura Leist, who is the owner of Eliminate Chaos, was lovely. She returned my calls promptly, was kind and understanding, and offered me some options. I would hire this company again in a heartbeat. But right now I'm too busy enjoying all the free space in my house!"  

    -Kimberly O'Neal

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new client special smA great way to try us out and get some organizing done at the same time! For a limited time, we are offering an amazing NEW client organizing special. If you are not an existing client this is a great way for us show you how we can eliminate your chaos.

Call 425-670-2551 and ask us for details.

  • Business Services
    • Paper Flow and Information Management
    • Workspace Organization and Space Planning
    • Productivity Assessments
    • Microsoft Business Contact Manager
    • Microsoft Exchange Migrations
  • Visit our business services site