Angela Hoxsey is a professional organizer based in the Napa Valley. For information about her services, go to www.houseinorder.com or call 707-738-4346. 

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Reporters are always at their best when being wined and dined, and so it was a congenial group who had gathered at Joseph Phelps Winery where the assignment, this day, was to experience the launch of the winery’s new culinary program.

One of the most problematic areas of organization for my female clients is the bathroom. Many women simply have too many cosmetics, unguents and potions. The husband of one client described the bottles and jars on his wife’s side of the bathroom counter as the skyline of a major metropolis.

Organizing is a never-ending process. You can either get excited by this, or feel hopeless and overwhelmed. I suggest you get to choose how you feel about it. Try excitement on for size.

Thick, thirsty bath towels take up a lot of room in the linen closet, so I’ve found a bunch of ways to store towels right where they are used, in the bathroom.

Linen closets are a chore to organize the first time. But once you do it and do it right, it will be a snap to maintain for the long term.

Linen closets are a chore to organize the first time. But once you do it and do it right, it will be a snap to maintain for the long term.

Paralysis in the decluttering process of your home can set in when we start overthinking future scenarios.

You’ve taken out the trash, the recycling, the toxic waste. You’ve portioned out the valuables to heirs, auction and consignment. You’ve gotten “real” with the clothing, the kitchen and the hobby supplies. The final step in our downsizing prep is memorabilia, and if you have truly accomplish…

In the last column I discussed the quick and dirty part of downsizing: the identification of trash and recycling. Next in the narrowing circle of possessions to be downsized are the treasures, both real and imagined. If unprepared in the task of divesting ourselves of our treasures, we might…

Organizing services and products are a huge business in America, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to spend your money. Do you go for the help, the cool containers, the heavy duty file folders or the floppy cheap ones? It depends on two things: your budget, obviously, and where you are o…

Sometimes procrastination on tasks and projects can be a good thing. Yes, you read it right. We often add things to our To Do lists and leave them there, week after week or even year after year, without considering: what if we gave ourselves permission not to do the task or finish the project?

I kept trying to give it away. For the last couple months the book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” had been going from the house to the donation bag I keep in the garage. Something kept telling me I needed to revisit what author Greg McKeon had to say.

It’s early in the year to be talking about garages. I tend to reserve garage organizing for summer when the weather is warm and dry, but I recently experienced a garage miracle. It was like going through a wormhole in a science-fiction movie. On one side was a chaotic, dark and slightly scar…

Before 2016 is a distant memory, take some time to review your accomplishments, challenges and general feelings about the past year.

I must be getting old. It is becoming increasingly difficult to open a gift and not carefully preserve the pretty wrapping paper and the “perfectly good box.” I have to stop myself from neatly coiling the used grosgrain and satin and stashing it for the next holiday.

An ideal organizer is fairly easy to describe. You want to look for someone who is compassionate, but has good boundaries; someone who has high energy, but is willing to match your pace if you need to move more slowly; someone observant, who can see why some of your organizing challenges occ…

It never seems to end, but doing the laundry is my favorite chore. It’s one of the few chores that you can accomplish while watching Project Runway. Having an organized laundry room makes all the difference.

When I was a whippersnapper in the wine business in the late 1980s, I wondered what kind of woman Robert Mondavi’s wife could be and how anyone could possibly match his good looks, charm and charisma. When I was fortunate enough to finally meet Margrit Biever Mondavi and have lunch with her …

We have all experienced that “stop the world, I want to get off,” feeling. It’s the feeling we get when we have too many obligations, commitments, dependents, assignments, expectations, pings, buzzes, rings, dings and other interruptions. It’s hard to get a thought in edgewise.

Last year, it seemed that every client had a copy of the mega-seller book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” on their bedside table. This year, the majority of my new clients have never heard of it. Like fad diets, organizing trends are in one season and out the next. Although the book …

Firearms in the home necessitate a higher degree of order and care than, say, books or baseball gear, but I’ve seen too many gun-related organizational missteps. If you are going to exercise the Second Amendment right to own firearms, apply some orderly thinking to their storage.

Paper! That slender, seemingly innocent descendant of papyrus that can suddenly bite you like Cleopatra’s viper. Most hoarders I have worked with have more trouble with paper, specifically newspapers and magazines, than any other category of material goods. Why is it so hard for some people …

I just spent 10 days on the road and enjoyed nights in four different guest rooms and one hotel. It got me thinking about what makes a great bedroom and a good night’s sleep.

Tim Ferriss is a phenomenon. His “4-Hour Workweek,” “4-Hour Body” and “4-Hour Chef” books are mega best-sellers and his podcast series, “The Tim Ferriss Show,” contains a crazy amount of valuable information and an introductions to inspiring books, people and movies. Even if you already reti…

Two weeks ago, the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville opened its annual Napa Valley Collects show, an exhibition of art lent by local collectors. The terrific show, curated by Meagan Doud, is a quirky but accessible mix of subjects and mediums.

It takes some self-awareness to realize when you are taking up more than your fair share of space. We all know a few people who are “larger than life,” which can be a lot of fun but can also wear on your nerves after a while. Alternatively, a person may not take up too much psychic space, bu…

When faced with a big job like spring cleaning, start at the top and work your way down. Most of the rain may be behind us, but for the next couple of months we will still be focusing on the interior of the house and leave exteriors for normally dry June when the effects will be more lasting.

I’m enjoying organizer Marie Kondo’s moment by proxy. Her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has hooked millions of people on organizing and I’m hearing things at dinner parties like, “I thanked my socks for their service today.” A huge part of the Kondo method is gr…

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I just bought my very first scanner. I have a bit of an aversion to office equipment, but I got a job that involves a lot of scanning and decided that I’d rather do it sitting at my desk at home than standing at the monster all-in-one copier at our…

Unfortunately, sometimes clutter is not cleared and affairs are not put into order until someone dies. I’ve been privileged to have helped many people as they go through a lifetime’s worth of possessions, either those of a spouse, a parent or — most devastating — a child. Even if the organiz…

Everything we do and create begins with a thought. This is such a simple but powerful insight. We need to imagine or think of what it is we want to do, be, produce before manifestation can occur. Sometimes we don’t even know what to think, so how should we begin?

Janus, the Roman god for whom the first month of the year is named, looks backward and forward, a perfect image for getting a solid start on 2016. Let’s begin with looking back at some of the top tips from 2015’s columns.

Holiday gifting this year feels like I’m skating fast and smooth over a river of ice: effortless, exhilarating and, yes, fun. How did this happen? How did the usual angst and frustration transform so completely to confidence, joy and an almost childlike giddiness? Two words: no shopping.

Productivity coach and author David Allen has a saying, “The better you get, the better you’d better get.” This means that as you become more organized and productive, you’ve got to watch out because either others will recognize that you get things done and heap more tasks on your plate or y…

Physical stuff — the boxes of baby clothes in the garage and stacks of unprocessed paper in the office—isn’t the only clutter that can impinge on a person’s serenity. The sounds in our environment, like the physical clutter, impinge on calm, concentration and overall quality of life. Take ti…

The inbox or basket is a standard office tool, but it is not commonly used correctly. Most, if not all, of my clients’ organizing woes could be cured with the proper use of the inbox. I can preach and preach, but it is the actual habit of using the inbox correctly that must be done consisten…

Fall always catches me by surprise. These last few weeks were warm, then hot, then rainy, then very chilly, then crazy, stormy windy. And then warm again. Once again, we go herky-jerky into autumn. It’s a tricky time of year to prepare for, but the thought of dark, cozy nights, lots of rain …

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The organizing and productivity phenomenon has reached the point that lately I’m feeling a little push back. A book by two guys who call themselves The Minimalists starts with, “Organizing should be a dirty word…” They believe that the craze for organization is simply an excuse to be a thoug…

There is a lot to love about Gretchen Rubin’s recent book, “Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives.” The follow-up to her bestseller, “The Happiness Project,” “Better Than Before” is an entertaining, highly readable book full of information on how to make meaningful c…

I had a very strange, nearly out-of- body, experience while touring a client’s half-dozen storage units a few months ago. The first unit was 1017, the street address of my childhood home, which I took note of, also noting the fact that it contained (among other items) an antique automobile a…

Have you ever enjoyed a caffeinated beverage then wasted the boost by flipping through a magazine or watching TV?

There are so many good reasons to create a home inventory. I’ve helped clients create such documents as part of their home insurance files, for estate planning, and for preparation for a move, among other things. It can be a daunting task, but well worth the time and effort.

We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not that you fall that matters, it’s whether or not you get up.” In terms of staying organized, you might stumble quite a bit before you hit your stride.

One of my favorite packing tips is to plan a travel wardrobe around either black or brown accessories so that you don’t have to pack multiple shoes, belts and handbags. Going either all black or all brown cuts decisions in half and, as you know by now, organizing is all about informed decisions.

Some days, I think longingly about the times I worked for someone else. Yes, the nine to five, five days a week structure was sometimes a drag, but it was awfully nice to have my work defined for me. I recently read that the person Andy Warhol would have most liked to have had on retainer wa…

The smoking, the drinking, the selling, the sex—Mad Men, the huge AMC hit television show, is coming to an end soon.The orderly interiors and sleek fashion from Seasons One through Six were so impressive that it occurred to me that the show offered a few great examples of organized lives and…

It doesn’t matter how fabulous your stuff is if the lighting is poor. It is not only hard to see and, therefore, enjoy what you have; dark and shadowy spaces are difficult to clean, organize and work in. The wrong lighting is also hard on the self-esteem — ask any woman who thought she looke…

One type of clutter I encounter all too often is organizing gear that doesn’t work. Professional organizers try all kinds of gizmos to keep up with what our clients might find useful, but also so that we can advise them on which ones to avoid. Here are some of my latest “likes” and “dislikes.”

Pantry, larder and buttery are such old-fashioned words. Pantry comes from Old French and meant “bread room.” Even though our refrigerators are huge and many of us aren’t eating bread anymore, we still have pantries and keeping the pantry in order is a challenge.

No matter who you are, you’ve got 24 hours in a day to maintain, or even improve, your work, home, body, spirit and relationships. Considering that a third of that is given over to sleep, we’ve each got about 16 hours to do everything we want and need to each day. More than ever in our cultu…

The fact that an organizing book has made the best-seller lists yet again proves just how hungry Americans are for advice on how to manage their homes and businesses in our culture of speed and abundance. A few years ago, it was David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” that I spied on every clien…

Almost every client I’ve worked with has had what I call an “easy out,” something that can be easily let go. Many people have one or two easy outs in several categories.

All the important January words seem to begin with ”re” — recycle, return, regift, reflect, resolve. Think about the word “resolve.” It sounds like a problem we’ve solved before, and now we have to re-solve it — the revolving door of resolutions.

What do you get the person who has everything? This used to be a question we would ask ourselves for one, maybe two, of the people on our holiday gift list. It seems to me that it applies to more and more people on my list each year. No, I am not hanging around with a wealthier crowd, it’s j…

Joseph Campbell, the famous and popular professor of myth, famously and popularly stated, “Follow your bliss.” This was interpreted by a lot of people to mean, “Only do it if it is effortless and feels good — if it is difficult, it must not be your bliss.”

Organizing an office is one of my favorite tasks, but seems to be a hated chore for my clients. I have yet to meet the person who greets me with an ebullient, “I can’t wait to start filing!”

I have a friend whose last name is Rush. Ironically, she is chronically late and takes her time with every decision, especially those involving aesthetics, such as what color to paint the walls or which skirt to wear. She’s arranged her life so that she doesn’t feel compelled to rush and her…