Barbara's blog

The Huge Importance of Protected Time

protected timeAt my new job at the California Center for Rural Policy we do a lot of work with collaborating partners on a variety of interesting topics. We are working with a local non-profit agency to submit a large and very complex grant proposal, and we’re relying on our partner to deliver a large amount of work with multiple documents. 

When I called to ask how our point person was doing on meeting our hard deadline two days away, she responded by saying that she wasn’t going to make it, and thought it was a soft deadline that she could push back by a week. 

I let her know that no, in fact we really needed to have the documents the day we agreed to so that we didn’t create a stressful situation for our analyst who helps prepare grants for submission. She then started listing off all of the reasons she couldn’t spend time on the grant that day: she was answering phones, greeting clients that came through the door, and had to pick her daughter up by 1:00. 

I stepped back into my OrderWithin persona at that point, and let her know the importance of creating protected time for herself to work on projects that require mental heavy lifting and a lot of organization. I told her I would be happy to talk with her boss (who is a friend) to help clear her plate that day if needed so that she could give her complete attention to the grant submission. At that point she asked if she could call me back in a few minutes. 

Planning for Get Organized Month

I’m excited to be working on a project next month with my team of professional organizers. We like to choose a non-profit organization to do a service project for each year, and this year we have selected the Humboldt County Breast Health Project (HCBHP).

humboldt county professional organizer - having fun

Professional organizer, Shoshanna Rose, having fun.

Counting My Blessings

“Reflect upon your present blessings ― of which every man has many ― not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” 
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

As happens pretty much every year, I’m amazed that it’s December already and that the holiday season is upon us. With the season in full swing, I want to slow down and take time to count my blessings. 

This has been another amazing year and I have so much to be grateful for. Here are just a few of the things I count as blessings in my life:

  • First and always at the top of my list is Ron – the love of my life. He fills my life with love, and works to create an easy pathway for me each day.  One of the things we are doing this year is take the time to learn to dance together. It has been a life-long dream of mine and I’m amazed at how happy it makes me just to dance around in our little living room!

Ron and Barbara Browning

A Small Home Office Makeover

small closet officeI recently had the opportunity to work with my lovely new apprentice, Shoshanna, on a project so that she could see how I actually work with people. She found the perfect project for us: a closet that her friend has converted to use as her office. 

We began by talking with our client and finding out what she wanted and what her needs were. She then left us on our own to transform her little space. We began by taking everything out, which is how I prefer to work when possible.

New Professional Organizer in Humboldt

Shoshanna Rose

There’s a new professional organizer in the making in Humboldt! I got to do a mini-boot camp with the lovely Shoshanna Rose, who I believe is going to be a fabulous organizer. Shoshanna is a talented dancer and teacher, probably best known for her belly dancing. But she is a woman of many talents, and loves organizing.

Feng Shui at Work

Feng Shui at Work Mirror

I began studying Feng Shui about 20 years ago with the very wise and talented Carol Bridges. The first class I ever took, she gave us a handout called, “Three for Your Chi.” The three things it referred to were your desk, bed, and stove. The article talked about the importance of placing all three of them in positions that will allow you to see people coming toward you when you are in bed, cooking, or sitting at your desk. I took that to heart, and ever since have used mirrors or furniture placement to ensure that I can see people coming toward me.

5 Organizing Tips for Creatives

Do you consider yourself to be a creative person? Do you struggle with conventional ways of organizing? If so, you are not alone. Helping creative people get organized enough to create is one of my favorite things, and it requires thinking a little differently than when organizing people who are more linear in their thinking.

Serving With Our Talents - SWOT


There is one great truth on the planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth...And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
   ~The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho


When I was about 12 years old, I lived in Idaho Falls and was very involved with the youth group in my church. A church in a neighboring town was badly damaged by flooding and had to be closed because they didn’t have the resources to repair the damage.

People from my church spent a day cleaning out debris and mud, cleaning and restoring what could be saved to help them get their doors open again. That experience has stuck with me my whole life. It inspired me to participate in volunteer projects throughout my life that have the power to transform not only buildings, but the people who run them as well.

It’s My Birthday!

OrderWithin turns 9 this month. I got my first business license for OrderWithin October 1, 2004, and I'm amazed at where this business has taken me these past 9-years. I would have never predicted all of the amazing opportunities I've had or all of the amazing people I've meet as a Professional Organizer.

Since OrderWitin started in the fall I have always considered fall the beginning of my business year, and I absolutely love this time of year for planning. I have the great fortune of being part of a Mastermind Group, and we have had annual retreats now for 4 years where we do our annual reviews and planning together. It makes the experience a lot more fun, meaningful, and builds accountability for accomplishing goals.

Mastermind Group

What We’re Up To: Organizing Grief

I recently got an email from someone who found OrderWithin via our website. She had suffered an incredible amount of loss, and as a result turned to shopping to fill up the empty spaces left by the loss of so many loved ones. Four years later she found OrderWithin and sent me a very touching plea for help.

It is such touching and tender work to help someone reclaim their life after so much loss and the accumulation of so much stuff. Grief can take many forms and directions, but getting through the worst of it can free up the energy to return to a life you love and enjoy.

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