Friday, October 20, 2017

Halloween Roundup: Eco Ideas, Organized Halloween and Giving Back

I thought I would do a round up of past Halloween posts from the blog. It is always fun to go back and see what I wrote.
  • Here is a way to give back this Halloween
  • Halloween cards from past years. Look here and here

Share some of your favorite Halloween posts from your favorite bloggers.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Professional Organizer's Morning Routine : Amy Vance of Eco Modern Concierge

Is anyone else obsessed with finding out the morning routines of others? I love reading what people do in the mornings. There are many things where I think, "why don't I do that?" Here is how my typical morning goes when I don't start work super early or when I don't have spanish class. A little background, I am Amy and own Eco Modern Concierge here in Houston, TX. Eco Modern Concierge does professional organizing and personal assistance /concierge services for businesses and individuals in and around Houston.

Night before: I prep everything I will need the next day for work, set out my clothes and pack a gym bag.

5:30-45am: I get up brush my teeth, get my gym clothes on. I go downstairs and let our sweet boy (dog), Rothko out to pee. I typically eat on the go. I usually grab water and eat half of a Sinfull Bakery Everything Bar while driving. I take my vitamins before leaving the house, fish oil & a multivitamin.

6-6:15am: I leave the house. 

6:30-6:45am: If I get to the gym early I check my email and social sites or read a book. 

7am: I go to my yoga class or just work out at the gym. If I am working from home I try to meditate, go for a run or do stretches early in the morning.

8am: I get ready for work. 

8:30-9am: I either go into the office or start client work. It depends on my appointments I have throughout the day. 

9am: Days I am with a client I will work either half day or a full day depending on the projects and what the clients need. That way the second part of the day I can book other clients. If not, I do office work, I am answering emails, booking appointments, work on blog posts, etc.

10am: I am still working, but if I am able to I will make a smoothie or grab a snack. I get hungry and like to make sure I have snacks always on hand.

11:30am - noon: It's time for lunch. I try to eat healthy if I can, but sometimes I just grab whatever we have like leftovers or I schedule lunch meetings, which is rare but happens on occasion. 

What does your morning routine look like?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Made in the USA + Eco: Floor Cleaner

I don't know about you, but I am pretty picky when it comes to my cleaning products. I have caved and gone with non eco products due to what works best and husband compromise. As a floor cleaner I really like this Better Life one. It is made in the USA and it smells good. Many times clients hire Eco Modern Concierge because we give recommendations of products we like, so I am constantly testing and trying various products. What are some of your favorite eco cleaning products? 

Friday, October 13, 2017

6 Last Minute Tips to Get Organized to Host a Halloween Party

Throwing a last minute halloween party? Here are 5 tips to get you organized.

  • Decor. Go outside and gather leaves and pinecones. If all else fails go to the dollar store for webbing.
  • Drinks. Have a signature drink or byob.
  • Look on Pinterest. There are all kinds of quick food ideas on there 
  • Smell. Essential Oils for smell. To get that great fall small use several drops of clove and cinnamon bark essential oils in a diffuser or simmer water, orange peels, cinnamon sticks and cloves on the stove.
  • Lighting. Use candles or pick up cheap ones at the dollar store and change the lightbulbs to black, orange or green lights.
  • Pictures. Pick up some disposable cameras and have guests pass them around. Fun to see what kind of photos they took.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

5 Productivity Tips + Hacks

Recently have been asked to speak on panels and taught classes on productivity tips and hacks. As a professional organizer, I get asked constantly to help others stay productive, so they have more time. Who doesn't want more time on their hands?! I will hopefully do a series and continue to post productivity tips and hacks. Below are 5 tips and hacks that I and many of my clients use.

Use the Pomodoro technique. This is great technique to use to really stay focused. You pick a task to get accomplished and set a timer for 25 minutes. Then after the timer dings you take a 5 minute break. If you focus on one thing at a time it will help you get more accomplished and be more productive.

Use site blockers. Site blockers are a great way to not be on certain sites while you are trying to complete tasks. Like social media sites. 

Prep the night before. This helps so much when you are trying to get ready in the morning. If you have your clothes already picked out, lunch possibly made, what you need for the next day, etc. it can be a huge time saver. 

Outsource tasks. If you outsource things like errands, admin tasks, etc. you can gain so much more time to do things you love. This is where Eco Modern Concierge comes in ;)

Do what you can and stay positive. Simple as that. You can't do it all and if have a great attitude all will work out just fine. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Made in the USA + Eco: Mahalo Antioxidant Mask

I received this Mahalo BEAN antioxidant face mask in one of my Beauty Heroes boxes. It is made of all natural ingredients and is made in the USA. It smells divine and you use the brush to put it on. It leaves my skin smelling good and feeling fresh. What is your favorite made in the USA face mask?


Friday, October 6, 2017

10 Things People Outsource

Owning a concierge company and doing professional organizing, there are so many things that my clients in and outside of Houston outsource. Being a concierge company we are often part of the outsourcing that people do because they don't want to do certain tasks or just don't have the time. Here are 10 common things that people outsource.

Administrative tasks: There are so many resources out there where you can outsource your admin tasks. Eco Modern Concierge does a TON of admin tasks. 

Concierge / Errand services: Do you have 5 million errands and not sure how to get it all done? Call a concierge service. That is why our clients hire Eco Modern Concierge. It is because they don't have time to get everything done or just don't want to do certain things. 

Grocery delivery: There are services like Shipt and Instacart that you can use get your grocery delivered. Eco Modern Concierge often gets asked to buy groceries and people often use our services or similar services because we really get to know the client, brands they like and dislike, know when to restock, etc. 

Cleaning services: After many years of begging my husband for a cleaning person to come in, he finally caved last year and we LOVE it. Clients often outsource this and it makes their lives so much easier. 

Organizing services: Since I am a professional organizer here in Houston, I thought I should definitely include organizing on the list. There are SO many people in need of help and you can find a professional organizer in your area by going to

Food prep: A lot of my clients use individuals or services to meal prep for them. This saves them so much time and makes meal times super easy. This is especially great for busy families.

Food delivery: Do you ever order take out and have it delivered? So many people do by using apps like Door Dash, Favor, etc. I have used them especially if I am stuck at a clients house and didn't bring anything to eat. 

Research: Many clients have used Eco Modern Concierge's services to help with research whether this is for a work project or a vacation. There are various services like ours, apps and websites you can use. 

Phone answering: If you own a business you can outsource someone to answer your phone for you during business hours or during non-business hours. 

Landscaping services: When my husband and I moved several years ago, our yard size greatly increased and the previous owners said the current landscapers would give us the same rate, so we jumped on it. It is such a great thing not having to constantly do yard work. We do, do yard work in between service days, but really like outsourcing it. Many of my clients also outsource their yards and there are so many companies and individuals to choose from. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What to Purge Before You Move

Recently I have done a lot of moves and there are so many things you can get rid of before you move. Here are a just a few things to think about:
  • Kids toys
  • Pantry
  • Kitchen: dishes, pots, pans, cups, etc.
  • Garage: paint, junk, non-working tools, etc.
  • Cords & cables
  • Paperwork - junk mail, old catalogs, credit card offers, etc.
  • Unwanted furniture
  • Cosmetics and toiletries
  • Kids art
  • Kids trophies
  • Towels and linens
  • Collections you may no longer want
  • Clothes, shows, lingerie
  • Office supplies no longer needed or working
  • Old electronics
  • Old VHS, DVDs, CDs
  • Books and magazines

Monday, October 2, 2017

Made in the USA: Kristin Ess Beach Wave Hairspray

The more that I do my hair on a regular basis, the more I use hairspray. I first heard about this hairspray on Instagram. I went to Target to pick it up and found out it was made in the USA! YES! So far I like it and may try some other hairsprays from this brand later on.

Do you have favorite hairspray you use?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Eco Modern Concierge on Padron Marketing Podcast #StandingOut

In July, I was interviewed by Katrina with Padron Marketing about business for her podcast. In August, it went live. Go check it out here -----> Also, check out the other podcasts on the site from other business leaders.

Photo by: Padron Marketing

Hurricane Harvey Donations

As many of you know Hurricane Harvey destroyed many parts of Texas. It is has been just a tad bit over a month since it made its way to Texas and caused so much flooding in and around the Houston area. My beloved neighborhood was no exception.

The outpouring amount of help, donations, and kindness from others has been beyond amazing. We have a neighbor who set up a little "store" where neighbors and workers can come get supplies, eat, take a break, etc. It has truly been amazing.

In order to help the neighbors and friends in our community a little more I started an Amazon wishlist of supplies that they will need in the coming months because this is an ongoing process. If you care to donate here is the link: any and all help is greatly appreciated! THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

9 Tips to Getting Organized This Fall

Since fall is approaching many people are hiring professional organizers to help them get organized for the fall and upcoming holidays. I usually get an influx of client requests because the looming holidays is stressing them out. Here are 9 things you can do to help you get organized this fall.

Purge. Get rid of holiday items you do not need. You can do this at the end of each holiday season too. Purge any summer and winter clothing you no longer wear. Also, purge any kitchen items you know you don't need.

Organize and switch up closet. If you are the type that puts their seasonal clothing away or puts it in a different area of your closet, now is the time to make the shift. Switch your clothing.

Schedule. I don't know about you, but for me and many of my clients the fall is basically non-stop from October 1st - December 31st. Make sure your schedule is intact so you have everything written down on a calendar or electronically. This helps so you don't overbook yourself. Use different pen colors to prioritize and keep it fun.

Plan. The key is to plan ahead. Make sure to meal plan, plan your projects you have coming up, plan for the holidays, etc. Planning will help you be more productive and save so much time.

Clean. I know you have heard of spring cleaning and in the fall you should do the same thing. Get that house nice and clean for the holidays.

Make lists. Make lists of everything you need to do and want to do. This can include household chores to fun things to do.

Organize and clean the garage. Fall is the perfect time to tackle that garage. Depending on where you live, it usually isn't as hot as the summer and the crisp air helps you feel motivated.

Prep the outdoors. If you have summer furniture or activities outside, clean them up and store them.
Split your firewood and prepare to use in the fireplace or a fire pit.

Organize your entryway. As you walk into your house make sure there is a place for coats, boots, bags, keys, etc. This will especially help you be organized and ready to walk out the door on time.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Made in the USA + Eco: BEST Mosquito Spray

I have been a long time fan of milk + honey and have blogged about it several times before. Their mosquito spray is the BEST eco one I have found. I have given constantly as gifts and it is an essential if you live in Houston.  Plus, it is made in Texas! Owning a concierge company, I am always looking for great gift ideas and this is perfect.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

My Fall 2017 Bucket List

I love the fall time and from the time October hits it is non-stop go, go, go until the end of the year for us. This year is particularly busy with music festivals, weddings, bachelorette party, etc. etc. Here are some things on my fall bucket list. By creating a list I hope that it helps me stay more organized and plan my down time wisely. 

Toast pumpkin seeds. Every year we get real pumpkins and last year we toasted pumpkin seeds with cinnamon and they turned out SO good. I really want to remember to do that again this year.

Host an outdoor movie night. We used to do this a lot more, but it has been almost a year since we did an outdoor movie night, so I hope to do another one.

Go to a new dog park. Our sweet dog, Rothko, LOVES going to the park and for walks, so I want to take him somewhere new.

Run more. I hate running in the summer, which I did more this past summer than normal, but I really like running in the fall / winter because there is something refreshing about running in the cool air. Plus, I need to do more cardio.

Weekend getaway. We have a few weekend getaways planned and are going to some new places, which I am really excited about.

Open the windows. I don't know why I don't do this more in the fall, but this year I really need to remember to open the windows throughout the house more, turn off the a/c and let cool air in.

Finish our sunroom. So this has been a goal for a couple of years and something we started last year, but this year WE WILL finish that dang sunroom.

Host a dinner party. We LOVE hosting and having people over, so I really want to host a fun dinner party this year sometime in the fall for friends and neighbors.

Go on more bike rides. We love going on bike rides and I really want to bike Buffalo Bayou since it has been renovated. I did once in May, but fall is a great time to check out new bike trails.

Finish holiday shopping early. This may be wishful thinking, but I really want to have most of my shopping done by December 1st.

Organize the garage. This is totally my husbands domaine because I have organized the garage I don't know how many times, so I have finally pretty much given up, but hopefully it is something we or he can tackle this fall.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tip Tuesday: Save for the Holidays

I was reading an Angie's List article last month that came in the mail and thought they had a great idea in there that I wanted to share. In order to help save for the holidays, start buying gift cards to your favorite stores you frequent during the holidays. Purchase them weekly, monthly, every pay period or whatever works best for you. Then when the holidays role around you will be prepared financially and will not be as stressed out. As a concierge and professional organizer, I think this is a great tip and I've used it myself. I am not sure about other places, but in Houston there are often many sales close to the holidays or discount cards you can use at various stores. Happy stress-free shopping!

Friday, September 15, 2017

5 Things to Organize This Weekend

Legos. If you have kids, or perhaps for yourself, (I LOVE Legos!!) organize them in a way that works best for you. If you need to downsize then donate them or give them to someone you know. You can organize them in soooo many different ways like by color to by set.

Laundry room. Do you have laundry products that you never use? It is time to get rid of them and streamline your laundry area. Utilize bins to organize your laundry supplies.

Pet supplies. I don't know about you, but my sweet Rothko has a ton of old toys, old treats / food, etc. that needs to be tossed. Gather all items and try to keep them together like all their toys together, their food / treats together, etc.

CDs. Does anyone still CDs? I do! My husband makes fun of me, but I love having a cd that I can take with me from one room to another, on road trips, etc. Gather all CDs together in one area and eliminate what you no longer want, like or use.

Makeup. Go through your makeup and get rid of what you don't use, what is expired or what you don't like. If you use makeup regularly than there is good chance that there is a ton of extra makeup that you don't use at all.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Made in the USA + Eco: Josh Rosebrook

I got this Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30 and Vital Balm Cream in my Beauty Heroes box in July and I LOVE it. I have been looking for an eco, lightweight daily moisturizer with SPF. This stuff is great. It is made in the USA, is eco and is in a glass bottles, which is awesome.

What are some of your favorite eco beauty products?

Friday, September 8, 2017

How to Organize a National Night Out for your Neighborhood

I know I have posted this info a couple of years ago, but thought I would post again. For the past 2 years I have organized National Night Out for our neighborhood and I wanted to share with you some things that I have found helpful when planning a National Night Out event. Most states celebrate National Night Out in August, but in Texas and some other states it takes place in October when the weather is cooler. This year it is on October 3rd. I organized it for the neighborhood I grew up in over a decade ago and when we moved into our new house I decided to take this on since many of the neighbors rarely get out and go to neighborhood events. 
  • Get the word out. I first get the word out about the date it will be by writing a blurb about it in our neighborhood newsletter, word of mouth, etc. I also send out an Evite to get an idea of how many people will be there. 
  • Post to social media. Then I post on our Facebook site and NextDoor site (like Facebook for neighborhoods).
  • Donations. Ask for donations and get neighbors to bring a side dish. We have had generous neighbors donate all the hot dogs. We also have had several local businesses donate items. 
  • Ask for help. Then I start rallying the troops (other neighbors) to help with the event. This includes set up, cooking the food, etc. Unfortunately, in the past I was not able to make our neighborhood night out and have relied on others more than I normally would. Don't hesitate to ask for help from others are usually willing to help if they can.
  • Call local officials. We start calling local officials to see if they will come out and greet neighbors. Call your local police department, fire station and city hall members. Usually there are requests that you can fill out online. Neighbors really like it when they can talk to someone from the city and express their concerns or express their gratitude. 
  • Set up early. There will always be those people who show up early, so prepare everything about 30 minutes early. For us there isn't a lot going on and it is pretty simple, so it won't take long to set up.
  • Enjoy. Mix and mingle with neighbors and enjoy hanging out with them.
  • Clean up. Bring 2 bags one for trash and one for recycle. This makes clean up easy. 
Things we have prepared for the evening: 
  • Local officials to stop by.
  • Crafts for kids. We will have card making with the Halloween / Fall foam cutouts (picture below and I got them in the $1 bin at Target) and DIY pinecone bird feeders. 
  • Our neighborhood Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) team members to talk about emergency preparedness.
  • Give away raffle items that local businesses donated. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

5 Time Saving Tips

Do you feel like you are constantly strapped for time, especially since we are entering the holiday season? When professional organizing and doing concierge work I try to advise my clients on the little things that can help them save time and be productive.  What are some of your time saving tips?

  • Fold / hang laundry when it is finished drying. Don't procrastinate, just get it done.
  • Prep the night before. This is a life saver many of days for me. I really like to make sure I have everything I need for work ready to go and I set my clothes out the night before for work.
  • Go through mail when you get it out of the mailbox. Toss, recycle or file whatever needs to be done with the mail.
  • Put things on your calendar right away. Whether this is your physical or electronic calendar.
  • Meal prep for the week. This way there is no thinking "what are we going to do for dinner?"

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day! Time to celebrate hard workers everywhere.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Eco Product: Moth Traps

Moths can be such a pest. I was browsing on Amazon and saw these moth traps and loved that they were eco moth traps too. I use them in my pantry and cabinets and have had them for months and they work great.

They are: 
  • Made of recycled material
  • Pheremone technology 
  • Are non-toxic
  • 100% organic
What are some of your favorite eco products?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How to Contain Email Clutter

Email can control you if you let it. For me, the more messages I have in my inbox the more stressed out I get. As a professional organizer I get calls in and out of Houston asking to help contain email clutter. Here are some of my tips:

Archive. The quickest and easiest way to get rid of things out of your inbox is to archive the emails you don't need. Then go through it later. I try to advise clients to take the time to do the things that they need to do immediately.

Search and delete. If you know your inbox is full of emails from certain businesses or people that you know you don't need. Search the name in the inbox and then select all and delete. For example do you really need all of those old William Sonoma emails? No, probably not.

Create folders. The more folders you have, the more overwhelming it can get especially for people with ADHD and creative folks. Creating some folders is helpful most of the time.

Set limits. Know how many unread emails you want to have and try to stick to that amount.  Stick to an amount of time where you check email maybe 3x a day for 30 minutes each time.

Unsubscribe from all unnecessary emails. We all receive emails from companies that we don't need. Use or hit unsubscribe at the bottom email or ask to be taken off of their list.

Check email at certain times of the day. If you set specific times that you check your email it will not feel so overwhelming where you are constantly taking time to check it.

Create filters / rules. You can create certain filters and rules where certain emails go to specific folders, flag emails, etc.

Pick up the phone. If you know you will keep going back and forth with someone about something that is not important and doesn't need an email trail, just pick up the phone and call them.

Color code. Color code emails to make it visually appealing and be able to locate certain emails quicker.

Quick responses. Be concise and to the point. You can set days and times that are actionable when responding or just say "no response needed or no reply needed". That way you cut down on the back and forth.

Use autoresponder. Use the autoresponder to let people know when you will be replying back or checking email. That way they don't expect an immediate response back.

Choose when emails appear. There are services like Boomerang where you can draft an email and they will send it on a certain day and time. Or you can set it to reappear in your inbox at a later time, so it is not just lingering in your inbox.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Monday, August 28, 2017

Made in the USA: Milk Anti-Frizz Leave in Treatment

I have had a terrible time trying to control my hair frizz in the Houston humidity. I have tried just about everything under the sun. Usually items leave my hair really greasy, but not this product, Reverie Milk Anti-Frizz. I really like it. I have thick, wavy hair and it works great. I use when my hair is wet and when it is dry. It is a little pricy, but I don't mind because I really like it. Plus, I need to look decent when meeting with clients. Another awesome thing is it is made in the USA and it is in a glass bottle. I always prefer glass over plastic. It is pretty eco with no sulfates, phthalates, and parabens.

Friday, August 25, 2017


I thought I would do another day in the life series. I always forget to document what I am doing, but on this day I remembered to. It was a relatively "light" day and I did forget to document the part where I dropped off donations to The Women's Home.

I had a consultation in Timbergrove Manor about an organizing project.

I had a client who was wanting a new orchid for her kitchen, so I stopped off at Whole Foods in Montrose and picked one up. She really likes the orchids from here. 

I had a meeting at Magpies and Peacocks to see their place and to go over doing some volunteering for them. 

I stopped off at Four Seasons for lunch because I was in the area. I don't go here often, but do love their food. It is super fresh.

When I was out of town Mariana at Hibiscus Linens was having a sale that I couldn't make, so she was kind of enough to put a shirt on hold for me. So I stopped by to pick it up. 

I unloaded a ton of items my client bought from the Nordstrom anniversary sale.

Workout gear closet organization for a client in Montrose.

Dry cleaning run for a client. Technically, I had already dropped off the clothes that were in these bags, but of course forgot to take a picture.

After work I met up with some NAPO Houston professional organizers at Cadillac Bar. 

Super fun! This isn't even everyone that was in attendance.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How to Organize Post-It Notes

Any other post-it note lovers? I use them ALL the time for work, in my planner, with clients, etc. I think they are great to help get and stayed organized. Here are some way that I organize post-it notes for clients, 

In shoeboxes - clear ones are what I use most, but I also just repurpose regular shoeboxes as well. 
Acyclic drawer dividers - I use these most often in offices and junk drawers. 
Desk organizers - these are usually tiered organizers and great if you have several different sizes. 
Stackable memo holders - these are great if you are using them in a particular area and you don't have a lot.
Letter sorters - I love using letter sorters for so many different things and they are great for post-it notes as well. 

How do you you like to organize your post-it notes?

Monday, August 21, 2017

How to Remember to Water Plants

Waterbug Plant Care Guide App - If you are one of those people who always forgets to water plants, guilty!, then you need this app. You enter your plant info and it will tell you when you need to water it. Once the plants have been watered, you hit the drop icon and it countdowns to when it needs to be watered again.

Calendar: electronic and paper - another great thing is to utilize just a regular calendar to keep track of when you need to water your plants and then set calendar alerts.

Old sponges - I saw this on Danny Seo's site and he demonstrated putting fertilizer in a pot, cutting old sponges into squares and placing them on top of the soil, adding more fertilizer, add the plant, add a little more fertilizer and finally water the plant. The sponges will retain water, so the soil will not get as dry as quickly.

Do you have any tips on how to remember to water your plants?

Friday, August 18, 2017

5 Things to Organize This Weekend

Wallet. Most of us, men & women, have unnecessary things in our wallet. From unused cards to receipts to expired coupons. Time to purge all the things that doesn't belong in there.

Gift wrap. If you are anything like me you have a ton of gift wrapping supplies. Get rid of anything that you would not use on gifts, bags with tears, etc.

Books. Do you have books that you have been wanting to get rid of? Now is the time. Take them to resale, pass along to a friend, donate to a library, put inside of a Little Free Library, etc.

Video Games. Do you have old video games / accessories that you have no intention of ever using? Time to pass them along to others or donate to charity.

Cups. If you are anything like most people you have an unnecessary amount of cups that you have bought or gotten free. Sift through them and only keep the ones you use most often.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Eco Modern Concierge Was Voted One of the Best Home Organizers in Houston 2017

I am happy to say that Eco Modern Concierge was voted One of the Best Home Organizers in Houston 2017 by We are amongst some good company. What is one thing you need to get organized right now?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Eco Modern Concierge Interview in VoyageHouston

I know I already mentioned this on social media, but go check out my interview with VoyageHouston that was published in June. What are some other things you would like to know about the business?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eco Spa: Shoji Spa in Asheville, NC

On my way to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) 2017 Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, I stopped off in Asheville, NC to see a friend and her little one. The day I got in she had booked me a hot tub treatment at Shoji Spa to help me relax and wind down from all the driving I did. It was such a thoughtful thing for her to do and it was SOOOOO relaxing. It is an eco spa and they use a lot of green products, along with being super clean. The hot tubs are located outside on the side of the mountain in the middle of the woods. It is extremely peaceful just to sit there unwind and read a book. When I got there it was daylight still, but quickly faded into night. I highly recommend you visit this spa if you ever find yourself in Asheville. Here are some photos from my visit there.