Thursday, January 6, 2011

Have I got a resolution for him and her

By Charlotte Adams, professional organizer and amateur sleuth, most recently snooping in Mary Jane Maffini's Closet Confidential

Jack! Open the door. It’s just me, Charlotte. What do you mean, Charlotte who? Um, just your best friend and tenant and maybe even more. I’m only trying to help, and I don’t know why you won’t ….

Oh hello. I didn’t see you there. What? Oh. I’m on at Killer Characters already? How embarrassing! I’m usually on top of these things, but my playful dogs have hidden my agenda, probably because there’s a vet visit coming up. Now you’re probably wondering why I am banging on Jack Reilly’s door and more to the point why he won’t open it. If you haven’t met me, this would be a good time for me to mention that I live upstairs and I run Organized for Success. That’s just in case you need anything decluttered, sorted out or set up.

I love January, when the year ahead is a clean slate and anything’s possible if you just plan for it. I find New Year’s Resolutions can help make good things happen, so naturally, I love them too.

I was just trying to help Jack with his New Year’s Resolutions, although, of course, he doesn’t actually have any and so he’s avoiding me. He should have some though, starting with decluttering his apartment and maybe even getting some furniture. He is the only person I know who keeps spare bike parts in his oven. Also, it would be a great idea for him to expand his wardrobe beyond those cargo shorts and Hawaiian shirts. Aside from those small quirks, he is the best guy in the world.

I have also volunteered to help my friend Margaret set up a few new procedures in her law office and offered to organize my friend Sally’s chaotic playroom (four kids under four). You can’t sit down in her house without impaling yourself on some bright piece of hard plastic. But for some reason, neither of them is answering the phone. I wouldn’t bother trying to suggest any improvements to my friend (and occasional enemy) Sgt. Pepper Monahan. I will just resolve stay out of her way and that goes for the rest of the police force too.

My rescued miniature dachshunds should be learning a few tricks to help them in their Therapy Dog work, but for some reason they are hiding under my bed, just out of reach, even with the broom.

Never mind, I still love New Year’s Resolutions and mine were made in plenty of time for the New Year. I know that to succeed, a goal should be measurable, achievable and have a specific date . Although I don’t have a problem with clutter, there are some areas in my life that could stand a bit of improvement. I need to find some new business opportunities for Organized for Success, as the economy hasn’t been kind to most small businesses. My first resolution was to develop five related time management workshops by Feb 1. Of course, I’ve already managed to do that. My author loved my ideas and has incorporated them into our next book The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder which comes out April 5th. You’d think that she’d write me a check every now and then to show her gratitude, but noooo.

Since this is an honest forum, I was going to resolve not to eat quite so much Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk out of the container, but as I can still zipper my pants and button my blouses, I think this resolution is best put on hold for another year.

Even so, you can’t live on ice cream, so I have resolved to learn to cook a second recipe. That’s right, even though I am getting pretty good at making that stir fry. Therefore:

Master basic omelet recipe by April 1st. This is not a joke.

I do need to get more exercise (the kind that doesn’t include fleeing from murderers, falling out of trees, or jumping to conclusions). Therefore: Increase walking time with Truffle and Sweet Marie. Pick up thirteen pound dogs when they get tired to speed process and eliminate the need to do free weight work. Anyone who knows Truffle and Sweet Marie realizes that their independent natures make it impossible for this resolution to be specific, measurable or have a deadline.

Finally, and most bothersome, on occasions when they were taking my calls, most of my friends have suggested that being less bossy would be a good resolution for me. As I’m not really sure what they’re getting at, I’m not clear on how I could make that happen. Do you have any suggestions?

Mary Jane Maffini is the author of the Charlotte Adams series, the Camilla MacPhee mysteries and the Fiona Silk comic capers. Visit her at and every third Saturday at


  1. I can't wait for "The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder!" What a great title. :) Your resolutions sound a lot like mine and I think I might have to adopt the omelet one.

  2. Charlotte, was that you who called on New Years' Day? Sorry for slamming down the phone. I didn't recognize your voice that early in the morning. And there's something about the word "resolutions" that makes phones slip right out of my hand. Strange, isn't it?

  3. If you want to come over and organize my office, you can be as bossy as you want. I'll even supply some Ben and Jerry's.

  4. I wouldn't touch that question with a ten-foot pole! On the other hand, I'd be willing to bet you could master 2 recipes by April. Unless that would clutter up the kitchen. I think you're on the right track though & can't wait to get into The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder & start those time management classes!

  5. Charlotte, you're the best! And your CLOSET CONFIDENTIAL inspired me to rearrange my kitchen this year to purge and to organize for efficiency. Ha ha! I didn't get halfway through the project when I was buried with edits, so that will have to wait. Love your adventures and cannot wait for the next one. Maybe by then my kitchen will be in order. Where did I put that potato ricer?

  6. Hi Charlotte,

    Looking forward to reading about your next adventures. I love that you're going to try for an easy recipe as an omelet. Let me know how that goes.

  7. Well I for one sure can't tell anyone how to be not so bossy. I'm sure that all of us are at least at times.

    But I sure am ready to read more of your adventures.

  8. Thanks, ladies! Elizabeth, you'll try that omelet before Charlotte does. I'm sure of it.

    Charlotte says fuggeddaboudit, Janet. She's always dropping phones.

    Don't be surprised if she shows up for that B & J's, Heather.

    Erika, you are one of the busiest people I know - you could give lessons.

    Thanks, Julie and congrats on the new book. New books trump kitchens every time.

    Dru, I'm sure you and Charlotte will talk 'omelet'.

    Thanks, Nancy! We'll get those adventures out to you soon.

    Cheers, MJ (for Charlotte who is out somewhere bossing)

  9. Charlotte, I love these resolutions!! They are the kind I need to adopt. And those dashchunds, adorable!!!!

  10. Heather beat me to the punch. Okay, if you come organize *me* I'll throw in Ben & Jerry's, AND Truffle and Sweet Marie can come and play with my dogs, AND Santa brought me The Original French Chef Omelet Pan guaranteed to make the perfect omelet, so we can learn on it together!

    ~ Krista

  11. Charlotte, never say no to Ben and Jerry's. Your pups are so cute!

  12. Truffle and Sweet Marie are pleased that you (Mary, Krista and Avery) noticed them (in bow tie and pearls). They're terrible scene stealers.

    Glad we're all on the same page about the B & J's!


  13. Charlotte, please come clean out my closets! They're awful!

  14. Charlotte, I'm afraid you'd have a heart attack if you saw my yarn stash. Just last night I once again skated across the room on a plastic grocery bag and knocked over the two foot high stack of crochet books and magazines which sent the mug full of hooks rolling across the floor.

  15. Jan and Betty, I could use a Charlotte too. Just don't tell anyone!