The Ultimate Organizer

11/15/2010 01:12 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

THE ULTIMATE ORGANIZER is a system created by two friends, Nadine Schiff and Barbara Guggenheim, who work, and have families, extended families, homes, and pets to take care of. So, out of necessity, (and a desire for a relaxing cup of coffee in the morning) they made hundreds of lists, templates, and forms, for all aspects of their lives to cut short all the menial and necessary tasks they did during the day - and of course to dive in during an emergency. Now these same lists, not to mention their compulsive need for organization are available to you in their system called The Ultimate Organizer, available at

It comes to you in a three-ring binder you can keep at home and a CD so you can have the information on computer with you wherever you go. For example, your wallet's lost, what did you have in it? How do you cancel all the credit cards? Your child, husband, or aging parent gets taken to the hospital. The doctor calls to find out what meds they're on, what their blood type is? And then there are the every day lists--what you keep in the bathroom when you entertain, what you pack for a business trip, picnic, whatever. Barbara and Nadine have done all the work. You only have very little to fill in to be on top of your life, to have time to relax and have that relaxing cup of coffee in the morning.

Just once, wouldn't you like to have all the vital information you need for yourself and your family all in one place? Completing this section will bring your anxiety quotient down--way down. And in terms of your wallet? Don't leave home without it.

It's comforting to have your entire financial picture together at all times--what we're worth, how we spend our money monthly, and what we owe. It makes us feel way more in control.

The good news is that there are so many new ways to keep your family healthy. The bad news is that there's so much more information we need to remember. At this point, we're on such overload; we can't even remember the name of the herbs we're taking to improve our memory. So, it's good to know when you last had your cholesterol check-up or mammogram. Time flies and you want to stay on top of preventative tests especially chest X-rays, mammograms, etc.

How something as small as a baby can claim ownership to so many to-do lists is amazing. What to do before the baby arrives, what you need to take to the hospital, to bring the baby home, travelling, what you need to do to your home to make it safe. We can give you a lot of help; just don't ask us to get up in the middle of the night. To be honest, neither of us can do the "middle of the night" thing very well any more.

Frankly, we think children should come with their own manual. But, since they don't have one, we've created one for you. As children grow and change, so do the checklists. Kids take up more of your time, and we provide what you need to get them to soccer practice, class trips, the orthodontist, how to interview a babysitter, what their duties are, and much more. Why recreate the wheel all the time when you have our lists?

Congratulations! Your future Einstein is going off to college. Give your best imitation of sadness, and then go to work converting their bedroom into that private gym, art studio, walk-in closet, or home office. But not before you're sure that your child is safe and prepared. It's a good idea to have a steel LOCK BOX to store his or her cash, credit card, insurance information, and even some medications. Better safe than sorry, and it fits under the bed. We give you the tools to do it for them.

It's just our little secret. And we're not proud of ourselves, but when it comes to our dogs, we admit that we'd take them over our husbands and children any day of the week. As we leave for work, we want to make sure whoever is in charge memorizes the rulebook. Cold. Especially when you have a puppy like Nadine's Benny (see photo) who barks at strangers, and as soon as they pet him, invites them in to see mommy's jewelry. That would be a NO. Travelling with pets, leaving them with sitters, noting their medical records are all crucial. Just fill out the forms and attach them to your refrigerator with your pet's favorite magnet. Not so high please, so they don't have to jump up to read them.

We're not sure when our parents become our children, and we have to take care of them and not the other way around. We become their memory bank and for our own sanity, we need to have their information at our fingertips, ready, especially if there's an emergency. What if you can't reach your parents, what's their next-door neighbor's number? Wouldn't want you want peace of mind?

Home is where the heart is. It's also where the bills are, and the broken vacuum cleaner, the air con filters, and the endless list of what we need to stock the pantry, medicine cabinet, and, ah, the bar. Let's start there with a dry martini, shall we? Did you remember to get the green olives? And there are lists to clean the house. God forbid your mother comes over and runs her finger over a windowsill layered with dust. And what to do in a natural disaster? Is your college son bringing his first girlfriend home for the weekend considered a natural disaster?

What a luxury being able to work at home for maximum productivity. Unfortunately, it comes with the consequences that it's not just 9 to 5. You can work all hours of day and night. So you want to make sure that you have all the supplies, that you know how to make a conference call (there are some things we can't do for you), that you have a system that allows you to dive right in. Please start by making three to-do lists-- those things you need to do right away, those that need to be handled soon, and those you can do in the year 2012 (learn how to sail, get married, whatever). If you're lucky enough to hire an assistant, we suggest learning how to interview one.

When it comes to maintaining our cars neither one of us is a brain trust. Forget James Bond, whether we're commuting, carpooling, or escaping life's chaos by taking off for a few hours at the mall, our cars are our second home. You have your make-up, change of clothes and your gym clothes fill your trunk. But then, things go caflooey--you run out of gas, you get a flat tire, and your car overheats. That's when you need to get your hands on your registration card, automobile club cars, insurance numbers, pronto. Use our lists with the problems that arise and don't get overheated yourself. When was the last time you had an oil change? Brake check? No rolling down the hill into a parked car. Our intent? Just put your foot down on the accelerator, and from now on, it's smooth sailing.

We knew we needed this list when one of us (we're sworn to a protective girlfriend covenant) was so consumed with her to -do list before giving a party she forgot to pick up her dress from the dry cleaners. FYI-Obviously she wore something else. Okay it was Nadine. We're good at lists but bad at keeping secrets.