July Feature! Christine Dornbusch

July IPO Feature – Christine Dornbusch

It’s the thick of summer, and you can (literally) feel it in the air!

This month I’m honored to be the featured member of Iowa Professional Organizers. While I am new to the IPO Association, I am no stranger to organizing. Helping others take back their space is my absolute favorite thing to do. I find it incredibly rewarding to partner with clients as they assess their own strengths and weaknesses to develop a strategy for sustainable organization systems. I really geek out on this stuff!

Where it all started…

I was born and raised in Prior Lake, Minnesota (a suburb of Minneapolis). Since my earliest memories, I was organizing. I can even remember regularly rewinding and alphabetizing my family’s VHS and cassette tapes when I was just 6 or 7 years old. What can I say – I’ve always been a stickler for keeping things in order.

Throughout my school-age years, I maintained a close-knit group of girlfriends who are my best friends to this day. My idea of a good time was when they would let me go through their bedroom closets. I could spend endless hours helping them downsize their clothing and accessories and consolidate like items. Without a doubt, having those friends as my first “clients” really solidified my passion for helping others organize.

School and more school…

My besties and I parted ways after high school graduation to pursue higher education across the Midwest. I attended Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN where I majored in Biology and Dance. My knack for being organized was critical to my academic and extracurricular success as an undergraduate. I maintained a rigorous course load all while staying active in theatre, community service, Greek life, and working on campus. Time management came naturally to me, and it helped me squeeze every last drop out of my college experience.

After Gustavus, I served as an AmeriCorps member with a nonprofit college access organization in Saint Paul, MN. I worked with a cohort of nearly 40 low-income high school seniors as they applied for college admission and financial aid. I enjoyed this helping role so much that I decided to head back to school to pursue a graduate degree at Minnesota State University, Mankato. After two years, I earned my Master of Science in Counseling and Student Personnel with an emphasis in College Student Affairs. I attribute my success as a one-on-one consultant to the counseling skills I honed throughout that program.

A whirlwind of jobs and places to call home…

Ever since graduate school, I haven’t stayed in one place for very long. I lived in Germany for three months as a private English tutor while studying the German language. After returning home once I realized I really wasn’t a fan of traveling alone, I worked in higher education, child care, dance instruction, and tutoring. I ended up falling into a corporate job completely by happenstance (an actual career development theory, by the way). Much to my surprise, I am still working in corporate and just celebrated my 4-year anniversary with Ameriprise Financial.

In May of 2017, I took a leap of faith and moved from the Twin Cities to small town Iowa to be closer to my extended family. I left behind all of my friends, my beloved condo, and the familiarity of a state where I had lived the majority of my 30 years. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to keep my job and now enjoy the luxury of working from home. I have become involved with community theatre and band as well as multiple volunteer opportunities. Perhaps most notably, I have finally started my organizing business! Needless to say, the move to Iowa couldn’t have been better for me.

Well, I can already hear fireworks in my neighborhood at night. That means it’s time to help my family prepare for their annual 4th of July weekend garage sale – an organizer’s dream! I wish you a safe and happy holiday.




June 2018 - Easy Summer Snacks

Summer time!  Ahh, for some parents those words cause joy and excitement, for others they can cause dread and fear! I feel equal parts excitement and fear at the prospect of having all my kids home this summer.  Why fear you ask??? For me, it’s two-fold… 1. extra bickering (are my children the only ones???) and, 2. hearing, “I’m hungry” an average of 75 times a day. So for any other parents out there who know this struggle, here are a few easy, yummy snack ideas (sorry, I have nothing to offer on the bickering ☹).

Yogurt Parfait


Ease is my main objective with these snacks and you can’t get any easier than a good yogurt parfait.  Get your favorite yogurt, and add in some delicious ripe summer berries and voilà, delicious, healthy snack. Our favorite fruits to use are strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and bananas.  Oh, and don’t forget some yummy granola, or “crunchers” as we call them at our house. Another great thing about a parfait is that it’s easy to customize to different children’s preferences. Better yet, it’s so easy, they can probably make it themselves!

Rainbow Fruit cabobs


I can’t get enough of all the gorgeous fruit you see in summer.  A fun idea is to make a fruit cabob for the kiddos.

Take it up a notch by offering a dip.  You could use a simple yogurt or our family favorite:

Fruit Dip


  • 8 oz cream cheese

  • ¾ c. brown sugar

  • ¼ c. white sugar

  • 1 t. vanilla

Mix together and enjoy!

Granola Balls

These are little yummy balls of deliciousness! And, again, you can play around with the ingredients so that it’s customized to your liking.  This recipe is one my kids made at Becky’s Mindful Kitchen:

Easy Granola Bites

Author: Becky's Mindful Kitchen


  • 1 1/2 c peanuts-blended to make peanut butter or 3/4 c peanut butter

  • 1/3 c honey

  • 1 1/4 c oats

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla or other flavor extract

  • optional: 1/2c raisins, chocolate chips, cranberries, other dried fruits, chia seeds


Mix together peanut butter, honey, oats and vanilla plus any additional ingredients and form into balls.  Store in fridge and enjoy!


I love a good smoothie when I’m on the go.  It’s easy to make, put in a travel mug and drink while driving.  No crumbs in the car = a happy Mama. Another nice thing about smoothies is you can throw in whatever you have on hand.  I like to use a base of frozen fruit, add some coconut milk (regular milk works fine too), some crushed pineapple, yogurt if I have some, and then some fresh fruit. Do your kids ever complain about fruits that are too “mushy” or maybe a bit past their prime???  I find that these are the BEST fruits to throw into a smoothie. You can also add some spinach or carrot juice for an extra veggie helping, but without the veggie taste. Sneaky!

Cucumber Sandwiches

images (1).jpg

These are cute little sandwiches that are both easy to make and fun to eat.  Use cucumbers as the bread, then throw in your favorite sandwich fixins. Meat, cheese, tomato, yum!


Caprese bites

Caprese Bites.jpg

hese delicious morsels just scream summer to me.  Fresh mozzarella, a basil leaf, cherry tomato and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Perfection!

Nuts and dried fruit

Talk about healthy…mix together your favorite nuts and dried fruits for a yummy snack.  I have one child who likes almonds and dried blueberries, and another that loves cashews and crasins, and yet another who skips the nuts and just eats all the dried fruit.  Below is one of our favorite Gorp recipes that has become one of our Road Trip staples.



  • ¼ c. butter

  • ¼ c. packed brown sugar

  • 1 T syrup

  • ½ t. ground cinnamon

  • 2 c. craisins

  • 2 c. almonds

  • 2 c. pretzel nuggets


  1. Melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and syrup.  Add cinnamon.

  2. Pour over cranberries, almonds and pretzels. Toss to coat.

  3. Spread mixture onto greased cookie sheet.

  4. Bake 15 minutes at 300 degrees.

All things Peanut Butter

Ants on a Log.jpg


We are luckily a family without any food allergies, which means we use peanut butter in lots of different ways.  PB and apples, PB and celery sticks with raisins, PB and banana in a tortilla, PB and pretzels, PB on crackers and PB on rice cakes. So many options and all so good!

Freezer Pops

Zoku Freezer Pops.jpg

You can find popsicle molds in almost every store in the summer time.  Grab some and make your own popsicles. I’ve had really good luck with these Zoku molds.

There are many fun and easy ways to customize your popsicles.  We like to make parfait pops by simply adding a little milk to the above parfait idea and then freezing.  The same goes for smoothie pops. Make a smoothie and freeze. I grew up loving pudding pops, but I never see them in stores any more.  So…I made my own. Simply make up some instant pudding and freeze! Yum!! Another great option is to freeze any of the Naked juices. I like that those juices are a little thicker than a regular juice.  And if you’re really in a pinch, I’ve been known to buy GoGurt and throw them in the freezer. My kids think it’s fun and you can’t get any easier!

Hopefully these snacks will give you some new ideas and maybe even an extra ounce of sanity.  Happy Summer-ing!


May 2018 - Travel Tips

Holy Cow, it’s May already! That means busy summer travel is about to begin.  Whether you are taking a weekend road trip or flying across the country or world, Travel Planning is crucial for working on projects away from home as well as for leisure trips.  Noelle Carroll, Owner of Simply Organized Inc, a Des Moines based Organizing Company and member of Iowa Professional Organizers, shares the following travel tips with us for your May blog viewing enjoyment.  Happy Travels, Friends!

You will need to have the following in place:

1.    A checklist of what the trip will involve (individual or family).

2.    An Itinerary of what is going to happen on each day (knowing you will need to be flexible.) Also checking the temperature of the location attending.

3.    Depending on location, how you pack for the trip will need to be determined. Will you travel by car, train or airplane?

4.    You will want to pack lightly and in layers.  You want to pack a carry-on suitcase as well as a backpack so you can travel easier to your location.

5.    When packing toiletries, you will want to use three ounces or less so that smaller space is used in the suitcase. This is also if you are flying, that is the allowable amount on the plane in a carry-on piece of luggage. There are plenty of stores around to purchase additional items if necessary. Don’t forget any medications that you may need while traveling.

6.    You can use Zip-lock bags to keep things from getting wrinkled or dirty.  Also, the bags keep everything clean if something spills inside of the bag.  The bags also work well for swim suits if they are wet and you are ready to head home. You can also purchase bags from different vendors such as e-bags. Bags also keep clothes separated and clean. Keep shoes in separate bags to keep them from getting scuffed. There are also toiletry bags that hang in your vacation or work hotel location that will make it easier for you to work out of during your stay.

7.    In the backpacks can be small games, cards, word puzzles etc. along with snacks in order to make less stops on the way to your destination.

8.    Once you have landed in your destination, get unpacked and locate all of the important areas such as dining, restrooms, front desk, pool, and anything that is important to your trip.

9.    Now go have fun if it a leisure trip.  If it is a work trip, try to include some fun time and try some new menu items or a new place to site see if you can make it work into the schedule.

10. Once you get home, get everything unpacked and washed up and get ready for the new week after being gone.


New IPO Logo.jpg

May 2018 Feature! Noelle Carroll

There is no job too big, nor location too far for this Organizing Company. Noelle Carroll is the transitions expert! Her Company, Simply Organized, Inc is based out of Des Moines, IA but services customers nationwide. That’s a pretty BIG deal.  Noelle is a Professional Organizer who will work with you to bring a piece of mind to your home or work environment. She offers hands-on or consulting assistance to suit your needs.

Noelle has over 20+ years of professional organizational experience dealing with clients and delivering the highest standard of service and customer satisfaction. Areas of expertise include: coordinating, managing, organizing, and directing. She is self-motivated with a Midwest work ethic that has versatile abilities and skills. Noelle is a team player with proven leadership strength.

Noelle has a Masters in Business Leadership and BS in Marketing/ Management/Human Resource Management from Upper Iowa University and an AA in Business Administration/ Office Management from AIB in Des Moines, IA.

Noelle has been married to Steve for 20 years and they have two beautiful daughters, Sydney and Vyctoria.  Family is very important to Noelle, as she travels for both work and leisure.  The family attends and participates in many games and activities that are out of the local area. 

Noelle also helps clients across the United States with downsizing, packing, moving and unpacking projects as well as estate sales. Noelle has worked with many senior living providers to help with the process of transition for their clients. Let Noelle ease your next transition, and look for her blog on the 15th that will be packed with useful tips for summer travel!

404149_518953224800200_8053658_n (1).jpg