Novelist by day… Organizer by night

- by Cyndy Salzmann

j0400289 Before I began writing mysteries with such lofty titles as Dying to Decorate and Crime and Clutter, I penned several books on home management. As a result, many people have the impression that I must be highly organized and delightfully domestic. A Midwestern version of the unsinkable Martha Stewart.

Just so we get off on the right foot here on the NINC blog, I’ve decided to come clean. Not literally (for those hoping for a slick way to keep the dust off the ceiling fan) — in the metaphorical sense.

Here goes…

  • I have never fashioned a radish “rose” or dressed a strawberry in a chocolate “tuxedo.”
  • I am hopeless when it comes to craft projects. In fact, I have an acute fear of glue guns after an unfortunate incident involving dried flowers and raffia.
  • There are plastic containers in my cupboards without lids—and lids without containers.

  • Each fall I plan to plant spring bulbs in my garden but have yet to actually do it. More than one box of bulbs, intended for planting, has rotted in my garage.
  • I have never had my air ducts professionally cleaned. (And PLEASE do not e-mail me about what is likely living in the ductwork. As the mother of three teenagers, I have enough to keep me awake at night.)
  • I once created a toxic cloud in my home by mixing up a cleaning solution of ammonia and chlorine bleach—prompting a trip to the emergency room.
  • Finally… I despise doing laundry and sometimes surreptitiously raid my husband’s underwear drawer in a desperate search for clean lingerie. (Can a pair of men’s briefs even be considered lingerie? I’ll have to look that up…)

So, there you have it. A domestic diva I’m not. But I have learned enough about organization to keep track of my files – and my shoes. Most days, at least.

I hope my little confession hasn’t scared you away and you’ll join me on the first Thursday of each month to learn some tips and techniques for bringing a little more order to your space and your life.

Trust me, it’s no mystery. : )


  1. Great blog, cindy! I will definitely be checking out your book!
    Kathleen Grieve

  2. Thanks so much, Kathleen! I appreciate you stopping by. : ) Hope to see you in October!

  3. Glue guns ARE dangerous. There’s no shame in fearing them!

    Great blog Cyndy!

  4. Wow Cindy,

    It’s amazing how confession cleans the soul. See you are clean and organizing in this article after all.

    Tina Gayle

  5. Cyndy,

    I am hopeless at crafts, you are not alone in that.


  6. Where will you be blogging on Thursdays? Here or on your blog? I can use all the organization help I can get. I’m one of those people who has nightmares about her family calling Clean Sweep.

  7. Great blog! I have the same question as Cheryl since I feel like I’m so completely disorganized right now. And any tips you might have on organizing your writing would be so appreciated!

  8. Uplifting confessions. I can relate to most everything but the underwear. Not sure what I’d do in that case. Maybe go without? Have fun blogging.
    Julie Carda

  9. Hey Cyndy. I can help you with the glue gun and craft projects, if I ever get to a meeting. As for cleaning your ductwork, I think that’s highly overrated. Look forward to tips on organization. I desperately need the help.

    Theresa Sallach

  10. Hey Cyndy. Compared to me you’re a diva of organization. The only reason I can find my keyboard is because it’s in a hidden drawer. If I ever get to the bottom of the piles on my desk, maybe I’ll find the peanut butter sandwich I misplaced last week. Any suggestions?

  11. Oh, and can I help you with melon balls and chocolate dressed strawberries! I could even help you stuff a strawberry with delightful decadence. :)

    And like Theresa, glue guns hold no fear for me…in fact, I’m wearing a shirt right now with permanent glue spots on it. Never said I was neat about it!

    Maybe a trade? I’ve got a desk here somewhere…

  12. You’re going to be HERE once a month?
    I love that.
    I do think you should figure out a way to stop that dust from collecting on MY ceiling fans, though.
    That is the least you could do.
    I’ll be checking back.

  13. Tina, I guess I did do a little “spring cleaning.” I feel lighter already!

    Tricia, I’ve found that there is life beyond glue guns — so never fear!

    Cheryl and Julie, I’ll be blogging here at NINC on the first Thursday of each month — but you can catch me at least once a week at or

  14. Julie, Thanks for the encouragement!

    Theresa, I think I am too emotionally scarred to attempt the glue gun again. The woman who helped me out of my mess was balancing a baby on herb hip while a toddler pulled on her pant leg. I am hopeless!

    Elaine, Don’t fret about your piles. Research says that creative people are generally “pilers.” I’m going to dedicate a future post to making sense of your piles. : )

    Lizzie, Your strawberries sound absolutely delightful! I have a daughter who loves “fiddling with food.” I’ll have to get your recipe.

    Mary, When I have a southern setting in one of my stories, I visualize the dust hanging from the fan as Spanish moss. : ) Hope you’ll stop by anyway…

  15. Clean and organize? Why? It will just get dirty and messy again.

  16. Estella, I can certainly relate.

    I have a comic posted on my blog that speaks to this very topic.

  17. Hey Cyndy,
    I own a glue gun but I’ve never used it. I bet I have the plastic bottoms that go with your tops and vice versa. And one day when my kids are grown, I hope to be organized again. Until then, let chaos reign. Great article.

  18. Cyndy,

    Great blog! I’m one of those strange people who have two or three (possibly four) glue guns. Mini glue guns and regular size. I love them. There is a great gadget out now that holds your gun and has a base so the glue doesn’t drip when not in use. I normally used a piece of aluminum foil.

  19. Kim, Thanks for stopping by! Sometimes I feel there’s a little troll in the dishwasher the steals Tupperware — kinda like a sock monster.

    Dee Ann, Thanks for the encouragement — and the glue gun tip. But I don’t think I’ll be lured to that side of the craft aisle again. I’ve learned my lesson. ; )

  20. Cyndy, I will definitely be stopping by to read your tips… I need all the help I can get, lol… I would come clean, but my list is too long, lol

  21. Nice!. Not totally agree with you, but you just gave me an idea for a new eBook regarding “t by day… Organizer by night”. It is related to chocolate economics lesson plan. Thanks.

  22. Chocolate economics! Sounds like a book even a math challenged girl like me would enjoy!

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