August, 2011 browsing by month


Organizing 911: Clear the Clutter!

Monday, August 29th, 2011

The best part about summer is spending more time feeling the sun on your face, feeling thankful for a gentle breeze, leaving your shoes off, and laughing with friends. You are outside as much as possible. Household chores take a backseat to fun. That’s the way it should be!

Then around Labor Day, reality hits. The vacation is over. The kids are back in school. You have to think about wearing long pants and shoes again. Taking a look around your living space, you want to call in a hazmat team – how did things get so out of control?!

Since we don’t have the luxury of a “super committee”, most of us will be attacking the clutter on our own. So today, I want to give you a plan of attack that you can put into practice immediately – even before Labor Day – so you can feel victorious, vainglorious, smugly accomplished!

  1. Pick a room to attack first. Gather 4 needed boxes and bins*. Set a timer for 1 hour. Don’t leave the room for any reason until #7.
  2. Put a black trash bag* in your largest trash can. Place in the center of the room and toss in anything you will not use again.
  3. Now set a laundry hamper* next to the trash can. Look around to see if there is anything that does not belong in this room. Stick those things in the hamper ready to be distributed to their proper homes.
  4. Get a copy paper box or plastic bin* (16 qt). Gather all papers and place in the box. DO NOT stop to read anything! For further instructions on paper, read this blog post on speed sorting or purchase my ebook 7 Tools to Conquer Paper Piles Forever.
  5. Make a pile of any magazines more than 2 months old. Black out your name & address and take to a shelter or hospital waiting room. (JamesCare in Dublin is grateful for any magazines.)
  6. Look around at what is left out of place. Pick up one item at a time and ask these 5 Questions to Clear Clutter:
    • Have I used this item in the past year?
    • Will I need it on a definite date in the future?
    • Would it be difficult to get another if I needed it again someday?
    • Do I need to keep it for legal or tax purposes?
    • Do I love it or find it beautiful?

    If the answer to all 5 questions is “No”, let it go! (give, toss, recycle, donate)

  7. Make a list of the items you will donate, put the donation box* in your car, ready to go.
  8. Carry out all boxes and bins. Distribute as necessary.
  9. Find homes in this room for the stuff that is left. I’m hoping you have cut this by at least 50%!
  10. Dust and run the sweeper. DONE!

Wow! Do you feel accomplished or what? Shoot me an email to brag on your progress.

If you are having a hard time pushing yourself to do this on your own, why not join my Clutter Management Program for the month of September? See details in What’s Happening. You choose the room; I provide motivation, support and accountability.

After you do one room, give yourself 2 weeks to practice keeping that room picked up. Then, repeat the process in another room. In 3 months tops, you should have your house or apartment under control! Whew, time to dream of summer again…

Book Review: The Five Love Languages

Monday, August 15th, 2011

A client recently shared that she asked her daughter’s fiancé to do one thing for her – read the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

Finally he did; then thanked her for insisting he take that step toward understanding his wife.

Our tendency is to think everyone is like us and perceives love as we do. It was years before I realized that my attempts to love my husband were falling flat because I was trying to love him the way I wanted to be loved. Jeff feels connected when someone spends extended time blocks with him. I want to hear affirmations and praise.

You will recognize yourself in this book. Hopefully, you will recognize your family members, too.


Benefits of Organizing: A Baker’s Dozen

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Organizing isn’t only about downsizing possessions, developing filing systems, and creating easily-accessible storage.
Getting out from under visual clutter and overwhelm can have a much deeper impact in our lives, both physically and emotionally.

When I started listing the life-changing results I see as an organizer, I couldn’t stop at an even 10 as I had planned, so you get a baker’s dozen.

Clearing the clutter and organizing those things you need/use or love/find beautiful will…

  1. Give you hope for the future; you don’t have to stay stuck in chaos and defeat.
  2. Set you free from the burden of clutter (of things, their past, negative emotions) so you are able to move on.
  3. Let you know you are capable of maintaining order with the system that matches your personal bent.
  4. Give you a safe and healthy environment so you can thrive.
  5. Allow you to pass on a legacy of order to your children.
  6. Affirm your competence on the job when you can find info quickly, get started on today’s projects, and reach for tomorrow’s opportunities.
  7. Empower you to take back control of life and your environment, one area at a time.
  8. Make you feel valued for the unique individual you are, not based on some preconceived notion of what you should be or do.
  9. Boost your self confidence knowing you will remember appointments, be on time, and have what is needed at that moment.
  10. Allow you to experience a calm retreat at the end of a fast-paced day.
  11. Enable you to accept less than perfection, while striving for “good enough.”
  12. Free up time for you to fulfill your dreams.
  13. Underline the truth that we each fail at times, but that each mistake is a new chance to start over.

The great thing about organizing is, when you clear a path in one area of your life, the positive feelings ripple outward and you are energized to repeat the process for even greater success.   That is what my clients see and experience.  Love it!