simplify browsing by tag


Downsizing in Place, Part 2: Tap Into Your Treasure

Monday, August 9th, 2010

My daughter, Jenny, recently returned from living in Italy and was faced with the task of sorting through boxes from her college years. She had to decide what still held meaning for her and what she was ready to let go.

Making decisions about possessions that represent your life is difficult.  You wonder where to start. What is the reasoning process to use?

Then you can get bogged down with the question, “If I don’t keep it, what should I do with it?” The object represents history, or still has a useful life.

One strategy to use when the task seems overwhelming is to turn the process around. Rather than looking at what to get rid of and how, start by looking for treasures.

Ask yourself:

  1. What can I not bear to live without?
  2. Does anything give an emotional tug that holds good memories?
  3. What feeds my soul because it is of such great beauty?

Set aside these treasured items; these are “the keepers!”

All that remains is to determine what you use on a regular basis or you must keep to stay out of jail. The rest can go. Isn’t that a freeing thought?

Remember, you don’t have to keep inherited items or gifts if they do not hold meaning for you! Let someone else cherish those.

Great Ideas on How to Focus… Now!

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Don’t critique the job you’re doing until you’ve completed it.

Christine Adamec, author of “Moms with ADD”
Adult ADD

Adult ADD

This is just one of the “8 Ways to Focus at Work & Home” from the article in ADDitude Magazine online.

If you are distracted by bright and shiny objects, are a raving perfectionist,  or simply have to move NOW or you will die, you will find hope in these simple tips from ADHD experts.

While you are there, sign up to have the newsletter delivered to your in box. We all can use the additional nudge to simplify desktops, write lists, and ask for help from a friend. Common sense? Yes! Do we do it? No!

Extreme Downsizing… So Tempting!

Monday, June 28th, 2010

I had just returned from a week’s vacation in Arizona and was feeling footloose and fancy free. Then I read Sean Ogle’s guest blog on Unclutterer entitled “Less stuff, more adventure”. It brought back memories of my first year of marriage to my Army Lieutenant when we could fit everything we owned – literally!- in the back of a Chevy Vega.

Tiger Balm Garden, Hong Kong

Sean went a step farther and sold the car! Now he is a world traveler living out of a backpack. He was writing from Bangkok, Thailand.

Obviously, Sean is not living in a tent and he must have a bank account he is drawing from. He is making his living with freelance writing and other online ventures. When not punching a computer keypad, he is meeting the Thai people, learning their culture and enjoying the bustle of a very cosmopolitan city.  Read Sean’s article here. Very motivating to lose the stuff that ties us down!

Did you visit the Tiger Balm Garden yet, Sean? Jeff and I were there in 1976, great place to celebrate the Bicentennial. Congrats on taking the steps to follow your dream!

What to Do About the Hobby I Used to Be Passionate About?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Have you had an interest in the past that has been pushed aside by family or job responsibilities? You plan to get back to your sewing projects, sports collection, history books, scrapbooking, genealogy, _____________________ (fill in the blank) someday.  Meanwhile, that mound of yesterday’s projects is a distraction at best, at worst a symbol of failure to execute.

Topps 2010 Baseball Cards

It is possible that your interests simply have changed and you have outgrown that pursuit or hobby. Do you ever read the first half of a book and decide you learned all you wanted to on that particular topic?  The same can happen with any interest.  There is nothing wrong with deciding to change direction or to learn a new skill. Like the book, a hobby or activity can be set aside and the materials given to another avid follower.

Do not allow that stalled project to rule your emotions or take up precious space.

If you truly want to pursue a past activity when your time is freer, box up the project materials and store in a remote location. That will clear both your mind and your space of extraneous clutter. All your materials will be intact when you are ready to begin anew (or to gladly pass it all on to a grateful friend.)

No guilt or regret need apply!

Jerry Seinfeld Had a System

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

In the organizing profession, we are always talking about systems for managing paper, reducing clutter, and making use of time efficiently.  In following up, an organizer will make sure the systems put in place are compementing the client’s personality and lifestyle.

What exactly do we mean by a system? One dictionary definition for system is “orderliness, the use or result of careful planning and organization.” Orderliness is definitely a desired result, but a better description of the system an organizer means is “a way of proceeding, a method or set of procedures for achieving something.”

Jerry Seinfeld had a system. His neighbor, Kramer, found he was spending too much time in the shower and asked for Jerry’s advice.  Jerry said he could take a shower in 10 minutes flat. He had found a procedure that worked for him.

Think about it for a minute… do you reinvent the order that you wash body parts each time you shower, or do you proceed on autopilot?Are you pretty sure that when you are done, you have achieved the desired result? Is dirt and bad smell gone? CHECK! Is skin clean and good smell back? CHECK!

You just followed a system, a certain way of proceeding to get the job done.

The beauty of a workable system is:

1. The system can be documented and repeated.

2. One planning session yields desired results over and over, saving time over all.

3. A  system followed consistently becomes easier as skill increases and habit kicks in.

Kramer did not have a system that was working for him, he questioned the amount of time he was taking and could have used the advice of a professional (Jerry) to become more efficient. If you saw the episode, you know that didn’t happen.  I think Kramer could have used a professional organizer.

3 Ways to Give Homage to Your LP Oldies

Monday, January 25th, 2010

You know the words to most of the songs on the oldies channel and can sing along when you are driving. Of course, that is only because your dad made you listen to that stuff when you were little. Right?

If you were a teenager before the 90′s, you are sure to have a collection of long playing record discs or  LP’s. They represent memories – some good, some not so good. You may even have a record player still hooked up your stereo system. If not, rather than simply consign your golden memories to a cupboard or a box in the attic, you may want to consider these options that let you enjoy the memories on a year round basis.

Acrylic record frame

1. Display your best loved albums on your wall as framed art.

Bags Unlimited has a selection of archival quality frames in either aluminum or wood, with 24 mat colors. You can choose to frame the album cover, a picture disc itself, or gatefold art (interior rectangular photos twice the album width.) These are priced from $32 – $57.

Bed, Bath and Beyond has a more modern take with an acrylic cover that is bolted over the jacket on a black background that frames the piece. This single option is also priced at $30.

2. Convert your LP sound tracks to CD or MP3 format.

If you feel lucky and are a techie, you can try to do this yourself.  DAK Industries offers an e-book tutorial for $10.

Otherwise, there are many of companies offering their services to you, for a price. will convert your first 10 LP’s to CD for $25 each. Reclaim Media advertises as  “the best, fastest and most affordable audio digitization service in the industry” and is less pricey – $12 per LP. Reclaim Media gives you the choice to convert to CD or MP3 format on a DVD.

LP Record Bowl

3. Turn your sturdy vinyl discs into home decor. This suggestion is only for those records you don’t care to listen to again.

Use the step-by-step instructions at this craft site to make odd-shaped bowls or wall art. Not sure if I would put food items in these without a liner.

Of course if you are ready to let go of your LP collection, you can sell on eBay or to a resale shop.  A good site to discover the value of your oldies for resale is Music Price Guide.

Box any remaining records vertically and store in a climate-controlled location. One day they may truly be antiques! Your great-grandchildren will bless you (if your children don’t throw them away first.)

Ask NOT What Organizing Can Do For You…, Better Yet DO Ask!

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Perhaps intelligence can lessen the consequences of ADD tendencies? Maybe, maybe not.  My father labeled me a “scatterbrain”, but I was able to excel in school and in my first jobs. The real challenge in my life began when I became a military wife and eventually a mom of four. To survive, I was forced to develop systems that would guide our home life as well as our packing and moving 11 times in 20 years.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, my family began to experience the added turmoil of cancer diagnosis and treatment, anorexia, mental illness, and death of parents. I trust in a big God, but had to tell Him, “This is really too much, Lord!”

Although I was not thrilled with these situations , they have stretched me and given me an added measure of compassion.  I know what it is like to feel buffeted by situations you can’t control, to feel helpless and hopeless. I also know that to do what I can no matter how little that is, is all that is required of me.  Small actions taken consistently can produce extraordinary results!

My desire for you is that you…

  • Get clear about what you really want. What is that? Do you want to be able to find what you need when you need it, to have only furniture sitting on the floor, to enjoy a calm retreat at the end of a busy day, or to finally get rid of paper piles… what is it? In other words, why are you reading a post about organizing?
  • Know why you want it. Be specific. How will that result improve your life?  What will it allow you to do? How would that feel?
  • Stop allowing the past to dictate your future.
  • Eliminate the physical and mental clutter that is holding you back.
  • Make room for something new in your life – a new vocation, volunteer effort, or creative pursuit.
  • Be realistic about where you are now.
  • Dare to dream about where you want to be. Expand your possibilities.
  • Do not be a victim, or a survivor, but be ready to thrive.
  • Let go of those things and attitudes that are blocking your success.

Once you have taken an honest look at where you are and have decided you don’t want to stay there, allow me to be a part of the solution. On my home page, you can request the F.R.E.E. 60 Tips to Organize Your Life.  Use that as a quick guide to de-clutter, take control of your time, and save an hour a day.

You will find that taking those small positive steps will increase your self confidence. That begins a ripple effect that makes you want to take the next step and the next – rather like painting your living room and then seeing that your old ratty couch doesn’t fit anymore.


Let me know what tips you decided to take action on first. I want to be able to cheer you on. As the L’Oreal commercial says, “You are worth it!”