June 6, 2013


How many times have you heard a person say, “If only I could get rid of more things.” It’s definitely tough throwing things away but it’s also painful living with so much stuff. Why do we get weak in the knees when it comes to discarding our stuff? Why does it take courage to let go of our unnecessary things?

Here are a few of the excuses people use when they just can’t part with something.

“I don’t have time to sort through my things.”
Just start by getting rid of one item. Remember the journey of a thousand miles begins with just a single step.

“Everyone has one, so it must be important.”
The new status symbol you are bringing into your life should be the thing you love. Don’t worry about what others have. Develop your own personal style and don’t worry about what others are doing.

“But it was a gift.”
Gifts are symbols of love. Keep the love and let go of the symbols.

“Ugh! It was a mistake.”
If you bought it and made a mistake, keeping it around for a long time won’t make it any less of a mistake. Either love it, use it or get rid of it. And don’t beat yourself up – everyone makes mistakes.

“I identify with my things.”
Possessions can become emotional appendages of one’s personality. Identify with things that truly identify you and let the rest go. You are defined by all that you have, including the clutter you can’t part with.

“I’ll keep it until I find someone to give it to.”
Put it in your donation box or bag and donate it to someone who really needs it. Don’t spend your valuable time— which is the only truly precious and irreplaceable commodity in your life— looking for someone to give it to.

If you would like to simplify your life and have more free time, remember the “one in, one out” rule. The number of items that come into your home should equal the number of items that go out. There must be a balance of old and new.

Have you ever used any of these excuses to hold on to a piece of clutter? Be honest with yourself and carefully decide what you want to keep in your life and what you want to take care of. Safeguard that precious commodity – your time.

10 Tips for Dealing with Stress

June 4, 2013


Does your clutter stress you out?
Do you have trouble sleeping because of the clutter in your bedroom?
Do you feel stressed at work because your desk is a constant mess?

Stress affects your health even though you might not realize it. You might go see your doctor because of the headaches or body aches you have thinking something is wrong but stress may actually be the culprit.

The symptoms of stress can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings and even your behavior. Being under constant stress without relief can contribute to many health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Here are 10 tips to help you cope with the stress in your life.

1. Be flexible and not rigid with your ideas and goals.
2. Make time to enjoy your life – have a glass of wine and watch the sunset.
3. Take control of your life. If you aren’t happy with your life, think about what’s wrong or missing, and then set a goal to change it.
4. Take a good look at your problems and see which ones are real and which are simply imagined. Remember that about 80% of the things we worry about never happen.
5. Exercise – physical workouts whether walking, riding a bike or working out at the gym are great for relieving stress and helping you feel great.
6. Don’t hold all your emotions inside. Talk to someone and share what’s bothering you with someone else. Sometimes just talking about what you think is a problem will decrease its affect on you.
7. Get plenty of sleep. A good night’s sleep gives your body a chance to recover from the day to day grind of all the stress you deal with.
8. Deal with one problem at a time. Just like multitasking makes you stupid, trying to solve all your problems at once won’t work either. Prioritize what you feel are your most important problems and deal with them one at a time.
9. Do something for others. Helping others will definitely take your mind off your own problems. No matter how bad your problems are there is always someone with a worse situation. See who you can help today.
10. Get organized. If you go through each day completely stressed out because of your chaotic environment, make a commitment to simplify and lighten up your environment and clear out the clutter.

Do you have any special stress relievers you use? Please share them here.

Enough is Enough – Clean up the Clutter!

May 16, 2013

Enough is Enough – Clean Up the Clutter!
Over and over I have read about scientific studies that link clutter and disorganization to depression, anxiety, frustration, feelings of overwhelm and just general melancholy. Clutter has people telling me that they feel suffocated and weighed down. They find it hard to think and don’t know what to do first. The other comments I hear all the time are that they find it difficult to make decisions and they don’t know where to put things when they do decide to clean up.
The good news is ( and I have seen it happen more than once) when someone has transformed their thinking, made up their mind to change their situation, gone on to follow through with a plan, and achieved their goal of a simpler, organized life they can enjoy happier days.
Start by setting goals that are simple. Instead of throwing your coat on a chair, hang it up. Instead of putting the dirty dish in the sink (again) put it right in the dishwasher. Instead of leaving unopened mail piled on the table, open it and make decisions on where it goes. These are just simple everyday tasks that can lead to less stress. “Just Do It!” and piles won’t keep increasing.
You have probably heard the phrase, “when in doubt, throw it out.” Keep that in mind when clearing your clutter. If you’ve unearthed some paper or object you haven’t seen in a long time (years?) go with your gut feeling and eliminate it now. If you haven’t used it or needed it in all this time, please let it go.
When deciding to make a change, remember that it takes a while to change your habits. Old habits take a while to die. Please keep up the new habit until it takes the place of the old habit.
Eliminate the clutter and disorganization and hopefully you will eliminate the anxiety, frustration, overwhelm and melancholy and be on your way to happier, clutter free days ahead.

Don’t worry – be happy!

10 Common Organizing Mistakes – Part 2

May 14, 2013

10 Common Organizing Mistakes – Part 2
Here are some of the commonest mistakes people make when trying to get organized. Check them out and see if you’ve made any of them. I know that even I’ve made a few myself.

#6 Thinking you have to do it all at once.
• If one look at your kitchen makes you want to cry, take a deep breath and start chipping away at that project one thing at a time.
• Make your goal one cupboard or one drawer or just the cabinet under the sink. Then make sure you really do the job. Schedule it on your calendar and follow through.
• Give yourself plenty of time – projects always seem to take longer then we think they will. Double what you think it will take to ensure success.
• Set lots of little goals to keep you motivated and reward yourself along the way.

#7 Creating too many categories.
• In the search to get organized you can get carried away with adding sections to your calendar so instead of just the calendar, there is a to do list, calls to make, short term goals, long term goals and notes. Make it easy to use!
• Keep your system simple. Starting with a simple system is the best way to go. You can always make things more complicated.
• Convenience plays a huge role in getting organized. If your system requires too many steps, too many files to look through or too many stacked up containers to open it won’t work. You’ll end up taking shortcuts, saying “I’ll just put it here for now.” And that’s when the piles start.
• Whatever system you choose, it’s important to label everything clearly.

#8 Getting distracted.
• You’re sorting papers in the kitchen, but you notice some toys on the counter, so you put them away. When you do, you find the toys all mixed up so you start sorting things there which is great but what happened to the papers in the kitchen you were working on?
• Force yourself to stay in the room you’re working on. Set up a sorting or distribution basket or box to put items you find that must be distributed to different parts of the house.
• Don’t leave the room until you’re done with the project at hand. Focusing on what you are doing will help you get done quicker.

#9 Not sticking with it.
• Nothing stays organized; you have to keep it organized. Clutter comes with a clutter back guarantee!
• Keep clutter from piling up in the first place. Force yourself to go through your piles.
• Go through the mail right away – junk mail in the recycling, bills in the “to be paid” folder – deal with them twice a month – magazines placed in your reading basket.
• Remember that maintaining a system takes less time than starting from scratch.
• Whenever you see something out of place, put it where it belongs right away.
• Remember it is easier to do a little all the time than trying to do it all in a short amount of time.

#10 Doing it for the wrong reasons.
• Do you want tidy kitchen cabinets because you’ll work more efficiently and be a great cook or because some rule says they ought to be organized?
• If kitchen clutter isn’t hampering your efficiency, let it alone.
• Spend your time dealing with things that will make a difference to you even if it is a small change. Sometimes a small change can make a big difference.
• For example, if you are storing something because that is where you stored it when you were growing up, maybe it’s time to find a more convenient place for it. If you only use your holiday cookware once a year, store it in another place other than the convenient kitchen cupboards.

I hope you may have recognized a mistake you’ve made in the past and I want you to know you are not alone in making a mistake. We all do it one time or another. The main thing is to learn from your mistakes. I hope that the information here will help you avoid organizing mistakes in the future. Please email me with any questions you have on an organizing mistake you need help with now.

10 Common Organizing Mistakes – Part 1

May 9, 2013

10 Common Organizing Mistakes – Part 1
Here are some of the commonest mistakes people make when trying to get organized. Check them out and see if you’ve made any of them. I know that even I’ve made a few myself.

#1 Keeping things you don’t need.
• The more you have the more space you need and the more organizing you have to do. Are “your eyes are bigger than your stomach?”
• We do it with shopping when we bring something home and realize there’s no space for that cute new gadget or knick knack and now you have to take care of it.
• We do the same thing with paper that comes in. We worry that we’ll need it again instead of acting decisively.
• Be ruthless in weeding things out, and exercise more will power when shopping. When you have your hand on that “thing” – ask yourself where are you going to put it? Does it have a place to live?
• Insist that for every new thing that comes in, something old must go out. This helps keep balance in the universe.

#2 Not solving the real problem.
• What drives you nuts the most? If it’s that you never remember to bring your shopping list to the grocery store, then organizing the hall closet won’t help that problem. Work on a solution to the problem at hand.
• If “clean kitchen” is on your list, make sure you know why. Is it dirty or just disorganized?
• The same applies to the bathroom — are you better off spending time polishing the sink and the tub or going through your piles of old, used makeup and hair products?
• Figure out what really drives you crazy and come up with a plan to tackle it.
• Whenever something bugs you, write it down so you know what you have to work on and then that list can be easily prioritized.

#3 Spending more time on the method than the madness.
• If you start your project by shopping for boxes, baskets and bins won’t have much time for the actual organizing. Stop! – don’t buy anything first – save that for the last step!
• You need to know what you want to contain before you buy containers. Organize first and you can eliminate what you don’t need, love or want and cut down on the number of containers.
• When you do buy containers, choose function over form. Whether you’re storing decorations, clothes, craft items or food, use clear containers so you can see what you have at a glance.
• Labeling the boxes also helps you remember what’s in them if there is a mixture of items.

#4 Making the wrong lists.
• You can list all the things you need to do, but if you’re not going to do them why bother writing them down?
• The key to getting things done is to assign tasks to a specific date. Remember there is no such day as “Someday.”
• If you don’t have a deadline for something, put it on a continuous running to do list, which you can than look at every day. If there’s something you can do that day, assign a time to get it done.
• If something stays on your list too long, delegate it to someone else or just scratch it off the list completely. You don’t have to do everything.

#5 Filling up convenient, handy spaces with rarely used items.
• If you only use it once a month, store it high, low or in another room.
• If you use it frequently store it between hip and eye level.
• For example, if you store all your cookbooks in the kitchen but only use one or two all the time, consider moving the rest to a shelf in another room and freely up some shelf space that you can put to better use.
• If you wear the same few outfits and shoes most of the time, don’t jam pack your closet with other things such as empty boxes, luggage, or camping gear. Clothes you wear once a year or very infrequently can be stored elsewhere.

Come back for Part 2 of the 10 Common Organizing Mistakes….

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