Use Goals to Declutter Your Life

April 11, 2013

Goals? Why are they important? Knowing what you want to accomplish can put you on the path to success in your organizing projects. According to a study from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the most successful people not only have goals, but also write them down and look at them regularly. Setting a goal gives you direction and helps you focus on what needs to be done. If you don’t have a goal, you are like the child’s toy that goes along until it bumps into an obstruction and then it changes direction. You just wander when you don’t have a goal.

You can have many different goal lists. You can have one list for your daily goals (to do list), weekly goals, monthly goals, lifetime goals and career goals. These goal lists can cover every part of your life.

Start by writing down a list of goals and then pick one. Write down any life vision or thing that comes to mind. It doesn’t matter what the goals are — whether they are cute, impractical or ridiculous. Once you have taken the step to put them down on paper, you are closer to reaching that goal. Then once you have made your goal list prioritize it and pick the most doable goal first. Think about the steps it will take to reach that goal.

Have you tried a vision board to reach your goal? Make a collage by getting a piece of large poster board and some old magazines and use photos and words that represent the goal or goals you are trying to achieve. Focusing on an idea is sometimes easier to do when you can visually see what you think it will look like. Once you’ve completed the vision board, you can hang it where you will see it every day or put it away. You will be surprised that just doing this fun, simple activity will inspire you to start working on your goals – today!

What are your goals? Do you just think about them or do you write them down?

Declutter with To Do Lists

April 9, 2013

Do you use a TO DO list? Some people are die hard list makers and in fact that’s all that they do is make lists. Other people don’t make any lists at all to help keep track of what they want to do. I usually encourage clients to at least try list making to see if it will help them with their organizing projects. Sometimes I call it a “brain dump.” This process helps a client get many ideas out of their head and onto paper so they know what to do next. When doing a brain dump, a client can come up with many, many things they want on their to do list. We write them all down but then we break the list up so it is not so overwhelming.

Here are some tips pertaining to TO DO lists and how they can help you reach your goals.

Many people make a to do list with a hundred things on it. When they look at it, it just overwhelms them. Your to do list should have just three to five items on it for each day. Keep your list short and try to act on at least two of the items listed for that day. Whatever you don’t get to can be carried over to the next day; or perhaps you can look at what hasn’t been completed and eliminate it because it has lost its importance.

Look for a positive (not a negative) in each task. Accomplishing them will be more enjoyable when you know how it will benefit you when it’s completed. So out with the daunting, overwhelming must do it list and in with the new “Whoopee today I get to…….” list. Just by changing your wording you can change your thinking about getting through these otherwise daunting tasks.

Ask yourself what’s one good thing about finishing this task? Will organizing the space where you throw your keys help you be on time for appointments – because you can now find your keys when you need them. Or will painting your home office a bright, cheery color encourage you to use the office instead of sitting with your laptop on the sofa in the family room. Find the good reason you are willing to spend time checking off this item on your to do list.

If you are a list maker, keep up the good work. If you haven’t tried listing your to do’s, give it a try and see if it makes a difference in getting your projects done.

Eight Quick Organizing Tips for Spring

April 9, 2013

Eight Quick Organizing Tips for Spring

• Use the five second rule which says “do it now.” It takes less time to just do it now than to let it (plus the stress) pile up. “Do it now” whether it’s hanging up your coat or putting a dirty dish in the dishwasher.
• As you go about your shopping for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, ask yourself: Are you adding to someone else’s clutter? Buying a future yard sale item? Think about giving “consumables” – gift certificates, library memberships, or special experiences.
• If you have a hard to reach shelf or cabinet, use containers inside to easily get to the hard to reach spaces. You pull out the container to get what you need and then put it back. Think of this idea like the pull out shelves you see advertised but without the pullout shelf expense.
• If you have a basket of “spaghetti” electronic cords, bag seldom used adapters and small parts into snack-sized bags which can be easily labeled with a marker. Then find a container that will hold them all. When you need one you will know where to look.
• Set aside just fifteen minutes a day to straighten up and organize one area in your home. It may not seem like a lot of time but if you focus on what you are doing and do it every day you will see an impressive change in your surroundings. Use a timer so that you don’t need to be worrying about the time. Remember to focus on what you are doing.
• Use a hanging shoe bag with clear pockets over the back of children’s doors for toys such as Barbie dolls, hot wheels, and toy figures. The shoe bags are great in closets and bathrooms too.
• Are you always losing socks? Set up a lingerie bag for each member of the family. Give each person their bag with their own colored tie on the zipper. As socks are taken off, they can be put right in the bag. On laundry day, toss the bags in the washer and dryer and when they are done they can be returned to the appropriate person to put away.
• Let go of perfectionism in your life. You can’t spend infinite time on every activity to make it perfect. Accept the best you can do within a reasonable time limit. DONE is better than perfect.

What are your quick tips for an organized Spring?

Unclutter Your Closet, Dress Better, Waste Less and Save Money

April 4, 2013


The average American wears 20% of their clothing 80% of the time. I remember when this statistic hit home to me. It was when my children were little. Each of them had their favorite t-shirt and wanted to wear it all the time. It was difficult to get it off them to wash it. We all have our favorites, those clothes that make us happy when we wear them and feel good on our bodies.

How would you like to get back all the money you’ve wasted on clothing you didn’t wear? What would you do with all that money? Buy more clothes? Shoes? Take a trip?

Most of the time the problem is that we go shopping with no particular plan in mind. If it fits and you sort of like it, then it’s a good candidate to take a ride home with you. If it’s on sale then there’s no question we need to buy it because it’s such a good price – even if you aren’t sure it goes with anything else. There’s nothing like getting a good deal on something to spur us on to buy it.

Cutting down on the amount of money you spend on clothing is not as much about finding the great bargains but more about knowing what to wear, where to go shopping and of course the most important piece – when to stop buying!

Take action on your crowded clothes closet. It’s important to know and be comfortable with the number of pieces you need for your lifestyle. Without a specific plan you won’t know when it’s time to stop buying. Do you really need 29 pairs of black pants?

Take everything out of your closet and try on all the clothes you own. Only keep those that fit your shape, style and color palette and fill a slot on your written plan. What do you do with everything else? Donate to a charity and take a tax deduction for the fair market value of each piece. Sell what you don’t want at a yard sale or use the various sites on the Internet to list the items you want to get rid of.

If you stick to your style, shape and color palette, you will be able to come up with many new outfits by mixing and matching what you already have. Add to your wardrobe by including inexpensive accessories to keep up with new colors and fashion trends.

Develop smart shopping habits when filling in the missing pieces that you need for your wardrobe. These days in order to save money it’s important to take advantage of sales at your favorite store. Each store has its own sales cycle. You can always ask the salesperson if the item isn’t on sale, will it go on sale soon. Waiting a day or two can save you money.

Remember there are all kinds of places to look for the pieces that will help fill in your wardrobe. Don’t forget consignment stores, vintage shops and discount and thrift stores as well as the many online shopping sites.

Another good tip to remember is to find a good tailor. A first-class tailor can take a garment down by as much as two sizes. Having this service available gives you flexibility and versatility in your wardrobe plus has you looking great because everything fits so well.

Develop your own style by considering what you like to wear and then stick with that look. Your favorite outfits hold the clues to what your style really is. When you start learning how to make the right choices for your body you will stop wasting money on clothes that look great on the hanger but not so good when you look in the mirror.

The Gardener’s Guide to Getting Organized

April 3, 2013

Well hopefully winter is finally on its way out and soon we will all be enjoying a beautiful spring. If you like to garden, this is the time of year you enjoy most – planning your garden for the new season. It’s the time to pick out new plants and take care of the ones you already have.

Here are some comparisons between gardening and getting organized. I’ve spoken to garden clubs on this subject and its fun to highlight how similar they can be.

Organizing is definitely like weeding the garden. Stuff that you have that is crowding your home and your life is like crabgrass that chokes out the beautiful things – like flowers – and takes over. Deciding to get organized and eliminate some of the things that are clogging your life will help you better appreciate the beautiful things that can be buried under mounds of clutter.

Just like gardening, to create something beautiful you have to get your hands dirty. You have to stop avoiding the “room that no one goes into,” put on your old clothes and maybe even some gloves and open the door and start weeding through your collection of clutter so you can find the “flowers” you want to use and enjoy. When you are gardening you have to prune away the old growth to make room for the new. Pick up the items in that room – one by one and make those tough decisions. Does it stay or get donated or sold to someone else who will treasure it just as much as you once did.

Half the fun of gardening is seeing what the squirrels have planted. Half the fun of clearing out a cluttered space is seeing what treasures you will find. It’s like Christmas, only you may have to remove some of the dust from the buried items before you can enjoy them. Perhaps you may actually find Christmas presents that you lost of track of and never gave away.

If you plant a seed before the ground is ready, it will shrivel and die and the same is true of organization. Before you start your project be sure you are ready with the right tools and equipment whether it is folders and post it notes or garbage bags and rubber gloves. Being ready will help the process go faster and smoother.
Enjoy your garden this year and an organized home too!

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. 
-Author Unknown

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