I’ve been there:  I see a fabulous bargain I can’t pass up, so I snap it up; someone kindly passes something on to me I didn’t ask for, so I say yes to protect their feelings.  In either case, I end up with something in my space that has no place.  Next step is to look around my home trying to find somewhere to put it or just plop it on the floor to deal with later.  The lesson to be learned is that if something has no logical, useful or permanent place in my home, it has no business being there.

One approach is to get rid of something else to make room for the new item.  If you have a sweater drawer so full that it can’t possibly hold another sweater, don’t buy or accept another sweater until you go through that drawer and give away anything you no longer wear, love or need.

Another solution is to learn to say, “no.”  I love the idea of “conscious shopping.”  Most of us become temporarily unconscious when we shop.  We operate purely on emotion rather than being rational.  Instead of asking the logical questions, “Do I really need this?” or “Where is this going to go when I get it home?” and “What am I going to use this for?”  We say, “Ooh, how pretty, and so cheap!”  Now what?

When beloved friends or family members offer you their cast-offs and you are reluctant to refuse their kindness, just say, ”Thank you so much!  Let me go home and see if this goes with the rest of what I have and I’ll let you know if I can use it.”  Make sure this person knows you are grateful for the offer, but that the unsolicited item may not be for you and you know they will want to make sure it goes to the perfect recipient.

Face it, there is very little we actually need.  Our spaces are already crammed with items we rarely, if ever, use.  First, ask yourself this question:  “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do I need, love or want this thing?”  Then ask, “Does it really have a space and a place?

 

If you spend most days flying by the seat of your pants – disorganized, confused, feeling stressed and wondering what is falling through the cracks – an investment of 30 minutes each morning can help.

 

Here are five daily habits that can change your life and make your day better organized.  These action steps will take, at the most, six-minutes each.  The five daily habits have made  a great  impact on my life and on the lives of those I serve as a professional organizer.  I invite you to consider adopting them.

 

  1.  Take six minutes to make your bed shortly after you get up.  Think of it as the transition that completes your nightly sleep time and begins your daily activities.  Your bedroom will appear better organized and this task will provide you with your first successful accomplishment of the day.  At the end of the day, you will find that the experience of entering a nicely made bed is both comforting and calming.  Make this a ritual that affirms the importance of a restful night’s sleep and provides a symbolic beginning and end to the day.
  2. Take six minutes to center your mind and body.  Each morning, sit quietly for a few minutes to settle your thoughts and relax your body.  Listen to the sounds around you; imagine yourself in a serene and peaceful place; feel the beat of your heart; pay attention to the inhaling and exhaling of your breath.  This small investment in stillness will reap tremendous benefits throughout the day.  You will enter the day with a greater sense of well-being and a clearer mind.
  3. Take six minutes to eat something nutritious.  No time for breakfast?  Try to have on hand something quick and easy such as a banana, a bowl of cereal, piece of whole wheat toast, instant oatmeal or a granola bar.  Get something into your system to kick start the day.  Your mind and body will work better and your ability to be organized and operate effectively will increase.
  4. Take six minutes to go over your “to do” list.  One technique is to take a piece of paper and draw one vertical line down the middle and one horizontal line across the center to create four quadrants.  Use each quadrant to list different kinds of tasks you are facing for this day.  One quadrant can be for errands to run, another for appointments, a third for people to contact by email or telephone, and the fourth for action steps related to current projects on which you are working.  Now that you have your list, take a second look and realistically assess whether or not your list is too big for one day.  If so, eliminate the non-priority tasks.  Making a daily to-do list will reinforce your awareness of what’s ahead and allow you to visualize it all getting done effortlessly.  This will increase your chances of having a successful and productive day.
  5. Take six minutes to delete all incoming emails that are obvious junk.  Before you concentrate on the important business of the day, why not quickly clean out the spam and clutter in your inbox.  Not only will this reduce the amount of mail to which you need to pay attention, it will also bring what’s really important into better focus.

Total time invested:  30 minutes.  Results:  Priceless.

 

For more information on formulating your own “Five Daily Habits,” or to order a daily habits reminder bracelet, please visit my website at

http://www.organizer-coach.com/bracelet.html

 

 

Spring is the perfect time to create a plan for clearing out, cleaning up and making way for the new.  Some people look forward to the process and the wonderful sense of rejuvenation and peace that comes with it, while others are overwhelmed by the thought of where to start.

 

Here are four steps to help you get started.  If you take it step by step, and task by task, you can make the seasonal transition a simple and graceful process:

 

Step 1.  Assess the situation.  Go from room to room and make a comprehensive list of everything you want to do in each room to make it clean and fresh.  Think in terms of what needs to be eliminated, cleaned, replaced or repaired.

 

Step 2.  Create categories.  Break your room-by-room lists of tasks into three groups:

  • Decluttering:  note items to swap out, store, donate, or sell.
  • Housework:   jot down what needs cleaning
  • Repairs:  list things to fix or replace.

Use this checklist for ideas.

DECLUTTER:

o  Declutter the closets by donating clothes you no longer need or wear

o  Eliminate unneeded small appliances, cookware and dishware that are cluttering the kitchen.

o  Eliminate extra books you’ll never read again

o  Go through your craft supplies and recycle abandoned projects

o  Clear out the hall closet and store the winter coats, hats and gloves

CLEAN:

o  Have drapes and carpeting professionally cleaned

o  Wash the windows inside and out and clean the blinds

o  Clean the refrigerator, oven and stove

o  Polish vinyl and wood floors

o  Clear out the cobwebs

RENEW:

o  Replace the welcome mat and throw rugs

o Swap out bedspreads and replace pillows

o  Replace the shower head, shower liners and curtain, and guest towels.

o  Replace the kitchen curtains

o  Replace burned out bulbs in ceiling fixtures or lamps

REPAIR:

o  Fix dripping faucets or running toilets

o  Repair holes in walls or broken tiles

o  Touch up wall paint

o  Repair broken windows or torn screens

 

Step 3.  Dedicate time.  Set aside specific blocks of time in your calendar for these tasks.  Having a time line and schedule will better ensure your success.  Make an appointment with yourself to get these jobs completed and keep that appointment.

 

Step 4.  Get help.  For the bigger jobs, decide whether to do-it-yourself or hire a professional.  You can also enlist the help of family members or friends.  A Certified Professional Organizer® can assist you with the decluttering process as well as keep you motivated and on task.

 

Spring brings new potential to all aspects of our lives.   A thorough spring cleaning is a great way to revitalize and rejuvenate your home and yourself.  Now is the time to clear out and clean up!

Maintaining an organized and efficient home or office doesn’t have to be daunting. You can do it in 5 to 15-minute chunks.  Keep this list of small tasks in a notebook or post it on a wall or bulletin board. Whenever you find a few spare minutes during the day, choose one or two tasks and make good use of the time.

IN THE OFFICE:

  • Clear the clutter from your desktop.
  • Return supplies and file folders to their proper homes.
  • Revise and rewrite your daily to-do list.
  • Start a box for things to take home.
  • Go through and organize a small pile of paper.
  • Pick anything up from the floor that doesn’t belong there.
  • Scan your email in-box for items to delete.
  • Read a short newsletter or article.
  • Update your voice mail message.
  • Make a list of phone calls you need to place or return.
  • Jot down a few ideas for your next business meeting.
  • Open, read and sort the day’s mail.
  • Organize receipts.
  • Go over and update your Outlook task list.
  • Pull out one or two overstuffed file folders and check for possible discards.
  • Review a project checklist.
  • Water the plants.
  • Organize a desk drawer.
  • Stretch your muscles.
  • Take a quick walk around the building.
  • Make an overdue phone call.
  • Transfer contact information from business cards to your computer.
  • Check over your calendar or appointment schedule.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Practice deep breathing.
  • Create a mission statement.
  • Enjoy a healthy beverage or snack.
  • Take stuff to the building’s recycling center.
  • Organize your briefcase.
  • Relax and think beautiful thoughts.

 

IN THE HOME

  • Shake out all your throw rugs.
  • Clean out a kitchen drawer.
  • Wash the mirrors and glass on framed artwork.
  • Organize potting supplies in the garage.
  • Sweep out the garage.
  • Go through your hanging clothes and pull out six things for charity.
  • Put a load in the washer and start it up.
  • Clear off the front of the refrigerator or the bulletin board.
  • Check the pantry or refrigerator for expired foodstuff.
  • Organize your purse or briefcase.
  • Wash the dishes.
  • Clear off the seats and floor of the car.
  • Make the beds.
  • Fill a bucket with water and vinegar and wipe off the window sills.
  • Get out the vacuum and sweep the blinds.
  • Sort through catalogs and recycle.
  • Pull articles you want to keep from magazines.
  • Check coupons and gift cards for expiration dates.
  • Wash the fronts of all your cupboards.
  • Return CDs and DVDs to their cases.
  • Pull off the couch cushions and vacuum inside the couch.
  • Check the medicine cabinet for expiration dates.
  • Check all your battery run clocks to make sure they are still running.
  • Put scattered books, magazines, catalogs into a basket or bin.
  • Wash the bathroom, kitchen and entryway rugs.
  • Wash off the refrigerator shelves.
  • Clear out everything under the beds and vacuum.
  • Sort through kid’s school papers and artwork.  Put keepers in a folder.
  • Make a shopping or grocery list.
  • Take a walk, a shower or a nap.