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

 

 

Now is a great time to start decluttering your closets, cabinets, bookcases, drawers, toy chests, shelves – any space overflowing with “stuff.”

Letting go can often be difficult, but it’s true that clearing some of it out will be a good thing.  Creating more space would make life easier and help you feel more peaceful.  Also, think of all the people you will help out and make happy by donating or passing on your unwanted and unneeded extras.  In this age of recycling, it’s the right thing to do.

To help you make decisions and let go of stuff consciously and confidently, here are 10 essential questions to ask yourself while you are decluttering your space and your life.

1.    Do I own more than one of these?  If your answer is yes, ask yourself why you would need two or more.  Chances are, you own duplicates because you forgot about your original purchase and went out and bought another needlessly.  Pick out the best one and recycle the rest.

2.    When was the last time I used, wore, read or looked at this?  If it has been more than six months, you no longer need it.  Let it go.

3.    Does the condition of this item reflect the image I want to present?  If the item does not meet your standards you don’t need to hold on to it.

4.     If I throw this out, will I deeply regret it?   Tap into your intuition for the answer.  If you feel a tugging in your heart, set the item aside and take a second look later.

5.    Am I ever going to read, wear or use this again?   Just be realistic.  If you’ve outgrown, forgotten about or replaced this item, you probably have already dismissed it from your life.  Pass it on.

6.    Have I gotten all the possible benefit from this item?  If it has served you well and over time and become worn or outdated, you’ve probably gotten your money’s worth from it.  Lay it to rest; it has been a worthy servant (book, shirt, mug, etc.).

7.    Does this item represent who I am now, or someone I used to be?  What once was original and interesting might now be old hat (or an old hat).  If you have moved on to new tastes and interests, you can let what suited the old you go to someone else.

8.    If I had to replace this, would it be easy and affordable?  Just about anything can be replaced.  Venues such as craigslist, amazon, ebay, thrift stores and garage sales are fun places to search for most anything you need or want.  However, if an item is incredibly valuable, absolutely irreplaceable and you are still in love with it, don’t put it back into a box or the back of a closet.  Commit to finding the perfect place to display or use it.

9.    Do I have a sentimental or emotional attachment to this?  If it would break your heart to let Grandma’s tablecloth go, then by all means keep it.  But, if you don’t have room or are ready to let it go, take a photo of it and keep the picture instead.

10.  Is owning this item more trouble than it’s worth?  Some items demand more attention and maintenance than they are merit.   If your goal is to simplify your life, get rid of the high maintenance items and set yourself free.

Bonus question:  Do I really have space for this?  What is more important:  this item or your peace of mind and well-being?   Crowded spaces are energy thieves and safety hazards.  If you are cramped for space, you will always have to stumble over what’s in the way, or dig around to find what you really love, use and want.  Today is the day to let it go!

 

by Mary Sigmann CPO ® | Categories: How To Declutter | Tagged: , , , | No Comments

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.

 

Many people entertain the idea of getting more organized. It’s well known that organization
is the key to growing business, creating more balance in our personal lives, using time to
the greatest advantage and managing resources for optimal benefit and return. Yet for
many, making time for getting organized hasn’t become a priority. Now is not only the
perfect time, but a necessary step to help move through the current economic downturn
and set the stage for the next chapter of life. Economic down times offer the perfect
opportunity to assess your current financial and business situation, make new plans and
cultivate gratitude.

In fact, right now, you can’t afford NOT to be organized. Not only has the time and
opportunity come, but the necessity for organization is greater than ever. In these times, it
is essential to make sure everything counts – money, time and personnel at the
business/financial level, and energy, attitude and action on the personal level. Unless you
are organized, you risk wasting precious resources, and may allow situations to dictate your
state of mind and keep you stuck in old patterns that are no longer working.
Here are five tips to be better organized as you navigate this economy.

 

1. Conserve & Manage Resources
Get a thorough idea of what you currently have – money, contacts, supplies, opportunities.
Take one sheet of paper for each category and make a list. Once you have a clear picture,
ask yourself where or how you can use what you have more economically or create new
opportunities. Use information for planning and take action. Redesign your spending plan,
reconnect with contacts, organize your supplies so that you no longer duplicate purchases,
and move forward on potential business.

 

2. Plug up & Prevent Leaks
Ask yourself where you are wasting money or time and plug up the leak. If a daily
cappuccino is busting your budget, start making coffee at home. If you are spending too
much at the video store, check out the DVD selection at the library. Prevent future leaks by
canceling subscriptions, catalogs, and stop using shopping as entertainment. Check out
opportunities for volunteerism and use your spare time for the greater good.

 

3. Become More Conscientious
Create a new mindset that says you will pay better attention to every action you take every
minute of the day. Pay attention to what you think, say and do. Watch yourself as you
spend money and time. Check yourself as you experience emotions, especially fear,
irritability, worry and anger. When you notice you are overspending or caught up in a
negative emotion, take out your journal and write a few sentences about it. This will help
you keep better control of your finances and attitudes and keep you on a more even keel.
Staying balanced is equivalent to staying organized.

 

4. Gain New Appreciation for What You Have
It’s easy to look at what you’ve lost, can’t do, aren’t getting, and want, but don’t have.
Focus on what you do have and use those assets to your advantage. You may have worries
and concerns, but you also have trusted and helpful people in your life to help you
brainstorm solutions to current challenges. Things may feel tough, but when you remember
that you have your health, your family and loved ones, friends and colleagues, hope is
www.organizer-coach.comrenewed and the future seems brighter. Look at the big picture. You know what’s truly
important and what’s not.

 

5. Utilize Down Time to Strategize
Use down time to review and refine your contact list. Write letters or emails to reconnect
with prior clients or colleagues. Update your website, rewrite your resume, and redesign
your marketing materials. Clean out your files, desk drawer, storage cabinet, closets,
garage, basement or attic. How many times in life do we get extra time to return to
projects, revisit a craft or go back to a sport? What about that book you were writing, the
business you thought about starting, the friends or family you’ve thought about visiting, the
topic you’ve wanted to research, the skill you would love to hone? While you are engaged in
new activity, that new prospect is emerging, new ideas are cooking and strategies are being
created. Let go of the old patterns, the and the disorganization, and you may just walk right
into a new world of opportunity.
Disorganization sends the message that you are unprepared, disheartened and befuddled –
you can’t afford that. Getting organized now will not only pave the way for greater income
and opportunity, but when new prospects start to emerge you’ll be more prepared than ever
to greet them.