Freedom from Clutter

July 3, 2009

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Happy 4th of July!

4th of July weekend is perfect to spend quality time with friends and family and celebrate our country.  Celebrate the people who  have sacrificed for us and our democracy.  The “land of the free”…free is such a powerful word.

If clutter or disorganization is a cause of distress for you, you can start now, in the spirit of freedom, to declare your independence from clutter.  Taking the time to tackle these challenges will help free you not only from physical clutter, but emotional clutter as well.

  • Commit the time
  • Create goals
  • Make decluttering a priority
  • Enlist the help you need
  • Refer to this blog for tips on specific areas

Remember…

Organizing is a Process not an Event

You can start small with  1 drawer, the kitchen counter or the bathroom vanity.  Edit out what no longer benefits you and create a home for what does.  Free yourself from the clutter.

But first, have a great weekend…I am wishing you and yours a very happy and safe holiday weekend.

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Over Abundance

May 29, 2009

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Love the line from the new Microsoft ad I saw last night…  so relates to our life, our space, our clutter…

Less is the new More!

Love that!  How simple but profound!

Have a great weekend!

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j0437386

I love the saying, “Organizing is a process, not an event.”  How true.  It is not something we do on a Saturday and it is done.  It takes ongoing maintenance to keep things in order.  Regularly making sure things are put away.  Re-evaluating systems to make sure they are working.  Donating or tossing items that no longer have a purpose in our life, are broken or damaged, etc.

It is much easier to put things away if items have a “home.”  I tell clients to do a sweep once a day for 15 minutes.  Put away anything that is left out, or has not been put away from coming in the door.  Working this habit into your day will help you maintain your organization.  I am more of a morning person.  My first priority of the day is to put on some yummy strong coffee.  As it is brewing, I do my “sweep.”  Some clients with children have the kids spend 10 minutes before they go to bed to put things away and make sure their book bags and backpacks are ready to go for the morning.  Pick a time that works for you and work it into your schedule.

Don’t want to be overwhelmed with a disorganized space?  Think of having “PEACE:”

Put

Everything

Away

Conquer

Every day

Peace out!

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Hey Mr. Postman…

May 14, 2009

Did you know that the price of stamps went up this week?  It is now 44 cents for a 1st class stamp.  If you planned ahead and bought a bunch of “forever” stamps you are all set.  If not be aware.

It is a good time to remind folks to create or maintain a “mail center.”  In one place (kitchen drawer, desk drawer, etc.) keep what you will need for mail.

  • Return address stamp or stickers
  • Stamps
  • Extra blank envelope

Following are some other helpful tips regarding stamps…stamps

  • You don’t have to save EVERY free address label you get from charity, etc.  There are only so many you will use.  Remember, they sent them to you without you asking for them.  It is ok to get rid of them…
  • Never have time to get to the post office or when you can the lines are just too long?  Many post offices have self service centers.  They are fast and easy to buy stamps and mail packages.  You can also purchase stamps on line at the USPS website.
  • Keep all stamps in one place.  Once you gather, see what you need to use them.  You may need some stamps to make up the difference from various prices increases.  Right now, you may need some 2 cent stamps for the recent increase.  Make an effort to go to the post office and get.  That way you will use them up.  The US Postal service has a \”Make Up Package\” on line where you can purchase 2 cents stamps.
  • Paying bills on line will cut down on purchasing stamps and all the organization that comes with it.  It will also save a lot of trees, gas, man-hours of processing paper bills.

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Lately I have noticed  that more and more spam is coming into my in-box.

I scheduled 1/2 hour today to address it.  I had not updated my email rules in quite a while.  For some reason it looked like some rules had disappeared.  If you already don’t know, you can set up “rules” in your email for all sorts of things.

Today I am talking about flagging an email that comes in with a certain word in the subject line, so that it automatically goes into your Junk Mail folder.  Although it does not completely stop it from coming in, doing this does save you time and decreases clutter in your in-box.

If you do not have any “rules” set up, do so right away.  It is easy.  Look to your email help section or microsoft.com to learn how to set up (PC.)  Once you learn, and for those who already have it set up, go in and review the words you are currently flagging to go to Junk Mail.  See if there are any you need to add.  I keep a list next to my computer and write down new ones as they sneak in.  And then, when I schedule time to update my rules, I use this list as a guide of what I need to add.

It is a good idea to regularly take a look at all of those on-line shopping, newsletters, promotion reminders emails you get.  If you don’t read them, don’t just delete them, unsubscribe to them.  If the info is not benefiting us and we are not reading it, then it is just more clutter.

Schedule some time to work on this sometime soon.

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archival

Yesterday I was was working with a client organizing memories, keepsakes.  I was happy to see that she had already edited it down to what really mattered to her and there was not that much.

There was a box of magazines and newspapers from historical events.  I have to admit I have Princess Diana’s wedding and death People magazine issues and of course John John Kennedy from when he tragically died.  I know I really don’t need them, but I have the space and they are “organized.”

If you have similar “paper” items,  keep only what is related to the event.   You don’t have to keep the entire newspaper.  If you do look back at these or someday your relatives do, they don’t care that Herman’s was a store back in the 70’s or what was in the classified ads that day.  You/they care about reading  the story of the Middle East Peace Treaty, September 11th, The Red Sox winning the world series, and of course about Diane and John John 🙂  So, keep the important articles and photos and recycle the rest.

You will save lots of room for meaningful memories.  I just read a book by organizer Eileen Roth and loved this quote that can relate to this:

“Everything is the sum of parts, but some parts count more than others.”

When storing photos and and “paper” you want to choose a container that is acid free, like the box above from The Container Store.  Crafting stores like Michael’s and AC Moore also carry archival boxes as well.

Once you do have your “memory box,” go through it every once in a while.  Maybe as a child gets over or if there is a milestone in your life.  If items are worth keeping, don’t let them just live in the box and never see the light of day again.  If that is the case, then maybe they don’t need to stay at all…

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Something came over me this weekend.  Maybe it was because I had a busy weekend of work and play, maybe it was the fresh air getting into my brain or the wonderful sunshine enlightening me.  I decided that I was feeling a sense of  “information overload.”

I love catching up with friends, family, clients and colleagues via facebook.  I really do.  But do I need to check to see what is going on so often?  No I do not.  I should be spending that time on something more fun or productive or nothing at all …that can be healthy too!

I also love getting through my email daily and making sure I respond in a timely manner.  But so much spam comes through, so many things that are not time sensitive.  I think I will keep my Blackberry on silent just a little more.

There is so much “good” info out there.  But I am now re-evaluating the various newsletters, etc. that I have subscribed to.  I just can’t get through them all, and they end up being too much clutter on my computer and on my mind.  More of a weight on my shoulder than a source of enlightenment.

This morning I decided to try and be really good at managing my time, especially as it relates to my computer and my Blackberry.   Ok, basically practicing what I preach to clients!  I confess, I had strayed.

I did not check facbook until my priorities were done — when I was having a snack.  I am going to shut down my Twitter account for now.  It has been too much pressure.  Perhaps when I have some new business ventures up and running that are appropriate for that I will be back.

I am working from home today.  I also have turned off my email most of the day and have checked it periodically in between projects.   I feel so much more focused, less drained from sitting in front of the computer for so long and most of all feel that I have accomplished a lot!

So today’s reminder is on time management.  It really will help you be more efficient and feel more in control.

  • Shut off email when working on projects.  Focus your energy on the task at hand.
  • Shut off the phone when appropriate when you have other work to do.
  • Do the most challenging item on your to do list first thing in the morning.
  • Schedule time to check fun sites like facebook, twitter, and other informational websites.  It will be different for everyone, but set guidelines that are right for you.
  • If you post to blogs, facebook, twitter, Linkedin, etc. for business or marketing purposes, create a schedule of when you will be doing this.  Maybe you blog 2x per week.  Well,  schedule in when you will be doing this.  Some things may be spontaneous, but don’t keep going on to the sites until your priorities are out of the way.

Several years ago we were taught that multi-tasking was fabulous.  As it turns out it is not.  It actually takes longer to get things done.  The brain uses a lot of energy to go back and forth and re-focus.

Posting to my blog was one of my priorities today.  Done.

Ok, on to the next priority and I promise myself I am not going to check http://www.People.com along the way!

Have a good and efficient day!

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