What are you afraid of?

It’s that time again! Candy oozes from the store aisles, kids need costumes and pumpkins and the scary movies stream in pitch black rooms. It’s Halloween!

As a Halloween baby I have practiced dressing up, having cake and ice cream and candy together and watching the scary stuff for a long time. I remember the first time I saw Freddy Kreuger… definitely a run and hide moment.

Recently I was asked what keeps people from asking for help with their clutter challenges. This time the question made me wonder, what if it’s fear. Fear of losing something or it’s value, fear of giving up control over their space, fear of being embarrassed by what they find, fear of not being able to finish? And what if the piles just come back? Like Jason!

As an organizer and coach, I’m that person who reminds you that you don’t have to give up and can get out of the scary house. I can help you achieve the idea of what you want in your space. The confidence gained in learning the organizing process and reclaiming your environment is enough to defeat the biggest cluttermonster.

Are you ready to face your fears?!

When it comes to getting your home or office organized what are you most afraid of?  Reply below to share.

Happy Organizing!

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3 Clutter Clearing Tips to Get Your Kitchen Organized

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This time of year I see lots of homes in transition from combining households for upcoming weddings to moving for a new job.  The clutter in these homes comes from lots of good living and not alot of time spent on maintaining order. This is especially true in the kitchen, dining and pantry areas. Here are three tips you can follow to clear your kitchen clutter.

1. Clean out the junk drawer (s).
Yes sometimes there are more than one.  Set a timer for 30 minutes and sort out the contents.  Throw away trash including scraps of paper, old twisties and broken items.

You can even let the kids do the sorting.  Tell them it’s a treasure hunt in which they have to match the different kinds of items and then let them keep any change they find.

Before you add items back into the drawer, add in a dividing tray to keep items from sliding around and provide a visible limit on contents.

2. Accumulate paper goods, plasticware, pots/pans then purge
Remember that once in a lifetime party last year with the awesome theme… why do you still have 200 napkins stashed away? What about the pan that’s lost its non- stick coating? Own 6 saucepans but only ever cook for 1? Have plastic tops with no containers and vice versa? Let it go. Some items may be recyclable and others may be donateable.

Think about what is used on a regular basis to guide your decision of how many is right for your lifestyle.

3. Regift/ donate small appliances you don’t like
Remember that blender that just didn’t fix your smoothies the way you like them?  It’s still in the cabinet.  Have 2 crockpots, coffee machines or toasters?  If you have a small appliance that doesn’t work like you need it too you’ve likely already forgotten about it or replaced it. Somebody else would love to have it so why not give it to them. 

If it’s still new and in the box, that makes an easier package to gift it to a friend.  You don’t have to wait for a special occassion either, just think of who might provide it a good useful home and give it away.

The kitchen is often called the heart of the home.  Clear out the clutter and fill your kitchen useful tools and lots of love this year.

Happy Organizing!

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Everything or Nothing- When What’s OUT Is IN Line with Your Space Style

These two styles are all about the way you arrange your things to create a space that is stimulating, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing .  whether you prefer to hide things from view or have them displayed openly, the goal in working with this aspect of your style is to create a supportive and productive environment where you know what you have and can easily access it.

Everything Out = Out Of Sight, Out of Mind

Courtesy of DepositPhotos- galdzer

Courtesy of DepositPhotos- galdzer

Someone who connects with the Everything Out Style Preference is clearly from the “out of sight, out of mind” school of organizing. They feel most comfortable when their things are visible and within reach. The challenge with leaving everything out is, with so much in your field of view you won’t be able to really see anything. Piles of stuff and stacks of papers will soon overwhelm you.

One of my clients felt the only way to manage her mail was to keep it all out on her desk.  This led to mounds of envelopes of varying age and state of openness on top of the desk.  These would spontaneously lean and slide leaving layers of mixed papers spread across the desktop and often falling off the desk.   Additionally her checkbook, calendar and phone were regularly thrown into the mix and often lost.  The mail was not being processed timely and the desk was not functional.

We created a 2 step process in which she could corral and have handy the papers she needed to address.

First all incoming mail was placed into a clear bin near the desk.  The bills went into a labeled folder in the bin.

Next we set a scheduled time to pay bills.  When the time came she grabbed the folder and processed those bills. This allowed her to see those items, work on them when it was the scheduled time and make some of the desk available for using the computer and reading.  Her stress level was reduced because she knew where the bills were and her budget was back on track as late fees were eliminated.

I am a strong Everything Out.  When I am working on a project I will spread everything out on my desk or worktable or floor (depending on what the project is) so I can put my eyes and hands on what’s needed.  When my work time is over, I take that chunk of material and put it away to clear the space.

What do you think? Does out of sight mean out of mind or the total opposite?

Nothing Out  = No worries, right?

Courtesy of DepositPhotos-pinkbadger

Courtesy of DepositPhotos-pinkbadger

The Nothing Out Style Preference is the opposite of the Everything Out Style. Nothing Outs are uncomfortable with “visual clutter” and feel claustrophobic when they don’t have room to move around in their space.  The challenge with a Nothing Out approach is that they have a tendency to literally stuff things into drawers or closets and then forget what’s been put where.

A client of mine had a professionally decorated home.  It was a great open space for entertaining and she often had guests.  She called me because she was “running out of room’ and couldn’t find anything thus needed to get organized.  As we walked through the house I quickly saw that although there was plenty of storage in the house she was filling the closets and cabinets with all kinds of things.  It helped when preparing for guests but there was absolutely no order to what was being stored so when the people left she was left with a mess.  We sorted the contents of all the closets and she decided where things would go.  One closet was for decorative/ entertaining items, one for memorabilia and family photos, one for office supplies.  There was also a big spare drawer for mail and kitchen counter items.  This way when she needed to tidy up for people coming over she could put things out of sight in predetermined places then find them again later.  It was a good balance of her preference to have things out of sight and be organized enough for easy future access.

As you can see from the examples above, knowing what systems and products work with your personal styles is so important because it allows you to make efficient and effective use of your time and space ultimately creating more satisfying experiences.

Once you identify your dominant preferences – are you an Everything Out™, Nothing Out™, Minimalist™, Saver™, Straightener™, or No Rules™? – you can begin to take steps to integrate more Flow Steps into your everyday life.

The Time & Space Style Inventory™ (TSSI™) evaluates your space style preferences and  how you arrange your space, assign value and tolerate disorder.  By learning your dominant and strong style preferences, you can make the most of the things in your space and increase flow in your life. Consistently taking the Flow Steps in your styles of dominance will help you successfully manage yourself, and your decisions about your space.

EMBRACE your natural style!

Make it all work better for you – take the Time & Space Style Inventory™ today to identify your time and space styles and enjoy your life!

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Getting Off the Roller Coaster

 

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What do you do when you think you’re ready to get organized but you are not quite ready?!  There’s too much going on and it seems like life is just happening to you.  The fast pace and blurred boundaries of work, family, friends, community, self, etc can turn what may be a short period of high stress into an extended time of distress and disorganization.  Have you experienced these situations:

  • Things gets suspiciously calm then crazy busy then leaves you exhausted.
  • You start working on a space then realize you are just moving items from one space to another.
  • You set a goal to focus on what you want but stuff just keeps popping up and you never get around to it.

If this sounds like your life then you, my friend, are on the clutter chaos roller coaster Ready to stop this wild ride?!

 1. Breathe. 

Take a deep breath and as you release it try to clear your mind of alllll the things you have going on.

 2. Reflect on your goals 

What exactly do you want and why do you want it. Go deeper. What needs will it fill for you?

3. Understand your challenges

Ask yourself what’s getting in the way of you getting to your goal Assess whether you have the skills, knowledge, and ability to face the challenge alone. Think of specific ways you can overcome those challenges.

4. Recommit to a next step forward

Write down the next one best thing that you can do to move forward. Commit to just doing that one thing.  Many times single tasking and simplifying the to- do list is key to staying focused.

5. Take action

The power to get what you want is in the doing work to get there.  When you move forward with that first step you are taking back control from the clutter and chaos.

Life may be leaving you a little dizzy these days, with end of school year, preparing for vacation, So taking that first step back off the roller coaster may seem like a big one… BUT how big are your dreams, what is a better quality of life worth for you?  Go for it!  You can only reach your goals if you start now.  

 Happy Organizing!

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Leave The Crap Behind!

Early morning channel surfing rewarded me with a movie- Ice Age: The Meltdown. It reminded me of the doomsday predictions of Y2K and this past week’s 12/21/12 Mayan Calendar predictions. Okay so what does this have to do with organizing? Well in the movie, as they are convinced that their home will flood, the creatures take off for safety towards the edge of the valley. There is a cut to a family of dung beetles; the father leads the line struggling to push a ball of dung. With a huge heave he asks his wife “Do we have to take this crap?!” She responds” my mother gave it to us.”

So let’s move past the doomsday talk and transition to taking your life forward into next year. You need to set goals for where you want to be and secure resources to support you and your family through to success but you may still be planning to take a bunch of “crap” with you too.

Are you keeping “crap” because it was a gift from a loved one and you have assigned value to it for only that reason? Or maybe you are just used to seeing an item in the house and it has become part of the background. Are there any items that are emotionally and physically draining for you to keep in the space because you are frustrated from moving them back and forth? In all of those cases the items could be considered clutter. It not only takes up space but can hold you back from getting to the next great thing in your life. Being organized is not just about getting control over stuff and having an orderly space but also allowing the order to support you being productive in that space and other areas of your life.

What item do you have in your space that potentially could slow you down from making a life changing move? What does that item mean to you and are you prepared to care for and cart it as you navigate challenges or uncertain times? Is that item really clutter and you just need help to put it in perspective? I can help you answer these questions and make an action plan that moves you forward. Email or call me when you are ready to take the next step.

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Where There’s a Will… There’s a Way to Deal with Stuff

Today I attended a great Women’s Week session (www.wcgbr.com) titled ” Will and Testament: Why Do I need One??” Our speaker Debby Anselmo (www.debbyanselmo.com) was answering a question on how to clearly communicate in a will and testament how you wanted your property divided. She made statements to the effect that the document clearly lays out your intentions, there are ways to ensure the things you want to leave to your heirs get dispensed, you can do so much of this ahead of time.

It brought to mind my recent “Mission Organization” session in which an attendee asked how to deal with inherited items. I ended up making some comments similar to Debbie’s: Why leave it to the heirs to struggle on what to do with your belongings or, even worse, fight over items when it can be detailed out before hand?

We just came off National Preparedness Month. You have started refreshing your emergency disaster kits, reviewing your medical benefits and financial instruments but have you have a had a conversation with your loved ones about your stuff? Do you have specific items that you would like for family members and friends to have? Do you want your loved one to remember you with mementos or the values and life experiences they gave you? Each of us has to answer these questions for ourselves but also think about it from the viewpoint of the recipient. If you cannot imagine what their response would be, now is a great time to ask. You can address liquid assets in a living will, tangible objects in a final will and values or ideals in a legacy letter. All of these documents can be put into place now and updated over time.

Here are a few tips to move you forward:
• Keep a positive mindset about why you are doing this
• If needed, go over a few items at a time to avoid overwhelm
• Tell the recipient why the item is significant and you would like it preserved
• Have an alternate in mind in case your first choice is not able to receive your item
• Thoughtfully compromise if your loved one connects more to a different item than what you choose
• Allow your family members the option to release less meaningful items
• Document who will receive what.

Don’t let your possessions become someone else’s burdensome clutter. Give those you love most the opportunity to love the things that marked great moments in your life. Also allow them to exercise their own boundaries and stay organized.

Remember, life is about way more than stuff. Deal with the stuff now so you can live more later!
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Declare Your Independence From Clutter

As you recover from celebrating the Nation’s independence have you realized it may time to declare yours?  “From what?” you ask…

CLUTTER!

Girls, you have the right to life, liberty and a purse you can find your keys in.

Guys, let your clothes assume their equal stations not on the floor but in drawers and on hangers.

 Make a resolution and take that first step towards making your place everything you want it to be.  Clutter does not just take up space at times it can seem to take over your life.  If you are ready to be free from the stress of all that stuff try these decluttering tips.

 Stop clutter at the door

  • Keep a recycle box to dispose of junk mail instead of piling it with important mail
  • Install an entryway organizer to hold the family’s bags and outerwear
  • Decline give-a-ways of stuff you do not need, will not use or do not love
  • Set a rule of flow:  before 1 new thing comes in 2 old things have to go out.

 Work one project at a time

Working through everything at once can be overwhelming.  Start with one space then move on to the next:  computer desk this week and file cabinet next week.  Breaking the room down into smaller areas allows you to see progress in a shorter span of time.  Whatever is causing you the most stress or irritation would be a great place to start.

 Make the time to stay organized

Staying organizing does not have to be a huge drawn-out ordeal. Once a room is in order, 15 minutes is enough time to pick up and keep a room neat.  Make it a habit to purge as you see an item is damaged or unwanted.  Clean up right after you use project supplies.  If you change bags, dispose of trash and put aside items you won’t need that week.  Give the kids a weekend morning challenge:  Whoever can get their room the neatest in 5 minutes wins.  Be creative and be consistent.  

You deserve to enjoy all of the spaces you worked so hard to have.  Your things should not add stress to your life they should make it better.  If you put in the effort now to get that space organized you will soon be celebrating you own independence day!

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