There’s a great little place here in St Louis called Wired Coffee where I love to stop and grab lunch. I always order their roast beef panini, which comes with a bag of chips and their delicious salsa. It is one of my favorite things to eat.
As much as you don’t want to admit it, many of you probably received gifts you do not want. It’s probably just as likely that you would feel guilty if you didn’t keep those gifts because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
If you think it’s a crazy idea to hire and pay a professional organizer to help you with your clutter and disorganization, think again. It costs you alot more if you don’t hire one. Here are just a few of the ways you’ll “pay” for not de-cluttering and getting organized.
About 5-6 years ago I found myself knee deep in depression. At that time, I didn’t realize that I had turned to food for comfort and happiness. By the time I realized it, I had put on 50 lbs! Needless to say, none of my clothes fit me anymore.
Is your home so filled with clutter that you don’t know where to start? You can begin by looking for things that you know you no longer want or need that you can give to someone else that desperately needs it. Why not start looking for the items that are needed by the following groups?
Now that we’ve gotten rid of everything that doesn’t belong in this space, we can get a clearer picture of the things that will really be living there. Sort the remaining items into groups, or categories, of like things with like things. In our example, I’ve grouped the tools that will stay with the other tools that will stay, the batteries with the batteries, the screws together, etc.
Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is already hussling and bussling to get just the right thing for those people on their Christmas list. It’s difficult to figure out what to buy someone for Christmas that has everything. My suggestion is not to get them a physical gift since it will really become a burden to them, rather than a gift.
Do you have plastic shopping bags everywhere? Falling out of pantries? Hanging out of drawers? Some in the kitchen? Some in the garage? Some in the basement?If so, this grocery bag holder is the solution. You simply wall mount this in a convenient location (mine is inside my pantry) and then you can store all of your empty plastic bags in one convenient location. It’s also great because it helps you set limits on the number of plastic bags you keep, and makes you more aware of the need to return your excess plastic bags to the store to be recycled. Realistically, you shouldn’t need any more plastic bags than this will hold.
iRecycle is a FREE iPhone application that helps you find over 100,000 recycling and disposal locations in the U.S. for over 200 materials where you can drop-off your old cell phones, water bottles, cans, motor oil, and other recyclables. Use iRecycle to get directions and find out what else they accept.
I’ve talked about my problem with time clutter here many times before. It continues to be a challenge for me since my desire to help others is so strong, I forget to think about myself, and my own needs, when I accept commitments. Back in May, I cleared my schedule completely for 2 weeks while I took the time to map out the vision, or direction, for my life, family and business. After mapping out the vision, I had to remove things from my schedule that didn’t fit into that vision.
Isn’t that a fantastic thing? Your old unwanted shoes that are just laying around in your closet can save someone’s life. Did you know you had that power? Well you do, with the help of George The Shoeman Hutchings.
What? Why would you say that? Because there is seldom a home that we walk into that doesn’t have lots of cute organizing containers. I always say if a company makes a basket and puts a cute little bow on it, people are going to buy them up like hot cakes. The problem with buying these cute little containers is that you are making an uneducated decision. You think to yourself oh that’s so cute, I know I can use it for something. The problem is that you don’t have a plan for it. You think your CDs might fit well in it, or your DVDs. But when you get home you realize that it is the wrong size or shape to contain those items. Rather than returning the cute container, you keep it because you just know that you’ll use it for something. That never happens. The reason is that these cute little containers aren’t always practical or functional. Also, you have to sort through your belongings so that you realize what you need to contain, and how much of it you have, before you buy the container. My advice to you….don’t buy any more cute containers until you know what it is you need to contain.
I bought my house 3 years ago. There are two trees in the front yard that have been growing very haphazardly the entire time I’ve lived there. They look very messy and unkept. I finally tackled the trees this weekend and trimmed out all of the branches that were growing between other branches, going in the wrong direction or were too low. When I was finished, both trees looked like they had taken on a new life and a new direction. Finally free of the cluttered branches that weren’t serving them, and were actually harming them, they will now be able to grow stronger and more healthy.
How many old unused cell phones do you have just laying around? How many have you already just thrown away? Now you can put those unwanted phones to good use by donating them to ALIVE. Phones that can be refurbished are distributed to domestic violence victims so they have a safe way to call for help. Your unwanted stuff is really valuable to others!
Yesterday I reached for a perfume bottle with just a few sprays left in it, and then stopped myself from using it because if I used it, then it would be gone. I had to laugh when I realized that I’ve been doing that very same thing daily for at least a year.
I recently worked with a client that had 7-8 boxes of paperwork sort of scattered throughout her home. Dealing with the paperwork seemed daunting and overwhelming and so she just put it off. In reality though she was dealing with it every day by not dealing with it. She felt stressed, depressed, overwhelmed and out of control all of the time.
I had the great fortune of meeting Tom Ponche last week. Tom, an eldercare advisor, works for A Place For Mom which is a free online service for seniors and their families. They offer free eldercare advice and referrals. Since assisting seniors and their families is one of our specialties, Tom will be using our team as a resource when seniors need help downsizing, de-cluttering and preparing their home for sale, getting their paperwork in order and to assist families with the physical mess that is left behind after the loss of a loved one when their emotions are already running high.
As Membership Director and Newsletter Editor for NAPO St Louis, I have the opportunity to meet many fantastic people and companies in this industry that can help my clients.
I hope you are enjoying your summer. With the extreme heat we’ve been having in St Louis, you may find yourself looking for things to do indoors. Our next e-newsletter focuses on clutter pitfalls and the simple strategies you can implement to overcome these common pitfalls. The next e-newsletter goes out tomorrow, so it’s not too late to sign up for it.
It’s imperative that whatever organizing system or container you set up is super easy to use or it won’t last. Here are some common mistakes people make:
- Leave room to grow. You buy a container that is the exact size for what you have and you don’t leave room for growth. Within no time, your stuff will be laying next to the container instead of in it.
- Too many files. Don’t make your filing system overly complicated or the filing just won’t get done. Rather than having a folder for each of your 3 cars, just have one folder for all of them together.
- Too far to go. If you recycle and the only place you have designated to hold your recycling is in the garage, chances are that the recycling will pile up in your living space because it’s too far to go to the garage each time you finish a can of soda. Invest in a second kitchen sized trash can to hold the recycling until you can take it all to the garage.
- Landing place. Designate a landing space just inside the door you use for your purse, keys, book bags and mail to land. If you choose another place that is more complicated, chances are things will just get set down wherever. This will add to your stress when you’re in a rush and can’t find these things.
It’s so funny how people that clean houses never take the time to clean their own. People that build websites never take the time to keep their own updated. Well, I’ve been so busy helping others get organized that I’ve let my own space go and it’s driving me crazy. So I am going to tackle them this week, beginning with my closet.
I can still remember a time so vividly, almost like it happened yesterday. When in fact, it’s been closer to 20 years ago (yikes!). I was a recently divorced, single mother of two young girls, 6 months old and 3 years old. I held a very good full time job, but since we were not receiving any type of financial support from their father or my family, and I had to pay ENORMOUS daycare bills, were struggling to put it mildly.
In order to remain organized and clutter-free you must establish systems, or rules, for your stuff. Here are some fairly basic rules that you can easily implement to help you keep a handle on your clothes:
Our closets are a place that we use very frequently. If they are clutter filled and not in order, this can add to our daily stress because we waste time and energy searching for the things we need on a regular basis. Start off tackling the closet by pulling everything out of the closet and sorting the items into categories. Do not try to make any decisions on whether you need an item at this time, just sort. Once you have completely sorted the entire closet into categories, you can go back and make a more informed decison about the things you need or don’t need. Here is a list of the advantages of sorting before you make decisions:
- Rather than looking at twenty different white t-shirts through the course of looking through your closet, and making twenty separate decisions, you will only have to make one big decision. You may have chosen to keep all of them if you looked at them one by one, but you would make a better educated decision if you saw a pile of twenty white t-shirts together. More than likely you would realize that although you like each t-shirt, you probably don’t need twenty of them.
- You can combine two or more 1/2 empty containers of the same thing such as tylenol, lotions, cold meds, etc.
- Once you have decluttered the things in your closets, everything that is left will already be sorted into categories. This way you can easily store those items together which will make finding those things easier in the future.
If you have piles and piles (or boxes and boxes) of paper clutter and you attempt to tackle it the way we would automatically by making a decision on each paper you pick up, you will be mentally exhausted after the first pile. The best way to tackle this, or any other clutter, is to sort the paperwork out first. Without making any decisions at all, sort your paperwork into these categories:
- Action papers – These are any papers that require action. Even if that means to enter a phone number in your phone book, a party invitation, etc.
- Reference papers – These are papers that you have already taken action on and the information just needs to be saved for future reference.
- Toss – These are papers that you no longer need.
This is the most eye opening statement that I share with my clients. It’s true! Clutter is nothing but delayed decisions. I know we are all busy and just don’t feel like we have the time to tackle our clutter. But if you think about it long enough, you’ll realize that it is not just that we are too busy to deal with our clutter, but we also realize that to deal with the clutter we must make decisions. Realizing the necessity to make decisions in order to declutter only makes us put it off longer. The more we put off the decisions, the bigger the pile grows until we are completely overwhelmed. Here is the catch…even when you think you are not dealing with your clutter, the pending decisions are weighing you down with stress, anxiety and leaving you feeling overwhelmed. When you hire a professional organizer, we are well trained to help you make these decisions in the easiest fashion possible. This weeks blog posts will help you break your clutter down into manageable chunks. We will also share some tips to make it easier for you.