Welcome to 2015 and a fresh start! Each week this month I'm blogging about Julie Morgenstern's S.P.A.C.E. (Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize, Equalize). Organizing doesn't get simpler than these 5 steps - I promise. Big space or small, it works - although if you've heard me speak you'll remember that starting small is the key to success. Let's DO THIS!
It is impossible to make a decision about an item if we don't know how many or what kind we have. Sorting is an essential first step to a sustainable, organized space. Ever bought something only to realize that you already own it? Happens all the time. To know what we own we have to sort like with like and get it all in one spot to give us visual representation. I worked with a family that didn't have closets in the bedrooms (old house built when storage wasn't really a necessity!), so clothes were all over the house. We talked about quantity, and Mom guesstimated that her daughter had about 25 sweatshirts. When we got them all together there were over 70. Mom was a bit surprised. Actually, I was too!
Let's use a pantry for example. Pull out all the canned goods, stacking each type of food in a separate spot. Baking supplies go in another area, pots, pans, lids in another. You get the idea. I like to wipe down the shelves as I go - or get the kids in the house to help out - let's make this a 2 for 1 deal!
Next week....how to do the Purge - and it doesn't mean getting rid of EVERYTHING!
What space are you going to tackle? Comment below and let's take this journey together - I love to hear from my readers:)
One of my very creative fellow Professional Organizer's shares her take on a holiday classic:
'Twas just weeks before Christmas, when I looked 'round my house
And feelings were stirring that I couldn't douse.
The clutter was piled up in mounds all around,
And piles, dust and overwhelm all did abound.
No visions of sugarplums danced in my head,
Just feelings of angst and confusion and dread.
The papers were piled on the table so high
There's no chance of mealtime, I thought with a sigh.
I thought of the guests that would come all too soon
And started to panic and wish it was June.
Aackk! People are coming! Oh, where will they stay?
I must move this clutter. It's all in the way.
I want to have family and friends to enjoy,
To entertain, decorate, bake and ah, oh boy.
"I meant to get to it", I heard myself whine,
But now it's December and I'm down to the line.
I thought I could do it myself if I tried,
But it was too much and my brain felt so fried.
I needed some help and I knew whom to call
A Professional Organizer who's on the ball.
My organizer friend was so lively and quick
Before I knew it I was ready for St. Nick!
She helped me to think in a rational way.
I still had some time; they're not coming today.
She settled me down and said, "You'll be alright.
Now take a deep breath and this clutter we'll fight.
We'll start in one room and just put things away
Stuff with no 'home' won't be able to stay."
We cleared and we sorted, we put things away
I was so glad I had not waited just one more day!
We purged and we sorted and made such a clatter
The donation bags just got fatter and fatter."
Soon tabletops showed up and floors all got cleared
There's so much more room now, it almost feels weird.
With Karen's help I got so much more done,
She's taught me the process, we even had fun.
I love it! I said as I looked all around.
I couldn't believe all the lost stuff I'd found!
I'd managed quite well while the stuff was all lost
But realized I'd be fine if most just got tossed.
I could go on but I think I'll stop here
And wish every one of you holiday cheer.
Oh, and by the way, if your shopping's not done-
If you choose gifts that they'll want, need or use up, you've all won!
Karen here now, all done butchering this poem,
Wishing each of you joy and peace inside of your home.
And so I'll exclaim as I send my newsletter Merry Christmas to all! Be a clutter go-getter!
© 2014 Karen Sheesley
Ever hosted a gathering (of any type) where there aren't leftovers? Not me - even with careful planning. What happens to the extra food? Is it dismissed to the back of the fridge not to see daylight until past the point of eating? Did you know 40% of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten? We can be better stewards of our edible resources than that!
Recently Minnesota Public Radio hosted an engaging conversation on ways to reduce food waste during the holiday season with Eureka Recycling in the Twin Cities. I loved their idea of using glass jars to send leftovers home with guests. Heck, I like the idea of sending home leftovers period! Being able to warm up some supper on a busy night doesn't just fill our stomach, it fills our heart with the memories of the gathering, AND saves us time! Win. Win. Win.
There are other ways to use up leftovers. Like the Halloween Candy blog post, there are tons of recipes available that are ingredient specific depending on what you have a surplus of. Reduce, Reuse and Repurpose! Share a plate with your neighbors. Give some hungry teenagers free rein on the fridge contents - see what they come up with (even if you wouldn't eat their creation!). Take the food to work and share with your co-workers. Have people working (cleaning, remodeling, painting, etc) in your home? Offer up some leftovers - trust me, they'll appreciate it.
Enjoy the food - both eating and sharing. We are so lucky to have excess - there are many who don't.
What's your favorite way to use up party leftovers? Inquiring minds want to know.....
Stuffed with turkey - check. Survived Black Friday AND Cyber Monday - check. It's official - the Holiday Season is in full swing. For many of us that means gift shopping until you are dropping, and delaying payment until 2015.
Consider the sobering fact that 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, according to Bankrate.com, with little or no emergency savings. We are a water heater break or plumbing problem away from literally being broke. What happens when the New Year rolls in, as it inevitably will, and credit card bills right along with?
We forget that we have the power to make choices that dramatically improve what 2015 means for our finances. Could this be the Holiday Season we stop "keeping up with the Smith's", and converse with our loved ones and gift recipients about expectations and reality? Think about it - if 3 out of 4 Americans is living paycheck to paycheck chances are they feel the financial strain as well and would welcome the opportunity to forgo a gift exchange. Yes, it's uncomfortable to initiate the conversation, but well worth it in the long run.
If totally forgoing gifts seems too monumental, try a shift in thinking about what a "gift" is. A gift of your time or service is always welcome. Do we ever have enough time? Who could give something more valuable? The tangibility of a dollar spent can't compare with the intangible value of time.
And of course there is always the issue of the physical gift itself. What if the recipient doesn't care for it? Is it more clutter for them to deal with? Does the gift drain not only our financial resources but our earth's as well?
How about it? What does your gift giving look like this year? What changes would you like to make, and what step can you take to make them? Please share your comments - I love to hear them!
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who