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This video is an awesome example of how empowering it is to tame those piles and apply a method of organizing that makes sense to you. Thank you to my client for sharing her filing adventure - and enthusiasm!
Don't underestimate the value of going paperless - having statements sent to your email inbox instead of your old school mailbox is better for the environment (and your organizing sanity!).
The American Dream.....intrinsically we strive for it in all we do - working hard, achieving "success", accumulating the latest and greatest things. We are surrounded by things that are marketed to make us feel successful - tell us we have arrived. But have we? And to where, exactly, are we arriving?
The house with the two car garage that was The American Dream in my parents' generation now has a garage so full of stuff that only 32% of Americans fit even ONE car in the garage. We have stuff! We have arrived! But, are we happy?
I have had the privilege of attending a National Association of Professional Organizer's annual conference, where The Minimalists gave the keynote address. I've waited over a year to hear them in person, and they didn't disappoint. They spoke of realizing that The American Dream wasn't their dream, and of the events leading them to question their lifestyles and embrace minimalism.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism isn't about frugality, but about more deliberate questioning of the resources (including money) we have at our disposal and how we choose to use them. Do our things add value to our lives or are they clutter? Stuff doesn't fill the void of unhappiness; it widens it.
Minimalism has helped me reframe the way I think about not only physical things, but the resources (time, energy, education, etc.) I have at my disposal and how I use them.
Have you embraced minimalism? Have thoughts about the movement or the lifestyle? I'd love to hear your comments!
So you think your closet is messy? Scientists estimate there are more than 100 million pieces of space junk in orbit, posing a growing threat to future space exploration. It is easy to ignore the things we can't see everyday... until one day we are faced with the reality that something just needs to be done.
Piles for donation. Boxes for recycling. Bags for consignment stores. We have options for our extra "stuff", people. But what about that space junk? In December Japan launched an epic cleaning machine into space, designed to gather debris and do a little spring cleaning of its own. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and the "space junk collector" malfunctioned and burned up upon re-entry into the atmosphere. So they have to try again.
We (collectively as the planet's population) can't just ignore that we are sending up junk into space that has to go....somewhere. And we also can't ignore the overflowing closet. We have to look under the bed. We have to stare down the piles in the garage.
Ignoring the problem-piles and hoping they won't affect us too much just isn't a doable option. So we have to get creative, get working, and be OK with the idea that we just might not get it right on the first try. Organizing is not a one-size-fits-all experience! We just have to make sure we try again.
If you need a little help with the trying, give me a call or send me an email!
"What travels around the world while staying in one corner? (A stamp). Your brain will thank you for stamping out clutter when you make a commitment to doing it." - John Eggers
Thank you to John Eggers of The Bemidji Pioneer for this little riddle, and for sharing his personal angle on how clutter affects his life - and what he hopes to do about it! In his column he shares how a literal run-in with a deer mount and toy popgun gave him pause and new clarity when it comes to the need to gain control over one's surroundings.
Strategies for Everything from Popguns to Piles of Paperwork
As Eggers discusses, the theories and strategies for decluttering are almost as plentiful as the piles in our homes. In my experience, it isn't so much about choosing the strategy that is popular - like the current 40 bags in 40 days approach - as choosing the strategy that works for you.
So if those 40 bags are your answer to regaining the basement, go for it. But maybe you don't necessarily have so much stuff, you just don't have an approach for keeping it organized in your home or office. Perhaps you need a combination of pruning your piles and a new filing method. As I work with clients, I see that the only true strategy that will work is the one that resonates, is doable, and gets consistent results. Your strategy might not look anything like your sister's or neighbor's. That's OK.
Eggers also points out that research confirms what I see everyday - an organized environment is good for the brain. If you need help finding your best strategy (and in turn maybe some extra brain power), give me a call or send me an email and we can work on this goal together!
This week we recognized Presidents Day - and today I want to share a fascinating look at the (sometimes messy) desks of our country's leaders. Do piles of papers mean chaotic leadership? Or inspired thoughtfulness?
Over the years several studies have actually concluded that messy desks are signs of creative thinkers who are not restricted by confines of neat inboxes. But what about the desks in the Oval Office? From Carter and Kennedy to Obama and Trump, Julie Morgenstern walks us through her thoughts on the these famous desks.
"The truth is that people have different styles, and some work extremely well with a messy desk and other people don't work well at all," Morgenstern says. "But [a messy desk] doesn't make a good impression on anybody — it doesn't inspire confidence."
So maybe when it comes to desks, we aren't inspired when we see messy desks of others. We want to believe that they have everything under control. But in private our own chaos is a little more freeing? At least more personally acceptable if we know no one else will see it?
Keep reading the thought-provoking article and see what Julie has to say about these Presidential piles on famous desks, and what they say about the men who sit behind them!
Is there such a thing as healthy clutter? Find out my thoughts on that, and more, in this recently published interview. Here is a sneak peek!
"I look at life like a book — the chapters of a book," Schotzko said. "Things are a little different from one chapter to the next."
Some things that were important to people in past "chapters" of their lives may no longer have the same importance. Hanging on to those things may make it impossible to find space for the things that are important now.
Schotzko advises people to take a look at what they've brought into the home and think about "how these things came to live there," she said, "and what purpose they serve."
Her goal is to start conversations and make clients look at their space in a new light, she said.
Keep reading the rest of the article - and let me know what you think!
Are you ready to say good-bye to 2016 and make a fresh start with 2017? Let's do this! If you make resolutions, then let's also make sure you are ready for success with these top 3 ways to make your resolve stick:
A. Start small! You don't need to resolve to declutter your entire house the first week of 2017. Choose one room per month, and break down that further into parts of the room per week. It's much less overwhelming!
B. WRITE IT DOWN!!!! This creates a connection between thinking about decluttering and doing the decluttering. I like to write it down by scheduling time right into my calendar.
C. Share. Choose someone with whom to share your resolution, and your steps. It can be a friend, a partner, an anonymous online group....whatever works for you. Basically you are looking for someone to help hold you accountable!
Need a little help getting started decluttering? Try the new We Love Messes Strategy Sessions - you can shop for these right at our website!
Give the gift of calm and peace this holiday season! Be sure to check out the virtual packages I have ready, including the Peace of Mind Package, which includes:
This is too good not to share again! 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
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 into like groups in one spot to give us visual representation. I once 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!
What space in your house needs a good sorting? We all have them! So let's get started - especially before any gifts come wandering through the door!
CPO Tammy Schotzko works with clients of all ages to tame their clutter and create calm out of chaos. She specializes in Hoarding and Chronic Disorganization, but deals with everything from digital files to garages run awry! Her passion for helping people reclaim their space is contagious and