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!
Have you been putting off your tax prep and filing? Breathe. Let's think through those files and piles together.
What's the solution?
Right this second it is all about buckling down and powering through to find the data you need in order to file. You do not have to suddenly create the perfect filing system. Just breathe, plan, and then let me know how I can help you develop a system that wipes out the worry.
This place of paperwork madness isn't any fun. Now is the time to move forward with a plan to work in the future. You can use your filing process to set up a system that makes sense to you and won't have you scrambling next year.
Think about how you sort the data you need. Take for example the receipts necessary for reimbursement from a Health Savings Account (HSA).
Take the way your mind thinks, or searches, for papers/receipts and set your filing up according to that. Can't quite visualize what those categories or files look like? Let's have a planning session - I'll bring the questions, you'll have the answers, and together we'll create a filing system that makes sense to you!
"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!
I love learning - especially when it comes from fellow entrepreneurs! Today we have a guest blog review from one such woman who opened her own business less than a year ago - and quickly determined that wrangling in the chaos would require more than just a blank daily planner. She is sharing her experiences with the Daily Action Planner - and how to account for the "weeds" and "seeds" of daily life!
Guest Blog by Alex Oldenburg
My typical weekly/monthly planner just wasn’t cutting it for keeping track of everything, and I needed a better way to organize and prioritize my to do lists. As a co-owner and founder of MESSY Dog Training I specifically needed a way to organize my life, along with my small business, so I started using the Daily Action Planner (DAP) about 6 months ago.
What I love the most about this planner is that it groups tasks into several categories, including:
By giving my “weeds” their own section, it has really helped me to avoid putting off the tasks I need to do but don’t enjoy. As a small business owner, I also appreciate a section for my “seeds”, so I can make sure I’m taking steps to grow my business and move forward.
The planner also understands that life can be chaotic, and that’s okay! It encourages you to “organize your gorgeous chaos”, with daily and weekly places to savor your successes by finding a success each day, and dedicating that success to a reward for yourself, such as a family game night or treating yourself to that favorite coffee drink (my go-to treat).
The Daily Action Planner helps me balance a business along with the rest of my busy life, and the change of mindset it has provided me has definitely helped lower the stress of trying to organize the gorgeous chaos of owning a business! The DAP company also provides a free support call to help you make the most of the planner, and a Facebook group with other Daily Action Planners for tips and ideas.
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!
Do you use a digital organizer - or are you loyal to your paper planner? Digital calendars and planners have become both easier to use and to access. Smartphone apps put complex calendars literally in our purses and back pockets. The ability to access future commitments in seconds and have them graphically spread in front of us like artwork can be exciting, and possibly a bit overwhelming.
The most important consideration when choosing a planner is what feels natural to you and helps you best stay on track. As with paper planners, there are specific pluses and minuses to using digital calendars.
Digital Calendar Pros:
+ Lightweight, compact and portable
+ Can hold a TON of information
+ Can program for reoccurring events (i.e. weekly meetings)
+ Easily search for data
Digital Calendar Cons:
- Requires you to rely on device being charged (or find an outlet)
- Higher learning curve – must learn the program or app
- Can be challenging for people to use who are visual learners or who prefer the tactile feature of paper planners
My advice for starting out is the same as with paper planners – choose the simplest option, master it, and build upon that mastery as your needs change. A formula for organizational success!
Do you use a digital calendar on your smart phone/tablet/laptop/desktop computer? I’d love to hear what program and what you love about that program! Please comment below.
Welcome to 2017 and a fresh start! Each week this month we're going to talk about Julie Morgenstern's S.P.A.C.E. (Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize, Equalize). Organizing doesn't get easier 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!
S Is for Sort
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! :)
I'm sure you're probably busy with last minute holiday plans. Wrapping, travelling, cooking, and in general trying to squeeze in a week of activities into two days. But I'm going to ask you to take just a few minutes to plan for after the holidays - when there are those bowls and plates of leftovers.
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 it's too late? 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 stomachs, it fills our hearts with the memories of the gathering, AND saves us time! Win. Win. Win.
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.....
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who