Winter doesn’t officially arrive for another couple of weeks but you wouldn’t know that here in the Northeast. So, it’s time to organize your personal winter wonderland. When the first cold weather hits, we tend to dig through last year’s collection for a hat and some gloves for the commute or waiting for the school bus. Before that first snowstorm or stretch of cold weather, take the time to purge and curate your winter and cold weather gear. This step is really key if you didn’t work through this process last spring prior to putting all your items away. And if you’re like most people, you didn’t; don’t feel bad – this is your chance to start off the season on the right foot.
Getting your winter on
Pull everything out and create a big pile. Doesn’t that feel satisfying?! Now sort through and find all the matches. Did you find an unmatched pair of gloves or mittens? If you feel pretty comfortable that the mate is not tucked away amongst the swimwear, let it go. Unless it’s an Italian leather glove or cashmere mitten, letting go of the unmatched item is no big loss. Like its distant cousin the unmatched sock, we spend way too much time trying to find the corresponding mate. Check scarves and hats for stains and holes. Launder anything that needs cleaning. (Remember – if your items are delicate or woolen, wash items before storing for the off-season. Moths love dirt and sweat and will gravitate to those items.) Repeat this process with coats and jackets. Check pockets for mittens and gloves and anything else left in there. Did you pick up some new items at end of season sales in the spring? Let go of anything outgrown or unneeded to keep what you will really. How about your footwear? Are all the boots matched up? Pull out anything that needs repair or resoling and get these to the cobbler asap.
Being organized isn’t about boxes and bins; it’s finding my stuff when I need it. Keep your winter gear prepared and organized because winter is coming…
On the road again
I recently did a social media post on keeping your car uncluttered. And it got a LOT of attention. Your car is an extension of the rest of your personal space because it’s full of the spillover from your personal and work life. Your gym bag, stuff to be returned to the store, stuff to go into the house or office are all in there. Americans spend a lot of time in the car – on average 18 DAYS per year. Is it any wonder that our car is just as cluttered as our other spaces? Thankfully, decluttering your car is an easy fix. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed by all the clutter in your life, start in the car – it’s a small, confined space and clearing it out is really satisfying.
Let me just clear off this seat….
Are you the person who gladly lets others drive the carpool? Is someone else riding with you a deal-breaker? Then you need to get your car clutter under control. After you’ve removed the obvious – the trash and anything going into the house or office – start to make a list for the rest. Once items go into the car, it can become a stopping point for completing the task. Write a list of where the remaining items need to go: to the store for the dreaded returns, to your brother’s to return the drill, to the donation center with the charitable items. Keeping spaces uncluttered needs to become a habit. The good news is that this is a pretty simple and straightforward one: always empty your car when you get home. Take out the Target bags, remove the gym bag for laundering, throw out the trash…
Don’t let the car become a black hole of uncompleted tasks – write it down so you can get it done. Are you seeing my social media posts? I share lots of great information there. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – see you there soon!
What, exactly, is this?
Have you ever opened a drawer, closet or bin and wondered “what the heck is in here?”. Welcome to the club of too much stuff and lack of organization. In our homes and offices, we accumulate stuff because as humans, we have an amazing capacity to create use scenarios for things. You keep the old version of your phone system “just in case” the new one doesn’t work as expected or breaks. The dishes you replaced because they were mismatched and chipped become the extras you keep “for a dining emergency” – is that even a thing? I bring home a beautiful new black sweater to replace the misshapen and faded version in the drawer but keep the original one for “kicking around the house”. Does any of this sound familiar?
Something in, something out
One of the simplest organizing rules to follow is “something in, something out”. When you replace an item – a camera, tv, suit jacket, pair of running shoes – get rid of the original! Can you find an excuse to keep the original item? If so, did it really have to be replaced at all? The rule of something in, something out helps us to manage the volume of stuff in our space. Closets, drawers, garages, basements, warehouses and every other nook and cranny is crammed with stuff we no longer use. Open a random drawer or closet and see what’s lurking in there. A not-so-smartphone from 2009 along with the cords and chargers. Clothes too small to be worn by anybody in your home. Storage cabinets filled with old technology. This is clutter. Anything that you are not using or enjoying is just taking up space.
Start employing this simple rule of organizing: when you buy something new, something must go. Donate it. Sell it. Recycle it. Someone, somewhere will benefit much more from having that thing. Are you stuck for ideas on where to donate so your item has impact? Check out these resources on my website. As a bonus, you gain space – physical, psychological and emotional – by letting go.
Halloween is already in the rear view mirror. Which means that Thanksgiving, and then THE holiday season is right around the corner. Yup. I said it. Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year in rapid succession. Do the coming holidays fill you with excitement and joy as well as dread and overwhelm? If you’re like most people, the holidays are a season of both fun and friction so here are some tips to stay organized over the holiday season to find more joy and less Grinch.
Write it down.
On the calendar. On a to-do list. On your gift list. Being forced to remember all the tasks and events we are responsible for is stressful. All through the year, we manage varying priorities in our work and home lives but the holiday time ramps that up significantly. With those additional responsibilities comes overwhelm. We don’t function optimally under stress so we forget things. By writing it down, we can plan and organize better. Add the company holiday outing to the family calendar. Jot down on your shopping list the baking and cooking supplies you need for the holidays. Keep your gift list handy so you can add the neighbor who kindly shovels you out every storm and pick up a gift card in appreciation. Don’t force yourself to keep all of this in your head because it’s noisy and crowded up there. Organize your time and projects.
Start now, today.
Yes, we hate seeing the winter holiday decorations in the stores in September and we vow not to jump into the over-commercialization of the season. And yet it’s not too early to plan and organize what you’ll be needing soon. Visiting a craft fair in the coming weeks? Pick up a few great holiday gifts. And yes, it’s okay to get duplicates of the same item because you don’t need to recreate the wheel for each gift. Will you need extra extension cords for the holiday lights? Pick up a couple of extra the next time you’re at the home improvement store so you’re not running around at the last minute.
Organizing and planning can go a long way in making your holidays merry and bright…
Who doesn’t need a little help getting organized? While I hardly consider myself an “expert”, I am thrilled to be included in this list. Check out this link to some great tips – ranging from increasing your mindfulness to creating drop zones and to do lists.
Here’s to your organized life….https://upjourney.com/how-to-be-more-organized
Why clutter feels heavy.
Hello 2019! Firstly, a big “thank you” to 2018 for always being there for me, day in and day out. Another year gone in what feels like the blink of an eye. And the New Year already a week old! So with this new year and all the possibilities and excitement ahead of me, why do I feel so weighed down? (And it’s not just the extra Christmas cookie weight…). Did you vow yet again to not overbuy and overconsume throughout the year and especially during the holidays? Me too. And yet more stuff has appeared and mushroomed seemingly overnight. Physically, all the STUFF we have in our space carries a physical weight to it. This is something we already knew. But what about the emotional and psychological cost of clutter in our lives? New research has shown that clutter actually weighs us down.
How do I lighten up my space and my life?
Check out this great article in the New York Times on “The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter”. The article outlines the stress caused by clutter and the damage we are doing to ourselves financially, emotionally and psychologically. I am happy to report that there is good news as well. If decluttering and living more intentionally is a goal for you in the new year, new behaviors and choices can have a significant impact. Take small steps daily to reduce your clutter by identifying your biggest “pain point”. Is it the pile of mail or paperwork you’ve been avoiding? Is it your closet that is disorganized and overflowing with unneeded and unused items? Pick a starting point and attack that project. Taking action, even in the smallest steps, leads to creating effective habits. First process, then progress.
Forget resolutions and instead, focus on new intentions. We all have something we can work on and improve. If organizing and living more intentionally is an intention and goal for you, pick a spot and get started. We all have to start somewhere…so get started!