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Life is a highway….

Life is a highway….

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!

 

Something in, Something out

Something in, Something out

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.

‘Tis the Season (almost)…

‘Tis the Season (almost)…

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…

Is Clutter Weighing You Down?

Is Clutter Weighing You Down?

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!

Tips for Staying Organized This Holiday Season….

Here are some tips for putting a little more merry and a bit less stress into your holiday season…..here’s to a joyful holiday season and a healthy and happy 2019!
  • Track the gift purchases you have made and need to make in a spreadsheet or notebook. Recording gifts as you purchase them gives you a “snapshot” of what you’ve already purchased and what still needs to be done. Seeing the details in “black and white” keeps you from last minute panic purchases and keeps overspending in check.

 

  •  Keep “working your calendar” during these busy weeks. Don’t immediately respond to invitations. Review each commitment with family members prior to responding.  This will go a long way in not double-booking at both the office holiday party and Aunt Ethel’s eggnog and fruitcake bash.

 

  • Stopping at your favorite coffee shop for a caffeine boost? Now is a great time to pick up gift cards for the bus driver, teachers and babysitter. Everyone loves receiving gift cards.  By stocking up on these items now, you’ll have them on hand and won’t be rushing around at the last minute trying to find a gift for Dave the Mailman.

 

  • Stressed about what to get your teenaged nieces and nephews this holiday season? Again, gift cards are always appreciated. Teenagers enjoy hanging out with friends and going to the movies so movie theatre gift cards are always a big hit. Google a theatre chain near their home and either pick up the gift cards there or order online. Add some holiday candy and you have a great gift and look – now you’re the “cool” family member!

 

  • Now is a great time to check on your holiday wrapping supplies from last year. You may have enough paper and bows but you need gift tags and tape – buy these items on your next trip to the store. And be sure to purchase enough for the whole family to use.   When your kids and spouse are wrapping on Christmas Eve, they’ll appreciate having enough supplies!

 

  • We all love receiving cards from friends and family but they do pile up during the holidays. To keep your cards organized and able to be enjoyed, frame an interior doorway or two in your home with a wide velvet ribbon anchored with push pins and hang your cards with clothespins on the ribbon. Voila – an instant photo organizer for the holidays!
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