During the Economic Crisis, Decluttering Becomes a Humanitarian Act 
Sunday, November 2, 2008, 08:34 AM
Just this weekend alone, I've read two articles about charitable organizations that are in serious trouble. Both the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and the Volunteer Management Center have stated that donations of money and goods are way down, and their programs are being impacted.

If you're sitting in a home filled with clutter, how can you help?

I think the most important first step is to sit down and do some soul searching. Is your clutter the result of compulsive shopping? If so, try cutting back on your shopping trips and donating the money you would have spent in the stores.

Is your home filled with useless gifts you've received from family and friends? Ask your loved ones to stop the gift giving and write a check to a charitable organization.

Is your kitchen filled with cans and boxes of food you're not using? Collect all that food and get it to a collection site (see www.njfoodbank.org). Last week a food pantry in Paterson hung a sign that read" Closed Today-No Food" as hungry people, including children and the elderly, waited in line.

Overall, think about the waste in your life. Wasted money. Wasted time. Wasted space. Wasted energy. We all have it. Then think about how you can redirect yourself. In the end, maybe helping someone else is the motivation you need.

NOTE: The FoodBank also has a "wish list" of items for their facility and clients, including children's new winter clothing, coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and school supplies. Call Donna at 908-355-3663, ext. 222 for more information.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008, 01:26 PM
When it comes to toys, I've definitely decided that "less is more". Somewhere along the line, parents got the idea that their children need playrooms filled to capacity with toys, but is anyone having fun?

If you observe a child in a very cluttered playroom, you'll often see them wandering and unfocused. They're not sure what to pick up and play with. The environment is just too stimulating. But if you remove the excess, and arrange the toys in an appealing, organized way, it changes the whole picture.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before/during a toy purge:

1) Do you want to involve your child/children? (This depends on their age, temperament & your ability to make decisions.)
2) What is your philosophy on toys? Do you truly believe that "less is more"?
3) Which toys are pure garbage and need to be tossed?
4) Which toys can you donate?
5) Do you need to store some toys and rotate them to keep the play environment fresh?

With the holidays fast approaching, you can also start to think about which toys can be given to those in need. Some donation sites will take used toys in good condition, others request only new toys--unopened gifts are perfect for the new toy drives.

My thought: Children want our love and our time, not piles and piles of toys. What do you think?

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Monday, April 14, 2008, 08:46 AM
The word "green" has become a major buzz word in every industry, and organizing is no exception. Professional Organizers handle piles and piles of "waste" every single day, so it's natural for us to start thinking about the impact all this "stuff" has on our environment.

When we purchase and accumulate to excess, it can greatly affect our personal environments. As our rooms become overfilled, we can become unfocused, run late, and feel depressed or ashamed. But our overconsumption is now causing more large-scale damage as landfills bulge and global warming progresses.

How can you, as an individual, help?

Here are some thoughts. Feel free to respond to me and add your own.

1) Stop the waste at the checkout counter. Bring earth-friendly cloth shopping bags to the store. I've had many clients who hoard the paper and plastic bags, so this change can actually address two problems!

2) Return your hangers to the dry cleaner. Fewer hangers will need to be produced and your closets will suddenly seem a lot bigger, too.

3) DONATE, DONATE, DONATE!! Instead of throwing out your used things, pass them on to someone in need. Call or write me for info. on where to donate books, toys, clothing, and more.

4) Look into www.freecycle.org, a web site dedicated to recycling what people no longer need or use.

5) Be a very careful shopper. Before you proceed to the checkout, think hard about whether you really need the item. If you don't need it, you're purchasing clutter and potentially adding to the landfill.

6) Try "repurposing" items in your home or buying used items. Instead of running out to buy 10 plastic storage containers, pull an antique dresser down from your attic and use that instead. Be creative and you'll help the environment!

7) Give earth-friendly gifts. Instead of giving a child a plastic toy, buy them a membership to the local zoo or children's museum. Instead of buying an adult a candle or picture frame, buy them a gift certificate or another "experience" gift.

Send me your ideas! I'd love to poste Part II of this entry.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008, 03:34 PM
Happy 2008!!

Like many other people, I have recently embarked on a weight loss plan. It's been less than a week, but it's forced me to do a lot of thinking about my personal behaviors around food. I've always seen a strong connection between weight problems/loss and organizational issues, but now it's becoming even clearer to me.

What's the conncection? Here are my thoughts:

--Nobobdy can force you to lose weight, and nobody can force you to get organized.
--Some people need to feel "disgusted" or hit "rock bottom" before they seek help.
--It's all about attitude. As they say "perception is reality". If you think it's going to be a miserable experience, it probably will be.
--Even if you've failed in the past, today is a new day. Try again!
--You have to want it BADLY!! Weight loss and organizing require hard work, persistence & focus.
--MAINTENANCE is key! You can lose the weight and clear the rooms, but it can all be undone quickly if you don't keep it up on a daily basis.
--Both weight loss and organizing require you to examine your behavioral patterns. Do you eat when you're stressed? Do you accumulate/shop without thinking?
--Finally, you can succeed! Make it a priority, and you can reach your goal--with a lot of hard work, of course!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007, 11:20 PM
I've got a lot of gifts to buy, so it's time to get organized.

Last year I put together a "holiday spreadsheet" on my computer, so today I just pulled it up and printed it out!

The concept is very simple, yet very useful. I set up 4 columns: "Name", "Gift", "Wrapped?", and "Mailed?" There's no way in the world I'd be able to keep all of this information "in my head", so I'll be referring to it on an almost daily basis between now and the holidays to make sure I stay on track.

In the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye out for anything I can purge to make room for incoming holiday gifts, especially TOYS, BOOKS, CLOTHING & DVDs.

I'm also starting to think ahead about any large holiday meals I'll be serving. Now is the time to gather recipes, delegate tasks, make shopping lists, and get it all into my date book.

Good luck as you start preparing for this busy season!

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