Tuesday, September 6, 2011, 09:13 AMI hope that all of you who are reading this survived the hurricane intact, but I think that's wishful thinking, at least where I live. I walked around my neighborhood yesterday and it was really sobering to see the enormous piles of destroyed carpets, couches, trees, and other belongings waiting at the curb for pickup. I'm truly sorry for everyone who suffered losses during the storm. My husband got hold of a generator and saved our basement--I'm very grateful.
What was interesting when I was walking around, and in various conversations I've had, were the comments people made about their possessions. More than a few people told me they while the storm was devastating they were relieved that it forced them to throw away long forgotten, useless items that were now waterlogged. These folks finally got rid of stuffed animals and plastic toys their kids used and abandoned years ago. Others told me about books they had to discard. Books are very hard for people to let go of, but one friend told me the books she threw away were nice, but basically sat in her basement and were never reread.
Again, this is not to say that people were not upset about the expensive carpeting and furniture--they were, and rightly so. It's that the experience forced them to do what I do with clients during an organizing session--separating out what's important and meaningful from what's not.
A good friend said it best: "My newly finished basement was destroyed, but my parents home was untouched. I'll gladly take my basement flooding in exchange for their safety".
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Thursday, November 18, 2010, 08:57 PMIt just struck me that I've been writing this blog since May, 2006 and I've never mentioned paper!! How could this be?! Paper is, hands down, the most common and most upsetting problem my clients face. The only thought I have is that the topic is so BIG that I didn't think I could even begin to tackle it in one small blog entry. So, I'll just touch on a few points.
Does this sound familiar? You stack up papers on every imaginable flat surface. One day you realize you're going to have company, so you panick and throw the papers into a box or laundry basket and shove them into a guest room. This has to be one of the most commone situations I run into. But why does the paper stack up to begin with, and how can you stop it from accumulating?
I always tell my clients to stop the flow from the point of entry: the mailbox/front door. Here are some quick tips:
1) Enter the house and put down your belongings before getting the mail. Then, take a deep breath.
2) Immediately throw all junk mail into your recycling bin.
3) Place all bills in a designated bill area.
4) Separate out all magazines. Be careful here. How many is too many? How long should they hang around before you toss them? This may be another whole blog entry!
5) Scan all catalogs as fast as possible. If you're not planning on making a purchase, toss them in the recycling bin. Even better, call and ask NOT to receive them.
6) Separate out all calendar items and get them on your calendar as fast as possible. If you don't need to hang on to the invitation, flyer, etc.--DON'T.
7) Here's the most important category of all: the "ACTIONABLE ITEMS". Separate out anything that you need to act on--that's anything that requires a phone call, decision, etc. and place those on your desk. Make sure to build time into your decision to complete these tasks.
I'm only scratching the surface here, folks. In fact, mail is only one of several categories of paper. I'll have to continue in another entry...
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Thursday, September 30, 2010, 08:55 AMOnce again, I seem to be hitting on a rash of clients who are preparing to move. If you read my previous blog entry on moving or pretending to move, you know that the process can do wonders for stalled decluttering projects! Among the areas that finally get some much-needed attention are the dreaded storage areas: the basement, attic & garage.
Here are some items I found during some recent basement decluttering/packing jobs: never-used wedding china and crystal, boxes and boxes of photographs, high school and college memorabilia, and discarded small appliances, gifts, and toys. These basements were crowded, dirty, and unappealing spaces, but they all had the potential to become really nice, usable spaces. Why does it take a move to get us into action? Because these spaces are out of sight and we have busy schedules. But, if you can spare the time to tackle them, you can literally add rooms to your house. Think about the items I've listed above and how you would handle the task of reducing them. It's not easy, but the payoff is worth it.
Moving on to the attic. Lots of people store clothing in this area. That's fine if you're storing out of season clothing, but not ok if you're storing clothing that's 20 years old or 3 sizes too small! For clients with children, this is where old cribs, strollers, etc. go to die. If you no longer need these items, bring them to a donation site if they're still in good condition.
Finally--the garage. Take a good look at how many shovels, rakes, and other gardening tools you have. Organize and store all chemicals. Donate abandoned tricycles, and toss old, abused outdoor toys.
These areas of the home can be tough to organize, but it's a shame to clog them with unwanted items. Do it BEFORE you move, so you can enjoy the space!!
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 04:00 PMhttp://thejewishstate.net/may1410atwork.html
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 10:21 AMYikes! This winter was tough. I love the snow, but I've never been more ready for spring and some pre-spring organizing.
My schedule is crazy, so a big, long spring cleaning/organizing day just seems too overwhelming right now. Instead, I'm opting for quick, "spot" organizing session. Here's what I've accomplished in a relatively short amount of time.
SPOT #1: I opened my "junk drawer" recently and realized it was REALLY living up to its name! All I did was separate the contents into two categories: the stuff that actually belongs in the drawer--pens, pencils, a ruler, some refrigerator magnets--and all the stuff that doesn't belong--loose change, art supplies, junky little plastic toys, etc. In no time my drawer had regained its original purpose: to be a "command central" for homework supplies.
SPOT #2: My daughter came home from the circus this weekend with a brand new Ringling Brothers plastic water bottle. Right away, I knew I was in for a purging session because the cabinet where I keep plastic bottles and cups was MAXED OUT! Again, a quick fix was all it took. I simply tossed all the babyish cups and freebie, useless water bottles into the recycling bin and suddenly I had room for the circus bottle and the few other bottles and cups we actually use.
SPOT #3: This morning I tackled the shelf in my office. Within 20 minutes I had removed 28 books which I will donate later today. I would have sworn to you I needed those books, but a quick look at them convinced me otherwise. I'm thrilled with my newfound shelf space!
Which SPOTS will you tackle before Spring? Write to me and let me know...
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