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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Monday, October 8, 2007, 10:06 PM
If you’ve got school-aged children, you might have noticed something new around the house in the last month: clutter! When the school day ends, piles of homework, flyers, artwork, sports equipment, jackets, and shoes rush in. Is there any way to keep it all under control?

“There are definitely ways to make the back-to-school transition more manageable,” says Julie Isaacs, a Professional Organizer and owner/founder of The Uncluttered Home. “One of the best ways is to make everyone in the family responsible for putting items in their ‘homes’. Even young children can be taught to put their shoes on a rack or hang their backpack on a hook”

Constant purging is another secret to keeping those piles off of your floor and dining room table. “You can’t maintain order if you keep every piece of paper. If a baseball flyer comes home and your kid doesn’t play baseball, throw it out on the spot! You have to be decisive about what stays and what goes.”

Some of Isaacs’ favorite clutter management tips:
• Ask your children to dump out their backpacks and sort the contents as soon as they walk in the door.
• Handle all incoming paper before you go to bed. Toss the junk, fill out any forms, and put “action items” in your date book.
• Keep only the most meaningful artwork. Store it in a mailing tube or clean pizza box.
• Don’t hold on to those bulky dioramas. Simply take a photograph of your child proudly holding the project and then discard it.
• Hanging shoe bags are great for storing shoes, winter hats and gloves, toys, or art supplies.
• You can’t have enough hooks. Isaacs uses them for coats, caps, backpacks, and sports bags.

After you set up the organizational systems, maintenance is key, says Isaacs. “It’s very easy for clutter to return, so it’s important for everyone in the family to do their part. Make the systems easy and fun to use and you’ll be more likely to maintain them.”

Isaacs has clients all over New Jersey and specializes in overwhelmed, overscheduled families. She regularly speaks on organizing topics and is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007, 09:08 PM
Tomorrow is July 4th, which means ALL of that paper that came home at the end of the school year is now several weeks old. What have YOU done with your pile(s)?

School papers and artwork are very difficult for many people to sort through. If this is true for you, try analyzing your feelings. Do the crayon pictures and spelling quizzes make you feel emotional? Guilty? Overwhelmed?

Several clients have brought up the KEY question. If you save all of this school paper, what is your end goal? Are you going to hand your kids gigantic plastic tubs full of dioramas and essays when they leave the house? If so, are they going to want them? In the meantime, is anyone looking at/appreciating all this stuff?

My advice is to be VERY, VERY SELECTIVE! Try to save only the pieces that hold some real meaning for you. If it's something a teacher photocopied, or if the teacher did most of the work--DISCARD! If the piece represents some real effort/enjoyment by your child, keep it, honor it, display it, enjoy it.

Want to know how to store the meaningful stuff? Call the Uncluttered Home--I'll be happy to share my best ideas!


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Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 10:43 PM
Here's a conversation I have AT LEAST once a week:

Client: I can't believe I have to hire someone to help me with this.
Me: Why?
Client: It just seems like I should be able to do it myself.
Me: Why?
Client: What's so hard about sorting through clothing (or paper, toys, etc.) and deciding what to keep?
Me: True. It's not rocket science.
Client: Then why can't I do it?
Me: You can do it; you're obviously a very capable person. You just don't. You told me yourself you've started this project several times and never finished it.
Client: It's so embarassing. Other people seem to be able to do it with no problem.
Me: Do you realize that organizing has become a multi-billion dollar industry? Why do you think that's so?
Client: I guess there are other people out there like me!
Me: Of course there are.
Me: Have you ever watched a personal trainer working with someone in a gym? Doesn't it seem like the client should be able to do the push ups without the trainer standing there?
Client: Yes.
Me: I give that person credit for getting help with an activity they've avoided. I give my clients credit for seeking help with their projects. I've required help in many areas of my life. Everybody has at one time or another.
Client: True.
Me: This is a positive thing we're doing here. Do you agree?
Client: I think I see your point.

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