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October 30, 2008

feels like Friday

...even though it's Thursday. My Dad is headed to town...right now...as we speak he's on his way here from Michigan. I'm so excited. It's been WAY too long since I've seen him. Yay!

Plus, Trick-or-Treating is tonight! (Don't panic, our town does it a night early.) So that feels really Friday-ish to me, too.

So, I'll be away from the blog for a few days, relaxing and hanging out with Dad...just enjoying being with him. Hope you have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween!

October 28, 2008

organizing workshops update

Just wanted to give you a quick update on some of my online organizing workshops.

Registration for Quick + Simple Clutter Control closes today. The workshop started last week, and it's a lively, interactive group! Lots of sharing and ideas being exchanged in the forum...really fun stuff. So if you've been on the fence, this would be a great session to join. The group is very supportive of one another and in the last session of this workshop, great clutter control habits were created. It's not too late. Today we started on Lesson 2 of 4...so there's plenty of time to catch up and join in the decluttering fun. Hope you'll join us!

Earlier this week, we opened registration for Get Organized for the Holidays and Clear Out the Holiday Clutter our post-holiday workshop. (We're also offering them as a holiday workshop bundle for 15% off.)

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I'm super excited about both of these workshops. The holidays are such a wonderful time of year, but without a plan and a focal point, it can often turn into a frenzied affair where at the end of it all we scratch our heads and say "Wait...what about the joy? What about the peace on earth? When do I get to relax and really enjoy myself?"

In Get Organized for the Holidays, we'll put together a holiday planner and fill it with your customized holiday plan, based on your priorities and those activities that fill your holidays with joy. I'll show you how to prioritize and organize...so that you can enjoy the holiday's to their fullest. Plus, you'll get lots of time saving tips, checklists, etc. to stay organized all season long.

This workshop is based on a teleclass I ran last year. But this year, we'll have the added features of our workshop system...so we can share ideas and hang out together all season long!

As one of the participants last year said in the Organizing 101 forum "I took the Christmas organizing workshop last year and had the best Christmas ever." That's what this is all about.

I would love to see you in an upcoming organizing workshop!!

October 27, 2008

thoughts on clutter – the follow up

Wow…that was fun. So, I guess it’s more of a law than a theory—other people’s clutter in our home really is way more annoying than our own.

So now that we know this, what do we do about it?

Well, first off, we need to recognize how universally true this concept is. Virtually everyone agreed with it.

So guess what this means:  Your clutter is way more annoying to those you share your home with than it is to you! Ouch.

Now, I realize your kids may not care, but your spouse probably does. And even if he isn’t bothered by your clutter (or wouldn’t admit it), by making our own clutter acceptable, we set the rules of engagement for our entire family. Our actions say “piles are OK” or “shoes in the middle of the floor is how we do it around here” or “clothes almost hitting the hamper is the way to go” and so on.

But that really isn’t what we want, is it? So if we don’t want clutter, we have to start with ourselves and fix our own clutter. Our biggest point of control (possibly our only point of true control, actually) is ourselves. So we have to start with our own clutter first.

In the original blog post, I said that if my own shoes are out it doesn't bother me; but if my kids are out it does. This was true to an extent. When I find my kids' shoes are out, I look around and say...what clues are in place from me, right now, that give my kids the idea that this is acceptable? Are my own shoes out? Is there other stuff out and about that makes it seem as if clutter is the status quo around here? If I look around and see no clutter except for their shoes, then I call them on it and ask them to put their shoes away. They do it and often even say "sorry."

By shifting your focus to yourself and your own clutter, you do a number of things. First, you are now focusing on something you can control—you! And this is very empowering. Second, by clearing up your own clutter you lead by example. You create the rules of engagement for your household and your family.

Once you have your own clutter under control, it is very valid to then ask your family members to get in on the game and follow suit. And if your stuff is all in its designated spot, how can they say no? You've taken away their best excuse.

October 21, 2008

thoughts on clutter

I have a few theories about clutter. (Maybe you've noticed?) So today, I thought I'd share one of them. You know, just for fun. Ready?

OK...here's one of my favorite clutter theories:

When it comes to clutter in our own home, every one else's clutter is way more annoying than our own.

If my shoes, for example, aren't exactly in my closet, it doesn't really bother me. After all, I know I'll get them back to where they belong...when I get around to it.

BUT, if my kid's shoes are our out, that’s a whole other story! That’s pretty darn annoying. I mean, the shoe bin is RIGHT there. ;)

So, let’s test my theory. Where do you weigh in on this? Have you noticed this about the clutter in your home? Do you find your own personal clutter loads more bearable than the clutter caused by the people you share your home with...or is it just me?

October 15, 2008

get organized. save money.

From paying late fees to spending money on duplicate items (because we can't find the one we already own) disorganization can be a costly proposition.

So it stands to reason that by getting more organized, we have the opportunity to save money.

But don't take it from me...take it from the friendly checkout guy at Trader Joe's .  Today, while bagging groceries (because I enjoy it—go figure, right?) the friendly checkout guy and I were chit-chatting...about this and that.

First we chatted about the fact that I actually enjoy bagging groceries. Then, we contemplated the possible meaning of this.

Suddenly, the friendly checkout guy fixes his eyes on this...

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...my decorative clipboard and preprinted shopping list.

Oh, no! Have I been figured out?

Nope. Instead friendly checkout guy shares this gem. Just this morning he heard on the news that shoppers who use a shopping list save money! So there you have it, yet one more reason to get organized...and this time not from me, but instead from the friendly checkout guy at Trader Joe's. How fun is that?

I've always advocated the use of a shopping list, usually for time saving and clutter control reasons. But now (for all you shopping list hold-outs) you have a third reason to create and use a shopping list—cold hard cash! (Don't even get me started on the organized feeling you have when you carry your list around the store on a clipboard...nope, not going there tonight.)

OK...if you need a list or want ideas for putting together your own money saving dynamo known as a shopping list, go here for the meal planning / grocery list template I use (for my regular, non-Trader Joe shopping trips, just in case you wonder why it looks different than the one pictured above.)

Take a breath; that was a long sentence.

If you want to make your own decorative clipboard, go here. (By the way, this clipboard project is included with Quick + Simple Clutter Control...so if you're going to sign up for that, just wait a teensy bit longer and then you too, can have that can have that feeling that I didn't mention above that comes about from using a clipboard in the grocery store.)

:)

   

October 11, 2008

don't ya' just love Saturday?

Happy Saturday to you!

Jay and the kids went to my in-laws to chop and split wood. Gotta' love this...firewood is on its way and I have the house to myself. All. Day. Long.

Ahhh...the possibilities.

A wide open day is kind of like an empty plate when you approach the buffet line...so many different ways to load it up and savor the day. Here's what I'm thinking...

  • scrapbook a bit. I have a few projects to wrap up...and then, I think I'll print some photos for my week in the life project. Anyone else scrapbooking or week-in-the-life-ing today?
  • print photos.
  • write. There's no time better to write than when the house is empty...and this doesn't happen often. I'm putting the finishing touches on my Get Organized for the Holidays Workshop. I ran this last year as a teleclass...but this year we'll be putting it in our workshop system, so there will be forum support and idea sharing. The focus of the workshop is joy...getting organized for the holidays so you can enJOY it, despite everything on your to-do list. For me, keeping the focus on joy...and not all the *stuff* that goes along with the holidays...is especially important this year. (If you want to be notified when this is available, you can sign up here.)
  • organize something. Not sure what. I've got some files to weed through in my office (old projects, etc.) and a couple other small projects on my to-do list. We'll see what strikes my fancy.
  • take a nap. :)
  • dinner out with Jay. The kids are staying and Grandma and Grandpas...which means a long overdue date night. We're going to a Japanese Steakhouse...one of my favorite nights out.

I'm sure there's more...but I'm excited to get writing...so I'm going to leave it at this.

What's on your to-do list this weekend? Hope you have a great one!

October 10, 2008

Empowered by Organizing

Recently I’ve been thinking about organizing and the economy. The first, I’m sure comes as no surprise. Organizing is what I think about. It’s what I talk about. It’s what a write about. It’s what I teach about. It’s what I do.

Economics, on the other hand, not so much. Sure, I took some economics classes when I received my MBA…but to say I think about the economy on a regular basis just isn’t the case.

Until recently. Now, it’s hard to go an hour without thinking about it.

What’s going to happen? How will this affect my family? My clients? Me?

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that I’m not alone in this. You’re probably thinking about the economy, too. 

Because for me organizing is always on my mind…I wondered what impact the economy will have on people’s organizing efforts. Will it cause people who get stuck with the “I might need it someday” thinking to cling even tighter to items they truly don’t use, need or love? Or will people be even more interested in organizing because they realize that through organizing and decluttering you reestablish a sense of control?

Last weekend I did some organizing in my own home. There was an electronics recycling event in our town, so Jay went through our basement storage area and took out things that we were holding onto for someday…things like an old PC, a monitor, an extra keyboard, some speakers…and I dropped them off at the recycling event.

Gaining just this little bit of extra space and letting go of things we didn’t need, felt good. Really good. It was empowering. Despite the uncertainty of the economy…we knew these items staying in our midst weren’t serving us in any way. In fact, keeping them because we might need them some day would have been a physical reminder of the uncertainty we were feeling. Getting rid of them alleviated some of the uncertainty. It gave us power—power to change our environment and our perspective. 

See, these items were just clutter. Sure, it was organized clutter—the items were sitting in a designated spot—but it was clutter just the same. These items were simply useless stuff taking up space and serving no purpose. Letting go of them felt so good.

I wanted more.

So after dropping off the electronics, I decided to thoroughly clean and organize our cars. The cars looked great when I was done. And I felt even more empowered. Despite the uncertainty of the economy…I was taking control of my environment, making things look better and making myself feel better in the process.

There are so many reasons to get organized. From saving time, to saving money, to making our spaces look better. And as much as I love the way an organized space looks, what’s even more important to me is the way I feel, and the way my clients feel, when we finish an organizing project. It is this feeling that I want more of—for me and you, especially now.

Organizing creates a sense of control. It creates a sense of ease. It creates a general feeling of calm. Organizing is empowering.

And now, more than ever, I want to feel empowered.

If you find yourself feeling a bit worried about the economy (or a lot worried!) I encourage you to take control of something you can control—your environment.

Do some decluttering this weekend.

Do some organizing.

Clean out your car.

It really doesn’t matter what you do, just do something to take control of your environment.

You’ll be glad you did it, not just because your spaces look better, but because you'll feel better, too.

October 08, 2008

organizing recipes

After seeing the photo of my recipe binder in my day 5, 6, and 7 post, Monica asked for more info on how I set up my binder. So here's the scoop. There's a brief article on my site about my recipe binder which talks about the different categories I use and how it's set up.

And...here's another big tip, from yours truly who happens to be an over-indulger in recipes from magazines:  Just keep recipes you’re likely to make! When I browse through cooking magazines I tend to over keep—pulling out recipes for things I’d love to EAT but would never have the time or notion to make. It's like I temporarily think I'm at a restaurant, and all those yummy dishes on the pages of the magazine will magically be delivered to my kitchen table.

I have found that I really need to look at the ingredient list and the prep time...I'm a simple cook. So...here's the take-away. If you cook with five ingredients, collect five ingredient recipes and forgo the five-course, in the kitchen all day options — no matter how delicious they look! Get the complicated stuff when you dine out. :)

One more thing I have to share is about adding notes to your binder, like the one I added to the fried rice recipe. See, I tend to forget these things—things like the kids no longer like fried rice. Since my kids used to love fried rice, in my mind, when I'm craving it, they still love it, too. So, now I have a note to remind me. Then, if I'm really up for fried rice, at a minimum I can go into food-battle-with-the-kids with my eyes wide open or make them something else.

Anyone else out there love to collect recipes? Any solutions other than binders that you'd like to share? We haven't "officially" shared in a while...so I can't wait to hear from you! And if you just want to say "hooray for the recipe binder" because you have one and love it, too, that counts as sharing. ;)

October 06, 2008

days 5, 6 and 7 (at last!)

day 5

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Me on a coaching call. Hi, Carolyn. :)

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Making fried rice.

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ditto.

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The verdict. (Jay and I loved this, by the way. Pickles aside, I'm a decent cook and I love to do it.)

Day 6

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making lunch. (There seems to be a theme...lots of food photos!)

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Spent some time look for *that* this past week.

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Seriously. This is the view on walks. Not so pleasant, is it?

Day 7

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Guess where I was on Friday?

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I go here a lot...just the *other* side of the building. :)

So I'll wrap this up with Friday's quote of the day, referring to the week-in-the-life challenge:

"This ends at midnight, right?"

Will share some pages when I put them together...but it won't be for several weeks. I have some other projects I need to focus on in the upcoming weeks, but I'm soooooo glad I did this. It's really odd this week not taking pictures of everything, especially the food. What is it with me and the food?

Anyone else finish this up last week? What did you think? Missing it this week?

October 02, 2008

I'm still doing it...

Just no time to share photos! Will play catch-up with photo-sharing this weekend.

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