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March 31, 2009

It's Organizing Newsletter Day

So I thought I'd share a snippet from my newsletter. This will also help to explain why I've been away from the blog for a while...

March has been one of those months that simply flew by. It’s a time of year when many people’s thoughts turn to organizing. My one-on-one client load was extremely busy and I was putting the finishing touches on my newest workshop “Organize Your Paper Clutter.”

Busy is good. Right?

Well, maybe.

I sit here today vividly aware that time is the currency of life. How I choose to spend my time is the essence of my life. I am keenly aware of this due to a tragedy that affected my family and community last week. My daughter’s friend and classmate died in an accident last Friday evening. She was only seven years old.

This tragedy has caused sleepless nights and hours upon hours thinking—trying to sort it all out and make sense of it all. The emotion is still too raw to encapsulate it all. But one thing I know for sure is that because of this tragedy I have taken a step back and reaffirmed my own priorities. I have stepped back and realized all that I have to be grateful for. And I have stepped back and given thought to how I spend my time—how I spend my life. Am I spending my time intentionally? Am I giving the people around me the best me I have to give?

You may wonder what this has to do with clutter and getting organized—which is the real reason for sending this newsletter each month. The answer is that time has everything to do with clutter and getting organized. You see, clutter wastes our time. Clutter makes us feel bad. Clutter prevents us from living the best life we can possibly live. I urge you to take whatever steps you need to take to get out from under your own clutter. Make the commitment today to live your best life and share your best self with those you love.

I started writing this month’s article about the connection between stuff and time earlier this month. So, the tone is a bit more lighthearted than this welcome message. (Thank goodness, right?) I hope you enjoy the article and that it helps you to see your stuff in a new light, giving you yet one more reason or one more perspective on lightening your load of clutter and living your best life.

If you'd like to read the article but don't yet subscribe to my newsletter, you can sign up here. This month's article about the relationship between stuff and time will be a part of the bonus tips you get when signing up for the newsletter. I'll be back to more regular blogging soon...


March 18, 2009

glimpses of spring...

on my window sill...


in my front yard...


and in my back yard, too.


Are you seeing signs of spring where you live, too? As a Michigan girl for the first half of my life, it always thrills me to see spring in March! Love spring.

In other news, I'm starting this photography class next week, because, honestly, there's only so much you can do in auto focus mode. ;) Can't wait to start taking and sharing more photos. Wish me luck. :)

March 13, 2009

the organized purse - post 2

This is one of those posts that gives me perspective about my life. I remember seventeen-ish years ago, I was fresh out of college and had my first job in the real world. I worked at an R&D facility with mostly men, and mostly men that were old enough to be my father. (My now husband, Jay, being one of the very few exceptions.)

One fateful morning I was hurrying into work when I did the unthinkable—I dropped my purse. It wasn't a clean drop, but a rather messy one. Somehow the purse inconveniently stayed strapped to my shoulders, so instead of just dropping the whole purse on the floor, the contents spilled onto the floor. All of them. 

Luckily, or not so luckily, one of the many men that I worked with was at the ready to help. Very sweet, but OMG—I thought I would die as we collected off of the floor all of the former contents of my purse—coins, lipstick, gum, tampons and all other sorts of fun things that really, should just be kept in your purse and not strewn on the floor of your place of employment.

Flash forward seventeen-ish years and, gee, gone are the opportunities to spill my purse in public so why not just willingly share photos of the contents so everyone can see the inside of my purse? It makes perfect sense, right? OK...not really, but I'm going to do it any way and just be amused by the complete contrast of these two events—spilling my purse and thinking I would die, to now willingly spilling the beans about my purse in the public forum known as my blog. Have I evolved as a person, or is this random chatter just an attempt at avoiding the unveiling of my purse? These are the things I ponder...

OK...stalling over. Here's the inside...

Butler bag 

Wow...that holds a lot of stuff, doesn't it? From left to right we have, two Eco friendly bags, a magazine and my mini binder, which holds a print-out of my calendar and my to-do lists. Now, going counter clockwise around the inside compartments I have saline solution, lip balm and pens in one compartment. In the next compartment is my pouchee—which fits perfectly, I must add! (This was very thrilling for me.) The next compartment has photos of my kids and Kleenex. (Which clearly don't go together, but fit well in the space.) The next compartment up has my MP3 player and a tiny tape measure (underneath.) The last compartment has two tins filled with First Aid items and a little notebook. Hidden inside (and kept in place with a zipper!) are those personal items that you don't want spilling on the floor at your place of employment, or anywhere else for that matter. :) 

Here's a close up of the little tins. I used gift card tins from Michael's which work great for storing bandages and such, and they use the vertical space in the bag quite nicely.

Purse organizer 

So...what's the verdict on the Butler Bag? I really, really like it. I love the idea of the compartments and I love that there is a place for everything—and I mean everything. I have never in my life owned such a big purse. Had I purchased this bag in person, as opposed to on-line, I probably would have opted for a smaller bag. But, I do I love that I can carry my mini binder right in my purse, because I'm still not an electronic calendar girl. And you know I love magazines, so being able to take a long a book or magazine, is truly a bonus. All in all, I love the concept of the Butler Bag. The compartments totally rock because, just like organizing a larger space, they give you a specific place for everything. I also love that you can see every single thing in your bag just by peering inside (except for the things you tuck into the zipper pocket.) So, all in all, I think it's a brilliant organizing solution for one of those areas of life that is really important to get under control—your purse. I think my next Butler Bag, however, will be the next size smaller. But, I guess that's testament enough:  I will get another Butler Bag. :)

If you're interested in the Butler Bag, you can get leather bags on the Butler Bag website. Non-leather versions are available at K-Mart.

OK...happy weekend to you! I'd love to hear about your purse organizing or spilling adventures...if you're up for sharing. :)

March 11, 2009

Reason to Get Organized: Home Confidence

Since teaching my Goals workshop, I’ve been on a health kick. It started by refocusing on exercising and drinking eight glasses of water a day. That felt really good…so inspired by a student in my class, I picked up a copy of Flat Belly Diet . I’ve always wanted one of those (a flat belly, that is.) But my body design is such that, for most of my life, there’s been a bit of roundness in the midsection. After hitting the milestone birthday last year…that roundness has become…well…maybe this is too much detail. Let’s just leave it at this:  there are good reasons the title of that book resonated with me.

In the last week I’ve dramatically changed my eating habits, and have even given up sugar in my daily cup of coffee. (I can’t specifically say whether coffee is or isn’t part of this eating plan; for me the coffee was non-negotiable, though the sugar was surprisingly easy to let go of. Go figure.) I’ve also stepped up the exercise, vowing to walk for at least thirty minutes a day, six days a week for the next month, at which time I’ll reevaluate the midsection, the eating plan and the exercise plan.

So you may wonder what any of this has to doing with getting organized and “home confidence.” Well, walking for thirty plus hours a day gives my brain lots of time to wander…and believe me, in my mind I have been sharing lots of terrific blog posts. The trouble is translating those posts to my fingers, since my schedule is now overcrowded with walking and concocting new, belly-flattening recipes. Though I have saved 3.5 seconds per day by no longer putting sugar in my coffee…sadly, blog posts take longer than 3.5 seconds.

Anyway, during one of my walks while pondering my midsection, I realized my goal for changing my eating habits came down to this.

1) Health. Reading about the connection between belly fat (I know, I don’t like how that sounds either) and diseases like diabetes (which my Mom had for years), heart disease and cancer, well that was pretty motivating.

2) Body confidence. As I was walking one night, I realized that I simply want my midsection to be a non-issue. If someone invites the kids and (gasp) the parents to go to a swimming party…I’d love to simply go without giving it or my midsection a second thought. I want my body to be a non-issue.

And, since everything in my life always leads to a connection to organizing, I thought wow, this is a huge reason why people want to get organized and be organized:  home confidence. We want our homes, like our bodies, to support us in living our best life. We want our homes to be a place that welcomes us after a long day and we want our homes to be a non-issue when visitors arrive.

Body confidence will allow me to do anything, without giving my body a second thought. Questions like, "Will my favorite pants fit?" or "Will I look OK in my bathing suit?" won’t even enter into the equation. Same thing with home confidence. The doorbell rings, and you don’t gasp thinking, “Ah…who’s on the other side of the door…can I let them see my house like this?”

With home confidence, your home is a non-issue. It supports you in living your best life. Ah…now there’s a reason to get up, take action, and get organized! So, if you were looking for yet another reason to get organized this year…there you have it:  home confidence.

I’m wondering what your motivations are for getting organized. I’d love to hear. Is anyone else out there striving for home confidence and had you thought of it in those terms before? Thanks, as always for sharing. I love reading your comments!

March 06, 2009

Little Tidbits of Organizing and Inspiration

Tidbit 1
This first tidbit, the Store and Style website combines organizing and inspiration. I worked with Christine Vick, one of the two founders, when I was a contributor to Organize Magazine. The site is run by Christine and her sister, Rebecca Wallace. They’re both busy stay-at-home moms who have a passion for organizing and design. Both Christine and Rebecca worked for Organize magazine and wanted to continue to help people conquer the clutter in their life. As they say on the site: Store and Style combines the design lessons of our childhood with the skills we learned as magazine editors. The message we want to share is simple: pare down, store well, and enjoy what you have.

Love this on so many levels. Beautiful site, great organizing info…and it shows that when one door closes another one opens—sometimes, though, we have to be willing to make our own door. Way to go Christine! Thanks for the inspiration.

Tidbit 2
This next tidbit will inspire (and excite you!) if you’re starting your own business. Brandie Kajino has teamed up with Office Depot for a terrific giveaway that will set you up right if you’re starting out in business. To enter to win your very own business start up kit, leave a post in the comments on Brandie’s blog telling her why you should win. Are you starting your dream company? Pursuing a dream? Tell your story! Just tell it soon: deadline is March 8, 2009 at 11:59pm PST! If you win…please come back and let me know so I can share in your excitement. I might even utter, or rather, shout “woohoo!” on your behalf. Good luck! ;)

Tidbit 3
Let’s talk inspiration—I love this. It’s a talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert at the TED convention…amazing. If you participate in creative pursuits and get creative block every now and then, I bet you’ll love this, too. Or, if you loved the book Eat, Pray, Love, I bet you'll love it, too. It’s an 18 minute watch and listen, but worth every second of it, in my opinion. ;) Enjoy! (Thanks, Elise, for sharing this with me.)

March 02, 2009

the clutter control class

...goes to Erica, who said:

The big thing on my list is my kitchen/office/family craft room. It is two rooms that are open to each other and collect everything from school papers, grocery stuff that hasn't been put away, craft supplies, bills, unfinished projects you name it. And since the door to the basement is also located in that room it also attracts all those things that need to be taken back downstairs and usually a basket of laundry waiting to be taken down. It has been a problem room since we have lived here. With 7 doors and 4 windows plus all the space the kitchen appliances and cabinets take up that leaves very little wall space to work with. I have yet to figure out how to make it work efficiently for the whole family and keep it that way!

Congratulations, Erica! I look forward to getting to know you and working with you and your classmates over the next five weeks! Here's to tackling clutter and having loads of fun in the process! 

If you'd like to join Erica and me on the decluttering fun...quick and simple clutter control starts tomorrow. (By the way, this workshop won't run again for several why not get started now?)

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