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January 29, 2010

Finish It Friday

It's a Finish It Friday like none other before:  I've already finished my list. Woohoo! Now granted the list was short, but let's not confuse short with simple. My list for this Friday consisted of packing for L.A., but boy was this an involved process. I've realized over the past couple of weeks, while shopping for a dress, shoes, evening bag, the right hosiery, jewelry, figuring out what to do with my hair, etc., etc., etc., that most of the time I really am a very low maintenance girl. Whew...this is way harder than blue jeans, but a lot more fun, too. Many, many thanks to my friend Janine (a.k.a. my wardrobe consultant / shopping buddy) who helped me get this wardrobe thing figured out. If it weren't for her I might be curled up in a ball right now in some corner somewhere...

If you want to see the rest of my "to-do list" for the weekend, my friend and Saturday night roommate Krista Colvin has a great blog post about the awards program and weekend festivities. I'll be sitting with her Saturday night at the table...really looking forward to that.


Remember to post your Finish It Friday list...I will be checking in on Monday to see you what all you finished up. Have a great weekend!

January 28, 2010

Three Resources to Help You Get Organized

Resource #1:  It’s All Too Much with Peter Walsh DVD

I was sent a review copy of this DVD which is based on Peter’s New York Times bestselling book of the same name (which I reviewed here.) As you know, I loved the book It’s All Too Much. Peter is so skilled at motivating you to declutter and really let go of things you don’t need. The DVD is an excellent companion to the book because it allows you to see organizing solutions in living color. If you’re a visual learner, you’ll love this—being able to see examples of storage systems in a real home as you listen to Peter’s practical tips and advice.


One of my favorite ideas from the DVD will help you whittle down your cookbook collection without agony. (I know—how great is that?) Here’s the tip. When you use a cookbook, simply place a sticky note inside the cookbook to mark it as one you use. Then, after six months to a year, you can confidently let go of all of those cookbooks that don’t have a sticky note inside. Love that—decluttering made so simple. 

The DVD is available at

Resource #2:  Organize for Your Style article in Shop Smart Magazine

Here's a great article from Shop Smart Magazine. Lots of terrific eye candy, plus practical advice, too. What could be better than that?


Resource #3: Organizing 101

Registration for the current session of my online workshop Organizing 101 closes on Wednesday, February 3rd. There’s still time to join in…but time is running out. Learn more here.

So...I'm heading out of town tomorrow...but not to worry, Finish It Friday is still on! (Woohoo!) I'll put up a post before I go.

January 26, 2010

When is it okay to quit?

The topic of quitting has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. (And don’t worry, this isn’t a round-about way of telling you I’m quitting my blog, or simplify 101 or anything else major like that.) Instead, this topic has been swirling around in my head because of discussions in the private forum of my Goals workshop. It seems “quit” is a four letter word. Okay, that’s obvious—quit is a four letter word for certain, but what is less obvious is that quit seems to a bad four letter word.

Let me ask you this. When was the last time you quit something? Did you view it as something positive or something negative? 

It is becoming clearer and clearer to me that sometimes in order to move forward we have to give ourselves permission to quit, which means it may be time to look at quitting in a new light. What if quitting became a good four letter word—or even an empowering four letter word? What if quit became a word that signified a change in direction—quitting the path we are on to take a new, more positive path? What if quitting was viewed as the chance to free yourself from obligations or commitments or habits that no longer work for you? I think when you look at quitting in this light, it is very empowering.

So, let’s make a “good things to quit” list. I’ll start it off with a few ideas, and then, I’d love it if you would add to the list via the comments. Sound fun? Okay, let’s do it!


Half-finished projects that no longer excite you. I mentioned this in my Finish It Friday post, and noticed while reading the comments that this concept really resonated with some of you. It really is okay to change your mind and decide that a project you started long, long ago is not worth your time. Your time is your most precious resource after all, so any choice that allows you to use your time more wisely is a good choice all day long. (Even if it involves quitting.)

Buying things you don’t use, need or love. It will just lead to future clutter, future regret, and future (agonizing) decisions about whether or not it’s okay to get rid of it.

Negative self-talk. Yes, let’s quit that and say nice things instead.

Smoking. I think this is one of the few uses in the English language where quit gets its fair shake as a positive word. So it had to be on the list.

Texting and talking on cell phones while driving. I have to admit, I used to talk on my cell phone while driving—all the time. I didn’t realize how unsafe it was until I watched this. Good to know; good thing to quit.

Letting things pile up. It is so much easier to handle things right away such as answering emails the first time you read them (instead of reading them all and picking and choosing which one to reply to first), or handling today’s mail today. Little piles equal big stress. This is one place where quitting can really relieve stress and worry. 

So…sometimes it is good to quit after all. What else can we add to the list of good things to quit? Can you think of anything? I’d love to hear your ideas.

January 25, 2010

Monday Morning Check-In

Oh, what a great weekend! I hope yours was great, too! Thank you to everyone who joined Finish It Friday this week. If you’re playing along at home, be sure to comment next time! It really is motivating to share your plans.

Okay, here’s my update:

Finish getting ready for my trip to L.A. next weekend. I finished the big hitters. I still need to pack, but I’ll do that later this week.

Finish laundry. Finished! 

List at least one item on Craig’s list.Okay, I decided to change directions a bit. Since I’m going out of town so soon, I didn’t want to list something and then leave Jay to deal with it while I’m away. So, instead of listing something on Craig's List, I spent some time with Kailea going through stuffed animals, and straightening up a couple of her toy bins. She let go of 20 stuffed animals which is a huge victory! (Not to worry, she still has plenty.) But now they aren’t overflowing into an extra bin in the basement. That bin is gone, and all her stuffed friends fit in her room again. A bag of stuffed animals went to Goodwill—so something left the house which is a big hooray!

(Start) and finish cleaning the house. Check!

Help with Science Fair project. The experiment is done, and all the data has been collected. Hooray!

Clean out freezer. This wasn’t on the original list…but it definitely qualifies as a F.I.F. item.

Move bookcase into basement family room and organize contents.Another add-on project, all caused by cute, polka-dotted canvas bins and pillows from Target. Yay!


In addition to the Finish It Friday list, we also enjoyed the NFL games yesterday. My son is a big-time Colts fan, and the rest of us seem to have caught Colts Fever, too. So hooray!

Okay, so how did you do this weekend? I can’t wait to hear! Have a great Monday.

January 22, 2010

Finish It Friday

Who is up for another round of Finish It Friday? Here’s my list:

  • Finish getting ready for my trip to L.A. next weekend. (Keep your fingers crossed…mine are.)
  • Finish laundry. Love that it is already started. This way I know it will be all caught up by Sunday.
  • List at least one item on Craig’s list. This is a totally annoying lingering to-do from before the holidays when we painted our bedroom. Fingers crossed that the item sells.
  • (Start) and finish cleaning the house.
  • Help with Science Fair project. This one is really a start-up project, and not an unfinished project, but I think it is going to take a bit of time, so I wanted to put it on the list. We may not get the whole thing done, but we plan to make a fair amount of progress.

Let the games begin! Remember to post your list in the comments and then check-in again on Monday! See you then! Have a great weekend! 

January 21, 2010

Did you resolve to get organized?

I have been getting a bunch of questions emailed to me about Organizing 101—my online workshop that starts today. So I thought I would share answers here just in case you or someone you know made a New Year’s resolution to get organized. If this is one of your goals, you may have some unanswered questions swirling around in your mind about Organizing 101 and how it can help you achieve your goal. So here we go!

Question:  How will these classes help me more than reading a book about organization?

Answer:  I would bet most of the people who have taken my workshops have read books on getting organized before. There are some key differences between a book and a workshop. First, the material in a workshop is bite-sized, and with each lesson you are given specific action steps to take. With a book, you may end up reading through the entire book, and if the book provides specific action steps you still have to sort through all of the action steps at the end of the book to figure out where to start, what to do next, and so on. This can get overwhelming as the ideas and action steps pile up. With a workshop, the material is delivered to you in smaller doses, so you read the material and immediately take action. The action steps are very specific and ideally, you will finish up the actions for each lesson before the next lesson is released. Then, you get the next lesson, read and take more action.

I think there's something even greater than that. With a book, if you run into a roadblock or get stuck, there's nowhere to turn for additional assistance. With an online organizing workshop, on the other hand, if you read something but aren't sure how to apply it to your home and life, you log in to the online workshop and ask a question. I'm there to answer your questions, but it doesn’t stop there. You also have access to an online community of fellow classmates who add their thoughts, personal perspectives and experiences as well. Workshop participants find this very motivating—they know they’re not alone in their organizing challenges. Someone else has been or is going through the same thing they are experiencing when getting organized.

The other thing we do in the online workshops is a daily action challenge. This allows participants to take action and do something about their clutter and organizing projects a little bit each day. This makes tackling an organizing project less overwhelming, and you get the motivation of reading what other people are doing and accomplishing in their homes to give you even more inspiration to get going and stay going!  Participants love the daily action challenge. Here are two comments from students that I pulled out of the forum this morning…just random talk about the motivating power of the online classroom environment.

“Also, it is such a great feeling to post decluttering victories, no matter how small. It's highly contagious!!”

“...the classroom environment is the real motivator for me.”


Question:  I have a busy schedule and I am afraid that I won't be able to keep up with the class. Or, I am going out of town for part of the workshop—will I be able to keep up?

Answer:  Our online workshops allow you to take the workshop on your time schedule. Lessons are released once a week, and then remain available for your access for the duration of the workshop—until the workshop close date. 

One of the things participants do in my workshops is spend fifteen minutes a day on their organizing projects. Of course you can do more, but doing fifteen minutes gets you started and allows you to make progress on your organizing projects in smaller (and more readily available) segments of time. Even if you aren't able to keep up fully with the lessons, every step you take in the direction you want to go is progress.

Also, you can download all of the lesson materials so you can refer to them after the workshop closes, including the audio, reading materials and worksheets. Plus, we send a pdf of the forum contents after the workshop closes, so if you fall behind in the forum, you will still have access to all of the terrific ideas and suggestions generated there.

We also have an alumni policy where once you take a workshop you can repeat the same workshop for 50% off the enrollment price. Many students come back for second and third rounds of workshops so they can continue making progress on their organizing projects and goals with the support of the online community. If you give it a try and don’t think you can keep up enough, however, you can request a refund as per our refund policy

Question:  Are the 3 classes the only 3 available? Did there used to be others?

Answer:  We have other classes, too—such as Get Organized for the Holidays which runs in November and December, and the Goals workshop which runs once a year in January and February. The three listed right now are the three that are currently open for enrollment.

Question:  Class begins today—is it too late to sign up?

Answer:   Today is a great day to sign up! For our longer workshops, registration stays open for around two weeks after the first lesson is released, and people typically join up through that point. If the workshop is still open, and you want to sign up—you’re right on time!

Question:  Will I declutter in Organizing 101, or is it just about organization?

Answer:  Yes, Organizing 101 gives you the opportunity to declutter…plus you will organize and add storage solutions. During the first few weeks of the workshop, you can join the daily action challenge and start (or continue) decluttering. During this phase your focus is on plucking the “low-hanging fruit” items that you know in an instant you no longer use, need or love. This will help you create space and breathing room in your home, and allows you to make progress without getting overwhelmed by trying to tackle a big project all at once. As you continue in the workshop, you’ll learn about (and implement) organizing strategies and storage solutions. Decluttering—letting go of things you no longer use, need or love—is also part of the organizing process covered in this workshop.

If these questions caused you to think of other questions…please let me know. I’m happy to answer them! Thanks!

January 18, 2010

Monday Check In

And I thought last week went fast—the weekend went even faster. But...I did it. I put together a list of unfinished projects. I'm sure I'll discover more unfinished (and yet-to-be started) projects as the weeks go on, but it's nice to have an updated list of projects collected all in one spot. Yay!


How did you do with your Finish It Friday list? I was happy to see some new people participating...are you hooked? Will you be back this Friday? Can't wait to hear! Have a happy Monday. 

January 15, 2010

Finish It Friday (again!)

Have you ever had one of those weeks that just seemed to evaporate into thin air? I have. Whew. Where did it go?

So here we are face to face with another weekend. Are you ready to finish up some lingering to-dos? I have a lot of things to do this weekend—like clean the house again, and other exciting things like that. But the one and only thing I am going to go on record with this weekend for Finish it Friday is to create a list of unfinished projects that are lingering in my midst. For example, I painted the master bedroom back in October (before the holidays and the big bed painting project of 2009 hit), and well, there are few little lingering to-dos left over from that project. Like paint the cold air return cover, and touch up the window sill. So, I'm going to take a little tour of my home and scrapbook room this weekend and do an inventory of unfinished projects. Then, I will decide which projects are worth finishing and add these to the list. The ones that aren't worth finishing...those will go out the door.

Who is in this weekend? If you are, just post your to-do list in the comments. Then check in on Monday and let us know how you did. Super easy, and surprisingly motivating. :) And if you aren't sure what you want to do this weekend, why not join me in putting together a list of unfinished projects. can join in the Finish it Friday fun every week. (Well, at least until everything is finished, that is.) :)  

January 11, 2010

How did you do?

Just a quick Monday morning check in post to see how you did with your Finish It Friday plans. Here's my update:

  • Finish getting ready for Monday's appointments and speaking engagement. (Done!)
  • Finish my 2010 list of 101 goals for my online goals workshop. (Done! And by the way...registration for the Goals workshop closes this evening. So if you've been thinking about signing up...sign up today before it's too late. This is the only time this year this workshop will run...and it's a great sessions—super active, inspiring and supportive group of participants.)
  • Finish laundry. (done!)
  • (Start) and finish cleaning the house. (Done...and better yet, with the help of family.)
  • Finish gathering documents for the corporate tax return. (Not done...because I realized I am missing some info from my accountant. The official deadline is not to worry, there's still time. Whew.)

So how did you do this weekend? I hope you got lots done and had lots of fun, too! :)


January 08, 2010

Anyone Up for Finish It Friday?

I think I am. And I say think because, well, I rather enjoyed the slower pace of the holidays. And this slower pace seems to have carried over into the week. We're on snow day number two here, which has meant canceled evening activities, more time at home, and a slower pace in general. I loved it.

But I can feel my motivation and excitement percolating as I I guess I am ready to pick it up a notch or two, and get some things done this weekend. So here's my list:

  • Finish getting ready for Monday's appointments and speaking engagement.
  • Finish my 2010 list of 101 goals for my online goals workshop.
  • Finish laundry.
  • (Start) and finish cleaning the house.
  • Finish gathering documents for the corporate tax return.

Okay...enthusiasm is diminishing (just as fast as it appeared) with the addition of that last one. But at least once it's done, it's done for a full year. That should be motivation enough.

Alright! Are you in? If you're new to Finish it Friday, you can read about it here. I hope you join will give me even more motivation to finish up that last item on my list. :) 

Happy weekend to you!

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