Tips for Lean and Loved Closet Organizing

If you are planning a closet organizing project, here’s how you can have a lean closet full of clothes that you love!

L is for Lean – Less is Best . . . We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. All those other items are just space hogs keeping you from putting great outfits together because you can’t easily see what you have.

L is for Love – Keep only Clothes that you Love. . . Wearing clothes that you love makes your day brighter. Get rid of all of your guilt clothes – you aren’t wearing them anyway.

Having a hard time deciding? Here is the Golden Question: Would you buy the item if you saw it in a store today?

Does organizing your closet make you feel overwhelmed? Maybe it’s time to call for help. I frequently organize closets with women and men, so give me a call.

Together we can make it happen quickly!

Organizing Quiz: How Organized Are You?

Take this four question organizing quiz to see how organized you are.  Total your points and score yourself at the end of the quiz.

Question: Can you find important items quickly?

In the last 2 weeks, I have spent time I didn’t have looking for something = 4 pts.

In the last month, I have spent time looking for something, but I found it! = 2 pts.

I can put my hands on what I need without stress = 0 pts.

Question: Can you find important papers quickly?

My will and insurance policies are in such a safe place but I can’t find them = 4 pts.

I know where my will and my insurance policies are = 2 pts.

My family knows where my will and insurance policies are. They are up-to-date = 0 pts.

Question: What does my workspace look like?

My desk area looks like a volcano waiting to erupt = 4 pts.

At least my papers are not all over the kitchen counter = 2 pts.

I can be away from home and tell the rest of my family where papers are = 0 pts.

Question: Does your closet need some work?

I have unopened shopping bags in my closet with clothes in them = 4 pts.

When I reorganize my closet, I always purge the clothes that don’t fit = 2 pts.

Thinking about getting my spring clothes out doesn’t stress me = 0 pts.

Now total your points for the answers. If you scored. . .
10 – 16 points. Get help now to reduce your stress level! Call Mary for a complimentary phone coaching session or to schedule a hands-on organizing session. Meanwhile, try to apply one Clutter-free & Organized Tip from the website each week.

6 – 10 points. You’re struggling but we know you will do better! Remember – review the Organizing Golden Rules and apply them regularly. For a more detailed explanation of how they work, get a copy of You Can Be Clutter-free & Organized – Fast, Easy Organizing Solutions for Paper Piles and Your Office, available on the Clutter-free & Organized website.

0 – 5 points. Congratulations! You have been able to “Clutter-free your Mind, Clutter-free your Life” and are enjoying more success with less stress. If your life structure changes, don’t hesitate to call me for a tune up.

Create a Productive Workspace Using Gardening Principles

Are you challenged by a cluttered, disorganized workspace or office?

If so, your love for green living things and gardening may hold the solution.

If you like to garden but are challenged by organizing drawers and work surfaces, think of your workspace as your garden spot. If you can weed your garden, you can de-clutter your office.

It is easy to pull one little weed from your garden, but if you leave it long enough to grow and get established, it becomes a project. The same thing happens when you put off clearing that little stack until tomorrow, then tomorrow, then tomorrow.

Stacks of paper grow just like weeds; eventually, you have a huge stack to tackle.

Weeding and de-cluttering are the same: The sooner you do it, the faster it goes.

You plant tomatoes and lettuce together so that when you select salad vegetables, they are in the same garden spot. “Like items together” is a useful organizing principle. Following this principle in your office tells you where to put things and where to retrieve them.

It is best to weed or plant in one garden row at a time. Likewise, organize one area at a time in your office — just a desk or drawer. Finish it completely before moving to the next spot.

Seasoned gardeners plant kitchen herbs where they are easy to reach before the evening meal. Apply the organizing principle “Prime Items in Prime Space” in your office by putting the most frequently used items in the easiest places to reach.

The wisest gardeners weed a little each day. Most of us don’t have the time or energy to weed the entire garden at once. Organize your workspace in short sessions — perhaps 15 to 30 minutes at a time. It is simpler to make the smaller decisions, and you’ll be motivated by feelings of satisfaction and completion.

When your garden has the flowers that please you and the vegetables you enjoy, your garden is successful. Likewise, the definition of good office organization is “you like it and it works.” If you like how you’ve arranged your workspace, if you can find what you need, if you can be productive, then you have achieved good organization.

When we feel overwhelmed or we need to make huge changes in our yard, the smartest and most economical decision is to hire a landscaper. Similarly, when organizing is a personal challenge, hiring a professional organizer can be an excellent, tax-deductible investment for a business.

As you accomplish each task, no matter how small, stop and pat yourself on the back for the progress you have made. That will motivate you to do another area. Your efforts will definitely increase your productivity and be well worth the time you invest.

The Key to Arriving on Time – “The Gap”

I am always running late, although I leave on time. The key to arriving on time is planning for “The Gap”.

Standing in your kitchen and saying it is time to leave is not planning for “The Gap.”

The time you actually leave is when you pull out of the driveway and go on your way.

“The Gap” includes the time it takes you to go out the door, get into the car, and pull out of the driveway.

“The Gap” may also include going back to the house for something you forgot, like feeding the cat.

If you allow 10 minutes for “The Gap”, you’re probably safe. If you have children, 15 minutes is more realistic.

Practice planning for “The Gap” and see how you reduce your stress. Make it a key time management tool in your personal and professional life. “The Gap” theory is also key to getting to meetings at work
on time!

I would love to have your feedback on how planning for “The Gap” makes a difference for
you.

Fun Ways to Look at Organizing Projects

An organizing project can be fun if you look at the task with these strategies in mind:

1. Think of your project as a Treasure Hunt – which is much more fun than saying “I am going to go through my clutter!” I have never worked with a client who during the day didn’t exclaim, “I am so
glad I found this…!”

2. Make a detailed list of the different Areas to Tackle. Check off each area and feel the sense
of accomplishment!

3. Any boxes or bags that leave your space are called Trophies! Some businesses and families that I work with have a contest to see who has the most and even take pictures of the group in front of their Trophies. Count yours and be proud. You may want to take before/after pictures.

4. Jump-Start the project by getting out supplies and making your list the night before. Remember that a job begun is a job half-done.

5. Get out your WOW! sheet and put it in the area you have completed. Look at your accomplishments – not what you still have to do. This will motivate you to keep going.

6. From my experience of teaching classes and presenting seminars, I hear people getting
discouraged because they have tried to tackle too big of a project. Remember the turtle – slow
and steady wins the Organizing and Productivity Award. Think small!

Conquering Mind Clutter

We often think of organization in the context of things and possessions, but often it is our Mind Clutter that prevents us from achieving our potential.

Tips for Conquering Mind Clutter:

1. Do a Mind Clearing of all the items on your “To Do List” by writing them down on a piece of paper
2. Next ask yourself how important each is on scale of 1 -10
3. Give yourself permission to delegate or eliminate as many items from your list as possible
4. The items that remain on the list then go on the “Must-Do List” and should be written on your calendar.

Time management will aid in working efficiently to complete your new “Must-Do List.” Block 15-minute uninterrupted segments to focus on a project, and only ask of yourself to complete a task one-step at a time.

Creating Uninterrupted Focus Time Pays Off

Getting individuals to set aside uninterrupted Focus Time is like pulling teeth, but when they do set the time aside, they find the greatest relief.

Are you tired of staying late to accomplish your work or coming in early on Saturday because you are behind?

I know your days are full and you don’t have a minute to spare, but are you open to trying something different?

Do you work best focused for long periods on one project or do you prefer variety in your day?

It was eye-opening for one coaching client to realize that she worked best when focused on one project, not moving from one thing to another. It made a tremendous difference in her time management and productivity.

Another client worked best and stayed motivated by switching tasks but still worked best in blocks of time.

Creating Focus Time is a way to get projects done, finished, eliminated! To do this, you need solid blocks of time. I’m not talking about being unavailable to clients, coworkers or family for hours, but can you schedule a single uninterrupted hour to focus on a project?

It has been said that if we create Focus Time, without distractions from our phone or e-mail alert, we can get four times the amount of work done than if we allow interruptions. This may mean putting a sign on our door that says, “Working on a project. I will be available at 11:00.”

Put this topic on the agenda for your next office meeting. Discuss how each person can get Focus Time. Could two individuals swap time to cover each other’s phone calls? Maybe it would be a good idea to close your door and put a note on it. Remind everyone to respect each other’s Focus Time. Unless smoke is coming out of the air vent, don’t interrupt each other. It takes 20 minutes to wrap our mind around detailed projects and an interruption puts a person back at square one.

Here are some guidelines to help you can get more Focus Time:

– Select a time each day in which to focus, realizing that some days this may need to be flexible.
– Who do you need to communicate with about this time?
– How will you remind others not to interrupt? (examples: by e-mail, a sign on your door, or verbally at staff meetings)
– What will you need to turn to turn off phone or e-mail alert? Do you need to redirect your phone calls?

Think about this: You can get done in 10 minutes of Focus Time what might take you 40 minutes with interruptions. An hour of focus on a task or project allows you to maximize your productivity, move forward and complete projects. This will have a tremendous impact on eliminating Mind Clutter and shortening your work day.

ADHD and the Workplace

Individuals that have ADHD can often find that their mindset is advantageous in some aspects, and detrimental in others. However, having this disorder does not limit a person from becoming immensely successful. On the contrary, many of the most successful persons throughout history had ADHD, from Einstein to John F. Kennedy to Bill Gates.

Though it may be harder to stay on task, ADHD people tend to be extremely creative and can be of benefit in problem solving by thinking outside of the routine box. Since they are intuitive and quick, they often will be most successful in jobs such as emergency response work. Since they are creative, many find jobs in computer programming and website development. And the ever-evolving sales field would also be suitable.

Those who have ADHD often encounter misconceptions about their disorder. ADHD was once considered to be a childhood disorder that could be outgrown as a sufferer transferred into adulthood. As it was further studied and that myth was debunked, the notion of how to manage ADHD in the workplace emerged.

Quick ADHD Facts
Roughly 15 million in the U.S. suffer from ADHD.

60 to 70 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD experience it well into adulthood.

Since diagnosing ADHD is relatively new, those in their 50’s are now finding out that it can be attributed to their
school-day’s hardships.

If ADHD is one of your challenges, call me to discuss how phone coaching or on-site support can help you to move forward with less stress.

Do You Hate Filing?

Honestly, I hate filing just like you do.

Last week I realized my personal stack of insurance papers, receipts, etc…. needed filing. So I had to practice what I preach: I wrote it on my calendar to do Saturday morning. If I hadn’t made that commitment, I would have kept letting the stack get bigger.

Next I figured out a way to eliminate the boredom and the pain of doing it. I timed the filing so I was listening to one of my favorite radio programs. In fact, to finish listening to the program, I even cleaned out the drawer of a desk I was letting my daughter use.

What do you do to take the pain out of filing?

Organizing Tip 1. Write filing project on your calendar.
Organizng Tip 2. Plan something you would enjoy listening to while doing your filing
Organizing Tip 3. Reward yourself with a walk, dark chocolate kiss or something enjoyable.

Snow Day – No Car Day!

What did you do on your snow day? If you don’t live in East Tennessee you may be saying, “What snow day?”  We can wake up to several inches of snow. Really, it is nice being home, feeling good and not having a choice to leave.  It is also a great opportunity for a Snow Day Organizing project!

One of my clients with young children says she tries to plan “No Car Days.” That would probably do a lot to reduce our stress as adults if we did that regularly. This area of the country isn’t equipped like the North to clean the roads quickly, and with our hills, mountains and curvy roads, it is smarter to stay home.

On one snow day, I slept in, fixed pancakes for breakfast and then conquered a project on my list – dug through, cleaned out and organized (putting like items together) several drawers of tablecloths and stuff like that.

I did drag my daughter in to show her which ones were family pieces, so in case I croak someone would know where the older ones came from. Maybe I should practice what I preach and label them with their history.

Don’t ask me why they were in these drawers, but at the bottom were several board games, such as Mother Goose. They will stay out because shortly my 3-year old granddaughter will be ready to play them. That is fun to think about!

In the afternoon, I read a book and relaxed. Tomorrow I plan to try a recipe I dug out that I used to make as a teenager, Spanish Cream. Now, if you have looked at my picture on the website, you will realize that that wasn’t yesterday. I wonder if I will even like it, but it will be interesting to see.

I also took a walk in the woods and enjoyed the beautiful snow.

So what do you do on your day at home?