My Dishwasher Phobia

Another tip from my book You Can Be Clutter-free & Organized: Fast, Easy Organizing Solutions for Paper Piles and the Office . . .

One of the things that gets in the way of keeping (or getting!) things organized is the many small jobs that overwhelm us. Sometimes just thinking about them raises our blood pressure. In addition, if it is a job you hate to do, it might just feel like it takes longer than it actually does. See page 28 of my book for this organizing tip!

Try the 3-5 Minute Rule. If something takes 3-5 minutes, don’t delay acting on it. Do it right then and there.

Like I say in my book, I hate to empty the dishwasher because there are so many things in there it seems like it will take forever to empty!  But in reality, it always takes me less than 5 minutes, and I feel great when it is done.

Try and use the 3-5 Minute Rule to combat procrastination, and remember, those jobs we tend to avoid probably won’t take as long as we feel they will.

Book Bonus: Books make a nice gift for a friend or for yourself.  For each You Can Be Clutter-free & Organized book you order in December, as a bonus you will also receive the e-book Reduce Mind Clutter – Feel the Freedom for free.

Order today from my website Clutter-free & Organized!

Gift Idea: Help change someone’s life. Give an organizing session or a phone consultation.  Gift certificates are available – information is on the website.

Shop at Home!

Do you have Clutter-Collecting Thinking Traps that keep you stuck on a project?

In my book, You Can Be Clutter-free & Organized: Fast, Easy Organizing Solutions for Paper Piles and the Office, you will learn Organizing Success One-Liners to reduce your stress and get you un-stuck!

Clutter-Collecting Thinking Trap:

I have all these gifts to shop for and so much to do.

Organizing Success One-Liner:

Collect all the un-given gifts you have stacked away. Start your own gift store and remember to shop at home first!

Book Bonus!

Books make a nice gift for a friend or for yourself. For each You Can Be Clutter-free & Organized book you order in December, as a bonus you will also receive the e-book Reduce Mind Clutter – Feel the Freedom for free!

Order today from my website Clutter-free & Organized!

What Are You Doing for Prime Time Tonight?

We’ve all heard of Prime Time TV, the time of day when there are the most TV viewers. This is an advertiser’s favorite time of day. Maximum viewers means maximum revenue. It’s the time of day they get the most out of their advertising money, and they use that time to their advantage. 

We have Prime Time too – our own daily peak performance times. We just need to understand our bodies and minds in order to get the most out of those times. When is your Prime Time for concentration and focus? 

  • Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  • Do you come back from lunch fired up or sluggish? 
  • Do you get a second wind at night or are you wiped out in the evening?

Your Prime Time hours are unique to you. Consider taking a few days to figure out when you are at your best, so you too can get the most out of every day. On page 17 of my book, You Can Be Clutter-free and Organized – Fast, Easy Organizing Solutions for Paper Piles and Your Office, there are more strategies to help you use your time effectively.

Once you understand your Prime Time hours, try and use that time well. Let phone calls go to voice mail and mindless work wait. Instead, use that valuable time to work on challenging tasks that need your concentration, problem solving or creative skills. See what happens when you embrace your Prime Time and use it well.

You Can Be Clutter-Free and Organized - book

Get more tips like this in my book You Can Be Clutter-free & Organized – Fast, Easy Organizing Solutions for Paper Piles and the Office.

Click here and order today!

Overloaded To-Do List

I recently shared this tip with a phone client:  When you feel on overload, reduce the number of items on your To-Do List. As you see or think about things you are putting off, look at them and say “It is not your turn!” Later, my client excitedly called to tell me how happy and stress-free she felt.

Mary C. Pankiewicz

Summer is here, and I am encouraging you to enjoy it. Yes, even if that means putting off organizing projects from your overloaded To-Do List. They will wait, and it will be easier to tackle them after you have had a fun summer.

Need more encouragement: Read “Summer is Meant to be Enjoyed” and “Schedule Some Downtime This Summer” on my blog.

If you really need to get your organizing project done, give me a call. Together we can make it happen a lot faster.

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!

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.

Organizing Golden Rules

Follow these Organizing Golden Rules to guide any organizing project.

Consistency – When you form a good organizing habit, stick with it. Example: Always put your bills in the same place.

Like Items Together – Group information by subject. Name the file by asking yourself what you will be thinking when you need it.

Prime Items in Prime Space – Use it every day–keep it at arm’s reach. Use it once a week or less–you can get up and go get it.

What Will Make Me Need This? – This is a much more decisive question than “Will I ever need this?” Use it for papers in your office or home.

Simple is Smart – Ask yourself: “How and when will I need this in the future?” How it will be used will then tell you how to organize it.

Don’t Forget to WOW Yourself! – Patting yourself on the back will energize you to organize other areas. WOW yourself and keep moving forward!

Quick Kitchen Organizing Project

Taking my own advice in the kitchen. . . .

Recently as I tried to close the kitchen drawer which holds my plastic lids for storage containers, I realized I had to do something. Lids were trying their best to jump out, crawl out, or fall out the bottom onto the kitchen floor; there were just too many pieces in the drawer.

Time to have a Lid Party! So this morning, I took all the lids out and put like ones together. Taking all of them out at once would make me finish the project. Next, I emptied the drawer that was filled with all the bottoms and put like sizes together. Then I matched bottoms to tops.

You guessed it – a number of items without matches. All right, I confess: 6 bottoms with no tops and 25 tops with no bottoms. I think that container tops and bottoms are like clothes hangers – they multiply at night when you can’t see them do it.

Finally, I checked the refrigerator and dishwasher to make sure none of the matches were hiding from me. Then out went all the unmatched pieces. How wonderful to be able to close those kitchen drawers!

Organizing Tips:
1. Don’t be overwhelmed by this mini-project for the kitchen. It’s quick, fun and immediately satisfying. Get
your children to help!

2. Once your matches are made, ask yourself the Clutterfree & Organized question: “What
will make me need this?” Be honest, you probably don’t need a dozen old chicken salad containers.

3. Reuse, recycle, donate! Use the containers for crafts, crayons, picture hangers, uncooked
pasta…you get the idea. Be sure to use a sharpie and write in bold letters what you are
storing in them. Give friends in need a lovely little meal and invite them to keep the
containers. Could a senior center use the containers for game pieces, sewing bits and pieces,
craft projects?

What ideas can you come up with to organize your kitchen drawers? Please share them with me!

Learning a Lesson from Fall and the Leaves

Ever wish that a strong autumn wind would blow all your clutter away? Let’s take a few minutes and see what we can learn from falling leaves. It might help you change your thinking.

Trees shed leaves. Is it time for you to shed your clutter?

Winter is a time for trees to rest. Would you rest better with reduced items in your space?

When the leaves are shed, the lovely graceful shapes of the branches stand out. Would your favorite items stand out if the clutter surrounding them was reduced?

Leaves become mulch that helps protect plant roots. Our unneeded items can be donated to help others.

It is exciting to see the color on the leaves as they start to fall and it can be just as exciting to see items boxed or bagged to be donated. A calm house or home office can make our lives more enjoyable as we nest in our homes during winter.

Some good questions to ask yourself as you decide what to keep or donate:
– Does it make me smile?
– Is it close to my heart, or have I just had it a long time?
– Is this still useful to me or am I keeping because I have always kept it?

Henry David Thoreau once wrote “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or
believe to be beautiful.”

Organizing My Closet and Letting the Light Shine

Does the thought of organizing your entire wardrobe make you groan and feel light-headed?
What to do?

Break it up into sections. For example:
I’ll put away my sandals and bring out my fall/winter shoes.
Next I’ll move the summer jackets out to make room for the year-round ones.
Then I’ll switch my summer pajamas with my winter ones. You get the idea.

A client who recently had me organize her closet for her was thrilled to discover a pair of
earrings purchased during a trip to Europe. She was sure they were lost forever…but they
were just waiting for rediscovery in the depths of her closet! I always say that instead of
thinking of it as tackling your clutter, go on a treasure hunt. My clients always find treasures
they thought were lost forever.

Let there be light!
That could be the motto for every closet organizing project.
Light equals energy. Let me repeat that. Light equals energy.
For some reason, good closet lighting is often overlooked, even in a walk-in closet.
Last week I decided to apply this rule to my own closet by adding another light. What a change!

Good light lets you see whether your slacks are blue or black. It eliminates “dark holes” that contain clothes you don’t choose to wear because you can’t see them back in their dingy corners. It motivates you to hang things up after wearing them.

Closet Organizing Tips:
Organizing Tip 1. Break closet organizing into sections.
Organizing Tip 2. Go on treasure hunts when doing projects.
Organizing Tip 3. Light is energy for all areas of the home.