closet organizing

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

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.

planning

The Key to Arriving on Time – “The Gap”

Planning: 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!

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!

Reclaiming Your Office

I bet you are wondering if a Professional Organizer ever needs to reclaim her own office. Yes!

Here’s how it went. Even professionals need to work at being Clutter-free & Organized.

I had been working pretty nonstop with clients – in their homes and offices. Plus, I had been
traveling with my business. Also, after every speech there is a certain amount to undo and put
away. Unfortunately, I came home and didn’t follow my own advice to allow for an office reentry day.

So what did I do? Well, if you have read any of my writings, you know I suggest an easy win. So my easy win was to empty all the trash containers. Immediate improvement! Then I practiced what I teach: I started in a corner of my office. That meant taking apart all the material from my Florida speech and getting my speaking case ready for my next presentation. One corner now looked much better.

Next I tackled my desk, which still was covered with material from a coaching session for some certification I am working on. I had left it a mess the night before, after finishing a 9:30 p.m. phone call from a coaching client on the West Coast. I must admit, when I walked out the door of my office that night, “I didn’t care.”

In organizing it is not “now or never”, it is now or later, and my later had come. Per my own advice, I celebrated when I started to see clear space. Then I went for lunch, came back and did some 3-5 minute tasks to get them off my desk. Next, on to organizing my standing desk. I had momentum! I could do it!

Organizing Tip 1. Start with some “easy wins”.
Organizing Tip 2. Start in a corner and work around the room.
Organizing Tip 3. Celebrate your successes. They’ll motivate you to keep going.

Finding Time To Do It All – Make a Plan

“Bad news – time flies
Good news – you are the pilot!”
– Michael Altschuh

How true this little short poem is! A plan can make you a better “time pilot”.

Make a plan to save time and get more done! Try standing up to make your plan. You will be more focused and work faster.

Take control of your schedule by listing what you have to do and then put beside each item an estimated time frame. When I do that, it brings me into reality of what is really do-able for that day. When I see I have 8 hours of items to do and only 5 hours of time, it makes me decide what is really important. I use this system in my office and for my personal projects on the weekends.

For bigger projects you may want a Project Action Plan. Go to www.clutterfree.biz to print one.

1. Stand and list the items to do.
2. Put a time estimate for each item.
3. Reality time – look at the time available and then match it with what is most important to accomplish.

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!

Are You Always Running Late?

Do you often find yourself asking, “Why am I always running late, although I think I am leaving on time?” Running late creates Mind Clutter and negative mind chatter.

The solution is to understand The Gap. Planning for The Gap will get you to work and to business meetings on time. Plan for The Gap any time you have a set time you need to arrive somewhere.

You are probably wondering, “What is the Gap?” The Gap is the difference between when you think you are leaving and when you actually leave. Standing in your kitchen and telling yourself it is time to leave for work 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, such as a bottle of water or feeding the cat. If you allow 10 minutes for The Gap, you’re probably safe. If you have children, 15 minutes may be more realistic.

Once you are at work, planning for The Gap will also help you get to meetings or appointments on time. Just as when you are leaving your house, The Gap includes the time it takes to gather materials for a meeting and tie up any loose ends.

Work through these steps while planning for The Gap:
– What time are you expected to be at your desk? What time is your appointment or meeting?
– Decide what time you could arrive and have a few minutes to breathe and be calm.
– Take into consideration what time you need to plan to leave if traffic is heavy or if you need to gather materials for your meeting or do one-more-thing.
– Determine the time you normally would plan to leave for work or for your meeting.
– Now add 10-15 minutes so you can arrive on time and stress-free.

Another thing to be aware of is “one-more-thing-itis”. This also can make you late for work or for a meeting. You could leave now but that means you might arrive a few minutes early so you think, “ I can do one more thing”. That is what gets many of us, including me, in trouble because the one-more-thing takes longer than you thought or it leads to another one-more-thing.

The key is to be okay with leaving a few minutes early. For those of us who fear that we might end up wasting 10 minutes with nothing to do if we get somewhere early, keep a book or an unread magazine in your car or spend the time reviewing your calendar.

Changing our departure habits takes focusing on the clock and being realistic. Planning for The Gap will get you to work and to business meetings on time. Once I started planning for The Gap, I was no longer pulling out of my driveway stressed or leaving my office uptight. In fact, my whole day went much better. See if you don’t feel the same positive effects.