Get organized:Simplify your life and save energy, money, and time!

Friday, August 9, 2019

How Do You Spot Clues About Disorganization?

     After my recent total hip replacement surgery, I occupied much of my healing time by reading novels such as Louise Penny's book Still Life (first in her series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec).

     In one chapter of this book, Inspector Gamache and his team enter a deceased victim's home in search of clues about her. Gamache says, "Homes, [he] knew were a self-portrait. Every touch revealed the individual. God, or the Devil, was in the details. And so was the human. Was it dirty, messy, obsessively clean? Were the decorations chosen to impress, or were they a hodgepodge of personal history? Was the space cluttered or clear?"

     When potential clients call and request my professional organizing services, I ask them to allow me to conduct an initial assessment of their home in its current state. A tour of their home and their comments about it reveal clues about their lives and what areas need attention. 

     Often the reasons for disorganization arise from situations such as: addition of a child; family illness; work and college attendance at the same time; moving to a smaller home without downsizing first; furniture and other items added for various reasons; and too many items for the room size.  

     My observations and the potential client's comments about their space help me figure out workable organizing solutions and devise a maintenance plan.

     If you find yourself in need of organizing assistance, for any reason,  consider consulting a professional organizer. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How to Get Organized:7 Ideas to Encourage Family Members to Start and Finish Tasks


At the beginning of the week, I like to jot down tasks on a master "to-do" list, then prioritize those tasks. This method works well for me and helps me act, persist, and finish those jobs. Goals and/or tasks, written down, tend to get accomplished, whereas thoughts alone may drift away and remain unacted on.

Project lists may vary between individuals due to varied interests and objectives. A high-ranked task for me may not appear on another person's list.

Examples of my list toppers for family members:
  • Donate at least half of an abundance of shirts stored in the closet, of which 10% are frequently worn and the rest "hang on." 
  • Decrease the number of containers filled with duplicate household items and stacks that reach toward the ceiling and await a new home elsewhere.
  • Remove a 1960's era car that sits idle and wastes away in the garage, while new cars live outside, exposed to hail, rain, and heat.
  • Reduce the abundance of hobby items jammed into the garage, acquired over numerous years and abandoned as new interests emerge.
  • Recycle or shred stacks of dated documents from years ago that no longer serve a useful purpose and continue to spread over the desktop, or shift from one side to the other, and grow higher daily. 
  • Replace the decrepit garage door well past its prime.
  • Sell or donate Vietnam-era stereo equipment which resides in the recesses of the closet or garage, not turned on nor touched for decades. 

Have you tried or experienced the following, without results?
  • Repeatedly requested that family members: remove unused articles from the garage; reduce unworn articles of clothing that clog the closet; and decrease the clutter from flat surfaces (desktop, kitchen table, countertops, and floor, etc.). 
  • Constantly thought about projects placed on the "back burner" and ignored. 
  • Continually organized and sorted scattered items and multiples of the same type of products and tools into like groups, and cut down the many empty containers in the garage, only to have them increase again? 
Ideas that may help family members jumpstart projects or smaller tasks--high on my list, low or non-existent on theirs.

"Plant a seed."
  • Suggest they take pictures of unused stereo equipment and advertise the components on E-Bay or Craig's List; find someone interested in restoration or donate the stereo pieces. 
  • Perform Internet research for desired services then offer those options to family members for further action. 
  • Ask how you might help your family member move forward on their project. 
  • Mutually agree on a date to start and finish the task or project. 
  • Gather articles needed for project implementation and completion; label containers for trash, recycling, and donation. Silence phones, computers, and other electronics to lessen interruptions. 
  • Engage your patience, encouragement, compassion, and empathy.
  • Encourage family members toreduce their abundance of possessions...now…so that their loved ones are not leftwith that responsibility in the event of a medical problem/emergency orcatastrophe which prevents them from taking care of it themselves.

Please share ideas or tips that have worked for you to engage your family members in starting, working on, and completing tasks/larger projects.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Decisions:Health Matters

       I now have health issues that will take me through the end of July to work through. What does that have to do with organizing, you might ask? I help clients sort, reduce, and then figure out how and where to store remaining items.
       I also work for Carolyn Rowe's company The Move Maker--packing and unpacking for her clients who are often older and have health issues. Frequently, the state of their health necessitates that a caretaker or family member makes decisions about what to keep and what to move to their next and much smaller home...usually on short notice.
       Every time I work in a home filled with years worth of memorabilia, artwork, books, papers, photos, collectibles, and clothes, etc., it reminds me to take a look at my own home and reduce my belongings to only those items that I truly need, use, and value...while I'm healthy and able to make those decisions.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Unwanted Gifts: How to Let Them Go

Do you find it hard to part with gifts, especially when received for one of these reasons?

? Anniversary
? Birth of a child
? Birthday
? Death of family member
? Graduation
? Holiday
? Illness
? Wedding

Do you hold onto the gift(s) for any of these reasons?

? You might use it in the future.
? It’s hard for you to part with any of your belongings.
? The gift-giver was your favorite family member or friend.
? Your memory of the deceased person will fade without the physical reminder.
? You’re afraid the gift-giver will notice the gift is not displayed in your home.
? You feel guilty because thought, time, and money was invested in the gift buying.
? The gift was expensive.
? It reminds you of a special achievement, event, or occasion (you or your family).

Is it okay to let gifts go? Yes!  My thoughts and those of some clients about this topic:

? The received gift is yours now; you can use, re-gift, donate, or give it away.
? It doesn’t fit; it’s not your style or color.
? You don’t like, want, or need the item.
? It served its useful purpose.
? The used gift has been collecting dust for years.
? Someone else may enjoy and use it.
? You’re downsizing.
? You’ll remember the person without the physical object—trust your memory.
? It will free up physical space and help clear mental clutter.

I’d like to hear your thoughts about letting go of gifts, once they’ve served their useful purpose,..is it  easy for you, or a challenge?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"...The Path of Our Life

Minimalist Joshua Becker said in his e-book, Simplify:“Our actions will always follow the true desire of our heart.  What our heart believes and loves always determinesthe path of our life.  We can mask ourtrue wants for only a short while. Without a true heart change, we always return to our heart’s first love.This truth applies to all areas of life: our energy, our time, ourrelationships, our spirituality, our money and our possessions.”

Organizing possessions, especially mine and those ofmy clients—warms my heart and is the focus of much of my time and energy.

What warms your heart and where do you channel your time and energy?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Unused:How to Recycle Computers and Other Electronic Components

I'm on a hunt to find and reduce unused and dusty items "hanging out" for years and occupying valuable space in our home.  I started with my technologically outdated and untouched desktop computer and its peripherals.  What took me so long?  I put off deciding what photos to keep and where to take outmoded electronics.

I finally saved some photos and Googled electronics recycling after my husband started to repurpose a table to replace the current desk holding my desktop computer.

Research led me to Empower Up, a non-profit organization in Vancouver that takes computers and peripherals, working or not, along with other electronic items (from cables to video games).  They don't charge for dropping off these items...except for CRT monitors and TV's; these components cost $3.00 for 20" and below, and $5.00 for TV's 20" and over.  Empower Up wipes hard-drive data according to Department of Defense (DOD) specifications.

Have you purchased new electronics and kept the old which take up space and serve no useful purpose? Check out Recycle Computers to find a business in your area for recycling electronics.  Three examples from this site are:  Junk Computer.com, Staples (technology trade-ins, and ink and toner cartridge recycling); and participating Target stores (recycle MP3 players, ink cartridges and cell phones, and they have an electronics trade-in program too).  Websites list acceptable electronic items for recycling, fees to do so, if any, and information about data destruction.

Next on my list is finding a new home for my desk.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Adversity and Opportunity:Action Required!

My daughter-in-law Amy and I purchased coffee from a Honolulucoffee shop during our vacation there in May, 2014.  She noticed that their sugar packets hadquotes on the back of them, so we stood there and read them while waiting on mycoffee.  Three of my favorite sugar packet quotes are: 
                “Strength is not the absence ofweakness but how we wrestle with our weaknesses.”
                “Successis when we turn our stumbling blocks into building blocks.”
                “Timeis an orchard; every moment is ripe with opportunity.” 

Inspiring thoughts from Noah benShea for rough patches and opportunitiesmost all of us surely experience on our journey through life.