Monday, April 29 2019
Decluttering and organizing takes commitment. So many people come to me because they are overwhelmed and don't know where to start when it comes to getting organized.
Aside from taking the first, and sometimes, difficult step of admitting that you are struggling with your clutter, you need to decide you are committed to the process. (And it is a process!)
Here are the steps you need to take to commit:
1. (as mentioned above) Admit that you are struggling with your clutter and you need help. Although family members and friends might have good intentions, hiring a professional organizer is the most efficient way to get the job done. A good professional organizer is never judgmental or can only provide one solution. This makes it easier to step up and take that first step.
2. Contact a professional organizer to ask for help. Take that next important step. When you speak with an professional organizer who specializes in a certain type of organizing (i.e. residential, paper management, time management, project management, etc.) and you feel comfortable with them, you have taken a big step forward.
3. Schedule an appointment to meet with your organizer. This will allow both you and your organizer to get to know each other and become familiar with the project you are looking to take care of. This is a vital step before simply jumping in and starting. There is so much information to be gained by previewing the area and creating a plan to move forward. Everyone functions differently so it is vital that your organizer becomes familiar with that aspect in order to achieve a successful result.
4. Commit to the process. Once you have met with your organizer, commit to the process. If you are shopping around and simply scheduling consultations without taking the next step, you are procrastinating. Allow your professional organizer to take you through the process from beginning to end so that your vision for an organized space or completed project can come to fruition. Trust in the process that will get you there.
5. Do your homework. When your organizer asks you to get something done in between sessions, do your homework. This will help to speed the process along. A good organizer will know exactly how much is enough to do in between sessions and what is too much to expect. Follow their guidance to move forward with the plan.
YOU SHOULD BE COMMITTED! (To the process, that is!) If you follow these steps with your professional organizer to get either a room or an entire home decluttered and organized, congratulate yourself on a job well done and then you will be able to enjoy the benefits for many years.
If you are ready to be commited, simply pick up the phone or send an email to A BETTER SPACE and take the steps necessary for a successful outcome and long-term benefits. You deserve to invest in yourself.
As always, I am here to help.
Wednesday, January 16 2019
Another year is underway. Have you made any resolutions? (Honestly, I hate that question.) I don't make resolutions anymore because I have a tendency to fail. I stop exercising after about a month, I start eating more desserts than I should after a few months of eating healthy. It's just too much pressure!
Instead, I set a goal or an intention. I find I am much more successful that way and it makes me feel much less pressured.
Last year, my goal was to declutter and upgrade my entire home, from top to bottom. Yes, one whole year to do so. I focused on one room a month, for twelve months. I planned it out in great detail at the beginning of the year. I decluttered what needed to be, did some cosmetic upgrades and tweaked some organization in my home. By year's end, I was thrilled with the results.
Although I did not get to the basement like I had planned, (mainly because some things took longer than expected), I am setting a goal for the next two months to finish decluttering and organizing the entire basement. With being as busy as I am, this goal is reasonable and achievable.
This year, I decided to have a theme. I decided to name my theme for 2019 "Use What You Have". I am fortunate to live in a nice home and have what I need. Last year's project re-aquainted me with all that I have. I realized, I have enough. As the saying goes "Enough is enough". I am going on a buying diet. I am going to focus on using what I already have, instead of purchasing more. This is especially true for me when it comes to clothing and shoes. I am resisting the urge to purchase more and simply use what I have.
I plan on making more use of my serving dishes and trays, which have been stored away since my wedding in 2002 and infrequently used.
I plan on burning the candles I have been storing. I love candles and love to use them but I have aquired a lot and have not made it a habit of burning them. Now I will!
I plan on reading the books I have aquired without getting more. This is particularly true for my fiction books. I love books! People give me books! I can't resist accepting their offers to take their books they no longer want. I have enough!
Honestly, now that I am in my late 50's, I recognize that I have to be honest with myself and need to make sure I will have enough time to get to make use all of my possessions. Trust me, storage is not an issue. I have plenty of room, but, I don't want to run out of time before I have used what I have.
Hopefully, this is food for thought. Is it possible for you to go on a purchasing diet, like me, this year, and "Use What You Have"?
I am curious as to what you believe you have enough of and what you can avoid purchasing more of this year. Post a response to this blog below and share your thoughts. Let's all inspire each other to Use What You Have.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with too much stuff in your home and want to simplify, don't hesitate to contact me.
I am here for you!
Sunday, June 03 2018
It's been a while since my last blog. Besides working with my client's, this year I am working to declutter and update my own home, from top to bottom. I am giving myself this entire year to do so.
My son recently moved out and that now leaves me with an extra bedroom. I took my time to figure out what I wanted to do with that room. About a month ago, I decided to create a reading room with a beach theme.
Two of my passions are the beach and reading. Since I live in suburbs outside of Philadelphia, PA, our beach season does not last as long as I would like. Therefore, I am extending that feeling of calm and relaxation within my own home.
I have painted the walls a sandy beach beige. The carpeting is dark blue and I am leaving it that way. (It will represent the sea.) I will be putting a small area rug in front of the love seat I am repurposing from my family room with a beach theme inspired design. I purchased new window treatments with decorative sea shell beads along the top, a seashell filled lamp, a wicker end table and new bookcases to fill with books that I treasure. I will be purchasing some wall decor and other items to complete the look.
The reason I mention all of this is that I want to make a point.
It is very important that, as we go through life changes, we make sure that our real estate reflects those changes. Whether it's a child moving out the home, like mine, or the birth of a new baby, a marriage, a divorce, the death of a spouse or elder parent who had lived in the home, we need to be sure that the real estate we own is being used to its best potential.
Time and time again, when working with new clients, I always make sure that all of the areas of the home are being used. Often I find that there are bedrooms that lay idle and become a dumping spot for clutter, or a basement is not utilized as good storage space, a garage is so cluttered it does not have enough room for a car.
Over the years, I have transformed many under-utilized rooms in my client's home into something they can use and enjoy, creating a space that reflects their interests.
When life creates change, be sure that your home reflects that change. Reassess the rooms in your home and transform them into something you can use and enjoy. Leaving your precious real estate idle is a waste of space and money. You paid for the real estate; use it.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of creating a new purpose for an old space, don't hesitate to contact me. I can not only help you to visual a room to meet your needs, but help eliminate the clutter, get it organized and take the steps needed to see it come to fruition.
It's all about having A Better Space!
Wednesday, March 28 2018
Spring is finally here and the flu season appears to be behind us. I spent the entire Winter season doing everything possible to avoid getting the flu and the good news is, I was successful. That is something that is very contagious in a bad way.
However, there are things that are contagious in a good way! For example: laughter, smiles, a good mood and even a yawn. Did you know that contagious yawning is a sign of empathy and a form of social bonding?
Also, getting organized can be contagious! Yes! That's right. I have seen time and time again how, when I work with a client in their home, other members of the family get the "organizing bug".
I tend to work mostly with busy moms who are struggling to find the balance in their physical space as well as in their heads with time management, etc.
On many occasions, I work with Busy Mom and in the beginning, Dad is not on board. It is interesting to watch how they begin to see the transformation and want a piece of that. They start organizing a sock drawer or getting rid of some paperwork, simply by seeing what is going on.
Most recently, I began working with a family who has several autistic children, one of which is very sensitive to change. I have no intention of pushing that child to straighten up their room or move anything around that they do not want touched. However, Mom recently got in touch with me and told me that her child has observed the changes being made in her master bedroom and took it upon himself to go into his own room and remove the trash and straighten up his video games.
Needless to say, I am thrilled! I want nothing more than for the children to enjoy an organized and peaceful environment in which to live. Whether I help them or they take it upon themselves to do it on their own, it's a positive outcome.
This is a perfect example of how getting organized can be contagious - in a good way!
If you and your family are struggling with clutter and want to get organized, consider starting the process yourself or with a professional organizer such as myself and you just might find that your family get's the "organizing bug" and starts organizing their spaces on their own.
How great would that be!
Wednesday, August 03 2016
I just returned from a whirlwind two week adventure on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Five others along with myself rode three motorcycles about 5800 miles from Pennsylvania to Ohio, Indianapolis, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnasota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indianapolis, Ohio and back to Pennsylvania.
We saw some amazing sites including Glacier National Park, Badlands National Park, Devils Tower, Sturgis, Mt Rushmore and Mark Twain's hometown in Hannibal, MO among others.
The minimalistic part of this trip was a major challenge for me. I am used to having all of my clothing and accessories at my fingertips. However, when you share a piece of luggage strapped onto the back of the Harley and have to life out of it for fourteen days, staying in a different hotel every night, you quickly learn how to be a minimalist.
We each packed for only four days, having to do laundry several times throughout the trip. I packed only 4 sleeveless, 4 shortsleeve, 4 longsleeve and two fleese tops along with 2 pair of pants, 1 pair of shorts, underware and socks for 4 days and 4 night shirts. All accessories were travel size. We relied on hotel shampoo, conditioner and soap for the most part and no blow dryer. I packed one pair of sneaks and one pair of flip flops along with a full set of raingear especially made for the Harley, a wind jacket, denim jacket and leather jacket for those cold and windy days and nights. I lived mostly in my Harley boots. It's amazing what you can fit in half of a suitcase that you share with your significant other. We packed all of our clothing by category and labeled each plastic bag they were stored in (after kneeling on them to squeeze the air out of them) to help quickly identify what we needed when we needed it as we traveled.
Riding on the bike for 14 days gave me a lot of time to reflect.
I began to feel that I was so materialistic at home, with choices of so many types of clothing at my fingertips and how I could actually survive and still be comfortable with so little while travelling. It certainly gave me a whole new perspective. (Mind you, I have no intention of personally going more minimalistic at home. I did get tired of wearing the same clothing over and over again!)
The moral to this story is that, it is possible to live a much more simple life, if you so choose. It's all a matter of mindset.
This lesson in life will stay with me for years to come and I will share it will my current and future clients to encourage them when they want to downsize and live a much more minimalistic life - focusing more on the important things in life and less on the material things.
If you need any personal help with downsizing and/or living a more minimalistic life, I can show you, first hand, how to do just that. As they say, "been there, done that"!
Thursday, April 07 2016
The other day I heard an oldie on the radio and it prompted me to think about clutter. Strange, I know, but hear me out.
Do you know the song "How Long Has This Been Going On?" by Ace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAVl_IJV5eI
I find that I ask this question with so many of my clients when I first speak with them and now, I want to ask you the same question.
Do you have ongoing clutter issues that won't go away? Do you think your situation can be remedied overnight?
The fact remains that if your clutter has been accumulating for quite some time - months, even years - it will take some time to eliminate it and get organized.
The good news is, however, that it can be done!
I know how overwhelming it can be. Sometimes you feel that it is just easier to ignore it. Is that the real solution? No!
At some point it needs to be dealt with, so why not now?
Just imagine what it would be like to walk into a particular room (or perhaps many rooms in your home) and feel that immediate sense of calm. Eliminating clutter and getting organized can do just that!
Sometimes it is so overwhelming that you don't know where to start. Sometimes the answer is to reach out for help and hire a professional.
You and I both know that if we cannot do something on our own, the best solution is to engage the services of a professional. I do it! I hire an electrician, plumber, handyman. Why? Because I don't always know what I am doing and it will take too long for me to figure it out on my own. Also, I want it done once and I want it done right.
The same applies when it comes to clutter and disorganization. Don't you want it done once and for all and don't you want it done right? Wouldn't it be great to have someone come in who can provide a new perspective and create a solution that meets your specific needs and provide ideas you might never have thought of before?
As a professional organizer who has specialized in residential organizing for so long, trust me, I know how to do it once and do it right!
So, ask yourself. HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON? If your answer is months or even years, and you are ready to get past this obstacle and commit to the process, it's time to reach out for help. Simply pick up that phone now and contact A Better Space. You'll be so glad you did! I would love to provide you with a space that you love.
Monday, February 08 2016
So many times, my clients and potential clients want to know how I do it. How do I keep my own home organized when I am so busy organizing others? I found a video on line that explains, quickly, how it gets done.
The key is maintanence on a small scale. It does not require a lot to keep it going after the initial organizing has been completed.
When you have a home for everything and everything is put in its place, it is easy to keep it maintained.
I hope this short video gives you some ideas and inspiration about what to do after your home gets organized. Knowing how to maintain an organized home is the second step in getting organized.
If you are looking to take that first step and create a home and life that you "love" this month, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space.
I am here to help and have lots of great ideas and inspiration so you can maintain your home on a daily basis, too!
Monday, November 09 2015
I have been working with clients for over 11 years, and over the course of that time, I have spoken with hundreds and hundreds of people.
Although I have been able to help so many people over the years, sadly, there are still so many who chose not to move forward and get organized. Are you one of them?
When it comes right down to it, it's not the money nor the time involved that is used as an excuse to not move forward. If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it.
The real reason is fear. There are so many reasons that fear gets in the way. Here are some that I think are most common.
1. Fear of losing the memory if you let go of something. I always say the memory will remain in your head and in your heart. Taking a picture can help remedy this, as well.
2. Being afraid you will upset the person who gave you something that you are not particularly fond of. I call that "Gift Guilt". Why not pass that "something" onto someone else who can make better use of it and enjoy it instead of storing it somewhere, unused.
3. Envisioning that it will be difficult to make changes in the way you do things and have to build all new habits. It is not as difficult as you might think. I make it a point to provide solutions that are customized to my clients' particular style, so the changes feel more natural.
4. Focusing more on what it will cost - in time, money or effort. The value in getting organized quickly becomes obvious and outways the cost. Investing in yourself is invaluable. Making positive changes can last a lifetime.
5. Feeling embarrassed to show anyone, including a professional such as myself, the fact that you live in such a cluttered or disorganized home. From the first time that we meet, my clients recognize that I am non-judgmental. I find that it is not as bad as they think it is. That is because my focus is on the potential of a given space and formulating a plan of action to provide "a better space" that we can envision for a particular room or an entire home. Although I do see the present condition, I can see "the forest through the trees"!
6. Being afraid of letting go because you think you will end up needing that item again some day. I call that "someday syndrome" and explain how that can be detrimental.
7. You have a fear of failure. You think that your attempts to get organized won't work. On the contrary, the systems that I put into place do work because they are so easy to maintain. Again, that is because they are customized, so they are a natural solution that meet your specific needs and coincide with how you function.
Which of these sound familiar to you? What are you afraid of?
On a day to day basis, living in fear only results in people remaining in a cluttered environment.
As we work together to create longlasting results, I spend time coaching my clients and get them past their fears. This is what creates the positive changes in their lives that they can experience for years to come.
Unfortunately, some never experience that change because of their overwhelming fear. Are you familiar with the quote by Albert Einstein: "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"?
If you want different results, you have to do things differently and that involves change. Admittedly, the fear of the unknown can be scary, but with the proper guidance from a professional organizer, such as myself, can you past your fears and onto a much more organized and happy life that is much less stressful.
We have all been there. I have certainly gotten past fears stepped out of my own comfort zone throughout my life, so I know how it feels. Getting to the other side of fear, however, provides a profound sense of relief and freedom. Opportunities open up when you open yourself up to change.
This holds true when you let go of the obstacle of fear in relation to getting organized. What waits for you on the other side is peace, serenity, time, room to breathe, reduced stress and control of your surroundings. It's so freeing!
If you want a life without clutter, you need to know that it is possible if you just get past your fears. You simply need to take action! Take that first step and don't be afraid to reach out for help. I am here for you.
Thursday, October 01 2015
Most people these days understand what a Professional Organizer does. We have come a long way from the days when people thought we were a cleaning service or an interior designer. We have magazines, newspaper articles, social media and the like to thank for that. Over the years, since I began my business in 2004, you cannot miss seeing tips on how to eliminate clutter, get organized, set up a garage sale, etc.
However, I still get the question from time to time "So, what is it that you do exactly?".
I thought this might be an opportunity to explain in greater the detail just exactly what a Professional Organizer, such as myself, does to help my clients get and stay organized, and the advantages of hiring a professional, as opposed to going it alone.
First of all, you do not need to be a packrat or a hoarder to need the services of a Professional Organizer. Although most professional organizers are skilled in these areas, there are so many other areas that we help with.
For example, there are those that are overwhelmed, not sure how to begin, too stressed out, too limited with their time causing an organizing project to take them too long to complete on their own, unable to envision a room or an entire home that is de-cluttered and organized, or in need of new ideas for space planning, interior redesign, paper management systems, tools for better time management.
Sometimes, a husband and wife will hire a professional organizer because one of them tends to be neater than the other and is frustrated. They cannot motivate their spouse to "get onboard". A third party like me can be objective and provide an unbiased, new perspective of the situation and find the middle ground that works for both spouses, relieving the strain this issue is causing in the marriage.
What you see on TV shows such as Hoarders or other reality TV shows sometimes provide a distorted idea of what is involved. In reality, your clutter problems cannot be solved in a 30 minute episode.
There is more to being a professional organizer than just setting up three containers marked "Keep", "Toss" and "Donate" and shopping for product that will magically transform your space into a home that looks like a designers catalog. The key is "comfort". Providing a space or a home that you enjoy spending time in is the goal.
A misconception is that you are "lazy" if you cannot get organized on your own. I hear this time and time again from women who tell me that their husbands cannot understand why they just can't do it themselves. I always say, if they could, they would have by now.
As a Professional Organizer, I am trained and skilled to help people overcome the obstacles they are facing and create order in a comfortable setting and put in organizational systems that will work in the long term. I always provide customized options to meet my clients' specific needs. I have many resources available to me that I share with my clients, including contractors, organizing products, donation sites, etc. that they might not be aware of. I help make those decisions about "what" to keep, trash and donate when my clients are not sure.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a Professional Organizer is their ability to set up a system that will prevent you from falling back into old habits that no longer serve you. My focus is not on the "stuff", but the person and tapping into what works best for them.
Sometimes, I work with clients who are preparing for change in their life - whether it be a new baby, empty nesters, new business, downsizing and staging a home for sale. The list goes on.
Organizing is more complex than just "picking up your stuff" and paying someone to haul it out of your house. It's about dealing with tangle items, time management issues and the anxiety of finding a solution.
These are some of the top reasons that I am contacted to help get people organized:
1. They don't know how to get organized or where to start.
2. They don't have the time to spend doing it all on their own.
3. They want that accountability partner and motivator to keep them on track to get the job done.
This is not a situation where, like on TV, you leave, I do all the work, and you come back to a big reveal. We are a team and we work together to provide you with the best solutions that meet your specific needs. No television show, book or magazine article can provide that.
That is what A BETTER SPACE provides and now, you no longer have to ask "So, what is it you do, exactly?"
If you are ready to get past that feeling of overwhelm and frustration that the clutter or lack of systems in your home which is keeping you from moving forward, don't hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to speak with you about your particular sitation and provide you with solutions that work.
You deserve A BETTER SPACE!
Wednesday, August 05 2015
You might not realize that you are living among clutter because you see it every day. Sometimes we cannot see what is right in front of us because we have become accustomed to it being there.
It is possible that you might need to pay closer attention to the signs of clutter in your home. Here are some of the signs:
1. Your guest bedroom requires that you move junk around so your guests have a place to stay. More often than not, because your guest room is used infrequently, it becomes a dumping ground for items that do not have a home elsewhere. The day comes when guests are planning on arriving and you need to provide space for them to stay. All of a sudden, it's a race to get the room in order for their arrival. Learn to put things where they belong and not just throw them into this room.
2. You know you have an extra set of car keys, but you can never find them. If you have trouble finding that extra set of keys or any other everyday item, it's a sign that its time to get organized. Your small items might not have a place of their own. Locate a place in your home where the item is used frequently and dedicate that spot to the item. Be sure to teach the other members of your household to put the item back into this spot after they have used it.
3. You find that you are having to constantly return home when trying to get out the door in the morning. You walk out the door to get the kids to school or you are running out the door to get to work and you have to run back inside for your cell phone or the kids' homework. This is a sign of disorganization. Plan what you need the night before and set up a station by the front door where school bags, purses, keys and anything else you need can be placed. Use a sticky note on the front door to remind you of those last minute things you need, such as school lunches, etc.
4. You are paying late fees and interest charges every month. Think about what it is costing you each year that you are paying those annoying late fees and interest charges because you do not have a system in place to pay your bills on time. Simply set up a bill paying schedule and designate a place for your mail. Create a consistent time to sit down and pay your bills each week or every two weeks to avoid this situation.
5. You never seem to have time for yourself. It is vital, no matter how busy your life is, to create some "me time". You get up early and go to bed late. You are exhausted. Take a breath. It is okay to schedule blocks of time for yourself on your calendar. It is a great time management tool. You need to create some time to do the things you enjoy doing, whether it's reading a book, taking a yoga class or even getting together with some friends for a few hours. Life is about balance; it's not all about work and getting things done. "Me Time" can be so empowering.
Take a look around. Pay attention to the signs of clutter in your home and in your life.
If you are having difficulty with any aspect of getting organized, feel free to contact me. I am here for you! I can show you how to eliminate the clutter in your home and in your life.
Tuesday, June 09 2015
How many people do you know that have lived in their homes for over five years? Are you one of them?
Just imagine how much has been accumulating in your home since you moved in. Do you know what you have? Chances are you don't.
We tend to gather items over the years and store them away and then forget about them. There is not one time that I have worked with a client that we do not find something they have either been looking for or just completely forgot that they had. It's just a matter of time!
The most common time for people to access what they have in their home is when they are actually moving out of it! But, I ask you, why wait? Why not take some time and create an inventory of what you have in your home now? Here are some steps you can take to get this done:
1. A Room At A Time - Don't attempt to inventory your entire home at one time. Work on one room at a time. Start at the top of your home and work your way down.
2. Make a detailed list of items you want to purchase. Do you want to replace the comforter set on your bed? Write it down. Do you want to change out the light fixture in your bathroom? Write it down. Even if you don't think you will make that purchase right away, put it on your list. Treat it as a punch list that you can use to get things done over time.
3. Make a detailed list of the items you need to repair. Does your closet door squeak? Does your carpeting need to be steam cleaned? Put everything you need to repair on one list and then get them done as soon as you can. It is important to always work on the upkeep of your home. If you create a list for yourself or a handyman, these items can be knocked off your list in no time!
4. Create an inventory of the appliances and electronics in your home. For insurance purposes, it is important to have an inventory of the major appliances and electronics in your home. Include a detailed description and model number. Keep this list in a fireproof/water proof safe box to use in case of a fire or flood. This will speed up the process when making a claim with the insurance company.
Whether staging your home for sale or just keeping up with the contents in your home and the repairs it might need, it is important to create an inventory and know what you possess.
Do you know what you have in your home?
If this process is too overwhelming for you, I am here to help. As a professional organizer who specializes in residential organizing, I can help you identify what is in your home and organize your contents in a way that makes it easy to find what you need, when you need it. Simply contact me to discuss you organizing stumbling blocks.
Sunday, May 10 2015
Okay, let's get this straight! I am not a Star Trek fan. Sorry, but it's just not my thing! However, S P A C E is something I can definitely relate to. Especially when it comes to getting organized. Finding a good home for your things is the final frontier, the final goal. Interestingly enough - S P A C E is an acronym.
It stands for Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Equalize. This is vital to getting organized. Let me explain.
1. Sort - When organizing a room, you want to go through the things in that room and determine whether they fit the theme of the room. For example, you should not be keeping children's toys in a master bedroom. Out they go! Do you have a purpose for the item and do you like it?
2. Purge - Now that you have identified the items that do not align with the theme of the room, either throw them away, donate them, sell them or move them to another room in the home where they will serve their purpose. Yes! Get your kids' toys out of the master bedroom and put them in the play room!
3. Assign - All of your "stuff" needs to find a home. When things don't have a home, you don't know where to put them and they end up laying around, on top of a counter, a desk, a table, the floor, etc. The place you select needs to be convenient. Think about it. If it is difficult to put away, chances are you will not put it away. Think of where you would logically look for that item - that is where it belongs! (Your answer might not be the same as someone else's, and that's okay. Just be sure to let others in the household know where they are being stored.)
4. Containerize - The organizing product industry is extremely lucrative for a reason. Why? It's simply - because things need to be containerized and stored. Make good use of drawers, storage bins and shelves in your home. Put like things together by how you use them, not how someone else tells you they should be used or stored. Make sure the container fits the amount of items being stored, it should not be too large or too small.
5. Equalize - Start using the rooms in your home for their intended purpose. Use the bedroom for sleep and relaxation. Do not use it to store items you want to hide from guests when they announce they are stopping by! Use your home office to pay your bills, file your paperwork and be productive.
Keep these concepts in mind and if any room in your home is not working for you, change it!
Do you want to have A BETTER SPACE? If so, contact me. I am here to help. I can help you to create the room you envision by eliminating the clutter, getting it organized and putting in customized systems that work!
Yes, SPACE is, in fact, the final frontier - it is my goal for getting you organized, once and for all!
Thursday, April 30 2015
How many times have you said to yourself "I want to get organized, but"..., then you do nothing about it?
I know, for a fact, that this happens more times than not! Do you want to know why? Why is it we get frustrated, overwhelmed and do absolutely nothing?
For some, it's because they don't know where to start. Perhaps it's because it is just too overwhelming when looking at the whole picture. For others, it's because they have started the process but never finished and gave up. For certain people, however, it is because of fear. Fear can cause some people to not even try.
What causes that feeling of fear? There are several reasons. I mentioned frustration and overwhelm. How about the feeling of failure?
Is it possible that you want to get organized but are afraid you will not do a good job and therefore, do nothing at all?
Do you believe that you will not be able to make the right choices when deciding what to keep, toss or donate? What justifies keeping something, throwing it away, donating it? Do you know? These are questions that tend to come up a lot when going through the process of organizing.
Is it possible that you are afraid that you will commit the time to weeding through your stuff and not get the results you set out to achieve? Perhaps you cannot visualize what the end result will look like, and, therefore, cannot even get started.
Finally, is it possible that you are afraid to let go of things you know you don't want but feel guilty about getting rid of them?
All of these fears can cause you to freeze or feel stuck and either not get started at all, or, in the alternative, start the process and not finish.
As a professional organizer, I work with my clients one-on-one to not only help them visualize the final outcome, but take the steps needed to not only start the process, but get past those obstacles such as fear and get the job done.
The next time you hear yourself saying "I want to get organized, but"..., remember, it is more common than not to feel frustrated, overwhelmed and perhaps frozen with fear when it comes to getting organized.
The good news is, I am here to help! If you want to see what some of my previous clients have experienced, I invite you to visit my Testimonials Page on this website at www.4abetterspace.com/testimonials to see what A Better Space has already achieved for others and what is possible for you, too!
Until next time, I am wishing you an organized day!
Wednesday, April 01 2015
Happy April Fool's Day!
I am so excited that April is here and, hopefully, the Winter weather is finally behind us. We are all getting ready for the upcoming holidays, Easter and Passover, which both are being celebrated this coming weekend. Before we know it, the flowers will be blooming and the warmer temperatures will be here to stay.
In preparation for the warmer temperatures and more time spent outdoors, this is a great time to seriously think about what clutter issues you may be contending with in your home.
Sometimes the Winter months can make us feel a bit sluggish and less productive. We go into hibernation mode and tend to be less motivated to get things done. Since this past Winter was particularly challenging, with severely cold temperatures and, for some of us, tons of snow, this is even more true.
Well, no more excuses! It's time to get moving and get organized!
Do yourself a favor and look around your home and be honest about the areas that need some organizing attention. Is your bedroom floor filled with clothing, is your linen closet stuffed with sheets and towels, are your kitchen counters crowded with papers or other items, does your home office contain piles of paperwork that does not have a home, is your family room no longer welcoming to the family, is your garage so filled that your car doesn't fit in it?
Do you walk through your front door and the first thing you see is clutter? How does that make you feel? Just imagine coming home at the end of the day and having your home bring you a sense of calm instead of dread. I have always believed that your home is your haven and should be a safe and happy place, leaving the chaos of the world behind.
Eliminating your clutter and getting organized can help to bring that to fruition. It has a very powerful impact on all aspects of your life. Here is a comment I received from one of my clients:
"Audrey, I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying my home now. It is much more relaxing. You helped me create a peaceful place. There is a place for everything and it is easy to keep things organized. I was a little nervous when we first started working together. I wasn't sure about someone having opinions on items that were important to me but I knew I needed to organize and downsize. You really listened to me and helped me donate things I really didn't need. Now I have a much more manageable home. I enjoy entertaining more. You were such a help and I enjoyed the time we spent working together. I thank you for helping me in such a caring and professional way. It was such a pleasure to meet you. Many thanks, Karen A., Newtown, PA"
My intent here is not so much to toot my own horn, but rather to show you what an impact getting organized can have on your home and your life.
Don't be "April foolish"! Take some time to evaluate what is truly going on in your home that is keeping it from being what you envision it to be. If you need a fresh set of eyes to help you evaluate your situation and get you on the road to organization, don't hesitate to contact me. As always, I am here to help. I am only a phone call or email away.
Have a great week and a wonderful holiday!
Tuesday, March 24 2015
Spring is finally here. The cold temps seem to want to hang around, however. The time is now to start Spring cleaning your wardrobe and start putting your Winter wardrobe away. The warmer temps are just around the corner, I promise.
Do you have bulky items hanging in your closet that are taking up the space you could use for lighter weight clothing?
Do you have items that you bought and intended to wear this past Winter season but never did?
Are your drawers stuffed with articles of clothing that are now too warn out to be used again next year?
Do you have pieces in your wardrobe that no longer fit?
Now is the time to clear them out.
Here are some steps you can take to Spring clean your wardrobe:
1. Start in your closet. Eliminate the articles of clothing that should be thrown away because they are now worn out.
2. Eliminate articles of clothing in your closet that you did not wear this past Winter season that can be donated. Bag them up and make an appointment with yourself to either have them picked up or dropped off at a Thrift Store or non-profit organization that takes clothing.
3. Pull out and store bulky items from your closet elsewhere which you think will take up too much space in your closet. Clothes need to breathe so make sure they have enough room in your closet to do so. You can use an under-the-bed plastic container, a cedar chest, a garment bag or plastic 18 gallon container for storage in your attic or basement.
4. Take out the items that no longer fit you. If your weight tends to go up and down, store that size in a container. Keep only the clothes in your closet that fit you now. You can always retrieve them later if need be. Do not keep more than one size larger and one size smaller. You are not a department store!
5. Go through your drawers in your dresser and do the same thing.
6. Pull out clothing that you might have stored away during the Winter months for use in warmer weather.
These steps will get you ready for Spring so that when those warmer temps hit, you will be ready with a wardrobe that suits your needs.
If you are overwhelmed and need help, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Tuesday, February 17 2015
This blog is geared for those who have already gone through the process of eliminating their clutter and have organized their home and/or their life.
It is very important that once you go through this process, you are able to easily maintain it. Of course, from time to time, we need to tweak some areas, but it should not become a large project. That would defeat the purpose of the work you have already done.
Maintenance can come in many forms. When checks bounce or bank accounts are overdrawn, it's because we didn't balance our checking account properly to always know what we have available to use. When we run out of clothes to wear, it's because we failed to do the laundry.
Home and office clutter tends to result in the "no maintenance" approach to living. It tends to be the "toss, pile and deal with it later" approach that gets us in trouble. Avoid dumping and you will avoid procrastinating (putting off what can be done now for later).
It is not difficult to maintain your "organizing mojo". If this is a problem for you, here are some tips to help:
1. Put items away in a pre-designated location, each and every time. When you initially organized a particular space, such as a drawer, closet, shelf or an entire room, you created places for your items that should make the most sense for them to be. If you should discover that the place you selected is not working for you and you "dump" your stuff elsewhere, I recommend that you re-evaluate the location you selected to see if it is, in fact, the right place for the item to be. If not, change it.
2. Some items require more maintenance than others. Items such as paperwork, dishes, food items, clothing, etc. are examples of items that might require daily maintenance. If systems are not created to control your clutter, you end up creating more work for yourself in the long run. It could be as simple as creating a basket that is designated for magazines near the coffee table in the living room and making a point to read the magazines on a weekly basis. Clearing off your desk at the end of each day will help to control your clutter and avoid creating a larger project for later. It is vital that you have the right organizing tools in place.
3. Make it convenient. If you commonly use a particular item, store it in a place that is easily accessible. Less oftenly used items can be stored high up on shelves or in a storage area as opposed to the main living space.
4. Create a routine. On a daily basis, schedule 15 minutes or so at the end of the day to put away items that are laying around. Sort your mail daily. Do your filing weekly. Determine what routines work best for you and your family and stick to them.
5. Consider hiring help. If the idea of maintaining your organizing mojo is overwhelming to you, consider hiring someone to help you. From time to time, your needs change. Items have a way of building up in the home and you need to bring some balance back into your life. Consider hiring a professional organizer who can tweak certain areas of your home or office to get it back to the way it should be or create a new, updated system for you and your family to help you regain balance.
Remember, your home or office does not need to be perfect. It needs to be functional and feel comfortable and maintaining your organizing mojo can help make that happen.
Contact me if you want to talk further about maintaining your "organizing mojo". Have a great week!
Monday, February 09 2015
Have you heard of the concept of having a Memory Box? I personally feel that everyone should have one (or a few). Everyone goes through life and gathers fond memories of people they have met, places they have gone or things they have done. You should have a designated place to store those memories, hence...A Memory Box.
The first time I created a Memory Box was back in 1998 following the passing of my husband the previous year. To this day, it contains fond memories of photos, letters and other items I collected during our 15 year relationship. I also created one for my son who was 7 at the time to contain his fond memories of his relationship with his father. Both of us open up our boxes from time to time and go down Memory Lane together, reflecting on our special times with my late husband and his father.
Memory Boxes are great, however, there are guidelines you should follow:
1. Store your own memories in your own box. This box is not intended to be shared with others. It is personal. Moms often want to store their kids' memories along with their own in one box. Keep in mind that you have your own memories of your kids and your kids have their own memories and they should be kept in separate Memory Boxes. Do not co-mingle!
2. Be selective. Just like anything else that you keep, "everything cannot be your favorite". Using an appropriate-sized memory box is great for setting boundaries as to how much you keep. When a box gets too full, it is a sign that you are saving too much and you need to go through the box and eliminate what is not longer relevant. Pick your favorites!
3. Do an annual review. Contrary to popular belief, what was important at one point in your life might not be as important now. Your memories and emotional attachment to things change. I have found that over the course of the years, what was once so important and relevant is not so much any more, and that's okay. This is especially true with children. That macaroni art from Kindergarten was so amazing when it came through the door ten times that year, but now, your child is in 6th grade, and that macaroni art is not so incredible anymore - at least not all ten! I highly suggest that you go through your Memory Box once a year and do a review. (For kids in grade school, I recommend the end of the school term.) Make room for the new memories that you will gather in the coming year.
4. Don't confuse a Memory Box with a random storage container. Your Memory Box is not intended to be a place to put things that you don't know where else they should be stored. It is not to be used as a catch all. If you have different categories for memories such as I do (I have one strictly relating to my relationship with my late husband and another more current box of memories), that is fine. Don't keep memories that evoke sad or bitter times in your life. You want to be sure they are "positive memories" that evoke happy times in your life.
I encourage you to create a Memory Box for you and every member of your family. Store them in a place that is accessible for those times when you want to go down Memory Lane and relive those happy times in your life.
Remember, it's a Memory Box, not a random storage container. Fill your box with happy memories that you will enjoy for years to come!
Wishing you an organized week filled with fond memories!
Monday, January 26 2015
Whether you work from home because you have a home-based business or because your employer provides you with the ability to work from home either full-time or part-time, doing so can be a challenge.
When I am not working with my clients in their homes, I work in my home office. I have a large window that lets in a lot of natural light and a large space in which to spread out to work and places for all of my paperwork, office supplies and other needs in order to run my business.
It can be challenging at times to work from home for many people. One of the biggest challenges is staying focused.
Do you find that you daydream? It is more easy to do when you work alone. There is something interesting that happens when you work with others or have a boss overseeing how you are spending your time. That accountability factor can go a long way. So, what do you do when you are working from home and need to be accountable for yourself?
You might be very productive and get things done but it is very easy for your energies to be directed at other things you should not be doing. When in your home, it is easy to spend time thinking about the things that need to get done in the home such a laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, phone calls you need to make or meal preparation. If you are on the computer, you might get a signal every time you get an email, you are curious about what is happening on Facebook or you decide you need to purchase something on line.
Here are some tips to help you stay more focused and keep your attention where it needs to be:
1. If at all possible, take care of distractions before working. If you need to get some laundry done or clean up the dishes in the sink, do it before you start to work. If you are distracted by what you need to do around the house, do them ahead of time so you can avoid these distractions.
2. Determine your best hours to work. Some people are at their best early in the morning. Some are better later at night. I am most productive mid-day. I admittedly am not a morning person. I structure my business based on when my energy is at it's peak so I can be the best I can be during that time. Knowing when you are most productive and clear-headed goes a long way in helping you focus on the work you need to get done. If you are not sure, take a week or so and track what you do over the course of a day and when you get the most done. Then, structure your day around the times when you are the most productive, if possible.
3. Work at a table or desk. This might not seem important, but it is. It is too easy to get too comfortable when you are sitting on the couch. Being near a television can be very tempting too. You might find that you can get things done, but sitting in a sturdy chair at an organized desk or table away from distractions will enable you to take your tasks more seriously. Be sure to work in a place that feels like you should be doing work there.
4. Have a to-do list. One of the things I do at the end of each work day is to prepare a to-do list for the following day. I keep it visible during the day and refer to it often. It's important to learn to prioritize your list so it is not too long and unreasonable to complete. Set time limits on how long to spend on each task to stay on target and create deadlines for more involved tasks. Having a list prepared ahead of time will help you have a clear picture of what you will set out to accomplish each day.
5. Take a break. It is very important to get up out of your chair throughout the day. Every hour or so you should get up and stretch or walk around. You will come back to your work space refreshed and ready to continue with your work day.
Working from home has many rewards but it can also create some challenges. Creating a plan of action that fits your personality and work-style will help you face the challenges, put your distractions aside and maintain focus throughout the day.
If you are transitioning from an off-site work environment to a home-based work environment, I can help you create a customized plan of action that meets your specific needs for time and production.
As always, I am here to help.
Now, get back to work! :)
Tuesday, January 06 2015
As we all know, the New Year is a time to renew and refresh.
Let me ask you something. How long have you been living in your home? When was the last time you looked around and "re-evaluated" your real estate"?
What do I mean by that?
I find that so many people live in their homes for years, and although their circumstances might change, their home does not reflect those changes.
For example: Have your children grown up and their bedroom is stuck in a time warp from when they were little kids? Have your children gone off to college and left their bedroom unused? Have you started a home-based business and have not created a home office space to work out of? Have you been widowed or divorced and the remnants of that person still remain untouched in your home? Have you wanted to create a gym in your home but instead have an unused space in your basement?
It is very easy to go from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year without making changes to our home.
I find that to be a waste of real estate. You are paying a mortgage on a home you are not making the best use of. That does not make any sense to me.
Last year I moved my home office from an area in the basement to a second floor bedroom that was unoccupied for some time following my divorce. I now have much more room and have a large window which provides great natural light. I am so much happier! I feel I made much better use of my real estate by doing this.
Do yourself a favor. Re-evaluate your real estate. Take some time to walk around your home (physically, not just mentally) and take a look at all of the rooms in your home and ask yourself whether they are being put to the best use. What changes could you make to better maximize the space you have?
If you are not sure, feel free to contact me. I have helped my clients over the years transform under-utilized spaces into rooms they can make better use of and enjoy at the same time. By being in a space, I have the ability to visual it's potential and make suggestions for how to best utilize it.
Make your place A Better Space!
Wednesday, December 31 2014
Happy New Year! Are you ready for 2015?
This is a great time of year to not only eliminate clutter and get organized, but incorporate a little Feng Shui into your life and your home. I dabble in Feng Shui from time to time and use the basic principals when working with my clients in their homes.
This list was created by Kathryn Weber, Feng Shui Entrepreneur & Nationally Syndicated Columnist.
Notice that de-cluttering is at the top of the list!
OUT WITH THE OLD
Grab a laundry basket. Next, set a timer and take it with you from room to room. Set it for five minutes. Now, start throwing out old papers, magazines, empty bottles of shampoo from the bathroom, old clothes you know you’ll never wear again! Do it.
Got CDs you never listen to? Throw those out or donate them to charity. Have some old coffee mugs that don’t match or odd drinking glasses still hanging around in your cabinets? Pitch ‘em.
When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t forget to look under the bed, too! And toss that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years! Remember to clean out the pantry, too, and toss that half-empty box of Rice Krispies that’s gone stale.
2. Sweep or vacuum
Get the old energy out by making the floors clean.
3. Do the laundry
Don’t have dirty clothes hanging around. You can throw in a load or two while you declutter. Be sure to fold and put the clean clothes away.
4. Clean the bathroom
Make it sparkle. You don’t want a nasty mess to greet the next year of your life!
5. Empty all trashcans
Don’t want last years’ trash hanging around, do you? Toss, toss, toss.
6. Clean out the refrigerator
Got a half-empty jar of apple butter? Get rid of it. You don’t want to go into the New Year with old food or a moldy science project lurking in the fridge.
7. Clear out visual clutter
Too much stuff everywhere? Clear off the counters in the bathrooms and kitchen. Clear off your desk and dust it. Pitch the sticky notes and papers and things taped everywhere! You can do it. Don’t forget the refrigerator! Make it a blank slate.
Make as much space as possible. You cannot bring in new things if there is no room for it and we want a fantastic year, right? Then make your space “open” for the abundance of the New Year!
8. Yard work
Make sure the yard is picked up and the front door step is swept and clear.
9. Change the sheets and towels
Put clean sheets on all the beds on New Year’s Eve and clean towels in the bathroom and kitchen. New sheets are even better.
10. Clean the car
This is what gets you around during the year. Drive through a car wash, take out the trash and do a quick cleaning.
All done? Wow, doesn’t that feel good! Now you’re ready for the next step.
IN WITH THE NEW!
1. Fill your pantry and kitchen
Stock the refrigerator with food and make sure the pantry is also stocked. It is bad feng shui to have an empty refrigerator and pantry. If you have canisters in the pantry or on the countertops, be sure to fill these.
2. Got citrus?
Oranges are excellent symbols for the New Year and the Chinese often celebrate the New Year by rolling oranges (symbols of gold) into the house. Place a big bowl of 8, 9, or 10 (the numbers of prosperity!) oranges in the living room or central location in the house next to dishes of nuts or candies to symbolize an abundant, fruitful home.
3. Buy a new plant
Put a beautiful new plant in the East (health & family relationships) sector of your house or office to symbolize a healthy beginning. You can also display some beautiful flowers here to symbolize your good health in the coming year.
4. Welcome good news
Place a golden bell in the NW corner of your home, office, or bedroom to bring good tidings from helpful people. Like old school bells? If so, place one of these in the NW corner of your yard for good news from helpful people.
5. Hang up new calendars
What better way to greet the New Year than by throwing out the old one? Take down all of last years’ calendars.
6. Fill your wallet
You don’t want to go into the New Year with an empty wallet. Put some money in your wallet — or better yet — go and buy a new wallet (red is the best!) or purse and start your financial off with new energy!
7. Invite a toad to your house
Place an old, broken clay pot upside down next to a water spout so a toad can make its home here. Toads are believed to invite money into the household; they’re especially nice by the door. You can also place figurines of toads by the door.
8. Feed the birds
Birds are excellent feng shui and believed to bring good news. Fill your feeders or put out a feeder for the New Year.
9. Have fun and celebrate
Fun is good feng shui. A happy vibrant home or space is a good space, so plan a party of some kind of happy gathering. Remember, a home or office with good feng shui is easy to spot it’s the one where everyone goes and doesn’t want to leave! Make your space that kind of place!
OR, as I say "Make your place A Better Space!
So, what do you think? I am not sure about inviting a toad into my house. I think I will go ceramic, thank you, but a little Feng Shui never hurt anyone! Go through this list and do the best that you can. Do one thing at a time to help stay focused and soon, you too will have A Better Space.
Wishing you a very Happy (and organized) New Year!
Saturday, December 20 2014
It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so it is said.
Granted, we get together with family and friends, donate our time or make monetary contributions to help others and think about all that we have and take time to appreciate those around us.
However, I have to wonder whether it is "the most wonderful time of the year".
I personally think it is the most stressful time of the year.
Right around Thanksgiving, a frenzy begins. We begin to plan holiday meals, go to or have parties, make lists of people to buy gifts for and then go shopping for them, decorate our homes, send out holiday cards, cook large meals, bake cookies, cakes and bread, invite friends and family into our homes. It can be downright exhausting!
Some of us plan ahead. We create a plan and meet our deadlines well in advance. Others, well....not so much. Many of us wait until the last minute and then run around like chickens without heads, trying to get everything done in time.
We are only days away from Christmas and so many of us are just getting started. We are out at the malls and stores trying to figure out what to get everyone and dealing with crowded parking lots and long lines and perhaps picked over merchandise. I always wonder why people put themselves through all of this. Talk about stress!
Can you truly enjoy the holidays when you are exhausted and frazzled? It doesn't sound like fun, does it?
Although it certainly is a magical time of year for kids and adults alike, there is something to be said about the commercialized portion of the holidays. We feel obligated at times to purchase gifts for people that simply just add to their clutter.
Think about how many times you might have received a gift from someone that you bring home, put away and never look at again. You feel you can't get rid of it because someone gave it to you.
For me, personally, it is more about spending time with those I love and slowing down to appreciate them. Granted, I like gifts as much as the next person, but if you ask me what I really want this holiday season, it's the opportunity to hang out with friends and family and tell them how much I appreciate them being in my life. It's about giving joy to others. That, to me, is what the holidays are for.
So, perhaps next time around, we can all make it a point to plan in advance, purchase less and have more time to spend with those we love. Less clutter, less stress and more joy will make this the most happiest time of the year.
I wish all of you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year! See you again in 2015.
Saturday, December 06 2014
Earlier this week I had the privilege of being interviewed by Teresa Mears, a reporter for U.S. News and World Report which is currently an online publication.
I was asked to provide tools that would help those individuals who are thinking about creating new resolutions for 2015, one of which made by many year after year is to get organized, once and for all.
Here is the article. I hope you enjoy it and find value in its content:
If you need assistance in organizing your life in 2015, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Monday, September 15 2014
Tonight I am being interviewed as part of a series called "Clearing The Clutter Inside & Out". I will be speaking about time management. (The interview will go viral in November on You Tube so stay tuned for more details in the coming month on where you will be able to view the interview.)
One of the key points that I will be making during this interview is about a tiny little word that has so much power behind it. It is so fundamental that when children first learn how to talk, it is one of the first words they learn how to say (and once they learn it, they use it often!). The word I am speaking about is the word "No".
I sometimes think that as we get older we forget to use it and are told, perhaps, not to use it. I, however, strongly believe that using the word "no" when appropriate, is a great time management tool. It provides balance.
We have a tendency to overbook ourselves, take on too many tasks and say "yes" to everything. We forget that it is okay to say "no" when it is something that is going to over-extend ourselves. A lot of times, we feel guilty about turning down something, whether it is a social engagement, a large project or other commitment that will stretch our time too far.
When you are thinking "Yes, bring it on!", step back and consider your decision before actually saying "Yes". Examine your schedule and see if you have the time, the energy or even want to do what is being asked of you. Contrary to popular belief, you have more control over your time that you think.
Learning to say "no" without guilt when you need to is perfectly fine. In turn, asking for help when you need it is perfectly fine. Admitting to yourself that you do need some help does not make you a lesser person. We all need help from time to time.
I guarantee that when you learn to incorporate this tiny, yet powerful word into your life, you will gain a sense of freedom and joy in knowing that you are making the right decisions to stay in balance.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities, clutter in your home, your head, or your life in general, don't hesitate to give me a call. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, September 02 2014
It's that time of year when we are settling back down into our routines, either with work, school or the household. Vacations are behind us, the kids are returning to school and the normal routine of running a household returns. It's all a balancing act.
There are some ways that you can (again) create balance in your life when it comes to getting organized.
1. The "One in, one out" rule. Whenever you bring something new into the house, get rid of something. Are you purchasing new clothes for the upcoming Fall season? Go through your closet and get rid of the items you did not wear this past Summer.
2. Do not transfer your clutter. You will not do yourself any favors by clearing off the dining room table of clutter and moving it to the home office floor. Deal with it now to avoid a project later.
3. To do or not to do, that is the question. Consolidate all of your "to do's" onto one list and decide whether you are going to do it yourself (and schedule a time to get it done), delegate it to someone else or not do it at all. Keep your "to do's" moving.
4. Finish what you start. Do not move from one area to another when organizing. Finish what you start and then move on to the next area.
5. Store it where it's used. When deciding where something should go, ask yourself where it is used. Keep like things together so you can easily find them when you need them.
6. Don't be afraid of open spaces. It's okay to keep a drawer empty or a shelf in a cabinet empty. You don't have to fill every nook and cranny with "stuff". It's a great back-up spot for those times when you need a little more space.
7. Location, location, location. Mark shelves, bins and boxes with labels so everyone will know where things belong and can help put things away in their correct location.
8. Double trouble. Don't keep multiples of things that are not being used. You do not need two can openers or four pair of tweezers. Get rid of the duplicates either by passing them onto someone else, donating them or throwing them away if they are not in good condition.
9. Get back on that horse. Everyone falls off the organizing horse from time to time. Maintaining organization is a continual process. Allow yourself to fall behind from time to time, but don't delay in getting right back up, dusting yourself off, and starting over again. (The good news is that if you are organized to begin with, it will not be so hard to do!)
If you are overwhelmed with the thought of getting organized and don't know where to begin, I am here to help. As a professional organizer, I can help you find your balance. Now, with a new season approaching, it's a great time to create A Better Space. Don't hesitate to contact me.
Monday, August 11 2014
How many times have you said to yourself "I want to get organized, but..."? We have lots of reasons as to why we put off what we know we should (and hopefully, want to) get done. Do you tend to procrastinate? Do you dislike doing certain things? (We all do!). Whether it is at home or at work, there are tasks we dislike and, therefore, procrastinate doing. The result can be clutter and disorganization.
It is possible that changing just one thing associated with those tasks could improve how you think about completing the task. Here are some suggestions:
1. It's Time For A Change - Sometimes changing when you do an activity can make all the difference in the world. It can improve how you think about the task. For example, if you normally attempt to tackle an unpleasant task right before you leave work for the day, try moving it to either first thing in the morning, or perhaps right after lunch instead. If you don't like to go food shopping on weekends, make a change and try food shopping one evening during the week instead.
2. Looks Mean Everything - This might sound superficial, but if you don't like the appearance of something, you might not enjoy using it. If your home office is cluttered, not well lit and does not have some things in it that bring you joy, you might avoid spending time in that room. You are not utilizing the space for which it was intended. Get some brightly colored file folders, a nice pen to write with and create a system for staying up to date with your paper management. Paint the walls, hang some pictures and make the room more pleasant to spend time in. (A Better Space can help you create a room you enjoy spending time in.)
3. Game Time - Challenge yourself. If you have some menial tasks you need to get done but keep putting off, set a timer or put on some music and challenge yourself to get them done within a certain period of time. Clean up your desk surface, take out the trash or wash some dishes. It just might help you to get those tasks completed.
4. Connect The Dots - As in all types of organization, it is best to put like things together. The same is true with your tasks. Find a task that needs to be done and see if you can link it to another activity that is more enjoyable. Plan a business meeting near a favorite restaurant that you can go to afterwards. Carpool to a distant location with a friend or colleague to make the long drive more tolerable. Play some of your favorite music while cleaning the house. Some tasks are just not enjoyable but if you link them to an activity that you enjoy, you will improve the overall experience.
5. Break It Down Into Manageable Pieces - Some tasks, like getting organized, can be so overwhelming that we do nothing to get the job done. By doing a task or project in small, manageable pieces, you will find that you are more productive. If you don't like to file, set a timer once a day for 15 minutes. You don't have to do it all at one time. Small, consistent chunks of time can sometimes be much more productive. (A Better Space can show you how to eliminate the clutter, get organized and put systems into place that are not time consuming, but productive.)
Try one or all of these suggestions and see if you feel a difference when it comes to getting organized and your tasks completed. Feel free to comment below and share your experience with others.
In the meantime, if you want to get organized, but...you are overwhelmed with your clutter and don't know where to begin, let A Better Space help.
Wednesday, July 30 2014
Even though it's Summertime and we intend to be lazy, it can sometimes be the crazy days of Summer instead. The kids are out of school, we are running from one activity to another to keep them busy, we are planning and going on day trips or vacations and we just can't find the time to get organized.
Not to worry. You don't have to wait until the kids return to school. You can still do some simple things to get on the road to organization now.
I have some suggestions that will take five minutes and help you out:
1. Hang Some Hooks - They take very little time to install and are a quick solution for getting things up off the floor - towels in the bathroom, camp bags in the mudroom, clothes in the bedroom, etc.
2. Do A Hanger Purge - Hangers that are laying around are not being put to good use. Gather the extra wire hangers and give them back to the dry cleaner. Refuse hangers when making a clothing purchase at the store. Keep hangers on the rod for clothes that will be returned from the wash to mark the space where they belong. One hanger per item is all that is needed. The rest can go!
3. Eliminate Junk Mail - While bringing in the mail each day, identify the junk mail before it even enters your home. Keep a recycling bin and paper shredder near the entrance to your home for easy disposal.
4. Take It With You - Whether you are leaving a room in your home to go to another, going upstairs from the first floor or downstairs from the second floor, take something with you that doesn't belong there and put it away. This applies to your car as well. Before you get out of the car, take your trash or other items that do not belong there.
5. Create A Donation Destination - Pick a room where you can have a container for donations. A great place to keep a donation box is in a closet or the laundry room for clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer like. Other suggestions are for toys that hte kids outgrow or no longer play with. Add to the box as you go and when it is full, take it to your local Goodwill or other non-profit charitable organization.
So, no matter how busy you are, you can still find ways to get and stay organized with just five minutes of your time.
Which tip did you like the best? What other ideas do you have for five minutes of organization?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized, I can help. I have lots of great ideas for you to create A Better Space anywhere in your home. Contact me! I am here to help.
In the meantime, enjoy your Summer!
Monday, July 14 2014
Are you looking for some tips to maintain your newly organized home? Some of you have already gone through the process of eliminating the clutter and finding a home for your things. Are you done? No, you are not!
Now you need to maintain the organized space you have created.
There are some super simple and easy ways to put your things away. They are short, sweet and to the point.
1. Make sure it's easy to put your things away. You found a place to store your holiday decorations in your garage on top of a shelf above the garage door. Now you realize it's a bit difficult to get to. (Been there, done that! My ex-husband built a geat shelf above my garage door years ago to store the Christmas holiday decorations. However, he always had to climb an 8 foot ladder and squeeze into a narrow opening to get the items up and down. When we split, I changed that. I was not about to climb up an 8 foot ladder, even if it was only once or twice a year, to retrieve my holiday decor.) Consider how difficult it might be to put away and retrieve your items before committing to that space.
2. Make sure everything has a home. All family members who share in putting things away should know where items belong. When bringing something new into the home, think about where it is going to live before you make that purchase.
3. Invest in good tools. I don't mean the hammer and the nails necessarily. I mean items like filing cabinets with drawers that extend all the way out so you can easily access the back of the drawer. Purchase a better shredder to avoid paper jams. Get items that will last so they don't fall apart and have to be replaced all the time.
4. Develop routines. Do your filing weekly. Set a timer each night for 15 minutes for the family to participate in cleaning up. Eliminate junk mail on a daily basis. Schedule one day a week to pay your bills consistently. Determine what routines work for you and your family and be sure to stick to them.
5. It's doesn't have to be perfect. Unless you are putting your home on the market for sale, your home does not need to be pristine. Set a comfortable standard in your home. It's more important to have a home that is safe, functional and generally uncluttered. Pefection is too strong of a standard to maintain and can be very stressful. Relax and enjoy the comfort of your home without the clutter.
If you have yet to start the de-cluttering and organizing process in your home, I can help. I can set the stage for a home that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable for all members of the family to enjoy. I have lots of ways to provide you with the tools you need to maintain the home long after the organizing process is completed. Contact me if you want to discuss your organizing struggles.
In the meantime, happy organizing!
Tuesday, July 08 2014
Even if you are not looking to take on a large organizing project, there are some things you can do on a daily basis to get and stay organized. The good thing is, little effort is involved.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Make Your Bed - This simple task will not only give your room a nicer look, but if you have pets in the home, it is especially helpful. Pets have litter, dirt, fur, dander, dust or other items on them that you don't necessarily want on your sheets. Take five minutes to make your bed first thing in the morning.
2. Determine Your Route - Are you running errands or taking a trip? Plan the best route you will take and know travel conditions before getting into your car. Getting lost or sitting in a traffic jam is not saving you any time.
3. Load The Dishwasher or Hand Wash The Dishes - Dirty dishes left in the sink, on the counter or elsewhere in the house is an invitation for bugs, pests and bacteria. A cluttered sink makes it difficult to prepare meals. Load the dishwasher throughout the day and run it regularly to keep your dirty dishes from building up. Wash your dishes by hand and let them dry in the drainboard as you use them. Put the dishes away on a regular basis to avoid clutter.
4. Open Your Mail - On a daily basis, bring your mail into the house and immediately sort through it, eliminating the junk mail by shredding and recycling. Open up the rest of the mail to decide what you need to do with it. This will avoid the build up of paper clutter in your home.
5. Lay Out Your Clothes - The night before, decide what you want to wear the next day, even down to accessories and lay them out for the next morning. This will save you time when you are rushing to get somewhere the next day.
There are many other ways you can do some "everyday organizing". Can you think of any?
If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting organized or have a larger project you want to tackle, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!
Tuesday, May 27 2014
Is your home starting to look like an episode of "Hoarders"? Perhaps not, but it might be time to get rid of the clutter and get organized. You have three choices - throw it away, donate it or sell it. Which one do you choose?
Toss It - Get rid of old receipts and any paperwork that is no longer needed. For confidential information, be sure to use a cross-cut paper shredder. Throw away anything that is broken and you have no intention of fixing or cannot be fixed. Eliminate expired food in your pantry, refrigerator, freezer or kitchen cabinets. Toss old make-up and other cosmetics that are past their prime. Check with your county or municipality to visit Earth911.com to locate a facility where you can drop off automotive and home-improvement items such as oil-based paints and, pesticides for proper disposal.
Sell It - Some of your items can find a second home and get you some cash in the process! Utilize E-bay, Craigslist, consignment shops or specialty sites for books, clothing and tech items. For books, log on to Bookscouter.com, enter the ISBN number (located over the bar code) and receive price quote from online booksellers who want them. Sell your designer clothing and accesories at The Snob (www.thesnob.biz) and Snobswap (www.snobswap.com). For vintage clothing, try Etsy (www.etsy.com) and Fashiondig (www.fashiondig.com). Have a yard sale!
Donate - Get that warm, fuzzy feeling and even a tax deduction by donating your things to charity. Whether you donate to a local non-profit such as Goodwill, Salvation Army or other local thrift stores, it is easy to eliminate your items from your home quickly. You can either drop off the items at the site or have a truck come pick them up, depending on who you choose. Purple Heart and other veterans organization are also a good choice. Always check with whomever you choose to be sure that they accept the items you have to donate and be sure to get a receipt to use when preparing your annual tax return. When it comes to electronicss, be sure to erase personal information. Erase the SD car, SIM card or destroy the hard-drive. Donate your old cell phones through Verizon's HopeLine program for victims of domestic violence or support the troops overseas at CellPhonesforSoldiers.com. Donate your shoes to Soles4Souls.org and books to your local library. Senior centers and day-cares need arts and crafts. Animal shelters needs towels, blankets and sheets. There are so many choices.
When it comes to eliminating your clutter and getting organized, you have three choices. Toss, Sell or Donate. When it comes to getting help if you are overwhelmed, consider using a professional organizer such as myself, to help you get the job done! Together we can eliminate the clutter and create A Better Space for the things you wish to keep.
In the meantime, I am wishing you an organized day!
Monday, March 24 2014
Many people are baffled and confused and cannot imagine what they need to do to be organized. Today, I want to help you start to think about some guidelines to follow when you are attempting to get and stay organized.
1. KNOW THY SELF. Those that are organized tend to know themselves very well. They are in tune with how to access information and products to create storage systems that reflect their preferences. They know how to simplify tasks to maintain order. They know how they prefer to work and live. They are clear about what they need and don't need. They know what they want in life and their priorities. Time and time again, I have worked with my clients to help them identify these aspects which are the foundation for getting and staying organized.
2. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT. There is a misconception out there that if you are organized, you are perfect in every aspect of your life. I am here to tell you that is not true! No one is organized in every aspect of their life, every day of their life. We all fall off the organized wagon from time to time (even me!). The difference is, organized people accept this as part of the process and simply get back on the horse and start again. If you are organized to begin with, it is easier to get back on track.
3. A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING, AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE. I credit my paternal grandmother for teaching me this adage. When you have a place to store your items, they have a home. If something doesn't have a place to be stored, you cannot put it away. Every coat or jacket needs a hanger to hang it on. If you don't have a hamper, your dirty clothes will land on the floor. Store items where you tend to use them most often and it will be easy to put them away and retrieve them when you need them.
4. CREATE ROUTINES. Organized people have routines throughout the day. Clear your desk at the end of your workday. Create a to-do list for the following day. Lay out your clothes for the next morning. Routines create stability for actions that need to be attended to regularly.
5. FINISH THE TASK. Those that are organized know that the laundry is not done until the clothes have been folded and put away. Dinner is not done until the table has been cleared and the dishes have been loaded into the dishwasher or washed by hand. Wrapping a present is not done until the supplies - scissors, tape, wrapping paper - have been put away. You are not finished until the task has been done to completion.
6. ANYONE CAN BE ORGANIZED IF THEY WANT TO. Being organized is a skill set. Anyone can learn tools to get and stay organized. Although it can come more easily to some, it does not mean it is not achievable. Being organized takes practice and maintenance.
If you are overwhelmed by your clutter and want to learn what it takes to get and stay organized, don't hesitate to contact me. I can show you, no matter where you are in life, how you can acquire the tools you need.
In the meantime, happy organizing!
Wednesday, November 20 2013
Now that Halloween has come and gone, we are gearing up for the official holiday season which begins next Thursday with Thanksgiving (and Chanukah). After Thanksgiving, we only have twenty-seven (yes, 27) days until Christmas.
Are you ready for the holidays?
This time of year I get so many inquiries about how to transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas in an organized way.
Recently, I was asked how to combine Fall clean up with holiday prep.
The answer is all of these questions is to create a plan. As with any other type of organizing project, you need to start at the beginning and systematically work through the process.
Here are some ideas:
1. Create a holiday notebook. You can use a paper version (such as a binder), an app on your Smart Phone, a bulletin board or any other method that works best for you. Do the "brain dump" and jot down all of your thoughts about the things you need to do to get the job done. This will take the "remembering" out of "remembering" and immediately reduce your stress by providing you with a sense of control and a plan.
2. Divide and conquer. Take your list and create various categories with deadlines. What type of things do you need to accomplish? When do you need to get them accomplished by? Here are some suggestions:
Cleaning the Home, Decorating the Home (inside and out), Sending Out Holiday Cards, Gift Giving Ideas, Gifts Purchased, Supplies For Wrapping Presents, Preparing A Menu, Guest Lists for Holiday Parties, Budget/Expenses, etc.
3. Create a holiday calendar. Devote a calendar to holiday activities and tasks. Indicate the deadlines you have established for getting things done. Assign a different color to each member of the family so that nothing is missed. This can include chores for the kids to accomplish and invitations for parties. Don't forget to include gift giving to teachers, the mailman and other service providers in your life. What good is purchasing a gift for them if you forget to give it to them?
4. Choose a select few. You cannot accomplish everything at one time. Do yourself a favor and prioritize what needs to be done sooner as opposed to later. Select a few items at a time and focus just on them before moving onto something else. Obviously, it makes sense to clean the home before you decorate it, so don't worry about decorating until the home is clean. Each day that you do this, you will be able to check things off your "To Do" list and move forward.
5. Work with a deadline in mind. Even though you want to start at the beginning of a project, it is best to be aware of your deadline so you can plan backwards. What I mean by that is, for example, if you are having a holiday party at your home on December 21st, you want to make sure that your To Do list for that project is completed by that date. Determining how long something will take will enable you to provide sufficient time to get it done and, therefore, everything will be done on time.
6. Ask for assistance. Are you getting bogged down with the details and don't know where to begin? As a professional organizer, I can help you to create some time management tools you can use to supplement these suggestions so that you can enjoy the holidays with less stress. (Feel free to contact me.)
In the coming weeks, I will be providing more tips on how to get and stay organized through the holiday season.
In the meantime, I am sending you best wishes for a happy and ORGANIZED Thanksgiving holiday.
Friday, November 01 2013
Most of us have a desire to maintain organization in our homes. We strive to keep our homes de-cluttered and organized on a regular basis. Sometimes that is easier said than done.
Life gets busy. Items enter the home and don't get put where they belong. So, how, you ask, can I keep clutter in my home under control. The answer is having habits and routines that you follow consistently. Here are a few:
1. Make it easy. Complex routines that require more than three steps can be difficult to maintain. Create simple routines that are easy for you to manage. Be sure the system works for your current lifestyle. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right solution. Some examples are to get up 30 minutes earlier to allow time to get things done; keep a donation box inside your closet, sort your mail on a daily basis. These are easy but productive ways to stay uncluttered.
2. Do it regularly. To maintain a clutter-free environment in your home, it requires an ongoing process. This is not "one and done". Add some time to your calendar on a regular basis for a specific amount of time (for example 30 minutes a day and 60 minutes on the weekend) to go through your home and put things away.
3. Do what's right for you. Be sure to incorporate the right strategies and tools that work for you. Don't do something just because it's popular. Use techniques that suit your personality. For example, you can use a notebook or perhaps a digital option to remind you to get things done. There is no right or wrong solution. The best solution is the one that works best for you!
4. Put it away not down. It is best to touch something once instead of over and over again. Put things away the first time instead of just laying them down. This will avoid you having to take additional time to put it away later. This will avoid clutter piling up and you will always know where to find something without having to search for it.
5. A place for everything and everything in it's place. I grew up hearing my grandmother saying this all the time. Be sure to have a home for everything. It is much easier to put things away when you have a place to store them. Put items where you tend to use them.
6. Be selective when making purchases. I always teach my client to purchase with intent. Purchases made without much thought have a greater chance of not being used. Attempt to plan out your purchases before you go to the store or order on line. (This applies to groceries, clothing, toys, etc.) Think about where you are going to put the item when you get home. (Other than the kitchen table.) If you are purchasing a piece of art work for your walls, do you have room on a wall to hang it? Do you already have 8 pair of black pants? Chances are you don't need another pair. The fewer things you have, the less you have to maintain and store!
These habits can sometimes be overwhelming until you can find balance in your home. If you are having some difficulty with this aspect of organizing, contact me at email@example.com. I am here to help.
Until next time, happy organizing!
Wednesday, October 02 2013
Are you struggling with debt? Are you fed up and ready to do something about it? Is your debt weighing you down? Perhaps its time to go on a debt diet.
If you are seriously ready to gain control of your finances, I have some ways to help.
1. Figure out your total debt. Do you have any idea how much you owe? Do you know what the current interest rate is on each of your credit cards? Are you able to figure out how long it is going to take you to pay off your debt? Collect all of your monthly statements and make a list. When you have a clear picture of your financial obligations, you will be able to make better decisions about how to manage it.
2. Stop spending. You need to start by figuring out where the money is coming in from and then where it is going. Most people discover that they are spending more than they are making. Figure out what things you could easily do without and stop spending money on them.
3. Prioritize your debt. There is a difference between secured and unsecured debt. Secured debt has an underlying asset, such as your home or car that can be repossessed if you don't make payments. Unsecured debt does not have assets backing them up. The worst that can happen is that your credit score drops. Make sure to pay on the secured debt first. Be sure to pay your taxes to keep Uncle Sam happy. Then, pay those credit cards with a focus on those with the highest interest rates. Try to pay more than the minimal balance.
4. Repay your debt. First you want to reduce your interest rates. Start by learning your credit score by getting a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to a free report once a year from the various reporting agencies. What is your FICO score? If it is not above 720 (a perfect score is 850), work to raise it by paying all of your bills on time and not applying for any new cards. Every time your apply for a new credit card, your FICO score goes down. Every time you make a late payment your FICO score goes down. Every time you cancel a credit card, your FICO score goes down. Take steps to avoid doing these. With a higher score you can contact a Customer Service supervisor and attempt to get a better rate. You could refinance a car loan for a lower rate. Consolidate student loans, refinance your mortgage. Then, put as much money as you can toward paying off those bills.
4. Create a monthly plan. Attempt to spend no more than 35% on housing expenses (including taxes, insurance, upkeep and your mortgage). Attempt to spend no more than 15% on transportation (including gas, insurance, car payments). Put 10% of your income away for savings. Put 15% towards repayment of debt including credit cards and 25% on other aspects of your life.
5. Earn more money and make hard choices. Ask for a raise. Sell some valuable items. If you are unable to do so, you might need to sell your car or look for a less expensive place to live.
Do you need to go on a debt diet? You might want to start with my U CAN DO IT BUDGETING SYSTEM. It is an easy 6-step process to figure out what is coming in, what is going out and where it is going. Simply visit my ABS Store right here on my website. You can download it immediately and begin your debt diet today!
In the meantime, happy organizing!
Wednesday, August 21 2013
When was the last time you took a good look around your home? Is it time for a change?
I recently met with a new client who has lived in her home for about 18 years. She lives alone.
As we went through the home I learned that she does not use her dining room in the traditional sense. She does not have dinner parties or sit-down dinners with friends or family. She uses the space to gather paperwork as it comes in the door.
This prompted me to ask her if she would be interested in converting this space into a home office. Upon some consideration, my client decided this was a good idea. As a school teacher, she has a lot of paperwork to process and needs a larger and brighter area in which to work, rather than her current space in an area of her basement.
The dining room is spacious enough for a long table or desk and a filing cabinet to store her personal paperwork and school work. It is set off from the foyer so it is not the first thing you see when you enter the home. It's the perfect solution as it would eliminate the need to go downstairs to the small cramped area in the basement to work. My client would have easy access to the kitchen and powder room as needed.
When I purchased my home, the builder had intended the room next to the kitchen to be a family room. I already had a living room on the first floor so another family room would not suit my personal needs. Instead of having a small dining area divided by a pony wall in the living room, I decided to make the intended family room into a nice-sized dining room where I could easily entertain and serve my guests from the kitchen.
Just because a room is originally intended for a certain purpose does not mean that is what you have to have it be. Change a dining room into a home office! Change a family room into a dining room! It's okay! The point is to create a home that suits your personal needs - and this might change over time.
So, I suggest that you take a look around your home. Are there areas of the home that are not being used because their original intent no longer fits your needs? Is it time for a change?
If you need assistance in creating organized and functional spaces in your home, I can help. You deserve A Better Space.
In the meantime, leave me your comments about the areas of your home that you would like to change or have already changed to accommodate your current needs. This might inspire others to do the same.
Have a great week!
Saturday, July 13 2013
Clutter is not just clutter. There are more deep-seated reasons why we can be plagued with it.
Most reasons fall into one of three categories:
1. External - Living with a cluttered parent/roommate/spouse or inherited clutter.
Clutter rooted in external causes can be tricky to overcome. You might not be able to
transform someone else completely, which means you may be continually plagued with clutter to
some degree as long as you live in the same space with them.
If you are struggling with inherited clutter, the situation can be stressful as you are required to take
the time to sort through the items you have acquired. The good news is that this type of clutter
will most likely be short-term. A professional organizer can identify the external reasons and provide
solutions that work for everyone involved.
2. Behavioral - Mediocre decision-making skills, lack of energy, poor categorization and
Clutter resulting from behavioral causes or lack of skill can be more manageable than other
categories of clutter. You can learn and/or improve skill sets, change habits and discover ways to
increase energy levels. It can take some time to overcome these behaviors, but it is possible to do
so within a reasonable amount of time with practice. A professional organizer can help you to identify
and improve your skills and habits more efficiently.
3. Internal - Grief, depression, anxiety, lack of trust, overly sentimental.
Internal clutter is similar to external clutter in that its solutions vary greatly from situation to
situation. In most cases, working with a licensed mental health practitioner or doctor in conjunction
with a professional organizer is a positive step in the right direction. For those that are overly
sentimental, uncluttering assistance from a professional organizer might be all that is needed.
Sometimes it can be more difficult or a slower process, but there are tools that you can learn to
better manage the situation or solve it altogether. Seeking help from an outside source is generally a
You might find that your clutter is stemming from more than one of these three categories at the
same time or perhaps by another cause. Clutter can be a complex issue, but knowing why it is in
your life can go a long way in helping your find a solution that works for you.
If you find that you are overwhelmed with your clutter, no matter what the cause, I can help you to
identify the why and find solutions that work specifically for you. I am here to help.
Contact me to schedule a phone consultation if you would like to discuss your particular situation in
Monday, July 01 2013
Is there such a thing as a fake de-clutterer? Yes, there is!
As crazy as it might sound, it's true.
Do you find that you are telling people you are organized, but instead you are just moving the clutter from one room to another? This is not de-cluttering. De-cluttering involves the elimination of items that are no longer needed or wanted, not just moving them around. You still end up with the same amount of things, they are just located elsewhere.
Does your home appear neat and organized until you open up a closet door and it is crammed with stuff? This is not de-cluttering. It's hiding. Even your closets, drawers and cabinets should be clutter-free. How many sets of linens or towels do you have? How much clothing is crammed into your closet that you don't wear? Is your pantry filled with expired food?
Is the first floor and second floor of your home in good shape clutter-wise but your basement is another story? Is your garage a dumping ground for the items you just don't know what to do with?
Even if you have items categorized and neatly organized in plastic containers or boxes, you can still have clutter.
Do you just have too much "stuff"? Perhaps you have a container with hundreds of twist ties. There is no problem keeping a certain amount, but you need to pay attention to the quantity of like-items you are keeping.
For example, do you have a lifetime supply of pens, pencils, notepads, grocery bags, hotel shampoos and soaps? (Just to name a few.) Anything in abundance can be considered clutter.
Keep in mind that you are not ridding yourself of clutter if you simply move things around to different locations, hide it or make everything look neater. It's still clutter. If items are useful but not being used by you, that's clutter too.
Here's what you can do:
1. Figure out why you are keeping certain items.
2. Think about the purpose of each item.
3. Create a plan and take action.
This doesn't have to be a difficult process. If it seems overwhelming to you, that's okay. With the help of a professional organizer like myself, you can eliminate that clutter and get organized once and for all. Don't be a fake!
Enjoy the upcoming 4th of July holiday and declare your independence from clutter! If you need my assistance, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Monday, June 03 2013
It's very common to add more to our lives by adding something - a bigger home, more clothing, more decorations, more, more, more...
However, the funny thing is - less is actually more.
Last weekend I decided to declutter and organize my own home. I had been spending so much time helping others get organized, I was neglecting my own space. Over time, things built up and it was time to do something about it.
Being a professional organizer, I know all too well that less is more. When you clear out the clutter in your home and in your head, you clear out the clutter in your life.
Sometimes, our clutter means that we have too many time commitments.
I decided to commit Memorial Day weekend to my own home and did not commit to any social activities. I knew that if I committed this block of time to this project, I would be able to enjoy the rest of the Summer. That was my motivation.
I systematically went through my home, starting on the second floor and moving down to the first floor, one room at a time; just like what I do when working with my clients when they hire me to organize their homes. I cleaned, I decluttered, I organized. I worked 12 hours a day for two days. It was a lot of work, but, oh, it felt so good! During this week, I am going to work on my basement and storage room. Then, my entire home will be organized!
Here are four steps you can take to create more with less:
1. Enlist an "accountability partner". Select someone who is committed to supporting you and perhaps creating change in their own life. This "accountability partner" can be a friend, family member or even a professional organizer like myself to keep you focused and moving forward.
2. Make a list. Break down the various areas of your home that you wish to tackle and create a chronological list so you can check them off as you go and get that wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end. As you think of things you need to do or want to purchase, write them down as well. This will keep you on track.
3. Subtract as you go. Look closely at what you have and eliminate the excess. It could be clothing, paperwork, old linens, pantry food items, etc. Take the time to truly evaluate what you need and will use. Don't create excuses for keeping something you know you will never use.
4. Find the additions. This does not mean that you find more stuff to keep. It means finding the joy in having less. Celebrate your successes by inviting people over to see what you have accomplished. Enjoy your new space and "live" in your home. Your have now created more space for good things to enter your life.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and need assistance in creating a home you enjoy living in and are ready to eliminate your clutter, once and for all, contact me. I can help you to create a step-by-step system so you can have A Better Space.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, March 24 2013
More and more people are starting home-based businesses these days. Did you know that it is expected that there will be more than 20 million home-based business in the United States by the end of 2013?
I have been in business almost nine years. I have found that there are some great advantages:
- I can create a flexible work schedule.
- I can control my work environment.
- I can deduct a portion of my home expenses on my income tax return.
- I have created a great sense of independence by being my own boss.
- I focus on doing what I enjoy the most - helping others get organized
- I find it easier to balance work and personal responsibilities.
- I have an overall greater level of fulfillment and satisfaction in my life.
However, there are some disadvantages that you need to learn to overcome:
- It can be difficult to turn work "off" when your workspace and personal space are intertwined.
- Working from home can be very isolating.
- Home-based businesses can cause stress on the family.
- It can be difficult to grow your business working as a solo-preneur.
- Depending on the type of business you have, you need to consider if there are zoning regulations you need to explore.
The key to running a successful home-based business is organization, commitment and accountability.
CREATE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE. It is critical that you have a separate workspace in your home away from your personal space. You can use a bedroom, a section in your basement or even change a formal living room into a home office. Find a location where your work will not interfere with your family life. At the end of the day, you want to be able to walk away from it.
YOU MUST GET ORGANIZED! It can be overwhelming but it is the key to your success. Create a space where you have everything you need close by to run a successful business. It is important to know where everything is located at all times. By doing so, you will stop wasting time. Adding up all the times throughout the day that you cannot locate something and having to try to find it will make you realize how much time you are wasting. Being organized with reduce stress. By doing so, you will enable yourself to think more clearly and make decisions faster.
SET A SCHEDULE. One of the biggest transformations that occurs when you start your home-based business is the difficulty in determining your work schedule. When you work from home, you are not necessarily working 9-5 like you might have in the past. Your day might be divided into chunks, especially if you have children. You might work in the morning and then when the children come home from school, you take four or five hours to be a parent. You will probably need to return to your "office" later that evening and work some more. If you are in direct sales, you might be doing in-home parties at nights and on weekends. You might need to attend networking events several nights a week. You should determine a schedule that best fits your needs for your business and your personal life.
UNPLUG. Besides closing the door to your office space, you need to unplug. It is helpful to end your work day by clearing up your desk and writing a "to do" list for the next day. Otherwise, your mind will race alll through the night with thoughts of what you need or want to do. You will feel overwhelmed and exhausted. If you don't take some "me time" at the end of the day, you willl burn out fast. That will take a toll on your body and in the end, will cost you money.
GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Find someone you can account to on a weekly basis. Decide what you want to accomplish. Let them know what you intend to do and the following week you can detail what you did in the past week. If you get stuck, you can bounce ideas off of them to get your past your obstacle so you can keep moving forward. Accountability is a powerful tool in growing your business.
When I work with people who have home-based businesses, I focus on paper management, time management and putting in customized systems to maximize potential.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized when it comes to your home-based business, contact me. I can help. I can provide you with a system made just for you and be an accountability partner so you can maximize the potential for growth in your business.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, February 24 2013
Last week I addressed the issue of spousal clutter. I explained the reasons why your spouse, partner or roomate might be causing clutter.
This week I would like to provide you with some routines you and your family can begin to implement to bust through that clutter.
- When you finish reading a magazine or newspaper, process the information and recycle the rest. Did you find a great recipe in your favorite magazine, an article your spouse might enjoy or a coupon for your local store? Pull them out from the magazine or newspaper and immediately recycle the rest. Stacks of magazines or newspapers cause clutter.
- Leave enough room in your coat closet for coats, jackets, boots and accessories. If your coat closet is too full, it's difficult to put things away and retrieve them easily. Clear out the items that do not belong in the closet. Create sufficient room for hangers, the floor and top shelf so that these items don't end up scatttered throughout your home.
- Keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bureaus and tables are all culprits for clutter. Having a home for paperwork is the key to success. Create a system that works and you will avoid flat surface clutter.
- Wash dishes right away. Do not put dishes in the sink after using them. Immediately handwash them and put them in a drain board or load them into the dishwasher. It will take less time than you think to do this. Otherwise, you end up creating a "project" and we just don't have the time for that! Take the time to do this as you go and you will avoid sink clutter.
- Take five and grab ten. It will only take you about five minutes to grab ten articles of clothing from your bedroom closet or drawers that you no longer want or wear and put them in a box for donation or in the trash if they are no longer useable. This will free up space for the clothes you do want to keep. This will avoid clothing clutter.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know which tips you plan to implement. If you need assistance in setting up some systems in your home to make these areas clutter free, let me know. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Saturday, February 09 2013
Wow! January was crazy busy for A Better Space. So many people contacted me to help them get organized. That is why I did not blog in almost a month! I believe we can all find a little time in our day to get organized, right?
If you need to get organized but can't seem to find the time, I have some suggestions for things you can do to at least get started. They only require about 15 minutes a day! I am sure you can carve out 15 minutes out of your day to get some organizing done.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Organize a 15 minute family pick-up. Get everyone involved to go around the house and gather up items that do not belong in that particular room and put them away. (This can be done on a daily basis to keep the clutter under control.)
2. Gather your remote controls for the television and gaming devices in your family room and put them into one basket. If there are similar devices in other rooms, do the same thing.
3. Go through your sock drawer. Gather those single socks, ones that are worn out or no longer worn. Old socks sometimes make great handheld dusters. Only keep a few for this purpose, though. The rest have to go! Pair up the rest and put them away.
4. Match your plastic containers with their lids. Go into your kitchen and gather all of your plastic containers and plastic lids. Put the lids on the containers and get rid of the ones that don't have a matching lid. Reduce the amount that you have if you have too many. With the lids in place, you will never have to find a matching lid again.
5. Do a clothing toss. Go through your closet and quickly eliminate those items you no longer like, you never wear or no longer fit. Donate the items that are still in good condition.
6. Do a medicine cabinet review. Eliminate old or expired medications. Only keep the items you still use. Old medications can be returned to your pharmacist to recycle.
7. Organize your bathroom towels. Go through the linen closet and get rid of the old and worn out towels you no longer use. Only keep enough on hand for one week's use. Too many towels means too much clutter.
8. Check the back of the fridge. You probably have items that have gotten pushed to the back of the refrigerator and are no longer useable. Get rid of them and then organize like items together in the fridge so you can easily find what you need when you need it. Keep leftovers at the front so they get used up first.
There are many other ways to get organized in just 15 minutes. What will you do to get your home organized with just 15 minutes a day? I would love to hear your ideas and we can share them with others.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, January 14 2013
Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a fan of the winter months. The snow can be pretty but I do not like cold weather.
However, there is a reason for me to love the month of January. It's National Get Organized Month! What better month is there for a professional organizer like myself.
I don't know about you but I do like to start off the New Year with a new start. I have been diligently working in my own home to rid it of clutter. Understand that it is not out of hand but there are still things that need to be gone through and eliminated.
I started the month by working in my clothes closet in my master bedroom. I have a nice size walk-in closet and it is easy to fill it with clothes, shoes and accessories. As busy as I can get with my business, I tend to not review my wardrobe as often as I should. I do go through and eliminate items as I put them on and find that I don't want them anymore, but this time was different. I took the time to actually try on pants, jackets, dresses, skirts and tops. I was amazed at what I found; namely, two and a half trash bags of clothes that no longer fit or that I liked. Wow, I could not believe that I have held onto that many articles of clothing that no longer serve me.
Granted, I put on some weight over the Summer and it is likely I will not return back to the weight that will allow me to get back in these clothes again. What can I say, I am getting older and my body type has changed. Moving on... I am realistic enough to know that holding onto these clothes is not in my best interest. I do not live with "Someday Syndrome".
As I continue to work through my home to eliminate the excess, I am feeling the difference. My home actually feels lighter and more spaceous. It brings a sense of calm.
So let me ask you. What are you doing to lighten the load in your house during this year's National Get Organized Month?
If you need any assistance in doing so, let me know. I can help. In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, January 08 2013
One of my goals for the New Year was to go through my wardrobe and weed out what no longer fits or I no longer like. Happens to all of us!
I am fortunate to have lots of closet space in my home, but the down side of that can be that I fill it. My wardrobe has become quite extensive as a result. I had room for everything but I decided it was just too much.
Little did I know, that when I went through my walk-in closet and guest room closet, that I would be eliminating as much as I did. (I didn't even get to the shoes or my dressers yet!)
I decided to view my wardrobe as if I was shopping. I would try on clothes and look in the mirror. I asked myself several questions:
"Do I still like this item?"
"Do I like the way it looks on me?" And most importantly,
"If I were to try this on in a store, would I buy it?"
If the answer to any of these questions was "No", it was removed from the wardrobe.
I had suits, pants, tops, dresses, skirts and jackets that I swore still fit me. However, when I went to try them on, I found out differently. Some classic suits had been in my wardrobe for years. I discovered I had tops, pants and skirts that were no longer comfortable. Admittedly, I have put on some weight so those clothes no longer fit. It was now time to get rid of them. Realisticall, I will never be a Size 0 or Size 2 again.
Using the last question I think is the most important and easiest to detemine whether to keep something in your wardrobe. This can apply to everything you wear - jewelry, purses, belts, scarves, etc. I believe it eliminates the "Someday Syndrome" or the "Maybe" syndrome. It helps you to be more definitive about your decisions.
So the next time you are going through your closets and your drawers, pretend you are shopping and ask yourself "If I were to try this on in a store, would I buy it?" If not, either throw it away or, better yet, donate the clothing to your local non-profit such as Goodwill. Others will appreciate your contribution and it can be a tax deduction.
If you have difficulty weeding through your wardrobe, contact me. I can help. Remember, less is more!
In the meantime, have a great day!
Wednesday, January 02 2013
Happy New Year Everyone! OMG - Where did the year go? I don't know about you but I had a crazy busy year and it just flew by. I was so busy in December that I did not post more than one blog (Sorry about that!), but I am back in 2013 to again blog on a regular basis to keep you on track for getting and staying organized.
I am working diligently on my health and well being. I am drinking lots of water, eating three meals a day and eating more fruits and vegetables, leaving less room for junk food and taking a walk every afternoon.
I think at the end of the year I fell off the cliff a bit and now getting myself back on track.
One goal that many set for the New Year is to be more aware of their finances. With the "fiscal cliff" not being resolved in time for the New Year, I think it is more important than ever for all of us to track our expenses.
Although we will be putting out more for taxes (and milk!) and perhaps losing some benefits, I truly believe we can make a budget that works for us.
Looking carefully at your expenses and seeing where you can make better choices is key. Taking a look at your priorities and the long term benefits of your financial decisions is vital. Investing in hiring a professional organizer is a good example.
Since becoming a professional organizer over 8 years ago, I have worked with clients time and time again to help them create a household budget based on their income and help them create a plan to get out of debt if need be. Talk about long term effects!
My personal circumstances have changed over the years, but one thing stayed the same - I use a budget to keep track of my income and expenses. For the past 15 years, I am proud to say that I have been completely debt free. I do have a mortgage and a car payment each month but if I put anything on a credit card, it is paid by the end of the month. No interest fees for me!
Although this Country has fallen off the "Fiscal Cliff", we can make strides to not do the same thing personally. Creating a budget and knowing what is coming in and what is going out will avoid our own "cliff".
Setting manageable goals and sticking with them, whether it is financial or otherwise is important.
If you need assistance in creating a budget, I recommend that you check out my "U Can Do It Budgeting System" at my ABS Store. This system can be downloaded immediately and you can begin to create your very own budget for the New Year!
Need assistance with budgeting or any other type of organization to get your New Year off to a great start? Contact me. I am here to help.
Monday, December 03 2012
With the holiday season in fulll swing and the New Year right around the corner, many people begin to evaluate the past year and start thinking about the future. People think about what they had intended to accomplish in the past year and note the things that just did not get done. Then, they begin to look towards the New Year as a time to reset some goals and plan for the future.
It's a time for reflection and planning.
For me, I love the prospect of a New Year. It gives me the opportunity to take a look at what I accomplished (or did not accomplish) in the past year, both personally and professionally. It gives me a chance to re-evaluate my priorities. Are there things I wanted to get done but did not? Are the things I intended to do this past year still important?
The New Year gives me a chance to plan for the coming year. What do I want to accomplish THIS year?
I have always been an advocate of writing things down. At this time, especially, I find this true. I like to take some time and make a comprehensive list of projects and "To Do's".
That comprehensive list then gets planned out over the coming year. I pick my priorities, one by one, and work on them. When something is completed, I select another.
You might have set some goals last year and found you did not complete them as planned. Why not start fresh?
Do you need to do some home improvement projects? Do you want to lose weight and be healthier? Do you want to get your finances in order or get out of debt? Do you want to improve a relationship with a friend or family member? The choices are endless.
Do yourself a favor. Take some time in the next week or so and reflect on where you have been and where you want to go in your life. Start planning now for the New Year by setting some goals and create a list of the things you want to accomplish.
If getting organized is on your list, seek out the assistance of a professional organizer who can help you to set those goals and get them accomplished.
Enjoy this holiday season and the opportunity for a fresh start in 2013!
Monday, October 15 2012
There comes a time when most people need to reach out and ask for help to get organized. It can be prompted by life changes such as marriage, divorce, birth of baby, empty nest, death of a loved one, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, downsizing, etc.
No matter what the reason may be, people reach out to me for organzing help mostly because of the following:
1. I'd like to be organized, but I never learned how.
2. I am overwhelmed and frozen. I don't know where to start.
3. I do not have enough space for my stuff.
4. I do not have enough time to get things done. My To-Do List goes on forever.
5. When I go to purchase organizing products, I don't know what to buy or where to get the best products.
6. My kids are out of the house and my parents have passed away. I have too many things that I have held on to and need help letting go.
7. I know what I want to accomplish but I can't figure out how to get there.
8. I know that the only way I will get organized is if I have an accountability partner who can guide me through the process.
9. I'm organized but my spouse is not. It's driving me crazy and I don't know what to do.
10. I have ADD and having difficulty staying focused and organized. I need to figure out systems that work for me.
Do any of these sound familiar? It could be one reason or a few. No matter, a professional organizer like myself is skilled in these areas and can help you to get "unstuck" and moving forward towards a decluttered, organized and stress free home and life.
Comment below and let me know which of these are keeping you stuck. I am here to help if you need further assistance.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, September 11 2012
As you may or may not know, this professional organizer was blessed with a son who has ADHD. This month is National ADHD Awareness Month so I thought it appropriate to discuss time management. It tends to be one of the bigger issues for adults with ADHD.
My son, now age 21, is notorious for procrastinating. He loves to sleep, usually from 3:00 a.m. until whatever time he needs to get up, either for school or work. The thing is, he waits til the very last minute to get up, grab a shower and run out the door.
Today he has classes from 8:00 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. This morning I suggested, gently of course, that perhaps he take something to eat with him since it will be many hours until he gets home. I suggested quickly grabbing a bagel, so he would at least have something. He is not one to pack a lunch the night before, no matter how many times I recommend this. (Since he is 21, I no longer make lunches for him. Call me a bad mom.) His response was "But...I don't have any time!". Seriously? He didn't have time to open the fridge and grab a bagel, put it in a sandwich bag and head out the door. (He doesn't do breakfast.) I think not!
Here's my theory. We all have 24 hours in a day. It's what we do with them that counts. If he would have just simply woken up 15 minutes earlier, he would have had the time to take his shower and grab that bagel to take with him.
In other words, it does take some preparation and some thought as to what we need to do and how much time we need to do it. Then we prepare accordingly. Waking up 15 minutes earlier could have made such a difference for him.
I am still working with him on this issue, but here is some "food" for thought (no pun intended, well...maybe) for those of you that find that you are running out of time in the morning to get out the door. Simply prepare.
To start, make a list of what you need to do and then estimate how long it will take you to do it. Then add a cushion of time to avoid that last minute rushing around.
Simply by taking some time (of which we all have the same amount) to get organized and create a plan, you will find that you are no longer saying "But...I don't have any time!".
Try it out and let me know how you make out. If you need some addidtional help, let me know. I am here when you are ready.
In the meantime, take some "time" today to remember 9-11-01. I think we can all find a few minutes today to do so.
Monday, August 06 2012
We certainly live in a fast-paced world these days, don't we? The stresses associated with work, home and our social lives can leave us feeling overwhelmed and disorganized.
However, a disorganized life is often the culmination of a number of bad habits. And we all know that habits can be changed.
By making a few small changes in how we do things can make dramatic changes in your life from one of chaos to calm.
Here are a few to try. Now remember, it takes about 21 to 30 days to form a habit so give yourself some time to form that new habit. Be patient, but persistent.
1. CHAOS - cleaning the entire home when it is trashed. CALM - cleaning a little bit each day and tidying up each night.
2. CHAOS - dropping your mail on the dining room table and going through it once in a while. CALM - sorting through your mail daily and immediately recycling and shredding the items you don't need.
3. CHAOS - tossing your keys or cell phone on the nearest table or counter, hoping to remember where they are the next time you need them. CALM - having a designated spot for your keys, purse, cell phone, etc. so you don't waste your precious time searching for them.
4. CHAOS - tossing dirty clothes and wet towels on the bathroom or bedroom floor. CALM - immediately putting dirty clothes in the hamper and wet towels on a hook or separate hamper.
5. CHAOS - scrounging around the pantry at 5:00 p.m. wondering what to make for dinner. CALM - planning your means a week at a time so you know what you are making and be confident you have everything that you need.
There are many other ways to turn your chaos into calm. What suggestions do you have? I would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, July 31 2012
Are you familiar with an old song done by Neil Sedaka - Breaking Up Is Hard To Do?
Well, he's right. I recently ended a long relationship with a man and it was so hard to do. It took me some time to get up the nerve to do it and prepare my thoughts for how I was going to break the news to him. It included lots of anxiety. Now that it is behind me, I am experiencing a sense of relief. I have cleared space in my life for new opportunities.
It got me thinking that the same is true when you are in the process of decluttering and parting with items that you believe are so near and dear to your heart that you can have anxiety attacks, become frozen and emotionally distraught.
Eliminating clutter can be difficult and overwhelming at times, especially when you have to make those tough decisions about certain items. As a professional organizer, I work with most of my clients, at one point or another, on just such issues. Sometimes there are tears, anxiety or even resistence to what they know, deep down inside, needs to be done.
Emotional attachment issues connected with material things need to be dealt with by taking small manageable steps. I always tell my clients that, although they may have collections of items from a relative or friend that either passed away or reminds them of a special time in their life, they all tend to evoke the same memory and can be downsized considerably without erasing the memory of the person or event. People are afraid that they will forget - they won't.
Sometimes it's guilt that prevents them from getting rid of things. Someone gave it to them and, although they don't particularly like the item, or collection of items, they've held onto them because they feel bad about letting them go.
My philosophy is that once the item is given to someone, the giver of the item gives up their right to it and it becomes the responsibility of the person they gave it to. It is up to that person to decide whether to keep it or get rid of it. If the giver is keeping such close tabs on what they give to you, causing guilt, you need to have a conversation with that person. This emotional burden needs to be lifted.
Being realistic about what makes sense to hold on to and what makes sense to get rid of is not always easy. It helps to remember that less is more. As in ending a relationship with a person, ending a relationship with a material thing can be very very difficult, yet very freeing.
Although "breaking up IS hard to do", it can be done. By eliminating the clutter that inhabits your space and that sense of overwhelm that comes as a result, you will feel free as well.
If you are having trouble letting go of those items, utilizing the services of a professional organizer can help.
Thursday, July 05 2012
Although the title of my blog might be evoking cooler temperatures on this steamy July day, I want to talk today about the current state of your home.
How long have you lived in your home? When was the last time you made some changes to the look, feel and functionality of your home? These are important questions to consider. Why? Because we tend to get "frozen in time".
Working in hundreds of homes over the years, I find it a common problem that people live their lives day after day, year after year, without making any changes. It's inevitable that your life has gone through changes since you originally moved into your home. However, has your home kept up with those changes? Have you gotten married, had children, become an empty nester, a widow or widower, gotten divorced? These changes effect your lifestyle and therefore, should be reflected in your home.
Do you have double the items because you have gotten married or become a blended family? Do you now have children you did not have when you bought your home and need to find room for their things? Have the children gotten older and they no longer need or want older toys, games or clothing? Have your grown children moved out (or back home) and you now have a lot more room or a lot less, depending on your circumstances? Are you now divorced or widowed and living alone with the items from your spouses past?
This are major life changes that change your needs and desires for what your home should reflect. It is important to keep up with these changes. Weed out the old to make way for the new. Use certain rooms for new purposes - ie, using a child's old bedroom as a gym or home office. Make sure to use the space you have to its best potential - otherwise it becomes a storage space and not a functional home.
Take some time to walk through your home with a new set of eyes and make sure that it reflects your current situation. If not, make the changes necessary.
If this means eliminating the clutter and getting organized, then do it! If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact me. I am here to help.
In the meantime, I hope you had a nice July 4th holiday. Keep cool but don't be frozen!
Friday, June 15 2012
I get lot of calls from people who are in panic mode. They sound like they are ready to jump off the roof. They need to get organized and are at wits end. Wouldn't you assume that they are "committed" to making a change? I would. As it turns out, however, sometimes the fear of making a change deters them from making a commitment.
One day they call me and can't wait to get started and then the next day they call back and cancel. I hear lots of reason (or excuses) as to why, but I truly believe that it is the fear of commitment that prevents them from moving forward and making a change.
They might spend a restless night following our conversation on the phone worrying about what is going to transpire. Is Audrey going to invade my space, make me throw out everything, force me to do things I don't want to do? The answer is "no".
I am respectful of everyone's private space. I do not judge. I primarily see potential as opposed to the clutter that exhists. I help find that balance that provides calm and I never force anyone to do anything they don't want to do. I gently guide them towards the right decision.
However, I do require that my clients make a commitment and give it the sufficient time needed in order to see the process work itself through. When they commit to the process, amazing things occur in a very short period of time. The anxiety disappears and the peace and calm return to their living space. They can relax and enjoy their environment as perhaps they never did before.
I truly believe that "When you're simply interested in an outcome, you do what's convenient. When you're committed, you do whatever it takes." [John Assaraf].
When you are truly ready to make a change and get organized, you need to be committed. No excuse in the world can stop you - money, time, outside influences.
Do yourself a favor and "commit". It promises to be life-changing.
If you feel overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact me and I will help.
In the meantime, have a great week and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL OF THE DADS IN MY ORGANIZING COMMUNITY!
Thursday, May 31 2012
The summer season has unofficially begun with Memorial Day Weekend and the official start is just around the corner. I am thinking that this is perhaps a good time to re-group.
With the start of the new season, the kids will be getting out of school and a more relaxed way of life can begin with the lazy days of Summer. Hopefully this time of year means less schedules to comply with and less structure can mean more relaxation.
This is a good time to consider your priorities and "re-group". Are there projects you have been meaning to get to but because of the craziness of the school term, you haven't found the time to get to them?
Take some time to consider what projects you would like to get off your "to do" list and then create a plan to get them done. Does the school paperwork need to be weeded out? Does the garage need to get organized to allow for Summertime toys (and maybe even that car!)? Does your wardrobe need to be gone through to determine what to keep, toss or donate to make more room in your closet?
I would suggest taking a tour of your home and creating a fresh new list of things to tackle. Walking through your home can provide the clarity you might need to create that list.
If you are in a state of overwhelm and don't know where to begin, contact me. I will be glad to help you "re-group" to get those projects taken care of so you can enjoy the rest of your Summer.
In the meantime, enjoy your week!
Monday, April 02 2012
I have been in business now eight years - hard to believe. In that time I have spoken with thousands of people about getting organized. Whether it is over the phone, by email or in person, everyone says they either want to get organized themselves, or knows of someone.
The truth is, when it comes right down to it, most people are not truly committed to getting organized. They just want a magic wand to be waived over their clutter to make it all just disappear. Sounds nice but, it's not going to happen!
If you are truly committed, you either jump in and do it yourself or reach out for help. This is not something that should be taken lightly. If you want changes to happen, you have to take action.
If you are at the point where you are in a state of overwhelm and just cannot seem to get it done yourself, contact a professional like myself to help you. Take action! Talking about it and then doing nothing about it will get you nowhere.
When you decide to hire a professional organizer, you need to be prepared for the commitment, not only to time but some expense. However, when the job is complete and you can move on with your life, the paybacks cannot even be measured.
Your entire life can change for the better. If you have ever taken the time to read some of the testimonials I have received from clients I have worked with in the past, you can see exactly how life changing it can be.
Do yourself a favor - commit to getting organized and if you need some professional help. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed. Get the help you need. You will be so glad you did. And lastly, when you make that commitment, stick with it. Make it the priority in your life that you so deserve. Don't let "stuff" get in your way of your focus. If it is that important to you, you can always find a way to make it happen. Trust me, I know!
I am here to help if you are ready to commit to getting and staying organized once and for all.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, March 20 2012
Last time, l spoke about tips to get organized for Daylight Savings Time. Now that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a good time to provide you with some tips for getting organized for the Spring season. After all, Spring is the time when we look forward to a fresh clean slate - in our homes and in our ourselves. Here are some ways to start off the season with some fresh ideas:
1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as sitting outside and reading a special book or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many at-home' spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. Whatever you choose to do, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for Spring.
2. Switch Out: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn't put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn't use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don't put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away.
3. Lighten Up: Clutter can't be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When your spaces are filled with things, your perception is that rooms are closing in on you. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten it up. The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale!
4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize your work-out routines. It's likely that through the winter you had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it's possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and change your schedule with some new scenery and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.
5. Cooking Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven't used and don't plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have eliminated those you don't want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week! Also, if you try a recipe and no one likes it--toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own cookbooks at all!
6. Trash Tattered Towels: Have your bath towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of Spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter like the SPCA. They will appreciate your donation. Take inventory what remains. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel.
7. Outdoor Organizing: With warmer weather, many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks. It's also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Did the cement or driveway crack over the winter? Does your house need a new coat of paint? Organize your gardening tasks and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar every weekend. Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant since all danger of frost is now past.
8. Organize Your Refrigerator: I always advise to do this before Thanksgiving but this is also a good time of year to organize the fridge. Organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small baskets or bins to group like items together. [CLEVER CONTAINER has a great line of bin organizers for your fridge and pantry. Check them out right on this website! Just look for the CLEVER CONTAINER tab on the home page. They are on Page 6 of the catalog.] Use them to put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator can be a welcome change!
Get Spring off to a good start but using the tips above and enjoy the season of new beginnings!
If you have any additional tips, we would love to hear from you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, March 05 2012
Clutter is one thing but when it's not yours, it's something else.
Here's the scenario:
You were always relatively organized. However, you had kids. Everyday you struggled to keep pace with their toys, electronics, paperwork, clothing and the like. Their stuff invaded your home from the moment they were born until the time they grew up and moved out.
And, finally, after all those years, they grew up and moved out. Okay we had to deal with "Empty Nest Syndrome" but, admittedly, a piece of us was thrilled! Yahoo! We finally had our space back and we could again control the environment in which we lived. Right? Wrong.
It is said that when they move out, they never really leave. Is that true in your household?
Two things could have happened. One, they moved back home again. "There's no place like home; there's no place like home", or, two, their stuff moved back home again. How did this happen? You were just getting used to having your own space and the calm that comes with it.
In the first scenario, your kids were so anxious to get out in the world and be in charge of their own destiny. (The grass is always greener on the other side, right?) Instead what happens is they find out they can't afford to make it on their own. This is more common than not these days due to our economy. So they move back home and bring all their stuff with them. (Probably more than what they left with!)
The second scenario is that your kids do move out but cannot afford a large enough space to hold all their stuff. So they turn to you and say, "Mom, can you hold onto a few things for me because I have no place to put them?" How many of us have heard that question?
Now what do we do? We want to help out our kids but still want to maintain the balance in our lives that we were finally able to obtain.
I have one word of advice - "BOUNDARIES". You need to set limits on the space that your returning kids can occupy and the stuff that comes with them. They cannot bring it all back and then some. Just like before, it is a shared space, but this time, they are adults and need to respect your boundaries.
You need to set boundaries on the amount of stuff you are holding onto for your kids who now reside in their own home. They need to learn to live within the space that they have and make choices. You have to and so do they. Remember, your home is not a storage unit!
Whether your kids are returning home to live or using your home to store their items, you need to sit down and talk with them about those boundaries and have them understand that they must be respected.
Spring is a great time of year to evaluate your current living situation. To me, it represents growth and change. It's time to make a change and claim your boundaries.
Until next time...
Thursday, January 12 2012
I am posting this blog one week after my official launch of my Clever Container business. I am an independent consultant for the only company in the United States that provides organizing products and education right in your own home when you host a party. As a consultant, I come to your home (in Bucks or Montgomery County, PA) and bring organizing products right to your home and educate your guests about how to get organized and the products they can use to do so. It is a great way to have some fun and get some great products at the same time. Anyone can order product from their catalog by using my Consultant ID#373 at www.clevercontainer.com.
I mention this because now I am technically running two businesses, A Better Space and my Clever Container organizing product business. Lately, I have felt that time is not on my side. Learning a new business is a challenge and I am determined to learn all that I can to provide the best service and products to my clients and customers. ln doing so, I have had to commit a lot of time and energy to spend the time necessary to do it right. That is my nature. It doesn't have to be perfect, mind you, but it needs to be the best it can be.
What that means, however, is that I have been getting up early and going to bed very late at night in order to stay on top of all that is necessary to keep it all running smoothly.
Very quickly, I learned, after seven and a half years of being in business as a professional organizer and now as a product consultant, that time is no longer on my side and I need some help.
I am taking the next step and will be looking for someone who can help me by doing some of the administrative work in my office either virtually or in person.
The reason I am telling you this is to show you that sometimes, we need to re-evaluate our situations and make the changes necessary in order to grow or improve because we sometimes need more time on our side and we can always find ways to do just that.
Do you need to find more time in your day? What can you do get more? Delegation is the key to success. I would love to hear from you what you have learned to delegate.
If you are struggling to figure it out and need some assistance, contact me. I would love to help you find more time in your day.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, January 02 2012
Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday season, but now it's time to get down to business.
As a women entrepreneur who began my Professional Organizing business over 7 years ago, I work with many other women entrepreneurs who struggle with time management and paper management in their home offices. As a result, I pay lots of attention to the struggles with growth and prosperity that entrepreneurs alike contend with.
There are many habits that can hold us back so I thought I would list some:
- Not returning phone calls.
- Being late for appointments.
- Not returning emails.
- Not having a schedule.
- Not filing important documents.
- Not saving money or paying yourself first.
- Failure to understand the law of reciprocity.
- Handling mail or email more than once.
- Forwarding nonsense emails.
- Not scheduling events.
- Not exercising.
- Lack of systems.
- Not choosing healthy foods.
- Not drinking enough water.
- Not taking time to rejuvenate.
- Watching meaningless television.
- Failure to invest in personal development.
- Failure to listen.
- Trying to be perfect.
- Waiting for the right moment.
- Failure to budget.
- Lacking or not providing sufficient or efficient communication.
- Having a messy or disorganized workspace or home.
- Unprofessional voice mail.
- Not having a dedicated workspace.
- Not having a business card.
Which of these apply to you? Choose two or three habits at a time and replace them with good ones.
If you need help with time management, paper management, or organizing your messy and disorganized workspace or home, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
Tuesday, December 06 2011
We can all acknowledge that this time of year can be very stressful. It seems like a whirlwind from Thanksgiving right thru to the end of the year.
I have business goals I want to reach by the end of the year, I prepare for my Thanksgiving feast several days in advance and then head right into decorating, sending out cards and shopping for the holidays. Before you know it, it's New Years Day.
Especially during this time of year, it is very important that we attempt to reduce our stress levels as we have so much to deal with in such a short period of time.
Stress can lead to clutter in our head. When we are stressed out, we tend to not think clearly and then can not visualize the path we need to take in order to get things done.
The best way to help clear the clutter in your head is to write things down. Make a list of all the things you need to get done either on paper or on your Smart Phone or other device that you use to keep track. Then, map out when you will do them and schedule it on your paper calendar or electronic device.
I make a habit of mapping out my "To Do's" on my big wall calendar (even up to a year in advance) and then create a daily "to do" list of things I need to accomplish - putting the most important things at the top of the list.
It is amazing how much you can accomplish when you do this. It tends to keep you more focused on the task at hand. You tend not to get so distracted by other things and, before you know, you can check it off your list.
Do yourself a favor this holiday season and reduce your stress by eliminating the clutter in head. Write it down.
Try this and let me know how you make out. I would love to get your feedback and hear about your experiences.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, November 27 2011
When is it time to let go of the past? I am speaking of those items that represent the past, and not necessarily in a good or bad way. It could be either.
My first husband, Paul, died of cancer over 14 years ago at the age of 40. His legacy, aside from our son, was his treasured music collection - LPs for the most part. When I relocated from our marital property into my current home after he passed away, I transported the large collection and for the past 14 years, they have been stored in my storage room. They were stored in a way that was unobtrusive and so they sat, well preserved.
At first I thought I would hold onto them because, not only did they represent a direct emotional connection to my late husband, but that they would increase in value. Besides his passion for music, it was one of the reasons he kept such a collection. I was carrying on his wishes. Also, knowing they were with me in my home made me feel that a part of him was always with me.
I married again in 2002 and accumulated items with my second husband until we separated in 2009. We traveled, we spent holidays with our combined family and when we split up, some of the items from our past remained.
This year I turned 50 and my divorce was finalized. I have spent a great deal of time evaluating where I have been, where I am now and where I want to be in the future. The "stuff" is no longer a part of the picture. I am ready to let go of the past.
I am selling the large music collection and going through my home, room by room, and getting rid of the things that remind me of my failed second marriage. It's time. I want to focus on who I am today and what that represents to me. The sad memories and the "stuff" associated with it no longer belong in my life. The music collection no longer holds that emotional connection to Paul. The wedding presents from my second marriage no longer evoke fond memories.
Letting go of the past can be very healing in a lot of ways and one of the ways is by getting rid of the "clutter". I believe that you should only hold onto the good memories and you can do it with a lot less "stuff".
So, what things are you holding on to that evoke sad or bad memories of your past? Perhaps its time to let them go.
If you need assistance with this or any other aspect of organization, let me know. I am here to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, November 15 2011
Sometimes, in order to stay organized, you need to break some bad habits that you have had for quite some time. This comes into play especially after you have worked to create organizing systems in your home and in your life.
You can put systems into place, but if you end up reverting back to those bad habits you have had all along, chances are those systems will not continue to work.
Good habits are things you do each and every day that, over time, gradually lead you towards becoming the person you truly strive to be. Sometimes, habits are formed to achieve your most important goals in life - like getting organized.
On the flip side, bad habits are those things you do repeatedly that make you unhappy and move you further away from achieving your goals.
The good news is that it IS possible to overcome bad habits - but it does take practice. They say it takes about 21 to 30 days for something to become a habit.
When it comes to habits, we experience a specific trigger, which could be a thought, a feeling or a situation. In response to this trigger, we activate a response and that leads us to perform a certain action.
You can change this process by using 5 steps:
1. Identify a specific bad habit to focus on
2. Break the bad habit down to a Trigger and a Response.
3. Create a new response
4. Mentally practice your new response
5. Implement your new response in the real world.
You can utilize this practice when it comes to getting and STAYING organized. Utilize the new tools you learned and implement them on a regular basis so that they become a habit. It just might not need to take you 21 to 30 days to do so. If the habit is that easy, you just might find it takes much less time to implement.
*Please note that some of the information contained within this blog was provided by Dr. Anthony Fernando www.anthonyfernando.com.
What new organizing habits have you recently acquired? I would love to hear your thoughts.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Monday, October 17 2011
I don't know what has happened lately, but I feel that my list of things to do has become endless. Not only professionally, but personally as well.
Lately I have consolidated bank accounts to make things easier, changed my credit card features to provide me with more "perks", purchased a new car and am transferring my old car to my son, and handling all that goes with these transitions. Not to mention, all of the other things that need to get addressed on a day-to-day basis.
Professionally, I have been working with my clients and accommodating their changing schedules, writing articles, blogs and my newsletter, preparing for various public speaking engagements and taking classes online to provide the best service to more people.
Whew! Many people know how busy I am and wonder how I get it all done.
My key to success is taking all the clutter in my head and writing it down on paper. Then I have my "To Do" list. As my day progresses and new things come across my plate, I write them down on a pad of paper (not a bunch of notes on different pieces of paper). Every evening I evaluate my list and select the items I need to tackle the next day. They go on my "To Do" list for the next day. One by one, I work through my list and VOILA! I get it done. You can do the same thing with an electronic device, if you wish.
I find that writing it all down takes the pressure off of having to remember everything and an itemized list is easy to follow and check off items as I go.
Do you have a bunch of things you need to get accomplished? Do you have a "To Do" list? I would love to hear from you as to how you manage your "To Do" list.
In the meantime, if you are feeling overwhelmed with any type of clutter or organizing issues, please feel free to contact me. I am glad to help.
Have a great week!
Wednesday, September 28 2011
Most recently, my friend and colleague has begun writing a book about making choices. This prompted me to think more about the ability to get organized by making wise choices.
For me personally, I have been provided with numerous offers to write and speak on various topics relating to organization. I am thrilled about these offers, don't get me wrong.
However, I have discovered that since I am now being presented with more and more "opportunities", I need to take some time to decide whether or not saying "yes" to them is in my best interest or just another project that will simply take up my time.
We only have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. We want to be able to use our time wisely and make the best choices for ourselves. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity and forget to focus back on ourselves and what is best for us.
By making wise choices about what you take on and how you spend your time, you will be able to more easily organize your life.
Do yourself a favor and take some time to evaluate how you are spending your time and where. And, don't forget to say "no" sometimes. It's okay. In fact, it's best.
Let me know what choices you have made recently to bring balance back into your life and be more organized.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the concept of getting organized, contact me. I am glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Tuesday, August 23 2011
I have no idea where the Summer has gone. As it seems to do every year, it flew by and we are now looking at getting the kids back to school, resume our normal routine and put the lazy days of Summer behind us.
The change of seasons is a great time to evaluate and perhaps re-evaluate what we need to do in order to get organized. Sometimes things tend to fall by the wayside (especially during the Summer months).
Perhaps you had a project that you meant to get to this Summer but you never got around to it. It could have been something such as decluttering and organizing the storage room, trimming the hedges, painting a bedroom, evaluating your wardrobe and eliminating items that no longer fit or that you don't like, getting rid of toys your child no longer plays with, organizing the pantry or organizing your desk area where you pay bills.
Before you get too inundated with the responsibilities that the new season will bring, I suggest that you take some time to walk around your home and make a list of things you want to declutter and organize and then get started on that list.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, let me know and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your Summer!
Saturday, July 09 2011
Are you in "disorganization" denial? Let's be honest. We get used to living a certain way and sometimes forget to look around and see what is really going on.
Have you gotten so comfortable in your cluttered environment that you cannot "see the forest through the trees" so to speak?
I think it's time to be honest with yourself. Take a good look around and really see what is going on in your home and in your life.
If you are not sure whether you have clutter and disorganization issues, I recommend that you check out my "Quiz" found on this website [the tab is at the top of this page] to determine whether you might need to get organized. This short quiz can be very helpful in doing so as it triggers in on main issues that you might be experiencing.
It might be time to stop living in denial and start focusing on improving your situation.
Whether you take on the task yourself or reach out to a professional organizer like myself, it's time to do something about it.
No matter how small or large a task you might think it will be, you can do it! If you are feeling too overwhelmed, there is help out there. You just need to ask for it.
Imagine how much better your quality of life will be when you don't have to continue to be stressed out because you can't find things in your home, you are late for appointments or the paperwork is piling up. Putting systems into place that are manageable are the key to your success.
You deserve a better way of living and getting organized can give you that.
So, are you ready to be honest with yourself and admit that you are living in clutter and disorganization? I challenge you to take that first step and admit that you might need to make a change.
Contact me if you do and I will be more than happy to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, July 01 2011
Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate others to get and stay organized, especially a loved one.
Perhaps you are working to get organized but you feel that the people you live with are undermining your progress by not helping out.
There are some questions that you can pose to that person to help make decisions about what to keep and what to toss - without starting arguments or passing judgment. Getting organized can sometimes be a sensative subject if it is not approached in a positive way. Remember, the goal is to reframe the discussion away from the item or items themselves, but rather towards its significance in your lives.
Here are some examples of how to refrase the question:
1. Instead of "Why don't you put your tools away?", ask "What is it that you want from this space?"
2. Instead of "Why do we have to keep your grandmother's sewing kit?", ask "Why is it important to you? Does this particular item have meaning?"
3. Instead of "There's no room for all of your stuff in there", say "Let's see how we can share this space so that it works for all of us".
4. Instead of "Why do you have to hold onto these ugly sweaters your dad gave you?", ask "What do these sweaters make you think of or remind you of?"
5. Insteady of saying "I don't understand how you can live with all this junk", ask "How do you feel when you have to spend time in this room?"
Hopefully these suggestions will help you better communicate your message to someone who you live with who has clutter issues.
Let me know how you make out and if you need any assistance, I am here to help.
Have a great holiday weekend!
Monday, May 16 2011
I am working in my office today and decided I wanted to focus on reducing the amount of mail in my email "in box".
Just like everyone else who has a business and a personal life, I get lots of emails on a daily basis and sometimes it is a true struggle to keep them under control.
But I am determined to clean up my act today and get back on track. In doing so, I had an epiphany!
My emails are always listed with the most current at the top, like most people, so you can see the latest activity.
However, today, I decided to flip it around so that the earliest e-mails are at the top and the latest at the bottom of the list. This worked so well for me today and I am excited to be able to share this with you!
Since I could not see the new entries coming in during my designated period of time that I set aside for this project, I was not getting distracted. It helped me to focus on the task at hand and get through my list a lot faster.
Another idea is to shut off your notification so that every time a new email comes in, you don't hear a bing, a dong or a bell or whatever sound your email makes to indicate a new entry.
If you try these tips, I assure you that you will be able to remain focused for a longer period of time and will be able to greatly reduce that in-box.
Let me know how you make out.
If you need any other assistance in order to get organized, please feel free to contact me. I am here to help.
Have a great week!
Friday, April 15 2011
One of the main reasons I became a professional organizer 7 years ago was so that I could help others overcome the feeling of overwhelm when it comes to getting organized. I have the ability to see past the clutter and overwhelm and break things down into manageable pieces so that we can move forward to achieve the goals my clients have in mind.
I have found when I first meet with so many of my clients that they feel a sense of dread. They cannot imagine how we can clear the clutter, get organized and put in systems to simplify their lives. By the time I leave their home after the initial consultation, they are already feeling better about their situation and the potential of the space we are going to work on, whether it be one particular room or the entire home. At that point, the process has already begun. There is hope, there is potential.
The reason I bring this issue up is that sometimes we need to get past our fears in order to move forward, whether it relates directly to getting organized or taking on challenges that are new and different.
As my business continues to grow, I am given many new opportunities to get my message out to others. I have been doing more public speaking this year and I now have been asked to appear on a radio show to share my knowledge and skills with others about the vast topic of organizing.
I must admit I am a little nervous about this new opportunity. I always want to be prepared so I can provide the best content possible and this type of situation is more informal and "off the cuff", so to speak. I have certainly worked hard in the past several years to challenge myself and get past any fears I may have about taking on something new, and so far, it's all been good. I plan to take this same philosophy to the radio show I will be recording at the end of May/beginning of June. I will simply do the best I can and be confident that it will be just fine.
Take my advice. When it comes to overcoming the fear and overwhelm in your life, whether it is getting organized or simply doing something you have never done before, jump in. As Nike says "Just Do It"! I believe you will find that it will all work out.
So, get out there and do that something new and enjoy the journey!
If you need any assistance in getting over your sense of overwhelm when it comes to getting organized, contact me. I would be happy to help.
Until next time, wishing you an organized day.
Sunday, March 06 2011
Spring is coming soon and it reminds me that it will soon be time to do some weeding. However, that doesn’t necessary mean your garden or other outdoor space.
You can begin to weed out your computer today! You heard me. It’s time to weed out your computer.
There are many people who come to me and ask how to do this. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Now granted, if it hasn’t been done in a while, it could take a good bit of time, but, like everything else, breaking it down into small manageable steps will get the job done.
So, let’s get started...
Just like physical clutter can wreak havoc on a home, virtual clutter can clog up your computer and make searching for files a bit chaotic.
Start with your files on your hard drive. Get rid of old reports, documents, spreadsheets and databases you no longer need. Once the unnecessary files are gone, uninstall the programs you don’t intend to use again.
When this is done, tackle your email contacts and email folders. If you are you no longer in contact with a company or a person, eliminate them. You want to leave room for the ones that are in current use and important to you.
Finally, browse through your Internet 'favorites' and delete any sites you don't plan to visit in the future.
I suggest that you schedule just 15 minutes a day for this task. Do this every day until the job is done. By keeping your time to a minimum each day will ensure the job doesn't become too overwhelming. This way you are still being productive and before you know it, you will have done the weeding; just in time for your outdoor weeding!
Good luck! Wishing you a great, productive week!
Sunday, February 20 2011
You might have noticed that I have not written a blog in a few weeks. Not my intent.
There are a lot of changes happening as I continue to grow my business. Not only am I working on more and more in-home service projects, I am writing more articles (both online and offline in publications), guest blogging, and creating more U Can Do It products.
And, if that wasn't enough, I have recently decided to do more public speaking. I want to let more people know about the benefits of getting organized - how it can save you time, money and reduce stress among others. I felt the best way to do this locally was to create more opportunities for those in my community to get to know me and how I can help them.
As a result, I have created a series of FREE seminars that I am providing along with joint venture partners to provide information on how to get organized.
The first one is called "SPRING INTO ACTION" - How to Organize To Maximize The Sale of Your Home. It takes place in Doylestown, PA on February 25th. For more information and to register, go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e3ca5kl0cb9d0498&llr=75dnw9cab
The second one is called "YOUR HOME BASED BUSINESS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SO TAXING" - The Secrets To Getting Organized and Maximizing Your Tax Benefits. It also takes place in Doylestown, PA. It is scheduled for March 11th. For more information and to register, go to http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e3ele72j8e7d46bf&llr=75dnw9cab
I am speaking to a Mompreneur Group in Horsham, PA on February 28th, a Moms Club in Buckingham, PA on March 16th as well as at a networking event at Bounce U in Horsham, PA on March 24th.
I also have another seminar/workshop in the planning stages with a representative from Tomboy Tools http://www.tomboytools.com where I will be showing women how to organize the garage to make it a space they can use. The garage is not just a "man cave" anymore!
Needless to say, it is quite a balancing act. I use myself as an example of how when things change, you need to change with them. I have had to make changes in my priorities as a result. The things I used to spend more time on that are less important now are now being put more on the back burner.
This is true for anyone and everyone. When there are changes in your life, whether in your control or not, you need to be flexible. You need to take a look at your situation and evalute what is most important and what can be set aside or delegated to someone else. When a system no longer works, it needs to be modified or perhaps recreated altogether.
Perhaps you just moved in with your boyfriend (or girlfriend), got married, had your first child, had your third child, are getting or have gotten divorced, going through empty nest syndrome, widowed, downsizing or relocating. These are major life changes that affect the way you do things.
If you should find that life changes have caused your balance to be thrown for a loop, it's time to figure out what you need to do to get back on track. As a professional organizer, I can help you create the organizing systems that will work for your changing needs.
After all, it is a balancing act!
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, January 30 2011
There are several reasons why people put things off or delay getting started.
Do you have "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome"?
Give some thought as to why you are avoiding a project or a task and then take the steps to change:
Are you overwhelmed? If the task is too overwhelming, break it down. If it is still too overwhelming, break it down again. Taking smaller steps to get something done is much more productive than not doing it at all!
Are you being realistic? It's possible that if an item keeps showing up on your to-do list and is repeatedly bumped to the next day, it might be because it isn’t that important to you. Ask yourself if it is really your goal. It could be someone else’s goal, or their goal for you. Figure out if you want to do it or let it go by either delegating it to someone else or just not doing it at all!
Are you DISTRACTED? It is important to set aside a specific time to accomplish the task. You might need to go somewhere quiet where the interruptions of children, television, the telephone or your computer will not interfere. Figure out what is causing you to be distracted and make the necessary adjustments to eliminate those interruptions.
Do you just HATE the job? Try swapping the task with someone else who is willing to do the job you hate and then return the favor and do something for them that they don't want to do.
Do you feel UNDER-QUALIFIED? Perhaps you have not tackled a project because you don't know how to do it or don't think you can do it correctly. Don't be afraid to ask for help! If need be, do some research, take a class or hire a professional to show you how to do it or have them actually do the job for you.
With these tips, you will get rid of the "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome", stop procrastinating and get those tasks done!
If you need some help getting organized, you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, don't hesitate to contact me. I will be more than happy to cure you of the Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Syndrome!
Have a great week!
Sunday, January 23 2011
Are you sick of the clutter in your home but don't know how to even begin to get rid of it? This is a common problem - getting started. Why not take advantage of the cold temps outside and take some time today to get started?
If you follow the following 5 rules, you will be well on your way to eliminating the clutter.
1) Don't keep things you don't like.
This may sound obvious to you, but so many people have things in their homes that they're really not fond of. It could be a sweater that you never wear because you don't like the style any more or how it fits, but you're keeping it anyway because it was an expensive purchase.
It may be an old, beat up and ugly piece of furniture gathering dust in your storage area and the only reason you are keeping it is because it belonged to a loved one. The bottom line is, if you don't like it, it should not have a place in your home. Donate it to someone who will enjoy it.
2) You're keeping it for someone else.
Remember that your home is not the town storage facility! If you're holding on to things for your daughter who is now married with kids, give them to her and have her decide whether to keep or toss them. They belong to her, not you!
If you and your next door neighbor had a yard sale over the summer at your home, and your neighbor's goods that did not sell are still at your home, have them come over and pick them up today. If she doesn't want them, offer to have a charity pick them up instead. Just get rid of them! Your storage space should only be reserved for you and the family members currently living in your home.
3) Reduce by a definite number.
When getting rid of clutter in a specific area, have a goal in mind. Be specific. Saying you want to get rid of SOME clutter is very vague. However, saying you want to get rid of 20 items, or 50% of the clutter, is very specific. Focus on reaching your definitive goal.
4) Out with the old and in with the new.
This classic saying applies to this situation. When you buy something new, get rid of something old. If you just keeping adding possessions, without getting rid of anything, your home will soon be overflowing. Avoid this overflow by simply following the one in, one out rule to create balance in your home.
5) Never say never.
Lastly, if you constantly feel like you're drowning in clutter and you don't believe you'll ever be able to surface, the chances of you getting rid of your clutter are pretty slim. Never say "I'll never get rid of this clutter!". Always have a positive, can-do attitude and believe in yourself. Never allow your clutter to rule your life. Remember, you are in charge!
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and you want a better space, don't hesitate to contact me and I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, stay warm and have a great week!
Sunday, January 16 2011
What are you supposed to do if you are organized and your partner isn't?
This situation is more common than not when it comes to relationships. I get contacted all the time by people who feel that they are neat and organized and their spouse is just the opposite and they are at wits end. Ying and Yang.
Although I find that both parties tend to contribute in some way to the situation, there can be a lot of frustration when you are living with someone who is very disorganized and you are forced to live with it. It has an overwhelming effect on the entire household and your relationship.
I want to help you if you feel you are a mismatched couples. (I don't mean that you aren't meant for each other, but rather, you are in a situation where one is clean and organized and the other is messy and disorganized and, as a result, there tends to be animosity.)
If you’re already in a living arrangement and are disappointed by your partner/roommate’s level of order, you need to have a conversation. Yelling and passive aggressive behavior isn’t productive and damages the relationship. Having a calm, sincere, and respectful conversation has the possibility of yielding powerful results.
It is good to have ground rules for what to do when frustration takes hold. Here are some productive rules you might consider establishing:
No nagging. This is a problem that effects both of you and nagging someone about it will not benefit either one of you. Try to find a reasonable solution that works for both of you. Create a plan.
No backpacking. Set a time limit for how long after something happens that it is discussed (like one week). If you don’t bring up the frustration within that time limit, you have to let it go. You can’t fester or stew on a frustration. Also, if you’ve already discussed something, you can’t bring it up again. The reason it’s called backpacking is because it’s like people carry around another person’s wrongs in a backpack and pull every wrong out of the bag when there is a disagreement. Backpacking isn't fair.
Discuss the real problem. If you’re upset that your wife/husband/partner or roommate repeatedly leaves dirty dishes strewn about the living room, your frustration has very little to do with dirty dishes themselves. You’re upset because you believe they don’t care about the cleanliness level in the living space. So, talk about the real problem and use the dirty dishes as an example of how that lack of caring is being expressed and how it makes you feel.
May times, the person who is messier than the other doesn’t care one bit if his or her living arrangement is disorderly or orderly. When this is the case, and if you’re the one who prefers a more orderly home, prepare to possibly take on the full responsibility for cleaning up after the other person. Do it because you’re the one who gets the sense of joy from an organized space.
If a pair of shoes in the middle of the living room floor annoys you, just move the shoes to a location that doesn’t annoy you. The five seconds it will take you to move the shoes are less than the time you will be angry over the shoes if you don’t move them.
Arrange that you will do this for them if they agree to do something for you that you dislike or don't care that much about. This will make it feel more like you are sharing responsibilities and they are not just falling onto one person. Everyone has their strong suits.
Perhaps the problem is that there aren’t any systems in place to deal with the mess where it happens. For instance, perhaps your husband stores his wallet in a valet in your bedroom. Perhaps you store your purse in a cube near the front door. He puts his wallet in his pocket first thing in the morning and takes it out at night before he goes to bed. You only grab your purse as you are entering and exiting the house.
If your purse was supposed to be stored in a valet in your bedroom, I can guarantee you that it would never be in the bedroom. It would be on the dining room table or living room floor or wherever you happened to have dropped it.
So, a storage cube near your front door is perhaps the best place for your purse because it’s a storage location that works for you. Think about how you live and find solutions that meet your actual needs.
If need be, designate "clean rooms" or "messy rooms" in your home. You can decide that all public spaces are "clean rooms". This would mean that the rooms visitors will see when they come into your house must be free of clutter at all times. (Generally this is the first floor of your home.)
Visitors rarely come upstairs to your second floor, so perhaps the rules can be less stringent. Things can’t be dirty (no food or bug-enticing items), but if objects are left out of order in these spaces, it’s less of an issue. Schedule a once-a-week cleaning for these areas.
Finally, if you’ve tried all of the previous options and nothing is working for you, try seeking outside help. This help can be in the form of a professional organizer or perhaps a couple’s counselor. You want to work with someone who isn’t a part of your relationship and can see it more broadly.
I don’t recommend using a friend or family member for this task. I find that they tend to impose their own agenda (not out of a wanting to help, but, rather, from lack of professional knowledge and experience). Also, how they want you to get organized is not the system that would work best for you.
This situation must be dealt with a mutual agreement between the parties; agreeing that it is something that is important and needed. Otherwise, the one party might feel resentment towards the whole process.
Professional help could also be in the form of a cleaning service coming into the house twice a month. However, most cleaning services will request that the clutter be eliminated so that they can do their job properly. I get contacted many times before a cleaning service is hired. I come in and help eliminate the clutter. After all, they can't clean the floor if they can't find it! Letting someone else handle the deep cleaning will make the light housework is less of a burden.
If you’re a part of a Ying and Yang couple, what effective strategies have you employed? I would love to hear your thoughts and I’m sure that everyone would benefit from reading your positive results in the comments below.
If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized and are living in a "ying and yang" situation, don't hesitate to give me a call. I can help you find the middle ground that will work best for both of you.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, January 07 2011
So, the New Year has begun and a new decade too, for that matter.
Everyone is on the "resolution" band wagon the past few weeks and I want to let you know that I don't make "resolutions". I set goals instead. Resolutions tend to be so definite and so structured. You either reach them or you fail. What I mean by that is there tends to be no wiggle room. Therefore, those resolutions tend to be so impossible to achieve.
Instead I set "goals". I set them for my personal life and for my business each year. I don't just have them floating around in my head, I write them down.
Most people do best when they write things down. Not only do I write down what it is I want to achieve, but the steps I can take to reach my goal.
For example, if you say that you are going to lose weight this year, that is too broad. That is a resolution that will most likely be broken quickly. Instead, you can decide that you want to watch what you eat and lose two pounds a week for the next 10 weeks.
Now, take a piece of paper or a post-it note (bright colored is best) and write down "I will lose two pounds this week". Post it somewhere visible that you can see it each and every day (perhaps your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator door). You want to say this statement aloud to yourself (I have no problem with you talking to yourself!) and make that statement yours. See it, feel it, believe in it.
Also, you want to think about "how" you are going to reach your weekly goal. Using the example above, you can decide you are going to exercise, cut out junk food, drink plenty of water, use a smaller plate for your meals. These are steps you can take to reach your "weekly" goal and before you know it, you will have reached your overall goal.
Now, isn't that much better than setting a "resolution"? I think so. Just remember to write it down!
So, what are your goals for 2011? I would love to hear about them. Do they involve getting organized? If so, I can help you take that overwhelming project and break it down into smaller, more manageable steps so you can reach your goal!
I wish you much success in whatever goals you set for yourself this coming year.
Enjoy your week!
Friday, December 31 2010
One of the biggest and most common New Year's resolutions made every year is "I HAVE TO GET ORGANIZED"!!
Disorganization causes arguments, frustration, lost opportunities, embarrassment, stress and much more. You can't find things when you need them and clutter takes over your home. There is always too much to do and not enough time to do it. There's no time left for YOU!
The list of negative results from disorganization is sad and long.
I happen to know a secret - When you are organized you are free to live the kind of life you've always dreamed of, one that is free of clutter and stress, and full of time for the people you love AND all the fun things you want to do.
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get organized in 2011 and you are ready to live the kind of life you have always dreamed of - one that is free of clutter and stress, then NOW is the time to take that first step.
I am an expert in residential organizing and have been helping others just like you since 2004. I can help you too. Take that first step and contact me. Find out what A Better Space can do for you!
Wishing you a happy, healthy, prosperous and ORGANIZED New Year!
Tuesday, December 28 2010
The end of 2010 is only days away. With that in mind, this is a great time to do some tasks to prepare for and be organized in the New Year. Here are some things you can do now to make 2011 more organized:
Reconcile financial accounts. Now is the time to get all of your financial paperwork for the year completed so you’re ready to file your taxes when your forms arrive.
Year-end personal goal and resolution review. Review all you accomplished over the course of the year and create goals and resolutions for 2011.
Back-up all digital data. Even if you do this daily, it’s good to take a final snapshot of the digital year.
Review beneficiary information on all investments and policies. If your family has grown or changed in the last year, now is the time to make sure your beneficiary information is current. Additionally, it’s a good time to do a general review of these investments and policies.
Review systems and routines. Are the systems and routines you follow meeting your family’s and home’s needs? If not, now is a good time to create new practices to implement in the new year.
If one of your goals is to create a budget for the coming year, I invite you to check out my "U Can Do It Budgeting System" in the ABS Store. http://www.4abetterspace.com/abs_store
If you need some help getting more organized and creating some new practices to implement in the coming year, don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous and organized New Year!
Thursday, December 16 2010
Have you ever heard of the ripple effect? I'm sure you have. Did you ever think about how it might relate to organization? Well, it does!
I picture myself as a small drop in a large body of water. I believe that my purpose is to drop my knowledge, information and value into that large body of water so that it can ripple and touch others' lives. Then, the lives that I touch will pass their knowledge, information and value onto others. That is the ripple effect. I simply do it through organization.
I was speaking on the phone the other night to a new client and she asked if what I would be teaching her in the process of us working together would help her children. Without a doubt, it would.
We start by my teaching not only how to get organized, but, more importantly, how to stay organized. With this newly learned knowledge, understanding and skills, it is easy to pass that information onto the others in your household. You end up teaching them.
Many times, my clients were just simply never taught these skills - it's never too late. I believe that my purpose is to stop the process of disorganization that might have been passed down from generation to generation simply because it was never taught.
With your new found knowledge, you become the teacher and are able to show your children, not only through conversation, but by example, how to control and manage the clutter in their lives.
These skills are so valuable and will carry them through the rest of their lives. That is how the ripple effect works. Are you ready to be that drop in the large body of water? Simply by learning and passing your knowledge on, you will be doing just that!
If you are overwhelmed by the process of getting organized and don't know where to begin, contact me. I will be more than happy to help you create your own ripple effect.
Have a great week!
Thursday, December 09 2010
We all have "stuff", but there comes a time when you need to make decisions about your stuff. The options are keep, donate, sell, recycle or trash.
This past week, I went through my clothes closet and tried on all of my jeans. (I have nice jeans and jeans that I use strictly for work. You can imagine that working on some organizing projects require me to be very hands on and that tends to put wear and tear on my jeans.)
The jeans I was using for work, even though they still fit me, were getting worn out. I could have easily justified keeping them "because they still fit", but decided that was not good enough. I emptied all of them from my closet and took some of my older "nice" jeans and will now use them for work instead. I got rid of 8 pair of jeans!
I feel so much better now because I don't feel so sloppy when wearing my worn out jeans. This did wonders for my closet and for my self image. I don't want those old, beat up jeans any more. They are damaged goods. I have other pairs of jeans that I can use instead. The life of these old jeans has expired. I want to make room in my closet for nicer jeans and they no longer fit into my lifestyle.
Are you trying to decide if you should keep or get rid of something? These are six reasons to trash, recycle, sell, or donate an object:
- You don’t use it, love it, need it, or want it.
- It’s broken, busted, damaged, or destroyed and you haven’t fixed it in six months or more.
- You have multiples of the same object, and the other one is vastly superior in quality.
- It’s expired.
- You don’t have anywhere to store it.
- It doesn’t fit in the life you desire.
When you ask yourself these questions, your answer will come to you and it will make it a lot easier to decide what to do with that "stuff".
Be honest with yourself and remember the end result. You are creating less clutter and more room for the things you do want.
So, now you can "let it go".
Hope this helps you. Let me know what you have decided to "let go" and why by posting a comment below.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of eliminating your clutter and finding that balance in your life by doing so, contact me. I am more than happy to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, November 21 2010
Did you ever wonder about those people who seem to have it all together? Contrary to popular belief, they are not perfectionists. They simply follow a few simple rules.
Here are a few habits of highly organized people:
Rule 1 - Walk Away - Just because you can buy something at a good price doesn't mean you should. You need to ask yourself "Do I already have something similar?" and "If I did buy this item, do I have a place to store it?" The answers to these questions will help you decide whether you actually need to buy it or you can walk away. Remember, purchase with purpose.
Rule 2 - It's Okay To Not Be Perfect - Some people won't do a job unless they can do it perfectly. Most people do a job that's "good enough". That's fine. It's okay to buy that store bought pie instead of making one from scratch when having company over. You can easily get bogged down with the details of a task if you try to do every task perfectly. You tend to be your own worst critic. Lighten up! It doesn't have to be perfect to get it done.
Rule 3 - Never Label Anything Miscellaneous - This term is too broad and only causes confusion. If you randomly put a bunch of things in a file or a box and just write "Miscellaneous" on it, I guarantee that within a week, you will have forgotten what's in there! Sort your items by specific groups and label them accordingly.
Rule 4 - Schedule Time To Declutter - Instead of waiting until you get in the "mood" to declutter (that will never happen!), create a routine that involves spending no more than 15 minutes a day. Sort through your mail, pick up toys, clean up the dishes, etc. Than, take one day of the week to tackle a new project in more detail. You will find that the clutter will no longer build up and become another "project".
Rule 5 - If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It - Do you find yourself having to try out every new gadget or thing that comes down the pike? Be happy with what you already have and stop wasting your time. Stick with what you have and you will save a lot of time, energy and money.
So, do you think you possess the habits of a highly organized person? If you do, keep on doing what it is you do.
Perhaps you aspire to be a more organized person and just don't know where to begin If so, let me hear from you. I am more than happy to help you become the organized person you have always wanted to be.
In the meantime, have a great Thanksgiving holiday!
Tuesday, November 09 2010
The past week was a tough one for me. My PC crashed after being in the shop for 3 days and it was determined that I needed a brand new hard drive. I ended up losing a lot of information that I had saved to my desk top for the past six and a half years. (I had no idea that when I took my new PC case to have my old hard drive installed into it, the entire system would freeze up and the hard drive would now become useless. I was not prepared.)
Fortunately I had saved my documents and pictures onto my external hard drive so I am now getting my ducks back in a row, as they say, and moving on.
Well, I don't know how your week was - hopefully a lot better than mine - but I thought we can all use some inspiration to keep us going through those rough spots, so I am here to share.
Here is an uplifting poem:
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don't,
If you like to win, but you think you can't
It is almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the person who wins
Is the person who thinks 'I CAN!'
-- Walter D. Wintle
I hope you find this as helpful and inspiring as I did.
If you find you are in a state of overwhelm and don't know where to begin and you want to get organized, once and for all, contact me. I can help.
In the meantime, I am wishing you a good week ahead.
Thursday, October 28 2010
Who doesn't have pets? Most of us have or have had a dog, a cat or other types of pets at one time or another. If so, you know how expensive it can be when they get ill and need medical attention.
Commercial pet insurance can be expensive. Like traditional health insurance for people, it doesn’t cover all medical procedures and treatments. Also, keep in mind that if you never need the insurance (we certainly hope so), you wouldn’t be able to get the money back that you paid the pet insurance company, accrue interest or be able to apply the premiums to another pet.
A better option is to consider setting up a savings fund. Consider setting up a medical saving account for your current or future pets you might adopt.
How to create a specialized saving account:
Start by putting a large amount (such as $500) into a special savings designated just for this purpose and then continue to deposit $20 per month into the account. By simply creating a specialized saving account for your pet, you avoid being in the position where money has to be strongly considered along with treatment options.
Use this method whenever you acquire a new responsibility. Simply deposit an eighth or a quarter of your saving goal into a dedicated saving account as the account’s start-up fund (or a multi-use account that you keep records for what money in the account is for what purpose). Once the saving account is open and initially funded, you set up an automatic transfer through your bank to put $10 or $20 (or whatever amount you choose) into the new saving account from your checking account every month. This automatic deposit removes the temptation to spend the money on something else.
You could create a specialized saving account for your automobile — $20 a month can be put aside in an account to cover service needs for your aging car. You can create a fund to save for larger home improvement projects or home organization project.
These specialized saving accounts reduce your stress, allow you to cover large expenses when they arise, and help you to live with an uncluttered budget (a budget where you spend less than you earn).
Do you have specialized saving accounts? Would setting one up help you to prepare for an emergency expense? What reasons do you have to create a specialized saving account?
I would love to hear your ideas!
In the meantime, if you need some help creating a budget, why not consider my U Can Do It Budgeting System that I developed based upon the budget I have used for myself for over 20 years? You can find it at my ABS Store (look for the tab) right on this website.
Enjoy your week!
Sunday, October 24 2010
We all know the holidays are right around the corner and it is a time when we tend to focus on helping those in need (or at least I hope so!).
One of the ways in which we can reach out to families with life-threatening illnesses during this holiday season is to order a PIE IN THE SKY thru the Manna organization.
Manna provides Thanksgiving dinners (for 4) to those with life-threatening illnesses. Their website can be found at https://www.manapies.org
Their mission is focused on people with acute nutritional risk due to life-threatening illnesses. Manna prepares and delivers delicious nourishing meals and counsel, empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life.
So, share the holiday spirit and provide Thanksgiving dinner for a family of four. For a donation of only $25 you can order a delicious pie and help a family in need at the same time!
Simply order your Pie In The Sky pie by noon on Friday, November 19, 2010 and pick it up before Thanksgiving. They have locations where you can pick up your pie throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Let's make this a Happy Thanksgiving not only for us but for others as well.
You can place your order by calling 1-866-SKY-PIES (1-866-754-7437)
All other questions, call 215-49-MANNA (215-496-2662)
These pies are not only delicious, but tax deductible!
For those of you who prefer cake, purchase a Classic Cake instead and still help those in need.
Let's make our world A BETTER SPACE this holiday season and support a great cause.
Thank you for helping out!
AND, if I can help you this holiday season by getting organized, contact me. I am glad to help!
Have a great week!
Sunday, September 26 2010
Recently I learned a very important lesson I want to pass on to you.
Lately, I have been on a webinar and research frenzie, trying to grab all the information I can possibly put my hands on to work on growing my business and providing the best I can to my clients and everyone else who is interested in getting organized.
I signed up for so many webinars, I can't even count them. I downloaded so many e-books, I ended up gathering such an extensive virtual library of information, I will probably never get a chance to read it all.
As a result of signing up for all those webinars, I ended up on so many mailing lists and my in-box was filled daily to the max. Everyday I would receive emails from marketers, coaches and other experts who wanted me to sign up for this or go to that...it was really getting out of hand.
It got to the point I had to put on the brakes. It was taking so much of my time to do all this, I was not spending enough time on what was really important. I have always wanted to provide as much content and information as possible and spending so much time receiving instead of giving was causing an imbalance in my business and my personal life.
So, I made a choice to stop all the noise. I removed myself from all but a few mailing lists of the people I was most interested in receiving information from. I reset my limits as to how much time I take each day to review the information I do receive.
I took a good hard look at how I was spending my time and refocused. I began by making a list of all the things I needed to do in order to work on my business, not just work in it, and scheduled time in my calendar for them. This included all the writing I do (besides this blog), networking, joint venture meetings, creating products, following up with potential clients, connecting on Facebook and Linked-In, answering email, and working with my in-home clients. I set guidelines for myself as to how long to allot for these tasks and when they would be done. Now, these important things take precedence again. If there is any time left over, I will listen to a webinar or two, or download an e-book I actually intend to read.
Bottom line, I cut out all the noise so I could hear what was really important. I now have my balance back and it feels sooooo good!
So, what noise can you cut out of your life so you can hear what is really important? I'd love to hear from you.
I hope you can cut out some of your own noise but, if not, and you need some assistance, let me know. I am here to help.
Until next time, have a great week.
Sunday, September 19 2010
Did you know that people spend, on average, 6 minutes looking for their keys in the morning? That's 180 minutes or 3 hours a month and 2190 minutes or 36.5 hours per year!!! That's insane!
Something so simple can be using up so much of your time. This is just one example of how taking small steps to get organized can save you precious time.
The "key" is to select one location that you will always keep your keys, such as a pocketbook, totebag, hook on the wall, a valet. There are even valets that are charging stations as well so you can keep everything together and your electronic devices charged, all at the same time!
Another step you can take to save time and get organized is to plan ahead the night before. Take some time to select what you are going to wear to work the next day, make a lunch (which can save you time and money!) and put everything you need to take with you by the front door for the next morning.
Just by taking one simple step, you can save over 36 hours a year that you can be spending doing other things instead. Imagine how much time you can save by planning ahead and taking some additional simple steps.
What simple step can you take besides the ones I've mentioned to save you time? What is your "key" to sucess?
For more tips just like these, contact A Better Space and learn time management tools that will streamline your processes and save you time throughout your day.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Wednesday, September 08 2010
I found two great "Take Back Initiatives" that can help you in the process of decluttering your home.
One can be used when decluttering your medicine cabinet and the other when decluttering your clothes closet.
These are great incentives for getting those areas organized:
- The US Drug Enforcement Administration is sponsoring a national take-back initiative to accept unused or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal on Saturday, September 25, 2010. “Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.” Check the DEA site for locations in your community.
- Along similar lines, but with clothing instead of medications, the Men’s Wearhouse is accepting lightly used men’s suits, sports coats, slacks, dress shirts and shoes, business casual clothing, coats, ties, cuff links, and other accessories during the month of September. The Men’s Wearhouse National Suit Drive gives the suits to local non-profit organizations. Donations can be made at any Men’s Wearhouse.
I would love to hear from you about how you made use of these initiatives and how they encouraged you to eliminate your clutter.
Until next time, have a great week!
Saturday, August 28 2010
Okay, so now you've organized your junk drawer, your closet or perhaps your garage.
Are you done? Absolutely not! There is one more thing you forgot to do.
You need to commit to "staying" organized. Getting organized is one thing; staying organized is another. Without commitment, you are likely to fall back into your old disorganized way.
Before you know it, that drawer is a junk drawer again, your closet is a mess or you can't get your car back into the garage. All because you didn't commit to staying organized.
Most people think that the "process" of organizing involves decluttering, categorizing and organizing. That's true, but there is still one more step - Maintenance.
Without this important step, the rest will fall apart and all your hard work will have been for nothing.
It's not that difficult to do; it just takes a conscious effort on your part, and on the part of your family, to maintain the organization of the space. Just by putting things back where they belong when you are done with them is the easiest way to insure that you are staying organized. By staying organized, you are saving precious time and energy because you don't have to go back and do it again!
So, can you commit?
A professional organizer such as myself will not only help you get organized, but show you how to stay organized. Contact me if you could use my assistance.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, August 22 2010
It's hard to believe the summer is drawing to a close and your children may have already started school or may be starting soon. Start now to develop a routine that keeps everyone on schedule because it takes a few weeks to master. Here are a few ideas to help you streamline the process of getting ready so children make their bus on time with little fuss:
1. Get homework, permission slips, lunch money, and anything else that is needed ready the night before.
2. Wake the kids up 1 hour before school is scheduled to start. This should provide enough time to do all of the morning preparations needed without too much stress.
3. Have the kids dress, brush hair, and brush teeth before they come down for breakfast.
4. For the most productivity in your morning, make a "No-TV-Before-School" rule. Television tends to make children lethargic and irritable when you need them to be focused and agreeable.
5. Have a list of favorite healthy breakfast ideas ready so that little time is spent in trying to decide what they should eat.
6. Make lunches either the night before or while the kids are eating their breakfast.
7. Have a list of healthy lunch options available for easy reference.
8. Set a time for 10 or 15 minutes in order to complete a few chores before school: feed pets, make beds, pick up rooms, etc.
9. Make sure shoes, jackets, and backpacks are easily accessible to children.
10. Start putting on shoes, jackets, and backpacks about 10 minutes prior to the bus arriving.
With these tips in place and practiced daily, you will find that you will be able to get the kids ready and off to school with much less hassle.
Try them and let me know how you make out!
In the meantime, if you are overwhelmed with the process of getting organized, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Sunday, August 01 2010
I heard a story this week that I wanted to share with you, just to give you some perspective.
There was a woman who needed to videotape some rooms in her house for insurance purposes. Having just cleaned her home from top to bottom, knowing that she was going to video tape it, she shot the tape and then watched it quickly before delivering it to her safety deposit box.
When she watched the tape, something happened...
She was astonished to see the amount of clutter and junk left on the various surfaces throughout the house. She realized that the camera’s eye was picking up clutter her eyes were simply moving past. She had lived with those items hanging around for so long, she was no longer seeing them!
So, she went back and scrutinized the tape, marched back to those rooms that she had filmed and really went through the stuff, making firm decisions and tossing several items.
She found out how helpful it was to see these rooms through the video.
So, why not get out your video camera and give it a shot. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve never really seen….
Leave me some feedback and let me know how you make out. If you need some new ideas from a fresh perspective, as to what you can eliminate and organize, contact me. I am more than happy to help you see your home through a fresh set of eyes.
Wednesday, July 21 2010
Last time I talked about what I was doing to get organized. This time, I would like to challenge you to see what you can accomplish.
I thought it would be fun to challenge you to see who can eliminate the most clutter from their homes.
The challenge is about getting rid of one object a day, for … a month? A year? It’s up to you how long you want your challenge to last. I'm calling it "A THING A DAY" or ATAD.
Whether you give away, trash or donate the object is immaterial, but it must be gone from your life and space. Putting it into storage doesn’t count; though you are allowed to, say, collect the things in a box to donate them at the end of the month.
Oh, and you’re also allowed to cheat and fill your quota ahead of time, like throwing out 7 things on Monday, making that a week’s worth of ATAD.
By telling us on here what you got rid of today will not only help with the accountability issues, you’ll also help others rethink their possessions (He got rid of his xyz? Come to think of it, do I really need mine?)
What do you think? Are you up for the challenge?
Wednesday, July 14 2010
A lot of my current clients are away on vacation this week so I have had some time to focus on me. What a phenomenon!
I decided to take this opportunity to "get organized". I know, it's hard to believe that my life is different from everyone else's. As an organizer, it is pre-conceived that my life runs like a well-oiled machine at all times. Why not, I'm organized, right? Well, the fact of the matter is that I also need to work to maintain organization in my home and in my life, just as I teach others to do.
I decided to focus on one floor of my home at a time. Yesterday, I started with the second floor. I not only decluttered, I thoroughly cleaned as well. I eliminated a lot of excess bedding (sheets and pillow cases) from my linen closet and am donating them to a local SPCA. I got rid of a lot of sample products that I had accumulated, including my dentist, who loves to give me dental floss every time I visit! I went through my closet and eliminated clothing I hadn't worn in a while and no longer wanted. I eliminated paperwork that had accumulated in accordian files in my master bedroom and relocated it to where it should be stored - in my home office.
I dusted and vacuumed and gathered a lot of items from this floor and am making a large donation to a local non-profit thrift store today. I even ordered parts for my washing machine so I can make the minor repairs myself. I feel good about what I have accomplished so far and am looking forward to working on the first floor of my home today and tomorrow.
There is not a lot to do on these floors but I want to block out a specific amount of time each day to work on a portion of it. The sense of accomplishment I am already feeling is motivating me to do more.
My largest project is the basement. It encompasses a family room, home office and storage room. It will take quite some time to go through what has accumulated, especially in the storage room. It's not unorganized, just cluttered. I plan to take the entire month of August, in between working, to focus on this area. I am going to break this down into manageable pieces so I can focus on one section at a time.
By September, I will have decluttered my entire home. Now that's a plan!
So, just so you understand, even professional organizers need to declutter and get organized at times. I make sure the day-to-day stuff is still always maintained. Sometimes, however, the other stuff needs to be gone through and decluttered as well.
I am never too busy to help those in need, so if you need me to help you get motivated to declutter and get organized, contact me. I am here for you.
Enjoy your week! I'm enjoying mine!
Thursday, June 24 2010
As a professional organizer, I occasionally have clients who not only have clutter in their home, but also have additional clutter issues off-site - in their storage unit.
There are many reasons that someone might decide to rent additional storage space to store their items - but is it a good idea?
Some of the reasons I hear are that they ran out of room in their house (a sure sign that they have too much!) or that they inherited items from family members and have no place to put them or they intend the use the items "some day".
If you need to rent additional space in order to store your items, this is a red flag that you just have too much stuff. Downsize all those Christmas decorations, reduce the amount of furniture you have, eliminate the excess clothing to avoid seasonal trips to your storage unit. As a rule, you should be able to fit your possessions in the space in which you live. If not, it needs to go.
Some of you might have inherited furniture, antiques, etc. from a family member that recently passed away. You need to evaluate what you have inherited and make a decision as to whether you can make use of the item in your home or whether it can be either given to someone else or sold. If you have no use for the item and are only keeping it because you think you "have to", that is not a good enough reason. Don't keep items in storage out of guilt. When the item is passed onto you, it becomes your decision as to what you do with it. If using it in your home is not an option, pass it on to someone else who can use it.
If you are storing items at an off-site storage facility because you "might use them some day", that is not a good enough reason to keep them. Chances are, that "some day" will never come. You need to live in the moment and use what you have in the present, not plan for that "some day".
If these reasons have not convinced you, take a moment and consider how much money you are spending each year to store your items off-site at a storage facility. Couldn't that money be put to better use?
Storing items off-site does not eliminate the clutter issues you have. You are just relocating them elsewhere and not dealing with them. If you end up storing them long enough, they will become someone else's burden to bear and that's not fair to them, is it?
I would suggest taking a trip to your storage facility and bring your critical eye with you. Look at the contents in the space and determine whether the items in the space can be used in your home now. If not, sell them, donate them, give them to another family member or a friend and get rid of that storage unit once and for all. Then, take the money you will be saving and go do something nice for yourself - TODAY!
Remember, "out of sight, out of mind" is very common when it comes to off-site storage. Don't let that happen to you!
If you have any questions about how to get organized or are just too overwhelmed and don't know where to begin, don't hesitate to contact A Better Space. I am more than happy to help!
In the meantime, enjoy your week!
Thursday, April 29 2010
I was thinking the other day about how much I love what I do for a living. I wake up each morning and am anxious to start my day because I know it means I will be helping others get organized and enjoy their day too. I am so fortunate to have discovered a profession that makes me so happy.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate. I speak to so many people, through my client base, networking, friends, family and others. So many people are just not happy with what they do for a living. So many feel stuck in a rut with their careers and their life in general.
I can't help thinking the story of Cinderella and how she was forced to scrub floors and take care of her step sisters' home. Even though this obviously was not what she wanted to do, she found a way to make it a more positive experience. She whistled while she worked!
I am a true believer in a positive attitude. It can carry you so much further than you ever thought.
For example, I have a friend who drives a truck and although he is only 50 years old, he will be able to retire in less than 3 years! He tends to think about having to go to work each day and the fact that he has to put up with a boss who he does not get along with and how early he has to get up every day. All negative thoughts.
I reminded him how fortunate he is; that at such an early age he will be able to retire and start a new chapter in his life - to choose what he wants to do with it and get a pension at the same time! How great is that!
My point is, no matter what you do for a living or where you are in life, you can always put a positive spin on a situation. Your circumstances can change if you look for the positive. You don't have to feel so stuck!
If you are stuck in a rut, look at what you can do to make a change. This is true with a job, career, marital situation, etc. This is especially true when it comes to getting organized.
Do you envision eliminating the excess clutter from your home and getting organized once and for all? If so, you might be overwhelmed and don't know where to start. You can simply get help from a professional organizer, even to just get you started. By taking this one step, you will be able to make a positive change in your home and reduce the stress in your life. Then, you can whistle while you work, just like me!
Keep those positive thoughts coming and start whistling!
Have a great week!
Sunday, April 04 2010
Happy Easter everyone! Spring has sprung and my flowers are in bloom. The season is changing and I think it's a good time to make some changes within ourselves, especially if those New Year's resolutions are quite working out for you. Here's some more motivation.
I found this information on a site called Freestyle Mind and thought I would share...
Developing good habits is the basic of personal development and growth. Everything we do is the result of a habit that was previously taught to us. Unfortunately, not all the habits that we have are good, that’s why we are constantly trying to improve.
The following is a list of 30 practical habits that can make a huge difference in your life.
You should treat this list as a reference, and implement just one habit per month. This way you will have the time to fully absorb each of them, while still seeing significant improvements each month.
- Exercise 30 minutes every day. Especially if you don’t do much movement while working, it’s essential that you get some daily exercise. 30 minutes every day are the minimum recommended for optimal health.
- Eat breakfast every day. Breakfast is the more important meal of the day, yet so many people skip it. Personally, I like to eat a couple of toasts in the morning along with a fruit beverage.
- Sleep 8 hours. Sleep deprivation is never a good idea. You may think that you are gaining time by sleeping less, when in reality you are only gaining stress and tiredness. 8 hours are a good number of hours for most people, along with an optional 20 minutes nap after lunch.
- Avoid snacking between meals. Snacking between meals is the best way to gain weight. If you are hungry, eat something concrete. Otherwise don’t. Update: for clarification, I mean don’t eat junk food between meals, but eating real food it’s ok.
- Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. Our body and brain loves getting vegetables and fruit, so I highly recommend eating as much of them as possible. Five portions is the dose that’s usually recommended by many health associations.
- Eat fish. Fish is rich of omega 3 and other healthy elements. At least one meal per week of fish should be enough for getting all these nutrients.
- Drink one glass of water when you wake up. When you wake up, your body is dehydrated and needs liquid. Make the habit of drinking one glass of water after you wake up in the morning. Also, drink more during the day.
- Avoid soda. Soda is often one of the most unhealthy beverage you can find. Limit your consumption of soda as much as possible and you’re body will be grateful for that.
- Keep your body clean. I don’t advise spending your day in front of the mirror, but a minimum of personal care does never hurt.
- If you smoke, stop it. There’s no reason to smoke anymore, and quitting is easy.
- If you drink, stop it. Same as above. Don’t think that alcohol will solve your problems. It never does. The only exception is one glass of wine per day during meals.
- Take the stairs. This is just a hack that forces you to do a minimum of exercise. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs.
- Use an inbox system. Make the habit of keeping track of all the ideas and things that comes to mind. You can use a notebook to do this, and then sync everything on your computer.
- Prioritize. If you have a list of things to do, where do you start? One way is to prioritize your list. If you are in doubt, ask yourself: “If I could only accomplish one thing today, what would it be?”
- Plan, but not too much. Planning is important, and you should decide in advance what you are going to do today or this week. However, planning for more than a few weeks is usually inefficient, so I would not worry too much about that.
- Wake up early. Waking up early in the morning is a great way to gain extra time. I personally like to wake up at 5 am, so that by 9 am I have already accomplished what otherwise would have taken me many days..
- Check your email only twice per day. Email can easily become an addiction, but it’s usually unnecessary to check it every 10 minutes. Make an effort and check your email only once or twice per day, see if the world will still rotate as before after you try this.
- Eliminate unimportant tasks. Being busy all day does not mean you are doing important stuff. Eliminate every activity that’s not important, and focus on what really matters.
- Clean off your desk and room. Having a clear room and desk is important to maintain focus and creativity.
- Automate. There are a lot of tasks that you need to perform every day or every week. Try to automate them as much as possible.
- Set strict deadlines. When you do something, decide in advance when you’re going to stop. There’s a rule that states that you will fulfill all the time you have available for completing a task, so make an habit of setting strict deadlines for maximizing your productivity.
- Take one day off per week. Instead of working every day, take one day off per week (for example sunday) where you are not going to turn on your computer. Use that time for doing recreational activities like going for a walk.
Personal Development habits
- Read 1 book per week. Reading is a good way to keep your brain active. With just 30 minutes per day you should be able to read one book per week, or more than 50 books per year.
- Solve puzzles. Quizzes, word games, etc. are all good ways to exercise your brain.
- Think positively. You are what you think, all the time.
- Make fast decisions. Instead of thinking for one hour wherever you are going to do something, make your decisions as fast as possible (usually less than 1 minute).
- Wait before buying. Waiting 48 hours before buying anything is a tremendous money saver, try it.
- Meditate 30 minutes per day. A great way to gain clearness and peace is through meditation. 30 minutes are not a lot, but enough to get you started with meditation.
- Start a blog. Blogging is one of the best way to put your word out. It doesn’t have to be around a specific topic, even a personal blog will do.
- Build a portfolio. If your job is creating stuff, building a portfolio is a great way to show what you are capable of. You can also contribute stuff for free if that applies to your work.
What do you think? What are the habits that changed your life?
If you want to change your disorganization into organization and change your life, contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be glad to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Thursday, March 25 2010
You've put it off and put it off and now, you are ready to get organized once and for all. What is it worth to you?
This past week, I have been contacted by several people who thought they were ready to get organized. However, when it came right down to it, they weren't really committed to the task. They wanted a quick, cheap fix. That is not the way to approach it. You can always find cheap; but you need to find "qualified".
Would you hire someone who can add and subtract numbers to do your taxes or would you hire a certified public accountant?
So when it comes to getting organized, can you put a price on the benefits of eliminating the clutter from your home and your head?
What is it worth to you to get your home office and your paperwork organized so you can put your hands on anything in moments?
What is it worth to you to be able to enter a room and not trip over everything laying in the middle of the floor with no place to put it? (Imagine finding a home for everything in your home!)
What is it worth to you to find more time in your day and be more productive? (Imagine no longer running from one activity to another and being able to get everything done you set out to do that day!)
When you are looking to solve your clutter and organizational issues, can you really put a price on organization? Not really.
What's important when deciding to take on this goal is to find a qualified, experienced professional organizer who will listen and create a system just for you.
Whomever you choose, do yourself a favor and make sure that person fits your needs and you can work with them. If not, you will not get what it is you were looking to achieve. You will end up in the same state of disorganization once again.
When choosing a professional organizer, you should feel confident in the fact that they know what they are doing because you are paying them more for their expertise than anything else.
Anyone can spend four or five hours with you and clean up the mess, but will it stay that way or revert back after a short period of time? A qualified professional organizer will provide the tools you need to keep it organized well after they are gone.
So, if you are looking for "cheap", that is what you will get. When you are looking for "expertise", that is what you will find.
Keep this in mind when taking that step forward. It's better to put on two coats of paint than one. It's better to paint all four walls, instead of just one. Get the job done and get it done right.
I guarantee that those people who contacted me this past week and decided to go with "cheap" will not get what they were looking for.
Contact A BETTER SPACE if you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized. I am more than happy to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, March 12 2010
Unless you are living under a rock or in a cave, you know and are well aware that we are still in the midst of an economic "crisis". This scares many people. The fear of losing your job, your home and/or your investments can be overwhelming.
However, the one thing I have observed recently is that this "crisis" is forcing people to stop and think about their particular financial situation and have a desire to become more aware of where their money comes from and where it is going.
The number of people per month who are still applying for unemployment compensation in the United States is staggering. Of the nearly 52 million U.S. homeowners with a mortgage, about 13.8 million, or nearly 27 percent owe more on their mortgage than their house is now worth, according to Moody’s Economy.com. Most people have seen their investments and retirement funds decrease by approximately forty percent. The average American has approximately $10,000 of credit card debt. No wonder everyone is scared.
Many have attempted to cut back on spending in order to make ends meet and attempt to get out of debt. However, without a plan in place, you cannot be successful. If you do some research, you will find that many financial advisors and other "experts" have put together systems for creating a solution to your budgeting woes. I have found them to be very complex and time consuming, discouraging most people from utilizing them.
In order to successfully create a plan for financial success, you need to create a budget. A budget will provide you with a way to not only analyze your income (by way of a pay check, investment rental properties, alimony, child support, governmental benefits, etc.) but will provide a visual aide to see where the income is going. You cannot budget your money if you don’t know where it is going.
So, how do you begin to even create a budget, you ask? You will need to determine your income, determine your expenses and then create your budget based upon that information. This can sometimes be a complicated and time consuming process.
You will need to determine whether your monthly expenses exceed your monthly income. Does your current problems involve the inability to save month each month? Do you wonder where all your money is going each month? Do you feel that your life is getting out of control because of your finances?
If so, you need to develop a personalized budget so you can better manage your finances. Ask yourself - "How can I possibly manage my money if I don’t have any idea where it all goes each month?" The answer - you need to become more disciplined with your money.
Many people make the mistake of cutting back so drastically that there is nothing left to enjoy. Many get caught up in the "this minor expense won’t matter" syndrome. Before you know it, "these minor expenses" are added over and over throughout a month and before you know it, they really add up. This is sometimes where overspending occurs. And, don’t forget that budgeting needs to include saving money. Planning for those things you enjoy makes it much easier to stick to your budget in the long run.
You may ask why it’s so important to record all of your expenses. It’s important because, if you don’t track your expenses, eventually they get out of control. You need to have a system and it needs to be documented.
Now, more than ever, everyone is looking for that simple way to manage and budget their money. No one wants to take time to work with a complicated system.
No one has the time!
Take the first step now. Acknowledge that you need to get on a budget and commit to finding the support and tools necessary to get it done!
If you need some assistance, I have developed the "U Can Do It Budgeting System" based upon the budgeting system I have used for myself for over 25 years as well as my years of experience setting up personalized budgeting systems for my clients. Visit the ABS Store right on this site learn more.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Friday, February 26 2010
I watched "The Oprah Show" today after a friend of mine called me to let me know she was talking about eliminating the clutter in her own clothes closet.
If any of you follow Oprah (I occasionally get a chance to watch her show and I do get her monthly magazine), you know that she recently decluttered her clothes closet and eliminated 150 items that she intends to put up for auction on E-bay this coming Monday to raise funds for her school is South Africa.
What fascinated me the most, besides the beautiful clothing she is letting go of, including shoes, purses and blouses, (unfortunately I would never be able to wear a size 10 shoe!), was the fact that she openly admitted that she felt a lot of anxiety when she was getting rid of the items in her closet.
Oprah talked about the fact that she does not like to waste things and, therefore, tends to hold onto things longer than she probably should. However, like most people, she was able to reduce the amount of items in her wardrobe once she got help to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of and knew that the items she was eliminating would be used to raise money for a good cause. They were not just getting thrown away; someone who wanted them would be getting them. Bottom line, if someone else is getting them, it feels so much better.
I mention this because this is very common issue that I come across when working with my clients. I am very sensitive to the fact that they don't just want to throw everything away. (A good professional organizer would never do that.) I make sure that we determine what charity or person they would like to donate the items to (assuming they are still in good condition).
I want you to know that if you feel anxiety when getting rid of things, it's a normal response and it's okay. With the gentle guidance of someone you trust, you too will be able to eliminate that clutter in that closet much easier.
Remember, in the end, the clothes in your closet should bring you joy, make you feel beautiful and be usefulness.
If you need assistance in purging items from your closet - not sure what to keep and what to toss or donate - contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Sunday, February 07 2010
This past weekend, the eastern portion of the country experienced a noreastern storm that broke many records. In Philadelphia, they received over 28 inches of snow.
It got me thinking about organizing, of course.
Being organized is more than just keep your household under control and having good time management tools. It's a way of life.
When this large snow fall began, I quickly decided that I would be breaking the project of snow removal down into smaller, more manageable pieces, just like any other larger project, in order to get it done and make it easier for me to handle.
Therefore, I decided that the best way to handle it was to shovel the snow in intervals. When my son and I woke up, we took care of most of it, but with the storm still not over, we knew that we would finish the job when it was. So, instead of waiting until the entire storm ended, we began chipping away, as it were, at the project. This made it easier later in the day when the temperature started to drop and the surfaces became more icy. I am quite aware that many people just stayed in all day and procrastinated and now, Sunday morning, their cars are still buried in the snow and ice. That decision will now make it harder for them to dig out because now they will have to deal with the more difficult conditions.
There is a lesson to be learned here. When taking on any type of project, including snow removal, create a plan of action as to how you will take that project and break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces and you will find that you get the whole project completed much more easily.
We are expecting another large storm by mid-week and you can be assured, it will be managed the same way. One portion at a time.
If you love the snow, enjoy. For me, I can't wait til Spring!
Have a great week and remember, if you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be glad to help.
Wednesday, December 23 2009
I am so excited about my upcoming coaching program for busy moms. This past year I have been focusing my business on helping busy moms and women entrepreneurs learn how to get and stay organized.
Not ony have I been busy writing newsletters, blogs and articles on the subject of getting organized, I have produced a line of products called U Can Do It which were specially created to help busy moms.
Now, I am pleased to announce that I have put together an exciting, new coaching program called "Living A More Organized Life".
With this quarterly group coaching program which meets by phone, busy moms will learn how to follow a proven step-by-step method to tackle and accomplish any project, be prepared for every special event, plan vacations and family time, make back to school a breeze and learn how to relax and enjoy the holiday season by having step-by-step ways to do gift-giving, decorating, large family dinners/parties and having overnight guests feel right at home.
This program begins on January 12, 2010 and then continues in April, July and October.
I am highly suggesting that busy moms not miss out on this opportunity to learn how to live a more organized life. If you or someone you know is a busy mom, don't pass this up. I only have 40 slots available and it will be filling up quickly.
For more information about this program, visit my special information page at www.4abetterspace.com/coaching.
In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas!
Friday, December 18 2009
‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through our house,
There was clutter and chaos…but, thankfully, no mouse!
The mantle was bare, the wreath still in my car,
Not a cookie was baked, not even a bar.
I’d addressed not a card, not a gift had been wrapped,
The jet lag had got me, I just wanted to nap!
One tree was half decorated, the other not bought,
The stockings still packed and the Village was naught.
Ornaments and tissue paper were strewn all about,
I was tempted to say, ‘We’ll just do without!’
But our children and grandchildren will be here next week,
And I know it’s a peaceful, joyful holiday they seek.
So rally I must, this is really a test,
Can I do it? Can I make this Christmas one of the best?
I’ll put on some music, brew some tea, make a list,
I’ll do what I can, the rest won’t be missed.
That we have our health and our loved ones are near,
Is all that we need for our holiday cheer!
SO, LET'S GET ORGANIZED NEXT YEAR!!!!
For now, five strategies for surviving the next seven days:
Lower expectations. There’s not time to do everything but there’s time to do the important things. Even Martha Stewart would have to make choices with this limited amount of time. The trees will be decorated but the lights and the beads do not have to be perfect; perhaps there will not be so many ornaments as in years past. I’ll bake some cookies, but just enough for us to enjoy.
Plan menus to do double duty. The ham and the turkey will do their work for main meals and then appear again as sandwiches, Turkey Curry, and a couple of luscious soups that’ll grow like Topsy when I add some noodles or beans with vegetables. I’ll also make one trip to the store just to stock up on paper goods, dish soap and laundry soap. This is not the time to run out of those staples.
Do things in chunks of time. Instead of racing from one project to the next, I’ll spend one afternoon decorating the dining room, one decorating the living room. I’ll spend one evening baking cookies, another addressing envelopes and yet another doing the layout for the Christmas letter. In those chunks of time, the biggest projects…those that I deem most important…will be done.
Buy some time. There’s just not time to clean the entire house so I’ll hire someone to do the main areas and leave the rest. Clean beds and clean bathrooms top my list. The rest is just fine.
Take care of myself. The best gift I can give my family is to be relaxed and just enjoy this holiday with them. My mood will set the tone for the entire celebration. I’ll get some rest, a bit of exercise, and give myself permission not to be perfect.
No matter how much or how little I do, December 25th will be here next week. I can choose to be stressed or I can relax and enjoy the season. I choose the latter.
It’s truly the best time of the year. May you all have a blessed holiday with your family and friends!
Contact me if you want to make your holiday season a bit easier next year! I can help.
Sunday, November 01 2009
Do you have boxes of stuff and not sure whether it's considered a "collection" or just clutter?
I came across a short video that might help you figure it out.
If after watching this short clip, you determine it's clutter, just get rid of it. If you are still not sure, perhaps you want to consult with a professional to find out, or, like the video mentions, go on E-bay and see how much your stuff is really worth.
Remember, in most cases, it's just "stuff" which translates into "clutter". The memories they evoke are still there (in your head, not in that box). You don't need to keep all that stuff to keep the memories alive.
Before you let go of your precious collection of clutter, simply take a picture and preserve the memory.
Then, just let it go.
If you are feeling ovewhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, simply contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Sunday, October 18 2009
I am currently working with a client who has discovered that she has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). She is working with me to learn how to create a system for getting and staying organized.
One of the things I suggested she do on a daily basis, when I am not physically there with her to coach her, is to simply take just 5 minutes a day to focus on one area of her home and declutter it by putting things away. Basically, straightening up.
Granted, things need to have a home to begin with so that they can be put away. That is what I am working on with her during our sessions. However, in the meantime, she has taken my advice and has begun practicing this ritual. To her surprise, she has found that just those 5 minutes a day can really make a difference. Sometimes, she is feeling so productive, she takes more than just 5 minutes, but the 5 minutes is the minimum.
Consistency is the key to success and if you just commit that short amount of time each and every day, you will find that you can keep it under control. If there are other family members, get them to do the same thing with a particular area of the home. Just having each of them put things away for about 5 minutes a day can add up to a lot of decluttering in one day!
Give it a try and let me know how you make out.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized, simply contact A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy your week!
Tuesday, September 22 2009
I love professional organizing because it gives me a great opportunity to use my imagination. This past weekend, I was working with one of my clients. She is making great strides in getting her home organized once and for all.
We were working in the kitchen area to make some sense of her plastic containers and her recycling of cans and paper, among other things.
This particular client purchases the cardboard boxes of soda which you can open up on one side and it acts as a dispenser.
Going through the organizing process with her, we recognized that because her particular apartment complex does not participate in recycling, she is transporting her recycling items in her car to a local drop-off point. Needless to say, transporting a slew of empty soda cans can be annoying and cumbersome.
I love to teach my clients to "think outside the box", (to coin a phrase). We figured out that we could use the empty soda can box/dispenser to fill with empty soda cans to be transported to the local recycling center. It already has a handle to carry the box, so what could be easier!
This is a perfect example of how you can take something you already have and put it to use in a different way. I promised my client I would pass this tidbit of information on to my blog readers.
So, take a moment when looking for a solution to a problem and remember to "think outside the box"!!!
If you have any great suggestions on how to use something old in a new way, send me an email and tell me about it.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Enjoy the start of Fall and have a great week!
Friday, September 18 2009
I have always recommended to my clients that they make use of a "To Do" list. I even supply new clients with a note pad and pencil to get them started! It is a great time management tool and allows you to have that sense of accomplishment, when, at the end of the day, you see what you achieved.
However, sometimes people get too carried away with the concept and write down every little thing they need to do on the list. I do not recommend that. What sometimes happens is that you feel you cannot do something until that other thing gets done so that it never gets done and you schedule yourself so tightly that you are constantly referring to the list to make your next move.
You should look to your "To Do" list as a tool by which you learn to discipline yourself to write down only those things you can physically accomplish in a day. If you list too many things, you tend to produce an overly ambitious litany that you can't possibly complete and which tends to lead to feelings of failure. That can be very stressful. The point of having a "To Do" list is the reduce the stress - by writing it down you get it off your head. Be realistic about what you can accomplish.
Choose to accomplish one major task per week instead of several in one day. If you have a whole list of major tasks, put each one on a separate index card and keep them in an index box, pulling out one at a time. When you have larger "To Do"s, take that index card and break down the steps it will take to accomplish your goal, putting them on the back of the card. Focusing on one large task at a time will help you get more accomplished.
Let your "To Do" list fulfill it's essential role - to serve as encouragement and inspiring reminders to get the things done you'd like to accomplish. Allow time to live your life. Don't let your "To Do" list dictate every move you make. Let life happen.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to me for help. If you need assistance with this or any other organizational issues, simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an organized and productive week!
Saturday, September 12 2009
Everyone at times feels overwhelmed. Whether it's keeping up with the housework, running the kids to various activities, dealing with a sick family member, or getting organized, we all need some help. All you have to do is ask.
My first wake up call was when my first husband was diagnosed with cancer and was terminally ill. I did my best to do it all myself, but quickly found it was impossible. Reluctantly, I reached out to friends and family to ask for help with caring for my 6 year old son and helping me to care for my husband. I quickly realized those that cared about me were more than willing to lend a hand during this most difficult time in my life.
It's not a bad thing to reach out to others when it's all too much to deal with. We can find lots of excuses not to but don't let these excuses stop you from getting the help that you need:
- What if they say "No"? - Don't take it personally. Give the person credit for being honest with you. They might be feeling overwhelmed in their life too. Just find someone else. Don't let that stop you from asking; it's worth the risk to save your sanity.
- I don't want to owe anyone. - Believe it or not, most people do not expect, or even want, a favor in return when they offer their support. They just want to be able to help out, trusting that when they are in need, the favor would be returned. A simple "Thank You" will do.
- It's faster to do it myself. - You may think this is true, but most times, it's not. If you add up all the little tasks, you will discover that it could take a long list of never-ending to-do's. You could be spending that time doing something that you are more efficient at and, therefore, be more productive.
- I don't want to be a burden. - People generally want to help out. It's a chance for them to show you that they care about you. They will not look at it as you being a burden unless you over do it. If you are reasonable in your requests for help, you will get what you need.
- I can handle it on my own. - Don't be a martyr. No one can do it all. Don't let false pride rob you of the chance to enjoy life. Learning to delegate to others will free up more of your time and let others show off their talents too. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Together we can conquer whatever comes our way!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out for help. It's there for the taking. And when the time is right, you can always return the favor.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your clutter, reach out to me for help. Simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help. Just ask.
Wishing you an organized week!
Sunday, August 30 2009
Life is complicated enough.
I have found that people tend to make their schedules and tasks much more difficult than they have to be. While there are hundreds of things you can do to organize your life, I believe these seven tips alone can help.
1. Simplify your morning routine. Take a shower and select what you are going to wear the night before. Go for a more natural look and use less cosmetics to save time. Get an simple hairstyle that requires very little work and is easy to maintain. Set the breakfast table the night before. Wake up a little bit earlier so you can feed the kids, walk the dog and/or have a cup of coffee without the need to race to work.
2. Simplify your schedule. Stop doing the activities that you are no longer interested in doing. Delegate. Consolidate your errands to save time. Pad each errand, appointment or task by about 15 minutes and you will stop rushing from one thing to the next. Don't fill your calendar to the max. Leave some time open for fun and relaxation in between your work-related or chore-related tasks. Stop saying "yes" to everyone and everything. Learn to say "no" sometimes!
3. Simplify your processes. Is it taking too long to accomplish certain things? If so, take a look at those tasks. For example, if it's taking you an hour to balance your checkbook, you might want to consider using a computer software program to manage your money instead. Are you tired of waiting in line at the post office for postage? Consider ordering it online. If it's taking you forever to file your paperwork, perhaps it's time to revamp your filing system. It just might not be the best system for you.
4. Simplify your possessions. Remember, when it comes to possessions, quality is more important that quantity. It's better to have a few very nice things than tons of not-so-nice things. Do you have more shirts than will fit in your drawer or closet? Do you really need that many? Donate clothes you never wear and you'll be helping someone less fortunate while simplifying your wardrobe. Weed out your kitchen cupboards. Reduce the amount of plastic containers. Get rid of the small appliances or cooking utensils you no longer use. Have a yard sale. Before you go shopping, get rid of something you no longer need. Use the "one in, one out" rule. If your kids are off on their own, you may even want to simplify and downsize to a smaller house. Remember, less is more!
5. Simplify your finances. Consolidate your credit cards. Most people can get by just fine with just one or two major ones. And, don't spend beyond your means! In fact, if your credit card bills run very high each month, consider paying for purchases in cash instead. Pay your bills online whenever you can. Balance your checkbook each month, so you don't fall way behind. Set up a monthly spending budget and stick to it so you don't go overboard with purchases each month.
Do you want an EASY way to budget your money? Are you tired of those complex systems that you can't maintain from month to month? If so, the U Can Do It Budgeting System is for you. You will be able to download this e-book onto your computer within minutes and be ready to create your own personal budget in less than one hour! Simply go to the Budgeting System tab right on this website and download it today!
6. Simplify your cleaning. Clean as you go, and you'll never have to deep clean. Rinse dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher immediately after each meal so you don't have big pile-ups in the sink. (Remind your family of this rule, as well.) Use only one or two cleaning products to clean your entire house--you don't need ten! Create a cleaning schedule. You may choose to do a chore each day, such as vacuuming on Mondays, dusting on Tuesdays, etc. Or, you may prefer choosing a room a day, such as kitchen on Mondays, bathrooms on Tuesdays, etc. Divide up the cleaning duties among each member of your household. If your budget will allow, get a cleaning person to come in and clean once a week, or once every few weeks.
7. Simplify your meal planning. Choose one day each week (include your family, if you'd like)to decide what you will have for dinner the next seven nights. Write those meals down and make a grocery list of the items you need to purchase to make match those meals.
STAY TUNED - THE U CAN DO IT GROCERY SHOPPING LIST is being launched in September 2009!
This is much easier than worrying about what you're going to make for dinner each day. Choose meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Make double, so you only have to cook every other night! Learn how to use a slow cooker so dinner is ready to eat when you get home from work.
Please keep in mind that with any plan, maintenance is the key. By utilizing these tips regularly, I guarantee you will have A BETTER SPACE.
If you need further assistance with this or any other organizational issue, please contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I will be more than happy to help.
Enjoy the last days of August!
Friday, August 14 2009
Some of the people who contact me to help them out with their clutter woes suffer from varying degrees of ADD. ADD is short for Attention Deficit Disorder. For many adults with ADD, life feels overwhelming and chaotic. Their homes are cluttered; laundry and dishes go undone; newspapers and magazines pile up; bills get lost in piles of paper, etc.
In order to assist those of you who suffer with ADD, I recommend taking these 10 steps to building habits that will help you get and stay organized.
Tie a new habit to an old one. Once you become an adult, you tend of have some ingrained habits. It's easiest to develop a new habit if it's tied to an old one. For example, place your vitamins next to your toothbrush in the bathroom to help you remember to take your vitamins each morning.
Make the habit as easy as possible. Select a place that makes sense. Pick a convenient, visible place to put your keys, such as by the front door. Always return them to the same place each and every time. Before selecting "the spot", think about where you would most need that item to be. Usually your first instinct is the right one.
Make the habit hard to ignore. Put the item in a place where you will notice it. If you have to return clothing to the department store, put the bag by the front door so you will not be able to leave the house without remembering to take it with you. I put my mail, bank deposits, cell phone and keys with my pocketbook so I remember to take them all with me when I leave the house.
Put reminders everywhere. When you are first starting to develop your new habit, put sticky notes where you are sure to see them that remind you to act on your new habit. You've decided you want to pack your lunch instead of buying it to save money. At night, put a sticky note on the front door, refrigerator and kitchen counter to remind you to take your packed lunch from the fridge and take it with you when you leave the house.
Visualize yourself doing the new behavior. Visualization is very powerful. It allows you time to actually imagine yourself doing something. If the new behavior is a morning habit, for example, imagine yourself going through your morning routine which would include your new habit at the appropriate point in the routine.
Practice correcting yourself. Everyone forgets. Don't beat yourself up over it. If you forget to practice your new habit, simply go and do the new habit the instant you remember it. By just doing the habit at some point in your day, it will make it easier for you to do it in the correct time frame in the future.
Get back on that horse. Everyone falls off the proverbial horse from time to time. We are not infallible. Remember that habits take time; forgetting is not failure. It's just a part of developing a habit; so don't give up!
Problem solve if it's not working. If something isn't working for you, change it. Perhaps you need a different reminder. Maybe you need to tie it to a different habit. It might work better for you if you change the time of day you are attempting to do it. Take some time to make the changes that will work best for you.
Practice, Practice, Practice. It takes at least 21 days for something to become a habit. To help you develop that habit, put the habit on your calendar for 21 days and check it off as you do it. Soon you will no longer need to write it down; it will just come to you naturally.
FINALLY, Reward Yourself. Congratulate yourself and celebrate the fact that you reached your 21 day goal. Now, go on and create more habits. Work with your ADD to take charge of your life.
You might find that you need the hands-on help of a professional organizer to get you started, especially when the level of clutter feels too overwhelming.
If you are bothered by your clutter and are interested in my services, please send me an email at email@example.com and I will be glad to help.
Wishing you an organized week!
Monday, June 29 2009
This is the fifth (and final) organizing misconception I feel the need to "debunk".
It is the idea that just by writing things down, they will get done. The truth is, you can write things down all you want, but if you don't act on the items you jot down, they will never get done.
One of my former clients was a stay-at-home mom and loved to make lists. She had To Do lists, lists of movies she'd wanted to see, lists of chores she wanted to complete, a list of friends she wanted to contact and many other lists too numerous to mention.
The lists were good but here's the problem. She never got anything done on her lists. She felt that writing them down was enough. However, it's only the first step.
I think having lists is wonderful and you should definitely keep them. They are a great way of getting ideas from your head onto paper and relieving the stress of having to remember everything. I use them all the time.
However, YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY DO THE THINGS ON YOUR LIST.
I suggest that you schedule time daily, weekly and monthly to accomplish these tasks. Some things take more time to accomplish so they can remain on a list for the month, with the idea that at the end of the month, the task is completed. Put several movies on your list to schedule time to see throughout the month. Don't overload the list so that the task is not achievable. It needs to be reasonable in order to achieve it.
Some items can be done within the week and you can schedule time in your week to knock them off your list. I suggest doing similar tasks together - such as running all errands at the same time, returning phone calls at the same time, paying bills at the same time, etc.
Some things need to be done by the end of the day. If they are urgent, get them done!
Refer to your lists often and knock off as many things on your "To Do" list as possible. You need to make a conscious effort to work on the lists that you create otherwise they just become lists and nothing more. That is not productive and will just become frustrating when the lists grow and grow.
The ultimate goal is to get the tasks done.
With the help of a professional organizer, you can learn how to best utilize those lists and create time to get them done. As an expert in time management, I show my clients the quickest, most effective ways to best utilize that "To Do" list and other types of lists they wish to have.
If you have any questions about this topic or have any other organizing problems you would like me to address, simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help.
Have a great week!
Monday, February 23 2009
Many of us make ambitious New Year's resolutions only to find that we're ready to give them up even before we get started. When it comes to any resolution to improve your life, remember that the key to making and maintaining positive change is to establish that new behavior as a daily habit.
A habit is "a settled way of behaving, something done frequently and almost without thinking." Often the reason we abandon our New Year's resolutions is because we try to make a drastic change without allowing our bodies or minds to adjust to that change. According to James Arthur Ray, author of Harmonic Wealth, it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit. That's three weeks to allow yourself to adjust to a new way of being or behaving. That doesn't sound too difficult, does it? But if the change is too big, and especially if there's an old habit to break in the process, 21 days can seem like a lifetime.
Your best bet is to take each resolution and break it down into a smaller first step that you can transform into a daily habit over the course of 21 days.
When I work with my clients, I show them how to take those changes they want to make and break them down into small, manageable pieces so that they do become a "habit". Once those habits are developed, staying organized becomes second nature and is then managed effortlessly. Whether it relates to managing the influx of paperwork, your laundry or your schedule, good habits can be created and the results can last a lifetime, leaving you with more time on your hands, less stress and a more enjoyable way of life.
If you know you are ready to make a change in your lifestyle by getting organized but are feeling overwhelmed with the prospect, let me hear from you. Simply contact me at A BETTER SPACE. I can help you create those life-changing habits.
Friday, August 15 2008
This month I celebrated another birthday - not telling you which one! I decided that I wanted to make a life change and began working on taking more control of my health. I have a history of eating poorly and not exercising and as a result was feeling sluggish and lazy. I knew I could improve.
So, I began by setting some goals for myself. I decided I wanted to eat better and begin an exercise program. I know myself well enough to know that if I jump in, full force, I will burn out and never accomplish my goals. So I am taking it slow.
Beginning August 1st, I began making a conscious effort to eat 3 meals a day. (I was only eating maybe 2 and lots of junk food to boot.) I went by myself to the supermarket on July 31st and bought fruits, vegetables, fat free yogurt, whole grain breads and cereal, low fat milk, 100% juices such as apple, grape and orange, low fat peanut butter ( I love peanut butter!), and 94% fat free popcorn as well as whole grain crackers to snack on.
I decided to begin an exercise program, and again, taking it slow since I don't exercise at all except for when I am organizing clients' homes. I decided to walk. I love to walk in my community. We have a great community park which draws lots of people from our neighborhood. There are walking and biking trails, basketball courts, soccer fields and more. I even enjoy just taking a walk around the streets in my area. There are lush trees and the wonderful sounds of nature to enjoy. Everyone says "hello" when they see you; it's just so nice. So, it was a good choice for me to at least get myself out the door and moving around. I walk about a half hour, which covers 2 miles, every other day. I walk at a brisk pace and feel energized when I am done.
I am taking vitamins too! I decided to start with a woman's multi-vitamin and since I have a Vitamin D deficiency (most people do and don't know it), I supplement with a Vitamin D on a daily basis.
This was a good start for me. I am paying close attention to the foods I eat, using portion control, exercising and taking vitamins. In two weeks, I lost a couple pounds and overall feel so much better. Mentally, I am happier and more energized. I feel that it is much easier to accomplish my day to day goals with a much clearer head.
I guess the moral to this story is that you can begin to organize your life by making small life changes that will make you feel better about yourself. As a result, you will feel happier and more energized to accomplish those goals you wish to achieve. Now, you can tackle that messy linen closet or those pantry shelves! Taking small steps to get where you want to go will have a lasting effect.
I will keep you posted on my progress so you can follow along...
If you have any comments or questions about this topic or any other organizing issue you might have, feel free to contact me. I will be more than happy to make your place A BETTER SPACE!
Have a great week!
Tuesday, July 08 2008
Last Wednesday I was at a networking meeting and out of no where, I went into extreme spasm in my neck. It was so bad I could not drive home from the meeting and had to leave my car in the parking lot and get a ride home from a friend. I felt helpless.
Needless to say, the rest of the week I spent focusing on eliminating the spasms in my neck and taking time to recouperate. As a result, I had to take a week off of work and not do too much around the house. I could not drive so I could not run errands. I was not able to keep up with the housework and not able to keep my home "organized".
I have a hard time not being able to do what I normally do when things happen to cause me to lay low for a while. Not my style.
I am anxious to return to work this week and resume my normal activities.
I know that most people believe that since I am a professional organizer, my life is always "organized". However, this goes to show that we can all have times in our life when something comes along, unexpected, that throws us off course.
The important thing to remember is that you need not give up, but rather, work to get back to where you were before and resume those every day tasks.
Of course, being organized to begin with will help you to resume your normal schedule quicker. Just pick up where you left off and accept that sometimes, we cannot control what happens in life. Just learn to roll with the punches and be determined to get back to "normal" as soon as possible.
Remember, organizing is not a one-time-and-you're-done kind of job. It's an ongoing process so get back on that horse and get going!
If you have any questions or issues relating to any type of organizing, please contact me and I will be glad to help make your place A BETTER SPACE.
Have a great week!
Wednesday, May 21 2008
I got this via email from a current client of mine and thought I would pass it on. It’s a bit long but very inspiring. I enjoyed it and intend to refer to it often. Hope you do too!
Tips for A Better Life
1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.
4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'
5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.
7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
9. Dream more while you are awake.
10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, OR issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.
18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
26. Forgive everyone for everything.
27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
28. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
29. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
30. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
31. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
32. The best is yet to come.
33. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
34. Do the right thing!
35. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)
36. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.
37. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
38. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.
Thanks to my client, Jim, for sharing these words of inspiration. Hope they inspire you as well. If you have any tips for A BETTER SPACE, in your home or in your life, please send me an email and it might just end up in my blog for others to enjoy.
In the meantime, have a great week!
Wednesday, April 02 2008
I know I don't usually blog about anything other than organizing, but, today I couldn't resist sharing this with you. I received it from a friend:
"A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, 'Who would like this $20 bill?'
Hands started going up.
He said, 'I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.
He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.
He then asked, 'Who still wants it?'
Still the hands were up in the air.
Well, he replied, 'What if I do this?'
And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.
'Now, who still wants it?'
Still the hands went into the air.
My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson.
No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value.
It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you.
The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by WHO WE ARE and WHOSE WE ARE.
You are special - Don't EVER forget it."
I hope you find inspiration in this, as I did.
Wishing you an organized and productive day!