One of the most rewarding aspects of organizing is letting go of items you no longer need, that might be useful to others. As part of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) in San Diego I am collecting shoes for a nonprofit, Soles4Souls. Help us collect new and used shoes during our Shoe Drive on October 15th, check out the details: http://www.naposandiego.com/get-organized-month.php
Things to think about BEFORE an emergency: 1. DOCUMENTS, RECORDS: Do you safely store important documents? What about important phone numbers, account numbers, passwords, medical records and so on? Do you have a current household inventory with accompanying receipts? 2. SAFETY MEASURES: Do you have a supply of flashlights, fresh batteries, candles, lighters, bottled water, foods that don’t require cooking, a first aid kit? Where are these items kept and do all of the family members know where they are? 3. VALUABLES: In case of an evacuation, do you have valuable items that are in a portable carrying case or backpack that can be accessed quickly and carried away easily? Are they in a central location near an exit? If you only had 30 minutes to pack your car and leave what would you want to take with you (in addition to family members and pets)? Lots of checklists are available to help you prepare in advance for an emergency. Get organized and do it now!
Do you have photos or momentos that you keep stored in the house or garage? If they mean something to you and when you look at them, they make you feel happy, then by all means get them out of hiding. I love these easy gift ideas that help my clients feel more organized. Check out these clean, simple and inexpensive display frames… http://www.containerstore.com/shop/shelvingSale?productId=10020474&N=247+1000040&Nao=20
Many of my clients have an abundant supply of gift wrapping supplies. Recently I worked with a wonderful client to create a gift wrapping station. She has a terrific table with a wide space for not only gift wrapping, but also craft-making. We gathered all of her supplies then: Purged the worn tissue paper, wraps, and gift bags. Sorted the seasonal items from the generic ones. Grouped like items such as ribbons, tissues, bags, etc. together. The top drawer will be a great spot to store the supplies that should be within easy reach such as scissors, tape, and labels. There is plenty of space for a trash bin underneath so those small clippings don’t escape! Check out this helpful guide from Good Housekeeping: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/christmas-ideas/gift-wrapping-station#slide-1
It’s gratifying to see people embrace ideas and strategies that you share with them. I had an opportunity to talk with the San Diego Society of Women Engineers recently. Check out my friend Louise Julig’s blog on http://www.thoughtshappen.net/2011/09/how-do-you-really-spend-your-time-only-one-way-to-find-out.html All of us, including myself can benefit from doing a weekly time audit. Discover how you really are or are not using your time. This is powerful information that you can use for making the changes you desire!
Decluttered and organized space in your home, garage, office and even the trunk of your car has a calming effect. Sometimes my clients view it as an invitation to fill it again rather than keep it clear. So, how do you keep it uncluttered? First, acknowledge the work that you put into clearing the space and be proud of your accomplishment. Second, identify the benefits of having the space cleared. For instance, you can see the lovely granite countertop or enjoy the beauty of the wood grain on your desktop. Perhaps it’s that sense of knowing where you put things when you cleared the space and feeling calmer because you can find what you need and are less hurried. The key is to create a logical storage area or tickler system for those items that used to be piled up in the space. That way even though it’s out of sight, it’s not out of mind! Start with something simple, easy to maintain and immediately beneficial. Invest in a bill organizer with numbered slots for each bill statement. Use the drawer below for related supplies such as postage and return address labels. You can keep this compact system on your desk or counter so everything is well-managed and organized, or if you prefer more privacy you can store it in a closet that you use on a daily basis. TIP: You can place birthday cards that need to be sent out by certain dates in the slots as well, it’s not just for bills. BENEFITS: Bills are paid on time, no late fees, no clutter.
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety about getting rid of, or as I prefer to think of it, letting go of things. The reasons are as varied as the individuals: “I might need it some time.” “It was a gift.” “I spent a lot of money on it.” Letting go of things that you don’t or will likely never use is a process. Here are some Outside In Organizer tips for reducing your anxiety about decluttering: TIP #1: If it’s in disrepair and more costly to fix than replace, discard it. TIP #2: It you have duplicates, donate or sell some of the items. TIP #3: Get a bag or box and find any 5 items that you are able to let go of (perishable trash doesn’t count, just get rid of it), just experience letting go. Over time, begin including items that are more difficult to let go of. TIP #4: Give something that you don’t use or haven’t used in a year or more, but find difficult to part with, to a worthy charity such as Hospice or Goodwill. My clients find it easier to let go if it’s going to someone in need.
What makes people anxious about organizing? It’s different for everyone but the best strategy is to recognize the anxiety and begin by taking small steps. As a Professional Organizer I am trained to break down big projects into smaller tasks. The benefits? Reduced stress, calmer environment to live and work in, sense of control and focus…the list goes on. The positive feelings that come from success early on are very motivating for my clients. When they “downsize their stuff, they upsize their life”!