Organizing Sentimental Items As a Professional Organizer I know that organizing sentimental items is challenging for many of you. This is especially true during the purging stage when you are deciding what to keep and what to let go of. Remember that the benefits of organizing anything, including sentimental items, is that you are able to revisit fond memories. The question is why do we let sentimental items become clutter? The reasons are usually emotional: Fear Guilt Attachment Perceived emotional value Perceived financial value Fear When organizing, some people fear that letting go of a sentimental item is a sign of disrespect, or that they will forget the person or event the item reminds them of. Organizing Tip: If you really don’t want or need the item take a photo of it and add the photo to your other photos of that person or the event. Then donate the item. If you aren’t ready to let it go, display the item next to a framed photo. Guilt Items that are passed down through families aren’t always valued by later generations. Even though, some of us feel guilty letting go of family heirlooms. As a Professional Organizer I don’t think that it is fair or reasonable to tell someone not to feel guilty. It is something that the person will have to decide. Organizing Tip: If you really do not want the item try packing it away and letting a friend or relative hold on to it. Set a time frame for when you will be ready to let it go. If feelings of guilt arise during that time frame retrieve the item and find a way to use it or display it. Attachment If sentimental items bring you pleasure that is sufficient reason to keep them. Organizing Tip: You don’t… read more →
Clutter…Is it Ruining Your Love Life? Take it from your San Diego Personal & Professional Organizer, clutter and organizing do not mix. Clutter can cause: Stress in your relationships Feelings of incompetence or shame Wasted time looking for important items & papers Health & safety hazards. Don’t let clutter ruin your love life. The benefits of organizing are that it establishes systems and routines that help you continue to declutter and stay organized. Unlike your love life, when it comes to your “stuff”, variety isn’t always the spice of life. If you are always looking for items such as your keys, glasses or important papers here are some of my Organizing Do’s and Don’t s. Check out my previous blog: 7 Clutter Prevention Tips Clutter Do’s: Have a dedicated place for everything. Read Dorothy Breininger’s blog: Organizing Your Entryway for more organizing tips. Put items in back in the same place every time. It doesn’t matter where that place is as long as it makes sense to you and you are consistent in using it. Have a back up. Examples: Keep spare eyeglasses in specific rooms as well as your vehicle. Keep spare keys in a safe place. Schedule time to reduce clutter on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Clutter Don’t s: Change purses frequently. Organizing Tip: If you “must”, use one of those inserts to organize your purse. Purchase more than you need. That contributes to clutter. Rely on shopping for something you know that you have and cannot find. Get frustrated or self critical. Mindful Organizing Tip: When you are looking for the item & cannot find it, pause, take a breath, and mentally retrace where you last saw/had it. Mindlessly drop or pile items just anywhere. Mindful Organizing Tip: Return items intentionally to their “homes”.
7 Clutter-preventing strategies My 7 clutter-preventing strategies are not necessarily fun or easy. They DO work and I know that you can do it if you practice regularly. The benefits of organizing make it worth it! Each strategy can be practiced for 2-8 weeks before you take on the next. Don’t sabotage yourself by setting unrealistic goals Also, allow for back-sliding. This can happen whenever you are creating new Optimal Habits. From your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer: Daily de-cluttering. Schedule 15 minutes at the end of every day to de-clutter 1 area. Weekly de-cluttering. Schedule 30 minutes every week to de-clutter and organize. Shop no more. Commit to 2 weeks of no shopping (except for food). Donate immediately. Forget the collection bag. Don’t let donations sit in a pile, bag or your car. Donate immediately. Consign now. Make quick decisions. If you don’t like it, wear it, or use it and it’s in good repair…consign it. Return it. If it’s unopened or never worn return it. If you have multiples of items that you rarely use, return them. Get rid of big containers. Big, deep containers are a magnet for clutter. Unless they are large items that require larger storage, there is no need for big containers. My organizing tips are meant to guide and encourage you with getting and staying organized. Be patient and keep your intention and actions set on your goals. Avoid self criticism and defeating remarks such as, “I’m such a mess”. “I can never stay organized”. “I’m just like my (name of family member)”. “It will just come back, why bother?” Think and say statements that focus on your successes and strengths. Have you read my book of simple inspirational statements for organizing and time management? It make a great gift for yourself… read more →
Eliminate Procrastination – A System That Works Do you have a task that isn’t urgent, but you need to do it? Do you find that you procrastinate about doing it even though you know that it would take you less time to do it than the time you’ve spent putting it off? We all do this to a greater or lesser extent. It’s only when it nags at you that it becomes an issue. If you want to conquer procrastination, here’s a system that will help you eliminate procrastination forever. As a Professional Organizer and Time Management/Productivity Coach I help you reduce stress by increasing your productivity. I will advise clients to assess the things that they have on their to-do list (mental or written) using this system of decision making criteria: Is it something that you… 1. Need to do and want to do. 2. Need to do but don’t want to do it. 3. Don’t need to do it but want to do it. 4. Don’t need to do it and don’t want to do it. The benefits of organizing and sorting your to-do’s using these criteria will enable you to eliminate the things that don’t need to get done all from your list. It will help you to identify the tasks that you can delegate or outsource to others who can get it done. Using this system will also enable you to identify the priority tasks that you will now schedule time to do. These are the tasks that you need to get done even if you don’t want to do them and more importantly, the tasks that you need and want to do. Be gentle with yourself and try not to judge. Creating this awareness and going through the process of organizing your to-do’s by using… read more →
7 No-Fail Closet Organizing Tips All of my organizing tips including these 7 no-fail closet organizing tips are meant to be shared and not kept secret. No doubt some of you can, or at least want to try, do this by yourself before you consider working with a Personal/Professional Organizer or Image Consultant. When it comes to organizing your closet and clothes here is the list of my 7 favorite no-fail closet and wardrobe makeover tips: Ask the question and answer honestly. Make quick decisions. Donate, consign or trash immediately. Turn all of your hangers backwards. Establish a system that works for you and use it. Keep only those clothes fit the body you are in today. Keep only those clothes that make you look and feel beautiful and confident. If you can do all of the above you will be successful and sadly, never need to work with me, your San Diego Professional Organizer. Here are how my 7 no-fail closet organizing tips work: Closet Organizing Tip #1: ASK THE QUESTION, ANSWER IT HONESTLY – When was the last time that you wore this? How did it look on you then? How does it make you feel when you wear this? What if you lose those extra eight pounds? Would you wear it then? What would happen if you “needed” it again even though you didn’t wear it last season either? Would you try to replace it with the same or similar item? If it has sentimental meaning why is it stuffed in the back of your closet? There is no need to judge yourself. The questions are meant to be direct and help you make the decision. A Professional Organizer will never make that decision for you. Closet Organizing Tip #2: MAKE QUICK DECISIONS – There is hardly… read more →
Organization Skills You have the organization skills that you need, everyone does. So how do you get started organizing? Plan, prepare, schedule time to organize, and employ my “1-at-a-time rule”. Looking at the before and after photos of the office that I worked in recently you can immediately see the big and little differences that organizing creates. As your San Diego Professional Organizer my goal is always to teach and empower, not just do the organizing for you. That’s no fun! First, we scheduled a date and time to work together. During that first session we confirmed our plan. In a 3-4 hour block of time you can’t do it all so I needed to know what the client’s goals and priorities were. To prepare we needed a large space to gather items that were alike (we used the floor in the adjacent room). We also needed containers for recycling, shredding, discards and donations. Preparation also includes adequate ventilation and hydration (we work up a sweat). Once we get to work it’s my job as the professional to ask the right questions. These questions enable you to decide what to keep and what to let go of. Since I don’t own the items and am not emotionally attached to them in any way I can remain calm and neutral for the client. A trained Personal/Professional Organizer knows how to guide you through questioning, gathering information, and offering options for the client. After some time it becomes easier and quicker for the client to make those decisions. When you use my 1-at-a-time rule you are able to see results quickly because you are not scattered, you are focused. Always get rid of the clutter in your space first because you do not want to store and organize items that are no… read more →
Organizing travel tips… Organizing travel tips come in handy before, during, and after your trip. Your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer shares the essential to-do’s to ensure post-vacation organization. I promise that the benefits of organizing after this trip will make your next trip even easier! Unpack the day that you get home. Sort your laundry as you unpack. Update your packing and travel list; (Note: if you need a packing list you can email me for one that I use) Add anything that you wished you brought this time and want to bring in the future. Replenish your toiletries as soon as possible…be trip-ready! Check your receipts against your credit card and debit statements within the week that you get home in the event that there are discrepancies. It’s always easier to resolve the incorrect charges sooner rather than later. If you brought too much stuff with you this time you can find helpful tips for this and more on my recent post: Organizing Tips|Travel Happy travels!
Which of your habits and behaviors contribute to clutter? We all have a plethora of behaviors that contribute to either being organized or to causing clutter. If you always put things back in their place when you are done using them that will of course help you stay organized. The benefits of this one organizing tip is that you will know where the item is when you need it again, be able to find it quickly, and know whether or not you have enough of that item or it needs to be replenished. If you leave things out or put them in any old place it will contribute to clutter, it’s just that simple. As a Personal Organizer I ask my clients why they have so many duplicates of the same items and they often reply that when they couldn’t find the item so they just bought more. That’s an expensive habit. There is physical clutter (too much stuff) and there is also a cluttered life…mental clutter and poor time management. Do you relate to any of these habits: Poor delegation skills – it isn’t necessary, realistic or productive to try and do everything yourself. Try delegating tasks that others can do as well or better than you can. Space challenged – understanding what how much you can realistically store. Remember that it’s okay to leave room in a container, on a shelf, and to keep a surface clear. Poor time estimation skills (over- and under-estimating) – understanding how much time it takes to get specific things done, including commuting. This is a critical time management skill for effective planning. The “one more thing” syndrome – squeezing in another task when you don’t have enough time and then, feeling rushed and being late. As always, try focusing one one habit… read more →
Feeling Organized What does feeling organized mean to you? Think about how you feel when your space is organized and clutter-free. Imagine what an organized day feels like. I love to write about the benefits of organizing to motivate and inspire you towards that clutter-free lifestyle most of us crave. An organized life feels… Calm Productive Energizing Healthy, and Spacious. The disorganized life in contrast feels stressful, overwhelming and chaotic. The worst part of long-standing disorganization is that for some people it becomes the norm. I was just talking about this with a friend and describing how some people become accustomed to living in chaos and clutter and that making change is too scary for them to seek help. There are so many resources out there for you if you want to take the first step and make a change. NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organizers) is our professional organization. As a NAPO Personal and Professional Organizer and Time Management Coach I encourage you to explore their national website, and your local chapter’s website. Ask yourself if you are ready to start feeling organized and get out of chaos. Take baby steps so that you don’t get overwhelmed. If you want to try it yourself, read an article or book that describes the organizing process.
Organization skills yield amazing personal and professional benefits. As Personal and Professional Organizer I help you stay on track by keeping you focused (and motivated) on the benefits of honing your organization skills. Organization skills include decluttering, organizing, managing and maintaining your space as well as your schedule. The benefits? So far I’ve talked about the ability to: Focus – with clarity and direction. Plan effectively. Track progress. Revise your course of action. Adapt to life transitions. Balance workload and priorities. Manage time realistically. Access information, items quickly. Maximize space and time. Create safe environments. 10 More Benefits! Save time – for important relationships (including yourself). Boost productivity – efficient use of your mental and physical energy. Enhance self esteem – your sense of control when you feel and behave more organized. Impact credibility – with others personally, professionally. Monitor spending, income, expenses – improved planning and decision making. Choose – how to use your available time with more intention. Delegate – allow others to do the things that you do not need to do, that they want to learn, that they are good at doing. Streamline – your processes and maximize your results. Schedule – time for all of the core areas of your life. Maintain – a healthy environment that is easy to keep clean.