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 Tips for travel and vacation: Your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer’s Organizing tips for vacation…while you are enjoying the trip: 1. Declutter: You can reduce the clutter that you bring home! Take photos of business cards from shops and restaurants and leave the cards behind. Load the info into your contacts. 2. Organize your photos: Taking photos with your phone? Each night, email them as attachments to yourself, include date, time and place. They will be ready to upload on your computer when you arrive home. 3. Weight reduction: Like to read on vacation? Bringing books adds unnecessary weight. Invest in an e-reader with a no-glare screen. Save your back, neck and shoulders. Eliminate extra charges for excess baggage weight. 4. Reduce stress: Utilize the auto reply message to notify senders that you are out of the office and will return calls, emails when you return (provide a date 1 day after you return). Hey, send me a postcard and let me know how these organizing tips worked! Better yet, post it on the Outside In Organizer and Makeovers Facebook page.
Does your limited thinking create clutter? Limited thinking about your ability to get organized and stay organized will prevent you from taking action, including getting help from a Professional Organizer. If you don’t believe that you can be an organized person it will likely create negative emotions. Clutter in your environment and your schedule has a negative impact on your confidence, productivity, and health. In the book, “Clutter Busting”, author Brooks Palmer describes how clutter can keep some people from feeling their emotions: “It acts as an emotional insulator in the same way that drugs and booze do. Like a drink, it wears off, and then you have to acquire more to be numb. Clutter buries you alive.” Clutter may keep you from feeling your emotions temporarily, but it is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a large open wound. It’s an ineffective and superficial way to mask something deeper. Trust me, the feelings which will eventually seep to the surface. See if any of this limited thinking and negative emotions sounds familiar. Ask yourself questions such as: • Guilt – Were you taught to believe that letting go of things is wrong or wasteful? • Lack of confidence – Did you think that by acquiring things you would feel more admired and less inadequate? • Low self-esteem – Did you learn that doing everything yourself rather than asking for assistance was a sign of dependence? • Failure – Do you feel like a failure and that you should be able to be organized without assistance? • Shame – Do you avoid inviting people into your space and worry about their judgment? • Attention issues – Are often exhausted and lack mental energy and focus? • All or none thinking – Do you believe that if you can’t organize it… read more →
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 →
Habits that cause clutter include: Your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer wants you to begin to check off the habits and behaviors that may cause clutter in your home and office. Do any of these look familiar: If so, try my 1-at-a-time rule and begin to eliminate just one “bad” habit. Practice it and reward your successes! Creating stacks of things, paper, etc. – stacks make retrieving things in a timely manner unnecessarily more difficult. Using deep storage containers – bins that make it difficult to find things. Lack of daily organizing – creating a daily routine for organizing every space as soon as you are finished using it. Fifteen minutes a day keeps the piles away. Procrastination about starting something or acting on something – delaying a task because you think that you don’t have enough time to do the entire project. Procrastination about finishing something – perfectionism is sometimes the culprit of unfinished work and lingering clutter. Unrealistic estimation of financial value – holding on to things because you think that they are worth a lot of money but aren’t. What you can do now: Just try discarding or shredding a paper as soon as you no longer need it. Use only shallow containers and as soon as it is 3/4 of the way full, thin it out from the bottom. Organize a horizontal surface when you finish working there and before you leave the room. Set a timer for a specific amount of time to start a project. Just do it and when the timer goes off, stop. Schedule time to work on the next step and try it again. Do you feel like something that you are working on isn’t done because it’s not perfect, yet? Try adopting an attitude of “good enough” with… read more →
Do you know that clutter can be caused by habits that keep you disorganized? Behaviors can either facilitate or impede your ability to get organized and stay organized. Behaviors and habits that do not facilitate organization not only cause physical clutter, they can also cause lack of productivity and mental clutter. This isn’t necessarily intentional, in fact, sometimes it is the mindless aspect of what you do that stops you from putting things back where they belong or taking a few minutes to file, fold, or hang something up instead of leaving it in a heap of other stuff. Do you any of these behaviors or habits keep you from being more organized? Compulsive shopping – repeatedly buying things that you don’t need. Buying in bulk – purchasing more than you will use in a reasonable amount of time. Storing outdated or useless paperwork – piles and files of reference items that you rarely if ever go back to use. Saving large quantities of unread material – newspapers, magazines, and recipes. Lack of planning – scheduling a regular block of time to organize your space. Difficulty making decisions – over-thinking whether or not to keep or let go of items. Unopened mail – delaying action on what to do with incoming mail rather than implementing a daily system. Take on one habit at a time with the understanding that any change in behavior takes practice over time. You CAN do it!
3 Reasons for Persistent Clutter – Which one is yours? As a Personal and Professional Organizer I’ve observed that persistent clutter can be caused by 3 reasons: behaviors and habits that do not support decluttering and organizing, limiting beliefs and negative emotions that keep you from making positive changes, and technical obstacles such as not having systems in place or using systems that are not meeting your needs. In what ways do your behaviors get in the way of being organized? Pretend that you are an outside observer and notice which behaviors and habits prevent you from being organized. What about your beliefs? Do you believe that you are capable of change and creating new habits that make getting organized and staying decluttered possible? If not, that is probably a good place to start to take steps to debunk those limiting beliefs. It will also help alleviate negative emotions such shame, fear, and self doubt if you can observe small successes. Finally, are there technical obstacles that don’t allow you to be more organized such as having an effective scheduling or filing system? In future posts I’m going to share organizing tips for solutions and strategies. You can always call or email me with your personal organizing challenges!
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.
Paul Simon sang about “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”. My song would be entitled, “50 Ways (and Reasons) to Leave Your Clutter”! Here they are: Declutter & enjoy an aesthetically pleasing home & work space. Present an inviting, open space for family and friends. Provide a professional, paper-less work environment for clients and staff. Minimize memorabilia. Prioritize the tasks that are important and time sensitive. Postpone tasks that are less urgent or important. Utilize the items that you purchase. What are you saving them for? Appreciate the belongings that you possess. Display them & get them out of boxes. Ensure the worth of valuable items. Avoid stuffing them in boxes and stacking them. Travel in a well-planned & organized manner. Optimize your appearance by creating a wardrobe that fits your lifestyle… and the body that you are in today. Maximize your wardrobe by layering, mixing & accessorizing. Create new outfits from your closet. Update your style and image by organizing your purchasing habits. Rejuvenate yourself by establishing an organized sleep routine. Select healthy food choices by organizing shopping & meal planning. Learn ways to make time to relax and practice self-care. Schedule time for massage, a walk with a friend or time in nature. Gain support for achieving your organizing and time management goals. Increase your physical energy & mental clarity by scheduling regular time for fitness activities. Challenge yourself to acknowledge all of your successes; big & small. Mindfully notice what you are doing by being present and uni-tasking. Ease into the process of creating or changing habits. Empower others by engaging in organized practices. Produce maximum results with reasonable levels of effort. Evaluate the urgency of tasks realistically. Being organized means being prepared. Assess what is needed for a project before you start. Savor time for leisure… read more →
The 50 benefits of organized people enjoy The 50 benefits of living your most organized life that I write about are only just the beginning! Organizing is a process of eliminating the things and the time wasters in your life. Clutter isn’t just too much stuff in your space, it’s also too much to do, and even too much to think about. The benefits of organizing result in eliminating the these things because they can cause stress and cost you your health and even your finances. Speaking as your Personal and Professional Organizer here are 5 more positive outcomes of organizing and productivity: Save time for important relationships and connections. Time saving strategies leave room in your weekly schedule for meaningful and self nurturing activities, especially your relationships at home and work. Boost your productivity in an energy efficient manner. Organizing and time management doesn’t mean working harder and longer. It means planning, streamlining, and producing excellent results by being efficient. Enhance your self esteem and sense of control. Wouldn’t you feel better by being more organized? Confidence comes from the inside out, and organizing from the outside in supports that confidence! Impact your credibility with others personally and professionally. Whether you are managing a family or an office staff, people are more inclined to respect and want to work with an organized person. Monitor spending, expenses, and income on a daily basis. One of the benefits of organizing is that you can see everything that you have, how you are spending, and then eliminate wasting money. Creating spending habits that align with your income is an empowering habit that will create a more organized life! To your success!