As a Professional Organizer I get great satisfaction from 2 things…helping clients to make decisions that enable them to clear clutter, and the reactions and comments that they offer afterwards! “Wow, I didn’t realize how spacious this could be, it looks so much bigger now!” Often, the client wants to clean the space, first. The use of touch and motion when dusting, polishing or vacuuming is comparable to a loving hug for the space or area. Decorating the space or area with aesthetically and emotionally pleasing items is another way to honor the space. Placing just a few special things in the cleared space is so attractive now that the client is more likely to maintain their new organizing habits to keep the space clear. Putting out items that have been stored is another creative way of celebrating the open area; it’s like shopping in your own home! Every couple of months you can rotate items from storage to keep it fresh. During the process of sorting, de-cluttering, and deciding what to keep you identify what is useful and what you still love. Using or displaying the item you keep is the ultimate way to honor and celebrate cleared space. Enjoy!
We all start out with great intentions, ambitious goals, and then life happens! Have you every considered having an Accountability Partner (AP)? If you are already clear about your goals, let’s look at what the role of your AP might be: Understands your goals Establishes a system for regular, ongoing communication Helps you stay motivated and follow through Asks guiding questions Offers suggested resources Helps you meet your timelines
How are you doing with your resolutions so far? Don’t be too hard on yourself (or surprised) when only 10 days into the year you find yourself off track. Rather than starting ambitious resolutions on a specific date you might think about what I call, “Creating Optimal Habits”. What that means is focusing on 1 behavior that you want to change and practice it in simple steps every day. Some days will be easier than others, the key is to persist. Here are some examples, ideas, and suggestions: Time Management Optimal Habit: Commit to spending 15 minutes at the end of every work day to review what you accomplished that day, and what you need to do for the next 2 days. You will always be prepared! Organizing Optimal Habit: Commit to making quick decisions (3 seconds or less) for actions such as keep, file, recycle, shred, discard. Take action 1 paper or item at a time. You will avoid clutter and wasted time! Image Updating Optimal Habit: Commit to wearing items that fit you in the body you are in today, every day. If you put something on that is too tight, loose, short, etc. take it off immediately and put it in a donation or consignment bag.
Procrastination? Decision paralysis? Perfectionism? These are some of the behaviors that get in the way of effective time management and organization. Don’t worry though, there are strategies for working around them, and overcoming these behaviors. Of course, the first step is to become aware of what you are doing and acknowledge it. That doesn’t mean beating yourself up and feeling badly. We all engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, consciously or unconsciously from time to time. We don’t have to stay stuck there! Clients call because they want help, so it’s the professional’s job to facilitate the process and help you by: Setting realistic goals and time frames Breaking down tasks into manageable steps, and Establishing routines that you can maintain independently over time. On a practical level we can talk about setting aside time to organize and schedule, eliminating interruptions and distractions, and having the tools you need to be successful. Having an expert help you is an essential “tool” in this process. Who said that we need to do difficult things by ourselves, right? Consider starting the new year on the right foot and ask yourself these 3 questions: Is my goal to complete this project in the most efficient way possible? Is getting help or delegating some or all of the project more valuable than wasting my time and energy? What can I learn by working with an expert?
Simply put, having containers to store items in does not make you more organized. Before you go out and purchase more containers, set some “ground rules” for: What goes in and what does not What gets purged, and how often What type of container is needed Where the container is stored What goes in and what does not? Thinking about the container as a place for specific types of items will guide you in making the decision. If it is not related, it doesn’t belong in the container. You will also want to consider why you are keeping the item. That includes whether or not you will use it and if it is in good condition. If it’s paperwork, ask yourself why do you need to keep it, can you find the information elsewhere if you need it? What gets purged, and how often? Before you transfer a pile of “stuff” into a container go through the items and let go of what you no longer need. Discard, donate, sell, or keep. Only store what you know you will need and use. That will help you determine the type and size of container you will need. What type of container do I need? There are more choices than ever…clear, colored, patterned, plastic, fabric, basket, metal, lidded or open, yikes! If the container is going to be in an area where you and visitors will see it, you may want to consider the aesthetics. If the container is stored in an area where it isn’t often seen aesthetics is less important. Do you want to spend time labeling containers? Clear containers allow you to see what is inside without the need to label. My advice is to use or re-purpose containers that you already have before you go out to purchase… read more →
How to declutter spaces How to declutter spaces? As a Personal Professional Organizer my job is two-fold: First, to ask the “right” questions so that you can make the decisions. Second, is to help you to clarify your vision for the space. Every space needs to reflect how you will use it (function, supplies, storage) so that you can enjoy it (people). Save the aesthetics and decorating for after you declutter and organize the space. How to declutter spaces – Questions to ask yourself: Whenever you get started with organizing a specific area ask yourself declutter questions: Function – What is this space to be used for? What specific function(s) do you want the space to satisfy? For example, is your kitchen for entertaining, cooking and dining? Do you also want the kitchen to be your home office? Now, look around you to see if the space reflects that purpose(s)? Purge anything in the space that does not serve it’s function. Supplies – What do I need to have readily available in this space? List the items that you will need for efficient use of the space including furniture, equipment, or supplies. Find another location for anything that doesn’t belong there. Here are some great ideas in a video that you can use for organizing your makeup in the bathroom: Video People – Who else beside yourself, will use this space? Is the space shared by others? Do you have visitors or clients who will be in this space? You want to be sure to have all parties feel comfortable and have what they need in the space. Storage – Where do items need to be used, and how frequently? What the best types of storage containers that you will need for specific items. The answers will guide you in… read more →
Steven Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” tells us to begin with the end in mind. That principle applies to organizing as well. At Outside In Organizer and Makeovers I want others to make being organized a way of life rather than just a single project. Here’s how: Know what your goal looks like. If it’s meeting deadlines, that means your schedule includes time to work on the item before its due date. If it is organizing your kitchen, it means that each storage space will be designated for specific items. If your goal is organizing your wardrobe, you will identify your style before you begin the process to help you know what is aligned with that style (keep it) and what is not (let it go). Create “optimal habits” for organizing on a daily basis. Organizing is an ongoing process, a series of behaviors. In order to create any habit it takes motivation, practice, and positive reinforcement over a sustained period of time. Try to organize something small each day to get into that mind and action set. We all have off days, if you find that happens, just start again but you don’t have to give up. Starting small and being consistent means greater success. Recruit or hire an accountability partner. Organizing is similar to other processes involving changed behavior. That’s why we hire therapists, personal trainers, and professional organizers! No one ever said you had to do it yourself. Asking for help getting started is empowering. Checking in with a trusted friend or professional keeps us on track and highly motivated. If you want to succeed, build your team!
Get rid of my to-do list?? That’s crazy! Not really, if you think about an actual to-do list it means that each item requires your action and your time. This does not include a shopping list with items to purchase, or ideas for your next book. Typically, the items on a to-do list start with a verb: write call email visit Look at your current list(s) and notes. Decide which items meet the criteria for a to-do list. The Outside In approach is to create your “optimal habit” and begin to schedule every item on your to-do list into your weekly planner. Be realistic about when it is due and how much time it will take. Once you get into this habit you will see your planner as your to-do list and be able to check each item off with ease.
Before you sit down to write your goals, ask yourself: Does this goal align with my values? Has this goal been on my list for years and I still haven’t accomplished it? Is the outcome or finished product clear to me before I try to achieve it? Aligning your goals: When a goal is authentic it feels right to you. It is not something that you think that you should try to achieve, or even worse, something others tell you to achieve. Some values around time management might be: Being prompt, meeting deadlines, demonstrating credibility and reliability Being able to prioritize, getting things done with ease, maintaining focus You can list your values related to organizing space as well. Recurring goals: Maybe you start out with determination and intention, but the ability to stay on track is too difficult. It’s important to set yourself up for success, make the goal achievable. If the goal is unrealistic or too big, try setting a less daunting goal. By achieving this you will experience success and be motivated to write the next goal. It’s possible that the goal is just not important. If you didn’t make that your goal this year how would that affect your life? Some ideas for re-framing your organizing goals: Instead of aspiring to create a minimalist atmosphere, aspire to maintain a specific space that is clear of clutter. Instead of keeping your office organized, commit to the habit that you will purge unnecessary file contents each time you go into a file. Know your outcome: The best way to measure your success and stay on track with maintaining it is to have a very clear vision of what your desired outcome is. Writing your goal in specific detail will ensure success. Let’s say your goal is to ask… read more →
This is the best habit you can create for yourself! Watch this short video for tips on daily and weekly planning: Time Management Tips-Create Your “Optimal Habit”