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 →
Time Management My organizing tip today? time management first, and then get your “stuff” organized. Time management is the key to getting organized. When you manage how you use the time that you have available you will be able to organize your priorities, create a plan of action, and identify the resources that you will need to get it done. Time management skills also allow you to decide the most efficient way to get things done. You can think about time the same way that you think about a space. If you put too much stuff into a space things will spill over, get lost, and be forgotten. Your schedule is like that space, it can only hold a certain amount to be effective. If you want to get organized you will need to make the time to do it. You are creating a specific block of time to organize and not do something else. As a Professional Organizer and Time Management Coach I hear people say that they’ll do it when they have the time. Hmm, when was the last time that you had an unexpected extra 2-3 hours to get organized. Even if you did, would you know where to start? Summer is almost over but it’s never to late to get organized. Do you need more information about time management and how to get organized? Call your Professional Organizer and Time Management Coach for more information!
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 →
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 →
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.
Organized people enjoy a multitude of benefits at home and at work As a Personal and Professional Organizer who works with now-organized people I am sharing 50 of the benefits that they describe to me. Here are 5 more benefits organized people report: Balance your workload effectively. Organized people have a cohesive view of all of their roles and responsibilities. This allows them to apportion time in a balanced manner. Manage your time realistically.Wouldn’t you benefit from having skills that enable you to estimate time realistically so that you had less stress trying to get places on time? Access important information and items when you need them. Organized filing, including an effective tickler system, helps organized people put their hands on what they need, when they need it, and minimize the need for piles. Maximize your use of space and storage without clutter. Do you know how to utilize the space that you live in so that it is functional and aesthetically pleasing? Do you have a strategy for decluttering on a regular basis? Create a safe environment for home and work. Organized people don’t have long-standing piles of magazines on the stairs, deep bins filled with miscellaneous stuff, and pantry shelves with stacks of teetering items. Less clutter means less dust, easier cleaning and maintenance…now how great is that!!
San Diego Personal Organizer takes a mindful approach. Mindfulness, including the beginner’s mind, is described in Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This expert in the practice of mindfulness describes the beginner’s mind as “a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time.” (2013) He goes on to explain that the beginner’s mind enables us to be receptive to all possibilities, and become aware of our automatic thoughts and perceptions. In a previous post about mindfulness and time management I describe how the beginner’s mind applies to the work that I do. In this post let’s look at a different approach to reducing clutter and organizing space using a mindful approach. The benefits of organizing in a mindful way is to begin to see your space as if you are looking at it for the first time. Wouldn’t it be nice to look at how you want to use the space no matter what the room is called? Perhaps your dining room would make a better office space! What if you looked at the contents of the space and accepted that some of these things that we loved and used before, no longer serve us? Imagine the relief and lightness that you might feel when you release these unwanted items. Try this: • View one specific area in your home, office, even the trunk of your car. • Imagine that the space is completely empty as if you were just moving in. What is your vision for this new space? • Describe how you would like to feel when you look at and use that space. What would you put into it, and where would you organize the items? This mindful approach can help you to create a space that makes you feel calm or… read more →
Several years ago a woman called me because her friend threatened her! The friend was concerned and frustrated because she tried to help the woman get rid of the excessive amount of stuff in her home without any success. She reached the last straw when the woman tripped over a pile of newspapers and as a result of the fall, broke her foot. Now in a cast and forced to go up and down the stairs on her bottom, the friend threatened to call protective services if a professional organizer was not hired. This was an extreme situation, of course, and yet it raised numerous issues related to organizing and how it can improve both personal safety and health. In less extreme situations clutter, or excessive quantities of items, objects, and paperwork, can cause a variety of other concerns in addition to obstacles that cause falls: Fire hazard Compromised emergency preparedness, inability to access important items in an emergency or exit a building safely Injuries from stacked items falling Dust and mold that may cause or aggravate allergies, asthma Social isolation that may be caused by shame surrounding a cluttered environment, including estrangement from family members, and a negative impact on interpersonal relationships. If this sounds like someone you know or a situation that troubles you, it’s time to talk with a Professional Organizer. As a Professional Organizer I am part of an industry that trains us to work with these situations in a systematic, confidential and non-judgmental manner. It is stressful for a family member or friend to help no matter how much they care and mean well. They can support the work that the individual does with the professional. Write down your questions, concerns, and most importantly, your goals. All it takes is a phone call to start your forward movement.
You may think that a nice big container will help you organize all of those papers, take out menus, receipts and so on but wait! Deep containers and bins for a variety of items end up attracting large, unsorted piles of paper. Notice the green container holding that pile and taking up what we Professional Organizers refer to as valuable real estate? Eventually, you’re going to have to take action and the question is, will it be the best use of your time? Some potential hazards include: Losing something important. Forgetting to pay a fee. Missing a deadline. Being closed out of an event. Forgetting an appointment. Expired coupons and gift cards. The result? Wasted time, energy, stress, self criticism or loss of credibility. Organize first by doing a quick sort in order to avoid the piles and desire for something to contain them in. Take action the same day…keep it? If it is something that you need to act on, do it right away or schedule it. If it is for reference later, put it in your tickler file. If you can find it elsewhere (Internet), then recycle it. Confidential? Then shred it. Deep containers and bins are good for larger items such as large toys, blankets, and off season clothing and gear.
A clutter-free life! What does that mean to you? Some people imagine having a schedule that allows them to balance their time between self, family, volunteerism, work, exercise and creativity. Others long for a comfortable, open space. There are those that wish for a stress-free wardrobe. Read on… TIP: To create and maintain this type of clutter-free schedule: Your balanced schedule: Accept balance as a dynamic rather than static state. Balance is not 50-50, it is constantly shifting. Make sure that your goals are realistic. Some rather than all: Doing everything every day is not realistic. Avoiding or procrastinating about doing or starting something because you can’t find time every day sounds like sabotage. Find 3 times a week, commit, and be consistent. Some people tell me that a clutter-free life, for them, looks like clear counter surfaces. TIP: To create and maintain your clutter-free space: Clear it when you are done: Space is meant to be used. Commit to creating your “Optimal Habit” and clear the space when you are finished using it, and before you leave the room. Establish zones or areas: Focus on the function of the space so that the items that are in or near it are only the ones that you need for that function. This will make it easier to put things back where they belong. A clutter-free wardrobe is the easiest task of all! TIP: To create and maintain your clutter-free wardrobe: Donate or consign: Let go of the clothes that do not fit you now and haven’t for a year or more. Let go of the clothes that have negative emotions attached to them. Remember that someone else can make use of items that no longer make you look and feel fabulous in the body that you are in today! Use… read more →