Common Organizing Mistakes As your San Diego Professional Organizer I can assure you that these 7 common organizing mistakes can be easily avoided: Buying organizing tools before you know what is needed. Mistaking containing items for decluttering and organizing items. Taking on too large a project; burnout. Underestimating how much time you need to organize. Trying to organize without help. Mistaking current financial worth based upon original cost. Letting “what if” concerns dominate decision making. Common Organizing Mistakes #1: Buying organizing tools before you know what you need. Avoid buying bins, containers, file folders, furniture or leasing long term storage space before you go through the process of purging. Getting caught up in the smaller details before you go through the process of purging, sorting and containing can be costly and overwhelming. Work with broader categories first. Make temporary labels rather than taking the time to print labels. Create organizing systems and use them for at least 2 weeks before making significant changes. Common Organizing Mistakes #2: Containing items before decluttering and sorting the items. Purge items before you contain them. There is no sense organizing and putting items into files or bins if you are not going to need them. It’s likely that you will end up with usable folders and containers after you declutter. The perfect example of this is during a move. Take time before packing and moving to discard, recycle, donate and shred what you no longer need. Avoid unpacking unneeded items and wondering why you brought them with you. It’s wasted time, money, effort and space. Common Organizing Mistakes #3: Taking on too large a project at one time. The best way to avoid burnout and overwhelm is to break a large organizing project into smaller ones. Give yourself shorter amounts of time on a… read more →
Organizing Gift Supplies Organizing gift supplies doesn’t need to wait until just before the holidays. Get all, and I mean all, of your supplies together from every space in the house. Here’s a list of common items: Wrapping paper – rolls and sheets Gift bags, boxes Gift tags, labels Ribbon, bows, other decorative embellishments Tissue paper, other types of stuffing Shipping supplies – bubble wrap, mailers Tape, all types This month my goal is to inspire you to get a head start on organizing projects and avoid thinking in terms of a summer organizing projects to-do list. Of course you can always hire a Professional Organizer like myself, but why not try my DIY Organizing Tips like this one? Purge When organizing gift supplies make a commitment to purge all of the wrinkled, torn, and damaged supplies. How would you feel if you received a gift wrapped in something stained? If you have unopened packages and rolls of supplies that you no longer plan to think about donating these items. Group “like” items Store like items together. One of the benefits of this step in the organizing process is that you know how much of specific items that you already have. This can save you a lot of money. Make a commitment to use as many of the gift supplies that you have before purchasing more. When supplies are on sale (off-season) you can stock up on what you need. Location, location, location Organize gift supplies in an area where you are likely to wrap items, if at all possible. Here are some creative ideas for organizing and storing these types of items. If you don’t have a permanent flat surface that is clear most of the time you can consider purchasing a seamstress’ cutting board which folds up and… read more →
Organizing clothing clutter Organizing clothing clutter is especially difficult for some people. The top 5 reasons people tell their San Diego Professional Organizer they can’t let go of clothing: It used to fit; I hope it will fit again – “I’m hoping to wear it again when I lose those extra pounds.” Sentimental value; good memories – “I remember how happy I was when I wore that.” It can be repaired – “I can get that stain out. I keep meaning to get it altered. I can use it for something else. My favorite: I can wear it at home.” It cost a lot to purchase – “I spent a lot on it. “I have no where to wear it but I spent a lot of money on it. I feel guilty getting rid of it.” “I may need it…for an interview, formal event, funeral, etc.” How to organize your clothing and get rid of clothing clutter: What you will need: A full length mirror, a 3-way if possible For women: a bra with excellent support for when you try tops and dresses on Bags or bins for each of the following: hangers to recycle, donating, consignments, alterations An honest friend, family member or Image and Wardrobe Consultant A hanger stand for the extra hangers you are keeping Wardrobe Organizing Tips – How to declutter your wardrobe: Schedule adequate time on a specific day to begin the process Start with the easy decisions – let go of items that you know you will not wear again Try on each bottom – pants, shorts, jeans, skirts. Do they fit your current body shape? Are they comfortable? Do they fit your current lifestyle? Try on each top – coats, jackets, shirts, blouses, sweaters, tee shirts, camisoles. Ask yourself the same questions.… read more →
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 →
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 →
Organizing Tips – When you have too much Lots of women call asking me for organizing tips when they don’t know how to deal with all of the stuff that they have in their homes and offices. We accumulate things over time for a variety of reasons, but sometimes we don’t realize just how much we already have. From the perspective of a Personal and Professional Organizer I ask, isn’t possible to be happy with less? During this season of gratitude the first of my first organizing tips is to be grateful for all that you have. At one point you either loved it, needed it, used it, or it was given to you by someone you know. None of those reasons require you to keep items forever. The second of my organizing tips is to be mindful of your thoughts. Try not to be self critical or judgmental about how much you’ve acquired or what you’ve spent. Those thoughts won’t help you to release the clutter. Begin to cultivate an attitude of gratitude! Instead of accumulating more and more stuff and letting the clutter overwhelm you, you can focus on… • Enjoying the things that you have. Once you’ve enjoyed them you will know whether or not you want to keep them. • Beginning to thin out the amount of items that you have. You are not going to run out of the things that you need, trust me. • Using items that you have duplicates of in order to maintain a more reasonable amount. Try to avoid buying in bulk or just because something is on sale. • Donating items that you no longer like, need, or use to a meaningful charity. There is always someone else who will need and enjoy the items that you donate. •… 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 →
3 Quick Ways to Create More Closet Space My San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer’s 3 quick ways to create more space in your closet don’t require that you remodel, install, or move. A closet makeover means downsizing the stuff in your closet and organizing what you keep. The only items that need to be in there are the ones that you wear, that fit you today, and that make you look fabulous. 1. Discard everything (clothes, shoes, scarves, belts, purses…everything) that is stained, soiled, torn and beyond repair. This includes sentimental items such as your old cheer leading outfit! 2. Donate everything that is 2 or more sizes too small for your body today. Just do it! 3. Organize all of your clothes in your closet that need to be hung. Anything that can/should be folded needs to go into drawers. What are you waiting for? Wear it, love the way that you look in it, or lose it!
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.
Being organized is as much a feeling as it is a way of behaving. The best way to diminish piles of paper and stuff is to act on it. Try my “1-at-a-time rule”. Select 1 pile. Start at the top and act on that 1 item only. Make a quick decision…keep or not. If you are going to keep it, set it aside. If you are going to get rid of it, put it in one of the following immediately: trash recycle shred donate sell Go to the next item in that same pile until the pile shrinks, or is gone. Don’t let yourself get distracted by putting things where they belong, just set it aside and keep going on this pile, only. The first step is this, the sorting and purging process. Make it a “Move It Monday”!