November 12, 2008

Play the Percentages

When you know you have to get rid of a large amount of stuff, but you can't quite make yourself get rid of the entire amount, choose a percentage that you know has to be gone. That gives you some leeway on what you can keep. It also forces you to go through the entire batch and figure out exactly what that percentage is.

Say you have 100 magazines that are taking up half a closet. You are allowed to keep 40 of them, but 60 have to go. Go through the entire 100 magazines and choose your 40 favorites. You are not completely out of your favorite magazines, but you have a more manageable load. Before you know it, you will eventually want to lose a percentage of the 40 you have decided to keep.

August 21, 2008

Is Technology Leading Us to a Simpler Life?

Have you noticed that the options for having a simpler, less cluttered life seem to be getting getting more varied? Ten years ago a healthy music collection could take up an entire wall. Now you can fit thousands of songs and albums on one pocket-size device. Televisions used to be heavy, obstinate objects that needed their own piece of furniture. Now they are slim enough to hang on the wall. Rachael Ray has shown us how to use less in the kitchen and spend less time in the kitchen.

Even though we seem to spend even more time keeping up with and learning about new technolgy, what we do learn we can utilize to declutter and simplify our lives. We have no need for loads of backup CDs and DVDs when we have Mozy, our library of books has been reduced down to the size of the Kindle even our home paperwork can be banished to cyberspace with EverNote or Pixily.

July 16, 2008

Organized Information on iTunes

I ran across these quick and dirty tips for organizing your life from the Savvy Organizer on iTunes. I especially like her tips on photographing your clutter and viewing it later in a different light. I have also been listening to other podcasts on decluttering and organization that are nice little tidbits of information which keep me motivated:

Taste and See: Organized Living
The Neat Organizer

July 2, 2008

"Don't Think It, Ink It"

Here is another tip from professional organizer and life coach Hellen Buttigieg that I wholly believe in. Going back to my One Book concept, she also recommends keeping a notebook to write down every thought, list, idea and plan that rattles around your head. Her idea was "Don't Think It, Ink It". Granted that not every person is a writer, but almost everyone jots down thoughts or things to remember on sticky notes, scraps of paper or the backs of envelopes. Some people find it easier and more efficient to use their PDA or cell phone for their lists, but actually taking the time to physically write it down seems to do wonders for clearing the mind.

I like to use the phrase, "The Brain Drain".

June 10, 2008

Time for the Smaller Car

The nation's gas situation is not going to change. We will be living the rest of our lives with high gas prices and that will need to be accepted. So, if you don't want to pay the price, or you can't ride a bike, motorcycle or scooter. Getting a smaller car might be in your future.

The best thing about a smaller car (besides better gas mileage) is there is not a lot of room for storage or clutter inside the minuscule trunk or the tight back seat. Keeping a clean and tidy car will not only save you personal space, but it will help your overall gas mileage by not adding extra weight to the vehicle. In a post from Unclutterer it might also be unsafe to you and your passengers to drive with junk in your car.

May 15, 2008

One Place for Important Documents

My husband and I have a fireproof safe hidden in our house that has all our important documents. If there were ever a fire or another disaster. Grabbing just one item would save us a whole lot of trouble.

Consolidate your important documents (marriage licenses, birth certificates, SSA cards) and put them into a safe, or easy to grab and carry plastic box with a lid and a handle. The Container Store carries some stylish document boxes.

Other information such as credit card information, tax information and bill payments are most likely stored in accounts online. So these are not so much of a worry. Think mostly about the items that would be hard to replace if destroyed.

April 23, 2008

Stay Organized While Traveling

I recently got back from a trip to Florida and Bonaire and I realized that one reason I am able to enjoy my vacations so much is that 1) I don't bring too much stuff and 2) I stay organized, even when I am traveling and living in another location other than my home.

Taking only one suitcase on any trip is going to simplify your life and make your traveling so much easier. Making that one suitcase just a carry-on will simplify it even more. I know, I do I fit all I need in one carry-on?

Enter the plastic zip close space saver bag. I am able to fit about two weeks worth of clothing in two of these bags. The rest of my items (shoes, underwear, toiletries) also go into their own Ziploc bags. Keeping each item, or group of items separate is the best way to stay organized and have more fun on your trip.

TSA will be proud!

March 18, 2008


The BBC America Channel is showing Dumped, a show about eleven people living for three weeks in a dump to highlight the mountain of trash thrown away needlessly in Britain. They are encouraged to find new ways to use trash and to recycle and make money from as much of it as possible. It is interesting to watch them become excited when a truckload of "new" items are dumped on their home. It just goes to show, that even when living in a trash heap, people still desire more.

If you don't want to throw it away, don't buy it in the first place.

March 6, 2008

The Comfort of Clutter

I have an old teddy bear (who is missing both his eyes and is full of holes with stuffing coming out) who has traveled with me around the world, AND I would never give him up for the world. No matter how beat up and battered he gets.

There are some items in our lives that contain great memories or feelings of comfort and losing these items could greatly affect our feelings. Hopefully this attachment is limited to just one or two items instead of twenty. Sometimes we feel more comfortable if we are surrounded by items of comfort, like a nest.

But what happens if a fire or other destructive force were to take these items away? The loss of that comfort could be drastic, depending on your dependence.

Comfort should be found in a well-lived life, good friends, loving family members and a respected career ... not things. Keeping the comfort items to a minimum eliminates the feeling of having to constantly watch after and care for these items that seem to protect us from the outside world.

February 21, 2008

When You are a Piler, Not a Filer

Many people like to have their information within their sight or grasp – hence the pile. Pilers are different from other clutter groups in that their information is organized in piles in accordance to their own technique. This can create havoc on any space and can begin to squeeze the piler out of their home.

Piling is not a bad thing, it is a habit of more visual learners and creative types. According to Lee Silber of Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain there are some creative ways to make piling an art form.

1. Focus on the Positive
Put the most positive item of each item on top of your pile, e.g. the cheapest bill on top of the stack of bills to pay.

2. Get a Spine
Wrap another piece of paper around one stack to create a spine. Label that paper to indicate what's in that pile.

3. Hot, Hot, Hot
Divide your desk into sections and the most active section should be piles that need immediate attention such as read, pay, act, write, etc.

4. Put Your Piles on a Diet
Go through your piles every day or at least every week and remove the items that are not pressing. These should be filed, the opposite of piling.

February 14, 2008

Lose the Clutter, Lose the Fat?

Peter Walsh of Oprah and Clean Sweep has a theory that people who have clutter are also overweight. The relationship between a dirty house and a dirty or unhealthy body are very close and I agree with him. Most people who have unruly clutter usually give up and just let things go, just like their bodies.

Walsh claims that those people who take the time and effort to keep a clean and organized home will also be more motivated to take care of themselves and lose weight. Hopefully this theory is starting to be tested right now.

February 7, 2008

Messy = Brilliant?

A very interesting concept. The people at CBS Sunday Morning do seem very intellectual...

February 4, 2008

The DeCluttered Workday

Thank you to zenhabits for a nice article on how to create a peaceful and productive workday. Remember, we spend over 2,000 hours a year at work. Make that time count.

The majority of the tips talk about decluttering...your desk, your timetable and your work life:

1. Do Less

2. Create a morning routine

3. Prepare the night before

...for more...

January 31, 2008

The Treasure Hunt

When going through the decluttering process, a fun way to find out what to keep is to go on a treasure hunt through your home to find the items that are most meaningful to you. Put those in a pile or separate place. Whatever is left over is fair game for the garbage or the thrift store.

January 25, 2008

Five Boxes

I was reading Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui which is a nice little introduction to decluttering, not only your space, but your body as well.

I liked the quick five box rule for decluttering. Items go into boxes or trash cans labeled Keep, Recycle, Trash, Repair or Dilemma, for those items we are just not sure of. The Dilemma box should be sorted through at another time.

January 3, 2008

Number 4 on the Resolution List

According to FranklinCovey getting organized is the fourth most popular new year's resolution. And like most resolutions only about 8 percent of the 45 percent who make a resolution, end up achieving it.

The habit of disorganization cannot be changed in one day. It usually takes about three months of continuous positive change to create a new habit. Most disorganization and hoarding comes not from a too-small house or not enough time, but from a person's brain. The thought process of hoarding and organization has to be addressed first.

This year, make organizing first on your resolution list and your other resolutions will fall right into place.