I wrote this post a year ago, but the scenario has been repeated here many times. Taking just ten minutes to put stuff away and tidy up can have powerful results!
Yesterday afternoon, I sat down at my cleared-off desk (I’d cleared it because the housecleaner was coming that morning), and proceeded to trash it. I don’t know what happened—I think I was looking for something I’d written down but couldn’t find. Plus I’d probably dumped some stuff on the desk when I came home. (Yikes.)
I eventually found what I was looking for and turned my attention to my computer screen so that I could get some work done, but the stuff remained all over my desk.
I didn’t really need to use my desk’s surface—my work was focused on my computer—but I still couldn’t get anything done. The ideas weren’t flowing. I was distracted by my messy desk.
So after an hour or so of spinning my wheels, I decided to do something about the desktop. Good organizer that I am, I took a before picture. Then I pressed play on a ten-minute playlist iTunes and I started putting stuff away. And throwing stuff away. I made file folders and filed a few papers. I added some items to my task list.
Here’s what happened in just ten minutes:
Messy desk before:
Just ten minutes later:
I’m continually impressed with how powerful just a small amount of time decluttering can be. The trick is to pick a small space and finish in the allotted time—don’t leave it half done. The other trick is to do it fairly often; I dealt with yesterday’s clutter so quickly because it was not very deep.
Take a look around the room you’re in. Is there a little space (a shelf? a surface?) that you could declutter this weekend? Trust me, it’ll feel so good.
Socks are such a huge challenge for so many of my clients. It seems like most have more than they can store comfortably. (And when you have items than you can store comfortably, you have clutter.)
I think part of the problem is the inevitable singleton sock. (Here’s a solution to that problem created by one of my clients.) You’re loathe to let go of the orphan sock for fear of regret if the match shows up. And those single socks take up valuable space in your sock drawer.
Other clients seem to have trouble staying on top of laundry and so they purchase more socks, which only adds to the challenge of staying on top of the laundry, because there are so many socks to wash and put away.
Sometimes I suggest to clients they declare sock bankruptcy and start over. I suggest they let go of the current sock population and replace it with two types of socks, light and dark, for example. Having fewer distinctive pairs of socks, and fewer socks in general, makes matching and storing them much easier. Suddenly a part of the laundry challenge is eliminated.
My own sock drawer had gotten out of hand, though not to the point where I needed sock bankruptcy. The drawer was messy and not particularly organized, so I finally decided to focus a little energy on it. I emptied it and let go of all the socks that didn’t have mates or that I didn’t enjoy wearing. I found that I had an overabundance of white athletic ankle socks and I decided to keep just one type. (I’d bought a bundle of them at Costco, so there were plenty.)
At the Container Store, I purchased three adjustable drawer organizers for the project. Two are skinny (3.75 inches wide) and intended for socks and one is wider (about 5.25 inches wide), intended for underwear. The three fit beautifully side by side in my drawer. (My husband and I store our socks in a three-drawer nightstand; he gets two drawers, I get one.)
My light socks fit in one skinny section and my dark socks in the other. In the wider section, I now store tights, which I had been keeping in a basket on top of my dresser. I hated how the basket cluttered my dresser, so this is a big improvement.
Here are the before and after pictures. The whole project took less than a half hour. It did require me to let go of some socks, but, as you can see, I still have an ample supply. And no singletons!
The adjustable slider in the drawer dividers makes it easy for me to keep the socks upright and in the front of the drawer. It’s only been a week, but I’m happy!
I’m very excited to be offering a special in-person workshop with my friend and frequent collaborator, the fabulous life coach Shannon Wilkinson.
…Make 2015 the year you reach your goals!
Did you set a big 2015 goal for yourself, and now you wonder if it’s really possible?
Did you avoid setting any goals, even if there’s stuff you’d really like to do, because you can’t stand the thought of being disappointed? (Again.)
Whether you’re trying to get organized, get in shape, or bring a big dream to life, it can be a struggle to stick with it and reach your goal. But . . .
It doesn’t have to be so hard.
In fact, using the latest research and our years of experience to guide you could make reaching your goals easier than you ever imagined.
Join us, life coach Shannon Wilkinson of Perception Studios and professional organizer Janine Adams of Peace of Mind Organizing, in this powerful, yet informal and relaxed event to help you set or revise your goals for 2015 and create a plan to reach them.
This 90-minute event starts with us sharing the key points about what works (and what doesn’t) when you’re setting goals, then the real magic happens! We’ll spend the rest of the time answering your questions and providing live coaching to get you where you want to go. We’ll be using people’s real-life situations to illustrate how each of you can move forward with your goals.
We hope you’ll join us for this unique, affordable opportunity to learn and grow in 2015 and beyond!
Date: Saturday, March 14, 2015, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Place: A location in St. Louis City (to be finalized soon)
Cost: Just $34
To reserve your spot, click the Buy Now button! (You can pay with PayPal or a credit card.)
More about us
Hi, we’re life coach Shannon Wilkinson and professional organizer Janine Adams. We’ve co-taught several courses, including the Declutter Happy Hour e-course, and and the Create Freedom and Ease with Habits and Routines workshop. We have collaborated many times over the years, and the results have been transformational for our participants!
Janine, a certified professional organizer, has helped hundreds of St. Louisans create peace and order in their homes over her ten years as a professional organizer. She’s all about asking people to be kind to themselves and let get organizing be as easy as possible.
Shannon, a certified life coach, is obsessed with change. She uses mind-bending tools, like NLP and hypnosis, to help you change your mind, change your behaviors and ultimately change the world.
Because Janine lives in St. Louis and Shannon lives in Portland, Oregon, this is a unique opportunity to learn from them together, in person.
Want to add in private, individual coaching with Shannon?
Shannon is making a special offer for event attendees to add private coaching sessions while she’s in St. Louis. These in-person, one-hour sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once those in-person spaces are gone, you will be guided to schedule a phone coaching session at a later date. You can use your session for coaching on goals or any other issue. Shannon rarely offers single, private sessions, and when she does, they’re $215. As an event attendee, you’ll get a 16% discount, and pay just $181. It’s like getting the Back on Track event for free!
I appeared on the local morning talk show Great Day St. Louis on KMOV-TV this morning (Kevin Costner was there too!), talking about getting organized in the new year.
Here’s the video of my appearance.
I didn’t get a chance to say everything I wanted to say (I think they gave Kevin Costner a couple of the minutes I was supposed to have), so I wanted to list a few resources here, for anyone who might have come to my website after watching.
- To find a professional organizer in St. Louis, go to the website of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers.
- NAPO-St. Louis is putting on an event for the public on February 21 called Keep Calm and Ask A Professional Organizer. It’s only $10 and it’s a great way to get your questions answered.
- If you live in the U.S. but outside St. Louis, you can visit the website of the National Association of Professional Organizers to find an organizer near you. If you live outside the U.S., check out the website of the International Federation of Professional Organizing Associations to see if there’s a similar directory for your country.
- A great place to take online organizing classes is Simplify 101.
- Clutterdiet.com can help you get advice from experts and support from peers, for a small monthly fee.
I had fun doing the interview and I’m grateful to my friend and style consultant, Geralin Thomas, for helping me figure out what to wear. Geralin does personal style consulting in person (in North Carolina) or over the phone. I can heartily recommend her!
Where are you on the New Year’s Resolution Continuum?
(statistics from 2008 survey by Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ)
If you fall in that big middle group (or have drifted into the no resolutions group due to disappointment) this could be the year for something different.
A few years ago, Shannon Wilkinson and I teamed up to teach a teleclass on how to actually do the stuff you set out to do every year. We shared the reasons resolutions don’t work, and more importantly, we talked about how to change that. We gave tips and strategies and guided participants through helpful exercises so they experienced a new way of approaching their resolutions and goals.
It was pretty darn awesome. And it’s still available. (At a $5 discount for a limited time.)
The audio of the class and a companion 24-page workbook are available for download right now. The workbook will take you through the process outlined in the teleclass and includes worksheets so you can keep track of your goals and resolutions and how you’ll go about achieving them.
Maybe your resolution (once again) is to declutter and get organized this year. Or maybe you want to make changes for your health, creativity or finances. Our approach is terrific for whatever set your sights on.
Why Resolutions Don’t Work (and How to Get What You Want Anyway)
The recording is great to listen to any time you want to re-vamp a resolution that isn’t working, create a new habit or establish a goal that really works for you. The workbook can stand alone (if you’d rather read than listen) or can help you get more out of the audio.
- In the audio, we talk for about an hour and then open it up for questions.
- The course covers the common reasons that setting resolutions doesn’t work, and takes you through exercises that help you get what you want.
- The 24-page workbook is based on the content of the audio, but isn’t a mere transcript. (The Q&A is transcribed, however.) It includes worksheets to make the most of Shannon’s meditations.
- This is for anyone who has been frustrated by resolutions or goals, and wants to learn a new way to approach it.
- The cost? Just
The price is ordinarily (a very reasonable) $19. But between now and February 15, you can get $5 off using the coupon code SAVE5 at checkout. That makes this resource just $14.
Are you in? Yes? Just click the “Add to Cart” button:
Here’s to getting what you really want in 2015!
The more I use the Container Store’s Elfa shelving and drawer system, the more I like it. I use Elfa drawers in my home to organize my yarn collection. I also have an Elfa office in a closet. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with Elfa designers to design closet and drawer systems for my clients. Recently, we created a wonderful Elfa desk for my client’s young daughter, who is an artist. It stores all her art supplies and gives her a great working surface upon which to create.
Right now is a great time to buy Elfa because they’re having their annual sale. All Elfa components are 30 percent off, as is Elfa installation. For many people, Elfa is easy to put together. But if you’re having a closet system put in, going with their installation service is a nice perk.
This sale usually goes until about Valentine’s Day. You can design your closet or storage space online or, if you’re in a city with a Container Store, take your measurements into the store and work with an Elfa designer. Here in St. Louis, I’ve had many great experiences working with Elfa designers.
My favorite week of the year is the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I love taking stock of the year just past and planning ahead to the coming year. I also like creating a little order and just sort of getting my ducks in a row during a week where most of the world isn’t doing much work (and therefore I have time at home).
As I’ve done the last couple of years I’m sharing my highlight reel with you.
I led even more organizing teams. I love helping clients create dramatic change by bringing in teams of talented organizers teams to help them achieve their goals. In 2014, I led 83 teams of various sizes. (I see from last year’s post that I led 36 in 2013.) I love my work.
I went on two planning retreats. If you read this blog regularly, you know I love planning and goal setting. This year, I traveled twice to do planning with friends and colleagues. Taking the time and getting away for this type of thinking is so valuable.
I said goodbye to Springpad but said hello to SentrySafe. Last year I was so excited by my burgeoning relationship with the personal organizer app, Springpad. And it was great while it lasted. But Springpad went belly up in June. In the fall, though, I developed a relationship with SentrySafe the premier maker of fire proof storage. In 2014, guest blogged for them, and participated in two Twitter parties.
My genealogy research and blog have grown by leaps and bounds. In 2014, I took four trips in support of my genealogy research, which I find increasingly fascinating and satisfying. My blog, Organize Your Family History, grew substantially in readership—over 50,000 page views in 2014, as compared with 18,000 in 2013.
I broke my wrist, but it didn’t slow me down. On December 3, I fell and fractured my wrist. That’s the bad news. The good news was that I was able to continue working, thanks to my amazing organizing teams. It made me realize that these days my work is done with my brain and mouth, not my hands and arms. So my clients continued to be served, despite my being on the injury list. (Can’t wait to get rid of this brace in a couple of weeks!)
I published my 1,000th blog post. I love this blog and I’m proud of the fact I’ve stuck with it for eight years without a lapse. On December 9, I published my 1000th post here.
I wrote a novel. As I did in 2004 and 2009, I wrote a 50,000 word novel in a month, as part of National Novel Writing Month. That is such a satisfying accomplishment, even if the novel is far from being ready to publish.
I found time to read. I love reading fiction and I love my Kindle Paperwhite. It makes it so easy to read little bits at a time. Using Springpad and then Evernote, I kept track of the books I read this year, taking note of the title and author after I finish. I read 38 books in 2014—and I still have a couple of days to squeeze in another!
If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to create your own highlight reel (for private or public consumption). I think it’s really valuable to focus on the accomplishments of the year as you contemplate a new year.