Make space. Find peace. Feel joy.

Labels in the refrigerator?

30 March 2015

I love labels and I talk about their value all the time. Recently, I wrote on Organize Your Family History that when I see a failed organizing system in a client’s home, I almost always notice the absence of labels.

Labels help you clarify categories and make it easier for you and the people in your home to find and put away items.

When I bring in an Operation: Peace of Mind team, I always try to make sure we label everything so that the client has no difficulty adapting to his or her new organizing systems.

At a recent session, we had the delightful opportunity to go whole hog when the client asked for labels inside the refrigerator. Working with the client, we created zones for various categories of items and came up with labels that were meaningful to the client.

Check out these photos of each refrigerator door:

Labels in your refrigerator can help you find what you need.

The main area of the refrigerator was fully labeled as well. I’m afraid my photos don’t allow you to read the labels easily. But you can get the idea of how many zones/labels we created.

Labels can help a refrigerator stay organized.

A couple of days after the session, my client shared this with me:

I didn’t realize just what a benefit the labels and zones would be. The labels enforce the organization, and the zones really help with the grocery shopping! I took that mental picture to the grocery store last night. Labels in one’s fridge somehow seem weirder than labels other places, but I’m realizing it makes more sense than anywhere!

About six weeks later, she wrote:

I find myself automatically putting stuff in the right place in the fridge if I find things where they don’t belong.

As a professional organizer, that is music to my ears!

I’ve never wanted to put labels in my own refrigerator. It seemed a little hyper-organized, plus I knew it would make my husband feel constrained. However, after seeing this client’s refrigerator and hearing how well it’s working for her, I have to admit I’m tempted!

What about you? Do you have labels in your refrigerator? If not, does it appeal to you?

Hoarding study looking for participants

26 March 2015

I received an email from Monica Wala, M.A., LPC, a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology department at Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Schaumburg, Illinois. She is conducting a clinical research project studying the effects of hoarding on the lives of adults, with a focus on early adulthood. She says that it is an area that is poorly researched in the current literature.

She is looking for people to participate in the study. Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 40, and must exhibit significant symptoms of hoarding. Participants will be asked to take a simple online survey.

She attached a flyer, which she asked me to display in my office. Since I don’t have an office where I see clients, I decided to display it here. She wrote, “Overall, the goal of my study would be to clarify the course of hoarding, which may assist in developing early intervention strategies to address their hoarding symptoms.”

If you have significant symptoms of hoarding, please consider taking the survey. If you know someone who might qualify, please share this blog post!

Worth repeating: Bingo anniversary

23 March 2015

Back in 2011, I created a Bingo board to help me get non-urgent tasks done on a regular basis. I blogged about it four or five times and today have selected one of the most useful of those posts to repeat to spread the word about the value of building fun into your task management.

Today's bingo board

Here's how my bingo board looks today.

A year ago today, I first blogged about To-Do List Bingo. I created a bingo board after reading a blog post about social media bingo from my friend, Jacquelyn Kittredge of e-bakery.

I use my bingo board to help motivate me to do important, but not urgent, tasks on a daily basis. For me, that’s social media stuff, contacting past, prospective and current clients, pursuing guest post or speaking opportunities, doing family history research, and working on my new blog, Organize Your Family History.

Every time I do one of those things, I cover the space on the board. (I reshuffle the cards on the board every day.) At the end of the day, I take a look at the board and see what I need to do to get a bingo. And that’s usually motivation enough for me to do those tasks.

I love my bingo board for a bunch of reasons:

  • It’s pretty
  • It’s fun
  • It’s flexible
  • It gives me a sense of accomplishment for doing a bunch of small tasks
  • It helps me get stuff done!

When I first started, I used Post-It® notes to cover up the spaces. That was visually unappealing and sort of fiddly (because sometimes they’d fall off), not to mention wasteful. A couple of months ago, I created decorative magnets by cutting out drawings of buttons from a calendar. Yesterday, I made a second set because I’ve been covering so many squares.

With the new magnets, the board has become even more satisfying for me. I just love it.

I’ve actually become sort of a proselytizer for To-Do List Bingo. I’ve blogged about it several times and I wrote an Organizing Guide about it, called TO-DO LIST BINGO! A game of completion + glee, for the whole family. In August of last year (after I’d been using it only a month!), I took my board on the road and did a segment on Great Day St. Louis, a local morning talk show.

These days, I’ve been getting triple and quadruple bingos on a regular basis and it makes me so happy. Sometimes people ask me what reward I get for getting a bingo and they seem surprised that the thrill of the bingo is reward enough for me. I guess I’m weird that way. (Certainly rewards could be attached to it, though.)

Bingo anniversary!

23 March 2015

Today's bingo board

Here's how my bingo board looks today.

A year ago today, I first blogged about To-Do List Bingo. I created a bingo board after reading a blog post about social media bingo from my friend, Jacquelyn Kittredge of e-bakery.

I use my bingo board to help motivate me to do important, but not urgent, tasks on a daily basis. For me, that’s social media stuff, contacting past, prospective and current clients, pursuing guest post or speaking opportunities, doing family history research, and working on my new blog, Organize Your Family History.

Every time I do one of those things, I cover the space on the board. (I reshuffle the cards on the board every day.) At the end of the day, I take a look at the board and see what I need to do to get a bingo. And that’s usually motivation enough for me to do those tasks.

I love my bingo board for a bunch of reasons:

  • It’s pretty
  • It’s fun
  • It’s flexible
  • It gives me a sense of accomplishment for doing a bunch of small tasks
  • It helps me get stuff done!

When I first started, I used Post-It® notes to cover up the spaces. That was visually unappealing and sort of fiddly (because sometimes they’d fall off), not to mention wasteful. A couple of months ago, I created decorative magnets by cutting out drawings of buttons from a calendar. Yesterday, I made a second set because I’ve been covering so many squares.

With the new magnets, the board has become even more satisfying for me. I just love it.

I’ve actually become sort of a proselytizer for To-Do List Bingo. I’ve blogged about it several times and I wrote an Organizing Guide about it, called TO-DO LIST BINGO! A game of completion + glee, for the whole family. In August of last year (after I’d been using it only a month!), I took my board on the road and did a segment on Great Day St. Louis, a local morning talk show.

These days, I’ve been getting triple and quadruple bingos on a regular basis and it makes me so happy. Sometimes people ask me what reward I get for getting a bingo and they seem surprised that the thrill of the bingo is reward enough for me. I guess I’m weird that way. (Certainly rewards could be attached to it, though.)

SpareFoot's 12 decluttering blogs you should be following right now

19 March 2015

The SpareFoot Blog, a blog published by SpareFoot, an online self-storage finding tool, has come out with its top 12 Decluttering Blogs You Should Be Following Right Now. I’m delighted that the Peace of Mind Organizing blog is one of them!

The other blogs listed are:

  • Clutter Busting with Brooks Palmer
  • Becoming Minimalist
  • The Seana Method
  • A Bowl Full of Lemons
  • List Producer
  • A Slob Comes Clean
  • Smart-Happy-Organized
  • Simplified Bee
  • Life Is Organized
  • Simply Organized

See the list on the SpareFoot blog for direct links to the blogs and to read a short description (written by the blog owners) of each blog and its purpose.

I feel very honored to be in such great company!

Maintaining order

16 March 2015

My office closet, part of the Clutter-Free and Awesome: 12 Pretty Organized Spaces article on iVillage

I love doing whole-house transformations. That’s when my team and I come in and create order in every room of a client’s home. We’re working side by side with the client, decluttering and organizing in ways that work for them.

So far this year, we’ve done four really rewarding transformations. The clients are thrilled at the end of the last session. But the proof of the pudding is whether they’re able to maintain the order.

I visited a client yesterday whose home we finished at the end of January. It still looked amazing, and that made my heart sing. It got me thinking about the basic tenets behind maintaining order. It’s really not complicated. They are:

  • Establishing a place for everything
  • Making a habit of putting things away in their place
  • Catching up quickly if backsliding occurs
  • Weeding constantly
  • Shopping mindfully and thinking about where a new item will be stored before buying it

If you’re able to follow those five tenets, you’ll have an orderly home. The trick is in owning no more items than you can comfortably store. When you have a number of belongings that’s appropriate to the storage space you have for them, then it’s easy to have a place for everything and put everything in its place.

In almost every one of my client organizing projects, decluttering is the first step. You can hire a professional organizer to help you declutter. Or you can do it on your own. (Here’s a short step-by-step series I wrote last year on decluttering.) Just don’t skip this important step in creating and maintaining order!

Unwanted fabric takes on a new life with Charity Sharity

12 March 2015

Many of my clients are creative people who have acquired supplies for their creative hobbies, like sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, knitting and needlework. It’s the rare fiber/fabric enthusiast who doesn’t end up with a stash of supplies.

I’m a knitter and I have a nice, organized yarn stash. But I bet if I went through it today, I’d come up with a couple of bags of yarn that I could easily part with.

As part of a program for our monthly meeting of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers, we heard from Carole Splater, the founder of Charity Sharity, a program that collects unwanted fabric and yarn and distributes it to groups who will use it for charity projects.

No money exchanges hands, and it all happens via delivery to and pickup from Carole’s front porch.

During Carole’s program, we saw examples of projects that had been completed using fabric that Charity Sharity provided (which they received via donations). They included:

  • bags to contain goodies sent to active military personnel
  • shawls for veterans in soldiers’ homes
  • tote bags for domestic violence shelters, for women and kids to carry their belongings in
  • teddy bears for police cars, emergency rooms, and school nurse offices (they’re made from two 12” squares of fabric…talk about giving fabric a new life!)
  • bedrolls made for homeless men, women and children living on the street

When I think about all the fabric that was once gathering dust being transformed into items that help needy people, it makes me so happy. I was delighted to learn from Carole that they also accept donations of yarn.

If you’re in St. Louis and have some clean, folded fabric to donate to Charity Sharity (or if you’re part of a sewing or knitting/crocheting group looking for supplies for a charitable project), simply email Carole at gcgreentree@sbcglobal.net.

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