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Peace of Mind Organizing

Make space. Find peace. Feel joy.

Articles tagged with decluttering

Worth repeating: A key to keeping surfaces clear

19 May 2017 | Comments [0] »

Today I’m taking some inspiration from a blog post I wrote almost three years ago. I wish I could tell you that my bureau has only three things on it today, but the truth is there’s a little bit of clutter. This weekend I’m going to clear it off and get it back to the state that is pictured! Then I’m sure it will be easier for me to keep it clear.

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Worth repeating: Working with an organizing team

24 April 2017 | Comments [1] »

I started leading organizing teams in 2008, but it was a relatively rare occurrence. By 2013, I’d renamed my team organizing service OPERATION: PEACE OF MIND and more than half my client appointments were teams. Now, I work almost exclusively by leading organizing teams. (And occasionally I send out teams that are led by experienced team members.) I find that the synergy of the team makes a team organizing session more than the sum of its parts. For those clients who can handle the fast pace, team organizing allows for swift and dramatic change. It’s rewarding for the client and for the organizers. I love it!

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What do you store on your desk?

1 March 2017 | Comments [0] »

I see a lot of messy desks. And sometimes my own desk is messy. I’ve come to believe that the key to having a truly clear desk is to be really careful about what you actually store there. When you clean off your desk, you want to have plenty of clear space on which to work. For me, all that clear space gives me a sense of peace while simultaneously motivating me. When your desk is cleared off, how clear is it really?

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No Excuses series (part 3): "It was a gift"

6 February 2017 | Comments [0] »

This is the third in a three-part series of posts debunking the three excuses I hear most frequently from clients for wanting to keep items they no longer use or love. Click here to see the other articles in the series.

The third common excuse I hear for keeping an unloved or unused item is that it was a gift. This is a tough one. People tend to have a difficult time parting with items that were given to them. (As an aside, this has completely changed how I give gifts, knowing that my gift may some day become clutter for the recipient.)

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No Excuses series (part 2): "I paid a lot for it"

2 February 2017 | Comments [1] »

This is the second in a three-part series of posts debunking the three excuses I hear most frequently from clients for wanting to keep items they no longer use or love. Click here to see the other articles in the series.

The second most common excuse I hear from clients who want to keep something they don’t use of love is that they paid a lot for that item. I get it. It feels terrible to let go of an expensive item that turned out to be a foolhardy purchase. But you know what? Keeping it doesn’t make you feel any better. In fact, when you see the item, it just makes you feel worse.

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No Excuses series (part 1): "I might need it some day"

31 January 2017 | Comments [0] »

This is the first in a three-part series of posts debunking the three excuses I hear most frequently from clients for wanting to keep items they no longer use or love.

When I work with clients on decluttering, we discuss their goals and motivations for letting go of excess. They understand that it makes most sense to hang on to meaningful items, not those that are sitting idle. Yet it’s not unusual for a client to want to keep an unused item that’s perfectly good because “I might need it some day.”

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The phrases that make me cringe and smile

23 January 2017 | Comments [4] »

When I’m working with a client, a few phrases make me cringe when I hear them come out of the client’s mouth. And a few make my heart sing.

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Starting the new year with a clear desk

26 December 2016 | Comments [0] »

If you can’t remember the last time you saw the surface of your desk, perhaps it’s time to experience the joy of a clean desk. I know that time is limited and cleaning up your desk may not rank high on the list of ways you’d like to spend your time. but it’s worth it. When you sit down at a clear desk, your mind is more clear and you can be more focused on your research.

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Use your empty boxes to ship stuff (free!) to Goodwill

22 December 2016 | Comments [0] »

I just learned on Facebook about Give Back Box, a program that makes it really easy for you to donate to Goodwill, while reusing empty boxes. I think it’s just plain brilliant. After you’ve received something in the mail, fill the empty shipping box with items you’d like to give to Goodwill, rather than taking it to the dumpster. Then go to Give Back Box website and print a free shipping label. It will be pre-addressed to the nearest participating Goodwill. Then all you have to do is tape the label to the box and take it to UPS or the Post Office. You can even request a pick up. It’s all free to you.

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Worth repeating: Need a reason to declutter? Do it for your pets

12 August 2016 | Comments [0] »

I wrote this post three years ago and I still talk about this kitty who so enjoyed his decluttered space. It came up last month, in fact. Making your animal’s life easier is another great reason to clear out a cluttered space.

Many of my clients are animal lovers. I’m an animal lover too. I even made my living as a pet writer before becoming an organizer. Perhaps I attract animal lovers.

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Feeling busy? Take 5 minutes to create a little order

16 June 2016 | Comments [0] »

When I get busy my natural messiness kicks in. Our kitchen is being renovated so disorder reigns in our house and has for the last six weeks. But even in small spaces that have nothing to do with the kitchen, like my desk, everything felt out of control this morning. I’m feeling pulled in a bunch of directions and just wasn’t taking the time to put away the stuff I could. And the clutter started getting tome.

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Why decluttering is so important

3 March 2016 | Comments [2] »

I met with a client recently who explained all the storage solutions she and her husband had attempted in an effort to create order. They have three kids and a small house and it felt to them like their home was bursting at the seams. Yet their storage solutions hadn’t solved the problem.

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Worth repeating: Eliminating the extraneous

29 January 2016 | Comments [0] »

My desk needs some serious help at the moment, probably because I’m spending too little time in my office these days. This weekend, I plan to focus on creating more visual peace in my office. I’m taking inspiration from this blog post, which I first posted on February 18, 2013. I’m so glad I signed up for Jen’s program and I wish she were still offering it!

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The joy of finishing the long-delayed project

13 November 2015 | Comments [0] »

This past weekend, I experienced the thrill of an empty basement in my own home. My husband and I live in a two-family home built in 1908. (We used to rent out the downstairs apartment, but now we live in the whole thing.) It has a scary unfinished basement that I joked was straight out of Silence of the Lambs. The limestone foundation walls and plaster-and-horsehair dropped ceiling shed dust onto the floor that is so bad we have special “basement shoes” so we don’t track dust around the house.

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Worth repeating: Shifting your perspective by shifting your furniture

5 November 2015 | Comments [0] »

Nearly three years ago, I moved my desk 90 degrees. The impact was immediate and amazing! I’m still loving the placement of my desk, so I thought I’d repeat the post I wrote about it in 2013.

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Decluttering old papers and memories

26 October 2015 | Comments [1] »

Over the weekend, I faced down the challenging of decluttering a file cabinet full of old papers and memories. I love having these experiences that put me in my clients’ shoes and help me better understand what they’re going through.

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Unwanted housepaint gets new life with PaintAway

17 September 2015 | Comments [2] »

Do you have old cans of paint hanging around your house? I do. And so do many of my clients. At least here in St. Louis, it can be so hard to actually get rid of the paint, which is considered household hazardous waste.

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Today's truth

27 August 2015 | Comments [2] »

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Trying out the KonMari method

23 July 2015 | Comments [4] »

In a blog post earlier this week, I reviewed The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. In this short book—an international bestseller—the author details her KonMari method for decluttering and organizing.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: A Review (part one)

21 July 2015 | Comments [3] »

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo? She’s the Japanese “tidying consultant” whose book has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

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Worth repeating: Lessons learned while decluttering

20 April 2015 | Comments [0] »

Even professional organizers benefit from the help of professional organizers. After I worked with my friend and colleague Aby Garvey last summer, I wrote this post, which summarizes the insights I gained from our time together. Aby and I have swapped services for years, and I never tire of it!

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Maintaining order

16 March 2015 | Comments [0] »

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.

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Worth repeating: You can learn to be organized

9 February 2015 | Comments [0] »

I wrote the post below in June 2013. Reading that yearbook inscription still cracks me up. And makes me proud that I’ve learned to be organized.

Some people are born organized. I know a lot of folks like that, since I hang around with professional organizers. Other people weren’t born organized, but they’ve learned to be organized.

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Worth repeating: Ten minutes to calm

22 January 2015 | Comments [0] »

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.)

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Worth repeating: Regifting

6 October 2014 | Comments [0] »

I know from working with clients that people have a very difficult time parting with items that were a gift.

When this comes up with clients, I always urge them to ask themselves whether the gift giver would want them to keep an item that they don’t use or love. (Usually the answer is no.) Then I encourage them to give the item to someone else. That someone else could be a stranger (via a charity) or someone they know.

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Lessons learned while decluttering

28 August 2014 | Comments [2] »

I love it when I find myself in situations that plant me squarely in my clients’ shoes. This past weekend, my friend Aby Garvey, who is an amazing organizer, offered to come to my house to help me organize my office. We swap services occasionally and it’s always fun and rewarding.

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Worth repeating: Decluttering my keys

8 July 2014 | Comments [0] »

About ten months ago, I decluttered the copious keys in our house and posted a step-by-step explanation of the process. I’m happy to report that the key bin has not attracted more clutter and we’ve found having labeled keys for our friends’ and neighbors’ homes to be really useful! Here’s that post.

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A key to keeping surfaces clear

1 July 2014 | Comments [0] »

If you click on the clean bureau tag to left on this blog, you’ll see that pretty much every year one of my goals is to put my clothes away properly at night and keep the top of the bureau clear.

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Worth repeating: We all have fear

25 June 2014 | Comments [0] »

I wrote this post five years ago, but it still rings true. Recently, I purchased a greeting card whose front bears this quotation from George Addair: “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Distinguishing between when your fear is protecting you and when it’s limiting you can be a tricky thing._

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Worth repeating: When worlds collide (in a good way)

19 May 2014 | Comments [0] »

I originally posted the blog post I’m reprinting below on September 8, 2011—with the title _When worlds collide (in a good way). I stumbled on it in my archives today and I thought I’d share it again. Incidentally, the client gave me that slip of paper and it’s been posted on my bulletin board ever since. It always makes me smile._

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Decluttering is like exercising

16 May 2014 | Comments [2] »

I’ve had my struggles with getting myself to exercise over the years and I’ve detailed some of them on this blog. The bottom line for me is that I’m pretty fit and pretty slender without going to the gym, so getting myself to go has been challenging, since I don’t enjoy it that much.

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When is an organizer like a dentist?

31 March 2014 | Comments [0] »

I had my teeth cleaned today, something I don’t really enjoy. But I do it faithfully every six months. And that’s because I know the pain and fright of slacking off on going to the dentist and then having to go because something’s gone awry in my mouth. For a number of years, when I was younger, I let my fear of the dentist get in the way of my getting regular checkups. Then a tooth broke and I had to face the music. After a root canal and a nasty surgical procedure called “crown lengthening” (I don’t wish that on anyone), all was well again. And, believe me, I haven’t missed an appointment since.

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Make charity write-offs easy with iDonatedIt

12 March 2014 | Comments [0] »

If you itemize your taxes, taking a deduction for items you’ve donated to charities makes good financial sense. You reduce your tax burden and you don’t have to go through the trouble of trying to sell your unwanted stuff.

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Decluttering Step #5: Put everything away

17 February 2014 | Comments [1] »

_Here is the fifth and final entry in my Declutter Your Home blog series. Each Monday since January 20, I’ve covered a different step of the decluttering process: Step #1, Create your vision, Step #2: Choose your space, Step #3: Gather your supplies and Step #4: Ask key questions

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Decluttering Step #4: Ask key questions

10 February 2014 | Comments [0] »

This is the fourth in a blog series I’m writing on Mondays that will take you step by step through the decluttering process. Each Monday for the last few weeks, I’ve covered Step #1, Create your vision and Step #2: Choose your space and Step #3: Gather your supplies. Today we actually getting started decluttering.

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Decluttering Step #3: Gather your supplies

3 February 2014 | Comments [0] »

This is the third in a blog series I’m writing on Mondays that will take you step by step through the decluttering process. Each Monday for the next few weeks, I’ll offer a new step. So far, we’ve covered Step #1, Create your vision and Step #2: Choose your space. Today’s step is the last preparatory step before actually getting started decluttering.

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Ten minutes to calm

31 January 2014 | Comments [0] »

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 cam home. (Yikes.)

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Decluttering Step #2: Choose your space

27 January 2014 | Comments [0] »

This is the second in a series of blog posts I’m writing on Mondays that will take you step by step through the decluttering process. Each Monday for the next few weeks, I’ll offer a new step. If you missed Step #1, Create your vision, be sure and check it out.

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Decluttering Step #1: Create your vision

20 January 2014 | Comments [2] »

This is the first part in a series I’m writing that will take you step by step through the process of decluttering. Each Monday for the next few weeks, I’ll offer a new step. Today we start with the first step, creating your vision.

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My decluttering playlist

15 January 2014 | Comments [0] »

I often mention the power of setting a timer for a short period of time to gain focus and accomplish a lot. One fun way to set a timer is to create a playlist of songs that ends after a set period of time.

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Got a clutter emergency?

18 November 2013 | Comments [1] »

It can be overwhelming when you know guests are coming and your home doesn’t feel quite up to snuff. (My brother’s visit has me scurrying around taking care of small decluttering projects.)

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The value of house guests

11 November 2013 | Comments [2] »

My brother, Larry, is coming to visit later this month. It’ll be the first time he’s ever visited me. He lives in Australia, and his visits to the U.S. are fairly few and far between and usually restricted to Washington state, where we grew up and where our parents live. (When he visits Walla Walla, I go there too.) But this year I persuaded him to come to St. Louis before going to visit our parents.

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Need a reason to declutter? Do it for your pets

11 September 2013 | Comments [2] »

Many of my clients are animal lovers. I’m an animal lover too. I even made my living as a pet writer before becoming an organizer. Perhaps I attract animal lovers.

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Worth repeating: My adventure with a professional organizer

6 September 2013 | Comments [0] »

Back in 2009, as a requirement for the CPO-CD® program, I hired a professional organizer to help me in my home. It was a great experience and I blogged about it at the time. The post is still true (and, I think, interesting). I really loved being in the client’s shoes, and, four years later, I still reflect on that experience when I’m working with clients.

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Decluttering my keys

2 September 2013 | Comments [5] »

I’m a big believer in having one place where the keys are placed when coming in the door. In our house, it’s been a coated-wire basket just inside the back door, where we enter from the garage. We now automatically drop our keys right in the basket.

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Worth repeating: Working with an organizing team

29 August 2013 | Comments [0] »

I wrote this blog post in February 2012, and it’s more true now than ever. I’ve renamed my team organizing OPERATION: PEACE OF MIND and these days I’m doing more team organizing than one-on-one organizing. The results are amazing!

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Worth repeating: Closet issues

21 August 2013 | Comments [0] »

If you have trouble parting with clothes, you’re not alone. Even Oprah Winfrey has a tough time, as I explained in this 2010 blog post. Incidentally, I still adore the fact that the clothes in my closet are organized by color!

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Small change, big impact

30 July 2013 | Comments [0] »

My husband and I have lived in our home for 22 years. (Well, four of those 22 years we lived in New York City, so I guess it’s 18 years.)

One of the big frustrations in the house for all those years was the master-bedroom closet had sliding doors. These were oversize sliding doors—in other words, each one was more than half as wide as the closet.

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Dresser transformation

24 July 2013 | Comments [4] »

One of the habits I’ve tried to create over the years is to put away my clothes properly at night (either in the closet/drawer or down the laundry chute), rather than piling them on the top of my dresser, as I’m inclined to do.

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Worth repeating: Good intentions

17 July 2013 | Comments [0] »

On Wednesdays this summer, I’m dipping into my archives to highlight articles written in the past with messages that bear repeating. Here’s the latest, originally posted on October 14, 2010.

The other day I cleaned out my t-shirt drawer. One of the benefits of having a friend who runs a t-shirt company and creates fabulous new t-shirts designs on a regular basis is that I’m frequently given new t-shirts. I don’t want to say no to them, because they’re wonderful. But I wasn’t employing any kind of “one in/one out” policy.

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Worth repeating: Finding the best place to donate

10 July 2013 | Comments [2] »

I see so many clients get caught up in finding the perfect places to donate their items. I think this post, which I originally published in April 2012, bears repeating.

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You can learn to be organized

28 June 2013 | Comments [0] »

Some people are born organized. I know a lot of folks like that, since I hang around with professional organizers. Other people weren’t born organized, but they’ve learned to be organized.

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Where to start decluttering

17 June 2013 | Comments [1] »

Clutter overwhelms many people. Probably the most frequent thing I hear from clients who seek help decluttering is that they don’t know where to begin.

There are three things to look out for selecting when figuring out where to start deluttering:

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A little focused attention

31 May 2013 | Comments [1] »

Our old house has two full baths and there’s one that’s primarily my domain. I shower there and get ready for my day. My husband rarely steps foot in it.

So I have no one to blame but myself that the bathroom closet was a nightmare. For something like ten years, items went in and seldom came out.

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Exercising your [decluttering] muscles

13 May 2013 | Comments [2] »

Since October, I’ve been trying to go to the fitness studio that I belong to, Take Action three times a week. Due to some circumstances I won’t go into here, I hadn’t been able to go for almost two weeks. But I managed to get there yesterday.

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Worth repeating: Self-care

10 April 2013 | Comments [0] »

I’m passionate about asking people to be kind to themselves and not let guilt about clutter (or anything else) get in the way of living their lives. It’s been almost six years since I wrote this posted, called Self-Care, but it remains one of my very favorite posts. I thought I’d share it again today.

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Regifting

5 April 2013 | Comments [0] »

I know from working with clients that people have a very difficult time parting with items that were a gift.

When this comes up with clients, I always urge them to ask themselves whether the gift giver would want them to keep an item that they don’t use or love. (Usually the answer is no.) Then I encourage them to give the item to someone else. That someone else could be a stranger (via a charity) or someone they know.

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Shifting your perspective by shifting your furniture

11 March 2013 | Comments [3] »

I’m not somebody who switches furniture around. I know there are people who consider that fun, but I’m not one of them. I typically agonize over the placement of furniture and once it’s done, that’s that.

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Eliminating the extraneous

18 February 2013 | Comments [12] »

I recently signed up for the fabulous Workspace and Studio Redesign program offered by Jennifer Hofmann of Inspired Home Office.

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Come see me live and in person (or on the phone)!

13 February 2013 | Comments [0] »

There must be something in the air. In the four weeks between February 28 and March 28 I have five speaking engagements. You can read all about them on the Events page of this website.

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Less really is more

23 January 2013 | Comments [9] »

I just spent some time as a houseguest of my friend, Shannon Wilkinson, who moved into her lovely home in Portland just six months ago.

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Next week: I'm giving a talk on clutter

10 October 2012 | Comments [2] »

If you live in the St. Louis area, I’d love to see you at a talk I’m giving next week called Get Rid of Clutter. It’ll be on October 19 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Thomas Dunn Memorials Adult Education Program in south St. Louis city. The fee is just $10.

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Great (knitting) discoveries while decluttering

3 October 2012 | Comments [1] »

One of the most fun parts of helping clients declutter is finding great stuff. My favorite thing to hear is, “I’ve been looking for that!” I also love finding money, which happens with surprising frequency.

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How working with an organizer jump starts things

1 October 2012 | Comments [2] »

As I’ve written here before, I love swapping services with professional organizers. In theory, I shouldn’t need organizing help in my home, since I know what I’m doing. But in fact, bringing in a PO yields amazing results. And it’s loads of fun!

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Focus on what you've accomplished, not what's yet to be done

29 August 2012 | Comments [0] »

I did the first of what will be a number of team organizing jobs for a client recently. In that first session, my five-person team made some amazing progress. It seemed like life-changing progress. I was thrilled.

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Go through those computer manuals

22 August 2012 | Comments [0] »

One of the benefits of having a blog for six years is that you can see how often you do stuff. Back in March of 2009, I blogged about decluttering the ancient computer documentation I had in my office closet.

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Worth repeating: Working with a professional organizer

2 August 2012 | Comments [0] »

A year ago (almost to the day), I posted a blog post aimed at helping those of you interested in working with a professional organizer make the most out of the experience. I asked other professional organizers to comment, which made the post even more valuable. I wanted to make sure those who might benefit from it will see it, so I’m posting it again. To get the maximum benefit, go back to the original post and read those comments.

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Come learn how to Get Rid of Clutter

30 July 2012 | Comments [0] »

I’ll be giving a low-cost talk called Get Rid of Clutter on October 19 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Thomas Dunn Memorials Adult Education Program in south St. Louis city.

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App of the week: Paper Karma

13 July 2012 | Comments [2] »

My friend, social media expert Jacquelyn Kittredge, told me about Paper Karma, a free app that helps you stop junk mail and unwanted catalogs.

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An easy (and touching) way to help those in need

13 June 2012 | Comments [0] »

At the 2011 NAPO conference, I was among the many who shed tears watching the video about Soles4Souls a non-profit group that collects shoes to deliver to shoeless people in Haiti and elsewhere. That year, NAPO honored Soles4Souls with its Organizing Excellence Award, for the incredible organizational effort behind the shoe collection and distribution.

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Clutter support group in St. Louis

22 May 2012 | Comments [0] »

I was recently contacted by Catherine, a member of a small clutter support group that meets in person on Monday evenings from 7 to 9 at Hartford Coffee, near Tower Grove Park, in the city of St. Louis. I was delighted to hear from her, since I’m occasionally asked about local clutter support groups and didn’t know of any.

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Finding the best place to donate

20 April 2012 | Comments [2] »

It can be easier to let go of items if you think they’re going to just the right charity. If you feel like the item wlll used, even loved, you can release it with fewer twinges of regret.

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Working with an organizing team

14 February 2012 | Comments [0] »

When I started my organizing business in 2005, I exclusively worked one-on-one with clients. It’s intimate, fulfilling, valuable work. But it can be really slow. And that means progress is harder to see and it can become discouraging for the client.

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Low-cost ways to tap into my expertise

27 January 2012 | Comments [2] »

I love working one-on-one with clients (or supervising a team of organizers to help a client) and we get great results. But sometimes budgetary or geographic constraints make that impossible.

That’s why I’m glad to bring up some opportunities for ways you can tap into my expertise even if you’re on a budget or you don’t live in St. Louis.

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The hotel room theory of decluttering

21 October 2011 | Comments [6] »

I’m writing this from my room at a Comfort Suites. It’s not exactly a luxurious room. But as I was sitting here on the little couch that makes this room a “suite” (that and the half wall that separates the couch from the bed), I started thinking about why I love hotel rooms.

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When worlds collide (in a good way)

8 September 2011 | Comments [1] »

I was helping a client clear off the top of the desk in her home office. It was one of those desks where stuff gets added over the years but very little gets subtracted. I love those jobs because it’s kind of a time capsule. And, often, we find fun stuff.

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Working with a professional organizer

3 August 2011 | Comments [11] »

If you’re reading an organizing blog, chances are pretty good that you fall into one of three camps:

  • You’re a professional organizer
  • You’d like to work with a professional organizer
  • You’re a fairly organized DIYer looking for ideas

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One of my favorite organizing tools

11 April 2011 | Comments [2] »

Today at the monthly meeting of the St. Louis chapter of NAPO organizers shared their favorite organizing tools. Those of us who attended the conference shared our favorite conference session. But it got to me thinking what I would have shared, had I not gone to the conference.

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One year later: drawer still organized

9 March 2011 | Comments [1] »

Yesterday, I was discussing a kitchen drawer with a client. Wanting to show her a photo of the Rubbermaid interlocking drawer organizers I pulled out my iPad and showed her a blog post I’d written last year about organizing my kitchen utensil drawer.

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Q&A with author Leah Ingram

23 February 2011 | Comments [1] »

I’ve been acquainted with Leah Ingram, author of the new book,Toss, Keep, Sell!: The Suddenly Frugal Guide to Cleaning Out the Clutter and Cashing In, for going on fifteen years. We were members of the same professional association for writers back when I was a freelance writer and both still belong to the online writing community, Freelance Success. Leah’s created a name for herself as an expert in saving money, thanks to her popular Suddenly Frugal blog and her book of the same name. When I became aware of the topic of her newest book. I couldn’t resist asking her to do a Q&A for my blog.

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Creative disposal

28 January 2011 | Comments [2] »

A lot of my clients are perfectionists, and one of the things that keeps them from parting with an item is that they want to identify the perfect person or charity to receive it. They don’t want to clutter the landfill, so they let items clutter their homes instead.

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Stressed out by meals? SimpliFried can help

19 January 2011 | Comments [1] »

I love the blog Unclutterer. It is full of sound advice about getting rid of clutter and living simply, written by and for intelligent people.

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Help for catching up on your shredding

12 January 2011 | Comments [0] »

One of the things I did during that glorious week between Christmas and New Year’s was clean out my files. My recycling box is full but I also have a large pile on top of my shredder.

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Starting the year with a clean inbox

3 January 2011 | Comments [0] »

Last night, I reached the elusive Inbox Zero. That’s right, I emptied my email inbox. This isn’t to say I don’t have any email messages. It’s just that they’re filed away in folders (or “mailboxes” in Mac Mail parlance).

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Declutter your inbox

22 October 2010 | Comments [1] »

Lately, I’ve been taking a moment to unsubscribe from promotional emails I receive on a regular basis that I usually delete. Just a moment ago, I unsubscribed from promo emails from a major electronics retailer. When I thought about the last couple of times I shopped there, it was when I had something specific in mind. It had nothing to do with these promotional emails, which come almost on a daily basis.

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Good intentions

14 October 2010 | Comments [2] »

The other day I cleaned out my t-shirt drawer. One of the benefits of having a friend who runs a t-shirt company and creates fabulous new t-shirts designs on a regular basis is that I’m frequently given new t-shirts. I don’t want to say no to them, because they’re wonderful. But I wasn’t employing any kind of “one in/one out” policy.

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Take five

7 October 2010 | Comments [1] »

I love to extol the virtues of grabbing pockets of time and creating order on a small scale. This is something I tell my clients and my Declutter Happy Hour participants.

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The cost of keeping stuff

10 September 2010 | Comments [6] »

I gave a talk this week called Letting Go of the Tough Stuff. One of the points I made in that talk is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Many clients don’t like to part with items they don’t use or love because those items cost a lot to buy. Or they feel the item is worth something and they can’t just give it away, but selling it feels too complicated or labor-intenstive, so it gets put off.

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Letting Go of the Tough Stuff class

13 August 2010 | Comments [0] »

I’ll be giving a low-cost class called Letting Go of the Touch Stuff on September 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Thomas Dunn Memorials Adult Education Program in south St. Louis city.

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Last June on the blog

22 June 2010 | Comments [2] »

Inspired by my friend, Margaret Lukens, I’ve decided to point out some of my favorite from this blog from Junes gone by. June is usually a pretty busy blogging month for me (though not so much this year). I had so many posts to choose from that I’m going to split the recap into two posts.

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Friends and families in the organizing process

1 June 2010 | Comments [0] »

Last night, after several months of repeats, A&E aired a new episode of its hit documentary TV series, Hoarders.

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Closet issues

17 May 2010 | Comments [2] »

Cleaning out the clothes closet is difficult for many people. Clothes can represent so much — like music, they can do a great job of capturing a feeling about an occasion or part of life. They also can represent hopes. You hope to wear that size again. Or you hope to have an occasion to wear that evening gown.

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Three quick projects: great advice from Unclutterer

5 May 2010 | Comments [0] »

One of the themes of Declutter Happy Hour, the e-course I offer with life coach Shannon Wilkinson, is to capture small blocks of time to work on decluttering.

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You don't have to do it alone

26 April 2010 | Comments [0] »

Having just spent four days with professional organizers, who are among the most supportive and helpful groups of people I can think of, I’m pausing to think about how important support is.

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When is clutter a problem?

9 April 2010 | Comments [0] »

I gave a decluttering talk the other day and of the audience members asked, “But what if I get comfort from having all my stuff around me?” I told her it’s not a problem to be surrounded by her stuff — unless it is a problem. I asked her whether being surrounded by her stuff was affecting her ability to function. She said yes. So we talked a little about what happens when the cost of keeping stuff is higher than the cost of letting go of it.

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Spring decluttering

2 April 2010 | Comments [2] »

Spring has hit St. Louis. It’s been in the 80s this week. The fruit trees and redbuds are starting to flower. Daffodils are out. It’s fabulous.

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Taming the messy drawer (and a giveaway!)

8 March 2010 | Comments [14] »

In our kitchen we have lots of drawers. One of them is a drawer full of miscellaneous cooking utensils and gadgets that we don’t use much. The things we use with any regularity are usually on top, but that’s the extent of the organization of the drawer. And that’s not really organization at all. That’s just physics.

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Get Rid of Clutter talk

26 February 2010 | Comments [0] »

I’ll be giving a free talk called Get Rid of Clutter on April 6 from ten to noon at the Thomas Dunn Memorials Adult Education Program in south St. Louis city.

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Peter Walsh's "It's All Too Much" DVD: A review and giveaway

17 February 2010 | Comments [11] »

I really like Peter Walsh. I love that he provides straight-forward, common-sense advice on decluttering and organizing. I also like his innovative storage solutions. You’ve had the opportunity to see him on Clean Sweep, and Oprah. You may have read his books, including It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff. And now you can watch him demonstrate the principles in that book with this terrific new DVD, It’s All Too Much with Peter Walsh.

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My favorite blog posts of 2009

29 December 2009 | Comments [3] »

I wrote just over 150 blog posts in 2009. Last week, I clicked through them and picked out some of my favorites to share with you in this post. The first go-around, I selected 24. But I figure that’s more than you care to see in one post. So I’ve cut that number in half.

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St. Louisans: A chance to turn your unwanted items into art!

3 December 2009 | Comments [1] »

This weekend is the Big Ass Indie Art and Craft Show a big craft show in St. Louis being held at Mad Art Gallery on 2727 South 12th Street. It starts Friday evening and runs all day Saturday and ends Sunday at 3 pm. Personally, I love craft shows. I so admire the craftiness, artistry, and enterprise of the people who sell things there.

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New packages!

1 December 2009 | Comments [0] »

I’ve changed the way I offer my pricing for my organizing services and I’m really excited about it. Starting today, I’m offering packages that are geared to different situations and include helpful additional products. In the past, I’ve charged a flat fee for my initial assessment and charged by the hour for everything else.

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Help for the holidays

24 November 2009 | Comments [0] »

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really lucky because we never host Thanksgiving dinner, so Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday I have to get ready for. My husband even does the cooking for our contribution to dinner. But I know I’m unusual. Many people are looking around their houses this week, thinking of what they have to do to whip it into shape for guests.

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Thumbs up for new book: Unclutter Your Life in One Week

18 November 2009 | Comments [1] »

Erin Doland, the editor-in-chief of the great blog Unclutterer has come out with a new book, Unclutter Your Life in One Week. I’m a huge fan of Unclutterer and was honored to have a guest post on the blog last summer. So I’m predisposed to like this book.

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The novel writing proceeds...

6 November 2009 | Comments [1] »

…which explains why the blog writing has dropped off a little. I’m very excited that I’ve been able to work on my novel-in-a-month piece of fiction each day since November 1.

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An easy way to sell books

2 November 2009 | Comments [2] »

In my life, books can be a big source of clutter. For a number of years, I was the book review columnist for Dog World magazine, and books would come pouring into my home on a regular basis. I’ve been decluttering my bookshelves for a couple of years now.

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Declutter Happy Hour Thanksgiving special!

28 October 2009 | Comments [0] »

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I love Thanksgiving. And I’m really lucky because Thanksgiving doesn’t mean work for me. We’ve had turkey on the fourth Thursday of November every year since 1988 at the home of dear friends. My husband cooks our contribution. All I have to do is show up and eat. (And contribute to conversation.)

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Stop the stashing

23 October 2009 | Comments [0] »

If clutter is an issue in your life, the prospect of having a dinner guest or houseguest can be panic-inducing. (Flylady calls it living in CHAOS, or Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.)

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Baby Steps: The Best-Kept Secret to Accomplishing Anything

24 September 2009 | Comments [0] »

The true secret to getting anything done — particularly something that can feel overwhelming like decluttering — is to break it down into small bites and to keep working on it. When I received this article from performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane in my email yesterday, I knew I had to share it with you. It comes from her newsletter, Live Creative, and I’m reprinting it with permission.

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New organizing resource: Videos from Organizing Connection

23 September 2009 | Comments [2] »

There are so many ways to learn. Personally, I’m an auditory learner so I love audio. To me, the perfect info product comes in the form of downloadable calls or teleclasses I can listen to on my iPod Touch.

But many people are visual learners and seeing what is being taught is very helpful to them. That’s why I’m so excited about the new video learning opportunities being offered by my friends at Organizing Connection.

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Facing down the fears lurking in the clutter

18 September 2009 | Comments [2] »

As Shannon and I discuss in Declutter Happy Hour, sometimes people don’t want to work on clutter because it’s just plain scary.

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We all have fear

11 August 2009 | Comments [3] »

Recently my husband and I went to a family reunion held at a ski resort in Pennsylvania (it was the end of June and there was no snow). He and I rode a chair lift up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view. I don’t ski and I’ve only been on a ski lift a handful of times. Neither of us heard the mumbling attendant’s instructions to pull the restraining bar over our heads and lock it in place in front of us. So we were riding up the mountain with nothing preventing us from falling out of the moving chair.

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Got any extra scrapbooking materials?

28 July 2009 | Comments [0] »

If the clutter in your home includes scrapbooking albums and other supplies that you no longer love or will use, I have a fabulous way for you to pass them on.

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Another 30-minute miracle

16 June 2009 | Comments [4] »

Okay, “miracle” is completely overstating it. But I was amazed at my office’s transformation the other day when I set my timer and got to work for 30 minutes

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Music to declutter by

15 June 2009 | Comments [3] »

In my newsletter, which goes out today, I mention the power of focus and how by setting a timer for a short period of time, I can get a lot done. (This is a refrain here on the blog too). I also mentioned that sometimes instead of (or in addition to) a timer, I’ll play a playlist of songs that ends after a set period of time.

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My adventure with a professional organizer

12 June 2009 | Comments [1] »

As I blogged about the other day, I hired professional organizer Karel Worley, of Clearing Your Path, to come to my house and help my husband, Barry, and me declutter our basement.

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Have a Declutter Happy Hour any time you want

11 June 2009 | Comments [2] »

At the end of March, life coach Shannon Wilkinson and I started offering a four-week telecourse called Declutter Happy Hour.

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Why does decluttering feel so hard?

5 June 2009 | Comments [2] »

When it comes decluttering, which is usually the the first step of getting organized, getting started is often the hardest part.

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Email liberation

2 June 2009 | Comments [5] »

Two months and a week ago, I blogged about how I was experimenting with inbox zero, that is keeping my email inbox pared down to just a few messages that required action. This represented a major changing in thinking for me. For more than a decade I typically had thousands of uncategorized emails in my inbox (and many more thousand filed in folders). I never found that to be a problem.

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Seven ways to get organized while staying green

29 May 2009 | Comments [0] »

So much of decluttering is about letting go. Disposing of things. Getting rid of excess.

But when you care about the environment, it can be difficult to let stuff go if it’s going to clutter up the environment. Sure, it’s easy to rent a dumpster and fill it up. Okay, not easy, but easier than caring where the stuff ends up. But if you’re committed to being kind to Mother Earth, then decluttering often involves extra steps.

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It's amazing what you can do in a half hour (or less)

27 April 2009 | Comments [4] »

As part of the preparations for Declutter Happy Hour, the four-week teleclass I started offering with Shannon Wilkinson last month, I’ve been doing a lot of small decluttering projects around the house.

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Why not lighten the load?

22 April 2009 | Comments [0] »

Over at the wonderful blog, Unclutterer last week, guest blogger Gregory Go offered up a guest post on the Seven Benefits of Decluttering. If you had any doubt of the benefits of lightening the load and letting go of excess (and they include financial benefits!), hurry on over there and check it out.

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Can decluttering lead to happiness?

8 April 2009 | Comments [2] »

Gretchen Rubin who writes the blog (and upcoming book) The Happiness Project also blogs for Real Simple (and for Slate).

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Declutter Happy Hour starts tomorrow!

30 March 2009 | Comments [0] »

Our first “Declutter Happy Hour” session begins tomorrow, March 31, at 2 p.m. central. If you haven’t signed up yet but are intrigued, head on over to the Declutter Happy Hour website and check it out.

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Cash for your unwanted gadgets

27 March 2009 | Comments [2] »

What’s that old saying? One person’s trash is another person’s treasure? That’s how those of us who are decluttering our lives can actually make some money. Your old digital camera may not be valuable to you after you upgrade to a snazzier one, but someone else may find it perfect.

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Facing down my email inbox

23 March 2009 | Comments [0] »

I freely admit that I’m an email packrat. Since my hard drive is large, I have no problem hanging on to emails I think might come in handy some day. This is a habit I’ve had since I started with email in the 90s. And I don’t intend to change.

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The power of 15 minutes

20 March 2009 | Comments [0] »

A decade ago, Flylady told me to set my timer for 15 minutes and declutter. She told all of her followers, “You can do anything for 15 minutes.” I’ve put that into use over and over again through the years. And I blog about it a lot because it’s so true.

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Announcing Declutter Happy Hour!

18 March 2009 | Comments [0] »

Recently, I’ve been blogging quite a bit about how hard it can be to get rid of clutter, not just because it’s hard work that’s difficult to find the time to do, but because of emotional barriers to the work, or unhelpful beliefs that get in the way.

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Take the poll: Emotional barriers to decluttering

16 March 2009 | Comments [0] »

On Friday, I posted about emotional barriers to getting organized. Jim Dietzel from Rubbermaid’s blog suggested in a comment that I do a poll on the various emotional blocks folks have when it comes to decluttering.

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Emotional barriers to getting organized

13 March 2009 | Comments [5] »

Earlier this week, I wrote about unhelpful beliefs that can stop you from being able to let go of stuff. Today I want to talk about emotional barriers that can come up when you’re trying to get organized (or even just thinking about it).

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Question your beliefs

11 March 2009 | Comments [3] »

Most of the people I work with are dealing with clutter. As we work through the stuff and I help the client make decisions about whether to keep items, I’m often amazed at the different ways people feel about letting stuff go.

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Hello, computer-related clutter!

6 March 2009 | Comments [1] »

The other day I decided to sell my Palm T|X handheld on Gazelle. It’s a website that buys used electronics. (I’ll write a post after the transaction is complete to let you know how the experience is.) I’d replaced the Palm with my beloved iPod Touch, so thought I’d divest myself of it.

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The impact of touch

2 February 2009 | Comments [0] »

A study from Ohio State University suggests that the longer people touch something they’re considering purchasing, the more money they’re willing to spend on it. Researchers asked study participants to hold an ordinary coffee mug for either 10 or 30 seconds. Then the participants were allowed to bid on the mug in either an open or closed auction. The folks who had held the mug for 30 seconds bid more for it. Four out of seven even bid more than the retail value (which they were aware of).

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Come to my free organizing workshop!

16 January 2009 | Comments [0] »

I’ll be giving a workshop here in St. Louis on decluttering. It’s free and open to the public. If you’re in St. Louis, I’d love to see you there!

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Spa Day report: Simultaneously calming and energizing

17 December 2008 | Comments [4] »

As I mentioned on Friday, I eagerly anticipated the Extra Special Holiday Spa Day at Inspired Home Office, which I participated in on Saturday. I thought I’d report on this very cool experience.

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Spa Day in my home

12 December 2008 | Comments [0] »

Tomorrow, I’m participating in an intriguing activity. I’ve signed up for the Extra Special Holiday Spa Day offered through Inspired Home Office.

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Oprah to the rescue

13 November 2008 | Comments [2] »

In case you missed it, yesterday’s Oprah show was the debut of Oprah’s Clean Up Your Messy House Tour. Oprah is sending organizer Peter Walsh, of whom I’m an unabashed fan, around the country with a “clutter crew” of helpers (in VW Bugs) to help people get rid of clutter. (In this first episode, they were in New York City, knocking on doors of unsuspecting people.) Designer Candice Olson of Divine Design is also on hand to help with beautiful storage and design solutions.

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Powerful decluttering

12 November 2008 | Comments [2] »

This morning I received the e-newsletter of Christine Kane, the blogger, musician, and creativity consultant whose blog was my Blog of the Week a few months ago.

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A pocket of order

30 October 2008 | Comments [0] »

This week, as part of my Level III certification program through the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, I analyzed the book Making Peace with the Things in Your Life, by Cindy Glovinsky (link at right).

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I'm quoted in a national magazine

9 September 2008 | Comments [0] »

The current issue of Arthritis Today, the consumer health publication (available on newsstands) that’s published by the Arthritis Foundation, includes an article by Sharon Ann Waldrop, on six tips to control clutter. In addition to two from me, it features tips by several professional organizers, including Jill Graham of Operation Organize! in Arizona and Rosemary Chieppo of Born to Organize in Connecticut.

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A must-listen interview with Julie Morgenstern

3 September 2008 | Comments [1] »

Organizing guru Julie Morgenstern is all over the place promoting her new book When Organizing Isn’t Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life . I haven’t read it yet, though I’ve read some interviews, including one here at Unclutterer . After I read the Unclutterer interview, I went to my library’s website and asked for the book to be sent to my branch when it’s available, so I can check it out

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Lace knitting: Not unlike organizing

31 July 2008 | Comments [2] »

Last night, as I worked on the Estonian Garden Wrap, a seemingly complicated and sort of overwhelming (for this novice lace knitter) knitting pattern, I realized that broken down to its simplest elements, it’s really pretty easy. And that’s not unlike any overwhelming project, like getting organized. Let me explain.

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Flylady: Blog of the Week

30 July 2008 | Comments [3] »

This week’s Blog of the Week is an oldie but goodie. I first became aware of Flylady back in the late nineties, before I ever dreamt of becoming a professional organizer. Technically, it’s not a blog. (It predates blogs.) But it’s frequently updated and full of treasures.

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The uncluttered car

24 July 2008 | Comments [1] »

I have to admit that my car usually looks pretty messy. That’s not surprising, since I’m a messy person, in general. But I did clean it out prior to my big trip to IKEA and it was very nice to have the clutter removed. Unfortunately, it’s encroaching again.

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Crazy Aunt Purl: Blog of the Week

23 July 2008 | Comments [2] »

One of my favorite knitting blogs, Crazy Aunt Purl, justified its permanent status on the Links section of this organizing blog (where it’s been since Day One), with yesterday’s post.

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The Clutter Diet Blog: Blog of the Week

16 July 2008 | Comments [1] »

This week’s BOTW is Lorie Marrero’s The Clutter Diet Blog.

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Self-care

15 July 2008 | Comments [1] »

I’m always struck how clutter gets in the way of life. I have many clients who constantly feel an obligation to deal with their clutter. They plan to devote a weekend to decluttering, then they start to feel overwhelmed, so they don’t actually deal with it. (Until they call me.)

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Creating a vision

30 June 2008 | Comments [2] »

Whenever I start working with a client, we talk about the vision they have for the space. I’m not talking about specifics like furniture placement. I want to know what the client is hoping to experience in the room, the feeling that she wants to get from the space. I ask the client to close her eyes and really feel it.

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Decisions

21 June 2008 | Comments [0] »

Many of my clients have a difficult time making decisions. That’s not too surprising, since most of my clients are dealing with clutter issues and clutter is all about delayed decisions.

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You know it's time to focus on organizing...

16 June 2008 | Comments [1] »

...when you can’t find stuff. The universe is putting me squarely in the shoes of my clients today. I’ve spend much of the day trying to find things. And so far, I’m having no luck!

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Weekend update

2 June 2008 | Comments [0] »

On Friday I blogged about how I hoped to focus on decluttering in the coming weekend and that I was experiencing the rare and delightful confluence of having time for this kind of work and feeling motivated to do it.

I have to say, it went well. In Friday’s post, I listed the projects I hoped to accomplish:

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Focus

30 May 2008 | Comments [1] »

If you’ve ever worked with a professional organizer, you know that one of the things we bring to the table is focus. When you make the financial and time commitment to have a professional help you get organized, you tend to stay focused on the job during your session. And if your attention strays, the organizer draws it back to the project at hand.

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Great publicity for the organizing profession!

9 May 2008 | Comments [0] »

Last night on the St. Louis NBC affiliate’s news broadcast there was a “cover story” called Decluttering Your Surroundings Could Help You Live a Better Life.

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How do you eat an elephant?

7 May 2008 | Comments [4] »

I’m going through one of those periods again where I completely empathize with my clients. I had a very busy March and April (I was out of town half the month of April) and now that I have a little time to breathe, I look around my house and think, “I need a professional organizer!” There are no shortage of wonderful organizers here in St. Louis I could hire for help, but I’m going to try to economize and do the work myself.

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When good things happen to great clients

29 April 2008 | Comments [0] »

I mentioned last week that I was leaving for Hawaii to help a client get settled in there. We’re working hard, having some fun, and accomplishing a lot.

I’ve been working with this client since September 2006 and she serves as a fabulous example of the benefits of getting organized.

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Update on my email taming

21 April 2008 | Comments [0] »

Just a few days ago, I wrote a blog post about taming my email box. I vowed to use the trusted-three method, which I read about on Lifehacker, to empty my email inbox. I said I’d try it out and report back.

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Taming the email inbox

17 April 2008 | Comments [2] »

I have to admit that I’m a bit of an email packrat. It seems fairly harmless to me, as long as my hard drive is large enough, and somehow having the history of many of my email interactions gives me comfort.

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Things Flylady has taught me

28 March 2008 | Comments [0] »

Chances are you’re familiar with Flylady. Flylady, who’s real name is Marla Cilley, has a wildly popular website which helps readers dig out from clutter, establish routines, and stay organized.

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A peek inside the client's mind

18 February 2008 | Comments [0] »

When I visit the home of a client for the first time, I’m often struck by the trust that’s been placed in me. For some of my clients, I’m the first visitor they’ve welcomed into their homes in some time.

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Ready to declutter your stash?

29 January 2008 | Comments [1] »

I’ve somehow ended up with some yarn that I can’t imagine I’ll ever knit with. Some acrylic, some fun fur, some other novelty yarns. On a larger scale, I ended up with an embarrassingly large collection of straight and circular needles I’ll never use. Those were purchased on ebay and didn’t turn out to be to my liking.

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The amazing power of a clean desktop

13 January 2008 | Comments [0] »

The habit I’ve been trying to instill with the Don’t Break the Chain method that I wrote about in a recent post is clearing my desktop at the end of the workday.

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Workspace order

3 January 2008 | Comments [0] »

I was interviewed recently for an article at AuditNet, a website for auditors, about clearing your workspace and keeping it in order. Check out my tips at the Q&A here: Taming Office Clutter

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Happy new year!

1 January 2008 | Comments [0] »

But here it is the first day of the year and I find myself wanting to write down goals, figure out systems for making life easier, and (still) cleaning out/cleaning up.

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Clean desktop challenge results

15 November 2007 | Comments [0] »

Ten days and two posts ago (on a Monday), I wrote this: I hope and trust that on Friday I’ll post that I had a clean desk-top every day for five days running. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

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A little Internet press

6 November 2007 | Comments [2] »

I’m quoted in a couple of articles published on the Internet recently.

Today’s edition of Gimundo.com has an article by Kathy Hawkins entitled, “How to Kick the Clutter Habit.” I’m the main source for the article.

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Clutter and stress

5 November 2007 | Comments [0] »

I just discovered something about myself. I’ve always known that, for me, clutter causes stress. And stress tends to cause clutter. Typically, my stress starts because I’m too busy. When I’m busy I have no time to put anything away. The clutter grows and grows and looking at it stresses me out. It’s a vicious cycle.

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Clutter can be such a barrier

13 September 2007 | Comments [0] »

It’s amazing to me what a barrier to productivity, to progress, to peace of mind clutter can be. I see it in my clients all the time. And I know from personal experience.

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For me, this is what it is all about

16 July 2007 | Comments [4] »

I just got back from an intense five days working with a client in another state. I know from her feedback and from what we accomplished that I really made a difference in her life. That’s what I love about this work!

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Snow day!

1 December 2006 | Comments [0] »

A winter storm hit St. Louis yesterday. It wasn’t as big as the media hype warned us it would be, naturally. There’s maybe an inch or two of snow at my house. But under that snow is freezing rain and beneath that is sleet. So it’s slick. And pretty:

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