I travel every month or two and over the years I’ve managed to make packing fairly stress free. There are five practices that I’ve adopted that have helped make packing a piece of cake.
I travel every month or two and over the years I’ve managed to make packing fairly stress free. There are five practices that I’ve adopted that have helped make packing a piece of cake.
I’m in the midst of my annual December trip to visit family in Washington state. I wrote this post in January 2016, after circumstances required me to travel light on this trip two years ago. I realized in looking at it this morning that I didn’t think twice about packing just a carry-on-sized bag for my nine-day trip. Since I’m in the midst of Project 333 and have only about 33 items of clothing from which to choose, it was a no brainer. Traveling is a great time to experiment with getting by with fewer clothes.
This post was originally published on July 9, 2009. It came to mind because this weekend, when the afghan in question was actually finished. That’s right, seven years later. Check back on Thursday for a post about that, complete with photos of the finished blanket. And don’t let the seven year delay detract from the message of this post!
It’s the rare knitter who enjoys the finishing aspects of their knitting projects. That’s the weaving in of ends, the blocking (soaking or steaming the knit fabric to size), the seaming.
I’m thinking about holiday cards for my clients and colleagues and I’m whispering to myself, “Let it be easy.” In the past, I’ve tended to make holiday cards way more complicated than they need to be.
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.
Effective task management is a moving target for me. I’ve come to accept that I need to switch things up in order to keep myself engaged and get stuff done. So I vary my systems according to my need and mood. This post, originally published May 22, 2013, describes a sort of emergency intervention I use when I just can’t get myself to get anything done.
Four years ago I wrote this blog post about storing the cards I acquire to send to others. I still use this method and find it so helpful when I need a card on the fly.
Tomorrow morning I fly to Atlanta for the annual meeting of the National Association of Professional Organizers. (Woo hoo!) So it seemed like an appropriate time to repeat this post, written a couple of years ago, about using a checklist to make packing easier. I still use that checklist each time I travel and it’s worked out well for me.
Many of us in helping professions have a tendency to put the needs of those we help before our own. It’s so easy to do.
But, as I’ve discovered recently (yet again), it’s really important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself, so that you can, in fact, take care of others.
Five-and-a-half years ago, professional organizer Aby Garvey rocked my world by helping me reorganize (and rethink) my pantry. This weekend my plan is to declutter and fine tune my pantry, which has gotten out of control (as pantries have a tendency to do). I’m taking inspiration from this post I wrote after that initial session. If you have a pantry (or other space) to organize this weekend, maybe you’ll find it inspiring, too!
Last month I blogged about working with professional organizer Karel Worley in my basement. With my husband’s help, we tackled a dirty decluttering job in only four hours. It was one that I’d been dreading for months. It was amazing how much we got done and how painless it was.
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!
My team and I helped a client declutter and organize her entire home last week and we were able to make a huge impact—because the client parted with so much. She was so ready to let go of the excess that was weighing her down and she made amazing decisions. As we took out bag after bag of denotable items, the rooms seemed to get lighter.
In 2013, I wrote a post that explained why I became a professional organizer. I’m celebrating the tenth anniversary of Peace of Mind Organizing, and the works continues to pay off. I feel so fortunate to still enjoy my work after ten years in business. If you’ve ever wondered what a PO gets out of her work—which to some people looks decidedly unglamorous—read on.
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.
Moving is stressful. There’s pretty much no way around it. Even if an employer is paying for the move and you have the movers pack you, there are a lot of details with which to contend and it’s a hassle. Working with a professional organizer can help, but even so, the process is stressful.
Paper is one of the toughest things for people to make decisions about. Three years ago, I wrote this post to guide you on letting go of paper. It’s still relevant today.
Sometimes when I work with clients, I realize that they’ve hung onto a lot of paper out of fear. They’re afraid that they’ll toss or shred a piece of paper and find out later that they need it.
It’s Independence Day here in the United States and that got me thinking about what independence means to me.
I wrote this post a couple of years ago, but I really needed it today. I’m once again a bit behind on my Quickbooks data entry and have entered a recurring daily task in my task-manager app to spend 15 minutes working on the backlog. This post is strengthening my resolve to get caught up a little at a time.
Sometimes projects, big or small, feel too overwhelming to even start. Sometimes tasks are ongoing or recurring and we have a tendency to let them build up before starting to tackle them.
I’m a huge believer in storing food-storage containers with the lids on them. I resisted it at first, but now I love it and I encourage all my clients to consider it. A year ago, I wrote (another) post about it, that I think bears repeating.
I am so proud of this innovation, which transformed an ugly sight into a beautiful one in my rearranged office a couple of years ago. I’m still enjoying it on a daily basis. If you have an eyesore in your space, see what you can do to change it up.
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!
I originally wrote and published this post in February 2011. I’m happy to say that my internal barriers to doing Quickbooks have pretty much vanished, though I still have some trouble making it a priority. (But at least I don’t dread it.) Perhaps you have some internal barriers that are getting in your way. If so, I hope you’ll find this helpful.
I’m leaving early tomorrow morning for a week-long trip and need to plan and execute my packing today. Happily, I have a system that makes it easy for me. This post, which I originally wrote last year, is a handy reminder, so I thought I’d share it again.
Back in 2011, I created a Bingo board to hep 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 list.
I originally wrote this post in 2013. In my life anyway, it’s more true now than ever. Yesterday I hired someone to shovel our walks and alley after about four inches of snow fell. What a relief that was! There is so much help offered out there. We can all benefit by accepting it.
Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard for most of us to accept help. By the time I’m called into a client’s home, she (or, sometimes, he) typically has contemplated hiring me for weeks, months, or years. And typically that time is filled with guilt, self-recrimination and stress.
I’m in Salt Lake City attending a genealogy conference. Last night I had dinner in the hotel and struck up a conversation with a woman sitting near me at the bar. Naturally, we started talking about organizing (as one does at bars) and she confessed that her biggest challenge was staying on top of the filing. I suggested that she file her paid bills by month and she found that suggestion revelatory! This morning, I thought I’d blog about it, because it had such an impact on her. A quick search revealed I’d done just that on October 24, 2011. So rather than reinvent the wheel, I decided to repeat that post. Here it is, as relevant as ever.
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.
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.)
And now for my annual plea not to give gifts that will clutter the recipient’s home. A nice bonus of most of these gifts is they don’t require leaving the house to purchase, so they’re great for Christmas procrastinators. I wrote this post two years ago and I stand by it today.
A winter storm has hit both coasts of the US, bringing rain, snow, and generally unpleasant weather to much of the nation. If you find yourself trapped inside by the weather, here are some organizing tasks you can accomplish. (I published a similar list in a February 2010 post called snowed in?.)
This blog post from last year is one of my favorites. It speaks so clearly to my mantra, “Why is it so hard to let it be easy?” Incidentally, my extra buttons remain in their little Mason jar and I’m pretty sure I haven’t accessed them since I wrote this post.
While I was perusing Facebook this morning, I stumbled onto a link to a post on organizing extra buttons on the Organize and Decorate Everything blog.
I published the post below on October 29, 2009, when I was about to start my second novel as part of National Novel Writing Month. I did complete that novel in a month (and have yet to read it again). I also wrote one in 2004. Since my first two were five years apart, and five years has elapsed since the second one, I decided to go for it again. I have my spreadsheet ready and I’ve been thinking about plot points. On Saturday, November 1, I’ll write my first 1667 words (or more).
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.
I love this trick from Mark Forster about tricking your reactive mind into doing things that you have trouble starting. I shared it first in 2008 (!) and thought it was worth repeating today.
Do you ever have items on your to-do list that just loom there? You know you need to do them, you think about doing them, but you just can’t get going on them?
I published this post nearly two years ago. I’m still struck by the power a person can play in helping move forward by sitting in virtual silence.
One of the roles I frequently fill for my clients is what I like to call an “order catalyst.” They often find that they simply can’t do organizing tasks on their own. But when I’m there, sitting quietly, they can go about getting their organizing work accomplished, be it decluttering, sorting, or going through their task list.
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.
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._
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._
Mother’s Day is in a week (and my mother’s birthday is today!), so I’ve been thinking about gift giving again. If you give your mom an experience, service or something consumable, you don’t have to worry about cluttering up her home. Here’s a post from a couple of years ago that I think is worth repeating. (I’ve updated it a little.)
I wrote this post in July of 2012 and it still rings true. When the fun or rewarding parts of life become just aspirations, rather than reality, we miss out. The special project that I referred to at the end of this post was my blog, Organize Your Family History that I debuted that summer. It has provided lots of motivation for me to pursue my genealogy research!
For more than ten years, I’ve been interested in doing family history research. I would dip my toe in the water every now and then, but would get overwhelmed and withdraw it. Mostly, I just didn’t feel I had the time to do it properly. So I didn’t do it at all.
Having too many choices can be paralyzing, as I reflected in this post written two years ago, just before I bought my iPhone 4S.
I’m buying an iPhone this week. Yay! I’m a fan of Apple products and love my iPod Touch (which is a now a senior citizen) almost as much as I love my iPad. I adore my MacBook. And I hate my cheap little Android phone. So this week I’m going to invest in an iPhone and I’m really excited about it.
I just re-read this post, which I wrote almost exactly a year ago. I think it does a great job of explaining why I became a professional organizer. If you’ve ever wondered what a PO gets out of our work—which to some people looks decidedly unglamorous—read on.
Often when I meet folks who learn what I do for a living, they’re keen on learning how I became a professional organizer. I explain the training I took and how I went about starting my business. (That’s all detailed in my blog post, Are you interested in becoming a professional organizer?.)
I wrote this blog post in 2011 and when I re-read it today, I really liked the message, so thought I’d share it again. The bag is finished (that’s a picture of it), but I’ve experienced the same thing (inside and outside of knitting) on more than one occasion since!
Sometimes the tiniest things keep us from doing things we want to do or think we should be doing. If we can identify those things and modify them, we can get more done.
I flew home from visiting to my parents on Southwest Airlines on Saturday and had a great experience, as usual. It brought to mind this post I wrote a year ago, when I was also flying from Spokane to St. Louis. I still think there’s a lot to be learned from this great airline.
I’ve been away from home about a week visiting family in Washington state. After a couple of half-days of travel, I’ll be home on Saturday. This blog post, which I wrote a couple of years ago at the end of the trip, reflects how I still feel about getting back into the swing of things. I’m happy to say that I didn’t leave my office in such disarray this time, but I am coming to a full week of client appointments. My routines will keep me sane!
This week marks the 7th anniversary of my blog. I posted my very first post on November 10, 2006. Since then, I’ve posted 906 more. I thought it would be fun to re-post that first post. I’m happy to note that the first post isn’t an embarrassment and that I would write the same thing (perhaps phrased differently) today. Enjoy!
I wrote the blog post below on May 9, 2012. That’s when we started making jerky treats for our dog, Kirby, after I learned that dogs were getting sick from eating jerky treats imported from China. Eighteen months later, the problem persists. According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times as of last month there have been 3,600 reports of illnesses related to the treats, and 580 deaths, almost all of them dogs.
I wrote this blog post two years ago after hearing Harold Taylor speak about perfectionism. I loved his take on it and was happy when I re-read this post yesterday. In case you didn’t catch it the first time around, this is definitely one worth repeating.
I’ll be celebrating three years of routinely clearing out my email inbox come January. I wrote this nuts-and-bolts post about how I do it in January 2012, after I’d been practicing this habit for a year. Now, more than a year and a half later, nothing’s changed. I use the same procedures and I’m still in love with this habit, which make my life unequivocally better.
Almost two years ago, I wrote this post about giving up cable TV. I’ve since written two updates: Update on the cable-free life and A year without cable TV, but I think this post was the most informative of them. I’m an avid TV watcher and don’t miss cable a bit. Between the shows I can watch on my Roku, the Tivo I ended up buying which records broadcast shows for me, and shows I can catch online, I have more than enough to watch. And I’m so delighted not to pay for cable TV!
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.
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!
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!
I’m always amazed at what a big difference a little focused effort at decluttering, tidying, and organizing can make. I blogged about that last October.
Over the past week, I let my office get a little out of control. Getting ready to travel for a long weekend, I had stopped clearing my desk off each night. My early-morning pre-flight preparations made things worse. And when I got home from the trip on Monday afternoon, I worried about catching up with email, not cleaning things up.
I first published this post in September of 2009, and I stand behind my contention that functional trumps beautiful!
I live near a heavily trafficked thoroughfare in St. Louis that has a big median down the middle. A couple of years ago, volunteers from the neighborhood decided to beautify the street by planting large decorative plants in the median. It looks lovely.
Unfortunately, it’s unsafe. I regularly turn left from that street onto another. When I’m waiting to make that turn, the large plants on the median block my view of oncoming traffic. It’s dangerous. Really dangerous. I curse it on a regular basis.
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.
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.
Thanks to my well-organized and well-stocked stash of yarn, I spend very little money on yarn and knitting supplies. Three years ago, I wrote about Ravelry, my secret weapon for saving money on what can be a very expensive hobby. This post is as true today as the day I wrote it, with one exception. There are now 3 million members of Ravelry!
While I did finally join a gym, the message of this two-year-old blog post is still worth repeating. Whether it’s exercise, filing, or processing email, doing something is always better than doing nothing.
Some effort is better than no effort. That’s the philosophy I’m embracing at the moment when it comes to exercise. For some reason, I’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon, despite the fact that I’ve put on a few pounds and so am reminded of the need to exercise on a very regular basis.
On Wednesdays this summer, I’ll be re-running blog posts from the past. Each week, I’ll pick one that still rings true to me. Here’s this week’s selection.
I’m a messy person. And (clearly) I’m not ashamed of it. You might find it surprising that a professional organizer is messy. But that might be because you think that messy and disorganized are synonymous. Trust me, they’re not.
Father’s Day is on Sunday and it brought to mind my message about avoiding gifts that create clutter. I’ve been writing about that for years in terms of Mother’s Day gifts, but it’s just as true for Father’s Day. Your dad (or husband) probably doesn’t need another tie or bottle of after shave. I thought I’d repeat a post I created last year for Mother’s Day, which actually reprints a newsletter article I wrote in 2007. I’ll share a little secret (because my father doesn’t read my blog): I’ll be giving him cut flowers, like I have been for some years. They brighten his day and and he doesn’t have to find a permanent home for them.
I have a little mantra I’ve mentioned here before.
I think it speaks for itself.
Almost a year ago, I wrote this post on the importance of labels. I just read it again and think it’s a message worth repeating. Plus, the photo always makes me smile!
Labels are really important. When I work with clients to set up organizing systems, I suggest labeling as much as humanly possible. This helps the client—and the client’s family—not only find things, but them away in the proper place. That really helps in forming the habit of putting things away in a new place.
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.
Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about one of the most important (and common sensical) organizing axioms: store items near where you use them. I think it’s such an important message, I’m posting it here again.
I originally posted this endorsement of Smead’s Tax Organizer almost a year ago. I was back helping the same client with her taxes this week, and we used the tax organizer again. We actually bought a new one and she stored her supporting documents in the old one. Consulting last year’s organizer made this year’s taxes even easier. If you’re compiling documents for your tax preparer, you might find this product handy.
Two years ago, I created a life-enhancing habit. At the time, I wrote a blog post about how I went about doing it. I’m happy to say that my poop-scooping routine is going strong, so I thought at this time of year, it was worth repeating that post. The magic of linking new routines to old works on any habit, not just poop scooping. I invite you to give a thought to how you might apply it in your life!
I’m leaving tomorrow for another trip to see my parents in Walla Walla. On July 25, 2011, just after I’d returned from a trip to Walla Walla, I blogged about the swell travel organizer I use to keep track of my paperwork while I travel. I’ve used it for every trip I’ve taken since (which must be at least a dozen) and the durable organizer continues to work well. I so I figured it was worth re-running my review, originally published July 25, 2011.
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.
I just came across this blog post, which I originally wrote in August of 2009, and it tickled me. I think it’s as true today as it was then, so I offer it up again today for those of you who haven’t read it.
I adore my orange tabby cat, Joe, of course. But he does a great job of annoying me on a regular basis. But when I pause to reflect on it, he’s also teaching me stuff.