Freedom From Clutter

Get organizing assistance from Sandy


Leave a comment

Welcome 2015!

Hello and welcome back!

Thankful!

We have  welcomed in a new year and said good-bye to the last. Hopefully you feel a bit more relaxed  knowing there is a reprieve from presents to buy, relatives to see or special places to be. The winter is upon us, and for some of us that means enduring frigid temperatures and being stuck indoors or it could mean enjoying what the outdoors has to offer this time of year. I find it to be a great time for reflection. The perfect time to be thankful for what you do have. To reflect on what is positive and going right in your life, instead of hammering away at what you want to change. What if this is the best time of year, New Years Day, to seek a fresh start by building upon the foundation of what is already good.

Turn it around!

Frustration about not being organized, frazzled at having mismanaged time, and unhappy with how unfocused you feel can be a thing of the past. Shifting your focus is the best way for it to happen. Just reading these words has the ability to empower you and impact you in a positive way! So, hurray for having the courage to recognize what is working and figuring out what you want, and ultimately will, do differently. Frustration can turn to freedom. Frazzled can turn to refocus and redirection toward your priorities. And unhappiness can turn to either happiness or calmness no matter your situation. How you decide to deal with your situation will make all the difference. Placing your focus only on what you do not like will only continue the negative feelings you may have experienced in the past when reflecting on the prior year. The method I suggest could be your turning point!

Take action!

Taking action always comes first and then everything else will follow. Some popular self-help gurus refer to changing your belief or thinking first, or figuring out why you behave as you do. I disagree wholeheartedly. To create motivation, and a confident you, you must first decide what is going well and positively for you right now. What are the areas that you have full control over? Of course it is always you, not others or circumstances. If you are not used to this way of thinking it can feel awkward at first, but be honest with what is going well for you, what you like, and perhaps what would be beneficial to let go of. Now that you know what is working for you, decide what you would like to expand on, perhaps shift and what would you like to learn. In order to get the best bang from your upcoming research and future decisions stay focused during this process. It is wise to take small steps when learning a new way, shifting unhealthy behavior and expanding what is already good in order to savor and enjoy the entire thing. Remember you do not eat an entire sandwich in one gulp you, hopefully, take bites. Decide what one action step you could take today, this minute or hour, toward what you desire or what you would like to learn, transform, or expand on.

Keep it going until…

To claim your desires every day ask yourself, “What can I do today to bring me closer to what I desire?” And then do whatever you decide on no matter what else shows up.  Every time  you veer of course, and you will, as soon as you recognize the slip simply redirect yourself back to what you chose as a priority. When you focus on what you want one day at a time, one action step at a time, the rest, your beliefs, your thinking and attitude will follow.

Happy New Year! May you have all the peace and happiness you desire in 2015!

~Sandy

Professional organizer


Leave a comment

What’s the big deal about clutter?

Hello and welcome back!

So you have clutter, what’s the big deal?

Clutter is anything that no longer serves or benefits your life. If you continue to allow clutter to linger you build a wall to what is waiting to enter your life. You are not permitting anything new in. Clutter is insidious. Insidious, defined in Webster dictionary means, more dangerous than seems evident.

Clutter has its own language

It is exactly like white noise. Have you ever noticed an overhead light buzzing or a whirl of a fan? When turned off you have immediate relief, well, that is exactly what happens when you release clutter. You gain immediate relief and that is what I want for you. Peace.

You may not be able to control most of your life, but you can control your environment.

My life was chaotic growing up, but I realized I had control in one area. I had a talent for order at an early age, thankful for my own room, I was able to feel safe in a peaceful place. Later on many situations occurred that my ability to live in clutter-free, organized and peaceful surrounding became my saving grace.

I am not a minimalist, I have beautiful things that I would buy again today, my home is a peaceful haven and efficiently run. I was born with this ability and don’t expect anyone else to be like me, but with my help I hope I can help impact yours just a little.

Please take a moment -or 15- this weekend and clear out a space and allow yourself to feel the peace.

Much love to you!

~Sandy

will.


Leave a comment

The Holidays are Coming!

Hello and Welcome Back!

The holidays are coming!

You may be thinking, but it’s only October, not even Halloween yet! Hear me out…

If you take the following week to plan for the upcoming holidays you will alleviate the stress you normally feel during this time of year greatly. Let’s make a deadline to have this plan completed by Sunday the 26th.

Get a pad and pen and begin.

Start with Halloween. Will you need costumes, candy, or decorations? Record what you will need along with the dates or deadlines you will have these purchased or done by. Next make a separate list of everything you want to purchase and keep this with you. You now have an action plan and all you have to do is follow it.

Next will be Thanksgiving

Are you hosting or are you traveling? What, if anything, will you need for this holiday? When will you do the things you need to do? If you are hosting create your menu and all the details that go along with the celebration. Make a list of what will need to be purchased, who you’ll ask for help, and what needs taken care of, and carry it with you.

Next will be Christmas or what you celebrate.

Over the next week, as you are planning for the holidays you celebrate, throw away the perfectionism and focus on progress. Just because you are planning several weeks in advance doesn’t mean you have the time to remodel. Remember people are coming to celebrate not inspect. If you do have a guest or two who appear judgmental remember what others think about you is none of your business, you’ll be happier knowing that!

How I handle Christmas

I hosted Christmas for many years. I pretended I would be on vacation the second and third week of December. This allowed me to relax and enjoy the magic of Christmas prior to the most hectic week of all. Plus I was able to enjoy a cookie swap (if there were none in the freezer to take I would decline) and holiday parties along with evening drives to pick out the best decorated homes and playing games with my children. That meant by the first week of December I had to have all my decorations up, the cards mailed, anything I could make ahead in the freezer and all the gifts bought and wrapped. The only thing I had to do the week of our holiday feast was shop for the food, cook, bake and set the table. When anything is done with a plan, doing a little at a time, while throwing out the need for perfection, it can all come together effortlessly and enjoyably.

Gift tips

Clutter free gifts are the best. After a child is in their teens I give money in clever and creative ways. Sometimes I’ll conduct a scavenger hunt, children really enjoy this. A tip I gave in the blog post about calendars, I said take notes throughout the year of others likes, this makes gift giving a breeze.  Even grab bags with gift certificates that are universal, movie tickets in a big can of popcorn or coffee gift certificates placed in a mug for example, will be appreciated. The one gift I love to give and have become known for is personalized calendars with pictures of my family along with photos of beautiful scenery and flowers I have taken. Photography is a hobby I enjoy and get to share with my family while giving a useful gift. Throughout the year I take pictures of celebrations and special events and then put them in calendar form at my local box store. It is like a scrap book they enjoy of the previous year. Each family member looks forward to this gift. We enjoy spending time passing them around and reminiscing.

I wish you all a peaceful holiday season!

~Sandy


Leave a comment

What to do with your (too much) stuff

There are so many clever & creative things to do with your stuff to stay organized & on top of clutter that perhaps you haven’t thought of. I’ll share many ideas that I’ve used in my own home.

When you have items you think you may use, but aren’t sure, instead of leaving them to clutter your space or take up valuable real estate pack them in a box. Say you have 8 flower vases, you know you’ll use 2 on a regular basis so box the other 6 & if anymore come in box them as well (when you are done with them, of course). Label the box & put the date on the box when you packed it up. Check stored boxes periodically throughout the year. Let’s say you needed another flower vase on your birthday, but otherwise hadn’t touched the other 5 in a year, you know it is okay to donate the 5. Put the box in your can & drop it off when passing a donation center. Same with all your other items. Box like items up, label the box & date it. Take what you need from them throughout the year & donate the rest. You may have purchased a certain dish for a particular food item (think; spring form pan, trifle bowl, or any other odd item), yet no one liked it or it was too difficult to make or cheaper to buy, & you haven’t used the dish again in a year, instead of it taking up valuable real estate for just in case, box it, label it, & date it. It will be much easier to let things go when you haven’t touched, looked for, or needed an item(s) in 6 months to a year. It gives you a visual clue to what you actually need or use. People hoard because they may need it someday. Trust that if you do need an item you donated all your needs will be taken care of in the future. Needs change. A busy family may need & use certain items, but once kids grow up &/or move out some items are no longer needed & can be passed on to new families (as long as they are in good condition). By using this technique you can see for yourself what is needed or wanted & what is not. 

Kid items are the same, they out grow & change often, yet we keep piling on toy after toy, sporting equipment after sporting equipment, clothing after clothing without purging the old. Ask your children if they had to grab 5, 10 or 20 favorite things in a hurry what would they grab (that will give you great insight). You can also box up, label, & date items & see if anyone asks for a particular item. If so, retrieve it from the stored box & leave the remaining to donate. Some parents hold onto what they consider keepsakes. When the child moves out or has children of their own they don’t want most of the stuff you’ve saved. Take a picture instead of the item that you find precious & make a keepsake album instead & if you are really ambitious write a note about them with/in the item. Shared thoughts & feelings & memories are so much better then a box of worn out, outdated & unwanted things that they now have to take care of & store.

Speaking of children, they bring in a lot of stuff especially art work. There are many ideas to control the amount you keep. One is to string art work along a wall & change it often. Take a long wire or string & use clothes pins to hang. Laminate some special pieces to make as place mats (give as gifts to relatives too). Take pictures of select pieces throughout the year & create a digital calendar of their art (another great gift idea to share with relatives that may not have been able to be a part of). If you have limited space rotate, one in, one out. Roll it up & store in tubing, such as paper towel or wrapping paper tubes. Label them. You can scan art work into your computer & let go of the actual art piece. You can mail art work to relatives or find senior citizen centers or nursing homes in your area & ask if they would like some to display for the residents. Or again take pictures & create a scrap book for them to do with what they want. 

Clothing is a huge space zapper. Periodically go through clothes, toss stained, out dated, & unwearable items. Designate a spot for repairable items & decide to repair them by a certain time  (or they go in the donate pile), or bring to a tailor or dry cleaner by a certain date. Your best bet, if you are bringing them to an outside source, is to place them in your car so they are easily dropped off while you are out.  Also, unaware if you’ll wear an item, place the hanger backwards on the rod, as you choose an item, wear it, wash it & return it, place the hanger the right way, at the end of each season check the hangers that are still backwards & donate those. You can also box clothing & label what the contents are & again record the date. Whatever you haven’t taken out, you aren’t missing, donate. Use this technique for all items as well as shoes & purses. 

Photo’s are another item that don’t seem to find a home. What I did was take a $1.00 box & placed photos according to who was in the picture versus in order of dates or certain events. Much quicker & easier. The ones you have framed change from time to time to update your visual gallery. I made my children their own scrapbooks, for Christmas one year, of their life up to that year. Walking down memory lane made our holiday extra special. 

Use items that come into your home, but may be packaged for food or drink or other grocery items. You may need tissues & throw the box away when done, but they can corral so many things. For instance, you can shove a lot of plastic bags inside the box to use in & as small trash cans. Store the tissue box filled with plastic bags in the room that has a mini trash can, or take a box & put it in your car. You can also store plugs or crayons or any number of items, just remember to label it. Coffee cans or any can get a quick wrapping paper job, glued on sea shells, or painted & be used to store extra kitchen utensils, hair brushes, small toys, make up brushes, art supplies, paint brushes, pencils & pens. Jars can be cleaned out & be used as piggy banks, for flowers, or to collect sea shells, cotton balls, macaroni, or anything that once opened can get stale such as cookies or marshmallows. Use empty  paper towel rolls to store cable cords, label & stick in a draw. Small games such as hand held gadgets or playing cards fit in a shoe box. Puzzles, cut out the picture & place the pieces in a zip lock bag. In other words before going to buy expensive storage containers look at what you already buy with a new eye. 

The most important thing, for me, to have an organized life is to make every thing convenient. Keep a paper towel roll in every bathroom (along with glass cleaner), your car, & even bedrooms (seems we’re always reaching for a paper towel so have them easily accessible). Keep a trash can in every room. Create a landing & launch pad by the door you use regularly. A coat closet may be located by the front door but you use the back door or the door from the garage. So the closet designated by the builder doesn’t necessarily work for you on a daily basis. Get creative hang hooks, use shelves, or furniture by the door you use most often to house the items you need to take to & from. Place anything that needs to go with you, backpacks, purse, keys, library books, coupons, even shoes, on your pad so it is ready when you are. For easier mornings pick out your clothes the night before. And before you go to bed take just 5, 10 or 15 minutes to create a clean kitchen for you to start your day in. If you hit your snooze button either set the alarm 45 minutes earlier or put it across the room. For ideas for dinner look at your weekly grocery store flyer. What’s on sale is what’s for dinner. While you cook dinner fill the sink with hot soapy water for dirty dishes & cooking utensils. As you create your grocery list record on the calendar what is for dinner each night, so you not only know what you are having, but others who are home first can start it (or not). If I use coupons I record my list on an envelop (from junk mail) & keep the coupons inside & place on my launch pad. For mail handle it immediately. Place a shredder, trash can & where you keep your bills as the place to open mail, preferably where your landing & launch pad is located or close by. You’d be amazed when you use the do it now principal on how much you get accomplished & stay up on (& it only took a minute or two). Distribute the magazines & catalogs to their designated home. If magazines are piling up think about canceling your subscription & purchase periodically when you shop & when you have time, or read them online. 

I hope these tips help you create an organized life. Please feel free to use any of these helpful ideas & pass them on. Much peace! ~Sandy