July 25, 2012

Organizing 'Quick Tip'

Open the drawer of your file cabinet. Are papers peeking over the top of your file folders? If your answer is 'Yes,' then read on...

Grab a manila folder and take a good look at it. You may have never noticed it, but there are scored lines at the bottom of most folders--some folders have three lines across and some have five. 

To make more space for papers in your folder, bend and crease one of the lines to create a box-bottomed effect. Creasing the highest of the three or five lines will provide you with the most space inside your folder.

July 19, 2012

Photo Organizing Update

About two months ago I blogged about how I made an appointment with myself to get my photos organized.

To recap: My friend Deb, in an attempt to get HER photos organized sent an email out to a bunch of friends saying that she was blocking off time one night to organize her photos--who wants to join her?


I took this opportunity to gather all the loose photos I had (some from a broken album), sort and purge them and put them into some new and existing photo albums.

After that fun photo organizing session, I created some mini photo organizing goals for myself to complete by the end of May. Well, life gets in the way sometimes even for a Professional Organizer. With June being a busy family time and a computer crisis that required my Mac to have major surgery at the Apple Store, I was unable to meet all of my mini-goals.

To add to the situation, my family took a vacation in June...to Disney. MORE PICTURES! Ahhhhh!

Me eating Mickey ice cream at Disney--Mmmmmm!
The day we came home from Disney, another 'lets-organize-our-photos-again' email from Deb appeared in my inbox. I took that as a 'sign' and ordered pictures from iPhoto (from Spring 2012), gathered some random prints that had yet to see the inside of an album and spent another two hours at her dining room table. I'm happy to say that even though it took me longer than expected, I met all of my mini-goals.

It was that night at Deb's dining room table that I decided to use the summer to make sure my family photo albums were up-to-date. My goal is for all of my photo albums to be finished before Labor Day weekend. I am also considering creating a photo book for our trip to Disney. That, too will be done by the beginning of September.

In an attempt to reach my goal, I tried to place an order with iPhoto this morning but it wouldn't go through--a problem I had encountered before my computer had 'major surgery.' I may have to upgrade my iLife package (which I have been avoiding). That may be the solution. Or I'll have to visit the Apple Store again. I'll let you know in my next photo album update...

Have you made an appointment with yourself to catch-up on updating your photo albums, too? Tell me some of your mini-goals--I'd love to hear them!

July 12, 2012

Clearing Clutter Increases Success

In 2007, Jack Canfield of 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' fame was the Keynote Speaker at the 2007 National Association of Professional Organizers Conference in Minneapolis. Since then, I have subscribed to his newsletter--this article came through my inbox back in April and I thought it would be perfect to post on my blog. Thanks for your words of wisdom, Mr. Canfield!

Clearing Clutter Increases Success

Our physical spaces are filled with dozens of minor distractions and irritants, such as stacks of unread books, scuff marks on the wall, and closets filled with unused items. For most people, these things are like gnats – annoying, but generally insignificant and easily ignored.

Rarely do we recognize them for what they really are – potent threats to our productivity, energy, concentration and peace of mind.
For those of us committed to achieving greater success in our lives, a cluttered physical environment produces three negative consequences:

1.    You feel drained. If there are things to do everywhere you look, your mind constantly keeps thinking “I need to fix that.” Eventually, you to feel drained, anxious, irritable, and overwhelmed. To cope, we have to put blinders on and overlook the distractions.
2.    Problems spiral out of control. We often overlook irritations for the short-term gain of being able to continue with our daily routine. The danger, however, is that some problems with grow worse with lack of attention. The chip in the windshield that could have been fixed in 30 minutes grows to a crack that requires replacement of the entire windshield.
3.    You miss important clues and ideas. It’s impossible to selectively numb out your awareness, ignoring only the minor distractions in your physical space while paying close attention to everything else. This is perhaps the biggest danger for success-minded people. Our most powerful insights often manifest in gut feelings, fleeting thoughts and subtle cues. Numbing out to our cluttered physical environments makes us oblivious to these clues, as well.

Physical Space Impacts Mental Space

Seemingly small irritations and distractions also have a dramatic impact on our mental state. It’s common for people who feel overwhelmed by their physical clutter to go into a state of resignation. When you have a sense that you can’t control the little things – such as quickly finding a stapler when you need it – then it becomes easy to tell yourself that there’s no way you can have the other, bigger things that you want, such as a better car, bigger house, prestigious job, or loving relationship.

The good news is that the same concept works in reverse. When you do recognize that you can control little things, such as the squeak every time you open your front door, you recognize that you can control the bigger things in life, too. Taking action to manage irritations, distractions and clutter builds your confidence in your ability to achieve success, regardless of form.

3 Ways to Deal with Clutter

There are three ways to change any environment: add something to it, take something out of it, or modify it in some form.

Go through your environment and figure out what is irritating and distracting you. Ask yourself how it needs to be fixed. Then think about who you might be able to delegate all or part of the task to. One reason that to-do items accumulate is that we feel like we have to do all of the work ourselves. One of the key strategies for getting more done is to master the art of delegation.

To help you move forward with this process, I’ve posted an “Irritations & Tolerations” worksheet on my blog. Use this tool to identify and create an action plan for handling your irritations and tolerations.

Next, scan your environment to identify elements that need to be removed completely, as well as items that can be brought in to increase the energy in your space. For example, you might find that removing the television or computer from your bedroom makes your sleeping space more relaxing and peaceful. On the other hand, you might find that adding a conference table to your office gives you an inviting place for creative work, while adding plants makes you feel calmer and connected to nature.

Spotting “Good” Clutter

Remember that all clutter is not bad. For many people, clutter is part of their creative process.

When in the midst of creation – such as writing an article, developing a presentation, mapping out a business strategy or creating a product – they pull out resources like books, clippings, articles and notepads. More artistic types might fill their work spaces with tools of their particular trade.

The litmus test to use in determining whether your clutter needs attention is how you feel. If you feel inspired, the clutter is serving you and contributing to your creative expression. If you feel contracted, drained, anxious or stressed, the clutter needs to be tamed.

Environments control us, but it’s important to recognize that as human beings, we are one of the few animals that can control their environments. 

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

July 3, 2012

Cool Product - Random Crap Tin Cigar Box

Organizers are always talking about containers--clear containers, odd-shaped containers, heavy-duty containers. For instance, I always recommend Rubbermaid containers to my client--they're tough and I've found that the lids always snap well to the bottoms. I have my preferences for shoe, paper, and food storage, too.

But what about the sentimental items in our lives? Ticket stubs, "Make Love, Not War' buttons, a mix tape from your teenage years and the like need a place to live. The container doesn't have to be fancy--it just has to keep your beloved items safe and all together in one spot.

Have you ever checked out the website, SpoonSisters.com? They offer unique items at different price points--at least half of them will make you chuckle when you see them.

I was looking for a cute baby gift when I stumbled upon this item. I thought it would be perfect for people who are decluttering but wish to keep some sentimental items. And yes, when I saw it, it made me chuckle. The title says it best...

It measures 7 1/4" long x 5 1/2" deep x 3 1/2" high. Here's a view of the inside:

It's cute. It's kitchy. And I thought it was pretty cool. Those three adjectives make this Random Crap Box a winner in my book!

What container are you currently using to hold sentimental items?