Breast cancer survivor and clutter clearing author learns to walk her talk

Clutter clearing cancer coping author and motivational speaker We can learn to live our priorities fully (and not just surviving or getting by on a day to day basis) by clearing out the distractions and focusing on what is important to each of us, our families, and our lives. Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools: We'll get you through this by Barbara Tako, two-time cancer survivor and published author and motivational speaker on the topic of clutter clearing. For updates on this new book, click here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Simplify your calendar in 2011

As we switch from 2010 to 2011, it is a great time to evaluate and simplify your calendar usage. Whether you have an electronic calendar or a paper one, these thoughts are to help you!

How many calendars do I need to buy? Consider using only one  calendar. In my experience multiple partial calendars create confusion and are an invitation to disasters in the form of missed events and appointments. If you use only one calendar and trust only one calendar, all information will be there in one place! It saves time too, since you won't be checking in different calendars looking for information.

What kind of calendar is best? Choose one that you like and that fits your personal style for the way you schedule your time and the amount of information you want to record right on the calendar. There is no one "perfect" calendar or style of calendar out there.

In addition, if you have a paper calendar or planner, get one with big enough boxes for each day to record everything. It is helpful to have room for names, addresses, and phone numbers right on the calendar in case you need to call to change an appointment or figure out driving directions at the last minute.
 Maybe that seems obvious, but if you are managing events for multiple people in a household, it is very important. Also, always write in pencil. The only certainty in our lives is that they will change. Doctor appointments will need to be rescheduled. Events will change times or be cancelled. The only constant is change, so be prepared.

What is the best way to use my calendar? It is helpful to write all events on the calendar immediately, as soon as you learn about them. If you have a list of events or a repetitive activity that happens every week, take the time to record those on the calendar for the entire year right now. It is also helpful to record birthdays, starting and ending school dates, conferences, school holidays, summer camps, and annual vacations right away as well. This will help prevent conflicts, and you won't have to reinvent the calendar at the start of each month.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind as I create my 2011 calendar? Your time is your life. When we discuss calendar management, we are really talking about time management which is life management. If you overbook, the only one to blame is yourself. Create time for your priorities. Create time for yourself. Live the best 2011 that you can! You can do this!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simplify your holidays with these ideas

Check out the Clear Clutter and Save Money Before the Holidays article at CBS MoneyWatch.com where I was interviewed to share some helpful tips!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Get rid of clutter before the holidays

Check out silive.com for an author interview with lots of clutter clearing tips to use to get ready for the holidays!

Also, tomorrow there will be a live seminar called Simplify Your Holidays, for details, see the post below!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Simplify Your Holidays Seminar: Free to the public

Gift giving! Baking! Decorating! Entertaining! Mailing! Don't worry - we've got the holidays all wrapped up. Just in the nick of time, it all gets easier with these tips on how to simplify and organize this busy time of year!

Saturday, November 6 "Simplify Your Holidays" free seminar, 1:30-3p.m., L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, 400 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire, WI. No regristration required. For more info. call Info. & Reference at: 715-839-5004 or e-mail librarian@eauclaire.lib.wi.us.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Get Rid of Clutter

Check out the interview with me at CommitNow.comhttp://commitmentnow.com/cooking-parties-travel-fun/the-get-organized-club/features/the-emotions-and-real-reasons-why-you-are-disorganized/feature and register for the free monthly clutter clearing tips newsletter.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness - Companies That Support the Cause

Cincinnati Coupons features products that support breast cancer awareness and include my book Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life.
Regardless of whether you decide to purchase a product, please be sure you and your loved ones are current in your mammograms. My prognosis is good because the cancer was caught early on a routine mammogram. 
If you are able to, please consider making a donation to the breast cancer awareness or research organization of your own choice.
Thank you!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Health of Women Study - Army of Women

Health of Women Study - Army of Women
Here is a way all women can help fight breast cancer (and it doesn't cost a dime)! Consider joining the Army of Women today. See the studies you can choose to participate in or not on their website!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The "clutter whisperer" in Chicago Tribune online Trib U article

Friday, October 1, 2010 Barbara Tako, author of "Clutter Clearing Choices" was in an article interview by Chicago Tribune's Bill Hageman, Decoding the desk: Hoarder, Teacher's Pet, Star-Gazer - what does the junk (or lack thereof) on your desk say about you?"

 I was the "clutter whisperer" for my comments about office cubicle #8 described as "The Hoarder" in the cubicle personality story. Check it out!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Featured book recommendation

"Clutter Clearing Choices" is a featured book recommendation at www.accountingweb.com and in their e-mail newsletter!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer to Fall Change Over in the Home: Appearance on Martha Stewart Living Radio

Hi! If you would like to hear a live interview discussing Summer to Fall Change Over in the Home tomorrow (Wednesday, September 22), check out:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 Barbara Tako's live radio interview with Mario Bosquez on "Martha Stewart Living Radio" on Sirius Satellite for the Living Today show at 1:30 pm ET.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Living Clutter-free

Living Clutter-free interview with Barbara Tako 

Listen to the radio interview above for ideas on living sustainably and clutter-free.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Before school gets under way, declutter the house to prepare for all that stuff

Please check out the ideas to declutter for fall in today's article at postcrescent.com in Appleton, Wisconsin. Please add your comments and suggestions too. How do you declutter and organize your family for fall?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to basics can be frugal, simple, and fun

Can spending money make us happy? Maybe it depends on what we buy:

We can use tough economic times to re-evaluate our priorities, including where we are spending our time and our money. Does spending more and more money on stuff make us happy? The recent New York Times article But will it make you happy suggests that it doesn't and the article goes on to include some of the research out there to prove it.

It appears that many of us get more satisfaction for our dollars, when we buy experiences rather than stuff.  Humm. Another shirt jammed into the crowded closet or tickets to an event? A fancy belt or a board game to play with the family? They don't seem like  difficult choices when they are expressed in those terms.

I am hopeful. As a nation of consumers, we are showing changes in how much we consume and what we consume. This is a time for cautious optimism!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Three frugal simple ways to get organized for back to school

Is fall is approaching faster than you would like? Before you know it, the kids will be heading back to school. The economy is tight. Being careful with money is important, and it is important to be organized so that you can free up time and energy for your priorities. Here are some simple, frugal ideas to be ready.

Make your school clothing shopping lists while you weed out and organize the closets. If you are standing in front of the closets sorting, counting, weeding out, and organizing, you will have a much better idea of what you really need to purchase. Count the jeans, tops, socks, and underwear. Identify any wardrobe "gaps" like a dress top to go with the dress slacks that are already there. You will save money by only purchasing what you need, instead of guessing once you get to the store.

Apply this same practice to school supplies. "Shop" first at home for leftover and extra binders, paper, glue, folders, book covers, and more. You may be surprised how much you can cross off your school supply shopping list before you get to the store.

Have a family meeting before school starts. Discuss the reality of limited resources and limited time. Help your children identify their priority activities. Work with them to choose one or two per student. This will prevent overspending and overbooking, and the entire family will be on board with the goal of creating a less stressful home life this fall.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Organize your vacation

Reduce and prevent vacation clutter. Check out this guest post at Organized A to Z.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paper clutter clearing tips and book mention

Check out this link at M&C for paper clutter clearing tips and a mention of my book!

Paper clutter continues to be the main clutter concern in America even though we are "paperless."

Try the tips mentioned to think about and tackle your paper clutter a little differently.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Simplify your household paperwork filing system

Paper clutter. It is the most frequently mentioned clutter in America! Whatever happened to going paperless? Instead, we all have our own printer-scanner-fax combos! We have super-sized our home offices. In fact, many of us now have a "home office" whether or not we have a home-based business. That is something to think about. While you are thinking, consider decluttering and simplifying the household paperwork filing system.

When my filing cabinets and paper storage boxes became full, I knew it was time to make another effort to unclutter the household paperwork filing system. As I hunkered on the floor, weeded out, reorganized, and making new files, I learned a lot about household files:

1. Some files can and do age out over time. Clutter happens because Life happens. Life moves along, but the paper file created by the life event (a purchase, death, job change, hobby...) lingers, and lingers, and lingers.

2. Files that get too thick can be split. One way to split them is to look at dates and separate them chronologically (2002-2007, 2008-). Another way is to give each subcategory its own file (A vacation folder might become: Vacations Abroad, Vacations USA, Vacations Local).

3. Several thin files on a related topic can sometimes be consolidated. I think I found a craft folder and a hobby folder that both held similar things, as well as  a long-term plans folder and a retirement folder. Keep an eye out for redundancies that may creep into your filing system.

4. Finally, keep an eye out for files that can go to long-term storage in a file box. Not everything in the family file cabinet needs to be referred to regularly or even stored there. Tip: If you pull out files you aren't using very often, you can leave empty folders in the cabinet with a sheet in each that refers you to the location of the file box, or you can keep a file index listing of all your folders and indicate which ones are in the file box as opposed to the file cabinet.

If you can shred and recycle instead of purchasing another file box, that is great, but don't be hard on yourself if your choice is to get another file box. The trick is to keep your household filing cabinet from getting too crowded to be functional for you. Life happens and as long as it does, it will continue to generate paperwork.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TLN Now with Jerry and Shirley: 30-minute clutter clearing television interview

 You can view last night's 30-minute clutter clearing TV interview with Shirley and Jerry on TLN Now online on your computer at 7:00 p.m. CT. tonight (Wednesday, 4/21) at http://www.tln.com/

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't have time to declutter? Why to declutter today

Don't have time to declutter? We live busy, stressful, modern lives. Why bother with clutter clearing? Here are some important reasons to consider getting rid of the clutter today. Besides, not taking the time to unclutter may be costing you more than you think.

Clutter wastes valuable time. Literally. According to the American Demographics Society, Americans, as a whole, spend 9 million hours per day looking for lost or misplaced items. Do you have time to spare?

Clutter costs you money. When you can't find something, you go out and buy it. Why spend time and money to purchase something you already own. If you don't believe me, check out the duplicates in your spice rack, clothing closet, and bathroom drawers just for starters.

Clutter is the current American epidemic. There are television shows, magazine articles, and numerous books and experts out there. Still, we struggle. If technology helps us go "paperless," many of us still go through a lot of printer ink!  Not to mention, our closets, drawers, and cupboards are still crammed full.

In addition to saving valuable time and money, a little clutter clearing offers many other benefits. Consider that it may actually take less time and energy to deal with clutter than to suffer from it. People consistently over-estimate the time it will take to make those piles go away--the piles that nag at them, wear them down, and prevent their homes from being the relaxing, restoring spaces they can be.

If the piles were gone, you could enjoy more control over your life. You would know where the things you own are, and you would only keep things that are beautiful or useful to you today. You would have greater peace of mind--you would have less, literally, to store, maintain, keep track of, and worry about. You would enjoy order and calmness. There wouldn't be frantic last-minute hunts for things. Finally, you would have more time and energy for your priorities, and a home environment that nurtures and supports you instead of dragging you down. Still can't take time to declutter? Think again!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning: 12 Tips for Mental Clutter Clearing

Mental clutter. We all have it. Our busy modern life creates it. Stress, worries, and too much going on in our relationships, careers, calendars, and home life can create mental clutter. Mental clutter can weigh us down as much, if not more, than our physical clutter. Here are twelve tips for mental clutter clearing.

1. Perspective. Consciously make an effort to keep a perspective when you are worrying about something. Think about all the things that won't change if the event happens. And, consider a thought  my then 99-year-old grandfather shared: "Most of the bad things that we worry about happening don't happen. We expend a lot of time and energy worrying about things that don't happen."

2. See past the date or event you are stressing about. The world and your life doesn't end on that date. There will still be family members, good stuff, and haircuts after that date. Hold that thought when you are worried about something upcoming.

3. Embrace the issue. If something is nibbling away at the edges of your mind and causing stress, bring it front and center for a while (maybe 10 to 30 minutes) and totally focus on it. Sometimes a frontal assualt on a nagging issue helps to take away its power. You could contemplate it or write about it.

4. Separate the feelings from the reality. The feeling may be awful, but it is just a feeling. You are in the driver's seat and control how you act or don't act on that feeling. Reality and the feeling you have about it are not the same. Feelings just are. Feelings come and go.

5. Write it down. When you are feeling overwhelmed and things you need to take care of are falling in and out of your head, it is helpful to put them on paper. Write them on an ongoing prioritized to-do list. This way your mind can let them go because you know they are on the list.

6. Do what you can to deal it. Whatever "it" is, get a head start. Tackle some aspect of it to get unstuck on something that you have been dreading or something that has been nagging at you.You can beat it to the punch by being proactive.

7. Do something else. Get something done on anything except what is causing the mental clutter. Sometimes a distraction will let your subconscious take over and work on the mental clutter while you get a break because you are engaged in something else.

8. Diet.  Don't overlook this. Watch watch what you eat. A sugar rush can throw your body off and make things seem worse than they are. Be sure to stay hydrated. Try not not to miss meals or to overindulge. Keeping your food intake on an even keel will help.

9. Exercise. Exercise is a great stress reducer that has immediate mental benefits. It takes a while to experience  physical benefits like weight loss or muscle toning, but the reduction in stress can be almost immediate. Don't forget to check with your doctor first!

10. Meditation. It doesn't have to be complicated. Meditation can be as simple as slowing down and counting your breaths for a short period, or taking a few deep, slow, deliberate breaths.

11. Tell a friend. Call or e-mail a friend to discuss your mental clutter. You can get a lot of emotional support and a fresh perspective this way. Friends help each other.

12. Tell a therapist or your doctor. They are experts. If there are lingering, recurring, or stressful issues, consider professional help. Doctors and mental health experts can be more objective than friends and have a very large toolbox of ideas for you to try.

Consider printing out this list and keeping it in a drawer, inside a cupboard door, or with your journal if you keep one. The list above isn't comprehensive. Different items above will help for different occasions and times of your life. Consider them to be tools in your toolbox. Keep an eye open to continue to expand the tools in your toolbox to clear the mental clutter. Add to this list when you find something that works for you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are you ready to reclaim your happy home from the clutter that has taken over?

Here is a discussion with Marti and Erin of GoodEnough Moms that you can
listen to at their website:

www.goodenoughmoms.com

There are simple ideas we can all do to prevent clutter from taking over our homes.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Don't trade clutter for clutter: spring cleaning emotional clutter

One afternoon several years ago I was sitting in the sun out on the deck with my cordless phone, a roll of tape, a chopstick, and my daughter's blaze orange hooded sweatshirt. I was trying to rethread the cord back into the hood. This process just about exceeded my small sewing skills. So this is what I "do all day." It felt trivial, but I knew it would matter to my eleven-year old when she came home from school in an hour. 

I was a little bit surprised that I was being kind to myself by allowing myself to perform this task outside in the spring sunshine. Why can't we be kinder to ourselves more often? Go sit outside. How hard is that?

Maybe I felt I had earned a reward. Earlier that day, I looked at houses  with a realtor. It was a discouraging depressing process. I couldn't help noticing other peoples' clutter. Everyone seemed to have a lot of it. I was discouraged when I learned how little I could get for my money. Trade offs. Trade offs. Trade offs. Cheap millwork, dark paint jobs, abused sheetrock, and ugly wallpaper... 

Was it time to move? Would trading one box with a view for another box with a different view be an improvement? Pay the realtors and the closers and the movers. Pay more. Get less? What was the point?

I think I felt a need for change. I think that is part of human nature. Would we move? Right then, I didn't know. Would a different house be a better house? 

I thought when I came home that I would feel better when I saw our house. All I saw, sadly, were the well-known flaws in our existing house and an eleven-week -old puppy that had been left in her crate all morning. More parental guilt. That was another reason I was outside working on the sweatshirt--for the dog's sake, so she could be outside. So much for taking care of myself.

Do you ever have days where nothing seems quite right? Maybe you don't like the clothes you put on this morning. Maybe you changed clothes and still don't feel quite right. Nothing satisfies. Spring is in the air. Spring is the season of change. Will change, just for the sake of changing, fix anything? If you are having one of those days, here are my suggestions:
  • Go sit outside.
  • Contemplate the pros and cons of the change.
  • Above all: Don't change anything when you are having a bad day.



    Change for change's sake isn't change for your sake. You deserve better. What do you do when you feel like this?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Interview with Joshua Mackey on Midwest Lifestyles - Hot Country 106.5FM

I was happy to do this radio interview with Joshua Mackey on Midwest Lifestytle - Hot Country 106.5 FM today. Joshua asked some great questions. Please click on the link below to listen:

http://www.kmcx.com/pages/midwestlifestyles.html?feed=340372&article=6943980

 It was a great chance to talk about my book "Clutter Clearing Choices" and share some clutter clearing tips.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Clutter clearing for garage clutter and shed clutter

It is time to clear clutter in the garage and shed. We have had the whole winter (in Minnesota, anyway) to ignore the garage and shed areas of our home. If you are like me, those areas sometimes become dumping grounds for things you don't want to clutter up the more lived in areas of your home! Don't have a spot for it? Just take it out to the garage or put it in the shed...Here are some things to consider when clutter clearing the garage and shed.

First, let's sort out the problems with shed and garage clutter. To start with, it is important to recognize that we often aren't the only ones contributing to the clutter problems in those spaces. The garage and shed are often used as a dumping ground by everyone in the family!

Tip 1: You didn't get into this clutter trouble by yourself, so let's all get together to unclutter these areas. If you weren't the only one putting things there, it isn't fair that you be the only one deciding what gets tossed, donated, or relocated. Besides, it is really difficult to decide what to do with someone else's stuff (it often is hard enough to make those clutter decisions about our own things).

Second, people often dread this chore for a variety of reasons (some of these are addressed below). It can be hard to get other family members to commit to helping you. You may be dragging your feet on this one yourself! Who wants to organize a damp, dirty, messy, awkward place?

Tip 2: With garage clutter (and you already know this), it doesn't make sense  to park a vehicle, worth thousands of dollars, out in the elements because of maybe a few hundred dollars worth of clutter in the garage. It also helps to take a positive approach to clutter clearing these areas! Start with a plan or goal of what family members want to use this space for! In the case of a garage, this is the last place you see every time you leave your home and the first place you see every time you come home! Make this a pleasant location for you and everyone else in your household. You deserve that!

Third, items thrown in these areas often aren't small and manageable. Bulky, awkward items often wind up in the garage or shed because, well, they don't store easily and they take do take up a lot of space.

Tip 3: Pick a sunny warm day when you, and the other family members helping you, can pull these items out into the driveway or yard where they will be easier to sort, clean, and organize. This won't work very well on a rainy, muddy, or cold day.

Fourth, it does take a lot of time to deal with the awkward clutter that winds up in the garage and shed. Things tend to be bulky, dusty, dirty, or broken. Sometimes there are chemicals that have been kept in these spots too. Clutter clearing is making a lot of decisions that have been postponed, and these decisions have already been postponed at least once--that's how they wound up in the garage!

Tip 4: Allow a large block of time to deal with garage clutter. It takes time to wash, repair, and haul away items or figure out how to properly dispose of any paints or other chemicals. If you set aside at least a half day, maybe more, you won't get frustrated at a job that only gets partially completed.

Finally, after the garage or shed has been emptied out, take the time to dust and sweep before organizing and putting things back. Knock down the cobwebs. Sweep out the sand and dirt! Clean the bugs out of the light fixtures. When things are back in place, go out for ice-cream! Give yourself credit for a difficult job well done.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Clutter clearing tips guest post

I just shared some clutter clearing tips over at www.getbuttoned up.
These basic strategies are always useful to be aware of, and you can tweak them to fit your own style!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Do you have photo frame clutter in your home?

 A large collection of mismatched picture frames on a table top or shelf can look like clutter. Plus, it becomes time intensive to dust the frames and the table top!

My solution was to buy large inexpensive almost poster-size frames and print out my favorite pictures and make photo collages. Chain retail craft stores often sell many frame options that are reasonably priced. A little acid-free double sided photo tape works well to hold them in place on the mat. I usually choose a mat, again from the craft store, that goes with the colors in the room where I plan to hang it.

I  cut and trim each photo as needed to fit even more together. I can group photos together and display over 30 awesome pictures in one simple frame on the wall.

Another trick to reduce the visual clutter of multiple mismatched picture frames is to always buy one color of frame (black or white usually is easiest to find and be consistent). This draws the attention to the pictures rather than to their frames, and it ties the pictures together better as a grouping.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kids & Toy Clutter: How to find the floor

Here's an excerpt from my book "Clutter Clearing Choices" at www.nanafinds.com. Hopefully, it will help with kids and clutter, especially toy clutter.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

7 Paper Decluttering Tips For Mom Entrepreneurs

Check out my guest blog post at Heather Allard's awesome website for Mogul Moms. If you work from home, you will find a lot of great information at her site.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring clutter clearing Part 1 & Part 2 at minnesotamamasmusthaves.com

Here are two links to www.minnesotamamamusthaves.com guest blogs on clutter clearing that I am honored to post there. This is a great site for Minnesota moms! Enjoy!

Part 1 Tips to deal with the clutter

Part 2 Clearing your clutter

Friday, March 12, 2010

Author interview and book give-away at ExclusiveMagazine.com

Here an interview at ExclusiveMagazine.com of me as the author of "Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your life."

I hope you enjoy it! It gives a little background about me and has a few clutter clearing tips that you may find helpful. You can also enter the drawing to win a free copy of the book!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interview and article about "Clutter Clearing Choices"

Yes, I am a newbie author and I am happy to share with you the author interview article written by Lynn Voedisch in Blogcritics.org that is linked in USA TODAY

I hope you find the mail clutter tips there helpful!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It pays to be organized about money

It pays to be organized about money
posted on Examiner.com has helpful ideas
and resources about frugality and financial organization.

Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dad of Divas: "Clutter Clearing Choices" book review and giveaway

Here is the latest book review of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life. You can look at the review and giveaway at dadofdivas.blogspot.com.

Here is how it begins:

My Take On The Book
I have never been the most organized person (I allow J-Mom to compliment me in this way). In picking up this book I was interested to see how the author approached the topic. As I read the book you can easily see that she is not setting herself out there to say that she does not have faults or  weakness. Instead she fully admits to her shortcomings and provides quick and easy ways to deal with clutter and...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Does a vacation help you to declutter?

I am back in cold snow-covered Minnesota after a warm weather vacation and I am pondering the question: Does a vacation help you to declutter? Does it clear the mental clutter or add to it? What do you think? Right now, for someone who is supposed to be, well, organized, I am feeling pretty overwhelmed. I have a backlog of e-mails, mail, laundry, and paperwork, for starters. I need to unclutter. My fortune cookie at lunch today said: "You have a yearning for perfection." Oh, yeah. Humm. Maybe I should heed my own suggestions.

Vacations, for me, don't always make work go away (I could get e-mails but not send out responses, and I worked on my laptop on the airplane). Vacations don't always reduce stress as much as I would like (My head kept on working during several days in the sun). What vacations often offer me is a change of view or a fresh perspective. Sometimes that helps me approach old problems from new angles. If you are up for a local splurge, a facial, pedicure, or massage might provide the same help. Sometimes I need to lean back into a vacation and just trust and enjoy the process.

It is hard to trust in the process. The benefits probably don't show up all at once. In an era of instant gratification and instant access to everything, I am often too impatient. I simply can't have perfection in everything. Perfectionism is a path to unhappiness for myself and for those around me.

What can I do? I can whittle away at the vacation and enjoy the moments as they happen.  Upon coming back, I can work in baby steps. Everything won't get done instantly, but I can trust in the process. Sometimes that yields better results than stomping my feet or crying.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Clutter clearing and home organizing "rules"

I am frustrated by home organizing and clutter clearing television shows that seem to miss the mark in terms of what their viewing audiences seek. The shows assume that "experts" need to call the shots. The shows assume that people seeking help are always extremely cluttered or disorganized.  It is also assumed that a less-cluttered audience gains something from watching what is done for people at the extreme end of the spectrum. I think there is a gap here.

Here are some new clutter clearing and home organizing "rules":

1. There is no single right way to clear clutter or get organized.
2. Many of us don't have huge organizational or clutter concerns, but we still count.
3. It is helpful for many people to learn how to tweak and improve this aspect of their lives, even if they don't have major problems with it.
4. Each person can tailor their clutter clearing and home organizing techniques to match his or her own personality and stage of life.
5. Many people are capable of learning techniques and applying them themselves.
6. Clearing clutter and getting organized isn't about creating a "magazine-cover" home. It is about freeing up time and energy for personal priorities, whatever they are.

I would like to see a television show that follows the new rules. 

I needed to get that off my chest. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

More on paper clutter

Paper clutter didn't happen overnight, so we usually can't get rid of it instantly either. Be patient and kind to yourself. You are making a huge number of decisions. Try to work on paper clutter in your peak time of day. Try to limit yourself to no more than an hour or two at a time.

Try Unclutterer's Five uncluttering things you can do in your office right now and consider subscribing to her blog. Also,  https://freedomfiler.com/LearningArticles.cfm is a good summary article for filing.

Since we are all unique people with our own organizing styles and preferences, check out How to Be Organized in Spite of Yourself: Time and Space Management That Works With Your Personal Style by Sunny Schlenger and Roberta Roesch. When you figure out what “type” you are in this book, then that is the only section you need to read. The types of suggestions are tailored to the organizing preferences of the type.

You can do this!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Paper clutter clearing technique

Try just one hour of paper clutter clearing. Maybe the paper piles have grown taller? And, well, tax season is coming. Here's the drill:

1. Pick your thickest folder or tallest paper pile. Grab the kitchen timer and set it for 15 minutes. (Repeat up to four times until your hour is up.) You will have more space in your filing system when you are done!
2. Sort: Shredder items, recycle items, to-do items, to-file items, and maybe a to-make-new-folders-for items (the new stuff that has created piles).
3. Not sure what to do with something? Decide to decide. If you need to ask someone, make a note on your to-do list to talk to them about the item.
4. Remember the 80-20 rule of Life applies to paper too. 80 percent of what we keep and file, we will never use again. Humm? So, think twice before hanging onto it.
5. Reward yourself for a job well done. You pick! (Don't skip this step!)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Clear paper clutter

However long you think a paper clutter clearing project will take, it will take you less time than you think it will. The time and energy you are expending worrying about it and procrastinating about it drags you down. You don't have to let it do that to you! Make a choice to tackle it today. You can do this!

Have you meet Flylady? She is a fan of the kitchen timer and setting it for 10 minutes to tackle a clutter project. This works great for paper!

Any pile can become a new file. Our lives change. A new pile of paper is often created due to a project or a life change or an event.

Paper clutter sometimes happens when we have multiple files, or think "systems," for the same category of paper. Examples? Business cards: in a drawer, in a billfold, and stuck on the refrigerator (that's three systems, no wonder someone has to hunt in multiple places). Take-out menus: on the refrigerator, in a drawer, some by the upstairs phone, some by the downstairs phone (same point here).

The solution? Pick one system or file for each category of paper in your life: use it, trust it, and spend less time hunting for lost paperwork. The other side of the coin? Sometimes a folder that served us once is a folder we no longer need or use any more. Be alert for these too.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Newbie clutter clearing author appreciates the press coverage

Yes, I am a newbie author. I really think it is cool to be featured in the local paper. I am very grateful for the generous coverage. It really paid off: The local library where I spoke and signed copies of my book last night had six times the usual attendance for a book signing.

Here is the article link if you would like to see it. It has some helpful organizing tips.

http://www.presspubs.com/articles/2010/01/26/white_bear_press/news/doc4b5f8a5c793dc227826677.txt

Thank you!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Great Organizing Give Away

January is Get Organized Month! My colleagues and I are launching Ask the Expert Organizer GREAT ORGANIZING GIVE AWAY! Including ebooks, tip sheets, audio programs, webinars, free consulting, chances to win memberships to programs and productivity software, and even a chance at an iPod! Items are in three categories: Your Office, Your Time & Your Home. 

Click on the link below to get your free organizing things. Freebies! 


http://www.asktheexpertorganizers.com/sneak-preview.html

Monday, January 18, 2010

Networkingwitches.com: Check out the book giveaway!

Networking Witches is a fun website for women that offers blogging for a cause, chatter, giveaways, reviews and more.

Check out www.networkingwitches.com. Enter to win a free copy of "Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life!" Check out their other offers while you are there!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vacuum cleaner: Newbie clutter clearing book author keeps perspective

As a newbie clutter clearing book author, I am very excited to share that I received some great book review and radio interview requests recently. It is thrilling to think that my book is "out there" now and actually helping people with clutter clearing and home organizing ideas.

The other cool thing I just learned is that my upcoming speaking/interview/book signing schedule appears on my author page at Amazon. Just scroll down a little ways. I suppose I should be a calm and mature forty-something about it, but I am really happy! Technology is so neat! I hope you can come or listen to one of my events if you are interested.

Of course, life still marches on, and shortly after the latest request came in, I am hunched over on my floor digging and cutting hair off my vacuum cleaner beater brush bar. Counting the dogs, there are six of us in the house who shed hair. And, on top of that, two of them are teenagers. Do they "shed" more or do they just have longer hair? When was the last time you flipped your upright vacuum cleaner over to see if your beater brush bar could use a de-hairing? It took less than 10 minutes, and I am pretty sure the vacuum will operate more efficiently and effectively without all that hair wrapped around the beater brush.

I suppose with New Year's resolutions and the calm after the holidays that I am on a little reflective "perspective" kick. The thrilling is mixed in with the mundane. Beater brush hair, as well as dog barf and a host of other things, keep us grounded.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Emotional Clutter Clearing: Perspective!

Wow. People tend to be anxious and stress out a lot in anticipation of events. I get pretty wound up anticipating future events. As a new author, I have had opportunities for talks and radio interviews and television appearances. These are all positive things but they are stressful, even for someone who speaks to earn part of her living. They are new and different and unknown. I worry, "Will they like me?" "Will I do it right?" "Will the roads be icey?" The list goes on and on.

Here are three thoughts that help me clear this emotional clutter, or, at least manage it a little better. Let me know what you think.

"I'll see you later." Or, "I'll see you this evening." When someone I love says this to me, I realize, "Yes! No matter how well or poorly the stuff I am anticipating goes today, I will be with this person later. Time will pass. The stress for that day's particular event will be over, and life will go on." I hang onto comments like that because they help me maintain perspective.

Another helpful realization for me involves a little bit of risk assessment. I can get pretty wound up about a lot of things that don't really matter. If I mess up the event, what does that do? Does my family disappear? Do my dogs stop loving me? Does the rest of my world even wobble? Usually the answer is no.

Finally, there  something else that helps me keep perspective. It is this: I stop at my skin. I can't control other people's actions or reactions or the weather or any of a great number of things that I worry about in my life. When I remember that, I can use that to help myself let go of the emotional clutter I am carrying. The book that talks about that is Taming Your Gremlin (Revised Edition): A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way by Rick Carson. The author says,  "Remember where you end and all else begins."

Perspective. Keeping perspective can help reduce the emotional clutter and free up your time, energy, and enthusiasm for other things!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Interview with a professional organizer: Jennifer Ford Berry

Today I interviewed Jennifer Ford Berry of Organize This Life in western New York to get her professional organizing insights for 2010.

How and why did you decide to become a professional organizer?
    I started organizing professionally 8 years ago in Charlotte, NC.  I had just had my first child and was sad to go back to my full time corporate job.  About 3 months later I was laid off due to cut backs in the company.  At first I was scared but then I realized it was a blessing-I would be paid to stay home with my baby girl!  While I re-evaluated my life and asked myself what I was passionate about.  The one answer I kept coming up with was organizing!  I started a website, a business and a weekly newsletter based on my passion.  I am living proof that if you do what you love, the money will follow.

How long have you been doing it? 
   All of my life for friends and family and professionally for 8 years.

What is the funniest/strangest response you've gotten when you have told someone what you do for a living?  
   "People actually let you in their house to look at their junk"?!

What are your favorite techniques for clearing clutter?  
   I always Toss first.  Then I sort.  I believe this makes it less overwhelming for clients because there is less to sort and they already feel good about making decisions to let things go.

What are your top three suggestions for getting organized?
   1) Always try and use what you have for storage (containers, baskets etc).
   2) Less is More!
   3) Baby steps. Conquer one area of your life at a time.

If someone is struggling with staying on track with their organizing systems, what do you suggest?
  Write down a step by step plan.  Ask a friend for help or better yet call a professional!  Go easy on yourself, organizing is not something that comes easy to everyone.

If a home manager is struggling with lack of organization and clutter from spouse or children, what are your ideas to help them? 
   Implement a family chore chart.  This will only work if deadlines and consequences are in place.  For example:  the bathrooms must be cleaned by Saturday morning.  If they are not cleaned by then ____________ will not get a ride to their friend's house.  This way your expectations are clear and the family member knows exactly what you want from them.  No confusion, no arguments.  When a chore chart is in place everyone can easily read what needs to be done and they can help out when their schedule permits throughout the week.

Anything else you would add/suggest as we start the New Year?

   My advice for starting the new year off on the right foot is too forget about "resolutions".  Sit down and ask yourself what your vision for 2010 is. This is a snap shot of what your life would be like if it could be anything.  Then list your top 10 priorities for your life. (these should coinside with your vision) Then write down your goals for the upcoming year: what do you want to accomplish?  Now grab your planner and take a good look at it.  Schedule steps toward your goals.  Remove time wasters that don't honor your priorities and goals.  Only YOU can decide how you use the 24 hours you have been given each day.  And only YOU can make this the year you shine!

Jennifer Ford Berry is the author of the best selling book: Organize Now! a week-by-week guide to simplify your space and your life.  Organize Now is available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Lowes, Books A Million, Kinkos and other independent stores.  Jennifer is a professional organizer and speaker.

Find Jennifer at:

  Website: www.organizethislife.com
  Blog:  www.jenniferfordberry.com
  Twitter: organizethislif

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Article by National Home & Living Examiner

Yes, I am a new author, and I am thrilled and honored the National Home & Living Examiner posted an informational article about my book "Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life" and some of my clutter clearing tips.

Click here to check it out!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year! To a less cluttered and better organized 2010!

If I could, I would like to designate this "Be Kind to Yourself" Day. The holidays are over, and we may be feeling what? Satiated? Sad? Content? Cluttered? Tired and busy from packing up holiday decorations and party food? Overwhelmed by stuff?

Take it one thing at a time. Please remember you can get more done in 10 or 15 minutes than you think. Whittle away at the post-holiday clutter. Above all, be kind and patient with yourself (and those around you)!

Was one of your New Year's resolutions to get organized? If you are looking for a little inspiration, please check out my book "Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life" and the reviews of it on Amazon. If you would like a little ongoing motivational help for clutter clearing and getting organized, consider signing up for my free monthly clutter clearing tips newsletter.

More clutter clearing and home organizing tips coming up in 2010. Stay tuned.