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, 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

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, 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.