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 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Could we stare the American Dream to “have it all” in the face and say “not so fast?”  Do we shoot for working on everything and then wind up with nothing? Instead of a dozen good intentions, focus on one or two resolutions.

Think about broad life goal areas (spiritual, relationship, career, community service, financial, social, personal, and health). What goal areas are your highest priority? Create one or two resolutions from these. Stop at only one or two so you can remember them, focus on them, and get them done. Stop repeating the same well-intentioned resolutions year after year.

Carefully design your resolutions: Make them specific, measurable, and doable. If I resolve to lose weight or spend more time on personal development, I have to be clear about how it will happen. Better resolutions might be: I will lose fifteen pounds by May 1st, and I will take two personal retreats this year. Clear goals are easier to track, measure, and achieve.

Finally, make resolutions that excite you! If you aren’t thrilled to accomplish these resolutions, what’s the point? If you merely pick resolutions from your “should do” list or use items that society’s expectations have foisted onto you, how far will you get? Where is your passion? Don’t you feel more fulfilled when you spend time working on what you really love?

If a resolution isn’t intrinsically motivating, consider creating an exciting reward for yourself for achieving it. Withhold the treat until you achieve your resolution. Put time and thought into your reward so it is truly special for you, not something you already periodically enjoy. Make the resolution, the reward, or both a passion for you.

If New Year’s resolutions are simple—limited to one or two, clearly defined, and personally exciting, we have a better shot at making them finally happen. When we get them done, we can pick something new for next year!

Monday, October 31, 2011

What don't you do for the holidays?

This can be a stressful time of year. It is busy and hectic, and sometimes we get caught in the perfectionism of the season. We want to keep up with Martha Stewart or a beautiful magazine cover or unrealistic expectations, or something else. I am NOT Martha. Here I am just hoping for a nice loving time with my family.

I am trying to drop the holiday perfectionism. I hope you consider joining me here. Here is a list of some of what I won't be doing this year, and I hope you add your ideas too!

I won't be making home-made gifts.
I won't be sending Christmas cards.
I won't be buying as many presents.
I won't be making all my Christmas cookies.
I won't be wrapping lots of little stocking gifts.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Organize your books! A home library? Yes!

I still like books. I have an electronic reader, but I still like books, bookmarks, highlighting, and even the occasional bent page. When it comes to household clutter, my home library is still a weak spot for me. Books are good to have, but like anything, you can enjoy and utilize them better if they are organized.

First, consider how you use books. The organizing system you choose will work best if it fits your own style. Where do you read? In the bedroom? The family room? Somewhere else? And, how do you read? Do you read for entertainment or for information? Most books fit broadly into those two simple categories. Do you reread books or not?

Second, based on the answers to these questions, make informed choices about what books you keep and where you store them. I reread very few books, just a few favorites that I have kept over the years. Most of my home library is reference rather than entertainment based. If you read, but don't reread entertainment books, consider passing them on promptly when you are done rather than storing them. Also, keep in mind that some reference books rapidly become dated. If you have reference books, consider storing them close to the activity that pertains to these books. This might mean cookbooks in the kitchen and hobby books close to your hobby supplies.

Finally, consider organizing the books you keep. This means having or creating adequate shelving that allows for display and grow room too. If you can't see what you own (hidden in boxes tucked away somewhere), you don't own it. Entertainment books can be sorted by genre and author for easy access. Reference books can be sorted by activity. Categories might include travel, cooking, grammar, maybe photo albums...When books are visible and organized, your home library is organized and ready for you!

How do you organize your books? What categories of books do you have?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Simplify Your Fall! - KRDU 1130AM - Your Inspiration Station

Barbara Tako #2 - KRDU 1130AM - Your Inspiration Station: "The 'Clutter Clearing Choices' lady is back with tips on how to unclutter our lives as a new school year begins!"

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Life Balance: It isn't all about the clutter either

In light of being a recent breast cancer survivor and probably just naturally as I age, I realize it isn't all about clutter clearing, even for me, maybe especially for me. I start to look at clutter more philosophically. If it (the clutter) isn't interfering with the important aspects of my life like my faith and relationships, then is it something that really needs to take my time and energy to weed out or organize? Maybe as I get older, I am just slower or maybe I am working a little smarter. I start to ask better questions, I think, to keep my life in balance.

As I look around my home, I ask myself:

1. Do I need to weed it out or organize it right now, or is there something more important I could be doing right now?

2. What is the worst thing that will happen if I just walk away from it right now?

3. Is the clutter interfering with the lives and happiness of the people who live here, or is it just hanging out right now?

Life is about staying in balance and making good choices. If the answers to the above questions are "No. Nothing. And, no." then I may be more in balance to continue with my life flow than to stop and deal with the clutter.

Clutter can wait, but maybe my life and relationships can't. In the end, life is a marathon rather than a sprint, and the joy is in the moments of the journey. How do you balance living life with organizing and clutter clearing it? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In the dog days of summer, just keep swimming

It is 7:10 a.m. and I already feel behind. It is probably more of a feeling than a reality, but it isn't fun. To get past this, I recite what Dory from the Disney movie Nemo would say, "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

I get dressed, straighten things up (fairly superficially), check e-mail, move laundry... These are all activities that help me push the reset button on my home and gradually restore that illusory sensation of "being in control." Now it is off to exercise.

When life (or clutter) overwhelms, I find it helpful to "just keep swimming." I try to move myself forward. What do you do to move past being overwhelmed?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Twin Cities area organizing help!

I would like to introduce you to Kellan Baker. Kellan has a passion for solving problems, especially ones that involve making people’s everyday life more efficient and simple.  Kellan can see the minute details that with a little tweak can make all the difference in design.  He enjoys matching the wide range of design options available at California Closets to the client’s particular needs and wants. Whether that is a basic white closet that stresses an increased need for functionality or a grand entertainment center made of real wood veneer with crown molding. 

He is a graduate of the Univeristy of Minnesota’s accredited Interior Design program and has been involved with many aspects of the design world including Commercial Office Design, Casino Lighting Design, and Residential Design.  His wide range of experience will surely help your unique space be the best it can be.

Follow Kellan's Blog

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Television appearance on Daytime

Hi! I just wanted to share that I will be doing a short segment on getting rid of clutter and getting organized on Daytime tomorrow, Wednesday, March 16. A clutter clearing kitchen segment and  wardrobe segment will also be upcoming!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Top 7 Phrases for Uncluttered Communication: Simplify Your Interactions

Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be. My spouse describes the interactions of the human race very simply. He says, "We are all just fallible, dopey beings out here bumping into each other." I think that is pretty accurate (just don't tell him I said that). Given we are out here bumping into each other, my daughter and I tried to come up with the best short phrases that would simplify and improve our communications if  only we used them regularly.

Here are our Top 7:
  1. Please.
  2. Thank you.
  3. I am sorry.
  4. I forgive you.
  5. I love you.
  6. Let's have a "do over."
  7. How can I help?
Honestly, I wish I had learned some of these earlier in life. At times when I didn't know how to react or preferred to ignore or run away from something, I really could have hung in there and simply said, "How can I help?" Think about it. If we used these with the people we interact with every day, wouldn't we get along better? What would you add or delete from this list?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book review of "Clutter Clearing Choices"

Check out the book review today at the Imagination Cafe. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quit trying to get motivated to clear out clutter: 3 steps to just do it

The walls creep inward after the holidays in the cold of winter. Normal household clutter and newly gifted items and sale shopping purchases crowd our space. It is depressing and demoralizing to come home and look at the stuff. Quit trying to get motivated to purge and just do it:

1. Set the timer for fifteen minutes. You will either be done, close to completion, or "into it" when the timer goes off. You will make more progress than you think you will. Just do it.

2. Work in your personal prime time. Weeding out is about making lots of decisions. Make decisions at your best time of day. In the morning if you are a morning person...Just do it.

3. Time yourself at the tasks that create household clutter and back up on you. Don't let dishes linger in the sink when it only takes 6 minutes to empty the dishwasher. Don't let clean wrinkled clothing pile up in the laundry basket when it only takes 30 minutes to sort it and put it away...When you time yourself, you gain and keep perspective and you will tackle these things rather than waste time stalling. Just do it.

What is the secret to staying motivated to weed out clutter? The secret is developing lots of tiny habits to process the stuff that comes into your life so that it will also flow out of your life when it is time for it to leave. Don't get motivated, just do it. You will create space to enjoy, peace at home, and the potential to live your best life. Just do it.

A small well-organized yet "maxed out" child's closet

Monday, January 31, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Organize Your Home and Reclaim Your Life

Organize Your Home and Reclaim Your Life
Check out this article with closet photos to get ideas to clear your clutter and get organized!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Clutter Clearing Choices Presentation - January 14, 2011

Clutter Clearing Choices Presentation - Jan. 14th

Barbara Tako will present clutter clearing choices at the Thomas St. Angelo Public Library in Cumberland Friday at noon. The Friends of the Library will provide lunch and everyone is welcome.