Freedom From Want

Susan Stone, Susan Stone Organizing

I took a moment out of my Independence Day celebrations to reflect on one of our great four freedoms – freedom from want.

I suspect our Founding Fathers had in mind a country where no one went hungry, went without shelter, went without good health, meaningful work, and a sense of belonging. These are essential to living a full and free life. But it got me thinking – might the Founding Mothers have had some additional thoughts – like freedom from want of more time, less stress, more space, less clutter? read more

Everyday Orgnaizing

Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®Upon returning home from getting my hair cut, I realized how many little things I organized. I can name 10 steps I took:

1. Hung up my keys
2. Hung up my coat
3. Put my gloves and hat away
4. Took of my boots and put them on the mat
5. Put my pocketbook away
6. Took my check book out of my pocketbook and put it back where it belongs
7. Put my book away (I brought a book to read at the hairdressers.)
8. Wrote my next hair appointment in my datebook
9. Tossed the hair appointment notice
10. Collected the mail and put it in it’s “to sort” location (I won’t go into the steps I took to process the mail. That’s a whole other blog entry.) read more

Why not to clean up?

At a recent networking event I was talking to an acquaintance about the work I do. I mentioned that I encourage my clients not to clean up their spaces before I arrive. She gave me a horrified look.

It brought back childhood memories of my mother telling me to clean my bedroom before the cleaning lady came. I never understood the point of cleaning my room so it would get cleaned by someone else. There is a family disagreement about why. My mother told me it was so I would have an easier time finding my favorite things later, but my sister remembers being told that it was so that the cleaner would have more time to do deep cleaning. I assume that part of the reason was to lessen the embarrassment of the mess before the cleaning person could see it. read more

Piles on the Stairs: Proceed with Caution

The other day, I put a couple of papers on the stairs to take up with me next time I go up.  I told my husband that’s why I put them there.  Then he asked a very sensible question: “Should we get a basket to collect things on the stairs?”

NO!

Right now, those papers are intruders on the stairs. They are the only things there, and they don’t belong. I’ve made a pact with myself that if something is on the stairs, I MUST take it up with me the next time I go.  But, if there is a basket there, I know that things will begin to “live” in the basket.  The basket gives those papers, socks, gadgets, etc. permission to be on the stairs. Once things have permission to be there, the longer they will stay. read more

Simple tips: Bathroom products

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by clutter and don’t know where to start? Sometimes just picking one type of item or one small area of a cluttered space and organizing that is a great start. Small organizing projects can usually be finished quickly, and it’s easier to focus on one small part of a big task than to tackle the whole thing at once.

I have a few simple tips that I’ve found make a huge difference for a lot of us. You might not find every single tip useful for your space, but I bet you’ll be able to take advantage of one or two. read more

Less is more

Because I am an organizer many people think I hate stuff, that I despise things and belongings.  When working with a client one-on-one I am able to dismiss this assumption pretty fast.  I don’t hate stuff and I do not disregard other people’s precious items.  What I try to help people see is that relationships and quality of life are so much more important than anything we own.  Organizing is often not about the physical stuff so much as it is about our perception of those things.

If disorganization, clutter or a lack of systems negatively affects you and those around you, you are being held captive by what you own and allowing it to control you.  This will cause stress in your life and ultimately your relationships.  Sometimes people have simply acquired more than their space can comfortably contain, but the belongings are relatively current.  Other times clients are drowning in an avalanche of memorabilia or things associated with memories.  This habit will hold you in the past, keep your present from being enjoyable and even your future from moving forward. read more

Creating a Home Mail Center

We may not be sending handwritten letters to our friends anymore, but there’s always something still in the mailbox.  I wanted to give you three tips on how to create a home mail processing center.

1. Assign a home for incoming mail.  Whether it’s the corner of the table in the hallway or a paper tray on your kitchen counter, you need a specific, designated spot for the mail once it comes into your home.  Nothing else lives in that spot. Whether you process your mail daily, weekly, or whenever you get around to it, at least you know ALL the mail is right there waiting for you. read more

How To Keep Your Car Organized

When thinking about home organizing, we often forget about our cars.  Many of you spend a significant amount of time every day in the car, commuting to work or chauffeuring your kids around after school.  The car gets cluttered very quickly because you bring so many things into the car and there’s very limited space.  Below are some suggestions for keeping your car clutter-free:

  1. Remove the clutter.  Take a look at what’s cluttering up your back seat and your trunk.  Sort out those things that were inadvertently left behind.  Bring them back into the house and return them to their rightful homes.
  2. Throw away the junk.  Get rid of anything that is no longer useful – plastic shopping bags, empty cartons, trash, chewed up dog toys.
  3. Identify what’s essential.  What do you use in your car on a regular basis?  Don’t keep anything in your car “just in case”.  Chances are you will never use it.
  4. Consider seasonal needs.  As the season change so may your car essentials.  In the winter, you may want to carry a small shovel, some road salt and an extra blanket.  In the summer you may want to keep extra water or sunscreen in the car.  Assess your needs as the weather changes so you won’t be caught off guard.
  5. Determine your storage needs.  Yes, you will need storage in your car to keep all of your essentials organized.  There are many products in the market specifically designed for car storage.  Don’t feel you need to spend money on those.  You likely have containers in your home already that will work in your car.  Keep in mind that you will need something covered so the contents don’t spill out if the car comes to a sudden stop.
  6. Add a trash receptacle.   Having some place to put trash in your car is essential.  You can buy trash cans/bags specifically made for the car.  Or you can improvise.  I use a small paper shopping bag lined with a plastic bag.  As long as you and your family have a defined place to put trash, it won’t end up all over the backseat and the floor.

Now that your car is neatly organized, you’ll have to maintain it by repeating steps 1 -3 periodically.  This will take a matter of seconds if you do it daily, minutes if you do it weekly.  The benefits of an organized car far out weigh the minimal amount of time the upkeep takes.  You won’t dread getting into your messy car anymore.  You will have more room for passengers and cargo.  You and your passengers will be safer because you’ll have what you need at your fingertips.  All in all, your time in the car will be a much more pleasant experience. read more

Create a Strategy for Meal Planning

Meal planning can be a challenge for many people. Do you start to think about dinner when it’s time to eat? By then, you don’t have any food on hand and don’t have time to go to the grocery store. Meal planning is a hurdle that you can tackle by planning in advance and sticking to a schedule.

I cook most nights for my husband and me. I’m a Lifetime Weight Watchers member so eating healthy is important to maintaining my goal weight. I also work full time and have many commitments outside of my work life. Below is my strategy for planning ahead so I have what I need on hand to cook a healthy meal when I get home. read more

Greeting Card Organizer: A beautiful way to stay in touch

I can remember working with several clients who had MASSIVE greeting card collections. A few of them would have needed several bins to contain all these categories, but the principle hold true that at least organizing by type of card and labeling each section clearly will make it MUCH easier to find a good card to send quickly for your nephew’s birthday.

Source: passionatelyartistic.com via Erin on Pinterest

Erin WErin Elizabeth Wells is Founder and CEO of Living Peace LLC of Salem, MA and Winchester, MA.  Check us out at www.living-peace.com.  Or call (617) 519-5693.
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