I have needed to “bless my house” with a quick pick me up — clutter control, vacuum, dust — that’s all. But I have needed to do it for days — and if I don’t hurry up and start it will really grow into something I have to CLEAN. When it is not really dirty, it is easier to justify putting it off and I have been finding hundreds of other things to do to avoid starting the task. One of those things was texting with my daughter about her laundry project. Her washing machine had just been repaired and she was buried in catching up from the backlog of laundry for a family of seven. I asked her if she could motivate me to do the project I was avoiding before it piled up to a bigger job and she replied, “Just Do It!” Ugh – that was so something I would have said to her – so I told her I was going to get going and text her with my progress. I got out the vacuum cleaner and my duster and began. I divided my house into 3 zones and I stopped after each zone to text my daughter with my progress so that I could time how long it actually took to complete each zone. I found that plan kept me going and I did not allow myself to stop for all the little things that can usually distract me. Zone 1 took 2o minutes, Zone 2 is a bigger area and it took 35 minutes and Zone 3 was only 15 minutes. So the task that I had hanging over my head for days actually only took a little over one hour. BAM! And now that I know how long it takes, I can knock it out quickly one zone at a time on days that I truly do not have an hour. SO…sometimes all you need for the motivation to start is a little help from a friend — even if you have to text to another state to find the friend to give you the motivation to “Just Do It”.
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START WITH STOPPING
Start with Stopping. Sound strange? The only way to stop drowning in paper is to stop it from surrounding you. The very first step to taking control of the paper that wants to rise up and take over your home is to capture the incoming paper and harness it. Put a basket in one area that tends to collect a paper pile. Inform everyone in your home to stop there and place all papers in this ONE container. Mail, school notices, coupons, all of the various kinds of paper that come in to your home need to gather here. Of course, you will eventually have to sort through your unharnessed papers and create homes for those that are worth escaping the recycle bin. In the meantime you must capture the new arrivals all in one spot. Don’t make your basket too big! You’ll need to make a “paper sorting appointment” with yourself on a regular basis to keep it from filling up and spilling over! Keep your planner by your side so you can mark important dates on your calendar before kissing the paper goodbye!
CLOCKS AND CALENDARS
Everyone is talking about time these days as we adjust to setting our clocks forward and missing that precious hour! Even though we were able to make an hour disappear on Sunday, we really do not have the ability to make more time. We just need to make better use of the time we have. We need to value our goals enough to schedule the time we need to accomplish them into our calendar. We need to make appointments with ourselves to get things done. Make a list of things that you need to accomplish. Break the list down into realistic chunks of time and then write it down on the calendar. Schedule yourself into your calendar. Give yourself as much priority and guard that time as closely as you would an appointment with your boss, a doctor or a committee. Respect your appointment and say no to anything that tries to steal that time away. Most of the time, several appointments will be needed to accomplish one goal. But without a plan, there will be no action. I have a list that keeps spinning around in my head. Now I am going to get the list on paper and start blocking out time to get things started on my calendar. Let me know if you have a calendar system that works best for you.
I know we are always talking about setting the timer and racing the clock for 15 minutes to make progress on a project. Yesterday I put something in the microwave to heat up for 30 seconds. I thought about just staring at the microwave and watching the seconds tick away. I mean, what can be accomplished in 30 seconds, right? Well, I found out that before the timer dinged, I was able to put away a pan that had been drying by the sink, stick a couple of things that had been left in the sink in the dishwasher, and clear the counter of some “just walked in the door and dropped it” clutter. I was amazed at how much got done in just 30 seconds. How much clutter control can be accomplished just by taking advantage of a moment here and moment there? Or even 30 seconds! I can tell you that 30 second investment had a great return — I was able to relax in a clutter free kitchen for the rest of the evening!
VOLUMES OF VALENTINES VASES?
Happy Valentines Day!
Holidays mark annual events that can connect to organizing maintenance. Will you receive another beautiful floral arrangement this year? The flowers fade, but vases begin to collect and rob you of precious storage. Grab that timer, gather up your vases and decide how many vases you LOVE and USE. The rest need to move on! They can be recycled, or given to friends and organizations who will be able to re-use them.
GO Month Event Saturday January 25
GO MONTH: January is officially “Get Organized Month!”
To celebrate, IKEA Houston is partnering with National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and Houston area vendors to host free organization workshops and offer donation drop-off locations to help you clear the clutter.
WHEN: Saturday, January 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: IKEA Houston (I-10 and Antoine)
• 1:00 p.m.: “5 Most Common Organizing Mistakes” with Gayle Goddard
•2:00 p.m.: “Heaven, Hell or Purgatory; Where do you keep things?” with Judson Crowder
•3:00 p.m.: “Un-Cluttering as a Mindful Practice” with Sofia Alvim
• 4:00 p.m.: “IKEA Organization 101” with Christina Sandberg & Genna Riggins
WORKSHOPS ARE FREE!
RECYCLE, SHRED AND DONATE: Donate, recycle electronics and clothes and bring documents for FREE shredding!
Friends of the Houston Computer Recycling, Salvation Army will be onsite to available to collect computers, clothes, and Southern Shred will be on site to shred your personal documents .
January is GO month — Get Organized!
How many times have you listed “get organized” as one of your New Year’s resolutions? A vague goal is a challenge to achieve. Set yourself up for success by choosing one measurable goal. “Before January 31, I will organize my hanging clothes, or my pantry, or my DVD collection” is much easier to tackle than “I need to organize my closet, or my kitchen, or my family room.” Getting started is ALWAYS the most difficult step, but one stated goal is easier to tackle than an overwhelming “get organized” concept. Begin in a small area and set your timer for 15 minutes. You will be amazed at what progress can be made during 15 minutes of time focused toward one goal. Allow yourself to begin the project and not complete it immediately – one drawer today, another shelf tomorrow. Congratulate yourself for every achievement along the way. Too often we find ourselves so overwhelmed with the whole project that we never take the first step to begin. This results in another layer piling up, and the project becomes more overwhelming. Break that cycle in 2014 by setting goals that are one small aspect of the whole project and count each step as success!
NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) has designated January GO month – Get Organized. To celebrate GO month you may contact me and request a FREE “Getting Started Guide” during the month of January. I am also offering a FREE one hour consultation to listen to your areas of concern and help you develop some measurable goals.
HAPPY NEW YEAR – I hope to hear from you soon!
Get Organized for Christmas 2014 NOW!
Steps to simplify Christmas decorating for years to come!
As you prepare for Christmas, do you notice a trend? What comes first for your family? Some people start with decorating the tree, while others bring out the fireplace nativity first. Others start with the outdoor lights and Christmas cards. Whatever the order, it is not necessary to decorate for Christmas all at once and make an overwhelming mess.
As you decorate, look at the items you are using this Christmas and categorize them in groups according to use.
- Christmas Tree (tree, ornaments, lights, extension cord, tree skirt, etc.)
- Outdoor decorations (lights, cords, hooks)
- Yard decorations (objects, spotlights, cords)
- Decorations used in special areas of your home (kitchen, bathrooms, dining, fireplace, reading nook?)
- Christmas books and music
- Christmas cards and supplies
- Christmas china and linens
- New Years supplies
- Other categories specific to your family
While decorating, think about how your Christmas decorations could be stored by categories as listed above, boxed separately according to their order of use. Plan now to make sure you have the right number of boxes in appropriate sizes.
When you finish decorating THIS year, are there items you did not take out of the storage boxes? Go through these items now and give away or discard any items you don’t need to continue to store.
As you store items after Christmas, fill and label the boxes by category of use. (Tree, fireplace, yard, bathroom, kitchen, etc.) It is okay to have an extension cord dedicated to the tree that is boxed away for eleven months, if it means it will be right where you need it when you decorate the tree next year.
Number the boxes by order of use. Store them in your attic, garage, or closet so that the biggest numbered box (last one to need during decorating next year) is stored in the back, and the first boxes used are stored in the front.
When the time comes to decorate next year, you will easily find the things you need as you need them. IT WILL NOT BE NECESSARY TO MAKE A HUGE MESS WITH BOXES OF EVERYTHING STACKED UP EVERYWHERE! You can complete the tasks related to one box and return that to the storage area before you get out the second step! What a relief it will be to enjoy Christmas decorating in simple stages, without a mess!
MERRY CHRISTMAS to your family for this year and for years to come!