Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
April-May 2016 – Vol. 15 No. 4

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. ~ Jack Kornfield 

A winning decluttering strategy

photo credit: Nikies via photopin (license)</a

photo credit: Nikies via photopin (license)

I took up running again recently. I try to run a couple of times a week for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. I enjoy running. But that wasn’t the case when I first started running.

I’d be gasping for breath. I’d get side aches. And because it was such a challenging physical activity for me, I was always one step away from quitting. But I kept at it. I even signed up to run a marathon.

Okay, so what’s running got to do with decluttering? Strategy! It occurred to me today (on a run, of course), that you can apply the same strategy that got me to the finish line of my first marathon to decluttering your home. Here goes…

Visualize a strong finish. My goal was to finish the race. So I pictured myself crossing the finish line to a cheering crowd. What does “decluttered” look like to you? That’s your finish line. Visualize opening the door and walking into your newly decluttered, more organized home. How will it look? How will it make you feel?

Track your progress. I kept a running log back then. By keeping track of my miles, I could see that I was on track to meet my goal. Consider taking before, during and after photos to track your progress. Also take photos of the bags and boxes of stuff you remove from your home.

Commit to a schedule. To go from running 3 miles to running 26.2 miles, I had to gradually increase my distance over time. That meant that I had to commit to a schedule – 3 short runs during the week and one long run on the weekend. Commit to a decluttering schedule that is doable for you, even if that means only 15 minutes three times during the week and a longer session on a weekend day.

Believe you can. Time and again, I’d convince myself that I could not run another step and sure enough, I could not. Then I realized that if I told myself, “You’re doing great! Keep it up!”, I could run farther than I thought was possible. If you start to think that you’ll never get your home decluttered, think to yourself, “No. Not true. Look at how far I’ve come! I can do this.” Don’t let the little devil on your left shoulder tell you otherwise!

Find a buddy. I discovered that those long weekend runs were a lot more enjoyable (okay, more tolerable) when I ran with others. We’d get to chatting and before I knew it, we’d be done. I also knew that I had to get out of bed early on Saturday morning because they would be waiting for me! Who do you know who talks about wanting to declutter? Maybe you can take turns helping each other. Or at least check in with each other to share your accomplishments each week.

Focus. At the start line, 26.2 miles seemed a very long way to run. (It is.) But I remember thinking, “All you have to do today is put one foot in front of the other.” And suddenly, it seemed possible. Focus on decluttering one room or even one small space at a time. Don’t worry about the rest of your home. You’ll get there eventually.

Reward yourself. When I crossed the finish line, I was given a medal. But the real reward was knowing that I had just accomplished what seemed like the impossible. In fact, for weeks and months later, I would be driving in my car from Point A to Point B and think, “My goodness. I ran this entire distance!” You, too, will find your reward in your achievement. But there’s nothing to stop you from giving yourself a physical reward – maybe buy yourself some flowers, take yourself out to dinner, or get a massage to celebrate crossing the finish line.

Of course, even the best decluttering strategy is pointless unless you start. So lace up those running shoes and get going. I’ll be cheering for you!

Favorite products and resources 

As a professional organizer and certified House Cleaning Technician, I’ve used and recommended a lot of products, services and resources over the years. Every month in this column, I share new and old favorites.

Last month, I told you about a Clutter-Diet-Homepage-Header-Updated-600x409service that I wholeheartedly recommend for anyone who could use some professional help to get organized, but maybe don’t have it in your budget to pay for the services of a professional organizer.

The Clutter Diet is an online membership service created by my colleague and friend Lorie Marrero, a Certified Professional Organizer. For as little as 54 cents a day, you get a weekly project plan, monthly Q & A call, unlimited access to articles, videos and more from Lorie’s team of experts. And you can try it free for 7 days. Or grab a copy of Lorie’s book by the same name.

textureThis month, I want to share something that will help you declutter your coffee table. Texture offers unlimited access to your favorite magazines – and all their back issues – in full color. The experience is not only beautiful, but interactive at the same time.

What that means is (are you ready for this?) you can do things like email articles and save articles to the Evernote app (another great app for reducing digital clutter.) Plus, as a subscriber, you get access to digital-only features available through some magazines, including downloadable playlists, embedded videos and extended photo slideshows.

Once you install Texture, you can read all your favorite magazines on your phone, tablet or computer – anytime, anywhere. It’s a great way to get rid of magazine clutter and yet, always have reading material handy. You can sign up with for a free, 30-day trial. After that, you’ll be billed $14.99 a month. If you and your family members currently pay for more than a few subscriptions, you’ll actually save money every month because with one account, everyone in your family can access their favorite magazines (on up to 5 devices).

There’s a 30-day free trial so you can see what you think and decide if it’s right for you. If not, just cancel your subscription.

texturelogoNOTE: If this all sounds a little familiar, you might be remembering the NextIssue app I wrote about a few years back. In October 2015, NextIssue became Texture and now includes some nifty new features like a Highlights page that includes New & Noteworthy stories.

Shameless promotion: What happens in Vegas…

As you know, my husband and I downsized and simplified our lives about three years ago to become full-time travelers. We were recently in Las Vegas where it rained two out of three days. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Vegas when it was not sunny and HOT.

Anyway, we went to Vegas to attend the 2016 National Hardware Show. I found some cool cleaning or organizing products that I plan to share with you in an upcoming blog post. But shhhh…don’t tell anyone because, as I’m sure you’ve heard, what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas.

monthflewbycartoonBy the way, what happened to the month of April? Seems like I was just saying, “April Fools!” and now it’s May. Actually, April was a busy month for me. I was asked to write some blog posts and between that and being on the move again, the days flew by which is why I decided to combine my April and May issues of the newsletter. I hope that’s okay.

Missed the last newsletter? Here it is: Organizing Tips Newsletter – March 2016 (I share 11 tips for faster, easier spring cleaning among other things.) You might also enjoy reading this guest blog post about how to Un-invite Junk from Your Home. (This is one of the guest blog posts I wrote this past month.) And here’s a Glamour magazine article with Must-Know Cleaning Tips from Professional Housekeepers that includes a few tips from me.

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links in this organizing tips newsletter may be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I will earn a small commission. These earnings go toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter which is free to you, but does cost to distribute. Please know that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.