April 2005
Vol. 3, No. 4

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

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Are you easily distracted, disorganized and unable to finish projects? Do you often forget important dates and appointments?

You may just be overworked or stressed out. Or you may be one of nearly eight million adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
One way you can find out is to take the ADD Screener at http://www.adhd.org

If you think you have ADD or ADHD, make an appointment to speak with your doctor about some of the new treatments available. Meanwhile, here are some tips for adults with ADD or ADHD (also useful for anyone who is chronically disorganized):

*Use props to help you get organized. Example: A large wall calendar posted where you see it first thing in the morning.

*Find a daily planner you like and use it.

*Structure your time, but don’t overplan. Leave time for spontaneity.

*Keep a small spiral notebook handy to jot down thoughts, ideas and things to do.

*Make a daily To-Do list.

*When you have to work on tasks you find tedious or boring, set yourself a reward for completion.

*Establish a home for everyday items such as keys, cell phone, bills to pay.

*Set your alarm clock when you need to remember an appointment.

*Take steps to minimize distractions at work.

*If hyperactivity is an issue for you, find an outlet in a hobby or regular exercise.

For more information and resources, go to http://www.adhd.com

Next month: Where to donate what


The month of April is officially Stress Awareness Month. And April 16 is Stress Awareness Day.

What is causing stress in your life? What one thing can you do differently that would reduce your stress?

SURVEY RESULTS: Tax preparation

Last month, I asked: “What is the current status of your 2004 tax return?”

As promised, here are the results of that survey:

70.5% said: Already filed my return.
3.3% said: Scheduled appointment with tax preparer.
13% said: Have receipts organized; working on my return.
6.6% said: Looking for receipts.
4.9% said: Haven’t even begun to look for receipts.
1.6% said: Don’t need to file.
0% said: Plan to file an extension.

My, am I impressed with my readers! Soon you won’t be needing me anymore. Seriously, look at how focused and disciplined you can be when there’s money on the line.

If you want to get organized in other areas of your life, look at what the disorganization costs you. What are you paying to store stuff you don’t need in a storage unit? How many times do you buy something only to find out that you already had it but couldn’t find it? How much time do you waste looking for things? (Time is money.) How many things are just taking up valuable space that could be sold in a garage sale, on eBay or through a consignment store to generate extra cash?

NEW SURVEY: Garage sales

When was the last time you had a garage sale?

a. Within the last month b. said: One to six months ago c. said: Six months to a year ago d. said: Never

TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, send an e-mail to editor@unclutter.com with the word “Survey” and your answer in the subject line. Feel free to include comments in the body of your e-mail. I really enjoy reading them.

I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

READERS WRITE: Organizing photos

My organizing tip is to buy the small 100 photo albums for storing photos that have just come from developing. I love to share my pictures and also scrapbook.

When I receive my film back from developing, I immediately put the pictures in these wonderful small albums. I can easily share my most recent pictures with family and friends. Once the album is filled, I label the front with the date range included. I shelve them on a book case in my craft room.

When I’m doing a scrapbook project or one of my children needs a picture for school, we can easily find them.

What is so neat about these albums is that they can be purchased for as little as $.50. This system of organizing my photos has saved me from the clutter of photo boxes or tote organizers.

–Submitted by Laura Sill, Granger IN

WRITE TO WIN an autographed copy of my most recent book!

Do you have a really great organizing tip you would like to share with other readers? Or a question about an organizing challenge you have?

Send an e-mail to editor@unclutter.com with “Readers_Write” in the subject line.

If your question or tip is included in a future issue of this newsletter, I will send you a free autographed copy of my latest book, The One- Minute Organizer Plain & Simple. Check it out at


PLEASE NOTE: I get a lot of questions and it’s impossible for me to respond to them all. Please know that I do read them and do try to answer as many as I can.


As I write to you this month, I am in Virginia Beach at the Mid-Atlantic Home & Garden Show, presenting one-minute organizing tips on stage April 1 and April 2.

When this show is over, I am heading up the East Coast to New York, where I will do what’s called a Satellite Media Tour, broadcasting live to 25 television stations across the country. Our topic is Organizing Taxes with specific tips for people with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
Check out my audio tutorial at: http://www.ADHD.org.

Then it’s back home for a book signing on April 13 at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 10500 North 90th Street, Scottsdale AZ (corner 90th & Shea). If you’re in the area, please stop by!

At the end of the month, I will join 850 professional organizers from around the world at the annual convention of the National Association of Professional Organizers, which is being held this year in San Diego. And then it’s home again, home again to finish writing my cleaning book!

If you would like a signed copy of any of my books, you can order direct from me: http://www.unclutter.com/books.html Click on the SignedCopy.com logo to have a signed copy sent to you.

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