Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life June 2010 – Vol. 9 No. 4
“. . . grant that I may become beautiful in my soul within, and that all my external possessions may be in harmony with my inner self.” ~ Plato

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Ways to get organized in spite of yourself Are you standing in the way of your own success? What can you do differently that would help you to get organized?

Pick the one organizing challenge that causes you the most stress or grief. Do you pay bills late? Do you have more clothes lying around your bedroom than in your closet? Do you waste a lot of time looking for misplaced papers or files in your office?

I want you to try the ACT formula on your organizing challenge:

A – Assess your situation. Ask yourself: How did it get like this? Before you can change anything, you’ve got to accept responsibility for your role, but don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s okay. You’re okay. In fact, you may be more okay with it than other people who live in your house (or work in your office)! But if you’re not okay with it. . . if clutter is upsetting your relationships or interfering with your job. . .
it’s probably time to do something about it.

C – Commit to change. Getting organized comes down to changing your behavior. Because let’s face it, if you keep doing things the same way, you’re going to keep getting the same results. So try something different and commit to doing it every day for the next 21 days. That’s about how long it takes to establish new behaviors. Change one thing such as what you do with your bills when they arrive in the mail. Instead of leaving them in the counter where they are bound to get lost in the paper shuffle, create a folder or large envelope labeled “Bills” and put all your bills into it as they arrive. Do this for 21 days until it becomes habit. Or, if you’ve got too much stuff because you spend all of your free time shopping, stay out of the stores for 21 days.

T – Tackle one area at a time. Have you ever attempted an organizing project that left you with a bigger mess than when you started? What happened? You took on too much at once. It’s understandable. Sometimes we get a burst of energy and just want to go with it. But you’ve got to start small. I recommend starting with a single drawer or shelf or section of your clothes rod. Or set a kitchen timer for 10, 15, or 30 minutes and stop organizing when the timer goes off. You can always pick up tomorrow where you left off today. Even if you spend just 5 minutes a day, that adds up to 2 hours and 20 minutes a month. And that’s progress.

I like the ACT formula because the acronymn, ACT, says it all. The organization fairy isn’t going to be stopping by any time soon. You’ve got to ACT.

Stop putting it off. . . just do it. Oddly enough, perfectionists are often among the biggest procrastinators. We put off organizing our files, for example, because we haven’t quite figured out the most perfect system. Well, being organized is not about being perfect.

When you are organizing your time and stuff, keep in mind that 80% done is perfect. The first 80% of the work provides the most reward with the least amount of effort. Save that last 20% to work on when you get 80% of everything organized.

Custom made storage boxes I was contacted recently by a very nice gentleman in Bangor, Maine with a company called Custom Crafted Cases.
He custom builds storage solutions – trunks, boxes, crates, display cases, shadow boxes, and more.

“I have been developing this company for my son so he would be assured a job when he returned from Afghanistan with the National Guard,” he told me.

I can personally attest to the quality of Lou’s work. He built a beautiful rifle case for my husband. And he will ship anywhere. If you want to see some of his work, visit: www.CustomCraftedCases.com or if you know what you want, give Lou a call at (207) 945-3230.

Survey Results: How committed are you to your goals?

Last month, I asked: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highest, how committed are you to achieving your uncluttering and organizing goals?

As promised, here are the results of that survey, on a scale of 1 – 10:

1 – 0% 2 – 0% 3 – 6.9% 4 – 0% 5 – 3.4% 6 – 3.4% 7 – 10.0% 8 – 20.1% 9 – 20.1% 10 -34.5%

Honestly, sometimes I wonder why you even need me! You are a really committed bunch of readers. Those who are struggling, even the most committed, cited being “overwhelmed” as a deterrent to meeting goals. Others pointed to lack of time or space.

I’ve always believed the hardest part is getting started. The good news is that you don’t have to stop everything to get started; you just have to start. And you could start right now!

If you need help, I highly recommend Clutter Diet, an online program for people who want to get organized, but don’t have money in the budget to hire a professional organizer.

For organizing paper, I recommend and use FreedomFiler, the maintenance-free home filing kit.

If you have favorite organizing products that have really helped to make a difference in your life, please do share! Send an email to donna@unclutter.com. I’ll compile results in the next issue.

Shameless promotion: Pop-pop-popping around

In March, I got a call from a producer for women’s programming at Yahoo. They asked me to come and film a segment on closet organizing. And now, for your viewing pleasure, you can check it out on my home page: www.unclutter.com

You might also enjoy this article that appeared on AOL: Keeping a lid on Kid Clutter http://www.shelterpop.com/2010/05/03/keeping-a-lid-on-kid-clutter/

In April, I spoke to faculty and staff at Central Connecticut State University. The topic was Office Organizing 9-1-1.

I went straight from there to the annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers which was held this year in Columbus, OH – just a short drive from my new home in Detroit.

All in all, it’s been a busy spring and so the April issue morphed into a May issue which is now the June issue. I apologize for the lapse. And I promise to get back on schedule – right after my vacation. J

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