Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life August 2009 – Vol. 8 No. 8
The better organized you are in the simple things, the more spontaneous and free you can be with the important things.

–Brian Tracy, Motivational consultant
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Achieving the impossible If you think you’re beyond help when it comes to getting organized, think again. Here are five tips guaranteed to help you achieve what may seem like the impossible dream.

Know why you want to get organized. Think about what’s in it for you. Do you want your home to look the pages of an interior design magazine? Or do you just want to be able to find what you want when you want it? How does it feel? Would you feel more pride in yourself and your home? Less frustration and stress? The bigger your “why”, the better chance you have of reaching your goal.

Make yourself accountable. Call a friend. Tell him/her what your goal is and ask that person to call you in one week to see how you’re doing. Maybe you can do the same with your friend. According to the American Society of Training and Development, the probability of completing a goal is 40% if you decide when you will do it, 65% if you commit to someone else you will do it, and 95% if you have a specific accountability appointment with the person to whom you committed. Set mini-goals. If your goal is to organize your kitchen, mini-goals might include organizing your freezer, refrigerator, pantry, cabinets, and drawers. As you plan your mini-goals, also plan your rewards. For example, allow yourself 30 minutes to put your feet up and read a magazine AFTER you spend 15-30 minutes uncluttering or organizing.
Or buy some fresh flowers for your dining room table after clearing the table of clutter. Mini-goals are easier to achieve and help to build your confidence.

Work toward your goal daily. Do one thing each day that will bring you closer to your goal. Getting organized is a lot like losing weight. Consistent effort over time can yield dramatic results. If you spend just 15 minutes a day, you’ll have invested 7 hours in one month. That’s a lot of organizing time.

Quit beating yourself up! Rather than being upset with yourself for being disorganized, do something about it.
Make a decision that today is the day and then get to it.

Need to lose 10, 20 or 50 pounds of clutter?

Today only, my friend and fellow professional organizer, Lori Marrero is offering one free month of The Clutter Diet’s membership program for the first 20 people who click this link: The Clutter Diet and enter the coupon code 17418F. Visit The Clutter Diet to learn more about this very affordable way to get the help you need to get organized!

Survey Results: Cleaning up for dinner guests Last month I asked: How long would it take to clean up your home for dinner guests?

As promised, here are the results of that survey. . .

24% said: Less than one hour 38% said: Half a day (4 hours) or less 14% said: At least one full day (8 hours) 7% said: Several full days (24 hours total) 2% said: At least a week (40 hours total) 16% said: I avoid having any guests!

A few readers wrote to say that they “temporarily” stash items to make the house look more presentable in a hurry. But as I’m sure they will agree, unless you take the time to sort through it – sooner rather than later – you run the risk of creating a bigger mess.
Reader Beverly wisely advises: Part of being able to be “ready” is knowing that there is no need to be “perfect.” Amen.

New Survey: How does the state of your home make you feel?

Peaceful Stressed out Guilty Other (please explain)

TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, send email to editor@unclutter.com with the word “Survey” in the subject line and the letter that corresponds to your answer. Feel free to add comments in the body of your email. I love reading them! As always, I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

Smart Readers Write About: Getting kids to pick up When teaching our kids to pick up the floor in their room when they were little, we added a little education to it. I would help, but let them do most of the work. I would call out the color we should pick up first and we got it all done by picking up the red items or the blue items then the green items, etc. It wasn’t exactly efficient, but we all know the reaction we get when Mom says clean up your toys! It still got done and we kept up a good pace. Now I try to get my teens to pick up their rooms by zones: the floor, the dresser tops, the closet, etc.

–Submitted by Julie H., Fairfax, VA

Write to win an autographed 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 book, The One-Minute Organizer Plain & Simple. Check it out at http://www.unclutter.com/books.html

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

Shameless promotion: Make someone’s day!

I had a lot of fun at the World’s Longest Yard Sale earlier this month. If you’re thinking about having your own yard sale, you’ll find a few of my favorite tips at Lifetime.com. (And if you’re in the market for folding tables, Lifetime makes the best and it’s still not too late to get $10 off. Look for the link at the end of my article.)

Next month, I’m doing a Healthy Home Media Tour so you never know. . . you might just see me on your favorite morning news program. At the end of the month, I’m headed to Salt Lake City for the annual convention of SendOutCards.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I’m a big card sender. A couple of years ago, I was introduced to SendOutCards, a service that lets you send real paper greeting cards from your computer for about $1 each plus postage. Talk about simplifying your life!

You select the card you want to send; they print it, stuff it, seal it, stamp it, and mail it for you. They also send reminders of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries. You can send gifts with your cards too. Have you tried it? If not, make someone’s day by sending a card on me: http://www.sendoutcards.com/15432

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