December 2006
Vol. 4, No. 10

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

– Gretchen Rubin, Author

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FEATURE ARTICLE: ‘Tis the season to give (away)

Many of us have a tendency to hold on to things long after their usefulness has expired. Have you ever wondered why we do that?

One reason is because of something called “the poverty mindset.” We subconsciously believe that if we let go of something, we will need it later and won’t be able to get it.

I have found the opposite to be true. The more I give, the more I get.

Have you heard of the “Law of Attraction?” Basically, it states that the energy you send out is what you get back. Energy is sent through thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds. Deeds include giving your time, money or things.

When you hold on to “stuff” you don’t need or want anymore, you are holding on to negative energy. You are also likely acting, whether you realize it or not, from a belief that you don’t have enough.

The problem with this type of thinking is that our experiences in life are driven by our beliefs. If you believe deep down that you don’t have enough, you will never have enough.

On the other hand, when you clean out your closet, garage or basement and donate unneeded items, you send positive energy into the world.

Act as if you already have everything you need and your life will be filled with abundance in more ways than you ever imagined. This is my wish for you.

Next month: Making new year’s resolutions stick


Sprint created a wireless phone recycling program to help raise funds to support K-12 education programs.

Click here to print a free, postage-paid shipping label to donate your old phone to this good cause: www.sprint.com/community/communities_across/project_connect.html


I just made a total elf of myself. Check it out: http://www.elfyourself.com/?userid=45cbd55e8c9a2247a6ab27cG06121808

PRODUCT REVIEW: Closet organizing

Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have one thing in common – it’s not music or fashion trends – they both want better closet storage in their homes.

In fact, home buyers of all ages ranked bigger, more efficient closet storage as the #2 most desired feature in a “dream home” in a 2006 trend survey by Roper Reports.
Better closet storage was close behind the #1 desired feature, a state-of-the-art kitchen.

“Builders are very focused on meeting home buyers’ desires in the kitchen,” said Steve McCamley, Vice President of Marketing at SCHULTE Corporation. “This research shows that they should also focus on better closet storage. Builders spend only $1 in the master closet for every $100 they spend in the kitchen, yet bigger, more efficient closets are almost as important to home buyers as great kitchens.”

Other industry experts agree that better closet storage is a must. In a Professional Builder magazine article, “50 Must-Have Features for Today’s Home Buyers,” several storage features ranked high, including:

#5 Emphasis on quality and detailing more than square footage. It’s the super-size theory in reverse – people are willing to trade some space for better features.

#6 Flexible floor plans. It’s important that rooms and space can adapt to changing needs and are multi-functional.

#9 Accessible storage. Cabinets and shelves should be placed at heights within easy reach.

#18 Quality closet organizers. Vinyl-coated wire shelving isn’t acceptable anymore, wood finish is now a minimum.

One popular closet system that provides these “must-have” features is the freedomRail® product line, manufactured by SCHULTE Corporation. freedomRail:

•Offers the quality and detailing of a custom-built closet.

•Provides flexibility because it’s truly adjustable.
Components can be moved up, down and side to side as storage needs change.

• Makes storage accessible. Once the rail is attached to the wall, all other components snap or click into place and can be moved up or down without tools.

• Is available in Cherry, Maple and White wood finishes.

The company attributes freedomRail’s popularity with home buyers to its ability to provide these important features.
freedomRail also meets builders’ needs because it’s production-oriented and is an easy-to-sell upgrade.

For more information or to find a freedomRAIL dealer, visit http://www.schultestorage.com/.

ATTENTION PHOENIX RESIDENTS: Call freedomRail expert Jay Peskoff at 480-773-1628 to get $150 off your installation.
Just tell him Donna Smallin sent you! He also offers a new garage line, which you can check out at http://www.slide-lok.com.

SURVEY RESULTS: Sending holiday cards

In the last issue, I asked: Do you plan to send holiday cards this year?

As promised, here are the results of that survey:

87% said: Yes 9% said: No 4% said: Maybe

I heard recently that only 4 percent of the mail we receive is personal mail. Even that number seems high except, of course, at this time of year! For many, sending cards is a labor of love as well as a way to keep in touch with friends and family. It’s equally nice to be on the receiving end.

If you want to simplify the process next year – or like to keep in touch with friends and family all year long – you might want to try SendOutCards. This is a web-based service that lets you send real paper greeting cards and photo cards from your own computer.
You select the card you want, type your message, and hit send. The folks at SendOutCards print it, stuff it, seal it, stamp and mail it for you.

I like the service so much that I became a SendOutCards affiliate. If you want to try it, let me know and I can set up a free gift account for you, so you can send a couple of cards on me. Email donna@yourcardconnection.com.

NEW SURVEY: Get Organized Month

Did you know that January is national Get Organized Month? Yes or no?

TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, click the following link editor@unclutter.com or send email to editor@unclutter.com with the word “Survey” in the subject line. Feel free to add comments in the body of your email. I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

READERS WRITE: The gift of organization

My daughter recently got married and for one of her wedding gifts I made her the type of address/phone/info binder that we use here at home, which also includes sectioned off areas for car maintenance log, doctor’s log for each family member, vet log for each pet, quick first aid info, cooking measurement equivalents, grocery shopping list, and so forth. The pages are templates so they can be copied.
So now that she is married she isn’t calling me to ask what the doctors’ numbers are or to get so-and-so’s address and phone number.

— Melinda Gootermote, Petersburgh NY

WRITE TO WIN an autographed copy of one of my books!

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 bestselling 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 try to answer as many as I can.

SHAMELESS PROMOTION: Catch me if you can

If you live in the Phoenix area, catch me if you can December 30 at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. doing organizing demonstrations at the Grand Opening of Lowes in Mesa on the corner of Ellsworth and Southern. I’ll cover kitchen organizing in the morning session and closet organizing in the afternoon session.

I’ve mentioned before that I am an organizing expert for www.Homefree.com, a home maintenance reminder service. They introduced a blog a while back that includes quick tips and ideas for home maintenance and organization. Check it out at http://blog.homefree.com

Elsewhere on the Internet, I was asked to give an organizing makeover to an aspiring journalist. If you’re a writer or aspiring writer, check out The Renegade Writer blog at http://renegadewriter.com for some of yours truly’s tips on organizing your work and workspace. Look for “RW Makeover” posts.


If you feel a need to simplify your life, check out my latest book, Unclutter Your Mind: 500 Ways to Focus on What’s Important.

For plain and simple tips for cleaning everything in and around your home, look for my book, Cleaning Plain & Simple, in your local bookstore.
If they don’t have a copy, please ask them to order one!

If you are looking for organizing tips, look for The One-Minute Organizer and Organizing Plain & Simple in bookstores everywhere (including online bookstores) and in select Target, K-Mart, Staples, Discovery Channel, and Lowes stores.

Want a signed copy of one of my books? You can order directly from me:


Click on the SignedCopy.com logo to have a signed copy sent to you.

Note: Cleaning Plain & Simple and Unclutter Your Mind will be available on my Web site Soon. I will be sure to let you know.

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