Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life December 2010 – Vol. 9 No. 10
“If you have clutter, you’re richer than you think.”
–Donna Smallin

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Donna Smallin on organizing your family and home

The following tips appeared in Casa Perfecta, a popular Brazilian magazine. Following is an excerpt of that interview.

Q. What’s the best way to deal with all of our kids’ stuff? A. If you want kids to put away their things, make it easy and fun. For example, put a basket at the front door or in their bedroom closets that they can just throw their shoes into. Put up hooks in strategic locations (in closets, bedrooms, bathrooms, entryways) so they can easily hang up their coats, backpacks, and clothes they will wear again.
Lower closet rods to a height that will allow them to hang up their clothes. Organize and store toys in bins by categories rather than in toy boxes that make it difficult to find a single toy without pulling them all out.

At least twice a year, help your kids sort through their clothes and toys and donate the stuff that’s just taking up valuable space. If they are reluctant to part with it, box it up and date the box for six months out. If they miss an item during that time, they can ask for it and it can be retrieved. If they don’t, you can donate the entire box.

Q. How can we involve our family to help with the organizing of our homes? Schedule time together, ideally 15 to 30 minutes each week, or 5 minutes each night to unclutter and organize your home. Also, work with each family member to help him or her find a home for everything and to pare belongings to a more manageable level. It’s a lot easier to stay organized when you don’t have so much stuff.

Additionally, you may want to establish clutter-free zones in the more public areas of your home. If someone leaves an item in that room, hold it hostage with the execution of a chore being the ransom. With children, it may help to tie a reward or privilege to keeping their rooms organized. With a spouse, think of what you might do in return for what you are asking him or her to do and then negotiate that.

My best advice for parents? If you want your kids to be more organized, you need to set a good example!

Q. If you had to choose a tool/device for organizing space at home, which should it be or which would you recommend first? A trash bag! Seriously. Make a decision to surround yourself only with things you love and use. If you don’t love it or use it, lose it. The stuff that’s just taking up valuable space in your home is stuff that someone, somewhere could really use. Donate it.

Note: Donate now in December to be eligible for a tax break on non-cash contributions. ‘Tis the season for giving after all.

Donna Smallin is the author of 8 books that have sold one million copies worldwide in more than a dozen languages. Do you have one (or maybe more!) on your bookshelf? Visit www.unclutter.com/books and let me know! Email donna@unclutter.com.
GO: Get Organized in the new year

The hardest part of getting organized is getting started.

Here’s the solution. Sign up now for an organizing teleseminar on Thursday, January 20 at 4pm Eastern Time.
The topic is GO: Get Organized! I guarantee you that if you take this seminar, you’ll get at least one simple idea that you can implement right away and enjoy immediate results.

* Find out how getting your brain in gear is the first step

to getting organized.

* Quickly decide what to keep and what to toss by asking yourself one simple question.

* Get tips on how to turn clutter into cash – fast.

* And much more!

We’ll have a total of 60 minutes together – 45 minutes of content and 15 minutes for questions and answers.

This is a phone seminar, which means you don’t even have to leave your home to learn the simple strategies I’ll be sharing to help you get organized for life. Just dial into the call at the appointed hour. (You’ll receive an email after registration with details about how to access the call.)

Can’t make the call? No problem! You can register and I will record the seminar for you so you can listen at your convenience.

Register now at http://gogetorganized.eventbrite.com The regular price for this 90-minute seminar is $27. But for you my loyal reader, it’s only $19 when you enter the discount code SAVE8 when you register. I’ll look forward to meeting you on January 20.
Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources. Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

This month, I’d like to introduce to an online resource for some really terrific selection of organizing and storage products to help you unclutter your home and simplify your life.

I don’t know about you, but I love shopping from the comfort of my own home and having stuff delivered to me. If that sounds good to you or you don’t have a nearby store that carries a wide variety of organizing products, you will love Organized A to Z. (Click the link to check it out.)

For more of my favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/favorites

Shameless promotion: Speaking of organizing

Organizing is one of those topics that appeals to virtually everyone – organized and unorganized alike.

Let Donna Smallin customize a presentation to the specific needs and interests of your audience.

Please contact Donna for more information, to check availability, or to book an event. (As a current resident of Michigan, she’s especially in speaking in warmer climates during the months of February and March!) *************************************************
That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.