February 2006
Vol. 4, No. 2

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

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FEATURE ARTICLE: More time to do what you love

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought it fitting talk about organizing as an act of love. After all, getting organized gives you more time to do what you love.

Just think of all the minutes you waste each day Looking for your car keys, cell phone, receipts, coupons, and so on. It’s not uncommon for people to waste from fifteen minutes to one hour a day searching for misplaced items. It also takes longer to clean your house when it’s cluttered. Getting organized gives you back that time.

Organizing also gives you more space to do what you love.

Your basement or spare bedroom could be a great hobby or exercise room… if it didn’t have so much junk in it. Giving yourself permission to let go of things you no longer love or use frees up valuable space in your home. That’s truly a loving act, because when you reclaim space, you reclaim your life.

Finally, organizing also reduces stress and that’s surely a loving thing you can do for yourself. So many of us are stressed out and overwhelmed by the disorganization in our lives. And that’s not good for our physical or emotional health.

So this Valentine’s Day, be good to yourself.
Get organized. You’re worth it.

Next month: When is it safe to deep-six tax records? (guest column by Julian Block, syndicated columnist, attorney and former IRS investigator)


Everybody’s always asking if I can come to their house to help them clean up and clear out. Well, some lucky person is going to have that wish come true in the “Clean Up and Clear Out” contest.

If you haven’t already, you can enter to win at my Web site: http://www.unclutter.com

Click on the contest button on the home page for contest details and an entry form. But hurry. . .
the contest ends March 31, 2006. Good luck!

QUICK TIP: Giving the gift of organization

If you’re wondering what to give your Valentine this year, consider giving the gift of organization.

Find a professional organizer in your area at the web site of the National Association of Professional Organizers: http://www.napo.net.

SURVEY RESULTS: Best place to find organizing products

Last month, I asked: “Where is the first place you look for products to help you get organized?”

As promised, here are the results of that survey:

7% said: Retail organizing store such as The Container Store 67% said: Discount store such as Target or Wal-Mart 3% said: Online organizing store such as Organize-Everything.com 4% said: Hardware store 5% said: Your own home 14% said: Other (please describe)

Responses in the “other” category included dollar stores and office supply stores. And here’s a great tip: Betty Thompson, a professional organizer in the Phoenix area says, “Thrift stores often have an amazing amount of organization tools: letter trays, file cabinets, file boxes, file folders, notebook binders, planners, baskets, decorative boxes, media storage, drawer dividers, closet organizers, plastic bags with zippers, pencil holders, photo boxes, etc. Something that didn’t work for someone else may be just what you need!”

NEW SURVEY: How do I organize [blank]?

If you and I could meet, and you could ask me “What’s the best way to organize [blank],” how would you fill in the blank? In other words, name one thing you want to learn how to organize?

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

READERS WRITE: Recycled storage

I had an old hanging sweater organizer, i.e., one that hangs over a closet rod and has several shelves for holding sweaters. Since the organizer was unable to be hung any longer in the closet, I turned it on its side with the openings facing up.

Into each pocket, I placed different cleaning Supplies; e.g., dusting, laundry, furniture, windows, etc. I placed the entire unit on a shelf in my laundry room. Since the organizer is clear plastic, I can see what is included in each section, and my numerous bottles of polish, detergent, etc. never get mixed up! I put this system in place a couple years ago, and it has held up since.

— 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 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.


After 22 days on the road in January, I can’t tell you how happy I am to be home. I’m enjoying it while I can. I will be out again later this month.

Watch for me February 20-24 at 8:35 a.m. each day on WB2 News in Denver for a 5-part series on homemade cleaning solutions to your toughest cleaning challenges.

In March, I am headed to Nashville, Memphis, and Louisville. Stay tuned for more details in the next newsletter.

Something else I wanted to share with you: I am featured as an organizing expert on Homefree.com.
At this new Web site, you will find a wide variety of articles related to the maintenance and care of your home as well as resources for services and products.

Homefree has also introduced a subscription service to help you keep track of inventory, maintenance schedules, task lists, home project management, and more. It’s worth a peek. Take the product tour at http://www.homefree.com


For plain and simple tips for cleaning everything in and around your home, look for my new 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 my books 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.

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