January 2007
Vol. 5, No. 1

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

“The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.”

–Author unknown

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Making new year’s resolutions stick

If “get organized” is one of your top five resolutions every new year, join the club.

To make 2007 the year you achieve your goal of getting organized, you need to do more than just make the resolution. You need a plan.

Try this exercise:

* Write down five to ten organizing goals for 2007.

* Now pick three that you would really like to accomplish in the next 90 days.

* Then pick the one you feel would make the biggest difference in your life.

That’s your starting point. The next step is to break this project down into tasks that you can accomplish in a few hours a week or minutes a day.

For example, if you want to organize your office, you could focus on filing papers, setting up a follow-up system, rearranging your workstation, clearing your desk, organizing office supplies, updating your address book, cleaning out your email box, reorganizing electronic folders on your hard drive, and so on. Get it?

Write down all of the tasks required to achieve your goal.
Then pick one of these tasks and begin it. When you’re done, cross it off the list and start on the next task.

The key to success is to be consistent. If you make progress toward your goal every day, you will eventually achieve your goal. And then you can begin to tackle Goal #2.

Did you know that writing down your goals is one of the most sure ways to achieve them? A study of Harvard graduates ten years after graduation found that only 3% had written goals, 13% had verbal goals, and the remaining 84% had no written or verbal goals. Those graduates with verbal goals were earning twice that of those with no verbal or written goals. But those with written goals were earning ten times as much.

One of the best things you can do (next to writing down your goals) is to have someone hold you accountable. Show your written goals to a friend or family member and ask him or her to check in with you on a regular basis. You will be more inclined to stick with your plan if you know that someone will be asking you about your progress.

Next month: Getting organized for tax time

UPCOMING SEMINAR: Chandler, Arizona January 17, 2007

Join me January 17 for a free seminar entitled Organized for Life: 90 Minutes to a New Year, New You!

Learn how getting organized can change your life. Find out how getting your brain in gear is the first step. Then get ready for a crash course in basic organizing skills – everything you ever wanted to know about organizing, but were afraid to ask.

Go home with practical tips and strategies to help you get organized once and for all, including simple electronic solutions to organize everyday living, including document storage, reminder systems, meal planning, gifts and cards, photo organization, and more.

This lively, information-packed presentation will conclude with a Q & A session and book signing. Please register by calling 480-782-2850.

January 17, 2007 6:15 – 7:45 p.m.
Basha Library 5990 S Val Vista (northwest corner of Riggs and Val Vista on the Basha High School campus; entrance is on the Riggs Road side) Chandler, AZ Mapquest directions www.chandlerlibrary.org


Ever wanted a way to fold sheets that makes it easy to “grab and go?” Check out my simple steps to folding sheets as a package at the Better Homes & Gardens website: bhg.com/sheetsets.

ENTER TO WIN: Extreme Family Room Makeover

To celebrate Get Organized Month, the Arizona chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) is hosting Destination Organization – an extreme family room makeover contest for Phoenix area residents.

Professional organizers from across the valley will join forces to completely refresh and makeover a family room for a deserving family. Storables, Smead, WalMart, Safeway and Target are just a few of the sponsors.

The two-week contest runs from January 22-31. To enter, fill out an application at NAPO-AZ’s website: www.napo-az.com.

The application, which will be available January 22, asks why you and your family deserve to win this contest. Judges are not looking for the messiest space, but reasons why a family could use a huge room makeover. (If you don’t have a family room, you can designate a “family” room as your makeover room.)

The winner will be announced February 1 and the makeover will take place February 17 with media coverage provided by The Arizona Republic.

Are you one of those people who just loves to organize things? Would you like to get paid to do what you love?

Being a successful organizer requires more than the ability to organize. You also need to be able to teach your skills and to market and run your own business.

Check out this article published by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) listing the top 10 considerations in becoming a professional organizer: http://napo.net/public/Org_tips/po_top10.html

Also, NAPO offers a teleclass for individuals interested in learning more about the field of organizing.

Introduction to Professional Organizing February 1 8:00–9:30 pm Central Time $39 nonmembers

For more information and future course dates, go to: http://www.napo.net/get_organized/education/courses/index.html

If you are already a professional organizer, check out OrganizedGreetings.com, a full line of cartooned greeting cards and postcards that I developed to help organizers build lasting relationships with customers and promote business with a smile.

SURVEY RESULTS: Get Organized Month

In the last issue, I asked: Did you know that January is national Get Organized Month?

As promised, here are the results of that survey:

32% said: Yes 68% said: No

Look for Get Organized Month events in your area sponsored by local chapters of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Check out the calendar of events at www.napo.net.

NEW SURVEY: Paper or electronic planner?

Do you use a paper planner or calendar to keep track of appointments and things to do? Or do you use an electronic planner such as Outlook or a PDA?

Paper Electronic Both None

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: How trip planning saved the day

The day before my daughter’s birthday, I realized I had at least ten different stops to make to purchase the remainder of items needed for the party.

The stores were scattered in all directions, so I wanted the most efficient method of shopping. I got a small spiral notebook, and wrote the name of each store I had to shop at on the top of each page. I then wrote exactly what I needed at each one.

I arranged the items by category on each list so I could get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. I then ripped each page out of the notebook.

I laid each page out on the table, and wrote the initials of the shopping center where the store was located in or near. Then I made piles according to the initials on each page. Lastly, I put them in order by the route I would take.

This little bit of planning paid off. I remembered all my items and didn’t have to backtrack since I had preplanned my route.

I’m not usually this efficient, but when you have to do something, it is amazing what can be accomplished!

–Submitted by Chris Gentile, Havertown PA

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 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: Off and running in the new year

In the first quarter of 2007, I will have tips in Quick & Simple magazine, American Baby, Country Living, Better Homes & Gardens, First for Women, and several American Express publications. Keep an eye open for these helpful ideas.

I am also proud to announce that I have been asked to join the newly created Westin Renewal Council as an organizing and productivity expert.

The goal of the council is to provide solutions for Westin’s guests based on the evaluation of a study done in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic on the physiological and psychological effects of travel.

Other lifestyle experts on the council include Vern Yip (host of Extreme Home Makeover), David Kirsh (health & fitness guru who got Heidi Blum back into shape), Akasha Richmond (organic chef to the celebrities), Dr. Dale Atkins (the “Sanity Saver” psychologist), and Jane Buckingham (trend forecaster who frequently appears on Good Morning America).

Westin will feature its lifestyle experts on in-room entertainment (Westin TV and Starwood Preferred Guest channel), in hotel brochures, emails to customers and on Westin’s web site.

Yup. I’m going to be one busy gal this year. I also just became an independent distributor for SendOutCards and I’m having a lot of fun sharing it with people like me who love to send cards.

Here’s how it works: You choose a card from thousands available in the online catalog, personalize it with your own handwriting font, signature and even photos, and then click send. SendOutCards prints, seals, stamps and mails your card for as little as 62 cents plus postage. I’m talking about real paper greeting cards – not e-cards.

If you want to try SendOutCards, let me know and I will set up a guest account for you that will let you send a couple of cards on me. Send email to: donna@YourCardConnection.com


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: http://www.unclutter.com/books.html

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.