Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life July 2009 – Vol. 8 No. 7
Learn to let go; that is the key to happiness.

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An organized move I’m moving across country this week and yes, it’s been an organized move. In fact, the movers showed up one day early (aaack!), but I was ready for them.

As soon as I found out we were moving, I started gearing up for moving day because the earlier you start, the more time you have to make decisions about what to move and what to leave behind.

Moving (or even just pretending that you’re moving) is a great way to unclutter your home. Here are a few tips to get you started:

* Purge first, then pack. Grab a box of trash bags. Go through your home one room at a time with the goal of collecting those things that have been collecting dust for years. Throw away anything that’s unfixable, ugly or shabby. Bring the rest to your nearest thrift store or favorite charity.

* Take only your favorites. As you go through your things, ask yourself: Do I use this? Do I love it? If the answer is no, let it go. Packing is a lot easier when you’ve got less stuff to pack.

* Think ahead. As you pack, consider whether or not you will need a particular item where you are going. Will you be able to ride that mountain bike? Will all your furniture fit in your new home? Keep in mind that the fewer things you move, the less it costs to move them and the quicker it is to pack and unpack.

* Label boxes. I always label each box with the room I want the box to go to in my new home. I also add a note about the contents. Example: Kitchen – Pots and pans or Master Bedroom – His dresser.

One woman wrote recently to say that she’s been living in her new home for three months and there are still boxes and things that need to be put away. She asked, “After a big move to another house how do you just sit down and unpack everything and find a spot for it?”

This was my response: You probably unpacked all the things you really needed. Could it be possible that you really don’t need what you have yet to unpack?

I advised her to spend 15 minutes each day unpacking one box at a time and making decisions about what to keep and what to toss.

Always ask yourself: What’s the worst possible thing that could happen if I got rid of this? Then give yourself permission to let it go and enjoy the freedom that comes as a result!

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

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 No credit card is required. This link is valid for July 30 and July 31, 2009 only.

Survey Results: Unused organizing products Last month I asked: How many organizing products (storage containers, daily planners, photo albums, etc.) do you have that are not currently in use?

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

10% said: None 56% said: A few 34% said: A lot

Well, it appears that if you have unused organizing products, you’re not alone! It’s tempting to think that if you have just the right products, you can unclutter and organize your home. But the reality is that you need to unclutter and organize first and then figure out what you need. Right? Right.

New Survey: Cleaning up for dinner guests

How long would it take to clean up your home for dinner guests?

a. Less than one hour b. Half a day (4 hours) or less c. At least one full day (8 hours) d. Several full days (24 hours total) e. At least a week (40 hours total) f. I avoid having any guests!

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: Food storage When I buy an item that I already have opened in my fridge or pantry, I turn the new item upside down so as not to grab that one. I do this for spices, baking items, and things in the fridge like sour cream or cottage cheese to save time looking for the open item.

–Submitted by Marcia K. Warren, TX (Marcia, I need your zip code so I can send you a book!)

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: World’s Longest Yard Sale Summertime is yard sale season, and the granddaddy of all sales, the World’s Longest Yard Sale, is just around the corner!

On August 6-9, the World’s Longest Yard Sale will wind its way 650 miles from Alabama to Ohio. As Lifetime’s resident organizational expert and Home & Garden Guru, I’ll be stopping by the heart of the sale—Jamestown, Tennessee—to offer a few yard sale ideas to participants and collect tips from the best sellers.

If you can’t make it to the sale, you’ll find a few of my favorite tips for your own garage sale Lifetime.com.

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