June 2007
Vol. 5, No. 6

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.

–Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of the VISA credit card association

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Maximizing storage space

You may think you need a bigger home to store all your stuff. But before you put your house on the market, try these simple ways to maximize your existing storage space.

Think vertical. Look at wall space as potential organizing space. In the office or in your kitchen, you can hang multi-tiered organizers for storing mail, restaurant takeout menus, magazines. Also think about using the backs of doors in your closets, pantry, and utility room. A shoe rack hung over the back of a door, for example, takes up less space than a standing shore rack and frees up floor space.

Eliminate dead space. Look at the wasted space in your cabinets. See it? Right there at the top of every shelf? Raise or lower shelves in cabinets to create more usable space. Or use freestanding shelving or handing wire baskets under shelves to create additional storage. In closets and on shelves in your garage or basement, use same-size storage boxes that stack easily to make more use of space at the top of shelves. You might even consider replacing fixed shelves with adjustable shelving that rolls out, so that even items in the back are more easily accessible. You can buy a do- it-yourself kit for this purpose at hardware and home stores.

Don’t just toss things into storage. You can fit a lot more stuff in any space when you take the time to arrange it like fitting pieces of a puzzle.
Put things back where they belong, or create a home for them, so that you don’t have spend hours or days reorganizing your storage at a future date.

Next month: Staying productive at the office (when you’d rather be at the beach)

DID YOU KNOW? June is National Safety Month

Three quick organizing safety tips come to mind:

1. Avoid storing heavy objects on upper closet shelves to avoid potential injury when retrieving them.

2. Always store medicines, vitamins, cosmetics and cleaning supplies out of reach of children.

3. Do not plug multioutlet power strips into other multioutlet power strips.

And, of course, I don’t have to tell you that toys, shoes and other items strewn across your floor create a tripping hazard!

SURVEY RESULTS: Organizing services

Last month, I asked: In 2006, members of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) served 140,000 clients. Were you one of them OR do you know someone who hired a professional organizer last year?

As promised, here are the results of that survey:

7% said: Yes 93% said: No

At least no one said, “What is a professional organizer?” Several respondents said they could use one if they could afford it. One said she would love to find one.

For a free referral to a professional organizer near you, go to the web site of the National Association of Professional Organizers (yes, there is such a thing and, in fact, I am a card-carrying member). Enter your zip code and indicate any particular specialty you are looking for and up will pop a list of organizers near you. How’s that for easy?

As for cost, organizers generally charge by the hour; some offer discounts or free hours with every so many hours purchased. If you’re on a budget, you can keep the cost down if you do your “homework” in-between visits. You can also hire an organizer just to help you figure where and how to get started. That alone can be well worth the money.
Most professional organizers offer gift certificates. You might want to start dropping hints now to your family.

NEW SURVEY: Purchasing organizing products

Do you or would you prefer to buy organizing products from a retail store near you, online source, or from a second- hand source?

a. Retail store (I like to see what I’m buying) b. Online source (I like the convenience of shopping online) c. Thrift store, yard sale or other second-hand source (I don’t like to pay retail price) d. I rarely or never buy organizing products (I use whatever I happen to have or what people give me) e. Other (please explain)

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 and the letter that corresponds to your answer. Feel free to add comments in the body of your email. I love reading them!

I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

READERS WRITE: Simple storage

I just wanted to share an organizational technique that works for me. I tape an envelope inside a kitchen cabinet and keep all my menus in there. It works great and they are right at my fingertips when I need them.

— Submitted by Anna L. Kane, Hopewell Junction NY

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 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: Sending cards faster, easier, more affordably

Do you know someone who is getting married this summer or fall? SendOutCards offers a fast, easy, affordable way for them to send really unique wedding and shower invitations, thank you cards, moving announcements, housewarming invitations, and upcoming holiday cards.

(These are printed greeting cards, not e-cards.)

At the SendOutCards web site, couples can create cards with a photo from their wedding or honeymoon on the front with their own handwriting and signatures inside – all for as little as 62 cents each plus postage. But what’s really great is that once these cards are created, they can be sent to an entire list just by clicking on the Send button.

If you or someone you know would like to see how it works, I can set you up with a guest account so you can send a few cards on me. Email donna@yourcardconnection.com if you would like a personal walkthrough of this system.

Or go to YourCardConnection.com to learn all about it and send a free card on your own. Either way, I invite you to be my guest!


For nitty-gritty cleaning tips and techniques, look for Cleaning Plain & Simple in your local bookstore. If they don’t have a copy, please ask them to order one! For quick tips, look for The One-Minute Cleaner, an abridged version of the big book that was just released in February 2007.

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 Storables stores.

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

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.

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