June 2008 – Vo. 6 No. 6

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
“A large part of getting organized is learning to act from a place of self-esteem, knowing what we want and don’t want to do, knowing what we can and can’t do, and taking good care of ourselves.”
— Marilyn Paul, Ph.D

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Rainy day organizing Summer is here and that means plenty of sunshine and outdoor fun…well, most days. But what do you do when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day? You could read a book, play board games with the kids, or…here’s an idea. . .
tackle some organizing projects you’ve been meaning to get to.

Following are three rainy day organizing projects and simple solutions that are sure to brighten an otherwise gloomy day.

Organize your cleaning closet.
Do you really use all your cleaning supplies and tools? Probably not. So pare down to the basics. Give away what you aren’t using or dispose of them (check the labels for proper disposal).

Maximize storage space with a wall-mounted organizer for hanging mops, brooms, and long-handled dusters. (Check out Oxo’s Expandable Wall-Mounted Organizer (www.oxo.com).

Consider storing basic cleaning supplies in a cleaning caddy or bucket for easy carting from room to room. Or stash dusting cloths, glass cleaner and wipes in strategic spots around your home, such as behind books on a shelf Then, if you get inspired to clean, you can dust off your TV or polish your coffee table.

Organize your drawers.
There’s nothing wrong with having a junk drawer – unless of course you can’t find anything in it! A simple, inexpensive solution is to store like items such as batteries in a ziplock bag.

You can also buy junk drawer organizers that let you store on two levels; just push the top tray back to see what’s underneath.

And what about your underwear or sock drawer? I like the criss-cross type organizers because all you have to then is just stuff one pair in each cube – no folding necessary!

And here’s my favorite organizing tip of all time: organize your drawers while you’re watching TV. Just pull each drawer out of its cabinet and bring them one at a time into the family room and when the commercials come on, start organizing.

Organize your photographs.
Talk about a good rainy day project! If you’re like a lot of people, you have years of photographs that you want to put into albums, but what an overwhelming task!

Here’s an easy way to get started. Start sorting photographs into photo boxes or shoeboxes using Durable Post-It® notes to identify broad categories such as vacations, grandkids, college years.

Then within each category, use more Durable Post-It notes to sort photographs into sub-categories. For example, in the box with Vacation photos, you can sort by different destinations.

If you do nothing else, at least start putting all your currert photos into albums. If you continue to do that, all of your photographs will be organized from today forward.

Survey Results: Your workspace Last month I asked: What does your workspace say about you? How much does your home or office workspace reveal about your personality, interests and likes?

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

74.5% said: A lot 15.7% said: A little 9.8% said: Nothing

I once worked with a man who was fond of saying, “Cluttered desk, cluttered mind” to which some of my co-workers loved to respond, “Empty desk, empty mind.”

In a recent Staples U.S. Worker Survey, which polled 1,070 employed adults, seventy-four percent agreed that how their workspace is maintained reveals a lot about them and their personality.

Furthermore, while U.S. workers agreed that success is a matter of hard work (92 percent), a vast majority agree that success is linked to the perception conveyed in the workplace (76 percent). Hmmmm. . . could it be time to clean up your office?

New Survey: Misplacing stuff What is the ONE thing you most often misplace?

a. Cell phone b. Keys c. Remote control d. Pens or pencils e. Bills to pay f. Checkbook g. Wallet/purse h. Other (please, do tell!)

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!

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

Organizing tools you can use I want to tell you about a wonderful service offered by my friend, Lorie Marerro, a professional organizer in Austin, Texas. She’s developed an online program for people who want to get organized, but don’t have money in the budget to hire a professional organizer.

For just $15 a month, you get direct consulting with a team of professional organizers, weekly organizing projects, and much more. It’s the next best thing to having a professional organizer come to your home – for a fraction of the cost.

Check it out here: The Clutter Diet or cut and paste this link into your browser: http://www.clutterdiet.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=1037

See more of my favorite products at my web site: http://unclutter.com/links.html

Smart Readers Write About: DVD/CD storage Q. We live in a small 1000 sq. foot home and I’m constantly organizing and donating stuff. What’s the best way to organize our DVD movies and CD’s? The tower holders don’t work that well for us, so I’ve put them all on a shelf and plan to put them in alphabetical order. I’d love it if I could get my husband to sue a storage album for all our CD’s and DVD’s. He’s not one for putting things away.

–Submitted by Elizabeth A., Crawfordville, FL

A. A simple solution is to shelve CDs and DVDs like books.
Consider organizing a small collection by category or alphabetize by artist. Organize a larger collection the way music stores do: first by category of music such as blues, jazz, orchestra, and then within category, by name of artist. Using bookends to separate types of music will make it easier to find and put away discs.

Special storage boxes or slotted drawers that allow you to flip through your collection are another great option. You may want to find one large box that holds your entire collection or divide it into smaller boxes, labeled by category. Before buying a ready-made organizer, count up how many CDs or DVDs you have so you know what you need. I like the look of tower storage units and they work well for small collections if your only goal is to store all your discs in one place, but I find them impractical for organizing collections. I once bought a CD tower and got it all organized alphabetically by artist, only to discover that to add new CDs, I had to rearrange the whole thing. (I ended up giving it away.)

Ideally, your multimedia collection will be stored conveniently near your CD or DVD player. If lack of space dictates another solution, consider an underbed storage box or storage album that will allow you to easily carry your collection, or a portion of it, from room to room or from your home to car and back. In addition to portability, storage albums are an excellent space-saving option for discs. If you’re in the market for a new CD player, look for one that doesn’t just play your CDs, but also stores them all, with features that allow you to select by artist, CD, or track.

(The preceding answer is actually an entry from my forthcoming book, The One-Minute Organizer’s A to Z Storage Solutions, which will be released in December 2008.)

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: Would you like to hear me speak about organizing? Awhile back, I decided to tape myself presenting Secrets of The One-Minute Organizer to the Moon Valley Women’s Club here in Scottsdale, Arizona and now that presentation is available to you.

You can order the 8-minute version and download it to your computer for just a buck: http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=151744

If you decide you want the full 60-minute version for $6.95, click here: http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=151745

Speaking of speaking, do you belong to a group or organization that hires speakers? Please email donna@unclutter.com for presentation topics, availability, and fees.

Got books? If you are looking for more organizing tips, look for The One-Minute Organizer and Organizing Plain & Simple in bookstores everywhere (including online bookstores) and in select Target, K-Mart, Discovery Channel, and Storables stores.

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.

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.