Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life June 2009 – Vol. 8 No. 6
“If you have clutter, you’re richer than you think.”

–Donna Smallin (hey, that’s me!)
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Welcome new subscribers! And hello to all my friends. I hope you enjoy reading Organizing Plain & Simple Monthly as much as I enjoy writing it. If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. If you received this issue as a forward and would like to receive your own free subscription, sign up at www.unclutter.com *************************************************
Trade books for cash I love to read. And I like to pass along books to people that would enjoy reading them. But darn it if those people are not always around when I finish reading a book! So, more often than not, those books end up on my bookshelves.
And when those shelves start to get full, I go through my collection and pare it down.

Did you know that you can unclutter your bookshelves and get cash for used books at Cash4Books.net? Granted, you don’t get much for each book. But if you have a lot of books, it might result in enough moola to buy a couple of new books. Remember the goal is to unclutter your bookshelves.

Alternatively, you can trade books at Bookmooch.com or Novelaction.com. At Bookins.com, you can swap DVDs as well as books and at Swaptree.com, you can trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games. PaperBackSwap.com is another popular site. They swap hardbacks, too, as well as CDs and DVDs.

Of course, you can also sell all of these items on eBay.com or Craigslist.org. And some brick-and-mortar bookstores that sell used books (like Changing Hands in Tempe, AZ) will accept trade-ins.

Here’s yet another option and one that made sense for me as a frequent traveler. I purchased an Amazon Kindle, a portable reading device that wirelessly downloads books to a high-resolution electronic display that looks and reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight. It’s about the size and weight of a single paperback, but holds up to 200 books in memory. I love the convenience of ordering and receiving books immediately, especially when I’m traveling.
It’s like having an entire library at your fingertips – all alphabetized by title!

Organizing product of the month

Going on vacation? I always recommend making a list of everything you want/need to bring. To make your list making really easy, The Clutter Diet has these great “PACK THIS!” packing list pads on sale through July 15. When you go to the site, click on Products. Use the coupon code TRAVEL2009 to get 15% off.
Survey Results: How organized is your car? Last month I asked: Is your car clean and neat and organized or in need of a major decluttering? Before answering, consider all of your car’s storage spaces (trunk, glove box, etc.) as well as the main interior.

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

32% said: Exceptionally clean and neatly organized 39% said: Fairly clean and organized 19% said: Somewhat messy and/or in need of cleaning 6% said: In need of a major decluttering and cleaning 5% said: Other

Many of my readers have discovered (like me) that keeping your car clutter-free is easier when you remove everything that doesn’t have a permanent home in your car, every time you return home. Pop-up totes come in handy for this job.
It’s also a good idea to keep a trash bag handy for collecting garbage.

In my latest book, A to Z Storage Solutions, I included an entry for organizing car stuff – everything from your owner’s manual, vehicle registration and proof of insurance to compact discs, umbrellas, window shades, maps, chargers, and sunglasses.

In addition to the built-in storage compartments of your vehicle (glove box, console and door compartments, and the trunk), I recommend a few items such as visor organizers for gas and toll receipts and back-of-seat organizers for children’s books and toys. Crates can be used in your trunk to sort and store all kinds of gear you may be carrying around.

New Survey: Unused organizing products Take a guess: How many organizing products (storage containers, daily planners, photo albums, etc.) do you have that are not currently in use?

None A few A lot

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: The 3 Ps

When shopping, whether in my local department store, antiques, yard sales, or flea markets, I keep the 3 P’s in mind. Everything must have a”_*Place*_”, serve a “_*Purpose*_”, and be a good “_*Price*_”. I have seen many things that I love, but I cannot get them to fit into all three Ps; therefore I don’t get them. Usually by the time I get home, I’m glad that I did not go against my own guidelines.

–Submitted by Karen P., Belton, TX

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: Thank you

I want to thank you for being a loyal subscriber to this newsletter, for forwarding it to your friends, and for the kind words you send my way. I keep your emails in a folder called “Wow” because that’s how I feel when you tell me that you enjoy receiving this newsletter or that my books have helped you. Your feedback inspires me to keep writing!

You are one of about 12,000 subscribers worldwide. Each month, hundreds more sign up and very few people unsubscribe. I can’t help but notice that the majority of those who do unsubscribe have been subscribers for 3, 4 or even 7 years. I like to think that they are unsubscribing because they don’t need me anymore!

By the way, I’m moving to Michigan in August. Though I will be new to the area, I firmly believe that I already have a lot of friends there; I just haven’t met them yet! If you’re one of them, you’ll be happy to hear that I’m planning to offer organizing workshops once I get settled in.

While in Michigan last week, scouting for a new home, I had lunch with Stephanie Vozza. She runs a web site called The Organized Parent that offers lots of great ideas for keeping yourself and your family organized. Check it out!

Do you Tweet? Follow me at www.twitter.com/donnasmallin. Are you on Facebook? Let’s connect there! You can find me here: www.facebook.com/donnasmallin

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