Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life March 2012 – Vol. 11 No. 3
People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.

~Norman Vincent Peale
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Getting a jump start on spring cleaning Did you know that March 25 marks the beginning of National Cleaning Week? Getting organized will make the job go faster and easier.

I recommend putting all your cleaning supplies in a bucket or special cleaning caddy that you can tote from room to room.

An alternative approach is to work on one task at a time; for example, do all your dusting, all your mopping, all your vacuuming. That way, you only need to get out the tools and supplies you need for that particular job. (This is what I prefer to do.)

* Set your goals. Determine what really needs to be done now.

* Schedule cleaning time in 30- to 60-minute

blocks and tackle one project at a time.

* Start in high-traffic areas where cleaning can make a big impact such as bathrooms, kitchens, floors, and windows.

* Remove clutter from floors, coffee tables, and other horizontal surfaces before you start cleaning.

* Invest in a couple of microfiber cloths for streak-free, lint-free cleaning of hard surfaces.

* Toss mildewy shower curtain liners in the washing machine with hot water and detergent on the regular cycle. Re-hang the liner and allow to air dry.

* Make an appointment to have carpets professionally cleaned or do it yourself to remove tracked-in dirt.

* For squeaky clean windows inside and out, mix one-half cup sudsy ammonia with one pint rubbing alcohol and one teaspoon dishwashing liquid and add enough water to make one gallon of liquid.

* Clean each room from top to bottom: ceilings first and floors last.

* Don’t waste time doing things like washing walls if all you really need to do is spot clean marks. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is my personal favorite for that job.

* Get family members involved to get the job done faster.

* Reward yourself for completing each project.

For more cleaning tips, check out my books, Cleaning Plain & Simple and The One-Minute Cleaner at www.unclutter.com/books
A wish come true! Ever wished for an easier way to clean house? Here it is:

1. Create a new file on your PC.
2. Name it “Housework.” 3. Then send it to the recycle bin.
4. Empty the recycle bin.
5. Your PC will ask you, “Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently?” 6. Calmly answer, “Yes,” and press the mouse button firmly.

This clever idea appeared in my email inbox years ago. I can’t remember now who sent it and I don’t know who wrote it, but I just had to share it.

Quick tip: Finding the new in the old

This tip comes from my Facebook friend Ann Huber in Trappe, Pennsylvania who gave me permission to share it with you. This was her status update on March 16: I have been rotating “stuff” in my life. This fall, I started rotating my jewelry. I took it out of one place and placed it in another after wearing it. It was fun, because it forced me to get to the bottom to where the “forgotten” pieces were. I am now rotating it back to its original place. (I even found some broken pieces to sell.)

I did that with sweaters too. And I have started on nail polish and recipes. I have gotten rid of two bottles of nail polish. Still in good shape but don’t love the color. Last night I started sorting recipes. You know the ones you pulled out of a magazine with good intentions to make. Many went into the recycle bin. The rest got sorted into categories. I am going to try to rotate them too and if I don’t make them, toss the recipe.

Trying to simplify my life. When you rotate “stuff” you realize how much you have and how little you need. I find I am not tempted to buy new “stuff” because I have more than “enough.” I wish for you all “enough.”

Editor’s note: Thanks, Ann! Brilliant idea!
Favorite organizing products and resources As a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources.
Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

Last month, I told you about the Spring Clearance Sale at Organized A to Z. I just got word that now ALL items in the warehouse are 50% off. If you’re looking for an organizing solution, I suggest you look here first.

This month, as our thoughts turn to spring cleaning our homes from top to bottom, I’d like to introduce you to the AtticMaxx Shelving System.

I happened to think of this product today as I’m packing for the annual conference of professional organizers this week. It was there I first learned about AtticMaxx. We all agreed it was an idea whose time had come!

AtticMaxx is a unique system designed to maximize attic storage space by utilizing the often wasted space between attic trusses for easily accessible and stable bin storage space. Imagine freeing up some space in your garage!

For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/favorites

Join the club! I recently partnered with the Top 1% Club where I am honored to be featured as the resident organizing expert.

Not only will you be able to view additional articles from me on this site, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn from the Top 1% Club Mentor, Gail Kasper, one of the nation’s leading professional speakers, a television commentator, and a life and business coach.

Check it out. Membership costs you nothing and if you join now, you will be eligible to receive a complimentary set of Gail’s new books.

Following is an article by Gail Kasper for your reading pleasure!

Failure To Communicate? Recognize & Fix It (Guest article by Gail Kasper, Author and Mentor of the Top 1% Club) As a professional speaker and life coach, I often get question after question with regard to communication and how to do it effectively. Do you find yourself often frustrated because you “say” one thing but people “hear” something else? Do you waste a lot of time explaining the same information over and over again? Does there seem to be a “disconnect” between you and your co- workers, employees, managers, family members or friends? If so, then you have a failure to communicate.

Here are common ways people don’t communicate effectively:

* Sending memos and emails that are way too short and filled with errors, making the message unclear to the recipient.

* Assuming the listener already knows the context of a conversation and failing to fill in pertinent information.

* Giving confusing messages, such as saying, “If you could get this to me at your earliest convenience, that would be great,” when you really mean, “I want this by noon.”

* Incorrectly assuming the listener understood what was just said.

Have you found yourself making these communication mistakes? If so, be our guest on the Top 1% Club where we’ve posted 50 Ways To Fix Communication Mistakes: Essential Keys To Improve How You Communicate With Others. (Join Here)

We’ve listed a few tips below:

Before sending that memo or email, re-read it – at least twice. You may find it helpful to read it out loud. Fix any errors you find. As you review what you wrote, ask yourself, “Will this be clear to the recipient?” If the answer is no, then make revisions to convey the information clearly. Always review what you wrote before firing it off.

When you approach someone with instructions or other relevant information, don’t assume they know the context of what you’re talking about.
For example, the following question is very ambiguous: “You know that thing we were talking about the other day?” The other person may think you’re referring to one thing when you’re actually talking about something entirely different. Always provide context and be very specific, as in the following example: “You know how we were talking about marketing with social media at the status meeting on Tuesday morning?”

When asking someone to do something for you, be very specific. State exactly what deliverables you want and by when you expect them. Don’t assume your listener “got” what you said. Always ask, in a nonthreatening manner, if they understood. If they tell you they didn’t quite get everything, or if you see confusion in their eyes, then repeat or rephrase what you just said.
Don’t leave until you’re certain they got it.

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If you click on a link and purchase something, I may receive a referral commission. All proceeds from affiliate programs go toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter.

Thanks in advance for your support!

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