May 2008 — Vol. 6, No. 5

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”
– Napoleon Hill, author Think and Grow Rich

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Cleaning up your outdoor living room Summertime is fun-in-the-sun time. Is your outdoor living space ready for relaxing and entertaining? Following are some quick and easy tips for sprucing up your outdoor living room.

* Entranceways. You want to make a good impression on guests, right? Give the front door a good cleaning with a bucket of water, a squirt of dishwashing liquid and an extra-large sponge. Sweep away those cobwebs. And don’t forget to clean light fixtures and lightbulbs. Then place a mat at every door – inside and out – to reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked indoors.

* Driveway and sidewalks. Clean driveways and sidewalks with a push broom rather than a hose to conserve water. To clean up fresh oil stains on the driveway, blot up the excess with a paper towel, sprinkle with cat litter, leave overnight and sweep up in the morning. Older stains are harder to remove. Look for a grease remover specially designed to clean concrete surfaces.

* Patio furniture. Clean outdoor furniture fast with a garden hose and sprayer attachment. Spray to wet, then wash with soapy water or a foaming cleaner sponge, then spray again to rinse. To clean fabric cushions, mix one-quarter cup oxygen bleach in one gallon of water. Sponge the cushions with this mixture, then sponge with water. Turn cushions on their sides, with the zipper or seam side down, and allow to dry.

* Windows. You can take that same garden hose and attach a special outdoor cleaner to speed clean windows – even second story windows – without a ladder. And don’t forget to clean window screens. Wind blowing through a dusty screen will blow dust into your home, which can not only aggravate allergies, but create the need for more frequent cleaning of surfaces.

Keeping your outdoor living room clean can be a real challenge. Assign to family members chores that require regular doing, such as wiping table tops and hosing down outdoor furniture. Keep bins handy for easy disposal of garbage and recycling. Hint: Store extra trash bags at the bottom of the can for convenience.

Next month: Rainy day organizing
Survey Results: About surveys Last month I asked: How important are the monthly surveys in this newsletter?

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

4.8% said: Not at all important (I would not miss them.) 55.4% said: Somewhat important (I enjoy reading the results.) 39.8% said: Very important (I would really miss them.)

Well, based on the results of that survey, I will continue to conduct surveys! I find the results interesting also.
Thank you for you input.

New Survey: What does your workspace say about you? How much does your home or office workspace reveal about your personality, interests and likes?

1. A lot 2. A little 3. Nothing

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 number 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 am a firm believer that the more you like an organizational tool, the more likely you are to use it. In fact, the right tools can not only help you get organized, but also motivate you to stay organized.

Personally, I’m hooked on a new line of stylish office products available only through Staples. No more boring yellow pads and manila folders for you!

Go into any Staples store and look for the M by Staples collection, which includes matching sets of patterned file folders, notebooks, journals, memo cubes, and more plus note cards – all very high end quality without the high prices. Check out the complete line at http://www.mbystaples.com.

Smart Readers Write About: Turning trash into treasure I trash-picked a wine rack and use it now to store my rolls of wrapping paper. It holds more than a dozen rolls of paper and I can easily see what papers I have on hand.
This wine rack was one that creates spaces for the wine bottles with criss-crosses of wood strips in diamond shapes, but other wine racks could also be used.

Gretchen D., Rochester Hills, MI

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: Feelin’ the love If you pick up any of these magazines this month, you’ll find some great tips from your favorite professional organizer (I AM your favorite, right?):

Woman’s Day – May 2008 Creative household organizing tips Woman’s World – May 5, 2008 Organize your life column Better Homes & Gardens – May 2008 What’s in your cleaning closet Pilates Style – May 2008 Organizing your gym bag Better Homes & Gardens Secrets of Getting Organized (special publication)

I also had the pleasure of appearing May 14 on Better TV, a syndicated television show that airs in about 30 major markets across the country. I demonstrated tips for cleaning up your outdoor living room, which I wrote about in this month’s feature article.

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 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.