Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life November 2009 – Vol. 8 No. 10
“Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul.” ~Democritus
Thank you for subscribing. . .
Welcome new subscribers! And hello to all. 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

Organizing for a Stress-Free Holiday A little organization can make all the difference between having a stress-full or a stress-free holiday.

My favorite tip? Set a deadline to be ready two days early, so you can relax with your family and guests and not still be running around on the day of the holiday.

Instead of that last-minute marathon gift-wrapping session, spend 15 minutes wrapping presents each night until you are done. Save time and frustration by setting up a gift wrap center with all of your wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue, ribbons, bows, and gift tags, tape, scissors and a marker or pen.

Holiday cards are another big project that you can complete in phases: sign cards, address envelopes, seal, and stamp.
Use the time during television commercial breaks and the job will be done in no time. Or delegate tasks to family members so the job gets done assembly-style.

Or do what I do. A few years ago, I started using a service that lets me select the card I want to send from their online card catalog. All I do is press SEND and they do all the stuffing, sealing, addressing, stamping and mailing for about $1 a card. (These are real paper greeting cards, by the way, not e-cards.) I liked it so much that I became a distributor so if you want to try it, I invite you to send a card on me at www.yourcardconnection.com.

Keep in mind: “less is more,” even at the holidays. Now’s a good time to donate some of your kids’ old toys and games – and some of your own stuff. Keep a list of what you donate and be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes. While you’re at it, when you pull out your holiday decorations, add the ones you didn’t use last year to your donations box, and toss anything that’s broken or worn.

You might also think about selling some things on Craigslist.org to make a few extra bucks for your holiday shopping. According to a recent eBay survey, the average American has $3,000 of saleable goods in their homes. Go see what you’ve got!

Hoarders wanted for documentary series

A fellow professional organizer is producing a new series of hour-long documentary style shows about hoarding and extreme cases of chronic disorganization, which will air on one of the largest TV networks.

The producers are currently seeking participants. If you or someone in your life is chronically disorganized, and would like to discuss this project further, contact Lisa-Kay Williams of Revolutionary Moves. Call 917-991-6311 or email info@allinplaceforyou.com.

NOTE: They also plan to produce a move-management segment.
Please write, e-mail, or call with your nightmare-move stories: Lisa-Kay Williams All In Place, Inc. 407 Park Ave.
South 15-F NY, NY 10016.

Survey Results: Can you get organized? Last month I asked: Do you think that you CAN get more organized? Or does it seem an impossible task?

75% said: Yes, I think I can get more organized.
18% said: No, it seems an impossible task.
5.6% said: I am as organized as I need to be 1.4% said: Other

Like Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

If you answered “no,” have you considered hiring a professional organizer? To get a referral to a professional organizer near you, go to the web site of the National Association of Professional Organizers at www.napo.net.

If you are unable to hire a professional organizer to help you, then you will need to help yourself! Here are a few simple things you can do to start regaining control of your space.

1. Start small. Don’t try to unclutter and organize your entire home or even an entire room. Do it drawer by drawer, shelf by shelf and then enjoy the satisfaction that comes from organizing each space.

2. Be brave. Decide to surround yourself with only those things you love and use and let go of the rest.

3. Limit what you bring into your home. Keep in mind that what you buy today becomes tomorrow’s clutter. If you want less clutter, buy less stuff!

4. Before setting something down, ask yourself: is this where this belongs? If not, put it where DOES belong.

New Survey: Organizing seminars by phone

I’m planning to offer a series of low-cost phone seminars on various organizing topics in 2010. Which of the following best answers the question: Would you be interested?

Very likely – where do I sign up? Maybe – tell me more Not at all interested

NOTE: See “Shameless Promotion” below to see how you can win a paid seminar registration!

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: Paper clutter

It seems that I always had a zillion pieces of paper that I wanted to keep, even if they were only thank yous and pictures from the grandkids. I have been scanning all of these onto a USB stick and in folders. The original is gone but anytime I want to browse they are all where I can find them. All my old bills, letters, articles, recipes are easy to find and yet there is no pile or space taken up.

–Submitted by Anna H.

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: Your chance to win a free seminar registration!

It’s hard to believe but it’s been almost exactly one year since my latest book, A to Z Storage Solutions, was published.

It’s a handy little guide with solutions for how to store everything from addresses to zoo activity schedules. Items are presented alphabetically for easy reference and browsing, and the book’s colorful, quick-read format makes it both practical and fun.

I got to thinking that this book would make a great gift for yourself or anyone who wants to get more organized. So here’s what I’m going to do:

When you purchase a copy of A to Z Storage Solutions between now and December 2, 2009, you will receive one paid registration to an upcoming organizing phone seminar – a $27 value – to be held in January 2010.

For each copy of A to Z Storage Solutions purchased, you will receive one paid seminar registration. Purchase five copies as holiday gifts and get five paid seminar registrations to go with the books!

Ready to order? Just one catch: I am requiring that you order from Amazon.com at the regular sale price of $7.88.

Forward the email you receive from Amazon with your order number to donna@unclutter.com by 11:59 pm Pacific Time on December 2, 2009. You will receive a confirmation email from me with a reservation code that will enable you to attend the live seminar for free. (Dates and times to be announced. Note: Your paid registration also includes a free recording in the event that you are unable to attend the live seminar.)

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