Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

October 2012 – Vol. 11 No. 10
“Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda
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Daring to stop the busy-ness Do you often feel stressed about what you have to do – or what you haven’t done? Do you find it difficult to balance the daily demands of work and home? Do you long for more leisure time?

Maybe you’re trying to do too much.

As Americans, we want to have it all, do it all, be it all. But in striving for the impossible dream of how we think “it” should be, we run the risk of short-changing ourselves and those around us.

The Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh said, “If we are too busy. . .how can we have the time to stop and look deeply into the situation – our own situation, the situation of our beloved one, the situation of our family and of our community, and the situation of our nation and of the other nations?”

Slowing down IS an option. If you are feeling stressed out, overtired, or overwhelmed, I dare you to stop the busy-ness.

Following are some suggestions for regaining control over those things that are within your power:

Design your life around your values. Choose two or three things that you consider to be the most important to you such as career, family, and fitness (or whatever you are passionate about). At the beginning of each week, create time in your schedule for each one of your priorities. Then schedule everything else around those things.

Go on a commitments diet. If you are currently involved in activities that are not aligned with your values or priorities, consider resigning from those activities.
It’s okay. You’ll be giving someone else an opportunity to step forward and grow. As part of your commitments diet, you will also need to learn to say no. If you are asked to volunteer your time, all you have to say is this: I’m sorry but I can’t. I am not making any new commitments right now.

Practice the concept of “pace, not race.” Walk and talk more slowly. Give yourself more time to get where you’re going and to complete your work. Build a little relaxation time into your schedule. Your body, mind and spirit need it!

Focus on the present. Whether you are washing dishes, driving to the store, doing your job, or helping your children with homework, focus all of your attention and energy on the task at hand. In a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Studies show multitasking makes you stupid,” author Sue Shellenbarger cites results from three scientific studies that prove multitasking is not as efficient as you might think.

QUICK TIP: Prepare to simplify

Here are two ways to simplify your life through planning ahead:

Instead of wondering what’s for dinner…

Plan meals in advance and tape your plan to the back of a kitchen cabinet door. At www.AllRecipes.com, you can search for recipes by ingredient or category, create a personal recipe box, and automatically generate a shopping list for your weekly meal plan.
It doesn’t get any easier than this.

Instead of wondering what to wear…

Select outfits for the next few days or even the entire week. Iron anything that needs to be ironed and hang each entire outfit on a hanger along with accessories.
(If you need to wear the same belt or jewelry, hang it with the next day’s outfit when you take it off.) Put the shoes you are going to wear on the floor below each selected outfit.

Favorite organizing products and resources As a professional organizer for the last 12 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 shared the Key Ring app – a new way to organize and store all of your membership and store reward cards.

This month, I’d like to introduce you to a company that can digitize all your old family photos and videos. There are other companies that do this, too, but I join with many other professional organizers who recommend ScanDigital.

ScanDigital manually processes each order and takes great care with your memories. If you send old albums full of photos, they will give the photos back to you in the same order. If you send them loose photos that are all out of order, when you get the digitized copies back, they give you the technology to easily rearrange and organize them. And they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Digitizing old family photos and videos not only preserves them, it also makes it easy to share with other family members through an online gallery or by copying disks.

If you’re reading this and thinking that you need to do something with your photos, you’ll be happy to hear that I have obtained special discounted vouchers (35% off) from ScanDigital for my readers.

The offer is $35 for $50 in scanning services and you can buy as many vouchers as you wish at http://bit.ly/SfL23G.
(There’s a disclaimer that there is a limit of one voucher, but that is only for customers who have opted for the My Life, Digital prepay and save plan.)

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

Shameless promotion: Join my organizing support group

Out of the blue yesterday, I got this idea to start an organizing support group and decided to act on it.

So I set up a Facebook group page where you can go any time to ask questions, get tips, post before and after photos and videos of your organizing projects, check out what other people are up to, share things that have worked for you, and generally get inspired to get more organized.

Oh. And it’s free. How does that sound? Do you want to join us?

Just log in to your Facebook account and type Unclutter.com Organizing Support Group in the Facebook search box (or follow this link: on.fb.me/WYN6ST to go there directly).
Click the Join button at the top right. Once you are approved (just a formality), you will be able to post and see other posts.

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