Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
June 2014 – Vol. 13 No. 3

“Maybe the life you have always wanted to live is buried beneath everything you own.” ~ Joshua Becker


3 good rainy day organizing projects

Summer is here and that means plenty of sunshine and outdoor fun. But what do you do when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day (like me here in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho today)?

You could read a book, play board games with the kids or… here’s an idea… tackle some organizing projects you’ve been meaning to get to!

I came up with three good rainy day organizing projects that might just brighten an otherwise gloomy day as you bask in the glow of a job finally done!

1. Declutter your closet.

A rainy day is a great day to go through your clothes closet and figure out what you love, what you need – and what you don’t love or need. Start by pulling out your favorite items and set them aside. Look at what’s left.

Try on things you haven’t worn in awhile. Do they fit? Do they make you look fabulous? If not, what are they doing in your closet? Make a decision to let go of clothing that’s just taking up valuable space in your closet. Bag your cast-offs and (when the rain stops) take them to a consignment store or donate them and take the tax write-off.

Here’s an idea that might get you motivated to tackle this job: For every 10 items you release, allow yourself one new item of clothing.

2. Organize drawers.

What better way to spend a rainy day than catching up on sold old television programs – and getting some organizing done! Just pull a drawer out of its cabinet and bring it into room where you watch TV.

When the commercials come on, empty the drawer and sort the contents. Toss the junk. set aside items to donate or sell. And put back the rest. Repeat until the sun comes out!

3. Sort photographs.

Talk about a good rainy day project! If you’re like a lot of people, you have boxes of photographs that you want to organize and put into albums, but what an overwhelming task!

Here’s an easy way to get started. Cut or fold 5-7 paper grocery bags down to about 8 inches high. Use a marker to label each one with a category for sorting that makes sense to you such as vacations, special events, parents, kids, and grandkids. Sort all of your photos into one of these categories. Toss duplicates and any that really aren’t worth keeping (or set aside to give to another family member).

Once you have sorted all of your photos into broad categories, you can take the photos in one category and sort into sub-categories. For example, you can sort vacation photos by different destinations. If you don’t finish this project in a day, just store the paper bags under your bed until the next rainy day!

The other option is to scan all of your photos, which is what I plan to do. Yes, I have photograph clutter, too! I stopped printing photographs years ago, but I still have two large bins of photographs in the “basement” of our motorhome that I didn’t have time to go through before we sold our home last year.

You can do your own scanning or pay to have them scanned. I’m opting to pay for this service because I’ve decided that it’s the only way this job is going to get done in my lifetime! (Read the next article to learn more about the company I’ve chosen to scan all of my photographs.)

BONUS ORGANIZING PROJECT:  Clean your fridge! Read my tips for how to get this job done in 15 minute or less, published in this article.


Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 14 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 a new ebook from my friends at List Plan-It, one of my readers’ favorite resources for getting organized. 100 Days of Summertime 2014 is available in PDF (145 pages) and includes a 34-page workbook for planning out a fun and productive summer – all for just $8 (unless you use the coupon code: 100DAYS3OFF and then it’s just $5. You’re welcome!). 

This month I want to introduce you to FotoBridge, the company I’ve chosen to scan all of my photographs. I met them at the annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers last month and was impressed with their commitment to fast, safe and secure scanning services for their customers – and they guarantee 100% satisfaction. You send your photos, slides, negatives, even video and they will transform them into digital memories on DVD. But you also have the option (and it’s a free option) to have your photos stored on your own private Cloud for safekeeping and sharing.

Now, you should be aware that you still need to sort your photos into categories. You can do your sorting before sending photos (they scan in the order they receive photos) or after they are digitized. All your photos will be digitized as .jpg files in one folder on the DVD they send back. If you want to do your sorting later, I recommend creating 5-7 main category folders and moving photos into the appropriate folder. If you wish, you can further sort into sub-category folders (see advice above).

My new friends at FotoBridge have kindly offered a discount that you can apply to your order should you decided to try this service. Enter the coupon code “Unclutter” (without the quotation marks) to take 10% off at checkout. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to cross this project off my list. And I’m excited to have all of my old photos in digital form. Finally, I’ll be able to post some old photos on Facebook for Throwback Thursday! Mostly, I’ll be glad to have the extra basement space.

For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit


Shameless promotion: Could you use some help getting organized?

About a year ago, I created an organizing support group on Facebook and we are now have more than 800 members. When new members join, I ask them about their biggest organizing challenges and respond to each one with organizing tips specific to their challenges. In a conversation this morning with one new member, she shared a great tip in return. She said:

My daughter gave me some good advice. She said to stand in the doorway to a room, look at it, then close your eyes and imagine what I want it to look like. Then open my eyes and anything that wasn’t in that mental picture has to go. It’s perfect for when I feel overwhelmed.

0976a26c0f392b0d069e1b1cd8b8d52bMembers of the Organizing Support Group on Facebook benefit by learning from each other and also from articles and surveys I post on the group page along with inspirational quotes and even some comic relief. We encourage each other to declutter, organizing and simplify life – and we invite you to join us. (FYI, this is a closed group, so anything you post here can only be seen by other members.)

One last thing before I go…I mentioned attending the annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers last month. In addition to FotoBridge, I discovered several other organizing products that might be of interest to you including an amazing gift wrap organizer, an organizer for storing important documents, and a special timer for getting things done. I plan to share one a day in quick blog posts during the coming week. Stay tuned!

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

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission which goes toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter. Please note that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.