But I Might Need That Someday

We’ve all said it. Even me, but not anymore, and after reading this blog you won’t say it either. I’m referring to the phrase, “but I might need that someday“.  It’s a phrase that gets spoken when we think something needs to be kept, despite the fact that it hasn’t been used in a very long time. For some unknown reason we’re fearful that as soon as we get rid of this item we’ll desperately need it. We refuse to get rid of kitchen gadgets that live in the darkest recesses of a corner cabinet. We insist on saving the rarely used tools that are buried in the shed. We fantasize about using fancy linens that are still in their original packaging that has yellowed with age. We all own things that lay dormant in our homes, never being used or useful. So why do we hold onto them?

We hold onto them because we think they’re useful. BUT are they? What if someday comes and you can’t find it. It’s not where you thought it was. Will you waste valuable time looking for it? Will you go out and buy a new one? If so, you’ve not only wasted time, but money as well. What if someday comes and it’s not in the condition you thought it was in? Is it easier to make do without it or find an alternative solution? What if someday comes and you can’t get at it because it’s buried under a pile of clutter? How much time will you spend retrieving it? What if someday never comes?

Items are useful only if we can find them when we need them and they’re in good operating condition. It takes time and effort to organize and maintain our belongings. Why waste time and effort on items that haven’t been used in a very long time or at all? A guideline that I find helpful relates to how easy it is to replace an item and how costly it is to replace an item. If an item can be replaced in 20 minutes for under $20.00 then get rid of it. Instead of saying “I might need that someday!” please consider letting the item go.

The next time that phrase is on the tip of your tongue ask yourself these questions.

  1. When is someday? Are you willing to put a note on the item that says if not used within 3 years from today (date) then get rid of it?
  2. Will you be able to find it and will it be in good working order when someday comes? If no, let it go.
  3. Is there someone who can use and appreciate it now instead of waiting for someday? If yes, than give it to them.
  4. How much space is it taking up? Can that space be better used for something else? If yes, than free up that space.
  5. Can it be replaced in 20 minutes for under $20.00? If yes, than let it go.

 

©October 2019   Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organzier®   All Rights Reserved

key holder

10 Effective Organizing Habits

Helpful Organizer BlogHabits help us establish and maintain order. According to Stephen Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, creating a habit requires three things, knowing what to do, knowing how to do it, and wanting to do it. I can help with knowing what to do and knowing how to do it, but you have to want to do it. Below I’ve listed 10 effective organizing habits that work for me. I’d like to encourage you to pick one and create a new organizing habit for a month. Pick one that sounds doable to you and give it a try. (This is knowing what to do.) Do it every day for a month. I find it helpful to perform a new habit at the same time every day. (This is knowing how to do it.) Adjust your mindset and tell yourself that you want to and wish to do this habit. Think of it as an experiment. (This is wanting to do it.)

10 Effective Organizing Habits

  1. Collect mail every day and immediately recycle all junk mail.
  2. Establish one specific spot for keys and put them there every time you return home.
  3. Use only one date book/calendar to keep track of appointments, obligations, important dates and to dos.
  4. Have one ongoing grocery list and write down what needs replenishing as soon as it gets used up.
  5. Hold coupons and receipts in one designated spot and clean them out at least once a month.
  6. Place purse in one specific location and always put it there when home.
  7. Put all dirty clothes in hamper every night.
  8. Put clothes that can be re-worn in one designated spot in your closet.
  9. Plan the next day’s outfit the night before.
  10. After dinner each night plan dinner for the next night.

How did you do? Did you successfully create a new habit for yourself? Please share your experience with me in the comment section.

©July 2019  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

Clutter

Keep up with Change

Organizing tip

Change is sure to happen. Keeping up with change requires making decisions and taking action. If we neglect this, clutter builds. As clutter builds, accumulated amounts become overwhelming and more decisions need to be made. As time passes action becomes more difficult to take. So keep up with change to stay clutter-free and organized.

Clutter removal project - before

Do-It-Yourself Organizing

Helpful Organizer Blog

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of person? Do you clean your own house, mow your own grass, shovel your own driveway? Is organizing a do-it-yourself project? What about downsizing, clearing out the garage, or getting rid of all that has accumulated in the basement? From what I’ve experienced in my 11 years as a Professional Organizer, it depends on three things. It depends on the volume of mess, thoughts and feelings about the mess, and amount of time one has to devote to organizing and clearing the mess. All three of these factors help us determine whether we want help, need help, or can tackle it on our own.

Let’s first discuss the volume of mess. The amount that needs to be organized affects whether we cry for help or think we can manage on our own. Most of us are willing to organizing a junk drawer on our own, and even a kitchen pantry, desk top or medicine cabinet, but what about our closets, basement, or garage?

Secondly, let’s discuss our thoughts and feelings about the mess. How stressed and overwhelmed are we about it? Is this causing us to stall and procrastinate. Are we frustrated trying to figure out where to start?

Lastly, let’s discuss the time we have to devote to organizing? How much time do we want to devote to clearing the mess? Do you want to eat up your precious free time organizing your closet or family room?

We all have our own tolerance levels. That point where we just can’t stand it any longer, and things have to change. When do you reach yours, and do you ask for help once you’ve gotten there? Help is available. I’m available. If you’re not within 15 miles of North Attleboro, MA you can find a Professional Organizer in your area by visiting the website for the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.  If you are close to North Attleboro, MA I’d be happy to assist you if you’d like help. Email me today.

©March 2019  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

one dollar bills

No One Needs a Lifetime Supply of Anything!

Helpful Organizer BlogWhen I heard this phrase, “No one needs a lifetime supply of anything!” I laughed. I understand that the phrase is an exaggeration, but it is also true. Excessive shopping and stockpiling can create real issues. There is value in having a well stocked pantry, and it’s important to be prepared for emergencies, but when do we have enough? We are constantly being encouraged to buy, and the message that more is better is pushed on us. It is often difficult to know when we have enough and when we have too much.

When I asked a group of business women the question, “What does more stuff equal?” I was thinking they would answer that more stuff equals more to organize and maintain, but the resounding answer was, “More Stress!” These women clearly understood that more is not always better, but do they live that way? The average American household has 300,000 things in it. How many of those things get used regularly or frequently? How much time is wasted taking care of all the things we own?

I’d like to propose an experiment. In order to become more mindful consumers, establish a self imposed shopping ban for one month. Buy only essentials, such as food, medications, and toiletries for a month. Purchase what is needed, but no surplus, excess, or impulse buys. If you’re up for a tougher challenge, extend your shopping ban to include take-out food and eating out for the month. Notice what happens. How does it feel? Is it difficult or easy to shop less and spend less? Please share your experience with me.

My husband and I imposed the tough shopping ban for one month and found that shopping less was fairly easy, but we are lazy cooks. When we’re tired or our pantry is bare, we succumb to the temptation to eat out or get take out. We decided to work on this. We are trying new recipes, experimenting with new food and ingredients, and visiting the grocery store more often. We’re still working on this, but I’m happy with our progress so far.

Here are some additional ideas on how we can become more mindful consumers.

  • Buy multi-use and multi-purpose items. Examples: all purpose cleaners, multi-season jacket, furniture that serves a dual purpose.
  • Value quality over quantity to prevent the need for frequent replacement. (Example: better quality clothing, furniture, footwear, kitchen items)
  • Be a “cart” user when shopping on-line. Put items in cart and let them sit for a minimum of 2 weeks and then reevaluate before purchasing.
  • Be resourceful and use what we have. (Example: Use something completely to prevent waste. Eat left overs. Re-purpose items.)
  • Use up items from the pantry or fridge to show one empty shelf before replenishing.
  • Experiment with the power of ONE – Only one of each item and only one product open at a time. No back up items or duplicates.
  • Practice 1 in 1 out guideline.
  • Use gatekeeper questions.
  • Establish shopping guidelines.

©December 2018  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved