Posts

3 Clutter Buster Tips

First of all, what is clutter? What does it look like to you? My definition of clutter is a jumbled mess of miscellaneous stuff that has accumulated as a result of indecision and inaction. It’s piles of mail, heaps of clothes, and a tangled mess of adapters and earbuds. So how do we get rid of it?

Clutter buster tip #1

Reclaim order often and ask yourself two questions:

  1. What decisions do I need to make in order to get rid of this clutter?
  2. What actions do I need to take to reclaim order?

Reclaiming order is the process it takes for us to create order after we’ve made a mess of things. For example if all the laundry was clean and put away, how long would it take for more dirty laundry to appear?  Less than one day, right? That is natural disorder. We wear our clothes and get them dirty, and then they need to be laundered. Those three steps create the organizing flow (see diagram). The more often we complete the organizing flow circle, the less clutter and mess we have to address. I’m not recommending we do laundry every day, but I am recommending we do it often enough so it doesn’t become an overwhelming task. This organizing flow circle works for all areas of clutter, mail, clothes, cosmetics, tech paraphernalia, email, and the like. The key is to reclaim order in a timely manner so clutter doesn’t have a chance to grow and take root.

 

Clutter buster tip #2

Stop - Do not enter sign

Say No! and use gatekeeper questions.

A very effective way of reducing clutter is preventing it from coming into our homes in the first place. This is often easier said than done, but there are things we can do to stop clutter at the door. One option is to get removed from mailing lists, both electronic and snail mail. Use the national do not mail list. Another option is to see what makes up the piles of clutter and figure out who brings it into the house. Is it clothes, books, paper, or toys? Have the person responsible use a list of gatekeeper questions before bringing anything new into the house. These questions help determine the usefulness and practicality of items. Some examples are: Why are we buying you? What value will you add to our household? Where do we have a place for you? What will happen if we don’t buy you today? The point of these questions is to make you stop and think about what you’re bringing in before it gets to your door.

Clutter buster tip #3

tiny house key Adopt a return-home-routine.

Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes when you return home to take care of anything you brought home with you. I mean anything. Put your keys and handbag in a specific spot. Hang up your coat and put away your shoes. Take care of receipts, mail, and other items you carried in with you. Find a destination for any new purchases you bought. Do this every time you enter your home so it becomes a habit. This helps prevent piles of clutter from growing. We need to be diligent and have a do-it-now attitude, because clutter is a social creature and will attract other clutter if we let it.

 

©January 2020  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

Calendar Preparations

Organizing tipMake time in your schedule for 2020 calendar preparations. Use this time to mark special dates, write monthly bill reminders, and note meetings. Birthdays and anniversaries are the first thing I jot down on a new calendar, then work meetings, appointments, events, monthly bills, and tax payments. I also add reminders for events that require preparation. For example if I’m giving a class I give myself a one week and two week event reminder. I find this very helpful in keeping me organized and prepared.

3 Important Food Dates

Before the holiday season is upon us take time to clean out the pantry and fridge.

Product dates come in 3 types according to the FDA. Use these dates as your guideline to keep, donate or toss food.

Sell by – tells how long the store can sell foods like meat, poultry, eggs, or milk products; buy it before this date

Use by – tells how long the food will be at peak quality – if you buy or use it after this date, some foods might not be safe any longer

Best if used by  (or best if used before) – tells how long the food has the best flavor or quality – it is not a purchase or safety date

 

Morning Routine

Organizing tipSet up a morning routine to help start each day in an organized way. Keep it simple and be consistent. My routine is morning stretches and meditation followed by shower and breakfast. Establishing simple routines help us organize our time.

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