It’s not uncommon for clients to ask us to work our organizing magic in several rooms in their home—in one day. Our magic doesn’t come from jumping from one stepping-stone to the next, across the house. It comes from building steps and climbing up to the next level.Read more →
My wonderful clients know I have one simple rule at the Decision Table: “Nothing stays on the table.” When sorting a large quantity of stuff, it is important to recognize that EVERYTHING has a category and, therefore, a plan forward. Some categories, like “toss” and “donate” are obvious, but to keep the momentum going, you need more options. Here are a few.Read more →
When I go to work with my clients I bring what I call a “Decision Table.” There’s nothing actually special about this table except for one thing. When we’re done working on it, I fold it up and take it away with me, so NOTHING can stay on top of it. This not only applies at the end of the session, but during the session. To make effective progress in controlling clutter, I find it necessary to stick to one strict rule: “Nothing stays on the table.” Dealing with a multitude of clutter requires dealing with a multitude of decisions. The key is not to avoid the decisions, but to make the decisions easier. So how exactly do you do this? Clearing tough clutter is like making a tough decision. It needs to be done in STAGES. The next time you resolve to organize a room, try to be aware of how much time you spend running items into other rooms, calling a spouse for input, or shredding documents. These are all examples of distractions that compromise your efforts. Most of us hate to make decisions and will actively […]Read more →
Effective organizing begins with assigning basic categories, but “important” is NOT a category. It may be tempting to think, “I’ll just keep all my ‘important stuff’ together in one safe place and take my chances with the rest of it.” This is not a safe practice. Here are 5 reasons why.
1. “Important” changes with time. If this is the one system that makes you feel safe then the odds are very good that you don’t have a system for disposing of once-important itemsRead more →
If keeping a tidy home or office seems hopeless, part of the reason may be that not EVERYTHING has a home. Some categories are obvious – clothes go to the closet, books go to the bookshelf, and used coffee cups go to the kitchen sink – but what about that spare switch plate? After years of organizing homes and offices, I have come up with a checklist of consistently overlooked storage needs and solutions for them. Here they are: 1. Bills to pay. This might be the most important one and no, that pile of mail on the dining room table does not count. Solution: A small dedicated structure with slots like the 31 Day Bill Organizer keeps the bill paying challenge limited and that’s a good thing. Reserve it ONLY for bills to pay, not other to-do’s. Discard the outer envelopes and inserts as soon as the bill comes in. If you pay online then you can discard the return envelope as well. All you need is the reminders to pay. That will visually limit the task of bill […]Read more →
Originally from Matt Baier’s Organizing Works Newsletter, April 2008 THE ANNUAL PURGE I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. CIRCULATION PREVENTS ACCUMULATION. What better time of year than spring for a fresh start? Open the windows and let the musty winter out and the clean spring air in. Open the storage room and let the old junk out and the new potential in. Here are seven tips to survive and thrive through spring clearing. 1. Start with the Garage. This may sound counter-priority, but it’s not. Before you dive into the junk in your closets, clear out your garage. Consider this analogy. You may get to the airport in plenty of time for your flight to Rome, but without a passport you’re not going anywhere. An empty garage is your passport that will get you where you need to go. Why? Because it is the logical place to establish an exit zone. For smelly dirty garbage it is almost outside, but protected from the elements. For items to donate, it is as close to the vehicle (and as visible to the driver […]Read more →