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Organizing Your Christmas Supplies

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The holidays are in full gear now, and most of us are busy with shopping, decorating, baking, and holiday parties. Since most of us decorate our homes for Christmas, this is the ideal time to get our Christmas decorations and gift wrapping supplies better organized. This article will give you some practical tips for organizing your Christmas ornaments, lights, wreaths, other decorations, and gift wrapping supplies.

If you read my articles regularly, you won’t be surprised to read that just like any other organizing, the critical step is getting rid of anything you aren’t using. You probably have items in the bottom of your bins of Christmas decorations that you haven’t used in years. Actually, you may have entire bins of decorations that you haven’t used in years! They aren’t doing anyone any good in the bin. It doesn’t matter who gave it to you, how long you’ve had it, whether or not you “paid good money for it”, or how many times you said you might use it next year. If you don’t love it and you’re not using it, the best thing to do is to get rid of it. Be ruthless! If it’s a special family decoration, you might want to take a quick picture of it and send it to family members with a text that says something like, “I am not using this decoration. If you would like it, I’m happy to pass it along. Otherwise, I will be donating it tomorrow. Please let me know ASAP. Merry Christmas!”

If you don’t take your decorations down until sometime in January (or later), you may be wondering whether you can still donate Christmas items at that time of the year. I promise you that Goodwill or any other agency that receives donations can take them any time. They’re good at this; they do it every day! So don’t let that stop you from donating.

There are nice, specialized but slightly expensive products for storing particular Christmas supplies, but there are also effective inexpensive ways to accomplish the same result. Containers with separate compartments to store ornaments are wonderful, but you can accomplish the same effect with plastic cups and a piece of cardboard. Cut a piece of cardboard in the same size as the bin you will be using. Hot glue plastic cups to the cardboard. Place one ornament inside each cup. Cover this with another piece of cardboard that also has plastic cups glued to it. Layer these to fill the bin, put the cover on the bin, and label. Smaller ornaments can be stored in an egg carton. An even simpler method for storing ornaments is to layer the ornaments in a bin with rags, towels, or quilt batting. With this method, you may want to wrap the more fragile ornaments in bubble wrap and/or put them at the top of the bin. I have used this method for many years and have had very few ornament casualties.

For strands of lights, you can wrap each one around a piece of cardboard. Or you can put each strand inside a large Ziploc bag. For wreaths, you may want to cover each one with a trash bag or a clear dry cleaning bag to protect it. Then you can hang it up on a nail in the attic. You can use a hanger put through the center of the wreath or attached to the wreath with a zip tie to make it easier to hang.

I love the special organizing products for gift wrapping supplies. But once again, there are less expensive ways to store these as well. For long rolls of gift wrap, you can use a tall trash can or a garment bag. For the ribbon, bows, gift bags, tissue paper, etc., labeled bins will work just fine. For the gift bags, I recommend that you store them standing up on their sides, not in a large stack. If they are standing up, it will be much quicker to look through them. You might even want to separate the Christmas bags from the others. I love the idea of using a flat bin for an under the bed wrapping station. Then you can pull it out when it’s time to wrap gifts, and keep it hidden at other times.

I hope these tips are helpful for you. Have a wonderful Christmas!

 

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The Perfect Time to Hire an Organizer

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You’ve read the posts, looked at the before and after pictures, and wondered what your disorganized spaces would look like after being put in order. You’ve imagined having an organized home where everything has a place, there are no piles of clutter,  and you don’t waste time looking for things. Maybe you’ve tried organizing on your own without success. You’ve considered finding out what an organizer could do for you, but for months, you’ve just kept on scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed. And now with the holidays right around the corner, your To Do list is out of control. So how in the world could this be the perfect time?

  • Your family and friends are asking you what they can buy you for Christmas, and this is a great idea for your wish list!
  • I have a Holiday Special running until the end of the year. You can get one 3 hour session of organizing for $100 (normal price is $120). The session can be scheduled anytime in 2018.
  • Even if you can’t schedule the first session until the beginning of the year, you will be hopeful because you are taking the first step.
  • My schedule will get very busy at the beginning of the year because getting organized is one of the top New Year’s resolutions. The earlier you can get scheduled to get ahead of this rush, the earlier your home will be organized!
  • Organizing is more than just cleaning up a space. I can help you set up systems for keeping them that way.

Don’t take it from me. Listen to my clients. Here are a few things my clients are saying about my services.

  • “I now go to all the different areas of my home and just marvel at how good it looks and feels!”
  • “I wholeheartedly endorse Angie and the fantastic work that she does. You will NOT be disappointed; I certainly wasn’t.”
  • “Everyday of this year has been more productive because of Angie’s efforts and her ability to get things done”
  • “With the piles of clutter disbursed, there is a calm here that has been lacking.”
  • “In small and big ways, Angie’s organization skills are helping our home run more smoothly, and she is equipping me with tools that are making our family’s life so much more fun!”

So what are you waiting for? Contact me today, and let’s get started. An organized home and an organized life await you!

 

Why “Shipshape Solutions” ?

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Starting a business is a pretty overwhelming task. There are so many decisions to make, and the To Do list is overwhelming. As I think back to the summer of 2016 when I was working on starting my organizing business, one of the most difficult decisions I had to make was choosing a company name. I wanted it to be something unique, and with hundreds of organizing businesses in the country, that wouldn’t necessarily be easy. I wanted a name that could somehow relate to a logo. I thought about it for months, sought ideas from family and friends, looked at lists of organizing companies, and was still stumped.

The breakthrough finally came on a long car drive with my husband Eric. Eric was driving (as usual), and I started the conversation (again) about a company name. Being the word nerds that we are, we decided to use my Dictionary app to search for synonyms for the word “organize”. Most of the words or phrases generated by the app were ones we had heard of (like group, coordinate, catalogue, straighten out, or put in order), but there were also plenty of new ones. By the end of the long discussion, we had 3 distinct possibilities of synonyms for organize that were unique and would relate to a logo: shipshape, pigeonhole, and apple pie order. For each of these, we talked about whether people would have heard of the word or phrase and what logo it might suggest. In the end, we both decided that we really liked the word “shipshape”. Adding “solutions” to the end made it sound like a business that helped people solve organizational problems. I liked the alliteration with the letter “s”. There was an easy correlation with a nautical theme for a logo. I had some vague notion that ships were supposed to be neat and tidy but wasn’t quite sure what that meant. And so finally, after months of uncertainty, I chose “Shipshape Solutions”.

Little did I know that it would be a long time before I really appreciated how perfect the name choice had been! I have my wonderful client Nick Grabar to thank for this realization. In writing a 5 star review for my business, Mr. Grabar went into great detail in explaining what it really means to be “shipshape”:

As a former competitive sailboat racer, being “shipshape” has a very specific meaning:  “You only sail with what you absolutely need; then, everything has its place and is to be found in its place when needed).  Those that win races don’t carry excess weight, or lose time looking for something.  Seconds count.  Being shipshape one can focus on what is really important to winning races.

Cary and I recently downsized after living 45 years in our previous house.  We thought we had decluttered and simplified our lives.  We did get rid of a lot of stuff we really did not need when we downsized.   Five years later, we realized our new home has also become cluttered because the truth is that our mindset is “stuff expands to fill the space available”.  When we ran out of space, we called Angie to have her do an assessment.  With her professional expertise and guidance we are now trimming our sails and stowing our gear to be shipshape. There is smooth sailing ahead for us. We like her ideas and most of all, she is a hands on deck crew to help make it happen.  Knowing what shipshape means is one thing, making it happen is another.  We highly recommend Angie Hyche and Shipshape Solutions.

I’m so glad that Mr. Grabar helped me understand the term “shipshape” and allowed me to share his writing. And I’m so glad that I chose this name even before I really understood what it means. I love the logo that my graphic designer, Lesa Phillips with Sterling Graphics designed for me.

A System for Morning and Evening Routines

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Sometimes one small tweak can make all the difference. When listening to one of my favorite organizing podcasts, “A Slob Comes Clean” by Dana White, a podcast guest said something that really stuck with me. This guest, a homeschool mother of 9 children, said, “Anything that causes me stress, I create a system.” Her examples included their household morning routine and table chores. I can’t even imagine all of the work that goes into running a household of that size! But I also know that this principle could be used in many different ways. Systems are a key to organization, especially to maintaining organization!

Several months ago, I realized that I needed a change to my morning and evening routines and the supplies needed for them. I was in the habit of keeping all of my small supplies needed in my bathroom in the morning (deodorant and makeup) and evening (medication, dental floss, moisturizing cream, and makeup remover) in the bathroom in one clear bin. I used most of the supplies in the morning and a few at night. The idea was that I would dump everything out of the bin in the morning, use all of the morning supplies, and then leave out the things I needed in the evening until I had used them. Then I would return these to the bin, put the lid back on, and repeat the process in the morning. The reason that I dumped everything out was that I learned the hard way that this would prevent me from skipping a step. Many times I had gotten distracted while putting on makeup, then later in the day discovered I put on everything except mascara. Dumping things out is a sort of visual checklist for me.

The problem with this system was that when I went into the bathroom later in the day, I could never remember whether I had already taken my medication and just forgotten to put it back into the bin. Yes, I could have resorted to those pill boxes with the days of the week, but for some reason I associate those with people much older than me, and I just wasn’t ready for that yet. Not knowing whether I had taken my medicine was stressful. Should I take it just in case? What if that meant a double dose? What if I don’t take it and miss today’s dose? I just didn’t need that kind of stress in my life. Something had to change.

The solution was very simple. I got a second matching clear bin just for evening supplies and labelled each clearly. Now I could use the same process of dumping everything out and returning it as I use it in the morning and in the evening. No more forgetting, no more stress.

I am guessing you might be having one of two thoughts:

  1. Do you really use only that many products in the morning and evening? Well, I have my hair supplies in a different drawer (hair dryer, brushes and straightener). My toothbrush and toothpaste are in a separate container by the sink. And I use the soap that’s already by the sink to wash my face. I know I probably use less products than the average female. But yes, my routine is pretty streamlined, and I don’t keep any products that I don’t use regularly on the vanity. I store infrequently used items under my sink (if I keep them at all).
  2. Isn’t this kind of overkill? I mean, aren’t you kind of overthinking this? Are you really that forgetful? Well, maybe. I am definitely over the top as far as organization goes. I can tell you that if there is any way to make a simple change that can decrease stress in my day, I think it’s worth it. There are so many parts of my day that require intense concentration, so it’s nice that in the morning and evening, I can kind of be more on auto-pilot.

My favorite organizing tips for your bathroom:

  • Get rid of every product you don’t use! Donate, throw away, or whatever. There is no need to keep them! They are taking up space and making it harder to keep your bathroom clean. I can’t stress this one enough. Purging is ALWAYS the first step in organizing.
  • Keep the products you use daily in a convenient, easy to access location. A drawer or a container on the vanity that you can pick up when it’s time to clean the bathroom both work well. The more things crowding your vanity makes it harder to keep it clean. Clear surfaces are not only easier to clean, but also instantly make a room look neater.
  • Keep products you use occasionally in a different location, preferably grouped in an organized fashion. The cabinet under the sink is a good place for this. Bins and baskets can help corral these items and keep them neat.

Happy organizing!

 

Doing a Good Job: It’s the Little Things

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I am a big fan of quotes. I think there is almost always a perfect quote for any occasion. Often the perfect quote at the perfect time can really inspire and challenge me. For example, yesterday I was feeling down and a little whiny. I tried to focus on the positive, but I wasn’t doing too well. I decided to go to bed early (extra rest ALWAYS helps me!). And then this morning, I remembered a great quote that I had heard at a lecture on resilience among Holocaust survivors. Victor Frankl, Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, is credited with this quote: “Between stimulus and response lies a space. In that space lie our freedom and power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” So I decided right then and there to stop the pity party and move on. That quote really helped me!

My husband Eric shared a quote with me recently that I can’t seem to get off my mind. So I finally decided to spend a little more time reflecting on what I might be able to learn from it and how I might be able to inspire others by sharing it. The quote is from Kyle Richter, CEO of a software company called MartianCraft,  and it was shared during his presentation at the 360iDev Conference in Denver this past August.

“There’s a big difference between being good at your job and being good at doing your job.”

I think this principle is true regardless of the field of work. Every field of work has a primary task or set of tasks that takes up most of the time and focus. But there are also a myriad of other responsibilities inherent in any job. You can be the absolute best at that primary task, but if you neglect the others, your overall performance (and sometimes the entire company) suffers.

For example, if you’re a residential painter, obviously your primary job is to paint the interior and exterior of houses. Excellence in the skill of painting itself is crucial. However, there are so many other skills and responsibilities involved in being successful as a residential painter. You need to be able to get clients, schedule jobs, choose and purchase the appropriate equipment and painting supplies, estimate the amount of supplies are needed for a project, communicate well with clients, meet deadlines, keep track of financial information, and so on. So if you’re a top notch painter (“good at your job”) but are lousy at some or all of the other responsibilities (NOT “good at doing your job”), you won’t be successful.

If you work in a company alongside others, this adds even more elements. You need to be a team player, communicate well with co-workers, take direction from a superior well, work together well with peers, keep the company’s goals in mind, etc. All of these qualities are important.

I am convinced that some of those responsibilities that might not seem as important are critical to keeping customers happy. You may not enjoy them, but your success depends upon doing them well. Happy customers are long-term customers. Happy customers talk to their family and friends and generate more customers.

One particular facet of “being good at doing your job” that I consider particularly important is good communication with clients. When Eric and I are looking for someone to help us with a home repair or improvement, we usually call 2 or 3 different companies. We might have stellar recommendations from Company A and are leaning toward using their services. However, if Company B calls us back quickly, gives us a clear idea of what kind of service and prices to expect, and is eager to get the job but Company A waits a week to call us back, we will go with Company B every time. When a company prioritizes customer service, we are much more likely to choose them. And this means not only do we choose Company B, but we also refer our family and friends, give a positive review on social media, and will likely hire them again in the future.

You may wonder what this has to do with organizing. There is far more to being organized than just having all of your stuff arranged well. Organization on the job involves keeping up with your calendar, prioritizing your To Do lists, making time for customer follow-up, keeping accurate records. In short, all of those extras involve organizing. And those “extras” can make or break your business. I assure you that time spent organizing will reap great dividends.

 

 

 

 

“I Wish I Hadn’t Gotten Rid of That!”

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Early in August, as area schools were starting back, I was preparing for a news interview on WJHL’s Daytime Tri-Cities. The topic I chose to present was organizing for the school year. I was thinking back to how hectic those school mornings could be, and trying to remember anything I had done when my girls were young that alleviated some of the stress. As I gathered items for the interview, I remembered one in particular that was a favorite organizing tool. We used this particular item to help plan ahead for choosing an outfit for school. It was a hanging garment bag with five pockets. It was pink and purple (perfect for a family with two girls), and the five sections were labeled with the days of the school week Monday through Friday. On Sunday evenings (if I had kept up with the laundry to make this possible), we would pick out a school outfit for every day of the week. This prevented that last-minute scramble and potential argument about what to wear. On a stressful school morning, anything that can save just a bit of time and hassle is invaluable. I loved that garment hanger!

When the girls were older and were more independent in the school morning routine, we no longer needed that garment hanger. I held onto it for a little while, but I eventually decided to donate it. I didn’t think about it again until that day in early August of this year. I did a cursory glance in the attic but was pretty sure I no longer had it. I remember saying, “I sure wish I hadn’t gotten rid of that thing. It would have been perfect for this interview!” I decided to try to find one like it, but of course I wasn’t able to find one quickly. I suppose I might have been able to find an equivalent one, and with Amazon Prime quick shipping, I still might have gotten it in time. But I decided that using a generic one (not labeled with the days of the week or pink and purple) would be just fine. So I purchased one from Target, and sure enough, it was sufficient to make the point. I hated that I didn’t still have that particular item, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t really that important. It was one of about 10-15 items that I used for the interview, and I don’t think it mattered that much.

Do I wish I had kept the garment hanger so that I could have used it? Yes, but not really. Let me explain. Eric and I are both always eager to get rid of things we don’t need. We love the freedom that comes from decluttering. We consider the number of times when we say, “I sure wish I hadn’t gotten rid of that” a very small price to pay. Isn’t it interesting that we tend to only remember the times when we need something we got rid of, but not the times when we don’t need it? Every other August, I could have said, “Well, another beginning of the school year is here, and once again, we don’t need that garment hanger.” The same could be said of the hundreds of other items that we have gotten rid of over the years. Day after day, year after year, we still don’t need them. And the decluttered spaces are still there to remind us that we made the right choice.

Eric was recently listening to the Michael Lewis book The Undoing Project . It tells the story of Nobel-prize-winning psychologist Danny Kahneman and his groundbreaking work with Amos Tversky. In one of the memorable quotes from the book, Tversky said, “Unless you are kicking yourself once in a month for throwing something away, you aren’t throwing enough away.” When I consider how infrequently that happens to me, it only confirms my opinion even more.

Here’s another factor to consider: If we choose to keep something that we haven’t used in a while on the off chance that we might need it in the future, when that time comes, we might not even remember that we have it! Or more likely, we won’t be able to find it because of all the clutter. Additionally, we might be able to find it, but it may have been damaged over the years because it wasn’t stored correctly.

I hope this example is helpful in your decluttering attempts. And I hope you find that like me, the regret of not keeping something you eventually need is more than offset by the innumerable benefits of owning less.

Probability, not Possibility

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As I write this blog entry, I am flying back to Tennessee from Colorado. This is a flight I am fortunate to make semi-regularly. With my older daughter Emma in graduate school in Fort Collins, my husband Eric and I look for any opportunity to travel to Colorado. This time, Eric was presenting at and attending a developer’s conference in Denver. My younger daughter Lydia and I jumped at the chance to come along. I love this part of the country for so many reasons, but chief among them is the chance to hike again in Rocky Mountains National Park. The beauty of these mountains never ceases to amaze me. It was particularly enjoyable to see Lydia enjoy them for the first time.

As we set out on our hikes, I chose the items for my backpack very carefully. The essentials were easy to determine: water, snacks, sunscreen, a trail map, and my phone (for taking pictures). Beyond that, anything else that I *might* need was considered optional. I considered a raincoat. There was no rain in the forecast, but by this time I am well aware of the extremely unpredictable weather of that area. I decided to chance it and didn’t take my raincoat. Thankfully, the weather was absolutely beautiful. I could think of many other items that I could have taken on the off chance that I might need them: a first aid kit in case of injuries, a walking stick, a mirror to signal a plane in case of getting lost, a compass, a hammock, freeze-dried food, salt tablets, a change of clothes in case I fell in the lake, an Ace bandage in case of a twisted ankle, etc. You get the idea. For every item I chose to take, there was a distinct cost involved. Every item increased the weight of my backpack. Even though our hikes were short ones, I valued a lightweight backpack over being perhaps overly prepared.

As we hiked, I thought about how carefully I had chosen what to put in my backpack and how thankful I was that my backpack was so light. Then I started thinking about the items in my suitcase, and how that same principal applied. If I stuffed too many items in my suitcase, I would have had to pay an extra fee because the weight was over the 50 pound limit or I would have had to take two suitcases. I didn’t want to face either of those consequences, so I made my selections carefully.

What if we evaluated every item in our home just as carefully? What if we were just as discriminating in our choices? I am betting that a large percentage of items wouldn’t “make the cut”. In the case of the backpack or the suitcase, there was a clear negative consequence to taking too much (heavier pack to carry, cost of overweight suitcase, inconvenience of carrying two suitcases). What about the consequences of keeping too much in our homes? You may be thinking that this doesn’t “cost” you anything, I am sorry to break the news to you, my friends, but you are wrong. Anything that we keep when we don’t need to is clutter. And our clutter definitely costs us. As a country, 1 in 10 of us pay a monthly fee to rent storage space because we have more than we can fit into our homes. 1 in 4 of us have too much stuff in our garages to fit our cars. We buy things we already own because we can’t find them amidst the clutter. We don’t have the peaceful home environment we crave because of the clutter. I could go on, but you get the idea. Clutter costs.

You might be thinking, “But most of the things I have kept are because I might need them!” That might be true, but let’s look at that reasoning a little more closely. I believe that you need to go a little deeper. First of all, you need to be able to separate the possibility of needing something from the probability of needing it. For example, one of the items I decided not to pack was salt tablets. If we had drunk all of the water we brought and needed to use salt tablets to decontaminate lake water to make it safe for drinking, this would have been extremely helpful, perhaps lifesaving. But I was counting on the fact that our hike was relatively short and that we had all brought sufficient water. While there was definitely a possibility that we might need them, the probability was extremely low, so it was an easy choice.

Now, think about an item in your home that you have been debating about whether or not you should keep, and let’s use those same principles. I’ll use an example from my own home. My daughter Lydia just went back to school for her junior year at MTSU. She is living off-campus for the first time, and her apartment has a full-sized bed. In her previous two years, both her dorm and her on-campus apartment had a twin-sized bed. When we were getting her things together to take back to school, we realized that she would need a full-sized comforter and sheets and would no longer need her twin-sized ones. What did I do with the twin-sized comforter and sheets? Because we were in a hurry to get her ready to go, I just set them aside. But when I get home, I will most likely sell or donate them. Although there might be a possibility I could use them in the future, I think the probability is extremely low. We haven’t had a twin bed in our home for about 10 years. I don’t foresee either of the girls going back into a living situation where they would have a twin-sized bed. Even if we did somehow need one, it wouldn’t be that expensive to buy a new one. Yes, I have room in my linen closet for that comforter, but just because I have room for it is not enough reason for me to keep it.

The next time you are considering whether or not to keep something because you might need it, take a few minutes to consider it more deeply. In what circumstance would you need it? What is the probability of this circumstance occurring? If it did occur and you no longer had the item, what would it cost you to replace it? Be ruthless in your decluttering. Everything you keep costs you in some way.

Getting rid of unneeded things can be incredibly freeing. Trust me—I’ve seen it in my own life, and I have seen it in many of my clients’ lives. You can start slowly, one space at a time. You will be so thankful for making these hard decisions when you see the benefits in your home.

Two Different Perspectives

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As a writer, I am often inspired by ideas in unusual settings. Who thinks about organizing while hiking? Apparently I do, because so far, hiking trips are a frequent source of inspiration. This one came on a hike in Rocky Mountains National Park. My family was fortunate to travel to Colorado in August, and by far our favorite outing on the trip was this particular hike. The trail from the Bear Lake post to Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake is definitely one of my favorite hikes I have ever completed. After relaxing for a little while at Emerald Lake, we gathered our belongings to prepare for the trip back. I usually prefer a hike on which you can come back on a different trail so that you can enjoy different scenery on the return trip. Since that wasn’t a possibility that day, we started the trip back down the trail.

I noticed that although we were hiking exactly the same trail, the two experiences weren’t identical. For one thing, we encountered a few elk on our way back, which was quite exciting. And of course we encountered different hikers than on the way there. But most noticeably, the scenery looked quite different this time. Sometimes all it takes to see something differently is a change in perspective.

Are you wondering what this has to do with organizing? Once we own an item, that sense of ownership often causes us to value it more than we should. It’s difficult for us to assess it objectively because there are often emotional ties associated with it. But what if we could see that same item from a different perspective? Perhaps that would help us make a more rational decision. How could we do that? Here are 3 practical suggestions that might help you:

  1. Does this item represent me now? While decluttering my attic for a garage sale this summer, this question was eye-opening. Several home decor items that I had treasured years ago were no longer appealing at all. My taste in decorating is completely different now. It’s not just that styles have changed. I have changed, too. The same principle holds true even more so when considering articles of clothing. My favorite shirt from 5 years ago is vastly different from one I would proudly wear today. Again, it’s not just a change of clothing styles, but also a change in my own personal preferences.
  2. Would I buy this now? When looking at an item you are on the fence about keeping, try to imagine that same item for sale at a local store. Would you buy it? Would you pay full price for it, or would you only buy it if the price were greatly discounted? Does this help you see the item’s value a little more clearly?
  3. Revisit the decision in a few months. If you are still stuck on this decision, put the item in a container of some sort and put a date on it a few months or a year down the road. Give yourself some sort of reminder to look at it again on that date. Given a bit of time, you may feel completely different about it. You may wonder why in the world you weren’t ready to get rid of it the first time. If so, promptly get rid of it. Or if you are happy that you still have it and immediately have a use for it, put it in its rightful place and enjoy it.
  4. If you’re feeling really bold, try asking a friend their opinion about the item. You should only ask a friend who you know would speak honestly without worrying about hurting your feelings. Choose someone who’s not afraid to say, “Seriously? You’re keeping that? You know I love you, but honestly, if I were you, I’d probably just go ahead and donate that.” I hope you have a friend (or several) like that, because their input could be extremely helpful, and I bet they could use some help with their decisions as well.
  5. Imagine someone else’s reaction when finding it in your absence. It may be a little morbid, but it’s not a bad idea. I have had more than one client tell me that their primary motivation when decluttering came after having to spend many hours going through a house full of stuff that belonged to a family member. They made a firm resolution NOT to leave the difficult job of going through all of their clutter for their children.

A Peaceful Home or a Stressful Home?

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“Your home should be the antidote to stress, not the cause of it.” —Peter Walsh

I recently discovered this powerful quote by Peter Walsh, a famous organizer and author. As someone whose profession is helping people organize their homes, I am well aware of how much stress our homes can cause us. We long for our homes to be a place of peace and rest, but so often that is not the case. The reasons are numerous and diverse. But I would venture to guess that the most familiar reason is because of disorder, most commonly as a result of clutter. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. Whether the issue is one isolated space or your entire home, getting organized can be life-changing. I can tell you confidently that bringing order to your home can drastically reduce your stress level. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here are a few comments from my clients:   

“With the piles of clutter disbursed, there is a calm here that has been lacking. She is great!! I appreciated her gentle manner, her non-judgmental acceptance and the hard work she did to help me regain that sense of peace a home should have.”

“Are you stressed out that between job and family you don’t have the time to organize your home the way you wish? Do you have “presentable” rooms and others filled with clutter that haunt you because you know you’ll never get to around to organizing them? That was me, until Angie stepped in.”

“In small and big ways, Angie’s organization skills are helping our home run more smoothly, and she is equipping me with tools that are making our family’s life so much more fun! Thank you!”

“I just didn’t realize how out of control my STUFF was until I saw clean organized spaces. She gently guided me in what to keep, donate and trash. I now to go to all the different areas of my home and just marvel at how good it looks and feels!”

“Angie is amazing! I needed to completely organize and declutter my garage which had become the central zone for so much clutter. Trying to organize it myself and rid it of the clutter became overwhelming and daunting…to the point of paralysis. Angie helped me not only work through the clutter but also come up with a solution for what to keep out and what to box up since we were going to be moving in the next month or so.”

Yes, you can organize your home on your own. But you may have reached the point where there is just so much to do that you are completely overwhelmed and you don’t know where to begin. You may know exactly what you need to do, but you just know that with your schedule, you literally don’t have the time to put into it. You may have attempted to organize on your own, but either weren’t able to complete the organization or weren’t able to maintain the order. You may be thrilled with the idea of getting help with organizing, but are uncertain whether you would be able to afford it. Whatever the situation, I can help! My passion is helping you get organized so that you can be at peace in your home and can spend more time doing the things you love. I offer a free, no pressure assessment visit where we sit and discuss your needs and how I can help. It could be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. 

 

Hire an Organizer or See a Dermatologist?

time-481445_1280I bet you’re wondering about that title. Organizers and dermatologists are completely different, right? An organizer helps people bring order and efficiency to their lives. A dermatologist diagnoses and treats diseases of the skin. What in the world do they have in common? Why would I be writing a blog entry comparing organizers to dermatologists?

Let me explain. Frequently when discussing with someone what I can do for their home or business as a professional organizer, they express initial interest. They admit that they need more order in their life, and that it’s not something that comes naturally to them. They might describe certain sections of their home that are particularly troublesome and how much they would love to get it organized. However, when I pursue the idea of working together, the most common response is something like, “I wouldn’t want you to see my house like that.” I reassure them that I understand, I won’t judge them, I most likely have seen much worse, and that it’s what I do every day, but they are still reluctant. It’s very difficult to get beyond that mental and emotional barrier.

On the one hand, I totally understand. As a former full-time homemaker and full-time mother for many years, I remember that right or wrong, much of my self-image was directly related to the state of my home. It’s always difficult to admit that a skill that comes so easily to many could be so elusive to others. You may feel that you should be capable of keeping an orderly home, and when that proves unattainable, you feel like a failure. We are our own worst critics, and we have such high standards for ourselves. But the truth is that everyone struggles with something. We all need help with something. The ability to organize a space and keep it that way isn’t entrusted to all. In addition, there are certainly seasons of life when we simply don’t have the time or the ability to do it. There’s no shame in admitting that and getting help.

I have thought so many times of the proper response to the statement, “I wouldn’t want you to see my house like that.” One day I thought of this parallel. Bear with me, because it’s going to sound a bit strange at first. Imagine that I had a very painful, unsightly rash. I tried a few home remedies to no avail, and I was desperate for relief. My well-meaning friend might say, “You should go see a dermatologist. I know they would be able to diagnose and treat that rash, and you would feel so much better.”

While internally I would admit this was the truth, what if I was unwilling to go because I was embarrassed? I might say something like, “My rash looks terrible. I wouldn’t want the dermatologist to see me that way.” My friend would probably be very frustrated and might point out that in order to treat the rash, the dermatologist has to see it. That’s what dermatologists do. They look at rashes, diagnose them, and treat them every day. My friend would probably try their best to convince me to look past the embarrassment so that I could be healed.

Now do you see the similarity? As an organizer, I specialize in helping people transform their spaces from chaotic to ordered. But I have to see the disorganized space in order to help bring order to it. I help with this very problem every day. It’s what I do best. I work with kindness and compassion, realizing that taking the step to get help is not an easy one. But it is certainly worth it.

If you can relate to this scenario or know someone who can, I would love to help. Peruse my website and see some of the projects I have worked on. Read the testimonials of clients that I have helped. We can talk on the phone first, or meet at a neutral location to talk about your needs. Take that step today. I feel certain that you’ll be glad you did.