Taking the Drama out of Purging

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Purging (verb): to rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify

 

I know. It's the word most likely to strike fear into a client's hearts. Purging. They have images of their beloved items flying out of their windows while I stand with one hand on my hip and the other cracking a whip. I promise it's not quite that scary.

Purging is an essential part of organizing. There are very few people out there who don't live with too much stuff, myself included! Who hasn't bought a shirt they've only worn once or a kitchen utensil that never saw the light of day? It happens. But to get a space truly organized, you have to begin with purging. Purging will allow you to only keep those things you want and need. Purging will allow you more space for the things you love. Purging will free your space and your mind.

 

If you're having a little trouble with this part of the process, here are some things to ponder:

FIND A CHARITY: Is there a charity that you feel great about supporting? Tagging items with them in mind may help in your ability to let them go. Don't have a favorite charity? How about thinking about how your extra scarf or sweater will help someone less privileged stay warm? Or how your child's toy (that they haven't played with in months) will brighten someone's day?

VERY FEW ITEMS ARE IRREPLACEABLE: With the exception of family heirlooms and sentimental pieces, things that are lost can be found again. If you truly find you need something you purged, you can always replace it. But my guess is once it's out the door you'll forget about it.

THINK OF THE SPACE: How exhausting is it to look at an overcrowded space? Or be shoving things aside to get to what you need? Purging will help the space work for you and not the other way around. Space will allow you to have those items you most love and need to be displayed so that they are given the proper attention.

LIFE WILL BE EASIER: Less to clean, less to sort, less to deal with, less to maintain. With fewer things, comes more freedom. And more time. Who doesn't want more of that?

8 Simple Ways to Get Organized

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MEDICATIONS: Throw together a quick spread sheet of the medications you take that includes name, dosage, schedule and prescribing doctor. Keep this on hand for everyone in your house so in case of an emergency you won’t need to gather the mediation bottles. In addition, here is a great list of apps that will track the medications for you (among other features).

 

MAIL: I strongly urge people to go through mail daily. It takes 5 minutes at the most to sort, open, place in a to-do folder or throw away. If you only want to go through it weekly, make sure it at least gets placed in a designated area or basket so it’s all together when you take time to go through it

 

RETURNS: Need to return or exchange something to a store? Put it by the door or in your car trunk. It’s an easy reminder to get it taken care of

 

RESUABLE BAGS: They aren’t going to use themselves. Same as the returns, put them in an easy location to grab as you walk out the door or leave them in your trunk. Because I sometimes take different cars to the store, I prefer to keep them in the house. (or you can spread them amongst all the cars in your family!)

 

GROCERY LIST: Put a pad of paper on the fridge so that household members can easily write down items they’ve run out as soon as they realize they’ve run out. Don’t try to remember these items when you are at the store. You never will. Want to use some tech to your advantage? Take a glance at this list of grocery store apps. Also check to make sure your local store doesn’t have its own app!

 

BOOKLIST: This one is for my fellow bookworms. Use an app or website (I love Good Reads) to track your books so you can remember what you want to read, what you’ve read and which authors you’d read again. Extra bonus of this app? It lets you scan the ISBN number and automatically loads the book into your “Want to Read” shelf.

 

COUPONS: Only save the ones you will actually use. Find a place for them that will visually remind you they exist. For some people that may be our wallet, for others it might be in the house. Review them once a week to make sure they are still valid and you still have a need for them.  Tired of the paper? Here is a review of coupon apps that can you help you find a favorite.

APPS: Speaking of apps, every once in a while do a purge on your phone and tablet. Haven’t used an app or don’t like it anymore? It’s time to go so it stops cluttering your screen and using up valuable space.

On Keeping It Real

The truth is I've been trying to make blogging a priority in my business.

And failing.

Pretty spectacularly.

It's not that I don't like writing. I do. In fact, I'm pretty sure that in the 3rd grade I announced to anyone that would listen that I was going to be an author when I grew up.(To be fair, I'm not sure most 8-year-olds would list "former advertising strategist turned professional organizer who also likes to design graphics for other female entrepreneurs" as a career choice.) What I found the most challenging was just.getting.started.

This week I wrote in my planner "BLOG!!!!!! (just write one already!!!!)" under Tuesday, April 3rd. And as its Tuesday (when I wrote this), I'm actually sticking to it. I sat here for a bit, staring down at my blog idea lists and watched the cursor blinking at me. Another list of rules circulated in my head: "Find a balance between professional and your personality", "Easy to read, easy to follow", "Make sure you could potentially use this blog to sell products in the future". Cue me frantically looking around my office for any distraction possible. Finally, I took a deep breath, rolled my eyes at myself and said out loud "screw it and just be real".

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Here's another truth. There is never going to be a perfect time to start consistently blogging or to start organizing your spare room or to write a solid social media strategy. The biggest (and hardest) step you will take is the first one. My fellow recovering perfectionists will likely start contemplating the usual worries: "But what if it doesn't work?" "What if I hit a roadblock I can't hop over?" "What if NO ONE READS THIS (besides Mom)?". The truth of the matter is that any or all of those might just happen. It could get ugly. You could experience setbacks. Your plan A may become your plan K. But all that means is you take that second step in a different direction. You adapt, change your strategy and keep the end goal in mind. But you keep moving forward.

So, friends, I'm issuing a challenge to you. Find something on your to-do list. Doesn't matter if it's big or small. Breathe deep. And take that first step.

 

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Making Working From Home Actually Work

Because of my recent transition to virtual organizing I’ve started fully embracing this 99.9% working from home concept. I’ll admit it…I was positively gleeful about the whole thing. Think of the freedom, the ability to work in my pajamas and the access to the kitchen! If only it was a simple as that.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said “with freedom comes responsibility” and she wasn’t wrong. Yes, working from home is amazing and allows you a certain degree of flexibility that not everyone is granted. But it also comes with a whole new and different set of distractions just begging you to get off task. Below are a few easy ways to take back your work day and enjoy the benefits of non-office work life.

1. Get Dressed: I know, when you picture yourself sitting at your desk in your jammies a smile spreads across your way. But the truth is, you’ll feel (and so be) more productive if you have clothing on that you haven’t been wearing for the last 7-9 hours. I’m not saying you need to throw on a tie or a full face of makeup…trust me, I’m wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt as I type this. By all means, wear something comfortable but just wash your face and brush your teeth too.

2. Have a Start Time (and End Time): Give yourself a schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible. If you’re more of a morning person, take advantage of those early hours. Hit your stride in the evening? Plan on working later. Try to set up doctor’s appointments at the beginning or end of your day. Same with personal errands.

3. Try to Stop Interruptions Before They Happen: One of the first things I did was purchase this sign for my front door. Not only does it keep delivery people and salesman from interrupting but it also prevents my co-worker/dog from barking her face off at the doorbell. If you have family or friends that love to stop by unannounced, mention that around  X time you take lunch.

4. Speaking of Lunch (and breaks): You should take one. Even if it’s 5 minutes standing at your kitchen counter. I’ve found that working at home means I tend to really stay in the zone until I find myself with a dry mouth and rubbing my scratchy eyes. Force yourself to get up and do a lap around the house. Drink a lot of water because it will make you get up (and because it’s good for you). Set a timer/alarm if you have to. Just keep moving.

5. Close that Browser: You know which one I’m talking about. The tab with all those distractions. You will be way less tempted to see what’s new on your feed if it isn’t even open. Same thing goes with your phone. Place it out of your line of sight so you aren’t tempted by anything popping up. You can even turn it over so you can’t see any notifications (but can still hear if a client or co-worker is trying to reach you)!

6. Designate a Work Space (that isn’t your couch): “But my laptop can go anywhere!”….well sure, but that doesn’t mean it should. Having a designated, organized space means training your brain to focus. You aren’t getting up to find a pen or forgetting your to-dos because your notes are elsewhere. That doesn’t mean you can’t work outside or work from bed on occasion, of course! But by having a spot to go to everyday means you are setting a clear boundary for work mode and keeping the spots in your house (like the couch) as relaxation spots. At the end of the day, you can close the door to your office literally and figuratively.

7. Drill Down the Project List: Get specific and have goals you want to accomplish each day not just in general. Have a planner (digital or paper) and assign a day and time to each to-do. Sure things will come up and you can be flexible but give yourself a bit of structure.

8. Have a Signal for Family: In my house the office door being closed is the equivalent of a Do Not Disturb sign. Everyone know that it’s usually because I’m on the phone with a client or focusing on the task at end.  Having that conversation early on will set everyone up for success.

9. Get Thee an Accountability Buddy: This is ESPECIALLY important if you are a solopreneur or don’t have anyone to whom you report. Talk often and on a regular schedule with a clear idea of goals and a tracking system.

10. A Change of Scenery Does a World of Good: I sometimes find myself in what I affectingly refer to as “the state of hermit”. When you find yourself feeling closed in by your home office walls, hit the road! Head to a coffee shop or a co-working space or even your local library. Change your view and you might just change the world.

 

 
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