The Pitfalls and the Power of Pinterest


There are a lot of social networking sites out there. There’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; but what about Pinterest, “The World’s Catalog of Ideas”

Pinterest members can create an unlimited number of themed virtual pinboards of products and ideas that they are interested in such as organization for example! In turn, these virtual boards can be followed by others and “pins” can be “repinned” onto their own boards. As social networking sites are pretty much all interlinked, your ideas can be shared with a wider audience that just those who are users of Pinterest.

As with almost everything, there are positives and negatives. No worries though, the positives far outweigh the negatives! Those negatives seem to vanish after the learning curve.

Let’s get those pitfalls out of the way first. I’ve been a Pinterest user for several years now and quickly learned the following things:

  • It can become a “time suck”! On the first evening that I joined Pinterest and started scrolling through pins, I found myself warmly inundated with tons of “pins” featuring all of the things that I loved! I bonded with strangers who shared my interests and set off to create my own boards. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning!
  • Leading to procrastination! I found myself wanting to scroll and pin and scroll and pin all day and night. I found myself putting off a small task here or there and that’s when I knew I was stuck on Pinterest. Get it…stuck, as in pinned, on Pinterest?!
  • And then to frustration! After I had been following boards for a while, including those of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, I learned that it takes a long time to scroll to the bottom of the main feed. However, I am a persistent person and always tried to get there, even if it was 1 am!

Now for the good stuff, otherwise known as the power of Pinterest!

  • It can keep you organized! Pinterest allows you to virtually store your ideas. This is much better than clipping pages from catalogs and articles from magazines that you would then have to figure out where to store them. Who needs all that paper clutter!

For example, create a board for your pantry which could use an overhaul! Give it a fun Name like Giddy Up, Tidy Up My Pantry!

After creating the board, use the Description area as a place to keep measurements of the heights between shelves as well as the length and depth of the shelves. Add in any products that you think you’ll want, that are on the top of your head, so that you won’t forget to look for them later. Having this quick reference guide will come in handy as you are doing your shopping!

Then decide if you want to keep the board a Secret! Maybe you’ll want the big reveal to show off on your other social media! You can share your secret with anyone you want though, these are your Collaborators.

  • The search bar can take you anywhere you can imagine! If you’re having a bad day and nothing beats looking at cute baby animals, then type in cute baby animals and voila! Create a new board and save your favorites. They will be there for your viewing pleasure anytime.
  • You can shop! Eek! Yes, one stop shopping! After you do a search, say for organizing products, you’ll see another menu of choices directly below. Click on buyable pins and they are all organizing products that you can buy DIRECTLY from companies, like Wayfair for example. Click on Add to Bag and it will show up in your shopping bag at the top of the page just like any other online retailer. How cool is that? Obviously the more specific you get with a search, the closer the products will be to the type you are looking for such as organizing products for pantry. No more shopping retailer sites one at a time!

However you decide to use Pinterest just have fun with it. Search for me at Open Doors Organizing Services…and keep an eye on that clock!

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Five Organizing Tips for Living in a Small Space

Is it possible to live in a small area? You bet it is!

Milk crate used as a purse holder
Milk crate used as a purse holder

Most of us know people living in small houses or apartments, going to college and living in a dorm for the first time, or moving from a big home to a smaller one. Even if you don’t, you may have experienced one of these situations yourself at some point.

Did you feel challenged trying to fit everything in your new space? Does the person you know feel challenged trying to do the same thing?

If you follow these five (5) tips, it really is easier than you think:

1. Divide the space into specific areas for each activity (e.g., bill paying, watching TV, hobbies, laundry, reading, or studying). Furniture and rugs can be used to separate the different activities. For instance, your bedroom may have to act as an office plus a place to sleep and get dressed. Use a desk and file cabinet in one area of the room and the bed, bureau, and night stand in another. Keep the items in their specified areas; do not let them wander into the other activity areas.

2. Use milk crates on shelves that allow of extra space between them and the ceiling. Position the milk crate so the opening faces out. This way you’ll be able to store things both inside the milk crate and on top of it. It acts as a second shelf.

3. Use over-the-door storage units or command strips to hang things on the back of doors, in closets or on walls. You can hang items in or on them to get the items off your bed, chair, table, or desk. Don’t let them end up on the floor. The best part about command strips is that they do not damage the walls.

4. Use wall shelves to take advantage of vertical space. You can use your walls from floor to ceiling for storage.

5. Take advantage of the space under your bed. Use clear plastic bins that are specifically designed for under the bed. Measure the amount of clearance you have between the floor and the bed frame to make sure the bin fits. An option that affords you more storage space is raising the bed.

Just think, when living in a smaller area, you’ll have less to take care of. That frees up your time to do the things you want to do!

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Mind Space

“We have thoughts, feelings and emotions, but we are not our thoughts feelings or emotions” Frances Vaughn

Mental Clutter is more mysterious and different from physical clutter. It hides, and resides in the mind disguised. It can be defined as an abundance of thoughts, and self-talk swirling around in our headspace! Layers of current thoughts, past thoughts and thoughts waiting to be triggered will occupy the mind space. Then if emotions arise, the mental clarity is gone and the cluttered brain exists.

On one level, mental clutter can be caused by:

  • having an excessive amount of thoughts or to do’s
  • not having clarity or direction
  • being engaged in an abundance of tasks and actions

On a deeper level, other mind clutter may not show up on your radar screen, depending on how self-aware you are. Things appear as they are, and we say it’s just the way it is!! We are blindsighted by the thought. Here’s one example: perfection. The thought of being perfect exists, regardless of why, or how it is there. You hold onto the belief that being perfect is the way to be and think. There isn’t much freedom in having this thought. It sabotages actions, and brings on negative self-talk.

Here’s what is true: we are in total control of what we choose to think or believe. Although what thoughts are in the mind can come from limiting beliefs you hold on to and live by. Sometimes these are generalizations, ideas or interpretations that you hold on to and then forget you did. At some time you may have felt strongly connected to them but now you’ve grown and changed and they don’t fit! All these thoughts may be laying dormant until something triggers it to surface. Next, you are living a life that’s not yours.

Try looking at where this thought, or belief came from. You may realize the roots of this. With introspection you realize that it doesn’t serve you anymore at this time. It’s time to give it up and free yourself. What I mean by this is, you may have lost touch with what’s really important to you – now, in the present. Maybe at one time all these thoughts, beliefs, and truths matched what was important to you. You can ask yourself, how true is this belief? The end result is living true to who you are, and who you say you are. In any given moment you can “CHOOSE” what you want to think or what doesn’t fit. The choices you make can motivate and uplift your spirit. Staying true to yourself brings inner peace.

Mindfulness and awareness will be the guide for clearing the mental clutter.
The principles of organizing apply here:

Assess what’s going on.

Take Action – Either jot down all that’s in your head until you feel empty. Seek support, like someone to talk or vent to. This helps in getting all the stuff out of your head.

Sort what thoughts to hold on to and why.

Identify what doesn’t serve you anymore. Ask yourself if any of those thoughts are draining you and your energy? Can you rephrase your thoughts so they empower you?

Choice  With acknowledgment, awareness and conscious choice, a clearing takes place. The result can be more head space! This is freeing. You may notice your energy higher.  You may feel like you shed a layer or two, feel lighter, and quite positive.

Space has been created and quietness of mind and peace attained – You now have a blank slate.

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Determining The Life Cycle of Stuff Helps You Get Organized

vali-pictureWhile I was going through items in a kitchen pantry with one of my clients, she commented on how easy it was to organize in the kitchen. When I asked why, she said that if food is expired it takes the decision out of her hands about whether to get rid of it or not. However, with the rest of the stuff in the home, she has to make the decision whether it has ‘expired’ or not. Deciding on the life cycle of your belongings is not easy, but when your spaces become too crowded or you can’t find your keys for the third time in one week, it’s time to take action.

The life cycle concept is one way to work through the backlog of the accumulated clutter in the home and as a strategy to constantly weed out stuff. Our stuff has a life cycle that begins with it being most useful, most beautiful and most beloved. Over time our stuff becomes less useful (obsolete technology; items that wear out or break), less beautiful (fashion trends or our tastes change), and less beloved (reminders of past periods in our family’s life that may not be so important).

When you think about all of the items you bring in to your home on a weekly or monthly basis, it boggles the mind. But if you don’t take out as much as you bring in, over time you will begin to feel like your stuff is taking over. If some of your belongings are starting to become CRAP (Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure), it’s time to consider whether those belongings are part of your family’s present and/or future. Keeping items from the past that no value or meaning to the present day leaves less room for additional items (or opportunities) for the future. For example, as your children grow, do you hold on to the toys they used to love, even though they don’t want them anymore?

Finally, if you are keeping items because you think they might be worth a lot of money, there are ways to find out. One way is to look on Ebay. Is anyone selling the item now? Has anyone sold that item in the last two weeks and for how much? Reputable auctioneers are also good resources for evaluating antiques and collectibles. Mass produced goods from 1960 or later have less of a chance to increase in value. But remember, regardless of what items may have been worth in the past; items are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them today.

When your clutter starts to take over your home, reevaluate whether the life cycle of those items is over or not. Someone else may be able to give your unneeded items a whole new life.

Clutter Quote: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus, ancient Greek philosopher

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Show your Home Some Love by Getting Organized

Home is where your heart isFebruary is the perfect time to show your home some love.

By having a clutter-free home, you will also be showing the love to all who live there.  Here’s how to jumpstart the process.

Entryways or mudrooms of your home should be welcoming and free of clutter.

When someone enters your home, you want it to say “Welcome, glad you came.” Have a basket or decorative box to throw your mail into each day and go through it daily so it doesn’t pile up. Create a new habit for your family by establishing a home for shoes, coats and backpacks that is easy to manage for the whole family. It takes 90 days to create a new habit so keep gently reminding them so they will get into the routine.

Kitchens are the heart of the home.

Counter tops should be free of items that your family does not use on a daily basis. Cluttered counter tops do not encourage meal preparation so you would rather make reservations than make a home-cooked meal. When your family is finished with a meal, encourage them to tidy up before moving away from the kitchen. Dishes quickly should be placed into the sink or dishwasher so another huge job isn’t created when the dishes start piling up. A quick 10 minutes after each meal is all it should take to keep the kitchen clean. Show the love by keeping a clutter-free kitchen for all your family to enjoy.

The living room or family room (whatever your family uses for relaxation time) should be maintained as well.

At the end of the day, there should be a quick pick-up to restore order and be ready for tomorrow. Have a place to put toys, books, games and throws so everyone can help with the process of keeping this room tidy and welcoming for company and comfortable for the family. Having a chore chart or a daily routine of picking up before bed really helps!

Bedrooms should be calming, serene and conducive to sleeping.

Clutter on the floor or on dressers cannot give you that feeling. Spend the time to get that space organized by setting a timer and beginning to find homes for all that stuff. Halfway through the process is the time to stop sorting and start putting things away. Having the bed made is also a great way to keep your bedroom calm and relaxed. Look through that closet and those drawers and eliminate the clothes you no longer wear. Believe it or not, statistics show that you are only wearing 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. So you know you can donate some unworn clothes. If you are having problems sleeping, clutter may be contributing to that. Try it. What have you got to lose? You may gain a good night’s sleep (7–8 hours). Love yourself and sleep in a clutter-free room!

It’s time to show the LOVE this February and create a sanctuary for you and your family by getting your home organized!

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Downsizing in Place

Downsizing in placeReady to downsize your stuff, but not quite ready to sell the house? Nobody said downsizing has to mean moving to a smaller home. You can get many of the same benefits by downsizing in place.

Downsizing in place involves getting rid of excess stuff and clearing some space so that your home is easier to manage and keep clean. And when it is time to move, the process will be less overwhelming. The downsizing-in-place process can be tackled in a stepwise manner, as follows:

  1. Ask adult children to remove the rest of the belongings they are storing at your home. In the process, ask them what other things they might like from your home once you decide you no longer want them. You may be surprised that they may have no interest in things that you’ve been holding onto just for them.
  2. Go through each room of the house and assess what items you really need or enjoy, and what no longer serves a purpose. To prevent becoming overwhelmed, tackle one room per week. Don’t forget the closets.
  3. Rethink how many of those extra things you really need. Do you really need three sets of dishes or silverware?  How about those sheets that don’t fit any of the beds you currently have in your home?  Do you have a closet full of coats you no longer wear?  Or more knickknacks than you care to dust? Letting those things go can allow them to be put to good use by others rather than taking up space in your home.
  4. When discarding items you no longer need or want, keep an itemized list, box it all up, and drop it off to your favorite charity. Holding yard sales and selling on Craigslist is often more trouble than it is worth.  Getting a receipt for your donations and deducting the value on your tax return often gives you a better return on your investment of time and energy.
  5. Find a new home for anything on the floor that does not have feet. Getting items other than furniture off the floor reduces tripping hazards and makes a room easier to vacuum and keep clean.
  6. Rearrange the remaining furniture in your home so that rooms look less crowded and there is more open floor space. Reorganize closets so that items are easy to access.
  7. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your new environment!

If the process still seems overwhelming, consider hiring a professional organizer ( to help break down the process into manageable pieces and keep you on track until you realize your goal.

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