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Author: Russell PitcairnEducation Efficiency General Home Lists Paper Productivity Time Management Time Management Tips

Inspirational Books and their Key Takeaway!

By Russell Pitcairn, The Junkluggers, (215) 779 1644

Recently, I asked my network to share several of their favorite books. Below is a list of inspirational books along with their own key takeaway. Feel free to comment if you have read any of the books below. Let me know if you have a favorite book that has inspired you. Please enjoy!

“Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson

Linda’s Key Takeaway: Be Flexible

“The Tipping Point” By Malcolm Gladwell

Linda’s Key Takeaway: Keep your eyes and mind open at a high level.

“The Purple Cow” By Seth Godin

Nate’s Key Takeaway: Companies that have grown into large successful organizations did so by offering a remarkable service or product. In order to succeed in the same industry, you must offer SOMETHING ELSE that is remarkable, stands out, and talks to the people. It’s the only way to be successful in the long run.   

“The Go Giver” By Bob Burg and John David Mann

“A Complaint Free World” By Will Bowen

Linda’s Key Takeaway: Be aware, stop and surround yourself with those that come up with solutions…not complaints.

“Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail” By Cheryl Strayed

Linda’s Key Takeaway: Get out of your comfort zone.

“Resilience” By Eric Greitens

“Never Split the Difference” By Chris Voss.

Russell’s Key Takeaway: If someone gives you a response you do not like, ask open ended questions like “Why?” or “How?” This may reveal key information, or may get the other person to come up with a different response.

“One Small Step Can Change Your Life” By Robert Maurer

Linda’s Key Takeaway: Move with intention and control.

“Welcoming the Unwelcome” By Pema Chodron

Darla’s Key Takeaway: The time we live in is a fertile ground for training in being open-minded and open-hearted. If we can learn to hold this falling apart-ness without polarization and without becoming fundamentalists, then whatever we do today will have a positive effect on the future.

“A Fine Mess” By TR Reid

Blair’s Key Takeaway: Understanding America’s tax system and an effective way to restructure it. Lower tax rates but eliminate deductions/ways people avoid them, but broaden the tax base/tax on spending of earnings.

Author: Kelly GalfandCloset Clothing Clutter Donating Downsizing Education Family Keepsakes Wardrobe Management

Letting Go of Clothes

By Kelly Galfand, JOY IN YOUR SPACE, 610-896-6896

My role as organizer usually involves helping people:
• live with less
• have more within easy reach
• love what they store.

One popular area I organize is wardrobe closets. Sometimes I’m hired to fix a physical problem; I solve storage challenges. Sometimes I am the necessary support as someone decides: 
• what to keep
• where to donate or sell 
• how to let clothes go.

In my experience, even when someone commits to trimming their wardrobe, there is one item they want to get rid of but (in their words) “can’t!” In these situations, what’s really behind their “can’t” is guilt.

When I hear a closet client say “I can’t get rid of this,” I know the clothing in question was either expensive, a gift, or it holds sentimental value.

• If the item was expensive… and they haven’t worn it (ever or enough), the struggle is about throwing good money away. But honestly, they’re wasting more money by storing this item. Waiting too long to resell something is not smart; the resale market pays more for recent purchases. 
• Check out resale avenues like TheRealReal, PoshMark, Clothes Mentor, Plato’s Closet, and ThredUp depending on the item’s value.

• If the item was a gift… from someone they love, their love for the person is getting in the way of their ability to decide what they want in their life. They sometimes think that letting the item go is akin to rejecting the gift-giver’s love, kindness, or generosity. Trust me, your favorite aunt knows you love her even if you don’t love the winter hat she gave you. I always reassure clients that no one gives a gift in order to burden the recipient. A recipient’s only responsibility is to be gracious in accepting the gift. 
• —You can always donate the item or its value to a charitable organization the gift-giver supports to lessen the pain of letting the item go from your life. Let it be a gift that keeps on giving — to someone else!

• If the item holds memories it will fall into one of two categories:
• Clothing from the person’s own life (even if it was someone else’s at some point)
When I come across these sentimental clothes, the first question I ask is: Will you still wear it? If the answer is “yes,” it can stay. 
If the answer is “no,” then I suggest the t-shirt, wedding gown, or cheerleading skirt move to a spot more suitable to memories and nostalgia. 

• Clothing that holds memories may have belonged to a deceased loved one. I help people navigate these sensitive areas often. What I counsel, is to keep only the sweatshirts, t-shirts, or hats that meant something to the departed and mean something still to you if you have room for it. 
If it’s something you aren’t going to wear, display it to honor it in some way. Shadow boxes are wonderful conversation pieces and visual reminders of our ancestors’ legacies.
To me, your adored Uncle’s memory does not hinge on a single t-shirt…not even on his entire t-shirt collection. I recommend that if you let items go from your life (that belonged to someone you loved) decide how you will remember this person (in thought or deed) once you let the item go. Then be intentional in keeping their memory alive.

Author: Angela CommiskeyClothing Clutter Donating Family Organizing Tips

Solving Baby’s Outgrown Clothing Clutter

Infants grow fast — I’ve had piles of clothes to prove this fact. Nearly as fast as they’ve grown into their newest cute new outfits, they’ve outgrown them already! Having a plan for keeping up with this constant rotation will save you time in the future and reduce the stress of potential growing piles. Whether or not you hope to use the clothes for future children, here are a few quick-to-tackle tips for getting ahead of the clothing clutter.

Not saving anything?  Get ahead of the clutter.

Determine the spot you’ll use for temporarily stashing outgrown items. I use a basket under my son’s crib, but you can use a paper bag, box, or large trash bag on a shelf or in a closet. The laundry room is a great place, too. From now on, every time you determine something no longer fits your child, put it in your temporary storage bin. Add to this bin until it’s full, then mark it with the approximate size(s), stick the box/bag in your car, and drop it off for donation. Likely you have friends with kids and could also drop off the box on a porch for hand-me-downs. More on donations at the end.

If you know you’ll be keeping some clothes for future children, read on.

Get Clothes Prepped for Future Kids

First, determine a spot you’ll use for temporarily stashing outgrown items. I use two baskets under my son’s crib, one for items I’m keeping and one for giving away, but you can use paper bags or boxes in the laundry room, on a shelf or in a closet, or large trash bags (clearly marked and stored out of reach of the littles), etc.

Next, Every.Single.Day and Every.Time you determine something no longer fits your child, decide if you liked this outfit/item and put it in the keep bin, if not, put it in your give-away bin. Add to these bins until full. Then transfer the give-away items to a box marked with the approximate size(s) and check out donation options below. For the clothes you’re keeping, transfer to a storage bin, vacuum sealed bag or other favorite storage solution. I tend to have extra diapers that are outgrown, so I fill diaper boxes with unused/outgrown diapers and clothing from roughly the same size. Taking 1 minute each day will save you the hassle of sorting through a huge pile later.

Options for Clothes You’re Not Keeping

Depending on your interest and time commitment, you have a few options in addition to those mentioned above. From approximately most to least time consumed:

  • Sell to Once Upon A Child or at a Just Between Friends[http://jbfsale.com/home.jsp] sale
  • Sell on Facebook Marketplace
  • Donate locally on a Buy Nothing Group[https://buynothingproject.org/] or through the NextDoor App
  • Donate to local charities (homeless shelters, some food pantries, church outreach programs)
  • Give to friends/family
  • Donate to larger charities (Green Drop, Goodwill, etc.)

Final Thoughts on Outgrown Clothing

It’s best to donate items you’d use again and toss anything too worn out. If your kids are older and aware of “favorite” pieces, go through this process with them, so they learn from you how to stay organized and be generous with their clothes! For the babies, an everyday, constant rotation keeps clothes that fit available and stops piles from accumulating to keep the nursery looking lovely.

Author: Kelly GalfandClutter Goal Setting healthy living Home Keepsakes Organizing Organizing Products Time Management Tips

Can’t Decide? Set It Aside!

Day 365 + ???? (who’s counting) of the pandemic and it seems like everyone is decluttering. We’re all trying to hold true to our reoccurring New Year’s Resolution to ”Get Organized.” Getting Organized can mean different things to us but it usually involves some sorting and culling of categories of stuff.

In our experience, there are always 3 decision buckets your stuff will fall into:

  1. Yes! You love it. Easy-peasy, you’re gonna keep this. And it goes back to wherever it came.
  2. No! You hate this thing. You’ve always hated it or you know you will never use it. You no longer want it anywhere near your life so it lands in the “no” pile (for donate, resale, or regift)  
    This kind of conviction can only come after you’ve allowed yourself to truly let go (despite how much money you spent or which favorite aunt gifted it to you)
  3. I don’t know or Maybe? These are the items that you really need to ponder.

Our NAPO colleague, Barbara Hemphill, coined this brilliant definition: Clutter is Postponed Decisions.™ Clutter builds when we postpone decisions about:
• Do I really love it?
• Will I use it?
• Does it fill a void in my life?
• If I’m keeping it, where should it live?
While you do need to decide about your stuff, you do NOT want to stop the decluttering process to ponder each individual item.

Our time-saving advice is DEFER your decision for the “maybes” and “I don’t knows.”

These tricky decisions deserve attention — but NOT while you’re in the initial stages of rapid-fire, gut reactions to your stuff.

If you stop your intuitive process of deciding Yes, No, Maybe you won’t get through the whole category of stuff and you won’t see visible signs of progress. This will feel depressing and probably halt the whole decluttering process.

Follow our advice and schedule time with yourself — on a separate day — when your mind is fresh and you’ll taste sweet success. Technically, it’s called time chunking. In practice:
• One organizing session is dedicated to quick, visceral decisions.
• Another for contemplative, thoughtful and reasoned thinking.

Permission granted to defer your decisions on all of your “maybes” and “I don’t knows” — not because pushing off until tomorrow is a winning strategy. Permission granted because setting aside the necessary time to consider what deserves a place and space in your life is worthy of your full attention. In this case, deferring the decision is a smart move.

Author: Cathy KayFamily organizing toys

Babes In Toyland

Written by Cathy Kay, Four Corners Organizing LLC

As a new-ish mom, and someone that works with clients that have kids, a HUGE hurdle to tackle is a child’s toy room. No matter how big your “toy room” is, it seems that the kids’ toys take over all rooms of the house. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t really going for a Mickey Mouse aesthetic when we moved in. 

Nonetheless, it has happened. So what’s the best advice for those who try to keep a clutter free home while also letting “kids be kids?” Let me count the ways! 

1.) Label as much as you can. 

A huge reason why it’s difficult for some kids to put away their toys is because they don’t know where things go. An easy way to keep games and toys that have a lot of pieces “contained” is purchasing a clear, multiple compartment drawer and labeling each compartment. This can be done with a label maker or even letting the kids help out and make their own labels! This is good for toys such as Legos, Kinex, Barbies, etc. This way, the kids know exactly where everything goes when it’s time to clean up. 

2.) Big toys = Big problems. 

I know a larger than life issue for me includes the “big toys”. Huge racecar tracks, kitchen sets, dollhouses, you name it. If you have an additional storage area available, such as a portion of your basement or spare bedroom, a toy rotation is your best bet. Put a few “big toys” out for a week, and then switch them out every other week. Once you start noticing your little ones have a favorite and keep going back to the same toy,

it may be time to add to the donation pile! This will keep those big toys from overflowing into every part of your home. 

3.) Make cleaning up a game!
There’s nothing kids like more than a game, especially if they can win it! When there’s about 20 minutes left until bed time, or lunchtime (whenever the kids need to get their area cleaned up), set the timer. Tell them whoever gets their toys cleaned up first gets an extra story at bedtime, or their choice of dessert; something that they would really appreciate and enjoy. 

Hopefully this will help those of you who dread looking at the toy room and can see  see a light at the end of the tunnel. And hey, at least Christmas isn’t for another ten months!

Hopefully this will help those of you who dread looking at the toy room and can see  see a light at the end of the tunnel. And hey, at least Christmas isn’t for another ten months!

Author: Darla PompilioHolidays

Declutter Your Mind

By Karen Kabara, Yours Tasks – Our Time, Inc, (610) 847 5422

With the holidays here, is your head spinning with work deadlines, family obligations and holiday preparations (and let’s not forget quarantine fatigue)? There are plenty of suggestions online on how you can declutter your home but what can you do to declutter your mind?

Each thought floating around in your head is like a mental post-it note. The more post-it notes, the more mental clutter. Physical clutter can cause people stress, but mental clutter can as well. The easiest way to get the clutter out of your head is to jot down all those mental post-it notes so you can release it from your thoughts. Use whatever format is best for you to organize that information. You can use the Notes app on your phone to create a To Do List. You can add action items directly to your calendar, so you have time blocked on your schedule to complete them. You can use a productivity app, like Evernote, to capture all your notes and action items. Or, if paper is your preference, use a notebook. But keep your information to one notebook so there aren’t random pieces of paper all over the house that will get lost or create physical clutter.

Learning to Say No.

Capturing your mental post-it notes on paper or your device is helpful to organize your thoughts. But how do you reduce the amount of post-it notes creating that mental clutter in the first place? Learning to say no can help.

Many of us overschedule ourselves. Accepting every party invitation. Volunteering to organize every event. But when you’re constantly exhausted and stressed out, it’s probably time to make some adjustments and dial back the schedule.

Saying no can be difficult. Saying no can be filled with guilt. But it can also be so freeing. Freedom from additional obligations. Freedom from more items on your To Do List. And freedom from the mental clutter that comes along with all those obligations.

I came across this quote a few years ago that really stuck with me …

“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” — Francine Jay

For me, having less to do means having less mental clutter to stress about. I can focus on the important things. And most notably, it means I have more time to focus on the things that bring me joy and happiness.

Practicing Mindfulness.

When you focus on the important things, it will reduce the number of responsibilities you struggle to balance each day. Many of us attempt multi-tasking to accomplish our action items but sometimes end up with a bunch of tasks half done. The practice of mindfulness encourages you to focus on one thing at a time and give that one thing your full attention. Mindfulness is not a new concept, yet many of us are not aware of the impact it can have on decluttering our minds and reducing our stress.

Declutter Your Mind

For many, mindfulness goes hand-in-hand with meditation. Meditation teaches you to focus on your breath and stay present in the moment which lends itself very well to mindfulness. But I realize some people don’t have the time or desire to meditate. In my opinion, that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate mindfulness into your day. The key is to focus on one task at a time and try to overcome distractions. When you’re able to focus on a task, you’re more likely to complete it more efficiently so you can move on to the next task.

Before beginning a task, do what you can to reduce distractions. Turn off the phone. Close email. Wait until your son’s Zoom lesson begins so you know he will be occupied for the next hour. Personally, I try to complete tasks that need the most concentration early in the morning before my daughter wakes up. It allows me to get a burst of work done before the interruptions begin.

When a distraction does occur, try to work through it the best you can. If your mind wanders off during a task or someone interrupts you, acknowledge it but try to not let it completely derail you. Try to bring your focus back to what you’re doing. If you struggle to get back on task, try taking a few deep breaths or do breathing exercises. For others, you may need to step away for a few moments and get a cup of tea or step outside for a breath of fresh air to regain focus.

Maintaining focus and practicing mindfulness isn’t always easy. But, like most things in life, the more you practice, the more you will improve. Clutter can come in my many forms and mental clutter is just one. But learning strategies to tackle that clutter can reduce stress and help simplify your day. Learning to say no can be empowering and help set the stage for prioritizing what is important to you. Capturing your thoughts, whether digitally or on paper, can help organize your ideas and information. And incorporating mindfulness can help accomplish your daily undertakings and set you on the path to … organizing your life one task at a time.