Recently, my workshop for the Holistic Mom’s monthly meeting on “Paper Management for the Green Home” was rescheduled due to a foot of snow. Like many of us, you may be stuck inside during these cold winter days. So why not take advantage of being indoors and organize your home office? Here’s a plan to help you clear your desk while “going green” with less paper.
The first step is to go online and opt out of the unwanted mail coming into your home. Try DMAChoice.org for general junk mail, TrustedID.org for unwanted catalogs and Optoutprescreen.com for pre-approved credit card offers. Create a new email address for coupons and ask to have your monthly statements sent via email.
There are also some wonderful apps for your phone. Catalog Spree allows you to view a variety of different catalogs online. Retail Me Not offers coupons to local stores, and Snip Snap stores your coupons digitally after you take a photo of them on your phone.
Now that you’ve reduced the paper input, it’s time to tackle the existing paper piles.
Holistic living is a lifestyle which seeks balance knowing that all things are interconnected. What you bring into your home directly affects how you feel. How does your home make you feel? Is your home office stressing you out? Try to tackle your paperwork often, perhaps in short intervals, every other day. If you need help, get help! Remember, your home is your sanctuary.
Letting go isn’t easy — but when you allow yourself to say goodbye to books you haven’t read, children’s toys that have been outgrown, and clothing that no longer suits your style — you get more than a tax receipt. When you give, you get…
SATISFACTION: Allowing someone else the pleasure of enjoying your stuff feels good (so does recycling).
SPACE: You will literally regain space…
• Whole drawers can be emptied
• Shelves will no longer bow under the weight of your old textbooks
• Closets will sigh with relief that they’re not overstuffed and cramped
Being able to see your belongings enables you to enjoy and appreciate what you have.
FREEDOM: We are privileged to live in a free society, but some of us are slaves to stuff and the need to acquire more. When you let something go, a wonderful emotional freedom grows.
As a professional organizer, I am privileged to witness people stand straighter, smile more freely, and breathe easier by letting go of things that were holding them back. Releasing physical items from our spaces gives us the freedom to decide what will take its place. Let it be positive memories and new opportunities.
Let’s face it we all have the same 24 hour day, so it’s not really time we need to manage, it’s ourselves we need to manage. According to experts, during the last 25 years, our leisure time has declined by 37% while our work week has increased by a full day.
Make Time for Yourself
This means we need to be sure to make time for ourselves first. If we don’t take care of ourselves — in the long run — we will not be able to take care of anyone else. That includes eating well, exercising, meditating a few minutes a day, and spending time with family and friends.
Set Daily Priorities
The best way to do this is to set daily priorities and intentions. Setting daily priorities creates a space for achieving your goals. It gives you a clear focus so the mind can hone in the day’s activities. Spending 10 to 15 minutes every morning mapping out your day can save up to 6 hours a week.
Now that you have your list of priorities it’s time to put them on the calendar. Schedule appointments with yourself to complete priority work. This will block out the space you need to get your tasks completed in a timely manner. Be sure to schedule the most important tasks at a time of day that you are most productive. If you are a morning person, then do your most important task first thing in the morning.
Put your personal & business schedules into one calendar so you have a snapshot of all your commitments at a glance. If you need several calendars for work, home and kids, then consider something like Google calendars that allows you to create a separate calendar for everyone in the family that can be snapped together as one calendar and separated on an as needed basis.
Go over your schedule each evening for the next day. This will help you sleep at night by preventing some of the list making that goes on in our heads when we wake up in the middle of the night.
Try not to plan too much in one day. Too many items on a to-do list can create paralysis instead of action. Adding fewer more important tasks forces you to focus on what is really essential in your day.
• Prioritize your list so that you get the most important items completed first
• Break projects down into actionable steps
• Add any info you need to complete the task—phone #, links, addresses, etc
• Separate work and personal tasks
• Group tasks together like all phone calls, all errands, similar writing projects
• Avoid multitasking. It takes the brain four times longer to recognize and process each time you change gears to a new task. If you switch back and forth constantly you are wasting valuable time.
• Consider timing your tasks to give you a more accurate idea of how long certain activities take each day. This will help you to better plan your time.
Most people are dis-organized because their organizing systems don’t match their current lives. If your system is the same you used in college or when you first started working, it may be time for a change. Using a new organizing system takes time and practice. There is no one-size-fits-all. If you have been doing the same thing for 20 years and you implement a new system — give it a little time.
Need help making decisions on the many items cluttering up your beautiful home? Why not start with NAPO-GPC? What? You’re not really sure what that is? It’s the National Association of Professional Organizers Greater Philadelphia Chapter: whew — that’s a mouthful.
We are eighty members strong. Plus associate members which include Philly Junk and Impact Thrift Stores. The chapter started in 1996 and has grown by leaps and bounds. Once a month we meet for networking, professional development workshops, and educational programs. Workshop topics include ADD, Feng Shui, chronically disorganized, and senior relocations. Our library has close to one thousand resources for the members to rent including books, CD’s, and videos.
Did you get to meet us at the Philly Home Show? Perhaps you saw us on the NBC 10! Show or called WHYY and spoke to us on the phone when you gave your donation. You probably heard about Project Thanks, where we organized the home of a veteran after she completed three tours in Afghanistan. We also plan shredding events and collected thousands of shoes for Soles4Souls. This winter we are planning on helping Cradles to Crayons.
Our members are amazing! Some are strictly residential organizers, some corporate, others specialize in home staging, home design, working with clients who have disabilities, and collections including photos and antiques. Coaching is part of the organizing process too, including holistic life coaches, business coaches, academic coaches, as well as consultants.
Check out our website at NAPO-GPC.org. There you will find even more information about our wonderful association as well as our blog with many tips and hints to help you get started on your organizing projects. When you are ready to hire an expert click on “Find an Organizer”, you will be glad you did!
Professional organizers help you bridge your old lifestyle with your new lifestyle — working with you to change habits and forge successful ones. Sometimes you need just a gentle nudge to shift from the same old ways of doing things (or not doing them at all!) to new ways. This includes seeing through refreshed eyes — seeing your space, seeing yourself, and seeing the way you use your time.
Do you feel mired? As if you can’t quite get any traction? Organizers help break the patterns and free you to start moving again. We help you handle papers differently, approach your closet from a new perspective , and work through your projects — to completion!
Professional organizers’ eyes are judgment free. We don’t look at spaces and draw down a curtain of shame; we look to help clients understand: how did things get piled on the floor? Or why are there duplicates taking up prime real estate in your home or office? Our goal is to teach new ways of handling your stuff to clear your spaces, work surfaces, and floors from clutter. And ultimately, this will help free your mind to be even more productive.
ORGANIZERS HELP CLIENTS CREATE:
• a new vision of themselves (you really can become an on-time person)
• a different script for their future life (you will finish this project)
• new habits to maintain order and calm (the pile on the kitchen counter isn’t a permanent fixture)
Break the hold old patterns have on your life by hiring an organizer. Organizers help you update your old operating system. We listen to what’s getting in your way and help you problem-solve HOW to do things — step by step — so you don’t get overwhelmed. We are cheerleaders for your successes no matter how incremental. We are confidants to your pitfalls as you learn to surmount them.
Clutter is more than a physical burden; it has an emotional claim. If you can admit that you are overwhelmed and you are open to receiving help, you have taken the first step to inviting an organizer into your life. Any space that overwhelms you probably has an organizer suited to improving the function of that area.
It’s clear that a psychological tie connects people to the items that they hoard within their home. Some people develop hoarding tendencies after experiencing a stressful life event that they had difficulty coping with, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, eviction or losing their possessions in a fire, according to The Mayo Clinic. However, the psychology behind your home lies in how you choose to treat it with color. Read below to see how colors can affect us both physically and mentally (via Squidoo.com):
Red – Increases enthusiasm, stimulates energy and action, and encourages confidence
Orange – Stimulates activity and appetite, and encourages socialization
Yellow – Mentally stimulating, activates the memory, and encourages communication
Green – Soothing, mentally and physically relaxing, and helps alleviate depression
Blue – Calming and sedate, cooling, and aids in intuition
Purple – Uplifting, calming to the mind and nerves, and encourages creativity
Brown – Stability, a connection with the earth, and offers a sense of orderliness
White – aids mental clarity, encourages us to clear clutter, and enables fresh beginnings
Gray – Unsettling and expectant
Black – Restful emptiness and mysterious, evoking a sense of potential and possibility
So, how do your favorite colors stack up? What colors are your rooms painted currently? Let the colors be your guide to create an environment that suits your wants and needs. Once you create the environment that you want, you may gain some new motivation to get organized. You don’t need to totally redo your house to emit the same feelings; you can just use and/or reuse accent pieces from other areas in your home, like these:
Soft furnishings – Pillows and throws can add a great pop of color and keep you warm and cozy in the cold weather.
Lighting – Try some new lampshades or just switch out the light bulbs. Soft white bulbs emit a warm yellow-toned light, while daylight bulbs like GE reveal® emit a more natural looking blue-toned light. Hence, the color on your walls can be affected by whichever type of light bulb that you choose.
Artwork and Picture Frames – Find inexpensive prints from places like IKEA and even less expensive pictures, from your camera! Put them into colorful frames or if you can’t find one of the right colors, consider spray painting a basic one!
Books – Head to a thrift shop to look for old hardcover books. Peek under the flaps to see what color the cover is. Pull together a grouping of books based on the colors you are looking for, it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is! Organize some flat and some standing for variety on a bookshelf.
Candles – These come in a variety of colors, give off a pleasant scent and a bit of warmth on cold days!
As for me, my home is painted in blues, browns with white trim and I accessorize with those colors as well. The blue offers me calmness, while the brown offers me a sense of orderliness and finally white encourages me to clear the clutter. Pretty right-on for an organizer, huh?!