“How do I get my kids to clean up their toys?”
“How do I get my family to stop leaving things all over the counters?”
“My kids have too much stuff!”
“How can I declutter when my spouse won’t get rid of anything?”
I hear these laments all the time. Have you ever said them yourself? I’m sure I have! Are you ready to hear my magic words for solving this problem?
STAY IN YOUR LANE!
Or, if you prefer, “Eat off your own plate!” or “Take the plank out of your own eye!” In other words, before you point the finger at others in your household, deal with your own clutter.
Tetris is my game. I’m not sure if this is a brag or something I should be embarrassed about, but in college — the late ‘80s Tetris heyday — I was dorm champion. I still play it. In fact, I think the reason my fingers hurt a little right now is not from too much blog-typing, but from too much Tetris. Yikes!
It’s not really a surprise that a professional organizer is good at Tetris: heightened spatial awareness is one of the skills I bring to helping you organize your home. But when it comes to time management, loving Tetris is a definite deficit.
Clearly I need to set some strict boundaries on myself so I don’t waste all my time playing a silly game. Truthfully, I’m pretty productive and can limit the gaming to my downtime. That is, when I allow myself some downtime.
Because, as my husband correctly pointed out, the real problem I have is that I play my calendar like it’s a game of Tetris.
One question I always ask a new client is, “Do you think your space has the problem of too much stuff or is it just that things are not properly organized?”
I admit that this is a bit of a trick question because nearly always the answer is “both.” Having too much stuff will always stand between you and organization as you struggle to maneuver around the excess.
Sure, you can file-fold your entire t-shirt collection and just barely manage to cram it all into your dresser drawer, but those shirts will be so jammed together that you’ll struggle to pull one out without others coming with it. Not to mention that your t-shirts will have permanent wrinkles from being so tightly packed. And I’d like to see you maintain your composure while trying to put it back into the drawer!
In a typical December, I like to help you out with a clutter-free gift guide. However, this is anything but a typical December. This year, everything seems a little more complicated, even gift giving.
With restaurants, gyms, and other in-person experiences closing off and on, your go-to gift certificates might not seem right. Even clothes are a bit different with so many of us working from home more and wardrobes becoming much more casual.
Let me help get your creative juices flowing as you check off your gift list!
It's almost here: holiday giving season! Be organized and prepared with my fillable or printable Gift Tracker. Keep your filled-out list to reference for next year so you don’t accidentally duplicate gifts or so you can purposely duplicate (E.g. Aunt Edith gets a fruit basket every year.).
And don't just use the Gift Tracker for holidays, but keep your list going all year round to track birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and other gift-giving occasions.
Last Friday, I had to be rescued from Costco. “What happened?” you ask. “Were you injured? Was there a fire?”
Nope. It was shopping overload. Trying to choose between tenderloins and t-bones, my attention was distracted by the nearby croissants. My inner optimist was cooing, “Ooh, if I got those for the kids we could have a Parisian breakfast tomorrow and pretend we’re in a little café!”
“But there’s no way we can -- or should -- eat two dozen croissants,” fired back my inner pessimist.
I stood rooted to the spot, unable to make a decision.
Did you know that 80-95% of college students procrastinate? Maybe you’re rolling your eyes and saying, “Duh, who doesn’t know that college students procrastinate?” And maybe you were one of those students.
But when you’re trapped in a procrastination cycle, it can feel as if everyone around you has it all together and you’re the only one who has, once again, gotten yourself into trouble with the doom of an approaching deadline.
In her new book, How to Do It Now Because It's Not Going Away: An Expert Guide to Getting Stuff Done, Leslie Josel tackles the sticky problem of procrastination.
Ever had this maddening experience?
You step outside and see your breath for the first time in the season. Yay, it’s sweater season! You run up to your closet and reach for that favorite sweater that’s been tucked away since spring. Eager to feel the comforting hug of snuggly wool (or maybe luxurious cashmere) on your arms, you pull the sweater over your head.
But, wait, what’s that? Is that a little piece of lint? No! It’s a hole! And there’s another! Nooooo!!! Moths have feasted on -- and ruined -- your favorite sweater.
It’s August, so that means time to get ready to go back to school. Sorry, I mean remote learning. No, wait, hybrid. Or maybe a pod?
Wow! And I thought annual school-supply shopping was hard (Why are the supply lists so long?!). Now, we have to contend with shifting school start dates and 11th-hour plan changes.
This year, every decision we have to make around getting our children back to school seems fraught with frightening complications.
What’s a parent to do? Get organized!
When my daughters were little, they only had four toys. Organizing them sure was easy!
OK, that’s not exactly the full story. When my kids were six and one, we lived in Italy for two months while my husband was at an artist’s residence. For those months, the only toys they had were a doll, a stuffed animal, a miniature set of blocks, and a box of crayons.
It was a great experience, not only of living in another country but also of living with less. Packing for that trip was a real test of my organizing abilities! To make space for my husband’s art supplies and still fit into our teeny-tiny Italian car, our personal belongings were relegated to two carry-on suitcases.
So, I packed minimal toys and one storybook treasury, so we’d have all our favorite books in one relatively compact volume (This was a pre-Kindle, pre-iPad trip)! To supplement the toys, I printed out this kite template for us to use.