Hi, I’m Claire Tompkins. As a professional organizer and clutter coach, my mission is to create organizing schemes that work for you, so you can get organized and stay that way. The cookie-cutter approach just isn’t effective.
The trick is to keep it simple. Have systems that don’t require constant maintenance. Make it easy to put stuff away. Surround yourself with just what you need and love.
There’s a ton of info in my posts about overcoming procrastination, getting things done and reducing clutter. All the things that get in the way of you living the life you truly want to live. Because that’s really what it’s all about.
Keep in touch by getting my bi-monthly email newsletter. It’s short, pithy and helpful.
Take my free ecourse that will guide you through the seven steps to get organized at home or at work. The ecourse begins at the beginning, defining why you want to get organized, so that you’ll have the motivation to see it through.
Get truly customized help by hiring me in person. I do hands on work with local clients and coach others over the phone.
Or check out some of these “best of” posts:
- 30 Minutes to Less Clutter
- Tips for To Do Lists
- Quick Tips for Beating Procrastination
- Conquering Perfectionism
- The Smallest Step
- A Conversation about Clutter with Nicolette Toussaint
- The Four Poxes Upon Productivity
I make presentations, virtual and in person, on topics such as “How to Get Your Work Done Despite all Those Distractions.” Here’s some feedback on a live presentation I did:
I was really impressed with Claire’s ability to tailor her talking points so that they were relevant to our teams and our industry.
Sometimes presentations like this can be too vague or are predicated on an idealized (i.e. unrealistic) premise of what the workplace is like, but I really felt that her suggestions were excellent and truly applicable.
As a manager I especially appreciated much of her discussion around focusing on the right tasks and making sure the work you are doing is actually your job and what you are good at. I found myself wishing that others on my staff had been in attendance and I plan to discuss some of her strategies with my reports in their reviews.
–Christina Gimlin, Senior Managing Editor at McGraw-Hill Higher Education
I write this blog because getting organized can be simple, but not necessarily easy. It’s always good to be reminded of positive practices and to be encouraged to keep trying. I appreciate that myself, so you probably do too.
What’s your deal with stuff (that includes time!)? Leave a comment, ask a question, tell me what’s helped you the most, or what your philosophy about this whole thing is. If a post grabs you, please retweet it using the green button on the right or share it with the blue Facebook button.
How did I get into organizing?
I’ve always been fascinated with why things are the way they are. Why are people like that? Why do they do things that way? Where did that idea come from? What if it was like this instead?
My dad gave me books like The Answer Book of History and Can Elephants Swim? to (partially) satisfy my constant questioning. I say partially because the books often just spit out facts, instead of investigating the why? behind them. That didn’t satisfy my curiosity.
I stumbled onto professional organizing looking for a business to start from home. Immediately I could see how I could use my exploring nature with people to improve and ease their decision making and match them up with the best organizing solutions.
I discovered that people:
- feel better and calmer when they can find things.
- enjoy an uncluttered space because they like having more elbow room.
- want to know where their time goes because they want to make sure to use it meaningfully and not be distracted by unimportant things.
I could tune into that because I feel that way too. There was a time when I had an entire bedroom wall covered in cork to make it a giant bulletin board. You couldn’t even see the cork, because I used the heck out of that board.
There was so much I was interested in and inspired by.
It all got to be too much one day. I realized that having all those wonderful things visible all the time was so distracting that I wasn’t focusing on any of them and not getting anything done. That was just the cork board. I also had lots of other things: books, clothes, art supplies.
I felt tense and dissatisfied and out of touch with my own desires and needs. So I decided to pare down. I put away or got rid of things. I created an oasis for myself so I could think straight again.
This is ongoing work, I have to point out. If you have a lot of interests and collect thing, you’ll always have to spend time decluttering and consciously deciding not to acquire. Nothing wrong with that. People need help doing that, though, which is why I’m in business.
So, that’s me talking. If you want to know what other folks say about me, click here.
Some random facts about me: I play taiko drum, I went to high school in Mexico City and I love blues dancing. I much prefer a salty snack, like potato chips, to a sweet one, much to my friends’ mystification. I think Brian Eno is a genius. I’m also an artist and you can see my work here: www.clairetompkinsart.com.
What is clutter?
Clutter is anything that gets in your way or is in the wrong place. Sort of like weeds in your garden. Clutter can be last week’s newspaper, clothes you never wear, bits of random in information in your head, volunteer activities you feel compelled to do.
What does it mean to be organized?
You are organized if you can find everything you have when you need it and you are clear about what you’re doing and you’re not worried about what comes next because you know you’ll be prepared.
Why can’t I get organized?
There are many possible reasons. Here are some popular ones. You don’t make time regularly to get organized. Your stuff doesn’t have a regular place to live. You don’t put things in logical (to you) places. You think it’s too hard or too overwhelming so you don’t even try to organize and declutter. You put off small tasks until they become unmanageable.
Why can’t I stay organized?
The most common answer to this is that you don’t make time. A good organizing system should require little effort to keep going, but it does require some effort and regular effort. If you have a lovely mail sorting area but you only sort once a month, it’s going to get disorganized. The mail comes every day and piles up quickly.
What if I can’t organize and declutter by myself? Am I dumb?
No, of course not! Getting organized isn’t rocket science but it is a skill. It can be easier to learn a skill like this with the help of a professional organizer (like me!) than from a book.
I can’t afford to hire a professional organizer!
What are you comparing it to? If you’re comparing it to hiring a cleaning service or getting some local teenagers to haul stuff out of your garage, yes, it will cost more. But that’s not what you’re paying for. You’ll get hands on help dealing with the clutter and you’ll also learn how to avoid it in the future. I’m not just bringing you a basket of fish, I’m teaching you to fish. You’ll learn skills that will improve your quality of life every day, forever.