The Seven Deadly Organizing Sins: Wrath

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2009-11-05 12:37:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Mad as hell This is Sin #5 on the list, which also includes lust, gluttony, greed and sloth. Wrath, or anger, is sinful because it’s destructive. It can harm others and it can harm you as well.

Here’s a scenario: Overwhelmed Olivia decides to beat clutter once and for all. She buys an organizing book and sets aside a weekend. By Sunday night, she’s only on the third cabinet and she feels frustrated. Then she gets mad; mad at the book, which she throws behind the bed, and mad at herself for not being able to get this project done.

Her anger really comes from trying to achieve a goal with an impossible timeline. Even if you’ve got a team of people dragging all your stuff into the driveway for you to make rapid fire decisions on, you’re still not going to finish in a weekend.

Olivia’s goal also may not be realistic because of other time and energy commitments. She’s bound to feel angry if she never has a spare hour to go through that back closet.

To avoid sin: Be kind to yourself. Know that you are doing your best and that perfectionism is your enemy. Do no compare yourself to others, especially people on TV shows! You have your own unique talents, energy levels, working styles and preferences.

Organize your bedroom

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

magazine organizing basketWouldn’t it be delightful to walk into a serene, welcoming bedroom after a hard day’s work? It would invite you to relax and nothing else; nothing to put away, nothing to distract you from chilling out.

The way it is now:

The bed is unmade, clothes are slung over chairs and doorknobs, newspapers and magazine are on the floor, the bureau and nightstand are littered with stuff. People, this is not a room conducive to relaxation!

The good news:

I’m going to give you three quick and dirty tips to get that fancy hotel room feel in your bedroom. This isn’t the full-on, let’s organize overhaul I’d do for a client; you don’t have time for that. It’s just a way to experience how terrific it feels to be in an organized bedroom.

  1. Make the bed! The bed is the biggest piece of furniture in the room. If it’s disheveled, the entire bedroom looks disheveled. If you do only one thing, do this.Simplify your bed making by using a thick quilt or comforter that you can just twitch into place. Warm Things on College Avenue in Oakland always has great deals on comforters and covers.
  2. Hang the clothes. Getting dressed in the morning can be a challenge. To keep cast off clothing under control, install hooks on the back of the closet door, or inside wall. Get big ones, so you can hang a lot on there till you’ve got time to put them properly on hangers.Bonus: get another hamper for your closet if it’s too much trouble to take dirty clothes to your main hamper.
  3. Ditch the paper. Ideally, you want to round up all the newspapers and stick them in the recycling (instead of fooling yourself that you’re going to have time to read them later). Station a big, decorative basket near your bedroom door for that purpose. If you can’t bear to throw them all out, get another container for next to the bed, not on top of the nightstand.Containerizing is one of your best weapons against clutter. Check out local favorite Cost Plus near Jack London Square for baskets galore.

Greatest Hits

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2009-11-12 17:21:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Greatest hits Sentimental clutter is hard to get rid of. The watch, the birthday card and the piano all bring back memories of people we loved and good times we had. Throwing those things away seems like an affront, a cold detachment from our feelings. However, if you kept (or are keeping) every nostalgia-inducing item, you'll run out of room for anything else.

Try this. Get all that stuff together either physically or on a list. Categorize it by type (letters and cards, furniture, jewelry, dishware, etc.). In each category, pick the best one or two. By best I mean the most meaningful, most beautiful, most pleasurable ones. The rest you give away, donate or toss out. You're creating a "greatest hits" collection.

The beauty of this is that it not only winnows down your collection, but it concentrates it. Say you only have your grandma's engagement ring and not her flower pots, old slippers, dining table, teacups, wall clock, set of quilting magazines, closetful of fabric and painting of a cow.

That ring is eight times more precious. That ring is the pure, distilled essence of your feelings. Don't dilute your memories by spreading them all over the place.

Greatest Hits from wrestlingentropy's photostream

Get a Deadline

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2010-03-17 15:45:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Calendar At a presentation I did the other day, one of the participants came up with a great way to manage her time better: get a deadline. Someone had asked her for information and she wasn't willing to take time from her own work to give it right away. However, she didn't want to leave the person hanging either. If she knew when the info was needed by, she could work it into her schedule and not let it interrupt her.

Be proactive and give deadlines yourself. Make it easier for others to help you by letting them know exactly what you need and when you need it.

Idea > Decision > Action

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2012-01-26 10:07:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For many people, it’s easier and more fun to think up new ideas than to take action on the ones they already thought of. Buckling down and focusing on one idea and making it happen can make them antsy.

Sometimes the project you take on is very large and there are so many things to address that you’re tempted to start them all at once. When it comes to organizing, this can get you into trouble.

The process is this: have an idea, make a decision, take the action.

For example, the idea could be “organize the bottom shelf,” the decision is “only have notebooks, pads and file folders there,” and the action is getting those items into the spot and finding other homes for anything that doesn’t fit those categories.

Here’s what happens when you leave off the action part.

My client, Annie,* is a big picture kind of gal. She’s very good with coming up with ideas and making decisions. The action part, not so much. She’d rather move on to the top shelf, or the counter above the shelves, or the table on the other side of the room.

She had numerous shopping bags with things sorted into them. Some of them were marked, some not. There were also piles and collections of items on which decisions had been made. This is definitely progress, but it’s not enough.

We needed to spend some time moving the physical stuff around.

For Annie, this was the tedious, low priority part. But not doing it was impeding our progress. It was like having puzzle pieces all over the floor and knowing exactly where each one went, but not assembling them into a completed picture.

Is this a sticking point for you? Look around and see if you’ve collected some piles of decisions that need a nudge to get to the next step. If taking the action seems dreary and monotonous, approach it like washing the dishes. It’s a chore that needs doing and you don’t really need to like it.

The good news is that you’ll stir up some good energy by moving things along. You’ll also see some inspiring progress when you see the results of all that decision making!

* Not her real name. In fact, whenever I write about my clients, I’m usually combining events and compositing people.

Winner: most hilarious cleaning product

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2008-04-19 11:08:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

I just laughed out loud when I saw these dusting slippers in the current issue of Organize magazine!  They also come in hot pink!
Dusting_slippers
I must confess, I love to Swiffer, but these also look like swell fun. My floors are wood, and I can easily imagine myself getting up some speed and then sliding across the floor in them. I bet they’re nice and slippery. Just put on some music and bust your best moves.

Clutter is Tiring

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2012-01-17 15:58:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

It’s exhausting, actually.

It’s hard on the eyes.

It hems you in.

Sometimes it feels like it’s just in the background, just there in case you need it. But then you remember how relieved and calm you felt last time you cleared out that clutter, as if a weight had been lifted.

Clutter niggles at you, subtly draining your energy.

Old magazines whisper “read me!” Piles of clothes coax “come sort me!” Your crafts bag says “come play with me!” This creates a low level of background chatter in your brain that’s more distracting than you realize.

One of my clients has a lot of clothing. More than will fit in her closets. The last time I saw her, the ironing board in the bedroom and the chair next to it were piled high with clothes. We’ve made progress, but it’s a big project.

It seemed to me that she was feeling worn down by constantly seeing the piles and waking up to them every morning. So, we moved them to her office. Now, that’s not a solution, it’s just an interim step in this long project.

Her mood lightened up right away.

She took a big breath and stretched her arms out. The room suddenly felt bigger and more restful to the eyes. I predict she’s sleeping better at night too.

If you have a lot of sorting to do, try to keep it contained or covered in between sessions. You’re not hiding the truth, you’re letting yourself focus on other parts of your life instead of being nagged all the time by this undone project.

Here are a couple of sorting techniques to try: triage and quick declutter.

Reduce Gift Clutter

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2010-10-21 12:44:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Cover design2 It’s book chapter Wednesday (um, Thursday). Here you go! Like it? You can buy the ebook here.

Simple Way #8

Reduce Gift Clutter

Request non-cluttering gifts such gourmet food, show tickets, donations in your name, wine, flowers, etc. It may seem awkward at first to tell friends and family about your new policy; after all, they’re giving you a gift! But it can also help them to know that you’re going to like what they give you and they don’t have to try to read your mind. There may always be an Aunt Martha who insists on giving you an unwanted fruitcake. Refer back to Simple Way #7 for advice.

Make it your policy to give clutter-free gifts yourself. Ask what they want. Develop your own selection of gifts such as memberships, special excursions or a personal service that you provide.

Right now:
Make a list of gifts you’d like to get so when people ask you, or when holidays are coming up, you can suggest them.

 

Remind me

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

notebook with handwritingAlthough I use an electronic calendar, I love to write by hand. It’s been proven that moving your pen across a page induces “motor memory.”

That means that simply writing something down can help you remember it, even if you don’t look at your notes again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Even I need reminders. Actually, I especially do. In some ways, I feel blessed that I seem to have inherited a lack of short term memory from both my parents. Because of that, I have always been eager to use tools to help me remember things.

My dad was a reporter. He carried a little notebook, spiral bound on top, in his breast pocket all the time. Often I’d see him with a faraway look in his eye, then he’d pull out the book and jot something down. He was the one who told me you should always write important things down.

Case in point: somehow my calendar reminder to do my newsletter lost its repeat function. This repeat function is the single best reason to use an electronic calendar, in my view. Write an appointment once and have it repeat forever.

I did have a niggling feeling that it was time to write last Thursday, but since I didn’t see it on my calendar, I ignored it. (I look at my calendar multiple times a day. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do anything at all.)

So, the newsletter was a week late. :)

But it gave me a topic to write about, one that comes up with my clients regularly. I understand that

like you’re sliding down that inevitable path to senility.

What’s better, though? Using a tool that allows you to get places on time and call people you promised you would call? Or upsetting and annoying others because you stubbornly resist doing that? And that’s in your personal life. What about losing clients or alienating potential clients? Tools are to make life easier.

Organizing as a Practice

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2009-06-22 12:59:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

I've been trying to start two new practices recently (I know I shouldn't say "trying;" am I afraid to commit?). One is meditating and the other is writing. Since I used to write fiction I know a practice is important but somehow I didn't think that also applied to non-fiction writing. My friend Deborah assures me that it does (and she gave me some great tips!). So I'm using an online timer and putting in 10 minutes (for now) a day. What I come up with is drivel, of course, but that's not the point.

Zafu My meditation practice is also often embarrassingly bad. Wow, is that really me thinking all those incredibly banal thoughts? Then I remind myself that I'm just practicing. I am not very patient and have never understood delayed gratification, so it's a big thing for me to let my practice be a practice and not a path to perfection.

Being organized, clutter-free and in control of your time is also a practice. You're not going to finally get it right one day and be home free. Some days will be better than others. You'll go through busy periods when your system gets a little frayed around the edges and then you'll take the time to get back on track.

I do emphasize having a vision for your organized life, a goal to work towards. However, if that goal is making you feel disappointed in what's happening today, just think of what you're doing as a practice. Instead of thinking, 'my office has to look like that one I saw on Apartment Therapy,' try 'today I'll clear off the top of the file cabinet.' Focus on action today rather than possible futures.

A practice has its own rhythm and is its own rewards. Try it and see.

Kitty with meditation cushion from jakemohan's photostream.