Organize your bedroom

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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.

Christine Arylo on self love, success and clutter

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COVERmebeforewe
Creating an organized space makes it easier for you to lay your hands on the things you need and helps you be more effective because you now have time for the important stuff. It's also an essential part of taking care of the most valuable person in your life, yourself. Christine Arylo, coach and author of the new book, Choosing ME Before WE, graciously took some time from her book promotion schedule (you can hear her speak on June 2nd at 7pm in Oakland at Great Good Place for Books) to do an interview for my blog.

Christine is also an inspirational catalyst who uses the power of self-love to help people liberate themselves into the life they really want… or as she likes to say “Dare to Live and Love YOU!” 

Clutter Coach:
Sometimes clutter results from not deciding where to put things, or just not spending the time to put them away. It's a common problem. But what if you're using clutter as an excuse not to move forward in your life, or to insulate you from discomfort?

Christine_Chair_Cropped Christine:
The clutter we surround ourselves with is the symptom, it’s not the disease itself. The clutter is the outcome of something deeper going on within ourselves, and often times it’s protecting us from something we don’t want to be with… or it’s slowing us down from actually getting what we really want in life. If you have a clutter filled life, you have to stop and ask yourself, “What is behind this clutter? What is it a symptom of? What inside of me am I not willing to be with or look at?” And then attack that problem. The clutter will clear itself up from there. If you only attack the clutter without addressing the underlying issue, the clutter will just keep coming back.

Clutter Coach:
It can be scary to commit to a goal like getting organized if it's a big shift from where you are now. Who will you be once you're organized? Will you lose your creativity? How do you deal with the identity issues that come up with any major change, no matter how positive?

Christine:
One simple fact: structure actually creates more freedom not less. When you have form and structure in your life – such as getting organized – you create more space and that creates more freedom, not less. And within freedom, you are inherently more yourself, not less.  This lifetime is about letting go of all the ‘stuff’ that isn’t really who we are – fears, society expectations, bad training, ego, obligations, etc. – so that we can be free to be who we really are. If you can keep that perspective, that your life is a series of steps that brings you closer to your truest essence, it’s a lot easier to take each change one step at a time, stopping to integrate what you’ve learned about yourself along the way.

Clutter Coach:
Habits can be ruts we get into that prevent us from seeing what's really going on, or they can be welcome time-savers that allow us to focus on the important stuff. How can we become aware of our habits so we can evaluate them clearly and choose the positive ones?

Christine:
Notice what continually works well and what doesn't. Then look for the patterns that cause those results. That is where you will find your habits. Obviously, if your habits are producing good results, keep doing them. For the habits that create unpleasant or unwanted results, it’s time to create a new habit, so you need to cut a new internal rut. Literally, you have to retrain your brain to act differently, to follow a different pathway. It takes time but if you treat it like building a new muscle, it can be a lot of fun. The following four step process is one that I use with all my clients and with myself:

  1. Awareness:  You see the truth of your behavior and the outcome it produces. You take responsibility and commit to change.
  2. Reflection:  You still do the habit, but afterwards, you look back and say, “Oh, I did that again. Here is what happened. Next time, I would like to do …”
  3. Change in the Moment:  You notice the habit while you are doing it and you interrupt it, choosing instead to do something new.
  4. Integration: The old habit has been replaced with a new habit, and you no longer have to think about it.

Clutter Coach:
How can becoming accepting and loving of ourselves help us battle that sneaky little demon, perfectionism?

Christine:
Success begets success, so when you feel good about yourself you will naturally create more things that result in you feeling good about yourself.  Perfectionism never leads to success, only distress, so it’s a habit you want to give up for sure! You can do that by doing two things. 1. Set realistic expectations for yourself that you can meet. 2. When you meet them, celebrate! The more you acknowledge your small wins the more they will add up to big wins. Before I go to bed each night I actually say out loud at least 5 successes I had that day. It sounds so simple, and it really does make a difference.

Clutter Coach:
What's your personal favorite organizing trick?

Christine:
If it doesn't have a place to go, find it a home. I notice that
whether it’s my email box or my desk, what causes clutter more than
anything are those things that are homeless. So I immediately create a
place for them to go – whether it’s a new email folder on my computer
or in my filing cabinet.

If you find yourself living among clutter, working harder not smarter, or running around like an energizer bunny gone mad, your life is running you, instead of you living it. Don't feel bad, you’re not alone – we’ve been conditioned to live that way. But do be smart and realize that you need to learn some new habits, skills and super powers to deal with the realities of the 21st century. Also be smart enough to find people and resources that can guide you – none of us can do it alone!

About Christine Arylo
A new kind of self-love expert, Christine Arylo, inspirational catalyst, traded in twelve years of creating powerful images for brands like Visa and Gap, to inspire people to bust through their limiting self-images and self-expectations. As an author, speaker, and coach, Arylo is an expert at helping people to get the success and happiness they want by living and loving their most real and wise selves first. She is the author of Choosing ME Before WE, Every Woman’s Guide to Life and Love, and the founder of the international Madly in Love with ME™ movement. She has appeared on national television and syndicated radio shows across the country, and her opinions have been featured in places like the San Francisco Chronicle, Glam.com and Daily Om.

Don't Put Off Shredding

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Here's chapter three of my new book. Every Wednesday there's a new chapter. You can read them here, or buy the ebook here.

Simple Way #3

Shred
Almost every day you get mail
that’s got sensitive information in it that should be shredded. Don’t
stack it up somewhere to shred later! Shred
it right away.
Otherwise, you end up with a shopping bag full
and the idea of sitting next to the shredder for an hour is not very
attractive (it’ll be too loud for you to watch TV at the same time).
Get a quality shredder (one that won’t jam or freak out over staples)
and put it where you usually sort mail and paper. Then you can shred as
you go.

What you shred depends on your personal comfort level. Some people like
to shred anything with their name and address on it, but that’s a lot
of work and will not do much to protect your identity. The important items to shred are
ones with your signature, social security number or any account number
(this includes credit card offers). Additionally, anything with legal
or medical information about you should be shredded.

Right now:
If you haven’t gone through today’s
mail, look at it now and see if you can find something that needs
shredding. Then shred it!

 

Quick Decluttering Tip

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Decluttering, also known as getting rid of stuff you don’t want or need, is something you should do every day. Tossing out the junk mail counts; I’m not talking about clearing out your closet. It’s a good idea to do it everyday because then you get in the habit and don’t have to think about it so much. You also become attuned to looking for clutter to get rid of.

Important point: each time you declutter an area, look at it long and hard. Memorize the way it looks. Make a mental snapshot of what is there. This will help you see at a glance what doesn’t belong so you can get rid of it.

Very often, clients call me when the clutter level has gotten so high they’re lucky they found the telephone. They’re not lazy or messy, but they don’t have the habit of dealing with clutter when it’s new. It’s such a small amount every day, they reason, it seems perfectly okay to handle it some other time. Then, before that day comes around, they realize that those small bits of clutter have congealed into a solid, sticky mass. Uh oh.

You probably already know where your clutter gathering spots are. Typical ones are the kitchen counter (the gorgeous recycled glass counter shown above is from Vetrazzo), the dining table, the foyer table and your desk. Try this: go to your favorite clutter cache and pick up three things. Now, do the right thing with each one, whether that’s recycling it, putting it away (if you’re keeping it, it needs a real place to live), giving it back to its owner or tossing it out.

Another way to do this is to get in the habit of handling one thing each time you pass a clutter nook. Still another way is to go around to all the cluttered areas with a big box and loading everything into it. Then, sit down somewhere where you have sorting room and go through everything. Then walk around putting everything away.

Choose a method that appeals to you, or try them all. They all have the same end result: decluttering.

My new organizing guide is here!

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Cover-2Here’s the press release.

Oakland, CA. On May 11, 2015, Claire Tompkins, the Clutter Coach, released her new book, Five Minutes to a Relaxing Bedroom, on Amazon. Compact and to the point, this book is designed to be read quickly and acted upon immediately, like an instruction manual.

No one has any time anymore and that’s not likely to change. Yet, we all want our homes, and particularly our bedrooms, to be peaceful, uncluttered refuges from the pace of modern life. This book is how.

The book is a quick read. It’s not A to Z organizing; it gets straight to the point. You can read the book, put it down, and start using the techniques in your bedroom right away. There’s no learning curve. Real-time practice is what gets results.

Pull quote:

“Your eyes want to rest. They’re done with input for the day. They want harmony and calm so that all you need to think about is, well, nothing. You know how relaxing it feels to go into a nice hotel room, or a beautiful guest room? That’s what you’re aiming for.”

There are many good, comprehensive organizing books on the market, but their scope can be intimidating. This book focuses on a single room, the one you spend the most time in; the bedroom.

Getting and staying organized requires actual hands-on doing, not reading or planning. This book is a training manual. If you can master the five simple habits in the book, you are set to tackle a larger organizing project.

Habits can be simple but not easy. For that reason, the scope of the book is small; just one room. It may not seem like much, but mastering a few small changes and integrating them into your life is actually a big deal. Taking on a small amount at a time is important for success.

Activities done habitually get done faster and almost automatically over time. That means more time for fun!

____________________

Claire Tompkins is a professional organizer and clutter coach in Oakland, CA. Her clients over the past 15 years include architects, stay at home moms, writers, entrepreneurs and more. She has been blogging since 2006 and has posted numerous articles and guest posts online, and has written a guide called “52 Simple Ways to Get Organized” available on her site at www.cluttercoach.net.

Daily Practice for Those Little Messes

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It’s Wednesday! That means time for a new chapter. You can read them here every week, or buy the ebook here.

Simple Way #4
Cover design2

Tidy Up

Daily living involves getting stuff out, using it, moving it around and combining it with other stuff. No one stays organized at every moment because life creates little messes. So make it a daily practice to clean up those little messes. Just as it’s better to wipe up a spill right away, the ten minute tidy up will keep your space organized with much less effort than spending half of Saturday on it. If you do this daily, ten minutes should be plenty.

Schedule your tidy ups for transition times, for example, when you get home from work, right after dinner or right before bed. Visit your clutter spots and put things away. This way you aren’t interrupting another activity. As with Simple Way #15, these mini sessions help you segue mentally to the next thing.


Right now:

Make a list of three spots to tidy before you go to bed tonight.

 

How to Make New Year's Resolutions

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This year, don’t let your New Year’s resolutions be just another list of to do’s that you never get to and feel guilty about. Here are some tips on how to make some resolutions that you can actually keep.

  • Don’t pick too many

Challenging yourself is a great idea, but be kind to yourself too. Keep in mind that a resolutions typically involve major changes in lifestyle and habits, and those don’t occur overnight.

If you’ve decided to get organized, for example, which appears on lots of top ten most popular resolutions lists, you’ll need to break that goal down into many subgoals with tasks for each. Some examples are "open and sort the mail everyday" and "spend five minutes clearing off my desk every evening." You could even put those down as resolutions.

  • Set later start dates

The start of the year is a natural time to make changes. If it’s not right for you, though, because you got that terrible cold that’s going around, or you have family commitments that keep you occupied, just postdate your resolutions.

Adding a date to a goal is a good practice anyway. It makes it more specific and more real. You won’t be able to fool yourself into thinking you’ll start "tomorrow." So date your resolutions to start at the beginning of March, or another date when you’ll have the time and energy to act on them.

  • Stagger them

Trying to honor all your resolutions at once will probably just frustrate you and make you quit all of them. Give yourself a better shot at success by starting one at a time.

Pick the most pressing one to start first and then wait until you’ve developed some new habits to support that resolution (hint: when an activity becomes a habit, you don’t have to think about it very much). A few months later, you’ll be ready to take on a new challenge and give it your full attention.

Can You Be Too Organized?

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The keys to my dreams. You're too organized if doing the work of organizing starts taking up half your day. The organizing you do should be at the service of the rest of your life and your work, not the other way around.

People shy away from organizing because they think it's a huge project or it will be enormously time consuming. Now, if they want to organize their entire homes top to bottom and they've been collecting stuff since the dawn of time, this is a realistic fear. For everyone else, it's not.

Organizing can be a few simple things you do to make your life run more smoothly. Things like putting your bag in a place where you can find it again or jotting an event onto your calendar so you don't rely on (cursed) memory.

To find your perfect organizing level, observe what's working and what's not. What bothers you and what's fine the way it is. If what's not working is being able to get out of the house on time in the mornings, figure out what the specific obstacles are. Can't find the keys? Forgot some important information? Trying to squish too many tasks into the morning?

Now you've got something to work with. If you're really bugged by running around the house searching for keys, you'll be motivated to find a special place to stash them when you come in the door. You might not do it every time. Even if you do it half the time, you're ahead of the game.

Analyze what is working for you. Maybe you've got a "don't forget" list on the wall right next to the front door that you see when you leave the house. You always look at it and it helps. How can you use that technique in other ways? You might make a list of morning routine tasks and attach it to the fridge or the bathroom mirror.

It's the little things, people. Small things that help your life work better.

Found keys from Otacon_85's photostream

Changing Habits Requires Motivation

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Changing habits is hard. It’s easier the more motivated you are to do it. Tip: be honest about what motivates you.

I was riding in my friend’s car the other day and she mentioned that she was trying to keep hLive_fueleff_grapher speed down to 55 mph to maximize fuel efficiency. Her car is a Prius, so she’s really into that kind of thing. I
immediately thought, is the speed the same for all cars? How much could I save? What if I went 5 miles over that? I was planning to research it online when I got home.

But then I remembered that I like to drive fast. I know myself well enough that I might try the 55 mph thing for 15 minutes or so, but then I’d start to feel antsy. Then I’d feel deprived. Then I’d start ratiionalizing and making deals with myself so I could resume my previous habit. And resume it I would.

The point is that I am not motivated enough by saving money to reduce my driving speed. I’m just not. This isn’t about what’s right or wrong or black or white or green. It shouldn’t be about guilt or pleasing others either. If you are sincerely gratified by doing your part to save the earth by driving more slowly, by all means do it. Make sure you feel good about it, though.

Trying to change a habit without sufficient motivation that works for you is a recipe for failure. What have you been trying to change that isn’t happening? See if you can discover a real, honest way to motivate yourself to do it, rather than "I should."

FYI, you can find out more about fuel efficiency here.