Hi, glad you're here! How can I help you?

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Come in we're open XSmall 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. The point of organizing your time and your stuff is to make your life easier, to do things that are important to you and to eliminate the obstacles that are currently preventing that.

Don’t miss my free ecourse that will take you through the seven steps to getting organized at home or at work. The ecourse gets you started at the beginning, defining why you want to get organized, so that you’ll have the motivation to see it through.

Hiring me as a coach is a great way to keep yourself on track and get customized help. Short phone sessions are amazingly effective for your focus and incentive.

My audio program, Five Ways to Seriously Get Things Done, is the first one of a new series I’m creating. This recording gives you practical, specific ideas to be more productive and effective and it comes with worksheets to help you plan.

I’m excited to announce that I’ve published my first ebook, 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized! This book is filled with my very best tips and strategies for getting it all under control and keeping it there. You can use it as a once a week inspiration for your ongoing project, or dip into it when you are feeling stuck and need instant motivation.

Finally, I send out a very short (fast read!) monthly ezine with quick tips, product recommendations and spontaneous, helpful ideas.

Hope you enjoy your stay! Let me know what you think in the comments section, or contact me with the “Email Me” link on the right. Thanks!


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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. 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 get organized 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.

Brain Dump: Your Turn

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Woo hoo! I’ve already got a couple of overfilled brains interested in my free consultation! There’s room for more; I’ll be doing this all month long (maybe longer if we’re still having fun!).

What is it?
I made an offer at the end of my previous post, about a client’s brain dump. You can use it for your own brain dump. Other juicy topics are:

  • not being able to work at your desk because there’s too much stuff on it
  • going in a million directions without much to show for it except being tired
  • confusion about and/or resistance to standard organizing techniques
  • running out of time for the important stuff
  • getting rid of what’s distracting you from the important stuff

These are just some ways to use the session. What they have in common is setting things up so you can do your best work with ease and fun. You’ll get made-to-order solutions and suggestions on how to make the solutions stick. You’ll also get a new perspective of your habits and behavior that will let you create your own wild schemes for getting things done.

The Customer Love tribe is full of amazing people who have fantastic ideas that need to burst into reality. My little part of helping with that is making sure you use your time and set up your space to support that fabulous work.

The Details

UPDATE, July 12, 2011:
My beta test of this service went fabulously well. My “guinea pigs” walked away feeling clearer and lighter and more focused, and gave me some great reviews. The result is, I now have a Mind Decluttering service.

Get a taste of it with a free, 20 minute, mini brain dump. You can sign up using the link at the bottom.

I’ve decided to make the sessions an hour long so we can get into the specifics. I’m also going to offer a 20 minute follow-up session for troubleshooting and cheering you on.

What I ask from you: willingness to put the ideas into practice. It’s not rocket science, but it’s not magic either. Some persistence and elbow grease will be required. I also ask that if I do help you, you spread the word far and wide so I can help more people. Agreed?

Here’s the link to schedule your session (just do the first one for now): I’m in!

Laughing woman by Έλενα Λαγαρία

Mind Decluttering Mini Sessions

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For those of your who’ve been on tenterhooks wondering what the next incarnation of the brain dump would be, here it is. Keep reading to find out if it’s for you, or for someone you know (and tell them about it!)

Are you too busy and overwhelmed even to think about hiring me? Or even read this entire BLOG POST? 😉 You see a million things in front of you, every item catching your attention. Not one actually MAKING you feel like you’re whittling down your to do list.

And the panic starts to bubble in your chest.

You feel the prickle of frustration bunching your shoulders, and you burst out, “dammit, I have got to get this crap under control!” But there’s no solution to grab, and even THINKING about how to get a handle becomes ANOTHER thing on your to do list, so the idea is shoved to the back burner, again.

Meanwhile, time and money trickle out of your business. And that item you just shoved away could actually be the golden ticket that frees you from to-do-list purgatory.

Maybe you and I have talked or you’ve read my blog and know that I could help you. Then you think, “I don’t even have time to explain what’s going on! Much less carve out time to fix it.”

I’m going to give you that time.

Click here to schedule a free mini mind decluttering, or brain dump. We’ll talk for 20 minutes and get right into what’s bothering you. I listen. You feel stressed and want to attack everything at once. You can’t think straight and you’re not getting things done.

When you’re in the middle of things, it’s hard to see the way out.

This session will bring spaciousness so you can relax and step back a bit. That allows you to see the larger picture and understand what’s working and what’s not. You choose a next action or two and are confident that they’re do-able. Those holes where the money and time are leaking out will start getting plugged.

You’ll have the clarity and focus to know whether you want to work with me and what I can help you with. That’s going to be things like making more money because you’re working more efficiently and helping your clients more effectively. You’ll get back on track doing your best work with renewed energy and ease.

If you do decide that I’m your gal, we’ll concoct your perfect coaching package of phone sessions and email consultations. I wish I could solve all your problems in a mere 20 minutes, but alas, I can’t. You’ll need to commit some time if you want things to improve.

This can range from a “prepaid card” that entitles you to 15 minute decluttering hotline calls when you need them, or regularly scheduled longer sessions where we go deeper to ferret out clutter causing conditions and correct them (with alliteration!). Or a tailor-made combination thereof.

I’m offering these free sessions through June 10th only (they may come back another day, but I don’t know when, so do it now). If you’re tired of being too overwhelmed to do anything about being overwhelmed, this is your chance.

What Do I Do, Really?

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It’s never a bad thing to remind folks about what I do as a clutter coach, but I forget to do it because it’s too obvious (to me, anyway). Naomi Dunford reminded me on Friday what a good idea it is and I’m happy to take her advice. 

Question mark  What’s your game? What do you do?

I help people get back in control of their lives when circumstances have made their old systems stop working. Say you had a baby and your elegant, finely tuned organizing methods have been annihilated. Say you started a business at home and you’re realizing how much productive structure you left behind at your crappy old job. Say you want to do some major downsizing and what you thought would be a few boxes to go through turns out to be a tidal wave of mysterious stuff.

When people call me it’s because something big went wrong. Or something went right but it caused a bunch of unexpected changes. Occasionally something went wrong a long time ago and they’ve finally decided they can’t take it anymore.

When circumstances change, the way you deal with them needs to change too. Often, this can be really simple change, but it’s hard to see when you’re in the middle of it. Also, it’s hard to pay attention to making those little changes when it seems like everything is out of control. So I do both those things:

identify the simple changes and
keep your focus on them till they make things better.

Why do you do it? Do you love it, or do you just have one of those creepy knacks?

I don’t have a creepy knack for organizing. What I do have is a keen interest in why people do what they do and an ardent curiosity about how things could be different. I am my own guinea pig. What I noticed years ago is that I felt distracted and burdened by a lot of the stuff in my life. I had to pare it down, or drown. And then I had to be attentive to make sure it didn’t all come back. I learned how to be a nosy observer my own life.

And I love it because I know how incredibly satisfying and powerful it is to be able to impartially explore your own behavior and make changes that will make you happy. More than happy; changes that give you sovereignty* over your own life. I do have a knack for asking really basic questions to help that process along, ones that people overlook because they’re too simple.

Who are your customers? What kind of people would need or want what you offer?

I work with people like me, who run their own businesses and also want to have a life. I also work with individuals who had a life but then things got busy and complicated somehow and it’s not fun anymore.

What’s your marketing USP? Why should I buy from you instead of the other losers?

I don’t believe you would necessarily be happier with less stuff. How would I know that? I won’t make you to get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in two years. I’m not going to tell you to use an iPhone calendar because it’s better than paper. I don’t care what you do, as long as it works for you and makes you happy.

I like quick and dirty solutions. I like outside the box ideas. I want to know the reason behind something before I do it. That means I won’t make you buy a set of fancy desk trays if you’ve already got some other container we can repurpose (but if you think a fancy desk tray would make you happy and more productive, go for it).

The techniques I come up with for my clients are the shortest distance between two points. Not the one from Martha Stuart Living. Not the one from that best selling organizing book. You have an objective and you need a solution and you need it now because things are out of control. I can do that.

What’s next for you? What’s the big plan?

I want to create products (Hi, Amy!). I have an ebook and two info products (one is 99% done but not out yet because I can’t figure out what to call it. Ouch!). I want to reach more people than I can with one-on-one coaching (although I love doing that). I’m considering a phone group coaching group too.

* A concept borrowed from coach Hiro Boga.

Question mark from Stefan Baudy’s photostream.

What I’m Really Up To

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P1020031_2 I want to dig a little deeper. I often read and hear from people that productivity is just about doing a lot more, a lot faster. That it’s contributing to the out-of-control speediness of modern life. That what we really need is less of everything so that we can appreciate life, and so on.

I realize I need to be perfectly clear here that despite all my helpful and groovy how-to posts, I am certainly not advocating that you just do more stuff faster. What underlies all my work, here on the blog and with my clients, is guiding folks over the humps that are preventing them from doing what they actually want to do.

Here in my particular corner of the world, what I see is that people don’t get around to doing the things they really want to for reasons that have to do with time and stuff (i.e. “productivity” and “organization”). That’s my approach, my whatever-colored lenses; other approaches are equally valid.

What I’m really about is how you can have a life that makes you happy (your personal brand of happiness) and feel good about yourself (and how you are in the world). Questions? Ask away, in the comments section below. Comments are also very welcome.

Happy balloon photo by me.

Get Organized in the New Year

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Fireworks You may already know that "getting organized" is consistently one of the top five new year's resolutions. Maybe it's been on yours. It ranks up there with losing weight, quitting smoking and spending more time with family.

Most people end up not following through with their resolutions. The ones who do have this in common: they got support. They joined Weight Watchers, for example.

Support is necessary because we're creatures of habit. Making positive changes in your life is much easier when you don't try to do it all by yourself. Having help can be the difference between achieving a goal that's dear to you and resigning yourself to failure next year, again.

If getting organized is on your list of resolutions, I'm here to help you. You can have more ease, more space and more time in your life.

Call me at 510-768-7913 or email me at claire AT cluttercoach.net (substitute an ampersand for "AT").


7 Things to Look For in a Professional Organizer

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Working with an organizer can be immensely helpful to get you to your organizing goals faster, just as hiring a personal trainer keeps you on track with getting in shape.

It can be a little intimidating to think of hiring a stranger to come inside your home, so I wrote this list of things to consider.

  1. Trust is vital. You’ll be sharing with your organizer parts of your life that you’re embarrassed about or even ashamed of. The organizer should make you feel comfortable and supported. Good organizers adhere to a code of ethics and promise confidentiality and respect.
  2. A good organizer offers an objective viewpoint. When you’re overwhelmed, it’s pretty darned hard to get perspective on your own situation. Your organizer should be able to make a nonjudgmental assessment that focuses on how things are now, how you want to change them and how that will happen, rather than mistakes you made or skills you lack.
  3. Look for an organizer who understands your unique situation. You are the one who chooses the goals you want to work toward. A capable organizer will ask questions to assess what’s going on with you and help refine your goals, but not make assumptions about what you want. Whether an organizer is a good fit for you should be determined by how easily you can communicate.
  4. Pay attention to personality and temperament. An upbeat, high energy organizer may be ideal for you to stay motivated and charged up. Or that organizer might make you feel anxious and tired. You’ll be spending hours at a time with your organizer, so make sure you click.
  5. A good organizer listens actively, taking in not only what you say but how you say it and how you feel. As I mentioned above, getting organized can bring up some uncomfortable feelings. You don’t need to let it all hang out, but an organizer can help you better if she knows what you’re feeling.
  6. Creative problem solving is an essential skill. People who seek out organizers often have tried to get organized by reading books, but find the programs too hard to follow, or just not suited to them. A good organizer uses her professional experience and understanding of the client to develop solutions that are tailor made for each one.
  7. Don’t forget to find out if the organizer can work with your schedule! If you can only devote time to organizing on the weekends, a Monday-Friday organizer can’t help you. You’ll get better results if you commit time to your organizing project. If you work full time, squeezing in sessions on weekday evenings isn’t ideal. The time and energy you put into the project will pay you back generously with a sustainable organized space.

Did I leave anything out? What would you look for?

Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Organizer

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Is getting organized on your to-do list? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, for most folks, it just stays on the to-do list, year after year.

See if any of these scenarios sounds familiar. If they do, I can help.

  1. You want to have guests over without stashing things in the bathtub and praying no one looks behind the shower curtain
  2. You moved in two months ago and are sick and tired of pawing through those unpacked boxes to find your stuff
  3. You want to know what’s inside a drawer, before you even open it! What a concept
  4. Your child is a tireless art-making machine and the refrigerator door is getting saggy under the weight of it
  5. You started a home business and your desk is being taken over by folded laundry, stuffed animals and stacks of magazines
  6. You’re getting ready to move and the enormity (and expense) of packing up ten years worth of stuff you haven’t gotten around to getting rid of yet is beginning to sink in
  7. You can’t use your dining table because it’s the official mail sorting center
  8. You’re frustrated by continually paying late fees for bills that got lost in a pile somewhere
  9. Your guests sleep on the pull-out couch in the living room because the guest room is your storage unit
  10. You’re embarrassed by being late to appointments because you couldn’t find your keys

All these situations are painful and stressful. They’re also totally fixable! Find out how you can get relief by clicking here.

Phone Coaching to Get You Organized

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Getting yourself organized is not rocket science. Unless the Muppets' game "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others" left you scratching your head, you can sort stuff into categories. You're also capable of making decisions instead of adding to your teetering pile of things you'll decide on at some later, unspecified date (which, honestly, may never come).

Jumping rope is not rocket science. Making and eating a healthy salad isn't rocket science. But people don't always do those things on their own. They hire personal trainers, or go to gym classes, or join Weight Watchers. Of course, you can learn the "how-to" from trainers and classes. But there's another big thing they provide, and that's accountability.

If you avoid the jump rope session in your living room, no one will know. At the gym, your trainer is standing right there, so of course you're going to jump. Also, you've decided to be at the gym at that time to do that very thing. Working with a professional organizer provides that structure too.

Say you don't really want to hire an organizer, what can you do? Well, I'm glad you asked because I'm offering a new service; accountability coaching. It's a simple way to stay on track with your organizing goals, whether you're decluttering a closet, managing your time or sorting out the paper on your desk.

The way it works is that you call me once a week and we'll talk for 15 minutes. We discuss what you got done last week, how it went, what problems came up and how to deal with them, what you're planning for next week and how you'll make that happen. It's amazing how much progress you can make when you know you'll be reporting in to someone! Also, talking about what you are doing can uncover issues you might not have recognized and help you overcome obstacles you now know how to handle.

Accountability coaching is perfect if you have a pretty good idea of what you want to organize but you don't seem to be getting to it on your own. It's also great if you don't live in my area and can't see me in person. Click the link above for more details, or the one under Phone Coaching in the left column. Or right here.

As always, the initial half hour phone consultation is free. I'm also offering a money-back guarantee. If the sessions don't help you make progress after one month, I'll give you a full refund. What have you got to lose?