Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Create an office command center

Business and life are chaotic enough without clutter and disorder in your office.  Turn your office into an efficient command center so that your office does not distract from your work and enables you to get things back in order quickly.

Keep only the supplies that you need often at hand.  Too many supplies at your desk will create clutter.
 Store the rest of the bulk supplies in another place.  Keeping unused supplies together will also help when you are trying to decide if you have what you need on hand or if it is time to run to the store.

Place supplies near the equipment that uses them.  Nothing is more frustrating than having to run to another room or across the office every time you need a new printer cartridge or paper.  Extra filing supplies keep well in the filing cabinet that you intend to use them in.

Keep often used files with in arms reach.  For most people, only a fraction of the files that they have need to be accessed often.  A desk with a hanging file drawer or two usually will do the trick.  Less used files can live in another filing cabinet elsewhere in the room.  Keep monthly files and others close to promote filing instead of piling.

If you print very often, consider placing the printer next to the desk within arms reach.  It will be easier to check work as it prints instead of running across the office each time you print a page.  If you are like me and you have multiple printers, consider placing them on shelving spaced so that you have full access to each one without using up extra desk space.

Continually reassess your command center.  Is it working the way that you want it to work?  If it is not, tweak it!  Remember to de-clutter often and remove or store elsewhere anything that isn't being used often.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To label or Not to Label...

Hi, My name is Andrea and I am addicted to removing labels.  I admit it I can't wait to remove labels when I buy something new or find one that has never been removed.  There is something satisfying about being able to get the label off cleanly without a bunch of goop hanging around to attract dirt.  I never used many labels because the ones I made on the computer never lasted or wouldn't come off or ruined the item.  Handwritten labels always looked messy. 

So why would a confirmed label remover like myself begin advocating the use of a label maker?  They are fabulous!

I never made the leap to purchasing a label maker until well after I began to offer organizing services.  All the other Professional Organizers had them but I did see the need for one at first.  I found an inexpensive one at a discount club store that also sold a reasonably priced 3 pack of replacement tapes.  This was one of the big selling features for me.  It does not matter how cheap something is if it costs a ton to keep using it.  

I began experimenting with it around the house in small ways at first.  I began to realize that labels made it easier for me to navigate my craft room.  I did not have to think about where to put things since I had already made the decision and the labels reminded me where things belonged.  Most importantly for me, I liked the way they looked.  There was uniformity to the labels that was calming and did not clutter my space.   The label tapes also stick well and remove cleanly from most surfaces.  

I finally got why people were so in love with label makers.  
  • They are neat and uniform.
  • Quick and easy to make.
  • They give gentle reminders about where things go.
  • Stick well to most surfaces.
  • The labels remove easily when you are done with them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beloved collection or dust collector?

My grandmother had a huge tea cup collection.  It filled the hutch, 2 corner cupboards and over flowed on to the shelves in the living room.  She enjoyed the cups and everyone bought her more for birthdays and Christmas.  They were wonderful cups but at some point they began to over run the cabinets so that it was difficult to see any one cup.

Collections can be a great source of enjoyment.  However, collections also have the tendency to become overwhelming over time.  It is not uncommon for someone to start a collection on a trip, with found objects or because of an interest.  Over time our tastes and interests can change leaving us with a collection that we no longer enjoy as much. If your space is feeling a bit cramped with a collection ask yourself some hard questions.

  • What does the collection add to my life?  Make sure your collection is enhancing your life in some way.  Do you enjoy looking at when you walk in the room or has it just faded into the background with the rest of the clutter.
  • Have you outgrown the "collection"?  Have your interests or tastes changed?  As we grow up and grow older the things that we enjoy and value change.  Maybe it is time to give the collection to someone who is just discovering a particular interest or donate it to a no profit resale shop like Goodwill.
  • Is the collection growing from gifts?  Do you purposefully pick the items for you collection or are the items things that others have given you thinking that you still collect everything that looks like a frog.  Many collections get out of hand because people are given the items and sometimes don't even remember how the collection got started in the first place.  Ask friends and relatives to take you to dinner and tell you about the trip rather than giving another trinket.  I began collecting small snow globes a few years back when I went on a trip.  The rule for my collection is to only add items that I have purchased for my self when I travel.  No gifts.
  • Who will enjoy the collection in the future?  Collections are often very personal but sometimes people will save a grouping because someone else will want it, they think.  I always ask them if the intended recipient has requested the collection.  Often the answer is no.  They are assuming that the person will want it.  The reality is that many people who are saving things for others are not doing their friends and family any favors.  These gifted collections end up creating clutter for the unsuspecting receiver who then usually struggle with the decision to donate or dispose of it in some way later.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shop till you drop?

Don't you just love to shop?  Most of us do.  But what happens when the glow of retail therapy has worn off?  The newness of something wears off and then it is time to go shopping again.  As the cycle continues things begin to bulge out of closets and pile up in corners.  Before you know it there is so much stuff lying everywhere that it is sensory overload every time you walk in the room or open a drawer or cupboard.

Here are a few strategies to keep your stuff under control instead of it controlling you.

One in one out.  Decide how much space you want to devote to a particular type of item. If you only want to have one drawer of tee-shirts then each time you get a new one, an old one has to be donated.

De-clutter seasonally.  Go through each area on a regular basis to purge older and unwanted items.

Rethink purchases.  Make conscious decisions avoid impulse purchases.  Impulse purchases often become clutter when the newness wears off or we decide that we didn't really need or want the item.  Take time to really think through what you are buying.  Do you really need it?  Want it?  How does it enrich your life positively?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recycle your clutter in Licking County

A big part of the de-cluttering process is getting rid of things that you either don't want, like, need or use.  Many of these items still have some value in them and aren't quite ready for the landfill.  Licking County Recycling has a terrific resource on their website at http://lcounty.com/rlc/default.aspx  They have also published a handy brochure that can be found here in .pdf listing many of the recycling resources in Licking County.


Here are some more ideas for donating items for recycling and reuse.

  • Donate clothing and household items to a charitable organization such as Goodwill or a church with a pantry for the needy.
  • Donate old worn blankets to the local humane society for animal bedding.
  • Give fabric and craft supplies to a church, preschool or school for art supplies.
  • Give gently used furniture to a local furniture bank.