March 2010 Newsletter

Dear friend,

Don’t fool yourself – clutter is more than physical stuff.  Clutter clogs are minds and emotions too.  Identify which one of the 3 “P”s of clutter is holding you back.  And get some tips on how to tackle a constant clutter battle – receipts.  Read on...

Simply yours,

Tackle the 3 “P”s of Clutter

Piles of clutter often seem to grow like weeds – one minute there’s just one pile and by next week piles have sprouted throughout your house.  Through my work with clients, there are three culprits that tend to lead to cluttered homes: 1) passivity, 2) procrastination, and 3) perfectionism.  Let’s address each one so you can best identify the source of your clutter.

Passivity [noun] the state of not participating readily or actively; inactive

We’re all suckers for so-called miracle cures.  Some of us think that getting the latest and greatest organizing system, or brand new containers, will instantly result in an organized space.  The unfortunate truth is that no thing will create order in your home.  The pile of clutter will not magically leap from its pile of junk into a neatly organized stack in your new shelving system.  You MUST do the work first.  Sorting, donating, and recycling should happen before you buy a single thing!  Once the work is done, some new baskets or containers can help to maintain your newly organized space. 

Procrastination [verb] to defer action; delay

Clutter often leads to feelings of overwhelm, especially when it hasn’t been addressed in a long time.  Where do you even begin?  The easy answer is to simply not begin at all.  Of course, the clutter will not disappear on its own.  Every time you walk past it, you are reminded of it.  You become plagued with clutter guilt.  To give procrastination a fight for its money, I suggest a timer.  Set it for 30 minutes to an hour.  During this time, tackle one area of clutter.  A few keys to success – no breaks for email, texting, coffee, even bathroom (unless it’s an absolute necessity); turn off all distractions – no watching The Kardashians or American Idol during this time!  It’s often astonishing what can be accomplished in a short, focused amount of time.

Perfectionism [noun] a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.

So many of us set unattainable standards for ourselves.  With impossible to meet standards, things tend to never get done.  Why tackle your closet if it won’t look like a picture out of a magazine at the end?  The only answer to perfectionism is to constantly work to re-adjust your standards.  Demand excellence rather than perfection.  Demand “better-than-it-is-right-now” rather than perfectionism.  This process is difficult but once you start to see results, it will continue to get easier.

By tackling these three key deterrents to organization, your home will soon bring you peace and joy.

Receipts: Friend or Foe?
Receipts seem harmless enough – a small slip of paper to show our purchases. Yet receipts left to their own devices can quickly take over the most organized woman’s purse, car, and home.  Here are a few things I do to keep my receipts at bay:

1.  Identify Temporary Home for Receipts: I keep a small zip pouch in my purse like this one  Rather than stuffing receipts into my wallet, I place them in this pouch.

2. Weekly Clean-Up: I suggest taking 30 minutes to an hour once a week to organize all your papers (mail, receipts, bills, files, etc.) that have accumulated throughout the week.  One easy solution that works well for people that are “pilers” is to use this handy little gadget that restaurants use.  Check it out here -  Simply pull the receipts from your purse and stab them onto this holder.  Once a month, take them off and toss any you no longer need.  One caveat – I suggest having a file for important receipts (expensive purchases).  For those of you that are more naturally organized, I like to put receipts into this easy type of file -