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Ever Met-a-Phor?

 “phor”: Person Holding Old Receipts
            You may have heard it before: “As above, so below” or, “As within so Without.”
Everything that’s comes into your life you have attracted or created, much of it unconsciously. The way you live is the perfect metaphor of who you are.

Now before going all judgmental and defensive, take a look at Nature. Do we see undeveloped land as acres of tidily trimmed lawns, toweringclutter trees, pretty flowers?  No. There are beautiful forests, yes, but more often are the barren places, brambles, weeds, dried-up streams, muddy lakes, dark, rough seas, as well as the picture postcard areas.

The concept that every house should look like something out of Architectural Digest, and every room should have that Martha Stewart touch, is a made up concept we may or may not strive toward. Most of us do not live in perfect, neat environments. It’s nice to tidy up sometimes, but anyone who devotes most of their time to picture-perfect cleaning is either very compulsive or very bored, and probably has a pretty empty life.

When you’re focused on a project, or going through an emotional crisis, or have an illness, your living space probably develops piles of papers, dishes, clothing and basically goes to hell in a hand basket, right? And because we’re conditioned to think messy is “bad,” we find another reason to get down on ourselves for being bad housekeepers.

I’m here to tell you that the more you understand how your space reflects your emotions, the easier it becomes to feel comfortable in your space and in your own skin.

Why is it that the perfectly decorated and clean house of a friend is far less comfortable than the […]

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By |April 23rd, 2012|BLOG|0 Comments

Filing Tips

Here’s some good tips for how to begin to file.

SETUP

It’s nice to have hanging files (typically olive green but colors are available for a bit more money) with the file folders placed inside of them. They slide easily back and forth on metal bars on the side make access easy. A box of them will come with plastic tabs you can write the file name on.

For easiest filing, insert the plastic tab in the middle of the front of the file folder. Experience has taught us that it’s easier to scan  the middle front to back, rather than dart side to side looking for a name.

File folders (typically manilla color but you can get colored ones, usually more expensive).

CATEGORIES

Pick categories you think of when you’re looking for something (would you call a file “Auto” or “Car” or “Vehicle”?). Whatever name you choose would determine it’s alphabetical order. Then, within that hanging file, let’s say you call it “Auto” you would have separate folders for things like “Auto Repairs,” “Auto Insurance,” “Auto Loan,” or whatever you choose.

BEWARE of naming files general words like “Miscellaneous” or anything that could collect papers you’d never find again.

Also, you may want to keep a current and one-year earlier tax return handy  in a file called “Taxes.” But don’t fill up your file drawer with six years of tax returns. The earlier ones can be put into a file box (labeled, of course) in a closet. You can keep the back-up information for all years in that same box.

 

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By |April 16th, 2012|TIPS|0 Comments

One Man’s Clutter. . .

You may or may not guess what the photo on the left is a part of. Pieces of broken crockery and glass are placed in cement. This is just a small section of Watts Towers (below). Simon Rodia was a small man with a large vision. He wanted to build something that would remind him of his native Italy with its tall, spiraling church steeples. It took him 30+ years to build and decorate with found objects including bottles, scrap metal, sea shells, ceramic tiles, even bed frames. He built the framework with scrap rebar and whatever he picked up on the road.

The point of this, besides applauding anyone’s opportunity to re-purpose “trash,” is to underscore the importance of experimenting with new perspectives. Look at what you own. Imagine you’re from another planet and don’t associate any of this with a value or name.  Pretend you’re an important designer assigned to personally re-arrange and eliminate (ie. play with) your possessions. This can help you make decisions that aren’t based on sentimentality or well-worn habits.

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By |April 15th, 2012|JUST FOR FUN|0 Comments

Procrastination Flu

Sometimes this is the most overwhelming and off-putting questions asked. You have the best of intentions and have set aside a block of time to chip away at your pile o’ stuff! Five minutes later you shut the door on your clutter project, and get a huge bowl of ice cream and head for the TV.

You’re not alone, friend. This is the most common scenario I hear about. Sometimes it’s impossible to decide where to start. That coupled with the onset of dread and resistance blocks all those initial good intentions.

The first thing you need to do is make some space so you can begin to sort. And you’ll find that moving things around helps free up your mental energy. Don’t worry about making any decisions about what to do with things or what should be tossed. Just move things around and leave a big space.

If you’re dealing with ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ – get some bins to toss things in (at least three). One might be for trash, one for donation, one for put aways.

If you mostly dealing with paper, then you need file folders. If you intend to actually put them in a working file (as opposed to a box for storage that won’t be accessed on a regular basis), you need hanging files, too. Maybe you only want to keep some of them accessible. For example, you don’t have to keep your 2010 tax backup information in your every day file drawer. That can be one of the files relegated to a file box. Generally speaking you need a file drawer or bin and a storage file box with a lid (better yet is a plastic file box to keep out dampness, […]

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By |March 25th, 2012|JUST FOR FUN|0 Comments

Don’t Be Embarrassed!

"travel the quickest road to clutter recovery."

By |February 7th, 2012|JUST FOR FUN|0 Comments

Messy Can Be Good

Okay, everyone, I have a confession to make. . .I’m a total messaholic. What is

that, you ask? A chronically messy person. (Note: I don’t consider myself a slob.

That’s an entirely different animal.) But I will take off my coat and shoes when I walk

in the door and and pretty much leave them there for at least a few hours. I’ll leave

dishes in the sink overnight. I’ll leave the lid off the olives way after the martini has

been consumed. Sometimes I’ll look around and think “who messed up

my place?” knowing full well who that someone is.

Yes, it’s true. I have the [clutter] angel on one shoulder and the devil-may-care guy

on the other. That’s probably why I’ve become a professional neatnik.  “You must be

sooo organized at home,” people often say to me. Yes, in the sense that I know where

everything is, or at least where it should be. Nothing is willy-nilly. Maybe some piles

or drawers get messy-looking, but the scarf drawer is all scarves, and the sock drawer

is all socks, even if they’re not alway put away in the neatest way.

Speaking for myself, having a lot of “stuff” is a luxury. If you can afford that “luxury,”

you need to maintain it by knowing  what you have and where it lives in your space so

it’s available for use when you want it.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

 

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By |January 19th, 2012|BLOG|0 Comments

“But I Might Need It”

This is often the sticking point when it comes to de-cluttering. You can part (finally) with the 20-year collection of National Geographics, but your grandmother’s hand-embroidered, well-loved, tear-stained hankie (fill in your own sentimental attachment) is a problem. Besides, her favorite perfume still lingers. What to do?

I always ask people if that’s the only remaining item them have of that person. What about Gramma’s cut glass lamp in your dining room that you actually use? Sometimes that makes it easier. Keep what is useful. Life is for the living. No one can blame you for wanting a few sentimental geegaws, but if it takes up space, and has no practical use (including aesthetic), try taking a picture of it. (Ask yourself if you’d really want an image of it for your screensaver.) Then let it go to someone who might find a REAL use for it.

The important thing is to not give an object more power than its worth. Recently, a client faced the dilemma of what to do with a pair of beautiful twin beds her grandfather had carved. “I can use one, but not both,” she said, “and I can’t break up the set.”

“Why not?” I asked, clearly seeing that she really loved them. She thought about it and asked if committing that kind of “sacrilege” was an okay thing to do.

“Absolutely!” I said, to her relief. Why not keep and love one and let the other go–after all, it’s not exactly Sophie’s Choice. If one of a pair is useful, and the other isn’t–well, there’s the answer. Give yourself the power to upset dead relatives!!! You’d probably be surprised to find that even if they knew, they’d probably be happy that […]

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By |December 12th, 2011|BLOG|0 Comments