One of my favorite columnists is Marni Jameson. She writes a weekly newspaper column, discussing all things home. Each December, she re-caps her thoughts for the year, and I enjoy reminding myself what I learned. In that same spirit, I would like to present to you some of my favorite, previous, Maur Organized Newsletter posts.
If you are motivated by the New Year, and need some perspective for organizing your space, then these writings will give you an overall perspective and a good place to start.
To read the articles, just click on the blue titles. Continue reading
Did you know that it is actually illegal to place the some items in trash or landfills? When organizing your home, there are times when you may wonder what the best method is for recycling, donating or disposing of an item you no longer need. If you don’t have the answer, procrastination can be the result. So…into the garage it goes (am I right?). Here are six items you must not toss in the trash, and what to do with them.
Batteries: all types of batteries contain harmful materials. This includes disposable as well as rechargeable batteries. Place a small bin next to your battery supply and label it “recycle” or “used” batteries. Then once or twice a year, drop them off. Click here to find a convenient location. In my area, there is a local hardware store nearby that will accept them.
Fluorescent Lights: Contra Costa County’s hazardous waste website says, “Fluorescent lamps and tubes contain mercury, which is considered hazardous and therefore it is illegal to dispose of them with regular trash.” If you live outside of Contra Costa County, then I suggest that you search on “hazardous waste disposal” for your local community. Continue reading
Sometimes, we are highly motivated to transform our life, in a variety of ways: health, finances, family dynamics, or organizing. Perhaps we have seen something to inspire us, or have had an incident that forces change. Either way, without the right tools and information, inspiration alone will not suffice.
Therefore, I would like to present you with three ways to fail at organizing.
- Try to tackle too large of an area. How large is too large? That depends on whether you are working alone, with one person, or perhaps a group of people. It also depends on how much clutter is present. If you simply dive in a start mentally making decisions and perhaps shuffling things as you go, then you have not truly changed your space. Let’s say you are organizing your kitchen. You pull out dishes, pot and pans, serving pieces and an old vase. You take the vase to the hall closet, but it too, is full. Next, you pull towels, linens and an old food processor out of the closet. Now, there is room for the vase – but not the food processor, which you take back to the kitchen. You see dishes, pots and pans all over the counters, and no room for the food processor. So, you put all of the pots and pans where they were, leave the food processor on the counter, shove everything back into the hall closet…and give up. This leads us to reason #2.
- Wait until “later” to decide. Ask yourself this: is your decision-making going to be any easier next week or next month? Naturally, it is easier to make decisions in some categories than others. If you have several sections of you house that need attention, then start with the area that has the least amount of sentimental value for you and build from there. Seeing progress and building momentum can often give you motivation to tackle more difficult areas.
- Don’t get rid of the donations and discards. Sorting is not enough; you must eliminate excess in order to make room for what you use and love. At the end of each work session, follow through with your discards. Take out the trash right away, and move your donations and recyclables to your car, so that you can drop them off next time you are doing errands.
Simply put, moving stuff around does not change your space. The only way to stay organized is to balance the volume of your space with the volume of your belongings, so that everything you own has an official home.
Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of clutter in one area of your home? Does it seem to be too large to tackle, so therefore, you don’t start? Instead, you can learn how to manage – and complete – your organizing project. It is natural to view a room as one project, but you don’t have to! One of the comments on the Testimonials Page of my website is the following:
“I listened to what you said about tackling a huge project by knocking the jobs out one by one instead of trying to do the whole thing in one fell swoop. Your advice was amazing!”
Here are four tricks to help you avoid overwhelm on your next large project.
One pattern I see when helping people organize is that there is a space away from the main living area where clutter is stashed. This could be a spare bedroom, an office, a garage, or an attic. Why are these rooms so stuffed with clutter? Barbara Hemphill, an expert in productivity, defines clutter is “postponed decisions.” When you don’t feel like making a decision, the spare room can become a natural spot to stash something you intend to think about…later. One of the tools that will help you complete a large project is to resolve to make decisions as you sort. I am not saying it will be easy, but you do need this tool in order to move forward.
- Start Small