Archive for Inspiration & Motivation

The guest-worthy & stress-free home

Photo by Ron Behrmann

Do you enjoy house guests? Or avoid them?

In New Mexico the holidays start with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October! Many of us host visitors during that time. Others have friends and family who visit during the summertime, or they throw traditional holiday parties and host other celebrations involving house guests.

Or….they avoid company altogether because they are embarrassed about their clutter and other domestic imperfections.

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The Container Store: Mixed feelings + 7 shopping tips

Container StoreAt long last, a miracle has occurred! A Container Store has opened for business here in New Mexico. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus! Fire the canons! Pop the champagne corks! Release the confetti, doves, and balloons!

Albuquerque, prepare to feast your eyes — and open your wallets!

It was a huge step down for me, in terms of access to organizing supplies, when I moved from California to New Mexico in 2005. I traded the two-story Pasadena Container Store — with its valet parking, freight elevator, and abundance of storage options, accessories, and gadgets — for the 99 cent clear plastic shoe boxes at Big Lots, plus a black Sharpie and some masking tape. (OK, an exaggeration, but only a mild one.)

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Organized for Life….and beyond?!

www.org4life.comEverything has a life cycle. People. Things. Businesses.

My business has been changing, and I’ve been updating my website accordingly. It’s a work in progress, as are we all, but I invite you to take a look and let me know what you think. Is it more clear what I have to offer these days and how it all fits together? Perhaps you’ve changed too, and my current offerings will appeal to you in a different way than they did before? Let me tell you more…

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Networking for Introverts

Iintrovertsf you are an introvert who hates business networking, this blog post is for you!

I recently attended my annual National Association of Professional Organizers conference, NAPO2017, in Pittsburgh, PA, where I presented a session called Networking for Introverts. It was inspired by Susan Cain’s 2012 TED Talk, The Power of Introverts.

UPDATE: This 85-minute presentation, in its entirety, including downloadable handouts, is now available for free, or for purchase, depending on your NAPO status, here.

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Do you organize the right way?

organize right wayWhen faced with a pile of papers, or a closet full of clothes, do you struggle with how to organize them? Do you sometimes procrastinate because you are afraid of doing it wrong?

In this context I am using “organize” synonymously with “categorize”. The process of creating more space in your life also includes purging the things you no longer use, need, or value.

Let me give you some examples. I will suggest a few ways to organize and let you guess the right way.

Insurance Papers: File by Home, Auto, and Health? Or, by Farmers, AAA, and Blue Cross? Or, lump together under “Insurance”, as suggested in How to Create Your Own Simple Filing System?

Clothing: Hang together by function (i.e. dresses, tops, and bottoms)? By color? By style? How about by outfit, or casual versus dressy?

Photos: Sort by date? By subject? By event? The standard digital photo renaming format is Year-Month-Day-Who-What-Where, but you may not need, or want, to use that level of detail.

Professional organizers sometimes lead an exercise in which individuals or small groups organize an identical selection of items such as LEGO bricks. Some organize them by piece type, some by color, and some by size.

Have you guessed the answer yet?

Q: What is the right way to organize?

A: There is no right way! The only way that matters is the way that works for you. In all cases it depends on your goals, how much stuff and space you have, and how your brain works. That’s why in Six Organizing Systems Everyone Needs I don’t tell you how to do it. I ask a series of questions designed to help you figure out how you want to do it. That’s because you won’t keep the system up if it doesn’t make sense to you!

If there IS a wrong way, it would be the way that is so complicated that you don’t use it. The more categories you have, the harder it will become, not easier, to find what you are looking for. It depends, of course, on what it is, and how much you have of it. Sometimes you do need more categories.

The right way for you might not be the way I do it, either. How organized am I? I’m organized enough, and not one bit more. My job, as a professional organizer, is to help you create the right organizing system for YOU!

Do you worry about doing it wrong?

Have you found the right way for you? Do you need help?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Copyright 2017 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
Social media links directly to this page are encouraged!
Please contact me for other types of reprint permission.

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The egret represents freedom from clutter

freedom

Great Egret

People ask me why I have a stork for my business logo. Is it my fault that not everyone knows an egret from a stork? Granted, New Mexico is not exactly known for egrets, but I do see them sometimes down by the Rio Grande.

Anyway, the egret that inspired my logo lived in Minnesota. Here’s the story:

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What are you worried about? Don’t worry; take action!

Don't worry. Take action.

Which path will you take?

What are you worried about?

I think we all worry sometimes, don’t you? We worry about our health, and the health of our loved ones. About our appearance, and how we measure up to others. About money, and how our businesses are doing. About whether or not we’re being good parents. We worry about (fill in the blank).

And what does worrying do to us? It causes stress, sleepless nights, stomach aches, arguments, etc., and sometimes it causes us to not enjoy life’s pleasures…..yes?

So, who am I to tell you to stop worrying?

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Getting Back on Track

getting back on trackHas your life been derailed?

Any number of things can throw us off track – travel, illness, a change in schedule at work or at home. Before you can get back on track you need to ask yourself the following questions:

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15 Ways to Make Chores Fun!

make chores funWho enjoys doing chores? No one, that’s who. But what if I told you there were ways to make chores fun? Or, at least, more fun than they seem now.

Chores include house work, meal prep, yard work, paying bills, running errands, grocery shopping, tidying up, cleaning, repairs, scheduling, and planning. Exercise — body maintenance — is a chore for many of us. I’m sure there are others. Let me know in the comments what YOU consider a chore, OK?

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Is Your Unfinished Project Really Worth Doing? (The Sunk Cost of Clutter — Part 2)

Unfinished Project BoxMy client and I are sorting and purging her belongings. We come across some fabric she has had for years. Decades, in fact. She puts it in the KEEP pile, saying, “I always thought I could make something out of this.” Not being a sewer, or a quilter, she does not otherwise have a stash of fabric she is attached to. I say, “Yes. You could. But do you still want to? Is it really worth doing?” It is a serious question about whether it’s worth it to HER, neither a judgment, nor an indication of whether or not I personally think it is worth it. And that’s all it takes. She puts it in the DONATE pile.

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