So Your Bracket Isn’t Perfect

Who’s is?! With March Madness,* in full swing, and so many upsets, nobody we know has a perfect bracket. Perfection is NEVER the goal at home.

Calm, order, reliability — that sureness that when you need something, it will be in its place. THAT’s what people crave.

So this March, be Mindful And Reflective all month:
• What is crowding your court?
• What is foul among your stuff?
• What needs to be cut from your wardrobe?
Use time “brackets” every day to cull your belongings to a team of winners.
Calendar graphic showing current month: MarchEvery time you get dressed, pick a category of clothes to winnow: socks tomorrow, underwear the next day, a pair of shoes or boots on Saturday destined for donation. It’s not all about team cuts…sometimes you’ll need to consider “who” are your worthy bench warmers?
Declare Sundays your follow through, slam-dunk days.

If you really want to pare down, but you’re struggling on your own: Call us.

* March Madness is an intense College Basketball tournament played over 4 weeks. “Selection Sunday” was March 11 when the team pairings were revealed. 
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March Madness Inspiration

In honor of College Basketball’s annual competition March Madness, follow our advice to cull your belongings to just a team of winners.2018 NCAA Final Four basketball Follow March’s monthly mantra and be Mindful And Reflective.

Every Sunday this month, set up a friendly competition among your belongings. Asking questions can help you “select” your “starting line-up” for coffee mugs, staplers, left over binders, and any category of clothing.

Some people really respond to visualizing:
• imagine you have to move, would you pack something, move with it and use it in your new place? There can be a lot of freedom in imagining yourself in a new place without the baggage, history, volume of stuff you live with now. You don’t have to move to experience this freedom!

The Minimalist movement begs you to ask: Could you live without it.
Of course we could ALL live without many things in our lives…but how do you test yourself?

How do you delay the finality of such a decision?
To TRY living without something, you can create a maybe box.

Create a Maybe Box:
• collect the items you think you can live without

• box or bag the item(s) – use a dark trash bag or a cardboard box. If you have opaque tubs that’s okay but avoid using clear bins. The idea is you don’t want to SEE what’s inside.

• label the container with a future date some amount of time from now. Could be a week? a month? 3 months? In rare cases a year (you don’t want your maybe boxes to become clutter so be very careful with this). 

• store the container temporarily somewhere out of the way 

• record the future date (and the location of where you stored the container of maybe’s) in your calendar (paper or electronic): 

• when that date rolls around, if you haven’t had to go into the “maybe box” for anything, donate it.

Don’t look inside.

Don’t doubt that you can’t live without the items.
You’ve already proven to yourself that you can 🙂

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Go For Gold!

We had so much fun following this Winter Olympics. It doesn’t take much effort for us to wonder what lessons we can apply to organizing. Everyone who made their country’s Olympic team is a winner in our book. But in the Olympic world, coming in 4th does not win a medal. The lesson: Go For Gold!

When you look around your home, inside your cabinets and at your clothing:
• What’s podium-worthy?
• Does everything belong on the team?
• If your ________  (fill in the blank) is not a Gold, Silver, or Bronze why keep it?




If you’re not ready to Go For Gold:
Can you justify all the “runners-up” you maintain?
Can you afford to hold on to “losers”?
Is the real estate you’re giving up to a 5th or 6th placer okay with you? 

Become a medal snob — Go For Gold! And make sure everything you own, store and maintain helps you act, look and feel like a WINNER.

LIKE us on Facebook and share what you loved about the Olympics.
• Joy relished watching her favorites from Sochi skate to music with LYRICS!
• Kelly loved watching athletes compete for the first time on the slopes and ice
• How ’bout the Shiffrin mother-daughter partnership?!



FEB: Find Everything Because…

You’ve probably seen TBT, Throw Back Thursday posts on Facebook. You can only “Throw-Back” if you can find your old photos. That’s why our monthly theme for FEB is: Find Everything Because: 

calendar graphic with FEB showing • Find what what you want
  It’s important, it has a home
• Find what you need
  You always put it back
• Find everything
  Nothing blocks your access

More specifically:
It has a home. Not just a place to live, but a place that makes sense.
• For items you use on a daily basis, they’re in the MOST accessible spot (not necessarily OUT).
• An added benefit of a proper place for things is the ability to direct others and delegate (labeling helps)! No more frustration at having to look for things yourself because YOU are the only one who knows where you last put something.

You always return things. Unless you are using something right now, it is put away. This means your scissors, check book and keys each have a designated spot…not to mention every other supply, article of clothing and household item. You can count on them being there because you have a routine around making sure you put items back.
While the benefits should be obvious we like to spell things out:
• imagine always being able to find your (fill in the blank with whatever you consistently lose)
• no more purchasing duplicates (no more wasted money)
• no more fruitless searches (think time saved!)

You maintain access. This is a biggie. Lots of people know where their things are, but they can’t always reach them. If you can’t get to your luggage or open the cabinet to your printer cartridges what’s the benefit to knowing where it is? You still have to go out and purchase more OR spend time clearing the way to access them. 

The best way to ensure you can get your hands on everything you own is to make sure you designate a home for all your stuff…and to eliminate things you don’t want or need (but that’s a whole ‘nother topic for another time).

Find Everything Because Everything Has a Home!

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JAN: Justify Anything New

In previous posts we’ve offered ways to declutter your calendar and time commitments. What about things that demand space and care in your life?

Follow this acronym for January: Justify Anything New

calendar graphic showing JAN

Justify New Purchases:
• Do you need it?…Now?
What would happen if you waited a week or a month and re-evaluated?
• What will it add to your life?
If you can’t say how it will enhance your life, how can you say it is worth it?
Is it worth the money?
• Can you commit to maintain it?
People often forget to factor in the cost of maintaining something in its purchase price.

Justify Storage:
• Do you already have space for it?
• Do you have time to MAKE room for it? Can you wait until you have the room?
Will you let something go to practice In One/Out One?

Make January your Just Answer No monthunless you can justify it. 

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JAN: How To Say “No”

There are lots of ways to say “no” – some more polite than others.
Here are a few of our favorites:

calendar graphic showing JANDeferred Commitment
I wish I could, but have promised my ________ (self, partner, kids, boss) not to take on any new projects, volunteer positions, or paid gigs until mid-(name the month). You expressed interest, but deferred any involvement for now.

An Affirmative No
I would love to help ________ (with your project, run your campaign, co-chair that event) but right now I am not accepting any new commitments. You admitted a desire but definitively turn the offer down.

Delayed Commitment
If only you had asked me a month ago…I just accepted a demanding________ (position, task, project) that doesn’t allow me any extra bandwidth. Check back with me in 6 months. You just spared yourself an immediate commitment and left the door open to be invited back.

Align and Delegate
Thanks for ________ (asking, inviting me, thinking of me). I am in the middle of a huge undertaking (you don’t have to describe what) and beyond swamped but I’d love to hear who you find to help. You’ve let them know that you care about their cause but you’re not the right candidate. People appreciate honesty.

Set Your Own Terms
That sounds really interesting…I am still deciding between a few commitments that will be the focus of my ________ (year, first quarter, volunteer bucket). Can I let you know at the start of February? They will either agree to your timeline or need a faster response and move on to someone else.

The above examples are helpful with decluttering your time commitments and demands on your energy. Check back for advice on decluttering the STUFF of 2018.



Becoming Organized: The Case of the Missing Slippers

If being organized is not how you were raised but you’ve started to become more orderly, you may already know: it takes time getting used to “being organized.”

We learned this with a new client: Kim (not her real name) has struggled all her life to maintain a neat space. Her efforts go in waves and she has managed to live a really rich and creative life — but it hasn’t been easy. She’s lost a few things along the way. Paid her share of late fees for bills and penalties for misplaced parking tickets. And wasted time rewashing clothes after the dirty commingled with the clean.

When she was ready to stop this chaos…she called us.

She had 3 areas to organize:
• her wardrobe and bedroom
• her living room – including a desk area
• her hallway – which had become an over-crowded storage space

We started in her bedroom because the mess was affecting her sleep. After 3 working sessions we had sorted through all of her clothes, cleared every surface (including the floor) of anything that didn’t belong, rearranged her dresser drawers and closet with zones for each type of clothing she needed in her life.

Moving on to the living room, Kim sheepishly told me a “funny” story about her missing slippers. The one constant in Kim’s life had been lots of weekends away to cabins with friends. In preparing to pack for one such weekend, she described how she had scoured her apartment to find her slippers.

She checked ALL of her usual spots: under the coffee table, in the bathroom, kicked under the hallway table, in a pile behind the couch, tucked under her bed, tossed into a corner by her cat…she couldn’t find them anywhere.

She left for her trip sans slippers in a bummed mood.

As soon as she got on the road to the cabin, it hit her. She couldn’t help but laugh out loud; her slippers were right where we left them — in their new home. They were in the bottom “bay” of the hanging shoe organizer we had installed in her closet.

It was a funny lesson to us both, that getting organized takes some getting used to! The motto of Kim’s story is: It’s easy to find what you need when you need it…when it is right where you left it.

This story first appeared on NAPO-GPC blog page.




DEC: Develop Expiration Criteria

Having teen kids and grandkids really keeps us young. So we know that BAE stands for Before Anyone Else…as in: “My BAE and I are staying in tonight.”

We’re also hip to YSK: for You Should Know as the preface to a post like: “We went out for dinner and YSK, we rarely dine out.” We’ve even texted IMHO: In My Humble Opinion.
Calendar graphic showing DECThat said — in our expert opinion — everyone should make 2018 their most organized year yet.

NOW is the time to Develop
Expiration Criteria 
for what needs to be fresher so you to thrive in — not just survive — 2018.

To help you we’ve created a MadLibs-inspired activity to craft your own guidelines. Even if you are not the literary-game-type, read the categories to spark ideas for how long you want to keep things. Click Here for Printable Madlibs

Click the link to the full page and have fun developing your own Expiration Criteria.


And check out this quick list about maintaining freshness of some of our least obvious, favorite things in life (just click the link): 
         • cosmetics

LOVE this idea but don’t know where to start? Call us. We are your best first step toward your dream 2018.

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NOV: Nothing Outlasts Value

Don’t LOL (laugh out loud) when we say Nothing Outlasts Value
calendar graphic for November

So often we have to haul away donations of “disposable clothing” because one in every color was on sale. Or discuss how long to hold onto clothes whose alterations will cost more than the items themselves…

When you have to plunk down serious change for stuff, you become more selective with your purchases. Your discernment pays off; you have LESS to maintain, manage and store.

This isn’t just a wardrobe issue. Freebies and give-aways are burdens to society. And if taking in value-less items is not your problem, maybe this mantra will strike a truer chord:

Notch Ordinary VictoriesNot every accomplishment has to be outstanding to be worthy of noticing. Each series of ordinary victories builds to create momentum.

• Tiny measures add up.

• Small successes beget big goals met.

• Remember, every 1,000 mile journey begins with a step.

If you want to use some humor, note that you got out of bed when your alarm first sounded. Say it out-loud and nurture that sense of pride. Nourish that part of you that needs to remind itself you are a successful person even when you don’t complete the entire task at once.

Take lots of little steps this NOV and Notch Ordinary Victories so by the end of the month you can Note Outstanding Visions for your future.

TTYL (Talk to You Later 🙂 LIKE us on FB for more organizing inspiration from Joy In Your Space. Read this article if you want more clever acronyms and texting tips.




Permission to Brag

Our favorite convos start: “you would be so proud”

followed by a litany of things sorted, donated and put away!

pad of paper with categories for listing items donated, surfaces cleared and goals achieved We love these boasts. We love cheerleading you on to be:
• your most organized self.
• your most on time self.
• your most I-can-find-what-I-need self.

The best part of these “brag” convos is when you share WHY you feel so good. It makes us feel so good because we don’t organize for the sake of organizing.
We teach people to deal with their space and stuff because…
• being organized makes life easier.
• having homes for things makes families happier.
• knowing things are where we left them makes bedtimes smoother.
• having joy in our space lets us invite people in more often.
• clutter is an emotional downer when we’re reminded of unfinished projects.
• clutter distracts us from our priorities.
• clutter interrupts our focus.

• for some, clutter is physically draining.

If you are struggling to find what you need when you need it, or can’t feel real peace of mind in your space — call us. We’d love to be your organizing experts and then you can brag about…US! And why you don’t feel overwhelmed anymore 🙂