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. 

LIKE us on FB for organizing inspiration from Joy In Your Space.



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.

LIKE us on FB for more organizing inspiration from Joy In Your Space.



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 🙂



OCT: Organize Chaos Today!

You know the clever acronym YOLO? It means You Only Live Once…

Calendar graphic displaying the month of OCTBy now, you’re probably hip to our series of catchy phrases encouraging decluttering inspired by the month’s abbreviation. This OCT, spend 30 minutes each week organizing chaos using the mantra organize chaos today.

Organize Chaos Today!
• Tame whatever physical craziness is crowding you
• Categorize any objects cluttering your surfaces
• Return items, no longer in use, to their “home”

• Toss anything you don’t need
• Take items to a donation center

Common chaotic areas are:
• cars (interior and trunk space)
• backpacks and gym bags
• kitchen counters and desk areas
  which might be the dining room table 😉

Make October an Organized Month!
Don’t be confined by OUR definition for October…Let us know if you like any of these acronyms better — follow the link to VOTE!:
Organize Categories Together
Organize — Categorize — Toss
Only Categorize Treasures
Insert Your Own Creative Idea

LIKE us on FB for organizing inspiration from Joy In Your Space.



SEPT: Schedule Everyone’s Plans Together!

SEPT calendar graphic

You know the clever acronym FOMO? It’s the Fear Of Missing Out.

We’re continuing our own version of catchy phrases to encourage decluttering based on September’s abbreviation.

With the start of school, use SEPT to re-evaluate your schedule, priorities and time (even if you’re not a student or living with someone in school.)

Schedule Everyone’s Plans Together 

• Decide together what the new September bedtime is…grown-ups too!
• See every potential trap when plotting a large project and making plans.
• Consider how school-zone traffic may lengthen your travel.
• Be mindful of upcoming holidays — plan backward for deadlines.

And possibly most important, select a calendar that works for you. Paper, electronic, shared…we don’t care. As our favorite ADHD doctor, Ari Tuckman, always says: if you’re keeping all you have to do in your head, you’re not doing enough to fill your life.

Fill YOURS with joy and consider your time, energy and priorities to make September a successful month!



Treasure What You Keep

When we are hired for a move, our clients describe everything they want to get rid of. Instead, we direct the conversation to what they want to take WITH them. You and I know, they will have to part with things to fit in a smaller floor plan. We keep the conversation positive. We focus on what they treasure. This allows them to enjoy being in the world of the “keepers.”

• What do you want to keep?

• What keeps you feeling nourished in your space?

• What objects keep you feeling connected to family and friends?

Helping people decide what makes their new place feel like home — regardless of its size — ensures that our clients:

• downsize with integrity to their life’s passions,

honor the discovery process of what they love not what they will leave behind.



AUG: Anything Unused Goes!

Have you heard of BOGO? What about FOMO or YOLO?

These acronyms are clever and catchy:
BOGO: Buy One, Get One is an advertising phrase that pushes purchasing for the promise of more.

FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out is a phenomenon of refusing to commit to plans because of what you might miss.

calendar showing AUGEver heard of AUG? Other than being the abbreviated version of this month, it is my attempt to cleverly encourage de-cluttering during August. AUG stands for Anything Unused Goes! You can apply this term to any cluttered area of your home, office or car.

AUG is so flexible an acronym, I invite you to get creative with the different ways you can use it to clear unused, useless and unworthy things from your life, space, and storage areas.

• In your closet, you can customize it to Anything Ugly Goes. Get creative and Abolish Unattractive Garments! Whatever phrase you use, the concept is to adopt an approach of streamlining your belongings.

• If you are a collector, of teapots or chess games, you can change it to Anything Unworthy Goes. With collections we sometimes forget to consider the value of individual pieces because we get overly concerned with the size of the collection…but this is “BOGO” thinking rather than keeping quality in mind. I want to suggest you use the rest of this month to decide if an item warrants display space — or if it deserves a spot on the donation or resale pile.

• Apply Abandon Unused Gadgets to electronics. With today’s technology, things become obsolete faster than ever before. Chargers, cords, ports and storage devices may not be up to date and therefore become UNUSABLE. Don’t let these useless devices clutter your work space…YOLO!

How do you decide worth or usefulness? Please don’t decide worth solely by how much you spent or invested in something. Real worth is defined by how valuable is it to you today. Decide how necessary your stuff is to your life and how worthy of the space it’s taking up in your home, car, or office.

Lots of folks confuse usefulness with an item’s ability to still be useful without considering if that item is of use to them. Today, there are so many ways to donate, repurpose, and recycle things. Don’t hold onto things that clutter YOUR life. Let Anything Unused Go!

Click here for my organizing advice on NAPO’s Philadelphia blog.NAPO GPC blog site

LIKE us on FB for organizing inspiration from Joy In Your Space.

Sign-up to receive NAPO’s organizing advice from Joy and Kelly’s colleagues.

Stay tuned every month for clever monthly themes to help you declutter.