Tag Archives: de-clutter

An Un-Cluttered Mother’s Day

mothers day - 1

I think of Mother’s Day as a time to honor my mother and all those who have nurtured me.   What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

If you want to give a gift to a nurturing woman in your life, ask them what makes them feel special.

If you are a mom, let your family know what you want.  How do you want to remember this special relationship?  If you dread getting gifts you don’t really want or can’t use, take charge (and help them out) by suggesting a gift of some kind of service.  Does getting a massage or a pedicure or a ticket to a concert help you feel loved and appreciated?  Does receiving chocolate just make you groan with regret because you know you’ll just eat the whole box – at one sitting?  Let your people know!

Sometimes a personal note, written on nice stationery or a card can mean the world to someone who has cared for you.  This is a low-clutter way to honor your special woman.  Write your own true thoughts. A simple thing to do is make your own haiku. (3 lines; 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.)

The one who loves you   —  though you not deserve it —  and the love lives on

– Willy King

Just spending time with Mom can make the day special.  Focus on her solely.  Don’t let her deflect the attention away from herself.  Ask her questions; What makes you happy?  What’s your best memory of your mom? What have you liked best about being a mother?  What do you dream about?

If you feel like your family never acknowledges you or doesn’t give you what you want, give to yourself.  Part of being a nurturer requires you to know how to care for yourself.  Chances are you won’t buy yourself a gift that you can’t use or don’t love.

Plan a party to honor your mother.  Even if your mother is no longer with you, it’s heartwarming to raise a glass in her honor and toast what she did right.

What’s your favorite Mother’s Day memory?

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Filed under General Organizing, Holidays, Kids, Perspective

Get Real With Your Goal Setting


Do you have hopes and dreams for a new project in the new year? Have you been inspired by the Japanese phenom, Marie Kondo and want to spark joy and tidy your life? Do you want to learn a new skill? Or have you been fantasizing about taking a trip to France to learn cooking techniques? The “what” doesn’t so much matter because the steps to make your dream a reality are pretty much the same.

An often-used concept in coaching is to set “S.M.A.R.T.” goals. Keep this in mind as you plan out your journey to success.

S – Specific

Is your goal well-defined? For some “Getting Organized” is their goal. But it isn’t specific enough. Enlisting a coach or friend to help you do big-picture planning is one way to start. Defining what you truly want and are willing to work for may be more challenging than you think. If you’ve started projects in the past and not completed them, getting specific may have been the missing piece.

M – Measurable

Identify the milestones as you progress. If you are organizing your home, emptying out one closet and re-filling it in a way that makes sense to you is a measurable task. It’s good to define your goal in a way that lets you measure your progress and success. Instead of “Get organized”….”Clear out the hall closet” or “Create 2 bags of donations from hall closet.”

A – Action Oriented

What specific actions are required to move you toward your goal? It’s difficult to take action on something that has many components, breaking the pie-in-the-sky project down into concrete, manageable bites helps. What would be the next logical first step? Is this action observable? It could be that you schedule 1 hour progress sessions. Or an action step could be to write a certain number of pages on your novel. Instead of “thinking about what your novel’s introduction would be, the action might be to write for 15 minutes on a introduction draft.

R – Realistic

Have a realistic game plan. If your specific goal is to lose 25 lbs, then telling yourself you’re going to the gym 5 times a week may not be realistic … especially if you haven’t even been to the gym once! Telling yourself you are going to organize your house in a weekend when you work full-time and have 2 kids who are active in sports isn’t realistic either. Make your plan do-able.

T – Time-Based

What is your deadline for achieving your goal?  And is there enough time to achieve it? A realistic time frame can keep you sane. Remember that trying to fit a new project in an already-full life, no matter how inspiring it may be, can be a stressor. Blocking out time to act on your plan helps ensure success. What can you NOT DO in order to create time to do what you are most excited about?


Enjoy the surge of motivation the new year often brings and set yourself up for success by taking the time to record your desires and spend time planning to turn those intentions into actions…and results. If you can make the journey satisfying, you’re more likely to stay on the path.

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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies, Time Management

Gift Guilt

Unwanted gifts can clutter our homes. How can we deal with the guilt of passing on things we don't want or can't use?

Unwanted gifts can clutter our homes. How can we deal with the guilt of passing on things we don’t want or can’t use?

The hand knit sweater from Aunt Martha that you’d never be caught dead in…the set of candles from a co-worker that you know you’ll never use…the dishtowels from your sister that she’ll probably notice if you don’t put out…

Now that the holidays are over, take preventative measures right away – don’t let unwanted gifts clutter up your closets and drawers!

It’s The Thought That Counts

  • A gift is a show of kindness or love to you, not a contract you must honor
  • You can receive and keep the good intention of a gift independent of the item given

The Closer The Giver, The Stronger The Stick

Post-Its® Gifts: from acquaintances or people you know you won’t see or will never be in your house.

  • Sending an unwanted item back out into the world allows it to be used and appreciated by someone who chooses it purposefully

Scotch Tape® Gifts: the gifts from friends we like a lot. They may never know you got rid of the item but you will and that alone makes you feel bad.

  • If someone really cares about you they would want you to surround yourself with things you love
  • When possible, be honest with friends and family about what you don’t like; it helps them know you better

 Duct Tape® Gifts: the stickiest. Usually from vey close relatives and friends, AND there’s a good chance they will notice if a particular gift isn’t in use.

  • Remember, your feeling about the gift is not a reflection of how you feel about them or how much you appreciate that they gifted you
  • If they bring up the gift in question, reinforce your appreciation of their generosity or sentiment while remembering that it is truly is up to you what fills your home

Look through your unwanted gifts and think about how sticky the attachments are. Lighten your gift guilt by focusing on the least sticky items. Picture them being happily used…by someone else!


Filed under General Organizing, Holidays, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse

5 Organizing Gifts

Stuck on what get that special someone for a gift this holiday season? Here are a few of our favorite organizing gifts in no particular order:


Purse Organizers

These handy bags are ideal for the organized person who likes to use different purses and bags. It sits inside a satchel, keeping items separate and lifts out easily to transfer contents to another tote. They come in a variety of colors that appeal to both women and men.

 Purse Perfector®

InBag handbag organizerInBag® Handbag Organizer


Label Maker

Labeling containers makes knowing where to put things back clear and easy. Don’t forget to include batteries and label tape! Label tapes come in ¼”, ½”, and ¾” widths. The 3/4″ width tape is our favorite for large containers…and the tapes come in a variety of colors!


         Brother P-Touch®

Charging Station

There are many different styles and sizes of these. They can really help to minimize device and cable counter clutter. Consider purchasing short charging cables that stay with the station and save the long ones for travel.


Griffin® PowerDock-5

Bedside Organizer

These are a handy way to keep nightstand clutter down. They’re also available for couches!

Richard’s GearBox


Clip and Keep Sofa Organizer

BONUS! Stocking Stuffers


gift-GuardYourIDPLUS brand GuardYourID Roller: An easy way to get more paper clutter into recycling instead of keeping a pile for shredding…


Post-Its® Super Sticky Pads are fun for the whole family!

Belkin® Cable Ties are handy little chaos-tamers

We hope this helps stimulate your brainstorming while shopping for the best gifts for your friends and family.

Next week, we’ll showcase some consummable presents we think are pretty special.

What are your favorite practical holiday gift ideas?

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Filed under Decluttering, Holidays, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Gratitude for Organization

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the gifts in our lives.  We often talk about the benefits of getting organized, but you can reap those benefits without a major life overhaul. Here are some simple real life examples of gifts that organizing brings:


I’m on time to work because I have a dedicated place for my keys and work bag.

keys and bag


Getting ready for company was easy! I had people over without having to stuff all my clutter in paper bags in the back room.

dinner party


My kids are drawing and creating art now that the art supplies are sorted and accessible.

kid art


I knew I didn’t need new towels…when I got organized, I found 15 hidden in the back of my closet.

linen closet

Quality Time

I can cook with my spouse because now there’s enough counter space for both of us to use.


What has organization made you grateful for? Share it with us!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, Holidays, Perspective

Organizing Products for Overnight Guests

Guest rooms can be useful for more than the occasional guest

Be prepared to welcome guests without losing your spare room

Is the work to prepare for hosting guests overwhelming? Do you feel like a whole room in your house is dedicated to occasional visitors?

A few simple organizing products can help free up your extra room to be used mostly for your routine needs AND to keep guests comfortable and self-sufficient; making your job as host easier:

  • Clothes
    • Instead of dedicating an empty dresser for guests clothes, a foldable luggage rack creates an instant home for a suitcase or bag and stores away when not in use.
  • guest-luggage rackCreate some instant shelving in a closet by using hanging sweater shelves:

guest hanging shelf

  • Sleeping
    • Consider using an inflatable guest bed instead of a permanent bed. They come in a large variety of sizes and heights: guest-bed
    • A larger investment in a guest room is adding a Murphy Bed. They are sold as cabinets that can be attached to an open wall. A simple google search will yield many different vendors:


  • Toiletries
    • Keep a dedicated container (shoe box size) to store a few extra supplies for guests. Stock it during the year as you do your regular shopping or use extra hotel travel size supplies. When guest arrive pull out the box and use a decorative container on the sink if desired.
  • guest shoe boxActivities
    • Keep an extra supply of maps and a list of places of interest in a binder or oversize plastic envelope that you can pull out when guests arrive. During the year you can add to the envelope or binder – include a section for freebies – extra gift cards, BART tickets, guest passes.

guest doc envel.

  • Food – stock up with some easy snacks such as nuts, crackers, protein bars, cheese sticks so guests can take care of themselves between mealtimes.

Follow our tips on getting the room clear enough to be a welcoming host. A little advance preparation will free up your time to enjoy the company of your guests and making hosting a breeze.

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Filed under Bedroom, General Organizing, Holidays

10 Tips For Decluttering Boomers

Overwhelmed with multi-generational clutter?

Overwhelmed with multi-generational clutter?

We were happy to see an article on organizing by Amy Hoak.  It was featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch recently. The challenges boomers face to wade through the accumulation of their own possessions, their children’s and often their parents’ seems to be universal.

Of the 10 tips for decluttering Boomers the author describes, these tips stand out:

Break it up into baby steps

For any of us without a lot of time, it’s easier to think of doing your project in discreet chunks. For example, tackling a whole closet might put us over the edge, but what about gathering all the unused shoes in a box as a baby step?

There’s always next time

Getting organized is a layered process, it’s not a “one-time” project. Going through these layers of accumulation is like peeling back an onion…especially with the complexity of emotions and memories that are wrapped up in them. Count on having to back through things a few times to attain your vision of “organized.”

Amy points to finding a “sentimental solution” to disposing of things you don’t want. Just as it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize – having a goal for your project–it helps to have a charity in mind that you feel really good about giving to. That’s another bonus of decluttering; you get to be a philanthropist and support important causes with your overflow.

The overall message is:  you’re not alone in your clutter overwhelm, there’s a process to handle it, and it takes time…but it’s so worth it!

What’s keeping you from starting on your decluttering project?


Filed under Empty Nest, General Organizing, Strategies