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.
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:
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.
InBag® Handbag Organizer
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!
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.
These are a handy way to keep nightstand clutter down. They’re also available for couches!
Clip and Keep Sofa Organizer
BONUS! Stocking Stuffers
PLUS 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?
Do you know the 3 actions everyone should be prepared to take?
National Preparedness Month is a good time to enroll in the San Francisco Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers ARE YOU READY? Workshop. This 3-hour afternoon class in San Francisco is geared to professional organizers. But if you are the household manager by default, this is a must-do activity to help you prepare your family for any emergency. Getting systems in place to protect your financial life, your person and your home will give you peace of mind when any disaster strikes.
Empower yourself by learning strategies to:
Shelter, Evacuate & Rebuild
…and have fun mingling with forward-thinking and enthusiastic Professional Organizers who are absorbing the newest techniques for helping people in any situation.
This $99 workshop is being offered at the Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco on Friday, October 17th, 2014 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM with a post-workshop reception.
access REGISTRATION FORM by clicking on this graphic:
Is there anything that you wouldn’t want others to deal with after you’re gone?
Don’t you hate cleaning up after other people’s messes? Anyone who has a roommate may have had this experience – dishes left in the sink, wet towels on the bathroom floor, laundry half done in the laundry room. What a drag to have to take care of other’s people’s stuff that they could have dealt with themselves!
How does this relate to organizing? Many times we’ve worked with clients who have brought us in to organize their homes after having dealt with cluttered estates of their parents or other relatives. They’re very aware of not wanting to leave behind the same mess for their children or friends.
It’s easy to think that’s a “someday project” – the reality is weeding is MUCH simpler and easier when it happens regularly, not put off and saved until accumulation is overwhelming.
Here are some key areas to weed regularly and keep under control:
- Paperwork –Wading through decades of accumulated bills, account statements, articles, contracts, etc. trying to figure out what is important is a nightmare for a survivor.
- Personal documents – Any surprising information in those old diaries and journals that you’d be loathe to have someone read after you’re gone?
- Collections of value. If you collect anything of value, have it appraised and take care of it while you are around so when you’re gone it’s easier to deal with as a collection.
- Collections of sentiment or hobby – If you collect things that are valuable to you but not necessarily on the open market keep the collection organized and reasonably sized. Identify a friend or organization that may make use of it after you’re gone.
- Garage and storage areas – These are easy to get out of hand because typically there’s lots of space and it’s easy to just let older items linger in the back corners. This includes household hardware, glue, rope, paint, tools, sport supplies, wood scraps. Make regular trips to the household hazardous waste center.
- Toiletries and cleaning supplies – Old makeup, shampoo, travel size items, specialty cleaners…these easily accumulate clogging up valuable storage space and creating a disposal chore when you’re gone.
As you are weeding, extract and keep these items separate and easy to find:
- Key Financial Documents – Current insurance policies, bills, and estate information need to be immediately accessible if something happens to you. Purge old copies to avoid confusion.
- Will/Trust – You do have one, right?
- Safe Deposit Box – Information and key
If this feels overwhelming already, get help!
Utilize family and friends, hire an organizer and consult with an estate attorney. Two great Bay Area estate attorneys we recommend are Richard Lee of Blythe, Lee & Associates, 510-272-0200 x304 and Alexandria M. Ayoub of Ferguson & Berland, 510-548-9005.
What small action could you take this week to help take care of your own business so others won’t have to when you’re gone?
Preparing makes all the difference
Moving can be stressful and overwhelming; there’s no real way around it. By the time move day arrives and you actually land in your new home the last thing you’ll want to do is start digging through boxes in order to find your pajamas and coffee maker.
Here are 5 groups of items to gather and pack separately and label as “OPEN FIRST” to make the transition easier:
- PERSONAL ITEMS Pack a suitcase of essentials as if you’ll be on a trip for a week or two. Don’t forget things like slippers, medications, and toiletries. Keep this suitcase with you.
- LINENS Though you’ll feel like you’re on a trip, you aren’t in a hotel and there are no linens provided. Pack a few bath towels, washcloths, and bed sheets.
- KITCHEN Imagine yourself the morning after the move – it’s nice to start the day with your usual routines. Pack your coffee maker and/or teakettle, a few place settings, dishtowel, dish soap & sponge. Think ahead about easy healthy snacks and meals so you don’t deplete your already drained energy by surviving on pizza and pastries for a week.
- OFFICE/LIFE MANAGEMENT Don’t add to your stress by losing track of current bills, mail, and important documents because they are buried in a box somewhere. Pack those separately from other files and office supplies. Do include some essential office supplies such as postage, envelopes, pens, checkbook, charging cables, computer, and passwords.
- TOOLS Create a move kit of essential tools to help both on the packing and unpacking side: box cutter, measuring tape, screw driver, hammer, pliers, post-its and marker pens, packing tape, flashlight or headlamp, felt pads & furniture sliders.
What did you find essential to get through your last move? Share it here!