Happy New Year!

All of us at Unclutterer hope you had a terrific 2010 and would like to wish you a great 2011! Our team has today and tomorrow off from work, but don’t forget you can always jump into the Forums and join the conversation there. We’ll return in the new year to share more Uncluttering insights.

If you aren’t a regular follower of Erin’s RealSimple.com column, also consider checking out “Three Year-End Organizing Queries” and “Creating Uncluttering and Organizing Resolutions for 2011.”

Happy New Year!

Unclutter Your Life in One Week released in paperback

Today is the official release of Unclutter Your Life in One Week in paperback. I’m extremely excited about today and this event for many reasons:

  • Not all books printed as hardcovers ever make it to paperback. Making it to paperback is a sign that the publisher continues to believe the content of the book is worth staying in publication. I’m really honored and humbled by this.
  • A few big bloopers were fixed, especially the one from page 17 in the hardcover. On page 17, I accidentally wrote a sentence stating the exact opposite of what I intended. Oops!
  • As a special promotion, Amazon is selling the paperback at almost $7.00 off the suggested retail price — Unclutter Your Life in One Week in paperback is just $8.06.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the book over the last year, and to those who will support it in the future. I truly appreciate the opportunity to continue to share the Unclutterer message in a different medium.

Happy holidays from Unclutterer!

Like a good chunk of the western world, Unclutterer’s offices are closed today and tomorrow. We wish everyone who celebrates Christmas a merry one, and the rest of you we wish a joyful couple days off from work! Don’t forget, you can always jump into the Forums and join the conversation there. We’ll return after the holiday to share more Uncluttering insights.

Improving your odds at keeping New Year’s resolutions

Sue Shellenbarger, the work and family columnist for the Wall Street Journal, yesterday wrote “Steps to New Year’s Resolution Success” detailing the science behind keeping resolutions. Great advice begins right at the beginning of the article:

When setting a resolution, simply deciding to change your behavior may work for a while. But when the cognitive parts of the brain responsible for decision-making become stressed by other life events, that resolve is likely to succumb to an emotional desire for instant gratification, says Baba Shiv, a Stanford University marketing professor who specializes in neuroeconomics, the study of the biological bases for making economic decisions.

Keeping a resolution requires a detailed plan, with emotional rewards when milestones are reached—and even a strategy when there’s a setback. And don’t wait for Jan. 1, experts say: Start planning now to increase your chances for success.

The full article is worth reading if you’re interested in making uncluttering or organizing resolutions for 2011. I’m already planning out my resolutions for next year and will share details next week. I’ll definitely be putting into practice some of Shellenbarger’s suggestions.

Also in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal was a great article on organizing craft and present wrapping supplies featuring suggestions from Los Angeles-based professional organizer John Trosko: “More Homes Make Room for Wrapping.”

Getting organized for the new year

I keep a ridiculous number of lists: movies I want to see, books I want to read, groceries I need to buy, recipes I want to try, things I have to do, letters I should write, gifts I wish to give, music I want to have my son hear, my lofty someday goals. These lists are handwritten — I tried to keep them digitally but kept writing things down on sticky notes and then sticking the notes to my iPhone. A key component of being organized is knowing yourself, and I’m a handwritten list maker.

At the start of every year, I get a new notebook and copy the lists from the old notebook into the new. I grab a big cup of coffee, light a fire in the fireplace, and curl up under a warm blanket with the notebook and a good pen. I recopy the lists for a few reasons:

  1. My notebook gets beaten up during the year and I’m ready for a new notebook every 12 months.
  2. The copying process is a tradition I really enjoy.
  3. When going through the lists, I can change my preferences, reorder my lists, and eliminate things I did/saw/tried that I forgot to cross off over the course of the year.
  4. The old lists become recordings of my life over the past year. Since I don’t keep a diary, this is the closest thing I have.

Obviously, the lists also help to keep me organized.

What traditions do you complete at the end of the year or start of the new year that help to keep you organized? How do you enjoy these traditions? Do you keep lists? Share your new year organizing traditions in the comments.

And the final winner in our Kindle Wireless Reading Device giveaway is…

Thank you to EVERYONE (all 11,095 of you!) who are now following @Unclutterer on Twitter and who participated in our Kindle giveaway. Now, let’s get on to the good stuff …

At 10:00 a.m. EDT, the random number generator picked the following number:


Which means, the winner of today’s Kindle Wireless Reading Device is:


I have direct messaged the winner of the Kindle and she has 24 hours to respond.

Again, thanks to everyone for participating in our giveaways and congratulations to @wickedphysics on winning the second Kindle. I hope the device helps to alleviate bookshelf clutter in your home.

And the first winner in our Kindle Wireless Reading Device giveaway is…

Thank you to EVERYONE (all 10,738 of you!) who are now following @Unclutterer on Twitter and who are participating in our Kindle giveaway. Now, let’s get on to the good stuff …

At 10:00 a.m. EDT, the random number generator picked the following number:


Which means, the winner of today’s Kindle Wireless Reading Device is:


I have direct messaged the winner of the Kindle and she has 24 hours to respond.

Remember, there is one more giveaway this Thursday, October 28, so you can still sign up to follow @Unclutterer on Twitter. Congratulations, again, to @austinmomof7.

Is this the first you’ve heard of the giveaway? Learn more.

Unclutterer giving away two Wi-Fi Amazon Kindles

Unclutterer readers are the most amazing readers on the internet — at least in our (unabashedly biased) opinions. As a result, those of us on the Unclutterer staff will be purchasing two of the latest generation Wi-Fi Amazon Kindles to give away to two of our lucky readers.

Books can take up a lot of storage space in our homes and offices, and having a digital e-book reader certainly helps keep bookshelves from lining every inch of our spaces. The two units we’re giving away are the latest generation Kindle Wireless Reading Device, which are Wi-Fi only, with a 6″ display, in Graphite. It’s the same device I have and love with a passion. (I especially appreciate that I can read silly mystery novels and no one else is the wiser.)

How to enter to win: Entering to win is simple. All you need to do is follow us on Twitter. If you aren’t already on Twitter, create an account and then follow us @Unclutterer.

Next Tuesday and Thursday (October 26 and 28, 2010) at 10:00 a.m. EDT, I will use twitRand() the Random Integer Generator at random.org and select that day’s one winner. You only need to follow us once (and please, only once), to participate in the giveaway. If you already follow us on Twitter, then you are already participating and need not do anything more. Winners of the giveaway will have 24 hours to respond to a direct message from @Unclutterer to claim their new Kindle. Failure to respond within 24 hours will disqualify you from the giveaway.

I know that some of you aren’t interested in social media and will want to complain about having to sign up for Twitter to participate in the giveaway — however, this is the easiest way for us to manage the giveaway and it ensures that many of our readers are already entered to win with no additional effort on their part. Also, if you’re an avid Wired magazine reader, you know that social networking sites can help increase worker productivity if used efficiently.

I am so exited about this reader appreciation event and cannot wait to give away two Kindle Wireless Reading Devices. Remember, you have until 10:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, to follow us on Twitter for the first Kindle giveaway.

NOTE: twitRand() appears to be offline, so we’ve had to change the manner by which the winners will be randomly selected.

Goodwill launches The Donation Movement

Goodwill Industries launched a new project yesterday called The Donate Movement that encourages people to get rid of unused items in their homes to help their communities and the environment. My friend and professional organizer Lorie Marrero is the spokesperson for the new initiative, and you may have already seen her commercial:

Giving items to charity is often easier when you know what you’re giving away will actually help someone. I really like the widget on The Donate Movement site that shows you exactly how much of an impact your donation will be making:

Anything to encourage the donation of useful items to charity is a great initiative in my book. I hope Goodwill’s new project gets people to evaluate their stuff and make room for what really matters in their lives.

Video: Peter Walsh discusses office organizing and answers an Unclutterer’s question

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Oprah’s go-to organizer, the organizing star of Clean Sweep, and all-around fantastic gentleman Peter Walsh. We talked about office organizing and his new line of products he designed for Office Max — you.organized. At the end of the interview, I posed him a question from Unclutterer readers Klyla, Jackie Pettus, and Lose That Girl (their questions were on a similar theme, so I merged them into one mega question). As always, his tips and answers were insightful and incredibly helpful:

After the interview, he e-mailed MORE organizing tips:

  • To-Do Lists: When writing a to-do list, group alike tasks together such as making calls or running errands to increase efficiency. But avoid getting overwhelmed with your workload by breaking it into small, manageable tasks. Write to-do list items on individual sticky notes and put them on a wall calendar. Rearrange them as your priorities change. At the end of the day, review your checklist and cross off completed items. Move any pending items to a fresh list for tomorrow.
  • Calendars: You might feel like multiple schedules lead to more confusion. For a little planning relief, combine home and work calendars. Simply choose various colors to mark important dates: one for professional tasks and meetings, one for personal appointments, one for social engagements, one for your children’s activities, and so on.
  • Closing Thoughts: Remember that your desk sends a clear signal about who you are and how you approach your work. You should have an organized desk at the start and finish of every day.

He also included an closeup image of the vertical storage system from the video:

Thanks again to Peter for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with Unclutterer, Office Max for setting up the interview, and Klyla, Jackie Pettus, and Lose That Girl for asking such a terrific question. I must admit, it was nice to know that his systems fall apart from time-to-time, too! A great reminder that we’re all human.

Video: Erin on Monday’s Rachael Ray Show

This week seems to be all about videos here on Unclutterer (don’t forget our upcoming Ask Peter Walsh anything!), and I’m excited to be part of the collection. For anyone who doesn’t have a television, lives outside the U.S. or Canada, or missed Saturday’s announcement, you can now see my appearance on yesterday’s Rachael Ray Show online:

The clip is just a little over three minutes long, and I’m really happy with how it went. I had a great time on set, and Rachael and her staff were incredibly kind. I also love how Michael Buffer says my name — Erin Roooooooooooooney Dolaaaaaaaand! I hope you enjoy the clip and the closet organizing tips, too.

Unclutterer on the Rachael Ray Show

Set your TiVOs, DVRs, or tune in Monday morning, April 26, to the Rachael Ray Daytime Talk Show. I’m on the episode giving advice on how to organize your closet, just in time for warmer weather.

I filmed my segment for this episode back in January, and I can’t believe I was able to keep it a secret until now while I’ve been waiting for it to air. I had an amazing time on set, and Rachael was incredibly nice to me. Michael Buffer (famous for his “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” tagline) was on set the same day and I was able to meet his adorable dogs and daughter. Buffer announces the whole episode, and even announced me! In the same episode, RuPaul teaches the audience how to put on fake eyelashes (and, wow, RuPaul is tall — I had no idea), and veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward shows viewers how to safely trim their pets’ nails. There are even more experts giving advice in the episode, but you’ll have to watch to learn more.

My appearance on the show is a little bittersweet, as it was the last time I wore high heel shoes. After my accident, I may never be able to wear high heels again. I know it’s not the most important thing in the world, and my podiatrist assures me my feet will appreciate the change, but it’s still a little sad. Feel welcome to join me in waving goodbye to my high heels at the end of the segment.

For clarification, I’m on Rachael’s daytime talk show, not her 30-Minute Meals show. Check your local listings for when the show airs in your region. I hope you enjoy the tips!