Stumped! Over the years of writing about organizing and working with clients, I continue to be baffled by how to neatly organize a small number of items. Whenever I see these items or hear about them, I cringe. Organizing them successfully is a complete mystery to me. Maybe you have a few, too, in your home or office — a specific item that always seems to be out of place, cumbersome, or impossible to store well?
Excerpt: Six tips for organizing your time spent on the telephone Since most of us spend time at work dealing with facts and data, the phone should be taking a backseat to other forms of communication. That being said, it’s impossible to avoid the phone in the workplace. And there are times when picking up the phone is the best way to handle a situation. The following are suggestions for how to use the phone in an organized way during those times when you need to rely on it.
Three laws of basement storage If you use your basement for storing things other than root vegetables, let me introduce you to my Three Laws of Basement Storage.
Off-beat solutions for organizing your mail If you don’t immediately process your mail when you come home each evening, then I strongly recommend having a set place to store your mail until you do have time to process it.
Unclutterer updates This week has been incredibly exciting in our Unclutterer world and I’m eager to share the details: a new book is in the works and Erin is featured in the August issue of Real Simple Magazine.
Study: Physical possessions and U.S. families According to a recent study released by the UCLA Center on the Everyday Lives of Families, U.S. families have reached “material saturation.” The back areas of our homes (closets, basements, attics, cupboards) are so stuffed with possessions that our things spill out into our front areas (table tops, floors, furniture) and create more visible clutter than ever before in the history of the world. We’re no longer enjoying leisure activities and our children’s stuff is at the top of the clutter pile.
Repercussions of uncluttering and organizing We often talk about the benefits of uncluttering and organizing, but we rarely even hint of their being downsides. Today, I thought we’d break that trend and discuss all the work that — at least in the short term — uncluttering and organizing create.
Corralling lids The August 2009 issue of Real Simple magazine (pg. 36) has a great tip for maintaining order in the kitchen.
Ask Unclutterer: Is something put away if it’s in cardboard? In your situation, one of you believes that the cardboard box is in its place against the wall and that the stuff inside of the box is in its place, too. The other of you believes that the cardboard box and the stuff inside of it are all out of place and they need new places to live.
Organizing a shed, garage, or basement Few things seem to collect clutter like a garage, basement, or backyard shed. Since their contents are typically out of sight, it’s easy to stuff something in there and forget about it. If this sounds familiar to you, check out Dave’s favorite organizing tips for these spaces.
The Simple Meal Over the years, my husband and I have come to rely on The Simple Meal when we’re stressed and don’t want to make a production out of dinner. This meal consists of a protein, a vegetable, and a drink.
Blog to watch: UN v2.0 Alec Farmer, a graduate student in Glasgow, Scotland, is spending a year living in a micro-structure and is blogging about his experience on the new UN v2.0 site. The UN in the blog title is an abbreviation for urban nomad, and it aptly describes Farmer’s interesting project in small-space living.
Organized tool kits Kits are great to assemble or purchase because all of the tools you need for a project are in one location and usually everything has a fixed home within the kit.
Making Mondays — and your week — more productive Mondays are opportunities to start new habits and the day to begin a productive path for the week. While others grumble about Mondays, I try to think of them like the first day of school or the first day of a new job. The possibilities for success, fulfillment, creativity, and all the reasons you do what you do are open for you to experience.
Ask Unclutterer: Having it all Reader April asks: How do you have time for all of this – running a blog, writing a book, all of these musical activities & all the other stuff you seem to do?
Ask Unclutterer: What to do with diplomas Reader Kathy asks: “What do people do with their diplomas? I have my high school, undergraduate, and graduate diplomas. They’re sitting in my closet because I don’t know what to do with them.”
Organizing to foster creativity Creative personalities have the stereotype of being messy, disorganized people. When, in reality, the incredibly successful creative people of the world are often profoundly organized — they have to be to manage their work and schedules, so they can be ready when inspiration strikes.
Finish it! Erin’s third set of 2010 resolutions How are you doing with your 2010 resolutions? Even if you don’t keep resolutions, could you spend the next three months finishing all of the unfinished projects in your life? If so, join me on my adventure. My goal is to head into the fourth quarter of 2010 with more energy and less stress.
If it’s not important to you, don’t consume it When I read the book Voluntary Simplicity seven or eight years ago, I interpreted the focus of the book to be about reducing one’s impact on the environment. However, Trent Hamm of TheSimpleDollar.com points out in his review of the book that there is a larger theme beyond responsible environmental behavior that speaks to the heart of simple, uncluttered living.
Love your laundry room A clean, uncluttered, organized laundry room is welcoming and makes doing laundry much more enjoyable. Additionally, an organized room speeds up the process so you spend less time doing what you may not enjoy.If your laundry space could use some attention, try these 10 steps to get it in order.
Less mess in the music room When music is such an integral part of your life, you constantly look for ways to store and minimize what you own.
Family calendars Using a calendar to which the whole family has access is important in keeping everyone organized and on track. It doesn
Own This, Not That A reader asked if we had ever seen the weight loss books Eat This, Not That and wondered if we might be able to create something similar for uncluttering, so we took him up on the challenge.
Will someone be able to use this before I do? Check your long-term storage spaces and see if there are things others might be able to use before you do. If so, consider getting these things out of your home and into the arms of someone who could actually use them with regularity.
Office upgrade: An extraordinary project for Wired magazine I was standing in author Steven Levy’s office holding a trash bag and asking him if I could throw away a crumpled business card I’d found at the back of his closet. Turned out, the card belonged to a current executive at a major tech firm, but was from a time when the guy was a nobody at another company. I told myself that if Levy decided to trash the card, I’d slip it into my pocket instead.
Searching for inspiration for a multipurpose guest room I’m looking for ways to make our guest room into a fabulous guest room and a practical hobby room in one. The solution will have to include storage for the hobby supplies that can be completely closed up when guests are present and using it for their retreat. And, I want it to be extremely practical as a hobby room when guests aren’t visiting.
Musings on children’s birthday parties As a parent, you want the world for your kid. You want your child to be liked by his classmates, you want your child to be happy, and you want to celebrate his life. A basic swimming party with hamburgers can easily cost a hundred dollars — spending 10 times more once a year on a birthday party wouldn’t seem like such a big deal, especially if you’ve got the disposable income to do it. Research even shows that experiences make you happier than physical possessions.
Organizing advice from classical Greeks More than 2,000 years ago, famous Greek philosopher Socrates and a man named Isomachus were having a discussion about how Isomachus wished his wife would run their home (the conversation is recorded by Xenophon in chapter eight of his writing Oeconomicus). Isomachus told Socrates he had asked his wife to keep house by finding a place for everything and having everything in its place.
Organizing your home and family with notebooks Notebooks are great because they keep all of your important papers in one place and they are easily portable. In our home, we have a recipe notebook, appliance notebook (instruction manuals, purchase receipts, maintenance and repair receipts, and warranty information), and important information notebooks for all four of us (our cat even has one).