A reminder that if you are interested, Sunday, September 1, is the last day to sign up for Unclutterer’s second Quarterly product shipment. Sign up now if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on our next shipment. To learn more, visit Quarterly’s site or our recent post “What was in Unclutterer’s first Quarterly mailing.” Thank you!
Today we welcome a new voice to the Unclutterer team — Jacki Hollywood Brown.
Jacki will be taking over the Monday article on the site, as our beloved Deb Lee has started a new technology organizing company and is knee deep in making it a success. Good luck, Deb! We miss you already.
As sad as we are to see Deb go, we are unbelievably excited to have Jacki join our team.
Jacki Hollywood Brown is originally from Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She holds a Masters degree in Food Chemistry from the University of Guelph and has worked in research and manufacturing. Being a military wife and busy mom has helped build additional time-saving organisational skills. She has moved NINE times since 1990, lived all across Canada, and currently lives in the United Kingdom. Her hobbies include horseback riding and science fiction. She has been professionally organizing since 2004 and is the recent past-president of the Professional Organizers in Canada national association.
We have asked Jacki to use Canadian spellings since doing so is her authentic voice. So, everyone in the U.S. get ready for some amazing organisation advice!
All over the world, subscribers to the Unclutterer shipment from Quarterly have received their first mailing from us. If you didn’t subscribe to the first mailing, but were curious as to what we sent, this was our mailing:
Each box is sent with a letter from our team, and I (Erin) penned the first one. I discussed the theme of the mailing — cable control — and how to use the items contained in the box. What was in the box?
- A large BlueLounge Cable Box for holding a power strip and unsightly cables (which you can’t see so well in the above photo, but you can see much better on BlueLounge’s website)
- BlueLounge CableDrop adhesive cable holders
- Beclau Cable IDs for finding the plug you want inside your Cable Box
- Hyperline Velcro Cable Ties that attach to the cable and hold the slack in your cables
- And, as previously mentioned, the letter explaining how to use the products
People have started to post before and after pictures to Twitter to show how they’re using the items to control their nest of cables and cords. You can see these images, too, by following the #UCL01 hashtag on Twitter.
If you’re interested, we have a second mailing coming out in the next quarter (and then a third and a fourth …). We’re really excited about the next mailing and how it can help people wanting to organize their lives. Sign up if you want to subscribe to the organizing shipments. If not, we’re totally cool with that, too.
Just a reminder that if you are interested, today is the last day to sign up for Unclutterer’s first Quarterly product shipment. To learn more, visit Quarterly’s site or our initial post “Subscribe to Unclutterer on Quarterly” about the subscription service. The first mailing will be sent on June 14. Thank you!
I just wanted to drop a quick reminder that the subscription deadline for Unclutterer’s first Quarterly mailing is in a little more than a week, June 1.
Again, Quarterly is a subscription service that sends out curated packages four times a year, as its name implies. The Unclutterer staff will be selecting the items that go into all of the Unclutterer mailings. We will be including straightforward directions on how to use/install/manipulate the items. These will be quality products that will bring a higher level of organization to your spaces. Each mailing will be focused on a particular theme, to help you find order in a specific area of your life.
Rest assured, the products we have chosen for our mailings are useful and clutter-curing, not clutter-creating. Our assumption is that for every item we send, you will actually be able to subtract one or more things from your homes and offices. Or, the items will help you discover a significantly improved level of organization in your life. Our many years of experience as professional organizers has taught us that there are universal clutter problems for which almost everyone needs better solutions and tools. The themes of our mailings address these universal issues. Additionally, if you already have the solution we mail, the items will make wonderful uncluttered gifts for friends and family so you can spread your vision of an uncluttered life with others.
We are incredibly excited about this project and have had a very positive experience putting together the first mailing. If you’re interested, you can learn more about Quarterly and Unclutterer’s partnership on Quarterly’s site. We truly appreciate anyone who chooses to subscribe to our mailings, as in addition to helping you become more organized, a small percentage of the subscription fee comes to us so we can keep the lights on, servers running, and our writing and technical staff paid for all of their hard work. Subscribers need to sign up for the first mailing by June 1 and the first package will go out on June 14.
Thank you to all of you who have already subscribed and to those who choose to do so in the future.
We are excited to announce a new Unclutterer partnership today. We have joined forces with Quarterly to help people find order in their homes and offices.
What’s Quarterly? It’s a subscription service that sends out curated packages four times a year, as its name implies. The Unclutterer staff will be selecting the items that go into all of the Unclutterer mailings. We will be including straightforward directions on how to use/install/manipulate the items. These will be quality products that will bring a higher level of organization to your spaces. Each mailing will be focused on a particular theme, to help you find order in a specific area of your life.
It may seem counterintuitive for a site called Unclutterer to be pairing with a product site like Quarterly, but it’s not. Rest assured, the products we have chosen for our mailings are useful and clutter-curing, not clutter-creating. Our assumption is that for every item we send, you will actually be able to subtract one or more things from your homes and offices. Or, the items will help you discover a significantly improved level of organization in your life.
We will not be sending clutter. The people at Quarterly are Unclutterer readers who support our mission and reached out to us to work with them. They understand our point of view.
If you’re interested, you can learn more about Quarterly and Unclutterer’s partnership on Quarterly’s site. We truly appreciate anyone who chooses to subscribe to our mailings, as in addition to helping you become more organized, a small percentage of the subscription fee comes to us so we can keep the lights on, servers running, and our writing and technical staff paid for all of their hard work. Subscribers need to sign up for the first mailing by June 1 and the first package will go out on June 14.
Update for clarification: Our many years of experience as professional organizers has taught us that there are universal clutter problems for which almost everyone needs better solutions and tools. The themes of our mailings will address these universal issues. Additionally, if you already have the solution we mail, the items will make wonderful uncluttered gifts for friends and family so you can spread your vision of an uncluttered life with others. We are very confident, however, that people who choose to participate will be more uncluttered after receiving our mailings.
Reader Erin submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
A few weeks ago, we released the new Unclutterer Forum. Although the system is powerful and has a lot of new cool features, it isn’t doing everything we would like. We at Unclutterer know what we would like to change — but what about the rest of you?
Dear Erin, Wow! You took the words right out of my mouth! What a great question.
Seriously, though, we really do want your help. We want to know what we need to change to make the Unclutterer Forum everything you desire in a Forum. This is a list of the things we are already planning to send to our techs to have them try to improve:
- Disable being able to post as “guest.” Or, rather, to leave a comment you should have to create and be logged into an account.
- Expand the Challenges section to show a list of the different challenges directly on the Home page of the Forum. Then, when click on the specific challenge, it will take the user to a month-by-month listing of the discussions of each challenge.
- Fix the New Topics listing so that it operates similar to the old Forum. Have the discussion topic appear instead of individual posts. Also, have all new discussions listed, not just those new since the last time the user logged in.
- Have the Active Topics and the New Topics be the same, so users have two ways to find the most recent discussion activity.
- Reinstate the RSS that allows users to subscribe by email to new topics that have been started, not just specific discussion threads.
- Add moderators, which we have already done. There are now four moderators for the Unclutterer Forum.
Forum users and those who are interested in joining the Forum community, what do you think about the list above? Is it accurate? Does anything need to be changed before we send it off to our techs? Does anything need to be added?
Please share your thoughts with us. We really do want to make the Unclutterer Forum a fun and exiting place for everyone to gather and discuss their adventures in uncluttering.
Do you have a question relating to organizing, cleaning, home and office projects, productivity, or any problems you think the Unclutterer team could help you solve? To submit your questions to Ask Unclutterer, go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject of your e-mail as “Ask Unclutterer.” If you feel comfortable sharing images of the spaces that trouble you, let us know about them. The more information we have about your specific issue, the better.
It’s another milestone for Unlcutterer — six years ago on January 6, Unclutterer came to life with a post that focused on what it means to live more simply:
…to find balance in order to enjoy what one does have, and to avoid becoming overwhelmed by clutter.
What has happened in the time since that very first post? Here’s a look at some highlights of the last six years:
- We’ve shared 3,215 posts and received 67,446 reader comments
- Our most popular posts are “Scanning documents to reduce paper clutter” (April 2007) and “Creating a weekly meal plan” (February 2008)
- The first unitasker was featured in May 2007
- In November 2009, we added the Forum as a resource for Unclutterer readers
- Unclutter Your Life in One Week was published in November 2009 and the audio version became available in 2012
Of course, May 2012 is pretty special to this writer since that’s when I joined the Unclutterer team (along with Dave Caolo). On behalf of all of us at Unclutterer, thank you for your support over the last six years. We look forward to continuing the journey with you in 2013!
Over the last few days, several of our posts have focused on resolutions and ways to achieve the goals you have for 2013. To help you through the process, you may want to arm yourself with additional skills, like what you might find in a book like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Though it was published in 1989, it remains a bestseller today because the advice is solid. We thought you might want an uncluttering-specific tool, so in this Covey style, we have created seven habits and routines to become a more effective unclutterer.
- Have easy-to-follow uncluttering rituals. Complex routines that have more than three steps can be difficult to keep up with, so create simple routines that are easy for you manage. It’s also important to create a system that works with your current lifestyle. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the right type of activities (like getting up 30 minutes earlier to unclutter, keeping a donation box inside your closet) that are not only easy to follow, but also produce the results you’re desiring.
- Engage in uncluttering activities regularly. Maintaining a clutter-free environment is an ongoing process that needs regular attention. Otherwise, clutter can build up and quickly take over your space. Add regular uncluttering days to your calendar for a specified time frame (30 minutes each weekday, 60 minutes each weekend day).
- Use the right strategies and tools for you. Rather that use a strategy that’s popular at the moment, use techniques that suit your personality. For example, you will need to capture your tasks so that you remember to get them done. If you prefer paper, write your task list in a notebook, but if you’d prefer a digital option, use an app, like Due or Remember the Milk.
- Keep frequently used items accessible. If the items you use often are not easily accessible, putting them back will be a hassle, which means you’ll be less likely to put them away when you’re finished using them. Put those items that you reach for frequently on shelves that you can reach easily and at eye level.
- Put things away rather than putting them down. Unclutterers tend to put things where they belong after each use. Doing this reduces the chance of having clutter pile up, and you’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for without having to search for hours on end.
- Have a “home” for everything. It will be much easier to put your things away when there is a space already designated for them to be kept. Items that don’t have a home will always be unnecessarily out and about. Instead, have a place for the items you use in the room that you tend to use them (magazines in a basket in the living room, office supplies in the home office closet).
- Refrain from making whimsical purchases. Purchases made without much forethought have a greater chance of hanging about your home or office. When you think about the types of purchases you’ll make beforehand, that’s also an opportunity to figure out the proper place to store them. Keep in mind that the fewer things you have, the less you have to maintain and store.
As the weather starts to get cooler here at the Unclutterer headquarters, we’ve been busy brewing up some fun and helpful projects to get us through the rest of the year and into 2013. The post topics we’ve selected for the remainder of 2012 look spectacular, and we are hopeful you’ll enjoy and benefit from them. (I am LOVING our plans for the Holiday Gift Giving Guide!)
Also on the schedule are a few things we wanted to share with you.
First, the audio version of my book Unclutter Your Life in One Week has been recorded and we are looking into ways to make it available for sale. The voice actress who plays me in the recording is phenomenal and the project, in my opinion, is a total success. If you’ve been waiting for an audio version of my book, you won’t have to wait much longer. We’ll notify everyone when the audio book is available for sale, which I’m hopeful will be in the next two weeks.
Speaking of books, I’m eager to write another one. If you’ve been searching for an uncluttering, organizing, or simple living book on a specific subject but can’t find one, let me know. The concept that has been bouncing around my brain isn’t set in stone, and I want to write on a topic people who are very interested in this subject area want to read. Now is your chance to weigh in if you have an opinion!
Third, so this post has some useful content, here are my recent posts on Women and Co.:
- “Just 1 Good Knife: 8 Tips to Save Money and Reduce Clutter“
- “Changing Your Name? Tips for the Workplace“
- “Seeking a Powerful Mentor? You May Find Her Close to Home“
- “5 Things to Buy on Sale in the Fall“
- “Fitness on Your Phone: Apps for Good Health“
Finally, another post will go live in a few minutes (if it hasn’t already) so you will get uncluttering and organizing content in addition to announcements today. Stay tuned!
Last month, I started writing articles for the financial advice website Women and Co. I’m not one of their regular bloggers (they have a full-time staff), but someone who will have featured articles from time-to-time on their site’s homepage. The focus of my writing is to provide tips on how being organized and uncluttered may help to improve your money management.
Once the technical aspects are settled, we’ll put a widget in the middle column of our homepage linking to my articles as they appear on the Women and Co. site. In the meantime, these are the articles I’ve written so far:
“How to Create Emergency Binders”
In this piece, I provide directions for making two binders — a Basic Emergency Binder and a Worst-Case Scenario Emergency Binder. There are checklists for what to include so your loved ones can find all the important documents and information needed to help you and your family in all types of emergency situations.
“Make Some Extra Spending Money: De-Clutter Your Home”
Without much effort, you can likely find some cash in your clutter — and not just an unexpected $5 in the pocket of your old coat. In this article, I provide detailed steps for how and where to sell your clutter.
“How to Pack a Cooler (and Save Money) for Your Next Road Trip”
If wanderlust has set in and you’re looking to hit the open road, this post may help you save some money when you head out of your driveway. Even though gas prices are high, it doesn’t mean you have to skip out on some of the treats that make road trips fun.
As I mentioned Tuesday, we have delightedly added two new voices to the Unclutterer content team. Today, I want to introduce you to Dave Caolo, who will be sharing his phenomenal insights on the site twice a month.
You may have seen Dave’s writing at The Unofficial Apple Weblog, where he serves as news editor, or on his personal site 52 Tiger. He’s also published several books, including Using iMovie ’11 and Taking Your OS X Lion to the Max (and he has a new one coming out this fall). When Dave isn’t writing, he can be found spending time with his wife, kids, and Boston Terrier, Batgirl, in Massachusetts.
The amazing Dave Caolo
I was raised in a small, shoebox-shaped house in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Inside was faded linoleum, a 24″ television and my typical American family: middle class, happy enough, and terribly disorganized.
Consider the kitchen. The cabinet above the pink laminate countertop contained my mother’s recipes. Unlike most mom’s collection, Carol’s never saw the inside of a cookbook. Instead, it hung from the back of the door with yellowing strips of tape.
A potato salad recipe dangled next to my grandmother’s hand-written instructions for stuffed squid. There were pages ripped from magazines, supermarket handouts, 3×5 index cards … anything flat enough to write on and light enough to stick to a pine cupboard door was called into service.
Most bore stains acquired in the line of duty. “David, hand me that sheet of paper,” my mother would say. Another Christmas, another batch of lemon squares and another crop of buttery smears. By the time I was in high school, the recipe was nearly illegible.
While the fly-strip method of recipe storage keeps everything accessible, it’s a poor filing system. Linguine with anchovy paste rubbed up against blueberry cheesecake, which is something that should never happen, not even in print.
Like most messes, my mother’s organizational habits migrated through the house. Likewise, my dad’s garage looked like a yard sale, and the basement was a jumble.
What all this means is that I’ve got chaos in my blood. Daily, I must make a concerted effort to keep things in check. It’s a struggle that I’ll share with you on Unclutterer. I look forward to sharing my organizational success and missteps with you. Here’s hoping we both learn something.