A Former Client’s Success Story

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H.M.’s cluttered table four and 1/2 years ago

Yesterday, I received an email from a former organizing client of mine who was quite happy, and proud to have been able to stay organized since our last organizing session four years ago. This client, who I will refer to as H.M., is a wonderful person, very creative, compassionate, and generous. Having ADD though, she found it difficult to get organized, was easily distracted, and was a chronic procrastinator. There were always huge piles of clothing on her bedroom floor, lots of papers and other stuff on her dining room table, too many books on her many shelves, and too much clutter around her home.

For several years from just January through June (for financial reasons), we tackled her untidy home, getting rid of clothes, shoes, books and other things that she no longer loved or needed. Final decisions on what to keep, give away, toss or recycle were left up to H.M. We also worked together to address and resolve her feelings of overwhelm, shame, and anxiety about all of her stuff. Her ADD behavioural habits were put to the test. For her ‘homework’ between organizing sessions, she practiced putting things away after using them (into storage areas we designated for each item’s category), refraining from purchasing unneeded items, and keeping her dining room table clear, etc.. And, she was successful!

H.M. had a vision for herself. She wanted to feel lighter and happier, with a neat and clear home. She especially wanted to hold a dinner party for friends, but was embarrassed to have people over (very typical of people who live with clutter). She wished for a long term relationship, but knew with her home in the state it was, she wasn’t ready to be in one.

Since our organizing sessions came to a closure in 2014,  H.M. held her desired  dinner party, and met the love of her life. (Letting go of excess clutter opens a door for new changes to occur in your life.) She has continued to keep her home uncluttered and tidy. In reply to her email to me yesterday, I noted that I was quite impressed, and mentioned that a number of people who have ADD tend to backslide (resorting back to old habits).

H.M. wrote back: “As to ADD, that’s a helpful insight. What helps is having systems: a drop file box AT MY FEET for all expenses, tax-related house receipts, etc.., and making decisions immediately (rather than putting them off, procrastinating) on what notices I get in the mail that I want to act on. Of course — the portable file used to be a foot away, in a closet, and I would build up a ‘to be filed’ pile ON THAT gorgeous, cherry wood dining table, and would put off filing for too long, after the pile sloshed around, and then some — now, I open the mail daily, and drop it into its relevant file folder, a joy!”

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1/20/17 – H.M wrote: “My dining table TEN days after a gathering
I had here for my writing group women!!!”

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

 

Ask in the NEW YEAR: Why You Have So Much Clutter

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‘TIME’ to get organized in the NEW YEAR

I was just reminded by a fellow blogger that January is ‘National Get Organized Month’.

As, January is the beginning of a new year, many people like to make resolutions such as going on a diet to lose weight, joining a gym to get in shape, or going on an on-line dating service to find a partner. And, many people attempt to achieve their goals, but don’t.

Last week, I published a blog post on ‘Make Getting Organized one of Your New Year’s Resolutions’. I mentioned a number of areas of one’s household to tackle; such as your home office, bedroom, pantry, hallways, etc.

On a more serious note, I think the most important thing for you to do before you begin the de-cluttering process, is to figure out why you have so much clutter and disorganization in your home or office. Is it because you are so busy that you haven’t the time, or you are so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to begin, or you recently experienced an emotionally traumatic incident in your life?  There are a number of reasons in addition to these possibilities why you might hold on to stuff.

 Some other reasons you hesitate to let go might include:

  1. You have ADD, ADHD or OCD and are easily distracted.
  2. You have tried to declutter but failed, so you’ve given up.
  3. You may use it (or read it) someday (chances are you won’t).
  4. You are a perfectionist and think you won’t do it right.
  5. You are so ashamed of your clutter, you can’t even begin.
  6. It was an investment that cost you time and money.
  7. You need extras ‘just in case’.
  8. It’s sentimental to you.

If you have identified with one or more of these reasons, you are not alone. Even I, a professional organizer, keep more than my share of sentimental items, sometimes buy extras things, and get so busy that my clothes pile up on the chair.

Just know that conquering them is doable. By taking the necessary steps to let go on your own, or with the right help from a supportive friend or family member, a therapist or a professional organizer you can begin to let go of your clutter. Letting go will give you peace of mind, more control over your life, and easy access to the things you truly need and use.

I’d love to know what some of your reasons for holding on to stuff are, and what steps you’ll take to let go in this ‘New Year’. 

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

Do You Have a Clutter Problem?

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You know you do when:
  • It’s hard to part with items and clothing that you don’t use
  • Your closets are filled to the brim and overflowing
  • Stacks of newspapers and magazines are piled sky high
  • You are embarrassed or ashamed to invite people over
  • Your stuff is hindering your ability to function
  • Your clutter controls you

You’d like to get organized without any help but:

  • You just don’t know where to begin
  • Anxiety, shame, fear, procrastination are some of your road blocks
  • You may not be at the stage where you are ready to let go.

If you are ready; some tips for you to get organized on your own:

  • This process can be anxiety provoking, so TAKE BABY STEPS
  • Select one specific area you would like to un-clutter in your home or office such as the surface of a coffee table, or the top of the file cabinet.
  • Take the items off that surface and sort them into five separate piles. Categorize the piles as: recycle, throw away, give away, charity, keep.
  • Label five grocery sized bags, or plastic kitchen trash bags with the titles: RECYCLE, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, CHARITY, KEEP.
  • Once you’ve got the items into sorted piles, go through each item and ask yourself:  Do I need this?  Do I love this? Will I really use this?  Am I willing to recycle it, throw or give it away?  As you make your decisions, put each item into the appropriate bag, and then distribute the items to their appropriate place.
  • Be sure to reward yourself for taking these baby steps!

Continuing the organizing process:

  • If this process was doable and not anxiety provoking, keep choosing small areas in your home or office and repeat the steps until you have cleaned up the clutter.
  • If it is difficult for you to even take the first step, think about contacting a Professional Organizer in your vicinity to help you let go and get organized.
If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

October is National ADHD Awareness Month

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During the first week of ADHD Awareness Month, the 2016 ADHD Awareness Expo will take place ONLINE October 2 – October 8. This is a FREE event for people from all over the world to find help and support for ADD / ADHD.

Click on http://www.adhdexpo.com/?blog   to register for this FREE virtual event.

Also, The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) believes there are safe, extremely effective, scientifically proven methods of treating and coping with the effects of ADHD on adults. On their website https://add.org/adhd-awareness/ you will find sources of information you can trust, resources you can count on, and caring people you can connect with.

ADHD affects the ‘executive functioning’ portion of the brain. This area of the brain helps you with organizing, planning, managing time, making decisions, being able to focus and pay attention, and remembering.

Do you have trouble:

  • Keeping papers and other stuff organized
  • Wasting time searching for lost items
  • Losing track of what you need to do
  • Getting to your destination on time
  • Concentrating and paying attention
  • Remembering information
  • Following directions
  • Completing projects
  • Organizing tasks

If so, you may be affected by ADD/ADHD.

Here are some tips to help you take control of these issues:

  • Plan ahead by scheduling dates and times in your calendar for appointments, tasks, and projects you need to attend to. Refer to these often as a reminder not to forget. Use a kitchen or clock timer, or the ‘reminder’ APP on your smart phone, computer, or watch as a tool. (I use Yahoo calendar which sinks to my iPhone). You can use paper calendars, or other on-line calendars.
  • Keep your daily essentials such as keys and eyeglasses on a hook , or in a small bowl or basket near your exit door. To get into the habit of doing this, add it to your list of things to remember to do. (I put my keys in the same small bowl everyday. That way I always know where they are, and don’t have to run around looking for them when I’m leaving the house.) Also, put your keys in just one pouch or section in your pocket book or carry bag; don’t dump them in the large interiors where you waste time having to scrounge for them.
  • Purposely allow an extra ten to fifteen minutes when getting ready so you won’t be late to an appointment or meeting. You can set an alarm clock or timer for this. (I try my best to be out the door so I’ll be on time, but sometimes find some last minute thing to do such as fill the cat bowl with water, add a napkin to my lunch bag, throw some nuts out for the squirrels. Even though I do arrive on time, and sometimes early, I’ve still got to work on this so I’m not rushing around before I leave.)
  • Always have a To-do list, and check off each task as you complete it. Write the list of things to do in a small notebook that you keep in your pocket or pocket book, or the ‘notes’ APP of your digital gear, and not on small pieces of paper or post-it notes that will get lost in a pile. (I used to write my shopping lists on pieces of paper, but don’t anymore. I write my daily to-do’s in a composition notebook, and also use the Notes APP on my phone.)
  • When you begin a new project such as knitting a sweater, cleaning the car, writing a term paper; put the yarn & knitting needles, the sponge and soap, or the references you’ll need for writing in a central location close to where you will be using them. Do not pile anything on top; keep them in site. Remember: Out of site – Out of mind.
  • If you have trouble remembering these tips after you’ve read them, print them out and either put them on the bulletin board, or tape them to the wall or car dashboard.

If you find that you can’t accomplish these steps on your own, or you get started and need help to stay focused, check out the:

ADHD Awareness Expo website FREE event at: http://www.adhdexpo.com/?blog

and/or the ADDA website  https://add.org/adhd-awareness/  for more information on dealing with ADHD.

In addition, consider hiring a professional organizer to assist you with scheduling, follow through, and getting organized.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a 

FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net or 617-776-8382