A Former Client’s Success Story

cluttered table

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!”

h-m-dining-table-4-years-after-organizing-sessions-ended

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

 

ADULT ED CLASS: ‘Free Yourself from Paper Clutter’

paper clutter

‘FREE YOURSELF from PAPER CLUTTER’

February 6, 2017 TIME: 7:00 – 8:30 pm FEE: $28.00

Brookline High School
115 Greenough Street, Brookline
bacep@brookline.k12.ma.us 617-730-2700

http://www.campusce.net/brookline/course/course.aspx?catId=64

From junk mail to important documents, we all have paper clutter in our homes and offices. If we don’t spend time getting rid of it, it will completely take over. Organizing the pile can be an overwhelming task, and this class will explore the causes of clutter, systems to organize it, and habits to maintain organization. Through a focused presentation and discussion, you will explore with a professional coach how to overcome the roadblocks to clear your paper clutter. You’ll soon be on your way to prepare your paperwork for tax season.

Presenter: Judy Eisenberg, Professional Organizer Clutter Clearer Coach

 

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

Sentimentality, and My Kitchen Blender

blender

Saying hello to his mother’s blender

Old blender

Saying goodbye to my mother’s blender

Recently, I wrote a post about the blender that I’d inherited from my mother over 30 years ago. The blender is at least 50 years old.  The bottom of the glass pitcher had a minor leak during the past year. Unfortunately, the minor leak became major. I was so dismayed because using it brought back happy memories of my mother using the blender in her kitchen in New Jersey.

The leak was not repairable, so reluctantly, I threw the item away.

I asked my boyfriend to buy me a new blender for Christmas/Hanukkah. We both searched the internet for blenders with glass pitchers, as I didn’t want plastic, and was hoping for a classic vintage reproduction. After about a half hour looking online at various different types of blenders, he exclaimed, “Hey, I just remembered that my mother’s blender is still in the kitchen cupboard, and I haven’t used it since her passing seven years ago! You can have it.” He went into the kitchen, and brought back a vintage Osterizer blender with a glass pitcher which was in good working condition. I was so excited!

My mother’s blender was useful, and not clutter in my home. But, when sentimental objects don’t make you happy anymore, or are no longer useful or working, they become sentimental clutter. You’d like to get rid of them, but part of you can’t let go for the sake of the memories they bring, the people they symbolize, or the guilt you’d feel if you did get rid of them. In order to deal with this contradiction you must make a mental shift. Think about what you really want. Do you want to hold on to these items and stay stuck in your clutter and disorganization? Or, let go and have a sense of freedom, and peace of mind.

To make this mental shift, think about the people who can benefit from the items you could get rid of. Particularly during this holiday season! Do you have clothing and coats in your closet that were your mother’s but that you never, ever wear? Perhaps you can donate them to a homeless shelter to help cloth other women who are lacking. Or, have you got shelves full of children’s books that your kids no longer read? Maybe you can give them to an orphanage, preschool, or children’s hospital.

So, instead of clinging to these items, send them on a ‘Sentimental Journey’ that will bring usefulness and pleasure to the recipients (homeless women, other children, etc..)

I’d love to hear about the ‘sentimental items’ you are willing to part with; giving other’s in need some things they really could use.

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

Coupon Collection Chaos

Coupons

If you collect coupons, you know they can get out of control. It’s easy to cut them out and collect them with good intentions of getting a bargain. But, do you put them in a pile that gets lost in the clutter, or put them aside in a designated spot that you forget to look at periodically?

I don’t cut coupons from magazines, but I do get them in the mail. Staples, Tags Hardware, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and BJ’s send special deals to me regularly. Some of these are decent; like BJ’s recent three month free membership card that expires 12/31/16. I doubt I’ll make it there before the end of December. Bed, Bath & Beyond mails out large coupon post cards that offer either $5.00 or 20% off your next purchase. (Don’t tell anybody, but the sales clerks don’t check the expiration dates on these coupons, so you can use outdated ones from as long ago as a few years.)

I also get discounts printed at the bottom of purchase receipts from CVS and Walgreen’s. If relevant to my needs, I tear that part off of the receipt to use on an item or two I might want, and put them in a folder with a clear plastic window so I can see them. Ultimately, I never take advantage of them before they expire. Whole Foods Market has seasonal Coupon booklets offering deals on various items in their stores. Sometimes, I cut a couple of them out, and once in a while use them, but usually don’t.

Plenty of discounts/coupons are sent to our email inboxes. I’ve recently purchased ink toner online, and am now receiving at least 2 special toner and other office product deals in my email inbox per week. When I next need toner, I will click on one of those specials and order more. Know that you can unsubscribe from these offers so they don’t become clutter and clog up your inbox.

Does my experience seem familiar to you? Look around, and find your own coupons. You probably won’t be surprised to find that some, or most of them are out of date. Recycle any that have expired. Then, quick-sort the coupons that are still usable into categories such as food items, health and beauty, restaurant, clothing, office supplies, etc.. Put each category in a labeled envelope, or fasten with a paper clip.

Be sure to keep your organized coupons in one particular area at home, in your pocket book, or in the office so they are easily accessible when you need them. (as long as they are organized, and not scattered about)  And, check them often for expiration dates. We all love saving money and getting a good deal!

Let me know if you have coupon collection chaos, and how you deal with it.

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

Simplify to Make Time for What Truly Matters

pumpkins-in-ipswich

With all the fast paced activity in your life, do you ever forget to make time for what really matters to you?

Below are some ideas on how to simplify and reclaim some time for yourself, friends and family.

• As soon as mail arrives, sort, file or recycle it. The best place to do this is right next to the recycle bin. If you have children, sign any permission slips for school trips right away and slip them back into their backpacks. Make a note of catalogs you no longer want to receive, and don’t wait too long before you go to http://www.catalogchoice.org/ to unsubscribe.

• Limit the time you waste on activities such as checking emails on your computer, looking at Facebook, and watching TV. As I mentioned in my last post, I had a habit of checking my email often, and sometimes spent a half hour on the computer doing so. I would add my latest blog post onto my Facebook timeline, and then scroll down for more than several minutes reading the other entries and fun U-tube videos. Setting time limits helps me now. I recommend that you check email just twice each day, and go on Facebook once a day. When watching television try multi-tasking. Fold the laundry, exercise, or sort desk papers. And, limit the time you and your family spend in front of the TV, so you have more time doing other activities with one another.

• Have your spouse, partner or family members help you with the household chores. For example; after a meal have someone clear the table, someone else wash dishes or put them into the dishwasher. The tasks will get done faster, and you’ll have more time to spend with one another, or with yourself.

• Just say NO! It’s good to volunteer for a non-profit, community event, or help friends and neighbors, but don’t take on too much at once. Helping others is commendable, but for your own health and peace of mind don’t lose sight of your priorities.

What sorts of things are robbing your time? Can you eliminate or simplify anything?

Let me know what you’ve done to simplify your agenda.

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

Excuses for Holding on to Stuff

old receipts

Is it easy to get rid of outdated receipts?

 

It’s easy for some people to let go of unneeded items. But, you may feel reluctant or guilty getting rid of sentimental items, as well as everyday mundane stuff, knowing these things bring no value to you anymore. Could this be you?  What are some of your best excuses, including guilt, for holding onto sentimental items, or just any old clutter?

• I’d feel guilty if I got rid of it
• I might need it someday
• I might read it someday
• I might fit into this again
• It was a gift I can’t give away
• I’m saving it to give as a gift

Below is a list of some of the things that
some people feel fine about parting with:

• Old notes on small pieces of paper
• Old shopping receipts and unneeded invoices
• Recipes cut from magazines but never used
• Cookbooks, other books no longer in use
• Outdated cosmetics and toiletry items
• Saved pieces of wrapping paper for re-use
• School notes and school books from the past
• Letters and birthday cards not meaning much
• Gifts you’ve kept from guilt rather than pleasure
• Scrapbooking supplies you’ll never use
• Desk clutter; too many pens, highlighters
• Clothing that doesn’t fit, or has gone out of fashion
• Old extension cords, outdated electronic gadgets
• Broken lamps, used light bulbs

Yes, other folks may have an easier time letting go. But, it really is OK to get rid of stuff. If it’s ‘guilt’ or some other reason that keeps you from doing this, give yourself permission to let go of your stuff ‘guilt-free’. 

What are your excuses for holding on?  Can you feel good about yourself if you let something go?

 

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