How to Give THANKS – An Organizing Perspective

One of the things I love about Thanksgiving, besides the family, food and football, is the spirit of gratitude that fills our hearts as we reflect on the abundance in our lives. Many people like to say that Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, and I completely agree!

From an organizing standpoint, here are a few ways you can Give THANKS:

Give…

To gain. Getting organized and letting go isn’t about what you’re losing. It’s about what you’re gaining -freedom, peace, and joy to name a few things.

Happily. When you give with a happy attitude and spirit you’ll find that it’s much easier to let go. Plus there’s nothing better than a cheerful giver.

Abundantly, if possible. We truly have more than what we need. The average American household contains 300,000 items. Even if you got rid of 300 items, that’s only 0.001% of what you own!

Now. We all know what happens when we say, “I’ll do it later”!

Knowing that what you no longer want, need or use can be a huge blessing to someone else.

Smart. Most people don’t give because they don’t know where to donate their stuff. Don’t let lack of knowledge keep you from giving! If you aren’t sure, check out “Clear Out & Help Out: A Big List of the Best Donation Centers for All Your Stuff”

Giving thanks is more than just counting our blessings. It’s also a way for us to view how we give from the plenty that we have. May this Thanksgiving not only be a time for you to be with loved ones, but also a time for you to embrace a new perspective of giving.

5 Ways to Make Tomorrow Better, Today

There is an African Proverb that says, “Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

It’s a nice thought, but most of us are just trying to get through today. We don’t have time to worry about, or even prepare for, tomorrow.

But proverbs aren’t just “nice thoughts”. By definition, they are sayings expressing simply and concretely a truth based on common sense or the practical. So at some point in time, someone discovered that a better tomorrow starts with preparation today. And because they lived that out and showed the world it was possible, it’s a saying that has been passed down through generations.

Prepare Today

It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life without concerning ourselves with the days to come. But if a better tomorrow comes on the tails of today, then here are a few ideas you might want to consider:

  1. At the end of the day, put things back where they belong. Whether it’s your office desk or the playroom, putting things back where they belong can help you start tomorrow with a clean slate. Rather than having the pressure of clutter looming over you as you start the day, your attitude and focus will be lighter and brighter.
  2. Write out your most important tasks for tomorrow, today. Before leaving the office or going to bed, write down the 3-5 most important things you need to accomplish the next day. By doing this you eliminate any doubts of what needs to be done, allowing you to be more productive.
  3. Be familiar with tomorrow’s activities/meetings/appointments. End your day by taking a glance at what’s on the schedule for tomorrow. Having an idea of what’s upcoming the next day can help you limit your to-do list if you know you’re going to have a busy day. On the flip side, if you’re calendar is wide open, then you have time to think about what projects you’d like to work on and start preparing for them.
  4. Determine what you’ll eat and wear the next day. Save time by knowing what you’re going to eat and wear tomorrow. Knowing ahead of time which outfit you’ll put on and having breakfast or lunch in mind can keep you from being late or frustrated when things don’t go as planned in the morning.
  5.  Get your bag ready. If you know you’ll be heading out tomorrow, have everything you need ready and waiting for you by the door. Keys, important papers, and special deliveries can all be set out the night before so in the morning you just pick up and go, without the stress and drama.

Tomorrow can be better.  All it takes is a few minutes of your time today to pave the way.

Which of these steps can you implement today to make tomorrow better?

 

10 Decisions to an Organized Life

One of the most quoted sayings in the organizing world is, “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” (Barbara Hemphill). Ask any organizer if that’s true, and they will tell you that’s exactly right.

Which means decision-making plays an important role in the journey towards an organized life.

But what decisions do you need to make to bring order to your home and spaces? Surprisingly, quite a few!

10 decisions that lead to an organized life

1. A decision to startstarting can be overwhelming and scary, but it’s necessary. You can’t reach your final destination until you start the race.

2. A decision to make the time – it’s not about finding the time, it’s about being intentional and making the time in your schedule. As the saying goes, “What gets scheduled, gets done!

3. A decision to not make excusesexcuses such as “Someone might get mad if I get rid of this,” “I might need it someday,” or “It cost me a lot of money” are just stumbling blocks that keep you tied down in clutter.

4. A decision to let go – there is freedom in letting go, and until you do, you’ll never have the organized life you long for.

5. A decision to be content with less – having an orderly life doesn’t mean living with nothing. However, simplifying and being content with less stuff is part of the equation.

6. A decision to stop buying unnecessarily – shopping is necessary in life, but clutter accumulates when you shop based on what’s on sale or because you simply want something. Focus on only buying what you need and see how that makes a difference.

7. A decision to make homes for your stuff – a place for everything and everything in its place keeps things organized and tidy!

8. A decision to organize your way (not imitate or compare yourself to anyone else)organizing isn’t one-size-fits-all; you are unique and so is your organizing style! Don’t compare yourself to others or try to copy someone else’s organizing methods – they probably won’t work for you.

9. A decision to say no – by saying no to things that drain you, distract you, or stress you out, you are paving the way to the life you want.

10. A decision to keep going/not quit when you fall back into disorganization – no one’s perfect and there will be times when the clutter and chaos creep back in. That doesn’t mean you’re hopeless; it just means you have to pick yourself back up and try again.

An organized life is possible, but it requires is some decision-making on your part. Some decisions will be easy, others much harder; some you will make, others you won’t. But as Zig Ziglar said, “You cannot make progress without making decisions.”

You’re only one decision away from a different life – what decision will you make?

 

 

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Want to Get Organized? Focus on Your Why!

I’m often asked why I don’t write more “How-to” organizing articles. Honestly, I don’t need to. There are so many helpful books, blogs, articles, videos, and podcasts out there on the subject already; the Internet is on overload from it all!

But if I’m being completely truthful, I find that when people only focus on the “how” of a problem they are trying to put a Band-Aid over a bullet hole. It may stop the bleeding temporarily but it won’t fix the problem permanently.

If you really want to solve your problem once and for all, then you first have to look at two things: your why and your bigger why.

Looking at your why

If I asked you why you wanted to get organized you might say:

…. I want to find my keys easily

…. I want to stop spending money on things I already have

…. I want to quit being late for everything

And while these are good answers, if we’re being honest,  they’re really just surface level responses. They are the reason you will start the organizing process. They are the indicator that something isn’t quite right. And that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need to take the first step.

But over time, when the going gets tough, those responses won’t keep you motivated to keep trying or doing things differently.

When push comes to shove, only your bigger why will help you.

If you want to have effective and lasting change, you need to know your bigger why. That is, what deep down will motivate you to do whatever it takes to bring order to your life?

If you were to dig a little more and discover your bigger why, then you might find yourself saying:

…. I want to have peace when I leave my house each day

…. I want to save money rather than spend it carelessly

…. I want to gain back my time so I can do the things I really want to do

Peace, financial responsibility, and better use of your time – those are the things that will motivate you. Those are the reasons you will keep going even when you don’t want to, or think you can.

Why vs. How

Sadly, though, we live in a culture that isn’t concerned with the why, or even the bigger why. We want the immediate gratification that only the how’s can offer. The quick fixes that will make all our troubles disappear. But will they really?

Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong, if you only focus on the how of your problem you will see a difference. However, you will likely find them to be short-term solutions with short-lived results.  In the end, they won’t motivate you to keep it up when it all starts to fall apart.

What will? Your why.

Your why will be the words you write on index cards and place on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror so it’s always in front of you. It will be the anthem, the fight song you sing as you empty out one more crammed drawer. It will be the banner you raise when you’ve climbed to the top of your mountain of clutter and claimed victory over it.

So I want to encourage you today to stop focusing on the how-to of organizing and concentrate on your why.  Because when you know the why, the how gets easier.