Organizing Wisdom

August 14, 2018

Do one hard thing every day. Somedays that may just mean getting up from the couch without using your arms! Other days you may be ready for a bigger challenge, something you may define as “hard” like cleaning out a closet or weeding out your filing cabinet. Researcher Angela Duckworth writes about ...

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Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, at least to start.  As a recovering perfectionist, I have learned to get started on a project even if I don’t have all the pieces together. Sometimes just puttering, tinkering or moving the parts around will help me sort out my brain enough to give me ...

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Who says paperwork is not sexy?! This week, I was so impressed (and even charmed) by the paperwork and systems of two different women. I was even a little envious. In the first case, my client Lois in Ardsley decided that it was time to get her paperwork in order. After six years of shifting ...

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Many of the people I meet are trying to do too much. This can be in the domain of home, work or community groups. Often the problem is that these people volunteer to help but do so to their own detriment and then become overwhelmed and ineffective. I have clients who volunteer to join committees, ...

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True confession: I LOVE kitchens, when they’re organized. I also love them clean, but that’s another can of worms. For now, I’ll stick to organizing and leave the cleaning to someone else, preferably that man who shows up for dinner every night! Kitchens are iconic of the American home, often ...

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“Ladies and gentlemen, there is another storm in the forecast.” At this point, the weather people are as welcome as the grim reaper! Here in the Northeast, we are battle-weary from these major winter storms. Right now, I’d rather be talking about tulips and jelly beans, but it’s still winter and ...

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OK, you know that I am working on losing 10 pounds before summer vacation and every weekend I cheat on my diet. I felt a little guilty about that and invariably yelled at myself every Sunday night. I found out that this is not unusual and may actually help us wannabe skinnies stay on our program in ...

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Many people think they don’t have enough time, but if you look at it, we all have the same amount of time: 24 hours in a given day. If you don’t have enough time, then maybe you are not managing the time you have. The question is: What are you doing with it? The most satisfying days are those where ...

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  OK, we’re a month into the New Year and not only have I NOT lost weight, but I’ve put back on the three pounds I lost four weeks ago! Many people would be discouraged and throw in the towel at this point, but I would encourage you to reboot your program and start again, every morning if ...

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So here we are with a brand new year in our pocket and you know you want to get organized. Let’s talk paper: everyone’s nemesis and yet somehow we can’t let it go. Even I, who has online accounts, still want the phone and electric companies to send me a paper bill. That way, in case I disappear ...

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As the year winds down just before New Year’s Eve, time seems to slow. Activities may be centered on the home and family and if you can plan it, you may have an hour or two to do some goal-setting for the year ahead. Judith, a colleague of mine, annually schedules a retreat on New Year’s weekend.

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The holidays can be a hard time of year for people for many reasons. But if you can modify some things, you are more likely to enjoy them on your own terms. Between the disruption in routine caused by the holidays themselves, the turmoil of family issues that get kicked up during visits and the ...

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As a professional organizer, you would assume that I am passionate about organizing. I am not—I am passionate about people. Given the choice between being at home and dealing with my own piles or going to Pleasantville and sorting out Mrs. Martin’s closet, I will chose Mrs. Martin and her closet ...

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A couple of years ago, Margaret, a 75-year-old retiree, was victim to a series of thefts and she didn’t even know it. The thief, a trusted aide, helped herself to Margaret’s ATM card and withdrew $400 from Margaret’s bank account—every two weeks.  Thousands of dollars, plus precious heirloom ...

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“I didn’t go to college to learn how to organize!”  “If I’m so smart, then why can’t I do this!?”  “I used to be organized, until I had kids!” That’s what people tell me when I meet them for the first time. Usually, these feeling are expressed with some frustration and bewilderment.  There are a ...

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The older I get, the more I become like my mother, I used to say.  Now I say the older I get, the more I get like my clients!  I don’t know if it’s the Stockholm syndrome or the nature of the work I do that allows me to see things from the client’s point of view, but I begin to see the charm of ...

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People tell me that—their husbands think they are hoarders or they think that themselves. I’ve been a professional organizer for a long time and 99 percent of the time, these people are not hoarders. In fact, I’ve only met three in the last 13 years.  Hoarding is a mental disorder, an aspect of ...

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Last week I spent three hours cleaning out two kitchen cupboards. Not my cupboards - the cupboards of my 80-year-old client Deborah in Scarsdale.  I was called in because Deborah is under daughter’s orders NOT to climb the step-ladder! So I climbed the step-ladder to dissect and discard the ...

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I gave up on perfection a couple of years ago. Now I just try to be myself. Being myself does not include a perfectly clean house or matching stemware. When I got married, I registered for a full set of china, beautiful crystal and a silver pattern. A couple of years ago, I realized that I needed a ...

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