Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Organizing a Family Reunion

Organizing a Family Reunion @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogI discovered the following article on organizing a family reunion - great tips!

"Family reunions are a great way for families to maintain a bond and stay abreast of the latest happenings within the family. Some families host an annual reunion, while others go years between reunions. Regardless of how much time has passed since your last family reunion, organizing such a gathering can be quite an ordeal.

When planning a family reunion, those trusted to organize the event will be met with many challenges. But the following tips should help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Start early.

The earlier you start to organize your family reunion, the more time you and your family members will have to find deals on hotels or transportation. That’s especially important today, when many families are more spread out than ever before. Planning early also gives organizers time to find fun and affordable means of entertainment, such as group trips to a sporting event or an amusement park. Even if your family hosts an annual reunion, start planning early so family members from far and wide can make plans to attend.

Use social media to your advantage.

Social media has made it easy to keep in touch with distant relatives, and organizers can use this tool to their advantage when planning a family reunion. Post ideas for entertainment to social media and get feedback from relatives. Solicit suggestions for activities and assign different tasks to different family members who have confirmed their attendance. Use social media to keep track of that attendance as well, especially among those family members who have not yet committed but have implied a desire to attend. Search the Internet for websites designed to help you plan and organize your event.

Choose a central location.

Though it might be sentimental to hold the reunion in a city or town where your family has its deepest roots, such a location might not be practical for families who have branched out geographically. When choosing a town or city for the family reunion, try to find a central location that’s accessible to the largest number of prospective attendees. For example, if half of your family now calls the West Coast home while the other half lives along the East Coast, then a location in the middle of the country is equally accessible for all. This also gives travel enthusiasts the chance to do some traveling while also reconnecting with their family members.

Arrange for transportation ahead of time.

If your family reunion won’t be in a big city with reliable public transportation, then it’s best to arrange for transportation ahead of time. Some family members will drive to the reunion, so confirm who is driving and the capacity of their vehicles. You might be able to get by with relatives carpooling around town to the reunion and other events. If not, you might want to rent a van or bus for the weekend so those without access to transportation can travel together while in town. Do so ahead of time so you or your family members are not scrambling for transportation come the weekend of the reunion.

Host the reunion when the weather outside is warm and welcoming.

Unless you’re a family who enjoys hitting the slopes and wants to reunite on the black diamond, then host the reunion at a time of year when the weather is warm. This allows all of you to enjoy the great outdoors, and people are less likely to feel cramped or claustrophobic. The warm weather is also more amenable to activities like three-legged races, water balloon fights and, of course, the barbecue, a staple of many family gatherings."

More on organizing family events:
Organize Your Family Vacation
Organize a Fun Activity List
Organizing Spring Break Fun

Friday, April 26, 2013

Plastic Bags are Messy - Box Them Up!

It's always handy to have plastic bags on hand, but they're so messy! Here's a way to store them neatly: in an empty tissue box!

Plastic Bags are Messy - Box Them Up! @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog

No need to buy a storage gadget for this! The easiest DIY ever!

More on simple storage:
What to Do with those Dry Cleaner Hangers - Make a DIY Shoe Rack
Organizing Your Bracelets - Go Vertical!
Entry Closet Door Organizer

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Let's Celebrate! Affirming Our Children

Here's a blast from the past, an updated previous post:  
Let's Celebrate! Affirming Our Children @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogSometimes we as parents see positive choices that our children make and don't take the time and energy to communicate our appreciation and/or excitement. While we were foster parents for teenage girls, I was inspired by a lecture by Cecil Burger, a therapist in Akron, Ohio, to celebrate good decisions our children make, positive change in their behavior, accomplishments as a result of hard work or persistence, etc.

He suggested we do something to affirm our children's accomplishments - from a complimentary word to throwing a party! When our girls were growing up, I kept a "goody box" that contained little things I had picked up here and there. When one of them made a difficult decision, showed an act of kindness, or some other outstanding action, I rewarded her with something from the goody box.

I also vowed to voice my praise whenever a complimentary thought came to mind. Why keep it to myself? What an encouragement to say it aloud!

My suggestion: acknowledge and affirm anything we want our children to repeat.

So what does this have to do with organizing? Organizing doesn't mean we are only intentional about where we keep our things, but how we live our lives. We are living our lives intentionally to create an atmosphere in which our children can thrive. We are being intentional about how we pass on our legacy by living out our passions, priorities and values.

More on intentional parenting:
Planning and Intentional Summer for Your Child
Creating Routines and Systems
An Intentional Christmas - Teach Your Child How to Give this Holiday Season

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dinner in 10 - Chicken with Cranberry/Mandarin Orange Sauce

Dinner in 10 - Chicken with Cranberry/Mandarin Sauce @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogHere's an entree that takes about 10 minutes: Chicken with Cranberry/Mandarin Sauce that I got from Woman's Day Magazine years ago. It's a great combination of flavors and a good way to use up those cans of cranberry sauce!

Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray. Cook chicken tenderloins on medium heat for five minutes on each side or until no longer pink inside. I salted mine with garlic salt.

Meanwhile, mix a can of whole berry cranberry sauce, a can of drained mandarin oranges, and sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. Red pepper flakes are powerful, so treat gingerly. Heat in the microwave until warm but not too hot. Serve over the chicken.

Serve with couscous and fresh veggies.

How simple is that? I always try to keep cans of whole cranberry sauce and mandarin oranges on hand for a quick meal. Chicken tenderloins can be cooked without thawing. Voila! A quick meal when cooking sounds overwhelming.

More quick cooking:
Super Simple Time-Saving Meal - Horseradish Encrusted Salmon
Organizing Dinner in 2013
Organizing Dinner - Double or Triple a Recipe

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Pefect Solution to Organizing Your House Cleaning! :)

My daughter Sara sent this to me a couple of years ago. Thought it's worth repeating. Hope you enjoy it!!

How to clean the house:
A Perfect Solution to Organizing House Cleaning! :) @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog
1. Open a new file on your computer.

2. Name it " Housework ."

3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN.

4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN.

5. Your computer will ask you, " Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently ?"

6. Calmly answer, "Yes," and press mouse button firmly.

7. Feel better? Works for me! :)

More on cleaning:
Spring Cleaning with Vinegar
The Health and Mental Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning
Three Steps to Clever Cleaning

Monday, April 22, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - Under-the-Sink Drawers

I had so much fun maximizing the space in our new home! One product that has been especially efficient is a set of under-the-sink drawers for my bathroom. Our cabinets are tall and the space under the sink would have been wasted without some organizing help.

Organizing Products I Use - Under-the-Sink Drawers @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogI found the perfect solution: the Bronze Mini Stackable Cabinet Organizer from Seville Classics. I bought four, two for each cabinet under our double sinks. I measured under both sinks, but didn't realize that the plumbing was placed in a slightly different place under my husband's sink - a little more forward from the wall, making it impossible for the drawers to fit depthwise. My mistake! So disappointed, but I found some other organizing solutions for under his sink which make him happy.

Organizing Products I Use - Under-the-Sink Drawers @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogI knew it was going to be a very tight fit under my sink. In fact, for the last step of building the drawers, I had to twist them diagonally, and insert them into the space before adding the top shelf and inserting the drawers. But they fit!

The drawers are adjustable so you can create heights that work for the products you use. I chose one drawer for the things I use frequently - skin and hair products.

Another drawer contains first aid supplies and over-the-counter meds. My blow drier rests on one of the shelves, and so on. Plastic liners come with the unit so small things don't fall through the wires.

Organizing Products I Use - Under-the-Sink Drawers @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogSo what to do with the other two shelves? They didn't fit under the guest bathroom sink or the kitchen sink. But there was a perfect spot in my pantry - a little corner between the steel shelves and the wall where I could place the drawers at a diagonal.

I stacked the units (there's a connector included to make them sturdy), and store potatoes, onions and garlic in one large drawer, snacks in the other drawers, and large plastic bowls on top. I'm so pleased to be able to use that small space so efficiently!

I can't wait to show you some of the other products I'm using in my new house to get the most out of my storage space!

More on organizing products:
A No-Cost Organizing Solution for Your Pantry
Entry Closet Door Organizer
Repurposing My Shoe Organizers in the Pantry

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Time-Saving Laundry Tip - Color-Coded Laundry Bags

A Time-Saving Laundry Tip - Color-Coded Laundry Bags @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog    
I heard a tip to make laundry a little easier: buy each member of your family three laundry bags - one for whites, one for lights and one for darks. If possible, purchase a different color for each person. For example, you could get a light blue bag for lights, and dark blue bag for darks, and a white one for whites and tie a blue (color-safe) ribbon to it. Ok - I know I may be getting obsessive here!!

Train your child how to differentiate between light and dark colors - a great learning tool even for toddlers!

When it's time for a load of light-colored laundry, ask your child to bring you his light bag. Since it will probably not be full, tie up the bag and wash the entire bag. If the bag is not too full, you could toss it in the drier and save all the sorting! And since the bag is color-coded, you know who it belongs to!

You can then teach your child how to fold the clothes in the laundry bag and organize the clothes in the closet or drawers. A way to prepare your child for leaving home and eventually a time-saver for you, once he gets the system down!

More on clothes/laundry:
Three Steps to Organizing Your Closet
A Dozen Tips for Staying Clutter-Free in 2013
A Unique Way of Storing Folded Clothes

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is There a Difference Between Being Cluttered and Being Disorganized?

I always loved reading the Home Section of the Washington Post when we lived in the DC area. I still get feeds from it, and in a recent piece, Penny Catterall answered a reader's question about whether there is a difference between cluttered and disorganized:

"I would say that there is a difference between cluttered and disorganized.  If someone has a cluttered house, but they have no problem finding things in it, have a smoothly running system for processing mail, bills, etc., and the clutter is not impeding their life in any way, then I would say that is fine.

However, if there are so many things in the house that they can't find their keys to get out the door in the morning, or they have so many clothes in the closet that they can't find anything to actually wear, or the important mail is getting lost under piles of junk, then my response would be that the clutter is preventing them from leading the life they want to live."

Where do you fall?

More on clutter:
Decluttering in 5: 20 Decluttering Tasks You Can do In 5 Minutes or Less
Tackling the #1 Clutter Annoyance
1-2-3 ... Get Organized eBooks - Organizing One Area at a Time

Monday, April 15, 2013

Organizing Products I Use - Steel Shelving

We moved over the weekend, downsizing from 2200 square feet to 1550 square feet in what we are calling our retirement cottage. So I am trying to maximize every square inch of storage space! We are excited to live efficiently and simply in our new home.

We lost a lot of garage space, which we are mourning! It's a tight squeeze to get both our cars into our garage, but there are 18 inches between the wall and the garage door, which allows for some steel storage shelves along the walls where they don't interfere with the opening of car doors.

With the expense of a move, we didn't really want to spend the money on an expensive garage organizing system. So this was our solution.

I told you about these steel shelves from Lowe's in a previous blog post. They are 48 w x 74 h x 18 d with adjustable shelves and must be put together. They come in other sizes as well. The units we bought cost about $70 each and come in black or silver.

Organizing Products I Use @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogHere they are in operation, holding seasonal items. We have chosen clear storage boxes to contain those things we know we are going to keep for a long time but don't use often. The containers are less than 18 inches wide so two of them fit on each shelf lengthwise without sticking out more than the 18-inch clearance.

Each shelf holds up to 350 pounds, so I can get a lot of mileage out of these shelves! We have four shelving units in our garage to house keepsakes, seasonal decorations, etc.

Organizing Products I Use @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogMy husband cut down another one of these shelving units to fit into the closet in our laundry room, turning it into a pantry. This created an amazing space to store food, appliances and cookware. The appliances (bread maker, food processor, slow cooker, and waffle iron) are on the floor , and the food is organized according to categories on the upper shelves.

This unit allows me to see everything and reach everything easily without having to create stack-upon-stack storage. I placed mesh shelf lining on the wire shelves so things don't fall through the wires.

These five shelving units were set up before moving day, and as we brought things over during the week, we had a place to put them! They expanded our storage greatly while using only 18 inches of depth. And they're economical and strong. We had used some cheaper but sturdy-looking plastic shelving in our other garage, but the shelves started sagging over time. Springing for the steel shelving was definitely worth it to us.

More on organizing products:
Organize Toys Using a Wire Garden Hanger
A No-Cost Organizing Solution for Your Pantry
Repurposing My Shoe Organizers in the Pantry

Friday, April 12, 2013

6 Ways to Reduce Stress by Getting Organized

6 Ways to Reduce Stress by Being Organized @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogClutter, both mentally or physically, creates stress. And stress zaps your energy and creativity. By taking some time to organize yourself, you'll be re-energized, creative and clutter-free!

Reduce stress by getting your mind, schedule, priorities, and clutter organized:

- List everything that is flying through your mind - your to do list, places you need to go, people you need to contact, etc. Jotting these items down relieves the stress of having to remember them all.

- Next, prioritize and assign a day and time to each task. By doing this, your sense of overwhelm will decrease. Breaking down your list into bite-sized pieces creates peace of mind because you're not faced with a never-ending, unprioritized list of things to do. Having a time assigned to each task prevents panic because you know there is a time and place for everything on your list.

- If you are still feeling overwhelmed, evaluate whether everything on your list is actually important to you. In addition, ask yourself if you have over-committed yourself. Remove those things that are least important, least urgent, or to which you are no longer committed. If possible, delegate or get some help on the remaining items on your list.

- Practice saying, "NO!" to reduce the possibility of over-commitment.

- If you have tasks you need to do each day, make a daily routine list to follow in order to accomplish those high-priority items.

- Now, take a look around you. If your surroundings are disorganized and cluttered, it's hard to have a focused and productive mind. Take a few minutes and clean off a surface, putting each item away. If an item doesn't have a home, determine where it will be most useful and efficient. If your clutter is sizable, attack it in short bursts rather than a long siege. You can do anything for 15 minutes! Start in the corner and work around the room.

When your mind is clear of clutter and your surroundings are neat and orderly, your stress diminishes. Clutter is no longer stealing away your energy. The result: you are free to be creative and productive!

More on reducing stress:
Organizing Dinner in 2013
9 Ways to Enhance Your Health by Being Organized
Three Steps to Time Management for the Working Mom

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's National Declutter Week!

I'm a little late on this, as National Declutter Week is from April 6-14. So I guess we'd better hurry up and declutter! I'm doing my part by moving into a new home and kicking out that clutter, what about you? :)

It's National Declutter Week! @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogHow about taking 30 minutes each day to see how much you can declutter. If you have time, do a little more on the weekend. What a nice way to start spring!

Overwhelmed? Here's some help.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Plan Ahead - Create a Finals Survival Kit for the College Student in Your Life

Do you have a special college student in your life? Brighten up his/her life during finals week by sending a Finals Survival Kit. We've done this with our own children and other college students in our lives over the years. Things to include:

Plan Ahead - Create a Finals Survival Kit for the College Student in Your Life @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogHealthy snacks: pistachios or other nuts, beef jerky, trail mix, popcorn

Drinks: hot chocolate, teas, coffee mixes, juices

Fun snacks: cookies, chocolate, candy

Encouraging words: write a note for each day (5-7) or use the following proverbs -

- Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.

- Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.

- Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense.

- Easy come, easy go, but steady diligence pays off.

- A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.

- Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.

Mail it or take it by and brighten up finals for your college student!

More on college:
Organizing the College Application Process
Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student

Monday, April 8, 2013

Going Beyond the To-Do List

We closed on our new house on Friday, so we've been making trips back and forth, moving the little things. We started with organizational items - shelf expanders, shelving in the garage, shelving in the pantry, wire drawers under our bathroom sink, etc. The big stuff gets moved on Saturday. Hopefully we'll be mostly moved in by then!

Now on to our blog for today ...

Going Beyond the To-Do List @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogSo you've made your to-do list. Everything is right in the world. Not so fast. Your to-do list can actually create more stress. Huh?

"Most people's to-do lists actually create fatigue, because they don't clarify how, exactly, they are going to handle Mom's birthday, so tasks feel bigger than they are," says David Allen, a productivity expert and author of the best seller "Getting Things Done."

The solution? Go beyond your to-do list and brainstorm about how you're going to accomplish those to-dos. With this done, you'll have peace of mind, and you'll be motivated to tackle those tasks because you have a plan!

Now doesn't that feel good?

More on productivity:
9 Ways to Enhance Your Health by Being Organized
Wrapping Up  Today So Tomorrow Runs Smoothly
Starting the New Year with Good Sleep Patterns - How Sleep Keeps Your Brain Organized

Friday, April 5, 2013

Organizing for a Move - What to Move First

We close today on our new house! We are so excited! We have both cars packed and will go directly to the house after closing.

We thought very carefully what we wanted to move first. We are planning to move our furniture and big stuff next Saturday, a week away. We decided to pay an extra month's rent so we could move gradually. I realize not everyone has that luxury, but if you can do it, it takes a lot of stress out of moving day. We will be able to place the large items and won't be faced with stacks and stacks of boxes to unpack.

So what are we going to move first? Items that will help us get organized:

Organizing for a Move - What to Move First @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog- Shelves for the garage. We purchased 48 x 18 x 74 steel shelves that will line one wall of our garage. One will go in the front of the garage for tools, etc. One will in the laundry room closet to create a pantry. We found these at Lowe's on sale last week, saving us $50! Each shelf holds up to 350 pounds and is adjustable. We felt like this was an inexpensive and relatively easy way to create garage storage. When we start bringing our boxes over, we'll already have a place for those things that will live in the garage.

- Shelf and cupboard organizers and expanders. As you can imagine, I have all kinds of organizing units that expand storage capacity in kitchen cabinets, under the kitchen and bathroom sinks and that hang on the wall. (I'll do a blog post or two on these - I got some new ones to maximize our storage in our little retirement cottage and I LOVE them!.) By setting these up first, we'll only have to unpack once because they'll be in place when we put away dishes, toiletries, and other items.

- Shower rods and shower curtains. Since our house is new, we didn't have shower rods in our bathrooms. It will be nice to have the shower ready so we can use it the first day we actually move in, without a lot of hassle.

- Tools. To put all these things together, we'll need screwdrivers, drills, and more. One of our shelving units will need to be cut down with a hack saw to fit into our pantry closet.

- Miscellaneous essentials - disposable cups/plates/silverware, paper towels and toilet paper, and some food so we don't have to stop unpacking to go get food. I've doubled a couple of recipes the last two days and will take those over for easy meals.

Once we get these organizational items in place, we'll be ready to start bringing over boxes to unpack! The process should go smoothly with all this prep already done. Hopefully, we'll have all the small stuff unpacked and put away by next Saturday. Can't wait!

More on organizing for a move:
Getting Organized for a Move - Measure, Measure, Measure!
Ruthless Closet Purging - Getting Organized for a Move ... Or Not
Three Steps to Downsizing to a Smaller Residence

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Super Simple, Time-Saving Meal - Horseradish Encrusted Salmon

Super Simple, Time-Saving Meal - Horseradish Encrusted Salmon @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog

One of my new favorite meals is Horseradish Encrusted Salmon! So simple! It makes a very quick and easy meal. Even my skeptical children loved it!

Here's what I do: slather horseradish sauce on a piece of salmon that is skin side down in a baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until the salmon is flaky and opaque. The horseradish will turn brown in spots, but that's ok.

Serve it with some couscous, which cooks in just a few minutes, or microwave some sweet potatoes.

Add microwaved asparagus (microwave about 3 minutes and season with garlic salt and butter).

By the time the salmon is ready, the sides are too.

Even if you're not a big fan of horseradish, I think you'll love this!

More on dinner:
Organizing Dinner in 2013
Organizing Dinner - Double or Triple a Recipe
Three Steps to Planning Dinner eWorkbook
Hassle Free Dinners

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Planning an Intentional Summer for Your Child

I like to repost this blog post each year because I think summertime is such a valuable time to build into our children. Here ya go ...

It's about time to think about summer camps and other activities to keep your children occupied over the summer. But why just keep them occupied?

Rather than enduring through the summer, make it intentional! If your children are old enough, have them think through some goals for themselves over the summer. These could includes the following categories: physical, social, financial, vocational, spiritual, educational, mental, artistic, musical, and life skills.

Planning an Intentional Summer for Your Child @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogIf you have grade school children, you may need to talk about this with them. If your children are younger, think through the areas that would apply to your small children and come up with ways you'd like to see them grow over the summer.

Some ideas for each category:

- Physical: eating nutritionally, running a mile in a certain time, learning a new sport, swimming lessons, care of hair and skin, an athletic camp, honing athletic skills, riding a bicycle/tricycle, fine motor skills, etc.

- Social: table manners, fun ideas for dates, sharing, please and thank you, not interrupting, telephone etiquette, how to be a good conversationalist, how to be a good friend, how to protect yourself on a date, what to do if your friends want you to do something you shouldn't, etc.

- Financial: saving, tithing, budgeting, opening a checking or savings account, investments, generosity, etc.

- Vocational: shadowing someone in a field of interest, researching a profession, field trip, internship, volunteer work, getting a job, how to interview, how to write a resume, how to fill out a job application, etc.

- Spiritual: vacation Bible school, memory verses, prayer, how to study the Bible, seeing God in nature, how to know God, restoring your relationship with God when you've blown it, finding a church you like, joining a youth group, etc.

- Educational: brushing up on needy subjects, summer school, work sheets, college visits, thinking through a major, keyboarding or computer skills, how to study, how to take a test, how to take notes, learning the alphabet or numbers or colors, learning how to read, etc.

- Mental: learning more about an interest, field trips, logic exercises, games, challenge programs, learning skills, memory techniques, time management, etc.

- Artistic: art lessons or classes, art time for drawing, etc., crafts, woodworking, sewing, jewelry, cartoons, knit, crochet, etc.

- Musical: lessons, learning a new instrument, concerts, symphonies, outdoor music programs, voice lessons, choir, band, camp, etc.

- Life Skills: changing a tire, setting the table, ironing, mending, tying shoes, folding clothes, laundry, how to plan balanced meals, cooking, how to use household appliances, cleaning up toys, how to make a bed, etc.

You may want to include a family event each week and one-on-one time with each child regularly.

When goals and interests were chosen, I tried to sprinkle those into our weekly schedules so we could do as much as possible. Time slips away so quickly if we are not intentional!

Hope I gave you some food for thought. Tell me about your intentional plans for the summer!

Other summertime ideas:
Organize a Fun Activity List
Organizing Spring Break Fun
Three Steps to Planning Your Child's Parties

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Decluttering in 5: 20 Decluttering Tasks You Can Do In Five Minutes or Less

I used to hate emptying the dishwasher - until one day I decided to time myself and see how long it took to do this dreaded chore. Around five minutes. For some reason, knowing that it only took five minutes removed my mental barrier! It's still not my favorite thing to do in the world, but I don't dread it like I used to do.

Next time you find yourself procrastinating about some unpleasant task, time yourself. See if that knocks down a few of your mental barriers against that task.

My mom mentioned reading an article in her local paper about decluttering tasks you could do in five minutes. So I got to thinking - what are some other dreaded chores that only take a few minutes. Here are a few I came up with:

1. Sweep the bathroom or kitchen floor
Declutter in 5 - 20 Decluttering Tasks You Can Do in Five Minutes or Less @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog2. Mop the bathroom or kitchen floor
3. Dust one room
4. Empty the dishwasher
5. Fold a load of clothes
6. Clean the kitchen counter tops
7. Wipe off the kitchen or dining room table
8. Sort the mail
9. Clean the storm door window
10. Declutter the surface of a coffee table
11. Clean the bathroom sink
12. Clean the kitchen sink
13. Empty the trash
14. Clean off your desk – or a corner of it!
15. Throw away the old food in your fridge
16. Have everyone in the household pick up their items in a common room and take them to their own room
17. Place newspapers in a recycling bag
18. Clean a mirror
19. Clean out a drawer
20. Make a to-do list (relieve your brain of clutter!)

So, if you have a few minutes, you can make your surroundings more pleasant with very little effort! By doing a little at a time, decluttering and cleaning don't have to require enormous chunks of time.

What do you do to declutter in short snatches of time?

More on  decluttering:
The "Do It Now" Mindset
A Dozen Tips for Staying Clutter-Free in 2013
Decluttering Any  Room in 3 Weeks

Monday, April 1, 2013

My New Book: How to Organize Your Spouse ... April Fools!

When I speak at events, the most common question from my audience is, "When are you going to write a book on organizing your spouse?" They are serious! Clutter is a common marital issue. I doubt I'll ever write a book on organizing your spouse, but here are a few hints on taming the clutter issue.


As with every other problem in marriage, good communication is key!

If you can communicate effectively, you can solve any problem. If you cannot, you have another problem!

If you are being irritated by clutter in your home, find a time when you are not angry about the clutter, talk about why the clutter is distressing you - how it makes you feel.

Use "I" statements like, "It makes me feel like you see me as your servant when you don't pick up your things," or "I'm embarrassed to have anyone over because of the clutter."

How to Organize Your Spouse @1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blog
Don't use accusative "You" statements like "You are just a slob," or "What's wrong with you - how simple is it to put away your things?"

Talk about the "hot spots" that collect clutter and brainstorm on ways to solve each problem area.

As  you communicate, make sure to listen attentively to what your spouse is voicing. Don't become defensive, even if it is not said in the best way.

As your spouse speaks, check to see if you're hearing correctly by restating what you're hearing.

Don't jump to conclusions.

Take a break if you start to get angry, and come back to your conversation when you've cooled down.


Before your conversation, consider what would make you happy. It may not be realistic to expect that every space in your house will be kept in a pristine condition.

Talk together about what areas could be no-clutter zones and where clutter is acceptable. Your spouse may want to have a room where you can close the door and he/she can have whatever clutter he/she wants.

Each of you may want to be responsible for keeping a certain area clutter free.

Decide how you're going to maintain the solutions you've agreed upon.


Respect your partner's need to keep certain things. Each of us has sentimental possessions that others might not understand. Even if you don't understand the emotional ties to your spouse's possessions, respect those ties.

If the sentimental clutter is excessive, negotiate again on whether there is a way to make you happy and make him/her happy. Try to remain neutral without getting heated.

Never, never, never purge your spouse's items without permission! Totally disrespectful!

Appreciate differences

As you are communicating, negotiating and brainstorming, appreciate the differences between the two of you. Opposites do attract! The result? A good team.

That means you won't come up with the same ideas, but possibly more ideas to solve your problem areas. My husband and I are opposites in everything! We laugh that if each of do the same task, we can pretty much count on us doing doing it differently!

While I'm the organizer in the family, when we are brainstorming about clutter or organizing issues, my husband comes up with some great ideas. They may not be the way I would solve the problem, but if I listen, I may discover that his idea just might be better than mine! Gasp!

Think teamwork. It's not important whose idea it is, but that our problem gets solved. It doesn't have to be my way of doing things to make it work.

One person in the relationship is usually neater than the other. The neat one may need to be willing to give up some things to make your plan work. On the other hand, the less tidy partner may need to make an extra effort to keep things neat. It's a continual job that requires effort!

While you will never be able to organize your spouse, as the two of you work together as a team, you'll be able to conquer your clutter issues together!

More on getting organized:
10 Ways to Avoid Distraction when Organizing
1-2-3 ... Get Organized eBooks - Organizing One  Area at a Time
Creating Routines and Systems