PAPER! PAPER! PAPER! (Especially the Old Stuff)

Most of my clients do not like dealing with paper, so it often accumulates and becomes overwhelming. Some of them also enjoy saving articles, recipes, images, quotes, cartoons or other papers they might want to read “someday.” If you fall into either or both of these categories, I encourage you to at least pull out the most important papers that come in so they don’t get lost among those that have a lower priority. Set up simple systems so you can find the legal, financial, medical and other data that it is important to keep.

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Out of the Chaos Comes the New Order—What’s Our Part?

“Out of the chaos comes the new order” is a phrase I’ve often used with clients over the years, reassuring them that, even though we may create some messes while working together, it’s often part of creating the new order.

Now this phrase seems more relevant and poignant than ever as we approach the end of a very unique and challenging 2020. Wow! What a year! And what an opportunity to examine the way we live and the way we treat each other. Hopefully we are finding ways we can not only get through all the challenges, but also rise above them and do what we can to make things better.

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“These are Interesting Times”

Many people are using this phrase right now. Local and national newscasts help us be informed about COVID-19–the symptoms and the local and global statistics, together with things we can do to avoid contracting this virus and to prepare for the impact this crisis might have on us, our families, our neighbors, our work. It has been suggested that the most reliable information is coming from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These websites offer real-time updates. And, these same updates can stir us up and add to our worries and concerns.

The “Fear and Panic Crisis”

We need to be aware of and learn to deal with the “Fear and Panic Crisis.” Yesterday morning our spiritual leader (Rev. Dr. Frank zumMallen at Awakening Ways Spiritual Community, Atascadero, CA) reminded us of this. He also pointed out that anger, anxiety and panic are all very human reactions to something that most of us have never faced before. These emotions all stem from fear and activate our primitive fight-or-flight-response, which affects our sympathetic nervous system and causes chemical changes in our bodies that lower our immune system. Sometimes it is hard to escape these reactions, especially since they currently run deep in the “collective consciousness,” and every news source can make us more susceptible to these human responses. However, becoming more aware of all of this makes me want to take action and encourage as many people as possible to do so as well.

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Too Much Stuff? Choose Simplicity

In more than 30 years of working as a Professional Organizer, it is still apparent to me that most of us have too much stuff. Even when we take time to purge, there’s still too much. Recent travels through 12 western states and two Canadian provinces brought this to my attention more profoundly. We saw mini-storage facilities in nearly every town we went through (mostly on roads less traveled).  From my point of view, too many people are willing to pay way too much to store stuff they have no room for in their living quarters. This has prompted me to declare a theme for the coming year of SIMPLICITY! If this is something that calls to you, here’s a process that could help all of us let go and lighten up.

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It’s About Time!

When we think about the word “time,” it can conjure up a number of phrases that make it sound like our enemy—time crunch, time constraints, killing time and, more frequently, ”there’s never enough time.” It works much better if we can see time as our ally and make it work for us rather than against us. So I invite you to practice taking time or making time for the things that are most important to you.

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Letting Go

Letting Go can be a very challenging, difficult and emotional process, AND, it can be very freeing and create much joy and delight!

One of the most frequently asked questions I am asked is, “How do I let go of things?” It is often followed by the comment, “It’s so hard!” This inquiry prompted me to co-create my first workshop in 1999 called, “Letting Go & Lightening Up—In Your Mind, Your Home, Your Office & Your Life” (which was the foundation for my book, Conscious Order: Clear Your Mind, Leave Clutter Behind).

What I’ve discovered over the years is that when we have lots of clutter in our spaces and our life, there is often lots of clutter in the spaces of our mind.

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Shedding the Shoulds and Shame

How many times a day do you use the word SHOULD?

I encourage you to pay attention to your “SHOULD-ing.” It is a word that can be very depleting and problematic. It can keep you from moving forward and getting things done.

Louise Hay (author of many New Thought self-help books, including You Can Heal Your Life) is the first person who helped me recognize how powerful and disempowering the word SHOULD is. When we use the word SHOULD, it feels like it is coming from someone outside of ourselves—a parent, a sibling, a boss, a partner, a friend. It sometimes feels like an external condemnation of our putting something off or not meeting someone else’s expectations. Yes, you may SHOULD on yourself, and you can choose to do so, but, think about it, how does it make you feel? Usually pretty rotten!

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Dealing With Change

We often hear that “change is inevitable,” but our ability to deal with change can make the difference between joy and despair, fulfillment and disappointment. This quote from American author William Arthur Ward describes it well:

Change, like sunshine, can be a friend or a foe, a blessing or a curse, a dawn or a dusk.

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The ABC’s of Starting a New Chapter in Your Life

In recent years, I’ve become much more aware of how our life can be divided into chapters. Whether we’re sorting photos and memorabila, going through books and papers, even kitchen appliances and dishes, or sports equipment and hobby supplies, it’s interesting to note what we hold on to from earlier chapters of our life, as well as what we might need (or not need) for future chapters.

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Organizing: Some Favorite Tips to Get Started

As summer approaches, some of us wish we could get SOMEthing done in the next few weeks (or months). Here are a few thoughts and tips that might help.

1. Recognize that how you use your time is a product of your own choices. Take time to choose some of the simple tactics below to get you started.

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