Archive for the ‘Organize your life’ Category

Twenty Five (25)

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Twenty Five (25)

When you think of 25, what comes to your mind?

Twenty five is:

  • also known as quarter of a century
  • the number of cents in a quarter
  • the atomic number of Manganese
  • the number typically reserved for the best slugger in Baseball
  • the name of Breckenridge Brewery American Porter Style Beer
  • the name of George Michael’s (rest in peace) 2016 greatest hits album

Twenty-five is also 24 + 1 hours in a day, enjoyed once a year at the vernal equinox.

And, June 2017 marks the 25th year anniversary of my business, Under Control Organizing.  

It’s hard to believe that it has been 25 years since I started organizing professionally. In 1992, when I began Under Control Organizing, I knew that I had the ability to assist, teach, motivate, and guide others toward a more organized life. My career tests had demonstrated strength in “organizing”, and I deeply felt that I could successfully share that gift with others.  

I am honored to have helped almost 700 individuals with their spaces, paper, “stuff” and lives.  The spectrum of these organizing projects over the past 25 years is wide. They include simplifying, right-sizing, enhancing productivity, and managing transitions into different phases of life. The relationships that developed from these projects was not predictable, and certainly a bonus.

Many requests which began with sadness, frustration, embarrassment and/or shame, ended in elation, hope and pride. Closets, cabinets, storage rooms, RV homes, (home) offices, kitchens, attics, garages, playrooms, and art studios are some of the spaces that I tackled with my clients.  Those spaces held supplies, collections, files, inherited items, minutiae and prized possessions. From arranging furniture for maximum functionality, identifying and sorting “like things together” for easier access, tabulating spreadsheets to keep track of costs, and managing digital files for cloud access, each individual and situation has been unique.  I have always said that there is no cookie cutter solution to organizing challenges, and the results of the past 25 years have proved that notion.

Some of my current organizing projects include:

  • Downsizing homes, offices and storage for retirement or transition
  • Planning moves to smaller homes
  • Settling into new homes
  • Modifying living and work spaces for better efficiency and comfort
  • Managing paper, digital files and cloud storage
  • Tackling your unique “situation”

I am grateful, to all of my customers (and those who referred you to me) over these last 25 years, for your trust in me to “invade” your homes, offices and lives. You can count of me to be there for your next organizing challenge. In the words of Robert Frost, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep.  But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

The Rewards of Organizing

Monday, March 6th, 2017

The Rewards of OrganizingThis story is true but the names have been changed to protect the privacy of the innocent.

Given a choice, would you choose freedom or burden?  Pierre chose to fly like a kite, free from the burdens of his “stuff.”

Pierre is 60 years old.  For decades, he ran a successful business and was the family member in charge of multiple generations’ history.  Can you imagine the collection of papers and artifacts that accumulated in his home, office and multiple costly storage rooms?

Each storage room cost Pierre $4,800 each year.  The thought of facing the contents of the room was stressful, causing daily anxiety.  He was determined to simplify his life but overwhelming feelings influenced his procrastination.  Finally, with lots of caring, non-judgmental support and the dedication of 5 hours organizing with me to sort through and make decisions, here are the results:

  • Emptied one storage room.
  • Found forgotten items to be used today.
  • Enjoyed various memories.
  • Connected and shared with assorted family members interested in artifacts.
  • Employed a shredding company to shred 25 boxes of old tax info and dated material.
  • Made charitable donations of supplies, electronics and furniture to a local children’s after school center.
  • Added tax deductions for donated items.
  • Received help from an intern in exchange for a well-deserved college recommendation.
  • Saved $4,800 per year on storage bills.

Pierre is now relieved of much stress and anxiety, feeling lighter, happier and energized.

As you can see, simplifying and organizing is not only freeing, it’s giving, sharing, connecting, and empowering; in addition, it’s making others happy and successful.  It’s also cathartic, emotional and strengthens relationships.  The costs of storing “stuff” are more than monetary.  They can take their toll on our emotions and relationships.

Pierre chose to take the time to reduce his burden and feel the freedom.  Can he tackle another storage room and gain more freedom and joy from the burden of excess?  I think he knows he can.

Now that you know what is possible, think about your “storage costs”.  Is it overwhelming?  Now, count to 10, and recapture your senses from the burden of your own overwhelmed accumulations.  Can you tackle your stuff, and rejoice in the same accomplishments that Pierre achieved?  The rewards of organizing and de-cluttering are beyond monetary.

Organizing, Gratitude and Asking for Help

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Marcia Sloman, Under Control Organizing

The grocery-cart-return area was about 20 feet away, but the able-bodied, middle aged man rolled his emptied grocery cart to an level surface next to his car instead.  I just couldn’t walk away.
“The return area is right over there”, I stopped, pointed, and said with a smile.
He froze, unexpectedly confronted.  “Yes, it is”, was his retort.
“I’ll be happy to help, and take it for you, if you like”, I offered.
“That’s kind of you”, was the man’s reply.
“You’re welcome. All you had to do was ask.  Have a nice day.”

Whether it’s keeping the parking lot safe from rolling grocery carts, being able to find things quickly in my home and office, or listening carefully to you to determine the best “systems” in your space, it’s all Organizing.  I’m happy to do it.  All you have to do is ask.

It’s natural instinct for people to want to help.  We need help, and help may come from unexpected sources.  All you have to do is ask.

I’m happy, and grateful that I chose my second career in Organizing. I’m grateful to my mentors, supportive friends, family and acquaintances.  I’m grateful to the career counselor who evaluated my skills in 1992 as “having excellence in organizing”.  I am grateful every day for the challenging projects offered to me by my clients.  All you have to do is ask.

Giving thanks is not limited to the holiday time of Thanksgiving.  I think that if we make time to remember and acknowledge others throughout the year, our lives might be easier, less stressed, more organized and productive.  We would feel comforted by partnership.  We just have to ask, “Can you help me with ______?”  After receiving, please pay it forward.  I can only hope that the man in the parking lot “paid it forward” in gratitude later that day, even if no one asked.

It’s a challenge to stay organized.  Today’s hectic, harried life commands our attention in so many directions.  Tasks take longer to complete than expected.  Our high priority lists grow.  We’re stretched.  Distractions abound.  There are only 24 hours in the day, and we can’t be everywhere at once.

What does gratitude and helping others have to do with Organizing?  I named my Organizing business “Under Control” to represent a feeling one would have after they work with me.  I enjoy sharing that knowledge with you.  I want you to feel a sense of confidence and calm after our work together.  Being organized can provide that sense.  Organizing is a thoughtful process, whether it’s downsizing, transition-ing or building a new venture.

For me, “organized” is knowing how, when and from whom we need to ask for help, and being able to take our valuable time to express our appreciation for it.

Organizing Options for Care-giving and Care-getting

Monday, August 29th, 2016

balance-1372677-1024x682I heard it said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The other day, I received a call from a client who confidently exclaimed When I get stuck, I ask myself What would Marcia do?” Wow!!!! I was flattered and glowed with pride. I pride myself in setting a good example by practicing what I preach. Managing time, for instance, is self management. If you had a brief 20 minutes to get something done or started, what would you choose to do? The following are options for accomplishing something in 20 minutes from which this Veteran Professional Organizer would choose.

Enrichment Creative
Learn something new Draw, paint, craft
Practice a skill Cook, Garden
Read Play Music
  Photograph
Social Write, Visualize
Catch up on Social Media De-Clutter/ Organize
Call Someone  
Write a note Well-Being
  Snuggle your pet
Tasks Meditate, pray
File, Put stuff away Yoga, Exercise
Clean/clean out Healthy snack
De-Clutter/ Organize Personal hygiene

Did I leave out any choices? One cannot say there is nothing to do, unless your choice is to do nothing. We have to capitalize on downtime, if not create it.

We all enjoy having choices, but we often fritter away precious moments. What can you accomplish in 20 minutes? What do you need? Is it an urgent need, or a plan for some future important event? If you’ve thrown away precious time in the past, start new. Set a timer. Eliminate distractions such as silencing electronic alerts (except for emergencies).

Life is full. We’re so busy as care-givers to ourselves, our families, our businesses and our loved ones, that we forget to “care-get.” We’re filled with obligations to others, demands from new life, and expired life, let alone our own deadlines. And because we care-give so much, there are more demands on us to organize. We can’t properly help others unless we help ourselves first. The flight attendant’s announcement before every flight includes “In the event of an emergency, make sure your oxygen mask is securely tightened before assisting a child.” Ask YOURSELF, “What do I need to help myself?” Should I write another post on how to ask for help?

Take heed this quote by Amelia Earhart, “Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace. The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things.” Have the courage to organize, grant yourself peace of mind, and ask yourself, “What would Marcia do?”

Simple Ways to Streamline your Life, Be More Productive and Stay Organized

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Praying for Organization?

Start with a few simple ways to streamline your life, be more productive and stay organized:

Manage your schedule

  • Send yourself reminders via email, app or electronic calendar.
  • Set up a separate inbox for your reminders, and check it daily.
  • Use a family calendar to track family commitments.
  • Eliminate multiple calendars, or be sure to synchronize.
  • Set up a grab and go area near your exit to remember to bring items with you when you go out.

Pare down paper

  • Pay as many bills online as you can.
  • Remember to maintain receipts if they are tax-deductible expenses.
  • Find what you need, when you need it: set up a simple format and naming convention to scan and to file. Please remember to back up. If you don’t keep the paper as back up, save to a hard drive or cloud storage.

Eliminate electronic clutter

  • Reduce stress and anxiety resulting from the overwhelm of feeling buried.
  • Unsubscribe from e-offers and emails that are no longer relevant to you.
  • Clear out your Inbox by creating folders for important senders/categories.

Filing

  • No one LIKES to file (except for me). Make it easy on yourself, or set up a simple system, for paper and electronic matter, so that anyone can put your stuff away.

De-clutter your space(s)

  • Surround yourself in an environment that represents who you are.
  • Free up valuable space.
  • Start with the EASY decisions. Choose to keep or eliminate. Get to know what you have.
  • Set aside 10-15 minutes a day: with a notebook and pen, walk room to room, closet to closet, drawer to drawer, until your entire home/office is inventoried. Bookmark where you left off each day so that you can pick up where you left off. This may take a month or more overall to complete. The process will force you to eliminate items that you no longer want.

For more easy ways to streamline your life, be more productive and to stay organized, contact me. We can quickly brainstorm your unique life situations to transform your life to an organized life.

Why You Can’t Get Organized

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Do you find yourself struggling to organize your things? You’re not alone.

Read my article on Dr. Mark Banschick’s blog in Psychology Today. I know it’s overwhelming. But, you can do it.

Best Gadget for Self Management

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Sometimes the oldest technologies are the best technologies.  The old fashioned “timer” for instance can help you stay on track in your projects, and manage time throughout the day. Using a timer can empower you to feel more accomplished in your projects.

See my interview on News 12.

Who Benefits from Working With a Professional Organizer?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Certainly, the very disorganized.
A learning disability, dyslexia, disphasia, ADD or ADHD can inhibit one’s ability to focus, to make decisions, or to envision “organization.”

Consider the situationally disorganized – having a change in life status.
After a birth, death, move, job change, change in marital status, home remodel or redecoration…any life transition can cause short-term disorganization to even the most organized individual. The need to get back on track can feel daunting.

Even, the moderately disorganized.
If you find yourself spending time looking for things you use often, your “systems” may need better organization, or “tweaking” by an experienced professional.

A brief consultation with a professional organizer can put you on a path toward a more “productive” you, and give you more confidence with peace of mind.