Clutter can take the form of too many things to do with too little time. Clear your schedule by removing the things that are not your biggest priority. Focus on the 3 things that will really move you toward your BIG goals. Try it – you will feel a huge sense of satisfaction and much less frustration!
I love this list. It was sent to me from a fellow professional organizer in the bay area. It seems we all hear the same things! Do any of these sound familiar to you?
1. Oooooo! THAT’S where that is!
2. Is this the worst you’ve ever seen?
3. I thought I’d lost that! Now I have two. Can’t believe I bought another when it was right here the whole time.
4. *Gasp!* Where did you find that? I’ve been looking EVERYWHERE for that!
5. Why didn’t I do this earlier?
6. While going through Memorabilia: “Awwww! I had forgotten all about that [vacation, trip, hike, etc.]”
7. I can’t believe I still have this!
8. That’s not even mine!
9. Why in the world do I own this? No body wants this–not even me.
10. What in the world IS that? I don’t even know what that is!
Reproduced from and courtesy of Kiera Rain Bay Area Professional Organizer
Myth # 12
I am a hoarder
Just because you have too much stuff does not make you a hoarder. Less than 10% of all people are hoarders. Hoarding is a diagnosable mental disease. It is most likely that you probably simply have too much stuff. If you have more than most people that you know and have a few hoarding tendencies, it is probably because the circumstances in your life have invited one or more of clutter’s best friends to visit you: death, disease, divorce or depression, it is likely that you are not an actual hoarder. If you still feel like you truly are a hoarder, get yourself checked out by a medical professional.
If there is open space in my closet, desk or drawer, I should fill it up with something.
Some people cannot stand having any surface open. If it is empty, they want to immediately fill it up.
It is a great exercise to have at least one area in your home that has absolutely nothing in or on it. Not only is it good feng shui which creates a vacuum for good things to enter, it helps you realize that most possessions require a lot of time cleaning and maintaining. Dusting off an empty shelf takes about two seconds. Dusting a shelf full of trophies can take over 10 minutes! What is more valuable – your time or your possessions? This is absolutely your choice and whether you realize it or not, you do choose every time you bring something new into your home.
I might really need this some day
One of my clients came up with a brilliant idea all on her own. She now stores the things she might need in her own personal store! She practices going in and out of Target and Costco without making one single purchase. Her ‘not buying’ muscle is now as strong as her ‘letting go’ muscle. She knows that if she truly does need something later, it is a short car ride away!
I need to keep this in order to remember what fun we had that trip!
Your memory will not disappear when the item leaves your possession. Even if you do develop alzheimer’s, which is an argument I commonly hear, with no disrespect, the item won’t help you remember it any better!
I need storage containers before I can get organized.
So many clients rush out to buy containers thinking that this will solve all of their organizing woes. Until you determine what you want to contain and how much of it there is to contain, buying containers is senseless. In fact, boxes, bags and containers are one of the leading contributors to clutter.
So follow this procedure BEFORE you buy any containers. Collect, group, eliminate and then and only then are you ready to think about containerizing!
Clutter is a bunch of junk that I should be able to get rid of on my own.
There are actually 2 myths in this statement.
#1 Clutter is a bunch of junk
#2 You should be able to get rid of it on your own!
I have to keep this because my friend gave it to me.
It is always the thought that counts when it comes to giving and receiving gifts. Just because the person giving you the gift liked it, does not mean that you have to like it too. Also, even if you do like it, but you have several other similar items, you do not have to keep it. Thank them and quietly give it away to a charity that actually can use that item.
As you do this, the gift becomes more than it was. It is a big sign of disrespect to hoard items that you do not love, use or need. Move the gift forward and magnify it’s reach by helping someone else who actually does love or need it! I give you permission to let go of any gifts lying around that you have been holding onto because of guilt or a sense of obligation.
If you are feeling overwhelmed as the April 15th tax deadline approaches, you are not alone. Many people delay filing and experience a huge sense of dread as they try to get their tax documents organized and ready to file.
We all know that tax receipts that are disorganized and lying around in piles, musty boxes, and paper clips make it super difficult to prepare the information needed to complete a tax return.
There is a better way.
If you place your receipts, as you receive them, into file folders that are divided into your actual tax return tax line categories, your avoidance and overwhelm will disappear and tax time will become a breeze!
For instance, if you are an entrepreneur, consider changing your habits and, all throughout the year, place your receipts for office supplies into a folder marked office supplies.
When you do this, at the end of the year, all that you would need to do is take out those receipts out of their folder, add them up and voilà! you have the total for the tax line deduction for office supplies!
After adding up the office supply receipts, you can then staple them together and write the total with a sharpie on the top of the pile. Very low tech, I’ll admit, but super easy, organized and effective!
If you are an employee, your tax return is super simple. Simply make files for charitable, income, medical, taxes paid and any other categories on your return. Place your receipts into these files as you go about your year.
Hanging file folders in an actual file drawer, by the way, is considered by industry professionals, including myself, as the best practice method. Hanging files keep your files vertical, and out of potentially collapsed piles, within your drawer.
If you want to ‘up your game’ even more, make duplicate files and mark them odd year, even year. This will keep your receipts separated and you will no longer have 2 years of receipts to sort through when you are compiling your tax return for that one year.
This might sound simple and it is. In fact I have come to realize that the most simple strategies often take the longest amount of time to figure out.
Seth Odam, the inventor of the system I am describing (Freedom Filer) spent 6 years studying IRS tax codes and also how we remember things when he began developing the ultimate system to keep your tax papers and all of your other papers organized. All of the tips I have given you are based on the amazing Freedom Filer paper flow system.
You can put this system together on your own without the need to purchase the system. If you want to cut corners, save time and get your system put together once and for all – Freedom Filer will save you boatloads of time!
Freedom Filer helps you get a jump start join the process because the Freedom Filer Kit comes with pre-printed labels so that you can quickly set up your system.
This is one of the many emails I receive every year after the April 15th deadline:
“Kathi’s tools and training are amazing. it took me 5 minutes to grab my tax information for my accountant and 30 minutes for her to complete them. Thanks to Kathi’s systems.
Just for the record I have personal business and investment components to my taxes. this was not just a W-2 fill in the blanks EZ return.”
Kathryn A Christensen
Remember – preparing your tax return does not have to be an overwhelming and exhausting task. Check out Freedom Filer to learn more.
Feeling overwhelmed but motivated to change your habits once and for all? Contact us to set up a time for a private consultation and get started creating a new way to organize your papers.
We are available to jump start your paper organizing process, in person or virtually. We know that you, like the thousands of clients before you, can solve your paper receipts problem once and for all! Click here to contact us.
By the way, we are in the process of revising the Home Office Organization Course. If there is anything that you need to help you get your office organized, we would love to have your feedback. Give us your ideas and suggestions in the comments section below.