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Is Clutter Affecting Your Relationships?

clutter and relationships

In many of the project’s ClutterBGone has worked on, we’ve seen the impact that clutter has on relationships.  Clutter can have a negative impact on family and friends and can be a factor in a deteriorating relationship. Here are a few ways that clutter can affect a relationship.

Clutter makes you feel tired and depressed

Clutter is overwhelming. Most people living with clutter just can’t find the energy to get started let alone declutter an entire area. Clearing the clutter and living in an organized space gives you a feeling of accomplishment and gives you the energy to do what is important to you. Clutter is also depressing. Feelings of hopelessness can increase with clutter. Relief can come, at some extent, from getting organized and reducing the clutter in your lives. A new, organized space gives a feeling of starting anew with a renewed sense of energy that your family and friends will see right away.

Procrastination

Most disorganized people are procrastinators. Everything is left to the last minute or even later. They find it difficult to put things away immediately and leave it until the clutter has grown into a pile that seems impossible to get to the bottom of. Bills get paid late or not even at all. Interest charges mount, your credit rating is negatively affected and we know that finances are the biggest cause of arguments in a marriage. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to turn this around with a system that we create just for you.

Harmony at home

Clutter is also a cause of arguments at home. clutter and relationshipsThe home may always look like a bomb has gone off. Even though your home may be clean, clutter can make it look messy and dirty. If one partner is a neat freak and the other let’s clutter dominate then we have a recipe for arguments. Let’s clear out the clutter, get organized and reduce the things that put a strain on relationships. Lord knows there is enough of those already!

Clutter is isolating

Many people who live with clutter admit that they don’t want to have people over. They are embarrassed with the condition of their home. Social contacts get reduced and you start to miss out on important social activities. Relationships are important to our mental well being. Don’t let clutter rule your social life.

Don’t let clutter negatively affect your family and friends. Let ClutterBGone show you how to declutter your life and improve your relationships. Just contact us here to get things started.

Do You Have The Clutter Blues? #bellletstalk

Last Wednesday was Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Day. It was the 8th year that Bell has raised awareness about mental health by getting people to talk and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. It got me to thinking about the effect that clutter has on mental illness or vice versa.

Exactly how does clutter affect you?

Focus

Clutter rapidly accumulates and takes over your space. It draws your focus away from the things that are important in your life – family, down time, work, etc. It becomes almost impossible to relax with so much around you.

Anxiety and frustration

If you’re not able to find things when you need them you may feel the anxiety building up within yourself. Then you start the process of removing things from drawers and closets because you know ‘it’s in this house somewhere”.

Before you know it you have a bigger mess than when you started. You then get frustrated and feeling that things have gotten out of control.

That’s when it can lead to depression. And you’re not alone. I know. I’ve been there.

 

 

Shame

Do you avoid having people over because you’re ashamed of how your home looks? Do you hate the thought of a friend or family member dropping unexpectedly? This is very common with people who have clutter in their home. You may feel ashamed of the situation that you are in and tend to have less of a social life. You may feel isolated, which can be a direct result of depression and clutter.

Depression

Researchers have shown that clutter can be a symptom of depression and vice versa. When you can’t find something you won’t use it. You can’t exercise if you can’t find your gym stuff. You won’t cook or eat well if you can’t find your cooking utensils. The list goes on. You’re not exercising, you’re not eating well, and you’re not seeing people. It’s easy to see how people get depressed over clutter. We see it often.

What can you do about it?

Well, like Bell Canada’s slogan – talk to someone about it. I did. That’s a great start. Talk to your family and friends. I’ll bet they will want to lend a hand. And then you can take small steps that, by themselves, will become big accomplishments.

Get your partner or your kids to pitch in during clean up time. Make everyone in the house responsible for putting his or her things away immediately. When you put an item away, take an extra misplaced item with you. Take just one hour a week to work on an area of the house that causes you grief. Before you know it you’ll notice the differences and be pumped to continue.

Organizing just isn’t enough to make improvements. Why put things away neatly that you know are never going to be used? Downsize, pare down, donate, sell and then organize what is left. You’ll truly feel like a load has been lifted and you can almost immediately feel the anxiety being lifted and by association, the depression.

So you see, clutter has an immense effect on your mental well-being. Once you’re caught in the cycle it’s difficult to get out. Anxiety starts and then depression sets in. Contact me now to begin your healing process, de-clutter and organize your home with a professional organizer.

Talk about and enlist the help from others or a professional. I know you can do it.

Do You Have Too Much Paper Clutter?

too-much-paper

In this digital age it‘s still surprising to see just how much paper is generated. Bills, newspapers, documents and of course those endless flyers and marketing cards.

With the holidays just around the corner you can bet there will be an increased amount of paper being deposited on your doorstep, mailbox and brought into your home by others.

So how do you deal with all this paper clutter?

Junk mail

Our mail is delivered to one of those super boxes. Every time I pick up the mail there is more junk mail, by far, than there is actual mail. I think real estate agent postcards are on the rise in most areas.

As soon as you get home separate your mail into a pile you need to look at and a pile that goes straight to the recycle bin.

Coupons and flyers

There is nothing wrong with saving some of those coupons and flyers that you receive as long as they are used as a reminder for you and you actually intend and have a plan to make contact with those that own the flyers. Many have expiry dates so check them often and toss the expired ones into the recycle bin.

Receipts

I know many people keep their receipts, and for good reason. But I see a lot of clients who keep almost all of their receipts of every possible type for whatever reason.

coupon-electronic

If you do keep your receipts make sure they are kept for tax reasons only. Otherwise discard them after you have compared them to your bank statement or credit card statement. Shredding them is best. And don’t forget, you can scan your receipts so you have an electronic record of the really important ones (for warranty purposes or otherwise). Less receipt clutter = less mind clutter.

Family systems

With many adult children still living at home it is a good idea to have one central filing system and assign a drawer to each household member. I know from experience that adult children seem to keep their paperwork in one place – all over their room!

Filing systems

Decide on a filing system that works for you. Most of you will file strictly alphabetically according to name. Sometimes we like to use subsections like “Banking”, “Utilities” , “Leisure”, “Investments” and then file alphabetically within these groups.

filing

That way all similar types of expenses are together. Still others will develop a colour-coded system. Find what works best for you.

Paper was supposed to have been reduced a great deal since the advent of computers but it seems to be on the rise. Don’t get caught drowning in paper clutter. We have assisted a lot of clients with their paper jungles and we can do the same for you.

Fight Procrastination And Stay On Top Of Clutter

now-later

Fight Procrastination Day came up earlier this month and it got me thinking about how procrastination really is one of the root causes of clutter, beyond those with a hoarding tendency. There are so many comical quotes about procrastination but it really is a serious issue for a lot of people.

“Procrastination isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. So procrastinate now, don’t put it off.” ― Ellen DeGeneres

When your to-do list is a mile long or the house looks like a tornado touched down, it is so much easier to put de-cluttering and organizing off. But you have to get to it at some point. Here are a few tips to help you avoid procrastinating and staying on top of your clutter.

The two-minute rule

If what needs to get done can be done in under 2 minutes, do it now! I know you’re really busy but in the scheme of things what is two minutes compared to the results you will see? This one simple rule alone will have a life changing effect on your home. We tend to put off the smaller, simpler tasks, which ultimately build up, so applying this rule will eliminate a lot of clutter. For example, when you get home with bags from the store, empty and put items away immediately rather than leaving them lying around.

A done list instead of to-do

If you feel overwhelmed with the volume and scope of work that needs to be done around the house, try starting a “done” list and mark down each task you have completed that day. You will see that although it may look like you will never get through everything, in fact, you did complete more than you thought.

Break it down

Does your room look like a wrecking crew came through? Don’t know where to start in the kitchen? Break the job down into smaller tasks to see your accomplishments as you go.

where-do-i-start

Tackle just one corner of a room or one drawer and don’t stop until you complete the task.

Know when you are at your best

We all don’t function our best at the same time. Try getting me to perform at my peak level early in the morning. It isn’t going to happen. Know your best time of the day when you are at your peak energy level and get started then. You can focus better and be more productive.

No drop zones

Do not allow any surface in your home to be designated as a drop zone. This is going to be tough to enforce with the kids and your spouse but do not let them come home and drop things on the hall table or kitchen counter to be put away later.

clear-counters-in-ktichen

Remember the two-minute rule? It applies to them as well. They can put things away when they get home in less than 2 minutes.

The cost of procrastination

The obvious costs are late payment charges for late bill payment and failing grades for school assignments not handed in on time. More serious is your credit rating being down graded and not being able to enjoy a social life for fear of embarrassment or you need to stay home to get things done.

Have you ever bought a last minute gift for someone that you regretted?

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” ― Rita Mae Brown

Procrastination is not a trait; it is something that is learned. I even know people who take vacation time from work to get things done at home that they have been putting off. That is no way to spend your well-deserved vacation time. A partially completed task weighs heavily on the mind. Get it done and take the weight off.

Let us know if ClutterBGone can assist you with any project that you have put off to get you back on track. Just contact us here.

Interesting Office Statistics On Productivity and Organization

Clean office

I’ve been doing some reading on office productivity and came across these interesting facts that I’d like to share with you.

Interruptions

The average manager is interrupted every 8 minutes, 50 percent are interrupted 8 or 9 times an hour, 22 percent 10 to 11 times, 11 percent 6 to 7 times, 5 percent 1 to 3 times, and 2 percent more than 12 times. Interruptions are sometimes necessary and the higher your position in the company the more you may be needed but try to limit your interruptions to be as productive as possible during the day. It’s OK to close the door to concentrate now and again.

File it away

Roughly 25% of workers save things in piles instead of files. When that piece of paper comes in or is created why not handle it now? Putting it in a pile adds an extra step when you do file it away and if it is needed you spend wasted time going through your pile of paper looking for it.

Alphabetized organizing filing system, close-up. Shot in studio with Phase One.

Almost one-third of office workers that were surveyed indicated that they were upset with the condition of a co-worker’s desk leading to stress in the workplace.

The cost of retrieving it

Even worse, 80% of what we file away never gets looked at again. So before you file something away take a real hard look at it to determine if it really is useful, or are you wasting your time? To reinforce the above statement – it costs on average $120 to track down a misplaced document or $250 to recreate it so ensure that your filing system is set up for easy retrieval and filing away. The average employee will spend 400 hours per year searching for documents. That is just over a month out of the year!

Let’s put that into dollars

Disorganization costs businesses valuable time and money. According to a recent study, the average manager wastes six weeks annually searching for important documents
lost in clutter according to a recent Esselte study published in The Wall Street Journal. In fact, for a manager who earns $60,000, that time lost costs the company a staggering $6,290.

Clean vs. messy desk

Recent studies indicate that people who maintain a messy desk are more creative. However, most office managers acknowledge that a messy desk has a reflection on their company when visitors come through and that messy desks reduce productivity.

Desk - organized

Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” and who am I to argue with Einstein but our desks aren’t really empty, are they?

I hope you have enjoyed these interesting office stats and if you need assistance with de-cluttering your office or improving your productivity give us a call.

5 Signs You May Be Chronically Disorganized And What You Can Do About It

We are all a little disorganized in some aspects of our life but for some of you being disorganized affects your day-to-day living. Lets begin with defining what chronic disorganization is (also known as “challenging disorganization”).

Being chronically disorganized is defined as being disorganized for a long period of time during which you have not responded to attempts at self-help. It has a negative impact on the quality of your life and can also affect your relationship with others.

It’s normal to feel a little disorganized when certain life events happen, like a death in the family, when you move or even something as simple as having a house full of visitors over for an evening.

You may recover from these events quite quickly but if you are chronically disorganized these events just add to your current challenges. If you are chronically disorganized it’s important to remember that it is a condition, and not a flaw in your character.

There are many signs that point to being chronically disorganized. Lets look at 5 of them.

1. Unable To Find Things

I frequently have trouble finding things myself, especially when I’m in a rush. Sometimes another family member has put something away in a spot totally different to where I keep it. For me and most people, it only happens once in a while and does not impact my life.

If you are chronically disorganized you’re always looking for something that you need and often you’ve left it to the last minute so panic now sets in and chaos ensues. This can lead to missed appointments, being late in making payments (leading to late fees or a bad mark on the credit rating) and can even have an adverse effect on your health with higher blood pressure and anxiety.

2. Cluttered Living Area

A very visible sign of being chronically disorganized is the condition of your living area. If you have small children in your home I’ll bet you feel that your home is always disorganized with toys and baby accessories seemingly everywhere. Do you have a husband who maybe forgets to pick up after himself? No need to worry, we all go through this.

Cluttered living area

If you are chronically disorganized you live in a cluttered state that affects you to the point where you perhaps cannot find most things and may even have to clear things out of the way just to find a place to sit. In extreme cases this can lead to a safety issue with trip hazards on the floor or the room becoming a fire hazard.

3. Off Site Storage Is Required For Possessions

This happens more than you would think. We all love our possessions or “stuff” as George Carlin used to say, but you may acquire an over attachment to belongings for sentimental or other reasons. It may be that you find items that are too good to pass on, whether somebody is getting rid of something they feel has value or when shopping a sale is too good to pass. Your thinking may be   “why spend more on an item later” when you can get it on sale now. What a deal, right? Before you know it you have more than you can keep track of and you forget where everything is so you buy more, and the cycle continues.

Typically a lot of these items will spoil or become contaminated thus turning into a health hazard. Of course there is the cost of outside storage to keep in mind, a cost that is probably really not needed.

4. Missed Deadlines

Whether at home or at work, if you are chronically disorganized you may frequently miss deadlines. At work this can of course affect your career path and in the worst cases can lead to dismissal.Missed deadline

At home missing deadlines can lead to late payments causing financial penalties. Failure to get your financial information to your bank on time can lead to not taking advantage of a low mortgage rate. Your children could be missing out on something fun at school because you failed to get a document back to school on time. Deadlines are important and missing them affects just more than you.

5. Work Evaluations Focus On Improving Organizational Skills

Has your boss ever “suggested” that you improve your organizational skills? If you are chronically disorganized, it is not likely to be just affecting your home. It’s part of your life such that you may be disorganized at work as well. Are you busy at work and juggling a few projects at the same time? Not being organized will have an impact on your reviews and thus your salary increases. In extreme cases jobs could be lost thereby losing your sole source of income.

These are just 5 signs of a chronically disorganized person. There are many more. Chronic disorganization is a condition that can be changed. It takes time, patience and an organizational system designed specifically for you, to learn what you need, what is cherished, to set caps on categories of items and to learn how to make the system work for you.

Organizing and Downsizing with Seniors – A Case Study Part 2

understair-storage-spaceThis is part two of my earlier blog/case study of working with a wonderful couple in their mid to late sixties, the motivation for their organizing project and the process in general.

Facilitating change

Facilitating change and effective communication was essential in this particular project. After 40 years together in the same home in which they raised their children and now entertained their grandchildren Mr.  & Mrs. X had a lifetime of possessions to sort through which was causing tension and strain in their relationship.  This can be an incredibility horrendous undertaking for most people, and even more so for those with physical limitations.  And life happens.  People get busy with their work, hobbies and family (the important things in life) and typically the last item on their “to do” list is to get to that pile of papers in the office or sort through the “spare room” that has turned into a dump zone for storage and other “stuff”.  Although they had no immediate plans to downsize to a smaller home, they knew the state of certain rooms in their house was not healthy and they wanted to simplify their lives.

 

Taking a tour

Therefore, once the initial information gathering stage of the consult was completed we moved on to take a tour of the spaces that were cause for concern.  Our first stop was a closet area that was used as an overflow for pantry items and apparently everything else.  When I opened up the closet I came face to face with 5 feet of “stuff” that seemed to have been quickly tossed inside.  There appeared to be some shelving along the perimeter which was also packed with items.  I asked a few questions with respect to how they wanted the closet to be used, calculated the time it would take to tackle the space and we moved on.

Next up was the “hobby room”.  The door was tightly closed and upon entering it was evident that the door would not open completely due to obstructions within the room itself.  I made my way inside, carefully stepping over various objects, jotting down notes and again asking questions about the room. Mrs. X was very embarrassed by the state of this particular room and I reassured her that I was there to offer solutions and not to make judgments.

Disneyland!

It’s not uncommon for me to feel a sense of excitement when I go through various rooms in a particular project because I know that when I finish my work I will have made such an amazing transformation for my clients.  Almost immediately I’m able to get a vision for the room and get an itch to get started right away.  It’s almost comical how excited I get and I don’t hesitate to tell my clients that I can’t wait to get started.  It’s like Disneyland for me!

In my next post I’ll continue with this project and the steps we took to achieve change.  It was such a wonderful challenge and so exciting!

Downsizing: Tips To Be A Minimalist In Your Home

Minimalist home organizationMinimalism.  Living more simply. Streamlining.

We hear these words and statements more often now, especially because so many people are downsizing their spaces.  I work each week with space-challenged clients to solve their organizing problems and I think that makes me somewhat of an expert on the issue.

Of course there are many advantages to being a minimalist.  Less stress, more time (less cleaning), less frustration, and no need to find a home for the stuff you really don’t need.

You can easily downsize with style by identifying your priorities and with effective use of accessories, lighting, artwork and colour.

Think about secret spaces for extra storage.  Hollow architectural columns are perfect so you can add shelves or a door on one side.

For flexibility when downsizing stick with a bed that doesn’t have a foot board. Transform end tables into coffee tables by simply cutting down the legs.

And don’t forget to de-clutter clear surfaces and have a place for everything.

This cool Infographic below, courtesy of The Picket Fence, is a visual look at minimalism.

 

Minimalism

Minimalism

Be The Most Organized Person In The World [Infographic]

Who wouldn’t want to be organized? From your closets and cupboards to your computer and workplace, being organized can save you a ton of time, money and frustration and make your life easier.

If you want to take your paper piles to files and go from clutter to calm in your home and office you’re in the right place. Your computer is a great place to start, moving from desktop to actual file folders, using a variety of digital applications to help you along the way. And when you are finished with your computer and office, move on to those other clutter hotspots such as your  bedroom, kitchen etc., where clutter and “stuff” tends to pile up when there is no organizational system in place.

There are so many Apps now available to make your life easier and clutter free, why not take advantage of all that is offered up to you!

Check out the Infographic below, on How To Be The Most Organized Person In The World, courtesy of thegreatist.com

 

Infographic on how to be super organized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizing Your Time

Time management can be tough. We recently had our daughter come for a visit and she talked about how she is so busy she finds herself on a seemingly never ending treadmill of getting out of bed, getting ready for work, running errands on the way home, cooking dinner and before you know it, it’s 10:00 pm and she still has not even begun to wind down from her day only to have the same cycle run again, never feeling caught up or in control. She doesn’t even have any children yet so even the thought of having kids is frightening when she doesn’t feel there is enough time in the day for just herself. She seems quite perplexed as to how people manage with children. We hear this often. Running the same game, cycle or treadmill each and every day.
frazzled
With so many people around me telling me the same thing, I thought I would Google “how can we manage time more efficiently?”. One of the first answers that popped up was the use of time management sheets. We all, at some point in time, find ourselves on this same repetitive path. One day feels like it just melts into the other. From my own experience and training there are 3 things I know for sure. The first one is, you’re always going to have stuff to do. Secondly, there will be days, no matter what you do, when you feel like a gerbil on a treadmill. And lastly, there are definitely ways to positively change these last two points. Well, all right, you’re thinking. How do we do that?

First it’s helpful, even for just 3 days, to keep a notebook and pen with you at all times and write down how you are spending your time. You want to be as precise as possible, so I’m talking minutes here, not just hours. Once you log your time for a few days and look back on your log you will begin to see a pattern of exactly what various activities take up your time. You can then make some decisions on how you can perhaps delegate some tasks to others, “unplug” yourself during certain periods of the day, learn to say “no”, prioritize, group similar tasks together for more efficient use of your time, and let go of those tasks that really serve no positive purpose for you. Change the way you use your time and make a positive change in your day!