10 Things That You Can Let Go Of That You Won’t Miss From Your Life


The longer I’ve worked as a Professional Organizer the less items I have retained in my life. As Albert Einstein once said – “Out of clutter, find simplicity”. In no way do I lead a minimalist lifestyle but I do find that every time I release myself of something I no longer use or have need for, I feel a sense of calm and organization in my life.

I have purged myself of quite a few things over the years and have not missed them at all. Here are a few items you may still have I’ll bet you will not miss too.

Anything you keep because it reminds you of someone.

Many of us keep items to remind us of a loved one that has passed on. That loved one will always be in your heart. But if you really need to keep something as a reminder consider a treasure box that can be hung on a wall to see the items each day rather than having items stored away in a box (probably in your basement).


I used to keep several cookbooks in the cupboard over the stove. Now I keep just a few recipes that I enjoy in a binder. I also use a couple of apps on my electronic device and the Internet holds more recipes than a million cookbooks ever could.

Music libraries

A few people I know are music aficionados and I do understand their need to keep a library of vinyl (even though it is probably another fad) but beyond that we don’t truly need to keep CD’s anymore with digital music available in so many formats.


I was shocked (and secretly pleased) when my husband finally went through his library and donated a couple of hundred CD’s.

CD and DVD players

Speaking of which, how many CD and DVD players do you have in your home and how often do they get used?


This is the probably the biggest challenge I face in many of the projects that we do. If an item of clothing is worn or damaged or doesn’t flatter you, get rid of it. So many people could use your hand me downs.


Same with shoes. Shoes that look worn can make an entire outfit look horrible. If they are worn or uncomfortable get rid of them. Why keep them if you don’t like to wear them?


The money you spent is gone and keeping them isn’t going to bring that back.

School items from your past

I know you’re proud of that high school trophy you won over 20 years ago but when is the last time you took it out to show it off and brag to your friends? I thought so.

Small Appliances

Bread makers and ice cream makers were a pretty hip thing to have. The eighties called and said it was OK to donate them.

Exercise equipment

Only you know when you are going to get back into exercising and if you can’t say when that time is specifically, then it is time to sell those pieces that are taking up valuable real estate. You could use the money to help pay for a gym membership.

Anything with an expiration date

Go through your fridge and your cupboards and check your expiration dates. Those dates aren’t cast in stone but if enough time has gone by, especially if an item has been opened please toss them rather than risk your health. And if you have anything that is still good and you don’t use please donate to a food bank. They can always be used to feed someone less fortunate.

A very important rule to follow while you de-clutter your life : do not take responsibility for items that do not belong to you. Instead, lead by example and I’m sure the others will follow.

So there you have ten items that I think, for the most part, you won’t miss and will create more space, make your home less cluttered and perhaps reduce a bit of your stress. If you think you may need some help in the de-cluttering process we are just a call or email away.





Paper Organizing In The Office – 6 Tips to Gain Control

Man buried in paperwork and bills. All you see of him are his hands waving a surrender flag. White background with clipping path.

Way back when as computers were first introduced we were told that these marvellous machines were going to save a lot of trees with the paper that was about to be saved. That hasn’t happened yet, has it?

We are creatures that like to be able to look and feel what we have created so we continue to print and file a lot of paper, probably more now than ever. If you find yourself under a mountain of paper here are a few organizing tips to help you manage the paper tiger.

Does it really need to be printed?

Whether you purchase the original ink cartridges or the knock offs or even take your cartridges in for refilling, the cost of ink for printers is crazy! For this reason, alone think before you print. If the document is not something you need to access on a regular basis just file it electronically where it will always be accessible. If it is something really important or you feel anxious about a computer crash then back it up to an external drive and/or to a cloud service. Don’t know anything about a cloud service? Just ask me.

Scan it

Bills and correspondence that you receive can be scanned and saved electronically thereby reducing the amount of paper that needs to fill your filing cabinets. Utility bills and letters can be scanned this way and will always be there when required.


Bank statements too can be saved on your banks’ website or downloaded to your computer. In many cases, you don’t even need to scan these documents anymore as more and more banks and utility companies are keeping your statements available online for many years.

Shred it

Invest in a good cross-cut shredder to destroy any personal information that may get in the wrong hands. When discarding paper, have a recycle box and a shredding box together. Shred your discarded documents at least weekly to avoid a mound of papers later. You can even get your kids involved!

Get FAT!

Be diligent when papers arrive on your desk. File it, Act on it or Toss it right away. A lot of people set paper aside and have all the good intentions of getting back to it to review it or file it away and end up with a mountain of paper on their desk or in their in-tray.


You end up duplicating the time you handle the paper so take care of it once and save this time for things that are really important.

Have supplies ready

In order to organize your paper and reduce the clutter, you need the supplies. Make sure you have file folders, a recycling and shredding bin, stapler and highlighters available. Without the proper tools, you will end up putting paper aside creating a mountain you may never get out from under.

Set aside the time for maintenance

Set aside a half hour each week to go through your inbox and to review all the newspapers, magazines or articles that have “appeared” on your desk. Recycle past issues of magazines and yesterday’s newspapers and file or scan the clippings that you want to save for future reference.

I don’t believe we will ever be truly paper-free and I see so many people wasting productive hours handling paper over and over again. With a little planning, you can get ‘paper organized’. If you feel that you are drowning in paper, contact me here for a chat on how we can help you.

Office Organizing – Working From Home


With many of you working from home these days you need a home office to work from and that is free of clutter. It takes discipline to work from home and distractions need to be kept to a minimum in order to get the most productivity out of your busy day. Your home office should be comfortable and efficient allowing you to concentrate on your work.

Keep only the important things on your desk

The key to maintaining a clean desk is to keep only what you are going to need for that day or what you use every day on your desk. The rest should be put away or filed away. Pen and pencil holders can look very attractive but they take up space. After all, how many of each do you actually use in a day? The same with photos. You’re working from home. Trust me, you won’t forget what your kids look like!

Day planner

In my opinion, the day planner is the best investment you can make. How else can you keep track of your meetings and things to do?

Day planner

I still use a manual planner that I write in so I can see each week at a glance. I get a sense of accomplishment when I am able to cross an item off knowing it’s done. Regardless of whether you use your phone, tablet or a manual planner be vigilant in recording what needs to be done in a day and cross it off when it is complete.

No interruptions please

You need some quiet time to get things done and often it’s a struggle to find that time when you work at home. Don’t be afraid to close the door for an hour or so a day and let everyone at home know that this is a time when you are not to be interrupted. Some projects or tasks require concentration.

Focus on the task at hand

We all think we can work on two things at the same time but it’s now a proven fact that our attention declines when we try to do just that. Pick one issue to work on at a time and give that your all. If something else comes along that takes priority then set that first item aside and concentrate on the new priority until it is completed.

Choose a filing system that works for you

Don’t restrict yourself to the standard alphabetized filing system if that doesn’t work for you. I file according to “categories” like Utilities, Insurance, etc.


Then my utility bills and insurance documents get filed within those categories, such as Insurance- Auto, Insurance-Home, Insurance-Life etc. I find it easier to retrieve and file this way. Research the different systems that are out there and use what works best for you.

In and out trays

Put everything that comes in during the day into the in tray and assign a time of day to go through it. Doing this once a day rather than each time something comes in will save you a lot of time through your day. Likewise, with the out tray. Put all of your filing and outbound mail in there and attend to it once a day.

Shred it!

Invest in a good shredder. You generate a lot of paper in a home office and some of that paper contains information that, in the wrong hands, can be devastating to you. Shred anything with sensitive information. The shredders that make confetti out of your documents (crosscut) are the best.

Working from home shouldn’t be any different than working from the workplace. Be organized and you will be more productive. CutterBGone has helped organize many offices, both at home and in the workplace. Contact us here to see how we can assist you.

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.


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.

Boost Your Productivity & Get Organized At Work


office interior

The workplace is fast-paced with a lot to do each day and we all want to be more productive. It’s not as hard to be productive as you may think with these simple ideas.

Clean up your desk

This may sound way too obvious, but many of you start your day with a cluttered desk and spend precious time getting things in order before you can start your day. Make sure you have the necessary items to keep your desk clean and clear and put them all away when you’re done. Remember the old saying, “cluttered desk, cluttered mind”.

Clean up your computer

Another obvious one but I have seen so many computers with so many icons you don’t know where to start to look for a file.

computer screen

Keep your screen clear for easy access to files and less visual distractions. File electronically when you can and delete email that you don’t need right away.

Make a list for your next day

I like lists and I don’t know how anybody can get things done without one. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to cross a completed task off the list. Take a minute each morning and make a list of the tasks that you need to complete during the day. Make sure that your list is manageable meaning you should be able to complete them all that day. Knowing what you have to do and the time in which to do them will help keep you focused.

Start early if you are constantly interrupted

I know for many of you, your day is already long but if you have one of those jobs where interruptions are expected perhaps start your day a little earlier before those “interruptions” start arriving. You would be surprised at how much you can get accomplished when left alone.

Look at email 3 times per day

Email is both a blessing and a curse. You can be to the point with an email avoiding all the niceties and avoid a prolonged phone call with it, but it can also be very distracting with the notifications, junk email and the sheer number of emails you receive.


Reduce the number of times you check your email to 3 per day. The start of day, after lunch and mid-afternoon, are great times to check your email and stay focused on other tasks at hand. Turn your notifications off unless you are expecting a very important email to come.

Be healthy at work

While chained to your desk it’s certainly difficult to remain healthy at work. Get up and move around occasionally. Will your boss spring for one of those stand-up desks or an ergonomic chair? How about a live plant at your work station? They help clean the air and 12% of people with live plants in the office actually feel more relaxed at work.

Find your productive time

Not all of us have the same time of day when we feel most productive. Find your sweet spot and try to tackle the harder tasks at that time of day. You won’t be able to give your best to a task if you’re not at your peak.

Being organized will reduce wasted time and will have a big impact on your productivity. If you find it challenging to stay organized in the work place try these suggestions and let me know how you make out after a few short weeks.

The Right Way To Organize Your Papers

Hands searching through file folders with personal finance documents

When computers were first introduced, they were going to save the planet with all the paper they were going to reduce. Everything would be stored on computers and trees would be saved.

Well, many years later I think we’re producing more paper than ever and organizing all that paper is still a big challenge for many of you. Let me help you with some ideas on how to organize, and reduce much of that paper.

Deal with it now

The best way to organize paper of course is to deal with it as it arrives through your door. Rather than placing everything into an in box and getting around to looking after it later, deal with it when it comes into your home or office. Separate the junk from the required paper as soon as it arrives and recycle what you can. This will save you time in filing later and reduce the urge to save what’s not needed.

Go paperless

Easy to say for those that embrace technology but many of us have a reliance on being able to touch and keep paper. It’s a tactile thing.

Paper organized 2

Take a real hard look at the paper that comes into your home each month and decide what you really have to have in paper form. Most of your bills can be sent to you electronically and can be paid that way too. If you have to save a copy for your records save the electronic copy to your computer where it can be stored and easily retrieved. Voila! Less paper right there.

Scan it and file electronically

If receiving your bills electronically isn’t for you than perhaps you want to scan the document after you have dealt with it and file it away on your computer. Dispose of the paper copy after it’s been scanned of course so you aren’t duplicating your filing system. Now you still have the document and it’s not taking up any space.

The “cloud”

For you “techies” you can store documents in the cloud.


There are a host of secure sites that will allow you to store documents, pictures and a host of other things on servers that are maintained by companies like Apple and Google. Most of these sites will give you a certain amount of free storage that will generally fit your needs for quite a while.


Filing and maintaining paper is not your favourite chore. Keep it simple to reduce the time spent filing and accessing paper. Rather than filing everything away alphabetically, create sub sections like Utilities, Taxes, Auto Expenses and similar. Create your files within these subsections to save time when filing and retrieving.

Make it a habit

Maintenance is the key to everything and filing is no different. Allot some time each month to review your files and toss what’s not needed. Discard the oldest statement when filing the newest and perform a good purge at the start of each year.

Paper can easily get out of control but with a little bit of discipline and utilizing some of these ideas you can better control the paper monster that you have in your home. If you aren’t up to the challenge of taming your paper clutter contact me at ClutterBGone to learn how we can assist you.

Time Management And Getting Organized At Work


We have worked with many individuals and small offices in getting organized so they can work more effectively, find things easier and live or work in a less cluttered state. Once this is done the challenge now becomes how to manage your time as time management and organization do go hand in hand.

Here are some time management tips to get you on the right track.

Busy vs. overwhelmed

We are all judged on the actual results we produce rather than the number of hours we spend doing something or “looking busy”. Stay focused on the task at hand and minimize multi-tasking as few of us are actually very good at being able to give your all to more than one task at a time. Clutter around us is a distraction that often interrupts our focus and reduces our effectiveness on the task we are trying to complete.

Priorities and prime time

Identify when you feel that you are at your peak during the day. When do you feel the most productive? Are you a morning or an afternoon person?


Save the really important stuff for this time so you can give it your best. If it is really important don’t give it anything less.

Maintain balance

Work can easily consume us and have a negative effect on both social and family lives. A Boston College Center survey confirmed that executives who are able to balance work and personal life are less stressed, feel more successful and can manage both their work and personal lives much easier. Find the balance, reduce the stress and enjoy life!

Benefits of setting goals

Setting goals is important for all aspects of your life. How else can you identify the priorities or the things that require your time now and what can wait? Schedule time for yourself, write it down in your planner, and use that time to work on those priorities.


Make sure this time is blocked out and ensure that you’re not disturbed. Setting goals will make you work smarter and allow you to manage your time more effectively. Achieving those goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and increase your chance of success in your personal and business life.

Personal policies

It’s very important to establish our own personal policies in both your personal life and your work life. These policies can help you achieve your goals and should be policies you believe in and live by. A business policy could be simply that you will not work on weekends or no more than 2 evenings a week in order to help balance your work and family time. Or perhaps you’re always working on large projects so one project must be handed off if another more important project is brought to you.

Personal policies can include not snacking after dinner or donating a certain amount to your favourite charity each month. Policies should be used as guidelines and feel free to change them as circumstances dictate. There may be times when working more than you want to is required and will benefit the family life.

Use these tools to bring more balance to your life, to get you more focused and organized and to reduce stress. Let us know how you make out!

Easy Tips To Organize Your Home Office


More and more people are working from home these days, either running their own business or because companies see the value in having their employees work from home anywhere from one to five days a week.

It’s important to have a space designated specifically for your work so you can be productive, efficient and not waste time.

A home office needs to be both comfortable and motivating and should be free from distractions that will allow you to focus on work. Here are a few tips to keep you organized and help you do just that.

Clear surfaces

I am a stickler for clear surfaces. A cluttered surface results in a lot of wasted time looking for that something that you know is “here somewhere”. Keep just the essentials within reach and keep your work area clear for increased productivity.

Stay focused

We all like to think that we can multi task but the truth is we can’t. Once you try to work on two things at the same time we aren’t able to keep the same focus on both tasks.

Stay focused

Stay on course with one task and move on to the next when it is completed or, if something is really important and moves up the priority ladder, put the other item away to give your all to the job at hand.

In and out trays

Put everything that comes in during the day into the in tray and assign a time of day to go through it. Doing this once a day rather than each time something comes in will save you a lot of time through the day. Likewise, with the out tray. Put all of your filing and outbound mail in there and attend to it once a day.

Choose a filing system that works

Filing is not the most interesting part of our day but it will go smoother if you have a system that works for you. Rather than having all my files together alphabetically, I have set up broad categories first like “Utilities” and “Automobile” and then have the files within these categories alphabetized.


This way I know what area I need to go to and don’t have to look through the entire file drawer to find something or put something away. It works for me but you need to find what works for you to save time and be better organized. If you are a highly visual person you may want to consider a colour coded filing system to easily locate a file based on colour. For instance, anything banking related could be a green folder. Any critical documents, like employment records, health records, school records, driver’s license and registration etc., could be assigned a blue folder. Leisure activities and reference files could be assigned a yellow folder. Think about what colour a certain category is to you and then go from there.

A shredder

A good shredder is a must to protect your privacy. You don’t want sensitive information blowing down the street and getting into the hands of someone who can harm your credit score or worse. The shredders that make confetti out of your paper are best as nobody is going to be able to put those pieces back together!

A weekly planner

Pick a planner that allows room to make some notes on each day and has room for priorities and items to follow up on. Planners that show a full week on both sides of the open book in my mind are the best in order to see what needs to be done that week at a glance. I’m pretty visual so that works well for me.

Planner - weekly 2

Check completed tasks off so you have that sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.


Printers have come down in price quite a bit over the years but those expensive ink cartridges have not. If you choose to refill your cartridges take them somewhere reputable rather than doing it yourself. I have had no luck with refiling myself and would hate to hear that you have ink all over your desk.Printer

Unless the document is being presented to a customer or someone of similar importance, set your printing setting to print in black and white only to save on the color cartridge costs. Of course, it’s better to print less than more. When printing a document consider first whether it is absolutely necessary to have it in hard copy. Lots of information is now kept and stored online. Let’s not cut down more trees than we need to.

If you are one of the lucky ones that works from home make sure your office is set up to make the most of your productivity. ClutterBGone has assisted numerous small and home offices to get organized. Contact us here if you would like to learn more about what we can do for you.

Is Technology Preventing You From Staying Organized?

Technology has come a long way and I sometimes feel as my parents used to feel in not completely understanding or being able to stay caught up with the new technologies that are constantly introduced. In some ways I don’t care if I stay current. In fact, I often lament to whoever will listen that technology is pushing us apart from each other. It got me to thinking – Is technology preventing you from keeping organized?

Organize your time yourself, don’t let email organize it for you

“Snail mail” seems to have become something that is a vehicle for junk mail these days. We used to eagerly await the arrival of the mailman to our front door or go to the mailbox once a day to receive our bills, letters and other important documents. We knew what time to expect the mail and would plan around it and once it arrived we made the time to open the mail and react accordingly.


Now we receive most of our mail electronically and it comes in constantly. It’s almost impossible not to reach for the phone or computer when you hear that “ding” that tells you that mail has arrived. Just like today’s snail mail I’ll bet a lot of your email is junk, both at home and at work.

Unless you are expecting something very important to come through, try turning your notifications off and checking email once an hour or so. If you are like a lot of folks you receive a lot of emails from the same address that you never open. Mark these as junk and have them sent directly to your junk folder if you can’t unsubscribe so you aren’t wasting time deleting them each time they arrive.

Assign time for electronic leisure activities

With most newspapers, books and magazines now available in electronic formats a lot of us are reading on our computers, pads and other hand held devices. Video games have become extremely addictive with their life like graphics and have become as large an industry as the movies.

Unless we assign a time to spend on our devices it is easy to get caught up in a game or article and before long you’re behind in other things. Assign a time for your electronic leisure time and stick to it. Get your exercise, do your chores or spend time with family. Organize your time for the important things in life.

Back to basics with planners

Like you, I have a phone that does it all. It holds my music, takes pictures, connects me to the Internet and yes, it even receives and makes phone calls.

It also has a planner but I prefer a manual planner that I can write in for several reasons. I have yet to see a decent electronic planner that shows me the whole week with any great detail. I also like to write in detailed notes in my planner and check items off once they are completed giving me a sense of accomplishment.

Day planner

I can have my to do list, my items to follow up, my urgent items and my goals all in one place. And more importantly my manual planner will never run out of power so it is always accessible. Electronic planners are good but the old fashioned manual ones keep me better organized for the week.

So you think you can multitask

Even before technology became what it is, our brain was not able to fully focus on two things at the same time. A lot of people believe they can now do just that with today’s technology but not so.

Technology has changed, our brain has not. We can get more than one thing done at a time quantity wise, but it is proven that quality suffers. When working on a project, organize your time to focus on one task and give it your all for a better result.

Technology has helped you in so many ways but it can also eat a lot of your time and distract you from what needs to be done. Organize your time so you control the technology, not the other way around. Let me know how you make out.

Essential Tools And Tips To Organize Your Home Office

Running your home-based business is a tough job and staying organized as an entrepreneur can be even harder. Having the right tools and supplies will make your day more productive and organized which in turn makes your business more profitable.

Here are a few suggestions to get your office organized and on track.


Organizing a work station is always a priority. However starting out in your own business can cost a few bucks. Before heading out to your office supply store take a look around the house and see what can be re-used.

A card table you have sitting down in your basement can be re-used as a desk for the time being. An old dining room chair can be used for seating until you feel ready to invest in a new chair. There is probably an extra lamp around the house that can be re-purposed as well.

Remember that coffee mug the kids gave you for Father or Mother’s day? Voila! You now have a pen and pencil holder to organize your writing instruments. The lid of a file folder box can serve quite well as an “In” box to keep you incoming documents and mail organized and contained.

In the desk vs. on the desk

Which items do you keep in the drawer and which do you keep on the desk? Keep in mind that clear horizontal services are best for better productivity. Keep as much as possible out of sight unless you use the item on a daily basis. Having a clear, organized space for working will eliminate distractions and make you more productive.clean-desk

If you are a visual person, those projects and files that are currently active (meaning that you are actively working on them daily) can be organized in a desk top file folder organizer so you can easily see them and they also act as a visual reminder of work to be accomplished.

If you don’t have the desk space for this, invest in a hanging wall file folder organizer which works just as well and helps to keep your desk clear and organized.

The essential shredder

Unless you want your personal information scattered around the neighborhood invest in a good quality shredder or hire the services of a mobile shredding company. It is just as important to guard the privacy of your business as it is to guard your personal information.
Keep a bin handy and label it “shredding” so you have a container to hold your documents while you accumulate papers that you can let go.

The supply closet

Pens and paper are always used and always available but what about the seldom-used items? There is never a good time to run out of supplies especially when you need that item to complete an important project.

Invest in a good desk top labeller and label each shelf or container with the office supplies that belong there. Once the last one is used get your order in to your supplier so you will not be caught without. If your supply space is limited try keeping your supplies organized in clear plastic containers that can be stacked and ensure you label them too.

A daily “bible”

To be organized you need to invest in a good daily planner and write down everything you need to do, follow up on or everyone you need to meet with or call.

Closeup image of notepad with pen.

Review this every day first thing in the morning so you know what needs to be done during the day and cross off each task as you go. This gives you a sense of accomplishment and allows you to see how productive you are throughout the day.

Running your own home based business and office is challenging. Follow these tips to stay on course and organized.

Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you.