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The Synergy in Thoughts & Things; How and When To Let Go

balloons_opt-2As a Professional Organizer, I’m called upon to tour and evaluate your cluttered spaces. I’m in your closets and I’m in your intimate drawers.  I can see the physical overwhelm and implement manageable solutions. But what I cannot see, is what’s inside your head.  Your closets may be bulging but perhaps your brain is about to explode as well.

Thoughts and things go hand in hand, therefore the challenges and strategies of organizing them are very much the same too.  Here’s another way to assess them.

Consider your brain the “closet” that stores your thoughts. Take a look and ask yourself;

  • Is it crowded?
  • Is it disorganized?
  • Are you overwhelmed ?
  • Is it impeding on your productivity and life-balance?

What’s abundantly clear, is overabundance.  Whether it is physical clutter or mental clutter, too much is still too much.  Both can be paralyzing if you don’t routinely clear out these spaces.  The accumulation of outdated possessions is as much a burden as a brain full of to do’s or negative thoughts. When your life-balance is threatened, it’s the opportune time to consider purging.

Although the purging process of thoughts and things may look a little different, they both still need to be organized and managed.

Thoughts.  Write them down randomly as they emerge.  Out of the head and onto a piece of paper is a quality brain dump.  Think of it as a mind/body cleanse, like any healthy nutritional cleanse. Clean house and create space in the brain.

Sort and categorize your thoughts. Some thoughts might require an immediate call to action, others might be just an idea that needs to marinate, or perhaps it’s those nagging emotional road blocks that you’ve been avoiding. Beware that when left unattended, these thoughts tend to get lumped altogether in one big pot,  just like a messy junk drawer.  This causes the overwhelm to mount and that’s when the pounding headache emerges.  Recognize that all thoughts cannot be of equal importance. Everything can’t matter in the same way. Break them down and prioritize them.

Take a pause and look them over at another time. When you step away and revisit thoughts, your perspective may change. Give your brain a chance to process all that is on your mind. This will help segregate the minutia from the significant.

“Seeing” your thoughts on paper is a great way to really “look” at your brain, and even more-so,  a very effective method to organize it. A brain needs to be organized too.

Things.  Assessing the relevance of your things in your life today is the best measure to discern their value, and is an integral part of the letting go process. Faulty thinking can often interfere with this decision-making process so it’s always helpful to recruit an objective voice to talk it out.  This process is much more complex but inherently is guided by parameters of finite space. When your systems break down (or you don’t have any), it may be that “too much” is why you are losing control of your things. The less is more and use it or lose it principle will provide you with a life with less to manage.

As you see, thoughts and things are linked so closely and they typically slip and slide together.  Chances are that if your closets are overflowing and overabundant with clutter, your brain is experiencing similar chaos.  And vise versa, if your thoughts are jumbled, there’s a good chance that your spaces will reflect some evidence of disorganization.

So are your closets bursting at the seams? Does your head sometimes feel likes its going to explode? If you are overloaded with thoughts and things, try exercising that letting go muscle.  More room to breathe,  more life to live.

It may not be realistic to do a closet cleanse daily, but I would recommend a brain dump nightly at bedtime.  I promise you a more restful night’s sleep.  It really works. Would love to hear your thoughts about things.  What’s on your mind?


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How Some Skillful Time-management Can Obliterate Overwhelm: The 4 Step Plan

Being overwhelmed about anything can be paralyzing.  If a project looms too large, it’s far easier to ignore it and avoid it, than tackle it.  The best tool we have to manage this state of procrastination is the power and control we get from organization. It is our only defense against all odds because it cajoles us into taking that first step. Any plan is an incentive to be productive.

While the big picture of any situation is often clarifying, it can be equally daunting.  Goal setting is a powerful technique but without the proper tools of how to get there, one can easily get discouraged, overwhelmed, and lost in despair.

How you utilize and your organize your time is critical.  These are some effective tools you can use to guide you through any personal project; large or small, at home or in the office.

    • Organize:  Create a list of similar goals so that once immersed, you won’t have to task switch and you can remain in a productive zone.  Group tasks in the same room and avoid zigzagging all over the place.
    • Prioritize:  Once you’ve organized your to do’s, you will be able to prioritize what is most important.  Setting goals will help you to accomplish them.  Identify the highest priority and attack.
    • Focus:  Select a time period for stop and start, and stick to these strict parameters.  Do not deviate from the task.  Work on one project or task at a time, for an uninterrupted block of time (even if it’s only 30 minutes). Avoid thinking about the big picture for now and focus on what’s immediately in front of you.  Do not be overly ambitious with your expectations. Keep your goals realistic for the time period you’ve set aside.  Feeling a sense of accomplishment after each block of time will probably fuel your drive to complete the project. The closer you get to your goal, the more encouraged you will be to continue.  Be kind to yourself, don’t take on too much. Just remember, if you break down chores into manageable steps, you will eventually fulfill them.
    • Systemize:  Establish a routine so you can consistently schedule your tasks and create a good work flow. This could be daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on the task at hand.  Carving out time in your day on a consistent basis will maintain your productivity level.  When you schedule, you are prepared to commit to the process and its completion.


No matter the scope of the project, it is a necessity to organize it first, in order to accomplish it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re cleaning out a closet or creating a new filing system. Manage your time wisely and you can achieve anything.

Create a strategy.  Think it through.  Take a breath.  Make a plan.  Are you ready?  On your mark, get set, GO!






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Why Unfinished Projects Never Get Completed

As the year draws to a close, it’s a natural time to reflect on the past year.  There are probably a litany of projects that you had hoped to accomplish this year, but they just didn’t happen.  What went wrong? Why didn’t you pursue them?

Starting projects are easy but completing them can be more challenging.  Tackling personal projects do not have to loom as large as climbing Mt. Everest.  Typically, they get put on the back-burner for when you have the time.  That’s the biggie, but it’s only just one of the reasons.  Unfortunately, projects become easily forgotten and neglected because they aren’t managed well, nor planned.  Here’s some helpful hints;

    • Space:  Many times we simply don’t have the ample space to accommodate the ongoing project to work on it.
    • Tools:  Having the appropriate materials and tools on hand to complete the project is essential.
    • Goals/timeline:  Establishing a time-line will help you achieve your goal in manageable time frames.  It is so much more difficult to target ambiguous goals like “soon”, “summer”, or “whenever”.  Hold yourself accountable to a more specific time, date.  Create a strategic plan 
    • Be realistic:  This is a key factor for the success of the project.  If you take on too much and didn’t allow enough time to complete it, you are guaranteed to set yourself up for failure.
    • Organize:  Don’t be haphazard with your efforts.  Be your own Project Manager and manage it.  Break down the actions into small manageable bite-size tasks that you can routinely do.
    • Commit:  Staying committed to a project is probably the most difficult step of all.  Focus on the goal and what it will feel like when the job is done, and create a plan how to get there.  Whether it is a daily or weekend plan, carve out a sufficient amount of time to work on it.


Let’s say for example your project is photo organizing.  For months or even years, you’ve been shoving and cramming all your photos in shoe-boxes, drawers, or envelopes, and never made the time to organize them. This sorting process is a huge undertaking so you need to organize the process.   If every time you immerse yourself  into this project and it requires you to schlep the boxes up and down, to and fro, the project is doomed. Resist the temptation to spread out every photo you own and clutter every horizontal surface in your home.  Organize one box at a time, so at the end of the day, you will have made some productive headway and pushed out the overwhelm.

All projects (and hobbies, for that matter) need their own home.  If you love knitting, corral all the yarns and needles in an organized space so that you can enjoy your hobby and not impede on the other living spaces in your home.  Ditto to arts and any craft.

The bottom line is this;  If you DO NOT have the space, right tools, realistic time-line, organization, or commitment, you will lose interest in the project.  As a result, and in the worst case scenario…you might be inclined to start a brand NEW project!

Uh-oh, T-R-O-U-B-L-E.  Tame your projects with time-management. Sounds like a plan to me, how ’bout you?

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