An Attitude of Gratitude

Every year around this time, I’m reminded of how blessed my family and I have been to have a comfortable home filled with love, affection, kindness, good health, and yes, probably more material things than we need. I think that in the world of organizing and decluttering, we can get so caught up in letting stuff go that we forget to be grateful for the fact that we HAVE things to let go. We can let it all go knowing that our lives will probably not suffer for it, and indeed, probably benefit from it by releasing us from the suffocation that having too many possessions can bring about.

I was reminded of this recently when I read a review of organizer Marie Kondo’s (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) Netflix show – “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Read more

Is Minimalism Realistic, or the Impossible Dream?, pt. 1 – Physical Clutter

Between “minimalism,” “sparking joy,” and “the magic of tidying up,” the organizing and productivity world is full of buzzwords these days. Of all of them, I think minimalism is the victim of many negative misperceptions. When folks conjure up minimalistic spaces, they see sterile and impersonal homes and offices. The process evokes feelings of extreme sacrifice and self-denial. For those who really enjoy their possessions and the comfort they can bring, it seems like a grim, joyless existence.

I’d like to challenge those stereotypes, because I’ve found they’re inaccurate and limiting. Read more

Organizing in Difficult Relationships

One of the most frequently asked questions I get in my presentations is about how to deal with the disorganization and clutter of someone else other than the person posing the question. Occasionally the guilty party is a co-worker (or a boss), but the majority of the questions are related to frustration with the people they live with and how to deal with their family members’ disorganization. Read more

Swedish Death Cleaning – Gloomy or Liberating?

About six months ago, a lovely little book with a rather morbid title was published and immediately exploded in popularity. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is a short, simply written book that seems to have resonated with so many in our stuff-burdened society. Margareta Magnusson writes of her journey with de-cluttering, Swedish-style, as she ages. The twin desires to downsize and not wanting to leave her loved ones with the burden of dealing with all of her physical possessions after she died inspired her to begin the process of “döstädning,” or Swedish death cleaning. Read more

Where Do I Start?

One of the questions I hear on a regular basis is, “Where do I start? My office is just one big paper pile!” Or, “my home is such a disaster and every room is full of stuff – every time I look even at just one space, I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin!” My advice comes in three parts: start small, start easy, stay put! Read more

Downsizing, or Rightsizing? Consider the Cost

In a previous article, I discussed some stumbling blocks related to downsizing your space. But many folks are not interested, or looking ahead to moving out of their home any time soon. Yet, they are still struggling with an excess of stuff in their homes and their lives. This month, I explore further the concept of “rightsizing” your space, whether related to a move, or just a desire to lighten your load. Read more

Downsizing, or Rightsizing? Making Your Move

Lately I’ve noticed a proliferation of articles containing advice and tips for those who are downsizing. Spring seems to be the apex of this surge of information, as many are selling their long-time homes and moving into smaller, more manageable spaces. And many folks are not necessarily downsizing, but going through the process of moving to a new home at this time of year. Read more

What to Keep? How to Decide: 4 Key Questions

When it comes to getting and staying organized, by far the most difficult part of the process is making decisions about what to keep and what to let go. Whether it’s paper or stuff, having some basic criteria in place ahead of time on which to base your decisions will make them easier. While being organized does not always require getting rid of possessions, most of us have too much stuff – paper, clothing, books, knick-knacks, etc., for the spaces in which we live and work. Read more

Not Insane, Just Stuck (or How to Make a Change and Make It Stick!)

Here in New England, we have been inundated with snow. Storm after storm, we hardy New Englanders soldier on, trudging through snow banks as high as our heads in some cases. This has all contributed to a severe case of cabin fever! Many of us feel trapped in our homes and offices (think of the mad dash through the cold to your car, then the mad dash into your office. Rinse and repeat at the end of the day.) When that occurs, our surroundings become either claustrophobic and overwhelming, or peaceful and relaxing, depending upon our situation. If feeling overwhelmed and claustrophobic is your response to your living or working space, it’s time for a change! Read more

Letting Go: Tough, but Worth it!

A huge part of getting and staying organized is figuring out what stuff needs to leave your space and your life. Letting things go can be incredibly freeing, but incredibly challenging. Making decisions about what to keep and what to let go is tough, but crucial to getting and keeping your spaces manageable. While we may initially dig in with the best of intentions, we can often be derailed when we come across what I call “sentimental clutter.” This is the physical stuff in our lives that has significance to us in a sentimental way, and sometimes carries real emotional baggage. I always suggest to my clients when they’re trying to make decisions about letting go to ask themselves three questions: Read more