earth day

You can do your part to make every day Earth Day by considering what you buy and what you toss.

  • Buy better quality and you’ll send less to the waste stream.
  • Use up what you have so you don’t have to toss things that go bad.
  • Consume less packaging and you’ll have less to dispose.
  • Shop when you need something, not when you need entertainment

Happy Earth Day!

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Win a Book – No Fooling!

So, this was intended to be posted on April Fool’s Day, but I experienced technical difficulties. Better late than never, I say.

We’re celebrating 10 years of saving the planet from clutter, one person at a time! What’s in it for you? A copy of The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go.

If you haven’t read it yet, now’s your chance. If you have read it, you can give one as a gift.

You have four opportunities to win – just click here

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don’t feel foolish

When I was a kid, I dreaded April Fool’s Day because I was invariably the “fool.” I fell for all sorts of antics that other people would see through and I wasn’t creative enough to come up with something clever in return.

Although I don’t fall for pranks as easily, I still think about amusing ways to fool others.
Here you go:

That “limited edition” Norman Rockwell collectible plate you’ve been holding onto because you think it might be worth something someday? It’s worth $1000!

The Library of Congress wants the correspondence from your grandparents you’ve been keeping!

You can sell your old LPs for hundreds of dollars!

April Fool.

I know, it wasn’t very amusing, but I hope it made you think about what you’re keeping. Don’t let your stuff make you a fool.

And if you have a really good practical joke, I’m probably the right one to test it on.

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book review – you have too much sh*t

Almost everyone has too much stuff. Identifying it and doing something about it can be challenging.

This month’s book is a very short, very straightforward, slightly vulgar read. The title is an indication to what you will find inside. You can buy the book or download the free ebook. Either way, it won’t take you long to read and you might implement some of the ideas to help you let go of excess stuff.

“To find real value in material things, it’s helpful to discover a deep appreciation of the things you use every day.” – Chris Thomas

Thomas is British, and his informal tone and colloquialisms are reflected in the text. You’ll find the same sentiments in The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go, albeit in a bit more refined manner.

Do you prefer a more informal approach in your reading?

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national clutter awareness week

The last week of March is Clutter Awareness Week is the U.S.

In a consumerist society, we accumulate lots of stuff and much of it becomes clutter. People frequently tell me that they feel overwhelmed by their clutter and they don’t know how to deal with it. My advice is: just do something.

The first step in tackling clutter is being aware of it. What appears to be clutter to me might be something desirable to you. If you value the things that you own, treat them well. When you toss things in boxes or pile them in a corner, you’re probably forgetting what you have and you’re definitely not getting pleasure from them.

Coach Cheryl Richardson says that clutter can prevent us from letting anything new into our lives. Whether your clutter is physical, digital or emotional, letting go of it will open you (and your spaces) up to new possibilities.

Start by bringing awareness to your surroundings. If there is clutter that prevents you from moving forward, make a change. It doesn’t have to be big, it just needs to be a start.

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Product review – Household/Family Organizer

So, yesterday was Organize Your Home Office Day. I’m guessing that no one is going to be distraught that I didn’t bring it to your attention sooner.

Seriously, though, having an orderly home office can save you time and anxiety, especially when you’re preparing your income taxes or looking for information that you need immediately.

Your home office might not be an office at all, but a corner of a room or a kitchen counter, instead. Wherever you choose to keep your household paperwork is your office; creating a system for storing and retrieving documents will make your life easier.

You don’t need to buy expensive file cabinets or use bulky containers that take up lots of room. A household or family organizer will serve as your command center and will start you off on gathering necessary paperwork so you can find documents quickly. You can buy pre-made organizers or you can create one with a three-ring binder, page protectors and dividers.

The sections you create will depend on your household’s needs. For example, you might have a section for School (lunch menu, class roster, school calendar), Activities (sports, scouting, or gym calendars), Food (takeout menus, monthly menu planner, simple recipes), Contacts (neighbors, relatives, service providers), Maintenance (appliance manuals, breaker locations).

I suggest having a cover page with your name, address and phone number, in case a babysitter or houseguest needs to refer to it. If you have kids, create a page for babysitters with their names, bedtimes, food preferences, etc. Don’t try to cram your entire life into one 3” binder, though. If you need to, you can create several binders for different purposes.

Keep your binder(s) in your home office or in a more accessible spot, like the kitchen or family room and make sure that everyone knows where it is. Remember to replace items when you get updated information.

You can find lots of free, printable forms on Organized Home’s Web site. Pinterest has lots of free printables, as well. Don’t get caught up in making a fancy binder; the reason you’re putting together an organizer is to make your easier, not more stressful.

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financial literacy month

Many of my clients struggle with excess shopping. They might shop as a hobby or because they don’t realize they already have the thing they’re looking for. Either way, they end up with less money and more things they don’t use, causing physical and mental clutter.

March is Financial Literacy Month, making it a good time to take a look at what you’re spending.

One of my favorite columnists, Michelle Singletary, writes about financial issues for The Washington Post.

Her article last week reminded readers that spending may be fun in the moment, but it’s important to save for the long term. She makes a great analogy about savings being like winter clothes – you need them to protect yourself.

Do you have trouble saving money? What goal would you like to save up for?

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