Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Make De-Cluttering the First Step in Your New Year’s Resolution

Every year, most of us start out with new intentions for our lives or careers and label them “New Year’s Resolutions.” Whether this resolution is to lose weight, stop smoking, or find the person of your dreams your success could be tied directly to the physical space around you. A cluttered and disorganized area clutters your thoughts and good intentions and creates chaos and confusion. If you’ve found yourself struggling to achieve new resolutions or goals, clutter in the area around you may be to blame.

Imagine yourself in the middle of your cluttered space. Things are piled around you and finding anything resembles a search and rescue mission. Your to-do list is out of control and there are important items you need but can’t find. How are you feeling? Stressed? Over whelmed? Burdened? Are you feeling focused and ready to tackle anything new? I’m guessing not.
Now imagine yourself sitting in a room that is clean, organized and functions smoothly. Books are neatly on the shelf, papers are filed away, and anything you need is easily accessible and at your fingertips. How do you feel in this place? Calm? Productive? In control? Do you feel empowered and energized? You bet!

Being organized frees up the mind and lets you focus on your intentions. When your home is full of things you don’t want, don’t need, or broken it affects the energy around you. Positive energy equals positive results. Start with clearing the clutter and create a space that supports those results. Then get “Feng Shui-ing” and begin manifesting your desires!
visit: for information on Feng Shui

Happy New Year!
Brenda Spangrud

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Professional Organizers Aren't Perfect Either...

Whenever I mention that I'm a professional organizer, people often respond with, "Wow, your home must be perfectly in order." Guess what folks....It isn't! Really, it isn't! And...who gets to define perfect, anyway?

My home reflects who I am that day. If my kitchen island is cluttered with papers, then I'm probably wearing my maniac on a mission (MOM) hat. I might even wear that hat for a week before I decide to take it off, clear the clutter and gain control again.

Some days I put on my Rebel Hat. It includes leaving that weeks worth of clothes haphazardly thrown across the edge of the bathtub until I decide to gather them together, hang what can be worn again and throw in the hamper what I decide needs laundered.

If that isn't enough reality for you....I will even leave dirty dishes on the sink until the next morning!!! AUGHHHH!

But here's the point, I always go back and address what is out of place and return that space back to it's proper order. Because that's what makes me feel good.

So, being organized isn't about perfection. It's about the balance in your life and having your environment support your vision of that life. Too many overly organized, structured systems can inhibit wanting to even use them. They come with too much pressure! Relax and set your expectations towards balance and not perfection.

If you need help, call me. I'm here to support you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Monster of Paper Clutter

With school, work and club activities, families are inundated with an endless stream of paper. If there’s not a designated place to put things before they come in to your home, those items will begin piling up until you fall victim to the “Monster of Paper Clutter!” Don’t let that monster intimidate you. Attack back with a command center!

A command center is simply holding stations for incoming information. These stations should be located at the hub of activity in your home. For most, the kitchen is the hub where a host of activities happen and may be that perfect place.

The command center can look anyway you’d like it to. It can consist of drawers, stacking trays, mail sorters, baskets, or whatever resources you have available in the hub area. The end result should be a specific place for each category of item that comes in.

To start, first determine what categories of papers are forming a pile. Sit at your table with one of the piles in front of you. Begin sorting out the papers in to categories; school papers, bills, magazines, coupons, etc. Utilize the rule of keeping like with like.

When you have completed this exercise, you should become aware of which items have become the source of your piles. Here are some solutions for four common items:

School Work/Art Work-completed: Use a designated drawer in the kitchen to place all completed work. If a drawer is unavailable, use a decorative basket on the counter or a large tub or shoebox in a cupboard. Include your child by telling them this is your drawer/basket/box to place your completed work. This will inspire them to help place their papers there. Once the drawer or basket is getting full, you can revisit the work inside and decide which items are keepers and which are not. If space allows, have a drawer for each child.

School Work- In process: Stacking trays on the counter are great because the contents are easily seen and accessible by the child. This tray holds your homework packet for the week, fundraisers in progress, the reading book of the week, etc. Once the work is completed it’ll go in to the drawer.

Magazines or items to read: Have a magazine box on the counter to sort them right in to. If the box is too full because you haven’t had the time to read them before the next issue arrives, I suggest stopping the subscription and just buying the occasional copy at the newsstand. You might end up saving money in the long run.

Incoming Mail: Utilize two stacking trays for each adult in the family. One acts like their own personal in-box and the second will be for work in progress, bills to pay, etc. Once the item is no longer in progress and you still need to keep it, remove it and file it away.

When determining where to put things, convenience is a key factor. Have the storage location as close as possible to the where the activity takes place. This will increase your chances of putting it there.

Be proactive as soon as you see a pile forming again. Once you’ve taken the time to tame the “monster of clutter,” try not to feed it or it may come back to bite you!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Multitasking…Productivity Killer or Time Saver?

Multitasking can simply be defined as the ability to do more than one thing at a time. I often ask at my workshop if anyone in attendance prides themselves in being a great multitasker. This question is usually met with a few enthusiastic hands up. To be truthful, this is kind of a trick question. Multitasking has two sides…the “Good Multitasking” and the “Bad Multitasking.”

When looking at whether multitasking is good or bad, you have to first look at the situation and ask yourself if it is having a positive or negative impact on what it is you are trying to accomplish at that moment.

An example of “Good” multitasking could easily be demonstrated by watching the cook in the house. When preparing a meal, it is often necessary to stir a pot, peel a potato, read a recipe and wash a dish within minutes of each other. This is essential for the perfect timing of the meal and that all the dishes are orchestrated to the table at the same time. In this instance, multitasking is “Good” and will have a positive impact on the success of the meal.

On the contrary is “Bad” multitasking. If you spend your day stopping and restarting tasks because you are interrupted by the alert of an incoming email, text messages, phone call, or any other “shiny object”, you will find yourself unproductive and mentally drained at the end of your day. This type of multitasking is better labeled as “Switch-Tasking.” How often have you heard someone say “I worked so hard today and I feel like I did not get anything accomplished”? Well, if this is you, stop the insanity! The behavior is having a negative impact and is “Bad.”

To stop “Bad” multitasking from taking over your day, challenge yourself to focus on one task at a time. Have a visual reminder, such as a colorful stone, sitting on your desk. When you see it, it will prompt you to focus on the task at hand. Another great reminder tool is a pager -type device called the MotivAider™ . It’s worn on your waist and gently vibrates at various time intervals to remind you of your intention, such as “Am I making the best use of my time right now?”

Another successful technique is to set a time limit for completing the task you are about to embark on. By nature of having a timer holding you accountable, your competitive side will kick in to beat the clock and not let a distraction divert your attention. Try it for a day and see how it makes you feel!