Monthly Archives: March 2016

It Is Clutter Awareness Week: Can you identify clutter?

“Clutter is postponed decisions.”
— Barbara Hemphill

This is National Clutter Awareness Week.  Most of us think we can identify clutter when we see it, but can we?

Kitchen BeforeLet’s take a look at some of the items we can identify in the picture above and determine:

Clutter or Correct Place?

Stack of Ziploc bags.  Although we use Ziploc bags in the kitchen, the extra boxes probably would be better stored in the pantry.  Clutter.

Sleeping bag.  Does a sleeping bag belong in the kitchen?  No.  Clutter.

Small filing system:  The filing system may very well belong in the kitchen even though our first instinct would be that it belongs in an office.  If the kitchen is where the homeowner pays bills and does their filing, then it makes perfect sense.  Correct Place.

Pest control product:  There may very well be pests in the kitchen, but the pest control product more appropriately should be stored away from food.  Clutter.

Large slow cooker:  If this appliance is used on a regular basis, then this is the perfect place for it.  If it is only used occasionally, then it should be placed in a more out-of-the-way place.  Correct Place.

Lots and lots of plastic storage containers:  Plastic containers are certainly used in the kitchen, however, the sheer quantity of containers we see in this picture pushes them into the clutter category.  Clutter and Correct Place

There were lots and lots of decisions to be made while working with this homeowner, but she was motivated and determined to take back her kitchen.  Here’s how we left it at the end of our work together.  She’s happy to report to me (on a regular basis) that her counters are still clear and her kitchen functions more as a kitchen and less as a storage area.  I’m so proud when my clients can maintain and improve upon the work we do together!

Kitchen 4 After

Cindy Jobs

Organize to Simplify RGB

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
 ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization

5 Tips to Survive the Time Change

spring-forward-clockI don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep this weekend!  I really, really enjoy a good 7-8 hours of sleep each night and cutting it back, even an hour, really messes with me.  I hesitate to say, it may even make me a bit cranky, so I decided to do some research on how to help myself.

Here are a few simple steps that may make the transition just a bit easier for you too.

  1.  Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier in the days leading up to Saturday night.  Make every effort possible to be get plenty of sleep the week before the time change.  How much sleep is that?  The National Sleep Foundation has some guidelines on that.
  2. Maintain your regular eating and sleeping schedule.  Eating earlier or later than your body is used to will cause it additional confusion.  Maintain healthy nutrition (like we shouldn’t do that every day!) so you body isn’t trying to combat a lack of sleep and nutrition at the same time.  If you normally go to bed at 11:00 and get up at 7:00, follow that schedule on Saturday/Sunday also.  Your body’s going through enough without changing that schedule too.  Plus, if you don’t maintain your Sunday schedule, Monday will be even more difficult!
  3. Get some additional exercise a few days leading up to Saturday.  Several studies site the benefits of exercise (but not right before bed) in helping our bodies and brains wind down faster, resulting in better sleep.
  4. Go outside.   Sunlight on your SPF-protected skin will help your body’s circadian rhythm get back in sync.
  5. Resist taking a long nap on Sunday.  Although we may be tempted to get that lost hour of sleep back by taking a nice, long nap on Sunday afternoon, resist the urge.  If you do feel like a nap is in order, keep it to around 20 minutes.  Anything longer will also mess with your circadian rhythm.

Other tips from Dr. Yoseph Krespi, Director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at Lenox Hill Hospital:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, yet avoid caffeine and alcohol later in the day.
  • Make your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary: dark, quiet, and cool (somewhere in the mid to upper 60’s is perfect).
  • Don’t tackle any complex tasks right before bed.  Your brain will find it more difficult to shut down.
  • Start unwinding an hour before bed.   Have a cup of chamomile tea, take a bath, relax. If you are relaxed vs. stressed when you actually make it to bed, your body will have less to do before going to sleep.

Although I’m not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep this weekend, I am looking forward to what it means . . . . Spring is right around the corner!  Bringing with it the promise of more sun and more time enjoying the great outdoors!

Cindy Jobs

Organize to Simplify RGB

Member Color - WebNational Association of Professional Organizers, Seattle Chapter President
 ICD_LogoTag_Horz_72 websiteCertified Premium Subscriber, Institute for Challenging Disorganization


Efficient Office Organization

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” 

Alexander Graham Bell

DTS 06.15.14 Laptop on Desk with PlantI work a lot in home offices and clients often ask me what it would take to make their space more efficient and functional.  It all boils down to  setting yourself up, physically and psychologically, for success.  Here are a few tips:

  1.  Whenever possible, select a space that fits your working style.  Do you need quiet and solitude?  Then find an out-of-the way spot or, ideally, an office with a door.  Do you need to have the hustle-and-bustle of other people?  Then find an office near high-traffic areas.  If you have a home-office, but also need hustle-and-bustle, plan part of your working day at the library or your favorite wi-fi enabled coffee shop.
  2. Define what you will be doing in the space (reading, typing, printing, filing, phone calls, etc.) and ensure that all the equipment you need to perform each task is in the same space.  It’s a big time-waster to have to leave your office to retrieve files or pick up your printing from another room.
  3. Furniture and Equipment:  Make sure your desk is at the right height, helping to ensure better posture.  Your office chair should have good support, be on wheels and swivel.  This will afford you better access to other equipment and tools you may need (printer, phone, supplies, file cabinet, etc.).  Be careful to not over-crowd the space, however.  Just because you can fit a recliner in your office for reading tasks, doesn’t mean you should.  Keep the space as open an inviting as possible.
  4. Ensure you have great lighting.  Task lighting is especially important in home offices where overhead lighting may not be placed directly above the work area.  I like OttLite products as they are both fun and functional, but choose whatever light works in your space.
  5. Invest in the right supplies in the right quantities.  Especially when we are working from home, we sometimes don’t keep the appropriate supplies on hand.  Invest in the best quality you can afford and have a back-up of critical supplies available.  There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of printing the proposal for tomorrow’s meeting and running out of ink or high-quality paper!
  6. When you walk into your office, be in the mindset that you are there to work.  Especially when we work from home, there is a tendency to co-mingle work and play time in our offices.  Although there’s nothing wrong with taking a quick break to check on your Facebook friends, give yourself a limit.  Remember, this time and space is set aside so you can be productive and achieve your goals.

When you prepare yourself and your office with efficiency and functionality in mind, success will follow!