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Single Steps Strategies Blog

Clutter Do’s and Don’ts

Thanks to Sandy Kutchman of Discover Organizing for submitting this wonderful insight on de-cluttering! You can read more about Sandy in her recent Step into the Spotlight article

Watch a discussion of Discover Organizing Inc.’s Organizing Tips with Sandy Kutchman and Jill Yesko, which includes some helpful advice on working while energized on your organizing projects. See the full list of clutter do’s and don’ts below.

 

Jill’s Clutter Do’s and Don’ts

10 CLUTTER DO’S

  1. Do work when your energy is good, and put some music on!
  2. Do get help – call a professional, a good friend, or a family member – it forces you to focus, and to make decisions you wouldn’t normally make.
  3. Do set the timer – have a beginning and an end to your decluttering!
  4. Do set up bins and receptacles – Keep, Toss, Donate, Sell, & Not Sure
  5. Do work on one area or room at a time. Set things near the door that need to go somewhere else, and take them there only after you are finished organizing the space you are in.
  6. Do work left to right, “reading the room”, then top to bottom.
  7. Do use the OHIO technique – Only Handle It Once.
  8. Do determine Need, Frequency, & Value of each item.
  9. Do contain and label everything that you possibly can so every item has a home.
  10. Do make ONE more pass through your Keep items before you are done, and repeat monthly afterwards!

10 CLUTTER DON’TS

  1. Don’t organize when you are tired or hungry!
  2. Don’t try to not tackle big jobs (attic, garage) alone.
  3. Don’t buy any new items (except food) until you are finished with your organizing project. 
  4. Don’t allow interruptions (phone calls, texts, emails) to distract you. Turn off your phone notifications or turn off the sound altogether.
  5. Don’t criticize yourself for having “so much stuff”, just keep moving, and be proud that you are doing something about it NOW.
  6. Don’t worry about not knowing how to organize – it is a skill, and it CAN be learned!
  7. Don’t think that because something is old, it cannot be used by someone else – donate it.
  8. Don’t run around the house giving items a new home once you have them in your hand – this will only distract you from the space you were in.
  9. Don’t put things in the attic or basement “for now” – they will be forgotten about, and they might get ruined if they are valuable.
  10. Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if you cannot stop hoarding and collecting things out of fear.

Download Jill’s list in PDF format

Raising Parents?

by  Mary Grace Musuneggi

Have you ever noticed that in a family of 5 brothers and 1 sister, that when the time comes to be the Caretaker for Mom and Dad, the most likely choice will be the sister? It really doesn’t matter if she is a single parent with 3 children of her own, has a full-time job, and that she baby-sits her youngest brother’s children on the weekends, when he has to work. And if the sister is by chance single, with no children, then she is the ultimate choice, after all she doesn’t really have anything going on in her life anyway.

How Caretakers are Determined 
Now in all fairness to our male counterparts, and because sometimes tradition dictates, the Caregiver can be the eldest sibling, just by nature of the birth order; or the youngest as he or she was the last to leave home and so has a closer relationship with the parents. 
 
Living out of state, or already taking care of your elderly in-laws, usually takes you out of the running. But being the only child means you are it. No matter how, no matter what, no matter where. 

Willingness to Care 
And yet I am grateful that personally I know of no children who wouldn’t willingly want to care for their parents if the time and need arose. A way of saying “thank you” for all the parents had done for the children. A way of giving back. The hope that when their time comes, that someone will be there to take care of them. 
 
But willing is not always able. And when the time comes, it is one awesome task. There are financial, ethical and sometimes even legal and moral dilemmas that arise. Decisions to be made. Tack on to this, if you are part of the sandwich generation, that you are trying to care for the parents, put the kids through college, plan for your retirement, and somehow pursue what dreams you may have for your own life. 
 
During the months of May and June, we are reminded of our multiple roles as women. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Graduation Day, we see ourselves as Mothers, and Daughters, and Granddaughters, and Aunts, and Sisters, and Wives, and Significant Others. How amazing we are to be so much to so many!  

Completing a Puzzle

By Lisa Purk

Comfort.  
 
In truth, we seek it daily.  Some days we do so more than on other, more routine days.  The things we do to find comfort is wide ranging. 
 
When seasons shift toward cooler temperatures, we crave our favorite comfort foods like chili or homemade vegetable soup.  We nestle in near a warm fireplace to watch movies or read.  When we experience pain, loss, or uncertainty in our life, we seek the comfort of a good friend.  When my mom died, I happened across a song by Ed Sheeran titled, Supermarket Flowers, that caused tears to flood my cheeks.  Yes, even tears bring us comfort at times we need to soothe our hurting souls. 
 
During this time in history marked by staying isolated in our homes and physically disconnected from others, even those we love deeply, we seek comfort. With a continual flow of changes that we do not fully understand and the uncertainty those cause, we need something that gives us peace, something that comforts us. 
 
Sometimes, such as we do in colder months, that comes in our food choices.  Yes, I have had some brownie eating, potato chip binging days.  But for reasons there is no need to detail, I chose not to rely on food, as tempting as it is. 
 
One day, as I scrolled social media for distraction, I observed that building jigsaw puzzles had become a popular quarantine activity of choice. 
 
It had been quite a few years since I completed one, but the memories were good.  My mom, who I cried the Supermarket Flowers tears for, is one reason.  She and I built many of them together over good conversation and much laughter. 
 
“Would I still enjoy them” I wondered to myself.  I decided to try and was quickly reminded that when I build one, I become completely engaged.  Completely.  
 
Just the other evening I thought, “I’ll just sort out the edge pieces” which turned into, “I’ll just start to build the frame” which became two plus hours ending with, “Wow, did I just spend that long working on that?”   
 
As I search for and place each next piece, I am freed from anxious and worried thoughts.  Even fear steps aside as I stay totally immersed in solving what is before me. 
 
When I find myself perseverating on a worry thought or I am fatigued from a day’s activities, I lose myself in organizing colors, looking for patterns and building sub-sections.  I notice a sense of anticipation when it is time to put aside the day’s activities and escape to that place where I forget about life for a while.     
 
When you find your mind is spinning and you want it to “stop” for a while, finding what offers this chance to escape matters.  Maybe like me, you enjoy the respite a good puzzle brings.  Or, maybe for you it is reading, baking, or crocheting.  Possibly your choice involves other people or is more active rather than sedentary.  There are no “rights” or “wrongs” about this.  But it is important that you have something that allows you to rest, rejuvenate and regroup. 
 
Your first step to retreating from the fatigue and concerns of life is to know what provides that for you.  
 
Puzzles are not my only way to escape.  Hiking, biking and long chats with good friends do as well. 
 
And sometimes, it is still the warm, fudgy brownie that calls my name.  And for that, I give myself grace. 


Lisa Purk is the Owner of Inner Fire Coaching.  She coaches women who want to develop the confidence to align their lives with their authentic self and pursue their creative passions.
 
You can find out more about Lisa through her blog, Your Morning Purk, on Facebook, and on Linked In.