6 Tasks to Create Organizing Momentum This Week!

October in the Midwest is my favorite time of year.  We enjoy crisp air, blue skies and amazing colors.  But if you’ve lived here long enough, you realize the beauty of Fall is God’s way of softening the blow of Winter.    Cold weather will soon be upon us, and that means, among other things, a lot more time spent indoors.

So use this week as a super-powered jump start to your organizing projects, and try one of these 6 Tasks to Create Organizing Momentum!

  1. Get your closet ready for colder weather, and finish (or start and finish!) your seasonal clothes swap.  Pull out your summer clothes to make room for your cold weather ones, and critically review the summer stuff, tossing or donating anything you don’t need, use or love.
  2. Winterize your landing / launch pad, too.  Swap out the baseball caps and sunscreen by the back door for hats and mittens. Again, review the summer stuff critically and toss / donate the stuff you don’t need, use or love.
  3. Pantry shopping:  This time of year feels like the time to stock up, but I challenge you to instead clean out the pantry, fridge and freezer for the next few weeks. Use up what you have before buying more. Use food before it expires, save money by not buying new food, clear cabinet clutter –  the ultimate de-clutter strategy for your kitchen!
  4. Prep your car(s) for winter. Pack a safety bag including but not limited to: a blanket, sweatshirt, extra phone car-charger, umbrella, gloves, non-perishable snacks and a bottle of water, tissues, wipes and hand lotion, and snow scraper.
  5. Call and make appointments with your service people this week.  Call the handyman, the furnace guy or the carpet cleaners, and get on the schedule now before their schedules fill up with the holidays.
  6. Drop off Your Donations, and Recycle your Recycling.  Have you decided to get rid of something in your home?  Go ahead and move it along this week.  Selling that air hockey table or those Halloween costumes? Have bags of clothes to donate to a charitable organization?  Or a pile of old computer components and cords?  Send it all on its way! Making decisions is the hardest part of getting organized, so if you’ve made decisions about things that need to go – either donated, sold, recycled or just trashed – then please, spend an hour, load up the car and drop those items off.  Get them out of your house and on to where they will be useful again.

So, what’s it going to be?  Let’s send clutter on its way, and create organizing momentum to get things done!

Keep Me Accountable: I WILL Get Through My Non-Fiction Reading Pile This Summer!

I LOVE to read. I read quickly, and retain a lot.  An exercise in 9th grade English found me skimming a novel and giving a verbal report by the end of the class period.  Much to my children’s delight, I knocked out the 7th Harry Potter in 10 hours the day it was released, taking time out to make and serve dinner for 12.

Summer afternoons spent reading a book appeal just as much to grown-up me as they did to 10-year-old me.

I have to come clean, though – lately I’m better at finding time for fiction novels than I am at getting through my personal / professional development reading pile, see picture below.  Last weekend, when I could have been catching up on non-fiction….I read three fiction novels back to back.  So, I know I CAN read quickly and thoroughly, I’ve just been using this superpower for evil, not for good.  Or at least not-so-good instead of good.

Why Read, and specifically Why Read Non-Fiction?

  • Reading can expand and sharpen our mind;
  • Reading keeps me informed about experts and current events in my profession;
  • Reading lets us spend time with the words from smart people;
  • Making time to read sets an example for my sons for life-long learning; and
  • Reading offers new ideas and knowledge, which we can use and / or share.

If this is a challenge you face, too, let’s work on it together this summer.  Here’s how I plan to get through my reading pile, and you can too:

Embrace Technology:005

Books:  A lot of my reading “pile” is now on my IPad Kindle App, so at least it’s a tidier “pile”.  (At this moment, my Kindle non-fiction includes Real Moms Making Real Money Blogging At Home In their Pajamas by Stephanie ODea, and The 100 Thing Challenge by David Bruno).  When possible, I purchase new books as eBooks on Amazon, so I can take them everywhere.  I check out eBooks from my local library, too, instantly and for free.   My wonderful Mother-In-Law told me about Bookbub.com last weekend, and after setting up my profile and reading preferences, I get a daily list of free and sale-priced eBooks.

When I come across references to books I’d like to read, I’ve started adding them to my Amazon wish-list, to purchase or check out of the library someday. (Most recently, Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin, and Take The U Out of Clutter by Mark Brunetz.)

Magazines: I’m encumbered by magazines lately, so I’m slowly phasing out print publication subscriptions.  This month’s 006magazines lurk on the shelf above my desk, silently reproving me for their neglect.  As an organizer, I know I could just toss them all, or move the pile so they’d stop lurking, but as a voracious reader, I can’t just toss them!  Today I took them off the shelf and started skimming, however, to pare down the backlog.  Also, I receive some subscriptions via email now, where I am quicker at skimming then deleting.

Keeping Notes:

My habit is to take notes as I read, or pull magazine pages out to keep information until I can act on it.  And therein lies the challenge – I end up with notes or piles of magazine pages that I still have to process in some way before letting them go.  So, I have been using my Evernote account even more lately, to store articles or notes, and my Pinterest Board to keep images for some later use.  I still have to DO something with this info, but at least it’s in electronic form, and not creating another pile.

Making Time:

I don’t read books or magazines on weekdays because there’s always work to do. So evenings and weekends are when I read, but that is typically Facebook / TV / IPad video streaming time.  My June habit will be to swap out the mindless streaming with reading, at least until I’m caught up.

Ok, in the title, I asked you to keep me accountable, so I will be reporting on my progress over the next month.  I had hoped to finish in June, but looking at the pile has me a bit intimidated.  But I will stick with the June 30 deadline, just to keep me on track.