Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking…

Simplify Your Life

It’s that time of the year again – Spring Cleaning. This weekend while I revamped our home office and started my version of spring cleaning, I couldn’t help but think about the connection between having an organized living space and having an organized life. Typically, people who live in a cluttered / unorganized space, often have a cluttered and unorganized life. Think about it.

So whether you’re organizing your office or your life, here are five tips to get you started.

Start in One Area

Don’t try to organize the entire house at once: pick a single area. In my case I started with our home office. Not only did I start in the office, but I started in one specific spot in the office, and worked my way around. I know it sounds crazy – and yes, I’m anal like that – but it works. When it’s done this way, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming…and you’re not hopping all over the place. And most important, you see your progress immediately.

Next on the spring cleaning list – our bathrooms and the master closet. I can’t wait! I can see my husband shaking his head already – Ha! At least he won’t have to move furniture this time.

Everything has a Place

Normally, we don’t accumulate a lot of clutter, and in my opinion, it has to do with everything having a place. Usually things only pile up if there is no designated spot for it…or if you don’t actually put it where it goes.  So there should be a place for important papers, keys, hats, cleaning equipment, etc. When you start your spring cleaning or start re-organizing areas in your house, make sure you identify a place for everything. Oh, and can I just say – if you have a junk drawer- get rid of it! There is no reason any household should have a junk drawer. If it’s junk, throw it out!

Keep, Donate, Sell or Toss It

I’m a big fan of tossing things! Depending on what it is, if you haven’t used it in two years, it’s safe to say you can get rid of it. Granted I know we often keep things because someone special in our lives gave them to us – but at some point, you have to ask yourself (especially if you don’t have the space for it), “Is this something I really need to hold on to, or can I get rid of it?”

The last time I revamped our office space, it revealed just how many books we owned. Though I absolutely love-love-love books, I had to make a decision – either let them continue to over flow from the numerous bookshelves, or get rid of some. So I kept some, gave some away, and those that I’m selling (ongoing) are organized in several see-through containers. Note: I do have a time frame for how long I’ll keep the containers of books.

Lastly, in regards to this tip, when you’re sorting things out, don’t just sort the piles into more piles, place them into various containers as you organize the space. Plan to touch each item one time. Have boxes, trash bags, or storage containers on hand for the items you’re going to donate, sell, or toss.

A Little At a Time

Trying to do too much at once doesn’t work – especially if de-cluttering or organizing doesn’t come natural for you. Break the project up into small, manageable pieces. For example, if your desk is cluttered, maybe work on that first, and then give yourself a break before you tackle one of the piles you have on the floor (assuming you have several piles on the floor).

Seek Help!

I know organizing is not for everyone, and some hate doing it more than they hate going to the dentist. So get some help. Why stress yourself out doing something you’re either not good at doing, or you hate doing?

Side Note – Being organize can save time, your sanity, and in some cases money. For example: the tip about everything having a place – think about the time you’d save if you had a designated place for your keys, or bills. Looking for things not only waste time, but it’s extremely stressful! Hmm, now that I think about it, this tip could save you money! Just think – no late fee because you couldn’t find a bill!

In all seriousness though – the most important thing to note is – when you de-clutter and organize your living space, something happens within you…it’s as if you can breathe and think better. I’m a true believer that when you de-clutter your space, you simplify your life.

Try it – one area at a time.

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March 14, 2012 - Posted by | Multi-tasking, organization, simplify | , , , , ,

20 Comments

  1. Good tips! It’s like the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I’m bad about not tossing things out, but I’m trying to get better. 🙂

    Comment by Delaney Diamond | March 14, 2012

    • Lol, Delaney! I love the quotes you come up with! As for tossing things out … it takes time. Keep practicing – you’ll get there. 🙂

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 14, 2012

  2. Excellent and manageable suggestions!! I’ll be reflecting upon “Simplify Your Life” as I approach my work day and when I return home!

    Comment by carmenraysofhope | March 14, 2012

    • Hey Carmen! I know from experience the tips work! And yes, think “Simplify Your Life” throughout the day and watch how you’ll be able to say no to things you don’t have time for; toss things you don’t need; and put your feet up and chill when you’ve done all you can do … for today!

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 14, 2012

  3. You are so right–I needed to read this!!! I am the queen of piles, and get so crafty disguising them in baskets around the house, especially when company comes!!! Oprah says if it takes more than a second and a half to decide whether to keep it or not, than you get rid of it…

    Comment by Kim Savignano | March 14, 2012

  4. Hey Kim!! You are too funny with your disguised baskets of piles! Actually that’s not a bad idea as long as the piles are temporarily disguised! Lol!

    I love me some Oprah, probably because she believes in getting rid of stuff! 🙂

    Comment by sharonccooper | March 14, 2012

  5. Great advice, especially Keep, Donate, Sell or Toss It. Now if I can just get my husband and my sons to do the same. ☺

    Comment by claireflaire | March 14, 2012

    • Lol, Claire! I’m sure you’re rub off on them eventually. 🙂

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 14, 2012

  6. Great advice. The books overflowing on the shelves was a jab for me. Time to make the piles , keep, toss, donate, sell. Help!

    Comment by Yolanda | March 14, 2012

    • Lol, Yolanda. Funny, I’ve been getting many comments today (via email) about my jabs – and I have no idea what you all are talking about!

      I would volunteer to help you with getting rid of some of your books, but because they are a weakness for me, I’d better stay clear. Because the piles would be – Keep, Toss, Sell, and Give to Sharon!

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 14, 2012

  7. No mention of the Container Store. I love that place and I think you do too. The article has inspired me. Thanks for the great tips.

    Comment by Pauline | March 14, 2012

    • Lol, Pauline!! Those who know me well know that THE CONTAINER STORE is my all time FAVORITE STORE! Believe me, I wanted to mention it, but there are few people out there who are sick and tired of me talking about The Container Store. Lol

      But since you mentioned it (smile), if anyone is planning ANY type of organizing project, I highly recommend a visit to The Container Store. Not only will you find organizing items you need, but even some you didn’t know you needed! Lol. Also, for those of you who have a junk drawer that you don’t know what to do with – take it to The Container Store (seriously) and they will help you organize it…or help you toss everything. 🙂

      Pauline, I’m glad you mentioned my favorite store!

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 14, 2012

  8. Love the way you think… “Simplify your life” Now that I have a break in my schedule and have some organizing time. I’m gonna get right on it. I have been saying I’m going to revamp my room and make an office space in it and I have truly been procrastinating. No longer this weekend I have a date with my room.

    Comment by Rhonda Johnson | March 14, 2012

    • Hey Rhonda! Yes, no more procrastinating – get it done! You’ll be happy you did!

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 14, 2012

  9. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. “You need to come and live with me!!!!” If only for six months. I will cook, you will organize. Together we could rule the world!!! 🙂

    Comment by Diolinda Monteiro | March 14, 2012

    • What’s up Dio?! Okay, okay, okay, I’ll come live with you – but I’ll have to bring my wonderful sidekick with me. 🙂 Besides, I’m sure he’s ready to head back to CA! Oh, and with your cooking – we’ll probably want to stay more than six months (just a heads up). And then together we could rule the world!!

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 15, 2012

  10. A simple life is a peaceful life, little or no stress. Thanks for the tips!

    Comment by Tanya | March 14, 2012

    • Ha Tanya…like you needed tips! If anything, you should’ve added some tips to the list … actually, it’s not too late!

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 15, 2012

  11. Great post, Sharon! Thanks for the tips. I followed your advice and organized the family junk drawer and the silverware drawer with inserts so everything has a special spot. This Friday, the Disabled Veterans are coming to pick up a bunch of discards we’ve accumulated this year. It really helps to focus on one small thing at a time.

    Comment by twtrifles | March 18, 2012

    • Congrats, Trish! I’m sure it feels great to free yourself from some of the clutter – and its wonderful that you’re donating some things! And don’t stop there – find another area in the house or your life to organize. You’ll feel better for it! Remember…one area at a time.

      Comment by sharonccooper | March 19, 2012


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