Posts Tagged ‘get organized’

The Clutter Buster That No One Talks About

Monday, June 6th, 2016

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Hi there, I’m Carmen Coker, professional organizer and creator of The Clutter Cleanse®. And whether you have a little bit of clutter, a lot of clutter, or anywhere in between, you are in the right place! Because I’d like to share something with you that will challenge the way you think about clutter from this point forward.

There is a story about an old Cherokee who was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them: “A battle is raging inside me. It is a terrible fight between two wolves.

“One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The old man fixed the children with a firm stare. “This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win the battle?”

The old Cherokee replied: “The one you feed.”

Now, you may be thinking: “Nice story. But what does this have to do with getting organized, simplifying life, and finding time?” A lot, actually, if you look at the story this way…

I have a battle raging inside of me, and it is a terrible fight between two wolves.

One wolf represents clutter, and all the things that come with it like: chaos, stress, frustration, loss, pain, wastefulness, hassles, ineffectiveness, and overwhelm.

The other stands for order, and all the things that come with it like: clarity, peace, gain, pleasure, usefulness, waste-lessness, ease, efficiency, and simplicity.

This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too.

Which wolf will win, you ask? The one you feed.

Your Easy Organizing Challenge™ is to think about how you can feed order in your life, so that you can enjoy all the goodness that comes with it. Then, put your thoughts into action by consciously choosing organization over clutter, simplicity over chaos, and finding time over wasting time.

If you want help accomplishing this Easy Organizing Challenge™, then let me turn your attention to a challenge of another kind. To start feeding the “right” wolf and start getting rid of clutter once and for all, follow the arrow [see below] to take The 3-Day Simplify-Your-Life Challenge™. It’s free, and it will put you on the right path!

This is Carmen Coker, signing off, we’ll see you next time.

© 2007 -2016 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! Take the FREE 3-Day Simplify-Your-Life Challenge™, and get more organized, find more time, and enjoy more simplicity in your life…in just 3 days!

Let Oprah Help You Get Organized With This

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Hi there, I’m Carmen Coker, professional organizer and creator of The Clutter Cleanse®.

And if you’ve been having trouble getting organized, if you’ve been procrastinating about getting organized, or if you are like me and you just enjoy a good inspirational message, then you are in the right place. Because I’d like to share something with you that will do just that – inspire and motivate you to get organized.

Oprah Winfrey once said: “What we dwell on is who we become.”

The word “dwell” is a very poetic and almost old-fashioned word, one that you likely don’t use in everyday vocabulary. But don’t be fooled by romantic notions – it is a word that has powerful consequences.

To dwell means “to exist in a given place or state” or “to fasten one’s attention.” And, in this case, it’s a verb – it’s an action for which you must make a conscious choice to do or to not do.

Which means, if you are a dweller, you will create one of two outcomes for yourself – a choose-your-own-adventure of sorts. On the one hand, you can create positive results if used for good, like dwelling in a success mindset. On the other hand, you can create negative results if used for bad, like dwelling in self-pity.

So let me ask you: Do you dwell on or in chaos and clutter, or do you dwell on or in simplicity and serenity? If you want to get organized, your choice – your conscious choice – will make all the difference in the world.

Now, if you have been dwelling in clutter, and you want to make a change to dwelling in simplicity, then follow the arrow [see below] to take The 3-Day Simplify-Your-Life Challenge™. It’s free, and it will put you on the right path.

This is Carmen Coker, signing off, we’ll see you next time.

© 2007 -2016 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! Take the FREE 3-Day Simplify-Your-Life Challenge™, and get more organized, find more time, and enjoy more simplicity in your life…in just 3 days!

5 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Home Right Now

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Hi there, I’m Carmen Coker, professional organizer and creator of The Clutter Cleanse®.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Jane. She, like you, wants to get organized. Together, we’re going to cover the top five residential “trouble spots” for clutter, and what you can do to organize them.

The good news is – you don’t need one of these [wrecking ball] to accomplish this goal.

First up, the home office.

The problem: Overcrowded libraries with books, magazines, and files as well as large electronics like computers, printers, and shredders translate to little useable, extra space.

The solution: Toss magazines and newspapers first, as they are normally the easiest to part with and will give you a motivating “win” to start. Give away unwanted books to charity. If your budget allows, consider switching out a desktop computer for a laptop, opening up more room. Dust, label, and arrange the computer cables in an attractive manner.

Second, the bedroom closet.

The problem: Closets always seem to feel too small, especially to the ladies. I’m talking to you with the big shoe collection!

The solution: Remove out-of-season clothing and accessories, and place them elsewhere in the home. Relocate or purge any items that don’t belong in a clothes closet, like sports equipment, papers, and junk. Then situate the remaining in-season items as if on display in your favorite store or magazine.

Next, the kitchen.

The problem: As the heart of the home, the kitchen sees high-traffic volumes – and it normally looks worse for wear.

The solution: Make your kitchen into an orderly command center. Remember: you want to make sure that your kitchen has everything you need to survive a crisis, not that it looks like you just went through one. Rethink any small appliances you don’t use on a daily basis. Chuck the junk mail, and use a tidy basket to hold bills and other essential paperwork.

Fourth, the garage.

The problem: The garage is a catch-all for…well, everything.

The solution: Pull everything out of the garage, purge the clutter, and then separate the remaining items into categories like auto accessories, camping equipment, yard tools, recycling containers, etc. Find a home for and use tasteful storage to display each category. The key to organizing a garage is to make use of the elevated space, like the walls for storage racks and the ceiling for a false attic.

Fifth and final, the yard. Which most people don’t consider, actually, and that’s really…

The problem: It’s easy to ignore the dead patch of grass in the backyard because you have more pressing matters, but the outside of a home is reflective of the inside of a home.

The solution: Have a “discovery session,” where you walk around your house, making a list of necessary outdoor improvements. Then schedule a daily to-do on your calendar, or outsource the tasks – this is a great chore for kids – until all items are crossed off.

See, I promised. So simple even Jane can do it! And the best part? No wrecking ball necessary.

This is Carmen Coker, signing off, we’ll see you next time.

© 2007 -2016 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! Take the FREE 3-Day Simplify-Your-Life Challenge™, and get more organized, find more time, and enjoy more simplicity in your life…in just 3 days!

5 Timeless Lessons About Simplicity From Albert Einstein

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

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In today’s fast-paced world, it is normal to crave simplicity and serenity – and lots of it. The modern view of “simplifying life” focuses less on doing without (unless that is your preference) and more on slowing down, enjoying balance, and experiencing fulfillment. Here are five timeless lessons about simplicity from Albert Einstein – and how you can apply his genius to your own life, simplified.

1) Learn to say “no”.

Einstein’s connection with the Jewish people was said to be the strongest bond in his life, yet when he was offered the presidency of Israel, he politely declined the invitation.

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] A lot of people say time management is getting more done in less time. Wrong emphasis! In reality, using time wisely is getting more – more of what is really important to you – done, and ignoring the rest. Only say “yes” to commitments that support your personal priorities and values, and say “no” to those commitments that don’t – even if it is as important as a presidency.

2) Change things up.

Einstein once explained his idea of insanity as: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] It’s true – if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got. If you want to simplify and get organized, yet you keep doing the same things that hold your life in chaos, then your life will never change. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new, better, and different in the realm of simplicity – something that will stretch your idea of what is possible.

3) Use smart systems.

Witnesses claim Einstein did not rely on memory to recall his phone number – he referenced a phone book instead.

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] With an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day, there is a lot of competition for attention inside your head. While your brain is an amazing organ, the odds are stacked against you that you will remember everything important. Find or create your own system to track essential information, even if it is as basic as using a phone book!

4) Take regular breaks.

It is believed that Einstein conceived the theory of relativity, not while holed up inside a high-tech laboratory, but rather while riding his bicycle.

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] Although it may seem counter-intuitive, our minds need an occasional rest in order to remain alert, productive, and creative. Schedule regular 20-minute breaks into your daily schedule, using your break time to truly disconnect from your work with fun activities to boost your energy and cognitive power like meditation, a water-cooler chat, or a short Einstein-approved bike ride.

5) Visualize what you want.

Einstein’s greatest breakthroughs in science were born from Gedankenexperiment, or visual experiments carried out in his mind.

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] For many years, visualization techniques have been used in areas like health, athletics, education, business, the arts, and science to break boundaries, create positive change, and facilitate success – amongst others. Visualize your path to simplicity, envision reaching beyond the grasp of chaos and clutter, and take your simplify-life results to the next level.

© 2007-16 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! Take the FREE 3-Day Simplify-Your-Life Challenge™, and get more organized, find more time, and enjoy more simplicity in your life…in just 3 days!

Lazy Ways To Get Organized

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

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Lazy Ways to Get Organized

Even if you don’t feel you have the time, money, motivation, or inclination to get organized, there are plenty of low-effort, big-win strategies for banishing clutter, saving time, and being productive.

Part 1: Shopping

Clutter starts at the store. You buy something you don’t need or even truly like … something you might need down the road, but never end up using … something you thought you would return if you didn’t like it, but you lost the receipt instead. Now, lots of these little “somethings” morphed from a good idea in the store to clutter taking up valuable space in your life.

1. Remove one.
On average, a shopper makes three impulse purchases during 40% of store visits. Before you head to the checkout, whether it’s online or in-store, look at your shopping cart and remove one item you grabbed spontaneously.

2. Walk away.
Everyone loves a good bargain. However, almost 90% of all impulse buys are made because the item is on sale. If you discover your favorite store is having a sale, and you know if you “check it out,” you’ll be tempted to buy yet another pair of cute shoes – walk away from the sale.

3. Pay cash.
According to the Journal of Consumer Research, it’s psychologically more painful to pay with paper, where the loss is more tangible, than it is to pay with plastic, where the loss is more abstract. Leverage this pain to crush the urge to go overboard on your shopping trips.

4. List it.
Stores know how to capture easy prey – you. Unplanned purchases are heavily influenced by the sights, sounds, and smells of the displays. Don’t get caught in the trap! Making a shopping list and sticking to it will ensure you make it safely to the checkout line without extras in your cart.

Part 2: Space & Stuff

While clutter starts at the store, it multiplies at home. It tends to slowly creep up on you. At first, it’s just in the corner or on the table. No big deal, right? Then it spreads … amplifies … irritates … embarrasses … disgusts … until you simply can’t “take it” anymore.

5. Move forward.
Whether you have high, medium, or low levels of clutter – no matter – it’s still easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of getting organized. Create a charity bin, and choose one thing each day to place inside of it. It’s better to focus on one piece of clutter a day and continually move toward your organizing goals, than it is to get overwhelmed and stop completely.

6. Smooth move.
In any given day, you typically putter from room to room in your house without a second thought. Instead, make a conscious choice to declutter as you go. As you leave one area, pick up an item that doesn’t belong and take it to the place in which it does. No extra steps necessary!

7. Stop mail.
The average American receives 49,060 pieces of mail in their lifetime, and one third of it is junk mail. Save your counter space and time by using a free service like Catalog Choice, which streamlines the opt-out process for you so that you don’t personally have to contact each company individually.

8. Skip traditional.
People tend to write or type lists, instructions, or requests. The process to do this – as well as any resulting paper required – takes up valuable minutes and space. Use your cell phone to record, save, or send out grocery lists, after-school chore instructions, or honey-dos via free mobile apps like Dragon Dictation. It’s much faster than traditional options, plus you won’t lose the note!

Getting organized takes work – but the time you dedicate to the process doesn’t need to feel like a second job. If you make these behaviors into habits, think of the space (and money! and time!) you’ll save in the end.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

The Worst Can’t-Get-Organized Excuse You Can Make

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

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The Worst Can't-Get-Organized Excuse You Can MakeNeed perpetual inspiration? Download the above graphic here for your personal use.

Has this inspired you to get organized? I’d love to find out! Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and other comments below.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

Busted! Common Clutter Offenders

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

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Busted! Common Clutter Offenders

What do ketchup, hairspray, and cleaning wipes have in common? They are just three of many everyday household items that tend to exist in half-empty states, often with their “twin” or “triplet” nearby.

So…instead of one full ketchup bottle, you have two partially-filled ones. Instead of one hairspray, locked and loaded, you have three that individually are a weak shot. Instead of one brimming container of cleaning wipes, you have four in various states of emptiness.

Sometimes, your home can become like a proverbial Noah’s Ark, where you bring in and store things two by two. Today’s easy organizing challenge is to go through your home – check bags, boxes, bottles, and bins – to find five candidates for consolidation. Ask yourself: where can two (or more) become one?

If you need some quick ideas, here are common clutter offenders:

  1. Liquid soaps,
  2. Shampoos,
  3. Hair styling products,
  4. Lotions,
  5. Facial cleansers,
  6. Medications,
  7. Makeup,
  8. Office supplies,
  9. Cleaning solutions,
  10. Detergents,
  11. Paints,
  12. Alcohol,
  13. Condiments,
  14. Dressings,
  15. Sauces,
  16. Beverages,
  17. Cereals,
  18. Snacks,
  19. Chips,
  20. Crackers,
  21. Cheeses,
  22. And more! This is certainly not an all-inclusive list…

Warning! There are times when you legitimately need two or more of something because you are stocking up or like to have a reserve. That’s not the issue here – focus on where you have two or more parts of the same thing, parts that can easily combine to make a whole.

Want Bigger Results? Instead of finding just five candidates for consolidation, try finding ten. Not once, not twice, but three times this week.

© 2015 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

Finding Time – As Seen In The Washington Post

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

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Would you agree that FINDING TIME for your most important life goals is often difficult to do when you are juggling a busy schedule?

What’s worse, for the time-starved, the ick factor doesn’t just stop at the basic frustration of not finding time! These nasty feelings come right along with it:

  • Unfulfilled (Am I ever going to…? I said I wanted to do that years ago.)
  • Uninspired (I do the same thing day in, day out. I can’t ever seem to squeeze in some fun!)
  • Unhappy (This is not the way I want my life to be. I want to dream, explore, live! But instead I feel like I’m just existing.)
  • Undone (I always do and do for everyone else, but what about me?!)
  • Unorganized (Others seem to be moving and shaking through life. Am I the only one who can’t get it together?)

There’s no doubt about it – if you remain disconnected from your life goals and aspirations, big or small, you will always feel unbalanced and unsatisfied.

Take Deb Hardy, for example. Deb is a 48-year-old creative spirit who lives in Seattle. When I first met Deb, by day, she enjoyed her job at a large technology firm, so much so that she put all her energy into it. But, by night, she had little to nothing left for anything else when she got home, except a little TV watching and internet surfing.

What Deb discovered was that work, TV, and internet didn’t truly feed her soul – she really wanted to find time for art. She explained that “I’ve started to feel like a fraud. I call myself an artist, but I’m not making any art.”

Compounding her general dissatisfaction, Deb admitted: “I have this mental block, where I feel life is all about obligation, drudgery, doing what I should do, making other people happy, never disappointing anyone. I must have been a Puritan in a former life.”

Can you relate? All work and no play, well…you know the how the saying ends.

Fortunately, through The Washington Post’s Timehacker project, I was paired with Deb to help her solve the problem of finding time to live her life more fully and creatively.

Here are the top finding-time tips and takeaways from our sessions:

  1. Identify your top five values. Once you do, it’s easier to see if your actions are in line with your values. And if they’re not, once you have a clearer idea of what’s important, you’ll have more impetus to change.
  2. Schedule time for fun first, before anything else. Otherwise, you’re trying to “squeeze” it in, and that rarely works. When you schedule something, it shows it’s significant to you, and you’re more likely to follow through and make it real.
  3. Figure out what you have to let go of in order to make time for what you really want. Ask people you trust for their honest opinions and constructive feedback of how you spend your time.
  4. Find the space, not just in the calendar, but the physical space, to create art, and make the space inviting and organized, so you’ll be drawn to spend time there.

You can read more about Deb’s journey to finding time, including how she applied the above tips (and more!) to her life and what challenges she overcame in doing so, in the full article in The Washington Post.

In the end, Deb realized that she had not made “fun and play a priority for many, many years.” Which is why, she created this artwork to inspire:

Finding Time – As Seen In The Washington Post  Artwork by Deb Hardy

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted. Well said, Deb! Truth is, you can’t be your most productive self unless you take time to relax, rejuvenate, and regroup – and enjoy your life goals as you go.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

Change This, And You’ll Get Organized Fast

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

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Have you ever said to yourself: “I’ll organize this when I get a minute”?

But…that minute never comes?

And…you find yourself still complaining about or bothered by the clutter days, weeks, months, or even years later?

To get organized, you don’t just need the know-how. You need the right mindset. In other words, a little bit of: “LET’S DO THIS”!

Truth be told, you can have all the best organizing tips and tools in this world – heck, you could even have your own personal organizer by your side each day, telling you exactly what to do to get organized, save time, and simplify life – but you won’t get the kind of results you crave if you don’t:

Change This, And You'll Get Organized FastNeed perpetual inspiration? Download the above graphic here for your personal use.

Has this inspired you get organized? I’d love to find out! Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and other comments below.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

5 Minutes To More Organized

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

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5 Minutes To More Organized

The battle drums are rumbling…it’s time to suit up for clutter combat. Let Operation Organize commence! Rest assured, this is one battle that will reduce the amount of clutter in your life – quickly.

TheFreeDictionary.com defines the word “blitz” as an intense campaign. Today’s easy organizing challenge is to select one area of your home at random, and for five laser-focused minutes, de-clutter with all your might.

Go crazy, and do not let anything stand in the way of your blitz victory. If necessary, and to conquer more of the battlefield, call in reinforcements (kids, spouse, friends) to help.

  • The games in the toy room that you trip over daily – blitz it!
  • The utensil drawer in your kitchen that never closes – blitz it!
  • Your messy jewelry box – blitz it!
  • Your sock drawer – blitz it!
  • The mountain of old sticky notes – blitz it!
  • The stack of magazines you’ve been meaning to whittle down – blitz it!
  • The time commitment that has become a time sink – blitz it!

Enjoy the full-out assault on your clutter, and celebrate when you can proclaim MISSION COMPLETE.

Want Bigger Results? Instead of leading a five-minute blitz, try a 20-minute one. Not once, not twice, but five times this week.

© 2015 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.