My client today was distraught. She has been saving paperwork for decades that she realizes now she never needed to keep. For a few weeks now, she has been very harsh with herself while we have done our weeding. No matter how much I tell her that her problem is a very common one, she’s not even one of the worse cases I’ve seen, and that she should give herself a break, she keeps berating herself for hanging on to all these things. I have been trying to impress upon her that the only reason the papers have built up so much is that she went years without ever looking at them, and she doesn’t need to ever let that happen again. But all she can focus on is how “stupid and pathetic” she has been for keeping them all this time.

I came home from our session today, and I thought about how I’d spend the rest of the afternoon and evening. I remembered that I’d been meaning to do some gardening for a couple of days, but other things kept intervening. Now, as I got out of my car, I thought, “But I’d need to change out of my work clothes into my gardening clothes, and I really need to use the weed whacker but I’ve never done it before, and it looks like it might rain….” Then, probably with my client still on my mind, I realized that I didn’t need to do it all, I just needed to do some. I could always wash my clothes if they got dirty. And it couldn’t hurt to just get out the weed whacker and see how hard it was to use.

I spent about an hour out there, whacking (super easy and fun), weeding, transplanting, and watering. As I dug the dandelions, plantain, and other interlopers out of my lawn, I felt bad about how many weeds there were.* Did I do an inadequate job last spring and summer? Did I wait too long this year to get at them? I wondered if they would reseed and multiply faster than I could pull them out. I pulled out a small bucket’s worth and dumped them into the lawn waste bag. It was hard to stop, seeing how much more work had to be done, but it had to be enough. I had other things to do. I could do more tomorrow, weather permitting.

I don’t think I need to say anything more. Time to change out of my dirty clothes. 🙂

*Yeah, I live with other people, but no one else weeds the lawn. Either they don’t care much, or they assume I’ll do it.

Give Your Stuff Away Day & Free Organizing for Medford Residents

Hey everyone. I want to tell you about Give Your Stuff Away Day, a nationwide event for people to give stuff and get stuff, with no money changing hands. On Saturday, May 14, put good usable items you no longer want or need on your porch, steps, or curb. Then take a walk and go “shopping” for new things! (Please, for me, try to give more than you take!)

That same day also happens to be the National Association of Letter Carriers’ yearly food donation drive, which is fine, since GYSAD isn’t meant to include food. Just make sure you label things accordingly, and no taking food from other people’s porches!

I’ve created a Facebook event page for this. Please sign up there and tell your Facebook friends.


In honor of this event, I’m having a special contest just for Medford residents: Email me a list or photo of ten items that you have given away in the time between now and May 15. Your method isn’t important – give them to friends, donate them to Goodwill, use Freecycle, put them out for Give Your Stuff Away Day, whatever. But they have to be items worthy of donation, and you may not get paid for them. (A tax deduction is fine.) Also, cheating is wrong, mmkay?

If you’re not a client of mine yet, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free two-hour organizing session (value $120).

If you’re a past or current client, you will be entered into a drawing to win one free hour of organizing to be applied to your next session (value $60).

I have very few clients in Medford, so your odds will be excellent!

Holy cow, it’s been a long time.

I’m so sorry I’ve let this LJ languish! I’ve been spending a lot more time on Facebook. So make sure you “like” Find Your Floor over there. But I will try to post here more often, as well.

Some new developments:

I’ve started a blog called Weird Stuff I Have Found While Organizing. (Everything is posted with the client’s enthusiastic permission.)

I’ve been interviewed by my British friend Penelope.

I was in the “Housekeeping For Nerds” Panel at Arisia.

I’m going to be speaking at the Arlington Senior Center at 1:30 PM on Thursday, February 10, about organizing for seniors! The 30-45 min. talk is free and open to the public. The Senior Center is at 27 Maple St. (behind Town Hall), and their number is 781-316-3421.

Vacation, Schedule, Tip

Hey folks. I’ll be on vacation in Vermont from Thursday morning, August 12 through Sunday evening, August 15. My Internet access will be rare: if I’m lucky, maybe once a day, I’ll grab some wi-fi in the town library.

My next available dates are:
Mon. Aug. 16 from 9-2
Tues. Aug. 17 from 9-2
Wed. Aug. 18 from 9-3
Sat. Aug. 21 from 9-6 (extra weekend $5/hr charge applies)

Organizing tip o’ the day: Eliminate the word “should” from your vocabulary when you’re talking about yourself and your intentions. It is a sad word, and doesn’t work. Try “I’m going to” or “I want to” instead.

My Upcoming Availability and Tip O’ the Day

My upcoming schedule:
Friday July 23, 2:30 – 5:30
Sat. July 24, 2:30 – 5:30 (+$5/hr weekend charge applies)
Sun. July 25, 2:30 – 5:30 (ditto)
Mon. July 26, 9 – 3
Tues. July 27, 9 – 2:30
Wed. July 28, 1 – 4
Thurs. July 29, 9 – 1
Fri. July 30 – Aug. 2: Out of town

Tip o’ the Day:
Instead of focusing on what possessions you don’t like/need/love, think about the ones you DO. How do you feel about them mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically? You may find that an easier guideline for deciding what to keep than focusing on the negative. Comment on this if you like!

Upcoming Availability and Tip O’ the Day

Hi everyone!

My next available session days/times are:

Tues. July 6, 9:00 to 12:00;
Wed. July 7, 9:00 to 4:30;
Thurs. July 8, 9:30 to 4:30;
Fri. July 9, 9:30 to 6:00;
Sun. July 11, 9:00 to 6:00 (extra weekend rate applies).

(Times may need tweaking depending on where you’re located.)

Tip o’ the Day: If you want your kids to put their stuff away, you need to label the storage space with what you want to go where. You have a hard enough time deciding where to put stuff; don’t expect your kids to figure that out on their own. Everything can be labeled, even shelves, drawers, baskets, and canvas bins. And label with photos or drawings as well as words, definitely if your kids aren’t reading yet, but it can also help older kids.

Upcoming Availability & Tip o’ the Day

Mon, June 7: 1 to 6 PM
Tues, June 8: 9 AM to 2 PM
Wed, June 9: 9 AM to 1:30 PM
Thurs, June 10: 3 to 6 PM
Fri, June 11: 9:30 AM to 6 PM
Sat & Sun, June 12-13: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (but at the extra $5/hr weekend rate)

Organizing Tip: Keep a recycling bin wherever you sort your mail, and ditch the junk mail before you even put any of it down. It only takes seconds, and it will save you from growing the guilt-laden Mountain of Mail.

My Upcoming Availability and Tip o’ the Day

I’ve decided to start posting my availability for organizing sessions roughly once a week. If anyone objects to this, I can create a special filter for it. Comments welcome.

Tomorrow (Wed, June 2): 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Thurs, June 3: 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Fri, June 4: 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM
No availability this weekend (sorry!)
Mon, June 7 and Tues, June 8: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Tip o’ the day: If you ever label an object in your home as “a perfectly good [X],” you’re trying to justify keeping it when you don’t really need or want it. Let it go!

“Just Sorting” Option

Due to popular demand, I have decided to start offering an option for my services in which I focus entirely on sorting. There will be no coaching, and the client doesn’t even have to be present. Sorting-only is great for clients who find the process of side-by-side organizing to be too stressful, who feel like they can’t keep it up for an entire three- or four-hour session, or who just don’t have the time to devote to organizing along with me. I can do this on as large a scale as you like: entire rooms or houses. After I sort each time, you can go through the items at your leisure and decide what to do with them. I can do any items you have, but I think it’s especially useful for paperwork, containers or drawers of completely mixed up items, books, and even clothing if you need it sorted by size, household member, or season, and/or need me to weed out damaged items. (I also love matching up socks!)