I had the chance to hang out with Smead and two of my fabulous organizing/productivity colleagues a few weeks ago. We did a video chat using Google Hangout and answered questions submitted all about organizing and productivity around the general theme of Spring Cleaning. It was a lot of fun! And we shared lots of great information to help you be more productive this spring in your home, office and life. Get the 411 here!

 

Are you unable to find things when you need them?
Are you always moving stacks of paper?
Do you want to live in a pleasing space?

Just in time for Spring Cleaning, author and professional organizer, Lisa Montanaro, is presenting a FREE program on simplifying, organizing and enhancing your life on Monday, 1:00 PM at the Orangeburg Library, 20 S. Greenbush Rd., Orangeburg.

She’ll have information on pre-ordering a copy of the book and getting on the “Red Carpet List” or joining The Ultimate Life Org book club. Call (845) 359-2244 to register.

Please call the library at 845-359-2244, Ext. 10 to register. See more details.

Everything ends. But there are always new beginnings. ~ Ralph Bellamy

Spring marks the transition from winter into summer.  It is a time that most of us equate with renewal, increasing day length, and a symbolic changing of the seasons.  Spring is seen as a time of growth, when new life (both plant and animal) are born.  The term is also used more generally as a metaphor for the start of better times.  For many, it is also a time for cleaning and organizing – i.e., the Spring Fling!

During the winter, we tend to stockpile.  It is in our nature.  Chances are you’ve got some clutter left over at work, at home, in your car, on your computer, and in your head.  This is an ideal time to do some eliminating.  The old adage, “Out with the old, in with the new” definitely applies this season.  To help you with your Spring Fling, the following are some tips for clearing the clutter.  

  • Purge Your Paper Inbox – When is the last time you’ve seen the bottom of your paper inbox at work and at home?  Make it a goal this spring.  Develop a paper management system to try to keep it that way.
  • Eliminate Email Clutter – Schedule some time to clear your email inbox.  Delete unnecessary emails, capture contact information, delegate tasks that can be done by someone else, send those “replies” finally, and set up filters and folders to avoid back-log in the future.  Once you get your email inbox down to one page (where you can see all emails without having to scroll down), try to maintain it.
  • Go on a Calendar Diet – Take a look at your busy calendar and try to clear 2-3 social or work obligations that you said “yes” to that you now realize you should not have.  We all do it (yes, even the professional organizer/time management expert!).  Time is limited and precious, so think carefully about what you want to fill it with.
  • Switch Clothes – If you have not already done so, this is the perfect time to switch your clothes from the cold weather items to the warm weather ones.  Make 4 categories: Purge (damaged clothes), Donate (clothes that do not fit, you do not like, or that are out of style, but can be worn by those in need), Keep (clothes that fit, that you love and wear often), and Dry Cleaning/Tailoring (clothes that need to be professionally dry cleaned or mended). 
  • Retire the Christmas Decorations – You think I am kidding on this one.  I am not.  You know who you are.  If the Christmas decorations are still up outside or inside your home, it is high time you put them away.  Go do it, now.  Your neighbors will thank you.
  • Take Care of Your Taxes – Yes, the official tax-filing deadline for personal income taxes is April 15, which means you still have time! If you can’t meet that deadline, you are looking at an extension, which means filing this summer — do you want taxes hanging over your head that much longer?  Stop procrastinating!  Gather the documents to get those taxes done.  And for those of you that already filed, purge old tax records that no longer need to be saved (check with your accountant, but generally, the average person needs to maintain 7 years of tax records in case of an audit claiming fraud).  Don’t forget to shred!  
  • Declutter the Car – You will be passing many car washes held by various charities this time of year.  You’d like to get your car cleaned, but you don’t want anyone to see the inside!  Sound familiar?  Clear that car clutter.  Empty out the garbage that has accumulated, bring in items that you purchased that are sitting in bags in the trunk, and return all sorts of “stuff” to its place in the home or office that found its way into your car.  Ah, now go get that car wash or, better yet, treat yourself to a full car detailing.   
  • Organize Outlying Areas – Clear clutter in the garage and shed so that you can find the things you need this spring and summer.  Take out the patio furniture and grill, dust off the bikes, and put away the snow blower.  If you can’t reach the lawnmower, chances are you will not use it as much.  You may have put the Christmas decorations away, but with that jungle you call a yard, your neighbors will still not like you very much.
  • Mend the Medicine Cabinet – Clear out any winter medications that you stockpiled, such as cough medicine and cough drops that have expired.  Ditto for prescription medications that have expired.  Buy yourself some new sunscreen, as that also has a limited shelf life.
  • Makeup Makeover – Makeup attracts bacteria.  Therefore, purge any makeup that is “old.”  While there is no exact life span for makeup, if you haven’t used it in a year, it is time to go.  For more exacting makeup safety guidelines, visit the Women’s Forum.
  • Overhaul Your Toothbrush – You should replace your toothbrush every 3 months.  Period.  Get a new one.  It feels great!

There you have it — the Spring Fling checklist.  Take your time, and work through it.  I guarantee you will feel a sense of renewal, while clearing the way for a productive and pleasant summer season.