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Posted on: July 1st, 2014 by Jana Hartwell | No Comments

In an effort to break up some of our San Diego “June Gloom” weather, please enjoy a visual display of some fun and creative organizing solutions.

<<—  When sorting out earrings, use buttons to keep them in pairs.

Each ping pong ball has a household chore written on it. Use these as a fun way to get your family motivated to help you declutter. —>>

<<—  My young niece’s friend used fancy, colorful duck tape to cover a rolling trash bin. Inside, lives all of her stuffed animals. Can also be used as a laundry hamper, toy chest or…?  Let your child decide.

Okay… How long do you think it took for this photographer to get each of these cats to stay in place, long enough for this picture to be taken?  —->>

If you have missed any of my previous quick tip newsletters, please visit Jana’s Blog. Your comments and questions are always welcomed.

Jana Hartwell, CPO®
SOS… Helping smart, busy people make room for what they love best!

Posted on: April 13th, 2014 by Jana Hartwell | No Comments

What does getting organizing have to do with good health? Plenty!  Find out more by listening to this 2012 interview of Jana Hartwell, CPO®, on Living Health 365 You don’t have a half hour to focus on this recording? Go ahead and cheat by playing it in the background as you sort papers or do other tasks at your desk. Perhaps some good tips will sink in for you subliminally. Please let me know if you have any “Ah-Ha!” moments by posting a comment.

Posted on: March 12th, 2014 by Jana Hartwell | No Comments

Look familiar?

It’s tax prep time and one of the most annoying details to deal with can be gathering and organizing all of your RECEIPTS.

Most of my clients have receipts laying around (usually folded or crumpled) in many different places. In the purse, wallet, car, kitchen or bathroom counters, bedstands, junk drawers, top of dresser, mixed with piles of other papers, inside shopping bags, in pockets of clothing or suitcases, etc.

Where do you usually throw your receipts?

And at tax time, do you stuff them all in a small shoebox or bag and bring them to your Accountant to sort?

To avoid having to gather receipts from all over the house and car during tax-prep time, here are some tips for handling your receipts as they come in:1) Designate a central place in your home or office to store your receipts.2) Make sure the container is large enough and wide enough to handle all receipts for the year (the box shown above is clearly not large enough for those receipts).3) Label the container “Tax-Deductible Receipts”.

4) Provide separate containers for receipts not related to your taxes (e.g., “Returns” or “Rebates” or “?? Receipts”.

5) Before placing a receipt in your designated container, unfold it and determine if it is tax-deductible.

6) If the receipt is not tax-deductible, do not place it in the receipt container (throw it away immediately or place it in a separate container).

7) To make it easier to enter receipt info into your money-management database (i.e., Quicken, Quickbooks, Excel), circle the date and amount on each receipt with a pen.

8) At least once a month, enter receipt info into your database system. Once receipts have been entered, place them in 9 x 12 envelopes and label them by the month/year or by the quarter.

When tax time rolls around, all of your receipts will have already been separated, entered in your database and organized by months of the year!

This will save you hours or even days during tax-prep time.

Jana Hartwell, CPO®

Posted on: February 18th, 2014 by Jana Hartwell | No Comments

Every object contains an energy force. The energy we sense while touching something can powerfully influence how we feel. These feelings can influence our decisions about what to do with what we’ve just touched.

Some professional organizers discourage their clients from touching the items being sorted because often, intense feelings can arise from holding an object. This may delay the process of letting it go or moving it forward.

When we notice a client hesitate about whether to keep or let go of an object, we often ask,, “How does this object make you feel?”  If the feeling is sad, angry, or negative in any way, it is important to explore why? Ask, “Will keeping this thing promote positive energy in my life or will I feel a heavy weight by hanging on to it?

Can there be a love which does not make demands on its object?     ~ Confucius

Ideally, to enjoy a truly harmonious, uncluttered space, you want to love and make good use of each item in that space. If you don’t absolutely love it and plan to use it in the very near future, then consider letting it go.

Loving your things means honoring them and caring for them. Putting them in a safe, secure, practical place when not in use. Or proudly displaying them where they are kept dust-free and protected from breakage.

So ask yourself:  Do I really love it?  If not… lose it.

Posted on: January 12th, 2014 by Jana Hartwell | No Comments

Look around. Are there still remnants of your holidays cluttering areas of your home or office?

Some of the clutter may be pleasant reminders of good times you had. Some of it is just annoying stuff that is now blocking your progress.

Regardless of why the clutter is there and what it represents, the new year is a perfect time for starting fresh. Here’s how to move forward:

  1. Decide you are ready for a fresh start with a vision in mind of what “fresh” looks and feels like.
  2. Schedule an appropriate amount of time to declutter (Be realistic. Most people underestimate how much time is needed to declutter and organize a space. Give it your best guess and then DOUBLE that estimate, to account for interruptions and setbacks)
  3. Get firm commitments from everyone who is going to help you and block out that time on your calendars.
  4. Prepare your tools before getting started (.e.g, boxes, bags, bins).

Now, most of you who have worked with me already know about the SPACE formula. This formula will help you cut through the clutter quickly if you stay focused on this method.

  1. SORT out all of the stuff in a methodical manner by placing like-items into the boxes and bins.
  2. Once like-items have been sorted into the various boxes and bins — decide what can go away and PURGE. Donate, re-gift, recycle or trash–just get the old stuff out of there, quickly.
  3. ASSIGN homes for all the items you have decided to keep and deliver these items from the boxes and bins to each individual home. Note: If you have run out of space because you’ve got more items than can fit in their assigned homes then its time to do more purging. Or… find another home for those sets of items.
  4. Use CONTAINERS that fit the size and weight of the items going into them. The containers must also fit into the shelf or drawer or other space you have chosen for it.
  5. EQUALIZE your newly organized system by continually Sorting, Purging, Assigning new homes and Containerizing items as your life evolves and transitions.

Remember: Organizing is not a one-time event — It is a process. Like bathing or brushing your teeth, it must be done over and over. The old must go to make room for the fresh and new. Otherwise… we WILL have clutter. It really is that simple.

Jana Hartwell, CPO