In helping a client with a major book purge, we gave some thought as to how to better display the books she was keeping. It was her brilliant idea to see what the books look like without their jackets. Even though the jackets were beautiful, the bindings look so much cleaner without them! Do you agree? She was confident enough in the decision, so she recycled them. You can certainly save yours though in case you change your mind. Have you done this? Are you willing to try it? Please share in the comments.
A recent controversial New York Times article has the organizers in my NAPO listserv all in a tizzy. Let's Celebrate The Art of Clutter is the voice of a woman who is the anti Marie Kondo. As a Libra, I do see both sides of the story: the minimalism movement as creating freedom or shame (though I think freedom prevails). We all have different clutter thresholds. I may reach mine with 12 pieces of paper on the dining table and you may reach yours with 25 boxes of paper in your living room. One is by no means better than the other, but should the more cluttered seek help, I'm sure glad there is an industry of compassionate professionals to provide it. Naturally, I'm surrounded by people (on all ends of the spectrum) who recognize how a life with less makes for an easier life. Dominique Browning inserts the opinion that the process of shedding is "pointless and misguided." Tell that to my clients who shed tears of relief when they can suddenly sleep better in a peaceful, clutter free bedroom.
"I would like to submit an entirely different agenda, one that is built on love, cherishing and timelessness. One that acknowledges that in living, we accumulate. We admire. We desire. We love. We collect. We display."
I fully support people loving what they have. The proposed agenda is actually the same as mine. However, it's harder to admire the beautiful things amidst the tattered things. It's easier to display what you love when there is room for the beloved object to breathe. In living, we most certainly do accumulate, but isn't movement a sign of life? To accumulate without the counteraction of letting go, is a one way street to stagnation and imbalance, not to mention, unsightliness. Letting go of the unnecessary is a fast track to loving and cherishing what matters most.
Where she really gets the attention of we organizers though is with this line:
"And rather than fret about my inability to get rid of things….I am not only giving in to the desire to keep getting stuff, but I am also fantasizing about how I am going to pass my things onto my children.
Who, I insist, must take them."
Is guilt tripping your children into saving your stuff long after you're gone (especially in the wake of losing you) a better breed of guilt than the one that we organizers supposedly impose on the cluttered?
Cluttered and frustrated? Hire an organizer who loves to do what you hate.
Cluttered and proud? Don't judge me for having less, and don't judge my clients for working towards loving their homes as much as you love yours.
Friends, please read Let's Celebrate The Art of Clutter and share your thoughts below in the comments! Is this a voice that you think we'l hear more of in light of the anti-clutter movement? Is it helpful to hear the other side of the clutter story? Is it even the other side of the story, or a minority opinion?
Regardless of whether you’re setting up an office from scratch or relocating an existing office, there are a few rules to follow that will ensure that this office is the most organized one you’ve had. Like with any move, transitions are inherently challenging, but also set the stage for a fresh beginning. The question I’m asked most often about moves is “Should I organize before or after the move?” For heaven’s sake organize before! There’s not one good reason to move things that you won’t use on the other side. It’s much easier to transport systems instead of boxes of mixed-up loose paper, files, wires, and supplies. If they don’t feel mixed up now, then they will when you start unpacking. Systems are neat and packable. Loose ends and obsolete documents are not. I guarantee if you organize before the move, you’ll be moving much less than you expect.
A move forces you to evaluate everything you already have and make decisions on what to add new. It’s both the big pieces and smallest of items that create your desired atmosphere. Follow these rules for planning the office of your dreams:
Decide which pieces of furniture are most necessary. Desk - Do you need a straight desk or an L-shaped one? Are desk drawers necessary? Do you need filing in your desk? What dimensions do you need to create an optimal desk arrangement?
File drawers – How many file drawers are necessary? Decide this after you sort and purge your existing files. Which files need to be accessible and near, versus hidden in a drawer and/or across the room?
Extra storage – Do you need shelving or a credenza for storage? Will there be a closet than can be retrofitted for storage or filing? Do you have storage now that will be superfluous after the move? Decide this after you sort and purge your supplies.
Work stations – In addition to a desk, do you need a work surface for packing, working, drawing, creating, meeting, etc?
Evaluate equipment. Have no more or less capability than is necessary. If your current printer or copier isn’t able to perform everything you need it to do, this is the time to upgrade. Do you need bulk printing capabilities? Do you need a high quality laser printer? Is it time to lease a commercial machine? The same goes for scanning. How reliant are you on your scanner? Would you like to utilize it more in a renewed attempt to digitize files? If going electronic is important to you, then do not cheap out on a scanner. I highly recommend any of the ScanSnap scanners for their ease of use. My love of the Genius Scan app eliminated my need for a scanner completely.
Make room for creative space. The offices I’ve enjoyed being in the most have all had designated space for spreading out and creating. This can be anything from an Idea Paint wall, a vintage chalkboard, or an oversize vision board. Create a space for visioning and outlining the goals you hope to accomplish from this office.
Become clear on what organizing systems must be in place. The best way to do this is to ask hypothetically (or not), “If I had one session with a professional organizer, what system would I want most to create with her?” Perhaps you need a system for processing receipts or for handing tasks off to an assistant. These decisions will help you to prioritize what stations to set up first.
Determine what will be brought from the old space. Don’t feel obligated to bring more than is essential. Perhaps something was just the right size for the old office but won’t fit in the new office. You might have some items that are still boxed up from the last move! Don’t you dare haul them a second time! Don’t move legal-sized folders if the new space only accommodates letter-sized folders. Don’t transfer junk drawers as-is into a box. Chuck the junk as you pack. There will never be an easier time to do this.
Set new rules. This is a natural time to set new rules for the office. You have the perfect opportunity to get clear on how the space will be used and what will be allowed in. Establish a mood with rules on what is not allowed into the space, standards for what is brought into the space, and how time will be used in the space. Type out a manifesto of sorts that will hold you to maintaining the order and beauty you’ve just created. Your office should be the centerpiece of your success, so this time around, let it shine.
What new rules can you set that will help to ensure order in your office? Have you ever NOT organized before a move? What were the consequences or benefits? Also, I'm always on the lookout for ways people designate creative space in their offices. How have you set aside space to plan/vision/create? Please share!