I recycle scrap metal now, and so can you.

So you’ve made some tough cuts and are finally willing to let go of what amounts to staggering tangle of old electronics. Woohoo! This is just part one though. 

It’s so easy to just load them into a contractors’ bag and drag them to the curb, especially since there’s something especially liberating about decluttering mystery cords and obsolete gadgets

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

What’s most revolutionary about Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show

What pleased me as much as the recent announcement of Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo was seeing how well-received the show has been with professional organizers. They day after its premier, my NAPO listserv was abuzz with positive reviews.

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Doing this as you declutter? No wonder it’s hard.

Years ago I helped a woman who could barely see the floor in her living room, bedrooms, and hallway. While sorting clothes, she shared something as she noticed it was happening.

“Kacy, everything I touch, I want to keep. Everything you touch, I want to let go of. How about you hold everything up as talk it through.”

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

A mantra to help information junkies let go

 
What do you do when you’ve got lots of good information in the form of magazines and other paper that’s ultimately becoming clutter in your home and life, but you don’t want to get rid of it because it’s ‘good information’?
 

If forced to group my clients into just two categories, they would look like this:

A. People who struggle with documents (old and/or new) and to-dos.

B. People who struggle with letting go of articles, tear-outs, magazines, and newspapers.

Both groups come up against a myriad of reasons as to why things are they way they are. Their paper load may ebb and flow, but the needle doesn’t move enough, if at all. They may have spent many hours toiling away at the piles, only to find reasons to keep each paper or magazine that passes through their hands.  

Recently though, one client who falls firmly into category “B” nailed why letting go of articles (some from the early 1990s) is such a challenge: “But it’s good information!” Such a succinct reason elicited a succinct reply from a sometimes loquacious organizer. 

My reply: “Just because it’s good information doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.”

In her case, a fair amount of her articles are on interior design. She’s starting to realize that, especially with a major renovation recently behind her, many of the images won’t be useful. She’s had some for so long that they’re dated or the design resources no longer exist. These realizations have caused a lot to go, but many stacks of folders containing magazine tear-outs remain. 

Ever since I uttered “Just because it’s good information doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever” a few sessions ago, I’ve asked her to make this her mantra. She’s simmering on it and I just know those recycling bags are going to fill faster and faster - they already did in that session alone. When I’m there, I’m not shy about repeating it out loud.  Given that interior design is of such interest to her, she’s realizing that the stacks of old design articles (and articles on other topics such as wellness and retirement) do not fit into her aesthetic that has been so finely honed by this decades-long passion. The articles on beauty are, well…not beautiful.

For years now I’ve told some clients that they can keep something if they have a good reason to - not just any reason - but a good reason. Note that I reserve this for the folks who I know want a strong force in the face of their clutter.  (Some just want a gentle nudge.) This has evolved this year into addressing the double-edged sword of “good information.”  We live in a time where we are drowning in good information. We buy it. It comes in the mail. We find it online. It lands in our inboxes. I find myself repeating this mantra to myself when I delete good information from my inbox.  When great newsletters and invites to juicy webinars pile up in my email, I sometimes just delete delete delete. It’s a fleeting pain. 

How good is the information if you’re buried in it? How good is it if you are so overwhelmed by it that you never make time to absorb it, let alone sit in a clutter-free room to enjoy it?  How good is it if piles of it are unsightly in your closet, on your floor, or on your desk? How good does it have to be to keep it amidst the barrage of newer, better information that will sure come at you later today? How good is it if you never make time to process it into something that positively affects your life?

I can think of at least three other clients who have been assigned this same mantra since.  Will you adopt it next time you hold some “good information” in your hands?

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Product manuals - what to keep and how to keep it

A few weeks ago I shared one of the better, more honest, articles on organizing I had read in a long time. I declutter homes for a living. I hate free stuff. was written for The Washington Post by fellow DC organizer Nicole Anzia.

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Track what you let go of like my client Monica

Last week I was organizing with my client in Houston, continuing a system that really excited her from my last visit. Monica has a spacious, beautiful home that, to the casual visitor, looks pretty organized. Lurking behind closed doors though were three rooms that had become repositories for clutter.

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Are you stuck in a tidying phase?

At the end of every year I compile a list of things I learned about organizing in the previous twelve months.  6 Things I Learned About Organizing in 2017 listed #5 as “Be explicit.” It was last year that I realized I had become much better at this, and that this is what the majority of my clients need from me. 

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

How photographing your clutter makes it easier to let go

According to consumer psychologists in CNN’s article The life-changing science of photographing your clutter

"In studies conducted online and in person, we found that participants reported that they would experience less identity loss from donating a cherished item if they had photographed it or preserved the memory of it some other way.”

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

How to label when you don’t want to look at labels.

Without labels, miscellany will surely creep in, rendering the most elegant of containers clutter catch-alls. But, we don’t always want big tacky labels turning our spaces into kindergarten rooms. This is why I often cut little custom labels to place on the top edge of a drawer.

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A service to upload, stream (& store) your CDs

A person who has an affinity for information on paper is more likely than most to have an affinity for real CDs.  We all know that there are countless ways to stream music online, but my clients are good at poking holes in all of them.  

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

[Video] An Organizer’s confession: The thing that never gets put away

Everybody has their own special brand of clutter.  It may be paper, memorabilia, travel-sized toiletries, a chronically cluttered foyer, an irrational grip on worn out old clothing, or anything in between.  

For me, it seems to be the thing that never gets put away.  

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Mail your donations with Give Back Box

If you’ve watched my One Thing In, One Thing Out video and are committed to letting go of as much as you bring in, boy have I got a link for you.  Give Back Box is an organization that allows you to pack your empty cardboard boxes with donations to send in to your nearest participating Goodwill store - for FREE.

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Where to take your shredding

Here in Montgomery County, Maryland we’ve enjoyed unlimited free shredding for years with an organization that recently shut its doors.  We’re left to hold our shredding until a random community shred even pops up, shred it ourselves, or pay a fee. 

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

The fate of your newspaper collection

You know you’re in Washington when practically all of your clients have a stash of newspapers with headlines from presidential elections.  I saw a surge in these after President Obama was elected, though the collections weren’t at all limited to him.

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Decluttering insight from a Zen monk

Leo Babauta recently shared a quote in his post A Simple Declutter Habit: Leave No Trace from Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki:

“When you do something you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, 
eaving no trace of yourself.”

This makes me think of the no trace camping signs I see when hiking in the backcountry...  

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Banish clutter with a quarantine rule

The title of this New York Times article says it all: New Rule: All Purchases Subject to a 7-Day Mental Quarantine. Writer and financial planer Carl Richards says:

"I recommend a stuff quarantine of seven days, particularly if we’re talking about anything that costs more than $50. Anything that you’re considering ought to sit in your head for at least a week…"

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Top 5 excuses for keeping things we don’t need

Virginia-based Matt Paxton, host of Hoarders is my celebrity organizer crush (tied with Peter Walsh).  So when Matt posts something, I read it.  Matt recently shared on Facebook an article on excuses to which he contributed.  Of the 5 most popular excuses for keeping things we don’t need, #1 was “In case I need them in the future.”  Sound familiar? 

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

How to avoid bringing clutter home from vacation

It’s all too easy to get caught up in buying a little something here and there while on vacation. Vacations have us feeling freer to buy that t-shirt we’ll unlikely ever wear at home, that scarf (because it fits in our bag, not because our wardrobe needs it), or that tiny sculpture that seems irresistible at the time.

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

How to catalog your books (and maybe let go of a few in the process)

In the age of simple, graphically manicured websites, librarything.com stands out as a relic from decade’s past.  I don’t discriminate though; as long as a product or site works, it’s pretty enough for me. I suggested this book cataloging site to a client who was resistant to let go of books for many reasons, but the main one being that she didn’t want to lose track of the books she had, and interests thereof.

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

The VHS collection smack-down

Do you really still have VHS tapes?  If so, I’m going to read your mind in an effort to help you let go of them. You still have a VHS collection because:

- They may have sentimental footage. This is the only good reason for keeping any - and still, rarely good enough considering you can’t even remember what that footage could be!)...

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.