Sometimes life creeps up on you from all sides – and before you know it or VERY differently from what you expected. And with it, you are knee-deep in clutter. You find yourself behind on:
- filing your paper
- your appointments
- administration in your business
- time and more.
All because of the clutter. In addition, you feel so overwhelmed you don’t even know what to do!
The trick is to recognize the “danger signs”.
….before everything spins completely out of control. The big question is:
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU NEED TO CLEAN OUT – DECLUTTER – ORGANIZE ?
Here is my list of 10 signs to spot AND deal with all kinds of clutter in your home, office AND life. It’s working! Guaranteed! 100 % satisfied clients prove it and I intend to keep it that way.
1. You have to Move a Pile OFF of a Chair So Someone Can Sit Down
You have a closet, or office, where you hide it all away is one thing (not organized, but certainly very common according to “out of my sight, out of my mind”). However, when your junk or clutter into your active life or working space it’s high time to re-evaluate the situation. I have seen clients who could not turn on the stove or store food in their pantry because it was blocked with meter-high piles of unopened mail, old magazines, used their shower as “storage” for boxes of who-knows-what that they hadn’t opened in years, and never slept in their bed because it was covered with “stuff” they hadn’t gotten around to putting away yet.
2. You Know You Own a Pair of Scissors – But for the World of it, You Can Never Find Them
Not finding things when you need them is a sign – your belongings are homeless and crying out to you for a home – a place to live! If you want to stay organized, you need an assigned storage area for each and every thing you own. And not just any place, but a logical, rational spot nearest the point where you use them or where you would even in your subconsciousness look for it. For example, where would you look for your scissors when you need them? Your answer gives you the place where you should store them.
If you use them at different places in your house, then buy 3 or 4 different pairs and give each its unique home.
3. It takes you 3 (!!) Tries to Get Out of the House in the Morning or more
Let me guess – you walk out of the door without your keys. You go back for your keys. You get your keys and get all the way to your car or the metro station before you realize, you forgot your meeting papers on the bed where you prepared for it last night. With a sigh, you go back and get them. You get the papers and are on your way again only to realize you forgot your lunch or snack in the kitchen. Really? – No. You are NOT suffering from Alzheimer at the great age of 38. This is nothing more than poor planning. Take the night before (especially when time is tight in the morning – remember the meeting) to gather up EVERYTHING that you need to take with you in the morning. Put it in a designated holding area near the door so you won’t forget it – a “launching spot” if you will. You can even put a sticky note on the door reminding yourself to get your lunch from the fridge.
Really? – No. You are NOT suffering from Alzheimer at the great age of 38. This is nothing more than poor planning. Take the night before (especially when time is tight in the morning – remember the meeting) to gather up EVERYTHING that you need to take with you in the morning. Put it in a designated holding area near the door so you won’t forget it – a “launching spot” if you will. You can even put a sticky note on the door reminding yourself to get your lunch from the fridge.
4. You Pay at Least One Late Fee or Interest Charge Each Month
If you had a standard way of dealing with your financial papers as it came in – no matter if in business or at home – you wouldn’t get behind. Set up a small filing rack, (hanging) folder, binder or drawer box, where you put ALL of your bills, lined up in the order in which they should be paid and write the due date on the envelope (if it needs to be paid in cash or check) or the invoice (if it can be transferred). Then schedule time on your calendar at least twice a month to pay ALL the bills that are due within the next 2 weeks. Treat you bill-paying time like a doctors appointment – block it off on your planner and don’t let anything get in the way of completing this joy. Try to go paperless as much as you can with you regular bills and pay them by standing order or electronic automated transfer. Still- have
Then schedule time on your calendar at least twice a month to pay ALL the bills that are due within the next 2 weeks. Treat you bill-paying time like a doctors appointment – block it off on your planner and don’t let anything get in the way of completing this joy. Try to go paperless as much as you can with you regular bills and pay them by standing order or electronic automated transfer. Still, have those minimum of 2 appointments to make sure all goes smoothly and you have enough cash in your account to cover your expenses.
5. You Request Regularly an Extension on Your Tax Return
For some people tax day is not somewhere in April (depending on the country you live in, it can be May) but rather August or as late as November! Most folks who file for extensions do so because they can’t get all their paperwork together on time. Set up a file box or better a binder with a list on top with an index of what papers you all need (and date you put it in during the year when it actually arrives in the mail) and keep working with it.
Break your bills/receipts down into categories that make sense to your life or business: office supplies, charitable donations, medical expenses, travel etc. and just file any new receipts into those categories as soon as you get them. Then you can hand the entire folder or binder over to your Accountant (CPA) at the end of the year – he’s happy and likely charge you less as well because he does not have to sort your receipts. Or even better you use Expansify (app) or another computerized accounting program for doing that). Your accountant will love you even more!
6. You have never seen the bottom of your Inbox
One of my favourites and also one I need to work on more. If you have piles of papers and unopened mail, ask yourself if you are setting aside time each week to process incoming paper. You can sort through your incoming mail/email once a day and trash instantly all the junk. Have sticky notes by your side and a pen and use to write on each paper you keep what and when needs to be done, maybe even color-coded by area ( for example business, school, medical…). Then schedule it in your calendar. Maybe you can even delegate some to a family member or assistant. In any case, you should set aside a regular time each week for making phone calls, writing letters, filing, data entry and alike.
7. Your Typical Workday Ends 3 Hours After Everyone Else’s
Workaholism has become a serious issue in our society, but not everyone late does it out of compulsion (like me… Balance is the new keyword for 2017 for me).
Some people have to put in longer hours simply because they are less productive during the regular work day. Do you get a lot done while other people are around? Are you constantly interrupted and distracted?
Make a list with ALL things and people that take your focus off work and then start tackling these one by one, for example, clutter in your office, visitors, time spent surfing the web, notifications on your computer.
Once you are organized you will notice that you go home or get your projects done every night of the week without putting in overtime.
8. You Cannot See Your Desk Under All The Stacks and Piles of Paper
Some people pile instead of file – because (Drumroll) – they NEVER set up a filing system that is useful to them. Some people are afraid that with a filing system is a recipe for disaster – NOT if it makes sense to you when all the categories are grouped logically to you. Do you have multiple files with similar information? Are your drawers or binders cluttered with ancient paperwork that you really don’t need? The time-frames of how long to keep what sort of paper vary a little bit from country to country, but overall we all keep to much ancient paper (even in France where it can be crucial for your survival). It might be time to re-vamp, re-organize, and clean out!
9. You are Always Running Someone Else’s Errands
Have you learned how to say “no” yet? I started to learn it about 3 years ago and still am here and there. Seriously, why do people think “no” is such a bad word. What you are actually doing by saying “no” is being respectful of yourself, understanding and accepting the limits of what you can reasonably accomplish in a day.
You are not doing anyone a favor by overloading your day with tasks and responsibilities. In fact, you are doing others a disservice by rushing from one activity to the next without giving any of them your full attention. And you’re causing yourself a lot of (unnecessary ) stress. Take 1 -3 inspired actions on your daily to-do list and ask the rest for God’s (or Universe) help. It works! Have been in both places and the difference is AMAZING!
10. Your Life Feels Out of Control
Many signs of clutter are tangible, you can see them, feel them. This sense of overwhelm can be more damaging than a stack of unopened mail, your junk drawer or your overflowing closet.
Do you feel that you are terminally behind, never getting caught up no matter how hard you try? Or you are losing your mind because you cannot deal with the mess anymore?
The first step is curbing those anxieties and fears and making the first step.
Tackle your clutter and life step by step with my professional support by joining my program here:
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Just putting a dent in your mess will take a great weight off your shoulders and often give the motivation you need to dig deeper.
If you need more personal help getting organized, let’s talk 1-2-1 to find out how I can help you. Until my booking system is up-to-date, just drop me an email and I let you know my availabilities/resources.