OK +Katie Couric you broke my heart. You did a show on getting organized and never even called me. Katie, I've been working with clients for 24 years and I've written 9 books on the topic including one New York Times best seller. Please remember me for future shows.
First of all let me say the organizer Katie's producers hired was experienced, compassionate and had a great team assisting him. Television segments are very difficult because a big dramatic reveal has to come after a short amount of time and with minimal investment from the host or client. I've been in that position and it's tough. Unfortunately the 'slog through' process isn't sexy or interesting to watch but it's the reality.
I think experienced professional organizers perform magic. The magic we perform is by understanding the mind, heart and soul of the client so that they are free to release what they no longer need. Some clients have suffered a trauma that caused them to hold on to everything while others never learned the skill of getting organized in their home of origin. And those are just the most common culprits for holding on when letting go would free you. When you understand what created the current reality you are free to change it to suit today's needs.
Professional organizers create beautiful, functional spaces based on how the client thinks. Do they need to see everything to remember to deal with it or can it all be put away because the client remembers the location? In old movies we see someone constantly shoveling coal into a fire to keep the train moving forward on the track. Decisions fuel the Organizing Train and keep it moving forward. The client needs to be the decision maker in order to avoid any regrets. When it's time to put the pieces of the puzzle together the client can exit the scene and later experience a 'big reveal' of their own!
Transform Your Office
Here are 10 quick ideas taken from One Year to an Organized Life that will make an immediate difference in your physical space. Once you're more comfortable you can tackle those paper piles that bedevil you at every turn. You'll find detailed instructions for creating a file system in my book. Everybody needs one whether it's a bank of file cabinets or a beautiful rattan box in the corner of the living room.
1. Take a look at your office walls. Is it time for a fresh coat of paint? Or does that old wallpaper beg to be removed? A dreary atmosphere won’t inspire you to do your best.
2. What about the window treatments? Is it time for a change? Are the windows clean? Windows are the ‘eyes’ of the room. Keep them inviting! You’ll want as much natural light as possible to flood the room. By the way have you checked the light bulbs in your lamps? This is a great time to do a home inspection of light bulbs, fire and carbon monoxide alarms and the battery in your home alarm system. You can add any items unique to your situation like a baby monitor.
3. Do you need a touch of life in the office or have plants overwhelmed the space? What about family photos or a treasured collection? Your work area in this room should be devoted to the projects you need to accomplish from bill paying to writing the great American novel. Don’t allow photos, plants or hobby miscellaneous to make it impossible for you to easily accomplish the task at hand.
4. Could you keep Staples stocked in pens, pencils, highlighters and paper clips? Very often we buy small items in bulk at the local home store not realizing that we can’t possibly use up these items in our lifetime. Make a donation to your child’s school or a favorite non-profit. If you have a closet in this room pop a small bookcase in and use the shelves for office supplies. You won’t need all the items you decide to keep on your desk.
5. Is your desk too small or is it a space hog? Take advantage of the big home sales and get the desk that will truly serve you. And what about an ergonomically correct chair? And while we’re tackling the basics do you have at least one two-drawer file cabinet? Don’t get the cheapest if it means flimsy and soon to disintegrate. And finally what about your computer? Is it time to 86 the one you have and start using a laptop to save space and provide mobility? Above all else you need to have a system for back up. You don’t want a mechanical malfunction to rob you of precious data.
6. Do you keep your printer close to your desk or do you have to walk across the room when you print out a document? Do you keep paper handy to refill your printer in a flash? We lose precious time when we don’t set ourselves up to win. Wasted steps squander one of our most precious resources ~ our time.
7. Is this home office one with a dual purpose? The most common combo is a home office and guest room. Do you have the space appropriately divided for each activity to be performed here? The most common culprit I find with this combo type is a large bed that’s rarely used but eating up valuable real estate. Why not consider a futon or Murphy bed?
8. This is a great time of year to clean out your files. Too often material that should be archived or shredded lingers in a file cabinet for years while the current papers float around the room landing on chairs, couches and window sills in search of a home. Give your projects the respect they deserve.
9. Do you have enough bookcases? Is it time to weed through your collection and perhaps gift the local hospital, assisted living facility or the library with some books so that you have room for the ones you’ll need in the future?
10. A happy person is always a more productive one. Is there anything in this room that makes you smile? Do you enjoy being here or do you run out at the least provocation? See if you can identify one element that you could add (or one that you could eliminate!) that would make your heart sing to be in this room. If Fido and Fifi spend time here with you be sure you see to their comfort. A soft bed and a few toys cost pennies but make our best friends feel appreciated and loved.
I welcome your questions here, at my Facebook page ‘Regina Leeds, The Zen Organizer or on Twitter. And that means you too, +Katie Couric
Here's a link to One Year to an Organized Life at Amazon. You can order the paperback or download the Kindle version.