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Sunday, December 30, 2012

How Long Should I Keep Important Papers?

Paper is the number one organizing issue my clients face. Why? They get stuck with what to do with their paper because they don't know what paper is important and how long to keep important papers. 

H&R Block provides a handy cheat sheet to answer these questions.  Check it out at H&R Block.





Monday, December 17, 2012

Get Organized Month Event - Solving Your Paper Organizing Dilemmas



GO Month is dedicated to raising awareness to the benefits of hiring a professional organizer and being organized as you begin a new year. Join me at a New Seasons Market near you for an interactive organizing workshop addressing ways to organize and preserve your child's art masterpieces and other paper organizing dilemmas.  If you have a specific paper organizing dilemma you want me to address, please email me prior to the workshop. There is no fee for this workshop. To register for a workshop email class@newseasonsmarket.com or call 503.280.5177.
Progress Ridge, January 9th 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Orenco Station, January 11th 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Seven Corners, January 23rd 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Happy Valley, January 30th 9:30-10:30 a.m.
I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Simplify Your LIfe Week


August 6th-12th is Simplify your Life Week. Clear out the clutter and focus on priorities! Simplifying is all about having what you use or need in your life today with a touch of what you love. It's about letting go of the past and focusing on the present. The more simplified your life is the easier organizing is. Here are my suggestions for simplifying your incoming household paper:

1.   OHIO--Only Handle It Once and decide what to do with it.
2.   Gather up all the paper in your house. Put your bills to pay in one pile and everything else in a banker's box(es). Label the box "paper to sort". Place your bills in a folder labeled "bills to pay". Now you have a clean slate.
3.   From now on, make it a habit to every day take action on your inflow of paper (OHIO) designating them as "shred", "recycle", "file", "bills to pay", "action", or "memorabilia".  This creates a system for you to stay on top of your inflow of paper that will only take you two minutes each day.


  • Shred and recycle what you can.
  • File your reference papers immediately (do not place in a "to file" folder or pile). Not sure what to keep? Email me and I'll send you the five reasons to keep paper. Or, go paperless and scan your reference papers with the Neat desk scanner.
  • Place bills to pay in your "bills to pay" folder or take immediate action with online bill pay.
  • Place "action papers" in an "action" folder and designate a day/time to take action on each of them in your calendar.
  • Place "memorabilia" in a acid free box. Designate one per family member or one per year. Be very selective about what you keep.
       Oh, and that banker's box(es), designate a date/time on your calendar (in the next week) that you will go through the paper following your new system. In a week you will be in control of your paper. Now, wouldn't that feel great?!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why is organizing so hard?

Why is organizing so hard? Over the years, I have heard this question from many clients. Until recently I couldn’t think of an illustration to explain why it is hard for them and not for me. I think I now have a personal story that illustrates why we all have something that is exceptionally hard for us and not for others. 

Last October I started to experience a pain near my sciatic nerve. I went to a massage therapist and got some relief and I told myself, “It will eventually work itself out and the pain will go away”. I told myself that for five months and taking a daily dose of Aleve. In March, I realized the pain was not going away on its own.  I was literally stuck in pain and had great difficulty moving. The less I moved, the more the pain increased, but it was hard to move. It was difficult for me to understand why I was in so much pain when “nothing” happened. I didn’t injure myself, I just woke up one day and had pain. I looked at others who moved so easily and thought, “Will I ever move easily again?”

During my annual physical I mentioned it to my doctor. She said, “Oh, that’s your pelvic it’s probably out of alignment. A physical therapist (PT) can help you work it out.”

I promptly saw a PT and she confirmed my left pelvic was out of alignment and all of the supporting muscles have been working overtime to compensate. It took five months of PT, chiropractic adjustments, and home strength exercises and stretching to get me back into alignment and not taking a daily dose of Aleve. 

I’m now on home maintenance of exercises and stretching and probably will be for life. If I miss a day of exercising, the pain increases. 

It seems my journey with pelvic pain is similar to how my clients experience disorganization. A situation occurs and their organization systems start to break down (similar to my pelvic supporting muscles). Ignoring the clutter or thinking they will get to it “someday” only increases their disorganization (similar to ignoring my pain only increased my pain). Eventually they become paralyzed (unable to move easily), overwhelmed by the clutter, and it is just too hard to make one step towards organizing. 

It is at this point a decision is made. A – live with the clutter (the pain) or B – seek the help of a professional. If they decide on ‘A’ and live with the clutter it will increase and become chronic. If they decide on ‘B’ and work with a professional they learn that clearing the clutter is only the first step. Just like getting my pelvic adjusted and back in alignment was the first step. My pelvic won’t stay in place without maintaining strong supporting muscles. So, I need to exercise every day. 

The same is true for organizing. Clearing the clutter is the easiest part (although not necessarily easy or painless). Maintaining a less cluttered or clutter free environment is the hardest part. It requires routine maintenance to keep the clutter at bay. But, it does get easier over time (as are my exercises) and becomes part of a daily routine. Eventually organizing is no longer hard.

Working with a professional through my physical pain was the only way I was going to begin to heal. Working with me may be the only way you will clear your clutter and begin to live an organized life. Organizing is easy for me because it’s a habit for me. One I developed decades ago. It can be easy and painless for you too.

When you are ready take the first step by completing an organizing needs assessment. I promise, I will make organizing as fun and painless as possible and we will work together to create a maintenance plan that you can be successful with!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Productivity - Prioritizing

What is the most important thing you need to accomplish, or make progress toward accomplishing in the next 24 hours?

Seven guidelines
1. Keep it simple!
2. Keep it clear!
3. Write it down!
4. Ask this question at the end of every workday if possible.
5. Keep it simple!
6. Revisit the question at the beginning of every workday before you do anything.
7. Keep it simple!

Want to learn more?

A bit about me...

I love to organize anything! I love to read anything on the subject of organizing. I especially love helping others learn the joy and simplification organizing habits and behaviors can bring to their lives.

Click here to learn a bit about me and visit our websites http://www.solutionsforyou.com/ (organizing services), http://www.instituteprofessionalorganizers.com/ (training and education for professional organizers) and my book web site http://www.getrichorganizing.com.

Anne Blumer

Anne Blumer
Certified Professional Organizer, Certified GO System Trainer and Consultant, and Certified FreedomFiler Consultant

Client Before and After Pictures

Certified Professional Organizer

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