Category: Commentaries (Page 4 of 6)

Fresh Starts, Clean Sweeps

Cyndi Seidler, The Organizing Ladty

Making changes in your life can either be disruptive or settling or both. Some changes are forced upon us while other changes are self-imposed. Either way, we need to deal with it, or it will deal with us.

I like to look at change as a new chapter in my life. I’ve moved many times, I’ve gone through a divorce, and I’ve had loss of jobs, like many of you. I believe it’s how we tackle those kind of changes that makes a difference in how we move forward and how we feel at the end of the day.

One lady I met recently was going through a divorce with a bad husband, foreclosure on her large, spacious home and having to move to a much smaller space. I helped her with holding a large moving sale and getting rid of 85% of her belongings to be able to fit into the smaller apartment she was going into. It was heart-breaking, to put it mildly.

While I was working with her, she was quite depressed at first. I offered whatever encouraging words I could find to help her get through this transition and, by the end of the sale, she was looking ahead at a new future and the next chapter in her life.

I wanted to share this story because her attitude shifted from the feeling of despair over her life changes and reflecting over the past to being hopeful while anticipating and planning her future.

Her next chapter included a fresh start, a new beginning. The burdens of up-keeping a large home on her own and dealing with a bad husband were behind her. And it’s how she shifted her point of view that helped her look forward, not behind.

There was once a reality TV show called CLEAN SWEEP that would empty a cluttered up room or entire house of its belongings and have the owners look through their stuff to decide what to keep, donate, and sell. Then they would have a yard sale followed by creating a new look inside the home.

It was a fresh start. A new look. A way to begin the next chapter of living with a clean slate. It’s quite therapeutic actually. People feel better; they feel happier in their new space.

So if you’re feeling stuck or unhappy in your environment, you can do something about it without it doing something to you first. Maybe that’s the time for a clean sweep in your space and a fresh start with a new look.

I propose taking a look at what you want to change in your environment and then taking steps to change it. And always try to look at the bright side of change – that it’s going to be better, and it’s going to be better because you’ve decided so.

Now, let it be so.

Taking First Steps To Organizing

The most common issue I’ve come across with people who want to get organized is that they just don’t know where to start. Usually the case is when things get so out of control that the task becomes overwhelming.

Now, in order to determine where to begin, we first have to observe the surrounding area that we want to tackle. Just “looking” at the area and saying to yourself, “Urgh, this is a mess!” is not enough to deal with it, although it’s a good semi-starting point.

The real place to begin is to fully observe the room or space you want to organize. That means to examine things and try to find the underlying cause for the clutter, such as:

  • Clothes are piled on the floor which are dirty and have accumulated there instead of the clothes hamper to be washed.
    • Reason: You might find that the hamper is full, or just not placed in a convenient spot to easily toss dirty clothing.
    • Solution: wash clothes more often and/or place hamper in a better spot and/or get a larger hamper.
  • Papers are spread out all over the dining table and cannot be used to eat at anymore.
    • Reason: Your home office area is cluttered, therefore you needed a place to work on current bills, etc.
    • Solution: Organize the office area first (using same observation methods) and then incorporate the papers from the dining table into the organized office.
  • Hobbies, project stuff, and/or kid toys are lying around and cluttering up the room.
    • Reason: Bad habits of not putting things away where they belong resulted in the accumulation of stuff in common areas.
    • Solution: Get things put away, then establish a routine of cleaning up the area by putting things away when done using them.

And so on, and so forth.

After observing the area or space, you should pretty much know what needs to be done. However just putting things away may not be enough.

By that I mean, we may need to determine better solutions for our stuff, like what “organizing tools” can be used to get organized with. For example, if paper gets out of control, find tools to handle the flow of paper and the paper itself . This could be tray baskets, desktop file organizers, etc.

Observing something is actually confronting what is in front of you, and that is why it’s the first step to getting organized. When we don’t confront something, it’s easy to ignore it, or not even see it at all.

Try the challenge of taking that first step in getting organized. I say challenge, because it’s essentially a start to getting organized and that can be a daunting thought!

Have a fun organizing adventure and Godspeed!

Making More Time For Yourself

My recent article on time – Finding Time To Organize Your Home – was sort of my lighthearted attempt to guide you in finding time to get things done. So now I want to follow that with the plan of making time.

I’ll start with using the comparison to making a meal – we plan what we’re going to eat that night, we make sure to have all the ingredients we need for the meal or recipe we’re preparing, then we proceed to actually make the meal.

The preparations into making the meal help us in expediting how fast we can get this meal done. So therefore, let’s apply that with making time.

As a note, although I’ve thought about this in the past as brushing thoughts, this is the first time I’ve sat down to examine the idea of making time, so please bear with me. I’m actually creating my this concept as we go along.

Now, for the sake of this topic, I’d like to examine routines and how we can shorten them to make time.

In the morning we get up and get ready for work, school, or whatever. We pick out the clothes we want to wear, we eat breakfast, we probably take our vitamins, and so on.

If we were to save just a few minutes of time doing something, we’d actually be making time for something else, especially time for ourselves. See how that works?

Let’s take our morning routine and see how we can shorten it a bit …

Instead of picking out clothes to wear in the morning, why not try picking out your clothes the night before? That could save an average of 5 minutes in the morning for a lot of us.

And breakfast – try a few recipes that you can make ahead, like omelette muffins, which is a favorite of mine. You may have seen these type of muffins at Starbucks where they have egg bites. I like to mix some of my favorite omelette ingredients into muffin pans and pour beaten eggs into them. I store them in the fridge and pop them in the oven for a few minutes in the morning. Check out my recipe for Keto Egg Muffin Cups:

Yes, I do cooking videos, too.

Okay, anyway … so then there’s taking vitamins. I presort my vitamins into daily pill organizers (marking the day of the week). This way I just dump the day’s vitamins into my mouth and that’s it. I think I save another 5 minutes doing this.

So now I’ve now saved several minutes doing some preparations ahead of time. This means I’ve now MADE TIME for something else. And that brings me to the subject of this article which is making time for yourself. Whatever way you choose to use it, it’s for yourself. See?

Shortening our routines is just one way to make more time for ourselves. The processes in which we do things, like work, is yet another way.

Clearing off your desk when you’re done working at it is an example of streamlining our work process because, when we start work the next day, we have a clear desk to work on.

I could get into a number of ways you can shorten the tasks you do, but I’m hoping you get the idea by now and can find creative ways to make time.

I hope this gives you a start in doing that. I’d love if you shared what you’ve done in the comments.

Finding Time To Organize Your Home

Cyndi Seidler manage time

Time is a funny thing. We loose it, we can’t keep up with it, we run out of it, and we just can’t seem to manage it.

We also use time as an excuse why we can’t get things done that we want to get done. I myself tend to blame time on a number of activities that I intended to do but didn’t get to doing.

There’s still hope in getting things done and defeating the time monster.

Here, our challenge is to find time. But, in order to find it, we would have had to lost it first. Makes sense, right?

Wrong. We are perfectly capable of finding time without it ever having been lost in the first place. Because it exists somewhere, and we just need to go looking for it.

It’s sort of like the game “hide and seek” where someone hides and then you have to go find them. Time is similar. It seems to hide from us and all we have to do is go find it.

Take your typical day, for example. Some routines exist, like what we do in the morning before work, or how we go about preparing daily meals, or whatever it is that we do regularly. We’ve obviously made sure to set aside some time in doing these activities.

Maybe organizing hasn’t been an essential task to take on, so therefore you don’t need time to devote to it. However, if you’re reading this, I doubt if that’s your case.

Keeping an organized home is an essential activity for your well being and your stress levels. Therefore, let’s see how we can find that elusive commodity we call time.

Time lurks in the crevices of our day. It’s often hidden between other activities we’re engaging in. But it’s there.

Once we’ve taken a glimpse of any time available to us, we can then reserve that time. Think of it as making a dinner reservation and schedule it before something else takes that time slot.

You don’t have to call this a home organizing appointment. Call it something more fun, like “My well being project” or “My creative time” or “Cure clutter blues” or whatever you like.

So after you’ve found time and scheduled what you want to do in that time, you’ll want to do what you can to use it. Yes, using time is part of the equation.

You can set reminders, you can do what needs to be done to prepare for that time, and you can keep that time in your face so that it doesn’t slip by.

So simple, yet so hard to do. Yes? But trust me, when you want to get something done, this is how you do it.

Good luck!

Becoming Fit While Organizing Your Stuff

I’m not a big fan of exercise so what I tend to do is ignore the feeling that I need to do exercise and hope that the feeling goes away eventually.

However, being in the older age range bracket, my doctor says I need to exercise. Bah-humbug, I say to myself.

I know, some people love to exercise. Maybe you’re one of them? If so, listen up anyway because you still might like what I have to say.

So, what I’d like to introduce you to is “organizing fitness”. It involves a bit of bending, some stretching, and possibly a little lifting. Essentially though, it involves moving the body.

Take, for example, re-organizing your closet. In this exercise, you will be moving your arms upwards toward the clothes rod (stretching); you would also need to bend over to pick things up off the floor (bending); and the body would need to move from the closet to the area where discarded clothing goes (moving body).

Do that for 15-20 minutes and you’ve got a nice workout happening.

Recently, I decided to do some organizing fitness with the books on my bookshelf. They just seemed to be getting clogged up with too many books and I wanted to insert some display stuff on the shelves too.

I put on my yoga pants and a long-sleeved tee-shirt (it’s colder weather right now), and I proceeded to head over to the bookshelf.

I reached up to the books on the upper shelves and started looking them over. I pulled out any books that didn’t give me love anymore and placed them on a cart table I placed nearby.

When I got to the lower shelves, instead of sitting on the floor, I thought I should bend over to sort through them to give me some bending time in this fitness slot.

By the time I was finished, I had a 30 minute workout that included stretching, bending, lifting books, and moving my body. I was proud of myself. And, I had a little over a dozen books to donate to my local library.

Funny thing is, I may not be getting on a treadmill or jogging or taking long walks and all that sort of thing, but I’m staying fit while staying organized!

Try it. You just might like it.

Watch video:

When To Make That Call For Organizing Help

Nowadays most people find themselves too busy to keep up with keeping their home organized.

And things happen when home affairs get neglected – Papers get accumulated in places where they shouldn’t be; clothes closets get stuffed with too many clothes; kitchen cupboards become a nightmare; bills fall through the cracks unpaid … and so forth and so on.

When the home has accumulated enough clutter, it can result in unbearable living conditions. But where do you start when the home is now an overwhelming mess?

DIY Organizing

You can, of course, employ DIY (Do It Yourself) home organizing. Maybe you have books on the subject? Maybe you’ve watched past TV shows like Clean House, Clean Sweep, Mission Organization, Neat, or the present show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo to help you figure out organizing techniques?

Yet if you’ve watched any of those shows and possess any of those organizing books but still find yourself not getting organized, I recommend calling a Professional Organizer for the help you need to get the job done.

Professional Organizing

Calling for help is like an investment in yourself. It’s hard to put a price tag on having peace of mind, feeling happy in your home environment, or accomplishing what you couldn’t do yourself.

You can expect professional rates for this kind of professional organizing assistance. But again, what’s that worth in terms of its value to you?

When you have a legal problem, you call a lawyer. When you need help with taxes, you might hire an accountant. If you have a clogged drain, you probably call a plumber.

There are many professionals you might hire in the course of life who have the expertise to get the job done that you can’t. And the cost on getting the help you need is priceless when it comes to your well being.

What Does a Professional Organizer Do Exactly?

Similar to what you may have seen on TV or read in books, the organizing expert first accesses what is going on in the space. With a simple walk-through the Organizer can observe where clutter has accumulated, what issues reside in closets and cabinets, and any problems that make it difficult to be organized.

The job then moves onto sorting an area of a problem room or space and, with the client’s input, make decisions on any items that can be donated or trashed. The things left are then organized into “homes” (or designated places) for those items, or worked into a system (like a paper flow system).

When one room or space is finished, the Organizer sorts another problem room or space until the entire home is cleared of clutter or organization issues.

Your Role With A Professional Organizer

The primary role a client has with an Organizer is to make decisions on items to get rid of.

That’s it. Really. Seriously.

The client doesn’t have to prepare for the Organizer to come start, nor expected to do any of the organizing work. As a matter of fact, it is best NOT to try and clean up any mess before the Organizer comes or they may not be able to find out the underlying problems and create better foundations to staying organized.

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25 Great Pinterest-friendly Organizing Quotes

Here are some fun quotes to help motivate and inspire you to get organized! These are great to share on Pinterest and your other social networks! What are some of your favorites?


(Click on image to scroll to next image in slideshow)

The “When Is It Time To Get Organized?” Test

You’ve probably wondered, “When should I get organized?” and never really came up with an adequate answer for yourself. So, I thought I’d help you determine the best time to start doing some organizing.

The true test in judging the correct time to tackle this kind of activity lies in how you score in any of the answers below. If you score at least one out of the 10 issues listed here, then it’s safe to say the time is now.

1. When you no longer have a sofa or chair to sit on.


It’s no fun coming into a room to relax, read a book or watch TV when you find there’s no place to sit that isn’t filled with your stuff on it. Sure, you can shove off some stuff to make room for yourself, but it can become tiresome after the repeated routine of 1) tossing stuff on chair, 2) shoving stuff on floor so you can sit on chair 3) vacating the chair and starting over with #1.

2. When you just purchased several items of food that you already had.


It’s easy to think you’re out of something when a lot of your food is hidden behind the cluttered mess of food in front of it. Out of sight, out of mind when it comes to cooking up that recipe you decided to make.

3. When you no longer have space in your kitchen to cook.


Stuff can take over counter-top space just as easily as stuff takes over other places. It’s like a disease that spreads throughout the counter space and soon the whole area is infected with stuff that belongs in cabinets (or trash can .. or even other parts of your house).

4. When you can’t see your desktop anymore.


This is a sign that your paper clutter has gone too far. It’s taken over your desk space and left you with nothing but piles of paper on it. That nice desk surface is totally meaningless, and the money you spent on a desk to work at is now just a desk for your paper to sit at.

5. When you have misplaced your keys for the hundredth time.


Even if it’s the 20th time, you’re getting close enough to warrant some time spent to re-think your actions from the time you arrive home to when you start unloading or dropping off stuff.

6. When you start sleeping on the sofa to avoid the mess on your bed.


The main problem with this is that, once the sofa has accumulated stuff, you’ll no longer have a place to sit or sleep. So, if this becomes a problem, it is definitely time to get organized because we all need to sleep sometime.

7. When you can’t find anything to wear even though your closet is full of clothes.


This is a dilemma that a lot of women face, more so than men. But an over-stuffed clothes closet can have disastrous effects on a woman’s ability to dress fashionably. And, when she can’t find that outfit she just bought, it’s even more of a crisis.

8. When you’ve run out of your designated space to put more stuff.


Linen closets are known to accumulate more towels and bed linens. But kitchen cabinets are notorious for presenting you with this issue because new things are continually purchased for the kitchen, even if we don’t need it or already have it.

9. When your storage areas can no longer store anything else.

storage closet mess

Big problem here. You have stuff to put away somewhere and there doesn’t appear to be anymore places to put it, especially since the places we normally shove things in is now completely full.

10. When you have come to the conclusion that you fed up with too much stuff.

Enough said.

P.S. It may also be time to call a professional. (a professional organizer, that is).


A Nice Space Reflects You, Only Better

happy girl

When I came across the hashtag #YouOnlyBetter on Twitter, my head flooded with ideas relating to home organizing. Because we are an extension of our spaces in a way, and the way we create our environment reflects on who we are.

Granted, that hashtag mostly brought up smiling faces of women who did some sort of makeup makeover. But I thought, “a beauty makeover is similar to a room makeover in that the room looks better and we feel better about ourselves for making it look nice.”

In my article “What Being Organized Has In Common With Happiness” it says how being clutter-free is synonymous with being happy. And here I’m taking that a step further by saying that being happy is part of who you are.

Have you ever noticed that when you see a happy person it has a positive effect on you in some way? As laughter is contagious, so is a cheerful person. And a cheerful room is contagious – it uplifts you.

So, what’s a cheerful room? How can a room have feeling or emotion?

room interior

A room that looks nice to you is essentially capable of making you feel better. The nicer it is to you, the more cheerful it is. It’s portraying a feeling that’s uplifting – whether it’s a tranquil space that makes you feel relaxed or a space with pizazz that just makes you smile.

Either way, a nice space reflects you and the way you feel. And anyone walking into your space is going to see a bit of who you are in that space.

There was this one lady that I met when I went to do an organizing segment of a TV reality show. By appearances, she looked classy. She was dressed in a stylish outfit and wore her makeup perfectly. But when she spoke, she was in despair. There was nothing happy about her and I could tell that her life wasn’t going so well. Then, once I saw the hoarding mess inside her apartment, I saw the real her. And it wasn’t a nice portrayal of her either.

Now, I’m sure she was a very nice lady and possibly even had lots of friends. But, in her own words, those friends never saw the inside of her apartment. She never had anyone in it, so who knew why she lived with such despair?

With hoarders who need a major cleanup as well as therapy to turn their life around, it’s a whole different story, and not the typical story when we talk about average clutter (see my article “A Talk With Matt Paxton of Hoarders“). With average clutter, a simple cleanup is all that’s needed to change a person and make them feel better.

To celebrate your nice space, I want to start a new Twitter hashtag: #MyOrganizedSpace – and include @TheMakeoverLady in your post. Include a picture or video of your organized space or you in your organized space and let’s all celebrate it together! All your photos / videos just might inspire me to write a new article featuring all of you with your photos or videos!

P.S. I’d love for you to follow me on Twitter, too! @TheMakeoverLady


What Being Organized Has In Common With Happiness

organized woman at home

Happiness comes about in many ways and in many forms. Who knew one of those ways was being clutter-free?

When it comes to order in the house, there’s something I always notice in an organized, clutter-free home – the space looks happy. It actually seems to smile at me when I walk into it. And it’s that sort of feeling in a space that rubs off on people in it.

Dr. Joseph Mercola listed 22 positive habits of happy people and among the list was “live minimal.”

Clutter has a way of sucking the energy right out of you and replacing it with feelings of chaos. Clutter is an often-unrecognized source of stress that prompts feelings of anxiety, frustration, distraction and even guilt, so give your home and office a clutter makeover, purging it of the excess papers, files, knick knacks and other “stuff” that not only takes up space in your physical environment, but also in your mind.

Clutter, to me, is synonymous with chaos. They go hand in glove. And where there’s chaos, there’s a degree of unrest.

The first time I organized one of my messy dresser drawers was proof that even a small space could make me happy. I had transformed my jumbled teeshirts into folded rows of color and it actually smiled at me when I opened the drawer. Seriously, a big smile greeted me when I opened it.

folded teeshirt drawer

Image source:

Now, imagine what a larger space would do for your well being if it were de-cluttered and tidy?  I’d say, the larger the space, the more it will have an affect on you.

Without fail, every time I organize someone’s space from a cluttered mess to a tranquil clutter-free space, I see really big smiles on them. And smiles spell happiness.

messy disorganized living room organized living room

The smiles that came from the organized living room above were huge. And all it took was a clutter-cleanup (and a bit of re-arranging).

Try looking at magazines with really cool rooms decorated with a light touch of decor. I bet you smile inside at some of those spaces, yes? Makes you feel somewhat happy, right?

The same goes for real spaces that you’re physically in.

Try it, if you haven’t already!



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