Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Check it out! For the second year in a row members of the Home Based Business Association voted me the recipient of the Environmental Award for my efforts in keeping items out of the landfill.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Check this out: my altar project is positioned on top of three boxes in front of a fireplace that we rarely use. When Angelo expressed an interest in moving his home office out of the spare bedroom and into our sunny living area, we realized that the space in front of the fireplace could be better utilized as a work space. To view my altar project go to alialtar.blogspot.com

Notice how the filing cabinet becomes the 'leg' of the shelf and an old night stand becomes the other leg. This means that both pieces do double duty; they are functional braces to a fabulous work space and are storage units as well.

Here is Angelo's new work space. We brought the table (desk) out from the spare bedroom and now his desk faces the backyard, which is awesome as it is a 'bird freeway' with lots of greenery and bird activity. Much better than looking at a wall or a co-worker or being stuck in a back room. Since we made use of the space in front of the fireplace to create the other part of the L shaped desk, the entire work area doesn't really infringe on our living space too much.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

CHECK IT OUT!! After searching for seven months my partner and I are the proud owners of a 1982 diesel Westfalia. And the best part: it runs on recycled vegetable oil. In one week we will set off on an 18-day northern BC book tour, with five stops in four cities. Stay tuned for more details... or check out www.ReduceYourFootprint.org

This past year I teamed up another local organizer and together we helped the Comox Valley Hospice Society get their offices organized. Hospice provides an invaluable service to the community with a limited budget, a handful of staff and a whole lot of volunteers. The Executive Director later presented me with a rosemary plant and certificate at their AGM.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Turn your clutter into cash with a well organized garage or yard sale! Follow the tips below to ensure a pleasing set up and hassle-free day.

Realistic pricing is essential as is doing this ahead of time to avoid more headaches on the day of the sale (you will have enough on your plate with the early birds!). Encourage multiple purchases by pairing items together or stating "4 for a dollar, two for a toonie" etc.

Stuffing the profits into your pockets is one way of storing your money but this way is much more organized, don't you think? Ask around to see if you can borrow a cash box for the day.

Everyone loves to get something for nothing! Consider having a 'free' section to move items and encourage happy feelings!

These wooden boxes will double as baskets as people browse the tables...

Books, books and more books...purge your shelves and let go of books that you never finished, didn't like or didn't start!

What would a garage sale be without mason jars? Canning is making a comeback so dust off those canning supplies that have been sitting in the basement and help make someone's day!

Having all the planters in one spot makes it easy to offer a discount for large purchases.
Group like-items together so that people can quickly browse items of interest.

Make use of large tables to display items. People will be more apt to browse if they can do so without getting a sore back in the process.

Be careful that someone doesn't walk away with the family pet!

Now that you have carefully sorted and priced your stuff, you can get ready to sell, sell, SELL!
And remember, any items which don't sell should be taken to the thrift store immediately.
If not, you run the risk of bringing them back into your house where they may remain indefinately.

Monday, December 11, 2006

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is a non-profit agency that raises money for families that incur expenses while their child is undergoing medical treatment in Vancouver. Every November they hold their major fundraiser at the Driftwood Mall in Courtenay. This year I purchased a tree and decorated it with, you guessed it: clutter! Check out the tree to the right...

Anyone who has read my book, Clutter's Dirty Secret, will recognize this tree. It is decorated with dozens of old rosettes from my childhood (I competed in equestrian events across Southern Ontario for several years). Not wanting to throw them out, and with no room to display them, I 're-purposed' them and passed them along to another horsey-person.


Monday, September 25, 2006

PAPERS, the bane of my existence. The challenge for many people, including myself, is knowing where to file them so that they can be retrieved at a later date. As a speaker, author and workshop facilitator, I am always clipping out articles and jotting down ideas. I was beginning to recognize that my system was outdated and it was hard for me to find specific information.
My task: to purge the drawer of my filing cabinet. I often say that organizers are not immune to the challenges of staying organized and that means every so often (at least once a year), I need to go through my files, paper by paper, and assess whether I want to hang on to the information or if it is outdated and can be recycled. A sign that this needs to be done is when it gets harder and harder to maneuver file folders and pull out papers.
Before you begin, make sure that you have all of the supplies you need. A place to sit and spread out your papers, a recycle bin and papers to make note of action items.
As you can see, things look worse before they get better. I took this opportunity to create new files that reflect my current interests and to group information in ways that make sense to me.
Almost done. The floor is clear and now I have two main piles to deal with.
The last pile. I have decided to free up space in my filing cabinet by creating a binder that holds all of my workshop materials. I will make use of dividers and plastic sleeves to better organize these materials.
Here it is. Don't be afraid to make use of colours to spice up your filing system. I have also taped an announcement about an inspiring speaker that I heard on the front of one of the dividers. People are more likely to file if they have personalized their tools and included motivational quotes.

Tadah: the workshop binder! Now, when I am planning a workshop, I can quickly pull this binder from the shelf and find handouts, materials and past outlines of workshops I have presented. The material is easy to access and I can quickly flip through it for ideas or reference. All together, this project took about 31/2 hours spread out over a five hour period. I took one 10 minute break after I had flipped through every piece of paper in the file cabinet, and then I took an hour off to walk the dog and enjoy the sunshine before returing to the task at hand. Breaks can be vital for mental clarity and creative ideas. Plus, getting out for some exercise meant that I wasn't resentful about missing a beautiful, sunny day. Don't be afraid to take breaks as required, just make sure you return to finish the job!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

OK, I confess, I am bragging...this is me winning the Environmental Award at the annual awards night for the Comox Valley Home Based Business Association. Given that so much of what people let go of is donated to charity, members recognized my work for keeping 'stuff'out of the landfill.
Remember: it is unusual for North Americans to actually wear something out; chances are, someone else will appreciate and make use of something that you know longer want, use or need.