Tag Archives: Philosophy

Clutter is the Cholesterol of the Home

I ran across this interesting metaphor for clutter – Clutter is the Cholesterol of the Home (1) . After searching the web I came across earlier usage of this metaphor by Maria Cilley – The Fly Lady in her 2002 book Sink Reflections.  On page 25 she states Clutter is to our home as Cholesterol is to our arteries.

Her points in the book:

  • Clutter invades the pathways of our homes
  • Clutter causes stress in your life
  • Clutter decreases joy in living
  • Clutter pushes money away from you
  • Clutter destroys closeness in families
  • Clutter is a result in overindulging in stuff
  • Clutter causes hearts to harden

Try using this metaphor with your own home or chronically disorganized clients.

Are there any other metaphors you use to describe clutter?


1  LA Times Opinion Article of 2013  by Howard Mansfield titled An American dilemma: Your clutter or your life.


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Filed under Books to Read, Knowledge, Organizing, Philosophy, Techniques, Terms

Home Organizing Notable Authors

Professional Organizers have been tearing up the social media airwaves with their thoughts on the latest book entree into the organizing world. Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is the latest star in a long line of New Concept books.  Concept leaders include Stephanie Winston, Julia Morgenstern, Peter Walsh and now Marie Kondo.

Here is a table to help review the New Concept – Home Focused Organizing Books. Be sure to take note of the lower part of the chart which lists the subset of authors who have sold to specific markets and have also done extremely well.

Home Organizing Notables - Organizers – A Historical Perspective

Tell me what you think. Have I missed anyone in the general audience home organizing category?

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February 9, 2016 · p:55 pm

Curator Vs. Caretaker

Are you a caretaker or curator of your special materials? I am talking about your private or personal family collections. What is the difference you ask?

When we first inherit or start to collect material we may be just caretaking. And that is Okay. Curating before we are ready can be a big mistake.

Do you let the special material sit in the box and wait to deal with it later? If this is the case, then you are a caretaker.  Or do you sort, label, arrange or classify and make some sort of arrangement of the material?  Curators do that.

Good caretakers pack and store material carefully, in safe spaces free free from harm. Inquisitive little children or pets,  pests or rodents can be an issue. Water or humidity or excessive heat or even excessive temperature changes within a short period of time can be a safety factor. Bright lighting or direct sunlight can also be damaging to your collection.

Are you ready to go from caretaking to curating your collection? The time has to be right. Maybe you are too tired of caretaking the collection so perhaps the time is right to pass the collection along to someone else to curate. After all not all caretakers have to curate.

Wise curators are deliberate with their plan. They think it out before they proceed. They seek advise if they need it. They don’t have to go it alone. Books, associations, organizations and solo practitioners are out there to provide assistance and advice to the curator. Remember seek help and guidance and think it through.



An Ounce of Preservation – A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs by Craig A. Tuttle

How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick

How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of your Parent’s Stuff by Denise May Levenick 

Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions by Don Williams, Louisa Jaggar

The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia by Melissa Mannon 


Terri Blanchette   http://timesorters.com



The ArmChair Genealogist  written by Lynn Palermo*     lynn@thearmchairgenealogist.com

The Family Curator written by Denise May Levenick

Family History Secrets written by Wendy Percival. This British site is more about writing and creating – but done in an interesting way.

The Practical Archivist written by Sally Jacobs



If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy an article I wrote about ephemera many year’s back called Don’t Throw That Away!


* This blog was inspired by a post a few months ago by Lynn Palermo regarding curating and creating. If you read my last blog post and book review you would know I am showing my work. Denise May Levenick’s book, How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of your Parent’s Stuff, also uses the three concepts of Curator, Creator and Caretaker.


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Filed under Caregiving, Client Management Strategies, Creativity, Knowledge, Organizing, Terms

Humor and Productivity

Sometimes you just need to laugh. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine. Medical experts have found laughter stimulates blood flow, reduces stress and can actually lower your blood pressure.

Over the years I have become aware that my life is just better if I don’t take myself too seriously. Our clients also benefit from our humor. It uplifts their spirits and has a beneficial effect making them more productive.

While looking at humor I realized there are at least 3 ways in our organizing businesses we deal with humor; first humor with self, then with clients, and finally, with our colleagues.

Humor with Self

Sometimes as organizers, coaches and consultants we tend to think of ourselves as needing to perfectly embody the heart and soul of our profession. I think we all have our foibles and areas of disorganization. My specialty is a compulsion to collect and maintain an extensive lipstick collection. The other day I had 12, a few months ago while on a 2-night vacation I tallied 17.

Now most of you that have actually seen me in person may realize my lipstick is not always apparent. How can this be? I am, unfortunately, not yet skilled at continuous and productive lipstick application. I might need a course in this.

In my office I have a series of humorous organizing cards I have collected over the years. One features a woman with a cluttered desk, 2 pair of glasses on her head and lots of interesting “stuff”. The inside of the card says, “Just as soon as I get organized.” Having this in my office makes me smile and is especially helpful now that I have transitioned to reading glasses. Put up some fun stuff in your office to provide some comic relief.

Humor with Clients

Using humor with your clients can bring a touch of levity on a tough subject, or a break from the monotony or stress of a situation. A well placed humorous remark can bring a much-needed smile and defuse a moment of anxiety. Clients, like employees, work better in a happy state rather than a depressed one.

It actually helps to admit a few (note – I say few not all!) of your areas of disorganization to your clients. This allows your clients to realize that you, the expert, are not perfect and have your areas of shortcomings. This helps to diffuse judgment later on when you end up being five minutes late or temporarily mislay a document.

Take some time to laugh with your clients and colleagues and finally start laughing at yourself. You will find that you create a more productive and enjoyable environment.


This is a revised best of post – you might also enjoy: 

Routine Reflections



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Filed under Client Management Strategies, Communication, Creativity, Knowledge, Philosophy, Productivity, Thinking

Sunshine and Change

Summer is here. The sun is shining and everything is growing. Do you look at your life in terms of seasons or weather?

Sometimes we are growing and other times resting. Hotter weather might bring out your desires to relax, where as cold may make you want to busy about getting stuff done. The same concept can be applied to summer and winter. Are you a summer “rester” or summer “doer”?

This is a post from my other blogTransition Your Life.

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Filed under Client Management Strategies, Creativity, Knowledge, Philosophy, Terms, Thinking

Thinking About Normal Again!

What is normal? According to one of my more enlightened friends – the only thing that is likely  to be “normal” is the washing machine setting with such a name. Actually after examining my own washing machine settings I am hesitant to even write this.

Normal is when we go about our day in a standard way. Normal is no deviation from the usual routines or patterns. Normal can be boring but normal can also be nice and safe.

Take some time to think about your “normal. Here are some reflection questions to get your started:

How do you handle normal?

What does normal mean to you in terms of your daily life?

What signals do you have that “normal” is changing?

Can you ever get back to normal after a big change?

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Filed under Caregiving, Knowledge, Productivity, Terms, Thinking

Rightsize your day

There is a lot of talk about downsizing and rightsizing. Let’s look at this in a small immediate way. How can you rightsize your day? Let the day starting tomorrow be your practice day. First let’s define rightsize. Rightsize means creating a day with enough hours to do the desired tasks at hand, a day with some form of joy and laughter, healthy eating and physical activity.

We can plan our day by getting our “to do” list planned ahead of time, making sure we have the ingredients for healthy eating and include some form of physical activity.  We can also work to connect with loved ones, friends and acquaintances. Some of you may also want to include some spiritual or meditation time.

Here are six elements of  rightsizing  your day!

1) Select tasks that suit the day

When I say a day with enough hours to do the desired tasks at hand, I mean creating a productive and effective “to do” list. One that is doable for the hours we have available, leaving some wiggle room for unexpected issues.

2) Plan to eat right

Create a menu from what you have on hand, or figure out what you need to order to have a healthy kitchen. Make sure you have plenty of water to drink, as water will help energize you and keep you hydrated. Avoid overindulgence. Make good food choices throughout the day and evening.

3) Include daily exercise

Every day needs some form of exercise. Make sure this is part of your day.

4) Cherish your relationships

Work to connect with the ones you love or care about.

5) Include joy and laughter

We all need some fun in our daily life. This can be having a good conversation, or watching a situational comedy to get our laugh on. We can also find joy in nature. Just take some time to enjoy your environment.

6) Work in some spiritual time or meditation

Whatever your beliefs, having some time spent on spiritual devotions or using some time to meditate will serve you well.

Keep the six elements in mind when planning your tomorrow and every day after. Rightsizing your day is the foundation of rightsizing your life.

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Filed under Caregiving, Client Management Strategies, Creativity, Goal Setting, Knowledge, Organizing, Philosophy, Productivity, Terms, Thinking, Time