Organizing An Office And My Cleaning Mishap

Whether your office is in your home or in an office building you need to be organized to run that business efficiently. I know I’m not the only one that has spent countless hours trying to locate that one file or piece of paper that is critical in a lawsuit or a tax audit.

This week I was asked to help relocate an office. The business was going into a smaller offices. That not only meant getting rid of stuff but cleaning up for the next tenant.

Relocating an office is hectic. Just like when you move into a new home there are lots of things that must fall into place. Not only calls to electric, telephone, security company, vendors, customers, city, county, state, and federal agencies but you have to actually move and clean.

The move was going well. They say that many hands make light work and fortunately this company had several people helping. After two days of moving the place was almost empty. I was the last one to leave that night and the dirty floor caught my attention. I could not help myself, (obsessive compulsive) and thought I would give them a head start by cleaning that old floor.

bleachReading instructions has never been my strong suit. I grabbed the bottle of bleach and poured it in a little bucket with water and soap then poured over the floor in two areas that were heavily soiled. I got on my hands and knees and started to scrub. After a few minutes of scrubbing it was looking much better and I left it to dry.

About 30 minutes later I returned to the scene and realized something wasn’t right. The bleach was not as diluted as I thought it was.

Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic.

So in a panic, I redid the whole floor, carefully measuring with less bleach and eventually it looked just barely OK. For sure clean, but a little mismatched. The fact that it was an old floor with character, worked in my favor.

Cleaning is easier when you have less stuff. Just make sure and read instructions!

One other thing. Don’t be tricked into thinking that bleach is always the answer. We need it and use it, just but be careful.



“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”

This is a quote from A. A. Milne, the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh (1882-1956)

I suppose this is one way to look at it. Are there any other advantages to living in a cluttered house or having a cluttered desk? My answer would be NO, but then there are recent studies that show an upside to clutter.

A messy desk can actually lead people towards  clearer thinking, say researchers from Germany.

The researchers found in a series of linked  studies – using a messy desk and a messy shop front – that people actually  thought more clearly when all around was chaos, as they sought to simplify the  tasks at hand.
Read more:

Another study; Clean desk or messy desk? Both have benefits, study finds….

People in tidy work  environments show more generosity and healthier food choices, while those in  messy environments are more willing to be creative and take risks, according to  a University of Minnesota study.

Read more:

For me personally, if it is a choice between creativity or sanity, I choose SANITY. There are incredibly productive people that have messy desks, many of us work with those people. So unless they ask for help in organizing their work space it is better to not get involved and expect Creativity.

Warning. This again is a good lesson in how hard it is to organize other peoples stuff, especially if they are not there when it’s being done. People who have messy desks with lots of papers sometimes remember where those little critical notes are located in their pile. Unless you are an administrative assistant to that person it is hard to know what’s important and what can be tossed.

There are more studies on the negative effects of hoarding. Including the impact not only on the individual but the family. In conclusion, although it might be fun to constantly be making new discoveries in your disorderly clutter, there is a possibility that it is hurting you and those around you.

It’s your choice until authorities step in and say otherwise.





Discovering Minimalism

Living with less.

This may or may not be for you. I’m not here to twist your arm but to propose an alternative to living with lots of stuff.

Alternative – Live with less

Charity – Giving is good

Benefits – Peace of mind and freedom








Do You Believe In Miracles? Dejunking Rubberbands

rubber bandsOne reason my mom believes in miracles is because of a simple rubber band. There was a time when she was working in an office. The post office was very strict and had a firm rule that if you mailed several envelopes they had to be neatly clumped together by a rubber band. She was a rule follower and diligent at that. The company sent mail all during the week and she was the one to take that mail to the Post Office. During her time as a secretary she had seen many people yelled at by postal workers and she did not want that to happen to her.

On one of those trips to the post office, while getting out of her car, she realized with horror that she didn’t have a rubber band. This is when she started praying… Ohhh Lord, I really really really need a rubber band. Her palms began to sweat, her heart beating fast and there was that icky feeling of despair. Just as she stepped out of the car there was a BIG SHINY NEW PERFECT SIZE RUBBER BAND, right at her feet.

THANK YOU LORD!!!                                                                                            perfect rubber band

She sweetly told that story over the years to convince people that the small miracles matter.

So lets talk about rubber bands. We use them for all sorts of things. My husband used to take rubber bands and put them around his pants at the ankles while riding a bike. Kids use them as slingshots and I use them for.. yes, taking lots of mail to the post office.

Like mother, like daughter.

Rubber bands come and go. They are often in our mailbox and for sure in every junk drawer in every house around the world. When I feel like rubber bands are oozing out of every drawer I will often grab them and take them to work.

My husband bought a package of rubber bands years ago. That little plastic bag still ebb and flows with rubber bands. It’s kind of a mystery.

One thing about old rubber bands is they lose their elasticity. Then it’s easy to throw away.

Dejunk those extra rubber bands today!

Pretty Flowers, Be Patient

blooming sunflowerOrganizing your stuff is a process and if you want to be successful you will have to get rid of what you don’t wear or use or even need (which for most of us, is a lot of stuff)

Parting with expensive stuff is painfully hard. A harsh reminder of money not well spent. Ouch. Maybe the one good thing to come from parting with something expensive is next time around you won’t be lured into buying it in the first place.

Parting with sentimental stuff can be just as hard. There are ways to safely let go and at the same time keep the memory.

No matter what method you use you need to remember to be patient with yourself.

If you follow through and begin to declutter you will eventually see something pretty in the simplicity of life.

Be patient.





It’s A New Day Today

My year is up, now what? I took a year to really get organized. What I discovered is what I already knew. Being organized or at least feeling organized creates calmness. Makes you feel at peace. It is the opposite of chaos.

How does one get organized?

They get rid of what they don’t use, need or enjoy. For most of us, that is a lot of stuff. I’ve posted dozens of short stories on getting rid of things along with ideas that came from many of you.

Something else I discovered was I like being a minimalist. This is not to say that I don’t have stuff but less for me was best.

For now my stories will continue. There are other areas that I want to declutter. I’m always interested in your stories and any ideas you might have to help others get organized.

Get out a tissue we all have issues.

One more thing that has become clearer over this last year is that whatever your issues are, someone else has had it and worse.

It’s official. Hoarding is now a disease. You are in good company and no need to go it alone.

You need support and it’s out there.

Stay tuned for more!

The Famous Bible Verse On Cleanliness And Doing Taxes

What does the Bible say about cleaning and organizing? There is that famous bible verse…

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

Oh wait, that actually isn’t a bible verse.

The paragraph below is from

Being clean is a  sign of spiritual purity or goodness, as in Don’t forget to wash your  ears–cleanliness is next to godliness.  This phrase was first recorded in a  sermon by John Wesley in 1778, but the idea is ancient,  found in Babylonian and Hebrew religious tracts.  It is still invoked, often as  an admonition to wash or clean up.

We do know the bible says a lot about laziness. I’m trying to decide if I am just lazy when it comes to gathering tax stuff or just not emotionally prepared to do so. It’s one of those things I avoid until it absolutely has to be done. The good news is, I am not alone.

Organizing paper is so critical, not only to businesses but for your home business as well. You might say, I don’t have a business in my home, and you would be wrong.

Even for the most simplest of households, you do what businesses do. You hopefully make money and you pay bills. It may not be as complicated as a business but the same concept applies.

Remember the days when we thought using computers would do away with paper? Little did we know. I know more than a few that wished they had invested in paper companies. The need for paper has increased not decreased.

And here we are, full circle back to organizing and decluttering. If you declutter your computer or your work area, the tax preparation will be less painful.  The organizing books collectively tell you that if you declutter what you don’t need that almost any organizing technique will work. Whether it is separating categories on a computer, using color folders, binders with tabs or simply a pile with sticky notes.


It’s that time!

Clean up your work area this week. You’ll need to get started on taxes.










What To Do With Gift Bags In 5 Steps

BagsPretty BagsWhether you got your bag at the yearly convention or whether it was a freebie with purchase, they are cluttered through out the house. Some are filled with stuff, not only hanging in the closet but on top of the closet. The rest of them are empty. I actually thought they were efficiently helping me organize. The opposite is true.

As my year of organizing progresses I realized they were just hoarding junk. It was time.

Step one. Gather all of the bags and put on bed.

Step two. Ask yourself, when was the last time I used this bag and the stuff in this bag?

Step three. Go through and get rid of stuff in bags that hasn’t been used in years.

Step four. Get rid of actual bag. Recycle or trash.

Step five. You can now relax. You are officially more organized!

As I got rid of the bags from all of those conventions I was flooded with great memories.  When it comes to the actual bag…be honest, THEY ARE JUST BAGS!

Why Did The Shoemakers Kids Never Have Shoes?

What is the origin of the phrase, the cobbler’s children have no shoes?


Origin unknown; however the essence of this phrase is used to describe the phenomenon where certain ‘professionals’ in any given area are so busy with work for their clients and their teams that they neglect using their professional skills to help themselves or those closest to them. For example – the painter & decorator who never decorates his own house, the web designer that hasn’t finished their website, or the accountant who is late in submitting his own tax return!

The reason I took this year to get organized is because I’ve been very busy over the years organizing other homes and businesses. If you were to drive by my house and the garage door was open, you would assume a hoarder lived there.

It reminded me of that saying that the shoemakers kids never had shoes…..

This is why I am taking a year to get organized. Before I even start I know the answer.


So here we go……..



Like Items With Like Items

How long would it take you to find a paper clip or a rubber band in your house? Would you know exactly where to go or would you have to open every drawer including the glove compartment in your car?

This tip will save you not only time but money.

One of my jobs now is keeping an office building organized. The company has close to 50 employees with 14 of those behind computers.  I can easily estimate that hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper pass through their hands every month. Every station has what it needs to do a good days work and the rest of the supplies are stored away all over the building.

Sometimes OCD is a Good Thing

Several years ago, Nancy was hired. She quickly confessed to me that she was obsessive compulsive about organizing and cleaning. Every company should be so lucky to have a Nancy. One day our expensive order of envelops with the company logo arrived. She went to find places to store them and opened up a cupboard that had been sealed shut with spider webs. To her surprise it was stuffed with envelopes with the company logo. We don’t know how long they had been there but we were certain there were roach eggs along the glue strip.

She put her foot down and announced to everyone in the building;

From now on  “Like items with like items”

One of the Ten Commandment’s of Organizing

I’m not sure who coined this phrase but it is one of the ten commandments in organizing. You will save yourself a lot of irritation if you use this technique. It makes perfect sense. You wouldn’t  keep a spatula in your underwear drawer would you?

Think logically. Everything used for cooking is kept in the kitchen. Everything you wear is kept in the bedroom not on top of the couch. If you have an office space or corner then keep paper supplies, stapler, tape, stamps, pens and pencils in that space and not in the bathroom. You get the idea.

Nancy and I continue to keep that office organized and everyone benefits.

Remember it is a process. Make it fun!