Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Leather Books of All Sorts

Renaissance Art leather books

Thanks to Zack Dubnoff, Corporate Magician, for pointing me to Renaissance Art and their handcrafted leather products. There are photo albums, recipe books, an agenda (day planner), and much more. Update on October 28, 2011: The day planner is no longer available, but all the rest is!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Green Cleaning Services

Dr. Bronner's green cleaning products

After people finish decluttering, they often want to bring in a cleaning service to do the thorough cleaning they haven't been able to do for months or years. And many people are interested in cleaning services with a "green" flavor.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, we're lucky enough to have a number of choices, including:
- The three coops that are part of WAGES - Women's Action to Gain Economic Security - which I learned about through Jon Carroll about a year ago.
- Greenway Maid, which was written up in Springwise.

And today, Springwise tells me there's a green cleaning service in London, called Home Sweet Home.

Apparently, it's quite a trend; there was even a story on green cleaning on ABC News back in January!

The 6 Styles of Procrastination

book cover, It's About Time: The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them

I sold some books at a local used bookstore last Saturday - and picked up a number of books from the store's "time management" section. The first one I read was a short book called It's About Time: The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them, by Dr. Linda Sapadin with Jack Maguire.

As Dr. Sapadin points out, everyone procrastinates sometimes. And as a recovering perfectionist, I was especially interested in her chapter about the perfectionist procrastinator - and much of her advice resonated with me.

Just one example: "When you think about performing a certain task, resist the immediate impulse to think of the best possible way that the task could be performed. Instead, think of several possible ways it could be done, and then choose the one that's most realistic . . ."

Moving is Easier Without the Clutter

The Novato Advance had a story earlier this month about how hard it can be to move to a new home when you have a lot of clutter. Here are a couple quotes from the story.

"They finally received a solid bid last week and were pleased when a watertight agreement was reached. But one aspect of the deal left them unsettled: They had less than a month to vacate. The husband is now in a state of panic. A longtime flea market aficionado and packrat, he's spent years amassing 'bargains' of all kinds and has always been loath to let anything go."

"Those who attempt a crash decluttering program often become bogged down. If this is your problem, McNamara suggests you consider hiring a professional organizer to get you on track and keep you there until you reach your goal. She cites one source of referrals: The National Association of Professional Organizers ("

You Need a Home Inventory

Creating a home inventory is no fun - but if you ever have to deal with a major loss, you'll be glad you had one. I did one myself a few years ago; it took a fair amount of time up front, but maintaining it is easy. And now I know how much insurance I need to cover my home contents.

I wrote about this in my September newsletter - but I got prompted to write again because I just recently received this newsletter from someone: Are You Covered? Make Sure By Doing a Home Inventory. (PDF)

I used a simple Excel spreadsheet (and my digital camera) to do my inventory, but the newsletter lists a number of companies that provide software packages specifically for this. Many of them seem to have an extensive set of features for tracking almost anything related to your house and its contents.
- Everything I Own
- Home Manager
- Know Your Stuff
- My Stuff Deluxe

And another software package is:
- The Complete Home Journal

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Desk of the Month

simple home desk arrangement

Thanks to a Chicago Tribune story filed today, I became aware of the Desk of the Month at See Jane Work. Nice pictures to get you dreaming about your ideal desk!

Non-Boring Magazine Files

magazine files with flowers

Blooming Bins magazine holders are a brand-new product.

Magazine files are incredibly useful tools - that can hold a lot more than just magazines. (Why are you keeping all those magazines, anyway?) I use them to hold a bunch of small spiral-bound publications from the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. They can also be used to hold sheet music, product manuals, etc. Update on Sept. 7, 2011: The National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization is now the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.

While many of them are functional (but boring) cardboard or plastic, there are also some attractive ones:
- SteelWorx magazine files, in silver mesh
- Cubi magazine holders, in leather and wood (dark or natural cherry)

And there are even some Cargo magazine files made from recycled materials, which still look pretty darn nice.

Update on September 26, 2008: Removed bamboo lattice magazine files, no longer available from The Container Store, although the store has many other nice options.

The Floor is not an Option

book cover, The Floor is Not an Option

I'm reading The Floor is not an Option, by Sheila G. McCurdy of Clutter Stop. Right at the start, Sheila poses these questions, which are well worth pondering.

You and I are at your front door. . . . We walk into your living space.
- What do you see? Do you want me to see it?
- What do you hear? Do you want me to hear it?
- What do you smell? Do you want me to smell it?
- How do you feel about the space we've just entered?
- Do you want to be here, or do you want to run away?
- And are these the impressions that you want to give people visiting your home?

I also especially like her section on collectibles and the importance of featuring just a few of them at a time. As she says, "You and others will start appreciating each piece for its beauty instead of their being lost in a sea of similar items. You'll be treating your collection the same way great museums do. They have great storehouses from which they pull only a few items for public viewing which are rotated with others periodically."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Joining Technorati

Technorati tracks 60 million blogs - they may as well track mine! So here is my Technorati Profile.

Big To-Dos are Made of Smaller Pieces

A couple people have written interesting blog entries on productivity, both of which focus on taking big efforts and breaking them down into smaller bite-sized pieces with intermediate goals or deadlines - a very important strategy.

- How to be Ultra Productive - Six Tips
Update on September 6, 2011: The original article seems to have disappeared, but you can see a summary on Lifehack.

- How to Complete Things On Time

Laptop Ergonomics

When I'm working with clients in their offices (including home offices), I can't help but notice how many of them are working in extremely poor conditions, ergonomically. This is especially true for those using laptop computers.

I'm not an ergonomics expert, but everything I've read emphasizes that if you are doing a substantial amount of work on a laptop, you need to compensate for the all-in-one design, which won't ever let you place both the screen and the keyboard/mouse in ergonomically-acceptable positions. A common approach involves getting an external keyboard and mouse, and elevating the laptop.

Some of the best references I've found regarding laptop ergonomics are:
- Cornell University
- Harvard University
- Macworld
- Haworth, Inc. (PDF) - could no longer access this on Sept. 5, 2011

Please make sure your computer set-up won't cause you pain and injury; if you need to make adjustments, do it now!



It's the time of year for buying calendars and/or agendas for 2007. momAgenda has products designed for keeping track of the whole family's activities. The format is "week at a view." Photo from See Jane Work, a site with many nice organizing-related products.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day poster

Happy Thanksgiving! And a reminder that tomorrow, November 24, is Buy Nothing Day. (It's November 25 outside of North America.) Even for those of us who don't choose to "buy nothing," it's a good time be more conscious of our purchasing choices.

You may want to check out my list of 12 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter - some of which don't involve buying anything.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Where to Donate Books for Kids

Jon Carroll reminds those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area about the Children's Book Project - a great place to donate books you no longer need.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Unusual Coat Rack - The Stretto

Stretto coat rack

I was just looking through my latest catalog from Topdeq and noticed this Stretto coat rack. I've added it to my (bookmarked) collection of interesting entryway furniture. I like both the fold-down coat hook, and the smaller hooks, ideal for purses or totes.

You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!

book cover, You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?!

I just finished reading this book, subtitled The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. It's a book by adults with ADD (who are now ADD coaches) for adults with ADD. The book originally came out in 1993; this revised edition just came out this year, and you'd want to be sure to get the updated version.

As an organizer, I especially appreciated the chapter on The Dynamics of ADD in Organizing, but I found the book as a whole quite worthwhile. I loved this line: "ADD is not an excuse, it's an explanation. We have been doing our very best in very challenging circumstances."

Not Your Normal Roladex

desktop address file

This lovely address file comes from lovelydesign, and is handcrafted and made from found paper. Discovered through the Art for the Holidays gift guide, courtesy of Oh Joy!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

PANTREE Cookware Organizer

PANTREE cookware organizer

Just introduced in October, the PANTREE is an interesting-looking tool for storing pots and pans.

Decluttering the Highway

seven people, including Jeri Dansky, cleaning the highway along the coast

I spent a few hours on Saturday cleaning up the highway near home, as part of an Adopt-A-Highway effort sponsored by, which published this photo. (I'm the second from the left.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Arranging Books by Color

books arranged on bookshelves by color

This works for some people, and it certainly can look lovely. Found on Flickr courtesy of popurls.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Office Depot's Green Book

I'm not usually a fan of big box stores, much preferring to support smaller local businesses. But it's still nice to see Office Depot's 123-page Green Book, showcasing all the "green option" products they carry. From an organizing standpoint, there are file folders, cardboard file storage boxes, Post-it notes, 3-ring binders and more, all made from recycled materials.

And the catalog itself is printed on 100% post consumer recycled content paper that is bleached PCF (process chlorine free).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cute Address Book (and more)

address book by Sukie

For those of you using paper address books, here's a nice one from Sukie. It's from the U.K., but you can order on-line and they ship around the world. Update on Sept. 5, 2011: There's now a newer Sukie address book, published by Chronicle Books.

They also have some nice journals, made from rescued paper, hand collected and assembled in India.

Courtesy of the wonderful Oh Joy! blog.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Moving Boxes - greener and cheaper

For all of us who cringe at using brand-new boxes for our moves. . .

I just got a call from Warren at Bay Area Box Express - which reminded me how great is is to have someone selling manufacturers' overstock, misprinted, and barely-used boxes - and at discount prices. And they deliver!

Since Bay Area Box Express only serves the San Francisco Bay Area, another company worth knowing about is

Updated here, February 2008.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Managing bills - a service for frequent travelers

Another organizer just made me aware of the bill payment/management service provided by Paytrust. While you can already set up many bills for electronic payment, this service will provide electronic management of all bills, whether or not the person/vendor offers electronic payment options, and even if it's someone (like a neighbor) who doesn't send a bill. Amy speaks very highly of this service.

Updated May 30, 2008 to remove the organizer's name, at her request, since she has moved on to another business.

ADD Planner

A member of the GTD (Getting Things Done) Yahoo Group just brought the ADD Planner to my attention - a software planner designed specifically for people with ADD. It looks interesting; if he buys it, hopefully we'll hear if it indeed works well for him. Update on Sept. 5, 2011: The site for this product seems to have disappeared.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Recycling Christmas Cards

Just this afternoon I heard someone mention that you can send used Christmas card fronts to St. Jude's Ranch for Children. That used to be true — but they've been buried in cards, and they are no longer accepting them.

Update on Sept. 5, 2011: St. Jude's is now accepting the cards again, with some restrictions — and more than just holiday cards. See the St. Jude's site for all the current information.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Scrapbooking, the Easier Way

I'd always thought of Creative Memories as the company for people who want to do fancy scrapbooking, with all the elaborations. And while Creative Memories certainly sells products for those folks, I found out today that the company also has products to make creating a scrapbook a whole lot easier.

These products include the PicFolio Albums and the Power Sort Box.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

12 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter

I've just published my November 2006 newsletter - and in plenty of time for Christmas, it includes as list of gifts that won't become clutter.