My Organizing Blog

My Favorite Shredder

I use my shredder frequently, and it works very well.  However, when I see the red light indicating that the receptacle is full and needs to be emptied, my heart sinks because I haven’t figured out a way to empty my shredder without making a mess. Emptying my shredder requires me to remove the heavy top which contains the shredding mechanism.  That means there are tiny little pieces of cross-cut paper just waiting to fall on the floor when I remove…

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Remembering to Remember

How many absent-minded professors does it take to change a light bulb? I thought of this variation on an old joke when my husband — who is, indeed, an absent-minded professor — told me a story about his adventure with a rented car.  He was out of town attending an off-site meeting, to which he had driven two other faculty members.   All three live in Manhattan and none of them own a car, so my husband had rented a Zipcar…

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Keep Like With Like

One of my five basic organizing principles is “Keep like with like”.  In  my clients’ homes, I see over and over again what happens when this principle is violated. I often hear the anguished cry, “I had no idea I had so many of these!” When you don’t keep like with like, one of two results is likely to happen:  (1) you run out, or (2) you overbuy.  You may be asking yourself, how can one behavior result in two…

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The Power of Habits

When I got my first apartment after I finished graduate school, I learned an important lesson about the power of habits. Several times during the first few weeks, I left my apartment and started my 3-block walk to the subway, only to stop in fear that I had not locked my door.  I would return to the apartment and discover that I had indeed locked the door — I just couldn’t remember doing it. Eventually, I trusted that if I left…

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Better Ways to Spend

I was intrigued by a book review in the weekly magazine The Economist, since the book in question delivers the same message that I have been telling my clients: spend your money on experiences, not things. According to “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending”, by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, behavioral research indicates that the excitement brought on by material purchases wears off quickly.  A much better strategy, the review states, is “to spend money on experiences, like interesting trips, unique meals, or even going…

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