Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Clutter-Free Evening with Jamie Novak

We had a fantastic turn-out at the South Brunswick Public Library on Tuesday evening, May 17, for our Get Organized Today event with celebrity organizer Jamie Novak.

Jamie was a very exciting speaker; not only did she provide many bits of useful information about organizing your home, office, car, and life but she was also engaging and entertaining. While book-signing, she generously answered every person's questions in detail, neither hurried nor judgmental.

During the workshop, the world's most relatable organizer focused on her "3 steps for peace of mind." She advised the clutter-challenged to first: set a timer for 18 minutes, confront a pile of clutter and pick one thing in it. Second: Make a decision about the chosen item or unfinished project and follow through immediately! Third (and most important): keep it that way! Tackling a pile 18 minutes at a time, she says, makes the job effective but not overwhelming.

In reference to paper piles, her advice is instead of doing the "scoop and dump" before guests arrive, use a desktop box for hanging files or an expandable file folder. Keep it in a public area, she advised, such as the kitchen, to ensure you maintain the contents as their usefulness expires.

Certainly, every one of the 60 or so clutter-free wannabes in the audience went away with some encouragement and new-found skills. My personal favorite was to have a "lost and found" box in my home.

As attendees said their good-byes, she pleaded with them to go straight home and attack even just one bit of their clutter and disorganization that very night. Big clutter problems go away "one bite at a time!" She seemed confident we would succeed once and for all as she wished each of us to "have a clutter-free life!"

Jamie brought copies of her latest book Stop Throwing Away Money which she autographed for those who purchased a copy. You can find Jamie Novak on her website at www.jamienovak.com where you can register to get her newsletters, as well as on Martha Stewart's Whole Living website: go to the Community tab, select "experts' blog" from the dropdown menu and then click "organization" in the left-hand column.

Don't miss her weekly Bite Size Radio Show on Wednesdays at noon on BlogTalkRadio. In addition to the radio, she has been found in television shows on HGTV and QVC.

This Library event was generously sponsored by the Friends of the South Brunswick Public Library. Thank you to everyone who helps support our Friends!

If you missed Jamie's workshop don't despair. The Library has many free resources to help you de-clutter and organize your life.

After her first visit with us more than a year ago, the Library formed its De-Clutter Club. It is an open group for individuals to meet informally and brainstorm de-clutter ideas. They meet at the Library the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in Program Room 1A/1B. Members all have tried to clear away the clutter and to organize their lives and the members share their challenges and successes.

The next meeting of the De-Clutter Club is on June 2. We will determine at that meeting if we will continue to meet during the summer or decide to take July and August off and resume meetings again in the fall. Check the library's event calendar on our website at www.sbpl.info for updates and to read the library's De-Clutter blog.

The Library also has numerous books and magazines to borrow on the topic, including Real Simple, Martha Stewart's Living and Whole Living.

By the way, if you are purging important files there is free help in South Brunswick from Middlesex County on June 4. (Jamie suggests a seven-year life for some documents, but check her website for more details.) County residents can recycle their old documents and confidential files safely and securely on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to noon for free at the South Brunswick Senior Center, next door to the Municipal Building on Ridge Road. Please do not bring books, magazines, newspapers, or plastics. For more information, pick up a flyer at the Library or contact the County Division of Solid Waste Management at 732-745-4170, solidwaste@co.middlesex.nj.us.

As Jamie says, "have a clutter-free life!"

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