Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy New Year

It was nice seeing some new faces at the De-clutter Club on January 6. It is a new year and we all have new resolutions to keep! At the meeting I announced that Jamie Novak will be coming back to the library to give us another boost in our efforts to live an organized life. You should not miss this presentation on Tuesday evening, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. Jamie Novak, the world’s most Relatable Organizer, is the author of four bestselling books on organizing and de-cluttering, the latest of which is "Stop Throwing Money Away: Turn Clutter to Cash, Trash to Treasure and Save the Panel While You are at it." Jamie has been seen on HGTV and QVC and has written many articles in magazines such as Real Simple and Everyday with Rachel Ray. Her latest venture, as the founder of Bite Sized Living, is featured on a weekly Internet radio program on BlogTalkRadio and a monthly call-in “Bookclub by Phone.” You can read more about Jamie at where you can register to receive her Bite Sized Newsletter or read her Blog.

I have a colleague who brings me the magazines that she is done with if they include an article about de-cluttering or organizing, and as we have discussed, clutter is such a universal issue with people that it is one of the most popular ways to tempt people to buy magazines other than "see the latest hairstyles" or "look better in a bathing suit." Right now I have three magazines in front of me with teasers like "Organizing Made Easy: 5 Questions that make clutter disappear" or "Quick and Easy Organizing Ideas" or just the plain imperative, "Get Organized." These are undoubtedly popular because they make it seem like there are really only 5 questions or three simple rules that will solve all of your organization problems. If only…

We have talked about one piece of advice that we all agree with - get a handle on what you have to store before you run out and buy anything new to store it in! As George Carlin might have said, "Don’t stuff your house with stuff designed to handle the stuff until you know if you need the stuff." Just about every one of these magazine articles ignores that basic rule and tries to tempt you with the latest and the greatest organizing solution – after all, magazines are all about advertising aren’t they? However, there are a few things that I have seen that are unique and might be helpful. In the February 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine in an article titled "30 Quick and Inexpensive Ideas" they describe a product called a Cable Box. This box is large enough to hold a surge protector and all of the excess cable that is lying in a heap below your computer. There is a slot at either end where the cables emerge and is a lot easier than bundling with some of the other products. It really is just a matter of reducing visual clutter, but it looks pretty neat and they have a whole range of fun colors. ( A few other items are listed on websites that are known for useful organizing items. There is an adjustable shower caddy at, where you can also find other well designed household tools and gadgets; some fun “crunchable” hampers with handles at my favorite store and website; some stackable canisters recommended by HGTV’s Sabrina Soto at; and thin, velvet covered “Huggable Hangars” that keep your closet orderly from that are also available at Lowe’s for a lot less.

In the same magazine, there are some useful websites to reduce paperwork coming into the house: a finance and bill paying program that is independent of your bank at; a way to get rid of your unwanted catalogs at; a place to register to get off mailing lists for credit cards, insurance offers, etc. at; and for about 70 cents per month will keep you and your family member’s names off of consumer mailing lists for the next 5 years.