Friday, August 26, 2011

Our first De-Clutter Club meeting of the fall will be on Thursday night September 1, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in Program Room 1A. I hope you all had enjoyable and productive summers and that you managed to conquer some clutter or that you have had enough time to rest so that you can dive into a few projects this fall.

We have another de-clutter expert coming to the library this fall to talk to us about de-cluttering our lives and maintaining a clutter free life once we have succeeded. The presenter’s name is Sangita Patel and she will be here on Tuesday evening, November 1 at 7:00 in the large meeting room. Sangita Patel calls herself the Chief Value Creator of her business, Kalakar Interiors, LLC based in West Windsor. She is the Treasurer of the Northern New Jersey chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers ( and a member of the National Institute for Challenging Disorganization ( She calls herself a “facilitator of self-awareness” and ends her emails with this statement: “Organize, Plan and Decorate with Awareness by Inspiring your Inner Explorer.” The presentation will be about “Thoughts – ‘The Magic of Thought Logic’ - Clearing and Connecting Mind space and Home space and for self awareness - how to regain inner calmness and to inspire in awakening our inner wisdom.” You can read more about her mission and her services on her website at

I have contacted some other organizers whose names I got from some of our club members and from the referral service on the NAPO website. I don’t have any other dates set, but I will be looking for some time in the upcoming library schedule. We can talk about the availability of our club members at our first meeting and see if our current meeting date and time are still convenient to our members.

The night of our second meeting in the fall, October 6, is the date for the annual Library Foundation Author Dinner at Sir John’s Restaurant in North Brunswick. This event is always a lot of fun and this year’s author, Chris Grabenstein, mystery writer and former improve comedian looks to be very interesting and entertaining. I would like to discuss changing the date for our October meeting or asking if anyone in the club would be able to run the meeting on that evening.

Let me know your thoughts on these topics and let me know your availability if you are unable to attend our meetings on the first Thursday evening of each month. I look forward to seeing you all, and some new faces, on September 1. Be safe in the storm. I will write again before the first meeting about packing light to save money on checked luggage.

Have a clutter free day!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Another Expert Heard From

I picked up another book titled: One Thing at a Time: 100 Simple Ways to Live Clutter-Free Every Day by Cindy Glovinsky, M.S.W., A.C.S.W. The cover says that she is the author of Making Peace with the Things of Your Life. With the author having a social work background, these books are more like one we discussed earlier on the psychology of disorganization and how to get over the attachments we have to our stuff to make room for the life we want to lead. I don't know how many times we can hear this message before it sinks in; it may be a matter of the approach taken by each author that will lead you to eventually find one that "speaks" to you.

This book, One Thing at a Time is unlike others that we have looked at. This book is full text - no pictures, no diagrams, no graphics. The one thing it does have is an extensive and descriptive Table of Contents where you could browse to find the topic that you feel like dealing with, rather than slog through the entire 100 chapters. There are chapters like: Things Don't Move Themselves; Make a List of Mini-Tasks; Throw Away Coupons; Don't Pile, Containerize; Leave it Neater than you Found It; and my personal favorite, Stop Perfecting, Start Bettering.

There is also a nice bibliography of other works that the author used to write this book and a short chapter called "Resources for Help with Organizing." The author's own website is listed: and lists two organizations that give referrals for professional organizers. The first we have looked at before: National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) in Georgia ( and the second, which refers professionals specializing in chronic disorganization: National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization in California ( A quick look at these three sites told me that Cindy Glovinsky no longer has the Fresh Start Organizing site - that is a dead link and the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization now calls themselves the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) and the link above relocates you to and they have relocated to St. Louis, MO. They have a link labeled "Clutter Hoarding Scale" which is a downloadable assessment measurement tool used to diagnose conditions that challenge someone's health and safety.

Cindy Glovinsky has a new site ( that describes her practice which seems to concentrate on those diagnosed with A.D.D. Other books and articles I have read have equated a cluttered lifestyle with A.D.D.; it would be useful to see if there are people who have trouble with clutter who do not have A.D.D.!

More from these sources at a later date!

Keep chipping away at the piles!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ask the Expert

Many of you have asked for the library to offer talks from other Organizing Professionals so that you may learn some new techniques or perhaps find an organizer that you think you might want to work with one-on-one to solve your organizational issues. As I said earlier, I looked at the websites for the National Association of Professional Organizers and at the Institute for Challenging Disorganization and did a search on finding an organizer in this area - within 25 miles of 08852.
The list was quite extensive on both sites about help available in the South Brunswick area. This means that you are not alone in feeling like you could use help with getting your life in order. I have contacted a few of those listed that live in the immediate area and I'm working with them to try to schedule some presentations this fall. We are concerned, however, that we cover some topics that we haven't covered so well in the past. I have one organizer that focuses on clearing your mind to clear your home so that you can achieve inner calm. Another that I have spoken with can talk about maintaining your de-cluttered space once you have achieved your goals or she has offered to do an "Ask the Expert" Q&A session to answer any questions you may have that pertain to a particular area or type of clutter.

I would like your feedback about what kind of presentation you would like us to provide. I will bring up this discussion at our first De-Clutter Club meeting of the fall on September 1st at 7:00 p.m., but if you could let me know ahead of time what you would like to learn from an expert in the field, I can get some presentations scheduled before the calendar is entirely booked.

You can email your suggestions to me at or you can reply to this posting. I hope you are all having a great and productive summer de-clutting your environment. I have seen a lot of garage sales starting to pop up around town - these must be people who spent some of those super-hot days indoors, sorting through their "stuff." Let me know what your issues are and we can see if we can find some answers or find the "perfect" professional to help you get closer to a clutter-free life!

Friday, August 5, 2011

More Clutter Control Help at the Library

There is a Guide to Organizing Your Life by Donald Laskowski that is included in the colorful, easy-to-use Dorling Kindersley (DK) K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Series. I am a big fan of books published by DK for both kids and adults. They seem to have their finger on the pulse of people in the 21st Century by including illustrative color photographs to break up long paragraphs of text. We are all used to getting our information in short “bites” and crawls. In order to mimic the methods we are familiar with, DK breaks up pages of text with tips and related information in call out boxes including trivia, definitions, Internet links and visual examples of any written forms or lists they are suggesting as a solution. There are also graphic “characters” used to interject “Very Important Points” and ideas that are “Getting Technical” to remind you to pay particular attention. They also call out “Complete No-Nos” and the “Inside Scoop.” However, the topic of “Organizing Your Life” may be more complex than even DK can make palatable to swallow. They have a “magic formula” to help you “change your life” and it is only 20 steps!

The book is divided into four color-coded sections – Section One is an introduction to the concepts of prioritization - “balance and control” in your life. Section Two deals with crises management and procrastination. Part Three gives more detail about the how-to of the organizing tasks of maximizing your time, keeping your work area clear to maximize your productivity and using tools to achieve your goals. The fourth section is all about controlling or managing your time to avoid interruptions and more tools to create systems which you can work within to maintain your new organized life. A lot of the information is geared toward conquering this process at work, and the transfer of these skills to your perhaps more complicated home life is described toward the end. The Table of Contents for this book is 12 pages long and there is an Appendix and an Index, so you could easily work through the book in a way that may make more sense to you. Even just a skim through can be useful to absorb some useful tips and insights. I am sorry that a newer version of this book has not yet been published. The one that I looked at has a copyright date if 2001, so very few electronic tools are discussed. There is a Complete Idiot’s Guide to Organizing Your Life (5th Edition) that was published in 2010 that most likely would cover newer technologies but only the Kennedy Branch of the Piscataway Library owns a copy. You can place a hold on that copy and request to pick it up at the South Brunswick Public Library.

Although the list of self-help books on our “favorite” topic of Clutter Control is long, this is a slightly different approach than many I have seen and may be the one that will “speak” to you. Books on organizing and clutter control can be found in several sections of a Dewey Decimal sorted library. All are found in the 600s which is the section for Technology and Applied Sciences. There are basic overview books in 640, the Home Economics and Family Living section, books in 648 which is the housekeeping section where the how-to books on storage solutions and clutter control are found and there are books like this one that can be found at 646.7 which is the number for life-style management issues. If you just want to browse to see what kind of help is available, it is worth looking in all three sections in both the regular stacks and in the new book section.

Hope you are all having a clutter-free summer!