Welcome back to my latest series, Give Yourself A Gift in 2012: good ideas and smart people who can help you enter the new year purposefully, with a clear head and lighter heart.
When comedian George Carlin first debuted his routine on “Stuff” in 1981, he observed that sometimes we have so much stuff, that we pay to store some of our stuff…’ IMAGINE< an entire industry based on keeping an eye on your stuff!! ’ The audience was hysterical-what a concept!
Several years earlier, Business Week made some predictions about business in the future, one was the computer would render us to be a paperless society. HA! A lesser-known-but correct prediction was our having a computer on every desk, but it has been ‘paperless society’ that we remember. (Fact is, the boom of affordable desktop copiers-and consumer-oriented retail stores that sell them- helped to more than DOUBLE the worldwide use of paper from 1980 to 2000!)
What was out there and funny then is all too real now. There are a number of things that have brought us to this glut of stuff, but one big question-how to deal with it?
At the least, excess stuff is annoying and inconvienent. It weighs us down, affecting our concentration and productivity; in more severe situations, it can be unhealthy, even life-threatening….sadly, three Westchester residents lost their lives in recent years when fires started in their over-loaded homes…they couldn’t get out, and firemen couldn’t get in.
Marcia Sloman was one of the first professional organizers in our area, and her company Under Control Organizing has been helping Westchester get organized since 1992. I’ve known of Marcia for years, but it was only after a series of phone calls and emails that we finally, recently met. Minutes into the conversation, it’s easy to see why she has been so successful: she is warm and friendly, precise and very focused, but with a light touch.
Numbers on how much time we spend looking for things vary, but all of them give pause: Online I found surveys quoting anywhere from 16 minutes a day (or approximately 1 year of your life) to 55 minutes a day (a mind-numbing almost 14 years of your life!).
Even at the lower end, it’s still a lot of time lost…wouldn’t that be a great burden to have lifted from your shoulders in the New Year? Getting cleared out and organized not only will save you time and energy, again, you re-claim some valuable real estate in your home. Marcia’s services run the gamut, but some of her specialties are managing paper and stuff, and making the most of two finite entities: time, and spaces.
Solutions or systems mean little if they’re unrealistic, or, frankly if you don’t trust or respect the person coming up with them…it’s that way with Staging, too…one great, very user-friendly mindset Marcia recommends to deal with a big project: Divide things into the following groups: Trash, Recycle, Sell, Give Away or Donate.
Organizing styles-especially as far as paper is concerned-also figure strongly into her approach. Marcia creates filing systems for the “In-nies”-those who need stuff to be out of sight, but easily accessible; and can have specialized storage spaces made for those “Out-ies”-folks who need an open, visual display to keep things orderly and find-able.
Bottom line-while having someone help you clean out your closets, your garage, or set up your office might seem like an indulgence, ask yourself: so how’s doing it yourself working out for you?
If the answer is not so good, start a conversation, give yourself a gift, and get on with your life!