Unclutter Your Love

February 3rd and 10th – 7 to 9 pm Cluttered Heart

Reveal how emotional clutter impacts your relationships in this ground breaking two night workshop!

Act Now for Early Registration Discount!
(expires Jan. 25th)

Register now for this exciting event and begin exposing the emotional aspects of clutter and how it impacts your relationships with loved ones. Topics to be covered will include:

  • Messy or neat….who wins?
  • How we may be expressing anger, sadness or disappointment through clutter
  • Exposing the real conflict
  • The strategy of compromise
  • How to set your boundaries without crossing the line
  • The secret to effective communication
  • Bridging the gap with humor
  • The powerful effect of happiness
  • Agreeing on a lifestyle that works for both of you
  • Asking yourself the tough questions

When: February 3rd & 10th – 7 to 9 pm

Where: Basking Ridge, NJ

Price: $199.99 EARLY REGISTRATION ONLY $99.99! (offer ends January 25th!)

Space is Limited: Limited to first 10 registrants

Click Here to Register Now!

Dancing and Organizing – What’s the Connection?

Hmm…an interesting thought popped in my head the other night.  I was at a house party that had a fantastic band.  As they played soulful songs, mainly from Michael McDonald’s collection, I wondered – what makes some people have inner rhythm, while others struggle with their dancing?  And what makes organizing so easy for some people, yet so difficult for others?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this…btw, a lot of this is covered in my new book to come…interesting right?

Reclaiming Your Garage

Organized Garage

The old story of whatever doesn’t fit in the house usually ends up in the garage, is still going very strong. Countless people take their excess “stuff” and use the garage to store it. The problem is, eventually it becomes so cluttered that you no longer can use the garage for its proper use, such as parking your vehicle, perhaps.

Seriously, though, I can vouch for this behavior, as I am guilty of it as well. I think the problem stems from not having enough room for your things or not knowing how to let go of some of them. Yes, that’s right, letting go of some of your things.

You wouldn’t believe what I encountered in my garage. Dare I share? My garage was the holding place for my daughter’s childhood. I found books, stuffed animals, clothes, costumes, knick-knacks and so much more. Without a doubt, I felt overwhelmed; since I knew the day I would have to deal with all this “stuff” had finally arrived.

So what did I do?

First, I needed a form of motivation to propel me into action. I believe without it I would not have been as successful with clearing everything out. For me, it was a couple of things. I was entertaining the idea of purchasing a new vehicle, so I wanted to protect my new asset. I was tired of not being able to park in the garage, knowing that once the colder weather set in, I would be miserable.

I began dealing with all the memorabilia first. After consulting with my daughter and selecting the treasures among all treasures, I was left with the remains that I donated to charities and the library. Although I think I would have been the perfect candidate for a garage sale, I decided against it, but I did hand over a truckload of belongings to someone that was.

Since I have a detached, single car garage, I didn’t have a lot of room to spare and I wanted to keep my expenses under $200. I had to find storage solutions for gardening tool, shovels, extension cords, a bicycle and holiday decorations.

This is what I came up with.

I purchased a piece of plywood to lay as a floor for extra storage for the overhead loft area. A 2-by-4 piece of wood to screw into the side of the garage wall with some hooks to hang my tools, a plastic storage shed with shelving for the back corner to hold my holiday decorations, and a huge mounting claw to hang from a beam for my bicycle.

In addition, I purchased a few clear plastic bins for storing the remaining treasures I decided to keep and placed them safely in the loft area now that there was extra room. Not only did I stay within my budget, I finally was able to park my car in the garage!

From Treasure to Stranger: Deciding What to Keep and Eliminate

Are the things you hold onto truly treasures or mere things?

Isn’t it interesting how we hold onto our belongings as if we are holding onto life itself?

The idea that something we consider to be so precious to our hearts, can actually be given away, or thrown away for that matter, can feel as if our very last breath has been knocked out of us.

How is it possible then that the things we cling to and find so endearing can actually create pain for us? At what point does our “stuff” no longer feel good to us?

When posed this question, I found that most of my clients had a difficult time distinguishing what’s worth holding onto verses what can be let go.

The operative words here are “letting go.”

In most situations, trying to identify the treasures among all treasures becomes confusing and actually overwhelming. Everything begins to look like one huge treasure chest.

First, I think the most important question to ask yourself is what do you consider your definition of a treasure to be? What constitutes your items being called treasures rather than just stuff?

The next step is to go to the source of the pain. The question now to ask is “where does it hurt?” What things do you have around your home or environment that is creating a sense of disharmony for you?

Thinking along these terms, it’s sometimes easier to identify these hurtful objects by over-personalizing them using the “friend, stranger, acquaintance” game. In “Conquering Chronic Disorganization,” Judith Kolberg writes that “over personalization is the process of exaggerating the feelings that people have for their feelings. The exaggeration of personal feelings acknowledges these feelings and makes it possible for a person to move beyond them.” Using this philosophy, ask yourself, what strangers are looming around your home? And, by the way, what do you consider to be a stranger, anyway? For me, a stranger is someone for whom I have no feelings and in some cases actually can pose harm. So in relation to this, any “things” I have hanging around would be easy for me to dispose of.

Now, getting back to your treasures – how do you see them in comparison to a friend? Are your treasures really friends? For me, friends are there through thick and thin. I want my friends in my life all the time, so they participate in my life. So ask yourself, the things you consider treasures, are you treating them like friends? Do you expose them and are they interacting if your life? If you answered no, maybe the things you consider treasures are really stuff you can reduce to an acquaintance or stranger.

What I love about the friend/stranger/acquaintance game is that you can use this analogy in all aspects of life. I think it can help us really put our “things” into perspective. To the strangers, we can say goodbye; whether this comes in the form of an item, a job, or a relationship that is no longer serving us.

Acquaintances actually can be moved around at times from friend to stranger when appropriate, and we can feel OK about our decision when it’s time to let go.

And our friends, I think we can learn to honor what falls into this category and what warrants this title. If your treasures are truly friends, then bring them out and have fun with them. Your friends deserve your respect to be truly called treasures.

Hot Off The Press…

Park Place Magazine just posted the article they interviewed me for on their website. Here is a copy of the article:

Park Place Magazine Cover

Living Simply

De-clutter your life—and your head.

written by Susan Brierly

Are there days when you can’t find your keys? Do you own a closetful of clothes but never seem to have anything to wear? Do you spend sleepless nights wondering how you will ever plan the kids’ birthday parties, organize the basement, or balance your checkbook (since you haven’t reconciled it in six months)? If you constantly seem to be playing catch-up, you’re not alone.

“The first step is to establish a more organized lifestyle that suits your personality—it’s not about living in a sterile environment. It’s a conscious choice that’s conducive to how you interact with your family, and how you want to be perceived,” says Patricia Diesel, principal owner and president of Keep It Simple Now, a New Jersey-based professional organizing company. Diesel, a Basking Ridge resident, is a certified empowerment coach and national speaker who assists individuals, entrepreneurs, and corporations that need help with chronic disorganization and life balance.

“Functioning in an organized manner actually frees you to enjoy a simpler and more carefree life,” she says. Some of Diesel’s clients just need a little help managing the disparate elements of their lives. Others are chronically disorganized, and need to establish smart habits and structure to keep them on track. Still others are hardcore hoarders who need to take a serious look at their habits to understand the emotions (such as anger and fear) that often drive their behavior.

How do you know when you’ve crossed the line?

Here is Diesel’s reality check list:
✻ Is your personal or business life in jeopardy because of your disorganization?
✻ Are piles and piles of papers or magazines becoming part of your décor?
✻ Do you continually lose items such as car keys and important documents?
✻ Is it difficult to let go of things that you no longer need?
✻ Is procrastination becoming part of your routine?
✻ Is your chronic disorganization causing you or your business to lose time and money?

“Becoming organized is a gradual process. It can be intimidating, so I don’t pressure my clients,” Diesel says. “It’s okay to take baby steps by spending as little as fifteen minutes a day to begin to de-clutter one’s life.”

Diesel’s basic tips for a more organized life include:
✻ Purge first, then sort.
✻ Assign everything a  home.
✻ Organize similar items together.
✻ Dedicate 15-20 minutes each day to creating order.
✻ Break projects into manageable baby steps.
✻ Celebrate your victories to keep motivated.

To view this article on Park Place Magazine’s website, click here.

Calling All Men…

What are your struggles with organization?

How does it impact your life? 

Single Dads, what are your struggles with domestication? 

What are your struggles in the workplace?

I’m curious. Let’s get some discussions going on the blog. Comment below and let me know your thoughts. I want to develop solutions targeting these struggles and I need your input. If you prefer to be confidential, email me directly at [email protected].

The Cluttered Heart…

“Each moment of a happy lover’s hour is worth an age of dull and common”

 – Aphra Behn

For my special client who is seeking peace…this is for you! The sweet surrender of an organized life will bring you comfort and ease your cluttered heart and soul.

Body Doubling

Body DoublingWhile sitting opposite from one another during our scheduled work session, a relatively seasoned client of mine looked directly at me and said “I think I like it better when I write in my own personal handwriting rather than you printing out labels for me.”

“OK” I said. “May I ask why?”

“I think I find it too impersonal and sterile. I find myself feeling more drawn to the files and want to pick them up when I see my own signature rather than unfamiliar printing.”

Since we already established a relationship with one another, I felt comfortable enough to ask her if there was anything else she wanted to let me know.

“Well, as a matter of fact,” she said, “I think I would really like it if I could try working for a while just on my own, while you sit there. Is that alright with you?”

I smiled back at her and said “Of course. Take your time and let’s see how it goes.” We agreed that we would try this for one hour without talking unless she needed my input.

As I sat there, I started to imagine what it would be like for me to have my assistant just sit in my office while I worked. But that image didn’t last long for me. Unlike my client, I am an active participant when it comes to my work and like to engage and interact with my staff and also require and enjoy their input and feedback.

So, I started to question in my mind what was really going on for my client. Was she beginning to feel more secure in her own sense of style and wanted to try it out while I was present or was it something more profound than this?

Fifty minutes into the hour, she asked if I would like a cup of tea. Sure I said, that sounds good right about now.

We took about a 15-minute break and sat outside on her deck. We talked about the weather, her new landscaping of shrubberies and a little about family.

As we walked back into her office, I asked her if she ever heard of the term “Body Doubling.” Her eyes widened and she just about whispered, “No, what is that?”

Well, I began; I believe that is what we are doing right now.

Having a person who is present and acting like and anchor, not an active assistant, allows the other person to stay focused and ignore distractions. I asked her if she agreed that was what we were doing.

“Absolutely,” she said. “Having you here somehow gives me permission to finish what needs to be done, and I don’t feel the urge to walk away.”

She wanted to know if the practice was common or highly unusual.

I explained that it depended-sometimes it is woven into the organizing practice quite naturally and in other circumstances it is introduced right away. One thing that is certain is that body doubling is highly effective and actually mirrors what organizing looks like.

With this new-found understanding, it made it easier for my client to accept that her initial request was in essence a particular organizing practice. Body doubling offers alternative solutions for people to succeed in their organizing endeavors, when they recognize they are challenged with distraction.

It was safe to say, my client and I worked silently for the next hour and a half and when I left, she felt empowered and satisfied with her accomplishments.

-Patricia Diesel
Keep It Simple Now

5 Questions to Ask Yourself About Clearing Your Clutter

So often I hear clients say they would do just about anything to stop the harassing effects of their clutter.

After countless attempts trying to purge and being defeated, some people associate their lost battles with a feeling of being assaulted. All they know at this point is they want the chaos of the clutter to stop.

Introducing a list of questions at this point helps put things into perspective about not only their current circumstances but also about how the clutter came to be and what is needed to make it go away.

It’s more appealing to look at de-cluttering as a fun and enlightening concept rather than another grueling task. The goal is to de-clutter in a fashion that feels comfortable and natural.

If your clutter is having an emotional impact on you, begin by asking yourself the following questions. Allow yourself the luxury of taking the necessary time to answer completely and honestly, you may be surprised what your answers reveal.

What has prevented me from de-cluttering in the past?

  • Time
  • Motivation
  • Energy
  • A plan
  • Commitment
  • Distractions
  • Other

What do I find is the hardest thing about de-cluttering?

  • I don’t trust myself
  • Insecure with my decisions
  • I double-check myself
  • I remember what I like
  • Fear of letting go
  • Afraid I can’t get it back
  • I may need it
  • Don’t want to deal with it
  • Other

What would make it easier for me to de-clutter?

  • To know it’s OK to let it go
  • The idea that I can find it again
  • Someone to help me
  • A reward system
  • A plan I can follow
  • Thoughts of being clutter free
  • Other

How much time am I willing to commit to de-cluttering?

  • One day
  • One week
  • One month
  • Six months
  • One year
  • However long it takes
  • Other

What does de-cluttering represent to me?

  • Freedom
  • Simplicity
  • Excitement
  • Work
  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Other

After reviewing the answers to the questions above, you can easily begin to see what you need to put into action in order to begin taking action toward living an organized life. The easiest way to begin making organization part of your routine is to begin incorporating changes slowly. Create small wins for yourself so you can easily feel a sense of accomplishment and treat yourself to celebrate your win. This will begin creating a positive behavior pattern. In time, organization will become a part of your life, not something that overwhelms you.

-Patricia Diesel
Keep It Simple Now

5 Most Common Organizational Starters

Patricia Diesel

Patricia Diesel

We’re talking about organizational starters…

As the New Year approaches, we begin thinking about the things we would like to accomplish in the coming year. We don’t have to wait until spring to begin cleaning and getting organized, you can start with little projects right now to get yourself motivated.

Here are some suggestions on where and how to begin:

 1. Makeup Bag

Anything older than a year, such as lipsticks, foundations and concealers, toss it out. If mascara is older than four months or smells strange, discard it, as well as any other items that may be questionable.

2. Purse

Scale it down. There’s nothing appealing about lugging around a heavy handbag and not being able to find your wallet and keys. It can be extremely frustrating emptying your purse every time you need to find something.

3. Kitchen Drawer

Do you have too many spoons, not enough forks, and knives that don’t cut? Sales are always on the horizon, so why not think about purchasing some new silverware and get that drawer organized once and for all. What to do with the old set you ask? Why not donate them to a favorite charity, ask a college student if they may need them, or use them as a back-up for summer picnics.

4. Desk Drawer

I’m sure you will find everything here short of your kitchen sink, but let’s streamline things and keep the basic essentials to help you out in last-minute pinches.

  • Antiperspirants – for those stressful days
  • Breath mints – after your morning coffee
  • Eye drops – restore moisture after too many hours on the computer
  • Lint roller – remove lint and hair on clothing before those last-minute meetings
  • Antibacterial cloths – before and after meal cleanups and disinfect your phone
  • First-aid – bandages for paper cuts and blisters
  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin – tension headaches, minor aches and pains
  • Plastic utensils – for the days you know you’re eating in.

5. Pantry

Take inventory of what you have. Look at expiration dates and circulate or toss out. If you have many opened boxes of the same food, consider combining all ingredients into one container to maximize your space. Remember to keep like with like.

What about your pots and pans? If you haven’t used some of your cookware in years, it may be time to let it go or replace with a more up-to-date product.

The five items listed above are some of the most commonly used areas in your daily life. Beginning here give you a taste of living an organized life. These 5 areas may inspire you to begin incorporating additional organization in your life. Remember, creating small wins is the first step toward changing behavior.