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Have you been enjoying the sunlight as much as I have over the last couple of weeks? I've definitely experienced a renewal of energy, motivation, and creativity now that spring is here (even in spite of the accompanying allergy symptoms)! In addition to revamping the back-end of my website, I've been hard at work on refining the focus of my business and clarifying my personal goals (which is why you haven't heard from me in a while...)!

Last Friday, the Gano Baptist Church Mothers of Preschoolers ( GBC MOPS ) group held its annual auction fundraiser. Such fun! It was a great opportunity for moms to declutter their homes and repurpose their gently-used items. I offered up two of my Productivity Power Hour Consultations, and  what a thrill it was to watch the bidding wars that ensued!

As the weather continues to warm up (then cool off, then warm up again, and so on...), have you found yourself with the itch to declutter? If so, you'll love the tips in this month's newsletter! Oh, and you'll also want to check out the new and improved downloads section on my website... especially the spring cleaning and home maintenance checklists!

Happy Organizing!

Michelle's Signature

MICHELLE DEO
Professional Organizer
http://www.realneat.com

P.S. Are you one of my original newsletter subscribers from long ago... you know... back when dinosaurs roamed the earth? If so, be sure to grab your complimentary copy of "Real Neat Ideas: 35 Home Organizing Tips!" I'd hate for you to miss out...

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spring organizing

Spring-cleaning is one thing, but doing some spring organizing is another. Organizing will really whip your home into shape! All organizing projects begin with the sorting and purging of unwanted, unused, or unloved items. Typically this is the step that takes the longest to conquer however can be the most fulfilling. You'll discover your past, some mistakes and have a few "Oh there it is" moments! To most people the first step is overwhelming, however armed with a plan and some inspiration you'll be good to go.

Give Yourself Some Guidelines

First determine where your cast-offs will go. Consider a local charity, think twice about a yard sale, and look into your consignment options. Craigslist and eBay are great options as well. If you don't want to tackle the resale project yourself, you may consider offering your teenager a cut of the sales price for handling the sale.

Now that you're in an organizing mindset it's time to get down and dirty! Start in an area that won't test your emotional attachments then work your way up. I recommend starting with the kitchen pantry and finishing with your clothes closet.

The Pantry and Kitchen Cupboards

There are only 3 choices to be made when sorting and purging a pantry: Keep, Toss, Donate. Toss any and all items that are stale or expired. Donate any food items that you won't prepare prior to their expiration date or no longer prepare. You may feel a bit sick to your stomach when you see how many items you've paid for and never quite got to before they expired. Remember a full cupboard doesn't equate to meals, it's just a full cupboard!

When it comes to kitchen cupboards you'll need to add another category to your decision-making: Need to Decide. It's okay to put off making a decision when you first look at an item. The key is to come back to the item later and decide its fate! You may find yourself attached to the cute-corn-on-the-cob dishes (I did!) then come to realization that they are a "fun" piece that haven't been used once during the last 3 summers and you probably won't bust them out this year either. It's also time to donate or box up the collection of shot glasses you've had since college. Let them go and enjoy the empty space they create—it's time!

The Linen Closet

Just how many sets of towels or sheets does a family need? Share the overflow with local shelters. I suggest 2 sets of sheets per bed, possibly a third set if you change out to flannel for the winter. Are you really using all those blankets or have you added a few over the years? Now's the time to answer those questions and give yourself some much needed space.

The Clothes Closet

Your clothes closet is a hot bed of emotional choices! Your closet may be full of wishful thinking and museum pieces and you'll have more decisions to make and more categories to consider. But you're now seasoned at sorting and purging and can handle the task at hand! Add categories for: Alter / Repair, Try On, and Return. The first closet run through should be easy, the second run through a bit tougher. If you have a large number of "need to decide" items, take the time to try them on again or place the hangers going in the opposite direction of the others. This will remind you later which items you truly don't gravitate toward hence making the donate decision a whole lot easier. Just remember the 80 / 20 rule. You wear 20% of your clothing 80% of them time.

— Krista Colvin, Organize in Style

Krista Colvin is the Lifestyle Expert for AM Northwest, social-media-savvy online junkie, creator of The Shebang! [ the smart woman's guide to doing it all ], and all-around-too-much-coffee-drinkin' sassy mama!

organizing guidelines

Before you dive in, ask yourself some questions.

  *  Does this add value to my life?
  *  Do I have duplicates of this item?
  *  When was the last time I used this item?
  *  What is this item costing me in storage fees?
  *  Would I buy this item if I were shopping today?
  *  Does it need to be repaired? Is it worth repairing?
  *  Why am I so attached to it and spending such valuable time worrying about it?

Take it step further and let go of the emotional attachment or guilt you may be feeling. We'll refer to these as shoulda, coulda, woulda's.

Shoulda
Shoulda's are the pressure you feel when you think you need to do something—an OBLIGATION that causes you unnecessary guilt and anxiety.

Coulda
Coulda's are made up of all those POSSIBILITIES that hang in front of your face like a cloud of flies—the million and one projects that you could do if you had unlimited time.

Woulda
Woulda's are the times you say,"I would USE this if..." Many homes are cluttered with objects that you are saving for when you redecorate, or when you lose weight, or when the kids are grown—some other life that you don't currently lead.

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blog highlights

In March and April, a total of 11 new organizing tips & ideas were added to my blog. The most popular blog entries were...

  *  Top 5 Organizing Tips for Kids
      http://www.realneat.com/top-5-organizing-tips-for-kids/

  *  Purposeful Parenting : My Blessed Mess
      http://www.realneat.com/purposeful-parenting-my-blessed-mess/

  *  Are You Perfectly Imperfect?
      http://www.realneat.com/are-you-perfectly-imperfect/

  *  Simplifying : Needs vs. Luxuries
      http://www.realneat.com/simplifying-needs-vs-luxuries/

Receive instant updates when new entries are added; subscribe using your favorite news reader : http://feeds.feedburner.com/realneat/.

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organizing parties

Ready for a totally fun-tastic and productive Moms Night Out? What about a tremendously useful Lunch-and-Learn at the office? Book your personalized Organizing Party today! Here's the gist...

  *  Choose a topic for your on-site workshop,
  *  Invite 5 or more friends over to your home or office,
  *  Learn key organizing strategies straight from an expert,
  *  Ask questions and get answers tailored to meet your needs,
  *  Get free hands-on help and enjoy immediate results!!

Learn More


This personalized 60- to 90-minute workshop will focus on addressing a single organizing dilemma in your life, your family, or your home—paring down your wardrobe, dealing with the never-ending mess of laundry, managing the influx of school papers, creating a “vital records” binder for the family... At just $10 per guest, the possibilities are endless and the benefits are priceless!

So, what are you waiting for? Schedule your first organizing party today!
The girls will love you for it!

Book Now


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please help me !!

I need your help... What would you like to see featured on RealNeat.com in June? What is your toughest organizing dilemma? What are some of your all-time favorite organizing tips? "Whatcha doin'?" *grin*

I want to hear from you... seriously... I could really use some fresh perspectives... "Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"

Send me an e-mail with your thoughts, and if I feature your idea, dilemma, or tip on my blog, you could win some real neat organizing goodies!

march / april 2010

[ real neat ] faithfully helps
overwhelmed moms, busy
homeowners, and ambitious
professionals learn practical
time- and space-saving
organizing solutions.

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spring organizing
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