How will she get out of this mess?
"To get neat, you must get messy." - the Neat Geek
To prove this, the Neat Geek is letting you into her drawers!
The Neat Geek's drawers have become OUT-OF-CONTROL.
How will she get out of this mess?
Year after year, I make New Year's resolutions and barely keep them after two weeks (sound familiar, anyone?) So, for the upcoming New Year, the Neat Geek firmly resolved to not make resolutions for the New Year. Then, like most resolutions, I broke it.
What’s the Problem?
Making New Year's resolutions is like trying to re-solve the same problem every year by using the same method, then getting the same disappointing results. The first couple weeks (or days) may be filled with optimism and motivation. Then, motivation starts waning because you haven’t reached your goal as quickly as you’d like or the goal seems too far away. Before you know it, your New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside, only to be waiting for you to try again next year.
The problem with New Year's resolutions is not the resolution itself. The problem for most of us is the approach. Too often, New Year's resolutions are grand, life-changing expectations we put on ourselves. Then, when we don’t achieve those expectations, we have grand disappointment in ourselves.
It may be easier to do away with making New Year's resolutions. I almost did that. I started grumbling about how New Year's resolutions don’t work and people shouldn’t do it. Then, I realized how cynical and negative I felt. I did not like that attitude. Making New Year's resolutions can be a fun tradition. So, I decided to make a new New Year’s resolution – re-define resolutions.
3 Tips to Re-Defining Your New Year's Resolutions
1. Be Realistic. Instead of making the same grand resolutions for the New Year, change it up a little. Keep it simple. For example, instead of resolving to lose weight, make your goal to eat healthier. Then, create an achievable way to reach that goal, such as eating out less or substituting fruits and veggies for chips and cookies as best you can. If your goal is to save more money this year, make a resolution to save all your loose change. If you want to be more organized this year, resolve to clean out your closet and donate unused clothing to a shelter. You could also resolve to check out the Neat Geek’s helpful organizing blog each month (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, grin!)
2. Have fun with it. Yes, you are allowed to have fun with New Year's resolutions. It’s not easy to stay motivated when you put a lot of pressure and expectations on yourself. So, have fun with it! Make a game out of reaching your goal. If you keep it fun, you’re more likely to keep your resolution. Cleaning is not one of my favorite chores - I’m a Neat Geek, not a clean freak. So, one way I have fun with keeping my resolution to clean the house is to yell, “Ready, set, go!” and make it a game to get it done. Yes, I’m a dork about it, but guess what? It gets done. And it’s fun!
3. DOIT. No, that’s not a typo, that’s my mantra to keep my resolutions. When I find myself slipping away from actively keeping a resolution, I start telling myself: Do it. Do it. Do it. I keep repeat this faster and faster until I’m saying DOIT-DOIT-DOIT. At some point, I follow my mantra, get up, and I DO IT. It really works for me, but come up with a mantra that works for you. If you do decide on this mantra, I strongly suggest you say it in your head to avoid sounding like a crazy person.
The New Year represents a new beginning. It’s a time we can feel confident that we can make new, positive changes in our lives. Just remember, it’s the little changes that count. It’s the little changes that become good habits that help us reach our bigger goals. So, make that your new New Year resolution.
The Neat Geek wishes you a Happy New Year and a happy New Day, everyday!
Recently, a young reader (via his counselor) contacted me about sharing information on how to deal with hoarding. The caring reader lives in a household of hoarders and wanted to help others who also deal with hoarding by sharing the following link. I would like to thank the young student who contacted me. It is brave and thoughtful to reach out to others in this difficult situation. Dealing with hoarding can be a complicated and stressful issue. Although there is no easy solution to this problem, the following article at Curio Cabinet Spot website contains 5 steps in the right direction to help overcome hoarding. Thanks again to my reader for this helpful information!
3 Signs of Crossing the Hoarder-line
You’ve seen the show Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive and you’re a little concerned. Your home isn’t as bad as the homes on those shows – not even close. Still, the clutter is multiplying and you seem to be running out of space to put things away. You collect things - books, clothes, movies, music, tools, fabric, toys, and/or a multitude of other items. Maybe you’ve started to notice compulsive purchases that seem to mysteriously accumulate. Or, you realize that you have a really difficult time letting go of material items. Overall, you are overwhelmed and stressed out with all the stuff piling up in your home. Do you simply need help organizing? Or, are you concerned you may have a hoarding problem? This article will help you determine when you, or someone you know, have crossed the hoarder-line.
Unable to Let Go of Stuff
It’s natural to want to hold onto items you find valuable. However, when every single item has value, and you hold onto every single item you come across, it may be a sign of hoarding. Reasons why you hold onto items may include:
Storing Becomes Out of Control
Closets and storage sheds are no longer enough for storage. Each room becomes a storage room – the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and even the bathroom. Houses are built with rooms assigned for specific functions. Homes are made to be a place of rest and refuge. When every room starts overflowing with storage and refuse, there may be a hoarding problem.
Clutter Becomes Hazardous
The most obvious way to tell if there is a hoarding problem is when the clutter becomes dangerous, causing health and fire hazards. This is what you have seen on television shows about extreme hoarding. When there is limited or no walking space in the house, injuries can occur from tripping over clutter or the clutter falling on you. Clutter becomes a health hazard when there is rotting food, garbage, and dirt collecting in the house, day after day. As the amount of things grow unimaginable and unmanageable, fire hazards also become a major concern.
If you recognize these signs in your home, or with someone you know, there may be a problem with hoarding. If so, please seek help.
I am no expert on this complex topic, so, those were just a few signs of crossing the hoarder-line. There are a multitude of resources to find more information on hoarding and how to get help. On the Neat Geek resource page, I have posted a couple of books about compulsive hoarding. Also, here are a few links on more information on hoarding:
Again, please seek help if you, or someone you know, may have a hoarding problem. Getting help and support for dealing with a hoarding problem is just a step closer to having a healthy home.
It’s been quite some time since my last Neat Geek update. Shortly after creating the website, I felt fortunate to find myself working at a wonderful non-profit organization as an administrative assistant, in addition to my other job working in a library. All the organizing that went into these two jobs kept me in Neat Geek heaven. Unfortunately, the hours left me little time to devote to the website. Thus, as far as working on the website, I reverted back to “when I have time…” mode.
Well, a few months ago, I finally had time. I was laid off from the non-profit due to budget cuts. Rather than being too down about it, I saw this as a great opportunity to get back to Neat Geeking. I had a three week vacation coming up, but during my travels, I read up and planned my return to the business.
Last month started with good intentions in getting back to Neat Geeking, updating the website, blogging, and finally, finally, getting out there with the business.
However, after I returned home from my vacation, I had set-back after set-back. As the saying goes, when it rains it pours. I pretty much stopped in my tracks for about a month. As time passed, things started to look up and I felt ready to get back to business. However, when I looked around, it felt like I was back to square one. It was frustrating to see all the tasks I needed to catch up on.
So, stuff happens. We've all found ourselves in that situation at some point. Unexpected, unfortunate, obstacles occur in life. When you are finally ready to get back on your feet, you are then faced with all the stuff that has piled up. It’s taken me awhile, but, I finally found it was time to get up, shake off the dust, and get moving.
But, when there’s so much to catch up on, where do you even start?
Pick your battles.
When the tasks become overwhelming, it may be helpful to make a list. For example, my list includes: going through the mail that has piled up, change out wardrobe for fall/winter, clean out the coupon drawer, update website… it seems like there are at least 100 things on my list, but I'll start with that. By writing out a list, it will get the clutter out of your head and you can actually see what needs to get done. You may also see that your tasks are not as daunting as they seemed.
Now, it’s time to pick your battle. Choose whichever one is most important to you. If it seems like everything on your list is of equal importance, go ahead and just pick any one. For instance, it was important for me to pick the task I least wanted to do – going through my mail. Now, you've chosen a task. Then what?
What does this mean? Just go at it swinging! Unlike my previous article, I won’t suggest taking as much time in the organizing process. This situation is not about procrastination. This is for when unexpected obstacles disrupt our lives. This is for when you are ready and eager to jump back into the swing of things, but just weren’t sure where or how to start.
So, attack the task at hand. Dump it, shred it, throw it out. Grab it, take it, shake it, switch it out. Recycle, re-shelve, and remain focused. Do what is needed to tackle that task.
Conquer and move on.
When you get a task done, check it off and move to the next one. You’ll start to see how the list gets shorter. For instance, so far I have shred/recycled my piled up mail, cleaned out the coupon drawer and have switched out my seasonal wardrobe. Currently, I am updating the Neat Geek website. Check, check, check, and soon-to-be checked. Only 97 more tasks to defeat!
Just remember, don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get everything done in one day. Remember, it took time for these tasks to pile up. It will take time to get things back in order. But, doesn’t it feel good getting started? Be proud of yourself and know that you are on your way back. Rah-rah-rah – you can do it!
The Neat Geek
I love organizing. There is no question about it. I love going into a space, identifying problem areas, and figuring out a way to utilize and improve the area. I love helping people organize their homes. I believe a neat, organized home/working environment is important in order to find calmness, tranquility, and happiness within oneself. It’s lovely to find that peace of mind.
However, I, Neat Geek that I am, have a confession: I procrastinate. Although it’s much easier for me to help others, it takes extra, extra motivation for me to tackle my own organizing projects, such as: organizing the nightstand I use as my junk drawer for mail, or going through my closet to purge any unused or outdated clothes (what girl ever wants to do THAT?), and even writing my own blog on organizing.
Everyone procrastinates. Everyone, at some point, distracts themselves from washing the dishes, or starting that research paper, or organizing the office space. Notice that I don’t identify myself at as a procrastinator. Procrastinating doesn’t define who you are. Procrastinating doesn’t mean you’re lazy or that you don’t care or you’re just not disciplined enough. Procrastinating is a habit that you can change. If you procrastinate, like me, the key to moving past the point of putting tasks off is to figure out why you procrastinate.
Feeling overwhelmed, fear, and perfectionism are all reasons for procrastinating. My own personal reason to procrastinate usually involves all three. My excuse: I seem to wait for the “perfect” time to start a project – when I have more time, or after I get <fill in the blank> done first, or waiting until the planets are aligned. I fear not having enough time to complete my own project to perfection, which, in turn, feels overwhelming. So, I say, “I’ll do it when I have more time.”
Then again, sometimes you’re just too dang tired. It happens, but, really, all the time? If you dare, ask (and answer) yourself, “Why do I procrastinate? What am I waiting for?”
After you identify your reasons for procrastinating, how can you get over it? Here are 3 steps that will help you get things started and get things done.
The next time you feel yourself slipping into an old habit, these steps can help you overcome procrastination. How do I know?
I finished this article.
Neat Geek Defined
Neat Geek, noun