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Are You Suffering from March Madness?

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Total Secure Shredding

Build R.A.F.T.S.

Are You Suffering from March Madness

By Sue Crum, Ed.D., Professional Organizer

Yikes! It’s March already!!

We are heading to the end of the first quarter of 2013 and with that looming deadline there’s one right behind it…

Which deadline is that, you ask?

April 15th!

As we’ve all heard there are two things we can count on in this world:  death and taxes!

Leaving death alone for now, we are right smack in the middle of tax season.

Does this year have you MAD again at yourself that you are MARCHING through the house looking for all those important papers from 2012?

If so, now is the time to grab hold and say – “NO MORE!”

Paper management continues to be a problem for most people. While a paperless society has been discussed since the 1970s, many of us are still drowning in it. If that is you, here are a few quick steps to get you marching through the mayhem without all the madness!

If your papers are everywhere:

Grab at least six banker’s boxes. These are available at any office supply store. They are easy to assemble, come with lids, and are made of cardboard and very inexpensive. If you have papers in every room, you will need more than six boxes.

When we are drowning, what do we need?  We need to build… R   A   F   T S

Label the five boxes as follows:

  • R - Reading material;
  • A - Action items: You need to do something with this – pay a bill, call someone, give to tax person, etc.;
  • F - File: You have taken action but now just want to file for reference;
  • T - Toss or recycle;
  • S - Shred.

Line up these five boxes in the room with the most papers.

Can you see the word RAFTS?

If so, you are ready to begin, once you put on your favorite dancing music and set a timer.

Start with 30-45 minutes of time.  Grab a stack of paper and get sorting!

Do not stop to read the magazines or catalogs or long articles you haven’t had time to read yet. Simply quickly drop then in the R box for reading.

Do not stop to complete any action item. Just drop it in the A box for action later.

Keep working and stay focused. When the timer goes off after a block of time, take a five minute break, and begin again.

Continue this with the papers you have. The time this will take you will depend on three things

  1. the volume of loose papers you have,
  2. your energy level and
  3. the amount of time you schedule for this.

When papers are sorted into these five categories, place the R box by a comfortable reading chair; put the T box out for trash/recycling; put the F box in the room with your filing cabinet. If your S box of shredding is not full, set aside to keep adding to it later. If you have several of these boxes for shredding, be sure and contact Mike at www.TotalSecureShredding.com and see which plan fits you best. Tell him “hi” from me!

Now you are left with the A box only. On the same day or another day that you put on your schedule (depending on your energy level), go back through the A box, and remove any paper item tied to taxes for 2012: W-9s, 1099s, stock transactions, business receipts, charitable contributions. Put all those in the sixth box and label it 2012 Tax Papers.

Hooray! Congratulate yourself that you have marched through the madness and schedule time to meet that April 15th deadline! 

“Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.”

-Margaret Mitchell, author, Gone with the Wind

Sue Crum is an international speaker and founder of De-Clutteryourlife.com and the owner of the RED team.  She consults and shows people how to de-clutter and organize their lives for better productivity. Her forthcoming book, De-Clutter Your Life – 50 Ways to Organize Your Life, Home or Business so that you can be More Calm, Focused, and Happy, will be available this spring.  Call her to speak to one of your groups or help you with de-cluttering and organizing. 760.803.2786. To receive her latest EBook, Red Hot etips List for De-Cluttering Your Life, sign up at www.de-clutteryourlife.com. You will also receive monthly RED Hot etips for energized and efficient people and learn where Sue is next presenting.

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Ready, Set, G.O. (Get Organized)

Posted on 07 January 2013 by Total Secure Shredding

READY, SET, G.O. (Get Organized)

By Sue Crum, Professional Organizer and Clutter Clearing Coach 

Happy New Year!  Happy New YOU!!

Did you stay up late on New Year’s Eve shouting out resolutions like “This is the year I’m going to lose weight or 2013 is the year I’m going to finally get organized”?

Resolutions usually don’t work! No specificity to them-no timeline-said at the spur of the moment without a lot of thought. All those reasons set us up for failure.

Forget about resolutions!

Let’s talk about new habits! This is National Get Organized Month! All over the media are notices about weight loss as well as organizing products, and why?

It is a new beginning for all of us, but nothing will change on its own. We need to change our habits, and through time, build in new habits of success.

So what’s been bugging you that you haven’t gotten organized yet?

  • Is it a room in your house?
  • Is it your car is so crowded and cluttered, folks are starting to wonder if you are living in there?
  • Is it a garage that hasn’t seen a car in years?
  • Or, perhaps, have you been paying rent for a storage unit or two and now can’t really recall what is in there?

Any or all of the above may be causing you some clatter chatter, and clatter chatter is a form of clutter, too. It’s mental clutter, but clutter just the same.

It weighs on us; it talks to us; it beats us up about our lack of decisions and lack of actions.

Perhaps we have boxes of old files, old check registers, and files from relatives long since deceased. Our paper clutter weighs heavily on us as well.

What to do?

Let me tell you about a recent client who hired my team of professional organizers for a New Year’s Eve (day) garage project. She had reached the point of “full to bursting” with so many boxes and so much clutter that she called me for help. As she smartly recognized that the reason the house was filling up was all the wonderful storage from the garage had been taken with box after box of stuff for the family. She did not want to move into the New Year without tackling these treasures and conquering the clutter.

Our team used a Rapid Response approach to her problem. In one 5-hour block this motivated client and her husband worked with our team of professional organizers to get her garage back under control. By the end of our time together, this husband and wife felt so back in control of their possessions, their two and one-half car garage and they were ready to begin the New Year calm, collected, and clear on their next steps to keep this space pristine.

Next on their list: contacting Mike, the Shredder Guy, at Total Secure Shredding and de-cluttering 12 boxes of paper documents for shred!!!

What new organizing habit do you want to put in place in the next 30 days?

Sue Crum, Ed.D., is a professional organizer and decluttering expert who consults in person or virtually, helping busy people organize, redesign and transform the way they live and work. She owns the R.E.D. team,  and is the immediate past-president of the National Association of Professional Organizers – San Diego Chapter. As a motivational speaker Sue inspires others to clear out their chaos and clutter so they can lead more successful lives. Call TODAY and schedule your free in-home consultation.The life you deserve is waiting for you. 760.803.2786

Read more about Sue Crum at www.theredteam.com

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It’s Not Really the More the Merrier

Posted on 04 December 2012 by Total Secure Shredding

THOUGHTS FOR DECEMBER: Make it a month of Gratitude and Gratefulness
By Sue Crum

With December upon us and all the hype of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and now Cyber Week, please take a moment to pause and reflect.

Some large chains couldn’t wait to open their doors on Black Friday, so they began at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Night! Those employees did not get a holiday from work, a chance to be with family and friends and reflect on the blessings of the year. They had to be at work, or suffer the consequence of perhaps losing their job.

After a Thursday of gratitude and kindness toward one another, people waited outside of stores for hours in anticipation of getting the best deal, the most deals, the perfect deals. In at least one large store two men got into a fistfight over who got to an item first. So much for kindness and thankfulness.

With the leftovers behind us we now turn to December holidays. Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza the end of the year can be a frenzy of frantic behavior. I’m suggesting we all slow down a bit, catch our breath, and put our holiday shopping on pause.

In my work as a professional organizer and clutter clearing coach I have an opportunity to help people create space in their homes so they can enjoy them more. What I often find is in their quest for happiness, retail therapy has kicked in;

I’m not so happy right now – I know if I buy_______________(fill in the blank) that will make me feel better.

By the time they call me they are overwhelmed, exhausted, or just plain miserable because of the upkeep of all the clothes, toys, and things they’ve accumulated.

It’s like their houses are filling up and sucking life out of them. Over a period of work sessions my clients come to realize that more does not make it merry, in fact, just the opposite. They are surprised and upset that they have filled their homes with so much stuff. Together we work up an action plan and a vision of how they want to live with more calm, enjoyment, and breathing space.

So before we all rush out to the mall or jump onto the internet for the latest and greatest gifts, let’s take a look at what anthropologists found out observing 32 families from California, in their book, Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century:

  • The average home contained 438 books and magazines and 139 toys.
  • In the United States we are purchasing 40% of the world’s toys, yet we have 3.1% of the world’s children.
  • Having to manage the volume of possessions seemed to increase the stress hormones of the mothers, but the fathers didn’t really pay much attention to the clutter.

Here are some gift suggestions to consider, instead of more stuff:

  1. Gifts of time, gifts of activities,
  2. Handmade gifts from the heart, and
  3. Gifts in someone’s name to a charity of your choice.

When we reflect back over holidays of the past, often what we remember is the experience of the holiday-who was there, what we did, and how we felt. Those are the memories that put a smile on our faces and take us back to a simpler time.

Sue Crum, Ed.D., is a professional organizer and decluttering expert who consults in person or virtually, helping busy people organize, redesign and transform the way they live and work. She owns the R.E.D. team,  and is the immediate past-president of the National Association of Professional Organizers – San Diego Chapter. As a motivational speaker Sue inspires others to clear out their chaos and clutter so they can lead more successful lives. Call TODAY and schedule your free in-home consultation.The life you deserve is waiting for you. 760.803.2786

Read more about Sue Crum at www.theredteam.com

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