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Back to School – Back to Schedules

Posted on 29 August 2013 by Total Secure Shredding

by Sue Crum, Professional Organizer

While summer is still within our sights, it’s not too early to start some simple planning before school starts.

Maybe you’re saying, “Well, I don’t have any kids so I pay no attention to the start of school.”

May I suggest you give this idea a second look.

Summers ARE special, no doubt about them: long days, relaxing mindsets, flip-flops and bare feet, perhaps more minutes in nature. It might also be a time of relaxed deadlines or a bit of a Scarlett O’Hara mindset. You know the one -

“I’ll think about it tomorrow”

Grab a small notebook and pen; put on your thinking-visualizing cap and step outside for some breathing and dreaming.

  • What would it take for you to have a fabulous fall of 2013?
  • Is there a project you have been putting off starting?
  • Is there a relationship you wanted to repair, end or begin?
  • Were there plans for less stuff and clutter in your life but somehow you never scheduled the time to get started?

Write out some actions you could take this month to get you moving toward completing those items. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, calls these “open loops” -  you know those nagging voices with volume reminding us of our “shoulds”. We should do this – we should do that.

Take time to write down when you will begin and decide the first step, or drop the task from your mind completely, or put it on a Someday/Maybe list (if the idea/task is in your control but you don’t have it as a high priority right now)

Maybe you do have children and you are getting stressed just thinking about all that needs to happen before school starts. Get those thoughts down in front of you and out of your head so there’s room for more creative thought in there. Keep listing. Set the list aside and as you think of other things related to school starting, go back and add those. Circle the three that need to occur sooner vs. later. Pick the one that if you got that done, you’d be able to breathe more easily and enjoy more of summer.

No kids? Do the above with any work or home projects you have been putting off. Make a list of what tasks are rattling around in your brain; you know – the ones you THOUGHT you would have addressed by now. Circle the three most high value ones, meaning the ones that will help you the most in your business/work life or will reduce your stress for either work or home life. Then decide the ONE you could take action on this month and decide the first step-just one step and make a date with you to make that happen BEFORE Labor Day.

Once that task is completed, ask yourself the next logical action step to keep it moving toward completion.

If you do this, the end of summer won’t be nearly so sad for you as you’ve made a commitment and SCHEDULED time to address these gnawing projects. Then, back to school and schedules can be faced for fall with a fabulous outlook and vision of success!

Sue Crum speaks to associations and groups on how to clear clutter for better productivity and efficiency.

CALL her at 760.803.2786 to discuss how she might help your group or company. She is a professional organizing coach, and real estate stager who might be a perfect fit for your organization’s needs.

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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100 Gorgeous Days of Happiness

Posted on 08 June 2013 by Total Secure Shredding

Jump for Joy – It’s JUNE!

By Sue Crum ed.D., Professional Organizer

Ahh! Here comes summer!

School is out, oh, happy day!

I love that song. It’s just so upbeat and carefree, just like summer SHOULD BE – COULD BE.

Many of us have fond memories of days that just unfolded before us like a perfect cloth napkin. We started the day with no plan, no purpose, no productive task staring at us; yet when the sun set that evening we had a great smile across our face. It had been a day well spent-all 24 hours of it!

Then, along came adulthood and for some of us, even in the pre-adult phase of living, we lost those wide-open spaces of summer with school obligations and part-time jobs, followed by full time careers and busy lives.

I say, take back some of those super summer memories, regardless of your age.

Break out your calendar and look at the next 100 days before you. Yes, 100 Gorgeous Days and put some happy back into your happiness. There are probably obligations already on your calendar. I get that. What I’m suggesting is before your schedule gets filled up with everyone else’s priorities, get some of your favorite pastimes in there.

What were they?

  • Walks at the beach,
  • Camping,
  • Gardening,
  • Bike riding,
  • Roller blading,
  • Surfing,
  • Sailing,
  • Hiking,
  • Enjoying time in your back yard, your front yard or porch,
  • Summer reading at the beach,
  • Calling a good friend and catching up,
  • Watching sunsets at the ocean,
  • Fishing,
  • Fun summer activities like: Family Reunions, Picnics, Outdoor Theatre…  Just being out in nature.

Feel free to add your favorites to this list.

Loosen up your schedule a bit to fit in what makes you smile when you recall summers of years gone by. Calendar in some special summer something just for you and the ones you love. September will be here soon enough.

Summer is calling you now.

Make it your best one yet!

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” – Charles Bowden

Sue Crum is an international speaker and founder of De-Clutteryourlife.com and the owner of the RED team, a professional organizing and real estate staging company.  She consults and shows people how to de-clutter and organize their lives for better productivity. Sue’s forthcoming book filled with organizing and de-cluttering tips will be available later this year.  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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Big Spring Fling Fiesta

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Total Secure Shredding

Finish the Season with a Big Spring Fling Fiesta

By Sue Crum Ed.D., Professional Organizer

Last month I gave specific suggestions on looking around your home to see what items no longer serve you and what you could donate. Hopefully, with the longer days and later sunsets you have been motivated to start small and create some breathing space in your home, be it clearing out a junk drawer, a dresser drawer, a kitchen drawer or a small closet. Just making the decision to live with a little less but use what you have can give people a sense of calm and happiness that was not present before.

If you missed last month’s article, think of where you might spring into action with de-cluttering and organizing a space of manageable size. It could be a section of a home office or a corner of a dining room table; it could be your wallet or ladies, your purse. Empty the contents of the small de-cluttering project and sort the silly from the serious stuff; then, return items assigning them a specific home or space.

For those of you who got in the swing of spring last month and tackled something simple, hats off to you for this accomplishment. During the next 30 days keep an eye on that space you cleared and spend a few minutes every day or two just straightening and quickly returning items to their proper home. I call this the “Jiffy Lube Tune-up” step. It will not take but a few minutes to tweak the space since you’ve already de-cluttered and organized it last month.

With spring finishing up and summer right behind it, consider moving on to a bigger spring fling project. Many of us have house guests in the summer because our weather in San Diego is spectacular. Others of us may not have the guests but summertime is when we want to live lighter, walk more and get by with less:  less big meals, less layers of clothing, less fancy meals and less structure to our days.

Is there a big project you have been putting off for some months or years because there just hasn’t been the right time to do it?

Can you schedule time between now and the 4th of July to tackle that with a team?

If not now maybe you could set a goal between now and Labor Day or now and Thanksgiving.

What’s important is setting a deadline. Some of us have garages packed with everything but the cars; others of us are paying month after month on storage unit rentals that are housing possessions we no longer use and only vaguely remember what those items look like.

These kinds of projects are not for the faint at heart. They require a team approach. Think about who you could recruit to help you. Perhaps a relative or two comes to mind, especially if some or many of the items belong to that person or persons. Some of us don’t have relatives nearby, so think about a neighbor or good friend. There are many teenagers who are too young to get a part-time job and they may live in your neighborhood or be the children of your friends, eager to earn a little spending money for the summer. With a group helping you the task will not be so daunting. Develop a plan of action and then dig in!

If you would like to clear up a garage or storage unit and can’t think of anyone else who could help you, our Rapid Response Team approach might be just the answer:

This month in honor of Mother’s Day, I am giving a 12% discount off of the regular Rapid Response Day (Mother’s Day is May 12th). Contact me no later than May 31st and say you want to book a Rapid Response Day sometime in the future but want to take advantage of this special offer. Call me for details at 760.803.2786 and say “I want to hear about your Rapid Response Day program with the 12% discount.”

“Indecision becomes decision with time.” – Author Unknown

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 later this summer.  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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Spring Into It!

Posted on 08 April 2013 by Total Secure Shredding

by Sue Crum, Ed.D. Professional Organizer

Spring has sprung and with it new beginnings, great opportunities, and longer days!

It’s the time of year for putting away the Ugg boots and heavy sweaters, clearing out the cobwebs of our homes and lives and creating a world how we imagine it could be: Calm, Clutter-Free and Happy.

How do we do that?

We can start by looking at our environments, home and work. It’s the perfect time to shed old habits that haven’t served us well, shred old papers and files we no longer need and wed ourselves to fresh starts.

Look around and see where you could begin. Whether you live alone or with others, make it into a spring fling party. What clothes are you no longer wearing that could be donated? If you have children, now is the perfect time to attack those closets and see what no longer fits. With hefty bags at the ready, see if you can make some breathing room in the dresser drawers and closets of your home. Put the filled bags in your car and drop them off at the nearest donation center.

Once you finish this, you’ll be in the mood to spring fling another area of your home or business. How about your office or the place where your papers have been dwelling? By this time of year your tax reports should be completed. How “Zen” can you make your office space now?

Sometimes we leave files and piles out on countertops because our file cabinets are bursting. Use these longer days and later sunsets to take a look at the back of those file drawers. Can you release to the universe files you haven’t looked at in months or even years? Is it possible to create “breathing space” in those file cabinets rather than going out and buying more file drawers?

If you have sensitive documents, of course the man to contact is Mike Krauss at 619.295.5474 at Total Secure Shredding! You can drop off your items to be shredded at his place near the San Diego Sports Arena or arrange for mobile shredding services if you have quite a bit.

So, shed your sweatshirts and long pants, crank up some music and start creating more open space for new opportunities and experiences. Summer’s just around the corner; it’s time to spring toward it!

“What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork.” – Pearl Bailey 

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 in June.  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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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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