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Snippets Issue 14 : The Spring Cleaning Issue

Organize Now

Get organized and on top of the clutter with professional organizer, Jennifer Ford Berry.

Organize Now

"You can do anything if you set your mind to it."


Do you ever have messy days?
I DO have messy days. Especially in my office! Paper is my worst enemy. I can not think straight if I am surrounded by a mess so I try to stay on top of it. I do enjoy cleaning certain areas of my home. Toliets and dishes are definitely not something I enjoy cleaning, but I love to vacume, dust and straighten.

Do you think there's a certain type of person who's drawn towards organizing or is it for everyone?
I think everyone needs to get organized, rather, if they like it or not because being unorganized will negatively affect your life in too many ways. But, I think some people enjoy doing it and some don't. It is a lot like excerising, just because you don't love to do it doesn't mean you should skip it. Once you do it you always feel better.

"I have always been passionate about organizing.
I specifically remember asking my grandmother if I could organize her jewelry drawer when I was only five years old."

How do you approach a spring clean?
A little bit everyday. Again, I don't like to procrastinate so I start early so that it is almost done by the time spring gets here. There are some things I wait for - like cleaning the carpets when I can open the windows but most of it can be done early. By the time the nice weather gets here I am ahead of the spring cleaning game and ready to enjoy the nice weather. I am always decluttering. When an area of my home or office starts to seem to cluttered I get into what I like to call "Hoe Out Mode". I get into a mood where I feel like getting rid of half my stuff all at once! But I go through it and see if I really need it or love it. I am a minimalist so I don't have a lot of knick knacks but I still need to declutter on a regular basis. There are always clothes and toys my kids have outgrown, or files that are outdated, papers I no longer need etc.

Jennifer Ford Berry

How do you keep track of your to-do's?
I keep track of my to do's in my planner. The key is to only have ONE planner so that you do not over schedule. I prioritze my To Do's by A, B or C. I prioritize by importance and deadlines. I do what HAS to be done today or this week first. I hate procrastinating so when everything that is due now is complete I move on to future to do's. "Procrastination is the thief of time." I do not believe there is ONE best way for everyone. When I am working with a client I help them find the best way to organize THEIR life. Everyone has a different lifestyle and habits so I help them implement organizing stragegies that will work for them.

Quickfire Round

Tips for organizing:

- Paper? Don't let it get out of hand. Do a weekly hoe out!

- Small bits and pieces like beads and buttons? Plastic divider containers with a lid that closes tightly.

- Photographs / scrapbooking supplies? Photos-photo album you can slide photos in and there is a space to write on next to them. Scrapbooking supplies: Clear, plastic drawer organizers

- Kitchen cupboards? Anything that helps you use all of your space including height.

What organizing tools could you not live without?
I can not live without my laptop. It has my life in there! My contacts, my writing, my blogs everything! I also LOVE 3 ring binders and expandable file folders. I always purchase the ones that are cute and colorful so that I enjoy using them even more.

Which kind of people do you help?
ALL kinds. But I do love helping moms the most. Sometimes moms get so overwhelmed by their clutter that they loose themselves. Getting them organized can give them a whole new lease on life! They feel less burdened by their clutter and more energized when they are done.

Do they manage to stay organized first time round?
It depends on how motivated they are! But usually it is something they have to work at. I love to organize but it still takes work for me to STAY organized. We all wish the organizing fairy would do it for us but that's just not possible. This is why I implemented a section at the end of each chapter in Organize Now that helps the reader to Keep that specific area organized throughout the year.

What pitfalls should people look out for?
Trying to be someone they are not. Trying to organize their home the way they think they should rather than what works for them. In Organize Now I make it as simple as possible for anyone to get organized. The book is broken up into 52 weeks with each week focusing on one area of your life and how to get that area organized. It is set up in a way that will work for anyone depending how they WANT to live their life.

"Problem areas: Paper and kitchens. Paper is hard because the inflow never ends. Kitchens are tricky because they are usually a dumping ground for the family."


Any advice for people who find it hard to let things go?
If you don't let go of these things you leave little room for new or things to come into your life. If you are really unsure put it in a "holding area" for 2 months. If you keep thinking about it you may want to keep it. If you forget about it then let it go.

What about people who live in a shared space with other messy people or kids?
Compromise. Discuss it and then find a meeting ground. Consider your roommates lifestyles and habits and then compromise on how you can make it work for both of you. Make it easy for kids to clean up. CLEAR, labeled bins-if they can't see what goes in them it won't work. Baskets and open shelves are also great for organizing kids things. Start young. Studies have shown that children that are taught to be organized will grow up to lead more productive lives.

And finally, advice for staying organized at work?
Always take time at the end of your day to tidy up your space and get organized for the next day. You will be much more productive if you sit down to a clean and organized desk. Use folder options and labels to organize email. Many services such as Gmail also offered search bars.


You can find out more about Jennifer on her website, pick up a copy of her book from the My Craftivity Shop or join in her 2009 Organize Challenge.

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