April 2002 Anticrastination Tip Sheet

What's the opposite of Procrastination?
A monthly Idea and Tip Sheet to
Help You Avoid the Procrastination Habit
From Rita Emmett


Quote For The Month:

As Income Tax time approaches...
Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words "THE" and "IRS" together it spells "THEIRS"


Welcome to the beginning of our version of SPRING CLEANING. It is our "CONQUER CLUTTER CAMPAIGN"

At the end of this tip sheet are the results of our "CONQUER CLUTTER CONTEST" but first we'll start this month with Conquering Clutter in the Home. Here are: 12 Tips to Have Less Chaos at Home (excerpt from Chapter 8: "Clutter Busting" in THE PROCRASTINATOR'S HANDBOOK by Rita Emmett)

  1. Have company over once in a while so the house gets cleaned.
  2. Pay bills, fold laundry, sort through catalogues and magazines, and so forth during TV commercials or
  3. Tidy up during commercials.
  4. When de-cluttering a room, start at the doorway and go right or left. Then if you're interrupted, you can see where you stopped.
  5. Don't de-clutter and clean the same day. You might keel over, poor thing.
  6. Keep all your house information (bills, insurance, warrantees, receipts, directions to program VCR) together in a file, binder, drawer, desk, box or paper bag.
  7. Never climb stairs empty-handed as long as there's something that should be taken up or downstairs.
  8. Never leave a room empty-handed until the only things in the room are ones that belong there.
  9. Glance over your left shoulder every time you leave a room. Pick up the clutter you spot and take it with you.
  10. Learn to delegate.
  11. Learn to ignore. Relationships are more important than chasing dust bunnies.
  12. Hire someone to clean your house even if it's only once in a great while.


Conquer Clutter Contest Winners

After eliminating any duplications of an idea already received, and any that were too personal (several suggested ways to omit people who are cluttering up their lives, including ex-lovers, in-laws, neighbors with barking dogs and a husband) we ended up with 14 fabulous entries. So I declared all 14 as winners, and the judges agreed with me. The Judges were Leslie Buck, Linda Brakeall, Bruce Karder, Matthew Kells and Gloria Petersen.

Each winner will receive a copy of the 2 newest tapes on the Learning Resource page of our web site (www.RitaEmmett.com):

  1. Conquer Clutter - a one hour interview with Carolyn White asking me about all aspects of getting rid of clutter
  2. Blast Away Procrastination - this is me giving a presentation on the subject, and it includes humor and several stories such as how I got the endorsement from Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angela's Ashes

Plus they each receive a giant thank you from me. I expected ways to GET RID of clutter, but of course some of our readers remain loyal Pack Rats so they sent in ways to KEEP clutter but store it out of sight. ***sigh***

So as to not overburden you (& since we PROMISED this monthly sheet would be short & quick) here is the first half of the winning clutter tips. We'll run the second half next month.

Brilliant Ideas From Our Readers To Help Us Conquer Clutter

We provided explanations with the few submissions that needed them, such as this first one:

This was the first one submitted. It arrived the day my husband Bruce had very serious surgery (He's doing fine now) and I didn't know that my List Server sent out my tip sheet that day, plus I forgot about the contest. When I read it, I didn't know why Jeanne (who is a very humorous speaker-friend) wrote this to me, but I laughed out loud. Later, she sent the next email and it cracked up both Bruce and me. Since then, every time one of us feels overwhelmed with too much paperwork, we say, "I'm looking for matches".

TIP #1
Dear Rita,
Burn down your office. It's slightly messy, and there may be a few legal consequences but the clutter is gone!
Jeanne Robertson, Professional Speaker & Humorist

(second email)
Hope your husband is doing fine.

Last night I opened a drawer in my office desk and pulled it all the way out, looking for something in the very back. Discovered some type of animal has been living, "depositing" in there. Right there by my legs - just a thin desk wall between us - as I worked at the computer. I'm looking for matches. :)
Jeanne Robertson

TIP #2
I browse the hardware department and look for products that hold or organize hardware and tools. I find some great buys. I bring them home and adapt them for other uses.

For example, open my pretty wooden jewelry chest and inside is a tackle box with earrings sorted by color. Over the sewing machine is a shelf meant for sorting yard tools. Instead, my scissors, oils, yardsticks etc fit nice and neatly and is usually much less expensive than something you would find in a sewing store.

Here's another idea I call:
Deb's Mini Hallmark

When I do my Christmas cards, I address an extra sticky address label for anyone I plan to also send a birthday card during the year.

I have a portable file box with two sets of dividers in it. One set up for each month, and one set up by occasions and holidays. On the folders by month, everyone who has a birthday that month is listed. Inside are the corresponding address labels. When I do my first of the month bills, I pull out the "Birthday" file and it reminds me to send, or prompts me to purchase cards.

All year long, when I find cards on sale or that "perfect" card, I buy it and file them, so that often I am all set without having to shop. I keep "generic" extras- like sympathy or retirement cards in the "occasion" folders.

(I had a distant Aunt who always sent me a birthday card, even though I did not even really know her. I always loved it as a child and still enjoy sending cards and writing letters.)
Deb Gauldin, Professional Speaker & President of Illinois Chapter of National Speakers Association

TIP #3
Re: dresser drawers.
Once a year set a date for a "sock funeral." It is a hoot! I just Had my annual burial last week and the kids loved it too! This is how it works. All year long I take widow socks that appear (where does the mate die?) and put it in a bag. Once a year I pick a day that I am doing laundry and thoroughly look through every nook and cranny of the house for loose socks. Under beds, place in wrong drawers etc. When the laundry is done all the socks are placed on the floor and we reunite those we can. We celebrate their second chance at life and neatly put them back in the sock drawer of their rightful owner. When that task is done, all that are left behind are put in the trash.

It is amazing how we will keep a single sock for a lifetime hoping that a match will appear. Stop procrastinating and clean out your sock drawers today. You will feel great when you are done and after all, don't those single socks deserve to go on to their next life?

Laurie Guest
Professional Speaker and Procrastinating Pile Maker!

TIP #4
Schedule a party. Invite people over. Nothing like the added pressure of knowing others will be checking out your 'mess' to help you get your act together. You have motivation (expectation of others) and reward (the party!) all in one package!In laughter!
Karyn Buxman, Professional Speaker & Humorist

The next one might need some explanation from me, your editor, Rita Emmett. When I taught a clinic for iVillage in January, one day a silly mood overtook me & I sent the following email to the message board. As a result, the word "archive" became a running joke for ways to get rid of clutter. After my email, you will see a suggestion from Mary Beth Tepp, who I met on the message board. Her suggestion will make more sense after you read the following, my "Essay on Archives"

Hi Message Board Divas,
Archive is a word I've always known, but never heard it used as a verb. iVillage "archives the message board". They don't file it or rearrange it or neaten it up or fluff it up. They just take it as it is and put it out of sight. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Could this be the solution to all our clutter challenges? Here are some thoughts. What if we archived all our paper clutter? Just scooped up everything off the desk, the dining room table, the kitchen counters, and so forth, and put it out of sight.
"Where's that important file?"
"Don't worry. It's archived"
"Where are the bills to be paid?"
"They're all taken care of. They're archived.'
"Computer warrantee?"
"Ready to go?"
"I'll be with you as soon as I'm done with the dishes, Honey. No, I'm not washing them, I'm archiving these suckers."
Divas, this could be the breakthrough we've been waiting for. But first ... I have to get some prices on how much it will cost to build an archive room ... I mean archive addition to the house ...um .. is there a chance that we'll need a separate house for this project?? Maybe I should give this a little more thought.....

Now here is Mary Beth's contribution to our "Conquer Clutter

TIP #5
Dear Rita,
Fun For the CONQUER CLUTTER CAMPAIGN: On attacking the game room with our beautiful marble bar, play station, pool table and computer, that has been over-ridden by my dear husband's workspace where you can see only the computer, I ARCHIVE papers, parts, important-looking stuff in separate boxes marked with dear hubby's name and date of ARCHIVE with a brief description of contents. I ARCHIVE to the basement or garage for a period of time before the garage fairy carries it away. LOL yes, I really do this, and it usually feels pretty good.
Mary Beth Tepp

TIP #6
Dear Rita,
That black hole in your ceiling which has been a scary terrorizing no-go area all your life could become a most amazing treasure-storing crawl space if you just add a couple of light bulbs and a few attic-flooring boards, a pest control electronic thingie and an access ladder, all of which won't cost very much but which will help find places for the stuff which cannot otherwise be disposed of.
Mary Clancy, Ireland

TIP #7
Rita, I am as good at clutter as I am at procrastinating. My Clutter started partly with buying a large home with so much space. Since there was so much space, we didn't need to economize the space with clever storage. Eventually my family and our piles of stuff grew and grew. Finally we had so much stuff stacked on the floor of our garage that we couldn't get our car in.

I went out and bought extra heavy duty garage storage shelves extra deep and enough sturdy cardboard boxes to fit perfectly. It was easy to sort the stuff into boxes and label the boxes.

Then the next year when my work storage was overcoming this garage storage, I bought a smaller version of the same shelving and put it in alcove of my basement so my work stuff is separate.

The incredible peace of mind you get from banishing clutter was worth the $130 I spent for supplies. If I had wanted to save the money I spent on shelves, I could have bought sturdier boxes and stacked them on top of each other, but then it would have been harder to access them.
Mary Zentz, RE/MAX


NEXT MONTH: Change your thinking about clutter and it will go away. Really!! Let the CLUTTER BUGS help you.