Back Again!

Posted by suevenman on May 9, 2013  

Hiatus: “Any opening, break or interruption of continuity.”

My hiatus from tip writing began with a 2-week visit from my middle daughter. As she hadn’t been out east for a couple years, her visit became a 2-week daughter-fest. This was followed by a succession of one-time, time-consuming events, ending last week with magnificent performances of the Bach Mass in B Minor by my chamber chorus.

All were wonderful and fun and joyous reasons to interrupt my normal weekly rhythms. And as I emerge from the last six weeks of delightful disruption, I ponder how to stay on track when events – whether joyous, difficult, sad or just annoying –disrupt the flow of living. Read the rest of this entry »

The “Plenty of Time” Myth

Posted by suevenman on Jun 1, 2012  

Confessions of a Professional Organizer, Chapter 4

Last weekend I reviewed my organizing map and target dates (see my last blog post). By now I should have completed organizing my knitting supplies and gotten rid of the defunct electronics. To date, it’s Chaos 2, Sue 0. So much for target dates.

Lesson learned: Just because I put a date on the calendar doesn’t mean I get the work done.

Second lesson learned: Get more realistic about how much time I really have.

Third lesson learned: Don’t be so hard on myself.

It’s the second of these lessons that I want to look at here. Read the rest of this entry »

Creating an Organizing Map

Posted by suevenman on May 18, 2012  

Confessions of a Professional Organizer, Chapter 3

Embarking on this organizing adventure, I’m reminded of all the trips I’ve taken over the years. Even after the advent of the GPS, I begin my trips by pulling out a map. Without a map it’s easy for me to get lost. In truth, I get lost even with a map, but at least a map gives me a reference point. It keeps me focused on my destination and points out landmarks along the way.

When you’re embarking on an organizing adventure, you also need a map. If you’re heading into difficult territory or planning to move through several different spaces, a map will keep you motivated and focused on your desired outcome. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Priorities

Posted by suevenman on Nov 19, 2007  

I’ve been thinking that for most of us, the weeks ahead only get
busier. So here’s my proposal/tip:

THIS WEEK – Take time with friends and family to chat together
about their and your true priorities. Try discussing which of your
traditions are the most meaningful to you; which activities give
you the most joy.  Think about what would you like to do
more of THIS year. What do you really want to share together in
December 2007?

Let it be an experiment… Your decisions can be for just this one
year. Try something different. See how it feels.

And now, my heartfelt thanks to each of you for the priviledge of
communicating with you. I love having the chance to try to help make
life easier.

Making “breathing space” for YOU!

Posted by suevenman on Nov 16, 2007  

Does it seem to you that November is just racing by …How can it be only a week till Thanksgiving (for the US declutterers) and then a week later December
arrives? YOIKS! Can you sense your treadmill about to lurch into the highest speed – just when it would be so great to have the time to
be kind and gentle with yourself as well as others in your life?

In addition to time pressures there’s the pressure of STUFF- perhaps more than at any other time of the year.
SO how to make a bit of space? How to slow down just a tad?


Take a deep breath and search for ONE thing you are doing that you will deliberately let go of for the next 6 weeks.
One activity that you will specifically put on the back burner for the next six weeks. And then reassign THAT pocket of time for YOU!
Rest assured that the people in your life who are counting on you will benefit from your IN-ACTION.

(It would be super to hear what you choose and how it goes. Want support? Check the Breathing Space blog to find out
what and how others are doing with this.


There’s that pile of stuff that is driving you nearly crazzzzzzy. You can’t bear the thought of dealing with it.
When you imagine trying to sort it out your shoulders scrunch up,your jaw tightens and you want to do ANYTHING else
but that! So you do your best to ignore it but still it’s there nagging at you.

Get a free cardboard box from the grocery and SCOOP that pile! JUST SCOOP! Almost pretend your eyes are closed
because it’s crucial that you DON’T deal with the stuff at this moment. Toss it ALL in the box and immediately write on the box
SCOOP – the location where the pile was and the date. You have probably moved stuff out of the way “for company” other times in your life. This has a slightly different edge– you are doing this for your own sake AND you have marked the box
in BIG BOLD letters with a date on it which will help you track just how important the stuff is that went into the box. If you don’t look at it for half a year it’s going to be either saesonal stuff which you will be rady to use again OR
stuff you really don’t use – so no wonder it was in a pile!

Yes- now you have to put the box somewhere and yes- sometime soon it would be good to sort the stuff and get it where it
belongs but if you have marked the box you are already in better shape than before. You have begun to give yourself some SPACE.
The specific steps for dealing with the SCOOP are outlined in Decluttering 101. Available at