How To Marie Kondo Declutter Your Business

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? If not, you must be living under a rock.  LOL.  She is a Japanese tidying expert and author of the bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“.   She has a Netflix show  called “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” where she helps people clear the clutter from their homes—and their brains.

How about applying her approach of to your business?  So, instead of organizing what you  have, you focus on getting rid of what you don’t like and don’t need.  Then you are left being surrounded by only the things you love and use.  This system is all about getting your house in order, BUT is will also reduce stress, increase focus and give you more time to focus on what really matters.  Doesn’t this sound like a GREAT idea to get your home office in shape?

There are six basic principles in the KonMari method. Let’s see how we can apply them to our business.

1. Be committed.

In order for this to work, you need to be fully dedicated to doing this.  Ideally, the whole process is done over a series of days and although this may be difficult for businesses – you still need to commit to finishing what you start and working through each category completely before you stop. If you don’t, you will lose momentum. Set aside time to focus on files and documents so you can get it all done in one fell swoop.

2. Imagine your ideal life before you start.

Before you start the decluttering process, take some time to think about what you want your business and life to look like when you’re done. What do you want to achieve by decluttering? Do you want your business to be more efficient, more successful, more enjoyable, more appealing for employees?  Her method places LOTS of importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking. You need to know why you want to start this project before you start, and it will help you stay focused when you are decluttering.

3. Tidy by category, not location.

This is a though one for me.  I even had a hard time when I was tying to do the house.  Instead of starting with your desk or a file drawer, Marie Kondo wants you to declutter each category all at once. In the home, this means taking out all your clothing (from the closet, the dressers, the hall closet, the under-bed storage) and going through it all at once. For your business, it might mean going through all your equipment first, then all your paper documents, etc.  It doesn’t matter where they are located – files, desk, shelves – just pick one thing first!

4. Discard before you re-organize.

If you are like me, once you clear stuff out – you want to get organized, right?  Don’t! With this system, you are supposed to finish the decluttering process THEN you organize what’s left.

5. Do the easiest things first.

What’s the easiest thing for you to let do of?  Start decluttering there – a category easy to let go of.  In the home, the clothes are usually the first thing with sentimental items last, since these are the hardest to let go of.  Figure out what’s easiest for you to start with (like paper documents) before moving onto more difficult areas such as business processes. This helps you get used to the method and avoid getting sidetracked.  You know how easy it is to squirrel!

6. Keep what sparks joy.

This method of decluttering involves holding each item in your hands and asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” Don’t overthink it: go with your first instinct.  YUP, not easy for me since I tend to overthink EVERYTHING.  Realistically, everything in your office will not spark joy (I’m looking at you, ream of printer paper). For those items, ask yourself if it’s necessary to help you accomplish a task. Don’t keep more than you need: if you have a whole drawer full of (necessary) file folders, keep the ones which spark joy, like the colorful, crisp ones and get rid of those that don’t spark joy, like the old, ratty Manila ones.

Now, there will be some things which will spark negative feelings.  If so, you need to figure out what’s really going on. Does it remind you of a task you hate doing in your business, maybe it is a a client/customer who drives you nuts, or a concern you don’t want to face. Is it a necessary item which doesn’t spark joy?  Is it hard to use or it really doesn’t do exactly what you want it to do? Get rid of it and find a replacement which is more joyful to use.

This is kind of where I am in my business right now…… Ask yourself these questions:The

What sparks joy in your business? Customers value authenticity, and when you’re passionate about something in your business, they’ll know it.   If you are in direct sales, find your passion product or set of products and share them like crazy!   Focus in your business on what brings you the most joy, and put more energy there.

What if there’s a component of your business which doesn’t spark joy? Maybe you added a new product, a new service, or maybe you are doing things “like everyone else” but your heart really isn’t in it.  If this is the case, it may be time to do some soul-searching.

Before tossing anything, Marie Kondo says, you need to thank it for its service to you. (Yes—even if you’re getting rid of an old stapler.) It is part of “letting go,”.  Why not thank the things you’re keeping as you clean out your business.  Take some time to appreciate all the things which help your business thrive. Once your business was just a dream—and now it’s reality. So let’s celebrate it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

How To Do Fall Cleaning….

I will be honest, despite years of growing up and helping with “fall”‘ and “spring” cleaning.. it is not one of my strong points.  When I first had my own apartment, yes I cleaned bi-weekly.  Fast forward to being a crazy busy single mom, and cleaning was not on the top of my list.  The house was always neat but there have been the occasional dust bunny.  Now, when I struggle with days of not being able to move, I can see the dust bunnies and want to clean. YES!  I said I want to clean.  Then when I feel better, I am playing catch up and still don’t get everything done I wanted to do.

So, you are wondering how someone like me, can teach you about “fall cleaning”, right?  Well this is more about “decluttering” which may or may not lead to cleaning.  BUT it will help you get organized which could make cleaning much easier..

Step #1 – Determine if your clutter is, well, clutter.  

I know this may sound like a no-brainer but sometimes clutter is hard to recognize. Yes, it is true!   Seriously, hear me out.  We live in our house day-in and day-out, so clutter really becomes part of the landscape. Maybe you don’t recognize the piles and groupings of stuff because it’s become the norm. You know the pile of mail you are going to get to.  Or the stack of papers to be filed in the office.  Maybe it is the shoes piled by the door and never making their way to the closet.  Whatever your pile looks like, we are pretty good at ignoring clutter, or just plain not realizing when it’s moved in.

So, when do you realize it is clutter?  When you can’t find something you’re looking for, or realize you have bought something you already had – costing time and money. Admit it, you have run to the store to get something only to find it about a week later (after the tags were off and you can’t return it).

Are you wondering if you have clutter?  Try this:  Take a photo of the space in question.  Start small with a drawer, a closet shelf, or a bookcase. Zoom in on the photo. How does the stuff make you feel? Are you horrified what others would think if they saw it?  Does it make your head spin wondering how this happened?  Do you use all of the stuff? If so, how often? How would your life feel if the space was tidy, leaving room to grow?

The answers to these questions are a great indicator there is work to be done.

Step #2 – Accept you probably do need to declutter

Have you recovered from the shock of seeing the pictures of your clutter?  Have you now started to stress over whether or not you can part with ANY of this stuff?

Even with you think you have pruned your closets, drawers and home, you will likely still pick items up and think, “Why did I keep this?”  Life tends to bring new items into our space each day, and we frequently fail to recognize the pace at which we are accumulating things.

I used to clean out closets twice a year.  Donating them to the church rummage sale or Goodwill.  The biggest one was always before the holidays especially when Belinda was younger.  I knew the gift giving season would bring a whole lot more “stuff” while there were many things sitting in the bottom of the toy box which hadn’t see the light of day in years.  Now, as I notice things are no longer used or needed, they go in the box in the garage to be donated.  Slowly, I am decluttering…

Step #3 –  Let yourself let go

How many items do you have which you have only used once a year or maybe once in five years?  It is sitting there taking up space, right?  You wonder how you could live without it.  I have a wok which I have had for years and it hasn’t been used in years…. why?  you never know.

Ownership is overrated. We often feel we need to own something to enjoy it.  How many things do you have which you could have rented or borrowed instead?  The truth is we may get more pleasure out of borrowing or renting something than actually owning it.  Sounds crazy, right?   Well, when we own something, it requires we clean it, move it, store it, maintain it, and maybe even insure it.  It all takes energy. Be open to alternative ways to access and enjoy physical objects.

Step #4 Baby steps when setting organizing goals

Yup, I hit you with a lot in just a short period of time, right?  I know it is overwhelming.  What happens when you get overwhelmed?  If you are like me, you run and hide.  NO, seriously.  Do you avoid the situation?  Most likely, when you are overwhelmed, you lose interest and momentum.  So what if you just took baby steps.  Do a little bit every day.  Continuity is key.  Do small spaces first, as you do small spaces, you will begin to see the difference around you and you will feel energized to do more.

Organizing is not an end destination, it’s a process of acquiring skills, applying them, and being committed to being organized every day.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Let Go of the Old, Make Room for the New

I have been spring cleaning over the last few weeks….Chasing some of the dust bunnies away and attacking the many “junk drawers” around the house.  I am always amazed at the things I find.  WHY?  Because I can’t believe I held on to them “just in case”.

I am a just in case kind of gal.  When we go on a trip, I pack extra “just in case”.  When we go on a road trip, I pack extra snacks “just in case”.  So, finding things I have kept around “just in case” I need them or someone else will want it is what I seem to do.  I have been reading the book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I am slowing looking at things a little differently in our home.

Why is it so hard to let go? Whether it’s old e-mail or a worn-out sweater, outdated files or a toxic friendship, sometimes we hold on to things for too long. They serve no purpose but to clutter our lives unnecessarily. Today, I want to challenge you to face your fear of letting go.

There are a few common fears which appear when it’s time to let go of something. What are you hanging on to even though it’s time to let go? Which of these pesky fears is it time to face?

  • fear you won’t have what you need in the future
  • fear of being wrong
  • fear of loneliness
  • fear of regret

Breaking through fear requires one key factor: courage. Courage requires faith and trust  your future will be okay without the thing you are letting go of.  YIKES!  Scary, right?  You can muster up the courage to let go by coaching yourself with questions which will help you get unstuck, such as:

  • What does my intuition tell me about letting go in this situation? Will I follow it?
  • If the thing I fear most happens, what is my plan B?
  • Who could I ask to hold me accountable and encourage me as I let go?

Make a decision. For those of us who are people pleasers, this is tough.  I know, I am one of them.  I second guess myself a million times.  The best thing to do is to carve out some time to do what you need to do. You can do it.  Start with small amounts of time, say 15 minutes, set a timer and when it rings you are done.

The truth is as I have been doing this, I have realized how much time and money has been spent “just in case”.  I see a sale and think “I could use this” then never do.  I see an idea which worked for someone else so I jump in with both feet, only to find out it isn’t me.  May has been full of life reflections for me.  I wonder why it took till the age of 61 to learn some of these lessons.

Toss out the OLD and move on.  You will be surprised several weeks or months later, you never once needed or missed what was tossed, donated or sold. Imagine that!

My challenge to you is this:  Is there something it’s time to let go of?  You know what it is. Muster up the courage and just do it. You’ll feel lighter for it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful-day!

May is Pay It Forward Month

May is Pay It Forward Month!  It is a month long campaign to encourage good deeds. #makeadifference

I love being part of company whose focus is on giving back every day. From Girls on the Run and Girl Talk to World Vision.  Thirty-One Gives supports organizations who share our mission to empower girls, women and families. Gives has been honored to donate $100 million in products and cash to nonprofit organizations like these since 2012.

Since our Consultants, Customers and Home Office staff are so generous through their work with Thirty-One Gives, it’s no surprise many have made giving back a family value.

Here are some tips for getting your own family into the giving spirit.

Pick out dog and cat toys to donate to an animal shelter

If you have very young children, it can be a challenge to find ways for them to become involved with community service.  Give your littlest ones a chance to give back by letting them choose a few dog and cat toys to donate to your local animal shelter. Bring your children along to shop, then drop off the donation – they might even get to see the animals enjoy their new toys!

Help with a local beach, park or trail cleanup

Picking up trash at a park, beach or trail is an easy way to give kids something active and concrete to accomplish. When they’ve finished, they’ll be able to actually see the difference they’ve made!  This can be especially motivating for older children who might need a little encouragement to put down the tech and perform some service – plus, it’s a great way to enjoy nature and get some fresh air together!

Make handmade cards for residents at a nursing home or patients in a hospital

Kids can get creative and brighten someone’s day by making handmade cards to deliver to a nursing home or hospital.  Deliver them together and, maybe even stay and visit with the patients or residents. Doing this can show your child the power of small gestures, and how easy it can be to make someone’s day a little better.

Go through their own toys

If you’re on a decluttering kick, involve your children, too! Have them comb through their toys and books to find ones they’d like pass on to other kids who need them. To make the process easier, give them a container they can easily fill, like a Mini Storage Bin or Deluxe Utility Tote. That way, they won’t stop at just one or two items!

Pack care baskets for a local hospital or shelter

Get a group of families together to pack care baskets for patients at a hospital or people staying at a homeless or women’s shelter. Make sure you coordinate with the organization you’re donating to first – you want to be sure to fill your baskets with things the recipients really need.

Thirty-One Gives sponsors the making of Hope Kits for women fleeing violence, abuse, poverty or disaster around the world. So far, our Consultants have assembled 32,000 Hope Kits containing toiletries and other essentials which are distributed through the World Vision charity.

 

Here are some more random acts of kindness…

  • Leave pennies head face up: Most people feel lucky finding a penny with the head face up. For one dollar you can make 100 people feel awesome.
  • Compliment someone:  It seems so basic yet for some reason we seldom do it. Make someone’s day by giving them a compliment.
  • Give up a preferred seat to someone in need: Whether it is on a bus, or just waiting for your take out food, this simple gesture could make their day.
  • Write a positive review for a restaurant you like: Share with the world your favorite places instead of complaining about the ones you hate.
  • Leave someone a huge tip: Give a tip to the guy who pumps your gas when you pay cash or leave a 31% tip for meal instead of the standard 15 – 20%.
  • Offer to take a photo for tourists: Tourist season is ramping up at the Jersey Shore, why not offer to take a picture for a group of tourists so everyone can be in the picture.  

What random acts of kindness will you do this month to “pay it forward”? Share it with us so you can be part of the Give on social media, and be sure to us #givebackwithme!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Do You Have an Elephant in the Room?

Hello, world.  Have you ever had the feeling something was following you?  You knoooow something’s there but you were just too afraid to look.  So you ignore it, hoping it would eventually go away… but it doesn’t.  Suddenly, “something” grabs you at your feet!  You jump back in shock, only to slam right into it.  So then, you do what most people would do… RUN!  Or you attempt to run, when only after a few steps, you slip on to the floor, and fall directly into the “thing”.  Finally, you make it to the door.  By now, you’re thinking you at least owe it to yourself to see what it was; this persistent, consuming “thing” determined to drag you down.  So you slooowly turn around… and stare it head on.  Did someone break in?.. Is it an animal?… a ghost or a MONSTER?!  When all of a sudden you realize… it’s just those overstuffed binders on the floor you’ve been “meaning” to organize, the books and customer invoices stacked on the desk, and the world of products from your inventory toppling over the shelves.  Yep, the so-called “Thing” pursuing you is called Clutter… and the truly scary conclusion is, it ain’t goin’ anywhere until you make it.

I saw this in a blog post some time ago and I giggle every time I read it.  As a home-based business owner, the “Thing” called clutter is a common issue.  Being a home-based business owner for many years, I have had the elephant in the room.  Yes, I do help others get organized but not always the best at taking my own advice!

Do we invite clutter in?  Nope!  Do we like to deal with it? Nope!  It just sort of happens.

I was always one for piles – organized piles.  Then when I started working from home full time, I found it wasn’t so easy to get organized.  I struggled with systems. We know we should take time to get organized, but the truth is we either (1) don’t know where to start, (2) adopt the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality (try to work with it as it is), or (3) RUN from it (avoid it all together).

No matter what, clutter has to eventually be cleared up or it will only get worse and you will be buried under a mass of paper being totally unproductive.  It’s not going anywhere and the biggest hit where it REALLY hurts is…..yep, your profits.  It is so much easier when you tackle it right away because it is easier, less overwhelming and can be a stress-free process.  Otherwise, you not only work harder, you start the day off cranky and frustrated because, “seriously, I can’t find the file!” or you have orders for a product you didn’t realize was out of stock… ouch$$$!  Need more motivation?

The major benefits of putting in the time and effort to get any home-based business space in order:

  1. It promotes efficiency… you can locate your items much quicker because you know exactly where everything is when you need it, which saves you time.  Once organized, it may take a moment to think about where you put it but once you keep putting something back in the same place, it will become a habit!
  2. It increases productivity… an organized workspace helps you accomplish more throughout your workday.  When a system of order is in place, you are more driven and focused on the success of your business; NOT on the added stress of a cluttered space.
  3. It saves you profits… Organization = Great inventory management!  You avoid product loss due to expiration, misplacement, or damage.
  4. It creates an atmosphere which leads to business success!.. when you’ve create an environment which stimulates our brain, you think and feel better which translates into your work.  The passion for your business is reignited!  It also inspires you to want to become organized in other areas of your life.  Imagine that!!!

Helping people get organized is part of the butterfly effect of my vision – to bring a smile to the face of those who are struggling.  When people think of someone struggling, they think of major things like chronic illness, the loss of someone, addiction, etc.  BUT the struggle could be the desire to grow your business.  I’m in the business of helping people.

I LOVE working with home based business owners. Let me help you transform spaces which are a “hot mess” to what seems like a completely different room.   Every time you enter your office space, you’ll instantly become charged about your business day.   I can share with you how I got organized and STAY organized (90% of the time).  But it is your BUSINESS (or your home)!  We need to make it work for YOU.

I want you to feel excited and inspired every day when you enter your work space.  It shouldn’t bring feelings of stress or a “business-as-usual” mentality.  As a home-based business owner, you have the power to change your work environment into something to fuel your success.   It starts by getting organized – office supplies, product inventory, packaging/shipping supplies, photo/video equipment… EVERYTHING needed to run our businesses from home, in a neat and orderly system which fits your unique, individual needs…wheeew!  As a home-based business owner, you can create a positive, inspiring environment to keep you pumped about fulfilling your goals – no matter how big or small the space may be.

It’s time to address the elephant in the room!  Face it head on and be determined to overcome the problem which isn’t going anywhere

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!