For a limited time only, receive an incredible discount when you pay in advance for your sessions with an organizer or a personal assistant.
- 10% off 10hrs w/ an organizer = $450 ($50 off!)
- 15% off 20hrs w/ an organizer = $850 ($150 off!)
- 10% off 10hrs w/ an assistant = $225 ($25 off!)
- 15% off 20hrs w/ an assistant = $425 ($75 off!)
Not sure if you need an organizer or an assistant? Change your mind at anytime. One hour of prepaid organizing is worth two with an assistant, or apply two of your prepaid assistant hours to one hour with an organizer. It’s up to you!
'It is better to want what you have than to have what you want.'
I first considered this truth bomb around Christmas time a few years ago when I was meeting regularly with a group of middle school students about Quaker values. Along with most Quakers, I believe that simplicity is totally sacred, even magical. The lessons of simplicity make room for profound revelation, hold potential for the spreading of peace, and support the healing of our extraordinary planet. I am thinking about it again now - about wanting what I have - because it’s another way of saying the word “gratitude”.
The young people and I put together alternative Christmas lists. We wrote down all of our favorite things and shared them with each other. It was exciting. It made you want to go home and revel in the way things already were.
I am constantly getting caught up in episodes of insatiable wanting. One of the first times this happened to me as an adult, I realized I had unknowingly memorized my own credit card number because I had typed it into so many shopping websites lately. These episodes of pseudo-deprivation are remarkable in that they are never resolved by acquiring the magic item, or number of items. I have to snap out of it somehow, usually by moving into awareness of how great things are.
This activity is all about identifying the things you already have that are totally aligned with your heart, spirit, senses, or childhood dreams. What possessions make you feel most like yourself? Like the best version of yourself? What makes you gloriously comfortable? What would you grab right now if the house was burning down? What do you love to show off to friends? What objects and devices make your life easier?
Now, take a moment to revel in it.
Next, pick a few items on your list that you’re either unbearably excited about and/or are unable to live without, and bless them. Connect to them as if they were alive, because indeed your enthusiasm infuses them with something.
The concept of mental clutter is not brand new, but I am thinking about it in a new way today. For a long time I have been struggling just like so many others to be more productive, more satisfied. I work my way through long lists of tasks hoping to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Instead, I feel drained and less alive. Kind of like a zombie.
Inspite of this misfortune, I am fully aware of the certain truth that my life is full of joy and blessings. I see it reflected in the face of my financé and the wagging tail of our puppy. I see proof of joy in the sunlight streaming through yellow leaves into our breakfast room.
This joy is always there, but it’s not always clear to me. When bills come in the mail that I hadn’t planned for, when tea spills on my computer (again), when I’m sick, or someone tells me about a recent tragedy, I cannot see the joy that surrounds me. The sun still rises and the leaves are still golden and Ben still smiles and Luta still wags her tail, but I don’t feel it.
These obstacles need to be sorted and cleared, just like clutter. Some of them may require an annoying phone call or $750 or a few seconds of grief, but they must be addressed and sorted.
The easy ones will be first. Sometimes with just a conscious resolve not to worry about that anymore the joy is already shining through the cracks, seeping back in. Today I cleared the obstacles. I let them go, and to my surprise I was left with only one that demanded more from me. I was face-to-face with my own dissatisfaction, with images of the person I want to be and the life I want to live, and the images did not look like the present moment at all. Suddenly it was very simple.
Clearing the other obstacles had reminded me that in fact, things are pretty great. I have satisfying work. My business is growing. I am gloriously comfortable. I am healthy and excited about things to come. There was just one missing piece. In my case it was expression. So I came straight home to write, amazed that I hadn’t seen it before. It wasn’t that I didn’t know I needed this - I just hadn’t seen the power of this one action to put everything back in alignment and reveal the full and glorious abundance of joy everywhere I look.
When you sort through the obstacles, letting go of anxiety, unnecessary worries, and solving the problems that need solving, what is left over? What is at the root of it all? Let me know in the comments below.
Books are one of those things that everyone loves to save. Or is it just that they’re really hard to get rid of? Here’s the thing about books: they are most powerful when they are being read, and yet they spend most of their lives being neglected on a shelf. someone could truly benefit from those books you’re not going to read. A woman in prison could find hope, or a child could nourish his imagination. Let your neglected books do some good! In this article you’ll find out how to make getting rid of books easier, and how we’re offering to help you. You can also check out our own book hoarding stories.
How to get rid of books:
Let us handle the heavy lifting!Getting rid of stuff is really, really hard. Once you've admitted to yourself that you don't need something, you still have to go to the trouble of finding out where to dispose of it. It takes time and energy, and we've seen too many people procrastinate about actually getting stuff out the door. That's why we're offering to do it for you. Schedule a pick-up today! (Contact Nicole at 847-609-9868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) They will be donated to one of the following amazing organizations, or a different organization of your choice:
- So you might read it eventually, but are you even excited? Keep the books you’re actually enthusiastic about reading.
- Does the content or subject matter uphold your current goals and values? Let go of books that only apply to your past.
- Are you keeping it because someone gave it to you? Give it away.
- Is it culturally outdated or obsolete? Pass it along. Plenty more where that came from.
- Are you really, actually going to read that again? Really? When?
- Does the first page grab your attention? Cool! Keep it!
- You think you really want all of them? Think again, or just aim to pull one book off the shelf each day. A fresh perspective makes it much easier to think rationally about what you’re actually going to read.
Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that makes early literacy a priority by giving books to hospitals’ pediatric exam rooms. Kids learn the importance of reading and being read to thanks to this great organization! www.reachoutandread.org
Chicago Books to Women in Prison takes your books and mails them to women all over the country who are currently in prisons. These women are grateful for any books that they receive! www.chicagobwp.org
Books 4 Cause is a national organization dedicated to building libraries in African countries. www.books4cause.comRecap:
- Pickup Fee For Books (Limited time only) - $15
- *Add an organizing session to help you decide which ones to donate and get 20% off the first hour!
- Pickup Fee For Non-Literary Donations, Shredding or Recycling - $25
One of Madelyn's Bookshelves - Before
I am on the verge of embarking on some very exciting summer adventures. First I'll be heading down to southern Indiana to attend a traditional Lakota sun dance ceremony that I've been going to every year for six years. After that I'll stop back in town for one day to recover, do laundry, and say goodbye to my fiancé before I head out to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota with a car full of children's clothes to donate. I'll be staying there until early August.
You have no excuse not to stay organized while I'm gone! I have trained an awesome team to take over in my absence. My new assistant Nicole, and new organizer Jenna are available to assist you with all of your organizing needs. And as a bonus Mary, our intern, will be available to lend an extra set of hands wherever needed at no additional charge to you! Read more about each of these women here, and don't hesitate to contact Nicole to schedule an appointment. [Nicole@idealspaceconsulting.com / 1-847-609-9868]
Keep in mind that Ideal Space Consulting can help you with more than just your closets. For a reduced rate one of our staff can also assist you with errands, projects, administrative tasks, selling or donating your stuff, and anything else that might free you up to focus on what is most important to you. Happy Summer!
Sun dance tree with prayer flags. Photo by Blaine Harrington
Since I first heard about Andy Warhol's time capsules a few years ago I have been obsessed with the concept.
Everyone knows Warhol was totally eccentric, and nobody blames him for it. Warhol was also an avid collector. Someone less successful may have been criticized for collecting junk/treasure the way he did, but not him. It was part of his persona.
In 1974 Andy Warhol moved from one studio to another. I've helped a couple of artists sort through their strange collections of dried up plants and animal parts, materials and supplies, works in progress and valuable art collections. It's no easy task. But dealing with aesthetically interesting or intellectually stimulating clutter reminds me that our stuff can paint a fascinating picture of our lives.
(My interest in this phenomenon is the subject of a new blog! Check out www.real-spaces.com
Upon arriving at his new studio Warhol was inspired by all the boxes left over from the move. Until his death in 1987 he routinely filled the boxes with present clutter until he had accumulated 612 capsules in a warehouse (pictured below).
"Warhol selected items from the daily flood of correspondence, magazines, newspapers, gifts, photographs, business records, and material that passed through his hands to put in the open box by his desk. Once the box was full he sealed it with tape, marked it with a date or title, and put it in his archive." What an awesome way to clear a workspace in order to focus on the present, and what an innovative departure from conventional methods of dealing with cumbersome memorabilia!
But what I love most about the story of Warhol's time capsules is the intersection of creativity and organization
. Warhol was a collector, and yet he recognized that space needed to be cleared. It started as a quirky experiment; "Although various studio assistants frequently handled the boxes over the years, few people seemed to recognize the enormous mass of material as anything other than 'Andy’s stuff.'" Now it's an enchanting and valuable collection, and I hope it inspires you to come up with your own creative solutions for the unceasing influx of stuff.[Quotes in this post are from http://edu.warhol.org/app_aw_tc.html#about
In honor of 2012 I decided it was time for another purge. I can't count how many times I have systematically gone through all of my possessions, getting rid of the things that no longer serve me and rearranging what's left so that the energy can flow better through my bigger, brighter space. It just feels so good...when it's all done.
I guess it had been a little too long since my last clutter clearing session, because I had completely forgotten how incredibly hard it is to go through your own stuff and let it go.
The day started out all wrong. After two coke zeros to energize me for a long drive through a snowstorm the night before, I had not slept well. I finally rolled out of bed, feeling like crap, but I was resolved: in order to get the new year started off right, I needed a good cleanse. So I got right to work...seriously, without even eating breakfast.
That was a mistake. After about an hour I was ready to fall over. I ate some oatmeal, reluctantly, and got back to work, working through each room of the house systematically until finally the day was over. I had a fabulous pile of donations and recycling ready to leave through the front door. The bags and boxes filled up my car. Technically, it had been a successful day...
...I still felt terrible. Whatever I was expecting to feel when it was all over (relieved? satisfied? relaxed?) was not how I was feeling! Not even close. I couldn't stop thinking about how many items I had held in my hands, knowing I hadn't worn that dress in over a year and probably never would again, acknowledging that those books from college were no longer interesting to me...and yet I had hung on. Inside my spirit there was a raging conflict between two feelings:
1. a powerful desire for change, freshness, letting go, new beginnings, and wide open space for maximum potential and explosive creation.
2. there is also profound gratitude for my life exactly as it is, perfect in all its imperfections, with an abundance of good things and silly things and awesome memories and potential.
It actually took a second day of work to feel satisfied with my home and ready to embrace 2012. Day 2 involved a massive rearrangement of the space and everything in it. The biggest challenge was a shocker: I was still hanging onto a self-sabotaging belief that I didn't deserve as much space as I wanted! Bullshit! So I've claimed it. Check out this photo of my expansive new home office and go claim your own space. Let your home be the skeleton for the life you want to live.
I am about to delve into one of the concepts that is hardest to explain about the work I do helping people feel more organized every day! Check it out.
I recently had the enormous privilege of attending a meeting of HELLO (Homeless Experts Living Life’s Obstacles) in Chicago. That’s right: youth. These were teenagers and young adults living on the streets of the very city I have lived in for over a decade. I admit I was totally nervous and way outside my comfort zone. Even though I like to think of myself as a compassionate person who values service above all else, I’m struggling to imagine my life without my home.
These young people were astounding. As I looked around at their faces there was nothing that distinguished them from me. I could have passed them by on the street without a second thought, and yet each and every one of them had a lifetime of painful memories and more than a lifetime supply of courage.
How do you strike up a conversation with someone so incredible? What could I say? "Hey, how are you? What’ve you been up to lately?"
They might have said, “surviving”.
Survival is not something I ever have to think about, especially when it comes to shelter. What would it be like to be on your feet all day with no idea where you will be able to sleep or rest in safety or cmofort? What would it be like if you could only keep what you could carry? One young man put it perfectly: “When you’re on the street, it’s like the whole city, the whole world is your living room.”
I can’t help but reconsider a lot of the beliefs about home and space and clutter and organization that I’ve spent a lot of time developing and teaching to others. At the end of the day maybe it’s best to express some sincere heartfelt gratitude for the comfort and security of having a home, a place to rest, to keep our pettiest possessions. As I listened to the youth share their experiences, I saw signs that said, “Housing is a human right.” But it’s also an incredible luxury. Let’s treat it that way.
*The best way to learn more from these young people while offering them the support they deserve is by purchasing a book of their poetry here
I just bought my copy, and I invite you to cut yourself some slack this week: if disorganization is causing you stress, give thanks for all that you have, and read this book instead of worrying.
I am spending the weekend in silence with a group of Quakers. It’s remarkable. Without verbal communication THERE IS SO MUCH ROOM, TO THINK, TO BE, TO CREATE. It is a relief be HERE, in silence. As I’ve said before, getting away causes the excess to melt.
We live in such a noisy world, and we add to that noise unconsciously. As we sat in a circle this morning to center ourselves there were noises everywhere, and they were loud!
“How is this possible?” I thought. “We left the city to enter into silence, and yet…” Geese were honking, kids were playing, basketballs were bouncing, and the refrigerator was running, doors slamming, shoes squeaking. The cacophony seemed to be building until finally we all just laughed, and privately we wondered about the meaning of silence. Does it truly exist?
I have had stupid songs playing in my head almost constantly between, and sometimes during meditations today. Even though I haven’t spoken a word in 24 hours, my brain is FULL of them. On a walk with my boyfriend I made fun of my own failed attempts to tell him a joke using gestures, wondering a little too late why I had felt the need to communicate anything beyond a loving squeeze of his hand.
In my apartment at home I keep a room as empty as possible. There are beautiful things hanging on the walls, an altar in one corner, and a closet full of stuff, but it still looks EMPTY. I love that room because it offers me a sort of physical silence, as if the excess of objects in other rooms made noise. (Come back next week to see a photo of this room along with the rest of my apartment!)
There have been very few moments today when I thought it might be useful to speak. Most of them were related to trivial things like ‘I think she’s still using that spoon,’ or ‘Maybe you could put your hat over there,’ or ‘I agree the cheesecake was good.’ And then there was another moment when we were all eating together, and I thought how easy it would be to make myself heard if I spoke out of the silence – how my voice would resonate, how easy it would be to stand out. It’s the difference between a single note on the desktop instead of piles and piles of paper files – it matters so much more.
I talk a lot, normally, just because I can, or because silence seems to make people uncomfortable, or because there are trivial details that need to be sorted out. Now I’m wondering, do I waste words? Can I narrow it down? How would this affect my life? Language is a type of clutter. I was never aware of it until now. I’ve sought an escape from noise before, but in many ways this silent retreat is the loudest of all because I am truly listening. I HEAR EVERYTHING. And there is more clearing that needs to be done, always.
In The Four Agreements Don Miguel Ruize says, “Be impeccable with your word.” I think I'm starting to get it.