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Betsy Fein quoted in Washington Jewish Week

by Elyssa Morris

WJW Intern

In order to start the New Year with a clean

slate, winter cleaning has now become the

new spring-cleaning. Betsy Fein, a professional

organizer from Rockville and the

president of Clutterbusters!!, has given us

some great advice on how to get the New

Year started off right.

With the New Year comes the challenge of

winter weather. Fein suggests that in order

to prepare for winter, you need to organize

any materials and items you may need during

the winter season. Change the furnace

filters in your home. Remembering last winter,

Fein suggests that you might want to put

together a little “survival kit.” Include a few

days’ worth of energy bars, flashlights and

batteries, blankets, powdered milk and nonperishable

food that doesn’t require cooking

or refrigeration. Pull your cold-weather gear

out of storage. This may include sleds, skis,

snow shovels and scrapers. Fein says it is

very important to make sure everything is in

working order and ready to go. Get your

coats, hats, mittens and scarves out so that

they are handy when you need them.

It is important to continue to organize

throughout the rest of the year on a daily

basis. Fein suggests that you should, “Set

aside at least 10 minutes each day

to make sure your home or office

remains clutter-free. It’s much easier

to do 10 minutes a day than try

to set aside an entire hour at the

end of each week. Once you get

into the habit — after two weeks or

so — it will come naturally and effortlessly.”

Fein has some great tips to conquer

your clutter. She recommends,

“The best organizing

systems are simple to maintain.

Don’t try to design a filing system

that takes more than a few minutes

a day to uphold. When organizing

your closet, don’t get caught up in

trying to organize by color, size

and season, or you’ll spend a lot of

time trying to keep a system that

takes too much effort and will not

last. If you’re not sure what to do,

ask a professional organizer, a

salesperson at an organizing store,

or a friend or family member.” It’s

enough to keep track of our own

messes but then we have to worry

about keeping the rest of our families

clean and organized as well.

Fein suggests, “If you get the family

involved in the setting up of the

[organization] systems, then they

will most likely be better at helping

maintain it.”

Many people have every intention of organizing

their homes but don’t get around to

it because of what she calls, the “Three Ts.”

Fein explains the “Three Ts,” as, “Time —

many jobs are too overwhelming and could

take two to three times as much time to

complete than it would for a professional;

(Avoid) Trial and error — even if you had

the time, you still would need to put in place

the right organizational systems that can last

long term. Many times, individuals try to declutter

and end up having to revisit the project

a few short months later; Too busy —

even if you wanted to tackle the project

yourself, it is very difficult to set aside the

amount of time to complete the assignment.”

Fein extols the many health, relationship,

social, work and money management benefits

that go along with being organized. “Perhaps

the most important of all benefits is

avoiding the stress that comes with a cluttered

home or office. Stress is a leading cause

of illness.” Many find that their relationships

benefit from not having the stress of a cluttered

home. And, you’re less likely to invite

others into a messy home, so an organized

space may just ramp up your social life. Concerning

work-related benefits, Fein says,

“Need to find that paper in a hurry? Don’t

get the reputation as the messy one in your

office or home office.” Lastly, regarding

money management benefits, “Pay all your

bills on time with proper bill paying systems

in place.”

If you were ever curious as to how professional

organizers work, she gave us an inside

scoop.

Step 1: Discussion. A professional organizer

first has an informal consultation (either

by phone or in person) to determine what

your problem areas are.

Step 2: Evaluation. A professional organizer

needs to see the actual problem and develop

a proper solution.

Step 3: Choices. You then have the option

to have a consultation, where you will be

given specific, concrete steps to clear out the

clutter, or, the professional organizer will

give an estimate of the time needed to clear

the clutter.

Step 4: Clear the clutter. This process takes

many forms. The organizer will work handin-

hand with you to determine what to keep,

what to throw, and what to sell or store. For

paper management, a filing system will be

developed. Bill-paying systems will be introduced.

Bookshelves and storage areas will be

neatly organized. Products to help keep the

space clutter-free will be introduced and offered

for purchase.

Step 5: Maintain. You will be given exact

instructions on how to maintain the space

clutter-free. Or, you can opt for a regular

maintenance program that some organizers

now offer.

Step 6: You are now clutter-free. Make it a

part of your daily routine to keep the space

clutter-free.

Fein also has a system of “Three Es” to

guide you through the process of selecting a

professional organizer. The “Three Es” include

experience, expertise, and excellent

references. If you are looking for an organizer,

Fein suggests going to the National Association

of Professional Organizers

(NAPO) website, www.napo.net, doing research

through Google searches, and

through word of mouth.

Whether you are in need of some routine

cleaning or major reconstruction, organization

is the key to being successful in many

aspects of life. Once you get in the habit of

organizing, it will become easier to keep up

with your messes and not get lost in the clutter.

For more information about Fein’s company,

Clutterbusters!!, go to

clutterbusters.com, call 1-866-CLUTTER, or

email info@clutterbusters.com.

January 2012 marks the 8th annual NAPOsponsored

Get Organized Month.

 

Washington Jewish Week • January 19, 2012

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