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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

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Professional Organizing

Need some help? Linda's company, Oh, So Organized! provides professional organizing services. Click here to learn about our unique Client Loyalty Program. Visit the Oh, So Organized! website for organizing tips, resources, videos and more. Make this your year to get organized.

« How to Make Conditions Better for Your Fresh Start | How to Boldly Reset Your New Year With Intent, Flow, and Rainbows »

What Does Making the Best of a Fresh Start Look Like For You?

What’s the purpose of embracing a fresh start? Is it to have a do-over? Is it useful because it helps you to be poised, ready, and open for new opportunities that appear? Is it a burning desire knowing that it’s time for a change? What says “change” better than clearing the decks?

Last week, I had the opportunity to be a guest on WNYC’s “All Of It” with the fabulous host, Alison Stewart. You can click here to learn how Alison and I met. On her show we talked about organizing, overwhelm, mindfulness, New Year’s intentions and more. Listeners had the opportunity to call in and ask me their most pressing organizing questions. Alison has an impressive audience of listeners, and they asked great questions. I thought it would be fun to do a follow-up post so that I could expand on my responses to some of the issues.


Get Fresh With Your Paper Stuff

Even though we live in an increasingly digital world, we still manage to amass a lot of paper. It takes up valuable space and mental energy.  Listener, Bill, expressed this when he called in. He felt overwhelmed with his backlog of documents and wanted some advice about what to let go of.

The general rule (although definitely check with your accountant who understands your specific situation) is to keep tax back-up records for seven years from the date of filing. Keep copies of your tax returns indefinitely. If there isn’t any tax or other financial implication like capital improvement records, or proof of a significant purchase needed for warranty purposes, most papers can go. Think shred, trash, out-of-here now! Also, for going forward, consider getting records digitally and filing them in electronic file folders. That will reduce future paper clutter.

For some other thoughts about the benefits of paper clearing, check out How to Use That Energy Boost You Get From a Fresh Start.


Get Fresh With Your Move

One of the biggest motivators for new beginnings is when you’re preparing to move. Listener, Margaret, called in to share about the tremendous decluttering and letting go work she’s been doing in preparation for her upcoming move. She’s already donated many bags of stuff to local charities. Go, Margaret! While she has been able to let go and have less, she was concerned about maintaining her “less stuff” approach after the move.

While a massive amount of decision-making goes into moving and choosing what to give away, sell, or keep, that process doesn’t end after the move. In fact, most people make a second or third edit post-move. Pay attention to how it feels to own less. After you move, you’ll have a new perspective on space and your belongings. Continue the editing process until you are “right-sized.” To maintain your home, build in some editing time every six months or so to review and release.

For additional thoughts about managing clutter, check out Decisions, Clutter & Tag Sales.

Get Fresh With Your Family (but in a good way!)

My heart went out to the listener, Alexandra, who called with a question about how to best help her mom with hoarding behavior. I was moved by the amount of support, love, and willingness the family has given her mom. The challenge is that while her mom has an awareness of her problem, she hasn’t been able to make any behavioral changes. Attempts by the family to help “clear out” have caused the problem to worsen. The family is at a loss as to how to best help.

Hoarding disorder has a mental health diagnosis. While it’s beautiful to have a supportive family, it’s essential to build a team of experts that can help like therapists, social workers, and other professionals. However, no team will be effective without a willing participant. 

One of the best books for loved ones of those that hoard, is Digging Out – Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding & Compulsive Acquiring by Michael Tompkins, Ph.D., and Tamara Hartl, Ph.D. It is written for the family to understand better the disorder and how to best help. 

Another excellent resource is The Hoarding Project. They offer nation-wide consultation services, education, and support geared towards people with hoarding behavior, family and friends, and professionals.


Behind the Scenes at WNYC

To listen to the WNYC “All Of It” January 4th podcast with these listeners' stories and more, click here. My segment is the first 20 plus minutes.

Are you in the fresh start mood? How are you making the most of yours? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation! 





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Reader Comments (12)

What a great segment with Alison Stewart! You were amazing - perfect for this:) I love that you mentioned that most people do a second or third edit after a move. Sometimes people feel guilty for having moved "too much," so I always tell them that one of the first things I do when I start a residential unpack is set up a donation bin. It just happens. We make our best decision in the moment about what to take with us, and often the new context leads us to realize that we actually don't need everything we brought. This is completely normal! I love the idea of "fresh." The very word sounds clean and optimistic. Can't wait for 2019 and all it has to offer.

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- Thank you so much for your lovely, kind words of support. You made me smile. That's an interesting point made about how people feel guilty that they moved too much of their stuff to their new location. I've noticed that also. What I've observed is that there are so many decisions to make when moving (and not just about what to keep or to let go of) that there comes the point of where we get decision-fatigue. We become exhausted by that process and just can't make any more (kind of like being too full.) And that's OK. It's better to stop and try when refreshed. So that editing process, while great to do as much as possible before a move, almost always spills over to additional post-move edits. I love your idea of setting-up that donation bin immediately. You are so smart! So much to enjoy today and also to look forward to.

January 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Congratulations on the interview! That's wonderful that the show had callers call in with questions. It made the interview much more interactive with the listeners. I'm glad you followed up with this post to add additional information to the discussion. Twenty minutes just isn't enough time to give people direction.

My fresh start this year is to lighten up everything in my life. My emotions, my home, my business, etc... I want to move into a less stressed state of being on a moment by moment basis. So far so good.

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Sabrina- Thank you so much. I loved hearing what the was on the minds of the listeners. There are so many ways to respond to questions, and I thought to do a follow-up after I could give them a bit more thought might be useful. And you're right. Twenty minutes is short. They've invited me back on January 18th @noon, so I look forward to talking with Alison Stewart and more listeners then.

I love your fresh start motto, "to lighten up everything in my life." I have an idea about how you might be approaching home and business, but the emotions-aspect intrigues me. In what ways do you think about that? I'd love to hear more.

January 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great video Linda and congratulations on the gig. I love this time of year. A fresh start and a lot of time over the winter to concentrate on making new/good habits stick. Creating a new file system or schedule to include time for the new pursuit is what a new year's resolution is all about.

January 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Schiesl

@Janet- Since you're also a video-maker, I especially appreciate your positive feedback on it...and thank you also for your good wishes. It sounds like you have terrific plans for the winter and your fresh start. Can't wait to hear more!

January 7, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Love that you shared your wisdom and support of those moving through the decluttering and organizing process!

January 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- Thank you so much. AND...Happy Birthday! I hope you have a fantastic day doing all the things you enjoy with the people you love doing them with. xoxo

January 8, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Wow, Linda! What fun that must have been for you. In reading your post, what caught my attention was the compassion, understanding and incredible knowledge that you brought to those listeners. I especially appreciated your response to the woman preparing to move because my husband and I were just discussing editing of our possessions last night. Your advice:

"Pay attention to how it feels to own less."

is so important. Through consistently paying attention to and building awareness of how this feels we're able to develop another touch point for what "right-sized" looks like, feels like and means to us. Great advice!

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

@Andrea- So great to "hear" your voice! I know that you and your husband have been steadily working on "right-sizing" to create a life that supports who you are now. I have such admiration for the dedication you've both given to your journey.

Thank you for listening to the show and for your lovely, supportive words.

January 15, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I'm a big fan of fresh starts, and I've come to realize that a fresh start can happen any time, not just at the beginning of a new year. In fact, if one wants to make multiple changes, it's better not to try and make them all at once.

January 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet B.- You're so right that fresh starts can happen each day, week, or moment. There's an added boost we get when a new year, month, and day collide as they do on January 1st. But this same "fresh start effect" can be felt at other starts too or significant dates like birthdays or beginnings of new seasons. I agree with you that focusing on one change is a beneficial approach.

January 16, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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