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Entries in Marcia Ramsland (14)

Tuesday
Apr102018

5 Steps to Organize Your Closet Like a Pro!

If I could give someone a crown for best-organized, it would be Marcia Ramsland. There are so many areas she helps people get organized, but in this Organization UPGRADE, she tackles one area where all of us can use some steps for improvement.

"Have you organized your closet recently?" Marcia says. "Spring and fall are ideal times to organize your clothes."

I (Dawn) was able to organize my closet a few years ago. What fun ... and what a relief. And I just re-organized it last week! I think we can all use a fresh tweak when it comes to closets.

Marcia continues . . .

My client Debbie recently did her first annual closet organizing and carried FIVE bags off to charity!

She said, “I didn’t realize how much had accumulated. Now I’m happier and getting dressed is so much easier.

"My teenage daughter is so impressed," she said, "and we’ll do her closet next!”

Every spring and fall, I find “donations”—which means with a twice annual clean out, you can, too!

Be generous and share. You’ll dress better and feel better with fewer well-chosen outfits.

What’s the Best Way to Organize a Closet? *

Here are the 5 steps I recommend to all my clients and course participants. It can be done in just one day or 10 minutes a day as you get dressed.

Step #1 – Get Ready to Organize

  • Make your bed so you have a flat surface to do any necessary sorting.
  • Designate a bag or box for “giveaway” clothes, plus two others for “fix” and “dry clean.”
  • Now get ready to organize your closet by hanging categories together—blouses, slacks, skirts, dresses, etc.

Step #2 – Sort Hanging Clothes

Sort one section a day or sort it all on a weekend. Start at one end of the closet rod and sort the hanging clothes.

Pull out each item and ask yourself these two questions:

1. Do I like this?
2. Do I wear it?

If the answer is no, place the item in your “giveaway” box.

If the answer is yes, then rehang the clothes by categories, such as long-sleeved tops, short-sleeved tops, slacks, and jackets. 

Step up your organization by arranging each section from dark colors to light colors, like a rainbow. Often you will find too many of the same color or style, so keep the best and let go of the rest.

Step #3 - Organize by Categories

Finish by using matching hangers about one inch apart.

  • Place the front of the clothing items toward you so you can easily see what it looks like.
  • Place your most used category of items closest to you.
  • Hang items from light to dark like the rainbow colors. That way you’ll see if you have too many white blouses or black tops—that’s what you donate.

Step #4 - Keep Your Best and Donate the Rest!

Note that I said, “Keep YOUR best and donate the rest.”

If you never wear the most expensive item in your closet, it’s not “YOUR” best. It’s pricy clutter that someone else could be wearing.

So give that away and think of how happy someone else will be to wear it!

It’s a "win-win" helping someone else and gaining space in your closet.

Step #5 – Deliver Your Donations within 24 Hours!

The most important step is to bag up and deliver to charity all the things you’ve weeded out!

This must happen the same day to leave the house. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to put it down the hall or in the garage, and it will never leave you.

It must go to another very worthy person right away.

Keeping your closet organized reminds me of Matthew 25:23:

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

* BONUS: DOWNLOAD a Free Closet Inventory Worksheet to “Organize Your Closet in 10 Minutes a Day!” With this worksheet you’ll have a clear plan how to organize your closet by doing one small section a day!

Marcia Ramsland is well known as The Leading Online Organizing Coach, a Business Productivity Expert, and author of the Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay that Way book series, which has sold over 100,000 copies. Marcia regularly teaches online courses, has over 8,000 email subscribers, and coaches individuals and organizations to be highly productive personally and professionally. She believes anyone can become more organized and productive - even YOU!

For courses and coaching, visit www.organizingpro.com.

Tuesday
Jan302018

Create More Opportunities for Margin - Part 1

More and more, people are talking about “margin.” Dawn Wilson tackles this topic in a Self-Care UPGRADE in a two-part post to encourage those who find themselves stressed and over-committed, exhausted and near burnout.

Marginless living is the story of millions of Americans today. That’s part of my story too. I desperately needed more margin.

In his book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives (NavPress, 2014), Richard A. Swenson, a medical doctor, points out the lack of margin in American society in spite of all the “progress” we have made.

“The disease of marginless living is insidious, widespread and virulent,” Dr. Swenson said. “We live with unprecedented wealth and all it brings. We have leisure, entertainment, convenience and comfort…. Yet stress, frustration and oftentimes even despair unexpectedly accompany our unrivaled prosperity.”

His book is an excellent study of the reasons for marginless living, and he offers wisdom for every area of life. (I recommend it to stretch your thinking.)

But even before I read his book, I was thinking about the reasons for my own stress. Here’s what I discovered.

When some people think about margin, they envision the word “boundaries”—the need to not let others overrun the priorities in their lives.

I totally understand that. It’s important to have biblical priorities and values for our lives and families. We have to learn to say no to others’ expectations when they don’t understand, or when they either intentionally or unintentionally try to push past our boundaries.

But I think that’s only one side of margin.

My version of margin includes freedom. It focuses on space and freed-up time.

I like to describe margin as “spacious opportunities.”

In other words, yes, we need to establish firm boundaries so people will not take advantage of our kindness and desire to serve. That’s a necessary part of healthy relationships.

We want to live in a sacrificial way, but the Lord still may direct us to say “no” to some intrusive or unnecessary things so we can say “yes” to other things that fit our calling and biblical priorities (Colossians 4:1-2).

But we have to be sure we’re creating space for those “yeses.”

If we don’t, we’ll simply be piling good things onto other good things and causing over-commitment and stress.

We all need positive space to think, create, and breathe. But our lives are so busy, we won’t have wonderful, spacious opportunities unless we're purposeful in making room for them.

There are some things we can’t (and shouldn’t change)—the priority of a relationship with God and the priority of our key relationships (Matthew 6:33; Mark 12:30-31).

But beyond that, we need to see and embrace opportunities for margin throughout our lives. It’s a wonderfully positive approach.

There are at least SEVEN WAYS to create more opportunities for margin—for what really matters.

1. Create more empty space in your HOME. We don’t have to stuff every closet and fill every shelf. It’s OK to leave some empty space. Even healthy and freeing.

Part of the Titus 2:4-5 mandate for women, even those who have careers, is to work at home—to manage the home well. It doesn’t have to be a duty or drudgery. Make it fun. Create a freeing space to minister to people in your family and neighborhood.

Join me in creating that freedom! Evaluate your “stuff.” Go through one room per week with a big box or bag. What can you find to give away? Ask yourself:

  • How many of these do I have?” (Why do you need 12 pair of scissors—and they aren’t even crafting scissors? Learn to practice contentment: Hebrews 13:5a)
  • Why am I keeping this?” (An out-of-date college textbook. A 10-year-old jar of face cream, probably rancid.)
  • “Do I really need to have this object to keep a memory alive?” (A photo might suffice.)
  • “Is this a legacy item—and does my family want it?” (And usually, our millennial kids don’t.)
  • “Do I really need this?” or “Might someone else need this more than me? (Consider a homeless person, a struggling single mom, a low-paid teacher, etc.)

I have often used some of the home and office organizing techniques I've learned from "Organizing Pro" Marcia Ramsland in her book Simplify Your Life.

2. Create more space in your CALENDAR. Just as our homes can be cluttered with stuff we don’t need, sometimes our lives are cluttered with activity and our schedules need some paring down.

We need to plan “down time” as carefully—and with as much joyful anticipation and dedication—as work, event and activity times. Part of making “the best use of your time” (Ephesians 5:15-17) is understanding the Lord wants us to know when to stop working, to stop pushing… to just stop!

Plan breaks and times of refreshing on a regular basis: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. God wants His loved ones to get “proper rest” (Psalm 127:2).

Again, Marcia Ramsland can help with her book, Simplify Your Time.

3. Create more space in your BUDGET. Rather than thinking, “How much do I have left to spend?” think, “How much can I save?” or “How much can I invest?” Thinking we have money to indulge our every whim is seldom wise.

Rather than letting covetousness rule, give money its proper place and think in terms of faithful and wise stewardship.

When we plan wisely, we will feel more secure (Ecclesiastes 7:12); but remember the true Source of your security. Even so, it’s still smart to create sufficient financial margin—sometimes called a “cushion of funds”—to carry you over in times of stress or crisis. Financial experts may not agree on the exact amount, but they all agree on the necessity!

For financial wisdom beyond the scriptures, I seek out people like "America's Family Financial Expert," Ellie Kay and The 60-Minute Money Workout. I also learned so much from Ron Blue and Jeremy White's Faith-based Family Finances, Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover and Randy Alcorn's Managing God's Money.

How can you create more spacious opportunities in these three areas: Home, Calendar and Budget?

Part 2 of this post will appear on January 31st,  with four more areas needing margin.

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices TodayLOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Wednesday
Nov012017

5 Tips to Strategically Simplify Your Holiday Season

Because Marcia Ramsland is one of the most organized people I know during the holiday season, I asked her to prepare us for Thanksgiving and Christmas with some helpful strategies.

This Holiday UPGRADE is based on her practical book, Simplify Your Holiday Season, and it includes a free download!

“If you do anything more than once in life," Marcia says, "organize it and simplify it. That’s especially true for the holidays that come year after year like clockwork. “  

I (Dawn) totally agree with the "organize and simplify" concept. Along with walking in the Spirit and experiencing His peace in our hearts (Galatians 5:16, 22), one of the blessings of being properly prepared for the holidays is the peace that flows into our celebrations and activities!

Marcia continues . . .

There is ONE DATE that signals it’s time to launch your holiday planning every year—November 1st.

Knowing that, you can be ready and sail through the holidays by taking these five action steps early. These five steps—and my free 8-Week Holiday Planning Calendar—will get you ready early and make it the peaceful Thanksgiving and Christmas season you’ve always dreamed of.

1.  Mark Your Holiday Dates for November and December.

Thanksgiving is “early” this year on November 23, which means Christmas is a little over four weeks after Thanksgiving. That’s really good news!

But you still need to follow a good Calendar Plan so too many details don’t mount up at the end to cause you holiday stress.

2.  Write A Master Gift List.

List the names of people that you are planning to give gifts to. Better yet, FIND YOUR LIST from last year and follow that same order early in November.

Can’t find last year’s list? You could download my free Master Gift List.

You can download the 2017 Free Master GIFT LIST and Holiday CALENDARhere.

(NOTE: If you already have my Holiday planner, put the list in the front pocket!)

3. Organize Your Gift Wrap Center.

Right now, you don’t have to wrap any gifts. Just organize your Gift Wrap Center with 7 key items all together, say in an under-the-bed box or drawer. 

Include: holiday wrapping paper, gift bags, gift tags, fresh tissue paper, bows & ribbons, scotch tape and a dedicated pen. Get it organized and ready to use.

4. Plan Ahead by Writing Things Down.

Mark your calendar with family coming to town, favorite concerts, kids school vacation dates, and business vacation days. This forms the structure for your holiday season.

5. Sort Your Holiday Decorations Early.

The best weekend to put up Christmas decorations this year will be Thanksgiving weekend or the weekend after, but not turning on lights until December 1.

That way you can enjoy them for five weeks before taking them down after New Year’s weekend.

Donate what you don’t use early in December. Why?

1) Someone else can enjoy your excess decorations this Christmas.

2) Charities won’t take them after Christmas, because they don’t have room to store them for 11 months.

Free up space by donating this year!

Planning is powerful! And with a good plan and your eye on the calendar, you can simplify your holiday season.

Instead of playing “catch-up” and feeling stressed, you will experience freedom and calm.

With an organized plan in action every week—written out on an 8-Week Holiday Calendar Plan—you can say wholeheartedly like the angelic heavenly host who praised God when they appeared to the shepherds and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests” Luke 2:13-14.

Let me share a holiday prayer just for you.

"Dear God, today as I work on preparing my heart and home for Christmas, may I reflect on the events of the first Christmas and find strength in knowing you have a special plan for my holidays this year.” Amen

What holiday activity will you start this weekend to make sure you’re calm and ready to celebrate this holiday season?

Marcia Ramsland, the Holiday Coach, is the author of two holiday books: Simplify Your Holiday Season: Turn Seasonal Stress into Holiday Success” and Simply December Devotions and was a spokesperson for Sam’s Club Holiday Entertaining. Download Marcia's free 2017 Holiday Calendar and Master Gift List HERE

Thanksgiving/Christmas blocks in the graphic available at BuzzingBeesCrafts on Etsy.com, while quantities last.

Tuesday
Mar212017

5 File Folders Save the Day!

Marcia Ramsland, a highly-respected organizing coach for businesses and individuals, sees paper messes everywhere. Fortunately, she knows exactly what to do with those stacks of paper.

“Do you have a kitchen paper pile that won't go away? Is your refrigerator full of reminders? Then,” Marcia says, “it's time to simplify the paper "mess" with a system.”

I (Dawn) wondered for a moment whether Marcia took a sneaky peak at my office… or saw the papers all over my kitchen counter!

I am organized in so many ways. But that paper stuff? Ugh.

Marcia continues . . .

My 5 File Folder System will clean that right up for you just as it has for hundreds of women across the country!

5 Files Can Turn a Pile into an Attractive File!

Did you know an average of fifteen pieces of mail arrive in your mailbox? If you flip through first and deal with only ten of the fifteen pieces, you are left with five dangling pieces a day. 

That’s why stacks of mail can appear from out of nowhere—they're waiting for you to come back "later," which usually never happens.

At the rate of five pieces of mail per day, that means 150 pieces a month or 1,565 pieces a year—sixteen inches of guilt piled on your countertop, refrigerator or desk.

Let's clean that up right now!

Five File Folders will clean up any mail piles from scattering across your kitchen countertop.

A portable file holder is a key ingredient to set up a “Personal Organizing Center.”  Every home needs one to conquer paper piles.

These Five File Folders Handle Daily Paper:

  1. Calendar
  2. To Do
  3. To Decide
  4. To Pay
  5. Your Name (and their own file for each additional person)

File #1: "CALENDAR"

Put an item in the CALENDAR file only after putting it on your monthly calendar. This cleans up “refrigerator clutter” and includes invitations, schedules, & upcoming events.

File #2: "TO DO"

Write it on a Master List in front of you and then put it in this file.

If it would take less than 5 minutes to do, don't even write it on the list—do it now!

Calendar your Master List items to the 3 days you can most control: Today, Tomorrow or the next day.

File #3: "TO DECIDE"

Place items that you are thinking about doing, ordering or following up on in here.

Then when you decide to do it, you know right where to find it!

The last day of the month, toss the unused items for a fresh start next month.

File #4: "TO PAY"

If you don’t have one place by your checkbook to pay bills, keep them in a designated file folder so they don’t get lost. Important!

File #5: "PERSONAL"

Keep your papers—each person's papers—in their own file. Go through it daily yourself or on the weekend with each person.

If something needs immediate attention, don't file it! Show it to the person that day. This should take care of the visible paper clutter.

Regular filing should be in another room beyond the "Personal Organizing Center" portable file.

Can you do that? Of course you can!

It easily applies to organizing your office, too.

Proverbs 13:4 always inspires me to be diligent in organizing paperwork.

“The sluggish crave and have nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied!”

This five-file system is so simple, but it works. TRY IT!

So... which pile of papers are you going to tackle first?

Marcia Ramsland is The Leading Online Organizing Coach for Business & Life Success and coaches busy women to maximize their time and minimize their stress. Her “21 Day Total Office Cleanup” gives women the confidence and control that their work, email, and paperwork is all in order with personal coaching. Details at www.OrganizingPro.com/OfficeCleanup.

Thursday
Nov172016

5 Tips to Jumpstart Your Holidays

The first thing I learned about Marcia Ramsland is, she cares about people. The second thing I learned is, because she cares, she creates constructive ways to help them. In this Christmas UPGRADE, she encourages us to jumpstart our holiday preparations so we can experience peace at Christmas and not stress.

“If you do anything more than once in life,” Marcia says, “organize it and simplify it. That’s especially true for the holidays that come year after year like clockwork!”

I (Dawn) have learned so many things from reading Marcia's books, and appreciate this approach ... because they work!

Marcia continues . . .

After staying up late Christmas Eve to wrapping presents for years, I finally figured out “The Holiday Plan” to simplify the whole season! Now we all get a good night’s sleep at Christmas.

You can, too!

To get you started on the right foot for the busy Holiday Season, here are “5 Tips to Jumpstart Your Holidays.”

1) Look Ahead and Mark Your Calendar.

Mark family celebration dates, guests coming, vacation days, holiday parties, church concerts, plays, and annual holiday events you enjoy. Post the calendar where you can see it regularly—like in your kitchen.

This is a unique time of year you need especially good planning skills.

2) Schedule 2 Hour Segments of Weekly Holiday “Prep” Time.

Schedule weekly shopping time online or in the mall, cleaning house, decorating. Schedule Thursday nights for shopping, Saturday for baking and decorating, and Sunday afternoon for wrapping presents.

3) Write a Master Gift List on One Form.

Pull out your gift list from last year to create a duplicate. Don't have one? Download my annual  FREE Master Gift List  to stay organized with your ideas, purchases, and budgets. Use it every year to keep your ideas organized.

4) Make the Most of Your Limited Time.

Combine your limited social time by inviting friends to an upcoming event and getting together for dinner ahead of time or dessert afterwards.

Create a memory on one night instead of two.

5) Sort Your Holiday Decorations Early.

Sort your Holiday decorations when you put them up the first weekend in December.

Immediately donate what you don’t put up to a charity so you can help someone else have a light and bright Christmas.

Planning is powerful! And with a good plan and your eye on the calendar, you can simplify your holiday season. Every year over 800 people download my week-by-week holiday planning calendars and Master Gift List to put in the front pocket of their Holiday planning book, Simplify Your Holiday Season (see book link, below).

Instead of playing “catch-up” and feeling stressed, you will experience freedom and calm.

This year with your advanced planning you can say—like the angelic heavenly host who praised God when they appeared to the shepherds—“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:13-14).

Be sure to bring the Lord into the midst of your holiday preparations.

You might pray:

Dear God, today as I work on preparing my heart and home for Christmas, may I reflect on the events of the first Christmas and find strength in knowing you have a special plan for my holidays this year. I ask you turn my mental chaos into calm with your presence every day. Amen!

What will you do better this year to ease the stress of the holiday season?

Marcia Ramsland is known as The Holiday Coach, author of “Simplify Your Holiday Season” planning book and “Simply December Devotions” devotional. Download your FREE Holiday Planning Calendar and Master Gift List and join her weekly Monday Holiday Class at www.OrganizingPro.com/holidays.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of morguefile.