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Entries in Organization (9)


Organize Your Life - Part 2

In Part One of “Organize Your Life,” Kathy Carlton Willis covered several helpful organization tips along with spiritual applications. She explained how we can have less stress in our homes and our hearts as we get organized. In this article, she continues the topic with 4 more tips.

I (Dawn) think one of the biggest consequences of disorganization—whether in our homes, our workspace or our heart—is stress. I'm glad to see Kathy addresses this.

Kathy continues . . .

There are several ways we can take life hacks and use the same principles to straighten up our spiritual lives, too.

Here are a few more tips as we continue the article started here.

5. Loaded is Bloated.

What slows down an electronic device? When there are too many programs or documents loaded to it, or too many apps open.

The only way to make it faster is to lighten its load or to add more hard drive or memory.

Spiritual Life: What slows me down? When I have too many burdens I’m trying to carry around. I have so many tasks going at once I’m not multi-tasking, I’m maxi-tasking. I have to let some of it go in order to have enough white space in the margins to think straight. Then I give God room to work in my life—His strength is my hard drive and His Spirit is more memory.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).

6. Do It When You Think of It.

The older I get, the more I realize I have to do things when I think of them, otherwise, out of mind is, well—out of sight!

Spiritual Life: What do I do when I’m reminded of my sin? The best time to deal with it is as soon as it comes to mind.

7. Handle It Once.

Don’t handle the same piece of paper twice.

  • If it’s trash, throw it out.
  • If it’s a bill, pay it.
  • If it needs to be filed, file it.

Spiritual Life: Am I holding on to chronic guilt? Once I’ve asked God to forgive me, it's time to receive that forgiveness and move on.

The longer I hang on to the guilt, the harder it is to get rid of.

8. Take Five!

It doesn’t take an hour or half-day to organize.

  • Use the five minutes it takes to make a cup of coffee to pick up clutter or empty the dishwasher.
  • When commercials come on the television, deal with a pile of papers.
  • Five-minute work-bursts add up fast, and keep you from being overwhelmed.
  • Take five minutes before leaving the house to straighten up.
  • Before bed take another five minutes to pick up items that didn’t get put away. Prepare ahead for the next day.

Treat five-minute work-bursts as a race, and you’ll be surprised what you get done!

The bonus? Once you get going, you’ll extend that five-minute challenge to longer work sessions, because once you get started you feel up to tackling more.

Spiritual Life: Am I putting off having some quiet time with God until I find an extra hour in my day? I need to grab five minutes when I can get it to talk to God or read His Word or listen to His Spirit. And the more I spend time with Him, the more I want to.

How will you get organized to have less stress in your home and heart?

Kathy Carlton Willis—God's Grin Gal—shines the light on what holds you back so you can grow. She’s a speaker and author with over a thousand articles online and in print, as well as her Bible study, Grin with GraceShe’s a bi-monthly columnist with CBN and a devotional writer for Todd Starnes. She and her husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston Terrier.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of geralt at Pixabay.


Organize Your Life - Part 1

Kathy Carlton Willis would love to see women escape the chaos of their lives. In this Organization UPGRADE, she explains how we can have less stress in our homes and our hearts as we get organized.

"Lately, a phrase has been stuck like a song in my head—'Don’t put it down, put it up!'" Kathy says.

"Every time I think about putting something in the wrong place, that advice nags me and I'm reminded it doesn’t take any longer to put something in its designated spot."

I (Dawn) am a firm believer in "a place for everything and everything in its place," but Kathy takes this one step further and I agree: Conquering the chaos in our lives begins with a more ordered perspective and a change of heart.

Kathy continues . . .  

Realizing this simple organizational tip might be a good reminder to others as well, I started collecting other helpful tips to share. Each one ended up also triggering a spiritual reminder to me.

Isn’t it interesting that the same things that help us get our acts together help us get our lives straightened out?

Let’s look at some.

1. File It, Don’t Pile It!

I admit it. I’m a piler. It’s a good thing Russ and I are minimalists because it minimizes the number of piles I can create!

But every so often I get into a sorting mood and I force myself to either file it away, scan it in, or pitch it.

Spiritual Life: What do I allow to pile up before I deal with it? Hurt feelings? Disappointment? Anger? Sadness? Time won’t shoo away what I’ve stockpiled. It’s time to address the mess going on in my life.

“But be sure that everything is done properly and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40 NLT).

2. Clutter Clatters.

I’m a messy cook. I tend to dirty every dish I own. And then I’m too exhausted to clean up.

But it doesn’t take long before I’m back in the kitchen washing, organizing, putting everything away. Why? Because the clutter is so noisy, it clatters. Such a distraction!

When everything is straightened up I sense a quietness—peace.

Spiritual Life: Is my day cluttered with so much busyness that I have neglected my quiet time with God? Does the clutter clatter so loudly I can’t hear God’s still small voice? It’s time to roll up my sleeves, put away the clutter and let the cleared space make room for God’s peace.

3. Less is Best.

I used to own a 4,000-square-foot fixer-upper and set out to fill it with stuff. Then a life reversal forced us to have a living estate sale before moving into an 800-square-foot rent house.

I learned to hold on to my stuff with a loose grip.

Now I love a more minimalistic approach to my belongings.

When I don’t pack my space full, I have enough white space to give my chaos a break. Peace.

Spiritual Life: I need as much white space as my house. When I cram every hour with to-do lists, obligations, chores, and busyness, there’s no margin for relaxation. By allowing space in my day for contemplation and meditation, I can handle the rest of the day with more resolve and clarity.

4. Don’t Give in to the Pig Pen.

It’s tempting once things are a mess, to not even try. Why bother? Why put this away when it won’t make the rest of the mess look any better?

It’s a downward spiral toward the pig pen.

Spiritual Life: It was in the pig pen, where the prodigal son realized the enormity of his messed-up life and desired to go back to the father, thinking even his father’s servants were treated better than what his life had become.

In the middle of my mess, when it’s tempting to keep making poor choices because I’m already stained with sin, the Father wants me to leave the mess and come to Him for rest. He will repair the damage and make all things new.

What needs sorted out in your house and in your heart?

(PART TWO of “Organize Your Life." is published here.)

Kathy Carlton Willis—God's Grin Gal—shines the light on what holds you back so you can grow. She’s a speaker and author with over a thousand articles online and in print, as well as her Bible study, Grin with GraceShe’s a bi-monthly columnist with CBN and a devotional writer for Todd Starnes. She and her husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston Terrier.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of geralt at Pixabay.


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


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

Graphic adapted, courtesy of morguefile.


Resolutions, Goals and a Bucket List

Ready for the New Year? I always appreciate those who help us forget those things that are behind and push forward to greater things. Marcia Ramsland is one of those people, and I asked her to share this special New Year's UPGRADE.

"January 1 is the day to write a resolution or two," Marcia says. "If you’re not living the life you love or at least enjoying each day, then perhaps it’s because you don’t know what you want, you know what it is but haven’t worked to get it, or you’ve let life get in your way."

Last year, I [Dawn] picked a special word that motivated me all year long, but I have to admit, my office fell apart last year. Picking one motivating word has nothing to do with organizing your life (unless, perhaps, the word is "organization!") So I'm looking for tips from people like Marcia to help me get back on track!

Marcia continues . . .

Here are three ways to change that while you are poised at the beginning of the new year. Pick One Style for a New Year, New You!

1. A Resolution

A New Year's resolution is a January 1 personal commitment for the coming year to change a habit or lifestyle for the better, such as the two most popular ones, to lose weight and get organized!

2. A Goal

A goal is a dream with a plan attached, and is best achieved if there is a positive emotional response to its success, such as moving to a warm climate, redecorating at home, or doubling your income. Jot them on your new monthly calendar.

3. A Bucket List

A Bucket List is a wish list of things you’d like to do in your lifetime that captures your imaginationsuch as climbing Mt. Everest, running a marathon or writing a book. Fill your bucket list with 5-10 things you’ve only dreamed about.

What would it take for a “New Year, New You” lifestyle makeover?

Here is a list of 15 ideas to stimulate your thinking. Write your own list of eight to ten goals you would like to have or do in the coming new year. Think big!

  • Prioritize my life and say “no” with confidence.
  • Find a regular exercise program I like.
  • Eat healthier every meal.
  • Get to bed by 10:30 p.m.
  • Reorganize and upgrade my office.
  • Create a budget and save for my dream car.
  • Plan one enjoyable activity per 52 weekends.
  • Trade childcare for more personal time.
  • Get together monthly with a good friend.
  • Become team manager for your son’s sports team.
  • Go on my bucket list dream vacation.
  • Call parents/grandparents once a week.
  • Send out birthday cards (or birthday emails) on time.
  • Join a new business group.
  • Wrap up leadership responsibility in current organization.
  • Complete a degree over the next three years.

I know this setting goals works for two reasons:

1) Proverbs 13:4 says, “The sluggard (sluggish) craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”

Practically, that means if we steadily work toward a goal, we will get there. Also, if we just set the goal, we won’t get there.

2) I coach women via Face Time, email, and photos to achieve anything from writing a book, or organizing their paperwork, closet, garage or officein 30 days or less! Things they never thought they could do!

When they know I do three-month, six-month, and one-year checkups, they achieve their new, organized lifestyleand maintain it. It works and you can see the “Before and After” photos yourself here

What works best for you: resolutions, goals, a bucket list or something else? What motivates you?

NOTE: This post is an adapted excerpt from Marcia's book, Simplify Your Holiday Season.

Marcia Ramsland is well known as the "Organizing Pro,” a national speaker, and author of over 100,000 books sold in her Simplify Your Life series. Marcia personally coaches individuals and organizations to be highly productive in managing their time, space, and life. Hundreds of clients and audiences from New York to California agree with her belief that anyone can become more organized - even YOU! Contact her at

New Year Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of noppasinw at