Take the Sticky Note Challenge

fi2014julstickytimeThis is a fun exercise you can do toward the beginning of a clutter clearing or organizing project.

First, choose a room in your office or home. You’ll need three different colors of sticky notes. You will then use the sticky notes to categorize everything in your space as “love it”, “putting up with it”, or “neutral.

Color #1 – Love It
If you walk into the room see something and smile, put it in the “love it” category. Don’t stop at your decorative objects. My old computer was a “putting up with” because it was so slow. My new computer is in the “love it” category and I’ve notice that I enjoy my work time more now that I have it.

Color # 2 – Putting up with it
Sometimes it’s a surprise how many items land in this category. If you have a lot of sticky notes in this color, don’t be alarmed. Remember that the awareness that you are gaining is allowing you to move forward powerfully. No more “head in the sand” existence.

Color #3 – Neutral
There are many things in our world that have no particular impact on us. You may not have an opinion about the color of the walls for example. If more than half of your sticky notes are in the neutral category, you can add some items that you really love to the room. Your experience of living and working in a space where you enjoy the colors, decor and appliances is much different than living and working in a neutral zone.

Once you finish the exercise, get some paper and take notes. You’ll most likely come up with a list of changes to make based on the information you’ve gained from this exercise. You’ll also have a sense of gratitude for the things in your space that are really working.

Do You Have a Long-Term Relationship with Your Clutter?

fi2014julloveforeverTogether forever is such a sweet sentiment unless you’re talking about spending the rest of your life with your clutter.

How does it happen? How does our collection of things grow to be so unmanageable? Well for starters we live in an abundant society. Stuff is everywhere and we need to stay conscious to keep it from accumulating.

Here are some tips for clearing clutter and organizing at work and at home.

Clearing Clutter At Work

  • Have a clear throw away/recycle date for things like catalogs and magazines. You only need to keep most of these for 6 months to 1 year.
  • Make sure you have a system for organizing incoming and outgoing mail, bills and marketing projects. Creating a system avoids duplication and saves time.
  • Check your storage or office supplies areas every season. Avoid clutter build up by purging regularly.

Clearing Clutter At Home

  • Stop using your bedroom as a catch-all for the things-you-have-no-idea-what-to-do-with. I’m talking to myself here as well.
  • Develop a process for entering your home in a sane way. As opposed to the insane way (the dump and jump) dump of mail, purse, laptop, bag etc and then a jump into the next thing on the agenda like fixing dinner or paying your bills. The new sane process might include scheduling yourself to arrive home a half hour before you need to start something else. What would that be like?

If you have some long-term build up of clutter and have decided it is time to lighten your load, congratulations! Remember to be patient with yourself. Your clutter did not arrive overnight and will not disappear magically either. Most people will long-term relationships with clutter need to spend at least a year sorting and organizing to get back to a work-able amount of stuff.

Recipe: Quinoa, Lentil & Crab Salad

sxc2014julyforkdetailI had a friend over for lunch on the deck last week and when I asked her what she would like, she answered LOW FAT. After verifying she was not allergic to seafood I came up with the following:

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of Quinoa (or red Quinoa)
  • 1/4 cup of red lentils
  • 1 can of crab meat
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Olive oil for saute
  • 1/4 of a medium onion
  • 8 white mushrooms
  • hand full of green beans
  • Clove of garlic
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh thyme
  • Citrus salad dressing
  • Red leaf lettuce

When I have guests I like to organize things so that I’m not doing much once they get there. So after breakfast I cooked the Quinoa and lentils (20-30 minutes) then I let them cool in the pan.

A little while later I started to saute the onions, mushrooms, and green beans (cut them into 1/2 inch sections). After I chopped the onions and got them going, I rinsed the crab and added it to the cooked quinoa/lentils. Then I cut off a chunk of lemon and squeezed the juice on top.

I cleaned and chopped up the mushrooms and added them to the saute. You know to stir the saute occasionally right? Then I did the same for the green beans. I covered the saute for a few minutes to steam the green beans because I added them to the mix a little late.

At some point in the morning I had gone to the garden and collected some fresh herbs so I added those along with a crushed clove of garlic toward the end of the saute.

I had a salad dressing called Orange Miso in the refrigerator and I added that to the quinoa/lentil/crab mix that was still in the pan. Not too much. After the saute was a bit cooler, I added that to the pan and then added a little more salad dressing. I think any citrus salad dressing would work and probably a raspberry vinaigrette would be good as well.

This recipe would be for about 3-4 servings. I served the salad on top of a leaf of red leaf lettuce and then created a regular garden salad next to it on a small plate.