Perfectionism in Organizing - interview on Smead's podcast

14 February 2019

You know I love talking about perfectionism on the podcast I co-host with Shannon Wilkinson, Getting to Good Enough. So I was thrilled to be asked to be a guest on Keeping You Organized a weekly podcast presented by Smead, the big filing products manufacturer.

The topic of the episode is “Overcoming Perfectionism in Organizing” and I enjoyed talking with host John Hunt. They gave me permission to share it on this blog, or you can view it here on Smead’s website where you can also see a list of the talking points (and timestamps).

Audio-only version:

Video version:

I hope you enjoy it!

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Developing a yoga practice

12 February 2019


I started my daily yoga practice on December 12, 2018. As I posted five days later in a post entitled Starting yoga where I am, I was able to get past all my barriers to getting started thanks to my wonderful niece, Miranda. I started the 30 Days of Yoga practice on the amazing Yoga with Adriene site and it has been wonderful.

Today marks two months of daily yoga. It’s gone from an obligation to something I look forward to every day, even on days when I feel tired. Adriene Mischler, the instructor, is a kind, loving and funny person. She always expresses her love for her viewers at the end of a session, and I found myself whispering “I love you” back to her the other day. Adriene makes me feel good about myself.

I started out wanting to do yoga in the morning, but it’s evolved into an end-of-the-workday practice. On a couple of occasions, I’ve not been able to do it until late evening and in those cases, I’ve broken from the 30-day programs and done one of Adriene’s bedtime yoga videos. Such a nice way to end the day.

Last week, I tweaked my lower back somehow, which limited my ability to bend in certain ways. In previous attempts to create exercise routines, a hurt back would have meant letting myself off the hook for the exercise. But I didn’t want to do miss yoga. So I did Adriene’s Yoga for Lower Back Pain video for several days in a row, which I think helped my pain and alleviated my fear that I’d hurt myself. And it meant I didn’t miss yoga. Hooray!

Folks, this feels like a miracle.

Today I finish Dedicate my second 30-day sequence and will move onto another. (Miranda suggested I try Yoga Camp.) These 30-day programs are right in my wheelhouse. I love not having to choose what to work on. And I love the variety.

I’ve noticed a few benefits to my daily yoga, beyond the calm enjoyment. I can sit more comfortably cross legged (something that’s always been fairly excruciating for me). The other day I squatted to sort some papers for about 15 minutes with no problem. My core feels stronger. And I feel proud of myself. It’s the greatest.

If you’ve been thinking about doing yoga but don’t know how to get started, please check out Yoga with Adriene. If you pick a 30-day sequence you won’t have any more decisions to make. I was an absolute beginner and 30 Days of Yoga was not too advanced for me. And Adriene always suggests ways to make poses more challenging, so it’s not a beginners-only practice. If I’ve piqued your curiosity at all, please give it a try. I think you’ll thank me.

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In my clients' shoes

8 February 2019


I had one of those great experiences yesterday that reminds me how my clients often feel when we work together. I had met a woman who was interested in pursing a career as a professional organizer but had no experience beyond working in her own home and helping her family members get organized.

Since she was someone I might hire and train, we decided to do an organizing session at my house to see how she liked it and what her organizing style was like. (Turns out she’s a natural!)

I selected a small closet to empty and declutter with her. It’s sort of a catch-all closet in an extra room and it hadn’t been cleaned out in ages. We emptied it, she sorted items, I went through them and I let go of a whole lot of stuff.

I discovered items that I don’t remember having owned, some of which were no-brainers to toss while others were exciting surprises. Perhaps most exciting (if a little overwhelming) was quite a large collection of photos from my life, primarily. I didn’t take the time during the session to look carefully, but I did spy some photos of my husband and me looking impossibly young. There were also some wonderful old family photos in an enveloped marked, in my handwriting, “Vintage Photos.” There were some lovely 100-year-old photos in there, most of which were familiar to me. But the condition of these photos is better than what I already had.

My plan is to organize this photo collection and scan the ones I care about. Serendipitously, just the day before the organizing session, I’d been offered the use of an Epson FastFoto photo scanner for two months. I’ll use this high-speed scanner to scan the photos that are appropriate for it. So watch for a blog post about that experience.

Another interesting (to me) category in that closet was hand-knit items. I had a sweater organizer hanging from the rod, and I used to store a bunch of shawls, scarves, bags, sweaters and vests that I knit by hand over the years. Some, alas, had been moth eaten. It was easy to toss those. Others were in good shape but I’d never again. I donated those. It took a few passes, but I reduced the hand knits collection to two shawls and one bag (picture above). The bag was the first thing I ever knit (as an adult, anyway). I’ll never use it—it’s a wildly impractical long-handled, bright-purple, garter-stitch bag made of cotton—but I don’t want to let it go. And that’s okay.

I was thrilled that my husband defied my expectations and let go of some things I expected him to hang onto—stuff that he’d had for decades. When we were all finished, everything fit quite nicely back in the closet, though a few things were moved to more logical spaces. We now know exactly what’s in that closet and we can find it easily.

The peace of mind this has given me is amazing. I open that closet daily because that’s where we store Bix’s supply of cow ears. The clutter in there was mocking me. I didn’t know what was lurking in there and I had trouble finding anything when I did need to try to find something.

It’s so nice to feel the thrill once again of letting go items that aren’t serving me. And to sensibly store the items that are. I love it when I get to stand squarely in my clients’ shoes!

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Want to receive blog posts by email?

6 February 2019


For years, I used Feedburner to send my blog posts out to people who wanted to receive them via email. But recently I noticed that Feedburner hadn’t updated its feed in over a year, though my RSS feed was up to date. Go figure. It probably had something to do with my getting an SSL certificate and the rest is too boring to think about, let alone explain.

So I dropped Feedburner and had to think about how to serve those folks who want to receive blog posts via email. Here’s what I came up with:

My monthly newsletter will now have links to every blog post that was published the prior month.

Until now, I had listed four or five of my favorite blog posts in every issue of the newsletter. (And to be honest, some months there are no more than five.) But now I’ll go ahead and list all the blog posts.

So if you’re interested in receiving blog posts via email in one monthly email, just sign up for my newsletter. You can do that by clicking on the Newsletter link at the very top of this page. Or just click on the little envelope icon at the top of the blog. My newsletter comes out on the 15th of the month (like clockwork). In addition to the blog post links, you’ll get lots of other organizing info, in the form a feature story, a tip, a photo and maybe even a special offer.

If you’d rather receive the blog via RSS, you can Right-click or Control-click on the RSS icon at the top of this blog and select “Copy Link.” Then just paste the link into your favorite RSS reader. I use Feedly.

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Organizing my lettering pens

2 February 2019


Last year I started a new hobby: Hand lettering. It was borne of my efforts to send postcards to voters for the midterm elections. Somewhere along the road of hand writing over 1,000 postcards I decided to try to learn some techniques to make the process more interesting (and to make the cards more eye-catching).

So, of course, as I learned more and more about lettering I wanted to buy supplies. Shopping is one of the most fun parts of learning a new hobby! (Shannon and I discuss hobbies in Episode 35 of our podcast Getting to Good Enough where I specifically suggest that shopping should not be the first thing you do when starting a hobby.) In any case, as I acquired new categories of pens, I sought ways to keep them accessible and organized.

A few years ago, I took up coloring in coloring books for adults, which was a hugely beneficial, relaxing hobby for me during a stressful time in my life. Now that life is less stressful (thanks, for the most part, to improved health on the part of my family members), I’m ready for a more challenging hobby. When I took up coloring, I bought pens and pencils for that purpose. Three years ago (almost to the day), I blogged about organizing my coloring supplies. I use some of the pens I bought for coloring in my lettering, but for the most part I’m keeping the coloring and lettering supplies separate.

One difference in the way I use my lettering pens, versus coloring pens and pencils, is that with lettering I intermingle the types of pens used in a single project. So I don’t really want to just bring a category of pens from the storage to where I’m working, like I could with coloring.

The solution? A turntable. Using the Linus 9-inch divided turntable from the Container Store, I am able to store virtually all of my pens in one place, in categories, and easily transport them from storage area to work area. It’s working out well!

Here’s a photo:

Organizing lettering pens

The turntable has 3” high sides and three sections. I used containers within the sections to separate categories of pens. Each section holds one each of the two types the containers I was already using: the Oui by Yoplait glass yogurt pots and the GODIS drinking glasses from IKEA.

I organized my pens (all of which are felt tip) into these categories:

I placed the pens, by category, into either a yogurt pot or a glass and arranged them in an order that makes sense to me. Now, when I need a pen I just turn the turntable until I find what I need. It’s making me very happy!

(Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

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My new favorite container - it comes with yogurt!

28 January 2019

I’ve become enamored of Oui by Yoplait French-style yogurt, which is sold in little glass jars. The jar contains 5 ounces of tasty yogurt. (They’ve introduced a Petite, 3.5-ounce version, but I haven’t tried that yet.) The yogurt is great but I buy Oui for the jars. For just about a dollar and a half I get a really useful container (and a snack). The labels peel off easily without residue and the jar comes out of the dishwasher clean as a whistle.

What do I use them for?

  • They’re great pen holders. I’ve taken up hand lettering, and true to form I have purchased a bunch of pens to feed my habit. These little jars are great holding categories of pens and markers. (More on my pen organization soon, I promise.)
  • I use them to hold pairs of glasses on end on my desk, which keeps them handy. (I have many pairs of glasses for various uses.)
  • I put cotton balls in them in the bathroom and I also use one to hold my brush upright
  • I decorated one with Washi tape to use on the sink as a toothbrush holder for guests

I could also see using them in the kitchen as small drinking glasses. Or yogurt cups!

Here’s a photo of two Oui jars holding some markers on my desk. I used a little Washi tape to pretty them up.

Oui yogurt jars make great pen holders

I just discovered that Yoplait sells plastic lids made especially for these jars! They cost $1.00 each and are sold in packs of four, in clear or navy blue. The lids could add a whole new dimension to how you can use the jars. (Spices come to mind.)

And one more thing: The yogurt comes with a foil cover. When you peel it off, there’s a delightful message on the inside. For example, “You’ve got this.” And “Buy yourself flowers.” I love it.

I hope this product sticks around for awhile because I’m confident I can find many more uses for these fabulous little jars!

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A knitting project that makes me smile

24 January 2019

I’ve been knitting since 2005 (the year I started my organizing business) and in the early years of this blog, I would write occasionally about knitting projects I was working on or had completed.

It’s been quite a while since I blogged about knitting, but a recent finished project has making me smile so much I just had to share. As I’ve written here, I knit an afghan that took me about 12 years. It’s made from four colors of wool. I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for that project, in green, beige, burgundy and brown. I love the color combination and I still had some skeins of that yarn left over. I decided to use it to knit a felted cat bed for my friend Shannon’s beautiful (and large) young cat, Cleo.

I went with the Dotty Cat Bed pattern by Kelly Porpiglia, which I had downloaded from the Ravelry website. (I’ve since discovered that it’s not available, but the pattern is available here thanks to the Wayback Machine.)

I finished it and shipped it off to Shannon and was so delighted when Cleo took to it like a fish to water. Shannon is kind enough to text me photos because she knows they make me happy.

Incidentally, today’s episode of Getting to Good Enough, the podcast that Shannon and I co-host, is on topic of Hobbies. So if you’re interested in hearing me talk a little about knitting, I encourage you to download Episode 35.

Here are several pictures of beautiful Cleo in the bed I made for her, along with one of the bed before I mailed it, so you can see the interior. It looked huge when I finished it, but I’m glad it’s just the right size for Cleo!

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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Recommended *

  • Getting to Good Enough podcast

  • NAPO Golden Circle