November tiny projects challenge: Day 2

23 November 2020

Today, I spent 20 minutes on my main office-supply closet. My office is in a spare bedroom. I took the sliding doors off the closet and filled the closet with shelving to store office supplies. Since those supplies are so visible, I don’t let the closet contents get too crazy before decluttering an organizing.
I snapped an overall before shot so that you can see what I had to work with.

It was very easy to take a declutter a few things and tidy everything up. And you know what? It actually has a pretty big impact.

Here is the after shot. It reminds me a little of those “spot the differences” cartoons in Highlights magazine when I was a kid.

Just getting the stuff off the floor (most of it went to another room where it’s more appropriate) was really helpful. I also I moved to the donate pile a few things that I should have donated in the first place (rather than stashing the in the closet.) Then I tidied up and moved a few things around to more sensible locations within the closet. It’s so easy for a closet to become a dumping area, but a few minutes of tidying helps me treat it with more respect.

I have to admit, it put me in a brighter mood!

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November tiny projects challenge: Day 1

18 November 2020

Today I focused on the little drawer in my laptop stand. My laptop sits on a stand on my desk to my right, while I use a larger external monitor as my main focus. I bought the leather-covered stand from Levenger years ago. I think its original intent was to place books on for easy reading. (It may predate laptops!) I purchased it for a place to keep my planner open and available at all times.

Here’s a photo of the laptop stand so you can visualize what I’m talking about.

The laptop stand has a drawer that comes out the side where I store office supplies I want close at hand, since my IKEA desk doesn’t have any drawers. I use this drawer every day, but I hadn’t actually decluttered and organized it in my years. (Evidence of that: I found cat hair and bits of cat claws. My cat died in 2013.) Because so much stuff was crammed into it, it would sometimes get stuck when I tried pulling it out. This was a fun and easy tiny project to contemplate.

Here’s as picture of the drawer before I started.

I took the items out one by one onto the desk and sorted them as I went. The categories included the things I use most, the things I never use, and things I have duplicates of. I also had categories like pens, rubber bands, paper clips, binder clips, sticky notes (I found some nice ones I didn’t remember!) and trash.

Here’s a photo of all the stuff sorted on the desk.

It was a no-brainer to get rid of the stuff I never use, like all three letter openers (!), the booklets of sticky notes and the keyboard cleaning tool I bought on impulse in the stocking stuffer section of The Container Store years ago. I put just four of the writing instruments back in the drawer, and placed the sticky notes in the order of frequency of use. I was in my happy place doing this.

Here’s the after photo.

It took me all of 20 minutes to accomplish this project and I’m tickled pink. Since I open this drawer daily, it will have a big impact. I’m thrilled that it will no longer get stuck and that I won’t have to push stuff around to find what I’m looking for. Definitely 20 minutes well spent!

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Tiny Projects Challenge, take three

16 November 2020

Back in May and then again in August, I took on a personal tiny projects challenge, in which I completed five small organizing projects around my house in a week. I did one a day and blogged about it the day I did it. I tried to pick challenges that would take 30 minutes or less and it was amazing what great quality-of-life improvements I was able to make in those small chunks of time.

With the surge in COVID-19 cases, I’m hunkering back in. I will be spending a whole lot of time at home, so I figure now is a good time to take on another challenge. Every other day for the next couple of weeks, my plan is to do a tiny project and blog about it that same day. Of course, I’ll include before and after photos.

I have plenty of things I could work on. They include (but are not limited to):

  • My jewelry box
  • My file cart of business files
  • The medicine cabinet in our master bathroom
  • My organizing supplies
  • My lettering pens
  • My masks and COVID sanitation supplies
  • Creating a hospital go bag
  • My knitting tools
  • A frequently used but rarely organized office-supplies drawer in my laptop stand
  • My office-supply closet

Would you like to join me? Perhaps if you take a look around, some tiny projects will emerge. We can make a big difference in our homes by isolating just one little area and improving it in less an 30 minutes of effort. Watch out for my first tiny project tomorrow!

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My blog turns 14 today!

10 November 2020

I can’t believe it. Today, I celebrate 14 years of blogging. I started my Peace of Mind Organizing blog on November 10, 2006. My first post was, What is organized?

In the 14 years since, I’ve published 1455 posts (including my Worth Repeating posts, where I revisit favorite posts). I try to blog twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays), though that doesn’t happen every week.

Writing a blog is a lot of work—particularly if you dedicate yourself to posting regularly. But for me it’s been well worth the effort. This blog has helped me and my business in so many ways. Here are a few:

  • It helps my search rankings, which puts me in front of prospective clients
  • It lets clients and prospective clients get to know me and understand that I’m not perfect
  • It also lets clients and prospective clients know that despite my imperfection, I have expertise
  • It’s allowed me to connect with people and companies throughout the world
  • It’s given me a lens through which to look at the world
  • It’s helped record my personal history so I don’t have to rely on my memory (in a way it’s a very public journal)

One thing I like about blogging, over relying on social media channels to reach prospective clients, is that a blog is less ephemeral. Past social media posts are harder to find. Now I have a 14-year library all in one place that anyone can search or browse. I also prefer the spaciousness of blogging that social media doesn’t permit. I can use as many words as I want.

I like blogging so much that in 2012 I started a second blog, Organize Your Family History, which marries my passion for organizing with my passion for genealogy research. I try to post there twice a week as well (Tuesdays and Fridays). That blog has also been really beneficial to me.

Blogging regularly takes discipline. But it’s also something that can easily become a habit. I don’t pre-write (or even pre-plan) my posts. I just decide what to write each morning. I include blogging as a daily task on my Trello task management board, just in case I need a reminder. And I also keep a Trello board of blog post ideas.

I’m always open to blog post ideas from readers. If you have an idea for a post, please email it to me!

Photo by Jane Graystone on Unsplash

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It's that time: VOTE!

2 November 2020

Election Day here in the U.S. is tomorrow, November 3. The world is watching. This is my eleventh presidential election as a voter. And I think it’s the most important.

If you haven’t voted already, please vote tomorrow. Or vote early today, if that is available to you. If you have a mail-in ballot, don’t risk sending it in through the postal service at this late date. Drop it off, if possible. Or take it to the polls, have it spoiled, and vote in person.

If you’ve just now decided that you want to vote, it’s not too late, assuming you’re a registered voter. (If you live in Washington, D.C. or one of the 21 states that allow same-day registration, you can register to vote on election day.) Go to to check your registration status and find or confirm your polling place.

If you’re voting in person tomorrow, please allow plenty of time. You may need to stand in line for awhile. But it’s worth waiting to make your voice heard. Bring along some water, maybe some snacks and a great attitude. And of course bring your mask.

It’s been gratifying to read of the voter engagement in 2020. But it’s important to remember that all the early votes may result in late results. So we will all need to be patient while waiting for the presidential election results to be determined. It’s going to be an interesting week!

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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An extra hour on Sunday!

29 October 2020

In the U.S., we gain an hour on Sunday as Daylight Savings Time (finally) ends. I always love this day because we’re given the gift of an extra hour. Back in the day, before clocks automatically set themselves, I made a point of turning the clock back after I woke on Sunday (rather than before bed), so I could actually experience gaining an hour. Nowadays, I settle for planning ahead about how I’ll use the hour.

For me, this year, my plan is to use the extra hour doing genealogy research. I will have just finished with a 30 × 30 challenge on my genealogy blog, Organize Your Family History, and mindfully using that extra hour for genealogy research will help keep the momentum I gained in October going.

How about you? Do you have plans for your extra hour? It might be fun to give it some thought. Whatever you decide to do, I encourage you to consider doing something for yourself, if possible. Maybe some sort of self care. Or a phone (or Zoom) conversation with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. I hope you enjoy your extra hour!

Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

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The Power of Enough Zoom presentation

27 October 2020

Since June 2018, life coach Shannon Wilkinson and I have hosted the weekly podcast, Getting to Good Enough, about letting go of perfectionism so you can do more of what you love. We just recorded Episode 128!

We were tickled to be invited by the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) to do a virtual presentation for their chapter (and anyone else who wants to buy a ticket) called the Power of Enough…Effort. Professional organizers are accustomed to talking with clients about identifying when they have enough physical stuff. In this presentation, Shannon and I will be talking about when to know you’ve put enough effort into something.

We embraced our motto “Let it be easy” when we set a couple of parameters before saying yes to the invitation. We requested a very informal presentation: No Powerpoint, no pre-set talking points. Instead, this will be an unrehearsed Zoom conversation where Shannon and I will discuss the power of enough effort and then answer questions from the audience.

The presentation will be on Wednesday, November 11, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm Pacific time. (This is the time frame for the chapter meeting; our presentation will take about 60 minutes of it, but I’m not sure which 60 minutes.) It occurs to me that some of you who read this blog (or listen to the podcast) might enjoy attending. The fee for those who aren’t NAPO-SFBA members is $30. For more information and to register, visit the event page on the NAPO-SFBA website.

We’re excited to model the power of enough in our presentation (as we do in our podcast)!

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About Janine

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