Decluttering Your Office + Your Mind

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yesterday I spent the day with Faith, a woman (and a great friend) who specializes in image consulting for politicians and businesswomen.  Faith is great at streamlining and getting things done and I knew I needed her help.  Yesterday we tackled my closet and wardrobe.  Her goal is to create 100 outfits out of clothes you already own and then pare down the rest, only adding pieces where needed.

My situation was a little different.  We took a hatchet to my wardrobe, donated almost all of it to a woman's shelter, went shopping for some key things and now almost all of my clothing is on less than fifty hangers in my closet.  This may seem unfathomable for some, and trust me, we laughed about it all day, but having a streamlined wardrobe feels fantastic.  If you're in Arizona, you can hire Faith to do a similar overhaul for you.  It is money well spent and you won't regret it.

I was so inspired by my new closet that I took the same approach to the bane of almost every wedding planner: magazines.  Yes, flipping through wedding and fashion magazines is all in a day's work for any bridal consultant, but the stacks can quickly add up, increasing both office and mental clutter.  If you're anything like me, you have about a dozen of the cute magazine holders from Ikea gracing your shelves and they're busting at the seams with copies of both domestic and international wedding magazines.  Do we really need all of these on hand on the off-chance that the one we haven't flipped through cover-to-cover contains the winning cake design for the bohemian-chic client we may potentially have in the Fall of 2010?  Hint: the answer is no.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you sort through your own magazine collection:

  • If it's more than 2-3 seasons old, toss it.  Wedding magazines tend to focus on trends and not the classics, and chances are that the once-fresh ideas in the magazine will be outdated or overdone or both.  If there was an article or photo that particularly inspired you, tear it out and scan it so that you have access to it on your computer.  
  • If you have a studio space or wedding library that brides can peruse, keep the last 2-3 seasons and organize the rest in binders.  Purchase some pretty three-ring binders from See Jane Work (you can also find some cute ones at Target on occasion - but stock up when you do - they don't last long there) and some clear plastic sleeves.  Insert the magazine clippings of the photos you love into the sleeves and voila! You now have all the best inspiration on hand for your clients and the rest of the magazine can be recycled.  I recommend organizing these binders by subject: cakes, bouquets, centerpieces, tablescapes, etc.
  • If you are too sentimentally attached to your magazines or are having trouble being objective, bring in a friend to help you.  Again if you're in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, Faith can help with this too.  
Every time your eye sees something it has to mentally process it.  Clutter - even organized clutter - takes up mental space that could be better spent focused on something else.  Letting go of what you don't need (and trust me, you really don't need much) will help you channel your energy onto important projects.

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