Archive for May, 2008

More often than not, when I tell someone I am an organizer, they will ask me, “Alaia, what does YOUR closet look like? You must be super organized.” And I tell them the truth. It’s not what you’d expect.

My place doesn’t look like the cover of Real Simple Magazine. I don’t want it to. It’s a personal preference. My clothes are very loosely organized. One small closet (smaller than a hall closet) holds dresses and long coats. The other closet I have doesn’t go from floor to ceiling, so I hang all shorter items there. I have jackets on one end, and all other clothes taking up the rest of the rod. They aren’t sorted by type or color – because that’s not what matters to me. What matters to me is that my clothes are in the closet, hung and wrinkle free, ready to wear. I do make sure to sort what’s in my drawers, because I tend to wear what’s in my drawers more often than what’s hanging in the closet.

I have a pretty active schedule. So I have to figure out what my priorities are. I feel my time is better spent making sure papers are in order for my projects and businesses than making sure my clothes are sorted by size and shade. If all my clothes are on hangers, and the doors are closed, I personally don’t have much more to be concerned about. I also don’t want to let myself down when I don’t have the energy to maintain that system. I make it a point to not set up a system that I know I won’t want to maintain. I encourage my clients to do the same. I know I would personally feel a little defeated if I invested time in something I couldn’t maintain.

So, when doing your own organizing – in your closet or elsewhere – try not to feel pressured to make things more complicated and keep your focus on what’s important to you.

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My last post gave you some information on how to use your values or commitments to figure out what your priorities and next actions are. But maybe you have to take a step back and figure out what your commitments are.

I’m involved in various projects and organizations and sometimes it’s good for me to map everything out so I can see exactly what’s going on. If you are like me, you have a lot to think about, and if you tried to list everything out in your head…well, you might skip a few things.

I’ve been aware of the process of mind mapping for a while, but recently a colleague of mine mentioned some software she came upon called FreeMind. It’s a fantastic free mind mapping software. What is mind mapping? Well, I am no expert on the subject, but for me, mind mapping is a way to get everything out of my head on a certain subject so that I can track what’s going on. I called my first mind map “commitments,” and listed everything I could think of that I was committed to – my business, my networking group, a class I am currently taking. Each one of those commitments had subcategories. For my business, some subcategories were advertising, this blog, client relations, administrative work. Using the FreeMind software helped me to work out the details of each commitment I have. It also made me realize – boy, I need to cut back on my commitments!

Try a little mind mapping of your own. Mind maps can be used for all kinds of things – planning meetings, book reports, speech outlines, plotting story ideas, and general note taking. You can do it on paper in list form or in brainstorm form, whatever works for your brain. Or you can click on the link to the list of available mind mapping software I have included below. You can also visit this Mindmaps Directory for a list of 100s of examples of mind maps. Also, the Innovation Network has a great eight step plan to help you understand and get started with mind maps.

For more information on mind mapping:

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Feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? Well, you aren’t alone. Even I feel that way some times!

When you have a lot of commitments and lots of things to get done, sometimes it can be hard to narrow down exactly what needs to be done.

If you are a values driven person like me, you’ll probably find that the following will help you a lot. Whether you consider yourself values driven or not, you can substitute “values” for “commitments” if that will be of greater use to you.


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Clutter (verb): to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness <a room cluttered with toys>

Clutter (noun): 1 a: a crowded or confused mass or collection b: things that clutter a place


Clutter may refer to any of the following:

Excessive physical disorder:

  • A confusing or disorderly state or collection; or the creation thereof. Excessive, unnecessary or uncontrolled clutter can be a symptom of compulsive hoarding.


Clutter can be a real pain. I actually say that figuratively, but for some people, the clutter in their lives can become so out of control and overwhelming that they do end up in pain – emotional pain (stress, depression) and physical pain (slips/trips/falls, cuts and scrapes, etc).

Getting rid of clutter can make you feel so much better about your life. Trust me – I know! I could talk for days about the benefits of getting rid of clutter, but why not try the following for me, ok?


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