Organizing Gym

Stretch your mind and your ability to organize your space, your belongings, your time, and your thoughts. Allison Carter, The Professional Organizer, posts her thoughts, breakthroughs, frustrations, and memorable moments as an organizer. Allison also shares tricks that have worked for even some of the most disorganized people to conquer their clutter. Other features: Tips, mind stretches, favorite products, favorite books, and other tools to help people get organized.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

We're moving - join us a few blogs over

The Gym is closing and re-opening in our new home:
It's for all the creative, artsy, doodlers out there changing the way we think about organizing and the so-called-rules.
Keep an eye on us!

-- Allison Carter
Right Brain Organizing Blog

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Social Networking- Make it Productive

Good article on lifehack -
Are you social networking?
If so, why?
If you can answer that, then you can move on to making your time more productive.
I always wonder how so many business people find the time to do the social scene when it seems to be a lot of time clutter to me (most of the time).
So the first step to eliminating that clutter is to figure out why you're doing it at all.
Read the article here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Root Shock

We could use this word when we organizing and purging so much that the surroundings do not seem familiar. I wonder if this happens to the people on TV shows about organizing or redecorating that they have a sense of longing for the old clutter.

Quotation: Residents say they do miss having a neighborhood with familiar faces to greet, familiar foods to eat, and no fear of being forced out of their homes. It was Dr. Mindy Fullilove, a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University, who called the feeling “root shock” because, she said, its effects are similar to what happens to uprooted plants. She describes it as “the pain of losing one’s beloved neighborhood.”

Date of Publication:
June 13, 2008

Interruption Science


Filed Under: ,
Part of Speech: n.
Quotation: The average knowledge worker switches tasks every three minutes, and, once distracted, a worker takes nearly a half-hour to resume the original task, according to Gloria Mark, a leader in the new field of “interruption science.”
Article or Document Title:
“Fighting a War Against Distraction” (URL)
Marci Alboher
Article, Document, Publication, Web Site:
New York Times
Date of Publication:
June 22, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Get your new wallpaper - keep track of dates

I love calendars and I need them all around me because I have a lot of trouble remembering dates. I tend to remember the day of the week and then sometimes I'm even off a bit.
So when Kristen Leigh invited me to get her creatively designed computer wallpaper calendars each month, AND I saw how cool they were, I began to download them monthly.
Now I look forward to my spiffy new computer look each month, and I get a calendar to boot!
It's just another way to keep being organized fun and oh so kewl.

Get your fun look for July!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Decluttering "Friends"

In college I developed a very close friendship with a girl in the dorm and we even joined the same sorority.
We soon became best friends.
Slowly she began to trust me and divulge information and problems and she became needier and needier of my time.
She had some serious mental issues and only as an adult did I realize she should have been in therapy. (child of alcoholic, abused by brother, cutter, bulemic, manic-depressive - yes it was diagnosed).

Another girl in the sorority (her little sister) and I used to talk about how she completely drained us but we felt obligated to help her. Who doesn't want to help someone in need who asks for help? I actually thought it was kind of cool to have a friend so screwed up. Maybe it made me feel better about myself.
But happened over and over and over again - she would come to us for advice and to talk about her problems - and was sapping us. And it wasn't any fun.

Eventually, an attempted suicide drove us away completely. It was the kind where you knew it was a cry for help because she called us after downing a bottle of pills.
When I graduated and moved away, I soon realized that being away from her gave me energy. When she tried to keep up the friendship, I kept her at an arms distance, didn't return phone calls, etc.

It taught me alot that would come in handy in my future adult life about the type of people I want to be around and the type to avoid.

Now as a professional organizer, I call this decluttering people in my life. These are the people who drain you. These are the people who don't support your ideas and dreams. These people cut you down to make themselves feel better.
I have decluttered boyfriends and others by using simple clear language such as: I don't think this is working for me.
I didn't even try to say "let's be friends".
I have even de-cluttered my draining relatives.
Email has helped a lot because I can converse when it is convenient for me, keep conversations short, and I don't get so emotional. If I receive an email that sets me off and hits hot buttons, I can write a response to "vent", and then delete it and instead send something less harsh.

Homecoming for my computer

Yay, my mac mini is back all happy and fresh. There's nothing like a clean hard drive.
So I must say how impressed I am that I backed up 95% of my stuff properly and had virtually ZERO work to do to get it up and running again.
Thanks to mac, I plugged a fire wire into my macbook and transferred all the info over.
An hour or so later, I was up and running!
Lessons learned:
1. Back up regularly cuz you never know when the big one is gonna hit.
2. You don't have to rescue everything. A deleted hard drive gives you a chance to clean house.
3. If you don't know how to back stuff up, figure it out. It's not a matter of if you'll have a crash, it's a matter of when.
This month's newsletter from The Professional Organizer is about emergencies and planning not to make a bad situation worse. You can actually organize for emergencies.
Check out the July Newsletter (after July 1) at

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm in Computer Crash mourning.

Hi my name is Allison and I'm a docuholic.
I collect documents of information on my computer and usually organize them in nice neat files.
I sometimes even look at them again.
But now I am seeking therapy.
My computer hard drive bit the dust yesterday.
The IT guys said, nah, you don't have to back up your stuff before installing that operating system.
They were wrong. The OS wasn't the problem. It was the hardware. boo hoo.
Luckily, I'm smarter than a 5th grader and I backed up all my documents, photos and music.
But I am new to mac mail and never knew how to back up all of the emails and contacts I have diligently collected and corrected over the years.
And now I am at a loss.
I backed it all up 2 months ago but still feel lost.
2 months is a long time.
I'm in mourning for my lost info.

Lessons learned:
1. back up daily. You never know when the crash will come, but it's inevitable.
2. Keep documents stored in cyberspace at a document storing site. External hard drives work, until there is a fire or a flood or it crashes. I use .mac (soon to be .me??? I don't get the name change).
3. Keep less. It's easier to manage when there is less to manage.
4. Keep a list of all your passwords and logins so it's not a big huge deal to get up and running again.
5. Know where you have put your application discs so you can reinstall.

Any tricks you have found work for you???

Friday, June 20, 2008

Save time and burn more calories

Only have 20 minutes to trim down?
Yahoo Health says do interval training.
Those who jog and sprint for 20 minutes burn more calories than those who jog for 40 minutes.
It sounds like a no brainer.
Read the full article here.

Your Monkey Brain is Making You Cluttered

The Economist has an article this week about research done on our brains and why we want to hang onto stuff we already have, even more than getting new stuff.
It appears we're just wired that way.
Read the article here.