Free Your Space: Do it now

I have the
opportunity to speak, on occasion, to various audiences in the Greater
Philadelphia area and other cities and states. One question I often pose during my
presentations is, “What are you avoiding?” I clarify by adding that it could be, but does not
necessarily have to be, something big.
For instance, your sewing pile, writing a thank you note, bringing
clothes to the cleaners or donation center, cleaning out the car, emptying a
suitcase, calling your insurance company about a claim, registering for a
class. Is there something sitting in plain
sight or on your ‘To Do’ list that might be bigger, take longer, in your mind’s
eye than it actually is?

Today I
challenged myself to take a look at some of my own and here’s what I found:
empty grocery sacks, jars of food on the counter, party décor, travel items,
two Thank You notes to write. I
have so many important things that need to be done but first I decided that, before sitting down
amongst all this eye- and mind-clutter, I would clear my space.

First it’s
the grocery sacks. I went to the
store early this morning and, after emptying the canvas bags, left them near my
front door. It only takes a second
and they are back out in the car where they belong (with the other one that was
sitting there).

Next, the
jar of olives on the counter. I
was excited to find this bargain.
Last week. But I’m not
using them in a recipe this week and, although I love olives, I don’t need to
look at them every day. So, off to
the cupboard they go (along with the 2 jars of homemade jam from my nephew’s
wedding that we attended 4 days ago).

Then, the
three blue paper party lanterns hanging in the kitchen since our last
celebration. They look terrific
and everyone loved them, but they were bought to help create a party atmosphere
and will serve their purpose best when used for special occasions. Besides, I bought them because they are
not only festive but also easy to collapse and store!

Now for the
bedroom. The dresses (taken out
for the wedding trip) hanging in front of my closet, just short of their final
destination and the clothes I ironed last night waiting on my ottoman to be
hung, all get moved into the closet.
The shoes, travel toiletry bag and jewelry, all immediately removed from
the suitcase three days ago but not actually returned their homes, get put

Finally, I take out a couple of nice
blank cards and write out thank you notes – one to the parents of the bride and
one to my in-laws for their contribution to a charity I sponsored in the end of

Mmmm. This feels good. Things have shaped up nicely. Rooms seem much clearer. Why did I put this stuff off in the
first place? Sometimes bothering
to bring things almost to their homes and then stopping short, settling for
close enough or for putting things on one list only to move them to the
next. Some days I look and think I
will never have enough time to attend to it all.

wait. It’s only been an hour. Just an hour? Well, actually less.
More like 45 minutes. All
these mountainous tasks and bits of clutter that had piled up have taken less
than an hour to tackle.

I remind
myself of what I already know: all the time I have can be all the time I need
if I practice one very simple organizing principle: Do It Now. My resolution:
if I can do it now, I will do it. Putting
things away as soon as I am done with them has more value than is at first
recognizable. It saves me time in
the long run, stress, room (in my home and on my to-do list!) and offers me the
space and freedom to create and the warm and welcoming atmosphere I want myself
and my family to come home to. Why
not join me and take a look around – what can you do now?

To contact Annette Reyman for organizing
work or speaking engagements in the Greater Philadelphia area call (908)
361-7105 or email her at

Annette Reyman is a member of the National
Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO®) as well as the Director of
Communications and Technology for the NAPO – Greater Philadelphia Chapter (NAPO-GPC). Her company’s website can be viewed at



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