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LifeBalance Blog

August Clutter Clearing—Be Ready this Fall

Time management abilities, good calendar systems, and just plain old organizing are what fall success can be for many of us. As my Minnesota summer draws to an end, my thoughts turn to preparations for fall. When I get a little bit of a jump on things, I am calmer and happier as these events approach. How about you?

Sometimes I think New Year’s resolutions could just as easily be done as fall resolutions. The lazy summer days are drawing to an end and fall schedules are approaching. Actually, change really can happen at any time. Frankly, I take comfort in that. Remembering that truth offers hope and makes me feel a little bit lighter.

I would encourage you to look ahead to fall and think about adding something new—maybe a better calendar system, a plan to work out, a new hobby…Someone once said to me “When you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got.” Are you unhappy with something? There is lots of truth in that quote. Are you happy with what you are getting? Though habits and routines are helpful, sometimes it is more helpful to create new habits and routines. Ponder that for a moment.

We all want a magic bullet—to lose weight, gain fortune, improve relationships, or something else. I think we can spend some time to think about and create our own magic bullet. I believe it was Ashton Kutcher who recently told a group of young people that “Success looks a lot like hard work.” There is no substitute for planned well-organized task completion to “magically” transform us from where we are to where we want to be.

To get your change thought processes jump-started, here are the “standard” goal areas to consider making some improvements or resolutions:

  • Relationships

  • Career

  • Finances

  • Personal development

  • Community service

  • Spiritual/religious

  • Social activities and relaxation

  • Exercise habits and healthy eating choices

Write down what you want to achieve and how you will do it. Refer back to your notes frequently to help keep yourself on track. Make to-do lists for yourself daily and work through things one at a time. Positive changes are doable. Don’t kick yourself for bad days. Everyone has them.

When you feel stressed about a life area that you have made some resolutions about, go back and check your notes. Maybe there is an activity to add under that goal area that has been tossing around in your head? Or, maybe looking at your list and activities will calm you down and remind you that you are currently doing the best you can do at this point in time, and it is time to let go of unnecessary guilt, worry thoughts, and anxieties.

Still need some fall help? Look at what the professionals have to say. Check out these time management gold standards: How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein (Signet, 1989), a classic time management book that many subsequent books are based on, and The Overwhelmed Person's Guide to Time Management by Ronni Eisenberg with Kate Kelly (Plume, 1997) for goal setting and helpful techniques to manage time more efficiently.

Still, why do some of us have success with goal setting and others less so? People who are consistently better at achieving their goals than the rest of us do this: They recognize life's interruptions, and make contingency plans for their goals right away. For example, plan that if they miss exercising once during the week, then they will get up early on Saturday to do it. Contingency plan development at the beginning is what separates the goal achiever from the amateur goal setter.

Pick yourself up—every time. Pull yourself forward—every day. Don’t beat yourself for past mistakes or backslides. Start over again. Live in the moment and keep looking and thinking a little bit down the road too.

As you look down the road toward fall, take care of the practical things too. Pick up the outdoor areas, put away the summer toys and clothing, and swap out the sandals for shoes, and clean and organize the entry area of your home. You know the things that you need to do.

Seasonal changes are a time of transition. Weed out and simplify where you can. If you didn’t wear that summer top this summer, you won’t put it on next year. Use fall as an opportunity to weed out the car and garage and basement—especially larger items that it would be nice to remove before storing them for another winter. Taking care of the physical stuff of summer and prepping for fall will help get your mind and goal setting ready for fall.


Barbara Tako is a clutter clearing motivational speaker and author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life, a seasonally organized book of clutter clearing tips readers may pick and choose from to fit their personal style. She is also a breast cancer and melanoma survivor who wrote Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools—We’ll get you through this. Her website is

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