April 19, 2024

Stuck No More–Clutter Be Gone! by Katy Tafoya

I’ve recently returned from a twelve day family trip to Costa Rica.  We had a wonderful time, but post-vacation re-entry has been, let’s say, a work in progress.  With that in mind, I’m happy to put my feet up and share a blog post from Katy Tafoya, a Los Angeles based teacher/ coach, and founder of the awesome site Success for Solopreneurs. 
I’ve been a fan of Katy’s Facebook page for some time, and I’m super excited to hear her speak at the July meeting of  the National Association of Professional Organizers–Los Angeles Chapter (NAPO-LA.)  Though Katy isn’t a professional organizer, this post could have been lifted from many an organizer’s blog…her advice is spot-on!
Enjoy, readers…and thanks, Katy!

Stuck No More – Clutter Be Gone! – by Katy Tafoya

“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.”

~ Wendell Berry
Did you know that clutter is a form of stagnant energy?  It’s a blockage.  A stuckness.  An excuse.

In fact, according to Clutter Clearing and Feng Shui expert, Karen Kingston, “the word “clutter” derives from the Middle English word “clotter,” which means to coagulate.”  As in to clot and to clog….like your arteries.

Not cool.

Imagine what that means to your life and your business.  Think of how many ways you could be blocking your energy and getting in your own way.

As I write this, I look to my left and see a heaping pile of clutter on my desk.  I hate it.  Every time I turn and see it, I’m reminded of how much I hate it.  Every time I look for something important and have to shuffle through the mess, I feel my energy draining and my frustration growing.

Ugh, just thinking about it wears me down.

The good news (at least to me), is that each and every time I put aside a few minutes to clean up the clutter (I use a timer and some good music to make it easier to deal with) I find that amazing things happen.

You see, once you clean up the space, ditch the junk and make space, you’ve cleared up the energy for something new to come in. 

And like we all learned back in High School…nature abhors a vacuum and will rush in to fill that now empty space with something good…new clients, new opportunities and even new money. And who would turn their back on any of that?!?!

So I challenge you to set aside 15 minutes today (or tomorrow, or this week…just do it!) and clear your clutter.  You don’t have to tackle every room or even every piece of furniture in one room. 

But start somewhere and toss, toss, straighten, file and toss some more.

Then sit back and wait for the amazing opportunities, unexpected benefits, surprise money and even new clients that come into your life.

It almost makes it worth living through the clutter for a while.  Almost.

ACTION PLAN: So what’s the first step you’ll be taking in clearing out your clutter?

I invite you to share a little about who you are, what you do and your successes as solopreneur by joining the conversation at the Success for Solopreneurscommunity.

Katy Tafoya is teacher and a coach who finds joy in helping women claim their passion and expertise. She guides solopreneurs to make their lives and their businesses juicier, more fulfilling and more successful. She also leads the Val Gal quarterly networking dinners which are always open to the public and in the greater San Fernando Valley. If you’re ready to identify, claim and leverage your expertise and live your passion you can sign up for a a F.R.E.E. subscription to her weekly ezine at SuccessForSolpreneurs.com.

NAPO 2011 Conference

Last week, for the first time, I attended the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO)’s annual conference in sunny San Diego.  What an inspiring, invigorating four days!

Most of my colleagues in the organizing world are solopreneurs.  Sometimes we collaborate on projects, but most of the time we’re flying solo.  So, to be in a space where 400+ professionals “get” you, and speak the lingo? Priceless.  (And to spend three nights on my own in a hotel room, unburdened by domestic duties? Fab-u-lous.)

I came home with several Big Ideas for my business.  I also came home with a stack of business cards, product info, books, and brochures.

What did I come home to? Let’s just say that it took me three days to unpack.  But all the catch up has been worth it, without a doubt. 

Is there a conference or convention on your horizon?  Here are a couple of tips:

  • First of all, make every effort to go.  Never stop investing in yourself.
  • Don’t stay glued to your cronies.  Mix it up, introduce yourself to strangers.  You know, network.
  • As you collect business cards, make who-what-where notes on the cards to jar your memory.  You won’t remember everyone.  Trust me.
  • Make an attempt to socialize in the evening.  That’s the fun part, the bonding part! Make sure to get enough sleep, though.  And no hangovers.
  • Each night, before you go to sleep, write down the one or two significant “take-aways” that you learned that day.   
  • If possible, schedule the day after you return as an admin day.  (Or it may take you three days to unpack, too.)
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up.  Reach out to your new contacts within a week of your return.  Email is the norm, but Facebook and Twitter can be a great way to build relationships.

     Any other tips to add?  Let’s hear them!

Work from Home? What Pains You?

 Do you work from home? Are you a solopreneur or small business owner? Are you thinking of becoming one?  Or are you working on a project that has a lot of meaning for you, but you’re not making much progress? If so, I’m reaching out to you.  I want to know what pains you—your frustrations, fears, challenges, all of the stuff that makes you want to pull your hair out, or even think, on a down day, that you’re not cut out for getting ahead.

I’m specifically thinking of issues over which you have some control, like managing time a little better, identifying what’s stalling your business, or doing something about your disorganized work space.  But let’s not talk about solutions yet.  If you could wave the proverbial magic wand, what problem or issue would you want to disappear?   

I’ll start.  Besides running Timeline Organizing Consultants, I do the accounting for my husband’s business.  I’ve also recently started an entrepreneurial venture with two friends; we’re inventing a product (strictly ssshh at this point.) I’m active in the local chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and Toastmasters.  Then, of course, there’s all the work that comes with running a home and caring for kids—the cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, volunteering at school, homework, sports, all of it.  Plus, my daughter has multiple food allergies, including gluten, which requires vigilance and a stocked freezer of safe baked goods.

So, I’ve got a lot on my plate.  So do you.  So does most everyone these days.  I currently struggle with a lack of time (original, I know.)  There’s so much I want to do, yet not enough hours in the day.  A week passes so quickly, it’s frightening.  Lately, I’ve found myself doing the dishes at 11 pm, because perfectionist-me can’t leave them until morning, and I’ve been busy with any number of projects. It’s hard to close up shop when you live there.  But that’s not a sustainable routine for long.  I’m aware of burnout, and desperately want to avoid it. So, I suppose my magic wand would give me two hours of uninterrupted work time each day.

What about you? What pains you? Lack of time?  Lack of support? Reluctance to delegate? Inability to say no? Chaotic schedule? Chaotic space?  Let’s look at the problems, so we can focus on possible solutions.  Your responses will help.  So tell me, what pains you?


John Pedigo, Founder of Littleweird

I’m super excited to introduce Timeline Organizing Consultants’ first Featured Business profile….John Pedigo and his homegrown business, Littleweird. 

John is a San Francisco artist with a Haight Street address (how’s that for urban art cred?) He produces and sells screen printed t shirts featuring his original art.  He has a shop on etsy.com, http://www.etsy.com/shop/Littleweird, where you’ll find tees for men, women, and onesies for the kiddos.  Fond of classic cars?  You may as well stop reading now and click on his site—you’re going to love what you find. 

John’s past work life was online—most recently, in the video game industry (yes, more cool cred,)  until he joined the ranks of the unemployed due to a mid-recession layoff.  Never missing a beat, he stepped into his next role: stay at home dad to his then-infant, now-toddler daughter, Sam—the fourth cutest kid on the planet (after my own three, of course.)      

Full-time parenting is a wonderful job.  But exhausting.  Nevertheless, John worked up some entrepreneurial mojo and decided.  He made the commitment to start Littleweird, and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.     

Q.  What was the inspiration for starting Little Weird?   Why now? 

A.  I’d gone to a local DIY fair, indie-mart.com, and saw some of the shirts being produced and I thought to myself, “I could do this.” I had thought about making my own shirts for a while, in fact, I had made shirts for friends in high school and had some experience screen printing.  Being unemployed, I had the time to put together a series of screen printed shirts and stationary, and showed up at the next fair with my own booth. I am doing this now to get some traction with some of my designs that will lead me to something good, I hope… 

Q.  As a home based business, where do you print your shirts? 

A.  Due to child safety requirements (the safety of my hardware, not the child) I do all of my screen printing in my laundry room with the help of my wife. We have a big tub for clean up and I store most of my materials in there. I attach my equipment to a table and spread out on top of the washer and dryer.  (Note: this organizer approves! Always strive to set up a system where you can store your materials out of site when not in use.)

Q.  As both an artist and dad to a busy toddler, how do you manage your creativity?  Do you set regular hours, or work when inspiration strikes?

A.  I do some of my creative work while my daughter takes a nap in the early afternoon, usually about 2 hours. The rest of my creative time comes late at night when everyone in the house is asleep. The printing happens when my daughter is asleep for the night but my wife hasn’t gone to bed yet…I need her help most of the time. (Note: John’s wife, Laura Vaudreuil Pedigo , is the Executive Director of Refugee Transitions and one awesome woman.  I had to give a shout out.)  

Q.  What’s been your greatest challenge as a start up business?

A.  Actually doing it…you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Cheesy, yes…true, yes. I think there are millions of people who would like to be doing their own thing, but think they don’t have what it takes to step out and do it. Once you take action, start buying supplies, thinking about products and buying that first booth rental, you realize it’s not that hard. All you need is a little push.  For me, it was a bunch of inspirational (cheesy, but true) messages that I saw on the web…”Take the shot, who cares if you make it or not”, and “You took the shot that a lot of others are afraid to…”  (Note: there’s nothing cheesy about that finding that “push.”) 

Q.  What, so far, has been most rewarding?

A.  Getting feedback from customers who love and buy your work.  A great day selling shirts comes in a really close second. 

If you’re in San Francisco (lucky you,) be sure to stop by the Littleweird booth at either Indie Mart, or SF Market.  For the rest of us, the etsy site will have to do (p.s. free shipping in the US!)  http://www.etsy.com/shop/Littleweird

Introducing Featured Business Profiles

I’ve been busy lately, beyond organizing offices and the inevitable paper piles.  I’ve been on the hunt, networking like crazy, and turning to the connectors in my life. (Readers of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point will recognize the term.)  My quarry? Small, primarily home-based business owners who have answered the entrepreneurial call.

 This week, I’ll be introducing Timeline Organizing Consultants’ first Featured Business.  This is my way of giving a brief shout-out to solopreneurs who are out there making things happen, sharing their expertise with the world, and building their future, one day at a time.

Twice a month, you’ll be meeting individuals from all walks of life: designers, artists, educators, coaches, foodies, and many more.  I’m starting locally, but thinking globally—my first few profiles will focus on people I personally know, however distantly.  Expect a heavy dose of “mompreneurs,” a demographic near and dear to me.  These individuals (or partners) will be at different stages in their entrepreneurial journey, from start-up, to gaining-momentum, to out-and-out unstoppable.  Each has a story to tell.  And though my profiles will be brief, you’ll definitely want to click through to their sites, to learn more about their work and their offerings. 

The Featured Business entrepreneurs are not affiliates of mine, meaning, I don’t profit on bringing them to your attention. I endorse their products and services, of course, but more than that, I’m inspired by their creativity, or passion, or chutzpah.  These are businesses with heart and ambition—the most winning of combinations, as far as I’m concerned.

I have about three months’ worth of Featured Business profiles lined up; beyond that, I’m open.  I’m excited about all the business owners— strangers, at the moment—that I’ll be connecting with in the near future.  I’ll be asking for your help, too.  So, start thinking of the inspiring people in your circle who have taken the entrepreneurial leap of faith, and let me know about them.