Spring is here, and now is the perfect opportunity to create flow within your home and in your business. As Eleanor Brownn stated, “Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” With that in mind, it’s time to de-clutter.
Putting off getting organized and reducing clutter can impact your life in so many ways. It may sound crazy, yet it can impact your success and happiness.
Here is a guide to help you take those first steps:
Step One: Assess and Make a Plan of Action
Start with the low-hanging fruit. Make a list of those areas that are easier to tackle and build your way to the most time-consuming ones.
- Your Vehicle
- Your Office/Workspace
- Your Closets
- Your Computer/Electronics
Select a time/date to work on it, and add it to your Schedule. Block the time and commit. You don’t have to do it all in one day; you can tackle it a little bit at a time. Remember, this is to help you create an unstoppable business platform, starting with a clean desk, organized space, and no clutter!
Step Two: Begin
Roll up your sleeves; turn off the distractions; put some motivational, energizing music on and start.
Step Three: Clean and Organize
Let’s look at the most customary work-related spaces.
Your vehicle is an important tool for your business. Clean it inside and out – including the trunk! Schedule maintenance if it’s time. Maintain it well so that it makes a great impression and lasts you longer.
Your wardrobe is essential to how clients perceive you. Take the time to assess your work clothes. Take everything out and only put back in those items you will use. If you don’t use it, if it doesn’t fit, don’t put it back in the closet. If you wore it only once or twice but paid a lot of money for it, you may be thinking you may wear it again someday, but in reality, if you have not worn it in decades, then it is clutter. It can feel painful when you pay a lot of money for an item. This is the #1 thing most people say. But don’t hang on to something that is of no use to you. Or maybe you have a great memory attached to the one time that you wore it. But if you are not loving it and wearing it, then set them aside to sell or donate.
Separate Fall/Winter clothes and keep Spring/Summer clothes at hand since those are the seasons we are moving into and those are the clothes you will need for work now.
Set up your work environment in such a way that it supports you. Organize your desk and office. Get rid of pens that don’t work. Throw out notes that are no longer relevant. Organize your documents. If you are using Form Simplicity, you are lucky. Form Simplicity is built so that all your transaction forms and files are digitally kept neatly in one place. Easy to find and easily accessible.
If you’re still using paper, remember that client files need to be kept for a certain period of years based on your state’s requirements. After that, you can shred or scan the files to keep them in digital format only. File your paper documents; alphabetized and by year are good ways to organize them, and be sure to label folders, cabinets and boxes.
Do you have a stack of magazines or books that you started reading or have not read at all? If you have not read them, then it is time to say goodbye and either donate or recycle them.
When real estate agents re-take a class or seminar, many times they tell the speaker that they still have the books and materials from several years ago. Their intention is to say that they got value out of the class, so they hung on to the materials. The answer often comes back from the coach or seminar leader to toss the old materials and start fresh. When we hold on to old class materials (that have not been viewed in years), it adds to the clutter and can keep new, relevant information from coming in.
Tackle those emails: File them for reference, delete and keep at hand only the ones you need to answer.
Run diagnostics on your computer, your phone, and your most important technology. Update browsers, operating systems, and virus protection. Don’t think you need to do this alone. Nearly half the REALTORS in the US and Canada have access to Tech Helpline as a member benefit. Tech Helpline provides general tech support for all your devices. No credit card is needed if you’re a member of one of the participating MLSs or associations.
Maintain your electronics well so they don’t fail you when you need them most — in the middle of a transaction.
Donate or Re-Sell?
Some of the items you no longer use may have a re-sale value. Currently, there are tons of apps and websites where you can re-sell your things, such as Poshmark or CraigsList. Be realistic. Do you have the time to start photographing all the stuff you want to sell, fielding inquiries, and sending those smaller items via the post office? If you can have a garage sale in your neighborhood, that has worked for many.
Whether you own a home, condo or rent, make sure you check the rules and regulations that are in place to see if you can sell in your building or community. Remember you may only gain a fraction of the money spent on the item.
The biggest question to ask yourself is, “What is My Time Worth.” Your time, freeing up your space, and getting peace of mind can be worth much, much, more.
Another great opportunity can be donating your items to a worthy cause of your choice. Say goodbye with a prayer that someone will use and love what you donate, and Let It Go!
Many real estate agents participate in fundraisers or donate to an organization in their market area, so this can be another way to give back with your “stuff.”
Beyond Work-Related Spaces
Can anything else in your life use some de-cluttering? Imagine walking into your home seeing everything immaculately clean and organized? How would that make you feel?
Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Which sells quicker: spacious, organized home or one filled with loads of stuff? When taking on a listing, do you recommend the property gets de-cluttered and staged? Of course you do! That’s because it makes a huge difference. Especially now in the virtual age when videos and photos are the first introduction to the home and the community.
Now let’s look at your own closets, cabinets, desks and drawers. How many items are there that you have not used in decades, yet keep because you may need it someday or simply because you paid a lot of money for it? It is often easier to assist our clients than it is to take care of ourselves in the same meaningful way.
Assess. Make a plan of action. Roll up your sleeves and get started.
If spring cleaning seems too daunting to do alone, perhaps there is a close friend or family member who can help you. Alternatively, some people hire experts who can assist them in getting their workspace. That may beneficial as well, since you may want them as part of your network to refer out to your client’s, family and friends if you liked their work.
Written for Form Simplicity by Janice Zaltman, a Realtor, LEED AP, Marketing Coach and Writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing and media fields.