Categorized | Organizing Solutions

Help me Organize my Jewish Life!!!

Posted on 17 February 2011

This article is a guest post answering the question of How to Organize my Jewish Life! It is written by Baila Feig of, a Professional Organizing business in NYC.

If you are like many people, you probably have too many possessions – what some people commonly call ‘too much stuff’.  Um, did I just hear you scream “YES!  That’s me!”?  I thought so.  I also think I heard you scream it with an overwhelming feeling of dismay, not with a exclamation of pride.  I know – because I work with people all the time who have so much stuff and don’t want it or know what to do with it.

The amassing of possessions reminds me of the ‘water displacement theory’.  Putting objects in a container of water will displace the water.  Adding more objects will continue to displace the water until there is no more room in the container and the water will spill out.  Think of your house or office as the water container.  If you keeping adding new things and don’t eliminate other things, eventually your stuff will start spilling out of your windows!  How’s that for a visual?

After all your closets, drawers, shelves, bookcases, bureaus, entertainment centers, under the bed containers, basement, attic and garage have reached their maximum capacity you will begin to start sharing a bed with your latest acquisitions.  And soon, it will be more of them than you!  Do you really want to be displaced by your stuff and wind up on the floor?  I thought not, and so therefore, there is hope.

If you really do want to see what the inside of your closets look like, or to remind yourself of what the pattern of your carpet is, then you must put on your ‘I want to see the inside of my house again’ glasses.  You will have to be committed to the cause, a soldier in the army engaged in ruthless warfare, a brave warrior in the mission of complete annihilation of clutter!  You will forge forward in the purging of broken toys, games without pieces, obsolete electronics,  cookbooks that recommend you deep-fry chicken cutlets in shmaltz, Crisco or Nyfat, yellowed newspapers, magazines that show the latest style – big hair and shoulder pads!  Yes, you are still waiting to read them.  You haven’t gotten to them yet because you had five babies in eight years, and that was twenty years ago and you’ve been busy.  Don’t tell yourself you’re saving them to pack your dishes soon because you are downsizing now that your kids are married and you’re moving to smaller quarters, …..eventually.

Liberate yourself from the prison of clutter.  Declare yourself emancipated from its shackles and you will soon be able to walk a straight line in your home instead of dodging piles and tripping over assorted thingamajigs on the floor.

So if your are ready to put on your new ‘glasses’ we will begin with the process of living a clutter-free existence.

Determine which area of your space or bad habit is giving you the most grief.  Most of the time its the incessant influx of papers that gets to people’s sanity.  They don’t stop coming.  They pile up (without your noticing).  More piles appear.  They multiply like jackrabbits.  Then the piles start to fall over.  Now you are starting to get into trouble.  You ‘say‘ (euphemistically speaking), “Which papers were in which pile?  I sorted them!  Someone will pay for this!”.  One of these is the “I need to read this” pile, another is the “Oh shrek -I must do this TODAY!” pile.  Another is UFP pile – unidentified flying papers pile.  Sitting down and crying is not an option.  You must take action.  Try your best to figure out what goes in which pile and pay someone, call someone, return something, sign something, mail something, answer your machitenester’s son’s chasunah invitation already!  After all, he’s getting married in two days!

Once you see you’ve done something, anything, you’ll feel better.  You’ll feel accomplished.  It will encourage you to do more.  Start with today’s mail.  Pick it up from the hall floor or mailbox ,and stand over the recycling garbage and just toss what you don’t want in your life.  Mailings to have your windows replaced, John’s Pizza Grand Opening Party, or a chance to win a free trip to Hawaii should go.  (Hmmmm, on second thought – warm Hawaii does sound enticing.  Did they say it feels like six degrees today, or was that minus six degrees?  I’ll sit on this offer for now.)

Now what do you do with the mail you decided to keep.  You leave it for your spouse to handle it, right?  Not if you want anything productive to happen to it!!  Take the bull by the horns and find some file folders, which I know you have, somewhere.  One should be labeled ‘UNPAID BILLS’. Put all the known unpaid bills, current and ancient in this folder.   This is one of the most important files you will use.  Another is ‘ACTION FILE’.  In this file you can put kids trip forms to sign and send back, a recipe you just found and want to buy the ingredients for this week, response cards to every dinner, bar mitzvah, melave malkah, mother-daughter tea, father and sons learning program, chasunah, baby shower, golden anniversary, and birthday party you are currently lucky enough to be invited to – and that’s just this month’s worth!  No wonder you can’t find the time to get organized.  You’re constantly ‘partying’!!

While we are on the topic of invitations, I would offer this advice.  As much as I ordinarily advocate extracting vital information from pieces of paper and keeping a running list of this information in a notebook instead of keeping all these papers, I will tell you a story I heard as a third-person four times removed.

A family from Boston was invited to a chasunah in Brooklyn.  The wife, wanting to be rid of clutter asap, decided she would transfer the stats from the invitation and mark them on the family calendar, and chuck the invitation.  Her husband was opposed to  this idea.  “What if, theoretically speaking, you neglect to write critical information, or we need to double check the accuracy of the notes you put on the calendar?”, he asked.  “Ohhh nooooo.  I would never do thaaat. That wouldn’t be very organized of me, now would it?  We wouldn’t need to double check.  Do you think I am some kind of nincompoop?!”, she retorted, insulted.

So the couple made arrangements to rent a car, rent a hotel room in Brooklyn for after the chasunah, take the next day off from work and then head home.  They and their kids got all packed up, dressed up and worked up for their exciting trip to Brooklyn.  They found parking and entered the chasunah hall.  Lo and behold, no one was there.  The wife thought, ‘Wwwhhhhat happened?  Where’s everyone?  Did they, chas v’shalom cancel the chasunah?’  They found one the owners walking around and asked him about the RIvkie Schvartzkleider to Shmerel Schlafrig chasunah.  He said, “Yea, it was a great chasunah – very leiberdig”.  Mrs. ‘Boston’ asked, “Did you say ‘it was a great chasunah’?!”  “Yeah, it was exactly a week ago tonight, as a matter of fact.”  ‘Oh.’, said the very withered-looking soon-to-possibly-be ex-Mrs. ‘Boston’, as she glanced at the very red and steaming ‘Mr. Boston’.

In our fervor to be the most clutter-free of all our friends and neighbors we may be inclined to throw out the not-yet-happened event invitation.  But after reading about our friends from Boston, we will have to buck up, and hold on to it until it is over, and then throw it out with great glee.

Well, I see you are all now almost completely organized, and its all for the better, to be sure.  Keep up the good work and you’ll be ready for Purim, Pesach, camp, the bungalow and Rosh Hashona in a snap!

Baila Feig, Founder and President of Why Organizing Works is a Professional Organizer who organizes any and all rooms and office space for Professionals, Working Families, Seniors and Singles!. She declutters, does space optimization,  creates filing systems, packs and unpacks your move, etc .

Accounting, Bookkeeping and Computer Services are also available.

If you are in need of a speaker to conduct a fun and informative Organizing Workshop at luncheons, PTA, etc. or informal get-togethers , Call Baila at 347-598-9608 or email to to ask her more about How to Organize my Jewish Life!

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