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Ghost Canyon

Barbara Tako (Author - 'Clutter Clearing Choices') Barbara Tako (Author - 'Clutter Clearing Choices')

'Spring Cleaning!'

Having her services requested by corporate giants such as 3M, Medtronic, Target, and Securian, to name a few, speaks volumes about Barbara Tako, author of 'Clutter Clearing Choices' (O-Books).

Tako is a woman who understands exactly what these major corporations already know - that an unorganized and cluttered worker is rarely as productive as an organized one, adding to the many reasons her services as a guest speaker are in great demand.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Barbara Tako about her book, 'Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home & Reclaim Your Life,' and first wondered, being that she freely admits that back in the day she was much like Oscar from 'The Odd Couple' - never cleaning out anything and hoarding for years - what was it that suddenly opened her own eyes to her personal situation? "Yes, I began as an Oscar. My transformation began with meeting my future mother-in-law over twenty years ago. My mother-in-law was nominated for St. Paul Suburban Homemaker of the Year back in the 1960’s! At first, I was scared at the thought of even trying to live up to that standard! How could I? But eventually, I realized that because she ran a tighter ship than I did, she had time for her priorities—her faith, her family, her friends, and her interests."

"That caught my attention. I love my mother-in-law and I learned the purpose of clutter clearing and home organizing is to free up time for other things. I wanted more time for my priorities. I realized it wasn't about creating a Martha Stewart sort of home. It was about improving functionality and creating some peace and calmness at home."

And how did that turn itself into tackling corporate situations and, eventually, writing books on the subject? "I began by reading a lot of books, getting advice, and talking to a lot of people. As an at-home mom at the time, I probably spent way too much time staring at my closets, drawers, and cupboards too! I tried a lot of things. Eventually, I began to help family and friends and teach seminars. I also became the simple living columnist for the local newspaper. They were actually looking for a cooking columnist. I can't cook, but I convinced the editor that a clutter clearing and home organizing column would be helpful."

Please tell us what the reader can expect from your new book, 'Clutter Clearing Choices'? "I think my book is humorous and real because it is based on real life struggles. It is organized seasonally because we think about different kinds of clutter at different times of the year. We have holiday clutter, New Year's resolutions, paper clutter around tax time, and physical clutter when the walls close in during the winter... I also don’t think there is a one-size-fits all way to get rid clutter and get better organized. My book offers a smorgasbord of ideas for people to pick and choose from. We all have different personalities and styles and we’re at different places and life stages in our lives. My book is a comprehensive resource that is easy for busy people to read because it is broken down into small manageable chapters."

As we are a nation of hoarders and pack rats, now with a TV show to visually prove it, what are the worst everyday habits that the average joe will do to make things worse for themselves - and can a leopard really change its spots? "The "worst" everyday habit may be to not deal with the mail and the paper clutter on a daily basis, so that it backs up on us. The paper piles can wear us down. And, yes, we can learn to make better choices. We can decide to spend five minutes on the mail every day, perhaps while standing by the recyling bin."

"We can choose to create, use, and trust one system for each category of paper or stuff in our lives (Clutter often happens when we get several partial systems going for the same king of "thing." An example would be business cards--a few on the refrigerator, in a desk drawer, in a wallet, in the actually four systems. No wonder we have to hunt!)"

"We can also choose to spend as little as ten or fifteen minutes per day working on the backlog of clutter. It really takes less time to make progress than it does to worry and feel bad about the clutter every day. People that I teach are frequently surprised to discover that weeding out the clutter takes less time than they thought it would take."

Finally, being that you have had your clutter cleaning services requested by such corporate giants as 3M, Medtronic, Target and (to name but a few) Securian, just what did you actually do for them - and was it all just within the 'big boss' corporate office or did all the employees get a makeover? "I am invited to come into corporations and teach seminars over the lunch hour. Employers recognize that employees who are happy at home are more productive at work. They understand that helping people clear clutter, organize their homes, and free up time for their priorities can reduce stress and help people make their homes into havens that restore them instead of wear them down."

"In tough economic times, my book is a good alternative to hiring a professional organizer. Also, the ideas in the book help with daily and life long clutter clearing and home organizing. An organizer comes and then goes. People can sign up at my website for my FREE monthly clutter clearing tips newsletter to help them stay on track with their clutter clearing goals."

Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

Book Purchase link

So, if you would like to win a SIGNED copy of Barbara Tako's new book, just answer this easy question: Which-named sisters lived upstairs from Oscar and Felix in the TV show, 'The Odd Couple'?!

Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new books! Just send us an e:mail here before June 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: BARBARA TAKO SIGNED BOOKs to:

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