Balance, Design, Products
March 23, 2010
We had great feedback from our chat with professional organizer Peter Walsh. Peggy, one of our Lifework readers, had the following question for Peter:
“What does one do if paper challenged? I save papers for reading, papers for filing, papers just in case I need something, papers with medical information…I try to go through these papers, file them in alpha order and then don’t have the room to file them somewhere! Where can I start?”
Peter says “Invest in a color coded filing system like File Solutions which uses both visual and written cues to help you easily and quickly file and retrieve items. If paperwork is overwhelming, invest in a file system like the one I mentioned and start TODAY with the new system, don’t get caught up in trying to go back and file everything from the past. Start today and move forward maintaining the new system. Slowly go through old papers or, alternatively, just accept that they’ll never be completely filed, put them in a box and don’t let them stress you.”
The file folders above are from the Container Store. For more ideas check out Amy’s Five Fabulous: File Folders post.
Design, Products, Technology
March 11, 2010
Peter Walsh is the thinking person’s organizer. After interviewing him this morning it’s clear why Oprah nabbed him for her show. He manages to bring heart and soul as well as a great design sense and intelligence to his role as master declutterer. This is the first in a series of conversations we will publish with Peter. If you’ve got any specific questions for him just let me know!
You are Australian but you’ve been living in the States since 1994. Where do you call ‘home’? A mid-century house in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. The house was built in ’59 and we’ve restored it. I love it. It’s surrounded by very mature landscaping.
Do you run your organizing business from home? Yes, I do. My office is at the back of the house and looks onto the backyard. There’s a huge window and lots of natural light.
Is that a bedroom that’s been transformed into a home office? No! I am a great believer in keeping those spaces separate if you can. I am very interested in the psychology of space. Whenever I see a client I always ask the same question. What do you want to get from the room. No what the room is for, but what you want from it.
What if you need to have your office in your bedroom because of space constrictions? Then zones are really important. You’d need to clearly mark out where the office space was in the bedroom.
How would you answer your own question? What do you need from your home office? Organization, focus, motivation, ease of access, cleanliness and inspiration. The lack of clutter in my home office helps me focus.
How do you achieve all that? It’s not necessarily through products. I think Western culture is obsessed with the idea that if we just have the right product everything else will follow, we’ll be happy. There’s an obsession with quantity over quality. The feeling is the more I have the better off I am and that’s just a myth – the myth of more! We were looking at a house for sale in the neighbourhood. It was built in ’59 and the people who lived there had slowly filled it with Herman Miller pieces. And you know, the furniture was still there. In a culture of built-in obsolescence it’s so good to see lasting quality. (The photo below is of Peter’s living room.)