Conquer Digital Clutter / MJ Rosenthal of An Organized Life on the Emily Rooney RadioShow


As a Newton Professional Organizer, I am lucky to have the opportunity to discuss getting organized with many different media sources.  I sat with Emily Rooney for her radio show to talk about how to conquer digital clutter.

Listen to the clip at:

Do you know what you want to keep?  What you want to throw away?  I can help.  I can show you how to cut your paper work and filing time in half, just by identifying what you can toss and what you should take the time to file.

I’m MJ Rosenthal, Newton professional organizer and organizational coaching specializing in helping people create balance between space, belongings and time – and providing coaching and training for Clients with ADD and Executive Function challenges.

#digitalorganizing #electronicorganizing #paperorganizing #nomorefiling #organizedlife #anorganizedlife

More joy in giving things away than can ever be found in owning more

Inspired again by Becoming Minimalists …

A Guide to Let Go of Your Perfectly Good Things

Note: This is a guest post from Zoë Kim of The Minimalist Plate.

Finding our lives under everything we own is more than clearing away just junk. Often it requires removing good quality things. Expensive things. Useful things. Admired things. Fancy things. It means letting go of perfectly good stuff in order to pursue something more meaningful.

began de-owning my excess six years ago. My husband deployed frequently and we had two children under five. I was spending more time doing something with our stuff than doing something with my family.

With my husband half-way across the world, the kids and I had to pack up to move again. It was our third move in six years, but this one was just down the street. How difficult could that be?

Well, the process of personally packing, unpacking, and organizing all of our stuff drained the joy right out of me—for two months. I wanted to take my kids to the beach, play at the park, and listen to their laughter. But I was exhausted, and stressed. Busy taking care of all our stuff.

It was in that stress, exhaustion, and desire to live better that I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I began to see the real cost of our stuff— and it was way overpriced!

I started peeling away the layers of excess. And I was on a roll—until I hit that layer of perfectly good things! Valuable things that people spent much time and life to purchase. I felt wasteful and sick at the thought of giving it away. This was good stuff— wasn’t it? Maybe so. But I was learning, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” —Henry Thoreau

It is possible to break through the layer of perfectly good things. Through the process, I learned these practical steps:

1. Accept the mistake. Often, we will see many mistakes as we start to purge all the ‘good stuff.’ Acknowledge it was a mistake so you can move on. Keeping something that does not add value to your life keeps you stuck holding on to the mistake.

2. Shift your perspective. As I journey further into minimalism, I realized there is far more joy in giving things away than can ever be found in owning more.

3. Designate a spot. In the beginning, I would walk through my house and see things I thought I wanted to donate but they stayed put until I set up a spot to start putting it all. Set up a box, closet or room to place your donation items. Remove them from your house often.

4. Community. Share your excess with your community. Donate books to schools and libraries. Donate clothing and other household goods to local foster care organizations, shelters, and your local food pantry.

5. Experiment. Experimentation by elimination has helped me shed the layers of good stuff quicker. I simplified my beauty and bath routine by removing 60-80% of my products. Much to my surprise, many things I kept had no real value to my day.

6. Keep your eye on your why. In times of discouragement, make a choice to focus on why you are giving perfectly good things away. Remember, you’re giving up the good for the best.

7. Ask yourself better questions.

Does it serve its purpose—to serve my purpose?
We’re often not consciously thinking about our motives when we keep things, but everything has a cost. How much are you willing to sacrifice your passion and purpose for possessions? Some of our things serve a purpose. The important things give our lives meaning and joy. The useless ones just drain our time.

Can this be useful to someone else?
When we hold on to good things we do not need, we keep them from being helpful to others. I used to think it would be wasteful just to give things away that were barely used or not used at all—especially if they weren’t cheap. But then I thought, what if I just own my mistake in buying this thing by giving it away.

Would I leave this as someone else’s’ responsibility?
With my spouse deployed in harm’s way, I was expected to plan. I filled out the spouse deployment form—pages filled with detailed questions and answers should my husband be killed. Experiences like these gave me more prudence. What will the state of my stuff look like when I’m no longer here? Do I enjoy this enough to leave if for someone to take care of—because it will be my family taking care of it someday?

How do you want to live your life?
Own too much, and you’ll live a life owned by your stuff. Say yes when you should say no and you’ll live a life organized by others. Keep more than you need, and you’ll give less to those in need.

The journey to minimalism might look like it’s about going through and purging your possessions. But it’s much more about going through your heart. “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” Marie Kondo

I’ve often wondered if I would have journeyed into minimalism had we not experienced the active duty military life. If we hadn’t moved so often and been stretched in stress, would I have kept it all put-away—like organized hoarding happily?

Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the experiences which brought me to the path to living more intentionally with a lot less.


Zoë Kim blogs at The Minimalist Plate where she inspires others to live an intentional life by owning less, creating new habits, and cultivating opportunities to give. And be sure to check out her on Facebook.



#getorganized #organizedlilfe #anorganizedlife #habit #routine #stayorganized #organizedspaces #beautifullyorganized #stayingorganized #organizesimply #iloveorganizing #loveorganizing #simplyorganized #organizedcloset #closet #beautifulcloset #beautifullyorganizedcloset #organizedclothes #organizedclothing #professionalorganizer #professionalorganizing #personalorganizer #organizemyday #howtoorganizemyday #organizemydayforproductity #productivity #organizedday #organizedhome #personalorganizing #personalorganizer

#icanfindit #notamess

When we must become minimalists…

I love these guys- I am so inspired by their focus …

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Patrick of I’ve been begging Patrick to write something for Becoming Minimalist for years. I’m grateful that he finally did.


I’ll never forget that dollar number. The year was 2003. I had gotten laid off from my job at a software company when they decided to close the local office. I was on vacation when it happened. There was no warning.

On the way home, driving back, I got a call from the President of the company. He gave me the news. Said it was effective immediately but I’d receive some severance. He said it was a hard decision and he wished me the best. I was a full time single dad to two boys. I had a home, a minivan, and all of the normal costs of supporting a family of three.

Still, I had a plan. Before the layoff, to make ends meet, I had been doing some technology consulting on the side. I had a handful of clients and enjoyed helping them a lot. They seemed to appreciate me and were recommending me to others. It had long been a dream of mine to build my own business, work for myself, and do consulting full time. So, when I found my paycheck job gone literally overnight, I took it as a sign.

I had the severance—about six weeks pay—and a little bit of savings. I gave myself a deadline to see if I could chase that dream. I marked it on the calendar. I had exactly one year to stick it out and give it a shot—to see if I could build something that could feed my sons and I and keep a roof over our head. Only after that year, giving it all I had, would I then try to find another job.

That dollar number above is the gross total of what I made. Not the net. Not after taxes. That was it. Between August 2003 and August 2004 that was my gross income for a family of three.

That’s how I became a minimalist.

It wasn’t a choice. It wasn’t a grand statement on our consumerist culture and not wanting to run forever on the capitalist hamster wheel. I didn’t have credit cards because my credit was ruined by financial misdoings during my marriage. I didn’t want them either, but not for lofty reasons. Mainly because I was now very wary of them.

It wasn’t my love of simplicity and rejection of the tyranny of choice. I was broke and hungry and scared out of my wits that the heat would get turned off, our home taken away, the car repossessed, and I’d lose my sons because I couldn’t take care of them.

To be honest, I’m still not quite sure how we survived without any of that happening. That year is still very much a blur. I’m sure I blocked a lot of it out.

I know there were many days I only had one meal in order to make sure my sons had three. They got free breakfast and lunch at school, so I only had to worry about having enough money for dinner. I know there were times when friends would invite us over for dinner, without saying they knew how bad I was struggling to make ends meet. I became a ninja at cherry-picking sales at the grocery store and coupon cutting. I learned that, if you call phone and electricity companies before your bill is overdue, and explain your situation, they are more likely and able to work with you to figure something out than if you do so after it’s due. I can’t explain how the mortgage got paid. It did, somehow. Magic, perhaps.

We made it through. Exactly one day after my one year deadline I had two job offers immediately. Both for very good money. One with better benefits. I took that one.

Even though I then had a steady job and more than enough money to go back to business as usual, I had learned during that hard year how to live on very little. It had taught me a valuable lesson—the difference between want and need. And, while I now could afford to eat three meals a day like my sons, while we were no longer living in poverty, I had no desire or reason to spend money on anything we didn’t need or that didn’t add true value to our lives. That same ethos remains with me today.

So, why am I telling you all this? Well, I think we who consider ourselves minimalists, or those of us who are striving to be, need to be mindful of how we talk about it. We need to keep in mind that the very fact that you have the power to *choose* and decide what is enough for you and live with less, means you are in a position of privilege.

To many of us, choosing to “live simply” is to others living in poverty and they may not have a choice. We should be mindful of this when we talk about it to others because, many times, we come off sounding like elitist jerks.

Look, I get it. You’re happy about how a choice to live with less has made your life less stressful. You’re proud of the money you’ve saved or how you live debt free. You’ve made a life where you’re sure everything you own has value and the life you live is full of meaning and you want to share that with as many people as you can. You’re excited. It’s OK. You have reason to be. I’m simply trying to say there should be a level of understanding of what a privilege it is to be able to have such a life when we talk about it.

The desire should be to help others consider such choices, if they have the ability, for themselves and to have compassion for those without. We should live our lives in such a way that strives to provide others with the same opportunity to enjoy such privilege.


Patrick Rhone writes on the blog Patrick Rhone. I should also mention that he has been highly influential in my personal pursuit of minimalism and I have referred to his fabulous book, Enough, on countless occasions.

Read or comment on Becoming Minimalist.

Love People; Use Things. Have An Organized Life.

Love People Use Things Wallpaper | The Minimalists

Love People Use Things Wallpaper

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 12:00 AM PST

By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus · 

The most shared line from our documentary, Minimalism, is “Love people. Use things. The opposite never works.”

After the success of our simple minus-sign minimalist wallpaper, our friends at SPYR created this brand-new “Love People Use Things” wallpaper for your smartphone and desktop, which you can download for free below.

Show us a screenshot of your newly decluttered screen using the hashtag #LovePeopleUseThings on social media. We’ll repost some of our favorites.

Smartphone Wallpaper

Desktop Wallpaper

If you find value in The Minimalists, consider donating a dollar.