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Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Sentimental?

Change doesn't take as long as you think...

...when you've found the right Reorganizer.

Conveniently located in Manhattan, NYC. 646.430.9150

Contact Leah for a free 15 minute phone consultation!


Women and Organizing: The Great Depression

       Rebecca Shansky's study looked at how  estrogen causes increased stress-responses. That means that women, who have higher estrogen levels than men, have TWICE the occurence of depression as men do. What is also interesting about this article is that the pre-frontal cerebral cortex, responsible for executive functions, and the amygdala, which is responsible for fear conditioning, are also affected by high estrogen levels and fear response.

       Adult ADD, which I will discuss in greater detail later this week, is highly related to the brain, women, and these associations. What I wish to highlight today is that women are more prone to have stress-related depression. This manifests in the inability to make decisions. Clutter is a decision delayed. So, what do women with stress get? You got it, CLUTTER! I'm interested in what is the most effective way to handle this that does not include medication or behavioral therapy, the latter being what is prescribed by most ADD and OCD specialists.

     Do you have any knowledge or thoughts about this?


Get Out of Debt with Dignity-Choose the Highest ROI For You


Increase productivity-is it personal?

       So you've taken a look at your productivity, and you're appalled. Ashamed, perhaps...shaking your head, admitting that it's hopeless. You've always been this way, and no matter what you do, it doesn't seem to change. OR, you've NEVER been like this. You're falling apart! Will you be this way forever?

       The most important aspect of productivity is what you focus on. Example:

                           You have to make 48 phone calls. You make one.

       Would you feel satisfied that you've begun, or stressed about the 47 to go?

       We often perceive productivity like salespeople-the number of calls we can make in the shortest period of time. Here's the funny thing, though:if we are focus on making the calls, (particularly if we feel we're behind) it will often be ruinous.

      In truly dedicated efforts to be increase productivity, many of my clients

  • Forget to eat.
  • Pay for the gym but don't go (and are bothered by this!).
  • Fight with their families.
  • Become estranged from their families.
  • Live in a constant state of catch-up, self-perceived failure, and general appall.

Good productivity is how much satisfaction you can achieve while taking care of yourself without losing your balance and still feeling good about yourself.

For today, do one item on your to-do list, big or small. And then GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT for doing it! Or post a comment and I'll give you credit. ;) The more we expand our perceptions of ourselves as confident achievers, we will become so in just the way we want, more efficiently than we could have imagined.


Why do we AVOID?

Lately I've noticed a pattern of Avoiding in myself and in my clients. As my mother would say, "What's that about?"

Here's how I've parsed it, let me know what you think.

Let's say there's something that needs to be finished, say, our taxes. To finish them requires





Now, the last one is terrifying. Follow-through carries responsibility. If we don't have the information, we must follow through to get it. If we are distracted, we must take responsibility to set aside time to follow through and focus. It's very scary. So instead, we avoid. Why do we avoid follow-through? As Woody Allen or Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck would say, "It's because we fear death." Well, perhaps not death, but we certainly fear something, probably the unknown:

"If I get my taxes together, how much will I have to pay? I might not have the money!"


"What if my accountant asks me for something I don't have? What will I do?"

We fear the hypothetical. We turn it into something so terrible and scary that OF COURSE we stay away altogether. It really does make sense. It's anxiety building. So, I've boiled it down to this: we avoid when we fear follow-through, which indicates a self-perceived inadequacy-knowledge, know-how, whatever. We avoid because we're scared of the future which we're creating in our minds.

The present is what requires the focus and attention, but that takes focus and attention to stay there, you know? It takes courage and discipline to stay in the present and attend to what needs you. It's hard and it's rather rare. Avoid yourself and you will destroy yourself. There is help. Reach out to your friends, family, self-help groups, pet your animals more (supposedly proven to reduce stress)...whatever it takes to look at what you need to do and NOT avoid it.

You (and I) can do it!


My brand new commercial from my upcoming documentary!

Please post your thoughts!


Being Open to Receive

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” -Michaelangelo

Today my client explained that things were limited due to the number of hours in a day and only three people in the department. I never believe in those sorts of limits.

Within a half hour, I found 2 potential interns for the rest of this school year, 1 day a week. One person in the department said 1 day a week wasn't enough, and the other one said he didn't have anything for interns to do. Those things really are true for them.

Here's the thing:do you want to receive? When you get a phone call, you have received. An email, an invitation, a present, the door held open for you, money on your meter, a parking spot opening, free offers...there are tons of ways we can and do receive all the time. The question is, do we really want it, and can we handle receiving?

Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it. That is so true. And also true is, what if you wish for it and then revert to old thinking which says, "I don't have time to take advantage of this." Building systems takes time and investment in creating something sustainable. Our limits depend on how much we can handle. As we continue to improve our ability to handle things and not become overwhelmed, we increase our capacity to receive.



Do you have THREE MINUTES? Set your timer.

Think about all the things you spend your time doing, and what things someone else could do for you.

Now imagine you had a personal assistant to do those things for you efficiently and perfectly.

What do you see yourself doing?

The answer to this is what you need to do ASAP, and this will enable you to achieve all those many things your assistant would be doing...until h/s arrives.

Go for it!


One thing at a time...but which one?

Making to-do list is great. I encourage my clients to put everything on there that has been floating around in their minds:

Example to-do list:

Visit mother's grave

Buy q-tips

Email boss re: meeting

Schedule therapist appointment

Do dishes

Find form and call lawyer

Pay electric bill

Pack lunch

I believe these all go on the list. Now, what? There is an idea that prioritizing is an obvious thing:"Most important first." I agree. But here's the thing-for each person, one task on this list will resonate most strongly. THAT is the one thing to do. The task that is most appealing, whether or not it is the easiest or the most "important" in the eyes of others, is the one to do first.

When we are satisfied in our accomplishments, even if they are tiny successes, it fortifies us to do more...with a smile.


Live light...

Part IV:Energy Saving Tips for the planet...and you!

Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.

A laptop can hold everything you need, but it doesn't weigh you down. These days, the heaviest thing about a laptop is the charger. Laptops don't collect dust if we carry them around and use them.

Ways to fight clutter:

Can you pack it and travel with it?

Is it good/useful/do you like it?


Indeed, using things naturally fights clutter. We get more in touch with what we do and do not like, and we'll make decisions naturally, rather than trying to figure it out hypothetically. If you arrange your life such that you have the things you need, you like them and use them, you are on the way to becoming the light.


Circulate that air

Part III:Energy Saving Tips for the planet...and you!

Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.

Improve air circulation. What a good idea. This literally saves energy and money.

The same is true in our lives. Each time we complete a task, there is related residue that must also be taken care of. Taking care of the related residue (this could be recycling the packaging or making a follow-up phone call) thoroughly completes this task. On the emotional level, the sense of completion we get from totally finishing something empowers us for future tasks and challenges.

Breathe, finish, be ready for what comes next!


Part II:Energy Saving Tips for the planet...and you!

Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.

It costs energy and, you got it, money, to use the drying cyle for dishes, also for clothes and even your hair. In this example, it does take a bit of your energy (and some space) to air dry things. Personally, I find it relaxing to do mindless things which have clear results, such as putting dishes in a drainboard (and then away), and hanging clothes up to dry.

There's something else in this, too. We have become so used to, no, so wired to having someone or something else do it for us that Helplessness is on the rise. We don't know how to fix things, how to tune guitars, how to clean, sew...all the things that we need to do to take care of ourselves. And thus as adults we are desperately trying to learn about self-care.

Less dependence on machines might mean fewer machines in our home which translates to:

More space

Energy savings



I say yes to all of those, what about you?


Energy Saving Tips for the planet...and you

Unplug chargers not in use to save energy and money.

Did you know that you are paying for energy used by phone and computer chargers plugged in? It's (hopefully) effortless to unplug them, and it saves you money.

In life, it doesn't always feel effortless to "unplug" from the things that are draining us, but they are definitely costing us in energy and often in money. Relationships, habits, perhaps a job...sometimes we need to be "plugged in" to things that drain us. But there are lots of things around us that we can change. Beginning with the easier things will make addressing the harder things easier.

Unplug chargers

Pay bills on time to stop paying late fees an accruing interest

Leave earlier to get to an event so you don't end up rushing and taking a taxi (and still getting there late)

Remind that person who owes you money to pay you back

Look around in your life at the things that are draining your energy and money and one by one, unplug.


Perfectionism makes me a nicer person (Not one with OCD!)

Perfectionists get a bad rap.

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) this, a***-retentive that, high strung, annoying, bossy, crazy...and on and on with the name calling we do around people who just want things a certain way.

Let's get something straight: OCD is a clinically diagnosed disorder that affects seratonin levels and the orbitofrontal cortex of your brain. An estimated 3% of the population, approximately 10 million Americans, suffer from OCD. The rest of us just like our stuff a certain way.

Here's the thing:we NEED things to be set up in a way that we understand, can remember, and works well for us. If not, we're inefficient, scattered, grumpy, we forget to eat, we lash out, we lose our stuff, pay late fees...Unlike many, I encourage perfectionism. Not the scary kind like in thriller movies where the murderer is a perfectionist. Healthy perfectionism:make your stuff the way you want it so you know where things go, you can find things, and you feel relaxed and in control.

Just try it. You'll be nicer, more relaxed, and your clutter will disappear.

As always, report your findings and/or post your questions.


Tiny steps for big results-making To-Do Lists

We have such huge goals that we can overwhelm ourselves. 

We might want to save the world. In order to clarify our strategy to save the world, we might start with a list. And to make the list we might need a pen. So saving the world might begin with a pen. Do we have pens readily available and do they work?

Breaking the projects down into manageable (and I mean tiny!) parts can be crucial to success. Assuming you've found your pen, write down the things you need to do with plenty of space (yes, your list may go on for several pages). Fill in the pieces around each task: For example,

Go to bank

-Deposit check

--Find check

-Transfer $ to account XXXX

--Check how much needed for event

-Ask about business accounts

--Find card of that business banker from Green Drinks

---Email him

You see what can happen? Just by writing down one single task there can be tons of details which begin to unravel themselves. Otherwise, it's all in an unpleasant way-too-scary mass that we might prefer to simply avoid. What's nice about this is that we can have fun, dipping in for one tiny task at a time, like eating one single delicious blueberry.


Communicate, Prioritize, Follow-through

The triad needed for success in any relationship, even with ourselves.

In the work I do in Clutter Counseling For Couples, my clients often confront situations that are frustrating, to say the least. When we break down the situation, these three are usually needed to find a way to remedy/change things. It can be a struggle to even do these, as they are magically intertwined.

Have you had an experience where this was needed? Please post your thoughts!


WPKN Bridgeport, Bob Johnson Interviews Re Organizer Leah Fisch

Call in with your clutter questions Monday August 30th, 4pm EST!

Bob Johnson of WPKN Bridgeport has asked me back to talk about my (hopefully) returning for Season 2 of Hoarding:Buried Alive. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bobjonwpkn Call in with your questions about where to begin, what to do, how to recommend me....couples, families, staff members...all are welcome!


Leah on TLC's Hoarding:Buried Alive- Second Season!

TLC has asked me back! But I need to find the client...PLEASE put me in touch with anyone you know in an extreme hoarding situation. I promise to be respectful and not make anyone get rid of anything that h/s doesn't want to. Season 2!


Parkinson's Law of Productivity

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." -Cyril Northcote Parkinson

Are you frequently appalled at how long it takes you to finish a task? The Nike adage about Just Do It is a beautiful ideal. It implies that you must not sit around pondering all the hows and what ifs. In the case of (myself and) my client, the adage would be "Just have less time to do it," meaning that you will.

Many of my clients call me when there is a crisis-and we are somehow able to "put the fire out" in time. There is gold inside these crises-in addition to completing what we need to, we also gain insight into their subconscious hindrances. Accomplishing difficult things in a short period of time bears tremendous power and leaves clients with much more confidence.

Less time to do it, but not so much less that it's a crisis.

Taking the right amount of time to complete tasks=confident efficiency.

Knowing we can rely on ourselves=priceless.


Reorganize the MTA!

crowded mta

The MTA (NYC's public transportation system) spends an estimated $560 MILLION annually on OVERTIME, at the same time that "budget constraints" caused enormous downsizing. When jobs are cut and train lines are removed, everyone suffers.

In every business as well as in our lives, we waste a lot of time on "overtime" that is not exactly working-it's compensating for lost and disorganized time.

As a supporter of the MTA (when not on my bicycle) I have a vested interest in its success, as does every NYer. Even those driving or taking taxis benefit from an effective system, as it reduces traffic. All NYer's benefit from reduced emissions. Fewer cars and more green buses means better air for all of us.

I am looking to be introduced to key decision-makers at the MTA. From schedulers to middle managers to executives to Mayor Bloomberg, I'd like to speak to them and introduce my simple and effective techniques which save tremendous amounts of time and money. Thanks for any input on this!


How to Green Your Junk Mail

My client of three years called me today. "I'm finally ready to do something about all these charity appeals. What can I do?"

Three things work really well:

1. 1 888 5 OPT OUT (567-8688)

2. Call the number on the solicitation or click unsubscribe from the email

3. Circle your name and address and write, "Please remove from list immediately" and send back in the charity's return envelope-no stamp required. It may take doing this one or two times, but it works.

I explained to her that this simple act makes it possible to pay bills with much less anxiety, believe it or not. "Oh, I believe it!" she said, excitedly.

Save a tree, save yourself...save a mailman's back...



Dilbert, Goals, Motivation, Communication...

Uncovered today on client's desk...apropos!


Contact Leah Fisch