I wish to thank all the ladies who came to my seminar last month. I am deeply sorry that my cough cut the event short before I could directly respond to your questions. Here are the answers to the first two questions that were asked. I\’ll answer the others in next month\’s column.

– Can you please give us the Magic Formula one more time?

The Magic Formula is simple yet powerful:

1. Eliminate

2. Categorize

3. Organize

These 3 steps will enable you to organize absolutely anything from projects at work or school, to your closets, kitchen and garage.

As you clear the space of what does not belong, clarity begins to enter. Eliminate might mean sending stuff to the trash. It can also mean returning items to friends, putting things in other rooms where they belong or making a nice donation to a charity.

As you eliminate you automatically say \’yes\’ to the items that are to remain. Keep them together. Whether its shoes, batteries or screws, you want them all in one place!

As things are gathered and you see your categories, you\’ll want to organize them so that the finished project is beautiful to look at, easy to maintain and completely functional. This is where one of my books comes in handy. Each one teaches you those tips and tricks you wish your mother had known.

– Do you have a list of specific tid-bits like – If you haven\’t worn it in two years, Only touch your junk mail once…that type of information? You know, tid-bits for getting rid of things.

Here are 8 great tips to inspire your creativity:

1. Toss the acrylic holders your DVD\’s and CD\’s come in and put your discs in albums made for this purpose. Divide everything by type (comedies, dramas, documentaries, science fiction etc and for music: R&B, rap, country western etc.)

Don\’t bother with alphabetical order because if you do this, every time you get a new item, you\’ll have to shift the whole collection.

2. Don\’t purchase containers because they are cute and \’one day I might need this.\’ A surplus of containers is a new kind of clutter!

3. Use uniform hangers in a closet. Wood hangers are my favorite and you can now find them for reasonable prices at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond.

Be sure you use uniform containers as well. You can create a kind of \’visual upset\’ if you have an assortment of patterns in a small area.

4. Moth balls work but have an awful aroma, don\’t they? Try cedar or lavender. You can also make individual sachets using canned tobacco and cheese cloth. Tobacco is what the ancient rug merchants used.

5. Look inside your closets. Is there a huge area of wasted space from the obligatory one shelf to the ceiling? Add a shelf and use it for off season storage of clothing.

6. Toss your junk mail immediately. Remember that the ads that accompany your bills should also be tossed. If you pay on line, toss the return envelope provided as well. Never let an opportunity to lighten your load get past you.

7. \’Touch a piece of paper\’ once doesn\’t mean you have to instantly take care of the matter indicated. It does mean you put the paper where you will need to find it so that at the appropriate time you can take care of business. Hence the need for a working file system where all related papers are kept together (bills, work or school related, hobbies, travel etc). Did I hear anyone say \’Magic Formula?”

8. It\’s best to keep shoes in acrylic shoe boxes. They will stay clean and you can see what\’s inside. I like the ones that have a pull out drawer. The model that has a lid is hard to stack. It\’s inconvenient if you need the one on the bottom!

If you seek to learn the tips and tricks all professional organizers use, I invite you to take a look at my first book “The Zen of Organizing: Creating Order and Peace in Your Home, Career and Life.” Its chock full of information. If you are about to share your environment for the first time or once again after a long period of solitude, take a peek at my second book “Sharing a Place Without Losing Your Space: a Couples Guide to Blending Homes, Lives and Clutter.” These first two books have wonderful stories from my 18 years with clients. I\’m sure you will find yourself in the pages. It\’s very comforting to realize that no matter what your challenge, someone else is in the boat with you. In all likelihood, it\’s a crowd!

These are also wonderful stocking stuffers during the holiday season. We all know good folks who could use a little organizing. It can be a challenge to offer help without hurting someone\’s feelings in the process. A book is a beautiful gesture. My next one ” The Idiot\’s Guide to Decluttering” will be out in the spring…just in time for the annual home tune up!

Next month we\’ll be dealing with emotional attachment to stuff and the sticky issue of the pack rat. In the meantime, have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

New York City native Regina Leeds has brought order to home and work environments across the United States since 1988 when she started her company, Get Organized! by REGINA. Currently based in Los Angeles, her clientele run the gamut from movie stars to business people and housewives. Regina regularly travels throughout the United States to assist her clients. Regina is the author of two books: The Zen of Organizing; Creating Order and Peace in Your Home, Career and Life and Creating a Place Without Losing Your Space: a Couples Guide to Blending Homes, Lives and Clutter.