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DEC: Do Everything Consistently!

Consistency is a wonderful thing. We’ve consistently delivered a year’s worth of monthly-themed organizing advice.

In this twelfth and final month of 2018, try to Do Everything Consistently — DEC— and if not everything, how ’bout 12 things? You can follow any of the 12 things Joy and I are each VERY consistent with:

JOY:

  1. Bedtime
  2. Connecting with Friends
  3. Taking Good Care of Herself
  4. Planning Ahead and doing anything that can be done in advance.
    The only reason why Joy’s Thanksgiving table was not set until Wednesday was to honor her grand-daughter’s wish to set the table for her.

KELLY:

  1. Reviewing Commitments Daily – each evening to prepare for the next day
  2. Using Alarms so I don’t get too involved in anything or lose track of time
  3. Scheduling Things into my calendar so I have realistic expectations of what I can accomplish
  4. Being Green – I never mind taking time to recycle

BOTH of US:

  1. Making the Bed every morning
  2. Creating Lists (Kelly via Anylist, Joy on paper)
  3. Keeping a Calendar (Joy on paper, Kelly’s electronically)
  4. Admitting we are not perfect!Our secret: don’t beat yourself up when your consistency wanes. Get curious about WHY you haven’t yet mastered a new habit. Then adjust accordingly. Muscle-memory takes time!

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NOV: Nominate Only Valuable Elements

With elections in the air, one can’t help but think about voting. Stay in that mental space because we want you in “vote-mode.” As you switch over to warmer clothing and start layering, you will want to get serious about which “candidates” have earned your vote to stick around another season. 

During this month of NOV: Nominate Only Valuable Elements. Follow our decluttering rules for any area of your life, but especially your fall/winter wardrobe.

• Double check that your fall and winter elements have weathered spring and summer without losing elasticity, style or fit!

• Decide if each element still warrants your care and attention. The more you keep, the more you have to keep up! Why store it if you don’t love it?

• Make sure your belongings work well together. Spend time ensuring you have the makings of complete outfits, outerwear for all types of weather and accessories that keep you warm and fashion forward.

• You may find you need to replace a thing or two. Better to know this going into winter instead of finding yourself without waterproof boots or gloves that have a mate!

Follow our rules to find JOY in getting dressed and layered for all occasions — and maybe permission to shop for a new item.

If you’ve forgotten how to vote, or you’ve lost your veto-power, we can help. Call us to define and refine your best closet contents and storage system.

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OCT: Organize Cherished Time

In honor of National ADHD Awareness Month we want you to Organize Cherished Time.

Even if you don’t struggle with this diagnosis, TIME is something everyone battles. 

If you spend all your time & energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are truly important.

Who doesn’t want more time? Too often, we spend time on other people’s “shoulds.” That can leave us feeling depleted and disconnected.

 

 


This October — ADHD or not — Organize Cherished Time for better health, stronger relationships and a happier you:

• block out sleep on your calendar

• make nutritious meals a priority 

• plan dates with friends

• invest time in a hobby

Each person is different…and you know what you tend to neglect.
— You may be strong with self care but not great nourishing relationships.
— You may be overly attentive to exercise but not mindful of nutrition or sleep.
— You might make work too high a priority and place too little emphasis on touch-ins with family members.
— You might be starving yourself spiritually or creatively.

Whatever YOU struggle with, schedule that time until it becomes a habit.  

If you are visual, like us, check out this video that illustrates that we can only fit everything in if we start with the big rocks…


Make time work for you, not against you this month

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SEPT: Start Emergency Prepping Today

In honor of National Preparedness Month we want you to Start Emergency Prepping Today

While we’ve divided emergency prep into 4 distinct categories (physical, emotional, spiritual and financial), there is cross-over among them all.
• You may not feel comfortable inviting people in as your spiritual safety-net if your physical space is not inviting.
• You won’t be eager to create a digital photo album when your day-to-day routines aren’t running smoothly.
• You might not have energy to do anything other than work if your financial situation is precarious.

Financially:
• Have emergency cash on hand. Experts suggest – at a minimum – 2 full gas tanks worth of cash in case you need to leave town. You decide what your family’s emergency cash allowance should be.
• Save enough to hold you through whatever financial storm may strike.
  Or START saving to build an emergency cushion.

• If you do not “run” the finances of your household, make sure you could! Find out with and from your partner/parent/financial advisor how to pay your ongoing bills, check what is outstanding, understand what is on auto-pay and linked to which accounts. This is important for as small a crisis as a stolen wallet. 

We suggest you focus on one “area” of prep each week. By the end of Sept, you’ll be prepared for a safe and successful year.
1: Take care of your physical space
2. Protect and examine your emotional well-being
3. Create a spiritual safety-net by reaching out to others
4. Build financial security to weather any storm.

We help people in ALL aspects of preparedness.
• We are physical experts in storage and space planning.
• We are non-judgmental partners who support you without shame
• We help connect you to your passions by clearing your path to what’s joyful in life.
• We protect your investment in your self by helping you maintain your daily routines.

Call us! We’d love to help you prepare for the JOYS and the “Oy’s” of life.

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“Summer Slide” Survival Tips

“Summer Slide” refers to the loss of reading skills when not practiced. Let’s apply the term to household maintenance tasks, since backsliding occurs every summer.

These 1 hour projects are perfect any time of year but especially before September: 
Assess Fall wardrobes
— Look for fit and relevance to each person’s activities.
— Donate any “misfits” to make room for new items.
— Save time and money (and reduce stress) with a “to purchase” list.
— Then shop according to your list. 

• Take a Supply Inventory
— First tally what you already own of office and school supplies before you shop
— If you have school-age children, you’ll want to consult your teacher list first.
— Then shop at home from your own stash of notebooks, pens and markers.

Restock Your Pantry
— First, make sure the food in your pantry is fresh (fridge and cabinets items can expire and spoil). 
— Figure out what healthy grab-and-go snacks you and your family will enjoy and make sure you have plenty of the ingredients.
— Think ahead of your go-to weekday meals and restock your cabinets.
— Make sure your tupperware or pack-out containers are accessible.
In Kelly’s kitchen, tops and bottoms live together, so there’s never time wasted trying to find the right fit. 


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AUG: Anything U Get!

AUG 2018 calendar

To kick off our 2nd year of monthly-themed decluttering tips, enjoy this client-inspired acronym: AUG: Anything U Get. We can’t say which amazing client gave us this title but, about her we CAN say…she: 

• is very organized but works with us so projects get done quickly and without overwhelm 

• owns few things if you don’t count books 😉 

• has trouble letting gifts from others go…hence our advice: Anything U Get — whether purchased or gifted MUST:

• bring you JOY (may be utilitarian “joy”)
We don’t expect you to love every item in your household…your toilet plunger may not inspire JOY but if it functions well when you need it, you can appreciate its utility. The less mediocre items you have and the more “wow” kitchen gadgets you actually use – the happier you’ll be.

• have a home
If you want to avoid clutter, your belongings need a place to “live.” Their “home” should be the right size, a location that suits how often you’ll need it, and accessible by the right people.
— For example, when teaching 
independence to toddlers, they need to be able to reach their sippy cups.

• add value to your life — if not, put it in the regift pile or donate it
Everyone should have an area designated for gifts that are perfectly acceptable but not suited for your life, the age of your kids or your home decor anymore. And each household benefits from a spot in the mudroom, garage, or hall closet that holds donations until the bag, bin or box is full. The sooner those items make it to your car trunk, the faster they will be out of your way!

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Does It Spark Joy?

When Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was published in 2015, it sparked  a book craze AND heated discussions among organizers.

While we own her book, Joy nor Kelly ever finished reading it. Honestly, some of her methodology felt unreasonable: TOUCH every article of clothing!

Fast forward to last month’s professional development meeting through our local NAPO chapter. The topic was the KonMari Method™ taught by our colleague Amanda Jefferson of Indigo Organizing. Amanda shared great insight on the KonMari methodology and taught us what is the same and what is different from the Konmari Method as compared to our “brand” of organizing.

Here are some top lessons learned;
• Your belongings fit into 5 categories:
1. Clothing
2. Books
3. Papers
4. Komono (misc)
5. Sentimental

• The “life-change” comes from decluttering each category of stuff in the set order

• The KonMari Method™ is not for everyone — you need to desire a life make over not just work on one area of your stuff

• There is no major difference for how to categorize, sort and containerize.

• Vertical filing (as Marie Kondo suggests we fold things) DOES have its advantages 

Next time you declutter, remember to ask yourself if each item brings you JOY!

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JULY: Justify Unconditionally Loving Your…STUFF

Use all of JULY to Justify Unconditionally Loving Your STUFF.

While you may love people unconditionally, STUFF is different. We think you should justify why you love your stuff.

• Stuff takes up time, energy and space.
People also take up time and energy but most people have more clothes or books than friends crowding their life.

Friends don’t take up much space when we’re not engaged with them — but belongings do. So we NEED to curate our stuff. 

This JULY: Justify Unconditionally Loving Your Stuff

Here’s How:
1. Think about the value each item has in your life
2. Evaluate if the value is worth the investment of time to maintain, space to store or energy to use the item
3. If your physical space makes you crazy, identify what category of items is the culprit.
– Focus on making sure everything in that category belongs.
– If you need help, there is a quick-read book: “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” that teaches the importance of deciding what to keep.  

Our $0.02:  
Usually what is OUT is what makes us crazy.
• It’s OUT because we haven’t figured out what to do with itso use July to figure out whether to donate it or sell it (we can help with both options).

If you’re not struggling with stuff: make JULY your time to reclaim what you love about yourself, celebrate your strengths and focus on the positives and Just Unconditionally Love Yourself.

More to come: this month we’ll be reviewing Marie Kondo’s book about sparking Joy and sharing tips on the KonMari method.

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JUN: Jump Up Now & GID

 

Maybe you’ve heard David Allen’s advice: if something takes less than 2 minutes, do it NOW. We follow and teach the same principle

With the start of June we are halfway through 2018…CRAZY right?! We’ve been sharing acronyms to motivate organizing routines, remind you of what’s important and teach you about time management…This month, JUN: Jump Up Now to Get It Done. 

 

Meaningful Reasons to Jump Up Now: 

• when you DO rather than stew, you lessen your stress over a project

• procrastinating leads to more physical and mental clutter

• it’s never healthy to sit for too long 😉

• it could be a chance to experience joy

 

 

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Avoid Laundry Overwhelm

As a residential professional organizer, I visit lots of homes. One household system that is quick to fall apart and overwhelm a person is LAUNDRY. I see on a weekly basis how the “putting away” is where the system breaks down. 

Most of us are pretty good starting the laundry process.
• There is an obvious and inevitable external motivation to wash clothes when one runs out of clean socks or underwear.
• Many people are also decent at shifting the wet clothes over to the dryer. The widespread access to timers on our phones has made this step particularly easy for even the “follow-through-challenged.

I see “laundry overwhelm” during the next steps in the system:
  1. clean but not yet folded clothes that get mixed with dirty clothes or buried under other stuff
  2. folded clothes in baskets — if not returned to drawers or closets they clog rooms
    — this also holds laundry baskets “hostage” leaving dirty clothes “homeless”
If we focus on these 2 connected steps: 1) folding and 2) putting away
and employ task batching*, the process goes smoother.

Task Batched Laundry steps would look like this:

• SORT laundry into categories: if you mix loads from a whole household, your first SORT job will be by person, then by category of clothing (socks, underwear, shirt that fold, shirts that hang, bottoms, work out clothing, pajamas…etc)

This example is table linens – out of the dryer and placed directly onto a folding surface.

• DECIDE the categories to be folded

   This load broke down into hand towels, dish towels and cloth napkins.

 

• FOLD each category separately — preferably on a clean and flat surface

  FOLD each mini pile as its own category which is also sorted by location.

 

• DO all of your folding at once and PUT IT AWAY — when you sort by category you are essentially also sorting by location so your folded piles are easy to put where they belong.

Will task batching your folding process solve all of your laundry dilemma’s? No — but folding by category allows you to delegate small pieces of the project to even the youngest helpers. It also lets others take pride in the smooth running of the household if you’re lucky enough to live with people who will “volunteer” or as in our household, be volunteered to help 🙂
* Task batching is a way to manage time and perform tasks in sets where the same mental effort and physical energy is used to maximize productivity and streamline a process. If you’re a procrastinator…task batching is good news! It decreases the distance between start and finish and builds in lots of manageable size “loads.” More, but smaller tasks to quickly complete offer the satisfaction of a job well done.