FROM FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: You walk into daycare, toddler Emma in tow, and you can already tell that drop-off isn’t going to be smooth. In fact, you’d like to drop off the planet right about now. The teacher greets you in her robe and slippers, and just as you start to wonder about her mind, you remember: It’s Preschool Pajama Day. When Emma realizes the mistake, the waterworks begin. A quick call to your husband yields one late-for-work daddy, but he saves the day by bringing a pint-sized pair of PJs for Emma. “Being a hero has its price,” you tell him when he starts to complain, and then you give both him and your daughter a quick kiss, a weak smile and an apologetic shrug. On the way out the door, your stomach growls and you remember that you also forgot to eat breakfast. Being a working mom is hard enough, but these morning transitions are killers.
Situations causing disorganization Situations causing disorganization include major life transitions such as divorce, death, retirement and job loss. The impact of these situations is well documented in academic and popular literature. Situational disorganization may be characterized in 2 ways, sudden and unexpected situations, or expected but unprepared for situations. Sudden and unexpected situations One of my clients suffered a setback when she had to go in for surgery. Fortunately she has a resilient personality and an optimistic attitude. In a previous blog post I highlighted the fact that even organized people can become disorganized when change occurs. The benefits of being organized are that you have a system and routines to return to after the initial shock. Here are some examples of sudden, unexpected situations that can occur. Sudden diagnosis of illness or chronic condition Sudden injury or accident Unexpected relationship separation Unexpected job loss, re-engineering, downsizing Job promotion Financial emergency Sudden loss of significant other or family member Natural or man made disasters Theft, break-ins Expected but unprepared for situations Some events are expected but we may be unprepared for them because we are in denial or do not ask for help. The key is to prepare as much as possible before a crisis occurs. For instance, we are all going to age and there are a variety of great resources to access such as the AARP website. So why wait? The following list includes just some examples of situations that might be expected and you can prepare for: Aging – self, significant other, family member Relocation Birth of a child Return of adult child to household Ongoing financial deficits Ongoing health problems, degenerative condition Long standing relationship or marital problems Long standing employment issues Housing conditions, unaddressed maintenance and repairs Automobile breakdowns, unaddressed maintenance and repairs Natural disasters… read more →
Organizing Tips Organizing tips should be easy to use and offer many benefits. The benefits of organizing may be easily seen as in the case of a decluttered surface such as a floor. Some organizing tips yield benefits that cannot be seen but they are definitely felt. As a Personal and Professional Organizer my clients tell me about these benefits: Sense of calm – less stressed or overwhelmed. Greater clarity – where and how to declutter and organize. Improved confidence – being able to maintain organized spaces. Organizing tips can address a number of issues including too much clutter, inefficient use of space, time savers, and unnecessary spending. Begin by deciding what your organizing goals are and be as specific as possible. After you identify your goals, decide on your priority. You can only organize one thing or space at a time. As a Personal and Professional Organizer I find that my role during this part of the project is the most helpful. If you are feeling overwhelmed and want to know where to start just grab a notepad and take a tour of your house. Brainstorm without judgment and list everything that you would like to organize. Here are some organizing tips for you to try on your own… Organizing Tips | Home and Office Schedule time to declutter and organize – It’s unlikely that you will just “find” time to work on your project. Scheduling a specific amount of time on a specific day will ensure that you will be able to get it done. Take a break and organize – When you find that you need a break and want to do something that doesn’t require thinking, organizing is a great way to rejuvenate. Organizing tips during your break may include shredding, filing, clearing your desk top,… read more →
Professional Organizer Professional Organizers are highly motivated to transfer their organizing skills to their clients. It makes more sense for you to to enjoy the benefits of organizing by using them in between sessions rather than use them only when I am there. I listen carefully to the things that my clients say during the time that we are working side by side. This helps me to highlight the client’s successes and reinforce how it is helping her or him to meet their goals. As your San Diego Professional Organizer I must admit that I especially like it when a client sends text messages and photos that show me what he or she achieved on their own. Recently I wrote this article about Professional Organizing, in which I highlighted 5 Essential Benefits of working with a Professional Organizer. One of the ways that I can gauge what the client is learning and using independently is to listen to what they tell me. 7 Things I learned from my Professional Organizer Most people who want to work with a Professional Organizer for 2 basic reasons…to declutter and set up organizing systems. They know that by doing this they will make better use of their space, gain more space, and save wasted time looking for things that they need. Here are some of the statements that clients make when I ask them what they learned (or are learning): Do one thing at a time. Avoid moving from 1 area to another and finish what you start. Dedicate time to organize. If you plan to spend a block of time organizing it will happen. Don’t wait for “free time”. Minimize interruptions. Turn off the phone, if possible. Avoid checking email. Use what I already have first. Once you know what you have you… read more →
Organizing a cluttered garage Organizing a cluttered garage doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. I observe that in fact, sometimes people would rather avoid this project and resign themselves to parking in the driveway or on the street. That may not be an option for some of you because of neighborhood rules. Organizing a cluttered garage has many benefits. Let me begin by asking you what your vision or need for the garage is. This is a key step for organizing any space in your home because having a vision enables you to create a well thought out plan. Begin organized requires planning and creating systems that can be maintained. Organizing a cluttered garage | Storage, function Let’s consider what the a garage is generally used for. The first function is usually storage. Storage may include any or all of the following items: Vehicle(s) Seasonal items Recreational and sports equipment Surplus household supplies Large and bulky items Paperwork and records Garages may also be used for multiple functions such as: Laundry room Tool and repair center Gardening center Workout area Your garage is no different than any other space in your home. You will decide how you want to use the space based upon your individual needs. As your San Diego Professional Organizer I don’t go in and tell you how to use it until we thoroughly assess the needs of you and your family. Organizing a cluttered garage |What is clutter? Clutter is an accumulation of unnecessary and useless things that are put into the space and never looked at or used again. It includes items that are useful but may be stored improperly and even pose a safety or access risk. Too many and improperly stored objects and boxes that take up valuable space, collect dust, mold, insects and… read more →
Useful clutter tips Useful clutter tips help you to reduce and prevent the accumulation of new clutter. As a Personal Professional Organizer I can assure you that clutter is the small stuff that piles up, sits in boxes, takes up room in closets and drawers, and causes overwhelm. If you agree with the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”, it’s helpful to apply that attitude to getting rid of clutter. When I say “small stuff” I mean things that are not currently meaningful, important, or useful to you. Clutter is trivial stuff, it blocks energy and takes up space physically, emotionally and financially. To declutter effectively the best thing that you can do is make quick decisions. Getting help from a Professional Organizer will help you to avoid the pitfalls of doubt, guilt, and stress. These are the feelings that cause people to procrastinate and not make decisions. Useful clutter tips address 2 things: How to let go of existing clutter. How to prevent reappearing clutter. Useful clutter tip #1: If items are spoiled or expired discard them immediately and in a safe manner. Discard spoiled and expired food. Toss expired skin and hair toiletries as well as old makeup (especially mascara). Useful clutter tip #2: Contact your physician or the local police station to find out how and where to discard expired medications; do not flush them down the toilet. Remember that one of the benefits of organizing is to create a safe and healthy environment to live and work in. Useful clutter tip #3: Research where you can recycle and dispose of toxic products, electronics, batteries and light bulbs safely. Please do not put them in the trash and read safety instructions very carefully. Even water mixed with some chemicals can be poisonous. Contact your local landfill to… read more →
Organizing Purses Organizing purses is much easier than you think. This of course depends upon how many you have and how much space is available for storage. We often accumulate more clothes, purses and other accessories than we actually wear. It’s not unusual for me as a Personal and Professional Organizer to find items with price tags still on them in clients’ closets. Does this sound familiar? If so, that is why I am passionate about sharing organizing tips for purses, too. The benefits of organizing purses include: greater enjoyment from wearing all of them, more variety in your wardrobe, and easier access to your well kept inventory of purses. Why so many? If you love purses as a lot of my family members and friends do you probably enjoy buying them as much, or even more than wearing them! The “rush” some people get from buying things is well documented. Read more: How Shopping Makes You Happy. Women who love shopping may especially like a good sale and sometimes purchase purses and other items they don’t really need because it’s “such a good deal”. A positive emotional response to shopping and buying is a part of why purse collections grow. Another interesting article to read or share: Emotional Spending. Finally, the other reason you acquire so many purses may be that you don’t take the time (I recommend at least once a year) to go through your purse wardrobe and let go of ones that you are no longer wearing. How to organize purses Having too many purses makes it impossible to wear them all. I am sometimes asked the question, “How often should I change my purse? Well there is no “should”. I personally don’t like to change my purse except for 2 reasons: change of season,… read more →
Organizing Shoes Organizing shoes is a daunting task. Your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer knows that you know you need the organizing because you: Have too many shoes to store. Don’t wear all of the shoes that you own. Wear the same ones over and over again The benefits of organizing shoes are many so I want to share some insight and my organizing tips here. Let’s start with why some women buy so many shoes. Here’s an article about the emotional connection that you may have with: Shoe obsessions. The benefits of organizing shoes and taking control are: Have a reasonable amount of shoes that you enjoy wearing all of them. Create more space without tripping over shoes (improve safety). Adequately store and care for your shoes (reduce allergens). Basic steps for organizing shoes Assess your inventory – get them all in one place to see how much you have and what you can let go of (purge) Sort shoes that are alike in some way: color, function, seasonal Assess your available space – do they fit in your closet? If not, where else can you store the ones that you are keeping? Storage: No cardboard boxes, clear or opaque plastic boxes eliminate the need for labeling. You can also use racks, cubbies or for the more creative types check these out for inspiration: Ingenious Ways to Organize Shoes Creative Shoe Organizing Ideas 1 Unmistakable Solution Buy less shoes! Seriously, you will still need to reduce the amount of shoes. Try not to feel anxious. Think about reducing your inventory and do a little bit at a time. First, let go of all of the shoes that you don’t wear, that don’t fit, and that you don’t need or want. My organizing tip is always to do the… read more →
Paper organizing tips Paper organizing tips help you to: Reduce the amount of paper. Streamline your paper storage systems. Improve workflow efficiency. When you reduce the amount of incoming paper that you have to keep and read. It also allows you to access what you you need quickly and when you need it. Less paper means less filing and certainly, less piles of paper. Your workflow efficiency is improved because you can see what you need to work on and prevent missing deadlines, or worse, incurring fees. Paper organizing tip: Recycle junk mail before it comes into your house or office. You decide what is junk mail and then act on it immediately. Junk mail may include catalogs, circulars, credit card applications (shred these), and donation requests (also shred). For me, junk mail also includes advertising for things that I can find online later when and if I want to. Why recycle before it comes into your home or office? Remember that there are at least 3 benefits to be gained: Prevent paper clutter. Maintain clear space. Save time. Recycle junk mail | Tips, Warnings Your San Diego Professional Organizer needs to warn you. I found an article on How to stop junk mail . DO NOT USE THE PHONE NUMBER they advise you to call. When I called the number the first thing that you are asked for is your social security number. That’s a red flag. Remember that identity protection is even more important these days. Here are organizing tips to help you to recycle your junk mail: Keep a recycling container in the area that you bring mail into such as the garage or entrance to your home or office. Open envelopes immediately and recycle them as well as the non-essential or confidential inserts. Use an identity… read more →
DIY Organizing Projects DIY organizing projects are a great way to: Take stock of what you already have, what you need and will use, what you want, and what you are ready to let go of. DIY organizing projects allow you to feel productive and creative. You realize the immediate benefits of organizing: clear space, energy flows. Here is a Jumpstart Organizing Project that you can do any time of year: Organize a Gift Storage Space A gift space or hideaway allows you to store the gifts that you purchase throughout the year. People do this as they see something that they think a person would like to have; they’re inspired. It’s also a great way to spread out your expenses, save money, and save time. A gift hideaway keeps purchases safe, clean and hidden from potential recipients. Christy of Thrifty Thriving says: “Make sure you have the room to store the gifts. I now have a closet in my garage, but I have previously kept the gifts in a Rubbermaid storage tote.” Read more Steps for Organizing Gift Storage Identify the space – Select a barely used closet or cupboard that is well ventilated, dry and has shelves. Purchase supplies – Removable labels (helps you to remember who the item will go to), storage containers, etc. Group “like” items – Remember to store the gifts in a way that makes sense to you. Examples are by person, holidays, special occasion. If you need a little help to make a plan and get started, check out this service: “Personal 3-Step DIY Action Plan” for organizing your home or office. Create more space Prioritize steps for de-cluttering Organize, contain, label Schedule 1 session with your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer to today!