Organizing and stress Organizing can help to reduce stress in a variety of ways. Recently a couple hired me to help their father (-in law) get settled in his new home. He lost his wife, retired and was falling a lot in his previous home. The couple was stressed and found him a smaller home in an over 55 community. They were both working and overwhelmed with trying to help him unpack and get settled. In the meantime, the father was burdened with boxes and cluttered space. Hiring a Professional Organizer is an effective way to reduce everyone’s stress. As with any move in the priority is to get the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom organized. These are the areas that we tend to spend the most time in. When you move into your new home it’s important to be able to shower and have breakfast, right? Allowing a professional to come in and help make decisions about where to put things is a stress reliever. This gentleman was tired and able to take an extended nap while I organized the primary living areas. He was so grateful and looked forward to Day 2. Organizing benefits Organizing has many benefits including: Accessibility – Knowing where to find and return important items and papers. Safety – Reducing injury, preventing falls. Mobility – Enhancing mobility in more open spaces. Ergonomics – Limiting bending and reaching for frequently used items. Comfort – Creating a sense of comfort and a feeling of home. On Day 2 I was able to organize the living and dining room areas so that they were more functional and aesthetically pleasing. Knowing what we were going to organize helped to reduce his stress and give him a sense that this project was doable. The office area was used to stage… read more →
5 Critical Reasons to Declutter… (just in time for Spring and Mother’s Day) Your San Diego Personal and Professional Organizer wants to share my 5 critical reasons to declutter. The includes all of your stuff and even your to-do list. I say that it’s “critical” because the long term affects of living and working in a cluttered environment or with a cluttered schedule have consequences. Reason #1: Create more space and flow of energy. Clutter wastes space and blocks the flow of energy in your environment. Everything has energy and blocking it with stacks of paper, piles of books that you will never read again, expired foods, and unlimited amounts of cables and cords will cause stagnation and the problems described below. Read on… Reason #2: Improve health and safety benefits. Clutter attracts dust and mold; stacks can cause tripping and falls and head injury. I had a client years ago who tripped over a stack of things piled on her staircase. She broke her foot and had to go up the stairs on her bottom for months. She only called me because her friend threatened to contact adult protective services if she didn’t work with a Professional Organizer! Imagine how it would have changed her life and her relationships if she had discarded, recycled or donated items. Reason #3: Increase efficient use of time. Clutter means wasting time searching for important things and papers. Wasting time can cause you to be late and miss deadlines. You know that being late is disrespectful or others’ time and can also have financial implications such as added fees. Why risk your relationships or your credit rating? Reason #4: Reduce stress and enhance self esteem. Having to deal with clutter on a regular basis causes frustration, stress and embarrassment; it can negatively impact… read more →
Paul Simon sang about “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”. My song would be entitled, “50 Ways (and Reasons) to Leave Your Clutter”! Here they are: Declutter & enjoy an aesthetically pleasing home & work space. Present an inviting, open space for family and friends. Provide a professional, paper-less work environment for clients and staff. Minimize memorabilia. Prioritize the tasks that are important and time sensitive. Postpone tasks that are less urgent or important. Utilize the items that you purchase. What are you saving them for? Appreciate the belongings that you possess. Display them & get them out of boxes. Ensure the worth of valuable items. Avoid stuffing them in boxes and stacking them. Travel in a well-planned & organized manner. Optimize your appearance by creating a wardrobe that fits your lifestyle… and the body that you are in today. Maximize your wardrobe by layering, mixing & accessorizing. Create new outfits from your closet. Update your style and image by organizing your purchasing habits. Rejuvenate yourself by establishing an organized sleep routine. Select healthy food choices by organizing shopping & meal planning. Learn ways to make time to relax and practice self-care. Schedule time for massage, a walk with a friend or time in nature. Gain support for achieving your organizing and time management goals. Increase your physical energy & mental clarity by scheduling regular time for fitness activities. Challenge yourself to acknowledge all of your successes; big & small. Mindfully notice what you are doing by being present and uni-tasking. Ease into the process of creating or changing habits. Empower others by engaging in organized practices. Produce maximum results with reasonable levels of effort. Evaluate the urgency of tasks realistically. Being organized means being prepared. Assess what is needed for a project before you start. Savor time for leisure… read more →
Several years ago a woman called me because her friend threatened her! The friend was concerned and frustrated because she tried to help the woman get rid of the excessive amount of stuff in her home without any success. She reached the last straw when the woman tripped over a pile of newspapers and as a result of the fall, broke her foot. Now in a cast and forced to go up and down the stairs on her bottom, the friend threatened to call protective services if a professional organizer was not hired. This was an extreme situation, of course, and yet it raised numerous issues related to organizing and how it can improve both personal safety and health. In less extreme situations clutter, or excessive quantities of items, objects, and paperwork, can cause a variety of other concerns in addition to obstacles that cause falls: Fire hazard Compromised emergency preparedness, inability to access important items in an emergency or exit a building safely Injuries from stacked items falling Dust and mold that may cause or aggravate allergies, asthma Social isolation that may be caused by shame surrounding a cluttered environment, including estrangement from family members, and a negative impact on interpersonal relationships. If this sounds like someone you know or a situation that troubles you, it’s time to talk with a Professional Organizer. As a Professional Organizer I am part of an industry that trains us to work with these situations in a systematic, confidential and non-judgmental manner. It is stressful for a family member or friend to help no matter how much they care and mean well. They can support the work that the individual does with the professional. Write down your questions, concerns, and most importantly, your goals. All it takes is a phone call to start your forward movement.
Travel and packing can be unnecessarily stressful if you are not organized and don’t have the right supplies. Think about your last trip and what was difficult. Was it a carry on that was too heavy to store overhead? Did your rolling suitcase topple over? Did you pack too much? If you are going to invest in new pieces of luggage know which features you absolutely want (see article below). I personally have some strong preferences such as spinner-type wheels, and hands-free options for carry on bags and purses. Consider your most important needs for travel before, during and after the trip. Use the Outside In planning steps: Before: confirm your itinerary, accommodations, weather forecast. Do a luggage check – are zippers and wheels working? Are there tears or dents? Consider using packing cubes. Use a template for a packing list. During: revise your packing list template to note items you didn’t need or wish that you brought with you. After: keep your carry-on bag packed for the next trip. Refill toiletries, as needed. Update your packing list, if needed. Here is an article with helpful luggage and packing tips. http://businesstravel.about.com/od/luggageandpackingtips/bb/rolling_carryon.htm
This month I’m sharing tips and resources to help you organize your family, home, and business in order to be safe and prepared for possible emergencies. Take a tour of your home and identify areas that: are overcrowded – prevent objects falling & people tripping are too dark – replace light bulbs, apply stick-on lights at entryways and in closets, keep a flashlight handy are potentially hazardous for children, seniors, pets – check the electrical outlets and cords, lock up medications & toxic substances, keep perishables in weather and rodent-proof containers, remove area rugs or furniture with sharp edges Here is an article that highlights additional safety organizing tips: http://www.pbs.org/hometime/house/safety/safediy.htm What is the 1 change that you will make today?
Natural disasters may occur anywhere in the world. Have you organized your important documents, health/medication records, and passwords? Do you have a safe deposit box? What about keeping duplicate items with family or friends who live in a different area? #1: Start with a specific plan of action. #2: Use a checklist to make preparation less overwhelming. #3: Schedule dedicated time (a specific day/time) to complete one action at a time from your checklist.
It’s not about living in fear, it’s about thinking ahead and using that opportunity. Here’s a great article for family organizing: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/what-emergency-supplies-keep-in-car
What types of natural disasters might you encounter in the area that you are living? Do you have a plan of action in the event that one occurs? Do you have the supplies that you might need at home and in your vehicle? There a number of online resources that can provide you with helpful checklists such as this one: http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/checklist_1.pdf Additional tips: Make multiple copies of the checklist(s) that you use. Distribute them to family members, roommates, coworkers, etc. Keep a laminated copy of the checklist in the container, backpack, and bags that hold these items. This will remind you of the contents during a stressful situation and save you precious time looking for what you need. Refer to the checklist at regular intervals to be sure that adequate supplies are on hand and that items are in good condition and have not expired.
Do you think that summer organizing is limited to cleaning out the garage? Well it’s also the best time to focus on disaster preparedness. No matter where you live you are going to want to use a checklist to ensure that you’ve addressed a variety of: types of disasters important documents and records valuables, including sentimental possessions. Here are some resources that you can refer to: FEMA: http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan CDC: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/ Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/plan You may also contact your local chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) to find an Organizer who can get you started!