Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

Tomorrow is the first day of September and as such it begins National Preparedness Month. Looking back at the events of the past week and the havoc left behind by Irene I was thinking about my family. How prepared would we be if disaster struck? How prepared are you? I admit I do not have a package of information ready to grab with my vital documents. Do you have something portable with your important information inside? I’m referring to things like social security cards, banking and other financial account numbers, birth certificates, marriage license, will… The things that identify you and that will help you should you loose everything in a natural disaster. Then I was wondering where I would keep such a grab and go box or package of information. The best place for me to keep it will be in my file drawer. I have space to keep a package of information (probably I will put it together in a large manila envelope inside a heavy duty plastic bag). You see, that will fit in my large tote bag. It wouldn’t be too heavy or cumbersome. These are things for you to think about, too. Where would you keep this package of information?

I was also thinking about bringing in to my house a supply of drinking water and maybe some canned goods.  It’s good to be prepared – also good not to go overboard. Remember that canned goods have a shelf life, an expiration date. I will only bring in a few extra things, canned things that I will use and replace so that they don’t linger on my shelf long past they’ve expired! What will you do towards being more prepared this month?

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Children’s Artwork

August 24, 2011

I was at my doctor’s office today for a routine check-up. The nurse who checked me in was reviewing the information the office had on file for me. When she got to the part that indicated my profession she asked ‘really? Are you really a professional organizer?” I said ‘Yes!’ She told me she wanted to take me home with her. Generally, when I tell people what I do they either say something like ‘I need you!’ or ‘Will you come to my house?’ My response is always ‘ Give me a call when you are ready – here is my card.’ So that is how I responded to the nice nurse. I gave her my card. A few minutes later she approached me in the waiting room and told me she’d been to my website and that I have some good tips on it. I thanked her and went back to my reading. A little later she came back to me, a little hesitantly, and asked if she could pick my brain for a few minutes. Of course I said ‘Sure.’ Her question had to do with her children’s artwork. She has two chidren; one in kindergarten and one in first grade. They are coming home with lots and lots of artwork. She doesn’t want to keep it all (that’s good!) but she also doesn’t want to just toss it. What should she do? It’s a quandry… I told this really nice nurse the same thing I tell all my clients with children bringing home artwork.

Buy an album for each child. You can use a thin binder or a dedicated photo album. When the child brings home an art project ‘OOh and AAh’ then take a picture of the child holding the art. Print the picture (either at home or where ever you print photographs). Put the picture in the album and have them tell you something about the art. It can be just a title of the art piece or the date, the school year, and the teacher’s name or it can be a few sentences. Really, it’s up to you and your child.

Then, once the picture is safely in the album you can dispose of the art. This method does several things. It honors the effort the child put into creating the artwork, it keeps the piece in the child’s memory, and it eliminates the need to keep all the art in your house. Understand, though, that there may be a piece or two or three that you want to keep around for awhile – maybe for this school year. Or until these masterpieces are replaced by even better works of art!

Listen to yourself!

August 17, 2011

Have you read the August issue of O The Oprah Magazine? I have been reading and re-reading the cover story titled “Let Intuition Be Your Guide”. Are you wondering why I am so fascinated? This cover story has a series of articleswhich describe the various ways intuition or our intuitive sense manifests itself. Martha Beck wrote a great commentary in which she names her inner voices Fang (her loud and socially conscious inner voice) and Buddy(the quiet inner voice). I always read Martha Beck’s column because I love her tremendous sense of humor which accompanies  her wise words. If I were to name the loud voice – the one who can speak to me despite all the activities I get involved with – I think her name would simply be ‘LOUD’. The quiet voice – the one who tells the truth – I would name ‘Flower’. Why? Well, for two reasons. One: because I love to garden and often do some of my best intuitive thinking when I am pruning plants, pulling weeds, or just simply ‘playing’ in my garden. Two: because I love the skunk named “Flower’ in the Disney movie, Bambi. She wisely says (and I quoted this to my boys ALL the time when they were growing up) “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Anyway, all the pieces are interesting and speak to me. I tend to get very busy. When I am in one of these busy modes I sometimes forget to be still and to listen to the silence. In the silence, when I take the time to listen, I hear and understand better the nuances of my life and of those I hold dear.  As a professional organizer, I ask my clients a few questions before we start organizing. First: to tell me what is bothering them most? Second: to list their priorities. From there we create an organizing plan.  I think sitting quietly and letting their intuition speak to them might help my clients answer these questions.

If you have not picked up this magazine go out and get it. I promise you’ll find this series of articles, at the very least, interesing!

Priorities

August 10, 2011

Do you ever say things with conviction and then not follow through? I know I do sometimes. I have made promises to myself and then, I guess, not made that promise a priority – so it never happens. I have done that regarding this blog. I have told myself time and again that Wednesday mornings I will take a few minutes and create a new blog post. As you can see from the date of my last blog post a full month has gone by. What have I done with my Wednesday morning blog time? I can give you lots of things, lists of things I have done other than write this blog. The fact of the matter is that I have not made this a priority. It’s really pretty funny because I think of lots of things to write about when I am out walking my dog, Mr. Miles, every morning. So, I can’t tell you that I don’t sit down to do this because I don’t have anything to say. Also, I really do enjoy the writing process – I have fun putting the sentences together to, hopefully, create a meaningful (or at the very least interesting) blog. What do I think is preventing me from keeping this promise? The answer to that question is that I have not made writing a priority. I have not put the other things that come up aside. Writing this blog must become a scheduled activity on my Wednesday calendar – I’m going to put it in at 9:30am and we’ll see what happens next week.

Sometimes people put off doing things for no real reason. It could be they don’t make time (or schedule the time) to do them. It could be they are not really interested in …(fill in the blank). It could also be that whatever it is has not be made into a priority, so has not been scheduled.

I’m interested to know if there is something you could make into a priority. Is there something that you really want to do but don’t? Could you write it into your weekly calendar on a specific day and time to make it happen?