Till Mess Do Us Part…Dating Advice from Your Organizer

Forget long walks on the beach– can you scrub a floor?!

So this is a little weird, huh? An organizer writing about relationships. But seriously, I have experience. Not just my own, but you know I’ve been in a lot of homes. And reading this blog is could save your sanity, so why not read on?

You know the Hallmark films where some guy comes to a small town, meets a beautiful woman who is his total opposite, and they hate each other at first only to fall in love and live happily ever after? Well, sorry to burst your bubble but it may not be as simple as that. Getting married is like a business deal. That sounds a little cold, I know. Maybe you should stop reading, but you won’t because of what brought you here in the first place. Either:
A. Curiosity or
B. Your spouse (or significant other) is messy OR
C. You’re messy and it’s causing trouble in your relationship.

The first & last ones are not as likely. Either way, read on πŸ™‚

So again, a relationship can be seen like a business transaction. “Now Sarah,” you might be saying, “you’re making this sound like an arranged marriage.” Well, kind of. Except what I’m hoping is that you’ll arrange the kind of relationship you need and want for yourself.

And one of the things to consider is a person’s tolerance for mess as compared to your own. See, realistically we all know that when the honeymoon phase is over, it’s really important to be on the same page as far as raising kids or managing money. Moonlit kisses are not what every day is made of, and it’s life’s responsibilities that often wind up making or braking us. In the same way, we need to look at home-making compatibility.

I say this because you’d be surprised at the trouble I see clutter causing in relationships. This isn’t just my personal and professional experience talking. The smarty-pants folks UCLA did a study which found that clutter was responsible for higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, especially in women. It’s easy to deduce what this does to a relationship. In an article in Psychology Today, family therapist Marilyn Wedge notes that clutter is often both a cause and a symptom of problems in a union.

Although there’s more evidence, again, I’m guessing you’ve landed here because you have all the evidence you need. So now, what to do?

If you aren’t yet married or pledged for life:
– It’s a really good idea to talk about who is going to be expected to do what.
-Consider how your tolerance for mess lines up with your future partner. There’s no set perfect level, low or high, It’s just better if it’s similar. I once dated a guy who’s kitchen consistently looked like Cookie Monster ate there. Seriously, I had no idea how it was possible to be that messy…
-If you’re mismatched in this area, consider how much you can compromise. If this is the only “con”, and your partner is otherwise awesome, it may be worth giving in a bit.

If you are already married or attached:
-A housekeeper or organizer is less expensive than counseling or a divorce. Just sayin’.
-Try to figure out what would help the less tidy person. Some people need things to be organized by practicality, and some like things beautiful (color-coded for example).
-If your significant other is just too busy, it could help to try to take some other things off of their plate.
-Look out for the emotional and physical well-being of your partner. Problems in either of these areas can be a cause of physical clutter.
-Remember to compromise and have grace. We all need it.

The Tale of Two Waters and A Wise Woman

Learning to let things flow through your life.

I’m working with a wonderfully creative woman right now. In her 80’s, no one can say she’s wasted her time. She’s excelled at about every form of art there is, and currently she is learning to paint– one thing she is determined to do before she “goes on”, as she puts it. We’ve also come across many books on short stories because writing is another new endeavor.

To make room for her current creativity, we’re letting go of some of the past. Not important things, no. Those things are displayed all around. Instead we’re sorting thru partially finished quilts and other projects. Some, she is delighted to find, and we store them in sight to be completed later. Others, she looks at realistically and declares that there’s not enough time so they have no chance of being finished by her hands. Also, materials such as fabrics she has stopped using, go now as she favors hand-dyed cloths over the usual cottons. How she decides which ones stay and which go is mysterious to me, but she definitely knows, and I package them up to be passed to someone who will be elated to have them. The items will go to other crafters and artists, some to be made for charities.

I smile at her. “You know how to allow things to flow through your life: Two bodies of water in the Middle East, the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, are connected, but vastly different. The Jordan has water that flows in and then out of it. It’s teaming with life and the banks are fertile. But at the end, it empties into the Dead Sea. Nothing flows out of the Dead Sea. It’s stagnant, and nothing can live in there. But you are like like the Jordan.”

All of these things will be passed on to someone who will use them, and she’ll be here, living out her creativity in the space we’ve now opened up. It’s a colorful life πŸ™‚

Need more TIME? Multiply it.


“You cannot solve today’s time management problems,
with yesterday’s time management thinking. What we’ve noticed, is the emergence of a new type of thinker, somebody that we refer to, as a multiplier.”

– Rory Vaden

Have you ever watched a Ted Talk? If not, you should consider it. People from about every field and walk of life share their thoughts on the most interesting subjects. I like to listen to them while I’m in the shower or working by myself. The effect is kind of like one big motivational meme. Something that sparks thinking and encourages you to do great things.

One that I remembered and returned to recently was a talk by self-discipline expert, Rory Vaden, about time. He highlights the fact that prioritizing and other efforts by time management gurus, although helpful, do not– cannot– create more time. We are all always lamenting the fact that there’s only 24 hours in a day. And so, Rory talks about time multipliers. The link for the talk is below, but I’m going to post a few highlights here.

The main idea is that time multipliers judge tasks not only on how important they are, but how long they will be important. Vaden labels this measure, significance. This judgement on how significant something is leads the multiplier to then take action.

One can then decide which things to say “no” to today to make time tomorrow. And as Vader points out, any time you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to everything else anyways. So, multipliers don’t struggle to say “no”. Anything that isn’t going to be significant to you tomorrow, or in the long run comes into question. I recently made a decision to cut out something that I realized was a time investment in an organization that wouldn’t be significant to me in the long run. That’s multiplying time. I can instead invest in something that will have benefits in my “now” and in the future.

The biggest takeaway from the talk is that multipliers invest time today in a way that makes tasks easier and less time consuming tomorrow. The example used is automating bill pay. Taking the time today to set that up in order to save time every month. That yields a better return on your time investment than just paying the bills today.

As Mr. Vader says, “The way that wealthy people think about money is exactly the same way that multipliers think about time. And they give themselves the permission to invest–invest the time and energy to automate the process.”

So, if by now you’re interested in learning how to grow in your productivity, check out the full Ted Talk below! (Then get busy with your math! πŸ˜€ )


Organize Your Physical Therapy Schedule

Stretch, grunt, and repeat.

So, you’ve been told to do PT and currently you’re doing good just to remember to wake up in the mornings. But your body is depending on you, so how are you going to stick to therapy?

I’m currently entering back into PT myself, now for a shoulder issue, and I’m planning to use the same method I’ve used before as it’s pretty simple and effective.

First, print out a blank calendar like the one above (found here at Fresh Calendars). Then, slide it into a plastic page protector and stick it on the wall with some tape or poster putty. You’ll want to put it somewhere that you’ll be forced to see it. I like to hang mine on the wall in my bedroom, visible just past my nightstand so I’m facing it if I go to turn out the light…that way I’d feel guilty about going to bed without doing my exercises!

Every day when you do your exercises, take a dry erase marker and cross off the day or draw a smiley face πŸ™‚ The ability to erase this and start over helps if you need to go for more than a month.

Hoping you heal up well!

Dollar Tree Organization

My favorite products πŸ™‚

If you feel like just breathing the air at another store costs you money, you might want to look at the Dollar Tree. While many products are unique or worth paying more for, sometimes a bin is just a bin and you could find something less expensive to get the job done.

So if you’re worried that it will be too expensive to organize your home, take a look at these finds from the Dollar Tree– where EVERYTHING actually is $1! There are more great products to be found here, but I want to list only what I’ve tried and favor.

Drawer Organization

Click here to find them

These come in a few sizes and you can mix and match in any drawer to make some custom organization. It’s better to see if you can find these in store to get exactly what you need. Click the pic πŸ™‚
It might seem a little strange, but ice cube trays make good organizers for sewing drawer embellishments, jewelry and any other small trinkets. They’ll cost you more elsewhere, so snag them 2/$1 at Dollar Tree.

Pantry and Closet Organization

Get a set of these in matching colors or complimentary and create a cohesive look. Wrangle all of those little granola bars in a pantry, or travel sized toiletries in a linen closet.
They also come in white, primary colors, and metallics!
These handled baskets are great and they’d cost you a lot more elsewhere. I can’t wait until they come out with new colors! Handy for closets, cabinets, or even your refrigerator!
I can think of endless uses for these and they’ll nest inside each other when not in use. They also come in a taller, more narrow version.
How about labels for your containers of dry goods? They have regular….
….or dry erase!

Office and School Organization

I love these magnetic tins. You can put paperclips in them to hang on your filing cabinet or in a locker. You can put spices in them for your kitchen, or findings in your craft room too!
These pouches with snaps are great! They are better for items you’ll only need to access once a week or so, otherwise you may want to upgrade a little
With so many sticky notes to choose from (there’s more than these!), why would you pay more than $1?!

Everywhere organization– please!

Something I often find everywhere in a home (especially with kids!) is TRASH! Often there’s not a waste basket close by and so garbage winds up in weird places. These come in black and white and for $1 you can put one everywhere you might need one.

A final note: most of these are sold in bulk from the site so unless you need many, try finding them in store first. Different stores carry different items so you can try more than one. If they don’t carry it in store you can always as the manager about ordering. If you need to order online, technically all sales are final but I’ve been told by my local store that they would exchange unused product one-for-one in store for something else.

Happy shopping!

What to do When Your Organizational Systems Fail

For one reason or another, sometimes the very systems that we’ve put into place to keep ourselves in line fall apart. Even my own. Why?

Often it’s that our needs or lifestyle changes. The lists I made on the counter as a stay-at-home mom don’t cut it now that I’m on the go most of the time. Sometimes we change. Technology has really pushed this along. Often I find it’s just that I get numb to doing it the old way. I start to ignore the reminders that once kept me on task.

This is where many lives begin to unravel and the it’s beginning of disorganization for someone who was previously fairly organized. What should be done?

I thought the other day about the original Dr. Atkins and his diet. In his book, he mentioned that if you fall of the wagon, or get tired of the diet at some point, you should switch to another diet– pretty much any other one. Because as much as we would be led to believe that it was the kind of diet that was key, just watching what you being aware and practicing self control is at the center of any program.

Let’s translate that to organizing, which also involves a certain amount of discipline. What happens when your organizational systems stop working for you? You guessed it! Implement new ones.

Find what will work for you now. Do some research, ask a friend what they use, inquire from an organizer to find some new possibilities. This is sure to keep things from getting out of hand, and get you back on track again. After all: new year, new you organizational systems, right? Sounds like you just got permission to blow time on Pinterest! πŸ˜‰

Ikea Hack: More Than Just a Magnetic Knife Rack

Ikea’s Kungsfors knife rack is loosely translated from Swedish to English as: “Magically Attractive Organizing Strip of Wonder”
At least, that what I made up heard.

Don’t box in this great organizing tool…it can do much more than look pretty and hold knives and scissors. Grab yourself a plate of KΓΆttbullar (Swedish meatballs), pull up a chair, and read on!

This suggestion from Shelterness is genius! Use several magnetic strips for an easy way to help kids put away Hot Wheels and other toy cars.

Next up: how about a handy way to store hair barrettes, nail clippers and other personal care items?

And how about a magnetic key rack in your hallway next to the door?

And Houzz had a great idea to store paintbrushes and other small tools this way

And this idea came right from Ikea: Use it for meal planning to hold recipes! (This could be used in an office for kids’ art too!)

And a final few words, this magnetic strip has also been known as “Grundtal” and “Fintorp”. Also, you can find similar magnetic racks at places like Target or Amazon. What would you use them for?

Overwhelmed & Anxious? Do these 3 things

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There have been many years that my teacher at the school of hard knocks has given me an “F” and sentenced me to repeat a level. I’m no stranger to painful situations or sometimes just a multitude of duties which threaten to take me under.

Fortunately, I’ve learned something that helps me push thru the most difficult of hard times. 3 Things.

Maybe you’re waiting for me to tell you what those three things are, but first let me set the stage. See, part of the issue when we go thru troubles or simply deal with anxiety is that we are getting ahead of ourselves and our situations. Simply put, we are looking at everything at once. But at the present, there is no way for any one person to deal with it all.

And that’s why you’re going to take it one day at a time and do just 3 things. Any 3 things. If you’ve been following me, you know I’ve talked before about this as being a tactic of extremely organized people. However, this is an extremely effective strategy for anyone who needs to tackle the chaos of life.

So, it goes like this:

Right now, think of a few things that need to be done. Anything will do, but if you have one in which time is of the essence you may want to make sure to include that.

Pick which of those things is either the most pressing, or if you’re completely at break point, pick the one that seems most doable. Do that. Don’t worry about anything else. Just do that. When it’s finished and you get to check that off of your list (feeling better already!), knock out the other one or two things on your list.

Finally, feel accomplished. Meeting short term goals like this will help you not only move forward but make you feel good about everything else. Now, you’re gaining ground.

When you’ve done this, relax and make a new list for the next day. You can write it down, put it on your calendar, or if you’re like me you’ll email it to yourself. As more and more tasks begin to get knocked out, you’ll be bringing more peace to the areas of your life that are within your control.

So what are you waiting for? You can do this.

 

Dollar Tree Ikea Hack!

FIND OF THE DAY!

Containers

Today at Dollar Tree, I found some great round magnetic containers in a couple of sizes made by Jot. If you’ve been on Pinterest, you’re likely familiar with these handy little things. Dollar Tree has made them more affordable! The larger are a $1 each and the smaller come in a two pack for your same dollar. If you can’t find them in store, order them here. Instead of telling you what you can do with them– let me show you!

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