How Can Organization get You Out of DEBT?!

Same way your fitbit can help you lose weight πŸ™‚

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m also trained in business and finance– it’s my second love. What you may not realize is how getting organized can help you with your finances. How?

  1. Organizing your bills and receipts helps you manage income and outflow. I can even help to set you up on a financial app and create a budget! and…
  2. In the same way that keeping tabs of diet and exercise help you lose weight, knowing where your money is going helps to keep spending on track. Watching your funds will prevent needless purchases and make your money work for you.
  3. Once you’ve decluttered and tidied up the rest of your space, you’ll be very choosy about what’s allowed back in. Often my clients report a lack of desire to shop and reclutter their homes after they feel how nice it is to be organized. Automatic savings!

So if you’re in need of a coach to help you build up an emergency fund, make a spending plan and sort out the paper clutter on your desk, give me a call! 720.984.1092

When a loved one passes…what to keep

β€œThe past beats inside me like a second heart.”
― John Banville, The Sea

Something I see often is the anguish of a relative who feels burdened by the volume of things left to them by a loved one, and yet they belabor over the decision whether to part with them. The feeling is a sort of longing, but it seems to be mixed with guilt, as if getting rid of something is somehow an act of betrayal. Or losing the person even more, if that was possible.

To begin with, if this is you, you can turn the tide right now by taking a good look at your belongings and getting rid of anything that doesn’t mean much to you. This will help anyone who inherits your world.

And to those trying to decide what to keep, let me offer this guide:

Can you use it?
Really, if you keep something but it stays in a box for the next 30 years, you really don’t have it. Try to keep things that can be used, displayed and enjoyed to keep your loved one’s memory alive and in front of you.

Some examples of things I’ve kept:
-an old avocado green GE clock that hung on grandma’s kitchen wall for years. It finds a place in my every home, and it’s currently telling time in my laundry room.
-a sewing box from my other grandma. It too was a green color, but a yucky one. I painted it white and display it, and use it. I kept her tomato pincushion in there, some lace, and some other findings that remind me of her, always sewing something.
-jewelry pieces that have been passed down from various family members. Not only do I keep them, but I wear them, and feel close to my loved ones.

Next up: was it quintessentially “them”?
There’s no need to keep the kleenex cozy from the back bedroom just because it was in their house. Think of the things that really defined them. A favorite book from their collection with their notes in it, maybe. Grandpa’s gardening spade. Poetry they wrote.

What about pictures?
If you don’t know who the people are, find a relative who might and ask them to explain the pictures or write names and maybe approximate dates on the backs. If they don’t know either, there’s no use in keeping them.

A final word, your relatives would not want to be a burden. Keep a few things that add to your life, and let go of the guilt of letting go of everything else. Additionally, sometimes it’s hard at first. Give yourself permission to hold onto things for a little while, but also give yourself permission to pass them on later.

Am I going to MARIE KONDO you?!

Well, I mean…did you want me to?

Recently I was chatting with a client who hadn’t heard the buzz from the new show. When I mentioned that the thrift stores are being overwhelmed due to Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, she questioned me about it. I told her about how the adorable little Japanese organizer bounces into a house, encouraging the inhabitants to keep only things that “spark joy”. Clothes that are kept are folded origami style, real small, and tucked away. Everything else goes, but not until you thank items for their service.

“She has a rule, no more than 30 books,” I remarked casually. My client snapped to attention, “well you know that wouldn’t work for me.” Yes, yes I did. Which is why I’d never expect that of her.

So, if you’re thinking that by the time I’m finished with you, your place will be as bare as the picture above, the answer would be: that’s up to you! While working with clients, I go with the natural flow of things. And while I may be a non-bias party that can help decide if you should get rid of something, you’re always the final word. Sometimes I’ll ask questions to help you decide. I won’t argue with clients about something they want to keep, not even an old tattered shirt, especially if they’ve been doing great with the editing process. My client above has purged all sorts of things and has ample room to keep books.

And while the KonMari method is great for some, it may not be for others. So, the question is: what do we need to do to make you feel comfortable in your space?

Coffee + Client= LOVE

This isn’t just any cup of coffee. See that tag? My client made it for me and it’s one item we don’t get rid of. In many ways, they’re family, and after every organizing session, my coffee tag goes back in the cupboard for next time.

This is the second time I’m organizing this entire home, as the floors are being replaced and everything shuffled. I know every inch of it after working here over time, but more importantly I know the hearts inside and they know mine. You see, the work I do isn’t about “the stuff.” That’s just what leads people to call me. But it’s the souls I enjoy working with.

Clients often admit that they’re worried at first that they’ll be judged for their dirt. But as today’s client mentioned, I don’t judge as I’m there to help them make their own decisions.

Oftentimes, I’m a sounding board for issues. Many times I’m asked for advice on topics totally unrelated to organizing. Sometimes, people just need someone…there. There while they let go of an ex or a family member. There when they get excited about a system. There to help them organize for a new job, a new school, a new adventure.

And so to my clients: I love you! Thanks for the deep talks, the new viewpoints of the world, the laughs–for sharing yourselves. Thanks for the coffee ❀

The Eyelashes: Pawning Off Purchase Mistakes

We keep things out of guilt– we paid a lot for something we didn’t use and now feel the need to punish ourselves by staring at it, apparently. Let me tell you about the magnetic eyelashes…

To begin with, I’m not proud of this story. Many of you may know that I’m an extremely frugal person, and I pride myself in the fact that I’m immune to advertising. Usually.

What nobody knows, except for Mom, is that I’ve always disliked my puny eyelashes. However, the idea of someone like myself putting glue anywhere near my eyes is a scary one, so I’ve never tried fakes. Enter an ad on Facebook with long luscious lashes attached by little magnets. You put one layer on top and they snap! into place with another layer on the bottom! Easy peasy, right?! I paid a ridiculous amount (I’m ashamed!) to have said eyelashes sent to my door, and waited excitedly to get them.

The day they came was a busy one, but I had about 10 minutes between tasks that day, in which I expected to be able to hastily snap! these on. I pulled the box out of the envelope it was sent in and read it. I was warned that these were for external use only, and if I were to accidentally ingest or inhale them, I should seek medical attention. I wondered what sort of mishap could cause one to inhale a row of eyelashes. It also said not to use if you have a pacemaker. I imagined a women wheeled into the ER with a stopped heart, an eyelash stuck to her chest…

Inside the box I found four spidery looking things encased in a sparkly silver magnetic compact. I pulled them out and prepared to look glamorous.

First, they clicked together but had only caught the tips of my own lashes, and so were hanging off. Next, they clipped too much to the left and then to the right, looking like a typewriter pushed all the way to one side. My hands shook, and several times they fell onto my cheek. I was starting to see how one might wind up sucked into a nostril. Over and over…I became so frustrated that I put them back in the magnetic spider trap. They looked up at me, innocently. I promised myself I’d conquer them another day.

That day came a few weeks later when I, with resolve, again stood in front of my mirror. I had a military ball coming up, and I wanted to get the hang of this so I could wear them. After much trial and mostly error, they snap! went right into place on my left eyelid. I was so excited, and yet I noticed that they impaired my vision somewhat, hanging low like one of those hippie beaded curtains in my field of vision. Also, I could see through my naked eye that the look really wasn’t me and seemed a bit fake. Which they were. Still, I felt triumphant!!!

I called up Mom on a video chat. She looked at me puzzled thru the phone. “…and what made you think you should do this?” she wondered.

“Well, you know my eyelashes are so puny. I thought these would be good for the ball. Not me, eh?”

“I know I couldn’t be in the same room with you without laughing.” …She was right. I probably couldn’t either. I imagined myself trying to carry on conversations when I couldn’t even see. I admitted defeat and a monetary loss.

Not long after, I was at coffee with a lovely friend of mine. A friend with class. A friend who could probably pull the look off. I told her about how I had been beaten by those magnetic black widows and instead of laughing at me, she told me she’d love to try them. Fast forward to another coffee date today, accompanied by a live piano player– it felt like being in a movie and snap! she was about to sport lashes like Marilyn Monroe. I passed them off to her and told her I’d like to see pics.

And so, this is where the organizing advice comes in: Often we keep things because we hate that we’ve wasted money on them. However, if you let something hang around the house, you’ve spent money, now you’ve spent emotional currency on it (stress!), and eventually you’ll wind up getting rid of it anyways. What can you do instead? Admit to the loss ASAP, get real with yourself, and pass it on to someone who will use it. This is especially important with things that might expire. For instance, I had a client who had ordered some costly supplements and then found they weren’t the right thing. She forgot to send them back on time, felt guilty for having wasted the money, and so they sat in the box until we found them– a couple of years after the expiration date.

If something like this happens to you, quickly scout out someone that can use your item. Then at least it won’t feel like a total loss. And you won’t have your failure staring at you…literally.


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 My Clients Teach Me

I’m very fortunate to have worked with and become close to many of my extraordinary clients. Along the way, as I teach them about organizing, they school me as well. I’ve gotten everything from reading recommendations to medical information.

cristian-newman-63291-unsplash.jpg

Often I work with senior citizens, and I’m blessed to be able to tap into their wealth of knowledge.

Recently, I’ve been working with a couple that’s been married so long that the wife couldn’t remember how many years when I asked her. It seems as if, basically, they’ve always been together and she can’t remember what life was like without him. I asked her what the secret was and she smiled and looked thoughtful.

“You need someone who respects who you are and what you do. That you are your own person. My husband was always very good at doing that.” Of course, she said this even as she sat at her usual station at the table, with his space that was almost always occupied right across from her, book open on a stand where he had been reading it. I knew although they knew how to be their own people, they were also one. Interdependence, I thought.

She continued, “and you need to be able to feel free to talk about it when something is bothering you. BUT you don’t yell. You sit next to each other and work it out. That’s it.”

Soon he came in and took his space with a bowl of soup he had poured. He started slurping and carried on a lovely conversation with me himself. I could see why she likes him.

Sometimes, with my clients, I wonder which of us is reaping the greater benefit. Although I went there to organize this couples’ belongings, they taught me to organize heart matters. They certainly seem to have that together.

Thankful.

Cutting Out Christmas Clutter

Ah-the most wonderful time of the year! But, unfortunately, all the “decking” of the halls, Black Friday and Cyber-Mondaying, and general merry-making leads to stress due to clutter, both mental and physical.

Photo Credit Andrew Neel

 

So here is your Official Guide to Holiday Sanity:

  • Buy experiences for gifts: this is an especially useful suggestion for grandparents who tend to overbuy and contribute to unwanted clutter. Suggestions could be tickets to a sporting event or show, yearly passes to the zoo, museum or state parks, or even one-time experiences such as a sailboat-navigating lesson.
  • Better stocking stuffers! Resist the urge to buy cheap, breakable toys that will be jammed into junk drawers. Instead, purchase card games (or a plain deck of cards with printed instructions for several new games), ornaments that can be hung, or things that will be used up such as holiday scented hand sanitizers, fun school supplies, and creamy body wash for dry winter skin. If you’re like me and don’t like to fill stockings with a too many sweets, instead opt for some nuts, or exciting new flavors of gum.
  • Out with the old, in with the new: January brings a lot of downtime with cold evenings that begin early. It’s a good time to make room for all the the new items received by donating unwanted items. This could also be done just before Christmas to keep kids busy on winter break– and they may be more easily convinced to edit their belongings for those who might need them.
  • Reconsider your decorations: Once you’ve pulled out your decorations and decided what to use this year, look at what’s left. If you haven’t used it in awhile, it’s broken, or the lights are out– now is the time to get rid of it. If it’s a family heirloom, consider sending it to a member of the family who will appreciate and use it.
  • Pare it down: If Christmas has become too complicated for you, it’s time to rethink. Accept only doable commitments, bow out of the rest. Shop online when possible. If you’re having guests, plan meals that can be thrown into the crockpot while you visit, and look up some breakfast recipes that can be prepared ahead of time and popped in the oven in the morning such as this overnight french toast dish.

 

Simplify so you can enjoy the holiday– take it down to just one partridge in a pear tree πŸ™‚

Merry Christmas!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

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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