7 Simple Organizing Tips To Keep Life Moving Forward

 

7 simple organizing tips to keep life moving forward

Life keeps moving. It’s moving fast and it’s easy to get bogged down, especially with our new normal. Your fatigue, anxiety, extra time spent resolving a challenge or a regular work week can get you behind in organizing and staying organized. Here are simple organizing tips to keep you organized on a regular basis.

 

Get through daily paper work and mail.

Paper is can paralyze us with so much paper coming in. Set up recycle and shred to easily sort the mail daily or at minimum weekly.  It takes 5 minutes daily or 30 minutes weekly to do a quick sort and triage.

Have a grocery plan and a dishes plan.

Food makes everyone happier! It takes a few extra minutes to order online, however you are saving time and money in the long run.  Make your grocery plan on the weekend so that it can arrive before the week starts.

Paper plates have a new sparkle if you are not getting your dirty dishes done each night. Create partnerships within your family to load, unload, and clean up each night after dinner. That includes taking out the trash.  Your future self- that’s tomorrow’s self- will appreciate this more than you can imagine.

Check your calendar each morning and evening.

Our best plans can turn against us without checking our calendar each day.  It’s a good start and end to the day to be organize, prepared and proactive.  Add tasks, appointments and projects all the time to your calendar to keep it current in real time.

 

Have a donation bag available all the time.

When you try on something and decide it’s scratchy, the wrong color or too hard to keep from wrinkling is the time to drop it into your bag. We drive by drop off sites all day and simply bring the bag to your car and drop off when it is full.  You will find it is much easier to do the laundry with fewer clothes too.

 

Keep laundry moving

I have seen loads of laundry washed and dried, yet not back to the closet or dresser.  Break loads into smaller units to get that final step complete.

 

Host a daily home and work reset

We wish we had a magic want to get all the items and papers back to where they belong.  Since we don’t  have that wand, we need a daily reset at both home and work. That’s where your family comes in to partner with you here.

 

Self-care is a daily priority

Self-care looks like a lot of different things in our lives. It’s going to be on time, exercising, eating healthy, taking a shower, reading a magazine or facetime with friends. Whatever self-care looks like to you, be sure you are keeping it a priority every day.  We need to laugh, get outside and get to bed to be our best selves.

 

It is hard to keep all these organizing maintenance tasks going. If you find a lapse in one in particular, focus on that for a week. It is also easier once you have your family on your team too.

What to Organize Now Fall Organizing

fall organizing

 

Start fall out with a plan of what to organize now. In the uncertainty around us, we want to create a calm, organized space at home, at work, for family and for ourselves.  That’s the biggest benefit of organizing. We feel in control, make decisions and see positive changes in our space.  Here are 5 tips of what to do right now for Fall Organizing.

 

Edit and reset your closet

Make every day better by editing and resetting your closet for fall.  Now you know what you did not wear this summer so grab a shopping bag and start decluttering.  Your closet editing will lead to resetting for fall.  Bring in items from other closets and rearrange fall colors to the front of your closet. It’s fun to see your new fall wardrobe this way.

 

Pantry prep

Starbucks is heralding pumpkin spice and it’s time to spice up your pantry. Check for expired items from spring’s surplus buying.  Re-organize what has gotten out of order.  Bring in your fall favorites for winter weather like apple pie filling and canned pumpkin.

 

Get ahead of the holidays

Holidays are going to look different this year. Now is the time to start conversations with your family.  Start with your family plan on gathering and gift giving.  Assess what is in your gift closet now, make a list and take stock of what you will be giving this year.  Get head with your holiday lists. It will be joyful to think ahead.

 

Structure your schedule

Schedules offer us sanity in uncertainty.  It is about work flow for our both our personal and professional life. Our schedules include routines which help us thrive.  Review your morning and evening routines.  Talk through homework, dinner and bedtime and what to improve on getting your routine consistent.  Drill down to a simple, easy to follow schedule for you and your family.

 

Declutter your home and office

The pandemic has set us in motion to make big changes. Families are moving, individuals are seeing new work opportunities and relationships are taking off. Decluttering is important. You can let go of more than you think and thrive. Place a donation bag at an easy access location to drop items in regularly. When the bag fills, drop it a your local philanthropy.  Letting go will always be what to do now for getting organized.

 

Fall is a favorite season for many of us with cooler weather and getting back to routines. Follow your intuition and use this time to get organized and gain clarity.

 

6 Ways to Create a Home To Recharge and Re-energize

6 ways to create a home the re-energizes

 

Our homes continue to be our place for work and play. Since Spring we have been “safe at home” with COVID-19 and now we are home this summer more than ever with restricted travel. This summer is the time to create spaces in our homes for tranquility and vitality. Every family needs space in their home to recharge and re-energize.

 

Declutter first

Decluttering first gives us energy. Maybe you haven’t realized how much your stuff is weighing you down. When we edit and remove that which is not loved, used or needed, we open up space in our homes. Start in your family room and then move to your kitchen, then next to your bedroom.  In the family room decide which collectibles are still important to you.  Do you need to edit photos or add more recent photos? Are there books you can donate to the library book sale room?  Create a space that helps you gather together for games and family fun. In the kitchen, simplify what you use for preparation and storage. Have your extra dishes become more than you need? Are you ready to slim down your food storage containers (aka tupperware)? In these high traffic areas, look to simplify and create easy access for what is most frequently used.

 

Create Tranquility Zones

Set aside time each day for tranquility.  Comfy sofas and bedrooms are ideal for napping.  These spaces for tranquil rest are where we can renew with cool temperatures and the whirl of a fan.  Add a soft throw or coverlet and you will enjoy your short rest.

 

Create a Book Nook

We’re learning and reading more than ever. That reading includes audio books, paper books, kindles, devices and magazines.  Book and magazine storage can be a small basket beside your night stand or in the family room. You can create a family library by installing additional shelving in a hallway with low two shelf storage or tall five shelf storage that matches the wall color. Decide how much book storage you would like, set that as a boundary for the number of books you want and then donate books that won’t fit into your space.

 

Create a meditation or yoga space

More of us are using meditation and yoga for calm starts to our day.  Your family room can be divided into zones for a variety of uses including media and exercising. Place your yoga mat in a wicker basket for storage in a corner of your family room for easy access and room to exercise.

 

Invite your family outdoors

Time outside in the sun and the shade energizes us.  Getting our daily dose of vitamin D is important as well as fresh air.  Invite your family into the outdoors with a hammock between trees, an oversize Adirondack chair in the shade or a bistro table and two chairs for snacks outside.  New sports like pickelball and old sports like crochet are fun family activities to play throughout the summer.

Create a common charging station for everyone’s devices

Prioritize your family’s tranquility each evening with a common charging station in a common space. Each evening place all the devices in your home in the station to recharge.  Everyone will benefit with a better night’s rest.

 

Re-organizing your home this summer will re-energize everyone.  This boost will make a difference for summer fun and time together as a family.

Creating Resilience in Difficult Times

resilience

 

Are you beginning to think we have been thrown back to ancient times and there are many plagues before us? We are going through a global health crisis, economic bumpy roads, and social unrest.  It’s certainly a time to create resilience during difficult times. Here are some strategies that can hold you in safe space with the unprecedented times.

 

Solid routines

I am a professional organizer and productivity consultant. Naturally the first recommendation I have is to create a rock solid routine for your morning, evening or the day. Your routine can have flexibility without begin rigid.  Rock solid routines include your set bedtime, your daily exercise and your productivity time blocks. A solid routine helps you know what your plan is for the day, which can be rearranged as needed.

 

Sacred self care

Self care and resilience are like peanut butter and jelly. Your self care will keep you well rested, well hydrated, and positive.  We need energy to stay calm and carry on. Many people are learning new games, crafts and outdoor activities. When you give yourself time to do what you love or to learn something new, you feel energized and upbeat. Self care is required during these times, and beyond.

 

Trusted sources and resources

Media and social media are filled with many emotions and lots of information. By now you have drilled down to what is your trusted source.  Stay true to what you trust and rely on.  Double check facts online.  I have been relying on science based information rather than many opinions. Use many facts to find the truth of the situation.

 

Spiritual learning

There is not much in the media that is sharing thoughts about faith. This is a time to lean into your faith. That may be through religious ceremonies via zoom, a daily evening prayer, grace at meals or with a prayer book at home.  Knowing there is a great good and a higher power empowers our hope and resilience.

Authentic connections

Authentic connections help you process the world and keep you grounded. Throughout the pandemic, I have called two friends a day to spend time processing what is going on around us. They have helped me find meaning and purpose in this bumpy time.  This is the support we all need as we discuss and sometimes laugh at the tough times.

 

 

Find the good. It’s all around you.  It is the awareness that even in the most troubling of times, good is here.  That is resilience. Knowing the good is here.

 

3 Tips to Help You Get Organized to Stay Healthy

 

 

Health has been a long time priority for our family. Above all else, we prize taking care of ourselves and building good routines that support wellness.  Our motivation includes being a role model for our kids and grands kids. We know that what we do reflects on their choices.  As a family we have sadly had parents die at an early age. We want to live a long healthy life to spend time with our family and friends.  We have prioritized health and well being and you can too by adjusting a few tweaks to your self care and lifestyle.  Check out these 3 tips to help you get organized to stay healthy.

 

Make time for exercise in your schedule

Exercise is a stress fighter and immunity builder. It’s that important to be sure that even with the busiest of days with the longest hours, you add in exercise. There are so many ways you can make sure you exercise multiple times a week.  Set a schedule to include some exercise, whether it is a class at the gym or a far walk from your car to your office.  You can exercise with your family when you all take a walk together, ride bikes or online classes.

Finding the exercise you love helps you commit to this. Since 1988, I have prioritized taking a walk every day. I have the opportunity to set my own schedule, I start my day early with a walk. A variation of my walk can include a “walk and talk” with friends to keep connected or “think big time” about my business, professional next steps or personal goals. I have made the commitment to walk 10K steps a day currently and love that I am accomplishing this early in the day.

 

Make it easy to take medications, supplements and vitamins

While not everyone agrees on the value of supplements or vitamins, we do all agree that to take care of ourselves we need to make it easy. What is easy? It is placing your medicine or vitamins where they are easy to see and take each day.  Using a medicine organizer, you can be sure you are taking your daily doses timely. It’s easy to take medications by setting your alarm on your phone to be sure you take these at the correct time.  I carry a small ziplock of over the counter medicines to keep with me as I go about my day.  Using auto refill, it’s easy to have all your medications without hassle.  You can pull up to the pharmacy window to pick up your refill when texted. When things are accessible and easy to see, it’s easy to be sure we take what we intend or is prescribed.

 

Plan a great night’s rest

There’s nothing more powerful for wellness than a great night’s rest.  Experts share the many ways to help you relax and rest. With so much to think about and worry about, it’s hard to settle in.  However, getting more exercise helps us rest better. We slip into slumber more easily and stay asleep all night. As adults it is tempting to stay up late, binge watch and then hit the snooze button in the morning. It is a matter of creating a schedule that includes a bedtime that works for you.  By establishing time for tranquility, we are setting ourselves up for a better day tomorrow.

Here is how I get started scheduling my bed time. I start very early in getting ready for bed, like ridiculously early, at 6 pm. I wash my face and get ready in my night wear. I keep my bedroom very cold and very dark. Also my bed sheets are heavy and weighted. I plan on eight hours of rest. My bedtime and rise time are the same every day, including the weekend. As you can see, I love being rested! I am a creature of habit that makes it easier too. While you may not be a person with solid routines, take one of these tips to use for your bedtime.

 

Get started on these lifestyle changes with one small step. Over time, your new habits will be something to brag about to others.  Your family will be thrilled too.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Cooking with your Quaranteam

 

cooking with your quaranteam

COVID-19 meal times are the best times of the day! According to Google, the most searched items are recipes especially breads and banana bread!  It is a great time to take advantage of cooking with those in your home and on your quaranteam.  On FoodTV we are seeing quaranteam cooking in everyone’s homes like Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman. Join the fun of cooking with those in your home or who you are isolating with you!

 

Meal Planning

When I talk with families, the biggest fail at family meal time is deciding what to cook! The parents feel the ownership of what to prepare and feel compelled to decide. That decision making creates paralysis.  Let’s share this responsibility with your family by creating a menus with their input. Families have been creating theme nights during the pandemic to spice up their time together.  This includes different countries’ cuisines to cooking in different times in history.  Work together to plan and write out a menu so everyone looks forward to dinner together.

Dreading your online grocery order? Our kids are digital natives and can help with this too! When groceries arrive, plan a group effort to organize and put away the items.

 

Dinner preparation

With many people at home, making dinner is a team effort. You can partner on different nights to prepare dinner. Cooking is a life skill that requires math so you are learning as you go. Reading the recipes require following instructions. Dinner prep is a great time for out of the box learning.

 

Dinner time chatter

Make communication the key during dinner. Set aside all technology (and that includes the parents.)  Make dinner time talk more fun with these prompts.

  • What’s one word that describes your day and why?
  • What is the Best of the Week (BOW) and Worst of the Week (WOW)?
  • If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?
  • If you had a super power, what would it be and why?

Cafeteria, aka Leftovers

Because there are 3 meals or more a day at home, be sure to cook extra for leftovers and other meals.  Get creative on how you plan to convert meals into a multi-purpose menu. Here are some ideas.

  • Tacos become quesadillas and taco salad
  • Marinara with pasta becomes pizza sauce
  • Extra rice and beans become burritos
  • Roasted veggies become Italian subs

Help your family be self-sufficient with an organized pantry.

Dinner clean up

No one wants to be left in the kitchen to clean up. How do you establish standard operating procedures for clean up after dinner? There are no reasons not to do this as a group now. Everyone can do one small part. There are paper plates too! Be sure the dishwasher is empty and ready to receive incoming plates, etc.

 

The best part of being together is the communication during dinner. Keep dinner time as together time during this “new normal.”

COVID-19 How to Use This Time Purposefully

covid-19 how to use this time for purpose

 

There are many emotions and daily changes that are happening. Some days are better than others. It seems that the only constant is change with daily updates on how to live life, what’s next, and what is being put in place for our community. We are all cultivating resilience and courage, as well as learning more and more. Please know I am here to support you and be part of your Quaranteam.

 

We can use this time purposefully.  This pause has given us the gift of time in an unusual way and that hopefully we will never have again. We can be intentional with this time and give ourselves the gift of purpose. I have chosen two strategies to give purpose to each week. For me it is building new habits and giving back. These two elements have given me structure, focus and meaning.

 

Building new habits

Being at home more, I have the opportunity to build better habits that have been harder to develop.  There are many strategies to make habits stick. (Yes, certified professional organizers are a work in progress too.) Simple habits like exercising more and drinking more water have eluded me because I was not able to work these into a reliable time during the week. Early appointments and long days made it hard to get in enough steps.  Carrying a water bottle seemed cumbersome during the week. Time at home has given me an opening in the morning to accomplish my 10k steps a day. The benefit I imagined, such as improved sleeping and ongoing positivity, are reason enough to continue past the end of quarantine.  Drinking more water, with a sliced lemon, has become my beverage of choice through the day. Just adding these two simple parts of daily life are important to my well being, my work and my family.

I encourage you to choose one small, valued habit to make a difference during this time.  On top of my list would be a great sleep routine, next being healthy eating. These foundational self care elements help you live your best life!

 

Giving back to others

How to Help and Give Back is front page news on the Wall Street Journal. Research fully supports the value of helping others during times of stress. Helping others does not have to be big.  It’s in small acts and gifts. Thank you to everyone making masks. These contributions are already making a difference for everyone (especially as we are now required to wear masks.)

In addition, here are some amazing stories I am hearing. A friend brings Chick-fil-a to a “work from  home” family with 2 kids under 5 to brighten the day. A friend writes “I miss you” notes and tapes these to the her friends’ back yard gates. There are countless donations of gift cards to service industry professionals like nail salon workers, hair stylists and cleaning ladies. Do what you can with what you have to be a contributor.

There are big needs for our community too. These are links to needs local to Houston.

 

We have some bumpy roads ahead as we make our way through this dark time.  The time passes more quickly if we all have purposeful intentions and actions.  Comment below on how you are making a difference! I’d love to hear from you!

COVID-19 Establishing Time for Tranquility

time for tranquility

 

There is a lot going on right now as we continue social distancing.  It is a long list to think about with the virus, our work, our families, our community and our country. As we move through each week, we are all in this together both literally and figuratively. Despite knowing what we can’t control, there are times we can establish for tranquility. Tranquility times offer us ways to feel positive, reset our energy, renew our energy and be prepared for what is next.

 

Parenting tranquility time

Parents continue to be working double shifts with both their own work and their kids corona-schooling.  Setting up an organized work space and organizing your home are important. Equally important is setting up a space for calm.

  • Setting a bedtime for everyone helps.  Toddlers and elementary age kids require a regular bedtime through the crisis. Your teens may not go to sleep at that set bedtime, however they can be ready to relax in their own rooms then. You can request placing their devices in a common charging spot with your device and head to be yourself.
  • Organize everyone’s own bedroom. These spaces promote tranquility in that their primary function is sleeping. Remove excess clutter and paperwork to create a calm environment.
  • Put on your and everyone’s headphones, ear buds or air pods.  Everyone listens to their own music, meditation or podcast.  It’s silence for everyone at the same time.

 

Personal space tranquility time

Each of us needs a time and place to reset and rejuvenate. That’s harder with everyone at home.  The joy of outside exercise can be  your personal space tranquility area.  Set out for a walk, run or bike ride to regroup. Rainy day or too little time to get outside? Use YouTube for yoga, especially Yoga with Adriene.

 

Extrovert tranquility time

I see a lot of sillies suggesting our extrovert friends need to be connected.  For extroverts, there is energy in being with someone.  A reset includes connecting by facetime, join.me, or phone.  Take the opportunity daily to get in touch and to reach out.

 

Spiritual tranquility time

Many spiritual groups are setting up time to worship virtually.  Tap into this tranquil time through online worship. You can attend your ongoing worship or choose new spots to worship.  Many churches and temples are offering daily times to connect too.

 

More ways to establish tranquility time

  • Set boundaries with social media and news.  We are bombarded with information all the time.  Know that you can step away from all of this and come back refreshed. Set yourself up for success by taking breaks from your devices.
  • Intentionally pay attention to positive energy.  Check out SGN, Some Good News. New episodes are available each Sunday evening.
  • Know what works for you to establish tranquility. Psychology Today article suggests prayer, reading, meditation, yoga, creative activities, positive self-talk, cooking, gardening, journaling, deep breathing, listening to music, household projects, spring cleaning, meditation, puzzles/games, playing with your pets and kids, and doing something nice for someone else.    Expressing what you are worried and anxious about is a good thing.

 

Your tranquility times can be as needed or scheduled each day.  Be sure you are generous in the amount of time you give yourself as self care.  We all need a break to reset and regenerate energy.

 

 

 

 

Being Your Best Self in this crazy, mixed up, upside down world

 

be your best self

 

Intentionally engaging in positive thoughts and self care help us combat the anxiety we are all feeling right now. Being your best self in this crazy, mixed up, upside down world is our best strategy for coping.  Here is what sets me up for success right now.

  • Intentionally focus and act on positive emotions. Know what brings you joy and be ready to focus on it when you feel anxious. For me it’s taking a walk or a bike ride. Being outdoors gives me a sense of well being.
  • Connections matter to us. We have all been experiencing Zoom Happy Hour and family bike rides. Reach out to others to connect by Facetime or Facebook Messenger to see faces and chat. There is so much to connect about and share with family and friends.
  • We have learned new technologies this week that bring us closer together. Seeing so many schools teach by technology have taught parents and kids new ways to connect and learn. Colleagues are working remotely and collaboratively. Learning new technology will always be a part of our lives.
  • Learn about the ways we have conquered past health challenges. We have brilliant researchers at work right now, just like in the past.
  • Create a daily schedule for you and your family. Start your day with exercise and lemon water. End your day with getting to bed on time. Predictable schedules and routines anchor us.
  • Declutter, get organized and share your blessings with others. Go from space to space to edit what you have not been using or needing. You can use GiveBackBoxes.com to send items using your Amazon boxes. (Donate wisely.)
  • Giving back makes a difference. I was moved to see this cell phone choir. Everyone sharing their gifts, talents and skills. Where can you make a difference today? I have created a new series of YouTube posts to help you declutter, tackle paper clutter and more.
  • Resetting and rejuvenating is good. Take time for sitting, thinking, listening and relaxing. It’s an ideal opportunity for strategic thinking for personal and business goals

Gratitude fills my days. I am always practicing gratitude and affirming the good around and in us. I am grateful for the privilege of being able to work from home during this time and share tips for work at home. I see love, laughter and connection with you, family and friends on social media.

Thankful. Grateful. Reflective.

 

 

be happy and be grateful

 

Like all of us, I am feeling anxious and unsure of what is ahead.  There is an enormous amount of sadness and grief, for loss of life, jobs and connections. At the same time there is a deep underlying sense of gratitude.  During this global crisis, I wanted to say how grateful I am and how gratitude shapes my daily life. Here is my list of what I am grateful for, despite our “new normal.”

  • My daily walks keep me in touch with nature and family. We are quarantined with our family and grateful to be engaging with them everyday through a morning walk.  There is a lot of joy in spending time together.  This would not occur in other times when we are all living our pre-virus life. I hope for you that you are also getting outside in the green space and feel supported in this time.
  • Each day I have the opportunity to cheer others on and serve others. Finding small ways to give back make this time meaningful and purposeful.
  • My home is a place of serenity. I am often asked how organized my home is. I am also doing my own decluttering and organizing. My home is where I find peace and rest. I hope you find that same in your space.
  • There is a pause for me to reflect. Life is busy. This is an opportunity for me to think about what I will apply moving forward.  I have been spending time thinking about who and what will be an every day part of my life after quarantine concludes. I want to surround myself with positive people, experiences and work.
  • This time has given more the opportunity to connect more. Every week I connect to clients to see how everyone is doing.  Every day I reach out to two friends. That brings so much joy to my day! I have laughed harder, smiled more and said I love you more than any other time.
  • My work brings me so much joy! I have worked on my YouTube channel as I planned this year. It is time to spend on learning more to help my clients. I realized that there is always a new opportunity to create a schedule I love every day.

 

I am here to encourage you. Find the positive in your time during COVID-19. I look forward to hearing what is “sparking joy” for you right now. I think many of us are thinking of the powerful positives that have come our way.

 

thankful. grateful.reflective