Monday, November 16, 2015

Getting Out of Your Door in the Morning

There are a lot of people that are just not morning people. They can't seem to get out of the house on time. They run around looking for their keys and purse / briefcase / backpack.....  They forget their lunch.

It's a problem that many people have - every morning. Yet - there is a simple solution!

GET ORGANIZED - the night before!

I know - it sounds logical and you've tried it - for one day.

Being organized is about staying organized - which is about getting organized.

Remember what I've said in the past - "a new habit takes about 90 days to learn and become your own".

Make time every night to get yourself organized for the next day.

Pick out what you are going to wear and set out your clothes for the next day.

Put your keys and wallet (or purse / briefcase / backpack) next to the door.

Have your lunch packed and ready to go. Leave yourself a note on your purse (or by your keys....) to remind yourself to take your lunch out of the refrigerator.

Set up your coffee maker so that it's all ready to go in the morning and you just have to hit the button.

Set your alarm - and set it for an extra 10 or 15 minutes early - so that you can have a more relaxing morning. By giving yourself some extra time and having everything ready to go - you will cut down on your stress level.

Go ahead....  try it for a while - and see if you aren't in a better mood and on time for work!

Have a great and organized week!

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Start the Holiday Season - by Decluttering Now

This year has gone unbelievably fast! The holidays will soon be here - and that means more "stuff" everywhere, the stress of deciding what to buy everyone and also deciding where to fit everything.

So - take a step back - breathe - and start making room now.  That means decluttering your closet and house of things that you really don't want anymore. Things that you have grown tired of.  Things that no longer fit into your decor ....or mood.

Let's be honest - you know that you will get more "stuff" for the holidays.  So start making room now.

Go through your closet and pull out anything that does not fit anymore (be honest with yourself). Pull out anything that is out of style or worn out.

Do the same with the kids and each person in your house.

Then start on the kids toys. I'm sure that since last Christmas they have outgrown a few toys!  Pack them up and donate them to someone that can really enjoy them. Be sure to make your kids a part of the process.  It's never to early to teach them about donating and sharing their things with people that can really use them. A great lesson to learn early in life!

Now step back and take a look at your living room. Are there any decorations, nick-nacks - that you no longer enjoy?  Then pack them up.  Your home should be "your" home - not someone else's. If you don't like something - pack it up. 

Start decluttering now - before the mad rush of the holiday season really kicks in. By doing so you will save yourself a lot of stress and you will have accomplished something.

As the holiday season gets closer - please remember that everyone has their own tastes.  Don't buy gifts because you like them - but rather because you know the other person will really enjoy (or need) it.

By starting now - and doing a little bit at a time - you can avoid (or lessen) the stress that accompanies the holiday season.

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

An Organized and Stress Free Thanksgiving

Yes, “Organized“, “Stress Free” and “Thanksgiving” can be used in the same sentence.

It all starts with the word “organized”. Don’t let it scare you. Embrace it. By being organized and planning ahead you can actually enjoy a holiday.

Start by deciding on what you want your holiday to be like. Do you really want to serve a sit down dinner for twenty (20) people? Or would a buffet be acceptable for you? Would it be acceptable for your “family”?

The pressure of trying to please everyone, especially parents and doing things “exactly” like when you were little and everything was perfect is how the “stress” starts.

It’s your house and your dinner party. You can start new traditions. I didn’t say that it would be easy or that you wouldn’t get some flack, but all “traditions” started somewhere. Make your own. You deserve some happiness.

If you really want a fancy sit down dinner party but twenty (20) people is too much for you to handle then cut the guest list down.

If you really want all twenty (20) people there then maybe you should consider a buffet. It’s much easier and your family will eventually come to terms with the fact that maybe you aren’t serving a formal sit down dinner, but the food is just as good.

You can make Thanksgiving as simple or as complicated as you want….it all depends on how organized you are willing to be.

A good way to keep the stress levels down is to divide and conquer.  Enlist your family for help. Don’t take “no” for an answer. This is your holiday too and you have a right to enjoy it.

And we all know that old saying “if Mom isn’t happy, no one is happy”.

Start at least two (2) or three (3) weeks before Thanksgiving.

Decide on the type of gathering (formal or informal), the size of the guest list and the menu.

Don’t attempt to make something new for dinner or try out a new dessert that day. It could turn out to be a disaster and that would cause you more stress. If you really want to try a new dish….test it out prior to Thanksgiving.

Menu: Do you really want to serve cranberry relish and sweet potato’s even if you don’t like them and only serve them because “they are always served at Thanksgiving”?

Make up your own menu (yes, it is radical). Serve something different. Serve something you like!

If you are having a small Thanksgiving dinner don’t feel obligated to serve Turkey.  I know, blasphemy!  Last year I made stuffed Cornish Hen. It was wonderful and just as delicious as turkey. You can also stuff a small chicken or even a duck! Or be really different and have Ham! The possibilities are endless.

Start new traditions!  It’s not easy to buck the system but once you make up your mind that you deserve to be happy and stress free on a Holiday you will wonder why you waited so long.

Remember, the whole point of a Holiday is family and friends and spending “quality” time together.   Everything does not have to be perfect. Be thankful for what you have and not for what you don’t.

A great piece of advice: Don’t attempt to clean your oven Thanksgiving morning before you put in the turkey. I did that once, years ago. I then found out that after the oven is cleaned it needs to cool down and the oven will stay locked for another hour or so after it’s done. And you can’t open it! It certainly put a dent into my dinner timetable!

By starting early and making lists and getting as much done ahead of time as possible you will avoid a lot of stress.

Once you have your menu planned work backwards and make up a timetable to what needs to be done. For example: if you want your dinner to be served at 6 p.m., what time do you have to put the turkey into the oven?  What time do the potato’s and vegetables need to be started?  Just make a list and put it on your refrigerator door so that you don’t have to second guess yourself and aren’t panicking at the last minute.

When your family or guests start to arrive your mind and attention will be elsewhere….so a list can help you stay on track. Don’t leave anything to chance.

A few days before Thanksgiving:
* Shop for all of the essentials, including as much of the food as can be purchased ahead of time
* Make sure that you have enough spices and things that you will need for the food (and rarely buy)
* Do any of the baking or make any desserts that can be made ahead of time
* Thaw the turkey (the size will determine how many days it takes to thaw in the refrigerator)
* Buy the wine or any beverages

The day before Thanksgiving:
* Buy any last minute items at the grocery store
* Chop anything that can be chopped ahead of time (vegetables, bread for stuff…but do not stuff the turkey ahead of time) and put them in plastic bags so that you will be all ready to go the next day
* Make sure you have enough ice
* Prepare any of the food items that can be made ahead of time
* Make your family aware of exactly what you need them to help you with on Thanksgiving.
* Having assigned tasks for your kids and spouse ahead of time takes away some of the stress of what’s expected of them the next day.

The night before Thanksgiving:
* Set the table and get out all of your platters and serving dishes.
* Make sure that you have enough dishes and silverware. If you don’t, now is the time to call one of your guests and ask to borrow something. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out that you broke the gravy boat last Thanksgiving and never replaced it.

When I entertain I love to use all of my special platters and dishes. I love to fuss over my family and I love to set a very special table. I don’t consider it extra work or a hardship or stressful. It’s my way of telling my family and friends just how special they are.

But again…..the Holiday and family and friends are what’s important….not the china or the food. So if you aren’t the type of person to pull off a sit down dinner with all the decorations don’t beat yourself up. There are only so many Martha Stewarts around. And she has a staff to help her!

Thanksgiving Day:
* Wake up early so that you can have some “you” time to have coffee and relax before
the day starts (it will get stressful enough later, so the morning might be the
only time you have)
* Read over your lists and timetable
* Gather all of your food and cooking utensils, pots and pans ....
* Measure out everything that you can ahead of time and set it aside
* Follow your time table and start making the food according to the schedule
* Once the food comes out of the oven let it rest a while (you can cover it with
* Start cutting the meat and plating the food
* Have family members start their assigned tasks (setting out and serving food,
pouring the drinks…)

ENJOY your meal…… sit and talk…..

After the meal:

Have a plan in place to clear the table. Since I always make a ton of extra food so that my guests can take home leftovers I start with portioning the leftovers into plastic containers and putting each family’s containers into a plastic bag and setting it near the door so that they don’t forget them.

Once I have the leftovers divided up and mine put away in the refrigerator and freezer I then start to collect the rest of the dishes and put them into the dishwasher. I don’t start the dishwasher until after they leave so that we won’t be bothered with the noise.

Again, this is where your family members can jump in and help clear and stack dishes. It makes quick work of things when you have other people help.

I need to have as many things cleared up and put away as possible before I start serving dessert. This also gives everyone time to rest and relax before they start eating again.

Some people like to leave the dishes and the mess until the next day. And sometimes I wish I could too, but its worse the next day when you get up and walk into a mess. I’d rather get it done and over with.

Make quick work of it (or as much as will fit into the dishwasher) and then sit and relax and spend time with your family.

Remember, a Holiday is supposed to be enjoyable. If it’s not, figure out why it isn’t and change it. Skip the big complicated meal, the fancy desserts and the good china and make it as simple as you are able to handle.

Start your own tradition….and make it about family!

Happy Holiday !

Organizational Consulting Services

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Professional Organizer - Now A Medicaid Provider

I am very pleased to announce that I have become a Medicaid Provider in Missoula!

This is very exciting news!

What does this mean - well - it means that my services as a Professional Organizer have the approval of a number of social service agencies.

It means that people who previously might not have been able to use my services - people that are on Medicaid - now have access my services as a Professional Organizer.

A Professional Organizer can help in many areas of your life. We don't just organize closets!

A Professional Organizer can help people make their home more livable, more accessible and safer.

An unorganized home, especially one that is cluttered or one that might be considered a hoarding situation - can be a dangerous place - especially for the elderly or physically challenged.

A Professional Organizer can help people manage their time and their lives.

It is great to know that the services of a Professional Organizer is not only considered a luxury - but a necessity.

Being organized makes your life run smoother.  It helps you save time and money.  And in the case of a lot of people - it helps keep you safe and allows you to let people into your life and into your home.

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rightsizing - Downsizing For Your Current Lifestyle

A lot of people talk about "downsizing" when they get older or their children leave home and their house  feels empty.

Why wait?

Downsizing has all kinds of  "bad" connotations. It makes people think that you were living beyond your means and now you have to lower your standards.

Not true at all...... 

The word "rightsizing" is more appropriate.  You should live in the "right size" house for your current needs and lifestyle. Why live in a 5,000 or 3,000 square foot house when you never use half of the rooms and there are only two of you? You are paying for a lot of unused space when you could be using that money for other things.

But it's not only about the money. It's about your "lifestyle".  Things change. Not only the number of people that you have living in your home and the amount of space you actually need - but also your likes and your hobbies. Why have a "craft room" when you no longer have time for or are interested in those crafts?  Why have a "workshop" when you no longer build things?

Why maintain and have to clean all of those rooms when you could be spending your time doing what you like to do now. 

It's hard to let go of your things.  But sit back and really think about the last time you used them. Why store them when you are not using them?   Let them go.  Give them to your children or friends that can use them and enjoy them.

By giving away (or selling) some of the things that you don't use anymore - or things that you don't want anymore - you get the chance to see people enjoy them - instead of waiting until you die and giving them away in your will (sorry to sound morbid).

Don't keep things just because they were given to you by your family or friends.  Keep your home decluttered by being picky about what you keep and display.

As you age and your hobbies and tastes change - why not change the size of your home so that you actually enjoy every inch of it without having to worry about all of the maintenance for spaces you never use.

It's hard to let go - but you have the right to live your current life - not your past life that outsiders expect. They aren't paying your bills or maintaining your home.

Keeping your home cluttered to please other people is not in your best interest.

Make your home your own - clutter free and stress free.

Live your life - as it is today - not in the past.

Less Clutter = Less Stress SM     in your home, your business and your life

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cold Weather - Organize Inside - Pantry & Fridge and Expiration Dates

When the weather turns cold and you don't feel like going outside - what's a person to do?  Well - ORGANIZE  something of course!

At least once a season you should go through your kitchen, pantry and refrigerator and clean everything out. Pull out all of the drawers and bins in your refrigerator. Wipe them out. Clean out food that has been sitting around for a while and you have no intention of eating.

Pull out all of the food in your pantry. Rearrange everything and put things where they should logically go. Remember - "like with like".   It makes it easier to find when you need it.

Look at expiration dates. Get rid of things that look moldy or dried up. I know that it might sound logical and elementary - but most people don't bother to do it on a regular basis.

Re-read the complete article on      Food Products and Expiration Dates

Now - go get Organized!

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, September 7, 2015

Being Prepared For All Emergencies - Get Organized!

It's fire season - and for those of us living out west we need to be prepared to evacuate at any moment.  Are you ready?

What can you grab in a few minutes?  What's really important?  Besides your life and that of your family?

What about important papers - birth certificates, passports, bank information, life/health insurance information, medications......

What about contact information for family members and friends?  With everyone being on speed dial most of us don't have people's phone numbers memorized anymore. How can you get in contact with family members to tell them where you ended up?

There are many emergency situations that we should be prepared for besides fires.  What about hurricanes and tornadoes?   Wind storms?

Being organized means thinking about all of the things that could happen - before they actually happen.

Read some of my previous posts to learn what to do in emergency situations:

Fire - Are You Read?

Getting Ready for an Emergency - September is National Preparedness Month  

Disasters - Emergencies - and everything in between....

So don't wait....  get organized for an emergency!

Organizational Consulting Services