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A. Rey of Hope

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Step Right Up!

Posted on 14 March, 2013 at 10:49 Comments comments (0)
Step right up and see the show! 

Do you ever use your steps as a temporary holding zone for items waiting to either head up or down?  I do.  There's just no denying that traveling up and down the steps, no matter how quickly you can do it, takes time.  And extra time is something that most of us lack.  Staying in one room until a job is complete and then making your trips to other parts of the house to deliver stray items is much more efficient.

Besides, if you have trouble with staying focused or completing projects, running up or down stairs frequently is an easy road to distraction.  Staying on task in one area until the job or your allotted time is done, is a good plan for success. 

Using the stairway as a landing spot for stray belongings however, only works when that landing spot is cleared.  Regularly.  Consistently.  

Staying organized requires completion - not just of the first steps of a task but, of ALL the steps - this should always include putting things away when you're done. 

For instance, you decide to clean and organize your bedroom.  You may end up with a glass or mug from the kitchen, a towel from the bathroom, wrapping paper from the hall closet and tape from the junk drawer, all needing to return to a different room.  Putting these items near or on the stairs to be delivered when you're done makes sense.  Leaving them there as you run right past - again, and again and again, day after day - doesn't.

Piles of clutter on a stairway are an eyesore, an inconvenience and, most importantly a safety hazard.  Allowing stuff to pile up on a stairway is a formula for a disaster that can only be found as funny if you're donning a clown's nose and shouting - Ta Da!

Yoga & Organizing?

Posted on 26 February, 2013 at 22:16 Comments comments (1)


I participate in a monthly call - a national gathering of Holistic Organizers who meet to learn and discuss ways in which we can and do incorporate holistic and spiritual practices into the lives of our daily careers and the work that we do with our clients.  Tonight's topic, Yoga & Organizing, sounded like two separate things to me.  

Here's what I learned.

I guess the basic goals are the same for both - form, peace, health - to name a few.  And, although the paths are different, each can support the other.

So many yoga positions rely upon the practice of balance.  Balancing our mind and body through yoga can reflect in or be reflected by the balanced or unbalanced environments we live in.

Breathing and grounding techniques practiced in yoga are known to boost brain function.  In organizing, this helps with our decision making capabilities.  How often do you wonder, 'Where do I start?'  'Should I keep this or let it go?'  'How should I set up this room?'  It's hard to think when your mind is cluttered just as it is hard to function when your space is cluttered.

A short session of controlled yoga breathing and/or exercise helps to unite our bodies and spirits.  If we can claim control of the health and well-being of our selves, we can take the next step and ask who is in control of our spaces?  Do we have the authority to make decisions about the organization of our bedrooms, offices and other environments?  If not, who does? 

I think I will take a deep breath this week and treat myself to myself.  I'll try a session or two of yoga. 


Close, But No Cigar

Posted on 28 January, 2013 at 20:59 Comments comments (3)



Remember that saying, "Close, but no cigar"?  In other words, you've played the game, but didn't quite win the prize.

How often do you come close....close enough....almost there.......but notquite?  I got home today from babysitting for my niece and nephew in Maryland for the weekend.  Soon after I came into my house, I brought my weekend travel bags upstairs, unpacked and put it all away. 

Unpacking for a trip of any length is normally attended to pretty quickly in our house.  Yet, I know this is not the case for many and I can understand why.  It's so much easier to drop everything once you get home, walk away and leave it to think about another time. 

Or is it?  Is it really easier when you can't find your favorite pants and search the entire house before realizing that they're in the suitcase from your last trip?  Is it easier to step around your travel bags every time you cross your bedroom?  Is it easier to use toiletries out of your carry-on bag as if you were a tourist in your own home?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

Aside from travel bags, think about what other items in your home that you come "close" with without actually winning the cigar?  Do you put your jacket or shoes down near the closet but not in it?  Do you put your jewelry down on your dresser instead of in it's box or holder that's only inches away?

Go ahead, take that extra step and win the cigar this week!


Clear Up Before Moving On

Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 21:22 Comments comments (3)
"Guess: What Arguably Trivial Habit Gives a Giant Boost of Happiness?

 It’s….putting things away in the proper place!"

~ Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project


Well, I suppose that naturally this is something you would expect to read when coming to a professional organizing blog.  Ok, I admit it.  I get great joy out of knowing where things 'belong' and putting them there.

But, shy of the proverb, "A place for everything, and everything in it's place," what is on my mind this week relates more to the Clean Desk Policy (CDP) utilized by companies such as UPS.
CDP is the rule that, at the end of the day, your desk is left free and clear of all paper and projects.  When you return to work the following day, you return to a clear work space.

At home, I use an abbreviated version of this.

When I take something out to work on - paying bills, doing a craft, a book I'm reading - I try to stick to the policy that when I'm done for the day with it, even if it is not complete I put it away.  Even though I may sit at the kitchen table to pay bills, evidence of my bill-paying is gone by the time we are ready to sit for a meal. 

This may mean having a temporary holding area nearby for works in progress - a file box for action items, a crafting bag for smaller parts of big projects, or a catchall basket for items that are heading up or downstairs.  The important thing is that clearing your space before moving to something different helps to clear your mind of clutter and distractions and lets you focus on what's next.


Managing a Planner

Posted on 13 January, 2013 at 22:52 Comments comments (2)
One of the most important parts of each January for me is setting up my new planner.  Although I like the tactile feel of maintaining a paper planner at my home, I am one of those people who loves technology so I also use an electronic calendar.  


My choice for electronic calendar programs is to use Google Calendar.  This gives me the ability to log in to Google from any location to access it, as well as so many other functions.  I "share" my Google Calendar with my husband and my college-aged daughter.  This means that their appointments show up on my calendar, and mine on theirs.  Each of us has a different color so that it's easy to spot who's doing what.  With busy lives, this makes planning group activities much simpler. 

Google Calendar gives me the ability to hide some calendars from sight so that I can just look at my appointments without distraction.  I also use a different color for my personal appointments and my business appointments.  Having access to my Google calendar on my Droid phone gives me the ability to add, check and change appointments on the go.

Although it allows for adding "tasks", I prefer my paper planner for that.  I keep a running list that gets updated each week, checking off tasks as they are completed (don't you just love checking off a list?!) and carrying over unfinished and recurring tasks to the next week.  Keeping my to-do lists in my planner ensures that I can find them and check in with them regularly.

How do you keep up with your agenda?


Cleaning Up Christmas

Posted on 6 January, 2013 at 10:41 Comments comments (0)



This first weekend following the start of the New Year is the weekend that I gather up all the Christmas decor and get it stored away again.  Not a small feat, as there are not merely a few ornaments here and there. 

I enjoy transforming my house for the holidays from ordinary to Magical.  Everyday mugs, glasses and dishes, sugar bowl and creamer, cookie jar and dishtowels were all replaced in early December with their holiday counterparts and now must all be gathered cleaned and returned to their boxes.  Even knick-knacks and wall decor must be switched out.

If you're wondering where all the ordinary items went to during this holiday bonanza, they will all emerge from the Christmas storage boxes - their temporary home while the holiday decor was in use.


I love this process of tranformation.  The holidays are that much more special when items that stay out of sight suddenly emerge to create magic.  And, as my customary items re-emerge, I get to look at them with new eyes.  Some, I am happy to have back in place; others, I realize are no longer needed or wanted and they get passed on for others to enjoy.

And life gets back to normal, by my own design.


A Fresh New Year

Posted on 30 December, 2012 at 12:39 Comments comments (2)

Outside the window, as I write this post, I can see a bright blanket of white snow.  What a great vision for thinking about the upcoming New Year.  The snow makes things look new and fresh and clean.  That's what I want to think about this first week of January.  All the possibilities that are open to me for my life heading into 2013. 

Yes, I know those same possibilities were there yesterday and all the days before that, but there is something special about a new year.  Maybe it's the fact that I get to fill in a new planner and look at what will happen in the weeks and months ahead.  Since the pages are blank, I feel as though I have more choices about what to put on them.

I think that's what I like about my profession.  No matter who I am working with, I am helping them to clear their color palate.  Wipe the slate clean so they can choose their colors. Yes, they could have chosen yesterday.  Yet, sometimes it can seem that because the colors are already there, we have to work with them.  It's hard to see beyond the mish mosh of choices all around us.

With a clean slate, the mind is open to new colors.  New ideas.  It's energizing and calming, empowering and joyous all at once!

Join me in looking forward to the unpainted picture of 2013 that lies ahead.



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