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Professional Unpack Services

A. Rey of Hope


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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.

My "Coffee Cuffs"

Posted on 9 February, 2012 at 21:56 Comments comments (3)

I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.
- Pablo Picasso
Early in 2010 I researched a craft that caught my interest.  In March I blogged about coffee sleeves made from recycled fabrics.  I am happy (and excited!) to report that in September I took out the sewing machine my husband bought me last year, read the instructions and got started....

"Threading My First Bobbin"
Me, my sister Loretta, (and 2 Cosmos)

I figured out the machine.  I bought some cotton batting.  Then I took the old shirts, jeans, fabrics, etc that I had collected and washed and used a cardboard coffee sleeve to use as a template.  Once I made my first, I figured out how many I needed to make per week in order to have them ready to give as Christmas gifts and voila!

January 15, 2011  

What Do You Do with Your Techno-Junk?

Posted on 9 February, 2012 at 21:45 Comments comments (5)
Electronic waste accounts for 70 percent of the overall toxic waste currently found in landfills.
                                 - Global Futures Foundation                  

I received some pretty cool gifts for my birthday this month and one of them was this:

It's a bowl made from an old vinyl record album ("Saturday Night Fever" actually!).  My son picked this up for me in Philly.  I really love this.  It's an album from my era and looks great as a decorative bowl on my piano.

This makes me think about how we sometimes have a hard time parting with the things that were connected with our youth - even though we may never even pull them out of their storage boxes again.  And, especially when it comes to technology, even if we do venture a trip down memory lane the things we find may be unusable or toxic to just throw in the garbage.

If you're hanging on to records, cds or computer discs that you no longer have the technology with which to run them on, you have some choices.  

Try a craft.  For vinyl records, you can actually make your own bowl like the one my son gave me.  Old cds can be turned into all sorts of other items: coasters, sun-catchers, even clocks!

If you don't feel up to crafting but are still motivated to clear out some old stuff, make sure you dispose of your techno-junk responsibly.  Participate in local electronics recycling events in your area or check Earth911 to find out how and where to dispose of it.

April 1, 2011 

Creative Containers

Posted on 9 February, 2012 at 21:41 Comments comments (1)
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
-New England proverb   

Dare I say, Spring is finally here?  Yes, I am going to take the bold step forward and declare it!  And, with the promise of warmer days ahead, we can turn our sights to venturing outside and preparing our gardens.  Whether you have a large yard, just a small patch of earth, or even if your springtime greenery is indoors, there are ways you can enjoy the cathartic act of planting without spending more than the price of the seeds or plants.  
Sprucing up your garden with a new theme or creating a new planting space, inside or out, can be done simply through the use of some of the things you have lying around your house

An old pair of worn out work boots make a great containers for outdoor flowers.  A brightly colored chipped piece of pottery adds it's own color to greenery.  An old mug that you like or a small bowl are also great options.

Just last week my daughter mentioned a planting idea she had seen that she'd like to try in her apartment.  It is to use hanging shoe pockets.  I love this idea and think it would also be great for growing an assortment of herbs in or near the kitchen.  What fun!  Take a look.

April 15, 2011 

Giving, Receiving and Giving Again

Posted on 9 February, 2012 at 21:06 Comments comments (1)
"And the tree was happy"
— Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

The average American uses approximately one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper 
and wood products per year.  -EPA Website statistic

Electronic correspondence is truly a wonder.  
We can keep in touch more than ever with our families, friends, associates, clients and acquaintences.
We are able to set up holiday, birthday, anniversary and special event reminders and then to follow up by sending an "e"-card to acknowledge them - amazing!
Yet, there are still many of us who enjoy checking the snail-mail box and and finding an actual piece of correspondence.  

For instance, the Hallmark company estimates that Americans send out approximately 57 million cards.  We will send about two and a half times that for Mother's Day.
Acknowledging important people in our lives 
in this time-honored and meaningful 
way can be a treasure more than any other "thing" we might give.
But giving doesn't have to stop there.  Our life cycles continue and it is important for us to continue to thank, honor and return the favor to the givers.

Here's how: 
Keep one manila envelope in a file.  Shred the envelopes and toss in the greeting cards you have received and are done with.  When the envelope is full, send it to St. Judes Ranch for Children to be made into new cards.  They accept all types of cards (Thank You, Get Well, Birthday, Mother's Day, etc).
The path to conservation starts on your doorstep. 

May 2, 2011 

Put a Cork In It!

Posted on 9 February, 2012 at 21:00 Comments comments (0)

Re-use, Recycle
What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?  
~ W. C. Fields
So, is yours one of those families who like to save corks?  Well, mine is.  It's a habit that seems to go on throughout the generations of my family.  At one point in time, I remember a scare about the worlds supply of natural cork running out and the eventuality of having only synthetic corks to use.  This, I must admit, is not something that I can verify nor have witnessed at all.  There seems to be no shortage of wine, and no shortage of natural cork.  
Re-use, recycle, crafts

Still, I still continue my obsession with saving corks!  Several years back, my brother gifted us all with hotplates made from some of the corks he had collected.  This was especially appreciated since my brother's good taste afforded a nice display of a wide variety.  Kits for projects like this are available in many common house-ware stores.

It's always a good idea to have an end purpose in mind (like my brother's cork hotplates) for anything that you like to collect.  Collecting can be a fun pastime, but finding a way to enjoy and share your collections is a way to enrich your life.

May 15, 2011 

Re-Using Made Easier

Posted on 9 February, 2012 at 20:48 Comments comments (0)
"Only when I saw the Earth from space, in all its ineffable beauty and fragility, did I realize that humankind's most urgent task is to cherish and
preserve it for future generations." 
Sigmund Jahn, German Cosmonaut

Rosta &Val

Do you buy bottled water?  I do.  Not quite so much anymore though.  I bought it by the case for several years until my oldest son decided to be a conscientious objector and asked me to stop.  He was right.  There are so many re-usable bottles being made (and sometimes even handed out) now that there is often no excuse but laziness in using the plastic pre-bottled water.
There has also been some discrepancy in the recent past over whether or not it is (chemically) safe to keep freezing, re-heating and re-using all forms of plastics.  Although, it seems to be agreed that the freezing/thawing process does not release any harmful chemicals from the containers.
Whether or not the plastic bottles we use release harmful chemicals, they undisputably are creating an incredible waste issue.  A waste issue that can be remedied by a just a little forethought.  
Handy products.Earth 911 reports:

  • According to the Beverage Marketing Corp, the average American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water in 1976. In 2006, that number jumped to 28.3 gallons.
  • More than 2.4 billion pounds of plastic bottles were recycled in 2008. Although the amount of plastic bottles recycled in the U.S. has grown every year since 1990, the actual recycling rate remains steady at around 27 percent.

Here's one item I just purchased to help encourage our family (and myself!) to choose the re-usable drinking containers that we own over individual disposable drink containers.

Organizing for Emergency Preparedness

I needed some ice trays and I came across these.  

The great thing is that you can use the ice in a glass at home or grab some long cubes, throw them in a bottle and go!  It makes using the re-usable bottles fun - and no more having to freeze water bottles.  I'm happy.  Try them!

June 15, 2011