Summer is whizzing past us here, you're out have a great time hanging with your friends, road trippin' with family, or just chilling by the pool or beach.
What?! No time. Too busy. Other stuff to do. ... Are you crazy?!
Yeah, we all gotta work to pay the bills, though you should take care of yourself first. Take a moment and evaluate your commitments. Look where your time is being spent vs. what benefit are you getting from it. It's OK, be a bit selfish. This moment is all about you baby!
Let's look at a week: (warning math lesson ahead) 24 hours/day = 168 hours/week 168 hours/week - 56 hours sleeping/week = 112 hours/week (8 hours/night sleeping) 112 hours/week - 40 hours working/week = 72 hours/week 72 hours/week for everything else that is life. WOW! I hope you are making the most of your time.
You can't do everything. You can try, though you will certainly burn out at some point likely resulting at screaming at your kids for having grass/mud covered feet while running through the house like monkeys (not like that really happens).
It is OK to say 'No.' Here are a few tips on saying 'No:'
1. You deserve to take priority. Take time for yourself. Make sure you give yourself some free time to pamper yourself, just relax, or work on a hobby. Perhaps it is only 10-15 minutes, better than zero. In our home, my boys know that "if mommy is not happy, no one is happy."
2. Do not make excuses for 'no.' People respect honesty and hate hearing excuses. Treat yourself right and you can't help but treat others right too. If you need to use humor to lighten the 'no', do it!
3. Do not make commitments you're not prepared to keep. Saying 'no' is only a refusal of that particular request. Taking on a task that may overwhelm you will only result in added stress in your life and resentment toward the commitment. Much better for you to say 'no.'
4. Remember you don't have to give a reason. We don't give reasons when we say 'yes' so why should we have to give a reason for saying 'no.' A simple 'I appreciate you asking, but no thanks' will often do the trick. Kick your guilt to the curb!
5. Set limits. If you are only available to help for 4 hours on Saturday, tell them that and stick to your limits. Keep in mind to be firm but polite. You need to recognize how much you can reasonably do.
6. Delegate. If nothing else works or you begin to feel a bit a stress building, remember to ask for help. Perhaps delegate some of your commitments to others. Delegation is the key to being a good leader. Break up things among family members, friends, organizations, or co-workers. Allow others to help you.
I guess if all else fails next time someone asks you to do something you really don't want to do, and feel like you can't come up with something quickly, just tell them "Oh, I'd love to, but Angie said No." I'll take the heat for you.
If you are someone who LOVES stacks of paper all over your desk or countertop, perhaps the PileSmart products from Pendaflex are for you.
I am not a paper piling kinda a person. Yeah, I will admit to papers on my desk, but no piles.
When working with clients I encourage them to remember:
Horizontal = Hidden Vertical = Visable
The PileSmart Organizer Tray system will work great for you if you are a paper stacker. Nice clear, angled acrylic tray to keep your pile neat. Six colorful, thick plastic dividers with label areas on 2 sides which are erasable. If you are going to stack papers, this system will help keep your pile neat and tidy. The plastic dividers will help in keeping sorted piles separated, but I'm just not getting a warm fuzzy by stacking stuff. Hey, if you are a passionate paper pile person, then for about $20 give the PileSmart Organizer Tray system a shot.
Now, the Pendaflex PileSmart View Folders are getting closer to my organizing performance and love. These clear poly folders include write-on labeling tabs. The claim that the textured surface will prevent piles from slipping is a bit weak. The folders do holds up to 75 sheets of letter size paper and fit into hanging folders (YEAH!! For vertical filing). For about $10, these folders will do the trick in keeping your papers in order and protect them from any liquid spillage that is bound to occur at some point.
Finally, we come to the PileSmart Binder Clips. These babies are brightly colored and designed to clip up to 100 sheets of paper together. The built-in write and erase labels are visible even when documents are stacked in piles, which will save you time when you're trying to figure out what is in the stacks. Too bad Pendaflex put their brand name on one side of the writing tab, it would be nice to have the option to label either side of the tab. Since you could then hang (yeah, vertically) the clipped stacks of papers on a hook to display for easy use. Bottomline, I do like the PileSmart Binder Clips and for about $4 for a pack of 6, they are an inexpensive tool in helping organize your papers.
It needs to be noted that being a professional organizer, Pendaflex sent me these new products to review in exchange for a $20 gift card. My thoughts are completely my own. I'd like to say I love this new product, but overall it misses my style of organizing.
What organizing product do you find misses the mark?
Best Buy will take just about anything electronic, including TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, audio and video cables, cell phones, and more.
Most things are recycled absolutely free, with a few restrictions. Regardless of where you bought it, what brand it is, or how old it is: bring it to them. They will make sure it's properly and safely recycled.
"This is awesome! No reason to keep piles of old technology in the corner of your office or basement. They even have in-store kiosks for disposing inkjet cartridges, rechargeable batteries, and CDs/DVDs," Melanie Dennis, Neat Streak Professional Organizing. She's the fabulous organizer who brought this program to my attention to share with you.
Since I straddle the Michigan and Ohio borders, here's some of those program details. Go to the Best Buy Recycling website for your state's program.
Program details for Ohio: - Three items per household per day. - Nearly everything electronic, including tube TVs and monitors up to 32", flat-panel TVs and monitors up to 60", peripherals, DVD players, home and car audio, cell phones, MP3 players, and cables. - Desktop or laptop computers with the hard drive removed. See this Geek Squad video for Do-it-Yourself instructions, or we will remove it for $9.99. - Small electrics, fans and vacuums. - We charge $10 for televisions and monitors, but you immediately receive a $10 Best Buy gift card good toward future purchase. (SWEET!)
Program details for Michigan: - Seven items per household per day. - Nearly everything electronic, including tube TVs and monitors up to 32", flat-panel TVs and monitors up to 60", peripherals, DVD players, home and car audio, cell phones, MP3 players, and cables. - Desktop or laptop computers with the hard drive removed. See this Geek Squad video for Do-it-Yourself instructions, or we will remove it for $9.99. - Small electrics, fans and vacuums. - No cost to the consumer.
If Best Buy doesn't accept your item, visit these websites to find alternate locations to recycle products:
We have all made lists at some point in our life. You may be someone who loves to make them. I know I am. There is a great satisfaction in making a list and making a big, heavy, think black line as you cross items off. It creates a sense of accomplishment.
When looking to get organized, one suggestion is to create a list of tasks you wish to complete. Though sometimes you get a little too crazy with the number of items, then you've got this monster of stuff to do. UGH!
You just can't win ... or can you?
Set out the day to accomplish a few tasks. Then write them down as you complete them. Continue about your day, when you complete a task, big or small, put it on your list.
You will end up with a list of things you finished all day, rather than making a list then crossing off items (hey, there's a fraction of your energy savings there). It may not be a big change, but it might be enough to encourage you to get a bit more done throughout your day.
You don't have to walk around with a paper and pen all day long. Work at your goals and perhaps prior to having a meal, jot down the things you have accomplished. You will be surprised at all you DO throughout the day. Toss a couple 10 or 15 minute organizing projects to stay ahead of the curve, and you'll be rockin' and rollin' to organizing happiness.
The day after an amazing 5 year old birthday party for my son, I walk into our home office bringing a cup of coffee to my husband. The birthday boy and younger brother are playing on a chair. I kiss my husband's forehead and ask him what's wrong, he seems in another world.
"I'm having an affair and want a divorce."
Blindsided in a way I would never wish on anyone. The joy of our son's birth to death of a relationship in less than a breath.
That moment has been gone from my mind for 7 years. Blocked I suppose. The events after were a whirlwind of anguish, torment and loss. My mom returned to whisk my boys away. I was in no state to care for anyone. For 2 weeks, I stared out into our backyard incapable of nothing else. No eating or drinking, sleeping was minimal. Then I got into our car and drove, not knowing where I would end up.
I sat in a hotel room in Grand Rapids with a notepad and a huge supply of pills in front of me. I began to write my raw thoughts and continued for a ridiculous number of pages 10, 20 doesn't matter anymore. After, I looked at my collection of pills and threw them against the wall and just started laughing.
No way in Hell, was anyone going to raise my boys except me. Certainly not some "filthy wench looking for a free ride," as my mother-in-law had described her.
My transformation began, returning home strong and determined to regain myself. I remember being told, "You could have such an easy life if you just look the other way." Though how easy is life when you compromise yourself? What value do I teach my boys by allowing controlling abuse to continue?
Life creates events that happen for a reason.
My story is shared to bring hope to someone out there who is struggling. As painful as your events may be at this time, when you realize the benefits it all makes it worthwhile. Yeah, we have all been low at some point and it may pretty much suck right now.
"Downward spirals are opportunities to soar, "
Such a powerful statement from a "Carol" a hoarder who is ready to make some changes in her home.
Carol tells me she always had a lot of items and knick-knacks around her home. Though when her husband past away several years ago, her home spun out of control. She struggled to let anything go. Empty bottles and boxes piled up, papers began to stack on their own and clothing was everywhere. Carol no longer let anyone into her home.
I was the first in over 5 years.
Carol was extremely nervous about having someone, let alone a professional organizer, enter her home, though she was ready to make some changes. She cautiously showed me through each room, her bedroom and bathroom were off-limits for viewing. Beautiful little home, yeah there was a bit much inside, but as we walked through Carol began to relax a little. She was just thankful to have someone that could help her.
See, Carol was completely overwhelmed at what her home had become. She also understood doing this on her own would not work for her, because it hasn't in the past. As we sat and chatted a bit about how to break down this daunting project into small bits and bites, ways Carol could work on getting organized on her own and be successful.
When I returned 2 weeks later, AMAZING! Carol had her organizing homework assignments done, plus more items for me to remove for recycling. She was so excited to see me, proud of all she had accomplished.
You could see the confidence grow in Carol's eyes, she was sitting taller and smiling. Even got a bit of a chuckle out of her which was awesome!
"Carol" asked me to get her husband's tools organized as a surprise for Father's Day. This was a project he has talked about doing for quite some time, alas finding the time to organize the area never seem to happen.
Every time Carol's husband went to start a home project, he had to climb over and dig through his supplies. It was frustrating because he was constantly wasting time looking for the tools he needed. And when his project was finished, he pretty much just set his tool wherever he could balance them without everything tumbling to the ground.
Now, touching a man's tools is nearly as dangerous as messing with a woman's closet, especially if they do not know. Carol gave me some guidance on what her husband would like, then pretty much let me loose to work some organizing magic.
Nearly everything was removed from the area and grouped into like groups; paints, power tools, cords, fasteners, tapes, etc. The shelving was slid together a bit to save floor space and EVERYTHING went back onto the shelves.
Seriously, there was a small grocery bag of scrap papers and broken items removed. That was it. Hey, I know better than tossing out a man's tool without asking. The results was pretty remarkable.
Carol was so excited with the results. Better yet, her husband was pleasantly shocked at his newly organized tool room. Hooray!!
As a professional organizer, I'm thinking a few days later what a great lesson the movie was on how to giving your cherished belongings to another.
Now without going into any spoilers, there are some crazy, bad and hilarious events that happen to the toys throughout the movie. Mr. Potato Head, you stole the show!
In the movie, Andy is heading off to college and his mom has him sort his toys for the attic and donation. (ooh, as an organizer I was riveted). Andy's toys were placed into his toy box, not played with for years. Toy boxes are playtime deathtraps for toys. You need to know that once toys, or nearly any other item for that matter, is placed into the attic. It is likely never heard from again.
A better way to honor your items is to give them to another person to enjoy. Like in the Toy Story series, You have to think of the feelings of your items. You once enjoyed them with passion and gusto. You showed them off with pride and honor.
Time has past and your items have made their way into boxes stacked up in a hot, funky smelling attic covered in layers of dust, insulation and the random mouse dropping never to be touched for years. Is that any way to treat something you once loved?
Now, think about getting your wonderful items to someone who will love, touch and enjoy them. Yeah it may be a bit of a sting to let them go. Better to let them go and see daylight, than sit around gathering dust and funk in a dried out box.
Still not convinced of the benefit of letting go?
Here's a blog post, Honoring Your Memories, from 2.5 years ago about a woman with items stored in her attic and what happened when she let a box go to a stranger.Take the time to read it. Pretty cool story.
Your loved things brought you joy and happiness at one time.
You have control of what comes and goes into your home. Period.
There are no reasons, excuses or exceptions.
Some of you run into the "Mikey Problem." Remember the Life cereal commercial from the 80's? OK, if you're younger than 30 you may have now idea what I'm talking about. Here's the commercial:
So, the "Mikey Problem" is when your mom, sister or very best friend in the whole world constantly brings stuff to your home because: - They knew you would love it - The deal was just too good to pass up. - They bought it for themselves and it doesn't work in their home, but it will be perfect in yours. ... Oh, we could go on with reasons.
The thing is, YOU do not want any of it. You've got enough stuff already, more does not make your home happier. In fact, now you have a tinge of resentment because what the hell are you gonna do with it.
Don't be Mikey and taking anything that's placed infront of you. You've got to be strong and stop the cycle. It is your home. Take control.
When your mom shows up with a box of amazing garage sale items, be polite and kindly tell her you appreciate her thoughtfulness, but her bringing her treasures into your home doesn't make you feel happy. (Mom's want to make their kids happy, play on the guilt if you must. Totally legal)
If she is still insists you must have her treasures (that she does not want in her home), then kindly say thank you and immediately place the items in the trunk of your car to be taken to your favorite charity.
I guarantee if you do place unwanted items promptly in your car a couple times, your cycle of unwanted items will end.
You will no longer be Mikey, the person who takes everything.
Bigger bonus: You have gained control of your home.
What's the craziest treasure in your home YOU never purchased?