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Archive for Attitude

Moving Students home – Make Home Life Simple

Expectations

It is a big change in lifestyle when children move home for the summer, for the students and the parents.  Sometimes students think

Share your ideas

What are your expectations?

  • It will be just like before I left
  • I will have the same responsibilities as I did living away from home
  • I am on vacation for 4 months
  • and so on…

Sometimes parents think

  • they have lived on their own so they should have no problem contributing around the home without being asked
  • now I have someone to help with all the work
  •  things have changed and we do things differently now
  • and so on…

Each party in this living situation has different expectations so make a contract with each other so it is clear what the expectation are.  My daughter presented me with some rules when she moved back home for a few months.  She asked me to look at them and see if they were suitable and to add any rules.  It made things very easy and simple because there were less misunderstanding.

Your contract/ agreement might cover the following ideas.

Sharing the car

May I have the car?

Car                                                                                                                                                

  1. Who pays for gas?
  2. When can they use it?
  3. Do they have to ask to use the car or can they just take it?

Food/ Groceries

  1. Who buys the groceries?
  2. Who pays for the groceries?
  3. Do you buy everything on the list?
  4. Do you buy only the things you need from the list when you go shopping?

Cooking

  1. Who cooks?
  2. Who plans the meals?
  3. Do you cook for everyone or only yourself?

    Where do I start cleaning?

    What needs to be cleaned?

Kitchen

  1. Who cleans up the kitchen?
  2. What needs to  be cleaned,  floors counters, stove, sink?
  3. Who does the dishes?
  4. Who empties the dishwasher?

Schedule

  1. Do you record your activities  in a specific place, electronic or paper?
  2. Do you need to tell where you are going and when you will be back?
  3. Are there any activities you are expected to attend?

Laundry

  1. Who is responsible for laundry ?

Cleaning

  1. Who does the cleaning, is it a shared task?

This checklist of ideas makes it seem like working out an agreement will be a lot of work.  The agreement only needs to cover areas that cause conflict, tension or have changed since the student last lived with you.

Our agreement looked like this:

Food                                                                                                                                                                                 

Family agreements about house rules

Make a contract / agreement with everyone in the family to reduce stress and misunderstandings

  • Buy groceries: give Mom the bill,  buy everything on the list
  • Weekday meals:  First one home cooks, Mom will try to plan the meals for the week

Car

  •  Mom will pay for gas

Kitchen:

  • Clean and wipe counter and island and stove
  • No dishes in sink or on the counter, put them in the dishwasher before going to bed

Schedule:

  • Record your evening activities and times when you won’t be home for supper on the calendar
  • Politely and conversational let us know where you are going and when you plan on returning. This for safety reason, if you don’t return we need to know where and when to start looking for you

Tell me what items you put on your contract in the comments below.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Organize Your Work Schedule with an Interruption-Free Hour

Many people realize that multitasking is not the best way to get work completed.  However they experience many small interruptions in their day, e-mail, texting and phone calls that take away from concentrating on a project.

These small tasks, added together, use up your work day.

“Drive by” conversations, when  colleagues  stop by your desk or stop you in the hall and give you information also take time away from important tasks to be completed. As well the information may be forgotten or lost.

Being interrupted by colleagues stoppingto chat can cost you a lot of valuable time.

Some offices have designated a specific time of the day for working on projects. It is an interruption free time to concentrate on work during which employees can’t send or answer emails, texts, phone calls, attend meetings, etc.  Each office is different so the designated time maybe office wide or scheduled into each person’s work day, week, or month individually.  It is important that this time and format is respected by your colleagues and supported by management.  You maybe surprised how much you can get done in one hour with no interruptions and your full concentration on one task at a time.

Contact Julie at Mind over Clutter to come and speak at your office.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Preparing for the Holidays

Here are some tips for holiday planning to make a H A P P Y month.

Holiday Decorating

You maybe feeling overwhelmed or disorganized by the quantity of items on display in your house.  Try putting the non-seasonal items away to reduce the number of items on display.

Keep decorations simple

Decorate with flowers

Think about decorating with fewer items but larger size items.  This means there are fewer items to pack and unpack which will reduces the amount of time you need to prepare your home.

Take advantage of using linens to cover tables or end table and pillows to decorate couches.  They may be less bulky to store and cover a larger area making your home seem completely decorated while taking less time to get the job done.

Use items that self destruct so you don’t need to pack them away, flowers, paper towels, tissue boxes all give your house a festival spirit but don’t need to be packed away and stored.

When you go through your decorations part with the ones you know longer need early in the month so thrift store have an opportunity to sell them and so they don’t need to store them until next year.  Some stores don’t take holiday décor in January and then you will be stuck storing them for another year.

 Accept Help

Acknowledge that you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed and when people offer to do things say yes.  We all love to help people so let people feel good about themselves by allowing them to help you.

If people volunteer to bring food to a party accept gratefully.  Allow people to help clean up dishes on their way out the door.  In fact be ready for it.  Have a place to put cutlery to soak.  Have out a container for compost.  Put glasses or coffee mugs directly into the dishwasher.

Planning is important

Divide Your To Do List into Categories

Use a to do list. Divide your to do list into to pick up, to e-mail, to call, to buy then you can plan your day and route to get things done and not be driving back and forth all over town.  The trick here is to actually look at the list and use it not just make it.

Keep your plans from year to year, record your menu, grocery list quantities, time lines.  Each year you can reuse, revise and update the plan

 People and relationships are the reason for the season

Some people like to send cards in December.  I keep my cards and addresses and stamps all together.  When I am going somewhere where I will be waiting I pick up the supplies and take them along and write my cards.  I have done it at hockey rinks, doctor’s offices, bus stations and on car trips.  I usually leave replies to someone who has sent me a longer letter until January.

Use your spare moments to write cards

If you want to automate the card sending operation there is a company called send out cards.

Gift giving maybe an area where you are developing a system. Have you thought about Clutter free gift giving?

Consider the idea of a gift that self destructs.  See my post on Clutter Free Gift Giving

Yes You Can

Yes you can 

Being organized is more about an attitude then how something looks.  It is not about having the perfect home, party or gift it is doing the best you can with   the time and resources that you have. The only way to get better at organizing is to practice. It is a skill that can be learned and with practice it becomes easier and     easier.

Organize your Clutter Free Gift Giving List

There are many considerations when trying to purchase the perfect present. Sometimes the person has everything.  Some people may feel that they have enough stuff and they don’t want to have to decide how to store more items. Some people feel that they need to keep everything they are given whether they need it or like it or can use it. They are afraid of hurting the giver’s feelings.  It may feel like an impossible mission.  Consider the idea of a gift that self destructs

Give tickets to an event:

Sporting, theatre, art gallery exhibit, musical event.  Give them tickets so it won’t be a gift card that they file or lose.  Most performances will allow tickets to be exchanged for a different date. Try giving tickets to a Toronto Rock Lacrosse game.  It is an experience, reasonably prices and you get to see the Air Canada Center. You can support your local community by purchasing tickets to a little theatre production, hockey tickets.  Give them the gift of entertainment.

Rent a sports venue

It can be an hour of ice time, indoor soccer, indoor tennis and indoor golf.  This type of gift usually gets people together to socialize and be active.  It is a gift of physical and emotional health.

Lessons

You can give lessons to a person.  Art lessons, wine tasting, golfing, scuba diving, music, craft, beading, the ideas are limitless.  It can be one lesson or a group of lessons. Give the gift of a new experience.

Food

Give a gift of a meal, prepared by you for them on a mutually agreed date.  You may want to give them a batch of muffins every month or whatever their favourite food is.  People enjoy receiving homemade Christmas cookies or a fruit plate.  You can go on line and search COOKIES in a Jar.  The recipient of the cookie mix adds water or milk and bakes the cookies. Give the gift of sharing your time with others.

A service

Someone may enjoy being relieved of performing a tedious job.  Arrange for a cleaning service, professional organizer, snow removal, lawn care.  Give them the gift of time for themselves.

Professional Organizing Services

Charities

There are many charities that can benefits from donations.  Select a charity and make a donation in the name of the person.    Look at one aspect of the person’s life and try to find a charity that represents their interests. Give them the gift of generosity.

Give the gift of Fun

One year a group of us rented a hot tub for a week and shared the use of it. Another year I bought rocket kits for everyone, we built the kits and shot off the rockets

Don’t let your gift giving be an omnishambles this year.  Here are a few gifts that are clutter free, personal and thoughtful but the ideas are endless.

5 Myths about Being Organized

Myth 1 Organization is a born talent

Organization is a skill. If you have the right resources or support it is really quite easy. Some tasks at home can be simplified so they are not so over whelming and time consuming.  Here is one small example about meal planning.

  1. Pick your menu for the week
  2. From the menu make your shopping list
  3. Now you don’t need to decide what to make each morning or evening and you can take out of the freezer the items you need for later in the day.
  4. After you have done this for a number of weeks or months you can start recycling your plan.  This makes it even easier as you just pull up an already completed menu plan.

    Plan a menu then build your grocery shopping list.

    Plan a menu then build your grocery shopping list.

Myth 2 – Organized space is neat, tidy, minimal and boring.

Organized spaces should reflect your personality and lifestyle. If you can’t enjoy the space then you won’t take care of it.

Myth 3 –Getting organized is an overwhelming, hopeless chore

No matter what you’re organizing, no matter how daunting the task or how huge the backlog, getting organized boils down to developing a predictable process which you can reproduce. You follow your process and organize the current things you are using and then each time you’re organizing, work for a little time on the backlog.

Develop processes that work for you, can you can stay organized.

Develop processes that work for you, so you can stay organized.

Myth 4 -It’s impossible to stay organized

Organizing is sustainable, if your system is built around the way you think and designed to grow and adapt with you.  Here are some tips:

  1. If it only takes 30 seconds , do it right away if not add it to your to do list
  2. Most unorganized people don’t notice things are in the “wrong place.” Look and do a mental check to see if everything has been returned to its assigned space.
  3. Use spare minutes wisely.  Have a list of small tasks that can be completed quickly when you are waiting for meeting, appointments, trains, planes, children, elderly parents.
  4. Use your lists to record: things to do , to call, to e-mail and errands .  Check the list don’t just write it down.

Myth 5 Organizing is a non-productive use of your time.

You can’t afford to not be organized. A national survey conducted by Professional Organizers in Canada in 2010, indicates 91% of disorganized Canadians feel that disorganization negatively impacts their lives – with a large focus on feelings of stress, frustration and even failure. According to a study by a Boston marketing firm, the average American loses 55 minutes a day, roughly 12 weeks a year, looking for things they know they own but can’t find.  Newsweek, June 7, 2004.”

Leave me a comment about what is stopping you from becoming organized.

Do I Have a Disease or a M.E.S.S.?

When your life becomes disorganized it is usually caused by one of four reasons.  If you are feeling overwhelmed,  try looking at your M.E.S.S. this way.

wooden shelves mounted on wall

Shelves make storing items easier

M – Mechanical

Clutter can be caused because you don’t have the right type of storage. It is a mechanical problem.

  •  A drawer maybe broken,
  • There aren’t any shelves to put things on
  • There aren’t any closets
  • Your containers are too small or too big or you don’t have any

E. Emotional

  • Some people are very sentimental and find it difficult to let go of things.  Try to remember that it is the relationship that you have with the person that is important not the item they gave you.
  • Depression makes it hard to have enough energy to make decisions and organize your items
  • Anxiety can clutter your mind so you find it difficult to make decisions
  • OCD

S. Situational

people with boxes on their head

Packing and unpacking can cause disorganization, temporarily

There are things that happen in your life that can put you into a state of chaos temporarily

  • Having a baby
  • Moving
  • Divorce
  • Seasonal Celebrations – Halloween, Christmas. Passover,
  • The end of school or the beginning of a year
  • Renovations

S. Systems

app

Have a system for meal planning and grocery shopping

If you have systems in place for getting things done than the work becomes easier because you don’t have to think about how to do it, who will do it, when it will get done. Develop systems for

  • laundry
  • meal planning and grocery shopping
  • collecting the garbage and getting to the curb or dumpster
  • gift giving
  • feeding the pets
  • doing homework

You probably don’t have a disease that is causing you to be disorganized just a mechanical, emotional, situational or systematic problem that is contributing to your temporary disorganization .  Determine which is the main cause of your disorganization and your problems can be solved so you have a great S.P.A.C.E.

 

 

 

 

What Could You Use This Tree For?

wooden tree artwork

This piece of artwork provides storage opportunities.

I recently attended the National Home Show in Toronto Canada.  I saw this great piece of artwork.  If you have a small home this artwork is dual purpose.  It can be used to hold CDs, video games and equipment, books.  Plants would look lovely on this tree especially ivy or other hanging plants that would give it “leaves”.  It would be fun to decorate it for any season or special event.

Work Life Balance Tip

Life consists of Family Career Health and Friends

Work Life Balance

1. The best way to gain/have/maintain work life balance is to schedule everything.  It will seem daunting at first because you need to schedule exercise , work ,your children’s activities, beauty appointments, laundry, grocery, shopping, time off, cleaning, yard work, sports, entertainment etc.  Once you have completed this activity you have a better understanding of what your day is like, how your week will function and what is going on in the month.

 

2. In order to be successful you must be ridge with yourself and stick to your schedule.  If you allow yourself to give up “life ” time for work you will probably never get it back.  Some people say they can’t be creative if they are scheduled.  Think closely about that argument. Perhaps you don’t know how to schedule your time or maybe you don’t want to have enough time to get everything done .  Remember scheduling allows you to be creative within each block of time and activity.

3. Work life balance is important because it allows you to be functioning at your best.   Your stress is reduced if you can accomplish the things that are important to you, have the relationships you want, and are accountable to those that are depending on you. Happiness and contentment can be yours for the taking.

Is Multitasking Productive?

People believe they can multi-task because the body can do a physical activity and a cognitive activity at the same time.  So people are able to walk and talk, run and listen to a book etc.  The brain does not do two cognitive tasks at the same time.  The brain switches between tasks, very quickly.  Every time the brain switches task it must determine how much  of the task has been completed and what the next step would be and then continue with the task.  This time contributes to the slowing down of completing the two tasks.  If the brain works on one task at a time it completes it without delay.  Try it, put an article in front of you and something to write.  Do them both at the same time and time how long it takes you  to get the two tasks done. You will notice that you will keep going over the material to see where you left off as your concentration shifts between the task.   Next do each task separately and time how long it takes to complete both task.  In order to stop multitasking, plan your work schedule and remove the distraction of other work, e-mails, twitting, phone calls, televisions, music etc.

Bar graph showing error made during multitasking activities

More errors are made when people multitask

 

Organizing Your Mind

In Harold Taylor’s newsletter www.taylorintime.com , May 2014,  he talked about Organizing your Mind to create the life you want.

By Harold Taylor

It’s more important to organize your mind than your desk or house. You can always walk away from your desk or house; but you can never walk away from your mind. We must first accept the fact that time is not life, as many of us in the past may have suggested; it is merely the medium through which life passes. And life, as you experience it, is not something that happens to you, but something that happens because of you. You create the life you will experience – good, bad or indifferent – by what you believe, how you think, and what you do.

To create the life that you want, you must first organize your mind. And you do this by clearing it of all the worldly clutter that keeps it preoccupied and constantly distracted. One way of doing this is to engage in a 15 or 20-minute mind-clearing session each morning after you get up and are fully dressed. Don’t do it while you are still in bed and half asleep. This is too important. It will determine how the rest of the day goes. And life takes place in a series of days.

Complete your morning ritual of breakfast, getting the kids off to school, putting out the garbage or whatever your morning routine entails. Then sit comfortably in your favourite chair, and without trying to rid your mind of the random thoughts that will invariably invade it, do the following six things in succession.

  1.  Relax, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and just be aware of the miracle that is you.
  2. Give thanks for all that you have and have had in the past. Don’t rack your brain trying to think of everything – just those that come to mind quickly.
  3. Forgive anyone who has hurt or offended you.
  4. Offer up ten-second prayers, blessings or good wishes for at least three other people each day.
  5. Think positive thoughts about all your future plans, opportunities and endeavors,
  6. Decide and confirm how you will spend the next hour of your life. This may already be scheduled in your planner or you may choose something different.

The reason for doing these six things will be explained in the next article in this series on holistic time management. But the reason will probably become clear to you as you progress through each day.

Whether you call this session meditation, mindfulness, or “being in the now” is immaterial. What is important is that you continue to do it each day, modifying it as you go along, until it becomes your unique morning routine. And how you spend the next hour of each day will eventually create the life that you will lead.

Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area