Hello June

Hello June and Welcome New Friends!

A lovely poem to start the month off–

Making the Bed by Burt Kimmelman

Summer country. In the morning the leaves
bend

to the window and fold
the house in. Mountains and sun. I fold

the blankets, hand smooth. When
you’re here

I know it. The sun crosses

the hand’s breadth—

and in your face

the unenterable
image. Under

your eyelids
night unfolds. Pull

the blanket over you
and with it

the darkened air.


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I Heart the Month of May

May is my favorite month of the year and it’s been so since early childhood. May is the month that officially ends the school year and begins summer break. May is the month of both high school and college graduation. May is for me the month of spring smells and garden starts, and of course new life –baby chicks, lambs, birds, and more.

Here are some of my favorite ways to get summer started–

  • Best beach reads for 2018- here
  • Best summer movies coming soon to a theater near you- here
  • Here are 30 of the Best Travels tips for traveling summer 2018-here
  • Best Sunscreens for summer 2018- here
  • Best Products for kids to enjoy summer of 2018-here
  • Five Stress Relievers for Adults summer 2018-here
  • Summer Camp Organizing tips- here

I’m looking forward to reading: This is Me and The family next door.

I’m looking forward to seeing: Book Club with Diane Keaton and Life of the Party with Melissa McCarthy.

My favorite travel tips are: observe daily life and keep an open mind.

As far as sunscreens go I put on Banana Boat Dry Balance SPF 50.

My favorite stress relievers are always: get enough sleep & set realistic goals. I would also include communicating well your intentions and plans as they come up with your spouse, children, and extended family.

My favorite summer camp organizing tips are:  Encourage your child to send letters home and pack accordingly to the checklist and put a copy of the checklist in with your child’s stuff.

 

Have a fabulous May and enjoy your summer!!

Sentimental Clutter

What do I do about the sentimental clutter? I get asked this question all the time. Also, a common statement I hear often after introducing myself is–  that with my being an organizer and all I probably don’t place much sentimental value on stuff–“I bet you throw everything away.”

When told that I probably don’t place sentimental value on stuff I am quick to answer that I do. I’ve collected many items that have sentimental value to me over the years. I’ve given special items to friends, co-workers, and people I meet through my volunteer work. I have a few totes that contain items I’ve collected over the years that mean something to me– and take me on a trip down memory lane each time that I look at them. They are a part of my family trust and when I’m gone can be sold and the proceeds go to one of the special causes I support.

What I tell people I am working with, concerning what is sentimental to them, is– First,  carefully curate all the items you have that are sentimental to you. Then decide who you are keeping these items for and why? I usually suggest purchasing a tote or plastic container of some kind and then once filled–that’s it.  People generally want to keep sentimental items for their children and grandchildren. A pretty tote packed with specially curated sentimental items is a lovely gift to give a child.

I am most definitely not the kind of organizer that wants to wipe your life clean and rid your home and office of everything personal to you. One of the most important things I eventually do is to gather the items you cherish and do not want to part with and find a way to keep them safe. When I’m working with someone to de-clutter their home we don’t initially focus on sentimental possessions. That is something I save for another day with my clients. There are a lot of emotions connected to sentimental possessions. Starting with the sentimental things could lead to failure before de-cluttering even begins. To be successful de-cluttering is to change one’s state of mind, or how they look at and value their possessions.  It isn’t throwing everything away and starting with a clean slate. There seem to be a few different views on what organizing is all about. Some people feel all clutter and “stuff” should be eliminated. Similar to those that believe organizing clutter is simply postponing the inevitable– which is eliminating the clutter. This is what I think–everyone I know wants a more organized life. I’d also go as far as to say everyone I know would like some things in their life to be simplified. I give them an idea of how I could organize their home, office, or parts of their life to make rooms, or office space, or schedules more functional. If they like the ideas I give them then I go to work. I have been called to consult on hoarding situations but I do not handle them. Usually, this type of situation needs assistance from a therapist, professional cleaning team and social services and I am not qualified in any of those areas. Though as I said I am happy to consult and also happy to help in any situation involving home/office/personal organizing.

Once the mindset (mind shift) is established at what it is a client wants to keep, then you’ve empowered them to make the next set of decisions– the ones about the sentimental items in their possession.

Some tips to help make parting with sentimental items easier–

  • Take a picture of whatever it is.
  • Make a light-hearted game of what’s meaningful and what’s just stuff.
  • Celebrate something that is sentimental to you one last time- if its an item of clothing then wear it, a board game then play it, jewelry wear it. Make a night of it and gather the family and discuss the items one last time–celebrating them will make them a lasting memory.

Make peace with parting with it by asking yourself if you’d really want family members having to discard your items for you once you are gone. This usually helps a lot because it gives us some kind of control over what we choose to keep with us and what we choose to give or throw away.

I’m joining Marty over at A Stroll Thru Life today for her 421st Inspire Me Tuesday!

Life Edit

I often tell people edit is my middle name. I love to edit things. Some of the easiest things I edit are the junk drawer, my handbag, even my make-up bag. To edit is to condense or modify. Editing is usually associated with written material but has recently become associated with decluttering or living with less or sorting through/sorting out.

This past weekend I completed several edits. The first edit was a handbag edit. I had been using the same bag, a black leather Coach handbag, for ten years. It’s been lovely and I’ve got a lot of use out of it, but it’s too heavy and the strap is always falling down. After looking at close to 200 different handbags online last week I finally found one that is lightweight, has two sections in it, two straps, and was very affordable. Today that handbag arrived and I was able to sort through all of the stuff in my old bag, throw a lot of the stuff away, and then fit everything I was keeping into my new bag. The new handbag is a bit more up to date, definitely more stylish than my last one, and is way easier on my back and shoulders. Handbag edit successful and complete.

Closet editing is done often around here. If items aren’t worn after a year they are donated. If items are looking shabby-sweaters pulled out of shape, pilling going on, holes or tears they are thrown. Often clothing items just don’t fit anymore with me, my lifestyle, my figure etc. and they also get donated.

Junk drawers–I actually have one and it gets edited regularly. I stand over it in our kitchen with the trash can and when I can’t remember why I hung onto this or that, or even sometimes identify what it is or why I’m holding onto it-nail, screw, bread tie, newspaper clipping–it’s thrown.

Even in social media regular editing can take place. I often look through my photos on Instagram and if they look too personal, or dated, or revealing or they just don’t match the profile of who I am and what I am sharing about myself, family or business on the internet, I delete them. I also purge Facebook photos and posts on a regular basis–this way what is available about me and mine is less likely to end up in a Googe or Facebook search/search all. Though I work hard to produce blog content with good grammar, I often fail. So when I can, I go back to posts and edit them. I do this all the time.

Editing is an important part of my life. I don’t like to be overwhelmed–my best line of defense for that is edit, regularly trim down the size of today’s list, prioritize things on my lists, and accomplish what I can today, and save the rest for tomorrow. I don’t consider it a failure to not get every little thing on my list completed.

Editing is an important part of my life because I am a minimalistic person. Chaos causes me more stress than any order ever will. If you don’t mind chaos or can adapt, I envy you. I don’t consider my minimalistic attitude and all the work it sometimes takes to always be positive. However, paring down closet space so it contains what you actually wear is fabulous. I’ve been organizing professionally for six months now without hiring any assistants. Soon I will be looking to build a small team. As of this time I am asked the most about closet organizing. I would say I’ve probably organized more closets for clients at this point than anything else. Sometimes a closet is a great starting place, and for me thus far I’m having a great time doing them.

Simple Inspiration for Living Simply

Even a professional organizer needs inspiration some days.  Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and Simplified Life by Emily Ley were both recommended to me by fellow organizers and Hygge lovers. I just started following both of these ladies over on Instagram and bought these books this past weekend.

To say these past few months have been super busy would be an understatement. My full-time career is in accounting, I am a tax accountant by day, night, and everything in between. This tax season is a particularly difficult tax season with all the “last minute” changes. I will survive. I will survive.

My goal is to get my home-based business off the ground and slowly ease into working part-time organizing and personal shopping, and part-time as a tax accountant during the busy season.

Even though it’s been a busy few months I am still on track and I continue to stay on point with housework, new business-oriented work, family, and volunteer work. By keeping on top of things and making sure these things got taken care of, I’ve had a lot less stress working overtime and weekends since last fall. Our taxes are done, my spring cleaning is done, Easter dinner planned and partially shopped for, and I’m training two new volunteers to help me when I am back to volunteering every month come summertime.

Some things I’ve thought of lately that perhaps you might be interested in and jot down as inspiration–

  • In April I am attending a flower show in a local arboretum where early flowers such as primulas will be for sale.  Look to your local gardening center or university –they may have the same kind of event going on in April.
  • Perusing gardening catalogs and buying flowers and plants that honey bees and butterflies love.
  • Releasing butterflies- we have friends that hatch out monarchs every year. You can buy kits online–google butterfly release.
  • If you’re traveling this spring or summer consider Marie Kondo’s new travel accessory cases (Cuyana partnered with Marie Kondo).  They are sold out now but will be back in stock in May 2018.
  • New follows on Instagram- @livingbetterwithless @iheartorganizing @thehomeedit

 

Be Inspired!

Services, fees, and contact information

Services:

 

Virtual Assistant—$10.00 an hour

(email, organize, coach, schedule

resource, research, marketing)

 

Personal Organizing–$25.00 an hour

(room, office, section, declutter, assist with

a minimalistic approach, mail, desk, calendar, email)

 

Personal Shopping–$10.00 an hour

(home décor, gifts, grocery shop)

 

Home/Apt freshen up-after travel or hospitalization—$10.00 an hour

(light cleaning, airing out, mail recovery, food necessities, flowers, plant care)

 

Personal Lifestyle Coach—$20.00 an hour

(coaching, encouragement, listening, goal-setting, planning, and support) a service that is both virtual and offered in person.

 

Payment- PayPal

Communication- feel free to contact me at livingsmply@gmail.com with all questions and concerns and to schedule an appointment. Same day appointments for all virtual services as soon as payment is made. I will provide references and a service contract before work is scheduled in person.

 

 

Virtual Chats are made through Google Hangouts

Virtual Hours-9am to 9pm

 

A Quick and Easy Guide to a Life Organized

I’m happy to announce that the organizing guide I have been working on for a long time is ready and I hope you love it as much as I do. No one certain person will benefit more from it than the other. Organizing is my family business. I was born to organize. But that doesn’t make me better than anyone, or more successful, or better off. It comes down to how each of us individually sees things, does things, and how each of us completes the tasks of daily living. Everyone is different. Some more than others are quite organized in the things they do. For me, there is a process to everything and though many people compliment me for being organized– it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be all the time. In this guide, I’ve put together a month to month outline of some of the things I do that make my life easier, and keep things in my life more organized.  I think there is something in my free guide for everyone, and I hope with all my heart that it helps someone.  I will start by saying, as a way of introduction, that some of the things I do in my life, by way of staying organized, keep me on schedule for all my appointments, help me to remember birthdays, special occasions, and get-togethers, pay bills on time (never any late fees), stay ahead of my housekeeping, keep our family car’s service up to date, relax throughout the holidays, take the summer off, enjoy the bounty of fall food throughout the winter, live well on a fixed budget and more. I’m a wife, an accountant that works full-time +, an urban homesteader, volunteer, and I travel often and care for a pet with special health needs.  I budget my time wisely, and I would be lost without a few of the shortcuts, tips, and organizing tools that I have laid out for you in my special Quick and Easy Guide to a Life Organized.

A Quick and Easy Guide to a Life Organized 2018