5 Things My Mom Taught Me About Organizing and Productivity

Depositphotos_25892317_l-2015 thanksmomHappy Mother’s Day to all of you wonderfully inspiring moms!

You remember those sayings, demands, chores, urgings and advisories from mom?! You know those things that it took you almost a lifetime to realize where actually life lessons and values intended to make you the best person ever. I’ve lived a little and thought it would be fun idea for this holiday to reflect on what my mom taught me.  When thinking about specifics to include for this article I texted my mom and asked “what did you try to teach us that connects to this topic”?  Her responses are the first 2 🙂

1. Have a place for stuff and put it there…

Yes this one often received an “uh Mooooom” or blank stare but it is absolutely true. Defining where things belong helps you find them and return them much easier and faster.   This is especially applicable with multi-user spaces.

2. Finish what you start; Keep the commitment you signed up for. If you don’t like it you don’t have to do it again but get through the process.

Okay. I have become much more of a big picture person that in the past but realizing that the planning and follow through required after making a decision were so important to my learning and sense of achievement.

A productivity point that also comes to mind is doing the hard things first. If we can get past the activities that seem so big, we gain a huge boost of confidence.  Then what comes after is much easier to complete.

3. Clean your room.

In organizing this is one of the most common challenges people face- maintaining the order that is established. Did it seem like you heard this every day too?  It’s interesting that this now makes me think about organizing space styles.  My definition of clean was not necessarily the same as hers.  Now we have tools like the Time and Space Style Inventory (link to page) to find out what makes sense for the user of the space.  With that knowledge we can help the systems and the maintenance routine match the person.

And yes I do make my bed every day now.

4. Be happy with what you have.

You couldn’t control what anyone else had- As a kid not even what you had. But you could control how you looked at it. Gratitude  and perspective are much more openly discussed today than they were in the past.  We also practice more consumption and comparison today.  We want the latest and greatest that our friend has without much regard for what we really need. If we can take a step back to a simpler definition of life and happiness, it will have an impact on the volume of unused things we have around us.

5. Come back before the street lights come on.

As a military kid there was a layer of protection around the community that afforded us some freedom of movement. So at times I could stay out later but she always had to know where I was.  The street lights just served as a boundary on my behavior and strategy to plan her time.  She clearly stated the expectation and there were consequences when I overstepped.  This boundary allowed her to continue managing the household without overextending wondering where I was or when I’d be back.  What boundaries do you set for yourself and others? Are you able to balance time for play, self care, and readiness for the upcoming day? Do you instill confidence and trust through your behavior? When a situation arises that is beyond your boundary how do you recover?

These may seem like very simple examples yet in each there is a lesson that I didn’t realize I was getting at the time. As I look at the person I have become and the work that I do,  it’s so easy to identify the organizing and productivity tips mom shared all throughout my life. 

What did you learn from your mom? How is it showing up in your life today? Share with a comment below.

Happy Organizing!

tt

 

Change One Thing

Sometimes it seems like nothing works the way it should. If you’re a human, you have probably hit that point where work is no fun, relationship is a struggle and you don’t even feel comfortable in your body.

At times like these, changing your life can seem overwhelming. There’s so much to do…where do you even start?

It’s really quite simple… just change ONE thing.

Read a magazine article you would not typically even consider. Try a new clothing combination. Take a different route to work. Any simple change of scenery can shift your perspective, and has the potential to drastically transform your life.

It’s like a ship at sea…if it changes course even one degree, 100 miles later it’s in completely new waters.

Of course, the most profound shifts are the ones you make on the inside. Annoyance can easily be turned into fascination. Frustration can be flipped to become gratitude. Even anger can be transformed if you simply turn it into a song.

You don’t have to tackle your whole life at once, just make one simple shift.

And the best part is…it’s all experimentation. If you don’t like your new perspective, you can always go back to your old one.

What “one-degree” shift can YOU make TODAY?

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Do You Know What April Showers Bring?

You know that old saying April showers bring May flowers.  Well it brings a little bit more than that.  Any time is a good time to get organized and spring is no exception.  Check out these 3 things that I know come in the month of April and how they can remind you to declutter your space.

1. Allergies

Between the falling pollen and beginning of grass cutting if you have any sensitivity with airborne allergens, you are stocking up on tissues and medication.  Now is a good time to review your medicines.

  • Check those travel bags, bathroom cabinets, bedroom and kitchen bins for outdated and expired prescriptions.  If there are old prescriptions with doses left return them to your pharmacy for destruction.
  • Separate the valid ones by family member or condition and return to proper storage area.
  • For any current ones make sure your next pickup is on auto-fill or if it will require a doctor visit you add that to your task list to schedule a visit soon.
  1. Mosquitoes

Riiiiight. I hate them around my house too.  The customary advice to reduce these critters on our property is to survey and dump standing water. Now is a great time to take stock of those hiding places and decide if they even need to exist. 

  • Can you reduce the number of empty pots and trays?
  • Does that old tire or oil pan need to be put to the curb?
  • What’s creating dark hiding places on the patio or in the shed that is no longer needed? 

Having an open space through which your fans or any pest treatment can flow will be a big help to take the sting out of your spring.    

  1. Warm Weather

Even though we didn’t have a cold winter you can still spend some time turning over your wardrobe to prepare for the warming.  Take a couple of hours to go through your closet to get out the items that are no longer needed in this new season.

  • What doesn’t fit? What do you no longer like? What hasn’t been worn for the past 2 years?
  • Take a closer look at the things you want to keep.  Do any of them need repairs or cleaning? Do that now.
  • Where are you going to put these off season items up to make room for what you will wear now?  Whether it’s the back of the closet, up on a higher shelf, in a different room or contained in the attic.  Make sure the place is big enough for what you have and any containers you use are appropriate for the storage area.   

Sometimes it is hard to keep up with lists of things to do and when exactly is the right time to execute a plan.  If you let the natural cycles in your life guide you to action, you likely won’t go wrong.  Hope you enjoy all the gifts of spring!

Happy Organizing!

tt

She Thanked the Clock

 

Box of unwanted stuff close upFinishing up a recent appointment, an interesting thing happened.  As I packed my truck with donations, the homeowner came over and added in an old clock.  Then she said “Thank you clock.  I’m going to miss the chiming you did for me. I can let you go now.” 

Whoa! 

I stand by the viewpoint that our things serve a purpose.  Whether tool, toy or treasure things are in our life for specific reasons. On an ongoing basis if we treat them well they will do just what we intended for them to.  Then when their task is done, they are used up, or we have changed our minds about them, we should be able to let them go.  In reality that doesn’t always happen for many reasons including:  we value the things we spend money on, we connect them to our relationships with people, we feel if they are useful they can be tolerated taking up extra space and others.

I love that she was able to initiate her own way of letting go. We talked about the clock being something she remembers for many years in the home.  It was a gift from a family member.  It hadn’t been used recently and didn’t really have a place because it was replaced with other clocks she likes now. Yet it was still in the maybe area. For some other items we had to think of ways to help her facilitate letting go of items.  I want that to go to my friend. I want to get some money for this so it needs to be sold. I want a picture of that piece…  In this case she decided on her own that it was okay that the clock had done it’s job and that was enough.  So she brought it to me and she thanked the clock.

I smiled at my client and told her I appreciated her expression of gratitude for the clock.  I would take it to the place of her choosing and someone else will enjoy it like she did. She said I know it’s silly but that’s what I needed to do to let it go. 

It wasn’t silly.  It was awesome and I wished more people could do it so simply. That experience was a great way to end the day.  I left excited about the project and what my client was learning about her ability to work through the organizing process.  I just had to share!

What about you?

Have you ever had the experience of thanking an item as a way to help you let it leave your space? Share in the comments.

Happy organizing!

tt