Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lemons to Lemonaide or Pecan Tree to Mulch

This was a sad week for me. The huge pecan tree that has sat in my front yard and partly on my driveway since I bought this home had to be taken down. Due to damage done serveral years ago when another tree fell on it, pulling the power line on it, and causing a fire that burned for hours, a huge part of the tree had rotted away and was now unsafe. This tree made my yard and home cool in the summer. This tree had been home to many birds and squirrels. People stopped to pick up the pecans and chat. At one point in my life I had placed a ceramic wizzard in the tree and the tree had grown around the wizzard. I always smiled to think of my wizzard living in the tree. But, the tree had become unsafe. My home and my neighbor's home could be badly damaged if it fell.
There is a time and season for everything and this was the time to say goodby to my tree.
I had a wonderful arborist helping me. Gerry Korzi of Valley Crest Tree Care Services, gkorzi@valleycrest.com , gave me a lot of advice and support. He went way beyond the top with his service. He found someone in Clarkston who sold firewood and made sure that this person got the wood so that it could be used and not end up in landfill. He asked the crew to chip what wood they could and leave it for me as mulch. The crew cleaned my yard and my neighbors yard. Everyone was so professional and kind.
As many of my clients know- it's hard to let go of things you care about, but sometimes one must just shed a quiet tear and look to the greatest good.
Goodby tree.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gift Cards


You would think that as a Professional Organizer I would like the idea of giving gift cards. After all, they take up very little space and the recipient can buy exactly what they want with the card.
Actually, I am really against them. Time and time and time again while decluttering with a client I come across old gift cards. Sometimes I come across whole stacks of gift cards. They are often years old and no longer good. Someone who cared about this person put out money that was basically just thrown away.
There are many reasons why this happens. One reason is that the person receiving the card is in some type of transition or stressful time and is not 100% there.
I have recently come across bundles of cards from a couple of clients that were married several years ago. Now we are going through the wedding gifts, cards, and pictures and making decisions about them. It's sad to see all of these gift cards that have not been cashed in or used. I have also had some clients who were given the gift cards when they were recovering from a fire, an illness, or a death in the family. These gift cards were lumped in with the greeting cards and put in a box or a drawer. The clients are just now getting the courage to go through these items and make decisions about them. It saddens them again that they did not cash in the cards and lost the gift that was given to them.
At other times, the recipient has ADD and has laid the cards in a stack of papers or on a bookcase "just for now" and forgotten about them. They don't mean to not use them- they just forgot. It makes them feel dumb that they forgot about the cards.
So we now have not only money spent that did not get used but we are in the long run making the recipient feel bad instead of good when they refind them.
If you do give a gift card, please follow up and see what they were used for. Maybe go shopping with the friend and help them get something they need.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NAPO in the Schools


Today I did a presentation at Smoke Rise Elementary School for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Discovery Classes. It is always so much fun to do these presentations. The children get so involved in the process and I always come away with some new insights. At the end of the presentation there is an evaluation form the students fill in. It is interesting that some students will say a certain part of the presentation (perhaps the discussion of the ways to organize items) was the best part of the presentation while others will say the same part was their least favorite part.
There is a sorting exercise where the students take 10 items and sort them however they deam appropriate. It is fascinating to see the different ways they sort. I always expect sorting by color or by function but sometimes I see sorting by hard and soft items, what I'd keep and what I'd toss, what I can use for a project and what I can't use. It is also a great chance to tell the students that there is no right or wrong way to sort- just what makes sense to them.
Sometimes as I walk around the room I may ask a student, "Why did you put that in this sort pile?". Often they will take the object out of the pile. That's when I can say, "No, tell me why you put it there." and then say "Well, that makes sense." and move on.
I also enjoy the discussions we have about the consequences of being disorganized and the feeling of confidence when you are organized. The children love to share ways that they organize at home as well as at school.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer
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