Friday, July 29, 2011

Organizing Memorabilia

Almost everyone has memorabilia of some sort. Memorabilia is a broad category and might include pictures, posters, letters, journals, ticket stubs, knickknacks picked up on vacation, or other items that have a deep meaning.
Sometimes we keep items because they had a meaning when we acquired them or we loved them at one time but time has now caused those items to be just there and taking up space. The deep meaning has disappeared. Sometimes we start to collect something that has meaning and then others hop on the bandwagon and gift you with similar items. Now you have a large collection that has lost its meaning. For example, if you collected a few demitasse spoons from countries you visited on a European tour many years ago - then friends gifted you with more spoons to help you "complete" your collection, now the whole collection has now become something that just takes up space and has lost its original meaning.
As you decide to organize your memorabilia, first ask some questions. Does this item still stir my heart or capture an important event? Do I need 10 items that capture that important event? Am I saving these items for posterity or myself? If I am saving items for the family, do they really want them or will they become a burden to them? If I am saving them for myself, do I plan to look at them on a regular basis or do I just want to keep them?
If you are saving items for posterity, make certain that the items are well labeled. Paper items like posters, photographs, and letters should be kept in acid free frames or containers and protected from direct light. Both paper and textile memorabilia must be kept dry and protected from bugs and rodents. Create a digital record of the items you are storing.
If you are saving items just for you, decide if you want them tucked away to pull out occasionally or if you want them on display or at least very assessable. Pictures can be placed into containers and just divided by years, events, or family members. They can also be placed into scrapbooks and placed in the main living area so all can look at and enjoy them. Other knickknacks or larger items can be stored in plastic tubs if tucked away or in attractive baskets or containers if you want them easily available.
If you are keeping journals or diaries, ask yourself if you want these saved forever. Do you want your ancestors reading them? A lot of local history comes form old journals but just give it some thought.
If you are truly organizing your memorabilia and just have the items you truly love, be sure to honor the items. A collapsed cardboard box in the attic or basement shows that these items are not loved and honored.
If you are using my zone plan, then wherever you place your memorabilia, you will revisit it and look through it at least once a year. This can give you a chance to reevaluate what you keep and do a finer sort and categorization . Don't get hung up on making it perfect on the first sort. The memorabilia should be for your pleasure - not a burden.
I would love to hear from others on how they organize their memorabilia.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, July 22, 2011

Zoning Your Office

Zoning your office can increase your efficiency. Organizing your office so that you have needed items at your fingertips can minimize the stress and frustration of not knowing where to locate that needed item immediately when you need it.
I recommend dividing your "office" into 4 zones. Some of the actual zones may not be in the same area as where you do your day in and day out work.

Zone 1: This is the zone that is right at your finger tips. You should be able to reach items in this zone without leaving your desk. In this zone you place the items you use everyday. Depending on what you do, a partial list could include:
  • computer
  • printer
  • phone
  • timer
  • pens/pencils
  • business cards
  • stapler
  • action files
  • current client files
Zone 2: This zone is close and accessibly. In this zone you place items you use weekly or at least often. A partial list might include:
  • reference books
  • 3 hole punch
  • extra paper for computer
  • label maker
  • extra file folders
  • manuals
  • file cabinet
Zone 3: This zone can be farther away and even in another room. In this zone you place items rarely needed. The list might include:
  • extra office supplies
  • extra business cards/marketing material
  • reference files
  • older client files
  • inspirational files
  • items needed for presentations or booths
  • rarely used references
  • last year's financing papers
Zone 4: This zone definitely should not be taking up any prime real estate. In this zone you place purely archival information. This list would mainly be old tax papers and very old client records. This could be in a basement or attic. Just make certain to clearly label the boxes.

Share with me how you zone your office for efficiency.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fear of Failure

No one likes to fail. If we fail we must have made mistakes, done something stupid, weren't good enough, etc.
But, if we never fail - if we always make our goals, what does that say? If we never fail we must have had very easy, attainable goals, not stretched ourselves, and not achieved a fraction of what we are capable of doing.
People through time have learned only through mistakes. Failure gives us a chance to learn and improve.
Getting from where we are now to our ultimate vision requires some missteps. But, these mistakes give us a chance to grow and push our limits.
You have probably heard the story about Edison going through over 1,000 combinations of gas and filament before he developed a workng light bulb that would last. After the light bulb began to be distributed, the science editor of a well known national publication asked him how it felt to have failed so many times. Edison responded with the fact that he had succeeded in producing the incandescent bulb. When the editor persisted, Edison framed the problem of getting to a working light bulb as one that had over 1,000 steps along the way. Had he thought of each step along the way a yet another fialure, the light bulb might never have been developed.
What do we want out of life? What is our vision? Do we listen to what others tell us and what we tell ourselves about the risks necessary to move toward that vision? When we begin to grow and expand our goals, we are going to experience a learning curve and some failures along the way. Failure is just a part of the process of expanding our lives.
Let's dream large and move forward.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vacation Priorities

I have been blessed to have a couple of vacations close together this summer. One thing I have learned is that taking a vacation from work is not the same thing as taking a vacation from self care and maintenance routines. I have been able to enjoy my time visiting with my family while still watching my diet, exercising even more than usual, and certainly getting more sleep than usual. I have also been able to continue to check in at Weight Watchers.
This doesn't happen by accident. I made plans and had my vision on how this was going to happen before I left home. I called my family and announced I was on Weight Watchers. I planned what food I carried with me on the trips so that I would be satisfied and not tempted to eat junk food. I held the intention to maintain healthy habits during my vacation while having a wonderful time with my family.
They, in turn, found a place for me to weigh in and were very supportive of my diet. They came up with outings that were interesting while providing exercise.
I came home from my vacations feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the real world again.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, July 1, 2011

Planning Kitchen Zones

I was working this past week with a client who had just moved. It was a pleasure to be able to set up kitchen zones right from the beginning. One of the secrets to a neat and organized kitchen is to utilize zones. If your zones are working, you should not have a lot of kitchen clutter.

I look at 6 zones in the kitchen.

Food Preparation Zone - This is usually the largest zone in the kitchen. It is either between the sink and refrigerator or the sink and the oven. This is where you would have your cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, spices, food wraps, mixers, blenders, and measuring cups/spoons.

Cooking Zone - This is near the oven and stove-top. This is where you would have pots, pans, cooking utensils, pot holders, bake ware, recipes, and cookbooks. Many people now get most of their recipe's on line and can let go of a lot of their cookbooks. However, they may have some family favorites they just want to hold on to. In this small efficient kitchen, we determined that her cookbooks would go a step or two away into the adjoining laundry room.

Daily Dishes Zone - This is close to the sink/dishwasher. You would have your daily dishes, bowls, mugs, glasses and flatware here. Flexibility is key. My client's sink/dishwasher were on an island that overlooked the living room and there were no overhead cabinets. She just turned around and used the cabinet on the other wall for her daily dishes and her special occasion dishes were stored in a cabinet above her refrigerator.

Food Serving Zone - This is near where you eat. You would have your placemats, napkins, trivets, and serving pieces near this zone. A nearby pantry could store these items. Some families who eat in an adjoining room store these items in that room.

Food Storage Zone - This would be the refrigerator and pantry. If you do not have a pantry, you would use a cabinet.

Cleaning Zone - This is usually under the sink. This is where you would store household cleaners, detergents, rubbish bags, sponges, and towels.

The real key is to be somewhat flexible with these zones depending on your kitchen layout and space. If clutter starts to accumulate in your kitchen, it is very likely your zones are not well laid out, so take some time and reevaluate. Every item should be close at hand for each type of task so it is easy to reach and easy to return to its home.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer