Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving has long been a time to give thanks for a good harvest. It has been celebrated in times of plenty and times of need. Often extended families gather at the matriarch's house.

Today there are so many options on how to celebrate the day. In my family, the tradition has changed from going to grandmother's house, to going to mother's house, to going to a restaurant, and this year - going to my sister's house in Florida for a combination Thanksgiving/Family reunion. My sister has stated that this day is beginning to have the feeling of a flash mob as I think she is now beyond 30 to feed and sleep. Relatives are coming from as far away as Washington state and a few close family friends are also being included.

However you celebrate, it is a day to remember to give thanks and be grateful for all that has come your way.

What are you thankful for? For me the big 3 are family, friends, and good health.

Enjoy your holiday!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sending Holiday Cards - Joyfully!

I love getting holiday cards! Each day I prance to the mailbox to see what came. I display my cards on my bookshelves.

Every year, almost 2 billion holiday cards are sent to bring warm holiday wishes to those we love. The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged good will messages to celebrate the New Year and to early Egyptians who ssent greetings on papyrus scrolls. So, this is not a new thing.

For me this is often the only time I connect with some of the people on my list. I catch up on a year's worth of happenings with this card exchange.

Sending out cards can be very time consuming and therefore add to our stress. So how can we make this tradition less stressful and more joyful?
  1. Schedule time on your calendar to send out the cards. Do not try to do them all in one fell swoop. Instead, schedule multiple 45 minute blocks and set your timer.
  2. prepare a basket with all the materials you need to send out your cards. Pull out this basket on your scheduled times. Fix a hot beverage. Listen to some music. Reflect on the people to whom you are sending the cards. Tailor the card to the recipient.
  3. Write a line or two that is personal to the recipient unless they are friends you see often.
  4. Have some extra cards available so that you can reciprocate all cards you receive.
  5. Consider getting help from others in the family even if it is just putting on return addresses and stamps.
  6. Plan to send early to ensure timely delivery. This is especially true for those cards going abroad.
  7. Buy special stamps early. Count up what you think you will need so that you only have to make one trip to the post office to buy them.
  8. If you just can't find the time before the holidays, you might consider sending out New Years cards.
Happy Holiday! I'll be looking for my card from you ;-}

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Monday, November 7, 2011

Attic Attack - Not Panic Attack

It's that time of year again. You look into your attic or basement in preparation for getting out holiday decorations.
You look and .... you just want to close it up again and walk away. I mean, seriously, how much would it cost just to go out and buy all new decorations for this year?
OK. I get the picture. The storage area can be overwhelming. So, where to begin?
Begin with a vision and a plan. How do you want your attic/basement to look and function? What do you want to store in that space? Make a list of all the categories of items for this area. Look at the overall layout of your space. Think how you could divide this space into zones. When you set up the zones, it will help you to place items rather than just tossing them into any available space and often blocking the paths to the back of the storage area. Zones also help you to find items when you go looking for them.

Some possible zones:
  • Holiday storage
  • Archival paperwork
  • Furniture/accessories you are not using but plan to keep
  • Household items used seasonally - ie. fans/humidifiers/space heaters
  • Off season clothes
  • Sports equipment
  • Memorabilia like baby clothes or old toys
Now that you have a brainstorm list, make an actual plan with times on your calendar to implement your plan. You don't have to do this all in one day.
Put signs around your space designating the different zones. Then start matching up items to signs. Negotiate help from others in the family.
Put frequently accessed zones nearest the entrance and storage zones to the back. Use labeled containers to hold items. Purge as you go. If something has gotten damaged or no longer looks like something you still want or love, let it go now. Free up space for the important items. When you get to that archival paper, make a date to review it and see what has been held long enough and can now be trashed or shredded.
Plan a reward for yourself when this task is complete! You will feel so much lighter when this is accomplished and next year when this zone rolls around again, it will not be nearly so difficult.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer