Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Reflections

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday that is mainly celebrated in the United States and Canada.

There are so many different ways to celebrate this special day. When I was young, we visited my grandmother. When I was newly married, we visited my mother. After my mother died, I did not have a "traditional" way to celebrate. Sometimes my son and I would go out to eat, sometimes we ate out with friends. One special Thanksgiving (2011) my whole extended family ended up at my sister Ann's home. This Thanksgiving I am preparing a traditional meal for my husband, Darin (#1 son) and some friends.

However the day is celebrated, it is a time to reflect on the many things for which we are thankful.

I am always thankful for my family (which has recently been expanded). They are my bedrock and so very special to me. It is a great gift to know that my family is always there for me.

I also am thankful for my friends. It is important to let friends know how important they are and to set aside time to nurture and enjoy the friendships.

I am fortunate to have good health. I do not take this for granted. I do what I can to stay healthy but I also recognize that this is a gift and I am grateful.

I would love to have you share your blessings.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day in your own way.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Surviving the Holidaze

Thanksgiving is almost here. The Holidaze season is already upon us. This is the time to make your calendar one of your best friends.

There is so much to do during this season and the ideas just spin around in our head. When will we get it all done?

Most of us are pretty good about putting major events on the calendar like parties and programs. What we do not put down are the times we plan to do holiday tasks and rituals.

First, brainstorm with your family all that you would like to do in the next couple of months.

Next, bring out the calendar that you use daily - you know - the one that has regular family events on it like PTA, choir practice, sports events, doctor appointments, etc. Plug into this calendar the non-negotiable holiday events. This might include special church or holiday events, traveling to visit a relative, a business or neighborhood party, or a special school event.

Now, think about the rituals your family loves to do each year. Check over that brainstorming list for new ideas. This might include making cookies or a gingerbread house. You might like to get a tree and decorate. Perhaps you like to send out cards. Maybe you have an annual shopping spree event. Do you like to give an annual party? All of these rituals are fun, but to really enjoy them, time must be planned for them to happen. So, now block out on your calendar - just like events you go to - the times you plan to do each one of these rituals. Some may take multiple days.

If your calendar already looks too full, discuss what might be dropped this year. Do not fill in every spare moment because you know unexpected opportunities will appear. Allow some time to enjoy your home and your decorations. Allow some reflective and quiet time during this busy season.

Above all, enjoy your holidays!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, November 7, 2014

Organizing the Attic or Basement Zone

If you work on a zone plan in cleaning and decluttering your home, this month is the perfect month to work in your attic or basement. It is not too hot or too cold and you are probably already in that area looking for seasonal decorations.

So while you are up there (or down there), look around. Besides the seasonal decorations, what else do you store in this area?

Make a list of all the categories you have in the storage space.

You might store:
  • out of season clothes
  • suitcases
  • archival papers
  • seasonal house items like fans/heaters
  • sports equipment
  • toys to pass on to grandchildren
  • extra furniture and household accessories
Group all related items and then designate zones for that category. Items that you will not use in the next year should be stored the farthest from the entry. This might include the extra furniture, archival papers, or toys.

Label containers. It helps to locate the holiday items if you use colored or themed boxes to store your decorations, but still label the boxes with the primary items. If you containers are well labeled, you will not have to dig through every box to find that advent wreath or crèche that you want early in the season.

While sorting, if you come across broken or unloved items that have been languishing in this area for years, get rid of them now. 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