Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!

The New Year can be a time to party with friends or a time to reflect at home. It's a time to say "adieu" to the old year and embrace the coming year. Many decide on resolutions, usually for self-improvement. People often look back at the past year and hope to make this new one a better year. It is also a time to look back at all the wonderful things that happened for which we are grateful.

Looking forward to the New Year, instead of making a list of "shoulds" (I should lose weight. I should spend less. I should organize my closet.) set an intention or two for the coming year Develop a vision of how you want the year to play out. Mindfulness, harmony, or joy might be part of your vision. Put together a vision board and post it where you will see it. I like to use Christine Kane's word of the year tool - http://christinekanecom/word/ - to develop my vision.

This year my vision is inspired by the word Mindfulness. I would love to hear about your vision.

Happy New Year!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Organizing Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. What organizing tips can we incorporate now to make this Christmas and the next a little less stressful?

As the Christmas cards come in, take the time now to check addresses and update your contact list. Plan on how you want to handle the cards you receive. Do you want to keep all of your cards, just the very special ones, or none at all? If you like to use some pretty cards for gift tags, after the holidays put them in a small box, label them, and store them with your holiday wrap. If you want to keep some of the notes and pictures, consider scanning them. Another option is to place very special cards in your memorabilia box. If you plan on answering notes that you received in your cards, schedule the time to do this now or very likely they will sit in a bag or basket for the whole year (This I know very personally).

Wrapping Paper:
Let go of those little bits and pieces of the roll that are left after wrapping your gifts this year. You might want to keep some smaller pieces to use as gift tags. If this is your plan, put them in a small box, label them, and store them with your holiday wrap. Paper that came off gifts you received might be kept for next year if it is pristine. The same can be said for keeping and reusing gift bags. If you find that you have a lot of paper left from previous years, Now is the time to decide what you really love and let the excess go. Extra tissue paper can be used to wrap fragile ornaments when packing up after the holidays. Do have one place to store your entire holiday wrap collection.

Start your gift list for next year now. What have you discovered that your friends and family really love? Make a list. Keep a list of all clothing sizes. Shop all year round and keep all gifts that you buy in one place. This shows you how much you already have when the holiday shopping season hits next year. Tag the items with the names of who you though of when you bought the gift. If you do re-gifting, mark who gave you the original gift.

After Christmas, wrap up carefully all of your decorations that you plan to keep and use next year. As you box them, divide them up so that it will facilitate putting them out next year. I have all early advent items in the top of one marked box. Others, who do more extensive decorating, mark boxes by the rooms where the decorations are used. Discard broken or unloved items now.

As you receive gifts, now is the time to donate what you no longer need or love. If you receive a new coffee pot, donate the old one. If you got a new robe, let the old one go to charity. Have children participate in clearing out toys they no longer love to make room for their new gifts.

Have a happy holiday season!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Preparing Your 2015 Calendar

By now you either have your new calendar for the coming year or are seriously thinking about it. Commitments are already cropping up and you probably have written notes or circled the dates in the tiny calendar at the back of your old one and made notes in the margins and are running out of room.

Now is a great opportunity to take the time to really set up your 2015 calendar so that is will work for you. I really enjoy this annual ritual. I sit comfortably with some nice pens and a lovely hot drink. I put on some holiday music and take my time to reflect and plan.

  1. I review my current calendar. I note birthdays, anniversaries, and standard meeting times ( networking, goals group, weight watchers, etc.) I also note medical appointments that are already set for the new year.
  2. I transfer these dates onto the new calendar in red. I want them to stand out from all the other appointments and meetings that will crowd my calendar as the year goes by.
  3. At the top of each month I note what zone I am going to work on in my house (see former blogs on my zone plan). January will  have "office" zone, February will have "guest bedroom" and so forth throughout the year. On the notes side of my calendar I will write in other actions that I do in that month. January might have "take down birdhouses and clean them".
  4. Also on the notes side I keep track of when I pay yearly obligations, renewals of subscriptions, donations, or memberships. Then when I start getting letters to "renew" something 4 months in advance, I can easily flip through my calendar and see when they are really due.
  5. Finally I write in any known scheduled events for the upcoming months such as client appointments, presentations, and upcoming adventures (Europe in July!).
Once I have all the known events in place, I feel ready for anything the new year is going to bring.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Cards - Enjoy!

Although the electronic age is beginning to replace paper cards, I just can't embrace that for myself. I love cards. I love birthday cards, valentine cards, mother's day cards, just for no reason cards, and especially holiday cards. I love to open them, read them, and display them.

Because I love to receive cards, I am very good about sending them. Now, during the frantic holidaze season, this can be a chore. And because I have clients, I send out two sets of cards. One set goes to faithful clients. These hold a little gift. Another set goes to friends and family.

Over the years I have developed a little ritual. First, I schedule the times on my calendar. I usually do this in four or five sessions. Then, I gather all of my supplies. This includes my cards (usually two sets - client and other), holiday stamps, holiday return address labels, and a couple of pens. I put these supplies in a basket that I pull out when actually doing the task.  When the scheduled time arrives, I fix a nice hot beverage, add a couple of holiday cookies, put  on some music and set myself to the task.

The cards that go to people I see regularly only get a sentence or two. The cards that go out to people that I only contact during this time of year get a paragraph. I take my time and really envision these friends and family. Then, on a scheduled day, I take them all to the post office and mail them. It makes me feel close to all that I send to.

Enjoy your holiday season and I hope you receive lots of cards.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer