Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Conference Recap: Unlocking the Secrets to Teens

One of our sessions let by David L. Marcus was a powerful insight into how parents sometimes (usually?) push their dreams and expectations onto their children. The vision of the parent is not always the vision of the child. The skill set of the parents is not always the skill set of the child. The learning style of the parent is not always the learning style of the child. You get the picture.

Dave advises parents to "help your children find their hidden talents," and "teach your children to be independent." He has learned much of this not only through research but also by becoming aware of the talents (much different from his own) of his son.

Here are some pointers for success at home:
  • Need constant structure
  • Both parents need to be on the same page
  • Help your teen find a passion, even if it changes
  • Emphasize the "soft" skills, like leadership
  • Help your teen learn to socialize
  • teens need mentor who is not a parent, and they need to mentor others
  • Get them professional treatment for anxiety, depression and other disorders
  • Talk openly about mental health
  • Disorganized teens often become more organized when they guide others
As a special education teacher for many years, and the parent of two sons, I can certainly get on board with Mr. Marcus!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Conference Recap

I always go to conference with goals in mind. The theme of the conference this year was ICD R.O.C.K.S. The plan was to walk away from conference with information on the latest Research, have Opportunity to expand our thinking, Collaborate with peers, gain Knowledge through the presentations and from each other, and to learn Strategies to use on ourselves and our clients.
Diane Quintana and I also went with the idea of letting other participants know about our new children's book, Suzie's Messy Room. We had hoped to have the book in hand by conference but that did not happen. We did have a mock up and some post cards telling about the book.
The presentations were fantastic. We were exposed to:
    • Unlocking the Secrets to Teens
    • Still Someone: Working with People Who Have Memory Loss
    • Hoarding Disorder: Definitions and Best Practices
    • MESS: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House & His Act
    • Recognizing & Managing Compassion Fatigue
    • Universal Design: Making Life Easier for Everyone
    • Nervous System Resilience
    • I Have What? A Practical Guide to Working with ADHD Adults
The conference certainly did give opportunities to network and expand our thinking. The challenge now is to incorporate all of this learning into practices with myself and my clients. I have the handout material and will set aside some times to review each presentation. I have clients in mind that will benefit from all of this new research and learning.

Next year the conference is in Portland, Oregon. The theme is Blazing a Trail. Wow!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Preparing for a Disaster

September is National Preparedness Month. Emergencies can happen with little warning. You may only have minutes to evacuate. To improve your chances for survival, you should be informed, have a plan, and have an emergency kit.

For information on preparedness check out:
Develop an emergency plan with your family. Then practice that plan. If everyone is at home, assign each person a job. Decide who will be responsible for corralling pets and putting them in carriers. Who will pull out the sleeping bags or bedding? Who grabs the emergency kit? Who will load the car? If the family is not together, have a plan on how you will communicate and where you will connect.

Always have your car on the ready. Keep your car well maintained and with at least a half tank of gas. Make sure the spare tire is usable and jumper cables are easy to access.

Put together a "grab and go" bag and/or clear bins already prepared to put into your car. Some items in the bag will have to do with safety and communication. Have a radio, flashlight with extra batteries, and a first aid kit with your medications and prescriptions. Have your wallet or purse in a consistent place with your cell phone, charge cards, and your driver's license. It is a good idea to have an extra phone charger in that kit. Have emergency apps already downloaded on your phone. Check out

Put together some items that will allow you to survive outside for a while. Have food, water, a can opener, matches, blankets, plastic bags, a plastic drop sheet, a Dopp kit, tissue, and a pen knife in your kit. Also have a change of clothes, extra glasses, extra keys, and pen and paper.

Have a prepared folder with all your essential documents, information, and cash. Have names/phone numbers/email addresses/account numbers as well as contact numbers for insurance, utilities, banks, etc.

If you have a pet, also include vet/shot information as well as extra collars and leads, pet food, a dish, blanket, and a toy.

It takes a lot of time to put this all together but if you break it down into small sections and work on it a bit each week, it is doable. Then update it every September.

It gives great comfort to know that you are ready should the unexpected happen.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Zone Plan - Workshop/Garage Zone

I choose to work in the workshop/garage zone during September. The weather has begun to cool down. Summer equipment is ready to clean and store. Fall yard equipment needs to be accessible.

Storage areas can get pretty messy and unorganized in a year. They are not in your main living area and therefore not so visible. It is so easy just to walk in and dump items "just for now."

I actually have two areas to tackle. One is a small room off the carport that also holds the hot water heater. The other is our shed house behind our home. Whatever your zones are, you should start with deciding the purpose of the area. In your zone, do you plan to:
  1. Park your car
  2. Store your trash cans/recycling
  3. Store gardening tools and accessories
  4. Have a potting area
  5. Have a workbench for projects and a place to hold tools
  6. Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  7. Store outdoor entertainment supplies
Once you deicide how you will use these storage areas,  bring everything outside. If this is a large or much filled area, do it by sections. Sort like with like. Put aside items that are broken or have not been used in the past year. If an item is broken, decide if you need to replace it or just trash it. If you have items that are duplicates or that you no longer use, donate them. Tool banks can make good use of your extra items. ( ) Get rid of expired seeds, old chemicals, and paints.

Knock down cobwebs and sweep the floor of the area you have emptied. Now decide where each zone should go. If you are working in your garage and plan to park your car, pull the car in now and mark off the space with tape. Allow plenty of room for the car doors to open.

You want to place items that you regularly access near entrances. As you are grouping your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items that are rattling about. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves; a flat basket can hold gardening tools. Maximize your wall space. Utilize shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers as you are sure to want something that is in the bottom container. Label the containers.

You'll be amazed at how much more room you have now that you have discarded some items and bunched together and stored away the rest. Now reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink on the deck my be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer