Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Plan for 2017

2016 is coming to a close. It is great to look back and see all that was accomplished. With that fresh in mind, let's make plans for the upcoming year. I have done my business goals, chosen my word of the year (release), and am now scheduling things I want to accomplish in this coming year.

One of the first things I do when I set up my calendar is divide my home into 10 zones. Every month except July and December, I work on one zone in my home. The goal is that by the end of the year I have touched everything I own and have let go of things I no longer need or love. I have also organized the items I have decided to keep.

This has worked so well for me over the years that a couple of years back I set up a Zone Plan Teleclass to lead others through the process. I love the way the plan has developed and the wonderful people who participate in the teleclass. It is an ongoing class and anyone can join at anytime but because I like new beginnings, I would love to invite you to join us now. The call that will get us started on next year is December 30 at 1:30. Because I really would love for you to get started in January, I am reducing the fee for the year by $50 if you sign up before December 30.

Join me for the 10 month Zone Plan Group Coaching Program. We will benefit from exploring 10 months of 2 open line calls a month (recorded for you convenience), one personal closed call to each member, motivating content and exercises, a pdf copy of my workbook, and a closed Facebook group page. All of this is designed to set you on your path of living in the home you envision and so that you control your space.

Each month (skipping July and December) we concentrate on one zone of your home. I will suggest a zone but the beauty of this program is that the concepts will fit any zone or project that you want to tackle.

This program is powerful, yet affordable. For an investment of $450 (and now $400 if you enroll before December 30) you receive twenty teleclass calls and ten 30 minute private coaching calls. There is even a 2-pay option if you need to spread payments out.

If you want results and are ready to make your home the one of your vision, then join us.

Contact me by phone (404-299-5111), email (jonda@timespaceorg.com) or through my website (www.timespaceorg.com)

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


The year is drawing to a close. It is a good time to find some quiet time and reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year. I challenge you to try this exercise.

  • List at least 3 experiences or events that were wonderful this past year. What insights did you receive from these delightful experiences?
  • Think of a couple of things that did not go quite the way you wanted. What did you learn about yourself from this?
  • What is your vision for the upcoming year?
  • Brainstorm a list of what you have to do to make this vision come true?
  • What stumbling blocks might impede you and how will you deal with them?
  • From your brainstorm list, pick one small thing and schedule time to work on it.
In going through this exercise myself, I have found it helpful to also work on a vision board. I also find that sharing my thoughts with others helps me gain clarity. I focus on only those thoughts and actions that come from me and that I can control. Let this time moving forward be our best personal year yet.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Disaster Preparedness with Pets

There has been so much in the news lately about fires, floods, and tornadoes. Sometimes families have only minutes to evacuate.

We hear a lot about emergency preparedness but sometimes we forget about preparing for our pets. In the back of our mind we may think we'll just scoop them up and go. But as you are putting together your family kit, consider these items for your pets.
  • Food and water for at least 5 days along with bowls
  • Any medicines plus the latest vet records that show vaccinations along with the vet's phone number
  • Cat litter, travel litter box, scoop, and garbage bags for waste
  • Leashes, harnesses, and carriers
  • Collars with identification
  • Blankets or towels
  • Current pictures of the pets in case they do escape
  • Newspapers, paper towels, grooming items, and even a toy
This list came from humanesociety.org/disaster. Visit their site for even more information and comments. In this household, pets are like family and if it is not safe out there for you, then it is not safe for our pets.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tips for Gifting the Perfect Children's Book

In my household books are always under the Christmas tree. If you are choosing a book as a gift for a young child, what should you look for?
  • A book that grows with the child is ideal. Choose a book that you read to a little one. In time the child will start to recite some of the words to you. And eventually he will enjoy reading the book by himself.
  • Younger children like stories that mimic experiences that they have had. Books about milestones like potty training, learning to help around the house, starting school are great. As children get older fantasy becomes more appealing. Also notice the child's interests. Does he like to collect rocks or have outdoor adventures? Find books with those themes.
  • Find a book with appealing illustrations and a good cover. Illustrations that invite participation (find all the stuffed animals) and conversation keep the attention of young children.
  • Note the language in the book. Younger children love repetition and rhyming. Vocabulary that is part of the sight vocabulary of the young reader helps the child learn more quickly to read the food for fun alone.
  • Find a theme that is enduring. Can the story relate to other life experiences? Is it a book that will be enjoyed over and over?
Diane Quintana and I have written two children's books that pretty much cover these suggestions (OK, they don't rhyme). Check out Suzie's Messy Room and Benji's Messy Room on Amazon or Barnes and Nobel or ask for it at your local book shop.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ho! Ho! Ho! Tis the Season for Gift Giving

It's fun to receive gifts. I think it is even more fun to give gifts. But, let's give this whole gift giving a bit of thought.

When we decide to give a gift consider:
  • Do they really want it?
  • Will it clutter up their space?
  • Do they have a designated place to put it away when not in use? 
  • Does it require upkeep or maintenance?
  • Will they use it?
Let me explore this from a recipient's point of view. I love to give parties. People know this and it is great that they think enough about me to acknowledge this. But I have received at least 6 sets of decorative cheese spreaders and some novelty items that really don't work for me. I like cats. But I have received boatloads of kitty figurines, picture frames, plaques, etc. Now, I do not have a problem passing these on to a charitable donation site but some people do.

I have worked with clients who have kept things just because they were gifts even though they do not like or use the items. These clients are limited on space and the gifts become clutter.

Consumable items are usually a good choice - but know the recipient's likes and habits. I have one client who gets a case of cherry preserves each year. She lives alone. She rarely uses preserves. Cases have stacked up. She has a limited space. I have finally convinced her to pass these items on before they expire.

Gift cards can be a good choice. But I have come across many gift cards that have not been used. They are years old. Some people don't know how to shop online and use an Amazon gift card or they don't want to bother. Others just forget they have them or don't shop at the places where the cards are intended.

Perhaps the best gift is a gift of your time. Still, know the person and what they would like to do with that time. Time is precious.

As you finish up your shopping this year, just give it some thought.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Feeling Thankful

While gratitude is an ongoing part of my life, it is this time of year that we look back to the big and little things that cause us to be so thankful.

  1. I feel blessed to have a family that is strong and loving. While I wish that I could see them face to face more often, we communicate frequently and I know thy have my back. We come together to celebrate as often as we are able.
  2. My husband and I celebrate our third anniversary tomorrow. I am so thankful he is in my life. Not only do I have the enjoyment of him every day but I have also picked up some more extended family to enjoy.
  3. Friends are the glue that holds everything together. Friends laugh with you and hold you when you cry. They encourage your dreams and celebrate your victories.
  4. I am thankful that I don't live in a place of fear. I feel safe. I feel loved. While I don't like all that goes on around me, I look at what I can do and how I can react to make others feel safe and loved.
  5. I am so blessed to have a profession that can help others find solutions and achieve higher levels of happiness. I love that they can develop a vision and carry it on to victory.

As I move forward in life I hope that I can remain connected to all of the gloriousness of life.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Book Giveaway!

Diane Quintana and I are hosting a competition during the month of November. Just submit a picture of your child's messy room on Facebook or Twitter using #kidmessyroom and give us a strategy you use to get your child to tidy his or her room. We are having a drawing on December 1st. The lucky winners will receive either a copy of Suzie's Messy Room or Benji's Messy Room.

We hope to see a lot of great creative thinking out there. Even if you already have purchased our book, I'm sure you have a friend that would enjoy it as well. It's always fun to receive #giveaway #freestuff.

One of the seasonal great ideas in the books is that when children have too many toys, it is a good idea to let some of the toys go to someone else!

Happy Holidays!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Organizing the Attic/Basement Zone

November is a great time to organize and clean out your attic or basement zone. It is not so hot or yet too cold for comfort. Also, many of us store our seasonal decorations in this zone.

As you prepare to organize this zone, make a list of all items you store here. The list might include:
  • Seasonal decorations
  • Seasonal house items like fans/heaters
  • Extra furniture and household accessories
  • Toys or items to pass on to children or grandchildren
  • Out of season clothing
  • Suitcases
  • Sports equipment
  • Archival paper
Plan where you want each of these categories to live. Items that you do not plan to use in the next year or more should be stored the farthest from the entry. This might include the extra furniture, accessories, toys, and archival papers.

As you place items into their areas, if you come across broken or unloved items or multiple items (how many suitcases do you really use?) that have been hanging around for years, now is the time to let them go. You will feel so much lighter when they are gone and next year, when this zone rolls around again, it will be a much easier task.

Leave space between each zone so that you can safely maneuver to get or store items.

Label all containers. Use large labels that you can see from some distance so that you know what is in each container. Even if a container is clear, it is hard to see what is in it if the lighting is dim. It helps to locate holiday items if you use colored or themed containers to store your decorations, but still label the container with the primary items. This keeps you from having to dig through multiple boxes to find the advent wreath or crèche you want early in the season.

Your organized attic or basement will make decorating and undecorating a much easier chore.

Happy Holidays!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Recap of ICD session "Making ADHD Quirks Work!"

At our ICD conference Rick Green of Totally ADD.com was our last speaker. He had so much to share that was great and I would like to post a few of his ideas here.

One of the topics he discussed was adult strengths which when recognized can be a real asset. He listed creative, outside the box thinking, charismatic and funny, intuitive and sensitive, lateral-thinking, talkative, life-long learner, hyper-focus, enthusiastic when interested, sense of humor, loyal and curiosity.

He also shared a ton of tips, tools, strategies, and practices. Since the topic of time management is near and dear to my heart, I'd like to share some of his thoughts on time management.

One thing that really struck me was that adults with ADHD think of time as only "now" and "not now" so long term goals and deadlines don't work well.

Rick suggested using a paper planner so there would not be distracting apps. Tasks should be under-scheduled but the agenda/planner should be over-used. Use only one calendar.

To track the time working on tasks, use a sweep hand timer (hello, TimeTimer). Know how long you plan to work on the task and what is next.

Finally he suggested we watch the video The Unofficial ADHD test. This video is funny yet right on!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Minimalizing Kitchen "Stuff"

Every time I work in my kitchen zone I try to reduce the amount of cooking "stuff" I own. Everyone has certain gadgets that they love and use frequently but sometimes we just hold on to things because they were expensive, or we used them more frequently at one time in our lives, or just because we think we might want to use them one day.

Take my food processer - please! That food processer with its gadgets (several of which have never been used), takes up almost a whole shelf in one of my cupboards. I maybe use it once a year. It's cumbersome to set up. The main container has a small crack. It's hard to clean. A good knife works as well as anything for chopping. A good mixer or immersion blender will take care of about anything else I would want to do.

Many kitchen gadgets that promise to make food prep easier or more gourmet like just end up in the back of the kitchen drawer or back of the cupboard. I find it better to use basic tools that can do multiple things than to have multiple things that can only do one thing. Some good quality knives are important to me, but do I need a whole fancy set with matching handles? I tend to use 3 or 4 over and over while the others just get neglected.

My cast iron Dutch oven with lid and my cast iron skillets ( two sizes) get used weekly. I have a few other skillets that do get used fairly often. But I have way too many sauce pans. I have a huge mixing bowl that I used to use every year to make big batches of fruitcake. I have not made fruitcake for at least 10 years. I guess I have been holding on to it because I just "might make it again someday." Who am I kidding?

As I organize my kitchen this year, I am seriously paying attention to how I am really cooking now and getting rid of some of this unneeded "stuff". I feel that the open spaces will make finding what I do use easier to locate and that kitchen maintenance will be more streamlined.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Organizing Your Kitchen

October is the perfect time to organize your kitchen. The next few months will involve a lot of holiday cooking. Food drives ramp up so it is a great opportunity for you to donate various foods you have overstocked this past year.

Kitchen Strategy:
  1. Look at your motivation. What is bothering you at this time in your kitchen? Are your counter tops cluttered? Do you have trouble finding needed items in your pantry? Do you have items taking up space in your freezer that  you can't even identify?
  2. Create your vision. How do you want your kitchen to look and how do you want to feel when you are in your kitchen? Do you want an open light filled space? Do you want space in your kitchen to do larger school or church food projects? Do you want to display some pottery or seasonal items that will make you smile every time you enter your kitchen?
  3. Brainstorm. List all the things you can think of that will make your kitchen match your vision. Some of these tasks might include: Clearing out all items you no longer need or love, looking for new storage ideas, organizing items for more convenience, setting up kitchen zones (food preparation, cooking, dishes,, food storage, and food serving). 
  4. Write out your goals. Writing the goals helps you focus. Your goals should be positive, consistent with your vision, specific and measurable, reasonable yet challenging.
  5. Develop your timeline. Here is where your calendar becomes your best friend. Look at what times you have available to work on this zone. Be reasonable. Plan for some unexpected things to come up. Break projects down into small parts. Instead of booking a day of "organizing kitchen drawers", schedule "organizing the knife drawer" on Oct. 4 at 3:00.
  6. Now just follow the timeline. Honor the scheduled times you have set aside to do the tasks that are on your calendar. By the end of the month you will love your newly organized space and feel ready for the holidays.
  7. Reward yourself. Buy some flowers. Prepare a special meal. Do something to congratulate yourself on a job well done.
For more details of following this plan, visit my website www.timespaceorg.com and purchase my book, From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home, or sign up for my Zone Plan Teleclass program where I guide you through a new zone each month.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Science of Being Happy and Productive - Recap

One of the many benefits of attending the ICD conference are the fantastic sessions offered. One of the sessions, The Science of Being Happy & Productive at Work by Ayla Lewis, is full of ideas that I want to share.

Ayla shared various studies that showed that happier people are healthier and more creative, energetic, productive, resilient, cooperative, social, and engaged at work. Wow! I know that when I feel upbeat, positive, and grateful, I can more easily stay focused and not fearful. Who knew this is really backed up by science. Ayla's four main points were:
  1. Practice Positivity:
Science tells us that when we practice positivity by being optimistic, visioning our best possible future, and focusing on the positive, our happiness factor increases.

    2. Flow to Goals:

Make sure your goals have milestones. Savor and celebrate the progress. When you focus completely with no multitasking for about 20 minutes or more on a task that is challenging but possible, you end up in a state called flow. Multitasking can ruin that flow and make you miserable and stupid.

     3. Subdue Stress:

Science states that how we cope with stress has a huge effect on our well-being. Even how we think about stress is important. We can see that some stress is good. Stress gets our heart beating and we breathe harder. This can get us moving toward reaching a goal. It is important to use effective coping strategies, however. The strategies that Ayla named were physical exercise, connecting with a friend, mindfulness mediation, and viewing stress as energizing.

     4. Revitalize Relationships:

Prioritize people. Happiness is contagious. We all have mirror neurons which give us that ability to understand each other and catch emotions from each other. It is important to interact, forgive, be kind, and express gratitude. Even just acting like a happy person can make you and others actually feel happier!

For more depth on her presentation, check out http://firstround.com/article/Heres-Why-Founders-Should-Care-about_Happiness.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Clutter vs Calmness

These past few weeks I have been doing a lot of organizational work in classrooms. One of the big things I have been tackling is visual clutter. Everywhere you look there is "stuff". Stuff on counter tops, stuff all over the teachers' desks, stuff hanging out of bins - you get the picture.

We have had conversations about not having out material that you are not using this week, having designated containers for different types of paper (homework turned in, homework graded, administration paperwork), corralling all supplies and only having out what is needed now.

I try to get across that all of the visual clutter will cause stress and lack of focus.

The same is true of our homes and offices. Just sitting in a cluttered room can cause stress. There is too much to look at so you can't focus. There are too many things out that are reminders of tasks you have to finish (or even begin). It is also a reminder of how much work you've got to do if you want your house or office clean.

Even if you box things up and stick them in the closet, garage, or attic, you know they are there. Several years ago, I finally got up in my attic and attacked all the boxes of papers (all old and mostly archival) hiding up there. After clearing out old bills, tax documentation (over 7 years old) and some memorabilia, I felt mush lighter. The figurative weight of all that paper had been bothering me even though I could not see it. Now, every year I look through that paper in the attic and get rid of even more.

Clutter that is lying about is usually deferred decisions. It's easier to put something down "just for now" than to make a decision about what action is needed and follow through. So when that daily influx of mail comes in, immediately toss and put into the shred box the obvious. Then at lease once a week, deal with the remainder.

Then take the time to zone by zone go through your home and declutter your space.

Make your home/office/classroom a decluttered space. You will find it very centering and calming.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Keeping the Fountain Full

My life/business coach, Wendy Watkins, once shared how important it was to keep adding water to our fountains. If we don't add this water, the fountain will get low of water and the pump will burn up. Of course, she was talking about taking care of yourself. She also personally helped me chose a daily goal of ending my day with some reserve of energy. I have this intention posted on my vision board.

However, sometimes I forget. I try to complete that one more thing. I try to wiggle in one more client. I try to polish that presentation just a little bit more. And on the weekends, I try to complete that one more project at home.

When I allow this to happen, I get tired and grumpy. I also get careless and make mistakes. I'm more likely to get sick.

Awareness that this is happening is key. Scheduling at least 2 days a month with my husband where we sleep late and do fun things together if very important to me. On nights that both my husband I are home (no meetings, choir, etc.), I try to stop office work around 6:00. We try to walk together on as many days as possible. All of these habits help fill my fountain.

I'm very lucky that I love my work. I am also very lucky that I have a wonderful husband that supports me and a family that I love. My friends are fantastic! It is also important that I love and take care of myself. All of this keeps my fountain flowing freely with a delightful sound. I have this fountain in my office and it's soothing sounds relax me. But, I do need to fill it every day.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Time to Organize Your Workshop and Garage

In September the weather begins to cool down. We start to put away our summer equipment. This is a good opportunity to set aside some time to organize your workshop or garage zone. Even if you do this zone once a year, it can easily get disorganized and cluttered because it is so easy just to open the door and drop something "just for now."

Before you start your project, take a good look at the way it is now. What is working (don't mess with that area) and what is not working. How do you want to use this zone. Do you plan to:

  • Park your car
  • Store trash cans/recycling
  • Store gardening tools and accessories
  • Pot or repot plants
  • Work on projects and store tools
  • Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  • Store outdoor entertainment supplies
  • Store extra products
Now bring everything outside. If this is a large or very filled area, do it by sections. Sort like with like. Note what is broken or what you have not used in the past year. Get rid of these items or make a note to replace them. Get rid of expired seeds or old chemicals. Give away or sell tools you no longer use. Tool Bank is a great place to donate tools for community projects. http://toolbank.org/

Next decide where to logically place your zones. You want to place items that you use frequently near entrances. As you group your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items together. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening tools. Use shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because, for sure, you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.

Knock down the cobwebs, sweep the floor, and start putting things away.. You'll be amazed at how much  room there is now that all the items have ben bunched together and stored away.

Now reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink might be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Teaching Organizational Skills to Young Children

As a professional organizer, I spend a lot of my time teaching or transferring organizational skills to adults. Many of these adults have children who also need this help.

Diane Quintana (CPO, CPO-CD) and I have been aware of the importance of teaching young children organizational skills. Diane and I met when we were both working with the NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) in the schools program. This was a program that went into schools and introduced elementary children to some of the basic organizational skills. We were sad to see this program fold.

Taking matters into our own hands, we co-authored two books - Suzie's Messy Room & Benji's Messy Room. These books were written for parents and children to share. We took some basic organizational strategies:
  • Break projects down into small manageable steps
  • Sort like with like
  • Cull collections
  • Assign a place or home for belongings
  • Reward for jobs completed
We then applied these strategies to the task of cleaning up a room. These same strategies are applicable to any project the children (or parents) take on.

We have gone on to develop presentations for parents on teaching organizational skills to their children and have developed activities for the children. We feel this is also something that should be taught in the schools as well as at home.

For more information, please contact me - jonda@timespaceorg.com or 404-299-5111.
To order books, check out my web page - http://timespaceorg.com/books/ .

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Michael Phelps and ADHD: A Success Story

Michael Phelps has been outstanding this year at the Rio 2016 Olympics. I believe he is the most decorated Olympian of all time.

What I recently learned is that Michael Phelps has been diagnosed with ADHD since he was 9 years old.

His mother, Debbie, who taught middle school for more than two decades, worked with Michael and his school to get him the extra help and attention he needed. When Michael struggled with behaviors and academics, his mother looked for ways to use his strengths and interests to find solutions. She helped him overcome his hatred of reading by giving him the sports section of the paper and books about sports to read. She got a math tutor that used word problems tailored to Michael's interests. She and Michael developed visual cues and signals to keep Michael aware of consequences of his behavior. When he was 10 she came up with the signal of making a "C" with her hand that stood for "compose yourself." Every time she saw him getting frustrated, she'd give him the sigh. She shared that she realized her really "got it" when he gave her the sign once when she got stressed making dinner!

Many people use physical activity to help control their ADHD. When you are physically active, your brain releases lots of neurotransmitters, which increases the attention system's ability to be regular and consistent by spurring the growth of new receptors in certain areas of the brain. This has many good effects like reducing the need for new stimuli and increasing alertness. (Michael Lara, MD in The Exercise Prescription for ADHD in CHADD's Attention magazine)

Michael Phelps has said that he found that swimming and competition helped him maintain his focus. Michael took something he loved and used it to shape his life. Here is a lesson where we can all benefit.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Would Virtual Organizing Work for You?

One of the services I offer is virtual organizing. Many people are not sure how this works and if it would work for them. Let's explore those topics now.

How does virtual organizing work?

  • First we have a free phone consultation to explore if this would work
  • If we decide it will work, you fill out a questionnaire that helps solidify your intentions and goals for the sessions
  • If appropriate, you send pictures of the areas we target
  • You develop your vision of what the area will look like and how you will feel
  • We brainstorm all that needs to happen to reach your goals
  • We set up a completion date and develop a timeline
  • Each session we refine the plan and you put dates on your calendar to complete the tasks
  • As the organizer, I hold you accountable, help you prioritize, and make suggestions as well as keep you motivated
  • Once the goal is reached, we develop a maintenance routine
Would this work for me? Yes, if:
  • You can work by yourself and are motivated but want/need some guidance and accountability
  • You realize that organizational help is important but you are on a budget
  • You are comfortable communicating via phone, email, skype, and can send emails with photos
  • You are creative and need custom-tailored sessions
  • You are not physically close to professional organizers but still want their help
For more information visit my web site http://timespaceorg.com/services/ or contact me by email (jonda@timespaceorg.com) or phone (404-299-5111).

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August - Clean Out Your Laundry Room Month

August is the perfect time to tackle your laundry room zone because:
  1. You are coming out of vacation mode and are now washing and putting away those clothes
  2. You are going into a new school year and have school clothes and sports clothing that need washing
  3. You want your laundry zone to be organized and efficient for the upcoming season
Laundry zones can be large or small and located in many places. Some older homes have the laundry zone in the basement. Some are in a hallway or at the top of the stairs behind folding doors. I've seen them right off kitchens or next to the closet of a master bedroom. What you don't want to see are mounds of clothes that start migrating into other areas.

Keeping up with the laundry becomes less of a chore with a well organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the never-ending influx of dirty clothes. The idea is to keep laundry moving. Only bring to the laundry zone the items you intend to wash right now. Leave everything else in the designated dirty clothes hampers. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their "home". Delegate putting the items away to the family members who own the items. Even young children can sort and put items away. If an item needs repair or ironing, have a designated place to store those items and then schedule a time to do that task. You should not have your Christmas table cloth in the ironing bin in August.

Depending on the size of your laundry zone, you may also use this zone for purposes other than just doing the laundry. If there is room, it makes sense to store your ironing supplies there. My area is large enough to store pet supplies, recycling bins, cleaning supplies, and some large entertainment pieces. What is important is that you have a vision and a plan for how you intend to use your space. Then zone it out accordingly. What you don't want is something stuck into your laundry zone "just for now".

During this month, look at everything that is stored in this zone. Keep like things stored together. Toss out anything you no longer need, use, or love. If you have ended up with two bottles of Woolite, consolidate them. Now is the time to pull out your washer and dryer and clean behind them. By the end of the month, your laundry room should be clean and well organized.

Having this zone organized may not make you love to do laundry but it will certainly make it less of a chore.

I offer a Zone Plan teleclass that will walk you through organizing a zone in your house ten months of the year (taking July and December off

To learn more about my Zone Plan click on http://timespaceorg.com/services/.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Getting Prepped for Back to School

It seems unreal that it is already time for school to begin but yet it is indeed that time. Planning ahead will make the transition from school break to back-to-school less stressful.

School generates a lot of paper even though more and more of it is on line. Make a plan for it now.
You will likely receive:
  • General school information such as calendar of events, school hours, rules, fees, team sports available, contact information, PTA news
  • Welcome letter from your child's teacher with her information
  • List of needed school supplies
  • Lunch schedule
  • As the year progresses, student work and art will also pour in
I have seen people do very well with having a notebook for each child holding their school information and schedules as well as report cards. Others have scanned forms and reports and stored them on their phone or computer. A bin is helpful to store papers and art work.

Always keep graded school work until the end of each grading period. If there is a question about a grade, you have something to carry into the conference. At the end of each grading period, cull most of the work keeping only the best.

When the school calendar comes in, immediately put important dates into the family calendar. You don't want to be caught short when there are teacher work days, early dismissals, known field trips, etc.

When the first general informational letter comes in, put into your phone important contact numbers such as the main office, the guidance counselor, or the nurse. Put titles into the contact list as well as the name (Nurse Sara Nightingale).

Set up a plan for all incoming paper your child carries home. Have a landing pad for all papers that you need to see such as field trip permission slips, picture day schedule, and item requests. At the beginning of the year, each day ask your child "Do you have anything that needs to be put in the basket for me to look over?" As the school year progresses you can fade out the questioning and let him become independent.

Most schools have planners where the children log in their homework assignments. At the beginning of the school year, check these daily. Have a calendar at your child's workstation where he can learn to schedule projects that take more than one evening. Weekly clean out the backpack and put all graded work and art into a bin.

The first weeks of school can be stressful so plan ahead. Start practicing the week before school waking up to an alarm and following a morning routine. In the beginning use timers so that your child can play "beat the clock". How much you break up the morning routine will depend on your child's age and maturity. Older children might just need:
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Gather all supplies to go out the door
While younger children might need:
  • Wash up
  • Brush teeth
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Get ready to go out the door
Have an assigned place for backpacks. Make it a nightly ritual to have backpacks ready and in place for the next school day.

Establish regular routines to minimize the morning hassle. Shoes will be lost. The soccer uniform will not have gotten washed. The dog will throw up on the rug. So control what you can and leave time for life absurdities.

Have a great school year!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Always Do Your Best

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz has been a favorite book of mine for many years. Each time I read it, I am in a different place and different sections of the book pop out at me.

Recently, I have been rereading the fourth agreement - Always Do Your Best.

I like that the book says "always do your best, no more and no less." It reminds me that my best on some days will have a higher quality than on other days and that is OK.

If we overwork something, we may sacrifice something else. If we can do something in two hours but spend eight hours on it, then we grow tired and wont enjoy the process and our life. Doing our best shouldn't feel like work because we should enjoy what we are doing.

If we do our best, we are going  to be productive. We are going to be good to our self. Our actions are going to make us happy. Doing your best is doing something because you love to do it, not because you expect a reward. If you take an action because you have to, then you will not do your best.

You can have a lot of great ideas, but you need to also have action. Without acting on your ideas and doing your best, there will be no results and no rewards.

Live in the now. Enjoy your life. Do your best!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tips For Handling Those Tasks You Hate

I think we all have those tasks that languish on our "to do" list waaay too long. One of my procrastination tactics is the old cut and paste this chore until later in the week,  or better yet next Monday when I am fresh and the week is young.

For me, some of these tasks are phone calls I don't want to make (that client who keeps cancelling - the request to have someone review my book). I dread the possibility of rejection. Then there are  the projects I am working on (my digital estate plan, promoting my virtual organizing). These tasks seem both overwhelming and not as urgent as other tasks.

So, what to do?
  1. Acknowledge that I am doing this.
           Just verbalizing how I feel and why I keep putting off this task gives me some perspective. Instead of just feeling the negative thoughts, I can start to make a plan for action.

     2. Think about how I am going to feel once the task is complete and how I am going to reward myself.

          I know that I will be much lighter without this monkey on my back. I will feel free to do something I really want to do without feeling guilty.

    3. Look at the possible positive outcomes from doing these tasks.

         The client may be just waiting for my call as her nudge to action. People may be very happy to review my book. They just hadn't thought to do so. My projects are all ones that will give me peace of mind.

    4. Break down large projects into small parts.

         Stop putting on my "to do" list things like "work on visual organizing promotion."  Instead put down "brainstorm everything you need to do to promote." This is doable and then I can start to list each little task.
    5. Use if-then planning (got this out of Psychology Today article). 

         If I haven't finished (put in task) by 3:00 p.m., then I am going to file it away and work on (new task). If the client hasn't responded to my email by Wednesday evening then I am going to call her at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. According to the Psychology Today article, by deciding in advance what you are going to do and when and where you are going to do it, there's no deliberating when the time comes. If-then planning has been shown in over 200 studies to increase rates of goal attainment and productivity by 200-300 percent on average.

OK! I have my plan. Let's just do it!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Routines - An Often Overlooked Organizational Tool

Almost all of us have certain routines. I would hate to get up every morning and make decisions about should I brush my teeth, take a shower, or make my bed. I have my morning routines and they are certainly on autopilot at least until I have had my first cup of coffee.

Not having to make decisions about when to do necessary chores can really streamline tasks and save time. I know that on certain days I do laundry. I have a set time each week I pay my bills. I know when I am going to plan my menus for the week and make my grocery list. I shop for groceries once a week and that time is scheduled.

The word routine sounds boring and maybe a little rigid but good routines manage your time and energy. By always clearing out your sink and clearing your kitchen counter before you go to bed, you minimize clutter and leave your being rejuvenated. Good routines  give you peace of mind.

Routines ensure that what is really important to us really gets accomplished. Your day has a certain rhythm to it. It feels good to go through your day knowing that you have previously chosen these tasks and that now they are routine.

I challenge you to think of at least one new routine that would make your day less frantic.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Cautionary Tale

Way back in January, a friend and I each wrote checks for a project we were working on and put the checks in the mail box. These were not checks to credit cards or banks that would have our account information and although we know not to put checks in our mailboxes, sometimes, when rushed, it seems the easiest thing to do.

My friend got slammed right away. There was a call about why a check hadn't come. Then there was a notice from her bank that a large transfer of money went to pay a  credit card (that she did not have) in another state. Later her financial advisor called her and asked if she were planning to move.  Someone had done a change of address for her and now all of her mail (including bank statements and credit card bills) were going to another address out of state. This is just a short story of her hell and it is still ongoing.

It's June now. I thought that for whatever reason, I had dodged the bullet. When my friend started having her difficulty, I did go to my bank and see if I should change may account. We decided to put in warning checks instead. Every day I got an activity statement from my bank and an alert was put on any money transfer over $125. So, a week ago, when I opened my email, there was an alert. Almost $4000 was transferred to Sun Trust Visa (which I do not have). If I had not made this transfer I was to click "here." Being skeptical of anything wanting me to click "here" I went directly to my banking account and yes, there was this transfer - pending. I did contact the bank via phone and told them I had not authorized the transfer. I was at my bank when it opened and discovered that pending just meant it hadn't gone through yet (the transfer was done at 2:00 am) but that it would go. I was assured that I would get the money back but now, of course, I had to change my account. But before I did that, I was to do a thorough virus scan on all my devices, change my passwords, and file a police report. Then I could come back and open a new account. Meanwhile, my account was frozen so I needed to see what outstanding checks had not been cashed and let those people know just to tear them up and I would reissue checks when I could.

Now, I do have a new account. I am still waiting on my new debit card and checks. Both should come soon.

What I have learned:
  • Never ever ever put checks in your mailbox
  • Try to write as few checks as possible
  • 95% of all breaches are due to paper fraud - not electronic
  • When someone has your check, they do not want to cash it - they just want your router number and your address
  • The lag time for me probably meant that whoever stole the checks sold my information to someone else
  • The police file a report but it is not worth their resources to do much else
  • Even though I will get the money back, I lost a great deal of time and because I did not trust myself, I had the expense of having my tech guy to the virus scans
So be careful - very careful.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Monday, June 20, 2016

Celebrate Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day and the shortest night of the year for those of us in the north.

This year we get to enjoy a rare phenomenon: a full moon on the shortest night of the year. The last time tis happened was in 1986 and the next occurrence will be 2062.

In ancient China the summer solstice was the yin to the winter solstice's yang. It symbolized the harmony of life, with the influence of yang reaching its peak and the switch to yin. It was all about finding the balance.

The solstice is celebrated around the world. It is a forerunner of life, fertility, and good harvest. Most celebrations take place outdoors. There are parades, feasts, and bonfires.

The summer solstice is the beginning of summer. It represents the time of fulfillment. It is an excellent time to take stock of your life and check in on how your goals for the year are going. Are you achieving what you desire for yourself and your loved ones? Are you still aligned with your goals? This is a great opportunity to reflect and make any adjustments to achieve your vision.

The summer is a great time to develop you and nurture yourself. The easier nature of summer gives us more time to make greater efforts to lose weight, refresh our house, and find more "me" time.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Impulse Spending Leads to Clutter

You need a pair of shorts. Off you go to your favorite store. You find the shorts and a top that will look great with them. If you buy three tops you will get a better price. The necklace laid out with one of the tops would just finish the outfit. On the way out, you see a pair of sandals you like. They fit perfectly and look nice too. Man, if the shoe fits you'd better stock up. You buy the sandals in five colors.

When you get home and try to squeeze your purchases into your drawers and closet, you notice you have quite a few tops in the drawer with tags still on them.

You want a new shade of lipstick. Your favorite brand is having a sale. If you spend an additional $10, you get this lovely cosmetic bag filled with free samples. So you buy two lipsticks and get the "free" bag. Lovely! This is not such a terrible thing, until you put your bag in your bathroom closet and notice you have about 10 other bags in there - mostly full- of previous "free" gifts.

You go to the grocery store. You have a coupon that will give you $2.00 off if you buy 10 cans of soup. You also buy one bag of salad and get the next one free and there is a package of 25 rolls of toilet paper that looks like such a bargain.

Are we getting the idea? Don't buy what you don't need or love. Free is not always a bargain. Buying something you don't need at a reduced price is not a bargain. Foods that you stockpile will crowd your space and may expire or spoil before they are used. This is not a bargain.

Having space to put your purchases away without overcrowding allows you to keep an inventory of what you have. It also prevents waste and buying items because you have lost track of what you already have.

Don't buy items unless you know how you're going to use them and where you are going to store them.. Impulse spending leads to disorganization and clutter, not to mention a strain on your budget.

Think before buying that next great deal!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Enjoy Your Own Party

I love to throw a party. Parties are a fun way to visit and catch up with a group of friends. I love the good food, laughter, the smiles, the memories remembered and being made.

Even the very idea of giving a party can be overwhelming. But like any big project, it is not so  daunting if you break it down into small, manageable tasks. I always start my plan with a vision. What do I want this party to look like and how do I want myself and others to feel? I usually develop my party around a theme, but the theme could be as simple as "catch up and have fun."

What next? Brainstorm and write down all the tasks that have to happen to make the vision come true.

Items on my list:
  • develop a guest list
  • choose a date
  • send out a save the date email
  • design invites
  • print invites
  • address invites
  • mail invites
  • plan menu
  • spruce up the yard
  • clean deck
  • clean outdoor furniture
  • order any prepared foods
  • decorate
  • make a party grocery list
  • shop
  • prepare food
  • clean house
  • set up food/drink stations
  • enjoy party
When this list is looked at in its entirety it seems overwhelming. But when you break it down over a month's time it's not so bad. You notice that I didn't just say "mail invites" because a lot has to be done before the invites are in the mail. By listing every small step, I only have to look at a small task each time. And don't forget to delegate. I get help with the yard and cleaning. Some of the food on my menu will be ordered (I haven't made a cake or desert since I found this wonderful bakery).

The next very important step is to take your list and write each task on your calendar. Now you have made a commitment and you don't have to worry about how you will ever find the time. You have it scheduled. Leave some wiggle room because the unexpected will happen.

By the day of the party there is little to do but some last minute decorating, some food preparation that couldn't be done earlier, and the laying out of the food and drinks.

When the guests come, you are ready to party!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Organizing Bathrooms and Linen Closet

I use a zone plan when organizing my home. This month I concentrate on the bathrooms and linen closet.

Most bathrooms are small but are also heavily used with many items stored there. Bathrooms can get disorganized and cluttered easily if there is not a shared vision and plan for using the space. To keep clutter at a minimum, only store here what you use daily.

Take a good look at the storage space you have available. What areas are overcrowded? Some of what you are currently storing in the bathrooms may actually be stored somewhere else. In small bathrooms, only store what you need daily or each week, and then if there is room, add other items.

The medicine cabined in a bathroom is not a good place to store medicines. Moisture and heat can ruin some medicines. Medicines can go in bins or on a shelf in the linen closet or kitchen. Use the medicine cabinet, drawers, or space under your sink to store items that you use regularly like daily grooming supplies. Small baskets or bins are great for makeup and hair supplies. The medicine cabinet may hold toothpaste, dental needs, deodorant, some q tips and cotton balls. Hair dryers, curling irons, gels, sprays, and other hair items can be stored in a container under your sink or in an over the door hanging bag. An extra roll of toilet paper and personal hygiene items can store under the sink.

If you have drawers, designate each drawer as a container for like items. One drawer can hold everyday makeup, one hair products, etc.

As you are sorting through your beauty products, consolidate partial bottles and get rid of any items you no longer are using or items past their expiration date.

Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, and a wash cloth can be stored in a shower caddie inside your shower or tub. Extra back up supplies do not need to be stored in your bathroom.

If you are lucky enough to have a linen closet, keep your extra towels, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and medicines here. Consider storing your medicines by type and placing them in separate bins. One bin might hold outdoor items like sunscreen, bug spray, or Benadryl. Another might hold pain medicine and cold/allergy medicine. Still another could have first aid supplies. As you sort through your medicines, get rid of the expired ones. Dispose of them responsibly.

As you organize your linen closet, get rid of excess items. Do you really need 5 partial bottles of body oil, 6 sample soaps, and those free samples that came in the mail? How many towels, sheets, and extra blankets do you really need?

If you don't have a linen closet, use towel hooks, over the toilet shelving, or baskets to store extra bath towels, wash cloths, and toilet paper.

When you have your bathroom organized, then work out a maintenance schedule to keep it under control. Next year, when you revisit this zone, it will be an easier process.

To learn more about my Zone Plan click on http://timespaceorg.com/services/.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How Much Is Too Much?

Most of us acknowledge that we have too much "stuff" but how much is too much? How do we pin down that number?

I am a strong believer that "less is more" but I am not a minimalist.

I love coffee. I need a coffee cup or mug. My husband likes coffee. He needs a coffee cup. Sometimes we have coffee cups that are dirty and in the dishwasher. I have friends that visit, sometimes in groups, that like tea or coffee. So now I figure I am up to 8 - 10 cups. Some days I prefer the cup from Paris. Some days only the really big mug will do. My friends have favorite cups. I have about 25 mugs are cups. Yeah, that is too many. I figure I could get it down to 15 the next time I work in my kitchen zone.

The thing is, I have room for the 25 so there is no real pressure. But still, I will feel better if I let some go.

How many pens do I need? I use a black one daily and I like to have a red one and a blue one at times. I like a pen by my bed and a couple in the living room (for crossword puzzles). I like a pen in the kitchen for grocery lists and to label food for the freezer. I have a couple in my briefcase and one in my purse. I like to use a Sharpie fine point pen gut sometimes I need a ballpoint. I certainly want a few backups because they do eventually fail. So what does that add up to? I also know I have a container of pens in my desk drawer and I often dig through the lot to find one I like. So why are the others even there?

Still, there is room for all of them in the container so no real pressure. But when I clean out my office zone, I know quite a few of those will go.

It seems like most areas of my home have some abundance - clothes, shoes, linens, books, etc. I am good about applying the "container rule." If I have a designated container for items and the items easily fit into that container and the container has a good home, I'm good.

But a little more breathing space would be a good thing. So this year, as I go through each of my zones, I will ask myself, "How much is too much?" as I make my sorts and purge.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

NAPO 2016 Conference

Today I head off to my 9th NAPO conference. This year it is held in Atlanta. Even though it is near my home in Tucker, GA, I am staying at the hotel so that I can maximize my time.

I look forward to learning about the latest trends, resources, and products in the organizing industry. I am exciting about sitting in on workshops and presentations given by some of the great experts in our field.

During the conference I look forward to receiving information and inspiration that will improve my services to my clients. I enjoy meeting face to face organizers that I have only chatted with via Facebook, reconnecting with organizers that I only see at conference, and meeting organizers from all over the globe.

I also look forward to a social evening with other organizers from our Georgia Chapter. We plan to go out for dinner one evening and catch up with each other.

When I return from conference, I will develop an action plan to fully benefit from my conference experience.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Friday, May 6, 2016

Celebrating One Year of The Zone Plan Coaching Program

I have developed a coaching program, The Zone Plan: A Method for Organizing Your Home, that helps you set a vision, develop a plan, and implement the plan so that your home truly becomes a place you love. This program has been active for one year now and as I finish up my zone for this month, I will have revisited my vision for every zone in my home and touched everything in those zones.

This last zone is really one that catches three areas in my home that did not get included in any previous zone. This month I am working on my entry area, a storage wall in my laundry area, and finally just cleaning a back hallway.

My vision for the entry area is to create a space where incoming and outgoing items are held. My husband hangs a couple of pieces of his seasonal outerwear on hoods and I hang a favorite hat. Cloth grocery bags are hung on the doorknob as soon as groceries are unpicked so the next person going to the car carries them out. Outgoing mail is laid on the bench until the next trip to a mailbox. I like to smile when I enter my home by this door, so I have hung and place some whimsical art. This entry way is right outside my office, so the bench holds some of my office supplies.

The storage area in my laundry room has many purposes. Here I have recycling bins, a cat box, extra cat supplies, bird seed, a tool kit, and cleaning supplies. It is quite a mix but works well. As I go through this area, I mainly look for items that I no longer use or have expired. There are usually a few items that got dropped there that need to go to the outside storage shed.

While I personally have been using this zone plan for years, I am truly excited to have others join me in this program.

If you would like to try it, join me for the 10 month Zone Plan Group Coaching program. We will benefit from exploring 10 months of two open line calls a month (recorded for your convenience), one personal closed call to each member, motivating content and exercises, a pdf copy of my workbook, and a closed Facebook group. All of this is designed to set you on your path of living in the home you envision so that you control your space.

Each month (skipping the months of July and December) we will concentrate on one zone of the home. I will suggest a zone but the beauty of this program is that the concepts will fit any zone that you want to tackle.

This program is powerful, yet affordable. The yearly rate is only $450. There is even a 2-pay option if you need to spread payments out.

If you want results and are ready to make your home the one of your vision, then join us!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Special Place for Gifts

Gift season is upon us. Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations, weddings for sure are on our radar. There are always birthdays, baby showers, and hostess gifts to buy. We know well in advance that we need to have gifts for these events.

We might be out shopping and see the perfect gift for our sister's birthday or for a special nephew's upcoming graduation. The event may be months away. Where do we stash the gift until the right time?

A tendency is to stick the gift in a closet or under a bed just because that spot is available. It's not unusual during a decluttering session to find gifts that were meant to be given years ago.

It is a good idea to designate one special spot for all gifts (well, maybe two if you have young children and need to really hide their gifts).

When planning your special spot, consider:
  • What size gifts do you usually buy? - books, clothes, jewelry - or sets of cookware, large games, musical instruments?
  • How secure does your space need to be? - will family members peek? can items be easily stolen?
  • How easy does the space have to be for you to access it? - do you visit this place frequently?
I use a couple of drawers in a dresser in a guest bedroom. When I see something that I really like, I usually have some special person in mind. I purchase the gift, put a sticky note on it with the person's name, and stash it in the drawer. This is especially helpful during holiday times when I can get a bit crazy about buying gifts. Every time I open that drawer, I can see what I already have (really, three nice items for a sister who is easy to buy for and one book for my brother? Sigh!).

Other places I have seen used for storage of gifts are a designated spot in the basement, a closet, the attic, and in under the bed bins.

Do whatever works for you.  Just be consistent.  Happy shopping!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Organizing Closets

Closets are a fairly new addition to our homes. When I lived in Germany, I found that closets were few and usually free standing wardrobes or armoires. I was told that closets were considered a room and increased the tax on the home.

According to Wikipedia, a closet is an enclosed space used for general storage or storing clothes. It wasn't until post WWII that larger closets were introduced into housing to attract wealthy buyers. Today we totally expect closets of all types throughout our homes.

I have found that closets become a great place in many homes to hide stuff we don't want sitting around in our living space. I find items that have been bought and not yet found a home or that need to be returned. I find boxes of mail that have been swept off tables and counters before company comes and never seem to come back out to be sorted and filed. I find broken items waiting for repair. The list goes on. The bottom line is that many closets hide chaos. This is not a happy situation, so what should we do?

  1. Determine the main purpose of each closet. Is it a clothes closet, coat closet, linen closet, utility closet, or an off season clothing closet?
  2. List all other purposes for each closet. Does the closet also hold gift wrap, gifts, suitcases, medicines, back up cosmetics, or paper products?
  3. Develop a vision of how you want the closet to look and how you want to feel when you access the closet. (i.e. I want all items organized and either in labeled bins or aligned so that I can see each item. I want my closet fully utilized but with some space for new items. I want to feel confident when I look into the closet that I can easily find the item I am looking for.)
  4. Develop a brainstorm list of what you need to do to make this vision come true. (i.e. I will sort all like items. I will remove items that don't fit my vision of this closet. I will add shelves. I will purchase bins. I will label shelves and bins.) Your list will match your needs and your vision.
  5. Plan a time for completing your tasks. Write the "do" dates on your calendar.
  6. Actually do the tasks.
  7. Develop a maintenance plan. Some closets only need a real redo every year. The clothes closet might need serious maintenance each season.
Work on one closet at a time until your whole closet system gives you pleasure just to open the door and find what you want.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Me Now vs Me Later

Not long ago, one of my teacher clients proudly told me that she is learning to deal with the "me now" in order to be a happy "me later". I asked her to expand on that. She explained to me that very often the "me now" wanted to walk away from messes in her classroom or a cluttered desk on Friday. In the past she had jut given in to those feelings because after all, she was soooo tired. Now she gives some thought to the "me later". When she comes back into the classroom the next day or after the weekend, how will she feel then? Having forced herself several times now to stay, even though tired, and clean up the room or clear the desk, she acknowledges the great feeling of coming back to a classroom that is organized and ready for the new day.

I thought about how this though pattern can affect us all.

  • I will clean my desk now so that I will feel in control when I have to come back to the desk to work
  • I will plan my menus and grocery list for the week now so that I will not have to scramble every evening this week to figure out what's for supper
  • I will catch up on my laundry now so that I will not have to face piles of laundry later
  • I will pay my bills now so that I don't worry about late fees or missed payments later
  • I will prepare my report/presentation now so that I won't stress over it not being ready later
If every time we are tempted to just throw in the towel and quit because we are tired or frustrated; we stop and visualize how this will make us feel later, I think many times we would just put in that last 30 minutes effort to make the "me later" a happier person.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Plan for Cleaning and Decluttering the Master Bedroom

Spring is a great time to organize and declutter your bedroom. It's great to make clear, clean spaces for the sun to shine in.

When I start to work on any zone in my home, I start with a vision. As I share this room with my husband, it needs to be a shared vision. We want this room to have a calming, relaxing feel and be a place that sparks joy and happiness. We like soft light but still desire enough light for reading. My husband meditates here so the room should have an uncluttered, peaceful feel.

I use the whole month to work on this zone and so divide the tasks into four sections, one for each week. I schedule time on my calendar for myself and for working alongside my husband.

During the first week, Rob and I clean out our dressers. We take out every article and toss out anything that is damaged and put into a donate box anything that does not fit or that we no longer enjoy wearing. I change out my heavier tops that were stored in a drawer with lighter ones that were stored in a bin in the closet. During this process, I clean and wax the dressers, clean the walls, and freshen any accessories.

The next week I organize the closet. Rob stores his hanging clothes in another room, so this is a job I do alone. I pull out all my clothes, sort them, and get rid of all that do not fit either my body or my lifestyle. I also do this for shoes and accessories. The closet also holds my suitcase and will hold the duvet that is currently on the bed.

Week three we will work on our end tables. Over the year a lot of reading material has accumulated. We sort out the items we have read and put back only what we are currently reading. We also empty and clean out the drawers. I will clean and wax the two tables. During this week I will also clean the bed and all bed linens. The duvet will be cleaned and put away for the warm months.

The last week, I finish up anything that has not been completed.

As a reward, I will allow myself a shopping trip to purchase a few items that will replace some of those tossed. Then I will put out fresh flowers and step back and admire our work. We will enjoy the fresh fell of this space!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Excess Stuff - Sell It or Donate It?

I read an interesting blog this past week by the Clark Howard Staff. It was entitled "39 ways to sell your old stuff for the most cash". Below are some tidbits from their blog and my take on it.

According to the Wall Street Journal report several years ago, Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on goods and services they don't need. According to Orlando Sentinel, nearly one out of 10 American households rents a storage facility, costing anywhere from $125 to $165 a month. Of those who rent the storage areas, 65% have a garage, 47% have an attic, and %33 have a basement!

It's obvious that we have a lot of stuff we don't need and that we are paying monthly just to keep those things out of sight.

The blog's take is to get money by selling these items. A lot of good ways are mentioned including ebay, Bonanza, eBid, Etsy, and Craigslist. For designer clothes they mention Tradsey,com, Poshmark, The Real Real, Threadflip, 99Dresses, and Buffalo Exchange. They also suggest consignment stores. For gold, firearms, musical instruments, and collectibles, they suggest Pawn Shops. They then go on to list yard sales, and a couple of links for selling to people who live nearby and links for used electronics. They even list some websites to help you determine value of collectible items or antiques.

The first step is getting organized.

I have some clients that have 25 or even 40 years of "stuff "in their basements, attic, spare rooms, offsite storage, garages, etc. Most of the stuff is stored there because:
  • It just needs fixing
  • I'll need it someday
  • It was inherited
  • My children may want it
  • It brings back great memories
  • I think it's valuable
  • I'm holding it for someone
The sort begins. This I plan to keep. This I plan to sell. This I need to give to ____ if they want it. This is trash.

They may be fairly good at culling out what they plan to keep (but usually some of these items will also have to go). And the very obvious trash is taken out. But it is the "This I plan to sell" piles that begin to become unreasonable - especially if they are looking at a deadline. And the "This I need to give to__"  also takes a lot of time.

I encourage these people to keep in mind that selling takes time and the return is not as great as they might think. All of the "keep to sell" items will need a further sort and a decision on how they are going to sell them. The items will need to be cleaned, polished, or repaired.

As they sort through their items, I would rather the self talk be more of "Would I go 20 miles and spend over $20 for this?" rather than "Someone might buy this." I would encourage every sorting session to end up with a big pile of items to donate and trash with just a few items for the sale pile.

Those items that are going to be sold could be divided into possibly real value and good items for a garage sale. Then, if time is an issue, hire someone to do your selling. That person can also usually help you determine what really is worth the time and expense to put it on the market and what is not. If they plan to have a garage sale, they should be aware that the sale also takes a lot of time sorting, organizing, advertising, setting up, and holding the sale.

Just think about it. Think what your time is worth. Then decide and act.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer