Change The Habit or Change The House?

Working with a client this morning, I was reminded  of an article I recently read on ApartmentTherapy.com.

In the comments for an article about creating an entry way in a small space, a reader asked if the solution to the problem was to “Change the habit or the house?”.

This is a powerful and useful question as we get organized!  And… what does that mean?

Let’s say I notice that, when I walk in the door every day, I consistently put my keys on the same side table and toss my coat over the same chair or the back of the sofa.

Leaving my keys and coat exactly there makes the space look cluttered or disorganized, so I could elect to try and change my HABIT and come in a different door, or walk down the hallway and hang things up in a closet, etc.   However, since I am consistent about where these items fall, I can find them in an instant and be out the door efficiently.

So the HABIT is a good one, but the entry way of the HOUSE doesn’t support the HABIT well.   I could change the house to support the habit by adding a decorative bowl in the entry way for keys and phone, setting a chair in the entry way for our coat and bag, or perhaps adding a coat tree or some wall hooks.

Another example.  This morning’s client has 2 school aged daughters, and they both consistently drop their school backpacks and sport bags in the same places in the living room / dining room.  This can drive a parent crazy, let me tell you!

Yes, the piles in these living spaces are unsightly.  However, these students have good and consistent habits that helps them keep track of their school work and team uniforms.  So, the question we asked this morning was “Is it easier to change the habit or the house?”

My client didn’t actually mind the location of the piles, merely the appearance of them.  So, de- cluttering the pile contents and adding attractive large wicker baskets to hold the bags and gear in the habitual drop zones seems a better solution than trying to establish new habits and drop zones elsewhere.

Years ago, I organized with a real estate agent who had a lovely home office, but she didn’t really like to work in there.  She preferred to work in her kitchen – it was warm and cozy, had great light plus coffee!  So, instead of trying to change her preferred habit of working happily in the kitchen, we instead set up a work space in the kitchen and reserved the home office for meetings with clients, and file and supply storage.  We helped her home better fit her good work habit.

Again, the question: Do I need to change my house or change my habit?

Is there is a space in your home or office that regularly causes you frustration?  A place that has just never seemed to “work” right for you?

If your habit is a problem – you drop stuff where it becomes unsafe, you neglect client files, you are inconsistent with your stuff and the habits around it – then consider changing your habits.

If, however, your habits are sound but the space doesn’t support the habit, consider what you can do to Support the Good Habit and Change the house around it!

Thanks for reading!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
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9 Things Every Closet Needs! Tips for National Clean Out Your Closet Month

Did you know?  January is National Clean Out Your Closet Month!

Today, I want to suggest how to celebrate Clean Out Your Closet Month with some ad-ins that will keep your closet organized every day of the year! Check them out!

EVERY CLOSET NEEDS…

  1. A basket / bag for dirty laundry. This keeps random bits from piling up, and makes that dirty  laundry more like to get washed!
  2. A basket / bag for regular trips to the dry-cleaners or tailor (optional).  Ours dry-cleaner bag lives in our laundry room, and we have a weekly errand for taking in and picking up.
  3. A basket/ bag and a path for items to leave.  Our home has a system for getting rid of no-longer-needed items.  These items go into the dirty laundry basket with everything else and get laundered, then tucked in the “Donate” or “Off-To-Our-Cousin” baskets that live in our laundry room.
  4. A wastebasket.  Rubbish needs a path and a receptacle to leave a space.  Show me a closet littered with plastic dry cleaning bags, clothing tags, dirty tissues and general trash, and I’ll show you it lacks a wastebasket.
  5. Good hangers. I’m not suggesting you spend a fortune on your hangers, but invest in plastic or felted hangers to take good care of your clothes and give your closet a tidier appearance.
  6. A few extra hangers, but only a few.  One of the first and easiest steps to making more room in a closet is to clear out all the empty hangers.  Trust me, some have dozens taking up precious rod space!  Once all your clothes are hung and the closet is organized, keep all but 3 or 4 of your empty hangers in your laundry room instead of in your closet.
  7. An Ish-Hook or 2.  I have 3 hooks in my closet for clean-ISH clothes.  Clean-ISH, that you plan to wear again soon.  You know – the pajamas you only wore once? or the track pants and sweat shirt you put on when you get home from work?  Perhaps the jeans you wore for a little while but plan to wear again tomorrow.  It’s not worth it to wash them all, or to hang them all up again, so we need a way to keep them close at hand but not strewn about your space!
  8. A clear floor.  Imagine with me:  You’re standing in your closet, trying to get dressed in the morning. Or perhaps you have clean laundry to put away.  Now imagine trying to do these regular tasks while stepping on clothes or shoes, or dodging shopping bags or neglected empty suitcases.  Having those physical obstacles in the way will likely keep you from completing the simple maintenance tasks needed to make your closet work well for you.
  9. A plan! Every month or so, I get the itch to review my closet and drawers, straightening and purging as I go.  I encourage my sons to do the same, at least a couple of times a year.  This quick but regular maintenance keeps my clothes and closet organized and relatively clutter free all year long!

Spend some time taking care of your closet this week, and it will take care of you every day!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
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Put Stuff Away Before You Take Anything Else Out

Have you ever noticed?  When we are excited about an upcoming adventure / event / road trip, our first reaction is to jump in and start pulling things out to get ready.

Perhaps we are packing for a trip.  We’re leaving in the morning, so we run to the closet or dresser drawers, and start pulling out clothes and piling them on top of a potentially already cluttered dresser or bed.

Sometimes, we have a project for work that must be done right away, and we spread it out on top of the projects already on our desk or work space.

Maybe we’re famished and we need to start dinner, so we pull things out of the fridge to the already crowded counter and then wonder why cooking is such a hassle.

AHHHHH!!! Let me suggest a better way:

  • STOP!
  • Put your stuff away before you start pulling more things out.
  • Just 5 or 10 minutes of clearing out and cleaning up will help you find focus and clarity and a clear work space!
  • As you tidy up, craft your packing list or project plan in your mind.   Then, when your mind and space are de-cluttered, jump in to action!

Let’s go back to packing for that trip.  Take 5 minutes and hang up that pile of stuff on the dresser or bedpost (you know, THAT pile).  Locate and put away your clean laundry, pulling out items you want to take along with you.  Then pull out your suitcase or satchel and get packing!

Need to pack up more orders for shipment?  Finish the ones from yesterday and load them in the van.  THEN… start on the new ones.  A clear work space is always going to make the job go more smoothly!

Back to that new project for work?  Take the 5 minutes to clear up the old project, so the two don’t get mixed up.

Friends coming for dinner, and you just got home with all the groceries? Before you turn on the oven or open one package, take 5 minutes and put your groceries away, setting aside the supplies you need to make dinner on a tray or cookie sheet, and wipe clean the counter.  Just those few moments of putting away and getting ready will make your meal prep a lot easier!

I always encourage action instead of inaction, but we should also be taking the RIGHT action. So, clear and clean up before you leap in and give your next actions some thought.  Then go ahead and jump!

Your Stuff Needs an AWAY.

We all have stuff.  Stuff we need, stuff we use, stuff we love*.  Stuff.

(*if anyone can tell me who crafted the ‘Need, Use, Love’ criteria, I would love to know!)

Sometimes we have stuff we don’t need or use or love, and then our Stuff turns into Clutter.

 

Perhaps you have Stuff that you do need and use, but it is scattered around the house.  In the way, on surfaces, in bags, on top of other things. In this case, your Stuff becomes visual clutter.  We know we need to keep it, but it still drives us crazy.


Your Stuff needs an AWAY.
Once we determine what Stuff is needed and useful, we need to establish an AWAY, a spot or maybe multiple spots in our house for our Stuff to live.
Then we need to create and maintain the habit of actually putting our Stuff AWAY.
We put our Stuff AWAY…
  • to take good care of our Stuff so we don’t have to buy our Stuff again;
  • so we can find our Stuff again when we need it; and
  • to give our eyes a break and our homes a breath of clean and fresh air.
Ideas to consider:
  • If you have look around your home and notice piles of Stuff, we first ask – is that Stuff or Clutter?  If it’s Stuff, it needs an AWAY.  If it’s Clutter it needs to be purged.
  • We need to establish an AWAY for our Stuff that is convenient to where we use our Stuff. Obviously, we keep cooking and food items in the kitchen.  But we can be more specific, as in, keeping the coffee cups in the cabinet above the coffee maker which is also right next to the sink.
  • We also need to establish an AWAY that is convenient for the other related Stuff that goes with our Stuff.  So, in the coffee analogy, I might also keep the cream and sugar near the coffee maker and mugs, and the travel mugs nearby, too.
  • An AWAY for our stuff helps us decide about quantity.  For example: to me, one large dresser drawer full of t-shirts is a reasonable amount.  So, when I put my clean laundry AWAY and the drawer is too full (perhaps a recent shopping trip?), the boundaries of the drawer remind me of a reasonable t-shirt collection size, and I purge a few.
  • When we have a reliable AWAY and habit around putting our Stuff AWAY, we can check the AWAY location to determine if we need to buy more of our Stuff.  Again, using the coffee analogy, when the KCup holder (the AWAY) is empty, I know it is time to buy more KCups.  Imagine if I randomly stashed KCups all over the kitchen.  I wouldn’t know what I have, nor would I use it very well when I needed it.
  • Consider this idea from the other direction – If your stuff doesn’t have a home – an AWAY – it’s likely clutter.
Make the habit to put your Stuff AWAY.  Once a day, a couple times a week?  Put your Stuff Away, and enjoy the clutter-free space.  A clear space signals to your brain that you’re done, that work is complete, that the room is clean, etc.  A clear space can be both calming and energizing!
To sum up:
  • Decide what is Stuff and what is Clutter;
  • establish an AWAY for your Stuff;
  • establish good habits around putting your Stuff AWAY,
  • so you can take good care of your Stuff and enjoy a less cluttered home .
Have a great week!

Life’s Stormy Weather: Cleaning Up and Getting Ready

I presented to a church group last week, and as part of the meeting, they were reflecting on Proverbs 31:21, “She doesn’t fear for her household when it snows, because they are all dressed in warm clothes”.   As I pondered the verse, I realized that we all have Snow, we all have difficult seasons in our life.

This idea has been rolling around in my head these last few days, as friends and family struggle with life’s stormy weather, and the clean-up afterwards. Even we Klimczaks are cleaning up from especially busy days, and preparing for more busy times in the next few weeks.

We all have to endure “Snow” from the scripture, the stormy weather of life.  We have cold, dark, uncertain or tumultuous times:  big life events or small, personal hardships and tragedies, major work deadlines, illness or the death of a loved one.  If you are enduring ‘stormy weather’ right now, know that I am praying for you.

Here’s the toughest part, I think.  Regardless of our storms, no matter how vulnerable or maxed out we feel, the rest of the world just marches on.  And as hard as it seems, we have to catch up. Today, let’s talk about the after-storm clean up, and preparing for every day life plus the possibility of the next storm.

If you’re coming through your storm, you may feel tired, sad, drained, unmotivated.  Focus on Survival first: Food, clothing, shelter and safety.

  • Take a shower, get dressed, accomplish your usual morning routine.
  • Get something to eat and something to drink.  Take care of You.
  • Make the bed.  It’s amazing how accomplished we feel after such a simple task.
  • Open up the blinds and curtains.  Close your eyes and bask in the daylight for a moment or two. Maybe even crack a window open for some fresh air.  Breathe deeply.   If the day is dark and gloomy, turn on some soft lighting as you get moving.

Now, Maintenance tasks:

  • Grab a notebook.  I guarantee, as you move around your space today with your thoughts set on clearing “storm damage” and restoring order, ideas will occur to you that need to be noted!
  • Start a load of laundry.  Or fold a load.   Ah, laundry.  That never ending pursuit of clean clothes. Ours are clean but heaped in the big cart to be folded.  So this morning, I started a load and folded a couple.   This task took all of 5 minutes once I set out to complete it.
  • Clean the kitchen counter so you can make coffee, of course!, but also so you have some place to put the groceries you’re about to buy!
  • Craft a quick grocery list and head to the store.  This is not a 2-week buying extravaganza, this is the “let’s get through the next few days” trip.    And did you know there are flowers at the grocery?  Bought some tulips today.  Made me smile.  (There is also chocolate, specifically Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, on sale right now.  Just sayin’…)
  • Take a coupe more deep breaths.
  • Put the groceries away, grabbing something for your self for lunch and leaving something out for dinner.
  • Feeling better yet?
  • Check the mail that has piled up, toss or recycle as much as possible, add the action items (add them to your list, of course, like “pay bills”, and “make appointment for car service”), and schedule time to complete those action.
  • Check the email, purging all but the essentials.  Add the action items to your to-do list.   Put out fires and flag emails for later, add those to your action list then move on.
  • Accept help.  A friend offers to drive the car pool, drop off a meal or run an errand?  YES! And remember, sometimes the storm is ours, and sometimes it is someone else’s, so be ready to help out when you can, too.

The challenge with life’s stormy weather is that we don’t usually know when the storms will hit.  So it behooves us to quickly recover from life’s ups and downs and get back to normal, so we’re better prepared when the next storm rolls around.

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

National Clean Out Your Closet Week: What’s In Your Suitcase?

Did you know?  The 3rd week of March is National Clean Out Your Closet Week.  Here are simple questions to ask and an easy activity to help you clear your closet clutter!

I have been thinking a lot about closets today.

I spent some time in a closet this afternoon (I love saying that), offering suggestions on how to put it back together after a recent paint job.  My client and her husband have a good selection of clothes but not too much, so we didn’t have to talk about clearing clutter.  We could focus on solving storage challenges (more shelves, higher closet rod so we can double hang one side of the closet, etc.), instead of trying to stuff too much in too small of a space.  It was a pleasure!

This morning’s client has been traveling a lot these last 6 months.  And I am sure that there are clothes in her closet that have not traveled with her on her recent adventures.  So, the question is – does she really need those left-behind items at all?  Her travels remind me of a decision tool I’ve used with clients:

  • Imagine you are packing for a 2 week trip.  Perhaps a new outfit every day, but re-use favorite items if you’d like?
  • Pile up all the items that you would take with you. Then..
  • Look at what is left in your closet   Perhaps there is A LOT left in your closet?

Perhaps it is time to clear some closet clutter?

Let’s look at those items that aren’t going with you.  Ask the question of each piece:  Why wouldn’t it make the trip?

Too formal:  Keep a few, of course – we do need at least some dressy clothing.  But, not too much.  Unless we wear really dressy clothes all the time, the selection should not outnumber or overcrowd the other items in your closet.

Too casual:  We don’t need too many of these, either!  A client had an entire pile of worn out t-shirts for “walking the dog or washing the car”, which is a great idea, but  – a Whole Pile of beat up t-shirts?  We reviewed the pile, kept the best 5 or 6 and freed up shelf space for more important items.

Uniforms or specifically work clothes:  True, work clothes may not go on vacation with you, but we can still look objectively at our work clothes, and recognize how much is enough and how many is too many.  30 pairs of pants?  42 dress shirts?  Too many.

Wrong season?   These can stay, but perhaps it’s time to swap out your closet seasonally, to create more space for moving around and using your day to day wardrobe.  I took my big Irish sweater off the shelf today – I only wear it for St. Patrick’s Day, so now is the time to put it away for the season!

Needs repaired, but I still love it: The answer, of course, is to get it repaired.  In the past 6 months, I have had a skirt shortened, shoes fixed and a leather backpack repaired.  Invest a little time and money in your favorites, and put them back to work!

Needs repaired, but I don’t care about it much anymore:  donate, sell, toss. Don’t let it occupy another minute of your time and attention, let it go.

Stained?  Old?  Scratchy?  No longer stylish?  You will NEVER choose these items as you get dressed in the morning.  Let them go.

I have no feelings for the item, one way or the other:  If you are battling clutter or looking for more room in your closet, you may want to go ahead and donate / sell  / purge your ambivalent items.  Using the Vacation analogy, it is highly unlikely that those uninspiring items will be your choice as you get dressed in the morning, either!  These items will never make the cut, which means they should not stay.

Spend a little quality time in your closet this week and play this game to make decisions easier!

National Organize Your Home Office Day: My High Tech Me Project

Did you know?  The second Tuesday in March is National Organize Your Home Office Day.

I’m entertained by the fact that, thanks to technology, I started this blog seated at my favorite satellite office, the Corner Bakery near my home.  Not to be confused with my favorite Conference Room, the Beverly Bakery, also near my home and where I take my breakfast meetings.  The real irony is that I’m avoiding baked goods, but I really love these places!  And now, I’m home in my actual office.

These “home office” musings remind me that my “Home Office”, or in my case, just my “Office”, is anywhere that I am at that moment, thanks to technology.  There is a dark side of tech, though:

I’ve been struggling with the myriad methods of communication available, and how to manage them all well.  For example, last summer, a friend asked “Did you get my message?”, so I went back to check my:

  • recent texts;recent voice mails on my mobile phone;
  • recent voice mails on our home phone;
  • FB messages on my personal page, and
  • FB messages on my business page;
  • professional email;
  • personal email;
  • at the time, cub scout pack email (as I was still Cubmaster and she is a scouting friend);
  • twitter; and
  • actual snail mail, and my really big white mail box because she lives down the street, and could have left something for me.

Ridiculous.  Not the message or the friend (she is lovely), but the number of places I had to check for communications.  Ugh.

Fast forward: I spent the first 7 weeks of 2017 working on what I called my High Tech Me project. My plan was to make the moving parts of my office experience work better together.  To organize my “office” and clear communication clutter, I organized my tech.  After assessing my needs, I (just to list a few steps):

  • streamlined my IPad and IPhone apps, and set up my laptop so all the devices communicate with each other;
  • set up my devices to update automatically overnight, and installed yet another external hard drive;
  • purchased a few more chargers and surge protectors for the places we all use them the most (and my chargers are pink as the only female in the house, to easily identify who swiped my stuff);
  • fully embraced Gmail for my personal email – it’s easy and has an app!, and I left behind our old email provider that doesn’t have an app and regularly froze up or kicked me out;
  • wi-fi enabled my new IPad (woot woot);
  • adjust my privacy and notification settings on all my social media and email accounts, to better manage my information;
  • explored Evernote, and now use it more fully to organize my thoughts and notes;
  • unsubscribed from dozens of retailers and email mailing lists; and
  • re-established a relationship with Siri on my apple devices, and while we still don’t always see eye to eye, we’re making progress (and Siri is now an Australian male voice and I refer to him as Nigel.  Whatever works.).

On this National Organize Your Office Day, remember these important points:

  • Technology is amazing and overwhelming, but it is just a tool.   It’s here to make our lives better, so set yours up to improve your life and not detract from it (and if you don’t know how, ask my web guru Claire and she will say – When in Doubt, Google it Out!)
  • BACK IT UP.  To the cloud, to a hard drive, to your lap top.  Back up your information. And get a case for your phone.  Yes, you,
  • Keep current on your device udpates, all the time.
  • De-Clutter or streamline what you can. Unsubscribe, send all your emails to one address, get rid of your home phone (we’re working on this one!), mirror your devices so you only have to remember one set-up, etc.
  • Make maintenance a habit.  I have actually added a line item to my daily routine to remind me to check different communication methods until it becomes a habit.

 

Get Over Left Overs: 85 Banana Chocolate-chip Mini-muffins

I regularly see this billboard and it always makes me think. Imagine – $1,500 a year is a lot of money to just throw away. (www.adcouncil.org)

A related statistic from the Food and Agriculture of the United Nations website (www.fao.org), 1/3 of all the food produced in the world goes to waste.  One third.

I try to not waste food, yet every week when I clean out the fridge, I toss a few things, too. Overripe cucumbers, mystery meat, dried out or moldy bread – all foods I should have used instead of wasted!

So, let’s bust these statistics.  We can all benefit from a plan to use our food better!  We can:

  • Save money by using our inventory before it expires;
  • Clear kitchen clutter by only keeping on hand what we really need;
  • Eat better and healthier by planning our menus with a little more care; and
  • Be more responsible stewards of our resources!

When I got home from the grocery the other day, I cleaned 3 pounds of grapes (they were on sale) and left them in a bowl.  We made dinner, consisting of baked sweet potatoes, a veggie, and warmed-up pork roast from last week.  While the potatoes baked, I turned a double batch of banana bread batter into 85 banana chocolate-chip mini muffins (I’d take a picture, but 48 hours later, there are only 6 left).

  • We will never eat grapes off the stems, but everyone will grab a handful if they’re clean and ready to eat.
  • We are unlikely to warm up pork roast just because, but pairing it with fan favorites like baked potatoes makes a lovely Sunday dinner.
  • No one in the house (including me) will eat brown bananas, but we’ll eat mini-muffins like crazy.

The secret is (well, it’s not really a secret) to Plan, Plan, Plan.

Looking to use up what you have?
Look first to use your fresh food, then fridge, then freezer then canned.

Clean and prep your fruit as soon as you get home from the grocery store.  

Apples, clementines, lemon and limes – I wash all in the sink immediately, and then store it on the counter to grab and go.

If we buy melons or strawberries or grapes, we clean and prep those, too.  Making good food convenient  ensures we will use it up before it goes bad. And when the strawberries start to get mushy, they go into the freezer, to toss in smoothies another day.

Know yourself and your habits.

I wish I could say that I take lots of time to cook nutritious meals daily for my family.  But I don’t. If I buy fresh veggies, I try to clean that when we get home from the grocery, though this takes a little more time.

Fresh produce is one are of my grocery list where I use convenience food.  Pre-cut carrots and celery are much more likely to be used than produce still in a bag.  And yes, I buy bag salad.  A head of lettuce will go to waste, but we will use bagged salad and spinach.

If you’re going to dice one pepper, dice two.  If you’re going to shred a cup of cheese, shred two.  Prepping twice as much of something, and then using it later takes little additional time and saves scads of time later.

Meat. We freeze everything.  When we buy ground beef or sausage, we brown most of it and then refreeze it in one pound bags, to use, tacos, chili or sauces.  We also purchase Costco rotisserie chickens and eat some for dinner, then save the rest for casseroles and keep the  carcass to make chicken soup another day.

Look in your pantry and fridge with new eyes, and Get Over Your Leftovers.

Who says you can’t have dinner for breakfast, or breakfast for dinner?  Eat dinner for dinner, then expect and plan to use leftovers for breakfast and lunch.  Use what you have before it expires. Use it before you go out and purchase more. Re-purpose what you have.  Make your own breadcrumbs and croutons from bread and buns, dice your fruit for smoothies and baking.

Use what you have!  Save money, save time and clear clutter!

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

Conquer Your (kid’s?) Clothes and Closet: Summer Project #1

July is a great time to clean closets and organize clothes!023
It may seem counter-intuitive (or crazy!) to tackle closets now, but think about it:
  • it’s easy to be objective and make decisions about cold-weather clothes, since we haven’t seen those items in a little while;
  • summer is well underway, so we have a good idea of what works for this current season;
  • organizing the closet and clothes now will make Back To School shopping (there, I said it!) easier; and
  • as we tackle closets with our kids, summer allows for a more relaxed schedule and a little extra time to complete this type of project.
So, let’s get started!  Tackle the kid closets first, but these guidelines work for your closet, too! Grab white kitchen garage bags (for donations and hand-me downs to others), black garbage bags (for actual garbage), clear storage containers, a black sharpie and post-it notes.

Start with Sizes:

     Most kids (and adults!) have more than one size of clothes in their closets or dressers.
     I worked on a client closet last week, with clothes present from birth to 5 or 6 years jumbled all together.  We first sorted the little girl’s clothes by size (she’s a 3T,)
     We lined up bins, labeled them (creatively!) 0-12 months, 12-24 months, 24-36 month, 3 T, 4T and up, and started sorting!
     As we sorted the clothes, we also reviewed the items, donating or scrapping anything Mom wouldn’t use again (stained t-shirts, unmatched socks, pants with big holes in the knees, etc.).
     After a recent class, a mom-of-3-boys asked me “what to do with all the clothes?!” Especially the “between sizes” that no one is wearing right now.   The answer is the same.  Sort out the clothes by size, store the “between sizes” in well-labeled stacking plastic bins, and purge the stuff that no one will use again.
      Most importantly, leave one more open bin in the closet, to receive clothes as your child outgrows them.

Off-Season Clothes:

     If you don’t have multiple sizes of clothes in your closet, you can start with off-Season clothes.
     Objectively, look at off-season clothes.  Remember, you can’t fix ugly, you can’t fix itchy, and you can’t fix the wrong color.  Pretend you are packing for a 2 week cold-weather trip, and you leave tomorrow.
     What favorites would you take along? Set those aside.
     What really useful items would you take along?  Set those aside.
     Now look at what’s left – neither favorites nor really useful items.   So, do you really need them?
     This week, get your off-season clothes repaired, tailored or cleaned.  My middle son wears ties with his high school uniform.  Drop off ties, suits and other dry cleaning this week.  Take your shoes or handbags in for repair.  Get those cold-weather pants or skirts hemmed now while you don’t need them.

To Re-Cap so far:
     We’ve pulled out off-size clothes, and off -season clothes.  We have also pulled out beat-up clothes to donate or throw away.  The closet is looking pretty good right now.

So, let’s put it back together!  Categories:
Sort the clothes you have left by categories (jackets, tops, pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, socks and undergarments, etc.).
Once you sort your clothes into categories, decide where you want to keep each type of category of clothes.  Hang up the dressy stuff, school clothes or uniforms; fold the sweaters and causal stuff.  Put t-shirts, shorts, under-stuff and pjs into drawers.  And be on the look out for more items to purge!  For example, when my son and I look at the 30-40 t-shirts in his drawer, we realized 35 is too many and we can toss / donate at least a few (his idea!!).

Spend some time this week, between work and sunshine and summer activities, and create order in your closets!

Leap Day! What to Do With An Extra, Bonus, Cherry-On-Top Day?

Leap Day!  I’m publishing this blog today because I can!  We only get this opportunity once every 4 years, so I’m taking it!

Turns out, it takes we Earth Dwellers 365 and a quarter-ish days ( 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 47 seconds to be precise) to fully orbit the sun, so every 4 years we need to add a day to catch up with those quarters.  We’ve known this for 2000+ years now, though Leap Day has moved around within the year at the whim of various leaders over the last 20 centuries.  Time really is relative, and a human construct.   This is the ultimate Time Management Blog!

2016 is a Leap Year, today is a Leap Day.  I know it still feels like a Monday,  and may look like every other day except on the page of your calendar, but today is a Gift.

My question to you is:  What Can You Do With An Extra Day? An added bonus, cherry-on-top day?

I asked myself – If I had a day all to myself, an added bonus, cherry-on-top day, what would I do?

And it turns out, I would probably spend it doing the things I already love.

  • I’d get up early, like always.  Not because I had to, but because it helps me be my best self.
  • I would talk with loved ones, and spend time with my husband and sons.  Time with them would be essential to making an added bonus, cherry-on-top day the best day it could be.
  • I would prepare and share and eat really delicious food.
  • I would still organize, though perhaps just my own home or time or brain for that day.
  • I would still be productive because, honestly, I don’t find sloth enjoyable.  I get pleasure out of getting things done, so my added bonus, cherry-on-top day would still be productive.
  • I would read, go to Mass, go out in nature, take a nap and watch a really great movie.
  • I would drink tea and eat girl scout cookies and write, just like I’m doing right now.
  • I would be surrounded by music of my choosing.
  • I would live in a clean, uncluttered space, and still clean up after myself, because a added bonus, cherry-on-top day, and every other day, deserves that respect, as do I.
  • So long as no one was getting hurt, I would let those around me do what they choose, too.Here’s what I would not do:
  • I would not argue with anyone.
  • I would not talk on the phone.
  • I would not watch the news.
  • I would not shop, or spend much money.
  • I wouldn’t hear about people shooting each other over sneakers in a Mall, or how some crazy guy killed people in my beloved hometown of Kalamazoo, because those things wouldn’t happen.I realized, as I pondered this whimsy, that every day is a gift, an added bonus, cherry-on-top day, whether its a Leap Day or any other day.  Imagine how powerful this blog and every day could be if I changed the “I would’s” to “I will”.

    So, to repeat my earlier question,

    What Would You Do With A Gift Day? An added bonus, cherry-on-top day?

    And what is keeping you from treating every day like that Gift?

    Intentionally spending your time how you want, with whom you want, and in the productive endeavors that suit you best?