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What You Give When You Give A Gift

What You Give When You Give A Gift

The holiday season is usually the time of the year when we give and receive the most gifts.

This gifting situation can become overwhelming, not only the buying process but also the receiving. 

Among the top reasons people find it hard to get organized is their guilt about letting go of unwanted gifts received.  

Have you ever thought about what you give when you offer a gift?

More Than A Gift

When you give someone a gift, you might do it with the best intentions, out of a perceived obligation, or without a specific reason. 

Regardless of the reason, you give that person responsibilities that might be more than the person wants or can handle. 

Has this ever crossed your mind?

When you give a gift, you are passing the responsibility of another possession they did not necessarily choose for themselves. 

They will be responsible for finding this item space in their home, storing it, cleaning it, and maintaining it. 

Unwanted Gifts

An unwanted gift exerts negative pressure subconsciously on the gift receiver. The mind recognizes the item’s presence and why such an item remains hidden or unused.

If someone receives a gift from a person they dislike or the item brings sad memories, that gift brings compounded negative energy.

No Strings Attached

Offering a gift should be without strings or obligation from the recipient. Whether it is to display, use, store, regift, donate, recycle, or trash the item, the outcome of the present should not become a reflection of the relationship between the giver and the receiver.

When you feel slighted if you don’t see the beautiful crystal vase that you gave to your niece in her home, or if you’re hanging on to the pink fuzzy throw blanket from your sister because you don’t want to hurt her feelings, then the gift is no longer a gift, but an emotional burden. 

Appreciate The Act of Giving Instead

Both parties should recognize that the gift recipient and the gift giver appreciate the gesture. But the best gift we can offer one another is the freedom from becoming a hostage to an unwanted gift.

It is only human to feel hurt when others do not fully appreciate our gifts. But if we genuinely care for the person receiving our gift, the last thing we should want is to burden that person with an additional problem or guilty feelings that will haunt them.

Let’s be mindful of the gift-giving process and less sensitive about the gift’s destiny. Then, when we finally understand this concept, let the gift recipient know how we feel about the whole process.

How About Enjoying The Holiday Season This Year?

How About Enjoying The Holiday Season This Year?

Enjoying the holiday season this year might be simpler than you think. But this is possible if we take care of a few essential things first.

It Starts on Halloween

Let’s see. It’s Halloween, and you have precisely the stuff you need to create the theme you are going for this year. You know this because you have that neat area in your garage dedicated to holiday décor where every box is labeled. So decorating will be a breeze!

This year, you are dressing up and having fun with the neighbors on Halloween!

You are enjoying it even more because you know how easy it is to put everything away (and while your kids are at school, you can eat all their candy!).

Then Thanksgiving Arrives

While putting all the Halloween décor away, you want to take out all the Thanksgiving stuff. Easy! It is all well-organized. What used to be a grumpy task is now an enjoyable thing to do.

And just like that, Thanksgiving has officially started in your home. It’s time to think of the menu, the guests, football, and all that comes with it. But guess what? You do have the time and capacity to think about all that now.

Your home is decorated, organized, clean, and ready for holiday guests. After that initial effort and investment last year, you maintained the place when we worked together to manage your home and all the storage.

On Thanksgiving Day, you can eat all you want and blissfully go into a food coma while watching football.

And Before You Know It

When recovered, it will be time to decorate for the year’s major holiday and put all Thanksgiving stuff away.

Everyone wonders how this process became so easy this time – everything is organized, accessible, and clean. You are in a jolly mood. It is a beautiful atmosphere.

You have time to shop or tackle all your gift shopping online in a few hours. 

Since your home looks, smells, and feels like the holidays, you have fun gift wrapping. But, of course, it helps that you have a fantastic gift-wrapping station stocked with everything you need for this purpose.

Probably It’s Not You (Yet)

This is probably not your case. You need to contact My Space Reclaimed. Let’s start planning and organizing now so the picture described above will be your story.

People go frantic during the holidays. They have to clean and prepare the home for guests, decorate, plan special activities, shop for gifts, wrap gifts, mail cards, and cook. 

But with a neglected house, seasonal decor shoved everywhere, and disorganization, it is hard to feel at ease or properly decorate, shop, gift-wrap, cook, or plan coherently. That does not sound much like the jolly spirit. 

Shining A Light on Your Home

No time of the year shines a light on our home and family life other than the holidays. Our home is where we get cozy with friends and family to celebrate, cook, eat, and drink while cold outside. So make your home an inviting nest that speaks of love, gatherings, family, and joy.

Being Proactive

All these holiday-related activities can be joyful if we first take care of the fundamentals. With things like home organization and the development of systems that make life more efficient, we create the foundation of an easier time amid everything happening around us. And this sounds like a joyful holiday time. 

So be proactive this year! Start analyzing which home processes can be more efficient, what changes your home needs to feel and look its best, and what home areas need reorganization.

The holidays are approaching, and we would love to ease your burden. Contact My Space Reclaimed and see how we can help you.

Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!)

Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!)

Few things bring domestic chaos to the surface, like the holiday season: the gatherings, the cooking, the decorations – Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!). The cold weather makes us stay closer inside, and our environment’s stability is tested like at no other time of the year during the holidays.

Some live in a mess, yet they get preoccupied with seasonal décor, gift-giving, entertaining, and baking. But I wonder if that is a defense mechanism to avoid seeing the elephant in the room. What sense does it make to decorate a house in total disarray?

What Home Should Feel Like

Some might seem oblivious to the underlying disorganization of their environment. However, whether we notice it or not, a chaotic environment affects us all. Clutter drains our energy.

But if only we could experience a different way, what would happen? How many possibilities would open up? How much more efficient could we become? How much more relaxed and joyful?

Rather than being a roadblock in life, your home environment should be your support and bring you joy. That joy starts with having an organized and optimized space.

Then, the whole family can have a wonderful time decorating, sharing, cooking, and eating together instead of fighting about the dusty boxes, the decorations they can’t find, or just being in a bad mood because the house is a mess.

What Makes The Difference

Having an “exit strategy” is equally important. How you close your holiday season will directly impact next year’s celebrations. 

If holiday decorations are a mess, this is a good starting point. Decide to mindfully and purposefully store your seasonal décor to preserve it and keep it accessible for the following year. 

Commit to putting your home environment in order. You will feel the difference!

Stop fighting your environment. Make it work for you instead. 

Want a joyful holiday season? Get your domain in order first. 

If you feel overwhelmed by the task, you don’t have to do this alone. Contact My Space Reclaimed! Let’s set a time to chat and see how we can walk that road together. 

No Clothes In Your Laundry Room

No Clothes In Your Laundry Room

The Laundry Nightmare

The laundry room and the process of “doing the laundry” are recurrent household nightmares among people who feel their homes are messy. It might seem a mistake, but no clothes should be in your laundry room. Keep reading to understand how to make peace with your laundry process.

Laundry never ends, and that room is constantly in chaos. Many homes have this area as the entrance to the house from the garage, and this complicates matters. The space becomes the dumping ground for bags, sports equipment, briefcases, papers, lunch boxes, shoes, shopping bags, and everything else we bring into the house from our day out. When we get home, we are tired, and whatever we dump at this entry point usually stays there indefinitely. But add to the mix of piled-up shoes, coats, clean and dirty clothes from everyone, plus the cat litter box, the dogs’ supplies, and the Costco bulk purchases. Not pretty.

Where The Clothes Are

Things would be more straightforward if we could remove the clothes from the scene. But isn’t the laundry room the place to gather dirty clothes to wash and clean pieces of clothing to hang dry? Not necessarily! Here is why.

Clothes should be:

  • on the person wearing them
  • in the hamper
  • inside the washer or dryer (in the process of washing or drying)
  • hung in the closet or folded in the drawer where they belong

There are two exceptions: clothes air-drying and pieces waiting for ironing (only if the ironing happens in the laundry room, which is not typically the case). 

In any instance, these clothes should remain in this space only for a short time. We should manage the whole laundry process on the same day, meaning that clothes should end up where they belong by the end of that day.

To Be Clear

There are two concepts that people often confuse: hamper and laundry basket. These are different.

The hamper holds dirty clothes and lives where we change clothes. Laundry baskets transport clean clothes from the laundry room to the clothes’ storage (as in the closet or drawers). It lives (empty) in the laundry room. 

Also, know that the washing machine, the dryer, and the laundry basket are NOT approved permanent storage for clothing! (And you know who you are!) It might be the easy way to use them as such, but eventually, this creates the chaos you loathe.

The Process That Helps You

Crush the laundry room mess by assigning each person in the home their hamper. Place this hamper where they change clothes. It also helps to wash each person’s load individually. This eliminates the need to sort the clothes for each household member.

Here is the process you should follow to keep the order in your home.

  • Designate a laundry day per household member.
  • On laundry day, bring the hamper to the laundry room (this should be only one load).
  • Wash that load of clothes. Then dry it. Pay attention to that end-of-cycle chime to avoid wasting time.
  • Return the empty hamper to where it belongs (it does not stay in the laundry room)
  • Once the load is dry, place it in a laundry basket (empty baskets live in the laundry room)
  • Take the basket full of clean clothes to put these clothes away. Do it immediately.
  • Return the empty basket to the laundry room (where it lives).

Plan For It To Happen

Try these steps and place the laundry process in the calendar. Leaving the laundry halfway done signifies that it interferes with your schedule. When you include this chore in your calendar, plan for it, and make it part of your household life, it stops intruding upon your time.

Need some help with your home systems? Contact My Space Reclaimed, LLC. We specialize in developing strategies to simplify your life.

My Best Client Sessions Are In The Shower

My Best Client Sessions Are In The Shower

It’s true. One way or another, my best client sessions are in the shower.

It is interesting how consistently and naturally this happens! But let me explain.

There is much to explore about how people use their space and move around in their homes. As an Organizer, I need to retrace the clients’ steps throughout their home space and understand their routines to see opportunities to improve their systems and lives. 

Only by moving in their space the way they do or having them show me how that happens can I best notice their roadblocks to efficiency or where their systems fail. And this is how amazing solutions come to life.

When clients understand this process’s importance, they get on board. Sometimes, they get so excited they take me by the hand (literally) to show me how they do (virtually) everything around the house. 

And even though this happens all over the house, the fact is that most of the time, we end up in the bathroom! But how and why? 

How We End Up In The Shower

The bathroom conversation usually concerns toiletries, particularly shower products and the shower caddy. 

I have always disliked the typical shower caddies we hang on showerheads. With those, you have the water streaming in your face while you reach out for products. 

Do you shower facing the shower or with your back to the water stream? That determines the shower product solution that works for you.

This debate seems comparable to the correct way to install the toilet paper roll. 

For example, if you don’t like the traditional shower caddy, you will need a different solution. The corner tension pole with baskets may be for you. But what if you have high or vaulted ceilings or crown moldings in the bathroom ceiling? There might be unforeseen challenges to using the corner tension pole caddy.

However, that doesn’t matter because we will always find the best solution if we walk the space together! 

As an Organizer, the right way will be the way the client prefers. But whatever that way might be, being aware of how they move around and use their space allows me to see where I can improve their systems or suggest alternatives to make their life easier. 

This Truly Happened

Oh, timing and context can make this interesting! I can’t help but recount one of these bathroom adventures.

A man called me once to help him develop systems, especially concerning his clothes, bathroom, and laundry routines. 

It was an exciting, multi-level, high-profile bachelor’s apartment. Because he needed systems in those areas, it was necessary to explore his routine and habits regarding his clothes. 

We started the tour of the place and eventually made our way to the third story, where his primary concern was – the closet/bathroom area. 

Sure enough, as fate would have it, his girlfriend arrived just in time to hear me say these exact words: “Do you undress in the bedroom or here in the bathroom? 

Luckily, she knew her boyfriend had hired a  Professional Organizer, and she was gracious. Then we started talking about where she usually undresses! After all, the system needed to work for both.

I love my job! And although every case is different, it seems like we always end up discuss productivity and efficiency in the bathroom. 

Home Cleaning (Truly) Simplified

Home Cleaning (Truly) Simplified

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In the minds of most, cleaning and organizing are two activities that go together. We think of a messy place and imagine it as both disorganized and dirty.

For this reason, organizers get asked if we clean, too. When asked this question, I politely smile and say, “Well, I clean my house, of course!”
So, I’ll share some cleaning secrets with you now.

Most Organizers, myself included, refuse to place items neatly organized in dirty spaces. Therefore, we do our best to clean some or engage the client in doing the cleaning so the project ends at its best.

I am okay with asking the client to postpone any particular cleaning project until the home is organized – for the best results on the cleaning.

But here’s an irony that I can’t ignore. Some homes feel very cluttered and dirty when it is precisely the many (unused) cleaning stuff that occupies so much cabinet space.

That leaves no space in the cabinet to store what should be in them. Instead, people complain about needing more storage space and having everything all over the house and on counters, which should be inside their cabinets. (huh?)

Some love an over-complicated life and spaces. But life should be easier and our homes simpler so we can rest and enjoy the space.

So Many (Unused) Products!

As an Organizer, I am impressed by the number of cleaning products I find in every household, especially those that need the most cleaning. There are often many products for every purpose imaginable, as well as multiples of the same products and cleaning tools.

So, let’s start simplifying the cleaning process by letting go of all those extra-specialized products and tools we would never use. Keeping it simple usually translates into less storage space taken up by all those products we don’t even recognize.

The key to simplifying the cleaning process is to use a minimum of multipurpose products and multi-task tools. These should be simple and occupy minimal space. These should also be easy to maintain and clean to avoid additional work. We can’t expect to clean effectively using dirty tools, can we?

I usually suggest to my clients a handful of multipurpose products and tools that accomplish many cleaning jobs and eliminate most of the extra work.

Also, cleaning products should preferably live in the laundry room. Kitchen cleaning products go under the sink. You should keep some heavy-duty products to clean stuff outside the home, like the car, equipment, boat, etc. Those should have a place in the garage.

What You Need

Keep your life simple and save space in your cabinets and laundry area. Let’s eliminate all those unnecessary products and tools we never use and will never need. Then, let’s get some simple, clean new equipment and products that get the job done quickly. 

The cleaning products and tools suggested here take into consideration the environment, are cost-effective, and get the job done well with a minimum of effort.

You can also research natural alternatives to chemicals currently used, especially with the recipes created with Young Living essential oils, baking soda, and vinegar. 

Superior Mini Mop System – Forget the broom, dustpan, mop, pail, and cleaner altogether. This mopping system from Norwex accomplishes it all. The handle is adjustable and very comfortable to use.

 

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Norwex Mopping System

Swiffer Dusters 360 Extended Handle (long handle kit plus refills)

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Swiffer Duster

 

Clorox Free & Clear Compostable Cleaning Wipes 

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Clorox Wipes

 

Clorox Free & Clear Multi-Surface Cleaner 

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Clorox Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Scotch-Brite Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponge  – These are the best sponges, even for manually doing the dishes.

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Scoth-Brite Sponges

 

Assortment of brushes  with and w/o handle and different kinds of bristles 

 

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Cleaning Brushes

 

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Cleaning Brushes

 

Gloves  – Protect your hands, ensuring adequate mobility and comfort.

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Cleaning Gloves

 

Arm & Hammer Clean Shower Daily Shower Cleaner (1 bottle per shower or tub) – this product is truly a miracle. This is the only cleaning product you should keep in your bathroom, specifically the shower caddy. You might want to transfer this product into a transparent or translucent, un-branded spray bottle to maintain the spa allure we always wish for in the bathroom.

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Daily Shower Cleaning

 

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponges (tough stains, marks on walls, even cleaning the tub w/o bleach)

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Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

 

Microfiber rags 

  • Use them to dry off cleaned areas
  • Use with the multi-purpose cleaner  
  • Use with the mop system as an alternative to the sponge
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Cleaning Rags

 

Clorox toilet wand kit (one per toilet) – Best invention ever. The kit lives in the bathroom, by the toilet. It looks great. The sponge is single-use, disposable. The sponge contains a cleaning agent, so there is no need to deal with toilet brushes or specific toilet cleaners. There is no need to handle the used sponge either- eject it in the trash. Do not flush the sponge.

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Clorox Toilet Wand

 

Window Cloth, BacLock® – Amethyst with Graphite trim – A couple of years ago, I came in contact with this product from Norwex, and what a game changer it was! This cloth removes 99% of bacteria from surfaces with only water, and what it does for glass, mirrors, and even stainless steel is formidable. No cleaner, sprays, foams, creams, or anything else is needed – just water. How it cleans surfaces and even removes fingerprints without leaving water marks will amaze you. I would buy about three or four of these clothes. Just know it should not be washed with fabric softener.

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Norwex Mirror & Glass Cloth

Cleaning caddy – Keep all your products in the caddy so they are easy to move around your house. Only one set of products is needed. You want a rectangular caddy with straight angles and not overly divided for greater versatility.
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Cleaning Caddy

 

7-10 Gallon Clear Garbage Can LinersTrash bags in sizes according to trashcans in the home (essential to always line your trashcans. To avoid ruining the look of a nice-looking trashcan, use transparent bags. Pro tip: knot the rim of the bag to make it fit the border of the trashcan. Hide the excess bag between the trashcan rim and the bag rim.

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Clear Plastic Bags


OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger with Holder – Most homes permanently have the unsightly toilet plunger next to the toilet. And the usual plunger found in most homes is appropriate for the sink but not the toilet. Toilet plungers should be of a different shape to exert the right amount of suction for the toilet plumbing. Here’s a plunger that’s up to the challenge and can live next to the toilet because it has a cover that automatically closes when the plunger goes on its base. There is no need to look at the plunger anymore.

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Toilet Plunger with Case

If you have dogs/cats, you will want these two things:

  • Lint Remover – This little thing looks inoffensive, but it will destroy your clothes if you attempt to remove hair and lint from them with this item. However, I have never found something more effective for removing fur and fuzz from fabric furniture, carpet corners, and carpet-covered stairs. Use it to remove hair, lint, and fuzz from those places and vacuum it all with the fantastic tool described next.
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Fur & Lint Remover

 

But You Also Need A Method!

  1. Assign a day to wash towels and bedsheets. A good idea to simplify your life is to have only one complete set of towels per person per bathroom and one set of sheets per bed that complement the décor. On laundry day, wash, dry, and place them back in use. No need for storage space. No need to fold.
  2. Wash bathroom rugs at least once a month.
  3. Assign a day for each household person to do their laundry (from start to finish on that day). That way, family members take turns, and no clothing awaits washing.
  4. Accumulate all dirty dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher. At night, run the dishwasher. Empty the dishwasher and put everything away first thing in the morning (or before bed). There is no need to keep that dish mat or the piles of dirty dishes on the counter day after day.
  5. If you have dogs or cats, it’s a good idea to vacuum at least once every other day. With the cordless vacuum, this is therapy (at least for me).
  6. Keeping disinfecting wipes in the kitchen and bathroom makes it easy to wipe off surfaces as often as needed.
  7. At least once a week, clean the inside of toilets with the toilet wand and the outside with the Clorox wipes. Clean all surfaces with wipes and clean the mirrors with Windex.
  8. Keeping a bottle of Clean Shower in your shower or tub helps you use this product daily. When you do this, this product virtually eliminates the need to clean the shower! You’ll probably want to scrub the tiles and all other areas once a month with Ajax or a Mr. Clean Eraser sponge.
  9. Dust all that you can see with the duster. Working with this product is so easy that you’ll quickly get in the dusting mood. When finished, trash the duster. It’s that simple.
  10. Clean from top to bottom and from left to right to track the progress. It’s essential to have an efficient methodology. As dirt falls on the floor, you should leave the floor for last.
  11. Finally, use your vacuum all over! Go over the floor with the dry Swiffer if desired, and finally, use the wet Swiffer to clean floors. Alternatively, use a microfiber rag instead of the Swiffer wet cloths.
  12. Remember to dress the beds, re-place bathroom towels, and change all trashcan liners at the end.
  13. Get a glass of wine and take a bubble bath in your clean tub!

All this is exponentially easier if your house is uncluttered and organized. And if it’s not, let’s start with that. 

Then, you’ll see how easy it is to maintain your home clean.