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A Move Gone Right

A Move Gone Right

A move gone right  – one of our latest projects helping one of our clients move.

First, kudos to this client of ours for two main reasons: (1) She first called us to declutter and organize her whole house (she knew she was moving in the future), and (2) After we organized her place, she maintained the house and the order within in top shape.

Organizing Before Packing

These two things were of great importance, especially because she was moving. And as counterintuitive as it sounds, organizing the home before packing for moving is crucial. This is because:

  • It’s the only way to decide what to keep and what to let go confidently.
  • Organizing the home before the move allows packing by category, which leads to a smoother unpacking and new home set-up process.

Organizing the home is critical before packing for moving, especially if the homeowner shows the house while living there.

Living in the House to Sell Complicates Things

Showing the house to sell while living in it is a different animal altogether – from packing itineraries to staging parameters to navigating living in a home while tiptoeing around.

Trying to sell, stage, and show a house while living in it is far more complicated in every aspect. But our client navigated this process like a champ! And what’s more, packing her home for the move was simpler than expected because of the preemptive strategy and planning employed.

Preemptively Planning and Working Together

As mentioned, she had the home meticulously organized by us and then professionally cleaned by a company we recommended months before putting the house on the market.

Some months later, we worked together again when she was ready for a staging and home prep consultation. She followed our advice quickly and thoroughly.

When it was time to pre-pack the home as part of the staging phase (to show the house with fewer contents), she had us help her with that as well.

The final packing took place three days before closing.

The Timing Of It All

One of the critical aspects of planning a smooth move is considering the different levels of packing the person or family will need, according to what the process looks like for them.

Our client already had conducted a preliminary pack to stage the home. The moving company placed her belongings in a local storage facility.

Given the timing of the closing, we needed to pack her last belongings four days before closing to provide time for the movers to pick up the boxes and furniture, plus allow an extra day for the make-ready cleaning.

So, we had two days to finish packing her house, and that was it? No, not so fast.

This client would spend two days in her empty house and two more days in a hotel before finalizing the house sale.

Although she would hit the road immediately after closing, she’d need an extra night in a hotel somewhere along the route. Also, she was going to a rented house for 30 days until her new home was ready (new build).

The Many Packing Levels

So, each one of these details informed and directed our packing efforts. It was more complex than packing everything on sight and go. There were several packing levels to consider:

  1. Items packed in the preliminary stage – these were taken to a local storage by the moving company.
  2. Items packed in the last few days and picked up by the moving company to be added to her local storage for the time being (including her car).
  3. Items the client needed during a month-long stay at a rented house until her new is available. These things would be packed in more accessible bags/boxes and loaded into her van.
  4. What she needed for the last couple of days in her empty home, the local hotel until the closing, and the hotel on her way to her new state – to be packed using her suitcases and carry-on bags. She was supposed to operate exclusively with the stuff in her suitcases and carry-ons for 6-7 days.

We considered all these things in our master plan. Our client was able to follow the plan, and when everything was said and done, she happily went on her way to her new life adventure.

It’s Complex But Not A Nightmare

I wanted to share this experience and process to illustrate the things I usually discuss in a real-world scenario.

The moving process, in its many dimensions and details, is complicated. But with the right planning and execution, it does not need to be a nightmare.

The next time you plan to move, call an expert in moving management so you can get help navigating this cumbersome process from A to Z.

 

Mindfulness: A Fundamental Practice in Organizing

Mindfulness: A Fundamental Practice in Organizing

Mindfulness is a fundamental practice in organizing, although most people don’t think much about it. Here’s why.

Did you know one of the biggest reasons a house becomes disorganized is because we fail to place things back where they belong? 

Much of the blame for this goes to everyday absent-mindedness. And the antidote to this absent-mindedness is mindfulness. 

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens.

Mindfulness is one of the fundamental practices to live by when we wish to gain better control over how organized life can become.

 The (Lack of) Focus in Everyday Life

Unfortunately, regardless of how focused we can be when something demands our attention, everyday menial tasks, things we routinely do, and how we move around in our home or work environment usually are not focus-demanding tasks. At least, we do not perceive them to be.

When we get comfortable in specific routines, especially at home, we engage the mind in something that happened, something to come, or anything else but what lies in front of us at any given moment.

An Exercise in Mindfulness

Have you heard how a sustained focus on chewing food helps with weight loss? Concentrating on chewing achieves several things:

  • We savor the food better.
  • Digestion starts with the chewing process (it’s supposed to).
  • The brain reaches satiety with less food.
  • The body absorbs nutrients more efficiently.

Notice that focusing on chewing food is an exercise in mindfulness. I remember undergoing this process during a 12-week mindfulness workshop that I participated in. At that time, paying full attention to chewing our food, we could taste even the additives and preservatives in the food. Talk about focus!

This seemingly unrelated example illustrates how focusing attention and engaging the senses in a particular activity or life moment connect us with new information that ordinarily would have been overlooked. That is what mindfulness does. It makes us understand better what we do, how we do it, why, and how we feel about it without judgment.

Recognizing and Mending Mindless Patterns

If you need help with disorganization or feel you can’t keep up with the house, the solution might be to focus on your actions, reactions, and thoughts at home. Notice those things you might be performing mindlessly. You’ll recognize the pitfalls in your processes throughout the day. Noticing those instances will help correct the habits responsible for the home chaos. 

We could discuss many tips and tricks for this or that. We can list ways to become organized or maintain home systems. But as long as we remain mentally disconnected, habits won’t change.

Exercising mindfulness (as in being constantly present in the body and aware of our circumstances without judgment) is essential to change unhelpful patterns.

 Nothing Like This Very Moment

Have you ever heard, “In the present moment is where your power lies”? I don’t know a better quote to illustrate the power of mindfulness and focus on the NOW.

Mindless operation is what makes us place the phone in the freezer, look for our glasses while wearing them, pour orange juice in the cereal, or take the dog’s pills instead of ours (true story -this one has happened to me more than once! 😬)

If you need help organizing your time, home, work, or life, you must know that some things must change. Habits need to be modified for those things to change sustainably and significantly. Becoming mindful allows us to recognize which practices need to be adjusted. It also helps us achieve the modifications required to become more organized.

Becoming mindful takes effort – like learning to meditate, for example. However, to become intentional, aware individuals, we must learn to focus attention on the moment and be present in the body.

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.

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.