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Fighting Back Contagious Illness at Home

Fighting Back Contagious Illness at Home

Order and Cleanliness to Fight Illness

There is no better remedy to cure me of an illness than cleaning! Although that is not my line of business, I admit I am a self-proclaimed eminence in this field. I don’t always clean joyfully, but I love the feeling when everything is squeaky clean, and shiny! So, I have a few things to say about fighting back contagious illness at home.

I spent the whole day cleaning the other day. It was not an act of inspiration. All of us got sick at the same time. And when illness attacks everyone in my home, nothing gets me in cleaning mode like the desire to fight the virus and bacteria and eliminate the mess our collective condition throws in our lives. When every family member falls ill at once, the environment turns chaotic. Chaos is not conducive to healing.

To heal from any given illness, I believe we need to surround ourselves with order and cleanliness. For example, don’t we feel instantly better after a shower when sick?

Feng Shui teaches us that Ch’i, the vital energy, does not thrive in chaos and dirt. Therefore, from an energetic point of view, it makes sense to clean and disinfect and keep the place in order. And also, the less clutter we have, the easier it is to clean.

I genuinely hope flu and COVID do not get any of you this season, but it would be good to keep these things in mind when illness attacks you or your loved ones.

Let’s Decide

Determining a specific day when illness will leave your household helps this process. I recommend this day be after 24 hrs. of following the prescribed treatment, whether it is antibiotics or any remedy you might follow. Usually, it is best to establish this date after any fever is gone. Powerful energy comes from “deciding this illness ends today.” After all, we are energy, and our thoughts determine our reality.

On this particular day, I was determined to put an end to the absurd week we had spent being sick. I kept visualizing the virus and bacteria, desperately trying to jump out the windows. Sounds ridiculous? Try using this image the next time you are going through this process. It works wonders in terms of how you feel. It will give you the energy you need to eliminate the bug making you and your loved ones sick.

Best Practices

Here are some tips to consider when declaring war against illness in the household.

Air Quality

  • Open windows, if you can. Invite fresh air into your home. By the way, it is my practice to eliminate the screens from windows. Windows look cleaner, more light comes into your home, and if you decide to open the windows, you won’t get the dust and dead bugs accumulated on those screens in the house. I prefer a few insects flying into my home than all those dead ones mixed with crusty dust.
  • Diffuse a mixture of essential oils that can purify your environment and help you heal. I never thought essential oils were beneficial and effective until I learned about Young Living Essential Oils. You might want to check that.

Kitchen Wise

  • It’s an excellent time to clean out your refrigerator and freezer. Toss anything expired, growing mold, anything you don’t recognize, or you don’t know when or how it got there. Pay special attention to decaying produce. Sorry, it does not matter if you bought it.
  • All those medicine cups, what do you do with them? So many people keep those little cups in their cupboards, sticky with cough syrup from the last person who used them! Aside from the tacky factor, doesn’t it make sense to wash them with soap and water every time you use them? I mean, we use them because we are sick, after all. So, prepare a bowl with soapy water and disinfectant agent if the whole family is using medicine cups “like there’s no tomorrow” (as my husband says! LOL). Then have everyone place their cup there, after each use. Then, rinse and dry the cups once a day and change the water in the bowl to repeat the process.
  • Throw out the used kitchen sponge. Get a new one. Alternatively, place the sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes. That works!

Pet Care

  • If you have dogs or cats, thoroughly clean/wash their bedding, particular spaces, and dishes. Make sure they are not sick. Our furry loved ones can often get the same bacteria or viruses we get.

Washing

Make your washing queue with all things you can wash. Separate by whites and colors and by type of items: towels, sheets, bedding, and clothes. My advice is to treat the home as a flea or lice infestation. Wash everything! Wash in the hottest water available and include natural disinfectants like Thieves Essential Oil Blend or Thieves Household Cleaner. Include in your washing queue:

  •  Mattress covers and pillow covers (and if you do not use these, you better get some!)
  • Blankets that you keep in the family room for when you are all cozy watching movies
  • Furniture covers, if you use them to protect your couch from dogs or cats
  • Towels, including washcloths and kitchen towels
  • Sheets (all used)
  • Stuffed animals kids sleep with
  • Decorative pillows from beds and couches
  • Clothes in hampers

General Cleaning

  • Dust and wipe all surfaces with some disinfectant of your choice. Pay special attention to door handles (especially the pantry door) and the fridge. Don’t forget toilet handles and all water faucets. Lysol and bleach can do the job, but go the natural way with essential oils if you can. Again, you are trying to purify your habitat, not make it more toxic.
  • Do your regular weekly cleaning as usual. Use a disinfecting agent if you don’t usually use one.

Personal Items

  • Do not forget to change lip balms and lipsticks, if possible. Wipe or cut off their top portion if you can’t replace them. That might help.
  • If using disposable contact lenses, throw out the ones in use and their case. Use a new pair.
  • Change all toothbrushes. How many people forget to throw out their toothbrushes after being sick! Toothbrushes are Petri dishes of bacteria. Wash retainers and mouthguards with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. Don’t forget to disinfect their cases too! Ah, don’t forget to change the heads of electric toothbrushes.

What Else You’ve Got?

Please don’t take me wrong. I’m not germophobic at all. Heavens knows that my kids have excellent immune systems they have worked hard at building (if you know what I mean).

But I thought I’d instead share with you all some of the things that came to mind while I was busy eradicating viruses and bacteria from my home recently. 

I’m sure you can add many more helpful tips to this list, depending on your experience, your family, and the way you live. The more, the merrier!

Nothing puts me in nesting mode like having had a couple of days of family illness. But then, Mama bear comes out and fights back with all she’s got.

What other ways do you use to fight back against family illness? Let’s hear about it!

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

The ability to notice details and the willingness to creatively tweak little things are crucial to achieving the perfect space in a project. Organizing takes skill, patience, strategy, time, and attention to detail. Those are a Professional Organizer’s tools of the trade. However, Organizers are exceptional at developing systems that take organizing to its next level. Systems usually increase clients’ efficiency in utilizing their space.

Consider the kitchen cabinet and notice all details involved in the process resulting in an organized, functional space. However, organizing this cabinet also resulted in two efficient systems.

MySpaceReclaimedPix 47 - Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

The Kitchen Cabinet Situation

  • this cabinet had lots of cookbooks and recipe binders
  • it also had a myriad of serving items
  • books stacked sideways because some did not fit the space
  • recipe clippings were sticking out of books and binders
  • nothing was labeled or had hand-written post-it notes

Also….

  • recipes were hard to remember, identify, or use
  • meals were boring, repetitive, and unhealthy
  • medicine and supplement bottles occupied the lower shelf of this cabinet
  • taking meds and supplements was inconsistent because of the sorting and opening of bottles required, and it was hard to remember who took what and when

The kitchen cabinet needed some tweaking to become a functional cabinet with valuable, organized content.

The Process

  • removed all cabinet contents
  • sorted through contents and removed what was no longer wanted or needed
  • adjusted shelves to fit even the tallest book
  • allocated specific areas for things that stay
  • created a recipe use and management system
    • recipes photocopied, cut, and pasted on 4″ X 6″ index cards
    • index cards classified by dish type and organized in index card boxes
    • recipe boxes labeled with the recipe categories it contains
    • system benefit: mixing/matching cards create a week’s worth of healthy, varied meals
  • created a supplement and med management system 
    • pills presorted in bags according to dosage/time of intake for each person
    • pill bags divided into baskets for each household member
    • system benefit: a streamlined process where everyone knows where, what, when, and how when getting their meds

The development of systems improves efficiency in the use of your space. Therefore, designing systems that increase productivity and make life easier is one of the most valuable benefits you can get from working with a Professional Organizer. 

If you want to experience some of “Organizing magic,” let’s talk! We’d love to hear about you and see how we can help.

The Greatest Pitfall in Home Management

The Greatest Pitfall in Home Management

That laundry basket seems to travel around the house and never gets emptied. Do you know that basket? Families don’t have time to finish the laundry. It looks like cleaning up the kitchen is another problem for most people. It seems as if the most significant pitfall in home management is not using those skills that make us succeed at work, at home. A lack of systems and time management at home might be to blame.

I started thinking about this the other day when I counted over ten car trips in a single day. These many trips were not an exception. I have three children, and I never had a chauffeur, a maid, a nanny, or a cook. There was a time in our lives that the average was fourteen car trips a day.

I have worked outside the home during most of my children’s lives, developed my business, and worked with clients. But through it all, the house always looked and felt like the ideal place to rest and recharge.

My life is no different than yours when it comes to time demands. Unfortunately, I have no magic or external help. What I have are good time management skills and systems. These are things we can all learn and apply in the home environment.

I have identified a common pitfall among household managers — not acting as managers at home. Many people do not apply the skill set that makes them successful at work in their homes. Why not?

If you work outside the house, you have managed to keep your job. However, doing so has probably required staying on top of things, not allowing anything to slip through the cracks. 

Regardless of the type of work you do, there are out-of-the-ordinary projects and day-to-day ones. And those routine tasks most likely comprise the backbone of your job. Whether you supervise those tasks or execute them, the responsibility is yours. If you stopped ensuring those processes were thoroughly performed, things would go south rapidly.

Why can’t we all plan and execute like actual managers at home? One might think it is because home is where we rest. We don’t want to think of chores and duties at home.

But the irony here is that the less attention you pay to chores and duties, the more chaotic your home environment will be, and the less you can rest and relax at home.

Looking for the million things you can’t find in the home, buying duplicates, wasting time, effort, and money, forgetting essential family commitments, or not having a dining room table available to gather around. 

Each time we neglect our home duties, we add a new layer of chaos to our most intimate environment. We invite in the energetic shift that such chaos brings. Are you sure your home is where you want to rest and forget about the stress of your job?

Running the home like a well-oiled machine requires planning what needs to happen. Remember that what gets scheduled gets done. You would not leave it to chance or rely on “when you have time” to make client appointments at work or to write that report for the boss, right? 

So then, why not schedule house chores and involve everyone in the household? This way, everyone contributes to the home and learns to execute these domestic chores. This knowledge is essential. Your kids don’t want to go to college to realize they don’t even know how to boil an egg.

Much of our household stress would decrease if we could transfer some of the management skills we proudly display at work to the home and start planning and scheduling the many menial household tasks. 

Planning allows us to control when and how these things happen, while scheduling means that those chores will stop interfering with our lives — they will be part of it.

Makes sense?

Make This Time Count

Make This Time Count

Social distancing and quarantine times, are they over? It’s hard to say. We’ve been too long on this. So, all that time we have been at home and with our loved ones? Make this time count! 

Some of the practices we observed during 2020 and 2021 are still here, and some are here to stay. 

For example, many companies have realized they are more productive when employees are at home. Therefore, more and more people are adopting this trend as the new normal. 

In addition, some schools have kept remote learning as a permanent alternative for the students. As a result, we still share our home space (and for more extended periods) with other household members. 

When we are closer together under one roof, clutter and lack of systems seem to hit us harder. Thriving under these conditions requires adjustments for most of us. 

But change can be very positive, depending on how we take it. I, for one, have discovered a new joy in being around my husband and children. We have created a productive and harmonious work and play environment for the most part. And I don’t need to mention how ecstatic our dog is with this at-home arrangement.

But living, working, studying, and playing in closer proximity to each other for more extended periods may cause previously considered menial details about our space to appear more significant and bother us. 

So here are some things that might help us enjoy our new way of co-existing to make the best of the situation.

Keep It Clutter-Free And Clean

  • Strategically place boxes of tissue throughout the house.
  • Have a trash can in every room and take out the trash daily. 
  • Have antibacterial soap or sanitizer on every sink.
  • Wash towels and sheets more often. 
  • Handle your incoming mail daily, rapidly, and efficiently. The last thing you need is more paper clutter around your home.
  • Take 15 minutes at the beginning of each day to put the house in order-clean the counters, vacuum floors/carpets, and open up shades or curtains to let in the sunlight.
  • Gather dirty dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher throughout the day so counters remain clear. It requires putting away clean dishes every night before bedtime or first thing in the morning, so the day starts with an empty dishwasher.
  • Get caught up with your laundry as soon as possible. Laundry is often the nemesis of many households. You don’t need the added clutter right now. Read my laundry process blog if you feel this is a weak point.

Embrace a Positive Attitude

  • Make beds every day – this gives you a sense of accomplishment to start your day.
  • Get dressed as if you were going to work or school – when you dress up, this shows in your demeanor on the phone and Zoom calls.

Enjoy Family Time

  • Go on walks outside with the family – if we are together at home, we can take advantage of that.
  • Watch a movie or play board games as a family – welcome back game and movie nights.
  • Get to know each other better!

Stay Healthy

  • Develop a system to ensure everyone takes their supplements and medications consistently.
  • Grocery shopping needs strategic planning to have what we need while avoiding waste. Although we eat more meals at home, buying more than we need leads to food waste. Have a well-planned system.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the usual time every day and keep meal schedules – these two practices allow the body to maintain a routine and feel better.

Increase Productivity

  • Assign spaces for each household member to work or study. These spaces can vary by day, but it is easy to control clutter and to have an increased focus if everyone has a space on their own to operate each day. 
  • Avoid distractions by making sure your pets are cared for before starting your business or school day. Ensure your pets have adequate food and water, have gone outside (if applicable), and have safe and comfy areas to rest.
  • Try listening to Binaural Beats using headphones while you work or study to boost productivity. Binaural Beats in the Beta pattern may help promote concentration and alertness. Listening to Beta waves helps to increase focus, productivity, critical thinking, decision making, situational awareness, and memory. Beta waves also help increase your energy, sharpen your hearing, and improve overall well-being. 
  •  To take productivity to the next level, combine the binaural beats experience with the diffusion of essential oils that enhance your mood and increase brain activity. Young Living Essential Oils are the purest oils you can find. Some oils that improve brain function and affect mood are Vitality, Joy, Awaken, Motivation, Frankincense, Peppermint, Sandalwood, and Lavender.

I believe this time will show us that we can move forward in more productive and efficient ways than we ever thought. As a result, we will arrive at a better place as a society.

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. It can become overwhelming, not only in the buying process but also in receiving gifts. But this practice is not limited to the holidays, as we well know.

Among the top reasons people find it hard to get organized is their guilt about letting go of items that they receive and for which they have no use, purpose, appeal, or storage space.  

Although those guilty feelings are frequent conversations between Organizer and the client, it would be fair to look into the other side of this dynamic – the gift giver. 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 maybe without a specific reason: you give someone something you like.

Regardless of the reason, you give that person responsibilities that might be more than what the person wants or can handle. Has this ever crossed your mind?

So, what do you give when you give a gift? When you give a gift, you are passing the responsibility of another possession; one they did not necessarily choose for themselves. They will have the burden of finding this item space in their home, storing it, cleaning it, and maintaining it. 

What About 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 is stored somewhere.

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 appreciates the gesture and the gift giver. 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.


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