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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.

That Defining Moment

That Defining Moment

That moment when you re-enter your home from a day out defines how organized your home will be and how organized it will remain (or not). That is the defining moment.

From groceries and mail to a briefcase or your children’s school and sports gear, chances are you are carrying things into your home each time you come back from a day of errands, work, or a trip. 

So, what do you do at that moment? Do you put things down, or do you put things away?

There is a big difference between putting things down and putting things away. If you needed to put everything away in your home right now, could you? 

The answer depends on whether everything in your house has a specific place to belong. Everything in your home should have a single, designated, permanent space where that item or category lives. Recognizing and following this principle may make daily life easier and more efficient.

You find everything easily when items have a permanent, specific storage place. It also facilitates putting things away since objects have a known space where they should go.

But if anything can go anywhere in your house, everything will go everywhere. So, day after day, this way of going about your environment will yield undesirable results.

When you “put things down for later” instead of taking the time to put things away, several things happen:

  1. “Later” never seems to arrive (it is not an actual date on the calendar!). Every day’s residue accumulates all over the house day after day.
  2. Your home becomes cluttered because clutter invites more clutter. It’s a vicious cycle.
  3. You can’t find what you need when you need it since nothing is where it belongs.
  4. Looking for things, you waste lots of time. Also, you spend money buying replacements for items you have but can’t find.

Then, one random Saturday morning, when the sun is shining and you feel great, you decide to clean up your place. You spend hours sorting through the clutter and finally putting things away. 

When finished, your home is manageable again, but you’ve spent the whole day cleaning up instead of being outside, enjoying the possibilities that await you. 

You are tired, sore, and frustrated. Yet, ironically, you conclude that being organized is a drag that intrudes on your life, preventing you from living your life. 

As a result, you put off “organizing” or “cleaning up” again for as long as possible. The senseless circle of events repeats itself.

What if you took a moment or two to put everything away (as in “where everything should permanently go’) instead of “putting things down until later” every time you come home? Your home would remain organized. 

If your home remains organized, there is no need to spend an entire day organizing later. Yes, it takes a few minutes every day, and it might take some time to make the practice a habit, but it pays off significantly. 

Besides, spending a few minutes daily to keep our environment organized is more manageable and less time-consuming than spending hours cleaning up or trying to find what we need.

The next time you enter through that door carrying all that “stuff,” think about it – It is a defining moment.

7 Steps To Ease Your Pill Pain

7 Steps To Ease Your Pill Pain

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Let’s Simplify Pill Management

Whether you are a caregiver to an older adult or a mom managing a family who values wellness, you might find that administering pills can become almost a full-time job. But here are seven steps to ease your pill pain.

I want to share a system that can simplify pill management and increase consistency in everyone’s taking meds and supplements.

The secret is the pillbox!

What You Need

 Here are some tools you might need for this process.

  • Pillboxes with morning, noon, evening, and bedtime compartments are available here.

  • Label maker (optional)

  • Sharpie

  • A medium to large plastic bin or container – these Multi-Purpose bins work wonders. Also, here’s my favorite plastic box ever.

Follow These Steps

  1. Place all prescribed and OTC meds and supplements that household members regularly take in the plastic bin or tote. The amount and size of pill bottles on hand determine the size of your container or box. This step only happens once because this bin will become the forever home of ingestible medicines and supplements at home. You may benefit from a second plastic container for all OTC medicines NOT regularly taken, like cough syrup, painkillers, allergy medicine, etc.

  2. Write the name of each person (or initial) who takes each medication on the bottles’ lids. Include the intake frequency of that product. For example, “M 1-am / 2-pm” indicates that person “M” takes one of those pills in the morning and two in the evening. Repeat this process with all bottles for easy identification at a glance.

  3. Assign each person taking medications or supplements regularly a pillbox and label both sides of each pillbox with their name.

  4. Line all pillboxes on your counter or table and open their lids.

  5. Work by person – Select all bottles with someone’s name and place all meds/supplements they need in their pillbox, according to timing and dosage.

  6. Work by-product – If you’d instead work with one product at a time, distribute a medication or supplement into the pillbox of each person taking that product.

  7. Repeat the process for each person or per product bottle (depending on your preferred method).

  8. Close all pillbox lids when each box is complete with all medications and supplements for that individual.

**Devote 30 minutes to this task every week. Make it a commitment and calendar this activity!

Where and Why

Ingestible medicines and supplements are best kept in the kitchen, not the bathroom. The humidity in the bathroom might affect the product’s integrity.

Keeping medication and supplements in the kitchen makes sense because we ingest these, usually with water or another beverage. The pantry or a cabinet in the kitchen are optimal spaces for these pillboxes and the bin with the medication bottles.

On the other hand, things we apply to our skin, hair, teeth, or nails go in the bathroom. This group includes rubbing alcohol, H2O2, antibiotic creams, muscle pain patches, cotton, gauze, bandages, etc.

It is simpler to take medications and supplements when we do not need to sort the product, open several bottles, and make the same decisions repeatedly, several times per day. It makes sense to streamline this process.

When medicines and supplements are in a single place, finding what we need at any moment is easier.

A central location for meds and supplements also facilitates knowing what needs reordering and when.

It also eliminates having multiple open bottles of the same product.

This process has an inherent accountability built in; it’s easy to notice when someone forgets their meds and when it happens just by looking at the pillbox. Thus, this system also increases the consistency in taking medications.

Make It Happen

These five steps described above will make it easier for everyone to take their meds and supplements consistently.

However, to make the system work:

  • Devote 30 minutes to this task every week.

  • Place this activity on the calendar as a recurrent weekly activity.

  • Make it a commitment.

Pro-Tip: Consolidate medicine when it arrives at your home. Usually, medication bottles come half empty. There is no reason to have several half-empty bottles of the same product, which takes up a lot of space and leads to expired medication around the home.

I Have (Absolutely) Nothing To Wear

I Have (Absolutely) Nothing To Wear

“I have nothing to wear” (sigh!) Is this what you say when facing the closet each morning?

We’ve heard it countless times — we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. It’s wardrobe fatigue (I totally made that up just now). But, yes, it does get boring.

And although it’s entirely possible to look well put together every day without repeating a single outfit in a year, I bet you have never used your clothing collection to its fullest potential.

Imagine approaching your closet, knowing what you’ll wear that day, convinced that it looks fantastic.

The Wardrobe Capsule

Susie Faux developed the concept of the “wardrobe capsule” in the ’70s.

The term referred to a collection of high-quality essential items of clothing that would stay in style to wear across multiple seasons.

According to Faux, a woman’s wardrobe capsule should typically contain at least two pairs of trousers, a dress or a skirt, a jacket, a coat, a knit cardigan, two pairs of shoes, and two bags.

The idea was to update the collection with seasonal pieces to provide something to wear for any occasion without buying many new clothing items.

The wardrobe capsule makes the closet more manageable and enjoyable using better quality, fewer clothing pieces.

In 1985, American designer Donna Karan made the capsule concept famous when she released her “7 Easy Pieces” collection.

The capsule idea has evolved these days – Instead of limiting the collection to 7-11 items, the current capsule limit is about 30 items, including shoes, handbags, and accessories. (It’s still an improvement from the two or three full closets many women own!)

The Stylebook App

A couple of years ago, I discovered an app called Stylebook. Stylebook is your closet in virtual format, at your fingertips.

It starts with cataloging pictures of your clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories so that you can combine these into infinite outfit possibilities.

The images that populate your virtual closet come from your closet, online stores, social media, and other sources. However, no matter the source, each clothing piece looks magazine-worthy. The app makes the image-gathering process effortless.

Once the wardrobe is uploaded into the app, you may record details about each piece for future reference (fabric composition, color, size, brand, how to launder it, and more).

Stylebook helps you prepare packing lists for trips, keeps statistics on the styles and colors most worn, and even has an outfit calendar planner, eliminating the chance of repeating outfits within the same social groups at the same gatherings. (Yes, I know!!)

Befriend Your Closet Again

The Stylebook app removes the boredom of wearing the same things over and over or the same way and eliminates the stress of getting dressed.

Including all your clothes, shoes, and accessories in the app takes some time — it is the most time-consuming part.

But once that part is complete, it’s easy to get addicted to playing with the many possibilities the closet holds.

Every person who invests time, effort, and money in organizing a closet deserves to get on board with this app.

The Stylebook app works for men and children alike.

Check it out! And if you need help getting this going for you, reach out to us. We’ll be thrilled to help you with this project.