The Day’s Own Mess

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Estimated Reading Time: 1 min, 30 sec.

One of the more irritating aspects of day to day living is cleaning up today what is really yesterdays mess.

The dishes that are left in the sink overnight. OR the dishwasher that we put on just as we went to bed. Either way, we are still contending with yesterdays stuff.

Next, add in Tuesdays laundry. It’s clean, but still sitting in a pile on the couch.

AND THE MAIL!

Envelopes that came 3 weeks ago sit in a pile on the dining room table UNOPENED.

Can you relate to any of this?

We are so overscheduled and overwhelmed that we forget what Christ said all those years ago–

Don’t worry, I am here. Clean up the day, before it becomes a heavier burden for you tomorrow.

In other words, when we put off doing stuff, we are making it harder for ourselves. We are starting the day, not with a clean slate, but with the ball and chain known as Yesterday’s Mess.

-I LOVE folding 3 weeks worth of Laundry!- said no one EVER

Instead of “shoulding” on ourselves (as in “I SHOULD do this,” or  “I SHOULD’VE done that”), let’s “will” ourselves (as in “I WILL do this”).

Make a Plan.

The stuff we’ve accumulated didn’t just happen over night, and so we shouldn’t expect that it will be tidied up overnight or over a weekend.

So, let’s make a plan JUST FOR TODAY.

If MAIL is an issue, don’t worry about the pile sitting on the table. MAKE A PLAN that TODAY’S mail will be taken care of TODAY.

Throw away TODAY’S junk mail IMMEDIATELY.

OPEN BILLS. You don’t have to pay them today, but put them near your checkbook or where you normally write out your bills. Of course, you can always opt-in for paperless billing.

If LAUNDRY is your problem, forget about the pile in the corner for now.  For TODAY’S laundry, wash, dry, fold and put away TODAY.

If DISHES are a problem, well, you really can’t forget about yesterdays pile. You really do have to do them. But, hey, throw in today’s dishes and RUN THE DISHWASHER right after dinner. Clear it out just before you go to bed.  If you still have dirty dishes in the sink from evening snacking, fine. Once you clear out the dishwasher for the night, put THOSE dishes in it. WAIT TIL TOMORROW to do it. This way, you can put tomorrow’s breakfast dishes in the dishwasher IMMEDIATELY and you aren’t keeping your sink filled with dirty dishes.

By doing this, you may not be clearing the clutter from times past (just yet), but for now, you are at least not ADDING to the problem.

Start doing this today, and before you know it, you will be bouncing for joy like this guy:

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Need help clearing the clutter? Want to get organized from a faith perspective? Contact me at kim@godorganizing.com

 

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How To Plan An “UN-Planned” Day

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Estimated Reading Time: 2.5 minutes

Recently, I had the unexpected joy of a day off. My first inclination was to carve out a block of a few hours to work on my organizing business. It was a perfect opportunity to get in some business reading and writing, I thought.

But then I heard a still, small voice.

Be free today.

Wow. What a concept. A free day!

Wait, what exactly does that mean? For me, that meant not committing to anything in particular, but remaining open to where the Spirit leads.

Free

Free time is an essential part of life. So often we can overschedule our days with chores, errands, driving the kids to soccer that we forget to actually block off time on our calendars to simply do what we please.

Plan an “Unplanned” Day.

This is exactly what my husband and I do every Sunday. We keep our plans light, say, like a trip to the movies or just drive to nowhere. Keeping Sunday free is our way of being together, to make sure we connect.

But rarely do I get a day where I have zero commitments to anything on my own. And so, when the opportunity came, I grabbed it. I planned an “unplanned” day.

Where you are led

Where Did I Go? What Did I Do?

The beauty of planning out my days in a planner is that I get to focus on my values because they are written down in full view, everyday. Categories such as Family, Home, Business, Spiritual, Health and (temporarily) Holiday, are daily reminders of what is truly important in my life.

I write tasks/errands under these categories on a weekly basis so that if I don’t get to, say, buy Christmas stamps (Holiday) on Monday, I don’t have to feel too bad, I can get them on my next day off.

And so, while my planner was opened, I listened to where Spirit was leading me. It turns out, I got a LOT more accomplished, and in different areas of my life, by listening to God, than if I had simply blocked out the time on my calendar:

Family–I maintained family relationships by picking up the phone just to chat.

Spiritual-In addition to my daily devotions, I did a whole lot of knitting. Knitting is a great spiritual act, since we usually knit for others. As a Catholic Christian, I am called to live a life of service.

Business-I even got to write a cool blog post!

Holiday-Bought these fabulous and historic Christmas stamps. Also wrote out Thanksgiving cards to family and close friends. And since I wasn’t out running around in “busy-ness” I was able to enjoy all the little ghouls and goblins who came knocking at my door asking for tricks or treats.

Health-With a cup of hot coffee in hand, I took a walk down by the bay.

It occurs to me that had I NOT planned to keep this day unplanned, the promptings of Spirit would have gone unnoticed and instead, I would have felt some vague longing for something more.

For help planning your day or any other organizing needs, contact me at kim@godorganizing.com

Visit my website at www.godorganizing.com

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Happy Halloween! Let’s Start Planning for the Holidays!

 

Planning

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yep, you read that headline right.  The time to start planning for the upcoming holiday season is NOW.

If the thought of planning for Thanksgiving or Christmas this early is too overwhelming for you, you are not alone.  If you’ve always just “winged it” and are new to the concept of planning, that’s okay.  You don’t have to have the whole holiday season on flow charts and diagrams. Just pre-planning one activity will significantly de-stress the holidays for you.

Let me help you get started.

I’ve never planned for the holidays before, where should I begin?

STEP ONE: Update your Address Book. Since you’re most likely going to be home tonight waiting for little ghosts and goblins to ring the bell, update your holiday card list. This step is CRUCIAL before you even get your cards or stamps. Do this step FIRST and you will know EXACTLY how many cards/stamps you will need.

What you’ll need:

Address book: Whether you use a physical address book or electronic, it doesn’t matter.

Pencil: to write/correct addresses

Printable Card list. Here is the one I used.

Timer. Why? Because this can be tedious work. We don’t want to set out guns a blazin’, then get tired and never complete the list. Set the timer for 15 minutes. My favorite timer is one from TimeTimer.  For this project, you can download the TimeTimer App for your phone immediately.

When the 15 minutes is up, STOP. Do something else. Get a drink. Go to the bathroom. Call your mother. Then, if you want to continue with your task, set your timer for another 15 minutes. Rinse and Repeat.

Do this every night while you sit in front of the TV and your list will be updated before you know it. You don’t need to rush through it, just be consistent in updating your list. Slow and steady ALWAYS wins the race.

STEP TWO: Tally up the addresses. Really, that’s it.

 

Here’s what I will be doing while I wait for the kiddos to knock on my door:

Write out Thanksgiving cards. Yep, I bought a few packs, and since I’ve already updated my holiday card list, I can use some of the addresses off that and whisk off some Thanksgiving cards to friends and family.

Knit some really cool Santa hats. Here’s the pattern I’m using.

Yep, on Halloween, I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving AND Christmas. And it will be all stress-free.

Look for more posts on how to organize your holiday card writing in upcoming posts.

Like what you see here? Please share with your friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Eat an Elephant

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Approximate Read Time: 3 minutes

Q: How do you eat an elephant?

(See answer at the end of the post)

 

“I can do something for 12 hours that would appall me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.” –Unknown

 

Clutter doesn’t accumulate overnight. It starts out small, maybe a paper or two on the counter. Or with a few pairs of shoes thrown together haphazardly near the door.

In 2010, I was 45 years old and weighed nearly 250 lbs. I was morbidly obese level III.

Me 2010
Forty-five years old. My highest weight. My lowest ebb.

 

The weight did not pile on overnight. It was years of bad decision-making.

Losing 100+ pounds was also not an overnight process. It took just about two years of solid, good-decision making, several times a day, every day.

And so it is with clutter. Just as an accumulation of stuff doesn’t happen overnight, de-cluttering is a process that takes time. Sometimes it’s swift, other times it’s a bit longer.

Very few people enjoy the work of losing weight. The thought of having to stick to a daily discipline every dayt for the rest of my life scared the bejeezus out of me.  But a very good spiritual mentor  said to me, “Try it for your next meal.”  I did that, and it worked. Then she said to me, “Try it for just one day.” Seven + years later, I am still doing it one day at a time.

And so it is with clutter. The thought of clearing a room of our excess stuff is overwhelming. We open our closet door and moan:

Where do I even start?

First, we decide.

Start by making a decision. That’s it.  Deciding to clear the clutter is the first step  in a good, orderly direction.

Is your closet a mess? Our usual inclination is to tackle the whole closet in a day or a weekend. That’s too overwhelming. Start with something small, specific and do-able. For example, last season’s shoes. You recently stopped wearing them, so they are fresh in your mind. You know what you wore most and what you didn’t wear at all. What needs fixing and what does not.

Starting with something small, specific and do-able is your next step in a good, orderly direction.

Next, we take action.

As with most project the first thing to do is gather supplies.

Bins

Before you begin, get 3 bins or containers. Usually a laundry basket sized container will do

A Keep Bin. Put shoes that fit, that you love and that are in good condition in here.

A Trash Bin. Any shoes that have worn out soles/ heels, broken straps, etc. go in here.

A Donate Bin. Shoes that are still in good, wearable condition but you don’t want them anymore go in here. Then donate them right away.

Timer.

Use a timer, either a kitchen timer or one on your phone for starters.   Time, like storage bins, is a container. It has a beginning, middle and end.

Try 15 minutes. Quite a bit of work can be done in that short time. As you work, you might find you need more time to finish the task. That’s okay.  Work 15 minutes, break for 5.

Rinse and repeat. Do this until you are done with the task. You might finish in one day, or several. That’s still okay. In the end, you have only the shoes you love AND you will have blessed others by donating pairs you no longer wear. It’s a win-win.

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Forty-nine years old. In 2013, I met and married the love of my life.

 

Answer: One bite at a time.

 

Supplies I like:

Time Timer: www.timetimer.com

The Drop-front Shoe Box  from the Container Store makes shoe storage and retrieval amazingly easy. AND THEY ARE STACKABLE! No more tumbling down shoe boxes when trying to get just one pair!

So Many Books, So Little Time: Time Management for Reading

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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

They sit there, strewn on a coffee table or on a shelf. They mock you; taunt you. You look away in embarrassment and shame. Yep! These are the books that you’ve either:

Stopped reading.

Haven’t read yet.

In the middle of reading.

But projects are due, phones ring and laundry needs to get done.

Who has time to read?

When you muster up the courage, you stand defiantly in front of these books and proclaim:

One day you shall be read!

Only “one day” never comes and the books collect dust.

If you are like me, you have your hand in several books at once.  I have a tendency to read one book for a long period of time, forgetting about the other books that need my attention. So, I’ve devised a simple, yet effective plan that works for me. It may also work for you.

CATEGORIZE!

First, I’ve categorized my reading into 3 main areas:

FUN:usually novels or short stories

BUSINESS: reading I do to become more knowledgeable in my area of expertise.

FAITH/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Religious or spiritual books or books that will help me grow as a person (hint: books in all 3 categories do the latter!)

SCHEDULE-IZE!

Okay, so I made that word up.  Seriously, I schedule my reading time into my planner( I use Planner Pad, btw.)

My schedule really only allows for about 15 minutes of dedicated reading time at a sitting. If I can do more, I do more, but as of right now, 15 minutes is it.  I don’t read every category every day, but I schedule each category several times a week. For example, FUN reading might be 3X a week. BUSINESS reading might be 3-5X a week and FAITH/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT might be 5-7X per week.

As with everything else in my planner, as I complete my reading task, I check it off. So far today, I have completed my BUSINESS reading. If I get a quiet 15 minutes after posting this, I will delve into my FAITH reading. If not, no worries, I will schedule that into tomorow’s plans. I’m okay with not getting to my FICTION category today because I know it’s scheduled throughout the week.

Here is what I am currently reading, with links to purchase:

FUN: Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

BUSINESS: The Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin

FAITH/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Disarming Beauty, Essays on Faith, Truth and Freedom (Catholic Ideas for a Secular World) by Julian Carron.

Try this method. See if it works for you.

Happy Reading…and Organizing!

 

Stay prepared during your home move with these overlooked moving essentials

We can never be too prepared, but we can always be caught not ready. Excellent suggestions in this blog post!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

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The process of home moving is one of the more stressful situations in life, and can be full of obstacles along the way as you plan out how you’ll get all of your belongings from one place to the next. Being proactive prior to move day can greatly alleviate this stress, and make the entire process seamless.

Everyone knows when it comes to moving, you need boxes and packing supplies, but what about the overlooked moving essentials? These often consist of things that are entirely necessary, but can become an afterthought as you work to organize your move.

Fortunately, as the “Movers Who Care®”, we have more than 30 years of experience in the moving industry, and know just what you need to have handy in order to make your move a breeze! Follow along with this helpful tip sheet so you have everything you need at your new…

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Mental Clutter II: Knowing When to Quit

 

When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and 'good, orderly direction' to enter.Julia Cameron

I did it. Today,  I took a leap of faith and left a job.  I worked at Target and I loved it. It was a great way to help pay the bills while building my organizing business.

The decision to leave was not an easy one. And it is one that I do not take lightly.  Business-building wisdom maintains that you keep a day job while you work your passion as a side gig. Do this until you can transform the side gig to your main gig. Good Orderly Direction Professional Organizing Services is my side gig, and, God-willing, it will soon become my main one. It is my passion.

My main source of income (aside from my husbands) is through babysitting\housecleaning, so Target really was a second job. I had to take the Target job last year when the family I work for added another little bundle of joy and Mom took maternity leave. It was perfect timing–late September through mid-January they wouldn’t need me. Enter seasonal employment at Target. That job worked so well, I decided to stay on.

And it all worked until this Summer. Not only was the youngest crawling around, but his brothers were home. Now I was responsible for all 3 boys plus cleaning the house.  Add to that another 10-20 hours a week at the store.

Exhaustion set in.  Even as the 2 older guys returned to school, I was still tired all the time. Something had to give. My mentor and friend Eileen Koff (of To The Next Level Professional Organizing Services and Eileen Koff Ministries) gently told me, “Follow your passion.”

How could I follow my passion for organizing when bills have to be paid, was my immediate thought.

How could you not, was my answer.

I was staying at the second job because of the money, or so I thought.  It hit me: I continued to work at the store out of fear, not money. Fear of economic insecurity. Fear that God would not provide a way for me to bring income into my family. Fear is the opposite of faith.

And so what started out as a safety net turned into a crutch, and then finally, a wall.  A wall that blocked the path to following my passion. A wall that blocked the way to true success.

As soon as I realized that the job no longer served it’s original purpose, I decided to eliminate it. It became unnecessary. Now, with the job gone, the way to following my passion is cleared. That way is paved with good and orderly direction.

De-cluttering rule #1:

Getting rid of objects and other that no longer work or serve their intended original purpose opens up the space in our hearts for the things that matter.

 

Happy Organizing!

Kim

 

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Contact Me!

 

 

Shame No More

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How many times have you waited in line at the supermarket and picked up a magazine because it had beautiful pictures of a neatly organized space? If you are like me, you get sucked in nearly every time.

How often did you BUY a magazine because of the promise to organize your space, once and for ever?

Or maybe you aren’t the magazine type, and instead, you scour social sites like pinterest, facebook, and instagram? You dream that one day your space will have a sense of good, orderly direction.

If you’ve done either (or both!) of these things, you might just fall into one of two types of people–those who are MOTIVATED by these pictures or those who are INTIMIDATED by them. Which one are you?

If you are MOTIVATED…

Beautiful pictures, like the one below, don’t scare you. You believe you can achieve that level of visual perfection. You know EXACTLY what space is bugging you the most, and that’s where you want to start. And so you do.

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The first thing you do is make a Target run to buy a couple of bins. Then, you put stuff (toys? shoes?) in them. The bins are topped out and you STILL HAVE MORE STUFF to put in them. So, you make another Target run, and another, and another.

You’ve spent tons of money, did a lot of work, and your space is still in disorder, looking nothing like the picture.

YOU FEEL LIKE A FAILURE.

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If you are INTIMIDATED…

Negative thoughts immediately kick in: You start by telling yourself that your surroundings are sub-par:Not Good enough

 

These negative thoughts about your environment devolve into negative self-talk in a nanosecond:

“I don’t have the talent for organization.”

“I could never get my home to look like that.”

“I’m too much of a messy person.”

I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Whoa.

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Insides v. Outsides

For both the motivated and the intimidated, self-esteem winds up in a basket. Both types of people end up believing the lie that they (their insides) are not good enough because their surroundings (their outsides) are not picture perfect. Both believe that organizing is a God-given talent and that God did not bless them with that talent.

Some people are natural organizers, internally driven in their need for order & direction. They are the exception to the norm. The rest of us need external instruction, and that is okay. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinth. 2:15) addressed this idea when he spoke of some Gentiles who did not need to be instructed in the law of God because they already lived it, instinctively. They, too, were the exception.

It is not an admission of failure to ask for help in learning how to organize. You no longer have to suffer in shame and silence. Let Good Orderly Direction Professional Organizing Services walk side by side with you and teach you the skills needed to become organized now and stay organized for a lifetime.

Call Kim today at 631-482-7070

Mental Clutter

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What happens when long-held ideas about our stuff suddenly meet a challenge not faced before?

This is a crucial question every professional organizer must have in her arsenal. The truth is, there is no single  answer because each client responds differently to challenges.  Some may respond positively: “Gee, I never looked at it that way before!” Others may have a bit more of a struggle: “I know it doesn’t fit, but it was a gift. I can’t get rid of it.”

Change is hard. It’s even harder when we are asked to change something that is dear to us. It might be a gift that we inherited from our parents that might serve someone else better.

Or we might be attached to an idea. Maybe even a very long-held idea. Perhaps even one  shared by many people. Then something happens–an agitator comes along and calls into question what we’ve held most dear.

We can choose how we respond. We can either pause and reflect about our long-held beliefs and thoughts, OR we can build a wall and hunker down in our thinking. The choice is ours. Maintaining our way of thinking without self-examination is obstinacy. Pausing to reflect is discernment. This is the crux of good, orderly direction.

Obstinacy makes us unyielding and rigid. Discernment keeps us fluid and present to  what occupies our mind. When we cling to ideas that no longer work, it becomes mental clutter.  When we are willing throw our thoughts and beliefs under the microscope, truth emerges. We may have to change our mind, or may find out we’d been right all along. It may just be the right thing to hold on to a gift from our mother even though it doesn’t work or fit. Only discernment will tell us the truth.

Recently, the idea of what it means to be patriotic has been under scrutiny. We may have long-held beliefs about patriotism and how best to display it. Like a gift we get from our mother, we can choose to respond in two ways: we can either hunker down and decide to never get rid of it because it is against our beliefs to do so, OR we can pause and consider our options. Perhaps the gift we got can be better used elsewhere.  Maybe it’s best to keep it for ourselves. Sometimes it’s best to express our patriotism by standing up for what we believe in, other times it’s best to kneel. Only a discerning heart can tell.

I’m not sure that I would’ve made the decision to kneel like the NFL players did. I would’ve considered whether or not the message got lost behind the action. I may have taken a different action. But their decision is theirs and I can only assume that it was done with discernment. It is not a wrong action, because it’s never wrong to stand up against injustice. Or kneel.

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The Thief of Joy

FROM CHAOS

Sunday 9:30 AM:

Last night’s dishes are still in the sink.

Kids still in pj’s.

Mountains of clean laundry dot the furniture landscape.

Your spouse shouts from the bedroom, “Where are my glasses?”

Church starts at 10. It’s the “last chance” service of the week. If you don’t make this one, important “God time” is missed. Again.

Somehow, you scramble out the door and walk in just as the opening hymn is sung. Whew!

Your body is present, but your mind is still on the stuff at home.

We’re always late!

Why can’t I get the laundry away?

I wish the dishes could clean themselves.

My children can’t make their own beds. Why?

I’m a terrible parent.

Your joy is stolen even before it has time to blossom. Clutter is the thief of joy and negative self-talk is his chosen weapon. Disorganization is the roadblock on our path to God.

For where your treasure (mind) is, there your heart will be also.”–Matthew 6:21

Two thousand years ago in the desert, people were having trouble with stuff and Jesus knew that. Instead of admonishing us about collecting things, He simply tells us the truth about the effect of having too much material goods. The effects can be devastating.

Let me be clear, God does not punish us for our material wealth. God wants us to be happy. He wants us to experience the goods of the earth. Being rich is not inherently evil.

But…

There’s always a but, isn’t there? Our stuff gets in the way of our relationship to God and to each other. This is what Christ is talking about when He tells us that we will focus on what’s important to us. If we are focusing on stuff (obtaining more, cleaning up, holding on to things that are long past their prime), then our belongings become more important than our relationships. We are spiritually attached to things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Our stuff owns us. We are enslaved.

Whoa.

TO CHRIST

If we are imprisoned by our belongings, there is freedom on the horizon. Just after He tells us where our treasure lies, Christ also gives us hope. He IS our hope.

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these”–Matthew 6:28-29

THE WAY: GOOD ORDERLY DIRECTION (G.O.D)

How do we go from the chaos of clutter to the freedom of Christ? We begin with a single step in a good orderly direction.

Pray.

Pray first, pray always. Then, take a more tangible step. Pick something small. Say, a drawer. Throw out what is broken or no longer works. With each broken item you throw away, you create more space for God to enter.

Welcome to freedom.

Kim

Talk to me about your organizing problems