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Organizing Through Life

The Art of Downsizing - Every Generation is Doing it!

Recently I spoke to about 50 women on the topic of downsizing.

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It was awesome to see heads shaking, heads bowing, some laughing and others raising their hands in agreement to my comments.

The first question that I asked at "The Art of Downsizing" was, "Who here thinks that they have too much stuff?" Every hand in the room went up! This confirmed my suspicion...we are a materialistic society and we are tired of living cluttered live.

Here are the three main struggles of downsizing:

1. What to do with everything - sorting, purging and eliminating is emotional and physical.

2. What to keep for the new home -  because I don't really know what I will "need."

3. How to get it all done - because I am only one person (and my spouse really just thinks I should be able to do it all by myself).

My response to these questions were:

  • Start in a space where you can easily identify items that you don't need, don't want or don't care about. This may be a room that is designated as your "stash and dash" room. (Almost everyone admitted to having one of these rooms). This is where items are stashed when you know that company is coming over - with the intention that you will get back to it later.  #Honestly!

  • Close your eyes and create a vision of your new space. Almost everyone envisioned their new homes to be clutter free - with the minimal amount of furniture that they need to function on a daily basis. 

  • To get it all done - plan ahead as much as possible. One person (who came to my Time Management class) said that she had a 6,000+ square foot house and will be downsizing to about 1/3 of the space within the next 5 years. My first comment was, "Awesome"! You are planning ahead. Now is the time...you are making the right decision. But I could how overwhelmed she was by the expression on her face. Her huge house is packed with furniture and "stuff". So we talked about where to consign items, where to sell items, how to make a decision about where to eliminate items, who will pick up larger items that you want to donate and how to make all of these decisions.

Downsizing is not just for the elderly who are moving into assisted living or a nursing home. It is for the baby boomer generation who bought one of those "mansions" about 8-10 years ago (because that was what everyone was doing). They are tired of having to maintain the home, tired of walking up and down the steps for everything and most of all...they just want a simpler and stress-free life. 

Downsizing will help you create the life that you want and deserve. #simplelife #minimalistic 

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Linda's passion is to help you live a comfortable life - without clutter, stress and drama. Since 2007 she has been organizing homes and offices to help create functional spaces.

For more information about how you can get organized, visit her website @ organizationdirect.com. 

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A few minor changes are all it takes...

Just six months ago I decided to make some serious changes in my personal and business life.

  • I needed to find ways to save time (so that I wasn't feeling constantly stressed out).
  • I needed to feel better - I was feeling sluggish and my energy was low

Change is HardSo here are the steps that changed it all for me!

1. I was spending way too much time and energy trying to remember everything. To Do Lists are great - however, they require maintenance and I was finding myself looking at them all the time! What had I forgotten to put on my list? My list also included things that I really didn't need to do today. Deadlines were in place but I didn't need to "see" everything on my list of To Do "Now".  I have written before about the three categories of your To Do List....Have To Do - Want To Do - Need To Do...and how prioritizing your list helps make a decision about what to do and when to do it.

So, I found a CRM that I started using - and it is FREE! Hubspot was the answer to all of my reminders, To Do List and (this is the best part) I can enter all of my client information, email clients right from Hubspot and send them documents too! I even downloaded Sidekick which shows me when emails have been opened and when emails arrive (without me having me email opened!). This took care of the issues of saving time!

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Next - I needed to feel better. I am considered either a young grandmom or an old mom...either way - energy, self-esteem and attitude matter when you are 54 years old and have a 7 year old in the house! I was going to the gym and lifting weights with my husband and walking on the treadmill - but I wasn't seeing results. I found myself doing what my husband wanted to do (because it was great quality time together), but it wasn't working for me. I needed a focus, accountability and structure to see results.

So...I joined a FitBody Boot Camp in our home town. What a difference! I don't run, jog or walk on a treadmill. I don't ride a bike and I don't sit on machines lifting weights (and hoping that I am doing the right thing). Instead I spend just 30 minutes working on the key areas of:  getting stronger, gaining stamina, losing inches and yes...losing weight (slowly). I started going 3 times a week (consistently on Monday, Wednesday and Friday). And I kept that up for the first 4 months - then, about 6 weeks ago I decided to increase my workouts to 5 days a week.

To tell you the secret, I really miss it if I don't go. I'm now addicted to this  30 minute work out every week day and I am seeing results - slow results but definite results.

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And lastly, the family time needed to increase. I found it amazing that once I put my priorities in order and found a way to save myself time, I found more family time (without even trying).

We did make a few little changes to the household. I plan meals on a weekly basis and even though they aren't "prepped", I know what we are having for dinner every night. It is pulled out to defrost in the morning, ready to cook when I get home (and I'm following some very simple and easy - and healthy recipes) so we are usually finished with dinner by 5:30 pm! This is huge for my family. The general population in our area are not even home by 5:30 pm and are thinking about which drive-thru restaurant they will go to tonight.

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You don't have to make huge changes to experience results. The key is to keep your changes consistent so that you see your results. Getting organized is like a diet, it requires a routine, the creation of habits and (most of all) consistency.

The changes that I put into place over the last six months have changed me both personally and professionally. In just six short months your Life can Change too!

Are you ready for a change? Need help with accountability? Give me a call and let's talk about how you can make simple changes to affect your life.

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Love Language - Receiving of Gifts

  I have to admit that this receiving of gifts is not my main Love Language.

Maybe it is because I'm in the organizing business - and I see so much money wasted on the purchase of items that are either not needed and/or under-utilized.

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Maybe it is becausem I believe that the house will only hold so much. The walls will not expand to make extra room.

Maybe it is because I can probably find a dozen other uses for the money that was just spent on a needless gift.

One thing is for sure. My husband doesn't get in "trouble" for not buying me expensive and lavish gifts. (And I think he is ok with that).

But for some, their Love Language is the Receiving of Gifts and if you are the spouse of a Gift Lover, you had better know what is expected of you. Here is the deal:

  1. Gifts don't have to be expensive (you don't have to give roses just on Valentine's Day - a dozen roses "just because" can touch a heart in many more ways
  2. Gifts don't have to take up "space" in your home. Your gift can be for your spouse or significant other to experience a mani-pedi at a local spa
  3. Gifts don't have to be purchased at a store. Sometimes the best gifts are made by your own hands

Here are some great ideas for clutter-free gifts:

  • Movie tickets
  • Pick flowers from the front yard or flower bed
  • A nice (inexpensive) bottle of wine
  • A "just because" card
  • A gift card to her/his favorite coffee shop

Again, as an organizer, I am not a fan of buying gifts that will cause clutter and chaos (or that there is no room for in the house). This can be a real struggle if you have a child who's Love Language is receiving gifts. There can then be the whole issue of no wanting to let go of any of those "special gifts" throughout the years....but that is another topic and blog.

One of the biggest take-aways for me in this Love Language is that it should not be mistaken for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous – so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are visual representations of love and are treasured greatly. (taken directly from the 5 Love Languages).

Learning your child, spouse, or parent's Love Language can greatly improve your ability to communicate to each other on so many levels....and help you pull together as a family.

If you would like to find out more about the 5 Love Language you can order your book here.

 

Need help getting organized? Call Organization Direct for your FREE consultation! 540-220-05912

Photo credit - Freedigitalphotos.net

 

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Acts of Service - Love Language

I think I was born with the Love Language - Acts of Service .

Growing up, I always saw what my mom did for my dad. I had originally thought that she did it all because that was what "wives do". I now know that all of the small things she did, from keeping the house clean to having dinner on the table every night and paying the bills were her Acts of Service Love Language. You see, my dad worked hard. He was a dairy farmer who was at work at 4:00 am and (most of the time) didn't finish his day until 6:00 pm - 7 days a week. And, as long as he appreciated everything that she did for him, her love tank stayed full.

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Since I had grown up this way, I also just assumed that this is what wives do for their husbands (I didn't know about this whole Love Language thing until recently).

I enjoy doing things for my husband and he really has enjoyed doing things for me. But here is my admission. After 3 decades of marriage I think we can all lose sight of the difference between Acts of Service and "expectations." This may be why I am hearing of so many marriages taking a nose dive after 25+ years together.

I went through a period where Acts of Service were really not an option for my husband. He took 2 years to recover from an accident. So all of the Acts of Service fell on my shoulder, everything was put on me (whether I wanted them to or not). This included driving him to doctor's appointments, arranging his medications, setting up appointments with the nurses to come to the house, changing bandages, and all of the household duties. The only real Love Language that he could provide to me were  Words of Affirmation.

Again, what does this have to do with Staying Organized? Well....a lot of the Acts of Service that your spouse, children (and anyone else that you want to put into this category) can do for you will help you stay organized, stay on top of what needs to be accomplished on a daily basis and also ease your stress. It is the little things that matter the most. Together a family can accomplish much more in a much less time period. And this gives you time to enjoy yet another Love Language - the Gift of Quality Time.

We all hear the term "Paying it Forward". You are in line at Starbucks and the person in front of you in the drive-thru has paid for your coffee. What??? You don't know who that person is - and you can't thank them for their kindness. Think of Acts of Service just as Paying it Forward. You can make your spouse/child/co-worker's day just by doing one little Act of Service (unselfishly of course). **No Acts of Service can be done with expectations of rewards.  They must be done because your heart knows that it is the right thing to do.

This week I challenge you to offer Acts of Service to those around you. I'm willing to bet that you will receive Words of Affirmation in return - and that will make your day! Need help trying to figure out how you can provide Acts of Service? Click here for some great ideas.

Share your Acts of Service here. Love expressed by actions.You put thought, time, energy and effort into deciding what would please your loved one the most.

Linda Clevenger

Organization Direct

****The picture used in this blog is not intended to irritate husbands!

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Words of Affirmation - Love Language

If Words of Affirmation are your Love Language, you will be able to relate to this.  For many years I thought that doing "everything" in the house was just my job. I'm the spouse, wife, mother and caregiver. I have since decided that I was wrong.

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I thought this way because of the values that I was taught from childhood. My mom did it all. She was/is a great mom - but she didn't work outside of the home. Life was not that hectic 50 years ago. Mom had habits and a schedule that she did not waver from - ever! From laundry to cleaning the house to what we ate for dinner every Sunday afternoon (meat pies), every Friday night (Spaghetti), every Saturday she made a cake...you get the idea.

 

I tried to (in the early days of marriage - over 30 years ago)  emulate her - because that is all that I knew, I began to resent the fact that I was doing it all. Mainly because my life was totally different than my mom's life. I worked outside of the home - I commuted to DC for crying out loud, our 3 kids were each involved in an after school activity, our house was bigger so I had more house to manage and my biggest time management habit was getting the kids out of the door by a certain time every morning so that I didn't miss my car pool ride and then making sure that there was something called dinner on the table at night and lastly that homework got done.  My life is SO different.

One way that my mom and I are alike is we both share the same Love Language...Words of Affirmation. I really wanted (and needed) to have someone, anyone, notice the time, effort and energy that was required to maintain the house, work a full time job (60 hours per week with the commute) and try to stay on top of everything that I needed to do every day.

Of course...no one noticed. No one said "Great job". No one said "The house looks great". It was just expected that I would do it all. And, honestly, this was not their fault. I didn't know any better! I was following my mom's lead because she was, after all, mom.

After a lot of trials and tribulations, disagreements (not arguments) and discussions, my husband understands now that I really need to hear him say..."Dinner was good tonight", "Let me help you with the dishes", "I'll take care of that for you" and even "Thank you". Because he says these little Words of Affirmation, it makes me want to do more for him. It makes me want to provide these Acts of Service (this is another Love Language. It makes me feel appreciated and we all need (and want) to feel appreciated.

Again, what does this have to do with staying organized? Words of Affirmation are one of my motivators. It makes me want to do more and be more when I know that I am appreciated. I think that this is another reason that I love being a Professional Organizer. I enjoy providing Acts of Service to my clients. And I can (and do) provide Words of Affirmation to my clients as well. They need to hear "Job well done" and know that they should celebrate each individual goal and give themselves credit for what they have done. (I even have clients who contact me to tell me what they have accomplished during the day, and it is my pleasure to encourage them to do even more).

As Dr. Gary Chapman says in Chapter 4 - "Words are Important", "Words are Important", Words are Important".

You can learn to use your words to help get (and stay) organized in your home and office.

Stay tuned for another post on this topic soon!

Linda Clevenger

Organization Direct

Photo Credit: Reachforthesky.com

 

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About Linda

As an Organizing Consultant and Coach, mom and grandmom, Linda has found answers to the struggles that "moms" deal with every day. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or work outside the home, you are usually the hub of the household. Linda will be sharing organizing tips, tools, techniques, support and motivation to help you enjoy each day to the fullest. Life doesn't have to be chaotic. Your can choose to be organized. You can read more about Linda and her services at www.organizationdirect.com.

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Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (BACA) exists to create a safer environment for abused children by empowering children to not feel afraid of their world. Imagine how an abused child feels when a group of large bikers rides up to their house, inducts them into their club and then escorts them to court to testify against their abuser.

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