Spring (Blog) Cleaning

Posted By on April 18, 2011

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Organizing on Steroids

Posted By on April 12, 2011

My allergies and the spring air created a perfect storm that landed me on steroids this past week. Yes, I was organizing on steroids.

This is the second time I’ve been on steroids so I remembered the frenzied mania that comes with taking the Z-pack of steroids. Other friends have told me how they love cleaning their house during their own steroid rampages.

I have noticed a big difference between being productive and being a frenzied maniac.

The Frenzy Begins

I should point out that there are lots of things I can do around my house since I am in a constant state of renovation. I have lots and lots of projects and tasks to do. Since I had not been feeling well for a couple of weeks, things had been piling up.

However, taking care of things like laundry and dishes didn’t seem on my steroid-induced to-do list. By day 3, I was up until 2 a.m. busily working away on things. All kinds of things. Very random things.

Like when I decided I should write down each bill on index cards with a Sharpie marker. Not really sure where I was going with that, but I did fill in the blanks on some of the cards. Seeing how my car insurance has increased over the past year or two prompted me to call my agency for a better quote.

I also made a flower arrangement and dismantled another one. You know, because arranging flowers at midnight seemed like a good idea.

The next morning I would find random picture frames and pictures scattered on the living room floor. I wasn’t sure where I was going with this little project, but there it was.

Let’s Focus

On Saturday, I thought enough was enough, and I wanted to spend my extra energy doing something productive. So I focused to use my steroid rampage powers for good.

For my kitchen renovation, I am down to completing the backsplash, lights and baseboard. I still had quite a few items that I needed to find a home for in the kitchen. I kept on task and wound up re-arranging some of the items in the kitchen. After a brief visit from a friend, I went back to it instead of distracting myself with something else.

In a couple of hours, my kitchen was pretty, and everything had a home.

Use Your Frenzy

I know the extra energy from the steroids will ebb in a couple of days, but in the meantime, I’m going to use my steroid-induced energy to my advantage on specific tasks.

Two of my organizing colleagues – Ellen Delap and Leslie McKee – always talk about focusing on your MITs (Most Important Things) when it comes to prioritizing. I tell my clients the same thing, and it’s amazing how determining what your Most Important Tasks are clears your mind and helps you focus on achieving your goals.

I have at least a week’s worth of work to do putting my house back in order after steroids. But I have to admit that the flower arrangement turned out gorgeous.

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Am I Winning?

Posted By on March 28, 2011

I am writing my Monday blog post in the middle of Monday instead of my usual Sunday morning blog writing festival. Technically, this could be considered my Friday post since I didn’t write one Friday. So I am feeling woefully behind and very much like I’m winning (but-really-losing) – to paraphrase a megalomaniac celebrity’s catch phrase.

Extra busy week and surprises

This past week has been crazy. The kind of week that makes you question yourself. The bad thing is I can’t blame the Super Moon. Dang it.

Last Sunday, I helped my little friend Kimberly start packing for her move at the beginning of April. On Monday and Tuesday, I spent most of those two days driving up to the Navasota/Magnolia, Texas area to speak to a department’s retreat at a camp in the middle of nowhere.

The rest of the week included visiting a friend in the hospital where she had surgery, finding out my oldest niece quit college to pursue her dream of becoming a tattoo artist (not making that up), getting calls from my friend and brother about why I keep calling them (my iPhone likes to call people even when I’m sure I locked it), trying to get to the gym five days last week, and discovering that the Houston Historical Association’s salvage warehouse is about to close just as I discovered its existence.

Looking at the positive

That is all on top of the usual work week and the life stuff, such as writing for the blog, Savvy Auntie and a guest blog post or two; going grocery shopping; paying bills; doing my taxes and laundry. I have been so tired that all I want to do is sit on the couch with my laptop and Facebook to play Cityville.

Yes, I’m winning. Not. But this morning driving to work, I realized how much I was really winning.

Yes, last week has been crazy, and today is being a typical, chaotic Monday. But I realized that there were successes in all of the chaos:
  • Spending the last two Sundays helping Kimberly pack up her apartment means she is ready for her move from The Woodlands into Houston proper. She’s moving because she has a job – a real full-time job with insurance and everything – after spending a year being laid off and doing freelance work.
  • My niece, unlike me at the age of 18, has spent some time thinking and planning out her new life venture. Before leaving college, she got a full-time job, found an apartment, bought a used car and new cell phone, and lined up a summer apprenticeship. She is truly independent, and I can say, that at her age, I couldn’t have done that.
  • I went to the gym three days instead of five, but that was two more than last week. It’s all progress. Plus packing boxes should count as a workout. Maybe two.
  • Because I invented in a special excel spreadsheet, I was able to download Turbo Tax and do my taxes in one night. Bonus win: I’m getting money back!
  • My friend Carol and I went to the final weekend (but hopefully they can stay open) sale for the Historic Houston salvage warehouse and found some great finds for our respective home improvement projects. What a cool place!
  • I benefited from Carol’s bulk cooking for relatives and came home with soup, pasta and chicken and rice. Triple win! Plus I was able to delay the grocery store for a couple of days.
  • I even got a load of laundry done. Okay, it’s still in the dryer, but I was able to pull out some clean pants to wear to work today.

I’ve learned that no matter how crazy you feel or actually are, there are some wins. You may have to squint to see them, but they’re usually staring you in the face.
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Emergency Preparedness

Posted By on March 21, 2011

We all have been watching the heart-wrenching news about Japan’s tragic tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown.

The news also reports how “prepared” Japan was for disaster since they have yearly earthquake and tsunami drills and make emergency kits. It’s a little flippant to say the country was the most “prepared.” How prepared can you be for what our Japanese friends are experiencing?

Living in a hurricane zone, we here along the Gulf Coast have some idea of disaster preparedness, but until it happens, you realize how little you can ready yourself.  Hurricane Ike was a big learning lesson for us in Houston and Galveston. Houstonians were dealing with wind damage and power outages, and just an hour away, our Galveston friends were dealing with flood waters, fires and wind damage.

So what can you do to prepare for an emergency?

Go digital. Scan in your important papers and photos and upload them to Evernote or Dropbox. Photos can be added to those sites or can be uploaded to picture management sites, such as Flickr and Kodak Gallery.  If something happens, you can access any of your papers and photos on an external Web site.

Keep information safe. You can also send copies of your papers, photos (on a disk), set of keys, and other information to a family member or trusted friend for safekeeping. This way if something happens, you can retrieve your information.

Have a meeting place. Your family should have a meeting place where you can regroup if you’re separated. Also, have an emergency text code for your family members to use. In case of fire, have a meeting place so you know everyone is out of the house. Think the neighbor’s driveway.

Create emergency kits. Keep your first-aid kit up-to-date and replace anything that’s expired. In the Gulf Coast area, we all know to keep canned goods, a manual can opener, candles, matches, flashlight, extra batteries, radio, a grill, charcoal and extra water for hurricanes. Keep your cell phones charged and have some cash on hand in case you can’t access an ATM.

Maintain the Car. During hurricane season, monitor the weather and keep your car in good running order and filled with gas.  Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Have an empty gas can in case you need one, and keep a flashlight and blanket in your trunk.

Refill medication. If you take medication, make sure you have your prescriptions refilled. Scan a copy of your prescription and put it into Evernote or Dropbox in case you need to get an emergency refill.

Gather pet supplies. Don’t forget the pets. Have plenty of food, water and medicine for them. Scan in their papers and medication prescriptions. Most pets adopted today are microchipped in case they get lost.

With preparation, you can improve your chances of getting through an emergency. Just know that no amount of preparation will prepare you for what our friends in Japan are experiencing.

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Going Shopping? Get Thrifty!

Posted By on March 16, 2011

As an organizer, I’ve often dropped off client donations to Goodwill, Salvation Army and other charities, but I would only visit the thrift stores on occasion – until I bought my house.

When I moved into my first apartment, I spent a lot of time in places like Goodwill, Salvation Army and other thrift and secondhand stores finding treasures and transforming them. But over the years, I got out of the habit since I had enough stuff for my apartment. When the house came along, I needed some furniture and other pieces for the larger space.

Charity-operating thrift stores, such as Goodwill and Salvation Army, use the proceeds to fund their programs. Obviously they have secondhand items, but you won’t believe how many items are brand new and never been used or worn. You can score some great bargains – which is why thrift store sales have dramatically increased since the recession.

Cool finds, from home accessories to clothes

You can find some great deals. Since buying the house, I’ve drifted in several times to see what cool stuff I would find for the house. I’ve found a cool candle holder that I spray-painted black. My friend Carol introduced me to the purse, shoes and clothing sections again at Goodwill. With her help, I scored a pair of Vera Wang flip-flops for $5.

Get more for your money

Since I’m losing weight, I don’t want to spend a lot of money on “transitional” work clothes. On Saturday, I bought a pair of cute ankle boots, two pairs of pants for work, two shirts and a basket for Easter for $40. Out in the retail world, one pair of the pants would have cost me $40.

If I was a parent, I would shop for kids’ clothes and toys there. One of my friends regularly finds great bargains there for her growing toddler. They also have maternity clothes.

There’s no guarantee on what you see today will be there tomorrow. You may have to dig through a few duds to find something cool, but that’s part of the fun. Also, you will find yourself buying a lot of paint (spray paint and craft paints). To avoid buying a bunch of clutter, make smart decisions. Will you wear it? Use it?

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Empowering Yourself

Posted By on March 14, 2011

Over the weekend, I gave a talk to a fun group on Organizing from Home. During the presentation, a woman asked the question: “How do you get yourself going when depression is holding you back? I can’t blame it all on the depression.”

Ah, yes, depression. I know it well. I know firsthand how depression can suck up all your available energy, but at some point, I got annoyed at depression and wanted progress.

So when the woman asked her question, I heard her. It can become easy to make depression the scapegoat for everything.

Cute baby legs taking a walk

One of the tips I talk about – regardless if depression or anything else is an issue – is to take a small step. All baby steps are progress. All baby steps are movement forward.

Here are some examples of baby steps you can take:

  • Toss the junk mail.
  • Load the dishwasher.
  • Unload the dishwasher.
  • Open the mail.
  • Find five things you no longer want.
  • Put the laundry away.
  • Take an action on something you’re dragging your feet on.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Clean out underneath the sink.
  • Clean out a drawer.
  • Go through your socks.
  • Go through the medicine cabinet (or wherever you stash medicine and such).
  • Load charitable donations in the car.
  • Drop off the charitable donations.

Each baby step you make toward your goals empowers you to make more. As you make more and more steps, you can see your goal in sight. That is powerful motivation to continue moving forward.

Getting Help

Sometimes you need help to move forward. I’ve been fortunate in the past couple of years that I’ve had friends helped me over the hump.

Ellen and Leslie, who are on their way on becoming coaches, helped me take action on some long-neglected projects. Christina and her husband Randy came over and helped me on some house projects. Carol and I empower each other by helping each other on our respective home decorating projects, and we take turns being Ethel to the other’s Lucy, depending on the mad scheme we have conceived.

I also hired help. My trainer got me started on the road to working out, and now that our time together is up, I have an exercise list and the knowledge of how to do it. I work out in the mornings, and the hardest thing is getting up and getting dressed in my workout clothes. Once I get up, I reach for the gym clothes. Then I’m golden.

A Few Words about Depression

Feeling bad all the time is not normal. If you think you may be depressed, please seek help from a psychiatrist to get a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan. There’s no shame in getting help.

Anti-depressants don’t have to be for a lifetime, and in fact, I’ll finish up my “weaning” process by the end of the week. I’ve told my friends to let me know if I start acting twitchy.

When I think of where I’ve been in the past two years, it seems like a dark forest that I had to travel through to get where I am today.

It just took some empowering, baby steps. And good friends.

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Monday post

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Janice Simon

to me

show details 2:33 PM (4 hours ago)

Monday post: Empowering Yourself

Over the weekend, I gave a talk to a fun group on Organizing from Home. During the presentation, a woman asked the question: “How do you get yourself going when depression is holding you back? I can’t blame it all on the depression.”

Ah, yes, depression. I know it well. I know firsthand how depression can suck up all your available energy, but at some point, I got annoyed at depression and wanted progress.

So when the woman asked her question, I heard her. It can become easy to make depression the scapegoat for everything.

One of the tips I talk about – regardless if depression or anything else is an issue – is to take a small step. All baby steps are progress. All baby steps are movement forward.

Here are some examples of baby steps you can take:

· Toss the junk mail.

· Load the dishwasher.

· Unload the dishwasher.

· Open the mail.

· Find five things you no longer want.

· Put the laundry away.

· Take an action on something you’re dragging your feet on.

· Clean out the refrigerator.

· Clean out underneath the sink.

· Clean out a drawer.

· Go through your socks.

· Go through the medicine cabinet (or wherever you stash medicine and such).

· Load charitable donations in the car.

· Drop off the charitable donations.

Each baby step you make toward your goals empowers you to make more. As you make more and more steps, you can see your goal in sight. That is powerful motivation to continue moving forward.

Getting Help

Sometimes you need help to move forward. I’ve been fortunate in the past couple of years that I’ve had friends helped me over the hump.

Ellen and Leslie, who are on their way on becoming coaches, helped me take action on some long-neglected projects. Christina and her husband Randy came over and helped me on some house projects. Carol and I empower each other by helping each other on our respective home decorating projects, and we take turns being Ethel to the other’s Lucy, depending on the mad scheme we have conceived.

I also hired help. My trainer got me started on the road to working out, and now that our time together is up, I have an exercise list and the knowledge of how to do it. I work out in the mornings, and the hardest thing is getting up and getting dressed in my workout clothes. Once I get up, I reach for the gym clothes. Then I’m golden.

A Few Words about Depression

Feeling bad all the time is not normal. If you think you may be depressed, please seek help from a psychiatrist to get a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan. There’s no shame in getting help.

Anti-depressants don’t have to be for a lifetime, and in fact, I’ll finish up my “weaning” process by the end of the week. I’ve told my friends to let me know if I start acting twitchy.

When I think of where I’ve been in the past two years, it seems like a dark forest that I had to travel through to get where I am today.

It just took some empowering, baby steps. And good friends.

Janice Marie Simon, MA, CPO

The Clutter Princess

janice@theclutterprincess.com

832-465-1734

www.theclutterprincess.com

Are you ready to change your life? Call a professional organizer!

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Forward
Darcy De Leon
Janice, Great post!! I like that you recommend professional help at the end a…
3:22 PM (3 hours ago)
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Janice Simon

to me

show details 5:39 PM (1 hour ago)
Good! I’m glad.

Janice Marie Simon, MA, CPO

The Clutter Princess

janice@theclutterprincess.com

832-465-1734

www.theclutterprincess.com

Are you ready to change your life? Call a professional organizer!


From: Darcy De Leon <darcydeleon@gmail.com>
To: Janice Simon <jsimon9230@yahoo.com>
Sent: Sun, March 13, 2011 3:22:33 PM
Subject: Re: Monday post
– Show quoted text –
Janice,

Great post!! I like that you recommend professional help at the end and the support from others and baby step bullets are all helpful too. It’s a really well-rounded and personal post.

Darcy

On Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 2:33 PM, Janice Simon <jsimon9230@yahoo.com> wrote:

Monday post: Empowering Yourself

Over the weekend, I gave a talk to a fun group on Organizing from Home. During the presentation, a woman asked the question: “How do you get yourself going when depression is holding you back? I can’t blame it all on the depression.”

Ah, yes, depression. I know it well. I know firsthand how depression can suck up all your available energy, but at some point, I got annoyed at depression and wanted progress.

So when the woman asked her question, I heard her. It can become easy to make depression the scapegoat for everything.

One of the tips I talk about – regardless if depression or anything else is an issue – is to take a small step. All baby steps are progress. All baby steps are movement forward.

Here are some examples of baby steps you can take:

· Toss the junk mail.

· Load the dishwasher.

· Unload the dishwasher.

· Open the mail.

· Find five things you no longer want.

· Put the laundry away.

· Take an action on something you’re dragging your feet on.

· Clean out the refrigerator.

· Clean out underneath the sink.

· Clean out a drawer.

· Go through your socks.

· Go through the medicine cabinet (or wherever you stash medicine and such).

· Load charitable donations in the car.

· Drop off the charitable donations.

Each baby step you make toward your goals empowers you to make more. As you make more and more steps, you can see your goal in sight. That is powerful motivation to continue moving forward.

Getting Help

Sometimes you need help to move forward. I’ve been fortunate in the past couple of years that I’ve had friends helped me over the hump.

Ellen and Leslie, who are on their way on becoming coaches, helped me take action on some long-neglected projects. Christina and her husband Randy came over and helped me on some house projects. Carol and I empower each other by helping each other on our respective home decorating projects, and we take turns being Ethel to the other’s Lucy, depending on the mad scheme we have conceived.

I also hired help. My trainer got me started on the road to working out, and now that our time together is up, I have an exercise list and the knowledge of how to do it. I work out in the mornings, and the hardest thing is getting up and getting dressed in my workout clothes. Once I get up, I reach for the gym clothes. Then I’m golden.

A Few Words about Depression

Feeling bad all the time is not normal. If you think you may be depressed, please seek help from a psychiatrist to get a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan. There’s no shame in getting help.

Anti-depressants don’t have to be for a lifetime, and in fact, I’ll finish up my “weaning” process by the end of the week. I’ve told my friends to let me know if I start acting twitchy.

When I think of where I’ve been in the past two years, it seems like a dark forest that I had to travel through to get where I am today.

It just took some empowering, baby steps. And good friends.

Janice Marie Simon, MA, CPO

The Clutter Princess

janice@theclutterprincess.com

832-465-1734

www.theclutterprincess.com

Are you ready to change your life? Call a professional organizer!

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