Let There Be Light

Posted By on February 23, 2010

You learn a lot when you buy a house, particulaly an older one, and I’ve had one learning experience after another since buying my house in September 2009.  My friend Darcy, who is a homeowner in my neighborhood, asked me to share the things I’ve done to my house. My house was built in 1964, but it hasn’t been updated since …oh, let’s see…yeah, 1964. I have some work to do. 

I am fortunate that several of my friends have renovated older homes as well, and they swooped in to lend a hand to Miss Clueless here or give advice over e-mail. My friend Jennifer and I were able to get the hallway door off on moving day – the first actual “renovation” wok occurring at my house. The hallway door blocked the closet door, and it was completely unnecessary. Guess people in 1964 really liked their doors.

My friends Christina and Randy have been systemically changing out my painted over light switches and outlets. The paint was so thick on some outlets that you couldn’t get a plug in. Pulling off the outlets, we discovered several layers of paint. Apparently the thought of taking off the outlets to paint never occurred to the previous owner.

The hallway is long and skinny, and one tiny light fixture made it too dark. Instead of a hallway, it looked more like a tunnel. At a home improvement store, I found a track light. It’s one of those lights that be folded out. Friends Mike and Lisa came over and installed it for me. For Mike to install it, we had to run an extension cord from the bathroom, plug in a lamp and take the lampshade off in order for him to see everything.

Once the light was installed, the different was amazing. Light spilled out everywhere, and two friends asked me I had painted the hallway because it looked fresher and newer.  I feel like my hallway now is more like a gallery.

Another easy change to make is using paint. I am totally in love with my bedroom paint color (Sherwin Williams – Reflecting Pool). Originally, I thought about a pale blue but opted for warmer colors. I’m thrilled that I did. It’s amazing how a paint color changes the whole feel of a room. I swear I’m sleeping better.

Making a couple of changes can have a huge impact. The next project will be MUCH bigger: the short and squatty kitchen. We’re talking total gut job and redo. Just a little spring project! 


Can You Catch Your Goal?

Posted By on February 14, 2010

The other day I worked with a client who wanted to set new goals for work. We brainstormed several ways he could explore and discover what kind of projects would interest him.  Talk about goals always leads to talk about vision. Without that vision thing, goals have little depth.

My client told me that he learned about how vision works by watching a bicycle race. While watching bicyclists race through a curvy road, he noticed two cyclists far in the lead and asked another bystander if he thought the others would catch up. The bystanders nodded and said, “Yes, the others can still see them. If they can see them, they will catch them.” If the race leaders were not in sight of their fellow competitors, they wouldn’t have been able to catch up.

Sure enough, the other cyclists caught up with the leaders of the race. With a clear vision, the cyclists could see their goal.

We all need a clear vision to meet our goals. Decluttering your house or losing weight is a nice goal, but you need the vision. What does a decluttered house look like to you? What does losing weight look like to you? A vision doesn’t need to be complicated. Post a photo or list of what decluttering looks like to you. If you want to lose weight (like I’m doing myself), hang up a photo of yourself at a healthier weight or hang that killer outfit — the one you loved — on the closet door as a reminder.

I encourage my clients to set smaller goals that lead up to the bigger goal. For decluttering, the first goal may be to recycle all newspapers and magazines at least once a week. To move forward in weight loss, focus on losing weight in five or ten pound increments. It’s always best to set smaller, bite-sized “mini-goals” to reach the Super Duper Mega-Goal. Because if you can see it, then you can catch it.


Eating a Whole Chocolate Cake

Posted By on January 26, 2010

When faced with a daunting project, it’s easy to decide to do something else. Anything else.

When I bought my house last fall, I knew it needed some updating. Nothing had been updated since it was built in 1964. The good thing is that anything I do is an improvement! As I wrote my house project list, I could feel myself getting overwhelmed. It would have been easy to write up the list and not look at it again.

My friend Donna Smallin wrote in her book The One Minute Organizer that trying to organize the entire house at one time is like trying to eat a chocolate cake in one bite. So true! When you have a cake, you have to slice it and then eat it bite by bite. I tell my frustrated and overwhelmed organizing clients the same thing. Bite by bite. Little by little. One thing at a time.  

When you face a big task, break it into bite-sized pieces. Cross each “bite” off the list as you accomplish it. Then reward yourself when you accomplish your task. Perhaps a bit of chocolate?


Get Ready for the A.M. in the P.M.

Posted By on January 19, 2010

I don’t know what it is, but I seem to move slower in the mornings than I do in the evenings. I’m always comforted by the fact that I’m not alone.

The best way to prep for the morning is to do it the night before. What can you do to prepare for the next day? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Lay out bowls, cups, glasses, and spoons for breakfast.
  • Lay out the clothes you’re going to wear tomorrow.
  • If you iron, iron. If you don’t iron, run wrinkled clothes through a few minutes in the dryer.
  • Make lunches. Put a sticky note on your keys to remind you that lunch is in the frig.
  • Make the coffee so you only have to push the button in the morning. Yeah, some of us really need to get a programmable coffee pot.
  • Shower the night before.
  • Sign the school papers and make sure everything is in the folders to return to school.
  • Gather up all the books and homework and make sure they’re in the backpacks.

A little time in the evening can save you so much time in the morning. Sleep tight!


Helping Your Resolutions Along

Posted By on January 7, 2010

We’re a few days into our new year and new decade. How are those resolutions going so far?

If you need some help, several websites offer great tips and advice to help nudge your resolutions along. Visit The First 30 Days blog at: http://www.first30days.com/blog/main/2009/11/11-11-the-four-pillars/. Different experts offer advice on everything from health and exercise to debt reduction and dating. Each section has daily tips as well. These are doable movements forward toward your goals. Each day, a different expert writes the blog post.

Zenhabits.com is another website that has a variety of information for those seeking to change their lives. His daily blog is always inspiring and helpful.

FranklinCovey.com offers help for those who want to create a mission statement and goals. It doesn’t matter if you want a mission statement for yourself or your business. A couple of other helpful sites are mygoals.com and the federal government.  

Here’s to a productive and Happy New Year!


Unique Gift Ideas

Posted By on December 16, 2009

Still trying to find a unique gift for someone? Haven’t even started shopping yet? Here are some ideas for unique gifts.

  • Etsy.com features a variety of homemade and vintage items. Fashionistas will love the sparkly jewelry and handmade handbags. No time to knit that special and cool scarf? No worries! Buy one that someone else made. Where you say you got it is your business.
  • Artfire.com is a site for artisans to sell their wares. Like Etsy, Artfire sells handmade and vintage items. The site also sells arts and craft supplies, fine art, and books. You can search for items by color for those who heart a certain shade of purple or blue.
  • Thinkgeek.com is for the inner geek in all of us. Okay, the outer geek too. The gifts are for sci-fi and science geeks. Get your geek on as you scroll through items such as an R2-D2 trash can, Tauntaun sleeping bags, Ninja star push pins, a Doctor Who Tardis 4 port USB hub, and a bevy of witty t-shirts. One of my fave t-shirts: “Come to the dark side. We have cookies.” How can you turn down such an offer?

Feel free to add your own favorite places to shop for gifts!