Rethink how you use the space in your house. 01.16.13

Walk in closetHere’s the deal. I have been in hundred’s of homes since I started my business. Many times I see people adhering to the purpose of the rooms the way the house was built years ago. They put large dining room tables in dining rooms that will be used once or twice a year, master bedrooms are made the size of football fields while closet space is lacking. I see guest rooms while there is not a place to have an office, creative area, sewing area or gift wrapping area.

When my husband and I moved into our house the master bedroom was huge and the guest room was the perfect size for a queen bed, 2 night stands and a bench. By making the guest room our room, I was able to transform the very large master bedroom into an office, sewing room, my dressing room as well as a guest room. It was so big I could zone it for a variety of purposes that would not have been possible anywhere in the rest of our 1500 square foot house.  In one of my client’s homes we made an entire room a walk in closet. What a difference that made in his life.  I have made a room that was once a child’s room into a dressing/meditation room for a Mom who had sacrificed her own space and needs for years.

I ask people to consider what is important to them in their lives at the moment. I ask them to consider the purpose of the rooms and ask what they have to gain by leaving the room that is rarely used as is.   I ask them to shift their thinking to see if the room was given a purpose relevant to today, might it enable them to have something they are longing for now?

Honor your dreams. Use your space for things that serve you now, not people who visit once yearly, meals that happen infrequently, or the architect who built the house.  Make guest rooms into sewing rooms or dressing rooms or make them into walk in closets or man caves. Give it a try or just give it a think. You will be amazed at what you can come up with. Enjoy your new space!

Decisions 02.16.11

A “decision” is a cutting off of other possibilities to arrive at one, hence, if one is “decisive,” one has killed all other options.

I personally struggle with commitment. I am not sure where it comes from but I do work on it. It has been a challenge for me over the years to settle down to any one home, relationship, career, form of exercise, food plan or furniture arrangement. I am always looking for something better, faster, bigger, more exciting…blah, blah, blah. I think it might be one of the reasons that I never had children. On some unconscious level I knew it was a commitment that could not be undone. I was unable to make a decision so I just never did. However, I have also learned that not making a decision IS making a decision.

I first became aware of my phobia (even though I had plenty of evidence) when I sat down with my two best friends after my first year of business and said to them, tell me straight out and don’t spare my feelings, why isn’t my business doing better, what am I missing?” They both responded at the same time immediately, COMMITMENT! What I had never really realized is that making a decision or commitment is vital to making anything work. That may be why there is an institution of marriage, it would be too easy to bail when it gets hard if there were not a legal document and a room full of people and God witnessing your pledge of commitment. I have also learned that unless I am passionate about what I am comitting to I will bail when times get tough. I have heard Oprah say many times that she showed up for an event or meeting even if she was on deaths door with an illness. For Oprah, her word and commitment is something she is passionate about.

So you are probably thinking what does this have to do with Organizing, right? Well, I see so many in my line of business and some succeed and some do not. I asked myself why are some able to commit and make the decision to be organized, and why some aren’t. I think it has something to do with being passionate about the result. So what is the result? Could you be passionate, make the decision, make a commitment if it meant….

A life of order knowing where things are a feeling of being in control  you would have confidence

Making a decision to do this does not just mean getting your desk in order. It means your work schedule, your time, your food, your exercise, your thinking, your money, your life. When you make a decision to do this and commit to it it means you “cut from all other options and possibilities”, you make a decision and you are passionate about it.

I would like to pretend I am perfect at this but as I confessed, I am not. I work on it a lot. But awareness is the first step. I am conscious now when I DON’T make the decision. I do not judge, I observe and I listen to my motives and feelings so I can understand and make a decision, eventually that will be a more committed, passionate one.

Time Management, REALLY?! 01.26.11

Did you know that one of the most prevalent road blocks to getting organized is the idea that we should be able to manage our time? I know for me the thing that challenges my being organized the most is the illusion that there is not enough time and that I am not managing it well. Then I heard someone say, “time can not be managed, you can only manage what you fill your time with”. Well, for me it was a light bulb moment.

We all juggle multiple balls. We are wives, mothers, fathers, business owners, care takers, friends, sisters, brothers, daughters, member of clubs and spiritual groups, pet owners, theater goers, dancers, quilters, readers, creators, cooks, launderers, bloggers, athletes and on and on and on. So the question is how do you practice self care and balance while managing it all? How do you manage it all and feel joyful instead of stressed and resentful?

Of course there is very little we do actually have control over but for those things we do, we are given the freedom to decide, only if we know what they are. The best way to manage what you fill your time with is to get very clear about what is important to you and eliminate those things that are not getting you closer to your priorities, goals and values. Also, ask yourself, do I really have control over it? You have control over the actions but not the outcome. For example, you can plan a trip down to the smallest detail but you can’t control the weather, the transit system, the people helping you with your travels etc. You must surrender to those things in order to have peace of mind.

For me there are three things that are more important than anything else and in order for me to have a happy life I must be very clear about what they are and how the things that I spend my time on relate to those goals. They shift a bit from time to time and people and events try to wiggle their way in constantly and wrestle their way to the top of my list. I have to ask myself frequently, do I want to be doing what I am doing right now and how does fit into my list of priorities? One of the biggest mistakes is allowing others’ enthusiasm or appeal about what is going on in their life, to pull you off YOUR course. It can be very subtle and can cause a great deal of stress and resentment if you allow yourself to be pulled in. I call it the “tail wagging the dog”. Yes, it looks so kind and wonderful to be the one always volunteering and the one with all the answers, the one who always answers the phone to listen to someone’s woe’s, but is that really going to make you happy? The best thing anyone ever did for me was to show me what it looks like to care, love and exhibit self worth for themselves. It really helped me understand what true self care was. Self care creates self worth.

I always thought it was the other way around and that a person who practices self care already had self worth. I finally became fulfilled with my life when I realized that this life I am living is mine and that no one is going to walk up to me one day and say, you have done enough and you have done it so well, you rest now and I will take care of you. As a matter of fact, the more I did for others and the more I said yes and the more capable I appeared the more I was asked to do.

Take a lesson from the fellas (only half kidding) pretend you are very bad at a few things and no one will ask you to do it. The world treats us the way we treat ourselves. What would happen if you weren’t great at everything? Nothing. Nothing would happen. You just wouldn’t be great at everything. Would anyone love you less? Maybe. But do you really want to get your validation and love from someone who holds conditions? I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this or any other subject.

Many blessings!

Resisting vs. Allowing 01.15.11

I have a meditation that I practice daily and the emphasis lately has been on the concept of resisting vs. allowing.  I can’t help but consider how relevant it is in the world of Organizing.  My experience over the last 35 years of personal and Professional Organizing (excluding my first 17 years of life where I was lucky to see my bedroom floor) has proven to me that the clients and friends who have the best experience from my services are those that don’t resist the idea of  letting things go.  There is a lightness about them. This “allowing” frees up space in their homes and offices to let in more of what serves them today in their lives and it leaves space for things they wish to have. 

So next time you think to yourself, gee, I would love to have a new________ (client, boyfriend, animal, dress, car, sewing machine, business, career…), ask yourself, what is in my space that I am resisting and struggling to let go of.  Consider letting it go and try that on for size. Just consider it and see what it feels like. It could reveal to you things you did not know were holding you in bondage.

I would love to hear your findings. It may help you to share it, but also those that read it, because I’ll bet you are not the only one.

I often joke that I should have t shirts made that say “clean a closet, get a boyfriend” or “clear your files, get a client”. Hmmm.

Many Blessings!

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