Give Thanks for Simple Things

give thanks titleWhat are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?
  • Your retirement account?
  • Your 50-inch flat screen?
  • Your luxury yacht?
  • Your super busy schedule?
No, we are usually thankful for simple and significant things in life like:
  • Our spouse and children
  • Our friends
  • Warm meals
  • Heat and hot showers

I’m not saying it’s wrong to be thankful for your job, your safety net, or even your luxury boat. But every year I come to Thanksgiving, I become more aware of what things are really important to me. And it’s not my TV. This November holiday puts me in a more reflective and sober mood. It makes me want to live a simpler, less complicated life. What about you? I’ve read several blog posts recently with this theme in mind. I want to share them with you.

Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away (And Why They Won’t Get Them Back)

The Disease of Being Busy

Why I Told My Husband He Could Walk Away

Thought-provoking, indeed. These articles harken back to a time when life wasn’t so busy, so complex, or so disorganized. I think part of the solution here is to start and continue saying “no.” It’s difficult to do, but sometimes so necessary. For our physical health, for our mental and emotional peace, for our families and children.

  • We’ve got to say NO to busy schedules and too many activities, even fun ones.
  • We’ve got to say NO to bringing more “stuff” into our homes and offices.
  • We’ve got to say NO to people that want us to be involved in the latest fundraising effort, political contest, or volunteer opportunity, even ones we believe in.

We may be questioned for saying “no.” It’s not the American way. But that’s OK. Think about it this way. What kind of lifestyle or values are you passing down to your children? What kind of things do you want your girl or boy to be thankful for when they are 20, 40, or 60 years old? How busy and over-scheduled they were, or how much fun they had playing in the woods with their friends?

Of course, we can say “yes” sometimes, and we should. Caution: just be careful how many things you say “yes” to.

What are you saying YES to this Thanksgiving? What are you saying NO to this Thanksgiving? What are you giving thanks for?

Looking Back, Looking Forward

When you look back on the year 2013, what did you accomplish in your organizational goals? Achievement is not just for it’s own sake, but moves us forward in life. It drives us to grow personally, in work and play. When looking back, what are you most proud of?

When I look back at my year, I’m proud of starting my blog, Restored Roots, especially when I hear people’s lives and health are touched for the better. I also managed to clean out the garage, so that both of our cars fit inside! My husband appreciated that accomplishment.

Lest you think that I value achievement above all else, I want to clarify my belief that who you are is far more important than the things you achieve. Your character and integrity are more valuable to your friends, family, and even the world, than the things you check off your task list. Feeling guilt-ridden about what you did not accomplish is not helpful either. However, I believe there is still worth in constructive reflection that leads to progress. Here are thoughts to ponder about your organizing challenges in 2013.

  • Did you set any goals to begin with? This may seem obvious, but sometimes we lack practice in setting goals. You can’t realize your goals if you don’t have any, right!? For the new year, try writing down a list of things you’d like to accomplish. Prioritize them into sections – low priority (you’d feel OK if it doesn’t get done) and high priority (you want to finish it immediately). You could also set your goals by season or even dates.
  • What held you back from achieving your goals? Was it a time constraint, are you just too busy? Was it a responsibility that you could delegate to someone else? Or is your health holding you back? Is it time to finally take care of your body?
  • Do you need help? Funny question, I know! We all need help in some way, but do you need specific help in planning your schedule, organizing your kitchen, filing your papers? Instead of going it alone, how can you ask for help or support? Don’t let pride get in the way of asking!

Now as you look forward to 2014, what can you do differently?

How can you simply?

  • Maybe saying NO to specific items or people will help you accomplish what is truly important to you. Is that your starting point?
  • Maybe rearranging your work or sleep schedule will help you progress in your organizing aims.
  • Maybe learning to plan ahead is your top priority. How can you do that?
  • Maybe switching from a paper to digital calendar and to-do lists will get you on track to achieve your goals.

Whatever it may be, take some time to look back at 2013 with a positive perspective. Celebrate you accomplishments! And look forward to 2014 with excitement. Plan your work, and work your plan, as they say!

In closing, remember to be flexible in your goals and planning. Sometimes life throws curve balls! You will get interrupted; change will come unexpectedly. Consider it an opportunity to calmly re-evaluate your plans, not to vent with frustration. Maybe it’s just a matter of placing your goals on hold for a little while. Maybe your goals will change completely. And that’s OK. Good luck in 2014! Let me know if I can be of assistance in your organizing endeavors.

Happy Christmas and New Year to you and your family!

The New Normal

Whether it’s unexpected or planned, life events can sometimes throw us into chaos for a period of time until we can adjust. Sometimes it’s a birth, marriage, illness, accident, move, or new job that causes stress, good or bad. That adjustment time is when we discover how to operate within the new circumstances. This is what I call living in the “new normal”.

These past few months, I’ve had friends and family go through really hard times, and I’ve been glad to help when I can. For them, they are learning to live in the new normal.

These times are always a good opportunity to evaluate what’s truly important in life. For me, it’s relationships with my family and friends. It’s also a chance to look at everything else in life as just stuff! Letting go of that stuff and organizing it brings us one step closer to our priorities.

What in your life can you release or organize to concentrate on relationships? Here are some examples. Some of these things are about saying yes, and some of them are about saying no.

  • Organizing a garage into a game room so that you can facilitate play with your grandchildren
  • Organizing your kitchen so you can teach your daughter to cook
  • Organizing your work schedule, so you can spend more time with your kids
  • Organizing your meal planning, so you can get healthier and live longer
  • Organizing your commitments, so you are not burned out at the end of the day
  • Organizing your kids’ schedules so that they are not over-committed to too many activities
  • Organizing your office, so you can find paperwork easily and not waste precious time

Often times, crises will cause us to adjust quickly so we are in a better place in life, but I hope that you don’t have to go through a life crisis to adjust to a new and better normal.

What can be organized in your life to increase your relationship quota?What’s your new normal?

My sister, me, mom and nephew!

New Year, New Start

I love new beginnings! They are an opportunity to reflect and be thankful for what we’ve learned in the past. But ultimately, they are about a fresh start. New years are a great time to leave behind old habits and begin forging new paths.

What have you recognized about your organizing habits that you want to change? What room or space do you want to transform, so that it is more pleasant to live or work in? How can you simplify your schedule so you can spend more time on the people you love and the things you really want to do?

How can 2013 be an more organized year for you?

I can help. This year, I want to help more people get organized. You say, oh, I can’t afford it. You may not be able to buy one of my 10 or 20 hour organizing packages. But how about a one-hour consultation to give you ideas? Maybe all you need is a kick-start to begin a year of organizing transformation. I have never walked into a space without some ideas to share with my clients. As a professional organizer, I can see the future potential of a room. My excitement about your space can give you motivation to make changes.

However you choose to make organizing changes in your life or spaces, I wish you the best in 2013!