November, 2009 browsing by month


Last Day of November, Did You Clean Out Toys?

Monday, November 30th, 2009

November is one of two times per year that is perfect to clean out toys; the other is during the month before your child/grandchild’s birthday. That is the tip I shared with the MOMS Club of Dublin S at their October meeting.  Little did I realize my daughter in VA would recruit me to help her pare down toys while I was there this month.

I do admire moms who work outside the home. I think that is the hardest job in the world. There are not enough hours in the day to do everything, so the working mom has to choose who/what to neglect. Usually the choice is: herself.  My daughter, Sarah, is no exception.

That is why I am always glad to be there to help either by playing with my two pre-school grandchildren or doing some of the chores while she was busy with kids. This time Sarah and I had fun together doing some de-cluttering and organizing of toys.  These are the steps we took:

1. First we took all toys out of the family room, off the toy shelves, and dumped them in the middle of the staging area – in this case the formal living room.

2. We gathered trash bags and containers for sorting. Sarah was ahead of the game here because she already had designated containers for: cars/trucks, baby doll stuff, toy kitchen/food, dress ups, musical instruments, books, soft toys, little things (that 1 yr old Ethan can’t have.) In addition there were the categories TOSS (trash), GIVE (consignment), STORE (just in case of baby #3).

3. Then between the two of us we touched each item and sorted it into one of the categories. If I didn’t know what Sarah wanted to do with a particular toy, I would ask her.  She is a decisive person, so this part only took about an hour.

4. Meanwhile we had dusted and cleaned the toy shelves. So after sorting we put the containers back in their home. After the two trash bags went out, and we carried two boxes into the basement, all Sarah had left to do was take things to the consignment store that week.  DONE!

Now there is space for new toys, books, and games from Grandma and Grandpa. What fun!

If you didn’t have time to do this in November, take time during this first week of December. Your toys may be DVD’s, CD’s or video games.  Use the same steps with different categories.  It works!

25 Tips for Less Stress

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Stress happens.  Sometimes there is no way to avoid it.  Other times we create it ourselves with overloaded schedules, ridiculously high expectations, and the defeating self-talk we listen to.

This list is from  a tattered piece of paper entitled 101 Strategies for Coping with Stress that I keep stuck in my Bible. I can’t give credit to anyone for these tips since I can’t remember who gave it to me, and there is no reference given on the sheet.

Please read these out loud, speaking to yourself alone (hopefully no one is around to see you talking to yourself again!) I hope these tips will lift you up and remind you that you have the power to choose…

  1. Remember you have the gift of memory for pleasant times.
  2. Enjoy nature… the wonders in your yard, the sky, the sea, the desert, the mountains, everything.
  3. Start sharing responsibilities.
  4. Listen to people…really listen.
  5. Compromise occasionally and you may really be the winner.
  6. Stop being always available for running errands.
  7. Sing.
  8. Dance.
  9. Take some time off.
  10. Be honest about how you feel.
  11. Begin living now.
  12. Stop living in the future/past.
  13. List your successes.
  14. Make friends with people who like themselves.
  15. Learn to accept what you cannot change.
  16. Let other people run their own lives.
  17. Develop your personal talents.
  18. Give yourself permission to be afraid of failure and success.
  19. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  20. Get enough rest.
  21. Stop looking for someone or something to blame.
  22. Analyze problems, figure out what can be done, then take action immediately.
  23. Talk about your strengths…to yourself.
  24. Control food input; eat nutritionally.
  25. Ask for help in a straightforward way.

I especially need these reminders around the holidays. One last exhortation from me: Be kind to yourself.

Sun, the Beach, a Good Book… Hypnotic Simplicity

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

During hypnosis or in counseling, relaxation techniques are often used.  These  techniques include envisioning a place of peace or of rest.

What do you think of when someone suggests you imagine your most peaceful place?  Is it a sun-dappled forest, a green meadow with a sparkling brook  singing nearby, or a snow-covered mountainside?  My love of the sun demands that I include a hot sun beating down, a sandy beach, and to make the picture complete – a good book that holds my interest.

Since I live in the Midwest, it isn’t often I am able to experience my dream environment in a real sense.  Instead I have resorted to creating a cozy reading nook in the sunniest corner of my home. You may want to designate a place in your home that has all the comforts of a beach cabana, too.  Consider grouping these items in a sunny spot:

A comfy chair with an ottoman, or a couch to curl up on

Task lighting for when the sun is behind the clouds (much of the time where I live.)

A small table or end table to set a drink on.

A bookshelf or decorative bin to hold reading material.

Cozy throw or small blanket.

The only problem with getting all cozy is that you may become so relaxed that you end up reading the inside of your eyelids! That may be just what the doctor ordered.

What Hoarder TV’s Dorothy Breininger Has to Say

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Dorothy’s compassion for the individuals she helps shines through in this interview with Inside Pulse TV’s reporter “tvgeorge.” If you have watched the series, Dorothy is  one of the professional organizers who works with the hoarder, the family, and helpers and actually gets the job done.

I  respect Dorothy even more after reading her interview responses. These are three of Dorothy’s character qualities that I want to emulate as a professional organizer:

1.  Diligence – She does her homework. Dorothy takes the time to learn what judicial, social, and law enforcement resources are also available to help.

2. Respect – A hoarder is a person who is entitled to respect. When she first contacts the client, Dorothy makes the statement, “I promise not to throw anything away.”  The response from the client is one of shock. Dorothy is right; that is a decision only the owner can make.

3. Persistence – Dorothy spends the extra time – sometimes 1 month – behind the scenes to make sure the hoarder has success outside of the two hours of filming.

Read the entire interview here.

Closet Makeover for Mom of the Year

Friday, November 13th, 2009


From now until December 15th, you can enter your mom (or someone else’s) in Columbus Parent’s Mom of the Year Contest. You can either   submit a video or tell in writing  why your mom is special and deserves a reward.

Once you nominate a mom, visit the website daily to vote for her.  Get all of your friends and relatives to do the same and your favorite mom may win $8,000 in Grand Prizes! The Mom of the Year chosen by public vote will win:

A vacation for 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) from Apple Vacations and Sirenis Hotels

Gourmet Dinner for 4, twice a month for a year, at Mama Mimi’s

Shopping Spree at Lodi Station Outlets

12 month family membership from Premier at Sawmill Athletic Club

A limo ride for you and your friends from Classic Limo

Zoom 1 hour teeth whitening dental cleaning package from The Gentle Dentist

Kids, friends, husbands, who is the best Mom of 2009? Nominate her, vote daily, and tell everyone you know to vote once a day, too.  Boy, will she be surprised!

What Mementos to Keep?

Monday, November 9th, 2009

This is a question I am frequently asked, and a difficult one to answer. These are a few thoughts:

1. Do keep those awards, photos, milestone markers that mean the most to you. Of course this requires that these items have a home,  preferably in one place in appropriate container(s). Basement/attic storage should be monitored for heat and moisture problems.

2. Only keep things that remind you of happy, positive events. I finally convinced my husband that he didn’t have to keep the fake flower arrangement from his grandmother’s funeral. There were so many good memories to hold onto instead.

3. Do not keep items out of duty. Just because someone you care about gave you something doesn’t imply a forever contract.  Especially for larger objects, take a photo and let go.

4. “Most paper is not meant to be saved forever.” I love this quote by a fellow Ohio organizer, Alicia Miller! Especially when we can scan and store on a wand why keep the piles?  I do have immigration records from my great-grandfather that I will keep; I need my marriage license. Most everything else can go.

5. Ask the question “Who is likely to care 20 years from now?” Is there someone in your family who enjoys history and would treasure those “old” things you are saving? Share those treasures now while you can give an accurate accounting of where they came from, who used the objects, etc. Then you are free not only of those things, but of the burden of being the only one who knows their significance.

If you have another thought that would help others decide which mementos to keep, please share!  We all need help in this area.

Banish Holiday Stress

Friday, November 6th, 2009

The holidays are a great time to connect with family and friends, relaxing and strengthening ties. There are also extra pressures that can cause stress and frustration.

The trigger could be money, “How can I afford this gift?”; family relationships, “Not another family meal hearing Uncle Ned’s medical history!”; or still painful grieving, “We always held the holiday get togethers at Grandma’s; it just won’t be the same without her!”

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