March, 2011 browsing by month


Wednesday Words of Wisdom: On Problem Solving

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

When we have arrived at the question, the answer is already near.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finding a solution is always easier when the problem is clearly defined. Often we get stuck because a situation is complicated by interpersonal relationships, past history, or strong emotions.

Asking yourself “Who?, What ?, When?, Where?, Why?, and How?” questions can help solidify the actual problem and strip away the swirling mist of doubt and uncertainty. Try it!

Write down each of the 5 W’s and an H along the left side of a piece of paper. Then next to each beginning, write a complete interrogative sentence including the some form of the pronoun “I”. My favorites are:

  • What do I truly value?
  • What am I willing to do?
  • If not now, when will I be ready to…?
  • What result am I looking for?
  • Why am I stuck?
  • What is stopping me?
  • Who can I ask for counsel on this issue?

Now go back and answer the questions as quickly as you can. Write anything and everything that comes to your mind.

The next step is to condense your answers into one theme statement. You might want to put the page aside for several hours, or until the time you are most alert. Then reread your thoughts, circling the key points and adding more that come to mind. Now describe your problem or situation in one sentence.

Turn the sentence into a question. That is the true question! Answer the question. That is your solution. Break it down into actionable steps. Then, just do it.

Managing and Organizing Medications

Monday, March 28th, 2011

We all know for any trip to the DR we will need a list of all medications we take regularly. Usually this is not a big deal … until suddenly it becomes a big deal.

Recently my dear mother-in-law has been struggling to get her medications stabilized after a hospital stay. As a diabetic who also is on Coumadin to thin her blood, trying to balance the interactions is tricky and her medications can change weekly.

The situation can be confusing not only to the patient, but to children and other caregivers who try to keep up with it all.

Both patient and family have to work together to keep medications straight.

The three key pieces necessary to organize and manage medications are:

  1. A written record of medications including the dosage, schedule, what each treats, and the refill schedule.
  2. A reliable method to know when you have taken each dose.
  3. A specified storage place or container to keep the daily prescription drugs that is out of the reach of children.

Why is it so important to have that written record?

Again, each physician is going to ask you for the list, so you may as well go in prepared.

The written record keeps all parties informed as to what the regimen is. You never know when a primary caregiver will become incapacitated. Someone else will be able to step in without a hitch if the medication list is always up to date.

By including refill due dates, it is easier to see at a glance when to contact the pharmacy. That way you are sure keep crucial medicines on hand.
A computerized copy of the medicine chart will make it simple to update when medication or dosage changes. Then you can print out the new chart – 2 copies, one for you, one for your physician.

By a reliable method to keep track of pills taken, do you mean a pill reminder box?

Yes, a weekly pill reminder box is one of the easiest tools to see what you have taken when.
Ideally you will purchase two pill boxes so you can be preparing the next week’s medications before you (or your family member) are done with this week’s. Rather than the standard ugly plastic, get rainbow reminders or discreet traveling kits.

Your third recommendation is to store all daily prescription drugs in one place or container. That seems like a no brainer.

Yes, it does. You would be surprised how easily one prescription bottle can go on vacation if there is not a designated container.

I like using a portable container myself – maybe even one with a handle. It will be easier to carry with you to the place where you can sit comfortably to fill the pill reminders.

Once you get into a system of recording, preparing, and assuring medication is taken on time (whether that is for you or for a loved one) it will become a habit. The less brain power and effort needed, the more likely that action will be performed consistently.

With the right system in place, even laziness (mine, especially) will not interfere with maximum health and safety!

Special offer –  a free downloadable Medication Chart

Image credit: CC-BY lauren nelson

Space Saving Organizing Products

Monday, March 7th, 2011

When space becomes a premium, it helps to be able to maximize every square inch. These are four organizing products I am using in our 2 BR condo right now to carve storage from available air.

Cabinet shelf - fits more everyday dishes in one side of my kitchen cabinet.

Drawer doubler divided organizer - Keeps makeup in place and easy to find.

Cabinet shelf – fits more everyday dishes in one side of my kitchen cabinet. Drawer doubler divided organizer – Keeps makeup in place and easy to find.

These are two product s I use in my pantry to corral foodstuffs:

3 Tiered Cabinet Organizer – I force my cans to stand in rows on bleachers.

Rectangular POP Cannisters – all baking dry goods and nuts are stored in these.

3 Tiered Cabinet Organizer – I force my cans to stand in rows on bleachers. Rectangular POP Cannisters – all baking dry goods and nuts are stored in these.

Every little bit of space helps.

Do you have a favorite organizing product that helps you fit more in a small space? Send me your comment here.

Giving Up Space, Gaining Room to Live the Adventure

Friday, March 4th, 2011

When my husband first told me he wanted to move to a downtown condo, I called the idea “Jeff’s Folly”. Granted, our four children were almost grown. I, however, was ready to fill the empty bedrooms with a sewing room for me and an office for him. I also was not into the increase in housing cost.

Then a family crisis became the catalyst for change. I embraced and even pushed for the move. We pre-packed and staged for a quick sale. In six months we had sold our home just before the market took the downward swing. The condo was not ready, so we moved in with Jeff’s parents and lived in their basement for three months! Not the scenario I had envisioned!

Little did I know the benefits we would realize from that push beyond our comfort zone.

  • We were forced to let go of belongings that reflected a former military life, raising four children, and maintaining a house in suburbia. At first it was hard to release the things we had accumulated over 30 years of marriage, but once we got on a roll it felt so freeing! We were able to let go of hardware, lawn care tools, formal kitchenware, unused clothing, and books.
  • Although we lost 1,000 sq. ft., we actually gained in usable space. By eliminating the rooms we were not using (DR, LR, 2 BR), the spaces we live in daily are larger and easy to keep clean. We love it!
  • We spent precious time with Jeff’s folks. Having lived much of the last 20 years hundreds of miles away, we did not maintain a close relationship. Little did we know that Jeff’s dad would pass away suddenly three months after our sojourn in their home.
  • Selling early made our move possible. We found that other potential residents of our condo waited too long to sell their outlying homes. They were not able to find buyers when the time was “right”. Our basement dwelling was a blessing in more ways than one.
  • Instead of sewing, I started my own solo practice as a professional organizer, a field I have been practicing for more than 20 years. Our second bedroom is now my office and a sometimes guest room.

Now rather than “Jeff’s Folly”, I call the move “Our Mid-Life Adventure”.

We walk across the park to the Arena Grand Theatre at least once a week for the “Two For Tuesday” movie night special, complete with a healthy dinner of pizza, popcorn and soda.

  • We walk across Nationwide Boulevard to Columbus Blue jackets games in the winter to cheer on our neighbor Mark Methot who just made first line as defenseman.
  • We walk a block to the west in spring and summer to Huntington Park for the Columbus Clippers minor league ballgames.
  • When grass needs mowing, leaves raking, or snow plowed, we watch out our 5th floor balcony as the Nationwide crew takes care of it.
  • Our family physician, optometrist, and pharmacy are in the Eye Center one block away.
  • We can walk 6 blocks to Giant Eagle, or drive 5 minutes to Kroger.
  • There are over 30 restaurants within the Arena District we can choose from if cooking a meal is too much trouble.
  • The south facing windows allow us a perfect view of First Night Columbus (New Year) and Red, White and Boom (4th of July) fireworks.
  • When we want to travel, we alert the building manager to collect any stray packages. We cancel mail and newspapers, lock the door and are off!

I knew we had made the perfect choice for our new home when our 30-Something daughter and son-in-law asked if we wanted to exchange homes for a week sometime. Fist pump – Yes! We gained much more than we gave up in space and stuff. We are living an adventure and planning our next move.

I’d love to hear from you! What step have you taken out of your comfort zone? Is there a decision or move that you are putting off that might be your next adventure? Send me your comment.