9 Easy Organizing Tips

Staying organized, keeping housekeys in the same place

keys-dish-ghk-1209-de1.  Make a list of 3 priorities and do the most difficult thing first thing  and/or schedule a time on your phone alarm to get it done.

2.  Start with what bothers you the most and is the biggest challenge.

3.  Look at what you can do not how much you can do.

4.  Get top priority completed – even if you can’t get to the other two.

5.  Set a timer for 20 minutes and start sorting categories or purging from one area.

6.  Don’t let yourself get interrupted by anything or anyone for the selected time.

7.  Plan a day of  “No Procrastination”, schedule it as if it is a job… but a fun one.

8.  Manage Time Management — ask yourself  how much you can handle effectively and with no stress and  then tailor your life around your capacity.

9.  Create a New Habit – don’t work on breaking an old, bad one – Use the new habit as a weapon against it.

Laundry Solutions-How to tackle your Laundry Issues

Dirty Laundry – Create a Laundry Solution

Don’t wait until the dirty laundry pile is huge

There are two types of people – people who do laundry a lot and in small loads and people who wait to do laundry until it is 3K loads and overwhelming. So, yes, there are many types of “laundry-doers”. However, in my many years at Seattle Organizers.com and helping clients with organizing their homes and finding laundry solutions, these are the basic two types of “laundry doers”. Which one are you? Are you another kind of “laundry doer”?

Be Economical and also Time Effective with Laundry Solutions

  • Unquestionably, doing smaller loads with low water levels, cold water, and phosphate free detergent is both environmentally and economically smarter
  • Doing large loads, depending on if you are single or a family, debatably, may be more economically wise but don’t do more than 2 large loads in a day unless you have scheduled your time to actually fold it and put it away
  • Obviously, everyone’s lives vary in size and style. So, no matter which size or what lifestyle you have, try doing small loads as often as you can
  • Schedule laundry times in – yes, set alarm and schedule it on your phone
  • Get it done!


SORT – FILL – PUSH BUTTON – Go do another planned home TASK or whatever you want – SET PHONE ALARM & TIME IT – PUT IN DRYER – REMOVE – FOLD, ROLL and HANG IMMEDIATELY – PUT AWAY – DONE!! 

EASY PEEZY!

The key thing to take with you on this is to not let it pile up too much and schedule it in to be doing while doing other things you want to do or need to do, like the dishes or looking at Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook or whatever you want!!

SCHEDULE A FREE VIRTUAL SESSION with Kathryn to discuss your personal laundry issues – not your “Dirty Laundry”, so to speak 😉
https://seattle-organizers.com/emailus.php

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Procrastination Nation

Why we Procrastinate Organizing our Homes and Lives

Procrastination Organizing

The Psychology of Procrastination

Of course, we associate procrastination with home organizing. Gratefully, last week I read a great article in the NY Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/smarter-living/why-you-procrastinate-it-has-nothing-to-do-with-self-control.html I highly recommend the read. After researching and participating in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and also CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), I can indeed relate to “emotional regulation” as being a core reason why we procrastinate. It is not that we are lazy, it is that there is an emotional detachment or attachment to procrastinating.

“Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem,” said Dr. Tim Pychyl, professor of psychology and member of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa. It is not laziness.


It is not in capability, talent or lack of skills and education – it is an emotional block.

“Overwhelmed” is the description that I have heard for decades from clients about how they feel when they look at their unorganized closet, home-offices, kids rooms, bedrooms, cluttered kitchen cabinets and their over-all lives. I understand the burdonsome procrastination phenomena, as I have procrastinated writing this procrastination article for one week. Irony 5000!

HOW TO STOP PROCRASTINATING?

1.) Write down your intentions every morning or as soon as you can. Give purpose and meaning as to WHY you want to get the task done and how it will make you feel.

2.) Give yourself a reward after completing it: a food treat, a self-care treat or something that you don’t normally allow yourself to take the time to do. For me, it is painting my nails or toenails – getting them painted.

3.) Prioritize which task will bring the best rewards- professional or personal tasks. Then, organize your time to do it asap.

” In the case of procrastination, we have to find a better reward than avoidance — one that can relieve our challenging feelings in the present moment without causing harm to our future selves.”, said psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr. Judson Brewer, Director of Research and Innovation at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center. He calls it the B.B.O. – Bigger Better Offer.

When we procrastinate we feel guilt, shame and self-loathing, which are not productive feelings.

However, the longer we procrastinate, the worse we feel about ourselves. I think of the consequences of “not doing it” versus the consequences of “Getting it Done”. The feeling of how I will feel after I have completed the looming task. Sit down and “Do it now” Prioritize first and then start doing it. Whether it is your best work or not, start doing it and the motivation will follow.

4.) Think of how you will “feel” after you have tackled this task and plan out your reward.

5.) Plan out your days – a big battle for me and for many of us. If you work for yourself, this is a MUST. If you work for others – this is a MUST. If your work allows you the option of not constantly getting emails, pick a time to get emails. Our brains do not multi-task well, according to neuroscience. Another blog on that later…

Productivity Hacks and Procrastination Hacks are all over the internet

I found that the above New York Times article by Charlotte Lieberman summed it all up very well and also gives the “why” and what to start doing to uncoil the evil procrastination demon. Emotional regulation takes time and work but the only way to start being consistent is to “Do It Now.” . Procrastination and Home Organizing go hand in hand, but they don’t have to!

Contact us Now for a Free Organizational Consult and we can figure out how to create a plan to move forward and to start “New Habits” so the clutter won’t keep piling up in your home and most importantly, in your mind.

Editors’ Picks

Didn’t pick one yet!!

Is Clutter-Making Genetic?

Order Chaos

I was recently with a client and working with her on her entire home that had been bombarded by her own past and that of her parents. In our first conversation she said, “I don’t want to be like my parents who I believe are “collectors” or maybe even hoarders.”  I can’t tell you how many people say a similar comment in regard to their family. They may blame their parents or a parent for why they can’t let things go and let their “stuff” pile up. Is clutter-making genetic? Therein, leaving their mind cluttered; wasting time looking for things and effecting their self esteem because they are so overwhelmed by all of it that they become stunted. I started researching and found some stunning insight and research based facts regarding inheriting the “clutter gene”. It is still debatable between the professionals. I believe that it is a combination of hereditary and learned behavior.

After doing Residential Professional Organizing for 21 plus years, I do believe that people can change their habits (the 60 day thing) if repetition is consistent and daily. However, it is quite a challenge for many of us in this land of fast-paced living and the “Distraction Crisis” with social media sucking up so much of people’s time where they could be purging ancient relics from their homes. I have some of my own personal habits that seem impossible to conquer. The first step is being aware. My client with her fear of becoming like her parents and many other clients with the same dread, have taken the first step – getting professional help. So, I will leave theory or fact of inheriting a “clutter gene” open for discussion. Here are a few professional views on this.

“Exactly what triggers hoarding compulsions
and desires is still under investigation. Like OCD, it may be related, at least in part, to genetics and upbringing.”
Mayo Clinic

“But biology is not destiny. Just because somebody has a genetic
predisposition to develop a certain behavioral condition, that doesn’t
mean they are doomed.”

-David F. Tolin, Ph.D., founder of the Anxiety Disorders Center at The Institute of Living in Hartford, CT

“People who have a compulsive urge to collect and clutter their homes with junk can partly attribute their problem to genes, according to a British study.”

Researchers from King’s College London used a twin study to find that genetic predisposition explained a large amount of the risk for compulsive hoarding – a mental health problem in which people have an overwhelming desire to accumulate items normally considered useless, like old newspapers or junk mail.

Of the more than 5000 twins in the study, roughly two percent showed symptoms of compulsive hoarding and genes appeared to account for half of the variance in risk.

Researcher Dr. David Mataix-Cols said it has long been known that compulsive hoarding tends to run in families.

But he told Reuters Health that what has not been clear is whether that pattern is due to genes or to something in the home environment, like parenting practices.

“Twin studies allow us to separate these two sources,” Mataix-Cols said.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, included both identical and fraternal twins. Identical twins share all of their DNA while fraternal twins share roughly half of their genes, making them no more genetically similar than non-twin siblings.

If genes are a more important factor than shared environment in a given disorder, then identical twins would be more similar in their risk of the problem than fraternal twins would be.

Mataix-Cols and his colleagues found that among female identical twins, when one twin showed compulsive hoarding symptoms, the other twin also did 52 percent of the time. Among fraternal twins, that figure was 27 percent.

There was no evidence, however, that environmental factors shared by twins contributed to compulsive hoarding. Instead, “non-shared” environmental factors – those unique to individuals – seemed to be at work.

Past research has shown that many people with hoarding problems have a history of traumatic events, according to Mataix-Cols. In particular, they have elevated rates of sexual abuse and “loss” – of a loved one or a home, for instance.

“What the study suggests is that genes are important, but probably some environmental stressors are needed to cause or trigger the hoarding problem,” said Mataix-Cols, adding more research is needed into this topic.

He said the hope was to find better therapies for compulsive hoarding as behavioral therapy and antidepressants are now the main forms of treatment, but they have met with limited success.

– Reuters

Easy DIY Repairs to Keep Your Home Looking New


Do you ever feel like your home always has some small thing in need of repair?



Your first instinct may be to pick up the phone and call in a professional, and sometimes hiring a pro is best. But there are plenty of easy fixes and preventive maintenance tasks you can do yourself.



HVAC Maintenance


Keeping your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system working properly is an absolute must for homeowners. No one wants to be faced with a broken air conditioner on a hot day. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also become an emergency situation.
You don’t have to be an HVAC expert to conduct regular maintenance and do minor fixes. According to Family Handyman, a few HVAC maintenance tasks any homeowner can do include keeping your system clean, fixing fins that are out of alignment, and unclogging the condensate drain tube. If you fail to do these, you may end up with a frozen coil due to a dirty filter. When this happens, the first solution is to replace the filter, but if that doesn’t work, it may be time to call in a local AC repair professional to get the problem fixed.
Doors, Windows, and Cabinetry
One of the most common sources of household problems is when things like doors, windows, and cabinetry get old and don’t work as well as they used to. They may be more of an annoyance than a major problem, but most of these issues can be easily fixed.
Doors that stick – According to This Old House, older doors are especially vulnerable to sticking due to changes in the weather. They recommend several different options for fixing this problem, including checking hinges, planing the door, or rehanging it. The right solution will depend on the source of your problem.
Dealing with drafts – Drafty doors and windows can be a problem any time of year. Drafts leave you too hot or cold, while wasting energy and raising your utility bills. Fix those drafts by adding weatherstripping, new door sweeps, or foam tape around windows.
Loose drawer handle – Having a loose handle on a cabinet or drawer is a nuisance, and you can’t always fix it by simply tightening the screw. In this case, an easy fix is to remove the handle and add some washers to the back before screwing it back in place.
Cosmetic Repairs


I’s normal for our homes to start showing wear and tear over time, but many of these cosmetic issues are easy fixes.
Patch a hole – The steps you need to fix a hole in your wall vary depending on whether it’s a small dent, such as a dent made by a doorknob, or a larger hole that needs to be patched. This tutorial from Lowe’s will walk you through the correct steps and tools needed for different situations.
Peeling wallpaper – If you have corners of wallpaper that are peeling, Real Simple recommends using a sheet of paper, covered with wallpaper paste, to get a smooth look when reapplying it. Simply press the peeling wallpaper against the wall with the sheet of paper underneath it, then slide the paper out and smooth any bumps.
Cracked molding – Cracks in molding and baseboards are common in older homes especially, but all it takes is a quick fix to make them look like new. You may need a scraper to remove peeling caulk, and then replace it with a caulking tool and new caulk.
Repair hardwood floors – Even though hardwood floors are made to be durable, any surface that gets foot traffic is prone to issues. Deep scratches take a little more effort than minor surface scratches, but most can be repaired with a little work.
Whether the tasks you tackle are cosmetic or serious, you don’t want to let these problems go. After all, you live in your home, and any problems are likely to get worse if you don’t intervene. Fixing them now will keep your home looking its best and will help you avoid more expensive repairs down the road.

3 Ways to Settle a Busy Mind

Practicing Mindfulness is not an instant resolution – it becomes a way of life. I really appreciate the 3 Simple Ways…read on…

HT to 

Settling the mind is not the same as silencing the mind. When we settle our mind we put our mental chatter aside—give it a rest, if you will—so that we can be alert, calm, relaxed, and open to the moment at hand. Experiment with these three simple tips for settling the mind and see what you notice.

1) Come into your body
Research shows that there’s an inverse relationship between a busy mind and actually being present in your body. So just take a gentle scan of your body, all the way from your toes to hips to torso, arms, face, and head. Notice if there’s tension anywhere. If there is, just allow that to soften—gently stretch or adjust your body in any way that softens your body. Gentle body scan.

2) Surround yourself with green
If you’re in an office all day or in a concrete area of a big city, see if you can put more greenery around you (greenhouses count if you’re not near a park). Find ways to get out to areas that have more nature. And also, if there’s sunshine, 20 minutes of sunshine is good for a greater resiliency and a greater sense of well-being.

3) Play
Yes, play is not only for kids. Play is a natural antidepressant; play creates resiliency; play helps us integrate learning more. So, find ways to play. It’s healthy for you, it will help make you more focussed, and more productive—whether it’s getting on the ground with kids, or doing things you don’t normally give yourself permission to do, or watching a humorous video. Whatever It is, find more ways to play.

For more on how to settle the mind, try this simple practice.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is hosting an online course to help people fully integrate mindfulness into their lives in a deep way in order to realize more enduring change. The in-depth 6-month online course called A Course in Mindful Living  runs in January 2017. Sign up now to join a community of people growing in confidence, calm, compassion and a life you love.

8 Tips for Winter and Holiday Preparation

Gift box
Holiday gift box

 

 

 

1. Focus on public rooms, common rooms: kitchen, living room, entertainment room, entryway, guest bath and the one used the most.

2. Prepare the kitchen for holiday cooking. Clean and organize kitchen cabinets, paying major attention to cooking supplies, ingredients, pans and equipment.

3. Clear kitchen counters of all appliances and STUFF not used within the last week. Clear counters and provide more room for holiday cooking.

4. Wash light-diffusing bowls from light fixtures.

5. Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for built-up lint, debris or birds’ nests! Make sure the exterior vent door closes tightly when not in use.

6. Schedule fall furnace inspections.

7. Clean electronic and heating vents and elements monthly for most efficient operation. Wash them in an empty dishwasher or with a strong spray nossle in your tub or wash bin. Size will depend.

8. Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.

10 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health

 

“The topic is broad enough to expand into dozens of articles, so this top 10 list tackles only some of the most staggering results of studies and surveys pertaining to social media. Chances are, if you’re reading this you participate in social media in some way or another, so next time you go to check your Facebook, retweet an interesting link, or choose an Instagram filter for a selfie, think about the ways your brain is processing the seemingly endless stream of information it is taking in.”     

HT to Caitlin Probst

1. Social media is addictive.

Studies show that 63% of Americans log on to Facebook daily, and 40% log on multiple times each day. People use the site for myriad reasons; however, it usually serves, on some level, the same basic purposes: distraction and boredom relief. “Likes” and comments are positive reinforcement for posting information, making it difficult for a person to stop. Researchers have found this so common that they created a scale to measure this addiction: The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.

2. Social media makes us compare our lives with others’.

Posts on social media many times present an idealized version of what’s happening, what something looks like, or how things are going. This can lead users to constantly compare themselves to others and think less of their own lives. If things are going particularly well for people in your newsfeed and you’re having a rough day, of course this will likely negatively affect your mood. In fact, in 2012 a team of researchers in the UK surveyed users, 53% of whom said social media had changed their behavior; 51% said it was negative behavior because of decline in confidence they felt due to unfair comparisons to others.

3. Social media makes us restless.

Out of the same sample as the above example, two-thirds admitted to having difficultly relaxing when unable to use their social media accounts.

4. Social media gives rise to cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is an enormous concern, especially for adolescents. An organization that aims for internet safety, called Enough is Enough, conducted a survey that found 95% of teenagers who use social media have witnessed cyberbullying, and 33% have been victims themselves.

Where social media aggression happens

CDC data

5. Social media glamorizes drug and alcohol use.

A study that explored the relationship between teenagers, social media, and drug use found that 70% of teenagers ages 12 to 17 use social media, and that those who interact with it on a daily basis are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times more likely to use alcohol, and twice as likely to use marijuana. In addition, 40% admitted they had been exposed to pictures of people under the influence via social media, suggesting correlation between the two factors. Although a correlation is all it is, it makes sense that social media would amp up the amount of peer pressure to which teenagers are exposed.

6. Social media can make us unhappy.

A study from the University of Michigan collected data about Facebook users and how it correlated with their moods. Simply put, they found that the more avid users were overall more unhappy than those who used the site less. Over more time, avid users also reported lower satisfaction in their lives overall.

7. Social media can lead to fear of missing out, aka FOMO.

Fear of missing out is a phenomenon that occurs when you feel pressure to be doing what everyone else is doing, attend every event, and share every life experience. It can evoke anxiety and cause social media users to question why everyone is “having fun without them.” Surveys have even found that people feel insecure after using Pinterest because they feel that they aren’t crafty or creative enough. Facebook and Twitter can make people feel like they aren’t successful or smart enough.

8. Social media often leads to multitasking.

How many tabs do you have open right now? How are you even concentrating on one thing? The thing is, you’re probably not – especially if one of those tabs is a social media site. Research has shown that our brains don’t have the capacity to fully focus our attention on two things at once, and instead multitasking causes our brain to quickly switch from one task to another. This hinders information processing and productivity. Closing out your Twitter feed can seriously help you get some work done.

Social media isn’t all about selfie-taking narcissists, cyberbullies, and killing productivity. When used in moderation with the right intentions, it really can achieve what it was first set out to do: connect people. Which brings us to…

9. Social media enhances our connectivity.

A paper linking social media usage to the Freudian ideas of the id, ego, and super-ego cites many examples of positive psychological effects of social media. Perhaps one of the most important points is that social media doesn’t necessarily take us out of the real world. It can instead be used to revive and preserve relationships with other people. Even more exciting about this technological world is that there is an incredible number of like-minded people who can connect in just one click. Research presented in the journal The British Psychological Society found that students who experience low self-esteem can take advantage of social media and its capability to bond them with others in order to pull themselves up from slumps in their mood.

10. Social media can help with socialization.

Research presented at the 119th annual American Psychological Association found that introverted adolescents can actually gain social skills by using social media. In part, this is because shy individuals may feel safer behind a computer screen (or smartphone, or tablet, or… well, you get the idea…it’s everywhere). Dr. Larry D. Rosen, who presented the information, also stated that teens were becoming very good at virtually expressing empathy towards others.

History of Psychology series. Previous post: The Stanford Prison Experiment

Sources

Academia.eduPsychological impact of social networking sites: A psychological theory
iVillage. 10 (good and bad) ways social media affects your mental health
Medial News Today. Social media: How does it really affect our mental health and well-being?
Science Daily. Social networking’s good and bad impact on kids

Photo credit: Multitasking by Sorosh Tavakoli [CC-BY-2.0]