How to Execute a Well-Organized Relocation

Relocation, either a for a new job, a promotion or lateral move, or because our company’s location has changed, most moving considerations will be the same. There will be some differences, like, who is going to pay for it, but many of the things on your moving checklist will be consistent. In order to have a well-organized relocation, read on.

Professional organizer Kathryn Lewis knows all about being organized, it’s literally in her job title. She is the longest-running professional organizer in the Seattle, WA area. She works with both individuals and companies to get organized, then she teaches them how to stay that way. Here she provides some tips on how to make your move organized, efficient, and stress-free.

Planning the Move

  • If you’re moving to a new city and will be job searching there, have an updated resume ready to go. You can create a stellar and professional-looking resume using free resume templates. Choose from a library of template designs, then plug in your own colors, font, and text.
  • If your employer is moving you, or if you’re moving to accept a promotion, there may be a good chance your employer will pay for some or all of the move. They may even buy your old house or pay for a hotel or apartment in your new city for a limited amount of time. They could also pay for the move itself. Negotiate that ahead of time with your HR department.
  • Visit your new city before moving there. You’ll want to make sure you’re near things that are important to you, like good schools, shopping, airports and train stations, and local and state parks.

After you found your new home

  • When you find your ideal location, hire a real estate professional to search for you, even after you’ve gone back home. Today’s housing market is very competitive, so you need to be ready to act quickly. Having a scanning printer for sharing documents will be essential. If the costs are slightly above your budget for the area you desire, you can have your agent look for homes being sold “as is.” Just be sure and check with a lawyer, hire a licensed examiner for the property, and do a record search to see if it turns up any red flags.
  • If you have a pet and are moving to an apartment, check the rules regarding pets. There will usually be a deposit required, sometimes an additional monthly fee, and in some cases, a weight restriction.
  • Check that any mover you use is thoroughly vetted. It is easy to find online reviews of people who have experience with those companies. Take pictures of everything you’re moving and label the boxes in multiple places.
  •  Plan to stay in a hotel the night of the move, and again after you’ve arrived while you wait for your furniture delivery or go over last-minute real estate or leasing matters.

Once You’ve Arrived

  • Arrange for utilities to be turned on in your new home.
  • Find a pediatrician or local health department to get your children’s vaccination and health records in place for their new schools.
  • Visit the DMV to change your driver’s license and automobile registration and tags.
  • Register your business to be compliant in your new state. If want to save on paperwork, reduce your tax burden, and protect your personal assets, structure your company as an LLC. You can do that online yourself with no legal help and it takes only minutes. Check with local officials, though, since rules vary from state to state.
  • Give yourself and your family time to explore your new surroundings. Look for places everyone can enjoy, like zoos or put-put courses, to make the new place feel a bit less scary for the kids. Go out to eat, even if it’s just for pizza since everyone will be tired and probably a little nervous.

Moving can be exciting, like starting over again in a whole new place. But it can be a bit scary and stressful, too. By being organized ahead of time, you can reduce those sources of stress by leaving nothing to chance.

If you’re moving to the Seattle area, contact Kathryn Lewis to get you and your business organized right away.

Deep cleaning your house

A Room by Room GUIDE

Robyn Correll

Robyn CorrellApril 1, 2021

Woman Cleaning and Organizing

Keeping up with laundry, dishes and vacuuming from one week to the next can go a long way to maintaining a tidy house, but once a year, it’s a good idea to dive in and scrub those spaces that might be neglected during routine cleaning. Give your living space a little extra love by following this room-by-room checklist on how to deep clean your home this spring or throughout the year.

Before you begin

1. Clear away the clutter.

Before you embark on a deep clean, you’ll need to do a light one. Pick up any items that have accumulated on the floor, on top of counters and tabletops or that are draped across furniture, so that you can get to the places you need to clean.

2. Make a game plan. Plot out which rooms you’ll tackle and when, keeping in mind how much time you think it will take to do a thorough job. Don’t be afraid to break the work up into multiple days or even weeks. If you’ve got limited time, or a bigger house, you may want to hire quality house cleaning help near you. Remember: Deep cleaning is a marathon, not a sprint!

3. Take stock. Set yourself up for success by making sure you have everything you’ll need before you dig in. After getting started, the last thing you’ll want to do is mess up your rhythm by running out of something you need. Suggested supplies include: 

  • Baking soda
  • Broom
  • Brush with stiff bristles
  • Cleaning caddy (optional, but helpful)
  • Dish soap
  • Dusting cloths (microfiber works best)
  • Garden hose (for yard work)
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • Lint roller
  • Mineral oil
  • Mop
  • Multi-purpose cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Telescoping pole for high and hard-to-reach spaces
  • Vacuum cleaner with extension accessories
    • White vinegar
  • Window and glass cleaner
  • Wood cleaner and/or polish


Clean and Organized bathroom

Scrub all showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilets. Before getting started in the bathroom, spray down your tub with multipurpose cleaner so that it can soak for a while and break up any soap and oil that have accumulated. Do the same with the toilet bowls and sinks. That will make scrubbing that much easier when you circle back to it later on.

  • Tip: Don’t forget to wipe down the base of the toilet near the floor, where dust and dribbles can sometimes land.

Wipe down light fixtures, mirrors and window treatments. Take extra time to carefully clean out gunk that has made its way into corners and around edges. Remove any grime or dust that has built up by wiping items down with a little vinegar on a damp rag.

Wash glass shower doors. To clear off that soap scum or water spot, apply some warm distilled white vinegar and let it sit for a half an hour or so, reapplying if needed. Then sprinkle some baking soda on top, and gently scrub the spots away.

  • Tip: A slightly damp dryer sheet will also remove buildup.

Toss any cloth curtains or bath mats in the washing machine. Just be sure to check care tags to verify what cycle items should be washed on. To keep anything from wrinkling in the dryer, set the heat setting on low and take items out when they’re still a little damp. Then, hang them back up in the shower to finish drying completely. If you also have a plastic shower curtain liner, wash it in the laundry on cold, and rehang it to dry, or replace it with a new one.

Clean out under the sinks and inside drawers. Over time, these spaces tend to get cluttered. Take everything out so that you can wipe out the bottom of the cabinets and drawers and clear out any cobwebs that might have formed. As you’re putting items back, toss expired items and what you no longer need, and organize the rest, taking care to put items you’ll use most frequently near the front for easier access.

Don’t forget the grout. You can make a homemade grout cleaner using vinegar, baking soda and water. First, spray down the grout with a half-vinegar/half-water solution until the area is good and saturated. Let it sit for a few minutes, scrub with a bristled brush (an old toothbrush will do!), and then rinse. Then, mix some baking soda with water until it forms a paste, apply it to the grout using your brush, and spray it with the water and vinegar. The bubbles that form will start to clean away some of the grit and grime, and your brush will do the rest. When you’re done, rinse the grout with warm water.

  • Tip: In a pinch, carpet cleaner also works great on grout.

Disinfect handles and doorknobs. These neglected pieces of hardware are some of the germiest places in the house. If you haven’t wiped them down in a while, it’s a good idea to give them a thorough cleaning with a multipurpose cleaner or disinfectant wipes.


Organized Kitchen

Wipe down cabinets. With a damp rag, gently clean off any dust or dirt on the inside and outside of the cabinet doors, as well as all sides of the cabinets themselves — including the top. For grease splatter, dip your cloth in undiluted vinegar to rub off the grease, then rinse the rag in warm water to wipe off the vinegar. Some cabinets will swell if they encounter too much moisture, so be sure to always ring out your rag well before wiping down the wood, and dry the surface quickly with a paper towel after cleaning.

  • Tip: After wiping down the top of the cabinets, cut a newspaper to size to fit the space. As the months go by, the paper will collect the dust — not your cabinets — and you’ll only need to swap out the paper for next year’s spring cleaning.

Vacuum out the refrigerator coils and vent. Use the vacuum’s hose or brush extension to remove all the dirt and dust from the fridge coil and vent, or rent an air compressor to blow it out.

Clean out the fridge and defrost the freezer. Take everything out, so that you can remove food debris from the shelves and inside walls — starting from the top and working your way down. When you put food back, be sure to check expiration date, and toss anything that’s past its prime. Don’t forget to wipe down the fronts of the fridge and freezer, paying close attention to disinfecting the door handles.

Throw out old sponges. These kitchen tools are germ magnets. Even zapping them in the microwave won’t kill all the bacteria that find their way inside. Disinfect sponges every few days by letting them soak in a bleach-water solution (¾ cup bleach to 1 gallon of water) for five minutes. After a couple of weeks, however, they should be thrown out completely and replaced, or swapped for reusable silicone scrubbers that can be more easily disinfected. 

Scrub down the stove top and vent. For range hoods and stovetops covered in greasy dust, use a mineral oil to wipe away the film, and then remove the oil with some warm water and dish soap.

  • Tip: Coat gas stovetop surfaces (not the grates) with car wax, then wipe it off. This will make it easier to clean up future spills. 

Clean the oven. If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning function, you can make a DIY cleaner by mixing 5 tablespoons of baking soda, 5 drops of dish soap, and 4 tablespoons of vinegar into a paste and slathering it on the worst spots. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub at it with a sponge or non-abrasive brush. For extra stubborn grease stains, place a few drops of dish soap on half a lemon, and rub it on the problematic areas. Then, scrub or wipe it clean. 

Organize the pantry. After you’ve removed everything from the shelves and wiped them off, replace and organize the pantry items by purpose. For example, instead of having baking items stacked on a shelf or spread throughout the pantry, place all ingredients used exclusively for baking inside a clear bin or tub. That way, when you’re ready to make cookies, you already have everything you need and can easily carry the items to the counter and back. Similarly, use racks and clear containers to separate breakfast items from snacks or dinner ingredients, and so on.

  • Tip: Mount a dry-erase board inside your pantry to keep notes of what you have or what you need.

Clean out the microwave. While a spaghetti-splattered microwave can seem daunting, this might be the easiest task in the whole kitchen. Mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a cup of water, and microwave it on high for five minutes. The vapor from the boiling solution will coat every inch of food debris and make it easier to wipe away.

Disinfect the sink. If you cook with raw meat in your home, chances are the kitchen sink is the germiest spot in the whole house. Give the basin a good scrub with a disinfectant or bleach solution to kill any bacteria lurking inside.

Wipe down the countertops. Remove any items on the counters, including appliances and knife blocks, and then use a disinfectant spray or cleaning wipes to get corners and spaces in the back that might not get as much attention throughout the year. While you’re there, wipe down the walls or backsplashes, too.

Common areas


Take off all cushions from couches and chairs, and vacuum the spaces underneath. Pay special attention to the nooks and crannies where crumbs or dust might have made a home.

  • Tip: Use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to remove stains from microfiber fabrics by dabbing it on with a white sponge — to avoid any dye transfers — and scrub with a white bristle brush.

Shampoo your rugs and carpets. Or, if you’d rather not spend the time, money or effort to shampoo the whole house, spot clean stains using pet stain remover or a steam cleaner.

  • Tip: In a pinch, the “steam” function on your clothing iron works great as a steam cleaner.

Polish your wooden furniture. Remove any items from bookcases or coffee tables to clean every surface with a dust rag, followed by wood cleaner or polish. Fix scratches by rubbing a walnut along the scratch or by using a stain pen.

  • Tip: Remove water stains on your wooden furniture by blasting it with a hair dryer at close range and treating the wood with a furniture polish or mineral oil. 

Wipe down baseboards, window treatments, light fixtures and ceiling fans. Use a telescoping pole or the vacuum cleaner extension attachment to reach high ceilings and corners. Remove and launder the drapes, and clean the windows with glass cleaner. Don’t forget to disinfect door handles!

  • Tip: Use a lint roller on lamp shades to remove any dust or pet hair that have accumulated there.

Dust your decor. Gently wipe or brush away dust from all of your knickknacks, picture frames and clocks. Depending on how many decorative items you keep in your home, this may be the most time-consuming activity you do during your spring cleaning.

Clean your electronics. Another germy place in your house? The TV remote. Just think of all the (sometimes sticky) hands that touch it. Give your electronics a good wipe down, including the top of your TV, streaming device and DVD player. Dust the front of any screens with a microfiber rag or a feather duster, making sure to get the corners.

Clean and organized Bedroom

Wash the bedding, including bed skirts, shams and duvet covers. If some of the items are too big to fit in your laundry machines, take them to a laundry mat or dry cleaners. Don’t forget the pillows!

Flip your mattress. Or if you have a pillow top, rotate it to prevent grooves from forming due to sleeping in the same spot for too long. Freshen the mattress by spreading on some baking soda, letting it sit for 45 minutes to an hour, and vacuuming it back up.

  • Tip: Use foam shaving cream to remove mattress stains by letting it sit for 15 minutes before wiping it off with a slightly damp rag dipped in a half-water/half-vinegar solution

Dust neglected surfaces, like window treatments, headboards and ceiling fans. If you have drapes, vacuum or launder them, too.

  • Tip: Be careful wiping off ceiling fans, as dust clumps can fall on you while dusting. To prevent this, slide each fan blade into a pillowcase to get the bulk of the dust off before taking a rag to it.

Vacuum or mop under furniture, including behind dressers and under beds. Pay extra attention to corners and baseboards.

  • Tip: If your furniture is too heavy to move, use the vacuum cleaner attachments or a telescoping pole to swivel a mop head or rag to get to hard-to-reach places.
Closet close-up

Sort through items and get rid of anything you no longer need or use. If you’re really wanting to keep something, ask yourself: 1. Does it fit? 2. Is it flattering on me? 3. Have I used it in the past year? If you answer “no” to any of the above, strongly consider donating or selling it.

  • Tip: Turn around all of the hangers so that they are hanging backward, and throughout the year, only turn each one back the right way if you’ve worn the item. If something is still hanging backward during next year’s spring cleaning, you’ll know which items to get rid of first.

Rotate seasonal items. If you’re doing spring cleaning in the spring, pack up those bulky sweaters and heavy coats and store them on a shelf or in the back of your closet until next winter. The same can be done in the fall for summer clothing and accessories.

Vacuum carpet and ceilings. Remove any items from the floor, and vacuum up any dust that might have built up under your shoe rack or nostalgia box. Don’t forget to get into the corners of the ceiling to capture any cobwebs or dust bunnies.

Wipe down shelves and inside drawers. Remove all items, and wipe down the space with a damp rag. As you replace the items, think about how they can be organized so that you’re more likely to keep the space tidy.

  • Tip: Use drawer dividers or fabric bins to organize small items like hand towels or underwear.
Laundry room

Wipe laundry machines and countertops. Use a damp rag to remove the light dusting of lint that tends to settle on every surface in the laundry room.
Toss any rogue dryer sheets and empty detergent bottles. Look between the machines, behind doors and under cabinets to catch any pesky dryer sheets or lint clumps. Dispose of any outdated cleaning supplies, taking special care to follow your city’s instructions, as not all cleaning supplies can go in the regular municipal trash pickup. 
Organize supplies. If things have gotten a little cluttered, neatly line up cleaning supplies, so you can more easily see and access the items you need. If small children are in the home, ensure dangerous cleaning supplies are out of reach or kept in a secured cabinet.
Sanitize your washing machine. After every load of laundry, it’s a good idea to leave the washing machine door open to let it air out and prevent mold from growing inside. Once a year, however, it’s a good idea to sanitize the machine to remove any mold and get out detergent that has started to build up. Use multipurpose disinfectant or a vinegar solution to clean the rubber seal around the door of the machine, as well as inside the dispensers. If your washer doesn’t have a self-cleaning cycle, run the empty machine using hot water and a little bleach.
Clean out your lint trap filter and dryer vent. Clogged dryer vents can pose a fire hazard for your home, and poor airflow can allow condensation to accumulate behind your walls, so it’s especially important to keep these passageways clean. After every load of laundry, remove lint from your lint trap, and at least once a year, vacuum out any lingering debris on the trap itself, as well as the space where it’s housed inside the dryer. Then, unplug the dryer, and disconnect the dryer duct — a 4-inch pipe, typically located in the wall directly behind the machine. Gently pull the dryer away from the wall just enough to access the duct. If you have a gas dryer, be extra cautious not to mess with the gas line. You can use a vacuum or special duct cleaning kit to remove debris inside the line, as well as wherever the dryer’s vent is housed outside your home. When you’re done, reconnect everything, and place the machine back into its position.
Tip: If your vent line is much longer than your vacuum hose can reach, or the outside vent outlet is inaccessible, consider hiring a professional duct cleaning service every few years to ensure the entire line is clear.
Mop or vacuum the floor. When you’ve cleaned everything else in the room, vacuum or mop the floor, taking care to reach the corners and behind the machines, using periscoping handles or vacuum extensions.


Remove items and wipe down hooks and shelves. Use a damp rag or multipurpose cleaner to clean dirt off of any shelving and hooks, especially where shoes are kept.
Toss or store unused items. Get rid of any items you no longer use or items family members have outgrown, including seasonal jackets or shoes. Wash and store items you want to keep, and donate or sell the rest.
Organize items by purpose and practicality. It doesn’t take much for the mudroom to fall into disarray. Give yourself and your family the best chance at keeping the space clean by thinking through where items are normally placed, and organize from there. If shoes are often thrown on the ground, for example, bins to store them should be on or near the floor. Baskets can be used to catch small items (like keys or earphones), and multiple hooks are great for storing winter gear and backpacks.
Organized and Clean Garage

Declutter. Now’s the time to take a good, long look at everything in your garage and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” Dispose of old cleaners, broken equipment, abandoned projects, and anything else that no longer has a use.

Sweep the floors. If you can, remove everything at ground level in the garage, and use a broom to sweep out the dust, leaves and mystery gunk that have settled there.

Maximize your (vertical) space. Many garages have empty space above the garage door or near the ceiling that can be used for storage. Investing in sturdy shelves near the ceiling is a great way to store those rarely used items like Christmas trees or beach umbrellas. Similarly, bikes and seasonal garden equipment can be hung from the ceiling or high up on a wall to best utilize the space available.

Outdoor spaces
Backyard with white, round table and 2 chairs

Get out the hose. Spray down patios, decks, porches, lawn furniture, playground equipment — and any other large item or space you have outside your home. For the siding, you may want to rent or invest in a power washer to remove buildup on the outside of the house.

Tidy the yard. Pull any weeds sprouting up in your lawn or garden. Lay down mulch or compost (if needed), and plant any flowers or edible greens you’d like.

After you’ve tackled every room in the house, it’s time to take the most critical steps of all. Sit back, relax and enjoy. 

9 Easy Organizing Tips

Staying organized, keeping housekeys in the same place


1.  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.  Above all, 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 by asking yourself  how much you can handle effectively and with no stress. Tailor your life around your capacity

9.  Ninth, and most importantly, Create a New Habit and don’t work on breaking the old habit 


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

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


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]

ADHD or not ADHD?


frustrated-at-computerAs a Professional Organizer, I work with a lot of different flavors of people. It seems that almost all of my clients or new clients say that they have ADHD or ADD. I ask them if they were diagnosed. It’s amazing how many of them answer “yes” and have self-diagnosed themselves and not been diagnosed by a professional. In this media saturated society and with the omnipotent pressure by media and society to “Be all that you can be”, we are simply – overwhelmed. “Overwhelmed” is the word that I constantly hear from clients, friends, family and associates. Organization of the mind (Mind Organizing) plays a key role in helping to ease this anxiety and focus challenge.

Below are some questions from the World Health Organization that may help you see if you actually do have ADHD.

ADHD or OBLT? (Overwhelmed By Life Today)


If you answer Often or Very Often (on a ranking scale of Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often or Very Often) to four or more of the following questions, it may be beneficial to consult with a health professional to see if you have ADHD. In the last six months….


  1. How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project once the challenging parts have been done? (never/rarely/sometimes/often/very often)


  1. How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?


  1. How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?


  1. When you have a task that requires a lot of thought, how often do you avoid or delay getting started?


  1. How often do you fidget or squirm with your hands or feet when you have to sit for a long time?


  1. How often do you feel overly active and compelled to do things, like you were driven by a motor?


Source: World Health Organization


I recommend reading some of my past posts. Here is one to get started  à

Let me know what you think. I offer a free phone or Skype consult.