Brava = women+substance+style.
You can read the full publication at http://read.dmtmag.com/i/354830
Life: Organized is in print for the August issue of Brava, a Madison based magazine.
Brava = women+substance+style.
You can read the full publication at http://read.dmtmag.com/i/354830
Before I can answer that question, I need to tell you about an experience that I recently had. On a teleclass, there was a comment made about the term "hoarders." Until recently, it had been a term that I used much like the majority of people: to describe someone with an over abundance of stuff and who struggles to part with it. (That is the basic definition; however, there are other important missing pieces like the distress that the clutter causes.) The definition is not the where I am going… The term HOARDER, is used to describe the person. A person who probably does not first define themselves as a hoarder, but as a mother, a teacher, a wife, a daughter, a painter, a runner, a musician, etc. When a person struggles with anxiety, depression, or bipolar, I do not refer to that client as the anxious or depressed. That is out of line. The better way to address the label, if it must be used, is to talk about the person first and the condition second: my client has a hoarding tendency, or my client struggles with depression.
Do you work with Hoarders?
Yes, I do work with clients who struggle with hoarding tendencies. I do not diagnose hoarding or any other mental or physical health conditions. Many people who contact me asking about working with hoarders are either self-diagnosed or a family member who has diagnosed their loved one. If you truly feel out of control and have concerns that you fit the criteria for a diagnosis as a hoarder, please seek medical advice in addition to contacting an organizer. Organizers working in collaboration with mental health can be very beneficial to the client.
Can you help my ____?
Yes, I can help your loved one, but they have to be on board. Before I agree to meet with anyone in person for organizing help, I always request to talk by phone. I need to talk with the client--the person who's treasures I will be sorting-- to be sure I am a good fit and it is not a hostile environment. Remember, just because their way of living is not agreeable to you does not mean they think they need help, or want help.
How quickly can you clean it up?
This is a tough question and I do not have a standard answer. The situation did not escalate to the current state over night and I can not, and will not clean it up over night. I firmly believe that in order to help the client process parting with their belongings, they need to be very hands on and make most of the decisions. I always want the client to be in charge (not their family or myself.) There is no typical timeline, and with any organizing client, it will be based on their needs.
How much will it cost?
Again, this depends greatly on the time that it takes and the need to bring in other service providers. If the client has family and friends who are willing and able to help move stuff out, haul it away, etc, then it can save the client some money. If it will only be the client and myself processing their keep, sell, toss/recycle, and donations then plan on it taking much longer. Some clients will feel safer as the process moves forward to invite others to help.
NO BLAME OR SHAME ZONE!
Family and friends who are invited by the client to help with the sessions or homework are urged to not engage in blaming or shaming talk or behavior. Clients who are in crisis are fragile and often are feeling some of those emotions already. It is a big step to reach out for help or to allow others to offer it. Encourage with positive talk and encouragement.
Clearing out the excess clutter is only the beginning. Clients who struggle with hoarding tendencies will need to learn some techniques for addressing their habits and spend time setting up systems to help them maintain their homes long term. Again, I really suggest working with a therapist. Consider finding someone who works with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT.) You can find local therapists by contacting your insurance or looking online. Psychology Today provides an online directory and you can specify what you are looking for.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you have about my work with clients. I am always happy to answer questions by phone or email!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!! In my past life I studies the relationships among police, courts, and corrections. I really wanted to work with at risk youth and restorative justice programs. Like so many others, my path has changed, but the topic still remains a passion of mine. It is safe to say that the United States has a big problem with incarceration: it is now a business with little hope for rehabilitation. I could talk all day about it, but that is not the topic of this post ;-)
I came across this organization in Madison that will take book donations and distribute them to inmates. I think this is a wonderful program and wished to share it with you in the hopes that you would consider this as the next recipient of your book donations. When I called to be sure the program was still in operation, they also mentioned a LGBT Books to Prisoners program as well.
They accept donations at the following locations and you can read more about the program on the web: http://rainbowbookstore.coop/b2p
Lakeside Press, 1334 Williamson St., Madison, WI 53703, 608-255-1800
Madison Infoshop, 1019 Williamson St., Madison, WI 53703, 608-262-9036
People's Bookstore, 2122 E. Locust, Milwaukee WI 53211, 414-962-0575
Hey! Week 2 already? Where is the year going?!?
I have a few answers to that question…
If you are following along and hopefully participating, you would know that this is actually week 6 of purging one item per day. I started this in December in preparation for January when people might be looking for motivation to purge. When I look back at all the stuff I have been able to purge and not miss any of it I am amazed! I also think that it would have been fun to weigh it… I feel like my house went on a diet; however, as with a diet, it is not always about the number that counts. It is about feeling better, stronger, healthier and happier!
What went out this week? Toddler drinking and eating vessels, drinking glasses, kiddo's art work, diaper pail, magazines, socks (not pictured), and mirror. The hard decision for the week was the kiddos art. I have told countless clients different options for choosing pieces, displaying them, storing them and purging but it was hard to do myself. We are early in the creation years so I know there will be many more session like this. What did I do? Well, I took a photograph of each piece, and then…gulp, threw them away! I will always have a digital image of the pieces and will likely include them in some scrapbooking.
I hope you are all having a happy and healthy new year!
When you start looking… weird stuff starts showing up. Maybe that is why horses wear blinders!
What got the boot this week? Well, three batches of books (one is not pictured), pj's, ankle brace, long sleeve fleece, bottle brush, and a work bag. Common theme among these items? All except for the work bag have gone unused for over a year! Can you believe it? An entire year! OK, maybe it is just me shocked by my own abundance or maybe the reflection of this fact is startling for me. It really makes me wonder what else I have been holding on to and walking past every day that serves no useful purpose in my daily life, brings me no joy, and could possibly be bringing me stress. I do not want to make any irrational decisions too late at night, but I am thinking about continuing this project into January.
Who is with me???
This week out with the unused and more…toys! This includes shoes, a coat, kitchen and toiletries!!! Yay me!
The lesson from this week is two fold:
Heavy topics, I know!
Let's start with the easier of the two: one in and one out. You will hear this all over when you read organizing books or listen to organizers speak and honestly, I say it all the time too…WHY? Because it is so true! Every time you bring something into your home, find it's counterpart that you are replacing and GET RID OF IT! Not replacing anything? Then find something else that you are not using and…GET RID OF THAT! Simple really ;-) So for me this week it was shoes. I am a thrifty person and needed some work shoes. I found two pair at great prices and found two pair that have been in my closet to get rid of. Honestly, I have not worn the pumps ever (more to come about those in the next section), and the other pair has not been worn in a long time. Adios zapatos!!!
OK, so the heavier of the two topics this week is bereavement. This week I let go of two items that I acquired after the death of loved ones. The pearl pumps were my grandmother's. She has been gone now just over two years and I miss her dearly. After she passed, I helped my mom sort through a lot of her home. In the process I brought many things home with me including these pumps. Honestly, they are not my style, they are brand new, and not comfortable. It was well past time to let them go, but because I put them on the top shelf of my closet, they were out of sight and out of mind. When I pulled them down, there was a little guilt about letting them go, but I know that she would not want me to keep them just because they belonged to her, she would want me to keep them because I loved them and used them, or they reminded me of her. None of those reasons rang true here, so I let them go.
The other item is the magnification tool from my aunt who we lost earlier this year. My mom thought my husband or I could use them but it turns out that neither of us found a need. They have been in my garage since and I feel guilty more about that than getting rid of them. She was a frugal woman who did not covet anything and would do anything to help others. So for her, I will pass on the tool so it can be loved an used by some one who can appreciate it.
Dedicated to Go-Go Grandma and Marilyn... Always loved and missed <3
So, I committed to a December purge, and wanted to share with you my personal progress after only a week. My goal was to find one item a day that I could donate, throw away, or sell. Below you will find a photo journal of my first week's purge that includes: a child's Halloween costume, swim suit, athletic pants, plastic containers, seasonal decorations, child safety tools, and potty chair… Now, I should point out that some of the photos include more than one item, but I counted them as one "collection."
I wanted to do this in December for a couple of reasons:
So you want to get started, but are not sure how?
You will be so surprised at the end of the day, week, and month that you might be inspired to keep going. If you are having trouble getting started, then give me a call ;-)
As always, I would love to see and hear about your personal progress. Feel free to share here or email me and I am happy to give feedback as well as share for others!
We have all heard that “One man's trash is another man's treasure!” 'tis the Season for Purging and Prepping for House Guests. That means it is time for a friendly reminder about the value of donations.
Here are a few highlights:
According to the Internal Revenue Service:
When is the last time you honestly cleaned out your closet? I am not talking about sweeping or vacuuming, I am talking about purging. Honest to goodness, asking yourself the tough questions, getting rid of shirts from high-school...purging.
Last week? Last year? When you moved five or ten years ago? Never?
Be honest with yourself, it is probably time, right? All too often I hear that people are afraid to start because it is such a big job, and it can be. I will try to help you break it down into a few smaller steps if you do not have the time to dedicate several hours at a time. So, here goes..
This closet took about three hours and was reduced by close to half!!! Nice work ;-)
We added a few inexpensive tap lights to the inside of the closet and an over the door hanger to organize scarves.
Did you know that the City of Madison updates a Recyclopedia every year to tell residents what to do with their trash? It is a very inclusive list of how to dispose of everything from plastic #3 to paint. And what about those pizza boxes?
I took a quick read through it (about 23 pages in all), and picked out a handful of items that I thought could be useful to my readers...so here goes!
About that plastic #3... You can include all plastics labeled 1-7 in your recycle bins. I was surprised to learn this actually includes some of the weaker and thinner plastics such as some deli containers and plastic cups. Just take a look at the bottom and read the number within the triangle to see.
Paint? Sure, latex paint cans can be put in the trash as long as the paint inside is completely dried.
Small metal appliances can be placed in your recycle bins!
And finally, those pizza boxes! These too can be recycled! Well mostly! Break the boxes down and recycle the lid and sides that do not have food contamination and throw the bottom or other contaminated surfaces is the trash.
If everyone made just these few simple updates to their recycling routine, just think of what a difference it would make! I can not summarize the complete document, but I suggest that you head over and take a quick read through. Since I personally read through it for the first time over a year ago, our recycle bin is regularly overflowing by recycle day (which in our neighborhood is every other week.)
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