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
Sit back, close your eyes and try to list the complete contents of one room of your house. Not too bad? You can probably give a pretty good guestimate.
Now imagine staying up for two days straight after a fire forced you to leave your home. Your insurance agent has asked you to provide a Home Inventory to begin the claims process. You are so overwhelmed that you have no idea where to start.
Creating a Home Inventory seems like one of those tasks that you will get to "some day," and yet should be often times be moved up on the priority list. There are varying levels of detail that can be put into these.
How to Create A Home Inventory:
The best way to complete an inventory would be to have some visual documentation along with your notes, receipts, and manuals.
Do not wait for the perfect solution to getting your home inventory documented. Use pen and paper if you have to. The important thing is to get it done!!!
Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance does give some information on how to create your home inventory. (http://oci.wi.gov/consumer/inv-home.htm) They also provide a template that you can use to itemize a list of your belongings. (http://oci.wi.gov/pub_list/pi-224.pdf) Finally, they link to FREE apps to work on an inventory on your iPhone or Android. I have downloaded the iPhone app and it is pretty user friendly, but very basic.
WOOHOO! I was really excited to attend the 2014 Annual Conference for the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). They are known as the Organizing Authority. They provide home and business organizers with a code of ethics, educational opportunities, and community involvement opportunities. Consumers can go to them to find information about organizing and to locate members in their area.
The conference offered a wide variety of opportunities to grow my knowledge about organizing challenges, as well as chances to be a more savvy business woman. The sessions I attended included:
I was able to meet many organizers from across the country, and some in my backyard that I look forward to collaborating with in the future. I came back to Wisconsin full of ideas to continue to grow as a person and a business. Stay tuned for some very exciting announcements this Summer and Fall from Life: Organized. An evolution of sorts. LLC
You have decided to sell and your real estate agent has suggested that you declutter. You decide to start in the living room. When you walk in, you look around and notice that you have "things" out, but they are useful and used every day. You decide to start in another room...
Realtors and stagers do not have any emotional attachment to your things, and it is easier for them to point out the obvious "clutter." Be realistic about what it means to have your home on the market. You want others to picture living there, and their lifestyle may be very different than yours.
It is very important to make sure your home is ready for it's closeup!
Buyers will most likely have their first impression based on photos they will see online. This is where I suggest the staging start! Take a camera and stand at the curb, entrance to each room, and furthest corner from the door in each room. Snap a photo from each one of those locations. Then, upload them on your computer, and take a look, a real close look. Consider having someone such as a friend, family member, or neighbor help with this process and ask for their brutal honesty. What do you want potential buyers to notice about each room? What is the first thing you notice about each photograph? Is it what you want buyers to notice?
Many times, the answer to that question in…NO!
Make a list of things that need to be done BEFORE you have the pictures taken for your listing. Dedicate the time to get as many of those tasks done. All the time you put into making your house the bast it can possibly show, will help sell it faster. Buyers do not want to have to rehang doors, touchup paint, and clean before they move in. All of those things that you take care of for them, means a larger selling price.
Once listing pictures go online, and buyers see them, it is hard to undo the damage. Consider learning a little about living a minimalist lifestyle temporarily…who knows, you might even like it!
Making Peace with the Things in Your Life
Why Your Papers, Books, and Other Possessions Keep Overwhelming You-and What to Do About It
By Cindy Glovinsky M.S.W. A.C.S.W.
Platform: Paperback (Available through Madison Public Library)
This book really geared towards the casual reader in tone, but offers some really great insight into Thing management techniques for the professional organizer as well.
Cindy breaks the book down in to four sections
Part I: Rethinking Things
Part II: You and Your Things: Taking Inventory
Part III: Why Things Keep Overwhelming You
Part IV: What to do About Things
She really helps you try to determine why Things (capitalized on purpose!) are difficult for some. It feels a little like a history lesson. If you learn why you are holding on to things, or why you manage things a certain way, then you can avoid repeating that in the future. She makes some really great points about becoming aware of our surroundings and how it became to be the way it is. I often feel like I could write a book about organizing for my clients, but now I feel like I don't have to! This is a great book for the person trying to get organized, their families, and professionals.
"…time is time, however you chop it up. It's all about learning to make best use of whatever your brain does naturally, setting limits when you must and going with the flow whenever you can." (p139)
OK, people, let's get down to it! Spring is sneaking up fast (although I am not sure where it snuck off to…let me know if you find it!!!) Time to start thinking about opening up the windows to let in some fresh air, cleaning house, and making plans for warm weather activities.
What is the history of Spring Cleaning?
Your guess is as good as mine. I did an internet search only to get very conflicting information ranging from preparations for Persian New Year, to two weeks after the Jewish New Year, to near the Chinese New Year… I really was not expecting to find a debate!
So onward to the real topic at hand: Spring Cleaning.
As with any home project, I suggest you schedule the time for it. If it is a priority, you make the time. How much time should you plan on? That is not a simple question to answer, so get out your notepad and lets make some quick figures. Make a list of all the rooms in your house, the cleaning activities that need to happen, and the time you think it will take to complete the tasks. Do this quickly, there will not be a test at the end.
Everyone always thinks it will take less time, and if it does then consider it a bonus, but there is nothing worse than giving yourself time to do a task and then leaving it half done because you did not have time to finish it. Err on the side of caution, and over estimate. When you have your estimate add 30-50% more time. Below is an example of one room:
It might seem silly to plan how you will clean, but if you do this in advance, it will give you a chance to add to the list rather than be surprised the day of. Keep these estimates and make notes for next year. Maybe you had trouble removing a screen and want to remember a little trick. Also note the actual amount of time you spend in the room and add anything you forgot to the list.
So how about managing the whole home project?
Will you dedicate a day or weekend and blitz the whole house at once? Will you break it up into a few Saturday mornings so you do not have to miss out on invites for fun activities? You have to decide what option is best for you, and there are benefits to each. I suggest that if you decide to break up the project over several weekends that you break the house into zones. If you have a multi story, I would do one floor at a time. If it is a ranch style, then maybe split it into sleeping quarters, living quarters and kitchen/baths.
3.20.14 edit: I know that managing any process, even spring cleaning, with making a list might seem awkward to some. On the other hand, many people are challenged with how to manage such tasks due to ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, or other physical or mental conditions. The reality is that each of us has a brain that processes information and things differently. Making lists and estimations for time are just some of the tools to help folks manage.
Do you have organizing projects but are not sure how to get started?!?
Enter a drawing to receive one month of virtual organizing services for FREE!!!
How to enter:
What will the package include?
The drawing will be held on February 28, 2014 at 10PM by use of a random number generator. Winner will be contacted by email within 24 hours.
Everyone is a Winner! Every one who enters will be added to our monthly newsletter which includes book reviews, project ideas, and organizing tips and tricks. Cheers!
I find so often that many clients are afraid of failure. Often they feel like they have failed and calling me is an admission of that. As we go through the exploration process to discover what their needs are, they often point out projects that they "plan" or "wish" but never start because they don't know how or it is overwhelming. They, like me and so many others out there, set unrealistic goals of ourselves and want everything to be perfect in their lives. Often because of family situations and finances that is just not possible. They often can not process what it would take to get a project done, they often just see the final result and fear that they can not attain that so do not try…for fear of failure. Listen close folks, you fail if you do not try!
So what does everyone need to know to break out of the cycle? Take one day, step, and moment at a time. Think about one project that you want to work on and start brainstorming some of the small pieces that it would take to accomplish. Be specific, the more so the better. Then when you have the list, start by picking one thing and doing it. Remember the saying "Rome wasn't built in a day." Start small and pick away at the project little by little. Over time, you will be able to see progress.
By writing a list, you give yourself a plan and make the tasks smaller and more manageable and therefore you are more likely to succeed. I truly believe that you can do this, but you have to WANT to make a change. Now go and be fabulous and DO IT!
OK, so I know that not everyone will have organizing on their resolution list for 2014, but two short tips will apply to any thing you choose to work on!
1. Write it down! Find some place that will not get lost in the shuffle, and write down your goals. I suggest using the short term, mid term and long term format for this. I will give you an example that does not include organizing (although, the act of doing this exercise is in fact organizing, right?) GOAL: Be more active to decrease fatigue.
This is a very simple plan here, you can work it much more on paper and looking through the calendar. Remember to plan ahead for obstacles. Vacations, work, family obligations, DO not set yourself up to fail. Give yourself the tools and the plan to succeed!
2. Tell someone about your plans! Get a resolution buddy. Maybe it is a friend who has a similar resolution, someone you talk to often, or not so much. Who ever it is that you pick, ask them to hold you accountable and offer to do the same. Maybe you can set a time to check in with each other each week. I find with myself and my clients, that this is very effective!
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