Fire Prevention

 In case you don’t have elementary aged children, or in my case, a 3 year old grandson, you might not know that this week is Fire Prevention Week.  Why talk about it on my blog?  Well, it’s a good reminder to check your house for fire safety!

Fire Safety Checklist (Disclaimer – I am NOT a firefighter or fire expert – just some friendly suggestions to keep you and your family safe!)

  • It’s a good idea to test your smoke alarm batteries every 6 months…why not this week?  Write a reminder on your 2014 calendar to check again in early April, or set a reminder on your phone/email!
  • Test/check your kitchen fire extinguisher and make sure it has a home in your kitchen that is easily accessible and EVERYONE in your family knows its location!
  • Make sure all hallways and doorways are ALWAYS clutter free.  It is terrifying to read in the newspaper about people dying in a fire because their house was too cluttered to allow them to escape.
  • Make a fire escape plan with your family members – even if you all are adults!  You should know where you will meet outside away from any danger if there ever was a fire.
  • Have piles of paper?  Recycle these fire hazards!
  • Teach young children how to call emergency services and make sure phones are at an accessible level.

And of course, stay safe!




Clutter Teleclass

Tired of the clutter in your life – both physical and mental? Fellow  Professional Organizer, Holly Amato, has enlisted the help of 21 experts, (including me!) who are committed to helping you get yourself and your family back on track.  Receive FREE GIFTS and opportunities daily.  My teleclass, on Helping Your Loved One Who Has Hoarding Tendencies is scheduled for today, Monday, Sept 16th.

Count Your Blessings

When my daughters were young they loved the Berenstain Bear books by Stan and Jan Berenstain.  As I’m watching my facebook feed filling with friends who are participating in the 30 days of Gratefulness, I’m reminded of reading “The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings” many times to my girls.

The storyline was simple – Brother and Sister Bear were comparing themselves to their friends who had so many more toys – I believe it was video games and “Bearbie” dolls.  In the midst of their arguing, a thunderstorm hits and knocks out the electricity and Mama and Papa Bear encourage the cubs to stop and consider their blessings – a safe home, a loving family, good food to eat, etc.

(Sister Bear of course takes it a step to far at the end and actually starts counting her blessings numerically…but the concept is still sweet.)

Take 5 minutes right now.  Close your eyes and consider your lives’ blessings.  You don’t need to count and tell us how many!

Don’t open until you really consider what is important in your life.

No peeking!

Okay, ready?

I’m going to guess that you thought about blessings such as your family, friends, health, a home, perhaps financial security, food, water, your religious beliefs etc.  I’m also going to guess that you did NOT say “I’m so blessed to own an overabundance of clutter.  Clearly I need MORE things!”

Why aren’t we grateful for the clutter and the excessive things taking over our lives?  They aren’t what really matter!  The people we love and cherish, the memories we make each day, the ability to provide for our family, good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle – this is the stuff that really matters.

Take a look around your home.  Is there clutter you’ve been meaning to let go?  Release it.  Recall those simple blessings you were thinking of and remember what’s really important.

May you all have a Happy Thanksgiving filled with loving family and friends.

Everyday Clutter Management

Ever overwhelmed by the little clutter that accumulates each day?  My daughter picking up after her young toddler and not-the-best-at-putting-things-away husband sometimes looks like this by the end of the day:

I enjoy browsing through different organizing blogs, looking for great ideas to share and to implement in either my professional or personal life.  I came across Organizing Made Fun the other day and checked out the series on having a “Fake Immaculate Home.”

First, I loved the title of the blog.  As a professional organizer, of course I strive to help my clients overcome their chronic disorganization or clutter, but I realize that very few people can or WANT to live in a perfectly clean home.  (Including me – who wants to clean all day long???)  So, when I came across this simple tip on Organizing Made Fun, I knew I had to share it.  It’s so simple and can work for almost everyone.
Are you ready?  This may blow your mind.  It will stop everyday clutter and make your home so much more organized.

Here it is: every time you leave a room for another look for anything that should be going to your destination and take it with you.

Feel the light bulb turning on?  It’s so simple!  I’m walking from the kitchen into the basement.  Is there anything in the kitchen that belongs in the basement?  Instead of taking two trips – one for my original purpose and the second at some later point in the day to put away the clutter, take one trip and get the clutter put away!

If you make this into a habit (and teach the rest of the family to do it too!), you will be managing the little every day clutter without it taking extra time or effort!  I love it!

Vacation Clutter

Summer is full swing-picnics, softball, swimming, and vacations. That time of year when you can re-charge your batteries and get away from it all.  Vacations can however become shopping expeditions and you can accumulate too many souvenirs.  Think about it…are you spending your vacation shopping for stuff to help you remember your vacation?  Maybe you want to re-think about how you are spending your vacation time!

“But, I want to have some souvenir to remind me of my vacation.”

Yes, many folks do, but it does not have to be in the form of a key chain, mug, t-shirt, or snow globe?  How many t-shirts, mugs, key chains, and snow globes do you really need or want? Where will you store them? By the way, where are all these things made anyway?  (Probably not from your vacation spot!)

One way to avoid bringing too many souvenirs home is to decide on the amount of money you will budget to souvenirs before you leave for vacation.  You could also decide to stick to only one kind of souvenir, for example pens.  It is a small inexpensive item that can be used and stored easily.  A matchbook from wherever you visited is an inexpensive way to remember a place. Or why not support a local artisan and purchase something from him or her to remind you of your vacation? Photographs and videos are another way to preserve the memories without adding to the souvenir pile.

You could also decide to just say no to souvenirs.  Remember how beautiful your ocean view was, a coffee mug is not really going to do justice to it.  Preserve the memory in your mind or through pictures instead of a mug with a poor picture on it.  You can also use pictures that you took with a digital camera as screen savers on your computer.  You will have a wonderful memory of your vacation that you can change as often as you wish.  Imagine when it snows in February and that picture of your child playing on the beach pops up on your computer screen!  I doubt a t-shirt or coffee mug will stir that kind of memory as a photo album.

So when you are planning your vacation, think about why you went on vacation in the first place, to relax, spend time with family or friends, and discover and enjoy new places.  You may want to buy some mementos, but try not to come home with a suitcase full of stuff that will be long forgotten after the vacation is over.