Category Archives: Help

Feeling Uprooted? Start Planting New Seeds.

Feeling uprooted? Plant new seeds.

Are you feeling uprooted? Like this pandemic has turned everything in your life upside down? Me too. I’ve lost track of how many weeks we’ve been home. And although our city and state have lessened restrictions, we’re still staying home as much as we can.

I can sense that people are aching to get back to normal. But I don’t think things are ever going back to the way they were before this pandemic hit. And I’m ok with that. Why? Because now is the time to rethink everything. It’s a blank slate. A time to start fresh.

A time to plant new seeds.

Where do we start?

We have some work to do first. We need to grieve the life that once was. So many people have lost loved ones, jobs, livelihoods, innocence, a sense of security. Maybe you’ll come out of this mostly unscathed, but I bet it’s touched you somewhere in your life. Spend some time grieving.

I’m grieving my youngest having her preschool graduation without her friends. Surrounded by her teachers, her sister, and her parents, it was only her, wearing her cap and gown. During a timed ceremony so we wouldn’t interact with too many others. I can only imagine how parents and kids who didn’t get their high school or college graduation ceremony feel. These rituals bring such closure.

I’m grieving the last few months of spending every Tuesday with my daughter before she heads off to kindergarten. I’ve spent every Tuesday of the last 7 years with one or both of my girls. Although I was tired of figuring out how to entertain a small child every week, Mommy and Ellie days were special.

What do you need to grieve? Spend some time sitting with it and working through it. Mourn the memories that never were.

Once we’ve grieved, we can begin planting new seeds.

Next comes the part I’m most excited about. There is such an opportunity here. It’s time for a shift in thinking. Instead of longing to go back to the way things were, let’s reinvent. Let’s look at our schedules and priorities and figure out what really matters. How do we want to be spending our time?

I want to see our society have some big, deep discussions about so many things. Work, education, the division of housework and parenting. Generally, the way our society functions.

I’m not looking to have a big political discussion here. But we need to start with learning how to have deeper discussions. Instead of constantly complaining about how things aren’t working or dismissing someone who thinks differently, we need to listen and work to understand each other. Maybe once people start feeling heard, we can come together to fix things. People won’t dig in their heels and refuse to hear someone else because they won’t feel attacked. One place I’ve started is by reading Crucial Conversations and taking this quick mini-course.

Let’s start with work.

I do understand that not every job is flexible. You have to show up for a shift at the grocery store, hospital, just about every job in the service industry. Maybe there are ways to put more flexibility into these jobs. I’m talking about knowledge workers here. There are plenty of jobs focused solely on how much time you spend at your desk in the office. It doesn’t matter how much you do while you’re there. But you better be in your seat.

My husband was let go from a job many years ago because he wasn’t in the office by 8:30am every day. He was working close to 70 hours a week, but some of that was at home. He had young kids and wanted to be around to see them. This company couldn’t see that the amount of work or the quality of work is what mattered. It didn’t take the time to notice anything but when he was at his desk.

The shift in thinking here comes from defining success for these positions. Then, setting expectations and a deadline, and letting employees make it happen. I bet there will be a lot more creativity that comes from that freedom. Plant some new seeds.

Also, take a look at how many meetings are necessary and how people are communicating. I’m guessing some things can change there too. Does every meeting end with defined next steps? Or are they just a waste of time? Watch this quick 1-minute video about one thing you can do for more productive meetings.

The workload for women.

And what about the workload, both at work and at home, for women? Why is it that women are asked how they balance working and parenting but we never ask the dads? Why is it women are expected to do it all but we don’t expect it from the dads? Don’t tell me it’s because women are better at multitasking (I’ll get into that some other time). Think about what we’re teaching our kids – that it’s ok for the men not to help and the women need to do it all because no one else is capable.

There needs to be a shift in thinking here. A shift that we’re all in this together. That we all succeed or fail together. We need to stop with this thinking that we need to do it all by ourselves. Plant some new seeds.

Let’s rethink how we spend our time.

Have you created new routines during this pandemic? Maybe you’re walking the dog every morning or taking family walks before dinner. My husband and I are taking one night a week to play cards after the kids are in bed. I’ve wanted to cancel my gym membership and have more flexibility in when I work out but never made it happen. I’m exercising more now that I’ve made space for it in my living room.

Are you finding yourself enjoying more leisurely family dinners? Taking the time to watch your kids play in the backyard? Is it nice to not be rushing from one activity to another? Or maybe you’ve been so overwhelmed by work and remote learning and having the kids home that you’re exhausted.

I hope there’s been more quality family time. I hope that as activities begin to resume that you don’t go rushing out signing up for everything. I hope you find some peace in not rushing from one place to the next. In having family dinners (or breakfasts!) on a regular basis. Before you start filling up your schedule, figure out how you truly want to be spending your time. Commit your time carefully. Plant these new seeds meaningfully.

What about our stuff?

You’ve likely spent the last few months surrounded by your stuff. Is it driving you crazy? Are you finding it useful? Have you spent time sorting through and organizing it? We’ve rearranged toys to make them easier for our kids to use. We have a table just for arts and crafts now. We have a charging station for tablets and computers. We have learned more about how we use our space. That we really don’t need a big house and that when every toy is on the floor, it feels like a lot.

When we have less stuff, it’s easier to maintain an organized home. And it’s easier to use things because it’s not so overwhelming and we can find what we’re looking for. If our house is too cluttered, we can’t find what we need.

So take a look around your space, figure out what you love and need, and let the rest go. How do you want to feel when you are in your space? Comfortable? Content? Happy? Work towards getting your space to create that. Plant some new seeds with your space.

And related to our stuff, what about our spending?

Since you’ve been home, have you saved money because you’re not wandering through stores buying things you don’t need? Or are you just overbuying on Amazon? I’ve loved not spending money buying things we don’t need. It’s been nice to think about repurposing something we have in our house to fulfill a need. Or knowing that we don’t need more stuff in our lives. Plant some new seeds around spending. It relates to clutter as well. Retail therapy leads to short term relief. The stuff you buy takes up space in your house. It needs to be maintained or it just creates clutter. Take some time to figure out what’s behind that and find new ways to fill your cup. Plant some new seeds.

Time to plant some new seeds.

We need a shift in thinking. Let’s do things differently. Let’s move forward into something better. Let’s plant some new seeds.

If you’re ready to plant some new seeds in your life, let’s talk! And, if you’re an overwhelmed working mom, ready to take back control of your time, join Chaos Contained, an online community providing support in productivity.

Stop Surviving. Start Thriving.

When my kids were younger, I remember a friend asking me how I was doing. My usual answer was hanging in there. Suddenly, I was tired of that being my answer. When does just surviving stop? When do I start thriving? My kids aren’t going to get easier. I think they get more fun as they get older, but there will always be something we’re working on (arguing about?!). So enough with this hanging in there

Don't be busy, be productive. Start thriving.

Part of this hanging in there was how busy I felt. I don’t think busy is always a good thing, yet we cram every minute of our days with activities. We need to be crossing items off our to-do list. We have so much work to do that we don’t know where to start (or when to stop). Our kids are signed up for every activity under the sun because we feel they need to be enriched and entertained all the time (pre-pandemic). 

Stop Overcommitting

I get it. I’ve looked at my schedule and wondered how I committed to so many things. What happened? When did I get so busy? I’ve looked at how much I crossed off my to-do list and wondered if those were really the tasks I should’ve focused on today. Or did I just do what was the easiest to cross off? Let’s call me a recovering over-committer

I’m on a mission to help end the mom guilt. To help moms shift from putting out fires every day to feeling more proactive and in charge of their time and to-dos. Because I’ve been there! So let’s stop with the guilt. Let’s focus on our big rocks. On the choices we make with our time, where it goes, and how we spend it. Let’s start thriving. And let’s see the amazing things we do accomplish every day. Let’s tame the chaos. 

Join Chaos Contained today! A virtual community for overwhelmed working moms to help you tame the chaos. Your future self will thank you! 

Just Slogging Through

Feeling like you’re just slogging through each day? I get it, I have started giving myself pep talks to get out of bed! If my phone didn’t tell me the date, I likely would have no idea. Every day is starting to blend into the next! Weekends don’t feel any different (we really should do something fun to change that, huh?)

I don’t want to add one more story about how we should be productive right now since we have all this time. Working from home, helping your kids remote learn, and keeping everyone fed is enough! You might feel even busier! I do want to help you feel like you’re moving forward in your life, even while stuck at home. Read on for a few ideas!

  • Define what your work hours look like. Tag team with your partner. Someone is with the kids while the other one works. Trade every few hours as necessary. It’s also ok to put the kids in front of a movie and get some work done. Or send them out to the backyard to play.
  • Identify 3-5 priorities for each day. Yes, you might do more. You feel more accomplished if you know what needs to be done to move yourself or a project forward. Think about how it would feel to cross 5 tasks off your list of 5 tasks versus 5 tasks off a list of 15 (that you were never going to have time to do all anyway. Listen to what Laura Vanderkam has to say about limiting your to-do list.
  • Create a ritual between work and home life (even if work life is at your kitchen table). Find an activity to do before you switch between work and home. This helps your brain realize it’s now doing something different. Try a quick 5-minute meditation, a dance party, or a quick walk around the block.
  • Create visual boundaries if you’re working from the kitchen table. Put on headphones, signaling that you’re working and are not to be disturbed. Or you can put up some form of barrier, like a 3-sided poster display board. This could also be a place to put tasks and reminders! It’s like your own cubicle space in an open-concept office.
  • Break your projects into small, clear steps. If my to-do list says ‘Create workshop,’ it’s not easy for me to do what’s next. If it says create an outline for workshop, create marketing for workshop, or some other next step, then I know what to do next. Otherwise, I stare at it for a week and nothing gets done.

Still feeling stuck on how to get through the day? Schedule a 15-minute call with me to talk about your situation. Or take this quick 10-minute video on productivity.

Slogging through

We Do It To Ourselves

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. I’ve long had this theory that women get mad at our partners for not helping when in reality, we’ve taught them not to. Then came a worldwide pandemic and I wasn’t sure if it was relevant. However, I do think it’s still relevant. Because we’ve all been thrown into this crazy time of trying to work, take care of our families, and homeschool our kids. And we can’t do it all at the same time and do it well. We need to give ourselves a break. So read on and let me know what you think!

We do it to ourselves

I had a roommate in college who would reclean the bathroom after I cleaned it. So I stopped cleaning it. Now, depending on who you are in this story, you may think I was lazy because now I never cleaned the bathroom. Or you thought, sure, what was the point of cleaning the bathroom if someone else was going to redo it? That would be a waste of your time!

We, as women, create this scenario all the time. No one else can clean the kitchen or do the laundry or clean up like we do. Because, of course, it’s not done right if it’s done differently. So we do everything ourselves. We reload the dishwasher or don’t let our partners do the laundry. Because heaven forbid, it’s not done to our exacting standards.

Then, we complain because our partners aren’t participating in the housework. When in reality, we’ve driven them to this point. We treat them like they’re unable to do anything, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They give up and we continue treating them like they are unable to do anything right.

We need to stop doing it all ourselves.

We can’t have it all. At least not all at the same time. And what does that even mean? We can’t magically do everything we want/need to and do it all well. It’s not possible, yet we beat ourselves up for not doing it every day. We overdo it and we constantly feel like we’re failing. Yet, we’re not. We have crazy high expectations that we’re never going to meet.

And this is what we model for our kids – that we must do it all instead of working with our partners. Whether you’re raising boys or girls, they’re watching you and seeing how you work with your partner. So the little girl watching her mother struggle to do it all instead of asking for help or letting something go is going to grow up to be the same crazed, stressed-out woman trying to do it all, feeling bad about not succeeding (even though it’s impossible). And the little boy is going to grow up believing that they don’t need to do much of anything. Because those were the examples they had growing up.

What if we changed that story?

What if we came into the kitchen that was mostly clean and thought great, someone loaded the dishwasher, now all I need to do is wipe down the counters? Or, said thanks for doing the laundry, can I help put it away? Or had the conversation of having too much on your plate and you need things to change? It’s not just helping each other – you’re in this together, you’re partners.

So let’s stop trying to do it all.

Let’s realize that life is like a symphony. Sometimes the violins are loud, sometimes it’s the drums. Sometimes there’s rest. But it all comes out a beautiful song in the end. Sometimes we’re going to work all day, sometimes we’re going to spend all day running errands, or playing with our kids or out on some adventure. And at the end of the week, we’ve covered most of it. And if it didn’t get done, it wasn’t important, and it can wait until the next song.

If you’re tired of feeling like there’s too much on your plate, I’d love to help you feel less overwhelmed! Let’s work together to create a task list and schedule that works for you! Let’s do this together instead of all on our own. If you’d like to chat more about this with me or want to learn more about how you’re spending your time, contact me or schedule a call.

Stop trying to do it all yourself!
Stop trying to do it all yourself!

Why You Should Hire a Professional Organizer!

Many New Year’s resolutions include new diets, saving money, getting in shape, or getting organized. If getting organized is on your list, you may be wondering how that’s going to happen or if you should hire a professional organizer. Here are a few reasons why you should hire one to help you get started on (or even complete) your goal to get organized this year.

Things To Do list with a pen on a desk.Business concept.

Being organized saves you money, stress, and time.

Many people spend at least 10 minutes a day looking for lost items. 1 in 4 people spend up to 2 hours a week looking for a misplaced item. What could you do with that time back in your life? Think of how relaxed and motivated you would be if you could easily find what you need and have time in your life to focus on your priorities.

Sometimes you just need a little outside perspective.

There are many ways to organize a space and sometimes you need an objective person to help. A professional organizer helps you look at your stuff and your time in a different light. We help you create routines to keep your stuff organized, pay your bills, manage your meals / kitchen, or deal with the endless kid toys and clothes that seem to appear in your house.

Your organizing solution will be tailored to your needs and desires.

Getting organized is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We help you organize based on who you are, what space you have, and what you want that space to look like. So the next time you need to find that important piece of paper, you’ll know exactly where it is.

We won’t make you get rid of your stuff.

It’s your stuff. It’s not my decision to keep or get rid of anything. We’ll discuss your vision for a space or routine and look at whether something needs to go. Your house should reflect you and the life you want to live. Routines and systems are just as, if not more important, than simply getting rid of stuff.

If getting organized is something you’ve been thinking about doing, find a professional organizer near you and schedule a call! We can help overhaul your entire house, organize a closet, or simply give you some guidance on a project. It might be just what you need.

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 3 – Gifts)

preparing for the holidaysWe are preparing for the holidays so you can enjoy them! This week we are going to look at gifts. Start shopping soon so you’re not left scrambling for something at the last minute.

  • Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and any ideas you have for each person.
  • Make a plan of when you are going to shop for the gifts. Are there items that need to be mailed ahead of time? (If yes, get started on those first). 
  • Check your gift wrapping supplies. Do you have enough wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, tape, bows?
  • Can you challenge your loved ones to buying experiences instead of things? Memberships to the art museum, trips to a water park, time spent together?
  • Create lists for you and your family of things you want / need. When people ask for gift ideas, it’ll be easy to share.
  • Stock up on host/hostess gifts for any parties you might attend. These could be bottles of wine, homemade cookies or a package of cocktail napkins. 

It’s even better if you can shop throughout the year. At the beginning of the year make a list of gifts you know you will need. Think of people when you’re traveling or spot something on sale. Then have a specific place (a labeled box) somewhere in your house to store these items. And make sure you label them so you remember who they’re for!

Action item: Start a list of people you need to buy gifts for and schedule a day (or 2) to do some gift shopping.

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 2 – Decorations)

This is the 2nd of a 4 part series on preparing for the holidays. Last week we talked about food for the holidays. This week we’re going to take a quick look at decorations.

  • Plan a time to sort through and put up your decorations.preparing for the holidays
  • Create a list of decorations you need to replace or supplement. Do you need more outdoor lights? Do you need more pumpkins for your centerpiece? Can you wait until after the holidays, when items are on clearance or do you need it before? Set a budget!
  • Plan time to take down and sort through your decorations. Purge items you haven’t used, are broken, or don’t enjoy anymore. Do you need more storage boxes for your items? We buy our kids Christmas ornaments each year to represent that year. This year, I’d like to start storing these ornaments in their own boxes, so when the kids move out, the ornaments are ready. 

Your action item for this week is to schedule time to put up your decorations! And while you’re at it, schedule time after the holidays to take them down.

Next week:  Gifts!

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 1 – Food)

It’s October. It’s time to start preparing for the holidays! You may still be figuring out what you are going to be for Halloween but Christmas decorations are creeping into stores (or have been there since August). That means the holidays are right around the corner. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, a New Year’s Eve party, or just want to be able to relax with your family, start preparing now!

The next few weeks we are going to look at different tasks for preparing for the holidays from food and decorations to gift buying and spending time with your loved ones.

Let’s start with food.

If you’re hosting a meal, dinner party or holiday event, keep reading! These are the tasks you need to get on your calendar!

  • Clean your oven. Do that now before you are putting your turkey in the oven or baking your favorite holiday treat!
  • Check the state of your linens, dishes, glassware, stemware, and serving dishes. Does anything need to be repaired? Do you need to buy anything? Make a list of what you need and schedule a time to complete this task.
  • Plan your menu. Do you provide the main meal and everyone brings side dishes? Or are you doing everything yourself. Figure out who is doing what and let everyone know ahead of time.
  • Write your grocery list. Watch for sales and stock up on items early.preparing for the holidays
  • Identify what can be made ahead of time and schedule time to prepare as much as possible before the big day.
  • Plan when you will start preparing those items that need to be made the day of. If people are bringing food, will they need the oven? Make sure there’s time to warm up everything before dinner. Can you use a crock pot or roaster to save room for other items in the oven?

Your action item this week is to start thinking about these tasks and get them on your schedule. It will help the holidays be much smoother!

Next post: Decorations!

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Jury Duty and Being Prepared

I recently spent 8 days serving on a jury. I was not prepared for this, as most cases in Denver last 2-3 days. As I realized I was going to be seated on this jury,  after the judge had said the case could take 8 days, I started thinking of how my life was going to be impacted. What would I need to reschedule and who would watch my kids?

I’m not going to say that I came home that day and magically got my life prepared for the next 2 weeks. We had take out for dinner as I was too tired to cook. And I’m sure we didn’t have the kids put their toys away before bed (which we try to do each night). I did do a load of laundry, gave my kids a few extra hugs, and figured out who was going to watch the kids the next few days.

be prepared

What I learned through this experience is how important it is to have some simple maintenance routines. We usually have our meals planned for the week. We prep much of our food on Sundays or early in the week. Our fridge has a drawer marked ‘raw meat only’ so we can defrost several days of meat/fish at once. This makes for easy dinners because food just needs to go in the oven. I did a load of laundry and cleaned the kitchen each night. And I spent a few minutes after the kids went to bed cleaning out emails, packing lunches, stocking the diaper bag, and identifying priorities for the next day.

Be Prepared

There are many simple organizing tasks you can do each day to keep on top of the clutter. If everything in your house has a home, it’s easy to put stuff away, see what needs to be replaced, or what you can get rid of. There are also plenty of things you can delegate. Can you hire a house cleaner? Someone to mow the lawn? Can your kids start doing more chores (put away their clean laundry, take out the trash, feed the pets). Do you need to reevaluate who does what tasks with your partner?

What are some tasks that you can start doing every day to make life a little simpler? Schedule some time with me (or send me a message) and let’s find a way to get some order back in your life! 

Morning and Evening Routines

morning and evening routinesSeptember is almost over. The school year has been underway for several weeks now. Hopefully, your command center is set up, your kids’ homework stations are working, and packing lunches are easy! Let’s take a few minutes to check in on your morning and evening routines. Are they still working for you?

Let’s start with your evening routine. The more you do the night before, the easier your morning is going to be. Here are some tips for your evening routine.

  • Plan breakfast for the next morning.
  • Pull out anything that needs to defrost for dinner and put it in the fridge.
  • Pack lunches for the next day.
  • Pack backpacks, purses, and bags with items needed for the next day. What events (soccer practice, piano lessons, choir, etc.) are happening? What does each person need for their activities?
  • Sign all permission slips and place them in backpacks.
  • Pick your clothes out (and have your kids’ pick out theirs).
  • Set alarm clocks!

Now that you’re ready for the next day, your morning should run a bit smoother. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready before the kids get up. This will help you feel less rushed. And make sure your kids get up with plenty of time to get ready. My daughter likes to read books or play for a bit before we head off to school. I plan time into our morning for that.

What other tasks do you need to complete in the morning? Get the dishwasher running, or dinner in the crockpot? Have a checklist on the wall by the door to make sure you have everything you need as you head out the door!

What changes do you need to make to your routines for your mornings smoother? Call me and let’s chat! Continue reading Morning and Evening Routines

Using Bins for Organizing Your Stuff

Today I want to talk about using bins or baskets for organizing stuff. I’ve recently switched my kids’ bookshelf to 2 white bins. My youngest likes to pull books off the shelf and this way she can pull one book at a time and the whole pile doesn’t come crashing off the shelf.

Bins should never have lids unless they’re storing something in a dusty room or aren’t in regular use. Keep the lids off hampers so you, your spouse, and your kids can easily toss clothes in them. Open bins for kids’ toys are also a good idea. I use bins of various sizes for my kids toys. My daughter’s legos are all in 1 open bin. It’s easy to get them out, easy to put them away. Her baby doll stuff is all in 1 bin. She likes to dump the whole bin on the floor, but we make a game out of putting them away. We simply see who can toss the clothes in the quickest.

I have a collection of weights and bands I use for physical therapy for my shoulder. I recently put the items in a bin so they’re not cluttering up my desk. I can easily pull them out when I need them and put them back when I’m done. We use bins in our pantry to keep onions separate from our potatoes. In our bathroom, each person’s toothbrush/floss/etc, are in separate bins in a drawer. It keeps them organized within the drawer and makes it easy for everyone to find their own stuff.

Bins are an easy way to keep stuff organized and collected. How can you use bins in your life? If you need help getting organized, call me today!

organize with bins

organize with bins