Spending During the Holidays

The masses head out the door for the latest and greatest bargains and deals on Black Friday. Then comes Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales. Some people budget for what they will be spending during the Holidays, but most don’t.  Sales can make you overspend.

Keff Kreisler and Dan Ariety have co-authored a book titled, “Dollars and Sense: How we Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter. Their philosophy is that assessing value on something should be based on the pleasure you receive from the item you purchase and not on the cost.  When you spend $50; you spend $50 no matter what the savings, the markdown, or the discount. How we budget our money, the ease of payment, the list price, how fair the price seems to be, our expectations about a purchase, and whether we already own something does not affect value.Kreisler and Ariety point out, “Buying a $60 shirt marked down from $100 isn’t saving $40; it’s spending $60.” This is certainly a different mindset in our culture.

I am one who enjoys giving gifts.  I shop throughout the year for things I believe people will appreciate.  Consignment stores, discount stores, and online are places I make my purchases. Generally, I stay away from the larger department stores and try to be thrifty, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g my dollars as far as I can. The question is, am I being lured into these stores or online because of cost or because of value?

During the Holiday season, we tend to splurge more without contemplating what our credit card bill will look like in January. I encourage you not to be penny wise and pound foolish which means careful and economical in small matters while being wasteful or extravagant in large ones. What you think you may have saved in the sale will be added back in incremental credit card payments.

When it comes to gift giving, consider Compassion International, Heifer International, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, your place of worship, an animal rescue shelter, a local shelter or other charitable organization that is meaningful to you or to the person in whose name you will give a donation as a gift.  Ponder the option of re-gifting, passing along a family heirloom to the next generation along with the history of the item.  Share with them the sentimental value and allow them to grow in the knowledge of your ancestry. These type gifts can be profoundly meaningful.

Have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas.


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Tips on Paper Management

40.JPGThe start of a new year enhances our desire to Get Organized.  This month is an excellent time to begin healthy, organizational habits to maintain your desk and allow you maximum productivity.  Here’s four simple tips to get you started.

Tip One: Clear the clutter from your desk.  This could be a simple project or could take hours depending on how long you have neglected your workspace.  You need to remove unnecessary items from the desktop to minimize distractions.  The cleaner the desk; the clearer the mind.  Place special and favorite objects near your workspace but not on it.  Take advantage of shelving and bulletin boards for vertical space.

Tip Two: Open and sort incoming mail daily.  You have three options: file, act or toss.  If it is important enough to keep, file it immediately.  If you need to act, post a deadline on it and place it in the action folder.  Check this folder regularly. If the mail is of no importance, toss it.  Go to www.directmail.com to register and stop unwanted mail. Unfortunately, this does not stop mail addressed to Resident or Occupant. Create a specific storage place to keep all incoming tax-related documents.

Tip Three: Create file folders for current year’s documents. First thing is to clean out all of last year’s paperwork so you are ready to file current documents.  Old papers can be archived, put in the storage place with other tax-related documents or tossed if no longer relevant, again using the File-Act-Toss method. Color-code your labels to distinguish between financial, clients, resource, etc.  Each business and home will have your own personalized file labels to fit your needs.

Tip Four: KEEP DESK CLEAR! Can you hear me now? At the end of the day, remove all papers and folders. A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Conversely, a cleared desk is a cleared mind. You will not be stressed or distracted when you sit down at a clean desktop every morning. Instead, you will be able to get right to your “must do” list and increase your productivity. Designate time each week to remove unnecessary papers from your environment.  They can be archived, recycled, shredded or tossed.

I wish you well this new year.  If you need more help, contact me. I am only a phone call away.  540-420-2533

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Radio Interview on the Christian Perspective of Organizing

Listen to this enlightening radio interview with Eileen Koff, author of Organizing His Way.  She discusses the Christian perspective of organizing and disorganization affects our relationship with God and others.  It is 55 minutes long so curl up in a comfortable chair and tune in to podcast #70.

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1st Annual March Toward Simplicity Challenge

2016-03-03 12.45.35As marketing director for Faithful Organizers, I appeared on the Daytime Blue Ridge TV program. I was promoting our 1st annual March Toward Simplicity challenge.  Lindee Katdare, the host and producer of the program was excited to learn about the challenge and Faithful Organizers.

The way the challenge works is, each day the March Toward Simplicity challenge assigns a task to complete in about 1/2 hour.  They range from time management to productivity to de-cluttering to paper management.  Our goal for the challenge is to encourage those who desire to be organized to develop a daily good habit of doing something to achieve that goal.   They will see that by taking the time to do a quick task, they will see their progress by the end of month.  Hopefully, that will motivate folks to continue addressing areas of clutter and disorganization in their life.

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Seasonal Changes

2015-06-05 13.33.14Crisp fall air makes for pleasant outdoor chores. Seasonal changes are an excellent time to schedule organizing tasks. De-cluttering sheds, garages, storage units, even attics are much more tolerable to do on cool, sunny days. Dispose of chemicals and hazardous products carefully. Check with your local recycling center to see what they accept. Sometimes special dates are schedule for such items. You can also sort thru your seasonal decorations to see what is past its prime. Trade out your seasonal door wreaths, flags or banners.

Are your boxes, bins and bags labeled with the contents so you know what you have? I see this frequently when helping people sort through colored bins and cardboard boxes. They haven’t a clue what is in the container. If you are storing keepsakes, write down everything you know about the object so that the importance of each item is not lost. Others can then appreciate the significance of the item. Was it handmade? Has it been passed down through several generations? Does it have a story? Inquiring minds want to know but if you are not there to tell them, it is lost. Take a photo of the item and place it with the story. Does the item need to be insured? Are there heirlooms to pass along to the next generation? Perhaps this year you can re-gift the precious items to loved ones.

Make the process a family project. Get the household involved. You’ll be teaching them organizing skills, building relationships and passing along your family history.



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Change Your Life by Changing Your Mind

2015-08-14 17.21.15Are you happy with your environment? Are there things in your space that you would like to change? No change can take place in your life until your thoughts begin to change. Let me give an example.

I am currently working with a client who rents a home and has a young child. Every room in the place is overflowing with her stuff. She has lived in the unit for several years and naturally doesn’t consider it her own. Because of this thinking, she didn’t really care what the place looked like and how the family lived.

When I met with her for a consultation, she had come to the decision that she no longer wishes to live in that environment anymore. She wanted to create a more stable home for her son. Her desire was to teach her son to respect and take care of his things. She knew she had to step up and be the role model. We identified several behaviors that needed to change in order to reach her goals. This required a change in how she thinks.

My client was highly motivated when it came to organizing each room. We developed a plan. Each time we met, we reviewed her progress on her behavior patterns. Her place is small and there is limited storage. In order to bring anything new, something will have to go. This will take discipline. She will need to think through every purchase. Do I really need this? Where will it be stored? How often will I use it? Is this a luxury item or an essential? But it doesn’t stop there.  Once my work is done, my client will need to maintain the systems that we put in place. These systems fit her lifestyle and with motivation, accountability and perseverance, she can succeed.

Her goal is simple – a place for everything and everything in its place. Her new life is well within reach now. It all began with a change in her thinking.

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Living with Less

time managment, organizing
Treasured Possessions

A great deal of attention has been given to organizing in recent weeks.  Time magazine published a six page article entitled “The Joy of Less” on March 23rd.  The Washington Post also had a spread about how Millennia’s are not following in their parents footsteps with acquiring possessions.

The Washington Post reports that Millennia’s aren’t interest in their parents memorabilia, furniture or even their own sports trophies.  Auction houses and consignment stores are being inundated with furniture now that baby boomers are downsizing. Millennia’s are more interested in a simpler lifestyle and would rather spend their money on travel and entertainment.

The Time magazine article stated several facts that show how our society is over-indulgent.  One such fact is, “Children in the U.S. make up 3.1% of the world’s kid population, but U.S. families buy more than 40% of the toys purchased globally.” Another stat is, “household moves outside the U.S. weigh from 2,500 to 7,500 lb.  The average weight of a move in the U.S. is 8,000 lb., the weight of a fully grown hippo.” 75% of households with a garage can not park their cars inside, according to a decade long study conducted by a UCLA team led by Elinor Ochs.

Millennia’s are living in smaller places.  They prefer urban, mixed-use residences as opposed to the palatial, suburban home of their parents. That can lead to another problem, storage space.  In 2013, the self storage industry revenue was $24 Billion – that is with a B.

Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,  urges her readers to keep only the things that bring them joy while redistributing the rest. In her book, Organizing His Way, Eileen Koff writes two chapters entitled Where Your Treasure is, There Your Heart Will Also Be and An Idol Called Clutter.

If you are a baby boomer, you may want to consider minimizing your purchases which are only a click of the button away.  You also may want to stop adding to collections that you love dearly but your offspring do not.  Downsizing doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process.




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Priorities, Focus and Transform

Kathy-MeckleyThere are three words that keep reoccurring in my life recently.  They are priorities, focus, and transform.  Transform is what my business is all about since I have that as part of my business name. My goal is to enable clients to recognize what is contributing to their disorder so clients are able to transform their environment, change old habits and even lifestyles.  But the other two; I have had to meditate on why they keep appearing in reading material, ads, conversations, etc.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  If something keeps reappearing or reoccurring in my life, I figure that God is trying to get my attention about something I need to address in my life.

 Like many of you, I am involved in multiple projects.  I am re-examining what my priorities are and what my focus is.  What I am discovering is that even though I am an empty nester, I have allowed myself to say yes to too many things.  Now I have several deadlines to meet every week while other priorities like personal interests and exercise are neglected.

 Proverbs 31 is the story of a woman who does it all. When we read about her, we think she sets the standard.  Remember, what she accomplishes is over her lifetime not during a stage in her life, like being an empty nester.  She was able to accomplish so much, do it well and be honored because she set her priorities – God first, family second, career third. Then she stayed focused on the task organizing her day and her daily activities.

 For me, a new beginning this year began with re-evaluating my priorities and staying focused on what is truly important in my life. I am analyzing my habits and even my lifestyle. I still need to meet my obligations of what I have already committed to so my schedule needs to reflect this.  Set your priorities and stay focused. It’s doable.

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Renovare a new beginning

ClutterDoes your house need a new beginning, a renewal?  Renovare means to renew in Latin. Professional organizers around the world are promoting the month of January as Get Organized month. Getting more organized ranks fourth in top ten lists of resolutions.

We all can afford to shed a few extra pounds in our homes, especially after the holidays.  Everyone gets new clothes, toys, games, and special gifts. Where do you stuff it all?  Your house is ready for a new beginning.  Analyze what area bothers you the most.  Make it a priority to renew and refresh that space.  Before you begin, be sure to have a plan in place.  Have people who also use that space know your intentions and have them join you in the effort.  Without that plan and support, you will get discouraged early on and the project won’t be completed.

Don’t rush to the store and purchase all kinds of organizing paraphernalia before you begin. You need to know what you are going to keep to know what you need to store and how you are going to store it.  The supplies you will need are boxes, bins, labels, markers, possibly a shredder and two different colors of extra large trash bags.  Use one colorfor the keep items and the other to be redistributed.

I recommend you tackle your biggest project first.  After that, the smaller projects will be a piece of cake (kinda sorta).  At least, you will be more motivated to complete them.  The hardest thing to overcome is ourselves.  We make excuses as to why we can’t or don’t get started.  That is the procrastinator coming out in us.  That is why a plan is so important!  Minimize distractions so you can focus.  Take a few breaks but keep them short so you can stay focused.  Stay nourished and hydrated.  The work is demanding both physically and mentally.

If you are stuck, you can always call me.  I offer a variety of services and packages to fit most budgets.  I don’t judge, offer encouragement and follow the code of ethics established by Faithful Organizers.  Get  renewed. Get organized!

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Organizing is Preparation

Peace on earth
Peace on earth

December brings the festivity of Advent- a time of preparation.  We are given an entire month to prepare.  We prepare for Christmas – gifts, food, social time, Christ’s birth.  We prepare for the New Year – resolutions, financial documents, goals.  We create lists and schedules.  Being organized is crucial to stay on top of all that is happening around us in addition to our regular daily activities.

Organization is a need not a want. It brings us joy because when we accomplish our tasks, we can focus on the things that really matter to us.  It brings us peace because we have the freedom to do the things we enjoy the most in life.  It brings us hope because we know that through God all things are possible.  We realize that with discipline, we can maintain our organized environment and lifestyle. It brings us love because we can appreciate all the blessings we have received from our heavenly Father.

Give yourself a gift this Christmas and be organized.  SEE IT!  Seek, Evaluate, Execute; In (a) Timely (fashion).  If you need any guidance, give us a call.  We are more than happy to assist you with your needs.

Have a very blessed Christmas and a Joyful New Year.

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