February 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A very sweet friend of mine has been feeling overwhelmed with her closet space. More so, she’s been struggling with the amount of clothes that are in her closet space as well as the dressers in her room. According to Megan, “The drawers are difficult to close because they’re so stuffed full.”
We all know the feeling. I know that I go through seasons of more and less clothing possessions. During my pregnancy the first time around, I purchased a few maternity shirts and shirts in larger sizes. I wore them so many times, I got sick of them. This time around with the second, I borrowed clothes from my sister and my friend, Brandi.
What I like about the borrowing is that I get to give them back. So now I’ve pulled out my “normal” shirts and placed my pregnant borrowings in bags to return to their original owners.
But what do you do when you aren’t pregnant and need of clothes to borrow? When your closet is too full and yet you keep changing sizes–and thus, you want to keep everything? Or when you just feel like getting one more flannel or pair of jeans? Let’s look at a few organizing techniques and perspectives to help with the stuffed closet.
5. Make THE List: As silly as it sounds, it’s true. Sit down and write out exactly what you wear on a weekly basis. You can be super specific (my baseball T with red sleeves) or extremely vague (2 pairs of jeans). The point is to see what you wear on paper. You’d be surprised at how little it is.
4. Add the Seasonal: This So Cal girl doesn’t really worry too much about seasons, but hot and cold happen even here. Add to your weekly list what you need when the weather changes.
3. Note What You Need: Is there anything missing from your closet that isn’t on your list? Is anything you have that you wear often in rags? Okay, so then ask yourself: Is there anything that I need right now? “Need” being the keyword. If there’s not, whenever you have the urge to shop bring THE List to mind and remind yourself of what you actually wear and of what’s in your closet. If you really love something try using one of these money-saving techniques:
• Tell yourself you don’t “need” it
• Remind yourself of what else you have that is similar
• Tell yourself you will always find something you’ll like while shopping
• Remind yourself of another item you have at home that you love
• Tell yourself to wait 30 days and then see if you still want it
Or do what I do the majority of the time: Avoid shopping altogether if you think you’ll be tempted to add to the closet.
2. Organize What You Have: If you can’t remember what you have in your closet, you probably have too much. Take what you own with your list in hand and organize it by type of item and season. You can pack away sweaters and jackets or just put them on the side of the closet you use less. If you need or have various sizes for one reason or another, apply THE List to each size. Place the size in a box and label it for later use.
1. Donate the Rest: Okay, you probably knew that was coming. But just in case you missed it, you should be giving away the items that you haven’t worn in the past year. If it’s just been sitting there, you won’t wear it anytime soon. I promise. Some exceptions might include a suit or a formal dress. Yet in all reality, if you didn’t wear that argyle sweater from your aunt last winter, you won’t wear it this one either.
Hope that helps a bit! The closet can be the most daunting place of all, that’s for sure. I love organizing, but clothes can be very sentimental and hard to part with. Even for a hard knock like me. I’ll probably never give away my thread bare Mickey Mouse shirt from my mom or my see-through Ziggy shirt from my Aunt Amy. Everything else is just closet stuff.
February 6, 2012 § Leave a Comment
It’s been a few weeks since Christmas and I’d imagine that’s long enough to put aside our attachments to the emotional side of the gifts we received and do some serious thinking. The meditation is simple, but can be difficult for sure.
What owns you?
Take five to ten minutes to ponder this. If you’ve got a second and are reading this blog during your lunch break, etc., write some things down. Your most favorite things.
Speaking of favorite things, I’m sitting here on the couch with the latest family member in my arms, my Edric, editing this post and remembering how good it felt to write this. To really sit down and think about what is important to me in this life. So here goes…
How do you decide on your most favorite things?
• If your house burned down with everything in it, what would you be crying about the most?
• If you lost this or that, would you be able to let go?
• Do you actually use your favorite things or are they more sentimental in nature?
There are no right answers to these questions. I’m not sitting here–on the other side of my iPhone writing this post–up on my high horse of minimalism or total materialistic and consumeristic control laughing smugly at your inability to not need “things.”
On the contrary, like a religious evangelism to some, I’m sitting here with fingers crossed that this meditation practice brings you freedom in your ownership. It’s not in the owning that we drown, but in the ownership of those things over us that’s a brick. I’ve seen too many beautiful friends–inside and out–that are constantly thinking about the next “thing” they’re saving for, can’t live without, needing/wanting, or going to get. And judging by the popularity of last years post, The Needs Discrepancy, you actually like thinking about this stuff (no pun intended).
So what around you has a hold of your heart? And what do you need to let go of? What are you gripping in the palm of your hand that is keeping you up at night, causing you to loose sleep? Where has your stuff gotten you? To need a bigger living space? To have so much that you lose things and can’t find what you need when you need it? Can you not keep track of what you have? Do you just keep getting more and more? When you purchase something or receive it as a gift, do you get rid of another thing at home to make space for the new? Do you keep things even though they don’t meet needs? Are you always gaining and never losing? Do you purge stuff only when absolutely necessary (like those holes in your socks)?
Just some thoughts to consider. We only have the capacity to fill our brains with and deal with so much. I’ve realized more and more that I stink at, get overwhelmed with, and would be better off with as little as absolutely possible. My addictive personality gets a little creepy with too much anyway. That being said, I personally have very little to my name. My daughter and hubby have more clothes and things than I, because I get too overwhelmed with and loose track of too much. Less is simply more to me.
All I’m asking is that you know yourself. Know your capacity to deal with things. If our place burned down, I would miss a few of my favorite things, but I would deal. And I would heave a sigh of relief in hopes that we wouldn’t have to replace it all. So, what owns you? What owns you. It makes all the difference in the world.
Photo: “Hmmm? What does own me?”
November 18, 2011 § Leave a Comment
A friend recently asked me how I keep my fridge so clean and organized, lamenting that she would like hers to look the same and asking about my system. It got to where it’s at through a few simple lifestyle changes and then I’ve just kept it the same. Trever, of course, has jumped on bored to my zen fridge style. And thus, our Weekly Eating began.
1. Start Here: Start with what you have. The problem most people encounter in the first place is overbuying for the week. Go shopping in your own cupboards and fridge. Create a meal plan list. Use up every last jar of pasta sauce, jam, dressing, etc. all before you shop again for more. Obviously, buy fresh fruit and veg when yours goes bad. Buy and use only fresh for the week.
2. Clean it Out: After you’ve taken inventory of your non-perishables, throw out the stuff that’s no good and expired. If you have items that are good that you never liked–like that dressing you didn’t care for–give it to a neighbor.
3. Keep Using: I know you still have stuff in your cupboards and fridge you haven’t used. Create a meal plan list. Buy fresh fruit and veg. Repeat as necessary.
4. Diet Plan: Once all the old is gone for the most part–condiments, spices, etc. should be left–figure out how you want to eat. You’ve given yourself a second chance to start from scratch. Decide what food you want to put into your body and stick to it. Put the list somewhere you’ll see it. Make it a family plan, if necessary. Start researching recipes that fit what you want to eat. Create a meal plan list.
5. Now the Shopping: The key to a clean, organized fridge is to shop for the week. Just the week and only the week. It’s a perspective change. It’s removing the bulk buy mentality or the that-looks-good point of view completely. You just buy what you need. For the week.
And that’s it! “What about if we run out of this or that,” you ask? You add it to the list for next week. You make do with what you have. You wait a few more days for it. I keep a running list of what I ran out of (usually spices) for my next shopping day. I shop for groceries at the store on Wednesday’s and at the Farmers Market on Thursday’s.
If you’re concerned about having food and water in an emergency, create an emergency kit. Store non-perishables that you can use for two or three days in that. Then you won’t have to fret any longer.
It’s simple enough. And it’s just one zen way to shop. What you eat should not be stressful. It should give you energy, make you feel good, and keep you from getting sick. That’s another food blog in itself.
Community Discussion: How will your cupboards and fridge change? What dietary updates would you like to make?
Photo: Fresh homemade tomato soup. 8 tomatoes, 1 yellow onion, 2 apples, 1 quart of veggie broth, and salt to taste. Blending till creamy: Optional.
September 30, 2011 § 2 Comments
I’m a firm believer in the fact that revelation comes in all shapes and sizes, from anywhere in life. Although recently it has come from, you guessed it, the fridge. An odd place to gain a bit of insight, but vivid and pertinent nonetheless.
After starring at my own fridge and the fridge of a handful of friends (I apologize to those if you know who you are), I realized that our refrigerator can say a lot about who we are, what we eat, and what our current mindset relatively might be.
I’m one of those weird constant-fridge-organizers. I can’t have my fridge in any state of disarray. I have to have it neat and orderly, clean and tidy. It mustn’t be overstuffed or too busy. This is in a nutshell a reflection of my organizing personality. I like to have my mind free of clutter as well as the living space around me.
If someone looked in my fridge they would think it sparring, with very little exciting or pre-prepared food. Although you might find some leftovers. And, of course, you’d see that we had no meat or preservative-filled food. Trever used to say that he couldn’t find anything in it. What he meant by that is that my fridge style was so simplistic that he didn’t know how to out snacks or meals together from whole foods. My solution? I wrote down an entire list of good things to eat that were filling, fresh, and on-hand. It’s still hanging on the fridge. And he still insists that my snacks and meals are more fun than what he creates.
So, that might very well be true. I love food. I like picking it out at the Farmers Market on Thursday and I love preparing it. Often times it feels like my creative expression of an artful medium. It says about me: I am simple, I’m silly, I’m a mom, I like color, I enjoy flavor, and I’m currently eating from week to week. I only store what we can eat, nothing more, nothing less.
Community Discussion: So, what does your fridge say about you? Is it reflecting your true current state of mind or does it need some adjusting?
I believe all aspects of our lives can reflect who we are. Our kitchens, our living space, our bathroom, our bedrooms. It’s important that they do so appropriately. Even if that means working towards it little by little. For you, that might mean having company over to decrease the amount of food, donating food to others or organizations, or taking a serious look at your meal planning and weekly food budget. It’s never too late to have a Refrigerator Revelation.
Photo: Our fridge.
February 28, 2011 § Leave a Comment
On Sunday, Audrey asked if she could have a writing pad that was on the dining room table and a pen. She took these items off me and climbed into her high chair and began to draw. I gave her a fun washable marker to enjoy. I have a feeling she’ll be like her Poppy. I love her unencumbered desire to explore. And I can tell you, I wish I was more like that.
I’m not sure when life gets confusing. When there’s so much going on in our heads that we can’t relax. That the creative side gets pushed to the back burner and we forget what we really love. I think one main problem I’ve found is I don’t give my self the time or space to get into a creative mindset. Hopefully the following tips will help you as they’ve helped me.
First things first. Find a place where you can sit back and relax, a place that is quiet (if you like that sort) or noisy (if it helps you think). Do whatever you need to do to get comfortable and settle your thoughts. If you’re like most of us, you probably have a huge plate of to-do’s. And we understand. Yet this is the perfect time to get focused on who you’re doing this for.
Tips to Relaxing:
• Find a quiet or noisy place, depending on your preferences (you may like complete quiet or you may like the noise of music or people’s voices like that of a coffee shop)
• Turn off any distractions (sleep your computer monitor and turn your phone on silent)
• Wear something comfy (as funny as it sounds, if you feel good in what you’re wearing it can greatly improve your focus)
• Close your eyes (but have a notebook close by so you can jot down your thoughts…you’ll probably have to open your eyes for that one)
• Focus on your creativity and your breathing, nothing else
Once you’ve gotten comfortable, focus on your creativity. What you do. Who you love to do it for. Why you love to do what you do. You may want to jot down your thoughts in whatever organization, or lack thereof, you see fit. If you can, get it down to a few (at most, four) ideas.
Here’s an Example:
• I love writing songs for myself because I can express what’s going on in my head
• I love writing songs for my hubby and Audrey because it captures that moment in time and let’s them know how I feel
• I love to write songs that express political and social issues in a non-confrontational way to create an awareness
• I love to write songs that are parabolic, so you have to think to get them
Sounds cheesy, right? Yet sometimes we can wake up in the morning and just start at it. Especially when we’re being creative. And we never sit down and focus on who we do it for, why we do it, and what our intent is. The fancy way to say that in the business world is: your target market, your mission, and your vision. Knowing these three things is volatile to every piece of creativity you make.
For now you want to figure out who you’re being creative for. If you’ve already got that down (perhaps you even have a mantra or a focus on a particular niche that focuses your creativity and increases your business on a daily basis), take time to revisit and revise. The above example is a very rough draft stream of thought. And that’s exactly what you should be doing. Creatively writing whatever that may look like for you. Before we begin, take some time to refocus your creativity.
(This post is part of Monday Madness: Creative Consulting Tips and Tricks of the Trade. Sign up for the RSS feed to never miss a post!)
February 4, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I can’t be the only one that feels that organizing one’s daily life is the hardest part. Ever since I can remember I’ve been a huge fan of organizing. I love to organize files, drawers, cupboards, thoughts, you name it, I’m there. When I was five, I would organize my toys. When I was eight, I would organize the pantry. When I was eleven, I would organize my dad’s work-related receipts. And by the time I got to college, I had organizing down pat. I could organize my homework, classes, work, and social life like no tomorrow.
Some don’t share the same zest with organizing as I do. I think I could even be a professional Organizer if I really wanted to. Definitely after I organized my ex-bosses 1700 square foot office that hadn’t been touched since 1996. It took me three weeks (whilst answering phones, putting clients’ individual taxes together, and doing other administrative tasks). But I did it. I think that’s what draws me to consulting, I feel like I’m helping people organize their lives.
That being said, I’ve noticed over the years, creative people often have the hardest time organizing themselves. Figuring out how to get your schedule organized and which project is the most pertinent will really help you see and track your progress (for lack of a better word). That’s Part I. Part II will go over how to estimate how long a project will take you and when you can expect to be completed. If you want to get organized to the max, be sure to come back and read Part II.
This post is obviously all relative to where you’re currently at. Some of you are trying to figure out what you want to do creatively, while others have been doing what they love for a while now and just need some organization. Trust me, we all do. The first groundwork that you’ll want to lay is your daily schedule, even if it be loose at best. I helped Trever with his when he stopped working a 9-5 back in October. He kept saying, “I can’t figure out how to get all this stuff done. I wish I had a schedule!” (If you need a more personal approach, contact me regarding one-on-one consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org!)
It’s fairly simple. Here’s an example of a full-time creative freelance work day:
9:00am Wake-up, eat brekky, and walk the dog
10:30am Do social networking/blogging
Noon Eat lunch/Make phone calls
2:00pm Do administrative/marketing tasks
4:00pm Run errands
6:00pm Eat dinner/network/schmooze
8:00pmish till midnight etc. Start creating!!!
It may seem silly, but breaking up your day so simplistically and even setting alarms so you don’t forget what comes next (like eating!) can help you simplify and really see where you’re going. It’ll also help you actually get things done. Because if you’re not setting out time to eat, market yourself, be with other humans, and create, something is going to falter and take the brunt of it all. Never a good thing.
If you’re still working that nine to five (whatever your hours may be), the best way to chip away at your creative process is to make time for it. Whether it’s two hours every night or on the weekends, do it! You’ll only work on it if you actually commit to putting it on your schedule. Once you do this, you can use a system of trial and error to figure out when the best time for you is. The above schedule is obviously for that artsy night owl. But you might write your best works in the am. Whatever it is, figure it out and schedule it in. Even if it amounts to getting used to living off of less sleep, the results from the creative output are tenfold in satisfaction.
If you are client-less at the moment (and not for long), you should seek out projects and goals that will help you get started and use the same client-importance timeline below as if those projects were paying clients (money should never be the #1 deciding factor).
When I ask a fellow artist how they decide what project they put the most work into or what they usually finish first, their response is usually whichever pays the most. In our social networking world though, that’s not what will help you to get your name out there. And your name is what you want to develop (whether it’s a pen name, your original name, your website, or anything else you go by). Even if you finish a few awesome projects and they take you forever, yet you don’t have a blog, a book, a website, or anything else to draw in your target market (the specific market segment, separated by age, geography, industry, gender, socio-economic status and so on, whomever you market your work to), no one will know who you are and your reputation will not be being built.
Let’s pretend that you have four clients to do work for. Organizing each client/project will be the most important factor in what you start with. Although the following list of bullet points is inconclusive and albeit relative, take time to figure out what is important to you. This is roughly what I go by:
• Who hired you first. The client that asked for a project to be completed should be the first to be completed, no matter who they are and regardless of pay.
• Who needs it first. If you have some clients who are more flexible on time, complete the projects that have the closest deadline.
• Who is communicating. Some clients have a more difficult time expressing their creative wants and needs. That’s normal. It’s important for you to have a list of questions to ask that will help you get started on their project, but if you get stuck and they’re not communicating, contact them every 48-72 hours and move immediately to the next project until they reply.
• Who can get you ahead. This should be the fourth thing on your list, not the first. If they hired you at the same time, need it at the same time, and are all communicating, choose the project that will stretch you and grow your rep.
And that’s the short list, but it will help you to get started towards some type of organization of your current projects. To run your business well, you have to be able to give your clients an estimate of how long it will take you to create what they need. Knowing how quickly you work is pertinent.
Also, communicating with your client how much time needs to be taken for their project is primary. You must send them a guesstimate of your date and time of completion as well as an estimated invoice for your work. Without this, you and your client are working blindly together. You don’t want either of you to be surprised by the outcome. These few steps will help you get more organized and use your creativity even more for your own profit, but if you don’t know how long it actually takes you be sure to read Part II for some simple tips.
(This post is part of Monday Madness: Creative Consulting Tips and Tricks of the Trade. Sign up for the RSS feed to never miss a post!)