Every day, during my morning walk, and after my daily
prayers are done, my mind is wide open to the random thoughts that come pouring
in. Sometimes a song will arrive and get stuck. Like the needle on the record
(for those of you old enough to know what I’m talking about, thank you) the few
catchy lines of the song repeat over and over – until a new random thought
arrives to kick the lyrics to the curb. Sometimes, something I see or hear
triggers a connection to an organizing theme and provides the subject and
fodder of an upcoming newsletter or blog.
A recent and sudden change in a family member’s living
arrangements, translated into a recent and sudden change in mine. Of course,
this family member, who for the sake of privacy shall be named Alice, is always
welcomed. I would do whatever necessary
to ensure a warm and welcoming environment, especially if the circumstances
leading to this sudden change weren’t so good.
The guest bedroom was ready with furnishings so there was no
problem in deciding where in the house Alice would stay and call home for a
The recent Nor’easters plunged many New Englanders into the
dark. The lights went out, along with the heat and hot water, the Internet, and
phone service. We were left powerless.
Downed wires and fallen tress across roadways and on rooftops made for dangerous conditions and added to the prolonged toil of digging out in the hopes of getting back to normal quickly. The days stretched on endlessly for some, and promises of
flipping the switch were only a dream away. We were at the mercy of utility
workers, who no doubt were working feverishly around the clock, to identify the
causes of the damage and restore the simple and everyday amenities we have come
to take for granted.
Recently, I have found myself more and more working in the
homes of people who may have hoarding disorder. I say people who ‘may have’
because I do not know of a confirmed diagnosis. Based on the volume of stuff
and accumulations of categories of items saved, it sure does seem that way.
Just as often,
though, I am working in a high-end home, apartment or condo and sorting
through, shall we say, ‘excess’ stuff. Although the volume of belongings does
not exactly fit the description or definition of hoarding, it can sometimes
feel the same way.
I recently worked with two clients whose closets couldn’t be
more different. The contrast was remarkable. One closet was jam-packed with not
an inch to spare, and by inch, I mean the smallest measurable increment known
to man. The condition of quite a few pieces was poor – tattered and stained.
Yet, these were hung next to luxury brand, high-end pieces, many new with the
tags hanging on them, and in the client’s view were just as much an integral member of the
wardrobe as any other piece. Every item seemed to hold the prize for the ‘I wear
it all the time’ contest.
introduced a tradition several years ago that he and I continue to celebrate every Thanksgiving morning. While the turkey is roasting, also his idea, we enjoy a champagne toast. It's really more than a toast. It's our time to talk about whatever current events are happening among our family and friends, plans for the holiday season that begins in earnest on this day, reflecting on the past year and what we hope to accomplish in the new year ahead. Of course, giving thanks for all that we have no matter the circumstances, and remembering loved ones passed, is a part of our champagne conversation.
Back to school. Back to work. Back to appointments. Back to practices and games. Back to fundraisers. Back to field trips. How will you keep it all straight? A Family Command Center can hold all in the information your family needs to know and go. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Tips to Create a Family Command Center
an area of the house that is easily accessible to all family members. A high traffic area, the ‘drop spot’, a kitchen
counter, family room bookcase, entryway or home office desk are all good
These were words never spoken during a recent vacation shared with my husband - a vacation away from clocks, schedules, things that had to be done and at a certain time. It was freeing, liberating. Time took on new meaning and was meaningless. We responded only to our desires of the moment. When we were sleepy, we slept; when we were hungry we ate, when we were well-rested, we awoke; when we wanted more ice cream, we got more ice cream. What more could we ask for in a vacation?
It had to be done. I knew it. It was the right thing to do. It’s what I would have advised someone else to do. Get rid of them.
My most favorite boots, and dare I say my most favorite footwear had to go. They had ripped,although I don’t know when or under what circumstances it happened, and they no longer held the value they once had. Truth be told, I purchased these beauties as a result of returning another pair I had received as a gift. So often in the past I have kept a gift just because it was a gift or I didn’t want to be ‘caught’ not wearing/using/displaying it.
I moved my coffee maker from one counter to another. That one simple change, I realized, has just yielded me about six additional (free!) hours a year. That's quite a return on this seemingly unimportant, barely noticeable investment in kitchen counter real estate.
How, you ask?
Well, in its former position, gathering the all-important eye-opening supplies and collecting the milk and sugar to accompany my morning Joe took only about a minute of my time.