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Change NOW

Are you already planning your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you decided that next year will be THE YEAR! Change is going to happen, it will stick!

We spend all Holiday Season hyping ourselves up for the big changes we are going to make. The new life we will create for ourselves. We cut ourselves slack in so many directions because when it is all over we will make the big changes. We will get our act in gear. Become the people we were always meant to be.

Then New Years rolls around, we try to take on way more than is acceptable, and all of our big changes end up crashing and burning. We try to change too many things all at once. Then none of them end up working.

What can we do to change this? How can we keep this obnoxious cycle from perpetuating? Why does it always happen this way? Oh the agony! Stop suffering, change now!

Here are some things you can do to change now:

Start NOW!

Far too often we put things off. I will start in a few weeks. I will start after this hard time passes. After the Holidays, etc

When we wait, our results don’t come. When we wait, it is that much easier to keep waiting or to never start.

Know the bigger change you want to make

It is very important to know the end result you want to achieve. There is no way to get to your goal is you do not have one set in place. If you can see the big picture you can break it down and work on it piece by piece.

Start Small

There is no need to try and eat the whole elephant at once. Try making small changes that will work you up toward reaching your goals. Take the smallest step possible and work up from there. Whether it is 5 push ups. Half a glass of water. New Shoes. Etc.

Be easy on yourself

You will miss a day. Mistakes will be made. It will all be ok in the end! Do not beat yourself up because you at a cookie. If you get stuck in the monotony of life. This is why we take things one step at a time.

Know what you should avoid

There are plenty of things, people, and other habits that can knock us off track from reaching our goals. As important as it is to stick to the positive changes we are making, it is just as important to stay away from the things that could bring us down or keep up stuck in the same place.

Plan ahead

If you can be prepared for the best and the worst you have a better chance of success. Of course don’t allow your need to prepare to cause you to not start? Having healthy snacks prepared. Dreaming about the adventures you want to take. Or having an adventure bag in the car at all times.

Try putting some of the tips into place and CHANGE NOW! Seriously, do a few squats, leave for an adventure walk, call a family member, etc. Let us know what change you want to make and where you are starting!

3 Houses for Thanksgiving

If you come from a broken home or a very large, close family, you probably have had a few holidays of bouncing around from place to place… If you are new to the multi-house holiday you are in luck!

I am a pro!

Let me first explain why I am so good at these things, then I will let you in on some of my tips on how to make this jammed packed day run more smoothly for you and everyone else you are dragging along with you.

Some of you may already know that when I was 2.5 my parents divorced, and quite frankly ugly hardly explains it sometimes. I am pretty sure both of my parents know what the word compromise means. However, just because we know the meaning of a word does not mean we must put it into practice. Now if it was only the two households perhaps this wouldn’t be such an issue.

As if only in an effort to make things more complicated for everyone, my dad married into a very large, very family-centered Italian family. On holidays like Christmas we could have to visit 3 different places just for my step mother’s side.

I also forgot to mention that my father’s mom is was also divorced… twice. At some point in my childhood I had my dad’s dad’s house I needed to go to. And for some reason my mom rekindled a relationship with my dad’s stepdad for a short period of time. Is your brain ready to explode yet?

That means as some point in my life for major holidays I was dragged around to:

  • Mom’s house
  • Nana and Poppy’s – Mom’s parents’ house
  • Grampy Time – Dad’s stepdad outing – thankfully I think this was only once
  • Dad’s house
  • Grammy B’s – Dad’s mom’s house
  • Pop’s – Dad’s dad’s house
  • Sandy and Joe’s – Stepmom’s parents’ house
  • Stepmom’s grandparents’ house
  • Whichever other of stepmom’s relative was hosting that year’s house

For Christmas every year, my sisters and I saw 9 houses for the Holidays!! That is just sheer insanity. Not to mention if you added in good friends of the family and such — I am exhausted just writing about it!

Thankfully, Thanksgiving was a little calmer, but it is also only ONE day instead of being able to spread it out over at least 2 if not more. Regardless there was always at least 3 houses I was dragged to, and eventually found my way to during Thanksgiving.

So how do you make the multi-house holiday work?

First, I want you to be sure that you know, there is definitely some planning that goes into this.

Start with Information Gathering

  1. Find out what time everyone is serving dinner, who will be there when, etc.
    1. A lot of time there are other friends and relatives coming in and you want to make sure you time it with the people you want to see, or just “happen” to miss those you careless to see…
  2. Figure out if you are required to bring something to any or all of the places
  3. Know who is the most forgiving and understanding of your situation
  4. Determine when is an acceptable time to start the day (potentially showing up early somewhere) and what time you want to be home
  5. Map out your destinations and driving time between each

Share your plan

  1. Make sure every place you are going is aware there are other places you need to be also. Be sure to let them know how thankful you are that you get to spend some time with them and that they are a part of your life.
  2. Give a loose idea of when you will be at each place.
  3. Let the kids know your plan ahead of time. If there are other kids when you show up try to share that Tommy can play till such and such time. It is best to set the expectations up front.

Eat Strategically

  1. DON’T use the big plate! If you have multiple places to go it is far too easy to fill up at the first house and then make everyone else made because you didn’t eat. Smaller plate means less room for all the food.
  2. Pass on the rolls and chips and dip! Seriously, it makes a big difference!
  3. Consider letting the later place know you will just be having dessert so they are not waiting on dinner for you and so you don’t feel obligated to eat more food.
  4. Ensure the desserts for the kids are either packed to go at the first couple houses or at least minimized. I was a eater so I always ate real food at almost every house, my sisters on the other hand when right for the junk food. Know your kids habits and have a plan in place before hand.
  5. Bring your own tupperware. If you can’t fit in Aunt Sherry’s stuffing, there should be no need to miss out on it completely. Usually, there is more than enough to go around and they are happy that you like something enough to want to take it home.

It can be fun!

Multi-house holiday dinners can be fun and productive if you do them right. With a little planning, self control, and positivity you can make the most out of any hectic holiday hopping adventure.

Please keep in mind these are not full-proof. You may hurt someone’s feelings who is used to having you all to themselves for the full day. A kid could get super cranky from being dragged across the state and back again. Regardless, they should be able to get you started on a better trajectory for a happy Thanksgiving.

We would love to hear about your multi-house holiday stories! Feel free to email us at jessica@toporganizing.com.

Earn Back Time

Do you ever find yourself wishing for more time in a day? How about wondering where the day went? Or how are you supposed to be able to get everything on your to-do list accomplished? Wishing the feeling of overwhelm would go away already? Do not worry you are not alone! These are some of the most popular feelings I hear on a regular basis from clients and friends alike. I regularly get asked how do you do all of that? Do you ever sleep? How do you have so much energy?

Time management plays a big role in how we manage our lives, including setting our priorities, handling mundane daily tasks, and planning and preparing for the future. If we let time take over and lose our control it is very easy to let a lot of other things go to the overwhelm and chaos.

Understanding your life from a time perspective is fairly simple, however, I will not promise that it is easy. Many people get to the first step and break down or give up. It is ok if this happens, just promise yourself you will keep coming back to it until you have completed it and can move on.

Why is step one so difficult you ask??

Well, much like other areas in our lives, if it difficult because we are forced to get absolutely, 100%, serious and honest with ourselves. We have to take a full inventory of our lives, our activities, responsibilities, and our desired for where we want to go.

Part one actually has multiple parts, so we are going to start with the basics and then, build upon it. I am going to put in my work, so feel free to copy and paste as you need to. I encourage you to do this over a few days because undoubtedly more things will pop into your head, be sure you carry a pad and pen with you this week to capture them as you go…

I am sure you are wondering what the heck I am babbling on about… so here it goes:

Everything I Do Challenge

Over the next week keep a running tally of everything you do! Every activity, responsibility, group, club, etc.  Try to be as specific as possible. I personally like to break things down into the different parts, because I may not mind one part of a process of activity and really dislike another part of it. Example: Laundry — can be broken down into – sorting, washing, folding, putting away. Meals – shopping, prep, cooking, eating, clean up.

If you are going to do this on the computer consider doing this in excel with different tabs for the separate areas of your life… this may assist in keeping the overwhelm down a bit. WARNING: You may feel exasperation, dizziness, frustration, overwhelm, confusion, surprise, elation, or exhaustion looking at a complete list of all of the things you do.

Try to add in the things you would LIKE to do too. If you really want to join a bowling league, book clue, exercise, etc. put that into your list as well. 

When you are writing down your activities consider the following categories:

  • Family
  • Career
  • Financial
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Intellectual

I would love it if you would share you experiences with this and how it is making you feel. Please reach out if you are feeling overwhelmed, or like you need to give up. I am happily here to support you and keep you moving through the process. If you need to step away and come back that is perfectly ok, but make sure you come back!

The Power of Why

In the journey down the Organization Process path, we start with the power of why. Time Order Purpose Organizing always asks our clients to start with their why. This seemingly simple question is so integral to your organizing success, as well as propelling you forward in all of life.

The Power of WHY

Why do you do what you do? Why do you want to get organized? Why are you in the place you are at? Why will any of this make a difference in your life? Why were you brought into this world?

For a second, pretend you are 3 and think of all the WHY questions you can possibly imagine around this process, your life, your goals, and your purpose.

Take some time and answer each of these questions. I encourage a blanket sheet of paper and just letting your imagination go. Try to open your mind and let whatever is in there flow out. Consider having different colored writing utensils to help you be more creative in the process.

Below you will find some of the answers I have come up with for my WHY questions. You can find more at toporganzing.com/blog.

My Values:

Values

  • Make a Difference
  • Adventure
  • Knowledge (gaining and sharing)

My Vision:

Make your vision bigger

  • Change the world through transforming the entitlement epidemic into a responsibility response.
  • Change education to teach our children about money, marriage, parenthood, time management, selling, personal development, decision making, feelings, and communication to name a few
  • Share my All In Organization Program with the world to help families come together to fight entitlement, create time and space to realize and chase after their passions and greater purpose, and to bring up fantastic future husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, etc.
  • Help divorced families minimize fighting, put the kids first, see the potential damage that can occur, and help create good boundaries, standards and expectations, and better communication. Additionally, assisting them in the home transitions and set ups

Purpose and WHY I do what I do combined:

Purpose

  • I will change the world. I will be the change I want to see in the world – the example.
  • Dreams – I want people to dream and to know it is possible that their dreams can come true.
  • So many people have helped me, I want to pass it on. I want to help people.
  • I want to make a big impact. I have never felt like I have made a big impact on people lives or the world working for other people. I did not enjoy working for their dreams.

When we invest some time into finding WHY we discover our true driving force. We connect with a knowing that helps direct us, make better decisions, and ultimately get us back on course when we veer off. I encourage you to discover your why and get on the path to your greater passions and purpose.

Tame Your Closet

For some this is a quick and easy process. For others this may seem daunting and nearly impossible. Have no fear there is actually a very easy way to do this, so that it does not seem overwhelming to you.

Depending on the amount of clothing you have, how dispersed they all are, your willingness to make a quick and final decision many of you will need to plan ahead for somewhere between 5-10 hours. This is in part because you have not yet honed your decision making skills around decluttering, you will probably get side tracked (its normal when you do not have a professional there to help), and for many there will need to be some time to collect ALL of the clothing. YES ALL! Seasonal stuff, stuff from the laundry, things hiding in cars, other people’s closets, under the couch, etc.

Well now that you are all thinking I am crazy, talking about all of your clothes… you are probably wondering well how the heck am I supposed to do this??

Before we start we need to set some criteria…

Remember, I believe there are only 3 reasons you should keep anything:

  1. It brings you joy
  2. It enriches your life in some way
  3. It has a specific and immediate purpose

Bonus: You can set some expectations for yourself now, too. Example: I will minimize my number of shoes to no more than 30 pairs. I will donate 2 garbage bags worth of clothing. I will only keep the amount of t-shirts that fit in this drawer. I will get rid of anything bigger than my current size.

Make space to create your piles:

  • Keep (bed, couch, or table)
  • Donate (Box, or clearly labeled bag)
  • Consign (not necessary, but some people like to try and get money back for their items)
  • Toss (regular old trash bag works great)
  • Action (these items need a new button, to be dry cleaned, or taken in)
  • I Don’t Know — This one is important, but you must be sure to NOT over use it (another box, basket, or another small space)
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All of my tops. pants, dresses, and scarves. This is the start of the process.

Now that we are ready physically and mentally, let’s get started!

Break your wardrobe down into categories: primarily tops, bottoms, under garments, accessories. If you have an overwhelming amount of clothes you may want to consider some of the following sub categories:

  • Tops: tanks, t-shirts, going out, long sleeves, collared, sweaters, sweat shirts, etc
  • Bottoms: dress shorts, casual shorts, dress pants, jeans, khakis, pj’s, etc
  • Undergarments: socks, under ware, bras, sport bras, tights, stockings, long johns, etc
  • Accessories: belts, hats, scarves, belt buckles, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, watches, ties, etc

Take everything from one category (main or sub) and pile it up in the area you have created for sorting. Be sure to take everything off hangers.

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Now, one-by-one pick up each item. Yes, you must handle each item! You will make a decision about the item and place it in its appropriate place.

Mindsets to be aware of:

  • I spent so much money. Please try to keep in mind how much joy and excitement someone else if going to receive from this new to them item.
  • I have not even worn this yet. It is easy to see something with tags on it and regret your decision to buy it or try to convince yourself you will wear it soon. If it does not fit into the criteria above, let it go.
  • Maybe I will fit back into this. If you are holding onto multiple sizes because your weight fluctuates be sure that you are restricting how much you hold onto in either direction and that at whatever weight the clothes you keep you LOVE.

When setting up your clothes organization in your closet keep these ideas in mind: (You don’t have to follow them to a T, but they really do make a difference)

  1. Keep like with like together (long sleeves, dresses, skirts, tanks, etc)
  2. Longest items on the left of your closet; shortest to the right
  3. Darker colors on the left side and move right to light colors

EXAMPLE: My closet:

  • Dresses
  • Business jackets
  • Zip up, long sleeved sweaters and tops
  • Long sleeved shirts
  • 3/4 length sleeved shirts
  • Short sleeved tops
  • Tank tops
  • Sweaters (I hang these special, check out the video)
  • Skirts
  • Business pants

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  1. Keep like with like
  2. Try to make all of your clothing stand up vertically, instead of piled on top of each other horizontally
  3. Put darker colors to the back of the drawer and getting lighter toward the front of the drawer

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Be sure to take care of your action items.

  • Take the garbage out of the house.
  • Put donations in your car to go to your favorite charity place.
  • Put dry cleaning in the car to be dropped off.
  • Anything that needs buttons or repairs, be sure to put that into action.

Enjoy your new found clothes organization and the benefits that it brings!

  • Enjoy more time in the morning
  • Love the way you look and feel every day
  • Know that you made someone else very grateful because of your donations
  • Feel excitement over the ability to bring in new pieces that are right for you
  • And so many more!!

How to Organize like an Organizer

Recently, I have upped my organizing material intake. This has in turn made me look around more closely at my environment and realized it has been a while since I have taken stock of what I have and how it is working for me. I have decided its high time I share with you my organizing process.

First, I want to break some illusion you may have that organizers are ALWAYS PERFECTLY ORGANIZED… it just doesn’t happen. We are humans, we sometimes get piles, we cannot always control life or the people in our lives. We generally can bounce back quicker than most because we have a god foundation to work off and in general freak out before it can ever get too bad.

That being said, I am the type of person who has moved on average once every 10-12 MONTHS of my life… so I was regularly doing major declutters, reestablishing systems, etc. However, last year was the first year in my adult life that I ever renewed a lease for my home. In addition to this, I am on my 3 set of roommates, hosted people on AirBnB and had a live-in boyfriend with his two kids on the weekends. My home has seen a lot over the last almost two years, and therefore, I decided it was time to do some overhauling using my personally designed organizing process. This new found energy could also be because I just read a book about minimalism and it really excites me!

I have vowed to take myself through the same organizing processes I work with my clients on, and share the experience with you. You can expect me to share my stories, ideas, thoughts, concerns, and the details of what exactly I have or am doing. I will do my best to share pictures, tips, tricks, and even horror stories.

Organizing Process Step One: Goals

The most important place to start is always with discovering your values, vision, and goals. Stay tuned for a break down on how to discover these three things, what to do with them, and how they play a part in completing the ultimate organizing process.

For more tips and information on whole life organization techniques TOPOrganizing.com is your go to resource.