Tuesday, July 23, 2013

One Man's Treasure Is Another Man's Junk

For years I held on to a Cherry wood set of 3 nested tables. They were in the French Provincial style and the largest one, the one on top, was inlaid with leather. It was true that they had their share of scars. One leg had been broken off of one of the smaller tables. It had been amateurishly re-glued but I had visions that an expert craftsman could do the job well. There were green stains on the leather from some unknown source and some kind of medicine salve had marred the Cherry wood finish  In my mind, however, these were Cherry wood tables and the flaws only temporarily obscured their beauty.

It was with confidence that I took my treasures to the antique store. "We buy old things", the sign outside said. I walked proudly in carrying my valuable nest of tables. What a find they were about to have! Ten minutes later I walked out carrying what had been a potentially valuable nest of tables. They were now a valueless, broken down, has-been. The dealer had tried to find some value in them but in the end he said their condition was just too bad. For years I had kept them for sentimental reasons because they were among the first of my household acquisitions. Still later I kept them, convinced they were valuable and would be wanted by someone. In the end, the Salvation Army was kind enough to take them off my hands for nothing. I harbor no illusions that the Salvation Army saw their beauty and refinished them. Those highly esteemed tables which had lived in my home in various states of disrepair for so long were undoubtedly disposed of unceremoniously in some warehouse dumpster.

On several occasions I have found that much of what I think is of value isn't. I cleaned out a book shelf and had many text books and other obviously important tomes which I took to the used book store. Rejected. I had bicentennial dishes which I took to the used china shop. Rejected. They didn't even want them for free.

I have benefited in two ways from these experiences. In the first place, I don't have junky tables, china, and books sitting around because their rosy-eyed owner thinks they are worth something. That's a relief. I also don't have the illusion that junk is of value. That's a relief too.

Now I will be able to throw away potential treasures with a lot clearer head. My opinion is that those of us who are Messies think that the items we collect are a lot more valuable and in demand then they really are. Do you have something siting around because "who knows how much it might be worth." Take my word for it. One man's treasure is probably another man's junk. In this case, the truth will make you free -- free to throw it out without looking back with guilt. That's the biggest relief of all.

Warmly,
THE ORGANIZER LADY® 
Sandra Felton
My newest book
Founder, Messies Anonymous


Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Key to Keys - The real problem

There is one more very real problem with keys besides locking them in the car - losing them. 

If you lose your keys, you really have two problems. 

The first, of course will be that you don't have the keys to open the doors you need to open. This was easily solved by having the important ones duplicated in your coin purse. 
We usually would like to get that set of keys back. We are tempted to attach our name and address on the keys so that anyone finding them can return them.

The second problem is that someone else may have possession of your keys. If your keys fall into the hands of a dishonest person, you could easily suffer loss at their hands because you have provided your address to them. With your address they have access to your car and most likely, also to your home. Don't even put just your name and phone number on the keys. It is too easy for anyone to look up your address.

Keys can be a problem if you are forgetful as I am. Let's make duplicates and keep our identification separate from the keys. Life gets much easier that way. The bag boys won't even know you've locked your keys in the car when you reach into your purse and open the door.


Warmly,
THE ORGANIZER LADY® 
Sandra Felton
My newest book
Founder, Messies Anonymous

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Key to Keys

As I looked across the parking lot in front of the grocery store, I saw several bag boys gathered around a car. Several encouraged the two who had straightened coat hangars. They were trying to force the make-shift "snake" to catch the lock of the unyielding door. A frustrated mother with a baby on her hip and groceries melting in her cart stood by hoping for success.

When I came out, the car was gone. Were the bag boys successful or was it the work of a highly paid locksmith? Or was a long suffering husband called off his job to deliver another key?

I thought about my days of frustration over being locked out of my car. I remember the melting groceries and the bothered neighbor who delivered the other key.

Messies, myself certainly included, are frequently distracted. Habits are hard for Messies to establish and mine may falter at any time.

Let me tell you what I have done. I have had extra keys made which I carry in my coin purse. I have locked the keys in the car more than once recently, but I have not been locked out! When I see the keys hanging there in the ignition, I just smile and reach for my coin purse. The problem is solved!

If you find that you lock yourself out of the car or house, don't keep saying, "I'll try harder to remember. Next time I'll check before I lock the door." Trying to remember takes extra energy and frequently is futile. Forget trying to remember. Instead, make duplicate keys and keep them in your purse.

There is one more problem with keys - losing them. I'll share my ideas on how to keep our keys safe when they are lost, next time!


Warmly,
THE ORGANIZER LADY® 
Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Secret Weapon for Dejunking the House

Memories don't take up any room. They don't clutter the table or closet. They can all be stored for easy review in the shelves and corners of our minds. It might seem that Messies could substitute their mental memories for all of the things they gather around them for sentimental reasons.

The truth that Messies cannot satisfactorily substitute mental memories for sentimental clutter because their ability to remember is frequently very poor. We save "remembrances" in order to try to conserve the memories of important events in our life which we might otherwise forget either completely or partly. By keeping the souvenir from our vacation or the sea shell from a day at the beach, we are trying to keep the brilliance of our memory fresh. If our past fades, an important part of our self fades.

In the past, I have written about substituting pictures (in moderation) for the souvenirs and the keepsakes that become just so much junk after a while.

Now I want to share another method of preserving our past. In a way, it is even better than pictures. This method is the keeping of a journal.

I use a spiral bound 6" x 9" plain, ordinary student-type notebook. This size is convenient for me, but, of course, any size you like will do. The notebook is not so big that if I should lose it, I would lose a large party of my writing. In my journal I write of the day's happenings and my feelings and thoughts about them. Sometimes my writing is daily. Sometimes I skip days. I find that keeping a journal does several things for me.

It satisfies the desire I have to ensure that my memories will not be lost, blotting out bits of my life which I am reluctant to release.

Another reason the journal is good is because it clarifies my thinking. As I take time to write events and thoughts, priorities and plans begin to form.

The third reason journal keeping is beneficial is because it forces me to take the time I need to focus on my life and its place in the world. It is a way of treating myself with dignity and it reinforces that dignity.

Why don't you think about a journal for yourself. Perhaps you will find that a journal will satisfy your memory keeping so well that you won't feel the pressure to keep trinkets. After a while, you may want to get rid of some of the trinkets you already have. The day they are ushered out of the house, you may want to note their going in your journal. You may want to reflect on the person or event they reminded you of.

This method works well for those who have been left the personal effects of loved ones. We may feel that we must keep their belongings even though we don't have need or room for them. I believe that if you give these items to other people or agencies who can use them and if you write about the items and your loved ones in your journal, you will have a certain sense of "rightness" in the fact that you have taken the step of getting rid of the offending clutter.


Warmly,
THE ORGANIZER LADY® 
Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

TIME and The Messie Mind

A Marine biologist once complained to me at one of my seminars that she felt she did not have much of a concept of time. Some things took longer than she thought they would and others took less time. Consequently, her planning was always off target.

That very week, a lady from Nebraska wrote the same thing. The reason this was so interesting to me was because it has long been a feeling of mine that my internal timekeeper did not work like most other people's. Actually, I usually pay little attention to time. When I have blocks of time to do certain jobs, I pay little attention to the clock. It is only because my husband does watch the clock and he keeps me moving along in my schedule that I don't get behind in more things.

One reason we seem to procrastinate many times is not because we have put it off so long; it's that we did not realize it had been "so long." I've found that bills can become overdue because the time passes so fast that the "due date" overtakes us. What seemed to be a date in the far away future, suddenly arrives! So, for us, time is erratic and hard to relate to on a consistent basis.

How can we overcome our disconnect with time? One way is to begin timing your usual activities. How long does it take to make the bed, unload the dishwasher, etc.?  Maybe you are planning to do a bigger job or project that will take significant time. Plan only to do that job for a limited amount of time and then, set a timer for yourself.  I have a handy little timer that gives me a 5 minute warning before the time is up!  Don't forget to include the time to clean up  and put back any tools and materials that you are using. Try it, you may be surprised.

So, if you find that there is still something not working out quite right in your organizational reform, it is at least partly because of TIME and The Messies Mind.
My Newest Book!


Warmly,
THE ORGANIZER LADY® 
Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Learning how to "SEE"

As you know, Messies just don't notice how the house looks - not on a regular basis, that is. Now and again we'll look around and say "Egad! What is this!?", when we notice how out of hand things have gotten.

I find it hard to keep the mess in focus once I've "seen" it. I'll start to clean up the place but as I start cleaning, my vision seems to slip away.

So, I've developed several techniques to help me see what needs doing in the house. I will share one of those with you today. It involves deliberately getting a different perspective on what I see.

When I was a raving Messie, I used to marvel at how nice houses looked as I walked around the block in the evening, glancing in the windows as I went. The scene in each room was framed by the window casing. How nice the houses looked! How they seeming to sparkle in the light of the lamps. How could they look so pretty for no reason at all? How could they be so neat and pretty?  I saw flowers and decorations, pictures and lamps chosen with care as though the owners knew they had a neat home which would showcase their treasures. (There's not much point in buying something beautiful and putting it in a pile in a cluttered house.)

Well, anyway, I use the showcase technique at night to help me see my house. First, I turn on the lamps, open my curtains and then I actually go outside and walk down the sidewalk looking in the windows. Now I see my house as a stranger would. Does it look neat? Does it look beautiful? Does it sparkle? I begin to see, really see, how my house looks and what it needs.

Perhaps some night you will see a lady walking down her sidewalk with the drapes of her home pulled open and lights blazing, don't be surprised. Perhaps it will be you. Perhaps it will be me.


Warmly,
THE ORGANIZER LADY® 

Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Year's Resolutions?


I'm getting ready to set my New Year's goals. I don't call them resolutions because to resolve is something which emphasizes me, and the strength of my commitment. They tend to break down. A goal, however, exists by itself once it is set. When my drive gets weaker, the goal remains the same until I get back to it with stronger drive.

So I set my goals. Each year I have done this. My kids have done it, too. After we set our goals, we try to make them permanent and prominent. Once we wrote them on material, colored them in with fabric paint and made them into throw pillows for the bed. I remember one of my daughter's was, "Get a horse." This one made me nervous because we could not afford the horse, the rent of the stall or the food a horse eats. But that was her goal. She did not understand the problems. It is amazing how we reach our goals if we really make them seriously. That year she did not get a horse, but she kept her goal. The next year she was reading the classified ads under "Horses" and saw an ad for free miniature horses. All you had to do was pay for the ad. The farm was in our area. So we zoomed over there, paid for the ad, and got our horse, Wild Thing. Since she is a miniature, we can keep her in our backyard  and she doesn't eat a whole lot. Goal Accomplished! But my daughter never would have gotten the horse if she had not had "Get a horse" as a serious goal which she consistently pursued even when it seemed impossible.


So set your goal. Visualize your goal. If it is to have a beautiful house, dream about the house in detail. See the pieces of furniture and the play of shadows on the gleaming surfaces. See the colors you love and the way you will bring the colors into your house.

Set your goal. Make it definite. Write it down. Put it in a prominent place. Dream about it. And this time next year you will be surprised!


Warmly,
THE ORGANIZER LADY® 

Sandra Felton
Founder, Messies Anonymous