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How Did It Get Like This?

jessee2013We all have that spot. It’s a desk top, closet, bedroom, office, garage, a basement; a space so cluttered, so unorganized, so filled with stuff and nonsense that it is no longer functional. And one day, for some reason, we look at it all with new eyes. A new reality sets in; we gasp in dismay and wail out loud, “How did it get like this?” 

When America is Disorganized: Mistaken Identity and Mayhem

 For the past 23 years, I have been housing theatre people, mostly opera folks when opera is in season here. There is always a spare room for out- of-town singers, directors, or costumers who need a place to stay.  

Six years ago, I met Domingo and  Alexandra, two world-class opera singers from Argentina who spoke about wanting to leave their country.   The government there had taken over the banks, had taken the money from their accounts, had taken over the opera house and then had failed to pay either of them for their performances. Unable to pay their mortgage, they lost their home, as had many others.

Organizing Emotionally: It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys II

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Marilyn Paul, a  professional woman with a doctorate, confessed to being the poster child of disorder in her personal life.  Home and office were jumbled and confused; her lifestyle frenzied and disorganized. In her book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When you Can’t Find Your Keys, she relates how she was able to finally get organized personally and professionally when she began to organize emotionally.
In my last article,  we covered ...

  1. Purpose for becoming and staying organized.
  2. Envisioning the life and environment one would like to have. The journey continues with some serious questioning.  
  3. Reality, Taking Stock  Most people eventually learn that there is a relationship between habits and comfort.

Some Assembly Required

If the box on this year’s Christmas present uses "some Assembly required", you might want to be fully armed and dressed for battle

When I was growing up and my mother would announce that she would have to call someone to fix or assemble something, my father would respond with the typical male growl,

“ That’s ridiculous; I can do it.” 

Friends, Acquaintances, and Strangers - What’s in Your House?

For the last several months I’ve written about keeping Christmas and the rest of the year simple and light, finding alternatives to the holiday stress and frenzy, and giving yourself permission to say “enough” to keep debt at bay. It’s all a matter of making sensible but sometimes difficult choices.

Anyone who has ever planned a party knows that decisions and choices are basic beginning ingredients: what to serve, whom to invite. I’m revving up for a holiday gathering at my house; a brunch, followed by a trip to a small, local theatre.

Holiday Doom and Decor

karen-jessee-oct-09

From October to December, retail brings on the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. The fragrant candles will be up front, the lights will be blinking and the music will all be there to help you open your wallet.   Inspired by the seasonal influx of catalogues and the many people who have given up their basements, garages, spare rooms, and attics to store far too many holiday decorations, I bring you this bit of silly

Divide and Conquer - Paper Management Part I

Every personal organizer who has ever answered the plea for help in paper management has seen the following organizing “systems”: the floor, the kitchen counter, the desk top, the entry table, the dining room table, the coffee table,  the family room, the laundry room, the laundry baskets, the wicker baskets, the tote bags, the paper bags, the plastic bags, the shoe boxes, the cardboard boxes, the plastic bins, and my personal favorite, the dog kennel. When we’ve been shown actual filing cabinets, they are either empty or filled with buldging, toppling files labeled “miscellaneous” and “stuff”, which is right up there with naming all your children, “Hey You”.  Anyone can answer that call including the neighbors next door whom you weren’t really seeking.

Organizing Emotionally: It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys

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Magazines touting the latest in organizing solutions with glossy images of clean and perfect spaces do not deal with individuals or their lives.   Staged with new furniture and quaint products, these articles are advice with the underlying hint that buying something pretty will put one’s life in order. There’s the panacea of visual fantasies: ten beige outfits in a closet; six bathroom towels rolled with ribbons.  Glib.