Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hook, Line and "Stinker"

Ever want to know what chicken liver left in a closed vehicle for two days in sweltering 100 degree heat smells like? No? I didn't think so. Neither did I. But I had the distinct pleasure of finding out. And for the record, it's bad...really bad.

No, I didn't forget and leave a bag of groceries in the van. This was definitely not of my doing. My husband decided he'd like to do a little fishing at a get-together we attended Friday evening. When we got home after midnight that night, he forgot to bring his bait inside.

I haven't had need to set foot in my van again until today when I went to retrieve some cough drops I'd left in there. I've been a bit under the weather with a summer cold. Unfortunately, my sinuses weren't congested enough to save me from the stench which permeated my olfactory senses when I opened that door!

Whew! "Honey, I think something died in my van."

"Ummm" he says upon his investigation of the interior. "I guess I forgot to bring in the livers Friday. Would you like me to take it through the car wash and spray some car scent in it?"

"Ummm, yeah. And some disinfectant. And some more car scent. It really does need vacuumed out, too, while you're at it." I think I could possibly get an actual whole new car out of this.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Breakfast of Champions

For someone who enjoys food and has a hard time picking a favorite, I sure do skip breakfast...alot. I'm horrible about getting out the door without something to eat. Sure, I'll have a mid-morning snack sometimes, but somehow I think I'm missing out on something by not having breakfast. I tell my kids how important it is. Why don't I listen to my own advice, not to mention my growling stomach? to break this awful habit? Here's some "food for thought": Piggy back with an already existing (maybe not so good for you but fun) habit!

Okay, I admit it. I'm an internet junky. I almost never miss my early morning ritual of checking my emails and catching up on my horoscope, a favorite blog or tidbits of actual news. If I had a laptop and wireless, I'd be in trouble. My husband often wonders how it is that I can stay up til the wee hours surfing, but nod off at the exact instant we sit down to watch a movie. Maybe if you'd let me control the remote once in awhile like I control the mouse, I'd have something to occupy me!

So anyway, I figure, why not eat a bowl of cereal while I'm busy getting my net fix? I'm on day five of my new habit and so far, so good. I was actually looking forward to my bowl of cereal instead of just my emails. I may have to adjust my wake up time a little though. It seems that surfing takes longer when you're eating. Maybe because I haven't mastered eating with my left hand so I can control the mouse with my right, but I'm working on it!

Join in on SMART Habit Saturday with Lara Gallagher

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rules Are Meant to be Broken...Sometimes

Pick up nearly any organizing book out there and they'll tell you "finish one project before moving to the next", "do things in a specific order", yada, yada, yada. I've even been guilty of giving the same advice to clutter weary clients. But, sometimes rules are made to be broken.

See, for organized people who just want to pretend that they need more structure in their life, that advice might work. Might actually be FUN for them in some crazy, warped way. But for those of us with shorter attention spans...well, it means more than just WORK. It means TORTURE! I mean, spend more than ten or fifteen minutes in one area?! That's nearly unbearable for some people! And chronically disorganized people (or recovering ones) often find it hard to devote long spans of time to one project.

There are some tasks that I can happily attend to and hours may pass by indiscriminately, while others seem to drag on forever. Some organizing projects are that way. So, I say...why not bend the rules? Who says you can't jump around from area to area, task to task like a pin ball and still accomplish something? Well, take it from The Organizing Muse, you can!

In one short weekend I managed to:

  • Cleared out my old nail polish and toiletries in my bathroom

  • Went through magazines and books in our bedroom

  • Sorted outgrown kids clothes to donate

  • Pulled and pitched indeterminable items from the fridge

  • Dusted and vaccumed our bedroom

  • Sorted kids' bath toys; tossing out "yucky" ones

  • Listed gently used books on Amazon (and made some money too!)

  • Clipped and filed coupons

I did all of these things in no particular order and not all during one time span. I didn't worry that the rest of the room didn't get touched. (Next weekend, I'll hit some other areas.)

I picked tasks that wouldn't take long. I used my time wisely. And I didn't let myself get bored. For instance, I went through the bathroom cabinet while I was supervising bathtime. I sorted magazines while catching up on my favorite TV shows. And, I felt like I really accomplished something. I broke one of the cardinal rules of organizing...and I'm better off for it. So, don't be afraid to let your attention wander. Some rules were meant to be broken!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Clean Sheet Sunday

Oh I love a Sunday night, such a beautiful sight. I love to feel clean sheets on my bed, smell the fabric softener as it...OK breaking into a bad version of "I Love a Rainy Night" may be taking it a bit too far. But I do love "clean sheet Sunday"! It's amazing how well I sleep when the sheets have just been changed.

Recently, I've tried to develop the habit of changing the sheets on our bed every Sunday and so far I've been pretty successful at keeping this up. You know the Febreze commercials where the lady sprays the carpet and comes back in the room to find all of the toys doing a face plant on the floor so they can smell the carpet? That's me on "clean sheet Sunday". (I know my husband laughs at me for all of the "little things" in life that I find amusing.) I'm practically glued to the bed as I drift off to the scent of fresh linens.

Now, I recall an Oprah episode on dust mites and how one lady had not changed her sheets for years. Years, people! I'm not sure how many, but it was alot! Oprah went on to say "I change my sheets everyday". Now, although I can't picture Oprah changing her own sheets (I have a sneaking suspicion she has some help with that)...but I'm amazed to say the least--everyday?! Now, that's something to aspire to!

Hon, you've got the kids, I'm turning in early tonight! I'll soon be off to peaceful sleep, that is until the dog and the 4 year old decide to hone in on my "clean sheet Sunday" and nuzzle their way into our bed! Anyway, you should give "clean sheet Sunday" a try tonight! (Cover Stealer and Tail-Wagger optional.)

Christine, The Organizing Muse

Want to join in on SMART Habit Saturday? Visit my web friend Lara's site, The Lazy Organizer.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Organizing Muse

OK, I was trying to come up with a cool "handle" for myself now that I'm into this blogging thing. I wanted something that reflected my quest for the calm serenity that I hope organization brings to my sometimes hectic household. I wanted something inspiring. The term "muse" struck me.

Since I've heard it used and had a general idea of the meaning, but never had the occassion to use the word myself, I looked it up on which describes muse as: "any goddess presiding over a particular art" Goddess, huh? I like it! Not to mention the whole inspiring thing. The Organizing Muse...hmm...has somewhat of a greater presence than the Organizing Queen or Guru (always hated that word) or something similar. And don't you think it fits great with my blog title "Organizational Enlightenment" and my "Musings and Mishaps" category? That and the fact I've always thought of organization as an art form in and of itself. But, that's a post for another time...

For now, I'll just sign off as...

Christine, The Organizing Muse

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Organized vs. Spontaneous

Being organized or being spontaneous? Does it really have to be one or the other? A good friend of mine recently confided in me a deep dark secret. Deep down she was afraid that becoming organized meant that she would have to lose her spontaneity. Her fun loving, get up and go spirit was something she cherished and nearly everyone who met her could easily fall in love with that quality about her.

Of course it got me wondering if everyone who was chronically disorganized had this fear, but moreover I shuddered to think that people may be finding me (gasp!) boring and a tiny bit dull! So, out of sheer friendship I set out to put this myth to the test and dispel my friend’s qualms. Alright, maybe some small portion of me wanted to make sure I was still fun to be around!

Trying to think back to the last time I did something out-of-the-blue, I realized immediately that I, a professional organizer, almost never plan a weekend. It’s true. Take a look at my Palm Pilot and you’ll see that among the carefully planned weekdays, there is hardly a Saturday or Sunday to be found with a planned activity. Now, come to think of it, that’s just disturbing. Maybe I don’t have a life after all. Surely there’s something else to draw on as a case in point.

I’m sure I can be just as unpredictable as the next person. Just a couple weeks ago, for example, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things and I didn’t even take a list! Nope, didn’t even bother to take stock before I hit the store because I stopped on the spur of the moment! That’s got to count for something. Everyone knows that is one of the cardinal rules of organized meal planning.

The truth is, since becoming more organized (no, it doesn’t have to come natural but that’s another story) I think I’ve truly learned to loosen up and adapt more. Over time, I have been able to enjoy the freedom of being more impulsive on the things that really matter because I don’t have all of the “un-dones” hanging over my head. I have learned that if I’m not particular about the way the towels are folded and put away, I leave the possibility open for someone else to help me around the house. I have developed the knack of being prepared so that if I want to scoop up the kids and head out for a day of unplanned fun, it doesn’t take me hours to gather everyone and everything and leave the house.

I think learning to be more on top of things has led me down a path of “planned spontaneity”. I think that may be the best of both worlds, my world anyway. The object of the game is finding what’s right for you.

Copyright 2007, Christine Rice

You are welcome to use any of the information or articles from my blog for your own newsletters or ezines, just be sure to add the following copyright notation:

Christine Rice, Professional Organizer and owner of Organize It Today helps people discover "organizational enlightenment" with the help of her newest book, A Life Less Cluttered: Expert Secrets to Your Own Organizing Epiphany. Visit her website at to find out more about her services and products.