Are you Functioning on Autopilot?

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Getting Organized, Organized Home, Simplify, Uncategorized, Women

Busy schedule

Yesterday, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I stayed home to play catch up.  Since I spend most days on-site with clients and most evenings running from activity to activity, my own to-do list often takes a backseat.  

Whether you’re stressed with a demanding job, busy taking care of your kids all day or helping with aging parents, we often spend days, even weeks, running on autopilot. The trouble is that functioning in survival mode can only last for so long.

Sound familiar?

There are certain things (like writing this article for one) that requires thought and uninterrupted time; A novel concept for most of us.

So how do you get ahead when you spend every day catering to everyone else?

1. Just Say No. Have you ever noticed that it’s always the same group of people who volunteer at Church, school, or extracurricular activities? The more you do, the more people ask of you. There is only so much time you have to spare, so it’s ok to be selective. Don’t feel compelled to say “yes” to everyone who asks, especially if it comes at the expense of your sanity.

2. Schedule a day to catch up (and I don’t mean taking a vacation). Vacations are great, but they don’t address the root of the problem.  Getting away is a nice distraction, but eventually when you come home, you’re walking into the same chaos as when you left. The only way to truly breathe a sigh of relief is to schedule a day to play catch up in your home.

3. Lead by example.  If you want your kids to make their beds every morning, make sure that you make yours.  If you want them to put their backpacks away, don’t leave your purse on the table.  If you want your kids to pick up their toys, don’t leave piles of clutter around the house. You see where I am going with this?  Kids mimic the behavior they see. The best thing you can do for your family is to empower them to pitch in and help out.

Life is like a roller coaster, and it isn’t going to slow down for you. Sometimes it’s best to sit out the ride until you get your bearings.

Happy Organizing!

Xoxo-

Are You An Impulse Shopper?

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Simplify, Women

The other day I had about an hour between dropping off and picking up my daughter from guitar lessons so I decided to kill some time by browsing one of my favorite stores, Home Goods™.

Home Goods is like Disney World for adults. Regardless of how many times you go, there’s an excitement that builds as you walk through the doors wondering what hidden treasure you are going to find.

As I perused the isles, I had to stop myself on more than one occasion from putting something inside my cart that I didn’t need.

As I debated in my mind whether I had a use for a wrought iron cookbook stand for $7.99, (btw, I didn’t), it got me thinking about the lasting impact of impulse shopping.

I can’t tell you how many times I have walked out of Target™ or Costco™ having spent a few hundred dollars on “who knows what” and then hated myself when the credit card bill came at the end of the month. Even after paying the bill, the volume of unnecessary items remained.

girl with clothes

We shop for various reasons: sometimes out of necessity, other times out of boredom, or perhaps shopping is your “reward” for having a bad day. How do you think the term “retail therapy” got its name?

If you are someone who shops to fill a void in your life and are ready to make a change, the first step is identifying your triggers.

  1. The Bargain Hunter. This person gets a rush out of finding the best price. Why do you think stores are constantly sending your coupons in the mail or flooding your inbox with the latest deals? We feel justified spending money on something we probably don’t need simply because it was a good price.
  1. The Competitor. Also referred to as “keeping up with the Joneses”. This person has to have the latest hot item because everyone else has it. Parents are the worst offenders when it comes to buying unnecessary toys or gadgets for their kids. How many kids got hover boards for Christmas last year? The danger with The Competitor is that they are caught up in a vicious cycle of constantly seeking others approval based on materialistic items.
  1. The Dreamer. This describes the person who buys a whole set of bakeware because they are going to become the next Martha Stewart. The dreamer isn’t realistic with their time “when am I going to do this?” or their space “where am I going to store all of this?” Trust me, I’ve seen more home brew beer kits collecting dust in basements and garages then I care to admit!

There is no question that a certain level of shopping is necessary, however the average American spends more than they need. Emma Johnson, wrote a great article for Forbes called the Real Cost of Your Shopping Habits where she talks about the snowball effect of owning more stuff.

I am not suggesting that you never set foot in a store again. What I am proposing is that you give pause before putting something in your cart and ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Do I really need this?
  • When am I going to use/wear this?
  • Do I have room in my house for it?

Once you begin to incorporate this mantra into your routine you’ll notice that you not only have more money in your bank account, but that you have less clutter in your life allowing you to focus on what is really important.

3 Tips to Mastering Your ToDo List

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Getting Organized, Organized Home, Women

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  • Do you wake up each day feeling overwhelmed?  
  • Does your never-ending To Do list weigh on you while you lie in bed at night?
  • Do you go to bed feeling like you barely scratched the surface of what you wanted to accomplish, yet you are completely exhausted?

If you answered yes, to any/all of the above, then you can join the majority of women around the country.

Somewhere between the 1950’s and today the expectations of what women feel they are “supposed to” accomplish in a day quadrupled. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Who set this immeasurable expectation that we are trying to live up to? How can we get off this crazy merry-go-round of life?

Work, Home, Career, Kids, Aging Parents, Environmental Concerns, Safety…these are all things that we deal with on a daily basis.  How can that not be overwhelming?

work-life-balance

So what’s the answer?  Start by lowering the bar.

Yep, you heard me right.  In the age of everyone setting this incredibly high bar of expectation, I am asking you to lower it. You can’t do it all alone, no one can. So stop trying to reach unattainable goals that set you up for nothing but frustration, anxiety and defeat.

Here’s how to start:

1. Write down everything on your “to-do” list.

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“Brain Dump” everything: laundry, carpool, making dinner, getting a report to your boss, scheduling a doctor’s appointment (you get the gist).  If you’ve ever completed a food diary, this is similar.  Once you see everything on paper you will understand why you are exhausted and overwhelmed.


2.Choose the 3 most important tasks for today.

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This may sound crazy, but trust me for a minute.  You probably can (and do) complete more than 3 tasks in any given day (heck, you probably do more than 3 in an hour).   There is no doubt we can fill our day with tasks, however, to truly have a sense of accomplishment, you’ll want to be mindful in selecting only a few key things to complete and prioritize them FIRST.  Everything after that is gravy!


3. Reward Yourself.  

yay!

Take a moment to bask in the validation for completing your goal. Get a cup of coffee, take a walk, call a friend; A little reward goes a long way. If we constantly “go-go-go” without recognizing our accomplishments we are more likely to burn out.


We all want to be the best (_____) we can be, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, we spend too much time stressing over what we could and should be doing, rather than recognizing everything we ACTUALLY do in any given day.

As the craziness of the holiday season surrounds us, be mindful of these 3 steps, so the next time you lie down to sleep you will realize that you are a lot closer to being Superwoman than you give yourself credit.

Happy Organizing!

Clean Out Your Closet For Cash!

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Consignment, Getting Organized, Kids Organization, Organizing Apps, Women

As an organizing expert, I’m always on the lookout for new products and resources to help make the organizing process easier.  Closets are consistently ranked as one of the most popular areas to fill with clutter.

“Bought a pair of shoes, wore them once, put them on a shelf never to be seen again…”

“Have 5 pairs of jeans that no longer fit, but holding onto them, just in case…”

“Kids are growing like a weed and have a bunch of clothes that still have tags on them!”

I could go on and on about how and why our closets get out of control. The reality is that we wear 20% of our clothes, 80% of the time. What does that say?  It’s a subtle message letting us know that we have more than we use, yet it’s not always easy to tackle purging what seems like a black hole of clothing.

I have recently partnered with a fabulous company based in California called ThredUp that helps you make money for de-cluttering your closet.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to ThredUp.com and create a profile
  2. Order a bag
  3. The bag arrives with a pre-paid return label
  4. Fill it with all gently used, like new, or new items (they give you a cheat sheet of what they accept)
  5. Once the bag is full, seal it up and take it to the post office (or your local FedEx) and drop it off
  6. Within a few days you’ll receive a confirmation email letting you know they received your bag
  7. After approximately 3 weeks you’ll get an email letting you know how much ThredUp will pay you for your clothes.

It’s that simple.

Unlike traditional consignment stores, they pay you first, before your items sell. ThredUp  accepts: women’s and kids clothes, shoes and accessories.

You also have the option of having them donate the items they cannot accept or they will send them back (I of course vote-DONATE, you’ve already decided you didn’t wear them anyway).

The first time I tried ThredUp I received $61.75 for items that were just taking up space-not to shabby.

thredUP Clean Out Banner

click on the button to order your first ThredUp bag!

I also gave a bag to my fashionista 10 year old and incentivized her to clean out her closet (which looked like it was vomiting with clothes that she rarely wore).

Logan at the start of her #30dayorganizingchallenge with the help of her @thredup bag

ThredUp also has an amazing online store, but before you have my permission to shop, you need to purge! 😉

Happy Organizing!

*All my opinions are based on my own experience, I  am not a paid consultant for ThredUp.