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A. Rey of Hope

January 2013

Close, But No Cigar




Remember that saying, "Close, but no cigar"?  In other words, you've played the game, but didn't quite win the prize.

How often do you come close....close enough....almost there.......but notquite?  I got home today from babysitting for my niece and nephew in Maryland for the weekend.  Soon after I came into my house, I brought my weekend travel bags upstairs, unpacked and put it all away. 

Unpacking for a trip of any length is normally attended to pretty quickly in our house.  Yet, I know this is not the case for many and I can understand why.  It's so much easier to drop everything once you get home, walk away and leave it to think about another time. 

Or is it?  Is it really easier when you can't find your favorite pants and search the entire house before realizing that they're in the suitcase from your last trip?  Is it easier to step around your travel bags every time you cross your bedroom?  Is it easier to use toiletries out of your carry-on bag as if you were a tourist in your own home?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

Aside from travel bags, think about what other items in your home that you come "close" with without actually winning the cigar?  Do you put your jacket or shoes down near the closet but not in it?  Do you put your jewelry down on your dresser instead of in it's box or holder that's only inches away?

Go ahead, take that extra step and win the cigar this week!


Clear Up Before Moving On

"Guess: What Arguably Trivial Habit Gives a Giant Boost of Happiness?

 It’s….putting things away in the proper place!"

~ Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project


Well, I suppose that naturally this is something you would expect to read when coming to a professional organizing blog.  Ok, I admit it.  I get great joy out of knowing where things 'belong' and putting them there.

But, shy of the proverb, "A place for everything, and everything in it's place," what is on my mind this week relates more to the Clean Desk Policy (CDP) utilized by companies such as UPS.
CDP is the rule that, at the end of the day, your desk is left free and clear of all paper and projects.  When you return to work the following day, you return to a clear work space.

At home, I use an abbreviated version of this.

When I take something out to work on - paying bills, doing a craft, a book I'm reading - I try to stick to the policy that when I'm done for the day with it, even if it is not complete I put it away.  Even though I may sit at the kitchen table to pay bills, evidence of my bill-paying is gone by the time we are ready to sit for a meal. 

This may mean having a temporary holding area nearby for works in progress - a file box for action items, a crafting bag for smaller parts of big projects, or a catchall basket for items that are heading up or downstairs.  The important thing is that clearing your space before moving to something different helps to clear your mind of clutter and distractions and lets you focus on what's next.


Managing a Planner

One of the most important parts of each January for me is setting up my new planner.  Although I like the tactile feel of maintaining a paper planner at my home, I am one of those people who loves technology so I also use an electronic calendar.  


My choice for electronic calendar programs is to use Google Calendar.  This gives me the ability to log in to Google from any location to access it, as well as so many other functions.  I "share" my Google Calendar with my husband and my college-aged daughter.  This means that their appointments show up on my calendar, and mine on theirs.  Each of us has a different color so that it's easy to spot who's doing what.  With busy lives, this makes planning group activities much simpler. 

Google Calendar gives me the ability to hide some calendars from sight so that I can just look at my appointments without distraction.  I also use a different color for my personal appointments and my business appointments.  Having access to my Google calendar on my Droid phone gives me the ability to add, check and change appointments on the go.

Although it allows for adding "tasks", I prefer my paper planner for that.  I keep a running list that gets updated each week, checking off tasks as they are completed (don't you just love checking off a list?!) and carrying over unfinished and recurring tasks to the next week.  Keeping my to-do lists in my planner ensures that I can find them and check in with them regularly.

How do you keep up with your agenda?


Cleaning Up Christmas




This first weekend following the start of the New Year is the weekend that I gather up all the Christmas decor and get it stored away again.  Not a small feat, as there are not merely a few ornaments here and there. 

I enjoy transforming my house for the holidays from ordinary to Magical.  Everyday mugs, glasses and dishes, sugar bowl and creamer, cookie jar and dishtowels were all replaced in early December with their holiday counterparts and now must all be gathered cleaned and returned to their boxes.  Even knick-knacks and wall decor must be switched out.

If you're wondering where all the ordinary items went to during this holiday bonanza, they will all emerge from the Christmas storage boxes - their temporary home while the holiday decor was in use.


I love this process of tranformation.  The holidays are that much more special when items that stay out of sight suddenly emerge to create magic.  And, as my customary items re-emerge, I get to look at them with new eyes.  Some, I am happy to have back in place; others, I realize are no longer needed or wanted and they get passed on for others to enjoy.

And life gets back to normal, by my own design.


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