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November Mixed Bag

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Welcome to the November Mixed Bag, my monthly brain-dump of random topics. I can’t believe we are already entering the Holiday Season when a flurry of activities, houseguests and travel can converge and make your home look like a tornado touched down. Read on for clutter as a barrier to entry, digital vs. physical To Do Lists, the best Pill Box and the surefire strategy for staying organized during this craziest of seasons!

The To Do List 

To Do’s: digital, physical or both?

I recently had conversations with a couple of different friends who were struggling with keeping an effective To Do List, specifically a written list vs digital and they wanted my advice.  The rub with digital vs physical for me comes down to the neuropathway that lights up when a thought makes its way from my brain through my hand to a piece of paper.  It codifies the thought in my mind in a way that just isn’t the same as jotting it down on a notes app on my phone.  That’s the pro of the physical To Do list.  The con is that I can’t control when important thoughts occur to me, often consistently at inopportune times like when showering or during a workout when I don’t have that notepad with me. The pro of the digital list is that it’s easier to keep handy since my phone is always with me and I can then access the list from any device. That convenience factor ultimately trumps the neuropathway which means I am more dependent on the digital list vs. my memory but have better access to it overall.  I still use a notepad to form thoughts, take notes on phone calls and sometimes scribble a To Do list that I expediently transfer to its digital home. My Notes App serves as my Executive Function Hub and keeps things humming along and prevents them from falling through the cracks. If you are still keeping a physical To Do list or planner I highly recommend transitioning to digital.  Like any change it can take a while to get comfortable but ultimately you have a better chance of staying organized and keeping up with your list if it is up there in the cloud. 

Barrier to Entry

The comfort of coffee with friends in your home

We are entering the heavy-entertaining season when there are many potential gatherings of family and friends to be had.  With two COVID-laced holiday seasons behind us there is surely some pent up desire to invite people into your home.  Clutter can be a barrier to enjoying the company of friends and family for many. If you find yourself carrying this heavy psychological weight I encourage you to seek the help of a professional organizer. It is very possible that it won’t take more than a few sessions to make a big difference in the gathering spaces of your home so that you can extend some invites or maybe just leave the door open to the possibility of company. Either way you will go through the season with a lighter load on your mind and body.

BEST Pill Box 

Do you take vitamins? Supplements? Medications? I have figured out the solution to keeping the habit of taking my supplements and meds every day by keeping them visible on my counter in neat labeled jars but I struggle when I travel. My solution thus far was to jam them all in a mini Altoids tin, not ideal – especially for a longer trip. In researching pill boxes for a client I found this solution from Cadence. The hexagonal pods are small, magnetized and can be custom-labeled however you like (by medication, day of the week, etc.). They come in an elevated color palette. Nice looking, functional pill boxes are hard to find, most are ugly and while it’s best to keep them visible so you remember your regimen on a daily basis it makes me cringe to see the ugly boxes on the counter. No more! The client I was shopping for has 3 people in her family of 5 that have a regimen, now each has a different colored honeycomb displayed on a tray in the kitchen where they are visible and easily accessible. I love it when I find products that meet my standards for both functionality and design. You can also use them for lotions and creams AND they are made from ocean-harvested recycled plastic. Bravo Cadence!

golden rule for staying organized

My new dish towel from USF!

 I recently returned from 2 parents’ weekends at my daughter’s colleges. It was wonderful to spend time with our girls and let them play host as they took us around to their classrooms, sorority house, dorm room, dining hall and of course, the college bookstore (which nowadays does not have very many books, FYI.) We dutifully dropped a couple hundred dollars on gear in each bookstore and I acquired 2 new tees, one zip hoodie, a pair of pajama pants and a very cute dishtowel. When I returned home with all of my new loot I performed a ritual habit as I put my new things away. Tees and Dishtowels especially have a way of accumulating in my house so before any new ones come home to roost I pick out the old ones they are going to replace. It only takes a minute or two but has an outsized impact on keeping me organized. Apply this same ritual to anything new you bring into your home and you will always remain organized and decluttered. It’s my Golden Rule!

This month I will be turning to topics related to the Holiday Season and keeping your house, brain and life organized throughout the roller coaster ride ahead. Happy November All!

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