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February Mixed bag

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4 Ideas for Prepping Your Environment in February

Prepping your environment is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. It removes friction and makes things go smoothly, it can bring pleasure to the mundane and it can give you strength when doing something hard. In this month’s Mixed Bag I’ve got tips for prepping several environments; from your home, to your photos to navigating the end of life. This concept applies across the board – please enjoy!

Prep For Calm With Bins

Prepping your environment with baskets and bins reduces visual clutter

Baskets and bins are great for reducing visual clutter and prepping your environment for calm. When you have random things that don’t look alike stored next to each other, baskets can provide uniformity that pleases the eye. This could mean an aesthetic upgrade for your open shelves to make a room feel more calm or it could make your cabinets more fun to ‘shop’ in when you need something. Another thing a basket provides is a visual signal that something belongs there. When you are shopping, consider what is going inside the bins – that should determine whether you go for something that has open sides you can see through or solid sides that hide what’s inside. I’ve curated some of my favorite open bins and baskets from Amazon here. And don’t forget to declutter and measure before you shop!

Prep Your Photos For Appreciating

Prepping your environment by organizing your photos makes it easier to enjoy them

When it comes to decluttering and organizing we mostly think about them in relation to our homes. But one of the most satisfying things for me to help folks tackle is the decluttering and organization of their photos; prepping the environment to enjoy them. We have all accumulated a lifetime’s worth of pictures and have become especially prolific photographers in the last 15 years since that handy iPhone landed! The diaspora of most people’s photos is far reaching; from multiple cloud services to old hard drives to phones, memory cards and even CDs (remember those?) Photos are one of the best preservers of memories but we often can’t enjoy them because we don’t remember where they are or can’t access them or are overwhelmed by the thought of sifting through them to look for a specific memory.

Getting your life in photos gathered in one place, organized and backed up is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, it is such a pleasure to interact with those memories and even helps you when you are decluttering things you keep for sentiment. Viewing a photo of the sweet baby in Chritsmas dress is so much better than keeping the dress itself – and it takes up way less room!

I’m plugging my photo organizing services here because I believe it’s such an important part of decluttering, one of the most rewarding in my experience, and it feels intimidating to most people so they don’t tackle it themselves. So consider this a little nudge to prep your environment for enjoying your memories by taming the overwhelm of your scattered photo diaspora – I’ve never had a client regret it!

Prep For End Stage

My dad and I

My Uncle died last week. He had a spinal stroke in December, got pneumonia in January and opted to discontinue treatment and come home from the hospital to receive hospice care, surrounded by his family. I am realizing I’ve entered that season of life where people I love are dying more frequently; parents, aunts and uncles, parents of friends. And those with living elders are trying to manage through their decline, an emotionally draining and time-consuming assignment. The more I witness, the more I think about how much time I have left and how I want those (hopefully) decades to look. I’d also like to avoid the long and painful exit from this life that I’ve seen rob so many I love of any joy in their last years.

I have read 2 books that helped me prepare for this topic. My physician father gifted both of them to me as assigned reading (that I never would have chosen for myself) as I suppose he was feeling his own age and mortality. I learned so much from both books and feel as prepared as I can be to face my father’s, my husband’s or my own end stage. Just like anything else it pays to be prepared so you aren’t wrestling with the topic of death at the same time you are facing the grief of loss. The 2 books are Being Mortal by Atul Gwande and At Peace by Samuel Harrington and in them you will understand what it takes to live independently, how to have a conversation after receiving a scary diagnosis, the benefits of palliative care and when to request it and how to navigate conversations with doctors who, in their efforts to fix, avoid the reality of terminal diagnosis. Reading these books now will pay off later; prepping the environment in your mind for the inevitable experience of navigating the end of life. Knowledge is power – even over the fear of death.

Prep for Aloha

Prepping the environment for Aloha

I’m leaving for Hawaii in 2 weeks and am so excited to feel the warmth on my skin and the spirit of Aloha that greets me as soon as I step off the plane. We usually get to Hawaii once a year but last year due to multiple circumstances we didn’t go and I really missed it! This trip we are headed to Oahu, which is the one island we haven’t explored and I’m looking forward to visiting Pearl Harbor and hiking up Diamond Head. We’ve been visiting Hawaii as a family for 15 years and along the way someone recommended the Hawaii Revealed Guide Books. I have never met a better guide book, in fact I hold most other guidebooks in contempt after using these for so many years – I wish these guys wrote books for places other than Hawaii! Anyway while preparing for Oahu I’ve been nose-in to the newest edition and so thought I’d give it a plug here. I have the book for every single island plus their app, which I also highly recommend. I’ll be turning to the app to help guide us on our return to Maui, our first since the devastating fire that ravaged Lahaina last August. Check out all the books here – and prep for the tropical environment of the Aloha State!

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