Tag Archives: process

Baby House Syndrome

Are your parent’s selling your childhood home?

Do you think about the house of your childhood you can no longer visit?

Are you sad and depressed, that you have been forced by your parent’s recent move to leave the “old neighborhood”?”

You may be suffering Baby House Syndrome. This is when your loved ones sell the house you identified as your childhood home.

This syndrome can hit you at any time,  between the age’s of 9 to your late 70’s. It is a big change in your “home” identity and where you believe your childhood memories are stored.

Symptoms

  • Extreme sadness after hearing your parents are moving
  • Anger towards the changes your parents are making in their lives
  • The real estate listing or sign brings you to tears
  • You no longer feel you have a “real home”
  • The guest room in your parent’s new home seems to have no traces of you
  • Candidates – 10 to 80 years of age.

Strategies to help you process through this time

  • Accept that the change is going to be difficult for you
  • Have parents or family members take photos of all rooms before the move-out and pack out actually begins.
  • Hold a “farewell to the house” party for family members and close friends (with your parent’s permission of course)
  • Write a letter to the new owners telling them how much you hope they will enjoy the home
  • Take photos of special memories spots – the measurement chart on the inside of the closet door, the swing set in the yard, the tree you planted as a child

Regardless of your age, Baby House Syndrome can cause you to feel a great loss. Using the strategies mentioned above can help you, or your loved ones deal with the transitional process.

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Cleaning Distinctions – Let’s Make Them!

One of the difficulties we face as we age is seeing and smelling the dust, dirt and general debris. Sensory decline in older adults increases clutter potential. 

Make a distinction between light housekeeping and general housekeeping and deep cleaning services. Make a push for twice a year deep cleaning to your older or physically challenged clients.

For someone who is aging, especially those who are unfamiliar with housekeeping services, they may think “light housekeeping’ is good enough. But it really isn’t.  Light housekeeping services which are often provided as part of in- home care provider contracts, are just that. Light! Contracted Caregivers don’t seek to do more than is in their required contract. They may in fact be discouraged due to liability limits to do more.

Deep cleaning which involves lifting or moving the heavy furniture (to vacuum the carpet or floor below), dusting the heating or air vents and baseboards, is a household chore that needs to be done at least semi- annually.

Another area to observe for deep cleaning is the computer desk and  television corner. Older PC’s and TV monitors are notorious dust bunny attractors. Fans and air vent areas need to be checked and cleaned for dust build up.

Cleaning out the refrigerator is also a deep cleaning chore. In fact this is not an easy service to find help for. Deep cleaning a refrigerator can take an hours worth of time.  Light housecleaning services do not offer or desire to provide this helpful service.  Often this is because they don’t want to get into a battle with the homeowner about good food and bad. Reaching into the back or bottom of a refrigerator is not an easy job. Many refrigerators have various parts that need removal for deep cleaning and putting them back together is often a puzzle.

In-home servce intake providers (often LCSW) or professional organizers need to start serving as educators. At the onset of client work state firmly that a household will need to get some additional cleaning services in order to keep the house clean and safe, not only for the client but for the contracted caregivers.

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Clutter is the Cholesterol of the Home

I ran across this interesting metaphor for clutter – Clutter is the Cholesterol of the Home (1) . After searching the web I came across earlier usage of this metaphor by Maria Cilley – The Fly Lady in her 2002 book Sink Reflections.  On page 25 she states Clutter is to our home as Cholesterol is to our arteries.

Her points in the book:

  • Clutter invades the pathways of our homes
  • Clutter causes stress in your life
  • Clutter decreases joy in living
  • Clutter pushes money away from you
  • Clutter destroys closeness in families
  • Clutter is a result in overindulging in stuff
  • Clutter causes hearts to harden

Try using this metaphor with your own home or chronically disorganized clients.

Are there any other metaphors you use to describe clutter?

 

1  LA Times Opinion Article of 2013  by Howard Mansfield titled An American dilemma: Your clutter or your life.

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Traffic Light Thinking

The traffic light is a great metaphor for reviewing where you are in terms of project development and productivity or creativity in general.

Project Development – Are you at a standstill? Have you come to a red light? Full stop?  Are you at a transitional time when you are in caution mode? Are you in the flow with the green light going full speed ahead? Knowing where you are on a project, in terms of the traffic light,  is a helpful tool for monitoring your activity and progress.

Creativity – Everyone is creative in their own way. You can look at your personal or professional creatively in terms of the traffic light. Are you being creative and flowing, as in being in the green light? Or are you in a cautionary or transitional phase as in yellow. Maybe you are at a stopping point and are at the red light waiting for time or inspiration. Again the secret is to be aware and clear on where you are in terms of the traffic light.

Knowing where you are at the traffic light is a great tool for understanding your productivity and creative status. Green may be good, but too much green may be exhausting and unhealthy.  A long time at yellow may mean you are in a transition and may need to try other things. This could include seek help from others such as a coach or make some required changes. Being in the red may be frustrating, but it can also be the well-needed rest. Red can also be the warning sign to make some changes

 

Try using the traffic light metaphor in measuring or examining some of your projects or activities. Let me know what you think.

 

A shout out to Shannon for getting me thinking about this today.

 

 

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Curator Vs. Caretaker

Are you a caretaker or curator of your special materials? I am talking about your private or personal family collections. What is the difference you ask?

When we first inherit or start to collect material we may be just caretaking. And that is Okay. Curating before we are ready can be a big mistake.

Do you let the special material sit in the box and wait to deal with it later? If this is the case, then you are a caretaker.  Or do you sort, label, arrange or classify and make some sort of arrangement of the material?  Curators do that.

Good caretakers pack and store material carefully, in safe spaces free free from harm. Inquisitive little children or pets,  pests or rodents can be an issue. Water or humidity or excessive heat or even excessive temperature changes within a short period of time can be a safety factor. Bright lighting or direct sunlight can also be damaging to your collection.

Are you ready to go from caretaking to curating your collection? The time has to be right. Maybe you are too tired of caretaking the collection so perhaps the time is right to pass the collection along to someone else to curate. After all not all caretakers have to curate.

Wise curators are deliberate with their plan. They think it out before they proceed. They seek advise if they need it. They don’t have to go it alone. Books, associations, organizations and solo practitioners are out there to provide assistance and advice to the curator. Remember seek help and guidance and think it through.

 

Books 

An Ounce of Preservation – A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs by Craig A. Tuttle

How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick

How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of your Parent’s Stuff by Denise May Levenick 

Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions by Don Williams, Louisa Jaggar

The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia by Melissa Mannon 

Consultants

Terri Blanchette   http://timesorters.com

 

Website/Blogs

The ArmChair Genealogist  written by Lynn Palermo*     lynn@thearmchairgenealogist.com

The Family Curator written by Denise May Levenick

Family History Secrets written by Wendy Percival. This British site is more about writing and creating – but done in an interesting way.

The Practical Archivist written by Sally Jacobs

 

 

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy an article I wrote about ephemera many year’s back called Don’t Throw That Away!

 

* This blog was inspired by a post a few months ago by Lynn Palermo regarding curating and creating. If you read my last blog post and book review you would know I am showing my work. Denise May Levenick’s book, How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of your Parent’s Stuff, also uses the three concepts of Curator, Creator and Caretaker.

 

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Filed under Caregiving, Client Management Strategies, Creativity, Knowledge, Organizing, Terms

Show Your Work

9780761178972Austin Kleon’s  Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered published  written in 2014  is a quick and helpful read for all ages,  Share Something Small Everyday is a simple yet wonderful concept  explained and nicely diagramed in chapter 3. This concept is perfect for aspiring creatives and artists to understand and immediately begin the process. Share Something Small Everyday is also a great strategy for young high school S.T.E.M. students who want to start distinguishing themselves from the rest of the pack

Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities , chapter 4 brings home the gem “Your influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do – sometimes even more than your own work.” Kleon.  In this regard, Austin believes you should always give credit where credit is due and don’t share what you can’t credit.

Learn to Take A Punch is a chapter about building resilience, something all creatives, leaders and visionaries need. I almost passed this by on the first glide by but realized the value upon preparing for this review.

This under 225 page book will take you no time to read, yet will provide some useful and practical insights for some parts of your own work  or your client’s. The thing to remember about this book is that it is SHORT, therefore don’t expect too much.  However, it’s the words and wisdom in this little book that will come in handy from time to time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Humor and Productivity

Sometimes you just need to laugh. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine. Medical experts have found laughter stimulates blood flow, reduces stress and can actually lower your blood pressure.

Over the years I have become aware that my life is just better if I don’t take myself too seriously. Our clients also benefit from our humor. It uplifts their spirits and has a beneficial effect making them more productive.

While looking at humor I realized there are at least 3 ways in our organizing businesses we deal with humor; first humor with self, then with clients, and finally, with our colleagues.

Humor with Self

Sometimes as organizers, coaches and consultants we tend to think of ourselves as needing to perfectly embody the heart and soul of our profession. I think we all have our foibles and areas of disorganization. My specialty is a compulsion to collect and maintain an extensive lipstick collection. The other day I had 12, a few months ago while on a 2-night vacation I tallied 17.

Now most of you that have actually seen me in person may realize my lipstick is not always apparent. How can this be? I am, unfortunately, not yet skilled at continuous and productive lipstick application. I might need a course in this.

In my office I have a series of humorous organizing cards I have collected over the years. One features a woman with a cluttered desk, 2 pair of glasses on her head and lots of interesting “stuff”. The inside of the card says, “Just as soon as I get organized.” Having this in my office makes me smile and is especially helpful now that I have transitioned to reading glasses. Put up some fun stuff in your office to provide some comic relief.

Humor with Clients

Using humor with your clients can bring a touch of levity on a tough subject, or a break from the monotony or stress of a situation. A well placed humorous remark can bring a much-needed smile and defuse a moment of anxiety. Clients, like employees, work better in a happy state rather than a depressed one.

It actually helps to admit a few (note – I say few not all!) of your areas of disorganization to your clients. This allows your clients to realize that you, the expert, are not perfect and have your areas of shortcomings. This helps to diffuse judgment later on when you end up being five minutes late or temporarily mislay a document.

Take some time to laugh with your clients and colleagues and finally start laughing at yourself. You will find that you create a more productive and enjoyable environment.

 

This is a revised best of post – you might also enjoy: 

Routine Reflections

 

 

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