Spring Is In The Air

After reading so many articles about Spring Cleaning, I decided to dig in and figure out why so many people do this.             256px-Free_Colorful_Spring_Blossoms_in_Pink_on_Blue_Sky

Having been diagnosed at a very early age with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) I just always assumed that everyone did it because it was such a wonderful thing to do and that everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. To be truthful, I engaged in Spring Cleaning all year long. I just didn’t get teased when it was spring as everyone else seemed to be on board.

Where it all began:
Once upon a time, long, long ago, spring cleaning, albeit not referred to as spring cleaning, was a cultural endeavor. Here are some interesting historical facts:

Iranian culture – Every year on March 21, the spring equinox, Iranians celebrate Now Rouz or the new year. It is a 2 week long festival which includes a variety of celebrations. Every year before it begins, Iranians participate in khaneh takani, literally “shaking the house”, or what we would call spring cleaning. They believe everything must be made as good as new essentially to begin the new year in the right way. (Source: Iran Press Service)
Jewish culture – During Passover, when the Jewish people celebrate their departure from Egypt, they are required to remove all leavened products from their homes. Some historians believe they would clean their homes from top to bottom before Passover, and therefore during the spring, to ensure that nothing leavened remain, no matter how small. (Source: The History Channel)
Chinese culture – Before the Chinese New Year, usually in late January or early February, the Chinese clean their homes to sweep out the bad luck and usher in the good. (Source: The New York Times)

Whatever the reason, spring cleaning has been around for ages and I don’t see signs of it disappearing anytime soon. Below are some helpful tips on how to start the process and get through it efficiently:

1. Be Prepared: Make sure you have the right supplies
• Cleaning supplies (vacuum, rags, dusters)
• Tote to hold the cleaning supplies
• Containers, bins, boxes or baskets
• Bags for trash or for donations

2. Have a plan: Take all your supplies (see above) with you into each room to save time and energy.
• Start by picking up the clutter in each room.
o NOTE* ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T HAVE A HOME IS CONSIDERED CLUTTER
• Toss the garbage
• Anything that you want but doesn’t have a home in the room you’re working in goes into a basket or bin for distribution in another area
• Anything that belongs in that room needs to be put where it belongs
• This is a good time to put things away that don’t necessarily need to be on display. It will certainly cut down on your cleaning time if you have less out on the shelves, countertops, etc.
• Start at the same place in each room. I like to go from left to right. It takes the decision making component out of it. I just start at the same place in each room.
• Always clean top to bottom. This is important! Anything that you don’t get with the dust rag will fall to the floor so when you’re finished you can then clean the floor.

3. Prioritize: Figure out what area is most important. This is important as you might not get this all done in one day.
• Tackle one area at a time: I can’t emphasize this enough. If you try to get the whole house done it will be overwhelming.
• Spring cleaning is a process and it does not have to be done in one day or even one weekend.

4. Delegate:
• Ask your significant other, children, roommate or housekeeper to help.

5. Have some fun!
• Make a game out of it
• Challenge your children to a contest and make sure to reward the winner
• Play some great upbeat music.

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Are You Prepared For An Earthquake?

Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and/or fires, can have disastrous and far reaching effects on our lives. Especially if we are not prepared!

Watching the news and seeing images of people who lost everything, their houses, cars, clothing, family heirlooms and photographs, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, has always made me think about how they were going to put their lives back together. While we can’t prevent or stop these events from happening, we can be prepared so that we can mitigate the damages.

Since we (at least most of the people getting this newsletter) live in California, earthquake territory, I put together a list of five important tips for how to be or how to get prepared for an earthquake. Hopefully this will provide information and motivate you to do something, anything, towards getting you and your loved ones ready, just in case…:

• Know your risks: Learn what to do before, during and after an earthquake. www.ready.gov is a great resource for emergency related information.

• Be Proactive: Make sure to have an earthquake kit. I have one in my car just in case I’m not home when an earthquake hits. See below for pre-made earthquake kits.

• Take action: Make a communications plan with other family members or friends NOW so you’ll have it when you need it. (notice I said when!)

• Fema.gov has great article entitled “How to Prepare for an Earthquake”. Here’s the link: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1408632135401-3d0521fa59d0dd4016e82f08fe7f3732/PrepareAthon_EARTHQUAKES_HTG_FINAL_508.pdf

• Make sure that you have all of your important documents together in one place so that you can recover your losses quickly (ie, insurance policies, photos of valuables, emergency contact list) I keep mine in a 3 ring binder that is easily accessible. If you want more detailed information about which documents to keep and how to get it all together, sign up for my newsletters (see the link below) and get a FREE Emergency List File.

10 Tips to Get More Done in Less Time

  1. efficiency Turn off email and text alerts to avoid interruptions. 
  2.  Check your emails at scheduled times throughout the day.  NOT ALL DAY!
  3.  Limit social media time to 30 minutes per day, preferably after work.
  4.  Don’t schedule an in person meeting when you can Skype or simply make a phone call.
  5. Combine meetings with breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  6. Record your favorite TV shows so you can skip commercials (15 minutes savings per 1 hour show.)
  7. Stop multi-tasking.  Instead, practice time chunking–focus on a project for 30 minutes without interruption, then take a 5 minute break.  Repeat as necessary.  
  8. Getting a good night’s sleep will help you be more efficient.
  9. Check traffic on Google maps before hitting the road–if you see red, pick a different route.
  10. Adjust your commute time to off hours so you avoid sitting in traffic. 

The Holidays are Upon Us – Ten Tips to Keep Your Sanity Over the Holidays

1.   Plan:  Make a list of the things you need to do.  Keep this list with you so that you can refer to it while you’re out and about.
2.   Calendar:  Schedule some time on your calendar when you can and will actually do these things.
3.   If you’re overwhelmed with the amount of things on your list, break it down into smaller, more do-able pieces.   You don’t have to do it all in one day (which is why you’re making this plan-See #1 above)
4.   Consolidate:  When planning and calendaring, group items in the same area together.  For example, if you’re going to the mall, perhaps you can make a bunch of stops while you’re there.
5.   Delegate:   Your husband, your children, your significant other or another family member who will be involved in the festivities can and hopefully will be happy to help.  LET THEM! Afterall, the holidays are for everyone.
6.    Get help:  You don’t have to do it all.  Free up some time by hiring someone to do something that you just don’t want to do.  One thing that comes to mind is to hire a cleaning crew instead of doing it yourself.
7.   Re-think it.  Maybe you don’t have to do something that was on your list.  Just because you did it last year or the last several years doesn’t mean you have to do it every year.  If there was something that didn’t work out or wasn’t necessary, cross it off your list.
8.   Get started.  The earlier you start, the less stressful it will be.   Sh-t happens so give yourself ample time.
9.   Make it fun.   Some suggestions: listen to great music while you’re doing whatever it is that’s on your list, ask a friend to meet you for lunch when you’re in between your errands, treat yourself to something nice when you’ve completed something on your list.
10.   Keep this list so that you can refer to it when the holidays are over.  Same rules apply!

 

How we can help: Estate sales

Liquidating the belongings of a family or estate is one of our strong suits. Whether you’ve been left an estate after the passing of a loved one or you’re moving and just can’t take it all with you, we have the experience and skills necessary in order to liquidate your belongings with care and ease.

Want to sell items due to downsizing, moving, divorce, bankruptcy, or death? Regardless of the reason for wanting to have an Estate Sale, know that we are ready to help you. Getting rid of sentimental items and/or unwanted belongings might just be the key to living a more balanced and organized life.

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Estate sales are a great service for people who must sell a lifetime of belongings due to a move or a death in the family. If you’ve ever faced having to sell a home and move, you know how time consuming the process can be. In the event of a loved one’s passing, getting rid of their belongings and personal possessions is never easy. Estate sales are not only a great way to earn some additional income, but it can allow you to free yourself both physically and mentally from personal possessions.

We have a full service Estate Sale business to help you “turn your treasures into cash.” We can help organize and host an estate sale from start to finish. With thorough planning and organization, we can help you earn some additional income. We will organize, set up, and price your items for the Estate Sale. We have extensive knowledge in antiques, art, vintage jewelry, crystal, china, silver, and more and we will price your items accordingly. Let us take care of your estate sale and free yourself from the stress, time and energy of having to undertake the process on your own.

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to find out more about how we can help organize your estate sale.

How we can help: Office organizing

Having an organized office can do wonders to your productivity and work performance. Ensuring your office is physically organized and clutter-free can allow you to focus your time on completing tasks that are important rather than spending essential time looking for items and files.

Office organization is IMPERATIVE and will help on so many different levels: financially, physically, and emotionally. If you look around and are overwhelmed with the amount of clutter, including unfiled papers and disorganized desks, then it’s already evident that you need to put some measures into place to organize effectively. Disorganization can take a toll on various aspects of your life including your mental health as well as the success of your business. Therefore, it’s important that you take care of the problem before it becomes more difficult to manage.

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Increase efficiency and productivity by organizing your office. Once you’ve implemented proper storage and organization techniques, you’ll feel much better about the space you’re working in. Additionally, your time management skills and your productivity will be positively impacted.

Get more done in less time. Once your office is adequately organized, you’ll notice that completing tasks will become a lot easier. The things that once took hours to get done may take a lot less time because you know where to find the things you need and you’ve got a clear work area to carry out your operations effectively and efficiently.

Get your office organized with our effective systems. Uncertain about what measures need to be put into place in order to increase your productivity? That’s where we come in! We can implement systems and strategies uniquely tailored to your needs to get you organized and help you stay organized.

We can put systems into place which can be easily maintained. For many people, maintaining the organization and clutter-free environment is a challenge. We can help you develop a system that makes it exceptionally easy to keep your office organized.

Call us at (310) 560-5060 to get more information on how we can help you effectively organize your office space.