Unplugging By The Book
Unplugging – it sounds so….ominous 😊 Having recently experienced 18 hours in a hotel with no electricity I can speak a bit to the angst of not having my devices charged and at my disposal (not to mention what to do when it is dark at 7 p.m. and you can’t read…or watch TV…or scroll mindlessly thru social media). And yet….there was conversation…there was reminiscing about experiences…there was talk of dreams and the future. And sleep….there was blissful sleep!
What do you do to unplug? I like to read. Even if I can only catch 15 minutes here and there, reading transports me. So what’s one of my favorite things to organize? Bookshelves – I love to see what other people are reading, to percolate titles of books and what they might contain, and the utter sense of order when the bookshelf is tidy and the owner’s favorite books are at their fingertips.
Over the years I’ve discovered there are many ways to organize books, and there is no one “RIGHT” way – as with all things organized it depends on what the owner of the books wants the end result to be. There are the standbys of alphabetical (author or title) or size of book, and for the one who craves visual serenity, by color, which can provide a stunning backdrop for the room. Did you know you can even buy sets of books purely based on their color aesthetics!?!?! There is also the option to “soften” the books a little by mixing in other items of interest.
What are you reading these days? Would love to hear your current selection, and how you choose to organize your book collection! Drop a comment, or better yet, post a picture! We love hearing from you!
Minimalism….what does that word bring to mind? A stark room with no personal objects or clutter in it? Having to get rid of everything and be uncomfortable in order to embrace the minimalist movement?
May I propose to you another way to embrace minimalism – in the words of the Head of Mindfulness at CALM (an app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation – but ohhhh so much more in my book – I’ve been using it for years and LOVE it!)? “Minimizing what we own and consume, preserving money, energy and time for what will nourish us in profound and lasting ways.”
Deep. Really Deep. But….it isn’t – the concept is quite simple.
What’s the first object you see when you glance up from the device you are reading this on?
Do you love it?
Has it earned the right to consume a space in your orbit?
Let me explain…I look up right now and see a picture of my son, an Air Force Lieutenant, living thousands of miles away. Has that pictured earned a right to be in my precious space? YES! The warm feeling I get when looking at it nourishes me. Makes me sad, too, because I miss him, but overall the effect is positive.
What else do I see in my space? A pair of slippers that are actually quite uncomfortable and I avoid wearing them. They do not nourish me, and although I paid very good money for them, it is time for them to find a new home where they will be appreciated.
Minimalism is not about making our space so stark and empty that it feels inhuman. It’s about surrounding ourselves with items that have meaning and importance that we can SEE (i.e. NO CLUTTER – it can’t ALL have the same amount of meaning ) and visually connect with in a way that nourishes us, even if subconsciously.
The flip side of that is clutter eats away at us and we don’t even realize it! If you hear anything in what I’m saying, if anything at all registers, let it be that YOU are important, your stuff not so much, and surrounding yourself with things that you use and love will nourish you in a way that you won’t be able to help but light the way for others! It is all about finding the right fit for you - the right sizing of life.
OK, maybe that is a weeeee bit over the top But. I believe in you, and I believe in your worth. So much so that I want to share a guest pass to the Calm app with you! 5 readers who like the We Love Messes page and/or share this blog post will get a complimentary guest pass to Calm – I hope you love it as much as I do! And if not, well, that’s OK too – we each have our own way of connecting!
Facing the Fear of the Future
This seemingly innocent looking envelope has been sitting here, unopened, for over a week. One would think I’d have ripped in to it, being that it holds a masters diploma – the culmination of 3+ years of hard work and many hours spent studying, lots ‘o tears (yeah, I’m *that* person who cries when she’s frustrated), and large of amounts of outgoing cash flow in the form of tuition payments.
I haven’t ripped in to it. I dance around it every day thinking I *should* open it (if you don’t know how I feel about the word “should” check this out) but then find something else to do instead. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING????? Admittedly I’ve been busy (ummmm…. aren’t we all?) – got the privilege of a consulting job creating housekeeping systems and implementing them for the staff at Green Gate Guest Houses, my own company has 15+ employees and multiple jobs a day to juggle, and of course its holiday season and…. well, COVID throws everything in to uncertainty.
What is this really? It’s procrastination and fear of facing the uncertainty of not knowing what’s next. Because I’m a planner. I need a checklist. A goal. And then the steps to get there. Well, guess what folks? I don’t have a concrete goal to organize a checklist and steps towards. And it FREAKS ME OUT. Yet, that’s what I do with clients EVERY SESSION – ask questions to ferret out their goals and then create the steps/checklists/actions TO GET THERE! And I absolutely LOVE doing it. Seeing a client reach a goal, no matter how big or small – from clearing a corner of their closet to narrowing down emails in their in box – IT FEELS SO GOOD when their shoulders square up, they look me in the eye, and say, “Tidy Tammy, I didn’t think I could do it but *we* did!”.
Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend? I’ll be scheduling a self-session (ouch!), asking those hard internal questions, and creating some next steps for myself. And……drum roll……at the end I’ll be pouring a glass of Prosecco and opening that diploma envelope!
Are you stuck with a project or mess and need a boost to get going? Or feeling adrift and goal-less? Yeah, I get that! Check out the options for working virtually or in person – we’ve got you covered! Not sure what’s best? I offer a complimentary phone consultation as well – I’d love to chat with you!
Alrighty folks - here’s a fun Tidy Tammy truth - I love berry picking (in good weather, without bugs and preferably NO poison ivy). Too much? OK, moving on….
Why am I telling you this and what could it possibly have to do with organizing? It occurred to me after a robust picking session when my buckets of berries didn’t need to be cleaned and my co-picker’s …. Well….see the picture? Anyhoo, it occurred to me that berry picking process is just like the organizing process - different for everyone!
Sometimes during a session a client will have no problem making decisions and working thru a project (i.e. no “extras” in the berry bucket for later cleaning). Other times we struggle thru a project and I’m there to hold the space, ask questions that lead to new perspectives, and be an extra set of hands/legs to follow thru on getting the work done (i.e. clean berry bucket at the end of the session).
News flash - neither one of these, nor anywhere on the continuum (berry picking OR organizing) is more right, or wrong, than the other! It’s all about where you are right now, where you want to be, and how I can support you in getting there!
What’s your perspective on berry picking/organizing? Are you a “get it all in the bucket and deal with it later” kinda person, or a “do the time upfront”...or somewhere in the middle?
Dreaming Out Loud
Recently I attended an Entrepreneur Mentorship Retreat weekend at the lovely Green Gate Guest House. It was a small group, and the ideas and passion that flowed forth were inspiring to say the least. I came out of it completely revved up with possibilities for the future - for myself, for the other participants, for the world!
And then...and then, I returned to reality. Sometimes the reality is that we don’t share our wild hopes, dreams and ideas for the future with our loved ones. The reality of reality is that we all look at life differently - some of us are anchored in the here and look at how these wild ideas might affect us, and others of us HAVE the wild ideas that they need to percolate (in safe spaces like an entrepreneur weekend with other like-minded individuals - our “tribe” if I may borrow that word), knowing deep down that maybe only one of the 15 ideas talked about may actually come to fruition.
My point? We ALL need that space to think out loud. To dream. To say things that perhaps aren’t acceptable to others around us even if they know inside that’s how we feel. I’m getting to the correlation here, stay with me. :)
Organizing sessions are often that space - we talk about goals for the space, for time management, for decluttering our lives, for business growth - whatever is on the mind of the client. It's a safe, judgement free environment, and trust me, I can get just as excited about the potential as the client does! And then, we take the next step - we plan. We set tiny, bite sized goals.
Aim Low and Achieve!
Wanna percolate out some ideas? I’d love to help! Click here for a complimentary virtual consultation, or better yet - kick it in to gear and sign up for a Kick A#@ session - you, my friend, and your ideas, are TOTALLY worth it!
See you soon,
Do You Settle?
Not listening to my gut, going with the “safe” choice, finding the most efficient way to do things at the cost of enjoying the experience – I’m guilty of settling at times. Lots of times. In fact, MOST of the time. It is something I struggle with and need to keep working on for me. For example:
I finally decided to paint my living room; the bland walls were driving me crazy every evening. I picked a shade I love, but second guessed my choice as too dark, and went with a lighter shade. Spent a Friday evening painting (don’t I live the glamorous life?) all the while my gut was screaming the color wasn’t quite right.
Fast forward to Memorial Day, where I spent 2/3 of the day castigating myself every time I walked into the newly painted room. OK, in all honesty, I binge watched The Crown (must watch!) 2/3 of the day, only entering the painted room when I forced myself to look. And then…. the inevitable happened – I ran out of episodes and had to face the reality that I could go buy the right shade and get the room done that same day.
The horrors of having to make that decision! Realizing I could either settle and be “just OK” with the color but irritated every time I sat on the couch, OR invest the time, energy, and money into making it right. And who was I making it right for? ME! And that’s where the indecision lay! Was I worth the extra?
News Flash – I AM! And, my friends, so are each of you! So let’s work on not settling – those little things that irritate us every day? Those are the tipping points, the things that cumulatively send us over the edge at some point. The time, energy, and emotions we put into even the little things matter - so let’s work on making the most of them!
For what it’s worth? The “correct” color choice for me is April Rain!
Marie Kondo has NOTHING on My Son
Oh my...lanta :) I was at my son’s house when I saw these beautifully rolled, epically organized, t-shirts and socks. Turns out he learned how to do it in Air Force Officer boot camp and has continued the tradition as he serves out his Air Force contract. My heart *might* have skipped a beat and puffed up with pride. (But, seriously - ya’ll know how much I love my kids!)
I had him show me how to do it, and we made a little video of the process (we are definitely NOT instructional videographers, but we had some fun). While I am not as well trained in the method as he is I can say that I can sufficiently roll a t-shirt (but not to Air Force standards!).
Here’s the thing - just because I CAN roll t-shirts, and that I like the overall look, doesn’t mean I will spend my time organizing my drawers, or recommend my clients do it. Why? Because I’m a “grab and go” kinda gal - rolling t-shirts is not a sustainable system for me, and I want my clients to have systems that work for them and that they can maintain. The reality is that 9 times out of 10 as much as we like the end results realistically we won’t take the time and energy to get it there - and there is NOTHING wrong with that!
So. If you want to create systems and processes that will work for your life and the way you live it - I’m your gal! I’d love to chat with you about what that looks like - click here for a complimentary virtual consultation, or better yet - kick it in to gear and sign up for a Kick A#@ session - you, my friend, and your ideas, are TOTALLY worth it! See you soon,
A camel and a farmer walked into a bar.
They had both been working hard.
They were both thirsty.
They were both on the lookout for a straw.
Are you the camel or the farmer? Or maybe the straw?
I think we are all at one time or another any of these. This week? I felt like the camel.
You remember this thing called a pandemic? Yeah. We all feel like the camel carrying the weight of Covid-19. As a small business owner it feels like extra heavy straw. And then... Monday.
The digital platform we use to track our clients, our appointments, our every day, decided to change without notice. And those changes wreaked havoc on our data. We lost numbers. We lost critical scheduling nuances. We lost time. I think I smelled the desert sands as I camelled along (that’s a word, right?).
Then the phone rang. Again. On this straw-laden Monday. Who was calling me now?
Wait for it…
A reminder to schedule my colonoscopy. I know. Seriously?
Coincidence. Irony. Kismet.
Whatever you call it, I felt the camel in me start to give way. I let myself get a little angry, a lot frustrated, and a tad overwhelmed.
And then I decided I didn’t have the strength to be the camel. I needed to be the farmer. I needed to take the same energy that carrying heavy weights requires and put that energy into farming. I needed to gather the straw. Rake it in. Wrestle it into bales. Harvest what I could. My point? We can amble along and carry the weight. We can be the weight for others to carry. Or we can hitch up our britches and do something.
And then we can head to the bar - or wherever - and know that we at least put in the effort.
And now when I go walking into that bar, I have my own stash of straws for whatever I decide to order!
Allergies can seriously cut into life...
Tidy Tammy shares her top ways to fight the allergy triggers in simple home cleaning tips!
Want more tips from Tidy Tammy? She shares everything from her favorite tool for cleaning toilets to insights on taking care of your senses while organizing your home office.
More from YouTube with Tidy Tammy!
Hello friends!! Are you as passionate about recycling as I am? Sometimes I literally get s.t.u.c.k. trying to figure out how/where/when to recycle something I want to discard but don’t want to put in the landfill– which keeps the job from getting done! In fact, there have been times when I am absolutely giddy (yes, I’m weird - I own that) over the recycling opportunities available when working with clients in different cities and states than my own.
What to do, what to do? Churn on, spinning those wheels, trying to find the perfect green disposal solution…. OR…. choose the “Tree? Or Me” option? There are times to acknowledge our time and energy is worth something and accept that the item(s) belongs in the garbage.
In this pandemic-stay-home-clean-the-closet mode, thrift stores are also begging you to accept this. So many have been reporting that all those donations coming in are layered with garbage. They don’t want, need, or have resources to deal with items that have lived a life - and now need to be put to rest.
I’m giving you permission. Right here. Right now. The next time you’re churning over recycling ask yourself, “Tree? Or Me?”! A job done is better than a job perfectly NOT DONE!
Gift Certificate Bonanza!
On the fence about trying virtual organizing? Here’s an opportunity to help a small business AND yourself!
We are THRILLED to be a part of the Bemidji Area Gifts of Hope Fund gift certificate program! Here is the scoop for you:
When: Wednesday, May 6th 8:00 am CT to Thursday, May 7th at 5:00 pm CT
What: Customers can purchase $40 gift certificates to We Love Messes for only $20 each! Thank you to the Bemidji Area Gifts of Hope Fund for covering the additional $20 and supporting small businesses during this Covid-19 crisis.
How: Head on over to the Bemidji Alliance web page on Wednesday to purchase your gift certificate! You'll get a unique verification code to provide to us at We Love Messes. This is redeemable on any of our services.
BONUS! If you purchase one of the Gifts of Hope Fund gift certificates and want to use it towards a Virtual Organizing package - we'll give you the entire K#% Package for your $20 purchase!
Chat with Tidy Tammy!
Just because the crew at We Love Messes isn't getting out and about much these days doesn't mean you can't get Certified Professional Organizer Tidy Tammy's expertise on all things organizing!
She wants to chat more with you and answer your questions in a Zoom meeting! Just be sure to watch and comment on any or all of her FB Live videos on Home Office Help Strategies (April 13, 15, 17, 20, & 22). We'll randomly select 1 person from comments in each video to join Tammy on a Zoom call (date TBD). Winners announced at noon on 4/24/20.
Get your organizing questions ready - Tammy is SO ready to answer them!
Last week was a busy week! Even though we are following the Covid-19 guidelines and putting a pause on cleaning services, we are ramping up the other ways we can help you. If you haven't checked out our videos yet, each week Tidy Tammy takes on different topics in a Facebook Live event. If you missed the videos last week, be sure to check out all of her tips on everything from clutter to Covid-19 car kits.
COVID-19 Car Kits
Winter survival kits are the norm in northern Minnesota, but....a COVID-19 survival kit? Nope, we didn't have one...until now! Listen up!
Three tips to tackle closet clutter!
Did you see the hangers that Tammy suggests using that take up WAY less space? Also, how do you organize your closet - Color? Outfit? Not at all? Tammy shares her personal preference, too. Watch now. Example of hangers for Tip #2
Real life kitchen decluttering
If you have ever heard Tammy talk about goals, you have probably heard her say that she does not strive for Pinterest Porn - pictures of immaculate homes that look like no one lives there anyway! Check out Tammy's latest tips for kitchen decluttering - for living life in the real world.
Be sure to join Tammy each week at 12:00 pm CT, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for Facebook Live! New tips, challenges, and strategies for living your best organized life!
Let's face it. Things are weird. Life is abnormal right now. And while we can't get into your homes at the moment for cleaning and organizing, we can bring you Tidy Tammy's Tips LIVE! - three days a week!
In case you've missed them, last week our Facebook Live videos covered the topics that our lives are facing right now, more than ever perhaps.
Each week you can join us for Facebook Live at noon (central time) on our We Love Messes Facebook page, where Tammy is tackling your questions, giving some perspective, and helping us all to stay sane the best we can in these uncertain times.
Have a question or topic you want Tammy to tackle? Let her know!
Tammy's Tips is going Live!
While we are all adjusting to our new normal, you can still get expert advice and assistance from the comfort of your own home! Join us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12:00 pm CT for Tammy's Tips LIVE! where Tammy will be sharing everything from how to handle the distractions of working from home to why she *Loves Messes* to her favorite cleaning hacks - and more.
Have a topic you want her to cover? Just comment here and we'll add it to the schedule.
If you missed any of her live events you can still find them on our We Loves Messes Facebook page.
It is with a heavy heart that we need to suspend in-home cleaning and organizing services until the Covid-19 crisis passes. We want to do all that we can to flatten the curve (new phrase for 2020, right?!) and keep our community healthy.
In the meantime we will be ramping up our virtual services and offering tips, strategies, FB Live events, and more! We know that social isolation can get stressful - so let us help you make the most of your space during this time. We can get through this, together!
Lost vs Exploring
Hello peeps!!! Anybody who has traveled with me knows NOT to put me in charge of reading a map, and that I rely HEAVILY on my phone’s map app to get me where I need to be. Map reading is an admirable skill set; one that consistently confuses and evades me!
Recently in a low cell service area my phone kept saying “GPS signal lost”…putting me in a bit of a panic because, well, I really didn’t know where I was nor was I confident in my ability to get where I needed to be! This experience later turned into a metaphor for We Love Messes’ presence on social media and blog posts. I used to post just here and there, but have increased to posting 5 times a week in the form of:
While I enjoy the creativity of the posts I’m feeling a little lost, overwhelmed and unsure of the reach of the posts to you. So, peeps – like any good caterpillar will tell you, it’s time to cocoon up the social media presence until We Love Messes (and maybe me, too) can emerge as a beautiful butterfly! Or until the GPS signal comes back on board! I am going to explore options, plans, goals, and needs. We are absolutely still here for your Organizing and Residential Cleaning Services needs.
I will still be posting, albeit erratically, on social media and hoping to engage with you there (please don’t leave me hanging out there by myself!). There are 3 years’ worth of weekly blog post resources on the We Love Messes website as well – all to motivate, inspire, be a resource for you!
Take Care of You: Win-Win
Congratulations to Kalsie V! She accepted my challenge to Take Care of You, and now gets to choose between 2 hours of cleaning or a Strategy Session! I have shared my personal journey through breast cancer because I want to help raise awareness about proactive care - and while extremely important - this extends beyond mammograms and pap smears.
Taking care of you is about recognizing your own personal needs - for good old mental, physical, and emotional health. It is about the big stuff - cancer screenings - and the small stuff - like taking a time out to read a favorite book.
How do you take the time to take care of you? Please share in the comments - you never know who you might inspire! And if you need a little more "me time", let me know how I can help!
Lots of fall cleaning going on around us! When we do a residential cleaning walk thru the two most common requests (in addition to the housecleaning services we provide) are for windows and carpet cleaning - but those aren't in our wheelhouse. You are probably familiar with the adage a jack of all trades, master of none. We prefer to be the master of housecleaning and let others be the masters of carpet and window cleaning. Here's why we defer to the masters:
Carpet cleaning is an easy answer. In order to do a good job you need a truck mounted steam extractor, and knowledge of chemical composition of both stains and products used to treat them. Here in northern Minnesota we are lucky enough to have a steam cleaning company that not only cleans carpet (and rugs, tile, grout, air ducts, etc.), but they've taken their chemical composition knowledge and created a commercial product line for rug cleaning. You can learn more here.
Windows, on the other hand, seem like a no-brainer. Here's the thing - we don't LIKE doing windows - they inevitably look great when we are done, the client comes home with the sun in a different position and suddenly streaks appear in new places. It is a tough job, and another one of those best left to the professionals (of window cleaning). We love messes - not window cleaning. We want our clients to have the best service possible, which is why we suggest they contact a company that deals specifically with windows, like Exterior Professionals.
Happy fall cleaning, my peeps! Do you have cleaning tasks you hate doing and outsource? Please comment below - I'd love to hear how others deal with them!
OCTOBER. PINK-WASHING. OH. MY.
18 years. It’s been that long since I was diagnosed, and treated, for breast cancer (hear my story). That equals 18 years of pink laden products and 18 Breast Cancer Awareness Octobers, each one progressively easier to bear as time distances me from the diagnosis and subsequent bilateral mastectomy.
This is not an experience I wish on anyone, let alone a just-turned 30-year-old with a 4 year old and 9 month old in tow. But. It was unavoidable, and I’m thankful that 18 years later I’m healthy and cancer free.
I’m re-sharing a blog post I wrote a few years ago regarding pink-washing and the support of breast cancer research. Want to share your cancer journey? Please feel free to comment below - I'm here to support you!
Parenting can be a real challenge sometimes! Many of us have steered the course well and felt accomplished as our kids grow and move thru elementary school, only to have middle/high school hit and everything kind of go haywire (ummm…hello…might be talking about me here).
This blog post by Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D is full of information, and does an excellent job talking about adolescent and early adulthood disorganization, and how parents can best support their kids thru it. Please feel free to post if anything resonates with you – I know it spoke to me!
TOURISM TIPS STRAIGHT FROM VEGAS
Travel….it can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Personally, a good jolt out of reality and routine does me good…occasionally! If you know me, you know I’m a creature of habit and I like my comfort zone.
Recently I zeroed in on the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI) conference as a chance to hone some of We Love Messes’ cleaning skills, and to connect with other professionals in the field. I was apprehensive about attending the conference solo…but hey, the edge of the comfort zone is where things start happening! I attended lots of seminars, walked the trade show floor, and met people like Amar, Chris, and Courtney (in the picture) who run the Zenmaid software we use.
I mixed a little fun in there, too – forcing myself out of my hotel room (where I usually hole up after a day of networking and talking to people). My quick tips for being a tourist - in Vegas or elsewhere?
Physical clutter can damage your health. In a study done by the University of California Los Angeles, women who described their houses as cluttered, disorganized, disordered, or haphazard had daily patterns of the stress hormone cortisol that are normally associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue, and early mortality. These women were also more likely to feel depressed.
If you’ve ever spent a morning trying to track down a lost file on your hard drive or searching through a decade of email, you know that digital disorder can also take a toll on your wellbeing. Most people handle a constant flow of text messages, emails, photos, videos, and other digital information. When all that digital data piles up, it can slow you and your devices down. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to downsizing and organizing your digital clutter.
Keep reading more from Abby Quillen, as she shares how to organize digital clutter, including automating processes and organizing your digital past.
Cleaning Your Outdoor Fountain
Even in the land of ten thousand lakes where water abounds, many of us appreciate the serenity of garden water fountains - and as fall approaches - these need our cleaning attention, too. Thank you to Sally Perkins, busy mom and homeowner, who is sharing her tips for cleaning those outdoor fountains.
Tips for a Clean Fountain
A fountain makes for a beautiful and eye-catching centerpiece for any back yard or large garden. Although it may be running on water, it still requires regular maintenance to ensure it is free from buildup and mold. Your fountain will run better with a little care and attention, so getting in a professional to clean it regularly may also be of benefit. If you're ready to do this on your own, grab the following items before tackling the cleaning:
Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who