Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Small Steps...Lead to...Success!

What causes a stall in your life—then, what inspires you to move forward?   Kathie England, Professional Organizer and Coach, and owner of Time for Success, recently reviewed One Small Step Can Change Your Life , by Robert Maurer, at a National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Oregon Chapter meeting.  Her summation intrigued me.  I purchased and read this book, and now it’s my favorite book about changing behavior and achieving success…using six small simple steps.  The goal of the book is to “…change your life without fear, without failure.”  It takes a small amount of time to read and yields a practical way to overcome inaction.
One Small Step Can Change Your Life

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Organized Packing

Does this sound familiar? You take a trip out of state that requires living out of a suitcase for several days. On day one, you go to breakfast at the hotel, then change into something casual for some strolling and shopping, followed by suiting up for an afternoon swim, and  later, dressing up for dinner. By the end of the first day's activities, your suitcase is a mess! All of your clothes--once packed neatly in your suitcase--are now jumbled up. You spend the rest of the trip unpacking and repacking your suitcase each day in an effort to stay organized, but are never really able to keep everything straight.

Packing Cubes
My niece Tara and her husband Matt traveled to Italy several months ago and discovered a better way to pack using Packing Cubes from eBags.com. They love these cubes, as they made living out of a suitcase much easier by allowing them to keep their suitcases organized. My niece put her shirts in one cube, pants in another, and toiletries in yet another--which made finding what she was looking for a snap!

During a recent trip to the West coast, they each kept their clothes for warmer weather in one cube for their time in California, and then packed cooler weather clothes in another for their drive up the coast to Washington. This is when I first saw the packing cubes; I liked them immediately!

The variety of colors makes it easy to pack for a family vacation. You can easily identify each person's cubes by color or size. The cubes can also be used to store out-of-season clothing, keep toys separated in a child's playroom, or store your gear in your gym bag--by activity.

Click on the links below and check out the different colors, shapes, and sizes of ePacking Cubes. Even my brother-in-law, who keeps his suitcase totally neat the entire trip, might like the Shoe Cubes and the Pack-It-Flat Toiletry Kit: 
shoe cubes  
 eBags Pack-It-Flat Toiletry Kit.

*The above images are from the eBags.com website.

Friday, July 23, 2010


FLATLANDING. n 1: The act of leaving stuff wherever it lands—indefinitely.

Symptoms include: unfinished projects, an overflow of paperwork, overstuffed closets, blocked pathways, unused computer parts, or an abundance of things, etc.

1) Work together with the person flatlanding. Decide what needs to be organized and make a list to prioritize.
2) Choose a small organizing project to begin. (It needs to be one that can be started and finished in 20 minutes or less—to hold interest.)
3) Be sure to break large projects into smaller components so that they are manageable.
4) Provide praise for any progress made and throw in a dose of humor—positive results should occur.

Ongoing Treatment:
1) Think about the reasons people leave their possessions scattered about: perhaps organizational skills have yet to be learned, possessions were picked up by someone else in the past, other activities are more important, or habits need changing. Proactively address flatlanding whenever possible.
2) Remember that flatlanding is fixable!

Edited by Two Twins and Molly

Monday, May 24, 2010


I attended my favorite yoga class Sunday morning, led by my most favorite instructor, Patti. Engaging in yoga is a fabulous way to start your day and let go of any negative thoughts you may have accumulated throughout the week. I needed this class. Why?

The Pacific Northwest received a week-long (or more) weather "gift" of relentless rain and cooler than normal weather—with high winds tossed in too—from Alaska, according to the weather person. Exercise usually helps exorcise gloomy thoughts and replaces them with positive ones. We had a wee bit too much wet weather though, so I’m willing to air-mail the weather pattern back to our friends up North.

Perhaps you can see why Patti's yoga class was necessary...she "sprinkles" our moves with motivational comments. She tells us we have to continue to challenge our bodies and try difficult poses in order to get stronger and better at them. We have to make changes...in order for change to occur.

Try on these inspirational words Patti shared with us: "Success or failure is based on each choice we make." In my mind, this is a powerful statement and one to ponder when we try to reach a goal. It makes sense. Does it to you? Think about it next time your hand reaches for the crunchy Cheetos or chili-cheese dogs, rather than a piece of fiber-filled fruit when you're trying to lose weight. Or, mull it over when you have visions of a clean kitchen counter-top, as another piece of mail lands on the growing paper stack; you'll deal with it later?

Life’s about choices and changes, isn't it?!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I admit I’m directionally challenged. So—a drive to downtown destinations in Portland, Oregon is less than pleasurable, especially without my daughter to help navigate four-way stops for: Unpredictable pedestrians and bicyclists, and converging cars with drivers who wonder whose turn is it anyway because they weren't paying attention. I need an owl.

The purchase and use of a GPS has helped with some of my solo-trip navigation; however, there are several instances when the GPS’ mechanical brain gets confused. Then you know what happens to me! Let me tell you about a recent trip into Portland to visit Powell’s Bookstore, Storables, and Whole Foods. A decision to take an unfamiliar route combined with road construction resulted in detours. I like to think I can “trust” my GPS even though it misses the concept of take most direct route. After several trips around the same blocks, it dawned on me my GPS didn’t know Burnside had changed from a two-way street to a one-way street, which prevented me from turning right—the direction I needed to go.

Eventually spotting visual cues (buildings) and making several more turns resulted in heading in the right direction; then another obstacle appeared. Train. I turned onto a street with a train track and moving train which stopped me in my “tracks”—for 10 minutes.

This delay afforded me time to think about being better prepared/organized for my next downtown Portland adventure. While paused, five thoughts rapidly popped into my brain: Print enlarged Google Map instructions and map; actually look at the map before you go; avoid driving in rush hour traffic; check the Internet for traffic delays, or take a bus or train to save fuel and avoid frustration. After I returned home, I found this website Keep Portland Moving about downtown traffic impacts such as street closures, event-clogging events, long-term projects, and trip tips…to help lesson future trip tangles.

Edited by Two Twins

Follow up

Reference my blog post below, Red, Yellow, Green.

How well did I stick with my resolve to eat more fruits and vegetables? I did improve. I confess it’s a challenge to reestablish good eating habits…and speaking of good habits…I've noticed that the days I exercise I eat better too. I think it's because some days require more effort than others to get on the exercise path—literally and figuratively; I don't want to cancel the benefits of exercise by eating poorly. Adding Eat right and Exercise together on my daily to-do list will be a gentle reminder to do both!

Edited by Two Twins

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Red, Yellow, Green

We have to eat fruits and vegetables, don’t we?! How many of us actually eat the recommended daily amounts of each? I recently read, “Eat to Live,” by Joel Fuhrman, M. D., who said we should eat at least four fresh fruits and unlimited raw vegetables daily because of their vital nutrients, enzymes, minerals, and fiber, etc., which aid in digestion and weight loss, lower cholesterol, and have disease-fighting qualities, to name a few motivating reasons.

Prior to having my lipids (cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) retested a few months ago, I was eating the recommended amounts of both fruits and vegetables. I was rewarded with lipid levels within normal ranges. Since then, I have to admit I’ve eaten less of these good little “fellows.” I’ve fallen off the produce wagon. I do love fruits, and I like raw vegetables—cooked vegetables…not as much.

I know I need to get back on course, especially because my weight has inched up a couple of pounds. You don’t suppose it’s because my exercise went the direction of the fruits and vegetables? The Fritos I snacked on late last night, after an evening meeting? Or, because I’ve nibbled on peanut M & M’s I bought a couple of days ago? Well…the M & M’s are the rights colors: red, yellow, green, orange, and blue…aren’t they?!

It’s time for a chat with my Self. I sat down in the recliner this morning, because the cat insisted I hold her a few minutes before she took her morning nap. I usually turn the TV on during this time and flip between the morning talk shows and national news. This morning a commercial for body shapers greeted me. In case you haven’t seen the commercial, XXXXXX body shaper is a “device” that readjusts and smooths out mid-section body bulges, so it appears one has lost several inches. It does seem to flatten these bulges; however, it appeared to me that the measurer didn’t remeasure the same part of body. One gal said she could eat more donuts now. This sends a scary message to viewers, on several levels—I’m sure you can imagine what those are. It’s time to change the way we think.

Change your habits. Tonight, see how many different colored fruits and vegetables you can stuff into a lunch “bag.” Here’s what I put in mine (an oblong, soft-sided and zippered container): a red-yellow apple, a banana, two kiwis, red grapes, two clementines, and a grapefruit; red and green pepper slices, baby carrots, broccoli, and romaine lettuce. Actually, I’ll keep the romaine lettuce separate as I plan on eating more than I can stuff in the bag, and I’ll use it and some of the veggies in my bag to make a salad.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll set the container on the kitchen counter and reach for a piece of fruit or vegetable throughout the day rather than the red, yellow, and green M & M’s, chips, or cookies that are so tempting.

P. S. I’m not a nutritionist or any other kind of health professional; I’ve always been interested in eating well and exercising, even though it doesn’t always happen. I know creating good habits will again take time and patience.

Now, off to the park for a walk and later to the gym for yoga. I’ll keep you posted on how I fare.

Edited by Two Twins.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Few Words

Who has played an important role in your life? Mentors have for me.

Starbucks is my “office” today where creative writing about mentors…will surely happen. You know how your mind drifts when you ought to be focused on an important project? Mine wandered…; my gaze shifted to the window and beyond where a frisky white, standard-size poodle yanked on her leash, and pulled the spry older man attached to it. This scenario somehow inspired me to write about mentoring….I know it’s a stretch to connect the two; however, more about the dog in a few sentences.

Mentors, I decided early on in my professional career, can be any age, size, and shape, etc., that inspire "movement." Mentors are mostly successful people interested in YOU and your success, professional or personal. They ask direct questions and provide honest (sometimes blunt) feedback. If you come up with a bunch of reasons why you can’t do something, they ask you “Why”? Mentors give sound advice, provide assignments, and keep you focused on your goal when you get off balance.

Sometimes mentors only have to say a few words which profoundly affect your direction in life. In my case, on three different occasions, those words were: “Go for it,” “Just do it” (thanks Nike); and “Just jump in (Megan)”! These small though pivotal words moved me to return to work after my second child turned four; select a field of study and finish my college degree; and write articles related to professional organizing.

Back to the dog…as seen through my eyes, the leashed dog tugging the man resulted in him moving. Likewise, mentors provide a gentle nudge or tug (the dog—smile) and encourage action. They motivate one to make changes, big or small—no excuses allowed!

Need a “tug”? Find a mentor!

Edited by Two Twins