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Time to Talk About Time…

Time to Talk About Time…

Let’s talk about time…in some ways just thinking about time stresses me out as I worry…Do I have enough time? Am I using time wisely?  Is it time? Where did the time go? Even as you sit and read this post, time is passing by.

“Lost time is never found.”

–Benjamin Franklin

For me, the event of dropping my oldest child off for his freshman year of college this year was a surefire way to make me stop and consider time. In the days leading up to that fateful day of delivery, this mama had a really hard time. During one particularly emotional moment late this summer, I even googled the exact number of days since my son had been born (6,846 in case you are wondering). I wish I could say I was kidding, but I actually did do this. It was like I was desperate to grasp all of that passed time and bottle it up!

“You may delay but time will not”

There was certainly no delaying my oldest heading off to college – he was ready. It was time.  Milestones have a way of jump starting our emotions and reminding us that time is precious.

Time is a gift.

Time is fleeting.

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you can’t get more time.”

-Jim Rohn

I have always been a collector of words and quotes, especially at difficult seasons in my life. They soothe me and help me reinforce and organize the thoughts and ideas that jangle around this crazy head of mine. So, it isn’t surprising that I have found comfort in collecting impactful quotes about time as I adjust to an empty seat at the dinner table.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives “

-Annie Dillard

It is true that the college drop off has certainly caused me to wistfully look back in time to when my kiddos were younger and life seemed so much simpler. But as I have been squirreling down this memory lane, I’ve been nudged to be more intentional with my time and to be truly present when I am with my loved ones.

“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.”

– Leo Christopher

So how do we really stop and be intentional and present with our time? To be honest, the word intentional has always caused me angst because I want to live that way so badly and yet it is such a struggle – there is so much to do!

“Intentional living means making choices for your life based on your greatest values.”

Choices. It all comes down to the choices we make in how we spend our time, doesn’t it? At Bee Organized we believe the CHOICE to live intentionally and value the gift of time means that we must SIMPLIFY. We must simplify our minds, lives, to-do lists, schedules and homes. Once we make order of the chaos around us so we are able to see clearly what our priorities are and then, almost naturally, we are able to determine where and how we spend our time.

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.”

-John C. Maxwell

For me, it is the mundane little daily tasks that often times make me frazzled and unable to be fully present. It is the intention to get things done that makes me lose my intention – how about that for irony?!

As professional organizers we often see that people’s cluttered spaces greatly effect their ability to be present. It’s as if the physical clutter causes mental clutter. The presence of clutter changes their ability to use their time wisely and efficiently.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”

-Stephen Covey

We have to allow our priorities – our intentions – to drive our time, our schedules, our spaces and our to-do lists. As we learn to flex our muscle of intention to honor time and be present, our surroundings and schedules will and should align themselves.

So as I achingly get used to a smaller grocery bill and less laundry around the house, I am practicing the art of scheduling my priorities first when making my to-do list. I am putting my loved ones – my priorities – in front of errands, dishes, cooking, cleaning and even organizing! I am stopping to listen to a story, help with homework, play a game and, of course, breathlessly running to answer the occasional phone call from my college kiddo!

Time is a gift.

Time is fleeting.

Let’s choose to be intentional with our time.

The Woman Who Saved Things

You may recall that I have written about my sweet Mom in a previous post titled, It’s Just a Bottle of Glue, where she insisted on keeping a dried-up bottle of glue when moving from my childhood home. So, the irony shouldn’t be lost on anyone that I stumbled upon a book titled, The Woman Who Saved Things by Phyllis Krasilovsky, among stacks and stacks of books while recently helping Mom tidy her guest room in preparation of guests.

Upon finding the book (and after my eyes rolled back into their proper place and I had successfully hidden my irritated smirk), I asked my Mom where in the world she got such a book. She sheepishly admitted that she picked it up at a garage sale years ago because the woman reminded her so much of herself. I knew I didn’t even need to read the book to know the main character and my sweet Mom most certainly shared the same collecting, saving, gathering, shopping, and love of STUFF!

Mom then gently forced the book on me saying that it would be good “homework” for me as a professional organizer. It should be noted here that Mom and I have an ongoing back and forth that is at times funny and playful and other times sensitive since I am most likely a professional organizer simply due to the fact that she is so not! Growing up in a house with lots of STUFF certainly had an impact on my troubled relationship with stuff. Oh, but that is a post for another day!

The Woman Who Saved Things is a quirky yet endearing tale of a woman who actually reminds me of a lot of people. The “Woman” loves to shop and the thrill of the hunt of a good bargain. She buys and keeps things “just in case” she needs them one day. She buys things because they are an incredible deal and she picks up others cast offs because she finds them interesting and has a myriad of plans to do with them “someday.”

At one point in the book, the Woman receives a letter from her out of state son saying that he and his family are coming for a week-long visit. The “Woman’s” reaction was poignant to me because she is stressed and frazzled as to how she is going to get ready for her guests because she has too much STUFF everywhere!

“One morning, the woman’s son wrote that he and his family were coming to visit. First, she was excited. Then she began to worry. What could she do to make room for them? Even the guest beds were covered with things she’d collected.”

The Woman decides to hold a porch sale to get rid of extra stuff so she would have room to enjoy and host her guests. Well, as most of us know, preparing for any kind of sale takes time and diligence…neither of which this sweet woman has. As she is gathering items for her sale, she is overwhelmed by the amount of stuff she keeps finding and realizes “she’d forgotten all about things that suddenly seemed valuable.”

This sense of everything having “seeming value” can make cleaning out a basement or preparing for guests an even more daunting task! Clearly, the Woman has a severe case of it because she ends up bringing almost everything back inside because she can’t bear to get rid of anything! She ends up falling asleep on her three-legged couch (she pulled out of someone’s trash) out of sheer exhaustion and wakes up to her son’s family arriving in the mess.

The Woman’s extremely patient and loving family begins to help her prepare for the sale and they actually do quite well in cleaning a lot out of the house and have a successful sale! In the process, they unearth some special items that conjure up fond memories and help them create new memories together.

The book ends with her family leaving feeling good about the state of Grandma’s house (and probably more than a bit worn out from all of the hard work and organizing they did during their visit!). The Woman is pleased and grateful.

“It was a relief not to have so many things around. She was glad her saving days were over.”

Oh, but don’t be fooled! This book does not end in such a neat and tidy way…the dust in the road from her son’s car pulling away was hardly settled before the Woman goes back out to collect, buy and save things.

“After everything was unloaded the woman realized she was right back where she’d started, saving things!”

Yes, old habits can be hard to break! I should know, I have been trying to ween my Mom off of saving things for years now. Oh, how I would love to rewrite the ending of the book with the Woman’s family bringing in the Bees of Bee Organized! The Bees would work with her to set up parameters and establish systems that help her find a healthy balance of saving, collecting and buying that she can live with. The Bees would help her find a home for all of the remaining stuff so that she doesn’t have to panic and fret the next time she has visitors coming.

While we don’t love the way The Woman Who Saved Things ended, your story’s ending could be different. You don’t have to be tied to your things, you don’t have to live in the mess and disorganization!

Call on Bee Organized and we promise to be just as loving and patient as the Woman’s family was to her – maybe even more!

It’s Just a Bottle of Glue

I went back home to Denver to help my Mom and Dad de-clutter and prepare to put their house on the market. They were moving to Kansas City to be closer to my brother and I and our families. It was a long-awaited move. Having us and grandkids 500+ miles away had taken its’ toll and they were ready to change that. But after living in the same house for 32 years, the task at hand was monumental and emotional to say the least.

We spent days plowing through years of built up stuff that comes from raising children, the deaths of parents and grandparents, working hard and just plain living lives. As my Mom and I were in my childhood closet that had morphed into her “craft closet” through the years, I stumbled upon an old box of craft supplies. Some of the items in the box were so old that I recognized my own name sprawled in hot pink marker in my elementary school writing on the top portion of a bottle of glue. I thoughtlessly tossed it into the growing box of trash. My Mom, horrified, exclaimed that she wanted that bottle of glue!

What proceeded was an interchange that I am not proud of but that has taught me so much and that I pull from daily in working with Bee Organized clients. I impatiently exclaimed right back to Mom that “it’s just a bottle of glue!” and proceeded to tell her that it was over 25 years old, dried out and worth nothing and that I would buy her new glue when she gets to Kansas City. My Mom, tired and emotional, argued with me that I was being wasteful and that it was a perfectly good bottle of glue and that she was, in fact, taking it to Kansas City.

The argument pursued until my Dad came in and broke it up. I drove off in a fit of rage and called my brother to talk me off the ledge. I was mad that my Mom was insisting on keeping things that had no value. I was mad that there was so much stuff. I was just plain mad, tired and emotional.

After my poor brother got up to speed through my tears and drama, he calmly explained to me that it is way more than just “a bottle of glue.” Knowing that my Mom was so excited to soon be living in the same town as her grandchildren, that bottle of glue represented all of the future plans, adventures and crafting with her grandchildren that she was busy planning in her mind.

I had to sheepishly admit that my brother was right. He saw clearly what I couldn’t see in the midst of all of the “stuff.” I turned my car around, walked into my childhood home one last time, wrapped my arms around my Mom and apologized.

It’s just a bottle of glue…but it was my Mom’s bottle of glue and my Mom’s plans. We all attach emotions, memories, failures, guilt, joy and even plans to inanimate objects such as a bottle of glue.

May we all patiently find that balance of not keeping everything, finding the joys of de-cluttering but also honoring emotions, memories and dreams through our stuff…or, just a bottle of glue.

Orderliness

Who knew ‘Orderliness’ was a virtue?! We love it…God is the original Bee! This month’s virtue for a local second-grade class is Orderliness and we were invited to come speak to them about it. What an honor?!

Prior to us coming, the class was given athe assignment to bring Orderliness to one area in their home and then write their emotions about the space before and after. (We’re considering commissioning a few of them to be Bees and write for the ‘See the Results’ section of our website for sure!) The spaces they chose to “swarm” ranged from bookshelves and lockers to toy boxes and nightstands.

When we asked for volunteers to share the emotions they felt about their new Orderly space, the sweet gathering of adorable faces in front of us turned into an antsy, arm shaking, “me, me, me” shouting mob! They were all so excited to share their “transformation” experience with us! Words like “Happy!”, “Proud!”, “Excited!” and “Relaxed” were shouted with a sort glee and happiness you just don’t hear very often.

You see, the effects of our surroundings don’t just bother us Moms and Dads, kids feel it too. When things are in disarray we feel, in the words of our new 2nd grade friends, “crazy,” “bothered” and “flustered.”

We talked about how being Orderly helps us to focus and be more relaxed. We talked about how being Orderly makes it easier to play and have fun. And we talked about how when things are Orderly we can better hear the whispers of God and be more in tune with Him and His direction for us. Yes, being Orderly is a virtue and we were delighted of that reminder from these precious, truth speaking babes.

So, what area of your home are you wanting to bring Orderliness to? I don’t think any of our new little friends are up for hire just yet but Bee Organized would be happy to step in until they are!

My Aunt Betsy

I’ll never forget my Aunt Betsy walking out of her bedroom ready to go to a party with her gorgeous straight, jet black hair down to her waist in hexagonal blue and white bell bottoms. I was mesmerized. She was beautiful and I wanted to be just like her.

Clearly, this memory is circa 1978 but it is crystal clear to me. My Aunt Betsy was not only beautiful (and had a fashion sense to boot) she was The. Most. Organized. Person. On. The. Planet. For a seven-year-old to even notice and then clamor after the organizational skills of an adult illustrates just how odd and dorky of an organizing geek (or wannabe) I am.

Aunt Betsy was an early pioneer of realistic minimalism, easy meal planning, sock pairing before washing, color-coded filing, and year-round household chore tracking. I mean, this gal had an index card system reminding her of weekly, monthly and annual housekeeping duties such as flipping the mattresses and dusting behind the refrigerator. What seven-year old doesn’t want that??!

Visiting my Aunt Betsy and Uncle Don’s house through the years simply fanned the fires of my own personal organizational plans and dreams. As newlyweds Matt and I were setting up our first home, when I exclaimed to my poor, unassuming husband that my dream was for my Aunt Betsy to come into our house and exclaim how impressed she is at the way our basement shelves look and the order of my kitchen cupboards. Matt rolled his eyes, tucked his head and moved on knowing that he was now permanently hitched to a crazy train.

Through the years, homes, babies, dramas and joys, I have lessened my demands on my poor, sweet husband, and myself, in the organizational arena. As we all know, real life comes in swinging with crazy twists and turns. I quickly learned that having four kids and trying to keep my home “Aunt Betsy ready is unrealistic, to state the obvious. But the lessons I learned from Aunt Betsy about less is more and all things in their place still ring true and are honestly the cornerstones of why I wanted to start a professional organizing business.

What I couldn’t understand when I was a starry-eyed, organizing crazed seven-year old was that organization has to be realistic and that all of us have different levels of needs and abilities when it comes to organization. Organization is like breathing to people like my Aunt Betsy. Some are just naturally orderly people who don’t really have to work at keeping things tidy, running on time, or early, and having everything in its place. For the rest of us, who have to work at it, organization can be a pie in the sky kind of dream. But the simplicity, calm and peace that being organized has to offer really can be all of ours if we slow down, resist the world’s influence to constantly consume the next best thing, practice the “less is more” philosophy and implement the everything in its place rule.

I still marvel at my Aunt Betsy. She has long since cut that waist length hair and ditched the bell bottoms, but she remains the most organized person I have ever met (not to mention loving and kind and not a bit judgmental of the rest of us) and will forever serve as my organizing idol. I just have to remind myself to keep it realistic and in perspective for myself and my family.

Do you have an Aunt Betsy in your life? Or, are you someone’s Aunt Betsy?