Amazing that Spring flew by so fast and with the weather being so great, it's a fabulous time to get organized! Summer is here! We are so lucky living in Orange County, California with the weather averaging 76 degrees year round. And Californians love summer. We know that Summer is distinctly its very own season and most people's favorite and fun filled time of year. So what will you do ton have a great and organized Summer Season? Well it depends on what you want to accomplish this summer.
Some people move in Summer, some people go on vacation and some people just chill out by their pool. Other people have family reunions, big 4th of July celebrations, while many have weddings and family celebrations to go to. Summer is so fun and can be so exciting if you make plans now.
My suggestion as a Professional Organizer would be to look at what you truly value in life. If you value having company, but there is too much clutter, you won't have that opportunity to entertain. If you value vacationing but you didn't pay your taxes and you are worried about money, that will put a dent in all vacationing plans. So I suggest preparing a plan of goals based on what you value most in life. A plan starts with GOALS.
If your goal is to move, then you would write down a heading of MOVE, but the sub goals would be:
1. Find A Home to Buy or Lease. (easier said than done with the high prices and low inventory, but contact a local realtor for assistance).
2. Find a Professional Organizer, Family Member and or Friend to help pack and prepare schedule for moving.
3. Start Packing NOW, since it can be cumbersome and overwhelming if you wait until the last minute.
Items to be packed would be the items you will not want or need prior to moving.
Winter, spring, fall clothing, much of the bedding/towels, kitchenware and knick knacks can be packed NOW for a Summer move. You can pack in phases or all at once and have it ready to go.
Most people move in the beginning of Summer so get your motor running and get going on that task.
Using a Professional Organizer can make moving quick and easy without a lot of stress. Professional Organizers will pack you by category making it easy to unpack when you get to the new home. They will also assist in unpacking you and setting up your home in an organized manner.
4. Find a Professional Organizer, Family Member and or Friend to help unpack.
Having a Professional Organizer who specializes in Feng Shui is a plus when the movers are bringing in the furniture. A Feng Shui and Decor specialist will organize the movers and tell them where the furniture will go for the best placement and to increase Harmony and Prosperity. The placement of furniture in your new home will mean great success or negative patterns. Having help will support and prepare your home long term and for years to come.
5. Spring and Winter items can remain packed, if there is limited space, and will be available when you want them, while keeping boxes available for your Summer and Fall items to be stored.
Having a rotating seasonal wardrobe storage system is a good idea for limited space and for keeping precious real estate free in your home.
Recently I had two clients who did not hire a Professional Organizer / Decorator / Feng Shui Specialist when the movers moved in the furniture, and their bed was placed in the death direction which means there head is facing West. For most people, depending on their birth date, time and place, in the Western World, when your head is facing west, while you sleep, it is very bad Feng Shui and considered deadly. Much of the furniture was also plopped down by the movers without much thought at all and most had to be be re-arranged for good CHI (energy) to kick up its heels and move around. Having someone with a design, Feng Shui and Organizing background is optimal when moving into a new space and will save you time, energy and money later.
If you are going to go on vacation, or to visit family and friends start getting dates set and putting a schedule for traveling together as soon as possible. Find out dates for Family Reunions, Weddings, Bar/Bat/Bnai Mitzvahs, and other summer plans, like kids going to Summer Camp. Plan your summer now and book NOW!
Don't wait to book flights and rooms until later, you will pay the big bucks.
Making a lot of money is not everyone's world now, and spending less and being cautious of overspending is a good idea. How you spend money is a spiritual thing. It is called THE law of economy. A good example of The Law of Economy is if you are going to order a large cup of coffee just because it "seems" better and you only drink what would have been the amount in a small or medium, you are wasting your money!
Wasting money is the opposite of being spiritually aware.
I think the whole world is starting to notice this factor now, but some people still trail behind with poor spending practices.
If you are going to just chill out by your pool I think that is a great idea.
Save some money, live it up in your beautiful home and Barbecue, go to the beach, take hikes and just CHILL.
I have lived in Coto De Caza for many years, where the Orange County Housewives reside, and where sometimes appearances mean more then genuine interaction and authenticity. One of the unnamed residents there told me that she was going to stay home for the summer and do day and weekend trips since she could not afford a big vacation or Summer Camp for the kids. I mentioned that she could just go to the clubhouse with the kids, where she belonged, and she exclaimed "No way, you can't be seen around town during the Summer". I asked why? She claimed that if you are seen in Coto De Caza or around town during the Summer you are a "loser". She really believed that staying home and not fighting Summer crowds and paying Summer prices was being a "loser". I think staying home and having quiet time and a restful, peaceful and economically sound Summer is being a winner. This person's philosophy of laying low over the Summer never made sense since the person that would spot her around town was also home for the Summer. So whatever you do for the Summer just enjoy!
Marla Stone, Professional Organizer, Lifestyle Coach, Feng Shui and Decor Specialists
You love your partner, child, mom, your dad, grandparent, your sister, brother, cousins, best friend and neighbor. You love who you love, but you don't always love their behaviors, their lifestyle and or their space.
People with hoarding and cluttering (h & c) behaviors or extensive collecting (ec) behaviors have difficulty connecting their behavior to safety and well being. And you will most likely not help them connect the dots either. Studies have been done that indicate family members, and close friends, even loving ones, can be a trigger to increase the h & c behaviors.
Not all people with h & c behaviors come from homes where hoarding took place. There may be a link to Father / Child Disruption, damage or broken relationships and feeding schedules upon birth.
OCD Obsessive Compulsive and OCD Hoarding Behaviors are not illnesses like Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, PTSD, Panic Disorder where symptoms seem to be somewhat similar within different people all over the world. I am certainly not down playing the seriousness of any other mental health challenge but h & c behaviors are so varied, and with so many different collecting patterns and objects collected, that in some cases the symptoms are simply mind boggling. I knew a person who suffered so badly she could not leave her bathroom without putting up and down the toilet seat for hours at a time. Often she reported that she was in her bathroom without food or water for up to 3-4 hours at a time, convinced she had to do this act or all hell would break loose. The compulsion to focus on the toilet seat was link to avoidance of walking through the clutter and out the door. It can be a very mysterious set of circumstances which trigger hoarding and collecting behaviors.
There are different types of hoarding behaviors, some are fear based, others guilt based and then sentimental based. People can hoard just from their own mail, grocery items, free newspaper stands, dumpsters or by shopping and collecting. Every case is a unique eye opener. I heard about a man who hoards milk cartons. There must be 1000's of milk cartons in his home. He created a maze of milk cartons. It is complicated but there are solutions.
Freud believed it had to do with object relations, a personalized view of the object and attachment to the objects, and of course Jung's ideas are that the objects hoarded are symbols of self, life and perceptions.
The behaviors can be annoying, scary, tedious, sad and exhausting for family members who attempt to intervene. You are not alone. They are alone much of the time though. Most people with h & c behaviors feel isolated, ashamed, angry, frustrated, lost and ineffective about their space and their motivation to do anything about the mess around themselves. There behaviors are not a way to sabotage you, or an act of being passive aggressive, it is a serious mental health challenge.
It is an old mental health challenge that has a long history, but not a long history of research or solutions. Mental health practitioners, educators and researchers are now becoming more and more interested in the subject and the people who have h & c behaviors.
Hoarding is an International epidemic, but there is a help out there for you and your loved one.
In each community there are task forces going out to help people with h & c behaviors. They are not there day and night or in an emergency, but with planning and contact they will intervene with your loved one.
Don't take a family member's hoarding and cluttering lightly. It is a very serious challenge and can be life threatening. There is always a way to see the light and create a path for people with h &c behaviors.
Help people get the help they deserve. People with mental health challenges, even when they do not want intervention it is a necessity when behaviors become life threatening, harmful to self, harmful to others, persistently and acutely disabled and or gravely disabled. When someone is living in a pile of trash and stuff so high that they cannot safely move around, without falling, or when a fire department refuses to enter a space with too much stuff it is time to intervene. Don't wait until a tragedy occurs. You may feel responsible and unhappy for years to come if you don't call on people that can come and give your loved one support and services. The task force is not there to harass the property owner, or the family or take over property.
The task forces are there to help people with h & c behaviors connect to intervention, services and programs.
Most of the time the task force in your area will consist of a fireman, adult protective worker city worker, social worker, a professional organizer and volunteers. These groups of people, that make house calls, do this to help people break down the barricades that hold them back from enjoying their ideal lifestyle. I call the barricade of stuff a self made prison system with a forever pass to go free.
Mental Health Consultant/Speaker
Professional Organizer, Lifestyle Coach, Feng Shui and Decor Specialist
Speaking for the Mental Health Association of San Francisco's Hoarding and Cluttering Convention is always exciting. "How To Organize Your Space with a Feng Shui Template" was welcomed by the audience. They seemed to enjoy it, as much as I did, since it focused off the clutter and more on a fun and easy solution to clearing the path.
There were so many helpers at this convention working on all kinds of solutions to help people with over-collecting and accumulating. The researchers attending indicate it is biopsychosocial (genetic, emotional and environmental).
Hoarding disorder and OCD may factor in to the more serious cases. Once the objects, stuff and items build up into a barricade, and the people living in the space can barely move, creating psychosis, depression, anxiety, fire hazards, and possibly even death it becomes dangerous. You can read more about these challenges in a previous article at
Professional Organizers are the "Friendly Visitors". We are there to help you get back on your feet with creativity, clarity and vision.
Social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and educators don't go to people's home or lift a finger to do much of the work to help someone with hoarding mental health challenges. My friends, family, colleagues, who are mental health practitioners do help people tremendously, but the kindness and compassion and physical aspect of going into someone's home to transform it is helping from the inside out.
The boundary issues prohibit so much of what mental health practitioners provide and offer. Anyone who wants to help a hoarding situation will want to roll up their sleeves and pitch in. When that is not comfortable for a practitioner / family member / or friend then the helping is better left to a professional organizer with some mental health background.
I realized once a "friendly visitor" always a "friendly visitor". You either have the knack to help others get organized to have resolve in their lives or you don't. There is no in-between in being a Professional Organizer.
Getting organized is hard work, taking tenacity, thoughtfulness and strategy for both the Organizer and the person with hoarding and cluttering challenges.
Most educators at the convention concurred that many people with clutter/hoarding disorders do not go to therapy. Probably something to do with attachment issues, which means the stuff they collect is friendly and fuzzier then people may be. The client may not want to discuss anything to do with moving, getting rid of, or organizing their stuff. The stuff issue is just to personal and painful.
For people with clutter and hoarding challenges other people, who get close to them, may pose unsafe possibilities (people wanting to get rid of their charged items, judgment, abuse, removal from their home). The objects start to take life, meaning and then a relationship is formed. Also things that are collected may hold memories, ideas, thoughts and images of a time, person, place.
The mind has now made a simple ice cream wrapper a time spent on the beach with a person's absent son, brother, husband or friend.
It is a seriously isolating. It is seriously challenging. It is seriously difficult to stop.
I have four very close friends and family members who suffer with their barricades and the one common link I found is a broken and damaged relationship with their fathers. I started to talk to clients I work with and it may be a greater possibility that the paternal modeling is essential in future organizing skills.
Marla Stone is a retired Social Worker and Therapist who is now a Professional Organizer helping people from the inside out.
Mental Health Consulting at www.southocwellness.com
Feng Shui and Decor Specialist
Marla is known as the organizing clutter therapist®. Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of I-Deal-Lifestyle, a Self and Space Organization Service.