head lice
eggs, head lice, kids, lice, nits, parenting

There’s a Louse in the House!

There’s a Louse in the house! Or How to Survive Head Lice

I know it’s still winter, but Spring will be here before we know it and it’s perfect weather for head lice! Learn now how to handle this situation before you’re in a panic with a note from your childs school.

When my daughter was growing up, she had beautiful blonde hair – fine and long – and apparently perfect type of hair for head lice to lay their eggs. Every year – like clockwork – in the spring and in the fall, she would get a round of head lice. This went on for 7 years! Yes, I became an expert at dealing with the eggs and nits and she became patient at the process of getting rid of them.

Here’s some info on head lice that we learned the hard way. This is information from my own experience. If you would like to learn more, please visit http://www.ridlice.com/ to learn more.

Back to my experience: Lice LOVE clean hair – they can stick their eggs to it! Their eggs can’t cling to dirty hair – go figure – hence head lice or their eggs are not an indicator of one’s cleanliness. In fact because her hair was so fine and clean, they loved her head even more.

Head lice do not discriminate between upper, middle or lower class. Just go visit your local paintball site, batting cages, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, or any place else where helmets are used, if someone wore the helmet before you and they had head lice, you will likely get them too.

The only product I used was RID – I’m sure it’s extremely toxic but at the time I didn’t know what other product to use. It always worked but it’s still multiple hours of work – not only removing from your child’s head, but doing the wash as well, and treating bedding, couches, etc.

One thing I did learn from our pediatrician was that lice hate clothes dryers – easiest way to deal with pillows and bed linens and stuffed animals (my daughter had a zoo of stuffed animals) was to throw the items into the dryer and run on HIGH (hot hot heat) for 20 minutes. Killed ‘em dead.

So if your child comes home with head lice, don’t panic! I can only recommend RID because that is what I am familiar with, but be sure to wash and dry everything, and run through your clothes dryer those items that you aren’t able to wash. Again, go to http://www.ridlice.com/ to read and learn more. (As I learn more about essential oils, I am sure there are HEALTHIER and NON-TOXIC ways to get rid of lice. As I learn more, I will post an update for you here.)

Make yourself a cup of tea and turn something on TV for your child to watch while you work on your child’s head – stay calm — it will get better. Once my daughter reached teenage years, she started washing her hair every other day and that seemed to stop them from bothering her again.

(Thank you to spudcomics.com and Lonnie Easterling for their hilarious cartoon – it is so perfect!!!)

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junk drawer
kitchens, Organizing

Junk Drawers – to have or not to have, that is the question

Junk Drawers – to have or not to have, that is the question…

I don’t know about your childhood home, but the home I grew up in had a junk drawer in the kitchen. We called it the junk drawer even though mainly it housed tools and assorted items like tape, nails, hammer, etc. Perhaps my mom referred to it that way because it wasn’t like the other drawers which were specifically designated for just one type of item – utensils, foil, and large cooking utensils (we had only 5 kitchen cabinet drawers, come to think of it).

Since this is how I was raised, I too have always had what I would call a “junk drawer” – to put it more eloquently, “a mélange of dissimilar items frequently requiring access but with no specific home to call their own”…ahem…junk drawer is much easier now, isn’t it?

Sometimes junk drawers can become nightmare drawers so let’s take a look at whether or not it would work for your home to have a junk drawer:

  1. Do you have lots of kitchen drawers where you can easily assign like items? If yes, then you probably have an extra drawer to assign as the “junk” drawer.
  2. Are your kitchen drawers a wish list item for your next kitchen? If yes, and you have very few drawers, you may want to NOT have a junk drawer since space is limited.
  3. Do you have a tendency to save EVERYTHING, including plastic wrapped utensils (with napkin of course), chopsticks, soy sauce packets, and ketchup packets that come with food delivery from restaurants? If yes, then a junk drawer is not the best solution because it will be used to store all these items, which are not junk but really, let’s face it, trash.

My current kitchen has two junk drawers – they are side by side – and they are in the same vein as the drawers in my childhood home. I call them “junk” drawers, but they probably really aren’t necessarily junk drawers – they hold tools, tape (scotch, electrical, masking, packing, and plumbers tape), scissors, pens, rubber bands, stapler, ruler, measuring tape, etc.  I guess you could say the drawers are more along the lines of “frequently needed tools” and “office supplies”. I also use drawer organizers to separate the different items so it does have some semblance of order to it.

Only you know your tendencies and if they stray towards the side of filling drawers so they’re not accessible or usable, then you probably already know you shouldn’t have a junk drawer. But the decision to have or not to have is always up to you.

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occipital lobe
Uncategorized

My stroke of insight

And Happy Two Year Anniversary to me!!!

Two years ago today I had a stroke…hard to believe it but it’s true and it was my moment of insight. The stroke was caused by elevated estrogen levels (undiagnosed) and a recent prescription given containing estrogen. The perfect storm.  Within 6 weeks of starting my prescription, I had a small stroke in the right occipital lobe…the back right side of my head. That’s where the clots split off and one went above my right ear and the other stayed in the back right side, affecting my vision.

Now, in all seriousness, I had no idea I had a stroke. And this stroke was my fork in the road – “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost).

My decision was simple: do I want to continue living the life I have been living, doing the work I have been doing, OR, do I want to seize this opportunity to change my life, change my career, make any other changes I choose to, and move forward with immense gratitude? Easy!! How many times do we get to experience such a blatant and obvious fork in the road?

It’s taken two years to get to where I am today. I am and have always been fully functional (thank you Lord) since my stroke. The changes I decided to make were to no longer spend time with negative people who also bring negative energy with them, ease out of my Digital Marketing client work, and no longer do contracting work as a Project Manager on system implementation projects. Instead, I have read many books about those who have experienced Near Death Experiences (NDEs as they are called), learned yoga, attended conferences (in person and online) with like-minded people, learned to meditate daily including practicing deep breathing exercises, focused on hanging out with people who bring positive energy with them, and launched a professional organizing business where I can enrich others’ lives and help bring peace into their homes and offices. There is so much more that I am doing to enrich my life, my family’s lives and those around me. The options are endless! And for that I am so very grateful. Heck, this blog was one of my new endeavors too!

In closing, here is a quote from a recent book I read that pretty much sums up the choice we are given every day:

“You are the author of your own emotional experiences. You can choose whatever emotion you want in any situation you are faced with.  Making a conscious choice instead of allowing old subconscious patterns to run you is choosing to evolve and grow.”

Choose to evolve and grow. Live like each day is your last. Carpe Diem!

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How does your brain function
Organizing

Which side of your brain do you use?

Since it’s Halloween today, let’s talk about our BRAINS! They’re squishy, mushy things which are AMAZING in how they function!

Scientists are continuing to learn more about our brains and how they function, yet there is so much more to learn. One of the characteristics about our brains is that there is a right brain and a left brain — they are joined together — but each part has separate primary functions.

Now I’m not a neuroscience expert, so don’t judge me on this, but I do believe that whether you use the right side of your brain or the left side does affect how organized you are – and how you see organization as a whole.

Someone who is predominantly right brained will see the whole of a room and therefore, if it’s messy and cluttered, due to seeing the “big picture” so to speak, they will become instantly overwhelmed. Whereas a left brained person can see the room in sections and can see how to tackle it one section at a time. This is a very high level summary but you get the idea.

There are websites you can take tests to see which side of your brain you utilize the most (http://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3178 and http://braintest.sommer-sommer.com/en/ are two websites). I took one of these tests and, believe it or not, I ran about 50/50 – not much difference between the right side and left side usage. Hmmm…what does this mean? The beauty of being both left and right brained is that I can tap into my creative side (I grew up taking private painting/art lessons due to an innate ability to paint and draw), plus I can relate to clients who struggle with organization (I might just need that broken window blind to use for a project in the future), yet using my left brain, I realize the necessity for purging (throw out the broken window blind…please!), and I bring a sense of order in working with clients that doesn’t shut them down – because I GET HOW THEIR BRAINS WORK.

Most organizers come up with a plan of action that may not work with someone who is right brained. For example, we’ll proffer up my mom – thanks Mom! She likes to keep her unpaid bills in a place where she can see them – on the counter near her dining room table. She sees the basket everyday which reminds her (she’s visual) that she needs to sit down at the dinner table and pay bills. In my house, it’s a different setup: I have mine in manila file folders for each month (for each month I have two folders – for example, one folder says Nov 1-15, the other folder says Nov 16-30). We pay our bills weekly so we scan through the folders on our designed bill paying day each week to see what is due. Now if I took MY SYSTEM and put it into place for my Mom, since she’s more right brained and needs visual cues, it’s pretty likely that my mom would forget she had bills to pay because they would be in a wall pocket behind her office door…yeah, this won’t work for her. She wouldn’t see them and wouldn’t think about checking her folders. This is why her method works for her and our system works for us.  KEY POINT: Use “systems” that work with what works best for your brain!

We face so many stressors in today’s world. Let’s eliminate one of those stressors and accept our brains as how they currently function. And work with someone (a friend, family member or professional organizer) who understands YOU and helps you establish organization systems that work in YOUR home and with YOUR brain.

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roof rake
Home Repairs, Roofing

When is a Rake not a Rake?

When is a rake not a rake? Wait…is this just like “When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar?”…close, definitely close. In focusing on some home projects in the month of October (and neglecting my blogging), I had some basic “prepare for Snowmaggedon” activities to do: one was to have the chimney inspected and cleaned.  Used a local company whose owner I have known since he started his business 30+ years ago.

The chimney inspector/cleaner (are they still called that? what were they called in Mary Poppins? gosh…I will have to look that up — oh! A Chimney SWEEP!) also inspected the SIDES of my roof (I’m in an interior townhouse and NO ONE notices the sides of their roof because they just don’t…especially when they are not visible since it’s on the backside of the house that faces woods and a steep ravine).

Anyhow, Mr. Chimney Sweep comes down and shows me pictures of my roof side” and says, “You need your rakes replaced.” My what??? “Your rakes are in bad shape – you need to contact a roofing company.” Okay. So when did the word “rake” become a part on the side of a roofline? Again, “what??”  Yeah, google that.

Apparently, instead of just calling it “roofline trim” or something that we, the laymen and laywomen of the world, would know what part a roofer is talking about, someone decided the word “rake” was just right. It means “inclination or slope away from the perpendicular or the horizontal” and probably why it became a roofing term?? Who knows…

I’m not falling for it. I will use the term “rake” when needing to conduct legit sounding roofing conversations (“remember the year that the rake rotted and we had to get it replaced before the snow came?” Oh yeah). However a rake will always be to me something that I loathe in the Fall time for the blisters it brings with use…and the many bags of leaves as well…which is why I love leaf blowers and living next to the woods…just sayin’…now get to that rake!

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time off from blogging
Vacation

How Time Flies When You’re Not Blogging

I decided to take off the month of September after taking an AWESOME vacation to Texas and New Mexico. Got to hang out in Texas with my daughter and her hubs, catch up with some longtime friends, and then after driving across the great state of Texas, got to reconnect with a high school classmate and his wife in New Mexico. I needed a vacation after our vacation just to recover! Best kinds of vacations, right?

Then it was September – my birthday month – and that’s cause for a month-long celebration :).  Took September off from finishing my blog drafts (I have lots of blog posts in draft form waiting for my finishing touches).

Next thing I know, it’s become October and WAIT A MINUTE, there are some household repairs and projects that have to be done BEFORE the cold weather sets in.

Well, since our brains are designed to only process so many tasks at once, mine focused on household tasks. Lots of great info to share via future blog posts on the shenanigans going on around here…just wait.

I was able to continue working with awesome clients, just didn’t blog…nothing personal.

Now I’m looking forward to getting back in the saddle again! My how time flies when I was not blogging!

So stay tuned…watch for more posts…and enjoy the rest of your Fall!

~Colleen

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Messy room needing organization
Uncategorized

Tips for When to Hire a Professional Organizer

Are you finding that the act of organizing is not something you do well, especially when you are by yourself? Sometimes just having another person in the room with you helps you to remain focused and continue organizing. Here are some tips to help you know when it’s time to hire a Professional Organizer:

  1. Are you unsure as to where or how to begin organizing?
  2. Do you have more stuff than your home or office can contain?
  3. Do you need to learn organizing systems and techniques?
  4. Does the terminology “organizing systems and techniques” make your head spin?
  5. Do you have a looming deadline for completing an organizing project, such as a move?
  6. Do you need the expertise of someone trained in helping chronically disorganized people?
  7. Are you dealing with medical, physical or psychological issues in addition to disorganization?
  8. Will you need ongoing organizing assistance or maintenance?
  9. Do you need someone to help you organize large quantities of things or papers?
  10. Do you want or need the objectivity of a neutral third-party?

If you answered “yes” to some or all of these questions, you will definitely benefit from the assistance of a Professional Organizer. Please contact me to schedule an assessment. If you are not in the Metro DC area, we can still conduct an over the phone assessment and I can assist you in locating someone in your area.

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