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  • August 05, 2020 5:31 PM | Anonymous

    Written by: Home Transition Pros

    August 05, 2020

    What’s it Worth?

    Royal Crown Derby Imari Porcelain China

    Generally speaking, the value of china is not what most downsizers would want it to be.  It’s always difficult to let people know that the treasured place settings of so many family meals have very little resale value.  Like many similar collections, there is currently a glut in the market and not many people want to buy fine china today.

    However, the gorgeous black and gold pattern we noticed at a client’s home recently really caught our eye.  We asked Chris Lancette of Orion’s Attic to weigh in on what it could be worth.

    A Notable Exception

    “I usually preface any response to questions about the value of china with one of the great many polite strings of words I use to convey that china isn’t worth much today, says Lancette.  “There are some exceptions to the rule, though.  The Royal Crown Derby china Anna showed me today is one of the exceptions to the rule!”

    Estate sale chinaRoyal Crown Derby Porcelain China

    Chris explains that this colorful china has several things going for it. The general style of it is known as Imari – which takes its name from a Japanese port that started shipping porcelain to the West in the late 1600s. While these pieces are not that old, it was made by the Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company of Derby, England. The company is considered either the oldest or second oldest porcelain company still operating in the United Kingdom.

    Chris estimates that the china in these photos likely dates back to the 1920s to 1930s. “The dinner plate with a pattern featuring what I loosely call double diamonds is particularly popular today. People still want it.”

    So, What’s it Worth?

    Chris notes that if he had been hired as an appraiser to put a replacement value or insurance value on this pattern,  he would assign each dinner plate a value of $100 to $125. “If an owner asked me to make an offer on it as a dealer, I would explain that we typically sell plates like this in our eBay store at fixed (not auction) prices of about $60 to $80 – winding up with about $52 to $68 after eBay and other fees. To make it worth my time and effort to buy, sell, pack and ship, I could offer approximately $30 to $40.”  A cup and saucer set, meanwhile, can often net about $40 or more.

    chna collectors estate saleAuthentic Royal Crown Derby China

    Someone fortunate enough to own an entire set of Royal Crown Derby Imari china with place settings for four to eight people could be dining on a collection worth a few thousand dollars!

    Ask the right questions.

    We recommend consulting with an individual or company with experience evaluating art, furniture and collections at the beginning of any downsizing project.  While it may be harder to find a market for many household goods these days, there are always exceptions to the rule.

    Call us first.

    We can introduce you to qualified and vetted local professionals who are skilled at recognizing and evaluating valuable items in your collections.

    Get in touch today to find out how we can help you get the most value out of your stuff, clear your home completely, and make a move with minimum stress.

    Contact Home Transition Pros for more information.

  • August 05, 2020 5:25 PM | Anonymous

    Janet Schiesl, Basic Organization

    August 05, 2020

    Finding your nook when you think about organizing. What does that mean? There no secret to it. Let me explain.

    Organizing doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Actually, it’s probably better in small bundles. A little here and a little there and you will see a difference in no time.

    Look for your ‘Hygge”  when organizing your space. Have you heard of hygge? I started learning about hygge a few years ago and look at it as a way to find a comfortable level of organization in my life. Meaning, doing just enough organizing in my home, but not letting it overwhelm me.  Would that work for you? By focusing on a nook (or one small space) that doesn’t work and changing it in a way that makes you feel calmer and happy. That’s how I use hygge in my life. Here’s a definition of hygge I like from

    Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a danish word used to acknowledge a special feeling or moment. It can be alone or with friends, or home or out, ordinary or extraordinary, but it is always cozy, charming or special. – from…CLICK TO TWEET

    Where to start?

    There are lots of small places that collect odds and ends that clutter up your home, your car, your office and your life. Here is a list of some of those nooks and crannies where you can make a difference in a short amount of time.

    • Closets – clothes, linen, front hall/coat, gift wrap, storage, craft, toy, pantry
    • Drawers – junk, kitchen, pencil, desk, dresser, end tables, bathroom, glove compartment, file
    • Cabinets – medicine, media, kitchen, file, craft, china, pantry, storage, bathroom, toy, office supply
    • Shelves – book, knickknacks, storage, closet, shoe, media
    • Chests  – toy, tool, jewelry, car trunk

    I have learned a lot about how to practice hygge (which is very personal) from joining a couple of facebook groups. My favorite is The Hygge Nook. Check them or other out. See how people everywhere incorporate hygge and organization into their lives. Find your nook and get started!

    Contact: Janet Schiesl, Basic Organization

  • August 05, 2020 2:27 PM | Anonymous

    Jessica Williams,  Clutter Doctor

    August 5, 2020

    Wondering if you actually need to hire a Professional Organizer? Well, does this sound familiar?

    • You have a closet that you won’t even open because the contents are too overwhelming to deal with … truth is, you don’t even know what’s in there anymore!​

    • Your garage has no room for the car.​

    • Your filing “system” is non-existent and you can never find the latest soccer schedule, birthday party invite or dental appointment reminder in all of your piles.

    • You’re always tripping over stacks of unread magazines, books and catalogs.

    • Your kids think being organized means still being able to find their bed at night.

    • Your family photos from the past 20 years are gathering dust in a bunch of old cardboard boxes.

    • Your inability to find anything means that you are often late for appointments and that you buy triplicates of everything because you don’t know where the original item is anymore!

    • Your friends call you a “pack rat” and you’re too embarrassed to have anyone over.

    • You try to fix these problems, but you just too get overwhelmed to make progress.

    So many people today feel that they are drowning in things. They've unknowingly become clutter bugs because it happens slowly over time as we naturally accumulate bigger houses and more stuff.  This is especially true for those of us who have children.

    Others begin to collect things after experiencing a major move, a change in lifestyle, or after a tragic loss. Holding onto items is something most of us have struggled with at one time or another because we often associate life’s moments, or even certain people, with items that serve as tangible reminders of loved ones.

    Clutter overstimulates the brain and makes you less productive. Left untreated, clutter can cause long-term stress and perhaps even other health problems. Professional Organizers can help you regain control, allowing you to create physical and emotional balance in your home and life!

    For many people, the hardest part about getting organized is knowing how to get started. Maybe you don’t have time, or the skills or maybe the idea of organization simply scares you. Whatever has kept you from managing the clutter, a Professional Organizer can help. Professional Organizers understand that organization is not about simply throwing everything out.  It's about keeping only what we love or need and making those things accessible so that we can feel less stressed and enjoy life’s activities. Furthermore, Professional Organizers don't have emotional ties to your things and can keep you anchored to a task while being judgement-free.

    Don't you deserve that peace of mind of getting organized?  Then contact me today or do a search for a Professional Organizer at

    Contact Clutter Doctor

  • June 24, 2020 7:20 PM | Anonymous

     Janet Schiesl, Basic Organization

    June 24, 2020

    Here’s the story about how I learned to save big money on my food budget.

    When I was a young adult (and not so organized) I used to go grocery shopping about once a week. I’d spend a reasonable amount of money, but many times those shopping trips ended with me going home, putting everything away and then going out to dinner. I was a little crazy to shop without a plan and then come home with nothing to eat for dinner. I soon learned that by planning meals before grocery shopping can save you BIG MONEY!

    10 Tips to Save Big Money on Your Food Budget

    1. Cook at home. This will be your biggest savings. Americans spend some 50% of their food dollars on restaurant meals. Cooking at home is always cheaper. Planning a week of meals at one time can make it easier to follow your plan.
    2. Stretch your budget by making a meal out of left-overs. Omelets, quesadillas, stir-fries, soups or pastas can incorporate many different ingredients.
    3. Eat left-overs for lunch or freeze for another meal.
    4. Know what’s in your freezer. Have a running inventory of what you have stored and plan when you will use it. Make sure you use each meal within a year.
    5. Use less meat. Make a meal once a week that focuses on beans, tofu or eggs.
    6. Incorporated frozen vegetables into recipes. They are healthy and inexpensive.
    7. Grow your own garden. If you have a yard use some of it to plan some herbs and seasonal vegetable. It’s healthy and a great project for the kids.
    8. Buy some items in bulk. Check prices, but sometimes buying in bulk and freezing for later can save lots of money.
    9. Stock up on staples like beans, rice, canned tomatoes, oil, pasta and frozen veggies. Having basic items will help you throw something together for dinner in a flash. You can do this with an organized pantry.
    10. Buy when it’s on sale and use coupons when able.

    You can save big with a little organization.

    Contact: Janet Schiesl, Basic Organization

  • June 24, 2020 7:07 PM | Anonymous

    Jill Katz, One To Zen Organizing

    June 24, 2020

    Would you like to organize your space but can’t seem to get started? You are not alone. Many people view organizing as a daunting task. It’s simply more than they can handle. Here is where chunking comes in handy.


    I first learned about chunking when speaking with my daughter’s therapist many years ago. My daughter has ADHD and her therapist was trying to help her with executive functioning, skills related to planning and organizing. At the time, my daughter was entering sixth grade and she was having trouble sitting down to do her more complex homework.


    The therapist suggested breaking up her work into smaller steps. For example, she broke down my daughter’s essay assignment into 5 steps:

    1. Brainstorm ideas
    2. Write outline
    3. Write two paragraph essay body
    4. Write Intro & Conclusion
    5. Edit entire essay

    Writing an essay seemed like a huge deal to my daughter, but doing each of these steps across a school week seemed attainable. And that, my friends, is chunking.

    A great read!

    "The only consistent sustainable way to grow big is to start small.”

    -BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits


    Here are some of examples of how you can apply chunking to organizing and productivity in your everyday life:

    1. Understand that small steps can add up to a BIG IMPACT on your life.

    Behavioral psychologist, BJ Fogg, author of Tiny Habits, relates why small steps make a big difference: “Tiny allows you to get real with yourself and your life. Tiny allows you to start right now.” He adds “The only consistent sustainable way to grow big is to start small.”

    2. Create a sense of Accomplishment:

    Celebrate small things like putting “Get Dressed” on your daily to-do list so you can check it off. It feels great, right?

    You get a thumbs up

    3. Plan a task that is Possible:

    The next time you have a task, plan only the next step instead of the entire series of steps. For example, when you receive an invitation in the mail, attach a sticky note that says, “Check calendar.” Calendar clear? Write the next step, “Buy a gift” and move forward with that. You can do this!

    4. Make organizing Less Overwhelming:

    Choose a small space (closet, bookshelf or desk) and write out each step in increments you can handle. Move forward with each step at a calm pace. Are you breathing? If not, you might want to learn the strategy of mantras.

    What project are you avoiding right now? Chunk it and start making small step at a time.

    Jill Katz, One To Zen Organizing

    Silver Spring, MD 301-799-8112

  • May 31, 2020 5:03 PM | Anonymous

    Janet Schiesl, Basic Organization

    May 31, 2020

    This is for all the Work-from-Home Moms.

    If you want one of the most stressful jobs on the planet, be a mother for a day.  To kick it up a notch, as famous chef Emeril Lagasse says, then mompreneurs know that a hectic schedule and being pressed for deadlines is the way most days go.

    Mompreneurs need to be reminded that being overworked and stressed will not make them more productive.

    What is needed is a handful of relaxation methods that can be your stress relief in the course of a day.  Working at home doesn’t have to be the most stressful venture that so many mothers working at home find it to be.

    Here are 7 Ways to Relax for Mompreneurs and Work at Home Moms (WAHMs)

    Find a happy retreat

    This can be done mentally or physically, and some may find that this retreat time will have to be used sparingly with little ones running amok.  Nonetheless, finding a place to retreat from the chaos where you can just “be” for a few minutes will help gather your thoughts.

    Can’t get away?  Then try one of many “guided imagery” techniques you can find online.  This is a way to mentally retreat by using tranquil images you can conjure up anywhere.

    Take regular vacations

    Perhaps this is not possible at the outset, but make it a goal to take a regular vacation.  These need to be planned well in advance for financial as well as business reasons, but having a regular down time will work wonders.

    Take a breather

    Literally.  Learn some breathing techniques to slow your breathing and take deeper breaths when you need the relief.  This will combat the urge to pant, which is usually a sign of stress or even anger.  3-5 long, slow, deep breaths will help combat stress and help you relax.


    “Laughter is the best medicine” sometimes.  It might help you to watch a funny video online that is only a few minutes long, or to keep a bookmarked website where you can flip through a few short laughs when needed.

    Mood music

    Walk to the beat of a different drummer by changing the sound in your environment.  Set the mood with the music you listen to, and consider surround sound with your favorite relaxing tunes.

    Take the kids for a little stroll

    This works great if you have a house dog, where you know your dog will want to get out to use the bathroom or get some exercise.  Take your kids if you can for a stroll around your block, to a park, etc.

    Making sure you do this regularly will help decompress your stressful situation.

    Make a pot of Chamomile tea

    Chamomile, or lavender-infused teas, will help you to relax a bit.  Take a few minutes to boil the water and have a calming ritual of enjoying a cup.  The tea itself soothes, but the entire ritual can be quite relaxing.

    Whether work-from-home moms and mompreneurs have it “all figured out” or not when they begin their home-based businesses, one thing is guaranteed: workplace stress is reality.  Having your kids around and the housekeeping that piles up, it’s stressful.

    Mompreneurs need to be reminded that being overworked and stressed will not make them more productive.CLICK TO TWEET

    Don’t let stress get the better of you!  Work-from-Home Moms can burn out much easier than typical entrepreneurs because the stress comes at you from so many angles simultaneously – but hang in there: you can do this.

    If you need more ideas on how to avoid work at home mom blues & burnoutbe sure to check out this invaluable article by clicking HERE.

    I hope you have enjoyed today’s blog post, written by my special guest, Christina Martin, of YouRelaunched.  For more information about Christina, please visit her website.

  • May 31, 2020 4:41 PM | Anonymous

    Jill Katz, One To Zen

    May 31, 2020

    In this new COVID-19 climate, we have all had to adapt. One way that I have adapted, along with many of my fellow professional organizers, is to shift my sessions from hands-on, in-person organizing to virtual organizing. And anytime we do something different, we learn something new.

    Virtual Organizing

    Virtual organizing is organizing from a remote location. I am in my home while you, the client, are in your home. The biggest challenge with virtual organizing is that I am not able to physically help. My body is ready to spring into action, by moving, sorting, and organizing. Yet because we are virtual I am forced to slow down, listen more, and use words to encourage you and direct you through the organizing process.

    The Four Organizing Needs

    The slower pace of virtual organizing has allowed me to identify 4 different needs people have that must be addressed (by themselves or by their organizer) in order to reach their goals: Organizing Techniques, Strategy & Planning, Coaching, and Accountability. Most people have a blend of these needs and don't fit into any one category.

    I. Organizing Techniques: Sort, Divide, and Conquer

    I. Organizing Techniques: Sort, Divide, and Conquer 

    The Need: An organizer that will provide you with techniques and tips while guiding you through the organizing process.  

    You need organizing techniques if you:

    • Aren’t sure how to get started

    • Have tried to declutter or organize before but keep getting stuck

    • Would like someone to walk you through each step of organizing so you can understand the process

    The Example: My experience with Stephanie Frumkin from Silver Spring, MD is a great illustration of the need for organizing techniques. Stephanie wanted to get her kitchen in order and wasn’t sure where or how to begin. After a brief discussion, we decided to start with her utensils. I then guided Stephanie through the process of removing all her utensils, sorting and categorizing them. When Stephanie seemed confused, I would give her a tip or ask her a question. Stephanie explained how this process felt to her: “When I got stuck, [Jill] calmly guided me and never made me feel embarrassed or pressured in any aspect of the process.” About 15 minutes into the session, Stephanie declared, “Oh, I get it now!” The next day, Stephanie sent me a quick note about our session: “It is inspiring me to create more of a system in terms of what I do.”

    II. Strategy & Planning: Who, What, When, & Why

    Give me a roadmap!

    The Need: An organizer that can provide you

    The Need: An organizer that can provide you with a framework. With this framework you might even be able to organize on your own.

    You need strategy if you:

    • Don’t have systems in place for many routines such as mail, laundry, donations

    • Try to clean up a room but don’t have “homes” for many of the items

    • Need a road-map to transform the function of a particular space

    The Example: Amy Stolls of Washington, DC was frustrated by her clutter. We had been working on various rooms in her house since the spring of 2019 and making steady progress. But with current events, I couldn’t be present with her in her home. This had happened once before when Amy was busy with work. She couldn’t find 4 consecutive hours to schedule an in-person session so we filled in the 2-month gap by scheduling virtual 1-hour sessions. During those sessions, Amy discussed what was bothering her and I organized her thoughts and created a list of items for her to work on until our next virtual session along with tips where appropriate. When we met again, Amy would update me on any developments and I would create a new “to do” list. This month, Amy is stoked because she needs some organizing in her vacation cabin. It doesn't matter that the cabin is far away since we will be continuing to organize virtually.

    III. Coaching: Bringing Out the Best In You

    The Need: An organizer that can support you

    The Need: An organizer that can support you in making your own decisions and give you the confidence to know you can achieve success.

    You need coaching if you:

    • Feel overwhelmed or anxious at the thought of organizing

    • Recently experienced a life change or transition (divorce, new baby, pandemic)

    • Are comforted by the idea of having someone alongside you while organizing

    The Example: Wanda Seays from King George, VA needed help with her home office. She told me that every time she walked into her home office she was overwhelmed with anxiety. This anxiety was so strong that she couldn’t even begin to make a dent in her paper clutter. We spent an hour clearing Wanda’s desk with the help of her sister. Because I wasn’t in Wanda’s home, she was in control of her space. I only saw the papers that Wanda wanted me to see. Wanda described this process: “The biggest difference for me between virtual organizing and in-person organizing was that I felt less anxious being video coached.” When Wanda needed to make a decision, I would support her with clarifying questions and assure her that there was no wrong answer and that she was doing great. Wanda told me: “I can still hear your voice when the clutter tries to ease back into my office space. Thanks for your patience and compassion.” In this case, the coaching support during our virtual organizing session helped her conquer her clutter even after our Zoom session concluded.

    IV. Accountability: Sustaining Momentum

    "The only way we succeed as a group is not simply following directions, but in keeping each other accountable for our actions."

    ― A.J. Darkholme

    The Need: An organizer that can track your progress from week to week so you don’t backslide.

    You need Accountability if you:

    • Want someone to track your progress

    • Work well with deadlines and a clear goal

    • Know that having someone present during organizing will ensure that you actually organize

    The Example: Every single person needs accountability in order to progress on their organizing journeyit is the most important need. When I work alongside you, my presence ensures that you will sort through those annoying papers. You are not able to say that you will sort through that box and then go take a nap. I can see you! And after that hour of organizing, you have a few homework assignments to complete. On your own, they might get done - who knows? However, if you know that you are meeting with me in a week or two, then you are far more likely to tackle that homework list.

    Virtual Organizing & The Four Needs

    So, there you have itthe 4 organizing needs. And you don't need an organizer to be physically present in order to address those needs. Virtual organizing through Zoom can be even more effective for clients that have anxiety, need a more affordable solution, have small blocks of time, or would like to work at a slower pace.

    What is your organizing need? Let me know…

    Interested in virtual organizing? Set up a free 20-minute call with me or schedule a session.

  • May 31, 2020 4:26 PM | Anonymous

    Cynthia Fischer, Ph.D.

    Authors: Missy Crawford, Dr. Cynthia Fischer and Heather Cocozza, PMP, CPO

    May 31, 2020

    The other night my husband innocently said to me, “You know, if this lock-down really goes on into next school year, we’re going to have to get more serious about homeschooling.”  I don’t remember if I said anything right away, but I do remember a twitchy sensation in my left eyelid and a feeling that my head might actually explode in that moment. 

    Reading the news on your phone for too long causes stress, fear, and anxiety.  You can’t watch the news on your TV because you don’t want your kid to start feeling that same anxiety.  Emails from your child’s school about distance learning are long and overwhelming.  And every time you open your Facebook or Instagram feed, you see someone who has perfected the art of looking perfect as they laugh and do an educational project with their kid, in their perfectly clean and organized home.  And, of course, they’re remembering to eat healthy and exercise all the while.  Or maybe it’s the posts by your childless friends that get to you.  The ones where they’re complaining about the luxury of having so much time that they don’t know what to do with it (a luxury you haven’t known for many years).  It’s enough to make anyone more than a little on edge.

    Working parents have always had a full plate in front of them.  With no clear end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, now it’s more like a heaping mountain covering a whole table and, yeah, maybe there used to be a plate under there somewhere but that seems sort of beside the point at this stage.   But this doesn’t mean that there’s no hope.  These times are unprecedented, but in an odd sort of way, I feel like I’ve been here before.  In a funny sort of way, the feelings I’ve had during this lockdown period bear a lot of similarities to the period of time when we brought a newborn baby home several years ago.  Everything was different.  My old ways of doing things and my clever workarounds didn’t work anymore.  As a family, we had to learn new ways of doing things.  And we sometimes had to rely on each other more than we were used to, rather than just barreling through and doing everything individually.  We learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses, capitalizing on the strengths and allowing those to fill the gaps where the weaknesses were.  God knows it wasn’t easy.  The good news?  We survived those times and came out on the other side.  Hell, some of us parents did more than survive, we thrived.  Crazily enough, we went back for more and did it a few more times!

    I’m not saying that anybody wants this pandemic to go on even one second longer than it has to, of course.  But I want to remind parents that they’ve been in tough spots before—every parent has.  Remember how that felt, and tap into that version of yourself that got through the hard days and nights.  Remember all those wise friends and relatives who said, “No one knows your baby better than you do,” and “As a parent you’ll make mistakes, but you can always course-correct.”  These are the adages to keep close to your heart now. 

    Remember this when you’re stressed about homeschooling because you’ve had no training whatsoever as a teacher.  Remember this when you and your spouse both have urgent work projects that are overdue and you child just isn’t in the mood to sit quietly and play with toys or watch a movie.  And most of all, remember those things that people told you when you were a new parent.  Things like “What works for one family will not necessarily work for another,” and “Every kid is different.”  In a way, we’re all new parents again, finding our way, learning new ways of living all over again.  Yes, it’s daunting, but we’ve been through this before.

    Bearing all this in mind, here are some tips and strategies for dealing with the present crisis.  Everyone’s circumstances are unique, so find what’s useful and ignore the rest.  Only you know what is right for you and your family.

    1. Chose what works best in your home: a routine or a schedule.  In COVID-19 either can work.  As much we may hate to admit it, just about everybody needs to have some kind of routine or schedule to their daily lives.  Otherwise it’s just complete chaos (life with kids leans toward the chaotic on a good day anyway). 

    Sample Routine for those who value flexibility:


    Wake up time (varies)

    Get dressed sometime before lunch, when convenient

    2-3 hours school time sometime before lunch (broken into shorter chunks if needed)

    1-2 hours screen-time before lunch

    1-2 hours exercise/outdoor time as needed

    1-2 snacks as needed

    Midday (roughly between 11am and 1pm):

    Lunch time (depends when hungry) and non-screen free time


    1-2 hours chore time

    1-2 hours exercise/outdoor time as needed

    1-2 hours screen time/free time

    1-2 snacks as needed

    Evening (roughly between 4:00pm-7:30pm):

    Dinner time (includes helping w/prep and cleanup)

    1-2 hours screen time/free time/non-screen time

    Roughly 1 hour bed time routine (bath or wash-up, and books)

    Lights out approximately 7:30pm

    Sample Schedule for those who thrive on strict timelines:

    7:00am-8:30am wake-up time, breakfast time, screen time, get dressed

    8:30am-10:00 school time part 1

    10:00am-10:30am snack time and mini outdoor/exercise time

    10:30am-11:45am school time part 2

    11:45-1:00pm lunch time and non-screen free time

    1:00pm-2:15pm screen time/free time

    2:15pm-3:00pm chore time

    3:00pm-3:15pm snack time

    3:15pm-4:30pm outdoor/exercise time

    4:30pm-6:30pm dinner time (includes helping w/prep and cleanup) and screen time/free time

    6:30pm-7:30pm bed time routine (bath or wash-up, and books) and lights out at 7:30pm

    *Remember that parents need to adjust their expectations when it comes to screen time during COVID-19.  Experts suggest offsetting the increase in screen time with increases in “healthy” activities to keep things in balance for kids.  

    2.  Split the day.  Both you and your spouse need to work for several hours undisturbed?  Give each other that time.  While one works (in a locked room if necessary!) the other surrenders to the kids and the mess (or whatever is going on that day).  Kids generally get up early but go to bed relatively early too.  So, plan your day around your child’s waking hours.  Say your child gets up at 6am and falls asleep at 8pm.  That’s 14 hours, or 6.5 hours uninterrupted per parent.  Adjust the split as needed, prioritizing the most urgent work for you and your spouse.

    3.  Toss out or delegate the homeschooling tasks that fill you with dread.  I’m talking about the ones you feel you are “supposed” to do or that you “should be” doing.  Have a friend or relative who is good with numbers?  Set up a zoom meeting where your child can get some facetime with someone other than their immediate family.  Keep it fun and light.  Sometimes our best learning experiences (with or without a pandemic) happen outside the classroom, with a special person we don’t get to see every day.

    4. Create a chart with some flexible options for your child to use for homeschooling like the sample below.  They can fit in other activities like screen-time, exercise, or chores between their school items.  Checking items off themselves each day and deciding what to do when will empower them and make them more proactive.  Make each day a different color as a way of distinguishing one from the next.  Lastly, place the chart inside a plastic sheet protector, so you can check off with a dry erase marker and wipe it clean at the end of each week for re-use.

    Sample School Check-in Chart                                     Dates:_____________________

                                            M                      Tu                    W                     Th                     F

    Reading Lesson/ Activity

    Writing Lesson/ Activity

    Math Workbook/

    Activity sheets

    Typing 20 Min

    Flash Cards

    15 Min


    20 Min

    Handwriting book

    15 min

    Reading 25 min

    Neil Armstrong

    5.  Take the time to mark the weekend as different and break the routine.  Weekends may seem meaningless now that most of us are home full-time, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Have a movie marathon, wear pajamas all day, eat lots of junk food, have a sleepover in the living room, swap bedrooms for a weekend, whatever you can think of to break the monotony.  Kids get a kick out of seeing a different side of their parents, you know, the “fun you” that existed before you had children.

    Randy Kulman, Ph.D., “5 Tips to Manage Screen Time During Quarantine,” Psychology Today, April 15, 2020:

    Cynthia Fischer, Ph.D.

  • May 05, 2020 5:43 PM | Anonymous

    We are pleased to announce the 2020 Chapter Awardees!

    Organizer of the Year

    For the chapter member who best promoted the organizing industry or chapter and made a difference in the community.

    Janet Schiesl, Basic Organization


    Business Partner of the Year

    Kevin Wheeler, 123Junk


    Volunteer of the Year
    For the chapter member whose volunteer work had the most impact on the chapter.

    Diane Greenhalgh, Homelife Decluttered

  • May 05, 2020 5:33 PM | Anonymous

    Jill Katz, One To Zen Organizing

    May 5, 2020

    “What is your mantra?” I ask my new client.

    Let me back up a minute.

    Mantras: An Important Organizing Tool


    As a mindful organizer, I recognize that I am meeting my clients for the first time when they are anxious. Many of my clients are overwhelmed by clutter and are going through some sort of life transition (new baby, new job, divorce, a death). In addition, I am a stranger coming into their home, their space. So when we first sit down to talk before we officially “begin” our session, I like to offer a breathing exercise to center them in preparation for our time together.

    Mantras Are Personal

    Before we take a relaxed seat and begin our breathing, I ask my client, “What is your mantra? What will ground you in times of stress and overwhelm.” And they tell me:

    “I am going to take it one step at a time”

    “I will get through this”

    “I am doing the best that I can”

    “Omna’ma Shiva’ya” (“I bow to the inner self”)

    “I am bigger than this moment”

    “This is just a season”

    Rachel Henry, my wise yoga instructor at Blue Heron Wellness, shares her take on mantras.

    "I believe one of the best ways we can focus our mind and calm our overall state of being is by noticing our breath and it’s unique rhythm...If we add a mantra to the natural, repetitive rhythm of our breath, the experience can be liberating, empowering and soothing."

    My Mantra History

    As a child, I went through a period when I would faint any time a doctor drew blood or gave me a shot. I became very anxious that I would faint on a daily basis. I would get up too quickly, feel a little dizzy, and have a panic attack thinking “Oh no, I’m going to pass out.”

    My Mother taught me to breathe and recite a mantra to calm myself down. I would make a fist and say “I am strong” and the word would translate into a reality. I am strong. I will not faint.

    I Am Strong!

    A New Session

    Fast forward to today. I ask my client to come up with a mantra, or a word or phrase to use when they get anxious.

    Then I sit with my client and we practice visualization and breathing for a few minutes as my client recites a mantra to him or herself. We open our eyes, look at one another with a sense of recognition and I say, “OK, now let’s begin…”

    What Is Your Mantra?

    Do you have a phrase or word that you utter in times of stress? I would love to hear your mantra and your mantra experiences.

    For more information about Jill Katz and One To Zen:

    Jill Katz, One To Zen Organizing

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