Are You Too Busy?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-chicken-image15981374Once upon a time I was taught the Transcendental Meditation technique. It’s a mantra-based meditation that is done for 20 minutes twice a day, but that is not my point. The thing about the training that keeps coming back to me is this frequent admonishment:

If you are too busy to meditate, then you are too busy.

As a time management consultant I now believe this concept can be applied to ANY activity in life that is important to you:

If you are too busy to _________, then you are too busy.

(more…)

Mom’s Boxes Part 4: Grandma’s Lawn Chairs

I wrote this blog post for APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers), but it’s essentially Mom’s Boxes Part 4, since I found most of the photos in mom’s boxes.

Photos keep memories alive. And they tell the story of a family over time. They show how it grew and how it changed. Some people have the forethought to mark the passage of time by taking photos of their kids each year wearing the same outfit (oversized at the outset), or standing next to a fixed object. And sometimes everyday objects in a family’s life seem to inadvertently bear witness to these changes for us.

Click here to read the rest of the story, and to view my family photos.

[Tweet “What special stories have you discovered in your family’s photos?]

(more…)

Are You Prepared for Identity Theft?

A friend was recently robbed of his wallet, keys, and cell phone.

That would be disconcerting enough for anyone, but it created even more problems than you might imagine. It also put him at risk for identity theft.

(more…)

Mom’s Boxes Part 3: Trip down memory lane

Me and Mike enjoying a picnic of lemonade and raisins in 1964 Indiana.

My brother, Mike, and I have agreed there’s something about going through Mom’s boxes that we hadn’t fully bargained for: Going down Mom’s memory lane includes going down our own memory lanes. This can be heartwarming, and great fun…and also embarrassing, sad, and exhausting. It feels like my life is flashing before my eyes in excruciatingly slow motion.

(more…)

The Downsizing Decision Matrix + Your Personal Inventory

 

Face it, everyone downsizes their worldly possessions at some point, either voluntarily or involuntarily. You either do it before you die, or after you die. And you either do it yourself, or someone else has the burden of doing it for you. Which do you choose?

Here is a tool to help you decide.


(more…)

Mom’s Boxes Part 2: Panning for gold

My 2nd great grandmother

My 2nd great-grandmother,
Margaret Keysling Hankins Smelser (1833-1921), of whom I’d never seen a photo. Gold!

When my mom died, in 2001, she left us 33 boxes of scrapbooks and other memorabilia. Not 33 scrapbooks; 33 moving boxes full of them. In Mom’s Boxes Part 1: The Shed I described what we did with them for 16 years, and why I’m finally going through them now with my brother Mike.

 

We’re making progress…..

I’ve been posting on Facebook about this project (#momsboxes), including photos of some of our great finds. People leave comments like, “Wow, what a wonderful treasure trove you’ve got there!”

Well….yes and no. The analogy that comes to mind is panning for gold. Do you know how many tons of sand and silt one must sift through to find a few nuggets of gold?!

(more…)

The guest-worthy & stress-free home

Photo by Ron Behrmann

Do you enjoy house guests? Or avoid them?

In New Mexico the holidays start with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October! Many of us host visitors during that time. Others have friends and family who visit during the summertime, or they throw traditional holiday parties and host other celebrations involving house guests.

Or….they avoid company altogether because they are embarrassed about their clutter and other domestic imperfections.

(more…)

The Container Store: Mixed feelings + 7 shopping tips

Container StoreAt long last, a miracle has occurred! A Container Store has opened for business here in New Mexico. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus! Fire the canons! Pop the champagne corks! Release the confetti, doves, and balloons!

Albuquerque, prepare to feast your eyes — and open your wallets!

It was a huge step down for me, in terms of access to organizing supplies, when I moved from California to New Mexico in 2005. I traded the two-story Pasadena Container Store — with its valet parking, freight elevator, and abundance of storage options, accessories, and gadgets — for the 99 cent clear plastic shoe boxes at Big Lots, plus a black Sharpie and some masking tape. (OK, an exaggeration, but only a mild one.)

(more…)

Mom’s Boxes Part 1: The shed

See that wall of boxes in the back?

When my mom died, in 2001, she left us 33 boxes of scrapbooks. Not 33 scrapbooks; 33 moving boxes full of them.

By scrapbooks I mean albums, binders, and notebooks full of memorabilia — photos, cards, letters, memoirs, and souvenirs. And who knows what else? These are in addition to the scrapbooks and photo albums she created for each of her four kids specifically, which we already have in our possession.

As her executor, guess what I did with them?

(more…)

How to organize your family tree at any budget

The genealogy research money tree.

Genealogy research can be an expensive hobby if you factor in computer programs, tools, memberships, documentation fees, research trips, books, seminars, and conferences! (Hmmm, wonder how much I’ve spent over the years? Not to mention the time invested…)

But it doesn’t have to cost a penny.

I want to help everyone who’s interested in discovering, organizing, preserving, and sharing their family histories regardless of where they live, or how much money they have. But there’s only one of me, and I need to make a living too (so I can’t work for free). In this post, I’ve listed some options for researching and organizing your documents, memorabilia, and photos, in order of affordability.

(more…)