Thriving in the Midst of Chaos

Flatten the curve — TP edition (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

There’s nothing like a crisis to bring out the helpful spirit and creativity in people.

Now that everyone’s stocked up on toilet paper, and hunkered down safely, the ideas are coming fast and furiously!

Now that everyone’s stocked up on toilet paper, and hunkered down safely, the ideas are coming fast and furiously! Click To Tweet

One might think that my happily-introverted, self-employed, semi-retired, virtual-service-providing self might be relatively unscathed by current events. But I find myself completely obsessed with the news and with my social media feeds. which has completely, for the moment, diverted time, energy and focus away from my own projects. It’s less because I am anxious, and more because I am fascinated, intrigued, inspired, and non-stop entertained by the wisdom, creativity, compassion, and humor of my friends. THANK YOU!

Here are just a few examples of the amazing things that I have seen in the past few days.

With ideas like these, we can not only survive, we can thrive!

Working from Home

Former NAPO president Ellen Faye was first out of the gate with a helpful blog post called Maximizing Productivity While Working from Home – COVID 19. So helpful, with so many people suddenly working from home. Additionally, many of my professional organizing colleagues provide virtual services of all types. Click here to ask me about it. If I can’t help you myself, I’m happy to point you in the right direction!

Getting Educated about COVID-19

Sheryl Brown has a non-profit called Interesting Conversations. Her husband, Coffee Brown, is a doctor here in Albuquerque. In order to educate people about COVID-19, including future developments, they joined forces to produce a FREE video series called Covid Conversations. Click here to watch Episode 1.

Helping Musicians Recover Lost Income

Debbie Stanley is the owner of Thoughts In Order Consulting and author of The Organized Musician. In the wake of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival cancellation, in Austin, Texas, she had an idea. Out of concern for her clients, whose in-person gigs were suddenly curtailed by pandemic-induced social distancing, she created a website — literally overnight — for local musicians to produce virtual house concerts of their own.

Teaching People to Get Organized

Alison Lush is the President of ICD (Institute for Challenging Disorganization). She decided that since she is not seeing clients in person (as most people aren’t right now), why not start a video series where she shows us a part of her house each day, and talks about how she organized it? It’s a FREE, live series that will also be available for future viewing on her Facebook page. She’s doing it once in English, and again in French, because she lives in Canada!


At first, I thought, “Caremongering? What the heck is that?” Well, it’s the antidote to fearmongering, of course! I don’t personally know anyone in this article — Stories of caremongering during the COVID-19 pandemic — but I do know people in various neighborhoods who are banding together to help their neighbors in need.

Survive & Thrive Resource Roundup

And what do I, personally, do when the going gets tough? I make lists!

My new Survive & Thrive Resource Roundup, includes the following categories:

  • Stay Informed
  • Stay Healthy
  • Stay Prepared
  • Stay Productive and Focused
  • Stay Grateful, Helpful, Creative, Entertained, and Inspired
  • Stay in Touch
  • Stay Calm

What creative, helpful, new ideas, products, and services have you heard of, or perhaps provide yourself?

Please share them with us in the comments below!

P.S. Thanks to Jane Ellen for suggesting the title of this blog post!

P.P.S. Now that I’ve finished this blog post, and the Survive & Thrive Resource Roundup — (check back for frequent updates!) — now maybe I can re-focus on the book I’m writing: What’s a Photo Without the Story? And vice versa.
A guide to telling the stories of your photos, family, and things. 

Copyright 2020 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life.
I welcome social media links directly to this page!
Please contact me for other types of reprint permission.



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  1. Seana Turner on March 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    I’m seeing a lot of creative ideas. A local craft workshop that had JUST opened is now giving one idea a day for a craft with supplies you likely have on hand. Terrific! I’ll be hosting a Facebook Live “Ask the Organizer” tomorrow evening at 8 EDT. I think it is important to stay connected as best we can, and may toss in a little learning at the same time!

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      I love that! Both the craft ideas and your Ask the Organizer. I think we’ll all get even more creative as time goes on. Either that or we’ll all go crazy!

  2. Nancy Haworth on March 16, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    These are all wonderful ideas! With online connectivitiy, there are so many ways to learn and connect with others while staying home. I am also offering virtual organizing sessions and DIY organizing consultations (for those who want to tackle some do-it-yourself organizing while stuck at home). In my community, fitness centers are offering online classes, music teachers are teaching via Skype, and schools are distributing lessons online.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      I am not seriously worried about losing infrastructure, including online connectivity, but I’m actively grateful for it, and sometimes I think about what I’d do without it. I think VO’s time has come (more so than before), and I love all of your other examples too!

  3. Janet Barclay on March 16, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Hazel, this is fantastic, and your positive attitude is contagious! Thank you for always being the voice of reason.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Awww, thanks, Janet! Well,

  4. Kim on March 16, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Hazel,
    This is really wonderful how you are so focused on all the positive things that come out of a crisis with people. It is really nice to see. I am noticing this as well in my community and in many other places. Someone started up a Caremongering Facebook Group for London, Ontario which is quite interesting. It is so great to see people posting resources available. We are really seeing some new expressions like “Social Distancing” and “Caremongering” I am sure there are a few more we will learn. Sure is an interesting and difficult time. Thank you for your positivity.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      Thank you! I’m not forcing it — I’m truly captivated by the ingenuity and helpfulness of the things I’m seeing — but also, ugh, what if I were focused on how bad things could get, and supplies I don’t have on hand (we can’t all think of everything and then never run out)….that would be horrible! And, well, I’m better off than many in some ways, so it’s easier for me to notice and point out hopeful things…?

  5. Linda Samuels on March 17, 2020 at 7:34 am

    First off, I LOVE your amended graph! The toilet paper situation is out of control. I’ve been visiting the local groceries stores frequently to stock up, but also to keep the fresh foods in the house. And each time I go, it’s more and more of an insane situation. Last time, ALL the chicken was gone. ALL of it! So it seems we’re having a run on toilet paper, bleach, hand sanitizer, wipes, and chicken.

    I love how you shared all the creative ways that people are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Amazing what Deb Stanley did to help musicians have a virtual platform for doing house concerts.

    For the past six or so months, I’ve been going to yoga classes at a local studio. Last week, they finally decided to close temporarily. I wasn’t surprised, but I was sad because it’s been a wonderful for my mind and body. And particularly during these stressful times, it was something that was very important. The studio owner and one of the teachers, is now doing yoga class via Zoom. I attended my first class yesterday and it was wonderful.

    Thank you for your humor, your uplifting message, and the reminder that even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, beautiful, surprising, and creative things can transpire.

    Stay safe. Be well.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      I think yoga via Zoom is a great idea. And for those who aren’t in your studio there’s Yoga With Adriene on YouTube! Thanks for you comments, Linda!

  6. Ronni Eisenberg on March 17, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    I love your sense of humor and just like you, I am pinned to the news because I find it fascinating as well as social media.
    My main concern is to stay healthy and check up on family and friends. I’m also adhering to strict distancing guidelines and then just pray that we all come through this sooner than later.
    And I can certainly benefit from online exercise but I am taking long walks every day.

    I’m going to post a very funny cartoon to our group that I just saw a recently!

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      One of the things I love about social media is that I’ve seen MANY, many funny cartoons, memes, quotes, videos, etc. about Coronavirus/COVID-19/Social distancing/Pandemic. People who get depressed with their newsfeeds need better, funnier, more upbeat friends!

  7. Julie Bestry on March 17, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    I love the positivity of this, Hazel. You’re definitely the kind of person I want running things, keeping things calm and steady!

    • Hazel Thornton on March 17, 2020 at 2:58 pm

      Well, I don’t know about “running things”, but if I can help someone improve their outlook on a bad situation — by being positive yet also practical and realistic — I will try!

  8. Janice Norris on March 27, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Thank you, Hazel! This is great and I will share on Facebook.
    Also, I was out and so looked up a recipe for “homemade window cleaner.” Then I realized it would be a great surface sanitizer:
    1 cup rubbing alcohol
    1 cup white vinegar
    1-2 drops of dish soap
    Put all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake it gently

    • Hazel Thornton on April 1, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for the recipe, Janice!

  9. Jane M Severance on April 1, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    I found the list of resources very helpful. Well, I haven’t actually read them all, but I have read two. First, the information on how to make surgical masks and particularly who wanted them in my state. Second, the funny post about how to remember how smart we are. Thanks for doing this, Hazel. Do you have a tip jar? You should!

    • Hazel Thornton on April 1, 2020 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks for letting me know which resources you like so far, Jane!

  10. Daniel Johnson on April 29, 2020 at 9:21 am

    I think it is important in any situation to see and focus on the positive. Great motivational post! Stay safe!

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