Where should I store my ….

September 18, 2013

stocks of stuff like the 50 roll pack of toilet paper, the 2 pound container of ground cloves, and the 12 quart bargain pack of strawberry jelly?

At the STORE! That’s why they call it that!

You’re only saving money if you’re sure you’ll use it up within the ‘freshness’ dates.

Feeding one’s anxiety about running out of stuff by overstocking is only practical if you have room to be organized and uncluttered about it. Otherwise recognize it for what it is: anxiety about potential deprivation.

Anxiety is rarely quelled for any beneficial length of time by shopping or any other consumer solution.

Far better to be realistic about what you can feasibly store, why you’re buying and learn to leave most of it at Costco.


Cards everywhere!

January 27, 2013

Questions Clients Ask

What do I do with the business cards I collect at conferences? I put them in my data base but miss the visuals and notes that help me remember the context of the conversation.  

  A few options:

1–Low cost, low tech: A simple binder with business card pages. Separate with tabbed inserts: by trade, by name, by professions, by conference, or whatever you decide.   

  2–Card Scan: A small, reliable, fast card scanner that allows you to look at both sides of the card on your screen, including your notes. New between $125-$250. I’ve seen them on eBay for under $60.  Bring it to the conference and be finished before you get home.


Uncertain? Not anymore with ItsDeductable

December 18, 2012

Thanks to a  reader who finds it hard to let go of old things, especially old tools.

He writes:

I want to donate my old corded drill, bought 25 years ago for $55 but I want the tax deduction.

Overvalue it, and I feel guilty.  Undervalue it, I feel resentment.

Someone suggested the Intuit ItsDeductible website which says the used drill is worth $6.  Ouch.  So I go to Ebay which has this drill, NEW-IN-BOX, for $14.25.  So it’s a $6 deduction, case closed.  Easy to let go, along with 27 screwdrivers, two stud sensors, paint rollers, a potato peeler, old chisels, etc. hiding underneath the drill and an old volleyball:

tools for donation

The best part is the thrift store folks are happy to see me visit since I never donate trash, wipe off the sensitive stuff (like the silverware trays) and usually find something brand new in it’s original package left over from years of bargain-hunting/hoarding that’s sure to brighten someone’s day.  The space is worth more than the stuff.  https://itsdeductibleonline.intuit.com/AuthLogin.html?url=https%3A%2F%2Fitsdeductibleonline.intuit.com%2Fsecured%2FMyDonations.htm



slow mood?

December 13, 2012


    Ever wonder why you can sometimes get things done quickly  

    and yet other

    you times spend forever and

    still not be finished?


Do a mood check. What do you feel like?  When you’re elated or excited about what you’re doing, it’s easier to focus.  When you’re bored, sad, or upset it can be difficult to accomplish things, even those you want to do.

There are at least 3 ways to improve your mood and even though it might feel like they’re wasting away precious time, they’re actually saving time by reducing frustration and moving you to a more productive mood.

~Feel your body: Breathe in slowly and deeply, relax your shoulders, change the lighting or sound levels around you, stretch.

~Identify what the voice in your head is telling you: If it’s negative, figure out why. It might be something as straightforward as you don’t like what you’re doing or who you’re doing it for. If it’s usually negative or constantly distracting it might be time to investigate it with a therapist.

~Change your activity: Take a walk, read a book, call a friend, enjoy a hot bath, play music, or eat something.


November 26, 2012

What? The parking garage can’t be closed; our car is in there!

After a long Saturday of being tourists, we returned to the Washington DC garage around 6:30 and found the entrance barricaded with a steel door.  Each of the four of us reacted differently about what to do next.

One began to fret about where would we sleep, how will we get home?

Another reviewed how we had missed the sign that said the garage hours were 6 am to 6 pm.

The third looked for phone numbers of local friends that could possibly help us out.

The last dialed the after-hours phone number listed on the garage signs.

The Indian-accented man who answered the phone repeated one reply to our multiple questions about how to get the car out of hock.

“You should have read the signs!” (Despite what he was saying we enjoyed the lilt of his accent.)

Yes, yes, yes. We should have read the signs and yes, yes, yes, yes, you’re right, the hours are posted right there in small print above the driver’s line of sight. But how can we get the car before Monday morning?

Finally he offered that someone would come.

“Someone,” a cheerful patient man, arrived and laughingly acknowledged that this happens all the time and they really should make the sign bigger.

What I found so intriguing is how this highlighted problem solving differences, just like the burning television did many years ago on a Christmas day with another group: one person  opened the window to throw it outside, one called the fire department, and one pulled the plug.

We can review, we can worry, we can call for assistance, we can take action.

What’s your M. O.?


O, by the way….

November 7, 2012
oh, by the way

What’s causing the smoke?

People call because they need support in planning or completing a project, to brainstorm solutions to issues, or to create an accomplishment plan.  Sometimes it’s to arrange for help in organizing their information (think paper clutter, backlogged email chaos), or to assess their workspaces and habits for more effectiveness.But as varied as their needs are, there are a few common features.

One is that they are stuck, and nothing helps you get unstuck like asking for help from a trusted associate or a professional.

The other is what I call the “by the way….”

It’s what surfaces while we’re working through the issue at hand. Sometimes it’s a surprise to the client, and sometimes it just takes time to bubble up. But it’s always important.

For example, a client wanted help with setting up online banking and organizing financial information for the estate planner. After 4 sessions, we had 7 years’ worth of paperwork (which had previously been stored in a number of large laundry baskets), organized into an indexed, easy-to-use filing system. In addition, he had a summary of all investment and asset information ready for the lawyer. Complete?

Not quite.  Halfway through our second work session he announced, “Oh, by the way, I am preparing to divorce my wife of 30 years.”  That added another dimension to our work.

Another client wanted help creating family shopping and meal planning templates. Her quiet and somewhat ashamed “by the way” was a recent ADD diagnosis. Our work then included ongoing coaching around how that affected her responsibilities and expanded into creating easier systems at work.

Whether you ask for help or not, moving your “by the way” from the smoking mountain in the background into full view will change your focus, give you some relief, and make your improvements faster and more accurate.

What’s your order?

October 16, 2012

What’s your order?

Are you a Think-Do or a Feel-Do? Perhaps a Do-Feel?


Research shows the order in which we think, feel & act directly affects the amount of stuff we buy & own. It’s one explanation why some people barely shop or save and some over-shop & over-save. Think about this when things feel like they’re getting out of control.    

Hedonic Consumption:  Feel – Do – Think

  1. I recognize I feel like buying & that will make me happy.
  2. I’m going to buy; I can afford & can use it.  I’m glad I bought it.
  3. This thing is no longer useful nor makes me happy, so I’ll let it go by donating, selling, or giving it away.
  4. Procrastination isn’t usually an issue.
  5. Usually fairly organized, asks for occasional help.

Impulse: Do – Feel – Think 

  1. This purchase makes me feel good right now!
  2. Uh oh, now that I have it, I regret my impulsive purchase.
  3. I really can’t afford this so I will feel better when I return it.
  4. Procrastinates often.
  5. Works well with an organizer on recognizing & changing acquiring patterns, releasing items.

Compulsive: Do – Feel   

  1. Buy. Acquire. Buy. I feel good when I acquire.
  2. It doesn’t matter how much I have. Why would there be a limit? I think there is still space left to store it.
  3. No, I don’t have any plans to get rid of anything because it’s the acquiring  that makes me feel good.
  4. Procrastination is a way of life. Tends to have inaccurate assessment of space and time. Family & friends are frustrated or concerned.
  5. Works with an organizer over time; it’s an ongoing improvement process.

A Pox on BB&B coupons!

September 23, 2011

As I understand it, Bed Bath & Beyond’s familiar blue coupons never expire, despite the printed expiration date. So what’s the big deal about that?  Well, they’re piling up in cars and on shelves everywhere. They’re kind of like your deceased Grandma’s gold teeth: worth money at some point but hard to part with to get the value.

   Why is it hard to part with them?

Could it be because it’s less about what they’re worth than what they represent?

There are products in the store that are just waiting to give you a bold 20%  off  the big  blue  BEYOND!

That big blue coupon, half the size of a diploma, will enable you to get that  the thing that will improve your decor, improve your life, improve how people regard you, you know, the place you aspire to that’s BEYOND what you have now.  And at a discount too!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with changing surroundings, aspirations or wanting to be well regarded. And in fact I admire the unique marketing idea the coupons represent because no one else’s coupons are hoarded like Bed Bath & Beyond’s.

But then again, every coupon in the stack also represents something not purchased.

Comment by not commenting?

June 6, 2011

This recent comment is great!

“I have absolutely no idea of what to say.  The connections between painting yourself into a corner, and Kane Trucking’s motto (be kind, be careful, be yourself, enjoy the ride) elude me.  You’re talking about doing tasks logically and finding/sharing pleasure in the accomplishment?  The be kind, be careful, enjoy the ride thingy sounds like a life philosophy.  There’s a theoretical connection there somewhere but it’s much too nebulous to me to make a contributory comment.”

Yes, there IS a theoretical connection…..follow along and see if it makes sense this way. It’s still a little circular but bear with me:

Painting oneself into a corner>

>the realization that with a little bit of self-and situation-awareness a better plan and  process might have happened>

>with a better plan you’re less likely to waste precious time fixing situations that didn’t have to happen>

>theoretically leaving you with more time to  enjoy how well your plan worked and more time to spend on something more interesting than chores>

>like time spent being kind, being careful, and being yourself….something we don’t do when we’re beating ourselves up for painting ourselves into a corner.


You say trucking companies are related to life how?

May 27, 2011

For the last few weeks I’ve been singing the UPS version of  Dean Martin’s signature song “That’s Amore”.

They’ve replaced “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore” with  “When its planes in the sky for a chain of supply that’s logistics. When  the parts for the line come precisely on time that’s logistics.”


Catchy not only because it’s a clever remake of a sweet and happy song, but because it’s a reminder that life requires a certain amount of  logistics.  Like UPS, we like our logistics easy and successful.

We call it organization.  I like logistics better, bur organized is easier to say.

It’s putting some time, attention and enthusiasm into paving the way for things to happen smoothly. The more organized you and your surroundings are, the closer you get to enjoying the ease of things falling into place almost effortlessly. Life is easier.

Then there’s Kane Trucking, another logistics company that sums it all up nicely on their trucks, which I’ve enjoyed spotting though the years.

Be Kind, Be Careful, Be Yourself.

Says it all

Be gracefully logistical, be kind, be careful, be yourself…..and enjoy the ride.

And that’s how trucking companies are related to life.