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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My own office make over

Every January I like to take my house apart, one room at a time, and clear out what is no longer working and clean up the rest. This year I started with my "office" which is housed in a specially built armoire.

I live in a small space, so I need my office to be as efficient as possible. As the year goes on, things get out of sorts - even for me, so before I can embark on the coming years jobs, I need to take care of my own space. I thought I would share the process with you.

The process of organizing a space is always the same. Julia Morgenstern named this process SPACE, which stands for Sorting/Purging/Assigning a home/Containerizing/Equalizing. I have adapted this to suit my own process, SPACED. Adding the D = Decorating.

The first step - Sorting, began with my taking everything out of the armoire and cleaning it. I used a vacuum, a swiffer duster, a bottle of spray cleaner and rags to go over every surface. The computer and phone were turned off, but left in place, as I knew they would be staying in those positions.

Next I sorted through everything I took off of the shelves and decided what would stay and what I did not need any longer. Its been years since I had to use a three-hold punch, so there is no need for that to be taking up valuable real estate in my desk. Last year I bought an IPHONE, so the charger needed to be added to the phone area and the cord neatly tucked into place.

After Sorting/Purging, I began to Assign a home to the returning items. Rebuilding the desk by putting things back in the order of their importance to my use. Obviously, the computer and phone are the first things to be placed. Then my client folders and my activity files (more on these in my next post) needed to go in next.

I just kept adding in the next level of important items. Adjusting the shelving as I built upwards. In my case, I was able to Containerize as I went along. I had already decided that I wanted to bring in some color to my space, so I purchased some new holders and boxes from Ikea and the Container Store.

After everything that I want back in the space was placed, I spend a bit of time making sure that everything looked, felt and worked where I had put it (Equalizing).

Finally, I hung my calendar, my favorite poem and added my ivy (Decorating) and I am ready to get down to business.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Caution is the word of the day

I want to remind everyone to be especially careful during the current economic downturn. I am hearing from my fellow professionals that new scams and schemes are popping up all over the country at an alarming rate. Pay special attention to:

Craig's List - this is a free internet service for selling items, renting apartments, finding jobs, etc. However, reports of robbery and theft involving using Craig's List are disturbing. Everything from being robbed in the home or at so called safe public locations to having checks copied and used to buy expensive goods or empty checking accounts.

Phone and Mail - Never, never, ever give personal information to strangers calling over the phone! Don't answer mail ads.

Internet and Email - Never click on links for things you don't know and never click or respond to an email that looks as though it's from your bank or credit card company. Always build your own direct link to the companies you work with regularly and use that link to contact them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On This New Day

Inaugural Poem

Maya Angelou
20 January 1993

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Moving the Presidents

White House move - Source: Former White House Chief Usher Gary Walters
The move is performed by most of residence staff, which numbers 93.
It takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the south side of the White House.
At least two or three trucks will take part.
Tents, chemicals on hand in case of ice, snow or rain.

It's a side of Inauguration Day that most people never see: a grueling, precisely timed workday involving scores of staffers that follows six months of careful planning.

Gary Walters worked at the executive mansion from 1986 until 2006 as chief usher in charge of moving presidential families in and out of the White House. From his Virginia home, Walters described how the complicated move is completed in only six hours.

At 11 a.m., after the Bushes and Obamas depart the executive mansion for the Capitol Hill swearing-in ceremony, empty moving trucks will roll up to the south side of the White House, Walters said.

The drivers put down their tailgates, allowing most of the White House's 93 staff members to begin loading the Bushes' belongings into trucks and unloading Obama family items from other trucks, he said.

"Staff members all have been given very specific jobs on that day, almost down to the minute as to what their responsibilities are," Walters said.

The move is designed to be seamless, painless and invisible while millions of Washington visitors -- and millions more watching on TV -- follow the inauguration ceremonies and the parade that follows.

By about 5 p.m., before the Obamas move from the parade viewing stand to their new home, the presidential move must be complete.

"Their clothes will be in their closets; everything will be put away," Walters said. "There should be no full or half-empty boxes will in view. Furniture will be set in proper places. Their favorite foods will be in the kitchen or the pantry. The chief usher will welcome them into their home and ask them what they would like to do before going out to enjoy the inaugural balls."

Incoming first lady Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, will also be moving into the White House residence, which has 24 rooms on the second and third floors. The Obamas have hired California decorator Michael Smith to use an allocated $100,000 to redecorate the space. Watch what decorator may do with the White House »

"I think they're going to find that this is really conducive to family life," President Bush told CNN's Larry King. "President-elect Obama has got a 45-second commute to see his girls."

In the West Wing of the White House, the political jostling has begun among new staffers to grab workspaces near the center of power: the Oval Office.

There, the carpet is changed with each new administration to suit the incoming president, Walters said. Possibly, the office desk will be changed, as will paintings that will be hung on the wall.

Books on the Oval Office shelves will be changed per the new commander in chief, as will accessories to be placed around the room, Walters said. Staffers may tote in a new sofa and chairs -- or busts of past presidents.

Following tradition, Bush is expected to leave a personal letter written to Obama. Past letters have offered the new president private words of advice and reflection.

Several Democratic presidents have chosen to hang a Thomas Sully painting of President Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office, said political scientist and historian Martha Joynt Kumar, an expert on the White House. "In the residence, many presidents have brought their personal paintings to decorate their living space."

After movers tote out boxes of office materials from Bush staffers, the West Wing will become a dusty workspace, with empty bookshelves and the odd three-ring binder left behind, say veterans of the White House press corps.

As in previous moving periods, contractors may come to slap on a coat of paint or lay carpet as the new crop of staffers finds their workspaces.

"It was incredible," former Clinton staffer David Seldin said, recalling his experience on Inauguration Day 1993. "I think people were overwhelmed with the sense that it was real and the sense that something that you had been working on as a political campaign is actually becoming part of the government."

On Tuesday, once the whirlwind moving operation is finally done, Chief Usher Stephen Rochon will probably greet Obama the same way Walters did Bush in 2001.

Standing near the doorway to the White House North Portico, Walters recalls, he said, "Hello, Mr. President, welcome to your home."

From CNN

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's deductible

It's almost time to think about taxes....

Remember that your donated household and clothing deductions need to be accounted for correctly on your taxes. We use It's Deductible by the Intuit people. Best of all, it's free. Just click on the post title to visit the site.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Make a pot of tea

Today I met with a new business associate over a pot of tea and a few fortune cookies. One of the best afternoons I've had in a while. Connecting with someone new, talking about how we can grow our businesses, be of better service to our clients - all over a hot pot of tea was a real treat. Such a simple thing, yet so powerful. I highly recommend it to you all.

Oh, my fortune cookies read "Accept what comes to you each day." and "Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid."

The best advice I've gotten in quite a while...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A positive shift

A very happy new year to you all! I am glad you have found me. I changed my blog address, so I know those of you who had bookmarked me have had to do some searching to find me again and I thank you for your persistence.

It's a new year and a new world, and like millions of others I am taking a good look at my life from every angle. Evaluating what to keep and what to let go of. This year I want to put into practice some of the things I have been talking about, but not necessarily doing all that much of. I want to keep this list short so that I can't ignore the few items I have placed on it...

1. Act as if... I've decided that I live in an abundant and friendly universe. The glass is half full and positive energy is the only energy worth having.

2. Choosing carefully what to watch on TV. At the speed of light and sound bad news travels into our homes and permeates our very being to the point that we are frozen in fear. And there is so much useless programing on these days, disguised as entertainment or reality (not my reality - I assure you). I just don't want that energy in my life anymore.

3. Making better choices about what I buy. I am not a compulsive shopper anyway, but I do think that I need to have everything Pottery Barn comes out with. Yes, PB and chocolate are my drugs of choice. More on PB later...

Throughout the year I will keep you posted on my progress... please let me know what shifts you are making and whatever else is on your mind in the world of organizing.
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