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If you celebrate Christmas, most likely you’ve started purchasing Christmas decorations. When the holidays have passed, you’ll need a place to properly store your decorations until the winter holidays roll around again. And if you procrastinators out there are going to be decorating the night before your family arrives in town, go ahead and keep the following tips in mind when you do your shopping.

5 Hints for Holiday Storage from Solutions.com

My mom LOVES Christmas and I definitely think she could use some of these organizing tools. Sometimes I don’t think you need a customized bin for everything you plan to store. But I think things like tree bags, ornament containers, and something to keep Christmas lights from getting tangled isn’t a bad idea.

Enjoy!

Alaia

I’ve been blogging for a long time. It started way back in 2000. While it was not literally a lifetime ago, it certainly feels like it was. I must say, I have certainly changed a lot in (almost) nine years. I suppose you could say I came of age blogging.

Lately, I have been doing some new media/social media consulting for various small business owners. Most have asked “is blogging worth it?” The answer is not the same for everyone, but for me it is a yes.  While I can not pinpoint one major way blogging has impacted my life (a new job, a soul mate, or anything like that), blogging is just part of who I am.

I’ve been writing for a long time. Way back in kindergarten, I started writing stories. Sure, my writing was illegible back then, but I knew what I was trying to express! I was published when I was in elementary school and again in middle school. These were very very small scale publications, but to me, it meant the world.  When  I was 15, going on 16, my mom decided to move us across town, which meant going to a brand new school in a brand new city.  I didn’t know how I was going to make it. Sure, we lived eight places in one city before, but I never moved to a totally new place and played the role of New Kid. I was usually the one who helped the new kids get acquainted. That summer, on August 13, 2000, I blogged for the very first time. Good old LiveJournal. NONE of my friends even knew what LiveJournal was. I turned them all on to it – and after a while it became the way we kept track of each other. I joined groups, and sent and received postcards from other LJ users. While LJ helped me keep in touch with friends old and new when I was in high school.  In college, blogging really was a saving grace.

My college years can be summed up in one word: struggle. Or depression. Or frustration. Or….you get the idea. But I could vent on Livejournal and get support there. I could express who I really was while continuing to write, which was something that was always fun and therapeutic for me. I wrote about my many many insecurities. I wrote about my favorite Christian bands (I had a brief Christian music phase for a couple of years), movies like Boyz in the Hood, and what I wanted in a man (which, six years later is almost still the same). I grew up blogging. I blogged about my first kiss, my college life, my out-of-state internship.

I maintained the LiveJournal for years – until late 2005, when I created a blog on Typepad. I used this new blog to talk about pop culture, concerts, music, books – anything BUT the details of my personal life. I wanted another outlet to share what I thought about what was going on in the world. Plus, I wanted my writing to me a little more focused. As always, friends come and go in life, but blogging was always there. When certain friends disappeared because their boyfriends became their sole priority – I could blog about what was going through my head at 3am. I could write something down and an online friend across the country could read it and lend his or her support. Blogging always provided me with a support network. And I loved that what I wrote reached people and impacted them. I could be who I was and it was okay.

Blogging and I took a  hiatus for a while, when my life got so crazy that I couldn’t get my head on straight and tight enough to write. I left college. I had a great job, but didn’t love it. My life felt like it was in total chaos. I decided to start a business. Wait – I decided to start a business? I NEVER thought I’d be a business owner, working for myself in any way, shape or form. David Duchovny’s wife, architect, psychologist, film critic, media analyst, non-profit guru, Mother Teresa… these were the things I saw myself as over the years. But I did it. I started One Organized Life based on a passion for helping people feel better about their lives. I didn’t want anyone to feel stuck, lost, alone, or boxed in, like I did. That’s not so bad right?

My life has changed radically since I got my first “real” client back in 2006. I lost my boyfriend/best friend who was probably my biggest supporter (no, he didn’t die, he just dumped me). Part time jobs came and went. Friendships dissolved. Saw a couple of different therapists. I moved twice and downsized my living space. Went on dead-end dates. I started a networking group for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Most importantly, I felt like I had found my purpose in life and did not want to spend another day NOT living it out. And yes, that combined purpose is my business and my networking group.

My life would be so much easier and less stressful if I was working a 9-to-5 job. Go to work, come home, collect steady paycheck. I’ve never had a cushy luxurious life with college paid for or a new car after graduating high school (or college for that matter). I’ve never dined at a 5 star restaurant or taken a trip outside of the country (other than an overnight trip to Mexico…when I was eight…with my babysitter and her kids). My life is even less cushy now. I don’t think ANY of my friends would trade for my life. But you know what, I wouldn’t trade for any of theirs either (though sometimes it can seem tempting…). So, as I went along earlier this year, continuing to make sacrifices in my personal life so that I could attempt to continue helping clients, I thought, “what can I do to feel a little better?” I’m sure you know what it is… I came back to blogging. And that’s how this blog was launched. I wanted to write again, express myself, and hopefully help people with my words again. I figured, well, if I have to take on another job and just work with clients on the side, at least the posts will be out there for people to see.

My goal with blogging has never been to make money. My goal was not even to get clients (though it has happened a couple of times). What I really wanted to do was put information out there that would help someone out in the universe overcome a barrier. I’ve gotten a few encouraging emails and comments. I was interviewed on an internet radio show and got some great feedback. And you know what? Occasionally, I do get a phone call from someone on the verge of tears, calling to hire me to help them because they read my blog and they understand that I get it. And really, that’s what it is all about for me right now. You can get a Top 10 Organizing Tips article from hundreds of sources online. Whoopdido. I’ll probably even post one at some point. But if the content on this blog or any blog I’ve ever had inspires someone, motivates them, makes them laugh, or gets them to pick up the phone to get help (and no, it doesn’t have to be from me), I honestly couldn’t ask for more.

So when someone asks me, is blogging worth it? Well, my short answer is, “Absolutely!”

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I’m not big on the holidays and wasn’t planning on doing a Thanksgiving themed post, but lately I have just been thinking that I have so much to be thankful for. Sometimes it is little things. Sometimes it is something that is huge, but I don’t see it in the moment.

I’m really really thankful for HELP. That’s for sure. We all need help at MANY points in our lives, so that is nothing original. But I am so appreciative of the help I have received. In a season full of transitions, here is a snippet of the help I am thankful for:

– my Ladies Who Launch incubator group –  a group of amazing women who have provided lots of support, insights, and ideas over the past couple of weeks as I have wondered how to proceed with the expansion of my business.

– members of my networking group who provide feedback, attend events, and help me brainstorm!

– a friend who gave me an emergency ride last night when I was stranded.

– my mother, who came to stay on and off in October to help me through the rapid transitions I was going through.

– fantastic business associates who have referred clients to me and offered me speaking opportunities.

These people (and more!) have helped me in immeasurable ways in the past few crazy months. Even in weeks (like this week) and days like this one, where I feel a little stressed and that I needs TONS more help, I am incredibly grateful for what I have been given – and for the people who trust and respect me and care about me. How great is that?

Like I said, I am not crazy about holidays (I wish I could sleep all day tomorrow!), but for all of you that love them like mad, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with the ones you love!

– Alaia

With a growing number of people working from home, those who are leaving the traditional office setting (at least part time) are realizing the importance of creating a dedicated workspace at home.

If you have decided to make the transition to work from home, I strongly suggest creating a space in your home that you use only for work.  There are many important benefits to creating this space including increased productivity and separating home life and work life – which benefits both you and the people that live with you. Find a place that can be all your own – if not permanently, at least temporarily. Pick a place that is low traffic during the day, setup shop, and have a place for storage nearby that you can neatly store things in at the end of the day.

Read the full article at Chicaholic.net

Well,  I can’t believe that it has been a month since my last post. It has been quite a month, let me tell you.

My last post was on a Monday, my birthday, and the rest of the week was full of stress, broken sleep, pacing, and anger. By the end of the week I decided that things had to change – right here, right now. I made a decision to change, to not spend another day in a place that stressed me out and caused me to have to make decisions about things I never wanted to make decisions about. I guess you could say that because I had no idea what was ahead of me, I took a leap of faith.

Why? Because I love what I do.

I spent a lot of time leading up to that week thinking about how everything in my life was going in the wrong direction – except for two things: my organizing business and my networking group. I haven’t quite made up my mind when it comes to things like destiny/fate/meant to be/la la la po po, but I was reading Jonathan Mead’s blog, Illuminated Mind, just a couple of days after I made my decision to take that leap, and I saw a post I had to pay attention to.  It asked, “what’s right with your life?” I have to admit, I did not read the entire post right away. In fact, I went back over a week later to finish it – but what was important was that question.

Already thinking about the few things that brought me joy during an incredibly stressful period, the post felt perfectly timed. I was tapped by Jonathan to write about what was right with my life and I wanted so much to write the most amazing and inspiring post ever. But you know what? I got busy. And it has been great. I started charting out what I wanted to do – how to revive my business (it didn’t die, I just put it aside), and how I wanted to expand it. I thought about what I could do to offer more to my networking group. I thought about what I want to learn and what I want to teach. I started to take action – I had to. What have I been up to in the past month?  Here’s just a snippet:

  • I started working with two former clients again.
  • I’ve taken on 10 new organizing clients. Some didn’t fully commit, which happens, but most have. And as usual, it’s such a pleasure to work with them. I have awesome clients.
  • Four people have requested me as a guest or contributing blogger.
  • I’ve attended three workshops.
  • I took a few naps. And a few loooooong baths.
  • I purged A LOT of paper and donated a lot of clothes and shoes.
  • I’ve watched every episode of Dancing with the Stars (talk about joy and excitement!)
  • I’ve solidified the umbrella of services I plan to offer through my business (I just need to update my website!).
  • I’ve started planning additional events for my networking group – additional times and types of meetings, a couple of book discussion groups, etc.
  • I’m planning a workshop and reaching out to relevant experts who might be interested in participating.

Of course, there have been stressful moments, stressful days. Wondering if I was a total idiot. Yes, some days, I can feel a little miserable. I don’t make a lot of money, I’ve never taken a real vacation (whether I’ve taken a road trip or not is up to debate), and I’m sure all my friends think I lost my mind years ago and wouldn’t want to be me if you paid them. But every time I work with a client, someone thanks me for organizing a meeting, I refer someone to the service provider that they’ve been looking for, or I teach someone something new, I can’t imagine spending my time any other way.

I’m dead tired right now and I really have no idea what I’ll be doing next week. If it turns out to be anything like the past few weeks, I’ll meet some great new people, make new business connections, take advantage of some great opportunities and hopefully work with more terrific clients!

Tell me: What’s right with YOUR life?


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Well, my birthday is today.  I didn’t buy myself a new iPod or take a vacation. And much to the dismay of everyone I know, I actually came to work today.  I didn’t buy myself anything glamourus. I did, however, buy myself an awesome new vacuum and a Mr. Clean Magic Reach device. I know, you’re thinking, “are you kidding me?”  No, my friends, I am not.

I haven’t used the vacuum yet, but on Sunday morning, I broke out the Magic Reach, put one of scrubbing pads on it – and wow! Who knew scrubbing a tub could be so easy? I didn’t even really have to scrub and in less than two minutes my tub and shower walls were shining as if they were brand new.

I’m a big believer in keeping things simple. Why take ten steps to do something that can be done in five?  I admit, I bought this product on an impulse, but I figured it would work well – I’ve been a huge fan of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for years now. But as I cleaned my tub with less effort than I ever have before, it made me wish I had made the impulse purchase months before.

This year I am doing to do my best to simplify as many routine processes in my life as possible. It is something we can all do. Our lives don’t need to be incredibly complicated. I know I don’t want my life to be complicated. As silly as it sounds, the Magic Reach was the first step in what I hope will a year that I can look back on and say, “that was the year my life became incredibly simple, less stressful, and much happier!”

Welcome to the September 15, 2008 edition of the Balanced Living Carnival.

One of my favorite submissions to this edition: Anand presents Fear of Success posted at Anand Dhillon . com, saying, “Fear of success can be insidious because it is often unconscious. Learn how to uproot the fear of success and prevent self-sabotage.”

Green Living

Ben Dinsmore presents 36 Ways to Reduce Your Home’s Energy Use posted at Trees Full of Money, saying, “With energy prices on the rise, and the sustainability of our environment in question, I thought that it would be beneficial to share some of the energy saving tips that I have picked up over the years.”

Melinda presents Redefining Normal posted at One Green Generation.

Health/Wellness

Monica presents How Healthy is Your Lifestyle? posted at Enjoying a Healthy and Balanced Life, saying, “How balanced is your lifestyle? How do you manage stress?
Do you allow yourself a chance to rest and relax each day?”

Joshua Seth presents How Not To Lose Weight posted at Joshua Seth Blog.

Alvaro Fernandez presents Resources for Brain Health Across the Lifespan posted at SharpBrains, saying, “List of resources to maintain our brains in top shape”

Personal Growth & Development

Dereck presents An Essay on Human Growth posted at I Will Not Die.

Amit presents Dealing with death posted at Amit, saying, “How to deal with death and change your perception of it from one of a curse to a blessing.”

HighGrace presents A quick two-minute fix for anxiety and stress posted at Face to the Sun, saying, “How to relieve stress and anxiety through breathing”

Wally Bock presents To plan or not to plan posted at Momentor.

spillay presents Without a heater on a cold winter’s night AND BEING THANKFUL! posted at A Pot of Gold.

Mike Solara presents Improved Listening = Improved Self posted at Mike Solara.

Stacey Hoffer Weckstein presents I’m Afraid of the Tooth Fairy posted at createabalance.com, saying, “Join the conversation. Are you fearful of things that don’t exist? Are these fears holding you back? Do you challenge or accommodate your fears?”

KateAddict presents Existance. posted at slyparadox.com Blog.

Productivity

Jacob presents The total cost of TV posted at Early Retirement Extreme.

Rigdha presents 10 Best Firefox Plugins to Increase Productivity posted at Get Your Success Now, saying, “Need more time? Consider saving the time you already have with these 10 productivity plugins for firefox.”

Professional Development

Lorna Doone Brewer presents Berry-Brewer Freelance Agency, Year One posted at Freelance Parent, saying, “This post is a humorous video overview of our first year of trying to balance life, family, a freelance business, and our own sanity.”

Productivity

Shamelle presents DVD Clutter: How To De-Junk A DVD Collection posted at Enhance Life, saying, “It really is a nice feeling when your DVD collection disappears into your surroundings! Isn’t it?”

Professional Development

iamstr8fire presents The Audience Wants You To Be A Star posted at MarcusASmith.com, saying, “Ever wondered what the people you are speaking with really desire from you. Look inside to find out”

Anco presents Work Email Tips posted at Tipskey – Unlock Practicality, saying, “Using and writing work emails correctly will make our life at work easier due to smoother communication.”

Relationships

Donald Latumahina presents How to Become a True Friend posted at Life Optimizer.

ElleAtDefiningSomeday presents How to be Polite at a Party posted at Defining Someday, saying, “How to handle awkward social situations, like baby showers.”

Simplicity

Stefanie Hutson presents 25 Incredibly Simple & Creative Ways to Act Charitably posted at Vat19.com slash Blog.

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That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Balanced Living Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. Improperly categorized and uncategorized posts will not be published.

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