“Waste Not, Want Not” is a saying that dates back to the 1700s, but is especially relevant to the times we’re living in now.

I’ll tell you what: I never realized I had some wasteful habits until, well, until going to the grocery store became an event that had the potential to literally make a person ill.

I love to cook. We have the best Wegmans less than a mile from our front door. Weekly meal planning was never my thing. I would simply decide what I felt like cooking based on any number of factors: my work schedule, my mood, the weather, perhaps a late-in-the-day meeting or evening plans. I would typically buy fresh produce, dairy or meat as needed during any one of my 4-5 weekly trips to the store. Throw in a once-a-month trip to Trader Joes and Aldi, and you can easily see that I spent (wasted?) a fair amount of time shopping for food and sundries. Add in wear and tear on the car and the cost of gas every trip, and it doesn’t paint a very “green” picture, does it?

I readily admit that, due to the frequency of my shopping trips, I didn’t think twice about throwing away wilting salad greens, wrinkly tomatoes or bell peppers, mushrooms past their prime or any other spoilable items that were less than perfect. Even dairy products that had reached their, “best by” dates were tossed without a second thought. “No biggie diggie, I’ll just get more,” was my cavalier attitude.

Thanks to COVID-19, those bad habits have been kicked to the curb. I’ve learned to create my shopping list in two-week increments. I use a shopper via dumpling – check it out if you’re weary of waiting for instacart sessions to open up at your local grocer. I place an order and Emily (that’s my gal) shops and delivers it the next day. She texts me with any replacement questions. I wave at her through the window when she leaves the order on our porch. She gets a nice tip, and it’s all paid for via the dumpling app.

Lo and behold, I’ve also discovered the practically magical ease of freezing fresh veggies! For example, I now get the biggest container of sliced mushrooms. I put some in the refrigerator for daily use. Then I line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, fill it with a single layer of mushrooms, and freeze them for a few hours. Then I simply divvy them up into freezer bags or containers to store in the freezer until needed. I do the same with the pack of red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, cutting a chunk of each to keep in the fridge, slicing the rest and following the same drill: cookie sheet, parchment paper, yada yada yada. Same with baby spinach and kale. Easy breezy and ZERO waste! WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS BEFORE?!

Salad greens no longer get tossed just because the date says they’re done. I take the time to pick out the slimy bits and continue to use the still good pieces.

I used to dump out half the carton of milk every few weeks. I could’ve bought a quart instead of a half gallon, but the quart cost more! What the… Now we’ve switched to almond milk. Oh, I hear you, I was skeptical, too, but it’s delicious! And it has at least triple the refrigerator lifespan of cow’s milk. I’ll tell you what else: when I add it to eggs for scrambling, it makes them really fluffy. Who doesn’t love fluffy scrambled eggs?!

Here’s one of my best meal extender tips: I add at least a cup or two of fresh or frozen chopped veggies to all kinds of stuff. This increases the volume AND the nutritional value. Plus, if you chop them fine enough (I use my 3-cup mini food chopper) picky eaters can’t pick out the veggies. I put them in tuna, scrambled eggs, sauces, etc. Typically, it’s a combination of bell peppers, celery, scallions, mushrooms, greens, and sometimes carrots.

Oh, and I’ve started a mini garden from kitchen scraps and seeds! I planted the end of a sweet onion and some scallions, the base of celery hearts, and seeds from red, orange, and yellow bell peppers. It sits under a kitchen window and gets early day sun. So far, so good!

I hope you’re all staying safe and feeling healthy, wearing masks and looking out for the most vulnerable among us. If you’d like to get future blog posts delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for my monthly newsletter titled, “Organized Thoughts.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m wandering aimlessly through a fog some days. There’s volleying between too many news updates and the worry that I’ll miss the latest news, along with the restlessness that accompanies fear and uncertainty.

I’m staying home trying to flatten the curve with social distancing for the foreseeable future, so I need to add structure to my days, stat. How often have we all longed for free time to get caught up on “all the things…?”

Before I go any further, let me take a moment to thank, with all my heart, the first responders, the health care providers, teachers, grocery store employees, mail carriers, and all the people who are out there doing what needs doing while the rest of us hunker down. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for all of you. On a personal note, as much as I miss not visiting my mom daily, I am so appreciative of the care she is receiving in the dementia wing at Elderwood Skilled Nursing in Williamsville.

Many of us are experiencing forced time off in an effort to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our fellow community residents safe and healthy. How do we make the best of a very bad situation?

As an organizer, there are projects I see in many households (as well as some in our own house!) that could be tackled, providing focus and a sense of accomplishment. Here are a few ideas:

  • Laundry – what a great time to get caught up! That means wash it, dry it, fold it, AND put it away. Maybe you’re only two or three loads behind, so it’s no biggie diggie. But if you’ve got piles upon piles, set a goal of two or three loads a day, seeing each load through to completion.
  • Socks – I can’t tell you how many clients have baskets full of mismatched socks. How about a friendly family game of “Pairs,” offering a prize to the member who matches up the most socks?
  • Junk Drawers – Use my mantra of, “A place for everything, and everything in its place…” and turn those junk drawers into organized go-to homes for office supplies, batteries, tools, pet supplies, gift wrap, etc.
  • Closets, Cupboard and Drawers – extend your organizing beyond junk drawers and tackle the bathroom drawers, linen closets, dressers, clothes closets, etc.
  • Decluttering – pick a category, any category, and decide if you’ve got just enough, or perhaps too much. Candles, coffee mugs, tablecloths… the list is endless.
  • Cleaning – There are lots of ideas in this category, but a few that I’ve put on my list to accomplish during my at-home time are:
    • Windows – wash windows and sills to clear away winter grime and let in even more sunshine.
    • Spring Cleaning – wipe down baseboards and walls, clear clutter, and vacuum the furniture; we’ll focus on our family room first, but what a great time to “git’er done.”
  • Photos – Whether it’s downloading them from your phone to your online albums, or getting them printed and put into actual photo albums, this is a great project to tackle with this forced found time.
  • Files/Paperwork – File stuff, clean out files. Shred stuff. I know, I know, but if not now, when?

Instead of mindlessly watching TV, get productive while watching! Check out some of my ideas in this “Couch Potato Productivity” post.

Then of course there’s the all important “self care” category that many of us often say we’re too busy to tend to. Here are some ideas I plan to incorporate into my daily routine:

  • Mindfulness – From my thoughts (keeping them positive) to what I put in my mouth (no more eating outta the bag!) to taking deep cleansing breaths regularly.
  • Reading – no, not on facebook. I will read pages in a real book for pleasure every day.
  • Walks – one or two walks outside a day. Fresh air and exercise, a win-win walk, if you will. Of course, ANY exercise is good. Move, people!
  • Phone a Friend – not text, not facebook message, but call and talk to people I care about.
  • Gardening/Lawn work – For me, gardening has always been a great stress reliever. It’s early, but there are a number of little projects I could tackle to get a jump on garden cleanup. We went out the other day and picked up all the wind-deposited winter trash in the four corners of the yard and between the houses. Hubby raked the front lawn. It felt good to be out there.
  • Hobbies – Got one? Do it. Got none? Learn something new to keep your brain from atrophying.

Make lists. Set goals. Here’s a link to my recent, Procrastination Diet” post with a good list-making idea. I’ve updated mine and hope to tackle many of them during this period of social distancing.

How about you? How are you doing? What’s helping? Share your sanity-saving tips with us. We’re all in this together.

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Two years ago, my husband and I decided it was time for a master bedroom makeover. We searched high and low, near and far for bedding we both loved, and found some. It sat in its protective zippered plastic container for, well, nearly two years.

Last October we shopped for bedroom furniture. Ours was nearly 43 years old, well loved, but also well worn. Oh, and what better time to replace our 20-year-old mattress.

The process of readying the room for the new furniture was a multi-phased one:

  • Empty all the dresser and nightstand drawers, jewelry boxes, and under-the-bed storage; review contents, sort into “keep” and “let go” piles. This was fairly eye opening, even for two organized people.
  • Find a new home for the old furniture. Discount Diva helped us locate an appreciative recipient and we hired movers to get it there.
  • Clear out any remaining items that would eventually return to the new room.
  • Choose a paint color. Hooboy, not as easy as you’d think! After bringing home 743 paint chip samples and finding NOTHING that worked, we took a pillow sham to Home Depot and they matched the blue. Victory! Oh, except we had them make it 30% lighter. Then 50% lighter. Then 70% lighter. NOW it was perfect.
  • Have Old Fashioned House Painting repair and prepare the walls and paint everything in the master bedroom and bathroom. What a great job they did!
  • Hire ChemDry to clean the carpet, which turned out super.
  • Schedule Raymour and Flanigan to deliver and set up the furniture. Those fellows worked hard; our bedroom is upstairs and around a corner, and our pieces were heavy!

What’s my point in sharing this story?

Having a logical, logistical plan in place helped ensure this would be a fairly smooth-flowing event with a successful outcome. Oh, there were some bumps along the way, but I share more about those in this personal blog post.

Completely clearing the room and then being mindful and purposeful about what we brought back in helped us create a space we truly love, and will love for many, many years to come.

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New bedroom

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I first wrote about the Procrastination Diet in 2015, and my need to stay on top of things has increased since then for a variety of reasons. People don’t realize I actually have a propensity for procrastination because I’m organized. I’m a great juggler, adept at prioritizing and meeting deadlines, but that can be a stressful way to exist on a daily basis.

I just re-watched a video by Robin Sharma, an internationally-known life and business coach titled “How I Beat Procrastination.” I was probably avoiding one thing or another when I originally found the link; the irony of not doing what I should’ve been doing in order to watch something on procrastination is not completely lost on me. I highly recommend checking out the entire video, but to summarize, his five tips for beating procrastination are:

  • Create a vision board / dream collage and a “Big Dream” statement
  • Go on a  30-day procrastination diet
  • Exercise with a focus on a second-wind workout later in the day
  • Create a distraction-free environment (Mess Creates Stress!)
  • Release your self sabotage (self-limiting beliefs) and rewire your brain

For the 30-day procrastination diet, he suggests taking a calendar and on each day for a month, write one thing you’ve been resisting doing and then… do it.

It’s time for me to re-commit to this, but I tweak it a titch: rather than using a calendar and trying to determine which thing to write on which day, I format mine as a list titled, “30 Things in 30 Days.”  That way, I can do any thing on any given day in any order I choose. The flexibility works better for me.

This weekend, I will compile my list, and my procrastination diet officially begins on Monday, February 3rd. Pfft, I don’t need it to start on the first day of a 30-day month, any old day will do. I like Monday. It will be a mixture of business and personal items I have been avoiding, ignoring, fearing, or pushing to the back burner for too long.

For my lists, I now use Google’s Keep Notes because I can access it on my laptop or smartphone, allowing me to review or update my list from either device. I like that I can set it up so there’s a little check box to click on and, upon completion, it draws a line through the item and moves it to the bottom of the list. There’s a psychological benefit, seeing the growing list of “done” things and viewing the shortened list of to-do items. I prefer this to a paper list that I’d forget to carry around with me, but many of you probably have daily planners you use… whatever works is fine!

At the end of 30 days, I’ll report on my progress. Anyone interested in joining me? You don’t have to share your list, but please share your intention to accomplish 30 things in 30 days with a comment! There’s strength in numbers… let’s do this thing.

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Are you enjoying this holiday season, or have you let the hub-bub and hoopla get the best of you? Take a deep breath. Now another. And one more. Ok, here we go!

If it feels like there’s more to do than time to do it in, prioritize. What must you accomplish, what would you really love to get done, and what might you do only if time permits? At the very least, make some notes about changes for next year. Oh, and put those notes somewhere you’ll actually find them when you want them.

Santa shouldn’t be the only one making a list and checking it twice – have your to-do lists with you at all times; I keep notes and errands on my computer using Google Keep, and that automatically syncs with my smartphone.

My holiday gift lists are in google docs: one for hubby, each kid, and then other family, friends, Secret Santa, as well as work and charity presents. I list ideas as they’re given or thought of, and fill in purchase details so I stay within budget and get the right number of gifts for stocking stuffers. I hang on to receipts until I know each item fits, works, and is a keeper.

If you have too much on your plate, cut back. Say no. If there are things you don’t enjoy or don’t have time for, stop. I haven’t sent Christmas cards in a kazillion years. When I quit, guess what? Nothing bad happened.

I used to bake a bunch of different cookies – I’ve trimmed it down to a few favorites, and that’s plenty. If you don’t like to bake, then don’t. It might be too late this year, but next year, think about a cookie exchange. That might turn into a tasty new holiday tradition.

Hubby and I turn gift wrapping into a fun event throughout the holidays with a cozy fire, a glass of wine, and everything we need to create beautiful packages. It’s one of our favorite holiday traditions. If gift wrapping isn’t your thing, switch to gift bags – they’re easy breezy and festive.

If you hate the holiday crowds, do your shopping online. If you don’t like online shopping, think strategically and logically, and plan your trip to maximize what gets accomplished.

Agonizing over gift ideas? Gift cards! Trust me, if you pick a gift card to a retail store, restaurant or venue the recipient would enjoy, it’s a win-win. A favorite adult beverage is almost always a welcome gift. You can give something homemade if you’re crafty AND have time. How about the gift of time? Plan a lunch date, go see a movie, or have dinner and drinks together with family or friends.

Decorating can be simplified, too. Our decorations are packed in bins labeled by room, and my room-by-room computerized list tells me where each item goes. If I add something new (and get rid of something old!) I update the list. It eliminates the frustration of trying to remember where things go. If there are décor items you no longer use, donate them; I’m sure there are folks who will love them.

Don’t expect people to read your mind. If there’s something you’d really appreciate as a gift, say so – surprises aren’t all they’re cracked up to be! If you’d like to be included in holiday festivities, speak up.

If you know someone who will be alone, include them in one of your holiday traditions. Be a light that twinkles for someone if darkness weighs heavily on them this time of year. That’s a gift you can’t put a price on. And if, for whatever reason, you just can’t deal with the holidays this year, take a year off. And don’t forget to breathe.

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I share this time-saving tip annually, but last year a few people wished I’d shared it sooner. So here it is, right before the calendar flips to November.

I don’t know how holiday meals work at your house, but around here we do NOT mess with tradition!

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This makes things easier for me because I know exactly what we’ll be eating – no new recipes to learn, no new ingredients to buy – so I computerize my shopping list for each holiday meal.

I make a simple Word document for each holiday, nothing fancy. I keep notes about what size turkey I need depending on the number of guests, and what time to put the pies in the oven.

My Thanksgiving list, in part, looks like this:

Bread Stuffing:

  • ___ 1 bag seasoned croutons
  • ___ 1 carton chicken stock
  • ___ Celery
  • ___ Onion
  • ___ Butter
  • ___ Salt
  • ___ Pepper
  • ___ Sage

Squash:

  • ___ 2 medium-sized butternut squash
  • ___ Butter
  • ___ Brown sugar
  • ___ Nutmeg, cinnamon

Whipped ­­­­­­Cream:

  • ___ 2 cups heaving whipping cream
  • ___ Sugar
  • ___ Vanilla

You get the picture, right? Before shopping, I check the pantry and refrigerator, putting an X next to items I already have. Then I mark things off as I shop, since I usually buy things over the course of a few trips.

It might seem silly, but it saves me time AND money. How?

  • I don’t forget anything, so there are no frantic, last minute trips to the store.
  • I don’t buy items I already have. Spices are expensive, and who needs multiple containers of sage?

Speaking of spices, here’s a helpful article regarding their shelf life. I review my spices when the weather turns chilly and before the holidays are fully upon us, so now is a great time to do the sniff test on the spice jars in your cupboard. I replaced four jars today.

I’m in favor of anything that makes life easier as we head into the hectic holiday season. Are there any time-saving tips you’d like to share?

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The storage unit industry shares some staggering statistics in this article, stating there are approximately 50,000 storage facilities in the United States, with an annual income of $38 billion, (yes, BILLION with a B!) with rentable storage space of 1.7 billion (again with a B!) square feet. Yowser! That’s a whole lotta stuff we’re storing, people, and a whole lotta money spent storing it. In my fourteen years as a professional organizer, it’s been my experience that most clients with storage units rented them because of postponed decision making rather than practical, logical necessity.

Don’t get me wrong; I think there are situations when renting a storage unit can be a perfect short-term solution, but the most important part of that sentence is, “short term.”

Here are some examples when renting a storage unit is a great idea:

  • House is sold, but timing for moving into new place isn’t syncing up; household contents go into storage until the new place is available.
  • Moving across country, need to temporarily store contents until you’re ready to receive items at the other end.
  • Household renovations: rather than live with chaos while your space is being remodeled, box up the contents you can live without and store until construction is done.
  • College dorm, annual leaving/returning event: rather than carting everything home at the end of the semester, some parents find it easier to store it for a couple months near the college.
  • Death of a parent, breaking up the family home, grown children out of state, lots of mementos and photos to cull through. A storage unit can be a great temporary solution until everyone has had a chance to review and make decisions.

Now let me share some situations we’ve dealt with in the past of how NOT to use a storage unit. (specific facts have been altered to protect the innocent, or rather, guilty parties)

  • Woman moves across the state to live with her sister for health reasons. Sister doesn’t have room for all the incoming stuff. Woman rents three storage rooms nearby, with the plan of sorting through it at some point in time. Time passes…six years, to be exact. Home Solutions is hired to help woman sort through the contents of these three rooms. 90% of it is nothing of value, nothing she wants to keep, nothing her nieces and nephews want. She spent $275/month for six years storing stuff she ultimately didn’t keep. That’s $19,800! Yes, some of the contents were sold via auction, but the funds received didn’t come close to the money spent.
  • Husband issues an ultimatum to wife to get rid of the many, many, many bins of teaching supplies/craft supplies/clothing piled up in their basement and throughout the home. Rather than disburse, wife rents a storage unit, but it’s so packed, she can’t access the contents in a functional way so the stuff just sits there. For years it sits, but she doesn’t deal with it until Home Solutions is called in.
  • Woman moves in with her aging mother, puts her own things in storage. Mother passes away, woman continues to live in the home with her mother’s contents, leaving her belongings in two storage units for many years. We worked in an unheated building in the dead of winter, sorting through those units. Thank goodness for space heaters and electrical outlets!

There’s a common theme in these examples, and it comes down to, “postponed decisions” time and time again. Nobody likes it when I calculate the money they’ve spent storing stuff they ultimately didn’t need or want, because invariably, the cost far exceeds the value of the items stored.

Do the math. Review your reason for storing. Don’t pay money to store stuff that can easily be purchased with the money you’ll save by letting it go now, and replacing it later when/if there’s a need.

If you decide to rent a storage unit, choose one big enough to store your stuff AND be able to see the contents if you will make periodic visits to review. A unit with inside access and climate control means weather is not a factor; it’s no fun loading, unloading, or sorting through contents with only outside access during a torrential rain storm.

We all know reality TV is rarely an accurate glimpse of, well, reality, but if you enjoy watching the show, Storage Wars, you might have fun checking out a local storage unit auction. But don’t be surprised if all you see is heaps and piles of worthless, postponed decisions.

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Couch potato-ing

Are you guilty of couch potato-ing? You know, that thing we do when we are completely unmotivated to do anything so we sit down on the couch, turn on the tube and before we know it, hours have passed. There’s a big difference between being fully engaged in a good movie or a beloved TV show, and mindlessly clicking, clicking, clicking… like Springsteen sings, “57 Channels and Nothin’ On…”

We all have moments when we just want to decompress from the everyday stresses of life, but the weight of feeling we should be doing something can keep us from fully relaxing.

Well I’m here to remove the guilt and explain how it’s possible to do both – decompress AND accomplish something!

For example: Perhaps you have a bin of mismatched socks you’ve ignored for ages. I think we can all agree that matching socks isn’t rocket science. Plop them on the couch next to you, click on an old episode of Seinfeld and mindlessly match away.

You might decide it’s time to figure out how many of the five decks of playing cards in that end table drawer are complete sets. I’ll bet you can sort them out while enjoying Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.

How about all those cooking utensils jammed into three of your kitchen drawers? Dump ’em out on the coffee table, sort “like with like” and there’s a good chance you’ll discover you have six more spatulas than you actually need. You’ve gained kitchen drawer space and enjoyed two episodes of Chopped. Win-win, right?

If your jewelry box is a hot mess, it’s hard to find what you want when you want it. (You know my oft-quoted key to being organized is being able to find what you want when you want it, right?) Match up your earrings, untangle your necklaces, pull out anything you don’t wear anymore and voila, you’ve organized your bling while watching The Devil Wears Prada for the umpteenth time.

I’m not saying every moment of our lives must be productive, I’m suggesting that when you need downtime and you want to accomplish something, grab a snack, pour a favorite beverage, click on an episode of The Office or Flea Market Flip, and master the art of couch potato productivity. Share your couch potato productivity wins with me!

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Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies. Maybe not intentionally, but still, it happens. We set a common goal like one of these:

  1. “I’m going to lose weight.” 
  2. “I have to save money.”
  3. “It’s time to get organized.”

But before we know it, *poof* the goal falls by the wayside, and we don’t understand why. Maybe it’s because our goal was kinda wishy-washy, not very realistic, or without a finish line.

The concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals was originally geared towards business management, but it can be applied to everyday life issues just as effectively. As you can see in the graphic, the acronym stands for:

  • Smart
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

When you apply this to goal #1, rather than saying, “I’m going to lose weight.” a SMART goal could look more like this: “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by September 1st.” It’s specific, it’s measurable, it’s achievable, it’s realistic, and it has an end date. You can then formulate a plan for achieving your SMART goal such as taking a 30-minute walk twice a day.

Goal #2, “I have to save money!” is pretty vague. Are you saving for a new pair of shoes or a new car? How much money will you need, and when do you want it by? Without those details, it’s nearly impossible to formulate an executable plan. Once you figure that out, you decide what money-saving actions can you take. Maybe you’ll make coffee at home and skip the drive-through brew every day.

“I need to get organized!” What exactly does that mean? Is your closet floor covered by a mountainous heap of clothes? Is your kitchen table buried under piles of unopened mail? Could you find a battery or a paperclip if your life depended on it? (← hey, if MacGyver can, so can you!) You will make measurable progress by setting SMART goals for yourself.

For example, make a decision about five articles of clothing in that pile on the floor every day after work until the pile is gone, and hang or fold whatever you’re keeping. If you don’t have enough hangers, get some. If you need a dresser, set a SMART goal for obtaining one.

In order to tackle paper piles, you need to systematically chip away at the mail. “I’m going to open and process today’s mail AND take care of fifteen pieces of the backlog every day.” Start putting junk mail in the recycle bin immediately instead of setting it down, only to have to pick it up and review it again. And again. And again. See the problem?

You can turn a junk drawer into your “go-to” drawer in about 15 minutes: dump everything out, toss the trash, and use a drawer organizer to sort the “keep” stuff into “like with like” categories.

Positive wording is more motivating, so add a smiley-face phrase as the carrot you dangle in front of yourself when creating SMART goals:

  • “When I lose ten pounds, my clothes will fit more comfortably!” 
  • “I am looking forward to buying a car next spring when I’ve got the down payment!”
  • “My morning routine will be easier when my clothes closet is organized!”

Being organized isn’t much of an issue for me, since I’ve made a career out of it for fourteen years! As for money management, the former accountant in me deals with our finances pretty effectively and efficiently.

But the weight loss issue? Pffft. I’m telling you, this post-menopausal weight does not seem to budge. Do I want to deal with it? Ah, no. BUT. Do I want to be healthier? You betcha – for a lot of reasons, and for lots of people in my life.

Here’s a link to an interesting article from Harvard Health about making lifestyle changes. It’s not that we don’t know what we need to do, it’s finding our way to the right HOW, and navigating our self-sabotaging habits. Since there’s no magic wand to wave, S.M.A.R.T. goals can help.

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Sometimes life throws an extra ball or two into the mix of things you’re juggling and it’s all you can do to keep from dropping one. Often it’s the “self-care” aspect of life that suffers, and this pretty much sums up the last few months for me.

New Year, new goals: I vowed to get back on track with my monthly newsletter. But February came and went, and now it’s the end of March and I’m scrambling, but victory WILL be mine!

In January, we moved my mom into the memory care wing of the assisted living facility where she’s been for over a year. Her memory didn’t just decline, it took a nosedive and was further complicated when dementia added horrific hallucinations to her daily life. It has taken over a month to get Mom’s condition somewhat stabilized with medication additions, subtractions and tweaks. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease.

Work is busier than ever, and Mom’s situation demanded a lot of extra attention. In spite of my best efforts to maintain good health with proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep, I knew I couldn’t keep all those balls in the air indefinitely. I nearly made it through the winter with nary a sniffle when some unwelcome germs came knockin’. Hey there, upper respiratory tract infection!

Having a sense of humor and embracing the bizarreness of life certainly helps lighten the juggling load. So does hearing the right song at just the right time because the universe knows you’ll feel relief when the tears you’ve been squelching finally flow.

And so it goes. We do the best we can, and we can’t do any better than our best. But it’s important to remember that the bar for “our best” isn’t set at a fixed height; it’s adjustable.

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