Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

Clutter Control Your Home By Respecting Your Favorite Items

November 16, 2007

Yesterday I watched part one of “Oprah’s” two-day episode on hoarding. The show features a woman who lives in a 3,000 square-foot house, filled to the brim with stuff. It’s not filth, but stuff. Everywhere. In every corner, everywhere you turn around. One of her grown sons hasn’t been inside the home, where he grew up, in five years. He’s mortified. You really have to see the episode to understand the severity of this woman’s problem. It’s tragic.

It takes a team of 100 people, 8 weeks to clean through the house — it’s no longer a home. The importance of a show like this isn’t for to be a voyeur, but to see how clutter can take over anyone’s life. Yours. Mine.

I’ve been a fan of Peter Walsh, organizing expert, since I first saw him on TLC’s “Clean Sweep.” He understands that’s it’s an emotional journey to get rid of stuff. We all have that junk drawer, or the out of control closet. For some of us it’s a garage, but for many it’s worse. I’ve seen episodes of “Clean Sweep” where families can’t get to the dinner table because it has so much junk on it. Or entire rooms with so much stuff in them that the room is unusable, it’s a storage unit.

My favorite part of Peter’s advice is that if you really love an item, especially those that contain sentimental value, then you must give it a respectful place in your home. He finds objects that people claim they can’t give away, but he uncovered it from layers of dust. Not respectful. It really makes you think. If it’s that important, it needs to be taken care of.

We purge items from our home about every 6 months. It’s an emotionally draining exercise, but gets easier the more we do it. I have to admit that we do it from necessity, not because I’m anxious to get rid of stuff. My house just isn’t big enough to keep everything that comes though the front door. I keep Peter’s advice in the back of my head so that I don’t loose sight of what’s important: I want a home, not a house full of stuff.

*UPDATE*
After watching part two, last night, I was wrong about the house not being filthy. It’s not that the woman was unkempt, but there was no way that house was livable as a clean space. In the end, they had to remove all the flooring, furniture and even the drywall because it was a health hazard. Mold had taken over and the house was a mess. I’m still amazed that two people lived in this house. It makes me really want to evaluate my “things” even more.

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10 Reasons Why Suze Orman Rocks!

November 6, 2007
  1. She’s THE symbol for women and finances
  2. She empowers women
  3. She says it like it is
  4. She wrote the book on Women & Finances
  5. She got herself out of $250,000 in credit card debt
  6. She says the best financial planner you’ll ever meet is the one you see in the mirror
  7. She’s out there championing women to learn more about finances and take control of their money and their futures
  8. She wants women to take care of themselves, first
  9. She says, read financial magazines, listen to financial radio shows, and watch financial TV shows. I.E. educate yourself
  10. Trust no one, she says, no one except YOU!

Related links:

Financial Education for Women and Girls

October 25, 2007

I’ve been writing about women and finances for a few months now, posting topics as I find them. Increasingly, it is easier and easier to find information –it’s everywhere, screaming at women to do something about our finances. Even while on vacation, I still couldn’t get away from the topic of financial education for women. While reading the “Asheville Citizen-Times,” I found an article by Marle Bartlett about a free seminar about the top 10 financial mistakes women make.

The article starts:

“A 52-year-old woman is $10,000 in debt because she ‘helped out’ her family — including a son who earns twice her income. A 78-year-old widow, married to a banker for more than 50 years, never learned to write a check because her husband took care of all their finances. A woman in her 20s wants to get married but is afraid to tell her partner that she is a compulsive shopper, and thus always broke.”

Powerful statements. Sad statements. Reality for some. For many.

Linda Saylor, a certified financial planner, says that women are uneducated about finances. The deadliest combination, she adds, is when women have a lack of financial education and “help” their grown children.

Saylor, from A. G. Edwards, offered a free seminar called, “Avoiding the Top Ten Mistakes Women Make with Their Money.” I wish more companies would offer sessions like these across the country.

Early last year, Rice University was commissioned by The Women’s Resource of Greater Houston to conduct a pilot study to determine the effectiveness of TWR’s free financial literacy seminars. The facts, according to the Rice Web site:

“In 2005, 1 million women declared bankruptcy—150,000 more than the number of men in the same year. Women work an average of 12 fewer years than men, get less in Social Security and retirement and live longer. Roughly 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for managing their finances at some point in their lives.”

The University concluded:

“The results of the Rice study showed that TWR’s seminars are having a measurable impact on the participants. On average, grades increased from less than 50 percent correct on the preseminar test to more than 70 percent on the postseminar test.”

Women need to get ahold of our finances and become educated about them too. We also need to make sure that financial planning classes can be taken in high school. Melody Hobson, from “Good Morning America,” whom I wrote about yesterday, has said that she is frustrated that young people can take home economics and wood shop, but can’t take financial planning classes. I have to agree. If we want women to know more about finances, we need to start with girls. Now.

Keep your eye open for financial seminars in your area. Google it. It’s how I got started. If you can’t get to a class, buy a book, go to the library. Just start today.

What’s On Your 5-Minute List?

October 24, 2007

People that are being evacuated, 900,000 by some reports, from the wildfires in California are being told to do so immediately. They are told to leave their homes, and everything in them. They aren’t given time to think about what to bring with them. It’s gotten me thinking, what are the things I would bring if I had to pack up and only had 5 minutes to do so. Here’s my list:

  1. People
  2. Pets
  3. Personal objects
  • Wallet/Purse
  • Documents — we keep important papers like insurance information, a video DVD of our possessions, and other key papers in one place
  • Journals – these aren’t replaceable. Simply not replaceable. They chronicle my life and are a really important part of my life as a writer. These are very high on my list.
  • Jewelry — hopefully, I’m already wearing my wedding rings. But I’d also like to take a few other sentimental and/or valuable pieces of jewelry. Pieces that came from my mother, grandmother and one from my great grandmother.
  • Favorite toy — my son doesn’t really have a favorite toy, not yet, but I’m sure he will one day. One that will be worn and loved.
  • Computer hard drive — we backup our computer onto a small, external hard drive that includes all of our work and photos.
  • Wedding album

I think I could grab all of the above in 5 minutes, at least I hope I could. Melody Hobson, “Good Morning America’s” Financial Contributor was on this morning taking about what you should take. Her suggestion for what to take in a disaster can be summarized like this:

  1. Photo ID
  2. Copy of recent utility bill. Hobson says it is the universal proof of residence. Unlike a driver’s license, which doesn’t require updated addresses.
  3. Cash.
  4. One credit card.
  5. Take photos or record a video diary before you leave your home.
  6. Important documents — “birth certificate, wedding certificate, stock certificate or mortgage papers, should all be stored in a safety deposit box at a bank.”

The unfortunate fires in California are giving residents a huge challenge as they not only try to survive the current situation, but as they eventually will try to rebuild their homes and their lives. Let it be a motivator to the rest of us to get our homes in order and prepare for the worst. Ask yourself this question: What’s on my 5-minute list?

Lessons From ‘The Motivator’

October 19, 2007

I’ve got a stack of articles on my desk that I want to blog about when I get the time, so today I’ll choose one that sticks out from the pack. It’s from “Real Simple” magazine’s “The Motivator” column.

Life Coach Gail Blanke writes that life can pass you by while you wait for just the right time. So true. Especially for women. I don’t know why, but I think that women tend to wait for things to happen. Wait for the right moment, the perfect situation, while men just jump in — not afraid to fail. I’m sure this applies to me at times, but I’m trying to change that.

When I started this blog I wanted it to be perfect so that I could generate huge amounts of traffic from the start. I don’t like to do things half-way. Then I got stuck on what to name it. Every URL I choose was already taken. I waited, and waited. Kept trying names, focusing just on the name. Then, I decided that I have to move forward. Have to take action even if I can’t come up with an appropriate name.

I started by writing down my goals for the blog. Almost immediately, a name emerged. From that moment, I purchased the URL and began blogging. It’s still a work in progress, but my traffic is increasing and I’m getting there. Had I waited for the perfect moment, I probably still wouldn’t be blogging.

Blanke gives great advice in her “What are you waiting for?” column (September issue, “Real Simple”) and summarizes it into these four easy steps:

4 Steps To Embracing Your Power

  1. Don’t disqualify yourself from the race before it even begins. Doubting yourself is no way to get things done.
  2. Make a list of your “wins”” the times you made the catch, made the call, or made the day. Revel in your wins every time you face a new challenge.
  3. Abandon the list of your “losses.” No great trapeze artist ever walks into the big top thinking about the time she fell. Don’t you do it, either.
  4. When the opportunity presents itself, take it. When the opening occurs, step forward. When the envelope arrives, open it.

I’m going to take Blanke’s advice today and try to move my blog to a new server — something I’ve wanted to do for about a month now, but am nervous about doing it because I’m afraid something will go wrong. Although I understand “tech-speak,” I’m not a techie and don’t do code anymore (it’s too advanced for me now). But this shouldn’t be that hard so I’ll give it a try. If you find something broken, give me a shout.