A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Museum

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Earlier this summer, my son Asher and I were visiting my family in Washington D.C for a few weeks.  One of the things we love to do when we’re there is to visit the Smithsonian museums.  They are all free and there is so much to see and do with exhibits constantly changing.


It wasn’t until we were settled in on the metro heading into the city that I realized I had forgotten my phone.  At first, I was panic stricken.  I kept thinking the worst.  Had I lost my phone?  Had it slipped out of my bag?  What if there is an emergency?  How will I call for help?  Do they even have pay phones any more?  If so, how much do they cost?


At this point, there was no turning back.  We were well on our way and I decided there was a day of adventure ahead of us, phone or no phone.  Once I came to this conclusion, a sense of calm came over me.  


What’s the worst thing that will happen I kept asking myself?  The answer that kept coming up was that people won’t be able to get a hold of me.  People won’t be able to get a hold of me.  I finally realized, this will be great to have a day alone with Asher with no distractions where he will have my full attention.


Even though I knew I didn’t have my phone, I unconsciously kept checking it every twenty minutes at first.  It was a very unconscious habit.  We would see something we wanted to take a photo of then realize we had no phone.  We giggled and laughed and then began taking photos with our pretend phone.  By the end of the day I was not missing my phone at all. 


I realized that I need to schedule more phone free time into my schedule, especially with Asher.  And into my work days, too!  I know this will give my brain a break and help me to be more productive by setting aside several hours here and there where I’m not distracted.

If you’d like to work on turning your phone off, being more present and getting more done, I’d love to help.

How to Say No and Create More Space in Your Schedule

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I want to say, “no,” more.  

Not as in, “NO! I won’t do this,” but as in, “thank you so much for thinking of me but I really can’t commit to that right now.”  

They say that the most successful entrepreneurs have the ability to say no.  When I say no, it’s to create more clear space in my life.  In my schedule to be exact. I would use it to have more  down time and to give my brain a rest. 

What would you do with more clear space in your schedule?  Would you take time to ride your bike?  Go to the beach alone or with family? (While I’m with family I can’t fib, I sometimes daydream of lying on the beach alone where no one is whining about getting sand in their peanut butter and jelly sandwich). 

Because saying no doesn’t come easily to some of us, let’s practice together. Because at first it’s definitely not easy to say no if you’re not used to doing it.


So let’s learn how to say no and set boundaries, politely.

Some fun ones first:

  • I’ve the plague and it is contagious

  • My turtle needs me

  • I gotta catch up on Degrassi

  • It’s not you it’s my turtle (who needs me)

  • I’ve done a lot of research on the matter and it’s still a no

I have a hard time saying no because I don’t want people to think I’m not dependable. But the funny thing is that I know I’m dependable. So why do you have a hard time saying no? Is it usually the more we say no, the more people respect us. Here are a few that have worked for me so far.

So now the real ones that work really well:

  • I’m flattered you asked me but I can’t this time.

  • Thank you so much for asking but

  • I really appreciate you thinking of me but

  • Not this time but maybe next time

  • I can’t help you out but maybe Sally can fill in for me

    If you'd like to work on saying no together to find some clear space in your schedule , call me!  


    Happy Organizing,

    Amy

Lessons from an 11 year old

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I am so grateful for my son, Asher and all the lessons he teaches me every day.  When I slowwwwww down and really listen, he is showing me the way constantly. .  

I often notice that he takes his time to formulate his thoughts, weave his story and think about what he will say next, while my mind races ahead to fill in the blanks and judge what is happening.  Not because I’m a bad person but because that’s what our brains do.  Our adult brains are constantly categorizing and comparing our experiences to past events to save time and energy.

Both Hindus and Sikhs believe that the soul of an infant chooses its’ parents to teach them lessons they are ready to learn.  And I truly believe that Asher is here to teach me what I need to learn.  What he is teaching me right now is to slow down and listen.

I am ready and willing to learn this lesson though each day I forget and need to be reminded again. And again.  And again.  Each day I wake up having forgotten I need to slow down and listen.  To the leaves rustling.  The the thousands of bees in my acacia tree humming away.  To the hawk circling overhead calling out to its’ mate.

When we really listen.  Slow down and listen.  We find the answers to questions we’ve been having or problems we’ve been trying to solve.  When was the last time  you slowed down to really listen?  Took a few deep breaths and listened. Try it.

If you’d like to slow down and find some space in your life for projects you’ve been putting off, give me a call!

Getting Organized Around Your Taxes

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It’s tax time! Are you ready?  Will you be filing on time or need an extension?  Either way, do you have your finances organized? 

I’m not a financial advisor but I do like having my finances  organized and file my taxes on time every year.  I have my  dad to thank for this and feel blessed that at a pretty young age was given the financial literacy to understand the basics, especially to not live beyond my means.  I vividly remember at 18 before going off to college my dad opening a credit card for me and him explaining that I was to pay it off every month no matter what I charged and this way I should never charge more than I can pay off. Advice I actually listened to. I appreciate these lessons now even more and especially as I start to teach my son about the basics of finance.

I’ve worked quite a bit over the last few years with a local fiduciary office that  manages high wealth clients.  I  help them to organize large, overwhelming cases that they don’t have the time or manpower to deal with.  This has given me an insider’s perspective into just how very important it is to stay on top of your finances by keeping them organized.  On more than one occasion 10 or more boxes of paper would be dropped off of just financial statements for someone’s estate that was in complete disarray.  I had to make heads or tails of it all, like a 10,000 piece puzzle.

From my own experience and from working with my clients, I’ve learned a few things about keeping your finances organized.

Here are my top 3 takeaways:

  • Keep all digital financial statements in one place.  Because so much is done online now and luckily we are saving resources by going paperless, lots of statements are coming to us via email.  So, create a folder specifically for that in your inbox.  In gmail, they’re called labels.  You may have several, for instance one is banking, investments and taxes for that specific year.

  • Put all paper statements in file folders by account, investment, or type.  If there is only one statement a year, maybe those could be grouped together in investments, for example.  

  • To organize your taxes all year long have a file folder or old school expandable file folder with pockets labeled with that tax year.  My 2019 tax folder already has donation receipts from the thrift store and acupuncture receipts from appointments I’ve been to this year.  When January of next year rolls around and I start to receive my tax statements I put them in the folder, too.  Once they’re all in one place (two including the email tax folder) I’m able to simply group things together before handing over to my accountant.

If you need help there is no shame in being disorganized. It’s never too late to create new habits so that next year it’s a breeze. If you need help or get stuck give me a call!

Happy Organizing!



I'm hanging on to it because........

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I’ve been helping clients get organized for about 7 years.  One of the biggest hurdles to being organized is having too much stuff. I’ve heard every excuse as to why people can’t get rid of things.  There. Are. So. Many. Excuses. 

I’d say the most popular excuses fit into the three categories listed below.  If you find yourself making similar excuses here are the questions I ask my clients to help them LET GO. 

  • I spent a lot of money on this.  I hear this one a lot!  I bought this cashmere sweater and spent a lot of money on it. BUT, you never wear it.  It doesn’t fit anymore.  Or you just don’t really love it. 

What if you knew someone else would wear the sweater and get good use out of it?  Love and cherish it?  Would that make you feel better?  There are so many great thrift stores and charities to give used items to.  Some will even come to your house and pick the items up for you.  

  • Someone special gave this to me.  This one is twofold. Either you are attached to the person that gave the item to you, hence you want to keep it.  My grandma gave it to me and she’s no longer here and it reminds me of her.  Or you are afraid that the person that gave you the gift will ask where it is. (Which by the way I think is so rude!)

This is really sweet.  I have asked on more than one occasion, would your grandma want you to keep it if you really don’t love it?  

Or, are you hanging onto a gift out of guilt? I usually have to remind my clients that when you give someone a gift, it’s theirs to do what they want with.  Of course, you hope they will love it, keep it and cherish it but you let go once you have given it.

  • I might need it someday.  You want to be prepared. You bought that mandoline because you envisioned yourself using it. Your friend made that beautiful appetizer with hers. You have 20 table cloths just in case. Or all those file folders you’ve been saving might be useful  one day.

My next question is always, “When was the last time you used it?  Really used it. If you haven’t used it, in a really long time, you probably aren’t going to.   If this item is collecting dust, still has the tags on, or you didn’t even remember you had it, it’s time to let it go.  Again, someone else would love to make good use of it.  

So try asking yourself these questions when you’re trying to get rid of something and if you get stuck, call me!

Happy Organizing!  



Two things I love- helping people get organized + international travel

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka with Dad and Asher

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka with Dad and Asher

Two things I love - helping people get organized + international travel. I've found that one of my favorite parts is planning my trips.  I love seeing new places, learning about different cultures and trying new foods. The sights and sounds of exotic locales are what dreams are made of to me.  

Before my son Asher was born, when I taught high school I travelled quite a bit. I was able to during summer, spring and winter break. There was Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, backpacking throughout Central America to volunteer in the National Parks in Costa Rica, learning to dive in Honduras and going to language school in Guatemala.   One summer, we cruised around the Aegean Sea on a Gullet in Turkey and I took students to Paris and Rome one spring.  I think one of my favorite trips to date though was two summers ago with Asher and my dad to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.  It was truly spectacular.  They say the Maldives won’t be there forever and I wanted to see them while they are still intact.


 One of the things I love most about these travels is planning the trip.  Pouring over the dreamy possibilities of what is to come.  There is usually a moment of overwhelm with so many choices but with time and research, it gradually all falls into place like the pieces in a well laid out puzzle.

  • The very first thing, as soon as you know you are ready to travel is to check your passport to make sure it’s still current and up to date.  You’d be surprised as to how many people book a trip assuming their passport is good to go.  www.travel.state.gov is the official site to renew and it generally takes 6-8 weeks so give yourself plenty of time.  Make a few copies of your passport,  to spread throughout your backpack and suitcase in the event of an emergency and if for any reason you lose it.

  • Check the CDC website: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel for up to date immunizations you would need for the countries you will be traveling to.  And of course, check with your doctor to see which ones they recommend. 

  • Pack Light! Of course it depends on what time of year you are traveling and whether you are going skiing in the Alps or to lay on the beach in Bali but you NEVER need as many clothes as you think you will. I try to take a tip from the French women who have a “uniform”. I have a few cute outfits that I can mix and match with other basics. I pack clothes that travel well, are made of lightweight materials, can be layered and don't matter if they get wrinkled.  

  • I've created a small travel first aid kit that I take everywhere, especially overseas.  It's in a clear toiletry bag and I include simple things like aspirin, ibuprofin, bandaids and neosporin.  You'd be surprised at how expensive or hard to find even simple medicines are in off the beaten path places.  I got dysentery once in Guatemala and just like to be prepared for anything.  

  • And lastly, make sure someone stateside has your itinerary.  It's easy to stay in touch, especially with free apps like WhatsApp that work internationally and allow you to message and video chat for free, as long as you have wifi.  But it's always a good idea that someone back home knows where you'll be and when.

    I'd love to help you plan or pack for your next trip!  If you'd like to book a consultation with me click here.

    Happy Organizing!