16 Indoor and Outdoor Fall Home Prep Tips for Your Home

For many areas, fall is a time of mixed emotions. Fans of fall embrace the cooler temperatures and beautiful colors, while sunbirds are sad to officially say goodbye to summer. Whatever your emotions may be, there are fall home prep tasks that need to be done to prepare your home for the change of seasons.

Keep reading for fall home preparation tips.

Indoor Home Preparations

There are a few tried and true tasks that should be done at this time of year. They aren’t quite as fun as adding fall colors, leafy wreaths, and warm, cozy blankets, but they are necessary.

1.   Check for Drafts

Lock all windows for the fall and winter seasons. Inspect areas that may be drafty, such as around windows and doors. Try holding a candle near the area. If the flame flickers, you’ll need to insulate that area to prevent further drafts. This can be as simple as investing in under-the-door insulators/sealers.

2.   Change Filters

Although this shouldn’t just be a seasonal thing, you could be spending more money than necessary if your furnace filter is dirty and clogged. Depending on the type of filter, you may be able to vacuum and reuse it at least once. Use this time to check and change the filter.

3.   Furnace Maintenance

It’s a good idea to give your furnace a tune-up before the heating season begins. This will ensure everything is working properly or give a little extra time to order parts or schedule service if necessary. You want to make sure your furnace will keep your family comfortable through the fall and winter months.

4.   Mudroom / Entryways

Fall brings with it rain, mud, wet leaves, and eventually snow, slush, and ice. Get your mudroom and entryways read with plastic mats for wet shoes and boots to protect your floors. It also is time to arrange and make room for the warm weather accessories.

5.   Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

This is the time of year (daylight savings time for those who observe) that residents are encouraged to test their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly. Whether they’re beeping or not, consider changing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You never know when you might need them.

6.   Home Office Workspace

Consider the heat efficiency of your home office. Is it a drafty space? Are there any other heating loss concerns? Think about what you need to do to keep your space comfortable so you can be your most productive self. This might look like window plastic to keep drafts at bay, a throw blanket for your legs, or a small space heater.

7.   Ceiling Fans

In any type of weather, ceiling fans are useful in preventing stagnant air and keeping you comfortable. In the summer, they should spin counterclockwise to push the cool air down. In the colder months, switch the blades to rotate clockwise to keep the air moving and prevent cold pockets. This is also a great time to dust off the blades.

8.   Throw Rugs

Wood, tile, and laminate flooring can be a sharp reminder that colder days are here. Putting a throw rug in strategic places can help eliminate that jolt without needing to keep it covered year-round.

Outdoor Home Preparations

Taking time for fall home preparations will protect your home and save you money by preventing avoidable damage. Here are 8 things you can start now that will your home fall-ready in no time.

1.   Outdoor Furniture

Now is the time to wash and wipe down any outdoor furniture that needs to be stored for the winter. After it has fully dried, fold up (if necessary), hang up, and store it indoors away from the elements.

2.   Garden Equipment

Drain your hoses before storing them for winter. If they have water in them, it will freeze and expand. This may split open your hose which will cause a leak and cost you money for a replacement.

3.   Auto Essentials

Your car kit needs to be prepped for cold weather. It should include things such as a window scraper, flashlight, multi-tool/pocketknife, water, snacks, energy bars, phone charger, blanket, extra hat, and gloves.

4.   Snowblowers

Check that your snowblower is in good working order before you need it. Having extra gas, oil, charged batteries, or a clear path to an outlet will make easy work of clearing the snow.

5.   Lawn Mowers

Turn over your mower and clean any grass or leaves from the bottom. Whatever method you use to handle the gasoline left in your mower, now is the time to take care of it before winter storage.

6.   Lawn Prep

Fall preparation for your lawn will ensure the healthiest lawn come spring. Fertilizing your lawn is best done before the last cut of the season. Grassroots will store the food over winter and use it next spring. The last mowing of the season should be the shortest cut. Setting it to 1 ½ to 2 inches will allow for sunlight to reach the new growth in spring.

7.   Plants & Flowers

Fall garden prep will make spring beautiful. Now is the time to prune back any plants, shrubs, or bushes you have. Plant any spring bulbs now so you can reap the benefits when the ground starts to thaw.

8.   Gutters

Clear gutters and downspouts of leaves, small branches, and any other debris that has settled. Completing this task while everything is dry makes for easier going. You don’t want to let wet leaves collect, freeze, thaw, freeze again and clog your gutters and downspouts. That can lead to more costly damage.

Garage & Shed Preparations

Fall is the perfect time to organize your garage and shed for the winter season. Ensure your rakes and snow shovels are within arm’s reach as well as your snow blower and salt. Bring out winter fun tools like ice skates, snowshoes, snowboards, skis, shoe ice grips, fort-block-makers, and hockey sticks.

Need help pulling it all together?

Let Dennise help you with creating flow and function in your lives this fall. Click here to set up your free consultation with Organized MD today!

Back to School 2021: Prepare for a successful start to a new school year

The past two school years have been like no other. A global pandemic, remote or hybrid learning, and wearing masks. Students have spent more time out of school than in school. This school year will bring a new set of challenges, schedules, and activities.

Let’s explore what the start of the 2021-2022 school year will look like and how you can prepare your child(ren) for success.

Different ways school is starting

What determines how children will go back to school? The simplest answer is the option that’s safest for everyone involved. This will rely heavily on the number of COVID cases, variants, and what can be done to keep the kids healthy.

Here in Ontario, some kids will be going back in person while some will continue to be virtual. Others will return to school with hybrid schedules or in cohorts to limit numbers. Your child’s district should be in close communication with you regarding these changes.

  1. In-Person Return: For families returning to school in person, it will be much like years past. But there will be safeguards in place surrounding masks and social distancing.
  2. Cohort Return: Some schools will be returning in a different way than they have in the past. Cohorting is defined by The Science Table: Covid 19 Advisory for Ontario¹ as “separating a population into smaller groups (cohorts) in order to minimize their risk of infection, to contain an infection, and to easily trace close contacts in the case of infection.”
  3. Virtual Start: Students are now familiar with remote virtual learning. The start of this school year will be the same as it was last year.

How to support your child

Socially

Kids have spent significant amounts of time away from their friends. For young children, this often means they have “forgotten” what it’s like to appropriately interact with other children their age. For some older children, they may feel anxious about seeing their peers face-to-face on a regular basis.

There will be an adjustment period, and as parents, it is best to be aware of this and be ready to handle things that come up along the way.

Emotionally

Everyone is looking forward to school opening as close to regular as possible. This isn’t to say there won’t be a higher level of anxiety during this transition. Every child is different and how they move through this transition will be unique.

Keep in mind during this time, helping your child prepare for change can be extremely helpful. You can also admit there everyone has anxieties and acknowledge and validate their feelings.

How to prepare your family

When the pandemic hit, there was an unprecedented change to working and learning from home. It was surrounded by anxiety and worry. Eventually, it became more “normal” and everyone settled into the new way of doing things.

Now that is going to be “undone” as things are starting to shift back to in-school scenarios. This means changes in your home life as well.

Separation Anxiety

Younger children have gotten used to being home with a parent and other siblings. They are now used to this comfortable environment of being surrounded by people they love–and who love them. Breaking away from this and shifting back to school, or into school for the first time, could raise some uncomfortable feelings in them.

Practice spending time apart from your kiddos by being in different rooms of your home for periods of time. Get a sitter or family member to spend time with the kids while you have a night out with friends or date night. These may not seem like a big deal, after all, you used to do them quite often, but it will help build your children’s tolerance and independence.² These small amounts of time apart will help them adjust to being with other people.

Routines & Schedules

Because activities and life as we knew it basically shut down for over a year, setting new routines and schedules will feel a little different for a bit. Keeping a family calendar to communicate with everyone what will be happening, who is going where, and how they will get there is critical. Being predictable and consistent with schedules and routines removes much of the worry and anxiety during the transition.

Clear Expectations

Both in your home and in their classroom, having clear, realistic expectations for children will help them transition. Here are a few tips from Karen Stephens³, a child development instructor:

  1. Be specific. Crayons are used for coloring on paper.
  2. Explain your reasoning. I want you to hold my hand so you are safe because cars drive in the parking lot.
  3. Describe the purpose of an item. Your bike is for riding outside, not in the kitchen.
  4. Empathize. I know it’s hard/scary/frustrating/exciting…
  5. Respectfully share your feelings. I’m scared/embarrassed/disappointed when…

The last thing she points out works with all age groups,

“Communicate expectations, offer choices, and then move on without haggling.”

As an adult, knowing what others expect of you makes life much easier, so you can only imagine how important it is for children.

Caring for Yourself

Ask any parent and they will tell you they truly are a better parent when they take care of themselves. Ensure you take some time for yourself. It can feel selfish to do self-care activities but preparing and returning to school this year is going to need solid parenting as well. Please take good care of yourself so you can continue to take good care of your children.

Here are a few ideas that aren’t time-consuming, but will support you:

  1. Sit alone for a few minutes. Just sit.
  2. Order out dinner.
  3. Read a book or a magazine for 10 minutes.
  4. Watch an episode (or two) of your favorite show.
  5. Crawl into bed a few minutes early.
  6. Take a nap (or just lay down and rest).
  7. Listen to your favorite songs.
  8. Pick or buy some flowers.

Try to do something each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You deserve to have time to recharge, decompress, or distract yourself.

Let the fun begin!

It’s easy to get caught up in the unknown and worry, but kids deserve to get excited amidst the chaos. Back to school traditions historically are a fun and exciting time, so let’s shift our mindset to help ease their anxiety.

Build their excitement by:

  1. Getting new school supplies
  2. Buying a new backpack
  3. Giving them a choice for a special breakfast, dinner, treat – or all of them!
  4. Planning a playdate or two
  5. Decorating their bedroom door after they go to sleep the night before
  6. Creating a homework nook⁴
  7. Getting a fresh, new haircut
  8. Creating a special playlist for their walk, drive, or bus ride

There are many small things that can make a big difference in raising your child’s energy for school. Try to incorporate some of their favorite things into this time. It will elevate your spirits, too!

Moving forward

Living with uncertainty and knowing that things can change at any moment is hard. I have a teenager and a child early in her college career. I know how frustrating, scary, and uncertain, this situation is. I am living this with you.

Please know, I am here to help create a new schedule for you and your family, organize or reorganize home office and learning spaces, and help you maximize your time management. Let’s make the start of a new school year the best it can be!

Reach out any time or info@organizedmd.ca

Organized MD – treating the ill elements of your time and spaces!

¹ https://covid19-sciencetable.ca/glossary/#cohorting

² https://childmind.org/article/back-to-school-anxiety-during-covid/

³ https://www.easternflorida.edu/community-resources/child-development-centers/parent-resource-library/documents/clear-expectations-help-kids-behave.pdf

https://www.funwithkidsinla.com/post/15-tips-to-get-your-kids-excited-about-back-to-school-and-ease-their-anxiety

Gift of a Professional Organizer

Why Is Gifting the Service of a Professional Organizer a Fabulous Idea?

I’ve explained before how gifting experiences can be far more rewarding than giving physical gifts. Giving the gift of a professional organizer could make their life much easier. Let’s explore why.

Why should you gift a service?

Many people think of the perfect gift for their loved ones and friends during the holiday season. They’ve either had the gift purchased and wrapped for months or they’ll just know it when they see it. On top of gifts, there are holiday treats, dishes, or entire meals to prepare. Let’s not forget the decorations, gatherings, and snowy-weather drives.

This is a time of year when quite a few people put their self-care on the back burner. Sometimes they don’t prioritize time for themselves. Sometimes financial concerns prevent it. Whatever the reason, what they need comes last.

When you gift a service, like professional organizing services, you’re giving someone a gift that positively impacts their life on a daily basis.

Benefits of Working With a Professional Organizer

Professional organizing services are a lot more than just moving things around to make a room look better.

Hiring a professional organizer helps make an exciting and sometimes overwhelming situation (like downsizing or merging households) easier to tackle through compromise, and realistically looking at the number of things in relation to the physical space.

Expert

When I decided to become an organizer to help others, I wasn’t going to go into it without giving it my all. I wanted to learn everything I could by being trained in the best strategies and under the most experienced mentors. Because there are always new things to learn, I’ve made a commitment to continue taking continuing education classes so I can show up for my clients in the best way possible.

I am backed by an entire community of professionals and experts. If there’s something I don’t know, I have people and places I can utilize to best meet the needs of my clients.

Experience

I’ve been helping people with their organizational needs for almost 20 years. I have served people by decluttering their homes, specific rooms, home offices, medical clinics, doctor offices.

I worked with Lisa to improve her home office. In part she shared:

“I am so thrilled with my new office in terms of Efficiency, Productivity, and Aesthetics.  Dennise was a pleasure to work with always on time, super helpful, and resourceful… I highly recommend Dennise Conforti’s Services.”

After working with N.P. in her medical clinic, she said:

“I absolutely LOVE the way the exam rooms and utility room/lab have been stocked and organized. The last few shifts I’ve worked have been wonderful in terms of all equipment/testing media etc., available and easy to locate. The space is much cleaner with infection control related dirty/clean speculums etc managed beautifully.”

Cristina and Joe are homeowners in Toronto. They told me:

“Your assistance was much appreciated, especially in helping us to make difficult decisions. You went out of your way, and it was out of this world!”

I’ve helped my clients increase their productivity and time management. I’ve worked with families, married couples, single parents, office managers, clinic supervisors, and individuals with a range of unique needs.

All of these different situations have allowed me to grow a toolbox of skills, approaches, and methods to best serve my clients. You are getting the best of my toolbox.

Neutrality

Another professional organizing benefit is having an outsider’s viewpoint which is very helpful. 

Why? It’s easy for me to approach things from a practical, unbiased standpoint. I don’t have an emotional attachment to late Aunt Hilda’s hot pads or your son’s first blanket that’s now in tatters. This is helpful because I can approach things more objectively. Another bonus, I have great ideas about how to be sentimentally attached without staying hopelessly cluttered.

I approach each project without judgment. We’ll objectively look at your needs, where you’d like to be, then create your plan accordingly. My job is to help construct an individualized plan that will work for you going forward. I’ll help you put systems in place to maintain your order.

Accountability

My job as a professional organizer is to help you get organized. It can be easy to stop to reminisce when decluttering instead of keeping focused on the task at hand. I will compassionately hold you accountable for the progress (or lack thereof) being made.

Maintenance Strategy

A professional organizer maintenance strategy is just as important as the act of decluttering and organizing. I will leave you with strategies to maintain the work we’ve done.

But what works for some doesn’t work for everyone. Because I get to know you through our work together, I can tailor a plan uniquely for you and your family to maintain the best results.

What situations do professional organizers help with?

There are a lot of ways a professional organizer can step in to help you and your loved one. Here’s a brief list of how I can help:

  • Declutter
  • Organize
  • Create Systems
  • Downsize
  • Estate clearing
  • Office systems
  • Office paper management
  • Time management (scheduling)
  • Productivity management
  • Pre-moving declutter
  • Divorce
  • Merging Households/Families

Throughout my years of serving my clients, I’ve encountered all of these situations.

Wondering how to give this gift of service?

It’s quite simple, really. Contact me to set up a call or send me an email!

We can discuss the situation (consultations are always free) and decide on the best course of action.

Why Gifting Experiences Is the Best Gift to Give

The holidays are upon us, and along with them comes the tradition of gift-giving.

Do you give experiences rather than things? Some prefer giving and/or receiving a shiny, wrapped present while others prefer an experience. At the same time, giving experiences rather than things is easier than it’s ever been.

Let’s explore the topic of giving experiences instead of things.

Why do we give presents?

During the holiday season, it’s become part of our culture to give gifts. You may be wondering, but why do we give presents? Turns out there are quite a few reasons why.

Some are:

  • As a way to say “I’m thinking of you”
  • To show appreciation
  • Thoughtful gesture
  • Tradition to follow

None of these reasons are bad or wrong. In fact, the thought behind a gift can be a way to strengthen the relationship between the giver and the receiver.

Disadvantages of too many toys

Although children love unwrapping presents and getting things, an article from Parenting Firstcry¹ explains that there are disadvantages to giving your child too many toys.

Some downsides for children include:

  • Kids won’t appreciate or value the things they have.
  • They bounce from toy to toy, which can hinder their concentration development.
  • Children won’t foster their creativity or imagination by making playthings from everyday household items.
  • “Boredom comes easily because kids know they will get something new when they ask for it. Toys may turn into an addiction to fight boredom and stress.”

However, there are families who simply don’t want their home to be filled with toys. Often children get so many, they forget what they have and only play with a select few. This also leaves parents wondering how to organize so many toys.

Benefits of giving an experience

Delicious Experiences² posted an article with some incredible benefits of giving an experience.

You get to be excited at least twice – if not more! You are excited when you initially open the gift. You anticipate redeeming it and you’re thrilled when you do.

You enjoy a social experience. Most often, these are planned for you and the giver, so you share the experience and the memory together.

You create lasting memories. This is the biggest advantage of an experience. These positive memories will last a lifetime.

When you give an experience to a child, they will remember the time you spent with them much more than they will remember a toy.

Being the giver of an experience yields just as many joyful, exciting memories as being the receiver!

Ideas for gift experiences

The list of ideas for gift experiences is extensive. Hot sauce enthusiast? There’s a kit for that. New dog mom? There’s a box for that. Skincare lover? Yep, there’s a… well, you get the picture.

The following list is for adults, children, and families. It’s broken down into the four categories of experiences, services, classes, and memberships.

Depending on your physical location, there are other experiences you can gift such as:

  • surfing
  • sailing
  • canoeing
  • rafting
  • ice skating
  • skiing
  • snowboarding
  • mini-golf
  • indoor waterpark
  • indoor rock climbing
  • indoor playground
  • indoor trampoline park
  • indoor gym

More services that can be given are for:

  • a barber (haircut, straight razor shave, beard trim)
  • dog walker
  • driver (Uber, Lyft)
  • salon services
  • personal shopper
  • pet sitter
  • in-home chef
  • meal prep

Additional classes can include:

  • archery
  • boxing
  • chess
  • golf
  • kickboxing
  • meditation
  • photography
  • pilates
  • rock climbing
  • scuba
  • technology
  • tennis
  • woodworking
  • yoga
  • zumba

Memberships can also include

  • local swimming pools
  • nature centers
  • museums
  • amusement parks
  • gardens
  • wildlife sanctuaries
  • outdoor theaters
  • aquarium pass or membership
  • children’s theater tickets or membership

There are experiences for just about every hobby, interest, and passion.

Charitable Gift Experiences

What?? Yes! Not only can you excite your loved ones, but you also can give back to charity in the process. CreateJoy compiled a list of 16 Amazing Subscription Box Gifts That Give Back to Good Causes.³

Here are a few they suggested:

  • Brother’s Coffee Box – You’re gifting new, ethically-sourced coffee brands to your friend or family member each month and donating $1 to Grounds for Health to support cervical cancer screening and treatment.
  • Kirills Tea Box – This box features premium tea bags filled with handcrafted loose leaf tea blends, made with whole herbs, whole spices, and honey sticks for sweetness. They donate to organizations doing humanitarian aid work across the globe.
  • Life’s a Wave Beach Box – It’s packed with 5-8 sea-themed items, that bring relaxation and rejuvenation to your loved one despite beach season being months away. The proceeds from each box support clean and healthy oceans.

Or you can simply make a donation to a charity on behalf of your loved one.

Shopping local is always a great way to find unique gifts while supporting your local businesses.

Wrapping it all up… or not

There are many gifts you can share with the ones closest to you. Consider who you are shopping for and what will best fill up their emotional bank. There are creative ways on how to give experiences as gifts to someone, so you will still have something to hand them during this holiday time.

Professional Organizing is a gift that will give back. Dennise is available for both in-person as well as virtual organizing.

If you know someone who would love support in getting their time management skills, schedule, and productivity in good order, look no further than Dennise to help set an incredible foundation for the new year.

Click here to set up your free consultation with Organized MD today!

¹ https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/are-too-many-toys-harming-your-childs-development/

² https://www.deliciousexperiences.com/blog/posts/%207-reasons-to-gift-experiences

³ https://www.cratejoy.com/box-insider/gifts-that-support-a-cause/

Time Management & Productivity

Often we hear the term time management and productivity and assume they are one-in-the-same. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s more of a cause-and-effect relationship. Time management affects your productivity. Let’s dive further into these ideas.

What is Time Management?

One life skill that will help you succeed, both in your personal and professional life, is time management. Skills You Need describes time management as:

“the art of having time to do everything that you need, without feeling stressed about it.”

In an If, … then situation, your if is time management. If you don’t have a handle on your time management, then you will be stressed and your productivity will suffer.

How Do You Improve Your Time Management?

Not sure how much time things take? Track it. Take a week or two and track your activities every 15 minutes. At the end of the week, evaluate the amount of time you spent doing different projects. Now you have a good idea of how much time to allot in your schedule for different things. This also shows you the times of day when you’re most productive.

The Importance of Time Management

Schedules, plans, priorities, and to-do lists can be part of our daily routine, especially when it comes to work, so it’s important to know how long specific tasks take. You’re able to plan your day and time appropriately which will help eliminate stress because you won’t have to rush or worry about not having enough time to do your best work.

What is Productivity?

Productivity is defined by James Clear as:

“a measure of efficiency of a person completing a task… getting important things done consistently.”

In an If, … then situation, your productivity is the then. If you have good time management skills and allow the appropriate amount of time for a task, then your productivity will increase and you will consistently provide quality work. You won’t be stressed or speeding through your to-do list in order to check things off.

How Does Having Good Time Management Benefit You?

There are numerous benefits of alloting the correct amount of time needed to meet your responsibilities. Although the benefits will be determined by your goal, Lucemi Consulting lists some of the values of good time management.

  • Less stress
  • Better work-life balance
  • Greater focus
  • Increased productivity
  • Less procrastination and distraction
  • More time to think and strategize

These benefits are not limited to the workplace. As more and more people continue working from home, these are beneficial to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Can Time Management Negatively Affect Productivity?

Because these philosophies go hand-in-hand, if you don’t have a strong time management strategy in place, there will be negative effects on your productivity. Mind Tools lists some unfavorable outcomes:

  • Missed deadlines
  • Poor quality of work
  • High stress
  • Procrastination

When you’re feeling rushed, you aren’t able to create the high caliber work that you’re capable of. Knowing how long an activity takes will allow you to plan for it so you can produce work that meets your standards.

8 Time Management and Productivity Tips

The same tips and strategies don’t work for everyone, but here are some ideas you may find helpful when trying to improve your time management and increase productivity.

  1. Keep a planner or to-do list so you know what is expected of you at all times.
  2. The night before, get things ready for the next morning so you can sit down and get started right away.
  3. Determine your task priorities and focus on the one with the highest precedence.
  4. Keep your workspace organized and free of clutter, especially if you are working from home.
  5. Limit distractions by closing the door, silencing your cell phone, closing your email, and keeping your distance from others who may distract you.
  6. Plan to work on more difficult tasks during the time you are most focused and productive during the day.
  7. Allow for breaks in your day, especially during the times you are less productive.
  8. Utilize tools like time management apps that will help you stay productive. There are apps for tracking time, keeping track of lists and projects, prioritizing tasks, staying focused, storing your notes and ideas, collaborating and sharing with teammates, and sharing schedules with family members.

Find which tips will benefit you the most with improving your time management and productivity skills. 

Not Sure Where to Start?

Do you find yourself running late? Rushing to get things done? Stressing out your family while you yell orders to get out of the house on time? Frustrated that you keep missing deadlines? Are you ready to put a stop to the madness and get a handle on these things?

Put my training to use. Let me help you or your family create time management systems that  serve your busy lifestyle. Set up a free consultation today and we’ll discuss your current situation, your goals, and how to reach them. Click here to book your free time management consultation!

Organized MD – treating the ill elements of your time and spaces!

Extra Behind the Scenes That Go on With Medical Professionals & The Workplace

Depending on what part of the world you live in, post-pandemic life is slowly starting to open back up. Although some things such as doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals never fully closed, the way they operate has changed significantly.

Appointments Pre-Pandemic

Before the pandemic hit, you went about your medical appointments without a second thought. You would show up, sign in, sit and wait (and wait, and wait) until a nurse would bring you back to a room. There, you continued to sit and wait, and sometimes your frustration or anxiety would creep in. By the time you left, your mind was filled with a not-so-great experience.

Medical Appointments During the Pandemic

During this time, everyone in clinics, offices, and hospitals was on the front line. The public, in general, started to have a different opinion of workers who were putting their lives on the line –  literally every single day.

This is when people started paying more attention to what goes on during appointments and just how many workers go into running our healthcare system.

A Visit to Your Medical Professional Today

There is quite a bit that goes into an appointment. Office staff, nurses, and doctors juggle different, and often extra, duties compared to pre-pandemic appointments.

Let’s take a look at what goes on when someone has a routine medical visit.

  1. You let the office know you’ve arrived for your appointment. Sometimes that’s done via an app, or you call the front desk.

Behind the scenes: There are receptionists taking the calls, there are people either pulling charts and files or getting your EMR (electronic medical record – your file) pulled up and in que for the doctor to see you.

  1. You come in and they verify your information and let you know where to sit to be called back.

Behind the scenes: Not only are receptionists helping you, they are also making sure the counter and pen you touched are sanitized for the next person. When you get up from the chair in the waiting room, someone comes by to sanitize the chair for the next patient. There is also the billing department staff that are looking up co-pays, processing payments, and printing receipts.

  1. A nurse comes to get you, then takes you back to get your weight on the way to the room.

Behind the scenes: Have you ever noticed all of the people working around you when you’re doing that simple thing?

  1. You enter the room where you sit down and your blood pressure and temperature are taken. The nurse asks you routine questions and records the responses in the computer.

Behind the scenes: Before you entered the room, a worker made sure to time the sanitization of the room so it was ready for you – including the chairs, keyboard, desk, exam table, and all needed equipment.

  1. The doctor comes in to see you, sanitizing, sitting, going through his/her laptop, getting your recently updated information. Depending on the reason for your appointment, there are any number of instruments and other materials needed to carry out your examination.

Behind the scenes: The nurse leaves, again sanitizing the gloves or their hands as they let the doctor know you are ready.  All the necessary items were taken from a supply closet or storeroom and set up for the doctor’s use. Keep in mind that all of this is done just for you.

Nurses and clinic staff are human. They need a sip of water, a snack, and a restroom break. This is all timed around your appointments, the doctor, and other patients.

  1. The doctor may require labs to be taken. Normally you have to leave and go to another area for this.

Behind the scenes: There is paperwork being shared as to what needs to happen – x-rays, blood work, you name it. There is a nurse preparing the materials, paperwork, stickers with your information, etc. before you even get to them. Of course, everything is being sanitized which is all being timed out as well.

After You Leave the Appointment

After your visit, there are a lot of activities that go on behind the scenes: workers are dealing with billing, medical notes and forms, as well as additional steps and phone calls/emails/faxes to book specialist appointments. Not to mention the follow-up to ensure your appointments have been booked and you received the information. Plus your doctor calling to give you any medical test results. The list goes on and on…

Patience, Understanding, and Grace

Much of this is a new routine or enhanced additional work for staff as well as ourselves. Please take a moment to stop and think about all the people who are taking care of things behind the scenes so you can visit your doctor. Please extend a bit of grace to everyone involved. If I can help you in any way with regard to your medical clinic routines and procedures, please reach out to me. I have an extensive background assisting clinics and staff with making their office run as smoothly as possible. I am here to help in whatever way I can.

Organized MD – treating the ill elements of your time and spaces!

9 Fun Things You Can Do to Prep for Spring & Summer Activities

It’s only March… our coldest month is behind us!

February is typically the coldest month here in Ontario and the thought of going outside sounds something like – nope, no thanks, I don’t think so

March has arrived so it’s the best time to start planning for spring and summer. Yep, that’s what I said – planning for spring and summer! With a bit more sunshine and temperatures creeping up (it doesn’t matter how slowly), Mother Nature is letting us know that it’s safe to start making warm-weather plans.

So, let’s start planning!

1. Outdoor Eating

I don’t know about you, but eating my meals al fresco is one of my favorite things to do when the weather warms up. There are just a few things to prepare for this.

Grill

Depending on your grilling habits, it may have been a few months since you last grilled out. Wipe it down, clean the grate, stock up on charcoal or propane, wheel it to its favorite spot, and get started.

Serving Trays

A serving tray or two will be your best friend. They’ll save you several trips back and forth into the house and back out to the grill or outdoor seating area. You can use them for food prep, condiments, side dishes, and drinks. You can also use them for plates, silverware, and cooking utensils.

Outdoor Furniture

Pull it out, dust it off, and set it up.

Easy-peasy – the basics are set up and ready to go. Now get outside, relax, grill something delicious, and enjoy. You can add ambiance with string lights, setting up portable firepits, and staking tiki torches as the season progresses.

2. Pantry Make-Over

Let’s face it, our eating habits change along with the seasons. In the warmer months, we’re often on-the-go, so it’s helpful to have a few more healthy options around that are quick and ready to grab-and-go.

Have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand and ready to grab. If they’re getting old, freeze them for smoothies later. Make sure your pantry is stocked with family staples – that way it’s easy to make something more healthy than fast-food before or after that baseball game or tennis match.

3. Car Essentials

With major season changes come major car essential changes as well. Most vehicle-related companies suggest the following:

  • Flashlight
  • Multi-tool/pocket knife
  • Water
  • Snacks (non-perishable, no melting chocolate)
  • Phone charger

If you’re a mom, dog-mom, or adventurer, these are a few more things you should have on-hand to be summer-ready:

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellant
  • First aid kit
  • Everything disinfectant-related
  • Baby wipes
  • Portable bowl
  • Extra dog treats/food
  • Poop bags

Some of these things need to be switched out so they don’t get stale or end up useless. Each season, swap the sunscreen and bug repellent.

4. Clothing & Accessories

It’s time to switch sweaters for tanks, pants for capris, and turtlenecks for sundresses.

It’s that time of year to ask the dreaded question – does it still fit? If not, donating it for someone else to enjoy is a charitable gesture.

Rearrange the items in your closet and place your most used items at eye level. As with your warm clothes, store your summer clothes with like items together in drawers. Keeping shorts, skirts, short sleeve shirts, tank tops, and work-out gear together makes it easier for you to see what options you have.

When storing your clothes, it helps the longevity of fabrics to store them clean and in plastic bins.

5. Mud Room / Entryways

This is one of the busiest places in a home where people are coming and going all the time. It is also the easiest place for things to get lost, covered up, or accidentally grabbed by someone else. Here are some trading tips for your busy entryway area:

  • Flip flops
  • Sandals
  • Sneakers, sports shoes
  • Sports equipment and shoes
  • Hats

All of these items can easily be stored in baskets and bins. They can be designated by each person or by item (hats, flip flops, sneakers, etc.).

6. Pool / Beach Bag

Depending on the ages and number of people you’re packing for, this list may vary. But regardless of that, this is a fun task to do. Here are some of the basics:

  • sunscreen (body, face, sweat-proof, baby)
  • towel/blanket
  • water or other hydrating beverages
  • umbrella if desired

If there are youngsters in your group, sand toys, floaties, snacks, baby wipes, and life vests, are helpful. A blue tooth speaker is nice to bring some life to the party. Teens and tweens may prefer earbuds so they can get lost in their own little world.

However you “do” the beach, be prepared ahead of time so you can soak up the rays in peace.

7. Garage / Shed

Similar to our clothes closets, our garages and sheds need a seasonal swap as well.

Swap snow shovels for rakes.

Swap snow blowers for lawnmowers.

Swap salt for fertilizer.

Swap winter activity items like fort-block-makers, skis, snow grips, and hockey sticks for warmer weather gear like bikes, chalk, bubbles, balls, jump ropes, and running gear.

Storing these items properly will ensure many more seasons of hockey, soccer, and other loved outdoor activities. Ensure you set aside time to do this.

8. Yard Sale

Many folks love yard/rummage/garage sales and they are prevalent during this time of the year. Families with young children who grow faster than they can wear out their clothes appreciate the deals they can get or the added income to keep growing wardrobes.

Sometimes hobbies change. Sometimes new hobbies develop. Unfortunately, our space doesn’t always grow to keep up with the changing of items related to this. Yard sales are a great way to share your past with new budding hobbyists while making space and a little extra cash to support your new activity. Win-win.

If the thought of having a sale is overwhelming, ask around to family, friends, and people in your neighborhood to see if they are having one. Join in with someone else – it will make it more enjoyable for everyone.

Make sure to check local rules regarding sales.

9. Gardening Supplies

If gardening is your hobby, eating your homegrown food makes you feel complete, or pulling up stubborn weeds is your stress-relief, then this season means everything to you. Make sure you have everything you need and that it is in tip-top shape to perform as needed.

Enjoy the Swap

Even though it isn’t explicitly spelled out, during all of these swaps, changes, and transitions, it’s the ideal time to clean out these spaces. Some areas are as simple as a sweeping or wipe-out. Others may take a bit more time and effort. Regardless of the effort, cleaning should become part of this routine if it isn’t already. This will give you more time during those warmer temperatures to enjoy doing what you love outdoors!

Not Sure Where to Start?

Organized MD is here to help! Any area that you dread looking at is an area that Dennise will be happy to help you declutter and organize. Are multiple summer schedules already making your head spin? Dennise is incredible at helping find a system that you can follow – no more missed activities, parties, or get-togethers. Your summer is in good hands with Organized MD!

Contact us today to explore your unique organizational needs.

The Startling Truth About Habits, New Year’s Resolutions, and Quitting

New Year’s Resolutions. You either love or hate them. Or you begin loving them and end up hating them because it doesn’t work.

There are tons of reasons (read: excuses) why we don’t, can’t, or won’t follow through with them. Regardless of the end result, everyone begins with the best intentions – to do something to better their lives.

You want to start the new year with an organized home and office space. You’re super dedicated to this resolution. You go out and buy the inspiring drawer dividers, cute filing system, and bins that you are excited to look at every day. This is going to be great!

Fast forward to mid-January. The bins are still in the bag and the filing system is sitting on the corner of your desk. You did take out the dividers and they are on the top of your dresser just waiting to hop in the drawer.

You have made the same mistake so many of us have done. We have jumped feet first into an amazing intention, but we haven’t mentally prepared ourselves for what a habit needs to be successful.

Statistics for New Year’s Resolutions

Around 80% of people who make resolutions will fail by mid-February.³

Before it has even begun, 12% of Americans, don’t think they will succeed or follow through with their resolutions.²

Only 19% of UK residents plan on making a New Year’s resolution in 2021.⁴

In 2020, 79% of Australian’s were making the commitment to a resolution.⁵

These numbers aren’t the most motivating. Resolutions take some planning and commitment.

New Habits Take Time

Twenty-one days. Sixty-six days. Two hundred fifty-four days. What?

Depending upon each person and habit, it can take as early as twenty-one days for a new action to become a habit, with the average being sixty-six days; however, some habits can take up to 254 days to become automatic. There are many different challenges you can join and lists with various numbers of steps for how to make a habit stick. These are awesome if they give you the motivation and foundation you need to turn this change into a habit.

To break a bad habit, you must change the pattern. Once the pattern is broken, the behavior is no longer automatic.

To create a new habit, a new pattern must be formed. This needs to be repeated over and over until your brain sets it on autopilot.

There are many suggestions, ideas, and plans for creating habits that stick. What it boils down to is our brain and how it works. Once a behavior becomes a routine habit, your brain essentially puts it on autopilot so you can focus on things that require more focus.

“Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).

-Stephen R. Covey

Be Mentally Prepared!

Change. Is. Hard.

Before you start, ask yourself why? Why is this important to you? When solidifying this new habit or routine, remind yourself why you’re doing this. Write it down. Post it on social media. Make a voice memo. Put it on your vision board. Do whatever it takes to easily remind yourself why this is important to you.

Humans are creatures of habit. We survive on habits and routines. When was the last time you had to remind yourself to breathe? Turn the lights off when you went to bed? You often drive to or from work on “autopilot.” On the evening of your favorite television show, you make sure certain things are done prior to the start so you can fully enjoy your time.

Your morning or evening routine has become just that – a routine.

When you started, you had to think about it to make sure you got everything accomplished. At some point, you did it without thinking too much about it. Soon, you will be doing this on autopilot as well.

Set Realistic Goals

Biting off more than you can chew is not going to make you successful.

You need to start with realistic goals.

The surface of your desk hasn’t seen the light of day in who knows how long. It isn’t realistic to think you’ll have it all perfectly cleaned and organized in an hour.

It is realistic to…

  • go through the paperwork and make organized piles
  • empty one or two drawers at a time
  • clean and wipe down the top and inside of the drawers
  • figure out and label file folders in a way that will best suit your needs
  • declutter, clean, and organize one shelf today and another shelf tomorrow

It also is a realistic goal to recruit help if you need it. Maybe those bite sizes listed feel more overwhelming than manageable. Ask for help. Is your friend amazing at this? Does your daughter-in-law have a system to die for? If someone can help you set up an approach that will help you to stick with this new habit, then please ask!

Plan for Bumps in the Road

Unfortunately, there will be bumps. You’re going to have to anticipate this and plan how to navigate around it.

The more proactive you are, the better your plan will be. This will increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to keep yourself heading in the right direction.

“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently”.

-Tony Robbins

Keep It Up!

Here are more ideas to not only keep your New Year’s resolutions but also turn them into habits.

  • Find an accountability partner.
  • Give yourself grace when you don’t keep it perfectly.
  • Reset and keep going – don’t throw in the towel.
  • Take the time so that you can be successful and create a new habit.
  • Add to your life rather than take away – use positive wording when possible

Bottom line, don’t give up!

Does any part of this sound overwhelming? Call Organized MD.  Dennise can help you to figure out and establish a manageable routine. She will be your accountability partner. She will also help you save time and be more productive. You’ve put it off long enough. Contact Organized MD today!

Organized MD – treating the ill elements of your time and spaces!

1https://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them

²https://www.finder.com/new-years-resolution-statistics

³https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/new-years-resolution-janine-hubbard-1.5412777

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2020/12/30/new-years-resolutions-2020-and-2021

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/top-5-new-years-resolutions-for-2020-revealed-231157354.html

Certified Virtual Professional Organizers Provide Powerful Services Every Day

Should I try virtual Organizing? There are many benefits contact Dennise today at 416-575-9085 to learn more.

Certified Virtual Professional Organizers Provide Powerful Services Every Day

Virtual meetings. Virtual classrooms. Virtual conferences. Virtual events. Virtual happy hours. Virtual book clubs. Virtual game nights. Virtual dinners. Virtual is a word we have used more in the past year than any other.

Whether it’s because of homeschooling and working from home or being in lockdown, we have become much more aware of our living space and its belongings. Many people have used this time to sort through closets, boxes, basements, and garages.

Some have wanted to or even tried to but came to the realization that this is a task that’s more than they can take on by themselves.

Enter Virtual Organizing.

What is Virtual Organizing?

Before we talk about virtual organizing, let’s define organizing. Simply put, organizing is arranging items in an order. Some synonyms are; structure, assemble, sort, group, order, classify, categorize, and systematize.

Virtual organizing is doing organizational things via technology or computer software. There are many different platforms with video chat capabilities, the most popular being Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts. This is the closest way people can be “together” without being in the same physical space.

This is just one of the benefits of virtual organizing as opposed to in-person organization. You can still get organized regardless of pandemic restrictions and protocols.

Another benefit of virtual organizing is that it promotes brain activity and development. Working in collaboration with an organizer is stimulating due to the thought process required for planning.

Virtually serving your needs is more flexible than in-person organizing. There is less travel required on the organizer’s part, creating more availability in their schedule.

How Does Virtual Organizing Work?

The first step to virtual organizing is to have a consultation with the organizer. Here you will discuss your needs, take a virtual tour of your space, and decide if you two are a good fit to work together.

From there, any other information will be gathered and the organizer will put together a plan for your space. If there are organization materials needed, those will be purchased and collected at this time. A date and time are scheduled to begin.

A schedule will be put in place depending on what you and your organizer have agreed will work best.

Many organizers include a follow-up meeting a month or so after the project has finished to help make tweaks or changes to best meet your needs.

Do You Know There Are Certified Virtual Professional Organizers?

There is a certification program for Professional Organizers who are committed to becoming educated in the different ways necessary to virtually support their clients.

“Certification as a Virtual Professional Organizer (CVPO™) indicates that you are committed to your work through continued learning and your support in sustaining the industry’s integrity through best practices.”

-The Certified Virtual Organizer

Not only is previous organizing experience required, but organizers must also pass an exam to prove their proficiency with higher-level training and skills to uphold the ethics of the profession of Virtual Organizing (VO).

CVPO’s have the most current research and theories to bring to your organizing project. Not to mention the continued support and community of other certified professionals.

When Do You Want to Get Started?

I proudly hold the title of Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) and Certified Virtual Professional Organizer (CVPO). I am certified to help you get decluttered, organized, create systems, increase your productivity, and improve your time management – all virtually! This can be quite an empowering experience for you to take ownership of your space.

Want a cost-effective way of working together with shorter organizing sessions? Are you still in lockdown? Do you want to take full advantage of your time while you are at home? Not quite comfortable having someone into your home?

Call Organized MD.  I will help you get any (some, or all) of your spaces organized, find a time management system that works for you, and help increase your productivity – and I’m certified to do so virtually.

Organized MD – treating the ill elements of your time and spaces!