Seana’s Sampler, Volume 6

Seana's Sampler of organizing and productivity tips and resources

With all of the leaves falling around me, it feels like time to drop a few new thoughts and resources into the blog. I hope you’ll enjoy perusing this content and come away with something you like!

Seana’s Sampler

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A Reminder…

Social media can be fun. Scrolling along can give us ideas, let us know about things that are happening, and even inspire us. At the same time, for many, social media is often the source of negative feelings. We feel sad because others seem to be having a happier life than we are. Or, we become envious of someone else’s physique, beauty, family, etc. We never know until we open the app whether we are going to see something that cheers us or depresses us.

Additionally, checking, posting, and responding to social media can absorb a lot of time… time we may in hindsight wish we had spent doing something else.

This is just a reminder that social media is option. You can participate as much, or as little, as you wish. Believe it or not, some people don’t participate at all. You have both the privilege and the responsibility of adding boundaries to the role social media plays in your life.

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A Resource…

Do you know someone who is struggling with hoarding disorder? At NERCPO 2022 (North East Regional Conference for Professional Organizers), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and hoarding disorder expert Sarah Soboleski mentioned that she often refers families to this book: Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring, by Michael A. Tompkins and Tamara L. Hartl.

Spouses, parents, and children of those who hoard often want to help but don’t know where to begin. It can be hard to understand the behavior, and in spite of excellent intentions, we can end up making a bad situation worse. If you are looking for guidance, this is a great place to start.

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A Thought…

People often think that being organized requires hours and hours of unpleasant work. While getting organized typically requires an initial investment of time and/or money, being organized largely comes down to maintenance. More specifically, walking around and putting things away.

There is no way to live an organized life without putting things away.

If you want to be more organized, resolve to spend time each day putting things back where they belong. If you don’t know where to put an item, rather than stack it up, make a choice for where it will live, and then go put it there.

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An Insight…

Have you heard of the parasympathetic nervous system? This was new to me. I learned about it from a guest speaker at a recent meeting of NAPO-CT (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, Connecticut Chapter). Lauren Mang of Let Me Organize It in San Francisco was talking to our group, and she mentioned this aspect of our nervous system and the connection it has to organizing.

Unlike our sympathetic nervous system, which is the one that triggers our “fight or flight” response to danger and stress, the parasympathetic nervous system is a network of nerves that restores our bodies to calm and helps us regain composure. Apparently, physical order (i.e., having things neatly arranged and in appropriate locations) triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to start sending out calming messages. In other words, order can actually calm us down! It seems that this aspect of our nervous system senses that things are “as they should be,” and therefore we can relax.

While I am not a scientist and haven’t studied this, I am inclined to agree. Not only do I personally feel more at peace when my spaces are in order, but I have also witnessed the calming and soothing effect that removing clutter and establishing order regularly has on my clients. After three hours working together, I notice positive changes in body language, breathing, and perspective.

Organizing not only makes things look and function better, but it can also make us feel better. How great is that?

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An Option

If you are like me, you may have some old china dishes lying around that you never use. Maybe you inherited them and prefer your own set, maybe they are a pattern that you no longer like, or perhaps you lack a sufficient number of pieces for them to be useful. Sets of china are notoriously difficult to resell, even though they cost a lot of money when they were originally purchased. Additionally, pieces that were handed down from family members often have a sentimental component, and we feel guilty letting them go.

If you want to keep the memory but don’t need a whole set of dishes clogging your space, you might want to check out the Brooklyn Teacup. They transform a piece or two of china into a variety of useful items, such as serving trays, magnets, candles, planters, and more.

As they say, “China should be adored, not stored!”

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Thanks for stopping by this latest sampler. Did any of these resonate with you?

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20 thoughts on “Seana’s Sampler, Volume 6”

  1. Cassidy and I were talking the other day about how decluttering helps our mental states. I was talking about how sometimes when I’m anxious, I like to deep clean. He wondered if that means if he sees me deep cleaning, that it means I’m anxious. And I didn’t really know how to explain that it doesn’t. It’s ONE of the reasons I might deep clean or declutter.
    Tamara recently posted…Anything Can Happen on HalloweenMy Profile

    1. I think deep cleaning is a terrific way to deal with anxiety! There are so many other behaviors people move toward when anxiety strikes, many of which have negative consequences. Deep cleaning is probably triggering your parasympathetic nervous system, calming you down, and giving you a fresher space. A win/win!

  2. You always come up with terrific observations. I’m not great on social media and participate minimally. I love how you identify it as an option – you can opt not to constantly scroll through it.

    It sounds like the talk on the parasympathetic nervous system was a really good one. I am a believer in the idea that calm creates calm. When you want to focus on work having an orderly office let’s you focus on the work and not at everything else shouting for your attention.
    Diane N Quintana recently posted…How To Organize Your SocksMy Profile

    1. I so agree, Diane. I know I have experienced this effect personally, but it was really neat to hear that we have an element of our nervous system that is designed for this purpose, and that organizing helps get that system going. So terrific!

    1. It was such a great way to use a piece or two so you can keep the memory, but not the whole collection. They were vendors at the NERCPO expo and it was fun to see all they can do!

  3. First and foremost, it was so awesome seeing you at the NERCPO conference this weekend. The conference was wonderful and as you planted the seed eight years ago, I can only imagine how happy you were to see it thriving as we gathered in person once again. Congratulations!

    So many great items in your sampler! I appreciate the social media reminder. While I use it mostly for business, I don’t enjoy it as much as I used. As you said, we can quickly go down an unproductive rabbit hole. Thank you for the reminder that like most things, this too is a choice.

    Sara’s workshop on Motivational Interviewing was fantastic! She’s a terrific presenter with so much humor and compassion. Digging Out is a great resource.

    Through meditation education and practice, I’m familiar with the para and sympathetic nervous systems. However, I never thought about those systems in relation to organizing and decluttering. A fascinating observation, which makes a lot of sense. As organizers (and even for ourselves,) we notice the calming, positive affect of the work, but I didn’t realize that it had a deeper biological impact. Amazing!

    Thank you for sharing the blurb about Brooklyn Teacup. I was got so involved talking with people people during the breaks, that I never got to see all of the NERCPO vendors. And before I knew it, the day was over and the vendors were gone. 🙁 So I appreciate this additional view of this company and can see how valuable they are.

    1. I have to say I felt a surge of happiness on Saturday. I was so thankful for all the hard work that went into making it happen, and thoroughly enjoyed all three presenters. I hope that everyone felt there was a little something that they could walk away with and put into action!

      Sarah is a wonderful presenter. We encouraged her to do it because we, in the CT chapter, know how great she is. Her Muppet theme really worked, didn’t it? So much good stuff there. My husband and I were chatting about some of what she shared over dinner.

      I did not know about the parasympathetic nervous system, and thought it was fascinating to learn how order can trigger it to start calming us down. I know I have experienced this, and definitely seen it play out during client sessions, but the biological aspect brought it all home. There really is a bottomless pit of knowledge and wisdom to absorb, which I personally find exhilarating!

      Thanks so much for coming to the conference and being a supporter all these years. 🙂

  4. I always love your samplers, but this was especially fun. I love the idea that we organizers give a helping hand to the parasympathetic nervous system, and I particularly agree about how organizing takes the thinking and the labor while staying organized is just schlepping things around.

    I love the Brooklyn Teacup approach; there’s a lot of china in my family home. My father’s first wife’s china; my mother’s china from her first marriage; the china we used for special events; Passover china. I can’t imagine I’ll ever find uses for it all as it’s too fiddly to use for everyday and most can’t go in the dishwasher. But I can definitely see making some three-tier tea party plates. It almost makes me want to start preparing tiny crustless sandwiches!
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Calm Cooking Chaos (Part 1): Organize Your Paper RecipesMy Profile

    1. That is a lot of china. I se this more and more… “generational china collections.”

      If you make the tiny, crustless sandwiches, I’ll come over 🙂

  5. I like the comment about transforming Teacups into something else. I tell my clients that they can donate old tools, tea cups, books almost anything because artists will buy them for supplies for their projects. Look at the success of the gnome and wreath creations lately. I first learned about this when my Dad passed away and he had some very old tools. My daughter said she would check Facebook and take care of donating them. A friend’s family had done that successfully. I used big old books to make Stash books one year that my kids gave away as gifts to teachers, coaches, and cousins, inexpensive and a big hit.
    Julie Stobbe recently posted…8 Ways to improve your focusMy Profile

    1. What a great idea to make Stash books, Julie!

      I was impressed by the variety of options that the Brooklyn Teacup company offered. I think the candles would make a great gift as well!

    1. Not only do we have the choice to participate on social media (or not!), but we can choose to what extent. We can just observe, or we can comment, or we can look only once a week… whatever improves our quality of life!

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