Take Five

Busy As a….Queen B!

While the pandemic, the wildfires, and other life circumstances have, unfortunately, slowed or closed some businesses down, Queen B Organizing has continued to thrive by being responsive not only to our market needs, but also to the needs of the community.

Leadership Matters

Much of this success can be attributed to the leadership of our own Queen B, Kristin Bertilson. Kristin started her organizing business in 2010, and in just 10 years, now employs nearly 20 workers and has expanded services into areas where our clients showed need: decluttering, packing and unpacking, coordinating events, moves, or office processes, and our most visible service, estate sales.

How has this growth happened? Two words: listening and acting.

When the state first enforced a shutdown last spring, people in transition still needed services such as clearing out a loved one’s home in a timely manner. With the strictures in place, Queen B Organizing could not host estate sales, so Kristin came up with a brilliant idea! The team would continue to safely clean out properties, and she would find a space to store items until sales could be held again. The Beehive was born! Many of you may have shopped our multi-family estate sales there over the last two weeks and seen the amount of attention and care that was taken in preparing items for sale.

Bringing Smiles and Tears

This kind of attention and care happens with intention. During the wildfires, when hundreds of families evacuated to the Linn County Expo Center, Kristin responded to a need there by moving the team to action in organizing the donation center and its operations so it could work to its full efficiency. The outpouring of support from individuals and businesses in the Linn Benton community gave Queen B an outlet to shine in what we do best, bringing tears and smiles to the many evacuees who benefited, right along with our team.

Busy B

Listening to the needs of clients and the community enables one to act. As Peter Drucker notes, “whenever you see a successful business, someone made a courageous decision”.  Kristin has also taken the time to share her expertise and knowledge with the wider community.

Two examples from the last few months include an interview she completed for a podcast hosted by the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and a chapter contribution in a book 1 Habit For A Thriving Home Office. In both, she talks about the importance of making decisions, even when you don’t know what the outcome will be. Her decisions to grow her business have not always been easy, but they have propelled her forward into doing what she loves with a great team of “B’s”.

Let Our Hive Help

Bees, as you probably know, are incredibly efficient and organized creatures.  Imagine having a whole hive of bees available to help you find the best ways to shape your space to meet your needs for work, self-care, or play. Well, that’ s exactly what Kristin B and the rest of the team at Queen B Organizing can provide for you! Let us listen to you and act on your behalf to restore peace to your home or office. Contact us and sign up for our mailing list to learn more!

Why Organize Your Home Office?

There are many reasons for organizing a home office space. Whether you are new to working at home or have always done it, having an efficient, clean, and peaceful place can help you be more productive and less stressed.

What Goals Do You have in Mind?

What is your goal(s) for working from home? Do you find yourself needing to limit distractions so you can be more productive?  Are you wanting to have better boundaries between your work life and personal life? Do you do your best thinking in a particular time of day or a particular space?

Let’s look at what an organized home office can help you accomplish. As you will see, the goal you have in mind will suggest different ways of organizing your workspace.

Productivity

Working from home can be full of distractions: the kids, the cat, the neighbor moving a lawn, or that snack calling from the kitchen.  If being more productive (read: disciplined) is your goal, you might try some of the suggestions offered in this article, starting with eliminating any items that you don’t need or that call your attention away from your work. Only keep items in your immediate workspace that say, “we are here to work”.  When you evaluate items in your work area, ask yourself if they motivate you to work or bring out your personal best, the way a diploma or a wedding photo or an award might.

From there, it will be easy to set up your space so it is comfortable and well-lit. Be sure and keep a large trash can handy to help keep it free of clutter!

Work Life Balance

Sometimes, when working from home, we find it hard to separate ourselves from our work emails, calls, or projects.  Setting aside specific work hours can help. Be sure to include time for breaks and movement so you don’t get burned out. If it’s possible for you, set aside a separate workplace within your home, whether it is a separate room, or a space carved out for your computer and paperwork.  Suggestions how to do that efficiently, without getting too comfortable (which can decrease your effectiveness) can be found here.

Finding work life balance requires organizing both your space and time so that you can shift your focus as you move through your day.

Creativity

If you need help being more creative when working from your home office, you are in luck! Studies show that workers are, on balance, more creative working at home than in the office. However, if you need a little boost, think of all the things you can’t typically have or do at an office and make them part of your work day at home. Think color, art on the walls, standing up and dancing to music you enjoy, and making a work schedule that allows you time to recharge in your favorite ways – naps, the outdoors, aromatherapy… in other words, be creative!

Try some of these tips to help you meet your goals for working at home and let us know what works for you! If you need help identifying your goals or getting what you need in your home office space done, reach out to Queen B Organizing and we can help you discover what works best for you.

September 2020: Safely Cleaning Ash and Smoke

Kristin B, and some of the team members who worked to organize the donation room at the fairgrounds.

Like many of you, Queen B Organizing stepped into the thick of volunteer efforts this past weekend to help those affected by wildfire. Cleaning up may not be the first thing on your mind just now, but when it is, it will mean the worst is past us and we begin the process of moving forward.  Here is some information to keep in mind to help you continue to stay safe.

Ash and Smoke in the Air

As wildfires continue to rage around Oregon, Washington, and California, the valley has been inundated with smoke and ash, causing the air to be hazardous to breathe.  While uncertainty about wind and weather patterns keep everyone in a state of high alert, they will shift, leaving those of us fortunate to be in our homes and businesses with the task of clearing them of the dangerous residue left behind.

The smallest particles of ash are extremely dangerous and can trigger serious health issues, particularly for those in vulnerable populations: children, pregnant women, those with chronic lung or heart conditions. Do not attempt to clean without following proper safety precautions, and if you are unable to do so, call a professional.

Safe Cleaning Guidelines

Start with the guidelines created by the EPA on this Wildfire Smoke Factsheet.  Wear protective clothing, including gloves, and an N95 mask. Choose your cleaning supplies carefully as well, to keep from spreading particles back into the air. The factsheet includes links to other resources that monitor air quality, and to recommendations for home air cleaning devices.

For cleanup related to smoke odors, follow this guide.  Something as simple as placing bowls of baking soda around your home can help clear the air of odor. Cleaning items inside and outside your home will help as well, when safe to do so.

Cleaning Your Car

Lastly, your vehicle may need to be cleaned of ash. In order to limit damage to the exterior paint, you can follow the simple guidelines presented in this short video for thorough cleaning.

Take the time to learn about safety precautions for the cleanup of ash and smoke, and share these resources with others.  May we all see blue skies again soon.

 

Featured image by okjumena from Pixabay

4 Steps for Balancing Your Family’s Remote Work and Learning Routines

Calming the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may feel impossible, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. The keys to juggling such a complex and demanding schedule without having your home descend into chaos are actually pretty simple: planning and organization. In fact, you can achieve order in your home and your daily life in just a few steps.

Structure Your Family Routine

Dedicated schooling space will help you work and your children learn, but first it’s essential to create consistent daily routines for your entire family. You may think that scheduling online lessons and remote work assignments should come first, but you can actually reduce stress if you structure these tasks around more basic needs, like sleep and meals. Then, fill the remaining hours with reading and learning blocks for your children and work hours for yourself. Be sure to discuss your new routines with your family, so you can set clear boundaries with each other from the start. It can also be helpful to post printed schedules in your family command center. If you don’t have a family command center in your home yet, you should seriously consider setting up one so that you can keep things low-stress and organized.

Set Up Your Home Office

Keeping your home free of clutter is important for maintaining focus, but it can also help to have some dedicated office space. The most productive home office spaces have a door that you can close to minimize distractions, but you can also create separation in a multipurpose space using screens or room dividers. Once you have a spot picked out for your workspace, you should get to work finding a comfy chair and desk. Investing in a supportive chair is especially crucial when you will be sitting and working in it all day, but you should also choose something that will reflect your personal style. Spending a little time decorating your space can also inspire more productivity.

Keep Your Kids Focused

Establishing a distraction-free workspace can help keep you focused, but what about your kids? Well, you can also set up a dedicated study space where your children can focus on their online lessons and avoid interrupting your tasks. Apply the same principles here that you did to your workspace, but also keep in mind that kids may need a few extra pieces of equipment. For example, you may want to pick up some headphones tailor-made for children so that your little ones won’t be distracted by other noises inside and outside of your home. Having them use headphones can also be beneficial for you, since you won’t be interrupted by the sounds of live instruction, watching movies or even playing games.

Speaking of games and live instruction, make sure your internet connection can handle the extra usage so you’re not dealing with frustrating lag times or crashing connections. Look for internet service that can handle multiple devices simultaneously with plenty of bandwidth.

Get Your Home Organized

 Balancing remote learning and remote work can be stressful enough, so don’t let a cluttered home add even more tension. Research shows that working or living in cluttered spaces can produce more feelings of stress and anxiety. When you are feeling more stressed, you are also more likely to feel distracted. So, if you want to improve your family’s focus and reduce your stress, spend some time organizing your home before the new school year begins. If you just don’t have the time to tackle serious organization, you can always turn to a professional organizing service like Queen B Organizing to take care of this task for you. Think of it as a gift to yourself and your family, and get the school year off to a successful start!

 

With thanks to Cherie Mclaughlin, Couchbasedbiz.com

Photo Credit: Pexels

Learning to Let Go — of Books

Do you have a collection of books on your shelves, or on your nightstand or even sitting stacked in odd places? What would you do if you had to let go of most of them? Stacey @ Adventure Wednesdays came across this issue recently in the process of downsizing her home for a cross-country move. Here she shares her advice for letting go of one’s precious items:

Books are inanimate objects, and on the surface, appear easy to declutter. My dad even noted that it is so easy to get any book you want online. Heck, he could even get his college textbook (from 60+ years ago) in digital format. So, the need for that hard cover book, or even that portable paperback, has started to become irrelevant.
However, learning to let go of my collection of books, was an adventure – a true challenge with a great deal of emotional baggage to overcome.


(Want your own Nancy Drew collection? Start here (via my Amazon Affiliate program) https://amzn.to/2PG9TDn)

Books represent having the time to read them and to digest them. They carry wisdom, laughter, pain, the past and the present.

Reading books as a kid was my escape from what was, at times, a chaotic environment, and helped to soothe the awkwardness of growing up. I developed relationships with certain characters, like Nancy Drew (a popular mystery series), who was an 8-year-old like me, but with driving privileges! I’m sure if Harry Potter had been around when I was young, I would have sought refuge in that world too. As an adult, I have many favorite authors and book series that offer a similar escape. How can you let go of friends like these?

A BOOK ‘AHA’ MOMENT
One realization helped me let go of these dear friends: I was able to accept letting go of beloved books, knowing they are still a part of me.
Even though I donated my hundred-plus collection of the Nancy Drew Mystery series to the library when I was in middle school, I still have my favorite Nancy Drew characteristics as a part of who I am all these years later. It’s what’s in the books that matters most.

ACTION
Packing books is hard. They take up a lot of room. They also collect dust when they sit around untouched for years. Many books are made in way that the pages yellow and get brittle. From the boxes stored in the attic and in the basement, from the shelves in my living room, in my bedroom and in my kitchen – there were hundreds to sort through. Here is the sorting process I used. You can adapt it as needed.

COOKBOOKS
I went through them all. Enjoyed the memories. For the last several years, when searching for recipes, I have relied on the internet. I realized I hadn’t referred to a cookbook at all, despite the dozens on hand. My dietary needs have also changed, and many of the cookbooks I had kept offered recipes for dishes I could no longer eat. So, I decided which ones were clean enough to donate or give away, and off they went.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS
I used to work at Scholastic, and so I had tons of kids’ books. Many books in my collection were my own favorites as a child (including two that were illustrated by my mother’s cousin). I went through the classics with the question “would I want my future grandchildren to read these?” These special books went into a “save” box, marked in large letters so they won’t accidentally be thrown out.
Also stashed away, I found the collection of Harry Potter books I’d shared with my children. I searched online and discovered they could be worth some money. These went in a box for a future “let go” session. Then again, maybe those books will help fund my future grandchildren’s education.

NOVELS
Going through novels I’ve enjoyed through the years was harder. These are the ones whose stories and voices have become part of my own personal fabric. Many I let go with the knowledge of the ease of digital access. I had to be ruthless with many others in that collection, letting go of the hoped-for time to read them. Calling on the Marie Kondo method, I used the gratitude style of decluttering – thanking them for being in my life, and letting them go.

INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS
My favorite inspirational books were in the biggest bin. These are not just the self-help books, but ones about travel and adventure, a focus of my decluttered life. I am still attached to many of them. I still refer to many of them. My desire to read or re-read some of them is still strong.
So, I carefully packed these in a mouse-proof and water-resistant bin. They are safely stored away for now. I know that in time, I will have to go through these again and let go of more of them, but this is another strategy I employed- being gentle with myself. Being okay with not getting rid of everything, right now.

STAGES OF ACTION
While letting go of books can be an emotional process, there are steps you can take to make it easier as well as feel good about it.
Give books to friends – Rehome books with willing friends whom you think will enjoy a particular author or genre.
Give them away for free – Use a local giveaway social media venue like Facebook to offer your books to others, place them in a Little Free Library, or donate them to a cause you support..
Sell them – In some cases, your books can be resold on platforms like Amazon. Use this strategy if you have the time and inclination.
Repurpose books that cannot be sold or donated. Pinterest has many cool ideas for this!

ENJOY THE PROCESS
Sorting through your books can be hard. Or you can see it as an adventure. Take your time. Have a goal in mind. In the process, you will learn a lot about yourself, and what is important to you.

YOUR TURN
Are you inspired to go on the adventure of culling your book collection? What are your feelings about your books, your collections? Have you packed and unpacked them many times? What methods have you used to let them go?

We would love to hear your ideas, and if you need help with the process, give Queen B Organizing a call!

With thanks to original blogger, Stacey Newman Weldon @ Adventure Wednesdays

Keeping Up With the Queen B

Keeping Up With the Queen B

“The worst thing you can do is stay stuck.”
-Kristin Bertilson

Have you ever considered what it takes to start and grow a business?

Kristin Bertilson started Queen B Organizing over 10 years ago during an economy that was just beginning to recover from the recession of 2008.

While most small businesses don’t last longer than five years, Queen B Organizing finds itself not only with its doors still open, but powering through this unprecedented time of the COVID19 pandemic.

How has she done it? By not allowing herself to become stuck with indecision!

Kristin, a Certified Professional Organizer, was recently interviewed about forming and growing her business for a podcast with her professional organization, NAPO.

When asked about what she wanted listeners to take away from her appearance on the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals’ podcast “Stand Out”, the first thing that came to mind was not allowing yourself to become stuck.

It’s fascinating how many business owners and professionals may become frozen with indecision.

Kristin mentions that, not only should we push forward, but we can learn to be okay with the idea of failing, because if we allow ourselves to fail, we gain knowledge and the opportunity to grow.

Listen here to the full podcast and check out our Facebook and Instagram posts for organizing tips, updates on estate sales, and more!

-with thanks to Isaieh Heiken

It’s Summer! Getting Your Home Ready for Sale

image from PexelsAre you planning a move? Let Queen B Organizing help you prepare! Realtors across the Willamette Valley are indicating a high volume of sales for the spring and summer. While the pandemic has created some major ripples in the real estate industry that will likely be in place for the foreseeable future, you can still sell your home at a price you’re happy with in this market.

Here is some information to get you on the right path for both online and in-person listings:

Prep Your Home
From decluttering to staging, start with these basics to be sure your home looks its best.

  • First, declutter every room in your home to create a visually appealing space.
  • Then, deep clean every nook and cranny to make it sparkle!
  • Once your home is clutter-free and spotless, stage furniture to make it look perfect, yet lived-in.
  • Be sure the exterior of your home is clean and well-kept; curb appeal is one of several major selling points.

Hire Professionals
Consider hiring professionals who can make the entire home selling process easier. Check your local Chamber of Commerce for reputable businesses.

  • A professional organizer like a staff member from Queen B Organizing, can make a huge difference in your home’s presentation and save you time packing.
  • A professional cleaner can keep your home spic-and-span throughout the selling process.
  • Unless you have ample experience in photography, hire a professional to do your listing photos and video. You want them to stand out.

Showing Your Home
While there’s something special about seeing a home personally, there are several ways that buyers can view your home virtually.

  • Realtors can take buyers on a live tour by using a video chat app.
  • Professional photographers can create a 3D walkthrough of your home, which allows buyers to tour your home whenever they want – no appointment needed.
  • When your listing photos and videos are good quality, often that is all buyers need to see to make an offer!

Though things have changed in the real estate market, you can still land the home sale you’ve been looking for. Remember to invest in staging your home, look into alternatives to in-person showings, and work with professionals who can showcase your home.

Summer is here and the pandemic doesn’t have to keep you from moving on. Let Queen B Organizing help you through the transition. Call today to learn how!

For more information, check out these links:

Decluttering Your Home Room by Room

Home Staging Tips

How to Make Your Home Look Its Very Best for Selling

Guide to Real Estate Video Marketing

Best Video Chat Apps in 2020

 

with thanks to Natalie Jones, HomeownerBliss.info

The Seven Gods of Fortune