Everything Organized Media Room
Senior Connector - August 2014

Most of us have moved at least once in our lifetime and those memories can be enough to scare the pants off ourselves so that we put off moving until it’s almost too late.  The larger issue of leaving a move however in our ‘mature’ years can leave us in a situation where ‘selection’ will turn into ‘placement’, especially if there is a crisis event that has occurred. 

Not all moves are doom and gloom.  So, if you are one of the few that are going to do it solo here are some tips to make your journey more enjoyable.

1.  Know your new floor plan and play with it on paper.  Pencil in the furniture that you know is going with you so that you can see the configuration on paper.  Then, once you are satisfied with the results, mark those large items with green painters tape.  This will help you in that you won’t feel like you need to remember every minute detail.  If you see it with green tape you know its going.

2.  If you are moving into a building where elevators are being used or into structured retirement living, ensure that you have contacted the building manager or marketing coordinator to ensure your move in date coincides with their schedule. 

3.  Hire your Moving Company.  However, ensure that they are professional and are available on the dates you need.  Create a schedule to pack and stick to it.  Also determine what kind of packing supplies you will need.  Cardboard, FrogBox, Totes, etc.  Remember that the average person packs 50-60% more volume than they should... so be realistic.

4.  Pack only what you will need.  This is harder than it sounds.  Our rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used the item in the past year... don’t take it.  Chances are you will not use it.

5.  Prepare light meals and snacks ahead of your start date.  You will be tired and making a nutritious meal might just be too much.  Then what typically happens is we eat junk food, quick restaurant meals and our bodies do not work to maximum capacity if it’s not fuelled properly.  Have meals and snacks that are high in protein as that helps our brains make better decisions.  Also, drink A LOT of water!  Packing and decision making is hard work.

6.  Remember that moving is stressful, so be patient: both with yourself and others.  However, if this is too much... you can always call us for a free estimate

Posted: September 4th, 2014 at 02:16 am

Senior Connector - July 2014

I normally write articles about organizing, but with all the wild fires burning I thought it may be more timely to print a few tips to decrease your risk from inhaling wildfire smoke.  In a way, we could call it tips to keep your lungs and possessions organized!

 Check local air quality reports: Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke Air Quality Index (AQI) on the radio or TV. In addition, pay attention to public health messages about taking safety measures.

 Consult local visibility guides if they are available: Some communities have monitors that measure the amount of particles that are in the air.  In BC, there are guidelines to help people determine if there are high levels of particulates in the air by how far they can see.

 Keep indoor air as clean as possible:  If you are advised to stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or away from the affected area.

 Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution: Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.

 Prevent wildfires from starting: Prepare, build, maintain and extinguish campfires safely. Comply with local regulations if you plan to burn trash or debris. Check with your local fire department to be sure the weather is safe enough for burning.

 Follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare provider about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Consider evacuating the area if you are having trouble breathing.

 Do not rely on dust masks for protection: Paper "comfort" or "dust" masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

 Evacuate from the path of wildfires: Listen to the news to learn about current evacuation orders. Follow the instructions of officials about when and where to evacuate. Take only essential items with you. Follow designated evacuation routes, others may be blocked, and expect heavy traffic.

Being a retired RCMP officer that worked in the 2009 Firestorm in Kelowna, I can attest to the power of fire.  If you create a plan ahead of time, it will decrease stress and increase your ability to cope.  Don’t take any chances!

Kim Watt-Senner is the founder of Canada's largest Professional Organizing company.  The corporate head office is located in Kamloops, with additional franchise locations in the Okanagan, Greater Vancouver, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Visit the website at everythingorganized.net or call 250-377-7601 for more detailed information. 

Posted: July 18th, 2014 at 03:41 am

Senior Connector - June 2014

Our Tag Line at Everything Organized is “Life Made Simple”, but can the same be said for retirement?  Can “Retirement [be] Made Simple”?  I believe it can be...with solid organizing!

We had a group discussion at our office this morning and came up with three distinct pillars that people should consider when they are considering retirement.  They are:  Personal, Home and Financial.  Of course, in each pillar there are sub categories as well:  Personal (Physical, Mental, Social and Medical), Home (Upgrades/renovations, modifications, maintenance) and Financial (Debt, Retirement Funds, Monthly Expenses and Travel).  I’ll explore each Pillar with you in hopes that it will create dialogue over dinner tonight with your sweetie.

*    Personal Pillar: Are you physically and mentally ready to retire?  What will you do to fill your days?  Do you have a hobby?  Have you discussed what your day to day life will look like with your spouse/partner and are they okay with your point of view? (you’d be surprised at this one!...”No, I don’t want you peering over my shoulder to tell me the way I’ve been peeling potatoes over the last 30 years is incorrect!”)  Or what about now that you are retired, where will your socializing come from? Will you remain in touch with colleagues or need to find new buddies to hang out with, to go golfing, walking or travelling with?  And, of course the medical issue.  Once you are retired do you have enough medical insurance to cover prescriptions, eye glasses, orthotics and hearing aids?  The sad thing is that most people do not plan for these expenses...and it’s expensive when you have to pay out of pocket.

*    Home Pillar:  Does your home need upgrades or renovations before you retire?  Is your bathroom shower stall falling apart and needs to be replaced.  But, what happens if you leave that reno to retirement and when the shower is ripped out, mould is found and the whole bathroom needs to be gutted and replaced...hhhmmmm...expensive.  Or, what about modifications: wheelchair ramps, elevators or stair chairs aren’t cheap...where will that money come from?  And of course, maintence.  Will you be cutting the grass, weeding the flower beds or will you need to pay someone else to do it?  If so, that needs to be factored into your monthly budget during the growing months.  Landscapers typically charge at least $25/hr plus expenses.

*    The last is the Financial Pillar: Are you carrying debt?  Do you own your home outright?  Are your vehicles paid for?  How much will you be getting from your Retirement Pension or OAS, etc?  Sometimes that answer alone will dictate when a person can retire...not when they want to retire.  Be sure though to write down all your known expenses and anticipated ‘fun’ expenses like travel, gifts, clubs, etc.  Everyone needs to have fun...why else would you have worked so hard all your life?

Whatever the case may be with a concerted effort, retirement can be right around the corner.  My biggest challenge is for you to decide what you NEED versus what you WANT in retirement.  Anything is possible with the right frame of mind! J

Kim Watt-Senner is the founder of Canada's largest Professional Organizing company.  The corporate head office is located in Kamloops, with additional franchise locations in the Okanagan, Greater Vancouver, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Visit the website at everythingorganized.net or call 250-377-7601 for more detailed information.

Posted: July 18th, 2014 at 03:36 am

Senior Connector - April 2014

Springtime means cleaning and purging.  It means a fresh start, an opportunity for change.  I find the process exciting as I look forward to new beginnings as well as an opportunity to reorganize.  For those that hoard however, their viewpoint is vastly different!

Hoarding has a wide scope of consequences: financial, emotional, mental and physical.  And, it’s not only consequences for the person who is hoarding but extends to family and friends as well.  Many people do not realize the cost of hoarding and as such I’ll try and paint a picture for you.  The cost of the items purchased is one thing.  The purchases are ‘placed’ in the home en masse.  Then, the items accumulate and keep accumulating over an extended amount of time.  Typically they accumulate in areas where they are going to incur either water damage or over time, sweat which leads to mould and eventually contamination.  This process is the beginning of the financial burden.

If the client has a spouse who does not hoard, that is when the emotional burden begins to build.  There is increased stress placed on the couple due to the over purchasing and the conflict that ensues from having a home that is in continual large volume groupings.  Quite honestly, more relationships fail due to the ongoing ‘fight’.  As well, the hoarder becomes ashamed of the condition as well and begins to isolate themselves.  The emotional consequences increase on many levels.

We find that hoarders become ‘desensitized’ to their environment and their mental capacity to understand between what is normal an abnormal become blurred.   In all cases where we have worked with Hoarders, all clients have some type of mental health barrier.  This is why we partake in a Collaborative Therapy Approach to ensure the client is capable of receiving coaching and to help them achieve success post project completion. This is why we involve clinical counsellors, Psychologists and/or Psychiatrists.  Mental Health concerns need to be addressed in a professional manner.

The final consequence is physical.  Hoarding clients typically cannot move around their environment freely as their homes are so cluttered that they may not be able to sleep in their own bed, eat at their dining room table or cook a meal using their stove.  Likewise, if a hoarding client has a medical event; it’s likely that Emergency Services may have challenges getting into the residence to provide care.

Finally, I want to highlight that professional hoarding assistance can be expensive if the residence and/or contents are deemed a hazardous work space.  This occurs when the environment has contaminates and the workers need to be placed in full safety gear for their protection.

My final thought is this: Have a frank discussion with yourself, or your loved ones as to whether you/ they can afford to hoard.  If the answer is no, reach out for professional help.

Kim Watt-Senner is the founder of Canada's largest Professional Organizing company.  The corporate head office is located in Kamloops, with additional franchise locations in the Okanagan, Greater Vancouver, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Visit the website at everythingorganized.net or call 250-377-7601 for more detailed information. 

Posted: April 30th, 2014 at 03:02 am

Senior Connector - March 2014

My last article was about Aging in Place for seniors and how the need for home care has grown exponentially over the past several years.  What I didn’t speak of was the need for Home Care for those that live with a host of other unique challenges.

There are many families that are caring for children or adults with disabilities in the home, adult children that are the ‘sandwich generation’ and are caring for aging loved ones in the home or the caregiver that is caring for a spouse with Dementia or Alzheimer’s.  The need for support is consistent and it can be challenging finding customized care to assist with particular needs when people need it.

The descriptive words we often hear are: Overwhelmed, Exhausted, Stressed Out, Emotional and Resentful.  These are normal emotions that people face when looking after others and it’s okay to feel one or all of them at some point.  But, where does a person begin to find assistance?  For that answer, you might need a bit of education. 

There are two types of assistance.  One is Private Home Care and the other is Professional Home Support.   Private Care is when you hire a company to assist you with your unique needs and you pay a fee for service directly to that company.  This type of service is not regulated by the Government as it is a ‘private contract’.  The other is Professional Home Support which is mandated and governed by the BC Government to ensure that the provincial policies and procedures are imposed.  If you are looking for a more in depth assessment process, the Interior Health Authority has a Home & Community Care unit and can be reached at 250-851-7900. 

Some examples of care may be overnight respite (so you can get some much needed sleep), hourly respite (so you can go grocery shopping, the gym, the bank, go for a massage or get a haircut) or have someone help you with whatever you deem necessary at the time.

Research shows that people who carve out personal time for themselves ultimately become better caregivers as they have had an opportunity to ‘recharge their batteries’.  Whether you have a disability, are looking after a loved one with a disability or need a break for personal reasons, I urge you to reach out before you physically, emotionally or mentally break down.

Kim Watt-Senner is the founder of Canada's largest Professional Organizing company showcasing their Companionship & Non Medical Home Services program.  The corporate head office is located in Kamloops, with additional franchise locations in the Okanagan, Greater Vancouver, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Visit the website at everythingorganized.net or call 250-377-7601 for more detailed information. 

Posted: March 17th, 2014 at 03:00 am