Friday, November 14, 2008

Clear Spaces Is Poised To Transform Lives

Denise Lee, owner of Clear Spaces, LLC, is pleased to announce that she successfully completed facilitator training for the Letting Go and Lightening Up approach on October 18, 2008. Letting Go and Lightening Up is “a life-integrating approach that combines organizing techniques and tools with life-guiding principles.” The teachings are designed to empower the student to identify and clear the clutter in the mind so it is easier to decide what to let go of, what to keep and where to put it.

Letting Go and Lightening Up co-founder Annie Rohrbach blended organizing techniques with teachings from her spiritual counseling training to develop the four-part class series "Letting Go and Lightening Up--In Your Mind, Your Home, Your Office, Your Life(TM)." Since 1999 the class series has transformed the lives of hundreds of students. Annie and her daughter Carolyn, a corporate trainer, created the company Letting Go and Lightening Up in 2002. More information about Letting Go and Lightening Up (LGandLU) can be found at

The LGandLU key teachings compliment Clear Spaces’ mission to help others live the life they want to live through better balance and organization. As a facilitator Denise is looking forward to using the LGandLU tools to help her organizing clients make better decisions about their possessions, space and time. Additionally Denise will offer LGandLU classes to the public twice a year beginning in February 2009.

It's That Time Of Year Again: Sending Out Holiday Cards

Sending out holiday cards is a big project by itself. Like any project, there are several ways you can approach it.

You can forget the cards and make a short phone call to everyone on your list (this is a great option if you have a new baby, have been sick, or have just been swamped with life).
o Make sure to use a list of whom you want to contact.
o Limit the length of your phone call so you are sure to get to everyone on your list (use a timer).
o Check people off as you call them. That way you won’t be left wondering if the call to auntie was it a figment of your imagination.

You can hire out the job: will send out a card with a signature to everyone on your list. Of course you will need to provide them with an electronic list of contacts.

You can send out a family newsletter – more on that later.

You can send out all the cards with a generic closing and signature.

You can write a personal note in each card. Obviously this is the most time consuming method.

If you opt to send cards yourself, get enough for everyone on your list plus ten percent more. Should you make a mistake or miscount, you will still have enough cards. And if you purchased your cards at the end of the previous year’s holiday season, the excess cards will accommodate a growth in your card list.

And remember: holiday postage stamps are available in the US by Halloween.

Now when it comes to managing your holiday card list you have three major choices. You can

-complete a paper copy of your list. Use “name”, “address”, “city”, “state”, “zip”, “sent” and “received” columns. Add a “phone number” column if you are making phone calls instead of sending cards.
-complete an electronic version of your list and use a mail merge program to create address labels.
-mark up your address book. This is a pretty simple solution. You will not have to worry about duplicate entries – which prevents writer’s cramp and saves on time.
o Use a small, red sticky dot on the address entry to mark everyone you send a card to.
o If you wish to keep track of who sends you cards you can add a green sticky dot to the address entry.

Of course we all know the biggest stumbling block to sending out cards is finding the time – especially during the already busy holiday season. Follow these tips to squeeze it in:

-Pick a week to work on writing the cards.

-Divide your card list into five parts. Every day complete one part of the list, and you will be finished in five days.

-Use a pen that is comfortable to use. Felt-tip and roller ball pens write with the least amount of effort.

-Play holiday music to set the tone, and drink hot chocolate.

-Involve the family.
o Pass the cards around round-robin style so each person can sign every card.
o Or divide up the tasks among the family members.
*One person signs and writes a note in the card.
*One person addresses the card.
*One person puts the return address label on the card.
*One person puts the stamp on and seals the envelope.

The biggest secret to getting your cards out is to work on them early – before the holiday crunch. Imagine having your cards filled out before Thanksgiving! You can then mail them when you want and enjoy the last few weeks before the holidays.

Mastering The "Big Dinner"

For many of us the holiday season provides at least one opportunity to host the “big dinner.” Follow these tips and pulling off that dinner can be easy as pie.
1) Plan the menu with dishes that can be prepared ahead of time. Minimize last-minute time in the kitchen, and maximize the time you spend with your guests.
2) Write down the menu along with the locations of the recipes. Create your shopping list. Clean out the fridge and the pantry to make room for the extra food.
3) Write down which serving dishes you will use. Match the dish with the recipe’s volume; two cups of cranberry sauce looks sparse in a two-quart bowl. Simplify things by using sticky notes to label the dishes; don’t rely on your memory.
4) Sticky notes can help you create your time-line. Jot down each and every task on individual sticky notes with the time estimate for finishing the task. Now arrange the sticky notes in order of completion. The sticky notes help you arrange and rearrange the order of the tasks until you come up with a plan that will work.
5) Consider the appliances, temperature, and pans used to prepare a dish when creating your time line. You won’t be able to bake the rolls, desert and side dish together if they all need different temperatures or the pans won’t all fit in the oven.
6) Plan your table setting. Do you have enough linens, dishes, flatware and cups? Will the food be put on a sideboard or on the table? Will you use candles (always unscented at the table)? Will guests be able to see each other over the centerpiece? Will you assign seating or will guests seat themselves? Where will you put the bar? Asking yourself these types of questions help you mentally walk-through the event, anticipating any type of problem or challenge.
Organizing the “big dinner” is similar to organizing any other project: two critical keys of success are planning and writing things down.

Shortcuts for the Busy Life

Do you need a few short cuts to help smooth out daily life? Try these tricks.

Enroll in a menu planning subscription such as so you can skip the weekly chore of planning dinner and creating the shopping list.

How can you capture those spur-of-the moment thoughts quickly? Try Jott’s ( free service that translates your voice into an email. Just call Jott, say your message at the prompt and an email is sent to a destination of your choice – after you enroll of course.

Have you ever wished you had a phone book with you in the car to look up a restaurant or find a store? Use Goog411 and you can leave the phone book at home. Call 1-800-goog411 and the menu system based on voice recognition will get you to the information you need – and it’s free! Check out for more information.

Speaking of Google, did you know Google Street-view has a library of photos of streets all over the world? It’s a great reference if you want to see what a building looks like before you drive to a new destination. Go to’s maps and click on “street-view.”