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Too many people in our fast paced society pursue relaxation with the same intensity that they use in their everyday life for time, productivity, and activity.  They just don’t seem to know when to slow down and “just be”.  As a friend once pointed out, we were created to be human “beings” not human “doings”.

There’s really no secret in how to get relaxation – it’s quite simple!  Figure out what activities give you the most pleasure and when you become involved in them keep your mental and physical well-being in mind.

So, go ahead and pursue art, music, education, physical fitness….whatever!  Keep in mind that the goal is relaxation, not achievement. 

There are two important rules of thumb when choosing relaxation activity:  Select activities you truly enjoy; not what you think others think you should do.  And, don’t be afraid to try something very different than “the usual”. 

To spark your thought process consider these options: 

  • Call your local recreation department, adult education program, volunteer services or colleges for their course selections. 
  • Try out a new personal exercise program such as walking around your neighborhood or a nearby woods.
  • What about bicycling, dancing, golf, swimming, gardening, or bowling?
  • If you’re already in shape (always best to check with your doctor), try jogging, tennis, basketball, racquet ball, pickle ball or squash.
  • If you have artistic talent try painting, pottery, carpentry, knitting, or cooking.
  • If none-of-the-above fit you – relax in a warm bathtub!  (While soaking read a book, listen to music, or just pop bubbles!)

Once you’ve discovered your form of retreat, plan to devote at least one-half hour per day or, at least, per week to pursuing it.  Most of us accept the responsibility to meet demands and deadlines, yet we fail to meet requirements for relaxation which is equally important for our minds and bodies.  Whether one works at or away from home, we must give ourselves opportunities to relax to maintain mental balance through stressful events and hectic schedules.

Finally, enter into this retreat time with enthusiasm and personal commitment.  Allow yourself to become absorbed in the relaxation activity chosen; don’t hold back physically or mentally.  Remember, this is not just for the “idle rich”, it’s essential for everyone’s well-being.  Don’t forget, God rested on the seventh day after six days of extraordinarily intense work and ... told us to do the same!

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5 Essentials Of Good Hall Closet Organization 

Do you have a hall closet that is an avalanche waiting to happen? Whether you use your closet for coats, linens or children’s toys and games, you can take charge of your items and beat clutter once and for all. Check out these organizing tips from our friends at Smart Spaces Michigan, on making the most of your hall closet’s space.

Bins and Boxes

If you have shelves in your hall closet, you know how quickly they can become overrun with clutter. Rather than let small items tip over and look messy, invest in some attractive bins, boxes or baskets to corral your belongings. There are many types available, so choose what appeals to you. Keep in mind that if you’re storing things like toiletries, which might tip over or leak, you might want to choose easy-to-clean material, such as plastic. Otherwise, the sky's the limit; try cardboard hat boxes, cute wicker baskets, painted metal buckets, or anything you want.

Hooks and Hangers

Are you organizing a coat closet? While most of your items will be hung from a clothing rack, you can hang purses, umbrellas and similar items from hooks placed on the inner walls of the closet. Either install pretty hooks, or use pegboard to open up the option of reconfiguring the hooks at a moment’s notice. If you are making over a strictly utilitarian closet (like a broom closet) and you have a tight budget or prefer a warehouse look, just pound in some nails to act as hooks.

Shelf Separators

Towels, sheets and washcloths can all topple over when stacked. Eliminate this possibility by using shelf dividers to keep your stacks standing up straight and tall. These are also good for separating towels that are for actual use from those that are for decoration only, which is helpful if you have children who might not remember the difference.

Pull-Out Shelves

A hall closet can benefit from pull-out shelves, which allow you to easily reach anything you’re storing toward the back of the shelf. This is a good way to prevent items from falling or being forgotten about. You can even steal another idea from your pantry and install a lazy Susan in your linen closet. It will be a breeze to find the toiletries you need with just a simple spin.

Good Lighting

While this is not unique to hall closets, having excellent lighting will make it easier to keep your space less cluttered. When you can actually see what you have, it’s not a matter of trying to feel for what you need. Start by cleaning out your light fixture; sometimes dust gets into the cover and can make the light shine more dimly. If that doesn’t help, upgrade to a better light or install some canister lights.

If you need help making the best use of your hall closet, a custom closet company can create a design that will work for you. If you're in the Highland Michigan and surrounding areas, click this link to set up a consultation with our friends at Smart Spaces.  A closet organizer professional will ask you how you would like to use the space and will be able to suggest solutions that you might not have thought of. Rely on the professionals if you need help getting your clutter monster under control!


Do you know when enough is enough?

Your husband surprises you with tickets to the symphony for tonight.  Your friend, Mary, asks you to go to the movies with them.  What’s your normal response to these types of surprises?   You’re too tired? You have too much to do?  If you’re saying “no” too often to these kids of request, you may be turning into a task oriented vs. people oriented person.  Just as Jack was a dull boy with all work, the same is true for Jill.  Take time to play!

How are you on the emotional scale?  Do little mishaps throw you into a tizzy?  Are you angry and don’t really know why?  Do tears come all too easily lately?  These expressions of being uptight may very well be coming from an over extended schedule.  To get back on track, try cutting back on work only activities, sleep a little more, and allow for more leisure in your life. 

What about physical symptoms?  Stress overload shows up in the form of headaches, skin rashes, twitching eyes, upset stomachs, irregularity or chronic fatigue.  If you stay on this fast track you may just derail ahead with bigger problems.  Get a physical, then slow down to remedy this dangerous scenario.

Are you missing the joy of giving?  Do you find yourself dreading meetings?  Is helping out a hassle?  Are you in a count-down ‘til it’s over?  Is your family frustrated that you’re never home?  Feel like you’re caught in a crossfire?

When involvements become a burden and you sense an imbalance, you need to reevaluate your commitments.  Enough may be more than enough!



Toy Pickup Can be Cured by the Sunday Box

Years ago, Dr. Ogden Lindsley, a Kansas educator, came up with a way to inspire excitement for cleaning with a simple tool he called “The Sunday Box”.  Here’s how it worked:  Anything left out when it was pickup time was deposited into the Sunday Box.  The items remained there until the following Sunday when the confiscated items are returned. 

Before you implement this procedure, you need to advise everyone about this new family activity, otherwise your kids may balk at the perceived injustice of withholding their toys.  Using the old phrase of “forewarned is forearmed”, you can prepare them for what’s to come if they violate the new rules. They may not believe you the first day, but they certainly will by the third day!

To reinforce his point, Dr. Lindley would deliberately leave his briefcase in the living room.  His daughters were delighted to deposit it into the Sunday Box!  To the girl’s amusement, he would moan, “What will I do!  I have tests for students in it.  My day tomorrow will be ruined.”  The next morning when he went to work, he saw the curtains in the widow flutter, and eyes peered out to see if he really did go without his briefcase. 

Lindsley claims that this kind of strategy is what makes the Sunday Box effective.  It is similar to the mayor of the town being seen in traffic court paying his own ticket.  Now that’s being a good administrator.  It’s also a clever way to clear the clutter.

As Mark Twain once said, “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightening that does the work.”  And one of the best forms of lightening for kids clutter is the Sunday Box!


The Night Before Clutter Class

'Twas the night before clutter class, and all thro’ the town

Not a pack rat was stirring or dejunking around;

The stuff all over was causing despair,

In hopes that St. Cleanup soon would be there;

The children were playing with toys scattered about

Their mess was endless without a doubt;

And ma in her curlers and pa in his cap

Had just settled their brains for a long evenings nap

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

They sprang from the sofa to see what was the matter.

Away to the window they flew like a flash,

Tripped on the toys and slipped on a stash;

The moon on the crest of the newly stacked paper,

Gave luster of midday to objects like the stapler. 

When what to their wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature maid ready to clear,

With a waste can and shredder tucked under her arm,

They knew in a moment she could do harm.

More rapid than a tornado her movements they came,

And she whistled and shouted and muttered, “This is insane!

Now trash this!  Now toss that!  I’m becoming a Vixen!

Out clutter!  Out junk!  Let’s really get blitzen!

To the top of the porch!  To the top of the wall

Now trash away, trash away, trash away, all!”

As piles of files before the cabinet lie,

When they meet with no system the mount to the sky,

So up to the desktop the coupons they flew,

With a bag full of newspapers and that tiny maid too.

And then in a twinkling, they heard from above

The sorting and tossing books that they’d loved.

As they twisted their head and both spun around,

Dow the clothes shute St. Cleanup fell with a bound.

She was trimmed up with bell bottoms from 1960,

And that old letter sweater that once was so nifty;

A bundle of shoes she had flung on her back,

And she looked like a salesman clearing the rack.

Her eyes – how they twinkled!  Her spirits – how scary!

Her arms full of trinkets, all the gadgets she could carry;

Her wrinkled neck was laden with cheap jewels,

Now those feeble excuses were no longer the rules,

The stump of a doo-dad she held tight in her teeth,

And old scarves and ties encircled her head like a wreath;

She had city tags and a rolling garbage dolly

That shook when she filled it full of man’s treasured folly,

She was lean and mean, a right dedicated gal;

And they laughed when they saw her, tho' she was no pal.

A wink of her eye and a twist of her wrist,

Soon gave them to know their junk wouldn’t be missed.

She spoke not a word, but went straight to the drawers

And emptied them all; then turned on all fours,

And grabbing broken parts left on the table,

And stacks of disposables some yet with a label.

She sprang to her car, to her driver gave a whistle,

And away they both flew, with the speed of a missile;

But they heard her exclaim as she blew out of sight;

“Happy De-junking to all, it’s time to get out of your plight!”

By Judy Warmington,

Woman Time Management