Archive for the ‘Ask Pauline’ Category

So, you are moving your parents to retirement living.  Whether a decision they have made on their own, or is it is difficult decision you have had to help them make, it is a time of reflection, loss and transition.   The life as we knew it with Mom and Dad is changing.

So, you get the call; You know that Mom and Dad have been failing but you didn’t realize how much.  Maybe they are geographically farther away, they simply do not tell you to avoid worrying you, or possibly you just didn’t realize how much they were failing.  You find out that things are declining quickly.  Maybe it’s a situation where, one parent’s mind is compromised and the other parent has severe diabetes.  There are so many different possible situations. You are part of the “Sandwich Generation”. The children are still working full-time and have busy lives.  The adult children need to focus on what’s going on in their own family, but Mom and Dad need them. Health care and personal care needs are in question. The retirement home search needs to begin, not to mention the long list of other needed care.

I often hear, “I thought that I would just take a week off and come home”. OR  “My siblings and I will get done what needs to get done will get them moved and get the house up for sale.”   In reality, there are so many things to do when you are moving your parents to a retirement home.  First of all, you need to find out what’s actually going on with mom and dad. Then, you need to look after their healthcare, find a place for them to move to, get all the paperwork in order, all while listening and talking and hearing your parents about their wishes. 

We all accumulate too much stuff, whether it just be day to day newspapers, magazines, mail or the on going collections of things like antiques, books, salt and pepper shakers and more.  So what do we you do with all the stuff?  There will be items that go with them and then there will be items you and/or your siblings will want.  After that what happens to the rest?   Donate the items or sell the items?  Personally, we like to repurpose, reuse and recycle as much as we can. 

We can sell items online or can do an online auction.  We can donate to the people that we know will use it.  For example, we know that animal shelters can use blankets, towels and laundry detergent.  We know where to take men’s and ladies clothes so they will get to those who need them.   Household furniture, tools and garage items, can go to Habitat for Humanity.  We have people to assess and buy coins, stamps, and other collections.  The list of belongings can seem endless and if you do not know what to do with all these things it can be frustrating and time consuming. 

Then there is the photos, what do we do with them all?  We suggest you go through them and get rid of all the ones that no-one knows the people ( yes this does happen), the landscape , the ones with the thumb marks and all the ones that just do not matter.  One solution might be having them all scanned and put on a usb for each child and one for Mom and Dad.  Then you can take Mom and Dad’s usb and get them an electronic photo frame to enjoy. 

When you are moving your parents to a retirement residence you want to do this as easy as possible and in a positive way. You do not need to do it on your own, call us, get help and focus on the things that are important – Your parents, their stories and making their new life transition easy. 

Read Full Post »

Relearning Day to Day Living after a TBI

1. How to function in your Day to Day life living and working in your new ‘reality’ at this time and how to move forward as you heal. 

2.  Understanding why systems and organization in your environment will assist you in doing what you need to do and enjoy what you want to do, all the while preserving your energy to heal and move forward. 

3.  Work with your professional team and your support around you to assist you in simplifying your life. 

June 13, 2012 – I was hit by a van on my bicycle, he turned into me, I was thrown onto the van and thrown back and hit the pavement.   God was with me and sent angels. In seconds there was a volunteer firefighter who yelled “don’t move” and seconds later a nurse stopped.   After an ambulance ride to Exeter Hospital, many tests and x-rays I was on my way home to my bed to recover. 

Following a brain injury one of the most difficult hurdles is teaching friends and  family how your life is changed. Most people can relate and understand the limitations when you receive a physical injury, for example, a broken leg.  With that physical injury, your will experience some short term inconveniences.  Day to day tasks will take longer to reach and slower to accomplish. This seemly minor inconvenience will lead to feelings of inadequacy and frustration.  When the cast is removed you are taught exercises to get your strength back and told to walk on it as much as you can.  While at the end of the day you might be tired and sore — Can you sit and read a book, get caught up on paperwork or have a visit with your family? — Of course you can.   Now think about having a TBI, you have started to heal and do a bit more but it is midday and you are mentally exhausted so you are also physically exhausted.  Your eyes and head hurt and you can not think, your brain has literally shut off. —but to the average person you look fine  —- to those that know you well they can see the eyes tiring, the slowness in responding and the overall fatigue  — What can you do?   REST — close your eyes – sleep.  

Are you ready today if something was to take you out of your normal today? 

When someone has a TBI, understanding and accepting the new reality today is so important.  Knowing this may not be your new ‘normal’ but it is today’s new normal.  Understanding that simplifications, systems and having organization to assist you and your people around you will conserve the energy you need to heal.   And finally knowing that your team of physical and mental health providers around you are your team members.

Get help to get systems in place are so important.


Read Full Post »

17 years of being a Certified Professional Organizer and you can probably guess – I’ve seen it all.

But something I didn’t actually anticipate back in 2001, was the relationships I would be forming with my clients. In my view 17 years of being in a small business and being successful is an incredible accomplishment. But today I write you about some of my firsts….

There have been clients that have been a “one off deal”. They are in need of help and coaching and when the day is done, they’re happy and organized. These clients are usually families with children. But some of my first clients were professional people who were entering “middle-age” or thinking of retiring. These amazing, organized and dedicated individuals have called on me from time to time to help in life changing situations.

I have had the honour of assisting them from moving from their family home to an apartment or condo. I have been blessed to shared the ups and downs of “downsizing” and for some moving into spaces that provide a bit more care.

It hit me this week, that I have grown so very attached to these people. They have become my friends, confidants and sounding-boards. We know everything there is to know about each other families and lives because of the time I have been given to walk along beside these wonderful individuals. I never expected to form such ties with clients that had called me for help so many years ago. But I have, and I am humbled in their trust and belief of who I am and what I do.  There have been difficult decisions and moves made,  but I believe that because of our strong relationship both of us make these moves easier on each other.

To all those clients that have become “friends”, to all those who have allowed me to join them in this incredible journey. Thank you. Thank you for your never ending confidence, faith and assurance.


Read Full Post »

We are lucky to have the support of a large national company, Bell Canada who is investing in Mental Health Awareness across our country.

I would be surprised if there was one person among us who has NOT been touched by a mental health issue.

Many discussions have started in my days working with clients as to why mental health issues seem to be more “out there”.

Why there seems to be more mental health problems with young adults and teens.

And how can people live and function with so many road blocks and stigmas attached to mental health issues.

I don’t have all the answers, I probably don’t have any! But from personal experience in my own life as well as those clients who were brave and confident enough to reach out, I believe that as a society we are trying to grow and become more compassionate. We are teaching our children to become more understanding and open to discussions.

But, we have a very long way to go. The #BellLetsTalk initiative is a step in the right direction, but we must continue this support year long and in every aspect of our lives.

When you hear a friend, co-worker or family member degrade ,knowingly or not, someone who is struggling – STAND UP! STOP the behaviour. Yes, It’s sometimes not so easy, sometimes you must be brave yourself. But I have to say, I doubt you will feel “bad” after asking the behaviour to stop. I doubt you will feel belittled and ashamed. You might actually feel empowered, strong and full of life and all it took was a few words to re-direct someone’s unkind thoughts and words in a way that gets THEM thinking.

75% of our Organizing clients are dealing with some kind of mental health issues. Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Grief and Shame are all very common feelings when working with someone in their living space.

Asking for help is the first step towards living a calm and peaceful existence. We are so very proud of our clients that do reach out. And we understand the concerns when it is a family member who contacts us initially. Number #1 rule in Professional Organizing? It never works if the client isn’t truly ready.

If you’re thinking of a family member who you feel may need some help, the best bet is to ask first, never assume they’re ready.

I love this clip – please take the time to watch to the end.

It’s a Good Day

Read Full Post »

So many people approach us in every manner you can imagine. Email, Phone, FB, LinkedIn or walking up to us in a parking lot after we get out of our company vehicle. And the question they ask?

“What do you do?”

Our Answer…We Empower you. It’s not just about organizing. We take that overwhelming feeling and self doubt and, right beside you,we battle against it.

Do you walk into your home and ever feel like turning around and walking out again because there is so much “stuff” in your space?

We take the time to understand why you’re feeling this way and use our 15 years experience to bring your space back to you.

Is there a place in your home that is not being used the way you want it? A spare room that’s the “dumping ground” for everyone in the family?

To be honest…we make things right in your world. That’s what we do. We streamline, organize and bring back that smile.

Is the tsunami of paper coming into your home about to cause a major disaster?

Setting up systems in every part of your space so that you can maintain an organized and stress-free home. That’s what we do.

Can you do this yourself? Yes, quite possibly you can. Can you stay on task, not get distracted by everyday life and get the space “cleared” in a matter of hours instead of weeks? Maybe not.

Can we? Yes! Because we love our jobs and we’re good at what we do.We Empower You


Read Full Post »

Are your kids ready??

Monster Guard to a great game for kids age 7 to 11. It’s designed by the American Red Cross to teach what to expect and how to prepare for an emergency.

Not all my kids have cel phone…YET.

Because they are young, I need to make sure the little ones first know Mom and Dad’s Cel phone number and then they must know where to go in an emergency. The kids could be at a play date, or in the library with a friend. They need to understand to stay with an adult, if at all possible contact us.

If they are alone or with friends head to the “safe meeting” place we’ve already discussed.

I’m hoping this never actually happens, but if it does, the peace of mind you will get from knowing your family is safe and prepared is worth the hour you put into your emergency kit/plan.

Monster Guardkids-kit

Read Full Post »

After this spring’s forest fires in Fort McMurray I’ve given a lot of thought to being prepared. I know there are times when I think, Really is it really going to happen?

But, the truth of the matter is, it does happen and if you are prepared for an emergency you will be better off then most.

Think short term and long term.

So here’s a question…someone knocks on your door and says you have ten minutes to get out of your home. What do you take and is it accessible without climbing up to the attic?

Erin ( the voice of reason) responded with – My passport.

That’s it. That’s what she would grab. Why? Because it’s her lifeline to her identity, her finances and all the important info that authorities need to see.

Pauline’s response – My fire safe. Again important documents and necessary emergency id. Is it accessible? She’ll never tell 🙂

Rebecca’s response – Wallet and Phone. It’s always about ID. Then it’s about being able to contact my kids/family.

These three responses are great, but in the event that there is no power, you have no transportation and there is a lack of communication. Where are you going to go now?

The banks are not going to be able to hand over cash and if by some miracle they do have a limited supply you are not going to get all you want. Credit cards and ATM are not going to be working. The local drug store will not be handing out medications on a whim.

And then you’ve got to remember there will be people everywhere. So do you have a “plan” with your family? Make sure they all know where a meet up point is.

On a good note if you stopped into your local dentist, I’m thinking they’d give you a toothbrush and toothpaste!

So….Create a plan. Write it down, step by step because the hardest thing in an emergency is not panicking.

Get a “Grab and go” bag ready

Medications, over the counter/prescriptions. Copies of Birth Cert. Cash. Toiletries. Pre-packaged food. Small first-aid kit. List of Phone Numbers. Change of clothes.

Now put this bag in the front hall closet and tell your family where it is.

Get Prepared Guidekit

Read Full Post »

What if you suddenly died or became incapacitated?

Would your Executor, Power of Attorney, family or other authorized representatives know about the existence of your “invisible” online and web-based accounts, the ones with no statements or paper trail?

Do the right people know how to log-in into your vital accounts? While your family is planning your funeral and grieving your loss, criminals could be hijacking your Facebook

Preparing a Digital Estate Plan is now a way of life.

Please think ahead, prepare. A time of loss is not the time to have your family stressed about identity theft.

Call Pauline for more information regarding the preparation of a Digital Estate Plan.Digital-Estate-Guide-Couple

Read Full Post »

We’ve wrapped up another year and are all looking optimistically into the new year.

But I have to be honest with my friends and fans out there, there were times over the Christmas season that I wished there just wasn’t so much “stuff” in my house!

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, but this was one year I felt the need to only pull out half the decorations.

I displayed the ones that I wanted to see and left the others in their totes.

Then comes the actual day! December 25th and wow! Where was I going to find a “home” for all these new gifts which I lovingly received. It is overwhelming the thought that I had my home “just so…” and then December 26th comes and I look around and say – now what am I going to do with that?

With small children it is even worse! So, I took my own advice. Slow down, take a deep breath and fix one thing at a time.

The kids got new clothes? Attack one bedroom with a clear donation bag and for every item I placed in the drawer or closet – two went into the donation bag. Eventually the kids clothes were put away! That makes you feel great, like you can tackle anything! Well that’s good because next is the toys!

Our holiday season is a wonderful time of giving and sharing. Of spending time with family and friends. The gifts we give and receive are thoughtful items for which we hope will enlighten and comfort our loved ones.

But sometimes I just wonder if we went without “giving” one year and just said “Merry Christmas” would we really experience a hardship?

There comes a time in your lives that material things just don’t bring the same joy as spending an afternoon laughing with your kids. Or an evening remembering old times with a friend.

So, I guess what I’m getting at is enjoy 2015, bring peace and calm into your lives. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, step back and close your eyes, remember you’re here for a reason. I know it and deep down inside so do you!key

Read Full Post »

Estate Services

Grieving Just In Time Solutions helps at one of the most difficult times in your lives.

Our team can come into the home of a loved one and help purge, donate, sell and clear out for listing.

There’s nothing like having someone there when decisions are at their hardest.

Let your friend, relatives and neighbours know. Just In Time Solutions is here to help.

Read Full Post »