Truthful Living

“What is Truth?”

–Pontius Pilate

I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what I was going to write next. I feel like I don’t need to write anymore–you will all just know what I’m writing about and you will nod “yes.”


It just seems so absolutely necessary to say something about the truth right now.  And the truth is, I just don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said by countless others. Maybe all I can do is ask one simple question:

How can we live the truth?

Maybe the answer is: just do it. Just look at my life as it is right now, in this moment and ask myself: “Am I living in an honest way?” Or  “Am I being true to myself?” “Do my actions support the vision I have of my life?”  If I can say yes to any or all of these, then I think I’m doing pretty good.

If we live truthfully and honestly, then it’s easier to recognize the truth in others. And it’s easier to recognize inauthenticity as well.  And there’s a LOT of inauthenticity going around these days. So much so it can be depressing. I cannot control others–I cannot control what they say or what they do, but I can control what I say and what I do. And as I am writing this, I realize the only way I can combat the malaise of half-truths and whole lies is by living an authentic life. And therein lies the abundance.


Something to Do While You’re Waiting

Problem No. 1

My husband likes to spring surprises on me. And they’re not always the good kind–you know, like flowers when he comes home (he does do that). The surprises I’m referring to are things like having to make an unexpected stop at the store when I am ridiculously tired. The more I think about it, the more I realize this really is the ONLY negative surprise he springs on me. But it happens ALOT. And it’s always frustrating.

So, how does this normally play out?

Well, I would usually get my way and we get to go home. But honestly, that’s not always fair. I know I can’t make him remember things he needs according to my schedule (I’ve tried. It doesn’t work) and there is no way he could somehow make me untired, so something has to give. And that “something” has got to be me.

Problem No. 2

With a job, a blog and TWO side gigs (Thirty-One Independent Consultant & Professional Organizer )finding time to read a monumental task. Parting the Red Sea was probably easier. In fact, finding a conventional solution, like scheduling reading time in the morning has not worked for me because my sleep patterns have been interrupted.  Scheduling it at night is out of the question as well (See Problem No.1)

But as a Professional Organizer, it’s my job/vocation to come up with unconventional solutions to common problems.

Enter My Perfect Solution: Have Kindle, Will Travel

It makes perfect sense: packing my kindle (or using the Kindle App) solves two problems: my husband gets to go to the store when he needs to and  I can score some much-needed reading time. Even though I may be exceptionally tired, I can still fit five minutes of reading in. My attentions span will hold for that long.

Is this my ideal? No. My ideal reading time is in the morning, during coffee.  But waiting for my ideal time to manifest has led to almost zero reading. Perfection is the enemy of done. Every time.

Why This Works, No Matter What You Can’t Find Time For.

Maybe reading time isn’t your problem.Maybe it’s answering emails or texts. Or perhaps it’s going through snail mail. Whatever the problem is, if it’s portable, it’s do-able. Bring the mail with you (and a plastic bag for discarded paper), delete messages in your Inbox. Work on this stuff while you are waiting–either in line at the supermarket, or in the waiting room of the doctors office.

Try this the next time you have to wait. I guarantee you will have a better sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

And yes, this title was inspired by the beautiful Mister Rogers:


A Woman Named Jesus

She was dirty.

She was homeless.

My friend saw her in the parking lot. She wanted to reach out to this ragged woman, but groceries got in the way.

“Hold on a sec,” my friend said.  But when she turned around the woman was already talking to someone else.

When she was done talking, the dirty, ragged woman returned to my friend. My friend reached for her wallet, but, instead the woman asked for a hug.

My friend hesitated, but obliged.

What happened, next, my friend said, changed her completely.

The woman prayed a quiet quick prayer for my friend.  Moved by the experience, my friend asked her newfound friend her name.

“Jesus,” she said.

“Is your name really Jesus?” my friend asked.

“That’s what they tell me.”


This is one of those small moments in life, that, if we aren’t paying attention, can escape us. Or maybe they don’t so much escape as much as we don’t really understand their depth.  But really, it’s these small, deep moments that can radically change us.

We think we are in a particular place or moment for a particular reason. Then God does a whammy on us and gives us a gift  we didn’t even ask for.

What was my friends gift in this situation? I couldn’t even begin to imagine. But I can tell you the gift I got in her recounting it: that when I think I am the one doing the giving, I am the one who is actually doing the receiving.

What I also learned is that things are not always what they seem; that people are put in our lives for a few minutes, or for a few decades. And that one is not more important than the other. I suppose what’s important is what we do with that that encounter.

What encounters have had a profound effect on your life?


Travel Tip: Never Forget Your Toiletries Again!

See video below for how I use my toiletries bag.

Travelling? Not travelling? Doesn’t matter.

Yep, we are in the middle of travel season. Are you planning a trip for the second half, last-minute travel surge before Labor Day?

Or are you the type who takes a lot of short, weekend trips?

Maybe you are like me and travel rarely? Don’t worry, this tip works for you, too.

The Tip:

I keep all of my “go to” toiletries in a clear, plastic bag. This way, I can easily see what I have and it’s all in one place. This works great when I switch my bags. I know then that I am not forgetting anything important.

Drilling Down: Organizing that bag!

So, being the organized person that I am, I also keep the stuff in that bag in smaller, ziploc bags. For example, I keep all of my lip products in one baggie, and my sunscreen in another. It just makes my life a whole lot easier when I can find quickly what I need.

LOL…the preview is upside down, but the video is NOT!

Can you spot the hidden in plain site kitchen tip? Hint: You’ll want it handy when using knives. 🙂

Buy the Pocket-A-Tote Here!

Tuning In To What Matters

I had a plan. I really did.  But I’m sitting here tonight, in front of my screen, unprepared for what I was going to write about for the weekly Tuesday Abundant Living post. That’s okay. I mean, it’s not as if I haven’t been doing my research. The thing is, I am still doing my research, it’s just that I haven’t had the time to complete it for this post.



This past weekend has been emotional, but also full of growth.  I opened my heart a little wider to someone and got an unexpected response. It was an “Ouch.”. In the past, my response would have been, “See, this is why I am not opening up to anyone. They will misinterpret and it will hurt.”  I did it, I thought, to protect myself. It was a convenient shell.

Today, I experience the ouch, and still don’t close the door.  I just keep the lines open. That’s it. No need to fly into the face of hurt, and no need to run away from it. It’s a tough line, but the clarity that I’ve been given through having a spiritual experience has enabled me to stay on the right side of that line.

I’m pretty blessed, I have a team of “go to” people who will hold me accountable for sweeping my side of the street.  They’ll tell me where I need to apologize and where I don’t. I think of them as another pair of eyes. Each one of them this time said what I already thought: I was blindsided.


Clarity, I think, is the essence of abundant living. Because, when garbage is all around, all I see is garbage. I am not grateful and I am not happy.  But clarity can also be a lonely spot: you see what others cannot (or will not) see. You can be misinterpreted as a harbinger of doom because you can see the train wreck ahead when all others are seeing nothing but smooth travelling.

Maybe clarity is the only thing the biblical prophets had over anybody else. They were focused and kept their eyes and hearts on what really mattered. Now, I’m not saying I’m a prophet, but I think I am on to something. They weren’t exceptional, they were just tuned in.

My team of people keeps me tuned in to what matters. And therein lies the abundance.

Want Your Kids To Have a Better Education? Stay Organized


Kids & Clutter: (not)Too Cool for School

As a childcare provider, the first thing I do when I get to work is bring the house to order. Dirty dishes go in the sink; counters and the stove are wiped clean. Floors swept; dishwasher is unloaded. Laundry is started. Toys are put away.

Meantime, I am answering the needs of a toddler: diapers changed, food gotten, spills cleaned.

But ALWAYS the day starts with taking the house from chaos to order.


My experience as a Professional Organizer and my college studies in Early Childhood Education have taught me that children thrive better in order. Children love boundaries, even if they can’t express that verbally. They express it by actions. Books they can find by themselves are books they can read by themselves (or with you).

Studies Back Me Up.

Good Thing All Those College $$$ Didn’t Go to Waste

Studies prove what my experience taught me. In Chaotic Homes and Children’s Disruptive Behavior, authors Jaffee, Hanscomb, Haworth, Davis & Plomin drop this bombshell:

Children raised in chaotic homes—characterized by noise, overcrowding, and a lack of order—tend to score lower on tests of cognitive ability and self-regulatory capabilities, have poorer language abilities, and score higher on measures of problem behaviors and learned helplessness than do children raised in less chaotic environments.


Whoa! Did you catch that?

Here’s the Skinny…

Clutter leads to all kinds of kid problems. Seriously.

Here’s where children in chaotic homes score LOWEST:

  • Problem-solving (cognitive ability). In chaotic and cluttered homes, this ability is not displayed by parents adequately enough to pass on to children.

⇒Parents can’t to decide where things belong = kids can’t make decisions, either.⇐

  • Focusing, particularly in school  (poor self-regulatory capabilities). Kids may learn to filter out unwanted stimuli (tv, chatter, electronics, etc). While this might work in the home, it doesn’t work so well in school.

⇒TV, Computers, Video Games….all fight for the attention of your kid.

No wonder they can’t focus.⇐

  • Vocabulary.  In more cluttered homes, parents are less verbally responsive. OUCH!

⇒Clutter keeps your attention away from your child. You don’t respond well to your child. Their vocabulary is stunted.⇐

Ready? Here’s where children in chaotic homes score HIGHEST:

  • Problem Behaviors: Yep, kids from cluttered and chaotic homes are more apt to have behavior issues.
  • Learned Helplessness. Seriously. They are less apt to do stuff for themselves. Because they usually can’t. They can’t make their beds if Mom and Dad can’t show them how to make them. They can’t do their art projects because the adults in their homes haven’t designated a “home” for art supplies.  They have learned to be helpless. This is something I learned growing up in an alcoholic home, which, by definition, is chaotic. But, hey, glad the study backs up my behavior from my entire childhood and MOST of my adulthood.


For all you statistics nerds out there:

Chaotic Home Study


No parent wants their kid to fail in school. I get that. I don’t want your kids to have trouble in school, either. I would love for you to contact me below so that we can start on this journey together. Together, let’s give your children a better education:






Age-ism: Consider the Alternative

I’ve got mileage and I am damned happy about it. 



prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age.

As he examined my skin, the dermatologist asked what I did for work.
“Babysit,” I said.
“What a nice Grandma you are!” he responded.
I don’t blame him for assuming I am a Grandma. All the signs are there: the age of my skin, the gray hairs, my date of birth in my chart.

Self-Inflicted Age-ism.

Most women might my age might look at this situation in some sort of negative light. You know, it’s one of transition times in a person’s life: they go from tween to teen; from teen to adult; from adult to parent; parent to grandparent. It’s a natural transition, but we have been taught to look (kinda) negative at the transition from being a parent to a grandparent.
When people my age tell others that their children have children a common response is

Copyright: CountryLiving

“But you don’t look old enough!” it’s often taken with an “ouch” but it’s meant as a compliment and I’d be happy to take it as such. People are only trying to be kind.

Why, though, do we find it necessary to tell people 50+ they look great “for their age” or tell them they “don’t look their age at all?”
Why oh why do we feel it necessary to lie about our age, or worse, demure it to some vague, expansive age group,like, 50+?
We’ve internalized the idea that it is somehow shameful to be old. That we’ve lost significance once we’ve lost our youth.
We say:
50 is the new 40
40 is the new 30
30 is the new 20
What a load of garbage that is. When I was 19, my boyfriend was killed in a freak accident. What he wouldn’t give to live to be my age now, I’m sure.

The Alternative To Age Isn’t Youth. It’s Death.

I don’t want to curve my age down.
I’m 53 and dadgummed happy to be 53. And when I turn 54 in February, I will be dadgummed happy to be 54.
Consider the alternative.
I’ve got mileage and I am damned happy about it.
I’ve done smart things. I’ve done stupid things. But most of all, I’ve learned the difference between the two.  That can only come with age and experience. I wouldn’t wish away this wisdom for all the youth in the world.  It’s a blessing to grow older and wiser.
Consider the alternative.
God bless this Dermatologist for looking at all the facts and being bold enough to state the truth:
Kim Thompsen, you are old enough to be someone’s Grandma.
And I am really okay with that.
Consider the alternative.

Getting Rid of Clutter: 3 Small Actions, ONE Big Impact

Let’s face it–ridding the house of clutter is an overwhelming task. We look at a room filled to the brim and we think:

I don’t even know where to begin? How did this happen?

And then we get into the blame game: We either feel so incredibly guilty for letting it get this way OR we start to blame others and circumstances.

Who cares how it got this way? I don’t. There could be a million reasons (all legit) why clutter accumulated. And that might be good to know. But knowing WHY it got this way does not solve the problem of clearing the clutter.

The only thing that solves the problem of clutter is CONSISTENCY.  Here is my three-pronged approach:

  1. Make a plan. Making a plan an actual plan on the best way to declutter is crucial.  Writing down the plan on paper or in a planner is exceptionally important. See below for my easy, quick start plan for decluttering. No fancy pinterest charts needed.
  2. Keep it simple. We can so easily make simple things very complicated. My easy, quick start process is so simple, your whole family can even get in on the process.
  3. Act on the plan regularly.  This is the crux of it. Consistency is so important. Complex systems discourage us from doing anything with regularity. That’s why my easy, quick-start program works: it’s simple and can be done every day.

My Easy, Quick-Start Program for Decluttering:

  1. Garbage In, Garbage Out. Put a small waste basket (or two) in EVERY room. You will be amazed at how much easier it is to throw things away when there is a garbage can available to every person in every room. Kids will be encouraged to throw garbage away. You might still need to encourage them to EMPTY the bin, but hey, you have to start somewhere!
  2. Get Up & Move. Every time you leave a room, take something that doesn’t belong in to it’s home. A jacket draped over a dining room chair? Next time you leave the room, hang it where it belongs. TV remote in the bathroom? After you wash your hands, put it back where it belongs.
  3. “Commercial” Cleaning. The sister activity to Get Up & Move. A commercial on TV? Get Up & Move. Watching on DVR? Let the commercials run. When the show comes back on, sit and enjoy it. BInge-watching “Breaking Bad” on Netflix? No problem. Set a timer for 10 minutes between episodes. Get Up & Move! Repeat as necessary. HINT: this also works for getting things ready for the morning.


For making it to the bottom of this post, you get a bonus 4th activity to help with clutter!

One In, One Out. Although this is not technically decluttering, it does help in preventing the accumulation of clutter.  How it works is that EVERY TIME you bring something new into the house, RELEASE something old. For example: bought 3 new shirts for back to school? Get rid of 3 OLD shirts.  New plunger for the sink? Get rid of the old one, EVEN IF IT STILL WORKS. Keeping items “just in case” leads to clutter.


Products to help clear the clutter

Take these along when you are doing “Commercial” cleaning or “Get Up & Move.”  Personalize them with something helpful like: “Take Me Home,” or “Clutter Buster.” Make it fun!



Purchase My Products Here:


I want the Oh Snap Bin!

I want the Your Way Rectangle Basket. (Retiring July 31, 2018) 

I want the Catch-All Bin!

I want the Mini-Catch-All Bin!

I want the Your Way Display Bin!


1final blue less white

Can’t do it on your own? There is no shame in asking for help. I’m happy to come to your home and help get you on the road to freedom and recovery from clutter! Contact me below or email me @





The Hard And Beautiful Truth About Abundance

Monday evening. Ambushed by the day, I’m beat. A busy weekend, sometimes filled with the aches and pains that accompany middle-age, I am hard-pressed to see the abundance in my life.

And yet, there it is.

My husband folds laundry as I cross the threshold of our one bedroom apartment. I takeover the task as he begins dinner. Home hours before me, he decided to wait for me so we could eat together.

As I put the laundry away this evening, I wondered about this abundance stuff. What is it in my life tonight? My first thought was that it was the special treat of no sugar added ice cream I would have after dinner. But since I am a compulsive overeater (recovered) it’s no great stretch for me to think this.  Abundance had to be something else.

And then it hit me:

Abundance isn’t about what we have or do. It’s about relationship. 

Relationship.  The Apostle Paul was on to something  when he talked about great speech being fueled by love–if it isn’t, then there is nothing there. It matters not one whit what we say. There is no abundance. But if we have love, then we have abundance.

It’s that simple–and THAT difficult.

We sat there, he and I, last night, enjoying a beautiful Summer evening. The drunken crowd swirled about us, lost in the music of the annual festival. Turning to him, I said, “We really have a wonderful life, don’t we.”

He smiled that golden smile of his and squeezed my hand.

“We sure do.”


Let’s build relationship. Tell us about your experience of abundant living below:

Three Bathroom Items to Get Rid of NOW

Did you know…

Clutter Robs Our Self-Esteem

You wake up one day and tell yourself: “Today I am going to declutter the bathroom! This is it!” You walk to the bathroom, feeling triumphant and elated. You made a decision! You open the door and see the following:

  • bath toys scattered all over the floor
  • more toothpaste on the sink than in the tube
  • several bottles half-full of shampoo and conditioner
  • Creams and OTC medications crammed into the medicine cabinet.

You don’t know where to start.


You walk out of the bathroom and shut the door. “Well, not today,” you say. Before you even begin you feel deflated and dejected. Your self-esteem as mother/wife/father/husband is in the tank.


You Are Not Alone

Did you know…

Decluttering Builds Self-Esteem

This feeling of failure and overwhelm is common to many who experience organizing issues. With my clients, I like to take a huge

problem (like decluttering a room) and break it down into small, more manageable tasks.

So, today, just start with throwing these three bathroom items away:

  1. Expired Medications. These require proper disposal. See the note below for proper disposal
  2. Expired lotions and Sunscreens.
  3. Empty bottles and tubes.

Just clearing the bathroom of these old and expired items will help build self-esteem and make you feel a LOT less like a failure. You are on the road to recovery!

How Do You Eat an Elephant

How To Properly Dispose of Expired Medications.

  1. Don’t flush medications down the toilet.
  2. Take unwanted medicine to a collection program. The medicine is destroyed at regulated incinerators.
  3. If a collection program is not available in your area, either use a medicine mail-back envelope (available at many pharmacies) or dispose of the medicine in the trash after following these tips:
  • Keep medication in its original container.
  • Remove or blacken out all personal information, but leave the name and dose of the medication visible.
  • Add a safe and unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds to the medication and then replace the lid.
  • Seal the medicine bottle in a leak-proof container such as a coffee can. Dispose of in the trash as close to pick-up day as possible.

List provided by the University of Illinois.

There is no shame in asking for help. I want to help you reclaim your home and your life. Contact me HERE

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