By the way...

This page will contain some thoughts I have, as we go on this journey together.

April 2019
   It happens to all of us.  We know we have an item somewhere, but where?? 
When our son was baptized April of 1990, I bravely broke family tradition.
   Up until that time, all babies born on my side of the family, whether male
or female, were baptized in the same gown. When our son was born, I
learned my husband had been baptized in a little white shorts outfit.
His family didn't think our son should be in a gown, so they offered up
this outfit to us.  I tried it on our son. It fit, so I broke tradition.  After
baptism, I washed it, and stored it away.
   Fast forward to 2017, when our first grandson was going to be baptized.
"I have dad's baptism outfit, he can use that," I said. 
   Then the search started.  I combed through the contents of numerous
boxes of clothing and other items in the basement and in our two spare
bedrooms at least a thousand times.  "I know it's in this house!"
   Much to my disappointment, I couldn't find it anywhere. Our daughter bought a baptism outfit, that she then passed along to two more of our grandsons. 
   Then one day, I was cleaning our linen closet.  In a white garbage bag I found my husband's white baptism outfit!  I was embarrassed to tell my daughter, but I did confess before our newest grandson's baptism.  She put the outfit on him for a photo, then used the one she purchased to continue her "new" tradition.
Why in the world would one put a baptism outfit in a linen closet in a white bag with no label....!
   I have learned a few things about organizing and storing items over the years.  I hope to pass some of the things I've learned on to my clients.
It happens to all of us...
January 2019
     God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things.  Right now I am so behind
I will never die.
      These were the words on a sweatshirt I gifted my mother years ago.  She loved it and wore it
often.  My dear mother always felt she was behind in her work.  Especially at home.  Mom grew
up in the depression era, and learned not to waste or throw anything away that may be  useful
   Because of this, she had stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.  Clothing, décor, sheets, towels, over the
counter medicines (she didn't worry about expiration dates), and gift wrap, to name a few.
   My mother left this earth to go to heaven in 2012.  After she died, I cleaned out many of her things. I took her Christmas gift wrap home to use up myself.  Well Christmas 2018 just wrapped up and I am still using her paper.  I am wondering if it will outlast me.
  I spent time with my mother while she was still able, trying to pare down and organize her things.  She was so grateful, and thanked me over and over.  She would find joy and relief when she went to her newly organized spaces.
   This is what I want for my clients.  I want them to feel joy, relief and satisfaction as we declutter and organize their things.  Let'
s achieve freedom together as we tackle them, one by one.  To gift wrap that never expires, and to a New Year- cheers!

May 2019

   October 2, 2018, it happened.  I turned 60.  It really didn't bother me in the least.  I feel great, and age is just a number.  What I didn't expect though, was how that "number" on the scale would change!  I've never really worried too much about my weight.  I am active and blessed with the "Marohn" metabolism, as my sister-in-laws lovingly refer to my family's ability to eat healthy amounts of food and not  gain but a few pounds here and there.  I really think the Marohn metabolism is more about our inability to sit than anything else!  We were brought up to work and be busy.  Sitting and relaxing was never really in the picture.  I'm sure that is why to this day, I feel "guilty" about sitting to read a book. 

  That is another issue to discuss in the future, Namely, how to relax and de-stress....

   In the meantime, my weight.  I am in the habit of weighing myself every day.  This is good for some, not for others.  For me, it helps me to gauge how things are going.  As I watched my weight gradually creep up in the past months, I had lots of excuses.  It's muscle, it's fluid, it's the time of day, the scale the...  "O my gosh, it's being 60!" 

   I know how to help people lose weight.  I have been doing it for 35 years.  I also just completed on intense training from the Academy of Nutrition and  Dietetics in  Adult Weight Management.  But...what do I do???

   I came up with a plan for myself and to my suprise I am staying with it.  It is not hard, I don't feel deprived or hungry, and it's working!! The weight is going down. 

   I love to exercise, and do it daily.  As I already discussed, I can't sit down.  So I worked on my diet . Here's a quick summary of my plan.  Be advised though, every one is unique and requires an individual plan.  That's what I do in my business, "Keys to Living Light."  I begin with an extensive questionnaire, and tailor a plan for each individual.  But,  for now let's look at my plan.

1.  Sugar:  I love sweets, and have a difficult time stopping at one small serving. So knowing this about myself, I switched to one or two pieces of dark chocolate after a meal.  I savor it and then done!

2.  Snacks:  I get hungry often.  In fact, my blood sugar does go down sometimes between meals.  So my new best friends are lightly salted almonds.  I can't do raw almonds, and many of the flavored variety are too salty and make my fingers a mess.  So a handful (28) are my snack of choice.  They satisfy me because of the protein and fiber they contain. 

3.  Vegetables:  I include a green salad every day.  Preferably an entree salad with dressing on the side for one meal each day.  When I go out to eat, the only section on the menu I read is "salads".  Watch out though, many have tons of calories!  Grilled vs fried meat is a must.  Keep cheese to a minimum.  Dressing always on the side.  Dip fork in dressing, then salad.  "Works like a charm!" as one of my patients told me after I suggested it to him!

My "go to" salad at home is a grilled piece of chicken or fish on a bed of greens.  Voila, an entree salad!

So that's it!  Nothing earth shattering.  But it works for me.  There are

times I deviate a bit, but I get right back to it.

I feel sooo much better, and I don't dread getting on the scale anymore.

Maybe I'm set until 70 hits...!

July 2019

Is Moderation Possible?

Moderation:  the avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one’s behavior.  From the Latin verb “moderare” meaning “to control”.  In practical terms; 1-2 cookies instead of a row of cookies, 1 handful of chips instead of half a bag!

Why is moderation so difficult for us?  As a Registered Dietitian over the past 35 years, I can’t count the number of times I have advised moderation.  When a patient or customer would ask, “what about candy, pie, chips, or fill in the blank…”, I would often advise anything can fit if moderated. 

Here are some suggestions I have found to be very useful.   I hope they work for you!

-Practice “mindfulness” when you eat.  Multitasking has become a way of life for most of us.  Most of the time we aren’t even aware of it.  As I am writing this, I have clothes in the dryer, the dishwasher is washing my dinner dishes, and I am mentally planning what I have to do to get ready for my evening activity. Multitasking can work in some situations, but not when eating. 

When you eat, really focus on the food you are eating; the flavor, texture and the satisfaction you get from the food.  Turn off the distractions.  You will not only enjoy your food more, but will be satisfied with less.

-Avoid extreme hunger. Incorporate a balance of carbohydrate for energy, and protein and healthy fat for the satisfaction they provide, into your meals and snacks, every 3-4 hours.  A classic set up for anything but moderation is being famished. The time 4:00PM and after spells disaster for many. 

Picture this.  You ate lunch at 11:00.  You stop at the store on your way home from work to pick up ingredients for dinner.  All of a sudden, a host of high calorie foods make their way into your cart!  And once they’re home… forget moderation.

-Avoid all or nothing thinking.  This is so easy to fall into.  You are on a roll with eating more fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains at meals and snacks.   Until…grandma’s birthday party of pizza and birthday cake or that pot luck at school.  Yikes, then what?  I really blew it so I might as well give up.  Not so fast!  We are all going to deviate from time to time.  The key is, get right back to your plan the next meal.  Not the next week, or the next month!

Moderation is possible, just practice, practice, practice. 

television shows, books,magazines,and newspaper articles.

How can an organizer help you? Let me count the ways.

1. You will actually set aside time for decluttering and organizing.  When you schedule a 3-hour block of time with an organizer, you will want to use every minute. You won’t get distracted. You will FOCUS!

2.  An organizer will bring specific methods to the project.  Many times, we “don’t know where to start.”  An organizer does.

3.  An organizer knows tools and tricks that you may not be aware of. They have learned what works best in many situations and can pass that knowledge along when working on your project.

4.  Organizers bring a neutral view point. Many of our belongings; clothes, memorabilia, and décor have emotional connections.  A neutral party can add another dimension and viewpoint. Organizers have suggestions for keeping and cherishing the memories. 

5.  Many organizers belong to NAPO (National Association for Productivity and Organizers.) The group has a forum whereby they help one another. They can literally get ideas and assistance from organizers all over the country within a day!

6.  Organizers are aware of places to donate items for reuse or recycling. It is much easier to declutter if you know your items are going to be usefulto someone else.

So, before you become completely overwhelmed and frustrated by trying to get 2 legs in 1 pant leg, or before you rent a storage unit, (or 2 or 3), consider hiring a professional organizer. It will be worth every penny!

I would be honored to be your professional organizer. I find joy in helping you lighten your load and giving you

 renewed energy!

Julie Starke

Keys to Living Light, LLC

every 5 minutes or so. Then, after a period of struggling to get both of her legs into 1 pant leg, spilling milk all over the floor, or messing up the remote beyond nana’s capabilities to fix, she may accept some help. Of course, this is normal 2-year-old behavior (and 3 and 4 and...), and must happen to promote independence.

This sentiment follows us into adulthood, which is also good. But at times, we all need help. Why does asking for help make us feel inadequate or even like a failure?

Picture a couple with young children. They both work outside the home, and of course, have all the daily home responsibilities as well. Making meals, shopping, laundry,cleaning, etc.  So,as life goes on and things accumulate, how is this couple supposed to find time to declutter and organize the many spaces in their home? They’re lucky to get dinner on the table and the dishes done before it’s time to eat again. Life for them is overwhelming.

Another picture for you. A couple with an empty, but very cluttered nest. They are looking to move to a smaller home. But, what about all the stuff??  The kids don’t want it. They won’t have room for it. Life for them is overwhelming.

Fast forward. Mom died. Then dad. The family feels such grief and sadness. Just going into the family home is a dreaded task, let alone making decisions about mom and dad’s belongings. Life for them is overwhelming. So, why don’t we ask for help in these situations? Many times, it may be because we are unaware it is available. Professional organizers haven’t been around for very long. It’s only in the past few years that they have become more mainstream, thanks to 

Weight and Clutter-What's the Connection?

Keys to Living Light was founded on the premise that losing weight and losing clutter can and often do go hand in hand.  What is the connection here and is this really the case?  If you look carefully, most articles on decluttering and organizing have at least 1 paragraph that discusses weight loss in the process,  So let's dig into the connection,  Here are the main principles I have found to be true.

1.  Stress.  When you look around your home, car or work environment and all you see is clutter and mess, stress often results.  It is a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.  How will I ever get a handle on this, when I barely have time to do the essential things in my life (think wash clothes, make meals)?  Stress causes our bodies to release hormones so that we are ready to fight off the stressor.  One of these hormones, cortisol, releases sugar into the blood for energy, increases appetite (not for vegetables), and contributes to an increase in fat storage over time.  Constantly elevated cortisol levels are associated with weight gain, reduced energy levels , and sleep disruptions,  

2.  Meal preparation.  Making healthy meals does take some planning and preparation.  A clear and clean work space is essential, along with an organized and well stocked pantry.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Even the best intentions can go south if these things aren't in place,  A frozen pizza,  or a stop at a fast food restaurant on the way home may sound much easier after a busy day if cleaning and organizing are needed.  

3.  Exercise.  There are several issues here.  One is energy.  As we discussed stress zaps energy.  The feeling of overwhelm can also lead to feelings of depression, which drains energy and can lead to poor sleep.  It's hard to get motivated to exericise when energy is low.  
The other factor is accessability of exercise clothes, shoes, equipment.  Where did I put that pair of running shoes?  The treamill is so full of stuff and dust, it would be a project just to get it ready.  Get the idea?  Having the necessary items ready to go takes planning and organization.  

4. Energy.  The abundance of stuff can suffocate a home.  Energy is blocked and there is a heaviness.  I  can literally see the relief on my client's faces and feel their energy and the energy in the space at the end of a day of organizing,  This lightness can minimze or eliminate the urge to eat.  Don't believe me?  Try it!

5.  Time.  Once you have things under control in your home, you won't believe the amount of time  you will have!  You can use this time to dedicate to your weight loss goals and to make healthy food choices at home.

October 2019

I Can Do It Myself!

"I can do it myself!" says my 2 year old granddaughter