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“R” You Ready for CHANGE?

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The professional organizing industry is no stranger to the mantra, reduce, reuse and recycle.  In almost every business/home we enter, one if not all of these actions are required to ensure the success of a project.  In reducing the object/paper within a space, new life enters a room. When reducing responsibly through reusing or recycling many of my clients are highly motivated to continue with this new lifestyle process.

These three words, reduce, reuse recycle is slowly gaining momentum as the world finds itself in uncharted territories of insecurity. Paradoxically, these uncertain times are when the professional organizing industry excels. Because, it is through these uncertainty periods that most people need to create environments that emphasize a greater quality of life.

I would like to introduce three more verbs to our professional organizing arsenal; refuse, repair and repurpose.

Refuse. Our way of life, supported by the misguided concepts that spending will make us all healthy is now being replaced by the view that we can refuse the latest trends. Yes, people will still spend hours in line for the new IPhone, but I believe that the vast majority of us secretly abhor the belief that newer must be better. We are beginning to wake up to the fact that we can refuse Madison Avenue’s religion and we can refuse to put into our brains that which is making us sick. We can decide to refuse, but this takes a new community mindset and one I am passionate about creating.

Repair. Gone are the days of the neighborhood cobbler. Instead when our shoes wear out, we toss and go to the China factory of endless shoe choices.  We have bought into the lie that says it’s OK for our stuff to break in a matter of months but still have enough faith in the brand to continue to buy. Here’s a bucket of water to throw on your head. It’s time to wake up and demand better from manufacturers to stop making subpar products. When items do break, bring back those jobs that will repair them instead of tossing more garbage into the landfill.

Repurpose. —to reuse for a different purpose on a long-term basis, without alteration. Example: The town common was repurposed as a practice field.

Who said an item has only one life? In a world filled with creativity, many new artisans are combing landfills to create art from cast-offs. Books are now serving as coffee tables, and the list is virtually endless in the way we look at what we already own and can use in a different way. The issue is this; how willing as a society are we to begin adopting these changes into our life? I still have hope that our future generations will use the verbs refuse, repair and repurpose as naturally as breathing.

In the words of Jane Goodall “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”  And that’s the major point. Change is hard! People only change when our backs are against the wall, or we see benefit for the long term. Our society is on overwhelmed so any change is difficult to embrace; I get that. However, doing what we have always done and trying to make a difference is just insanity. We MUST change, if not for the present, then for future generations. In this new phase of living, remember to take it slow. Adopting one new principle and then adding on will ensure you stay authentic and motivated.

You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.

And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.

Teach your children well, their father's hell did slowly go by,

And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,

So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

~ Crosby Stills and Nash

I’m ready for Change! “R U?”

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Guest Monday, 24 July 2017

Dear Amy-

We are happy to write you about Eileen Koff.

Both of us are musicians and teachers; Dorothea Cook is a violinist who teaches in the Community Music Programs at Stony Brook University, at the Knox School, and has a private violin teaching studio; Peter Winkler is a composer and professor in the music department at Stony Brook.

We live in an old house filled with the residue of many years of family life. We had read many books about organizing, but we really needed the hands-on experience of working with a wise and thoughtful professional to turn our good intentions into reality.

We met Eileen Koff at an open house at Innovative Nutrition, the health store in Setauket, and quickly decided that she was what we had been looking for.

Eileen doesn't do your organizing for you. She is a teacher, and a very good one.

One of her important lessons is that it's not just about organizing things. We are learning from her that to be organized, you have to understand yourself, your values, what you love, and what your true priorities are. Sorting all that out isn't always easy, and it can require some serious soul-searching.

The organizing process involves both tangible and intangible things; it involves time-management as well as decisions about what to throw out, what to keep, and where things go.

Like all good teachers, Eileen can sometimes makes you a bit uncomfortable, as she challenges your old habits and ways of doing things. But as she says, it takes the eyes of a stranger to help you see your surroundings as they truly are.

The transformation of our house will not happen overnight, but Eileen is teaching us skills that we will be using for many years to come. Best,

-- Dorothea Cook and Peter Winkler