Last week, my basement rental apartment suffered flooding and water damage during a rainstorm. The muddy area in the photo is where my bed used to be, and the blue rug was completely saturated.
Additional rain was imminent, and the basement could not be waterproofed in time to prevent further damage. I decamped to the guest room of an exceptionally kind friend. Damage to the basement turned out to be more extensive than initially apparent, and I had to look for a new place to live.
I was heartened by others' generosity: my helpful landlords; kind people who re-posted my ad looking for new housing, reached out to me with leads, offered their own guest rooms... Their kindness was the sole bright spot amidst the intense stress of suddenly losing my housing due to weather.
I already knew that organizing was essential for a planned move, but I had never moved on essentially zero notice. I found, when moving urgently, that my having been organized was invaluable. Organized living has much to recommend it; here's another reason to add to the list!
I was exhausted, physically and emotionally, by the situation; it would have been infinitely worse if I had been unable to locate my most important items. If you needed to exit your space on short notice, would you know which items are both most necessary and most challenging to replace? Would you be able to find them quickly?
Think about your wallet, checkbook, prescription medications, medical supplies and devices, passports and photo IDs, mobile phones, chargers, other proofs of residence/identity--and, if you have children, pets, or other dependents, all of their necessities... Plus sturdy bags on hand, to transport all of the above!
I hope that your space is never rendered uninhabitable by flooding--or for any other reason! Planning ahead, however--thinking critically about your needs, and organizing accordingly; having an inventory of essentials and their locations--goes a long way towards peace of mind.
Create an email folder for messages that make you feel good. Whenever you receive a positive note--your supervisor praising you for a work project, a friend forwarding a funny video, a colleague's thanks--place a copy of the message in your mood-boosting email folder.
You can give the folder a discreet, boring name, if inquisitive people tend to read your screen over your shoulder: "Boiler repair estimates" or "Old electrical bills," etc.
Having a rough day? Be kind to yourself: open your special folder and reread the messages. You are noticed, appreciated, not alone.
(Bonus: after you've read some messages, take a moment to send a note to someone you're grateful for. You'll feel good, reflecting on what you appreciate about them--and your note could be just the boost they need!)
One wonderful way to spread kindness is to honor loved ones' special events: birthdays, yes, but also relationship anniversaries, accomplishments, and days of mourning.
We strengthen relationships when we join with others in their joys, and show up, fully present, in their times of sadness. #JoinInJoy #ShowUpForSadness
Many people have come to rely on Facebook, which automates reminders for birthdays and some other events: e.g., "It's been two years since you and X became friends on Facebook!"
However, Facebook has significant limitations when used as a calendar:
One solution is to create a custom Google calendar, specifically to plan for special events (which Streamlined can make quick work of, or you can do yourself!):
Do you have another calendar solution you use? What are its pros and cons? Comments welcome!
Steven Cohen is the owner of Streamlined by Steven, a professional organizing company serving Washington, D.C. and parts of Maryland.