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Category: Organized

Socks & Cutlery

I was chatting with a good friend over a steaming cup of coffee this past week, musing about the beautiful day, the events of the last week and the inevitable topic of mismatched socks and cutlery drawers came up.  OK.  Maybe not inevitable for some people.   I’ll admit, my OCD is showing.

Firstly.  Socks are a mystery.  Honestly!  How is it possible there are so many mismatched soles out there.   Other than buying 365 similar pairs, then bringing out only 7 at a time, I’m not sure how to resolve this for the world.    An EPIC sock dilemma!

The cutlery drawer however…makes me crazy.   After a number of GREAT housesitting gigs, then a combined mismatched household, I couldn’t take it a minute longer.   Every.  Single.   Fork/Knife/Spoon was donated to the local BFM.   I didn’t even consider taking an afternoon to sort and match things up for the camping gear.  #passionateaboutcutlerynoapologies

I bought four sets.  Two for iTRAILER - Cutlerynside, two for the camping gear.  Done.   I put it off for so long that once I finally freed myself of the mess of the drawers, I couldn’t believe I’d held on for so long.   There are definitely situations that time and energy can solve.    For me personally, this wasn’t one of them.

All of this cutlery-drawer-freedom has allowed more time to contemplate the great sock dilemma of 2016.

Love always,


Shirly (Irene) Vanluling

EBH (Ever Been Hacked?)

So, I spent most of the afternoon changing my passwords.   UGG!

My VISA was lovingly borrowed for a night on the town in beautiful Montreal, so I thought it wise to purchase a password manager to help manage all of my online accounts.   I settled on LastPass a while ago after taking some great advice from my big brother…the geek.

Today, I changed almost every password in my vault.    It took some doing!

If you’ve been thinking about something similar, check it out at   The link provides us both with a free month of service.

I took my pathetic score from red to green and still have some work to do!   It’s amazing what a little dashboard can do to motivate you for better numbers.   I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m not where i USED to be!   🙂

Screenshot 2016-06-11 20.43.49

Sending unhackable love!

Love always,


Shirly (Irene) Vanluling

Can’t Get it ALL done? No kidding!

Ever feel like you don’t have time to get it all done?    Been there.  I attended a seminar a million years ago that literally changed my life.  I learned three major lessons.

1.    Use ONE system….

I used to use multiple systems to stay organized.   I used an electronic calendar but supplemented that with a paper-based system for the national training schedule.  I had multiple pretty notebooks that I took to meetings, post it notes at both of my desks plus a notebook beside my bed for those moments of know the ones that are brightest at 3 am.   It’s not a wonder I was always tired.  I was constantly running through my multiple systems….reviewing, re-reading meeting notes so I wouldn’t forget anything.    My brain NEVER rested.

2.   A brain dump is REQUIRED….

Have you ever ACTUALLY written down everything that needed doing every day?     The most brilliant part of the seminar for me was a facilitated exercise that required me to write down all of the tasks on the list in my brain. He prompted all of us to start from the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning…think about having a shower (need to buy shampoo and toothpaste), getting dressed (I’ll hem those pants, suit to the dry cleaner), then brushing your teeth, having breakfast (need milk, eggs and chicken), get in the car (need an oil change and need gas), drive to the office.    Get your morning coffee.   Now, start with your outstanding items in every one of your projects…..oh dear!

I was literally halfway down Page 3 … the facilitator talked faster and faster…bringing home his point.     Once I realized that my task list was impossible to complete without a disciplined system, I sat back in my chair.    I was so excited that I stayed up very late that evening completing the huge task list, then started to schedule REAL time for everything I had written.   It was still IMPOSSIBLE!     

I re-negotiated some of my internal deadlines, shortened meetings to 45 minutes and stopped attending any without set agendas or clear objectives.   I communicated my epiphany to my team, set clear boundaries and got comfortable with the fact that I would be working through those outstanding tasks for some time.   I became a more efficient employee and became a better manager for my team.  I have no doubt that seminar saved my career and put my life back into balance.     

3.   Have a task list of things you might do someday, or perhaps NEVER at all!!!

As I mentioned, I had a long task list of things that I was unable to schedule that first evening.   I put all those tasks in a “not now” list so that my brain wasn’t a swirling mess of to do’s when my pillow was calling my name.   Interestingly enough, I eventually scheduled and completed every “not now” task on that list.   I felt like I had climbed Everest!   

If you have multiple systems, I urge you to trim to one.    Make a list of things that need doing that are taking up your precious brain power and schedule it….or put it on the  “not now ” task list.   Then sleep well knowing it’s on THE list!

With great love (for technology),


Shirly (Irene) Vanluling