Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Holidays

Have you ever carefully crafted a message on a computer only to hit an incorrect key and watch it all vanish?  Well, you aren't alone.  I just did that to my holiday message.  Let's see how much I can recreate from memory. Yes even professional organizers can be technical morons. We're human too!

The most important part of my message was to wish you all a very happy holiday. It's mid-December and, if you didn't get your ducks in a row for this holiday celebration, remember that you can take stock before the New Year and make better plans for holiday season 2012. Literally make notes about your experience.  Next year you may not remember the details and you will be in jeopardy of making the same errors in judgment about time, money and emotions.  We can't ever rest on our laurels or our failures.  Every day a brand new experience waits for you to carefully and lovingly craft it.  

Here is one of my favorite quotes ~

All things have their season, and in
their times all things pass under
heaven.  A time to be born and a time
to die; a time to plant, and a time to
pluck up that which is planted.

Ecclesiastes, chapter 3

I'm not going to decorate this year. I wish I had the time because I haven't had a tree in years.  But I am working on revising my second book (now out of print) and re-issuing it early in 2012 as an e-book only publication.  I'll tell you more about it after the holidays when I have an official publication date.  

I do know that in May my ninth book is coming out from Da Capo Lifelong Books (a division of Perseus Publishing).  It's called (drum roll, please) The 8 Minute Organizer and it's for those who want to get their feet wet in the world of organizing but know that a one year commitment is beyond their interest ~ at least for now! There will be more about 8 Minute after the first.

Long hours in front of the computer take their toll. I had to shake up my schedule.  Now I have three days of organizing right before Christmas with one of my all time favorite clients and then a week of non stop play.  You see I take the concept of rewards very seriously. I hope this holiday you are surrounded by those you love and celebrating in perfect health.  May you give and receive meaningful gifts.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New ways to find me!


I'm delighted you are interested in my work.  I've become a monthly blogger for two popular sites.  You can visit both as I'll be sharing different tips and tricks at each location: and  I think you will enjoy the material and learn a lot of useful tips for your everyday life. There are direct links at my website to the current articles.

It's November 2011 and while all of us are thinking about Thanksgiving, I've got a big trip coming up first.  I'm off to San Francisco,  New York City and Miami Beach.  As you might imagine I'm devoting some time to clothing options and those ever necessary cosmetics and vitamins.  The latter take far more time to choose and pack than my clothing ever does.

My maternal grandmother never learned to read or write and yet she spoke five languages like a native and traveled the world.  She used to say 'If you have a tongue in your head and feet that move, you can go anywhere.'  My grandmother had wanderlust and while it skipped all 8 of her children, it flows in the veins of her grandchildren.  I'm always ready to hop on a plane and have an adventure. I have traveled the world since I was 17 and rarely had to check a bag.  My small suitcase is a true workhorse.  It fits in the overhead bin.  It's light and easy to pull. I may not have a vast wardrobe with me but I always feel free.

Happy Turkey Day!  As a vegetarian I can assure you that the bird doesn't make the holiday.  Good food, great friends & family and a huge dose of gratitude will. If you are hosting Thanksgiving and feeling a bit at sea the 11th chapter in One Year to an Organized Life will help you with step by step tips for the day from yours truly and the wonderful Chef Tanya.  You can also find tips for packing light in the month devoted to travel.  I've got you covered!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One of my all time favorite radio interviews.

Cindy Dole is the host of a wonderful weekly radio show in Los Angeles.  It's on KFWB, a CBS affiliate every Saturday at 2 pm. Cindy generously gave me the opening hour this past week.  I hope you enjoy and ... do become a fan of Cindy's!


Games People Play

You can call in the professional organizer, spend a fortune at The Container Store, announce your plans to friend and foe alike, take time off work and ... still never get organized.  Why?  Because deep in your heart you don't want to surrender the control you assume have over your life, your space and others through the 'tool of chaos.'

It took years for me to recognize these clients when I entered their homes.  Now I see the signs almost immediately.  I don't want to waste your money and my time on a fool's errand. I've learned to speak up and ask if the person really wants the changes that an organized, peace filled, nurturing environment will bring.  And are they willing to do the work? If we decide a mistake has been made, I willingly leave.  I learned my lesson the hard way.  Over the past 20+ years there have been 3 people who weren't ready for order but I stayed determined to help them.  The problem is you can't help someone who doesn't want what you're offering! (And that goes for all relationships, doesn't it?) If you're a professional organizer just getting started, learn to read the signs.  Your client is unconsciously setting you up for failure! If you call them on their behavior, they have a choice: stop or change.

As you read these words what comes up for you?  Are you organized?  Do you start projects and never finish them?  Do you begin a project and allow yourself to get side tracked with more 'fun' activities like Facebook, e-mail, or the phone? What is your avoidance tool? I truly believe you have to understand the past and what created this behavior before you can create something new, wonderful, organized and  ... lasting! One Year to an Organized Life is filled with journal prompts that help you get at the root cause of your delaying tactics.

There is power, control and I might even say a kind of grace when you live with an environment that serves, supports and nurtures you.  I grew up in one.  I've always lived in one.  I've created them for other people for over 20 years.  And with my books I can guide you to the experience.  All you have to do is abandon the game.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Mid-Course Correction

 Perhaps a more accurate title for this blog would be: 'The best laid plans of mice and men.' The day I was to fly East another huge snowstorm hit Boston and I didn't see how I could make the trip work to my advantage.  I grew up in Brooklyn and I know all too well the exhausting ritual of trudging through the snow. One too many times I was poised at the top of the subway steps only to come to my senses and return home.  Boston?  Let's look to the spring.

What is a 'mid course correction?' Sometimes in life you are headed in a specific direction when suddenly you realize you need to zig or zag a slightly different way to reach your destination.  The computers on the big jets do this automatically.  I've heard pilots say you are off course more than you are on during a flight.  In life we can't be rigidly devoted to one solution.  We may get additional information that clearly points us to a new path or solution.  I wanted very much to go to Boston but had a mid course correction called one big snowstorm! Have you had any corrections lately in your organizing plans?

If you are a Facebook person, I invite you to check out 'Regina Leeds, The Zen Organizer.'  It's the page I created to respond to questions about all of the books in the 'One Year to ...' series.  Please stop by and leave a comment or post a question.  I'm there every day.  Financial Planner Russell Wild stops by on Tuesdays to offer a money tip; Meagan Francis offers parenting advice on Wednesdays and the week ends with Feng Shui Friday and the Feng Shui Guy, Ariel Joseph Towne. We're trying to build a vibrant community.  Please join us!

If you feel a bit disheartened that your New Year's Resolutions went by the wayside, take heart: this week it's the Chinese New Year. Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. It's never to late to achieve your goals which is of course what resolutions really are. Every midnight ushers in a new day that is waiting for you to write a chapter of your story.  A day that is fresh and clean and waiting to be explored, created and investigated.  What are you waiting for?  Hop to it! (I couldn't resist!).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good Day, Boston!

Several years ago I was in Boston for a day of sightseeing.  I loved the city and hoped to return one day.  You know what they say: be careful what you ask for: you just might get it.  I forgot to say I wanted to be there when the weather was warm!  I fly into Logan Airport on the 26th of this month.  I'm praying to the 'snow gods' to stay their hand while I am there.  Actually I am not overwhelmed by the idea of snow or cold as I grew up in Brooklyn.  It's ice that scares me.  My father could wear street shoes and fly over ice without ever slipping.  Me?  I'd take teeny tiny steps like a 90 year old and fall on my tail bone at least once a year!

I'll be teaching a three hour seminar on the 29th, Saturday morning at the Wellness Center associated with Emerson Hospital in Concord.  The first hour is devoted to the basic mechanics of 'Zen Organizing.'  I'll apply the concepts to getting your home organized. And that includes how you manage your time.  The next two hours I'll show how these very simple steps apply to office/work life organization and your finances.  If you're in the area, I hope you'll join me.  The class is $100 and will be followed by a book signing. Check with your tax preparer: this class may be a tax deductible item if you itemize.

Here's the link to the ad Emerson created:

The day before I'll be appearing on the local Fox news channel.  And my wonderful friends at The Container Store will be providing me with 10 of my all time favorite products.  As you might imagine I am not going to schlepp these goodies back to Los Angeles.  Can you imagine my trip through security? "I'm sorry, Officer,  That's not a weapon in my pocket: it's a shelf divider!" I'll be giving them away to the folks who ask me the 10 best questions of the day!

If your organization or corporation needs a speaker, please contact me for fee and travel details.  But let's try and do it after snow season ends, shall we? By the way I'm going home to New York on March 15 to 19.  If you'd like to work with me privately, please contact me as I'll be able to give some time to clients that trip.  You know ... when I'm not slipping and sliding on the ice!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Need help getting organized?

How is your New Year going?

People have fascinating misperceptions about professional organizers.  In general they think that we lead perfect lives because we're organized. Ha! We're human beings who are subject to colds, the flu, flat tires and ... changes of heart.  I may not always love that green sweater I bought this past Christmas.  One day it will be in the giveaway pile.  I saw a wonderful quote from a designer in Architectural Digest about a year ago that I loved.  I'd like to share it with you:

"A house should change. It should never stay static.  If it does, it's symbolic of your life."  

That's very often the message our possessions are trying to tell us: let me go.  You've moved on and I'm not needed anymore. Heaven forbid we stay stuck! Very often I think a bit part of our sorrow comes from the fact that the item reminds us of a time long past.  Perhaps it's from a relationship that failed or a loved one who passed away.  Maybe it reminds us of our carefree school days when we lived at home or that great trip to France we took a few years ago.  Whatever the association we are sometimes afraid we'll forget the experience without the object.  Take a photo of the treasured object or better yet frame a photo of you wearing/using/living with the item and look at that from time to time.  We hold memories in our hearts and minds.  No matter how dear, 'stuff' is always going to be 'stuff.'

I want to leave you with another quote.  This one is from Julia Cameron and it's from The Artist's Way.  I loved it so much that I used it in my first book The Zen of Organizing. I think it speaks for itself.

Shifts in taste and perception frequently accompany shifts in identity.  One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through and discard old clothes, papers, and belongings ... By tossing out the old and unworkable, we make way for the new and suitable... When the search-and-discard impulse seizes you, two crosscurrents are at work: the old you is leaving and grieving, while the new you celebrates and grows strong.

If you've gotten stalled on the path to fulfilling your New Year's goals and resolutions maybe it's time to clear out a bit more of the physical past.  Make room on every level for the new!  Let me know how you're doing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


When you are a child it takes forever to get to the holidays, doesn't it?  Once you become an adult there is a feeling of: "Didn't we just do this?!" I've learned there will be years I can't wait to haul out my decorations and put up a tree.  Each ornament is like a long lost friend appearing at my door. And  then there will be years when I just don't wish to expend the energy.  I learned a long time ago to give myself permission to take each holiday season and celebrate it according to the dictates of my current feelings.  Of course I'm addressing the commercial aspects of the holiday.

Be that as it may, we can put 2010 behind us.  Before we dive into the new year, I think it's fitting to take a few minutes to examine the holiday just past.  While it's fresh in your mind, make some notes.  To wit:

  • Did you do anything different this year that yielded great results? Make a note so you remember next year!
  • In the same vein, were there things you realized after the fact could have been done with greater skill, joy and dispatch?  Record those notes as well.  No point making the same mistakes next year and asking yourself: "Why didn't I remember that ...?"
  • Are you 'done' with some aspects of the holiday?  For example would you like to see another family member host the big holiday meal?   I'd wait a few weeks and then have a conversation with key family members about how the holiday can be different next year.  Make a note on your new calendar to make those calls.  Without a reminder, it will go by the wayside like most good intentions.
  • Finally, was there something in your home that wasn't organized and caused you problems?  Were the holiday boxes falling apart?  Or were they stored in such a way that you had difficulty reaching them? it's the little, petty annoyances that can rob you of the potential joy in any experience.  Tend to those details now.  Do it as a present to yourself.  Next year you will be so grateful!
I'd love to hear what you liked, what you wish to change and what you learned about yourself and your family this season.  Are you willing to share? I've got a complete Fall / Holiday guide in One Year to an Organized Life. If you're feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of the same old/same old taking over this new year, I invite you to change step by step with me. I promise to hold your hand for the entire journey .... and beyond.  

What type of information would you most like to find here?

June 2009, in China

June 2009, in China
At the Summer Palace outside Beijing

About Me

My photo

I will always be grateful I grew up in Brooklyn, New York.  It was a rich atmosphere that introduced me to different races, creeds and professions.  It seemed that anything was possible if you were willing to work hard to achieve your goals.

I'm a yogi which means that my spiritual path is that of yoga principles that have been handed down for over 5000 years. Yoga is an ancient philosophy based on the Gita, the sutras of Patanjali and yes, the Bible. The postures are a key element as is meditation. We honor all paths.

I got my first dog when I was 6 years old after a full year of begging.  She was a collie and her name was Queenie.  As an adult I've had 2 golden retrievers.  A female named Miss Katie who came into my life when she was 3 months old and an ancient male golden who came to me when he was 15.  I'd like to have a Great Dane next but we'll see what the universe has in store.

I've been organizing clients for over 24 years and writing about it for over ten.