• Is clutter driving you crazy?
  • Do you feel like you’re drowning in stuff?
  • Do you have a hard time finding things?
  • Are you overwhelmed by paperwork?
  • Are you feeling stuck and frustrated?
  • Is the question “Where to begin?” cause for confusion or paralysis?
  • Do you wish you could turn some of your junk into a bit of cash…

If you answer “Yes!” to any of these questions, you could use my help.

I call myself a “simplified living coach” aka professional organizer.  An expert with over 20 years experience, I can help you simplify your life. Together, we will deal with the clutter.

I help you to improve how you interact with your stuff, so you can keep your environment peaceful and ordered. What I don’t do is go through your space and throw out everything – no giant garbage bags or dumpsters unless that is what you absolutely need and want.

  • You can keep things that are useful and/or bring you joy
  • Learn to love your version of “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
  • Finally discover that you actually need less stuff and CAN live more sanely!

I adapt to your unique needs;  my system is very flexible. Be one of the many people I have helped to get UNstuck.

I now do virtual organizing! Learn more here.

I offer a free one half hour consultation on the phone, zoom, Messenger or FaceTime – with tips on how to get started on the path to a more ordered, peaceful environmentFeel free to bring a friend or relative in on the call for the consultation; I’ll help them learn how to help you.

Learn more about my rates here.

I can use  Messenger, phone, and FaceTime.  With today’s technology, it is very easy for you to get organized while I coach you from a distance. Many of my clients have a challenging time lifting and moving, and thus I encourage to get family and/or friends to help you. Or you can hire someone who you consider trustworthy and capable, and I can coach the person.

Learn more about my virtual organizing coaching here.

Call or text me at 479-313-0414 or email me at livablefutureproject@gmail.com

Please leave a voicemail if you call because I rarely pick up the phone unless I know the person who is calling.

You can find me on Facebook here.

I Can Now Help You Virtually!

If you are motivated, have a computer with internet access, the ability to take and send digital pictures, and a phone which has a speaker phone mode… YOU can take advantage of the NEWEST TREND in personal organizing and coaching:

Remote Organizational Support

Help is Available

Support is Sufficient

Friends & Family can Help

Your House, Your Home, Your Happiness

From Survive to System

Feel Joyous and Generous

I will show you how to:

  •  Let go of anything that does not bring joy or usefulness (see
  •  Help you figure out the best and most personally comfortable way to get rid of unwanted items. This can include: selling, donating, and recycling
  •  Find a place for everything – which may include a storage unit.
  •  Develop a labeling and container system that works for you
  •  Create easy to use systems to deal with papers and other items which regularly come into your environment
  •  Effectively use an index so you can find anything
  •  Learn how to establish good, on going organizational habits

 Continue on as an independent ex-disorganized person on your own OR with on going support from me and/or friends and family that I have trained to support you. Enjoy a home that is always peaceful, clean and orderly where you can easily find what you are looking for.

A JOYOUS, PEACEFUL FUTURE AWAITS: Words from a satisfied customer

“Because I knew that Patricia had assisted on one of the TV hoarder shows, I figured my space wasn’t actually quite as bad as that, so I didn’t mind sharing my long standing and worsening disaster with her. I started from a position as a skilled professional who helps other people with all kinds of problems but who was absolutely humiliated and embarrassed by my inability to cope with my own physical space, and frankly, the personal psychological pain and issues that disorganization represented.

I had my doubts about the amount of help chatting with someone in Arkansas by speakerphone while cleaning in NYC would be, but my sessions with Patricia have changed my life and my daughter’s for the better. It feels like a crushing weight is slowly and surely being lifted from my shoulders and my spirit.

Patricia NEVER judges, pushes very gently (but inexorably), and she is endlessly encouraging. Her system is practical, sensible, doable, and adaptable. The progress that has already been made after YEARS of increasing clutter and disorganization is hard to believe.

I’m one of those clients who will need to use the Simplified Living Coach “retainer” package for periodic and regular organizational “booster shots”. I’m just so grateful.

– Deb C in New York City

A 4 hour decluttering blitz: A story of how my client and I transformed her house quickly.

My clients are amazed at the speed in which they can transform their home when I help them. I feel fulfilled, joyful, and energized when I have the honor of supporting people to get a handle on their (up until I enter the picture) unmanageable stuff. 

“No brag, just fact,” was a phrase I heard growing up when I watched the series, “The Guns of Will Sonnet.” Those words occurred to me just now as I was thinking about the speed and efficiency with which we tackled the job. 

Silvia (my client gave me permission to write this with a name change to protect her confidentiality) and I had an initial consultation where she gave me a virtual tour of all the places she wanted to declutter. Having this head start helped me to be even more supportive as we sped through the various rooms working fast and efficiently. 

We started in the room that was bothering Silvia the most–the office. I set out boxes that were labeled with super sticky post it notes. I had simple categories that we adjusted as we saw that we could do some initial sorting into easy categories. 

Super Sticky post-it notes, with the official name being “Extreme Notes” are one of my secret weapons. Being able to quickly label something as well as change the label easily cuts down on many minutes. Since my goal is to help clients save money and time, those minutes are important. 

Normal post it notes fall off easily when they are moved about, so Extreme Notes, which have a waterproof and extra-sticky backing, are perfect for the job. 

The main problem that Silvia had was that the drawers, cabinets and closets in her house were filled up with mostly un-needed stuff. Therefore, clutter easily got piled on surfaces and finding homes for the objects she needed to have easily accessible was impossible. 

We quickly boxed up the hidden contents of drawers, cabinets and surfaces. Silvia laughed so hard when she saw how much stuff could be fit into what seemed like small spaces. The whole office space (which was also her spacious living room) was filled with boxes! Her laughter was infectious, and I joined in and had a good belly laugh! 

I have seen this situation over my past 20 years of professional organizing. The amount of space that is taken up by objects taken out of a closet in order to put it into order seems a lot larger than the size of the closet. 

Yet a similar seemingly miraculous thing happens when items are boxed up and stacked in a staging area. Silvia and I had identified a spare bedroom as the place where we would put the boxes that were to be sorted later. At the end of 3 hours, with an hour left to go, I started re-organizing that bedroom and stacking boxes in the room in such a way that all the things that needed to be sorted were in one place. 

We continued to go through the house. The kitchen was the next priority. Silvia stood on a stool and handed me items which were on a high, deep shelf. Something that is time consuming and tedious is to get things out of a high space, so having a helper can save so much time and energy. Discovering that much of the stuff was old birthday decorations that took up a lot of space, I put those items in a big box. She knew she was not going to keep much of the decorations so keeping them in a category meant that box would be able to be sorted quickly. 

Sometimes we don’t have time to any sorting except for “important–keep out.” My clients almost always find things and happily exclaim, “I’ve been looking for this!” Setting such materials on a surface for them to deal with later contributes to them needing to declutter later. But with the clearing of space, it is much easier to find homes for these precious items. 

Silvia quickly realized after emptying a very spacious cabinet the she could put certain foods back, freeing up a cluttered floor space. I handed her the items and she put them right where she wanted them. 

Cleaning out large drawers was easy because Silvia was able to dump everything in a box to be sorted later. She found just a few things she knew she wanted to keep.

Having a “get rid of box” where we put recycling, give away, and even trash, was much simpler than trying to haul around 3 different boxes. I have discovered that the less categories we have, the faster we move. Silvia would periodically quickly clean the trash out of the box. 

We needed to prioritize because of our limited time. Silvia would look into a drawer or cabinet and make a decision–do together, or she would say, “I can do this later.” 

In about 5 minutes she reorganized under the sink when I suggested that she put some things in plastic containers she had purchased. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much better. 

The only areas that needed to be sorted in the dining room were what Silvia called “her hidden cabinet.” She had not looked into the cabinet for years, although she knew it was mostly crafts. She was the one to pull things out, and I boxed the items up. The only sorting that I did was to make a box of games which she wanted to put back into the shelf. 

The Mostly crafts and fairly lightweight items went into a big moving box. 

Having a variety of sizes of boxes is essential. I was glad that Silvia had followed my advice and bought a combination of plastic bins and boxes. I brought a long some as well, since I had time to pick some up. I have never seen too many boxes!

We looked at the time. Two hours were left. We had already gotten so much done! Silvia decided that her bedroom was next. One drawer had a large variety of items, mostly electronics, which were easily put into a box. 

The bottom drawer had tools and manuals. Removing the manuals and putting into a small bin left enough room for Silvia to be able to get to her tools. 

With 90 minutes to go, I knew we needed to look at the staging area where she would be storing the boxes to sort. Taking out some large items and putting them in the garage was quite easy. We did a tiny bit of re-organizing in the garage in order for these things to fit. 

I got permission from Silvia to reorganize some things in the bedroom staging area so more stuff could fit. We were finishing strong.Silvia kept handing me boxes to take out, and the most efficient use of space in the closet unfolded. 

Sorting and letting go of clothes was something Silvia knew she could do later. The goal we had was to get everything else out of the closet so that she could easily move around in the space. 

We took the risk of tacking her large walk in closet. We made the right decision. As she pulled out bins and boxes, she decided which ones needed to go back into the closet and I set those aside. The rest I hauled to the staging area, which fortunately was very close. 

Once the whole closet was decluttered, Silvia could put the things back that she wanted to have easily accessible. I swept the floor and put any papers or non-trash into a box. I do not throw anything away without permission! Of course the dirt went into the trash. 

I had prayed a lot before our session that things would go smoothly and that we could accomplish our goals in record time. And we did! It was just a few minutes past the 4 hour mark, and we could declare the job completed. We both felt such a sense of satisfaction. 

Before we started the job, Silvia wondered where she would ever find the time to declutter. Making the commitment to spend just 4 hours felt doable. I just heard from her that she sorted out two big boxes and a bag of plastic bags. Before, she dreaded the idea of having to spend her precious time doing this work. 

During our session, Silvia felt a lot of emotions. She decided to set aside the emotions, knowing that at some point she could process them. The priority right now was to get the physical job done. And clearing out all this stuff actually helped her to feel more energized and stronger so the emotions did not control her. –

Now, with everything in one place, it is easy for her to work 1/2 hour a day and see progress. I’ve written up a google doc which gives her a list of things to do and some ideas on how to proceed. Silvia says she feels confident that she can sort this stuff now that it is manageable. 

Because Silvia needed to work later in the evening, and I preferred not to drive back home so late, she graciously let me spend the night. Of course I made my request in advance so that she would know what to expect. 

Silvia made a lovely dinner, and we enjoyed lively conversation and getting to know each other. Something I really value about my work is that in some ways I am like a therapist. My clients need to trust me and be vulnerable. They don’t want to be judged–often they are already judging themselves. 

I have a way with making it easy for people to feel safe, and I reassure them that many people have challenges like this. I have not yet found a client that I felt a need to judge or criticize. Everyone is doing their best, whether they are like the hoarders on the programs which used to be popular (and I have had a number of these kinds of people) or they just need 4 hours to get a jump start. 

I left Silvia’s home the next morning feeling very satisfied, fulfilled and happy. I love my work, and feel so grateful that I have this talent. 

I am in the process of figuring out how I can help a client find someone to help them to physically assist them and do my job. I prefer not to drive because I am wanting to live on the earth lightly. I also want to save my clients money, because I can charge less if we do the job virtually. 

I have found that long-distance coaching is effective for people who want to spend an hour or two at a time. I continue to learn about how to be ever more efficient whether supporting people in person or long-distance. I love to learn!

If you have any interest in hiring me, text me at 479-313-0414 or email me at livablefutureproject@gmail.com for a free 1/2 hour exploratory session.

Using homemade liquid fertilizer

I enjoy helping people get their gardens started, or keeping them going. I can either follow directions from experienced gardeners who don’t have time to do the work, or teach you how to start or continue a garden. I’ve learned a lot from permaculture sources, and I definitely use only organic gardening techniques.

I learned a lot from this article from Mother Earth News about using such things as urine, grass clippings, weeds and manure to make liquid fertilizer. I hope this article helps you to increase the productivity of your garden. Here is an excerpt:

“Liquid fertilizers are faster-acting than seed meals and other solid organic products, so liquids are your best choice for several purposes. As soon as seedlings have used up the nutrients provided by the sprouted seeds, they benefit from small amounts of fertilizer. This is especially true if you’re using a soil-less seed starting mix (such as a peat-based mix), which helps prevent damping-off but provides a scant supply of nutrients. Seedlings don’t need much in the way of nutrients, but if they noticeably darken in color after you feed them with a liquid fertilizer, that’s evidence they had a need that has been satisfied. Liquid fertilizers are also essential to success with container-grown plants, which depend entirely on their growers for moisture and nutrients. Container-grown plants do best with frequent light feedings of liquid fertilizers, which are immediately distributed throughout the constricted growing area of the containers.”

Here is a scientific study that was done on wood ash and diluted urine for effective fertilizer. An excerpt:

“The new study found that plants fertilized with urine produced four times more tomatoes than nonfertilized plants and as much as plants given synthetic fertilizer. Urine plus wood ash produced almost as great a yield, with the added benefit of reducing the acidity of acid soils. “The results suggest that urine with or without wood ash can be used as a substitute for mineral fertilizer to increase the yields of tomato without posing any microbial or chemical risks,” the report says.”

This guy has had 30 years experience using urine as fertilizer. I love his attitude.

“Last summer a research assistant from a study being done at the University of Michigan interviewed me about my use of human urine as fertilizer. They had gotten a $3 million grant to investigate the cultural and practical aspects of converting urine into “pee tea” and I have been doing that for over 30 years. This video shows a bare bones approach to recycling human waste and growing beautiful vegetables. According to the U of M one of the hardest aspects of doing it is getting people past the “yuck” factor. Once that happens it makes all the sense in the world. I love my urine diverting composting toilet because water is too valuable to poop and pee in- and you lose all the free fertilizer. You can do this too!”

I did a lot of research to try to find a recipe for using wood ash and urine together. I couldn’t find any recipes! So I advise that you experiment. Here is an article that included how to use ash on the garden along with other great ingredients. Excerpt:

“For those who heat and/or cook with wood, clean wood ash (no paint or preservatives) is a fantastic mineral builder for soil. This isn’t to say burn stuff just for the ash, which would be bad practice for the environment. However, the “waste” created from heating and cooking can provide a prized soil amendment. While it is true that wood ash is alkaline (and that’s important to recognise), lime—a common soil amendment—is revered despite having the same characteristic. Ash only contains about half the calcium lime does, but it brings a lot of other minerals to the mix. It’s just a matter of minding the pH balance of things. If alkalinity is an issue, compost the wood ash first.”

Here is a great video about how to make wood ash tea.

The following PDF article which says that it is not secure (I’m not sure what that means), is the most comprehensive writing about using urine that I have found.

I hope these resources are helpful. Let me know in the comments if you have resources that you would like to contribute about this topic.

Using shade cloth in the garden

I have a low hoop house that I am planting a bunch of lettuce in, and I am going to put shade cloth over the hoops in order to shade the lettuce. I found some articles about thing to use that are free or cheap so you don’t have to buy the shade cloth.

This article from IDigOrganics.com is quite good:

From the PERMIES forum (permaculture resources)

From another forum: https://www.houzz.com/discussions/1616851/alternative-to-shade-cloth

Plant seeds and seedlings now!

I really enjoy helping people get their gardens going as part of my simplified living coach job description. Growing your own food takes getting organized, as well as having a knowledge of gardening in general. I have been gardening for the past 46 years. I continue expanding my knowledge about growing things because there is so much to learn. Perhaps I can get you started on your journey. Or, if you already are an expert gardener, just tell me what you need me to do. Because of my knowledge of plants, I can avoid digging up plants that are special to you!

April 9, approximately, is the last estimated frost date for Kingston, Arkansas, where I live. If you want to find your last frost date, you can find it here.

This video will be very useful to watch. If you just want the list of the seeds he talks about, see the list below the video.

There are a lot of cool-season vegetables that you can get planted surprisingly early in the spring. These 16 cool-season vegetables can all be planted before your last frost date, some as early as 8 to 10 weeks before that last frost. Here’s the list:

Lettuce (3 to 6 weeks before your last frost date)

Spinach (6 to 8 weeks)

Pac Choi (3 to 4 weeks)

Kale (6 to 8 Weeks)

Endive (2 to 4 weeks)

Arugula (8 to 12 weeks)

Swiss Chard (3 to 5 weeks)

Broccoli (transplants out 4 weeks before your last frost date)

Cabbage (transplants out 4 weeks before your last frost date)

Peas (5 to 6 weeks)

Onions/Leeks (4 to 6 weeks)

Radishes (3 to 6 weeks)

Beets (6 to 8 weeks)

urnips (6 to 8 weeks)

Carrots (3 to 5 weeks)

Potatoes (2 to 3 weeks)

Watch this helpful video about preventing clutter and how to declutter

I don’t agree with Kathi Lipp’s first tip, which is to spend 15 minutes a day getting organized instead of spending a day. But after listening more, I can see her logic. I think it is better to do a huge 4 hour decluttering and then do the 15 minute thing.

Also, I had a virtual client and we worked together for an hour. We were both amazed at how much could get done. Then, the 15 minute tasks every day seemed even more productive.

I can support you in decluttering your whole house in 4-8 hours, depending on how large your home is and how much needs to be done. If you have a serious hoarding problem, I can help you with that situation as well.

If you need help being focused and getting a lot done in a short amount of time, contact me!

I find it helpful to listen to videos like this one. Kathi and I are in alignment in so many ways, which is exciting to me. I find that the leading organizers have similar techniques that I have, which tells me that we are finding the best ways of getting this wonderfully satisfying job of decluttering and downsizing done.

Give yourself the gift of a clutter-free home

Get a head start on your New Years Resolutions

Treat yourself to an environment which is peaceful and harmonious

Get your home ready for holiday gatherings

Don’t need this for yourself? Give a gift certificate to someone you love.

Virtual and hands-on services available.

Call now for a free 1/2 hour consultation.

Patricia Mikkelson, Professional organizer for over 2 decades can help you effiiciently, quickly, joyfully and effortlessly get your decluttering/downsizing needs met.

Text or call: 479-313-0414 or email livablefutureproject@gmail.com

“Words cannot describe how grateful I am” says client about my virtual organizing coaching

I felt encouraged by this recommendation.

“I have completed my decluttering  journey with the help of Patricia. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for being blessed with the opportunity to work with her. Even though it was remotely, her health and wisdom were invaluable.

I am now well on my way to having a decluttered home and I cannot wait until I complete my tasks.

Thank you once again Patricia, and may you be as much of a blessing in the lives of others as you are for me.”

Sincerely, 
Heidi A.

How to store and organize hard to organize items

Purses

https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/purse-storage-options-to-buy-or-diy-237405

Keepsakes and other sentimental items.

https://www.containerstore.com/blog/posts/Organize-Keepsakes-and-Other-Sentimental-Items

Scarves

Shoes and boots

https://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/organize-shoes.html

In four hours together we decluttered the entire house

My clients are amazed at the speed in which they can transform their home when I help them. I feel fulfilled, joyful, and energized when I have the honor of supporting people to get a handle on their (up until I enter the picture) unmanageable stuff.

“No brag, just fact,” was a phrase I heard growing up when I watched the series, “The Guns of Will Sonnet.” Those words occurred to me just now as I was thinking about the speed and efficiency with which we tackled the job.

Silvia (my client gave me permission to write this with a name change to protect her confidentiality) and I had an initial consultation where she gave me a virtual tour of all the places she wanted to declutter. Having this head start helped me to be even more supportive as we sped through the various rooms working fast and efficiently.

We started in the room that was bothering Silvia the most–the office. I set out boxes that were labeled with super sticky post it notes. I had simple categories that we adjusted as we saw that we could do some initial sorting into easy categories.

Super Sticky post-it notes, with the official name being “Extreme Notes” are one of my secret weapons. Being able to quickly label something as well as change the label easily cuts down on many minutes. Since my goal is to help clients save money and time, those minutes are important.

Normal post it notes fall off easily when they are moved about, so Extreme Notes, which have a waterproof and extra-sticky backing, are perfect for the job.

The main problem that Silvia had was that the drawers, cabinets and closets in her house were filled up with mostly un-needed stuff. Therefore, clutter easily got piled on surfaces and finding homes for the objects she needed to have easily accessible was impossible.

We quickly boxed up the hidden contents of drawers, cabinets and surfaces. Silvia laughed so hard when she saw how much stuff could be fit into what seemed like small spaces. The whole office space (which was also her spacious living room) was filled with boxes! Her laughter was infectious, and I joined in and had a good belly laugh!

I have seen this situation over my past 20 years of professional organizing. The amount of space that is taken up by objects taken out of a closet in order to put it into order seems a lot larger than the size of the closet.

Yet a similar seemingly miraculous thing happens when items are boxed up and stacked in a staging area. Silvia and I had identified a spare bedroom as the place where we would put the boxes that were to be sorted later. At the end of 3 hours, with an hour left to go, I started re-organizing that bedroom and stacking boxes in the room in such a way that all the things that needed to be sorted were in one place.

We continued to go through the house. The kitchen was the next priority. Silvia stood on a stool and handed me items which were on a high, deep shelf. Something that is time consuming and tedious is to get things out of a high space, so having a helper can save so much time and energy. Discovering that much of the stuff was old birthday decorations that took up a lot of space, I put those items in a big box. She knew she was not going to keep much of the decorations so keeping them in a category meant that box would be able to be sorted quickly.

Sometimes we don’t have time to any sorting except for “important–keep out.” My clients almost always find things and happily exclaim, “I’ve been looking for this!” Setting such materials on a surface for them to deal with later contributes to them needing to declutter later. But with the clearing of space, it is much easier to find homes for these precious items.

Silvia quickly realized after emptying a very spacious cabinet the she could put certain foods back, freeing up a cluttered floor space. I handed her the items and she put them right where she wanted them.

Cleaning out large drawers was easy because Silvia was able to dump everything in a box to be sorted later. She found just a few things she knew she wanted to keep.

Having a “get rid of box” where we put recycling, give away, and even trash, was much simpler than trying to haul around 3 different boxes. I have discovered that the less categories we have, the faster we move. Silvia would periodically quickly clean the trash out of the box.

We needed to prioritize because of our limited time. Silvia would look into a drawer or cabinet and make a decision–do together, or she would say, “I can do this later.”

In about 5 minutes she reorganized under the sink when I suggested that she put some things in plastic containers she had purchased. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much better.

The only areas that needed to be sorted in the dining room were what Silvia called “her hidden cabinet.” She had not looked into the cabinet for years, although she knew it was mostly crafts. She was the one to pull things out, and I boxed the items up. The only sorting that I did was to make a box of games which she wanted to put back into the shelf.

The Mostly crafts and fairly lightweight items went into a big moving box.

Having a variety of sizes of boxes is essential. I was glad that Silvia had followed my advice and bought a combination of plastic bins and boxes. I brought a long some as well, since I had time to pick some up. I have never seen too many boxes!

We looked at the time. Two hours were left. We had already gotten so much done! Silvia decided that her bedroom was next. One drawer had a large variety of items, mostly electronics, which were easily put into a box.

The bottom drawer had tools and manuals. Removing the manuals and putting into a small bin left enough room for Silvia to be able to get to her tools.

With 90 minutes to go, I knew we needed to look at the staging area where she would be storing the boxes to sort. Taking out some large items and putting them in the garage was quite easy. We did a tiny bit of re-organizing in the garage in order for these things to fit.

I got permission from Silvia to reorganize some things in the bedroom staging area so more stuff could fit. We were finishing strong.Silvia kept handing me boxes to take out, and the most efficient use of space in the closet unfolded.

Sorting and letting go of clothes was something Silvia knew she could do later. The goal we had was to get everything else out of the closet so that she could easily move around in the space.

We took the risk of tacking her large walk in closet. We made the right decision. As she pulled out bins and boxes, she decided which ones needed to go back into the closet and I set those aside. The rest I hauled to the staging area, which fortunately was very close.

Once the whole closet was decluttered, Silvia could put the things back that she wanted to have easily accessible. I swept the floor and put any papers or non-trash into a box. I do not throw anything away without permission! Of course the dirt went into the trash.

I had prayed a lot before our session that things would go smoothly and that we could accomplish our goals in record time. And we did! It was just a few minutes past the 4 hour mark, and we could declare the job completed. We both felt such a sense of satisfaction.

Before we started the job, Silvia wondered where she would ever find the time to declutter. Making the commitment to spend just 4 hours felt doable. I just heard from her that she sorted out two big boxes and a bag of plastic bags. Before, she dreaded the idea of having to spend her precious time doing this work.

During our session, Silvia felt a lot of emotions. She decided to set aside the emotions, knowing that at some point she could process them. The priority right now was to get the physical job done. And clearing out all this stuff actually helped her to feel more energized and stronger so the emotions did not control her. –

Now, with everything in one place, it is easy for her to work 1/2 hour a day and see progress. I’ve written up a google doc which gives her a list of things to do and some ideas on how to proceed. Silvia says she feels confident that she can sort this stuff now that it is manageable.

Because Silvia needed to work later in the evening, and I preferred not to drive back home so late, she graciously let me spend the night. Of course I made my request in advance so that she would know what to expect.

Silvia made a lovely dinner, and we enjoyed lively conversation and getting to know each other. Something I really value about my work is that in some ways I am like a therapist. My clients need to trust me and be vulnerable. They don’t want to be judged–often they are already judging themselves.

I have a way with making it easy for people to feel safe, and I reassure them that many people have challenges like this. I have not yet found a client that I felt a need to judge or criticize. Everyone is doing their best, whether they are like the hoarders on the programs which used to be popular (and I have had a number of these kinds of people) or they just need 4 hours to get a jump start.

I left Silvia’s home the next morning feeling very satisfied, fulfilled and happy. I love my work, and feel so grateful that I have this talent.

I am in the process of figuring out how I can help a client find someone to help them to physically assist them and do my job. I prefer not to drive because I am wanting to live on the earth lightly. I also want to save my clients money, because I can charge less if we do the job virtually.

I have found that long-distance coaching is effective for people who want to spend an hour or two at a time. I continue to learn about how to be ever more efficient whether supporting people in person or long-distance. I love to learn!

If you have any interest in hiring me, text me at 479-313-0414 or email me at livablefutureproject@gmail.com for a free 1/2 hour exploratory session.

More of my experiences with unschooling

If I can help just one person make a decision to unschool their children, I would feel very fulfilled. Even if all they do is read this article and get inspired, I would be happy. I know that for me, the women in my life who homeschooled, had home births, and practiced attachment parenting, made all the difference. I feel so grateful for their inspiration.

That is why I am now offering coaching for people who choose to unschool. Parents need reassurance, guidance, and inspiration which I would enjoy offering as a coach.

It is really important for a parent to be able to be strong in the face of criticism. People criticized us because Chris (and our daughter, Maud) did not learn to read until they were 9 years old. People might also be critical if they think a child is not learning practical skills.

I believe that the most important thing that children need to learn are to learn how to think critically and creatively, have high moral standards, be able to work with others on a team, and be able to dream big and go after their dreams.

Chris’s experience with getting a Master’s in Communication, which included teaching public speaking, really showed me that he accomplished these goals. He emerged from college with the same values that we (his family) and his peers inspired him to adopt. You can read about his experience in college here.

I want to share a bit more about my son, Chris. I shared in a previous story that he had no desire to read. But he loved to listen to audio books. I’m glad that Harry Potter and other adventure stories he would listen to had characters who had good moral standards.

As I mentioned before, Chris did not learn to read until he was 9 years old. Here is an article that shares a lot of resources about why early reading is not necessarily beneficial. But I think that his voracious appetite for listening to audio books and stories on the radio–like Adventures in Oddysey– helped him to increase his vocabulary, learn grammar, and learn about how to formulate good sentence structure.

Even though Chris did not write that much before he went to college, he became an excellent writer. In his first English class, the teacher gave a test to the students to see where their skill level was. Chris didn’t do so well, and she advised him to take a remedial English class.

Cliff, Chris’s father, encouraged Chris to just take the regular English class. Chris ended up getting A’s in English, writing a paper that his professor used as an example of an excellent paper, and writing his Master’s thesis.

How much did listening to audio books help him be good at writing? I can’t say for sure, but I’m trying out the theory. I’m also encouraging parents to see that when their child really wants to do something–like graduate from college–or learn a skill–if they are motivated, they will achieve their goal!

When Chris was about 12, he decided he wanted to play the bass guitar. We had just started attending a small church where anyone could be part of the worship team. He had no idea what he was doing with the bass. He thought it was like the drums that he had been playing before he took up bass. Treating it like a rhythm instrument, the notes he played were completely off key, and he didn’t have the ear at the time to discern what was happening.

I didn’t want to discourage him, but when one of the participants in the service told me how awful Chris sounded, I knew I needed to do something.

Not knowing how to play bass guitar, I consulted a bass player friend who played on the worship team, and he kindly made a simple chart where Chris could easily see how when he would press down the string on a fret, a note would be played.

I knew enough about music to explain to him that when others were playing music with chords, he just had to play the note that was the name of the chord.

He immediately was able to do this, and play in such a way that was harmonious. Soon, he decided to take lessons and we found a good teacher. He only took lessons for a few months, and he was on his way.

He loved practicing bass for hours. We didn’t have to pressure Chris to be disciplined. We also bought him some software for recording songs, since he was starting to write songs.

The software inspired him to learn the keyboard and acoustic guitar because he wanted to have a nice background to the music. We were amazed at how many hours he poured into this passion.

I noticed that his voice was not as strong as it could be, and he would get a sore throat when he was singing. I gave him a few voice lessons, but we determined that he might learn better from a stranger. I interviewed some voice teachers, because I knew how important it was to find someone who was both kind and skilled.

Chris enjoyed voice lessons, and took them for a month or too. He learned voice exercises that still help him.

I was overjoyed when he decided to get a band together. Chris was the lead singer and played bass. Although the band never really took off because of various reasons, they had a handful of wonderful performances and the experience of practicing, recording a CD, promoting the band, working out conflicts with band members, writing songs together, and of course, the camaraderie, was a very rich experience for Chris.

You can probably see that being in a band helped Chris expand an array of skills.

I was so happy that Chris did not want to play video games very much, and watched TV minimally. In fact, at one point, he was allergic to TV’s and when we went to someone’s home where there was a TV, we would need to ask them to cover the TV. We decided not to watch TV (although we did so rarely) and cover our TV when Chris went through this phase.

We were very blessed to almost always live where there were other kids who were homeschooled or unschooled, so Chris had lots of opportunities to socialize. I think it is really important for parents to find a group or start a group so that parents can support each other and help their kids make friends.

I am glad that Chris never had the desire to go to public school, as some homeschooled children do. He experienced a very rich life for the most part. I feel overjoyed that he was able to focus on what he was passionate about.

I hope this was helpful. What are your experiences with unschooling, if you care to share?