Why toys at Christmas?

An examination of the Christmas Holiday.

These ideas are only my opinion.  They are not based on anything other than what I have noticed.  I was born and raised in the Christian Tradition.  This will influence what I observed. 

Why toys at Christmas?  On the surface, it looks like a conspiracy by the retailers to get people everywhere to spend their hard-earned cash.  But I believe it goes beyond the retailer.  I believe that it starts with the Reason for the Season.  Christmas celebrates a baby being born.  This baby is named Jesus.  His parents were very devout followers of Almighty God.  They were also very poor.  They relied on God’s Power, Mercy, Grace, and Abundance to get them through whatever they were going through.  This is a lesson for us too.  Money is not the Reason for the Season.  Jesus is the Reason for the Season.  Christians believe that this Baby Jesus was no ordinary baby.  At Christmas we celebrate the uniqueness of Baby Jesus by celebrating the uniqueness of each child born.  Jesus was an example for us.  He was an example that we can follow and put into practice in our own lives.  As an example, Jesus’ birth teaches us that there are no ordinary children being born. As an example for us, Jesus’ birth teaches us that each child has a purpose to fulfill in this life.  From the acknowledgement of the example set by Jesus and the Christmas Story,  we celebrate by giving gifts to each other because we are all Children of the Most High God.  Also, as an example, Jesus’ birth teaches us that we must all give an accounting for our thoughts, words, and actions to Almighty God both today and forever.  Almighty God is watching us.  Almighty God is present. Almighty God is listening.  He hears and sees what ordinary people cannot hear and see.   God knew that Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ earthly parents, were extremely poor.  He knew that they suffered much to bring Baby Jesus into the world.  He rewarded them for their sacrifice.  He sent three kings bearing gifts for the Baby Jesus.  Jesus was too young to benefit from the gifts given, so we could believe that the gifts were actually given to the parents.  Toys are that way.  Giving toys to children educates and occupies the child and so they are actually gifts to the parents, especially when the child is a baby.   We celebrate Life and the living at Christmas. At Christmas we celebrate Life and living with each other.  And as Christians at Christmas, we strive to share with each other the Gift of Life that has been shared with us. No, there is no retailers conspiracy here, only a great Blessing from The Most High God to all of us.  The Most High God loves us.

This was written by Sharon at the HOS Systems.  November 2020. 

Do you really need that item?

Decluttering 101: How to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

Sorting Questions:

  1.  What is the item? 
    1. Look at the item, is it a pair of shoes or a pair of Nike shoes that have never been worn and still have the tags? The better you can identify an item now, the easier it will be to work with the item later when you decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to toss.
  2. What is the item used for?
    1. If you do not know its use, get rid of it.   If you think someone else might know, ask the person.  Put the item into their possession, don’t bother keeping it in your possession because it wasn’t important to you before and it presently is not important to you.  Look at it this way, when was the last time you forgot what a toilet was used for?  Why is that?
    2. Ask yourself: “Is this still a valid use?”  For instance, baby bottles aren’t as important when kids are grown up.
  3. How did this come into your possession?
    1. Don’t know or can’t remember, toss it.
    2. Did an important person in your life give it to you?
    3. Did you buy it?
      1. Think this through because the answers will help you to release it.  For instance, the baby stroller came to you when the baby was little, but at 20 years old now, baby is too big.  However, if it is still in good condition, consider donating it to someone with a small child or selling it online. 
  4. Is the reason this item is in your possession still important?
    1. If the situation has resolved itself, get rid of the item.  For instance, the baby grew up; or your high school days were 20 years ago!
    2. If this item carries with it guilt, chances are it is still important to you. 
      1. Look at the importance you have placed on the item closely.  It probably is not the item that is important, but the feelings associated with the person whom you associate with that item that is important.  For instance, I had a decorative tiki hut that was of no importance or value except that every time I looked at the little hut, it reminded me of a wonderful vacation I took with my family.  I felt guilty throwing away the hut because I felt like I was being disloyal to my family.  In reality, the hut was falling apart, and if you touched it, more of it broke off…messy, messy, messy!
    1. Understand that if you are throwing away an item you have been given by someone special, it does not mean that you have stopped loving them or you no longer see them as important.  There are cases when that is true, but in this instance, we are looking at eliminating some of the excess items taking up space somewhere in our environment that needs to be decluttered. 
  5. If a part of you can still see value in the item, (like an unused working umbrella), consider passing it on to someone else.  You can donate it to charity; give it to a family member or friend; or make a little money selling it somewhere.  Just because you have an item doesn’t mean you have to keep it.  Space is a finite matter.  When all the space is used up, where will you put the rest of the stuff that comes to you?

These are some of the ideas to think about when organizing your home.  Decluttering can help you regain space that is taken up by useless items.  If you are having difficulty with this process, Sharon at The HOS Systems is here to help.  Call (864) 448-8224 Tuesday through Saturday 9am until 6pm EST to schedule a time to have Sharon meet with you.  The HOS Systems uses Google DUO phone technology for the assessment.  DUO phone is a free app download from the Google store.  {English is our only language.}  Written November 2020.

Messy kitchen? We can help.

Help!  I can’t make my pans fit!

Recently, I visited the home of a wonderful customer who complained about being unable to put her pots and pans in her cupboard.  Anna had priced out remodeling her kitchen to accommodate her cookware, but the price was out of her reach.  So she called HOS Systems to get some help putting her cookware away.

When I arrived, I noticed many different kinds of pans.  So I asked Anna about her pan collection.  She stated that she had moved a couple times over the years.  When she moved, sometimes the pans she had didn’t match the cooking equipment available in the residence.  For instance, in one place Anna had to purchase new pots and pans because she had an induction range.  Another place had a glass stovetop.  But here was the old-fashioned coil electric stovetop and electric oven.  Not only that, but this new home was smaller than her other houses. She needed to get rid of some of the cookware because there wasn’t space for it all.   We investigated websites featuring cookware to determine which pans to keep and which to let go.  According to the research, we kept the stainless steel cookware and the glass or ceramic bakeware.  The rest of the items we donated to other family members.  Two of the pans had to be thrown out because they were no longer useful.  They were both coated on the interior surface, and the coating was peeling off.  We thought about where the missing coating went.  I suggeted it was probably rinsed down the drain because the cleaning method was too rigorous.  But still Anna was concerned that the coating may have been ingested, so we threw out the damaged pots.  This significantly reduced the number of pots and pans stored.

The next step we worked on was putting the remaining cookware into the cupboards.  It seems obvious that cookware should be stacked.  But stacking it can damage it.  So, we used a wire pan and lid holder.  We set it vertically instead of horizontally.  Then we put one pan on each “shelf”.  This made the pans easier to get out and to put away.  Her space in the cupboard was extremely limited, so we used bungee cords connected to sticky hooks to keep the lids on the doors.  We measured carefully ensure the door would close.  One sticky hook was used to hold the lid on the bottom, so it stayed in place.  This made three sticky hooks in the shape of a “V” to hold each of the lids.  After one hour, the pots and pans were able to be kept neatly in the cupboard.  Feeling empowered, Anna wanted to schedule another hour for us to work on another area.  We scheduled it for the following Friday.

If there is an issue in your kitchen that you can’t seem to resolve, Sharon at the HOS Systems is here to help.  Available to customers in Greenville, Travelers Rest, and Taylors, South Carolina, Sharon can be contacted by calling (864)448-8224 Tuesday through Saturday 9am-6pm EST or emailing her at myhossystems@gmail.com

Ready for a party?

With the Christmas Season fast approaching, I got a request for a party preparation checklist. Here is my response to that request:

Party Planning Check List

Post in Central Home Area

Remember: Parties are fun, keep it that way!


Assign a day to this task 

Assign people to task if help is available…remember to ask

Task: Think about and control Finances

Where will money come from?

            How much will be needed?

            How much can I afford?

            What will result financially from this expenditure?

            How can I make this work without regret?

                        Ask yourself:  What kind of party this will be? 

                                                Will it be a buffet?

                                                Will it be a potluck?

                                                Will it be a sit-down cocktail party?

                                                Will this be a “game night”?

                                                Is this a one-time event or a repeated event?

Task: Think about and accomplish Shopping

Assign days to tasks

Assign places to tasks

Assign people to tasks if help is available…remember to ask





            Paper Goods




            Party Decorations




            Party Favors




            Party Gifts




Task: Think about and accomplish Cleaning

Assign days to tasks

Assign people to tasks if help is available…remember to ask

            Living Room



            Dining Room


            Guest Room




Party Planning Checklist provided by www.HOSSystems.org    November 2020

Spinning Your Wheels?

10 Time Saving Tips

  1. Put items where you use them as much as possible.  For instance, store the iron with ironing board.
  2. Have a calendar to keep track of events and appointments. Keep the calendar by the phone if you usually call to make appointments.
  3. On Sunday, make a list of important events happening every day that week only on your phone. 
  4. Assign a task to do every day.  For instance, Wednesday is always laundry day and vacuuming day. 
  5. When finished using something, put it away in its’ home immediately…not later.
  6. When cleaning, clean one area completely, then move onto the next area. 
  7. Organize activities in a connecting loop.  This is especially important when dropping kids off at practice and having to go to the grocery store and dry cleaners.
  8. Utilize curbside shopping.
  9. Don’t use the drive thru for meals.  Make meals all at once one day a week, then grab and go.  For instance, on Sunday, make a pan of lasagna.  Repack in microwavable plastic or glass containers.  Grab and go for lunches. Prepack snacks for on the go eating and drinking. 
  10. Get ready for the next day the night before. Organize outfits.  Put bookbags by the door.  Make lunches and put in refrigerator until ready to leave.

These tips provided by The HOS Systems. Organizing you for success!  Call Sharon at (864)448-8224 to schedule a Home Organizer today!  Open 9:00am to 6:00pm EST Tuesday thru Saturday.  Now serving Greenville, Travelers Rest, Taylors South Carolina. Video Organizing Available.  We use Google DUO Phone Technology.

My groceries are how much?!

10 Budget Friendly Grocery Shopping Tips

  1. Only spend what you have.  That means use cash when you go to the grocery store.  This helps prevent overspending.  This is my favorite idea to remember when I shop, “It is not what you don’t have that matters, it is what you do have that makes the difference.”
  2. Use the discount cards offered by retailers. Yes, it might be a little annoying that you are tracked, but this is to your advantage.  If the store knows that you like and buy a certain item, they have an easier time keeping it on the shelf.  Also, the buy one, get one deals mean that the store is offering a half off sale.
  3. Pay attention to the flyers that come in the mail, or look up the flyer on the store’s website, to plan your purchases.  You will know ahead of time how much to budget because the prices are already stated.
  4.  Make a list of what you already have on hand either on a piece of paper or on your phone.  Take it with you to help curtail impulsive spending.
  5. If an item is in two or three locations, look in all locations to get the best price.  For instance, corn can be sold in produce, canned goods, or frozen foods.  At all times, one area will be the “sale” area.  For instance, it might be that in fall, canned corn can be the lowest; but in summer, frozen corn can be the lowest.  Pay attention to when something is the lowest price so that you can schedule your purchases to save money.   
  6. Pay attention to new items.  Many times the “new” item sells cheaper than it’s older counterpart because the manufacturer wants the public to try it. 
  7. Pay attention to discontinued items.  Many times items are put on clearance to get rid of discontinued items.  Sometimes items are discontinued because the manufacturer changed the package.  Sometimes items are discontinued because the manufacturer changed the recipe. 
  8. Always check expiration dates.  It won’t do if your cereal is on sale but past the expiration date on the package.  Fresh is best. 
  9. Compare sizes and price per ounce.  Sometimes it is cheaper to get the bigger container because each ounce is less expensive.  Just be sure to deduct the additional expense from your fixed amount in your cash reserves.  For instance, if you only have ten dollars, remind yourself that you have now spent 5 dollars and not the 3 dollars budgeted. Now is when you decide if the savings per ounce are really worth it.  How will this impact the rest of your shopping?
  10. Learn when the store discounts perishable items like meat, fruits, vegetables or dairy.  Shop when the items are discounted. 

Written by Sharon Bernard at http://www.hossystems.org November 15, 2020

Help! I can’t find my toothbrush!

Even what seems impossible is possible. Success is just around the corner, keep reading to learn more…

Gary had always been a neat person, but recently something had changed.  He got married to Samantha two years ago.  A while later Natalie was born.  Now things are quite different.  He loves his wife and his one-year old daughter, but in the morning, he struggles to keep his cool when his toothbrush goes missing just as he is getting ready for work.  Out of frustration, he yelled at Samantha one morning to “Do something about this mess!”   That was when Samantha called The HOS Systems.

When Sharon met with Samantha, Gary was at work.  She listened patiently to Samantha, asking her questions as they went through the house.  The assessment phase took 30 minutes.  At that time, Sharon noted what areas seemed to be the most troublesome.  She told Samantha that she would bring the boxes, bags, some helpful containers she had found, to the next visit on the following Friday morning.  Samantha was encouraged to have the baby stay with relatives for the day.  She also encouraged her to have Gary be there since this would be his day off. 

Gary and Samantha were both very cooperative.  Sharon brought the items as promised.  Both the husband and wife agreed that the master bedroom with the adjoining bathroom was the worst spot, so Sharon started there.

She removed all of Samantha’s clothing from the closet and put them on the bed.  They were sorted into throw away, keep, or give away.  After 2 hours of sorting, the clothes that were to be thrown away were taken to the garbage.  The clothes that were to be given away were put in the trunk of Gary’s car.  The clothes that were kept were put back into the closet using a new strategy of organizing them that proved extremely helpful.  It made Samantha’s morning routine much easier.  Next they worked on Gary’s clothes going through the same procedure they had with Samantha’s clothes.  When they finished the closet, it was time for Sharon to leave.  But she gave them a homework assignment.  If they completed it, then next Friday would go very quickly and smoothly.  However, if it was missed for whatever reason, Sharon would be there the following Friday to get them both back on track.

After 4 Fridays, the couple had a newly organized home.  Gary was thrilled to be able to find everything all the time, even with a curious little one.  Samantha was easily able to follow the new routine that she had learned.  She stated, “It was like my house was customized for me!”  As a follow up, Sharon scheduled a visit in 4 weeks to see how things were going.  If they needed her sooner, she was available…just call.  After the 4-week visit, then she would help once every six months to keep the couple on track.  Gary said, “It was helpful to know that someone would be there that you could count on when you needed them.  Life changed quickly, but Sharon helped us master the learning curve for our new lifestyle.  Thanks Sharon.” 

 This is a typical couple for The HOS Systems.  Though the situation may be different, Sharon will bring her home organizing skills with her, then she will support you through the new routine.  Contact The HOS Systems today to schedule your home organizing event.  “I look forward to serving you,” says Sharon.

Currently serving Greenville, Traveller’s Rest, and Taylors, South Carolina. Use the form below to contact The HOS Systems. Now using Duo Phone technology for the assessment.

What to Expect From a Home Organizer…

Geri was beside herself.  She had hurried home to get the laundry put away before company came.  Her mother had disapproved of the conditions at the home on previous visits.  Geri worried that perhaps this guest would do that also.  But there seemed to be no space in her home to put her belongings away.  She was reminded of this as she sought to put the clean clothes away- but they just wouldn’t fit.  When she put them in the drawers, the drawers wouldn’t close.  When she put them on the hangers in the closet, they were so tightly packed that some clothing tumbled off the hangers to the floor when she tried to add the clean garments.  It was quite a battle!  “Perhaps if I just close the door to the bedroom”  she thought as she felt herself blush. “Then again, what if….”

Her thoughts were distracted by the sound of the doorbell.  Her stomach knotted as she quickly ran her fingers through her hair to straighten it.  Perhaps they wouldn’t notice. Stephanie’s voice greeted her with warmth as Geri opened the door to the apartment.  Before she could stop herself, Geri heard herself apologizing for the condition of her humble abode.  However, Stephanie, a seasoned organizer that Geri had hired to help her with the mess, said that no apologies were necessary because the condition of the place was only a temporary situation.  “Besides,” she added, “your willingness to work with me will help to not only declutter and organize, but it will also be an anchor for keeping it that way.  If you are cooperative with me, we can make an awesome team!  Teamwork is the key.  Where would you like to start?”

Hiring an organizer is a greatly beneficial decision.  Organizers come complete with a skill set including an eye for detail; a systematic approach to solving problems; an arsenal of resources; and training that most often comes from personal experiences either professionally or outside the workplace.  Most organizers have “Been there, done that.”  They draw on their past experiences and training to propel you forward to a more peaceful and relaxed existence. 

At The HOS Systems, we are no different.  Sharon will bring to your home a set of skills that when coupled with your cooperation, will organize you for success.  Whether success is getting all the laundry put away, or the kids off to school on time, the peace that comes from knowing that your willingness to learn new strategies- has empowered you to move forward with calm, courage, and confidence- will be a much cherished reward. The HOS Systems invites you to contact us and let us know how we can best serve you.   

What is right sizing?

The HOS Systems defines right sizing as eliminating excessive items. That is, instead of having 10 cans of green beans, could it be that only 4 would do? Perhaps the other 6 could be donated. Or are they expired? Going through your stuff can be daunting. But avoiding the spacial limitaions can be disastorous! We understand and we are here for you. Just give us a call.

“So which items am I to watch for? Are there any certain ones I need to watch out for?”, I hear you asking. The answer is that the excessive items could be anything. They could be food, clothing, paper goods, cleaning supplies, toys, or any small items in your home that you think you might need later. This excessive accumulation leads to frustration because of the lack of space.

So if it causes so much frustration, then why do people get so much stuff? The main reason I hear is that they forgot that they had the other items on hand and bought more. But other reasons are because sometimes we humans behave impulsively. We don’t think before we act. Right sizing requires people to think before they act But the third reason for excessive stuff is an inablity to say no. No I don’t want…..No I don’t need….No keeps it from coming in the house.

So how do you keep this from happening? It will depend on why you have accumulated so many items. If it because of forgetfullness, a shopping list might just do the trick. But before you make the list, go through your posessions and see what you already have on hand. Make your list based on what you actually need to purchase. When you do make a purchase, purchase based on your present day situation, not what you might need in the future. Practice saying “No I don’t need…right now”

However, if you are facing a right sizing situation because of impulsive behaviors, you might want to stop yourself before you say- buy that new shirt. Be honest with yourself about whether you really need a new shirt. No matter what the item, if you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Reserve your cash for times when there isn’t enough there. Put the extra money to better use. Or help someone in need. Right now there are many natural disasters like hurricaines, illness, and fires. So check around and see if maybe the American Red Cross, for instance, might need some of your extra cash. While you are at it, what about setting up a regular donation schedule to a reputable charity. This way you spend your extra money, you help others, and you please God. Or how about a regular donation to a savings account?

If you are still having trouble with right sizing, HOS Systems is here to help. Our experience has taught us that there are many reasons that people need to right size. By learning new behaviors you can curtail your spending, but it is not always easy to do it by yourself. If you struggle with this, we are here for you. Give us a call. It will be wonderful to easily put things away in your home again!