Organized for Homicide (Organized Mysteries Book 2) (29 page)

"Tell him the only responsibility he has in relation to me will be the final invoice I email him tomorrow." Kate smiled. "Really. No worries."

Sydney returned the smile. "But I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. Thanks so much for believing in my innocence and continuing to look for the real killer."

"I thought I heard voices down here!" Meg hung over the banister about midway down the stairs, just at the point where she could see into the kitchen. "
Sydney, are you ready to take Boston by storm?" She continued down the stairs as she said, "We can't wait to cheer you on in the Olympics in a couple of years."

"Oh, good. I wanted to thank you, too, Mrs. Berman. I was just saying how much I appreciated the two of you taking on my defense when the police decided I was guilty."
Sydney gave Meg a hug. "Yes, I'll be in Boston by July first. It's going to be neat watching fireworks there. Dad has already called my coach and has every detail arranged. I think he wants me to skip the camp, but he hasn't actually asked me, and I don't plan to miss it even if he does. I've worked too hard to get to this point, and it's just for the summer. I'll be back in Malibu when school starts."

I'm not sure I'm as mature as
Sydney is right now.
Kate looked over at Meg and had no doubt she and her friend were sharing exactly the same thought.

"Anyway, I won't keep you. I know you have a lot to do,"
Sydney said, as she retraced her steps toward the mud room. "But I have something I finished up last night for both of you, and I wanted to see if you'd like them."

She came back with two one-of-a-kind tote bags
, much like the one Kate had admired days before in the workroom. Sydney's almost-chestnut hair, so much the color of LeeAnn's, had moved forward when the teen bent over to grab the gifts and now framed her face and nervous grin.

"Oh,
Sydney…" Kate began.

"Thank you," Meg finished. "I know I can speak for Kate when I say we love your work."

"Wonderful." Sydney beamed brighter, flipping her long hair back over her shoulders. "Well, Dad's waiting for me out front, so I need to go. I don't want him stressing out."

Now she's going to worry about him.
Kate realized she was frowning again and quickly forced a smile.
No, if that was the case, she wouldn't be planning on going to Boston.
At least, Kate hoped she was right. "Well, take care and enjoy your summer."

"You too."
Sydney waved and started toward the garage before doubling back. "Oh, and if either of you ever want any of my stuff at cost, please let me know. Bye." The teen disappeared out the door.

"Did you hear that, Katie?" Meg took off in hot pursuit.

Kate was laughing soundlessly as the guys entered from the foyer, puzzled looks on both their faces.

"Did Meg just run out of here?" Gil asked.

"Are you through already?" Keith said, hopefully.

"Meg's off doing a little shopping, but she'll be right back." Her words made Gil's frown deepen. Turning to her own husband, Kate added, "We can leave as soon as the moving truck arrives and I sign the paperwork. You all were absolutely right. Everything is going to work out beautifully."

A repetitive beeping filtered in from the driveway, signaling that the moving van had arrived and was backing up to the open garage doors.

"That's our exit cue," Keith said. "If you don't give me any arguments, I'll even stop and get you a milkshake on the way home."

"You have a deal," Kate agreed. She laced her fingers into his, and they walked to the front door

 

CONTEST

 

Every great hero needs a name, and the cat in the McKenzie household is no different. Even Kate has now embraced their scruffy, orange feline hero, but he still needs a name. Give it your best shot, and send your favorite cat name to
http://tinyurl.com/kjbnjxm
. The person who suggests the winning entry will receive a free copy of book 3 in the Organized Mysteries series, as well as see his/her name on the book
's Acknowledgments page for suggesting the cat's new moniker. Get your entry in soon, as the contest ends December 31, 2014!

APPENDIX
 

Kate McKenzie
's 10-Steps to an Organized Move

 

A move doesn't have to be a time of stress and chaos. With a little planning and follow-through, a family can move anywhere and find everything they need once they arrive. All it takes is following these steps.

 

1)
      
Use a List—Don't try to remember everything that must be done. Outline everything that must be done before the move, and stay on-task at all times. Order address labels early, and use them to complete all change of address forms. Have a moving plan for any pets, giving extra attention and packing favorite toys. For skittish animals like cats, let them have their own private place so the movers don't upset them.

2)
    
Sort Well, and Say Goodbye—Don't move what won't be needed. Get extra garbage bags for all those broken toys and old clothes. Contact a local charity and schedule a pick-up, or have a tag sale that can double as a chance to say goodbye to all the neighbors.

3)
     
Say "Yes" to Help—If friends or family offer help at either end of the move, jump at the offer. Make sure your kids and spouse take a turn at packing and unpacking chores, too. This includes babysitting help as well, since young children won't just get in the way but also may not completely understand the moving process. If using a moving service, check out the company's reputation and service record. Don't waste your time and money with incompetence.

4)
    
Start Early—The sooner packing gets started, the less stress in those last days. Begin with the things that must go but won't be needed before you leave. Mark the boxes clearly—felt tip pens work best. And mark "This Side Up" for fragile items. Store like-packed boxes together so that unpacking is easier. And try to keep box weights no more than 50 lbs. to save your back.

5)
    
Work with Good Tools—Assorted sizes of boxes give better packing options, and all should have lids or be able to be taped closed. Store until needed by opening both ends and folding flat. Look for divided boxes, like those that laundry soap and wine come in. Use heavy duty wrapping paper and tape. Printed newspaper soils items, but unprinted newsprint, rolls of craft paper, or tissue paper work well, as does sturdy but inexpensive butcher paper. For very delicate items use bubble-wrap or corrugated paper.

6)
     
Rooms Need Distinction—Pack each room separately. Eliminate unpacking confusion by not combining different rooms in the same box. Use different color tags or stick-on dots to distinguish one room's box from others, so the boxes can be easily distributed within the new house on moving-in day. Make a master list that tells which color goes for each room.

7)
     
A's Get Priority—If it must be unpacked right away, label the box with a big "A." Use B's and C's for the essential but not indispensable. Go on down the alphabet for what can wait until a few days or a week later. And just use "Z" for the out of season or holiday items.

8)
    
Survival Kit—For that first night in the new home, have the things needed to get through until morning. Have some non-perishable food and a can opener, paper plates and plastic utensils, towels, sheets, blankets, toilet tissue, and change of clothes. Add a few extra items in the car to keep handy through the move and to have that first night, like a flashlight, change of clothes for each person, small games and reading material, pen and paper, bottled water and any medication.

9)
    
Plan to Succeed—For a smoother unpacking job, sit down as a family and discuss unpacking plans. Decide each person's responsibilities and where things will go. Keep a toolkit handy, so everyone knows how to find whatever is needed, including nails, hooks, tacks, and tape. Arrange furniture first, and make the beds—you'll be glad you did this later.

10)
 
Keep Stress at Bay—Right away, build a retreat in the new house by getting one room set up and free of boxes. Your family will appreciate this space when breaks are needed from unpacking duties. Order delivery food, and use music, candles, and flowers to help everyone unwind and de-stress after that first big day of unpacking.

Easy Organizing Potpourri

 

  1. Hooks are an organizer
    's best friend. A couple of eye-hooks and heavy-gauge wire holds pads of paper on the kitchen wall for convenient shopping lists. Those same eye-hooks screwed into a board or picture frame creates a perfect way to keep keys organized and within easy access of doors and autos. In mud rooms, use hooks for hats and coats, leashes and harnesses for pets, as well as umbrellas and ski poles when the weather changes seasons. Hooks in the closet make quick work for storing and displaying purses/tote bags, ties, belts, and scarves. Hooks on garage walls hold rakes, hoes, and shovels, among other things, and heavy-gauge hooks screwed into the ceiling hold bicycles by their tires, upside down and out of the way, yet still handy when someone wants to ride.

 

  1. If you run out of cords or ropes to tie things together to move, cut an old sheet into 1 to 2 inch strips, and use those for quick tiebacks.

 

  1. Roll up comforters, bed skirts, and mattress pads. If you have a little one, do the same with crib bumper pads. Then slide the rolled items into a trash bag to move. The plastic will not only keep the items clean but make it easier to slide these packages into those small extra spaces that are difficult to fill when tightly packing a moving truck. The future benefit is that the trash bags will be handy upon arriving at the new home.

 

  1. Don't use boxes for packing soft, lightweight items like linens, craft material, pillows, stuffed animals, curtains, and seasonal clothing. Use large strong plastic bags instead, and once the bags are loaded, squeeze out all the air then seal the opening. This will reduce the size of the package considerably and make the items easy to pack and squeeze into tight spaces in the moving van.

 

  1. Don't de-clutter just when moving. Think about ways to do so every day. For example, don't keep every single homework page your child(ren) ever finished. Instead, keep a small file to hold the highlights of each year. You can see your child's progress in those folders, without having to have dozens of boxes in the attic. And continue to weed out as you go. By the time your child(ren) graduates, all 12 years of school will be encompassed in the important papers in that one folder and not be so overwhelming. Equally important, don't box up and keep every stuffed animal and favorite blankie.

 

  1. Are your possessions holding you hostage? If you continually find you are cleaning, polishing, moving, and storing items serving no real purpose in your life, ask "Why am I keeping this?" Even a treasured family heirloom can become a burden if you only kept it because you liked it once. Or you only kept it because Aunt Hazel said it was your responsibility. Sell these items, or ask other family members if they would like the items instead.

 

  1. Pay attention to what you truly use. Have you ever found yourself laying something aside for a moment, then not even really noticing it again for weeks? We get so used to seeing things comfortably staying in sight, but out of the way, on fireplaces, for example, or tucked in corners, that we get to the point where we don't even see the items anymore. Really pay attention to what you have, and decide if you truly need to give it space in your home or if a less crowded house would be more desirable.

 

 

Moving or Staying—Organized Cleaning
  1. Do a big messy job first thing in the day. You'll see significant progress right away and feel more juiced about going on to the next one.
  2. Save money and time by spraying cle
    aning products directly onto the rag. Pledge on your rag, not on the table. Do the same in the bathroom with spray cleaners. This is why those big companies have created cleaning wipes for us—whether you try Lysol, Clorox, or some generic brand, you'll no longer waste time rinsing and re-rinsing sinks, tubs, or countertops. Spraying onto the rag does the same thing, just cheaper.
  3. Sort mail as soon as it comes out of the mailbox, and immediately throw away the junk mail. Put bills or items to take action on in their own pile on the kitchen desk or the area designated for daily household review. By just scanning and sorting first and eliminating junk mail at the beginning, important mail doesn
    't get overlooked later when it is time to deal with it.
  4. Time yourself. Focusing on a task and just getting it done often takes less time than we think. In an average house, fifteen minutes is all it takes to accomplish a weekly dusting. The same with regularly cleaning a bathroom or vacuuming.
  5. Take a minute. Make a practice of doing the
    things right away that only take 30 seconds to one minute. Like hanging car keys on the hook by the door instead of carrying
    them across the room and tossing on the table where they can get buried under other things.
    Hang up coats right away instead of dumping on a chair.
    Toss dirty clothes into hampers.
     Get another trash bag instead of overstuffing the one in your hand until it leaks—then take the bag on out so it's ready to haul away for pickup.
  6. Sort clothes in bedroom or bathroom hampers. Don
    't leave piles of clothes on the floor in fron
    t of a washer. That image isn't just mentally discouraging but can be physically challenging to climb over when loading the machine
    . Doing a load of laundry every day keeps the chore from getting overwhelming.

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