I just became a Pinner on Pinterest. It’s so much fun and great for a visual person like me. If you love organizing like I do please follow some of my Boards for some really fun ideas on dealing with clutter while keeping your home looking and feeling great!
This photo is a great example of style and function. They used the space so well and the storage is amazing. For more inspiration check out Ott To Get Organized, Simple Clutter Solutions, Beauty and Function and Paper Management.
Lots more to come….
Okay…..I can hear you now…..
”She’s crazy – Doesn’t she know that I’m a wife, a mom, I have a job, I have to keep everyone’s calendars straight, do homework with the kids, carpool, go shopping, cook dinner, go to PTA meetings, and watch my kid’s games!!” Just to name a few.
I hear you and I totally empathize. But, here is what research is telling us. Multitasking not only decreases our production, it makes it harder for us to finish tasks completely. And because of our lack of focus and sloppy performance, our end products aren’t coming out as well as we’d like them to.
People and projects need our undivided attention. If I’m watching T.V., checking email and doing homework with my son, do you think I am really paying attention to the questions he is asking me? Of course not! Our minds are not wired to focus intently on multiple, important things at once.
It’s become an epidemic…..the most famous “bad” example of course, is texting and driving….and we all know how tragic that has become. What drives us to try and do so much at once? We spin our wheels and still feel like our to-do lists are endless. Here’s how to get off the roller coaster:
Learn to live in the moment. Really listen when someone is talking to you. How many times have you been distracted and had to have someone repeat themselves to you? All that time adds up. If you are doing something fun, enjoy that special time, don’t work on other things. Being in the moment helps you create and solidify your memories.
Concentrate upon the task at hand. Set a timer if you have to – it really helps. If you give your full attention to one task for 15 minutes, you will be amazed at your progress. Don’t answer the phone or check a text. Just focus!!
Dovetail rather than multitask. An example of dovetailing is when you keep a project in your purse to work on while you are in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Another example would be opening the mail or sorting through photos while watching T.V., or calling a friend while you’re waiting in the parking lot for practice to get over. Use those countless chunks of wasted time to your advantage and see how they add up. Keep a project bag in the back of your car for all of these occasions.
Remember what multitasking is NOT! Cleaning the kitchen while you are cooking a meal is just good planning, not multitasking. Having a load of laundry going while you are cleaning the house is just smart time management. Reading a book when you’re in the tub is just…..awesome relaxation.
Teach yourself time-saving tricks. If you have projects that you do often or annually, getting into routines will save you a lot of hassle. For example emptying all the garbage cans on the day before the garbage truck comes and putting extra liners at the bottom of all the waste baskets so you never have to search for one.
Here are two of my favorite time saving Christmas tricks:
Take pictures of your decorations each year. If you loved the way your fireplace mantle turned out, snap a photo and when you put your decorations away, put all of those decorations in one box. Label the box “fireplace” and tape a photo of it on either the outside of the box or the inside lid. Next year the decorations with go up in half the time. No thinking necessary.
Rather than hand addressing all of your Christmas cards, put your addresses into your computer. Now click on Tools, then Letters and Mailings, then Envelopes and Labels. Next, type in all of your addresses and every year all you have to do is a quick update, put in your label sheets and hit print. It saves a TON of time and they always look great.
Whether you’ve already started the school year, or start soon, there are many
ways to create a smooth transition from summer to fall by getting a few things
organized. Do you want to save time, delete the clutter, and create a calm
environment and a happy family? Let’s do it!
- Implement routines. I can’t emphasize this one enough!! Routines and
consistency save lives. Well….mine anyway. Kids thrive on routines – it gives
them a safety net because they know what to expect. It creates a level of
comfort which reduces stress and builds self confidence.
- For younger kids, make bedtime the same each night and whatever your
routine….shower, teeth, bed-time story….stick to it. There will always be the
occasional shift when something special comes up, but that is normal and
teaches flexibility. Check out my Good Choices Charts! They are a great
way to help your kids learn the valuable life skills of sticking to routines,
and being responsible for chores.
For older kids, make homework time the same each night, teach your kids to
rest and take breaks – they need breathers between activities. Set a time for
lights out and cell phones off. Kids today are over stimulated and often sleep
deprived – 8 hours is optimal for all of us.
- Create a homework/craft storage area. Save time! When shopping for back to
school supplies, don’t forget to buy a few extras while everything is on sale,
and create a well-stocked homework caddy. This will make life so much simpler
for you and your kids. I suggest using a spinning caddy, soup cans with
magnets, or portable stacking drawers. You want things that can be moved and
- Stock up on pencils, markers, crayons, glue sticks, lined paper, and craft
paper. Include scissors, ruler, calculator, dictionary, and a pencil
- De-clutter the bedrooms. I can’t tell you how good my kids feel when their
rooms are clean and organized. They are in control and so much less stressed
– teaching this life skill is one of the best gifts you can give your kids!
- Go through the toys and books and do a little purging. If they have
outgrown the books, donate them to your school or local daycare. Give the toys
to some younger family members or kids in the neighborhood, or take everything
to your favorite local charity.
- Try on clothes. Give away what doesn’t fit. Make a list of items that
your child needs (school clothes, accessories, sports items, clothing for
special activities like concerts, etc.) Plan a shopping day and check off your
list. If possible, I suggest taking one kid at a time. It might save more
time in the end, and maybe your sanity.
- Create a communication zone. With so many activities, making sure everyone is
on the same page can be difficult. I suggest having one are in the house to
post a family calendar, drop off important school papers, and post notes for
- Use a large bulletin board and add 3M hooks for hanging school papers with
a binder clip. I like to have one hook for each child or family member.
- Stick a small white board to the bulletin board for messages.
- Make sure your older children are writing their appointments and schedules
on the family calendar. It will make planning family events easier if you know
what everyone is doing.
- Don’t forget to schedule hair cuts, physicals, and get signed up for fall
sports and other activities.
Take Action!! Pick one thing you are going to get done today and stick to it
until it is completed. If you have questions or want to send me one of your
favorite back to school tips, please do, and I will post it on my blog. Have a
great school year!!
Memorabilia and Family Treasures
To Keep or Not to Keep? That is the Question!
If you have LOTS of mementos and family keepsakes and are running out of storage space or simply don’t know what to do with it, you need some criteria to decide what you should keep and what you shouldn’t.
1. If it is important family history such has letters, genealogy, photos, birth and death certificates, military records, etc. those are items to hold onto. These items tell your family story. But, they need to be stored with care.
- Anything paper should be kept neatly stored in archival quality boxes. You can get these at Storables or the Container Store. They must be acid and lignin free.
- Wrap like items with string or raffia and put a tag on them to indicate what they are, before placing them in the box. Labeling is important! Once the generation is gone who was able to identify items, the information could be lost forever.
- ALWAYS keep these items in a place in your home that is free of moisture and is kept at a consistent temperature. Don’t store them in the garage, or attic – too hot and damp.If they are truly family treasures that you want passed down to the next generations, then they must be treasured!!
2. You are not required to keep things you inherit or get as gifts. Just because you love the person who gave you the item(s) doesn’t mean you have to love the item(s).
- If it is not your style and you know you will never use it, give it to another family member or a friend, sell it, consign it at an antique mall, or donate it.
- When my grandma died, I kept just the things I loved or were useful. It is OKAY to let go of items when people pass away. They loved us and wouldn’t want their items clogging up our lives and causing us unnecessary guilt and stress. So use it, display it, honor it, or give it away before it gets ruined. Just DON’T store it forever.
3. Our children make a lot of cool artwork, bring home truck loads of school papers and create beautiful cards, pictures and notes for us. Every last piece can be precious; however we do not have room to keep it all.
- Again, keep the historical items; stories or journals they wrote about what was happening in their life, photos, drawings of them or family, hand prints or items that chronicled their age.
- Let go of math papers and other assignments, cards with no real messages inside, basic artwork (the kind you can’t even remember which child made).
- Take photos of items and put them in a scrapbook and get rid of the actual piece, especially the big ones. If you love it, frame it and hang it. Put the clay art in the garden or use it for something practical.
If you have something you can’t decide what to do with, contact me and let me help you brainstorm. Sometimes you just need to talk it through before giving yourself permission to let go.
If you’re like the majority of car owners with kids or pets, you know that keeping your car tidy can be a challenge. Let’s face it, sometimes it feels like we live in our cars; long vacation road trips, annoying commutes, taxiing kids everywhere under the sun, countless errands, and the list goes on.
Just like in the house, the junk can pile up. We need help to get it under control. Here are a few simple solutions I have adapted over the years to try (believe me – the occupants make it a challenge) and keep the inside of my car in the best shape possible.
Stock up on the right cleaning tools.
Here is my checklist to keep the clutter and grime to a minimum: Kleenex and paper towels
- Windex wipes (for the windows)
- Antibacterial wipes (for all the dirty surfaces)
- Facial wipes (for the grubby little hands that create the dirty surfaces)
- A Swiffer duster
- Plastic grocery store bags
Keep a reign on the garbage and clutter.
Just like in your home, your car can quickly spiral out of control without systems in place. So here is what you do:
- Always have a plastic grocery bag hanging in your car for garbage. If you don’t have a built in hook, use a 3M hook (you can get them in a variety of sizes at all house-ware stores – they are amazing).
- Teach everyone to use them! Garbage goes in the b-a-g!!! Not on the floor, not under the seat, and not in the cup holders.
Put things in containers.
When items have a home, they’re easy to find and more likely to be returned when someone is finished with them. This holds true for the car as well. Here is what to keep – where:
- Glove box: Car manual, registration and proof of insurance, tire pressure gauge, a zipper pouch with (pens, scissor, tape, and a small notebook), hand sanitizer, Swiffer duster, and mini wipes (face, surface, and window).
- Console: Box of Kleenex, phone charger, extra pair of sunglasses, a place for loose change, cough drops, antacid, gum, and pain reliever (in a child proof bottle).
- Cargo Net and/or Totes: Jumper cables, flares, first-aid kit, sun screen, water, snacks, flashlight, blanket, recyclable grocery bags. Fun stuff; beach toys, 2 big beach towels, sporting equip., little tote with a few small toys/books/colored pencils (no crayons – you only make that mistake once).
Put your handy-dandy tools to use.
- Long stop light? Get out the Swiffer and dust the dash.
- Filling up the gas tank? Grab the garbage bag, do a quick sweep through the car and dump the bag in the trash at the gas station. Don’t forget to replace the bag immediately.
- Kids complaining about a long, boring car ride? Give them each a wipe (window or interior) and have them start sparkling up their area. Reward them with an ice cream (in the restaurant, and make sure they wash up before getting back in the car). J
- Car smell – “not so fresh”? Buy some sachets (I get mine at Fred Meyer in lots of great scents) and put them under the seat. I get so many compliments about how good my car smells.
Want three more bonus tips for summer car trips? Click Here!
What are you waiting for??? Take action now and go get your car organized. As always, if you have ANY questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I am always happy to help.
Have a FUN and restful summer!!
My client and her family loved all the organizing we did:
“I saw Talia’s apartment on Saturday. It looks fantastic! You did a wonderful job! She is very proud of it and says she looks forward to coming home now. I know she is so relieved to not have that overwhelmed feeling she had before. She said she feels like her entire life is more organized now. Not only that, she says she gained a friend. She really enjoyed working with you and I know she is going to miss you. Thanks again for everything, Daniele. For taking time out of your busy schedule to dig in and help her right away and for being so wonderful to her. I told Talia we got lucky when we found you and I know she feels the same. Thanks again! The apartment looks wonderful and Talia is thrilled with everything!“
-Susan C. ~ Seattle
TIP: Get rid of anything in your closet that is out dated, torn, stained, or you have not worn in over a year! Once your closet is organized remember the one-in-one-out rule. When a new pair of shoes comes in, an old pair goes out, and so on.