Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Posted on: October 8th, 2014 by Kristi | No Comments

halloween baby

1. Try on the Costumes, Again: Even if you just purchased your family costumes a couple of weeks before Halloween, pull them out again 3 days before Halloween. If you or your children will be wearing the costumes prior to Halloween (to school or an early party), pull out the costumes 3 days prior to that event. Have every child, adult, and pet try them on again. Include all accessories (tights, masks, hats, shoes, gloves, jewelry, props, etc…). Check for fit, tears that could have occurred when taken off the last time, wrinkles, missing buttons, missing accessories, and itchy costumes that need a solution now rather than on Halloween night. After ensuring that everything fits and is ready to go, place all of the accessories needed for the completed look (even make-up) in the same bag. The hanger bags that costumes often come in are perfect. If all of the accessories don’t fit in the costume’s hanging bag, get a jumbo sized Ziploc bag and place the overflow items into the bag, zip it up, then hole-punch it and add it to the hanger.

2. Walk in Your Shoes (or flippers, mermaid tails…): A week prior to Halloween, start wearing your shoes around the house each day and take them for a stroll on the pavement. This will help loosen them up and add scuffing on the bottom of the shoes to make slips less likely.

3. Get Your Candy & Bowl Early: By the time Halloween rolls around, Halloween candy and décor have been in the stores for months! Save the headache of a mad dash to the store because you forgot to provide for the trick-or-treaters. Get the candy (or your preferred treats) as soon as it appears on the shelves. Put it all in a decorative bowl (or bag made of recyclable materials) and hide it from your kids!

4. Let Your Children Know the Schedule: This year, Halloween is on a Friday! This makes it much easier than on a school night. Still, to make things run smoothly, follow these steps. If you tell the kids in advance when they will be eating dinner, when they will be getting dressed up, and when they will start and stop trick-or-treating, things will go much more smoothly. Also, tell them when bath time will be, bed time, and how many pieces (if any) of treats they are allowed to add to their lunchbox on Monday.

5. Know Your Trick-or-Treating Route: Plan out where you will trick-or-treat ahead of time. Get on the web and print a detailed map of the neighborhood and highlight your route. This will prevent you from getting confused in the dark, allow you to plan in advance for safety, and gives you any easy clear-cut way to tell the kids when the route is complete.

6. When to Decorate: You don’t have to decorate at any particular time. It’s okay to be early; it’s okay to be right on time. The important “when” in decorating is to ensure your entire family is available at the same time so that you can make it into a fun family activity. Try to avoid one person having to do the decorations after a long day’s work, or after a long day of chasing after the children. If you are a perfectionist, and want every decoration placed just so, try to give in a little. See what your kids’ creativity leads to.

7. Reusable Decorations and Packing Away: Try to use as many reusable decorations as possible (ex. peel-off window displays) so that you will be ready to go next year. If you don’t have any (or if your decorations get ruined this year), take advantage of the after-Halloween sales. However, be sure to pack them all away in an organized manner, using sealed plastic containers. Only buy what you have room for within your storage containers. After the items are packed up, label the containers as “Halloween Decorations” and be sure the labels are clearly visible however they are stored.

8. Dinner on Halloween: Consider eating leftovers before setting out for trick-or-treating. Or, go pick up some healthy fast food choices before the goblins start to roam the streets. Make it a quick and easy dinner that the kids will be sure to eat before being exposed to all of that candy.

9. Mark it all Down: Mark all of the tips given here and your own Halloween plans on a calendar that the entire family can view. Add things like, walk in your shoes, try on costumes, and buy treats for trick-or-treaters. If you are throwing a party for Halloween, be sure to follow a detailed to-do list with a time frame. You can find and print a great “planning-a-party-guide” at realsimple.com.
(Party Planning Made Easy)

10. Stay-at-Home Fun: There are a lot of Halloween events going on around town that are fun, but can be costly. Pick your family’s favorites, then make some special, yet simple, at-home celebrations. One idea is to pop popcorn and watch a Halloween movie as a family. Adding pillows and blankets makes this activity all the more exciting. Check out the Top Ten Halloween Movies provided by realsimple.com (Top 10 Halloween Movies)

No Kids, Adult Only Tip: Get Dressed Up!!! It’s Still Fun!!!

Posted on: August 23rd, 2014 by Kristi | No Comments

Making-a-List-Cartoon

Much like I.Q., your O.Q. – Organization Quotient – can help you learn where you rank on the organizational scale. Are you hyper-organized or in need of professional help to get your home and life organized?

Take this simple quiz to find out your O.Q.:

1. I can find important papers I need within a few minutes
A. All the time.
B. Most of the time.
C. Rarely. I have them but they’re not in any order.
D. Never. They’re scattered all over.

2. My clothes are
A. In order and I can get dressed easily. I rarely get behind on laundry.
B. In order most of the time, but the laundry sometimes stacks up.
C. In stacks waiting to be washed or ironed or put away.
D. In piles all over, getting stepped on.

3. The clothes in my closet and drawers
A. Fit me and have been worn within the past year.
B. Fit me but I haven’t worn some of them in a long time.
C. Some fit me and some do not. I don’t wear many of them anymore for various reasons.
D. I have no idea what is in my closet, if it fits, or the last time I wore the clothes.

4. Mail
A. Gets read and sorted daily.
B. Gets read most days. Then it sits on the counter or desk waiting for me to make decisions.
C. Doesn’t get read sometimes and gets piled up until company comes. Then it goes into another room until I can get to it.
D. Some is in the house, some in the car. I don’t really know.

5. Bills get paid
A. On time every time.
B. On time most of the time, unless there is an oversight.
C. Late sometimes. I don’t have a routine for paying bills.
D. Often they are late and I pay many late fees.

6. In the Kitchen
A. I can make a meal easily because I can find all the utensils and my pantry is stocked.
B. I can usually find everything, but sometimes I’m out of things I need.
C. I don’t cook much. It’s too much trouble to put a meal together.
D. I eat frozen meals, order in or eat out most days because I can’t manage my kitchen.

7. My photographs
A. Are all arranged in scrapbooks, albums, or boxes.
B. Are mostly arranged but some are waiting until I get to it.
C. Are all together, but in no particular order.
D. Are somewhere in the house.

8. My Desk
A. Is always clear on top so I can work.
B. Is messy while I’m working, but I put papers away regularly.
C. Is messy almost always until I toss everything in a pile on the floor.
D. Is somewhere under that big pile of stuff.

9. The attic and basement in my home
A. Are orderly and are used for storing things I don’t use very often.
B. Are somewhat in order, but sometimes things get lost.
C. Are cluttered with junk I never use and would probably earn me a great deal of money at a garage sale if I ever cleaned it up.
D. Are big black holes. Stuff goes in and never comes out.

10. My Calendar
A. I use it daily to remember appointments and prioritize tasks.
B. I use it to write down appointments and hardly ever miss one.
C. I write down appointments most of the time but forget to check it regularly.
D. I don’t have a calendar I like so I don’t use one.

11. I get distracted when trying to organize.
A. Never
B. Sometimes
C. Often
D. Always

12. I feel overwhelmed by the size of my organizing projects.
A. Never
B. Sometimes
C. Often
D. Always

13. I know the logical spots where things in my home should be put away.
A. Always
B. Often
C. Sometimes
D. Never

14. I feel confident that I can pick the right containers for the things I need to organize.
A. Always
B. Often
C. Sometimes
D. Never

15. I am able to purge items from my home when I no longer love them or need them.
A. Always. I don’t hold onto things.
B. Often. But I have some emotional attachments.
C. Sometimes. I can but I struggle with it.
D. Never. I don’t even try anymore.

16. When I start an organizing project, I finish it.
A. Always. This is not a problem for me.
B. Often. I usually finish, but sometimes get bored or distracted.
C. Sometimes. But I sometimes get bored or distracted by something or someone.
D. Never. I love the idea of organizing but am often too distracted to see it through to the end.

17. My family helps keep the home in order and running smoothly.
A. Always or does not apply
B. Often
C. Sometimes
D. Never

18. My home makes me feel happy and comfortable.
A. Always
B. Often
C. Sometimes
D. Never

19. Being at home and seeing my clutter makes me feel stressed.
A. Never
B. Sometimes
C. Often
D. Always

20. On a scale of 1-4 with 4 being the most cluttered, my home feels like a:
A. 1
B. 2
C. 3
D. 4

Scoring:
A = 1
B = 2
C = 3
D = 4

20-29 points – You are very organized and get to enjoy your life because you are not ruled by your possessions and distractions. Sometimes you may take it too far though and spend more time organizing than is necessary, and forget to spend time doing other things you love. Be sure you are taking time to relax and enjoy life. Many people in this category are perfectionists or just born organized.

30-45 points – You’re reasonably organized. Most people in this category know how to organize but sometimes life gets in the way and things slip. Don’t let that get you down. Give yourself a break for being human. You may be able to get some tips from a professional organizer or from reading an organizing book. You are more likely to be a do-it-yourselfer. Read our online tips, sign up for the Rebuilding newsletter, and check out our in-person workshops and virtual services.

46-59 points – Somewhat disorganized and probably frustrated. You haven’t figured out systems to get you through daily routines and have trouble taking the time to clear out your clutter. Find an organized friend who can help you out, or call a professional organizer to motivate you and teach you some new ways to stay on top of life. Reading books on the subject may help, but you will likely need someone to work with you to keep you on task long enough to finish the job. Learning to organize at this point is critical so you do not fall deeper into trouble.

60-80 points – Disorganization rules your life and you are likely to be very stressed out. Your job may even be on the line. Your possessions own you instead of you owning them. Your time management is keeping you from enjoying life the way you want to. Seek out a professional organizer who can help you implement systems, teach you basic organizing skills, and keep you on task so you can finish what you begin. You may also benefit from reading books about organizing as a way of life (not just tips books).

Posted on: August 14th, 2014 by Kristi | No Comments

dreamstimefree_1842647Do you ever get in your car to run errands only to realize half-way to your destination that you forgot the item(s) you needed to complete the errand(s)? There is a simple solution that you can build into your nighttime routine. Keep a CLEAR container with an easy-open lid in the front seat of your car. In the evenings, as you look over your to-do list for the next day, gather up and place all of the items you will need to accomplish the next day’s tasks in the clear container. Write your errands down on a large super sticky note and stick the note on the lid of the box facing the driver’s seat. Place a pen in the box. Now everything you need is conveniently contained in one place. At each stop, simply take out what you need from the box. After the errand is complete, mark it off your list. For people who struggle remembering where and when to stop, they now have two reminders: An errand list and the contents of the errand box. I prefer the clear container I linked to this post because it is of great quality and has a handle for easy transfer to the back seat when you have front seat passengers. However, any CLEAR container will do. Here are some examples of items you may want to include in your errand box:

Forms needed for appointments

Library books to return

Store exchanges/returns

Reading material for stops that require waiting

Dry Cleaning

DVD’s to return

A grocery list and any coupons

Papers needed for a parent conference

Banking deposit slips w/ signed checks (if your car is in a secure location overnight)

Oil change coupon

Small snacks and a water bottle

 

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10000167&N=&Ntt=clear+tote

Posted on: May 13th, 2013 by Kristi | No Comments

“Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.” – Epictetus

 clothes-pile-istock

 

Consider for just a moment how your life would look different if you owned fewer clothes:

 

  • You would have more disposable income.
  • You would have more time to live your life.
  • Mornings would feature less stress.
  • Your closets would be well-organized and uncluttered.
  • Packing for trips/vacations would take less time.
  • Laundry days would be easier (not necessarily less, but definitely easier).

 

Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the benefits of owning fewer clothes, most of us buy into the lie that more is better. And because we do, we accumulate more and more clothing each season. We are convinced that new clothes will make us more joyful, more fashionable, and more popular. Unfortunately, they just end up getting in the way.

Consider going a different route with your life. Try owning fewer clothes. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy the freedom that it brings.

Whether you are hoping to minimize your wardrobe to the absolute minimum or just trying to pare down some of the excess in your closet, you will find these 10 steps practical and applicable. They are the same steps that we have used in our home:

 

  1. Admit that you own too much clothing. That’s all you really need to get started.
  2. Wear fewer colors. Most of us already have a few favorite colors that we wear most often anyway – usually because we like the way we look in them. Choosing to intentionally wear fewer colors means less accessories (shoes, belts, jewelry, handbags, etc.). It also makes too much sense not to try.
  3. Embrace the idea of one. When one can be enough, embrace it – one black dress, one swimsuit, one winter coat, one black belt, one pair of black shoes, one pair of sneakers, one handbag… insert your own based on your occupation, lifestyle, or climate.
  4. Donate, sell, recycle, discard. Depending on the size of one’s existing wardrobe, an initial paring down won’t take long. Make a few piles – donate, sell, or recycle. Start with the clothes that you no longer wear. You’ll be surprised how much you can remove.
  5. Donate, sell, discard some more. Removing the clothes you no longer wear is easy. Removing the clothes that you don’t really need can be a tougher choice. Turn around all the hangers in your closet. After the season, remove every article of clothing that wasn’t worn. That should help get you started on a second round of paring down.
  6. Impose an arbitrary moritorium on shopping. For many, clothes shopping is just a habit – and habit always takes over for inattention. To begin breaking the cycle of purchasing and discarding (the average American throws away 68 lbs. of textiles each year), set a self-imposed buying freeze. I recommend 90 days. If given enough time, this simple exercise in self-discipline will change your view of your clothing and the stores that produce, market, and sell them.
  7. Set a monthly spending limit. Pick a low number and stick to it.
  8. Purchase quality over quantity. Only buy clothing that you truly love – even if it costs more. If you stock your closet full of things you love, you will have less desire to add to it.
  9. Avoid the sale racks. Sales can (and should) be used to help you get a better price on something you need. Unfortunately, most sale racks are designed to convince us to purchase something we don’t.
  10. Impress with your character, not your clothes. Lee Mildon once said, “People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.”

 

Posted on: April 12th, 2013 by Kristi | No Comments

lady suitcase

 

 

1.    Strategically Locate:  Store things together that you usually use together.  For example, cake decorating items; utensils, molds and dyes should be kept together in a cake decorating area.

 

2.     Protect Clothing:  Store clothing in a humidity-free area of the home.  Plastic sweater containers work very well.  Place them on a top shelf or under the bed.

 

3.     Remember the small things like color coded keys, labeling, marking cables and wires, etc…

 

4.     Itsy items:  Leave trial-size products packed in your suitcase and ready to go on vacation.

 

5.     Novel Clutter Busters:  Store rolls of gift wrap in a trashcan; Use hanging three tiered baskets as storage in the kitchen, bath, etc…;  store ribbon on a small tension pole.

 

6.    Get a Handle on Those Tools:  You’ll be using the garage for gardening in the spring and summer months.  Save space for gardening equipment and supplies by doing a tool sort.

 

Good luck on your way to a more organized SPRING!