Get Organized for Your Vacation Rental

 

get organized for your vacation rental

 

This summer we are all ready to travel! Many of us have found that vacation rentals are the best accommodations with multiple bedrooms with lots of space for you and your family. Most homes are thoughtfully equipped. What do you need to bring to be organized for your vacation? Check out what these parents are talking about to make your own checklist.

 

Connect with the host

  • Read the reviews. People mention what they loved and what was missing.
  • Ask the host what they provide, even before you book your trip. Most places I’ve stayed have provided all the basics like that & I’ve packed like I would for a hotel, but it really depends on the air b&b or VRBO host.
  • Call ahead to determine what is supplied and the quantity. Some rentals have a small amount (of toilet paper or other necessities) and you will want to know that ahead of time.

 

Bring the basics

  • I bring ziplocs, extra paper towel, paper plates, and our own kitchen towels and washcloths. If it is a more rustic rental, I also bring my own frying pan and coffee maker…they always have them, but they can be scratched up or not well cleaned.
  • With an easy access washer, I always bring laundry pods. And I always take an extra thing of hand soap.
  • You will usually need something for leftovers like plastic containers, ziploc bags and aluminum foil to wrap up.
  • There are never enough outlets for charging the multiple electronic devices that we bring so bring extra extension cords and plugs.

 

Add those specialty spices, cooking items and unique items you love.

  • It’s good to take my own seasonings with me as well as a small bottle of mayo, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, cooking spray and cooking oil.
  • Always take your favorite throw blanket last time because you are likely to be cold. I love my own pillow too.
  • If you love a certain brand of coffee and your keurig, be sure you pack it.

 

Hacks that will help you along the way

  • Get organized over a two week time frame. Place boxes to drop items in as you purchase or prep so that you have everything together before the last day.
  • Order groceries to be delivered to your vacation rental.
  • Look into beach gear or golf cart rental for the time you are at the rental.
  • Stop by the Dollar Store to prep with disposables. If you have a short stay, extra cleaning supplies and paper goods can keep you from those extra chores of washing and cleaning.
  • Vacation rentals can offer all kinds of benefits without paying extra such as bicycles, kayaks, surfboards, a trampoline, playsets, or strollers.

 

Start your checklist today for your vacation this summer!

 

10 Quick and Easy Tips Productivity for Those with ADHD

 

quick and easy productivity tips for those with adhd

 

Because our pace has picked up, and we love an easy win, I wanted to share some quick and easy tips for productivity.  See which one you might wan to try this week.

 

Ruthlessly prioritize

Every list of tasks has to start with prioritizing. That means just choose 3 Most Important Tasks for the day or the week. Right away you are going to feel less overwhelmed and be more productive.

 

Simplify your task list

Feeling overwhelmed?  Not sure what to do next?  Just add the one next step to your task list.

 

Use a timer

Spring into action or use this as a warm up to initiate your task, a timer can help you be more productive. You can also use your time with the Pomodoro method, alternating 30 minute time intervals with 5 minute breaks.

 

Maximize automation

You can use automation to help you do your work. These voice activated helpers can add a task to a list, make a grocery list, or set up reminders for your daily routines.

 

Batch Similar Tasks

Review your list to see which tasks you can batch-process. Those are initial calls to leave a message or quick email responses.  The first step of tasks you hate can be a batch of its own.

 

Gather up dates

You are more productive when you know dates and deadlines. It is a combination of data that drives your planning and accountability.

 

Eliminate choices

Too many options can be paralyzing. Keep your choices to three or less to maximize your productivity. Give yourself three options for content for your newsletter or blog, three choices for what to have for dinner this week or three choices of when to meet with colleagues on a project.

 

Elevate your space

Move to a new location to work or add music you love.

 

Go for a walk

Exercise helps us think clearly, be creative and be more efficient.

 

Pause

Take a 5 minute pause.  Think about what you are working toward, why it is meaningful and gain fresh insight.

 

Given our new day-to-day and work environments, it’s a great time to implement and integrate a quick and easy tip that can help you.

Organizing for Sleep Away Camp

 

organizing for sleep away camp

This summer our kids are back to getting outdoors, helping those in need, continuing their spiritual journey and learning new skills at sleep away camp.  All of these kiddo adventures require getting organized, planning ahead, and packing.  Here’s your strategy for organizing for sleep away camp.

 

Check protocols first

The CDC is offering precautions and protocols this summer. Each state may have different requirements. Many of these include testing and vaccinations. Updates happen a lot right now so be sure to stay in touch with the leadership of your camp, school or youth group to know what to do and when to do it.

Get THE list

No matter what the event, there’s a list for you!   Start early because the list may require some purchasing and definitely requires organizing.  The list is available usually from the camp, from the group leader, by email or online.  Your list is usually customized for the activities your kiddo will be participating in.  Be sure each item is labelled with your kiddo’s name.

  • It may be tempting to add more to the list than what is required. Less is more when it comes to packing.
  • Check on whether there is a theme for certain days in order to include these items.
  • Have your child help you pack. That way they know what they are bringing and what they have to wear.
  • Check on what is permissible for electronics. If permitted, remember to send charging for the devices.
  • Learn the sleeping arrangements ahead of time.  This way you know whether to pack sheets or a sleeping bag.
  • Purchase extra medicines for the duration of your kiddo’s time away.
  • Bring a little bit of home. Having a little reminder, a note from you, helps remind your kiddo how loved they are and how special too.
  • If no list for your specific camp, use this.

Easy packing tips

Make it easy to stay packed or get unpacked while your kiddo is at camp.

  • Keep sets together in ziploks or packing cubes. Label ziploks by day or theme.
  • There are many options for travel toiletries.  There are pre-packed kits and toiletry organizers.  Create a travel go kit of toiletries including soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste and other hygiene products. Purchase sample size toiletries to keep luggage light. Whichever you choose, make it easy to travel to and from the bathroom.
  • Send disposal items that can be left behind when repacking at the end of camp.
  • Make sure medicines are well labelled in original containers with specific instructions.
  • Make sure the backpack and luggage can be toted by your kiddo.  They will be responsible for getting this to their sleeping spot.  Camp trunks can be heavy and hard to wrangle so be prepared.
  • Send a small backpack that can be used for day excursions.
  • Packing to be just prepared enough is the goal for sleep away camping.

 

If you are the chaperone or attending sleep away camp too, spend just as much time on your preparations too!  The more organized and prepared you are, the more fun you will have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick and Easy Wins for Families with ADHD

quick and easy wins for families with adhd

 

Quick and easy, what family doesn’t want to make life less stressful and simpler? Having a heads up on what easy to use tips and tools can give you a head start as a family.  See which of these ideas can make life better for you and your family.

 

Time tips

  • Want to know where everyone is going and what activities are coming up?  Use a google calendar for everyone to add their dates and activities.  It’s a quick view of what’s going on for everyone.  Review your calendar at your family meeting. Front load your calendar with school dates and upcoming family vacations.
  • Place analog clocks in all transition areas. An analog clock clicks in time passing and time awareness.  Those transition areas include bathrooms where time can pass without acknowledgement. Talk to your kids as you place these.  Remind them these are placed to help you be on time and know what time it is.
  • Set up rewards for everyone for being on time.  Find a “cheap thrill” such as $5 Friday Smoothies as a reward for being on time and replacing a meal.  The small incentives prompt positive behavior and makes family time together more fun.

Decluttering

Taking care of space and taking care of stuff is harder for families with ADHD. Be sure everything has a home so that there is always a way to maintain your organizing. 

  • Structure a decluttering session monthly.  You can have a Purge and Pizza party to get everyone involved. During your pizza party,  have a family discussion on decluttering, what was easy and what was hard. 
  • Create natural consequences for things left behind. Strategize with your child as a coach on how to “remember” such as setting up visual reminders or alarms.
  •  Build in time to reset your stuff weekly.  A family reset time includes getting items back to homes, getting ready for the week, and restocking items.

 

Emotional regulation

Emotional regulation skills help everyone keep it together, even when the going gets rough.

  • Everything is better with a good night’s sleep. Promote good sleep with a common charging space, a sound machine, time to unwind, a lavender bath and an early start. Encourage one night a week of an early bedtime.
  • Catch your family doing “good stuff.” Give praise and encouragement whenever you see it. A “ticket” or positive note give your kiddo a physical reminder and recognition.
  • The green space is where we all feel better.  Exercise can include walking the dog, joining a team, a solo sport like tennis, horse back riding, or going to the pool.
  • When life gets chaotic, think about adding structure. Some families call this guardrails,, boundaries or just plain rules. If your kiddo is not ready to be out to dinner at 8 pm since it’s past bedtime, if eating sugar adds to poor choices or if too many clothes are cluttering your kiddo’s floor, it’s time to introduce structure.

 

Life in your family with ADHD can be bumpy. Be sure to seek support and add to your knowledge base every chance you can.

 

 

10 Quick and Easy Organizing Tips for Those with ADHD

quick and eays organizing tips

 

Using the theme of Quick and Easy for May, here are tips for simple, effective organizing for those with ADHD. Since our pace has picked up again, it’s important to keep organizing easy to accomplish.  When a task seems easy, it’s more likely we will get started!

 

Keep a donation bag handy for ongoing decluttering

Rather than take hours to make decisions on whether to keep an item, use the energy and spirit of the moment when you feel an item is ready to be donated.  When the bag is full, take it immediate to a drop box in a local parking lot or call a local philanthropy to pick up at your front door.

 

Invite a friend to be your paper partner or clutter buddy.

Be a support and be supported by a friend who is also struggling. Inviting another to work as partners you will can brag on your successes and commiserate on struggles.

 

Use command hooks for point of use storage.

Command hooks give you a “home” for items right where you use these.

 

Maximize vertical storage with an shoe organizer on the inside of any closet.

Shoe organizers are not just for shoes! You can use them in a play room for hot wheels or Barbies, in a craft room for adhesives or accessories, or at the back door for bug spray and hand sanitizer.

 

Add a shoe basket at the back door.

Maybe you or your family don’t want to run back to the closet to get their shoes?  A shoe basket keeps all your footwear at the point of use in and out of the house.

 

Use slim line hangers to maximize space.

Slim line hanger save space and make your clothes pop!  It’s an easy way to look and feel more organized. As you rehang onto new hangers. decide if you have not worn an item in a quite a while.

 

Place a small tray where you keep rings and important jewelry.

Never lose a ring or earrings again with a small tray placed by your vanity or kitchen sink.

 

When in doubt about paper, know where you can find it online.

There are many ways to find the same information online rather than on paper.  Bookmark on your device or use Evernote or Notes to keep the website information.

 

Use two dry erase month at a glance calendars for dates and planning.

Capture information from your texts, emails and phone on month at a glance magnetic calendars. It’s easy to see and easy to add information.  Add a splash of color for fun.

 

Use the “one in – two out” rule.

For every item you bring into your home, remove two items. It will keep your home in balance with stuff.

 

Choose one of these strategies and see how you feel once you have accomplished a little organizing!

 

More quick and easy tips here!

How to Prevent and Eliminate Clutter in Your Home

 

how to prevent or eliminate clutter

The best case for clutter control is keeping clutter out of your space. That saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies in this situation. Proactive strategies for clutter prevention are double the rewards in saving you time, money and energy. Here are some easy strategies for you to use in your clutter prevention.

 

Paper clutter prevention

Paper clutter prevention helps you from spending hours on sorting and decluttering paper.

  • Set up a recycling and shredding center at the entry to your home. Immediately after pick up the mail, triage and remove the clutter.
  • Unsubscribe to magazines. Make magazines special by purchasing these as a reward for yourself.
  • Use your smart phone to take a picture of information on papers. Create an album for papers in your photo stream.
  • Use digital coupons available through store apps.
  • Add business card information to your contacts and label the contact with who referred and the work itself.
  • Use Evernote or Notes to capture and organize information.

Purchase only what you need

Over purchasing is often when clutter accumulates.

  • If you have determined a need for a purchase, it’s time to let go of the item it is replacing.
  • Purchase only what you need, not additional “just in case” items.
  • Establish one area for returns and set a date to return items.
  • Set up a purchases sub-folder in your inbox in order to keep up with online purchases and required emails for returns.
  • Purchase from a list. If you are not prepared with a list, postpone your shopping until you are prepared.

Declutter

Routines help you keep clutter regulated.

  • Declutter your closet every season, at the end of the season. Know what you have before you purchase. Create criteria for letting go of your clothes so your decisions are not as cumbersome.
  • Declutter your cosmetics every year, at your birthday.
  • Declutter your kids’ clothes at the start and end of the school year.
  • Keep a shopping bag to drop clothes and other items in as you are ready to let these go.
  • Recycle weekly.
  • Establish a “home for everything” and a time to get items back to their homes. Reset time helps you know what you have and where you have stored it.

 

Start with one small step in clutter prevention and see how easy it is to be proactive.

How to Add Structure to Your Family Schedule

how ot add structure to your family schedule

Structure is defined as constructing or arranging according to a plan. It is to give a pattern for your time and your space. Families operate best with a structure in place for how they live and work together in their home. Without structure, your family feels haphazard and chaotic.

What exactly is structure? It is specific rules and routines that focus on maintaining consistent times for actions within your family.  Structure can help every family feel a sense of togetherness, a sense of belonging and a sense of well being.  Here are a few ideas on how to add structure to your family structure.

 

Identify the rules that are the structure of your family.
All families work best with rules and routines. Those rules detail bedtime, meal time, household responsibilities and respect for each other. It also delineates what spaces are used to do what activities.
Create rules for yourself and your family that reinforce the values you hold.  For example, families that value productivity and timeliness often have bedtime rules.  Whatever rules you create, be sure you are as specific as possible, focus on specific behaviours as examples and should be realistic to be accomplished.

Putting structure into place

Structure thrives when there is consistency, predictability and follow through with actions. Often these are the most difficult parts behind structure.  Consistently heading to bed at a set time or having regular meal times as a family can be derailed because of distractions like electronics, chronic lateness or any other activity.  The best ways to achieve consistency is by setting that time as sacred with a strong stop time before that.  The more consistent you are, the more predictable everyone’s life is.  Knowing that there is no other option, that the structure can’t be denied, then life proceeds calmly.  Follow through may be difficult in the moment because of distractions.  However, the more you adhere to the rules and the plan, the easier follow through becomes. These three actions are interrelated and lead to your success.

 

When to start creating structure

If your family life lacks order, now is the time to start creating structure.  As a parent, you establish daily routines including school for your family.  Your daily self care routines are important.

  • Start small. The best starting point is having a structure for bedtime.  This way you are getting a great night’s rest.
  • Get input and buy in from your family.  Hosting a discussion during a family meeting helps everyone be heard and creates a collaborative strategy.
  • Create house rules within your structure so that everyone works as a team to embrace the structure.
  • With work from home, establish and post a schedule for your day. Be sure your work day ends to permit family time together.
  • Use automated devices to help you with structure for self care.  Alexa, Siri and Google Home can all be programmed to share your routine.

 

Structure is not easy to accomplish however well worth the investment in time and energy.

How to Organize a Busy Family Schedule

 

organize a busy family schedule

Family schedules are ramping up.  We all want more time together as a family, time to do what we love and time to be a model for our kids.  You can have all of these!  A busy family schedule requires a combination of intention, planning and tools. Here are four tips on getting and staying organized.

 

Start with values

Family values are the solid foundation for your family schedule. Your intentions become goals, which translate to actions and activities.  There are many “good” opportunities for familes that include building strong minds, spiritual growth and physical well being.  Spend time with your partner or co-parent and discuss what this looks like for your family.  Strong foundations start with strong goals.

The best way to share these goals and activities is with during your family meeting. Gather together to discuss what your time together and apart look like and the options for how to empower these goals. Gather the thoughts, write them down and place these where everyone can see these regularly.  We see this in a lot of word art so why not have your own goals as the art itself.

These family values are also a boundary for everyone getting too busy.  That’s when we feel overwhelmed. At times you will have to prioritize what is best for everyone because there are many “good” opportunities.  By relying on your goals, it makes for easier discussions and decisions.

 

Tools to use

My first thoughts in every team effort is to build solid tools we can all use together. That’s why a family calendar is so important. Because of it’s easy access on everyone’s phone, it’s best to use a digital calendar to keep everyone’s information and activities.

  • Add dates as soon as you learn about these.
  • Block time to add a series of dates such as those that start the school year, holiday times and more.
  • Add dates during the family meeting. Back into what’s needed to accomplish tasks by planning ahead about purchases and driving.
  • Plan a month in advance if possible for big events like birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Add alerts from your smart phone and smart watch. Use your home devices like Alexa and Google Home to help by seting automated reminders.

The hardest part of a family calendar is keeping it up to date and being alert to overlapping activities. It takes consistent management to be sure everyone in your family updates the calendar each day.

 

Communicate vigorously

Family communication keeps everything running smoothly. That communication is more than verbal. It is in email, text, a Trello board, an Asana task and the list goes on. Give yourself space between appointments with short intervals to catch up with communication.  Because so much information comes in quickly daily, you are not always able to respond at that time.  Add a little wrap up communication time to your day.  You will feel more proactive and more in control.

 

Work as a team

Research shows that we can promote teamwork within our family. Kids are natural helpers when they are young and we need to capitalize on this. When your kids offer to help, give them specific tasks and times to accomplish these tasks.  An example of this is when you are making dinner and your kids are ready to help, answer yes to any offers.

No one wants to be the only one to do a task at home. Partner up with family members and create a chart that shares these responsibilities. When there’s a chart, there’s no nagging needed.

There is always more to do than time to do it when it comes to home responsibilities. Write in your family calendar the routines for cleaning the house, doing laundry and cutting the grass.  In the calendar it is an appointment now!

 

Busy family times are happy family times.  Keep a positive, optimistic, resilient attitude and tone of voice.  We convey how we are feeling in our body language how we speak to each other. Try to overcome frustration by steppng back, aligning with positivity and moving forward after a pause.  Listen to these signs and re-align your schedule with your goals to create more time for your intentions.

 

 

How to Get Your Family to Help Keep Your Home Tidy and Organized

ADHD Tidying

keep your home tidy

 

Pandemic or not, families are not necessarily the most tidy or organized.  Parents may be and kids not so much, or a kid or two is organized.  Families with ADHD especially find organizing and tidying difficult.  How can you get started and maintain a tidy and organized home? Check out these tips.

 

Have less to keep tidy and organized

Start with less. Let go of what is not being used, loved or needed. That is difficult because by nature we think “just in case” is our guideline for owning stuff.  It may not be that you want to be a minimalist however you can have less incrementally.  Having less can start with some data. Just how many pairs of undies do you need in a week?  We think it is a bigger number just in case we don’t do laundry.  It can also start with where you store your stuff. All your clothes can fit in your closet or dresser, no matter how small. Get a realistic number of how many to have and set a boundary for where it belongs.

 

Assign a home to stuff to keep tidy and organized

When stuff is not put away, it is clutter. When stuff is not put away, it is untidy.  Be sure that every item in your home, car or office has a specific spot to be put away.  This way, when it is time to clean up there is no discussion on where to place an item. Start by finding items that have never had a home since purchased. Then group like items together that are used together. If there is too much to store together, it is time to declutter. You will find being organized is the key to keeping tidy.

 

Model home tidying

A family meeting is the starting point to setting standards for your family. Start by discussing what the goals are for tidying and then set a time to do the work.  Most families need a daily time. That can be immediately after dinner so that everyone is prepared for the next day.  That includes bringing dishes to the kitchen, gathering recycling, and getting laundry put away.  Create a chart that states what is to be completed during the tidying time.  Everyone working together, at the same time, means that everyone is contributing.

 

Make tidying fun

Yes! Tidying can be fun! We all have playlists and videos. Make a family tidying video and create a Spotify list for tidying.  Serve a treat! Announce ahead of time the tidying rewards for your family! Set up Google Home or Alexa routines to help you stay on track. Ask your kids to help you make this more collaborative and fun.  Keep tidying to a short time with a timer set for 15 minutes. Everyone wants to get this job done.

 

Create routines for tidying

Routines are the hardest part of keeping tidy.  Families lose momentum and all of a sudden everyone is overwhelmed.  If you can tidy daily in the same work flow, that is the best. Everyone eats dinner, and then it is time to tidy.  If not, be sure to tidy as frequently as possible.  The intention to tidy daily may not happen, and it may be only 2 days a week, however this way you have some control.  If you find you are not tidying at the same time daily, tidy when you can daily.  The best way to keep routines going is to tie these to another task that is firmly set.  Use automated reminders like Siri, Google Home and Alexa to signal the start of tidying time.

 

Houston’s Top Self- Care Products

Houston top self care products

 

We are spending lots of time this year talking about self care. It is necessary with the uncertainty of life and our need to address the anxiety that comes with that. There are physical examples of self care like developing a regular sleep routine, aiming for a healthy diet and going for a walk at lunchtime. In addition, there are many product possibilities that lead to taking care of ourselves in a way that also improves organizing and productivity.  Check out these options, including many that work with your smart phone.

 

Hidrate Spark syncs with your smart phone for all day hydration

Hidrate Spark syncs with your smart phone for all day hydration

 

Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock

Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock to wake to natural light

 

Scale Synching with Smart Phone

Scale Synching with Smart Phone to graph your weight, body mass and more

Fit bit

Fit Bit to record your exercise and sleep

 

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa (to play music or dolphin sounds)

 

 

Headspace

Headspace (an app) for Meditation helps you relieve anxiety and create serenity.

 

 

Lavender Bath Salts

Lavender bath salts for a relaxing end of your day