ADHD Friendly Tips for Connection

adhd friendly tips for connection

 

The value of connection is priceless for all of us. During the pandemic, relationships are what kept us moving forward. For those with ADHD, connection is the solution for support. That connection includes work with colleagues, daily life with family and friends, and those around us in our environment. There are many ways to do this, and here is a short ADHD- friendly list to help you.  We know that these connections empower us and enhance our lives.

 

Double up

Make connections by doubling up on both connection and another positive activity. Take a walk or an exercise class with a friend. You are getting exercise and connecting.

Do it now

Thinking of a friend? Send a quick text just to say hello.

 

Dinner time

Work to have a regular dinner time multiple times a week and always once on the weekend. Do not worry so much about what you are serving as making sure everyone comes to the table to talk. Talk about the highs and lows of the day to know more about everyone’s emotions that day.

 

Family meeting

Family meetings promote communication and organization. Host a weekly meeting for your family to talk about calendars, responsibilities, and upcoming holidays.

 

Communicate gratitude

Sadly, and rarely, do we hear about the beauty of a friendship. Share the impact that person has on you and the strengths of that person when you connect. Being grateful moves us toward happiness. Be someone else’s cheerleader today.

 

Remember a birthday

Just a quick text or a snail mail card makes a difference for you and your connection. Keep a list of birthdays and a stash of cards to send at the beginning or end of the month for all the birthdays coming up or just passed.

Play games online

Online games connect you to others with the same interest and in the global community. Join in the games with your kiddos.

 

Join a book club

Book clubs are where people are enjoying books and connecting.

Connect through spirituality

Our communities are filled with those practicing spirituality at temples, synagogues, mosques, and churches. Reach out to those with similar paths, attend, and join a community. These foundations have many activities to connect to others regularly.

 

Use social media wisely

Connect with others on social media positively. Often there are groups to join with common interests. Set a time to sparingly join online to prevent hyperfocus.

 

Volunteer

We make connections when helping others. Volunteer and do good while connecting.

 

Connection is so important that it should be a time block on your calendar. Take time this week for one small step.

 

 

 

ADHD Friendly Tips for Successful Family Meetings

 

adhd friendly family meeting tips

 

Family meetings are a part of weekly organizing and productivity. Communicating what is coming up, preparing for activities and academics, and discussing family engagement are key reasons to be sure you host your meeting. At times the meeting gets bogged down or skipped entirely. Here are ideas on how to keep your family meeting moving forward and valuable.

Create a consistent agenda

Every meeting needs a great agenda. That is true for your family meeting.  According to Psychology Today, here are some valuable topics.

  • What happened last week and how did it go
  • What’s happening this week and future/holiday plans
  • Old stuff that needs a family decision
  • New stuff that needs a family decision
  • Money stuff
  • Family stuff
  • Taking care of our stuff

Pro tip: If your family loses interest, shorten the agenda to three topics.

 

Keep it short

Every meeting becomes yawn-worthy when it takes too long. You, your partner, and all your family will appreciate brevity.  Know the meeting priorities, keep a high level, and use visual aids as needed for your meeting.

Pro tip: Play Beat the Clock to energize your meeting. Set the timer and keep your session ahead of schedule. Everyone will stay on track with this tip. 

 

Add interest and fun

Just the word meeting can make this time together less fun.  Shake it up with fun! Fun can mean a special dessert or a family activity that concludes the meeting.

Pro tip: Use wacky ways to add fun, including Crazy Hats or a Walk and Talk meeting. You can meet at different locations inside and outside your home. 

 

Schedule regularly

Consistent family meetings help everyone maintain consistent communication. When you host this meeting weekly, you have more up-to-date information and better communication. Find the best time to meet and meet at that time regularly.

Pro tip: You may need to try different times of the week to meet or rotate the days of the week. The goal is to meet weekly. 

 

Rotate responsibilities

Share the responsibilities of leadership with your family.  You are building leadership with your children leading the meeting. One person can be a scribe to add information to the family calendar. When you share the responsibilities, kids also have more buy-in for the meeting. Your kids enjoy the fun of being in charge. One person can be the time keeper to be sure the meeting starts and ends on time.

Pro tip: Establish a pattern to share the roles between your family so everyone knows the expectations and when roles will change. 

 

Always remember that the goal of your family meeting is to connect. No matter if you complete the agenda or have an agreement on the next family event, you are modeling and nurturing connection.

 

 

Teaching your Teen Time Management

teaching your teen time management

 

 

Your kids have known how to tell time since elementary school.  But even with this background, as teens, they are late, don’t get chores completed, and may turn in assignments late to school.  Time management is more than just knowing how to read a clock.  It’s a struggle for teens to know what to do and how to get things done with time management.

 

According to Psychology Today, time management is just one of the four most critical areas for teens today.  With the level of brain development, teens are not fully equipped for time management.  Because brain development continues into the twenties, teens benefit from our coaching them with time management through high school and college.  Teens are unsure of what to do first, how long it will take to complete, and how to get started.  Teen time management includes coaching in prioritizing, initiation and procrastination, and duration of a task or project.

 

Prioritizing

What’s important and should be done first? That’s a question not only teens struggle with.  Parents don’t always agree on this between themselves.  How do we know what’s most important? It can be a matter of focus for all of us.  However,  you can help your child make these decisions by helping them process what needs to be done.

  • Encourage your teen to write down their priorities. For most kids that includes school grades, friends, church, and activities. If there are too many priorities, too many sports, or too many extracurricular activities, you can coach them to understand just how much time it takes for each activity.
  • Grid out with your kids the time available and where their priorities fit on the grid. Time blocking works well because kids can see what they have to do and when they will be doing it. That includes time for self care like sleep too. Using a paper or digital planner makes time more visual.
  • Set aside time to plan. Weekly planning time with their planner each Sunday or Monday gives your teen time to acknowledge everything that is on their plate and also record due dates. With so much information coming in by text and social media, they need time to consolidate it all in one place.

 

Initiation and Procrastination

Getting started on a task can be the hardest part of any project. Also known as initiation, those with executive function challenges find planning engaging but getting started more difficult. Procrastination can be from fear, lack of skill, or lack of motivation.

  • Plan an initiation strategy. For many, the “warm-up” to the project is gathering the materials, reviewing the instructions, or checking online with others in the class. Creating your own “warm-up” strategy will help for all upcoming assignments.
  • Make it fun to get started.  Find an innovative way to start a project.  You can add in technology or a gadget, work with a partner, or create a new perspective on the project.
  • Schedule the time to start a project. At that time, use a timer, set for 15 minutes, to help you get started.
  • Brainstorm the costs of procrastination. What’s at stake? What will happen? What are the consequences of not getting started soon enough? Coach your student through this process to verbalize the costs.
  • Set up a compelling, organized environment.  A clear workspace, quiet or white noise, and easy to access school supplies make it easier to get started.

Duration

We don’t know how long it takes to get a specific task done. But we do know that we can guess and set a time on our calendar to get a task done.

  • Help your teen create routines that take just 5 minutes. Making their bed, placing laundry in the basket, and putting trash away are 3 small tasks that take less than 5 minutes altogether. Your teen might think these take much longer. Write out routines with only 3 steps so that your teen isn’t overwhelmed.
  • Create more time awareness with more analog clocks.  Clocks should be in all your spaces to be sure you are gauging your time.
  • Your teen can set a timer when they start a task. Clocking the time will help them know how long a task takes.
  • Break big projects or tasks into baby steps.  Map out small sections of a project, and assign a time and date to accomplish them.  Nothing seems as overwhelming when it’s broken into smaller chunks.

 

Transition time

Building in transition time helps your teen be on time. That is the time that is between activities and moving from place to place. Your teen may not allow enough time to get ready, get to school, or clock in for a job. Coach your teen on how much time it takes to drive from home to school, then set use a timer to realistically learn the amount of time it takes. Having sufficient transit time helps your tee feel more confident and less stressed.

 

Tools for time management

Planners

 

Focusing apps

 

On your smartphone

  • Clock with timer for getting started and timing how long a task takes
  • Pandora playlist for organizing or homework time
  • Notes for making lists
  • Reminders and more tech

 

It takes practice, practice, and practice to learn the skills of time management. Don’t get impatient with your teen about how long it takes.  Every experience is a learning opportunity here.

 

 

 

Healthy Habits and Morning Routines for ADHD

healthy adhd habits and morning routines

October is National ADHD Awareness Month.

To “celebrate” this month, I am sharing 4 very important habits for living your best life with ADHD

in 4 blog posts throughout the month.

 

Establishing a successful habits and positive morning routines make for a great day! Successful habits are those that are consistent.  A positive morning routines gives you the foundation for a productive day. A smart morning routine consists of a series of habits.

 

Prepare and organize the night before.

A productive day always starts the night before with preparation. Mornings can be less stressful when you are already set up for success.  Being ready to go in the morning means having your backpack or bag packed with everything already stashed in it.

Pro tips to prepare:

  • As your kids get in the door, unload and reload athletic bags and lunch boxes.
  • The final step for homework is to load the backpack and place it by the exit door.
  • Connect your and your kids’ devices to the central charging spot by 8 pm.
  • Everyone do a quick calendar check to be sure there are no surprises the next day.

 

Simplify meal prep.

Easy, quick and on the go food insures good nutrition. Protein is most important for everyone to do their best.

Pro tips to meal prep:

  • Set up a lunch station for your kids to pack their lunches. Use pantry and refrigerator bins to stay organized.
  • Pack lunch primarily the night before. Most items can be grouped together so lunch is all set.
  • Prep breakfast and keep breakfast simple. Breakfast could include healthy fruits and nuts, a smoothie, or a microwave egg bite. Stay away from sugary cereals or carbohydrates.
  • Limit the meal options. Rotate the what is offered rather than give a range of options at a single meal.

 

Build in extra time for your morning routines.

Distractions and sluggishness slow down you and your family in the morning. It is unlikely that everyone in your family is a morning person.  Not to worry – add in extra time for your morning routine.

Pro tips for extra time:

  • Give everyone extra time to get up. Be sure there are multiple alarms set. Use alarms like the Sonic Boom to help wake deep sleepers or use wake up light with Sunrise alarm clocks.
  • Be proactive about time awareness. Allow three times as much time as you think to eat breakfast or get dressed. Work backwards to set time lines for leaving the house to arrive on time at work and school.
  • Take medications immediately upon waking up to kick in as you and your family are getting ready.

 

Set early bedtimes for everyone.

Getting to sleep and getting rest are difficult for those with ADHD. Setting an earlier than required bedtime means you will be prepared to rest regardless of whether you fall asleep quickly.

Pro tips for best rest:

  • Place everyone’s devices in the common charging station earlier than you think.
  • Use a gratitude practice, meditation and prayer before bed as a transition to bedtime.
  • Keep consistent for the time of bedtime each day. You might need to leave early from an event in order to keep consistent.
  • Know what works best for you and your family.

 

Place visual reminders to help your routine.

Hair brush, tooth brush and grooming tools can be strategically placed for everyone to look and feel their best before they leave.

Pro tips for looking your best:

  • Keep your kids’ grooming tools in first floor area to get this done immediately after eating and before leaving.
  • Organize your grooming tools for easy access. That includes make up and hair products for kids and parents.
  • Check lists for grooming, writing on a mirror or post it notes are visual reminders for each step of grooming.

 

Remember what not to do in the morning.

If you have one thing that immediately takes you off track, be sure you eliminate this. Once you go this direction, you know your routine will be off track.

  • Check email
  • Turn on the tv
  • Play a video game

 

Your morning routine will take a bit of work and time to become consistent. Don’t worry if it takes longer than you think. Recognize baby steps and successes for everyone!

Back to School Tips for Meal Prepping and Planning

Back to school meal prep and planning

 

Back to school time is the time for easy family meals, simple healthy lunches, and fast breakfasts to get you all out the door. What’s behind our meal planning goals? We want to have time together to share the joy, gratitude, and struggles of the day. Healthy meals make our bodies and brains work best. However, we don’t want to be spending so much time in the kitchen alone, being solely responsible for meal planning and feeling exhausted at the end of it all.  Check out these quick, easy and simple solutions.

 

Team up

No one wants to be left in the kitchen alone. Parents feel frustrated when they make dinner and everyone moves the food around their plates. Create a family responsibility chart for cooking and clean up. Make each part fun with music and friendly conversation. Have everyone add to the online grocery list to keep everyone in on decisions. Use simple recipes everyone in your family can all cook or do meal prep together where people are mixing and chopping to make dinner.  It all comes down to finding ways to get everyone together.

Order online

There are lots of ways to order online to make meal prep easier. Start by looking in your local grocery store to order online. There are lots of pre-made salads that can be packed for lunch or eaten at home for dinner. Grocery stores offer prepped meals to simplify your cooking. Use online Costco, Amazon or Instacart subscriptions for bulky weekly purchases like toilet paper and paper towels. Meal subscription services offer variety of options. Choose what is the best fit for your needs. You can subscribe to a variety of these and place these on pause to change things up. Just make sure you order on the same day weekly and plan on the time your delivery is occurring to put away the items.

Use multipliers

Doubling up can make cooking easier.  Cook once and eat twice by double recipes and freezing the second casserole. Or cook a protein and use it in two different entrees. Sheet pan dinners make large portions with ease. One bowl meals are a hit with families using beans, rice and a protein. Multipliers give you options for multiple ways to feed your family with multiple outcomes for variety. Find one multiplier you can multiply.

 

Be pantry prepared and freezer ready

There is a lot in your pantry that makes dinner preparation easy. Easy pantry meals include canned proteins, such as tuna or chickpeas.  Group your items in your pantry together by meal to “see” ready to go, pantry raid meals. Or organize your pantry like the grocery store and pull items onto the counter that day you are preparing.

 

Organize your freezer so that you have easy meals to go from freezer to oven.  If your tight on freezer space, organize the shelves with flat containers stacked for dinner. Use a dry erase board with a list of freezer meals.

 

Sandwiches are for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner.  A variety of breads can simplify your meals. There are so many options including avocado toast, grilled cheese, nut butter toast, and more!

 

Rely on organization

Get organized and set up a team strategy for preparation. Create a routine that your family packs their own lunches and preps breakfast the night before.  A station with bins and baskets with ready to go food, stocked up weekly, will keep your meal prep running smoothly.

 

Chart your course

Family dinner charts are everywhere on pinterest. Dinner by day, dinner theme days or a dinner grid take away the decision making.  Ask your family and create a rotation meal options.  In this way, everyone is part of the decision making.

 

Remember your dinner goals and keep it simple. Pause and give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts and your team when you get home. Happy times come from these dinners together.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.