Start a new holiday tradition: Clutter free gifts

clutter free gifts

 

Each year we really want our holidays to be special.  Purchasing just the right gift, being sure it arrives on time, wrapping it, and budgeting for all the gifts can all be overwhelming, paralyzing and most especially not in the spirit of the season.  Is it time to rethink gift giving and simplify?  Start a new holiday tradition with clutter free gifts for your family and friends.

Our family is moving to the next step of gift giving. We are going to share in the fun of creating our Delap Family Cookbook. Everyone contributes recipes for this.  We  will print it and share it with the spirit of the season.

For our grands, we are giving memberships to the Houston Children’s Museum   www.cmhouston.org  and Houston Zoo  www.houstonzoo.org.  It is all about the experiences we will share as we go together to these places.

So here are some other conscious consumerism ideas. What creative and fun ideas will your family share this holiday?

www.buynothingchristmas.org

http://familyfun.go.com/christmas/

http://budget101.com/christmas.htm

http://www.soundmoneymatters.com/homemade-christmas-gifts/

http://www.momswhothink.com/christmas/homemade-christmas-gifts.html

Make some yummy treats to share with your friends and family too!

Ellen’s Banana Bread

 

 

 

½ c oil

1 ½ c sugar

1 t salt

1t baking soda

4 T milk

2 beaten eggs

3 very  ripe bananas mashed

2 c flour

 

 

Mix all together n electric mixer in the order given. Bake in 2 loaf pans sprayed with Baker’s Joy.   Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Freezes well!

 

Student Organizing Products

 

Homework strikes fear in the hearts of kids and parents!  And getting organized with your child can be tough! Here are a few products that can make a difference for both of you!

Start the process with open minded listening to your child.  The system you create needs to be the one they own, not your’s.  By presenting several different ways to do the same thing, you are co-creating the system, not demanding it. 

Systems:

System 1.  Single 3 inch binder with multiple slash pockets with tabs.  Purchase 6 sets of slash pockets. Line up the pockets by color, grouping all the blue together, all the pink together etc.  Label as follows with a label maker:

Math hw, Math notes, Math test/quizzes

Eng hw, Eng notes, Eng test/quizzes

Sci or Bio or Chem hw, etc.

Determine if homework is going into each section, or is the one place for homework in a the front pocket of the notebook.  Be sure to be specific on each slot the paper goes so every type of paper has one slot.

System 2.  Accordian file.  Purchase a 7 slot accordian file. Label each tab, including the following, HW, classes in order of the day, notebook paper. 

Once the system is established, establish the routine.  Papers are always in one of the slots, never in the backpack.  Once the marking period is complete, the paper moves to the desk top paper sorter, labeled by class.  This way only the current paper is being carried back and forth to school. 

The Big Mouth Sorter fits directly into the back pack as an alternative to the accordian file .  Again, label it by class in chronological order of the day. 

Routines:

Establish routines for students with starting and completing homework. Homework should start after a snack and a little time off.  It should be completed no later than 9 pm. The time timer helps students stay in track during homework time.  It is a visual reminder of their work time.  I recommend using a “power period” of 50 minutes of work and 10 minutes off.  This way students remain motivated and get the work done.  At the end of homework time, everything is packed away and placed at the landing strip to head out in the morning.

Resources:

 http://www.timetimer.com/

 http://www.officeworld.com/-/big-mouth-vertical-filer

http://www.organizedatoz.com/Office-Paper-Filing-s/33.htm

Busy Moms’ Success Tips

busy moms' success tips

 

In the last month, while speaking to moms all over the greater Houston area, I have learned many success tips for families. Here are a few shared by moms of young children.

Write a list of 5 things you do every morning and do them before 9 am. This includes empty the dishwasher, start a load of wash, quick vaccum or whatever else is most important to get the day going.

Create an evening routine for you and your kids that includes bathtime, laying out all clothes including shoes, backpacks packed and breakfast table set.

Sort your toys into bins and label the bins. Your kids will not play with the tea set if the saucer is missing! Keep toys together that are played with together.

Play with your child first, then get your tasks complete.  Your kids will be happier and so will you if their needs are met, then you complete your other jobs.

Have your kids help with the laundry. Host the laundry party once a week, put on fun music, and get it all into baskets and back to their closets.  Have a laundry basket in each child’s room to take the laundry to the washer and bring it back from the dryer.

Using a command center for papers makes all the difference.   I have one place to look for paper this way.

Over and over I find that having a routine for my family makes the most difference.  Writing it out on a paper helps me remember what our routine is.

What are your busy mom’s success tips?

Rubbermaid Rocks!

could this be more adorable?

could this be more adorable?

 

 

 

 

We all want our kids’ lunches to be more nutritious.  What better way to add salad, veggies or yogie than with a new Rubbermaid Take Along and Blue Ice shape! This is an adorable way to pack a nutritious lunch for your kiddles.  It brings a smile to everyone’s face. 

In adorable shapes, like this monkey, who wouldn’t want to bring lunch.  My grand daughter squealed with delight when she saw it! She took it in her lunch the first day of school.   Her mom always packs her a healthy low fat lunch including yogurt and string cheese, so this is a convenient addition to her sack lunch.  We keep it in the freezer, pop it in early in the morning and things stay cold all day.  Pop it back in after school and it freezes overnight!

Other ideas for fun lunches?

·     ham and cheese roll up skewered with a pretzel

·     veggies and small dip

·     celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins

·     apple wedges with peanut butter and a marshmellow

Want to win this new product?  I am hosting a contest for a Rubbermaid TakeALongAFunLunch ice. 

Email me with your most creative and delicious lunch for your child’s lunch sack.  edelap@professional-organizer.com

Deadline for submissions is September 21.   

 

Check out more about Rubbermaid at www.rubbermaid.com

Read the Rubbermaid blog at:  blog.rubbermaid.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving Day!

 

moving

Moving is an arduous task at best. Take all your stuff, stuff it in a box, stuff it in a truck or storage, and unstuff it! Now this is not for sissies!  In the last few weeks several moving jobs have been a priority. So here is a short list of what I have learned.

 

Declutter.

You have less, you have less to pack. It is as simple as that. Live a life of relationships, not stuff.  Begin decluttering as soon as you learn you are moving. Even better, declutter regularly.  Remember that game, if I had to move to Australia, what would I take?  Not much.  So really be decisive about what is important to keep.

 

 

Be prepared.

Moving requires planning and preliminaries.  Have sources ready for boxes (craigslist.com or uline.com) and paper.   Scope out storage and movers from reliable sources.  Do your homework to have reliable professionals in handling your stuff.  Have lots of sharpies for writing on the boxes too!

 

Do sweat the small stuff.

It really is important to keep up with the details.  Get your paper out and keep a long list!  Label all the boxes with the list of stuff in them. Keep a list of the boxes.  Label by room, name of person’s stuff and what is in there.   Pack your first night bag – the stuff you need as soon as you arrive in your new destination.

 

 

Get help.

The more the merrier! If you have kids, be sure to plan for babysitters. Having a lot of help makes the work more fun and faster.  Set aside specific times you are working and provide beverage and snacks for the worker bees.  Delegate tasks by each team member’s strengths. Who is good at packing china or babysitting the buddies?

 

 

Take good care of yourself. Plenty of rest, fruit for snacks and don’t over do what you are capable of doing.   Leave the really heavy stuff for the professionals!

Wishing you a successful move, wherever that may be.

Busy Family’s Guide to Getting Organized Teleclass

Fall means getting back to business for families: the business of school, work and life.  Join me for a free teleclass and get your family off to a great start for the school year.

·                    Establish a family mission statement

·                    Begin building a cohesive family team

·                    Generate House Rules and Standard Operating Procedures

·                    Focus on scheduling for yourself and your family

·                    A starting point for balance in your home, work and life

 

Wednesday September 2  from 8  – 9 pm

 

A teleclass is taken in your home, no traffic, no looking for parking!  Come as you are.  Everyone calls in to the same phone number and is on the same line (long distance rates apply but you can call from your cell phone). 

 

Free Conference Call
Conference Dial-in Number: (218) 339-4300
Participant Access Code: 354656#

 

Please email me to send you a handout too! Happy organizing

Organizing and Academic Success

organizing and academic success

 

School just started and already there are possibly some anxious moments of lost homework, a disheveled backpack and unknown test dates. Whether it’s keeping track of homework or remembering to bring home a backpack, all students need to be organized to succeed in school. For many students academic challenges are often due to disorganization. Organizing for academic success is a learned skill and the right tools and routines can make a difference for any student.  Organizational academic skills are what leads to life skills.

A planner is a vital tool for the organization plan.

The planner helps your student keep track of long range and daily assignments, tests and homework. A “week at a glance” format is best, and be sure there is a space to record assignments for each class each day and extracurricular activities. The best choice is a planner sold by the school which will include vacation and exam dates. To begin the year, gather all syllabi and record all the dates for major projects and exams. Then go back, working backwards and write in the “baby steps” that lead to preparation for the work. Daily assignments should be written in each day, as soon as assigned, regardless of how small the assignment is.

Each afternoon review the planner, adding to it using additional resources found on the teacher’s web page and any additional assignments or test preparation. With consistent use, your student will know when to turn in papers for class in a timely fashion. The planner should be the one calendar the student uses, so be sure to include all other activities from sports to social engagements. Consistently using a planner is a lifelong skill well worth investment in the student’s time and effort.

Routines are a critical aspect of organizing for academic success.

Creating a structure for homework time is equal in importance as the other aspects of organizing. Check with your student’s teacher to find out the amount of time homework should be taking each night. Set aside that amount of time and designate it as “Homework Time” on a nightly basis. On a given night, if your student has fewer assignments or finishes up early, the remaining time should be spent studying for an upcoming test, working on a long-range project, or reading a library book. If your student knows that 30 – 45 minutes will be spent on school related activities each night, he/she will be less likely to try to rush through assignments, or to skip them altogether.

Create a daily routine that has homework at the time of day that is best for your student. A snack and a few minutes of time to unwind before beginning homework is a good break and then your student is ready to begin. For effective and efficient study time, it is best to limit distractions. Low music can help some students concentrate, however other technology such as television or computer should be discouraged. Many studies have shown how ineffective “multi tasking” is for all of us, and students are no different. The final part of this routine is to repack the backpack and place it at a “to go spot”, ready for the next day. By reinforcing consistent and committed use of the planner and the accordion file as well as homework routines, your student is best prepared for school each day.

Establishing good organizing systems and routines should begin at the outset of the school year.

Talk with your student about the importance of being organized, what benefits your student and your family will experience from being organized, and how to begin and incorporate the process. If your student is not experiencing the success you think is possible, the book The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg and Jennifer Zweibel is an outstanding resource for more ways to organize for academic success. Commitment to the organizing process and your student’s desire to be organized is all it takes to make a difference!

Family Meeting

Families are busier than ever.  To keep up with your events and to keep your family communicating hold a weekly “family meeting”. Families need time to prioritize, know what is coming up, talk through all the activities, and cultivate your relationships.  Choose a day and time each week to hold the family meeting to share important dates, upcoming activities and share family members’ accomplishments. At the meeting, fill in a calendar with each person’s upcoming events and deadlines and then hang the calendar kitchen where everyone can see and review it regularly. After this 30 – 45 minute family meeting, join in the fun with a special meal or dessert, game night or movie. This team building creates a special bond where everyone is heard and everyone shares what is important.  At our family meeting, each member shared one anecdote about what “one good thing” was about another family member.  Some times siblings needed to “stretch” to find the one good thing, but making each other feel a special part of your family creates affirmation for that person that builds self esteem. 

 

What day can you start your family meeting?  

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane season begins on June 1 and extends until November 1.  Being ready has different meanings depending on whether you stay or leave your home.  Having been through 2 major hurricanes in 3 years,  Houstonians want to be prepared.  September is National Preparedness Month too!

Important papers

In a small portable safe, organize these documents: copy of passport, copy of drivers’ license, mortgage info, credit card info, banking, social security cards, will, birth certificate, marriage certificate, military records, 2 previous year’s tax returns, insurance info and divorce documents.

Many different websites recommend what to have on hand for remaining in your home.

FOOD
Non-perishable foods (soups, canned food and vegetables, breads and crackers, snacks)
Juice boxes and bottled water

HOME SUPPLIES
Ice chests, water, water jugs
Camping stove; propane; charcoal
Disposable plates, utensils, napkins
Storage bags
Toilet paper, paper towels
Diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, ointments
Prescriptions, copies of prescriptions and over the counter meds
Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, deodorant
Clothing, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags

First aid kit

Bug repellant

Eyeglasses, contact, hearing aids and batteries
Pet supplies, food, litter, pet carrier, medications
Identification
Cash, credit cards
List of phone number of family and friends
Important Documents, insurance policies
Photos, videos, cameras, film, memory cards, batteries
Battery powered radio
Flashlights
Extension cords
Pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers

 

Other sites for preparation checklists

 

www.ready.gov

 

www.redcross.org

www.americanfamilysafety.com

www.texasprepares.org

www.nokr.org/nok/restricted/home.htm   (Next of Kin Registry)

www.petfinder.com

Start with a baby step on preparedness this week!

Family Manager Lists

In my life, making and having a great list can make things so much easier.  On the Family Manager website, www.familymanager.com, there are many lists for  productivity, family chores and peace of mind.  Creating a list gets it all off your mind and you can really live and do “in the moment”. But what if there were lists made for you so you don’t have to think about it all yourself or that go beyond your own ideas?

Weekly Hit List:  Save your sanity with an orderly list of task.  Family Manager divides your tasks in the the six major departments of life. Using this list, you can write down all the tasks and priorities for week.  Seeing it all written it is easy to review what is to be done, deleted or delegated. 

Who’s Responsible for What,  Age Appropriate Chores List and Kids Chores Chart:  Who said Mom is always responsible for all chores?  A full list of all the possible jobs for family members. Use this list for family members to choose what they prefer or do best.  Assign points for level of difficulty of the chores and then create your own chores chart  to post in the kitchen for all to see. 

House Rules Contract: Family communication begins with agreeing on family guidelines and expectations.  Use this contract as a guideline for your family’s discussion. 

Lists are an easy way to make anything more visual, from the files in your file cabinet to the gifts purchased for holidays.  What lists work for you and your family?