Restarting routines


Restarting routines


You’re cranking stuff out at work.  Your completing tasks at home.  Your calendar keeps you on track and your lists are serving you well.  Routines are working for you.  Then, all of a change happens.  Summer or Christmas holidays come along. There’s a new employee at work you have to train. Your job responsibilities shift.  Your routine does not exist anymore.   Here’s ways to begin restarting routines.


Assess your tools

What’s going on with your planner and your lists?  Have you lost your favorite mini notebook that held your lists? Did you have weekly planning time or fill in your calendar this week?  Look at the tools you use and be sure you are using them wisely.  If you have let these lapse, start here with restarting routines that served you well.


Improve your tools

Maybe it’s time to make a small improvement to your tools.  The Japanese concept of kaizen, making small, gradual improvements, could help you with productivity.  The small improvement to your tools could be learning technology. At times when we have a change it’s about learning and practice to master a new skill.  It takes time to learn new technology to be agile.  A small change could also be hooking a new habit to an existing well established habit.  That habit might be making a list each night for the next day right before you brush your teeth.  Just a tweak can help you with restarting your routines.


Automate your tools

I don’t like to reinvent the wheel. I like to “automate” when I can to save my thinking for the bigger picture.  I use tools like checklists to automate. I have a checklist for activities that are new to me.  It’s easy and simple to complete a task this way.  There’s a checklist for things I do infrequently just so I don’t forget a step in a project.  My packing checklist helps me remember all the little stuff that make a big difference when I am away (like all my electronic chargers). Another way I automate is my routines is smartphone reminders.  An alert helps me remember the next step.  The reminders are recurring so you keep on top of your intentions.


Take the opportunity when you are stuck and not feeling back in the groove to assess, improve and automate.  While it’s uncomfortable, it’s also a time to make necessary changes that might not have happened. That when the break makes for greater productivity.


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10 Best Professional Organizers in Houston

top professional organizers in Houston


I am honored to be a part of the

Houston Moving Guide as one of the ten

best professional organizers in Houston. 


Author Jill Jarvis contacted me to share about my business.

What does a professional organizer do? Isn’t it my job to keep my things in order? If I live in the space and have survived 15 years in my own home, why would I hire someone to help organize it? Well, it turns out that a trained professional organizer can actually provide the one thing I am always searching for–order.

A professional organizer would take these spaces and put them in order. Instead of just shoving towels in the closet, they would implement systems to help us keep things organized on a day-to-day basis.

More than this, a professional organizer can specialize in helping people stage homes, prepare for moves and in interior decorating. Hearing this got me, the very organized person, thinking about hiring a professional organizer. So I asked my community of BigKidSmallCity readers for their favorite organizers in Houston.


I am grateful to be the first on the list!   Thank you Jill for honoring me!


More here on the Houston Moving Guide

Fuss Free Thanksgiving

fuss free thanksgiving



Thanksgiving can be less stress and less mess.  It’s all in how you organize your preparation and meal.  Here are a few tips on making your day fun, festive and a fuss free Thanksgiving.


Beverage station

Make it easy for your and your company to help themselves.  Set up a beverage station with ice, your choice of adult and kid beverages, and glasses.  If it’s a cool day you may decide on a hot cider with a ladle and mugs too.  Place your station in an area that will bring traffic away from the kitchen and into a gathering spot.



Take a tip from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, and have a few nibbles out before the main meal. It will keep kids and adults from being underfoot in the kitchen.  A plate of fruit and cheese and a bowl or two of nuts is a great starter for the holiday meal.  If anyone wanders into the kitchen, put them to work!


Disposable plates

There’s already a lot to wash and dry, why not go with biodegradable dishware for the day?  Available from LeafNFiber, these lovely plates will add to the natural decor of the day and make clean up easy.


It’s all about timing

Make a list of what’s for dinner. After this, create a time line for what goes into the oven at what time.  If your list is the same each year, consider creating this in Evernote or a notebook to keep and save.


Add entertainment

Everyone’s stress level goes down with a soundtrack.   Have a guest create a playlist as a back drop for the day.



Plan ahead to keep and share leftovers.  Purchase inexpensive plastic ware to give away as leftovers leave.  Everyone loves this gift!


Go team!

Take a trick from  football and other team sports that are on television on Thanksgiving.  Get your team in gear.  That means everyone has a part to play or a job for dinner, clean up and other activities.  There are many small jobs that can be done throughout the day, including ones specifically for your kiddos.  Help everyone pitch in by giving everyone something small to do to be a part of the festivities.



What ways do you make it a fuss free Thanksgiving at your home?


Your Most Organized Year Ever

Your Most Organized Year Ever

Each year as we start the new year, we think of ways to make a change and improve our lives.  Did you know that organizing is one of the top three goals each year?  Throughout the month of January, I will be offering 31 tips to help you have Your Most Organized Year Ever.  Implement just one of these tips, tools, techniques or tweaks this year.


Your Most Organized Year Ever

Your Most Organized Year Yet

Each year as we start the new year, we think of ways to make a change and improve our lives.  Did you know that organizing is one of the top three goals each year?  Throughout the month of January, I will be offering 31 tips to help you have Your Most Organized Year Ever.  Implement just one of these tips, tools, techniques or tweaks this year. 


Accountability is being willing and obligated to a task.  It’ not always easy to feel or be accountable to others. It takes a trusting relationship and a perspective of learning from missteps.


There are many ways to accomplish a goal using accountability.

  • Working together as a team can help you get a task accomplished.  When you are accountable for your step of the project, you know you will follow through.  You have team ownership.
  • Just speaking out loud about a project, describing it and discussing it, can help you process your thoughts on a project.  You are more prepared to complete it because you have clarified your work.
  • It may be just to speak about a project out loud and it’s enough for you.


Check out all 31 Tips for Your Most Organized Year Ever.

Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons!

with gratitude during the holidays


Wishing you a holiday season filled with hope, love, joy, kindness, comfort, gratitude, laughter and friendship! 

I am grateful for our connection!

It’s Not About Having it All

Jean Chatsky It's Not about having it all

Quick Start Back to School: Back To School Clothes

back to school organizing clothes


Your kids just got out of school and it is already time for Back To School.  It’s hard to get started, so I have created this series Quick Start Back to School to get everyone going!   The next post is about Back To School Clothes.


Your kids keep outgrowing their clothes. They’ve been wearing gym shorts and flip flops all summer.  Now it’s time for school to start and its time for Back to School clothes.


Weed out clothes

  • Your kids drawers may not be closing because there are too many clothes.  Your kids drawers may be a mishmash of all types of clothes together.  Start by weeding out what is too short, too tight or not appropriate for school.  Work with each child for 15 minutes, and then finish up in an hour.
  • Weed out shoes too.
  • Donate or consign clothes that day.


Categorize Back to School clothes

  • Not everything will be clothes for school.  Set up areas for dressy and after school clothes.
  • Determine what’s easiest for your child to maintain: hanging or folding clothes.
  • Set up easy access for your child to get clothes out the night before and get ready the next day.
  • Make a list and set a budget for clothing purchase to fill in.


Back to school clothes routines

  • Have your kids lay out clothes the night before and get all their stuff ready for the next day.  Start practicing this a week before school begins.
  • Baskets and a triple slotted sorter are great for laundry routines.  Each child should have a basket to carry clothes to and from the laundry room.  The sorter is great in the laundry area.
  • Host a family meeting to talk about laundry standards.  When will clothes be washed and put away? Who will help with this?  Having procedures in place helps everyone work as a team.


Back to school clothes can be found inexpensively at consignment shops, during tax free weekend or online at Thredup.   Being organized about your shopping list saves you money!


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Organizing Life’s Celebrations


organizing life's celebrations

May is the month of celebrations, including graduations from kindergarten to college and beyond, weddings, and baby showers.  Your family may be preparing for a family reunion celebration.  Celebrations are the way we come together as a family, support each other and recognize achievement.  Often we have different responsibilities to help organize the celebration.  We can all have a different role in organizing life’s celebrations.

If you are hosting the celebration

  • Set a date early and send out a notice by email to those included.  There are fabulous online resources such as paperless post and evite to include everyone.
  • Make a list of tasks for celebration, including budget, location, food, decorations, take-aways and invitations.  Check out 3 resources for each idea, makes notes in Evernote or a notebook, and make a decision so you are ready to go.
  • Invite others in your family to be a part of the preparations.  Share the responsibility and share the fun.  Check in with them on their part through email, phone or text to be sure things are going smoothly.
  • Remember to keep it simple sweetie! The bigger the plans, the bigger the stress and the bigger the budget. Simple plans create memorable occasions.

If you are attending the celebration

  • Check the date and block out the time as soon as the invitation arrives.
  • RSVP as soon as possible. In our days RSVPs are rare so help the host with this small step.
  • Make travel plans and arrange accommodations if needed.
  • Ask the host how you can help.  You can tie ribbons, put up decorations or even bring coffee!
  • Ask about whether and what gift is appropriate.  Often a small token or lovely card is what is most important.

Our family has been blessed to celebrate with nieces, nephews and other family over the past several years. Our family has attended our kids weddings at a distance. It is truly a blessing to gather and celebrate. With a plan everything comes together!

What ways has your family celebrated together?  What will you be celebrating this summer?



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Come back next week when I share ideas on organizing your family photos after your celebration!