Get out the door in the morning with a smile

family organizing

 

Getting you and your family out the door in the morning can be the most chaotic part of your day.  It comes down to some simple organizing strategies and routines. 

Do as much as you can the night before.  Yes, really!  Set the table or set out super simple take aways for breakfast, pack the lunches (except cold stuff), have back packs loaded and by the back door, get you and their clothes ready and set your alarm.    The less you must do, especially for the non-morning people, the better.  

Set up work zones: Landing strip and command center.  The landing strip is a spot where you are going to see all the stuff and take it with you.   It can be a place with hooks for backpacks and cubbies for shoes, or just an assigned location. (At our home it is the angled section of the back steps!)  When you see it, you can easily grab and go!  The Command Center is the paper station for the important action papers. Having one spot where the kids papers can be retrieved, your information easily accessed, and a drop slot for bills makes the difference as you head out the door in the morning. No more looking for last minute papers!

Morning and evening routines.  Establish and write a list of the routines that your kids and you need to do daily. You may not need a list, but they do! It can be written on the mirror in the bathroom with crayola bath markers or dry erase markers. 

Morning routines including dressing, brushing teeth, eating a small something, and then getting out the door.   If possible no chores at this time, except feeding the pets or bringing hamper to the laundry room.   

Evening routines include homework in backpack at landing strip, clothes out the night before, laundry put away, clothes in hamper, set alarm, read, early to bed.  Apply the same to yourself!

Getting up on time depends on going to bed on time.  It is harder to get up if you have gone to bed late.  Setting a good bedtime for everyone, including yourself, makes a big difference.  We all need 8 hours of sleep so set a bedtime that allows for that.   Many of my clients take advantage of those late hours for their “playtime.”  Resist the urge and get to bed on time for a happier tomorrow!

Build in a little extra time. If it truly takes 15 minutes to walk to school, allow 20 minutes of time. Drive times in Houston can take an extra 15 minutes on any day.  We are most stressed when we feel behind or out of control.  Allowing some “white space” for travel, getting in the car, and that little something that always goes wrong gives us a better mind set for starting the day.  This is the gift of time I have personally given myself.  I have a newspaper to read in the car and take a few extra minutes to regroup if I arrive early.   

 Get everyone on board with the plan and be consistent. A positive approach works best with rewards for catching family members “doing it right.”  Host a family meeting where the morning routine and expectations are discussed and finalized.  

Getting out of the house can be the hardest part of the day! What strategies are you using to smooth out the bumps?

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Difference with Dress for Success

Our workplace attire is taking a new twist as we redefine the classic style of business. If you have classic work place suits, Dress for Success is the place to contribute to the success of others needing a fresh start. If your suits don’t fit, are not your style, or you have started a new business endeavor, donate these for women who are starting out professionally.   Find a local Dress for Success at www.dressforsuccess.org.  Each March Dress for Success holds its Send One Suit Drive. However you can donate all year! Also needed are neutral purses, neutral shoes, and hosiery.

What qualifies for Dress for Success? Traditional suits with jackets and either pants or skirts in neutral colors.  Please dry clean the suit and bring it on a hanger.  You are making a difference!

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

Make It Happen Mantras

organizing

There are so many great organizing quotes! Here are a few that especially bring a smile to my face.

 

Done is Perfect.  Donna Smallin coined this phrase in her book Organizing Plain and Simple. Don’t get caught up in perfection, just get your job done!

 

Well begun is half done.  Mary Poppins has many professional organizer traits!  In her song, A Spoon Full of Sugar, we all learn that getting started is half the job.   And then you are already half way complete!

 

Just do it! Taken directly from Nike, but I couldn’t resist!

 

Drain the swamp, regardless of the alligators. Many obstacles keep us from completing a job.  Find a way around the big teeth and get the job done.

 

Keep it simple sweetie! Be sure as you organize and as you live your life, the priorities and path are clear for you.

 

Hugs and happy organizing.  My favorite of all!

 

What is your favorite saying to get the job done?  What organizing quotes inspire you?

 

Mantras and more! Join my newsletter for a dose of organizing ideas monthly.

Come see me at The Woodlands Home Show

5 Steps to Simplify and Organize Your Home

Downsizing? Right sizing? Empty Nester? Transition with a new baby? Learn the simple ways to make a difference for your home and create peace of mind for you and your family!

www.woodlandsshows.com

SATURDAY & SUNDAY,
August 29 & 30, 2009

SHOW HOURS

Saturday from 9am – 7pm
Sunday from 10am – 6pm

Presentation on Saturday at 1pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm

Happy Organizing and see you there!

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!

Make a difference with Recycling

recycling

The International Association of Electronics Recyclers reports that “Each year we scrap 400 million units of electronics in the US.”   Many times we want to recycle to make a difference and just don’t know all the resources.

This is a short list of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

www.houstongreenscene.org

www.newliving.net

www.executiverecycle.com  recycles computers and technology

www.collectivegood.com  recycles and donates pagers, pdas, and blackberries

www.recyclefree.com  recycles empty inkjet and laser cartidges

www.earth911.org offers recycling and reuse information

www.freecycle.org giving and getting stuff for free

www.costco.com

iRecycle (for your iPhone)

 

 

 

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?