Tag Archive for: Family Manager

10 tidbits to total organization


It’s the little things that count! Take one of these tidbits and make it your own,  getting it done in your own way, to get started on your way to total organization.

1. Go to bed at a regular time. Getting a good night’s rest means you can get up rested and ready to tackle the day.

2. Get up a smidge earlier than the rest of your clan. Your time is your own and you can get more done.  It’s the best time for ME time!

3. Get ready the night before. There is never enough time in the morning. Lots of things go wrong in the morning. Have your bag, your kids bag and any other stuff together at night. Get your clothes together too.

4. Get a plan for meals in and out of your home. There are so many ways to get dinner done, groceries purchased and a plan in place. Having a plan also helps you save money. Have fun with this on pinterest, allrecipes or just by having your family cook with you.

5. Get help with the hard stuff of laundry and dishes. Have a time set aside every day to have both of these completed well before bedtime. It may not be as fun as you like, but add incentives and partnerships so that it gets done. Set a timer to just get laundry put away and dishes in the dishwasher in the evening. In the morning, set that timer again to get the laundry started and the dishwasher unloaded. Have a chores chart to share the responsibilities.

6. Have a morning and evening routine for you and your kids. Use checklists so that everyone knows what to do next and what is expected. Have clocks in the kitchen, bathrooms, and landing strip so that you can keep on time for these routines too.

7. Have a designated spot for your and your family’s stuff. Every evening get the stuff back to where it belongs. If the stuff is already overflowing, set a time to just work on that one area to get it back to a manageable amount in that spot.

8. Keep your car organized by dumping the trash while getting gas. Our cars get just as disorganized as our homes. Take only the papers into your home that are required, not just in case.

9. Write out your 3 most important tasks (MITs) for the next day the night before. Having a clear focus on what to do first makes the day more productive.

10. Keep your calendar up to date. When asked about an activity, just share, “I have to check”. That way you are making a plan before you add new activities for you and your kids.

Back to School: Successful School Strategies


Fall is around the corner and now is the time to establish successful strategies and routines.  This time of year we are ready to begin again, even more so than at the new year.   When families work together new routines, the results can be amazing!  Communication is the key.  No one likes to be told what to do whether you are an adult, teen or even a young child.  Asking questions can make the difference on helping your children be successful in school and working together on solutions for family responsibilities and routines.   Here are some questions to help your family get a great start this fall.   Host a family meeting to collaborate on this. 

What are your personal goals for this next year?  Help your child establish a minimum goal for one area by asking what specific actions they will take to accomplish this goal.   Ask them how you can help them reach the goal.  Share with them one goal you have too and ask for their help. 

What is the best way for you to keep up with your calendar, recording your homework and other activities?  Families can set up a month at a glance calendar in a prominent place for everyone to see or use a digital calendar and print out the month at a glance.  Each  child will need their own planner for use at school, either a month at a glance, week at a glance or a spiral notebook to write in all assignments, important dates and other details.  Parents need a reliable planner system too. 

What is your best way to keep up with papers this fall? Some ideas might be one binder with tabbed slash pockets, one folder for each subject and a homework folder, a small box file, or an accordion file with one pocket for each subject.  Remember, paper management is a learned skill and very important to practice. 

What ways to study help you learn best?  Auditory learners learn well with background music, softly playing in the background. Kinesthetic learners learn well with flashcards, re-writing and movement.  Visual learners learn best with color, highlighting and underlining.  Minimize distractions by keeping study time out of your child’s room.  Check grades weekly online with your students asking them to assess what is working for studying. 

Ask all your family members to brainstorm all the stuff that must be done each week, including trash, dinner preparation, dishes, laundry, and more.  Then ask each family member which task they can do best or which they prefer.  When you work from your strengths and/or work on what you prefer, everyone does a better job. Ask for family members to partner in getting these jobs done too, so that no one person has to work alone.  Record their responsibilities on a chart and post this again in a prominent place.  Everyone has come together to work together as a team. 

Start this year off with a plan for everyone in your family. Keep the strategies going with encouragement and enthusiasm, hosting family meetings to continue this dialogue and communicate about other important family values.   Starting new or getting back to routines makes a difference for everyone.

Practical Solutions for ADD Families

Thanks to my amazing colleague, D. Allison Lee and her Organize to Revitalize blog.  Here are some practical ways to make a difference for your ADD family.


TEAMwork for your Family

family teamwork


The start of a new school year means everyone working together for their best year yet!  Each family member helping makes all the difference. Remember, Together We Achieve More!  Family teamwork brings everyone together, helping and sharing responsibilities.

  • Start homework time at the same time for all your kids.  This way all the distractions of television, texting and more are all stopped simultaneously.
  • Host your family meeting and create a community chart for your family.  Across the top are the days of the week, down the side are the family member’s names.  In the grid are the daily responsibilities of each person.  Post the chart in the kitchen where everyone can see it.
  • Create partnerships to complete family responsibilities. Partner with unusual pairs, such as dad/daughter, mom/son and mix it up! That way everyone shares the job and the joy of kitchen cleaning, toilets and laundry.
  • Have a “Power Hour” once a week for cleaning the whole house. Discuss what needs to be cleaned and what the finished job looks like. Then set the timer and go!
  • Develop your core in your family team. Set aside times for family members to have one on one times for fun, such as date night for mom and dad or a special trip for a parent and child to share.
  • Post a list of family fun for everyone including movies to rent, places to go eat, or family activities. These incentives help everyone do their best on their responsibilities.

What team activities work at your home?

Back to School Time Management

Back to school means getting back into schedules, activities and getting to school on time.  It is hard to do, especially after summer.   One of the most important parts of back to school is getting back or getting going on good routines.  Routines are the consistent, every day ways of getting things done that make life easier.  Try out these routines this fall, starting them the third week of August, so that by the first day of school you are already in the groove. 

  •  Have a set schedule for homework and other chores.  Designate a little time for down time, and then start on homework in the late afternoon. The later you start homework, the longer it takes.  Decide on what chores are done on what days and post a chart so everyone is on board with this plan. 
  • Use power periods to get homework done. Instead of 2 hours straight, break your homework time into 15,30 or 45 minutes of work and 5 minutes of walking around, getting a drink,texting friends or taking a very short break. Your kids will be more efficient if they know that the homework needs to be done in 45 minutes.
  • All kids and parents need planners and calendars.  Host a family meeting each week to write in on a month at a glance calendar what upcoming and regular events are going on. Include even the weekly activities, like ballet, football or other kids and parent activities.  You can use the google calendar or Cozi.com if you are a techie, and print the calendar to post too.  Kids bring their planners too to fill in so everyone is modeling and practicing how to use their planners.
  • Set a bed time for the kids and parents.   Well rested kids do better in school. Well rested parents are more productive.  Set alarm clocks for everyone to get up and get going. 

Take a good look at the big picture and what you want this year to be for your family.  At your family meeting, have everyone talk about this and share.  Also think through over scheduling.  Be realistic about what your kids participate in and your commitment.  Being involved is a positive, but being over involved can cause stress and frustration.

Got Summer? Get Going!

Summer is that lazy, hazy time, when we really like to kick back! But this is a great time to get going with your family fun, something that may have been sidetracked during the school year.  Family fun can be simple, 50s style, easy activities. However, it takes making a plan to have this happen!

Gather your family together to brain storm what is most important to each person.  Family members need to each have one special activity for the summer.  Get out your calendar and write these in. Otherwise, summer will be over before you know it.  Not only are  you modeling great time management skills, you are making great summer family memories too!

Stumped on ideas for fun?  Here we go!

  • Homemade ice cream
  • Ice cream sundae party
  • Board games
  • Sprinklers galore
  • Bike rides
  • Popcorn and movie night
  • Sleep under the stars
  • Bake cookies
  • Walk a nature trail
  • Pick berries
  • Grow a garden
  • Volunteer at a thrift shop
  • Bubbles
  • Side walk chalk art

 All of these affordable ways to have fun take just a few minutes of preparation, but you will be thrilled you did!

Great websites for summer fun!



Parents’ Resources for ADD

ADD and ADHD Parents Resources


Learning that you or your child has a new diagnosis can be scary.  Getting some background and tools empower you and your child.  Here is a short list of suggested resources for you to start your education. 











Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett

The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg

The Crumpled Paper that Was Due Last Week by Ana Homayoun 

Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden

Super Parenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child by Edward M. Hallowell M.D. and Peter S. Jensen

ADD and the College Student  or Understanding Girls with ADHD both by Patricia Quinn,MD

Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults by Thomas E. Brown

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Ped Dawson, EdD

What are your best resources?  Please share!

Blended Family: Blending Together

blended family blending together



A mom and dad remarry, and it is not quite like the Brady Bunch!  The new American family comes together with kids, pets and way too much stuff!  There are a lot of emotions involved as well as a lot of personalities.  The job of creating a new space for the new family, as well as family cohesiveness, can be helped with the assistance of a Family Manager.  A blended familyblending together is much easier with an organized approach to life.

From the start, there is a lot of territory to cover.  The logistics of family stuff, such as laundry, dinner, kids coming and going, all add up to the same responsibilities as running a small company.  Having a new persective brings order to the home.  Mom and Dad can redefine the responsibilities with a clearer vision of how the family comes together.   A great family calendar and family meeting are a must! A command center for paper keeps control of mail, bills and other papers that come from school.  Setting up systems and routines bring order to the chaos.

Blended families come with a lot of stuff.  There are two homes worth of goodies.  How will this new home bring together the best of each?  Every home is different in this respect and it is in respecting each other, the kids’ wishes, and good cooperation, that the new home evolves, especially in community spaces.  In addition, kids need their own space with their personal belongings to create buy in for the new family.    Kids’ personal spaces reflect who they are and invite them to be a part of the new family too.

It can be a struggle to get all these aspects into motion. Start with your family meeting and be consistent about hosting this weekly.  And add a communication time daily.  Keeping open to new ideas, from kids and adults, keeps the energy of your home positive.

Make responsibilities visual.  Keep a family calendar posted in the kitchen with all different activities, from sports to church.  Keep posted the chores list, nightly dinner and the laundry schedule.  It helps everyone know what is the plan.

Be consistent about your rules in your home. Even if your kids are in other homes during the week, what works for your family should be consistent for each kid and adult.  Everyone respects consistently enforced, simple boundaries.

Get help when you need it.  Whether a family counselor or Family Manager Coach, be ready to include someone on the outside to help create order on the inside.  Helping everyone share their emotions and come together makes all the difference.

Best Mother’s Day Gifts Ever

mother's day gifts



A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.  ~Mildred B. Vermont

 Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.  ~Lisa Alther

Now, as always, the most automated appliance in a household is the mother.  ~Beverly Jones
Some people think its candy.  Some think it is jewels.   Some think it is new technology, an iPad or smartphone.  So what are the best gifts for any mom? Here’s a list of the best Mother’s Day gifts ever!
  • Time together to chat over coffee or an adult beverage.
  • Make dinner once a week for 4 weeks, and clean up after.
  • Unload the dishwasher without being asked.
  • Go room by room and pick up the trash, and place it out at the street on trash night.
  • Five minute toy pick up each night.
  • Watch a movie or go to a movie with Mom, a movie of her choice.
  • Create a family chores chart for the dishes and laundry and hang it on the refrigerator.
  • Plan a picnic with Mom and you make the PBJ.
  • An afternoon of riding bikes and stopping for ice cream.
  • Have Mom teach you how to cook a family recipe.
  • Let Mom sleep in while you take the kids to the park.
  • Vacuum and wash Mom’s car. 
  • Attend church or temple with Mom.  
  • Hire a housekeeper for big cleaning of your home.
  • Send Mom on a Date Night with Dad.
  • Write Mom a note and tuck it in her purse to take to work with her.
  • Make Mom’s lunch for her all week. 
  • Hire a professional organizer to organize with Mom.

Notice that none of these gifts is something that clutters up your home?  Take time this Mother’s Day to spent time with Mom, creating a lasting memory!

Family Traditions and Organizing


family traditions and organizing

It was Friday night and my son called.  “Mom, do you have the skewers to roast marshmallows”?


Let me tell you about my family and one of our family traditions.  My son, in his thirties, married and 3 children, remembers when he and his sister were in elementary and middle school, we would roast marshmallows in the fireplace.  We had special skewers we used for our roasting.  My son wanted to use these with his family for their first marshmallow roast in their new home.


Back to the request! In the kitchen, in the barbeque spot, were the roasting skewers.  He came, took the skewers to their new home, and their family continued our family tradition.


What is most important to me is creating and preserving family traditions.  Whether it is sitting down to a family meal together, or having cream puffs every Christmas, this is my priority.  Having the “stuff” that connects to the meaning of these traditions makes it easy for me to make decisions on what to keep.


I recently decluttered in the kitchen. Letting go of the skewers never came to mind.  I did bless others with a soup tureen (wedding gift, never used in 27 years), coffee cups (from my mom, but seldom used), bread baskets (we already have plenty) and extra utensils not used.   The skewers are in a seldom used spot, but one I could easily access.


Always, I want to encourage you to prioritize what matters most to you.  It is vital to how you live your best life, making good decisions about what is around you and how you use your time.  Begin by reflecting and creating awareness, then write down your priorities to have clarity throughout the year.  Take baby steps to stay on track with this priority whether by letting go and blessing others with things that are not used, or clarifying your commitments.


What are your priorities? What are your really important family moments?